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    World News
12/1/03 - 12/7/03

Saturday  12/6/03

Group Contests Casino Owned by Pro-Israel Extremists' Backer  12/6/03 Antiwar 

Electronic Votes Touch Off Doubts  12/6/03 Common Dreams: "O'Dell has since expressed regrets for the remarks, saying that while experienced in business, he is "a real novice" in politics. Even so, he has no intention of stopping his fund-raising efforts as a "Pioneer" and "Ranger," designations used by the Bush campaign for elite fund-raisers who collect a minimum of $200,000 and $100,000, respectively. "I am one, and proud of it," O'Dell said in a statement issued by Diebold's corporate headquarters."

The Cross of Iron - Foreign Policy in Focus  12/6/03 Defense & the National Interest: "The huge outlays for the military are even beginning to worry those in Congress who normally rubber-stamp whatever weapon system comes along. Recently a group of pro-defense Democrats, the so-called "Blue Dog Coalition," calculated the impact of tax cuts and military spending and found that White House claims that the national debt would halved by 2008 were 180 degrees off. It seems the Bush Administration never added in the cost of the Afghan and Iraq wars. Inserting those expenditures jumped the national debt from $4 trillion to $8.4 trillion by 2008."

War in Iraq: New developments & implications  12/6/03 Defense & the National Interest: published 11/22: "China does have some potentially powerful options. The easy step — declare a maritime exclusion zone around China. Their air and submarine forces make this a credible threat. Shipping rates would rise, putting great stress on Taiwan's economy. Also they have other weapons. They are a major creditor of the US government. They have considerable influence on the always unpredictable government of North Korea. What would China do in preparation for such a conflict? Perhaps reduce their holdings of US debt and stockpile commodities. They have done both in recent months."

Moscow points to US role in Georgia events  12/6/03 Pravda 

40 to Watch  12/6/03 Southern Poverty Law Center: "What does the radical right look like after a year of reverses? The future may lie in the personalities still peopling the fringe."

Against the Wall  12/6/03 Southern Poverty Law Center: "The most important hate group in America is sinking. The National Alliance, the neo-Nazi organization that has produced and influenced more violent criminals in the last three decades than any other, may soon be facing irrelevancy. In the last year, membership has plunged from around 1,400 to fewer than 800 who still pay their dues. The staff, once the largest of any hate group in decades, has been cut by nearly half. Income from selling white power music and paraphernalia, which with dues was said to be bringing in more than $1 million last year, has dropped to the point where the Alliance spends more than it takes in."

Combat casualty count doubted  12/6/03 Talahassee Democrat: "An influential Mississippi congressman has raised the possibility that the Pentagon has undercounted combat casualties in Iraq after he learned that five members of the Mississippi National Guard who were injured Sept. 12 by a booby trap in Iraq were denied Purple Heart medals. The guardsmen were wounded by an artillery shell that detonated as their convoy passed the tree in which it was hidden, but their injuries were classified as "noncombat," according to Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss. Taylor, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, learned of the classification when he visited the most seriously injured of the guardsmen, Spc. Carl Sampson, 35, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington."

A Present for Murdoch  12/6/03 The Nation: "The Bush Administration will make sure that no Grinch spoils Rupert Murdoch's holiday season. By the New Year, Murdoch's News Corporation will be in control of the country's largest direct-broadcast satellite service, DirecTV. The takeover of this company, with its 11 million subscribers, will greatly increase Murdoch's power over the American TV landscape. It will also mean that conservatives will have an even greater ability to push their agenda. Both the Justice Department and Michael Powell's FCC are on board to rubber-stamp the arrangement, in deference to the Administration's indebtedness to Murdoch. With Fox News a 24/7 commercial for the Bush White House and with the Weekly Standard's constant cheerleading, Murdoch is an especially valuable friend."

Friday  12/5/03

topHow To Fight Fourth Generation War  12/5/03 Defense & the National Interest: "What can the U.S. military learn from cops? Our reserve and National Guard units include lots of cops; are we taking advantage of what they know?"

