Thursday, September 30, 2004

Full Transcript of the Debate 9/30/04

The debate and the SPIN!!

Didn't anyone else see what I saw? How are people saying Bush makes them feel safe? He isn't sure of anything, seemed fumbling, afraid, and redundant. Kerry may not look like a cowboy or the guy next door--but I want a president --not a buddy!
I'm getting e-mail about the debate tonight..and I plan to post it ALL.

ADC Warnings, Smear Campaigns, WSJ Reporter, Iraq Groups

Postings from Nabil Al-Tikriti

There is much inforamtion here, and the postings are long, but read on:
1) ADC Warning #1 [This is how it starts -- don't say

you didn't know]:

ADC Update:
Know Your Rights Information

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
has confirmed reports that FBI agents are contacting
Arab and Muslim Americans, including citizens, for
what has again been described as voluntary interviews.
The FBI has communicated information about the latest
initiative directly to ADC.

ADC would like to remind members of the Arab, Muslim,
and Arab-American communities that equal protection
and due process rights are afforded to everyone,
including non-citizens, in the United States. ADC
urges anyone who is contacted by the FBI to contact
the ADC Legal Department and provide details of
the incident by calling (202) 244-2990, sending a fax
to (202) 244-3196, or via email to

ADC offers the following guidelines to anyone who is
contacted by the FBI or other law enforcement
agencies. Please see other valuable information
included below.

1) Make sure an attorney is present at all times
during any voluntary interview the person may choose
to attend. It is important to note that everything you
say to an FBI agent or other law enforcement
representative is recorded, nothing is ‘off the
record,’ including immigration status.

2) The interviewee may determine the date, time,
location of the interview, and who may attend the
interview, including an interpreter if needed. The FBI
is required to provide an interpreter if requested.

3) Bear in mind that all such interviews are
completely voluntary and that no one is obligated to
volunteer to speak with an FBI agent or other law
enforcement representative or answer any questions
without a court-approved document.

4) The interviewee has absolute discretion as to what
questions to answer in such a voluntary interview. For
example, one may choose to answer questions
about their neighborhood and yet refuse to answer any
questions regarding their immigration status. However,
anything and everything you say during these
voluntary interviews is ‘on the record.’

Upon request, ADC will do its best to provide third
party observers, in cases where potential interviewees
would want such additional safeguards. Additional
useful "Know Your Rights" information can be found on
the ADC website at:

For helpful information from the ACLU, please click
the link below:

The National Lawyers Guild has also created know your
rights information in a
number of languages, for English see:
For an Arabic version, please see:

2) ADC Warning #2 [This one seems suspiciously like
pre-election harassment -- and note that the Census
Bureau provided BICE with all the zip code breakdown
information last month...]

ADC Press Release/Action Alert:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Plans
Immigration Sweeps

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
has confirmed through federal government sources that
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has
initiated, or soon will initiate, specific enforcement
actions in major metropolitan areas prior to the
November 2nd Presidential election. This new ICE
initiative is supposedly separate from the recent ADC
alert about the voluntary interviews being conducted
by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI.)
However, ADC has confirmed that ICE's enforcement
action is in fact, being carried out in conjunction
with the FBI's latest initiative.

The ICE initiative consists of a stepped up effort to
arrest a number of non-citizens whose immigration
paperwork is “out of status.” While ADC encourages and
supports all measures to enhance our nation’s
security, ADC is troubled by the idea that immigration
sweeps are being portrayed as successes in
the war on terror. To date it is unclear whether the
ICE initiative will be selectively carried out against
Arabs and Muslims. ADC reiterates its strong
objection to any selective enforcement initiative that
is based solely on race, national origin, or religion.

Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) and ICE have failed to reach out to community
leaders to communicate this matter or to address our
concerns. This initiative damages efforts made at
cooperating with the Arab-American community. ADC has
actively worked to build bridges with multiple
levels of law enforcement and the community through
its successful national Law Enforcement Outreach
Program (LEOP) and the ADC Michigan office's outreach
program BRIDGES.

Furthermore, ADC, which is nonpartisan, hopes this ICE
initiative will not be perceived by the community as
intimidation to US citizens who may be relatives
of those subjected to the enforcement action and may
inhibit these citizens from voting, especially those
newly registered to vote.

ADC suggests you contact the White House and the
Department of Homeland Security to relay your concern
and opposition to this new ICE initiative.

You may write to them online, via ADC website:

If you prefer to call, contact information is listed

ICE National Headquarters
Tel: 202-514-2648
Fax: 202-307-1918

White House
Tel: 202-456-1111
Fax: 202-456-2461

3) This is an appeal sent by an Iraqi to personal
friends in Europe following an overnight raid of his
house by US soldiers:

Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 2:33 PM
Subject: They attacked my house

This is the new Democracy in Iraq ..
Dear Dear friend ,

I do not know what to do .. yesterday at 1 : 00 Am at
morning .. group of the Americans ..cross the fence of
my house in Baghdad ..trying to smash the main door of
the house inorder to enter , while my family sleeping
.. my father thought that they are thives ( actually
they r ),then they ordered him to open the door
threatening him to kill him ..he asked them for any
papers but they refused and pointed the gun toward him
. he opened the door then the catughed him from his
head and put the pistol in his head and dragged him to
my sisters room and also they draged them and then
they took them to the roof of the house then they
started to humilate my father under the eyes of my
sisters then when he asked them for the cause they did
not answer him and start beting him and he is old man
65 year old ..he told them if u came for my son my son
went out .. then they gave my father a gun and told
him if ur courage kill ur self now ( imagine how they
are sick ..then the neibours called the police when 5
cars of the police came they said we can not do any
thing they r the Americans ..nobodythey kept him till
the 6 : at morning ..then when the people of the area
start making protest against then they laft the house
this is the new democrasy ..
they think that they will shut up our mouths ..No ever

with my best regards

Dr. Salam T. Ismael
General secretary
Doctors for Iraq Society

4) WSJ Reporter's Real Eyewitness Report of Iraq:

WSJ reporter confirms authenticity of her letter to
friends about horrific conditions in Iraq
Farnaz Fassihi, a Wall Street Journal correspondent in
Iraq, confirmed that a widely-redistributed letter she
emailed to friends about the nightmarish situation in
Iraq was indeed written by her. Too bad the WSJ
doesn't allow this reporter to write these kinds of
stories for the paper.


Being a foreign correspondent in Baghdad these days is
like being under virtual house arrest. Forget about
the reasons that lured me to this job: a chance to see
the world, explore the exotic, meet new people in far
away lands, discover their ways and tell stories that
could make a difference.

Little by little, day-by-day, being based in Iraq has
defied all those reasons. I am house bound. I leave
when I have a very good reason to and a scheduled
interview. I avoid going to people's homes and never
walk in the streets. I can't go grocery shopping any
more, can't eat in restaurants, can't strike a
conversation with strangers, can't look for stories,
can't drive in any thing but a full armored car, can't
go to scenes of breaking news stories, can't be stuck
in traffic, can't speak English outside, can't take a
road trip, can't say I'm an American, can't linger at
checkpoints, can't be curious about what people are
saying, doing, feeling. And can't and can't.

There has been one too many close calls, including a
car bomb so near our house that it blew out all the
windows. So now my most pressing concern every day is
not to write a kick-ass story but to stay alive and
make sure our Iraqi employees stay alive. In Baghdad I
am a security personnel first, a reporter second.

It's hard to pinpoint when the turning point exactly
began. Was it April when the Fallujah fell out of the
grasp of the Americans? Was it when Moqtada and Jish
Mahdi declared war on the U.S. military? Was it when
Sadr City, home to ten percent of Iraq's population,
became a nightly battlefield for the Americans? Or was
it when the insurgency began spreading from isolated
pockets in the Sunni triangle to include most of Iraq?
Despite President Bush's rosy assessments, Iraq
remains a disaster. If under Saddam it was a potential
threat, under the Americans it has been transformed to
imminent and active threat, a foreign policy failure
bound to haunt the United States for decades to come.

Iraqis like to call this mess the situation. ÊWhen
asked how are things? they reply: the situation is
very bad.

What they mean by situation is this: the Iraqi
government doesn't control most Iraqi cities, there
are several car bombs going off each day around the
country killing and injuring scores of innocent
people, the country's roads are becoming impassable
and littered by hundreds of landmines and explosive
devices aimed to kill American soldiers, there are
assassinations, kidnappings and beheadings. The
situation, basically, means a raging barbaric guerilla

In four days, 110 people died and over 300 got injured
in Baghdad alone. The numbers are so shocking that the
ministry of health, which was attempting an exercise
of public transparency by releasing the numbers-- has
now stopped disclosing them.

Insurgents now attack Americans 87 times a day.

A friend drove thru the Shiite slum of Sadr City
yesterday. He said young men were openly placing
improvised explosive devices into the ground. They
melt a shallow hole into the asphalt, dig the
explosive, cover it with dirt and put an old tire or
plastic can over it to signal to the locals this is
booby-trapped. He said on the main roads of Sadr City,
there were a dozen landmines per every ten yards. His
car snaked and swirled to avoid driving over them.
Behind the walls sits an angry Iraqi ready to detonate
them as soon as an American convoy gets near. This is
in Shiite land, the population that was supposed to
love America for liberating Iraq.

For journalists the significant turning point came
with the wave of abduction and kidnappings. Only two
weeks ago we felt safe around Baghdad because
foreigners were being abducted on the roads and
highways between towns. Then came a frantic phone call
from a journalist female friend at 11 p.m. telling me
two Italian women had been abducted from their homes
in broad daylight. Then the two Americans, who got
beheaded this week and the Brit, were abducted from
their homes in a residential neighborhood. They were
supplying the entire block with round the clock
electricity from their generator to win friends. The
abductors grabbed one of them at 6 a.m. when he came
out to switch on the generator; his beheaded body was
thrown back near the neighborhoods. The insurgency, we
are told, is rampant with no signs of calming down. If
any thing, it is growing stronger, organized and more
sophisticated every day. The various elements within
it -- baathists, criminals, nationalists and Al Qaeda
-- are cooperating and coordinating.

