Saturday, October 16, 2004


Help give out Prop. N and Nov. 3 flyers and posters!

You are invited to the East Bay premier of an important new film:
Followed by a panel discussion on police violence
to benefit the No on Measure Y Campaign
Friday, October 22, 8 – 10 pm
at the Fellowship of Humanity
390 – 27th Street/411 – 28th Street,
Downtown Oakland, between Telegraph & Broadway
Suggested donation: $5 - $10; no one turned away for lack of funds

Saturday, October 16, Los Angeles
& Sunday, October 17, Washington D.C.

3) Hello Everyone,
Please forward and spread the word!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hope to see you at the movie!
Please tell your friends.
With Creator's Blessings,
Native American Two-Spirit Film Night
Thursday, October 21, 7p.m.
New College of California, Theatre Room
777 Valencia Street @19th Street, San Francisco
Public Parking: 21st at Valencia

4) Israeli Army Denies Jewish and Left Activists Entry
to help WB Farmers in Olive Harvest
George Rishmawi-IMEMC & Agencies, October 16, 2004

5) Truth Stranger Than 'Strangelove'
October 10, 2004

6) Shooting From the Hip: Kerry Out-Guns Bush
By Joshua Frank
October 15, 2004


You are invited to the East Bay premier of an important new film:
Followed by a panel discussion on police violence
to benefit the No on Measure Y Campaign
Friday, October 22, 8 – 10 pm
at the Fellowship of Humanity
390 – 27th Street/411 – 28th Street,
Downtown Oakland, between Telegraph & Broadway
Suggested donation: $5 - $10; no one turned away for lack of funds

"Every Mother's Son" recounts three cases of unjustified or questionable
police killings in New York - and tells of the victimsÂ’ three mothers who
came together to demand justice and accountability. Are such killings
acceptable or necessary trade-offs for public safety? In reply, the mothers
have their own question: What if it were your child?

A panel presentation following the film will feature Mesha Monge-Irizarry
and Sandra-Juanita Cooper, who founded the Idress Stelly Foundation
after Mesha's only child, Idriss Stelly, was killed by San Francisco Police
on June 14, 2001, Marylon Boyd, the mother of Cammerin Boyd, a victim
of police violence in both Oakland and San Francisco, and Malaika Parker
of Bay Area PoliceWatch.

Wilson Riles will make a brief presentation on behalf of the
No on Measure Y campaign.

Measure Y, the misleadingly-named "Violence Prevention and Public
Safety Act of 2004,"puts funding police ahead of funding social
programs. Measure Y will spend a majority of funds raised through
a regressive new parcel tax and increased parking fees to hire 63 new
police officers and increase the fire department budget, while to a much
lesser extent funding true violence prevention programs.

No on Measure Y, 3746 39th Avenue, Oakland, CA 94619 ;


Saturday, October 16, Los Angeles
& Sunday, October 17, Washington D.C.

As working people plan to take to the streets this weekend at the
Million Worker March in Washington DC on Sunday October 17, and
at the Immigrant Rights March in Los Angeles on Saturday, October 16,
it is worthwhile to consider two breaking news stories that indicate vividly
the organic connection between domestic and foreign policy.

1) A U.S. federal judge just ordered that U.S. Airways can cut the pay and
pension benefits of its union workers by 21%. This in fact is a lawless act
violating a union contract on behalf of corporate bosses. As the cold comes
and fuel costs are through the roof, U.S. Airways workers will see their
incomes drop drastically while they must perform the same labor for the
same hours, as will retirees on pension.

2) A platoon of U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq, functioning as workers in
uniform and transporting fuel in resupply lines, have refused to carry out
the orders of their officers and have been placed under arrest. A report in
the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, MS, states, "A 17-member Army Reserve
platoon with troops from Jackson, Miss., and around the Southeast
deployed to Iraq is under arrest for refusing a 'suicide mission' to deliver
fuel, the troops' relatives said Thursday." The soldiers were ordered to
transport fuel in unprotected vehicles through an area of Iraq north of
Baghdad where they knew they would be subject to the Iraqi resistance's
attacks. One of the soldiers had e-mailed his mother earlier in the week
asking what the penalty would be for physically assaulting his commander.

Working people in the United States are recognizing that the Bush
administration has launched a war in Iraq solely to satisfy the needs of
their corporate and banking backers to dominate and exploit the land,
labor and resources of the people of the Middle East. It is not possible
that the government which attacks workers rights at home can fight for
the "liberation" of working people abroad. This is a profit first, people
government and it pursues the same policy all over the globe starting
right here at home. The same government is willing to allow the super
exploitation of undocumented workers one day, and the next day have
them rounded up in INS/ICE sweeps if they dare to organize themselves
into a union. The same government that takes billions from working
people to spend on war and occupation tells those working people in
that there is no money for human needs at home.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition urges everyone who can to unite and join
the mass protests on October 16th and October 17th. Please see below
for details.

It is due to the generosity of supporters that A.N.S.W.E.R. has been able
to have such a powerful voice at this critical moment in history. Your
support is urgently needed. You can make a donation online through a
secure server by clicking here. Credit card donations made online are
not tax deductible. To make a tax deductible credit card donation,
call 202-544-3389. You can also make a tax deductible donation
by writing a check to A.N.S.W.E.R./AGJ and sending it to
A.N.S.W.E.R., 1247 E St. SE, Washington DC 20003.

* * * * *
October 17, 2004
Million Worker March
in Washington DC
Gather at 11 am
Lincoln Memorial

According to the Million Worker March Committee, "This mobilization
is being proposed in response to the attacks upon working families
in America and the millions of jobs lost during the Bush administration
and with the complicity of Congress." The march is also calling to
Bring the Troops Home Now.

Initiated by The International Longshore and Warehouse Union,
Local 10 and endorsed by many labor, community and activist

Click here to get information on the LOGISTICS FOR
OCT. 17 IN DC - including directions, bus drop off /
parking / pick up, car and van parking maps, housing, etc.).
Demands of the Million Worker March:
- Universal single-care health care from cradle to grave that ends
the stranglehold of greedy insurance companies and secures health
care as a right of all people in America.

- A national living wage that lifts people permanently out of poverty.
- Protection and enhancement of Social Security immune to privatization.
- Guaranteed pensions that sustain a decent life for all working people.
- The cancellation of all corporate "free" trade agreements, including
- An end to privatization, contracting out, deregulation and the pitting
of workers against each other across national boundaries in a mad
race to the bottom.
- For workers' right to organize and for a repeal of Taft Hartley and all
anti-labor legislation.
- Funding public education in a crash program to restore our decaying
and abandoned schools with state of the art school facilities in every
- Funding a vast army of teachers to end functional illiteracy in America
and unleash the talent and potential of our abandoned children and adults.
- Launching a national training program in skills and capacities that will
enlist our people in rebuilding our country and putting an end to both the
criminalization of poverty and the prison-industrial complex.
- Rebuilding our decaying inner cities with clean, modern and affordable
housing and eliminating homelessness in America with guaranteed housing
and jobs for all.
- Progressive taxation that increases taxation on corporations and the
rich while providing relief for the working class and poor.
- An end to the poisoning of the atmosphere, soil, water and food supply
with a national emergency program to restore the environment, end global
warming and preserve our endangered eco-system.
- Creating efficient, modern and free mass transit in every city and town.
- Repeal of the Patriot Act, Anti-Terrorism Act and all such repressive
- Slash the military budget and recover the trillions of dollars stolen from
our labor to enrich the corporations that profit from war.
- Open the books on the secret budgets of the Pentagon and the
intelligence agencies in the service of corporations and banks and the
pursuit of imperial war on the poor everywhere.
- Extend democracy to our economic structure so that all decisions
affecting the lives of our citizens are made by working people who
produce all value through their labor.
- An aggressive enforcement of all civil rights and a national education
campaign and mobilization against all racist and discriminatory acts
in the work place and in our communities.
- Amnesty for all undocumented workers
- Increase in federal funding for the Arts in public schools
- For a democratic media that allow labor and all voices to be heard
and oppose monopolization and union busting of media workers.
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-533-0417
Los Angeles: 323-464-1636
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
For media inquiries, call 202-544-3389.


3) Hello Everyone,
Please forward and spread the word!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hope to see you at the movie!
Please tell your friends.
With Creator's Blessings,
Native American Two-Spirit Film Night
Thursday, October 21, 7p.m.
New College of California, Theatre Room
777 Valencia Street @19th Street, San Francisco
Public Parking: 21st at Valencia

A fundraiser for BAAITS


Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits

BAAITS is a community based volunteer organization
creating forums for spiritual, cultural, and
artistic expression of Two-Spirit people, a term
for LGBT American Indians.

Native American Two-Spirit Film Night

WHEN: Thursday, October 21, 7p.m.

WHERE: New College of California, Theatre Room

777 Valencia Street @19th Street, San Francisco

Public Parking: 21st at Valencia

A fundraiser for BAAITS

Co-sponsored by The Center for Education and
Social Action at

New College of California



4) Israeli Army Denies Jewish and Left Activists Entry
to help WB Farmers in Olive Harvest
George Rishmawi-IMEMC & Agencies, October 16, 2004

The Israeli army denied entry to over 100 Israeli left activists to the
village of Azawiyah near Salfit who came to assist Palestinian olive growers
in olive harvest on Saturday morning.

The army claimed the West Bank village a closed military zone and will not
allow the activists to enter it, Israeli news paper Haaretz said.
Three left activists have been arrested so far.

"The army said it feared a violent confrontation would ensue between the
pro-Palestinian groups and settlers living in the nearby settlement of Eli,"
Haaretz said.

However, eyewitness reports in earlier attempts for activists to assist
Palestinians in olive harvest said, settlers initiated violence and
assaulted Palestinians and international peace activists as well.
Military sources say they have suggested that the activists help picking
olives in areas where there is no threat of clashes with settlers but the
activists refused.

Left activists explain that they are invited by the Palestinians to help
them pick olive especially in areas adjacent to settlements to avoid any
friction with the settlers.

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) has launched a campaign in which
it invited international peace activists from different parts of the world
to assist Palestinian farmers in olive harvest, a campaign
the movement organizes since 2002.

Hundreds of activists arrived into the country in the past three years for
the Olive Harvest campaign organized by the ISM. Several internationals have
been assaulted by settlers who attacked the Olive growers.

The settlers stepped up their attacks against international peace activists
in the past few weeks.

While Israeli police declared that attacks against peace activists and
innocent Palestinian civilians, especially school children, in the Hebron
area was the work of a well organized settlers' gang, army says
"As soon as the peace activists are gone, things will calm down".
Five international peace activists were attacked last Saturday when
escorting Palestinian children to school in the southern Hebron hills,
An Italian peace volunteer and an Amnesty International member required
medical treatment after being badly beaten with clubs.

This is the third attack against peace activists in Hebron area in the past

According to police reports, the attacks were not spontaneous outbreaks of
violence, but rather the work of a well-organized group,
whose members wear black, don ski masks and arm themselves with wooden
clubs, chains and rocks.

Jewish settlers in the area have long been harassing Palestinian residents.
Palestinian children are afraid to go to school and many have dropped out.
"We were escorting five children to school, when five masked figures
dressed in black jumped out at us. The children began to run. I was knocked
down and beat with a chain. I lay immobile so they would think
I was dead" said Kim Lamberty, an American volunteer with Christian
Peacemaker Teams (CPT), describing the first attack against members of her
organization on September 29.

Lamberty's arm and leg were broken. Her colleague Chris Brown was also
hospitalized with a punctured lung. Also last week, rocks were thrown by a
similar group at a single volunteer, who managed to escape unharmed
"Until recently we were subjected to stone-throwing and spontaneous
actions, but not a planned ambush," says Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for
Human Rights, an Israeli peace organization active in the area.

Left activists also complain about police and army indifference to the

"We lay waiting there for half an hour before the police came. We could
have easily been killed," says Lamberty.

"No suspects have been detained yet. if the assailants were Arabs they would
have arrested the whole village and found the guilty parties" said Ezra
Nawi, an activist with the Israeli peace group Ta'ayush.

The army commander in Hebron area demanded that the internationa volunteers
leave, promising that soldiers would take over the job of escorting the
children safely to school. But Palestinian children are afraid of the
soldiers. "We don't trust the army to keep up the routine either," Nawi

Police spokesman Sagi Shlomi claimed that the police was taking the attacks
very seriously, describing the attackers as "a subversive group that has
carried out aggravated assault offenses and robbery."

Army spokesperson confirmed that peace activists who accompany children to
schools will not be allowed to pass, saying "As soon as the peace activists
are gone, things will calm down,"

"Punishing the victim is becoming the normal policy through which army and
police handle settlers' violence and criminal acts" aan actyivist said.

Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:


5) Truth Stranger Than 'Strangelove'
October 10, 2004

Dr. Strangelove," Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film about nuclear-war plans
run amok, is widely heralded as one of the greatest satires in American
political or movie history. For its 40th anniversary, Film Forum is
screening a new 35 millimeter print for one week, starting on Friday,
and Columbia TriStar is releasing a two-disc special-edition DVD next
month. One essential point should emerge from all the hoopla:
"Strangelove" is far more than a satire. In its own loopy way, the
movie is a remarkably fact-based and specific guide to some of the
oddest, most secretive chapters of the Cold War.

As countless histories relate, Mr. Kubrick set out to make a serious film
based on a grim novel, "Red Alert," by Peter George, a Royal Air Force
officer. But the more research he did (reading more than 50 books,
talking with a dozen experts), the more lunatic he found the whole
subject, so he made a dark comedy instead. The result was wildly
iconoclastic: released at the height of the cold war, not long after the
Cuban missile crisis, before the escalation in Vietnam, "Dr. Strangelove"
dared to suggest - with yucks! - that our top generals might be bonkers
and that our well-designed system for preserving the peace was in fact
a doomsday machine.

What few people knew, at the time and since, was just how accurate
this film was. Its premise, plotline, some of the dialogue, even its
wildest characters eerily resembled the policies, debates and military
leaders of the day. The audience had almost no way of detecting these
similiarities:Nearly everything about the bomb was shrouded in
secrecy back then. There was no Freedom of Information Act and
little investigative reporting on the subject. It was easy to laugh off
"Dr. Strangelove" as a comic book.

But film's weird accuracy is evident in its very first scene, in which
a deranged base commander, preposterously named Gen. Jack D. Ripper
(played by Sterling Hayden), orders his wing of B-52 bombers - which
are on routine airborne alert, circling a "fail-safe point" just outside the
Soviet border - to attack their targets inside the U.S.S.R. with
bombs. Once the pilots receive the order, they can't be diverted unless
they receive a coded recall message. And 0nly General Ripper has the code.

