The Internet Anti-Fascist: Friday, 25 January 2002
                      Vol. 6, Number 9 (#644)

Action Alerts:
    01) ACLU, "Oppose Attempts to Allow Unchecked Domestic Spying!," 24 Jan
More Anti-Militarist News
    02) Melissa Jameson (War Resisters League), "55 Arrested at US Mission
        to the UN Urging Changes in U.S. Foreign Policy," 22 Jan 02
    03) Editorial: [London] Daily Mirror (London), "Stop This Britality in
        Our Name," 21 Jan 02
    04) Agence France-Presse, "Afghan Victims of US Bombings Demand
        Compensation," 22 Jan 02
    05) Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, "ABC Omits U.S. From Human
        Rights Report," 18 Jan 02
    06) Mumia Abu-Jamal, "The Business Side of Way," 13 Jan 02
Real Political Correctness:
    07) AANews, "Lawsuit Challenges Parking Perks For Sunday Services --
        Minister: Free Parking 'More Important Than Separation Of
        ChurState'," 21 Jan 02



01) Oppose Attempts to Allow Unchecked Domestic Spying!
     24 Jan 02

Attorney General John Ashcroft is reportedly considering a plan to relax
restrictions on the FBI's ability to spy on domestic organizations, a move
that would loosen some of the most fundamental protections against FBI
misconduct and threaten constitutionally protected advocacy of unpopular
ideas and political dissent.

The domestic spying restrictions were originally imposed in the 1970's
after the country learned of the FBI's widespread, unchecked and
politically motivated domestic surveillance of such figures as Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. The FBI's campaign against Dr. King included tactics such
as planting bugs in hotel rooms and threats to release the recordings, all
done without evidence of criminal activity.

Current domestic guidelines already provide broad authority to conduct
investigations, but we must not allow the war on terrorism to permanently
expand unchecked government power.

Take Action!  You can read more about this plan and send a FREE FAX to
Attorney General John Ashcroft from our action alert at:




02) 55 Arrested at US Mission to the UN Urging Changes in U.S. Foreign
     Melissa Jameson (War Resisters League)
     22 Jan 02

Fifty-five people were arrested today on the steps of the U.S. Mission to
the United Nations this morning as they called for a change in US foreign
policy that would continue the legacy of peacemaking begun by Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. In the spirit of King's anti-war stance, the men and women
  occupied the steps of the mission demanding an end to the war in
  Afghanistan and renouncing any expansion of the war.

Tuesday's act of nonviolent civil disobedience was the culmination of a
four-day series of presentations and training reflecting on the life of Dr.

"Dr. King's dream of a just society has yet to be realized. As King said,
'The greatest purveyor of violence is my own country,' said Ceylon Mooney
of Memphis, TN, one of those arrested today. "As I and many others have
seen, this is still true, and our collective conscience calls us to
confront not only the violence committed on behalf of Americans, but also
the institutions committing those acts."

Joining the group on Tuesday morning were Amber and Ryan Amundson, widow
and brother of Craig Scott Amundson, who was killed on September 11 in the
attack on the Pentagon.

"Bush has said that the 'war on terrorism' requires sacrifice from the
American people. The nonviolent protest in front of the US Mission to the
UN is really a frontline battle of the war on terrorism, and the people who
were arrested are showing the sacrifices needed to lead to a true victory
against all forms of terror," said Amundson.

The protest was sponsored by War Resisters League (www.warresisters.org),
Voices in the Wilderness (www.nonviolence.org/vitw/) and Kairos

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03) Stop This Brutality in Our Name
     Editorial: [London] Daily Mirror (London)
     21 Jan 02

This is what is being done in the name of humanity, civilisation and the
British people.

These prisoners are trapped in open cages, manacled hand and foot,
brutalised, tortured and humiliated.

We are assured they are cruel, evil men, though not one has been charged,
let alone convicted, of any offence.

Yet that does not justify the barbaric treatment they are receiving from US
forces. Barbarism which is backed by our Government. Tony Blair says he is
standing shoulder to shoulder with President Bush. Not on our behalf, he

Mr Bush is close to achieving the impossible - losing the sympathy of the
civilised world for what happened in New York and Washington on September

Today he celebrates a year in office. He came to the presidency after a
squalid vote-fix, yet in the aftermath of the destruction of the World
Trade Center, he achieved enormous popularity among the American people.

The treatment of the prisoners in Cuba is no more than a sick attempt to
appeal to the worst red-neck prejudices.

