Senator Seeks FBI Probe of Iraq Documents 
By Ken Guggenheim 
Associated Press

Friday 14 March 2003

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee asked the FBI on Friday to investigate
forged documents the Bush administration used as evidence against Saddam Hussein and his
military ambitions in Iraq.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said he was uneasy about a possible campaign to
deceive the public about the status of Iraq's nuclear program. 

An investigation should "at a minimum help to allay any concerns" that the government was
involved in the creation of the documents to build support for administration policies, Rockefeller
wrote in a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller. 

Secretary of State Colin Powell has denied the U.S. government had any hand in creating the
false documents. 

"It came from other sources," Powell told a House committee Thursday. "We were aware of this
piece of evidence, and it was provided in good faith to the inspectors." 

Rockefeller asked the FBI to determine the source of the documents, the sophistication of the
forgeries, the motivation of those responsible, why intelligence agencies didn't recognize them
as forgeries and whether they are part of a larger disinformation campaign. 

The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The documents indicated that Iraq tried to by uranium from Niger, the West African nation that
is the third-largest producer of mined uranium, Niger's largest export. The documents had been
provided to U.S. officials by a third country, which has not been identified. 

A U.S. government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it was unclear who
first created the documents. The official said American suspicions remain about an Iraq-Niger
uranium connection because of other, still-credible evidence that the official refused to specify. 

In December, the State Department used the information to support its case that Iraq was lying
about its weapons programs. But on March 7, Mohammed ElBaradei, head of the International
Atomic Energy Agency, told the U.N. Security Council that the documents were forgeries. 

Rockefeller said U.S. worries about Iraqi nuclear weapons were not based primarily on the
documents, but "there is a possibility that the fabrication of these documents may be part of a
larger deception campaign aimed at manipulating public opinion and foreign policy regarding
Iraq." 

At a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing Thursday, Powell said the State Department
had not participated "any way in any falsification." 

Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, the committee's top Democrat, noted a Washington Post report
that said a foreign government might have been conducting a deception campaign to win
support for military action against Iraq. When Obey asked Powell if he could say which country
that was, Powell replied, "I can't with confidence." 

The Niger documents marked the second time that ElBaradei has challenged evidence
presented by the United States meant to illustrate Iraq's nuclear weapons program. He also
rejected the U.S. position that aluminum tubes imported by Iraq were intended to make nuclear
bombs. 

ElBaradei has said his inspectors have found no evidence that Saddam has revived its nuclear
weapons program. 

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and
educational purposes.)

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==============================================

 

Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 12:11:38 +0400
From: sidahmed@emirates.net.ae
Subject: Sudan: looming, possible water wars


"Taking the Nile Basin as an example of the difficulties involved in
equitable water distribution, Boutros Ghali explained that current use
of Nile waters is sure to increase as riparian countries develop their
agriculture and their economy. Countries like Sudan and Ethiopia today
still rely on rain to water their crops; once they embrace irrigated
agriculture, their downstream neighbor Egypt will inevitably receive
less water. If in addition population figures in the region continue to
soar, he foresees serious consequences.

"They will all be vying for the same water and the situation will be so
dramatic that they will take to arms. Water may not be the apparent
reason for the conflict, but it will certainly lie at its origins. If,
for instance, 50,000 refugees cross the border from Ethiopia to Sudan
because of drought and they attack a village, then Sudan will attack
Ethiopia over this: ostensibly this will not be a conflict about water,
but the problem of water will nevertheless lie at the root of this
military intervention."

http://www.islam-online.net/English/Science/2003/03/article04.shtml
Water Wars
IslamOnline Exclusive With Boutros Ghali

By Francesca De Châtel

13/03/2003

Francesca De Châtel reports from Paris on her visit to the former
Secretary General of the United Nations, Boutros Ghali, and his
convictions about possible water wars in the 21st century.

Professor Boutros Boutros Ghali, the ex-Secretary General of the United
Nations, has said he still believes water scarcity could lead to war in
the 21st century. He reiterated the concern he first voiced in 1985 when
he said that "the next war in the Middle East will be fought over water,
not politics."

He predicts that explosive population growth and the intensification of
agricultural cycles throughout the Middle East and Africa will put great
pressure on the already-dwindling water reserves of the region - a
pressure that could result in armed conflict. Today, on the eve of the
Third World Water Forum, he has again called for cooperation, not
confrontation, between the countries facing the looming threat of water
scarcity.

The Nile Basin: A Perfect Example

Taking the Nile Basin as an example of the difficulties involved in
equitable water distribution, Boutros Ghali explained that current use
of Nile waters is sure to increase as riparian countries develop their
agriculture and their economy. Countries like Sudan and Ethiopia today
still rely on rain to water their crops; once they embrace irrigated
agriculture, their downstream neighbor Egypt will inevitably receive
less water. If in addition population figures in the region continue to
soar, he foresees serious consequences.

"They will all be vying for the same water and the situation will be so
dramatic that they will take to arms. Water may not be the apparent
reason for the conflict, but it will certainly lie at its origins. If,
for instance, 50,000 refugees cross the border from Ethiopia to Sudan
because of drought and they attack a village, then Sudan will attack
Ethiopia over this: ostensibly this will not be a conflict about water,
but the problem of water will nevertheless lie at the root of this
military intervention."

A Long History in Water Affairs

Boutros Ghali has long recognized the gravity of the water question in
the Middle East. During his period as Egypt's minister of foreign
affairs from 1977 to 1991, he repeatedly witnessed that emotions can run
high over the sharing of the region's most precious resource.

Thus, when President Sadat offered the waters of the Nile to Israel in a
bid to open discussions about the West Bank and Gaza, there was public
outrage in Egypt and beyond, with upstream countries protesting that the
Nile waters were not President Sadat's to distribute at will. Boutros
Ghali sees this as just one example of how water can become a political
issue.

"It is interesting to see how water was used as a political tool here.
Water lies at the core of the problems in Israel. This is why [the
Israelis] are interested in the Occupied Territories; not for the
territory, but for the water within that territory. The problem of water
will definitely have to be addressed [as part of a peace agreement]:
Palestinians only have access to about 18 per cent of water within the
Occupied Territories. This inequality needs to be resolved."

In 1978 tensions over water reached a new peak when President Sadat
threatened Ethiopia, which controls 85 per cent of the Nile waters, with
military intervention if it embarked on any development projects that
might affect the flow of the Nile northwards to Egypt. The incident was
not well timed for Boutros Ghali: he had been working to strengthen
Egypt's relationships with its downstream neighbors and initiate a
dialogue between riparian states.

"Water was my main obsession," he remembers. "I tried to raise awareness
of the importance of cooperation between riparian states over the
sharing of the Nile waters; I wanted to show Egyptians that the security
of Egypt is related to the south, to Sudan and Ethiopia, rather than to
the east and Israel."

"Fraternity" Demands Oil for Water

In this context Boutros Ghali created an organisation that brought
together the ministers of irrigation of the nine riparian states: Sudan,
Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Congo.
Called Undugu, which means fraternity in Swahili, the group aimed to
build a comprehensive development plan in the Nile Basin.

The ambitious scheme proposed by Egypt outlined the construction of a
series of hydroelectric dams along the Nile, which would create a
network of hydropower plants through the region. The generated
electricity would then be exported to other regions in exchange for hard
currency; an electricity grid that covered Uganda's proposed Inga Dam
and Egypt's Aswan Dam would transfer power to the networks of Jordan,
Syria, Turkey and beyond to the European Community.

Unfortunately, lack of trust between member states and political
instability in Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda meant the project was doomed
to failure. "From the beginning there was mistrust between members:
upstream countries were suspicious of Egypt's demands and wanted
something in exchange for the water they would cede to Egypt. They even
said that they would demand a barrel of oil for each barrel of water
they gave away."

The Technical/Political See-Saw

Boutros Ghali is pensive: "[It] raises the question whether the water
problem can be solved on a technical level only, or whether you need a
political dimension. My belief is that you need a political dimension;
you cannot receive from an upstream country without offering something
in exchange.

"I had a discussion with the Egyptian minister of irrigation. He
believed the problems should be solved on a technical level and that
introducing politics only complicated things. But my theory was quite
the opposite: unless there is political consensus among members, it is
impossible to seek assistance from international organisations and donor
countries on a technical level."

Boutros Ghali still believes that the threat of water wars in the Nile
Basin can be averted through the creation of an international
organisation that monitors and coordinates the distribution of water
according to a set of objective criteria. Emphasising the importance of
a foreign mediator, he says a higher body needs to be brought in to play
a facilitating role between member states and to ensure the criteria set
by the organisation are observed.

"One of the problems of setting up projects in developing countries is
that they are not able to embrace long-term projects; they are only
interested in finding short-term solutions," he says. He believes an
international organisation could provide a solid base on which to build
a sustainable and lasting collaboration project in the Nile Basin.

At first sight the recently created Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) appears
to satisfy these requirements. Backed by international organisations
such as the World Bank and the United Nations Development Project, the
NBI is endorsed by all riparian states and aims to achieve "sustainable
socio-economic development through the equitable utilisation of (...)
Nile Basin water resources. Poverty and ignorance complicate any kind of
reform in these countries."

Yet like its predecessor Undugu, the NBI is wrestling with the long
history of mistrust between the nine riparian states. Its initiatives to
date have all focussed on confidence-building; working on the so-called
"win-win projects" that are beneficial to all and postponing the
resolution of key issues to a later date. The question is when these
issues will be addressed and whether the institution will be strong
enough to resolve the inevitable conflicting interests of member states.

While the political dimension has to play a crucial role in the future
resolution of water shortage, Boutros Ghali believes raising awareness
at a community level is also important. He explains that there is no
tradition of restricting water use, or of encouraging thriftiness:
people don't attach value to water because it is free. "The distribution
of water in the city is very cheap, and the distribution of water on the
land is gratis. The day you put a tax on water, people will behave
differently."

But he admitted that addressing water scarcity was a complex challenge
in the developing world. "Poverty and ignorance complicate any kind of
reform in these countries," he says. "If you tell people they should
save water because there will be scarcity in 10 years, they will say to
you: 'I don't even know how I will find food for my children tomorrow,
so don't talk to me about the problems in the next 10 years. Allah will
solve the problems that lie 10 years away."

Francesca De Châtel Francesca de Chatel is a journalist and writer
specializing in water issues in North Africa and the Middle East. She
mailto:dechatel@hetnet.nl

_________________________________________________________________________
Never violate the sacredness of your individual self-respect
Justice, Equality and PEACE to Save Sudan "No to War"
SAVE NUBIA**No to inundation of Nubian History by Dams **
_________________________________________________________________________
Architect(http://architect.thenubian.net)
AAIA/ACI/SARS/ASQ/NYA/IBC(Cambridge-21st Century Scholars Directory)
http://lexicorient.com/abubakr.htm
Web Author: Awsome Library Editor Choice Web Site at:
www.thenubian.net
LinksGo Award Winner Sudan resource Site at:
http://lexicorient.com/private/abubakr/nubia/index.htm
Nubian Editor: The Orient Encyclopedia :www.lexicorient.com/abubakr.htm
POBox 8970 Dubai Tel (+9714)3514495 Fax(+9714)3517386

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==============================================

 

Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 13:56:10 +0000
From: PABarton@webtv.net
Subject: US CENSUS ADMIT TO ERROR: BLACKS ARE STILL LARGEST MINORITY IN THEU.S.



According to the Los Angeles Times (March 11, 2003), African-Americans
or specificaly people of the Black African Negro/Negroid race are the
largest minority in the U.S. The new admittance was publicized because
the Census and many others fail to realize and to admit that there are
Black people who speak Spanish from Latin American nations and of past
Spanish colonial slave origins right here in the U.S. Moreover, Blacks
in Latin America whether it is Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico,
Colombia, Brazil or any other part of that geographiçal entity consider
themselves Black Africans. In fact, after West Africa, Brazil has the
strongest influence of African culture, language, religion and types.
Brazil has about 100 million people of African descent.

The shock that many got, including the census and the white Hispanic
establishment who continually oppress Blacks and who reject Blacks in
Latin America and Black "Latins" in the U.S., is that many of the Blacks
from Latin America who live in the U.S. and who may number five to ten
million people classify themselves as Black of African/Negro origins.
Blacks of Spanish colonial conditions and slavery origins know that they
are Black Africans. They know the racism and discrimination they
continue to suffer in Latin America and they know that over the past
twenty years, organizations representing Blacks in the Americas, such as
the Organization of Africans in the Americas, has worked to unify all
300 million people of African descent into a single block. During their
meeting in venezuela in 1999/2000, the Organization of Africans in the
Americas pointed out that Blacks in the Americas are an important group
and that African cultural connections, African traditions, modern
education and racial identity must be kept. Hence terms like "Hispanic"
"Latino" and "Spanish speaking" are irrelevant in describing Blacks from
Latin America, who are proud of their African heritage and in some cases
have maintained their linguistic character and still speak Yoruba and
Mandinka in the Orisha religion.

UNITY OF BLACKS IN THE AMERICAS IS KEY TO SELF-IMPROVEMENT

The unification of the African people in the Americas regardless of
language is one of the goals of Black people even when we are not
dwelling too much on it. Our leadership have always seen Blacks in the
Americas are our own people, devided and split by European slave owners
and kept from maintaining and establishing our culture in some colonies.
In fact, there are also Blacks indigenous to the Americas such as the
Califu of South America and Central America, the Waschitaw of the
Mississippi Valley and the Jamassee of Georgia who were in the Americas
before Columbus (see the book, "A History of the African-Olmecs," pub.
by Xlibris, http://www.xlibris.com ). These Blacks were among the first
victims of enslavement when the Europeans arrived in the Americas.
These Blacks are part of the populations of the U.S., Latin America and
the Caribbean.

BLACK UNITY IS CRUCIAL FOR OVERALL BLACK DEVELOPMENT


The actual Black population of the U.S. may be more than 40 million if
one includes these black-skinned, kinky haired, African-faced people
whose ancestors were brought to Latin America as slaves and are part of
the Black African Negro race. In fact, the Census may admit to the
error and retabulate the entire count to include these Blacks from Latin
America as part of the Black race in the U.S. The importance of
including and counting people by race is more important in finding out
conditions that Blacks face based on race, such as racial discrimination
and bad health, stress and other conditions caused by race. Being a
Black 'Latino" is irrelevant to the issue of African blood, genes,
racial features and centuries of discrimination. WHITE HISPANICS IN THE
U.S. BLEND INTO WHITE SOCIETY AFTER ONE GENERATION IF THEY CAN SPEAK
STANDARD AMERICAN ENGLISH. BLACK HISPANICS SHOULD BE ABLE TO BLEND INTO
AFRICAN-AMERICAN CULTURE WHILE ALSO MAINTAINING ASPECTS OF THE
AFRO-LATIN CULTURE. This infact is already the case with Blacks who
come from Cuba, Panama, Brazil and Central America. In fact, since much
of the African culture that Blacks in the U.S. and even Africa is still
strong in Latin America (such as religion, art, music and martial arts),
then Blacks from Latin America can make a significant contribution to
the Black community. For more on this census issue see (The Final Call
News) article by Robert Rodriguez, feb 25, 2003. Also the article by
Shana White (Final Call News http://www.finalcall.com

In retrospect, as long as the powers that be continue to push for other
ethnic and racial group to "replace" Black Americans in any capacity in
the U.S., THEN IT IS OUR DUTY TO FIGHT BACK AND TO HAVE AS MANY CHILDREN
AS WE CAN. This id accomplished by getting married, staying married, not
fearing having many children and uniting with Blacks from around the
world. We must also make sure we maintain a strong fatherhood in the
Black community so that our Black males and females will be raised with
their fathers and mothers influence, rather than having our males
confined and only our females "making it." Please read the book, "A
History of Racism and Terrorism, Rebellion and Overcoming," pub. by
http://www.xlibris.com for more on this issue. Also see more details at
http://www.barnesandnoble.com

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==============================================

 

Sista Ra'shida Speaks Out



UHURU Comrades!