The remarkable thing is, the fail-safe system that General Ripper
exploits was the real, top-secret fail-safe system at the time. According to
declassified Strategic Air Command histories, 12 B-52's - fully loaded
with nuclear bombs - were kept on constant airborne alert. If they
received a Go code, they went to war. This alert system, known as
Chrome Dome, began in 1961. It ended in 1968, after a B-52 crashed
in Greenland, spreading small amounts of radioactive fallout.

But until then, could some loony general have sent bombers to attack
Russia without a presidential order? Yes.

In a scene in the "war room" (a room that didn't really exist, by the way),
Air Force Gen. Buck Turgidson (played by George C. Scott) explains to an
incredulous President Merkin Muffley (one of three roles played by Peter
Sellers) that policies - approved by the president - allowed war powers to
transferred, in case the president was killed in a surprise nuclear attack

Historical documents indicate that such procedures did exist, and that,
though tightened later, they were startlingly loose at the time.

But were there generals who might really have taken such power in their
own hands? It was no secret - it would have been obvious to many
viewers in 1964 - that General Ripper looked a lot like Curtis LeMay,
the cigar-chomping, gruff-talking general who headed the Strategic
Air Command through the 1950's and who served as the Pentagon's
Air Force Chief of Staff in the early 60's.

In 1957 Robert Sprague, the director of a top-secret panel, warned
General LeMay that the entire fleet of B-52 bombers was vulnerable
to attack. General LeMay was unfazed. "If I see that the Russians are
amassing their planes for an attack,'' he said, "I'm going to knock the
[expletive] out of them before they take off the ground."

"But General LeMay," Mr. Sprague replied, "that's not national policy."
"I don't care," General LeMay said. "It's my policy. That's what I'm
going to do."

Mr. Kubrick probably was unaware of this exchange. (Mr. Sprague told
me about it in 1981, when I interviewed him for a book on nuclear
history.) But General LeMay's distrust of civilian authorities, including
presidents, was well known among insiders, several of whom Mr. Kubrick

The most popular guessing game about the movie is whether there
a real-life counterpart to the character of Dr. Strangelove (another
Sellers part), the wheelchaired ex-Nazi who directs the Pentagon's
weapons research and proposes sheltering political leaders in
mineshafts, where they can survive the coming nuclear war and
breed with beautiful women. Over the years, some have speculated
that Strangelove was inspired by Edward Teller, Henry Kissinger or
Werner Von Braun.

But the real model was almost certainly Herman Kahn, an eccentric,
voluble nuclear strategist at the RAND Corporation, a prominent
Air Force think tank. In 1960, Mr. Kahn published a 652-page tome
called "On Thermonuclear War," which sold 30,000 copies in hardcover.

According to a special-feature documentary on the new DVD, Mr.
Kubrick read "On Thermonuclear War" several times. But what the
documentary doesn't note is that the final scenes of "Dr. Strangelove"
come straight out of its pages.

Toward the end of the film, officials uncover General Ripper's code
and call back the B-52's, but they notice that one bomber keeps
flying toward its target. A B-52 is about to attack the Russians with
a few H-bombs; General Turgidson recommends that we should
"catch 'em with their pants down,'' and launch an all-out, disarming

Such a strike would destroy 90 percent of the U.S.S.R.'s nuclear
arsenal. "Mr. President," he exclaims, "I'm not saying we wouldn't
get our hair mussed, but I do say no more than 10-20 million killed,
tops!" If we don't go all-out, the general warns, the Soviets will fire
back with all their nuclear weapons. The choice, he screams, is
"between two admittedly regrettable but nevertheless distinguishable
postwar environments - one where you get 20 million people killed
and the other where you get 150 million people killed!" Mr. Kahn
made precisely this point in his book, even producing a chart labeled,
"Tragic but Distinguishable Postwar States."

When Dr. Strangelove talks of sheltering people in mineshafts,
President Muffley asks him, "Wouldn't this nucleus of survivors be
so grief-stricken and anguished that they'd, well, envy the dead?"
Strangelove exclaims that, to the contrary, many would feel "a spirit
of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead."

Mr. Kahn's book contains a long chapter on mineshafts. Its title: "Will
the Survivors Envy the Dead?" One sentence reads: "We can imagine a
renewed vigor among the population with a zealous, almost religious
dedication to reconstruction."

In 1981, two years before he died, I asked Mr. Kahn what he thought
of "Dr. Strangelove." Thinking I meant the character, he replied, with
a straight face, "Strangelove wouldn't have lasted three weeks in the
Pentagon. He was too creative."

Those in the know watched "Dr. Strangelove" amused, like everyone
else, but also stunned. Daniel Ellsberg, who later leaked the Pentagon
Papers, was a RAND analyst and a consultant at the Defense Department
when he and a mid-level official took off work one afternoon in 1964
to see the film. Mr. Ellsberg recently recalled that as they left the
he turned to his colleague and said, "That was a documentary!"

Fred Kaplan is a columnist for Slate and the author of "The Wizards of
Armageddon," a history of the nuclear strategists.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times


6) Shooting From the Hip: Kerry Out-Guns Bush
By Joshua Frank
October 15, 2004

{From: "Barbara Deutsch"
Subject: how do we defend ourselves from this?
At 4:10 AM -0700 10/15/04, Sunil/Dissident Voice wrote:
The greater the mental charlatan, the more definite his insistence on
the wickedness and weakness of human nature...Emma Goldman}

It may seem inconceivable to some, but John Kerry is indeed out-
hawking George W. Bush this election season. No doubt we should
have seen it coming as the Democratic National Convention was
nothing more than a glorified war parade, where Kerry floated on
by and reprehensibly announced that he was "reporting for duty."

Since this obscure proclamation in Boston last summer, Kerry has
been trouncing around the country defending his call for the
continued U.S. occupation of Iraq. In the first presidential debate held
in Florida two weeks ago, Kerry boasted of his numerous military
backers, "I am proud that important military figures are supporting
me in this race: former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John
Shalikashvili; just yesterday, General Eisenhower's son, General
John Eisenhower, endorsed me; General Admiral William Crowe;
General Tony McBeak, who ran the Air Force war so effectively for
his father -- all believe I would make a stronger commander in chief."

William Safire, the conservative columnist for the New York Times
on October 4 opined that Kerry is the "newest neo-conservative" and
went as far as to say that Kerry is even "more hawkish than
President Bush."

Kerry wants to show voters that he will be tough on terror,
I assume, and he is doing so by defending Bush's pre-emptive
doctrine. "The president always has the right, and always has
had the right, for preemptive strike. That was a great doctrine
throughout the Cold War. And it was always one of the things we
argued about with respect to arms control."

So much for differentiating himself from the Bush agenda. If anything,
Kerry is simply saying he could run this whole "war on terror" thing
better, and in fact has said as much. "[I] will hunt and kill the terrorists
wherever they are ... I can do better." Kerry also says he will accomplish
his goal by not backing off "of Fallujah and other places," which he
says sends "the wrong message to terrorists."

So much for options. Now lefty voters are being told by the Nobody
but Kerry crowd that we have to vote for their pro-war candidate.
There is no other choice. Period. That makes me wonder: What ever
happened to the anti-war movement anyway? You'd think they would
be out raising some hell over Kerry's hawkish pose on Iraq. Maybe
these seasoned activists took a much needed vacation after the
Republican National Convention (why weren't they in Boston railing
the Democrats again?). Or, more likely they are skipping door to
door trumping the John-John ticket. Talk about hypocrisy.

Meanwhile, as the masses across the U.S. are obsessing over the
upcoming elections, violence is escalating in Iraq. "The situation on
the ground in Iraq is far worse than what is portrayed by the media,"
journalist Patrick Cockburn wrote on October 6 in CounterPunch.
"I have spent most of the past year-and-a-half traveling in Iraq, and
I have never known it so bad. The roads all around Baghdad are cut
by insurgents. At Mahmoudiyah, just south of the capital, rebels in
black masks felt confident enough last week to establish a checkpoint
on the main road to Najaf. In Baghdad, U.S. planes regularly bomb
Sadr City, home to 2 million out of the capital's 5 million people.
Haifa Street, a resistance bastion 400 yards from the Green Zone
where American generals give relentlessly upbeat briefings, can
only be entered by U.S. heavy armour supported by helicopters."

Nevertheless, here we have John Kerry "reporting for duty." You
shouldn't be surprised, though. He said the same thing decades ago
when he volunteered to go fight in that other awful war over in Vietnam.
Save his short burst of anti-war heroism upon his return -- the guy
has always been a hawk.

Joshua Frank is a contributor to CounterPunch's new election book,
A Dime's Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils , and is
author of the forthcoming book, Left Out! How Liberals Did Bush's
Work for Him , to be published by Common Courage Press.
He welcomes comments at .

Friday, October 15, 2004


---------*---------*EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT*---------*---------*

Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King III
have endorsed the Million Worker March on Washington
on October 17.
Publicity Committee
111 Clayton Court Vallejo, CA 94591
phone: 707.552.9992 fax: 707.552.9993
mobile: 707.694.5699 email:

C-Span will be covering the national Million Worker March
in Washington D.C.

The coverage will be from 12:00 Noon

October 17, 2004 EST until the end of the rally.

It will also be recorded by WPFW-Pacifica but will be replayed later.
If you can, please record it.
To get more info go to

10/17: Immigrant Workers Tent at Million Workers March,
Washington DC
10 AM - 4 PM
Lincoln Monument

Contact: Lee Siu Hin
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
Tel: (626)695-3405

Daniel Vila
Tel: (212)663-6872

Please come to join with us at our Immigrant Workers Tent
on the historical Oct 17 Million Workers March in Washington D.C.,
we demands: Immigrant workers rights, legalization, social justice
and ethnic unity.

We will include tabling and presentation, Also the strategy meeting
for immigrant solidarity campaigns for 2005.

If you are immigrant workers, human rights and social justice
organizations and would like to request a space at our tent
please contact Lee Siu Hin, Tel: (626)695-3405,

For more information about the Million Workers March, please visit:

People! United! We'll Never be Defeated!

---------*---------*EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT*---------*---------*

Prop. N committee meets Thursday, Oct. 21 & 28, 7 p.m

Fundraising Party for Prop N!
€ Music € Refreshments € Speakers

Saturday, October 16, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Canvas Gallery in S.F.
(corner of 9th Ave & Lincoln Dr. @ Golden Gate Park)
San Francisco

Medea Benjamin (Global Exchange),Howard Wallace (Vice Pres.,
SF Labor Council), Susan Galleymore (Motherspeak),
Anne Roesler (Military Families Speak Out),
Representative, Code Pink,
Matt Gonzalez, (President, S.F. Board of Supervisors)
and others

Proposition N on the San Francisco ballot says: "Shall it be City
policy to urge the United States government to withdraw all
troops from Iraq and bring all military personnel in Iraq back
to the United States."

As the first city to vote to end the occupation and bring the
troops home, San Francisco can take a stand and help lead the
way for other cities to do the same.


"San Francisco emerged as the epicenter of the antiwar protests
in the United States when Bush first began bombing Iraq based
on false pretenses. Now San Francisco has the opportunity to take
a similar lead on the electoral front. Proposition N would make it
official San Francisco policy to urge the federal government to
withdraw all troops and military personnel from Iraq. Backers
hope passing Prop. N might help build political momentum against
the Bush administration's ongoing war in Iraq, as other municipalities
follow suit. It's a tactic borrowed from the Vietnam years. And it
should be implemented now too."
SF Bay Guardian, Oct. 6 - Oct. 12 2004€ Vol. 39, No. 01


---------*---------*EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT*---------*---------*


---------*---------*EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT*---------*---------*

Hijacking Catastrophe 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire
with Paul George, Director, Peace and Justice Center
Monday, Oct 18, 7:30 pm
Unitarian Univeralist Church,
505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
$5-$10, suggested donation (no one turned away)
More Info:

Examines how a radical fringe of the Republican Party has used
the trauma of the 9/11 terror attacks to advance a pre-existing
agenda to radically transform American foreign policy while rolling
back civil liberties and social programs at home. The documentary
places the Bush Administration's false justifications for war in Iraq
within the larger context of a two-decade struggle by neoconservatives
to dramatically increase military spending in the wake of the Cold War,
and to expand American power globally by means of military force...

"By helping us understand how fear is being actively cultivated and
manipulated by the current administration, Hijacking Catastrophe
stands to become an explosive and empowering information weapon
in this decisive year in U.S. history." Naomi Klein

64 mins, 2004

Monday night film series is a joint production of:
Peninsula Peace and Justice Center
Peace Umbrella of Unitarian Universalist Church
World Centric

Please forward...

---------*---------*EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT*---------*---------*

*** please forward *** please forward widely *** please forward

Books Not Bars presents:

at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland

Grand Lake Theater
3200 Grand Avenue, Oakland
Free! (suggested donation $5-10)

Come see our new 30-minute, grassroots-driven documentary
that breaks down the current scandal in California's youth prison
system — and how the state can solve it.

Books Not Bars teamed up with the ground-breaking group
WITNESS ( ) to make this film, and now
you can see the WORLD PREMIERE!

CYA is notorious as the most abusive youth prison system in the
nation. Find out why in exclusive interviews with former CYA youth,
parents, advocates and activists. Learn about the human rights
crisis in CYA -- and about the movement to end this crisis and
revolutionize juvenile justice in California.

* A panel discussion with filmmakers, former CYA youth and
parents will follow the screening.

* Suggested donation: $5 - $10 (no one turned away for lack
of funds)

* For more information or to request postcard flyers to be mailed
to you please contact:
415-951-4844 ext 230

Find out about the Books Not Bars "Alternatives for Youth"

We can't survive without the support of individuals like you.
Please take a moment to support us today. Donate here:

SIGN UP: Not on our list-serve yet? (Maybe this message was
forwarded to you.) Sign up to get e-mail updates directly by
going this web page: )

UPDATE: If you are on our list-serve, you can update your
information and preferences:


---------*---------*IN THE NEWS*---------*---------*

1.a) U.S. Probes if GIs Refused Iraq Mission
By JOHN J. LUMPKIN, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo! News Fri, Oct 15, 2004
1 hour, 24 minutes ago

1.b) Platoon defies orders in Iraq
The Jackson Mississippi Clarion-Ledger
October 15, 2004
Miss. soldier calls home, cites safety concerns
By Jeremy Hudson

2) U.S. Pounds Fallujah As Ramadan Begins
.c The Associated Press

3) G.O.P. Convention Cost $154 Million
October 14, 2004

4) Sharon Offers a Date for Settler Withdrawal From Gaza

5) Gaza families live in the shadow of death
By Laila El-Haddad in Gaza
Friday 08 October 2004 2:08 PM GMT

6) U.S. Forces Arrest Iraqi Negotiator, Strike Falluja
By Alistair Lyon
BAGHDAD (Reuters)
Fri Oct 15, 2004 08:12 AM ET

7) Israel Says Will Scale Back Gaza Offensive
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
JABALYA REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip (Reuters)
Fri Oct 15, 2004 08:34 AM ET

Study of College Readiness Finds No Progress in Decade
October 14, 2004

9) Pension System Recognizes Gay Spouses
October 14, 2004

10) Jordan 'ghost' jail 'is holding senior al-Qa'eda leaders'
By Inigo Gilmore in Jerusalem and Robin Gedye Foreign Affairs Writer
(Filed: 14/10/2004)

11) The Cuban "Miami Five"
Jailed in the US for fighting terrorism
By Jorge Martin

"We nonviolently oppose
the reliance on unilateral
military actions rather
than cooperative diplomacy."

