Thursday, January 06, 2005



19) The Pentagon says that more than 10,000 US military personnel
have been wounded in Iraq since the conflict began in March 2003.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/01/05 10:33:34 GMT

20) Ramsey Clark: Why I'm Taking
Saddam's Case
By Lizzy Ratner

21) Iraqi Resistance speech on videotape December 13 2004
GISpecial 3A5

22) The victims of the tsunami pay the price
of war on Iraq
US and British aid is dwarfed by the billions
both spend on slaughter
George Monbiot
Tuesday January 4, 2005

23) National Task Force for Mumia Abu-Jamal
Legal Update - December 11, 2004 meeting in New York City
(Reviewed by Attorney Robert R. Bryan)

24) U.S. Copters Speed Pace of Aid for Indonesia Refugees

25) IRAQ: Death in Fallujah rising, doctors say
04 Jan 2005 14:56:16 GMT
Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks

26) The best kept media secret of the week is that the
greatest devastation and death occurred and is occurring
in Indonesia's Aceh province.

27) War Resisters Go North
By Alisa Solomon, The Nation
Posted on December 22, 2004, Printed on January 3, 2005

28) War Resisters Go North
By Alisa Solomon, The Nation
Posted on December 22, 2004, Printed on January 3, 2005

29) Iraq War is Bad for Business
By Jim Lobe
Peace and Justice News from FPIF

January 4, 2005
Introducing a new commentary from Foreign Policy In Focus

30) The Numbers Beyond the Bling
In the streets of America, people are worse off,
and more of them are in jail
By Ward Harkavy
January 4th, 2005 3:26 PM

31) Powell declares tsunami aid part of
global war on terror
Imperialism in Samaritan's clothing
By Bill Van Auken
World Socialist Web Site
6 January 2005

32) Israel's "Days of Penitence" Drown Gaza In a Sea Of Blood
By Mohammed Omer
Washington Report , December 2004, pages 10-12


19) US Wounded in Iraq Reaches 10,000
The Pentagon says that more than 10,000 US military
personnel have been wounded in Iraq since the conflict began in
March 2003.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/01/05 10:33:34 GMT

Newly published figures show that more than 5,000 of the wounded
have been unable to return to duty.

Many have been left with serious injuries such as lost limbs and sight,
mostly as a result of the blast effects of roadside bombs.

More than 1,300 US troops have been killed.

The latest figures underline that an equally telling price is being paid
in the number of US soldiers being wounded there, says the BBC's
Pentagon correspondent Nick Childs.

Advances in military medicine and body armour mean that many
have survived wounds that they would not have done in previous

In Iraq on Wednesday, a car bomb killed two Iraqi civilians and
wounded 10 others in Baghdad.

Police say the bomb exploded near a petrol station in the western
district of Amiriyah.

The explosion came a day after gunmen assassinated the governor
of Baghdad province, and in a separate attack killed at least
10 people outside the headquarters of the Iraqi National Guard.



21) Ramsey Clark: Why I'm Taking
Saddam's Case
By Lizzy Ratner

"You can't be sure of how the trial will go," said longtime Manhattan
civil-rights attorney Ramsey Clark, wagging a long, slender forefinger.
"But you could say that if it's properly done, it will be the biggest trial
of this century."

Mr. Clark was talking about the trial of Saddam Hussein, whom he
recently signed on to represent before a special tribunal in Baghdad.
For the man who has represented Leonard Peltier, the Harrisburg Seven
and the Attica Brothers, but also prosecuted war resisters in the Johnson
administration-indeed, for the man who, as a young Marine Corps
courier, witnessed the Nuremberg trials after World War II-calling it
the "trial of the century" was no small thing.

Ramsey Clark was in his office, in a loft on East 12th Street in the
East Village, speaking like a law professor across a large slab of
a wooden table. He'd just returned a few days before from a visit
to Jordan, where he met with other members of Mr. Hussein's legal
team as well as the families of both Mr. Hussein and former Iraqi
Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. In the room hung an Salvadoran
solidarity poster and a painting by Mr. Peltier. The painting is of
an old Native American woman with a single tear running down
her cheek; it's called Big Lady Mountain .

By Mr. Clark's own telling, his interest in representing the deposed
Iraqi leader was inflamed when media reports started coming in of
Mr. Hussein's arrest in a spider-hole hideout in the desert. He said
he was "shocked" by the images he saw.

"The savage presentation of [Mr. Hussein], disheveled, with his
mouth open, people probing in his mouth, the dehumanization,"
he said. "I represented Indian peoples for many years, and I can't
tell you how many Indians I've worked with called after they saw the
picture and said, 'That's exactly the way they treated us.' And this is
hardly the road to peace if you want respect for human dignity.

"I wrote to him a year ago in December, shortly after he was arrested,"
he continued. "I'd also written to Tariq Aziz right after he turned
himself in April of '03, because I thought it was essential that they
have independent contact immediately to assure their proper
treatment. And I was repeatedly turned down as to both.

"I did it because, obviously, these cases are extremely important
in terms of history and in terms of reconciliation of peoples, and in
terms of belief in truth and justice as a priority over force and
violence," Mr. Clark said. "It's about addressing the concept of
victor's justice, which is only the exercise of power. If you really
want peace, you have to satisfy people about the honor of your

Mr. Clark has not been able to meet with Mr. Hussein since he
sent his letter.

"There has not been anything approaching adequate contact
with him," he said. "None of his family has seen him; only one
lawyer has seen him, and that was in the first half of December-
a full year after his arrest. It was by a single person, with soldiers
standing by, hearing, with whatever other type of surveillance
there might have been.

"And there's not adequate contact with that lawyer, who's an
Iraqi. So for a defense to be developed, there has to be extensive
communication with the principal person whose life it involves.

"He is a decisive, knowledgeable person," Mr. Clark said, "and has
to play a major role in every aspect of choosing a defense team
and preparing a defense. The lack of access to him is a major
violation. Our Supreme Court has thrown cases out where a person
wasn't given access to independent non-police parties within
48 hours of arrest, within less than 12 hours. Here you've got
12 months. That sounds technical, but it's not technical at all-it's
the essential beginning."

It's not that he's never met Mr. Hussein.

Mr. Clark's history with the former Iraqi leader dates back to the
first Gulf War, when Mr. Clark traveled to Iraq to protest the U.S
.-led coalition's bombing campaign. He spent 14 days chronicling
the destruction and later defied sanctions by returning on dozens
of aid missions. He met with Mr. Hussein on at least four of these
occasions, including a month-long visit just before the March
2003 invasion.

"I've met with him I think four times, probably averaged two to
three hours at a time," he said. "In presence he is reserved, quiet,
thoughtful-dignified, you might say, in the old-fashioned sense.
I'm not a big fan of dignity in the old-fashioned sense of stuffiness
or posture."

Could he see how that might be praising with faint damnation
a man who is said to have ordered the deaths of some 300,000
of his own citizens?

"I have long believed that one of the greatest barriers to peace is
demonization," Mr. Clark said. "It has always been necessary in
war for soldiers to demonize the enemy. Now, with the mass media
saturating the public with perceptions that come from very slim
contact with actuality and are heavily influenced by desire and
prejudice, we demonize."

And if other lawyers might blanch at the argument that it was the
American media who demonized Saddam-wasn't he something of
a demon to begin with? If it were a simple referendum on
Mr. Hussein's treatment of the Kurds or political dissidents, who
could possibly represent him in good faith? But what if the trial
of Saddam Hussein is really a referendum on the American
campaign in Iraq?

"Demonization is the most dangerous form of prejudice,"
Mr. Clark continued. "Once you call something evil, it's easy to
justify anything you might do to harm that evil. Evil has no
rights, it has no human dignity, it has to be destroyed. That's
how you get your Fallujas, your Abu Ghraibs, your shock-

And, like many civil-rights lawyers, Mr. Clark believes he's
representing a client in a court that is fundamentally flawed.

"A tribunal that doesn't meet the standards of international law
can do enormous harm. International law requires first that
a tribunal be created by legal authority, by pre-existing legal
authority," he argued. "That's referred to as competence. After
competence comes independence-it can't be subject to political
power. And finally, it has to be impartial. If it's not impartial, what's
the point? Why don't you just go ahead and say 'Hang him' instead
of this ruse?

"Now, the present Iraqi court meets none of those standards.
It was a creation of the U.S. military occupation, the so-called
governing council, which was appointed by the U.S. And who becomes
the first judge of the court? Chalabi's nephew. I mean, suppose he's
the most honorable person in the world, this nephew? Is it really
conceivable that that's the person that ought to be judge in a world
as big as this? So you don't have independence, because everything
depends on what the U.S. does for the court: financing, training,
selection and everything else. You don't have competence, because
it's not legal. And you don't have impartiality, as far as can be told
from the appearance.

"The only existing court that is competent and independent and
impartial is the International Criminal Court, which came into
existence July 1, 2002. It's a court the U.S. opposed. It's a court
the U.S. tragically weakened, but it's been approved by more than
120 countries.

"The judges were appointed not by the U.S., but the Iraqis, and after
the new government comes to power, they will have to be reconfirmed,"
said Michael Scharf, a human-rights lawyer at Case Western Reserve
who has helped train Iraqi judges, when Mr. Clark's claims were put
before him. "Not only that: The judges who I work with are extremely
independent people. They have no particular love for the United States.
These are people who were chosen for their expertise and independence."

Mr. Clark is 77 years old, stooped and slender. He was wearing New
Balance sneakers and a worn blue button-down shirt tucked into
a pair of wool or polyester pants that might have dated from his early
political career. He has wide-set eyes, a bit like a crawfish. And to
many, his movements are just as mysterious-sideways, quirky,

"Ramsey is a mystery," said Melvin Wulf, an old colleague who shared
a law practice with Mr. Clark during the late 1970's and early 1980's,
in an earlier interview. "I saw him every day, but I didn't know him any
better at the end of five years than I knew him on the first day. He plays
himself very close to the vest, consults with no one except for himself."

Outside the room, the office manager, Ben Cheney, brother of the slain
civil-rights activist, typed at a keyboard. A few unlikely magazines-
The New Yorker ,Gourmet ,Opera News -sat in a stack in the waiting
room for visitors. Like some small-town doctor's office, there were no
visitors and the office was quiet-nothing that would suggest that this
was the home away from home of one of the most controversial
attorneys in the United States.

It all started in the last hoary week of 2004, when Mr. Clark jetted
over to Jordan for a conference with 20 or so other attorneys on
Dec. 28 to start forming their strategy.

Reaction to Mr. Clark's trip was swift and certain across the political
spectrum. On the right, bloggers for Web sites like RightNation
declared that he should be "tried for sedition and treason." The New
York Sun accused him of losing all "credibility when it comes to
claiming to be for peace." Even some of his left-wing comrades
rolled their eyes when they heard that he'd signed on to represent
a man who had allegedly ordered 300,000 political killings.

