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category national | miscellaneous | news report author Tuesday April 16, 2002 04:09author by Weinberg - WW3Reportauthor email ww3report at hotmail dot com

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THE PALESTINE FRONT

1. POWELL MEETS ARAFAT IN OCCUPIED RAMALLAH US Secretary of State Colin
Powell met with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat in
besieged Ramallah April 15--much to the chagrin of Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon. Meanwhile, Israel's "Operation Defensive Shield"
continued, with a disputed Palestinian death toll in the hundreds, as
well as 25 Israeli troops dead. The meeting, also attended by US envoy
Anthony Zinni, was portrayed as Arafat's reward for a statement
denouncing the suicide bombings (AP, CNN, April 15). 40 international
peace activists holed up in Arafat's compound hoped to witness the
meeting, but were herded by Powell's US diplomatic security bodyguards
into one room and told to stay out of sight. Netta Golan, the only
Israeli in the group, said, "Everyone here has taken into consideration
that there is a high probability we might die." Water and electricity
has not been restored to the compound, and much of it has been
destroyed. (NY Daily News, April 15)

Arafat's statement read in part:

"The Palestinian leadership and His Excellency President Arafat express
their deep condemnation for all terrorist activities, whether it is
state terrorism, terrorism by a group or individual terrorism. This
position comes from our steady principle that rejects using violence
and terror against civilians as a way to achieve political goals. We
declared this position beginning in 1988 and also when we signed the
Oslo accords at the White House, and we have repeated it several times
before, including our declaration on Dec. 16 last year. After that, we
did not find any Israeli response but more Israeli escalation, a
tighter siege, further occupation of our people, refugee camps, cities,
villages, and more destruction of our infrastructure. We strongly
condemn all the attacks targeting civilians from both sides, and
especially the attack that took place against Israeli citizens
yesterday in Jerusalem. We also condemn very strongly the massacre that
was committed by the Israeli occupation troops against our refugees in
Jenin and against our people in Ramallah, Nablus and Tulkarem and also
the brutal aggression against the church in Bethlehem during the last
two weeks. We call on the international community, the UN Security
Council and Mr. Colin Powell to undertake an international peace
mission in the region to investigate these massacres against our
people... On behalf of the Palestinian people, we once again emphasize
our full commitment to a fair and just peace between the two peoples
and two states as a strategic choice--peace that could provide security
for the Israelis and liberty and freedom in an independent state for
the Palestinian people..." (AP, April 13)

A front-page New York Times analysis April 14 said US and Israeli
officials agree "the Israeli operation on the West Bank is a sweeping
counterinsurgency that given enough time could reduce but not end
Palestinian bombing attacks... Israeli officials acknowledge that
military action alone cannot halt bombings if the Palestinians are
determined to resist. To stop the attacks, some sort of political
accommodation is needed, they say." On page 14, it said Palestinians
are angered by "what they perceive as a double-standard from
Washington": constant pressure to condemn the suicide bombings, yet no
condemnation from Washington of the hundreds of Palestinian casualties
of Operation Defensive Shield--"which the Palestinians refer to as
state terrorism."

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) boast of breaking up Islamic Jihad and
al-Aksa Brigades hide-outs on the West Bank, and claims to have
arrested an accomplice in the Netanya Passover bombing. Sharon still
says he needs several weeks to finish the operation, and proposed a
defensive buffer zone around Palestinian-controlled areas. The Times
says military experts see the "asymmetric warfare" between the
"well-trained and well-equipped" IDF and "bands of militants" with
home-made explosives "represents a new type of Arab-Israeli conflict."
(NYT, April 14)

2. MASS GRAVES REPORTED IN JENIN Palestinians accused the IDF of
bulldozing dozens of bodies into a mass grave at the Jenin refugee
camp. The Palestinians have informed international organizations about
the claims, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency
(UNRWA), which helps oversee the camp. The IDF denied the allegations.
The Palestinian Authority expressed fears Israel is trying to hide the
large number of dead. The IDF has blocked medical teams from evacuating
the dead and wounded from the camp during the past week. (Haaretz,
April 14)

Palestinians also say there were extra-judicial executions in the
camp--an accusation likewise denied by the IDF. There are also
widespread reports of homes occupied by Israeli troops, with the males
all rounded up, apart from very young boys. The Jenin camp is home to
13,000, and Ariel Sharon has called it "a hornets' nest" of terrorism.
UNRWA estimates that 2,000 to 3,000 have fled their homes at the camp.
(BBC, April 12)

Reports Palestine Monitor: "It has now been confirmed that Israeli
troops have committed a massacre in Jenin. The Israeli army admits
several hundred people have been killed, but Palestinians fear the
numbers are much higher. Israel is now attempting to cover up its crime
by removing the bodies of the dead from the camp and burying them in
the northern part of the Jordan Valley, in a secret location. For ten
days not a single journalist, nurse, doctor, international Red Cross
team or observer has been able to reach the site of the massacre. No
representative from UNWRA, the UN body responsible for the camp, has
been permitted to visit the area... Most of the 15,000 residents of the
camp have been killed, injured or completely dispossessed of their
homes and shelter. The camp has been destroyed."
(www.palestinemonitor.org, April 12) The deputy governor of Jenin,
Haider Rashid, confirmed that Israeli troops are bulldozing houses. He
put the number of dead at 200 and the homeless and displaced at 3,000
minimum. (ibid, April 10) Palestine Chronicle also reports of mass
summary executions and people buried alive by bulldozers in Jenin.
(palestinechronicle.com, April 12)

The New York Times reported the IDF intended to bury Palestinian gunmen
in an "enemy's cemetery" in the Jordan Valley, with Palestinians
charging an attempt to cover up a "massacre." Member of the Knesset
Ahmed Tibi said removing the bodies was a violation of international
law. The Israeli High Court has issued an injunction halting removal of
the bodies pending a hearing. The court also ordered state prosecutors
to investigate charges of a mass grave at Jenin. (NYT, April 14)

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres is said to be concerned about
international reaction when the world learns the details of what
happened at Jenin, and is said to have privately referred to the battle
as a "massacre." (Haartez, April 9)

Ariel Sharon dismissed the massacre accounts as "lies" of the
"Palestinian empire of falsehood." Said Sharon of the Palestinians:
"They look you in the eye and lie." . He said that not a single body
has been buried. Sharon said reports of a massacre are "ridiculous."
Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told the cabinet the number of
Palestinians killed in Jenin was in the dozens, not the hundreds.
(Jerusalem Post, April 15)

