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    World News
2/17/03 - 2/23/03

Sunday  2/23/03

Anti-war protesters block U.S. base in Germany  2/23/03 AP: "About 2,000 mainly young demonstrators rallied in front of the main gate to the base, a key transit point for U.S. military traffic to Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, listening to speeches and scrawling anti-war slogans on the road in coloured chalk." A promise of things to come?

Filipino warns of anti-US backlash  2/23/03 Boston Globe: Some of Arroyo's critics in Congress accused administration officials of ''treason'' for negotiating the agreement. Arroyo has been uncharacteristically quiet since the furor erupted three days ago. ''It's just been sneaked through like a thief in the night,'' said a former presidential aide who asked not to be identified. ''It's been done surreptitiously and it's even being denied by the people who have done it. It's amazing.'' Any leader aligned with the US will ultimately pay the price.

California Microwave's corporate site: 4 employees down in Colombia  2/23/03 California Microwaves: a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman - "California Microwave Systems Airborne Systems, located in Belcamp, MD, specializes in the development and integration of Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), Communications Intelligence (COMINT), Electronics Intelligence (ELINT), and Communications/Data Links Radar (SAR/MTI), Ground Processing and Dissemination Aircraft modifications. Systems integration provides a multi-function solution. Airborne Systems offers state-of-the-art capabilities in collecting, processing, and disseminating imagery and electronic data between airborne operators and ground personnel. Our real-time intelligence systems have been used in peace-keeping operations in Korea, Haiti, and Bosnia, and for counter-narcotics operations in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Assistance has also been provided to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in assessing damage from the aftermath of natural disasters."

Philippines: No U.S. Combat Role  2/23/03 Guardian 

Colombian rebels say they hold Americans  2/23/03 Miami Herald: "The rebels killed two others aboard the plane -- a Colombian intelligence sergeant and an American -- as they apparently tried to escape shortly after the crash, 200 miles south of Bogotá, authorities said."

Two men driving Bush into war  2/23/03 Observer: "It is too simple to explain the upcoming war as 'blood for oil', as did millions of placards last weekend, for Rove and Wolfowitz are ideologists beyond the imperatives of profit. They represent an unlikely and formidable alliance forged between the gritty Texan Republicans who took over America, fuelled by fierce conservative Christianity, and a faction of the East Coast intelligentsia with roots in Ronald Reagan's time, devoted to achieving raw, unilateral power… 'Rove and Bush came to an important strategic conclusion,' writes Lou Dubose, Rove's biographer. 'To govern on behalf of the corporate Right, they would have to appease the Christian Right.' "

US considers intervention in Colombia  2/23/03 Observer, UK: "The United States is considering direct military intervention in Colombia for the first time following the murder of an American and the kidnapping of three others, all suspected CIA agents. The US embassy in Colombia has recommended Washington make a 'major response' to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) rebels responsible, and American officials have confirmed that military action is being considered to recover the men from the dense jungles of the southern province of Caqueta… Washington has refused to release any information about the men, entrenching the belief that they were CIA agents on a surveillance mission… For the people of Caqueta, the prospect of a US military incursion into the province is yet another nightmare. In the past year, since the collapse of the peace process, they have seen the suspension of local government and are living under a form of martial law. Scores of ordinary people have been tortured and murdered by right-wing paramilitaries and they face a constant campaign of bombing and kidnapping by the Farc."

DOD announcement perturbs Philippines leaders  2/23/03 Stars & Stripes: and so it goes around the world as everyone gets increasingly angry at the Empire.

Iraq: A People Betrayed  2/23/03 Znet: "Dr Al-Ali is a cancer specialist at Basra's hospital and a member of Britain's Royal College of Physicians. He has a neat moustache and a kindly, furrowed face. His starched white coat, like the collar of his shirt, is frayed. "Before the Gulf War, we had only three or four deaths in a month from cancer," he said. "Now it's 30 to 35 patients dying every month, and that's just in my department. That is a 12-fold increase in cancer mortality. Our studies indicate that 40 to 48 per cent of the population in this area will get cancer: in five years' time to begin with, then long afterwards. That's almost half the population. "Most of my own family now have cancer, and we have no history of the disease. We don't know the precise source of the contamination, because we are not allowed to get the equipment to conduct a proper survey, or even test the excess level of radiation in our bodies. We strongly suspect depleted uranium, which was used by the Americans and British in the Gulf War right across the southern battlefields. Whatever the cause, it is like Chernobyl here; the genetic effects are new to us."