The pictures showing how these men are being abused were actually taken by
an official US photographer.

The President and his head-banging associates are proud of them, proud of
the cruelty inflicted in their name, proud of the vengeance they are

What the American President does is his business. But what our Prime
Minister does is ours.

Tony Blair has played a unique role in the war on terrorism. He persuaded
Mr Bush to calm down in the days immediately after September 11.

He has done more to forge and hold together the great alliance of nations
which is dedicated to ridding the world of terrorism. Today he should be
playing another leading role. He should be telling George W. Bush that the
treatment of the prisoners in Cuba is not acceptable.

If Mr Blair thinks it is, he should have a word with his wife, Cherie. She
is a leading human-rights lawyer.

His Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, said last week that the prisoners should
be treated humanely. They clearly are not. Once again, Mr Straw has failed
to make the slightest impact.

Even if these men had been found guilty, they should not be treated like
this. It is not doing anything to help the war on terrorism. These pictures
will do the opposite - inflame the belief among some young Muslims that
America is their enemy.

Anyway, who are these prisoners? It is said that some may not belong to
Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda at all, but were members of the Taliban.

That was a horrific regime and the Afghani people are delighted to be rid
of it. But it achieved power with the help of the United States and the UK.

Since September 11, America has walked a fine line between fighting for
humanity and lusting after revenge. The treatment of these prisoners shows
how far the balance has tilted the wrong way.

If Mr Bush insists on following this path, the rest of the world should
leave him in no doubt that he walks it alone. And Tony Blair should be
leading the protest.

What is happening at Guantanamo is a disgrace. It must not be done in our
name, Mr Blair.

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04) Afghan Victims of US Bombings Demand Compensation
     Agence France-Presse
     22 Jan 02

Victims of the September 11 terrorist strikes in the United States handed
over compensation claims to US officials here on behalf of Afghan civilians
who lost family or homes in Washington's retaliatory bombing campaign in
Afghanistan. The handover was the culmination of an eight-day visit to
Afghanistan by a group of four Americans who lost family members when
terrorists rammed jetliners into the World Trade Center in New York and the
Pentagon in Washington, killing more than 3,000 people.

Kelly Campbell, 29, whose brother-in-law Craig Amundson was killed in the
Pentagon attack, said the group had met dozens of Afghan victims since they
arrived in the country.

"We've met with people who have lost their loved ones to the US bombing,
we've met children who've lost limbs to US cluster bombs, people whose
homes were destroyed, who have no income, nowhere to go ... and do not know
what to do next," she told reporters.

"The United States government needs to take responsibility for the direct
effect on these people's lives," she added.

"We have looked at pictures of their families, they have looked at pictures
of ours, we have talked with them, we feel the same grief, but they have

"We owe it to them to do what we can to help them rebuild their homes and
give their children health care and an education so they can get on with
their lives."

Among those making a claim was Harafa Ahmad, who lost eight members of her
family when her home was hit by a wayward bomb on November 7.

She told reporters she had arrived on her own at the gates of the embassy
but had been turned away by officials.

"They treated me as a beggar," she said.

The US began waging war in Afghanistan on October 7 to flush out Osama bin
Laden, the Saudi dissident believed to have masterminded the September 11
atrocities, and to help topple the Taliban regime which sheltered him.

The head of the Global Exchange non-governmental organization which
organized the visit, Medea Benjamin, handed over claims from 12 families to
the commanding officer of the US Marines in Kabul, Captain Ferral Sullivan,
at the US embassy here.

She said there had been precedents in Lebanon, Grenada and Panama for
Washington paying compensation to families of people accidently killed in
US bombing campaigns.

The 12 families making the claims, she added, were not angry at the United
States and accepted the bombings of civilians had been unintended. They
were also pleased the campaign had resulted in the Taliban's ouster.

"But they feel they were ... (also) innocent victims of September 11 and
they have such great need and nowhere to turn."

She said one study had indicated that at least 4,000 civilians were killed
in the bombings, which are still continuing, but believed this figure was
vastly underestimated.

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05) ABC Omits U.S. From Human Rights Report
     Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting
     18 Jan 02

On its January 16 broadcast, ABC's World News Tonight aired this brief item
about the annual report released that day by Human Rights Watch:

"The international human rights group Human Rights Watch has released its
annual report, and it says that several countries are using the U.S.-led
war against terrorism as a justification to ignore human rights. Human
Rights Watch says that Russia, Egypt, Israel, China, Zimbabwe, Malaysia and
Uzbekistan have all cracked down on domestic opponents in the name of

That summary is close to what the group's press release stated (1/16/02):
"The anti-terror campaign led by the United States is inspiring
opportunistic attacks on civil liberties around the world, Human Rights
Watch warned in its annual global survey released today."