Sista Ra'shida was the sista who was beaten by Oakland pigs last week. This
article tells the story in her own words. Send a sista some love to show
your solidarity with her and your support that she continues to have a
speedy recovery. She is stayin' strong and determined to expose the pigs for
what they truly are. Dr. Mutulu Shakur would say these words to her and I
totally agree with him: "Rumble Sista Rumble!"

UHURU! Power to the People!

Get your boot off my neck!

by Ra’shida

Oakland – On March 5, as part of the nationwide Student Strike for Peace,
400 to 500 high school and middle school students rallied and marched down
Broadway in non-violent protest, followed by a police motorcade. As the
students reached Jack London Square, about three dozen Oakland police
mounted on motorcycles began zipping through the crowd, then plowing
straight into the children, running over their feet and into their legs with
their motorcycles.

A number of people questioned them, trying to prevent more youth from being
assaulted. When an officer with badge No. 455 ran over the feet of several
youth, I told her to stop because these kids could be her sisters, brothers
or children. That is when she yelled, “That’s it!” She then jumped over her
motorcycle that stood between us and ran toward me at full speed with her
hands stretched out toward my neck.

I was hit in the face and chest by her and then put in a chokehold position
while other officers rushed me from the back, where I felt blows around my
neck, back and legs. Two other officers pulled my arms in opposite
directions while one of them grabbed me around my neck.

The police rammed me head first onto the ground, causing abrasions on my
face and breaking two of my front right teeth on the concrete. Choked by a
boot on my neck, then a knee on my head, smashing me into the pavement, my
mouth involuntarily opened and my tongue touched the concrete. At the same
time, several knees were rammed into my back.

I was on the ground coughing, telling them I was choking over and over with
what breath I had left. Then they twisted my arms behind my back, while my
neck was still smashed into the ground with a knee on it, and handcuffed me.
Finally they yanked me up off the ground and put me in the paddy wagon.

Bay View Associate Editor JR, who had been covering the peace march with me,
was also beaten and arrested. Officers documented our names as we sat in the
paddy wagon, and when the third arrested demonstrator was put inside with
us, we heard officer 455 say, “It was three of them! I should have been able
to use my gun.”

Television and newspaper reporters, such as Dennis Richmond from KTVU and
writers for the San Francisco Chronicle, swallowed the lies fed to them by
the Oakland police. Thursday’s Chronicle, for example, reported, “Police
arrested three marchers at Jack London Square who charged a police
motorcade, said Oakland Police Deputy Chief Patrick Haw.”

Scared that too many eyes are focused on them, police criminalize Black
youth today as they have done since we were brought here as slaves, doing
everything in their power to discredit, demonize and destroy the movement
for peace, freedom and liberation led by Black people today, just as they
did the Black Panther Party. Then so-called reporters, who did not care
enough to go to the rally and support young people asserting their
leadership in their communities, accept false, ungrounded reports from the
police without question.

In this case, police conjured up reports, repeated in the mainstream media,
that we threw rocks, bottles and even bricks at them to rationalize their
actions that they will face heat for if we turn up the fire. KRON 4
reported, “The guilty party punched the officer three times before being
wrestled to the ground.”

The truth is that no bricks, no rocks, no bottles, no punches were hurled at
any police. Like Black people across the nation, Black youth in Oakland are
all too familiar with the fact that even a cross look at a cop can result in
being jumped on or arrested. Who would throw things at people armed with
motorcycles, guns, nightsticks, pepper spray and radios to call in hundreds
more cops? All we had was our freedom and anti-war signs calling for an end
to military terrorism overseas and police terrorism in our communities.

I heard many voices crying for the motorcycles to stop running over children
and for cops to stop grabbing and hitting on youth who were peacefully
marching. To have to ask police officers to stop hitting people with
motorcycles or to roll their bikes off our feet should tell the world that
apartheid and amerikkkan dictatorship is in full force. On that day, police
treated these Black youth like wild cattle, driving their bikes through and
over them like cowboys.

Law enforcement officials want the public to believe that youth have no
mature political consciousness. Yet typically, these youth can paint an
accurate political and economic picture of Oakland, while President Bush did
not know until 2002 that Brazil is largely a nation of Black people. Police
portray Black youth as violent and brutal animals. Yet it was the Oakland
police that beat Jamil Muwwakkil to death in the streets in 2001. That is
brutal and animalistic.

During the rally and march last Wednesday, students gave speeches, chanted
and marched with signs as in any other peace rally. On this day, the Oakland
Police Department decided they could terrorize this protest because most of
the participants were Black and other people of color, unlike the other
recent war protests that have been predominantly white.

That is the only reason why police began driving their motorcycles through
the closely grouped crowd of peace marchers, separating people walking side
by side by running into them, revving up their bikes and riding over their
feet. That is why officers tried to snatch peace signs out of the hands of
the youth and threatened to take their cameras when students tried to
document this terrorist attack on them. That is why officer 455 was
disappointed that she did not think to use her gun on the people arrested
for trying to prevent children from being run over or grabbed by police.

The Oakland Police Department saw this as an opportunity to assume their
true nazi role and attack youth. Had this been done at a predominantly white
rally, these officers would be indicted like those in San Francisco for
beating up on two white guys. Not a single officer was ever brought to trial
for murdering innocent Idriss Stelly of San Francisco, Jamil Muwwakkil of
Oakland, Michael Walker of Chicago and others.

Now that Black youth are ready to publicly voice their rights and struggles,
Oakland law enforcement has no hesitation to violently silence them. This
incident and many before just show that Oakland will continue to terrorize
and oppress Black media, Black people and Black life because they know our
uprising means their destruction.

Email Ra’shida at rashida@sfbayview.com.

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FBI Probes Fake Evidence of Iraqi Nuclear Plans 
By Dana Priest and Susan Schmidt
Washington Post

Thursday 13 March 2003

The FBI is looking into the forgery of a key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons
program, including the possibility that a foreign government is using a deception campaign to
foster support for military action against Iraq.

"It's something we're just beginning to look at," a senior law enforcement official said
yesterday. Officials are trying to determine whether the documents were forged to try to influence
U.S. policy, or whether they may have been created as part of a disinformation campaign
directed by a foreign intelligence service.

"We're looking at it from a preliminary stage as to what it's all about," he said.

The FBI has not yet opened a formal investigation because it is unclear whether the bureau
has jurisdiction over the matter.

The phony documents -- a series of letters between Iraqi and Niger officials showing Iraq's
interest in equipment that could be used to make nuclear weapons -- came to British and U.S.
intelligence officials from a third country. The identity of the third country could not be learned
yesterday.

The forgery came to light last week during a highly publicized and contentious United Nations
meeting. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA), told the Security Council on March 7 that U.N. and independent experts had decided that
the documents were "not authentic."

ElBaradei's disclosure, and his rejection of three other key claims that U.S. intelligence
officials have cited to support allegations about Iraq's nuclear ambitions, struck a powerful blow to
the Bush administration's argument on the matter.

To the contrary, ElBaradei told the council, "we have to date found no evidence or plausible
indications of the revival of a nuclear program in Iraq."

The CIA, which had also obtained the documents, had questions about "whether they were
accurate," said one intelligence official, and it decided not to include them in its file on Iraq's
program to procure weapons of mass destruction.

The FBI has jurisdiction over counterintelligence operations by foreign governments against
the United States. Because the documents were delivered to the United States, the bureau
would most likely try to determine whether the foreign government knew the documents were
forged or whether it, too, was deceived.

Iraq pursued an aggressive nuclear weapons program during the 1970s and 1980s. It
launched a crash program to build a nuclear bomb in 1990 after it invaded Kuwait. Allied bombing
during the Persian Gulf War in 1991 damaged Iraq's nuclear infrastructure. The country's known
stocks of nuclear fuel and equipment were removed or destroyed during the U.N. inspections
after the war.
But Iraq never surrendered the blueprints for its nuclear program, and it kept teams of scientists
employed after U.N. inspectors were forced to leave in 1998.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and
educational purposes.)

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==============================================


Eco-Economy Update 2003-2 Please share with a friend or colleague.
For Immediate Release
Copyright Earth Policy Institute 2003
March 13, 2002


WORLD CREATING FOOD BUBBLE ECONOMY BASED ON UNSUSTAINABLE USE OF WATER
http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/Update22.htm

Lester R. Brown


On March 16, 2003, some 10,000 participants will meet in Japan for the third
World Water Forum to discuss the world water prospect. Although they will be
officially focusing on water scarcity, they will indirectly be focusing on
food scarcity because 70 percent of the water we divert from rivers or pump
from underground is used for irrigation.

As world water demand has tripled over the last half-century, it has
exceeded the sustainable yield of aquifers in scores of countries, leading
to falling water tables. In effect, governments are satisfying the growing
demand for food by overpumping groundwater, a measure that virtually assures
a drop in food production when the aquifer is depleted. Knowingly or not,
governments are creating a "food bubble" economy.

As water use climbs, the world is incurring a vast water deficit, one that
is largely invisible, historically recent, and growing fast. Because the
impending water crunch typically takes the form of falling water tables, it
is not visible. Falling water tables are often discovered only when wells go
dry.

Once the growing demand for water rises above the sustainable yield of an
aquifer, the gap between the two widens each year. The first year after the
line is crossed, the water table falls very little, with the drop often
being scarcely perceptible. Each year thereafter, however, the annual drop
is larger than the year before.

The diesel-driven or electrically powered pumps that make overpumping
possible have become available throughout the entire world at essentially
the same time. The near-simultaneous depletion of aquifers means that
cutbacks in grain harvests will be occurring in many countries at more or
less the same time. And they will be occurring at a time when world
population is growing by more than 70 million a year.

Aquifers are being depleted in scores of countries, including China, India,
and the United States, which collectively account for half of the world
grain harvest. Under the North China Plain, which produces more than half
of China's wheat and a third of its corn, the annual drop in the water table
has increased from an average of 1.5 meters a decade ago to up to 3 meters
today. Overpumping has largely depleted the shallow aquifer, so the amount
of water that can be pumped from it each year is restricted to the annual
recharge from precipitation. This is forcing well drillers to go down to the
region's deep aquifer, which, unfortunately, is not replenishable.

He Quincheng, head of the Geological Environmental Monitoring Institute in
Beijing, notes that as the deep aquifer under the North China Plain is
depleted, the region is losing its last water reserve--its only safety
cushion. His concerns are mirrored in a World Bank report: "Anecdotal
evidence suggest that deep wells [drilled] around Beijing now have to reach
1,000 meters [more than half a mile] to tap fresh water, adding dramatically
to the cost of supply." In unusually strong language for the Bank, the
report forecasts "catastrophic consequences for future generations" unless
water use and supply can quickly be brought back into balance.

India, which now has a billion people, is overdrawing aquifers in several
states, including the Punjab (the country's breadbasket), Haryana, Gujarat,
Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. The latest data indicate that
under the Punjab and Haryana, water tables are falling by up to 1 meter per
year. David Seckler, former head of the International Water Management
Institute, estimates that aquifer depletion could reduce India's grain
harvest by one fifth.

In the United States, the underground water table has dropped by more than
30 meters (100 feet) in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas--three key
grain-producing states. As a result, wells have gone dry on thousands of
farms in the southern Great Plains.

Pakistan, a country with 140 million people and still growing by 4 million
per year, is also overpumping its aquifers. In the Pakistani part of the
fertile Punjab plain, the drop in the water table appears to be similar to
that in India. In the province of Baluchistan, a more arid region, the water
table around the provincial capital of Quetta is falling by 3.5 meters per
year. Richard Garstang, a water expert with the World Wildlife Fund, says
that "within 15 years Quetta will run out of water if the current
consumption rate continues."

In Yemen, the water table is falling by roughly 2 meters a year. In its
search for relief, the Yemeni government has drilled test wells in the
Sana'a basin, where the capital is located, that are 2 kilometers (1.2
miles) deep--depths normally associated with the oil industry--yet it has
failed to find water. With a population of 19 million growing at 3.3 percent
a year, one of the highest rates in the world, and with water tables falling
everywhere, Yemen is fast becoming a hydrological basket case. World Bank
official Christopher Ward observes that "groundwater is being mined at such
a rate that parts of the rural economy could disappear within a generation."

In Mexico--home to a population of 104 million that is projected to reach
150 million by 2050--the demand for water is outstripping supply. In the
agricultural state of Guanajuato, for example, the water table is falling by
2 meters or more a year. At the national level, 52 percent of all the water
extracted from underground is coming from aquifers that are being
overpumped.

Water scarcity, once a local issue, is now crossing international boundaries
via the international grain trade. Because it takes a thousand tons of water
to produce a ton of grain, importing grain is the most efficient way to
import water. Countries that are pressing against the limits of their water
supply typically satisfy the growing need of cities and industry by
diverting irrigation water from agriculture, and then they import grain to
offset the loss of productive capacity. As water shortages intensify, so too
will the competition for grain in world markets. In a sense, trading in
grain futures is the same as trading in water futures.

In China, a combination of aquifer depletion, the diversion of irrigation
water to cities, and lower grain support prices are shrinking the grain
harvest. After peaking at 392 million tons in 1998, the harvest dropped to
346 million tons in 2002. China's food bubble may be about to burst. It has
covered its grain shortfall for three years by drawing down its stocks, but
it will soon have to turn to the world market to fill this deficit. When it
does, it could destabilize world grain markets.

Although some countries have already made impressive gains in raising
irrigation efficiency and recycling urban wastewater, the general response
to water scarcity has been to build more dams or drill more wells. But now
expanding supply is becoming more difficult. The only other option is to
reduce demand by stabilizing population and raising water productivity. With
nearly all the 3 billion people to be added by 2050 being born in developing
countries where water is already scarce, achieving an acceptable balance
between water and people may now depend more on stabilizing population than
on any other single action.

The second step in stabilizing the water situation is to raise water
productivity, not unlike the way we have raised land productivity. After
World War II, with population projected to double by 2000 and with little
new land to bring under the plow, the world launched a major effort to raise
cropland productivity. As a result, land productivity nearly tripled between
1950 and 2000. Now it is time to see what we can do with water.

# # #

Lester R. Brown is author of the forthcoming book, "Plan B: Rescuing a
Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble" from which this Update
has been adapted.

 

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FBI continues to target mosques
By Nisa Islam Muhammad
Staff Writer
Mar 4, 2003, 10:05 pm


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War on terror, or freedom 
Anti terror laws produce new crisis for Black leadership 
FBI Exposed (COINTEL.org)

WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com)--First, the FBI wanted a count of all the mosques 
in their regional field offices. Now, according to the Islamic Society of 
Frederick, Md., FBI agents who recently requested a meeting with their 
leadership "mentioned casually" they would be asking for a list of the 
society's members. 


This sent red flags up for the Islamic Society, who immediately informed media 
outlets, interfaith partners and civil rights groups. Local FBI officials 
then said they would not press for the list local agents had requested. 


