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ISSUE: #72. Feb. 10, 2003










By Bill Weinberg
with David Bloom, Special Correspondent

1. Gaza: Deadly Demolition, Attack on Nursing Home
2. West Bank: Death Toll Climbs, Samaritans Caught in Fire
3. Israeli Ambassador to Jordan: No "Transfer" in Iraq War
4. Jane's: Israel to Expel Arafat in Iraq War
5. Israeli Troops Expel Palestinian Farmers

1. Powell Spooks U.N.
2. Picasso's "Guernica" Censored!
3. U.S. Approves Turkish Intervention
4. Barzani Warns of Chaos
5. Turkoman Front Warns of "Third World War"
6. Ansar al-Islam Leader: I Was Wooed by CIA
7. Ansar Attacks Kurdish Parliament
8. "Did Saddam Really Gas His Own People?" (Well, Yeah...)
9. The Real Agenda Behind the War Drive: Oil or Water?
10. Mandela: It's the Oil Stupid!
11. Richard Perle: France Must Be "Contained"!
12. Greenpeace Anti-War Actions in UK, France, Australia
13. Resistance in Germany
14. Resistance in Australia
15. Resistance in New Zealand

1. RAWA Commemorates Meena Martyrdom
2. Afghan Lessons Forgotten in Iraq War Drive

1. Colombia War Spills into Panama's Rainforest
2. Blast Brings War to Bogota
3. Venezuelan Oil Industry Rides Out Strike

1. NPA Guerillas Threaten New Offensive if U.S. Attacks Iraq

1. Bombers on Alert to Hit North Korea
2. Nuclear "Bunker-Busters" on "Fast Track"
3. Update: Nuclear Materials in Space Shuttle Debris?
4. Whistle-Blower: NASA "Repeatedly Ignored" Warnings
5. NASA Protecting Corporate Pals
6. Israeli, Indian Military Interst in Columbia Shuttle

1. FBI Warns U.S. Jews of Al-Qaeda Attacks
2. JDL Militant Guilty in Bombing Scheme
3. North Carolina Rep OK With WW2 Internment Camps
4. Farouk Abdel-Muhti Faces Transfer Threat

1. Municipal Revolt Against War Drive
2. Senate Revolt Against Pentagon Cyber-Snoop Program


Israeli forces terrorizing the Gaza Strip killed two Palestinian farmers, one of them aged 60, as they worked thier lands in the village of Abasan, east of Khan Yunis on Feb. 3. Two others, including a woman, were wounded. (BBC Monitoring: Voice of Palestine, Feb. 3) Israel claims the men were planting a roadside bomb to destroy a tank. (Xinhua, Feb. 3)

Eight Palestinians in the Khan Younis refugee camp--three of them children aged 4 to 6 years old--were injured in an Israeli raid on Feb. 4. Israeli forces stationed at the Jewish settlement of Neveh Dekalim, west of Khan Younis, attacked the area with tanks shells and heavy ammunition. (Xinhua, Feb. 5) A Jewish settler was also shot and wounded Feb. 4 in an ambush by a Palestinian militant. The attack occured near the Gaza Strip settlement of Kfar Darom. (Xinhua, Feb. 4) Palestinians report a Palestinian was seriously wounded that day when Israeli forces opened fire on his car near the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip. (BBC Monitoring: Voice of Israel, Feb. 4)

A 62-year old Palestinian by-stander was wounded as he watched an Israeli incursion into the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza Feb. 5. Ten Israeli tanks had entered the camp and exchanged fire with Palestinian militants. (AP, Feb. 5) Israeli forces also shot and wounded four foreign doctors as they attempted to bring food and medicine to the beseiged al-Mawasi neighborhood west of Khan Younis that day. Two of the of the doctors are US citizens. The 2,000 residents of al-Mawasi have been besieged four two years by Israeli forces. The neighborhood is surrounded by Jewish settlements, and the residents are not allowed to leave. (Xinhua, Feb. 5)

Two male Palestinian nurses were killed by random fire from an Israeli helicopter in eastern Gaza City on Feb. 5. Two others were injured. The incident occurred at a home for the elderly. AP writes: "The army said the helicopter fire was not aimed at anyone in particular, but was intended to deter possible attackers." (AP, Feb. 6) The Irish Times reported "the army said the helicopter fire was meant as cover for troops trying to arrest a Palestinian militant." At the funeral, with 1,000 mourners, one banner read, "end this bloodshed and protect the human angels."(Irish Times, Feb. 7)

A 10-year old child, Mustafa Ibrahim Adwan, from the town of Bani Suhaylah, east of Khan Yunis, was killed by a high caliber-bullet on Feb. 8. The fire came from Israeli forces stationed at Nave Deqalim settlement. (BBC Monitoring: Voice of Palestine, Feb. 9)

On Feb. 9, a 24-year old Palestinian in Rafah was wounded by Israeli troops. (BBC Monitoring: Voice of Palestine, Feb. 9) An explosives-laden car with three Palestinians onboard also blew up near an Israeli army outpost in the Gaza Strip. Four Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded. (AP, Feb. 9)

65-year-old Kamila Said was killed when her house in al-Maghazi refugee camp was destroyed with her still inside. Said was hard of hearing, her relatives say. The army said it blew up her house because her stepson had killed two Israeli soldiers during an attack on a military outpost near the Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom two years ago.

"She was an old lady and sometimes she had difficulty hearing," said Awatif Mohammed Said, 50, second wife of Kamila's late husband. "I told the Israelis that she was in the house and I wanted to go and get her but they refused. They said, 'Go, and we will bring her out'." Kamla's son, Hussein, the only one of her adult boys still alive and and not in prison, rejects Israel's description of his dead brother as a terrorist. "It's our right to defend our land against the settlers and it was his right to defend his country," he said.

The army said it searched the house before destroying it, and that Said must have slipped back in. Said Awatif: "I'm worried and sick and I've five children in prison and one dead and my home demolished. It's agony. My son was like any other person. He made an action and he was killed, two years ago. He was punished already. Why is his family being punished like this, his brothers arrested and the house demolished? Is that fair?" (Sydney Morning Herald, Feb. 8: UK Guardian, Feb. 8)(David Bloom) [top]

The daily Ha'aretz reports that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) killed 46 Palestinians in the occupied territories in January, as compared with 45 in December. Included in the January toll were 17 noncombatants, including four children under the age of ten, and one was mentally retarded. (Xinhua, Feb. 3) The death toll continues mounting in February. The youngest Palestinian victim this week in the West Bank was 11; the eldest was 70. And the Samaritan people once again found themselves trapped in the middle of the conflict.

