Saturday, November 27, 2004


Bay Area United Against War Presents a film screening of:

"WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception

Meet film director Danny Schechter "The News Dissector."
Danny will be available for a question and answer period
right after the movie.

Saturday, Dec. 11th, 2004
(Showtime to be announced)
Embarcadero Center Cinema
One Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 267-4893

" 'WMD' paints a meticulous and damning portrait of the media's coverage of
the Iraq war. In sobering detail, Danny Schechter shows us how the TV
networks now prefer the role of cheerleader, to that of objective
journalist," says Mike Nisholson of

"Schechter tackles his subject like a cross between Errol Morris and a
Dashiell Hammet detective, following close on the tail of big media
reporters as they in turn track the march toward war, embed themselves in
the military industrial complex and then get out when the fighting gets
tough and leave the cleanup work to stringers, " writes Shandon Fowler of
film's Hamptons International Film Festival appearance, Oct. 20-24.

To learn more about the film visit:

(Distributed by Cinema Libre Studio,


1) Saving the Iraqi Children
November 27, 2004

[Note: This Op-Ed piece is an example of the bankruptcy of the
arguments in favor of the continued American occupation of Iraq.
After claiming, ³Among Iraqis, the risk of death by violence was
58 times greater after the war than before, and infant mortality
nearly doubled.² the author argues, ³If U.S. troops leave Iraq too
soon, the country will simply fall apart.²

But while the article accurately exposes the depth of the mayhem
this war has brought to the people of Iraq, especially its children,
the authors convoluted reasoning leads to more occupation, more
bombing, more troops, more of the same.

Kristof goes on to conclude his argument against the withdrawal
of U.S. troops by claiming, ³The best answer to that question, I think,
is that our mistaken invasion has left millions of Iraqis desperately
vulnerable, and it would be inhumane to abandon them now. If we
stay in Iraq, there is still some hope that Iraqis will come to enjoy
security and better lives, but if we pull out we will be condemning
Iraqis to anarchy, terrorism and starvation, costing the lives of
hundreds of thousands of children over the next decadeŠThose
hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, whose lives we placed
at risk by invading their country, are the reasons we should remain
in Iraq, until we can hand over security to a local force. Saving
hundreds of thousands of lives is a worthy cause to risk American
lives for, even to die for.²

The antiwar movement must counter this sinister argument by
demanding that all the troops be withdrawn from Iraq and
Afghanistan immediately. Our movement must demand that
the entire U.S. military budget be wrested from the hands of
the warlords. We must insist that these billions of dollars be
used, instead, for massive humanitarian aid to the people of
Iraq and Afghanistan--with no American strings attached;
as well as for healthcare, education, jobs, affordable housing
and social services here at home. There is enough money to pay
for all of this if we do away with this filthy, illegal, immoral war
and the giant U.S. corporate war machine that controls and
profits from it.

As musical artist Michael Franti says, ³You can bomb the world
to pieces but you can¹t bomb it into peace.²

The world is at a great turning point that will determine the fate
of all life on Earth. The time for the worldwide antiwar movement
to stand united is now. If we wish to prevent genocide against
the entire planet by the greedy few who seek to own the wealth
of the world through force of violence we must stand united
against them.

The extent of the cynicism expressed by Kristof in this apology
for the continued bombing and killing of Iraqi children is astounding.
Killing children in order to ³save them² goes beyond even George
Orwell. More importantly, this argument can be applied wherever
resistance to U.S. domination arises. No one is safe from their
plundering rampages for oil, wealth and power.

This article stands as a clear mandate to all of us who are horrified
by this reasoning to gather all of our forces together to bring this
war to an end NOW!


Bonnie Weinstein, Bay Area United Against War]

2) Sentencing-Guideline Study Finds Continuing Disparities


November 27, 2004

3) Foreign Interest Appears to Flag as Dollar Falls



November 27, 2004


1) Saving the Iraqi Children



November 27, 2004

Iraqis are paying a horrendous price for the good intentions of well-meaning
conservatives who wanted to liberate them. And now some well-meaning
American liberals are seeking a troop withdrawal that would make matters
even worse.

Heaven protect Iraq from well-meaning Americans.

Lately, I've been quiet about the war because it's easy to rail about the
administration's foolishness last year but a lot harder to offer
constructive suggestions for what we should do now. President Bush's policy
on Iraq has migrated from delusional - we would be welcomed with flowers, we
should disband the Iraqi army, security is fine, the big problem is
exaggerations by nervous Nellie correspondents - to reasonable today. These
days, the biggest risk may come from the small but growing contingent on the
left that wants to bring our troops home now.

Consider two recent reports.

First, The Lancet, the London-based medical journal, published a study
suggesting that at least 100,000 Iraqis, and perhaps many more, had died as
a result of the invasion of Iraq. Among Iraqis, the risk of death by
violence was 58 times greater after the war than before, and infant
mortality also nearly doubled.

That's apparently because of insecurity. A doctor in Basra told me last year
how physicians and patients alike had had to run for cover when bandits
attacked the infectious diseases unit, firing machine guns and throwing hand
grenades, so they could steal the air-conditioners. Given those conditions,
women are now more likely to give birth at home, so babies and mothers are
both more likely to die of "natural" causes.

The second troubling report, in The Washington Post, recounted that acute
malnutrition among children under 5 soared to 7.7 percent this year from 4
percent before the war. Those are preliminary figures, but they suggest that
400,000 Iraqi children are badly malnourished, and suffering in some cases
from irreversible physical and mental stunting.

Those glimpses at the public health situation in Iraq are a reminder not
only of the disastrous impact of our invasion, but also of the humanitarian
impact if we pull out our troops prematurely.

If U.S. troops leave Iraq too soon, the country will simply fall apart. The
Kurdish areas in the north may muddle along, unless Turkey intervenes to
protect the Turkman minority or to block the emergence of a Kurdish state.
The Shiite areas in the south might establish an Iranian-backed theocratic
statelet that would establish order. But the middle of the country would
erupt in bloody civil war and turn into something like Somalia.

What would that mean? If Iraq were to sink to Somalia-level child mortality
rates, one result by my calculation would be 203,000 children dying each
year. If Iraq were to have maternal mortality rates as bad as Somalia's,
that would be 9,900 Iraqi women dying each year in childbirth.

Granted, my argument for staying the course is a difficult one to make to
American parents whose immediate concerns are the lives of their own
children. There is no getting around the fact that if we stay, more
Americans will die, and this burden will fall inequitably on working-class
families and members of minority groups.

I also have to concede that those calling for withdrawal may in the end be
proven right: perhaps we'll stick it out in Iraq and still be forced to
retreat even after squandering the lives of 1,000 more Americans. Those of
us who believe in remaining in Iraq must answer the question that John Kerry
asked about Vietnam: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a

The best answer to that question, I think, is that our mistaken invasion has
left millions of Iraqis desperately vulnerable, and it would be inhumane to
abandon them now. If we stay in Iraq, there is still some hope that Iraqis
will come to enjoy security and better lives, but if we pull out we will be
condemning Iraqis to anarchy, terrorism and starvation, costing the lives of
hundreds of thousands of children over the next decade.

Those hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, whose lives we placed at risk
by invading their country, are the reasons we should remain in Iraq, until
we can hand over security to a local force. Saving hundreds of thousands of
lives is a worthy cause to risk American lives for, even to die for.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times


2) Sentencing-Guideline Study Finds Continuing Disparities


November 27, 2004

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 (AP) - The number of minority inmates in federal
penitentiaries, as a percentage of all federal prisoners, has increased
sharply since sentencing guidelines took effect in 1987 and now accounts for
a majority of the prison population, a study reviewing 15 years of data has

The study was conducted by the United States Sentencing Commission, which
sets the guidelines for federal judges. The panel examined how well the
guidelines had brought uniformity to punishments, and found that while
sentencing had become "more certain and predictable," disparities still
existed among races and regions of the country, with blacks generally
receiving harsher punishment than whites.

The findings come as the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of
the guidelines, which advocates say are crucial to achieving fairness in
punishment. The justices could decide as early as next week whether to throw
out the system because it allows judges, rather than juries, to consider
factors that can add years to sentences.

Yet before the guidelines were created in 1987, judges had wide discretion
in issuing sentences. The guidelines, in contrast, give them a range of
possible punishments for a given crime and make it difficult for them to go
outside those boundaries.

The study found that the average prison sentence today is about 50 months,
twice what it was in 1984, when lawmakers began calling for a uniform
sentencing system. The difference, the study determined, is due mostly to
the guidelines' elimination of parole for offenses like drug trafficking.

"The big unanswered question is, Do we need to have sentences growing this
way?" said one sentencing expert, Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio
State University. "Nobody wants to go back to the bad old days of complete
unguided judicial discretion."

Whites made up 35 percent of the prison population in 2002, a sharp decline
from nearly 60 percent in 1984, according to the report. It attributed the
decrease to a striking growth in Hispanics imprisoned on immigration charges
- to 40 percent of federal prisoners, from about 15 percent.

In addition, the gap in punishment between blacks and whites widened. While
blacks and whites received an average sentence of slightly more than two
years in 1984, blacks now stay in prison for about six years, compared with
about four years for whites. The report attributed this disparity in part to
harsher mandatory minimum sentences that Congress imposed for drug-related
crimes like cocaine possession. In 2002, 81 percent of offenders in such
cases were black.

The study found harsher punishments generally in the South than in the
Northeast and the West, though it concluded that legal differences in
individual cases "explain the vast majority of variation among judges and

A bigger problem causing sentencing disparities, it said, is plea
bargaining. The study said that as an incentive for getting guilty pleas,
prosecutors offered more lenient punishments than those mandated in the
guidelines in as many as one-third of cases.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times


3) Foreign Interest Appears to Flag as Dollar Falls



November 27, 2004

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 - Investors and market analysts are increasingly worried
that the last big source of support for the American dollar - heavy buying
by foreign central banks - is fading.

The anxiety was on full display Friday, when the dollar abruptly slid to a
record low against the euro after a report suggesting that the Chinese
central bank might start to reduce its holdings in the American currency.

Though Chinese officials later denied the report, and the dollar recovered,
analysts say the broader trend is that foreign governments are becoming less
willing to finance the growing debt of the United States government.

On Tuesday, a top official with the Russian central bank said his government
had become worried about the sinking value of the dollar and might switch
some foreign reserves to euros.

A day later, India's central bank hinted that it was worried about the same
issue and might shift some reserves into other currencies.

Japan and China, which together have amassed nearly $900 billion in United
States Treasury securities, have both slowed their buying sharply from the
frenetic pace in February and March.

"There is an emerging consensus that banks around the world are moving to
expand their reserves of euros at the expense of dollars," said Laidi
Ashraf, chief currency analyst at MG Financial Group in New York.

The Bush administration has essentially condoned the dollar's decline. At
meetings with foreign ministers last week, the Treasury secretary, John W.
Snow, repeated the American mantra of support for a "strong dollar" but also
for letting "market forces" determine exchange rates.

A continued decline of the dollar would be good for American manufacturers,
because it would make exports cheaper in foreign markets and push up the
cost of imports.

But a diminished foreign appetite for dollars could push up interest rates.
The Federal Reserve has already raised short-term rates four times this
year, but the shift in the sentiment of foreign investors may soon
seriously affect long-term rates that influence the cost of home mortgages.

"Sell U.S., buy Europe," summed up Richard Berner, chief United States
economist at Morgan Stanley , in a report last week. Mr. Berner noted that
investors have begun demanding higher yields for 10-year Treasury securities
than for comparable European bonds, and he predicted that the spread would

Recent data from the Treasury Department indicated that foreign governments
had sharply slowed their purchases of Treasury securities. The question is
whether those purchases will continue to slow or start to increase again as
countries try to shore up the American currency to help maintain their own
industries' competitiveness.

Japanese purchases of Treasury securities, which ballooned by about $100
billion from October 2003 to March of this year, have slowed sharply and
actually declined slightly in September.

Largely as a result, the dollar has sunk to its lowest level against the
Japanese yen, about 102.5 yen to the dollar on Friday, in four and a half

Chinese purchases of Treasury securities slowed to a crawl, increasing just
$2 billion in September, to $174 billion.

On Friday, a top Chinese central bank official denied reports in a Chinese
newspaper that the government planned to reduce its holdings of Treasury

But Chinese officials, under prodding from the Bush administration, have
repeatedly said they want to gradually relax their 10-year-old policy of
locking its currency, the yuan, at a fixed exchange rate to the dollar. Any
move to a more flexible exchange rate for China would probably cause the
dollar to drop in value and allow the Chinese central bank to stop buying
United States debt securities.

America's current account deficit, the broadest measure of its indebtedness
to other countries, is on track to exceed $600 billion next year, about 6
percent of its gross domestic product. The United States needs to attract
about $2 billion a day to keep its spending at current levels.

The nation attracted enormous sums of foreign money in the late 1990's as
well, but the character of that money has changed. Back then, a big part of
the inflow was through foreign direct investment and purchases of American

This year, by contrast, foreigners have been net sellers of stocks. The big
growth has been in foreign purchases of Treasury securities, and the big
buyers have been foreign central banks that wanted to prevent their own
currencies from rising too much against the dollar.

Tony Norfield, currency strategist for ABN Amro in London, said he was
convinced that central banks were trying to scale back their purchase of
dollar assets, a move that could push the euro, already up about 30 percent
in the last years, even higher.