I went to an emergency meeting for foreign
correspondents with the military and embassy to
discuss the kidnappings. We were somberly told our
fate would largely depend on where we were in the
kidnapping chain once it was determined we were
missing. ÊHere is how it goes: criminal gangs grab you
and sell you up to Baathists in Fallujah, who will in
turn sell you to Al Qaeda. In turn, cash and weapons
flow the other way from Al Qaeda to the Baathisst to
the criminals. My friend Georges, the French
journalist snatched on the road to Najaf, has been
missing for a month with no word on release or whether
he is still alive.

America's last hope for a quick exit? The Iraqi police
and National Guard units we are spending billions of
dollars to train. The cops are being murdered by the
dozens every dayÜover 700 to date -- and the
insurgents are infiltrating their ranks. The problem
is so serious that the U.S. military has allocated $6
million dollars to buy out 30,000 cops they just
trained to get rid of them quietly.

As for reconstruction: firstly it's so unsafe for
foreigners to operate that almost all projects have
come to a halt. After two years, of the $18 billion
Congress appropriated for Iraq reconstruction only
about $1 billion or so has been spent and a chuck has
now been reallocated for improving security, a sign of
just how bad things are going here.

Oil dreams? Insurgents disrupt oil flow routinely as a
result of sabotage and oil prices have hit record high
of $49 a barrel.

Who did this war exactly benefit? Was it worth it? Are
we safer because Saddam is holed up and Al Qaeda is
running around in Iraq?

Iraqis say that thanks to America they got freedom in
exchange for insecurity. Guess what? They say they'd
take security over freedom any day, even if it means
having a dictator ruler.

I heard an educated Iraqi say today that if Saddam
Hussein were allowed to run for elections he would get
the majority of the vote. This is truly sad.

Then I went to see an Iraqi scholar this week to talk
to him about elections here. He has been trying to
educate the public on the importance of voting. He
said, "President Bush wanted to turn Iraq into a
democracy that would be an example for the Middle
East. Forget about democracy, forget about being a
model for the region, we have to salvage Iraq before
all is lost."

One could argue that Iraq is already lost beyond
salvation. For those of us on the ground it's hard to
imagine what if any thing could salvage it from its
violent downward spiral.

The genie of terrorism, chaos and mayhem has been
unleashed onto this country as a result of American
mistakes and it can't be put back into a bottle.

The Iraqi government is talking about having elections
in three months while half of the country remains a no
go zone -- out of the hands of the government and the
Americans and out of reach of journalists. In the
other half, the disenchanted population is too
terrified to show up at polling stations. The Sunnis
have already said they'd boycott elections, leaving
the stage open for polarized government of Kurds and
Shiites that will not be deemed as legitimate and will
most certainly lead to civil war.

I asked a 28-year-old engineer if he and his family
would participate in the Iraqi elections since it was
the first time Iraqis could to some degree elect a
leadership. His response summed it all: "Go and vote
and risk being blown into pieces or followed by the
insurgents and murdered for cooperating with the
Americans? For what? To practice democracy? ÊAre you

5) This is part of a smear campaign, designed to blame
Iraqis for the destruction of their cultural heritage
following the US invasion. This article will be
responded to in the next week, with the goal of
forcing The Atlantic to print a retraction. I know
this story -- and three of the individuals smeared --
personally, and may personally answer this smear job


The Thieves of Baghdad

Everyone knows about the looting of Iraq's museums
during last year's war. What almost no one knows is
that most of the museums' holdings had been stolen and
sold years before—and not by mobs of Iraqis off the
street .......

by Lauren Sandler


6) Here is the second of two smear articles to appear
as part of the campaign:

Daniel Pipes weighs into the discussion of the
destruction of cultural property in Iraq with:

Blame Iraqis For The Pillage

"Who's to blame for the destruction of Iraqi museums,
libraries, and archives, amounting to what the New
York Times calls "one of the greatest cultural
disasters in recent Middle Eastern history"?

6) An Inventory of Iraqi Resistance Groups
"Who Kills Hostages in Iraq?"
By Samir Haddad and Mazin Ghazi
Al Zawra (Baghdad)
September 19, 2004
(FBIS Translated Text)

US soldiers guard the wreckage of a military armored
vehicle destroyed by the Iraqi resistance. In Iraq,
the issues are even more confused now than they were
before. This happened after an armed group abducted
two French journalists, and threatened to kill them if
France did not rescind the law banning religious
symbols at schools, including the veil, and another
group abducted two Italian women in Baghdad. The
issues became even more confused when a third group
killed 12 Nepalese workers, claiming that they were
serving the US forces.

It is our duty now to clarify the picture with regard
to who targets civilians and foreigners, who abducts
hostages indiscriminately, and who makes the US
occupation and its soldiers his main preoccupation.
After the fall of Baghdad into the hands of the
Anglo-American occupation on 9 April 2003, as a
natural reaction, several sectors of Iraqi society
confronted the occupation. Resistance cells were
formed, the majority of which were of Islamic Sunni
and pan-Arab tendencies. These cells started in the
shape of scattered groups, without a unifying bond to
bind them together.

These groups and small cells started to grow
gradually, until they matured to some extent and
acquired a clear personality that had its own
political and military weight. Then they stated to
pursue combining themselves into larger groups.
The majority of these groups do not know their
leadership, the sources of their financing, or who
provides them with weapons. However, the huge amounts
of weapons, which the Saddam Husayn regime left
behind, are undoubtedly one of the main sources for
arming these groups. These weapons include mortars,
RPGs, hand grenades, Kalashnikovs, and light weapons.
Their intellectual tendencies are usually described as
a mixture of Islamic and pan-Arab ideas that agree on
the need to put an end to the US presence in Iraq.
These groups have common denominators, the most
important of which perhaps are focusing on killing US
soldiers, rejecting the abductions and the killing of
hostages, rejecting the attacks on Iraqi policemen,
and respecting the beliefs of other religions. There
is no compulsion to convert to Islam, this stems from
their Islamic creed, their reading of the
jurisprudence texts and historical events, and their
respect for the directives and appeals of the Islamic
organizations and religious dignitaries.

These groups believe the Iraqis are divided into two
categories. One category -- the majority - is against
the occupation, and the other -- the minority -- is on
the side of the occupation. The resistance considers
those who reject the occupation, whatever their
description might be, to be on its side. The
resistance considers those who are on the side of the
occupation to be as spies and traitors who do not
deserve to remain on Iraqi territory, and hence they
should be liquidated.

As for their view of the political parties, it depends
on the stance of these parties toward the occupation.
If these parties are dealing with the United States on
the basis that it is an occupation force that should
be evicted and that Iraq should be liberated from any
military occupation or constrictions, and if these
parties choose to deal with the United States and to
engage in political action within this context, then
these parties are free to continue with their efforts.
Moreover, in general, these groups do not target the
political powers that deal, but do not cooperate with
the United States within the political framework
established by the occupation.

The following is a review of the resistance groups and
the armed groups in Iraq:

First, the main Sunni resistance groups that primarily
target the US occupation:
1. The Iraqi National Islamic Resistance, "The 1920
Revolution Brigades:"
-- It emerged for the first time on 16 July 2003. Its
declared aim is to liberate Iraqi territory from
foreign military and political occupation and to
establish a liberated and independent Iraqi state on
Islamic bases. It launches armed attacks against the
US forces. The attacks primarily are concentrated in
the area west of Baghdad, in the regions of
Abu-Ghurayb, Khan Dari, and Al-Fallujah. It has other
activities in the governorates of Ninwi, Diyali, and
Al-Anbar. The group usually takes into consideration
the opinions of a number of Sunni authorities in Iraq.

-- The group's statements, in which it claims
responsibility for its operations against the US
occupation, are usually distributed at the gates of
the mosques after the Friday prayers.
-- A recent statement issued by the group on 19 August
2004 explained that the group, during the period
between 27 July and 7 August 2004, carried out an
average of 10 operations every day, which resulted in
the deaths of dozens of US soldiers and the
destruction of dozens of US armored vehicles.
-- The most prominent operations of the group during
that period were the shooting down of a helicopter in
the Abu-Ghurayb region by the Al-Zubayr Bin-al-Awwam
Brigade on 1 August 2004, and the shooting down of a
Chinook helicopter in the Al-Nu'aymiyah region, near
Al-Fallujah, by the Martyr Nur-al-Din Brigade on 9
August 2004.

2. The National Front for the Liberation of Iraq:
-- The front includes 10 resistance groups. It was
formed days after the occupation of Iraq in April
2003. It consists of nationalists and Islamists. Its
activities are concentrated in Arbil and Karkuk in
northern Iraq; in Al-Fallujah, Samarra, and Tikrit in
central Iraq, and in Basra and Babil Governorates in
the south, in addition to Diyali Governorate in the
-- Generally speaking, its activities are considered
smaller than those of the 1920 Revolution Brigades.

3. The Iraqi Resistance Islamic Front, 'JAMI':
The front is the newest Sunni resistance group to
fight the US occupation. It includes a number of small
resistance factions that formed a coalition. Its
political and jihad program stems from a jurisprudence
viewpoint that allows it to fight the occupiers. Its
activities against the occupation forces are
concentrated in the two governorates of Ninwi and
Diyali. It announced its existence for the first time
on 30 May 2004.
In its statements, JAMI warns against the Jewish
conspiracies in Iraq.
According to statements issued by the front, JAMI's
military wing, the Salah-al-Din and Sayf-Allah
al-Maslul Brigades, has carried out dozens of
operations against the US occupation forces. The most
prominent of these operations were in Ninwi
Governorate. These operations included the shelling of
the occupation command headquarters and the semi-daily
shelling of the Mosul airport. Further more, JAMI
targets the members of US intelligence and kills them
in the Al-Faysaliyah area in Mosul and also in the
governorate of Diyali, where the front's Al-Rantisi
Brigade sniped a US soldier and used mortars to shell
Al-Faris Airport.

