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ISSUE: #68. Jan. 13, 2003









By Bill Weinberg
with David Bloom, Special Correspondent

1. More Youth Dead in Attacks on Nablus, Balata, Bethlehem
2. Arafat Urges Calm--Despite Gaza IDF Attacks
3. Assassination Bid Kills Two By-Standers in Gaza
4. Two Israelis Killed in Border Infiltrations
5. Mofaz: Israel Preparing "Significant Steps"
6. Sharon Intransigent
7. Sharon Humiliated
8. Arab Candidates Re-Instated
9. Canadian Solidarity Activist Arrested in Jerusalem
10. Tel Aviv's Air Twice as Deadly as Palestinian Attacks
11. WW3 REPORT Exclusive Interview: Palestine Solidarity Activists Challenge Consensus Reality

1. U.N. Estimates Half Million Casualties
2. U.S. Plans 18-Month Occupation
3. New Security Council Configuration May Mean Delay
4. ...But Perle Says U.S. Ready to Go Unilateral
5. Pentagon to Test New Weapons in Iraq
6. Hamas Urges Iraq to Use Suicide Bombers
7. Britain Breaking Ranks?
8. Jack Straw: It's the Oil, Stupid!
9. Russian Warships to Persian Gulf
10. Legal Scholar Calls for "Pre-Emptive Impeachment"
11. History Lesson: Saddam is the New Winston Churchill!

1. Guerilla Attacks in Algeria
2. Libya Sanctions Extended

1. Libya? Syria? Sudan?

1. Karzai Mounts Anti-Warlord Campaign
2. Study: Evidence of Uranium Poisoning in Afghanistan

1. Protesters, Military Clash in Venezuela
2. Chavez to Re-Organize Oil Sector, Sideline Bureaucracy
2. Peruvian Terror Laws Revoked
3. Reich Sidelined

1. Zapatistas March on San Cristobal
2. Zapatistas Pledge to Resist Rainforest Expulsions
3. Forced Sterilization in Guerrero

1. Federal Court: ABM Treaty Dead
2. North Korea: Bush is Lying
3. NYS: Indian Point Disaster Plans Inadequate

1. Feds Seek to Overturn Seattle Anti-Spying Law
2. Police Spying Revealed in Denver, Portland
3. Immigrants Protest "Registration"
4. Guilty Plea in Buffalo Case
5. Courts: Feds Can Hold Citizen-Combatants

1. Pentagon Scientists Seek Gene-Tweaked Super Warriors
2. Gulf War Drug Linked to Infertility
3. Activists Challenge Military DU Contamination

1. 9-11 Survivors Protest War Drive
2. Vampires Exploit 9-11 Relief Fund
3. Architect Criticizes WTC Site Redevelopment Plans
4. NYC Smoking Ban Discriminates Against Hookahs

1. Anti-War Industrial Action in Scotland
2. TV Spots Link SUVs to Terrorism


On Jan. 11, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) troops opened fire on a group of Palestinian youth who were throwing stones at two tanks in the roadway at the Askar Refugee Camp, outside Nablus, killing one and injuring many more. 22-year-old Oshan Abdul Aziz Shanir was killed instantly by a bullet to the heart. The five most seriously wounded were all in their teens. Balata refugee camp also came under attack, with roads blocked by tanks and all access blocked--inlduing by medical vehicles. (Electronic Intifada, Jan. 11) The IDF said Shanir threw a firebomb at troops. Israeli troops have permission to fire at Palestinians throwing firebombs, considered lethal weapons by the Israeli military. (AP, Jan. 11)

The previous day, 15-year-old Tareq Abu Jaber was killed by Israeli gunfire in the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem as he was throwing stones at soldiers. Two other youngsters were wounded in the same incident. This latest death brings the toll for the 27-month-old Palestinian uprising to 2,843 dead--including 2,086 Palestinians and 708 Israelis. (Middle East On-Line, Jan. 10)

Voice of Israel radio also reported one Palestinian killed and 25 detained in an IDF raid on a Fatah Tanzim militia cell in Kafr Qallil south of Nablus Jan. 8. That same day, Voice of Palestine radio reported that Ahmad Muwaffaq Ajaj, 17, was killed when IDF troops "opened fire indiscriminately on a gathering of citizens" in Sayda, Tulkarm Governorate. (BBC Monitoring, Jan. 8) [top]

Early Jan. 12, Israeli tanks and troops moved into the Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis and an adjacent refugee camp, sparking clashes with Palestinian gunmen. Local hospital officials reported seven residents wounded. Palestinian security chief Maj. Gen. Abdel Razek Majaidie called it one of the largest and "most dangerous" Israeli operations in recent months. Amid the violence, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat called for an end to attacks against civilians in the two weeks leading up to Israel's elections. The statement by Arafat's cabinet called on Palestinians "to show their restraint and not to allow themselves to be dragged along by the Israeli...provocation." It added: "The attacks on civilians cause great harm to our cause, in public opinion, for Israeli peace supporters, and at the international level."

But Israeli official Dore Gold rejected the statement. "What Israel needs is a cease-fire and a cessation of violence full stop," he said. "A halt to violence cannot be limited geographically or within a certain period of time." This apparently refers to the ambiguity on the question of whether the Israeli settlers on the West Bank and Gaza are "civilians" or legitimate military targets.

Two Palestinians, aged 12 and 14, were captured after they infiltrated the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in the Gaza Strip Jan. 11. One was wounded when a rabbi whose home they had penetrsted opened fire on them. They fled, but were captured by security forces after a short chase. Authorities said the youths were armed with knives. (AP, Jan. 11)

Three Palestinians were killed and three others wounded, including a 10-year-old child, in Dayr al-Balah, Gaza Strip, at dawn Jan. 7 when IDF troops opened fire on cars and homes, Voice of Palestine radio reported. (BBC Monitoring, Jan. 7)

Palestinian positions based in Gaza responded to the IDF attacks by launching rocket attacks at Israel's Negev Desert, injuring one. One Kassam rocket exploded in the city of Sderot, and two others blew up near Kibbutz Nachal Oz. (Arutz Sheva, Jan. 12) [top]

Two fifteen-year-old Palestinian bystanders were killed and a third was critically injured in an Israeli attempt to assassinate two members of Hamas with three missiles from an Apache helicopter gunship. Sources in the Gaza Strip reported the Hamas militants escaped, but a senior Israeli source told Reuters: "I can confirm we hit three wanted men." It was the first "targeted killing" attempt in several weeks, Ha'aretz says. Hamas sources called it "a severe Israeli escalation that will not go unanswered." (Ha'aretz, Jan. 12; BBC Monitoring: Voice of Palestine, Jan. 12) (David Bloom) [top]

