Saturday, November 05, 2005

Thousands Protest Bush in Argentina, People's Summit Counters Free Trade Talks

In the wake of the Summit of the Americas and President Bush's arrival in Argentina, a People¹s Summit is also being organized as a counter protest and thousands have gathered to hear Venezuelan President Chavez speak at a rally. We hear from Nobel Peace prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel in Argentina, and others.


* For more information on recuperated factories in Argentina:

* Headlines for November 4, 2005 *

- Libby Pleads Not Guilty at Arraignment
- Red Cross Calls for Access to Detainees in Secret Prisons
- Riots Intensify in Paris Suburbs
- UN Warns of Ethiopia-Eritrea War
- Senate, House Approve Food Stamp, Health Care Cuts
- Alito Advocated Firing HIV-Positive Employees
- Brown Complained, Discussed Wardrobe as Katrina Hit


* Democracy Now!'s daily news summaries are now available in Spanish:

Read Friday, November 4, 2005:

ACTION! FOUR More November Events in Toronto, Mississauga, Ottawa



An extraordinary week of presentations, forums, music, art and reflection on the prospects of creating a sustainable culture of peace. Peace Week is for everyone. It is to remember those who laid down their lives that we might live free. It is for the soldier wanted home and safe. It is for the terrorized and the agrieved. It is for the oppressor who knows not what they do and the oppressed who understand too well what is being done to them. It is a time for truth, for healing, sharing, aspiring toward a world of greater peace.


Protest Ariel Sharon's visit to Toronto
Oppose Israel's war crimes

Public forum
Featuring footage from the acclaimed BBC documentary The Accused
And guest speakers
Thursday, November 10
Ryerson University
Room TBA

Protest Ariel Sharon's visit to Toronto
War criminals not welcome here
Monday, November 14
Downtown Toronto
Venue TBA

Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon - viewed by people around the world as a war criminal - is scheduled to speak at the United Jewish Communities General Assembly in Toronto on Monday, November 14.

Ariel Sharon's record of international war crimes is long and well-documented. As Minister of Defence
during Israel's invasion of Lebanon, Ariel Sharon was found responsible for the massacre of thousands of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp on September 16-18, 1982.

Since then, as Israeli Prime Minister, Sharon has continued to violate international law, presiding over
Israel's construction of its illegal Apartheid Wall, expanding illegal Zionist settlements on Palestinian land, implementing the practices of 'home demolition' and targeted assassination of Palestinians, and refusing to recognize the overwhelming opposition of the international community to Israel's abuses of human rights.

Let's let Sharon know that he's not welcome here.

In addition to a legal challenge to deny Ariel Sharon entry into Canada, opponents of Sharon's war crimes have organized a public forum and a mass demonstration to protest his visit to Toronto.

We have come together to form the Coalition Against Israel's War Crimes, a city-wide community-based coalition that represents more than twenty organizations from Toronto's Muslim, Arab and Jewish communities as well as other faith groups, trade unionists, students, peace and human rights campaigners, elected officials and concerned citizens.

Spread the word. Endorse the campaign. And join us to show that war criminals are not welcome in Toronto!

The Coalition Against Israel's War Crimes invites all supporting organizations and individuals to endorse our campaign.

For more information or to endorse, please contact us:

Media liaison: Rafeef Ziadeh
Phone: 416-616-4796

List of endorsing organizations and individuals:
Al-Awda Right of Return Coalition
Arab Students Collective (ASC)
Canada Palestine Association (CPA)
Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP)
Niagara Palestinian Association
Palestine House
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) - Toronto
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights - Carleton University
Sumoud ­ Political Prisoner Solidarity Group
Canadian Peace Alliance (CPA)
Lawyers Against the War
Niagara Coalition for Peace (NC4P)
November 16 Peace Coalition - Hamilton
Toronto Coalition to Stop the War (TCSW)
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Toronto District Council
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), International Solidarity Committee, Ontario Division
Canadian Muslim Forum (CMF)
Islamic Society of York Region
Muslim Unity Group
Jewish Women's Committee to End the Occupation (JWCEO)
Palestinian & Jewish Unity / Palestiniens et Juifs Unis (PAJU) ­ Montréal
Alternative Perspective Media / Regard Alternative Media (ARM-RAM)
My Peace and Justice
And others

Organized by:

Coalition Against Israel's War Crimes


Pan-Canadian anti-war conference:

Challenging Canada's role in Empire
Canadian Peace Alliance 20th Anniversary Conference 2005

November 11 to 13, 2005
West Block on Parliament Hill
Wellington Street

With workshops on strategy for the anti-war movement, and information sessions on war, militarisation and civil liberties

The Toronto Coalition to Stop the War is working with the Canadian Peace Alliance to provide subsidised transportation to and from Ottawa that will be included in one ticket price that also covers conference registration.

Transportation details are as follows:

Transportation will be provided on a fully-equipped, climate-controlled highway touring coach with unionised labour. The coach will depart from and return to the same location in downtown Toronto:
720 Spadina Avenue
(just south of Bloor Street West on the west side of Spadina Avenue)
Nearest subway: Spadina

The coach will depart Toronto on Friday, November 11 at 1:00pm to arrive in Ottawa by 6:00pm on the same day.

The coach will depart Ottawa on Sunday, November 13 at 6:00pm to arrive in Toronto by 11:00pm on the same day.

Ticket cost: $ 70.00 to $ 100.00 (sliding scale - pay what you can afford within this range); ticket cost includes return coach transportation to Ottawa and full registration for the entire weekend of the conference.

Billeting available for out-of-town registrants
Child care available

If you plan to make your own arrangements for transportation to Ottawa, registration costs are as follows:
All three days: $ 75.00
Students and unwaged: $ 40.00
Single session: $ 10.00 / $ 5.00
Subsidies available

For more information or to register, please contact the Canadian Peace Alliance:
Phone: 416-588-5555

Organised by Together Against War / Ensemble contre la guerre
Co-sponsored by Muslim Presence Ottawa


Friday, November 25

Sajeena: Fundraiser for Palestinian Child Prisoners

This is the third year in a row that Sumoud Political Prisoners Solidarity Group ( and the Arab Students' Collective have put together a night of great Arabic music to fundraise in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners. The emphasis of the work for the coming year will be demanding the release of Palestinian children imprisoned by the Israeli occupation. This year's Sajeena is dedicated to the memory of Professor James Graff, and in commemoration of the tenth year since the passing of Egyptian singer Sheikh Imam

Date: Friday, November 25 Doors open at 7pm

Place: Glenforest Secondary School Auditorium 3575 Fieldgate Drive, Mississauga

Featuring Performances by: Bassam Bishara John Kameel Farah and for the first time Jawqet al-Sheikh Imam

Tickets will be available to buy with a credit card online at the Al-Awda online store:

"Anyone with knowledge of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something is a potential criminal under international law, unless the person takes affirmative measures to prevent the commission of the crimes." - Declaration of War Crimes Tribunals following World War ll

Defending Imperial Nudity, Paul Krugman

From: t r u t h o u t

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

Friday 04 November 2005

Hans Christian Andersen understood bad rulers. "The Emperor's New Suit" doesn't end with everyone acclaiming the little boy for telling the truth. It ends with the emperor and his officials refusing to admit their mistake.

I've laid my hands on additional material, which Andersen failed to publish, describing what happened after the imperial procession was over.

The talk-show host Bill O'Reilly yelled, "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" at the little boy. Calling the boy a nut, he threatened to go to the boy's house and "surprise" him.

Fox News repeatedly played up possible finds of imperial clothing, then buried reports discrediting these stories. Months after the naked procession, a poll found that many of those getting most of their news from Fox believed that the emperor had in fact been clothed.

Imperial officials eventually admitted that they couldn't find any evidence that the suit ever existed, or that there had even been an effort to produce a suit. They insisted, however, that they had found evidence of wardrobe-manufacturing-and-distribution-related program activities.

After the naked procession, pro-wardrobe pundits denied that the emperor was at fault. The blame, they said, rested with the C.I.A., which had provided the emperor with bad intelligence about the potential for a suit.

Read rest of this article

Friday, November 04, 2005

Short Film About the Human Cost of the Iraq War, from AFSC

Please take a moment to watch a moving, short film
about the human cost of the Iraq war. (And then
forward it to your friends.) It's a powerful
reminder of the individual lives lost, and a call to
take action to stop the carnage. If the pro-peace
majority can grow -- and make ourselves heard -- we
can end this war!

