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    World News
4/12/03 - 4/18/04

Sunday  4/18/04

All roads to Baghdad close  4/18/04 ABC: "Military spokesman Mark Kimmitt says motorists would be directed to alternate roads. He dismissed suggestions that the closure was due to posters and flyers being distributed around Baghdad warning people to stay at home this week because of a major offensive to be launched by insurgents and said if the fight were taken to the capital, the First Cavalry Division would be waiting."

Three UN police officers dead in Kosovo over Iraq row: UN sources  4/18/04 AFP: ""Three international officers, two from the United States and one from Jordan, have died and another 11 have been injured. Some are in serious condition," he told AFP. Hospital sources in the town -- the scene of deadly ethnic riots last month between Albanian and Serb populations -- said one of the dead was an American woman. A fellow officer, a US citizen, described the incident as a clash over the US role in Iraq. "They quarrelled over the situation in Iraq," he said. "Everything started when the Middle Eastern guys told the American police officers that the US has occupied Iraq like every other country. The Americans were pissed off by these accusations. "Suddenly one Jordanian started shooting," the UN policeman said."

Spanish Leader Pulling Troops From Iraq  4/18/04 AP: "Spain's prime minister on Sunday ordered Spanish troops pulled out of Iraq (news - web sites) as soon as possible, fulfilling a campaign pledge to a nation recovering from terrorist bombings that al-Qaida militants said were reprisal for Spain's support of the war… Though Zapatero had promised to remove Spanish troops, his immediate action was a bombshell, and a setback for the United States as Spain's new foreign minister prepared to travel to Washington to discuss the dispute. The Bush administration has been eager to maintain an international veneer on the increasingly besieged coalition force in Iraq, which is dominated by its 130,000 American troops… The latest polls show 72 percent of Spaniards want the troops withdrawn."

U.S. General Puts Syria On Notice: Help, Or Risk Stability  4/18/04 AP 

Saudi policy shift  4/18/04 Jane's: published 3/11 - "The Saudis are turning away from the US and towards Russia, China and Europe all of whom opposed the war in Iraq and are at odds with the Bush administration to some degree. On 26 January, the Russian oil giant Lukoil signed a contract for exploration and production of natural gas in the Rub al-Khali area, the first deal of its kind with a Russian company. Over the following two days, Saudi Arabia also signed a similar deal with China's state-owned Sinopec Group and with a European consortium headed by Italy's Eni and Spain's Repsol. Last year, European majors Royal Dutch/Shell and Total of France were awarded a similar exploration-production contract. US oil companies were conspicuous by their absence and the political message was clear. ChevronTexaco had bid for all three of the latest deals but was excluded by the Saudis after several years of negotiations. That has left Chevron and other US oil companies out of the upstream gas ventures that outsiders hope will eventually give them a stake in Saudi Arabia's oil industry, which was nationalised in 1975. The trio of new contracts are small measured against Saudi Arabia's vast hydrocarbon reserves but they have created potentially important new alliances outside the US orbit. Russia is the world's second biggest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and a potential rival of the kingdom, and has long sought a political and economic foothold in the region." Will this result in Euro denominated oil?

Swept Under the Rug - Customs Internal Corruption Investigator: "We Were Getting Too Close"  4/18/04 NarcoNews: "The interagency tiff set off by the handling of the tapes exposing two Customs inspectors as being in league with drug traffickers, as well as other ongoing case-related tensions among the task force members, prompted the U.S. Attorney’s Office to withdraw from Firestorm in early December 1990, according to congressional documents. By the end of the month, the task force was dead in the water."

Pre-9/11 Files Show Warnings Were More Dire and Persistent  4/18/04 NYT: "But now, after three weeks of extraordinary public hearings and a dozen detailed reports, the lengthy documentary record makes clear that predictions of an attack by Al Qaeda had been communicated directly to the highest levels of the government. The threat reports were more clear, urgent and persistent than was previously known. Some focused on Al Qaeda's plans to use commercial aircraft as weapons. Others stated that Osama bin Laden was intent on striking on United States soil. Many were passed to the Federal Aviation Administration. While some of the intelligence went back years, other warnings — including one that Al Qaeda seemed interested in hijacking a plane inside this country — had been delivered to the president on Aug. 6, 2001, just a month before the attacks."