4. Other Small Factions:
There are other factions that claim responsibility for
some limited military operations against the US
forces. However, some of these factions have joined
larger brigades that are more active and more
experienced in fighting. These factions include:

Hamzah Faction: A Sunni group that appeared for the
first time on 10 October 2003 in Al-Fallujah and
called for the release of a local shaykh known as
Shaykh Jamal Nidal, who was arrested by the US forces.
There is no other information available about this

Iraqi Liberation Army: The first appearance of this
group was on 15 July 2003. It warned the foreign
countries against sending troops to Iraq and pledged
to attack those troops if they were sent.
Awakening and Holy War: A group of Arab Sunni
mujahidin. It is active in Al-Fallujah. It filmed an
operation on videotape and sent the tape to Iranian
television on 7 July 2003. On the tape, the group said
that Saddam and the United States were two sides of
the same coin. The group said that it carried out
operations against the US occupation in Al-Fallujah
and other cities.

The White Banners: A group of local Arab Sunni
mujahidin that is active in the Sunni triangle and
probably in other areas. Originally, they were opposed
to Saddam Husayn, and in alliance with the Muslim
Youths and Muhammad's Army. The group criticized the
bombing of the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad. So far,
there is no information about their operations.

Al-Haqq Army: There is not much information about this
group, apart from that it consists of Arab Sunni
Muslims, it has some nationalistic tendencies, and it
is not loyal to Saddam.

5. Ba'thist Factions:
These factions are loyal to the Ba'th Party and the
previous regime of Saddam Husayn. They do not
constitute a proportion of the actual resistance in
Iraq. Their activities are more or less restricted to
financing of resistance operations. The factions that
still exist secretly in the Iraqi arena include:
Al-Awdah (The Return): This faction is concentrated in
northern Iraq -- Samarra, Tikrit, Al-Dur, and Mosul.
It consists of members of the former intelligence

Saddam's Fedayeen: The faction was formed by the
Saddam regime before the US invasion. Now, it is
rumored that many of its members have abandoned their
loyalty to Saddam and have joined Islamic and national
groups on the side of the 11 September Revolutionary
Group and the Serpent's Head Movement.
Second, Shiite resistance against the occupation:
Al-Sadr group: The Al-Mahdi Army is considered the
only militia experiment to emerge after the
occupation. In July 2003, Shiite leader Muqtada
al-Sadr announced the formation of the Al-Mahdi Army,
but not as a force directed against the occupation.
Within a short period, Al-Sadr gathered between 10,000
and 15,000 well-trained youths, the majority of whom
were from the poor of the Al-Sadr City, Al-Shu'lah,
and the southern cities.
Recent events -- starting with the closure of
Al-Sadr's Al-Hawzah newspaper in March 2004; the
arrest of Al-Sadr assistant Mustafa al-Ya'qubi against
a background of suspicions about his involvement in
the killing of Imam Abd-al-Majid al-Khu'i, and crowned
with the writ to arrest Muqtada al-Sadr in April on
charges of assassinating Al-Khu'i inside the
Al-Haydari mosque in Al-Najaf on 10 April 2003 --
placed the Al-Mahdi Army in confrontation with the
occupation forces in Baghdad and the southern

The greatest confrontation between this militia and
the occupation forces erupted in Al-Najaf in August
2004. The confrontation continued for nearly three
weeks, and it ended with the signing of a cease-fire
agreement between the two sides. The observers believe
that these confrontations bestowed upon the Al-Sadr
tendency the mark of an armed resistance to the

Imam Ali Bin-Abi-Talib Jihadi Brigades: This Shiite
group appeared for the first time on 12 October 2003.
It vowed to kill the soldiers of any country sending
its troops to support the coalition forces, and
threatened to transfer the battleground to the
territories of such countries if they were to send
troops. The group also threatened to assassinate all
the members of the Interim Governing Council and any
Iraqi cooperating with the coalition forces. The group
also announced that Al-Najaf and Karbala were the
battlegrounds in which it would target the US forces.

Third: Factions that adopt abductions and killing:
In addition to the groups resisting occupation, other
armed groups have emerged and resorted to operations
of abducting and killing foreigners as a method, in
their opinion, that would terrorize the enemy and as a
political pressure card to achieve their specific
demands. This was what happened when Philippine
President Gloria Macapagol-Arroyo decided to withdraw
the Philippine forces acting under US command in Iraq
after the abduction of her compatriot Angelo del Cruz
on 7 July 2004 and his release at a later time.
The most prominent of these groups are:

Assadullah Brigades: The brigades said in a statement,
number 50, "The mujahid is entitled to capture any
infidel that enters Iraq, whether he works for a
construction company or in any other job, because he
could be warrior, and the mujahid has the right to
kill him or take him as a prisoner."
The activities of this group are concentrated in
Baghdad and its suburbs. The group detained the third
most senior diplomat at the Egyptian Embassy to Iraq,
Muhammad Mamduh Hilmi Qutb, in July 2004 in response
to statements by Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif,
who announced that Egypt was prepared to offer its
security expertise to the interim Iraqi Government.
The diplomat was released after nearly a week.
Islamic Retaliation Movement: One of the movements
that adopt the course of abductions. It abducted the
US Marine of Lebanese origin, Wasif Ali Hassun, on 19
July 2004, and then released him.

Islamic Anger Brigades: The group that abducted 15
Lebanese in June 2004 and then released them, with the
exception of Husayn Ulayyan, an employee of a
communications company, whom it killed.
Khalid-Bin-al-Walid Brigades and Iraq's Martyrs
Brigades: They are believed to be the ones who
abducted Italian journalist Enzo Bladoni in August
2004 and killed him.

The Black Banners Group: A battalion of the Secret
Islamic Army. The group abducted three Indians, two
Kenyans, and an Egyptian working for a Kuwaiti company
operating in Iraq. The aim was to compel the company
to stop its activities in Iraq. The hostages were
later released.

The Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi Group.

The Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad Group.

The Islamic Army in Iraq: A secret organization that
adopts the ideology of Al-Qa'ida. The organization
abducted Iranian Consul Feredion Jahani and the two
French journalists, Georges Malbrunot and Christian

Ansar al-Sunnah Movement: The movement abducted 12
Nepalese on 23 August 2004 and killed them.
The last four groups are clearly intellectually close
to the beliefs and thinking of Al-Qa'ida Organization
and its leader, Usama Bin Ladin.
The first case of slaughter was that of US national
Nicholas Berg in May 2004, and the Abu-Mus'ab
al-Zarqawi group claimed responsibility for it.
After that, the Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad Group killed
South Korean Kim Il, who was working for a Korean
company providing the US Army with military

Following that, the operations of abducting hostages
cascaded in Iraq. Some of the hostages were
slaughtered, and others were released. And the
phenomenon came to the surface.
The total number of hostages killed so far is: two
Italians, two US nationals, two Pakistanis, one
Egyptian, one Turk, one Lebanese, one Bulgarian, one
South Korean, and 12 Nepalese.

(Description of Source: Baghdad Al-Zawra in
Arabic--Weekly published by the Iraqi Journalists

7) New Kerry Film, advertised by Move-On:

On Friday, an exciting new movie hits theaters -- one
that has the power to change the way we see John Kerry
forever. Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry is
a beautiful and inspiring portrait of Kerry and
Vietnam, but it's bigger than that: it's a gripping,
powerful film about how our country wrestles with war.
It's vivid without being confrontational -- a
political movie you can bring your Republican uncle to
-- and it has received great reviews from some of the
nation's top film critics. You've got to see it.

You can check out the trailer online at:

2 Excellent and Relevant Essays

1. What Women Want

By Rose Aguilar, AlterNet. Posted September 30, 2004.

"Contrary to the media babble about 'security moms,' the issues most important to women voters are also John Kerry's greatest strengths."
NOW other women are speaking up about the stereotypical way we are being described by the media....Read more:

2. From Business Week-- at least 1 Wall Street expert is voting for Kerry.
This essay is very specific and answers questions about the economy, cost of healthcare, etc. very frankly--sometimes saying outright--I don't know who would be better on this issue. Read on:

One Vote for Kerry on Wall Street
Citing Bush's record as the worst for stocks in 60 years, strategist Peter Cohan thinks the Democrat would be a better bet

On the evidence of history, a President John Kerry might be better for the economy and the market than George W. Bush has been. Such is the view of Peter S. Cohan, author and president of Peter S. Cohan & Associates.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

PBS: dispatched from a Small Planet:Election 2004

PBS has instituted a great blog/website that registers the views, concerns, and facts from the rest of the wolrd about our US election. Seldom do we self-centered Americans believe our actions impact anyone else but ourselves (as if there is not South or Central America, or Canada). This site records the true voices of real people (from various walks of life), as well as their fears and hopes regarding the serious impact the US elections will have on the World and its citizens.

Postings occur at least every Tuesay, but the debates are being watched carefully by all.
paulette s.


Ball of Confusion

Well, I have to admit I am confused.

I like to believe that I am pretty well informed and fairly well read-- after more than 40 years of reading, following local through international events, and generally caring about what my elected officials do. I have a college and graduate degree, I have made a decent living (though not in the upper middle class tax tables), and I have managed to see my children grow into bright and responsible young adults.

If I can't figure out for sure what is going on in Iraq, Washington, or Louisiana, what do the women with 2 jobs, young children, and a load of laundry do?

I can tell you for sure what is NOT clearing this whole situation up -- petty wrangling over who is reporting what, whose documents are real or not about some war nearly 40 years ago, and the video and audio clips of windsurfing, cowboy jeans, fear mongering, and 9/11 victims standing next to anybody.