Two Israelis were killed in separate border infiltrations on Jan. 12. One Israeli man was killed and four were injured at Moshav Gadis, near the West Bank, when assailants opened fire at cars. Two of the infiltrators were killed by Israeli forces. The second incident occured near the Israeli-Egyptian border, near Nitzana. One Israeli and two of the infiltrators were killed. It was not clear if the assailants were Palestinian or Egyptian. (Ha'aretz, Jan. 12) (David Bloom) [top]

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Israeli cabinet on Jan. 12 that Israeli is preparing to launch a series of "very significant military steps" against the "terrorist infrastructure" in the Occupied Territories. (BBC Monitoring: Voice of Israel, Jan. 3) (David Bloom) [top]

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was also quick to dismiss Arafat's remarks calling for calm in the two weeks leading up to Israeli elections. "We have been informed of remarks by the president of the Palestinian Authority calling on terrorist organisations to refrain from carrying out attacks until the elections," Sharon was quoted as telling his weekly cabinet meeting. "For the president of the Palestinian Authority, the murder of Israelis is a permanent goal coupled with political considerations. In his opinion, assassinations of Israelis before an electoral period are legitimate, but should be stopped in the run-up and be resumed after the vote." (ABC News, Jan. 13) [top]

An Israeli judge pulled the plug on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon mid-way through an angry TV address Jan. 9, in which he was responding to corruption charges which have caused him to plummet in the polls. After some 20 minutes, in which he accused his opponents of "despicable slander...with one purpose, to bring down the government of Israel," he was abruptly taken off the air for violating laws against televised electioneering. Supporters of Sharon's arch-rival for Likud Party leadership, far-right Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, are calling for his resignation. Sharon is being investigated for a $1.5 million loan to one of his sons from Cyril Kern, a wealthy former textile manufacturer in Cape Town, South Africa, which is suspected of being used to repay illegal campaign funds. Sharon could face charges of deception, fraud and lying to the police over the source of the funds. Sharon told the press he was "horrified" to learn of the original illegal campaign funds even though the front company used to launder the funds was set up by his then-lawyer, Dov Weisglass, who now heads the prime minister's office. (UK Guardian, Jan. 10) [top]

Following an outcry from leaders of Israel's 1.2-million Arab minority, the country's supreme court restored the candidacy of two Arab legislators, Azmi Bishara and Ahmad Tibi, who had been struck from the ballot by for allegedly making statements in opposition to the character and existence of the Jewish state. (NYT, Jan. 10)

See also WW REPORT #66 [top]

Montreal-based activist Jaggi Singh was apprehended Jan. 8 in Jerusalem by undercover Israeli police. He was on his way to visit a friend, and was arrested as he arrived at the apartment. Jaggi had traveled to Israel and the Occupied Territories on invitation of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led organization which brings together Palestinians and international supporters to fight the Israeli occupation through non-violent action. Jaggi was also providing written and audio reports to various independent news organizations. His arrest comes after his visit to the Occupied Territories had ended and he was preparing to leave Israel.

When Jaggi first arrived in Israel in mid-December, he was denied entry to the country. He refused to return to Canada, and was detained. He spent two days fighting deportation. After winning a court battle with the assistance of Israeli lawyer Shamai Leibowitz, Jaggi was granted entry with the condition that he leave the country by Dec. 23, and that he not enter the Occupied Territories--a condition which Leibowitz argues is illegal under international law, given that Israel has no legitimate authority over the Palestinian territories. Israel has refused entry to 10,000 internationals over the past two years.

Jaggi is currently being held at the Russian Compound in Jerusalem, an Israeli jail notorious for torture of Palestinian detaines. No details are being released as to the nature of Jaggi's charges, or how long he will be held. His supporters are asking for polite but firm calls and e-mails to the Canadian embassy in Israel expressing concern for Jaggi and demanding his immediate release.

Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv:
Phone: +011-972-3-636-3300
Fax: (011 9723) 636-3380
E-mail Address:

(SF Indymedia, Jan. 8 [top]

According to a joint report by Israel's Environment Ministry and the Israel Union of Environmentalists (IUE), 1,100 adults in the greater Tel Aviv area die every year as a result of air pollution--representing 14% of all mortalities in the over-30 age group. IUE Executive Director Phillip Warburg blamed traffic, industry and power plants as the primary sources of air pollution. "Pollution generated by the transport sector is very likely the number one environmental health hazard in Israel today," he said. "The number of deaths due to particulate pollution is most alarming." Warburg also cited power plants, accuising the Israel Electric Company of skirting pollution control measures. The government has just approved a 1200-megawatt coal-burning power plant in Ashdod, overriding objections from the Environment Ministry and environmentalists. "This decision is inexcusable," said Warburg. "It was made despite the availability of natural gas off Israel's shoreline and without giving real consideration to cleaner, safer alternatives." Said Tel Aviv municipal councilman and Green Party leader Pe'er Visner: "It's now clear to all that pollution kills. Air pollution is more dangerous than Saddam Hussein. We're defending out borders but neglecting the land we live on and the air we breathe." (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 9)

The figures indicate that two years of Intifada have only killed half as many Israelis as die in one year from air pollution in Tel Aviv alone. [top]

In an in-depth interview this week, the editors of WW 3 REPORT talk to two Palestine solidarity activists, Steve Quester from Jews Against the Occupation (JATO), and Zaid Khalil, of Stop US Tax-Funded Aid to Israel Now (SUSTAIN), groups that call for the full right of return for Palestinian refugees, and an end to all US aid to Israel. Quester and Khalil speak about their entry into solidarity work, their experiences in Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), and the challenges currently facing Palestine activism. They also analyze the geo-political roots of US imperialism's strategic commitment to Israel, the role of oil interests in this relationship, and Israel's posture in the US War on Terrorism. See the full text. [top]


Up to 500,000 people in Iraq could suffer injuries and require medical treatment if the US and allies launch a military attack, according to a confidential UN contingency planning report. The document, entitled "Likely Humanitarian Scenarios," was posted on the Internet by a British group, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. The group did not say how it had obtained the document. The report also estimates that some three million people across the Iraq will face "dire" malnutrition as a result of the attacks. It further warns that "the outbreak of diseases in epidemic if not pandemic proportions is very likely," citing the risk of cholera and dysentery. Up to 900,000 refugees could require food and shelter from the UN and other relief groups, the report warns. (NYT, Jan. 8) [top]

Plans now being finalized by President George Bush's national security team for administering Iraq after the ouster of Saddam Hussein call for a heavy US military presence in the country for at least 18 months and a quick takeover of the country's oil fields to pay for reconstruction. The plans amount to the most ambitious US effort to administer a country since the occupations of Japan and Germany at the end of World War II. Plans, while still secret, apparently call for a civilian administrator--perhaps designated by the UN--to run the country's economy, rebuild schools and political institutions, and administer aid programs. Placing those powers in civilian hands, administration officials hope, will quell Arab concerns that a military commander would wield the kind of unchallenged authority that Gen. Douglas MacArthur exercised as supreme commander in Japan. Officials, referring to the ruling Baath Party, say "de-Baathification" of the country will be at least as complex as de-Nazification was in Germany.

