Wednesday, October 27, 2004



We will be tabling on 24th Street in front of the Farmers
Market beginning at Noon this Saturday, Oct. 30th. Come help
hand out posters, buttons and flyers for Yes on N and the
Nov. 3rd march and rally against the war.


1) Not in Our Name: Anti-War March and Rally
End the Occupation -
Out of Iraq Now!
No matter who is elected, we say no to war
and repression!
Wednesday, November 3
5 PM at Powell & Market, San Francisco (map)
March to 24th & Mission.
Bring flashlights, drums, and noisemakers.
Permitted event featuring the Loco Bloco
Drum and Dance Ensemble. Volunteers needed,
Get involved today!

4:45 PM, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2004
Meet at Laguna and Larch Street
(between Eddie and Turk) in San Francisco -
march to San Francisco City Hall
Please forward


4) The Islamic Society of San Francisco
Invites you to a break the fast (Iftar)
Ramadan Dinner
please forward widely
Friday, October 29 Time: 5:00 PM: Reception
Breaking of fast followed by Delicious spicy

5) Stop the Eviction of a Blind Senior
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 09:44:39 EDT

6) Special Taking Aim message -
Lynne Stewart testimony has begun!
Mon, 25 Oct 2004 11:36:41 -0700
From: "Taking Aim"

7) ANSWER "Adopts" a Local 2 Hotel
Weekly Picket on Thursday 4:30 – 6:30 pm
at Crowne Plaza Hotel Until Lock-Out Ends
Community Support Urged for Hotel Workers

8) Protest the U.S.-Led Occupation of HAITI
This Haiti Solidarity protest on Thursday will march by
several Local 2 pickets at Union Square, including the
Crowne Plaza Hotel on Sutter Street, where ANSWER activists
will join the picket line.
Please show your solidarity with both
"Break the Silence!" Tell the Truth About HAITI
Take Your ANGER to BUSH and POWELL (Streets)
Thursday, October 28 -- Emergency Demonstration
4:30 p.m. Gather at Powell & Market, 5:00 p.m.
March on Bush and Powell


SOA Watch Update
October 26, 2004
"We must learn that when we oppose torture against others,
we oppose it for ourselves, for the borders are closer than
we think. Remember Abner Louima, Rodney King, Delbert Africa,
people beaten and brutalized right before your eyes. Remember
Archbishop Romero, the nuns raped and murdered in El Salvador
by graduates of the SOA. Your tax dollars at work."
-- Mumia Abu-Jamal, journalist and political prisoner, summer 2004

11) U.S. considers ways to increase troops in Iraq for vote
By Tom Squitieri,

12) British Troops Head North for Mission Near Baghdad
By Alistair Lyon
BAGHDAD (Reuters)
Wed Oct 27, 2004 09:08 AM ET

Military Assault in Falluja Is Likely, U.S. Officers Say
October 27, 2004

14) Iraq's Prime Minister Faults U.S. Military in Massacre
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 26

15) Guerilla attacks increase as US forces continue air raids
against Fallujah
WSWS :News & Analysis :Middle East :Iraq
By James Cogan
27 October 2004

16) Congo war's 40,000 rape victims face HIV epidemic
By Meera Selva in Nairobi
27 October 2004

17) Get well, Fidel!
On Wednesday, October 20, 2004, Fidel Castro tripped
and fell after giving a speech, injuring his knee and arm.
On Thursday, October 21, 2004. the government of the
United States publicly refused the common courtesy
of wishing the Cuban leader a speedy recovery!
(See State Department transcript provided below.)
In June 2004, when U.S. President Ronald Reagan died,
the Cuban government publicly declared:
"President Ronald Reagan was a tenacious opponent of the Cuban Revolution,
but Cuban revolutionaries possess a sense of ethics and honor that is
incompatible with the idea of issuing critical judgements or attacks at what
is a moment of profound sorrow for his family. That has been and will always
be the conduct of the Cuban people and leadership."

18) '04 Election Cost Estimate: Nearly $4 Billion
October 21, 2004

19) Children punished by Australian law
Sarah Stephen

20) SOUTH AFRICA: ANC welcomes Apartheid Israel
James Barrett, Johannesburg

21) US gave date of war to Britain in advance,
court papers reveal
By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
27 October 2004

22) The Bush Crony Full-Employment Act of 2003
By Evelyn J. Pringle
October 26, 2004

23) US Raids Computer Centers, Internet Cafes To Quell
Resistance Reporting
Oct 22, 2004
By Omar Al-Fair, JUS


1) Not in Our Name: Anti-War March and Rally
End the Occupation -
Out of Iraq Now!
No matter who is elected, we say no to war
and repression!

Wednesday, November 3
5 PM at Powell & Market, San Francisco (map)
March to 24th & Mission.
Bring flashlights, drums, and noisemakers.
Permitted event featuring the Loco Bloco Drum and
Dance Ensemble. Volunteers needed, get involved today!

"The lives of children around the world-especially in Palestine
and Iraq-are in danger every day because of the militarism and
misguided foreign policies of both political parties. Meanwhile,
those who speak up for children and provide humanitarian aid
are coming under increasing scrutiny and pressure. The Middle
East Children's Alliance is proud to join Not in Our Name in its
call to stand up to war and injustice-for the sake of all our

Barbara Lubin, Executive Director of the Middle East Children's

Not in Our Name: Anti-War March and Rally

End the Occupation -
Out of Iraq Now!
No matter who is elected, we say no to war and repression!

Wednesday, November 3
5 PM at Powell & Market, San Francisco (map)
March to 24th & Mission.
Bring flashlights, drums, and noisemakers.
Permitted event featuring the Loco Bloco Drum and Dance
Ensemble. Volunteers needed, get involved today!

On November 3rd, we will still be against the illegitimate occupation
left in the aftermath of an unjust war, the police state restrictions
of the Patriot Acts, and the ongoing attacks on our immigrant

Event initiated by Not in Our Name Bay Area, and endorsed by:

* Siafu
* Middle East Children's Alliance
* Veterans for Peace-SF Chapter 69
* International ANSWER-SF
* American Muslim Voice
* Northern California RAWA Supporters
* American Friends Service Committee-SF
* Bay Area United Against War
* Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors
* Queers for Peace and Justice
* Jewish Voice for Peace
* Lake Merritt Neighbors Organized for Peace
* International Socialist Organization
* Refuse & Resist!
* Korea Solidarity Committee
* War Resisters League-West
* South Bay Mobilization to Stop the War
* East Bay Food Not Bombs
* Alameda Peace Network
* Bay Area Radical Women
* Peninsula Peace and Justice Center
* United for Peace and Justice-Bay Area

Rock the boat-not just the vote!

Get involved today!
Organizing Meeting
Wednesday, October 27 ~ 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Not in Our Name Office
3945 Opal Street, Oakland (map)
At 40th Street, near Broadway - a short walk from Macarthur BART.

Come get some paint on your hands!
Work Party
Sunday, October 31 ~ 10 AM to 2 PM
Grassroots House
2022 Blake Street, Berkeley (map)
At Shattuck Street - five blocks south of Downtown Berkeley BART.

Only a week to go! We need your help to make sure that the
upcoming march and rally sends a loud and clear message that
the Bay Area says "NO!" to war and repression no matter who
wins the election. Volunteers are needed for flyering, phone
banking, event logistics, and much more. Come to Wednesday's
meeting and/or Sunday's work party, or call 510-601-8000 to
get involved today.

The Not in Our Name Project
needs your support!

Donate online

Or send your tax-deductible contribution today to:

Not in Our Name
3945 Opal Street, Oakland CA 94609

phone: 510-601-8000


4:45 PM, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2004
Meet at Laguna and Larch Street
(between Eddie and Turk) in San Francisco -
march to San Francisco City Hall
Please forward

What: Join family and friends of Cammerin Boyd in a march and
vigil to mark the six months anniversary of the murder of
Cammerin Boyd by San Francisco Police Officers.

* Receive fliers to distribute via e-mail or mail
* Sign on to the letter calling for a federal investigation into the
police department
* Let us know you will come to the rally and that you will bring
5 friends with you

On Wednesday, May 5, San Francisco Police Officers shot and
killed 29 year-old Cammerin Boyd in front of dozens of witnesses.
Cammerin, who was disabled, was clearly and vocally surrendering.
He had his hands above his head, but the police shot him anyway.
They stole his life and robbed his daughters of their father, his
mother of her son, and his loved ones of a dear friend and relative.

For years, SFPD has had a "shoot first, lie later" policy- especially
when it comes to black people and disabled people. With no effective
investigation or discipline mechanisms, the department has developed
a culture of impunity for rogue officers. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !!!!



The No on Measure Y campaign is organizing a press conference for
5:30, Thursday, October 28th, and will put the voices of witnesses
and victims of police brutality first. The Citizen Police Review Board
is holding a public hearing at the Oakland City Hall (14th and Broadway)
on the use of tear gas at the Carijama Festival. There are 11 complaints
which have been consolidated into this hearing. Come and support police
accountability and No on Meausre Y. E-mail Aaron at for more info.

To see the agenda for the Civilian Police Review Board meeting,
click here:

Saturday, October 30th, we will be walking precincts from
10AM-2PM with Californians for Justice, meet at the CFJ office
1611 Telegraph Ave, Suite 317 at 10AM, near the 19th Street
BART Station. They will also be passing out -Yes on Prop 72
(Increased Healthcare Coverage), and Yes on Prop 66
(3 Strikes Amendment), and those of us who agree
(I think that's all of us?) will do so as well.

2-6PM We will be phonebanking along with Californians
for Justice office (address above)

Sunday, October 31st, we will meet at the ACORN office at
3616 Fruitvale Ave at 10AM and go pass out flyers and our
cool newspapers at the Dia de los Muertos celebration on
International Blvd in Fruitvale- 10s of thousands of people
from Oakland go to this festival.

2-6PM we will be phone-banking along with Californians for
Justice (address above)

Monday, November 1st, we will meet at ACORN's office at
3PM and disperse throughout the city to do rush hour
publicity. We will hold up signs at busy intersections
and pass out flyers at BARTs.

Tuesday, November 2nd,we will meet at ACORN's office at
6:30AM and again at 3PM and disperse throughout the city
to do rush hour publicity. We will hold up signs at busy
intersections and pass out flyers at BARTs. At noon we will
meet up with BayLOC at 14th and Broadway in downtown
Oakland (Bay Area Local Organizing Committee of the National
HipHop Political Convention) and march to the courthouse
where any registered voter in Alameda County can vote.

Saturday, November 6th - Sunday, November 7th - We're taking a
"get-away" at the Point Reyes Youth Hostel, if you want to come
hang out with us, go hiking, chill at the beach, this will be FUN
trip to celebrate our victories in changing the debate about the
role of police in making us safer and hopefully in defeating
Measure Y! If you want to go e-mail Jonah at
ASAP, include
your phone # in the e-mail!! It is $16 for the night at
the hostel, so by confirming we're expecting you'll cover
this expense even if you have to bail on the trip.


Education not Incarceration Coalition
Military Out of Our Schools!!
Proyecto Linguistico
Fast for Education

Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail - CNET Editors' Choice 2004.
Tell them what you think
e> .


4) The Islamic Society of San Francisco
Invites you to a break the fast (Iftar)
Ramadan Dinner
please forward widely
Friday, October 29 Time: 5:00 PM: Reception
Breaking of fast followed by Delicious spicy Dinner

The Islamic Society of San Francisco
Invites you to a break the fast (Iftar)
Ramadan Dinner

To help develop better communications, friendship, trust and
relationships. We encourage dialogue among religions so that
religions can rely on each other and not fight with each other.
So that we can jointly take on projects of building peace and
tranquility among the American Muslims and people of other
faiths. We believe in cooperation and understanding to build
a better America & the world.

