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    World News
4/19/03 - 4/25/04

Sunday  4/25/04

Bush Dips into Blair’s Advice and Sharon’s Tactics to Fight Iraq Insurgency  4/25/04 Debka: "4. On April 16, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 153 named the Mosul-born former Maj.-Gen Mohammed Abdullah Shehwani, 57, recently appointed to head Iraq’s National Intelligence Service, as the man Washington has secretly tipped as Iraq’s future ruler. His Director of Operations will be a Jalal Talabani loyalist, United Kurdish Party intelligence chief, Kosart Rasul, who led the Americans to Saddam Hussein’s hidey hole in December 2003. To further strengthen the hierarchy-in-waiting, the US administration in Baghdad named three new heads for Iraq’s armed forces: Gen. Baker al-Zibari, 56, a Kurd, to be senior defense adviser to the caretaker government and liaison between government and army; Gen. Amer al-Hashemi, 58, a Sunni, as chief of staff and a Shiite, Lt-Gen. Daham al-Assal, 63, as his deputy. These key appointments representing Iraq’s three main communities are aimed at smoothing the way for the fifth step. 5. Barring unforeseen obstacles, Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani is slated to head the Iraqi caretaker government when it replaces the Iraqi Governing Council ahead of the June 30 handover of sovereignty. This step reflects two important developments: A. US planners have discarded their original power-sharing formula that was based on a top-level Shiite-Kurdish nucleus and switched instead to a Kurdish-Sunni combination. B. Talabani owns an interest in a fairly weak federal government in Baghdad compared with strong Kurdish government in Arbil. This attitude suits Bush planning. As the June 30 deadline nears and havoc continues, the White House feels bound to cut down on the sovereignty to be handed to the Iraqi caretaker government, hemming it in with restraints on its control of the army and legislative powers. "

Lawyers try to gag FBI worker over 9/11  4/25/04 Independent 

Suicide bomber boats explode in attack on Basra oil terminal  4/25/04 Independent, UK 

Saturday  4/24/04

topA survivor tells her story - Treatment for a leftist: Kicks, freezing water and electric shocks. In between, a visitor from the CIA.  4/24/04 Baltimore Sun: The Sun republishes this story first seen in 1995 - "The CIA's visits to the jail are significant because U.S. officials in Honduras repeatedly claimed at the time that they had no evidence that the Honduran military was engaging in systematic human rights abuses. In his testimony, Stolz said: "I have no facts to contradict Ms. Murillo's statement that she suffered physical abuse at the hands of the Honduran military interrogators." Stolz also confirmed that two battalion members, Florencio Caballero and Marco Tulio Regalado, were trained by the CIA. Murillo accuses those battalion members of being among her torturers. The two men graduated from a CIA interrogation course on March 13, 1983. It was the same day that Murillo was seized by Battalion 316… The ambassadors he met, including U.S. Ambassador John D. Negroponte, expressed interest in the Murillo case and said they would ask about her when they talked with Honduran officials."

A Tribute for Thugs in Haiti  4/24/04 Black World Today: "Mumia Abu-Jamal has been in a Pennsylvania prison since 1982. Abu -Jamal will celebrate his 50th birthday in prison on Saturday, April 24. Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) languishes in a prison in Georgia. Assata Shakur and Nehanda Abiodun are exiled in Cuba. Yet, Emmanuel "Toto" Constant, the leader of the Revolutionary Front for Haitian Advancement and Progress (FRAPH), has been allowed to live freely in New York, despite a 1995 deportation order and a 2000 murder conviction in Haiti. He remains at liberty in Queens, New York, and was recently granted a permit to work."

Rocket attack kills U.S. soldiers  4/24/04 CNN: "Four U.S. soldiers have been killed in Baghdad and seven wounded in a rocket attack north of the city, a senior coalition official told CNN."