Saturday  2/22/03

topChavez asks 20-year jail terms for foes  2/22/03 AP: ''These oligarchs believed that they were untouchable,'' Chavez thundered during a ceremony handing land titles to peasants in Trujillo state. ''There are no untouchables in Venezuela. A criminal is a criminal.''

Security Threat? Bernadette Devlin McAliskey Barred Entry to the United States  2/22/03 Counterpunch: "Irish activist and former Member of Parliament, Bernadette Devlin McAliskey was detained by immigration officials in Chicago, February 21, and denied entry into the United States allegedly on "national security" grounds. According to her daughter, Deidre, two INS officers threatened to arrest, jail, and even shoot the legendary civil rights campaigner when she arrived at Chicago's O'Hare airport. McAliskey (56) was then photographed, finger-printed and returned to Ireland against her will on the grounds that the State Department had declared that she "poses a serious threat to the security of the United States.""

Al-Qa'ida 'link' to murder of Briton  2/22/03 Independent 

Tokyo taking flak for apparent backing of U.S. attack on Iraq  2/22/03 Japan Times: "The government has been deflecting a growing amount of criticism, even from within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, since it came out in clear support of adopting a new resolution against Iraq at the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, however, told a news conference Friday morning that Japan's speech at the Security Council did not indicate support of a U.S.-led military offensive against Iraq."

Grammy stars free to sing out on war  2/22/03 NY Daily News: "Despite a report that CBS executives had considered blocking politically outspoken rockers, the network said last night it would not pull the plug on anyone protesting a war against Iraq. The Drudge Report, an Internet news site, quoted an anonymous CBS chieftain as saying the network would cut the microphone of any rocker who engaged in antiwar rhetoric. But CBS quickly moved to squelch the story."

Agencies Warn of Lone Terrorists  2/22/03 NYT 

Westerners on edge in Saudi Arabia  2/22/03 Reuters: "The killing Thursday of Robert Dent, a 37-year-old employee of British defense company BAE Systems who was shot dead in his car at a traffic light, underscored Westerners' vulnerability in the Gulf state."

Friday  2/21/03

topVIVE LA FRANCE! - The spirit of Lafayette lives on in the refusal of France to go along with the War Party  2/21/03 "Take a gander at the cover of the [UK] Sun, a newspaper, nasty even by Murdochian standards, of the sort that gives tabloids a bad name. Chirac is depicted as a worm, and the editorial screeches at him: "You were only too happy to welcome the Americans when France was crushed under Hitler's boot. But today you look down on the American people and their president, and you forget how many American and British soldiers, sailors and pilots gave their lives... for the freedom of this country." " - this ignores the role of US elites such as the Fords, the Rockefellers, and the Dulles brothers in fostering the rise of the Nazis during the '30s.

Germany mulls Afghan pull-out  2/21/03 BBC: "Germany has said it could withdraw its troops from Afghanistan if tensions escalate in the region as a result of a US-led war on Iraq… The 22-nation 4,800-strong force has maintained security in the Afghan capital since its deployment in December 2001 following the ousting of the Taleban regime by US-led forces."

US troops 'to fight' in Philippines  2/21/03 BBC: "A US defence official said of the deployment: "This is different. This is an actual combined operation, and it is US forces accompanying and actively participating in Philippines-led offensive operations." But a spokesman for Philippine President Gloria Arroyo insisted the programme was merely the latest part of the programme under which US troops have been giving advice on anti-terror tactics."

