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    World News
6/16/03 - 6/22/03

Sunday  6/22/03

U.S. may consider force against Syria  6/22/03 Haaretz, Israel 

Now Bush blames failure to find WMD on looters  6/22/03 Independent, UK 

A Fate Sealed Under Secrecy  6/22/03 Newsday: "On March 1, give or take a day, in Columbus, Ohio, the FBI arrested an American citizen they say is Iyman Faris. There wasn't a word uttered. He vanished. No lawyer was notified. He made no phone calls and wrote no postcards or letters. He was a United States citizen who disappeared without a trace into a secret metal world."

US general condemns Iraq failures  6/22/03 Observer, UK: "Republican control of both chambers means Mr Bush's party has the majority on the committees gearing up to investigate. In any public hearings, for which Democrats are pressing, key administration witnesses may avoid questioning by citing national security concerns. The Democrats themselves are also divided. The former House minority leader Richard Gephardt and Senator Joe Lieberman, Al Gore's running mate in 2000, remain among the strongest supporters of the war. All these factors explain why Mr Bush has enjoyed what an envious Mr Blair must consider a free ride so far. That state of affairs is only likely to change if the security situation inside Iraq deteriorates to a level where resistance can no longer be attributed to "dangerous pockets of the old regime" and their "terrorist allies". At that point public opinion will start to ask in earnest why the war was launched in the first place."

Unknown group vows to kill US soldiers  6/22/03 The Age, Australia: "The man denied the group had "any contact, link or relationship with the former regime" in Iraq. In a message to US President George W. Bush and his "criminal henchmen", he said, "If they want their soldiers to be safe, they must leave our pure land." "


Saturday  6/21/03

top'I just pulled the trigger'  6/21/03 London Evening Standard: "But a closer look at these American GIs, sweltering in the heat of an unwelcoming Iraq, reveals the glazed eyes and limp expressions of those who have witnessed a war they do not understand and have begun to resent. By their own admission these American soldiers have killed civilians without hesitation, shot wounded fighters and left others to die in agony. What they told me, in a series of extraordinary interviews, will make uncomfortable reading for US and British politicians and senior military staff desperate to prevent the liberation of Iraq turning into a quagmire of Vietnam proportions, where the behaviour of troops feeds the hatred of an occupied people."

Wagner Plays U.S. Troops Into Iraq Crackdown  6/21/03 Reuters: "As helicopters clattered overhead, they began their hunt with their ears still ringing from a blast of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries played at their base nearby in a bizarre musical association with the Vietnam war movie "Apocalypse Now." "


Friday  6/20/03

topVictory in Tulia, But Not in Drug War  6/20/03 Altnet: "Texas authorities claimed that the release of the 12 blacks jailed on trumped up drug charges was proof that justice can and will prevail even in the most blatant racial-tinged drug cases. But don't uncork the champagne yet. The Tulia case was unique in two appalling ways. With one exception, all those swept up in the drug busts were black. They were arrested solely on the dubious, and unsupported word of a tainted white undercover cop. Authorities cavalierly ignored testimony and evidence that could have proved the innocence of many of the black defendants. Even though the case drew national attention and outrage, it still took nearly four years before a retired Texas judge recommended that their convictions be tossed out and that the 12 be released."

Spate of Anti-US Attacks in Iraq  6/20/03 Arab News: "As neighbors saw the coffin arriving at his house from the morgue, they fired their weapons into the air for more than 15 minutes at a time in a deafening, frenzied display of defiance. US troops have prohibited people from shooting their weapons in the streets." - this story does not even mention the US pretense that Iraq attacks are by Saddam remnants.

Bush to NGOs: Watch Your Mouths  6/20/03 Common Dreams: "On May 21 in Washington, Andrew Natsios, the head of USAID, gave a speech blasting U.S. NGOs for failing to play a role many of them didn't realize they had been assigned: doing public relations for the U.S. government. According to InterAction, the network of 160 relief and development NGOs that hosted the conference, Mr. Natsios was "irritated" that starving and sick Iraqi and Afghan children didn't realize that their food and vaccines were coming to them courtesy of George W. Bush. From now on, NGOs had to do a better job of linking their humanitarian assistance to U.S. foreign policy and making it clear that they are "an arm of the U.S. government." If they didn't, InterAction reported, "Natsios threatened to personally tear up their contracts and find new partners." "

Carpe Diem  6/20/03 Democratic Underground: "In the last weeks we Democrats were treated to two appalling examples of why we lost the 2002 elections and are likely to lose in 2004 if we do not begin to assert core Democratic values and wrest control of the party's agenda from its current weak-kneed legislative spokespersons. I refer in particular to Tom Daschle's apologetic questioning of the failure to discover weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and his rather pathetic and craven retraction of those assertions in the face of the usual fury of the Republican attack machine. And to Joe Biden's equally spineless response to the noises being made about maybe attacking Iran sometime soon, where Mr. Biden opined that he really did not have any quarrel with the administration's aims in Iran, only their timing."