Brian's comments:
Go to the page and select "Watch the movie".
This is a message for people in all countries.
It only takes a few minutes.


For more information, visit the American Friends
Service Committee's website at .

An Exhibition on the Human Cost of the Iraq War:

Eyes Wide Open
, the American Friends Service Committee’s widely-acclaimed exhibition on the human cost of the Iraq War, features a pair of boots honoring each U.S. military casualty, a field of shoes and a Wall of Remembrance to memorialize the Iraqis killed in the conflict, and a multimedia display exploring the history, cost and consequences of the war. Read more about the exhibit, and find dates and locations near you >

*American Friends Service Committee*

Source of Forged Niger-Iraq Documents Identified

t r u t h o u t FOCUS

By Elaine Sciolino and Elisabetta Povoledo
The New York Times

Friday 04 November 2005

Rome - Italy's spymaster identified an Italian occasional spy named Rocco Martino on Thursday as the disseminator of forged documents that described efforts by Iraq to buy uranium ore from Niger for a nuclear weapons program, three lawmakers said Thursday.

The spymaster, Gen. Nicolò Pollari, director of the Italian military intelligence agency known as Sismi, disclosed that Mr. Martino was the source of the forged documents in closed-door testimony to a parliamentary committee that oversees secret services, the lawmakers said.

Senator Massimo Brutti, a member of the committee, told reporters that General Pollari had identified Mr. Martino as a former intelligence informer who had been "kicked out of the agency." He did not say Mr. Martino was the forger.

The revelation came on a day when the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that it had shut down its two-year investigation into the origin of the forged documents.

The information about Iraq's desire to acquire the ore, known as yellowcake, was used by the Bush administration to help justify the invasion of Iraq, notably by President Bush in his State of the Union address in January 2003. But the information was later revealed to have been based on forgeries.

The documents were the basis for sending a former diplomat, Joseph C. Wilson IV, on a fact-finding mission to Niger that eventually exploded into an inquiry that led to the indictment and resignation last week of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby.

Mr. Martino has long been suspected of being responsible for peddling the false documents. News reports have quoted him as saying he obtained them through a contact at the Niger Embassy here. But this was the first time his role was formally disclosed by the intelligence agency.

Neither Mr. Martino nor his lawyer, Giuseppe Placidi, were available for comment.

Senator Brutti also told reporters that Italian intelligence had warned Washington in early 2003 that the Niger-Iraq documents were false.

"At about the same time as the State of the Union address, they said that the dossier doesn't correspond to the truth," Senator Brutti said. He said he did not know whether the warning was given before or after President Bush's address.

He made the claim more than once, but gave no supporting evidence. Amid confusing statements by various lawmakers, he later appeared to backtrack in conversations with both The Associated Press and Reuters, saying that because Sismi never had the documents, it could not comment on their merit.

There had long been doubts within the United States intelligence community about the authenticity of the yellowcake documents, and references to it had been deleted from other presentations given at the time.

Senator Luigi Malabarba, who also attended Thursday's hearing, said in a telephone interview that General Pollari had told the committee that Mr. Martino was "offering the documents not on behalf of Sismi but on behalf of the French" and that Mr. Martino had told prosecutors in Rome that he was in the service of French intelligence.

A senior French intelligence official interviewed Wednesday in Paris declined to say whether Mr. Martino had been a paid agent of France, but he called General Pollari's assertions about France's responsibility "scandalous."

General Pollari also said that no Italian intelligence agency officials were involved in either forging or distributing the documents, according to both Senator Brutti and the committee chairman, Enzo Bianco.

Committee members said they were shown documents defending General Pollari, including a copy of a classified letter from Robert S. Muller III, the director of the F.B.I., dated July 20, which praised Italy's cooperation with the bureau.

In Washington, an official at the bureau confirmed the substance of the letter, whose contents were first reported Tuesday in the leftist newspaper L'Unità. The letter stated that Italy's cooperation proved the bureau's theory that the false documents were produced and disseminated by one or more people for personal profit, and ruled out the possibility that the Italian service had intended to influence American policy, the newspaper said.

As a result, the letter said, according to both the F.B.I. official and L'Unità, the bureau had closed its investigation into the origin of the documents.

The F.B.I. official declined to be identified by name.

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Italy's military intelligence service sent reports to the United States and Britain claiming that Iraq was actively trying to acquire uranium, according to current and former intelligence officials.

Senator Brutti told reporters on Thursday that indeed Sismi had provided information about Iraq's desire to acquire uranium from Niger as early as the 1990's, but that it had never said the information was credible.

Thursday's hearing followed a three-part series in La Repubblica, which said General Pollari had knowingly provided the United States and Britain with forged documents. The newspaper, a staunch opponent of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, also reported that General Pollari had acted at the behest of Mr. Berlusconi, who was said to be eager to help President Bush in the search for weapons in Iraq.

Mr. Berlusconi has denied such accounts.

La Repubblica said General Pollari had held a meeting on Sept. 9, 2002, with Stephen J. Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser. Mr. Hadley, now the national security adviser, has said that he met General Pollari on that date, but that they did not discuss the Niger-Iraq issue.

"Nobody participating in that meeting or asked about that meeting has any recollection of a discussion of natural uranium, or any recollection of any documents being passed," Mr. Hadley told a briefing on Wednesday in Washington. "And that's also my recollection."

At the time, Mr. Hadley took responsibility for including the faulty information in Mr. Bush's State of the Union address.


Unembedded Reporting from Iraq: An Interview with Dahr Jamail

Iraq Dispatches: News from Inside Iraq at

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website **
** Website by **

Ben Dangl: What do you think of the argument that US troops should stay in Iraq in order to prevent civil war?

Dahr Jamail: The argument that the US has to stay in Iraq in order to prevent civil war is racist and imperialist and is made by people who
don’t understand what is going on on the ground in Iraq. The US is using
tactics that heighten the probability of civil war by rushing through
this Washington DC- imposed timeline for the political process. That
coupled with using state-sponsored civil war, where they have a
US-backed Iraqi puppet government that is using the Kurdish and Shia
army to fight a primarily Sunni resistance. While most people are loath
to the idea of civil war, it is being instigated by the US and their
puppet government.

The US pulling out is going to begin the process of stabilization in
Iraq as well as be the first move to give Iraqis true sovereignty. The
Iraqi people are fully capable of resolving their differences and
setting up their own government just as did after the British pulled out.

To read the full interview, click here:

Written by Benjamin Dangl, for the Progressive News Website: Toward
Freedom on
Monday, 31 October 2005

*/Toward Freedom/: a progressive perspective on world events since 1952 *

/Toward Freedom/ envisions a world ethic that honors the human spirit
and the right of individuals to freedom of thought and creativity;
advances movements for human rights, peace, justice, enlightenment, and
freedom from oppression; and celebrates the contributions of the world's
diverse cultures.

Tomgram: Mark Engler on the War Woes of Business

The Bush administration, with its crony corporations in tow, essentially sallied forth into the world with the collective mentality of a plunderer, ready to strip mine the planet. While its plans for global -- and energy -- domination (as well as the military conquest of space) have been aimed at forever, its business plans seemed more focused on tomorrow and the day after. For a while, it looked as if the President and his friends might even make back to Crawford for a life of Mai Tais and brush-cutting without the economic chickens coming home to roost. This now looks less likely.

Mark Engler takes up a distinctly under-attended subject -- just how bad for business (at least as measured by the post-Cold War presidencies of Bush the Elder and Bill Clinton) this administration might prove to be. He also explores the question of whether significant sectors of the business community will turn on the administration's war in Iraq and allied policies. Though largely forgotten, it happened once before -- in the Vietnam era. Tom

Bush's Bad Business Empire
Making the World Unsafe for Microsoft and Mickey Mouse

By Mark Engler

The Bush administration has a reputation for creating an unusually business-friendly White House. Put Dick Cheney's secretive Energy Task Force and massive tax cuts together with corporate lobbyists writing regulations for their own industries, and you've made an argument that seems pretty persuasive.

There are reasons, however, to consider a contrary notion: Maybe George Bush and Dick Cheney aren't very good capitalists at all.

