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    World News
12/16/02 - 12/22/02  

Sunday  12/22/02

El pueblo celebró llegada del Pilín León en Caracas y Bajo Grande  12/22/02 Aporrea: note the proportion of black people in the fotos below - "El pueblo celebró masivamente la recuperación del buque Pilín León; Los amigos de Clase Media en Positivo Zulia informan que "espontaneamente una inmensa muchedumbre de Maracaibo y San Francisco acudieron a la refineria para darle vitores y bienvenida al buque Pilin León. Mas de un kilómetro de automoviles se apilaron en la via hacia la refineria desafiando la escasez de combustible y una inmensa marcha de miles de personas adeptos al gobierno bolivariano del presidente Hugo Chavez lanzaron consignas en contra de los golpistas de PDVSA, CTV, FEDECAMARAS y del gobernador Manuel Rosales. (...) Mujeres, jovenes, niños, hombres de todas las clases aglomerados como un solo cuerpo, patriotico, revolucionario y consustanciados con su lider, presidente legitimo y constitucional de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela: Hugo Chavez Frias"

French journalist killed by US tank  12/22/02 BBC: judging by the sentiments expressed in this story on, perhaps the tank crew was in earnest…

Peace rally decries possible war with Iraq  12/22/02 Cleveland Plain Dealer: During this season of peace, rest and reflection, the Bush administration is gearing up for war, death and destruction," Greg Coleridge of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee told about 500 people."

Bishops defy Blair with tough anti-war message  12/22/02 Independent, UK: "Leading bishops are to preach this Christmas against a war with Iraq in messages that openly defy Tony Blair and his government. The sermons and Christmas messages will be seen as the church giving a prominent voice to widespread concerns about the seemingly inevitable push towards war."

Striking crew of tanker is detained by Venezuela  12/22/02 Miami Herald: "Leaders of the 20-day-old general strike accused Chávez of using a Cuban crew to pilot the Pilín León, which had been moored offshore after the crew joined the strike. Carlos Fernandez, a strike organizer and president of the Fedecamaras business chamber, said the use of Cubans ``violates national sovereignty.'' A source at the Cuban Embassy in Caracas, speaking on condition of anonymity, denied the assertion, calling it a ''lie.'' State TV said Venezuelans were piloting the ship. Chávez's rivals often accuse the president of being too close to communist Cuba."

Doug Grow: FBI performs a nasty little sequel to whistle-blower saga  12/22/02 Minneapolis Star Tribune: or how the Federal Bureau of Incompetency stays incompetent.

7 Arrested In Richmond Anti-war Protest  12/22/02 Richmond Time Dispatch: "Seven anti-war protesters were arrested in Carytown yesterday evening when marchers took the streets, shouting and blocking traffic. Some of them threw trash cans and other items into the roadway, according to police reports. One of them reportedly tossed a chair in front of a police cruiser."

US pilots in friendly fire were on drugs, says lawyer  12/22/02 Scotsman, UK: "TWO US fighter pilots charged with accidentally killing four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan had been given amphetamines to keep them awake, their lawyer claimed. Charles Gittens is representing the pilots, who face prison for 64 years if found guilty in a court martial next month. In an interview with a US television station yesterday Mr Gittens claimed Major Bill Umbach and Major Harry Schmidt were ordered to take six amphetamines each to ward off fatigue during their mission." High as a kite.

America tore out 8000 pages of Iraq dossier  12/22/02 Sunday Herald, Glasgow, UK: "THE United States edited out more than 8000 crucial pages of Iraq's 11,800-page dossier on weapons, before passing on a sanitised version to the 10 non-permanent members of the United Nations security council. The full extent of Washington's complete control over who sees what in the crucial Iraqi dossier calls into question the allegations made by US Secretary of State Colin Powell that 'omissions' in the document constituted a 'material breach' of the latest UN resolution on Iraq.Last week, Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan accepted that it was 'unfortunate' that his organisation had allowed the US to take the only complete dossier and edit it. He admitted 'the approach and style were wrong' and Norway, a member of the security council, says it is being treated like a 'second-class country'. " UN = Farce.

US covers up killings of its troops in Kuwait  12/22/02 Telegraph, UK: "Attacks on American forces in Kuwait are being covered up and played down because of concerns that further disclosures will destabilise military preparations for war against Iraq. Incidents have either gone unreported or have been passed off as harmless recreational shooting by hunters, a senior Kuwaiti government official told The Telegraph." As they have been downplayed in Afghanistan and Colombia…