The civilized people use the strength of their arguments to win
hearts and minds, the uncivilized use force... Sufi Master

When: Friday, October 29 Time: 5:00 PM: Reception
Sunset: Breaking of fast followed by Delicious spicy Dinner

Hello everyone,

We are forwarding the following invitation to the Iftar (breaking
the fast) dinner at the Islamic Society of SF. We encourage
everyone to attend in the name of friendship and solidarity.
As we have since BTN was formed several years ago, we stand
in solidarity with all our Arab, Muslim and South Asian brothers
and sisters and in opposition to the detentions, deportations,
harassment and other persecutions that these communities
have unjustifiably been subjected to as a result of the phony
and contrived "war on terror" (and real war for empire).
In the latest of the uncountable outrages perpetrated by this
government, are the October, "pre-election" deportations,
interrogations and FBI snooping..

Participating with the Muslim community at this time is an act
of solidarity in the face of this kind of persecution. We hope
you will join us in this important event.

Ben for the BTN SF

The Islamic Society of San Francisco
Invites you to a break the fast (Iftar)
Ramadan Dinner
To help develop better communications, friendship, trust and
relationships. We encourage dialogue among religions so that
religions can rely on each other and not fight with each other.
So that we can jointly take on projects of building peace and
tranquility among the American Muslims and people of other faiths.
We believe in cooperation and understanding to build a better
America & the world.

The civilized people use the strength of their arguments
to win hearts and minds, the uncivilized use force.
Sufi Master

When: Friday, October 29 Time: 5:00 PM: Reception
Sunset: Breaking of fast followed by Delicious spicy Dinner

Islamic Society of San Francisco,
20 Jones Street. San Francisco, CA 94102

or Call: Souleiman Ghali 415-215-8929
Iftekhar Hai 650-872-2578
American Muslim Voice at

or call 650-387-1994


5) Stop the Eviction of a Blind Senior
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 09:44:39 EDT

Hope you can all join us for a protest against a big time landlord
who is evicting a low-income blind senior. Another SF story.

Julie Lee, a longtime anti rent-control activist and political insider,
won't stop the Ellis eviction of Jeanette Guest, a longtime tenant who
is blind. Nor will Julie Lee heed the calls for her to resign from the
Housing Authority. Jeanette is being evicted so Lee "a multi-millionaire
landlord" can demolish Jeanette's 3 unit apartment building and replace
it with a new 3 unit apartment building, which will not be covered by
rent control (pursuant to state law exempting new construction from
rent control).

Join the SF Tenants Union, Senior Action Network and Religious
Witness With Homeless People as we protest Julie Lee at the next
Housing Authority meeting

Julie Lee Eviction Protest II
Thursday, October 28
4 PM
SF Housing Authority
440 Turk St


6) Special Taking Aim message -
Lynne Stewart testimony has begun!
Mon, 25 Oct 2004 11:36:41 -0700
From: "Taking Aim"

Note from the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee - please try to attend
the court proceedings this week if you live in the greater NY area. Your
presence sends a strong message to the jury and judge that the world
is watching and cares about the outcome of Lynne's case. -- Mya

Lynne Stewart will take the stand in her own defense today,
October 25th at 2:15. She should be testifying all week please
come down to court and show your support.

Come and Fill the Courtroom for

The Trial of Lynne Stewart

United States District Court
Southern District of New York
40 Foley Square, New York, NY Rm. 110
(the old federal courthouse)
Hon. John G. Koeltl presiding

Closest Subways:
4,5 or 6 to Brooklyn Bridge
or the A, C or E to Chambers
1 or 2 to Franklin
N or R to City Hall

For more info go to:
or call 212-625-9696


7) ANSWER "Adopts" a Local 2 Hotel
Weekly Picket on Thursday 4:30 – 6:30 pm
at Crowne Plaza Hotel Until Lock-Out Ends
Community Support Urged for Hotel Workers

(please post and distribute widely)

Four thousand of San FranciscoÂ’s hotel workers are in an intense
struggle to save their health care coverage and pensions. After a
4 week lock-out, the big transnational hotel chains are going all
out to break the back of one of the strongest unions in the country.
Despite warnings from the SF Board of Supervisors and even Mayor
Gavin Newsom, the hotel chains arenÂ’t budging. The workers
represented by UNITE HERE Local 2 have kept 24-hour picket lines
outside of 14 of San Francisco's high-end hotels.

Labor and community support is needed to show solidarity with
these workers and help keep the picket lines going. This labor battle
represents the broader struggle to save affordable health benefits for
all workers. The fierce fight that the hotel workers are waging to save
their health care and other benefits will have a significant effect on
the future of all working people in a period when more and more
employers are trying to pass off rising health care costs to their

ANSWER has "adopted" the Crowne Plaza Hotel picket line on
Thursdays from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Please join us this Thursday
10/28! (The Crowne Plaza is in Union Square located at 480 Sutter
between Powell & Stockton, a short walk from the Powell St.
BART station.) We urge all ANSWER supporters to join us on this
day to show our support of the Local 2 workers.

If you canÂ’t make it on Thursdays, please join the picket lines at
any of the hotels listed below. You can pick up an ANSWER sign
that says: "Health Care is a Right!" and "Support the Hotel Workers"
at the office at 2489 Mission St., Rm. 24, San Francisco.


8) Protest the U.S.-Led Occupation of HAITI
This Haiti Solidarity protest on Thursday will march by
several Local 2 pickets at Union Square, including the
Crowne Plaza Hotel on Sutter Street, where ANSWER activists
will join the picket line.
Please show your solidarity with both
"Break the Silence!" Tell the Truth About HAITI
Take Your ANGER to BUSH and POWELL (Streets)
Thursday, October 28 -- Emergency Demonstration
4:30 p.m. Gather at Powell & Market, 5:00 p.m.
March on Bush and Powell

The Haitian people steadfastly demand the return of President Jean
Bertrand Aristide since the culmination of the U.S.-sponsored coup
on February 29th. The U.S.-appointed, Latortue government has
responded by jailing hundreds of Lavalas supporters, including
leading activists and several members of the former government.
These political prisoners have been illegally detained for months--
none have been tried.

Undaunted, tens of thousands of Lavalas supporters marched in
Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitian on September 30 to mark the
anniversary of the previous coup from 1991-4. Units from the
National Police fired on these peaceful demonstrations while United
Nations “peacekeepers” stood by and did nothing. The next
morning, de facto Prime Minister Gerard Latortue boasted at a press
conference: "We opened fire on demonstrators; some of them have
been killed, others injured, and still others fled.”

Two days later, three leaders of Lavalas were arrested October 2 at
Radio Caraibe after criticizing the interim government on air. On
Wednesday, October 13 authorities arrested and roughed-up Father
Jean-Juste – a beloved priest, activist and pacifist -- while he served
600 hungry children in his parish. Hundreds more have been arrested
and many dozens killed just in the past two weeks.

As of October 15, the tenth anniversary of AristideÂ’s return from the
previous coup, the popular neighborhoods such as Cite Soleil and Bel
Air were under siege by the police -- augmented by the hated former
military, as well as U.N. troops.

While these deadly attacks continued, U.S. State Department
chief-spokesman Richard Boucher absurdly blamed Lavalas supporters
for this state-sponsored violence, calling on their movement to
"break with [its] legacy of violence and criminality." The message
from the Latortue government is clear: “Haitians no longer have
human rights.”

The people of Haiti will not back down. They will defend their
neighborhoods. They will not give up their demand to return to
the constitutional, elected government under President Aristide.

The People of HAITI Need Your SOLIDARITY Now More Than Ever.

For More Information, CONTACT the HAITI ACTION COMMITTEE: 510.483.7481

To donate to the ongoing work of ANSWER, or to get involved,
call 415-821-6545 or go to

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Tuesday, October 26
7:30 pm
Peninsula Peace & Justice Center
457 Kingsley St. (between Waverly and Cowper)
Palo Alto
For information contact Paul George, (650)326-8837

Wednesday, October 27
San Jose State University
Martin Luther King Library, Room 255-257
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Open to Students, Faculty, Community
Price: Free
For information contact Kathleen Densmore
phone (408)92403750, (415)441-7670

Wednesday October 27
5 - 6:30 Stevenson College Fireside Lounge,
University of California, Santa Cruz
7-9pm Next Door-Rio Theatre
1205 Soquel Avenue
Santa Cruz
$5 admission
sponsored by Cuba Study Group
info: Nancy Abbey
phone (831) 465-8272

Thursday, October 28 6:30 pm
The Eastside Arts Alliance
2587 International Blvd. (between 25th & 26th Avenues)
phone :510-533-6629
Isaac Saney-author, Cuba, A Revolution in Motion
Kali Akuno- Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Ana Perez -Global Exchange Cuba Program
Moderated by Phil Hutchings -Oakland-Santiago de Cuba Sister City

Saturday, October 30
2 pm Modern Times Book Store
888 Valencia St.
(Talk, book signing)
Info: 415-282-9246

Saturday October 30
6 pm RECEPTION followed by
7:30 pm talk, Q&A and book-signing
at Socialist Action Book Store
298 Valencia Street (at 14th St.)
Contact Jeff Mackler (415)255-1080

Sunday, October 31
1 - 4 pm
Grand Finale of Isaac Saney's Bay Area Speaking Tour
and Introduction to the Casa Cuba Resource Center
at the Niebyl Proctor Marxist Library (NPML)
6501 Telegraph Ave (between Alcatraz and 65th)


SOA Watch Update
October 26, 2004
"We must learn that when we oppose torture against others,
we oppose it for ourselves, for the borders are closer than
we think. Remember Abner Louima, Rodney King, Delbert Africa,
people beaten and brutalized right before your eyes. Remember
Archbishop Romero, the nuns raped and murdered in El Salvador
by graduates of the SOA. Your tax dollars at work."
-- Mumia Abu-Jamal, journalist and political prisoner, summer 2004

SOA Watch Update
October 26, 2004


>From our victory in the 11th Circuit Court to the stories we are hearing
from all over the country of local groups organizing in bigger and bigger
numbers, this yearÂ’s convergence at the gates of Fort Benning is shaping
up to be our biggest and most exciting yet!

Once again we have an amazing line up of dynamic speakers and rousing
musicians who will grace our stage this November 20 and 21. This year we
are proud to welcome such individuals as Ruby Sales, prominent civil
rights activist from Columbus, Georgia; Carlos Mauricio and Neris
Gonzalez, torture survivors and plaintiffs in the successful lawsuit
against Salvadoran generals now living in the US; Betita Martinez, long
time Chicana activist and historian; Bob King, vice president of the
United Auto Workers; Sr. Dianna Ortiz, founder of Torture Abolition
Survivors and Support Coalition International and MANY MORE.

We are also happy to welcome back many of the long-time musicians that
have been an essential part of our November presence, including Charlie
King and Karen Brandow, The Chestnut Brothers, Pat Humphries and Sandy
Opatow, Francisco Herrera, Jon Fromer, David Rovics and Llajtasuyo.
Newcomers to the stage this year include Kim and Reggie Harris, Utah
Phillips and Chicago-based ska/reggae band Los Vicios de Papá.

See the schedule of events here: . Check back often as this
schedule will be regularly updated as we get closer to the vigil dates.

To see these musicians and speakers, to hold a sign demanding the closure
of the SOA/ WHINSEC, to participate in the funeral procession -- you WILL
NOT have to pass through a metal detector or a police search this year,
thanks to the ruling of the 11th Circuit Court on October 15. Visit for more information on the
ruling and links to media coverage of this great Constitutional victory.

How YOU can continue to organize for the November vigil:

ORGANIZE Buses and Vans to travel to Georgia and post your transportation
information on the SOA Watch Ride Board at .

RESERVE hotel rooms in Georgia for your friends and yourself. Visit the
SOA Watch website for logistical information: .

DOWNLOAD flyers to promote the vigil at . Continue to spread the word in
your community and fill up those vans and buses!

DONATE NOW to support the growing costs of the vigil - every dollars
helps. Visit .

SOA Watch ~ PO Box 4566 ~ Washington DC 20017 ~ (202)234-3440 ~

Search /RENEGADE/ for articles that mention the School of the Americas -

Search /RENEGADE/ for articles that mention human rights -

/RENEGADE/ Search - GO TO:
and just type in your topic. For differing results you may uncheck
"article" and search on just "subject," etc. /RENEGADE/ also has
"time-frame" in the search, so you can tailor your results that way, too.