"You do not need the central banks to sell Treasuries for the dollar to go
down," Mr. Norfield said. "All they have to do is buy less and the dollar
is going to be in trouble."

The euro hit a new high of $1.3329 on Friday in light trading, before
settling back about a half-penny.

European leaders are alarmed about the potential damage of a sinking dollar
to their exports.

"Recent moves on exchange markets of the dollar versus the euro are
unwelcome," said Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central
Bank, at a banking seminar on Friday in Rio de Janeiro.

"I want to underline the importance of recent statements by the Treasury
secretary of the United States on his determination to pursue a strong
dollar policy," Mr. Trichet added.

But Mr. Snow and Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve,
offered no hint that they would intervene in currency markets to prop up the

"The market for U.S. Treasury securities is deep and liquid and continues to
be attractive to a broad and diverse pool of investors," a spokesman for
Mr. Snow, Robert Nichols, said.

That remains to be seen. According to the most recent Treasury data, the
biggest source of growth in securities came not from China, Japan or Europe
but from Caribbean banking centers.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times

Friday, November 26, 2004


Bay Area United Against War Presents
a film screening of:

"WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception"

Meet film director Danny Schechter "The News Dissector."
Danny will be available for a question and answer period
right after the movie.

Saturday, Dec. 11th, 2004
(Showtime to be announced)
Embarcadero Center Cinema
One Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 267-4893

" 'WMD' paints a meticulous and damning portrait of the media's
coverage of the Iraq war. In sobering detail, Danny Schechter
shows us how the TV networks now prefer the role of cheerleader,
to that of objective journalist," says Mike Nisholson of

"Schechter tackles his subject like a cross between Errol Morris
and a Dashiell Hammet detective, following close on the tail of
big media reporters as they in turn track the march toward war,
embed themselves in the military industrial complex and then
get out when the fighting gets tough and leave the cleanup work
to stringers, " writes Shandon Fowler of film's Hamptons
International Film Festival appearance, Oct. 20-24.

To learn more about the film visit:

(Distributed by Cinema Libre Studio,


1) 'Unusual Weapons' Used in Fallujah
** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** **
November 26, 2004

2) U.S. Still Has Half of Falluja to Clear of Weapons
By Michael Georgy
NEAR FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters)
Fri Nov 26, 2004 04:03 AM ET

3) TRANSLATION: EU creating 13 rapid intervention 'tactical groups'

4) Of Mice, Men and In-Between
Scientists Debate Blending Of Human, Animal Forms
By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 20, 2004; Page A01

5) A Moment of Silence, Before I Start this Poem
by Emmanuel Ortiz

6) Where's Picasso?
Falluja: The 21 st Century Guernica
By Saul Landau

7) Radio exchange contradicts army version of Gaza killing
Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
Wednesday November 24, 2004
The Guardian
An Israeli army officer who repeatedly shot a 13-year-old
Palestinian girl in Gaza dismissed a warning from another
soldier that she was a child by saying he would have killed
her even if she was three years old.

8) January 20 Call to Action: RISE Against
Bush/SHINE For A Peaceful
(Can't we all just unite together on Jan. 20 and
March 20, 2005? I said, people the world over will
be demonstrating on January 20, 2005 against the death and
devastation the U.S.Government has brought upon Iraq-based
all on lies.)

9) Vietnam Vet, 53, Called for Duty in Iraq-Report

10) Still Worlds Apart on Iraq
November 26, 2004

11) Leading Iraqi Parties Call for Election Delay
Filed at 12:33 p.m. ET
November 26, 2004


1) 'Unusual Weapons' Used in Fallujah
** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** **
November 26, 2004

Dahr Jamail

BAGHDAD, Nov 26 (IPS) - The U.S. military has used poison gas and other
non-conventional weapons against civilians in Fallujah, eyewitnesses report.

"Poisonous gases have been used in Fallujah," 35-year-old trader from
Fallujah Abu Hammad told IPS. "They used everything -- tanks, artillery,
infantry, poison gas. Fallujah has been bombed to the ground."

Hammad is from the Julan district of Fallujah where some of the heaviest
fighting occurred. Other residents of that area report the use of
illegal weapons.

"They used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud,"
Abu Sabah, another Fallujah refugee from the Julan area told IPS. "Then
small pieces fall from the air with long tails of smoke behind them."

He said pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that burnt the
skin even when water was thrown on the burns. Phosphorous weapons as
well as napalm are known to cause such effects. "People suffered so much
from these," he said.

Macabre accounts of killing of civilians are emerging through the cordon
U.S. forces are still maintaining around Fallujah.

"Doctors in Fallujah are reporting to me that there are patients in the
hospital there who were forced out by the Americans," said Mehdi
Abdulla, a 33-year-old ambulance driver at a hospital in Baghdad. "Some
doctors there told me they had a major operation going, but the soldiers
took the doctors away and left the patient to die."

Kassem Mohammed Ahmed who escaped from Fallujah a little over
a week ago told IPS he witnessed many atrocities committed by U.S.
soldiers in the city.

"I watched them roll over wounded people in the street with tanks," he
said. "This happened so many times."

Abdul Razaq Ismail who escaped from Fallujah two weeks back said
soldiers had used tanks to pull bodies to the soccer stadium to be
buried. "I saw dead bodies on the ground and nobody could bury them
because of the American snipers," he said. "The Americans were dropping
some of the bodies into the Euphrates near Fallujah."

Abu Hammad said he saw people attempt to swim across the Euphrates to
escape the siege. "The Americans shot them with rifles from the shore,"
he said. "Even if some of them were holding a white flag or white
clothes over their heads to show they are not fighters, they were all

Hammad said he had seen elderly women carrying white flags shot by U.S.
soldiers. "Even the wounded people were killed. The Americans made
announcements for people to come to one mosque if they wanted to leave
Fallujah, and even the people who went there carrying white flags were

Another Fallujah resident Khalil (40) told IPS he saw civilians shot as
they held up makeshift white flags. "They shot women and old men in the
streets," he said. "Then they shot anyone who tried to get their
bodies...Fallujah is suffering too much, it is almost gone now."

Refugees had moved to another kind of misery now, he said. "It's a
disaster living here at this camp," Khalil said. "We are living like
dogs and the kids do not have enough clothes."

Spokesman for the Iraqi Red Crescent in Baghdad Abdel Hamid Salim told
IPS that none of their relief teams had been allowed into Fallujah, and
that the military had said it would be at least two more weeks before
any refugees would be allowed back into the city.

"There is still heavy fighting in Fallujah," said Salim. "And the
Americans won't let us in so we can help people."

In many camps around Fallujah and throughout Baghdad, refugees are
living without enough food, clothing and shelter. Relief groups estimate
there are at least 15,000 refugee families in temporary shelters outside

More writing, photos and commentary at

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2) U.S. Still Has Half of Falluja to Clear of Weapons
By Michael Georgy
NEAR FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters)
Fri Nov 26, 2004 04:03 AM ET

NEAR FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. Marines have cleared
over 50 percent of Falluja's houses of weapons caches after
mounting an offensive that crushed the Iraqi city's rebels,
their top commander said Friday.

Lieutenant General John Sattler told reporters Marines
would search every house in Falluja to pave the way for
rebuilding and stabilizing the city ahead of elections
scheduled for January.

He spoke after the visiting secretary of the U.S. Navy told
Marines at a Purple Heart medal award ceremony that the Falluja
offensive "broke the back" of the insurgency in Iraq.

U.S. air strikes, artillery barrages and infantry
operations wrested control of Falluja this month, and the
military said they killed over 1,000 foreign Muslim militant
fighters and insurgents loyal to toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

But Marines still face resistance in Falluja, where many
buildings were reduced to piles of rubble.

Sattler said insurgents threw grenades at Marines as they
entered a house Thursday, killing two. Three insurgents were
killed in return fire, he said.

"We will keep searching for weapons until we put a green X
on the last house in Falluja," he said.

Marine officers have said they would inspect an estimated
50,000 houses in the city west of Baghdad, a tedious task that
involves searching everything from ventilation systems to
couches as guerrilla snipers await opportunities to fire.

The United States hopes the searches will deprive Iraq's
guerrillas of their main base and weapons point, putting a lid
on insurgent suicide bombings, shootings and kidnappings.

Asked if he thought the offensive will seriously damage the
insurgency across Iraq, U.S. Navy Secretary Gordon England
said: "It will at least in Falluja. This was their
stranglehold. It will hurt them."

The Purple Heart award was a reminder that the U.S.
military remains vulnerable in Iraq. More than 50 U.S. troops
were killed in the Falluja offensive and hundreds were wounded.
In all, more than 1,200 have been killed since the invasion.

Lance Corporal Joseph Judans, 26, of Jacksonville, Florida,
received the medal for sustaining a shrapnel wound to the
forehead on Nov. 4 when a roadside bomb exploded near his
convoy on the outskirts of Falluja.

He is a combat engineer who regularly defuses those types
of bombs, which U.S. military officials say are behind about 30
percent of the deaths of soldiers killed in action.

Sattler was optimistic despite remaining risks in Iraq.

"Our goal is to get every single person in Falluja to vote
in the elections," he said.

(c) Copyright Reuters 2004.


3) TRANSLATION: EU creating 13 rapid intervention 'tactical groups'

[On Friday, *L'Humanité* (Paris) reported on the decision of the defense
ministers of the European Union to create 13 tactical combat groups able,
within a matter of days, to intevene militarily anywhere in the world. --
Since the operational capability of these groups will continue to depend on
NATO's logistical transport capability, which is controlled by the U.S.,
Lamrani believes they are likely to end up functioning as support troops for
U.S. military missions. --Mark]

[Translated from *L'Humanité* (Paris)]


By Okba Lamrani

** Creation beginning in 2005 of 13 "tactical groups," able to intervene
anywhere in the world, complements combat forces of NATO, an organization
dependent on Americans **

L'Humanité (Paris)
November 26, 2004
Page 13

The ministers of defense of the
Twenty-Five [member states of the European
Union (EU)] have decided to put in
place a new rapid intervention structure.
This is not to be confused with the
so-called "global" objective defined at
Helsinki foreseeing the creation of
a force that could reach 65,000 men and be
deployed in 60 days. According to
the very pro-NATO Henk Kamp, Dutch minister
of defense and president of the council
of defense ministers, the Union is
planning to dispose of 13 "tactical"
groups "able to be deployed independently
in a matter of days anywhere in the
world in case of an emergency."

The objective (defined at last week's
meeting between Tony Blair and Jacques
Chirac) is to put at the disposition of
the Union beginning in 2005 one
tactical group permanently on stand-
by, and two in 2006. All the groups are
supposed to be operational in 2007.

The goal is one or several groups
composed of 1,500 men, their weapons, and
means of transport, permanently
available for deployment on more than one
front. For example, in Africa and
in the Balkans. This process would be
placed under the European political
authority symbolized by Javier Solana,
whose functions, so far, no one is
able to define clearly in the dense
institutional tangle of Europe.

Four of these groups would be
organized around one of the leader countries
(United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain),
and the others being multinational and
able to join the four leader countries in
the event of a large-scale

The operational model was Operation
Artemis, sent to Ituri in the Democratic
Republic of Congo, which was made up
in large part of French soldiers; it also
included Belgian and British soldiers.

According to London and Paris, "these
tactical groups will be particularly
useful in the support that we are able
to bring to the United Nations in
Africa, in Europe, or in other crisis
areas." From the point of view of the
British minister, COPS (meaning
'policemen' in English, or, more prosaically,
Comité politique et de sécurité
['Political and Security Committee']), and in
every case from the point of view
of the Dutch minister and that of new NATO
members, the United States remains
at the heart of decision-making [sic -- the
sentence is also incoherent in the original --MKJ].
All the more easily, in
that only the United States
disposes of the logistical means needed to
transport "Defense Europe" units
to the operational theaters they are designed
for. Given these conditions, it looks
as if European COPS are likely to serve
as support troops for the United States,
as they are doing in Iraq and

The temptation for a military confrontation
with the Americans is illusory and
dangerous. Europe has another card to
play. Namely, that of defusing far in
advance developing crises. But this
implies not only conferences, but also
concrete economic, social, and political
operations. Otherwise, the United
States risks turning European capabilities
into instruments of its own
policies, with the tacit accord of the EU to boot.

Translated by Mark K. Jensen
Associate Professor of French
Department of Languages and Literatures
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, Washington 98447-0003
Phone: 253-535-7219
Web page:


4) Of Mice, Men and In-Between
Scientists Debate Blending Of Human, Animal Forms
By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 20, 2004; Page A01

In Minnesota, pigs are being born with human blood in their

In Nevada, there are sheep whose livers and hearts are largely

In California, mice peer from their cages with human brain cells
firing inside their skulls.

These are not outcasts from "The Island of Dr. Moreau," the 1896
novel by H.G. Wells in which a rogue doctor develops creatures
that are part animal and part human. They are real creations of
real scientists, stretching the boundaries of stem cell research.

Biologists call these hybrid animals chimeras, after the mythical
Greek creature with a lion's head, a goat's body and a serpent's
tail. They are the products of experiments in which human stem
cells were added to developing animal fetuses.

