"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

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Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Thursday, September 16, 2004

For Guatemalans, Today's 'Ghost' Stories Are Familiar

U.S. secret detentions in the terror war evoke memories of the disappeared.

Americans call them ghosts, the detainees the U.S. government hid in Iraqi prisons, as if they did not exist. Where I come from, Guatemala, they were the desaparecidos, the disappeared.

The first feeling I associate with that word is pure and absolute terror. Then despair, the sense of being completely at a loss, not knowing what to do, where to go, whom to ask. I was only 13. More than 30 years have passed, and yet, unlike any kind of physical pain, I can still recall those feelings.

My head turns every time I read between the lines of today's news — and recently not so much between the lines. The ghosts. The disappeared. It seems so extreme, so unlikely, it must not be true. Surely a government that claims to be fighting a war for freedom must not be involved in such a practice.

It was the evening of Nov. 12, 1970. I was in my bed in Guatemala City when I heard them banging on the gate. I heard my father run to the back patio. I then saw him climbing up and jumping onto the roof. I remember getting dressed, maybe in the hope that we all would somehow escape up onto the roof. The street was silent, all the lights out. Nobody wanted to be a witness to what was going on.

For what seemed like a long time, but was probably only five minutes or so, we heard nothing, saw nothing. Then we heard my father's voice, asking us to open the back door. He was in his pajamas. There was no time for anything. My father was pushed forward by a machine gun carried by one of the six men who had come to take him away. The leader ordered my father to put on some street clothes.

My mother and I just stood and waited. The men did not look at us, their faces covered by woolen masks and their bodies shielded by bullet belts and machine guns. They didn't expect any resistance from a woman and a girl. Then they took my father away. I walked out behind them. The abductors didn't seem to care. Two old, black Chevrolets with no license plates were parked on the street. The men pushed my father into one of them, like in the movies. I had heard the stories, that this was how "they" came and took them: labor leaders, students, teachers, women and men alike.

I feared I would never see my father again. One more added to the list of desaparecidos, those who are searched for endlessly by their loved ones, yet cease to exist for the rest of the world.

My father, Alberto Fuentes Mohr, was not a mafia leader, or a corrupt banker or thief, much less a terrorist. He had earned a doctoral degree from the London School of Economics. He founded the Social Democratic Party in Guatemala in opposition to a long-standing military dictatorship supported by the United States. He cared deeply about the fate of people in Latin America and believed that his nation's government cared mostly about the wealthy.

What's more, he was not afraid to say as much at forums throughout the world. Perhaps this was a crime in their eyes. They came for him the day before he was to travel to New York to address the United Nations.

Not all the desaparecidos were, or are, so prominent, of course. But just like any other of those unfortunate people, then and today, my father was never charged and never tried. My mother and I went from prison to prison looking for him, only to find no record of his arrest. Like the others, he was not supposed to be found.

We were lucky, though. A sympathetic guard tipped us off to his whereabouts. He was in a secret dungeon in the bowels of the central prison. We confirmed it by bringing a basket of food to the prison and asking that it be brought to him. When the guard said, "I'll give it to him," we knew. My father was well known, and once word got out, backdoor pressure from prominent local people and foreigners, including some in the U.N., won his release after two weeks.

Last week, the press reported that up to 100 detainees may have been "disappeared" by the CIA — like ghosts — after their capture in Iraq. There was no trace of their whereabouts, no record of the justification for their detentions. Their existence was kept secret even from the International Red Cross.

Most readers probably took notice of the news and moved on. Perhaps they shelved it as another minor scandal, or even as a necessary evil in the "war against terror." Or perhaps they pondered the potential effect of the "new development" on the U.S. presidential campaign.

But Americans need to understand how reports of such practices "play" in parts of the world where they cannot be so easily sloughed off. The U.S. trumpets high ideals, but throughout Latin America and elsewhere, people see such actions as the familiar stuff of governments that no one would mistake for beacons of democracy.

The headlines brought me back to my thoughts and fears as a 13-year-old. I wonder what the children of these ghosts are thinking.

Seven years after his disappearance and release, my father was killed by military patrols that emptied their machine guns on him while he drove home for lunch. I don't suffer the anguish of not knowing where my father is, or whether he is being tortured or whether he is still alive. I know my father is dead.

Ana Lucia Fuentes, Ana Lucia Fuentes, a molecular biologist, teaches at Douglas College in Vancouver, Canada.


• March 13, 1962 - America's top military leaders, who were staunchly right-wing, drafted "Operation Northwoods" which were secret plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.

"In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.
Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.
The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro.

America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," and, "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation."
Details of the plans are described in Body of Secrets (Doubleday), a new book by investigative reporter James Bamford about the history of America's largest spy agency, the National Security Agency. However, the plans were not connected to the agency, he notes.The plans had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were presented to President Kennedy's defense secretary, Robert McNamara, in March 1962. But they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership and have gone undisclosed for nearly 40 years.

The Joint Chiefs even proposed using the potential death of astronaut John Glenn during the first attempt to put an American into orbit as a false pretext for war with Cuba, the documents show.Should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, they wrote, "the objective is to provide irrevocable proof … that the fault lies with the Communists et all Cuba [sic]."
The plans were motivated by an intense desire among senior military leaders to depose Castro, who seized power in 1959 to become the first communist leader in the Western Hemisphere — only 90 miles from U.S. shores.
The earlier CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles had been a disastrous failure, in which the military was not allowed to provide firepower. The military leaders now wanted a shot at it.Reflecting this, the U.S. plan called for establishing prolonged military — not democratic — control over the island nation after the invasion.

The Joint Chiefs at the time were headed by Eisenhower appointee Army Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, who, with the signed plans in hand made a pitch to McNamara on March 13, 1962, recommending Operation Northwoods be run by the military.Whether the Joint Chiefs' plans were rejected by McNamara in the meeting is not clear. But three days later, President Kennedy told Lemnitzer
directly there was virtually no possibility of ever using overt force
to take Cuba, Bamford reports. Within months, Lemnitzer would be denied another term as chairman and transferred to another job.
The secret plans came at a time when there was distrust in the military leadership about their civilian leadership, with leaders in the Kennedy administration viewed as too liberal, insufficiently experienced and soft on communism. At the same time, however, there real were concerns in American society about their military overstepping its bounds.

There were reports U.S. military leaders had encouraged their
subordinates to vote conservative during the election.And at least two popular books were published focusing on a right-wing
military leadership pushing the limits against government policy of the day. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee published its own report on right-wing extremism inthemilitary,warning a "considerable danger" in the "education and propaganda activities of military personnel" had been uncovered. The committee even called for an examination of any ties
between Lemnitzer and right-wing groups. But Congress didn't get wind of Northwoods, says Bamford.Even after Lemnitzer was gone, he writes, the Joint Chiefs continued to plan "pretext" operations at least through 1963.

One idea was to create a war between Cuba and another Latin American country so that the United States could intervene. Another was to pay someone in the Castro government to attack U.S. forces at the Guantanamo naval base — an act, which Bamford notes, would have amounted to treason. And another was to fly low level U-2 flights over Cuba, with the intention of having one shot down as a pretext for a war.

Afraid of a congressional investigation, Lemnitzer had ordered all
Joint Chiefs documents related to the Bay of Pigs destroyed, says Bamford.
But somehow, these remained."

Latin America Has Had Enough of Bush

MEXICO CITY - ”No More Bush”: It has become a slogan echoed with increasing frequency, on signs and banners carried by protesters and painted on walls throughout Latin America.

Today, with the U.S. presidential election drawing near, this sentiment has come to be shared by the majority of the region's politicians, intellectuals, and even heads of state.

Since Bush took office in 2001, the proportion of people with negative opinions towards the United States in Latin America and the Caribbean has doubled, according to surveys carried out by Latinobarometro, a Chile-based firm.

An international poll conducted by GlobeScan of Toronto, Canada and the University of Maryland in the United States revealed that 42.5 percent of those surveyed in nine Latin American countries would like to see Democratic Party candidate John Kerry win the Nov. 2 election, while only 19 percent support the re-election of Bush, a Republican.

This anti-Bush stance was clearly expressed back in March, when tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets throughout Latin America, voicing their opposition to the U.S. president and his invasion of Iraq exactly one year earlier.