"I do think that Saddam, like anybody else, does have a right to
a fair trial and a competent lawyer. I'm just not sure why Ramsey
Clark needs to do that," said Leslie Cagan, a longtime peace and
justice activist. "Personally, I wish he didn't do some of those things,
because he is one of the few public well-known leftists in this
country, and it does make our work harder sometimes."

Conservatives loathe Mr. Clark, but even staunch progressives
don't always know what to make of him, and some of his closest
friends say he can't be easily defined: Is he a valiant "dissenter"
in the tradition of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, as
his friend Victor Navasky suggested? Or is he an old ideologue,
as others have charged, who is driven above all by his ties to
a Communist splinter group called the Workers World Party? Is
he a profile in courage, or a study in eccentricity?

Perhaps predictably, Mr. Clark presents himself as neither. A rangy
Texan with a down-home Southern drawl, he seems to move to
his own unapologetic drumbeat.

He is not without supporters, including some colleagues who
argued that Mr. Clark will provide Mr. Hussein with a competent
defense, a necessary component of a fair trial.

"[Mr. Clark] has a very good point: The international legal issues
are compelling in some ways," said Alan Dershowitz, who has
worked both with and against Mr. Clark on a number of cases.
"I think it has to be perceived as a fair trial, and Ramsey's being
involved increases the chances that it will be perceived as a fair
trial, because he is a very good lawyer-very smart and very tough."

Mr. Clark is used to being in the center of the storm. Over the years,
he has become a fixture of national and international crime scenes,
taking on the kind of thorny cases that have earned him
comparisons to the crusading civil-liberties lawyer Clarence
Darrow on the one hand-and to Benedict Arnold on the other.

"I think he seems to have some kind of inner compass that tells
him that this situation is unfair, and because of that we have to
get involved in it," said Abdeen Jabara, an old friend and lawyer
who formerly ran the Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
"I don't think I've ever met anybody who is as principled in
his beliefs to fight for the underdog."

Long before he joined Saddam Hussein's defense team, before
he became the mascot of the anti-Establishment, Ramsey Clark
was himself a pedigreed member of the political elite. Born into
an influential Texas family, he came from a long line of lawyers
who moved effortlessly within the highest levels of law and
government. His maternal grandfather was a member of the
Texas Supreme Court; his paternal grandfather was president of
the Texas Bar Association. His father, Tom C. Clark, was a law-
and-order lawyer with close ties to Lyndon B. Johnson. At
Mr. Johnson's urging, President Harry S. Truman named the elder
Mr. Clark his Attorney General in 1945. Four years later,
Mr. Truman appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Early in his life, the young Ramsey rebelled at least twice against
these Clark family precedents. He tried to join the Marines when
he was 13, on Dec. 8, 1941, "and it probably would have been
pretty dangerous," he laughed.

"As far as I can tell, I've always had a fierce opposition to violence,"
he said. "I can remember when I was in fifth or sixth grade, the
subject of capital punishment came up. And I was shy and quiet
and rarely said much, but I really got upset and I just was
passionately against it."

But when he was 17, he did drop out of high school-against
his father's wishes-to join the Marine Corps and fight in World
War II.

Several years later, he defied his father again when he chose to
go to the more progressive-minded University of Chicago Law
School rather than Harvard Law.

Following law school, Mr. Clark headed back to Texas and
appeared, at least on the surface, to return to the path his father
and grandfathers had carved out before him. He married his
college sweetheart, Georgia Welch, and went to work for the
family's Dallas law firm. He stayed there for 10 years, specializing
in antitrust work, until, in 1961, President John F. Kennedy made
him an Assistant Attorney General in brother Robert Kennedy's
Justice Department.

Mr. Clark arrived in Washington as the Justice Department was
taking on a bigger role in enforcing civil rights.

He roved the South as part of Robert Kennedy's "riot squad" and
ultimately helped to draft the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965
Voting Rights Act.

"I went in '61, and because I was from Texas I could pass, so I was
used extensively in the South," he said. "I was in charge of
supervising the desegregation of all public schools in '62 in the
South. There were only five, but it was a big job-doing just one
of them was a big job. You had to worry about children being
beat up, their homes being firebombed. It seemed incredibly
important, exciting and a privilege to be involved in that."

His outspokenness and sharp positions-from his support of
civil rights to his opposition to wire-tapping and the death
penalty-ultimately earned him the nickname "the Preacher"
among his Justice Department colleagues.

"[Ramsey Clark] was liberal, though he was much more restrained
than he is today," recalled Nicholas Katzenbach, who worked
alongside Mr. Clark for some six years, first as Deputy Attorney
General and then as Attorney General. "Still, I think he was far
more liberal than his dad."

Indeed, Mr. Clark bumped squarely against his father's own, more
conservative legal judgments several times during his years in the
Justice Department. Most notably, when Johnson appointed him
Attorney General in 1967, one of his first steps was to drop the
case against Judith Coplon, a Justice Department clerk who had
been charged during the early McCarthy days with passing secrets
to her Soviet lover. Mr. Clark's father had brought the case when
he was Attorney General.

"It seemed to me a quite fascinating thing to do," said Mr. Navasky,
who became close friends with Mr. Clark in the late 1960's while
writing the book Kennedy Justice . "Ramsey was appointed under
the cloud that he got the job [of Attorney General] because his
family was Texas buddies of the Johnson family. But I came to
the conclusion, both from my interviews and what he did in the
Justice Department, that he was a kind of civil-libertarian Attorney
General, which is very unusual."

This civil-libertarian streak didn't always go over well in the
Johnson cabinet, however. During his two years as Attorney
General, Mr. Clark found himself at odds with the administration
over everything from wire-tapping to prison reform to the
Vietnam War.

"President Johnson knew I [opposed the war in Vietnam] before
he appointed me Attorney General," Mr. Clark said. "And he didn't
put me on the National Security Council, which every Attorney
General before me had been on and every Attorney General since
me had been on. He would call me over once in a while to some
meeting on the war when he wanted an extreme position, and
I remember one breakfast, the question was whether to bomb
north of a famous parallel, I can't remember which one. And the
guys were arguing "yes-no-yes-no" as to whether you could
bomb north of the line, and when it came to me I said, 'I don't
think you can bomb on either side of the line.' Because bombing
is just killing people, and you didn't know who the hell you
were killing-you were killing civilians. It was just a shameful,
sick thing."

When Richard Nixon denounced Mr. Clark in a campaign speech
in 1968, Johnson reportedly deadpanned, "I had to sit on my
hands so I wouldn't cheer it."

But Mr. Clark said his relationship with Johnson was friendly.

"I never had any real conflict with him. But he [did] say to me
one time, 'Some people think you're destroying the Democratic
Party.' And I said, 'I'm not even in politics, I'm just doing the law.'"

Mr. Clark never spoke out publicly against the administration,
and he never resigned, despite his apparent misgivings about

"You know, I had a choice of resigning," Mr. Clark recalled, "and
it's something I considered-it's something I thought was
important and respected. But I also thought what I was doing
was important-was more important in the sense of its direct
impact on lives. And I saw an environment around me in which
everything I had been trying to do would be swept away. I already
felt that the civil-rights movement after the Watts riots in '65 was
in deep trouble. So I couldn't see giving up on that. And I had no
role in the Vietnam business, because I wasn't even on the
Security Council."

Some of Mr. Clark's colleagues have suggested that he is still
doing penance for this period of his life-in particular, for
prosecuting war resisters like Dr. Benjamin Spock, the Reverend
William Sloane Coffin and boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

"Standing by, being Attorney General during the Vietnam War
without resigning, is not a particularly heroic position to have
taken," said his old colleague, Mr. Wulf. "I sometimes speculate-
and this is absolute speculation-that what he's doing is a kind of
atonement for having been Attorney General for Lyndon Johnson
at the time of the Vietnam War, and for having in fact initiated the
indictment against Dr. Spock and the others."

As in most cases, Mr. Clark was as unapologetic about his
indictment of Spock as he has since become about his Johnson
administration apostasy.

"I personally authorized the case against William Sloane Coffin,
who came down to marry our son a few years later. I visited him
and stayed in his home in '69, at Yale. Dr. Spock I became very
close friends with. And I really haven't had regrets about the case.
I think the government has the duty to protect laws that it believes
are constitutional, and I believe the Selective Service Act was

Still, there's no question that Mr. Clark veered sharply leftward
after his Johnson years. Beginning in the early 1970's, Mr. Clark
took a string of headline-grabbing "movement" cases, amassing
a docket that read like a Who's Who of the decade's radicals and
revolutionaries. In 1973, he defended the Harrisburg Seven,
a group of peace activists who were accused, among other
things, of plotting to kidnap Henry Kissinger. One year later,
he joined famed radical lawyer William Kunstler in representing
two of the Attica Brothers who had been accused of killing
a prison guard. Around the same time, he also launched an
upstart campaign for U.S. Senate against New York Republican
Jacob Javits. (At the state Democratic convention in 1974,
Frank Serpico nominated him and Attica Brother Herbert X.
Blyden seconded it.) Running as a Democrat, he argued for a
50 percent cut in the defense budget and refused to take
contributions above $100. Mr. Navasky managed the operation.

During the next two decades, Mr. Clark began taking on clients
who hovered further and further on the political fringes, clients
who were not merely controversial but downright incendiary. He
often framed these cases in the old language of civil rights, but
these clients were hardly left-wing "cause" clients in the
traditional sense (though there were some of those as well).
For instance, he took on the case of Karl Linnas, an alleged
former Nazi. And he defended-and supposedly befriended-
Lyndon LaRouche, the political-cult guru. In the early 1990's,
Mr. Clark represented Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb general
who was indicted on war crimes. More recently, he gave legal
advice to Slobodon Milosevic, the former Yugoslavian president
who was also charged with war crimes. Now, of course, there's
Saddam Hussein.

Taken together, these clients make up quite a rogues' gallery,
and some of Mr. Clark's friends and colleagues have been almost
as confounded by his legal choices as his critics. To help explain,
they have dreamed up a raft of different theories. On the one side
are those who believe that Mr. Clark is, above all, a civil libertarian
in the Clarence Darrow tradition. To these friends, he is a hero,
albeit at times an eccentric one.

"He's represented a lot of bad guys. I would say bad guys are
entitled to a lawyer. Dracula should have a lawyer, but it's not
going to be me," said Michael Steven Smith, a New York City
attorney and author. "It's probably not a position taken by most
movement lawyers, but it's still a principled position."

But other friends and colleagues have said they suspect he is
driven primarily by ideology, and not just the standard lefty

"I support many of the causes he supports, but I also vehemently
disagree with some of the choices he's made, because I perceive
him as thinking that any enemy of the United States is a friend of
his, and I think that leads him into representing people he should
not," said Beth Stevens, an attorney who represented a group of
Bosnian Muslim women who sued Mr. Karadzic in 1993.