More on the Saudi private jet flights right after 9/11  4/18/04 Peter Dale Scott: "All four flights carried members of the Saudi royal family. The first, from Lexington, Kentucky to London, 9/15/01, also carried a young man, Ahmad A.M. Alhazmi, with the same family name as Nawaf Alhazmi, one of the hijackers. There is nothing to connect the two Alhazmis directly. But the hijacker Nawaf had already been connected in press stories to the Saudi royal family, as the recipient of funds coming indirectly from the wife of Prince Bandar, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States."

Rage and despair: Liberal Israelis and Palestinians say President Bush's embrace of Ariel Sharon's proposal may have killed the last chance for peace.  4/18/04 Salon 

Death set to ignite tinderbox in Iraq  4/18/04 Sunday Herald, UK: "The 2500 US troops massed on the outskirts of Najaf to kill or arrest al-Sadr and his followers have been warned that to cross the ‘‘red lines’’ into the holy city would spell outright war with Iraqi counter-insurgents that would quickly escalate into a religious uprising against the US occupiers. Even moderate Shiite clerics have declared that if there is bloodshed in Najaf there will be fury across Iraq. The Iman Ali shrine in Najaf and the nearby Kufa mosque are among the holiest sites in Shiite Islam."

Sunni group says it supports Shiite cleric  4/18/04 Sydney Morning Herald: "A Sunni Muslim association in Iraq yesterday said it supported the Shi'ite cleric wanted by US-led forces, and called on all Iraqis to evict the occupying troops. Mohamed Ayash al-Kubaisi, representative of the Muslim Clerics Association abroad, told Arab television Al Arabiya all Iraqis resisting the US-led occupation were working towards the same goal, including radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. "We support him (Sadr) and he supports us in this resistance. We are in one boat and are responsible for protecting this boat," Kubaisi said, adding his group has issued fatwas, or religious edicts, for ending the occupation."

US holding 200 Iraqi 'mutineers'  4/18/04 Sydney Morning Herald: "Soldiers from the Baghdad-based 36th Security Brigade, part of the Iraqi Civil Defence Corps (ICDC), said that last week US commanders took them at night to Fallujah, west of the capital, where US forces were massing to crush a growing insurgency. "They told us to attack the city and we were astonished. How could an Iraqi fight an Iraqi like this? This meant that nothing had changed from the Saddam Hussein days. We refused en masse," said Ali al-Shamari… "I escaped, but around 200 of our comrades remain there. We demand their release," Shamari said."

Revolts in Iraq Deepen Crisis In Occupation  4/18/04 Washington Post: ""When the fighting is over in Fallujah, I will sell everything I have, even my home," said a resistance fighter who gave his name as Abu Taif Mashhadani. He wept as he recalled his 8-year-old daughter, who he said was killed by a U.S. sniper in Fallujah a week ago. "I will send my brothers north to kill the Kurds, and I will go to America and target the civilians. Only the civilians. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. And the one who started it will be the one to be blamed." "

Saturday  4/17/04

topUS attack on Iraqi city fought off  4/17/04 Al Jazeera: "Witnesses told Aljazeera several US soldiers had been injured in the attack. "US helicopters were seen transferring the injured to hospital," the witnesses added. Columns of smoke were seen rising from the base. The city is totally paralysed, reported the correspondent. Only armed resistance fighters are seen in the streets, he added."

Saddam's capture revisited  4/17/04 Asia Times 

America quietly sacks its prize witness against Saddam  4/17/04 Independent: "Once he was a prize witness before congressional committees, arguing that the US must invade Iraq immediately because Saddam Hussein possessed a fearsome arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Given a top job in Baghdad after the war, he has now been quietly sacked by the US authorities. Khidir Hamza was the dissident Iraqi nuclear scientist who played an important role persuading Americans to go to war in Iraq. His credentials appeared impeccable because he claimed to have headed Saddam's nuclear programme before defecting in 1994… Dr Hamza seldom turned up for work. He obstructed others from doing their jobs. On 4 March, his contract was not renewed by the CPA. It is now trying to evict him from his house in the heavily guarded "Green Zone" where the CPA has its headquarters."

