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    World News
12/15/03 - 12/21/04

Sunday  12/21/03

topThe meeting that brought Libya in from the cold  12/21/03 Guardian 

Revealed: who really found Saddam?  12/21/03 Sunday Herald, UK: "A leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Rasul Ali was once tortured by Saddam’s henchmen, but today is chief of a special forces unit dedicated to hunting down former Ba’athist regime leaders. Rasul Ali’s unit had an impressive track record. It was they who last August, working alone, arrested Iraqi vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan in Mosul, northern Iraq. Barely a month earlier in the al-Falah district of the same town, the PUK is believed to have played a crucial role in the pinpointing and storming of a villa that culminated in the deaths of Saddam’s sons Uday and Qusay… But the widely held view that Kurdish intelligence was the key to the operation was supported in a statement released last Sunday by the Iraqi Governing Council. Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, said that Rasul Ali and his PUK special forces unit had provided vital information and more… First reports – indeed the very first report of Saddam’s capture – were also coming out elsewhere. Jalal Talabani chose to leak the news and details of Rasul Ali’s role in the deployment to the Iranian media and to be interviewed by them. By early Sunday – way before Saddam’s capture was being reported by the mainstream Western press – the Kurdish media ran the following news wire: “Saddam Hussein, the former President of the Iraqi regime, was captured by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. A special intelligence unit led by Qusrat Rasul Ali, a high-ranking member of the PUK, found Saddam Hussein in the city of Tikrit, his birthplace. Qusrat’s team was accompanied by a group of US soldiers. Further details of the capture will emerge during the day; but the global Kurdish party is about to begin!” "

BUSH AND BLAIR: THE BIG FALL-OUT  12/21/03 The Sun, UK: The Lapdog has to take his distance now or sink with Bush. Will the Americans think of the 1956 UK "mistake" bombing of a US destroyer in Alexandria, Egypt?

Saturday  12/20/03

topLibya's nuclear program more advanced than thought: US intelligence  12/20/03 AFP 

US to add 2,000 extra Iraq troops  12/20/03 BBC: "The United States says it is sending about 2,000 extra troops to Iraq and asking 3,500 more to stay on longer."

Miscegination and Racism: The Afro-Mexican in Colonial Mexico  12/20/03 Marcus Garvey BBS: "Most students of Mexican history would be surprised to know that an extensive Black population, which will be referred to as Afro-Mexican, existed during the colonial period. However, Afro-Mexicans, both slave and free at one time outnumbered the current domination Mestizo population and the Whites. Mexico had an extensive Black population, which eventually assimilated into the dominant majority Mestizo population by the eighteenth century. This paper will concentrate on the factors that caused the decline of the Afro-Mexican population in Mexico during the colonial period, from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century. It will not focus of the Afro-Mexican population, slave or free, but only explain their disappearance. Although the Afro-Mexicans were an extensive dominant population during the colonial period, by the eighteenth century, they became a negligible population that the Indians, Whites and Mestizos supplanted."

Miscegination and Racism: The Afro-Mexican in Colonial Mexico  12/20/03 Marcus Garvey BBS: "Most students of Mexican history would be surprised to know that an extensive Black population, which will be referred to as Afro-Mexican, existed during the colonial period. However, Afro-Mexicans, both slave and free at one time outnumbered the current domination Mestizo population and the Whites. Mexico had an extensive Black population, which eventually assimilated into the dominant majority Mestizo population by the eighteenth century. This paper will concentrate on the factors that caused the decline of the Afro-Mexican population in Mexico during the colonial period, from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century. It will not focus of the Afro-Mexican population, slave or free, but only explain their disappearance. Although the Afro-Mexicans were an extensive dominant population during the colonial period, by the eighteenth century, they became a negligible population that the Indians, Whites and Mestizos supplanted."

No Support for Taiwan Independence, Nixon Assured China in 1972; New Documents Reveal Origins of Current U.S. Policy; Nixon Trip to China Now Fully Declassified  12/20/03 National Security Archives 

Anthrax Powder: State of the Art?  12/20/03 Science: "By the fall of 2002, the awe-inspiring anthrax of the previous spring had morphed into something decidedly less fearsome. According to sources on Capitol Hill, FBI scientists now reported that there was “no additive” in the Senate anthrax at all. Alibek said he examined electron micrographs of the anthrax spores sent to Senator Daschle and saw no silica. “But I couldn’t be absolutely sure,” Alibek says, “because I only saw three to five of these electron micrographs.” Even the astonishingly uniform particle size of 1.5 to 3 micrometers, mentioned in 2001 by Senator Bill Frist (R–TN), now included whopping 100-micrometer agglomerates, according to the new FBI description recounted by Capitol Hill aides. The reversal was so extreme that the former chief biological weapons inspector for the United Nations Special Commission, Richard Spertzel, found it hard to accept. “No silica, big particles, manual milling,” he says: “That’s what they’re saying now, and that radically contradicts everything we were told during the first year of this investigation.”