"That the FBI is seeking lists of ordinary, law-abiding American Muslims only 
serves to confirm the Islamic community's worst fears of religious and ethnic 
profiling," said Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive 
Director Nihad Awad.


"(FBI) Director Mueller needs to offer concrete assurances that this 
disturbing incident is not a reflection of actual FBI policy or the beginning 
of a crackdown on Islam in America. Any such policy would contradict 
President Bush's repeated declarations that the war on terrorism is not an 
attack on Islam," said Mr. Awad.


CAIR, a Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, called on 
FBI Director Robert Mueller, Feb. 20, to offer assurances that American 
mosques are not being asked to turn over membership lists to local agents. 
The group said such demands are a violation of civil and religious rights 
that should be condemned by all Americans.


Mr. Awad has called on local Muslim communities to report any FBI demands for 
membership lists by contacting CAIR. He added, "One has to wonder how many 
mosques have already been intimidated into turning over this kind of 
information." In December 2002, Director Mueller instructed FBI field agents 
to begin counting local mosques to determine goals for counter terrorism 
investigations and secret wiretaps.


That policy immediately came under fire from congressmen and national civil 
rights and advocacy groups. They asked the Department of Justice to rescind 
the policy, which calls for FBI field offices nationwide to develop 
demographic profiles of their regions, including the number of local mosques. 


The profiles would then be used to set specific numerical goals for 
investigations and wiretaps in each area. If field offices did not meet their 
goals, they could be subjected to special reviews by teams from FBI 
headquarters. 


In a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft, Congressmen John Conyers Jr. 
(D-Mich.) Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-Wisc.) 
wrote:


"We write to ask you to immediately terminate the Justice Department's new 
policy directing the fifty-six FBI field offices to count the number of 
mosques and Muslims, as well as other community groups and religious 
organizations, in their areas. 


"We cannot sanction the targeting of Muslim populations and mosques, or any 
other community group or institution, to gather intelligence without any 
suspicion or cause that a specific individual or group of individuals, or a 
particular mosque or religious organization, is engaging in terrorist 
activities. We urge you to follow the constitutionally prescribed channels 
of investigation to ensure that the rights of American citizens are not 
violated..."


The request for the membership list and the mosque-counting policy come in the 
midst of an INS registration program under which hundreds of American Muslims 
have been detained, and sometimes deported. Muslim community leaders and 
immigration-rights activists say that program is also based on religious and 
ethnic profiling to target Muslims. 

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Sources: Egyptian Gets $27 Million for Mohammed's Arrest Tip
By Kelli Arena
CNN.com

Wednesday 12 March 2003 

An Egyptian radical will get $27 million as a reward for giving the United States information that
led authorities to alleged September 11, 2001, mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed,
government sources said Wednesday. 

The sources, confirming a story previously reported in a British paper and in Newsweek, said
the unnamed Egyptian was captured during a raid in Quetta, Pakistan, last month. The
Egyptian was described as an al Qaeda foot soldier. 

Officials said he not only claimed the $25 million award that was being offered by the U.S.
government for information that led to Mohammed's arrest, but also demanded $2 million more
to help cover the costs of his family moving to Great Britain. He is being paid the money, the
sources said. 

Mohammed, who has been linked to several al Qaeda attacks in the past five years, was
arrested in a raid led by Pakistanis on March 1 in a house outside Islamabad. He was one of
the FBI's most wanted terrorists. 

FBI agents are continuing to run down leads from information retrieved in the arrest of
Mohammed. Sources said about a dozen investigations resulted from the information, in various
U.S. cities including Washington, New York and Los Angeles. 

Agents are trying to find any evidence of sleeper cells operating in the United States as they
run down names and other leads found in Mohammed's computer and papers. 

Some of the other leads being looked into concern the money trail; agents are checking bank
accounts. 

Government sources said Tuesday that evidence was found after Mohammed's arrest that
money was transferred into the United States after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack.
Sources were more specific Wednesday, saying the transfers happened in November 2001. 

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and
educational purposes.)

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==============================================

 

This is another piece of the puzzle. I hope you take the time to read it. 
Some may read this arcticle and say, what's so wrong about wanting Africa to 
have better access to food producing technology. I would suggest to folks to 
go to http://www.muhammadfarms.com/The%20Farmer%20Newsletter.htm and check 
out some of the articles about the companies offering their help to Africa. 
At least one of the companies help create the "terminator gene" technology 
that kills a plants ability to reproduce itself through its seeds. I read 
this and other things and ask myself, do we have any good news about what we 
are doing collectively, family, or individually to protect ourselves and our 
future. Do we? I know there is light all around us coming from Odomonkoma 
and our Nananom but this stuff can be depressing.
Peace,
Kwadwo



To Feed Hungry Africans, Firms Plant Seeds of Science

By Justin Gillis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 11, 2003; Page A01


NEW YORK -- Four of the world's largest agricultural companies have agreed 
to share their technology free with African scientists in a broad new 
attempt to increase food production on that continent, where mass starvation 
is a recurring threat.

The companies, based in the United States and Europe, said they would donate 
patent rights, seed varieties, laboratory know-how and other aid to help 
African agricultural scientists who are working with small farmers to battle 
plant disease, insects and drought.

A new organization, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, is being 
set up in Nairobi to spearhead the project. In an effort to cut through the 
thicket of patent rights and corporate interests that complicates many 
research projects in biology, the foundation will aim to identify crop 
problems in Africa that might be amenable to technological solutions. It 
then plans to negotiate with the Western companies for assistance and patent 
licenses and seek support from African governments to help put new resources 
-- usually in the form of improved plant varieties -- into the hands of 
small subsistence farmers across the continent.

About 190 million Africans south of the Sahara, a third of the population, 
routinely lack sufficient food. It is the world's largest remaining 
concentration of people who go to bed hungry at night.

The effort faces substantial pitfalls, such as the sheer difficulty of the 
work and the complicated politics of international development. Because the 
companies involved sell farm chemicals, such as pesticides, and develop 
genetically altered crops, people involved said the foundation risks being 
seen as a front for multinational corporate interests. And, in part because 
the foundation will consider genetic engineering as one potential solution 
to the problems in any given crop, skepticism is likely from environmental 
groups, whose influence in Africa is rising.

Several groups, the U.S. government and the agricultural companies have been 
supporting piecemeal efforts to aid African farmers for years, with a few 
notable successes. But the new foundation appears to be the most 
comprehensive attempt yet to bring the expertise of the major Western 
companies to bear on the problem. The companies have spent decades learning 
about drought and pest tolerance in plants, and filing patents on the 
results -- knowledge that has rarely been tapped in a thoroughgoing way to 
benefit Africa.

The foundation will be controlled by a majority African board and run by 
Eugene Terry, a plant pathologist from Sierra Leone known across the 
continent for his work with cassava, a tropical plant whose starchy roots 
are used to make bread and tapioca.

The entity is the brainchild of the Rockefeller Foundation, a New York 
charity that has long focused on efforts to feed the world's poor. Research 
programs launched by the foundation produced the "Green Revolution" in Asia 
and Latin America, vastly increasing crop yields and improving nutrition in 
many countries even in the face of rapid population increases. Norman 
Borlaug, a foundation scientist, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his 
work; the Nobel committee declared that "more than any other single person 
of this age, he has helped to provide bread for a hungry world."

For several reasons, Africa was largely bypassed by the Green Revolution, 
which produced new, high-yielding varieties of the world's great cereals, 
wheat and rice. These new varieties required vast swaths of irrigated land 
and intensive application of fertilizers and pesticides. India, China and 
other developing countries launched programs to get those tools to poor 
farmers, but African governments generally did not. Traditional African 
agriculture is a patchwork of staple crops, such as chickpeas and cassava, 
that were low on the priority list for Green Revolution researchers.

It's now recognized that the Green Revolution was environmentally costly, in 
part because many of the chemicals were toxic. Gordon Conway, an ecologist 
and president of the Rockefeller Foundation, has acknowledged these failings 
and called for a "doubly green revolution" in Africa that will be more 
sensitive to environmental concerns.

Conway plans to formally outline the African Agricultural Technology 
Foundation in Washington tomorrow in the context of a larger speech about 
the prospects for food security in Africa. Plans for the organization are 
already well underway, however, and people in New York, Washington, Africa 
and Europe described them at length. Conway plans to seek support from 
African ambassadors to the United States at a meeting tonight in Washington. 
The U.S. Agency for International Development, an arm of the government, and 
its counterpart in Britain are helping to bankroll the plan.

Conway said the Rockefeller Foundation does not expect technology to be a 
magic bullet for Africa's deep agricultural problems, which include depleted 
soils and a lack of roads to haul crops to market.

"Technologies are either available or can be available to provide a partial 
solution to these problems," Conway said. "What we know from the Green 
Revolution is that certain technologies can have a dramatic effect. They can 
transform people's lives."

Two American corporations, Monsanto Co. of St. Louis and DuPont Co. of 
Wilmington, Del., have enthusiastically embraced the African Agricultural 
Technology Foundation. The two firms control the leading American seed 
producers and own the bulk of the patented technologies that African 
researchers may want to use.

Getting involved "has been fantastic for us," said Gerard F. Barry, director 
of research in a Monsanto unit that spearheads technology-sharing projects. 
Speaking by cellular phone from a cornfield in Brazil, his DuPont colleague, 
William Niebur, declared: "I think we have a real opportunity to bring not 
only our technology but our experience and commitment to world agriculture."

Two other agriculture companies, Syngenta AG of Basel, Switzerland, and Dow 
AgroSciences LLC of Indianapolis, said that they, too, were committed to the 
project.

The companies say they plan to support the foundation for noble reasons, 
while acknowledging that in the long run they also hope to create new 
markets in Africa. They're also searching for ways to burnish their image 
amid a continuing public relations battle over their development of 
gene-altered crops. And the companies are mindful of the harsh lessons 
learned by the pharmaceutical industry for its failure to help Africa battle 
the AIDS crisis by supplying low-cost drugs. One way to undercut the 
argument that patents cost lives is to donate the use of those patents for 
humanitarian causes.

The new foundation will focus on improvements in staple crops of vital 
importance to tens of millions of Africans, including cowpeas, chickpeas, 
cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas and corn. Of these crops, only corn 
represents a meaningful market in Africa now for the ag companies.

Terry said his goal as the foundation's first executive director will be to 
serve as an honest broker between environmentalists, African farmers and 
corporate interests. "We definitely have to be able to pass the test of not 
being a front organization for these companies," he said.

Tewolde B.G. Egziabher, manager of Ethiopia's environmental protection 
authority and one of the continent's leading voices on conservation and 
development issues, said he would keep an open mind about the new group and 
its organizers. But he warned that if the foundation comes to be seen as 
just a vehicle for pushing genetic engineering in Africa, it will fail.

"I am certain they mean well," he said from Berlin, where he was seeking 
medical treatment. But he added that African leaders have moved beyond the 
era when they "felt that the way to develop is the way the United States and 
the colonial masters tell them."

He expressed particular worry that the project would create seed varieties 
that entirely supplant the traditional ones Africans have grown. Eventually, 
he said, the Western companies will want to be paid for their seed, instead 
of giving the technology away, and if the old varieties are lost, poor 
African farmers might have nothing to fall back on.

Where Egziabher sees a cause for worry, however, other people in Africa see 
an opportunity. Godber W. Tumushabe, who runs a think tank for development 
and the environment in Uganda, has agreed to serve on the foundation's 
board, where he said he would play a watchdog role. It would not be a bad 
thing, he said, if eventually the Western companies find a market among 
African farmers with rising incomes.

"As a matter of fact we have to be cautious, because these are private 
entities, driven by profits," Tumushabe said from Kampala. "If they are able 
to achieve their objective in the long term, of building strong markets, but 
in the short term we are able to improve the life of our people, our 
interests have met."

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The Thirty Year Itch - America's 3 Decade-Old Plan for Persian GulfDomi


This is long, but very good and very important.
Get a sandwich. It's worth it.

Jonah Nadir Omowale
" As a man, I undertake to face the possibility
of annihilation in order that two or three truths
may cast their eternal brilliance over the world."
- Frantz Fanon

The Thirty Year Itch
Three decades ago, in the throes of the energy crisis, Washington's
hawks conceived of a strategy for US control of the Persian Gulf's oil.
Now, with the same strategists firmly in control of the White House, the
Bush administration is playing out their script for global dominance.

Robert Dreyfuss
March 1, 2003
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2003/10/ma_273_01.html


If you were to spin the globe and look for real estate critical to
building an American empire, your first stop would have to be the
Persian Gulf. The desert sands of this region hold two of every three
barrels of oil in the world -- Iraq's reserves alone are equal, by some
estimates, to those of Russia, the United States, China, and Mexico
combined. For the past 30 years, the Gulf has been in the crosshairs of
an influential group of Washington foreign-policy strategists, who
believe that in order to ensure its global dominance, the United States
must seize control of the region
and its oil. Born during the energy crisis of the 1970s and refined
since then by a generation of policymakers, this approach is finding its
boldest expression yet in the Bush administration -- which, with its
plan to invade Iraq and install a regime beholden to Washington, has
moved closer than any of its predecessors to transforming the Gulf into
an American protectorate.

In the geopolitical vision driving current U.S. policy toward Iraq, the
key to national security is global hegemony -- dominance over any and
all potential rivals. To that end, the United States must not only be
able to project its military forces anywhere, at any time. It must also
control key resources, chief among them oil -- and especially Gulf oil.
To the hawks who now set the tone at the White House and the Pentagon,
the region is crucial not simply for its share of the U.S. oil supply
(other sources have become more important over the years), but because
it would allow the
United States to maintain a lock on the world's energy lifeline and
potentially deny access to its global competitors. The administration
"believes you have to control resources in order to have access to
them," says Chas Freeman, who served as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia
under the first President Bush. "They are taken with the idea that the
end of the Cold War left the United States able to impose its will
globally -- and that those who have the ability to shape events with
power have the duty to do so. It's ideology."

Iraq, in this view, is a strategic prize of unparalleled importance.
Unlike the oil beneath Alaska's frozen tundra, locked away in the
steppes of central Asia, or buried under stormy seas, Iraq's crude is
readily accessible and, at less than $1.50 a barrel, some of the
cheapest in the world to produce. Already, over the past several months,
Western companies have been meeting with Iraqi exiles to try to stake a
claim to that bonanza.

But while the companies hope to cash in on an American-controlled Iraq,
the push to remove Saddam Hussein hasn't been driven by oil executives,
many of whom are worried about the consequences of war. Nor are Vice
President Cheney and President Bush, both former oilmen, looking at the
Gulf simply for the profits that can be earned there. The administration
is thinking bigger, much bigger, than that.

"Controlling Iraq is about oil as power, rather than oil as fuel," says
Michael Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at
Hampshire College and author of Resource Wars. "Control over the Persian
Gulf translates into control over Europe, Japan, and China. It's having
our hand on the spigot."

Ever since the oil shocks of the 1970s, the United States has steadily
been accumulating military muscle in the Gulf by building bases, selling
weaponry, and forging military partnerships. Now, it is poised to
consolidate its might in a place that will be a fulcrum of the world's
balance of power for decades to come. At a stroke, by taking control of
Iraq, the Bush administration can solidify a long-running strategic
design.

"It's the Kissinger plan," says James Akins, a former U.S. diplomat. "I
thought it had been killed, but it's back."