13) The Making of the Terror Myth
Since September 11 Britain has been warned of the
'inevitability' of catastrophic terrorist attack.
But has the danger been exaggerated? A major new TV
documentary claims that the perceived threat is a politically
driven fantasy - and al-Qaida a dark illusion. Andy Beckett reports
Andy Beckett
Friday October 15, 2004
The Guardian,12780,1327904,00.html

14) The polluted planet: Alarm as global study finds one-third
of amphibians face extinction
By Steve Connor Science Editor
15 October 2004

15) US Airways Authorized to Cut Workers'
Pay by 21%
Filed at 2:45 p.m. ET
October 15, 2004


---------*---------*IN THE NEWS*---------*---------*

1.a) U.S. Probes if GIs Refused Iraq Mission
By JOHN J. LUMPKIN, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo! News Fri, Oct 15, 2004
1 hour, 24 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The Army is investigating reports that several
members of a reservist supply unit in Iraq (news -web sites)
refused to go on a convoy mission, the military said Friday.
Relatives of the soldiers said the troops considered the mission
too dangerous.

The reservists are from the 343rd Quartermaster Company,
which is based in Rock Hill, S.C. The unit delivers food and
water in combat zones.

According to The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, Miss.,
a platoon of 17 soldiers refused to go on a fuel supply mission
Wednesday because their vehicles were in poor shape and they
did not have a capable armed escort.

The paper cited interviews with family members of some of the
soldiers, who said the soldiers had been confined after their
refusals. The mission was carried out by other soldiers from the
343rd, which has at least 120 soldiers, the military said.

Convoys in Iraq are frequently subject to ambushes and roadside

A whole unit refusing to go on a mission in a war zone would
be a significant breach of military discipline. A statement from
the military's press center in Baghdad called the incident "isolated."

"The investigating team is currently in Tallil taking statements
and interviewing those involved. This is an isolated incident and
it is far too early in the investigation to speculate as to what
happened, why it happened or any action that might be taken,"
the coalition press information center said in the statement,
sent to The Associated Press in Washington.

In the statement, U.S. military officials said the commanding
general of the 13th Corps Support Command had appointed
his deputy commander to investigate the incident.

The statement did not confirm several aspects of the relatives'
stories, including the number of soldiers involved and the reason
they refused the mission.

The soldiers refused an order on Wednesday to go to Taji, Iraq -
north of Baghdad - because their vehicles were considered
extremely unsafe, Patricia McCook of Jackson, Miss., told The
Clarion-Ledger. Her husband, Sgt. Larry O. McCook, was among
those detained, she said, saying her husband had telephoned her
from Iraq.

The platoon being held has troops from Alabama, Kentucky,
North Carolina, Mississippi and South Carolina, said Teresa Hill
of Dothan, Ala., who told the newspaper her daughter Amber
McClenny is among those being detained.

Patricia McCook said her husband told her he did not feel
comfortable taking his soldiers on another trip.

"He told me that three of the vehicles they were to use were
'deadlines' ... not safe to go in a hotbed like that," she said,
according to the newspaper.

Copyright (c) 2004 The Associated Press.

1.b) Platoon defies orders in Iraq
The Jackson Mississippi Clarion-Ledger
October 15, 2004
Miss. soldier calls home, cites safety concerns
By Jeremy Hudson

A 17-member Army Reserve platoon with troops from Jackson
and around the Southeast deployed to Iraq is under arrest for
refusing a "suicide mission" to deliver fuel, the troops' relatives
said Thursday.

The soldiers refused an order on Wednesday to go to Taji, Iraq — north
of Baghdad — because their vehicles were considered "deadlined" or
extremely unsafe, said Patricia McCook of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Larry O.

Sgt. McCook, a deputy at the Hinds County Detention Center, and the 16
other members of the 343rd Quartermaster Company from Rock Hill, S.C.,
were read their rights and moved from the military barracks into tents,
Patricia McCook said her husband told her during a panicked phone call
about 5 a.m. Thursday.

The platoon could be charged with the willful disobeying of orders,
punishable by dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay and up to five
years confinement, said military law expert Mark Stevens, an associate
professor of justice studies at Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, N.C.

No military officials were able to confirm or deny the detainment of the
platoon Thursday.

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson said he plans to submit a congressional
inquiry today on behalf of the Mississippi soldiers to launch an
investigation into whether they are being treated improperly.

"I would not want any member of the military to be put in a dangerous
situation ill-equipped," said Thompson, who was contacted by families.
"I have had similar complaints from military families about vehicles
that weren't armor-plated, or bullet-proof vests that are outdated. It
concerns me because we made over $150 billion in funds available to
equip our forces in Iraq.

"President Bush takes the position that the troops are well-armed, but
if this situation is true, it calls into question how honest he has been
with the country," Thompson said.

The 343rd is a supply unit whose general mission is to deliver fuel and
water. The unit includes three women and 14 men and those with ranking
up to sergeant first class.

"I got a call from an officer in another unit early (Thursday) morning
who told me that my husband and his platoon had been arrested on a bogus
charge because they refused to go on a suicide mission," said Jackie
Butler of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Michael Butler, a 24-year reservist.
"When my husband refuses to follow an order, it has to be something major."

The platoon being held has troops from Alabama, Kentucky, North
Carolina, Mississippi and South Carolina, said Teresa Hill of Dothan,
Ala., whose daughter Amber McClenny is among those being detained.

McClenny, 21, pleaded for help in a message left on her mother's
answering machine early Thursday morning.

"They are holding us against our will," McClenny said. "We are now

McClenny told her mother her unit tried to deliver fuel to another base
in Iraq Wednesday, but was sent back because the fuel had been
contaminated with water. The platoon returned to its base, where it was
told to take the fuel to another base, McClenny told her mother.

The platoon is normally escorted by armed Humvees and helicopters, but
did not have that support Wednesday, McClenny told her mother.

The convoy trucks the platoon was driving had experienced problems in
the past and were not being properly maintained, Hill said her daughter
told her.

The situation mirrors other tales of troops being sent on missions
without proper equipment.

Aviation regiments have complained of being forced to fly dangerous
missions over Iraq with outdated night-vision goggles and old
missile-avoidance systems. Stories of troops' families purchasing body
armor because the military didn't provide them with adequate equipment
have been included in recent presidential debates.

Patricia McCook said her husband, a staff sergeant, understands well the
severity of disobeying orders. But he did not feel comfortable taking
his soldiers on another trip.

"He told me that three of the vehicles they were to use were deadlines
... not safe to go in a hotbed like that," Patricia McCook said.

Hill said the trucks her daughter's unit was driving could not top 40 mph.

"They knew there was a 99 percent chance they were going to get ambushed
or fired at," Hill said her daughter told her. "They would have had no
way to fight back."

Kathy Harris of Vicksburg is the mother of Aaron Gordon, 20, who is
among those being detained. Her primary concern is that she has been
told the soldiers have not been provided access to a judge advocate general.

Stevens said if the soldiers are being confined, law requires them to
have a hearing before a magistrate within seven days.

Harris said conditions for the platoon have been difficult of late. Her
son e-mailed her earlier this week to ask what the penalty would be if
he became physical with a commanding officer, she said.

But Nadine Stratford of Rock Hill, S.C., said her godson Colin Durham,
20, has been happy with his time in Iraq. She has not heard from him
since the platoon was detained.

"When I talked to him about a month ago, he was fine," Stratford said.
"He said it was like being at home."


2) U.S. Pounds Fallujah As Ramadan Begins
.c The Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S. warplanes pounded the insurgent
stronghold of Fallujah, where residents were marking the first day
of the holy month of Ramadan on Friday, a day after city leaders
suspended peace talks and rejected the Iraqi government's demands
to turn over terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

U.S. troops detained Fallujah's top negotiator in the peace talks,
witnesses said. Khaled al-Jumeili, an Islamic cleric, was arrested as
he left a mosque after prayers in a village about 10 miles south of
Fallujah, they said. There was no immediate U.S. comment.

In Baghdad, a car bomb blew up near a police station in a southwestern
district, destroying two police vehicles. The U.S. military said
10 people were killed in the blast and four others wounded, though
initial reports from the Iraqi Interior Ministry and hospitals said one
dead and 11 wounded.

In a statement read at sermons in mosques in Baghdad and elsewhere,
Fallujah's clerics called for civil disobedience across Iraq if the
Americans try to overrun the insurgent bastion. And if that doesn't
halt an offensive, the clerics said they would proclaim a jihad, or holy
war, against multinational forces ``as well as those collaborating
with them.''

The clerics insisted al-Zarqawi was not in the city as U.S. and Iraqi
commanders claim, saying his presence ``is a lie just like the weapons
of mass destruction lie.''

``Al-Zarqawi has become the pretext for flattening civilians houses
and killing innocent civilians,'' the statement said.

Al-Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad group has claimed responsibility for
Thursday's twin bombings inside Baghdad's heavily guarded Green
Zone - home to U.S. officials and the Iraqi leadership - which killed
six people, including three American civilians, and wounded 27 others,
mostly Iraqis. A fourth American was missing and presumed dead.

Two Iraqis were killed, at least one of them a suicide bomber. The
identity of the other wasn't known. The group's claim, which could
not be verified, was posted on a Web site known for its Islamic contents.

The bold, unprecedented attack, which witnesses and a senior Iraqi
official said was carried out by suicide bombers, dramatized the
militants' ability to penetrate the heart of the U.S.-Iraqi leadership
even as authorities step up military operations to suppress Sunni
Muslim insurgents in other parts of the country.

Elsewhere, several mortar rounds believed fired from Syria exploded
Friday near the border town of Husaybah, said Marine Lt. Col. Chris
Woodbridge. There were no casualties. Marines say mortar attacks
from Syrian territory have increased in recent weeks though it's
unclear who is launching them.

Fallujah, west of Baghdad, is considered the toughest stronghold of
insurgents, who have controlled the city since the end of a bloody,
three-week Marine siege in April.

Jets and artillery hammered Fallujah through the night and early
Friday in an apparent effort to quash terrorists suspected of planning
attacks timed with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began

Three people were killed and seven others injured during the night,
according to Dr. Rafia Hiyad of Fallujah General Hospital. On Thursday,
the hospital said at least five people were killed and 16 wounded.

By sundown Friday, witnesses reported a series of new airstrikes in the
southern and eastern part of the city. One resident, Salah Abd, said
Fallujah has been sealed off by American troops, who prevented
residents from leaving the area.

U.S. officials, however, indicated the bombing was not a prelude to a
major offensive into Fallujah that officials have said they might launch
sometime this fall. In Washington, a senior military official, speaking
on condition of anonymity, said the strikes were against specific
targets, similar to airstrikes that have gone on for months against
suspected militant hideouts.

Iraqi leaders have been in negotiations to restore government control
to Fallujah, which fell under the domination of clerics and their armed
mujahedeen followers after the end of the three-week Marine siege
last April.

Allawi warned Wednesday that Fallujah must surrender al-Zarqawi
and other foreign fighters or face military action. Talks broke down
Thursday when city representatives rejected the ``impossible condition''
since even the Americans were unable to catch al-Zarqawi, said Abu
Asaad, spokesman for the mujahedeen council of Fallujah.

The U.S. believes al-Zarqawi and his terrorist group are headquartered
in Fallujah. Last year, the Ramadan period saw a surge in violence.

The U.S. command said a ``large terrorist element'' in the Fallujah area
``has been planning to use the holy month of Ramadan for attacks.''

During Ramadan, adherent Muslims abstain from food, drink, cigarettes
and sex from sunrise to sunset. Most Iraqis began the Ramadan
fast Friday morning, though some Shiites begin the following day.

Early Friday morning, U.S. planes hit two sites described as al-Zarqawi
planning centers. Other targets included a weapons transload and
storage facility, two safehouses, a meeting site and several illegal
checkpoints used by the Zarqawi network, the U.S. military said.

Following Thursday's Green Zone attack, the U.S. military announced
increased security measures in several areas, including the Green
Zone and Baghdad airport. The Americans killed in the Green Zone
bombing were employees of DynCorp security company.

The attack was the first time bombers had gotten inside the
4-square-mile compound - surrounded by concrete walls, razor
wire, sandbag bunkers and guard posts - and detonated an
explosive. A homemade bomb was found in the zone last week
but was defused.

The U.S.-guarded enclave - home to about 10,000 Iraqis, government
officials, foreign diplomats and military personnel - spreads along
the banks of the Tigris River in the heart of the capital.

The zone is centered on Saddam Hussein's mammoth Republican
Palace, and there are dozens of smaller palatial buildings, houses,
office buildings and a hospital once used by high-ranking members
of the old Baath Party regime.

Witnesses to the Thursday attack in Baghdad said two men were
seen entering the Green Zone Cafe clutching large bags. The two
men ordered tea and talked for about 20 minutes. Then one of the
two walked out and hailed a taxi, the witnesses said. Minutes later
a loud explosion rocked the compound.

The Green Zone is a regular target of insurgents. Mortar rounds
are frequently fired at the compound, and there have also been
a number of deadly car bombings at its gates.

On Thursday, four U.S. soldiers were killed in Baghdad and
Ramadi, the U.S. command said.

10/15/04 12:50 EDT

Peace, No War
War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate
Not in our Name! And another world is possible!
Information for antiwar movements, news across the World,
please visit:
Please Join PeaceNoWar Listserv, send e-mail to:

Please Support Peace No War Network!
Send check/money orders to:
1013 Mission St. #6, South Pasadena, CA 91030

*To Translate this page to Arabic, please visit
*To Translate this page to French, Spanish, German,
Italian or Portuguese, please visit Systran:


This email list is designed for posting news articles or event
announcements of interest to UFPJ member groups. It is not
a discussion list.

To engage in online discussion of UFPJ matters, join our
discussion list by sending a blank email to


3) G.O.P. Convention Cost $154 Million
October 14, 2004

The four-day Republican National Convention cost more than
$154 million to stage, with the New York City Host Committee
raising $84 million in cash and other contributions, making the
19 hours of speeches and two years of planning by far the most
expensive such event in the nation's history.