Fury as MPs compare Palestinians' treatment to Nazi ghettos  6/20/03 Independent, UK: "Two MPS caused outrage yesterday by comparing the treatment of Palestinians in Gaza to the Nazi segregation of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto. Oona King, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, and Jenny Tonge, Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park, who visited Gaza last week with the charity Christian Aid, said the situation was getting worse as the area in which the Palestinians live gets smaller. Ms King, whose mother is Jewish, said: "No government should be behaving like that - least of all a Jewish government. It's the same in nature but not extent. Palestinians are not being rounded up and put in gas chambers. "What makes it similar is what happened to the Jewish people in that time, which was the seizing of land, being forced from property, torture and bureaucracy - control used in a demeaning way over the smallest task. On top of that, building a wall around them, and that is precisely what the Israeli government is doing." "

Rumsfeld seeks to punish France for its stance  6/20/03 Knight Ridder: "In the latest in a series of Pentagon blasts at France, Rumsfeld has prevailed on U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John C. Jumper not to invite his French counterpart, Gen. Richard Wolsztynski, to a prestigious September conference of air force commanders from around the world."

Paris Raid Reveals Washington's Fractured Iran Policy  6/20/03 Pacific News Service 

Bolton: Military Action on Iran an Option  6/20/03 Reuters 

Belgium goes ahead with war crimes lawsuits  6/20/03 The Mercury, SA: "War crimes lawsuits had been filed in Belgium against eight top officials including United States President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, said the Belgian authorities. But the Belgian government had refused to handle the cases arising from the conflict in Iraq, referring them on to the US and British governments, said the justice ministry. Nevertheless the lawsuits, brought under Belgium's "universal competence law", are likely to deepen tensions between Washington and Brussels, which firmly opposed the war in Iraq… Last week US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld - who is one of the eight high-ranking officials named in the lawsuits - said Belgium would face consequences unless it revised the "absurd" law. He warned that US officials would shun the country, and announced that US funding for a new Nato headquarters in Brussels, which is also home to the European Union, would be suspended in the meantime."


Thursday  6/19/03

topLet the People Speak Early  6/19/03 Alternet: "MoveOn.org PAC, the progressive online political organization, has turned the political system on its head by rapidly launching an online grassroots political primary long before the political establishment has weighed in on the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. When MoveOn surveyed its members, 96.3 percent of the 186,000 respondents said they were eager to jump into the process early. The 1.4 million MoveOn members and new joiners are eligible to vote for one candidate from the field of nine in the primary scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday. MoveOn announced that the top tier of contenders, according to a straw poll of its members, are Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean and John Kerry. In response to members' interest in the three, MoveOn is giving them an assist with a special focus email."

Washington moves to checkmate Pyongyang  6/19/03 Asia Times: "Powell said at a security forum in Phnom Penh that Madrid had "aligned the international community in a way that makes it clear to North Korea that they will not have any support or friends helping them". What he didn't say was that most of these friends are states such as China, Russia and Pakistan that help Pyongyang market its military hardware and provide a diplomatic buffer on the nuclear issue. Beijing and Moscow have already made it known that they will not support an economic embargo, and - surprisingly - so has South Korea, the country with most to gain from the collapse of its belligerent neighbor."

Bush & the End of Reason  6/19/03 Consortium News 

Neocon Convergences  6/19/03 In These Times: "A funny thing happened while following the money trail of the neoconservatives who have hijacked U.S. foreign policy. The path led to a network of financial and intellectual resources that also is dedicated to neoracism."


Wednesday  6/18/03

topThe Screwing of Cynthia McKinney  6/18/03 Alternet: "The New York Times’ Lynette Clemetson revealed her comments went even further over the edge: “Ms. McKinney suggest[ed] that President Bush might have known about the September 11 attacks but did nothing so his supporters could make money in a war.” That’s loony, all right. As an editor of the highly respected Atlanta Journal Constitution told NPR, McKinney’s “practically accused the President of murder!” Problem is, McKinney never said it. That’s right. The “quote” from McKinney is a complete fabrication. A whopper, a fabulous fib, a fake, a flim-flam. Just freakin’ made up.'