Akins learned a hard lesson about the politics of oil when he served as
a U.S. envoy in Kuwait and Iraq, and ultimately as ambassador to Saudi
Arabia during the oil crisis of 1973 and '74. At his home in Washington,
D.C., shelves filled with Middle Eastern pottery and other memorabilia
cover the walls, souvenirs of his years in the Foreign Service. Nearly
three decades later, he still gets worked up while recalling his first
encounter with the idea that the United States should be prepared to
occupy Arab oil-producing countries.

In 1975, while Akins was ambassador in Saudi Arabia, an article
headlined "Seizing Arab Oil" appeared in Harper's. The author, who used
the pseudonym Miles Ignotus, was identified as "a Washington-based
professor and defense consultant with intimate links to high-level U.S.
policymakers." The article outlined, as Akins puts it, "how we could
solve all our economic and political problems by taking over the Arab
oil fields [and] bringing in Texans and Oklahomans to operate them."
Simultaneously, a rash of similar
stories appeared in other magazines and newspapers. "I knew that it had
to have been the result of a deep background briefing," Akins says. "You
don't have eight people coming up with the same screwy idea at the same
time, independently.


"Then I made a fatal mistake," Akins continues. "I said on television
that anyone who would propose that is either a madman, a criminal, or an
agent of the Soviet Union." Soon afterward, he says, he learned that the
background briefing had been conducted by his boss, then-Secretary of
State Henry Kissinger. Akins was fired later that year.

Kissinger has never acknowledged having planted the seeds for the
article. But in an interview with Business Week that same year, he
delivered a thinly veiled threat to the Saudis, musing about bringing
oil prices down through "massive political warfare against countries
like Saudi Arabia and Iran to make them risk their political stability
and maybe their security if they did not cooperate."

In the 1970s, America's military presence in the Gulf was virtually nil,
so the idea of seizing control of its oil was a pipe dream. Still,
starting with the Miles Ignotus article, and a parallel one by
conservative strategist and Johns Hopkins University professor Robert W.
Tucker in Commentary, the idea began to gain favor among a feisty group
of hardline, pro-Israeli thinkers, especially the hawkish circle aligned
with Democratic senators Henry Jackson of Washington and Daniel Patrick
Moynihan of New York.

Eventually, this amalgam of strategists came to be known as
"neoconservatives," and they played important roles in President
Reagan's Defense Department and at think tanks and academic policy
centers in the 1980s. Led by Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's
influential Defense Policy Board, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul
Wolfowitz, they now occupy several dozen key posts in the White House,
the Pentagon, and the State Department. At the top, they are closest to
Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who have
been closely aligned since both men served in the White House under
President Ford in the mid-1970s. They
also clustered around Cheney when he served as secretary of defense
during the Gulf War in 1991.

Throughout those years, and especially after the Gulf War, U.S. forces
have steadily encroached on the Gulf and the surrounding region, from
the Horn of Africa to Central Asia. In preparing for an invasion and
occupation of Iraq, the administration has been building on the steps
taken by military and policy planners over the past quarter century.

Step one: The Rapid Deployment Force
In 1973 and '74, and again in 1979, political upheavals in the Middle
East led to huge spikes in oil prices, which rose fifteenfold over the
decade and focused new attention on the Persian Gulf. In January 1980,
President Carter effectively declared the Gulf a zone of U.S. influence,
especially against encroachment from the Soviet Union. "Let our position
be absolutely clear," he said, announcing what came to be known as the
Carter Doctrine.

"An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf
region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the
United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any
means necessary, including military force." To back up this doctrine,
Carter created the Rapid Deployment Force, an "over-the-horizon"
military unit capable of rushing several thousand U.S. troops to the
Gulf in a crisis.

Step two: The Central Command
In the 1980s, under President Reagan, the United States began pressing
countries in the Gulf for access to bases and support facilities. The
Rapid Deployment Force was transformed into the Central Command, a new
U.S. military command authority with responsibility for the Gulf and the
surrounding region from eastern Africa to Afghanistan. Reagan tried to
organize a "strategic consensus" of anti-Soviet allies, including
Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. The United States sold billions of
dollars' worth of arms to the Saudis in the early '80s, from AWACS
surveillance aircraft to F-15 fighters. And in 1987, at the height of
the war between Iraq and Iran, the U.S. Navy created the Joint Task
Force-Middle East to protect oil tankers plying the waters of the Gulf,
thus expanding a U.S. naval presence of just three or four warships into
a flotilla of 40-plus aircraft carriers, battleships, and cruisers.

Step three: The Gulf War
Until 1991, the United States was unable to persuade the Arab Gulf
states to allow a permanent American presence on their soil. Meanwhile,
Saudi Arabia, while maintaining its close relationship with the United
States, began to diversify its commercial and military ties; by the time
U.S. Ambassador Chas Freeman arrived there in the late Ô80s, the United
States had fallen to fourth place among arms suppliers to the kingdom.
"The United States was being supplanted even in commercial terms by the
British, the French, even the Chinese," Freeman notes.

All that changed with the Gulf War. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states
no longer opposed a direct U.S. military presence, and American troops,
construction squads, arms salesmen, and military assistance teams rushed
in. "The Gulf War put Saudi Arabia back on the map and revived a
relationship that had been severely attrited," says Freeman.

In the decade after the war, the United States sold more than $43
billion worth of weapons, equipment, and military construction projects
to Saudi Arabia, and $16 billion more to Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the
United Arab Emirates, according to data compiled by the Federation of
American Scientists. Before Operation Desert Storm, the U.S. military
enjoyed the right to stockpile, or "pre-position," military supplies
only in the comparatively remote Gulf state of Oman on the Indian Ocean.
After the war, nearly every country in the region began conducting joint
military exercises, hosting U.S. naval units and Air Force squadrons,
and granting the United States pre-positioning rights. "Our military
presence in the Middle East has increased dramatically," then-Defense
Secretary William Cohen boasted in 1995.


Another boost to the U.S. presence was the unilateral imposition, in
1991, of no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq, enforced mostly by
U.S. aircraft from bases in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. "There was a
massive buildup, especially around Incirlik in Turkey, to police the
northern no-fly zone, and around [the Saudi capital of] Riyadh, to
police the southern no-fly zone," says Colin Robinson of the Center for
Defense Information, a Washington think tank. A billion-dollar,
high-tech command center was built by Saudi Arabia near Riyadh, and over
the past two years the United States has secretly been completing
another one in Qatar. The Saudi facilities "were built with capacities
far beyond the ability of Saudi Arabia to use them," Robinson says. "And
that's exactly what Qatar is doing now."

Step four: Afghanistan
The war in Afghanistan -- and the open-ended war on terrorism, which has
led to U.S strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, and elsewhere -- further boosted
America's strength in the region. The administration has won large
increases in the defense budget -- which now stands at about $400
billion, up from just over $300 billion in 2000 -- and a huge chunk of
that budget, perhaps as much as $60 billion, is slated to support U.S.
forces in and around the Persian Gulf. Military facilities on the
perimeter of the Gulf, from Djibouti in the Horn of Africa to the island
of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, have been expanded, and a web of
bases and training missions has extended the U.S. presence deep into
central Asia. From Afghanistan to the landlocked former Soviet republics
of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, U.S.
forces have established themselves in an area that had long been in
Russia's sphere of influence. Oil-rich in its own right, and
strategically vital, central Asia is now the eastern link in a nearly
continuous chain of U.S. bases, facilities, and allies stretching from
the Mediterranean and the Red Sea far into the Asian hinterland.

Step five: Iraq
Removing Saddam Hussein could be the final piece of the puzzle,
cementing an American imperial presence. It is "highly possible" that
the United States will maintain military bases in Iraq, Robert Kagan, a
leading neoconservative strategist, recently told the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution.

"We will probably need a major concentration of forces in the Middle
East over a long period of time," he said. "When we have economic
problems, it's been caused by disruptions in our oil supply. If we have
a force in Iraq, there will be no disruption in oil supplies."

Kagan, along with William Kristol of the Weekly Standard, is a founder
of the think tank Project for the New American Century, an assembly of
foreign-policy hawks whose supporters include the Pentagon's Perle, New
Republic publisher Martin Peretz, and former Central Intelligence Agency
director James Woolsey. Among the group's affiliates in the Bush
administration are Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz; I. Lewis Libby, the
vice president's chief of staff; Elliott Abrams, the Middle East
director at the National Security Council; and Zalmay Khalilzad, the
White House liaison to the Iraqi opposition groups. Kagan's group, tied
to a web of similar neoconservative, pro-Israeli organizations,
represents the constellation of thinkers whose ideological affinity was
forged in the
Nixon and Ford administrations.

To Akins, who has just returned from Saudi Arabia, it's a team that
looks all too familiar, seeking to implement the plan first outlined
back in 1975. "It'll be easier once we have Iraq," he says. "Kuwait, we
already have. Qatar and Bahrain, too. So it's only Saudi Arabia we're
talking about, and the United Arab Emirates falls into place."

LAST SUMMER, Perle provided a brief glimpse into his circle's thinking
when he invited rand Corporation strategist Laurent Murawiec to make a
presentation to his Defense Policy Board, a committee of former senior
officials and generals that advises the Pentagon on big-picture policy
ideas. Murawiec's closed-door briefing provoked a storm of criticism
when it was leaked to the media; he described Saudi Arabia as the
"kernel of evil," suggested that the Saudi royal family should be
replaced or overthrown, and raised the idea of a U.S. occupation of
Saudi oil fields. He ultimately lost his job when rand decided he was
too controversial.

Murawiec is part of a Washington school of thought that views virtually
all of the nations in the Gulf as unstable "failed states" and maintains
that only the United States has the power to forcibly reorganize and
rebuild them. In this view, the arms systems and bases that were put in
place to defend the region also provide a ready-made infrastructure for
taking over countries and their oil fields in the event of a crisis.

The Defense Department likely has contingency plans to occupy Saudi
Arabia, says Robert E. Ebel, director of the energy program at the
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington
think tank whose advisers include Kissinger; former Defense Secretary
and CIA director James Schlesinger; and Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter's
national security adviser.

"If something happens in Saudi Arabia," Ebel says, "if the ruling family
is ousted, if they decide to shut off the oil supply, we have to go in."

Two years ago, Ebel, a former mid-level CIA official, oversaw a CSIS
task force that included several members of Congress as well as
representatives from industry including ExxonMobil, Arco, BP, Shell,
Texaco, and the American Petroleum Institute. Its report, "The
Geopolitics of Energy Into the 21st Century," concluded that the world
will find itself dependent for many years on unstable oil-producing
nations, around which conflicts and wars are bound to swirl. "Oil is
high-profile stuff," Ebel says. "Oil fuels military power, national
treasuries, and international politics. It is no
longer a commodity to be bought and sold within the confines of
traditional energy supply and demand balances. Rather, it has been
transformed into a determinant of well-being, of national security, and
of international power."

As vital as the Persian Gulf is now, its strategic importance is likely
to grow exponentially in the next 20 years. Nearly one out of every
three barrels of oil reserves in the world lie under just two countries:
Saudi Arabia (with 259 billion barrels of proven reserves) and Iraq (112
billion). Those figures may understate Iraq's largely unexplored
reserves, which according to U.S. government estimates may hold as many
as 432 billion barrels.

With supplies in many other regions, especially the United States and
the North Sea, nearly exhausted, oil from Saudi Arabia and Iraq is
becoming ever more critical -- a fact duly noted in the administration's
National Energy Policy, released in 2001 by a White House task force. By
2020, the Gulf will supply between 54 percent and 67 percent of the
world's crude, the document said, making the region "vital to U.S.
interests." According to G. Daniel Butler, an oil-markets analyst at the
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Saudi Arabia's production
capacity will rise from its current 9.4 million barrels a day to 22.1
million over the next 17 years.
Iraq, which in 2002 produced a mere 2 million barrels a day, "could
easily be a double-digit producer by 2020," says Butler.

U.S. strategists aren't worried primarily about America's own oil
supplies; for decades, the United States has worked to diversify its
sources of oil, with Venezuela, Nigeria, Mexico, and other countries
growing in importance. But for Western Europe and Japan, as well as the
developing industrial powers of eastern Asia, the Gulf is all-important.
Whoever controls it will maintain crucial global leverage for decades to
come.

Today, notes the EIA's Butler, two-thirds of Gulf oil goes to Western
industrial nations. By 2015, according to a study by the CIA's National
Intelligence Council, three-quarters of the Gulf's oil will go to Asia,
chiefly to China. China's growing dependence on the Gulf could cause it
to develop closer military and political ties with countries such as
Iran and Iraq, according to the report produced by Ebel's CSIS task
force. "They have different political interests in the Gulf than we do,"
Ebel says. "Is it to our advantage to have another competitor for oil in
the Persian Gulf?"

David Long, who served as a U.S. diplomat in Saudi Arabia and as chief
of the Near East division in the State Department's Bureau of
Intelligence and Research during the Reagan administration, likens the
Bush administration's approach to the philosophy of Admiral Mahan, the
19th-century military strategist who advocated the use of naval power to
create a global American empire. "They want to be the world's enforcer,"
he says. "It's a worldview, a geopolitical position. They say, 'We need
hegemony in the region.'"

UNTIL THE 1970s, the face of American power in the Gulf was the U.S. oil
industry, led by Exxon, Mobil, Chevron, Texaco, and Gulf, all of whom
competed fiercely with Britain's BP and Anglo-Dutch Shell. But in the
early '70s, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the other Gulf states nationalized
their oil industries, setting up state-run companies to run wells,
pipelines, and production facilities. Not only did that enhance the
power of opec, enabling that organization to force a series of sharp
price increases, but it alarmed U.S. policymakers.

Today, a growing number of Washington strategists are advocating a
direct U.S. challenge to state-owned petroleum industries in
oil-producing countries, especially the Persian Gulf. Think tanks such
as the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and CSIS
are conducting discussions about privatizing Iraq's oil industry. Some
of them have put forward detailed plans outlining how Iraq, Saudi
Arabia, and other nations could be forced to open up their oil and gas
industries to foreign investment. The Bush administration itself has
been careful not to say much about what might happen to Iraq's oil. But
State Department officials have had preliminary talks about the oil
industry with Iraqi exiles, and there have been reports that the U.S.
military wants to use at least part of the country's oil revenue to pay
for the cost of military occupation.

"One of the major problems with the Persian Gulf is that the means of
production are in the hands of the state," Rob Sobhani, an oil-industry
consultant, told an American Enterprise Institute conference last fall
in Washington. Already, he noted, several U.S. oil companies are
studying the possibility of privatization in the Gulf. Dismantling
government-owned oil companies, Sobhani argued, could also force
political changes in the region. "The beginning of liberal democracy can
be achieved if you take the means of production out of the hands of the
state," he said, acknowledging that Arabs would resist that idea. "It's
going to take a lot of selling, a lot of marketing," he concluded.

Just which companies would get to claim Iraq's oil has been a subject of
much debate. After a war, the contracts that Iraq's state-owned oil
company has signed with European, Russian, and Chinese oil firms might
well be abrogated, leaving the field to U.S. oil companies. "What they
have in mind is denationalization, and then parceling Iraqi oil out to
American oil companies," says Akins. "The American oil companies are
going to be the main beneficiaries of this war."

The would-be rulers of a post-Saddam Iraq have been thinking along the
same lines. "American oil companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil,"
says Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, a group of
aristocrats and wealthy Iraqis who fled the country when its repressive
monarchy was overthrown in 1958. During a visit to Washington last fall,
Chalabi held meetings with at least three major U.S. oil companies,
trying to enlist their support. Similar meetings between Iraqi exiles
and U.S. companies have also been taking place in Europe.