And yet for a man who sticks to certain basic principles of justice,
even when the circumstances of the world seem to be pressing
their defense to the point of absurdity, Mr. Clark had a deceptively
simple answer for the choices he's made.

"You know, we tend to demean here the idea that you're innocent
until proven guilty, and most people are going to chuckle when
you say that in connection with a case like Saddam Hussein," said
Mr. Clark, responding to his critics. "But the main meaning is that
truth is hard to find. You don't really know, you have to search for
it-you have to inquire diligently, be very skeptical."

You may reach Lizzy Ratner via email at: .


21) Iraqi Resistance speech on videotape December 13 2004
GISpecial 3A5

A Message From The Iraq Resistance

Islamic Jihad Army - A message in English

"We are simple people who chose principles over fear."

Propaganda or disinformation? You decide.

Iraqi Resistance speech on videotape December 13 2004

Title: Communiqué Number 6

The media platoon of the Islamic Jihad Army. On the 27th of Shawal
1425h. 10 December 2004

People of the world! These words come to you from those who up to the
day of the invasion were struggling to survive under the sanctions
imposed by the criminal regimes of the U.S. and Britain .

We are simple people who chose principles over fear.

We have suffered crimes and sanctions, which we consider the true
weapons of mass destruction.

Years and years of agony and despair, while the condemned UN traded with
our oil revenues in the name of world stability and peace.

Over two million innocents died waiting for a light at the end of a
tunnel that only ended with the occupation of our country and the theft
of our resources.

After the crimes of the administrations of the U.S. and Britain in Iraq
, we have chosen our future. The future of every resistance struggle
ever in the history of man.

It is our duty, as well as our right, to fight back the occupying
forces, which their nations will be held morally and economically
responsible; for what their elected governments have destroyed and
stolen from our land.

We have not crossed the oceans and seas to occupy Britain or the U.S.
nor are we responsible for 9/11. These are only a few of the lies that
these criminals present to cover their true plans for the control of the
energy resources of the world, in face of a growing China and a strong
unified Europe . It is Ironic that the Iraqi's are to bear the full face
of this large and growing conflict on behalf of the rest of this
sleeping world.

We thank all those, including those of Britain and the U.S. , who took
to the streets in protest against this war and against Globalism. We
also thank France , Germany and other states for their position, which
least to say are considered wise and balanced, til now.

Today, we call on you again.

We do not require arms or fighters, for we have plenty.

We ask you to form a world wide front against war and sanctions. A
front that is governed by the wise and knowing. A front that will bring
reform and order. New institutions that would replace the now corrupt.

Stop using the U.S. dollar, use the Euro or a basket of currencies.
Reduce or halt your consumption of British and U.S. products. Put an
end to Zionism before it ends the world. Educate those in doubt of the
true nature of this conflict and do not believe their media for their
casualties are far higher than they admit.

We only wish we had more cameras to show the world their true defeat.

The enemy is on the run. They are in fear of a resistance movement they
can not see nor predict.

We, now choose when, where, and how to strike. And as our ancestors
drew the first sparks of civilization, we will redefine the word

Today we write a new chapter in the arts of urban warfare.

Know that by helping the Iraqi people you are helping yourselves, for
tomorrow may bring the same destruction to you.

In helping the Iraqi people does not mean dealing for the Americans for
a few contracts here and there. You must continue to isolate their

This conflict is no longer considered a localized war. Nor can the
world remain hostage to the never-ending and regenerated fear that the
American people suffer from in general.

We will pin them here in Iraq to drain their resources, manpower, and
their will to fight. We will make them spend as much as they steal, if
not more.

We will disrupt, then halt the flow of our stolen oil, thus, rendering
their plans useless.

And the earlier a movement is born, the earlier their fall will be.

And to the American soldiers we say, you can also choose to fight
tyranny with us. Lay down your weapons, and seek refuge in our mosques,
churches and homes. We will protect you. And we will get you out of Iraq
, as we have done with a few others before you.

Go back to your homes, families, and loved ones. This is not your war.
Nor are you fighting for a true cause in Iraq .

And to George W. Bush, we say, “You have asked us to ‘Bring it on’, and
so have we. Like never expected. Have you another challenge?”

Marxism mailing list


22) The victims of the tsunami pay the price
of war on Iraq
US and British aid is dwarfed by the billions
both spend on slaughter
George Monbiot
Tuesday January 4, 2005,,1382857,00.html

There has never been a moment like it on British television. The Vicar
of Dibley, one of our gentler sitcoms, was bouncing along with its
usual bonhomie on New Year's Day when it suddenly hit us with a
scene from another world. Two young African children were sobbing
and trying to comfort each other after their mother had died of Aids.
How on earth, I wondered, would the show make us laugh after that?
It made no attempt to do so. One by one the characters, famous for
their parochial boorishness, stood in front of the camera wearing the
white armbands which signalled their support for the Make Poverty
History campaign. You would have to have been hewn from stone not
to cry.

The timing was perfect. In my local Oxfam shop last week, people were
queueing to the door to pledge money for the tsunami fund. A pub on
the other side of town raised £1,000 on Saturday night. In the pot on
the counter of the local newsagent's there must be nearly £100. The
woman who runs the bakery told me about the homeless man she had
seen, who emptied his pockets in the bank, saying "I just want to do
my bit", while the whole queue tried not to cry.

Over the past few months, reviewing the complete lack of public
interest in what is happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and
the failure, in the west, to mobilise effective protests against the
continuing atrocities in Iraq, I had begun to wonder whether we had
lost our ability to stand in other people's shoes. I have now stopped
wondering. The response to the tsunami shows that, however we might
seek to suppress it, we cannot destroy our capacity for empathy.

But one obvious question recurs. Why must the relief of suffering, in this
unprecedentedly prosperous world, rely on the whims of citizens and the
appeals of pop stars and comedians? Why, when extreme poverty could
be made history with a minor redeployment of public finances, must the
poor world still wait for homeless people in the rich world to empty
their pockets?

The obvious answer is that governments have other priorities. And the
one that leaps to mind is war. If the money they have promised to the
victims of the tsunami still falls far short of the amounts required, it is
partly because the contingency fund upon which they draw in times of
crisis has been spent on blowing people to bits in Iraq.

The US government has so far pledged $350m to the victims of the
tsunami, and the UK government £50m ($96m). The US has spent
$148 billion on the Iraq war and the UK £6bn ($11.5bn). The war has
been running for 656 days. This means that the money pledged for the
tsunami disaster by the United States is the equivalent of one and a half
day's spending in Iraq. The money the UK has given equates to five and
a half days of our involvement in the war.

It looks still worse when you compare the cost of the war to the total
foreign aid budget. The UK has spent almost twice as much on creating
suffering in Iraq as it spends annually on relieving it elsewhere. The
United States gives just over $16bn in foreign aid: less than one ninth
of the money it has burnt so far in Iraq.

The figures for war and aid are worth comparing because, when all the
other excuses for the invasion of Iraq were stripped away, both
governments explained that it was being waged for the good of the
Iraqis. Let us, for a moment, take this claim at face value. Let us
suppose that the invasion and occupation of Iraq had nothing to do
with power, domestic politics or oil, but were, in fact, components of
a monumental aid programme. And let us, with reckless generosity,
assume that more people in Iraq have gained as a result of this aid
programme than lost.

To justify the war, even under these wildly unsafe assumptions, George
Bush and Tony Blair would have to show that the money they spent
was a cost-efficient means of relieving human suffering. As it was
sufficient to have made a measurable improvement in the lives of all
the 2.8 billion people living in absolute poverty, and as there are only
25 million people in Iraq, this is simply not possible. Even if you ignore
every other issue - such as the trifling matter of mass killing - the
opportunity costs of the Iraq war categorise it as a humanitarian
disaster. Indeed, such calculations suggest that, on cost grounds
alone, a humanitarian war is a contradiction in terms.

But our leaders appear to have lost the ability to distinguish between
helping people and killing them. The tone of Blair's New Year message
was almost identical to that of his tear-jerking insistence that we
understand the Iraqi people must be bombed for their own good. The
US marines who have now been dispatched to Sri Lanka to help the
rescue operation were, just a few weeks ago, murdering the civilians
(for this, remember, is an illegal war), smashing the homes and
evicting the entire population of the Iraqi city of Falluja.

Even within the official aid budgets the two aims are confused:
$8.9bn of the aid money the US spends is used for military assistance,
anti-drugs operations, counter-terrorism and the Iraq relief and
reconstruction fund (otherwise known as the Halliburton benevolent
trust). For Bush and Blair, the tsunami relief operation and the Iraq
war are both episodes in the same narrative of salvation. The civilised
world rides out to rescue foreigners from their darkness.

While they spend the money we gave them to relieve suffering on
slaughtering the poor, the world must rely for disaster relief on
the homeless man emptying his pockets. If our leaders were as
generous in helping people as they are in killing them, no one
would ever go hungry.

·You can join the campaign against global poverty at:
Guardian Unlimited (c) Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005


23) National Task Force for Mumia Abu-Jamal
Legal Update - December 11, 2004 meeting in New York City
(Reviewed by Attorney Robert R. Bryan)


Mumia's case is simultaneously being heard in two different courts
presently: the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
(appellate court) and the Pennsylvania State Court of Common Pleas (trial
court), both of which sit in Philadelphia.

The Third Circuit (the appellate court)

In July 2004, both Robert Bryan and the state of Pennsylvania submitted
briefs on the effect of the 06-24-04 United States Supreme Court decision
in Beard v. Banks on Mumia's case. On 07-29-04, Robert filed a memorandum
of law on the affect of Banks for Mumia, and requested a stay of the
proceedings in this matter pending the outcome of the issues simultaneously
being litigated in the Pennsylvania trial court before Judge Pamela Dembe.
On 10-19-04, the appellate court entered an order denying the 07-29-04
request from Robert Bryan for a stay of the proceedings. What this means
is that the issues currently pending before the appellate court are moving
forward. The next step involves putting these issues on what is called a
"briefing schedule," which has yet to be done by the appellate court. In
other words, Robert has yet to receive notice from the appellate court as
to when briefs will be due on the issues currently before it.

Robert initially filed for a stay of these proceedings because of the
active litigation pending before Judge Dembe in the trial court in
Philadelphia, and argued against having to litigate one case in two courts
at the same time. The matters before Judge Dembe cannot be resolved by the
Third Circuit, but must first be addressed at the trial level in the state

Additionally, Robert Bryan is currently working on a brief to be filed with
this court requesting that additional issues be certified for appeal from
district court Judge Yohn's 2001 habeas decision, which certified only one
claim for relief: racial bias in jury selection, also known as the Batson
claim. Mumia's former attorneys filed the original motion on this issue,
which Robert plans to supplement, requesting that additional issues be
certified on appeal to the appellate court. What are the possible
outcomes? There are four possibilities: the Third Circuit could (1) deny
this request outright, (2) only allow a few of the 29 issues raised by
Mumia's writ for habeas corpus, (3) send the case back to Judge William
Yohn to apply the standard set out in Miller-El (see below), or (4) wait
for Mumia's Batson issue to be resolved before moving forward on this one.