According to some observers, a win by Kerry would not do much to change Washington's current policies towards the region, and there are even those who believe things could worsen.

However, in the view of Venezuelan historian Samuel Moncada, ”Anything is better than Bush.” Moncada, who is close to the left-leaning government of President Hugo Chávez, told IPS, ”We believe Bush is a fanatic, a fundamentalist. He thinks he talks to God. He is dangerous, and we have felt the sting firsthand.”

Relations between Caracas and Washington have been acrimonious since Bush took power. Chávez has accused the U.S. president of plotting to overthrow him, and has gone so far as to publicly call him an ”idiot”.

While the Venezuelan president has openly expressed his hopes that Kerry will defeat the ”Republican extreme right”, the other governments of the region have adopted a more diplomatic tone.

Nevertheless, in Argentina, for example, the government's preference for Kerry was clearly demonstrated by the presence of Senator Cristina Fernández -- President Néstor Kirchner's wife -- at the Democratic Party Convention that made Kerry's nomination official.

In any event, according to Argentine Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa, his country is ”not a priority for the United States” at this point in time.

In Cuba, where the government of Fidel Castro views Bush as a global dictator, the speaker of the National Assembly (parliament), Ricardo Alarcón, said that his country is not expecting any changes in U.S. policy no matter who wins the election in November.

Kerry ”talks about maintaining the embargo and the pressure (on Cuba); it's the same stance, although with slightly less aggressive rhetoric, perhaps,” Alarcón said.

Bush and Kerry both share the view that the four-decade embargo against Cuba should remain in place until Castro falls.

As for the impact that the election could have on Latin America, Alarcón said he doesn't know, ”because it's an issue that isn't being discussed at all in the United States.”

Washington is too caught up in the ”war on terrorism” launched by Bush ”to be worrying about countries that have ultimately never interested them,” he noted.

Esteban Morales, from the University of Havana's Centre for U.S. Studies, said that if Cuba has managed to survive the Bush administration, ”which has done everything possible to step up the aggression towards Cuba, then in the future, no matter what happens, this policy is destined to fall into a definitive crisis.”

Lawmaker María José da Conceiçao, deputy chair of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies' Foreign Affairs and National Defence Commission, told IPS that she prefers Kerry because the Democratic Party is ”more open on human rights and the environment,” and this will benefit democracy everywhere, including Latin America.

Moreover, if Bush is re-elected, it will only serve to further reinforce his ”warmongering” and ”arrogant” attitudes, she said.

”The vast majority of Brazilian parliamentarians, including many conservatives, prefer Kerry, and are anti-Bush,” noted Da Conceiçao, a member of the leftist ruling Workers Party.

In any event, ”the foreign policy of the Democrats is not very different from that of the Republicans, and when it comes to foreign trade, they're even more protectionist,” she added.

Mexican diplomat Adolfo Aguilar, formerly his country's representative to the United Nations Security Council, believes it is difficult and even inadvisable to take sides, because neither of the major U.S. parties has a long-term and consistent vision for Latin America.

In the very limited statements they have made on Latin America-related strategy, both Bush and Kerry have spoken in rather broad terms.

Bush promises to continue promoting free trade in and with the region, under a model rejected in countries like Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela, whose governments believe that Washington fails to take into account the differences in development found in the countries of the hemisphere.

Kerry has accused Bush of following a ”one-note policy toward Latin America of one-size-fits-all trade agreements.” He himself has promised to evaluate the free trade agreements being negotiated, in order to ensure that they ”provide economic benefits, create jobs and include strong protections for labour and the environment.”

He has also said that he will take the free trade agreement between the United States and Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua back to the negotiating table. The agreement was signed in May, but has yet to receive legislative approval from the participating countries.

He will do the same, he added, with negotiations for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), a project involving 34 countries and promoted by Washington, which hopes to see it put into effect by 2005.

As president, Kerry said, he would ”help forge a new and broader community of the Americas, where neighbours look after neighbours.

”Instead of being a good neighbour,” he said, ”the president (Bush) has ignored a wide range of ills - including political and financial crises,” such as those faced by Argentina, Bolivia, Haiti and Venezuela in recent years.

For his part, Kerry promises to create a ”Council for Democracy” which will help the Organisation of American States ”resolve crises before order is threatened and blood is spilled.” He has further pledged to provide funding for programmes aimed at strengthening democracy in Latin America.

Matías Machado, a Mexican foreign trade specialist, told IPS that the positions on foreign trade held by Kerry and his team appear highly protectionist, although ”we will have to wait and see how they really work in practice if he becomes president.”

Chilean analyst Eduardo Moraga said a Kerry triumph would affect all of the countries that trade with the United States, because all of the agreements signed by Bush would be painstakingly reviewed.

It is unlikely, however, that this would affect the agreement already in force between the United States and Chile.

José Morandé, of the University of Chile's International Studies Institute, noted that this particular agreement was one of the few gestures made by the United States towards Latin America during the Bush administration, and Kerry ”is not going to get himself in trouble” with the region by questioning it.

John Edwards, Kerry's running mate, has been a fervent opponent of free trade deals with Latin America, alleging that they are not sustainable and that they take jobs away from the United States.

In Congress, Edwards waged a campaign against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) adopted by Canada, Mexico and the United States in 1994. He also voted against preferential trade agreements with the countries of Central America, the Caribbean and the Andean region, and opposed the free trade accord with Chile.

Diego Cevallos

Iraq War was Illegal and Breached UN Charter, Says Annan

The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, declared explicitly for the first time last night that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal.

Mr Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN security council or in accordance with the UN's founding charter. In an interview with the BBC World Service broadcast last night, he was asked outright if the war was illegal. He replied: "Yes, if you wish."

He then added unequivocally: "I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal."

Mr Annan has until now kept a tactful silence and his intervention at this point undermines the argument pushed by Tony Blair that the war was legitimized by security council resolutions.

Mr Annan also questioned whether it will be feasible on security grounds to go ahead with the first planned election in Iraq scheduled for January. "You cannot have credible elections if the security conditions continue as they are now," he said.

His remarks come amid a marked deterioration of the situation on the ground, an upsurge of violence that has claimed 200 lives in four days and raised questions over the ability of the interim Iraqi government and the US-led coalition to maintain control over the country.

They also come as Mr Blair is trying to put the controversy over the war behind him in the run-up to the conference season, a new parliamentary term and next year's probable general election.

The UN chief had warned the US and its allies a week before the invasion in March 2003 that military action would violate the UN charter. But he has hitherto refrained from using the damning word "illegal".

Both Mr Blair and the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, claim that Saddam Hussein was in breach of security council resolution 1441 passed late in 2002, and of previous resolutions calling on him to give up weapons of mass destruction. France and other countries claimed these were insufficient.

No immediate comment was available from the White House late last night, but American officials have defended the war as an act of self-defense, allowed under the UN charter, in view of Saddam Hussein's supposed plans to build weapons of mass destruction.

However, last September, Mr Annan issued a stern critique of the notion of pre-emptive self-defense, saying it would lead to a breakdown in international order. Mr Annan last night said that there should have been a second UN resolution specifically authorizing war against Iraq. Mr Blair and Mr Straw tried to secure this second resolution early in 2003 in the run-up to the war but were unable to convince a skeptical security council.

Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger in Washington

Withdraw From the Balkans!

And End a Disastrous Intervention

When Napoleon ordered the abduction and murder of a political opponent in 1804, his foreign minister, Count Talleyrand, commented: "That was worse than a crime; it was a mistake." Apparently, the wisdom of Talleyrand was not limited to the time. The public opinion in the U.S. and its "willing allies" may have successfully ignored the fact that the Iraq war was a crime – under Nuremberg Principle VI (a) – but it can hardly close its eyes to the mounting evidence that it was a colossal mistake.

Britain's Financial Times floated the heretofore unspeakable idea in an editorial Monday, offering a scenario in which the Washington might save face and still extricate itself from the nightmare that is Babylon:

"The time has therefore come to consider whether a structured withdrawal of U.S. and remaining allied troops, in tandem with a workable handover of security to Iraqi forces and a legitimate and inclusive political process, can chart a path out of the current chaos."