Colombia: EE.UU. advierte a las FARC  2/21/03 BBC Mundo: "Legisladores estadounidenses, en visita oficial a Colombia, advirtieron a las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC, que sufrirán serias consecuencias por el secuestro de tres funcionarios de Estados Unidos cuyo avión se estrelló la semana pasada en la selva al sur del país." And there won't be any consequences for the US if it escalates? How many enemies do you want?

Why Black Americans Should Oppose Bush's War - Of Oil, the Euro and Africa  2/21/03 Black Commentator: "Given the highly leveraged and fragile state of our economy, an OPEC switch from the dollar to the euro would bring a quick and devastating dollar and Wall Street crash that would make 1929 look like a $50 casino bet."

Hip-Hop Fridays: RapCOINTELPRO XIII: MTV's "Hip-Hop Cops: Is The NYPD At War With Hip-Hop?"  2/21/03 Black Electorate: "The problem is that for a variety of reasons activists, journalists, artists and executives can't seem to accept the premise that what is happening is a continuation of COINTELPRO and not profiling or harassment. Many know that what is happening goes way above the power and influence of any local police department."

Vote on Ethiopians Exposing Aid Rift  2/21/03 Forward: "The decade-long battle over Ethiopian refugees is shifting to the United States, after the Israeli Cabinet's unanimous vote Sunday approving the immigration of more than 18,000 languishing Ethiopians. At issue is a little-noticed clause in the approved Cabinet resolution that is sparking debate among American Jewish groups over how much aid should be sent to the Ethiopians, who are known as the Falash Mura. The clause calls for an increase in humanitarian assistance to members of the community, made up of people who either converted to Christianity from Judaism under duress or are the descendants of such people." Falasha is a derogatory term, they call themselves Beta Israel. And they are used by the right-wingers in Israel to populate the West Bank and other dangerous areas.

LA City Council Votes On Anti-War Resolution  2/21/03 NBC: "The council voted nine-to-four Friday in favor of the resolution. Supporters of the measure gave impassioned speeches that received cheers from hundreds of peace activists who packed the council's downtown chambers. Mayor James Hahn signed the resolution."

BUSH'S DEEP REASONS FOR WAR ON IRAQ: OIL, PETRODOLLARS, AND THE OPEC EURO QUESTION  2/21/03 Peter Dale Scott: most interesting article - "Dominance of Middle Eastern oil will mean in effect maintaining dollar hegemony over the world oil economy. Given its present strategies, the US is constrained to demand no less. As I explain in this extract from my book, Drugs, Oil, and War, the present value of the US dollar, unjustified on purely economic grounds, is maintained by political arrangements, one of the chief of which is to ensure that all OPEC oil purchases will continue to be denominated in US dollars. (This commitment of OPEC to dollar oil sales was secured in the 1970s by a secret agreement between the US and Saudi Arabia, before the two countries began to drift apart over Israel and other issues.) The chief reason why dollars are more than pieces of green paper is that countries all over the world need them for purchases, principally of oil. This requires them in addition to maintain dollar reserves to protect their own currency; and these reserves, when invested, help maintain the current high levels of the US securities markets."

Short Iraq war would cost world $A1 trillion - study  2/21/03 Reuters: "A short war with Iraq could cost the world 1 per cent of its economic output over the next few years and more than $A1 trillion ($NZ1.1 trillion) by 2010, Australian researchers said in a report yesterday. A long war could more than triple the costs, they said. The compounding effects of rising oil prices, extra budget spending and economic uncertainty could cut $A173 billion from the world economy in 2003 alone, said the researchers, Reserve Bank of Australia board member Warwick McKibbin and Centre for International Economics executive director Andrew Stoeckel." - $A 1 = $US 0.60

Luis Tascón: "Pueblo venezolano debe festejar que se está haciendo justicia"  2/21/03 VenPres: Son claros los delitos cometidos por estos señores, son públicos y notorios, el procedimiento ha sido correcto y se ha tenido mucho cuidado de no cometer errores, sin embargo, la contrarrevolución va a tratar por todos sus medios de comunicación de buscar las diferentes alternativas para desdibujar el hecho. Lo concreto es que hay una orden, se concretó una medida y se comisionó a la Disip para arrestar a estos presuntos delincuentes", aseveró. Tascón no descartó la posibilidad de que vengan otros procedimientos contra otras personas que propiciaron el sabotaje petrolero "y quisieron que Venezuela perdiera 5 mil millones de dólares del sector público y 5 mil millones de dólares en el sector privado para llevar al país a la crisis que estamos viviendo".