George W. Bush's history as a failed businessman is well known. Dick Cheney, portrayed by conservatives as a brilliant ex-CEO and by progressives as a Halliburton shill, also has a suspect past. While he certainly increased Halliburton's profile in four-and-a-half years as its chief, his foremost accomplishment was the $7.7 billion acquisition in 1998 of Dresser Industries, a rival that turned out to be plagued with staggering asbestos-related liabilities. In the wake of Cheney's reign, multiple Halliburton divisions sought bankruptcy protection and the company's stock price plunged. Rolling Stone magazine reported in August 2004, "Even with the bounce Halliburton stock has received from the war, an investor who put $100,000 into the company just before Cheney became vice president would have less than $60,000 today."

Many analysts hold the Vice President accountable for the downturn, arguing that Dresser's asbestos problems, which cost Halliburton billions, were predictable. Less harsh critics nonetheless question his success as a business leader. For instance, Jason E. Putman, an energy analyst at Victory Capital Management, argues that, as Halliburton chief, "[o]verall, Cheney did maybe at best an average job." Newsweek's Wall Street editor, Allan Sloan, is less complimentary, suggesting Cheney was a "CEO who messed up big-time."

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Non-Partisan Poll: 50 Percent of Americans Favor Bush Impeachment

(PRWEB) October 29, 2005 -- By a margin of 50% to 44%, Americans say that President Bush should be impeached if he lied about the war in Iraq, according to a new poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,001 U.S. adults on October 8-9.

The poll found that 50% agreed with the following statement: "If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable by impeaching him.

Forty four percent disagreed, and 6% said they didn't know or declined to answer. The poll has a +/- 3.1% margin of error.

The poll was commissioned by, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003. "The results of this poll are truly astonishing," said co-founder Bob Fertik, "… a solid plurality of Americans want Congress to consider removing Bush from the White House."

Impeachment Supported by Majorities of Many Groups
Responses varied by political party affiliation: 72% of Democrats favored impeachment, compared to 56% of Independents and 20% of Republicans. Responses also varied by age, income and region. Majorities favored impeachment in the Northeast (53%), West (51%), and even the South (50%).

Support for Impeachment Surged Since June
The Ipsos poll shows a dramatic transformation in support for Bush's impeachment since late June. (This is only the second poll that has asked Americans about their support for impeaching Bush in 2005, despite his record-low approval ratings.) The Zogby poll conducted June 27-29 of 905 likely voters found that 42% agreed and 50% disagreed with a statement virtually identical to the one used by Ipsos.

Ipsos 10/8-9
Zogby 6/27-29
Net Change

Support Impeachment

Oppose Impeachment

Impeachment Margin

After the June poll, pollster John Zogby told the Washington Post that support for impeachment "was much higher than I expected." At the time, impeachment supporters trailed opponents by 8%. Now supporters outnumber opponents by 6%, a remarkable shift of 14%.

Support for Clinton Impeachment Was Much Lower
In August and September of 1998, 16 major polls asked about impeaching President Clinton ( Only 36% supported hearings to consider impeachment, and only 26% supported actual impeachment and removal. Even so, the impeachment debate dominated the news for months, and the Republican Congress impeached Clinton despite overwhelming public opposition.

Impeachment Support is Closely Related to Belief that Bush Lied about Iraq
Both the Ipsos and Zogby polls asked about support for impeachment if Bush lied about the reasons for war, rather than asking simply about support for impeachment. Pollsters predict that asking simply about impeachment without any context would produce a large number of "I don't know" responses. However, this may understate the percentage of Americans who favor Bush's impeachment for other reasons, such as his slow response to Hurricane Katrina, his policy on torture, soaring gasoline prices, or other concerns.

Other polls show a majority of U.S. adults believe that Bush did in fact lie about the reasons for war. A June 23-26 ABC/Washington Post poll found 52% of Americans believe the Bush administration "deliberately misled the public before the war," and 57% say the Bush administration "intentionally exaggerated its evidence that pre-war Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons."

Passion for Impeachment is Major Unreported Story
The strong support for impeachment found in this poll is especially surprising because the views of impeachment supporters have been largely absent from mainstream broadcast and print media, and can only be found on the Internet and in street protests, including the large anti-war rally in Washington on September 24.

The lack of coverage of impeachment support is believed to be due in part to the fact no one in Congress has called for impeachment consideration, despite considerable grassroots activism by groups like has commissioned a second poll which is expected soon, and will continue to urge all polling organizations to include the impeachment question in their regular polls. If they do not, the organization will continue to commission regular impeachment polls.


Press Contact: Fern Edison
Phone: 845-679-6319

More Information:

In the Iraqi Quagmire, Claude Levesque's Interview with Dahr Jamail

t r u t h o u t Editorial

By Claude Lévesque
Le Nouvel Observateur - Read original article in French

Thursday 03 November 2005

Independent American journalist Dahr Jamail tries to relay another perspective on the war.

A young freelancer troubled by the kind of media coverage that prevails in the United States, Dahr Jamail decided to go to Iraq as an independent journalist in 2003. Free of any censorship, but also deprived of the protection enjoyed by journalists embedded with occupation forces, he visited that country four times between November 2003 and February 2005.

"On each trip, I felt like I was visiting a different country," he said in an interview with Le Devoir. "That gives you an idea how fast the situation has been deteriorating. In the absence of reconstruction, everything has gotten worse as far as infrastructure is concerned, and, of course, the security situation speaks for itself."

"Electricity and running water are more problematic than in 2003. Even more serious, a cruel lack of personnel in the hospitals has to be factored in today in addition to the dearth of medicine and equipment," Mr. Jamail notes. "Many doctors - in the majority those with the most experience - have left. In fact, all professionals run the risk of being kidnapped by criminal gangs looking for ransoms."

"In the United States," he continues, "there's a myth that American forces exercise a certain control over the situation, but in reality, the security is so bad that a few blocks away from the "Green Zone" road, in the center of Baghdad, neighborhoods are completely under the control of the different militias or of the resistance."

Dahr Jamail doesn't hide that he opposed the war in Iraq from the outset, not believing the official justifications. After hostilities began, he observed that independent European journalists produced reports very different from what he could read in the United States. He wanted to imitate them.

"It was my first experience in a war zone, and I was naive enough to believe that the big American media outlets were interested in telling the truth," he said, before explaining his disillusion. In January 2004, he sent "all the papers" in his country an article about an apparent case of torture, accompanied by photos of the marks left on a man by electric shocks and by a copy of the medical report written by the doctors of an American prison in Kirkuk. That document seemed suggestive that the doctors had been complicit in the abuse.

"No media published the article and not one thought it worth conducting its own investigation," Mr. Jamail recounts. That was four months before the Abu Ghraib scandal exploded.

Today, Dahr Jamail collaborates with many media outlets, including The Guardian and the BBC, as well as Internet news sites. Mr. Jamail believes that the violence would immediately decrease if American troops withdrew from Iraq. In this regard, he cites the statistics of the Iraqi Minister of Health, according to whom two thirds of civilian deaths are directly or indirectly attributable to the presence of foreign forces. (In January, the minister in question reported that terrorist attacks had caused 1233 civilian deaths and military operations, 2041, during the second half of 2004. Then the minister clarified that the second number included victims from American-British as well as insurgent fire, without specifying the proportions.)

"The news we hear in the United States makes us believe that only car bombs kill people," the journalist deems.

"Most civilian deaths are explained by bombings and by gunfire at check points," he continues. "American soldiers find themselves in a horrible position, like in Vietnam. They don't know who's going to attack them, or when."

At present, military operations take place principally in the vast Sunni-majority province of al-Ambar and in the "triangle of death" south of Baghdad.

In this latter region, the Shiite militia of Moktada Sadr fights alongside the (primarily Sunni) resistance, ever since it was attacked by another Shiite militia, the Badr organization, the armed wing of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution, which is associated with the coalition in power. A situation that induces Dahr Jamail to comment that we are witnessing "a civil war sponsored by the government."

"Ironically, the United States is dealing with a pro-Iranian government that they are losing control over and its Iran-trained militia," he adds.

Translation: t r u t h o u t French language correspondent Leslie Thatcher.

Anti-Bush Protests Mark Re-Election Anniversary: Watch VIDEO Report from Los Angeles

t r u t h o u t | 11.03

Go directly to our issues page:

Anti-Bush Protests Mark Re-Election
To mark the one-year anniversary of President Bush's re-election Wednesday, a group called The World Can't Wait staged rallies at sites across the United States, calling for radical change in Washington. TO was in Los Angeles and San Francisco. To view a video report from Los Angeles, go to We will post a video report from San Francisco in the coming days as well.