The advice may well be too little, too late, as the situation in Iraq deteriorates rapidly. Even so, there doesn't seem to be any readiness in the U.S. to take it. On the same day, two American "national security consultants" published an opinion piece in the International Herald Tribune, claiming that the difference between a "success" in Bosnia and failure in Iraq was the insufficient number of troops for the latter. It is an utterly misplaced comparison; the occupation of Bosnia took place at the end of a brutal civil war, with the three sides hating each other more than they hated the foreigners. It does, however, provide an occasion to reflect on the alleged "success" of Imperial intervention in the Balkans, compared to the obvious failure of Iraq.

The Final Solution

Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991, with the vocal support of Germany, Austria, the Vatican, and somewhat less pronounced backing from the United States. Contrary to popular perception, the crumbling federal government did not try to crush the secession. It did, however, support the native Serb population that remained loyal to Yugoslavia, resented being erased from the Croatian Constitution, and remembered all too well a genocide perpetrated by the pro-Nazi Croat authorities in World War Two – whose "legacy" the new authorities eagerly embraced.

A UN plan for ending the bloody conflict established an armistice in early 1992, putting the Serb-inhabited territories under UN protection. Though this status quo supposedly benefited the Serbs, the EU plan for Yugoslavia's dissolution ruled out any changes to the Communist-drawn borders, effectively recognizing Croatia's claim to these territories.

As the negotiations dragged on to no avail, Croatia's military was being armed and trained by the United States, as an asset to be used in the Bosnian War. After several probing attacks, such as the Medak incident (1993), Croatian forces assaulted Serb zones in May and August 1995, in full sight of impotent UN troops. It was the largest single instance of ethnic cleansing in the modern Balkans wars, and it went completely unpunished.

Croatian authorities have recently demolished monuments to Nazi leaders from its dark past, but the largest monument to their legacy still stands: the Serbs who lived along the old Military Frontier since the late 1600s are now gone.

Jihad Unleashed

In neighboring Bosnia, outside involvement created even greater calamities. Though it became obvious as early as 1991 that the ongoing survival of Bosnia as an entity (independent or otherwise) depended on the three main ethnic communities finding a modus vivendi, Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic repeatedly sabotaged various attempts at compromise. Supported by the United States, Izetbegovic chose to declare Bosnian independence unilaterally, sparking a conflict first with the Serbs, then the Croats. In the resulting mayhem, no one was innocent. But Izetbegovic's backers blamed everything on the Serbs, using their alleged "genocide" as a pretext to involve NATO in a combat operation (for the first time since the Alliance's inception) and impose a "peace" on Bosnia that has been anything but.

The root of all problems in Bosnia is the notion of ethnic politics, promoted by democracy, and the ensuing question of which community will hold power over others. This caused the war, not "ancient hatreds" or religious differences. Under Imperial occupation, ethnic politics have become an institution and the ethnic autonomy guaranteed by the peace agreement has steadily fallen prey to efforts at centralization.

The very worst consequence of the Bosnian War was the unleashing of Islamic jihad on Europe, as thousands of militant Muslims fought on the side of Izetbegovic's forces and settled in post-war Bosnia. Izetbegovic himself authored in 1971 the Islamic Declaration (.pdf), a manifesto for Islamic revolutionaries worldwide, and has never renounced his beliefs. But the unreserved support he received from Washington enabled him to continue the pretense of being a secular democrat until the day he died.

Aggression and Pogroms

In 1998, the U.S. intervened again, this time on the side of Albanian militants seeking to separate the province of Kosovo from Serbia and carve out an ethnically pure "Greater Albania." After a staged massacre and an ultimatum designed to be rejected, NATO began bombing Serbia on March 23, 1999.

The attack was clearly illegal, and the attackers knew it. But the bombing went on for 78 days, justified daily by the vilest lies from the NATO propaganda mill. In the end Belgrade backed down, signed an armistice, and allowed the NATO/KLA occupation of Kosovo. All of the accusations were proven false; there was no "genocide." On the other hand, the KLA expelled hundreds of thousands of non-Albanians, looted and torched their homes, and demolished over 100 Serbian Orthodox churches, chapels and monasteries, often in the presence of NATO troops.

In the most recent pogrom, the biggest so far, 50,000 Albanians rampaged through the province for two days, destroying thirty churches and expelling 4,000 Serbs. The perpetrators were never caught, let alone punished.

Even after five years, the Empire persists in denying the reality of its occupation of Kosovo, while Albanian criminal clans rule the province and everyone, especially non-Albanians, suffers.

Surrender to Terrorism

The occupation of Kosovo soon had tragic consequences in Macedonia, as the KLA mounted another terrorist land-grab. When Macedonian authorities tried to fight, the U.S. and EU interfered, pressuring the government to capitulate to KLA demands. The same propaganda that so thoroughly mislabeled the Bosnian War and justified the aggression in Kosovo now spun terrorism as a fight for "greater rights," which in practice actually meant special privileges.

As willing as Macedonian politicians were to take orders from the Empire to surrender to terrorism, their people are somewhat different. They have won a right to organize a referendum on the redistricting of the country – the last phase of the capitulation that would have given Albanians disproportionate political power. Naturally, the EU and Washington condemned the referendum, and continue to pressure Skopje to cancel it, or ignore its results.

Destruction of Justice

Last, but not least, the Empire has sought to justify its intervention, aggression and occupations by establishing a "war crimes tribunal" for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, with the mission to judge people suspected of war crimes.

Resembling the Inquisition or a Star Chamber in its methods and practices, obeying no law but its own, always serving at the pleasure of the Empire, the "International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia" has become a paragon of injustice and persecution in this modern world. Led by mad prosecutors and chaired by arrogant "judges," petty tyrants who often trample law whenever convenient, it is a circus, not a court. Its chief purpose is to fabricate a version of recent history that would cast former president Slobodan Milosevic and the entire Serb political leadership as a vast conspiracy against peace and humanity – an insane argument if there ever was one.

Presented as a legitimate UN court, it is instead a mockery of justice, a factory of lies, a cancer on the established body of international law.

Empire Out!

Everyone who advocated intervention in the Balkans invoked humanitarian reasons and moral obligations. They wanted to stop "humanitarian catastrophe," and "ethnic cleansing" and "genocide," but actually promoted – even caused – them all. They proclaimed their devotion to justice as they were busily destroying every vestige of the rules of conduct painstakingly crafted to prevent the very sort of barbarism they habitually engaged in for the cause of "benevolent global hegemony." Even the claims of fighting terrorism rang hollow as they actually helped terrorists. Its authors may claim success – indeed they must, in order to survive in Imperial politics – but reality belies their rhetoric.

Worse yet, the Balkans adventures helped create the American Empire as it exists today. It was a triumph of belligerent social engineers and power-hungry bureaucrats over the danger of peace posed by the abrupt ending of the Cold War.

Some would argue that the United States and its satellites – the self-proclaimed "international community" – have a responsibility to help undo the damage they have done in the southeastern corner of Europe. This is impossible. What has been destroyed by force cannot be repaired or rebuilt by force – and force is the only tool at governments' disposal. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely the Empire will itself recover from the demons unleashed by its misguided and malicious meddling; it can hardly help anyone else.

Not just the best, but the only way the Empire can help the Balkans now is to depart from it, forever.

Nebojsa Malic

"W" is for War

Dear Felix

As Karl Rove and his team strive to define and control the parameters of the campaign, you and I are subjected to all manner of insults to our individual intelligence and our collective dignity. To wit, Bush in Iowa on July 20:

“Nobody wants to be the war president. I want to be the peace president…. For a while we were marching to war. Now we're marching to peace. ... America is a safer place. Four more years and America will be safe and the world will be more peaceful.” (1)

Talk about flip-flopping and trying to have it both ways! What do they take us for?

We have decided it’s time to do a little framing, defining and most of all, truth telling.

I hope that you will help out.

As part of our Peace Voter 2004 campaign, we are revealing what “W” (as in Dubya) really stands for: W is for War.

As you know, the Bush Cheney record and rhetoric confirm this. How many times have we heard Bush play the war and fear card and, when it suits him, say “I’m a wartime President”(2)—the message being: fall in line behind me, our survival depends upon it (In a statement revealing the unmitigated gall he specializes in, Dick Cheney said recently that the U.S. would be hit with more terrorist attacks if John Kerry were president!).(3)

Bush and Cheney conveniently leave out that THEY have, strategically, chosen that role. There were no WMDs in Iraq and there was no immediate threat to the U.S. from Iraq.

