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    World News
5/3/04 - 5/9/04

Sunday  5/9/04

Paramilitares colombianos capturados en Baruta confiesan que planificaban una acción terrorista  5/9/04 Aporrea 

Chavez: 77 arrested as 'terrorists'  5/9/04 CNN: "Dissident Venezuelan military officers were training the young men at a ranch 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of Caracas, the capital, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, head of Venezuela's DISIP secret police, told state television. He said two more suspected paramilitary training centers could exist. Chavez claimed the ranch in the El Hatillo municipality was owned by a Cuban national, Roberto Alonso, with links to Venezuelan and Cuban exiles. He said Alonso also had ties to the Democratic Coordinator, the opposition coalition pushing for the recall vote."

Torture as Normalcy - As American as Apple Pie  5/9/04 Counterpunch 

Asciende a 88 el número de presuntos paramilitares colombianos capturados en Venezuela  5/9/04 El Tiempo, Colombia: ""Le hemos dado un golpe a los golpistas, desestabilizadores y a los terroristas, en esta lucha sin descanso contra el terrorismo, la desestabilización y los enemigos de la democracia y del pueblo", manifestó Chávez en su programa dominical 'Aló, presidente'. Los organizadores del complot, que identificó entre sus opositores, "quieren imponer su agenda del terror, una dictadura", dijo, y subrayó que no albergaba la menor duda "de que parte de estos grupos están organizándose para intentar el magnicidio"."

The view from Iraq: 'Tip of the iceberg? This iceberg is so big there's no water left to float it'  5/9/04 Independent: "One man held there told The Independent on Sunday he had seen US guards tying prisoners naked to cell bars and setting dogs on them. "I saw one prisoner punished by order of his interrogators," said the man, who refused to be identified. "They tied him to the bars standing up for two hours at a time, and only let him rest for 45 minutes in between sessions. They kept this up for days in the cold weather.""

Official US Reaction Compounds the Rage  5/9/04 LA Times: "There is no room for rape counseling in Iraqi culture. Cruel as it is, this is the reality of their culture, and it cannot be ignored. It is also a cruel reality that all the approximately 10,000 Iraqi detainees have been stigmatized by the shame at Abu Ghraib, no matter what these detainees claim. This helps explain why many released prisoners don't return to their neighborhoods and why many of them may join the resistance against the occupation as a means to reclaim their pride and dignity… But Americans and their allies must understand that Iraq is not a pragmatic society when it comes to religion, culture and sexual mores. It is never acceptable to touch a woman and then come back later to express regret or, worse, offer money. In their culture, Iraqis would accept money and a public apology for the killing of a family member. But in matters of honor — sexual assault, for example — an apology is accepted only when it comes with the head of the perpetrator. Those who are unable to pay such a price had better not commit the offense in the first place. This is why Bush's appearance on Arab TV last week was insulting and meaningless. He can never have enough money to cleanse the shame that his soldiers inflicted upon the Iraqi prisoners, and no words can do this either."

Summary Report of Haiti Human Rights Delegation—March 29 to April 5, 2004  5/9/04 National Lawyers Guild 

Defense Minister and DISIP: “people in high office” will fall as a result of coup attempt  5/9/04 Vheadlines: "Commissioner Rodriguez, who didn’t want to speculate, thought it strange that the Baruta Police hadn’t detected the presumed insurgents. “We don’t want to speculate, but once the investigations get started, I’m sure that this operation will round up many people.”"

MINCI press statement on paramilitaries captured at ranch in Baruta  5/9/04 Vheadlines: "On the other hand, it was learned that Robert Alonso, owner of the ranch and brother of the well-known Cuban actress and singer Maria Conchita Alonso, has been accused of being one of the coordinators of the violent opposition protests (guarimbas) that took place at the end of February and the beginning of March."

Second coup attempt: Urban Security Command of the Venezuelan National Guard was to be attacked Wednesday, May 12  5/9/04 Vheadlines: "According to statements released this morning by DISIP Commissioner Miguel Rodriguez, the terrorist plan consisted of attacking a military installation in Caracas this week, possibly the Urban Security Command of the National Guard. On Monday, the paramilitaries were to be taken to another ranch, where they would receive final training with arms and ammunition, and do the assault on Wednesday. “We were going to attack a military base that has tunnels underneath containing arms,” said the presumed paramilitary. The purpose, according to one of the anti-Chavez “generals,” was to steal arms from the base to give to a 3,000 strong paramilitary group who were to come to Venezuela in 8 days."