For more information about the School of the Americas and SOA Watch,
or send email to


11) U.S. considers ways to increase troops in Iraq for vote
By Tom Squitieri,

WASHINGTON - Concerned that they won't get enough new troops
from allies to help provide security for Iraqi elections in January,
officials are considering increasing the current U.S. force by delaying the
departures of some U.S. troops now in Iraq and accelerating the deployment
of others scheduled to go there next year.

The goal is to temporarily raise the number of U.S. troops in Iraq from
the current 138,000 to almost 160,000 to help protect international
and Iraqi election workers and secure polling locations.

That addition would bring the sustained U.S. troop presence in Iraq to
its highest level since President Bush declared an end to major combat
operations on May 1, 2003.

Defense officials were reluctant to discuss the options on the record. But
Capt. Harold Pittman, a spokesman for Gen. John Abizaid, the commander
of Central Command, said, "Obviously, we are looking at all of those
options and taking everything into account. ... There are a lot of options,
possibilities and venues on the table to provide additional security during
the election time frame."

Four Defense officials with direct knowledge of troop planning for Iraq
discussed what the Pentagon must do to meet the need for more troops
at election time. They asked not to be identified because troop matters
are highly sensitive and decisions have not yet been finalized. Abizaid
said in September that he would need more forces to secure the elections,
but hoped they could be Iraqis or foreign troops. The Pentagon has
been unable to persuade allies to send enough new forces, and U.S.
commanders have so far been unable to train enough Iraqi troops to
fill the gap.

The easiest option, the Defense officials said, is to delay the departure
from Iraq of the 1st Cavalry Division, which is set to begin leaving in
January. At the same time, the Pentagon would move up the deployment
of some elements of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division.

The other options include using U.S. troops now being held in reserve
in Kuwait or deploying elements of the Army's 82nd Airborne, which
helped provide security for the elections in Afghanistan earlier this
month, the officials said.

The White House declined to discuss troop options. "The president
will make sure that the commander and the troops in the field have
what they need to win in Iraq," said Sean McCormack, a spokesman
for the White House's National Security Council.

A final decision will be made no later than December after U.S. Army
Gen. George Casey, overall commander in Iraq, and Army Maj. Gen.
David Petraeus, who is in charge of training Iraqi forces, go through
a series of "decision points" to gauge if additional Iraqi forces are
sufficiently trained and equipped and what mix of additional U.S.
forces will be necessary, the Defense officials said.


12) British Troops Head North for Mission Near Baghdad
By Alistair Lyon
BAGHDAD (Reuters)
Wed Oct 27, 2004 09:08 AM ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - British troops rolled north from Basra
Wednesday to take over a deadly area near Baghdad and free up
U.S. troops for a widely expected attack on Falluja.

"The deployment has begun," a spokesman for the Ministry of
Defense told Reuters in London. "For operational reasons I can
give no further details. But they will be back for Christmas."

A British column with Warrior armored vehicles on flatbed
trucks headed north, a Reuters photographer said. The Warriors
were fitted with extra slat armor to deflect rocket-propelled
grenades -- a weapon of choice for Iraqi insurgents.

About 850 British troops, mainly from the Black Watch
regiment, are due to deploy in a restive region just south of
Baghdad, allowing U.S. troops to reinforce units fighting
insurgents in rebel-held Falluja and elsewhere.

U.S. forces would spearhead any assault on the Sunni Muslim
city, which Iraq's interim government has vowed to retake
before nationwide elections planned for January.

The Iraqi government believes pacifying Falluja would help
contain relentless suicide car bombings and abductions.

Kidnappers have seized scores of foreigners since April in
a campaign to try and force U.S.-led troops and foreign workers
to leave Iraq. More than 35 hostages have been killed.

The Paris-based aid group Action contre la Faim said it was
withdrawing its staff from Iraq due to security concerns,
adding that aid activities by U.S.-led forces made it hard for
charities to appear impartial.

The group's announcement late Tuesday came just a week
after unknown kidnappers seized British-Iraqi aid worker
Margaret Hassan. Her employer, aid agency Care International,
suspended its work in Iraq after the hostage-taking.

"Like many other organizations, Action contre la Faim is
now forced to leave a country in agony -- mainly due to
permanent insecurity," the group said in a statement.

A suspected motorcycle bomb attack on a U.S. convoy killed
a soldier and wounded another north of Baghdad, the military
said. That fatality raised the U.S. combat death to 847 since
the start of last year's war to topple Saddam Hussein.

U.S. officials said the Pentagon might increase U.S. forces
in Iraq for the election period by delaying the departure of
some troops and speeding the arrival of others.

Hundreds of Falluja families have already left the city for
safety. Local leaders said they would travel to Baghdad to
renew on-off peace talks with the government Wednesday.

The government has vowed to unleash military action unless
the people of Falluja hand over foreign militants led by al
Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, said to operate in the city.

Zarqawi's feared Islamist group threatened Tuesday to
behead a Japanese hostage unless Tokyo pulls its 550 troops out
of Iraq within 48 hours. Japan rejected the demand.

The Qaeda Organization for Holy War in Iraq said in a video
placed on the Internet that unless Japan complied "this infidel
will meet the same fate as Berg ... and the other infidels" --
a reference to American Nick Berg, who was beheaded in May,
and five other hostages killed by Zarqawi's recently renamed


Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who sent troops
to Iraq despite public opposition, stood firm Wednesday.

"We cannot tolerate terrorism and we will not give in to
terrorism," he said. "We will not withdraw the Self-Defense
Force (SDF)," he added, referring to the Japanese military.

The video showed the hostage, identified as Shosei Koda,
24, with long hair and a thin beard, seated in front of three
masked men and a black banner bearing the group's name.

"They want the Japanese government and Prime Minister
Koizumi to withdraw Japanese troops from Iraq or they will cut
my head (off)," Koda said in English.

As one militant read out a statement, another grabbed Koda
by the hair and pulled his head up to face the camera.

Japan's non-combat troops work on reconstruction in Samawa,
270 km (168 miles) south of Baghdad. It was not clear what Koda
was doing in Iraq. His family said he was traveling abroad.

Militants abducted five Japanese civilians in Iraq in April
and threatened to kill three unless Japanese troops left.

In July, the Philippines withdrew its 50 troops to save a
Filipino hostage under a similar death threat.

Interim Defense Minister Hazim al-Shaalan said a security
breach in the Iraqi National Guard may have led to a weekend
massacre of 49 army recruits that Zarqawi's group claimed.

"I don't rule out infiltration inside the National Guard,
he told London-based Asharq al-Awsat daily, adding that there
could have been spies within the recruits' training camp.

(c) Copyright Reuters 2004


Military Assault in Falluja Is Likely, U.S. Officers Say
October 27, 2004

CAMP FALLUJA, Iraq, Oct. 22 - A military offensive by American and
Iraqi forces to reclaim rebel-held Falluja is probably inevitable and
would be the largest and potentially the riskiest since the end of
major combat in May 2003, senior American officers say.

It would also involve major operations to seize control of Ramadi,
another contested Sunni Muslim city 30 miles away, and to shut
Syrian border crossings to prevent foreign fighters from streaming
into Iraq, Marine commanders here say.

This expanded set of combat operations reflects a growing consensus
among American military commanders and Iraqi government officials
that the insurgencies in the two nearby cities are linked and must be
quelled at the same time.

The timing and decision to carry out any attacks or close any border
crossings is up to the prime minister, Ayad Allawi, senior Marine officers
say. But as peace negotiations with representatives of Falluja have
broken down, senior officers say it could be just weeks before air and
ground attacks begin, in a battle that officers estimate could last from
several days to two weeks.

"If we're told to go, it'll be decisive," Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, the
commander of nearly 40,000 marines and soldiers in western and
south-central Iraq, said in an interview. "The goal will be to limit the
damage, limit the casualties and do it as rapidly and decisively as
possible. We're not here to destroy the town. We're here to give it back."

The issue extends far beyond Falluja and Ramadi. Military officials said
smashing the resistance there would deal a blow to the insurgency
nationally, because Falluja in particular has been a haven and staging
ground for attacks. Defeating insurgents there could help to calm the
nation and set the conditions for elections, commanders say.

Senior officers say they are mindful that an attack on Falluja and Ramadi
could set off uprisings in other Sunni towns and possibly in Sadr City,
an impoverished Shiite area of Baghdad that exploded in violence
during the revolts in April. But military officers say they are planning
for such contingencies.

Several important military and political decisions remain to be made
before any attack, officers said. Britain is redeploying about 850 troops
from Basra to an area south of Baghdad to free up American forces
to swing into position near Falluja. Iraqi security forces have not yet
moved into position, though General Sattler said that would happen
quickly once the order is given. A last-minute settlement also is
possible, as has happened before at Falluja.

Commanders here insist that the planning and timing for any possible
offensive has not been influenced by the American elections on Nov. 2
and that political issues have not come up in discussions with their
military and civilian superiors in Baghdad or at the Pentagon.

In interviews at this dusty desert headquarters three miles east of
Falluja and at other military headquarters in Iraq, commanders sketched
out a broad outline for how the offensive would probably unfold. They
declined to discuss specific troop numbers, tactics and important
political and military decision points to protect operational security.
But thousands of marines and soldiers, joined by thousands of newly
trained and equipped Iraqi soldiers, police officers and commandos,
would attack Falluja from multiple directions, unleashing direct tank,
artillery and mortar fire against insurgent positions that had been
weakened by allied airstrikes and internecine fighting in recent weeks.

A great number of residents have fled the city in recent weeks, but
thousands of insurgents remain, along with vestiges of the population.
While keeping the city out of government control, the insurgents
have also orchestrated attacks across much of Iraq. Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant who is believed to have organized
attacks that have killed hundreds in Iraq from his base in Falluja,
is of primary interest to the Americans.

In the battle of Samarra last month, 3,000 American troops and
2,000 Iraqis fought roughly 500 insurgents. Officers estimated that
perhaps three to four times that number of hard-core insurgents are
in Falluja, meaning that an American-Iraqi force much larger than
5,000 troops is likely to be massed.

As in allied operations in Najaf and Samarra, Iraqi forces would be
relied on to clear and secure mosques and other culturally sensitive
targets, with marines and soldiers providing backup.

"We'll match capabilities with the mission to have an appropriate blend"
of Iraqi and American forces, said Col. John Coleman, the First Marine
Expeditionary Force chief of staff.

Allied warplanes including Navy FA-18's and Air Force F-16's and
F-15E's would conduct air strikes against insurgent safe houses,
weapons caches and other leadership targets that have been carefully
analyzed for possible damage to civilian infrastructure.

The bombing would be an intensified version of the nearly nightly
strikes the Americans have conducted in Falluja for the past two
months but would not be a huge barrage, the commanders say.

The weapons of choice have been laser-guided and satellite-guided
500-pound bombs, which are considered better able to limit the
risk of civilian casualties than 1,000-pound and 2,000-pound bombs.

Commanders say the offensive would get off to a fast start, but the
insurgents are likely to respond with roadside bombs and car bombs
to slow it, and could try to initiate popular outbursts in nearby
Sunni towns.

Commanders also say the air campaign in Falluja has been largely
directed against the network of Mr. Zarqawi, who is considered so
dangerous that the Americans have put a $25 million bounty on him.

Using information from informants, spy satellites, communications
intercepts and other intelligence sources, commanders have assembled
a target list that will change as sites are hit, checked and hit again
during battle, or added based on fresh intelligence.

Military engineers and civil affairs specialists would follow quickly
behind the main combat force, with the job of assessing how to
restore services like water, sanitation and electricity, and of assigning
contractors or military experts to the task.

General Sattler said he and his commanders were not in a rush to
storm the city, contending that recent airstrikes have killed many
of Mr. Zarqawi's top lieutenants and have seriously disrupted the
operations of another Sunni militant leader, Omar Hadid.

The insurgent leaders are wary of meeting in groups and have
been forced to use couriers and trusted aides to pass messages,
fearing that their telephone conversations would be monitored,
General Sattler said. Indeed, American forces believe that they
have come very close to killing or capturing Mr. Hadid at least
twice, the general said.