The “W is for War” bumper sticker tells the world the truth and helps to begin the conversation about where we want to go as a country. Do we want or can we afford a government that chooses war and lies to achieve its ends?

Bush and Cheney’s intent is clear. In order to retain power, they intend to keep our country in a siege stupor to suppress thoughtful examination of their record. They intend to stay in power though fear… Yellow Alert…Orange Alert…Red Alert for November?(4)

This, again, is a choice by Bush and Cheney.

We must make a different choice. The legions of enemies that occupation can produce are limitless.

Security will be found through a New Foreign Policy based on the pursuit of justice, peace and the rule of law. This must be our choice.

The lies and obfuscations put forth by the White House are an effort to escape responsibility for the results of their choice to pursue war. They do not want to be held accountable for over one thousand US service people who will never come home, and for the thousands of Iraqi civilians killed in the war and occupation.(5)

Bush and Cheney don’t want to be held responsible for the staggering sums of our tax money -- over $135,000,000,000 and counting -- being spent in Iraq, (6) or for the obscene profits administration-connected companies are making off the death and mayhem the administration unleashed.(7)

To counter the malicious propaganda spewing forth from the White House (and being echoed and amplified by the corporate media) we must all chip away at their edifice of lies. We can do that by defining Bush and sharing what we know to be true.

Together we will repeat the truth hundreds of thousands of times to people across America: W is for War.

Please help and say no to the lies by ordering your “W is for War” bumper stickers today.

For Peace,

Kevin Martin

Executive Director

Peace Action

P.S. A bumper sticker alone will not stop the Bush lies, but as Bobby Kennedy once said, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Act today.

The merger of Sane and The Nuclear Freeze

1100 Wayne Ave, #1020

Silver Spring MD 20910


1. “Both candidates often shift positions” By Tom Raum AP Writer 09.15.04 http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=1142370&url_num=7&url=http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/apelection_story.asp?category=1131&slug=Flipping%20and%20Flopping

2. Ibid

3. “Vote for Bush or die,” By Ellen Goodman The Cincinnati Post 09.14.04 http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=1142370&url_num=8&url=http://www.cincypost.com/2004/09/14/ellen091404.html

4. “Bush's dubious terror alerts,” Bill Berkowitz WorkingForChange 08.19.04 http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=1142370&url_num=9&url=http://www.workingforchange.com/printitem.cfm?itemid=17495

5. Iraq Body Count http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=1142370&url_num=10&url=http://www.iraqbodycount.net/ 09.15.04

6. National Priorities Project http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=1142370&url_num=11&url=http://www.costofwar.com/ 09.15.04

7. The thief of Baghdad Pratap Chatterjee - CorpWatch 08.26.04 http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=1142370&url_num=12&url=http://www.workingforchange.com/printitem.cfm?itemid=17544

Sudan Emergency Update

Dear Felix,

The horrors befalling the innocent men, women and children of Darfur, Sudan have only gotten worse.

Amnesty International has finally been granted access to the region where more than a million people have been displaced, 200,000 have sought refuge across the border, more than 30,000 have been killed, thousands of women and girls have been raped, and hundreds of villages have been destroyed.

We need your help to cope with this human rights catastrophe. Please donate now.

Just this week, the World Health Organization released an estimate that as many as 10,000 Sudanese are dying each month -- from starvation, disease, and other direct effects of the rampaging Janjawid militias. We know that crimes against humanity are occurring on a vast scale in Darfur -- with no end in sight.

As I write this, Amnesty USA Executive Director Bill Schulz is visiting the stricken region. He will be reporting first-hand what he finds during the mission. Look for his personal update in the coming days on our website and via e-mail.

Amnesty International was the first human rights group to call the world's attention to the horrific crisis. We ask all people of compassion to help by making an emergency donation to support our efforts.

You can speed your gift to the front lines by using our secure Web page:

Amnesty-commissioned satellite images of one key area indicate that 44 percent of the villages and settlements have been burnt. Most of the other villages have been abandoned. These satellite images of destroyed villages vividly illustrate the pattern of attacks, including burning, killing, looting and raping that extends throughout Darfur and has caused the crisis of forced displacement in the region.

Amnesty International has also interviewed refugees in camps in Chad and found that many of the human rights violations in Darfur have been targeted specifically against women and girls. These violations have included abductions, sexual slavery, torture, and forced displacement.

Within the camps the humanitarian conditions are precarious. There is still not enough food in Darfur to last throughout the rainy season, which will cut off much of the region, especially western Darfur. Displaced persons camps in remote areas cannot be reached, except by plane or camel. A resident of West Darfur told Amnesty International, "The food is reaching hundreds but there are thousands who need food and receive nothing."


From the beginning, Amnesty has mobilized its credibility, worldwide diplomatic contacts and unique moral force to focus attention on Darfur. This week's mission marks the 5th visit by Amnesty officials to the region over the past 18 months.

Terror Risk to Nuclear Plants Is Debated

The threat is from air attacks, say critics of government security efforts. They push for more safety measures.

Since Sept. 11, critics of the nuclear power industry have warned repeatedly that the nation's 103 atomic generating stations are vulnerable to terrorist attacks using hijacked airliners or smaller planes packed with high explosives.

Now, activists and watchdog organizations are pushing for countermeasures they say will improve safety and deter terrorist assaults from the air.

The U.S. government already has increased precautions against ground attacks on nuclear power plants, including California's two: San Onofre in northern San Diego County and Diablo Canyon on the Central Coast.

But environmentalists and nuclear-safety activists say the government has been far too slow in confronting the possibility of an air attack. At the same time, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security have continued to warn that Al Qaeda remains interested in targeting nuclear plants.

Critics of the industry point to a secret German government study leaked to the European media late last year. It suggests that nuclear plants may be more vulnerable than the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and power companies have maintained.

The critics have two concerns: A crashing jetliner might trigger the meltdown of a reactor core, or it could ignite fires in storage ponds for spent nuclear fuel at power plants. The concrete-and-steel pools contain some of the largest concentrations of radioactive material on Earth.

In late July, the Committee to Bridge the Gap, a California-based organization that has been a persistent critic of the nuclear power industry, formally petitioned the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, asking that it require the construction of barriers made from steel I-beams and cables that could deflect or stop an airliner from hitting a nuclear power plant. NRC officials say consideration of the committee's petition is pending.

Though he does not have firm estimates, the committee's founder, Dan Hirsch, said the beams, which would be spaced at intervals, could be put in place for about 1% of the $1-billion to $2-billion cost of building a power plant.

"Today, there is nothing to prevent an air attack," Hirsch said, "nothing except hope."

Steve Lloyd, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade organization and lobbying arm for the industry, countered that cages could cost far more — $300 million to $500 million per power plant — far too expensive for utility companies to build. The industry estimates are based on constructing geodesic domes to protect reactors, he said.

"Our basic position is that the plants are strong. They have redundant safety systems, and there is plenty of time to prevent the release of radiation," Lloyd said. "We don't see the need for very expensive actions."

The industry contends that environmental groups and critics of atomic power are using the threat of terrorism to further an anti-nuclear agenda.

"They are not doing this kind of thing for chemical plants," Lloyd said. "They want to make nuclear power so expensive there is no incentive to do it anymore."

If an airplane were to hit a nuclear power plant and emergency systems and evacuation plans proved inadequate, worst-case scenarios indicate that a reactor core meltdown or spent-fuel fire could result in hundreds of thousands of people killed or stricken with cancer or genetic damage. An area the size of Pennsylvania could be transformed into a no-man's land for centuries.

Such a disaster at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, just south of San Clemente, could have devastating health and economic effects on many millions in the Southland. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear power industry have undertaken separate studies indicating a disaster of that sort is unlikely.

In interviews, regulators and industry officials said their faith in existing security measures is based partly on the fact that nuclear power plants are much smaller targets for a pilot to hit than the sprawling Pentagon and towering World Trade Center.

John Mazor, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Assn., agrees. Jetliners, he said, are difficult to maneuver with pinpoint accuracy and tricky to handle at very low altitude, as with the Pentagon attack. He said the Pentagon crash probably had more to do with luck than skill.