Vietnam vet takes aim at war  12/5/03 Denver Post: "In his youth, Vietnam War veteran Charles Elliston recalls, "I was a conservative. I used to think war protesters were nut cases - agents of the enemy." Today, former Chief Warrant Officer Elliston, 55, is an outspoken anti-war activist who proudly wears his Army uniform to give himself credibility. The uniform is immaculate, as are his Vietnam combat ribbons, his Purple Heart, and the silver wings with wreath and star that identify him as a senior Army aviator. Elliston also wears pins on his uniform. One reads "NO perpetual war for perpetual peace." Another reads: "Vietnam Veterans Against the War." "

How an American war hero is taking his battle over Iraq to Washington  12/5/03 Independent, UK: "While no-one doubts Colonel Hackworth's patriotism or service to his country, there are plenty of people who do not appreciate what he has to say about the United States' occupation of Iraq and the way it was carried out. Donald Rumsfeld is likely to be among his critics: Colonel Hackworth, 72, described the US Defence Secretary as "an arrogant asshole"."

Russian Deputy Drug Czar: US soldiers becoming drug addicts in Afghanistan  12/5/03 Pravda 

Thursday  12/4/03

topA Plague of Bioweapons  12/4/03 Alternet: "A decade ago, neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby who now occupy powerful positions in the White House wrote a draft policy paper that, among other calls for aggressively increasing U.S. power in the world, argued that the government consider the development of biological weapons that "can target specific genotypes [and] may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool." "

Campesinos e indígenas rompen con la Justicia oficial  12/4/03 ANNCOL: "Nueve comunidades rurales anuncian su ruptura total con el sistema de justicia colombiano. Entre las comunidades, que a partir de ahora se niegan a colaborar con el actual sistema, se encuentra la comunidad indígena U'wa, las Asociaciones Campesina del Valle del Cimitarra y Arauca, y la organización “Proceso de Comunidades Negras”. "

December 4, 1969: The Execution of Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark  12/4/03 Black Commentator: "To members of Chicago's African American community in the late 1960s, no leader was more inspiring, more articulate, or more effective than Fred Hampton. He organized food pantries, educational programs, and recreational outlets for impoverished children, and he helped bring about a peaceful coexistence among the city's rival street gangs. To civic leaders in Chicago, the FBI, and many others, however, he was a dangerous revolutionary leader, committed to the violent overthrow of the white-dominated system. Hampton was killed in a 1969 raid on the headquarters of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther party, in what was almost certainly a planned assassination orchestrated by Federal agents and city leaders, who feared that Hampton's influence could lead to an all-out armed uprising by the city's most disenfranchised residents."

The Bush Administration's End Game for Haiti  12/4/03 Black Commentator 

Ecuador: The disappearance of sovereignty  12/4/03 Radio Progresso: "In 1999, a foreign minister of Ecuador ceded the base of Mantua to the United States without the constitutional power to do so. In the turnover document, he established rights for its workers that no Ecuadorean citizen enjoys: total tax exemption; diplomatic immunity; the right to enter or leave the country without a visa, registration or control by immigration authorities; immunity from prosecution for any crime or damage they might cause on Ecuadorean soil. And a long list of benefits, which added up to a carte blanche for the Americans. In 2003, another foreign minister, Patricio Zuquilanda, has signed an “accord” with a third-rate official at the U.S. Embassy that opens the door to civic and humanitarian aid from SouthCom, behind the backs of the Constitution and Congress, allowing SouthCom to enjoy the absolute power of the absolutists of old."

Venezuela: The undercurrent of the recall  12/4/03 Radio Progresso: "But what really happened is that signatories appeared in moderate quantities, and in some places they were down to a trickle. For this reason, starting on the second day the demanding block escalated its “strategies” to multiply the results, so much so that the National Electoral Council was swarmed with accusations of irregularities. Signatures of patients in certain hospitals in exchange for medical attention; pressure on private and government employees so that they sign in order to keep their jobs; the same demand in night shelters for senior citizens and even for those under psychiatric care; the sudden apparition of an identity card of indefinite use, produced by a private agency; the setting up of a computing system, parallel to the one by the National Electoral Council; cloning of identity cards and of forms for signature gathering; are all part of the accusations." Kind of like voting in Miami...

Wednesday  12/3/03

topExperts Returning from Iraq Criticize US Tactics  12/3/03 AntiWar: "While US military officers have claimed that more than 90 percent of the military resistance was taking place within the Sunni Triangle, Lawrence Korb, a senior defense official in the Reagan administration, said after returning from a trip to Iraq earlier this month that the actual figures showed the central region accounted for only 60 percent of the attacks on US and coalition forces."

Nigeria to be world’s leading gas exporter by 2005, says Shell boss  12/3/03 Daily Times, Nigeria 

US fires Guantanamo defence team  12/3/03 Guardian, UK: "A team of military lawyers recruited to defend alleged terrorists held by the US at Guantanamo Bay was dismissed by the Pentagon after some of its members rebelled against the unfair way the trials have been designed, the Guardian has learned."