On Feb. 3, 15-year-old student Shirin al-Jamal and 14-year-old student Maryam Abu-Hadid were wounded in the old city of Hebron and a number of students suffered tear gas inhalation when Israeli occupation forces fired gas canisters and live fire on Al-Zahra School. (BBC Monitoring: Voice of Palestine, Feb. 3)

One Palestinian police officer was killed and another wounded as they were leaving a police station in the West Bank town of Qalqilya on Feb. 5. The building was surrounded by Israeli forces. (AFP, Feb. 5)

18-year-old Samer Zurba was killed by Israeli forces in Nablus on Feb. 5. The army claimed Zurba was armed--which Palestinian residents deny. Nablus Gov. Mahmoud Alool told Xinhua that Zurba was throwing stones when he was killed. (Xinhua, Feb. 5)

That same day, Israeli forces killed an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, and another six sustained light injuries in clashes in Tammoun, southeast of Jenin. (BBC Monitoring: Voice of Israel, Feb. 5; Xinhua, Feb. 5)

Israeli forces shot a Palestinian man near the village of Jubara, south of Tul Karm, on Feb. 6. Eyewitnesses said they saw the man bleed to death in the space of half an hour, and then Israeli forces took the man's body away. (BBC Monitoring: Voice of Palestine, Feb. 6)

In Tulkarm, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man who was crossing into the West Bank from Israel. The man was returning from working in Israel without an Israeli permit. Many Palestinians sneak into Israel to work. He apparently tried to flee with soldiers spotted him. (AP, Feb. 6)

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and one was wounded in an ambush by Palestinian militants who infiltrated a military base near Nablus. The three militants were killed in a gunbattle which lasted over an hour. (Xinhua, Feb. 6) The attack occurred at Mt. Gerizim, home to the Samaritan people and site of their ancient temple. The Samaritans were unable to reach their shops and businesses in Nablus that day because the Israelis sealed the area off. (AP, Feb. 7) For more on the Samaritans, see WW3 REPORT# 36

Palestinian Culture and Information Minister Yasir Abd-Rabbuh said he holds the Israeli government responsible for the death of a female Palestinian student when a school bus overturned in occupied Jerusalem on Feb. 8. The bus was taking students to school over rough dirt roads, since all paved roads in the area have been shut for more than two years by the occupation authorities. Seven other students were injured. (BBC Monitoring: Voice of Palestine, Feb. 8)

Four stone-throwing Palestinian youths were wounded in Tul Karm on Feb. 8. The army shot them with rubber bullets. "Earlier there were violent riots in Tul Karm with Palestinians throwing stones, bricks and molotov cocktails at the force. It was a threat to them so they used non-violent crowd dispersal means," the army said. (AFP, Feb. 8) On Jan. 28 in Tul Karm, WW3 REPORT saw an Israeli army armored personnel carrier (APC) approach a crowd of Palestinian boys trying to block the army's entrance into the city center in order to enforce curfew. As the APC approached the youth, over the vehicle's loudspeakers, a soldier sang "Hatikva," the Israeli national anthem, in a drunken-sounding childlike voice before opening fire at the boys with rubber bullets and tear gas.

On Feb. 9, A 70-year-old woman, Khatimah Muhammad Ulayan, from Kfar Jammal, south of Tulkarm, died when Israeli forces prevented an ambulance she was traveling in from reaching the hospital for treatment of a heart-attack. (BBC Monitoring: Voice of Palestine, Feb. 9)(David Bloom) [top]

The Israeli ambassador to Jordan said Feb. 5 that there will be no mass expulsion of Palestinians into Jordan during a war with Iraq. "It can't happen," David Dadonn told Reuters. "I can't imagine any Israeli government ordering the transfer of population." He added that "No responsible leader in Israel can believe that this option is possible, moral, logical or desirable." He noted that successive Israeli governments viewed Jordanian stability to be a strategic asset to Israel. "The transfer of population is against the deepest interests of the state of Israel and all its moral values," Dadonn said. (Ha'aretz, Feb. 5) Dadonn's statements marked the first time a representative of an Israeli government has publicly refuted the possiblity of a mass expulsion. Previously, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon refused to rule it out as a possibility. Responding to a Jordanian request made through the US government to formally rule out transfer, Ariel Sharon reportedly told a source who was involved in the contacts with Jordan that he "took exception to the Jordanians raising such a suspicion about him." (Ha'aretz, Nov. 28) (See also: WW3 REPORT #62)

While in the West Bank in January, WW3 REPORT encountered few Palestinians who fear a mass expulsion under the cover of an Iraq war. Most thought it was unnecessary, because the occupation alone is effective in itself in causing Palestinian migration. The system of roadblocks and curfews are compelling Palestinians to move from villages where they live to cities where they work, and the construction of the Apartheid Wall may likewise force Palestinian migration away from the affected area. Many also pointed out that Palestinians would not willingly leave again, because it was clear after the 1948 and 1967 expulsions that they would not be allowed back to their homes when the conflict subsided, and that they would rather die in their homes than face further expulsion. Dr. Saleh Abdullah of Ras Atil, a farming village in the Qalqilya region, told WW3 REPORT: "We have learned the lesson from before. When they killed people, the rest fled. Now we will remain because there is no place to go. So the Palestinian people will say." Dr. Abdullah did add, "those that are in prison, we think they will transfer them to Jordan." (David Bloom)

See also: "Transfer"/Ethnic Cleansing Resources [top]

The respected British defense and intelligence publication Jane's Foreign Repor claims in a Feb. 6 article that Israel intends to expel Palestinian President Yasser Arafat during a US-led war on Iraq. Jane's says that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz have made the decision secretly. Sharon has concluded that sometime this year--after installation of a new government in Iraq as a result of the US-led intervention--the US will pressure Israeli to cease military activity and talk with the Palestinians, even if suicide attacks continue. Jane's says Sharon has agreed in principle--on one condition: that he will not deal with Arafat personally. The Bush administration does not object to Arafat, Jane's says, and does not want the Israelis to kill him. So Israel has decided to expel him instead.

Mofaz is said to have a deeply incriminating tape of Arafat. Writes Jane's: "Not enough Jews were being killed, Arafat told his aides. They replied that they needed orders. The taped voice, was said to sound like Arafat, then told presidential aides: 'You know what to do.' The Israelis will soon release the tape. They say they had been unwilling to release it because they might, in doing so, reveal their methods of tracing Arafat and 'burn' prime sources." Jane's adds: "All aboard for Khartoum [the capital of Sudan]."