The plans seem to call for maintaining the borders and basic structures of Saddam's Iraq. An administration document summarizing plans for war trials says that only "key" senior officials of the Saddam government "would need to be removed and called to account." Those in the Iraqi hierarchy who help bring down the government may be offered leniency. It also states that "government elements closely identified with Saddam's regime, like the revolutionary courts or the special security organization, will be eliminated, but much of the rest of the government will be reformed and kept."

While publicly stating that Iraq's oil would remain what one official called "the patrimony of the Iraqi people," the administration is reportedly debating how to protect oil fields during the conflict and how an occupied Iraq would be represented in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries--if at all. The administration already anticipates that neighboring Arab nations will accuse occupied Iraq of pumping oil beyond OPEC quotas. One official said Washington "fully expects" that the US will be suspected of undermining OPEC, and it is working on strategies to allay those fears. He would not describe those strategies. (Houston Chronicle, Jan. 6) [top]

It took nine weeks for the US and the 14 other UN Security Council members to agree on a Nov. 8 resolution establishing a framework for weapons inspections and possible military action in Iraq. But just as the optimal cool-weather season for military action approaches in February, the US may have to again court the votes of five countries that have just joined the Council. In a routine annual rotation, Angola, Chile, Germany, Pakistan and Spain joined the for two-year terms, replacing Colombia, Ireland, Mauritius, Norway and Singapore. All the departing countries except Mauritius were solidly behind the Bush administration's efforts. The new configuration gives the European Union much more potential clout, with Germany and Spain joining Britain and France, two permanent members with veto power. Bulgaria, Cameroon, Guinea, Mexico, Pakistan and Syria remain on the Council as non-permanent members for one more year. The other permanent members are China and Russia. (NYT, Jan. 5) [top]

Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board, said the US will not delay an attack on Iraq until after the spring, and is prepared to act without UN approval. "I'm assuming that we will not get a consensus on the Security Council but it may be possible to get it," Perle said. "It would be a great mistake to become dependent on it and take the view that we can't act separately. That would be an abrogation of the president's responsibility... A consensus would be a useful thing and I think we'd be willing to wait a little longer to get it but not a long time." He also implied that the US could act even if the weapons inspectors find no actual weapons. "If that's the test, we're never going to find a smoking gun," Perle said, citing Iraqi concealment. He criticised chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix for focusing his efforts on previously known sites. "They are the last place you would expect Saddam to put something," Perle said. "You would have to be a complete idiot to do that. The inspectors returning to known sites makes Blix look foolish." He added that Blix "has a history from when he was head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Saddam built a nuclear capability right under his nose." (UK Telegraph, Jan. 10)

See also WW3 REPORT #65 [top]

If a new attack on Iraq is launched, the populace will likely serve as human guinea pigs for a wide array of new Pentagon remote-controlled weaponry. Some of these weapons have already seen use in combat, such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), which retrofits "dumb" bombs to make them "smart" and have been used extensively in Afghanistan (see WW3 REPORT #41). Also expected to be widely used are Predator un-manned flying "robo-assassins" used in both Afghanistan and Yemen (see WW3 REPORT #59).

Among the new weapons not employed before in combat are microwave "directed energy" devices, which can be used both to scramble communications systems and against human troops. Explains military affairs analyst William M. Arkin: "Microwave weapons work by producing an intense surge of energy, like a lightning bolt, that short-circuits electrical connections, interferes with computer motherboards, destroys memory chips and damages other electrical components. They send a narrow beam of energy that penetrates about th of an inch into [human] skin, to where nerves that cause pain are located." (Sidney Morning Herald, Jan. 4)

See also WW3 REPORT #s 58, 46 and 44 [top]

The militant Palestinian group Hamas, which has carried out scores of suicide attacks, urged Iraq--and Saddam's supporters in the Arab world--to emulate its tactics and send thousands of attackers with explosives strapped to their bodies into battle against the US. "We call on the Arabs and Muslims to burn the land under the feet of the American invaders, especially our brothers in Saudi Arabia because this war is not against Iraq, it's against the Islamic nation," Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi told a rally at Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has dispatched most of the 92 suicide bombers that have killed hundreds in over two years of Israel-Palestinian conflict. (AP, Jan. 10) [top]

Up to 100 British MPs are preparing to rebel against Prime Minister Tony Blair, and junior ministers could resign if an attack on Iraq is launched without UN approval. The Labour Party's chief whip, Hilary Armstrong, passed on to Blair growing demands for evidence of any weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, and a new UN mandate to justify any attack. MPs are warning that the last time the UK went to war divided--over Suez in 1956--it ended with disaster and Prime Minister Anthony Eden's fall from power. (UK Guardian, Jan. 9)

The British press reports a possible split within Blair's cabinet, with some ministers pressing for war against Iraq to be delayed for several months, possibly until the autumn, to give weapons inspectors more time to provide clear evidence of new violations. On Jan. 7 Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon publicly rebuked Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for playing down the chances of war. The following day in the House Commons, Blair denied that the Cabinet was split or that he was engaging in "dangerous brinkmanship" with Saddam. (UK Telegraph, Jan. 9) [top]

On Jan. 6, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw admitted for the first time that the security of energy sources is a key priority of British foreign policy. Straw listed energy as one of seven foreign policy priorities in an address to a meeting of 150 British ambassadors in London. The US and British governments officially deny that oil is a factor in the looming war with Iraq, but ministers and officials in Whitehall say privately that oil is more important in the calculation than weapons of mass destruction. Straw told ambassadors that, following a review he ordered last year, the Foreign Office drew up a list of seven strategic priorities, including "to bolster the security of British and global energy supplies." The others included minimizing threats to the UK such as uncontrolled migration, transnational crime and Islamic extremism; maintaining a stable international system based on the UN, the rule of law and multilateral cooperation; promoting UK economic interests; and building a strong European Union. (UK Guardian, Jan. 7) [top]

Russia has put three warships on standby to go to the Persian Gulf within the next month to protect its "national interests" in the event of a US military attack on Iraq. Russia's Pacific fleet is ordered to prepare two cruisers and a fuel tanker for immediate deployment to the Gulf. Observers expect the move to heighten tension between Moscow and Washington. The cruisers Marshal Shaposhnikov and the Admiral Panteleyev, armed with missiles and reconnaissance equipment, have been ordered to be ready for deployment by early February. Lukoil, Russia's biggest oil firm, had a contract with Baghdad to develop the West Qurna oil-field until last month when it was abruptly cancelled--reportedly after the regime discovered Russia had been negotiating with Iraq's opposition. (UK Guardian, Jan. 10)

See also WW3 REPORT #s 59, 58 and 56 [top]

International Law Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, notes, "We sentenced Nazi leaders to death for waging a war of aggression." But he merely wants to impeach George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft for their plans to invade Iraq and create a police state in at home. Boyle is offering his services as counsel, free of charge, to any Congress member willing to sponsor articles of impeachment. Boyle says that waging a war of aggression is a crime under the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles. "It's very clear," he adds, "if you read all the press reports, they are going to devastate Baghdad, a metropolitan area of 5 million people. The Nuremberg Charter clearly says the wanton devastation of a city is a Nuremberg war crime." The US is a party to the Nuremberg Charter, and constitutionally bound to abide by it, says Boyle. "The Constitution, in Article 6, says that international treaties are the supreme law of the land here in the United States of America."