Even if an airplane smashed into a facility, NRC officials and plant operators said, a reactor core meltdown or catastrophic fire involving spent fuel in storage ponds is highly unlikely. Plants are built robustly and have emergency backup systems that can be activated quickly, they said.

Rather than spend time and money fortifying plants, NRC and industry officials say, the most cost-effective strategy to prevent air attacks on reactors remains continued improvements in airport and aircraft security.

The government has beefed up security for commercial airlines, improving passenger screening and armoring and locking cockpit doors.

Critics of the industry dispute the NRC and industry studies, and point to the research undertaken in 2002 for a German government ministry that regulates nuclear power. That research indicates that a variety of jetliners, if crashed into Germany's atomic power stations, could trigger the release of radiation into the atmosphere.

Much of the debate over the risk posed by possible air attacks on nuclear plants involves the vulnerability of containment domes — structures that in the United States are built of steel-reinforced concrete, ranging in thickness from 3 1/2 to 6 feet.

Nuclear power plants are not designed to withstand a direct hit by a commercial jetliner. Nevertheless, some research suggests that they could.

Lengthy Debate

The debate goes back at least to 1981, when the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago conducted a study for the NRC indicating that an airliner crashing into a nuclear plant could cause fires and explosions that would pose serious threats. The NRC now considers that study obsolete, said Eliot Brenner, an NRC spokesman.

More recent studies by the NRC and the Nuclear Energy Institute indicate that containment domes of the nation's nuclear generating stations can withstand a direct hit from a large jetliner without a significant release of radiation.

Except for that main conclusion, the NRC study is classified and unavailable to the public. Commission officials, however, have told the federal General Accounting Office that certain types of aircraft hitting certain locations at power plants pose a risk, but safety features and emergency preparedness plans should lessen that risk.

Brenner said the government spent $15 million on the research and relied on computer analyses at national laboratories to look at all-important reactor facilities.

Nuclear Energy Institute officials said they spent about $1.5 million on their own study, which showed that a low-flying Boeing 767-400, traveling about 350 mph, would not penetrate containment structures.

"A nuclear power plant can withstand an airliner crash, either deliberate or otherwise," said Ray Golden, a spokesman for Southern California Edison, which conducted its own analysis of the San Onofre plant. "They are a hard and hardened target."

The German researchers, by contrast, concluded that crashes of large jetliners, under a wide range of circumstances, could result in uncontrollable situations and the release of radiation from reactor buildings and storage ponds for spent nuclear fuel.

Spent-fuel ponds, though often housed in lightly constructed buildings, also have thick concrete walls and steel liners, where the waste is stored under 20 feet of water.

Industry critics in the United States say the German study is more realistic than the NRC and Nuclear Energy Institute studies because it considered crashes at a speed higher than 350 mph.

The German study used computer simulations to analyze the impact of jetliners, including large Boeing 747s and smaller Airbus 320s, on five types of plant designs in Germany's inventory of 18 reactors. The simulated crashes were at speeds of 224 mph and 390 mph.

Using flight simulators, six pilots were able to hit a facility similar in size to a nuclear power plant about half of the time. A glancing blow was considered a hit. In the computer models, the most modern and robust plants fared well, with a few exceptions involving the largest jetliners. Older and more lightly constructed stations were the most vulnerable.

German containment buildings range in thickness from 2 feet to more than 6 feet of reinforced concrete, compared with 3 1/2 feet to 6 feet for U.S. plants. But many of that country's nuclear power stations — built against the backdrop of domestic terrorism and the Soviet military threat during the Cold War — are in some ways more protected than U.S. commercial reactors.

NRC and NEI officials said they had not seen the latest German research.

Industry critics in the U.S. point particularly to the part of the German study saying radiation can be released from fires in spent-fuel storage areas.

Because no permanent waste storage facility has been opened in the United States, radioactive material — about 45,000 tons of it — has accumulated in spent-fuel ponds. If a pond were heavily damaged and the cooling water drained away, industry critics say, the result could be an uncontrollable inferno and the release of radiation.

A 1997 report by the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York concluded that a fire in a pool of spent nuclear waste could render 188 square miles uninhabitable and cause as many as 28,000 cancer deaths.

"These spent-fuel pools present the most severe consequences and vulnerability at nuclear power stations. They are the ultimate dirty bomb," said Robert Alvarez, a nuclear policy expert who served throughout the 1990s as an advisor and investigator for the U.S. Senate and Department of Energy.

Congress Asks Academy

At the request of Congress, the National Academy of Sciences, a nonprofit organization that advises the federal government, has prepared a classified report and proposals for the nuclear power industry related to the storage of spent fuel.

Academy sources say the report recommends that the NRC and nuclear industry take steps to strengthen fuel ponds and the waste containers inside them.

Lloyd, of the Nuclear Energy Institute, said his group does not believe that fuel ponds are particularly vulnerable, based on the institute's computer study that simulated two 767 crashes into two types of fuel ponds used at power plants.

The NRC's most recent study, said agency spokesman Brenner, "took in all aspects of plant operations [including fuel ponds] and found that significant releases of radioactivity are very unlikely."

But professor Frank N. von Hippel, who took part in the National Academy of Sciences study, said the NRC and the industry have not taken the spent-fuel problem seriously enough.

"The current situation is unsatisfactory," said Von Hippel, co-director of the science and global security program at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

"The NRC has been in a state of denial," Von Hippel said. "The process at the academy and the subcommittees has been enough for them to do something, but it is a reluctant something."

Dan Weikel, Times Staff Writer

One Man's Democracy is Another Man's Chains: The Untold Story of Aristide's Departure from Haiti

A recounting of recent events in Haiti is reminiscent of a statement written by an American Marine private during the first U.S. occupation of Haiti that began in 1915 and lasted nineteen years. The homesick marine wrote:

“Dear Mother,

All is well for me here. I have taken well to my duties in Haiti but I still can’t believe how they let the niggers have the run of the place.”

Haitians running Haiti?

Now let’s fast forward to last December 31, 2003 as Luigi Einaudi of the Organization of American States (OAS) is ushered into the lobby of the Hotel Montana for Haiti’s bicentennial celebrations. While checking into the luxury hotel he makes this comment in front of several witnesses: “The real problem in Haiti is that the international community is so screwed up and divided that they are letting Haitians run Haiti.” When questioned about his objectivity given his attendance at the opening of the Haiti Democracy Project (HDP), a Washington think-tank funded and supported by right-wing Haitians opposed to President John Bertrand-Aristide, he becomes defensive and denies he had been there at all. After it is pointed out to him that there are photos on the organization’s website of him with HDP Director James Morrell he quips, “Maybe I was there, I don’t remember, but I really think Morrell is a kook.” The exchange turns to the question of Otto Reich’s role as “fixer” for the Bush Administration in Haiti, at which time Einaudi grows red in the face and visibly angry, shouting, “You are ignorant, you don’t know what you are talking about,” as he makes a mad dash for the Hotel’s elevator.

It is duly noted that Mr. Einaudi has since gotten his wish. Haitians no longer run Haiti.

The Golden Rule of U.S. sponsored Democracy: He Who Owns the Gold Makes the Rules

The forced ouster of Haiti’s president on February 29, 2004 begins with the economic and political isolation of Aristide’s party, known as Lavalas, following the national elections of May 21, 2000. Aristide’s predecessor, President Rene Preval, delays the elections several times. Preval’s stated purpose is to insure proper voter registration. The opposition accuses him of delaying the national elections to coincide with the upcoming presidential elections. The opposition and several “undisclosed diplomatic sources” claim this is being done to give Lavalas candidates the advantage of “riding on Aristide’s coattails.”

Preval finally relents despite his continuing concerns over inadequate time for voter registration and security preparations for polling stations throughout the country. The elections are finally held on May 21, 2000 and initially praised as the “most free and fair election in Haitian history” by the U.S. State Department and the Organization of American States (OAS). When it becomes clear that the Lavalas party has won by a landslide, despite the absence of Aristide’s mythical coattails, these very same forces discredit the results of the elections.