Tuesday  12/2/03

topDon’t Let Government Bully War Opponents  12/2/03 Black America Web: "FBI officials say the monitoring program is intended to root out anarchists and to ensure that large protests don’t get out of hand. That may be legitimate. But through the lens of an administration that shamelessly brands those who oppose the occupation of Iraq as being anti-American, it’s hard to believe that a peaceful protest won’t easily become distorted as a terrorist activity, and its leaders regarded with suspicion. As a black American, this frightens me."

Gap in Cincinnati Beating Video is Suspect  12/2/03 Black America Web: "“The video starts at 5:58 [a.m.]. You see Mr. Jones in the corner bothering no one. Then at 6- something, it doesn’t go to black, but there is snow as if something has been erased,” she said. “Why did the video conveniently come back on when Mr. Jones lunges at police?” Frierson said she has spoken to several people who witnessed the beating. Some said that the police initiated the attacks, others told her that the police started “saying things” to Jones in a harsh or derogatory manner."

Maya Cole & Diane Farsetta: U.S. contributes to the marginalization of women worldwide  12/2/03 Capital Times, WI: "The United States maintains an appearance of support for women's political participation, but has yet to ratify the U.N. Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and ranks 60th in the world for women's representation in national legislatures. The United States is trying to create the world's largest free trade zone, the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Trade liberalization has worsened the lot of the poor - mostly women - around the globe. The FTAA would favor corporate economic interests and crush labor rights, social services and national sovereignty in 34 countries. War abroad also translates into a war against poor women and women of color at home. After its Poor People's March for Economic Human Rights this past summer, Philadelphia's Kensington Welfare Rights Union reflected: "Since (the Rev. Martin Luther) King's assassination in 1968, economic conditions for most Americans have gotten progressively worse. Homelessness and joblessness have reached heights not seen since the Great Depression."

The Pearl Harbor Deception  12/2/03 The Independent Institute: "Two questions about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor have ignited a controversy that has burned for 60 years: Did U.S. naval cryptographers crack the Japanese naval codes before the attack? Did Japanese warships and their commanding admirals break radio silence at sea before the attack?"

Monday  12/1/03

topMystery shrouds whereabouts of bodies of 54 insurgents said killed by US  12/1/03 AFP: "The mystery, which borders on solving a mathematics equation, further deepened with Gonsalves' report. According to him, a total of 60 militants, divided into two groups, attacked two convoys escorting new Iraqi currency to banks in the city. Another four assailants in a BMW attacked a separate engineering convoy. If the US troops killed 46 and captured 11 of them, only three of the survivors would have been left to pick up the corpses." The US is up to its Viet Nam era body count foolishness.

Six Colombian police officers killed in suspected FARC rebel attack  12/1/03 AFP 

Information Warfare in Miami  12/1/03 Alternet: "What became clear in the lead up to the FTAA was that the "Miami Model" – as law enforcement enthusiasts are calling it – has goals that go way beyond merely keeping the peace. The bigger agenda of the Miami policing operation was to control the public perception of mass protest and grassroots movements. Only days after that FTAA protests on Nov. 23, the New York Times broke a story on the FBI's ongoing policy of infiltrating and spying on the anti-war and global justice movements. Miami was the mainstreaming of overt information warfare against non-violent protest."

Call to double troop numbers in Afghanistan  12/1/03 Financial Times: "Nato's credibility in Afghanistan could be jeopardised if it fails to provide more troops and military capabilities, Lord Robertson, the secretary general, will today tell the alliance's defence ministers… The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said last week the area of poppy cultivation jumped this year to 61,000 hectares, compared with 30,700 hectares last year and 1,685 hectares in 2001. Mr Vendrell said laboratories for producing heroin shut by the Taliban were being set up again in northern Afghanistan, providing the war lords with cash and weapons."

Venezuelans Flock to Sign Petitions for Chávez's Ouster  12/1/03 NYT 

Changement de régime aux États-Unis - Requiem pour la Constitution  12/1/03 Réseau Voltaire 

Who Tried To Bribe Rep. Smith?  12/1/03 Slate: "Rep. Nick Smith, R-Mich., says that sometime late Nov. 21 or early in the morning Nov. 22, somebody on the House floor threatened to redirect campaign funds away from his son Brad, who is running to succeed him, if he didn't support the Medicare prescription bill. This according to the Associated Press."

"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

A number of maps here

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.


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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