6 Marines, scores of Iraqis killed in fierce battle  4/17/04 KRT: "Six Marines were killed and scores of insurgent Iraqis slain in a fierce 14-hour battle Saturday between Marines and mujahedeen fighters who slipped into this town near the Syrian border. According to Marines, an estimated 300 Iraqis from Fallujah and Ramadi launched an assault against the Americans in Husaybah around 8 a.m. local time, beginning with a roadside bombing and a flurry of 24 mortars… At least nine Marines were injured and about 20 Iraqis captured, Marines said. The detainees were taken to Camp Al-Qaim late Saturday night for questioning. All of the Marines were killed in the first hour of the fighting, four of them when they went to clear out a house where Iraqi fighters were hiding."

"Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy" a/k/a the Kerry Report transcripts  4/17/04 Memory Hole: "The rare landmark Senate hearings on the narco-corruption of officials and intelligence agencies in the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Chaired by Senator John Kerry."

Mutiny in the Ranks  4/17/04 MSNBC: "“The American officers did not reveal anything about the nature of the task they wanted us to accomplish, and we didn’t even know where we were going,” says Zubaidy, a Shiite. (Despite requests from NEWSWEEK to interview U.S. officers at the Taji base about the incident, they declined to comment.) The Iraqi soldiers were brought to Shulla, an impoverished community where adrenaline-charged Shiite militants were angry about the detention of one of Sadr’s top aides. Zubaidy said that his U.S. officers ordered Iraqi soldiers to open fire on the angry crowd in Shulla. “The American officers hysterically ordered us to shoot the 'traitors',” he recalls, “We were not asked beforehand to go fight our people in Shulla. If we had been….we would have resigned at the camp right away.” Many Iraqi soldiers refused to fire, abandoned their weapons and fled from the scene, says Zubaidy. Another soldier from the battalion, Hamid Tamimi from Dijeil district in Salahuddin province, says some Iraqi troops even turned against the Americans and opened fire on U.S. personnel while chanting slogans and songs glorifying Sadr and his late father. A number of Iraqi soldiers did stay by the side of the Americans, Tamimi says, mostly from Kurdish militias. But most soldiers from Iraq’s predominately Shiite southern cities fought against the Americans, he alleges. A number of residents in Shulla, some of whom took up arms against U.S. troops, have similar accounts. Hayder al-Maliki, 26, received minor wounds in the leg and the scalp from U.S. gunfire. He alleges that he witnessed American personnel open fire on Iraqi soldiers they refused to fight alongside the U.S. and sided with pro-Sadr forces. “In the beginning the Americans tried to push the Iraqi army into the fight. But when many of them declined, the Americans started to shoot at them”—and even incited other Iraqi soldiers to “shoot their friends in the army,” he says. His account could not be independently confirmed."

Pakistani-American Rapper Stirs 'Controversy'  4/17/04 NCM: "In the case of Ahmad Jilani or TJ Kool as he is professionally known, the love of music and song have culminated in his first English-Urdu-Punjabi CD, a lyrical journey that he has called “Controversy,” which somewhat accurately describes the response that this collection is bound to generate from within our community."

Powell Said to Have Warned Bush Before the War, a New Book Says  4/17/04 NYT: "Mr. Woodward's account quickly provoked speculation in Washington that Mr. Powell might have cooperated with Mr. Woodward as the book was being prepared in an effort to distance himself from the Iraq war."

Iraq Said Spark for UN Kosovo Police Fight, 3 Die  4/17/04 Reuters: "The deputy head of the Serb hospital in Mitrovica, Milan Ivanovic, said one of the dead was an American woman, who was hit along with four female U.S. police colleagues. U.N. police sources said four Jordanian police officers had been arrested in connection with the shooting, but could give no further details on the cause. A police source said it began with a row over Iraq."

America's Internet terrorist  4/17/04 Straits Times: "The face he presented to the public was that of a studious family man, but his 'private face' was that of a man who promoted 'extreme jihad' and 'provided recruitment and funding for terrorism', the prosecutor said. In a case that tests the contours of federal statutes barring 'material support' for terrorists and terrorist organisations, the federal authorities are seeking to prove that the use of the Internet to promote and recruit for jihad constitutes such support. Defence lawyers contend that Hussayen's Internet activity amounted to constitutionally protected free speech."