A detailed report filed yesterday with the Federal Election Commission
shows that the New York City Host Committee spent millions of
dollars on a wide range of expenses, from $93,516 at the Ritz-
Carlton on Central Park South and $301,460 on limousine services
to $281,000 to build the circular stage that President Bush used
to make his acceptance speech on the last night.

The report details items large and small, including the $11 million
that went to Freeman Companies, the Dallas-based general
contractor that oversaw the renovation work at Madison Square
Garden; the $1.4 million that went to Cathy Blaney & Associates,
the host committee's chief fund-raiser; the $7,000 worth of donuts
and coffee distributed to host committee staff members and police
officers; the $2,269 spent on bowling at Chelsea Piers; and the
$6,192 spent at the Stage Door Deli and Restaurant.

The 2,294-page filing covers fund-raising and expenses over
a two-year period, and it documents an unprecedented success
at having corporations and wealthy political partisans help pay for
the event. Recent federal laws have put new restrictions of campaign
spending, but the conventions remain a significant vehicle for
corporations to give unlimited cash contributions.

Top donors to the convention included Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg,
who was the largest single giver, donating $5 million in cash and
also paying for $2 million in legal and accounting services; David
Rockefeller, who contributed $5 million; Goldman Sachs, which
gave $1.15 million; Merrill Lynch, which gave $1.1 million; and
I.B.M., which provided $2.45 million in computer equipment
and services.

In addition to the $81.6 million spent by the New York host
committee, the overall convention cost includes about $58
million that the city spent on police and other services, most
of which will be reimbursed by the federal government, and
$15 million in federal money that went to the Republican Party
to pay for the convention staff salaries, which covered expenses
like the $207,000 spent on the balloons that dropped from
the ceiling after the president's speech.

In monetary terms alone, New York's effort for the convention
- from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 - made others pale in comparison.
The Boston host committee raised $54 million for the Democratic
National Convention in July, and spent about $48 million of that.
Beyond that, the city of Boston spent about $35 million on police
and security, and, like the Republicans, the Democrats received
$15 million from the federal government.

The costs for both events are higher still when factoring in Secret
Service costs, as well as the spending of other law enforcement
agencies, like the F.B.I. But New York's financial liability may well
go even higher, since the city is expected to face civil lawsuits
from some of the approximately 1,800 people who were arrested
during the protests during the convention.

Nevertheless, the bulk of the cost thus far has been covered by
private donations - a fact the city says is commendable, because
it spared taxpayers the burden of paying for the event. But
government watchdog groups have criticized such donations
as a potentially corrupting influence on politics and government.

Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday that with the nearly $50 million
federal subsidy to offset security costs, the out-of-pocket cost
to city taxpayers was just under $8 million, which he said was
offset by a $4 million surplus that the host committee is expected
to donate to the city and about $4.5 million in goods given to
the committee, like computer and telephone systems, that will
be passed along to the city.

"The numbers will basically show that it's good news for the city,"
Mr. Bloomberg said yesterday. "We raised all the money privately."

But if the mayor was hoping that the bright financial picture he
painted would be a net plus for his political career, Democratic
mayoral hopefuls were hoping to emphasize that the event helped
the re-election effort of President Bush, who polls show is unpopular
among New York voters. Gifford Miller, a Democrat and mayoral
hopeful who is now speaker of the City Council, also questioned
the mayor's accounting of the benefit to the city. "As George Bush
might say, this looks a bit like fuzzy math," he said.

But, he said: "To me the issue was never really about the money.
It is a good thing for us to be in the center of the political discussion,
if and only if we used it as an opportunity to make New York's case."

At the same time, government watchdog groups argued that the
reliance on private donors undermined Congress's intention to have
the conventions publicly financed. The private donors included The
New York Times, which contributed $750,000 in advertising and
$750,000 to help buy tickets to Broadway shows for state delegations.

After the Watergate scandal, Congress enacted a requirement that
conventions be entirely publicly financed as a way to head off
possible corruption and corporate influence in politics, said Larry
Noble, a former general counsel to the Federal Election Commission
who is now executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics
in Washington. But convention host committees, which have tax-
exempt status in part because they are supposed to be in the business
of promoting the host cities, have increasingly emerged as a vehicle
for using soft money - or unlimited corporate contributions -
to finance such events.

The election commission has given host committees a wide variety
of specific restrictions on what they may pay for. So when the
Republicans came to Madison Square Garden, the host committee
could not pay for the balloons that dropped on the president but
it could pay the $1.1 million for the stage set, which included the
dramatic overnight construction that allowed Mr. Bush to address
the convention from a raised round stage emblazoned with the
presidential seal.

"If you look at the way they work it, the fiction is the host committee
is really working for the city and not directly supporting the parties,"
Mr. Noble said. "But what is going on is when the parties negotiate
the contract, they put more and more of the financial burden on
the host committees."

Robert Biersack, an election commission spokesman, acknowledged
that the line is somewhat fuzzy. "They are not supposed to spend
money on the specific conduct of the convention," Mr. Biersack said.
"Usually that means staffing the convention itself, messages from
the podium, but it is fairly narrow."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times


4) Sharon Offers a Date for Settler Withdrawal From Gaza

JERUSALEM, Oct. 14 - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said today that
he wanted to begin withdrawing Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip
next May or June and complete the pullout within three months.

Mr. Sharon's comments to a closed session of Parliament's Defense
and Foreign Affairs Committee marked the most specific target date
he has given for the Gaza evacuation. The Israeli media reported the
remarks, which were also confirmed by participants at the session.

But Mr. Sharon must still win approval for the plan in Parliament,
and it is scheduled to come up for debate and a vote on Oct. 25.
The prime minister suffered a symbolic defeat on Monday when
legislators held a nonbinding vote and rejected Mr. Sharon's policy
speech opening the current session of Parliament. The speech was
largely devoted to the Gaza withdrawal.

Meanwhile, the Yesha Council, the main group representing settlers,
said it organized 100 rallies around the country tonight, including
one near Mr. Sharon's official residence in Jerusalem, to protest the
Gaza pullout.

About two-thirds of Israelis support Mr. Sharon's plan, according to
opinion surveys, but the settlers are well -organized and have been
holding large demonstrations to build opposition to the plan.

Mr. Sharon is calling for the evacuation of all 8,000 settlers in Gaza,
and several hundred in the West Bank, though he also seeks to
consolidate Israel's control of the larger West Bank settlements.

At the parliamentary hearing today, Mr. Sharon also said that
the current Israeli offensive in northern Gaza, which began more
than two weeks ago, would continue as long as Palestinians fired
rockets at nearby Israeli communities.

The Israeli military killed five Palestinians in airstrikes today,
according to Palestinian hospital officials and witnesses.

In the Jabaliya refugee camp, the main focus of the Israeli incursion,
the air force said it had killed two militants planting a bomb,
according to the military and Palestinians in the camp.

In the southern Gaza town of Rafah, an airstrike killed two
militants from Hamas and a 70-year-old civilian, identified as
Ismail al-Sawalhah, according to the military and Palestinian

According to residents, the Israeli forces also damaged or destroyed
about 20 houses in Rafah. The military said it was searching for
weapons-smuggling tunnels from Egypt; the military also said it
had knocked down abandoned homes that Palestinians had used
for cover when firing on soldiers.

The latest violence brought the Palestinian death toll in northern
Gaza to 100, including 59 militants and 41 civilians, according to
a count by the Reuters news agency. The five Israeli deaths include
two soldiers and three civilians.

Despite the large Israeli presence, Palestinian rocket fire has continued,
though at a reduced level. The Israeli media have cited some military
commanders saying they cannot expect to achieve much more in the
current operation and favor a withdrawal.

But Yuval Steinitz, head of the parliamentary committee that hosted
Mr. Sharon, said he believed that the military would have to begin an
even larger offensive in the future.

Mr. Steinitz, an influential member of Mr. Sharon's Likud Party, said
the current action was intended to prevent the rocket fire, but was
not directed at the workshops that make the rockets, or those who
store them in Gaza City, a sprawling city with about 500,000 residents.

"In order to reduce the capacity of the terrorists, I think we will have
to take over the whole area," including Gaza City, Mr. Steinitz said.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qurei,
acknowledged that the Palestinian security forces had been
unable to prevent the growing lawlessness in Palestinian areas.

"Unfortunately, up to now the Palestinian security forces have
not been able to control this situation and we bear a very big
responsibility for this," Mr. Qurei was quoted as saying in Al
Ayyam, a Palestinian daily. "There's still chaos, still killing."

In another development, a leading rabbi said Israeli soldiers
should refuse to evacuate Jewish settlers from Gaza, saying
to do so would be the same as eating nonkosher meat like pork.

"It's not allowed and they must tell their commander that it
is forbidden," Rabbi Avraham Shapira was quoted as saying
in Besheva, a religious weekly. Rabbi Shapira is a former chief
rabbi in Israel and is still considered an influential figure.

His comments reflect the divisive nature of the planned Gaza
withdrawal. But it is not yet clear how the withdrawal would
be carried out.

Israeli officials have not said whether settlers resisting removal
would be evacuated by young soldiers who are performing
compulsory military service, or by other members of the security
forces like the border police who are career officers.

In another development, the Israeli military withdrew an accusation
that Palestinian militants in Gaza City had used a United Nations
ambulance to transport a rocket.

Israel made the accusation on Oct. 1 based on video footage from
a military drone, or unmanned spy plane. But the black-and-white
video is fuzzy, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency
said the long, thin object in question was a folded stretcher being
carried by one of its workers, not a rocket.

In a statement, the military said the object "cannot be determined
with certainty."

It added, "Thus the determination that the object loaded was a
Qassam rocket was too unequivocal and made in haste."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times


5) Gaza families live in the shadow of death
By Laila El-Haddad in Gaza
Friday 08 October 2004 2:08 PM GMT

Palestinian families have been in a perpetual state of mourning

The last thing that young Suha Ayub Ubaid remembers before a barrage
of tank fire ripped through her home, is huddling together with her
parents and eight brothers and sisters.

They had taken cover in the middle of their living-room floor hoping
to find shelter from the mass of military machines that had rumbled
into their neighbourhood minutes earlier on 6 October.

Now she lies listlessly in her hospital bed trying to absorb, as well as
any nine-year-old could, the events of that morning.

She survived with relatively light wounds. The same cannot be said,
however, about her younger sister, fighting for her life in the hospital's
intensive care unit, or about many of her neighbours.

One of them, 15-year-old Abd Allah Qahtan, died instantly in the
pre-dawn Israeli attack on civilian homes in the northern Gaza Strip
of Bait Lahya, while Hamdan Ubaid and his son Hamuda were killed
on their way to the mosque for morning prayers.

They are the latest victims in Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's
bloody offensive through the northern Gaza Strip, which has
claimed more than 85 Palestinian lives, nearly 30 of them children.

Smoke and screams

The military operation was launched after two Israeli children were
killed on 29 September in a Hamas rocket attack on Sderot, near
the Gaza border.

"I saw two or three tanks and several bulldozers razing farmland
near our house," U baid's mother Sumaya said, recounting a tale
of shock and horror.

"We took cover in the living room. Then out of nowhere the tanks
shells hit us. All I remember after that is seeing smoke. All I
remember is smoke and screams and ambulances."

Israeli army tanks and bulldozers
have caused widespread havoc

Sumaya's injured family members are spread out in hospitals across

Kamil Udwan Hospital in Bait Lahya, where she is staying, is working
five times its 60-bed capacity, with hospital staff forced to turn the
cafeteria into an outpatient clinic.

Sumaya's 18-month-old daughter is under observation in Gaza's
Shifa Hospital, with fragments of shrapnel lodged in her head and
guts. Doctors' predictions for her survival are dismal.

Sumaya has not spoken to her since the attack on Wednesday morning,
preoccupied instead with attending to five-year-old Sabrin, who was
lying by her side, wracked by violent spasms of pain.

She too was hit in the head, which was seeping blood and roughly
bandaged with the limited supplies available to the under-stocked

Complete shock

Across the room was Sabrin's seven-year-old brother Ala, whose
face was badly burned and whose frail young body was dotted with
shrapnel wounds.

Israel's ongoing assault is taking
its toll on Palestinian children

He stared blankly at family members who tried futilely to elicit
a response from him. Ala had not spoken a word since early in
the morning, with a look of fear frozen on his tender face.

"He's suffering from complete shock," his aunt Badria said. "He
used to be the most talkative one of the group."

Israeli military sources said occupation troops only opened fire
at civilian homes after an anti-tank rocket was launched from
one of the houses in the town.

But according to Sumaya, the attack was completely unprovoked
- there were neither fighters nor rockets in the area.

Lucky to live

"It's a very quiet area. The resistance fighters don't come here,
and there was nothing fired from our house. Absolutely nothing,"
Sumaya said.

"They target every living thing. They have no mercy in their hearts"

Badria, aunt of seven-year-old Ala, a victim of the Israeli attack
Her family was lucky enough to live and tell their tale, which gives
further credence to Palestinian claims that Sharon's week-long
charge through northern Gaza is more about inflicting as much
damage and pain as possible than about protecting Israeli towns.

"They target every living thing. They have no mercy in their
hearts," Badria said.

According to the assistant director of the Kamal Udwan Hospital,
Dr Said Juda, the injuries he has seen have been the most extensive
and penetrating in the four years of the intifada.

Serious injuries

"I've been working here a long time, and I've seen some pretty
horrible things - but nothing like this, and not with this frequency,"
Dr Juda said.

Will the violence spawn another
generation of armed fighters?

"People have been arriving here with their bowels ripped inside out,
with their limbs torn off, their bodies burned beyond recognition,
and dozens of bullet fragments that exploded upon impact lodged
mainly in the upper half of their bodies.

"The injuries are highly serious, with evidence of direct hits intended
to cause as much damage as possible.They are penetrating,
crushing and destructive."

Badria's nine-year-old son told her after seeing what happened to
his cousins, he wanted to become a resistance fighter.

As for young Suha, she says she dreams one day of becoming a doctor
"so she can treat injured people" like herself.

Her aunt is not so hopeful. "She keeps saying she wants to become
a medic. But there is no room in our lives for dreams anymore."


6) U.S. Forces Arrest Iraqi Negotiator, Strike Falluja
By Alistair Lyon
BAGHDAD (Reuters)
Fri Oct 15, 2004 08:12 AM ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. forces arrested Falluja's chief
negotiator on Friday after air strikes on the rebel-held city
that were part of a U.S. drive to thwart attacks in Iraq during
the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

A hospital doctor, Thamim al-Nuaimi, said five civilians
had been killed and 11 wounded in the overnight raids.