Chimeras are allowing scientists to watch, for the first time, how
nascent human cells and organs mature and interact -- not in the
cold isolation of laboratory dishes but inside the bodies of living
creatures. Some are already revealing deep secrets of human
biology and pointing the way toward new medical treatments.

But with no federal guidelines in place, an awkward question
hovers above the work: How human must a chimera be before
more stringent research rules should kick in?

The National Academy of Sciences, which advises the federal
government, has been studying the issue and hopes to make
recommendations by February. Yet the range of opinions
it has received so far suggests that reaching consensus may
be difficult.

During one recent meeting, scientists disagreed on such
basic issues as whether it would be unethical for a human
embryo to begin its development in an animal's womb, and
whether a mouse would be better or worse off with a brain
made of human neurons.

"This is an area where we really need to come to a reasonable
consensus," said James Battey, chairman of the National
Institutes of Health's Stem Cell Task Force. "We need to
establish some kind of guidelines as to what the scientific
community ought to do and ought not to do."
Beyond Twins and Moms

Chimeras (ki-MER-ahs) -- meaning mixtures of two or more
individuals in a single body -- are not inherently unnatural.
Most twins carry at least a few cells from the sibling with whom
they shared a womb, and most mothers carry in their blood
at least a few cells from each child they have born.

Recipients of organ transplants are also chimeras, as
are the many people whose defective heart valves have
been replaced with those from pigs or cows. And
scientists for years have added human genes to
bacteria and even to farm animals -- feats of
genetic engineering that allow those critters to
make human proteins such as insulin for use as

"Chimeras are not as strange and alien as at first
blush they seem," said Henry Greely, a law
professor and ethicist at Stanford University who
has reviewed proposals to create human-mouse
chimeras there.

But chimerism becomes a more sensitive topic
when it involves growing entire human organs
inside animals. And it becomes especially
sensitive when it deals in brain cells, the building
blocks of the organ credited with making humans human.

In experiments like those, Greely told the academy last
month, "there is a nontrivial risk of conferring some
significant aspects of humanity" on the animal.

Greely and his colleagues did not conclude that such
experiments should never be done. Indeed, he and many
other philosophers have been wrestling with the question
of why so many people believe it is wrong to breach the species

Does the repugnance reflect an understanding of an important
natural law? Or is it just another cultural bias, like the once
widespread rejection of interracial marriage?

Many turn to the Bible's repeated invocation that animals should
multiply "after their kind" as evidence that such experiments
are wrong. Others, however, have concluded that the core
problem is not necessarily the creation of chimeras but rather
the way they are likely to be treated.

Imagine, said Robert Streiffer, a professor of philosophy and
bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, a human-chimpanzee
chimera endowed with speech and an enhanced potential to learn
-- what some have called a "humanzee."

"There's a knee-jerk reaction that enhancing the moral status
of an animal is bad," Streiffer said. "But if you did it, and you
gave it the protections it deserves, how could the animal complain?"

Unfortunately, said Harvard political philosopher Michael J. Sandel,
speaking last fall at a meeting of the President's Council on
Bioethics, such protections are unlikely.

"Chances are we would make them perform menial jobs or
dangerous jobs," Sandel said. "That would be an objection."
A Research Breakthrough

The potential power of chimeras as research tools became clear
about a decade ago in a series of dramatic experiments by Evan
Balaban, now at McGill University in Montreal. Balaban took small
sections of brain from developing quails and transplanted them
into the developing brains of chickens.

The resulting chickens exhibited vocal trills and head bobs
unique to quails, proving that the transplanted parts of the brain
contained the neural circuitry for quail calls. It also offered
astonishing proof that complex behaviors could be transferred
across species.

No one has proposed similar experiments between, say, humans
and apes. But the discovery of human embryonic stem cells in
1998 allowed researchers to envision related experiments that
might reveal a lot about how embryos grow.

The cells, found in 5-day-old human embryos, multiply
prolifically and -- unlike adult cells -- have the potential to
turn into any of the body's 200 or so cell types.

Scientists hope to cultivate them in laboratory dishes and grow
replacement tissues for patients. But with those applications
years away, the cells are gaining in popularity for basic research.

The most radical experiment, still not conducted, would be to
inject human stem cells into an animal embryo and then transfer
that chimeric embryo into an animal's womb. Scientists suspect
the proliferating human cells would spread throughout the
animal embryo as it matured into a fetus and integrate
themselves into every organ.

Such "humanized" animals could have countless uses. They
would almost certainly provide better ways to test a new
drug's efficacy and toxicity, for example, than the ordinary
mice typically used today.

But few scientists are eager to do that experiment. The risk,
they say, is that some human cells will find their way to the
developing testes or ovaries, where they might grow into
human sperm and eggs. If two such chimeras -- say, mice --
were to mate, a human embryo might form, trapped in a mouse.

Not everyone agrees that this would be a terrible result.

"What would be so dreadful?" asked Ann McLaren, a renowned
developmental biologist at the University of Cambridge in England.
After all, she said, no human embryo could develop successfully
in a mouse womb. It would simply die, she told the academy.
No harm done.

But others disagree -- if only out of fear of a public backlash.

"Certainly you'd get a negative response from people to
have a human embryo trying to grow in the wrong place,"
said Cynthia B. Cohen, a senior research fellow at Georgetown
University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics and a member of
Canada's Stem Cell Oversight Committee, which supported
a ban on such experiments there.
How Human?

But what about experiments in which scientists add
human stem cells not to an animal embryo but to an animal
fetus, which has already made its eggs and sperm? Then the
only question is how human a creature one dares to make.

In one ongoing set of experiments, Jeffrey L. Platt at the Mayo
Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has created human-pig chimeras by
adding human-blood-forming stem cells to pig fetuses. The
resulting pigs have both pig and human blood in their vessels. And
it's not just pig blood cells being swept along with human blood
cells; some of the cells themselves have merged, creating hybrids.

It is important to have learned that human and pig cells can fuse,
Platt said, because he and others have been considering
transplanting modified pig organs into people and have been
wondering if that might pose a risk of pig viruses getting into
patient's cells. Now scientists know the risk is real, he said,
because the viruses may gain access when the two cells fuse.

In other experiments led by Esmail Zanjani, chairman of animal
biotechnology at the University of Nevada at Reno, scientists have
been adding human stem cells to sheep fetuses. The team now has
sheep whose livers are up to 80 percent human -- and make all the
compounds human livers make.

Zanjani's goal is to make the humanized livers available to people
who need transplants. The sheep portions will be rejected by the
immune system, he predicted, while the human part will take root.

"I don't see why anyone would raise objections to our work,"
Zanjani said in an interview.
Immunity Advantages

Perhaps the most ambitious efforts to make use of chimeras come
from Irving Weissman, director of Stanford University's Institute of
Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine. Weissman helped make the
first mouse with a nearly complete human immune system -- an
animal that has proved invaluable for tests of new drugs against
the AIDS virus, which does not infect conventional mice.

More recently his team injected human neural stem cells into mouse
fetuses, creating mice whose brains are about 1 percent human.
By dissecting the mice at various stages, the researchers were able
to see how the added brain cells moved about as they multiplied
and made connections with mouse cells.

Already, he said, they have learned things they "never would have
learned had there been a bioethical ban."

Now he wants to add human brain stem cells that have the defects
that cause Parkinson's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease and other
brain ailments -- and study how those cells make connections.

Scientists suspect that these diseases, though they manifest
themselves in adulthood, begin when something goes wrong
early in development. If those errors can be found, researchers
would have a much better chance of designing useful drugs,
Weissman said. And those drugs could be tested in the chimeras
in ways not possible in patients.

Now Weissman says he is thinking about making chimeric mice
whose brains are 100 percent human. He proposes keeping tabs
on the mice as they develop. If the brains look as if they are taking
on a distinctly human architecture -- a development that could hint
at a glimmer of humanness -- they could be killed, he said. If they
look as if they are organizing themselves in a mouse brain
architecture, they could be used for research.

So far this is just a "thought experiment," Weissman said, but
he asked the university's ethics group for an opinion anyway.

"Everyone said the mice would be useful," he said. "But no one
was sure if it should be done."

(c) 2004 The Washington Post Company


5) A Moment of Silence, Before I Start this Poem
by Emmanuel Ortiz

Before I start this poem, I'd like to ask you to join me in a moment
of silence in honor of those who died in the World Trade Center and
the Pentagon last September 11th.

I would also like to ask you to offer up a moment of silence for all of
those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared, tortured,
raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes, for the victims in both
Afghanistan and the U.S.

And if I could just add one more thing...

A full day of silence for the tens of thousands of Palestinians who
have died at the hands of U.S.-backed Israeli forces over decades
of occupation. Six months of silence for the million and-a-half
Iraqi people, mostly children, who have died of mall-nourishment
or starvation as a result of an 11-year U.S. embargo against the

Before I begin this poem: two months of silence for the Blacks
under Apartheid in South Africa, where homeland security made
them aliens in their own country Nine months of silence for the
dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where death rained down and
peeled back every layer of concrete, steel, earth and skin and the
survivors went on as if alive. A year of silence for the millions of
dead in Viet Nam - a people, not a war - for those who know a
thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their relatives' bones
buried in it, their babies born of it. A year of silence for the dead
in Cambodia and Laos, victims of a secret war ... ssssshhhhh ....
Say nothing ... we don't want them to learn that they are dead.
Two months of silence for the decades of dead in Colombia,
whose names, like the corpses they once represented, have
piled up and slipped off our tongues.

Before I begin this poem,

An hour of silence for El Salvador ... An afternoon of silence for
Nicaragua ... Two days of silence for the Guetmaltecos ... None
of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years. 45
seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas 25 years of
silence for the hundred million Africans who found their graves far
deeper in the ocean than any building could poke into the sky.
There will be no DNA testing or dental records to identify their
remains. And for those who were strung and swung from the
heights of sycamore trees in the south, the north, the east,
and the west... 100 years of silence...

For the hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples from this
half of right here, Whose land and lives were stolen,

In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee,
Sand Creek, Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of Tears. Names
now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the refrigerator
of our consciousness ...

So you want a moment of silence?

And we are all left speechless
Our tongues snatched from our mouths
Our eyes stapled shut
A moment of silence
And the poets have all been laid to rest
The drums disintegrating into dust

Before I begin this poem,
You want a moment of silence

You mourn now as if the world will never be the same
And the rest of us hope to hell it won't be.
Not like it always has been

Because this is not a 9-1-1 poem
This is a 9/10 poem,
It is a 9/9 poem,
A 9/8 poem,
A 9/7 poem
This is a 1492 poem.

This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be
written And if this is a 9/11 poem, then

This is a September 11th poem for Chile, 1971

This is a September 12th poem for Steven Biko in
South Africa, 1977

This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at
Attica Prison, New York, 1971.

This is a September 14th poem for Somalia, 1992.

This is a poem for every date that falls to the
ground in ashes

This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told

The 110 stories that history chose not to write in textbooks

The 110 stories that CNN, BBC, The New York Times,
and Newsweek ignored

This is a poem for interrupting this program.

And still you want a moment of silence for your dead?
We could give you lifetimes of empty:

The unmarked graves
The lost languages
The uprooted trees and histories
The dead stares on the faces of nameless children
Before I start this poem
We could be silent forever
Or just long enough to hunger,
For the dust to bury us

And you would still ask us
For more of our silence.

If you want a moment of silence

Then stop the oil pumps
Turn off the engines and the televisions
Sink the cruise ships
Crash the stock markets
Unplug the marquee lights,
Delete the instant messages,
Derail the trains, the light rail transit

If you want a moment of silence, put a brick
through the window ofTaco Bell,
And pay the workers for wages lost

Tear down the liquor stores,
The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses,
the Penthouses and the Playboys.

If you want a moment of silence,

Then take it

On Super Bowl Sunday,
The Fourth of July
During Dayton's 13 hour sale
Or the next time your white guilt
fills the room where my beautiful
people have gathered

You want a moment of silence
Then take it

Before this poem begins.

Here, in the echo of my voice,
In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand
In the space
between bodies in embrace,
Here is your silence.

Take it.

But take it all
Don't cut in line.
Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime.
But we,
Tonight we will keep right on singing
For our dead.

6) Where's Picasso?
Falluja: The 21 st Century Guernica
By Saul Landau

On November 12, as U.S. jets bombed Falluja for the ninth straight
day, a Redwood City California jury found Scott Peterson guilty of
murdering his wife and unborn child. That macabre theme captured
the headlines and dominated conversation throughout workplaces
and homes.

Indeed, Peterson "news" all but drowned out the U.S. military's claim
that successful bombing and shelling of a city of 300,000 residents
had struck only sites where "insurgents" had holed up. On
November 15, the BBC embedded newsman with a marine detachment
claimed that the unofficial death toll estimate had risen to well over
2,000, many of them civilians.

As Iraqi eyewitnesses told BBC reporters he had seen bombs hitting
residential targets, Americans exchanged viewpoints and kinky
jokes about Peterson. One photographer captured a Falluja man
holding his dead son, one of two kids he lost to U.S. bombers.
He could not get medical help to stop the bleeding.

A November 14 Reuters reporter wrote that residents told him
that "U.S. bombardments hit a clinic inside the Sunni Muslim city,
killing doctors, nurses and patients." The U.S. military denied the
reports. Such stories did not make headlines. Civilian casualties
in aggressive U.S. wars don't sell media space.