Jane's cites "informants" claiming the IDF's elite Duvdevan unit, used for covert action in the West Bank, is currently training to assault what is left of the Muqata'a, Arafat's Ramallah headquarters, and capture Arafat alive. This is reportedly due to "start at the first stage of the US intervention in Iraq." Arafat will then be flown to Sudan with at least 40 top advisors, most of whom arrived with Arafat from exile in Tunisia in the Palestinian territories eight years ago. Jane's says "some independent Israeli security sources criticise the plan, but the sources agree Arafat is an obstacle for an Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation. But they warn it might end in tragedy."

Jane's cites Palestinian sources as saying expulsion will finish Arafat as a leader. Jane's concludes: "If the Israeli plan succeeds, and some sort of agreement is reached, Israeli sources say a visit by President Bush to Israel, and maybe Palestine, could take place later this year." (Jane's Foreign Report, Feb. 6)

On Feb. 9, Sharon confirmed Jane's claims about his intentions: "The new government will face difficult tasks: the war against terrorism and against its leader, the head of the Palestinian Authority." Sharon made the comment after President Moshe Katsav invited him to form the next government. "The new government will have to finish off the battle against terrorism, remove its leadership and create conditions for the emergence of a new leadership with which it will be able to reach a real peace," he said. (AFP, Feb. 9) (David Bloom) [top]

According to an account of a Palestinian farmer which ran in Haaretz Feb. 3, the IDF actively collaborated with armed Jewish settlers on the West Bank, terrorizing local residents from their traditional agricultural lands. The troops acted in violation of an Israeli court order from Dec. 19, which ordered the IDF to allow Palestinian farmers to work their fields in the area.

Mohammed al-Nuaja, a farmer in the south Mt. Hebron area, described the abuse. "For two months we've been seeking authorization from the Civil Administration in Hebron to plow our lands near the settlement of Susia. Last week Major Tarek Shanan...told us we could plow the land" on Feb. 1. But al-Nuaja said that shortly after noon that same day "an armed settler showed up with a walkie-talkie, threatened us and told us to leave immediately. A soldier on duty at the settlement, who spoke with Tarek before, told the settler we had permission to plow. The settler ignored him and said 'Who's Tarek? I decide around here.'" Al-Nuaja said he called Maj. Tarek

Al-Nuaja continued: "A few minutes later, a group of soldiers showed up accompanied by an army jeep, followed by a settler's jeep. The settler spoke with the soldiers and the soldiers ordered us onto our tractors to follow them. When we reached the road, I saw Tarek and asked what happened. He said everything would be straightened out when we got to the nearby army base. When we reached the army base, soldiers were waiting with plastic handcuffs and rags. They cursed us, handcuffed us, blindfolded us, and threw us into a wadi [dry river bed]. Every once in a while, someone came by and kicked us. Some soldiers competed over who could throw stones that would hit us. One of us has a piece of metal in his spine, and I asked for permission that he be allowed to sit in a more comfortable position. The soldiers laughed and asked if maybe we want them to bring us pillows."

Al-Nuaja said they were finally released at 8 PM, with the warning that "the next time we went to the fields, they wouldn't talk to us, but simply shoot us." He said they were also told to send people in the morning to the base to retreive the tractors. But when they did, "they were handcuffed and blindfolded until night time and told to come back the next day for the tractors."

Al-Nuaja concluded: "Meanwhile, we can't plow, and this morning, the settlers brought large trees--not saplings--and planted them on our land. Three settlers warned us that we have to guard their trees. I heard that the Civil Administration is saying that we were plowing our land in an off-limits area [which the Civil Administration in fact told Haaretz]. That's a total lie! Do you really believe that after we've waited so long for permission to plow, we'd risk going into an off-limits area? We didn't do anything bad. They want to make us leave our lands. One of the soldiers said to me, `This isn't your land, it belongs to the Jews.' I told him we've been living here thousands of years, and he laughed and said, `but we came from the sea.'" (Ha'aretz, Feb. 3) (David Bloom) [top]


US Secretary of State Colin Powell made a dramatic presentation at the UN Security Council Feb. 5, brandishing a small vial he said could hold the amount of anthrax that was needed to shut down the Senate during the fall 2001 scare. The asserted that "Iraq declared 8,500 liters of anthrax," with UN inspectors estimating that the figure could actually be 25,000 liters. He then produced scratchy recordings in Arabic which he claimed were Iraqi officials ordering the hiding of evidence, and satellite photos of what he claimed were trucks and rail cars converted into mobile laboratories. He called these exhibits "irrefutable and undeniabe" evidence that Iraq is not in compliance with UN disarmament resolutions. (Newsday, NYT, Feb. 6)

The next day in Washington, President George Bush declared "the game is over," and challenged the UN to approve military action. "The dictator of Iraq is making his choice; now the nations of the Security Council must make their own," he told reporters at the White House. "Saddam Hussein will be stopped." (Newsday, Feb. 7) [top]

As Colin Powell spoke to journalists outside the Security Council chamber Feb. 5, the reproduction of Picasso's "Guernica" which hangs over the press conference area to remind viewers of the horror of war was completely obscured by a baby-blue curtain, with the flags of the council's member nations placed in front of it. UN officials said the covering of the reproduction was for one day only, and cited large crowds. One anti-war protester stood outside the UN in the cold holding a small reproduction of the famous painting. (Newsday, Feb. 6)

"Guernica" was Picasso's statement on the aerial bombing of a Basque village by the Nazi Luftwaffe in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. The bombardment left 1,600 civilian casualties, and the village burned for three days. This was history's first massive aerial bombardment, and it shocked the world. The US is today preparing the most intensive aerial bombardment camapign the world has yet seen, with certain casualities exponentially greater than those at Guernica. [top]

You read it in WW3 REPORT first, but its appearance on the front page of the New York Times now makes if official. The Feb. 7 story date-lined Anakara began: "American diplomats are engaged in delicate negotiations here that could allow tens of thousands of Turkish soldiers to occupy part of northern Iraq behind an advancing American army, Turkish and Kurdish officials said today." The story emphasized that a large part of the effort focused on winning the support of the leaders of the two Kurdish factions that jointly control Iraqi Kurdistan, the KDP and PUK. Turkey is already massing troops on the Iraqi border, and is said to have 1,200 troops already operating inside Iraq. While (anonymous) US officials insisted the Turkish troops would be confined to "a limited area, close to the border," an (anonymous) Turkish official said "that his government was planning to send troops into northern Iraq in numbers that would exceed those distaptched by the Americans." The Times also quoted Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, who told reporters that week, "Turkey is going to position herself in that region in order to prevent any possible massacres, or the establishment of a new state."