Kerry assails Cheney, Rove on Vietnam They 'went out of their way to avoid' service, candidate says  4/17/04 Washington Post: "Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said Friday he is tired of having his commitment to national security questioned by Republicans who never served in the military, and he singled out Vice President Dick Cheney and White House senior adviser Karl Rove by name, saying they "went out of their way to avoid" service during the Vietnam War. In unusually pointed and personal language, Kerry condemned his rivals, who are airing a television commercial that questions the judgment of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on national security issues and attacks him for voting against the $87 billion authorization funding for Iraq and Afghanistan."

Friday  4/16/04

topU.S. general cites progress in tightening control of Iraqi border with Syria  4/16/04 AP: "Marines have had great success in shutting off the flow of foreign fighters across Iraq's border with Syria in recent days, a senior U.S. general said Friday. Maj. Gen. John Sattler, director of operations for Central Command, said a number of Marines have been killed in the process. He said security concerns prevented him from saying how many died, how many are involved in the border-sealing effort or how many infiltrators they caught." They are claiming better success than on the US Mexico border...

How Haiti's Sacrifice is Uniting the African Union, CARICOM  4/16/04 Black Commentator 

US agents grill Bush Radio man  4/16/04 Cape Argus, SA: "Cape Town radio man Zane Ibrahim was taken off an international flight minutes after it landed at Baltimore airport by United States Homeland Security personnel and interrogated for almost 12 hours. Ibrahim, an award-winning journalist and managing director of Bush Radio, had flown to the US from Cape Town via Amsterdam to deliver a keynote address on 10 years of South African democracy at a conference at Goucher College, near Baltimore. Ibrahim said today by telephone from the US that his aircraft was still on the runway when guards boarded the flight, removed him, strip-searched him and interrogated him in the airport building for nearly 12 hours yesterday… "I don't know what was wrong with these people, but they seemed really angry about an anti-war campaign we had running on Bush Radio, called Bush Against War." Ibrahim said that when he did not appear at the airport, colleagues who were there to meet him made inquiries and eventually he was released, without an apology. "They simply told me that I could go about my business, but I should remember that they were keeping a very close eye on me." "

In Saudi Arabia, fresh recruits for Al Qaeda  4/16/04 CSM: ""Despite the large security presence and substantial reward money offered by the government, suspects still enjoy cover within Saudi society and continue to hide and remain in and around the capital," says Mansour al-Nogaidan, a columnist for the newspaper Al Riyadh. Many of the terrorism suspects killed in police shootouts are not on the list of wanted men issued by authorities, indicating that new faces are joining the group. "The picture the authorities had of Al Qaeda's strength in Saudi Arabia was not accurate. They have more sympathizers and fighters than they thought, and their language of violence continues to find takers here and support among a segment of Saudi society that shares the common religious ideology of Wahhabism," says Adel al-Toraifi, a columnist at the newspaper Al Watan."

Militants refuse to lay down arms: Fresh operation feared in South Waziristan  4/16/04 Dawn: "Abdullah Mehsud, a man with an artificial leg, while speaking on behalf of the wanted men, refused to surrender. "Pakistan obeys the orders of the United States while we are subservient to Allah. We are willing to talk in accordance with the injunctions of Quran and Sunnah and the principles of riwaj," he told the jirga. "We have no other option. We cannot break the commands of Allah. We wish to die and become martyrs and we are ready to die," a seemingly relaxed Mehsud told the jirga, which heard him in silence. Nek Mohammad, one of the most-wanted militants accused of sheltering and supporting foreign militants, said they had been victims of military excesses. "Our houses have been demolished and our orchards ravaged," he said."

Shia leader draws 'red line' round Najaf as US troops mass outside  4/16/04 Guardian: "Iraq's most powerful Shia spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, warned the United States against entering the holy city of Najaf in pursuit of his militant rival, Moqtada al-Sadr, it was reported yesterday. A senior Shia source told Reuters that Ayatollah Sistani had declared Najaf a "red line"."