More immediately, Robert plans to file a motion for remand back down to the
district court on the issues raised by Terri Maurer-Carter's affidavit.
Terri Maurer-Carter is the court reporter who overheard trial judge Albert
Sabo-who presided over Mumia's 1982 "trial," and 1995, 1996, and 1997
Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) appellate hearings in Philadelphia-say:
"Yeah, and I'm going to help 'em [the prosecution] fry the n****r."

There are two issues before the appellate court, which will be explained

First, what did the United States Supreme Court decide in Beard v. Banks,
and how does that affect Mumia?

In July 2004, the appellate court allowed both Robert Bryan and the state
of Pennsylvania to submit briefs on the affect of Banks on Mumia's case.
The issue was whether Mumia's case was affected by the recent United States
Supreme Court decision in Beard v. Banks. George Banks was sentenced to
death in 1982. After his state appeals were exhausted, he sought habeas
relief in federal district court and was denied. On appeal to the Third
Circuit Court of Appeals, Banks' death sentence was found to be
unconstitutional, and the decision of the district court was reversed. The
appellate court held that jury instructions during Banks' sentencing led
jurors to believe they could not vote against the death penalty unless they
all agreed on mitigating evidence-evidence that would have inclined them
not to vote for a death sentence. The appellate court reasoned that these
jury instructions violated the United States Supreme Court's 1988 ruling in
Mills v. Maryland.

However, the Third Circuit did not decide whether the rule of Mills was
retroactive. In other words, could Banks benefit from the United States
Supreme Court's 1988 decision in Mills where his conviction became final in
1987? Thus, when Banks' case was next brought before the United States
Supreme Court on appeal, the Court sent the case back down to the Third
Circuit to decide this issue. The appellate court then decided that the
rule created by the Supreme Court in Mills was retroactive and that Banks
could benefit. The case was again appealed to the Supreme Court and on
06-24-04, the United States Supreme Court reversed the decision of the
Third Circuit and declared that the rule of law created in Mills was not
retroactive. In a 5-to-4 decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the
Court found that the rule announced in Mills-that sentencing schemes could
not prevent jurors from considering mitigating evidence that had not been
accepted unanimously when deciding whether to apply the death penalty-was a
new rule of law that was not a "watershed rule of criminal procedure
implicating the fundamental fairness and accuracy of the criminal
proceeding." Finding that the rule of Mills was not a "watershed rule,"
the United States Supreme Court said that Mills could not be applied
retroactively and that Banks' conviction was constitutional.

What does this mean? Basically, it means that a "Mills challenge" to a
death sentence is only applicable where the sentencing relief sought is for
a person whose conviction became final after the rule of Mills was decided
in 1988. Seemingly, the Court has said that relief is available to those
whose convictions post-date Mills, creating what is called in the law a
"bright line rule." Robert Bryan argued in his brief that Mumia benefits
from the rule of Mills because his conviction became final in 1990. The
state of Pennsylvania has argued that Mumia should not get the benefit of
Mills, despite this seemingly bright line rule, and there have been several
exchanges back and forth (one as recent as 10-31-04) through the filing of
papers with the appellate court on this issue. This matter is still
If Mumia wins on this issue, that he does get the benefit of Mills, his
case will go back to the trial level in the Pennsylvania Court of Common
Pleas. The state of Pennsylvania will have two choices, either (1)
sentence Mumia to life imprisonment, or (2) grant Mumia a full jury trial
on the issue of whether he should be sentenced to life imprisonment or
death. A full jury trial, or penalty-phase hearing, means that Mumia is
back to 1982 in terms of the issue of sentencing. The state of
Pennsylvania will put on evidence of guilt and aggravation to argue for a
death sentence. Robert Bryan will then be able to put on evidence of
innocence and mitigation. However, the only decision the jury can make
should there be a new penalty-phase hearing is life imprisonment or death.
If Mumia loses, then the state of Pennsylvania can sign another death
warrant, side-stepping Yohn's 2001 habeas decision.

However, there still remains another issue pending before the appellate
court: the issue of jury selection, Mumia's Batson claim.

Second, what is Mumia's Batson claim? The issue of racial bias in jury
selection, Mumia's Batson claim, is also still pending before the appellate
court. This issue was the only issue Judge Yohn allowed to be appealed to
the Third Circuit. In other words, this is the only guilt-phase appellate
issue Yohn certified to go before the appellate court.

Recently, the United State Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of
Thomas Miller-El. A summary of that case from an article in the 12-05-04
NYT is as follows:

"In an 8-to-1 decision last year, the Supreme Court instructed the appeals
court to rethink its "dismissive and strained interpretation" of the proof
in the case, and to consider more seriously the substantial evidence
suggesting that prosecutors had systematically excluded blacks from Mr.
Miller-El's jury. Prosecutors used peremptory strikes to eliminate 10 out
of 11 eligible black jurors, and they twice used a local procedure called a
jury shuffle to move blacks lower on the list of potential jurors, the
decision said. The jury ultimately selected, which had one black member,
convicted Mr. Miller-El, a black man who is now 53, of killing a clerk at a
Holiday Inn in Dallas in 1985.

Instead of considering much of the evidence recited by the Supreme Court
majority, the appeals court engaged in something akin to plagiarism. In
February, it again rejected Mr. Miller-El's claims, in a decision that
reproduced, virtually verbatim and without attribution, several paragraphs
from the sole dissenting opinion in last year's Supreme Court decision,
written by Justice Clarence Thomas."

According to Attorney Bryan, Miller-El deals with two issues: (1) racism in
jury selection and (2) the certification of appellate issues by federal
district courts. Regarding racial bias in jury selection, should the
United States Supreme Court decide in favor of Miller-El on this issue,
Mumia's position will be strengthened. Furthermore, there is also good
case law in the Third Circuit on this issue that should also support
Mumia's case. As for the certification of issues for appeal by the lower
federal courts, the Supreme Court appears to be saying that these courts
have too high a standard. In other words, they have made it such that
unless a petitioner can prove a certain win on appeal, then that issue will
not move forward. But if a certain win was apparent, then there would be
no need for an appeal because the district court would have granted relief
in the first instance, right? If Miller-El succeeds on this issue, then
Robert will be in a better position to argue that Judge Yohn violated the
proper standard and set the bar to high for his certificates of

If Mumia wins his Batson claim, there will be a completely new trial,
meaning there will be a new trial to decide guilt or innocence. If there
is an acquittal, Mumia will be released. If Mumia is found guilty, there
will be a penalty-phase hearing.

The Pennsylvania State Court of Common Pleas (trial court)

With regards to the newly discovered evidence presented to this court
through the affidavits of William Pate and Yvette Williams, Robert Bryan
has requested a hearing on the issues this evidence raises in relation to
Mumia's conviction. Currently pending before Judge Dembe is a motion to
dismiss that was filed by the state of Pennsylvania. This new evidence has
not been presented in federal court because the issues it raises have not
yet been resolved by Dembe in the state court system. Robert Bryan has
replied to this motion, and was forced by Dembe in September 2004 to
qualify himself to handle a capital case, despite his years of experience
in these matters. Robert has handled hundreds of capital cases.
Interestingly, there is a new state law in Pennsylvania that requires
defense attorneys handling capital litigation to demonstrate that they are
qualified to handle such matters, but that law was not in effect when Dembe
challenged Robert's ability to handle Mumia's case.

If Judge Dembe decides in Mumia's favor, then he would get a new trial. If
Dembe denies relief, then Robert will appeal that decision through to the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court. It should be noted that if Dembe or the
Pennsylvania appellate courts grants Mumia relief, there will be no need to
remain in federal court-another reason why Robert has argued against the
lifting of the stay by the Third Circuit.

There are two issues before the trial court: the fabricated confession of
Pricilla Durham and that the false testimony the state of Pennsylvania put
on during the trial through their key witness Cynthia White.

William Pate is the half-brother of Pricilla Durham. In his affidavit, he
says that Durham lied about the confession she claimed Mumia made at the
hospital on the night he was shot and Faulkner died.

Yvette Williams said in her affidavit that Cynthia White was not present
during the shooting, but appeared sometime thereafter.


Dear Friends:
Today official notification was received that on Friday, February
11, 2005, there will be a hearing concerning Mumia Abu-Jamal in the
Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia before Judge Pamela Pryor
Dembe. The hearing will be pursuant to the Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus we filed December 8, 2003 on Mumia's behalf.
Next month the court will issue a memorandum that is to include
preliminary rulings on the petition. At that time she will direct counsel
as to how she wishes to proceed. The hearing will be in the Criminal
Justice Center, Philadelphia, but to date no courtroom has been assigned.
The issues raised in our habeas corpus petition are:
1. The State Manipulated A Purported Eyewitness To Falsely
Identify Petitioner As The Shooter, In Violation Of His Rights Under The
Fifth, Sixth Eighth, And Fourteenth Amendments To The United States
2. Petitioner Was Found Guilty And Sentenced To Death
Through The Use Of A Fabricated Confession, In Violation Of The Fifth,
Eighth And Fourteenth Amendments.
We will advise when more is known about the upcoming hearing.
With best wishes,

Law Offices of Robert R. Bryan
2088 Union Street, Suite 4
San Francisco, California 94123-4124
Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal

Black legislators support Mumia's release

On Dec. 3, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) passed a
resolution during its conference in Philadelphia calling for the freedom of
African American political prisoner and death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal.
This comes on the heels of another important resolution passed at the NAACP
national convention on July 15 that demanded a new trial for Abu-Jamal and
condemned the racist application of the death penalty by the criminal
justice system.
The state legislators' resolution reads:
WHEREAS Mumia Abu-Jamal's 1982 trial in Phila delphia was characterized by
illegal suppression of evidence, police coercion, illegal exclusion of
Black jurors, and grotesquely unfair and unconstitutional rulings by the
judge; and
WHEREAS the trial judge, Albert Sabo, has been quoted in a sworn statement
to have vowed at the time of the trial to help the prosecution 'fry the
n--'; and
WHEREAS subsequent appellate rulings have bent the law out of shape to
sustain the guilty verdict of that trial; and
WHEREAS the appellate courts have also refused to consider strong evidence
of Mumia Abu-Jamal's innocence, most notably a confession by Arnold Beverly
to the crime; and
WHEREAS Mumia Abu-Jamal still is incarcerated on Death Row and still faces
a death sentence; and
WHEREAS Mumia Abu-Jamal's case is now on appeal before the federal Third
Circuit and the state court system; and
WHEREAS Mumia Abu-Jamal has for decades as a journalist fought courage
ously against racism and for the human rights of all people; and
WHEREAS the continued unjust incarceration of Mumia Abu-Jamal represents a
threat to the civil rights of all people,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Caucus of Black State
Legislators demands that the courts consider the evidence of innocence of
Mumia Abu-Jamal and that he be released from prison; and
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NCBSL demands that Pennsylvania
Gov. Edward Rendell instruct his Attorney General to take over the case of
Mumia Abu-Jamal from the Philadelphia County District Attorney's office and
actually pursue justice; namely, go to court, make a legal confession of
error, and stipulate that the conviction be vacated;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NCBSL will communicate its views
on this matter to Gov. Rendell, 225 Main Capitol Bldg., Harris burg, PA
17120, and to the appropriate courts in consultation with the legal defense
team of Mumia Abu-Jamal; and
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NCBSL will work with the legal
defense team of Mumia Abu-Jamal to petition the courts to file any
necessary friend of the court brief on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal.