Saturday  5/8/04

topIran-Contra gangsters resurface in Bush administration  5/8/04 Bellaciao: "The selection of this trio of anticommunist gangsters shows the real face of American "professional diplomats," especially in Latin America. It is an ominous warning that the methods of the 1980s-death squads, subversion, terrorism-are being revived again by the Bush administration to deal with the mounting political instability in Colombia, in Ecuador, in Argentina and throughout that region, as well as internationally."

Bush's Foreign Policies Fueling Global Hatred  5/8/04 Black World Today 

Army running out of ammo, seeks bullets from foreigners  5/8/04 Bloomberg: "The U.S. Army said it will seek bullets from commercial and foreign producers because its biggest ammunition supplier, Alliant Techsystems Inc., can't keep up with demand. "The hope is to get it from the U.S., but worldwide suppliers are out there that provide this and it might not be totally available in the U.S.," said Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Butler, Army product manager for small- and medium-caliber ammunition."

Sharp Policy Changes Will Follow Firestorm over Iraqi PoW Abuses  5/8/04 Debka: "The US presidential campaign has likewise taken an unexpected turn. DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report exclusively that, as recently as ten days ago, Senator John Kerry’s campaign staff had resolved to drop Iraq as its focal issue after receiving startling new intelligence data. North Korea, the Democratic team had discovered, did not have only two nuclear bombs as generally believed but eight, all operational. Kerry would have argued that the Bush White House, because of its obsession with Saddam Hussein’s overthrow and Iraq – where no WMD was found, had neglected a front far more hazardous to the security of the United States and its allies, i.e. North Korea’s expanding nuclear arsenal. The development of the Iraqi prisoner crisis persuaded the Democratic presidential contender to abandon his North Korean strategy. The imagery from Abu Ghraib has proved even more radioactive in its effect on America than eight North Korean nuclear bombs."

Red Cross describes systematic abuse in Iraq  5/8/04 IHT: "It is clear that our findings do not allow to conclude that what we were dealing with here in the case of Abu Ghraib was isolated acts of individual members of the coalition forces," he said. "What we have described amounts to a pattern, a broad system."

Rumsfeld says more have been tortured  5/8/04 Independent, UK: "At the same time the US Defense Secretary revealed that other hitherto unseen photos and videos existed, depicting behaviour as bad as or worse than in the pictures already published, which have sent a tidal wave of shock and revulsion around the world. The new material, Mr Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee, "was hard to believe". It showed acts of abuse that were "blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman". Some of it was in video form, which may be even more graphic and harrowing than the still photos. "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse. That's just a fact," he added."

Onward Christian Soldier: Recent U.S. Atrocity Photo from Iraq! (Warning: Graphic  5/8/04 IndyMedia, NJ: [below picture of corpse with crushed head] "So I guess it is safe to presume that the U.S. tank driver, allowing himself to indulge in war-time passion, and breach international law in the process, took the time to swerve into and run over the head of downed Iraqi. Well, if the tank commander is a "good Christian" soldier, he might do well, seeing as he is occupying an Islamic country, to start reading the hadiths."

‘Plan Colombia has been not an antidrugs plan but a counterinsurgency plan’  5/8/04 Progreso Weekly: "Arauca is a key region for all the armed participants in the conflict because it is rich in crude oil and lies on the border on Venezuela. And it is vital not only for those participants but also for international companies and other governments that have economic and strategic interests in the zone, such as the United States and the U.S. company Occidental Petroleum, which owns the Caño Limón pipeline, the most important oil conduit in Arauca. Because many of the violations of human rights and international law are committed in the areas along the pipeline, it is very important for the Colombian government to restore order and security in Arauca."

Friday  5/7/04

topAl-Sadr aide: Reward for killing British troops - Shiite also says female soldiers can be taken as slaves  5/7/04 AP: "Shiites form a majority in Iraq but were oppressed for decades by a Sunni Arab minority until Saddam Hussein’s ouster a year ago. Sunnis have been embittered by their loss of power to Shiites in post-Saddam Iraq. But last month’s siege of Fallujah by U.S. Marines and al-Sadr’s standoff with the Americans have brought the two sects together, with al-Sadr posters now in Fallujah and Shiites sending relief supplies to the city."