"Iraqi exiles have approached us, saying, 'You can have our oil if we
can get back in there,'" says R. Gerald Bailey, who headed Exxon's
Middle East operations until 1997. "All the major American companies
have met with them in Paris, London, Brussels, all over. They're all
jockeying for position. You can't ignore it, but you've got to do it on
the QT. And you can't wait till it gets too far along."

But the companies are also anxious about the consequences of war,
according to many experts, oil-company executives, and former State
Department officials. "The oil companies are caught in the middle," says
Bailey. Executives fear that war could create havoc in the region,
turning Arab states against the United States and Western oil companies.
On the other hand, should a U.S. invasion of Iraq be successful, they
want to be there when the oil is divvied up. Says David Long, the former
U.S. diplomat, "It's greed versus fear."

Ibrahim Oweiss, a Middle East specialist at Georgetown University who
coined the term "petrodollar" and has also been a consultant to
Occidental and BP, has been closely watching the cautious maneuvering by
the companies. "I know that the oil companies are scared about the
outcome of this," he says. "They are not at all sure this is in the best
interests of the oil industry."

Anne Joyce, an editor at the Washington-based Middle East Policy Council
who has spoken privately to top Exxon officials, says it's clear that
most oil-industry executives "are afraid" of what a war in the Persian
Gulf could mean in the long term -- especially if tensions in the region
spiral out of control. "They see it as much too risky, and they are risk
averse," she says. "They think it has 'fiasco' written all over it."

A Mother Jones contributing writer, Robert Dreyfuss was named one of the
"best unsung investigative journalists working in print" last year by
the Columbia Journalism Review.


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==============================================


The "Bush & God" Scam: Don't Buy It by Ira Chernus

Published on Monday, March 10, 2003 by CommonDreams.org

http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0310-01.htm


"Bush & God," the cover of Newsweek announces, as if
the two were business partners. That's what the White
House wants us to think. It is mounting a massive
campaign to paint the president as a man on a divine
mission, a man who sees himself as an agent of God.

Some of the reasons for this PR ploy are obvious. It's
so much easier to go to war if we believe that God is
on our, and our leader's, side. Wrap the flag around
God, and who can question your moral credibility? If
Bush stands with God, those who actively oppose his war
must be down below with Satan. If Bush is so sincerely
religious, those who question his motives must be
misguided. Such a spiritual man would never send others
to their death for crass motives like power and oil.
Surely, he must have higher ethical principles in view.

There is a risk in this strategy. It makes Bush look
like a fanatic. That could easily drive some of the
undecided into the antiwar camp.

But making Bush look like a fanatic might very well be
the point. If he really believes he is on a mission
from God, why would he care what the French, the
Russians, or even the American people think? Nothing
can stop a religious fanatic from doing God's work on
earth. As antiwar sentiment mounts, the White House may
be using this "Bush and God" gambit as a way to say:
Forget it. March and lobby as much as you want. Nothing
can stop this Christian soldier from marching out to
war.

This is a new twist on Richard Nixon's famous "madman"
theory. Nixon wanted the North Vietnamese to believe
that he was so irrational, he could easily nuke them
into oblivion if they did not settle the war on his
terms. Now the White House says that George W. is so
irrationally sunk in his Christian beliefs, he must
have U.S. policy settled on his terms.

The irony is that the White House has to spin this
story precisely because George W. keeps turning back
from the brink, as more and more of the world turns
against his war. Remember when we were told that the
war would have to start by February, to get it over
with before the desert turned too hot? Then, as
diplomatic resistance to war mounted, nature's deadline
was put off until later in the spring.

On March 7, facing a French and Russian veto in the
Security Council, the U.S. did another backpedal. It
amended its supposedly "final" resolution to include a
deadline of March 17. All the amendment says is that
Iraq must show it is disarming in good faith by the
17th. But most Security Council members, including the
French and Russians, say Iraq is already disarming in
good faith. So come the 17th, the Security Council will
remain as paralyzed as ever. The amended resolution has
no real teeth. It is another U.S. surrender.

But every time the Bush administration caves in to
diplomatic pressure, the White House puts out the story
that it's more determined than ever to go to war. And
the U.S. media dutifully buy it. The media heralded the
March 17 date as a drop-dead deadline, an absolute
proof that Bush will indeed have his heavenly war, come
hell, high water, or UN veto. Of course, they may be
right. But if you look at what the administration does,
not what it says, the evidence points in the opposite
direction.

The pressure is mounting against war. It would be a bad
mistake for antiwar forces to swallow the line about
"Bush and God" as proof that our protests are useless.
The New York Times editorial board and its star pundit,
Thomas Friedman, have come out against war. Even the
more conservative Washington Post is calling for Bush
to wait "a few more weeks," hoping for an international
change of heart.

Sure, we progressive activists would like everyone to
oppose the war on moral grounds, like we do. But if we
have to ally with pragmatists like the Times, the Post,
and the French government to get the job done, so be
it. Our alliance is growing. We are on a roll.

Only two things can stop us. We could tear our alliance
apart with internal squabbling and demands for
ideological purity. More likely, we will slow our own
momentum by convincing ourselves that war is
inevitable, because Bush is an irrational fanatic. That
is what I hear in antiwar circles, over and over again,
far too often. The more we tell each other that our
efforts are doomed to fail, the more we come to believe
it.

This is a time for one last enormous push against the
war. Who knows? God may be on Bush's side. But it
doesn't matter. The political momentum is on our side.
Let's go out confidently to stop this war before it
starts.

Ira Chernus is Professor of Religious Studies at the
University of Colorado at Boulder. chernus@colorado.edu

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==============================================

 

Latino Farm Labor Leaders Slam Bush Administration
Pressures on Mexico to Secure Pro-War Vote at UN
Security Council

US Labor Against War West Coast Office 745 Green Valley
Road Watsonville, CA 95076 www.uslaboragainstwar.org

*******************

Introductory Note:

The following press release is being faxed out widely
by the San Francisco Labor Council to all the major
media in the United States and Mexico this morning
(March 10).

We would appreciate your help in forwarding this
release to all media outlets in your cities and
countries. Call or write your local papers and urge
them to run this story.

For further information, please contact Amy Newell (US
Labor Against War) and/or Alan Benjamin (San Francisco
Labor Council) at the numbers listed below.

Thanks in advance for your attention and support,

Alan Benjamin and Ed Rosario, Co-coordinators, OWC
Continuations Committee San Francisco Labor Council

********************


March 10, 2003

** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE **

Contact Persons:

Amy Newell: 831-728-4922 Alan Benjamin (bilingual):
415-626-1175

WATSONVILLE, Calif. -- Leaders of the nation's main
farm labor organizations, representing immigrant farm
workers from Mexico in the United States, sent a letter
today to President George Bush expressing their
"outrage over the heavy-handed tactics" employed by the
Bush administration against the government of Mexico in
an attempt to secure its agreement with the Bush plan
for waging war on Iraq.

In their letter, Dolores Huerta, co-founder -- along
with Cesar Chavez -- of the United Farm Workers of
America; Arturo Rodriguez, president of the UFW; and
Baldemar Velasquez, president of the Farm Labor
Organizing Committee also tell Bush they oppose this
war "because you have not made your case to the
citizens of the United States or of the world that it
is necessary."

The Bush administration has announced that it will seek
a second UN vote in the UN Security Council early this
week aimed at obtaining a mandate for waging a war
against Iraq in the event Iraq does not "fully disarm
its weapons of mass destruction" by a March 17
deadline. The governments of France, Russia and China
have expressed their strong opposition to this
U.S.-British March 17 deadline and have indicated they
would veto any resolution that would result in a
military attack, calling instead for more time to allow
the UN inspectors to do their job.

Mexico and four other countries in the UN Security
Council have not expressed any indication as to how
they will vote. In recent weeks, President Fox of
Mexico has stated his government's strong opposition to
any resolution that would legitimize a U.S.-led war in
Iraq. But under intense pressure from the Bush
administration, which has sent numerous high-level
delegations to Mexico, more recent statements by
Mexican government officials have been less categoric,
giving rise to heightened concerns across Mexico's
diverse political spectrum that a "no" vote by Mexico
on the U.S.-British proposal is by no means a
certainty. Popular sentiment across Mexico is strongly
opposed to war in Iraq, with up to 80% opposing a
U.S.-led military assault.

In their March 10 letter, the farm labor leaders
chastise the Bush administration for "acting like a
bully against another sovereign nation." Their letter
quotes a high-level Mexican diplomat who told the media
that, "U.S. State Department officials actually told us
that any country that doesn't go along with the United
States 'will be paying a very heavy price'."

The labor leaders proclaim: "Our government cannot
claim to be fighting for democracy in Iraq while at the
same time demanding that the government of Mexico
support a war without the consent and against the will
of its own citizens."

Expressing a view that is gaining ground within the
U.S. trade union movement -- including within the
national leadership of the AFL-CIO, which on February
27 adopted a statement opposing Bush's unilateral war
on Iraq -- the labor leaders conclude: "We oppose this
war because you have not made your case to the citizens
of the U.S. or of the world that it is necessary. We
oppose this war it in the name of democracy and we ask
you to respect democracy and national sovereignty not
only in our country but in all other countries,
including Mexico."

The three signatories of the letter are supporters of
US Labor Against War, a committee founded in Chicago in
January by labor organizations with more than two
million members. USLAW now reports that labor
organizations representing more than one-third of all
organized workers have gone on record against war in
Iraq. USLAW recently released a declaration demanding a
peaceful resolution in Iraq that was endorsed by trade
union federations and unions from 53 countries
representing 130 million organized workers.

To contact the signatories of this letter to Bush for
their comments, call:

Dolores Huerta at: 510-663-2165

Baldemar Velasquez at: 419-243-3456

Arturo Rodriguez at: 661-725-9730


- 30 -

***********

ATTACHED LETTER TO GEORGE BUSH


March 10, 2003

George W. Bush, President United States of America 1800
Pennsylvania Ave. Washington, D.C.

Dear President Bush:

As Latino leaders of farm labor organizations
representing immigrant workers from Mexico, their
families and retirees, we write to say that we are
outraged by the heavy-handed tactics that your
administration is employing against the government of
Mexico in an attempt to secure its agreement with your
plan for waging war on Iraq.

An Associated Press article by Dafna Linzer said that
Mexican diplomats described the visits from U.S. State
Dept. Officials as "hostile in tone" and complained
that Washington was demonstrating "little concern for
the constraints on the Mexican government, whose people
are overwhelmingly opposed to a war with Iraq." "They
actually told us," said one Mexican diplomat, "that any
country that doesn't go along with the U.S. 'will be
paying a very heavy price'."

Our members do not want their government to act like a
bully against another sovereign nation.

Our government cannot claim to be fighting for
democracy in Iraq while at the same time demanding that
the government of Mexico support a war without the
consent and against the will of its own citizens.

We oppose this war because you have not made your case
to the citizens of the U.S. or of the world that it is
necessary. We oppose it in the name of democracy and we
ask you to respect democracy and national sovereignty
not only in our country but in all other countries,
including Mexico.

Sincerely,

Dolores Huerta, Co-Founder (with Cesar Chavez), United
Farm Workers of America (AFL-CIO)

Arturo Rodriguez, President, United Farm Workers of
America (AFL-CIO)

Baldemar Velasquez, President, Farm Labor Organizing
Committee (FLOC) (AFL-CIO)


cc: Vicente Fox, President Republic of Mexico

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==============================================

 

U.S. Invites Bids for Iraq Reconstruction Work

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government has invited at least five 
engineering companies to submit bids for a contract to do reconstruction 
work in Iraq (news - web sites), U.S. and company officials said on Monday.

The winning company would get about $900 million to repair Iraqi health 
services, ports and airports, and schools and other educational 
institutions, they said.


"Because of the urgent circumstances and the unique nature of this work, 
USAID will undertake a limited selection process that expedites the review 
and selection of contractors for these projects," said a spokeswoman for the 
U.S. Agency for International Development.


The Wall Street Journal said invitations also went to Parsons Corp., Louis 
Berger Group Inc. and Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of the Halliburton 
Co. once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites).


The USAID spokeswoman, who asked not to be identified, said the invitation 
was part of the U.S. government's contingency planning for Iraq, which the 
United States has threatened to invade with or without U.N. approval.


Asked to explain the narrow selection of companies for such a large contract 
and the secrecy of the procedure, she said, "These are not companies which 
are new to this type of work."


Halliburton's Kellogg Brown & Root has already won a government contract to 
oversee firefighting operations at Iraqi oilfields after any U.S.-led 
invasion, a Defense Department source told Reuters last week. Cheney was 
Halliburton's chief executive officer from 1995 to 2000.


Bechtel Group Inc. and Fluor Corp. confirmed they had received the 
invitations from USAID.


"We did receive a proposal and we are responding to it with a proposal," 
said Bechtel spokesman Jonathan Marshall.


Fluor spokesman Jerry Holloway said the company had already submitted a bid. 
He declined to give details.


Sources at the companies said the invitation was unusual in that USAID did 
not ask them to set a price for defined services but rather asked them to 
say what they could do for $900 million.


Parsons spokeswoman Erin Kuhlman declined to say whether the company had 
received an invitation. But she said: "We've done reconstruction work in 
Bosnia and Kosovo. We are in our fifth year in Bosnia, and our second year 
in Kosovo.


Louis Berger and Kellogg Root & Brown declined to comment.


Review Finds USDA Mishandles Complaints
Delays in Discrimination Cases Criticized

By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 10, 2003; Page A19


The U.S. Department of Agriculture responds poorly to civil rights 
complaints by its employees, impeding chances for settlements and creating 
lengthy delays in investigating claims, according to a new federal study.

The 27-page report by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 
released late last month, is the latest blow for a department that for 
decades has been the target of complaints by minorities about a hostile work 
environment that fosters discrimination against employees and some USDA 
clients.

"This problem is a problem in the institution," said Lawrence Lucas, 
president of the Coalition of Minority Employees, a network of 900 USDA 
workers.

Alisa Harrison, a USDA spokeswoman, said that although some of the 
commission's findings were based on outdated information, others had led to 
important changes. Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman "really remains 
committed to a strong civil rights program, and we're working very, very 
hard to improve it," Harrison said.

The EEOC found that the USDA takes an average of 559 days to decide whether 
to investigate a discrimination complaint, compared with a government-wide 
average of 451 days. (In both cases, that is far longer than the 180 days in 
which agencies are supposed to review complaints and complete their 
investigations.)

Moreover, the report said, the USDA's Office of General Counsel, which 
defends the department against complaints, was improperly offering guidance 
to its Office of Civil Rights, which investigates allegations of 
discrimination. Such an arrangement "can compromise the neutrality of the 
administrative process" and interfere with opportunities to settle 
complaints. EEOC reviewers also found poor oversight of the alternative 
dispute resolution programs throughout the department that are designed to 
handle complaints; an ineffective system for tracking cases; and mangled 
lines of communication between the Office of Civil Rights and the more than 
two dozen agencies that make up the USDA.

Information-sharing was so disorganized, according to the report, that the 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service began "engaging in the costly 
practice of submitting every report to the Office of Civil Rights via 
Federal Express so they can document which Office of Civil Rights employee 
received the package, as well as the specific date and time of its receipt."

The report praised the department for pursuing disciplinary action against 
managers in cases of clear wrongdoing, but urged officials to review 
management behavior at earlier stages, too.