Afro-Colombians: 'Invisible' People Strive to Survive War, Racism  4/16/04 NCM: "Ingrid Vaicius, a Colombia Project Associate at the Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C., said the “invisibility” of Colombians of African descent stems from their staying to themselves on the Pacific Coast. And, she said, the Colombian government does not want to admit that its poorest and most marginalized citizens are Black. “The secret is out now because of so many Blacks being displaced from their farms and turning up in cities such as Bogotá, the Colombian capital. They have the worst education, and now they are at every stoplight begging and this is causing people to question why this is happening,” Ms. Vaicius explained… He and the other two activists also pointed out that U.S. foreign policy and militarization of the fight against drugs through “Plan Colombia” has displaced huge numbers of Blacks. “Plan Colombia,” started in 1999 under President Bill Clinton, was launched to stop cocaine production by supplying the Colombian government with helicopters and other aircraft to spray fields as well as military assistance. The U.S. gave $2.5 billion of aid. Critics say the operation has clearly caused more harm than good, with the brunt of Plan Colombia borne the backs of farmers. They complain that insecticides sprayed to kill coca plants often destroy food crops. Many also suspect the U.S. wants access to Colombia’s oil reserves and natural resources, like gold, silver and copper."

US Troops in Fallujah to Be Repositioned  4/16/04 VOA: "The U.S. military has agreed to reposition troops in the Iraqi city of Fallujah following direct talks with city officials aimed at ending two weeks of violence in the city. Negotiators say the troops are being moved to allow residents direct access to the city's main hospital. Another meeting between U.S. officials, members of Iraq's Governing Council and Fallujah representatives is scheduled for today (Saturday)… In Portugal, Interior Minister Antonio Figueiredo says his country may pull its 128 peacekeepers out of Iraq if the situation there continues to worsen."

Thursday  4/15/04

topA Curious Backdrop for the 9/11 Hearings: Richard A. Clark, Rwanda, and 'Narcissistic Compassion'  4/15/04 Black Commentator: "Clarke, Power shows, was a dark force behind U.S. rejection of an aggressive plan to save Rwandan lives put forth by Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian general who commanded the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda at the time of the genocide. The empty U.S. proposal advanced by Clarke to counter Dallaire, Power shows, abandoned “the most vulnerable Rwandans, awaiting salvations deep inside Rwanda.” It falsely assuming (or pretended to assume) “that the people most in need were refugees fleeing to the border” and could actually make it to the border (p. 21). “My mission,” Dallaire told Power, “was to save Rwandans. Their [the U.S.] mission was to put on a show at no risk” (p. 22)."

John Kerry: Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory  4/15/04 Black Commentator 

Siege of Fallujah polarizing Iraqis  4/15/04 CSM: "Fallujah has created a major polarization of Iraqi public opinion. There is no middle ground any more,'' says an adviser to the CPA. "Two weeks ago Iraqis wanted to see us make promises and deliver on them - rebuild, improve - but then they saw pictures of US bombs falling on a mosque in Fallujah. Now they want us out."

Hardline American diplomat handed top job in Baghdad  4/15/04 Independent: "Mr Negroponte, 64, has a reputation as a hardened diplomat who attracted considerable controversy as the US ambassador to Honduras in the early Eighties when he was instrumental in assisting the Contras overthrow a leftist regime in Nicaragua. He has always denied allegations that he turned a blind eye to human rights violations, including death squads, in the region in that period." Make that assisting the Miami Mafia and their narcotraficante death squads.

Memoirs from the “architect of Black Power”  4/15/04 Progreso Weekly 

Purported Bin Laden Tape Offers Truce to Europe-TV  4/15/04 Reuters: "Arab television stations aired a new audio tape purportedly from Osama bin Laden on Thursday offering a truce with European states if they stop attacking Muslims, but not with the United States. The voice on the tape, broadcast by Dubai-based Al Arabiya channel and then by Qatar-based Al Jazeera station, said there would be no truce with the United States. The taped message also vowed revenge on Israel for the death of a Hamas leader."

U.S. Will Be Forced to Leave Iraq in Humiliation: Leader  4/15/04 Teheran Times 

Militia chief signals end of uprising  4/15/04 Telegraph, UK: "Sources close to the cleric said he had dropped his demand that American forces pull back from Najaf and release prisoners before he would enter talks. Haider Aziz, one of Sadr's translators, disclosed the radical leader's peace terms: "He does not want to be attacked, he wants his personal safety and he wants coalition forces to withdraw from Najaf.""