But editors love shots of anguished GI Joes. The November
12 Los Angeles Times ran a front page shot of a soldier with
mud smeared face and cigarette dangling from his lips. This
image captured the "suffering" of Falluja. The GI complained
he was out of "smokes."

The young man doing his "duty to free Falluja," stands in stark
contrast to the nightmare of Falluja. "Smoke is everywhere," an
Iraqi told the BBC (Nov 11). "The house some doors from mine
was hit during the bombardment on Wednesday night. A 13-
year-old boy was killed. His name was Ghazi. A row of palm
trees used to run along the street outside my house - now only
the trunks are left... There are more and more dead bodies on
the streets and the stench is unbearable."

Another eyewitness told Reuters (November 12) that "a 9-year-
old boy was hit in the stomach by a piece of shrapnel. His parents
said they couldn't get him to hospital because of the fighting,
so they wrapped sheets around his stomach to try to stem the
bleeding. He died hours later of blood loss and was buried in
the garden."

U.S. media's embedded reporters - presstitutes? - accepted
uncritically the Pentagon's spin that many thousands of Iraqi
"insurgents," including the demonized outsiders led by Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi ,who had joined the anti-U.S. jihad, had
dug in to defend their vital base. After the armored and air
assault began and the ground troops advanced, reports filtered
out that the marines and the new Iraqi army that trailed behind
them had faced only light resistance. Uprisings broke out in
Mosul and other cities. For the combatants, however, Falluja
was Hell.

Hell for what? Retired Marine Corps general Bernard Trainor
declared that: militarily "Falluja is not going to be much of
a plus at all." He admitted that "we've knocked the hell out
of this city, and the only insurgents we really got were the
nut-cases and zealots, the smart ones left behind_ the guys
who really want to die for Allah." While Pentagon spin doctors
boasted of a U.S. "victory, Trainor pointed out that the
"terrorists remain at large."

The media accepts axiomatically that U.S. troops wear the
"white hats" in this conflict. They do not address the obvious:
Washington illegally invaded and occupied Iraq and
"re-conquered" Falluja - for no serious military purpose.
Logically, the media should call Iraqi "militants" patriots
who resisted illegal occupation.

Instead, the press implied that the "insurgents" even fought
dirty, using improvised explosive devices and booby traps to
kill our innocent soldiers, who use clean weapons like F16s,
helicopter gun ships, tanks and artillery.

Why, Washington even promised to rebuild the city that its
military just destroyed. Bush committed the taxpayers to debts
worth hundreds of millions of dollars, which Bechtel, Halliburton
and the other corporate beneficiaries of war will use
for "rebuilding."

Banality and corruption arise from the epic evil of this war,
one that has involved massive civilian death and the
destruction of ancient cities.

In 1935, Nazi General Erich Luderndorff argued in his "The
Total War" that modern war encompasses all of society; thus,
the military should spare no one. The Fascist Italian General
Giulio Douhet echoed this theme. By targeting civilians, he
said, an army could advance more rapidly. "Air-delivered terror"
effectively removes civilian obstacles.

That doctrine became practice in late April 1937. Nazi pilots
dropped their deadly bombs on Guernica, the ancient Basque
capital - like what U.S. pilots recently did to Falluja. A year
earlier, in 1936, the Spanish Civil War erupted. General
Francisco Franco, supported by fascist governments in Italy
and Germany, led an armed uprising against the Republic.
The residents of Guernica resisted. Franco asked his Nazi
partners to punish these stubborn people who had withstood
his army's assault.

The people of Guernica had no anti-aircraft guns, much less
fighter planes to defend their city. The Nazi pilots knew that
at 4:30 in the afternoon of market day, the city's center would
be jammed with shoppers from all around the areas.

Before flying on their "heroic mission," the German pilots
had drunk a toast with their Spanish counterparts in a language
that both could understand: "Viva la muerte," they shouted as
their raised their copas de vino . The bombing of Guernica
introduced a concept in which the military would make no
distinction between civilians and combatants. Death to all!

Almost 1,700 people died that day and some 900 lay wounded.
Franco denied that the raid ever took place and blamed the
destruction of Guernica on those who defended it, much as
the U.S. military intimates that the "insurgents" forced the
savage attack by daring to defend their city and then hide inside
their mosques. Did the public in 1937 face the equivalent of
the Peterson case that commanded their attention?

Where is the new Picasso who will offer a dramatic painting to
help the 21 st Century public understand that what the U.S.
Air Force just did to the people of Falluja resembles what the
Nazis did to Guernica?

In Germany and Italy in 1937, the media focused on the
vicissitudes suffered by those pilots who were sacrificing for
the ideals of their country by combating a "threat." The U.S.
media prattles about the difficulties encountered by the marines.
It never calls them bullies who occupy another people's country,
subduing patriots with superior technology to kill civilians and
destroy their homes and mosques.

On November 15, an embedded NBC cameraman filmed a U.S.
soldier murdering a wounded Iraqi prisoner in cold blood. As
CNN showed the tape, its reporter offered "extenuating
circumstances" for the assassination we had witnessed.
The wounded man might have booby-trapped himself as other
"insurgents" had done. After all, these marines had gone through
hell in the last week.

The reporting smacks of older imperial wars, Andrew Greely
reminded us in the November 12, Chicago Sun Times. "The
United States has fought unjust wars before - Mexican American,
the Indian Wars, Spanish American, the Filipino Insurrection,
Vietnam. Our hands are not clean. They are covered with blood,
and there'll be more blood this time."

Falluja should serve as the symbol of this war of atrocity against
the Iraqi people, our Guernica. But, as comedian Chris Rock
insightfully points out, George W. Bush has distracted us. That's
why he killed Laci Peterson, why he snuck that young boy into
Michael Jackson's bedroom and the young woman into Kobe
Bryant's hotel room. He wants us not to think of the war in Iraq.
We need a new Picasso mural, "Falluja," to help citizens focus
on the themes of our time, not the travails of the Peterson case.

The Bush Administration sensed the danger of such a painting.
Shortly before Colin Powell's February 5, 2003, UN Security
Council fraudulent, power point presentation, where he made
the case for invading Iraq, UN officials, at U.S. request, placed
a curtain over a tapestry of Picasso's Guernica, located at the
entrance to the Security Council chambers. As a TV backdrop,
the anti-war mural would contradict the Secretary of State's
case for war in Iraq. Did the dead painter somehow know that
his mural would foreshadow another Guernica, called Falluja?

Landau directs digital media at Cal Poly Pomona University's
College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences. He is also a fellow
of the Institute for Policy Studies. His latest book is THE BUSINESS

Copyright 2004(c) Progreso Weekly, Inc.


7) Radio exchange contradicts army version of Gaza killing
Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
Wednesday November 24, 2004
The Guardian
An Israeli army officer who repeatedly shot a 13-year-old
Palestinian girl in Gaza dismissed a warning from another
soldier that she was a child by saying he would have killed
her even if she was three years old.

The officer, identified by the army only
as Captain R, was charged this week
with illegal use of his weapon, conduct
unbecoming an officer and other
relatively minor infractions after emptying
all 10 bullets from his gun's magazine
into Iman al-Hams when she walked into
a "security area" on the edge of Rafah
refugee camp last month.

A tape recording of radio exchanges
between soldiers involved in the
incident, played on Israeli television,
contradicts the army's account of the events
and appears to show that the captain
shot the girl in cold blood.

The official account claimed that Iman
was shot as she walked towards an army
post with her schoolbag because soldiers
feared she was carrying a bomb.

But the tape recording of the radio
conversation between soldiers at the
scene reveals that, from the beginning,
she was identified as a child and at no
point was a bomb spoken about nor was
she described as a threat. Iman was also
at least 100 yards from any soldier.

Instead, the tape shows that the soldiers
swiftly identified her as a "girl
of about 10" who was "scared to death".

The tape also reveals that the soldiers
said Iman was headed eastwards, away
from the army post and back into the
refugee camp, when she was shot.

At that point, Captain R took the unusual
decision to leave the post in
pursuit of the girl. He shot her dead and
then "confirmed the kill" by emptying his
magazine into her body.

The tape recording is of a three-way
conversation between the army
watchtower, the army post's operations
room and the captain, who was a company

The soldier in the watchtower radioed
his colleagues after he saw Iman: "It's
a little girl. She's running defensively eastward."

Operations room: "Are we talking
about a girl under the age of 10?"

Watchtower: "A girl of about 10, she's
behind the embankment, scared to

A few minutes later, Iman is shot in the
leg from one of the army posts.

The watchtower: "I think that one of
the positions took her out."

The company commander then moves
in as Iman lies wounded and helpless.

Captain R: "I and another soldier ... are
going in a little nearer, forward,
to confirm the kill ... Receive a situation
report. We fired and killed her
... I also confirmed the kill. Over."

Witnesses described how the captain shot
Iman twice in the head, walked away,
turned back and fired a stream of bullets
into her body. Doctors at Rafah's
hospital said she had been shot at least 17 times.

On the tape, the company commander then
"clarifies" why he killed Iman: "This
is commander. Anything that's mobile, that
moves in the zone, even if it's a
three-year-old, needs to be killed. Over."

The army's original account of the killing s
aid that the soldiers only
identified Iman as a child after she was
first shot. But the tape shows that they
were aware just how young the small,
slight girl was before any shots were

The case came to light after soldiers under
the command of Captain R went to
an Israeli newspaper to accuse the army
of covering up the circumstances of
the killing.

A subsequent investigation by the officer
responsible for the Gaza strip,
Major General Dan Harel, concluded that
the captain had "not acted unethically".

However, the military police launched
an investigation, which resulted in
charges against the unit commander.

Iman's parents have accused the army
of whitewashing the affair by filing
minor charges against Captain R. They
want him prosecuted for murder.

Record of a shooting


'It's a little girl. She's running defensively eastward'

Operations room

'Are we talking about a girl under the age of 10?'


'A girl of about 10, she's behind the embankment, scared to death'

Captain R (after killing the girl)

'Anything moving in the zone, even a three-year-old, needs to be killed'


8) January 20 Call to Action: RISE Against
Bush/SHINE For A Peaceful
(Can't we all just unite together on Jan. 20 and
March 20, 2005? I said, people the world over will
be demonstrating on January 20, 2005 against the death and
devastation the U.S.Government has brought upon Iraq-based
all on lies.)

Can't we all just unite together on Jan. 20 and March 20, 2005?

January 20 Call to Action: RISE Against
Bush/SHINE For A Peaceful
------- Forwarded message -------
Subject: [stop-the-inauguration] January 20 Call to Action: RISE Against
Bush/SHINE For A Peaceful Tomorrow
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 14:03:13 -0800 (PST)

RISE Against Bush
SHINE For A Peaceful Tomorrow

A Call for Anti-War Actions in Washington, DC, January 20, 2005

Every morning, the sun rises up, penetrating and overcoming the darkness
of night. What once was dark becomes bright, changed by the force of the
sun's rays.

Our world is in darkness tonight, plagued with war, poverty, environmental
destruction, and attacks on many of the liberties that so many of us hold
dear. The darkness over our world has grown yet darker with the election
of George W. Bush to another 4 years in office.

In the dark of the night, we need only wait for the sun. However, in the
dark of our world, we cannot wait. If we are to see a new dawn, we must
take action now. The DC Anti-War Network (DAWN) calls on the people of
the world to RISE Against Bush and SHINE For A Peaceful Tomorrow.

· Against the needless slaughter in and occupation of Iraq;
· Against the assault on civil liberties, as represented by such acts as
the Patriot Act and the immoral detaining of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay;
· Against U.S. support of Israel's apartheid against the Palestinian
· Against U.S. overthrow of Aristide in Haiti;
· Against U.S. attempts to overthrow any other democratically elected
leader, including Hugo Chavez in Venezuela;
· Against any U.S. military action in Iran.

· For a world that embraces peaceful dialogue instead of war;
· For a world where we respect the liberty of all beings;
· For a world that looks out for all those who are now oppressed,
including the poor, women, racial minorities, workers, the disabled,
homosexuals, transgendered, as well as the earth and its creatures;
· For a world that embraces social justice;
· For democracy and the autonomy of all people to have a full say in how
they are governed;
· For each other.

The Call
DAWN calls for people all over the nation and world to converge on
Washington, DC, on the day of George W. Bush's Inauguration, January 20,
2005, for peaceful anti-war actions.

While DAWN is coordinating with many groups for a day of actions, DAWN
calls additionally for these specific actions:

1. A permitted nonviolent anti-war rally followed by a march to Bush's
inaugural parade route
2. A nonviolent civil disobedience die-in, following the rally, in
memorial to the dead at the hands of Bush and his Administration

DAWN also calls for organizations, affinity groups, and individuals to
partner with us in organizing these two actions.

Next Steps
If you or your group or organization wants to endorse DAWN's call to
action, please send an e-mail to Write also if you wish
to collaborate in the planning or offer financial donations or other
material support.

Find out more information about DAWN's and other groups' actions at, by participating in the DC Cluster
Spokescouncil meetings (refer to website), or by participating in DAWN's
weekly meetings. Check our website, for more
details. Housing boards, events boards, working group information, and
(soon) ride boards can be found at We
will post updates of our actions, as they become available, to that

The new dawn begins with our rising up. It will take a lot of light to
break through such darkness, but we can do it. We have no other choice.
Join us on J20!