3. DESPERATE RESISTANCE IN JENIN In a coordinated combination
ambush/suicide attack, 13 Israeli reservists of the elite Golani
brigade died in a battle at the Jenin refugee camp on April 9. The
bomber was chased by soldiers into an alley, where he set off his
explosives-laden belt, killing three immediately. The rest died when
mines placed on the walls of the surrounding buildings brought them
down on the troops, or were killed by snipers who opened fire from a
nearby rooftop. The approximately 20 snipers escaped. The IDF commander
watched the whole incident helplessly as an unmanned drone flying
overhead filmed it. The ambush brought the Israeli toll in the Jenin
fighting to 23, by far the bloodiest day for the IDF in Operation
Defensive Shield. The suicide bomber was evidently quite young. Former
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu initially reported he was
only ten: "You know how they were killed? A 10-year-old boy was
strapped with explosives and sent by Arafat's goons to explode. This is
the kind of monstrosity we're dealing with." Netanyahu later said the
boy could have been as old as fourteen. (Jerusalem Post, Daily News,
April 10) (David Bloom)

4. NABLUS: CASBAH IN RUINS In Nablus, the ancient Casbah is in ruins
after a bloody battle between IDF forces and Palestinian militants who
had taken refuge there. Reported the UK Guardian April 9: "The stench
of blood and rotting corpses carried far beyond the green mosque where
the bodies were laid out, tightly wedged together like firewood: young
men, perhaps Palestinian fighters, and those with the sagging paunch of
middle age. At last, after five ferocious days of fighting in the
vaulted stone alleyways of the old town, the Israeli army yesterday
allowed Palestinian medical workers to take the 62 wounded to hospital
and carry away the dead. Twenty-six corpses awaited them; five had bled
their lives away into the stained mattresses strewn beneath the
chandeliers of the Jamal Bek mosque, which has been converted into a
makeshift hospital and morgue." The Guardian reported April 11 that
hundreds of Palestinians surrendered at al-Ayn refugee camp near Nablus
after five straight hours of ground-fire from tanks, and missile-fire
from helicopter gunships.

5. BETHLEHEM STAND-OFF CONTINUES Israel says the standoff at
Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity could be resolved if the gunmen
inside agree to a face trial in Israel--or accept permanent exile. A
Palestinian police officer in the church denounced the proposal. "We
will never accept being refugees in another country or surrendering to
the Israelis," said officer Mazan Hussein. "Our options are to die or
to return safely to our homes." The IDF, meanwhile, is attempting to
put psychological pressure on the gunmen, playing the sound of
screaming sirens from a large truck-mounted speaker just outside the
church. A Palestinian was shot dead April 13 in a hostel within the
church compound. IDF troops entered the hostel and fired several shots,
reportedly hitting Hassan Nasmam, a Palestinian civilian, in the neck.
About 250 people are inside the church, including gunmen, Palestinian
police officers and clergy. (AP, April 14)

The Franciscan order has asked Israel to allow some of the 200 armed
Palestinians sheltering in the church to leave unharmed. The Roman
Catholic order in the Holy Land also called for water and electricity
to be urgently supplied to the complex, which has been besieged since
April 2. An Armenian monk at the complex was seriously wounded by an
Israeli bullet April 10. An IDF spokesman admitted responsibility,
saying the monk, now in a Jerusalem hospital, had been dressed in
civilian clothes and "looked armed." (BBC, April 12)

6. B'TSELEM DOCUMENTS IDF ABUSES A report by the Israeli human rights
group B'Tselem documents massive abuses by the IDF in Operation
Defensive Wall, including:

Mass detention and torture: "Since the beginning of operation
'Defensive Wall,' the IDF has detained thousands of Palestinians
throughout the Occupied Territories. In many cases, mass detentions
were conducted according to broad criteria of age and gender, thus many
Palestinians were detained simply because they were present where
detentions were being carried out and not because they were under
suspicion. On April 5, 2002, B'Tselem received information from an
Israeli source about difficult conditions and the use of torture during
interrogations in the Ofer military camp located near Ramallah. The
army has issued a sweeping order denying detainees the right to meet
with lawyers... B'Tselem, together with three other Israeli human
rights organizations, filed an urgent petition to the Israeli High
Court of Justice demanding that detainees be allowed to meet with
lawyers and that the court forbid the use of physical force against the
detainees during interrogation. Following a short court hearing on
April 7, 2002, the court rejected the petition."

Use of civilians as human shields, and obstruction of medical
treatment: "On March 8, at approximately 1:00 PM, six IDF soldiers
entered the al-Baq Mosque in the old city of Nablus, where an emergency
clinic had been established. According to the information provided to
B'Tselem by Dr. Zahara el-Wawi, a doctor at the clinic, the soldiers
entered the mosque with their guns resting on the shoulders of
Palestinian civilians who were forced to march in front of the soldiers
as 'human shields.' The soldiers separated the medical staff from the
patients, searched the dead bodies, and checked the identities of the
injured patients."

Overcrowding and humiliating treatment of detainees: "There are 1,000
detainees held in Ofer military camp, between 1,000 and 1,500 at
Megiddo military prison, 100 in the detention facility in Salem, opened
near Jenin and several dozens in permanent detention facilities in the
West Bank. Detainees released from Ofer reported harsh holding
conditions. Among other things, they reported insufficient food,
overcrowding, being cold, humiliation and beatings. Some of the
detainees are forced to sleep on wooden planks and thin mattresses.
With the increase in the number of detainees, each one has a
40-centimeter wide space to sleep in, and some do not even have that...
On Sunday [April 7], the High Court of Justice rejected a petition of
four human rights organizations which demanded to be allowed into the
Ofer military camp." The report also cited numerous accounts of
civilians killed in indiscriminate fire, often by missiles fired from
helicopters. (www.btselem.org)

7. HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS: "OPERATION DEFENSIVE WALL" ILLEGAL Three
prominent international human rights groups released the following
joint statement April 7: "Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and
the International Commission of Jurists want to send a clear,
unambiguous message to all parties to this conflict, and to the
international community. Stop the deliberate targeting of civilians and
other persons protected by international humanitarian law. Stop actions
that harm them. Immediately deploy international monitors to protect
the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis. As a fully-fledged State
and as an Occupying Power, Israel has clear obligations under
international law, and in particular under the Fourth Geneva
Convention. This Convention provides for security measures that can be
taken to protect itself, but these do not include the excesses now
undertaken by the Israeli government. We strongly deplore actions by
the state of Israel that harm persons protected by international
humanitarian law. These include prolonged curfews with severe
restrictions on the movement of people and access for medical
personnel; intensified collective punishments; wanton damage to homes,
cars and civilian property; looting and theft; and the coerced use of
civilians to assist military operations. Such actions violate
international standards and transcend any justification of military
necessity... Even in the face of this situation, we are appalled by an
increase in the use of suicide bombers by armed Palestinian groups to
attack Israeli civilians. Such deliberate attacks on civilians are
absolutely prohibited by international humanitarian law. These actions
tarnish the Palestinian cause and will not at all help the situation...
Over the past week there have also been increasing signs of a breakdown
in law and order within Palestinian territories as well, including the
street-killing of alleged collaborators with Israel."