Mr. Zarqawi has been able to keep his leadership ranks filled
but is no longer able to plot with his most trusted aides, officers
said. "They are replaced by the second string and sometimes the
third string," said General Sattler, who commands the First Marine
Expeditionary Force. "It's a downward spiral for his organization."

Checkpoints on the main roads leading in and out of Falluja have
also disrupted the insurgents' operations, commanders said. Nearly
100 people have been detained in a recent seven-day period at
temporary barriers, which typically are created for an hour or two.
Many of the detainees are still in American custody. In one car that
was searched, American troops found rocket-propelled grenades
in the trunk; in another, they found $80,000 in crisp $100 and
$50 bills.

But the insurgents are not giving up easily, commanders acknowledge.
Car bombings and suicide attacks have increased here and in Baghdad.
Mortar and artillery attacks against American troops and bases have
increased, especially since the start of Ramadan in mid-October.

An offensive on Falluja would be conducted nearly at the same time
as parallel military operations, or possibly political negotiations, in
Ramadi, the restive capital of Al Anbar Province, just 30 miles west
of Falluja, General Sattler said. Insurgents, including leaders like
Muhammad Daham, have seized control of most of the city from the
local Iraqi police and municipal officials using a campaign of intimidation,
officers said. Although marines are present in Ramadi, the city has
become increasingly violent.

To keep foreign fighters from joining the battles, General Sattler said,
he is considering having military-aged men prevented from crossing
into Iraq from Syria at the main border crossings unless they can
show they have official business in Iraq. Dr. Allawi would decide
that. Senior marines said Syria's recent agreement with Iraq to police
its borders had yielded results.

"Cooperation has actually risen," said Col. Ron Makuta, the chief
intelligence officer for the Marines in Iraq.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times


14) Iraq's Prime Minister Faults U.S. Military in Massacre
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 26

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 26 - Prime Minister Ayad Allawi blamed the
American-led military forces on Tuesday for the weekend massacre
of 49 freshly trained Iraqi soldiers, saying the military had shown
"major negligence."

In a speech before the interim National Assembly, the prime minister
said a committee had begun investigating the ambush, the deadliest
of the guerrilla war. The assault took place Saturday night in remote
eastern Iraq, as three minibuses of unarmed Iraqi soldiers were heading
south on leave. Insurgents dressed as policemen waylaid the men at
a fake checkpoint, killed all 49 soldiers and their three civilian drivers,
mostly with shots to their heads, and burned the vehicles.

"I think there was major negligence by the multinational forces,"
Dr. Allawi said before the 100-member assembly. "It was a way to
damage Iraq and the Iraqi people."

The massacre took place in an area of the country under the
command of Polish forces.

Dr. Allawi did not elaborate on his statement, and his aides could
not be reached by phone for further comment. The prime minister's
lacerating words marked the first time he has publicly criticized the
American-led forces, disclosing his profound frustration at the
assault and perhaps the deteriorating security situation as well.

The American military defended itself in a statement released
Tuesday evening. "This was a cold-blooded and systematic massacre
by terrorists," the statement read. "They and no one else must be
held fully accountable for these heinous acts."

An American military official said the ambushed soldiers were
members of the 16th Iraqi Army Battalion, Seventh Iraqi Army Brigade,
and not of the Iraqi National Guard, as had been widely reported.
They had left the main Iraqi Army training base in Kirkush, northeast
of Baghdad, about 15 miles from the Iranian border. They were
ambushed on an isolated road southeast of Baghdad, he said, not
far from the border.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said officers in
his United States Army division, which has trained Iraqi national
guardsmen, were baffled by the utter lack of protection given the
Iraqi soldiers. He said when Iraqi guardsmen under his division's
watch go on leave, they are sent off in armored convoys bristling
with heavy guns. "We provide the gun trucks and protection, like
when we go out ourselves," he said.

"There's a lot of people stunned by this," he added. "There's a lot of
people scratching their heads. It's a strange one."

Capt. Steven Alvarez, a spokesman for Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus,
whose command includes the Kirkush base, said in an e-mail message
that the general was deferring all comment to the main military press

The relentless assault on Iraqi security forces continued Tuesday, as
a militant group called the Army of Ansar al-Sunna posted photos on
the Internet showing that it had captured 11 Iraqi security officers.
A message on the Web site said the insurgents had snatched the
"infidels" of the "crusaders' militia" on a road between Baghdad
and Hilla, about 50 miles south, where the men were apparently
on patrol. The posting said the hostages were national guardsmen
and part of an outfit called the Legion Security Force.

In the photos, some of the guardsmen look frightened, sitting in
a dirt pit at the feet of three guerrillas wearing black ski masks and
brandishing AK-47's. Most of the hostages have on white T-shirts
with "LSF," for "Legion Security Force," emblazoned across the chests.
Two are wearing the brown camouflage uniforms of Iraqi national
guardsmen, and one has on a plain khaki uniform with a blue "LSF"

[Early Wednesday, the television network Al Jazeera reported that
an Internet videotape posted on a militant Islamist Web site threatened
to behead a Japanese man taken hostage if Japanese forces were not
removed within 48 hours, The Associated Press reported. It was not
clear if the man, who was shown explaining the kidnappers' demands,
was a member of the Japanese forces or was working with them, the
agency reported.

[There was no confirmation of anyone missing from Japan's forces,
but in Tokyo, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told the chief cabinet
secretary that Japanese troops would not pull out, Agence France-Presse
reported, quoting a spokesman for Mr. Koizumi.]

The Army of Ansar al-Sunna has claimed responsibility for several
prominent killings in recent months, including the executions of a dozen
Nepalese in August. It is an offshoot of Ansar al-Islam, whose mountain
redoubt in northern Iraq was overrun by American Special Forces troops
and Kurdish militiamen when the war began. It has proven to be one
of the most extreme groups operating in Iraq and is suspected in many

The capture of the 11 guardsmen, the massacre on Saturday and
numerous other attacks have shown the weak state of the Iraqi
security forces, despite President Bush's assertion that local police
officers and soldiers will soon be able to take over security duties
from the 138,000 American troops here.

An Iraqi national security aide said Monday that 5 percent of the Iraqi
forces might be infiltrated by insurgents, and American troops regularly
say Iraqi police officers and guardsmen are either worthless as fighters
or working with insurgents. Western reporters also frequently encounter
Iraqi security officers who say they are ready to take up arms against
the occupation forces.

The guerrillas who staged the ambush on Saturday probably had inside
information on the movements of the soldiers, Iraqi officials have said.

The interior minister, Falah al-Naqib, also appeared before the National
Assembly on Tuesday and said the government was starting to remove
police officers deemed to be bad workers. "Some of them are lazy," he
said. "They came just for the sake of making a salary or earning a living.
We have a real unemployment problem."

In interviews, Iraqi police officers almost invariably cite the lack of jobs
as the main reason they joined the security forces, despite the dangers.
The nationwide unemployment rate is about 60 percent. The average
police officer makes more than $220 a month, a solid middle-class
income in this society.

If the men are turned away from security jobs or fired, Mr. Naqib said,
then insurgents will recruit them and pay them even more.

Several recent prominent arrests have exposed potential senior-level
corruption among the security forces. Last month, the First Infantry
Division arrested a senior commander of the Iraqi National Guard in
Diyala Province, where the Kirkush base is situated, accusing him of
having ties to the insurgency. In August, marines arrested the police
chief of rebellious Al Anbar Province on charges of corruption.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times


15) Guerilla attacks increase as US forces continue air raids
against Fallujah
WSWS :News & Analysis :Middle East :Iraq
By James Cogan
27 October 2004

American-led occupation forces are confronting a surge in Iraqi
guerilla activity in the predominantly Sunni Muslim regions of the
country. Attacks on the occupation have increased by as much as
30 percent in the last two weeks, with between 80 and 100 taking
place each day.

The escalation in resistance is taking place amidst an offensive by
the American military, particularly against the city of Fallujah in
Anbar province, one of the main centres of opposition to the US
invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Several thousand US marines have Fallujah under siege and it is being
bombarded by air strikes every day. Iraqi defenders and American
troops are skirmishing on the city outskirts, while tens of thousands
of people have been turned into refugees, fleeing the city to escape
the American bombing and shelling. Dozens of civilians-including
women and children-have been killed or maimed this month alone.
According to witnesses interviewed by the Arab cable network Al
Jazeerah, US tanks shelled Fallujah's main al-Mathidi mosque on
Monday, as fighters and civilians left the evening prayer service.

The plight of Fallujah, and the criminal conduct of the US military,
has fueled mounting resistance against the occupation.

In the northern city of Mosul, two contract truck drivers transporting
supplies for the American military were killed in an ambush on
Saturday. On Monday, car bombs exploded outside government and
police offices in the same city, killing a tribal leader working for the
occupation and wounding a number of guards. The head of the local
police only narrowly escaped death. On Tuesday, an American convoy
was hit by multiple roadside bombs.

Iraqi interim president Ghazi Ajil al-Yawar specifically warned earlier
this month that there could be an eruption of unrest in Mosul if Fallujah
were stormed. With close to three million people, it is the most
populated Sunni Muslim city in Iraq.

A video aired over the weekend showed an Iraqi who worked for the
US military in the city being executed by masked men. Before being
killed he was forced to state: "I am telling anybody who wants to work
for the Americans, not to work for them. The mujaheddin have very
accurate information."

There are ample indications that resistance groups have thoroughly
infiltrated the Iraqi government, along with the military and police
institutions created by the occupation since the invasion. The timing
and coordination of many ambushes suggest prior knowledge of the
movement of occupation forces.

On two occasions this month, mortar attacks have been carried out
on buildings as they were being visited by US-installed Iraqi interim
prime minister Iyad Allawi.

On Saturday, insurgents reportedly dressed in Iraqi army uniforms
used a fake checkpoint 95 kilometres east of Baghdad, in Diyala
province, to stop three buses carrying around 50 unarmed US-recruited
Iraqi national guardsmen. The interim government troops were taken
from the vehicles and summarily executed as collaborators. The deputy
governor of the province told the media: "There was probably collusion
among the soldiers or other groups. Otherwise, the gunmen would not
have gotten the information about the soldiers' departure from their
training camp and that they were unarmed."

In nearby Baqubah, guerillas attacked a US base on Tuesday and fought
street battles with American troops. Iraqi national guard posts in the
city have been attacked with car bombs for four consecutive days. At
least 14 guardsmen have been wounded.

In Baghdad, six US soldiers were wounded on Saturday in a dawn
ambush as their convoy traveled to the airport. A roadside bomb
set one of the American armoured vehicles ablaze.

On Sunday, "Camp Victory", a major US base near the airport, was
mortared. Ed Seitz, an agent with the US Bureau of Diplomatic Security,
was killed and an unspecified number of people wounded. A car bomb
exploded as a US patrol passed near the infamous Abu Ghraib prison,
causing unknown casualties. According to Al Jazeerah, a massive bomb
on the Kharnabat bridge in western Baghdad severely damaged an
American tank. Before it could be salvaged, the tank reportedly fell
into the Tigris River.

The attacks continued on Monday. One US soldier was killed and five
wounded by a roadside bomb in the west of the city. An explosion
ripped through a market as an Estonian patrol passed by, killing one
of the Estonian troops and wounding five. A car bomb exploded near
the Australian embassy, hitting an Australian convoy just minutes after
it had left the embassy and hurling one of the armoured vehicles off
the road. Three Iraqi bystanders were killed and 13 wounded, while
three Australian soldiers suffered injuries.

In the Shiite city of Karbala, a car bomb killed a Bulgarian soldier and
wounded two others on Sunday. This means that six Bulgarian troops
have now been killed in Iraq. In British-controlled Basra, a police
station was car-bombed over the weekend.