Boyle argues that the Bush administration has already violated the Nuremberg Charter via the so-called Bush Doctrine of preventive war and pre-emptive attack. "This doctrine of pre-emptive warfare or pre-emptive attack was rejected soundly in the Nuremberg Judgment, " Boyle says. "The Nuremberg Judgment...rejected this Nazi doctrine of international law of alleged self-defense." Boyle says the Bush Doctrine, embodied in the National Security Strategy document, "reads like a Nazi planning document prior to the Second World War."

In 1991, Boyle worked with Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-TX) in an effort to halt Operation Desert Storm. Articles drawn up by Gonzalez and Boyle charged then-President George HW Bush with:

1) Violating the Equal Protection Clause by having minorities and poor whites, who were the majority of the soldiers in the Middle East, "fight a war for oil to preserve the lifestyles of the wealthy."

2) Violating "the Constitution, Federal law, and the UN Charter by bribing, intimidating, and threatening others, including the members of the UN Security Council, to support belligerent acts against Iraq."

3) Violating the Nuremberg principles by conspiring to engage in a war that would cause tens of thousands of civilian deaths.

4) Committing "the United States to acts of war without congressional consent and contrary to the UN Charter and international law."

5) Committing crimes against the peace by leading the US into aggressive war against Iraq, in violation of Article 24 of the UN Charter, the Nuremberg Charter and other international protocols.

Boyle believes that the articles he drafted for Gonzalez's effort to impeach George H. W. Bush could still serve as a basis for impeaching his son George W. Bush.

(Killia Ramares for Online Journal)

See also WW3 REPORT #s 52 & 11 [top]

"The Iraqi regime...has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens." So said President George Bush in his Jan. 29, 2002 State of the Union Address, thus establishing a key propaganda pillar of the current war drive. Of course, as WW3 REPORT has repeatedly pointed out, at the time of Saddam's 1988 gas attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja, he was actually a client of the US, and a bill to impose sanctions against Iraq in response to the atrocity never made it out of Congress. (See WW3 REPORT #39) The US actively aided Saddam's chemical weapons capacity during the war with Iran in the 1980s, as recently revealed in the Washington Post. (See WW3 REPORT #66) Then, when Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990, he was instantly demonized and the first President George Bush launched a war drive against Iraq--drawing comparisons to Winston Churchill standing up to Hitler. Today, Bush the Younger is exploiting similar propaganda, with BBC recently asking "Is Bush the Churchill of the 21st Century?" (Aug. 29, 2002)

Few seem to be aware of the historical irony that the first person to use chemical weapons against the people of Iraq was none other than--Winston Churchill! Saddam, it seems, was merely emulating the tactics of British colonial administrators who used poison gas and aerial bombardment to put down Arab and Kurdish revolts during the post-WWI Mandate period. Writes Geoff Simons in his book "Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam" (St. Martins Press, 1994), p. 179-81:

"Winston Churchill, as colonial secretary, was sensitive to the cost of policing the Empire; and was in consequence keen to exploit the potential of modern technology. This strategy had particular relevance to operations in Iraq. On 19 February, 1920, before the start of the Arab uprising, Churchill (then Secretary for War and Air) wrote to Sir Hugh Trenchard, the pioneer of air warfare. Would it be possible for Trenchard to take control of Iraq? This would entail 'the provision of some kind of asphyxiating bombs calculated to cause disablement...but not death...for use in preliminary operations against turbulent tribes.'

"Churchill was in no doubt that gas could be profitably employed against the Kurds and Iraqis (as well as against other peoples in the Empire): 'I do not understand this sqeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes.' [Imperial Chief of Staff] Henry Wilson shared Churchill's enthusiasm for gas as an instrument of colonial control but the British cabinet was reluctant to sanction the use of a weapon that had caused such misery and revulsion in the First World War. Churchill himself was keen to argue that gas, fired from ground-based guns or dropped from aircraft, would cause 'only discomfort or illness, but not death' to dissident tribespeople; but his optimistic views of the effects of gas were mistaken. It was likely that the suggested gas would permanently damage eyesight and 'kill children and sickly persons, more especially as the people against whom we intend to use it have no medical knowledge with which to supply antidotes.'

"Churchill remained unimpressed by such considerations, arguing that the use of gas, a 'scientific expedient,' should not be prevented 'by the prejudices of those who do not think clearly.' In the event, gas was used against the Iraqi rebels with 'excellent moral effect', though gas shells were not dropped from aircraft because of practical difficulties...

"Today in 1993 there are still Iraqis and Kurds who remember being bombed and machine-gunned by the RAF in the 1920s. A Kurd from the Korak mountains commented, seventy years after the event: 'They were bombing here in the Kaniya Khoran...Sometimes they raided three times a day.' Wing Commander Lewis, then of 30 Squadron (RAF), Iraq, recalls how quite often 'one would get a signal that a certain Kurdish village would have to be bombed...' Similarly, Wing-Commander Gale, also of 30 Squadron: 'If the Kurds hadn't learned by our example to behave themselves in a civilised way then we had to spank their bottoms. This was done by bombs and guns.' Wing-Commander Sir Arthur Harris (later Bomber Harris, head of wartime Bomber Command) was happy to emphasise that 'The Arab and Kurd now know what real bombing means in casualties and damage. Within forty-five minutes a full-size village can be practically wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed or injured.'

"It was an easy matter to bomb and machine-gun the tribespeople, because they had no means of defence or retalitation. Iraq and Kurdistan were also useful laboratories for new weapons; devices specifically developed by the Air Ministry for use against tribal villages. The ministry drew up a list of possible weapons, some of them the forerunners of napalm and air-to-ground missiles: Phosphorus bombs, war rockets, metal crowsfeet [to maim livestock] man-killing shrapnel, liquid fire, delay-action bombs. Many of these weapons were first used in Kurdistan."