***please forward widely***

Coalition for Peace and Justice
UNPLUG Salem Campaign; 321 Barr Ave, Linwood
NJ 08221; 609-601-8583; cell 609-742-0982;


9) Vietnam Vet, 53, Called for Duty in Iraq-Report

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A 53-year-old Vietnam veteran from western
Pennsylvania has been called up for active service with the U.S. military
in the Iraq (news - web sites) war, The Tribune Review of Greensburg,
Pennsylvania reported on Wednesday.

Paul Dunlap, a sergeant in the Army National Guard, will join an armored
division next month as a telecommunications specialist in Kuwait, and
expects to be there for at least a year, the newspaper reported.

Dunlap, who has not been in combat since serving as a 19-year-
old Marine in Vietnam, could not be reached for comment. He will
leave behind his wife Mary, four children and three grandchildren.

"I don't think any of them want me to go," Dunlap told the paper.
"I'm thinking it's a long time since I've been in war."

Dunlap, from the town of Pleasant Unity, near Greensburg,
Pennsylvania, said he received a call from his sergeant major
and was told to report for a soldier readiness program, the
newspaper said.

Dunlap's wife was quoted as saying the entire family "prayed
that he wouldn't pass his physical."

"It's very, very scary," she said. "He's been a soldier since I met
him, but there's a part of me that wonders at 53: Is he going
to be up to doing what he needs to do over there?"

Critics of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq have argued that the
current level of U.S. troops there is too low to control an
insurgency that has destabilized the country since the ouster
of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites).

The dependence of full-time troops on national guard members
such as Dunlap shows the military is stretched too thin in Iraq
and elsewhere, critics say.

Change Links Progressive Newspaper.
Act. Act in Love and Spirit.


10) Still Worlds Apart on Iraq
November 26, 2004

Foreign ministers from all the right countries were present. The
timing - two months before the scheduled date of Iraq's all-important
elections - was promising. The Mideast location was symbolically apt.
Too bad, then, that this week's big international conference on Iraq in
the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm el Sheik, bringing together all of
Baghdad's neighbors and every permanent member of the United
Nations Security Council, did so little to change the dismal overall

The ministers came, they dined and they endorsed the familiar
uncontroversial list of desirable goals. They encouraged free
elections. They condemned terrorism. They endorsed Iraq's
territorial integrity. They reiterated the importance of humanitarian
assistance. Then, still fundamentally disagreeing about how to
achieve these goals, they flew off again, without committing
themselves to anything likely to make any real difference.

International conferences like these can be quite useful when
the participants start out with some basic agreement about the
nature of the problem and the outlines of some possible solutions.
On Iraq, there is still no such agreement. More than 20 months
after the United States unilaterally assumed responsibility for
Iraq's future by invading without the support of the Security
Council or most neighboring countries, it still finds itself largely
on its own, with much of the rest of the world watching skeptically
from the sidelines.

This is not a healthy situation - for Iraq, for the United States,
for the Middle East or for the international community. How
things go in Iraq over the next few months will probably have
widespread and lasting consequences for all. And they are
unlikely to go very well unless all, or at least most, of the
governments represented at Sharm el Sheik begin actively
working together.

But don't expect that to happen any time soon. The newly
re-elected Bush administration seems more determined than
ever to rely on military force to crush the Sunni insurgency,
even if that means going ahead with elections next January that
are not broadly inclusive. Most of the rest of the world, doubting
that this strategy can bring security, legitimacy or real sovereignty,
seems equally determined to remain largely aloof.

The preferred strategy seems to be to hope for the best and
offer such low-risk gestures as forgiving bad Iraqi debt that
would surely never be repaid anyway. But even debt relief, which
Western and Japanese government creditors agreed to last weekend,
is further than Iraq's major Arab creditors, like Saudi Arabia and
Kuwait, are now prepared to go. That makes it far more difficult
for the new Iraqi government to obtain the credit it will need to
revive and rebuild a devastated country. And so far only Romania
and tiny Fiji have offered soldiers for the protective force needed
to send more election workers to Iraq.

That leaves America still going it almost alone. Apart from the
British, most remaining multinational troops are more symbolic
than militarily significant. Washington's other main partner is
Iraq's interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, who has not done
enough to reach out to the estranged Sunni minority and now
may be in danger of losing Shiite support to the new anti-American
alliance of the former rebel leader Moktada al-Sadr and the former
Pentagon favorite, Ahmad Chalabi.

The newly trained Iraqi security forces the administration likes
to talk about still do not exist in large enough numbers to
safeguard polling places in January, nor has their reliability under
fire yet been convincingly demonstrated. The more than 135,000
United States troops now on long-term occupation duty cannot
remain there indefinitely without seriously eroding America's
worldwide readiness and credibility.

To begin changing this bleak picture, the Bush administration
will have to work much harder at international bridge building
than it did in its first term. Simply soliciting support for current
American policies will not be enough. Washington must also be
willing to consider changing some of those policies as part of
a renewed process of international consultation. That might
lead to more productive international conferences in the future.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times


11) Leading Iraqi Parties Call for Election Delay
Filed at 12:33 p.m. ET
November 26, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Seventeen political parties on Friday demanded
postponement of the Jan. 30 elections for at least six months until the
government is capable of securing polling places.

The parties, mostly Sunni Arab, Kurdish and secular groups, made the
call in a manifesto signed at the home of Sunni elder statesman Adnan
Pachachi, who said he believed the government was waiting for such
a request before seriously addressing the question of whether an
election could be held by the end of January.

Parties of the majority Shiite community strongly support holding
the elections on time but there is widespread doubt within the
minority Sunni community because of insurgent unrest in Sunni
regions of central and northern Iraq.

Sunni clerics from the Association of Muslim Scholars have called
on Sunnis to boycott the election to protest this month's U.S.-led
assault on the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.

A widespread boycott by the Sunni community could deny the
elected parliament and government the legitimacy that U.S. and
Iraqi authorities believe is necessary to help bring stability to
Iraq and curb the insurgency.

Mohsen Abdul Hamid, leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party, said that
delaying the election was necessary because of ``threats facing
national unity, and fears of inciting sectarian tensions if a certain
sect was excluded from the elections,'' referring to the Sunnis.

Other politicians said that the government was incapable of
protecting voters from terror attacks if they tried to cast ballots.

Mohel Hardan al-Duleimi of the Arab Socialist Movement said
most people were afraid to vote and that the government's election
commission had failed to educate the public about the election.

``There is strong political polarization with sectarian roots,''
al-Duleimi said.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Bay Area United Against War Presents

a film screening of:

"WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception"

Meet film director Danny Schechter "The News Dissector." He will be
available for a question and answer period right after the movie.

Saturday, Dec. 11th, 2004

(Showtime to be announced)

Embarcadero Center Cinema

One Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level

San Francisco, CA 94111

(415) 267-4893

" 'WMD' paints a meticulous and damning portrait of the media's coverage of
the Iraq war. In sobering detail, Danny Schechter shows us how the TV
networks now prefer the role of cheerleader, to that of objective
journalist," says Mike Nisholson of

"Schechter tackles his subject like a cross between Errol Morris and a
Dashiell Hammet detective, following close on the tail of big media
reporters as they in turn track the march toward war, embed themselves in
the military industrial complex and then get out when the fighting gets
tough and leave the cleanup work to stringers, " writes Shandon Fowler of
film's Hamptons International Film Festival appearance, Oct. 20-24.

To learn more about the film visit:

(Distributed by Cinema Libre Studio,


1) Fallujah Refugees

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **

** **

November 23, 2004


2) Occupier of a Prime Minister's Chair

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches *

November 23, 2004


3) U.S. Starts New Offensive South of Baghdad



Filed at 12:13 p.m. ET

November 23, 2004


4) U.S. Death Toll in Iraq for Nov. Tops 100


AP Military Writer


Nov 23, 8:01 AM EST


5) Iraq: the unthinkable becomes normal

John Pilger

Green Left Weekly, issue #607, November 24, 2004

Mainstream media speak as if Fallujah were populated only by foreign
"insurgents". In fact, women and children are being slaughtered in our name.


6) Convention Protesters File Lawsuit Over Detentions


November 23, 2004


7) Confusion Reigns as U.S. Raid Misses Target in Iraq

By Luke Baker


Published on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 by Reuters


8) The Netherlands tobogganing from crisis to crisis

The end of the "polder" model

By Erik Demeester


9) In a Land Torn by Violence, Too Many Troubling Deaths



RIOSUCIO, Colombia

November 23, 2004


10) Alert! Fed Massive Raid and Arrest Chinese Restaurant

Workers Across U.S.!

National Immigrant Solidarity Network Urgent Updates

November 23, 2004





12) Rights Group Calls on Caterpillar to Halt Bulldozer Sales to Israel

By Jim Lobe


Published on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 by


13) A Mother Deported, and a Child Left Behind


November 24, 2004



1) Fallujah Refugees

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **

** **

November 23, 2004

"Doctors in Fallujah are reporting there are patients in the hospital

there who were forced out by the Americans," said Mehdi Abdulla, a 33

year-old ambulance driver at a hospital in Baghdad, "Some doctors there

told me they had a major operation going, but the soldiers took the

doctors away and left the patient to die." He looks at the ground, then

away to the distance.

Honking cars fill the chaotic street outside the hospital where they'd

just received brand new desks. The empty boxes are strewn about outside.

Um Mohammed, a doctor at the hospital sat behind her old, wooden desk.

"How can I take a new desk when there are patients dying because we

don't have medicine for them," she asked while holding her hands in the

air, "They should build a lift so patients who can't walk can be taken

to surgery, and instead we have these new desks!" Her eyes were piercing

with fire, while yet another layer of frustration is folded into her work.

"And there are still a few Iraqis who think the Americans came to

liberate them," she added while looking out the broken window. The glass

lay about outside-shattered from a car bomb that had detonated in front

of the hospital. "These people will change their minds about the

liberators when they, too, have had a family member killed by them."

Mehdi then takes us to a refugee camp of Fallujans over on the campus of

the University of Baghdad. Tents


surround an old mosque. Kids run about


several of them kicking around a half-inflated soccer ball. Some women

are using two water taps to clean pots and wash clothing. Many people

stand around, walking aimlessly, waiting.

We contact a sheikh for permission to talk to some of the families. He

greets us then says, "You can see how much we have suffered. We have 97

families here now, with 50 more coming tomorrow. People are kidnapping

refugee children and selling them."

A 35 year-old merchant from Fallujah, Abu Hammad, starts telling us what

he experienced, and barely breathes while doing so because he is so enraged.

"The American warplanes came continuously through the night and bombed

everywhere in Fallujah! It did not stop even for a moment! If the

American forces did not find a target to bomb, they used sound bombs

just to terrorize the people and children. The city stayed in fear; I

cannot give a picture of how panicked everyone was."

He is shaking with grief and anger. "In the mornings I found Fallujah

empty, as if nobody lives in it. Even poisonous gases have been used in

Fallujah-they used everything-tanks, artillery, infantry, poison gas.

Fallujah has been bombed to the ground. Nothing is left."

Several men standing with us, other refugees, nod in agreement while

looking at the setting sun, the direction of Fallujah.

Abu Hammad continues, "Most of the innocent people there stayed in

mosques to be closer to God for safety. Even the wounded people were

killed. Old ladies with white flags were killed by the Americans! The

Americans announced for people to come to a certain mosque if they

wanted to leave Fallujah, and even the people who went there carrying

white flags were killed!"

One of the men standing with us, a large man named Mohammad Ali is

crying; his large body shuddering with each bit of new information

revealed by Abu Hammad.

"There was no food, no electricity, no water," continues Abu Hammad, "We

couldn't even light a candle because the Americans would see it and kill


He pauses, then asks, "This suffering of the people, I would like to ask

everyone in the world if they have seen suffering like this. The people

in Fallujah are only Fallujans. Ayad Allawi was a liar when he said

there are foreign fighters there."

He continues on, "There are bodies the Americans threw in the river. I

saw them do this! And anyone who stayed thought they would be killed by

the Americans, so they tried to swim across the river. Even then the

Americans shot them with rifles from the shore! Even if some of them

were holding a white flag or white clothes over their heads to show they

are not fighters, they were all shot! Even people who couldn't swim

tried to cross the river! They drowned rather than staying to be killed

by the Americans."

Mohammad cuts in and begins his plea. He is from the Julan district of

Fallujah, where much of the heaviest fighting occurred, and continues to

occur. "They call us terrorists when we live in the city. We own the

city. We didn't go to fight the Americans-they came to our city to fight

us. Fallujans are defending our city, our houses, our mosques, our

honor. Ayad Allawi says we are his family-can you attack your family

Allawi? Do you attack your own family Allawi?"

He now raises his hands to the sky


and asks loudly, "We are asking Islam, all the Islamic countries to have

a clear conscience to look at what is happening to Fallujah. We were the

most secured city with the police and ING (Iraqi National Guard) without

the presence of the Americans. But now when we come to Baghdad we are

afraid because our cars and belongings will be looted."

His large body continues to shudder as he talks on, "We did not feel

that there is Eid after Ramadan this year because of our situation being

so bad. All we have is more fasting. They said they are going to

reconstruct Fallujah-but I would like to ask when and how, and what did

they do to Sadr City when they stopped fighting there? They did nothing."