8. PRESS PROTESTS RESTRICTIONS International media watchdog
organizations lambasted Israel for barring reporters from occupied
towns and cities in the West Bank. A statement by the International
Press Institute (IPI), co-signed by six media groups, said Israel's
"prolonged attempt to seal off entire cities, where hundreds of
thousands of people live, has been excessive, unjustifiable and utterly
counterproductive." The Foreign Press Association in Israel, the World
Association of Newspapers (Paris), and Reporters without Borders
(Paris) were among the groups signing the statement. Reporters without
Borders accused Israeli authorities of "treating many journalists as
'enemies'" and "doing everything they can to hide their military
operations and accompanying abuses from the world media." The statement
also called on "Palestinian factions" to cease intimidating journalists
and attempting to confiscate media footage. (Haaretz, April 10)

9. MEDICAL AID FOR BESIEGED WEST BANK The newly-formed National Medical
Aid Committee for the Palestinian People is working with the Red Cross,
Red Crescent, local hospitals and the United Palestinian Medical Relief
Committees (www.upmrc.org) to coordinate collecting medical
supplies--and defying the siege to deliver them to Ramallah, Tulkarem,
Qalqiliya, Bethlehem, Beit Jala, other occupied towns. For donations,
make wire transfer to:

National Medical Relief Committee Bank Mercantile Discount Branch #620,
Shefa-Amr. Account # 52914 Swift Code: BARDILITA

10. HEZBOLLAH ATTACKS KEEP POWELL FROM LEBANON BORDER Lebanon-based
Hezbollah guerillas fired more anti-tank missiles and mortars at IDF
bases on Mount Hermon and Mount Dov in northern Israel. There were no
casualties reported, but an IDF tank was damaged. On April 5, US
Secretary of State Colin Powell was visiting the Northern Command's
base in Safed at the time of a Hezbollah attack, and Powell canceled a
scheduled visit to the Lebanese border. Powell called on "all states
that can influence Hezbollah, especially Syria, to do what is in their
power to restrain Hezbollah, and stop these actions, before the
conflict expands, and has destructive consequences for the whole
region." (Haaretz, April 7)

11. HARDLINERS DEMAND FORCED "TRANSFER" Signs reading "Only Transfer!"
and "No Arabs, No Attacks" are popular at right-wing demonstrations in
Israel. One recent poll indicated 46% of Jewish Israelis favor
expulsion of the Palestinians living in the territories through force
or coercion. (Haaretz, April 8) At one right-wing demonstration in
Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, on March 11, the popular slogan was "We want
war"--which the daily Haaretz says "has become the general sentiment of
the Israeli public." (Haaretz, April 7)

12. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR SUICIDE BOMBERS There were two suicide
bombings in Israel this week, the first since March 31, the day before
Operation Defensive Shield began. On April 10, a suicide bomber killed
himself and 8 others on a bus in the Haifa suburbs. Hamas claimed
responsibility. (NYT, BBC, April 10) On April 12, a suicide bomber
struck a market in Jerusalem, killing six. This was the fourth female
suicide bomber, all sent by the al-Aksa Martyr's Brigade, a branch of
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction (see WW3REPORT#26).
The first, Wafa Idris, 26, of Ramallah, killed one in Jerusalem on Jan.
27. According to AFP, it is now believed she was delivering a bomb to
someone else that went off prematurely, but she is seen as the first in
this trend (AFP, April 12). The second, Dareen Abu Ish, 21, a student
in Nablus, killed a border policeman at a checkpoint near Jerusalem on
Feb. 27. She had asked Hamas to send her, but turned to al-Aksa when
she was refused (Newsweek, April 15). The third, Ayat al-Akras, 18,
from Dehieshe refugee camp, killed two at a Jerusalem market March 29.
The fourth is Andaleb Tataqah, 20, from Beit Fahar. (NYT, April 14).
Al-Akras' father said: "May God forgive her for what she has done."
(Newsweek, April 15) In addition, Israel claims there have been two
foiled female suicide bombers, Shera Kudasi, 26, in Tulkarm, sent by
"Fatah's armed branch" (AFP, April 12), and a 30-year-old woman from
Azoun apprehended near Kfar Saba. Officials say the woman, who was not
carrying explosives at the time, was headed to carry out a suicide
mission inside Israel. (Jerusalem Post, April 15)

The nationalist al-Aksa Bridages began using suicide bombers this
winter, taking their cue from their fundamentalist rivals in Hamas and
Islamic Jihad. Hamas spiritual leader Shiek Yassin has been quoted as
saying, "we will start using women when we run out of men" (Newsweek
April 15). The al-Aksa Brigades have reportedly set up a bureau to
process female recruits for suicide missions (Newsweek, April 15). This
Ramallah-based bureau was reportedly shut down by the Israeli army
during Operation Defensive Shield. The IDF said it found a list of
"several dozen young women [who] had signed up." The woman said to be
in charge of the bureau is being sought by Israel's Shin Bet internal
security service. (NYT, April 14)

170 Israelis have been killed by over 60 suicide bombers since the
Intifada began in Sept. 2000 (not counting this week's attacks). While
a 1995 poll found that only 20 % of Palestinians supported suicide
bombing, a recent poll suggests the figure now stands at 80%.
(Newsweek, April 15) (David Bloom)

13. ISRAEL'S "SMOKING GUN" A "DAMP FIRECRACKER"? Nigel Parry writes for
The Electronic Intifada (electronicIntifada.net) that Israel's "smoking
gun" supposedly linking Arafat to the suicide attacks is "not even a
damp firecracker." A summary of the April 4 investigation of the
document reportedly taken from Arafat's besieged Ramallah compound
states:

"There are two problems with the document that undermine Israeli claims
that it links the Palestinian Authority/Arafat to terrorist attacks
against Israeli civilians:

"1) The list of people in the document are not suicide bombers as
claimed. We have verified 4 out of the 7 mentioned are people Israel in
fact assassinated. This is easily verifiable with Lexis-Nexis and
Internet searches. Variation in spellings of names and limited time are
our biggest obstacle to finding out the status of the last 3.