Thanks to Americans Against World Empire [top]


In one of the worst outbreaks of violence in over a decade of conflict in Algeria, Islamic rebels killed at least 58 over the weekend of Jan. 4-5. In one attack, guerillas ambushed a military convoy, killing 43. In Zabana, south of Algiers, rebels killed 13 people from two families, according to the government news agency. The mayor and another official from Chetaibi were killed when their vehicle was stopped by guerillas. The newspaper Liberte said the al-Qaeda network is assisting the Algerian rebels in the attacks. (Newsday, Jan. 7) [top]

President Bush extended for another year the economic sanctions against Libya that were first imposed in 1986. The sanctions prohibit US trade with Libya, freeze Libyan government assets in the US and restrict US citizens from travelling freely to the country. (Newsday, Jan. 7) [top]


I in a report to Congress last month, made public Jan. 7, the CIA warned that Libya, Syria and possibly Sudan are seeking weapons of mass destruction. "Nuclear, chemical, biological, and ballistic missile-applicable technology and expertise continues to gradually disperse worldwide," the agency said, adding that Osama bin Laden "has a more sophisticated biological weapons research program than previously discovered."

The report stated: "In 2001, Libya and other countries reportedly used their secret services to try to obtain technical information on the development of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons." According to the report, Tripoli tried to negotiate with Russia to purchase a nuclear reactor and secure Moscow's assistance in developing the Tajura Nuclear Research Center. "Such civil-sector work could present Libya with opportunities to pursue technologies that also would be suitable for military purposes," the agency concluded.

As for Syria: "Damascus already holds a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin but apparently is trying to develop more toxic and persistent nerve agents." The agency believes it is "highly probable" that Syria is also developing biological weapons. And Sudan "has been developing the capability to produce chemical weapons for many years," and "may be interested in a BW program as well."

The report also warned that terrorist groups like bin Laden's al-Qaeda have "ready access" to information about weapons of mass destruction, and even to nuclear materials. "We asses terrorist use of radiological dispersal devices to be a highly credible threat," the report said. (AFP, Jan. 8) [top]


Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai is pushing plans to disarm and demobilize the local warlords and their militias as part of a $1 billion reconstruction effort backed by the US and the UN. Karzai is enlisting US troops to extend the central government's fledgling bureaucracy to outlying areas. He is also finalizing plans to disrupt the smuggling economy that bypasses government coffers, and has launched an independent commission to draw up a national constitution by October. "The warlords know that they cannot survive without the center and they are not strong enough to challenge the center," he said in a December interview. "There may be acts of defiance but no challenge. We call the shots, but there is a huge disconnect between the central government authority and the lack of an administration."

To prepare the anti-warlord campaign, Karzai purged his own staff of suspect elements in December, dismissing 29 provincial officials, citing corruption. He also passed a decree forbiding provincial officials from having both political and military roles. But he acknowledges that Afghanistan still lacks a professional administrative class. "I need good, trained people who are in short supply right now," he said.

Karzai's move may be risky, as he is still dependent on the loyalty of local warlords. After his election at a grand council, or Loya Jirga, Karzai co-opted several warlords into the government. Some, notably Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, have been accused of atrocities and corruption. Karzai now admits he underestimated public revulsion for the warlords. "Politically speaking, the people are way ahead of us, the demands they make upon us are enormous and they understand the need for a central government," said Karzai.

So far, the campaign has met mixed results. Some 10 officials have refused to resign. In northeastern Kunduz province, UN officials have helped Gen. Mohammed Daoud to collect some 6,000 arms from local militiamen. In Herat province, though, warlord Ismail Khan has refused to disarm his 25,000-man army. While some warlords have accepted Karzai's order to choose a military or civilian office, others claim not to have heard about the decree. Karzai chooses not to see this uneven record as a challenge to his authority. "The bottom line is that nobody has the gall to reject government order but some work according to Afghan time," he said. US officials support Karzai's December promise to build a national army, which would weaken warlord rule. So far, though, only 2,000 soldiers have received training. (Ahmed Rashid for Eurasianet, Jan. 9) [top]

A startling new report based on research in Afghanistan, produced by the Uranium Medical Research Centre (UMRC), points to the likelihood of large sectors of the population being exposed to uranium dust and debris in the wake of last year's aerial bombardment by US and allied forces. Dr. Asaf Durakovic, a professor of nuclear medicine and radiology and former adviser to the US military, set up the independent UMRC to monitor the effects of depleted uranium (DU), used in many bombs and munitions. He has been testing US, British, and Canadian troops for uranium poisoning over the past several years. His findings confirm significant amounts in the subjects' urine as much as nine years after exposure.

Two teams were sent to Afghanistan for the UMRC study. The first arrived in June 2002, concentrating on the Jalalabad region. The second arrived four months later, broadening the study to include the capital Kabul, which has a population of nearly 3.5 million. The capital contains the highest recorded number of targets during Operation Enduring Freedom. Urine samples taken from a number of Jalalabad subjects showed uranium concentrations 400% to 2,000% above that for normal populations--amounts never before recorded in civilian studies. Reported symptoms consistent with uranium exposure included joint pains, back/kidney pain, muscle weakness, memory problems and disorientation. Many of these symptoms are found in Gulf War and Balkans veterans and civilians. Those exposed to the bombing report symptoms of flu-type illnesses, bleeding, runny noses and blood-stained mucous.

The study team itself complained of similar symptoms during their stay. Most of these symptoms last for days or months. The team also conducted a preliminary sample examination of new-born infants, determining that at least 25% may be suffering from congenital and post-natal health problems that could be associated with uranium contamination. These include undeveloped muscles, large head in comparison to body size, skin rashes and infant lethargy. Durakovic and his team searched for possible alternative causes, such as geological or industrial sources of uranium, or unrelated factors such as malnutrition. But the team concluded that DU exposure was the most likely explanation.

Repeated warnings of possible DU contamination were sent to both the British and Afghan governments in April by scientific researcher Dai Williams, author of the report "Mystery Metal in Afghanistan." Warnings were also sent to the UN Environment Program, the World Health Organization and Oxfam. All have ignored them and failed to conduct their own investigations.

In October, Durakovic spoke on al-Jazeera TV, claiming that the amount of DU used in Afghanistan far exceeded that of past conflicts. He also warned that if the scale of the attacks in Afghanistan was matched or exceeded in Iraq, the consequences would be of appalling proportions for both civilians and military forces.

(Davey Garland for Green Left Weekly, Australia, December 2002)

See also WW3 REPORT #s 63 & 26 [top]


Soldiers hurled tear gas cannisters at tens of thousands of Venezuelans marching Los Proceres park, outside Fort Tiuna military base, to demand the armed forces' support in the ongoing strike against President Hugo Chavez. Nineteen were injured, including Hector Castillo, a photographer for the local newspaper El Mundo, who was hit by rubber bullets. Protesters shouted "cowards" at hundreds of soldiers facing them with armored personnel carriers. Troops also kept back another group of Chavez supporters protesting nearby. The park is one of eight Chavez-decreed "security zones" in Caracas, where protests are banned unless authorized by the defense ministry.