Harrison said the department has improved communication and implemented a 
new system to track complaints. Starting this week, there will be a 
"firewall" between the lawyers who defend the USDA against complaints and 
the staff members who investigate allegations of wrongdoing, she said. "We 
feel like we've really addressed a lot of the issues they raised in the 
report," she said.

EEOC spokesman David B. Grinberg said the commission undertook similar 
reviews of about 30 federal agencies last year. Officials could not say 
whether the USDA's problems were worse than others, he said.

"It's something that's routine," Grinberg said of the review.

To Lucas, the minority coalition leader, the report provides evidence of 
continued shortcomings in a department where many employees feel mistreated. 
Black farmers prevailed in a $1 billion class action lawsuit against the 
USDA in 1999 after charging they were denied loans and other services 
because of their race.

"It's important that they did it because of USDA's pattern and practice of 
not being responsive," he said of the report.


© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Report: Agriculture Depart. Erred Rights

By EMILY GERSEMA
Associated Press Writer

March 10, 2003, 12:15 PM EST

WASHINGTON -- The Agriculture Department is slow in responding to civil
rights' complaints by its employees, delaying investigations and
settlements, a federal review says.

The report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the
department needs to improve its tracking system of complaints because on
average, it takes 559 days for the department to investigate a complaint,
although government agencies are supposed to review and investigate cases
within 180 days. The commission says most take 451 days.

Lawrence Lucas, head of an advocacy group that represents USDA workers,
says the review highlights the department's history of failing to stop
discrimination against its workers and farmers who are minorities.

"They have not held people accountable for the wrongdoing against farmers,
and they have not held people accountable for wrongdoing against
employees," said Lucas, president of the Coalition of Minority Employees.

The report also criticized the agency for letting its general counsel's
office, which defends the department against complaints, take the lead on
investigating discrimination accusations. Doing so "impedes opportunities
for settlement," the EEOC said in the Feb. 26 report, adding that it also
should not be advising the agency's civil rights office on how to handle
cases.

Alisa Harrison, a department spokeswoman, said the agency will limit the
general counsel's involvement in reviewing allegations.

"There will be a firewall put in place this week," she said. "In other
words, those people will not be advising our civil rights department."

Harrison also said the department started a new tracking system for
complaints to ensure that they are addressed, Harrison said.

David Grinberg, an EEOC spokesman, said the commission routinely checks on
federal agencies to help them improve the complaint process.

However, departments do not face any penalties for failing to respond to
the commission's review, he said.

Lucas said he and other advocates will monitor the department to see if it
carries out its promises.

"The Office of General Counsel is really our main obstacle to a better
civil rights process at USDA," Lucas said. "We're going to fight against
them until this changes."

The Agriculture Department still is settling thousands of complaints filed
by black farmers who accused it in a 1997 class-action lawsuit of denying
them loans because of their race. So far, the agency has paid $634 million
to 12,690 farmers, but black farmers have said the discrimination has
continued.


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==============================================

THE ANNOUNCEMENT


Text of press conference delivered on October 24, 1989 at the J.W. Marriott 
Hotel in Washington, D.C.

by 

The Honorable Louis Farrakhan


Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, Brothers and Sisters, we are honored by 
your presence here this morning.


I am a man who has great respect for the Press and the electronic media and I 
also have respect for myself and my mission. As you know, I do not readily 
submit to interviews, nor am I frequently seen on the television; for I am 
not before you of myself, nor do I do what I do to be seen of men. 
Therefore, I have never tried to abuse, or misuse the Press to seek advantage 
for myself, or the Nation of Islam. So, in calling this press conference, I 
am calling you because of the serious nature of the Announcement that I am 
about to make; an An­nouncement on which hangs the future of this nation, its 
leaders and the people of America.


It is written in the book of Ezekiel,


"When I say unto the wicked, You shall surely die; and you give him not 
warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; 
the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require 
at your hand.


"Yet if you warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from 
his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have de­livered your 
soul."


It is in this spirit that I make this announcement.


In a tiny town in Mexico, called Tepotzlan, there is a mountain on the top of 
which is the ruins of a temple dedicated to Quetzacoatl -the Christ- figure 
of Central and South America­ - a mountain which I have climbed several 
times. However, on the night of September l7, 1985, I was carried up on that 
mountain, in a vision, with a few friends of mine. As we reached the top of 
the mountain, a Wheel, or what you call an unidentified flying object (UFO), 
appeared at the side of the mountain and called to me to come up into the 
Wheel. Three metal legs appeared from the Wheel, giving me the impression 
that it was going to land, but it never came over the mountain.


Being somewhat afraid, I called to the members of my party to come with me, 
but a voice came from the Wheel saying, "Not them; just you." I was told to 
relax and a beam of light came from the Wheel and I was carried up on this 
beam of light into the Wheel.


I sat next to the pilot, however, I could not see him. I could only feel his 
presence. As the Wheel lifted off from the side of the moun­tain, moving at 
a terrific speed, I knew I was being transported to the Mother Wheel, which 
is a human-built planet, a half-mile by a half-mile that the Honorable Elijah 
Muhammad had taught us of for nearly 60 years. The pilot, knowing that I was 
fearful of seeing this great, mechanical object in the sky, maneuvered his 
craft in such a way that I would not see the Mother Wheel (Plane) and then 
backed quickly into it and docked in a tunnel. I was escorted by the pilot 
to a door and admitted into a room.


I shall not bother you with a description of the room, but suffice it to say 
that at the center of the ceiling was a speaker and through this speaker I 
heard the voice of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad speak­ing to me as clearly 
as you are hearing my voice this morning.


He spoke in short cryptic sentences and as he spoke a scroll full of cursive 
writing rolled down in front of my eyes, but it was a projection of what was 
being written in my mind. As I attempted to read the cursive writing, which 
was in English, the scroll disappeared and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad 
began to speak to me. 


He said, "President Reagan has met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to plan a 
war. I want you to hold a press conference in Washington, D. C., and announce 
their plan and say to the world that you got the information from me, Elijah 
Muhammad, on the Wheel." 


He said to me that he would not permit me to see him at that time. However, 
he said that I had one more thing to do and when that one more thing was done 
that I could come again to the Wheel and I would be permitted to see him face 
to face.


He then dismissed me. I entered the small wheel and the pilot whom I still 
could not see, moved the craft out of the tunnel and took it up to a terrific 
height and maneuvered his craft that I might look down upon the Mother Wheel. 
I saw a city in the sky.


With great speed it brought me back to earth and dropped me off near 
Washington where I then proceeded into this city to make The Announcement.


After I awakened from the vision, it seemed to vanish from my mind. However, 
on the morning of September 19, 1985, a great earth­quake struck Mexico City 
and it was felt in the little town where I was staying. That earthquake 
brought the vision forcibly to my mind and I spoke it, later that morning for 
the first time to my wife, Khadijah Farrakhan, and Sister Tynnetta Muhammad, 
in the city of Cuernavaca.


During the vision of 1985, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad did not tell me who 
the war was planned against, or where it would take place. But, as events 
began to unfold from September to December of 1985 into January of 1986 it 
began to dawn on me, slowly, that the war might be against Muammar Qaddafi 
and the Libyan Jamahiriya, but I was not completely sure. 


In early February, 1986, I was invited to participate in and be the spokesman 
at a press conference initiated by the Libyans in coopera­tion with Kwame 
Toure of the All African Peoples' Revolutionary party and the representatives 
of approximately 15 groups of Blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics and Whites, 
in essence, to state to the govern­ment of the United States: "Hands off 
Libya." While I was speaking at the press conference, the lights of the 
television cameras in the back of the room brought back the vision of the 
press conference that I was to hold in Washington, D.C., and I wondered to 
myself, "Could this be it?"


In February 1986, I embarked on a world tour. While I was in Ghana, it 
crystallized for me that the war President Reagan and the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff had planned was in fact against Muammar Qaddafi and the people of 
Libya. So, I decided to alter my planned itinerary to go to Libya and to 
warn Muammar Qaddafi.


From Tripoli, speaking before the representatives of approxi­mately 80 
nations, I told the vision publicly, sending back to the United States a 
warning to President Reagan and Secretary of State George Schultz.


During the confrontation in the Gulf of Sidra, between the United States Air 
Force and the Libyan Air Force, it was reported in the press that a bright 
orange object was seen over the Mediterranean. The Wheel was, in fact, 
present and interfered with the highly sensitive electronic equipment of the 
aircraft carrier, forcing it to return to Florida for repairs.


In 1987, in the New York Times' Sunday magazine and on the front page of the 
Atlanta Constitution, the truth of my vision was veri­fied, for the headlines 
of the Atlanta Constitution read, "President Reagan Planned War Against 
Libya."


In the article which followed, the exact words that the Honorable Elijah 
Muhammad spoke to me on the Wheel were found; that the President had met with 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff and planned a war against Libya in the early part 
of September 1985. 


I did not realize, at the time, when the Honorable Elijah Muham­mad said that 
I had one more thing to do, that one more thing in­volved having the actual 
press conference - that I am holding today - and making the actual 
announcement that I am now fully in the knowledge and understanding of. The 
reason that the Honorable Eli­jah Muhammad did not tell me who the President 
and the Joint Chiefs of Staff had planned the war against was because Muammar 
Qaddafi, the Muslim Revolutionary leader, and the small nation of Libya, was 
only to serve as a sign of an even more significant and consequential war, 
which would come several years later.


I am here to announce today that President Bush has met with his Joint Chiefs 
of Staff, under the direction of General Colin Powell, to plan a war against 
the Black people of America, the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan, with 
particular emphasis on our Black youth, under the guise of a war against drug 
sellers, drug users, gangs and violence-all under the heading of extremely 
urgent national security.


The FBI, in preparation for this war, has stepped up its campaign against 
strong Black political leadership. The FBI is using dirty tactics under the 
guise of flushing out corrupt politicians to malign and be­smirch the good 
name of many of our strong fighters for justice; threatening them with 
indictments or casting them into prisons. With other weaker leaders, the 
government has already promised them wealth and nearness to the centers of 
power and to be in their councils in exchange for their being silent when the 
attack finally comes.


The FBI has been working to destroy the Nation of Islam since 1940. As a 
young Muslim, 34 years ago, I recall that the agents of the FBI were 
constantly visiting members of the Nation of Islam, trying to frighten us and 
our families away from our belief in the religion of Islam, and away from our 
desire to follow the leadership of the Hon­orable Elijah Muhammad.


Now, it is well documented, through the Senate Subcommittee hearings on the 
Counterintelligence Program of the United States government, under J. Edgar 
Hoover, and through information that we have received under the Freedom of 
Information Act, that the Gov­ernment of the United States, the Justice 
Department and the FBI, in the name of fighting communism; and in the name of 
preventing a "Messiah" from rising among Black people, who would unite us; 
and in the name of protecting the existing social and political order, used 
taxpayers' dollars to employ every dirty trick that was ever used in 
overthrowing foreign governments deemed to be enemies of the United States, 
to overthrow and to undermine all Black leaders and Black organizations in 
the United States.


It is well documented that the FBI, using taxpayers' dollars, con­ducted 
illegal surveillance, wiretaps, and mischievous machinations against Black 
leadership, to discredit, undermine, embarrass and even to kill those leaders 
who stood up to amend the condition that 310 years of chattel slavery and 100 
years of free slavery produced.


That which the FBI has done against the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Nation 
of Islam, Black leaders and Black organiza­tions, again, is well documented. 
It was the FBI who planned and en­gineered the split between Malcolm X and 
the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. It was the FBI, and its agents, that 
engineered the de­struction of the Nation of Islam after the departure of the 
Honorable Elijah Muhammad in 1975. It was the FBI that planned and engi­
neered the struggle in the courts to weaken the Nation from within and to 
deprive the Muslims of that which their hard earned dollars had gained in 
property through probate court disputes. It was the FBI's plan to promote 
division among the ministers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad after his 
departure.


Now that I, and those with me, are working to rebuild the work of the 
Honorable Elijah Muhammad as a means of reforming our people and transforming 
their lives into lives of service and usefulness to themselves and others, 
the same fear of the government that was seen in times past, is now seen 
again in the work of members of the FBI's anti-terrorist task force and the 
organized crime racketeering task force, that have been working night and day 
to cripple and destroy the Nation of Islam, culminating in an attack on Louis 
Farrakhan, with the purpose of discrediting, embarrassing and ultimately 
causing the death of Louis Farrakhan, preferably by heightening tensions 
within the movement exacerbated by government agents posing as Muslims. This 
is the aim of the United States government, and it appears to be the aim of 
the President of the United States President George Bush.


Two weeks before George Bush was elected President, he made a speech before 
the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in Los Angeles, detailing his support of Israel 
and his continued support of the Jewish com­munity. He pledged continued 
funding of the Justice Department in their continuing investigations and 
vigorous prosecution of those whom the President called, anti-Semites. And he 
said, "Whether they wear brown shirts, or white shirts and bow ties: whether 
they live in Skokie, Chicago, Illinois, or Brooklyn, New York, the villain is 
the same."


I am sure President Bush was not referring to Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, 
who wears bow ties and white shirts. During the Reagan Administration, the 
then Vice-President Bush spoke out against me, identifying me by name. Now as 
he approached the Presidency he spoke of me by innuendo saying that he would 
continue the funding of the Justice Department, and he promised he would lead 
the fight against those whom he and certain leading members of the Jewish 
community determined to be "anti-Semites," through vigorous investi­gation, 
prosecution, and then, he indirectly referred to me as "the vil­lain."


Evidence is now mounting that those were not empty words of the President, but 
those words, as in the past, have been translated into the final program and 
policy and war, that has been designed to destroy the Nation of Islam and 
Minister Farrakhan, with a particular focus on the growing strength of Black 
youth.


The vision that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave me from the Wheel in 1985, 
is now manifested fully in that President Bush has met with his Joint Chiefs 
of Staff, the chairman of which is a Black man, General Colin Powell, and 
again, they too have planned a war.


Why would President Bush assign a Black man to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff, jumping over 30 white men, who are report­edly more qualified to be 
chairman? Oftentimes, when a Black man is elevated to a high position it is 
generally because of a desire to use him against the legitimate aspirations 
of his own people, or to use him as window-dressing to make the masses of 
Black people believe that an unjust system is working in their behalf.


With an army full of young Black men and women (which in­cludes Native 
Americans, Hispanics and poor Whites) could it be that General Powell will be 
used to justify the use of these soldiers against Noriega and his regime in 
Panama; against the Medellin drug cartel; and then on to Daniel Ortega and 
the Sandinista regime; possibly against Cuba; against the liberation 
movements in Africa and, lastly, but most importantly, against the rise of 
Black youth and Black peo­ple in America.


For the past few years, the American press has been feeding the public the 
image of Black youth on a rampage. From the gangs called Crips and Bloods, 
in Los Angeles, California; the Central Park incident, to the drug sellers 
that are operating in the major cities along the East Coast, particularly in 
Washington, D.C., the image the Ameri­can public gets is that when it comes 
to gangs, violence and drugs, that the gang leaders are Black; the violence 
is Black; the drug sellers are Black and the majority of drug users are 
Black. Our youth are being portrayed as the perpetrators of violence, and 
are being armed with "street sweepers," AK-47s, Uzis, MAC 10s. It is being 
reported that these Black youth are better armed than the local police.