The Washington Post reported Feb. 2 that Turkey's National Security Council endorsed opening the country to US troops for the Iraq campaign (conditional on "international legitimacy"), and has asked the nation's parliament for official approval.

In a sure sign that Iraqi Kurdish leadership is taking the the bait, on Feb. 5, Barham A. Salih, co-prime minister of the joint KDP-PUK Kurdistan Regional Government, had an op-ed in the New York Times, "Give us a Chance to Build a Democratic Iraq," which boasted of advances in the region since Saddam's troops pulled out in 1991. "Under our autonomous regional governmnet, we have used our share of oil revenues to invest not in chemical and biological weapons, but in education and health... We have a free and diverse media... We respect the rights of minorities. These achievements should be celebrated as a model for the rest of Iraq. Indeed, we Kurds are willing to give up our dreams of an independent Kurdistan in order to bring our expertise in governing to a new democratic Iraq."

On Feb. 5, Newsday reporter Matthew McAllester in Turkish Kurdistan finally brought to stateside readers a key strategic concern for Turkish military planners in the region--the continued presence of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a guerilla force that fought Anakara throughout the 1980s. The PKK was largely crushed in a Turkish counter-insurgency campaign that cost 30,000 lives and displaced 2 million Kurdish civilians, but a remnant force of some 2,000 fighters is believed to have taken refuge across the border in Iraqi Kurdistan. The PKK's leader Ocalan was captured in 1999, and has been held incommunicado since Nov. 27, with the Turkish press sensationalizing about a PKK comeback. The paranoia has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the PKK's official successor organization--known as KADEK--issued a communique in December giving the government until Feb. 15 to allow Ocalan access to his lawyers before they will resume guerilla attacks.

But WW3 REPORT readers should already know all this. See last week's issue. [top]

On Feb. 7, Turkey hosted a summit including top Iraqi Kurdish leaders Jalal Talabani of the Kurdish Patriotic Union (PUK) and Massoud Barzani of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), as well as Nechirvan Barzani, co-prime minister of the joint Kurdistan Regional Government, and Sanan Ahmet Aga, leader of the Iraqi Turkoman Front (ITF). Also present were President Bush's envoy to the Iraqi opposition, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Turkish Foreign Ministry deputy undersecretary Ali Tuygan, who argued that Turkish troops should be accepted as allies by the Kurds. Talabani was more persuaded by this than Barzani, who warned of unrest and chaos in the region if foreign troops intervene . (, Dec. 7)

For more on Zalmay Khalilzad, see WW3 REPORT #15 [top]

The leadership of northern Iraq's Turkomans--the ethnic group Turkey claims to be intervening on behalf of--explicitly rejected redrawing Iraq's borders. Sanan Ahmet Aga, chairman of the Iraqi Turkoman Front (ITF), in a Feb. 5 interview with Turkish TRT-2 TV, said: "We do not even want to hear about the division of Iraq. Our policy is based on Iraq's territorial integrity. God forbid if such a thing would happen, the issue would not be restricted to Iraq only; it would drag the entire region to a major war. If the regional states are drawn into a war, then this would become international. In other words, a third world war would erupt." (BBC Monitoring, Feb. 6)

For more on the Turkoman struggle, see WW3 REPORT #48 [top]

The US propaganda machine has seized on the Kurdish extremist group Ansar al-Islam as evidence of a Saddam-al-Qaeda connection. In his Security Council presentation, Powell presented an satellite photo entitled "Terrorist Poison and Explosive Factory, Khurmal," showing a supposed Ansar al-Islam training camp and laboratory. Powell called it proof of a "sinister nexus" linking Ansar to Saddam, who he claimed had an agent placed high in the movement's leadership. Days later, reporters visited the Khurmal camp and found only a half-built cinder-block building. "You can search all you like," they were told by Ansar spokesman Mohammed Hassan. (AP, Feb. 8)

The accused leader of Ansar al-Islam denies links to either Saddam or al-Qaeda--and threatened in a prison interview Feb. 1 to produce evidence of his contacts with Washington prior to the 9-11 attacks. "I have in my possession irrefutable evidence against the Americans and I am prepared to supply it...if [the US] tries to implicate me in an affair linked to terrorism," Mullah Krekar told the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat. "I had a meeting with a CIA representative and someone from the American army in the town of Sulaymaniya [Iraqi Kurdistan] at the end of 2000. They asked us to collaborate with them...but we refused to do so," he said. He dismissed as "fabrications" reports linking his group to al-Qaeda, saying they were designed to justify war against Iraq. Krekar, whose real name is believed to be Fateh Najmeddin Faraj, was arrested in the Netherlands last September. (AFP, Feb. 1)

See also WW3 REPORT #53 [top]

On the night of Feb. 8, presumed Ansar al-Islam gunmen assassinated a minister of the Kurdish parliament and two other Kurdish officials, and seized two hostages whose fate remains unknown. The gunmen, who Kurdish officials said were masquerading as peace negotiators, also killed three civilians and wounded 12 others. Among the injured was an 8-year-old girl who was shot in the forehead, and who doctors say is likely to die. The attack virtually shut down the Kurdish government in the city of Sulaimaniyah. The assassinated minister, Shawkat Haji Mushir, was a founding member of the PUK and close confidant of the group's political boss Jalal Talabani. (NYT, Feb. 9) [top]

Stephen C. Pelletiere, top CIA analyst on Iraq in the 1980s, had a startling op-ed piece in the New York Times Jan. 31, "A War Crime Or an Act of War?", which aasserted "Iraq is not to blame for the Halabja massacre," the 1988 gas attack on the Kurdish city that instantly killed 5,000. While President Bush uses the claim that Saddam "gassed his own people" to justify the new war drive, Pelletiere reminds readers that the Halabja attack took place in the endgame of the gruelling Iran-Iraq war, when Iranian forces were attempting to take the city. Pelletiere cites a study by the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) which claimed Iranian forces, not Iraqi, gassed the city. Writes Pelletiere: "The agency did find that each side used gas against the other in the battle around Halabja. The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated they had been killed with a blood agent--that is, a cyanide-based gas--which Iran was known to use. The Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have possessed blood agents at the time." Pelletiere protests: "On the rare occasions the report is brought up, there is usually speculation, with no proof, that it was skewed out of American political favoritism toward Iraq in its war against Iran." It is slightly ironic that Pelletiere should raise this point, given his own background as the CIA's top Iraq man at a time when the US was actively assisting Saddam's chemical-weapons capacity. (See WW3 REPORT # 66)

Pelletiere's piece was widely distributed on the Internet under the title "Did Saddam Really Gas His Own People?" (See, e.g., Palestine Independent Media Center) Unfortuntely, even if Iran really was responsible for the Halabja attack, the answer to that question remains "yes." Halabja was only the worst gas attack on the Kurds during Saddam's brutal 1988 counter-insurgency campaign, code-named "Anfal." Numerous smaller chemical attacks went largely unreported--despite their grisly toll.