The military--purged of dissidents after the abortive April coup--is supporting Chavez in the strike. Troops have seized oil tankers, commandeered gasoline trucks and locked striking workers out of oil installations. Top commanders have declared their loyalty to Chavez. Speaking in his weekly radio and television address Jan. 12, Chavez denounced the strike leaders as "fascists," manipulated by the media. Venezuela's main TV stations are broadcasting no commercials except opposition advertisements promoting the strike. Media owners claim they have been pushed into this stance because Chavez incites followers to attack reporters. Chavez threatenes to revoke the licenses of TV and radio stations if they "continue with their irrational insistence on destabilizing the country by supporting this fascist subversion."

On Jan. 3, Chavez supporters and opponents clashed while police fired tear gas during an opposition march on Los Proceres. Two Chavez supporters were killed and some 80 others injured, when unknown gunmen fired on marchers. Police also intervened Jan. 11 when Chavez supporters blocked the route of a planned opposition march through the streets of Maracay, the military's nerve center, and on Margarita island off Venezuela's coast. (AP, Jan. 12) [top]

In response to the strike, which has largely immobilized Venezuela's critical oil industry, Venezuela's Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez announced plans to "decentralize" the state oil company, PDVSA, splitting it into two new entities--PDVSA East and PDVSA West. The move is aimed at undercutting the Caracas-based administrative elite that most vigorously support the strike. PDVSA is currently the world's fifth largest oil company, and has the world's largest oil fields outside the Middle East. (NYT, Jan. 7) PDVSA president Ali Rodriguez, a former guerilla fighter, supports Chavez and is divided from his own managers. Admitting that the strike has brought the company to the brink of collapse, he has suspended several top executives for supporting it. (NYT, Dec. 25) Chavez, meanwhile, has launched a diplomatic initiative for creation of an international "Friends of Venezuela" to support his besieged government. He unveiled the initiative in Brasilia, where he arrived for the inauguration of Brazil's new populist president Lula da Silva, a likely ally in the effort. (NYT, Jan. 3)

See also WW3 REPORT #65 [top]

Peru's Constitutional Tribunal struck down anti-terrorism laws Jan. 3 that were used to repress rebel movements in the 1990s. The ruling came following an examination of four decrees made by former President Alberto Fujimori. The measures, including harsh prison terms and hooded military tribunals, drew international criticism for their secrecy and lack of due process. The court declared the use of military tribunals to try civilians unconstitutional. The move could open the way for civilian trials for some 900 people convicted in military courts--including Abimael Guzman, leader of the Shining Path guerrillas. But court president Javier Alva said the ruling would not set guerillas free or disqualify evidence. The court also said life sentences for terrorism convicts are unconstitutionally excessive. The ruling was criticized by Fujimori, exiled in Japan following a corruption scandal that brought down his decade-long regime in 2000. "It seems the current government has forgotten that hell, has forgotten the 30,000 people killed by barbaric terrorism," he said. (AP, Jan. 4) [top]

The White House announced a new job--actually, a demotion--for Otto Reich, the hardline Cuban-American who has been responsible for Latin America policy for the past year. The decision acknowledges that the Senate, even with its new Republican majority, would not confirm Reich as assistant secretary of state for the western hemisphere. Reich has been accused of supporting terrorists in Central America in the 1980s and conniving with last April's abortive military coup in Venezuela. The new chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, Richard Lugar (R-IN), made it clear he would not vote to confirm Reich.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer announced that Reich will be joining the national security team, saying "Ambassador Reich has a distinguished record of service to the United States both outside and in government." But the praise did not mask the defeat for Reich and the White House. "This is a consolation prize, a face-saver," said Larry Birns, the director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, which monitors Latin American politics.

Reich recently angered the Venezuelan government by saying: "An election is not sufficient to call a country a democracy." Venezuela's vice-president, Jose Vicente Rangels, responded by calling Reich "a clown." Birns predicted that Reich would return to the business world, where he used to be a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin and Bacardi rum. The assistant secretary of state appointment will probably be taken by the Panamanian-American Roger Francisco Noriega, who has been the representative to the Organization of American States. (UK Guardian. Jan. 10)

See also WW3 REPORT #63 [top]


On Jan. 2, 15,000 Zapatistas and their supporters converged on the Chiapas Highlands city of San Cristobal to commemorate the ninth anniversary of their uprising, in which the Maya Indian rebels breifly seized the city. Zapatista commandantes Tacho, David, Esther, Sebedeo, Elisa and Bruce Lee presided. Comandante Tacho accused all three of Mexico's top political parties, the PRI, PAN and PRD, of closing the doors to dialogue with the Zapatistas and seeking to "trick all the indigenous peoples and all the people who support the recognition of our rights." They also re-affirmed their commitment to struggle against NAFTA, under which agricultural tariffs fell according to schedule with the new year, following weeks of protest by Mexican farmers and peasants. (Reforma, Jan. 4)

See also WW3 REPORT #64

The Zapatistas' peace plan, which called for constitutional changes recognizing the autonomy of Mexico's Indian peoples, was gutted of most binding provisions by Mexico's Congress before being passed, causing the rebels to break off dialogue with the government. See WW3 REPORT #60 [top]

In a Dec. 29 communique, the Zapatistas' Subcomandante Marcos pledged that the rebels will resist the government's planned removal of pro-Zapatista peasant communities from the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, in the heart of Chiapas' Lacandon rainforest. "There will not be a peaceful expulsion," wrote Marcos. (Proceso, Dec. 31)

Local rights groups report that army troops have been stationed in the area of the Biosphere Reserve, apparently awaiting government orders to eject nine Indian communities. "Soldiers are occupying key locations, going on patrols and making surveillance flights over the communities in question," said Patricia Gomez of the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center. (The News, Mexico City, Dec. 20)

On Dec. 19, a detatchment of Federal Preventative Police backed up by a helicopter evicted the Chol Indian community of Lucio Cabanas from the Biosphere Reserve. The evicted community is negotiating with federal authorities to be compensated with new lands elsewhere in Chiapas. (Proceso, Dec. 21)

See also WW3 REPORT #60 [top]

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission issued a formal recommendation to Gov. Rene Juarez of southern Guerrero state following claims by 16 indigenous women that they had been sterilized without their consent in state health clinics. (Proceso, Dec. 25) Guerrero's rugged mountains are home to several sporadically active guerilla groups, and the state has been the scene of severe human rights abuses by police and military authorities. See WW3 REPORT #64 [top]