"2) The explosives are 'dual use.' While suicide bombings are clearly
one possibility, this document was dated 16 September 2001. At that
time, according to the IDF's own website, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
was not committing suicide bombings. Rather they were blowing up
Israeli tanks as they entered their refugee camps... [M]ilitary
vehicles attacking the camps are universally considered under
international law to be legitimate targets for people resisting
military occupation."

14. MEDIA WATCHDOG DOCUMENTS NYT DOUBLE-STANDARD The New York-based
media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) continues
to document the New York Times' double standard on Israeli and
Palestinian violence. Reads the group's latest missive, dated April 12:

"How many Palestinian lives equal one Israeli life, according to the
editors of the New York Times? The main headline on the front page of
the New York Times' April 10 final edition was 'At Least 8 Killed In
Suicide Bombing On A Bus In Israel.' The late edition, which is
available to more readers, had '13 Israeli Troops Killed in Ambush; Bus
Bomb Kills 10,' in the 36-point headline size that the paper reserves
for what it considers major events. Six paragraphs into the story, the
paper provided this additional information: 'More than 100 Palestinians
have been killed in Jenin, the Palestinian town that has brought the
stiffest resistance to the broad Israeli sweep through the West Bank.
Many of the Palestinian dead still lie where they fell.' By its
headline choice, the Times suggested that the deaths of 23 Israelis (or
eight, in the final edition) are more important than the deaths of 100
Palestinians. But even those ratios may understate the greater weight
that the editors place on Israeli casualties. Beneath the main headline
in the late edition were two subheads: 'Worst Army Toll' and 'A 14th
soldier Is Killed in Separate Attack at a Refugee Camp.' The Times
might have used one of the subheads to acknowledge the deaths of more
than a hundred Palestinians, but evidently noting the death of a single
additional Israeli soldier was considered more newsworthy.

"One might suggest, in the New York Times' defense, that large numbers
of Palestinian deaths have been a constant since Israel's military
invasion of the West Bank began on April 1, whereas the deaths on April
9 were the first time since the offensive began that
Israelis--civilians or combatants-- had seen casualties on that scale.
But when were the hundreds of Palestinians killed considered to be
major, front-page news by the New York Times? A review of the page A1
headlines used by the Times since the March 29 start of the invasion
reveals a striking lack of references to the Palestinians killed in the
Israeli operations. Generally the headlines were antiseptic: 'Israelis
Broaden West Bank Raids as Arabs Protest' (4/2/02); 'US Envoy Meets
Arafat as Israel Steps Up Its Sweep' (4/6/02). When an April 5 headline
used the word 'carnage,' it was not a reference to the scores of
Palestinians dying in the ongoing Israeli attack, but to a suicide
bombing that had killed three (including the bomber) a week earlier.
One April 4 front-page subhead, 'Bleeding to Death,' did allude to
Israeli killing of Palestinians--under the 'balanced' headline, 'Arabs'
Grief in Bethlehem, Bombers' Gloating in Gaza'-- but this was an
exception to the general trend. There's more to news than front-page
headlines, of course, and the Times has done some valuable reporting of
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on its inside pages. Front-page
headlines are, however, a clear indicator of what a paper's editors
consider to be the most important events of the day. In the case of the
powerful and prestigious New York Times, these headlines can set news
agendas around the world. The Times should not use its front page to
send the message that some lives matter more than others."
(wwwfair.org)

15. EDWARD SAID: SHARON'S LOGIC REFLECTS BUSH'S Ariel Sharon told
Haaretz on March 5: "The PA is behind the terror... Arafat is behind
the terror. Our pressure is aimed at ending the terror. Don't expect
Arafat to act against the terror. We have to cause them heavy
casualties and then they'll know they can't keep using terror and win
political achievements."

Responded Palestinian commentator Edward Said: "...Sharon's words
indicate the failures of reason and criticism loosed on the world since
last September. Yes, there was a terrorist outrage, but there's more to
the world than terror. There is politics, and struggle, and history,
and injustice, and resistance and yes, state terror as well. With
scarcely a peep from the American professorate or intelligentsia, we
have all succumbed to the promiscuous misuse of language and sense, by
which everything we don't like has become terror and what we do is pure
and simple good--fighting terror, no matter how much wealth, and lives,
and destruction is involved." (Edward Said in Counterpunch, March 24)

16. ...WHICH IS JUST FINE WITH THOMAS FRIEDMAN New York Times war
propagandist Thomas Friedman wrote in his column March 31: "Israel
needs to deliver a blow that clearly shows that terror will not pay."

17. PROTESTS IN LONDON, AMSTERDAM, FRANKFURT Thousands attended
protests in European cities April 13 to express solidarity with the
Palestinians and denounce Operation Defensive Shield. 15,000 marched
through central London, some carrying posters depicting Ariel Sharon
behind bars and comparing him to Adolf Hitler. A rally of 10,000 in
Amsterdam's main square turned violent, as protesters smashed store
windows and battled police in riot gear and shields, some on horseback,
who waded into the crowd swinging batons. 10,000 attended
demonstrations in Germany, with the largest gathering in Frankfurt.
(Haaretz, April 14)

18. DE FACTO EUROPEAN ARMS EMBARGO? Britain has imposed a de facto arms
embargo on Israel for the first time in 20 years, official sources told
the Guardian 13. The ban applies to military equipment that could be
used in Israel's continuing operations in the Palestinian territories.
France has also quietly suspended sales of certain arms, according to
another source. The moves by European powers emphasize Israel's growing
isolation from its allies and make it more dependent on US largesse.
Speaking to reporters in London, the German defense minister, Rudolf
Scharping, confirmed reports that his country was refusing export
licenses for tank parts and other equipment for Israel. While insisting
Germany was not imposing a formal arms embargo, he said Berlin has
delayed shipments at "this crucial time." The Guardian also cited a
report in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot that Germany had
embargoed 120 parts necessary for the construction of Merkava tanks.
Britain formally embargoed arms to Israel following its invasion of
Lebanon in 1982.