I am sick of SPIN and half-truths. Don't tell me my 21 year old son won't be drafted if we stay caught in the quagmire of Iraq without a clear understanding of what we are doing or need to do there! I wrote to friends and schoolmates who went to Vietnam. I was there when they came back to mothers and wives and girlfriends who saw the scars of that confused policy in the physical and emotional trauma that came home with the boys we knew. I know women and men to this day who can't let go of Vietnam its terrible legacy, and I believe that the reason we 50's types can't get it off our minds is that we still aren't sure how or why the war happened to our generation.

As a mother, I don't want my son and daughter and their friends (who are already caught up in this war and in the national debt we are building to pay for it) talking about this war 40 years from now when some new presidential election is trying to figure out who will pay for the mess my generation will obviously leave them.

OK. OK. OK. So what is my point? I can't really say I know. What I know is I am angry. I want the body counts on all sides to stop. I want a president I don't have to question about crony contracts, missing WMD's, and so-called improving economic indicators -- which have indicated nothing to me except that I need to take on extra work to deal with the increased costs of living in the same place I have lived for 15 years.

As 2 sayings go:
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. We won't get fooled again.


Growing Pessimism on Iraq

Doubts Increase Within U.S. Security Agencies
By Dana Priest and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 29, 2004; Page A01

A growing number of career professionals within
national security agencies believe that the situation
in Iraq is much worse, and the path to success
much more tenuous, than is being expressed in public
by top Bush administration officials, according to
former and current government officials and
assessments over the past year by intelligence
officials at the CIA and the departments of State and

Top Secrets --about this Debate --NPR link

Patriot Act, Internet, and Academic Freedom Op-Ed:

Read this if you think universities are a refuge for Liberal or Conservative free speech!

Students being prevented from registering and voting!

Take action to protect the vote in Ohio, where the

Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is trying to refuse
thousands of new voters the right to cast a ballot in
the upcoming election -- based on the weight of the
paper of their application.

The 2004 election is going to be very close -- and
could come down to just a handful of votes in this key

Please sign the Paper Stock Petition today and pass it
on to everyone you know.

[In a related issue to the one presented here,
Fredericksburg, VA's city hall is doing their best to
resist registering Mary Washington students who live
on campus. Students nationwide must organize if they
are ever to hope to have an input on issues that
affect them, like chronically underfunded federal
government student loan support programs.]

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Most Evil Crime --As black Africans are murdered and raped, most Americans are indifferent

READ this and Be the news giver that the American media should be:
Liberty Beat
by Nat Hentoff
The Most Evil Crime
As black Africans are murdered and raped, most Americans are indifferent
September 24th, 2004 6:30 PM

On my last visit to the Darfur area in Sudan, in June, I found a man groaning under a tree. He had been shot in the neck and jaw and left for dead in a pile of corpses. . . . Under the next tree I found a 4-year-old orphan girl caring for her starving 1-year-old brother. And under the tree next to that was a woman whose husband had been killed, along with her 7- and 4-year-old sons, before she was gang-raped and mutilated. —Nicholas D. Kristof The New York Times , September 11

Colin Powell, on September 9, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: "Genocide has been committed in Darfur and . . . the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility, and . . . genocide may still be occurring."

the rest of the story at:

Nat Hentoff on Sudan's Holocaust! READ

The UN Disgraces Itself by Nat Hentoff

Monday, September 27, 2004

I am Woman; Watch me Vote -- My Warning.

Yes, I am one of the targets of both presidential candidates. I am a single woman, a registered independent, and a "likely" voter as the polls would indicate. Furthermore, I live in Louisiana -- a not quite swing state, but not quite taken for granted by Bush either.

What amazes me is that both parties seem to believe I will go willy nilly to the voting machines Nov. 2nd and vote either
1. to "be safe from terrorists and support traditional (i.e. Male values of traditional marriage and pro-life--as if they care about either" or
2. "to help elect the husbands of decent women because they are sensitive types and look pretty."

I am voting for John Kerry, but not for the reasons the Democrats think. I am voting AGAINST George, Dick, and Rummy because they still think I can't tell the difference between truth and fabrication, because they have the sons and daughters of my sisters in a war that is illegal and that has created a more dangerous world than the terrorists could have imagined, and becaue that war seems to be evolving into the greatest nightmare of the 21st century for mothers in the US and throughout the World.

I am voting for John Kerry because I NEED HEALTH INSURANCE, as most of my single women friends of ALL AGES do (divorced, widowed, and not yet married). Again, the current health insurance via a spouse or a low-paying job only reinforces the wage slavery and retro-rights world of the 21st century woman.

I am voting for John Kerry, even though I never had an abortion, because as a college student and young woman I know what happened to unexpectedly pregnant women before Roe vs. Wade: Rich daughters went to Europe and were "relieved" of their problems, while the rest of my friends found back alley "doctors" or tried coathangers to get themselves out of the "immorality" of a pregnancy that most men never had to worry about.

I am voting for John Kerry because my sisters and I need fair wages -- increased minimum wages, full time and part time work with benefits, and most of all -- JOBS. I have never paid taxes only because my salary is barely above the "poverty level" (gee, if only I ever made enough money to have to pay tax or to get one of those elusive tax breaks!).

I am voting for John Kerry because he has bothered to think about the deficit, corporate escapes from taxes, the expensive "Iraq" diversion from the war on terrorism, and our obsession with oil and three car garages.

I am voting for John Kerry because he is concerned about real help for the elderly and the poor, not pseudo "drug card" discounts which have resulted in millions for the drug companies, and no real help for seniors. My mother is one of those seniors, and many of us in the 50's are not just looking out for our own tax breaks, but also worrying about how our parents will afford to stay alive into their seventies, eighties, and beyond.

I am voting for John Kerry in spite of the fact that he is rich, and for Edwards even though he is a trial lawyer. I can't wait for some ideal future when Mother Teresa may resurrect and run for office. I am not perfect, and my president doesn't have to be perfect either. But anyone who becomes my president has to remember who is voting, and why I am voting. Good bye George Bush. Watch out John Kerry.

Women are neither stupid nor silly. We may not be on your "poll radar", and we don't like to answer the survey phone calls at dinner time. But we are here, and we were over a million strong in Washington last spring. We will vote--all of us!

paulette swartzfager

Iraqi woman testifies about prison ordeal --READ

After Abu Ghraib by Luke Harding
Monday September 20, 2004,2763,1308346,00.html

Huda Alazawi was one of the few women held in solitary
in the notorious Iraqi prison. Following her release,
she talks for the first time to Luke Harding about her

Some excerpts from this interview with a wealthy Iraqi businesswoman about her own arrest/torture and the awful truth about the fate of her family indicate the full power of this interview. Please go to the link and read it in its entirety.

"They handcuffed me and blindfolded me and put a piece
of white cloth over my eyes. They bundled me into a
Humvee and took me to a place inside the palace. I was
dumped in a room with a single wooden chair. It was
extremely cold. After five hours they brought my
sister in. I couldn't see anything but I could
recognise her from her crying."

"The cell had no ceiling. It was raining. At
midnight they threw something at my sister's feet. It
was my brother Ayad. He was bleeding from his legs,
knees and forehead. I told my sister: 'Find out if
he's still breathing.' She said: 'No. Nothing.' I
started crying. The next day they took away his body.".......

The US military later issued a death certificate, seen
by the Guardian, citing the cause of death as "cardiac
arrest of unknown etiology"........

Alazawi is reticent about the question of sexual abuse
of Iraqi women but says that neither she nor any of
the other women in Abu Ghraib at the time were
sexually assaulted by US guards. In his subsequent
report into the scandal, however, Major General
Antonio Taquba found that at least one US military
policemen had raped a female inmate inside Abu Ghraib;
a letter smuggled out of the prison by a woman known
only as "Noor", containing allegations of rape, was
found to be entirely accurate. Other witnesses
interviewed by the Guardian have said that US guards
"repeatedly" raped a 14-year-old Iraqi girl who was
held in the block last year. They also said that
guards made several of the women inmates parade naked
in front of male prisoners. .....

Mr. Bush and His 10 Ever-Changing Different Positions

Mr. Bush and His 10 Ever-Changing Different Positions
on Iraq: "A flip and a flop and now just a flop."

By: Michael Moore

Dear Mr. Bush,

I am so confused. Where exactly do you stand on the
issue of Iraq? You, your Dad, Rummy, Condi, Colin, and
Wolfie -- you have all changed your minds so many
times, I am out of breath just trying to keep up with

Which of these 10 positions that you, your family and
your cabinet have taken over the years represents your
CURRENT thinking:
1983-88: WE LOVE SADDAM. On December 19, 1983, Donald
Rumsfeld was sent by your dad and Mr. Reagan to go and
have a friendly meeting with Saddam Hussein, the
dictator of Iraq. Rummy looked so happy in the
picture. Just twelve days after this visit, Saddam
gassed thousands of Iranian troops. Your dad and Rummy
seemed pretty happy with the results because ‘The
Donald R.’ went back to have another chummy hang-out
with Saddam’s right-hand man, Tariq Aziz, just four
months later. All of this resulted in the U.S.
providing credits and loans to Iraq that enabled
Saddam to buy billions of dollars worth of weapons and
chemical agents. The Washington Post reported that
your dad and Reagan let it be known to their Arab
allies that the Reagan/Bush administration wanted Iraq
to win its war with Iran and anyone who helped Saddam
accomplish this was a friend of ours.

1990: WE HATE SADDAM. In 1990, when Saddam invaded
Kuwait, your dad and his defense secretary, Dick
Cheney, decided they didn't like Saddam anymore so
they attacked Iraq and returned Kuwait to its rightful

1991: WE WANT SADDAM TO LIVE. After the war, your dad
and Cheney and Colin Powell told the Shiites to rise
up against Saddam and we would support them. So they
rose up. But then we changed our minds. When the
Shiites rose up against Saddam, the Bush inner circle
changed its mind and decided NOT to help the Shiites.
Thus, they were massacred by Saddam.