Friday  12/19/03

topEmbajada de Venezuela en los EE.UU. rechaza diplomacia de micrófono e intromisión de Otto Reich en asuntos internos de Venezuela  12/19/03 Aporrea: Herr Otto at it again.

Iraq news feed draws criticism  12/19/03 Boston Globe: "The satellite link, dubbed "C-SPAN Baghdad," is designed to put a more positive spin on events and circumvent the major networks by making it possible for press conferences, interviews with troops and dignitaries, and even footage from the field to be transmitted from Iraq for use by regional and local media outlets, according to news accounts. "I'm kind of appalled by it. I think it's very troubling," said Charles Kravetz, vice president of news at the regional cable news outlet NECN. "I think the government has no business being in the news business." "

Shooting Samarra's Schoolboys in the Back - Phantam Insurgents in Fantasyville  12/19/03 Conterpunch: a great description of how the US is loosing the war in Iraq by Robert Fisk

CIA Training of Islamists Haunts GIs in Iraq  12/19/03 Peter Dale Scott: "One trainer of the Somalis, Egyptian-born Ali Mohamed, was also a veteran of U.S. Special Forces and the CIA. While allegedly still on the U.S. payroll, Mohamed had been recruiting and training Arabs for the U.S.-supported Afghan War, at the al-Kifah Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.[5] This served as the main American recruiting center for the network that after the war became known as al Qaeda.[6] In 1993, the year of Mogadishu, Mohamed was picked up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada in the company of an al Qaeda terrorist. Almost certainly he would have been arrested; but Mohamed insisted that the RCMP put in a phone call to his FBI handler. The call quickly secured his release."

Is America sick?  12/19/03 The Age, Australia: "American democracy had deep flaws long before the 2000 election. For instance, each of our 50 States elects two of the country's 100 senators. Wyoming's 500 000 residents elect two senators. California has 68 times the population of Wyoming; its 34 million residents also elect two senators. This means each Wyoming resident has 68 times more weight than a Californian in choosing the country's 100 senators. Instead of 'one man one vote', we have 'one man 68 votes'. Because of the many low density conservative States in the middle of the country, this one issue has a major influence on the tone of our national debate. It gives conservatives a voice out of proportion with their numbers. It also gives them an unfair weight in questions the Senate settles without input from the House of Representatives, like confirming federal judges. (For laws, the House of Representatives balances the Senate somewhat because we elect its members in proportion to population.) To make matters worse, the high cost of senatorial campaigns gives us a Senate that resembles a millionaires' club. The 100 members of the 108th Senate include at least 40 millionaires--taking the low end of official financial disclosures that exclude the value of senators' homes.[1] The 100 senators include 86 men, 59 law school graduates, no Hispanics and no blacks, a composition that hardly mirrors the population.[2] "

Tapes Show Abuse of 9/11 Detainees  12/19/03 Washington Post: "One focus of the report was an American flag T-shirt that hung from a wall at the MDC with the slogan, "These colors don't run." Four corrections employees told investigators that the shirt, which hung in a prisoner receiving area for months, was covered with bloodstains, including some that appeared to have come from detainees being slammed into the wall."

How Many Signatures? Venezuela's Recall Referendum  12/19/03 Zmag: "There are two indicators which make me suspicious that the actual figure might be closer to the government’s number than the opposition’s. First, in the last night of the opposition’s petition drive, there was practically no media coverage of the opposition’s victory celebration. In the past, whenever there was any kind of opposition demonstration, the media would devote all of their programming to it (think of the post-election parties that take place all around the world after an election, which the media almost always cover, whether the party lost or won). This, at first, seemed an indication of the opposition’s possible demoralization or confusion over the actual numbers of the petition. At the same, time, Chavistas held a fairly large and enthusiastic victory celebration in front of the Miraflores Presidential Palace, which was organized only in the last minute."

Thursday  12/18/03

top'Gold Mine’ Saddam Hussein’s Loyalists Infiltrated U.S. Operations in Iraq  12/18/03 ABC: "Pentagon officials with whom ABCNEWS spoke were not surprised about the infiltration. It is a common tactic that certainly happened in Vietnam, they said. But what they continue to worry about are infiltrators whose names are not on the list." The joys of a colonial war.