The 1991 Human Rights Watch report," "Whatever Happened To The Iraqi Kurds?" reads: "Halabja was not the first time Iraq had turned its chemical arsenal on the Kurds. Thousands-- and most likely tens of thousands--of civilians were killed during chemical and conventional bombardments stretching from the spring of 1987 through the fall of 1988. The attacks were part of a long-standing campaign that destroyed almost every Kurdish village in Iraq--along with a centuries-old way of life--and displaced at least a million of the country's estimated 3.5 million Kurdish population."

A 1994 HRW report "Iraq's Crime Of Genocide: The Anfal Campaign against the Kurds," documents Saddam's 1988 "campaign of extermination" against the Kurdish people of Iraq's north, resulting in the death of at least 50,000 and perhaps 100,000, many women and children. The report is the result of research by a team of HRW investigators who analyzed 18 tons of captured Iraqi government documents and carried out field interviews with over 350 witnesses, most of them survivors of the Anfal campaign. The report "confirms that the campaign was characterized by gross violations of human rights, including mass summary executions and disappearances of many tens of thousands of noncombatants; the widespread use of chemical weapons, among them mustard gas and nerve agents that killed thousands..." It also asserts "the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of villagers to barren resettlement camps after the demolition of their homes; and the wholesale destruction of some two thousand villages along with their schools, mosques, farms, and power stations."

A word to the wise: anti-war arguments predicated on the Saddam's-not-so-bad-after-all thesis are doomed to fail. [top]

Former CIA analyst Stephen C. Pelletiere's Jan. 31 New York Times op-ed piece attempting to exculpate Saddam Hussein of responsibility for the 1988 Halabja gas attack also raised a novel theory as to the hidden resource-grab agenda behind the war drive: "We are constantly reminded that Iraq has perhaps the world's largest reserves of oil. But in a regional and perhaps even geopolitical sense, it may be more important that Iraq has the most extensive river system in the Middle East. In addittion to the Tigris and Euphrates, there are the Greater Zab and Lesser Zab rivers in the north of the country. Iraq was covered with irrigation works by the sixth century AD, and was a granary for the region. Before the Persian Gulf war, Iraq had built an impressive system of dams and river control projects, the largest being the Darbandikhan dam in the Kurdish area. And it was this dam the Iranians were aiming to take control of when they seized Halabja. In the 1990s there was much discussion over the construction of a so-called Peace Pipeline that would bring the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates south to the parched Gulf states and, by extension, Israel. No progress has been made on this, largely because of Iraqi intransigence. With Iraq in American hands, of course, that could change. Thus America could alter the destiny of the Middle East in a way that probably could not be challenged for decades--not soley by controlling Iraq's oil, but by controlling its water." [top]

Former South African President Nelson Mandela protested that Powell's presentation undermined the UN's own efforts to determine whether Iraq was concealing weapons of mass destruction. Speaking to the world body before Powell's speech, Mandela said UN weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed El-Baradei were the only ones with the authority to determine whether Iraq was complying with UN resolutions. "We are going to listen to them and to them alone. We are not going to listen to the United States of America. They are not telling us how they got that information," Mandela told reporters.

The previous week, the Nobel Peace laureate blasted President Bush: "One power with a president who has no foresight and cannot think properly is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." At the UN, he said he did not regret those comments. "I'm not changing a word, not even a comma, of what I said, because I said so because I believe it," he told reporters. Ignoring the UN when it does not do what you want "is to introduce chaos into international affairs," he said . (AP, Feb. 5)

In a recent speech before the International Women's Forum in Sandton, South Africa, Mandela made clear that he believes oil lies at the root of the US war drive: "It's a tragedy what is happening, what Bush is doing. All Bush wants is Iraqi oil. There is no doubt that the US is behaving badly. Why are they not seeking to confiscate weapons of mass destruction from their ally Israel? This is just an excuse to get Iraq oil." (New Zealand Herald, Feb. 6) [top]

France is no longer a US ally, and NATO "must develop a strategy to contain our erstwhile ally or we will not be talking about a NATO alliance," Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's Policy Advisory Board, said in Washington Feb. 4. "France is no longer the ally it once was," Perle said, accusing French President Jacques Chirac of believing "deep in his soul that Saddam Hussein is preferable to any likely successor." French leaders insist they will oppose any military action against Iraq without a second resolution by the United Nations Security Council, where it holds one of five crucial veto powers.

Perle also questioned whether the US should seek the endorsement of the UN Security Council for war, stressing that "Iraq is going to be liberated, by the United States and whoever wants to join us, whether we get the approbation of the UN or any other institution." He added: "It is now reasonable to ask whether the United States should now or on any other occasion subordinate vital national interests to a show of hands by nations who do not share our interests." (UPI, Feb. 4)

See also WW3 REPORT #71 [top]

On Feb. 4 morning, 14 Greenpeace activists illegally entered Southampton's Marchwood Military Port in the UK. Seven were arrested but five managed to climb into tanks about to be loaded onto Ministry of Defense-chartered supply ships, destined for the Persian Gulf. The activists secured the hatches behind them, and two more chained themselves to the tanks. In Australia the previous night, a Greenpeace team inflated a hot air balloon outside Parliament House in Canberra, printed with the message "give peace a chance." Greenpeace also held a protest in the French harbor of Toulon Feb. 4, against the departure of military aircraft to Turkey. Greenpeace demanded President Chirac to explain why he is sending aircraft to Turkey given that he is publicly opposed to military action in Iraq. (Greenpeace press release, Feb. 4) [top]

On Feb. 1, a US military convoy was blocked by local anti-war activists for more than an hour at Mannheim-Feudenheim. The transport was heading for the Rheinau harbor, for deployment to the Persian Gulf. (Independant War Resisters, Mannheim) [top]

Nine unions in Western Australia are to launch an anti-war campaign, including industrial action and protests, Radio Australia reported Feb. 6. But they will not be supported by the powerful Transport Workers' Union, whose state secretary Jim McGiveron said his 10,000 members won't take part in any action which disrupts essential services or blocks supplies to Australian troops. (BBC Monitoring, Feb. 6)