Haiti's Return to the Future The Repression of Dissent  4/24/04 Counterpunch 

Taliban commander claims control of 26 Afghan districts  4/24/04 Hi Pakistan: "The US and its allies, no doubt, control the skies, but they are vulnerable on the ground. That is why the American troops don’t travel often in vehicles and even disguise themselves to avoid harm," he contended. Dadullah, who was named by Taliban supreme leader Mulla Muhammad Omar on a 10-member leadership council to organise resistance against the US forces in Afghanistan, maintained that the world was largely unaware of the ground realities due to the biased Western media. "The world doesn’t know the amount of resistance that the Taliban have mounted against the US-led occupation forces. Our operations have intensified at the advent of summer and we are harassing the enemy even in Kabul. You would see an escalation in our attacks all over Afghanistan in the coming weeks," he declared."

The image turning America against Bush  4/24/04 Independent, UK: "Speaking from her home in New Jersey, Mrs Niederer said: "They killed my son and they did not permit me to be there to see the coffin. They said it was for health reasons, and ... they did not want the public to see it and they did not want the newspapers there." She added: "They don't want any of this being shown because it's reality. A coffin strikes home. If you don't see the coffin you just say: 'Oh, there's another one who has died.' But when you show the coffin, you show families, you show people and emotions. This is what they are doing this is what they do not want you to see." "

Caribbean leaders ponder Haiti probe  4/24/04 Miami Herald 

Rebel commander surrenders to Haitian justice officials  4/24/04 The News, Pakistan 

Friday  4/23/04

topPicture emerges of Falluja siege  4/23/04 BBC: "Humanitarian workers speak of US soldiers firing at ambulances and civilians."

Official previews new Iraqi government  4/23/04 CNN: "A proposed interim government that could assume power in Iraq on June 30 would "represent the diversity of Iraq" but would not include any legislature until elections could be held, a State Department official said Thursday." No new laws.

Apartheid-era killers hired by U.S. firm to protect Iraqi oil  4/23/04 Milwaukee Courrier: "SAS International, an American based private security company, has joined the group. In August 2003, Erinys International, a British security company, was awarded an estimated $ 39.5 million contract to guard Iraqi oil wells. Seeking assistance, Erinys subcontracted SAS International. On January 28, 2004, a van disguised as an ambulance exploded outside the Shaheen Hotel in Baghdad. Francois Strydom was among the dead. Deon Gouws was among the injured. Strydom and Gouws were revealed to be former apartheid-era killers from South Africa employed by SAS International. Strydom, a member of the South Africa military, did most of his killing in the border country of Namibia. Gouws, a South African police officer, honed his skills in South Africa."

Fallujah Residents Report U.S. Forces Engaged in Collective Punishment  4/23/04 New Standard 

Norway rejects U.S. plea to stay in Iraq  4/23/04 Reuters 

Hollow Force - Has Iraq stretched the U.S. military to its breaking point?  4/23/04 Slate 

Photos of Soldiers' Coffins Revive Controversy  4/23/04 Washington Post: "The Pentagon lost its tight control over the images of coffins returning from Iraq as about 350 such images were released under the Freedom of Information Act and a Seattle newspaper published a similar photo taken by a military contractor. After Dover Air Force Base, the main port for returning remains, released hundreds of government photos of the ceremonies, the Defense Department ordered yesterday that no more photographs be released. In addition, two employees for defense contractor Maytag Aircraft were fired after the Pentagon complained about a photo of flag-draped caskets taken by one of them that appeared in the Seattle Times."