After initially praising the process of the elections, the OAS later claims that Lavalas purposely miscalculated the vote to favor seven of their senatorial candidates. It is interesting to note that the OAS, and several non-governmental organizations contracted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), are at the same time deeply involved in overseeing and monitoring these elections. They are included and present during discussions by Haiti’s Provisional Election Council when it determines the method to tabulate the final results. OAS representative Orlande Marville, another apostle of the HDP and the “kook” James Morrell, eventually leaks an internal memo criticizing the ballot counting methods to the press rather then quietly negotiating a solution. The OAS shows its hypocrisy when it turns a blind eye to President Alberto Fujimori’s brazen electoral fraud in Peru the same year. In Haiti, the OAS double standard results in Lavalas ultimately forcing the seven contested senators to resign and creating a timetable for new elections as a formula for compromise.

Why Should I Play if My Rich Uncle’s Gonna Pay Anyway?

Any political compromise is categorically rejected by the Haitian “political opposition” as it becomes more emboldened and entrenched due to increasing funding and nurturing through programs sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Union (EU). The opposition and their allies use the issue of the seven contested senate seats to question the validity of the entire election of May 2000. What is conveniently ignored, especially today, is that these elections filled more then 7500 national, municipal and local positions of government largely due to a huge investment of money and human resources by the United States and the international community. They got the democratic process they demanded of Haiti but when the results finally sink in, they do their best to distance themselves and finally take to actively supporting a minority “political opposition” to sully the results. This policy trajectory justifies suspending all direct international assistance and loans to the government of Haiti. As a result, it becomes increasingly difficult for the majority political party, Lavalas, to implement strategies to alleviate the conditions of extreme poverty among the country’s poor majority – the party’s popular base.

In November 2000, Aristide is re-elected president of Haiti after a terror campaign of mysterious drive-by shootings and bombings rock the capital. Despite the violence and the political opposition’s decision to boycott the election, independent international observers rescue their validity by pronouncing the vote free and fair despite a low turnout. The press gives ample attention to the detractors of this election but are conspicuously silent on the three weeks of terror that preceded it.

Following this period, most international press attention focuses on the negatives of the Aristide government. The Lavalas party’s land reform for the peasants and universal literacy programs are ignored and dismissed as insignificant by the outside world. Financial and political isolation begins to take its toll. This becomes a period in which anything positive about Lavalas appears to be censored while anything that damages the credibility of the Haitian government is magnified. In this political climate, even former “leftist” allies of Lavalas, so-called Haitian human rights organizations and members of Haiti’s press, justify accepting tours to the United States – paid for by the U.S. State Department. During these tours they are encouraged to develop contacts with the alternative media and the United States “Left” as they preach the evils of Aristide and Lavalas to a largely uninformed American audience.

The political and financial isolation of Aristide and Lavalas following the May 2000 elections also opened new and unprecedented levels of support for the “political opposition” from the U.S. and their partners in the international community. Although this “political opposition” was incapable of winning at the polls, the U.S. and the international community provide legitimacy to their Haitian surrogates by giving them the option to paralyze the country with a veto over any political compromise that will break the stalemate over the elections. The final attempt to force the opposition to make a reasonable compromise with Aristide is a power sharing solution brokered by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in early February 2004. The opposition, which clearly sees no advantage in negotiation as long as the U.S. and the EU continue to support their intransigence, once again rejects compromise.

The Death Insurance Policy

Two years prior to CARICOM’s last ditch effort to save democracy in Haiti, new and ominous reports emerge of killings by paramilitary forces comprised of former death squads and disbanded military using the Dominican Republic as a safe haven. At the same time, Haiti’s small but powerful economic elite is slowly rehabilitated as the legitimate leadership of the opposition to Lavalas. Andre Apaid, a wealthy owner of many sweatshops in Haiti, is suddenly touted as an indigenous Gandhi fighting the evil dictatorship of Aristide while the press and much of the Haitian left conveniently refrain from questioning the conditions he imposes upon his own employees. With U.S. and EU support, Apaid is ultimately able to turn out thousands of demonstrators demanding Aristide’s resignation. The real power behind these numbers soon becomes apparent. Apaid’s “movement” evaporates into next to nothing following Secretary of State Colin Powell’s disingenuous statement in mid-February 2004 that Washington will not accept removing Aristide through unconstitutional means. In the blink of an eye, what was touted in the press as tens of thousands, mobilized by Apaid to demand Aristide’s resignation, is reduced to a raucous and violent crowd of several hundred. While Apaid organizes the opposition demonstrations on the ground, it is always the U.S. State Department that holds the power of life or death over Haiti’s fledgling democracy and Aristide's presidency. Powell’s words soon turn hollow as those now infamous "undisclosed officials" in Washington are heard from once again. This time they claim that only a change in the way Haiti is run, and that includes the possibility of Aristide stepping down, will solve Haiti's "political crisis."

It is at this moment that the aforementioned paramilitary forces in the Dominican Republic are suddenly “discovered” in Haiti by the corporate media amid significant fanfare. While President Aristide and his spokesmen were left to shout at the wind about deadly armed incursions by these same forces for more than two years, corporate media organizations suddenly cough up nice salaries, per diems and expense accounts in February 2004 to provide the “rebels” with unprecedented media coverage. These well-armed and trained forces in Haiti are led by a former Haitian military officer, Guy Phillipe, accused of human rights abuses by organizations such as Human Rights Watch and labeled a drug trafficker by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the spring of 2001. Phillipe’s fellow ringleader is Jodel Chamblain, the infamous former second in command of the dreaded paramilitary death squad, the Front for Advancement and Progress in Haiti (FRAPH). FRAPH was trained by the CIA and unleashed upon the Haitian population in the aftermath of the violent military coup against Aristide in 1991. This band of former military and death squad killers now wreaks havoc in the north of Haiti – the ultimate threat and justification for the U.S. government to remove the country’s democratically elected president.

Dressing the Stage to Orchestrate the Fall

The media’s grand entrance and belated discovery of the paramilitary forces from the Dominican Republic ushers in what is generously described by many observers in Port au Prince as “superb theater.” Foreign embassy after foreign embassy publicly pleads with their citizens to flee Haiti as the “rebels surround the capital.” Suddenly, fifty U.S. marines fly into Haiti dressed in full battle gear, ostensibly to check on security preparations at the U.S. Embassy. Representatives of the U.S.- and EU-backed opposition to Aristide take to the airwaves with daily pronouncements that an exit strategy has already been prepared for the president and it is just a matter of time before his eventual departure. Then there is the frightened reaction of the masses of Lavalas partisans who erect elaborate and deadly barricades at all entrances to Port au Prince and, finally, throughout the main thoroughfares of the capital itself. It becomes clear to most observers on the ground that the so-called rebels never stand a chance of entering the capital despite U.S. claims to the contrary. Supplies of diesel gasoline, which is needed to run the mighty turbine generators that provide electricity to the capital, begin to dwindle as nightly blackouts combine with the sporadic gunfire of determined Aristide partisans to create an atmosphere of fear and tension. The drama reaches epic proportions, as the U.S. demands all of its citizens to abandon Haiti and, for some unknown reason, suspends all commercial airline flights to the capital. All of this despite the fact that not a single foreign national ever receives so much as a scratch during this period, nor is there ever any threat whatsoever to the now seemingly sacred tarmac of the Toussaint Louverture International Airport. The stage is now set to provide a plausible pretext to remove Haiti’s elected president. All that’s needed is one more turn of the screw to bring on the final act.

Friends in Struggle: Venezuela and South Africa Force Washington’s Hand

The second week of February 2004 President Aristide made a public pronouncement that he would never resign his elected authority, invoking the image of the fallen democrat Salvador Allende of Chile by announcing he was “willing to die in office.” The following week it appeared Washington had all the pieces in place to take him out including the final gambit of a “rebel” paramilitary army surrounding Port au Prince. In Washington it was thought this was more than enough to pressure Aristide into voluntarily resigning his office and fleeing Haiti. More important was that all of Washington’s window dressing would give the impression of yet another embattled dictator of Haiti falling upon his own sword. The State Department needed just a little more time to close the noose around Aristide’s neck. The plan was to allow Phillipe and Chamblain’s forces to move closer to the capital and clash with defending Lavalas partisans, thus making the scenario complete for the gullible international press. Unfortunately, this calculation depended upon a weakened and docile president of Haiti, paralyzed and incapable of defending himself. Reality caught U.S. planners by surprise and led to what history will recall as one of the greatest scandals of U.S.-sponsored democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the days preceding Aristide’s overthrow a press report surfaces that causes panic in the U.S. State Department. An undisclosed Venezuelan diplomat is quoted as saying his government is prepared to provide unilateral assistance to the Haitian government under the terms of the Rio Treaty and the Democratic Charter of the Organization of American States. At about the same time a credible source working in the U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince leaks word of intercepted phone calls of advisors close to Aristide who are “actively procuring additional arms and ammunition to re-supply the Haitian National Police. These same advisors discussed releasing existing stockpiles of arms to local auxiliary forces aligned with Lavalas.” This new information means that Aristide and his advisors were actively pursuing means to defend his government by force of arms, and that the image the U.S. State Department promulgated of a defeated president reconciled to his fate would no longer play with the media. It was determined that they had to act fast before Aristide regrouped for the final showdown.