Details of U.S. victory are a little premature  12/22/02 Toronto Sun: "In fact, America's Afghan adventure has gotten off to as poor a start as that of the Soviet Union. The U.S.-installed ruler of Kabul, veteran CIA asset Hamid Karzai, must be protected from his own people by up to 200 U.S. bodyguards. Much of Afghanistan is in chaos, fought over by feuding warlords and drug barons. There are almost daily attacks on U.S. occupation forces. My old mujahedin sources say U.S. casualties and equipment losses in Afghanistan are far higher than Washington is reporting - and are rising. American troops are operating from the old Soviet bases at Bagram and Shindand, retaliating, like the Soviets, against mujahedin attacks on U.S. forces by heavily bombing nearby villages. The CIA is trying to assassinate Afghan nationalist leaders opposed to the Karzai regime in Kabul, in particular my old acquaintance Gulbadin Hekmatyar… Since the U.S. overthrew the Taliban, opium cultivation has soared from 185 tons a year to 2,700. The Northern Alliance, which dominates the Kabul regime, finances its arms-buying and field operations with drug money. President George Bush's war on drugs collided with his war on terrorism - and lost. The U.S. is now, in effect, colluding in the heroin trade." Repeating the pattern established in Laos, Viet Nam, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Colombia, Lebanon, and many other places.

Saturday  12/21/02

topColombian drug production soars despite ‘Plan Colombia’  12/21/02 ANNCOL: or because of it? "Information taken from testimony given before the House Committee on Government Reform in Washington on December 12th, show that whilst nearly a million acres of Colombian soil have been fumigated in the past 5 years, cocaine production in Colombia has tripled in the same period… Representative Bob Barr (Republican-Georgia) also alleged during the hearings that at least 22 US helicopters have crashed or been shot down by rebels in Colombia in recent years although the Pentagon and US Embassy in Bogotá have refused to confirm or deny this." More denials, as in Kuwait and Afghanistan, maintaining the superman image.

Proposed Internet Monitoring Center Worries Industry  12/21/02 AP: "Some Internet industry executives and lawyers said they would raise civil liberties concerns if the U.S. government, not an industry consortium, operated such a powerful monitoring center. The proposal would require congressional approval. Under federal wiretap laws, privately operated centers can in some circumstances analyze e-mail and other data flowing across parts of the Internet without approval from a judge."

U.S. Casualties Since Oct. 2001  12/21/02 AP: there are those who say the list is far longer and that some of these accidents were hostile fire.

U.S. Commander: Afghan Attacks May Rise  12/21/02 AP: "Attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan are likely to increase if there is war in Iraq, a top commander in the war on terror said hours before the military announced the death Saturday of an American soldier in combat."

Fotos de la protesta en Los Angeles en favor del gobierno de Chávez  12/21/02 Aporrea: note the proportion of black people in these fotos.

Presidente Chávez supervisa movilización de buques y reactivación de PDVSA  12/21/02 Aporrea: "El Presidente de la República Hugo Chávez Frías llegó a la ciudad de Maracaibo a fin presenciar el atraque del B/T Pilín León al muelle de Bajo Grande, barco que recuperado por marinos leales a la Nación y que estuvo en manos de una tripulación opuesta a los intereses de la patria que lo mantuvo secuestrado por varios días en la boca del Lago de Maracaibo."

Two dead in Yemen al-Qaeda clash  12/21/02 BBC: " gun battle between Yemeni security forces and suspected al-Qaeda members has left two policemen dead and four wounded. At least two suspects managed to flee after the incident, which occurred in the port city of al-Mukalla, about 850 km (530 miles) south east of the capital, Sanaa."

Multitudinaria marcha chavista responde a opositores golpistas  12/21/02 Granma: "Decenas de miles de seguidores del presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez, marcharon este viernes para defender la revolución bolivariana en respuesta a una marcha opositora, reportó AFP. Ataviados en rojo y con la boina del mismo color que identifica al mandatario nacional, los partidarios del proceso revolucionario partieron de los populosos barrios del Oeste de Caracas, Catia y Caricuao, pero también del exclusivo Este, en Parque del Este, hacia la sede principal de la estatal Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA)."

Palestinian radical was guest of US ambassador  12/21/02 Guardian, UK: "A Palestinian radical with close links to the militant group Hamas was a guest of the US ambassador at a Ramadan reception in London, the Guardian can reveal. Azzam Tamimi, an associate of a senior Hamas official, was invited to the official residence in Regents Park by envoy William Farish in an attempt to build bridges following the September 11 terror attacks."

Going Electronic, Denver Reveals Long-Term Surveillance  12/21/02 NYT: "After the police decided to share the fruits of their surveillance with another local department, someone leaked a printout to an activist for social justice, who made the documents public. The mayor started an investigation. People lined up to obtain their files. Among those the police spied on were nuns, advocates for American Indians and church organizations. To make matters worse, the software called many of the groups "criminal extremists." "I wasn't threatened in any way by them watching," said Dr. Byron Plumley, who teaches religion and social values at Regis University in Denver, and discovered that the police had been keeping information about his activities against war. "But there's something different about having a file. If the police say, `Aha, he belongs to a criminal extremist organization,' who's going to know that it's the American Friends Service Committee, and we won the Nobel Peace Prize?"