I notice a man with one leg sitting near the mosque


nodding while he smokes his cigarette while Mohammad continues, "I would

like to ask the whole world-why is this? I tell the presidents of the

Arab and Muslim countries to wake up! Wake up please! We are being

killed, we are refugees from our houses, our children have nothing-not

even shoes to wear! Wake up! Wake up! Stop being traitors! Be human

beings and not the dummies of the Americans!"

He is weeping even more when he adds, "I left Fallujah yesterday and I

am handicapped. I asked God to save us but our house was bombed and I

lost everything."

As Mohammad no longer speaks, a 40 year-old refugee, Khalil, speaks up.

"When the Americans come to our city we refuse to accept any foreigner

coming to invade us. We accept the ING's but not the Americans. Nobody

has seen any Zarqawi. If the Americans don't come in our city, who do

Fallujans attack? Fallujans don't attack other Iraqis. Fallujans only

attack the American troops when they come inside or near our city."

Rather than weeping like so many others I interviewed, Khalil is raging.

His sadness is being covered with anger. "If we have a government-the

government should solve the suffering of the people. Our government does

not do this-instead they are always attacking us, our government is a

dummy government. They are not here to help us. The Minister of Defense

and Interior are speaking that we are their family-so why do they

collapse our houses on our heads? Why do they kill all of us?"

But then tears find his eyes, and while pointing to several small

children nearby he says, "Eid is over. Ramadan is over-and the kids


are remaining without even a smile. They have nothing and nowhere to go.

We used to take them to parks to amuse them, but now we don't even have

a house for them."

He continues pointing at the children, along with some women nearby,

"What about the children? What did they do? What about the women? I

can't describe the situation in Fallujah and the condition of the

people-Fallujah is suffering too much, it is almost gone now."

He then explains, "We got some supplies from the good people of Baghdad,

and some volunteer doctors came on their own with some medicines, but

they ran out daily because conditions are so bad. We saw nothing from

the Ministry of Health-no medicines or doctors or anything."

He said those who left Fallujah did not think they would be gone so

long, so they brought only their summer clothes. Now it is quite cold at

night, down to 10 degrees C at night and windy much of the time. Khalil

adds, "We need more clothes. It's a disaster we are living in here at

this camp. We are living like dogs and the kids do not have enough


As of today, a spokesman for the Iraqi Red Crescent told me none of

their relief teams had been allowed into Fallujah, and the military said

it would be at least two more weeks before any refugees would be allowed

into their city.

More writing, photos and commentary at

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2) Occupier of a Prime Minister's Chair

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches *

November 23, 2004

Dahr Jamail

BAGHDAD, Nov 23 (IPS) - The prime minister is following in the footsteps

of the last president. The rule of Ayad Allawi, the U.S. appointed

interim prime minister of Iraq, is now more in the style of the

dictatorship of Saddam Hussein than a leader of a supposedly democratic


Most Iraqis had celebrated the overthrow of the regime of Saddam

Hussein. But under what has developed into a brutal and bloody

occupation people are turning against the interim prime minister as they

turned against Saddam.

One of Allawi's earliest moves after his appointment was to form a new

version of the feared secret police in Iraq. The Economist reported that

Allawi's rivals accused him of "recruiting former torturers to man a new

apparatus of oppression."

In July Paul McGeogh of the Sydney Morning Herald reported that two

eyewitnesses saw Allawi execute six people at the security centre in the

al-Amadiyah district of Baghdad. The men had been detained for allegedly

attacking U.S. forces two weeks before the handover of power.

The appointed interim prime minister has instituted martial law,

threatened to detain journalists, and banned the Arab channel al-Jazeera

from reporting within Iraq. Allawi's minister of justice has brought

back the death penalty and spoken of chopping off the hands and heads of

those described as insurgents.

Now comes the siege of Fallujah. At a refugee camp in Baghdad filled

with families from the besieged city, anger erupts at the mention of

Allawi's name.

"Ayad Allawi says we are his family," said Mohammad Ali, a 53-year-old

refugee wounded by U.S. bombs in his home in Fallujah. "Can you attack

your family, Allawi? Do you attack your own family, Allawi?"

Allawi is a traitor to the people of Iraq, said Dr. Um Mohammed who

works at a hospital in Baghdad. "He is an American puppet who enjoys the

killing of Iraqis." A trader in central Baghdad Abdel Hakim Abdulla said

Allawi has "never made a decision that benefits Iraqis."

Anger is building up against Allawi also over the role he played before

he was appointed interim prime minister. He is the man many hold

responsible for providing fraudulent intelligence that Saddam Hussein

posed a threat to the United States.

His now discredited statements to U.S. intelligence that Saddam Hussein

had links to the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11 were used to justify the

invasion of Iraq. This had shaken his credibility amongst Iraqis from

the beginning.

The right-wing Daily Telegraph of London published a "newly discovered"

document from Allawi Dec. 14 last year. Allawi, who was then a member of

the Iraqi Governing Council stated that the mastermind of the Sep. 11

terrorist attacks Mohammad Atta had been trained in Iraq with support

from Saddam Hussein.

This fraudulent information was cited by U.S. intelligence as compelling

evidence that Saddam Hussein had contacts with al-Qaeda. It was cited as

justification for the failing occupation of Iraq.

A second part of the memo also believed to have been provided by Allawi

alleged shipment of uranium from Niger to Iraq. This is another claim

that has been proved false.

Allawi was reported by the International Herald Tribune to have said

that Saddam Hussein had stashed billions of dollars in banks around the

world. No evidence of these billions has emerged.

Allawi again was said again to have provided the 'intelligence' in a

British government dossier that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction

which could be made operational in 45 minutes, according to a report in

the New York Times May 29 this year. This 'intelligence' has been

acknowledged to be false.

Allawi, a Shia Muslim, was "unanimously nominated" to the post of

interim prime minister May 28 by the U.S.-appointed former Iraqi

Governing Council.

Adam Daifallah wrote in the New York Sun that Allawi heads a group

comprising primarily former Baathist associates of deposed dictator

Saddam Hussein and "has received funding from the CIA (Central

Intelligence Agency of the United States) and has unsuccessfully worked

with American intelligence for years to oust Saddam through coup attempts."

Born in Baghdad in 1946 into a well-known business family, Allawi became

a member of the Baath party after it rose to power. He left Iraq in 1971

to go to university in London, and did not return to his home country

until just after the U.S.-led invasion last year.

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8) The Netherlands tobogganing from crisis to crisis

The end of the "polder" model

By Erik Demeester

Rarely have we seen a country being catapulted from being one of the most
stable and apparently harmonious parts of the world into a profound abyss of
instability and uncertainty. This is the story of the Netherlands over the
last two and a half years.

It all started with the economy. After a period of rapid economic growth in
the 1990's, well above the average of the other European countries, the GDP
of the Netherlands has since moved at a snail's pace. From a peak of more
than 7 percent in 2000 the economic growth fell to a mere 2 percent in 2003.
Over the last five years the economy has gone through a severe boom-and-bust
cycle. This is because of the high dependence on world trade, which has made
the country very sensitive to changes on the world market. The "polder"
model, which consists in the agreement that all big social and economical
changes are to be negotiated between the government, the unions and the
bosses, was clearly going to be seriously tested by this new situation.
Through the polder model - a policy of intense class collaboration - the
idea was cultivated of finding solutions to problems thanks to compromise
and consensus. Dutch people, and also the workers, had even come to believe
that consummate pragmatism and the tendency of avoiding conflict had become
part of their national character.

A model under attack

The raw economic growth figures of the 1990's did not say everything about
was happening in Dutch society. They hid the real social situation. The
price for the economic progress was paid with wage restraint, the
multiplication of short-term contracts, increased flexibility and
generalised social insecurity inside and outside the workplace. Yes, the
unemployment figures were lower than in neighbouring countries. But the
number of people living off disability allowances was higher than the number
of jobless workers. Many older, worn out and sick workers who couldn't stand
the strain and stress anymore were channelled into those schemes. These are
the same schemes that are now cynically being attacked by the right-wing
government of Balkenende.

All this took place with the support and active collaboration of the leaders
of the trade unions and the social democratic party, the PVDA. Those were
the years of coalition governments of the PVDA with the liberal VVD and
"social-liberal" D66, known as the "Purple Coalition". The social peace
imposed by this alliance of forces against the working class started to
break down. Protests against mismanagement, for instance in the national
railways (NS), were only possible thanks to the launching of "workers'
collectives", built outside the unions and dubbed as anarchist by the media.
At that time this seemed to be the only way of breaking the stranglehold of
the union bureaucracy. Further to this, "senseless violence" and cases of
extreme anti-social behaviour increased the feelings of alienation and
malaise within Dutch society.

There was an all-pervading hermetic "political correctness" which refused to
even recognise the existence of these problems in a country like the
Netherlands. "Problems in the world?" Not here in the Netherlands, where all
causes of tension are eradicated before they can emerge, was the prevailing
idea. There are few countries where the tensions between the considerable
material and technological possibilities on the one hand and the lack of
harmony in society on the other hand are so vivid as in the Netherlands.

Slowly but surely the feeling that "Holland is full" was penetrating into
the minds of a section of the Dutch people. As in other European countries,
this was a contradictory phenomenon. On the one hand it had a reactionary
side to it ("we are full of immigrants") and on the other hand it had a more
progressive content (the feeling that the country was full of stress and

Due to the lack of a left alternative this tension would sooner or later be
channelled in an extreme rightward direction. In this the Netherlands was no
different from any other country. The only difference was that it tried to
take the form of something a little more subtle than the not so subtle
demagogy of the Flemish Vlaams Blok that had penetrated Flemish minds as
early as the early '90s. This is shown by the fact that the crypto-fascists
of Janmaat and his gang, failed to get any significant support for their
reactionary ideas among the Dutch population. Given the previous long
history of so-called social peace and tolerance, the right-wing
reactionaries could not present themselves for what they really are. They
had to disguise somewhat their real nature. Thus, in order to sell to the
Dutch people an extreme right-wing stock of ideas, one had to offer a bit
more than mere racist mudslinging.

The rise and fall of Pim Fortuyn

"Something is going wrong" was a feeling shared by more and more people. For
Pim Fortuyn, a well-spoken maverick professor, this was fertile terrain for
his anti-establishment diatribes and racist demagogy. This man, who had
written plenty of books on the lost soul of Europe, spoilt people, etc., was
the accidental figure who was fill in the vacuum in Dutch politics, breaking
down the dominant politics of consensus. His speeches struck a chord amongst
broad layers of society, of course with the help of the media and his
reactionary friends.

Pim Fortuyn, racist


Very soon he began to rise like a rocket in the opinion polls. His quickly
assembled political formation "Lijst Pim Fortuyn" (LPF) rapidly became an
electoral success. The LPF was never a fascist threat to the country and
could not even be compared to the classic extreme right-wing parties such as
the Front National in France or the Vlaams Blok in Belgium, which he even
openly denounced. Pim Fortuyn was a reactionary upstart that seemed to come
from nowhere, but he fed on the accumulated frustrations coming from the
depths of society. He was a medieval witch doctor, a charlatan who after a
bleeding... prescribes another bleeding - but he was at least able to put
across what seemed a convincing case to wide layers of the electorate.
However, he was a superficial and temporary phenomenon. But the social and
political frustrations that he vented in a distorted way will prove not to
be superficial at all.

Then something happened which stupefied the country. Pim Fortuyn was
assassinated a few days before the national elections by a Green activist.
The commotion provoked by this killing is difficult to describe. People did
not believe that a politically motivated assassination could take place in
the Netherlands. In Haiti yes, in the United States also, but in the
Netherlands? No, this was unthinkable. But many unthinkable and "un-Dutch"
things were to surprise the Netherlands in the period that followed.

A feeling of defiance toward the political elite started to spread rapidly.
Thousands of people gathered spontaneously in the streets not only to mourn
their hero, but also to protest against the "Purple" government. People went
so far as to accuse government ministers of being responsible for the murder
of Pim Fortuyn. It was clear something had profoundly changed in Dutch

Storms ahead

The 2002 elections had the effect of temporarily defusing the anger as many
people found an outlet in the ballot box. The posthumous election success of
the Pim Fortuyn List in reality proved to be the undoing of the Purple
coalition of the PVDA, D66 and VVD. It also prepared the ground for a
homogenous right-wing government consisting of the Christian Democratic CDA
and the LPF. In those elections the PVDA lost a lot of its support and the
Left Socialist party picked up some of the pieces.

The LPF, without Pim Fortuyn, rapidly disintegrated amongst a lot of
infighting. The first right-wing government was crisis ridden and gave way
to new elections were the PVDA regained some lost ground but not enough to
be able to impose a new "Purple" scenario.

Even before the killing of Pim Fortuyn we had announced that a heavy storm
was gathering over the Netherlands. We wrote in Vonk , the paper of the
Belgian Marxists in April 2002: "In the next period the unions will be in
the frontline of the fight against social and political breakdown. Social
peace will de facto come to an end. If the union leadership does not do it
the government will."