An attempt by a group of Congressmen to resuscitate the defunct US-Russian Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty collapsed when US District Judge John Bates threw out their complaint, arguing that Congress members should not seek help from courts when they lose on a "political question." The suit was brought last June by 32 members of the House of Representatives led by Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who asserted that President Bush's decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty and pursue a missile defence program is unconstitutional. The lawmakers argued that since international treaties are ratified by the Senate and considered law of the land, the president had no power to repeal the accord without congressional approval. The treaty, signed by the US and the USSR in 1972, prohibited nationwide missile defence systems. The Bush administration gave Moscow the required six-month's notice in December 2001, and the withdrawal formally took effect in June. Free of ABM constraints, Bush subsequently announced his decision to start deploying a continental missile shield by 2004. (The Australian, Dec. 31)

See also WW3 REPORT #65

See also Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. [top]

North Korea insisted Jan. 12 it never admitted having a secret nuclear program. "The claim that we admitted developing nuclear weapons is an invention fabricated by the US with sinister intentions," South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper as saying. The statement came as a US envoy began talks in South Korea on the standoff. (AP, Jan. 12) [top]

Emergency plans at New York State's Indian Point nuclear power plant are "not adequate" to "protect the people from an unacceptable dose of radiation in the event of a release", according to a new study commissioned by Gov. George Pataki. The report portrays potential for chaos in evacuation plans, with roads clogged by panicked residents and local authorities unsure how to respond. It notes that plans drawn up by the plant's operator, Entergy, assume an accident rather than a deliberate radiation release by terrorists. "Simply stated, the world has recently changed," said the report, by private consultant and former Federal Emergency Management Agency director James Lee Witt. "What was once considered sufficient may now be in need of further revision." (NYT, Jan. 11) [top]


Federal authorities are seeking to overturn a 23-year-old Seattle law that protects citizens from being spied on for their political beliefs. The US Attorney's Office asked the city to review whether the 1979 law conflicts with the city's involvement in federal anti-terrorism operations. Seattle is one of a handful of cities--including St. Louis and Baltimore--that have been selected by the federal government to be involved in a trial of a new anti-terrorism database-sharing system announced by the Justice Department in October. The law bans gathering information about a person's religious or political affiliations, beliefs or activities, unless there is "reasonable suspicion" of criminal activity. (ABC News, Jan. 2) [top]

Meanwhile, police in Denver are facing a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union over surveillance practices. The federal suit charges that the Denver Police Department improperly maintained intelligence files on organizations and individuals that peacefully protested against government policies. According to documents released by the Colorado ACLU, police recorded the names, addresses and license plate numbers of at least 30 members of the American Friends Service Committee and the Colorado Coalition to Prevent Nuclear War, who drove from Denver to Colorado Springs to attend a demonstration against the Star Wars program. Other documents include a report on a Colorado College conference about the dangers of nuclear proliferation that included the names of speakers and the views they expressed, as well as names of people in the audience. Also included was a list of names, addresses and license plate numbers of people who attended a conference in Denver called "Space, Nukes and International Law."

In Portland, OR, last year, an unidentified person gave a newspaper columnist 36 boxes of city police surveillance records, most dating from the 1970s--but also some dating from four years after passage of a 1981 state law strictly limiting spying on political and civic organizations not involved in criminal activity. Police terrorism expert Winfield Falk had taken the boxes from department headquarters, rather than allow them to be destroyed after the law was passed, according to the Portland Tribune. The newspaper published a series of articles on the files in September, just as the city was considering whether to continue the police department's contribution to the FBI terrorism task force. Among the groups that were in the police files, according to the Tribune, were a food co-op, the Northwest Oregon Voter Registration Project, a bicycle repair collective and a group that was setting up a rape hotline and shelter for abused women. (ABC News, Jan. 2)

See also WW3 REPORT #59 [top]

Hundreds of immigrant men lined up in the cold for hours outside the Federal Building in downtown Manhattan to register with the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) by a Jan. 10 deadline for all male visitors over the age of 16 from 13 countries including Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Somalia and North Korea. This is the second group of immigrants required to register under the program. The first group met a Dec. 16 dealine for men from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Sudan. Pakistanis and Saudi Arabians have until Feb. 21 to register.

"It's a stupid program," said Adbelhafidh Khelil, a Queens resident from Tunisia. "Terrorists are not going to show up to register. It's more targeting the Arab-Muslim community than anything else." Added Mehdi Alaoui, a Stonybrook University student from Morocco: "The Japanese and Germans did it during World War II. I guess it's out turn. What's sad is that 50 years later, America is still doing the same thing." (Newsday, Jan. 12)

On the sidewalk nearby, a group of some 200 protesters gathered, distributing literature on the legal rights of immigrants and urging citizens to write the INS and Attorney General John Ashcroft protesting the registration policy. The protest, led by the Coalition Against Special Registration, an alliance of local immigrants' and civil rights groups, opened with a Muslim prayer. (Bill Weinberg on the scene) See also WW3 REPORT #65 [top]

Appearing before a federal judge in Buaffalo, NY, defendant Faysal Galab entered a guilty plea, admitting that he made and attempted to make contributions of "goods, funds or services" for the benefit of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Galab, 26, is among a group of six young Yemeni-Americans from Lackawanna arrested last summer by federal agents as a supposed terrorist "sleeper cell." (Newsday, Jan. 12)

See also WW3 REPORT #52 [top]

The US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA, ruled that the government can indefinitely hold US citizens who are deemed to be "enemy combatants" without charges. The decision comes in the case of Yaser Esam Hamdi, 22, a US-born Saudi Arabian, who was taken prisoner while reportedly fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. (Newsday, Jan. 9)

See also WW3 REPORT #47 [top]


The Pentagon has launched a series of unprecedented medical experiments to create an "Extended Performance War Fighter," as an alternative to the current practice of giving troops amphetamine stimulants, or "go pills." The project was unveiled as defense lawyers for two US pilots who accidentally killed four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan last April said they would argue that the mandatory use of the drug dexamphetamine or Dexedrine was to blame. Majors Harry Schmidt and William Umbach are threatened with courts martial for dropping a laser-guided bomb on the Canadians near Kandahar as the pilots approached the end of a six-hour night patrol. David Beck, Umbach's lawyer, said he will argue that the drugs impaired the pilots' judgment and that the US Air Force should accept responsibility.

The Pentagon's search for an Extended Performance War Fighter concentrates on advanced genetics and neurological science. Jan Walker, spokesman for the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), confirmed that the Pentagon was "working out ways to resist the effects of sleep deprivation. If our fighters can do that, we can fundamentally change the order of battle, and it would make a revolutionary difference." One of its plans for keeping soldiers awake is to "zap" their brains with an electro-magnetic TMS energy. Much of the research is being conducted by Yaakov Stern at New York's Columbia University. "When he needed it, the pilot could just be zapped during operations," said Dr. Stern. "I am convinced that we can help the Pentagon. I have identified the parts of the brain that seem to control the response to sleep deprivation, and we have the technology to stimulate that part to improve the resistance to lack of sleep. The generals want a man who is awake and alert for up to a week. We think we can actually do that."