The police are saying that they have insufficient arms to combat these drug 
groups and, therefore, they either need heavier weapons, or the back-up of 
the National guard, and Federal troops. However, in­formation has come to us 
that the police have great fire power avail­able to them. And certain areas 
of the country have been targeted to test these new weapons. Armored 
personnel carriers that can travel at speeds up to 70 m.p.h. with high 
caliber machine guns are being stored in the armories of the major cities and 
the use of certain kinds of gases is being planned. This is being planned to 
be executed against Black youth in several major cities in the country, one 
of which is Washington, D.C.


Much of the gang activity is fomented, manipulated, and kept alive by outside 
forces from within the white community and oftentimes by the very police 
themselves to justify what the government is plan­ning against our community. 
Many of our young people are recruited by corrupt police to sell drugs to our 
people and many of our youth are killed if they violate police instructions, 
by hit squads from within the police departments. This is what we are 
learning from so-called gang leaders throughout the country.


All of this has been planned and is now being carried out under the pretext of 
national security and to maintain, preserve and protect an increasingly 
corrupt and unjust social and political order.


In closing, I would like to issue a warning to the President, to the 
Government and to the people of the United States of America. If I, in your 
mind, am before you of myself; if I, in your mind am a hater, an anti-Semite, 
a wild-eyed radical; then, you have nothing to fear from my presence; for I, 
like those who are actually like that will go the way history has decreed for 
that kind of person.


However, if I am in reality in front of you by Allah's Divine Will, as an 
extension of the Divine Warnings given to you from the Honor­able Elijah 
Muhammad, then be instructed that you would do well to leave me alone; to 
leave the Nation of Islam alone; and to cease and desist from your evil 
planning against the future of the Black people of America and the world. For 
the Black people of America, though despised and rejected, have now become 
the people of God and He has declared that He will fight you for their 
liberation.


The government would be wise to heed the counsel of Gamaliel, in the days of 
Paul, and the early Christians, who advised the rulers of that day, with 
these words:


'And so in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let 
them alone, for if this plan or action should be of men, it will be 
overthrown;


"But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may 
even be found fighting against God."


So it is not wise for you to plan against Allah's (God's) servants; for by so 
doing you are actually planning against yourselves. This warning is for the 
President, the government and the wise to reflect upon so that the unwary 
citizens of America may not be harmed by the consequences of the wicked 
machinations of the United States Government.


You may come against me, which you are free to do, since we have no power to 
stop you, but I warn you, that I am backed by the Power of Allah (God) and 
His Christ and the Power of that Wheel in which I received this Announcement. 
The moment you attempt or lay your hands on me the fullness of Allah's 
(God's) Wrath will descend upon you and upon America.


Before you will be able to establish your mockery of me (if that is what you 
wish to do) for what was revealed to me in the Wheel you will see these 
wheels, or what you call UFOs, in abundance over the major cities of America 
and the calamities that America is presently experiencing will increase in 
number and in intensity that you might humble yourselves to the Warning 
contained in this Announcement.


This is a final warning to you. The ball is now in your court. You may do 
with it, with me, and with us as you see fit. Thank you for your attention 
and may Allah bless each of you with the light of un­derstanding, as I greet 
you in peace:


As-Salaam Alaikum.

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==============================================


New York Times
March 6, 2003 

The War on Schools 

By BOB HERBERT

There's something surreal about the fact that the United
States of America, the richest, most powerful nation in
history, can't provide a basic public school education
for all of its children.

Actually, that's wrong. Strike the word "can't." The
correct word is more damning, more reflective of the
motives of the people in power. The correct word is
"won't."

Without giving the costs much thought, we'll spend
hundreds of billions of dollars on an oil-powered
misadventure in the Middle East. But we won't scrape
together the money for sufficient textbooks and
teachers, or even, in some cases, to keep the doors
open at public schools in struggling districts from
Boston on the East Coast to Portland on the West.

In Oregon, which is one of many states facing an
extreme budget crisis, teachers have agreed to work two
weeks without pay, thus averting plans to shorten the
school year by nearly five weeks. A funding crisis in
Texas, where the state share of school financing has
reached a 50-year low and is expected to go lower, has
local officials preparing for cuts in everything from
extracurricular activities and elective subjects (like
journalism) to teachers, counselors and nurses.

"Districts across the state have been in a cost-cutting
mode for a number of years," said Karen Soehnge of the
Texas Association of School Administrators. "When you
continue that cutting over a lengthy period of time,
you're cutting to the bone. We're concerned because in
Texas we have increased standards for student learning.
So we have increasing expectations and diminishing
resources, two irreconcilable forces."

Similar stories can be heard in state after state. In
New York, more than 1,000 students, teachers,
administrators and activists traveled to Albany on
Tuesday to march against proposed state budget cuts
that are so severe they mock the very idea of the
sound, basic education the state is obliged by law to
provide.

Among the banners and signs waved by the students was a
placard that showed an American flag and said: "Public
Education "
An American Dream. A Dream That No One
Wants to Pay For."

The superintendent of the Buffalo school system, Marion
Canedo, was among those who traveled to Albany. When
she talks about the cuts she's had to make and the cuts
currently being considered, her voice has the tone of
someone who has just witnessed a chain-reaction auto
wreck.

"It's the worst thing I've ever seen, and I've been in
the district 35 years," she said. "I mean we're looking
at crazy things, like a four-day week, no kindergarten,
no pre-kindergarten, no sports."

If Gov. George Pataki's proposed cuts are enacted, the
Buffalo schools will be in a $65 million budget hole,
with no viable solutions in sight.

"I've done everything I could think of," Ms. Canedo
said. "I've closed schools. I've suspended service at
schools. It's been horrible."

There is no way to overstate the gulf between the need
for funding and the reality of funding in urban school
districts. And that gulf is widening, not narrowing.

Ms. Canedo gave one example of the many extraordinary
needs. "I have students who come here as maybe
sophomores speaking no English whatsoever," she said.
"We have to make sure they pass the English Regents or
they're not going to have a high school diploma. Our
job, our core mission, is to educate, not to warehouse.
So we need to give that student extra English all year
long."

Education is the food that nourishes the nation's soul.
When public officials refuse to provide adequate school
resources for the young, it's the same as parents
refusing to feed their children.

It's unconscionable. It's criminal.

The public school picture across the country is wildly
uneven. There are many superb school districts. But
there are so many places like Buffalo (including big
and small cities and rural areas), where the schools
are deliberately starved of the resources they need,
and those districts are the shame of a great nation.

When it comes to education financing, the divisions
among federal, state and local government entities are
mostly artificial. It's everyone's obligation to
educate the next generation of Americans.

It's an insane society that can contemplate devastating
and then rebuilding Iraq, but can't bring itself to
provide schooling for all of its young people here at
home.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company | Privacy
Policy



__________________________________________________________________

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==============================================



Bush Orders Sanctions Imposed Against Leaders of Zimbabwe

By DAVID STOUT

WASHINGTON, March 7 - President Bush announced economic sanctions today 
against President Robert Mugabe and 76 other officials of Zimbabwe, which has 
been torn by social upheaval, food shortages and political intimidation.


Mr. Bush's executive order bars Americans from having any business dealings 
with the Zimbabwean leaders and freezes whatever assets they may have in the 
United States. The action follows a similar move by the European Union. 


"Over the course of more than two years, the government of Zimbabwe has 
systematically undermined that nation's democratic institutions, employing 
violence, intimidation and repressive means including legislation to stifle 
opposition to its rule," Mr. Bush said in announcing his executive order. 


He said the Mugabe government not only harmed Zimbabwe's people but also 
poseed an "unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy interests 
of the United States." 


The announcement today came as no surprise because the United States and 
numerous other Western nations have accused Mr. Mugabe of election-rigging 
and bullying his opponents and journalists who have been critical of his 
government. 


Mr. Mugabe, 78, has led the country since it gained black majority rule in 
1980. He was elected to a new six-year term as president in March 2002, but 
independent observers said the voting was so flawed that the election was 
virtually stolen.


Mr. Mugabe, in turn, has lashed back at Western leaders, accusing them of 
being nostalgic for the days when Zimbabwe was Rhodesia, first as a British 
colony and, after they declared independence in 1965, under the the country's 
white settlers. 


Numerous African leaders have sided with Mr. Mugabe, asserting that the 
outsiders care too much about members of Zimbabwe's white minority, whose 
lives have been turned upside down as the government seizes their farms and 
redistributes them among black people. The Mugabe government says it is 
trying to right a historical wrong. 


Mr. Mugabe's critics assert that his abuse of power has aggravated the effects 
of drought and flooding. 


"To add to the desperation of the besieged Zimbabwean people, the current 
government has engaged in a violent assault on the rule of law that has 
thrown the economy into chaos, devastated the nation's agricultural economy 
and triggered a potentially catastrophic food crisis," Mr. Bush said today. 


The landlocked country of 11 million people in southern Africa has suffered 
from a food shortage in the aftermath of drought and flood. Western 
governments have accused the Mugabe government of punishing opposition 
supporters by denying them grain. The United Nations says only major 
assistance from its World Food Program has prevented widespread starvation.


Mr. Mugabe, a guerrilla leader in the colonial era, has made it clear that he 
wants to hold on to his power. "I am not retiring," he said in January. "I 
will never, never go into exile. I fought for Zimbabwe, and when I die, I 
will be buried in Zimbabwe, nowhere else."


Mr. Bush's spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said today, "the situation in Zimbabwe 
endangers the southern African region and threatens to undermine efforts to 
foster good governance and respect for the rule of law throughout the 
continent." 


"The United States is working diligently with its international partners to 
try to ensure that adequate food supplies are made available to those in 
need," Mr. Fleischer said. 

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==============================================

 

Was Majette the black candidate of choice? 

Excerpts from: Kevin Hill, Ph.D. Report on August 20, 2002 GA 4th District 
DeKalb County Facts
Filed in US District Court, March 2003

1. Republican turnout in the August open Democratic Georgia Fourth District 
Primary was 44.6%; Democratic turnout was 32.2%.

2. The county (at least the precincts in this congressional district) is 
70/30 Democratic, but for the August open Democratic primary the electorate 
was 60/40 Democratic.

3. Majette won 97% of the GOP vote and 33% of the Democratic vote.

4. 65% of Majette?s vote came from Republican voters.

5. 97% of McKinney?s vote came from Democrats.

6. Whites are split 50/50 between the two parties in this district.

7. Blacks are 90/10 Democratic.

8. 98% of Republlicans are white.

9. 80% of Democrats are black.

10. White turnout was 38%; Black turnout was 32%.

11. This means that, although the registered voters in this district are 52% 
black and 48% non-black, the turnout on Election Day was 52% non-black and 
48% black.

12. Majette won 90% of the white vote and 25% of the black vote.

13. McKinney won 75% of the black vote and 10% of the white vote.

14. 80% of Majette?s vote came from whites.

Bottom Line:
Majette was the candidate of choice for Republicans and whites; McKinney was 
the candidate of choice for Democrats and blacks.

GOP Crossover voting defeated Cynthia McKinney in the Primary
All else being equal, had this primary election been restricted only to 
Democrats ?
Cynthia McKinney very likely would have won. Further, she was actually the 
clear
candidate of choice of Democrats. 

Of those 38.24% of voters who were Republicans (based on vote performance)
who cast ballots in the August 2002 primary, over 97% of their votes went to 
Denise
Majette. Therefore, in the August 2002 Democratic primary, Denise Majette 
received
nearly all the Republican vote, and Republican turnout was much higher than 
Democratic turnout. For DeKalb County Only:

Total Votes Cast 115,265
Eligible Voters 343,402
Turnout 33.57%

Votes for Majette 66,467
Votes for McKinney 48,798

Republican Voters in county 30.89%
Democratic voters in county 69.11%

Republican Turnout in 2002 primary 44.60%
Democratic Turnout in 2002 primary 32.19%

Estimated % of Voters in 2002 Primary Republican 38.24%
Estimated % of Voters in 2002 Primary Democratic 61.76%

Republican Vote for Majette 97.12%
Republican Vote for McKinney 2.88%

Democratic Vote for Majette 32.72%
Democratic Vote for McKinney 67.27%

What Happened?

Estimated Number of GOP votes received by Majette 45,948
Estimated Number of GOP votes received by McKinney 1,363
Net advantage in GOP vote for Majette 44,585

Estimated Number of Democratic votes received by Majette 24,996
Estimated Number of Democratic votes received by McKinney 51,391
Net advantage in Democratic vote for McKinney 26,394

Estimated Winning Margin for Majette 18,191
Actual Winning Margin for Majette 17,669

Estimated Percent of Majette's Total Vote Republican 64.77%
Estimated Percent of McKinney's Total Vote Democratic 97.42%
Estimated Percent of Democrats Voting for McKinney 67.27%

Can the Majette win be attributed solely to GOP crossover voting? YES
Was Majette the Democratic candidate of choice? NO

Almost 80% of the people voting for Majette were not black and over 87% of 
the votes captured by McKinney were from African Americans. In the end, 
there can be little doubt from these results that Denise Majette was the 
candidate of choice of the non-black majority, and that Cynthia McKinney was 
the candidate of choice for African-American voters in this open primary.

Racial Consequences
For DeKalb County Only:


Total Votes Cast 115,265
Eligible Voters 343,402
Turnout 33.57%

Votes for Majette 66,467
Votes for McKinney 48,798

Black voters in county 52.10%
Non-black voters in county 47.90%

Black Turnout in 2002 Primary 32.03%
Non-Black Turnout in 2002 Primary 38.00%

Estimated % of Voters in 2002 Primary Black 47.83%
Estimated % of Voters in 2002 Primary Non-Black 52.17%

Black Vote for Majette 24.92%
Black Vote for McKinney 75.08%

Non-Black Vote for Majette 90.44%
Non-Black Vote for McKinney 9.56%

What Happened?

Estimated Number of Black votes received by Majette 14,281
Estimated Number of Black votes received by McKinney 43,025
Net advantage in Black vote for McKinney 28,745

Estimated Number of Non-black votes received by Majette 56,530
Estimated Number of Non-black votes received by McKinney 5,976
Net advantage in Non-black vote for Majette 50,555

Estimated Winning Margin for Majette 21,810
Actual Winning Margin for Majette 17,669

Estimated Percent of Majette's Total Vote Non-Black 79.83%
Estimated Percent of McKinney's Total Vote Black 87.81%
Estimated Percent of Blacks Voting for McKinney 75.08%

Can the Majette win be attributed to block voting by nonblacks
to stop the election of a black candidate of choice? 
YES
Was Majette the black candidate of choice? 

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AFL-CIO
March 05, 2003 

Union Movement Says Media Monopolies Threaten Democracy

The AFL-CIO Executive Council warned that increased
consolidation of control of the nation's
media - newspapers, television, radio and
entertainment - poses a serious threat to America's
democracy. Corporate media interests are trying to
expand their power by pushing for deregulation of
current media ownership rules, and the union movement
will fight to safeguard the freedom of Americans to
receive independent, uncensored information, the
council declared at its winter meeting.

In what Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Chairman Michael Powell called the most sweeping
regulatory action in agency history, the FCC is
considering lifting restrictions on media ownership
with an eye toward completely deregulating the nation's
media.

Saying the public's right to receive uncensored,
independently gathered information from various sources
is now in jeopardy, the AFL-CIO Executive Council
called on the FCC to retain the current ownership
regulations. The union movement also is supporting the
Competition in Radio and Concert Industries Act of
2002, introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), which
would increase competition in radio and entertainment.