Prime Minister Balkenende knows his friends

The second option was the more realistic one. The new right-wing government,
Balkenende II, this time also joined by the "social-liberal" D66, decided to
go for a unilateral break with the polder model of consensus politics. The
capitalists were demanding a rapid movement towards a programme of counter
reforms, attacks against the welfare state and a worsening of wages and
labour conditions. This was in order to be more competitive in the harsh
conditions of the world market. Negotiations with the unions, the middle of
the road policy of giving and taking, were seen as obstacles to a swift
demolition operation. The liberal leader Bolkestein illustrated this idea by
saying, "consensus is a good thing but a good policy is even better".

The bosses and the right-wing government calculated that they would not
encounter much resistance from the unions even if they were to push then to
one side. At first the union leadership tried to cling desperately to their
role of obedient middlemen between the workers and the bosses. They accepted
a new period of wage restraint. This was grudgingly accepted by a majority
of members in a ballot. More and more self-confident as a result of those
clear signs of weakness on the part of the union leadership, the government
and the bosses increased the intensity of their attacks against the welfare
state. Their targets were the early retirement schemes (VUT, pre-pension),
the age of retirement, unemployment benefits and the disability allowances
(WAO). This led to a breakdown in negotiations in the middle of May of this
year. The union leaders of the main federations FNV, CNV and MHP faced a
fait accompli, which stunned them. They were left like fish out of water.
The leader of the 1,2 million-member FNV union, Lodewijk de Waal, confessed
after having left the negotiation table: "Now we are stuck".

Workers arise

The pressure was also increasing in the workplaces. When faced with the
question in a new ballot if the union leaders were correct to oppose the
plans of the government, 97 percent of the members voted yes. Significantly,
the participation of the members in this later ballot doubled in comparison
with the earlier one. This was a symptom of a growing awakening of important
layers of the working class.

During the summer the government continued to plan and carry out all kinds
of measures of counter-reform in other fields as well. The front against the
Balkenende government was growing. A coalition of more than 500
organisations was formed under the banner of "Turn the Tide". This was
another symptom of growing defiance. Things could not go on like they had
done before. Reluctantly the union leaders were forced to issue a plan of
action and mobilise their members. The reaction from below was overwhelming.

Working class is not

a dirty word anymore

On the September 20th the main centres of activity were paralysed in
Rotterdam as a result of a 24-hour strike. The Rotterdam docks, the biggest
port in the world, were closed. The unions had been expecting 10,000
demonstrators to turn up that day. Six times that figure turned up: 60,000
workers marched over the main bridges of the city into the centre. The town
hall was briefly occupied by firefighters. Left-wing trade unionists
organised in a committee named "Enough is enough" played an important role
in this amazing turnout. A daily paper carried the significant title "The
hammer and sickle is flying again in Rotterdam". Rotterdam used to be a
bulwark of the Communists in the past. The fighting traditions of the Dutch
workers are coming back. The left-wing FNV trade union leader, Niek Stam, of
the dockworkers answered the question why they were selling T-shirts with
the English words "working class" to support their struggle in this way:
"The term 'working class' is becoming popular. Especially when we say it in
English our young people like it". (see: )

An old bastion of the working class takes the lead

The right wing pretended that nothing had happened. But Rotterdam was
clearly a turning point and the less arrogant and obtuse ministers and
bosses started to see this. The union leaders could not believe their eyes
either. After Rotterdam other sections of the working class wanted to come
out in protest, including the police! What would the next national demo on
October 2nd bring? This was a demo on a Saturday and without a strike. The
result was even more impressive: more than a quarter of a million
demonstrated in Amsterdam (see Netherlands: Reawakening of the Dutch working
class). The character of the demo was not purely trade union but it brought
out a broader and larger layer of the working class and youth.

Pressed by the media to comment on this turnout the Minister of Finances
Zalm just said, "I wave to them". More and more workers and activists were
demanding a national 24-hour general strike as the next step. Union
membership was also undergoing important growth. The service union ABVAKABO,
for instance, has reported that the rate of growth of its membership in
September and October was ten times higher than in the same period in
previous years.

Sjaak van der Velden, a specialist in the history of strike movements in the
Netherlands puts the strikes of the autumn in perspective thus:

"Thirty years of cuts, in particular in the public services, have created a
lot of anger. The only thing was the absence of a reaction against this.
Maybe we can understand the rise of Fortuyn also in this context. In fact,
changes were already visible during the demonstrations against the invasion
of Iraq in February 2002. I also think it has something to do with the
movement after the WTO summit in Seattle in 1999 and all the other
international summits. You notice now that discontent has found a channel.
The funny thing about this is that if we believe the dominant ideology since
the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 these things should not have happened.
This makes the demonstration of October 2 more special."

The gigantic demonstration of October 2nd was followed by a plan of what was
described as "relay" strikes involving all sections of industry in stoppages
at different days over a period of a month and a half. It was not intended
to culminate in an all-industry general strike, although some unions were
pressing for such a strike on November 9th.

Crescendo of strikes

The trade union leadership also toyed with the idea of demanding a
referendum as a way of protesting against the government policy. We think
that would have been a wrong tactic, and it was clearly a way of avoiding
showing the real power of the working class in the struggle against the
government. A referendum would involve layers of society not affected by the
government measures, such as the bourgeois themselves and the middle
classes. The questions posed in such a referendum would also be limited to a
few measures on pensions and not the whole package, thus replacing the need
for a more consistent effort through strikes, demonstrations, etc. A
referendum would also not be legally binding on the government. It would not
be bound by the verdict. It would only have been consultative.

At the end the dynamic of demonstrations and strikes got the upper hand. The
first to go on strike after October 2nd were the transport workers (public
and private) on October 14th. This was also a big success. It was the
biggest turnout in this sector for fifteen years. Interestingly, activists
commented that this time in the railway stations commuters were not hostile
towards the strike. This was not the case in the past.

The readiness to mobilise has increased with every step of the movement. Two
weeks after the "mega-demo" of October 2nd a RTL4 poll on the same day of
the transport stoppage showed that 51 percent supported the public transport
strike. And seventy-one percent of the respondents were in favour of even
harder actions against the government.

Two weeks later the engineering workers downed tools. Two hundred factories
closed involving 22,000 workers. Here again it was the biggest strike in
this industry for 15 years.

There was a clear crescendo in the level of participation, the willingness
to struggle and the spread of the protest movement throughout the country.
Nevertheless, the tactic of "relay" strikes also had a dangerous side to it.
The danger was that without a clear goal of a national 24-hour general
strike involving all sectors (a demanded that was being posed by a layer of
the rank and file) this tactic would have the effect of dissipating the
energy of the workers involved.

Cracks and fissures

The biggest danger, however, was to be found in the official programme of
demands of the trade union leaders and their clear desire to use these
mobilisations in order to win back their seats at the negotiation tables of
the institutions of social partnership. Here we see how the union tops
derive their position of privileged buffer between the workers and capital.
The demands of the leaders of the union can be summarised as demanding a
"softening" of the attacks. They themselves had in fact already agreed to
the ending of the age of retirement at 60 and to other counter-reforms in
social security. What they wanted was to be able to "correct" them socially
- whatever that means - and to be able to implement them jointly with the
government and the bosses. The demands of the workers were clear: "No
dismantling of the welfare state! No to wage restraint and to the increase
in the cost of living." Workers demanded no changes to their rights to
disability allowances and early retirement, and they also demanded good
pensions and not the poverty levels the bosses are proposing.

The façade of unanimity of the government started to fissure. The CDA
especially, which has some links with the CNV union, began to grow nervous.
Forty-five CDA members of parliament demanded a more equitable social policy
on the part of the government. The liberal VVD and D'66 parties held another
opinion and continued to provoke the workers.

Splits also appeared in the ranks of the bosses. The organisation of small
and medium sized companies appealed for an agreement with the unions. The
organisation of bosses of the building industry, Cobouw, publicly criticised
the government and the bigger companies who didn't want an agreement with
the unions. A very interesting editorial ("Monomania of the government will
cost the Netherlands a lot of money") on the website of Cobouw states: "It
looks as if the VNO-NCW (general bosses' organisation) and the government
have an agenda to curtail the power of the unions. This is said to be
necessary to reduce the costs of production and to increase competitiveness.
[But] the social resistance against this cabinet is such that actions and
strikes are becoming the rule and not the exception. And this is going to
cost money." (Cobouw, October 9, 2004)

The bosses' division, although significant, does not mean that they do not
share the same interests and objectives. They would like to see the increase
of the competitiveness of Dutch industry on the back of the workers.
However, they do not agree on the method to achieve it. Some would want to
get the union leadership to be involved as a way of containing mass protests
and the cost of these. Another layer is ready to sit out the ride of the
tug-of-war with the workers and has also the necessary reserves for it which
is not the case with the smaller and medium sized companies.

Strong working class and weak leadership

The bosses and the right-wing parties had clearly underestimated the
capacity of the working class to react. They tend to gauge the mood of the
working class by the cowardice and weakness of the trade union leaders. This
vision was undoubtedly also shared by the leaders of the left parties PVDA
and SP and also by the trade union leaders, who believe that their own
conservative outlook reflects that of their members. The trade union leaders
were forced against their will to open the door slightly to mobilisation and
discontent, at the same time opening a Pandora's box of anger and protest.

The cabinet could even have been overthrown in these conditions. Sources in
government circles indicated growing fears of a cabinet crisis. "The leader
of the Christian Democratic faction in the senate, Jos Werner, predicts that
if nothing is done the cabinet will fall within three weeks." ( Trouw,
November 11, 2004)

Polls also show that the right-wing cabinet has lost popular support and
that the left PVDA, SP and Groen Links (the Greens) would have a majority if
new elections were to be called. As soon as they realised this, the bosses
and the right wing tried to open secret negotiations with the union
leaders... in the kitchen of one of the ministers! After a few weeks a deal
was struck, which made the leaders of the union very euphoric.

The deal is a bad deal: the concessions made by the government do not alter
the fundamental questions. The objectives of social counter-reforms have not
been stopped. The only real difference is that now these will be implemented
with the help of the trade union leaders. The question of wage moderation is
typical of this approach. The government, which had proposed a law in
parliament introducing a zero level for wage increases, has withdrawn it as
a result of the deal. In exchange for this "concession" the unions committed
themselves to serious efforts of self-restraint in wage demands! In other
words, the union leaders will act as the economic policeman of the bosses on
the shop floor.

It might not be as easy as they imagine. Many workers hope to "correct" the
effects of national measures by better deals at local levels. The deal is
being presented for approval at a ballot of the members in the next few
weeks. The result will be known at the beginning of December. Union leaders
have also declared that even if the members reject the proposals they would
be very hesitant to call for new strikes.

The left union activists of the 'Maat is Vol' (Enough is enough) committee
oppose the deal and are calling on the workers to participate in the union
meetings and to vote No in the ballot. They are also calling for left trade
unionists to come together and to strengthen the organised left in the

The Socialist Party (SP), a left social democratic party (formerly Maoist),
accepted the deal but warned against the continuation of the "neo-liberal
agenda" of the cabinet. The social accord "is a victory on a few fronts. But
the cabinet is still there. Its agenda has not changed and has not been
blocked. The unions have won much but they lost the first prize, and that is
the fall of the cabinet. This means that it can continue with its
anti-social agenda." (November 6, 2004). Some of its leading members who are
also active in the unions have declared they will vote against the deal. The
party as such does not reject the deal and does not call upon the union
members to oppose it during the ballot.

The PVDA "is delighted about the fact that the cabinet and the social
partners have reached a social agreement. It seems now that there will be an
end to a period of great actions, strikes and protest. The PVDA has always
called on all the parties to rapidly come to an accord in the interest of
the country and we are happy that this has happened" (from a press release
on ).

The chairman of the second biggest Christian trade union CNV, Doekle
Terpstra, who adamantly defends the deal, admitted that the members were
very critical of the agreement. He declared in the union media that "those
who think that the membership meetings are an easy ride are mistaken. The
members are very critical. The leaders of the union movement may have signed
a peace deal but the struggle over the policies of the government continues"
(November 16, 2004 on ). He adds that the members do not trust
the cabinet and are afraid of the consequences of this agreement. However,
they tend to trust the union.

The genie is out of the bottle

Whatever the result of the ballot, the genie is out of the bottle. Workers
who have been described as conservative, egocentric, as well as incapable of
solidarity and strike action have been forced out of their lethargy and have
had a taste of their own strength. This will have consequences for the
future, especially in the branch and factory negotiations in the coming
months. The weak deal, which has been presented by the trade union
leadership as the best available, will be understood not as the result of
low mobilisations or lack of solidarity but as a result of a weak

The union leaders probably think that they are back in the cosy world of the
polder model. They are wrong. Yes, they will be able to sit and wine and
dine with the ministers and the bosses again. They will not even have to pay
the bill for the restaurant! But another bill will be presented to them:
they will be asked to "convince" their members of new cuts etc., in the name
of the economy's and the country's interest. It is not guaranteed at all
that the workers will swallow this as they have done in the past. This means
that a period of questioning has opened up among the workers on what sort of
union they want and what kind of society they need in order to live better.
Reformism, which has dominated the unions and the left parties, will enter
into crisis. Reformism in the period of capitalist crisis means the opposite
of what the term pretends to be: it opens a period of counter-reforms and
not new social reforms! As there is no solution for the workers under
capitalism the best intentions turn into their opposite.