Colombia: Army increasing cooperation with paramilitary death squads  6/18/03 ANNCOL 

Kerry says Bush misled Americans on war  6/18/03 AP 

Ignoring the World's Bloodiest War - What's Behind the Killing in Central Africa?  6/18/03 Counterpunch: "When the mainstream press pays any attention to the Congo--or African wars in general--they invariably characterize the conflicts as "ethnic" or "tribal" wars, rooted in age-old hatreds. This explanation is not only false, but racist. It provides cover for the argument that "we"--invariably some mix of Western nations, perhaps with UN cover--must intervene to stop this irrational ethnic murder. This argument is a repackaged version of the same racist excuses given for European powers' conquest and colonization of Africa in the late 19th century--that is, to "civilize" the continent. Any prospect of resolving the Congo war requires a much different framework--one that doesn't look to the architects of the crisis to solve it."

Abizaid Nominated to Take Over Central Command  6/18/03 Fox News: "An Arabic-speaking Army general of Lebanese descent has been nominated to replace Gen. Tommy Franks as head of U.S. Central Command, the Pentagon announced Wednesday."

IRAQ: British company sold `bio-lab' trailers  6/18/03 Green Left Weekly 

US troops 'used excessive force' at Fallujah protest  6/18/03 Independent: "The United States should hold a "full, independent and impartial" inquiry into the "apparent use of excessive force" by American troops who allegedly opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators in the Iraqi town of Fallujah, according to a report issued yesterday by Human Rights Watch."

CIA deliberately misled UN arms inspectors, says senator  6/18/03 Independent, UK 

150 in Iranian opposition group arrested in Paris  6/18/03 NYT: "French authorities arrested on Tuesday more than 150 members of a long- established armed Iranian opposition group, accused them of organizing terrorist acts, and seized $1.3 million in $100 bills. The move against the Mujahedeen Khalq, or People's Mujahedeen, as the group is known, effectively shut its operations in France, while the timing of the action sent conciliatory signals to Iran. Senior French officials insisted that the crackdown was not linked to events inside Iran. But it coincides with demands by the U.N. chief nuclear weapons inspector, the European Union, the United States and Russia that Iran allow international weapons inspectors to conduct more intrusive examinations of its nuclear sites."

Hispanics Outpace Blacks as Largest Minority Group  6/18/03 Reuters: "When the Census bureau released estimates in January for 2001, Hispanics only outnumbered black Americans when the Hispanic total included people who considered themselves both black and Hispanic. But according to estimates from July 2002, non-black Hispanics numbered around 37 million while the black non-Hispanic population was about 36.6 million. Another 1.7 million people were estimated to be both black and Hispanic, which brings the overall Hispanic number to 38.7 million."

Iraqis Say U.S. Fired Indiscriminately  6/18/03 Sydney Morning Herald: "But the bus driver, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Ali, 25, told The Associated Press on Tuesday he was passing a convoy of six or seven vehicles when he heard an explosion and the Americans fired wildly on the bus and on the roadside. Witnesses agreed with his account. Seven people on the bus were wounded, at least one of them by U.S. gunfire, in addition to a bystander on the roadside, said the witnesses and the driver."

US troops scour Baghdad after sniper kills soldier  6/18/03 Sydney Morning Herald 

Caving In - Guess who's appeasing the Taliban now?  6/18/03 The American Prospect: "Last week a Pakistani jihadi leader told the Asia Times that he had set up a meeting between U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials and Taliban leaders to discuss the seriously deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. At the meeting, held at a Pakistani air-force base, FBI officials floated the possibility that the Taliban might have a role in the future Afghan government on four conditions: that Mullah Omar be removed as leader, that foreign combatants engaged in fighting against U.S. and allied troops be deported, that any captive allied soldiers be released and that Afghans currently living abroad be brought into the government."

Will We See Gore TV?  6/18/03 Time 

Patriot Act II, and Means to Weigh It, Emerge in Bits - Devil in the Details  6/18/03 Village Voice 


Tuesday  6/17/03

topWashington plays into Iranian clerics' hands  6/17/03 Asia Times: "As a logical component of the seemingly irrational American government's design on Iran, its counterproductive policy towards the ongoing Iranian student pro-democracy movement, which is striving for democracy as envisaged by the Iranians, will only help Iran's ruling elite to suppress that indigenous movement as a Washington-inspired riot."

