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    World News
1/19/03 - 1/25/04

Sunday  1/25/04

French comic's Jewish joke probed  1/25/04 Al Jazeera: while this was published 12/24/03, the story is only just out in the Washington Post, with no pic, so it is difficult to realize that the comic is African, from Cameroon - ""Everyone is so touchy about this issue.... The ones who are really suffering from racism are not the Jews, but blacks and Arabs. It is easier to make fun of Muslim fundamentalism than Israeli fundamentalism," he said in a press conference days after the programme. A minor presidential candidate in 2002 elections who once described Usama bin Ladin as the "most important personality in contemporary history", Dieudonne has sought attention with his controversial humour and comments. Last year, an appeals court acquitted him of slander after he called white Catholics "racist slavers". "

America as a One-Party State  1/25/04 American Prospect: "Today's hard right seeks total dominion. It's packing the courts and rigging the rules. The target is not the Democrats but democracy itself."

Black Americans look to France  1/25/04 Cox 

Hugo Chávez quiere imponer un modelo político absurdo y anacrónico que nos está llevando a la ruina moral  1/25/04 Desayuno, Venezuela: "Se trata del Cardenal Rosalio Castillo Lara, uno de los cuatro purpurados con que ha sido distinguido nuestro país… Acota que incluso ha hecho un diagnóstico clínico del Presidente Chávez, concluyendo que "tiene una mente enferma, es un paranoico"." Diagnostico de la Iglesia Catolica.

Still no answers for brothers held in custody in the Philippines  1/25/04 Indianapolis Recorder: at least one of the two brothers was a Panther way back when.

Saturday  1/24/04

topDisregarding the World's New Rules: America's Disingenuous War on Terror  1/24/04 AntiWar: "What is the real relation between 9/11 and Iraq, then? The former was a shock, a moral defeat, a symbolic challenge. The latter was the misguided and anachronistic response to it, from an America that has clearly failed to adapt to the new reality. Of course, the base and banal material interests alluded to above have a lot to do with explaining why the war occurred. However, on another level, the war itself could not have gone forward in the absence of a tragic misunderstanding: a sufficient number of people needed to be deceived into believing that the old rules (territorial war between states, the ascendancy of a specific political system, etc.) still held sway rather than the actual, new rules (the rules of terrorism, as seen in 9/11)."

German trial hears how Iranian agent warned US of impending al-Qaida attack  1/24/04 Guardian 

Computer reportedly seized from Frist's office - Democrats say their computers were infiltrated by GOP staffers  1/24/04 Knox News: "Federal investigators reportedly have seized a staff computer in Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's office in a probe to find Republican aides who improperly accessed Democrats' memos on opposing judicial nominees."

Who Killed Kennedy?  1/24/04 Portsmouth Herald: "Gen. Wesley Clark: You know, I have done casual reading on this. I’ve never made an exhaustive study. I believe he was the lone gunman."

Friday  1/23/04

topI Encuentro de escritores Cuba – Venezuela  1/23/04 Aporrea 

Vicepresidente Rangel: Organismos de seguridad e inteligencia venezolanos detectaron un sospechoso traslado de explosivos desde Colombia a Venezuela  1/23/04 Aporrea: "Al culminar la actividad señaló que si existen indicios reales de que el país está a las puertas de un nuevo asalto a la Constitución Nacional “por supuesto que hay indicios: primero por los informes que están manejando los organismos de seguridad e inteligencia venezolanos, de un sospechoso traslado de explosivos desde Colombia a Venezuela, estamos tras la pista de esa operación. Pero también está la información que proviene de los propios círculos de la oposición, la desesperación, la angustia, ellos saben que si pierden el tren del revocatorio, lo han perdido prácticamente todo”."

GOP downplays reading of memos - 'Fact sheet' asserts no rules, laws broken  1/23/04 Boston Globe 

Bush, Marriage, and Iraq  1/23/04 Future of Freedom: "The headline on the front page of the January 14, 2004, edition of the New York Times read, “Bush Plans $1.5 Billion Drive for Promotion of Marriage.” According to administration officials, the money would be used to train couples to develop interpersonal skills in order to sustain “healthy marriages.” This from a president who belongs to the Republican Party, the party that once claimed to stand for limited government and fiscal discipline. Bush’s proposal is further proof that “compassionate conservatism” is just a euphemism for big-government conservatism."