Thursday  4/22/04

topPlan Haiti Emerges  4/22/04 Dissident Voice: "If anyone had doubts about whether or not Aristide was cow-towing enough to the United States and its imposition of neoliberal stratagem, one need only look at how quickly the interim government, in lockstep with the US and the Haitian Diaspora, are looking to fast-track this neoliberal stranglehold on the country now that he's gone. Clearly, Aristide was seen as some sort of barrier to US-style neoliberalism, which cannot tolerate any barriers to its advances. This appears to be taking shape around the proposed Hero Act legislation, introduced into the Senate in February of 2003 by Mike Dewine, and co-sponsored in the House by prominent Congressional Black Caucus members. [3] While the CBC are demanding an investigation into Aristide's departure, they have yet to issue a statement concerning the new status of the Hero Act. [4] During his recent trip to Haiti, Colin Powell plugged the Hero Act in an interview with elite-owned Radio Metropole: "We have the Hero Act before Congress now...We would like to see the Act passed and I will be examining and discussing it this week with our Congress." [5] "

Indonesian general accused of war crimes moves a step closer to the presidency  4/22/04 Independent, UK: "The international community faces the nightmare scenario of an indicted war criminal leading the world's most populous Muslim nation after General Wiranto, the former head of the Indonesian armed forces, was nominated as a presidential candidate yesterday. General Wiranto, indicted by a United Nations-backed tribunal last year for alleged crimes against humanity in East Timor, was nominated by the Golkar party, the political vehicle of the former dictator, President Suharto."

Vodou priest wants Haiti religion recognized  4/22/04 Sun Sentinel, FL: "Max Beauvoir, 68, of the Temple of Yehwe in Mariani, Haiti, said politicians, humanitarian organizations, and Christian leaders from abroad have refused to acknowledge the role of the religion in the country's culture for 200 years. As a result, Haiti is on the brink of total collapse, and he believes Vodou gods are upset."

Iran warns US against attacking Najaf, Karbala, killing Sadr  4/22/04 The News. Pakistan 

Whose side is the N.Y. Times on?  4/22/04 World Tribune: "I listened in amazement and agreement to the opinions of Eagleburger, who was Secretary of State from 1992 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush… EAGLEBURGER: Well, I will now make myself terribly unpopular, but there's going to have to be some killing. I don't know any other way to put this. You cannot go into a place like we just saw there in Baghdad and just let this continue. Now I know there are women and children and so forth, but the fact of the matter is these people are out in the streets, there's only one way to deal with them and that is you have to get them off of the streets and if you have to shoot at them to do that, we're going to have to do some of that. REPORTER: You're talking about heavy firepower... you're talking about strategic strikes... or more of an overall? EAGLEBURGER: Well, what I'm really talking about, is, you've got to get enough troops in there, and I'm not the military genius here, but it does seem to me that with sufficient force, these people could be put down. And every time they raise their heads it's got to happen again, I'm sorry but I do not believe that we can go on like this, threatening that we're going to retaliate and not retaliate, and when we retaliate, it had better be forceful." With strategists like that, Osama will win this war big time!

Wednesday  4/21/04

topIsrael Said Still Making Nuclear Weapons  4/21/04 AP: "Israel continues to produce atomic weapons and already has hundreds of nuclear warheads, researchers said as the country released a man imprisoned for 18 years for leaking nuclear secrets. Because Israel is not party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency has no power to look into its nuclear program… The best estimates put the size of the Israeli arsenal at 150 nuclear weapons, Steinhaeusler said. With air, sea and land-based launching systems, "they have the Middle East under control," he said. But Avner Cohen, an expert on Israel and nuclear weapons at the Center for International and Security Studies in Maryland, said "there is a lot of uncertainty" about the number of weapons held by Israel. "There are all kind of estimates, from the upper teens on the lower side to over 300 on the higher side," he said. John Simpson, director of the Mountbatten Center of International Studies at Britain's University of Southampton, estimated the number of atomic weapons held by Israel at no more than 200. He said his estimate was based on the presumed output of plutonium by a reactor in Dimona, and on the number of tunnels in cliffs from which the weapons could be deployed."