Also in the south of Iraq, insurgents fired a rocket into the middle of
the heavily fortified Japanese camp outside the town of Samawah. The
rocket had no fuse and therefore did not explode. But it has been taken
as a signal that Japanese troops can be targeted. A video released
yesterday in the name of Al Qaeda-aligned terrorist Abu Musaab
al-Zarqawi alleged that a Japanese citizen in Iraq is being held hostage
and will be beheaded if the Japanese government does not agree to
withdraw its forces.

Fighting is continuing in Samarra, which was subjected to a bloody
US assault in September and is still under curfew. A car bomb on
Saturday reportedly killed four national guardsmen, while clashes
took place on Sunday between guerillas and US troops in the city's
suburbs. Two children were killed in the cross-fire. On Monday, an
American vehicle was damaged by a roadside bomb.

Guerillas have also launched attacks in recent days in Anbar province,
the region surrounding Fallujah. On Saturday, a car bomb exploded
outside a US base in the town of Baghdadi, near the provincial capital
of Ramadi. At least 16 Iraqi police were killed and 40 other people
injured. Another US base outside Ramadi was bombed on Monday
and a convoy car-bombed near the town of Khaldiya. Two US
convoys were hit by roadside bombs yesterday.

The intensity of the fighting occurring in the vicinity of Ramadi was
underscored by an article in the New York Times on October 21.
The Second Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, was deployed to the
city in early September. In just six weeks, six of its personnel have
been killed and 72 wounded. A sergeant told the newspaper: "They
[the guerillas] know we're here; they know what we do; they know
our routine. We're used to coming in [and] blowing stuff up. Now
we wait to get hit."

Roadside bombs have been found every 500 to 600 metres along
major roads traveled by the marines. A young marine told the Times :
"This is Vietnam. I don't even know why we're over here fighting.
We're fighting for survival. The Iraqis don't want us here. If they
wanted us here, they'd help us. They're certainly not helping us
in this city." A 21-year-old marine from Nashville, Tennessee, said:
"The funny thing that we laugh at sometimes is that the terrorists
and us want the same thing. We don't want to be here and they
don't want us here."

In Fallujah, the US military is continuing to build up its forces for
a full-scale assault. British troops of the Black Watch Regiment have
begun moving into position around the town of Iskandariyah,
relieving US marines to redeploy to Anbar province.

As the prospect of a US entry into the city draws closer, Moqtada
al-Sadr, the leader of the Shiite uprising that has flared on and off
since April, broke weeks of silence on Saturday and declared his
support for the resistance fighters in Fallujah. A spokesman for Sadr
told the press he was only offering "moral support" at this stage and
not calling for his Mahdi Army militiamen to take up arms.

The main Sunni religious body, the Association of Muslim Scholars,
however, has issued a call for a boycott of the elections being planned
for January 2005 and is warning of a massive backlash from the Sunni
population unless the occupation forces halt the offensive on Fallujah.

A statement endorsed at a conference of 200 clerics last week was
released on Sunday. The group's spokesman, Mohammed al-Faidhi,
declared: "In the event that Fallujah is invaded or if it continues to be
struck by planes, the clerics of Iraq will call on Iraqis to boycott the
elections. This condition has already been breached as occupation
forces have struck the town since the conference and it is now possible
to take this decision. A follow-up committee will meet and announce
this decision at the appropriate time...

"We will consider the [election] results null and void. Elections that
come with the blood of Iraqis, the burning of their properties and
the killing of their women and children, are a farce that does not
deserve respect."

Copyright 1998-2004
World Socialist Web Site
All rights reserved


16) Congo war's 40,000 rape victims face HIV epidemic
By Meera Selva in Nairobi
27 October 2004

More than 40,000 women and girls were raped by soldiers and used
as sex slaves in the six-year civil war in the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) and desperately need medical care, according to
a report released yesterday.

Amnesty International said soldiers from more than 20 armed groups,
and government soldiers from the DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda
had taken part in the attacks, some on girls as young as five. Even
soldiers from the UN peacekeeping mission, Monuc, are under
investigation for sexual abuse. In some cases, militias have kept
women for several months and attacked them repeatedly.

Floriane, 21, was abducted from the forest and held in captivity by
a militia from 2001 to 2004. "It was terrible. They used to beat me
on my arms with an iron bar, just like an animal. I can't move my
arm now. As we were considered sex slaves, sometimes as many
as five soldiers would rape me, and I became pregnant. It was
a very difficult birth, because I gave birth in the bush. The soldiers
wouldn't let me go and the very day I gave birth, several soldiers
raped me," she told Amnesty.

The human rights group said the problem had been exacerbated
by the fact that the DRC's one-year-old transitional government
has been indifferent to the problem of sexual violence and had made
no attempts to arrest or imprison rapists. It added that the government,
headed by President Joseph Kabila, had been "far too slow" in setting
up medical care and counselling to help the rape victims, who were
usually also tortured.

There are only two hospitals that can treat rape victims in the eastern
Congo, where most of the fighting has taken place. Most of the
treatment for rape victims has been provided by humanitarian
aid agencies rather than the government, and even the agencies
warn that they are not able to reach all the people who need help.
Médecins Sans Frontières estimates that in some regions, it is
helping only 5 per cent of women who have been sexually abused.
In many cases, women were raped as they walked to medical centres
to seek treatment.

Health groups warn that the rapes have caused a massive increase
in the rate of HIV/Aids infection. More than 20 per cent of the
population in eastern Congo is estimated to be infected, and more
than half of the population could catch the virus within the next 10
years, making the rate of infection one of the highest in the world.
As militias and soldiers from neighbouring countries move back
home, they will spread the infection.

Stephen Bowen, Amnesty International's campaigns director,
said: "Rape in eastern DRC is a human rights and a health crisis.
Countless women and girls are in desperate need of treatment
but no organised or comprehensive response has been developed
to assist them."

Many of the victims have since been abandoned by their husbands
and shunned by their communities. Soldiers from the Burundian
FDD militia raped Eki, 50, in February 2003 while her husband
was out fishing.

She said: "The soldiers wanted money and when I told them I had
no money, they slapped me and threw me to the ground. And there,
in front of the children, two soldiers each held one of my legs,
another slapped my face while a fourth soldier raped me. When
my husband returned he accused me of being an FDD woman and
abandoned me, leaving me alone with the children."

The six-year war in the DRC began after Rwanda invaded the north
and east of the country, saying it wanted to flush out Hutu militias
who fled to the DRC after the Rwandan genocide. More than three
and a half million people have died of violence, starvation and
disease, and the armies of seven foreign countries have been
involved in the fighting.

A peace agreement was signed last year, but there have since been
two attempted coups and militias continue to attack and rape civilians.

(c) 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd


17) Get well, Fidel!
On Wednesday, October 20, 2004, Fidel Castro tripped
and fell after giving a speech, injuring his knee and arm.
On Thursday, October 21, 2004. the government of the
United States publicly refused the common courtesy
of wishing the Cuban leader a speedy recovery!
(See State Department transcript provided below.)
In June 2004, when U.S. President Ronald Reagan died,
the Cuban government publicly declared:
"President Ronald Reagan was a tenacious opponent of the Cuban
Revolution, but Cuban revolutionaries possess a sense of ethics and
honor that is incompatible with the idea of issuing critical judgements
or attacks at what is a moment of profound sorrow for his family.
That has been and will always be the conduct of the Cuban people
and leadership."

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Havana, June 10, 2004

If you agree that, regardless of political differences common courtesy
would have been to wish Cuba's Fidel a speedy recovery, send him
a message:

(There is a Cuban saying "lo cortes no quita lo valiente." It means
that one can have courtesy and courage at the same time.)

Boucher's Sour Mouthings

October 23, 2004
Granma Daily and Juventud Rebelde daily

Nothing is as common for the government in Washington as
ignorance, charlatanism and lack of scruples. It's very unlikely
that the people there even know of the saying coined by the
famous writer George Bernard Shaw that "Hatred is the vengeance
of a frightened coward".

This observation by the Nobel Prize winner for literature mirrors
the behavior of US State Department spokesperson, Richard Boucher,
who told the press last Thursday that he did not hope for a rapid
recovery for Fidel Castro after an accident suffered Wednesday night
in which the Cuban leader fractured his knee and cracked a bone in
his arm

Responding to questions on the subject of the Cuban leader's
health, Boucher didn't stop there, but went on to say that Fidel
Castro's fall was not the type that his government had hoped for,
and that the Cuban government needs to come to an end.

The State Department spokesperson is always ready with some
witty remark, but shows little understanding of events. The little
instruction manual he always carries with him to press conferences
gives him away. It is obviously a bitter pill to swallow that the person
he hates so much didn't fall apart, but rather endured his intense pain
to explain to the young (graduating) teachers, the people of Santa
Clara and the general public what had happened, adding with his
usual tenacity: "I'm in one piece".

However, Boucher is not an isolated case - it is proverbial that the
idiots plotting treachery in the US State Department make fools of

The press agencies are recording the joy in which State Department
officials received the news of the accident, and the meanness of their
loaded comments that have adorned US television transmissions with
constant images of the mishap.

According to a Europa Press dispatch, what happened to Fidel Castro
is a topic of jokes in the corridors of the US State Department - a simple
stumble evokes a 40-year-old dream in Washington of the toppling of
the "maximum leader".

The press agency reports: "'We have waited for Castro's fall for years but
didn't think it would be in this way', said an official from Colin Powell's
department. 'This is a sign that the regime is falling', joked another US
high level official anonymously, seeking an omen in the Cuban leader's

What else could be expected of this hateful mendacity that harbors
itself in the representatives of this right-wing, neo-conservative
administration that howls at the slightest mention of the word "Fidel"?

Respect for adversity evidently doesn't control such barbarous
conduct by spokespeople and anonymous officials of the State

This attitude is part of the "doctrine" which they would impose on
the world, where politics have nothing to do with morals. To anticipate
or desire the death of even those that do not serve one's interests is
a doctrine that goes against all ethical obligations.

The leaders of the Cuban Revolution have distinguished themselves
with exactly the opposite sentiment, never using taunts at the
mishaps of others - not even their worst opponents.

Thus history illustrates the principled position demonstrated in Cuba
when the news of another assassination attempt against Ronald
Reagan reached Havana - a man who was one of the worst enemies
of the Island - and how Fidel himself informed the US authorities of
the facts; or the immediate condemnation of the atrocious crime on
September 11, and the offer to help the people of the USA.

Compañero Fidel's unfortunate accident might have stirred up the
destructive emotion of hate in State Department officials and others
who hold grudges, but it also brought on an intense show of love
and affection from many friends across the world.

No one who knows him will doubt that, as much as he is indifferent
to this primitive and derisory hatred, this avalanche of affection will
enormously help in Compañero Fidel's recovery.

Translation: Simon Wollers.


QUESTION: Did you hear that Castro fell?

MR. BOUCHER: We heard that Castro fell. There are, I think, various
reports that he broke a leg, an arm, a foot, and other things, and I'd
guess you'd have to check with the Cubans to find out what's broken
about Mr. Castro. We, obviously, have expressed our views about
what's broken in Cuba.

QUESTION: Do you wish him a speedy recovery?


QUESTION: No? Do you wish him a speedy demise?

MR. BOUCHER: I'll leave the man's health alone. I think our view --

QUESTION: Would you have preferred that his injuries be more
life threatening? (Laughter.) People have come out, including your
former boss --

MR. BOUCHER: I know.

QUESTION: -- and said things like, well, we hope the actuarial tables
catch up with Mr. Castro. Are you disappointed that he wasn't more
seriously wounded?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to express that kind of disappointment.
I think, you know, the event speak for themselves. The situation in
Cuban is of our primary concern. The situation of Mr. Castro is of
little concern to us, but unfortunately of enormous importance to the
people of Cuba, who have suffered very long under his role. And we
think that the kind of rule that Cuba has had should be ended.

QUESTION: Do you think if he stepped aside -- that's an "if" question,
of course -- whoever succeeds him would provide any policy more
to the U.S.'s liking than Castro has?

MR. BOUCHER: It would be highly speculative for me to say that at
this point, except to note that we do think the people of Cuba deserve
democracy. They, like everybody else in the world, deserve a chance
to choose their own fate and future, and that the Secretary of State
co-chaired an effort on behalf of this Administration last year to
identify what we can do to hasten that day and what we can do when
that day comes to support the people of Cuba, as they have found
their own democracy, which is something we have strong confidence
that they will someday be able to do.