1998: WE WANT SADDAM TO DIE. In 1998, Rumsfeld,
Wolfowitz and others, as part of the Project for the
New American Century, wrote an open letter to
President Clinton insisting he invade and topple
Saddam Hussein.

Just three years later, during your debate with Al
Gore in the 2000 election, when asked by the moderator
Jim Lehrer where you stood when it came to using force
for regime change, you turned out to be a downright

“I--I would take the use of force very seriously. I
would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can
be all things to all people in the world. I think
we've got to be very careful when we commit our
troops. The vice president [Al Gore] and I have a
disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in
nation building. I--I would be very careful about
using our troops as nation builders. I believe the
role of the military is to fight and win war and,
therefore, prevent war from happening in the first
place. And so I take my--I take my--my responsibility
seriously.” --October 3, 2000
When you took office in 2001, you sent your Secretary
of State, Colin Powell, and your National Security
Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, in front of the cameras to
assure the American people they need not worry about
Saddam Hussein. Here is what they said:

Powell: “We should constantly be reviewing our
policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to
make sure that they have directed that purpose. That
purpose is every bit as important now as it was 10
years ago when we began it. And frankly, they have
worked. He has not developed any significant
capability with respect to weapons of mass
destruction. He is unable to project conventional
power against his neighbors.” --February 24, 2001

Rice: “But in terms of Saddam Hussein being there,
let's remember that his country is divided, in effect.
He does not control the northern part of his country.
We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces
have not been rebuilt.” --July 29, 2001
Just a few months later, in the hours and days after
the 9/11 tragedy, you had no interest in going after
Osama bin Laden. You wanted only to bomb Iraq and kill
Saddam and you then told all of America we were under
imminent threat because weapons of mass destruction
were coming our way. You led the American people to
believe that Saddam had something to do with Osama and
9/11. Without the UN's sanction, you broke
international law and invaded Iraq.

After no WMDs were found, you changed your mind about
why you said we needed to invade, coming up with a
brand new after-the-fact reason -- we started this war
so we could have regime change, liberate Iraq and give
the Iraqis democracy!

2003: “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!” Yes, everyone saw you
say it -- in costume, no less!

2004: OOPS. MISSION NOT ACCOMPLISHED! Now you call the
Iraq invasion a "catastrophic success." That's what
you called it this month. Over a thousand U.S.
soldiers have died, Iraq is in a state of total chaos
where no one is safe, and you have no clue how to get
us out of there.

Mr. Bush, please tell us -- when will you change your
mind again?

I know you hate the words "flip" and "flop," so I
won't use them both on you. In fact, I'll use just
one: Flop. That is what you are. A huge, colossal
flop. The war is a flop, your advisors and the
"intelligence" they gave you is a flop, and now we are
all a flop to the rest of the world. Flop. Flop. Flop.

And you have the audacity to criticize John Kerry with
what you call the "many positions" he has taken on
Iraq. By my count, he has taken only one: He believed
you. That was his position. You told him and the rest
of congress that Saddam had WMDs. So he -- and the
vast majority of Americans, even those who didn't vote
for you -- believed you. You see, Americans, like John
Kerry, want to live in a country where they can
believe their president.

That was the one, single position John Kerry took. He
didn't support the war, he supported YOU. And YOU let
him and this great country down. And that is why tens
of millions can't wait to get to the polls on Election
Day -- to remove a major, catastrophic flop from our
dear, beloved White House -- to stop all the flipping
you and your men have done, flipping us and the rest
of the world off.

We can't take another minute of it.


Michael Moore

Critical Links to REAL information (Nabil's postings)

1) Alternate realities:

2) Alternate viewpoints:

3) According to the Israeli ynet the US-Israeli media
mogul, Haim Saban, has been trying to take over 50% of
Aljazeera. He started negotiating with the emir of
qatar half a year ago. The negotiations were stopped
after 4 months, as the emir to decided to assess first
the value of the TV station. A spokeperson of the
Saban group told ynet that Saban will consider
renewing the negotiations after the assessment will be

4) On Agenda to split Iraq into constituent parts:
Bush, Marshal Foch and Iran
By Spengler

Washington's strategic position in the Middle East
is stronger than it has ever been, contrary to
superficial interpretation. With much of central
Iraq out of US control and a record level of close
to 100 attacks a day against US forces, President
George W Bush appears on the defensive. The moment
recalls French Marshal Ferdinand Foch's 1914
dispatch from the Marne: "My center is giving way,
my right is in retreat; situation excellent. I shall
attack." To be specific, the United States will in
some form or other attack Iran while it arranges the
division of Iraq.

5) Through the Fog of War in Iraq: Lessons Learned in
Heritage Preservation / Ann Hitchcock
The George Wright Forum 20:4 (2003)

6) An Iraqi's Viewpoint of Allawi's speech before

Baghdad Burning

... I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where
hearts can heal and souls can mend...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

"Graph" Truth

Americans remain eerily unfazed by 12,721 dead innocent Iraquis
--a very serious cartoon. In the style of MAUS and PERSEPOLIS, Sutton tries to wake us up. Read and then forward to everyone!

Bill Moyers’ "Now" program this weekend

This weekend, Bill Moyers’ "Now" program is broadcasting an in-depth report on the exclusivity of the two-party controlled debates, and the efforts to democratize them.

The show typically airs at 9pm on Friday on PBS, but please check local listings because show times vary at:

Also, ABC News will broadcasting a shorter piece on the work of the Citizens Debate Commission on Sunday,
and CNN will be broadcasting an interview with Open Debates’ Executive Director George Farah on Sunday, at 3pm.

Nabil's postings Wednesday, 9/22

1) [Excellent Analysis—I wish I had written it]
The Deeper Significance of Bush’s Slip that We Are Waging a Crusade Against Terror
By James Carroll
Mr. Carroll, a columnist for the Boston Globe, is at work on a television documentary based on his bestselling book, Constantine’s Sword. His latest book is Crusade: Chronicles of an Unjust War.

At the turn of the millennium, the world was braced for terrible things. Most “rational” worries were tied to an anticipated computer glitch, the Y2K problem, and even the most scientifically oriented of people seemed temporarily at the mercy of powerful mythic forces. Imagined hobgoblins leapt from hard drives directly into nightmares. Airlines canceled flights scheduled for the first day of the New Year, citing fears that the computers for the traffic-control system would not work. The calendar as such had not previously been a source of dread, but all at once, time itself held a new danger. As the year 2000 approached, I bought bottled water and extra cans of tuna fish. I even withdrew a large amount of cash from the bank. Friends mocked me, and then admitted to having done similar things. There were no dances-of-death or outbreaks of flagellant cults, but a millennial fever worthy of medieval superstition infected the most secular of cultures. Of course, the mystical date came and went, the computers did fine, airplanes flew and the world went back to normal.

2) Cat Stevens deemed threat to US security:,12271,1310206,00.html

3)Letter From Poland [or how even US’ closest friends would like to flee the sinking ship of Iraq] by David Ost

Western visitors here have often been surprised by Poland’s avid pro-Americanism. For some it’s pleasant surprise: They find none of the anti-American stereotypes common elsewhere in Europe. For others it’s an unpleasant one: What about the victims of America’s imperial power?

4)Forgotten casualties
Mentally scarred by experiences in Iraq, returning US soldiers say the military isn’t giving them the help they deserve, writes Lynn Harris.,14752,1310163,00.html5)

5)Why Dean is Still Relevant
Campaign comes full circle as challenger changes tack on Iraq Simon Tisdall, Wednesday September 22, 2004
The Guardian calls it Howard Dean’s revenge. For when White House hopeful John Kerry finally took the gloves off over Iraq this week, the US presidential campaign came full circle...,13918,1309976,00.html

6)Still no votes in Leipzig.
US policy now affects every citizen on the planet.
So we should all have a say in who gets to the WhiteHouse..
Jonathan Freedland--Wednesday September 22, 2004--The Guardian,14259,1309890,00.html

Posted by Nabil Al-Tikriti

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

First-Hand Reports from the New Orleans Human Rights Group in Palestine

Nablus Eyewitness Report, by Rebecca [part of same

New Orleans-based group referred to at the beginning]:

Because others from Nablus have written excellent
reports on the events that took place yesterday, I
will as usual share with you my personal experience. I
apologize if it's too graphic but I couldn't write
anything less than this.

Update 9.17.04
West Bank, Palestine

"Bodies in the Trees"

On the 16th of September--the birthday of my mother
and fellow activist Phil who returned to the states on
the 15th--I had a very different experience than the
September 16ths I've had for the past 22 years.
Instead of baking a cake for my mother and helping her
blow out the candles, I helped a Palestinian medical
team collect the carnage that resulted in a 3+ hour
early morning attack by Israeli forces
on the Palestinian Resistance. After casually drinking
a cup of Nescafe prepared by my mother in Palestine,
we received the now routine phone call, "Jaesh
(soldiers) are in the city." Only this time instead of
making their presence known in the
Old City or Balata, they picked an area near Rafedia
where they apparently found their "wanted" and
slaughtered them in the night, not allowing anyone in
to recover their bodies. The number of Palestinian men
killed and/or wounded was unclear as we packed up our
gear and made our way to the scene of ambulances and
onlookers at around 11:00 am.