Tension forms when Soldiers take down posters of Al-Sadr  4/21/04 Army News Service: "The first few posters were confiscated with great ease. On public display, they did not appear to belong to any one in particular and no resistance was given. However, a few yards down the crowded market road, Schonfeld and his platoon came upon a shop selling framed prints. The lieutenant tried to explain to the owner of the shop that anti-coalition propaganda is illegal, and that the prints could not be displayed. The man refused to remove them. “We explained the best we could without an interpreter,” said Cpl. Mark Steir, a team leader in 1st Platoon. “They started to get angry once they realized why we were taking them down. The further along we got, the community became more upset.” " yes, the Iraquis seem to understand the 1st Amendment better than US troops!

The Women in Good Sheperd Prison - Colombia's Forgotten Prisoners  4/21/04 Counterpunch 

Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network's Seven Campaigns to Re-Establish Democracy in Haiti  4/21/04 SF Bay View 

US and France block UN probe of Aristide ouster  4/21/04 SF Bay View 

U.S. sees Syria 'facilitating' insurgents  4/21/04 Washington Times: the Rev. Moon's paper weighs in - "The bloody fighting in Fallujah, for example, is inspired, in part, by well-armed foreign jihadists who crossed the Syrian border and have committed some of the most gruesome attacks against Americans and their allies. Officials said Syrian help includes facilitating their border crossing, arming them and allowing them to return for fresh supplies. Asked how conclusive U.S. intelligence is on Syrian aid, one official said, "No doubt about it." It is not clear, however, whether Damascus is actively organizing the influx. Osama bin Laden, leader of al Qaeda, has urged his followers to travel to Iraq to kill Westerners."

Tuesday  4/20/04

topSenator says US may need compulsory service to boost Iraq force  4/20/04 AFP 

New Zealand Blasts Israel After Alleged Mossad Agents Arrests  4/20/04 Big News: "* Eli Cara, 50, and Uri Zoshe Kelman, 30, face three charges after being arrested in a police sting operation late last month. * The charges include attempting to obtain a New Zealand passport, and taking part in an organised crime group to obtain a false passport." [Organized crime with a branch into extasy smuggling?]

Honduras rushes to pull out troops  4/20/04 CNN: "Honduras has confirmed that it will join Spain in withdrawing its troops from Iraq "in the shortest possible time." "

Apocalypse Please  4/20/04 Guardian, UK: "We can laugh at these people, but we should not dismiss them. That their beliefs are bonkers does not mean they are marginal. American pollsters believe that between 15 and 18% of US voters belong to churches or movements which subscribe to these teachings.7 A survey in 1999 suggested that this figure included 33% of Republicans.8 The best-selling contemporary books in the United States are the 12 volumes of the Left Behind series, which provide what is usually described as a "fictionalised" account of the Rapture (this, apparently, distinguishes it from the other one), with plenty of dripping details about what will happen to the rest of us. The people who believe all this don't believe it just a little; for them it is a matter of life eternal and death. And among them are some of the most powerful men in America. John Ashcroft, the attorney-general, is a true believer, so are several prominent senators and the House majority leader, Tom DeLay. Mr DeLay (who is also the co-author of the marvellously-named DeLay-Doolittle Amendment, postponing campaign finance reforms) travelled to Israel last year to tell the Knesset that "there is no middle ground, no moderate position worth taking." So here we have a major political constituency - representing much of the current president's core vote - in the most powerful nation on earth, which is actively seeking to provoke a new world war. Its members see the invasion of Iraq as a warm-up act, as Revelations (9:14-15) maintains that four angels "which are bound in the great river Euphrates" will be released "to slay the third part of men." They batter down the doors of the White House as soon as its support for Israel wavers: when Bush asked Ariel Sharon to pull his tanks out of Jenin in 2002, he received 100,000 angry emails from Christian fundamentalists, and never mentioned the matter again."