Turkey to Accept U.S. Troops  2/21/03 Washington Post: "Government support for the package is key to its approval by 550-member parliament, where the ruling Justice and Development Party enjoys a comfortable 362-member majority. But it is not a guarantee if members of parliament are left free to vote how they choose. Some analysts predicted the debate will be intense, although they expected the package ultimately to be approved. "If the government backs it, of course it is going to succeed," said Mercan, the Justice and Development spokesman. "If the government doesn't back it," or backs it less than wholeheartedly, he added, "it may not pass."

Thursday  2/20/03

topWhen U.S. Foreign Policy Meets Biblical Prophecy  2/20/03 Alternet: "Abundant evidence makes clear that millions of Americans – upwards of 40 percent, according to some widely publicized national polls – do, indeed, believe that Bible prophecies detail a specific sequence of end-times events… In this scenario, the Islamic world is allied against God and faces annihilation in the last days. That view is actually a very ancient one in Christian eschatology. Medieval prophecy expounders saw Islam as the demonic force whose doom is foretold in Scripture. As Richard the Lionhearted prepared for the Third Crusade in 1190, the famed prophecy interpreter Joachim of Fiore assured him that the Islamic ruler Saladin, who held Jerusalem, was the Antichrist, and that Richard would defeat him and recapture the Holy City. (Joachim's prophecy failed: Richard returned to Europe in 1192 with Saladin still in power.)… Academics do need to pay more attention to the role of religious belief in American public life, not only in the past, but also today. Without close attention to the prophetic scenario embraced by millions of American citizens, the current political climate in the United States cannot be fully understood."

U.S. indictment in Florida charges eight with running terrorist organization  2/20/03 AP: now if they had been Cuban American, they would have gotten a judgeship!

¡Confirmado!: A la cárcel Carlos Fernández y Carlos Ortega  2/20/03 Aporrea, Venezuela: "Se confirma que ayer anoche fue detenido por la DISIP al salir del restaurant Punta Grill el presidente de Fedecámaras Carlos Fernández y que hay una order de captura para el enemigo de los trabajadores Carlos Ortega, quien tiene 48 horas para presentarse. Las detenciones se dieron a consecuencia de una investigación que desde el mes pasado está llevando a cabo el Ministerio Público."

Africa backs France on Iraq  2/20/03 BBC 

Moseley-Braun and the Game to Contain Sharpton  2/20/03 Black Commentator: "Carolyn Moseley-Braun is doing someone a favor, but it's not Black Democrats. The former Senator from Illinois is transparently allowing herself to be used to diminish, somehow, the impact of Rev. Al Sharpton's candidacy for President. Since she cannot possibly "stop" Sharpton, the actual purpose and potential effect of her primary run can only be to dilute the impact of the Black vote, itself."

War to defend the almighty dollar  2/20/03 Black Commentator: "The real "weapon of mass destruction" threatening American domination of the globe is the euro, the shared currency of 12 European nations centered on Germany and France. The economies and populations of the euro countries are as large as that of the United States, and more tightly bound to the Middle East… Iraq switched to euro payments for its oil several years ago, declaring the dollar "enemy currency," Dr. Ebron reports. "Iraq's move to the euro - and Iran's expected move - are placing tremendous pressure on OPEC countries and other oil producers to drop our dollar as the main transaction currency for oil.""

Hungary: Marchers oppose war  2/20/03 Budapest Sun: "Around 30,000 demonstrators walked from Liszt Ferenc tér to Heroes’ Square in Budapest as part of Saturday’s worldwide day of protest against a war with Iraq, with another smaller group, the Peace Chain, marching elsewhere in the city."