24) U.S. Copters Speed Pace of Aid for Indonesia Refugees

The Times article below presents more evidence for the need to divert all US
forces from Iraq (where of course they had no business being in the first
place) to tsunami disaster areas. Especially right now with the lack of
equipment and infrastructure and the need to reach isolated victims quickly,
every last US helicopter should leave Iraq immediately, be used to ferry aid
victims and to ferry injured out -- and then when their job is done, to come

And it's the job of the antiwar movement to get back out in the streets to
fight for this!

January 2, 2005
U.S. Copters Speed Pace of Aid for Indonesia Refugees

Substantial aid finally began reaching
desperate refugees in devastated areas
of northern Sumatra yesterday as
American warships, led by the aircraft
carrier Abraham Lincoln, arrived
offshore and a fleet of helicopters airlifted
critical supplies to stricken towns in Aceh Province.

Flying through pounding rains,
a dozen Sea Hawk helicopters from the Lincoln
ferried food, water, medicines,
tents and other supplies from warehouses at
Banda Aceh airport to refugees
in decimated Indonesian coastal towns and inland
villages that had been virtually
cut off when the tsunami destroyed roads,
bridges and communications a week ago.

It was the beginning of what was
expected to become a steady stream of
international aid for Indonesia and
a dozen other countries on the rim of the Indian
Ocean, where estimates of the dead
hovered between 140,000 and 150,000.
Serious injuries were believed to
exceed 500,000, and the likelihood of epidemics
of cholera and other diseases
threatened to send the totals much higher.

As the first trickle of supplies
broke through, the global relief effort to
save an estimated five million
homeless survivors of last weekend's undersea
earthquake and tsunami was
reinforced yesterday when Japan raised its pledge of
aid from $30 million to $500 million,
the largest contribution so far.
Combined with a $350 million pledge
by the United States on Friday, this brought the
total contributions of more than
40 nations to $2 billion, according to the
United Nations. [Page 9.]

The United Nations will begin a new
world appeal for money in New York this
week, and Secretary General Kofi Annan
will arrive in Jakarta on Thursday to
convene a meeting of major donor nations
to map strategy for the relief
campaign. Private donations, which
have flooded charitable organizations around the
world, are expected to add hundreds
of millions to the relief programs.

Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, in
his first comments on the disaster,
said the world faced a long-term relief
commitment. "At first it seemed a
terrible disaster, a terrible tragedy," he
said. "But I think as the days have
gone on, people have recognized it as
a global catastrophe. There will be months,
if not years, of work ahead of us."

President Bush too spoke of a long
commitment. "We offer our love and
compassion, and our assurance that
America will be there to help," he said in his
weekly radio address from his ranch in
Crawford, Tex. He cited a host of problems
- communications, roads and medical
facilities damaged or washed out - but
promised that help was coming, and,
indeed, had already begun to arrive.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and
Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, the
president's brother, were expected to
arrive in the region today with a team of
experts to tour some stricken areas
and to assess the needs. Their schedule was
still being worked out, officials said.

The need is indeed enormous,
especially in Aceh Province, where towns and
villages were destroyed. Meulaboh,
on Aceh's west coast, was flattened, and as
many as 40,000 of the 120,000
residents were killed. It lay buried under
mountains of mud and debris yesterday
as Indonesia's president, Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono, flew in to see the devastation.

Other firsthand reports of the devastation
in Aceh were provided by the
pilots and crew members of the
helicopters that, from dawn to sunset on New Year's
Day, shuttled 25,000 pounds of
supplies to refugees. "There is nothing left to
speak of at these coastal communities,"
Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Vorce, a pilot from
San Diego, told The Associated Press.
He told of a swath of destruction two
miles deep from the coasts, with trees
mowed down, roads washed away and only
foundations where buildings once stood.

Besides airdrops by the American
helicopters, fleets of cargo planes from
Australia, New Zealand and other nations
continued to land at Banda Aceh and
Medan, ferrying in tons of supplies. But
bad roads, destroyed bridges, a lack of
fuel and trucks, and other problems
continued to hamper the distribution.

While the Abraham Lincoln and four
accompanying ships represented the
vanguard of American emergency aid
to Indonesia, American officials said seven more
vessels led by the amphibious assault
ship Bonhomme Richard were steaming west
from the South China Sea with more
supplies and were expected to be off the
coast of Sri Lanka in the coming week,
a Pentagon spokesman said.

Military officials said that yet another
convoy, six slower-moving ships
loaded with food, water, blankets and
a 500-bed portable hospital, was en route
from Guam, but was not expected to
reach the stricken region for about two

Capt. Rodger Welch of the Navy,
representing the operations directorate of
the military's Pacific Command, said
late Saturday that the American relief
mission likely was the largest in the
region in at least 50 years. "And we are
only beginning this effort," he added.

About 10,000 to 12,000 American
military personnel were now involved, mostly
aboard the Lincoln and Bonhomme
Richard groups. In Sri Lanka, flash floods
yesterday forced the evacuation of
thousands of people from low-lying areas hard
hit by the tsunami, which killed more
than 28,700 there. At least 15 camps
where 30,000 refugees had been
sheltering were evacuated after storms dumped 13
inches of rain over the eastern coastal region.

Weeklong efforts to bury the dead in
Sri Lanka and coastal areas of India
were winding down, and government
and private aid workers said they were turning
their attention increasingly to sheltering
the survivors in more sanitary
refugee camps, while the homes of an
estimated one million displaced persons are

"This is where we are going to see
a rise in communicable diseases, diarrhea,
measles, upper respiratory infections,"
said David Overlack, a health care
specialist surveying camps in Sri Lanka
for the International Federation of the
Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

World Health Organization workers
have noted "a slight increase in the
reporting of diarrheal illness" in areas
of Sri Lanka and Indonesia affected by the
tsunami, David Nabarro, an official of
the United Nations agency, said in an
interview yesterday.

But the increase does not mean an
epidemic, he said. There have been no
outbreaks of cholera or other diseases,
he said, adding that it is too early for
such outbreaks to occur.

Aid workers praised Sri Lankan officials
and volunteers for their efforts to
bury the dead quickly and to place
600,000 homeless people in schools, temples
and mosques. An outpouring of
donations from Sri Lankans has prevented
shortages of food and clothing, officials said.

Jeffrey J. Lunstead, the American
ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives,
said the first planeload of American
relief supplies had arrived in Sri Lanka -
plastic sheeting to house 3,600
people and 5,400 cans of fresh water. He said
most of the American aid would
be aimed at reconstruction, rather than
emergency food and medicines.

To that end, American military officials
said 1,500 marines and 20
helicopters would be deployed in the
next few days to clear debris and aid survivors in
devastated areas of Sri Lanka. The
first contingent of 200 was expected to
arrive today.

Reporting for this article was
contributed by Ian Fisher in Sri Lanka,
Raymond Bonner and Jane Perlez
in Indonesia,Thom Shanker in Washington and Lawrence
K. Altman in New York.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company


25) IRAQ: Death in Fallujah rising, doctors say
04 Jan 2005 14:56:16 GMT
Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks

FALLUJAH, 4 January (IRIN) - "It was really distressing picking up dead
bodies from destroyed homes, especially children. It is the most
depressing situation I have ever been in since the war started," Dr
Rafa'ah al-Iyssaue, director of the main hospital in Fallujah city, some
60 km west of Baghdad, told IRIN.

According to al-Iyssaue, the hospital emergency team has recovered more
than 700 bodies from rubble where houses and shops once stood, adding
that more than 550 were women and children. He said a very small number
of men were found in these places and most were elderly.

Doctors at the hospital claim that many bodies had been found in a
mutilated condition, some without legs or arms. Two babies were found at
their homes, who are believed to have died from malnutrition, according
to a specialist at the hospital.

Al-Iyssaue added these numbers were only from nine neighbourhoods of the
city and that 18 others had not yet been reached, as they were waiting
for help from the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) to make it easier
for them to enter. He explained that many of the dead had been already
buried by civilians from the Garma and Amirya districts of Fallujah
after approval from US-led forces nearly three weeks ago, and those
bodies had not been counted. IRCS officials told IRIN they needed more
time to give an accurate death toll, adding that the city was completely

Marxism mailing list


26) The best kept media secret of the week is that the
greatest devastation and death occurred and is occurring
in Indonesia's Aceh province.

Adding to Jim's post: ETAN (many will know Ben Terrall's work with
and for ETAN here).

Marc Sapir writes that Allan Nairn was Dennis Bernstein's guest on
Flashpoints Thurs., Dec. 30 and that:

The best kept media secret of the week is that the greatest devastation and
death occurred and is occurring in Indonesia's Aceh province. I Just heard
the scoop on Indonesia (from Alan Nairn, plus an Indonesian UC Berkeley
professor and a fellow with nonviolence international). The Indonesian
military yesterday began a new major military campaign in Aceh province
perhaps 80,000 are dead) attacking villages (that are still standing) in an
effort to wipe out the independence movement. They will be sending in
15,000 troops to complement the 50,000 that have been used to impose martial
law the past year. While claiming to be doing relief work they are
the relief efforts and will steal as much money as they can from relief
The U.S. is likely to be asked by Indonesia to put the Aceh popular
movement on it's list of terrorist organizations and there is fear that
Condoleeza that will be approved. That will then make most Indonesians in
U.S. and around the world terrorist collaborators as they try to help their
families and the independence movement get out from under the terror of the
Indonesian military. Please tell people who want to send financial aid to
Tsunami victims of Indonesia to go through the East Timor Action Network not
through government channels. They can be contacted at

Aceh, the region closest to the earthquake, has been almost entirely sealed
from foreign presence since the beginning of martial law in May 2003. There
are rumors that the Indonesian government is now debating whether to allow
foreign organizations access to Aceh. The U.S. government has offered
assistance. Every second delayed contributes to needless death, sickness and
suffering. This is clearly not the time for politics to supersede dire
humanitarian needs.