From Terrell Unit in Texas to Abu Ghraib - Doesn't It Ring a (Prison) Bell  5/7/04 Counterpunch: "When he sat down in front of Arab tv audiences on Wednesday to explain the true American way, he could have pointed to an October, 1999 story in the Austin American Statesman that detailed how female prisoners there were regularly kept in portable detention cells for hours at a time in summer heat with no water. "In fear of more time in the cages," the article explains, "many women submit sexually to their oppressors and are raped, molested and forced to perform sodomy on their captors." And in 1996, if Bush hadn't so busy handling the transfer of $9 billion in public funds over to the University of Texas Investment Management Company, the governor might have had time to read about the videotape that surfaced that year depicting prison guards brutalizing inmates in the Brazoria County Detention Center in Angleton, TX. The tape, which was originally shot for use as a training video, showed riot-clad guards beating prisoners (arrested on drug violations) and forcing them to crawl while kicking them and poking them with electric prods. Had Bush cleared a little time to watch this video, he would had an easier time digesting the images out of Abu Ghraib, and thus saved himself those few moments of humiliating supplication in front of all those Arabs, based as they were on the faulty assumption that those pictures "weren't America." "

Rumsfeld apologizes to abused Iraqis Defense secretary warns that worse photos, videos are yet to come  5/7/04 MSNBC: "“There are other photos that depict incidents of physical violence towards prisoners, acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane," he said. “... It’s going to get a good deal more terrible, I’m afraid.” Rumsfeld did not describe the photos, but U.S. military officials told NBC News that the unreleased images showed U.S. soldiers severely beating an Iraqi prisoner nearly to death, having sex with a female Iraqi female prisoner and “acting inappropriately with a dead body.” The officials said there was also a videotape, apparently shot by U.S. personnel, showing Iraqi guards raping young boys."

Why we’re in Iraq By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS  5/7/04 The State, SC 

US no longer fit for peace-keeper's role in Iraq  5/7/04 Viet Nam News Agency: "Such cruel action are not unfamiliar to US soldiers. Newspapers, especially the Toledo Blade, recently ran reportages exposing US soldiers' cruel actions towards Vietnamese civilians in Viet Nam's Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces during the Viet Nam war. Nearly 30 years after the war, people are still horrified at the corporal punishment meted out by US soldiers who are citizens of a free world and the leading civilised society. It is the Pentagon which has admitted such treatment is common in US army units. It should be understood that the US soldiers committed such inhumane actions because they were in a tense situation when they were facing daily dangers from the escalating conflicts in Iraq and more than 740 of their companions in arms had died without knowing what they sacrificed themselves for. In this unjust war, they see no way out. The US and British governments are in difficulties to find a way to break the deadlock. With the Iraqi prisoner-abuse scandal, they get further bogged down. Some people have called the Iraq war another Viet Nam."

Thursday  5/6/04

topBlack Caucus Meets Haitian Prime Minister; Critics Bristle  5/6/04 Black America Web: "Members of the Congressional Black Caucus held a morning meeting with interim Haitian Prime Minister Gerard Latortue Wednesday. Afterward they met with Secretary of State Colin Powell to discuss rebuilding Haiti, the crisis in Iraq and upcoming G-8 and NATO summits. CBC Chairman Elijah Cummings told Powell that caucus members "are concerned about the humanitarian problems and efforts currently ongoing in Haiti," Paul Brathwaite, CBC executive director told… Bill Fletcher Jr., president of TransAfrica Forum, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on the economic, political and moral ramifications of the United States as it affects Africa and the Caribbean, said that the caucus should not have recognized Latortue. Latortue's administration is "an illegal puppet regime,” said Fletcher. “It has no international credibility. It’s completely illegitimate. According to the Haitian constitution, you have to have been living Haiti to have an office of that level."

America Unfit to "Change the World"  5/6/04 Black Commentary: "In the Abu Ghraib pictures we see U.S. soldiers performing a slave master’s ritual, a specific, American kind of grotesquerie. Thoroughly ordinary young men and women pretend to be gods, lording over darker humanity. U.S. culture empowers them to act out their most hideous fantasies at the expense of “lesser” peoples. Lynndie England demanded that Iraqi men surrender their dignity by masturbating for her sick enjoyment. The Iraqi victims knew that the Americans’ pornographic theater could turn into a snuff film at any moment. To the Arab men, Pvt. England and Specialist Megan Ambuhl must have seemed like “Bay Watch” from Hell."

MUZZLING MICHAEL, MUZZLING ME  5/6/04 Greg Palast: "On November 11, 2001, just two months after the attack, BBC Television's Newsnight displayed documents indicating that FBI agents were held back from investigating two members of the bin Laden family who were fronting for a "suspected terrorist organization" out of Falls Church, Virginia - that is, until September 13, 2001. By that time, these birds had flown. We further reported that upper level agents in the US government informed BBC that the Bush Administration had hobbled the investigation of Pakistan's Khan Laboratories, which ran a flea market in atomic bomb blueprints. Why were investigators stymied? Because the money trail led back to the Saudis. The next day, our Guardian team reported that agents were constrained in following the money trail from an extraordinary meeting held in Paris in 1996. There, in the Hotel Monceau Royale, Saudi billionaires allegedly agreed to fund Al-Qaeda's "educational" endeavors. Those stories ran at the top of the nightly news in Britain and worldwide but not in the USA. Why?"