Inspectors Call U.S. Tips 'Garbage'  2/20/03 CBS News: "U.N. sources have told CBS News that American tips have lead to one dead end after another."

Spy fiasco in Colombia catches U.S. napping  2/20/03 Chicago Sun Tribune: "Sources in Colombia, however, report the plane contained four contract employees of an office in the U.S. embassy in Bogota under CIA control. Their fate was sealed by multiple security blunders, in the opinion of special operations experts… Just how inadequate was found last Thursday by four U.S. civilians employed by California Microwave Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., a communications service, when their plane crashed. Government officials deny that they were CIA agents, and technically they were not. In fact, they were under contract to the Office of Regional Administration in the Bogota embassy, which is a covert CIA operation. Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador in Bogota and one of the rising stars of the U.S. Foreign Service, was reported by associates as ''coming unglued'' after the incident. A single-engine plane on an intelligence mission is considered unacceptable. Nor was there a ''chase'' plane following to quickly come to rescue the intelligence aircraft if necessary. Last Oct. 15, when Barr was on his Colombian mission, he was informed by U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Richard Baca of a foolproof ''search-and-rescue'' plan if any of the U.S. planes went down. ''Instead,'' a veteran special operations officer told me, ''this was amateur hour.''

The IMF Fiddles While La Paz Burns - The New Opium Wars in Bolivia  2/20/03 Counterpunch: "On the first day of the riots CBS, NBC, and Fox published stories. Colorful riots and footage of historical buildings aflame will always attract the attention of a corporate media addicted to sensationalism. They mentioned the tax increase but said nothing about the IMF or its austerity plans." IMF, again.

Colombia: Not Just a Blip  2/20/03 CSM: "Colombia is the third-largest recipient of US foreign aid, coming ever closer to Nos. 1 and 2, Israel and Egypt. In addition to increasing funding for Colombia, the US recently shifted its policy. No longer is Washington focused solely on eradicating coca production. Now it's helping to train Colombia's military to fight a rebel insurgency of nearly 40 years."

Sioux returning to the Plains  2/20/03 CSM: "Just as the buffalo are returning to the rural Great Plains, native Americans are staging a dramatic demographic comeback - thanks to high birthrates and the return of many who want to reconnect with their land and culture. The region's native American population has nearly doubled since 1990 (even using the most restrictive census definitions). That's almost four times the national growth rate and, regionally speaking, the biggest increase of any major demographic group except Hispanics. And this comes as white residents are fleeing the Plains… Restoring the ecosystem could lure in tourists, provide jobs, and bring back many of the native plants used for tribal medicine. Yet ultimately, "the buffalo commons is not only about bringing the buffalo and prairie dogs back," says Nick Tilsen, board member of the Great Plains Restoration Council, which aims to make the commons a reality. "It's a holistic view of the prairie," he says. "Without the buffalo coming back, the people can't get healthier.""

Guatemala desires greater collaboration in education, health and tourism  2/20/03 Granma: "He added that both leaders discussed the possibility of bringing multidisciplinary groups of 50 to 60 Guatemalans to Cuba to observe how, with the same or perhaps less resources, the island has achieved 10 times more than Guatemala in health and education."

Bush's war timetable unravelling  2/20/03 Guardian, UK: "Failure by Turkey to open its bases to American troops would mean that US transport ships carrying thousands of servicemen and essential equipment would have to be re-routed to the Gulf or elsewhere. Any diversionary attack against Baghdad from the north may then have to be scaled back dramatically. The block on US servicemen might also leave the Kurds vulnerable to an Iraqi counter-attack. As a fallback position, US special service troops and Kurdish fighters have been upgrading three airstrips in northern Iraq which might be used as advance supply positions. But the US would be denied the modern infrastructure of the main Turkish airbases such as Incirlik, Batman and Diyarbakir. The latest opinion polls in Turkey suggest that 90% of the electorate is opposed to war."