East Timor ACTION Network ALERT

Donate to Aceh relief

Go to the website for information re: contacting your congressional reps and
about how to donate to grassroots efforts in Aceh:

Beware Medecins sans Frontieres:

At 11:41 PM -0800 1/3/05, echo wrote:

Medecins Sans Frontieres was arrogant and controlling at the Colomoncagua
refugee camp. Didn't want to trust the community with the supplies and
pharmaceuticals. The survivors at Colomoncagua were organized on an
anarchist basis, with every person regardless of age or sex contributing
with whatever knowledge or skill he or she possessed. They had lived so
long because they were responsible.

adding that the US is moving to displace UNICEF in relief work, and use the
opportunity to tighten military control. (Again on Flashpoints yesterday,
Monday the 3rd, the Acehnese head-of-state-in-exile was interviewed,
and reported that Indonesian soldiers are shooting survivors who try to
bury the dead, a practice sickeningly familiar from Palestine and Iraq.)

more on military repression of Acehnese:

''We are now carrying out two duties: humanitarian work and the
security operation,'' he told the daily. ''The raids to quell the
secessionist movement in Aceh will continue unless the president issues
a decree to lift the civil emergency and assign us to merely play a
humanitarian role in Aceh.''<<


Published January 4th, 2005, in The Age, Melbourne, Australia.
Kantha Shakti (Strength to Women) is a partner group supported by IWDA.

Rapists, abusers prey on disaster victims

By Liz Minchin
January 5, 2005

First their lives were torn apart by the tsunami; now women and
children are being pursued by human predators.

With millions left homeless and vulnerable throughout south Asia, some
survivors have been further traumatised by shocking acts of violence,
including gang rape, kidnapping, child abuse and the mutilation of

Most of the reported violence has been in Sri Lanka, where a national
women's group, Kantha Shakti (Strength of Women), has warned that
"many, many" children and women are believed to have been abducted,
mostly in the chaotic south.

"Lots of children are being abducted and taken away for slavery . . .
This [i]s happening on a large scale," Kantha Shakti executive director
Rohini Weerasinghe told The Age.

Even on the day the tsunami struck, women were abducted, she said.
There has been no news of those women since.
Other reports of abuse have been equally shocking.

(I will send the full report to anyone who requests it)
In Sri Lanka, non-government groups, including Kantha Shakti, are trying
to raise money to send trained locals into the camps to tackle abuse.

Donations to Kantha Shakti in Sri Lanka can be made through the
International Women's Development Agency at or by
calling +(61-3) 9650 5574 during business hours or + (61-425) 712 478
after hours.


28) War Resisters Go North
By Alisa Solomon, The Nation
Posted on December 22, 2004, Printed on January 3, 2005

EDITOR'S NOTE: As The Nation was going to press, Canada's willingness

to take in Americans resisting the Iraq war became more concrete. In a

year-end review with Canada's Global National, Prime Minister Paul

Martin said that Canada was prepared to accept U.S. citizens who do not

want to serve in the war. According to the report, when reminded that

former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau opened Canada's doors to draft

dodgers and deserters during the Vietnam War, Martin said: "In terms

of immigration, we are a country of immigrants and we will take

immigrants from around the world. I'm not going to discriminate." Asked

whether Martin was referring to Jeremy Hinzman's request for refugee

status, a spokesperson said that Martin "was not commenting on any

individual case and certainly was not sending a signal to the

immigration board." Still, Hinzman's attorney Jeffry House tells The

Nation that the prime minister's remarks represent "a step in the right


Protests over the conduct of the Iraq war are mounting from what seems

an unlikely place: the ranks of the military. In early December, eight

soldiers sued in federal court to overturn the stop-loss policy that

has extended their tour of duty indefinitely. At Camp Buehring in the

Kuwaiti desert, Army National Guard Specialist Thomas Wilson, cheered

on by his fellow soldiers, demanded that Donald Rumsfeld explain why

the troops had to rummage through garbage heaps for scraps to armor

their vehicles. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has admitted that some 5,500

enlisted soldiers have deserted since the "liberation" of Iraq began.

While these disgruntled grunts don't explicitly challenge the validity

of the war itself, their decision to complain formally, or even to

quit, strongly suggests a dwindling of faith in the mission.

Pfc. Jeremy Hinzman, of the 82nd Airborne, has made his second thoughts

public. As he told me this past March, "The war is bogus. There weren't

any weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam Hussein had nothing to do

with 9/11. The war was not pursued in self-defense, and as such it is

illegal. I decided I could not participate in such a criminal


On December 6-8, while his comrades were filing suit and confronting

Rumsfeld, Hinzman was making this argument before Canada's Immigration

and Refugee Board (IRB) in a bid for asylum as a principled deserter

from the US Army. In doing so, he was putting the war itself on trial,

articulating clearly the doubts that are beginning to tug at the

conscience of some US troops.

Hinzman enlisted in the Army in 2001, making what he calls a typical

"Faustian bargain" - trading service for college - and looking for a

way to be part of something "bigger than myself," where he might "live

for ideals rather than just to consume." But in basic training, as

drills focused on "breaking down the human inhibition to killing," he

began to realize he had made the wrong choice. Aghast at finding

himself joining in training chants like, "What makes the grass grow?

Blood, blood, bright red blood," he filed for conscientious objector

status, serving in noncombat duty in Afghanistan while his application

was in process. Back at Fort Bragg in late 2003, his CO application

denied, Hinzman received word that his unit would be shipping out to

Iraq in a few days. He and his wife got into their Chevy with their

toddler and drove to Toronto, arriving there January 3 of last year. He

is the first of three deserters to ask for refugee protection. A ruling

is expected in February.

As is typical in a case making a novel claim or with a high public

profile, the Canadian government intervened, asserting that Hinzman

does not fit the definition of a refugee: someone who is fleeing a

well-founded fear of persecution. Canada also argued - and in an

interim ruling issued about two weeks before the hearing, the IRB judge

agreed - that the question of the war's legality is irrelevant to the


The government is not revealing its reasoning, but one can imagine a

number of competing concerns pulsing beneath it: on the one hand, a

reluctance to embarrass its bullying trading partner; on the other, an

intense domestic opposition to the Iraq War. At the same time, Canada

may be anxious about the possibility of an American draft, despite the

Bush Administration's repeated denials that one is coming. Some

thirty-five years ago, an estimated 60,000 men and women resisting the

Vietnam War surged north. (In those days, they could simply present

themselves at the border and apply for landed immigrant status; since

then, Canada has instituted a refugee determination procedure.)

One of them was Jeffry House, Hinzman's attorney. He regrets losing

"our cleanest argument": While refugee law states that prosecution is

not persecution, House intended to show that it is indeed persecution

to punish someone for refusing to take part in a war that is illegal

under international law, which sanctions war only when it is undertaken

in self-defense or with authorization of the United Nations Security


Still, House explains, even if the illegality of the decision to go to

war is off the table, the question of how the war is being waged

remains relevant to Hinzman's claim. "What's happening on the ground in

Iraq is violating Geneva Conventions and international human rights

law," House says. "No one should be forced to participate." From the

cells of Abu Ghraib to the living rooms of Falluja, any number of

examples can make the case.

Marine Sgt. Jimmy Massey, who served in Iraq during the invasion in

March 2003, testified on Hinzman's behalf, explaining, he told me, that

"it's the system, not the individual soldier, that is the problem. Even

atrocities are standard operating procedure." At the hearing, he

recounted in graphic and shocking detail how his unit killed more than

thirty innocent Iraqi civilians at checkpoints, "lighting them up" with

machine gun fire. He also described how Marines shot dead unarmed Iraqi

demonstrators who posed no threat. "I was never clear on who was the

enemy and who was not," he said. "When you don't know who the enemy is,

what are you doing there?" A Marine Corps spokesman has said that none

of the acts Massey described violated rules of engagement.

If Hinzman is denied at the IRB, there are possibilities for appeal.

And then, House notes, "the question of the illegality of the war has

to be confronted politically." After all, Prime Minister Paul Martin

may have promised to help with Iraq's elections, but his predecessor,

Jean Chrétien, declined to join the "coalition" forces without a nod

from the UN Security Council. And the current Justice Minister, Irwin

Cotler, is on record challenging the war under international law. In

answering Specialist Wilson's question at Camp Buehring, Rumsfeld

smugly told the 2,000 assembled soldiers, "You go to war with the army

you have." In his brave stand, Jeremy Hinzman suggests another option:

The army can refuse to go at all.

(c) 2005 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

View this story online at:

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29) Iraq War is Bad for Business
By Jim Lobe
Peace and Justice News from FPIF

January 4, 2005
Introducing a new commentary from Foreign Policy In Focus

On top of the human and financial costs of the war in Iraq, the Bush
administration's foreign policy may be costing U.S. corporations business
overseas, according to a new survey of 8,000 international consumers
released this week by the Seattle-based Global Market Insite (GMI) Inc.

Brands closely identified with the U.S., such as Marlboro cigarettes,
America Online (AOL), McDonald's, American Airlines, and Exxon-Mobil,
are particularly at risk. GMI, an independent market research company,
conducted the internet survey with consumers in eight countries from
Dec. 10-12. One-third of all consumers in Canada, China, France,
Germany, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom said that U.S. foreign
policy, particularly the "war on terror" and the occupation of Iraq,
constituted their strongest impression of the United States.

Twenty percent of respondents in Europe and Canada said they
consciously avoided buying U.S. products as a protest against those
policies. That finding was consistent with a similar poll carried
out by GMI three weeks after Bush's November election victory.

Jim Lobe is a political analyst with Foreign Policy In Focus,
online at .
He also writes regularly for Inter Press Service.

See new FPIF commentary online at:

printer-friendly pdf version at:

For More Analysis from Foreign Policy In Focus:
Mainstream Media Miss Rumsfeld's "Dirty Wars" Talk
By Jim Lobe (December 1, 2004)

Neocon Wish List
By Jim Lobe (November 11, 2004)

Security Scholars Say Iraq War Most Misguided Policy Since Vietnam
By Jim Lobe (October 13, 2004)

Interhemispheric Resource Center is proud to announce that, in
conjunction with our 25th anniversary, we have changed our name
to International Relations Center. Please visit our website at to see our
new logo and check back in the coming months as we begin the
integration and improvement of all of our program and project
websites. As International Relations Center we remain IRC and
committed to our mission of: working to make the U.S. a more
responsible member of the global community by promoting
progressive strategic dialogues that lead to new citizen-based

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30) The Numbers Beyond the Bling
In the streets of America, people are worse off,
and more of them are in jail
By Ward Harkavy
January 4th, 2005 3:26 PM

While hiphop's being celebrated, life on the streets during its 30 years
of existence has gotten much tougher. Income inequality in the U.S.
began climbing 30 years ago, reversing a nearly 50-year trend. And the
prison population has soared. Hardest hit have been African Americans,
whose folk culture has made cash registers ring. America is now No. 1 in
the percentage of its population in prison and No. 1 in income
inequality among industrialized nations. Here are a few statistics:

Approximately 1 million African American men under 40 are behind bars.
Twelve percent of African American men ages 20 to 34 are behind bars,
compared with 1.6 percent of white men in the same age group.