State: Purge felon voters on list  5/6/04 Miami Herald: "State officials order local elections supervisors to begin purging voter rolls of felons who don't have the right to vote. The measure may affect as many as 40,000 voters."

U.S. Troops Start Major Attacks on Shiite Insurgents in 2 Cities  5/6/04 NYT 

Nighline Thursday: Former Reagan NSA head says US should leave Iraq  5/6/04 TV Barn 

Report: U.S. has lost Iraq  5/6/04 World Tribune: published by a conservative paper in northern Virgina, CIA HQ's back yard.

Wednesday  5/5/04

topUS Army Report on Iraqi Prisoner Abuse  5/5/04 AntiWar: "Complete text of Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba."

Rall receives death threats over Tillman cartoon  5/5/04 AP: "Cartoonist Ted Rall says he has received numerous death threats over a cartoon he did this week that satirized the media's response to the death of Pat Tillman, the former pro-football player killed in Afghanistan."

22 Bay State men wrongfully jailed  5/5/04 Boston Herald: "Within the last two decades, at least 22 innocent Bay State men - most of them black and most investigated by Boston Police - have served serious prison time after being wrongfully convicted on rape and murder charges, according to a Boston Herald/Fox 25 investigation. Since 1997 alone, nine innocent black men convicted in Suffolk County have been freed after serving anywhere from four to 30 years behind bars. Throughout the country, 143 innocent suspects have been freed since 1990, but experts say the number of Suffolk County's wrongful convictions is second only to Chicago, which has sent the largest number of innocent men to jail."

Article 15-6 Investigaton of 800th Military Police Brigade - US Army Report on Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners - By Maj. Gen. ANTONIO M. TAGUBA  5/5/04 Counterpunch 

Syrian, Saudi Rulers Blame Terror Woes on “the Zionists”  5/5/04 Debka, Israel: Notwithstanding the reported origin of the Saudi Arabia attackers as being a local family - "The teaming up of al Qaeda terrorists with Iraqi guerrillas on a Middle East rampage against American, British, Jordanian, Saudi, Syrian and Israeli targets last month exposes three dangerous developments: A. Iraq has turned into a hub that radiates terrorist violence far beyond its borders as demonstrated by the April 20 battle in the Hashemi district of Amman, the April 21 bomb blast at Saudi General Intelligence Headquarters in Riyadh and the Saudi security forces’ shootout with armed bands in Jeddah port on April 22. In all these cases, local security forces were confronted with infiltrating Iraqi combatants. B. Al Qaeda has provided itself with a large reservoir of crack troops from Saddam Hussein’s Special Republican Guards who are willing to fight and lay down their lives for the sake of terrorist action on behalf of al Qaeda. These men are highly trained in urban guerrilla tactics and chemical and biological warfare. Their participation enabled the Islamic fundamentalist organization to attempt a chemical attack in Jordan in the second half of April. C. The ruling Arab dynasties of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria find themselves in the grip of unprecedented hazards."

CHAIN OF COMMAND by SEYMOUR M. HERSH  5/5/04 New Yorker: "One of the new photographs shows a young soldier, wearing a dark jacket over his uniform and smiling into the camera, in the corridor of the jail. In the background are two Army dog handlers, in full camouflage combat gear, restraining two German shepherds. The dogs are barking at a man who is partly obscured from the camera’s view by the smiling soldier. Another image shows that the man, an Iraqi prisoner, is naked. His hands are clasped behind his neck and he is leaning against the door to a cell, contorted with terror, as the dogs bark a few feet away. Other photographs show the dogs straining at their leashes and snarling at the prisoner. In another, taken a few minutes later, the Iraqi is lying on the ground, writhing in pain, with a soldier sitting on top of him, knee pressed to his back. Blood is streaming from the inmate’s leg. Another photograph is a closeup of the naked prisoner, from his waist to his ankles, lying on the floor. On his right thigh is what appears to be a bite or a deep scratch. There is another, larger wound on his left leg, covered in blood."