A German-American confrontation  2/20/03 IHT: ""As an ironical coda, it surely will not have escaped readers that the insults currently flung at the French, Belgians and Germans as "cowards" come from an American administration whose principal figures are, with one exception, draft dodgers, and from journalists who, if they respect the current advice of the U.S. government, will have spent recent days hiding under their beds surrounded by canned provisions, in duct-taped rooms, waiting for Osama bin Laden to cause the sky to fall on them."

Buendía Calls for “Exorcism” of Drug War - Advisor to Ecuador's President Blazes New Trail in Mérida Summit  2/20/03 NarcoNews: "But leading members of the Pachakutik Movement, the political branch of the nation’s largest indigenous organization, CONAIE, and the driving force behind Gutierrez’s electoral victory, continue to criticize U.S. drug policy openly in the region."

The Trouble With Corporate Radio: The Day the Protest Music Died  2/20/03 NYT: "Pop music played a crucial role in the national debate over the Vietnam War. By the late 1960's, radio stations across the country were crackling with blatantly political songs that became mainstream hits. After the National Guard killed four antiwar demonstrators at Kent State University in Ohio in the spring of 1970, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young recorded a song, simply titled "Ohio," about the horror of the event, criticizing President Richard Nixon by name. The song was rushed onto the air while sentiment was still high, and became both an antiwar anthem and a huge moneymaker. A comparable song about George W. Bush's rush to war in Iraq would have no chance at all today. There are plenty of angry people, many with prime music-buying demographics. But independent radio stations that once would have played edgy, political music have been gobbled up by corporations that control hundreds of stations and have no wish to rock the boat."

U. of Michigan Draws a New Type of Recruit  2/20/03 NYT: "Thus began a campaign that would not only bolster the university's legal position, but — in Mr. Bollinger's view — reclaim the language of civil rights and nudge support for affirmative action back toward the center of the American mainstream. The result was a legal and political coup of sorts, with more than 300 organizations signing more than 60 briefs supporting the university."

Russia hints it may use UN veto to block force against Iraq  2/20/03 Yahoo: "Along with France and China, the other veto-wielding powers on the Security Council, the Russians favour weapons inspections continuing and Fedotov was quoted by the ITAR-TASS news agency as saying they would not support a resolution authorising the use of force. Ivanov, in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, appeared to go even further by actually addressing the question of a veto. "It's an extreme measure to be used in a reponsible way," the Russian minister said."

Wednesday  2/19/03

topArmy shells indigenous village for three days  2/19/03 ANNCOL: "In an open letter sent to the Colombia's Human Rights Ombudsman, the indigenous communities of Wiwa ethnicity denounced that on 18 January 2003 and the three following days they were "subjected to terror, when from land and air their properties, homes, school, health centres, the Ceremonial House (Kankuras), their cultivations and the few animals they kept were destroyed by indiscriminate attacks attributed to men belonging to the La Popa Battalion of the National Army based in Valledupar".

A 'TOXIC' MEME? Israel's 'amen corner' is cornered  2/19/03 "The authors of this paper were addressing themselves to then Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but their prescription for a new Israeli policy bears an eerie resemblance to America's post-9/11 stance in the Middle East, and the world at large. And no wonder. Richard Perle, from his perch at the Pentagon Defense Policy Board, is the Lenin of the War Party. Douglas Feith is an Undersecretary of Defense, and David Wurmser is a special assistant to Undersecretary of State for arms control and international security affairs John Bolton. Bolton's recent visit to Israel shows us how far advanced the ideas presented in that 1996 paper have come."

In Afghanistan, 'friendly ire'  2/19/03 CSM: "A confrontation last week reveals tensions between Western peacekeepers and [US] antiterror troops."