Biologists at the US Navy's Marine Mammals Program are also studying how dolphins keep part of their brains awake so that they still surface to breathe even while sleeping. The idea is to identify the genetic material which allows this, and modify human genetic codes to create tireless soldiers. (UK Telegraph, Jan. 6)

See also WW3 REPORT #s 45 & 37 [top]

Drugs given to soldiers in Operation Desert Storm may have caused infertility and other sexual problems, a US government-funded study suggests. Researchers say tests on rats have shown that some of the chemicals can damage male reproductive organs. The drugs were given to US troops to protect them against potential bio-chemical warfare attack during the 1991 war. Veterans' groups say many of their members have suffered fertility and other sexual problems since the war. Dr. Mohamed Abou-Donia and colleagues at Duke University Medical Center tested the anti-nerve gas agent pyridostigmine bromide on rats and found extensive cell damage. The rats were given equivalent doses to those given to soldiers, in combination with insect repellants and pesticides also used in Desert Storm. (BBC, Jan. 10) [top]

A coalition of environmental and anti-war groups is seeking seeking an injunction to halt Navy exercises that will fire shells with depleted uranium off the coast of Washington state. Depleted uranium has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. The Pentagon revealed two years ago that some DU munitions were also contaminated with more highly radioactive substances, such as plutonium. "The Navy is willing to put us all at risk, including its own sailors, to improve its war-fighting capabilities," said Glen Milner, of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, an organization involved in a federal lawsuit against the Navy for violations of the Endangered Species Act over the Trident D-5 nuclear missile upgrade at Washington's Bangor submarine base. Milner learned of the tests after obtaining an internal Navy memo dated June 25, 2001, giving the Everett-based destroyer USS Fife permission to conduct gunnery operations. Navy Cmdr. Karen Sellers in Seattle contended there are no hazards to the servicemen on board the ships, adding that "all crew members are medically monitored" to ensure their safety. No major studies have been done on the effects of such weapons at sea, but in 1993 the military required all soldiers participating in DU exercises to be tested, according to Dr. Doug Rokke, a former Army health physicist and opponent of DU use. Officials say there is no evidence showing the material is dangerous. Iraqi doctors have blamed DU for a sharp increase in cancer and birth defects following Operation Desert Storm. (The Olympian, Jan. 10) [top]


When it was revealed that scrap metal from the World Trade Center would be used to build a Navy battle ship, Rita Lasar--whose brother Abraham Zelmanowitz was killed in the attack on Sept. 11--responded: "It's just more endless killing." Lasar is a member of Sept. 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, who represent some 35 of the 3,000 9-11 victims. "I don't want terror rained down on other people to avenge my brother's death," said Lasar. "And I don't spend any time thinking about Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and what I want to do to those people. It's irrelevant at this point. What's relevant is not having other innocent people die because my brother died." (Clyde Haberman in the New York Times, Jan. 7)

Kristina Olsen, whose sister was killed in the American Airlines flight that hit the WTC, is among a group of 9-11 survivors now in Baghdad, expressing opposition to US military action against Iraq and meeting with locals who lost loved ones to aerial bombardment in 1991's Operation Desert Storm. (AP, Jan. 9) [top]

Beatrice Kaufman pleaded not guilty to charges of bilking $1 million in 9-11 relief money, claiming she was just following her CPA's directions. "My accountant filled out all the paperwork," she said. "I just signed the forms." Investigators say Kaufman tried to cash in on insurers and relief organizations to pay for renovations to her 6,000-sq.-foot Broadway apartment which were started before the disaster, and were not related to it. (NY Post, Dec. 24) This is one of dozens of cases currently being investigated, including some in which people invented the identity of non-existant kin they claimed were killed in the disaster. (NYT, Dec. 31) [top]

Architect Charles Gwathmey of the firm Meier, Eisenman and Holl, is part of the effort to design redevelopment proposals for the WTC site, but dissents from most of the ideas recently unveiled. "Everything that is a tower is now dated," Gwathmey said. "You could drop it in Hong Kong or London." Gwathmey and his firm rejected the notion--included in six of the nine plans--for building the tallest structures in the world on the site. (Newsday, Dec. 24)

See also WW3 REPORT #54 [top]

New York's Arab community is protesting the city's new smoking ban, which affects all bars and restaurants. While exisitng cigar bars--with an upscale yuppie clientele-- are grandfathered in under the new law, the city's numerous hookah cafes must close. The hookah cafes, clustered in working-class districts like Astoria and Bay Ridge, are frequented by immigrants from Syria, Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world. "There should be an exception for hookah cafes as there is for cigar bars," said Hussein Ibish of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. "The hookah is a very important part of the culture of the Middle East." (Newsday, Jan. 12) [top]


Railway workers in Scotland Jan. 8 refused to move a freight train carrying ammunition believed to be destined for British forces being deployed in the Persian Gulf. The crewmen, described as "conscientious objectors" by a supporter, said they opposed Tony Blair's threat to attack Iraq. The two Scottish train drivers declined to operate the train between the Glasgow area and the Glen Douglas base on Scotland's west coast, Europe's largest NATO weapons store. English Welsh & Scottish Railway (EWS), which transports munitions for the Ministry of Defence, attempted to persuade the drivers to move the disputed load--to no avail. At a meeting, EWS managers pressed leaders of the ASLEF rail union to ask the drivers to relent. But the union is opposed to any attack on Iraq, and is unlikely to comply.

It was the first political industrial action in Britain since dock workers refused to load arms on to ships destined for Chile after the Pinochet coup in 1973. Lindsey German of Britain's Stop the War Coalition, said: "We fully support the action that has been taken to impede an unjust and aggressive war. We hope that other people around the country will be able to do likewise." (UK Guardian, Jan. 9) [top]

The Detroit Project, a nonprofit launched by syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington, debuted two TV spots that link gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles to terrorist funding, mimicking government-sponsored ads that connect drug money to "terrible things." One spot features a child's voice-over connecting footage of a filling station with that of terrorist training camps. The closing statement: "Oil money supports some terrible things. What kind of mileage does your SUV get?" The other spot features talking heads commenting about their SUVs. One person says, "My kids think it's cool." Another says, "I helped blow up a nightclub." The spots begin airing Jan. 12 in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington and Detroit. They were written and directed by Scott Burns, who was part of the team responsible for "Got Milk." A few TV stations refused to run the spots. "This campaign is not designed to demonize SUV owners," Huffington said. "We want to encourage customers to connect the dots and make socially responsible consumer choices." The Detroit Project was created by Americans for Fuel Efficient Cars, a group co-founded by Huffington, film producer Lawrence Bender, environmental activist Laurie David, and movie and TV agent Ari Emanuel. (ABC News, Jan. 8) [top]


EXIT POLL: Is the Pentagon's quest for an "Extended Performance War Fighter" redolent of Hitler's vision to "create the perfect race," or are we just paranoid?

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