Global Eye – Royal Flush  1/23/04 Moscow Times: "To carry out this choice bit of war profiteering, Halliburton hooked up with Altanmia Marketing of Kuwait. Altanmia was given exclusive rights to ship Kuwaiti gasoline to Iraq -- "even though it had no prior experience transporting fuel," U.S. Congressional investigators report. So what is the firm's actual expertise? Investments, real estate -- and acting as "representative agents for companies trading in military and nuclear, biological and chemical equipment," The Wall Street Journal reports. In other words, Halliburton's new partner traffics in the essential elements of WMD -- the very stuff whose spread and sale the United States is ostensibly dedicated to stopping around the world. Ostensibly. But as always with the Bushists, the rhetoric of "security" is a thin rag to cover their unquenchable thirst for state-supported brigandage."

Nixon's Successes Could Guide Bush to Re-Election  1/23/04 Pacific News 

A search they'll come to regret  1/23/04 Toronto Star: "Demonstrating how fast that pressure is rising, Martin was forced into an awkward denial that Canada is becoming a police state."

Thursday  1/22/04

topGOP staffers in Senate accused of infiltrating files  1/22/04 Boston Globe: "From spring 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings in which judicial nominees Democrats would fight and with what tactics were discussed. The office of Senate Sergeant at Arms William Pickle has launched an investigation into how excerpts from 15 Democratic memos showed up in the pages of the conservative-leaning newspapers and were posted to a Web site last November."

Infiltration of files seen as extensive - Senate panel's GOP staff pried on Democrats  1/22/04 Boston Globe 

Iraq may be on path to civil war, CIA officials warn  1/22/04 Knight Ridder 

Government attacks on MLK show need to protect rights  1/22/04 Radio Progresso: "On Nov. 23, 2003, reporters revealed an internal FBI memo showing that the agency has closely monitored antiwar organizations that demonstrated against the Bush administration's belligerent foreign policy. The FBI, which had previously denied the charges, fessed up, but argued that it narrowly limits its surveillance to criminal elements. But the document shows the government singling out even entirely legal activities such as online fundraising and videotaping arrests at protests to record police abuses. In May 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced new FBI guidelines that, with the help of the Patriot Act, allow the agency to have undercover agents infiltrate church groups and political organizations, even without any evidence of a criminal activity. Julian Bond, a prominent 1960s civil rights activist and current chair of the NAACP, recently quipped that we now live in the times of “J. Edgar Ashcroft.” "

Monterrey summit: A media post-mortem  1/22/04 Radio Progresso 

Al-Qaida will do Whatever it Takes to Assure Bush is Re-elected  1/22/04 Salt Lake City Tribune: "Terrorists generally rant about their goals but stay silent about their strategies, so now we have to do a little work for ourselves. If the real goal is still revolutions that bring Islamist radicals to power, then how does attacking the West help? Well, the U.S. in particular may be goaded into retaliating by bombing or even invading various Muslim countries -- and in doing so, may drive enough aggrieved Muslims into the arms of the Islamist radicals that their long-stalled revolutions against local regimes finally get off the ground. Most analysts outside the United States long ago concluded that that was the principal motive for the 9-11 attack. They would add that by giving the Bush administration a reason to attack Afghanistan, and at least a flimsy pretext for invading Iraq, al-Qaida's attacks have paid off handsomely. U.S. troops are now the unwelcome military rulers of more than 50 million Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq, and people there and elsewhere are turning to the Islamist radicals as the only force in the Muslim world that is willing and able to defy American power. It is astonishing how little this is understood in the United States. I know of no American analyst who has even made the obvious point that al-Qaida wants Bush to win next November's presidential election and continue his interventionist policies in the Middle East for another four years, and will act to save Bush from defeat if necessary."