Libby Pleads Not Guilty in CIA Leak Case
Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff pleaded not guilty Thursday in the CIA leak scandal, marking the start of what could be a long road to a trial in which Cheney and other top Bush administration officials could be summoned to testify.

Second Judge Ousted in DeLay Trial
Two days after US Rep. Tom DeLay won a fight to get a new judge in his case, prosecutors on Thursday succeeded in ousting the Republican jurist responsible for selecting the new judge.

US Senate Backs Oil Drilling in Alaskan Refuge
The US Senate on Thursday voted to allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, barely rejecting a Democratic-led attempt to strike the controversial plan from a budget bill.

Confessions of a Marine, by Jean-Paul Mari


By Jean-Paul Mari
Le Nouvel Observateur -- Read original article in French here

Thursday 27 October 2005 edition

Iraq: The story no American publisher wanted.

In a just-published book, Master-Sergeant Jimmy Massey tells about his mission to recruit for, then fight in, the war in Iraq. He tells why he killed. And cracked.

Jimmy Massey is 34 years old. He's originally a Texas boy, raised as a good Southern Baptist who loves squirrel hunting with his air rifle. After 12 years in the Marines, Jim is a broken man, a veteran afflicted with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, a depressive hooked on his medications, haunted by the nightmare images in which he massacres innocent civilians, scenes experienced in Iraq when he was nothing but a killing machine. Jim has cracked, has withdrawn from the service for medical reasons, and has written a raw and brutal book. Telling the life of a Marine of today, revealing "how he talks, how he thinks, how he fucks, and how he kills." The army denies the facts and his former comrades have insulted, rejected, and threatened him. His testimony ulcerates Neo-Conservative America and shocks the politically correct. In the United States, no publishing house has dared to publish his manuscript. Extracts follow.

The Recruiter

When you're a recruiter, you have to learn fast. And I rapidly learned that if I wanted to keep my job, I couldn't allow myself to have any scruples.

I went to public schools every day where I was able to contact young people easily. I had already been given a list of all the students, with their phone numbers. So I really didn't need the 2002 law - the No Child Left Behind Act 1 - which stipulates that any high school receiving federal funds must furnish military recruitment officers with the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of its students. [...] As usual, I said to myself, "I'm going to get them, those fuckheads," since, you must understand, a recruiter has only one thing in his head if he wants to pay his rent: landing contracts. [...]

One day in 2000, I was with my warrant officer in the cafeteria of a little local university. Chief Warrant Officer Dalhouse rushed over to me, saying "Hey! Chief-Sergeant, I'd like to introduce you to Timmy." I lifted my head towards Timmy to discover ... a retard! Two hundred and ten pounds of muscles, the features and the speech of a retard. Upset, I looked at my new boss and asked him: "Are you shitting me?" He firmly replied: "No, Chief-Sergeant, you are going to interview this guy. He is seriously thinking about joining the Marines."

[...] Timmy was short and massive; he wore blue jeans, work boots, and a T-shirt in the Andrews High School football team colors. He reminded me of the Lenny character from Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men." He seriously wanted to sign up with the Marines; it was obvious. [...] "Now, let's talk about your handicap. I know it's been harder for you than the average person and you've already shown a lot of self-confidence by overcoming your disability." Timmy lowered his eyes; I saw he was a little embarrassed. Then he raised his head, his eyes glistening with tears, and in a trembling voice, answered: "You're right, Sergeant, it's been really hard for me. Once, when I was new, the other guys locked me in a closet. They shoved me around and insulted me. I was so angry I knocked down the closet door." "- Timmy, no one will ever bother you again. The Corps will help you acquire all the self-confidence you'll need to overcome the obstacles you could encounter in the course of your life." He sent me a look full of gratitude. [...]

When a kid told me he had taken Ecstasy, here's the sort of conversation we'd have: "Listen, guy, are you sure it was really Ecstasy? Maybe it was Doliprane." When I said that, I'd nod my head up and down. "Yeah, I'm not sure, in fact." "So you think it was Doliprane?" still nodding my head. "Yeah, it was Doliprane." [...]

The War in Iraq

"You call that pacification? I've got a problem with it," I said in a nauseated voice. "My friend, you've gotta get a grip. If you keep making waves, they'll judge you as a war criminal."

We had reached the military site Al-Rashid on an overcast, dark and sinister day. [...] When we stopped, I saw ten Iraqis, about 150 yards away. They were under forty years old, clean and dressed in the traditional white garment. They stayed on the side of the road waving signs and screaming anti-American slogans. [...] That's when I heard a shot pass just over our heads, from right to left. I ran into the middle of the street to see what was happening. I had barely rejoined Schutz when my guys unloaded their weapons on the demonstrators. It only took me three seconds to take aim. I aimed my sights on the center of a demonstrator's body. I breathed in deeply and, as I exhaled, I gently opened my right eye and fired. I watched the bullets hit the demonstrator right in the middle of his chest. My Marines barked: "Come on, little girls! You wanna fight?"

I acquired a new target right away, a demonstrator on all fours who was trying to run away as fast as possible. I quickly aimed for the head; I breathed in deeply, breathed out, and I fired again. One head: boom! Another: boom! The center of a mass in the bull's eye: boom! Another: boom! I kept on until the moment when I saw no more movement from the demonstrators. There was no answering fire. I must have fired at least a dozen times. It all lasted no longer than two and a half minutes.

I know that they had also been shot in the back; some of them were crawling and their white clothes turned red. The M-16's 5.56 is a nasty bullet: it doesn't kill all at once. For example, it can enter the chest and come out at the knee, tearing all the internal organs on the way through. My guys were jumping around in every direction. Taylor and Gaumont hollered: "Come back, babies!" "They don't know how to fight, those cocksuckers! Fucking cowards!" They slapped one another on the back, exchanging "Good job!," but they were frustrated because some demonstrators had succeeded in getting away. I wanted to keep on firing, I kept telling myself: "Good God, there must be more of them." It was like eating the first spoonful of your favorite ice cream. You want more. [...]

Those demonstrators were the first people I killed. [...] That had a hell of an effect on me. What an adrenaline, rush, fuck! Fear becomes a motor. It pushes you. It had more of an impact on me than the best grass I ever smoked. It was as though all those I had ever hated, all the anger that was accumulated in me was there in that being; you feel like you're absorbing life like a cannibal. You're really happy with yourself; you feel really powerful and everything becomes clear. You reach nirvana, like a white luminous space. But after a few hours, you come down from nirvana and find yourself in dark waters; you swim in a pool of mud and the only way to go back to that other feeling is to kill again. [...]

After pulling out at dusk, we heard shots, at least a hundred. Lima Company had opened fire on a vehicle. I learned later that there were three women and a child inside. As far as I know, there was never any inquiry. [...]

Forty-five minutes later, a red Kia Spectra came towards us at around 35 mph. It penetrated the green zone; a few of my Marines let loose a warning round and the sniper fired on the engine, but the damage didn't keep the car from continuing into the red zone. The vehicles installed in the rear immediately opened fire with their 240 Gulfs; we joined in with our M-16s, targeting the car and firing at least 200 rounds at high speed. The KIA stopped in a grating around 25 yards from my Humvee, and my Marines pounced on the vehicle and began to extract the four wounded Iraqis. The occupants, young men tastefully dressed, were bleeding profusely. [...] Six stretcher bearers arrived with stretchers and took them away. The survivor came towards me groaning, a tortured expression covering his face. He looked in the air, his hands raised: "Why did you kill my brother? We didn't do anything to you. We're not terrorists."

I walked away without saying anything to him and sat down inside my vehicle, devastated. I got out when I heard the Marines and the stretcher-bearers bringing the Kia's occupants back to the car. "Fuck, what are you bringing them back for?" "Chief-Sergeant, the chief Medical Officer said he couldn't do anything for them." I looked at the Iraqis, containing my anger with difficulty. They were twisting and groaning, dying by inches and in pain. [...] I couldn't speak. I looked inside the car. Obviously, there were neither weapons nor explosives there. I was more and more disgusted.