19. CYBER-CENSORSHIP OF PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY The Palestinian Authority
web page (pna.net) is down. Logging on, one finds the following
"IMPORTANT NOTICE":

"Due to disruptions of Palestine-based web-servers as a result of the
Israeli invasion of Palestinian towns, you may have arrived here while
trying to access a different website. The hard-working technical staff
maintaining webs-servers on the ground are dealing with shoot-to-kill
curfews, no electricity thanks to Israeli military cut-offs of the
power, and other severe obstacles. Until these issues are resolved some
sites are temporarily redirecting their URLs here, where you can find
information from a Palestinian point of view. Normal service will be
resumed as soon as possible. In the meantime, welcome to The Electronic
Intifada..."

20. PEACE THROUGH TRANSPLANTATION? Last week, WW3 REPORT cited a
glimmer of hope: the transplant of a kidney from Zeev Vieder, an
Israeli killed in the Passover suicide attack, to Aisha Abu, a
Palestinian woman. An article currently posted on the website About
Transplantation cited the recent case of an Israeli man, near death due
to heart failure, who received the heart of a Palestinian killed in the
West Bank fighting. Writes About Transplantation: "Israeli Jews and
Palestinian Muslims--at least if one is to believe the religions of
their ancestors--come from a common ancestor, the patriarch Abraham...
This...ought to make life a little easier for transplant surgeons due
to the common genetic heritage (and therefore similar tissues) of these
two distinct cultures...."
(www.abouttransplantation.com/article1012.html)


ELSEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

1. TERROR ATTACK IN TUNISIA? Local Jews held a solemn sabbath service
amid the blackened interior of their historic Tunisian synagogue April
13, two days after a gas-laden truck exploded, killing 16 people--4
Tunisians and 12 German and French tourists, including an 11-year-old
boy and an 18-month-old baby. Leaders of Tunisia's Jewish community are
perplexed about the April 11 blast at the Ghriba synagogue on the
island of Jerba. German Interior Minister Otto Schily told ZDF TV: "The
latest information and indications we have been getting from both
inside the country and outside have pointed increasingly towards an
attack." Schily said German federal police officials were on the case
and denied suggestions the Tunisian government was sticking to initial
claims that that the blast was accidental. "The situation on both sides
is that this was more than likely a deliberate attack," said Schily. He
added that a senior official of Germany's Federal Crime Office had
coincidentally been in Tunisia when the attack took place, and assisted
in the investigation. Tourism Minister Mondher Zenaidi visited the
synagogue April 13, the highest ranking government official to do so,
and reiterated the official line of a "tragic accident." "Until the
investigation is finished, there should be no speculation," he said in
response to reporters' questions. "Tunisia is a country of tolerance,
respect for differences and respect for religions." Regional Governor
Mohamed Ben Salem said the tanker was stopped by synagogue guards as it
approached the grounds and was ordered to turn around, but hit the
outer wall and exploded. Rene Trabelsi, son of the synagogue's
president, said witnesses, including four rabbis praying at the time,
spoke of hearing three separate blasts. The only recollection of an
anti-Jewish attack in Jerba was the Oct. 8, 1985, killing of three
people in the island's business district by a Tunisian
policeman--apparently to avenge the Israeli raid a week earlier on PLO
headquarters, then housed outside Tunis. The raid by six Israeli planes
left at least 61 Palestinians and 12 Tunisians dead. (AP, April 14)

Eyewitnesses quoted by the Tunisian News Agency (TAP) said the driver
of the truck in the April 11 incident seemed to ignore a security
officer's order to stop, instead speeding up to hit the synagogue. A
tourist bus took much of the force of the explosion. Ghriba's
foundations are said to date from 586 BC, making it one of Africa's
oldest synagogues. It attracts several thousand visitors for an annual
spring festival. Djerba, off Tunisia's southeast coast, a popular
vacation spot, is home to around 1,000 of Tunisia's 3,000 Jews. The
Jews of Djerba have lived quietly on the island for nearly 2,000 years
in two small villages. By tradition, their forefathers fled Jerusalem
following the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. Many Jews left
Tunisia following the creation of Israel in 1948; others followed when
the synagogue in Tunis was burned down during the 1967 Arab-Israeli
war. (BBC, April 12)

A May 17, 2001 Panafrican News Agency reported on the website Islam for
Today said that the annual Djerba festival, known as El Ghriba, drew
1,300 pilgrims from throughout North Africa--down from 2000's 7,000 as
a result of tensions over the Israel/Palestine crisis.
(www.islamfortoday.com/jewishpilgrimage.htm)

2. TERROR ATTACK IN YEMEN? On April 12, a small bomb exploded near the
home of a Yemeni security official involved in the hunt for supposed
al-Qaeda terrorists in the country's remote interior mountains. Local
residents said they heard a loud blast in the Sheraton district of the
Yemeni capital, Sanaa. Officials said no one was injured and no damage
was reported. A previously unknown group calling itself al-Qaeda
Sympathizers said it had planted another explosive device outside the
house of the official, Mohammed Rizq al-Hamadani, a week earlier. The
group did not claim responsibility for the April 12 explosion, but
released a statement saying it had planted explosives near state
security buildings "to send a message for 173 of our brothers jailed in
the basement of state security headquarters who have not been charged
with anything except belonging to al-Qaeda." The group also threatened
to target high-level officials if the issue is not resolved within a
month.

Security has been stepped up in the district, which also contains the
US Embassy. The blast comes a month after an explosion outside the US
embassy, itself a day after US Vice President Dick Cheney visited the
country. No one was hurt in that incident, when two objects thrown at
the building exploded, according to US officials. Yemen has been a
White House security concern since an explosive-laden boat rammed the
USS Cole in Aden harbor in October 2000, killing 17 sailors--an attack
blamed on Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda. US military advisers have been
dispatched to Yemen to help combat the alleged al-Qaeda presence. (BBC,
April 12)


THE AFGHANISTAN FRONT

1. OPENING SHOTS OF NEW OPIUM WAR Opium farmers in eastern Afghanistan
opened fire on provincial officials surveying their fields as a
government program to eradicate opium poppies began April 8 (see WW3
REPORT #28). At least one official was reported killed. Shenwari
tribesmen also blocked the main highway to Kabul, pelting vehicles with
rocks. The official in charge of security on the Pakistan-Afghan
Highway was reported killed in the shooting in Marco. Four others were
reported wounded. The new Afghan government is offering opium farmers
about $500 an acre to destroy their crops. Farmers pledge to resist the
eradication program because the sum falls far short of comparable
market value for opium. There were also reports of violence at a
protest against the program in southern Helmand province, with one
farmer reportedly killed and two wounded when security forces opened
fire. (AP, April 8)