Wednesday  4/14/04

topRedaction Alert! White House edits Aug. 6 presidential briefing, then claims it's been "declassified."  4/14/04 Anti War: "The text of the PDB released by the White House is one and a half pages long. But, according to an article by intelligence expert Oliver Schröm, the original document was much longer: "Crawford, August 6, 2001. George W. Bush is on vacation. He wanted to spend the whole month at his ranch in Texas. 'The Presidential Daily Brief' was part of his morning routine. In the PDB, as it's called in CIA jargon, a senior CIA official presents the President with a summary of the security situation. On this morning the CIA Director personally briefs the President. Instead of the usual two or three pages, today's briefing paper consists of eleven and a half printed pages and carries the title 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.'" Schröm's article, entitled "Deadly Mistakes," was published in Die Zeit, a respected German weekly, on October 2, 2002."

Return to Haiti The American Learning Zone  4/14/04 Counterpunch: "We heard from people who witnessed night--time raids against Lavalas. In one case in the poor neighborhood of Bel Air, we were told U.S. helicopters came with blinding lights, heavily armed U.S. fired into crowds, killing between five and twenty persons (March 17). Members of our group interviewed relatives of victims and eyewitnesses to this attack. In case after case, we were told that known criminals and former army men were incorporated into the police. They harassed or beat Lavalas supporters and hounded for "arrest" former government officials. A stream of people came to see us from their hiding places at great risk to tell us this. Jeremy was one. Now 21, he met Aristide at age 11. He worked for Children's Radio (Radio Ti Moun) funded by Aristide's foundation. Jeremy tearfully recalled the past month: He fled the radio station as it was trashed. He was chased and saw his young companions beaten. He ran from his aunt's house as three former military came looking for him. They shot his aunt and she died on the way to the hospital. This happened a week before we arrived. Jeremy had been afraid to go to her funeral. Haiti should be a learning zone for all Americans who would understand and counter the imperial U.S. policy of intervention world--wide. If the U.S. can get away with covert and overt support for a "rebellion" in Haiti led by former military and para--military, many of whom have been convicted of murders and other human rights violations dating to the last coup, it will be psyched for similar operations in Venezuela and perhaps even in Cuba. The evidence is clear: U.S. weapons (intended for the Dominican army) were smuggled into Haiti by former Haitian military and para--military, many of whom were trained and long funded by the CIA and other U.S. agents. U.S. money, both government and private, flowed into the coffers of NGOs attached to the "opposition" -- the right--wing Convergence and the neo--liberal "Group of 184," led by the Haitian business elite (including the sweat--shop owners) and widely publicized by the ultra--conservative "Haiti Democracy Project"(HDP) in Washington, D.C. Among the funders and organizers of the opposition were the IRI and NDI, the international NGOs closely tied to the U.S. Republican and Democrat Parties respectively. IRI and HDP operatives were present at meetings organized by FRAPH (a CIA--funded para--military group) and former Haitian military in the Dominican Republic -- at which Dominican authorities claimed plans were laid a year ago for a Haitian coup."

French Defense Minister to visit Haiti amid Police Firings  4/14/04 Prensa Latina, Cuba 

‘Tell the T.R.U.T.H. about Haiti!’  4/14/04 SF Bay View: "Congresswoman Barbara Lee, co-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Haiti Task Force, last month introduced the T.R.U.T.H. (The Responsibility to Uncover the Truth about Haiti) Act, H.R. 3919, which calls for an independent bipartisan commission to uncover the facts about the Bush administration’s involvement in the recent coup d’état in Haiti. The bill was co-sponsored by Congressman John Conyers and 23 other members of the Congressional Black Caucus. She and other experts and eyewitnesses will discuss the bill and the situation on the ground in Haiti at a forum tonight, Wednesday, April 14, 7 p.m., at the First Congregational Church, 27th St. and Harrison, in Oakland."