The Last Straw

[...] Captain Schmitt came towards me and asked me, very calmly: "Are you OK, Chief-Sergeant? [...]" "- No, Captain. I'm not OK." "- Why not?" I answered without hesitation: "It's a bad day. We killed a lot of innocent civilians." "- No. It's a good day," he retorted in an authoritarian tone. Before I had time to answer, he had already moved away from me with a confident tread.

Today, Jimmy Massey is no longer a Marine. He lives in a little village in North Carolina, spends his time making anti-recruitment visits to schools and militating against the war in the association he founded with five other soldiers: Veterans Against the War.


(*)Kill! Kill! Kill! by Jimmy Massey (with Natasha Saulnier), published by Editions du Panama, 390 p., 22 Euros.

Translation: t r u t h o u t French language correspondent Leslie Thatcher.


t r u t h o u t FOCUS | Truth about Torture
Army Capt. Ian Fishback is plainly a very brave man. Crazy brave, even. Not only has the 26-year-old West Pointer done a tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, he has had the guts to suggest publicly that his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, lied to Congress.

The Washington Post | Vice President for Torture
The Washington Post: Vice President Cheney is aggressively pursuing an initiative that may be unprecedented for an elected official of the executive branch: He is proposing that Congress legally authorize human rights abuses by Americans. He will be remembered as the vice president who campaigned for torture.

Experts Say America Is Losing War on Terror
US terrorism specialists Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon have reached a stark conclusion about the war on terrorism: the United States is losing.

Rumsfeld to Profit from Avian Flu Vaccine

CNN Money
By Nelson D. Schwartz, Fortune Senior Writer

Monday 31 October 2005

Defense Secretary, ex-chairman of flu treatment rights holder, sees portfolio value growing.

New York - The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that's now the most-sought after drug in the world.

Rumsfeld served as Gilead Research's chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million, according to federal financial disclosures filed by Rumsfeld.

The forms don't reveal the exact number of shares Rumsfeld owns, but in the past six months fears of a pandemic and the ensuing scramble for Tamiflu have sent Gilead's stock from $35 to $47. That's made the Pentagon chief, already one of the wealthiest members of the Bush cabinet, at least $1 million richer.

Rumsfeld isn't the only political heavyweight benefiting from demand for Tamiflu, which is manufactured and marketed by Swiss pharma giant Roche. (Gilead receives a royalty from Roche equaling about 10% of sales.) Former Secretary of State George Shultz, who is on Gilead's board, has sold more than $7 million worth of Gilead since the beginning of 2005.

Another board member is the wife of former California Gov. Pete Wilson.

"I don't know of any biotech company that's so politically well-connected," says analyst Andrew McDonald of Think Equity Partners in San Francisco.

What's more, the federal government is emerging as one of the world's biggest customers for Tamiflu. In July, the Pentagon ordered $58 million worth of the treatment for US troops around the world, and Congress is considering a multi-billion dollar purchase. Roche expects 2005 sales for Tamiflu to be about $1 billion, compared with $258 million in 2004.

Rumsfeld recused himself from any decisions involving Gilead when he left Gilead and became Secretary of Defense in early 2001. And late last month, notes a senior Pentagon official, Rumsfeld went even further and had the Pentagon's general counsel issue additional instructions outlining what he could and could not be involved in if there were an avian flu pandemic and the Pentagon had to respond.

As the flu issue heated up early this year, according to the Pentagon official, Rumsfeld considered unloading his entire Gilead stake and sought the advice of the Department of Justice, the SEC and the federal Office of Government Ethics.

Those agencies didn't offer an opinion so Rumsfeld consulted a private securities lawyer, who advised him that it was safer to hold on to the stock and be quite public about his recusal rather than sell and run the risk of being accused of trading on insider information, something Rumsfeld doesn't believe he possesses. So he's keeping his shares for the time being.

News from

CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons
The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to US and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.

DeLay Fighting to Hold Power
Former House majority leader Tom DeLay's efforts to retain power despite his indictment have angered some rank-and-file Republicans, many of whom say his ethical problems and uncertain status are staining them and destabilizing GOP unity

New York Times | Remember That Mushroom Cloud?
If the intelligence was so bad and so moldy, why was it presented to the world as what Mr. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, famously called "a slam-dunk" case?

ACTION: Tell Bush, Congress, Commerce & Treasury: END THE U.S. BLOCKADE OF CUBA!

November 2, 2005

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition




Tell Bush, Congress, and
the Commerce & Treasury Departments:

Next Tuesday, November 8 - in one week -
the United Nations General Assembly will vote for the 14th consecutive year on a resolution to end the blockade of Cuba. As with previous years, the outcome of this vote will undoubtedly be a show of the international opposition that exists to the U.S. blockade.

Historical Voting Pattern: 1992 - 2004

Click on the link below to view a graph that shows the number of votes supporting the resolution demanding an end to the blockade for each year from 1992 until 2004:

In 2004, only 4 countries voted against the resolution and in support of the blockade - the United States, Israel, the Marshall Islands, and Palau - while 179 countries backed the resolution. The 2005 vote will be held on November 8.

Opposition to the blockade is also widespread amongst the people of the United States.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition has set up an easy-to-use mechanism to send a message of opposition to the U.S. blockade of Cuba to the Congressional Representative in your District, Senators in your state, President George W. Bush, Secretary of the Department of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez, and Secretary of the Treasury John William Snow. We have provided a sample letter, but you can customize your message to get your point across. Please take a moment now to send a message to Bush and Congress by clicking here:

* * * * *


The blockade of Cuba is a central part of the 45-year-long war waged by the United States government since the 1959 Cuban Revolution. The U.S. seeks to overthrow the Cuban government and roll the clock back half a century to the days when it dominated the island nation just 90 miles from the coast of Florida.

For all of this time, the blockade has deliberately made it difficult for Cuba to supply people - 70 percent of whom have now been born and lived their entire lives under the blockade - with necessary nourishment and medical supplies. The U.S. blockade of Cuba is an act of economic warfare - the use of food and medicine as a weapon.

The blockade is an act calculated to bring widespread devastation and suffering to the people of Cuba by depriving them of the ability to freely produce and market their goods or to purchase necessities to which they are entitled, including food, medicine, equipment and materials to secure their infrastructure. Despite non-stop attempts by the biggest military and economic power in the world to cripple Cuban society, the people have withstood this assault and the government has used the limited available resources to provide free health care, education, housing, adequate food, and jobs to all of the people, while also sending tens of thousands of doctors and dentists all over the world (as just one example, more than 13,000 currently are working in service of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela).

Additional background information on the blockade:

TAKE ACTION to demand End the U.S. blockade of Cuba!

* * * * *

The National News Agency (AIN) of Cuba covered the launching of the campaign on October 28. The article appeared around Cuba, including in Periodico 26, the newspaper of Las Tunas Province in eastern Cuba.

US Solidarity with Cuba Activists to Launch Campaign Against Blockade

Havana, October 28 (AIN) -
The anti war and racism coalition, ANSWER, proposes to start a campaign by sending letters to Members of Congress, the State Department and White House to demand an end to Washington's economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.

This campaign will begin before the UN General Assembly vote on November 8th on Cuba's Resolution entitled: "Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Blockade of the US Government against Cuba".

The announcement was made during a meeting with Cuba's diplomatic representatives in Washington, D.C. by a large group of activists from diverse solidarity with Cuba groups.

The meeting was aimed at taking a look at the origins, reach and consequences of the blockade against Cuba presented by the head of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, Dagoberto Rodriguez.

During the meeting, representatives of the ANSWER coalition, No War on Cuba and other organizations that form part of the movement denounced the US genocidal policy against the island.

Reverend Lucius Walker recalled with emotion the battles that members of the Pastors for Peace Caravan had to fight in order to offer its solidarity aid to the Cuban people.

The efforts of the solidarity organization to recover the computers and other electronic equipment confiscated by US authorities during their crossing of the border into Mexico of their recent US-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan last July were highlighted.

Recognition was also given to the solidarity group Pastors for Peace for their protests each Wednesday in front of the US State Department to demand an end to the blockade.

National News Agency (AIN)

* * * * *

Read the Report by Cuba on Resolution 59/11 of the United Nations General Assembly: "The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba" from August 15, 2005:

TAKE ACTION to demand End the U.S. blockade of Cuba!