The following day, protests escalated to gun-battles, as opium farmers
fired on security forces, leaving dozens dead or injured. Protests
outside the governor's office in Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand
province, turned into stone-throwing attacks on security forces, and
shops were burned, according to local authorities. Farmers claim
fertilizer, seeds, tractor rental, water pumps, fuel and laborers cost
them $800 an acre, and that opium eradication equals economic doom. (UK
Guardian, April 10)

Meanwhile in Washington, in a message issued on Drug Abuse Resistance
Education Day April 10, President George Bush declared, "When we fight
the war on drugs, we also fight the war on terror." The UN Drug Control
Program estimates Afghanistan produced over 70% of the world's supply
of illicit opium in 2000. The latest US Justice Department report
describes opium as the largest source of income in Afghanistan. (UPI,
April 10)

2. VIOLENCE WIDESPREAD AS KING PREPARES RETURN Tank, mortar and rifle
fire echoed through a barren valley April 13 as a turf battle raged for
a second day just west of the Afghan capital. In Kabul itself, British
peacekeepers traded fire with gunmen, and in the south a rocket just
missed the offices of the Kandahar governor. The unrest comes just days
before Afghanistan's exiled king Zahir Shah is scheduled to return from
Italy to help establish a permanent government for the devastated
nation.

The fighting in Khoja Kotkai valley, 30 miles west of Kabul, pitted two
Pashtun warlords, Gen. Zafar Uddin and Commander Nangiala, for control
of a valley in Wardak province. The battle for Khoja Kotkai appears to
reflect divisions within the interim government, with the defense and
interior ministries (mostly filled by Northern Alliance commanders)
supporting Uddin and interim prime minister Hamid Karzai supporting
Nangialai.

In the capital, about 30 gunmen fired AK-47 assault rifles at a British
contingent of international peacekeepers April 12, sparking a
firefight, said Lt. Col. Neal Peckham, spokesman for the force. No
casualties were reported. Peacekeepers said the armed men fled but 7
were later arrested and handed over to the interim government. Five
were reportedly wearing Afghan police uniforms. In the southern city of
Kandahar that night, a rocket missed the office of Gov. Gul Agha,
exploding on the grounds of a nearby mosque, local authorities said.
There were apparently no casualties. US Special Forces troops are
housed in the governor's compound. (AP, April 13)

3. U.S. soldier KILLED, "PEACEKEEPER" WOUNDED Afghan officials reported
a US soldier was killed in a grenade attack by suspected al-Qaeda
militants near Gardez. Seven US troops were also injured when the
assailants hurled grenades at a military post near the governor's
office in Paktia province. There were reportedly at least two
attackers--one Arab and one possibly Pakistani.

In a separate incident, the UK "peacekeeping" contingent in Kabul
sustained its first casualty when a soldieer was shot and seriously
injured while patrolling a crime-ridden area. Lt-Col. Neal Peckham, the
military spokesman for the UK-led International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF), said a gun went off accidentally and the incident "did
not involve any party outside of ISAF." In recent weeks, there have
been numerous shooting incidents in Kabul. On April 7, two rockets were
fired at a barracks used by the peacekeeping troops on the eastern edge
of the city. No one was hurt. The wave of armed robberies in the area
is blamed on demobilized Northern Alliance troops who took the capital
in November. (BBC, April 9)

4. SHATTERED AFGHAN FAMILIES DEMAND U.S. COMPENSATION Survivors of the
US bombardment in Afghanistan handed in petitions from 400 families to
the US Embassy in Kabul, part of a growing movement to demand
compensation for the loss of their homes and kin. Dozens of families
traveled to Kabul from throughout Afghanistan to tell stories of
children maimed and whole households wiped out in the bombing. An
8-year-old girl named Amina, who lost 16 relatives in the bombing--her
entire family except her father--handed the thick folder of petitions
to consular official Michael Metrinko. The San Francisco-based group
Global Exchange, which is supporting the victims in their claims,
estimates some 2,000 families have suffered losses in the bombing. "It
is the responsibility of the US government to do a survey and to help
the innocent victims impacted by the air campaign," said Global
Exchange's Marla Ruzicka. But the petitioners got only a brief meeting
outside the embassy with Metrinko--and no promise of assistance. "I am
telling them that we are trying, we hope we can help," he said. "But I
cannot make a commitment." Juma Khan, Amina's father, a cobbler who
borrowed money to travel from Khanabad, said he feared the trip was in
vain. "He said he would try to help, but I don't know when," he said of
Metrinko. (NYT, April 7)

5. FOUR DEAD IN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON DEFENSE MINISTER An explosion
ripped through the convoy of Defense Minister Mohammed Qassim Fahim
April 8, injuring many and killing at least 4 bystanders. Fahim was not
injured. The motorcade was en route to Jalalabad on a scheduled visit
to promote Afghan unity. Fahim was to meet with various local warlords
to persuade them to incorporate their militias into a national Afghan
army. A truckload of people covered in blood were taken to the nearest
hospital. (AP, CNN, April 8) The remote-control bomb was reportedly
placed in a kiosk where people were lined up along the road to greet
Fahim, an ethnic Tajik, on his first visit to largely Pashtun Jalalabad
since the interim administration took office in December. 15 were
subsequently arrested in connection with the incident. (Reuters, April
10)

6. DOSTUM PROPOSES ETHNIC DIVISION OF AFGHANISTAN Uzbek warlord Abdul
Rashid Dostum--a top Northern Alliance commander and now deputy defense
minister--has released a draft program calling for the division of
Afghanistan along ethnic lines. The document is officially authored by
Dostum's party/militia, the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan
(NIMA), a coalition partner in the ruling United Front, based mainly in
the country's northeastern provinces. The Uzbek NIMA was widely
perceived to have been snubbed at last year's Bonn conference which saw
the formation of an interim government of ethnic-based factions after
the fall of the Pashtun-dominated Taliban regime. Many of the key posts
in the new authority headed by Hamid Karzai--a Pashtun--were handed out
ethnic Tajik representatives who hold the dominant position in the
Northern Alliance. Only later was Dostum appointed deputy defense
minister and representative for Afghanistan's northern Uzbek enclave.