Undercover arrest stirs terror rift  2/19/03 CSM: The sheikh was a devout Muslim whose lifelong ambition was caring for the poor in Yemen, one of the world's most underdeveloped nations. Yet now he needed help himself. His health was deteriorating, and no facilities in his country were sophisticated enough to treat him. So he turned to his new friend, "Yussef," a wealthy but disillusioned young African-American… But Yussef wasn't the person he seemed. As an American undercover agent, he was trying to trap the Muslim leader, who is alleged by the US to be a key financier of terrorism. What followed is a tale of deception, betrayal, and intrigue - and of the clashing international interests and viewpoints that make the pursuit of terrorists so complex. The fallout has created a behind-the-scenes rift between the US and two of its key partners in the war on terror - Germany and Yemen. Germany is now holding the sheikh and his personal secretary. But both the US and Yemen want them, for different reasons."

Liliane De Rothschild Dies in France  2/19/03 Guardian: :Like the Rockefellers in the United States, the Rothschilds have played a major role in French business and culture. They helped make Paris a significant European financial capital, and are famed for their wineries in the Bordeaux region."

President Bush's Ratings Fall Sharply  2/19/03 PRNewswire: "The last two months have taken a heavy toll on the president's popularity, but a modest 52% to 46% majority still gives him positive ratings. Two months ago, almost two-thirds of all U.S. adults (64%) gave the president positive ratings and only just over a third (35%) gave him negative ratings… The one exception is Secretary of State Colin Powell. He still enjoys an extraordinarily high degree of popularity, with 76% giving him positive ratings and only 21% giving him negative ratings."

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement  2/19/03 SF Bayview: "Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is one of very few nationwide Black youth organizations dedicated to revolutionary solutions to the ills that plague the Black community. The organization believes in a balance of community work and study in order to season its organizers to be ready to fight the revolution every day, whether that means supporting victims of police terrorism or helping to found the School of Social Justice, which is located in East Oakland and dedicated to enrolling “at risk” youth."

The Army's Empire Skeptics  2/19/03 The Nation: "Nation interviews with dozens of active-duty and retired officers, as well as reviews of recent military studies and articles, found that there is, nonetheless, a marked lack of enthusiasm in some segments of the officer corps not just for the Iraq mission but for its greater implications for the military as well as the society it defends."

What Happened in New York  2/19/03 Zmag: The pro-Israel mayor exerts his influence - "The denial of the march was only one feature in a campaign of harrassment, that included the circulation of a rumor on the day before the rally that the event had been cancelled, a Code Orange terrorist alert that stationed military guards in the subways armed with automatic rifles, the denial of permission to rent portable toilets for the masses expected at the rally, the mysterious rerouting of subways and busses on the morning of the rally, the cut-off of the phones in the United for Peace and Justice office during the rally, and a repressive, heavy-handed and sometimes brutal police presence that penned the official rally behind barricades and prevented thousands from even getting there."

Tuesday  2/18/03

topThe Crisis in NATO - A Geopolitical Earthquake?  2/18/03 Counterpunch: "Washington intended that NATO, from its very inception, serve as its instrument for maintaining its political hegemony over Western Europe, forestalling the emergence of a bloc that could play an independent role in world affairs."

U.S. Warns Turkey Against Blocking Iraq Plans  2/18/03 Reuters 

Season for war may fade in the desert heat  2/18/03 The News, Pakistan: "In a few more weeks, the desert will be hell," warned one Gulf Arab…In heat, soldiers in MOPP suits can do physical work for "a few hours or less", according to Fine."

Turkey, Saudi Arabia cast new doubt on Iraq war plans  2/18/03 Yahoo: "For his part, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia, a key US ally in the Gulf, warned Washington against attacking Iraq without a green light from the UN Security Council. Prince Saud told the BBC late Monday that such action "would appear as aggression" as momentum built for a fresh Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force -- a call joined by Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer."

Monday  2/17/03

topLatest American Bombing In Afghanistan Yields High Civilian Casualties  2/17/03 BBC: the vicious cycle spirals towards an inevitable Viet Nam style defeat for the US - "BBC Radio Pashto service has reported that in the village of Wilja in the Afghan province of Helmand, as many as a 100 civilians have been killed and more than a dozen have been injured during an American bombing operation."