Kerry hones statements on the Vietnam War  4/20/04 IHT: "Senator John Kerry has distanced himself from contentious statements he made three decades ago after returning from the Vietnam War, saying that his long-ago use of the word "atrocities" to describe his and others' actions was inappropriate and "a little bit excessive." "

Road Perils in Iraq Add to Chaos, Shortages  4/20/04 LA Times: "At a sprawling desert camp in southern Iraq, U.S. soldiers sleep in trucks and Humvees because Iraqi merchants are afraid to deliver tents to them. On a key road through the Sunni Triangle, masked men with Kalashnikov assault rifles occupy the concrete-block checkpoints the U.S. military once used. And at Baghdad's airport, goods are piling up because Iraqi truckers refuse to brave the main highway to the capital or transport the material to other U.S. bases. In Baghdad's central market, Iraqi shippers and merchants fret that business is drying up."

Mike Davis on the Pentagon's urban war planning  4/20/04 Nation Institute 

Nader Asks for Antiwar Vote and Urges Iraq Pullout Date  4/20/04 NYT 

''The Role of Drug Trafficking in Colombia's Internal Political Conflict''  4/20/04 PINR: cites current estimate for FARC drug profits at $400 million (2000) but no current estimate for the cartel/paramilitaries, only $2 to $5 billion in the 80s.

Monday  4/19/04

topColombian paramilitary chief disappears after unconfirmed shooting  4/19/04 AFP 

Al-Sadr: Leave the Spanish alone  4/19/04 Al Jazeera 

Lack of Resolution in Iraq Finds Conservatives Divided  4/19/04 NYT: ""Those of us who favored a more muscular approach to American foreign policy and a more Wilsonian view of our efforts in Iraq find ourselves pitted against more traditional conservatives, who have more isolationist instincts to begin with, and they are more willing to say, `Bring the boys home,' " Mr. Weinstein said. Richard A. Viguerie, a conservative stalwart and the dean of conservative direct mail, said the Iraq war had created an unusual schism. "I can't think of any other issue that has divided conservatives as much as this issue in my political lifetime," Mr. Viguerie said. Recent events, he said, "call into question how conservatives see the White House. It doesn't look like the White House is as astute as we thought they were." "

Study Suspects Thousands of False Convictions  4/19/04 NYT: "A comprehensive study of 328 criminal cases over the last 15 years in which the convicted person was exonerated suggests that there are thousands of innocent people in prison today. Almost all the exonerations were in murder and rape cases, and that implies, according to the study, that many innocent people have been convicted of less serious crimes. But the study says they benefited neither from the intense scrutiny that murder cases tend to receive nor from the DNA evidence that can categorically establish the innocence of people convicted of rape."

US 'soldiers of conscience' take Sixties route to Canada  4/19/04 Telegraph, UK 

Poll: Bush support holds despite Iraq, 9/11 hearings  4/19/04 USA Today 

U.S. Army troops found radioactive  4/19/04 Washington Times 

Bush's Re-election Strategy  4/19/04 Znet: "Paul Wolfowitz and his fellow neocons in this Administration have shaped their Middle East policy around the brilliant premise that the US should start treating Arab governments like the spineless, mindless bunch of sheep that they are. The US knows that none of these governments have any legitimacy with their own people--they certainly should know since they helped create most of them. These governments exist by virtue of the military and/or financial might of the United States. So why on earth pay them any mind. Just go about your own business old chap. Now it's election time, and Karl Rove and his crew know that this President has nothing going for him except the prospect of spreading fear in Americans' minds. If the majority had a problem with him last time, then he' s really in trouble this time around, unless he can get back on firm war footing once again. When President Bush told Iraqi guerillas to go ahead and 'bring it on,' he meant it. And just in case the Iraqis don't bring it on, he must have thought, then let the Palestinians, or the Egyptians, or heck, even those tree-hugging Canadians for all I care. He needs his war, a war that is never-ending, or at least one that can take long enough so that brother Jeb can make himself at home too on Pennsylvania Avenue one of these days."

"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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