The soldiers occupied at least three houses and the
Mother Theresa convent/center for disabled children.
They confirmed that the area was a closed military
zone when I and two other internationals made our way
into the street but were quickly ordered to move out
by two snipers positioned on the balcony of one
of the occupied houses. There's nothing scarier in the
world then seeing the red light emanating from the
gun, pointing at you. We hesistantly moved back, but
after a few minutes the soldiers partially retreat
into the house and then their Jeeps.
Everyone including the medical team, internationals,
and concerned locals pushed forward down the hill to
the house that was demolished just an hour before. We
were unsure if the bodies of the men suspected dead
were inside or out. I looked into the first window--a
bedroom--and saw a lump like a body under the
blankets. It turned out to be a stage, probably a
result of the soldiers messing with our heads, and we
knew they had been their because there was a blody
bandage on the floor and blood on the carpet. No one
was left in the house, which led us to believe that
small olive grove below was hiding the bodies.
Everyone began jumping down a 10ft drop--men in boots,
women in heels, activists in tennis shoes. All of a
sudden there were screams from those who found
the first body. They quickly picked him up, using
their arms as a stretcher, and shuffled around the
small grove of olive trees trying to find a way out. A
woman beside me screamed at the top of her lungs upon
the sight of him. We tried to keep her from seeing his
mutilated body, but she fought us of with such extreme
force I couldn't believe her power. And then again, I
was stunned when I saw his face but
with no head. His skin flapped down beneath, but their
was no skull, no brain--nothing but blood. And their
was an enormous hole in his neck. The woman
fainted in my arms while I was trying to hold down my
breakfast from that morning. We were nearly trampled
by the crowd that paraded through with the shaheed.

I think that somewhere in the chaos we heard
gunfire--perhaps the shot that killed the 11 year old
girl. I and a German activist walked over to the house
that we discovered was still occupied when I saw a
soldier shuffling the curtains and aiming from the
second floor. All we could do was hollar, "SOLDIERS
CIVILIANS!!!" I have to admit, this was the first day
I really felt fear. I didn't know what to expect or
from where it would come because we weres
surrounded...just like the men who were killed that
morning. Then the screams rang out again. They found
another body. Women lined the top of the dropoff,
squeezing each other's hands and wailing to the skies.
I didn't know what to do with myself other than to
continue looking. Then there was a third. The bodies
were scattered all through the trees and outside at
the entrance to the grove. Everytime I turned around,
someone was holding a piece of the men's flesh.
I've seen this before while in Nablus, but never to
this degree.

After the body of each shaheed was collected,
including the girl who we didn't even know was shot
until later, we moved back up to check on the occupied
houses and convent. When I returned to the home that
was demolished, I found inside a woman,
calm but in her eyes frantic with disbelief. This was
her childhood home that her 85 year old father now
lived in by himself because her mother passed away in
March. He was taken to the hospital immediately after
the soldiers left because of the stress he endured
throughout the morning. By that time he was staying at
a neighbor's house--a doctor's--which was also

At around 3:00 am he began to hear shooting and called
his daughter to tell her it was close. As the minutes
turned, the shooting was directed at his house, or his
house was caught in the crossfire, we're still not
sure. He ran from room to room
in sheer panic. He pleaded for an ambulance, but there
was nothing his daugther could do but tell him to find
a safe place. He finally found refuge in
the bathroom--which was the only room fairly protected
from crossfire. At one point he phoned his daughter
and said, "They are going to kill me." I cannot
imagine ever receiving such a distressed call from my
own parents and couldn't find the words to console her
when she told me this. Throughout the 3 hour clash,
the soldiers apparently entered his home twice to
search for fighters but found nothing.

At around 5:30 am, the Israeli captain occupying the
house next door telephoned the old man and told him to
leave his house. Afraid to go anywhere because of
the crossfire, the man wanted to stay inside. But
according to witnesses the neighboring doctor was sent
in to get him. The doctor was also used as a human
shield when the soldiers ordered him to collect the
guns that belonged to the resistance fighters. Upon
leaving the home by 6:00 am, the Israeli forces began
to demolish the home, including the street and trees
that led up to it. They also plowed through one of the
occupied house's stone fence.

I didn't have the opportunity to meet the old man
because he was still in the hospital the next day when
I met with his daughter a second time. By then, she
and the community nearly finished cleaning the what
was left of the house. While half was lying demolished
on the ground, the other half remained tortured with
bullet and "propulsion units" (as written on the side
of the foot long rockets we found
inside). The kitchen walls were totally shelled with
gunfire, as were the living rooms and the stairwell
that led to the roof. Think of your parents and
grandparents trapped alone in their houses running
around in the dark dodging bullets. How would
this make you feel?

The events of September 16th were, to say the least,
absolutely traumatic...for me, for the families of the
martyrs, for the community, for Nablus, for all of
Palestine. You can't help but feel completely
disempowered when at the end of the day you have to
question whether or not you'll wake up safely the
next--or if you'll even live through it.

For a few days it was relatively quiet in Nablus
itself. The surrounding villages have experienced the
opposite. They've suffered incursions, curfew, and
more. In some place and time, you would call this a
crackdown. But here, it's the daily life of a
Palestinian. They're suffering everything from
occupation to execution, for what? So that Israel,
with the sickening support of the US, can indulge in
the greed of expansion, a concept passed down from the
wonderful democratic government we live under. For
those who haven't been to Palestine or for
those who support the Zionist movement without knowing
what they are supporting, if they could just see
it--this small parcel of land inhabited by a
historically significant but oppressed people slowly
and unjustly being taken away with such extreme
unmatched force--they wouldn't know what to do with
themselves. But I'm beginning to realize that even
some of the people who witness the wrath of the
Israeli Occupation couldn't care less. It's called
evil. And that's something we all need to commit to
changing. The Palestinians are heroic in their ability
to live full lives inspite of this abundant presence
of evil. I just hope that one day they'll be able to
experience life without it.

Know that I'm thinking of you all and am still
continuing my more uplifting work here looking for
support in the cultural heritage center's development.
Take care of each other and continue to spread the
word. Read out a clip about Palestine when you attend
masses or picnics or fancy dinners and remind people
that while they live in extreme luxury in the United
States of America there are people suffering because
of it. I've been feeling so small lately, having to
apologize all the time for being American, but as long
as there are more people out
there like the people I've met here and the people I
work with at home, we don't have to feel so small. In
fact, when I get home, I'm ready to kick some
governmental ass.

Care to join me?

Much love,
Rebecca in Palestine

One Thousand Reasons to Vote Against George Bush

Great information compiled by

Virgins Wanted

Hello all you first time voters.
Yes, you virgins.

Registering to vote is not good enough. You must show up at the polls (and in New Orleans wait until the voting machines arrive whenever that is.) Unfortunately, Louisiana voters last Saturday allowed the State constitution to be amended to define marriage in Louisiana as " only between a man and a woman." That's what happens if we don't speak up and stand up!

Tonight I am joining Rock the Vote and the VOTE DAMMIT tour at the House of Blues to hear Ani Di Franco sing and celebrate what democracy really is. Let's make sure to take 5 others with us to the polls on Nov. 2. This is REAL, not a game we are playing to get into concerts.

For info about requesting absentee ballots, go to:

Monday, September 20, 2004

Link to c-span's video of Kerry Speech!

John Kerry's Speech in New York -- He Rocks!

If you haven't read any of Kerry's position papers (and even if you have), John Kerry has just completed his speech in New York and has taken a specific and strong stand against the Bush administration's bungling of the war in Iraq, the misleading and conflicting Bush/Cheney talk about the war during the past 4 years, and the failures of this administration generally.

Kerry was very specific about what should have been done, what needs to be done NOW, and what he will do. Finally, Kerry gave the kind of speech I have been awaiting. and other online news sites posted reports on this speech BEFORE Kerry gave it, leaving out many critical points he made. I urge you to seek the text of the entire speech (if not an audio/video of it). I will look also and post it here when I find it. This speech should be sent (hopefully in real-player or quicktime) to everyone you know. I take back the charge of douche-itudeness and hope this is not too late. We must push for the debates!


On the potentiality of an American dictatorship:
Can It Happen Here?by Maureen Farrell

In 1935, Sinclair Lewis penned the cautionary tale, It Can’t Happen Here, chronicling the fictional rise of Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, who becomes President against the protests of Franklin D. Roosevelt and America’s saner citizens.