Buque Tesseo zarpará con 600 mil barriles de crudo hacia EEUU  12/21/02 Venpres: 'Puerto de Guaraguo, 21 Dic. Venpres (Félix Amaya) - Este sábado atracará en este terminal petrolero el tanquero Tesseo, tercer barco que lo hace en los últimos días propiedad de Pdvsa, el cual es conducido por una flota internacional de bandera panameña, con el objetivo de abastecerse con 600 mil barriles de crudo al igual que lo hicieron el Josefa Camejo y El Nereo que zarparon ya hacia Corpus Christy, EEUU, con la misma cantidad de crudo abordo. La información la suministró Antonio Balladares, encargado de operaciones y seguridad marina de Guaraguao, estado Anzoátegui, quien explicó que el suministro fue ya reestablecido hacia los Estados Unidos. Asimismo, informó que otros 5 buques de la misma capacidad están listos para entrar en puertos venezolanos del estado Zulia, específicamente en La Salina, al igual que en el puerto de Bajo Grande que ya está operando normalmente. Explicó que El Nereo cargó en el muelle 5 de Guaraguao y el Tesseo lo hará en el muelle 7 con combustible y crudo para Corpus Christy."

Bush Administration Stumbles Again in Venezuela  12/21/02 Washington Post: "With so many in the Bush administration able to speak Spanish, the phrase "No aprende ni a palos"should have a familiar ring. If not, one need only examine the White House's recent actions regarding Venezuela to understand that the words refer to someone who never learns--just doesn't seem to get it--even when hit upside the head with a stick." Si, señor!

Friday  12/20/02

topU.S. stands alone on Iraq declaration  12/20/02 AP: "UN weapons inspectors put Iraq on notice that it must provide far more evidence about its weapons of mass destruction, but neither the inspectors nor other Security Council members joined the United States in declaring that Iraq has violated UN resolutions and is running out of time to avert a war."

Afghans Visit Graves Of Al-Qaida Martyrs  12/20/02 Ausaf: "A person present in the graveyard also told us that the Americans dug out two bodies of Arab Mujahideen. They would possibly take all of the bodies out of this graveyard but Afghans would still not stop visiting this graveyard. In a corner the blood stained clothes of Mujahideen are placed to cure weak eye sighte and who so ever sets his eyes on these clothes and starts crying, is cured by the grace of Allah. One kilometer away from Chitta Mitta there is also a mass grave of mother and her four children. Hundreds of Afghans visit Al-Qaida’s graveyard daily, who are strongly hated by the Americans. But prohibiting Afghans to visit these graves seems to be impossible for them." Allah Akbar!

Ministers given 'Gulf war' warning  12/20/02 BBC: "But Crossbench peer Lord Hannay said the UK government needed to gauge the attitude of the other permanent members of the Security Council, and the evidence, before pressing ahead. He argued that there was "no legal requirement" for a second resolution because Iraq would place itself "in jeopardy" if it breached resolution 1441 and therefore the ceasefire agreed in 1991."

Arrests show trouble in INS tracking effort  12/20/02 Boston Globe: applying the same gung-ho attitude as in Afghanistan, with similar results - ''Why would we be saying, `Come in and register,' and then turning around and whacking them with a stick when they do?'' asked Jean Butterfield, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. ''It chills the entire community. It frightens people.''

As EU gains in heft, Washington's diplomacy slowly changes  12/20/02 IHT: "Gary Hufbauer, a former U.S. Treasury official now at the Institute for International Economics in Washington, says that this year's big events have led to the "realization that in economic terms there is an equal counterweight which has formed in Europe which is increasingly able to speak with a single voice." "There's nothing the U.S. can do of any significance without European acceptance in the economic arena," Hufbauer said. . If people like Schnabel and Hufbauer are right, there are important consequences for the way Europeans and Americans have come to view the world. Despite persistent talk about U.S. hegemony in the years since the end of the Cold War, the deepening and widening of the European Union suggests the emergence of a more bipolar world."

War could be boost for al-Qa'ida, MPs warn  12/20/02 Independent, UK: duh!

Last Prayers Denied For US Collaborator  12/20/02 Islam News: "Local Ulema (Clerics) have refused to offer the last prayer (Namaz-e-Janaza) to the Afghan killed during the grenade attack on coalition forces. The individual was serving as a guide to the American military personel. According to details, when the dead body of the Afghan reached its home town, the local Clerics refused to offer his Last Prayers and bury him according to Islamic Sharia' in the Muslim graveyard."

Coca in the Cola - The soft drink of Atlanta and the coca leaf of the Andes  12/20/02 NarcoNews: "This week, Bolivia’s undersecretary of Social Defense, Ernesto Justiniano, reported that his office had authorized the exportation of 350,000 bricks (about 159 tons) of coca leaf to the United States “for the manufacturing of the soft drink, Coca-Cola.”