Thirteen percent of Black male adults, 1.4 million total, are
disenfranchised. In a dozen states, 30 to 40 percent of young Black men
will permanently lose the right to vote because of being convicted

Fifty percent of New York City's Black males are unemployed.

Black people are 13 percent of drug users, about the same as their
percentage of the U.S. population, but 35 percent of those arrested for
drug possession are Black, 55 percent of those convicted of drug charges
are Black, and 74 percent of those sent to prison are Black.

Sale of five grams of crack means a five-year minimum sentence under
federal guidelines; it takes 500 grams of powder cocaine to warrant the
same sentence. Crack is the only drug whose sale as a first offense can
trigger a federal mandatory minimum sentence. In 1994, 90 percent of
those convicted of federal crack offenses were Black, 6 percent were
Latino, and fewer than 4 percent were white. Powder cocaine? 30 percent
Black, 43 percent Latino, and 26 percent white.

In 1986, shortly before federal mandatory minimum sentences were
imposed, the average federal crack sentence for African Americans was 11
percent higher than for whites. In 1990, after the guidelines went into
effect, the average sentence was 49 percent higher for African Americans
than for whites. The average crack defendant is sentenced to 115 months,
compared with 77 months for those in powder cocaine cases. The majority
of crack users, however, are white.

Despite similar or equal rates of illegal drug use during pregnancy,
African Americans are 10 times more likely than whites to be reported by
social-service agencies for prenatal drug use.

People die younger in Harlem than in Bangladesh. The leading causes of
death in poor Black neighborhoods are not AIDS, drugs, or homicide. They
are "unrelenting stress," "cardiovascular disease," "cancer," and
"untreated medical conditions."

In the past 25 years, one-third of public hospitals in the U.S. have
closed, mainly in rural areas and inner cities.

Wealth disparity is even more pronounced than income disparity. The top
1 percent of all U.S. households own 38 percent of all wealth (property,
cash, savings, stock value, and insurance policies-minus mortgage
payments, credit card debt, and other debts). Wealth inequality
generally fell from 1929 to the mid '70s. Since then, it's doubled.

Five percent of Americans own 59 percent of all wealth; the top 20
percent own 83 percent of all wealth. The bottom 20 percent have zero
wealth. Excluding owner-occupied housing, the inequality is worse: 1
percent of families hold half of all non-home wealth.

Ten percent of families own 85 percent of financial securities and 90
percent of all business assets.

The average African American family has 60 percent of the income of the
average white family. But the average African American family has only
18 percent of the wealth of the average white family.

In the U.S., 1 percent of American families own 38 percent of all
wealth. In Great Britain, it's 22 or 23 percent. Until the early '70s,
we had less wealth inequality than Britain.

More than 34 million Americans are officially "poor," a class including
nearly 25 percent of all African Americans and more than 20 percent of
all Latinos.

The minimum wage has fallen by about 35 percent in real terms since its
peak in 1968.

Overall, American female infants' life expectancy is 19th in the world;
male babies' is 31st, tied with Brunei. Of the 13 wealthiest countries,
the U.S. is last or near the bottom in terms of infant mortality and
birth weight.

African Americans are 12.2 percent of the population but account for 37
percent of all AIDS cases. Latinos are 11.9 percent of the population
but account for 19.2 percent of all AIDS cases. The fastest-growing
population of those infected with the AIDS virus is African American

Sources include Multinational Monitor, Drug Policy Alliance, Edward N.
Wolff (Jerome Levy Economics Institute), New England Journal of
Medicine, Economic Policy Institute, United for a Fair Economy, U.S.
Bureau of Prisons, Jonah Goldberg (The Philadelphia Inquirer), The
Washington Post, The American Prospect, and Gary Fields (The Wall Street

A Chronology of U.S. Military Fatalities Since 'Mission Accomplished,'
Part II

Marxism mailing list


31) Powell declares tsunami aid part of
global war on terror
Imperialism in Samaritan's clothing
By Bill Van Auken
World Socialist Web Site
6 January 2005

During his whirlwind tour of the tsunami-devastated nations of South
Asia, US Secretary of State Colin Powell let slip that the begrudging and
belated funding offered by Washington to the ongoing relief effort is
all part of its "global war on terror."

Speaking of US aid and the participation of the American military in
relief efforts, Powell declared: "It dries up those pools of dissatisfaction
that might give rise to terrorist activity. That supports not only our
national security interest but the national security interests of the
countries involved."

Noting that the majority of the victims of the tsunami were Muslims,
the US Secretary of State continued: "We'd be doing it regardless of
religion, but I think it does give the Muslim world and the rest of the
world an opportunity to see American generosity, American values
in action."

Powell's trip is largely an exercise in damage control. It is aimed at
overcoming the well-founded international perception that the
government of the most powerful imperialist country in the world-
and specifically its president, George W. Bush-reacted with appalling
indifference to the worst natural catastrophe in living memory.

The US Secretary of State has been accompanied by Florida's
Governor Jeb Bush, who seems to be acting as a personal emissary
for his older brother, while exploiting the international tragedy
to further his own political ambitions by appearing to be grappling
with a global crisis.

What of the claim that Washington's reaction to the massive
destruction and lost of life wrought by the tsunami is an expression
of "American generosity, American values in action"?

Generosity implies selflessness, hardly a characteristic of US foreign
policy. On the contrary, the successive decisions to increase US aid
from an obscene $15 million, to $35 million and finally $350 million
were taken with a calculated view toward the immense damage that
Washington's miserliness was inflicting upon US imperialism's global

As Powell acknowledges, the aid is part and parcel of a "war on terror"
that is directed at furthering US global economic and political hegemony
by means of military power and aggression.

No doubt, the shock of the tsunami's devastation and the unimaginable
loss of human life have led to expressions of what might genuinely be
described as "American values," but not from the administration in

The open-heartedness and political naiveté associated with the
generosity of the American people has been on display across the
United States, with students and youth organizing bake sales and
other activities to raise money for the victims, and many thousands
donating to fund appeals.

It is noteworthy that US television and newspapers have accurately
portrayed the scale of the disaster. Once American ruling circles
determined that the Bush administration's initial disdain for the
suffering caused by the Indian Ocean earthquake was untenable,
the corporate media conglomerates swung into action, providing
non-stop coverage of the catastrophe. Graphic and chilling images
of rows of corpses, parents carrying the bodies of their young
children and villages reduced to rubble have been shown nightly
to US viewing audiences.

One cannot help contrast this coverage to the media's cowardly
and complicit silence in response to the human catastrophe
created by the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. Images of
the dead, of sobbing parents clutching the bodies of children
killed by US bombardments and of blocks reduced to rubble
are readily available, but rigorously censored by America's
vaunted free press.

Describing a helicopter flight over Banda Aceh in Indonesia,
Powell said he had "never seen anything like it" in his military
and government career.

"I cannot imagine the horror that went through the families
and all of the people who heard this noise coming and then
had their lives snuffed out by this wave," he said. "The power
of the wave to destroy bridges, to destroy factories, to destroy
homes, to destroy crops, to destroy everything in its path is

Perhaps the US Secretary of State would have benefited from
a low-flying helicopter ride over the Iraqi city of Fallujah,
though continued resistance to the US occupiers there would
no doubt have precluded such a tour.

Such a flight would have afforded a view of what a man-made
tsunami has left of one of Iraq's principal urban centers. The
fabled "city of mosques" lies in ruins as the result of a tidal
wave of fire and steel unleashed by US warplanes, artillery
and tanks.

What of the horror of the Iraqi families who heard the roar of
ceaseless US aerial bombardment and the thunder of cannon
barrages for days before American tanks finished laying waste
to their city? Does Colin Powell try to imagine what went through
their minds? How many of their lives were snuffed out is
something that neither the US government nor the US mass
media even bothers to consider.

While the Pentagon and the media continuously spoke only
of US forces killing "rebels" and "terrorists" in Fallujah, the
reports emerging from initial attempts at recovery in the city
tell a very different story.

The director of Fallujah's main hospital has reported that an
emergency team from the facility has thus far recovered more
than 700 bodies from the city's rubble. More than 550 were
women and children, while the majority of the men were
elderly. Babies have been found dead in their homes from
malnutrition. The search has thus far only extended to
a fraction of the city, with other areas still inaccessible
because of fighting.

The deaths in Fallujah are not included in the credible
estimate made in a study published last October in the
British medical journal Lancet of over 100,000 additional
violent deaths in Iraq since the US invasion, the majority the
result of US bombardments. The figure, which equals two
thirds of the current estimated death toll from the tsunami,
has received scant attention in the American media.

In addition to these violent deaths, there are many thousands
more-particularly among young children-caused by the destruction
of the country's infrastructure, resulting in a lack of safe drinking
water and the unavailability of refrigeration and basic medicines.
Taken together, this human toll represents a manmade calamity
that is on a par with the natural disaster that has struck South Asia.

As for "American values," it is fair to ask whose values were
expressed in the vile torture chambers created by the US military
and the CIA in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and many lesser-known
American detention facilities serving the "war on terror"?

Whose values led military interrogators and guards to shock Iraqi
prisoners with electrodes, light them on fire and subject them to
sexual abuse and humiliation?

It is now clear that the orders that gave rise-and continue to sanction
-such atrocities came from the White House itself, embraced by Bush
and given a pseudo-legal justification by the man he has nominated
to serve as US attorney general, Alberto Gonzales.

Behind these depraved actions lie the "values" of a predatory and
corrupt ruling elite that is prepared to carry out mass murder and
torture in order to further enrich itself. It has been able to continue
the criminal enterprise in Iraq only by systematically lying to the
American people and, with the media's collaboration, covering
up the scale of its crimes.

The hopes, more or less openly expressed by various leading figures
in Washington, that the participation of the US military in relief efforts
in South Asia will somehow erase the searing images of torture that
emerged from Abu Ghraib or of the mass destruction in Fallujah,
will prove vain. Few will be convinced that US imperialism has
suddenly become a philanthropic institution.

Even after twice raising its aid pledge, Washington's spending on
tsunami relief would barely cover two days of its continuing war in
Iraq. On the scales of American capitalism, "values" are measured
in dollars and cents, and the whole world knows it.

A little over a century ago, the great revolutionist Rosa Luxemburg
wrote an imperishable essay on the reaction of the great powers to
another devastating natural disaster, the volcanic eruption of
Mt. Pelee that wiped out 40,000 people, virtually the entire population
of the French Caribbean colony of Martinique. [ See "Martinique" http:// ]

She brilliantly exposed the hypocritical expressions of sorrow over
the loss of life and pretensions of humanitarianism emanating from
the capitals of France, Britain, the US, Germany and Russia. The
governments of each of these countries, she pointed out, were
responsible for bloodbaths carried out either against their own
working class or in savagely repressing anti-colonial resistance
from Africa to the Philippines.