To Nelson for inspiration.
To Simon for translation.
To Federico for web assistance.
To Walter for persistence.



18) '04 Election Cost Estimate: Nearly $4 Billion
October 21, 2004

Center for Responsive Politics
1101 14th Street, NW, Suite 1030
Washington, DC 20005
202/857-0044; 202/857-7809;


Contacts: Larry Noble (202/354-0108), Sheila Krumholz (-0104) or
Steven Weiss (-0111)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The 2004 presidential and congressional
elections will cost a record $3.9 billion, according to
projections based on a study of campaign finance figures by the
nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The estimate
represents a 30 percent increase over the $3 billion spent on
federal elections four years ago.

The presidential race alone, fueled by massive spending by
President Bush, Sen. John Kerry, the political parties and a
host of advocacy groups spending millions on ads and voter
mobilization, is will cost an unprecedented $1.2 billion or
more, according to the Center's estimates.

The spending increases are due in significant part to the sharp
rise in limited "hard" money contributions to federal candidates
and party committees. The 2004 campaign is the first to take
place under the new campaign finance law known as the Bipartisan
Campaign Reform Act. The law raised contribution limits for
individuals and banned unlimited "soft" money contributions to
the national political parties.

"The 2004 presidential and congressional elections will shatter
previous records for spending, and the biggest reason is the
increase in giving by individuals to candidates and parties,"
said Larry Noble, the Center's executive director.

The largest chunk of money in this year's elections--by far--is
coming from individuals giving to federal candidates and
political parties, continuing a years-long trend. Individual
contributions will total $2.5 billion by the end of the current
election cycle, according to the Center's estimate. That
represents a significant jump over the $1.5 billion in
individual contributions raised in the 2000 election cycle.

Contributions from political action committees make up the next
biggest portion of election funds. The Center estimates that PAC
contributions will total $384 million in this year's elections,
an increase of 33 percent over the elections four years ago,
when PAC giving accounted for $288 million.

Federal candidates will have poured $144 million in personal
funds into their campaigns by the cycle's end, according to the
Center's projections. Candidates in 2000 spent $205 million of
their own money, but that included a record $60.2 million
invested by former Goldman Sachs chairman Jon Corzine into his
successful Senate campaign and $48 million spent by Steve Forbes
on his failed presidential bid.

Spending by 527 groups, named for a section of the tax code, is
expected to reach $386 million this cycle. The total includes
only 527s active in federal elections. Not included in the
projection is election-related spending by 501c organizations,
which need not disclose their contributions or expenditures.
Beginning late in the 2000 cycle, 527s were required to file
detailed financial reports with the Internal Revenue Service.

--The Presidential Race-

It has long been assumed that this year's presidential election
will be the most expensive ever. The Center's $1.2 billion
estimate bears that out. However, this figure includes a very
conservative estimate of spending by advocacy groups.

The Center has projected spending by five of the most active
527s in the presidential election to be $187 million. But the
total amount spent by 527s and 501c organizations on the
presidential race is certain to be far higher than that. For
example, the New York Times reported yesterday that advocacy
groups will spend more than $350 million on get-out-the vote
efforts alone.

The total spent on the 2000 presidential race is difficult to
estimate. Total receipts by the presidential candidates (private
and government funds) and public funding for the party
conventions equaled $529 million. But total spending also
included an untold amount of money from the political parties
and advocacy groups.

--Other Findings-

The Center's study also found the following:

Maxing Out to Presidential Candidates -- Nearly as many
individuals have given the maximum allowed to a presidential
candidate in this cycle so far as in the entire 2000 cycle,
despite the increase in contribution limits. This cycle's
presidential candidates had raised the maximum $2,000 from
106,595 individuals through August. That compares with the
108,668 people who contributed $1,000, the old limit, to a
presidential contender four years ago.

Presidential candidates have become more reliant on maximum
contributions under the new limit. This cycle's presidential
hopefuls have raised nearly 29 percent of their total receipts
in $2,000 contributions, while presidential candidates four
years ago raised 22 percent of their money in contributions of

The figures include contributions to general election legal and
accounting compliance (GELAC) funds. President Bush and Sen.
John Kerry may no longer raise private funds for their campaign
accounts because they accepted general election public funding,
but they may still raise up to $2,000 per individual donor in
their GELAC accounts. Third party candidates may continue
raising private funds.

Maxing Out to Congressional Candidates -- With contribution
limits set at $2,000 per election, an individual can give a
maximum of $4,000 to a congressional candidate who makes it past
the primary to compete in the general election. More than 12,000
individuals have contributed $4,000 to a congressional candidate
in the current cycle so far.

With a few months of the election cycle remaining, that figure
is likely to approach the 15,135 individuals who contributed
$2,000 to a congressional candidate under the old limit four
years ago.

Congressional candidates are less reliant on maximum
contributions in the current cycle than they were in 2000. Just
over 8 percent of the money to congressional candidates has been
raised in $4,000 chunks this year, compared to the 11 percent
raised under the old maximum in 2000.

Maxing Out to Parties -- The political parties are raising the
maximum from far fewer people in the current cycle than they did
in 2000, a sign of their renewed effort to raise small
contributions. Under current limits of $25,000 to a party
committee per year, an individual may give up to $50,000 to a
party committee per cycle. There are 530 people who have done so
in the current election cycle so far.

That's a little more than half of the 1,013 people who
contributed $40,000 to a party committee in the 2000 cycle. (The
old limit was $20,000 per year.)

Giving by Women -- Women are contributing a bigger share of
large individual contributions in the current election cycle
than at any time since 1989. Female donors have given 28.9
percent of the money collected in amounts greater than $200 by
federal candidates, political action committees and parties, the
Center found. Women contributed 26.1 percent of that money in
the 2000 cycle and 24.4 percent in the 1996 cycle.

The most significant change in female giving has been to the
political parties. In the current cycle so far, women have
contributed 29.2 percent of the money the parties have raised in
amounts over $200. Women contributed 23.3 percent of the large
individual contributions to the parties in the 2000 cycle, and
21.3 percent of such contributions in the 1996 cycle.

One reason for the change could be the ban on soft money
contributions to the political parties. Women used to give a
lower proportion of soft money than they gave of hard money,
suggesting that when limits are in place, contributions from
wealthy income-earners are often bolstered by donations from
their spouses.

The Center's estimates are based on campaign finance figures
released this week by the Federal Election Commission and the
Internal Revenue Service. Each election cycle is two years long.
This report, with charts breaking down the Center's estimates of
the cost of the 2004 elections, is available online at

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19) Children punished by Australian law
Sarah Stephen

Born in Fiji, Sereana Naikelekele has lived in Australia for almost 16
years. She is married to Maika Koroitamana and has five Australian-born
children. Her eldest child, 12-year-old Sally, is a citizen. Her youngest,
three-year-old Glen, is also a citizen. Jope, who turned 10 on August
26, is due to receive a certificate confirming his citizenship. ]

In July 2002, when Sereana was working to support her family, but
without a permit, she was dobbed in to the Department of Immigration
and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) and taken to Villawood
detention centre. Two months later, her three youngest children, Glen,
who was then only one and still being breast-fed, two-year-old Lomani
and four-year-old Mereani, were brought to join her, because their father
had been struggling to look after all five of the children on his own.

For the past two years, Sereana has been fighting to get out of detention
and for her right to stay in Australia.

On October 20, she wiped away tears to argue her case at a Migration
Review Tribunal (MRT) hearing to consider an application for a bridging
visa. In a room packed with supporters, and with her five children
around her, Sereana asked: "How can it be acceptable to place Australian
citizens in detention? Do they not have the same rights as other
Australian citizens? My kids need to get out of Villawood. I am a good
and loving mother, and it is my right to be with them."

The MRT member presiding over the case, Amanda MacDonald, found
that Sereana did not meet the criteria necessary to be granted a
bridging visa, and said that the only avenue left to her was to
appeal to the immigration minister to intervene.

Sereana and her lawyer Michaela Byers are trying every avenue to
win the family's right to stay in Australia. A case currently before the
Federal Court is aimed at proving that Australia's laws make her two
youngest daughters, Lomani and Mereani, stateless. This is because
neither Australia nor Fiji will grant them citizenship.

Fiji's constitution recognises citizenship by birth, but doesn't
automatically recognise citizenship by descent for children born
outside Fiji.

Legislation introduced in 1986 narrowed Australian citizenship by
removing its automatic conferral at birth. It changed to a system of
citizenship by descent, where at least one parent is required to be
an Australian citizen or permanent resident. Children of non-residents
born in Australia can only become citizens if they live in Australia
until they are 10 years old.

The High Court's 5-2 rejection of the Tania Singh case on September 9
was a blow to Sereana and many other families in her situation, because
it reaffirmed that, despite being born on Australian soil, children
who were under the age of 10 could not be considered citizens.

However, there was a clause inserted in the 1986 legislation to protect
against the potential for statelessness, and it is this provision that
Sereana is hoping they can prove should be applied to her two daughters.
If all five of Sereana's children are found to be citizens, Sereana and
her supporters believe it will strengthen the chances of the immigration
minister intervening to grant the whole family the right to stay in
At the beginning of 2004, ChilOut and the Bellingen group of Rural
Australians for Refugees arranged pen-pals for Glen, Lomani and Mereani.
They were flooded with dozens of letters from school children, parents
and teachers.

Sereana showed them to me when I visited her on October 20. She was
moved to tears as she read out some of the messages. Hand-written
and decorated, some are in the shape of doves. Others are covered with
glitter and pictures of nice places.

One card, signed by a child named Solomon, had a roughly cut-out
picture of a happy, laughing family stuck on it, and reads: "We hope
you can be happy here!"

"Our government is not right in keeping you there", another card says.
"Keep positive, you will be out soon. Priscilla."

Sereana told me she often reads the cards to her children when they are
feeling down, and they smile and feel a bit better.

"Don't give up hope", said another card. "Most people in Australia are
friendly, and want you here." And another: "We hope that our
government will wake up soon and let you come outside to the
world from which you belong, love Phillip."

Sereana was very distressed about her five children being separated
from each other. Sally was not doing well in school, and her teachers
were concerned. She didn't talk much when she visited Sereana, who
felt that contact between them was slipping away.

Some problems with their father resulted in the children being placed
in the care of their uncle.

Sereana pleaded that she be released to look after them, but DIMIA
told her that the only way she could be with her children was for them
to be brought into detention as well.

Despite the fact that DIMIA policy states that citizens will not be detained
except as a last possible resort, Sally and Jope are now in detention as

Jill Pearce, principal of Macarthur Adventist School, which Sally and Jope
attended, has publicly expressed her concern at the children's detention.
Pearce told ABC Radio Australia News on October 15 that she asked
Villawood's management for the children to be allowed to return to
school, but has not received a reply.

"We want them to continue on with their education without having it
interrupted", said Pearce. "The school is probably the only stable place
they've got at the moment. They love their friends, they are secure here."

Pearce recently notified Villawood management that the school was
willing to waive the children's school fees and pick them up from the
detention centre every day. To date, management has not responded
to the offer.

There is a growing call, endorsed by the National Council of Churches,
to set up a new visa category for people who don't meet the criteria for
refugee status but who have compelling humanitarian grounds for being
able to stay, such as children born in Australia.

Individuals and families who have lived for a long time in Australia are
routinely denied the opportunity to become permanent residents. Many
such cases involve sending children to countries they have never been
to before, countries that are in every sense foreign to them, where they
may not even speak the language.

The vast majority of people living in Australia without valid visas (so-
called "illegals") are making a valuable contribution to society, just like
Sereana and her husband, who have worked, paid taxes and contributed
to their community over a period of 15 years.

In 1980 there was a general amnesty for anyone without a valid visa,
but legislation was enacted disallowing any future amnesties and both
major political parties agreed that there should not be any more.