French raid Iran group, 150 held  6/17/03 CNN 

Special forces 'prepare for Iran attack'  6/17/03 London Evening Standard: "British and American intelligence and special forces have been put on alert for a conflict with Iran within the next 12 months, as fears grow that Tehran is building a nuclear weapons programme… A British intelligence official said that any campaign against Iran would not be a ground war like the one in Iraq. The Americans will use different tactics, said the intelligence officer. "It is getting quite scary." "

US prepares to move troops to Azerbaijan  6/17/03 RBC: "The United States will ensure political stability and continuity of power in Azerbaijan. Azeris base this conclusion on reports in the Western and Turkish media that the US is going to move about 15,000 of its troops from Germany to Azerbaijan, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports."

U.S. Soldier Killed by Iraqi Sniper Fire  6/17/03 Washington Post: "A U.S. soldier on patrol in northern Baghdad was killed by a single shot from a sniper, the military said Tuesday. The gunman escaped from the area as the soldier collapsed on the ground. He was evacuated to a first aid station but died shortly afterward, said Maj. Sean Gibson, a U.S. military spokesman… Gibson said the soldier was shot in the chest, even though he was protected by body armor."

The War Continues  6/17/03 Zmag: "The circus lions of the U.S. media faithfully refrained from reporting on the June 9th launch of the largest U.S. military offensive in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad, leaving Americans blissfully unaware that George W. Bush lied about more than the existence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction."


Monday  6/16/03

topTexas Drug Defendants Anticipate Release  6/16/03 ABC: "No drugs were ever found during a total of 46 arrests and little or no corroborating evidence was introduced at trial. Some suggested discrimination was behind the arrests. Coleman is white; of the 46 people arrested, 39 are black. A total of 38 of the group arrested were convicted or accepted plea agreements out of fear of lengthy prison terms. Of the 38, 14 defendants remain in jail. Last month, Chapman recommended throwing out the convictions. Coleman was indicted in April on three counts of aggravated perjury for allegedly lying during evidentiary hearings involving the case; he has maintained his innocence."

Massive US operation to uproot Iraqi resistance yields nearly nil results  6/16/03 Al Bawaba: "Meanwhile, a U.S. Central Command spokesman denied reports that U.S. troops were wounded in an ambush on a military vehicle near the town of Balad north of Baghdad. Lt. Ryan Fitzgerald said initial accounts indicated a vehicle caught fire due to "mechanical failure." However, a U.S. military spokesman said Monday ambushers fired rocket-propelled grenades at two U.S. military convoys Sunday, in separate attacks that wounded at least four Americans, two of them seriously."

Rumsfeld v. Belgium - "Leave Us Alone or We'll Move NATO"  6/16/03 Counterpunch 

Grenades hit convoy in Iraq  6/16/03 IHT: "2 Americans are seriously wounded in 2d day of operation"

"We Don't Negotiate with Terrorists?" United States Officials Had Brunch with the Colombian Paramilitaries Last Month  6/16/03 NarcoNews 

U.S. Dilemma in Iraq -- Bombs and Bullets Hit Hearts and Minds, Too  6/16/03 Pacific News: by Peter Dale Scott

U.S. Dilemma in Iraq -- Bombs and Bullets Hit Hearts and Minds, Too  6/16/03 Pacific News 

"There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to Democracies as against despots: suspicion." -- Demosthenes

Maps & Weather

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/

A number of maps here
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/afghanistan.html

http://www.weatherhub.com/

Estimates of the total number of Muslims range from 0.7 to 1.2 billion worldwide and 3 to 6 million in the U.S. About 20% of all people on earth follow Islam. The religion is in a period of rapid growth.

Christianity is currently the largest religion in the world. It is followed by about 33% of all people -- a percentage that has remaind stable for decades. It is expected that, if current trends continue, Islam will become the most popular religion sometime in the mid-21st century.

-- http://www.religioustolerance.org/islam.htm

Death from America

Iraq news: Soaring death rates among Iraqi children, 1999 BBC, UNICEF 500,000 child deaths

Ramsey Clark: Report to UN Security Council re: Iraq, 1/26/2000
1.5 million deaths

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