Dean Makes Racial Political History  12/18/03 Black Commentator: "For four decades, the primary political project of the Republican Party has been to transform itself into the White Man’s Party. Not only in the Deep South, but also nationally, the GOP seeks to secure a majority popular base for corporate governance through coded appeals to white racism. The success of this GOP project has been the central fact of American politics for two generations – reaching its fullest expression in the Bush presidency. Yet a corporate covenant with both political parties has prohibited the mere mention of America’s core contemporary political reality: the constant, routine mobilization of white voters through the imagery and language of race. Last Sunday, Howard Dean broke that covenant…"

Freedom Rider: Congressional Black Caucus Target of Pro-Israel Lobby  12/18/03 Black Commentator: "The Baltimore Sun reported that the Cummings endorsement was in jeopardy because leaders of Baltimore’s Jewish community were concerned about Dean’s commitment to Israel. Dean made headlines in September when he said that the United States should be “even handed” in dealing with Israel and the Palestinians. One would have thought from the response that Dean had expressed love for suicide bombers. It didn’t seem to help that Dean’s wife is Jewish and that his national campaign co-chairman, Steve Grossman, was formerly president of the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC). Anyone who steps outside of pro-Israeli orthodoxy gets the cold shoulder, even if his credentials are otherwise acceptable."

Taliban Take Control Of Zabul  12/18/03 Jihad Unspun: "The deputy puppet governor of Zabul province, Maulwi Mohmmad Umar has admitted that the Karzai regime’s control only twenty percent of the province, while most of the rest of the country is under Taliban control. Speaking to reporters, he said that the Taliban control most cities and villages, while the Karzai regime only has power in only few districts such as Shah Jui, Sharah Safa and Kalat. He also said that one third of the provincial administration had resigned because they did not want to be targeted by Taliban when they eventually take over the entire province."

The Saddam Hussein Sourcebook  12/18/03 National Security Archive: "Rumsfeld met Saddam in 1984 with instructions to improve relations, Despite chemical weapons use and sanctuary for terrorists. U.S. construction giant Bechtel planned to evade 1988 CW sanctions, Now has biggest AID contract for reconstructing Iraq. New declassified documents reveal secret U.S.-British-Iraq history; Saddam Hussein Sourcebook published by National Security Archive."

Wednesday  12/17/03

topIsrael denies Qatari report saying Sharon secretly met Saddam in Baghdad following arrest  12/17/03 Al Bawaba: "Al-Raya, citing Nasser Mahmoud – a top Iraqi politician with close links to the interim council, reported that "Sharon, accompanied by intelligence officers, landed at around 20:00 at the Baghdad airport." According to the report, top civil administrator Paul L. Bremer received the Israeli leader and accompanied him during the meeting with Saddam Hussein. Mahmoud added, according to the report, that during a meeting with Bremer after his arrival in Baghdad, Sharon had asked to see Saddam in person."

Jamming device 'saved' Musharraf  12/17/03 BBC: "Five bombs exploded under a bridge in the city of Rawalpindi on Sunday, mere seconds after President Musharraf had passed over it. The jamming device may have blocked the signal to the remote-controlled bomb."

Iraqi Women Shut Out of Politics by Tribal Leaders, CPA  12/17/03 CSM: Since the fall of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s regime, Ms. Souhail has been pleading a new cause: quotas for women in Iraq's new government--in the cabinet, in the national parliament, and in drafting the constitution. "They have seats for Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Assyrians," says the human rights activist, "and they didn't think that they should have a seat for [half of] the country?" -- at least the Baathist had stronger roles for women...

Celebrated authors demand that the CIA come clean on JFK assassination  12/17/03 Salon: "At issue in the suit, filed Tuesday in Washington, are records on the unexplained role of a Miami-based undercover CIA agent named George Joannides in the months prior to Kennedy's murder on Nov. 22, 1963. The authors supporting the suit include anti-conspiracist Gerald Posner, author of the 1993 book "Case Closed," and Norman Mailer and Don DeLillo, two leading novelists who have explored the mysteries surrounding accused JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Also backing the lawsuit are legal experts G. Robert Blakey, the former chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which in the late 1970s investigated Kennedy's death, and John Tunheim, a federal judge who chaired the Assassination Records Review Board in the mid-1990s."

Tuesday  12/16/03

topPRESS CONFERENCE - Washington State Electronic Voting  12/16/03 Black Box Voting: "What we have, in Washington State, is this: We’ve got the state election director misstating when versions were certified, somebody at the secretary of state’s office signing off on software with no NASED number, and when we try to find out what software is actually authorized, we get the buffalo shuffle. We’ve got a convicted drug dealer printing our ballots, a 23-count embezzler programming our voting system, and our absentee ballots are being funneled through a private company that hires mainly immigrants but also people straight out of prison. We’ve now documented 10 states that are using unauthorized software, and internal memos that indicate that five Diebold programmers uploaded these unauthorized programs, knowing that this was not allowed."