The rules under review, and currently in effect,
prohibit one company from owning a daily newspaper and
a broadcast TV station in the same community and limit
the total number of radio and TV stations one company
can own in a community. The rules also bar a company
from controlling stations that reach 35 percent of all
TV households nationwide and prevent any of the four
major networks from buying another network.

Taken together, these rules help ensure diversity among
those who own and control media outlets, giving
Americans choices among many sources of information and
viewpoints. They also reduce the risk that news will be
censored by a few controlling interests, the council
said.

The AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees and
affiliated unions in news and entertainment all have
warned that relaxing the rules would exacerbate the
growing trend toward consolidation in the media and
would lead to more corporate control over information
as media conglomerates gobble up smaller, independent
companies. "Local broadcast station contract
negotiations are generally conducted by corporate,
rather than local stations representatives, with
corporate demands taking precedence over local issues,"
American Federation of Radio and Television Artists
President John Connolly. "Our journalist members know
that their general managers often receive mandates
regarding the types of stories to be investigated and
reported. There are several examples of local stories
being "killed" because they dealt with topics that
corporate management did not want to see reported."

The Executive Council pointed to the explosive growth
of Clear Channel after Congress partially deregulated
radio in 1996. Since then, Clear Channel has bought up
hundreds of radio stations across the country.
"Described by many as the poster child for what's wrong
with media deregulation, Clear Channel has been the
target of anti-trust suits, FCC fines for payola
violations (making undercover payments to radio
stations to play CDs from artists promoted by Clear
Channel subsidiaries), Senate oversight hearings and
legislation introduced to outlaw some elements of this
radio giant's repertoire of abusive practices affecting
the music industry and performing artists," the council
statement said.

A recent study by the Project for Excellence in
Journalism (PEJ) showed that growing consolidation in
the news business has led to a serious decline in the
quality of local news, as distant corporate media
executives demand cuts in news budgets to boost
profits. Corporate dominance of local newspapers and
broadcast stations also has led to a drop in coverage
on consumer, environmental, minority and labor issues
and the quality of news coverage - "as media owners 
play to their bottom line - reduced cost - and their 
-usiness advertisers," the council said.

At the same time, consolidation has led to an assault
on jobs in news and entertainment. Since 2000, about
70,000 media workers have been laid off. In radio,
employment has dropped by 7,000 in two years after 20
years of continued growth.

In our democratic society, the council said, media
ownership matters. "It matters because ultimately it is
the deciding factor that determines what working
families are able to consume in news, entertainment and
information. Most importantly, it matters because an
informed public is the bedrock of our free and open
society."

Copyright © 2003 AFL-CIO 

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==============================================

 

Let Them Hate as Long as They Fear
Paul Krugman
New York Times | Opinion

Friday 7 March 2003

Why does our president condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends
and allies this administration is fostering, including among its most senior officials? Has 'oderint
dum metuant' really become our motto?" So reads the resignation letter of John Brady Kiesling, a
career diplomat who recently left the Foreign Service in protest against Bush administration
policy.

"Oderint dum metuant" translates, roughly, as "let them hate as long as they fear." It was a
favorite saying of the emperor Caligula, and may seem over the top as a description of current
U.S. policy. But this week's crisis in U.S.-Mexican relations - a crisis that has been almost
ignored north of the border - suggests that it is a perfect description of George Bush's attitude
toward the world.

Mexico is an enormously important ally, not just because of our common border, but also
because of its special role as a showcase for American ideals. For a century and a half Mexico
has - often with good reason - seen its powerful neighbor as an exploiter, if not an outright enemy.
Since the first Bush administration, however, the United States has made great efforts to treat
Mexico as a partner, and Mexico's recent track record of economic stability and democracy is,
and should be, a source of pride on both sides of the border.

But Mexico's seat on the U.N. Security Council gives it a vote on the question of Iraq ~W and
the threats the Bush administration has made to get that vote are quickly destroying any
semblance of good will.

Last week The Economist quoted an American diplomat who warned that if Mexico didn't vote
for a U.S. resolution it could "stir up feelings" against Mexicans in the United States. He
compared the situation to that of Japanese-Americans who were interned after 1941, and
wondered whether Mexico "wants to stir the fires of jingoism during a war."

Incredible stuff, but easy to dismiss as long as the diplomat was unidentified. Then came
President Bush's Monday interview with Copley News Service. He alluded to the possibility of
reprisals if Mexico didn't vote America's way, saying, "I don't expect there to be significant
retribution from the government" - emphasizing the word "government." He then went on to
suggest that there might, however, be a reaction from other quarters, citing "an interesting
phenomena taking place here in America about the French . . . a backlash against the French,
not stirred up by anybody except the people."

And Mr. Bush then said that if Mexico or other countries oppose the United States, "there will
be a certain sense of discipline."

These remarks went virtually unreported by the ever-protective U.S. media, but they created a
political firestorm in Mexico. The White House has been frantically backpedaling, claiming that
when Mr. Bush talked of "discipline" he wasn't making a threat. But in the context of the rest of
the interview, it's clear that he was.

Moreover, Mr. Bush was disingenuous when he described the backlash against the French as
"not stirred up by anybody except the people." On the same day that the report of his interview
appeared, The Financial Times carried the headline, "Hastert Orchestrates Tirade Against the
French." That's Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House of Representatives. In fact, anti-French
feeling has been carefully fomented by Republican officials, Rupert Murdoch's media empire and
other administration allies. Can you blame Mexicans for interpreting Mr. Bush's remarks as a
threat to do the same to them?

So oderint dum metuant it is. I could talk about the foolishness of such blatant bullying - or
about the incredible risks, in a multiethnic, multiracial society, of even hinting that one might
encourage a backlash against Hispanics. And yes, I mean Hispanics, not Mexicans: once
feelings are running high, do you really think people will politely ask a brown-skinned guy with an
accent whether he is a citizen or, if not, which country he comes from?

But my most intense reaction to this story isn't anger over the administration's stupidity and
irresponsibility, or even dismay over the casual destruction of hard-won friendships. No, when I
read an interview in which the U.S. president sounds for all the world like a B-movie villain - "You
have relatives in Texas, yes?" - what I feel, above all, is shame. 

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and
educational purposes.)

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==============================================

 

Hip Hoppers Act on War & Police

Two Items from FNV NEWSLETTER #120
March 6 2003

*Hip Hop Journalists Brutalized By Police 

*SF Hip Hoppers Take on Police 

The FNV Newsletter c 2002 

Send comments to misterdaveyd@earthlink.net
===========================================

HIP HOP JOURNALIST BRUTALIZED BY POLICE 

By Davey D

There's some major drama jumping off on both sides of
the Bay [San Francisco and Oakland] as Hip Hop activist
find themselves at odds with the police... Yesterday
in Oakland 300-500 high school students and Hip Hoppers
from groups like Youth Force, SOUL, Street Academy and
numerous other organizations took to the street as they
walked out of classes and work to partake in a Anti-War
demonstration.... The Walk outs were part of the
planned national Anti-war demonstrations that took
place all over the country.

The Walk outs in Oakland were of particular importance
because it marked one of the first time that you saw
large numbers of Black and Latino youth from the hood
come out and voice their opinion about the War. In the
past few weeks there had been some concern that the
large anti-war demonstrations did not have folks from
the hood participating... Part of the reason is that
many of the marches were taking place across the Bay in
SF. Yesterday's event was different as folks from
around the way came out in full force. Maybe that's
what led to the drama that took place...

According to a number of participants a number of
police officers on motorcycles followed the group as
they started walking from down town Oakland to the
historic Jack London Square. Apparently the march was
taking place without a permit and the police felt they
needed to monitor things..Long time Hip Hop journalist
and community activist JR who was taking pictures and
covering the march for the SF Bayview newspaper noted
the irony of getting a permit to walk down the street
and let your voices be heard. Its not like these
groups were rioting, looting causing trouble or even
holding up traffic. They simply assembled which is
their right and let their voices be heard... As the
demonstration started to grow in size the motorcycle
police moved in and attempted to use crowd control
tactics and split up the group. According to several
witness, young high school kids suddenly found
themselves being shoved and hit by officers on the
motorcycles in the process. This activity set things
off as folks began to yell at the officers. One young
lady was pushed down on the ground by one officer which
prompted demonstrators to yell even more.

A young Hip Hop writer named Rashida ran to the aid of
that fallen woman only to be confronted by another
officer who tackled her to the ground and chipped her
tooth. JR who was traveling with Rashida stepped forth
to see what was going on. He wanted to make sure that
what he was seeing would be documented on film. He was
carrying a camera. He suddenly found his camera being
snatched from him and he himself being slammed to the
ground with an officer putting his knee on his neck..
These harrowing images were caught on film by others
and JR was shown on the evening news being dragged to
the ground and arrested. Both he and Rashida were
arrested and accused of kicking a police officer. For
those who don't know JR is around 5"4" and skinny and
would hardly be one to simply run up and start
attacking an officer.

He phoned into our Hard Knock Radio show from city jail
and emphatically explained that many people were in
fear of their lives when the officers started becoming
aggressive. He pointed out that kids were being run
over and shoved by the motorcycles and the police
seemed bent on intimidating people. He also noted that
most of the participants were not out in the streets
attempted to get arrested and do some sort of civil
disobedience. In fact it had been advised to a lot of
the mostly Black and Latino crowd to not go out and try
and get some sort of police record. That can only have
negative effects in the age of Homeland Security and
the Patriot Act. He also felt that their were enough
Black folks caught up in the system and we don't need
any more.

JR who has been covering a lot of stories around the
activities of Fred Hampton Jr including the recent
assassination attempts as well as a number of police
brutality stories was well aware of how things can be
for young cats from the hood to be caught up in the
system. However, he noted that it was extremely
important that folks come out and be a part of the
national Anti-war Demonstrations. As he pointed out,
should war break out its going to be a whole lot of
folks from the hood who will be on the front line due
to our large numbers in the armed forces. Hence we
have a vested interest to weigh in.

JR also felt that the police were definitely trying to
send a strong message to Oakland youth with their
aggressive tactics. It appears that they were
attempting to discourage them not to participate and
let their voices be heard. In fact as he was being
driven to the police station, JR noted that one of the
officers callously remarked that he should've 'used
their gun'... I guess you can't get any clearer with
that message.

If you contrast what went down in Oakland at 1 o'clock
in the afternoon with the anti-war demonstrations that
took place in SF during rush hour you will see the
picture..In the SF demonstration a contingent of mostly
white youth took their antiwar protest to the streets
and blocked a main intersection causing traffic to back
up. Police on motorcycles did not roll through and
brutalize the demonstrators. Perhaps that has to do
with the fact that SFPD has been underfire over the
past week.. But so has Oakland with the infamous Rider
case on trial. We will keep you posted on the outcome.

As of last night lawyers from the Lawyers Guild who are
now looking into the case reported that JR and Rashida
were not allowed out on their own recognizance and will
most likely have to post bail. On the radio show JR
asked that fellow journalist and news outlets monitor
this story closely and spread the word. Because JR has
boldly and extensively covered a lot of police
brutality cases there was concern that he may have been
targeted. He also asked that everyone else raise
questions to Mayor Jerry Brown and other city officials
to see why this went down...How does a peaceful anti-
war demonstration involving young people who are often
accused of being apathetic and apolitical result in
three arrests, a young woman getting her tooth chipped
and someone's camera being trashed? Call the SF
Bayview at 415-671-0449 for more info or drop them an
email at editor@sfbayview.com The Oakland Mayor's
office is 510-238-3141...

To see some of the recent stories that Rashida and JR
have recently covered peep out these 
<A HREF="http://www.sfbayview.com/030503/askarix030503.sht
ml">

http://www.sfbayview.com/030503/askarix030503.shtml</a>

Here Rashida follows up on a controversial case
involving Oakland Rap artist Asakri X who has been held
in jail and forcefully medicated..

<AHREF="http://www.sfbayview.com/123102/policeterror12310
2.shtml">

http://www.sfbayview.com/123102/policeterror123102.shtm
l</a> 

<AHREF="http://www.sfbayview.com/123102/youngchairman1231
02.shtml">

http://www.sfbayview.com/123102/youngchairman123102.sht
ml</a>

Here JR chronicles the recent assassination attempts on
the life of Fred Hampton Jr. For those who are
unfamiliar he is the son of former Black Panther leader
Fred Hampton who was brutality murdered in his sleep by
Chicago police in 1969. Hampton Jr a community
organizer, became known to folks when dead prez rapped
about him and his plight in the song 'Behind Enemy
Lines'.

***We just got word as we are going to print that JR
and Rashida have been released... However the injuries
to Rashida are quite severe.. We will definitely keep
you posted Look for a SF Bayview Press release.. Even
in LA a city known for police misconduct where one of
the largest marches in the country was held there was
no drama like this...***

=========================

SF HIP HOPPERS TAKE ON SFPD 
By Davey D

As folks sort things out in Oakland, across the Bay the
city of San Francisco has been reeling with a major
police brutality case of historic proportions. A
couple of months ago three off duty police officers
seriously beat down two young men over a bag of chips
as they were leaving a restaurant. The officers in
question had been drinking and did not know the men
they are accused of assaulting. One of the officers
accused is the son of the assistant police chief Alex
Fagan. If you want get the full details of that
story... you can peep out this <A
HREF="http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny
-uscops023153568mar02,0,602">
http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-
uscops023153568mar02,0,602</a> 2516.story?coll=ny-
nationalnews-print

Many thought SFPD were dragging their feet on dealing
with this situation which resulted in them being
accused of a cover up. I guess enough was enough
because last week the SF District Attorney brought the
city's first African American police Chief Earl Sanders
and most of his command staff before a grand jury and
handed down indictments. All the officers have been
suspended without pay as this case gets ready to go to
trial...

Last night a number of Hip Hop activist from
organizations like EBC, Bay Area Police Watch and
Freedom Fighter Records showed up at the police
commission hearings in SF to demand further action be
taken... For the past couple of years they have been
monitoring a number of police brutality cases in SF
including the tragic shooting of 18 year old Idriss
Stelley at the Sony Metreon Theater. <A
HREF="http://www.sfbayview.com/030503/payback030503.sht
ml">
http://www.sfbayview.com/030503/payback030503.shtml</a>

This latest scenario was the straw to break the camels
back.. One of the points of contention involves Police
Chief Earl Sanders... He's a popular police chief and
in many circles iconic... It was interesting to see
younger Hip Hoppers like Van Jones and Ying Son aka Sun
Asiatic stand before the police commission and demand
that he be removed from his position as chief. They
empathically feel that he's been part of the cover up
and that there's been some disturbing incidents of
police brutality that have gone down on his watch over
the past year. The most troubling involves the
brutalization of high school students at the
prestigious Thurgood Marshall High Academy, where 60
baton wielding officers came through and went buck wild
on the students. <A
HREF="http://www.sfbayview.com/101602/policehit101602.s
html">
http://www.sfbayview.com/101602/policehit101602.shtml</
A>

Their remarks contrasted with older community folks
like Rev Amos Brown of 3rd Baptist Church who now heads
the SF NAACP. He described the attacks against Chief
Sanders as a modern day lynching. Brown's position vs.
those of the younger Hip Hop generation underscore the
type of generational divide that comes up from time to
time over key issues. There have been a number of
editorials and remarks made by Hip Hoppers that
definitely put them at odds with SFPD and the popular
Chief Earl Sanders How all this plays out will be
interesting indeed. All eyes around the nation are
watching this situation. We will keep you posted as
all this unfolds.

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