Falluja police, who do not answer to the U.S.-backed
interim government, said U.S. marines detained Sunni Muslim
cleric Khaled al-Jumaili, the city's police chief and two other
police officers while they were moving their families to a
nearby resort town for safety from American air raids.

There was no immediate comment from U.S. officials on the
arrest of Jumaili, who had been leading a Falluja delegation in
peace talks with the government that broke down this week.

Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi threatened on Wednesday
to attack Falluja unless its people handed over militants loyal
to Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, said to be holed up there.

Zarqawi, America's deadliest enemy in Iraq, has a $25
million U.S. bounty on his head. His group claimed Thursday's
twin suicide bombings that killed five people, including three
Americans, in Baghdad's Green Zone on the eve of Ramadan.

Fierce air strikes hit Falluja after the blasts as U.S. and
Iraqi forces intensified pressure on suspected Zarqawi targets
in and around the bastion of Sunni insurgency west of Baghdad.

But the military denied the bombing campaign was a prelude
to a full-scale assault to wrest Falluja from rebel hands.

"This is part of ongoing operations in Falluja. It is not
the beginning of a major offensive," a U.S. spokeswoman said.

Washington and Baghdad have vowed to retake insurgent-held
towns and cities ahead of nationwide elections due in January.

Shi'ite militiamen have been turning weapons in to police
in Baghdad's Sadr City district under a five-day
cash-for-weapons campaign that was extended on Friday for
another five days.

Police at one collection point said weapons gathered so far
had been taken to a sports stadium. They gave no reason for the
extension of the deadline. The deal with followers of radical
cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was intended to halt weeks of fighting
with U.S. forces in the sprawling slums in northeastern Baghdad.


Ramadan, observed by Iraq's minority Sunnis from Friday,
will start for majority Shi'ites on Saturday.

There was no repeat of the coordinated suicide bombings
that wreaked havoc in Baghdad at the start of Ramadan last
year, when at least 40 people were killed in attacks on the
International Committee of the Red Cross offices and three
police stations.

But a suicide car bomber wounded five policemen and five
civilians near a police station in southern Baghdad on Friday,
the Interior Ministry said. Two police cars were wrecked.

The military said the Falluja raids at 2.38 a.m. (2338 GMT
Thursday) hit "command and control sites" used by senior
Zarqawi leaders to store weapons and plan attacks, adding that
air strikes since Thursday had destroyed many other Zarqawi

Falluja residents have scoffed at such statements in the
past, saying they have no knowledge of Zarqawi or his group and
accusing the Americans of bombing civilian homes.

The Green Zone blasts at a souvenir bazaar and a cafe
popular with U.S. troops and civilians were the first suicide
bombings inside what is supposed to be the safest place in
Iraq. The country's interim government quickly vowed to strike

(Additional reporting by Fadil al-Badrani in Falluja)

(c) Copyright Reuters 2004.


7) Israel Says Will Scale Back Gaza Offensive
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
JABALYA REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip (Reuters)
Fri Oct 15, 2004 08:34 AM ET

JABALYA REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip (Reuters) - Israel said on
Friday it was easing a crushing offensive that has killed more
than 100 Palestinians since tanks rumbled into northern Gaza 16
days ago to stop cross-border rocket attacks.

Asked about media reports the army would remove troops from
part of the sprawling Jabalya refugee camp, where some of the
worst fighting has taken place, Deputy Defense Minister Zeev
Boim told Israel Radio: "That is correct."

But Jabalya residents said they had not seen any sign of a
pullback. Palestinian medics in the camp said two militants
from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and one from Hamas were
killed in a morning missile attack by an Israeli aircraft.

"Nothing has changed," Hassan Shabban, a taxi driver, said
as Israeli drones, or unmanned surveillance aircraft, flew

Boim, citing the start of the holy Muslim fasting month of
Ramadan and what he called an Israeli desire to ease
Palestinian hardship, said troops taking part in the army's
biggest push into Gaza in four years of bloodshed would

The operation, he said, had largely achieved its goal and
only two rockets had struck the southern Israeli town of Sderot
in the past week. But he signaled some troops could remain in
northern Gaza, saying "the operation has not ended."

Qassam attacks have complicated Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon's efforts to overcome rightist opposition to his plan to
remove all 21 Gaza settlements and four of 120 in the West
Bank, an evacuation he said could start by May and last 12


Sharon vowed on Thursday to broaden the northern Gaza
assault but media reports said he backtracked after military
commanders advised him it was time to move soldiers in the
densely populated Palestinian area out of harm's way.

Challenging Boim's assessment of the operation, Mushir
al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman, said: "The Zionist enemy failed to
achieve the declared goal ... of stopping Qassam rockets.
Rockets continued to land in Sderot despite the presence of
planes and tanks in the northern Gaza Strip."

Israel Radio said soldiers would take up new positions on
hilltops overlooking Jabalya and move back into the camp if
more makeshift rockets were fired into Israel. It reported the
pullback would begin late on Friday or on Saturday.

Israel launched the Gaza assault after a rocket salvo
killed two children in Sderot on Sept. 29.

Palestinian medics said Israeli forces killed at least 62
militants and 41 other Palestinians believed to be civilians.
Palestinian militants killed three Israelis and a Thai farm

Israeli forces uprooted olive and citrus groves in the
area, a measure the military says denies rocket squads a place
to hide. Tanks moving through crowded neighborhoods damaged
homes and tore up water pipes and electricity poles.

Polls show most Israelis support Sharon's withdrawal
strategy, regarding Gaza as too costly in lives and money. He
intends to submit his plan to a parliamentary vote on Oct. 25.

But hawks inside and outside Sharon's fraying coalition
reject any pullback from territories Israel captured in the
1967 Middle East war as "appeasement of Palestinian terrorism."

(c) Copyright Reuters 2004.


Study of College Readiness Finds No Progress in Decade
October 14, 2004

American high school students are no better prepared for college
than they were 10 years ago, according to a new study by ACT, one
of the two big organizations that offer college entrance tests.

ACT said that of the 1.2 million students throughout the country who
took its tests this year, only 22 percent were ready for college-level
work in English, mathematics and science. An additional 19 percent
were prepared in two of the three areas, and could succeed in the third
area "by doing just a little bit more," the study found.

"We've made virtually no progress in the last 10 years" helping
students to become ready for college or jobs, said the report, which
is being issued today. "And from everything we've seen, it's not going
to get better any time soon."

At a time when education experts and policy makers are trying to
gauge what progress has been made and what needs to be done
next, the report offers one of the most negative assessments so far.

Another report, "Measuring Up 2004: The National Report Card on
Higher Education," released last month by the National Center for
Public Policy and Higher Education in California, was more optimistic
about college preparation, saying that in many states, more students
were taking more college-preparatory courses than a decade earlier.

But ACT, which looked at the college-readiness issue in greater depth,
concluded that the increases had not been enough. It found that the
proportion of students taking what it deemed a minimum core of
college preparatory courses - four years of English and three years
each of mathematics, science and social studies - had risen only
slightly in 10 years: to 56 percent in 2004, from 54 percent in 1994.

Another problem, the study said, is that even those who took the full
core curriculum were not necessarily prepared for college, since some
of their courses were not rigorous enough.

Of the students who took no math beyond algebra I and II and geometry,
only 13 percent were ready to handle college algebra. Of those who
added trigonometry, only 37 percent were prepared. That figure jumped
to 74 percent for those who also took calculus. But only 40 percent of
students took trigonometry or another advanced mathematics course
beyond algebra and geometry.

The ACT researchers said that their study had led them "to rethink
whether the core curriculum" adequately prepared students "for
success after high school."

The report said that students who took a minimum core curriculum
of four years of English and three years each of mathematics, science
and social studies were more likely to be prepared for college-level
work than those who did not. Students who took advanced courses
beyond that minimum core fared even better.

ACT, which is based in Iowa, defined college readiness as the ability
to succeed in a credit-bearing course at a two-year or four-year college
without needing to take a remedial course first.

Not surprisingly, the report found that on average, preparation for
college differed among racial and ethnic groups. Fewer black, Hispanic
and American-Indian students took a minimum set of core courses
than non-Hispanic white students or Asian-Americans. And fewer
boys took the minimum core than girls.

ACT officials proposed that all students - not just those headed for
college - be required to take advanced courses like chemistry, physics,
geometry and trigonometry.

They said that while they recognized that not all students wanted to
go on to college, those entering the work force needed the same
skills and knowledge as those pursuing higher education.

The company is beginning to work with school districts to evaluate
the rigor of the courses they offer and to help them in other ways.

One of the states that ACT is working with is Illinois, which started to
give the ACT exams to all high school juniors three years ago. Some
students who did not plan to go to college were encouraged to think
about it after receiving promising scores. State officials said yesterday
that the proportion going on to college had increased, but they did
not provide specific figures.

Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust, an education-standards
advocacy group, said the ACT report was useful in focusing attention
on the need to improve high schools. She said that much of the money
for improving schools had been directed to the primary grades and,
to some extent, to middle schools.

"There has been a belief that if we got kids off to a better start, the
problems in high school would fix themselves," Ms. Haycock said.
"That has not happened. What we're learning is that education is
not like an inoculation, where if you do it once, you are set for life.
It is more like nutrition, where you have to do it right and then
keep doing it right."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times


9) Pension System Recognizes Gay Spouses
October 14, 2004

ALBANY, Oct. 13 - New York State is moving to officially recognize
same-sex marriages from Canada for the first time, at least in one
limited area: State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi has ruled that the
state's pension system will treat gay couples with Canadian wedding
licenses the same way it treats other married couples.

The decision came after Mark E. Daigneault, a state employee seeking
to wed his male partner in Canada, wrote the comptroller's office
asking what the financial implications of the marriage would be.
After studying the issue, Mr. Hevesi wrote back last week that the
state's $115 billion pension funds, which he oversees, would
"recognize a same-sex Canadian marriage in the same manner as
an opposite-sex New York marriage.''

While the practical impact of the decision is limited, gay rights
groups hailed the move as a giant step toward winning wider
recognition for gay marriages.

"This becomes the first statewide program to recognize those
same-sex Canadian marriage licenses as being real, and equal
to any other marriages in New York State,'' said Alan Van Capelle,
the executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, noting
that Mr. Hevesi's move comes after several municipalities in the
state and major car insurance companies decided to recognize
same-sex marriages from Canada.

New York State already allows employees to make same-sex
partners their pension beneficiaries; the comptroller's decision
means that gay couples married in Canada would be entitled
to automatic cost-of-living increases and accidental death
benefits for survivors, benefits that currently go to spouses.

"I'm very happy with the comptroller's decision,'' said Mr. Daigneault,
who works for the insurance department and has adopted two
children with his partner of 13 years. "It certainly helps my family
get the protection that we need.''

The comptroller's ruling cited a March decision by the state attorney
general, Eliot Spitzer, which found that while same-sex marriages
could not be legally performed in New York, the state must
recognize those performed legally elsewhere.

"The decision is driven by the law,'' Mr. Hevesi said in an interview.
"I have a personal point of view, and I'm glad the law conforms to
my personal point of view. I think this is an important step. But
it's not fuzzy law, it's not unclear. It's very hard to argue differently.''

Paul Larrabee, a spokesman for Attorney General Spitzer, said that
Mr. Hevesi's decision was consistent with the attorney general's
legal opinion.

The decision applies only to same-sex marriages performed legally
in Canada, Mr. Hevesi said. The question of whether to recognize
same-sex marriages performed this year in San Francisco and
Massachusetts is complicated by other legal issues, he said, and
his office has not been asked to decide on marriages from other

The comptroller wrote his decision in a letter dated Oct. 8 that
was publicized Wednesday by the Empire State Pride Agenda.

Several pension experts said that the ruling appeared to make
New York, which has the second largest public pension system
in the United States, the first major public employee pension
system to explicitly recognize same-sex marriages from Canada.

The nation's largest public pension fund, the California Public
Employees' Retirement System, or Calpers, is preparing to comply
with a law taking effect on Jan. 1 that will give domestic partners
all benefits that were previously available only to spouses. While
the California law allows the benefits to be available not only to
domestic partners who register in California, but to those who
form "legal unions" elsewhere, it is unclear whether same-sex
couples married in Canada would qualify for the benefits without
registering as domestic partners in California. Darin Hall, a
spokesman for Calpers, said the fund was still studying the new
law and how it would be put into place.

In New York, the comptroller's decision covers the 964,000 active
and retired members of the state's pension system, which covers
state employees and employees of local governments outside New
York City. The fiscal impact of the decision is expected to be small,
officials said.

Officials at the office of New York City Comptroller William C.
Thompson Jr., who is the custodian of the city's five pension funds,
said Wednesday that those funds do not currently recognize same-
sex marriages. Kevin Quinn, a spokesman for Gov. George E. Pataki,
said that the governor would review the decision.

Mr. Daigneault said he had not yet set a date for his wedding but
was looking forward to settling logistics as soon as his children's
soccer schedule allowed.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times


10) Jordan 'ghost' jail 'is holding senior al-Qa'eda leaders'
By Inigo Gilmore in Jerusalem and Robin Gedye Foreign Affairs Writer
(Filed: 14/10/2004)

The most senior Muslim terrorists so far captured by the United States
are being held in an ultra-secret "ghost" prison in Jordan run by the CIA,
according to a report published yesterday by a respected security expert.

The article in the Israeli daily Haaretz appears to answer one of the
mysteries of the war on terrorism: what has happened to the senior
leaders of al-Qa'eda and associated organisations captured by US
forces during the past three years.

The base is beyond the reach of the American courts, which is likely
to be one of its principal attractions.

The article was written by Yossi Melman, who is considered a leading
authority on intelligence and has a wide network of contacts in the
Israeli and American security establishments.

He did not specify an exact location for the prison, but said at
least 11 senior al-Qa'eda and other militant leaders were being held
in Jordan.

Quoting "international intelligence sources", the report said the
CIA's prisoners at the facility included Three of the terrorist movement 's
most senior figures, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Riduan

"Their detention outside the US enables CIA interrogators to apply
interrogation methods banned by US law, and to do so in a country
where co-operation with the Americans is particularly close, thereby
reducing the danger of leaks," Mr Melman wrote.

There was no immediate comment from officials in Jordan, which is
seen as a key ally in the war on terrorism. The US embassy in Jordan
denied the report.

Washington's courting of the Jordanian monarchy, regarded by the
State Department as one of the Middle East's most moderate
governments, was pursued with remarkable success under the
47-year reign of King Hussein and has continued with hardly a
cross word under his son and successor, King Abdullah.

Mordechai Kedar, of Bar Ilan University, a Middle East expert who
spent 25 years with Israeli military intelligence, said the story was
highly credible. "Yossi Melman is well woven into intelligence circles
and has good access to intelligence information and he bases his
reports on hard-core information," he said.