* * * * *

DONATIONS ARE URGENTLY NEEDED to help sustain the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition in its many projects, including building opposition to the war in Iraq, mobilizing against the blockade of Cuba, organizing in support of the Palestinian and Haitian people, and more. It is only because of the generous donations of people who support this work that the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition can continue to provide effective organizing tools for the broader movement for social change. To make a donation on a secure server, click here:

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-533-0417
Los Angeles: 323-464-1636
San Francisco: 415-821-6545

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tomgram: Michael Schwartz on What We Don't See in Iraq

Since Guardian correspondent Rory Carroll was briefly kidnapped in Baghdad and the paper recalled its reporters while it reviewed the situation, there has a lively debate in the English press about the nature and limits of Western reporting in Iraq. Carroll himself, since being freed, has insisted that Iraq remains a story more capable of being covered than most people realize; that even "Green Zone" journalism has a positive side; and that "hotel journalism" is not the essence of what's happening if you're a press journalist:

"When asked about the suggestion that British journalists in Iraq just report from their hotel rooms, Carroll said: ‘I get quite annoyed when that perception is reinforced. For TV crews it is mostly hotel journalism, because they are bulkier and more visible than print people -- they have to travel in big convoys, and their insurance and bureaucratic rules are such that it's a huge deal for them to leave the hotel. The print guys, and this applies to all the other British papers, we get out of the hotel pretty much every day. Our security is contingent entirely on invisibility, which is why we try to blend in.'"

Peter Beaumont, his colleague at the Observer, also believes that reporting on Iraq, while unbearably dangerous, remains "still just possible":

"You learn in large measure to deal with it, adapting your behavior to the different kinds of threat. Many of the men grow beards, the women reporters wear abayas. Traveling around Baghdad, you move ‘low profile' in tatty but well-serviced cars. I take off my glasses as they look too ‘Euro' and wear stripy shirts that look ‘Mansour' -- the fashionable middle-class district of Baghdad."

On the other hand, veteran correspondent Robert Fisk, a man never lacking in reportorial bravery, recently announced that, given the outsized dangers now inherent in the situation, he wasn't sure he could still report from Iraq. He refers to what he now does on his visits to Iraq as "mouse journalism."

"If I go to see someone in any particular location, I give myself 12 minutes, because that is how long I reckon it takes a man with a mobile phone to summon gunmen to the scene in a car. So, after 10 minutes I am out. Don't be greedy. That's what reporting is like in Iraq… One of the delights of the occupying powers is that the journalists cannot move. When I travel outside Baghdad by road it takes me two weeks to plan it, because the roads are infested with insurgents, checkpoints, hooded men and throat-cutters. That's what it's like."

Just the other day, I heard an American freelance correspondent on a panel at Columbia University second Fisk on the sanity of his "12-minute rule." Similarly, the exceedingly brave former war correspondent, Maggie O'Kane recently leveled a blast in the Guardian at Iraqi coverage. Claiming she "lost nerve" in Afghanistan in 2002 after three of her colleagues were pulled from a car and, "in roughly the same amount of time as it takes to boil a kettle," executed by the Taliban, she then commented on present-day Iraq:

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Tomgram: David Cole on John Yoo and the Imperial Presidency

Here is the key passage in Senator John McCain's anti-torture amendment to the 2006 Defense Appropriations Bill (which the Bush administration has threatened to veto if it arrives so amended): "No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment."

Here are the August 2002 words of John Yoo, then-deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice (now a law professor at Berkeley and the author of a new book reviewed below) in his infamous "torture memo" to White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales. After hauling out many dictionaries, Yoo managed to redefine torture in the following pretzled fashion: "must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." Thus, did a junior member of the Bush administration open the legal way for waterboarding in the White House. This is the man who, only two weeks after September 11, wrote a memo to Gonzales' deputy entitled The President's Constitutional Authority to Conduct Military Operations against Terrorists and Nations Supporting Them, which is certainly in the running for the most sweeping claim of unfettered executive power in our nation's history and which laid the (il)legal groundwork for an Iraq war of choice to come. "In the exercise of his plenary power to use military force," Yoo insisted, "the President's decisions are for him alone and are unreviewable."

Over four years later, lobbying for torture is no longer restricted to secret, high-level White House meetings, insider memos from Justice Department lawyers, or little privately scrawled notes from Donald Rumsfeld -- like the one on a November 27, 2002 memo on acceptable interrogation methods: "I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing [as a counter-resistance technique] limited to 4 hours?" Last week, on the torture side of the ledger, Vice President Cheney descended from the imperial heavens to lobby Senator McCain, a man who knows something about torture first-hand, to exempt the CIA (and possibly other secret agencies) from his amendment. According to the New York Times, here is the (tortured) wording of the exemption the Vice President was pushing:

"[The measure] shall not apply with respect to clandestine counterterrorism operations conducted abroad, with respect to terrorists who are not citizens of the United States, that are carried out by an element of the United States government other than the Department of Defense and are consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and treaties to which the United States is a party, if the president determines that such operations are vital to the protection of the United States or its citizens from terrorist attack."

"As for Mr. Cheney," the Washington Post editorial page commented astringently, "[h]e will be remembered as the vice president who campaigned for torture."

Last week, by the way, the ACLU released "an analysis of new and previously released autopsy and death reports of detainees held in U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom died while being interrogated. The documents show that detainees were hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects, subjected to sleep deprivation and to hot and cold environmental conditions… The documents show that detainees died during or after interrogations by Navy Seals, Military Intelligence and ‘OGA' (Other Governmental Agency) -- a term, according to the ACLU, that is commonly used to refer to the CIA." Evidently, this is just everyday life in the world created by Dick Cheney and John Yoo.

As it happened, Cheney was going for the torture trifecta. The Monday after the indictment and resignation of I. Lewis Libby, he announced the appointment of a new vice-presidential chief of staff, his counsel David Addington, a man the Washington Post has identified as "a principal author of the White House memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects. He was a prime advocate of arguments supporting the holding of terrorism suspects without access to courts." These days, it seems, this is nothing short of a qualification for holding high office. After all, the three men who head our new Homeland Security State -- Alberto Gonzales, Michael Chertoff, and Donald Rumsfeld (Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense) -- were all intimately involved in creating and/or parsing pretzled definitions of torture meant to free our "commander-in-chief" to order more or less anything he wanted done ! to anyone at all out there in the imperium.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.


Monday, October 31, 2005

How We Can and Must Make America Safer [Proposals to the Peace and Justice Movement]

** The proposals in this article written by a fellow peace activist are thought-provoking, valid, and merit serious consideration by everyone in the movement. --- Annamarie

By Phillis Engelbert
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Saturday 29 October 2005

While no one can predict if or when the United States will again come under terrorist attack, the real or perceived threat is omnipresent. The Department of Homeland Security regularly issues yellow (elevated) and orange (high) threat-level warnings. Government officials drive home the point that we are not safe. For instance, on February 6, 2005, CIA Director Porter Goss told the Senate Intelligence Committee, "It may be only a matter of time before al Qaeda or other groups attempt to use chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons. We must focus on that." And Dick Cheney stated on the Jim Lehrer News Hour of May 20, 2002: "The prospect of another attack against the United States is very, very real. It's just as real, in my opinion, as it was September 12.... Not a matter of if, but when."

The specter of another 9-11 event - while frightening for the nation as a whole - holds special significance for the peace movement. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the "left" virtually disappeared. Americans were admonished to "watch what we say" and, by and large, we obeyed. Dissent became an endangered act.

Progressives were vilified, cast as unpatriotic, and practically blamed for the bombings. That attitude has lingered. On March 20, 2004, the one-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, an onlooker at an anti-war demonstration stated in The Ann Arbor News: "9-11 wasn't enough; these people want to see more terrorist attacks on our country? Don't they realize it's better to go get them and hunt them down before they come to us?"

Peace and justice activists have made great strides over the last few years, even in a sometimes-hostile national climate. My own organization, for example, was created post-9/11 and now has an office, paid staff, and some 3,000 supporters. But if another 9/11 were to happen tomorrow, as Bush administration provocation is making more likely, I fear this grassroots momentum, mirrored across the country, could be washed away.

Daniel Ellsberg, former military analyst who released the "Pentagon Papers," warns that the next 9/11 will provide the Bush administration with the opportunity to put in place legislation so draconian it will make the Patriot Act look like the Bill of Rights. Ellsberg also warns that the administration may take another terrorist attack as a green light for attacking Iran.