Now, just two months before the scheduled Loya Jirga, or tribal summit,
to decide the shape of the new government, observers say Dostum's
latest plan is an attempt to solidify his northern power base. The pan
calls for a federal system for Afghanistan, with highly autonomous
local divisions defined by ethnicity. Dr. Habib Mangal, a former Afghan
ambassador to Moscow under the pro-Soviet regime, believes federalism
could actually create more problems than it solves, as ethnic groups
are not united nor evenly distributed across the country. In the five
provinces controlled by the NIMA (Balkh, Saripul, Jawzejan, Fariab,
Samangan) there are Uzbeks, Hazaras, Tajiks and a minority of
Pashtuns--who were encouraged to migrate from their eastern and
southern strongholds in the early part of the twentieth century. While
accepting the need for elected regional governments, Mangal states that
only the "deepening of democracy, economic and social developments of
the country can guarantee the right of nationalities to the political
power." (Yasin Bidar for the Institue for War and Peace Reporting,
April 11)

7. REBELLION ON IRAN BORDER The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press
(AIP) reports rebel commanders Abdul Rahman and Abdul Jalil launched an
attack in southwestern Nimroz province April 8, and seized Guldana,
near the Iranian border. Four militiamen loyal to Nimroz Governor Abdul
Karim Barohi, a interim regime loyalist, were injured in the fighting.
Some 300 reinforcements have been sent to put down the fighting.
Control over a key trade route with Iran is at issue. (Dawn, April 11)

8. NO CENTRAL AUTHORITY IN AFGHANISTAN Writes Wali Jan for the
Institute for War & Peace Reporting: "A stroll through the center of
Kabul might leave the observer wondering who is really running
Afghanistan. The black, white and green flag of the Mujahedin flutters
over the ministry of foreign affairs, while 50 meters down the road,
the ministry of tribal affairs flies the flag of the former King Zahir
Shah. It's a graphic illustration of how power in the country has yet
to be centralized under the Interim Authority." The interim regime is
dominated by Burhanuddin Rabbani's Tajik faction of the Northern
Alliance, Jamiat-i-Islami, which had control before the Taliban took
over in 1996. They are opposed by Pashtun militias in the south, as
well as by rivals within the shaky Northern Alliance--Uzbeks in the
north, Hazaras in the Hindu Kush. The regime had to intervene in early
Jan, when the governor of the Paktia province, Pacha Khan Zadran, was
driven out by the forces of Pashtun tribal leader Commander Saifullah.
In the north, Jamiat-i-Islami Commander Atta has mixed it up with the
Uzbek Islamic Movement of Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum--deputy defense
minister in the interim government. Neighboring countries are dividing
up Afghanistan's turf. Nangarhar governor Haji Qadeer is said to be
close to Pakistan; Herat's reigning warlord Ismael Khan has close links
with Iran. "In most parts of Afghanistan, moneyraised in taxes is spent
by commanders and influential people for their own benefit and does not
reach the central bank," says Abdul Kader Fetrat, acting central bank
governor.

A recent conference in Kabul to address the issue of centralism brought
regional governors together for the first time in over 20 years. Karzai
gave a keynote address at the gathering, which was also addressed by
Ismael Qasimyar, in charge of convening the Loya Jirga. Delegates from
the provinces drew a picture of local chaos. "We don't even know who
our governor is," complained Mohammad Alam Mir Khail, from Wardak
province. "Government employees haven't received any salaries for
months and while some district chiefs are elected by the people, they
have no budget to run their day-to-day affairs." (IWPR, April 11)

9. TECHNOCRATS OPTIMISTIC The Asian Development Bank (ADB) issued a
report on Afghanistan's economic prospects. The report found: "A
daunting range of constraints must be overcome to sustain a long-run
development drive." Most skilled professionals are either dead or in
exile. Roads and airports are damaged, telephone and telegraph networks
destroyed. Millions of people live in refugee camps outside
Afghanistan. Agriculture has been devastated by three years of drought.
Unexploded ordnance scatters the land. But the report predicted that
"Afghanistan could experience a rapid economic revival." A total of
$4.5 billion has already been promised by the international community,
and the ADB projects "rapid growth over the next few years." But the
ADB "warned that a system of internal governance and a financial system
need to be quickly established to use the aid effectively." (BBC, April
9)

10. AFGHAN LEADER PLEADS: SEND MONEY! Most of the $4.5 billion pledged
to Afghanistan in reconstruction aid has yet to arrive, and officials
are desperately seeking funds for the army, police and infrastructure.
At a Kabul meeting on reconstruction, interim prime minister Hamid
Karzai called on the world community to make good on promises. Lakhdar
Brahimi, UN envoy to Afghanistan, called for donors to start coughing
up or the chance for stability would be lost.. "The establishment of a
well-trained, properly equipped national security force is an absolute
priority right now," Brahimi said. (LAT, April 11)

11. MULLAH OMAR READY FOR COMEBACK Fugitive Taliban leader Mullah
Mohammed Omar is apparently alive and delivering anti-US tirades on the
Internet. The one-eyed cleric has not been heard of since shortly after
the Taliban's rout last year. But Pakistan's Frontier Post ran an
e-mailed communique from Omar charging that the US "entered our lands
by stepping on the skulls and bones of women and children...used the
strongest and ugliest tools of destruction--from immense bombs to
weapons of mass destruction, which America banned all other countries
from owning." (AFP, April 9) The communique is on-line at .

12. OSAMA "SAFE AND WELL," TO "RESUME ACTIVITIES" Terrorist mastermind
Osama bin Laden is "safe and well"--and planning new attacks, according
to a report in the Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat picked up by the ANSA news
agency. "Al-Qaeda's leader has gone abroad safely. Bin Laden is safe
and well. He is preparing to work with his brothers," the letter said.
The letter was addressed "to our Islamic state and to the heroic
Palestinian people." It said "God has given permission to resume
activities." The letter was dated March 26. Al Hayat, based in Lebanon
and printed in London, circulates throughout the Middle East. (Times of
India, April 10)


ELSEWHERE IN CENTRAL ASIA

1. FRENCH MILITARY AID TO KYRGYZSTAN. French Defense Minister Alain
Richard met with Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev and Defense
Minister Esen Topoev in Bishkek, the capital, and promised an
unspecified sum in aid for military training and drug enforcement.
Richard also visited the French military contingent in the US-led
forces for the Afghanistan campaign. The US-led coalition has
established a major base at Manas airport near Bishkek (see WW3 REPORT
#17). (RFE Newsline, April, 9)

2. UIGHUR MILITANTS SENTENCED IN KYRGYZSTAN A lawyer for a Uighur
activist from Turkey who was sentenced in Kyrgyzstan last December on
charges of murder, kidnapping, and belonging to a terrorist
organization said his client and three Uighurs sentenced with him will
appeal their sentences. One Uighur from Uzbekistan was sentenced to
death; three others--one from Turkey and two from China--received terms
ranging from 16 to 25 years. The presiding judge said in December he
was confident the sentences would not be overturned by a higher court.
(RFE Newsline, April 9) The four were charged in the March 2000 murder
in Bishkek, Kyryzstan's capital, of the head of the local Uighur
organization, and in the May 2000 slaying of three visiting Uighur
officials from China's neighboring Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The men
were also accused of kidnapping a Chinese businessman in Osh and of
belonging to a separatist Uighur organization based in China. (RFE
Newsline, Jan. 3) China's Uighur minority, a Turkic and predominantly
Muslim people, have been waging a sporadic separatist struggle against
Beijing, and are accused of using the post-Soviet
republics--particularly Kyrgyzstan--as a rearguard base of operations.
Kyrgyzstan's crackdown on the Uighur militants is seen as a US-inspired
move aimed at buying China's cooperation in the War on Terrorism. (See
WW3 REPORT #s 5, 13, 17).