Radiation in Iraq equals 250,000 Nagasaki bombs  4/14/04 SF Bay View: "Seems an admiral who is the former chief of the naval staff of India wanted to know how much radiation this represented. He also wanted to express the amount in a figure that the world, especially the non-American world, could easily understand. The admiral decided to figure out how many Nagasaki atom bombs it would take to deliver the equivalent of the total amount of radiation deployed in Iraq in 2003 in Four Million Pounds of uranium… The admiral in India calculated the number of radioactive atoms in the Nagasaki bomb and compared it with the number in the 4,000,000 pounds of uranium left in Iraq from the 2003 war. Now, believe me, it is a lot more complex than that; but, that is essentially what the experts in India did. How many Nagasaki nuclear bombs equal the radiation loosed in the 2003 Iraq war? Answer: About 250,000 nuclear bombs. How many Nagasaki nuclear bombs equal the radiation loosed in the last five American nuclear wars? Answer: about 400,000 nuclear bombs."

Iraqi 'beaten to death' by US troops  4/14/04 The Australian: "AN Iraqi has died of his wounds after US troops beat him with truncheons because he refused to remove a picture of wanted Shiite Muslim leader Moqtada Sadr from his car, police said today."

Tuesday  4/13/04

topAmericans Slaughtering Civilians in Fallujah  4/13/04 Antiwar: "As we neared Falluja, there were groups of children on the sides of the road handing out water and bread to people coming into Falluja. They began literally throwing stacks of flat bread into the bus. The fellowship and community spirit was unbelievable. Everyone was yelling for us, cheering us on, groups speckled along the road… As I was there, an endless stream of women and children who'd been sniped by the Americans were being raced into the dirty clinic, the cars speeding over the curb out front as their wailing family members carried them in. One woman and small child had been shot through the neck – the woman was making breathy gurgling noises as the doctors frantically worked on her amongst her muffled moaning. The small child, his eyes glazed and staring into space, continually vomited as the doctors raced to save his life. After 30 minutes, it appeared as though neither of them would survive. One victim of American aggression after another was brought into the clinic, nearly all of them women and children… We ran for a nearby wall to hunker down, afraid it was dropping cluster bombs. There had been reports of this, as two of the last victims that arrived at the clinic were reported by the locals to have been hit by cluster bombs – they were horribly burned and their bodies shredded." [So much for the American general's statement that the casualties were 95% terrorists.]

Negroponte May Become Baghdad Ambassador  4/13/04 AP: "Negroponte's nomination for the U.N. post was confirmed by the Senate in September 2001 after a half-year delay caused mostly by criticism of his record as the U.S. ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985. There he played a prominent role in assisting the Contras in Nicaragua in their war with the left-wing Sandinista government, which was aligned with Cuba and the Soviet Union. For weeks before his Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Negroponte was questioned by staff members on whether he had acquiesced to human rights abuses by a Honduran death squad funded and partly trained by the Central Intelligence Agency. Negroponte testified that he did not believe the abuses were part of a deliberate Honduran government policy. "To this day," he said, "I do not believe that death squads were operating in Honduras." "

U.S. forces positioned outside Najaf  4/13/04 CNN: "After a Monday meeting with al-Sadr, other powerful Shiite clerics warned the coalition that it "must pay" for the current crisis in the country. In a statement issued Monday, the clerics and members of the country's religious authority cautioned the coalition against doing battle in the holy city of Najaf and warned against any attempt to kill al-Sadr. "The current crisis in Iraq has risen to a level that is beyond any political groups, including the [Iraqi] Governing Council, and it is now an issue that is between the religious authority and the coalition forces," the statement said. "Those who have brought on this crisis must pay for what they have done.""