Meanwhile, the Australian Senate has passed an historic no-confidence motion against Prime Minister John Howard and his conservative Liberal/National coalition for deploying troops to the Persian Gulf ahead of a possible war. Howard insists the deployment does not mean his government has decided to support any new war against Iraq. But so far Australia and the UK are the only countries to have joined the US in sending troops to the Gulf. The vote has no binding clout, but is considered an important symbolic gesture as it is the Senate's first vote of no-confidence in a serving prime minister in its 102-year history. (BBC, Feb. 5) [top]

Protesters tried to scale a fence surrounding the US Embassy in New Zealand during an anti-war rally Feb. 2, saying they wanted to check for weapons of mass destruction. Carrying ladders and mock metal detectors, the activists tried to scale a 6-foot iron gate in front of the embassy compound in Wellington but were hauled down by police. 23 were arrested. "There might be rogue nations in the world, but there is only one rogue superpower," said protest organizer John Sarvis said. (AP, Feb. 2) [top]


At a Feb. 5 public gathering in Islamabad to commemorate the 1987 marytrdom of their founder Meena, leaders of the Revolutionary Associations of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) brought together Afghan refugees and exiles--including many women and children--in a display of protest to the US-installed regime in their homeland. A play was performed chronicling the life of Meena, including her death at the hands of Mujahedeen and/or KGB assassins. Speakers asserted that Afghanistan's liberation is incomplete, and that the international community is complicit with the oppression of Afghan women by supporting "democracy without secularism." RAWA again called for bringing Afghan war criminals--including some in the current government--to international justice. RAWA's Yaseen Kasib said the world community "should support democracy instead of fundamentalism." Pakistani human rights leader Asma Jehangir said that the Afghan experience held lessons for Iraq. "If America wants to introduce Afghanistan-like democracy in Iraq, we will condemn it," she said. (Dawn, Pakistan Observer, Feb.5) [top]

In the Feb. 2 Washington Post, columnist Ellen Goodman pointed out dangerous ommissions in President Bush's Jan. 28 State of the Union Address--which beat the drums for war with Iraq while overlooking some obvious failures of the ongoing Afghanistan campaign. Noting that over the past year Osama bin Laden "has completely morphed into Saddam Hussein," Goodman wrote: "When the speech rolled out Tuesday night, there was no mention of Osama, dead or alive. Indeed, al-Qaeda sounded like nothing more than a branch office of downtown Baghdad. For that matter, as cameras scanned the guests in Laura Bush's box, no one remembered last year's star, Sima Samar. The Afghan minister of women's affairs was hailed then as proof of our moral victory. That was before death threats drove her out of office." [top]


As reported in WW3 REPORT #70, on Jan. 18, four Kuna Indian community leaders in Panama's remote Darien rainforest were abducted, tortured and assassinated by gunmen of the notorious Colombian Self-Defense (AUC), who infiltrated across the border. In the wake of the attacks on the small Kuna villages of Paya and Pucuro, nearly 500 Indians have been displaced are seeking shelter in the village of Boca de Cupe on the Colombian border. Panama's daily La Prensa reported Feb. 3 that Boca de Cupe has seen a 50% population increase since the attacks, and the displaced Kuna are facing severe food shortages, as well as lacking access to medical care for several sick children.

The official response to the attacks has been to launch a joint Colombian-Panamanian militarization of the jungle border. The local Kuna Youth Indigenous Movement reported to the Vermont-based Action for Community & Ecology in the Regions of Central America (ACERCA) via Internet that US military helicopters have been spotted in the region.

La Prensa reported Jan. 27 that the General Congress of Kuna Yala, the Kuna autonomous regional government, condemned the attacks and demanded security for the region. The statement also protested the presence of other armed Colombian groups in the area, which they said was being used as a pretext for the attacks. The Kuna leaders see the militarization of their region as part of an international design. "It is also no secret that there are powerful interests in the international community pushing the so called Plan Colombia, that is a plan almost exclusively for the military, as a 'solution' to the armed conflict in this country, and that it intends to include the neighboring countries of Colombia," read the statement.

A general re-militarization of Panama, formerly seat of the US Southern Command, is now underway. La Prensa reported Feb. 6 that 400 Ohio National Guard troops are conducting maneuvers dubbed "New Horizons 2003" in the Chiriqui region of Panama. The maneuvers come as President Bush requested $9 million for Panama out of the $731 million proposed "Andean Initiative" program against drugs and terrorism for fiscal year 2004--as La Prensa reported Feb. 4. "Andean Initiative" is the Bush administration's expanded version of Plan Colombia, and the bulk of the funds--$463 million--is slated for Colombia, mostly in military aid.

Brendan O'Neill of ACERCA says the Kuna region is strategic to the US precisely because of its isolation: "It is important to note the geopolitical importance of the Darien for the expansion of trade. It is the only break in the Pan-American Highway from Mexico to South America and is largely inhabited by indigenous peoples who have long resisted the expansion of the Pan-American highway. Therefore, the Plan Puebla Panama from the north and Plan Colombia from the south are literally sandwiching the Kuna."

(Thanks to ACERCA)

See also WW3 REPORT #70

For more on the Puebla-Panama Plan, see WW3 REPORT #60 [top]

On Feb. 8, a bomb tore through an elite club in the Colombian capital of Bogota, killing over 20, wounding 100--and raising fears that left-wing guerillas are dlivering on their promise to take the war to the cities and attack the ruling class. The bomb blasted through north Bogota's El Nogal Club, collapsing floors, blowing brick and mortar on to a busy road, and starting a fire that burned for about two hours. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) announced last year that it would spread the war from the countryside to the cities and target Colombia's elite. El Nogal Club was frequented by politicians and business executives and included restaurants, a mini-golf course, a gym and rooms for overnight guests. Authoirities called it the worst terrorist attack in Colombia since Pablo Escobar's Medellin drug cartel orchestrated a wave of bombings and assassinations in the 1980s and early 1990s. President Alvaro Uribe, who has promised to crack down on the 40-year guerilla insurgency, visited the scene at midnight with his top security officials.