3. EXPANDING GOBI DESERT: HARBINGER OF ECOLGICAL CATACLYSM Schools were
closed and flights cancelled due to poor visibility in Seoul, South
Korea, as the city was engulfed in a vast cloud of what locals call
"yellow dust," blown in off the fast-spreading Gobi and Taklimakan
deserts in northwest China, nearly 800 miles away. An all-time record
2,070 micrograms of dust hit Seoul in the fourth storm of the season.
Scientists say the dust storms, clearly visible as giant yellow blobs
in satellite photos, are the result of rapid desertification in China's
interior. China's Environmental Protection Agency documented that the
Gobi advanced by 20,000 square miles between 1994 and 1999. With
drought in its third year, the Gobi now starts just 150 miles north of
Beijing. The dust blowing in off the deserts also binds with toxic
pollutants as it passes through China's industrial heartland--including
arsenic, cadmium and lead. Some of the dust has even been blown across
the Pacific to California and Oregon--resulting in spectacular sunsets.
Earth system scientist Charles Zender of UC Irvine said: "The puzzle of
the Asian dust is a huge question in weather science right now, and if
human activity is proven to be the cause, it stands to reason that this
problem is going to keep getting worse." (NYT, April 14)


THE WAR AT HOME

1. ACTIVIST ATTORNEY LYNNE STEWART ARRESTED BY FEDS IN NYC Activist
attorney Lynne Stewart and three others were indicted and arrested
April 9 on charges of helping an Islamic militant imprisoned in
Minnesota communicate with his followers in Egypt. The indictment
accuses the defendants of supporting the Egyptian-based "Islamic Group"
by passing messages "to and from the imprisoned Sheik Omar
Abdel-Rahman." It charges the communications with the sheik took place
during prison visits and telephone calls involving Stewart and Mohammed
Yousry, an Arabic translator who was also charged. Attorney General
John Ashcroft said at a news conference announcing the indictments that
the Islamic Group has "a message of hate that is now tragically
familiar to Americans." Ashcroft identified the others charged as Ahmed
Abdel Sattar, a Staten Island man called a "surrogate" for
Abdel-Rahman; and Yassir Al-Sirri, former head of the London-based
Islamic Observation Center. Al-Sirri was charged with "facilitating
communications among Islamic Group members and providing financing for
their activities." Ashcroft announced that the Justice Department had,
for the first time, invoked the authority to monitor communications
between Abdel-Rahman and his attorneys. "The sheik is a person whose
leadership is substantial in the community of terrorists," he said. He
admitted the indictment didn't allege any conversations concerning the
9-11 attacks. The indictment does charge "the Blind Shiek" Abdel-Rahman
with issuing a 200 "Fatwah Mandating the Bloodshed of Israelis
Everywhere." Abdel-Rahman, 63, is serving a life sentence for
conspiring to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and blow up
five New York City landmarks in the 1990s. (AP, April 9)

Released on $500,000 bail, Stewart--a 62-year-old veteran activist
known for unpopular causes and despised clients--called the case
against her an unconstitutional attack on attorney-client privilege,
and pledged to make that the centerpiece of her defense. She suggested
the Justice Department has no evidence. "I'm going to continue to be a
lawyer, hopefully, until they carry me out," Stewart told the press.
"I'm sincerely hoping it won't be the US government doing the carrying.
(CBS News, April 11)

2. FBI HARASSMENT OF PALESTINIAN ACTIVIST IN NYC Faruk Abdel-Muhti of
the Palestine National Congress, a local New York City group, was being
interviewed by Amy Goodman on WBAI Radio the morning of April 9, when
FBI agents arrived at his home in Queens and attempted to carry out a
search. BAI reported the harassment in a special noon update.

3. FBI HARASSMENT OF COLOMBIA SOLIDARITY ACTIVIST IN CHICAGO Heather
Truskowski, a member of Colombia Solidarity Committee (CSC), was
visited by two FBI agents at her home in Chicago April 8. The agents,
dressed in casual clothes, asked about Heather's activism in support of
peace and justice in Colombia. She reported one agent said, "Because of
increased security, we have to investigate individuals who are
potentially associated with terrorist groups." The agent asked if she
had traveled to Colombia, who she met with, how she raised funds for
the trip, etc. The other agent acted as silent witness. Heather warns
other activists to prepare for such a visit. "Don't be rude, but be
firm. Refuse to speak with FBI agents. Give them your name and your
lawyer's phone number. That is all." Heather's lawyer, Jim Fennerty
concurred: "In thirty years of practice, only one FBI agent has ever
made a follow up call to my office. Talking to the FBI will only create
trouble for you. Even answering a seemingly safe question changes your
legal relationship." (Fight Back News Service )


WATCHING THE SHADOWS

1. REP. McKINNEY DEMANDS INVESTIGATION OF BUSH-9-11 LINKS Rep. Cynthia
McKinney (D-GA) charged that Bush administration officials may have
ignored advance warning of the Sept. 11 attacks, and their political
allies have profited from the War on Terrorism. Sen. Zell Miller (D-GA)
called her statement "loony," as well as "dangerous and irresponsible."
McKinney said the Afghanistan campaign has benefited investment firms
specializing in defense contracts, and particularly singled out the
Carlyle Group, where the president's father is an adviser (see WW3
REPORT #s 2, 21). (AP, April 13) Calling for an investigation, McKinney
told KPFA Radio in Berkeley: "We know there were numerous warnings of
the events to come on Sept. 11.. What did this administration know and
when did it know it, about the events of Sept. 11? Who else knew, and
why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were
needlessly murdered?... What do they have to hide?" Retorted Bush
spokesperson Scott McLellan: "The American people know the facts, and
they dismiss such ludicrous, baseless views." (Washington Post, April
12)

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