What will happen to peace activists and our organizations in such a climate? Will our members become afraid to associate with us? Will our support wither away? Will our organizations survive? And if they don't, who will be the voice of peace and diplomacy in response to an attack? Who will stand up to the government crackdown on civil liberties?

I propose that we act pre-emptively by emphasizing our role as the "safety people" - the people concerned with making America safer. Part of that role involves continually asking the question: "Is the Bush administration making you safer?" The answer that follows, of course, is: "No. The administration's bellicose, arrogant, and incompetent policies - exemplified by torture at Abu Ghraib, the war in Iraq, the roundup of Middle Eastern men in the US, and the indefinite detentions at Guantanamo - are providing fuel for future terrorist attacks."

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, delivered a forceful criticism of Bush's disaster-preparedness policy in the New York Times on October 21, 2005. "If something comes along that is truly serious, truly serious," stated Wilkerson, "something like a nuclear weapon going off in a major American city, or something like a major pandemic, you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to the Declaration of Independence."

In addition to critiquing the Bush administration's policies, it's incumbent upon us to advocate a strategy of national security through international cooperation. The first step therein is to replace military tactics in the "War on Terror" with diplomatic ones. US military action in the Middle East - especially the war in Iraq - only serves to inflame anti-Americanism and recruit more people to the terrorists' cause. An alternative to using force is to rely on international law to resolve international disputes. We must press our government to become a signatory to the International Criminal Court - the body that would have the authority to bring to justice those who commit or are conspiring to commit terrorist attacks.

Key to any Middle East diplomacy effort is a peaceful resolution to the Israel/Palestine conflict. The US must become a key player in an international coalition that presses for an end to the cycle of violence and for a negotiated solution allowing Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace and security. Essential steps to peace include an end to the Israeli occupation and the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

Another step in the plan to make America safer is to expose and oppose government cronyism. We must insist that qualified people be appointed to leadership positions in agencies charged with protecting our security, health, and well-being. Point out that we need smart protective and preventive health initiatives - not military options - for dealing with the bird flu threat. By the same token, our officials must take prudent measures to protect sensitive and vulnerable elements of our infrastructure, such as the food and water supply, communications and electrical systems, and nuclear power plants.

We must also address American people's fears about weapons of mass destruction - fears ratcheted up by the Bush administration. Insist that the government respond to the threat by strengthening international verification procedures on biological and chemical weapons, such as the Convention on Biological and Toxic Weapons. At the same time, press for an end to the development, testing, and production of nuclear warheads, including so-called low-level nuclear weapons such as "bunker busters."

We must not overlook the common-sensical step of increasing humanitarian, educational, and developmental assistance at home and abroad. Lack of adequate funding for domestic health, education, and nutrition programs is a serious threat to the well-being of Americans and to "homeland security." These problems are magnified in the world's poorest nations, such as Afghanistan - home to the Taliban. The Bush administration compromises our security by skimping on humanitarian aid (while it liberally sprinkles military aid) and by using promises of aid to coerce foreign leaders into supporting unpopular American military actions.

My final recommendation pertains to human rights. The United States cannot torture prisoners abroad and deny prisoners at home due process and basic civil liberties if it hopes to earn the respect of the international community. Rather, our nation must uphold the same standards of human rights and civil liberties that we demand of other countries.

As progressives, we must begin discussions about how to protect our movement from being silenced in the event of another 9-11. If the peace movement is able to define itself as an advocate for a safer America, perhaps we won't be such easy scapegoats should another terrorist attack occur. Our long-term survival depends on our ability to present solid alternatives - now.

Phillis Engelbert is the Executive Director of Michigan Peaceworks.

[Sept.24 March in Washington DC]Photo Essay: History Repeating Itself

Photo Essay Today: Mon October, 31 2005

March in Washington, September 24, 2005. Photo by Elaine Briere. Click to view:
Gallery for 'History Repeating Itself'

At the march in Washington, I saw passion, determination and sanity.
By Elaine Briere
Published: October 27, 2005

By 11:00am on September 24, people were pouring into downtown Washington D.C. from every direction, waving banners and holding signs. Over the loudspeaker we could hear the voices of the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Cindy Sheeham who were speaking at the rally on the Ellipse. The dense throngs of people made it impossible for us to make our way over there. The marchers were anxious to begin, but our departure was delayed again and again. On this weekend of all weekends, the City had chosen to repair Washington's metro lines, so the subway was only working at half capacity. Each train that came in was full to overflowing and still the people kept coming.

I'm a Canadian and must admit I often hold a negative view of Americans but this on this day I admired them tremendously. Here were hundreds of thousands of people who came from great distances, many at great expense, to take over their capital for three days and show to themselves and to the world that the Bush administration is acting against them and their values. The connections between war, poverty and ignorance were clearly expressed. Something like sanity prevailed in Washington that weekend and I was happy to be part of it.

Click here to read rest of the essay and view the poignant, stirring pictures in Elaine's photo gallery.

A Patriot Crashes the Party, by Tamara Dietrich

Published October 29 2005
By Tamara Dietrich

The most patriotic element of George Bush's speech in Norfolk on Friday morning wasn't the flags on the big "Strategy for Victory" sign behind the podium.

It wasn't the backdrop bleachers artfully decorated with warm bodies in military uniforms.

It was the moment early on when a man stood up in Chrysler Hall, yanked open his shirt to expose his "Dump Bush" T-shirt in full view of shocked members of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network seated nearby and cried, "War is terrorism! Torture is terrorism!" before he was hustled out by security people.

"That was me," says Tom Palumbo, anti-war activist and, now, presidential party-crasher. "I think maybe he heard me. I know he looked befuddled."

So ... Bush's cone of silence can be cracked.

An "invitation-only," meticulously scripted, rah-rah presidential appearance can be infiltrated by a lone punman who thinks it's that important for our tone-deaf leader to "hear the other side."

How did a noisy peacenik like Palumbo make it past security? Simple, he says: "I had a ticket."

He got it by calling Rep. Thelma Drake's office, which referred him to the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, which had invited Bush to speak. The chamber gave Palumbo a ticket, no questions asked.

"Why wouldn't they give it to me, let me ask you?" Palumbo says - a fair question in a democracy constitutionally committed to free and vigorous debate at all levels of government.

In a real American democracy, whenever the president speechifies to the public, the doors would be flung open to all citizens.

True, those citizens might be X-rayed and frisked, but they wouldn't be vetted according to their personal or political views first.

But it's not so fair a question in this new age of fear-mongering - an age excruciatingly laid out in Bush's warmed-over speech about how radical Islamism is this generation's Communism, or the Red Scare of the 21st century.

Bush has used this speech several times in the past month, with no sense of irony or appreciation that the Red Scare unbridled also gave us Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn, the loyalty oath, the blacklist, duck-and-cover, backyard bomb shelters, mass hysteria masquerading as patriotism and civil liberties in a stranglehold.

Certainly terrorism is a threat. So is a pandemic. So is smoking. So is poverty, environmental ravages, federal disaster relief as oxymoron, corporate excesses, indicted White House aides and the public's confidence in its own chief public servant in free fall. These threats, however, got no mention Friday.

Instead, we heard about Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Even about Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. About "facing a radical ideology with unalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world."

About "exposed and disrupted 'nucular' programs" and "cold-blooded contempt for human life." About the "rage of killers" and "evil men who want to use horrendous weapons against us ... working in deadly earnest to gain them."


Bush also berated tyrants who "seek to end dissent in every form," which brings us back to Palumbo.

After Palumbo exposed his politics in Chrysler Hall, Secret Service agents grabbed him by the arms and shoulders and escorted him outside. He didn't resist. They didn't force the issue.

They turned him over to local police, who asked who he was, what he said and how he got his ticket. He was fully prepared for arrest, but the police saw no need. Before they let him go, they took his picture. "I smiled," Palumbo says, "and gave them the peace sign."

The man is too savvy to believe Bush's speech would have been anything but what it was.

But he insists that if Bush "had said we were bringing the troops home, I wouldn't have said anything. If he'd said, 'We're funding our schools,' I would've stood up and given him a standing O."

Instead, he says, the speech was the same old "fear-based mentality."

"And if we're operating out of fear," Palumbo says, "all we're going to do is shoot into the dark."

Friday was the first time he's breached the white tower. Even if he was thrown out on his activism, he counts it a success.