Honduras: Muertes Arbitrarias (extrajudiciales o sumarias) y otras Muertes, CODEH  12/20/02 PDS 

Thursday  12/19/02

topCalled Off the Trail? FBI Agents Probing Terror Links Say They Were Told, ‘Let Sleeping Dogs Lie’  12/19/02 ABC News: "The supervisor who was there from headquarters was right straight across from me and started yelling at me: 'You will not open criminal investigations. I forbid any of you. You will not open criminal investigations against any of these intelligence subjects,'" Wright said. Even though they were on a terrorism task force and said they had proof of criminal activity, Wright said he was told not to pursue the matter."

Demonstrators Protest INS Registration  12/19/02 AP: "Thousands of Iranian-Americans demonstrated against the arrest of Middle Eastern immigrants who had voluntarily registered with the federal government under a new anti-terrorism program. The protest Wednesday outside a federal building snarled traffic on Wilshire Boulevard. No arrests were reported. Many demonstrators claimed their husbands, sons and brothers were victims of government entrapment, that they were forced to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and then were arrested for not having their papers in order, which in some cases were caused by government backlog. Their signs bore such sentiments as ``What Next? Concentration Camps?'' and ``Detain Terrorists Not Innocent Immigrants.''

Transcripción de la conversación donde vicealmirante Huizi Clavier autoriza contaminar lago  12/19/02 Aporrea, Venezuela 

Gilberto Gil: Former exile made Brazilian minister  12/19/02 BBC: "Gilberto Gil, the Brazilian musician once arrested and imprisoned by the country's military government, has accepted an offer to become the country's next culture minister. Gil was offered the post by President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the winner of the country's recent elections. The 60-year-old is one of the leaders of the Tropicalia movement, which fuses jazz with samba, salsa and the Brazilian bossanova sound. He has collaborated with reggae singer Jimmy Cliff and The Wailers, Bob Marley's legendary former band. Gil is the most prominent member of the Green Party, who are sharing power with Mr Lula's Worker's Party."

Commentary: Trent Lott furor threatens faith-based bribery scheme  12/19/02 Black Commentator 

TOP SECRET IRAQ WEAPONS REPORT SAYS THE U.S. GOVERNMENT & CORPORATIONS HELPED TO ILLEGALLY ARM IRAQ, PART TWO  12/19/02 Democracy Now: "Hewlett-Packard, Dupont, Eastman Kodak, Honeywell, Bechtel, American Type Culture Collection, Spectra Physics, Semetex, TI Coating, Unisys, Sperry Corp., Tektronix, Rockwell, Leybold Vacuum Systems, Finnigan-MAT-US, Alcolac International, Consarc, Carl Zeiss - U.S., Cerberus, Electronic Associates, International Computer Systems, , EZ Logic Data Systems, Inc., Canberra Industries Inc., Axel Electronics Inc."

Afghanistan: Failure of the 82nd airborne  12/19/02 Guardian, UK: "Several US-led attacks, using hundreds and even thousands of troops, have been ineffective, suffered outright defeat, or resulted in disaster. These failures have led the US to keep its forces mostly inside their bases: at Khost and Kandahar they are under attack almost daily from missiles and machine guns… After proclaiming the operation a complete success, the US announced that no more operations of this kind would be undertaken. During the summer, the units involved - the 101st air assault and 10th mountain - were replaced by the 82nd airborne. This is the most highly trained infantry unit in the US army, and one Pentagon planners would prefer to have available for Iraq. It began operations intended to dig out enemy forces from the villages of eastern Afghanistan. Newsweek described as "a disaster" its first high-profile mission, quoting other US troops and civilian witnesses. They said that 600 soldiers had gone on the rampage in Operation Mountain Sweep, undoing in minutes six months of community building. They went through villages "as if Bin Laden was in every house", said one of the US army's own special forces soldiers. So serious were the complaints from other units about the conduct of the 82nd airborne that the army took sworn statements from all the officers and senior NCOs involved. The civilian casualties have not been accounted for. The 82nd is continuing to conduct cordon and search operations and has reduced media access. One senior US editor told me he had been prevented." The seeds of American defeat.

On Israeli Terror Groups  12/19/02 Palestine Chronicle: "A basic tenet of the Jewish settlers' religious doctrine is that Jews have the duty to conquer every piece of land in "Greater Israel," an ill-defined territory that can stretch as far as Iraq, and includes areas in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. In conquering that area, Jews have a right to kill "every single one" of the inhabitants until "not a memory or trace" remains (these words of love, belonging to Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, appeared in the settlers' principal magazine Nekudah). To turn this political project into the Nazi ideology of Lebensraum, we need but substitute Europe for the Middle East, and Aryans for Jews."