"This sounds reasonable, logical, and there is an historical basis
too because of the long-standing hatred between the Hashemite
kingdom and Wahhabis [hardline Muslims], who are seen as
running al-Qa'eda.

"The Hashemite kingdom is in the pocket of the Bush administration
and Jordan offers a calm environment compared to Iraq, even Egypt,
and it is weak enough that reasonable pressure could have convinced
the Hashemite kingdom to host such a thing. I doubt the Egyptians
would have agreed, not to mention the Saudis. Where else in the
Arab world would it have been possible to have such a thing?"

Since the invasion of Afghanistan three years ago, the location of
America's most prized prisoners has been the subject of endless
speculation but little hard information. It has been suspected that
some of the world's most dangerous terrorists were kept on US
territories in the Pacific, or aboard naval vessels.

Egypt and Jordan have both been named as possible holding centres
or staging posts, and the al-Jafr prison in Jordan's southern desert
has been described as a suspected CIA detention centre.

International human rights groups have accused America of
circumventing US law and international guidelines on interrogation
by shipping al-Qa'eda suspects to allied states where legal
scrutiny is lax. The existence of suspected secret facilities has
also caused deep unease in the US Congress.

A report on these so-called ghost prisoners, issued on Tuesday
by Human Rights Watch claimed that they were being held
somewhere so secret that President George W Bush had asked
the CIA not to tell him where it was.

Most of the al-Qa'eda detainees arrested in Afghanistan were
transferred to the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but
according to the report some were held in Pakistan before
being moved to Jordan.

Human Rights Watch reported that America is holding prisoners
in more than 24 secret detention centres, of which "at least half
operate in total secrecy".

Senator John McCain, a Republican who was imprisoned and
tortured by the North Vietnamese, has described the "situation
with the CIA and ghost detainees [as] beginning to look like a
bad movie".

The CIA is prohibited from conducting operations in the United
States. America describes the system of transferring prisoners
in secret from one country to another as "extraordinary rendition."

In the year after the September attacks George Tenet, the then
director of the CIA, admitted to the "rendition" of 70 people he
described as terrorists.

4 October 2004: How US fuelled myth of Zarqawi the mastermind

25 July 2004: Britain forms new special forces unit to fight al-Qa'eda

Information appearing on is the copyright of
Telegraph Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any
medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see


11) The Cuban "Miami Five"
Jailed in the US for fighting terrorism
By Jorge Martin

On June 16 and 17, 1998, the Cuban authorities, in an exchange with
the FBI handed over a huge amount of material related to anti-Cuban
terrorist activities conducted from US territory, including 230 pages of
documents, five videos of material broadcast on US TV about terrorist
activities against Cuba and eight audio cassettes containing 2 hours
and 40 minutes of conversations between jailed central American
terrorists and their contacts outside.

Less than two months later, on September 12, the FBI, in early morning
raids arrested five Cubans in Miami. Were they related to terrorist
activities against Cuba? Quite the opposite, they were Cuban agents
working to infiltrate the anti-Cuban terrorist groups based in Miami
and they had also participated in the gathering of the information
passed on to the FBI.

This was the beginning of a protracted legal case against these five
people now known as the "Miami Five". The case is one of injustice,
political manipulation of the justice system and one that exposes the
hypocrisy of Bush's so-called "war on terrorism". And this is probably
the reason why you have not heard anything about it in the mainstream

The Miami Five, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar,
René González Sehwerert, Fernando González Llort and Antonio Guerrero
Rodríguez, have all been given the longest possible sentences for the
"crimes" they are accused of. Gerardo Hernández has been sentenced
to two life sentences and 15 years of jail. Another two, Antonio Guerrero
and Ramón Labañino have also been give life sentences. And René
González and Fernándo González have been condemned to 19 and
15 years imprisonment.

From the moment they were arrested, the Miami Five were subjected
to extremely harsh treatment. After 15 days in the Miami Federal
Detention Centre, they were transferred to the Special House Unit,
better known as "the hole", in isolation cells 15 feet by 7. These cells
are used for very dangerous criminals, generally those accused of
murder, and according to the rules, prisoners can only be kept there
for a maximum of 60 days. Two of the Miami Five, Gerardo Hernández
and Ramón Labañino were to remain there for 17 months.

What are the Miami Five accused of? There are a number of minor
charges, including acting as agents of a foreign government without
being registered with the US authorities (which the Five admit to),
but the two main charges which three of them have been condemned
to life sentences for are related to spying and murder.

From the very beginning, the local media started to talk of
a dangerous group of Cuban spies that had endangered US
national security. But in the seven long months of the trial (which
makes this one of the longest judicial cases in the history of the US),
the prosecution could not present one single piece of evidence to
back up this case. Defence lawyers called to the stand US Navy officers,
both active and retired, high ranking US intelligence officers and others
and they all testified that after looking at all the evidence found on the
Five, they had not seen any classified material.

Even the prosecutor of the case had to make clear in his opening remarks
to the jury that, "we arrested these five men and we seized 20,000 pages
of documents from their computers, but ladies and gentlemen from these
20,000 pages we cannot present one single page of classified information".
Since they could present no proof of the charge of spying, the prosecution
decided to charge them with "conspiracy to spy". Conspiracy is a very vague
term and very difficult to prove. It means that the Five got together and
decided they were going to spy. How can anyone prove that? And even
if there was evidence (which was not the case), it is not normal that three
of them should get the highest possible sentence you can get for spying
(life imprisonment) but only for "conspiring" to spy!

The second charge for which Gerardo Hernández got his second life
sentence is conspiracy to commit murder. He was accused of having
been involved in the downing of two Cessna planes just off the coast
of Havana by Cuban MIGs in February 1996. The story started in 1995
when an agreement was reached between Cuban and US authorities in
order to regulate migration policies between the two countries. It was
at that time when the anti-Cuban Miami organisation "Hermanos al
Rescate" (Brothers to the Rescue) started carrying out terrorist activities
against Cuba. In the 20 months leading to the downing of the two
planes, they carried out 25 unauthorised flights over Cuban airspace.
What did the Cuban government do? In each case they filed a formal
diplomatic complaint for this violation of its country's airspace. They
received no reply.

In January 1996, the Cuban authorities invited admiral Carroll from
the US Navy to Cuba and told him in no uncertain terms that their
patience had run out and they would tolerate no more violations of
their national sovereignty, particularly since they had information
(provided by the Miami Five) that Hermanos al Rescate was about to
arm these planes. Carroll went back to the US and reported to the
Pentagon and the State Department that the Cubans were serious
about their threats. Richard Nuccio, at that time an advisor to
president Clinton, testified in the trial and said that he was very
worried about the public boasting (in TV broadcasts) of Hermanos
al Rescate leader José Basulto, about their illegal flights over Cuba.

On February 24th, three Cessna planes, one piloted by José Basulto
himself, left a base in Florida and went to Cuba. They had been
warned by the personnel at the airbase that it would be very dangerous
to fly over Cuban airspace. The Cuban authorities were also forewarned.
Was it Gerardo Hernández who warned them? No, it was the US Federal
Aviation Agency who warned the Cubans that the planes were on
their way. The planes were warned by radio that they were about to
enter a restricted military area. They ignored the warnings. The Cuban
air force sent two MIG fighters and after further ignored warnings
downed two of the planes. José Basulto managed to escape. The
Cuban government claims that the planes were illegally inside their
\airspace when downed, while the US government charges that they
were 4 miles outside the limit.

So one might ask, what is the relationship between Gerardo Hernández
and this case? He has been found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder.
The "proof" presented is a telegram to Gerardo, who had infiltrated
Hermanos al Rescate, telling him not to fly on that date. This evidence
is very flimsy, particularly for such a serious charge as this. It does not
prove that Gerardo knew the planes were going to be attacked, and it
does not prove he had anything to do with the attack itself. All he did
was to report about the activities of a terrorist organisation operating
from the US. Furthermore the information about flights leaving and
arriving in South Florida is publicly available.

Finally, the bottom line is whether a sovereign nation like Cuba has
the right to defend its airspace or not. For a government like that of
the US which insists in immunity for its armed personnel operation
abroad ,it is a blatant case of double standards to bring an accusation
of murder against a government defending its own territory against
terrorists coming from the US. The case against Gerardo for conspiracy
to murder is so weak that in an unprecedented move, right at the end
of the trial, they tried to get the charge changed from murder to
homicide. But both the Tribunal and the Appeal Court rejected the
petition, since the whole trial had been based on the original charge.

A fair trial in Miami?

Clearly the evidence against the Five was at most flimsy, but the jury
after very short deliberation, found them guilty. That can only be
explained by the fact that the trial took place in Miami. From the
beginning the defence attorneys asked for the trial to be transferred
out of Miami. It is well known that the mafia type networks of the
rabidly reactionary Cuban exiles dominate the city. It was very difficult
to have a fair trial and a jury that would not be intimidated in such a

Furthermore the trial took place on the same dates as the polemic
over Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy kept in Miami by some relatives
against the wishes of his father. The Cuban exiles organised violent
demonstrations and riots on those days, and the whole city was
immersed in an atmosphere of anti-Cuban hysteria. How can the
trial of five "dangerous Communist agents", one of them accused
of having participated in the murder of Cuban exiles, take place in
such a climate and be a fair trial?

Even the US government recognised in a different case a year later,
that a case connected to Cuba could not be tried fairly in Miami.
The US government was being accused of unfair discrimination by
a Mexican employee of the Immigration Service who claimed he
had been dismissed because of his support for the anti-Cuban mafia
in the Elian Gonzalez case. In this case, which has only an indirect
relation to Cuba, the government argued that it could not be tried
fairly in Miami and asked for the trial to be transferred. The request
was granted. But in the case of the Miami Five, which is directly
linked to Cuba and to the reactionary Cuban exiles who dominate
the city, the request was rejected.

The government of the US also used a number of other legal tricks
to get the Five condemned. For instance it used the Confidential
Information Protection Act, in order not to release the 20,000 pages
of documents seized from the Five. For months, neither the accused
nor their lawyers had access to these documents, none of which
contained US national defence sensitive information, or any classified
information as stated by the prosecution itself. The defence was also
not allowed to use the "state of need" argument against the accusation
of acting as unregistered agents. This means that you can break the
law in order to serve a greater good. In this case, the defence argued
that they did so in order to save lives and property by infiltrating these
terrorist groups.

Finally there is also the issue of the harsh treatment the Five received
and are receiving in jail, particularly in relation to the visits from their
family. Olga Salanueva, René's wife, and Adriana Pérez, Gerardo's wife,
have never been allowed to see their husbands since they have been
in jail! How is that possible? Simply by not giving them a visa to enter
the US. The US immigration service said that they cannot even argue
humanitarian reasons for the granting of the visas, since they are a
"threat to US national security". This vindictive ruling goes against the
US's own penitentiary rules and Constitution. Their young children
have been growing up for years without being allowed to see their
fathers. Visitation rights apply to even the more callous convicted
murderers, so why should they not be allowed to the Miami Five who
are clearly innocent victims of political imprisonment?

The long arm of the anti-Cuban Mafia in Miami

But the implications of this case go much further if one takes the
time to trace the background of some of the people involved. Take
for instance Hector Pesquera, Special Agent in Charge of the Miami
regional office of the FBI and responsible for the arrest of the Five.
What is his background? He became prominent when he was involved
in the investigation that led to the arrest of four Miami Cubans in
1997. The US Coast Guard arrested them in October of that year
when it seized a yacht in Puerto Rican waters. They found seven
boxes of ammunition, military uniforms, two assault rifles and
other military equipment. One of the arrested, Angel Alfonso
Alemán, quickly declared that he was in charge and that their
mission was to assassinate Castro during his visit to Margarita
Island in Venezuela.

Hector Pesquera, the FBI agent in charge of the case, promised
to carry out the investigation but added that "there might be
foreign policy implications" in which case he does not "rule
anything out".

The investigation soon led to the National Cuban American
Foundation (FNCA), the most important organisation of Cuban
reactionary exiles, with close links with the US Republican and
Democratic parties. The owner of one of the rifles was Francisco
Hernández, the FNCA president and Miami's most important
counter-revolutionary leader. A member of the FNCA Executive
Committee was the owner of the yacht. The member of the group
in charge of communications was also a known FNCA activist.
While on parole, one of the accused was arrested again by the
DEA accused of bringing more than 350 kg of cocaine into the

All of the accused denied their guilt, with the exception of Alfonso
who tried to get out by pointing out that he is well connected and
showed pictures of himself with president Clinton, senator Torricelli
(Democrat and the second largest recipient of Cuban American money
in election campaigns in the US), the now deceased leader of the
Cuban exiles Jorge Mas Canosa, etc. His lawyer, who is also FBI
investigating agent Hector Pesquera's cousin, went as far as to argue
that if the CIA has tried so many times to assassinate Castro, how
come it is a crime for him to attempt to do the same!

The Cuban mafia threw all her weight into the case and finally the
accused were released. The judges, the accused and even special
agent Pesquera himself, all celebrated the outcome with a mass
(these types they are always very "pious") and a party.

As if it were a reward for having failed to produce enough evidence
against the accused, special agent Pesquera was sent to Miami and
appointed as Special Agent in Charge for South Florida!

Barely 12 days later, the Miami Five were arrested. It was the first
time that a "network of Cuban spies" had been broken up on US
territory since the Cuban Revolution. Pesquera was quick to claim
credit for the operation, despite the fact that he had only been in
charge there for less than two weeks! The case of the Miami Five was
clearly designed to appease the FNCA, with which Pesquera has such
good relations, despite the fact that some of its most prominent
members had been (sort of) "investigated" by himself in relation to
terrorist activities.

Remember what George W Bush said about "aiding and harbouring
terrorists" being on the same level as committing terrorist acts. But
then this rule only seems to apply to the "bad" terrorists, not to the
ones that are on Washington's side and that sometimes even do some
of the White House's dirty work. Not to mention the enormous political
clout the FNCA has in Florida, the state ruled by Bush's brother Jeb, and
in which Bush's presidency was "won".

The actions of the anti-Cuban terrorists (with a little help from the CIA)

Another story worth telling is that of Orlando Bosch, the person whose
actions Fernando González, one of the Miami Five, was in charge of
monitoring. Bosch left Cuba in 1960 and went to the US. His first
terrorist activity was in 1968 when he was involved in the sending
of a parcel bomb to Havana. In that year he was responsible for more
than 40 terrorist attacks. At the end of the year he was arrested in
Miami, tried and found guilty of an attack on a Polish ship and
sentenced to 10 years in jail. In 1974, while on parole, he fled the
US and carried on with his terrorist activities. He has confessed to
carrying out bomb attacks in Miami, New York, Venezuela, Panama,
Mexico and Argentina.