John Dimitri Negroponte  4/13/04 Foreign Policy In Focus 

Americans 'drop demand for handover of killers in Falluja atrocity'  4/13/04 Guardian, UK: "After besieging the town of Falluja for more than a week, with the loss of an estimated 700 Iraqis as well as scores of Americans, the US has given up on its demand for the handover of those who killed four American security guards and mutilated their bodies, say senior Iraqis involved in talks in the town. ...Thalfiqar Mahdi, a member of a volunteer team of doctors which has been working in Falluja since Thursday, gave a horrific account of conditions there. "The main hospital was taken over by the Americans," he said. "Doctors and patients had to evacuate to local health clinics. "Over 1,000 people were wounded since the attack began, and patients had to lie on the ground because of a shortage of beds. We were doing operations in the open. But we didn't have enough sterilising equipment. About half the injured are women, children, and the elderly." "

Sistani Threatens Shiite Resistance if US Invades Najaf  4/13/04 Juan Cole: "The Iranian newspaper Baztab is reporting that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has sent a strongly-worded message to the Coalition forces, in which he warned them against attacking the Shiite shrine cities of Najaf and Karbala after the end of Arba'in. According to this report, in this letter Sistani warned the US that were the Occupation forces to wage a campaign against Karbala and Najaf, the religious leadership of the Shiites would fight to its last breath for the rights of the Shiites."

Ethiopians in U.S. Find Value in Traditional Economic Practices  4/13/04 Pacific News: "Among the most enduring, universal, effective, and relevant socio-economic informal institutions Ethiopians have created are Iquib and Idir. Iquib is an association established by a small group of people in order to provide substantial rotating funding for members in order to improve their lives and living conditions, while Idir is an association established among neighbors or workers to raise funds that will be used during emergencies, such as death within these groups and their families. Iquib and Idir can be characterized as traditional financial associations. While Idir is a longterm association, Iquib can be temporary or permanent, depending on the needs of the members."

Who Removed Aristide?  4/13/04 Znet: "Haiti's leaders were desperate for recognition, since the island's only source of revenue was the sugar, coffee, cotton and other tropical produce it had to sell. In 1825, under threat of another French invasion and the restoration of slavery, Haitian officials signed the document which was to prove the beginning of the end for any hope of autonomy. The French king agreed to recognise Haiti's independence only if the new republic paid France an indemnity of 150 million francs and reduced its import and export taxes by half. The 'debt' that Haiti recognised was incurred by the slaves when they deprived the French owners not only of land and equipment but of their human 'property'. The impact of the debt repayments - which continued until after World War Two - was devastating. In the words of the Haitian anthropologist Jean Price-Mars, 'the incompetence and frivolity of its leaders' had 'turned a country whose revenues and outflows had been balanced up to then into a nation burdened with debt and trapped in financial obligations that could never be satisfied.' 'Imposing an indemnity on the victorious slaves was equivalent to making them pay with money that which they had already paid with their blood,' the abolitionist Victor Schoelcher argued."

Monday  4/12/04

topJohnson’s role in 1964 Brazil coup revealed in documents  4/12/04 Final Call: "In a six-minute tape of Mr. Johnson being briefed by phone at his Texas ranch, the president is heard giving a top aide, Undersecretary of State George Ball, the authority to actively support the coup if U.S. backing is needed. "I think we ought to take every step that we can, be prepared to do everything that we need to do," he tells Mr. Ball on Mar. 31, 1964. "We just can’t take this one," he says, apparently referring to Pres. Goulart, whose populist rhetoric and alleged association with leaders of the Brazilian Communist Party had fostered fears that South America’s largest country could turn into a giant "Cuba." I’d get right on top of it and stick my neck out a little," adds Mr. Johnson, who, one year later, would send thousands of Marines to block an attempt to reinstate an elected president in the Dominican Republic. He then calls for "everybody that had any imagination or ingenuity ... [Central Intelligence Agency Director John] McCone ... [Secretary of Defense Robert] McNamara" ... to ensure that the coup that was already in play in Brazil was successfully concluded."


How GI bullies are making enemies of their Iraqi friends  4/12/04 Sydney Morning Herald: But the most stinging rebuke came from a man on whom the Americans thought the could rely - the highly-respected Adnan Pachachi, a former foreign minister of Iraq who is so close to Washington that three months ago he was given the honour of escorting the First Lady, Laura Bush, to the State of the Union address. That he spoke out was bad enough for American credibility here; but that he chose to do so on Al Arabiya, the Arab satellite TV channel so hated by the Pentagon, was open defiance. Pachachi, an IGC member, invoked one of the constant Arab criticism of the Israel's collective punishment of whole Palestinian families or communities in the occupied territories, when he said: "It is not right to punish all the people of Falluja, and we consider these operations by the Americans unacceptable and illegal."


"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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