DIMIA argues that Sereana should return to Fiji with her children and
apply come back with them when they turn 18. But Sereana knows that
would not be possible because she would have to pay the costs of her
detention before being allowed back into the country, something she
would never have the money for.

By end of September 2004, Sereana had been in detention for 791 days,
and each of her three children for 740 days. Based on an estimated cost
of $125 per day, the total cost of their detention would come to more
than $380,000.

Glen, Jope and Sally, all Australian citizens, deserve the right to grow
up in the country where they were born. Lomani and Mereani deserve
the right to have the country where they were born recognise their right
to citizenship if the alternative is to remain stateless.

All five children deserve to have the love and care of their parents.
The 1986 amendment to Australian citizenship should be revoked
so no families suffer the way Sereana's has.

From Green Left Weekly, October 27, 2004.
Visit the Green Left Weekly home page.


20) SOUTH AFRICA: ANC welcomes Apartheid Israel
James Barrett, Johannesburg

The streets of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban reverberated
on October 16 with cries of "Free Free Palestine", "Isolate Apartheid
Israel", "Boycott Israel" and "No to Bantustans", to mark the forthcoming
visit of Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to South Africa.

Thousands of people took to the streets. On that Saturday's evening
news, scenes from the vibrant protests interspersed with footage from
the latest deadly Israeli raids into Gaza left viewers questioning why
the ANC government, supposedly a staunch supporter of the
Palestinian cause, could be entertaining such a key representative
of Israel.

While a stone-faced deputy foreign affairs minister Aziz Pahad
attempted to downplay the visit, claiming it to be part of a strategy
to encourage Israel's government to negotiate with the Palestinian
Authority (PA), the real intentions behind the visit had begun to surface.

Olmert, also Israel's trade minister, is the highest-ranking serving
Israeli official to ever visit democratic South Africa. He was due to
arrive on October 19 with a delegation of 23 elite business figures.
Israeli high-tech, security and industrial exporters will visit South
Africa in order to increase Israel's exports which already top US$4
billion worth of goods (not including diamonds) every year. Olmert
and his South African counterpart Mandisi Mpahlwa are expected to
cement a protection of investment treaty during the course of the week.

In Israel, Likud spokespersons boasted openly about the visit, while
in South Africa, the government attempted to down-play the trip,
embarrassed at how bluntly they have put profit before principle.
While the Israeli trade department expects trade with South Africa
to increase by 5% by the end of the year, more important for the
Israeli Apartheid state is the use of South Africa as a launching pad
for trade with the rest of the continent. Neoliberal politics overrides
any moral considerations for trade with a rogue state. Israel depends
on trade and international acceptance just like the Apartheid regime
in South Africa did.

At the recent United Nations Conference on the Inalienable Rights of
the Palestinians, held in Cape Town, John Dugard the UN special
rapporteur on Palestine and Jody Kollapen the chairperson of the
South African Human Rights Commission supported the call from
the Palestine Solidarity Committee of South Africa for sanctions and
boycotts against Apartheid Israel.

This view was vociferously challenged not only by South African
cabinet ministers present, but also representatives of the Palestinian
Authority, including Saeb Erakat. Ironically, the kind of concrete
support offered by the South African state at the conclusion of the
UN conference came in the form of an agreement between the Nablus
mayor and a representative of the Cape Town municipality to supply
pre-paid water technology to Palestinians! This technology is
condemned by South African social movements as a form of water
privatisation burdening poor communities even further.

Last month, at a gathering of anti-war and anti-corporate globalisation
movements in Beirut, close to 260 organisations from 41 countries
unanimously endorsed a boycott campaign against Apartheid Israel.
Recently, the Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN) agreed to
support the many churches, universities and trade unions in the
West that are increasingly calling for a divestment campaign modeled
on the popular boycott of Apartheid South Africa. APJN said it would
press leaders of the 75 million Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide
to impose sanctions on Israel after an eight-day visit to the occupied
territories. In July, the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in
the United States which has 3 million members, voted overwhelmingly
for a boycott of Israel.

Following the South African government's laudable submission to the
International Court of Justice on the Apartheid Wall that is cutting
Palestinians off from their homes, the government should follow
through by leading an international sanctions campaign against
Israel, the kind of campaign that the ANC promoted during the
darkest days of Apartheid in South Africa.

Further trade and relations with Israel marks an important turning
point in the strategy of the ANC, which smacks of hypocrisy and
double talk given its previous strong support for the Palestinian
cause. It is squandering the moral high ground earned by the people
through great sacrifice.

Yet, most dangerously, it gives legitimacy to the so called "peace"
plans of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. These "peace" plans -
the disengagement and creation of a prison state in the Gaza Strip
while carrying out further extermination of the Palestinian people and
the annexation of their remaining lands in the West Bank, is a
declaration of war and imperialism that makes Apartheid South
Africa in the 1980s appear moderate.

It is up to us who are in solidarity with Palestine to initiate from the
grassroots level an international campaign to isolate and boycott
Israel. We have received numerous messages of support from
grassroots Palestinian organisations to oppose Olmert's visit. It is in line
with these calls from organisations in Palestine that we must begin
the task to isolate Apartheid Israel - economically, culturally,
academically and morally.

In South Africa, the most ardent supporters of Palestinian liberation
are the new social movements such as the Anti-Privatisation Forum,
the Landless Peoples Movement, Anti-Eviction groups and Jubilee.
The leadership of the South African Communist Party (SACP) and
COSATU in alliance with the ANC while rhetorically supporting the
Palestinian struggle stops short of active involvement in solidarity.
This does not reflect the rank-and-file of these organisations who
relate extremely warmly to the Palestinian solidarity movement.
Fundamentally, when our own government gives in to the logic of
neoliberalism and the market over a peoples struggle for freedom
and justice, it is up to us to speak out and find spaces in the quest
for democracy, peace and social justice.

[James Barrett is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Committee
and the Anti-War Coalition.]

From Green Left Weekly, October 27, 2004.
Visit the Green Left Weekly home page.


21) US gave date of war to Britain in advance,
court papers reveal
By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
27 October 2004

Secret plans for the war in Iraq were passed to British Army chiefs
by US defence planners five months before the invasion was launched,
a court martial heard yesterday.

The revelation strengthened suspicions that Tony Blair gave his
agreement to President George Bush to go to war while the diplomatic
efforts to force Saddam Hussein to comply with UN resolutions were

Alan Simpson, the leader of Labour Against the War, said the documents
were "dynamite", if genuine, and showed that Clare Short was right to
assert in her book, serialised in The Independent , that Mr Blair had
"knowingly misled" Parliament.

The plans were revealed during the court martial of L/Cpl Ian Blaymire,
23, from Leeds, who is charged with the manslaughter of a comrade
while serving in Iraq. Sgt John Nightingale, 32, a reservist from Guiseley,
West Yorkshire, died after being shot in the chest on 23 September
last year.

The court, at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, heard that contingency
plans were drawn up by Lt Col Christopher Warren, staff officer at Land
Command, Salisbury, Wiltshire, who was responsible for operational

Lt Col Warren said US planners had passed on dates for which the
invasion was planned. The hearing was told Army chiefs wanted the
training for the Army to start at the beginning of December 2002.
However, due to "sensitivities" the training was delayed.

The court heard the training for the TA began two months late and
for the regular Army one month late. Lt Col Warren was asked what
the sensitivities were. He replied: "Because in December there was
a world interest. If the UK had mobilised while all this was going on
that would have shown an intent before the political process had
been allowed to run its course."

The hearing was adjourned.

(c) 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd NEWS SERVICE


22) The Bush Crony Full-Employment Act of 2003
By Evelyn J. Pringle
October 26, 2004

Josh Marshall writes a column for The Hill , a Congressional newspaper.
Josh says that every big new piece of legislation needs a catchy title to
set it apart, and he came up with a good title for the $87 billion
allocated to rebuilding Iraq. "The Bush Crony Full-Employment Act
of 2003." I like that, it's very fitting.

Who is Joe Allbaugh?

Anybody remember Joe Allbaugh? He was part of the inner circle
in Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, along with Karl Rove and
Karen Hughes. In January 2001, Bush put Allbaugh in charge of
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which dispenses
disaster money and loans after hurricanes, floods and fires.

New Bridge Strategies

I think Joe missed his calling. He should be a fortune teller, because
somehow he knew a couple of weeks before Bush declared war on
Iraq that he should quit his government job and go into the business
of helping wealthy clients secure Iraqi reconstruction contracts.

Of course Joe didn't say that at the time. When he announced his
resignation from FEMA on March 1, 2003 he said, "Now I am going
to take the opportunity to spend some time with my wife and children."
Well his family could not have enjoyed too much quality time with Joe
because in a matter of weeks he opened a new firm called New Bridge

True to form, with the press seemingly unwilling to publicize the war
profiteering aspects of the war in Iraq, the formation of New Bridge
basically went unnoticed by the American public and only briefly
showed up in the headlines.

It deserved public attention because of the Republican heavyweights
on its board that were linked to one or the other Bush administrations
or to the family itself. The members not only included Allbaugh, but
also Ed Rogers and Lanny Griffith, former George H.W. Bush aids.

The president of the company, John Howland, and principal Jamal
Daniel were business partners of first brother Neil Bush.

Josh Marshall says New Bridge is actually an outgrowth of Haley
Barbour's lobbying firm, Barbour Griffith & Rogers (BGR). Josh says
he came to this conclusion after he learned that both firms were located
in the same office space. And also because Griffith is the CEO of New
Bridge and Rogers is the vice president. Sounds to me like he reached
the right conclusion.

Others agree. "The bottom line on New Bridge is that it appears to be
very closely linked to BGR, which has many overlapping ties to the
highest levels of the Republican Party," said Thomas Ferguson,
a campaign finance expert at the University of Massachusetts, the
October 15, 2004 Village Voice reports.

So here's the setup. Bush's main man Joe quits FEMA to spend time
with his family, right before the bombs start falling in Iraq. He then
moves into the offices of one of the biggest and most politically
connected GOP lobbying firms in Washington and starts advertising
services to clients who want to win reconstruction contracts in Iraq.
How could it possibly get any sweeter than this?

Allbaugh Has A Big Heart

According to the Oct 6, 2003 New York Times , Allbaugh "is here to
tell you that his new company, which advises clients on how to get
business in Iraq, is not trading on his White House connections.
The Iraqis need assistance ... and he can help."

Although its connections to the administration may not have received
much attention in the media, the company itself was not shy about
advertising its contacts. Its website as much as brags about the
company's links to Bush, by specifically pointing out that Allbaugh
was "chief of staff to then-Gov. Bush of Texas and was the national
campaign manager for the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign."

It says New Bridge is "a unique company that was created specifically
with the aim of assisting clients to evaluate and take advantage of
business opportunities in the Middle East following the conclusion
of the U.S.-led war in Iraq." I'm surprised that the site doesn't have
a blinking neon sign saying AKA war profiteering.

Initially, it said, "the opportunities evolving in Iraq today are of such
an unprecedented nature and scope that no other existing firm has
the necessary skills and experience to be effective both in Washington,
D.C., and on the ground in Iraq." But someone must have warned
Allbaugh that that particular sentence was a little too obvious because
that phrasing has since been changed on the web site.

Allbaugh himself didn't seem to give his ties to the administration
a second thought. According to a Sept 30, 2003 article in Mother Jones ,
he claimed, "It's beneficial to clients that I know who the players are and
I know who the decision makers are."

Middle East specialist, Richard Murphy, viewed it differently and was
quick to point out that the Bush ties to New Bridge would only validate
what was already suspected. "In the Middle East, it will be received as
confirming the weary cynicism prevailing in the area about US intentions
in launching the attack on Iraq in the first place," said Murphy.

Allbaugh denied having any improper motives. "The stories I've seen
have been couched as if people are trying to game the system, and
that's not what we're about," he said. "We are trying to help Iraq become
a capitalist country, and a leader throughout the Middle East. Iraqis
themselves are asking for help," wrote the New York Times .

That's funny, I thought the Iraqis had said they wanted us to get the
hell out of their country and leave them alone. I wonder why I never
knew that they asked Joe to help?