While the United States watches Venezuela closely for any move on the part of the Chavez government to aid Aristide, CARICOM quietly negotiates with a second friendly nation to provide arms, ammunition and riot control gear for the Haitian police. The Republic of South Africa, whose President Thabo Mbeki was one of the highest ranking international dignitaries to attend Haiti’s bicentennial celebrations, agrees to send 150 R1 rifles, 5 000 bullets, 200 smoke grenades, and 200 bullet-proof vests to re-supply Haiti’s embattled police. The U.S. Marines enter Aristide’s residence with overwhelming force and put him on a plane the very moment a Boeing 747 filled with this equipment is refueling on a tarmac in Kingston, Jamaica, less than 300 miles away.

Jamaican Prime Minister PJ Patterson later admits the plane was refueling in Jamaica before heading on to Haiti, but that it had been stopped after Aristide's departure. A far cry from the image presented by the governments of Washington, Paris and Ottawa of a defeated leader resigned to his fate, it is now clear that Aristide was prepared to fight to the end to continue his democratic mandate and the right of Haitians to run Haiti. The U.S. Marines intervened to insure this would never happen.

Kevin Pina BC Associate Editor in Port-au-Prince

Bush's War is Already Lost!

Far Graver than Vietnam

Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale.

'Bring them on!" President Bush challenged the early Iraqi insurgency in July of last year. Since then, 812 American soldiers have been killed and 6,290 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Almost every day, in campaign speeches, Bush speaks with bravado about how he is "winning" in Iraq. "Our strategy is succeeding," he boasted to the National Guard convention on Tuesday.

But, according to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."

Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said: "I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan."

W. Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College's strategic studies institute - and the top expert on Iraq there - said: "I don't think that you can kill the insurgency". According to Terrill, the anti-US insurgency, centred in the Sunni triangle, and holding several cities and towns - including Fallujah - is expanding and becoming more capable as a consequence of US policy.

"We have a growing, maturing insurgency group," he told me. "We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. They are getting better and they can self-regenerate. The idea there are x number of insurgents, and that when they're all dead we can get out is wrong. The insurgency has shown an ability to regenerate itself because there are people willing to fill the ranks of those who are killed. The political culture is more hostile to the US presence. The longer we stay, the more they are confirmed in that view."

After the killing of four US contractors in Fallujah, the marines besieged the city for three weeks in April - the watershed event for the insurgency. "I think the president ordered the attack on Fallujah," said General Hoare. "I asked a three-star marine general who gave the order to go to Fallujah and he wouldn't tell me. I came to the conclusion that the order came directly from the White House." Then, just as suddenly, the order was rescinded, and Islamist radicals gained control, using the city as a base.

"If you are a Muslim and the community is under occupation by a non-Islamic power it becomes a religious requirement to resist that occupation," Terrill explained. "Most Iraqis consider us occupiers, not liberators." He describes the religious imagery common now in Fallujah and the Sunni triangle: "There's talk of angels and the Prophet Mohammed coming down from heaven to lead the fighting, talk of martyrs whose bodies are glowing and emanating wonderful scents."

"I see no exit," said Record. "We've been down that road before. It's called Vietnamisation. The idea that we're going to have an Iraqi force trained to defeat an enemy we can't defeat stretches the imagination. They will be tainted by their very association with the foreign occupier. In fact, we had more time and money in state building in Vietnam than in Iraq."

General Odom said: "This is far graver than Vietnam. There wasn't as much at stake strategically, though in both cases we mindlessly went ahead with the war that was not constructive for US aims. But now we're in a region far more volatile, and we're in much worse shape with our allies."

Terrill believes that any sustained US military offensive against the no-go areas "could become so controversial that members of the Iraqi government would feel compelled to resign". Thus, an attempted military solution would destroy the slightest remaining political legitimacy. "If we leave and there's no civil war, that's a victory."

General Hoare believes from the information he has received that "a decision has been made" to attack Fallujah "after the first Tuesday in November. That's the cynical part of it - after the election. The signs are all there."

He compares any such planned attack to the late Syrian dictator Hafez al-Asad's razing of the rebel city of Hama. "You could flatten it," said Hoare. "US military forces would prevail, casualties would be high, there would be inconclusive results with respect to the bad guys, their leadership would escape, and civilians would be caught in the middle. I hate that phrase collateral damage. And they talked about dancing in the street, a beacon for democracy."

General Odom remarked that the tension between the Bush administration and the senior military officers over Iraqi was worse than any he has ever seen with any previous government, including Vietnam. "I've never seen it so bad between the office of the secretary of defence and the military. There's a significant majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interests have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaida. Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad. They defeated themselves by pouring more in there. Tragic."

Editor's Note | On May 10, 2004, TO writer William Rivers Pitt wrote an editorial titled 'The War is Lost'. In it, he wrote, "Every reason to go to Iraq has failed to retain even a semblance of credibility. Every bit of propaganda Osama bin Laden served up to the Muslim world for why America should be attacked and destroyed has been given credibility by what has taken place in Iraq. Victory in this 'War on Terror,' a propaganda war from the beginning, has been given to the September 11 attackers by the hand of George W. Bush, and by the hand of those who enabled his incomprehensible blundering."

Sidney Blumenthal
The Guardian

On the Demise of NYC's Lady Liberty

I met Wendy at Wednesday's NY City Council hearing on police conduct during the Republican National Convention. Wendy and I testified on the same panel. Her report appeared in the NY Daily News last week, but it was edited. She sent this as the unedited version of her story.

Feel free to re-publish it.


From: Wendy Stefanelli

Hello my dear friends, family & colleagues,

Please take the time to read my story of being unjustly locked away for 47 hours by the NYPD & pass it on to all your friends because sadly the press is not giving us the full story. Maybe you have heard this week of the many so called "anarchists" being locked up in New York at the piers & then thrown in jail during the republican convention? I was one of the falsely arrested people who Bloomberg considers a threat & has compared to the 911
terrorists. Quote from the NY Times…

"It is true that a handful of people have tried to destroy our city by going up and yelling at visitors here because they don't agree with their views," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Think about what that says. This is America, New York, cradle of liberty, the city for free speech if there ever was one and some people think that we shouldn't allow people to express themselves.
That's exactly what the terrorists did, if you think about it, on 9/11. Now this is not the same kind of terrorism but there's no question that these anarchists are afraid to let people speak out."

Although I have marched in several anti war protests in the last couple of years on the night I was arrested, Aug 31st, I was NOT. Around 8:30pm, having just finished work, my friend Gwynne & I were going to have a drink. We saw hundreds of police running everywhere on 26th St. then up Park Ave. A man, who later turned out to be an undercover cop, suggested
to us that if we see police going down the street to go the other way because there could be trouble. Mind you, at no point did he tell us that if we did not disperse we would be arrested. I then saw a man being cuffed and thrown down who said he had done nothing. The cop was using a lot of force & I asked that he please not hurt this man. Right after, the
undercover cop returned. He told 2 other cops to arrest my friend & myself as I was trying to call a friend who might have a camera to come and document this injustice. There was total chaos. Another officer was yelling to get away. Another grabbed Gwynne’s arm, but then let go of her. Being less fortunate, I was cuffed & thrown on the sidewalk to sit with several others. We were then netted in as criminals. I asked one officer if I could use my cell phone with my cuffed hands. He did not mind. However, I was screamed at by one of his superiors who came over & turned off my phone. No call to the outside world would be allowed. We all sat there while the cops video taped us and people on the streets took photos. After about 15 or 20 minutes I heard an officer say that they needed 5 women. I looked next to me, there were many males & only 4 other females. I made 5. Quota for that street corner, I suppose…

We were loaded onto an empty MTA bus & waited until it was full and then, for no apparent reason, for a couple more hours. My cuffs were too tight & I asked if they could please be loosened as my shoulder bag had been cuffed as well. It was weighing down my cuffs making them tighter. The officer who was assigned as my arresting officer an hour later (even though she did not witness my arrest) had to eventually cut my cuffs in order to take my workbag & purse into possession. I was then cuffed again just as tightly for over 4 hours.