Wednesday  1/21/04

topBush Pushes Plan to Permit Internet Surveillance  1/21/04 AntiWar: "This is a bad treaty that not only threatens core liberties, but will obligate the United States to use extraordinary powers to do the dirty work of other nations," says Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the oldest civil rights group in the country. "We are opposed to this treaty," says Cedric Laurent, a senior policy fellow at the Electronic Privacy Information Centre (EPIC), a public interest research group based in Washington, DC that specialises in issues of democracy and technology. The treaty criminalizes acts such as hacking and the production, sale or distribution of hacking tools, and expands criminal liability for intellectual property violations that nations must have on their books as crimes. So far, only four countries – Albania, Estonia, Hungary and Croatia – have ratified the treaty since it opened for signatures in 2001."

"Eco-imperialism" in New York  1/21/04 GM Watch: "A conference that its organisers say will make "eco-imperialism" a household word is taking place at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers, New York, Tuesday. According to the title of the event "eco-imperialism" is, "The global green movement's war on the developing world's poor". Opposition to GM crops, it is claimed, is part of that "war". The conference is being organised by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). CORE styles itself "one of America's premier civil rights organizations". Its national spokesperson Niger Innis says, "We intend to stop this callous eco-manslaughter". "

Nora Castañeda, head of Venezuela’s Women’s Bank, coming to San Francisco  1/21/04 SF Bay View: "Nora Castañeda, president of the Women’s Development Bank of Venezuela, now on a U.S. tour, will speak in San Francisco on Thursday, Jan. 29… Event sponsors actor and activist Danny Glover, who was recently in Venezuela, Hari Dillon, president of the Vanguard Foundation, Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers Union, KPFA Station Manager Gus Newport and others will participate in the event. San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano has put forward a resolution to declare Jan. 29 Nora Castañeda Day in San Francisco. Selma James, London-based widow of “Black Jacobins” author CLR James, the international coordinator of the Global Women’s Strike, which is hosting Ms. Castañeda’s U.S. tour, and Nina Lopez of the GWS Bolivarian Circle/UK will provide introductory remarks and translation… Calling attention to the lives of Venezuelans of African descent, Nora Castañeda says: “As a Mestiza (the Venezuelan name for those of African, Indigenous and other mixed race descent), I don’t face as much discrimination as a Black woman who is discriminated against for being poor, Black and a woman. If I say I am Black, people tell me, ‘No, you’re not Black; you’re Mestiza.’ And when they call me Mestiza they are saying that I don’t face as much discrimination as a Black woman does. But I am Black, because there is Black in my veins and I will not forget it.” Martin Luther King Day was recently declared a national holiday in Venezuela."

Chucho Garcia Interview - Racism and Racial Divides in Venezuela  1/21/04 Venezuela Analysis: "However, the TransAfrica Forum delegation, in its final press conference in Venezuela, made this its central topic, saying that, yes, racism in Venezuela is alive and well, despite the fact that practically all Venezuelans that they spoke to denied it. They mentioned several incidents that seemed fairly obvious to them, such as news commentators referring to their trip as being a “burned” tour – in a reference to their skin color. Also, a prominent opposition spokesperson referred to the delegation as “monkeys” – a fairly common deprecatory term Venezuelans use for people of African descent. Also, the cartoonist of one of the major newspapers, El Nacional’s Zapata, caricatured their visit, making obvious negative reference to their racial background… The Afro-Venezuelan network has compiled a list of over 1,000 racist comments that have appeared in Venezuela’s media in the past year and half… Unfortunately, all of this is awfully unscientific and will probably thus not convince the majority of Venezuelans who have been raised by the notion that there is no racism in Venezuela. The need to research and find hard data on racism in Venezuela is, however, precisely one of the demands of Venezuela’s Afro-Venezuelan network."