Joe seems baffled that anyone would question his assertion about
wanting to help the poor Iraqis. "We fought a war, we displaced
a horrible, horrible regime, and as a part of that we have an obligation
to help Iraqis," he said. "We can't just leave in the middle of the night."

He gets downright defensive if you question his business practices.
On Oct 6, 2003, he told a New York Times reporter, "Because my
friend is president of the United States, I'm supposed to check out
of life?"

To that I would say no Joe, of course you don't have to check out of
life. But you also don't quit your government job before the president
even admits that he's taking the country to war and set up shop to start
advertising to get contracts for work in a country that you somehow
know we're about to destroy.

Another Funnel: Diligence Security Company

Its clear that BGR was instrumental in bringing other companies into
New Bridge's fold, including Diligence, a security firm set up by former
US and British intelligence officers.

On Oct 6, 2003, Allbaugh told the New York Times that, "As part of his
package for clients ... he offered security in the form of yet another
new company, Diligence Iraq, which worked hand-in-hand with New
Bridge. New Bridge is a minority partner in Diligence Iraq, which is just
opening up in Baghdad. Mike Baker, the head of Diligence Iraq, serves
as an advisory board member of New Bridge."

In other words, explained the Times, "if your company wants to send
over three people from New York to investigate business opportunities
in Baghdad, Mr. Baker will secure the way in: a three-car convoy of
armed S.U.V.s driving 90 miles an hour, to avoid bandits, in an eight-
hour-plus streak across the desert from the border of Jordan or
Kuwait," it said.

BGR provided the initial funding for Diligence, according to Nick Day,
a co-founder of the firm. Like New Bridge, it was given office space
at BGR's Washington office. BGR also provided the firm's advisory board.
Many of the names on the Diligence board, including the Carlyle Group's
Ed Mathias, match the names on the board of New Bridge.

And the web of ties in this grand war profiteering scheme just keeps
getting more and more entwined. In return for finding an investor for
Diligence in Iraq, New Bridge got a minority shareholding in the firm.

According to a June 22, 2004 article on Corporate Watch , Diligence
is now headed by Richard Burt, former US Ambassador to Germany
and a consultant in the Carlyle Group (which also has George Bush Sr,
John Major and James Baker on its payroll). Whitley Bruner, formerly
head of the CIA Baghdad station, is now director of the Iraq branch
of Diligence.

And guess what? The deputy chairman of Diligence is none other
than Joe Allbaugh.

Objections to Cronyism and Privatization

Is it any wonder that critics are questioning the propriety of the
reconstruction effort? "I'm appalled that the war is being used by
people close to the Bush Administration to make money for themselves,"
Democratic Rep Henry Waxman said. "At a time when we're asking
young men and women to make perhaps the ultimate sacrifice, it's
just unseemly."

Bush keeps bringing up the fact that Kerry and Edwards voted against
the $87 billion. But he fails to mention their reasons, and specifically
those that pertain to Allbaugh.

On Sept 30, 2003, while the bill was being debated in the Senate,
Edwards explained why he was against the bill. He said, "This is an
administration of the insiders, for the insiders, and by the insiders.
Learning that George Bush's campaign manager, Joe Allbaugh, has
started his own consulting firm to profit from the war in Iraq proves
this point," Edwards said. "First, Vice President Cheney's Halliburton
receives more than $2 billion in Iraq reconstruction contracts and
now this."

Edwards said, "It is an outrage and disrespectful to the young men
and women who are serving in Iraq today. President Bush should
start addressing this credibility gap by calling on Joe Allbaugh and
his friends to stop using their influence to secure government
contracts in Iraq, and by agreeing to an independent oversight
panel to ensure that contracts in Iraq are administered fairly."

"In this enormously expensive mission, the American people ought
to be assured that any dollar we spend there is for the rebuilding
of Iraq, and not just the building of profit for the president's friends
and political supporters," he said.

On Oct 14, 2003, Edwards said he would vote against $87 billion
because Bush had failed to outline a credible long-term plan for
rebuilding the country, failed to persuade allies to help shoulder
the costs, and failed to stop sweetheart deals for politically-
connected companies.

"We used to talk about this money as a blank check. Well, now we
know it's not really a blank check. We know the president is writing
it out to Joe Allbaugh and Halliburton, and it's all endorsed by Vice
President Cheney," Edwards said.

Always Close By: Bush Family Funnel

True to form, if there's a tax dollar to be skimmed off a business
deal a Bush family funnel will be there to grab it. This time it's
First Brother Neil Bush. On Dec 11, 2003, The Financial Times
of London reported that, "Two businessmen instrumental in setting
up New Bridge Strategies, a well-connected Washington firm
designed to help clients win contracts in Iraq, have previously
used an association with Neil, the younger brother of President
Bush, to seek business in the Middle East."

That would be New Bridge president John Howland and Jamal
Daniel, a principal. As it turns out, Neil landed a $60,000 a year
consultant contract for which, according to his testimony in a divorce
deposition, he is required to take phone messages for about
3 hours a week.

However, Neil is being far too modest about his consultant work.
According to the Times , he is doing much more than answering
phones. Three people contacted by the Financial Times said they
have seen letters written by Neil that recommend business ventures
promoted by New Bridge in the Middle East. So in a nutshell, Neil is
being paid an annual fee to "help companies secure contracts in Iraq,"
the Times reports.

Bush Sends Bremer To Privatize Iraq

According to a Sept 2004 article in Harper's Magazine by Naomi
Klein, "before the fires from the 'shock and awe' military onslaught
were even extinguished, [former US proconsul of Iraq L. Paul] Bremer
unleashed his shock therapy, pushing through more wrenching
changes in one sweltering summer than the International Monetary
Fund has managed to enact over three decades in Latin America."

In his first major act on the job, Bremer "fired 500,000 state workers,
most of them soldiers, but also doctors, nurses, teachers, publishers,
and printers. Next, he flung open the country's borders to absolutely
unrestricted imports: no tariffs, no duties, no inspections, no taxes.
Iraq, Bremer declared, was "open for business," says Harper's .

Before the war, Iraq's non-oil-related economy consisted of 200 state
-owned companies, that produced everything from cement to paper
to washing machines. In June, Bremer attended an economic summit
in Jordan and announced that the firms would be privatized
immediately. "Getting inefficient state enterprises into private
hands," he said, "is essential for Iraq's economic recovery,"
according to Harper's .

In September, to entice investors to buy the state-owned companies,
Bremer enacted a new set of laws. For example, Order 37 lowered
Iraq's corporate tax rate from roughly 40% to a flat 15%. Order 39
allowed foreign companies to own 100% of Iraqi assets outside of
the natural-resource sector.

Investors could take 100% of the profits they made in Iraq out of
the country. They would not be required to reinvest and would
not be taxed. Under Order 39, they could sign leases and contracts
that would last for forty years. Order 40 welcomed foreign banks
to Iraq under the same favorable terms, said Harper's .

At first, privatization seemed likely. For as Harper's notes, "Iraqis,
reeling from violence both military and economic, were far too busy
staying alive to mount a political response to Bremer's campaign.
Worrying about the privatization of the sewage system was an
unimaginable luxury with half the population lacking access to clean
drinking water; the debate over the flat tax would have to wait until
the lights were back on," it said.

By fall, rebuilding trade shows were being held all over the place.
The Economist described Iraq under Bremer as "a capitalist dream,"
and a flurry of new consulting firms were launched promising to help
companies get access to the Iraqi market, their boards of directors
stacked with well-connected Republicans, Harper's said.

The most prominent was New Bridge and it was absolutely jubilant
over the potential opportunities in Iraq. "Getting the rights to distribute
Procter & Gamble products can be a gold mine," one of the company's
partners enthused. "One well-stocked 7-Eleven could knock out thirty
Iraqi stores; a Wal-Mart could take over the country," Harper's quoted.

Iraq seemed like a gold mine. There were rumors that a McDonald's
would be opening, funding was almost in place for a Starwood luxury
hotel, and General Motors was planning to build a factory. On the
financial side, HSBC would have branches all over the country, Citigroup
was preparing to offer loans guaranteed against future sales of Iraqi oil,
and the bell was going to ring on a New York style stock exchange in
Baghdad any day, said Harper's .

However none of that came to pass. For good reason. Klein explained
that Bremer's illegal changes to Iraqi law may have made the country the
most friendly in the world to corporations, but they were the least useful
to Iraqi workers suffering an unemployment rate over 60%.

During the past year and a half, the whole world has watched as the
Iraqis refused to hand over their country to Bremer and the plan for
privatization went right down the tubes.

Bush cronies who drooled at the prospect of making mega-bucks in
Iraq are no longer drooling. According to Harper's , "New Bridge
Strategies, the company that had gushed about how "a Wal-Mart
could take over the country," is sounding distinctly humbled.
McDonald's is not opening anytime soon," company partner Ed Rogers
told the Washington Post . Neither is Wal-Mart."

What Happens To Iraq Now?

God only knows what will happen to Iraq now. The Financial Times
has called it "the most dangerous place in the world in which to do
business." Harper's described the mess created by the Bush gang:
"It's quite an accomplishment: in trying to design the best place in
the world to do business, the neocons have managed to create the
worst, the most eloquent indictment yet of the guiding logic behind
deregulated free markets."

But don't worry about old Joe. Things may not have gone as planned
in Iraq, but he's branching out and finding other ways to cash in on
the war. According to the Sept 30, 2004 Fairfield County Weekly ,
Allbaugh started yet another consulting company with Andrew
Lundquist, the former director of Dick Cheney's secretive energy
policy task force. The firm's first client? Lockheed Martin, one of
the country's largest defense contractors.

Never fear, wherever there's an opportunity for profiteering, a Bush
funnel will be there.

Evelyn J. Pringle is an Ohio-based investigative journalist, and
a columnist for Independent Media TV. She can be reached at: . (C) Copyright 2004 Evelyn J. Pringle.


23) US Raids Computer Centers, Internet Cafes To Quell
Resistance Reporting
Oct 22, 2004
By Omar Al-Fair, JUS

In a continuing effort to silence information coming out of Iraq,
US forces began early this week an offensive against Iraq's computer
centers and Internet cafes. On Tuesday US occupation forces raided
an internet center in the city of Bayji, 180km north of Baghdad. The
owner of the establishment, Ali Hamid, told Reuters that "members
of the US forces raided the center this [Tuesday] morning and took
five computers and their equipment." Hamid noted, "This isn't the
first time the Americans have raided the center and took computers.
Some time ago they did the same thing and they took a number of
computers then too."

Residents of the city of Samarra', 100km north of Baghdad, were
quoted by Mafkarat al-Islam as saying that similar raids had taken
place on computer cafes in their area as well. There the American
troops "confiscated the contents of the as-Safir Internet Center and,
in particular, all its computers."

In recent weeks, the US has employed a variety of strategies to stop
the information flow, including bombing "strategic targets" of
communications towers, Telecom switches and grids. In addition,
satellite phone operators have become legitimate targets of US air
strikes as signals are picked up on US GPS systems.

Information Controls Stepped Up At Home

The US has also stepped up its efforts to control information at home
in advance of the elections. Several large ISPs in the Middle East have
been blocked en mass, and pressure has been put on even the so called
"uncensored" new outlets. Soldiers "blogs" have been shut down in some
cases, particularly those that tell of unreported US casualties. Google
has come either under either self inflicted censorship or pressure from
the US government in recent weeks, with many alternate news sources
being delisted from Google News.

Further, mainstream news reports that provide some Iraq coverage
is being pushed from the front pages and top searches on Google,
making it difficult to obtain even mainstream news reports. In fact,
if one searches Google News today, you would be hard pressed to
know that there is even a war going on.

The latest effort at censorship is critical for the US to tightly control
the false perception that the "war on terrorism" , which is a war on
Islam and its resources, is a war they can win and a war that is
necessary. If and when the American people come to their senses,
as they did eventually in Vietnam after thousands of unnecessary
casualties had been incurred, Americans will demand an end to their
governments terrorism and it is this the US administration and its
allies must prevent at all costs. (JUS)