4) Iraqi Activist Interview:
Monday, September 13th, 2004
Iraqi Women's Activist Yanar Mohammed -
"U.S. TroopsHave To Leave Now And We Will Take Care Of Iraq"
As fighting rages across occupied Iraq, we speak with Iraqi women's activist Yanar Mohammed. She is the director of the Organization of Women's Freedom(OWFI), a group that works to stop the atrocities against Iraqi women and defend their rights and is editor in chief of the newspaper Equality in Iraq.
One of the organization's main projects is the development of a battered women's shelter in Baghdad to protect women who are fleeing from violence and "honor killings." (Al-Mousawat).--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This transcript is available free of charge, however donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.Donate - $25, $50, $100, more...
AMY GOODMAN: We are joined right now by YanarMohammed. She is director ofthe Organization of Women's Freedom, a group thatworks to stop atrocitiesagainst Iraqi women. One of the organization's mainprojects is thedevelopment of a battered women's shelter in Baghdadto protect women whoare fleeing from violence and "honor killings." Alsothe editor-in-chief ofThe Equality newspaper. Welcome to Democracy Now!,Yanar.
AMY GOODMAN: After this weekend, one of the bloodiest since the occupation began, can you respond?
YANAR MOHAMMED: We came out with our opinion in Baghdad. We had our demonstration on the fourth of this month, and we said we need safe streets for women. Our recognition of why it's unsecure is because the occupation is still there, the U.S. troops, and that is attracting all sorts of terrorism from all over the world. Now, our cities, our neighborhoods have turned into daily battlefields between the U.S. troops and the military resistance. Women cannot leave their homes for work, for studying,for even the streets have turned into unsafe places because of the inhumane practices against women by the rising Islamism. And it's not safe anymore. That's why we demanded for the immediate leaving of the U.S. troops from Iraq as a prerequisite for any change towards peace. What we se enow happening in Iraq are consecutive failures, one after the other, for the U.S. administration. They just cannot make it work. Whatever government they're bringing is totally rejected by the people, and all kinds o fopposition to it, political opposition and other kind of opposition that's military. Some of it is local, but some of it is coming from abroad. Because of their holy jihad against the Americans, we are paying the price, and Iraqis are being killed by hundreds every day. We think this needs to stop, and there's no way it can stop if the U.S. troops do not leave. Some peoplewould say, "How would you have security if there is no army to protect you?" We tell them there is nothing worse than what we are facing now. Hundreds of innocent civilian sbeing killed every day is something that we don't want to see anymore. U.S.troops have to leave now, immediately. And we will take care of Iraq.
AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Yanar Mohammed, who is a woman's rights advocate in Iraq, has just come from there. As you hear the description of what took place this weekend, both in Baghdad as well as in Tal Afar near the Syrian border. Your father is from there?
YANAR MOHAMMED: My father is originally from Tal Afar, and I heard the reporters saying that they are Turkmen and that Turkey will be taking a role in this, but this is not the right description.Turkmen in Tal Afar are Shiite, and they're more influenced by Iran, and there is rising Islamism in that city[whereas Turkmen from Kirkuk are Sunni--Aseel] . I hear that many of my cousins are being influenced by that rising Islamism, and that's where the insurgent-- I don't want to call it insurgency, we do not like that name in Iraq. Young men want to work to push the American troops out of Iraq, and they are being vulnerable to all of the military resistance that is on the ground. I hear in Tal Afar, Islamism is able to attract many young men into those underground groups. That's why all of these ,let's say, clashes are being done in Tal Afar.
AMY GOODMAN: Why don't you like to use the word"insurgent?"
YANAR MOHAMMED: It is our right to decide. It is the right of people in Iraq to decide our future. And this occupation, it's refused, it's rejected. It's our right to work against it. We do not like the words being imposed on us,descriptions being imposed on us. And I do not,myself, do not -- I do not go for military resistance because they are causing more deaths in the Iraqis than they are in the Americans, but then again,resisting against the occupation is a right for every people.
AMY GOODMAN: Women in Iraq right now, can you describe the situation more specifically?
YANAR MOHAMMED: It has a couple of aspects. First from the American administration's point of view, they have brought liberation. That's whatthey say, but what we have seen is that there is just a makeover. They are pretending that they have brought 25% to the political councils, and they say that we have gained our representation. Those 25%that have reached to the national assembly do not present women's rights. And most of them are not known activists, even within the most reactionary groups. We heard that the outspoken women were not chosen into that national assembly. And, of course, they do not want any representative that wants to achieve equality between men and women or to have a secular situation where women are equal to men. The actual situation on the streets, on the other hand, is being controlled by the Islamic groups. We call them"political Islam," becausethey are imposing their religion on the politica arena. The first result to that is that women have to go back to their homes,they go to the schools.They impose the veil on women, and they are having very in human practicesagainst women. They are threatening to kill women if they don't wear the Islamic dress, and the young girls in the schools are under the daily threat. If they do not succumb to that way of life,they will be punished. So, for us, it's either the American occupation th tis willing to do genocide, or the other alternative is that's political Islam, that will make us live in a completely inhuman and unliberated way of life. The two alternatives do not look good. We think that the progressive forces in Iraq should rise up and do something against this, and we are working for it. We are beginning to make a movement where we are pullin into it civil societ yinstitutions to come up with the third alternative,which is the alternative of freedom of progressive lifestyle, and also the alternative of the workingclass.
AMY GOODMAN: Yanar Mohammed, I want to thank you ver much for being with us, director of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, a group that works to stop human rights abuses against women. Thank you.

To purchase an audio or video copy of this entireprogram, click here forour new online ordering or call 1 (800) 881-2359.Democracy Now with AmyGoodman

Important Links to Very Compelling Essays too important to not read!

The Raid on Medicare By Kelly Hearn, AlterNet. Posted September 20, 2004.

The real cost of the Medicare prescription drug bill is finally emerging: The drug industry gets more than $100 billion in profits, while seniors and taxpayers get the tab.
Earlier this month, the Bush administration announced a 17 percent increase in Medicare premiums, saying the hike was necessary to pay for added services and general increases in expenses. But the news rekindled criticism of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, a.k.a. the "Medicare prescription drug bill." That massive bill – estimated to cost the federal government $534 billion over the next 10 years – essentially means windfall profits for the pharmaceutical industry and substandard benefits for the average senior citizen. What's more, it ties up the government's hands, barring it from negotiating lower drug prices with manufacturers, the way other agencies like Medicaid and Veterans' Affairs do.

BILL MOYERS --tells the truth about Washington pressure/censorship of journalists, about the "rapture ideologues who are controlling Bush, about the worship of secrecy throughout this country

Read this excerpt:
But never has there been an administration like the one in power today – so disciplined in secrecy, so precisely in lockstep in keeping information from the people at large and, in defiance of the Constitution, from their representatives in Congress. The litany is long: The president's chief of staff orders a review that leads to at least 6000 documents being pulled from government websites. The Defense Department bans photos of military caskets being returned to the U.S. To hide the influence of Kenneth Lay, Enron, and other energy moguls, the vice president stonewalls his energy task force records with the help of his duck-hunting pal on the Supreme Court. The CIA adds a new question to its standard employee polygraph exam, asking, "Do you have friends in the media?" There have been more than 1200 presumably terrorist-related arrests and 750 people deported, and no one outside the government knows their names, or how many court docket entries have been erased or never entered. Secret federal court hearings have been held with no public record of when or where or who is being tried.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Habeas Corpus?


Iraqi 'ghost detainees' could number 100 Staff and agencies
Friday September 10, 2004

A US senate committee has been told that up to 100 "ghost detainees" could have been held at the notorious Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq because the CIA did not register all prisoners, it was reported today.,12271,1301714,00.html

1) Diary-style perspective on the recent RepublicanNational Convention:

2) Articles on Iraqi Higher Education Sector:

3) Move-On's "Leave No Voter Behind" Funding Appeal:

Move-On's Latest Ad:

4) ''Russia and its Muslim Population: A BalancingAct'':

5) Latest Report from New Orleans LA PalestineSolidarity Group in West Bank:
Update from Asira Report 9-12-04
by Megan

On the morning on the 10th the Nablus ISM group got a call from Asira, a nearby village, saying that there was curfew and soldiers there. A group of us went through the mountains to see what was going on. On the evening of the 9th, an army hummer was burned to the ground and reportedly 4 soldeirs were injured. The army told this Israeli - Palestinian childrens' group in Asira, that the village would be"punished" for "awhile" because of this. We were told by a contact in Asira, that that night the soldiers harassed a little girl of 10 or 11 and used her as a human shield atop one of their jeeps. The next morning (the 10th) children went to school. We were told that the army has often threatened the school master saying that if they caught any of the students throwing stones there would be repurcussions. Without any evidence that any of the students did anything, the army tear gassed the school yard and started to bulldoze the school walls using an elderly cou ple as ahuman shield. That morning the town's one ambulance was detained from 6:30- 10 when it tried to bring bread into the village.

The army and the checkpoints severly limit the towns already limited medical services. They only have on ambulence and hardly any equipment or trained staff in their medical center and have not recieved much from their appeals to NGOs. When we arrived about mid day, the town was under tight curfew and there were jeeps and APCs patrolling the town and provoking children. Someone told us that the night before offensive comments andnoises were blared from the jeeps. We went around the village to see what the situation was. We helped our contact deliver bread and medicine around the village.

By ten that evening it had seemed that the army had left having suffered another broken down jeep. We were told the next morning that the army had not left, but instead was searching peoples houses all night. That morning children tried to go to school but were sent home. No one could go to the store, pharmacy, or leave town. Again we tried to deliver some bread. We told the soldiers we were hungry schoolteachers looking for bread and juice. I think the soldiers were a little confused about why we were in this remote village teaching English and why we had such a craving for Mango juice. In the afternoon the army pulled out. We left the town through the mountains because the check point was closed to internationals.

As we crossed the mountains, we noticed four Palestinian men being held by four or five soldiers. The soldiers forced one of the Palestinians to bring us back to them. ThePalestinian apologized, "Sorry that i have to do this." The army asked to search our bags, we pulled out some juice and crackers but said they couldnt search our bags cause we had personal products in them and it was ludicrus to think we would have anything dangrous. We did a pretty good job annoying them by saying I cant believe you would treat school teachers like this.

We were able to offer the detained Palestinians some nuts and cigarettes. One of them was hand cuffed. The soldiers made us give them a our ID, but we only gave them copies and they called in to the DCO. S ome of the soldiers wanted us to go over the mountain to be taken away by police jeep. We told them that we wouldn't go because we were all women and they were men with guns and we didn't trust them.

The soldier was like - I'm a soldier in the Isreali army, I wouldnt touch you. We said we still don't trust you and are no tgetting in any jeep with men and that we have to use the toilet. They took us to a house so we could use the toilet. They wanted us to leave our bags with them but we said no, we need our things and don't they have girlfriends or sisters. We didn't get to use the toilet and by then I think they were pretty fed up with us and no police jeep had come. so they let us go back to the village.

At dawn we took a crazy ride in a jeep over the mountains to avoid being caught again by soldeirs. There must be some pretty skilled mechanics here given the beating these cars take. This is the route people have to take to get to the hospital in Nablus

.One lady with diaolosis has to do it 3 or four times aweek. I felt pretty nausious and i am fine. Imagine pregnant women or people with heart conditions. The guy we stayed with in Asira was telling us about the trouble he has getting to work in Nablus, which would be only minutes away. Going through the check point he is often stopped and sent back or held for hours. THe mountain route, or Palestinian rollercoaster as I like to call it, cost him 600 shekels(almost half his salary) a month. He has started riding a bike to work. This can be dangerous but he finds it the best way. He has encouraged others in the villag eto do the same but cant get the bikes to the village from Jerusalem.