"Absolutely," Palumbo says. "He's delusional if he believes that the American people support him in this venture. If it takes a citizen like me to stand up ... If we didn't throw teabags off the ship, we'd still be under British rule."

Funny how our George can makes us nostalgic for that George, and wonder if it's too late to get those tea bags back.

Tamara Dietrich can be reached at

** Note: This article from the DailyPress was republished here with the kind, explicit permission of the author and the publication. --- Annamarie

Letter from Amnesty International: 'The School for Human Rights'

I have received this inspiring, uplifting letter from Amnesty International USA about the new School for Human Rights. Starting such a school was the concept of a human rights educator, who approached the letter's writer about it. After embarking on a long journey of hard work, interminably long days and problems, their efforts became reality. This innovative educational approach would uphold and celebrate the rights and dignity of all members of the school community by bringing human rights to teachers, and parents as well as to students. New generations would be educated in the knowledge of, engaged with, and inspired by human rights, which is infused in the curriculum and culture of the school. Hopefully, this educational approach will be an inspiration to activities in classrooms everywhere. A focus on human rights through education is the way to a more just society and a better future.

In order to provide the full information about this school including links, pictures and interviews with teachers and students, I am reposting the letter in its entirety. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did. --- Annamarie

October 2005

Dear Annamarie,

From when I began to write this letter to today, I cannot believe what has happened in the Gulf Coast. There are too many points of anger, frustration, helplessness, and utter sadness. I am sure that many of you have already engaged in some kind of response. But as schools across the country open their doors to a new year – some to new and unexpected students, many students certainly to new schools – I hope that we continue to reach out and provide whatever support we can. The rights and dignity of those that have lost so much is at stake…

The School for Human Rights
In the summer of 2003, a fellow human rights educator contacted me about the possibility of starting a school for human rights. Without a moment’s hesitation, we started on a journey that would occupy many nights and weekends, phone calls and e-mails, broken water pipes and deadlines, meetings and meetings and meetings. In the end, a group of individuals became a team and the dream of a school of and for human rights became a reality.

In navigating this process, we worked with New Visions for Public Schools. The support and guidance offered by New Visions was amazing. For any new small schools, turning an idea, a philosophy, an educational approach into a school - with teachers and schedules and the many things that go into running a school is a big undertaking to say the least.

We started with this; a school that would bring all that we knew about human rights education and human rights more generally to one place. This school would bring human rights to life for the teachers, the parents, the community, the administrators and most importantly, the students. The school would be academically rigorous, have team teaching, and would welcome students from 6 – 12 grades. Parents would have a place too. We would welcome the community to become a part of the school – community viewed as global and local.

Our students would succeed, our parents would feel welcomed and the human rights community would have many things to celebrate – the rights and dignity of all members of our school community would be utmost as we educated a new generation; knowledgeable of, informed and inspired by and engaged with human rights

We imagined all of this…and year one…

The School for Human Rights is a place where human rights education is infused in the curriculum and the culture of the school. There are many ways in which this happens on a daily basis. Through the series of articles and reflections included in this issue of Article 26, we hope to give you a glimpse of this. We also hope to inspire activities in your classroom and hear about human rights programs that are working in your school.

In the first article, Felisa Tibbitts, Executive Director of HREA, the Lead Partner at the School for Human Rights, discusses the school-based approach to human rights education. In the second section, the Principal, teachers and students reflect on their first year at the School for Human Rights and what human rights education means to them. In the third section, you will read about some of the classroom lessons and extra-curricular activities that we did during year one at the school. The last link is to an article about what you can do to support the School and how to contact us.

I hope you enjoy reading about our school . . .


What it Means to Have a “School-Based Approach to Human Rights Education” and a “Human Rights-based Approach to Schooling”
There are two articles in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that mention education directly. Article 28 defines education as a right and Article 29 comments that education should assist the child in developing her or his “personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential.” Another purpose of schools, according to the convention, is to develop respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. We know one thing: to truly understand and promote human rights, one has to live them out in relation to others.
» Read more

Kevin Dotson, Principal
Kevin Dotson, Principal of the School for Human Rights, wrote this letter to the SHR student's parents. This letter was mailed to parents at end of June to celebrate success, recognize challenges, and inspire continued learning through the summer.
» Read more


Interview with Social Studies Teacher

This is an excerpt of an interview with Latoya Massey, 9th Grade Social Studies that Felisa Tibbitts, Executive Director of Human Rights Education Associates, conducted on June 20, 2005. Latoya reflects on what it means to be teaching in a human rights school and some of the challenges she and her student’s face.
» Read more

Reflection from English Teacher
Paula Lettiere, 4th year English Language Arts (ELA) teacher, reflects on year one at the School for Human Rights.
» Read more

Interview with Math Teacher
This is an excerpt of an interview that Felisa Tibbitts, Executive Director of Human Rights Education Associates (HREA), conducted with Gretel Uicker, high school mathematics teacher, on June 23, 2005.
» Read more


What Made your First Year at the School for Human Rights Special?

Well, when I came to this school I learned new things about New York because I am from a different country. I met new teachers and heard new accents and met new people from different countries.
» Read more

What Did You Learn about Human Rights?
I learned that you should treat all people equally. It doesn’t matter their color or stuff like that.
» Read more


A Reflection on the Election Day/ Dia de los Muertos Celebration

On November 1, All Saints Day, and the eve of the 2004 presidential elections, twenty-seven sixth graders form the School for Human Rights (SHR) took to the streets outside of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall to remind their fellow citizens to take a stand and vote. The following video captures some of the highlights of the day’s performance, which combined traditional elements celebrating El Dia del los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) with traditions of political street theatre and activism.
» Read more

Report on School for Human Rights’ School-Wide Event- May 6, 2005 Yom Hashoah and Celebration of the Emergence of the Human Rights Movement
The staff of the School for Human Rights chose Yom Hashoah for a school-wide event. It was decided that the morning would be a commemoration of the Holocaust and that the afternoon would be a celebration of the human rights movement that emerged from shadow of the Second World War.
» Read more

Report on School For Human Rights Short Film Festival
The short film festival was conceived of as a way to infuse human right learning into the school day.
» Read more

Report on Student Participation in the Human Rights Monitoring Workshop
In March 2005, students from the School for Human Rights participated in a Human Rights Education Associates workshop on human rights monitoring. The student’s participation was successful on all accounts. This report summarizes what the objectives of having students participate in the adult workshop were and provides a short summary of what went on in the preparatory meetings, the day’s event and what follow-up will be.
» Read more

The School for Human Rights Skateboard Club
The School for Human Rights Skateboard Club was formed to encourage students to arrive to school on time and to engage less academically inclined students in an organized school-based activity. Skateboarding is also great exercise.
» Read more

Reflection on the Creative Writing Camping Trip
To help motivate students to achieve in their classes, improve their attendance, and dedicate time to community service, teachers organized a competition that ran over the course of the year. The prize was a scholarship to attend a 3-day camping trip at the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC).
» Read more

Photomontage in the Spirit of Romare Bearden
Romare Bearden (1911-1988) is considered one of the most accomplished Black American artists of the 20th Century. From the 1930’s- 1960’s Bearden worked as a social worker in with the NYC Department of Social Services. He pursued his artwork in the evenings, and much of his work contained within it, the humanity and spirit of the people he encountered on a daily basis.
» Read more

Project-Based Learning in Math Class: Budget Project Teacher and Write-up
The budget project was originally intended to give the children a sense of what their parents were going through in managing their households. Many of the students didn’t have a concrete understanding of money and the daily expenditures that occur in daily life.
» Read more

Spanish Classes
The School for Human Rights will offer Spanish Language courses from 6th through 12th grade, to expose students to different cultures through foreign language study, to improve their understanding of grammar, and to meet the foreign language requirement.
» Read more

Interdisciplinary 6th Grade Unit on Japanese Culture and Japanese-American History
On June 27, 2004, sixth grade students from the School for Human Rights completed a unit of study about Japan and Japanese culture by hosting a tea ceremony for their teachers and peers.
» Read more


How You Can Support SHR
As this issue of Article 26 makes clear, the year-one accomplishments of the School for Human Rights have been wonderful: human rights lessons infused in all subject areas, extra-curricular activities that support human rights learning, above city average attendance rates, high levels of student engagement, and kids who are intensely proud of their school.
» Read more

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