STRATFOR: U.S. ready to evacuate in Caracas  12/19/02 Petroleum World: "Hotel industry sources in Caracas tell Stratfor that the U.S. embassy has quietly rented the equivalent of nearly two floors of the Marriott Hotel in the El Rosal district, which has a heliport, for use as "a congregation point for evacuating U.S. citizens." Stratfor was unable to confirm this report directly with the U.S. embassy in Caracas, but sources at the Marriott Hotel verified its accuracy."

Calif. Muslims Detained in Crowded, Cold Centers  12/19/02 Reuters: "They estimated that between 1,000 and 2,500 males, some as young as 16, were spending their fourth day locked up in what they called inhumane conditions after voluntarily presenting themselves at immigration offices to register under new anti-terrorism rules."

Attacker killed in Kabul blast, 867 US troops killed in Afghanistan  12/19/02 Ummah News 

Washington maneuvers toward Venezuelan coup  12/19/02 World Socialist: "On December 13 the White House issued a statement effectively solidarizing itself with the demands advanced by the alliance of Venezuelan employers, the US-funded trade union bureaucracy and the political parties of the country’s oligarchy. “The only peaceful and politically viable path to moving out of the crisis is through the holding of early elections,” the statement said. Under Venezuela’s constitution, Chavez is to remain in power until the end of 2006. He could be subject to a recall referendum—in August of 2003 at the earliest—provided those seeking to oust him secured sufficient support for such a vote. For his term to be cut short, the constitution requires that more people vote to remove him in such a referendum than the number who voted to place him in power in the last presidential election. Washington’s undisguised contempt for such constitutional considerations is the clearest signal that it is prepared once again to support a right-wing military coup, as it did last April when Chavez’s opponents succeeded in ousting him for two days. He was returned to power in the wake of a popular uprising in the streets of Caracas."

Wednesday  12/18/02

topU.S. Intervening Against Democracy in Venezuela  12/18/02 Alternet: "For two weeks during this country's business-led strike, the privately owned stations that dominate Venezuelan television have been running opposition "infomercials" instead of advertisements, in addition to what is often non-stop coverage of opposition protests. "I am sure there is money from abroad," asserts Moncada. It's a good guess: Prior to the coup on April 11, the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy stepped up its funding to opposition groups, including money funneled through the International Republican Institute. The latter's funding multiplied more than sixfold, to $340,000 in 2001."

9/11 – WHO KNEW? Ask Senator Bob Graham  12/18/02 "Yes, going back to your question about what was the greatest surprise. I agree with what Senator Shelby said the degree to which agencies were not communicating was certainly a surprise but also I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States."

Vatican: Inspection in Iraq should cover Israel  12/18/02 Arabic News: "The Vatican yesterday said the operations of the international inspection in Iraq should also include other countries like Israel "which the UN had taken a decision against it that has been forgotten." The Vatican also stressed that the "fighting of brothers taking place in the holy lands on daily basis" requires embarking on a policy "based on honoring man's dignity and rights." The chairman of the Papal council for Justice and peace "archbishop Renato Martino said upon introducing the message of Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the "world day for peace" which is celebrated on January 1st that "the preventive war is an aggressive war and does not come in the context of a just war," in remarks to the "preventive" war planned by the US against Iraq."

Bush's Fatwa -- Assassination Orders Trample American Justice  12/18/02 Black World Today: "President George W. Bush has issued orders to the CIA authorizing assassination -- without further White House approval -- of a group of individuals designated as terrorist leaders. This amounts to an American "fatwa," and should alarm the American public. In the Islamic world, a fatwa is essentially a decree from a religious authority prescribing or proscribing actions for the faithful. Because it is an individual pronouncement, it cannot be countermanded or appealed. The most famous fatwas in recent times were the order issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini for the death of author Salman Rushdie, and the order by Osama bin Laden to "kill the Americans and their allies, civilians and military ... in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam," issued in 1998. President Bush's orders to the CIA have an eerie similarity to the Khomeini and bin Laden decrees. Bush's orders, like those other fatwas, call for the murder of persons who have not been subject to any trial or review of their crimes."


AP’s One-Sided Venezuela Coverage  12/18/02 NarcoNews: "The very structure of the AP -- the impersonal bureaucracy through which this huge volume of information is filtered -- encourages “desk reporting” from foreign correspondents. This means gleaning stories from the local commercial newspapers and taking phone calls from Embassy, political, and corporate spin-doctors rather than going outside and talking to the real people their stories concern. According to many familiar with the organization, AP correspondents are typically wined and dined by the English-speaking elites in the Third World outposts where they are assigned."

Fear mounts as US calls on Muslim men to register  12/18/02 Sydney Morning Herald: "Lines began forming before dawn outside the federal building in Los Angeles as hundreds of men from five Muslim countries came to register with immigration authorities under a sweeping national dragnet designed to identify potential terrorists. The United States Attorney-General, John Ashcroft, issued an order last month requiring male non-citizens over the age of 16 from 18 countries, mostly Arab and Muslim, to be interviewed, photographed and fingerprinted by federal authorities… Over the past week, officials enforcing the program have handcuffed and detained hundreds of men who showed up to be fingerprinted. In some cases the men had expired student or work visas; in others they could not provide adequate documentation of their immigration status. An immigration lawyer, Ali Bolour, said that at one point on Friday, officials ran out of plastic handcuffs as they herded men into the basement lockup of the federal building."