In October 1976 he was arrested in Venezuela in connection with
the terrorist attack on a Cuban civilian airplane that resulted in 73
dead, men, women and children. This was the first ever bomb attack
on a civilian airplane in the world. After spending 11 years in jail in
Venezuela, having been proved that he had been an associate of two
other men accused of homicide in the same case, he was finally
released. In 1987 he returned to Miami and was arrested by the
immigration service. The proceedings for his deportation began.

But then enormous political pressure was exerted by the Cuban
mafia and its associates to get him released. Prominent in the
campaign was senator Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican and the
largest recipient of Cuban American money in election campaigns
in the US). Amongst those involved was Jeb Bush, George W's brother,
who was then Ileana's election campaign manager. Finally George
Bush senior granted the release of this known and convicted terrorist
and even gave him permanent residence in the US.

Another of those involved with Bosch in the bomb attack on the
Cuban airliner in 1976 was Luis Posada Carriles. He had fled Cuba
in 1959 after having been a police agent under dictator Fulgencio
Batista. Most of his later life was dedicated to one goal: the
assassination of Castro, working for the CIA and, according to his
own confession in an interview to the New York Times in 1998, for
Jorge Mas Canosa, the former head of the FNCA.

When Bosch and Posada were arrested by the Venezuela authorities,
the Cuban mafia in Miami raised the $50,000 dollars to bribe the jail
authorities and got him free. He then joined Lt Col Oliver North who
got him a nice job with the CIA organising Contras , the gang of
counter-revolutionary cut throats sabotaging the Nicaraguan Sandinista
revolution in the 1980s. After that "campaign" was over, he
concentrated his attention on a bombing campaign against tourist
installations in Cuba in the mid 1990s that resulted in the death of
an innocent Italian tourist.

On November 17, 2000, Posada and another 3 prominent members
of the Cuban mafia, with close links to the NFCA leaders, were
arrested in Panama and accused of plotting to assassinate Fidel
Castro during his visit to Panama to attend a regional summit. In
April 2004 they were tried for and found guilty of being a threat to
public security and falsifying documents. There was no mention in
the verdict of the accusation of plotting to kill Castro. But on August
26, 2004, the four received a pardon from Panama's outgoing
president Mireya Moscoso, just six days before she was to hand
over to President-elect Martin Torrijos.

The decision came shortly after a visit by Colin Powell to Panama.
Posada went to Honduras, and the other three, all of them convicted
terrorists, went back to Miami to a warm welcome by the anti-Cuban
mafia, and not surprisingly were allowed in by the US immigration
authorities. The three have carried out terrorist acts on US territory.
One of them, Guillermo Novo, was convicted of participating in the
car bombing that killed former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando
Letelier, in Washington in 1978. Incidentally, the other two people
convicted of the car bombing of Letelier were released by president
Bush against the advice of both the FBI and the INS.

It is quite clear why the Cuban government had to undertake measures
to prevent terrorist attacks from these groups, since the US authorities
not only do not do anything to prevent them, but even turn a blind eye
or collaborate with them. Such terrorist attacks on Cuba (mostly against
civilian targets, like the bombing campaign against hotels and tourist
resorts) have caused 3,478 deaths and 2,099 permanently disabled
since 1959.

Free the Miami Five!

The case of the Miami Five is clearly about the right of a sovereign
country to defend itself against the terrorist actions conducted from
a neighbouring country that harbours them and does not lift a finger
to stop their actions. The case exposes the hypocrisy of the US ruling
class when it claims it is conducting a war on terrorism. It also
uncovers the important role that the reactionary anti-Cuban mafia
in Miami play in US politics, both Republican and Democrat. It is
therefore an overtly political case that the US ruling class and its
media are not interested in publicising because the details are highly

Socialists all over the world must demand first of all that the basic
human rights of the Miami Five are respected (starting with full rights
to visits), that the trial, which is now subject to a legal appeal, is
reviewed and takes places in fair conditions with full legal rights,
and finally that the Miami Five, whose only crime is to fight the
reactionary terrorist anti-Cuban mafia in Miami, be released. But this
cannot be seen merely from a legal point of view. A political case must
be fought by political means. US labour and progressive movement
organisations must be made aware of the case and should take a
clear position.

The scandalous case of the Miami Five has exposed completely the
cynical hypocrisy of the Bush government in the so-called war against
terrorism. Like the even more barbarous scandal of the Guantanamo Bay
concentration camp, it has revealed the hollowness of its appeals to
democracy and civilized behaviour and the rule of law. It stands
condemned before the tribunal of world public opinion.

A labour movement enquiry should be conducted on the links between
the Miami anti-Cuban terrorists and the US state apparatus, its security
services, the legal system, etc. This is a crucial issue that the US labour
and progressive movement should consider as one of high priority.
The same dirty methods that the US ruling class uses against progressive
governments and movements around the world are - and will be -
also used against US workers and their organisations at home.

The real "crime" of Cuba from the point of view of the US ruling
class is that it provides an example of how, by expropriating the
capitalist class, one can provide for free for such things as high
quality education and health care. And this is a very dangerous
example for the workers and peasants in the rest of Latin America,
but even for the workers in the US, millions of whom have no health
care at all and are excluded from higher education. Socialists and
labour activists all over the world must condemn the actions of US
imperialism, which constitute a serious threat to the democratic
rights of workers everywhere.

Free the Miami Five!

Fight to defend democratic rights!

Down with imperialism!

October 15, 2004


"We nonviolently oppose
the reliance on unilateral
military actions rather
than cooperative diplomacy."


United for Peace of Pierce County (WA)
October 14, 2004

In an important exposé
( posted on

Tuesday, October 12, on the Nation magazine's web site and appearing in the
issue dated November 1, 2004, journalist Naomi Klein has revealed that
U.S. secretary of state and Bush family intimate James Baker, named by
W. Bush last December 5 as special envoy to negotiate the reduction of
foreign debt, took advantage of his position to attempt a scheme to enrich
Carlyle Group, a private equity firm he joined in 1993.

Although Baker's mission as presidential envoy was to negotiate the
*reduction* of Iraq's debt with the leaders of the world's nations, he
himself in a position in which he was, at the same time, through his
partnership in the Carlyle Group, exerting pressure on Kuwait to sign an
agreement by which he would profit from working to *maximize* the amount of
Iraqi debt that would be maintained and paid to Kuwait.

In a world that valued a minimal standard of integrity, this would be a
political scandal of the very first order.

Jerome Levinson, an expert on political and corporate corruption at American
University, said the arrangement in which James Baker involved himself was
"one of the greatest cons of all time. The consortium [of which the Carlyle
Group is a part] is saying to the Kuwaiti government, 'Through us, you have
the only chance to realize a substantial part of the debt. Why? Because of
who we are and who we know.' It's influence peddling of the crassest kind."

This extraordinary and staggering attempt to profit from a conflict of
interest also involved complex machinations with the Albright Group, another
private equity firm headed by another former U.S. secretary of state,
Madeleine Albright, apparently in order to conceal what was going on.

The Carlyle Group itself is essentially an ingenious and extremely
attempt to transform access to decision makers into corporate assets.

As Craig Unger explains in his book *House of Bush, House of Saud*
2004), in 1993 the Carlyle Group made James Baker a full partner (though the
firm's web site now lists him as a "senior counselor"). By joining the firm
in 1993, he allowed it to "go global." The Carlyle Group had dealt mostly
with U.S. financial interests till then.

The Carlyle Group became, in the 1990s, according to Unger, a way for the
Saudi royal family "to show their deep gratitude to President Bush for
defending the Saudis in the Gulf War." (George H.W. Bush, the former
president, is not a partner, but joined the firm as a senior adviser in
he has often been paid $80,000 to $100,000 per speaking engagement by the
Carlyle Group.) Unger, who appears briefly in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit
9/11," has estimated the amount of money that the Saudis have invested in
Carlyle Group as $1,268,600,000, much of it involved in Saudi military
contractor deals with companies owned by the Carlyle Group, like Vinnell
subsidiary of a company owned by Carlyle from 1990 to 1998).

Essentially, James Baker has been clever enough to turn war profiteering
an enterprise that is profitable on a colossal scale, and thanks to these
extraordinary leaked documents, Naomi Klein has caught him red-handed at it.

Politically, no one is more closely tied to the Bush dynasty than James
who has served as adviser, attorney, White House chief of staff, cabinet
officer, campaign manager, presidential debate negotiator, and whatever you
want to call the role he played in Florida in December 2000.

Corruption on this scale takes one's breath away.

Like wounded sea anemones, the suspect parties are at present furiously
pulling in their tentacles while proclaiming the purest of motives. Now
the "confidential" proposal has been outed, "the plan is clearly dead," a
spokeswoman for the Albright Group told the *Washington Post* yesterday.
why should the Carlyle Group, the Albright Group, and the others involved
off, if their motives were really "to help secure justice for victims of
Saddam's invasion of Kuwait and ensure that compensation to Kuwaiti victims,
fully consistent with U.S. policy, be used to promote reconciliation,
environmental improvements and investment in Kuwait, Iraq and the region,"
Madeleine Albright's "consulting firm" said yesterday? And in any case, we
are told by a spokesman for the Carlyle Group, care would have been taken to
make sure that James Baker would not have benefited personally from the
Kuwaiti business.

If the U.S. mainstream press were an agent of democracy rather than the
moribund corporate captive that it is, this extraordinarily blatant (albeit
secret) effort to earn enormous profits from influence trading would be an
opportunity to expose the routine level of corruption and influence-peddling
endemic to the American national security market-state, as well as to
the public about the values of the U.S. political class. As it is, the New
York Times, for example, has still not even mentioned this scandal, and the
Washington Post buried its article in the "Business" section.

United for Peace of Pierce County is not a partisan organization and
no candidates. But we may point out that one strong though not often heard
argument for John Kerry's candidacy is the fact that he led the Senate probe
into the BCCI international banking scandal, an earlier manifestation of
sort of global corporate corruption, and showed that he has a thorough
understanding of how BCCI used "shell corporations, bank confidentiality and
secrecy havens, layering of corporate structure, front men and nominees,
back-to-back financial documentation among BCCI-controlled entities,
and bribes, intimidation of witnesses, and retention of well-placed
to quote Kerry's and Senator Hank Brown's The BCCI Affair: A Report to the
Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate (December 1992).
in Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship
the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties [Scribner, 2004], pp. 121-22.)

United for Peace of Pierce County calls on Congress to investigate this
further, to determine whether criminal statutes and administrative
banning government officials from participating in government business from
which they could derive a profit -- which includes actions that affect an
outside company that employs the official -- were violated in this affair.
the aftermath of the unjustified invasion of Iraq and the Abu Ghraib torture
scandal, it is in the highest national interest to get to the bottom of this

"We nonviolently oppose
the reliance on unilateral
military actions rather
than cooperative diplomacy."


This email list is designed for posting news articles or event
announcements of interest to UFPJ member groups. It is not
a discussion list.

To engage in online discussion of UFPJ matters, join our
discussion list by sending a blank email to
Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:


13) The Making of the Terror Myth
Since September 11 Britain has been warned of the
'inevitability' of catastrophic terrorist attack.
But has the danger been exaggerated? A major new TV
documentary claims that the perceived threat is a politically
driven fantasy - and al-Qaida a dark illusion. Andy Beckett reports
Andy Beckett
Friday October 15, 2004
The Guardian,12780,1327904,00.html

Since the attacks on the United States in September 2001, there have
been more than a thousand references in British national newspapers,
working out at almost one every single day, to the phrase "dirty bomb".
There have been articles about how such a device can use ordinary
explosives to spread lethal radiation; about how London would be
evacuated in the event of such a detonation; about the Home Secretary
David Blunkett's statement on terrorism in November 2002 that
specifically raised the possibility of a dirty bomb being planted in
Britain; and about the arrests of several groups of people, the latest
only last month, for allegedly plotting exactly that.

Starting next Wednesday, BBC2 is to broadcast a three-part documentary
series that will add further to what could be called the dirty bomb genre.
But, as its title suggests, The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the
of Fear takes a different view of the weapon's potential.

"I don't think it would kill anybody," says Dr Theodore Rockwell, an
authority on radiation, in an interview for the series. "You'll have trouble
finding a serious report that would claim otherwise." The American
department of energy, Rockwell continues, has simulated a dirty bomb
explosion, "and they calculated that the most exposed individual would
get a fairly high dose [of radiation], not life-threatening." And even this
minor threat is open to question. The test assumed that no one fled the
explosion for one year.

During the three years in which the "war on terror" has been waged,
high-profile challenges to its assumptions have been rare. The sheer
number of incidents and warnings connected or attributed to the war
has left little room, it seems, for heretical thoughts. In this context, the
central theme of The Power of Nightmares is riskily counter-intuitive and
provocative. Much of the currently perceived threat from international
terrorism, the series argues, "is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and
distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned
through governments around the world, the security services, and the
international media." The series' explanation for this is even bolder:
"In an age when all the grand ideas have lost credibility, fear of a
phantom enemy is all the politicians have left to maintain their power."

Adam Curtis, who wrote and produced the series, acknowledges the
difficulty of saying such things now. "If a bomb goes off, the fear I have
is that everyone will say, 'You're completely wrong,' even if the incident
doesn't touch my argument. This shows the way we have all become
trapped, the way even I have become trapped by a fear that is completely

So controversial is the tone of his series, that trailers for it were not
broadcast last weekend because of the killing of Kenneth Bigley. At
the BBC, Curtis freely admits, there are "anxieties". But there is also
enthusiasm for the programmes, in part thanks to his reputation.
Over the past dozen years, via similarly ambitious documentary
series such as Pandora's Box, The Mayfair Set and The Century of the
Self, Curtis has established himself as perhaps the most acclaimed
maker of serious television programmes in Britain. His trademarks
are long research, the revelatory use of archive footage, telling
interviews, and smooth, insistent voiceovers concerned with the
unnoticed deeper currents of recent history, narrated by Curtis
himself in tones that combine traditional BBC authority with something
more modern and sceptical: "I want to try to make people look at things
they think they know about in a new way."

The Power of Nightmares seeks to overturn much of what is widely
believed about Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. The latter, it argues,
is not an organised international network. It does not have members
or a leader. It does not have "sleeper cells". It does not have an overall
strategy. In fact, it barely exists at all, except as an idea about
a corrupt world through religious violence.

Curtis' evidence for these assertions is not easily dismissed. He tells
the story of Islamism, or the desire to establish Islam as an unbreakable
political framework, as half a century of mostly failed, short-lived
revolutions and spectacular but politically ineffective terrorism. Curtis
points out that al-Qaida did not even have a name until early 2001,
when the American government decided to prosecute Bin Laden in his
absence and had to use anti-Mafia laws that required the existence of
a named criminal organisation.