The US is a Nation Divided - Can the Intellectual Left Make a Bridge to the Working Class and the Poor?  2/17/03 Counterpunch: by Robert Fisk - "Black Americans, for example, are uninhibited in their sympathy for Palestinians under occupation. But when I told a lecturer in Austin that I had asked hotel staff and air crews to turn up to my lectures on the Middle East and America--and that all had come--I was treated with a kind of weird amazement, puzzlement that I should bother to ask such unpromising material to think about the Arab-Israel conflict mixed with faint pity that I should ever expect them to understand."

ENDLESS FAKE TERROR ALERTS: FEAR BASED MIND CONTROL  2/17/03 Etherzone: "In late January 2003, 28 Pakistani men were arrested in a raid in the Italian city of Naples. The headlines shrieked that the men were plotting assassinations and bombings of NATO targets. They had maps of London, the U.S. consulate and American naval bases. They were a definite ‘Al-Qaeda terrorist cell’ in possession of 800 grams of explosives, enough to blow up a three-story building. Despite all this unfolding in Italy, it made the top story on both American and British news for two days. Just two weeks later, the BBC quietly announced, “An Italian judge has ordered the release of 28 Pakistani immigrants arrested on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks. The reasons for the order are unclear, but reports suggest little evidence was found against the men.”

Millions worldwide rally for peace  2/17/03 Guardian: "Up to 30 million people demonstrated worldwide, including around 6 million in Europe, according to figures from organisers and police, although most conceded there were too many people in too many places to count."

New protests planned in bid to bring Britain to a standstill  2/17/03 Guardian: "Anti-war coalition leaders, emboldened by the massive turnout at peace rallies in London and around the world, are planning to try to shut Britain down should Tony Blair defy public opinion and go to war without a UN resolution. "We want people to walk out of their offices, strike, sit down, occupy buildings, demonstrate, take direct action and do whatever they think fit the moment war starts," said Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition yesterday."

Germans say U.S. can't close base soon enough  2/17/03 IHT: so much for Rummy's plans to punish his cousins.

Alleged Bin Laden Tape Attacks 'Crusaders'  2/17/03 Jihad Unspun: "On the blessed Tuesday 11 September 2001... there came the youths with dishevelled hair and dusty feet, who were wanted and pursued all over the world. These youths believed in their Lord, so God provided them with guidance and put constancy in their tongues and faith in their hearts, so they stopped fearing, for the sake of God, the blame of any blamer… Yet with the destruction of the twin towers in New York, there occurred an even bigger destruction: that of the great American dream and legend of democracy... One of the many positive results of the retaliatory attacks on New York and Washington is that they have exposed the true characteristics of the crusaders and revealed the extent of their hate towards Muslims. These attacks took the skin off the American wolf, and they have been left standing in their filthy, naked reality…"

US becoming a colonial power: Wesley Clark  2/17/03 Times of India: "We are at a turning point in America's history. We are about to embark on an operation that is going to put us in a colonial position in the Middle East following Britain."

The Friendly French Resistance  2/17/03 Znet: "This open split within Europe put a sudden end to the longstanding illusion that the European Union was gradually developing a "common foreign policy". The hawks in Washington could chortle at having "isolated" Paris and Berlin. But the main point was that this gambit brought out into the open a heretofore unmentionable reality: that the United States is using the eastward expansion of both NATO and the European Union to cripple western Europe politically. The intrusive U.S. insistence that the European Union should include Turkey goes in the same direction: a "Union" so divided in basic political outlook will never be able to offer coherent resistance to U.S. policy dictates. For reasons of tact and diplomatic courtesy to the United States, this has been a nearly tabou subject in European political discussion. The tabou has been brutally broken by Rumsfeld and the manoeuvre of the eight "new" Europeans. The U.S. effort to divide and dominate Europe is now open and obvious, and there is no more point in being discreet about it. Tony Blair's self-proclaimed role as "mediator" turns out to be that of helping the United States divide and rule the continent." Very bad mistake for Bush, as France and Germany have more than enough historical experience in such maneuvers.


"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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