TransAfrica Forum Delegation Left Venezuela With a Very Positive Image of the Bolivarian Project  1/21/04 Venezuela Analysis: "After their return to the US, Venezuelanalysis contacted Mr. Bill Fletcher in his office in Washington DC, from where he kindly agreed to an exclusive interview which we now present to our audience… What is your view, after having visited Venezuela, about what Venezuelans think of the Chavez administration? It was interesting to see regular people everywhere waving the Venezuelan constitution. This is quite different from the people in the US. People made very clear to us that the constitution represents the kind of society they want to live in. We did not detect any preconditioning on the part of the people for this genuine feeling. We also noticed that the anti-Chavez sentiment is real, especially in the media. Racism was directed not only to Chavez and his followers, but also to our delegation, making racial remarks against us in newspaper cartoons, e-mail that we received, and newspaper editorials. The opposition to Mr. Chavez did not respect the point made by our delegation and dismissed us without taking seriously our observations and analysis."

Chavez Appoints Brother as Ambassador to Cuba  1/21/04 VOA 

Tuesday  1/20/04

topKerry Shakes Up Race With Decisive Win  1/20/04 AP: "With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, Kerry had 38 percent, Edwards 32 percent, Dean 18 percent and Gephardt 11 percent. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio was at 1 percent."

Rallies Apply King's Message to Issues  1/20/04 AP 

Israeli fighter jets strike south Lebanon  1/20/04 Guardian: "Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officials said that Israeli warplanes hit Hizbullah bases in the Bekaa Valley, the area of south Lebanon that is closest to the Syrian border. Israel's Channel Two TV said that at least four explosions were heard. There were two targets but no immediate reports of casualties, the report said. The air strike followed a border incident yesterday, in which Hizbullah guerrillas fired an anti-tank missile at a bulldozer clearing explosives. An Israeli soldier was killed and another seriously wounded. The Israeli army today changed its account of the border incident to acknowledge that the soldier killed in the clash had actually been on Lebanese and not Israeli soil at the time."

Monday  1/19/04

topBlack students walk out on Jeb Bush's MLK day speech at FAMU  1/19/04 AP 

Ethiopian Genocide  1/19/04 In These Times: "The United States, which gave Ethiopia $32 million in foreign aid last year, is investigating the massacre, in which eyewitnesses say uniformed Ethiopian soldiers were aided in the murder of more than 400 members of the Anuak tribe. The charge is being made by dozens of refugees who live in the United States who spoke by telephone to surviving relatives. During the last decade more than 2,000 Anuak have settled in the United States after fleeing ethnic cleansing—said to be carried out by rival tribes backed by the Ethiopian government… The Anuak have lived for centuries in a verdant western region of Ethiopia. There are active gold pits and oil reserves on the Anuak’s ancestral land, resources the Ethiopian government covets. Over the past decade the Anuak have pressed the factional government in Addis Ababa for a share in the projected development of these resources and have been answered in political subjugation, physical beatings and now the government-led pogrom."

US warns of imminent threat to US interests in Caracas  1/19/04 Petroleum World: "In a notice to Americans in Venezuela, the US embassy in Caracas said an attack on a US target might occur in a three-day window beginning on Sunday and signalled that it might involve a bombing."

Coalition faces new battlefront  1/19/04 Scotsman: "As Americans flood Iraq’s airwaves with radio stations playing harmless Western and Arab pop tunes, the young are turning elsewhere for their musical inspiration. They turn to artists like Sabah al-Jenabi who sings: "America has come and occupied Baghdad. The army and people have weapons and ammunition. Let’s go fight and call out the name of God." Banned from the air, such songs are proving increasingly popular in the CD and tape shops of Baghdad, Fallujah and Ramadi… "I like the music and the lyrics," says Mr Hossein, a member of Iraq’s Shia majority, which was oppressed under Saddam. "I don’t know why. I don’t agree with what it’s saying. It just makes me feel good." ...Fatima Daher al-Rubaie, a musicologist at Baghdad’s College of Fine Arts, said the music is part of Iraq’s traditional folklore. Originally, this music was limited to religious occasions, she said, but now it’s increasingly used for political purposes. "Even when I listen to this music I feel emotionally affected," she said. "The build-up in rhythms really builds up emotions. It’s very captivating music." "

Columnist patronizes poor ol' Danny Glover using religious pilgrimage as racial front  1/19/04 Vheadlines 

"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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