Hopefully this will get worked out. Plus some cyclists for peace will be coming through soon. A critical mass bike ride would be cool. Anyway, this guy as really great and does inspiring things for his community. This will be my last night in Nablus. going to a demoin Al Ram tomarrow and then toBeit Inan. Megan

6) Robert Fisk On 9-11's Third Anniversary:

We Should Not Have Allowed 19 Murderers to Change ourWorld By Robert Fisk
The Independent U.K. Saturday 11 September 2004
So, three years after the international crimes against humanity in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania we were bombing Fallujah. Come again? Hands up those who knew the name of Fallujah on 11 September 2001. Or Samarra. Or Ramadi. Or Anbarprovince. Or Amarah. Or Tel Afar, the latest target in our "war on terror'' although most of us would find it hard to locate on a map (look at northern Iraq, findMosul and go one inch to the left). Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive. Three years ago, it was all about Osama bin Laden and al-Qa'ida; then, at about the time of the Enronscandal ­ and I have a New York professor to thankfor spotting the switching point ­ it was Saddamand weapons of mass destruction and 45 minutes andhuman rights abuses in Iraq and, well, the rest ishistory. And now, at last, the Americans admit thatvast areas of Iraq are outside government control. Weare going to have to "liberate" them, all over again. Like we reliberated Najaf and Kufa, "to kill orcapture Muqtada Sadr'', according to Brigadier GeneralMark Kimmitt, and like we lay siege to Fallujah backin April when we claimed, or at least the US Marinesdid, that we were going to eliminate "terrorism'' inthe city. In fact, its local military commander hassince had his head chopped off by the insurgents andFallujah, save for an occasional bloody air raid,remains outside all government control. These past two weeks, I've been learning a lotabout the hatred Iraqis feel towards us. Trowellingback through my reporter's notebooks of the 1990s,I've found page after page of my hand-written evidenceof Iraqi anger; fury at the sanctions which killedhalf a million children, indignation by doctors at ouruse of depleted uranium shells in the 1991 Gulf War(we used them again last year, but let's take thesethings one rage at a time) and deep, abidingresentment towards us, the West. One article I wrotefor The Independent in 1998 asked why Iraqis do nottear us limb from limb, which is what some Iraqis didto the American mercenaries they killed in Fallujahlast April. But we expected to be loved, welcomed, greeted,fêted, embraced by these people. First, we bombardedStone Age Afghanistan and proclaimed it "liberated",then we invaded Iraq to "liberate" Iraqis too.Wouldn't the Shia love us? Didn't we get rid of SaddamHussein? Well, history tells a different story. Wedumped the Sunni Muslim King Feisal on the ShiaMuslims in the 1920s. Then we encouraged them to riseagainst Saddam in 1991, and left them to die inSaddam's torture chambers. And now, we reassembleSaddam's old rascals, their torturers, and put themback in power to "fight terror'', and we lay siege toMuqtada Sadr in Najaf. We all have our memories of 11 September 2001. Iwas on a plane heading for America. And I remember, asthe foreign desk at The Independent told me over theaircraft's satellite phone of each new massacre in theUnited States, how I told the captain, and how thecrew and I prowled the plane to look for possiblesuicide pilots. I think I found about 13; alas, ofcourse, they were all Arabs and completely innocent.But it told me of the new world in which I wassupposed to live. "Them'' and "Us''. In my airline seat, I started to write my storyfor that night's paper. Then I stopped and asked theforeign desk in London ­ by this time the aircraftwas dumping its fuel off Ireland before returning toEurope ­ to connect me to the newspaper'scopytaker, because only by "talking" my story to her,rather than writing it, could I find the words Ineeded. And so I "talked" my report, of folly andbetrayal and lies in the Middle East, of injustice andcruelty and war, so it had come to this. And in the days to come I learnt, too, what thismeant. Merely to ask why the murderers of 11 Septemberhad done their bloody deeds was to befriend"terrorism". Merely to ask what had been in the mindsof the killers was to give them support. Any cop,confronted by any crime, looks for a motive. Butconfronted by an international crime against humanity,we were not to be allowed to seek the motive.America's relations with the Middle East, especiallythe nature of its relationship with Israel, was toremain an unspoken and unquestioned subject. I've come to understand, in the three yearssince, what this means. Don't ask questions. Even whenI was almost killed by a crowd of Afghans in December2001 ­ furious that their relatives had beenkilled in B-52 strikes ­ The Wall Street Journalannounced in a headline that I had "got my due"because I was a "multiculturalist". I still getletters telling me that my mother, Peggy, was AdolfEichmann's daughter. Peggy was in the RAF in 1940, repairing radios ondamaged Spitfires, as I recalled at her funeral in1998. But I also remember, at the service in thechancel of the little stone Kentish church, that Iangrily suggested that if President Bill Clinton hadspent as much money on research into Parkinson'sdisease as he had just spent in firing cruise missilesinto Afghanistan at Osama bin Laden (and it must havebeen the first time Bin Laden's name was uttered inthe precincts of the Church of England) then my motherwould not have been in the wooden box beside me. She missed 11 September 2001 by three years and aday. But there was one thing she would, I feel sure,have agreed with me: That we should not allow 19murderers to change our world. George Bush and TonyBlair are doing their best to make sure the murderersDO change our world. And that is why we are in Iraq.

7) Michael Moore Rebbe With a Cause,by: Rabbi Shmuley BoteachAn Unexpected Conversation with Michael Moore Moore'sanswers to my questions about his stance on Israelwere surprising, but that doesn't excuse thedistortions in his film. Who says that G-d doesn'thave a sense of humor? My regular readers willremember that at the Democratic National Convention, Ifound myself sitting a few feet from the filmmakerMichael Moore. I had been eager to talk with Mooreabout his positions on Israel, since I had readseveral negative comments attributed to him, but whenI tried to speak with him, he turned me away....

8) Appeal for Aid Workers in Iraq:An Appeal for the Release the Italian and Iraqi AidWorkers Abducted in Baghdad: THEY ARE NOT INSTRUMENTSOF THE OCCUPYING FORCESWe are individuals and organizations from around theworld who opposed andcontinue to oppose the occupation of Iraq and we pleadfor the release oftwo Italian and two Iraqi humanitarian workers whowere abducted in Iraqlast September 7, 2004.Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, both Italians, andRa©–ad Ali Abdul Azzizand Mahnoaz Bassam, both Iraqis, are members of UnPonter Per Baghdad(Bridges to Baghdad) an independent Italianhumanitarian organization thathas been working in Iraq since 1992. During theembargo, other humanitarianorganizations refused to operate in Iraq, Bridgesdefied that in the beliefthat the suffering of civilians should not be used asa political bargainingchip.In this occupation, the United States and itscoalition cynically blurredthe distinction between the humanitarian and thepolitical, using aid andrelief as an apparatus for pacifying the Iraqis. As aresult, Iraqis havebecome increasingly and understandably suspicious ofinternationalhumanitarian organizations. Despite the perils causedby this confusion,Bridges consciously decided to continue its operationsin Iraq, convincedthat Iraqis will see through their intentions.Bridges is not an instrument of the Italiangovernment, nor of the US-ledcoalition, to make the occupation more bearable, andtherefore, moreacceptable to the Iraqis. From the very beginning,Bridges has been openAnd consistent with its positions: it opposed theembargo, it opposed theinvasion, and it opposes the occupation. In Italy,Bridges has been aleading critic of the government©–s decision to jointhe US-led coalition.It plays a leading role in the nation-wide movementthat mobilized over amillion Italians to march against the war in February15, 2003, as well asin various demonstrations after. Bridges has also beenvery active in theglobal anti-war movement, maintaining links withvarious anti-warorganizations around the world and playing a key rolein establishing theOccupation Watch Center in Baghdad, a center formonitoring the occupationfounded by anti-war organizations and coalitions fromdifferent countries.Simona Turretta has spent a third of her life forIraq; Simona Pari joinedher in 2003. As chief of Bridges©– in-countryoperations, Simona Turreta hasbeen supervising projects to rehabilitate Iraq©–sdecrepit waterinfrastructure and to repair school buildings. Amongother things, SimonaPari was organizing educational programs for Iraq©–straumatized children.Ra©–ad is an Iraqi engineer who took charge ofBridges©– school projects inBaghdad and Basra. Mahnoaz was involved in the socialprograms. Aside fromthese projects, Bridges has also helped build thecapacity of local Iraqiorganizations to document and report cases of humanrights abuses committedby occupation forces. In April this year, Bridgesorganized a humanitarianconvoy that delivered food, water, blood, and medicineto civilians undersiege in Fallujah. Last month, as US and Iraqi©¯interim government forces©—mounted their offensive in Najaf, Bridges was alsothere, providing aid andassistance to Iraqis caught in the crossfire.Simona, Simona, Ra©–d and Mahnoaz are not enemies ofthe Iraqi people. Theystand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in calling for animmediate end to theoccupation. We appeal to those holding them to releasethem immediately.We also call on the Italian government to immediatelywithdraw itsmembership in the US-led coalition. We call on theUnited States and theremaining members of the coalition to end theoccupation.

SIGNED:As of 8 September, 3 PM GMT[Organizations]Iraq International Occupation Watch CenterAlianza Social Continental (Latin Americano)Campaign Genoa 2001 (Greece)Continental Campaign Against FTAA (Latin AmericanoCode Pink (United States)Global Exchange (United States)Globalize Resistance (United Kingdom)Focus on the Global South (Philippines, Thailand, andIndia)International Civilian Campaign for the Protection ofPalestinians (France)Palestinian Workers UnionStop the War Coalition - GreeceStop the War Coalition - UK(To sign this appeal, please send an e-mail with yourname, organization,country, contact details, to . Please indicateif you wish to sign as an organization or as anindividual. Contact: HerbertDocena +9613164370)

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