Curtis also cites the Home Office's own statistics for arrests and
convictions of suspected terrorists since September 11 2001. Of the
664 people detained up to the end of last month, only 17 have been
found guilty. Of these, the majority were Irish Republicans, Sikh militants
or members of other groups with no connection to Islamist terrorism.
Nobody has been convicted who is a proven member of al-Qaida.

In fact, Curtis is not alone in wondering about all this. Quietly but
increasingly, other observers of the war on terror have been having
similar doubts. "The grand concept of the war has not succeeded,"
says Jonathan Eyal, director of the British military thinktank the Royal
United Services Institute. "In purely military terms, it has been an
inconclusive war ... a rather haphazard operation. Al-Qaida managed
the most spectacular attack, but clearly it is also being sustained
by the way that we rather cavalierly stick the name al-Qaida on Iraq,
Indonesia, the Philippines. There is a long tradition that if you divert
all your resources to a threat, then you exaggerate it."

Bill Durodie, director of the international centre for security analysis
at King's College London, says: "The reality [of the al-Qaida threat
to the west] has been essentially a one-off. There has been one
incident in the developed world since 9/11 [the Madrid bombings].
There's no real evidence that all these groups are connected."
Crispin Black, a senior government intelligence analyst until 2002,
is more cautious but admits the terrorist threat presented by
politicians and the media is "out of date and too one-dimensional.
We think there is a bit of a gulf between the terrorists' ambition and
their ability to pull it off."

Terrorism, by definition, depends on an element of bluff. Yet ever
since terrorists in the modern sense of the term (the word terrorism
was actually coined to describe the strategy of a government, the
authoritarian French revolutionary regime of the 1790s) began to
assassinate politicians and then members of the public during the
19th century, states have habitually overreacted. Adam Roberts,
professor of international relations at Oxford, says that governments
often believe struggles with terrorists "to be of absolute cosmic
significance", and that therefore "anything goes" when it comes
to winning. The historian Linda Colley adds: "States and their
rulers expect to monopolise violence, and that is why they react
so virulently to terrorism."

Britain may also be particularly sensitive to foreign infiltrators,
fifth columnists and related menaces. In spite, or perhaps because
of, the absence of an actual invasion for many centuries, British
history is marked by frequent panics about the arrival of Spanish
raiding parties, French revolutionary agitators, anarchists, bolsheviks a
nd Irish terrorists. "These kind of panics rarely happen without some
sort of cause," says Colley. "But politicians make the most of them."

They are not the only ones who find opportunities. "Almost no one
questions this myth about al-Qaida because so many people have
got an interest in keeping it alive," says Curtis. He cites the
suspiciously circular relationship between the security services and
much of the media since September 2001: the way in which official
briefings about terrorism, often unverified or unverifiable by journalists,
have become dramatic press stories which - in a jittery media-driven
democracy - have prompted further briefings and further stories. Few
of these ominous announcements are retracted if they turn out to be
baseless: "There is no fact-checking about al-Qaida."

In one sense, of course, Curtis himself is part of the al-Qaida industry.
The Power of Nightmares began as an investigation of something else,
the rise of modern American conservatism. Curtis was interested in Leo
Strauss, a political philosopher at the university of Chicago in the 50s
who rejected the liberalism of postwar America as amoral and who
thought that the country could be rescued by a revived belief in
America's unique role to battle evil in the world. Strauss's certainty
and his emphasis on the use of grand myths as a higher form of
political propaganda created a group of influential disciples such
as Paul Wolfowitz, now the US deputy defence secretary. They came
to prominence by talking up the Russian threat during the cold war
and have applied a similar strategy in the war on terror.

As Curtis traced the rise of the "Straussians", he came to a conclusion
that would form the basis for The Power of Nightmares. Straussian
conservatism had a previously unsuspected amount in common with
Islamism: from origins in the 50s, to a formative belief that liberalism
was the enemy, to an actual period of Islamist-Straussian collaboration
against the Soviet Union during the war in Afghanistan in the 80s (both
movements have proved adept at finding new foes to keep them going).
Although the Islamists and the Straussians have fallen out since then, as
the attacks on America in 2001 graphically demonstrated, they are in
another way, Curtis concludes, collaborating still: in sustaining the
"fantasy" of the war on terror.

Some may find all this difficult to swallow. But Curtis insists,"There is
no way that I'm trying to be controversial just for the sake of it."
Neither is he trying to be an anti-conservative polemicist like Michael
Moore: "[Moore's] purpose is avowedly political. My hope is that you
won't be able to tell what my politics are." For all the dizzying ideas
and visual jolts and black jokes in his programmes, Curtis describes
his intentions in sober, civic-minded terms. "If you go back into
history and plod through it, the myth falls away. You see that these
aren't terrifying new monsters. It's drawing the poison of the fear."

But whatever the reception of the series, this fear could be around for
a while. It took the British government decades to dismantle the
draconian laws it passed against French revolutionary infiltrators;
the cold war was sustained for almost half a century without Russia
invading the west, or even conclusive evidence that it ever intended to.
"The archives have been opened," says the cold war historian David
Caute, "but they don't bring evidence to bear on this." And the danger
from Islamist terrorists, whatever its scale, is concrete. A sceptical
observer of the war on terror in the British security services says:
"All they need is a big bomb every 18 months to keep this going."

The war on terror already has a hold on western political culture.
"After a 300-year debate between freedom of the individual and
protection of society, the protection of society seems to be the
only priority," says Eyal. Black agrees: "We are probably moving
to a point in the UK where national security becomes the electoral

Some critics of this situation see our striking susceptibility during
the 90s to other anxieties - the millennium bug, MMR, genetically
modified food - as a sort of dress rehearsal for the war on terror.
The press became accustomed to publishing scare stories and not
retracting them; politicians became accustomed to responding to
supposed threats rather than questioning them; the public became
accustomed to the idea that some sort of apocalypse might be just
around the corner. "Insecurity is the key driving concept of our times,"
says Durodie. "Politicians have packaged themselves as risk managers.
There is also a demand from below for protection." The real reason
for this insecurity, he argues, is the decay of the 20th century's
political belief systems and social structures: people have been left
"disconnected" and "fearful".

Yet the notion that "security politics" is the perfect instrument for
every ambitious politician from Blunkett to Wolfowitz also has its
weaknesses. The fears of the public, in Britain at least, are actually
quite erratic: when the opinion pollsters Mori asked people what they
felt was the most important political issue, the figure for "defence and
foreign affairs" leapt from 2% to 60% after the attacks of September
2001, yet by January 2002 had fallen back almost to its earlier level.
And then there are the twin risks that the terrors politicians warn of
will either not materialise or will materialise all too brutally, and in
both cases the politicians will be blamed. "This is a very rickety
platform from which to build up a political career," says Eyal. He
sees the war on terror as a hurried improvisation rather than some
grand Straussian strategy: "In democracies, in order to galvanize
the public for war, you have to make the enemy bigger, uglier and
more menacing."

Afterwards, I look at a website for a well-connected American foreign
policy lobbying group called the Committee on the Present Danger.
The committee features in The Power of Nightmares as a vehicle for
alarmist Straussian propaganda during the cold war. After the Soviet
collapse, as the website puts it, "The mission of the committee was
considered complete." But then the website goes on: "Today radical
Islamists threaten the safety of the American people. Like the cold
war, securing our freedom is a long-term struggle. The road to
victory begins ... "

Guardian Unlimited (c) Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004


14) The polluted planet: Alarm as global study finds one-third
of amphibians face extinction
By Steve Connor Science Editor
15 October 2004

They were the first animals with backbones to walk on land. They
witnessed the rise and fall of the dinosaurs and were present at the
birth of a bipedal ape who went on to become the most destructive
species the planet has ever known.

Amphibians - frogs, toads, newts and salamanders - are among the
longest surviving animals on earth, yet something dramatic now
threatens that longevity. And mankind is responsible.

A global study revealed yesterday that almost a third of amphibians
face extinction - and pollution is cited as the biggest cause. The
three-year survey, involving 500 scientists from more than 60
countries, has found that a third of the 5,743 known species are
threatened with being wiped out and at least 427 are so critically
endangered that they could disappear tomorrow.

The animals are so sensitive to the man-made environment that
scientists have likened them to the canary in a coal mine -
songbirds that fell silent, killed in the presence of odourless
gas. The latest and most comprehensive study of amphibians
around the world has shown that for many species of frogs and
their nearest relatives the singing has suddenly and inexplicably
stopped - and the same bipedal ape is almost certainly responsible.

"This is a problem way outside what we know," said Simon Stuart
of the World Conservation Union and leader of the study published
in the online version of the journal Science .

Dr Stuart said: "This level of decline is ... extraordinary and serious
because amphibians represent a very important part of the overall
diversity of life. Since most amphibians feel the effects of pollution
before many other forms of life, their rapid decline tells us that one
of earth's most critical life support systems is breaking down."

The figures in the survey are almost certainly underestimates
because more than 22 per cent of the known amphibian species
are too poorly understood for the researchers to reach a reliable
conclusion about what is happening to them.

Populations of almost half of the known amphibian species are in
decline. While 32 per cent of amphibians are threatened with extinction,
only 12 per cent of birds and 23 per cent of mammals are in the same
position. The latest study estimates that up to 122 species have gone
extinct since 1980.

Dr Stuart said that all animal groups undergo a natural "background"
rate of extinction but, in the case of amphibians, the actual loss of
species is equivalent to the total number of background extinctions
for many tens of thousands of years being squeezed into a single

"The bottom line is that there's almost no evidence of recovery and
no known techniques for saving mysteriously declining species in the
wild. It leaves conservation biologists in a quandary," Dr Stuart said.

Amphibians are considered uniquely sensitive to man-made changes
in the environment. Their moist, porous skins are vulnerable to water-
borne toxins and infections, and their reliance on two habitats -
freshwater and land - means they cannot survive properly without both.

Scientists have suggested many possible reasons for the decline.
Pollution of both water and the atmosphere, human exploitation for
food and medicine and habitat destruction all pose serious threats.

But it is clear that amphibians are also disappearing from what appear
to be pristine habitats. At one protected site in Costa Rica, for instance,
some 40 per cent of amphibians disappeared over a short period in the
late 1980s. Other losses occurred almost simultaneously in Costa Rica,
Ecuador and Venezuela.

It is this so-called "enigmatic decline" that poses the biggest problem
for conservationists simply because they have little idea about what
needs to be done to address the problem.

The authors of the report say: "Enigmatic decline species present
the greatest challenge for conservation because there are no known
techniques for ensuring their survival in the wild. Most enigmatic
declines have been recorded from the Americas south to Ecuador
and Brazil, Australia and New Zealand, but they are spreading, for
instance to Peru, Chile, Dominica, Spain and Tanzania."

Many of these mysterious disappearances seem to take place in
tropical habitats involving amphibians living in mountain streams.
Some studies suggest they may be linked with the global spread of
a fungus called chytridiomycosis, which may be exacerbated by
global warming. What is most worrying is that the decline in
amphibians is occurring across the world.

Bruce Young, a zoologist who took part in the global amphibian
assessment, said: "We already knew amphibians were in trouble,
but this assessment removes any doubt about the scale of the
problem." Dr Achim Steiner, director general of the World Conservation
Union, said: "The fact that one third of amphibians are in a precipitous
decline tells us that we are rapidly moving towards a potentially
epidemic number of extinctions."

Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International, said:
"Amphibians are one of nature's best indicators of overall
environmental health. Their catastrophic decline serves as
a warning that we are in a period of significant environmental

(c) 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd


15) US Airways Authorized to Cut Workers'
Pay by 21%
Filed at 2:45 p.m. ET
October 15, 2004

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- A bankruptcy judge granted US Airways authority
Friday to immediately cut the pay of its union workers by 21 percent, saying
the airline's situation is so dire that urgent action must be taken.

The 21 percent pay cut is nearly all of the 23 percent reduction the air
carrier had sought.

``Basically what we have here is a ticking fiscal time bomb,'' U.S.
Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Mitchell said in issuing the ruling.

The temporary pay cuts are in place until Feb. 15, 2005, one month
less than what the airline had sought. Mitchell also granted the airline
authority to reduce the size of its jet fleet.

Under the 21 percent cut, the average US Airways salary would drop from
$59,509 to $47,012. That would put US Airways below the other five major
traditional carriers as well as Southwest Airlines , but higher than JetBlue
and America West , two carriers US Airways now seeks to emulate.

US Airways, a unit of US Airways Group Inc., employs 34,000 workers,
of which 84 percent are represented by unions.

Brian Leitch, an attorney for the airline, said the pay cuts were necessary
to keep the cash-strapped company from liquidating.

``We're twisting in the wind, we're airing our financial distress to the
world,'' he said during closing statements before Mitchell on Friday.
``We need to get some stability for a few months.''

Still, Leitch acknowledged that the pay cuts alone won't prevent a
liquidation, but simply give the airline a fighting chance for survival.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press




SF Supervisors:
Michela Alioto-Pier
Tom Ammiano
Chris Daly
Bevan Dufty
Matt Gonzalez
Sophie Maxwell
Jake McGoldrick
Aaron Peskin
Gerardo Sandoval

Jeff Adachi, Public Defender
John Burton, State Senate
Mark Leno, State Assembly
Leland Yee, State Assembly

AFT Local 2121
Alice B. Toklas LGBT Club
Bay Area United Against War
Bernal Heights Democratic Club
California Nurses Assn.
Chinese American Democratic Club
Chinese Progressive Assn.
Democratic Women's Forum
District 3 Democratic Club
District 11 Democratic Club
Global Exchange
Graphic Communication International Union, Local 4-N
Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
ILWU West Bay Legislative Comm.
Irish-American Democratic Club
Latino Democratic Club
9/11 Families for a Better Tomorrow
Noe Valley Democratic Club
Office & Professional Employees, Local 3
Park Presidio United Methodist Church
Peace & Freedom Party, SF County Central Committee
Richmond District Democratic Club
Robert F. Kennedy Democratic Club
San Francisco Bay Guardian
SF Building & Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO
San Francisco Democratic Party
San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO
SF Young Democrats
SF Green Party
SF Pride at Work, AFL-CIO
San Francisco Tomorrow
Senior Action Network
Sierra Club
Sunset Reform Democrats
Tenant Associations Coalition of San Francisco PAC
United Educators of San Francisco
United for Peace & Justice/SF
Vanguard Public Foundation
Veterans for Peace
Westside Chinese Democratic Club

Community Leaders:
Ed Asner
Medea Benjamin
Rev. Amos Brown
Hari Dillon
Daniel Ellsberg
Dolores Huerta