Missing U.S.-Iraq History  12/16/03 In These Times 

Fisk: Insurgents or protesters? 18 are killed in clashes with US troops  12/16/03 InfoShop: "A disturbing new phenomenon in this environment of growing military violence has been the appearance of hooded and masked gunmen - working for the Americans - on road checkpoints north of Baghdad. Five of them now check cars on the Tigris river bridge outside Samarra, apparently fearing their identities will be discovered if their faces are not concealed. They wear militia uniforms and, although they say they are part of the new American-backed "Iraqi Civil Defence Corps", they have neither badges of rank nor unit markings. The same hooded men are now appearing on the streets of Baghdad."

Bush met Saddam on November 27  12/16/03 IRIB: "The Urdu language newspaper, Khabrain, quoting some reports said that during his unexpected sojourn to Baghdad, Bush met deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein on November 27. The daily further said that Saddam had tried to commit suicide on November 23, while he was arrested with the help of Kurd leader Jalal Talabani and his own guards, three days before the attempt to kill himself." This does tally with the analysis of Debka that Saddam was imprisoned by his guards.

Anti-War Protest Set for Republican Convention  12/16/03 Reuters: "A coalition of anti-war groups plan to greet delegates to next summer's Republican National Convention with a massive protest against U.S. foreign policy, hoping to keep the Iraqi war alive as an issue in the 2004 election, organizers said on Tuesday. The march could be one of the largest demonstrations in U.S. history, organizers said."

Monday  12/15/03

topOl' Strom and Me By Earl Ofari Hutchinson  12/15/03 Alternet: "The big break came with Republican Barry Goldwater's presidential bid in 1964. Thurmond adroitly read the political tea leaves, stumped for Goldwater and urged Southern Democrats to do the same. In the process, he dropped the racially inflammatory rhetoric that had long been his and other Southern politicians' stock in trade. Instead, he and Goldwater railed against welfare, crime in the streets, permissiveness and big government. He branded the Democrats the party of "regulation," "control," "coercion," "intimidation" and "subservience." This was racial code speak but it worked. It ignited the first big exodus of Southern whites from the Democratic Party into the Republican Party. The stampede got even bigger in 1968. President Nixon, with Ol' Strom's endorsement and active support, crafted his "Southern Strategy," that is, woo white voters, while saying and doing as little as possible about civil rights. That strategy became the indispensable cornerstone of Republican politics in the South. In the years to come, Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and the elder Bush also made masterful use of Nixon's Southern Strategy to win elections and tighten the Republican grip on the South."

Notes on Kennedy's assassination donated  12/15/03 AP: "Former Texas first lady Nellie Connally donated to the LBJ Library and Museum on Monday her handwritten notes of President Kennedy's assassination and the suit she wore the day he was killed in Dallas. "

Flu shots carry sting of history for some blacks  12/15/03 Black Voices 

Saddam’s Capture Means Trouble for U.S. Officials  12/15/03 Final Call: "Why wouldn’t U.S. officials readily agree to relinquish jurisdiction over Hussein’s trial? Because of their need to closely guard the secrets that Saddam Hussein has in his possession — secrets that would cause no small amount of embarrassment to the U.S. government, including former president Ronald Reagan, former vice-president and former president George H.W. Bush (the president’s father), and Donald Rumsfeld, the president’s secretary of defense."

Bush Takes a Poke at Howard Dean  12/15/03 NYT: "Dean has riled Republicans in recent weeks by tossing out a theory that Bush had advance warning from Saudi Arabia of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, suggesting Bush knew what was going to happen and did nothing to stop it. When asked about the theory, Bush at first stuck to his formulation that ``there's time for politics'' later and that he has a job to do first. But then he could not resist rejecting the theory. ``It's an absurd insinuation,'' said Bush, his eyes narrowing."

US National Anthem Opens Military Parade in Georgia  12/15/03 Rosbalt: "The US national anthem was played at the beginning of a military parade in the center of Tbilisi on December 13, and followed by the Georgian national anthem. The Georgian Defense Department said this was a demonstration of particular respect to the US, which financed the USD 64 million Training and Equipment military assistance program to Georgia."

Saddam Arrest Cheer Fades Into Iraqi Ire at U.S.  12/15/03 Washington Post: "The Americans promised freedom and prosperity; what's this? Go up to their headquarters, at one of those checkpoints where they point their guns at you, and tell them that you hate them as much as Saddam, and see what they do to you," said Mohammad Saleh, 39, a building contractor. "The only difference is that Saddam would kill you in private, where the Americans will kill you in public," he said."

"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 Americatop

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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