African Venezuelans fear new U.S. coup against President Chavez  12/18/02 Trinicenter, Trinidad: "This month, for the first time in history, Venezuelan people of African descent have total control of their historic Black university, the Instituto Universitario Barlovento [034 23 11 71 - 23 14 59]. They are already planning a university administered hotel and a restaurant for students, faculty and the community. This is an achievement of a lifetime, and the people of Barlovento gather around their seat of higher learning to reflect on their success… These dreams of the African Venezuelan people may be deferred if the United States replaces Chavez with a rightwing businessman as president. Currently, three Blacks are state governors elected by the people; the secretary of education is black; two Indigenous Venezuelans are congresspersons elected directly by the people; Indigenous Venezuelans have the complete right to claim their historic lands; land is protected and available to Black and Indigenous Venezuelan farmers so that they can now engage in farming for the first time in generations; and Venezuelans of African descent are participating in conferences against racism around the world and establishing strategic relationships with international organizations. They have attended Congressional Black Caucus conferences in 2000, 2001 and 2002; the pre-conference against racism in Chile in 2000; and the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. The African Venezuelan community in Barlovento also hosted the Second International Reunion of the African Latin Family in 1999."

On Tuesday the US State Department warned of a possible "violent eruption."  12/18/02 Trinicenter, Trinidad: "Today's conflict which, in large part is between the wealthy light-skinned elite and the dark-skinned poor. Nearly 80% of the population lives in poverty and there is a strong correlation between poverty and dark skin. Chavez, who is of black and indigenous origins, has concentrated on improving the living conditions of the poor ... his policies have included land redistribution for poor farmers, title to the self-built homes in the barrios (poor neighborhoods), steady increases in the minimum wage and of public sector salaries, and the enrolment of over one million previously excluded students in school."

The Lott buzz: Gone in days  12/18/02 US News: "Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, under pressure from colleagues and the White House to give up his post instead of face a January vote of confidence, may give in as soon as this weekend, predict key Senate Republican aides. In fact, they're already discussing Lott's post-majority-leader career, suggesting that he might be handed the chairmanship of a key committee for "doing the right thing," says one aide."

If You're Black, Who's Got Your Back? Post–9-11 Civil Rights  12/18/02 Village Voice: "Since 9-11, the government has moved to revive the legal mechanisms that gave us domestic spying under COINTELPRO in the 1960s, and last month, Roy Innis, the conservative head of the Congress of Racial Equality, and one of the two men Lott thinks he needs to sit down with now, suggested that the Department of Justice needs to investigate domestic Muslim groups for terrorists looking to recruit African Americans."

Group Says U.S. Broke Law in Use Of Cluster Bombs in Afghanistan  12/18/02 Washington Post: "The U.S. military violated international law in Afghanistan by indiscriminately dropping cluster bombs on populated areas, killing at least 25 civilians and injuring numerous others, Human Rights Watch said in a report scheduled for release today."

Tuesday  12/17/02

topVocero de SINTRAP denuncia riesgo de desastre en tanqueros por acercamiento de lanchas  12/17/02 Asamblea Popular Rewvolucionaria: "Explicó que por los respiraderos o escapes de ese buque se emiten vapores altamente inflamables que por acción de la brisa podrían llegar hasta las lanchas próximas, cuyos motores emiten chispas, las cuales podrían causar (¡Dios nos ampare!) una explosión de dimensiones gigantescas que haría palidecer el derribo de las torres gemelas de Nueva York, pues podría destruir a toda la ciudad de Maracaibo. Asimismo, advierte el vocero de la grave omisión de las televisoras golpistas que se han dedicado a aupar a estas lanchas cargadas de Oposicionistas sin advertirles del grave peligro que corren ellos y el resto de la población de Maracaibo."

Retaliation in Guatemala - My Family is Under Attack  12/17/02 Counterpunch: Mayans under attack by the government, again - "They have lived quietly in a small barrio in the Capital until recently. Then the neighbors began to report that armed men were looking for her husband and asking where he lived. Friends told her son that he should hide, that a car with black glass windows was circling the area, and had asked where he lived. The car was full of armed men. Strangers she had never seen before began speaking loudly in the streets about the Bamaca case, swearing they would kill any relatives if they ever found them."

Likud member says was asked for $70,000 for support in primary  12/17/02 Haaretz: "A candidate in the Likud primary told police Monday that a fellow member of the party's central committee had demanded $70,000 dollars in return for political support in the internal elections. Haim Cohen's statement is the latest in a series of 'money for votes' revelations that began last week when a Likud MK told Ha'aretz that she had been approached by four central committee members who offered her their votes in the party primary in return for money."