A New Rift?  5/5/04 Newsweek: "Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has blamed ‘Zionists’ for a weekend terror attack. While his comments seemed designed for a domestic audience, they could damage relations with Washington"

Is OPEC Finished? Anglo-American Oil Monopoly's Time May Be Up  5/5/04 Pacific News 

BVHP under siege by occupying army  5/5/04 SF Bay View: "For 16 hours on Monday, in blatant retaliation for the killing of Officer Isaac Espinoza on April 20 in Hunters Point, the sky rumbled with the sound of a California Highway Patrol plane and helicopter as an unprecedented armed force of countless city cops joined by 32 CHP officers moved in to occupy Bay View Hunters Point under the pretext of curbing traffic violations, stopping over 250 cars and arresting 30 community members. The young man accused of killing Officer Espinoza is Hunters Point resident David Hill, 21, but the SFPD is retaliating against the entire neighborhood… When several police and CHP cruisers and a total of 22 officers jammed the intersection of Third and Quesada at one point on Monday evening, a young onlooker cried out, “We need to rise UP!” He was immediately arrested."

Tuesday  5/4/04

topBoomerang and Blowback  5/4/04 Black World Today: "The ultimate form of blowback for the ruling elites will occur when the lobotomized and comatose masses wake up and begin the process of taking their country back. The worse case scenario for the masses is for them to remain asleep and end up toiling as surfs, zombies and cannon fodder for the elites as their rulers continue to run their okey-doke about freedom, democracy and the War on Terror on them."

Haiti Since the Coup  5/4/04 NarcoNews: "Thousands killed or in hiding as coup government consolidates power with the help of paramilitaries and U.S. and French troops."

Telltale Signs of Torture Lead Family to Demand Answers  5/4/04 The New Standard: "Lt. Col. Hodges’ medical report listed the primary diagnoses of Zoman’s condition as hypoxic brain injury (brain damage caused by lack of oxygen) "with persistent vegetative state," myocardial infarction (heart attack), and heat stroke. The same medical report did not mention any bruises, lash marks, head injury, burn marks or other signs Iraqi doctors said they found on Zoman's body upon his arrival at Tikrit hospital nearly two weeks later… Rheem Zoman, the 19 year-old daughter of Sadiq, spoke frankly about her father and his condition. "I was horrified," she said of his bittersweet return to his worried family. "He had whip marks all across his back and electrical burn marks all over his body." The alleged mistreatment of Sadiq Zoman while in US custody came as no surprise to his friends and neighbors. Some of them had returned after having been abducted by US forces with their own stories of terrifying and heartbreaking ordeals."

Monday  5/3/04

topDeath of a patriot: No more  5/3/04 Free Press: published 3/17/04 - "The subject line on yesterday’s email read: “Another mysterious accident solves a Bush problem. Athan Gibbs dead, Diebold lives.” The attached news story briefly described the untimely Friday, March 12th death of perhaps America’s most influential advocate of a verified voting paper trail in the era of touch screen computer voting. Gibbs, an accountant for more than 30 years and the inventor of the TruVote system, died when his vehicle collided with an 18-wheeled truck which rolled his Chevy Blazer several times and forced it over the highway retaining wall where it came to rest on its roof. Coincidence theorists will simply dismiss the death of Gibbs as a tragic accident – the same conclusion these coincidence theorists came to when anti-nuclear activist Karen Silkwood died in November 1974 when her car struck a concrete embankment en route to a meeting with New York Times reporter David Burnham."

BOOKS OF THE TIMES; The Bush Family: Father, Son, Freud and Oedipus  5/3/04 NYT: published 3/29/04 - "Members of the usually media-wary Bush family seem surprisingly unguarded in talking to the authors, and some of their remarks could well disconcert a White House in campaign mode or ratify opponents' worst fears. For instance the Schweizers quote one unnamed relative as saying that George W. Bush sees the war on terrorism ''as a religious war'': ''He doesn't have a p.c. view of this war. His view of this is that they are trying to kill the Christians. And we the Christians will strike back with more force and more ferocity than they will ever know.'' "


"There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to Democracies as against despots: suspicion." -- Demosthenes

Maps & Weather

A number of maps here

Estimates of the total number of Muslims range from 0.7 to 1.2 billion worldwide and 3 to 6 million in the U.S. About 20% of all people on earth follow Islam. The religion is in a period of rapid growth.

Christianity is currently the largest religion in the world. It is followed by about 33% of all people -- a percentage that has remaind stable for decades. It is expected that, if current trends continue, Islam will become the most popular religion sometime in the mid-21st century.


Death from America

Iraq news: Soaring death rates among Iraqi children, 1999 BBC, UNICEF 500,000 child deaths

Ramsey Clark: Report to UN Security Council re: Iraq, 1/26/2000
1.5 million deaths

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