The attack was the second guerilla strike in Colombia as many days. On Feb. 6, a small plane carrying Minister of Social Welfare Juan Luis Londono and four other people disappeared on a domestic flight. Suspected FARC rebels fired at a helicopter searching the for the plane in the mountains of central Colombia The helicopter was hit four times but returned safely to its base. No one was injured. (AP, Feb. 8)

See also WW3 REPORT #44 [top]

As the Venezuelan general strike aimed at bringing down President Hugo Chavez loses steam, oil production has risen back to 1.5 million barrels per day, Ali Rodriguez, president of the state oil company PDVSA, told reporters. While this is still well below pre-strike levels of 3.1 million barrels per day, Rodriguez hopes it will rise to 2.8 million daily by March. Said Lawrence J. Goldstein, president of the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation: "Every day that goes by, the government is winning by attrition. And every day that goes by, they are winning a little bit more because workers are going back and production is going up." (NYT, Feb. 1)

In mid-January, production was down to around a half-million barrels per day. See WW3 REPORT #69

Having failed to win judicial approval of a special election to remove Chavez from office, strike leaders are now demanding a constitutional amendment to cut his term. See WW3 REPORT #71 [top]


Leftist guerillas in the Philippines have threatened to launch a new offensive against the government if the US attacks Iraq. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Feb. 7 vowed to launch sympathy attacks against government targets if President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo supports the US-led war against Iraq. CPP spokesperson Gregorio "Ka [Comrade] Roger" Rosal said the party's 9,000-strong armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), will launch a "tactical offensives against the mercenary troops of the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and the PNP [Philippine National Police] in order to weaken the puppet Macapagal-Arroyo regime." Rosal denounced the Macapagal administration for "unabashedly supporting Bush's jingoism" and demonstrating its "brazen puppetry to US imperialism." (Philippine Daily Inquirer web site, Feb. 7, via BBC Monitoring) [top]


Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has ordered 24 long-range bombers to Guam as a warning to North Korea to deter "opportunism" at a moment when the US is focused on Iraq, the New York Times reported in a front-page story Feb. 4, citing Pentagon officials. [top]

The Pentagon has launched a "fast-track" program to develop computers to determine when nuclear weapons should be used to destroy underground bunkers, according to unpublished documents procured by the Los Angeles Times. Last year, congressional advocates succeeded in appropriating $45 million for new research on a "robust deep earth penetrator." The Pentagon's new program is now requesting proposals from defense contractors to begin research and development on the target analysis system. Some of the work will be carried out at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. The new computer program is being carried out under the aegis of US Strategic Command, or StratCom, a new joint command which replaces the Air Force's old Strategic Air Command and Space Command. "From the start of the Bush administration, we have seen increasing interest in 'usable' nuclear weapons," said Christine Kucia, an analyst at the Arms Control Association. (LAT, Feb. 3)

See also WW3 REPORT #70

For more on "bunker-busters," see WW3 REPORT # 66

For more on StratCom, see WW3 REPORT #44 [top]

Recent disclosures on National Public Radio indicate that there were radioactive sources on board the doomed space shuttle Columbia. Sherrif Thomas Kerss of Nacogdoches, TX, told NPR Feb. 1, "There was radioactive material on board" and that retrieval operations would be testing debris for radioactivity. On Feb. 3, the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space issued a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to NASA seeking full disclosure of the type, amount, and purpose of radioactive material on board Columbia. The Global Network also said it is deeply concerned about the independence of the commission NASA appointed to investigate this accident, pointing out that "it is dominated by retired military and aerospace industry executives with vested interests in the outcome." (Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space press release, Feb. 2)

See also WW3 REPORT #71

Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space: [top]

In a letter to the White House last summer, Don Nelson, who served with NASA for 36 years until he retired in 1999, called for a moratorium on all space shuttle flights and warned that Bush's "intervention" was necessary to "prevent another catastrophic space shuttle accident." During his last 11 years at NASA, Nelson served as a mission operations evaluator for proposed advanced space transportation projects, and was on the initial design team for the space shuttle. He participated in every shuttle upgrade until his retirement. Listing a series of mishaps with shuttle missions since 1999, Nelson warned in his letter that NASA management and the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel had failed to respond to the growing warning signs:

*1999 - Columbia's launch was delayed by a hydrogen leak and Discovery was grounded with damaged wiring, contaminated engine and dented fuel line;

*January 2000 - Endeavor was delayed because of wiring and computer failures;

*August 2000 - inspection of Columbia revealed 3,500 defects in wiring;

*October 2000 - the 100th flight of the shuttle was delayed because of a misplaced safety pin and concerns with the external tank;

*April 2002 - a hydrogen leak forced the cancellation of the Atlantis flight;

*July 2002 - the inspector general reported that the shuttle safety programme was not properly managed;

*August 2002 - the shuttle launch system was grounded after fuel line cracks were discovered.

White House officials rejected Nelson's plea for a moratorium. He tried to talk to NASA's administration about his concerns in October but was again rebuffed. Nelson told the UK Observer that he fears the Columbia disaster was the culmination of "disastrous mismanagement" by NASA's most senior officials. "I think what happened is that very slowly over the years NASA's culture of safety became eroded. But when I tried to raise my concerns with NASA's new administrator, I received two reprimands for not going through the proper channels, which discouraged other people from coming forward with their concerns." (UK Observer, Feb. 2) [top]

In a front-page story Feb. 3, the New York Times reported that when members of NASA's own Aeorspace Safety Advisory Panel warned last year that the shuttle fleet faced safety troubles if the agency's budget was not increased, NASA removed five of the panel's nine members, and a sixth, Adm. Bernard Kauderer (ret.) quit in protest. But a NASA spokesperson insisted to the Times that the purge of the panel "had nothing to do with shooting the messenger."

A companion piece in the same issue noted that NASA's two top contractors, Lockheed and Boeing, have pledged their cooperation in the investigation. Together the two defense giants co-own the United Space Alliance, which had a $9 billion contract to operate the shuttle program from 1996 to 2002, extended for $2.9 billion through September 2004. Boeing was chiefly responsible for refurbishing the Columbia, oldest shuttle in the fleet of four, and investigators are to focus closely on the company's installation at Palmdale, CA, where Rockwell International built the shuttles in the 1980s before selling the installation to Boeing in 1996. Ironically but predictably, industry insiders say the Columbia debacle will likely prove a boon to corporate contractors, who now stand to develop a new fleet of shuttles to replace the existing ones. "The paradox of this disaster is that it could provide the spark for a rebirth of the industry," said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute, a military-affairs think-tank in Arlington, VA. [top]

Writes Yoichi Clark Shimatsu for Pacific News Service: "NASA is not simply a civilian space agency devoted to the high-minded cause of scientific discovery. The agency that originated as an extension of the Air Force has persisted in its often-disguised mission of military research. Columbia's tragic last mission was no exception, and was watched keenly by much of the world precisely because of its geopolitical and military significance."