América Reborn: 32 Nations Back Venezuela - Historic OAS debate turns América right-side-up again  12/17/02 NarcoNews: "One hour and some minutes ago, the Organization of American States (OAS), for the first time in the organization’s history, rejected a major United States initiative. The OAS backed, by a vote of 32-0 – with two countries not counted – a resolution to support the continuance of the democratically elected government of Hugo Chávez of Venezuela."

MANHUNT by SEYMOUR M. HERSH  12/17/02 New Yorker: "many past and present military and intelligence officials have expressed alarm at the Pentagon policy about targeting Al Qaeda members. Their concerns have less to do with the legality of the program than with its wisdom, its ethics, and, ultimately, its efficacy. Some of the most heated criticism comes from within the Special Forces… "They want to turn these guys into assassins," a former high-level intelligence officer told me. "They want to go on rumors—not facts—and go for political effect, and that's what the Special Forces Command is really afraid of. Rummy is saying that politics is bigger than war, and we need to take guys out for political effect: 'You have to kill Goebbels to get to Hitler.' " With regard to Rumsfeld, he added, "The military is saying, 'Who is this guy?' There's a major clash of wills as to what is the future of Special Forces."

Caos en Caracas  12/17/02 Red Bolivariana: "La oposición crea caos en el Este de Caracas, trancan calles y los últimos reportes indican que en algunos sectores han roto el pavimento de algunos sectores. Los disturbios que se localizan principalmente en los municipios Chacao y Baruta al este de la capital venezolana han creado un gran caos en la ciudad, según vecinos de la Caracas informan que en algunas trancas se han hecho con apoyo de la policía de Chacao, Baruta y de la Alcaldía Mayor de Caracas que dirige el opositor Alfredo Peña. También reportan que en algunos puntos se ha arrancado el pavimento y los divisores metálicos de la autopista."

Gobierno de Venezuela obtiene apoyo unánime de la OEA  12/17/02 Red Bolivariana: Texto del resuelve del OAS: "Respaldar plenamente la institucionalidad democrática y constitucional de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, cuyo gobierno preside Hugo Chávez Frías, y rechazar categóricamente cualquier intento de golpe de estado o alteración del orden constitucional venezolano que afecte gravemente el orden democrático."

BBC's Distorted Venezuela Coverage  12/17/02 Trinicenter: "The Organisation of American States has called on Venezuelans to find a "peaceful democratic constitutional and electoral solution" to the standoff, but did not explicitly call for early elections." - This is a deliberate distortion to what was stated by the OAS. The OAS was quite clear in their support for the democratic process in Venezuela and BBC knew that the opposition's call for early elections is unconstitutional but they keep emphasizing it as if the call has merit."

U.S. army officer attacked by knife-wielding South Koreans  12/17/02 Ummah News: "A U.S. Army officer has been attacked by knife-wielding South Korean men outside a U.S. base here amid simmering anti-American sentiment, military authorities said Monday. Three South Koreans in their early 20s attacked the unarmed lieutenant colonel late Sunday as he left Yongsan, the main U.S. military base in central Seoul, and was walking to his home, the U.S. military said… It was the worst attack on U.S. military personnel since three soldiers were set upon by South Korean anti-U.S. protestors in a subway train in mid-September."

Lott Vows to Fight to Hold Onto Power in Senate  12/17/02 Washington Post: "A number of Republicans privately said they believe Lott will have to step aside as incoming majority leader for saying that the nation would have been better off if it had elected a segregationist presidential candidate in 1948. But others insisted the situation was fluid, particularly since there was no sign an apologetic yet determined Lott will voluntarily give up the post."

U.S. Sees Venezuela Crisis 'Deteriorating Rapidly'  12/17/02 Washington Post: deteriorating for Bushie Boy? "The Bush administration on Monday said it supported a referendum on Chavez and backed away from its earlier call for early elections that could violate the country's constitution or require its amendment."

"Global insecurity"  12/17/02 Yellow Times: "After the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, it has become clear that isolated incidents spread economic fallout throughout the global economy. The Bali blasts continued to highlight this trend. The attack threatened other economies in Southeast Asia, as nervous investors feared where the next attack would take place. Indeed, Australia has issued travel alerts for most of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. The U.S. State Department has also issued warnings on these same four Southeast Asian countries, warning of "high" terrorism threats to U.S. interests in the region… A recent Pew Research Center poll found that opinions of the U.S. around the world have fallen in nearly every nation included in the poll. Even more significant are the specific areas where opinion of the U.S. has dropped the most: Central Asia and the Middle East, the two regions where the U.S. has expanded. The poll states: "True dislike, if not hatred, of America is concentrated in the Muslim nations of the Middle East and in Central Asia, today's areas of greatest conflict." By extending the military to new regions, the Bush administration is hoping to reduce attacks against vital U.S. interests while at the same time spreading U.S. influence across the globe. However, as seen by the Defense Science Board, attacks on U.S. interests may actually increase, having a negative effect on the global economy, as areas become destabilized and clashes between U.S. troops or U.S. supported armies and local militants will inevitably ensue."