Then came another earthquake

On the last night of the secret negotiations between the unions and the
government, a new political assassination was carried out. The filmmaker
Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death by a young Dutch man of Moroccan
origin. A paper reports the reaction of the negotiators in the kitchen of
Minister Zalm: "Everybody stared at each other and realised that social
turmoil in the country must rapidly be brought to an end." ( Trouw ,
November 11, 2004).

It was worse than a political murder, it was a terrorist attack perpetrated
by a network of reactionary Muslims based in the Netherlands. The young
terrorist left a letter held to the back of Theo van Gogh with a knife,
claming his murder in the name of Allah and announcing that other public
figures would also be killed. The commotion was at its high point. Many
people said they no longer recognise their country, that it was not like it
used to be "before". There have been many "befores" and "afters" in the last
two years. "The Netherlands are not the Netherlands anymore," a banner
claimed. It goes without saying that we condemn this cowardly murder.
Furthermore, it is pointless and can actually be used in a reactionary
manner against all "immigrants".

But who was Theo van Gogh and why was he a target for reactionary Muslims?
Van Gogh was an eccentric and controversial filmmaker. He made a corrosive
short film - together with the Liberal MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali who fled Kenya to
escape a forced wedding - titled Submission , which dealt with domestic
violence against women in Muslim families. Van Gogh was not the type of
person the media have presented him as. He was not a "soldier of free
speech". As a fan of Pim Fortuyn, he was known for his brutal intolerance
when faced with criticism and did not hesitate to resort to vulgar insults
against Muslims as well as Jews. He wrote such disgusting comments as: "I
can smell caramel; today they must be burning Jews with diabetes." He
despised Muslims whom he did not hesitate to describe as "the fifth column
of goatfuckers". And the lazy "intellectual elite" adored his attacks
against minorities. The fact that these so-called intellecetuals have fallen
to these levels is a symptom of decadence at the top of society.

Religious and racial tensions

The struggle against the influence of reactionary religious prejudices among
some layers of the Arab immigrants, such as the oppression of women cannot
be combated in this way. Above all it certainly cannot be left to people
like Van Gogh or to the government. It can only be done by a joint struggle
of male and female workers as part of the struggle for social emancipation,
that is a struggle for socialism. The method of Van Gogh is that of opposing
one "civilisation" against the other, completely in Samuel Huttington's
style. In doing this he and his apologists conveniently forget that in
"Western Christian civilisation" the most dangerous place for women (apart
from the workplace) is the family , where more women are raped, injured,
terrorised and murdered than in the street!

We condemn this murder, of course. Like all acts of individual terrorism it
plays into the hands of reaction. In this case it has provoked a racist
backlash and it has given the state the necessary consent from the
population to strengthen repressive laws, social control and its attacks
against democratic rights. In a tit-for-tat reaction, more than twenty
mosques, churches and religious schools have been attacked and some of them
have beeb destroyed in fires. This is the work of a very small minority of
young people, often from extreme right-wing groups. In different cities
Christian and Muslim workers have formed all-night vigils to protect the
mosques from being attacked, as was the case in Lelystad. Young immigrants
have been attacked on the streets and the whole of the Muslim community has
been stigmatised as harbouring potential Osama bin Ladens.

Some ministers of the government have even shouted about a "war situation"
in the Netherlands. A climate of anti-Muslim hysteria is being cultivated.
It is clear that the right wing wants the memory of the joint struggle of
Dutch and immigrant workers and families against them to be erased. This
experience is the only real antidote against racism and religious tension in
the country, not the moralistic appeals "against all extremes" or "for

Mass psychology in times of crisis

The reaction of the population in the Netherlands to this murder also
teaches us something about the psyche of the masses. In the last two and
half years we have witnessed wild shifts in moods. This has been expressed
at the polls, in strikes, and on demonstrations, etc. There have been shifts
from the left to the right and then back again. Left wing and right wing
ideas coexist in the same heads at the same moment. During a referendum in
2002 in Rotterdam on the privatisation of public transport the strongest
'No' vote came from areas where Pim Fortuyn received a lot of support.
Accidental figures like Pim Fortuyn can indeed function as catalysts. Two
political assassinations in two years indicate that this society has entered
a new period of storm and stress as never before.

Confusion, anger, stupefaction and doubts are very common feelings today. We
need a dialectical and a materialist approach to these changes in
consciousness. Some left-wing people are seduced into believing that all
these swings in moods show how irrationally people think. However, that
would be showing a complete ignorance of how consciousness changes. Events
are what determine the thoughts of people. The wild mood swings demonstrate
that even the "peaceful Netherlands" have entered one of the most convulsive
periods in history.

The mass of the population have been tormented as never before during the
last period, with fear of Islamic terrorism, the war in Afghanistan and
Iraq. Added to this is the more imminent fear of social insecurity, job
losses, disappearing incomes, etc. Old certainties are crumbling; points of
reference that seemed solid are becoming more fluid; people feel lost. This
makes people vulnerable to rapid shifts in mood. The dominant ideology in
the Netherlands, the ideology of compromise and having a sense of
proportion, is breaking down. This will be an important factor in the
political devlopments of the years to come. People, not only workers, but
young people and also the middle classes, are realising that things are much
tougher here in the Netherlands than what they thought.

Class society rears its ugly head again in the Netherlands

A similar dynamic affects Muslim youth to one degree or another. Immigrant
workers are still the most oppressed layer of society. They face racism,
joblessness, victimisation, etc. Add to this a profound feeling of
humiliation as a result of developments in the Middle East and one can begin
to understand the alienation and radicalisation of some layers of immigrant

It is only a very small layer among them that is willing to accept
fundamentalist rhetoric and an even smaller layer that is ready to engage in
terrorist attacks. The racist backlash is strengthening this layer.

United struggle is the only way forward

This new situation has temporarily and partially cut across the class
struggle, but only for a while. The Dutch workers have great traditions of
militant struggle and of internationalist actions, such as the struggle
against the imperialist domination of Indonesia. The bourgeois also have
some traditions and stubborn habits which most of the Dutch people have
forgotten about. But now they will start to remember. They have already
realized that the Dutch bosses are the same as in any other country.

When Pim Fortuyn was killed, the serving Prime Minister Kok commented that
in the Netherlands "we have a tradition of sorting out our differences with
words and not with bullets". Ask the peasants of Bali, Aceh, Java and the
Molucca what they think about the "traditions" of the Dutch bourgeois. You
just need to (re)read Max Havelaar to know what the colonial masses went
through under Dutch domination.

Those methods of repression and brutal social relations were also practised
against native Dutch workers. Remember that in the 1980s the struggle for
decent housing was repressed by the police. The forces of law and order
intervened during the dockers' strike in the 1970s and even in more recent

Dutch workers and young people, immigrant or native, are realising that the
"humane and tolerant Netherlands" they imagined is not so humane anymore. It
is ridden with all kinds of tensions and divisions, exploited by a rapacious
bourgeois class, justified by a decadent intellectual elite, and without an
alternative coming from the left parties like the PVDA and the SP. Genuinely
"humane" solutions can only come from the working class in the struggle for
socialism. In fact, the program of socialism is the only realistic solution.
What is utopian is not the idea that the struggle for socialism is possible
in the Netherlands. What is utopian is the idea that we can return to the
old polder model. That is dead and buried. Instead of looking backwards, we
must look forward.

Over the last ten years many left leaders have abandoned the ideas of
socialism, they have thrown away their copies of Marx and embraced
capitalism as the only "realistic" system. This was compunded by many years
of so-called social peace. The chain of events of the last two and a half
years demonstrate how fragile that social peace was. The real situation has
now become apparent and this will undoubtedly help young people, students
and workers to seek an alternative to this rotten system. In doing this they
will rediscover the beauty and humanity of genuine socialist ideas.

November 23, 2004

See also:

The Netherlands: Reawakening of the Dutch working class by Erik Demeester.
(October 4, 2004)

The Netherlands: Set on a stormy course by Erik Demeester (May 22, 2002)

After the French and Dutch Elections - Is there a threat of Fascism in
Europe? by Alan Woods. (May 20, 2002)


10) Alert! Fed Massive Raid and Arrest Chinese Restaurant

Workers Across U.S.!

National Immigrant Solidarity Network Urgent Updates

November 23, 2004


Last week on Texas and New York state, Federal agency raided several Chinese
restaurants, detained and arrested over 100 restaurant workers and owners,
charging them "conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens," "illegally employing
unauthorized aliens," and "conspiracy to commit money laundering." U.S.
Attorney said they will deport the undocumented workers back to China along
with the restaurant owners for hiring them.

It created a huge community outrage across the Chinese American community,
and the Chinese consulate in Texas had voiced protests about Fed's roundup
of restaurant workers. Almost on the same time, in the separate case, a
Chinese restaurant owner in North Dakota had sentenced for trafficking and
hiring undocumented workers and will go to four months prison and will face

As Yang Chenqi, an attorney with the Chinese consulate in Houston, said
"Immigration officials said they were victims of slave labor," Yang said,
"but from the interviews (with restaurant workers) they are victims of the
U.S. government." Because I never saw any white European sweatshop owners
(Like: Wal-Mart) had been arrested & jailed for hiring undocumented
immigrants, and faced deported .

This not a justice but a racism! The story had absolutely missing from the
major corporate media, sadly it was not event covered on left progressive
media--where's the American labor, student, human rights activists?

Lee Siu Hin

National Immigrant Solidarity Network

**Complete News Coverage**

Chinese consulate protests roundup of restaurant workers

By CHRIS ROBERTS - Associated Press

EL PASO, Texas - A Chinese consulate official said Tuesday that the office
is looking into the treatment of about 50 Chinese nationals who were
questioned by immigration officials last week in what appears to be a human
trafficking case.

Grand Forks restaurant owner sentenced for trafficking

By Stephen J. Lee - Grand Forks Herald (Grand Forks, N.D.)

FARGO - A Grand Forks restaurant owner was sentenced Friday in federal court
here to four months in prison on charges of human trafficking, according to
assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Chase.

Feds raid Chinese eateries

By Robert Cristo - Tory Record (Troy, N.Y.)

Federal authorities swooped in on a popular Colonie Chinese restaurant/motel
and other local eateries and apartments in Albany and Rensselaer counties
Monday and apprehended dozens of suspects on various immigration, money
laundering and conspiracy charges.

9 charged in restaurant raids

By BRUCE A. SCRUTON - Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)

ALBANY -- Five people were charged Thursday with using illegal immigrants in
their chain of upstate Chinese buffet restaurants and putting nearly $2
million in a variety of bank accounts trying to hide the profits. Four
others were charged with driving the workers to and from the restaurants.

Local Chinese buffet under federal investigation

By Jonathan Ment - Daily Freeman (Kingston, N.Y.)

TOWN OF ULSTER - A local Chinese restaurant, Dragon Cheng Buffet,
also-known-as Dragon Buffet, is under investigation by federal authorities,
along with several other upstate Chinese buffet restaurants.

Five restaurant owners charged in immigration sting

By The Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Five owners of Chinese buffet restaurants in upstate New
York were charged Thursday with hiring illegal aliens from China and Mexico
and with setting up fake bank accounts to launder the business' illegal
proceeds, police said.

For the complete immigrant news updates, please visit:

National Immigrant Solidarity Network

No Immigrant Bashing! Support Immigrant Rights!


New York: (212)330-8172

Los Angeles: (213)403-0131

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This is a great idea and I hope it's one whose time and come. Every one of

the demands are supportable and show serious thought about the conditions of

defendants ("guilty" or "innocent"), prisoners, and "ex-felons." And this is

one Million ----- March where a turnout of five or ten thousand would be a

clear cut and big victory and mark an unmistakable advance for the working

class in the US and worldwide! On to the Million -- or whatever -- Con

March! Fred Feldman

Million Con March

Michael D. Harris, #172430, president of Local Chapter 1020 of the National

Lifers of America in the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, has a

specific program of demands to address the U.S. prison crisis, an element

missing from the Nov. 16 conference on prisons at the Detroit Opera House.

He is calling for a "Million Con March" to be held in Washington, D.C. June

25, 2005 to support these demands:

- Pardons for falsely-convicted persons in every state.

- Pardons and sentence commutations for non-parolable lifers who have

rehabilitated themselves, after serving a maximum of 25 years.

- Paroles for parolable lifers who have rehabilitated themselves after 15


- Pardons and commutations for battered women serving time for killing their


- Medical commutations and paroles for chronically and terminally ill


- Legislation permitting persons over 60 who have served one-third of their

sentence to apply for early release.

- Exempt juveniles from life sentencing.

- Federal criminal sanctions against law enforcement officials who use false

evidence, police perjury and corruption to obtain convictions.

- Federal public hearings on falsification of forensic reports and lab


- Reinstatement of funding for Corrections Ombudsmen in every state.

- State reductions in spending for any county failing to racially diversify

their jury polls to reflect the population and the defendant's ethnicity.

- End to mandatory minimum sentencing.

- End to "three strikes" laws.

- End to the Patriot Act.

- Voting Rights for all ex-felons across the country.

- Educational and vocational trade programs for current prisoners.

He is asking those who would like to help organize such a march to contact:

Juanita Dixon 101 Mitchell St. Jackson, MI 48203 Phone 517-787-5197

Betty Harris,c/o Doris Gates 2221 Baker St. Muskegon, Mi.

Deshon Harris, 3501 E. 42nd Ave. #307, Anchorage, Alaska

Kevin Carey, c/o 313-831-0750