The presence on the flight of Israeli Air Force pilot Col. Ilan Ramon "was a living symbol of Israeli-American aerospace cooperation, which has included the Arrow interception technology incorporated into Patriot missiles (used in the Gulf War) and the sale of U.S.-built F-16s and helicopter gunships sent by the Ariel Sharon government to attack Palestinian villages in the West Bank. Ramon was no bystander in the Mideast conflict. He received flight training at a US Air Force base in Utah in the 1970s, became a pilot in the Israeli Air Force and was part of an Israeli bombing mission that destroyed an Iraqi nuclear power plant in 1986. His military role aboard Columbia went beyond symbolic value. Ramon's research mission involved dual-use technology, an Israeli-built multi-spectral camera that probes the effect of sandstorms on climate change. The all-weather camera is also a key technology for military spy satellites and unmanned drones searching for targets obscured by dust, smoke and clouds. These murky atmospheric conditions exactly fit the scenario of the looming war against Iraq."

Israel has now launched its own drive to establish a space program--as has India, birthplace of the other "international" astronaut, Kalpana Chowla. Writes Shimatsu: "Her research background in robotics and aerodynamics are also of direct interest to weapons designers. Her notable achievement was to design systems to control air turbulence during landing, a serious problem for vertical-landing aircraft such as the Harrier fighter or the accident-prone Osprey hybrid helicopter." (PNS, Feb. 3)

See also WW3 REPORT #71 [top]


The Bush administration officially raised the national terrorist threat color-coded alert from yellow (for "elevated") to orange (for "high") on Feb. 1. Simultaneously, FBI officials began contacting Jewish leaders nationwide to warn of a possible imminent al-Qaeda strike on a Jewish target in the US. (Haaretz, Feb. 8)

This is the first time the alert has been elevated to Orange since the 9-11 anniversary last year. See WW3 REPORT #s 51 & 53

See also WW3 REPORT #40 [top]

Jewish Defense League militant Earl Krugel pleaded guilty of plotting to bomb the Los Angeles-area King Fahd Mosque and the offices of Rep. Darrell E. Issa (R-CA), a Lebanese-American. As part of a plea bargain which also implicated late JDL leader Irv Rubin, Krugel pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and faces 10 to 20 years in prison. (Newsday, Feb. 5)

See also WW3 REPORT #s 59 & 12 [top]

Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), head of the Judiciary Committee's Homeland Security sub-committee, said on a radio call-in program that he agreed with the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Coble made the remark Feb. 5 on WKZL-FM when a caller suggested Arabs in the US should be confined. Coble said he didn't agree with the caller but did agree with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who established the internment camps. "We were at war. They [Japanese-Americans] were an endangered species," Coble said. "For many of these Japanese-Americans, it wasn't safe for them to be on the street." Like most Arab-Americans today, Coble said, most Japanese-Americans during World War II were not America's enemies. But he concluded: "Some probably were intent on doing harm to us," he said, "just as some of these Arab-Americans are probably intent on doing harm to us."

The Japanese American Citizens League has demanded Coble apologize, and said he should be removed from his committee chairmanship. "We are flabbergasted that a man who supports racial profiling and ethnic scapegoating" chairs the subcommittee, the group's national executive director, John Tateishi, said in a statement. The Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded that Coble explain his remarks. Spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said the comments were "particularly disturbing." (AP, Feb. 5)

See also WW3 REPORT #45 [top]

The support committee for detained Palestinian-born New York activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti reports it has received information that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is planning to move him imminently from Passaic County jail, where he has been held since September, to an unkown location. Farouk objects to any move from the New York metropolitan area, since this would separate him from his family, community, support committee and legal team, who are all based in and around New York City. A move could also disrupt progress in a habeas corpus petition Farouk's legal team filed in federal court in Newark in November, charging that his continued detention is illegal. The case is pending.

Farouk is a stateless Palestinian who has been detained since April 2002 on the basis of a 1995 deportation order. His supporters charge the INS knows it cannot deport him and that he is being held to keep him from exercising his constitutionally protected right to advocate for human rights in Palestine. Farouk has continued to be an outspoken advocate since his detainment. He was one of more than 75 INS detainees from 40 countries who signed a statement last year calling for an end to INS detentions and deploring conditions in the Passaic facility. In January he was one of six detainees who carried out a seven-day hunger strike to protest their situation.

Farouk's support committee is asking for faxes, calls, e-mails and letters demanding that Farouk not be moved, and that he be released immediately.


David Venturella,
Director, Headquarters Post Detention Unit

Immigration and Naturalization Service
425 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20536
Phone 202-305-2734
Fax 202-353-9435

Andrea Quarantillo, District Director
INS Newark District Office
970 Broad Street, Room 136
Newark, NJ 07102
Phone 973-645-4421
Fax 973-297-4848.

Send copies to the Committee for the Release of Farouk Abdel- Muhti at

( Committee for the Release of Farouk Abdel-Muhti)

See also WW3 REPORT #69 [top]


Spurred by local anti-war sentiment, dozens of cities and counties around the US have passed resolutions urging President Bush to slow down his confrontation with Iraq. The resolutions ask for more evidence that Iraq is hiding weapons, or call on Bush to work more closely with the UN. Almost all oppose a unilateral strike. City and county councils in 20 states have passed such measures, from small towns like Woodstock, NY, to big cities like Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit. Many have liberal leanings, like Berkeley, CA; Madison, WI; and Santa Fe, NM. But others, like Des Moines, IA; San Luis Obispo, CA; and Blaine County, ID, have large numbers of Republican voters. (NYT, Jan. 31)

See also WW3 REPORT # 65 [top]

Privacy advocates from the political left and right are joining forces with Congress to stop funding of the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness (TIA) program. A measure blocking the program passed the Senate in January but must now survive the House and Senate conference committee. "The folks behind this amendment aren't exactly a group that flocks together for every possible issue," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the amendment's sponsor. "Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives are raising their voices and saying they don't want their government snooping on law-abiding Americans. The program amounts to unleashing virtual bloodhounds." (Washington Times, Feb. 6)

See also WW3 REPORT #69 [top]


EXIT POLL: Should the US bomb France instead of Iraq? Richard Perle is sounding downright bellicose, and at least the French are an imperial power, so it would be more of an even match. Should the imperialists stop waging proxy wars in Third World backwaters like Iraq and Afghanistan, and just cut to the chase already with a good old-fashioned head-on confrontation?

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