Monday  12/16/02

topPersonal Voices: Crossing the Green Line  12/16/02 Alternet: "As an American Jew, for three weeks I criss-crossed the Green Line, the shifting border between Israel and Palestine, reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones on this, my seventh trip to the region. This time I participated in the International Solidarity Movement's Freedom Summer campaign, doing nonviolent direct action with Palestinians against the Occupation and also networking with Israeli peace activists."

A key senator seeks vote on Lott's post  12/16/02 Boston Globe: ''I am concerned that Senator Lott has been weakened to the point that may jeopardize his ability to enact our agenda and speak to all Americans,'' said Senator Don Nickles, Republican of Oklahoma, on ABC's ''This Week.'' ''There are several outstanding senators who are more than capable of effective leadership, and I hope we have an opportunity to choose.'' Nickles's call could mark a turning point in Lott's attempt to weather the furor ignited by his remarks at Senator Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday celebration."

Chavez foes spiraling out of control  12/16/02 Boston Globe: "When opposition leaders get together to plan their strategy for ousting President Hugo Chavez, they usually spend their meetings sitting around a table screaming at one another."

Gore takes self out of '04 race  12/16/02 Boston Globe: "The decision had one immediate effect on the race for the Democratic presidential nomination: Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, who was Gore's running mate in 2000, is expected to announce his candidacy as soon as today. Lieberman had pledged not to run if Gore did. In an interview with the Globe last week, he said that were Gore not to run, 'I expect to make it clear very quickly afterward.' " - Lieberman owes his Senate seat to the CANF (Cuban American National Foundation), the organization that represents the Miami Mafia and their narcoterrorist henchmen.

White House Venezuela Error Backfires - Bush Withdraws “Elections” Demand; “Strike” is Over  12/16/02 NarcoNews: Victory! - "White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, earlier today, withdrew that demand with some not-too-fancy semantic footwork: “Early elections, in the sense that of course, there is a referenda (sic) that can be held earlier that is a reflection of the manifestation of the will of the people and this is the process that is anticipated in the Venezuelan constitution," Fleischer told reporters earlier today." The strike is over, the oil workers are back to work, tankers are on the way, and even the shops in the wealthy district are open.

Venezuela: An Anemic Strike Needs a Blood Transfusion  12/16/02 Radio Progresso, Miami: "Joao [Gouveia] is a contract killer, competitor to "The Jackal". He flew from Lisbon to Caracas December 5 landing at Simón Bolívar International Airport. He had a contract to keep. He was an important piece in the important turn of events, that since December 2, are taking place in Venezuela… On December 6, at approximately 6:30 p.m., Joao, who perhaps thinks that OAS is a new product on sale, left the "Tres Santos" and turned on the corner of Pilita Street headed to Baralt Avenue. He was carrying a Glock with three magazines, each with 15 bullets. Around 7 p.m. he reached Altamira Plaza, where people from the opposition were demonstrating. He surveyed the crowd, maybe staring momentarily at a beautiful woman. He chose a group. And then he shot randomly until the three magazines were empty of the 45 bullets. He killed three people and wounded almost 20 more. He tried to escape, but was captured. Immediately, the opposition accused the government. But Gouveia upon being deposed said, according to journalistic and official sources, that he had received 35 million bolivars (about $30,000 dollars) and pointed the finger at former general Enrique Medina Gómez – one of the leaders in the failed April coup now demonstrating in Altamira plaza – as the key man in the operation. In the streets, common Venezuelans now ask themselves: Who gains from the crime?"

Huge demonstration bolsters strike against Chavez  12/16/02 Sydney Morning Herald: "The Venezuelan government has increased pressure in recent days, threatening to replace striking oil industry employees with foreign workers, suggesting other exporting countries would supply its clients and indicating Venezuela would import fuel if needed. But the business and union leaders heading the protest insisted the strike, launched on December 2, would continue indefinitely. Petroleos de Venezuela President Ali Rodriguez conceded on Saturday that Venezuela's state oil company was largely paralysed. "This is affecting the country, the government is standing firm but the country is being severely punished," said Rodriguez, among the few officials of the oil firm who has remained loyal to Chavez."

Yemen speaker blasts US's 'war on terror'  12/16/02 Ummah News: "Washington is unleashing a war of “terror” against all Muslims and the threat to attack Iraq is the start of a wider campaign against Arabs, Yemen’s Parliament speaker said in remarks published yesterday. “America claims to be fighting terror but is practicing it ... The war it is launching is a crusader war “against all Arabs and Muslims”, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Ahmar told Okaz daily." A reaction to US death squad activity in his country?

World News

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