Luxemburg wrote: "And now they have all turned to Martinique, all
one heart and one mind again; they help, rescue, dry the tears and
curse the havoc-wreaking volcano. Mt. Pelee, greathearted giant,
you can laugh; you can look down in loathing at these benevolent
murderers, at these weeping carnivores, at these beasts in
Samaritan's clothing. But a day will come when another volcano
lifts its voice of thunder: a volcano that is seething and boiling,
whether you need it or not, and will sweep the whole sanctimonious,
blood-splattered culture from the face of the earth. And only on its
ruins will the nations come together in true humanity, which will
know but one deadly foe-blind, dead nature."

In the light of recent events, these words remain evergreen. The
juxtaposition of massive human suffering and imperialist hypocrisy
that has characterized the aftermath of the South Asian tsunami
is symptomatic of a society rent by inequality and oppression
and ripe for social revolution.

Copyright 1998-2004
World Socialist Web Site
All rights reserved


32) Israel's "Days of Penitence" Drown Gaza In a Sea Of Blood
By Mohammed Omer
Washington Report , December 2004, pages 10-12

[Sharon picked his moment well, when America was preoccupied with
its presidential campaign and its invasion of Iraq, to decimate the civilian
population of Gaza...ds]

JABALYA CAMP, Northern Gaza, Oct. 10, 2004--It smells unbelievably
bad here. To walk down any street--if you dare to--you skirt, or sometimes
unavoidably walk through, pools of blood. There are shreds of human
flesh--some of them unrecognizable as human remains--all over, on
rooftops, plastered to broken windows, on the street. The stench of
rotting blood mixes with the more acrid odor of flesh burned to black
char by the rockets fired by the Israeli army's American-made Apache

The sky is full of black smoke, some from the rocket explosions, but
even more, it sometimes seems, from the endless fires of tires and other
debris that people keep stoking. The smoke confuses the heat-seeking
unmanned drone surveillance planes, so setting fires in any relatively
open area may draw fire and let a bomb explode somewhat harmlessly.

All this smoke mixed with plaster and cement dust is a blessing and
a curse. The stench of burning flesh and rotting blood masks to some
extent the smell of raw sewage from broken sewer pipes and the
tens of thousands of bodies unwashed for over a week now. Water
to drink is a rare and precious commodity here--baths and showers
have become impossible luxuries.

Your eyes inevitably tear up from all the smoke--but then, that
protects you a tiny bit from some of the more harrowing sights:
recognizable body parts--a piece of a leg, an obvious part of a torso,
and fingers--more scattered, individual, recognizable fingers than
anyone should ever have to see. Volunteer crews are gathering these
human fragments and bringing them to Jabalya's two hospitals, but
the ambulances cannot possibly keep up with the flood of newly
dead and injured.

Funeral processions are everywhere, as are "houses of mourning"
--the tents bereaved families set up in which to receive their families
and friends. In fact, however, every house here--whether relatively
intact or partly or wholly destroyed by the IDF tanks and bulldozers
--is a house of mourning.

And nothing protects you from the sounds--the tears and laments
of the mothers and fathers, husbands, wives and children of the
dead, the screams of the injured, the wail of ambulance sirens,
sniper fire, the thud of tank shells and the too-frequent explosions
as another Apache shell explodes.

Time is distorted here--hours feel like days, days like weeks or
months. This is Jabalya Refugee Camp in the northern Gaza Strip,
one of the most crowded places on earth, where 106,000 men,
women and children, the overwhelming majority of them unarmed
civilians, have been under an all-out attack for over a week now.

It is only when I sit down to write up my notes made here in the
last few days that the cruelty of the IDF name for this attack--
"Days of Penitence"--hits me. They are not just slaughtering
unarmed civilians, but language itself. "Penitence," as I understand
it, is voluntary remorse for wrongdoing. Is this massacre supposed
to induce remorse in its victims? Are they supposed to mourn the
deaths of four or five Israeli soldiers and two Israeli children, and
accept the death of more than 60 Palestinian civilians as some
kind of justice? To those of us trapped in Jabalya, it seems like
Days of Revenge. It is unquestionably collective punishment,
and illegal under the Geneva Conventions.

Perhaps we should not be surprised. Israel's Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon has announced this attack will last "as long as necessary,"
that is, until there is "no further danger" from the Palestinian
resistance's homemade rockets. Sharon, of course, engineered
the massacres of Sabra and Shatila over 20 years ago. Now, he
is doing much the same, but with vastly improved weaponry.

Of course, the militant factions exist, and have been striking here
and there during this last week, but they are vastly outnumbered,
not to mention out-gunned, by the Israelis. Hamas, on its side,
has distributed leaflets in Gaza City vowing to continue the rocket
attacks on the illegal Israeli settlements in Gaza and any Israeli
towns and cities their homemade ordnance can reach. International
protests have been muted, and stymied by United States support
for Israel. The lone, feeble voice from the U.S. State Department
urged Israel to keep its "response" "proportional"--after, of
course, the obligatory mantra, "Israel has a right to defend itself."
A strongly worded resolution condemning the attack brought
before the U.N. at the beginning of the week was defeated by
the U.S. veto.

There is no refuge anywhere in Jabalya. The hospitals are chaotic,
supplies are short and all medical personnel have been working
around the clock for days now.

I saw Abu Nidal, the father of 14-year-old Nidal Al Madhuwn,
struggle to maintain his composure as he asked the exhausted
doctors and ambulance drivers, "Was my son killed? Has he been
killed?" (In fact, the boy was dead on arrival.) The majority of the
dead and injured have been teens and children, obvious non-

I interviewed Dr. Mahmoud Al Asali, the director of Kamal Adwan
Hospital, who told me he was forced to assume the Israeli army
has been deliberately targeting civilians. Most of those injured
by gunfire, he said, were wounded in the upper parts of their
bodies, indicating the Israeli sharpshooters must have orders
to shoot to kill.

Palestinian doctors have removed many flechettes from the
dead and injured, indicating the IDF are using illegal fragmentation
bombs. These release razor-sharp flechettes as they explode.
Dr. Al Asali says these illegal fragmentation devices greatly
increase the number of deaths and the number and severity
of injuries. The IDF has refused to comment on this.

The hospital staffs and ambulance crews are so overextended
that they are using volunteers for the gruesome task of
collecting, sorting and attempting to match scattered human
remains to return as much as possible to bereaved families.
One of these medical workers, Ahmed Abu Saal, 26, from
Kamal Adwan Hospital, told me, "One enormous difficulty we
face is that these powerful bombs can scatter the parts of
a single victim over a wide area. It is quite possible parts of
one person could end up in Al Awda hospital in the east of
the camp, while other parts of the same victim end up with
us here on the western side of the camp."

Shreds of clothing sometimes can help with the matching.

The Israeli army has frequently shot at the medical teams and
at journalists. So far, two ambulance drivers have been injured,
and a cameraman from Ramattan News Agency has been hurt.
Of course, the ambulance crews and press all wear identifying gear.

Israel has closed all borders into Gaza and has severely restricted
all movement within the Gaza Strip. There are three major "zones"
separated by sealed military checkpoints, but recent days have seen
numerous new checkpoints, roads closed by cement block and
sand obstructions. People cannot move between cities, not even
ambulances bringing patients to hospitals. Moreover, the main
Israel-Gaza crossing is closed, even to international NGOs,
humanitarian relief groups, and foreign journalists.

Intense as the military attack has been, it is certainly not the
only danger to the people here. Many families now have been
without food and water for days. In Tel Al Zatar, the eastern
part of Jabalya, I interviewed Umm Ramzi, an elderly lady who
spoke to me through the gaping hole a tank shell had left in her
house. "We have been appealing to the Red Cross, to save our
lives and the lives of our children," she said, "but nobody has

Although they are well aware that the civilians need help, most
of the NGO workers and relief organizations have assumed--
logically enough--that they cannot get through the Israeli military
lines that completely surround Jabalya. I managed to reach Simon
Schorno, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC), by phone. "I'm on my way to Gaza now," he told me.
"We have been talking to the IDF to get permission to bring food
and water, but we were not able to get an OK for complete food

Concerning the absence of the Red Cross in the past few days,
when many families were in urgent need, Mr. Schorno said, "I feel
terrible. We are trying to do our best to get food and water inside,
but the damaged streets also delay us from reaching the people."

A number of eyewitnesses among the camp residents told me the
Israeli army has commandeered several high buildings as sniper
posts and basically shoots anything that moves. One of the most
recent victims was Islam Dueidar, 14, who took a chance during
an apparent lull in firing to buy bread for her mother. However,
she was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper.

In the southern part of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army has increased
the number of tanks and bulldozers in all parts of Khan Younis and
Rafah. There has been shelling every night, with many injured and

Looking back on it now, I can say without reservation that the attack
on Jabalya was far worse than last May's so-called "Operation Rainbow,"
which killed 40 in my hometown of Rafah and prompted an
international outcry. Now, the silence from America, in particular,
seems to condone turning the Gaza Strip into a killing field. Sharon
picked his moment well, when America was preoccupied with its
presidential campaign and its invasion of Iraq, to decimate the
civilian population of Gaza. I was in the middle of the worst of
Operation Rainbow and called it hell, but I was wrong. In Gaza,
hell has more depths than Dante ever dreamed of, and in Jabalya
the people suffered a far worse hell. How many more hells must
people here endure before the world speaks out?

Mohammed Omer lives in Rafah, Gaza, where he maintains the
Web site .

- Modern "war" is state terrorism directed against civilians.

- The purpose of u.s. actions toward Iraq over the last 14 years
(2 horrific illegal bombing invasions, and 12 years of illegal,
immoral sanctions) is to destroy Iraq as a nation, the fulfillment
of the neo-con dream of "ending nations" that defy usrael. Forget
what bush, klinton and others say, forget stated intentions, just
look at what they do, and what they have done.

- If my men could think, they would not fight.
- Napoleon

- The most outlandish conspiracy theory of them all (and the
most widely accepted): 19 hijackers from a third world terrorist
group armed with boxcutters forced 3 planes into 3 of the nation's
most important and symbolic structures with no assistance from
US government / intelligence insiders.

- It's too late for religions to fight over market share. Adopting
a particular religion is not the way. It's no good for us to "become"
Jews, or Christians, or Buddhists. Rather, we must be like Jesus,
without necessarily being a Christian, be like Buddha, without
necessarily being a Buddhist. In order to do this, we need to study
these religions a little, not use them for political ends..
- paraphrase of Robert Thurman (author of Anger) being interviewed
by Chris Welch
on Living Room, KPFA-FM Radio, 11-18-04

Daniel Stone