The bus finally drove to pier 57, where rumor had it there was asbestos, oil and other toxic substances on the floor. We waited on the bus for quite sometime, as there was a long line of buses ahead of us. One of the women said that she needed to use the restroom. Tough luck, not the cop’s problem. A man on the back of the bus from Oregon named Brian was very sick. He had Crone’s disease & his colostomy bag had burst. He was throwing up all over the back of the bus. The entire bus begged the officers present to please get medical attention to this man. They completely ignored us. We asked that he be let off the bus first. Again, they ignored us.

Around 1:00am my cuffs were finally cut off. This was the 1st opportunity to use the port-a-pot. We were given a stale wonder bread & cheese sandwich & locked in one of the many barbed wire fenced cells within the former transportation depot. Women had to sit/lay on the filthy black cold concrete pavement only to be covered immediately in soot. Some women broke out in a rash. There were no mats or blankets and the fans were blowing directly on us. We asked for the fans to be turned off as we were freezing. The police refused. Our water supply ran out & I had to ask many times before a new tank was put in for us to drink from.

At some point after sunrise, we were hungry. There was a large box of cereal on the floor by the other side of the fence. An officer told us that there was not enough for all of us, so therefore nobody could have any. Apparently, the average prisoner does not share…One bold young girl (did I mention that I was in the cell with at least 15 girls under the age
of 18?) finally decided to break through the fence into the box & hand out the individual mini boxes of stale flakes. Naturally, we divided them equally & each person had a handful.

Around noon on Wednesday, after watching many many inmates leave before us, mostly men, I was finally about to board the correctional detention bus to go to the Center St. jail. On the bus already was a young lady named Tonya. She was screaming that her wrists hurt & yelling at the officer to stop touching her. She was trying to loosen her cuffs because of her hypoglycemic condition. She asked for her cuffs to be loosened & instead had them tightened & was forcefully locked into the solitary confinement section on the bus. We all pleaded with the driver/officer to please please loosen her cuffs, if nothing else, as her wrists were turning blue. We were completely ignored. We all then screamed, “medical emergency” over & over and were again completely disregarded by all of the officers standing outside the bus. The bus officer then drove as fast as possible with a police escort to Center St. trying to scare us and causing several cars to slam to a halt.

We waited on the bus with only a few open windows & painful wrists for at least another hour, watching 20-30 cops hanging out in the quad area eating bagels & talking. Many other buses of females came after us & got the honored privilege of entering jail first. I guess the driver was trying to teach us what happens when you speak out in this so-called freecountry. Is it really us “anarchists” who are afraid to let people speak out Dear Mr. Bloomberg?

A couple of hours later, our tight plastic hand cuffs were cut off, only to be replaced by metal daisy chain cuffs linking our wrists together in a single file line. Inside, for hours ladies were moved from cell to cell randomly. We were constantly being called off the list individually & then put in the cell next door, only to be moved back an hour or two later. It made no sense. There was much confusion on the part of the officers. They did not seem to know what was going on themselves. There was no rhyme or reason for which name would be called next to be “processed“.

A young woman in her mid 20’s was crying. She had been crossing the street on her way home & like many of us was falsely arrested (including the peaceful protesters, I might add). She was one of the 1st girls to be locked up and she watched as many females were being released before her, despite their much later arrest. A girl named Charlie (late 20’s) who had been pepper sprayed in the face/eyes was denied medical treatment for 8 hours. Another innocent lady who I spoke with showed me her wrist, which, due to her cuffs being too tight, had been sliced as the cop cut them off. There were plenty of people who had been shopping who had been caught up in the city’s sweep too. I heard they even got a man delivering Chinese food on his bike. Come on, who are we trying to protect anyway & from
what? The people who live here crossing the street are now the new victims.

At one point, we counted to see how many of us were in the 20x 25 square foot cell as we were packed in like sardines. 105 of us!!! We could barely move. Good luck trying to cross the room to use the toilet with no door or to drink the dirty tap water from the sink in this cell. After many hours of telling the officers that this was a fire hazard we refused to have any more women in our cell. They eventually moved several of us to the practically empty cell next door. A lucky few made their phone calls at this time. I asked if I could have some Tylenol for my migraine headache. I was told they did not give meds. I asked if I could see a nurse. I was told not in this part of the building, but that I could later.

At around 10:30 pm on Wed night I was finally allowed to make my 1st phone call. No answer. We were offered bruised apples & oranges & later the occasional soy sandwich on stale white bread because there were so many vegetarian “criminals “ in there. However, we had to drink tap water from the filthy sink. There was no soap at any of the sinks to clean our blackened and possibly toxic hands. I asked several different officers if we could have blankets, pillows, or mats. I was told they only have 4 mats in the whole building for the “pregnant prisoners” downstairs. I requested some pain pills once again & they say I had to ask where I had initially asked. Meanwhile, 3 women were suffering from asthma and were denied treatment for many hours.

I made myself get an hour or two of sleep, the only sleep I was to have during my forced 47 hour visit to the slammer. The girl lying on the cold damp concrete floor next to me was kind enough to share her sweater as a pillow, buffering our faces from the scum.

On Sept 2nd early in the morning we were moved again chained to one another by the wrists, passing more chained females in the halls. Our fingerprints were finally taken after the officer actually sprayed & scrubbed our hands directly with Windex to clean off the pier dirt. That was well over my 36th hour. A sarcastic male officer told us we were all about to go home any minute. We were split up once again. Although we informed the police that
there were several women, including myself, that suffered from asthma they continued to spay our poorly ventilated cell with Lysol. I made yet another plead for painkillers for many of us, which once again fell upon deaf ears.

A few hours later we were called in random groups of five to go & have mug shots taken downstairs somewhere in the usual daisy chain fashion. After my photo was taken, an officer sitting at a desk near the camera asked how I was. I said that I had a severe migraine & back pain & that I needed painkillers at the very least. He handed me 2 Tylenol, that
simple. Outrageous after being told they did not have any in the building. There was no water there, but I eventually got some good old jail tap.

Despite thinking we were about to go to court as we were told, we were taken back to the 12th floor. So we sang peaceful songs and learned radical cheers to pass the time & heard each other’s stories. The only thing that got us through this nightmare was each other. The amazing support of each & every one of the women & girls in there will not be forgotten.

At long last, around 5pm on Thurs the 2nd, I was put in the cell next to the court.I asked for a lawyer from the National Lawyers Guild & was advised to take the ACD (adjournment in contemplation of dismissal) that was being offered at that hour, otherwise there could be a possible misdemeanor on my record. I was down for parading without a permit & 2 counts of disorderly conduct. Little 5”3” me trying to help a guy out… If I chose to plead not
guilty, I was told I would have to stay in jail longer that night. The judge basically wanted everyone out and not clogging the system with their inconvenient “not guilty” pleas to be dealt with at later date.

So, at 7:30 pm, 2 nights after my arrest, I was told by the judge that as long as I am “good” for the next 6 months that my case will be sealed & dismissed. I guess that means don’t walk down the streets of New York. And above all, do not help or talk to strangers…

Luckily there are organizations helping all of those arrested. There most likely will be a massive civil law suit. I have been in contact with the National Lawyers Guild & the New York Civil Liberties Union.

If you have managed to read my story, I thank you for taking the time and I further encourage you to get angry & speak your mind to the mayor, the press & each other. It goes without saying, but please make sure to vote & get others to do the same. What happened is not ok. If this can happen to me, it can happen to you.

Be well. Be active,

public@nytimes.com Email the NY Times

nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.html Email the Mayor

Email the Village Voice