But one country singled out for criticism by Human Rights Watch was
conspicuously absent from ABC's report: the United States, whose
anti-terrorism measures were described in the group's press release as
"threatening long-held human rights principles."

Among Bush administration actions that were identified as demonstrating a
"troubling disregard for well-established human rights safeguards" were
"new laws permitting the indefinite detention of non-citizens, special
military commissions to try suspected terrorists, the detention of over
1,000 people, and the abrogation of the confidentiality of attorney-client
communications for certain detainees."

While ABC ignored this criticism of the U.S. in favor of pointing fingers
at other countries, the rights report actually drew a connection between
the erosion of human rights standards in the U.S. and overseas. As the
London Guardian reported (1/17/02), "dictators 'need do nothing more than
photocopy' measures introduced by the Bush administration, whose ability to
criticise abuses in other countries was thus deeply compromised, said the
New York-based Human Rights Watch in a devastating 660-page report."

ABC's exclusion of criticism of the U.S. did a disservice to its viewers.
U.S. human rights problems are the ones that are most likely to affect
them, and also those that they are most in a position to do something

ACTION: Please ask ABC to issue a correction to its original report about
the Human Rights Watch Annual Report to reflect the group's criticisms of
the U.S. response to the terrorist attacks of September 11.

ABC's World News Tonight
Phone: 212-456-4040
Fax: 212-456-2795

As always, please remember that your comments are taken more seriously if
you maintain a polite tone. Please cc [EMAIL PROTECTED] with your

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06) The Business Side of Way
     Mumia Abu-Jamal
     13 Jan 02

Long-time readers of this writer will recall the claim that all wars have
an economic interest, and are fought for economic reasons or resources.

Is this so with Afghanistan? On its face, most would not agree.

But, check this out.

Would you believe that important business interests began discussing the
removal of the Taliban, years ago? Or that wealthy oil interests have been
plotting on ways to re-organize the Central Asian region, in order to
exploit the abundant supplies of oil that are in the Caspian Sea area? Or
that the area is also abundant in natural gas reserves?

In early 1998, a major oil executive for the Unocal Corporation, a Mr. John
J. Maresca, Vice-President of the company, gave a briefing to a House
subcommittee on International Relations. In his remarks, we see the reasons
for U.S. industrial interest in the area -- a pipeline:

"One obvious potential route south would be across Iran. However, this
option is foreclosed for American companies because of U.S. sanctions
legislation. The only other possible route option is across Afghanistan,
which has its own unique challenges. The country has been involved in
bitter warfare for almost two decades. The territory across which the
pipeline would extend is controlled by most other nations. From the outset,
we have made it clear that construction of our proposed pipeline cannot
begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of
governments, lenders, and our company." ["A New Silk Road: Proposed
Petroleum Pipeline in Afghanistan", Monthly Review, Dec. 2001, pp. 32-3]

Unocal noted that other industrial powers are interested in the proposed
oil pipeline, including Japan. Their interests are their own -- their
national, and international economies.

Did Unocal negotiate with the now-accursed Taliban?

Well, they say they haven't, but they also say that they have.

Again, the words of Vice-President Maresca are important indications of how
Unocal did its business:

"Although Unocal has not negotiated with any one group, and does not favor
any group, we have had contacts with and briefings for all of them. We know
that the different factions in Afghanistan understand the importance of the
pipeline project for their country, and have expressed their support of
it." [p. 33]

In the halls of government, and in the meeting places of big business,
powerful people carve up the world according to their own interests.

Wars are declared, and thousands are slain, for the enrichment and the
well-being of the few.

War is more than the instrument of big business; it is big business.


It's from the rightwing authoritarians and always has been

07) Lawsuit Challenges Parking Perks For Sunday Services -- Minister: Free
        Parking 'More Important Than Separation Of ChurState'
     21 Jan 02

A California man has filed a lawsuit in federal court charging that the
city of Newport Beach violated the First Amendment by not enforcing parking
fees for churches engaged in Sunday worship activities.

John Nelson, a local resident and land developer, says that the
municipality is showing favoritism for Saint James Episcopal Church, Our
Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, and the Christ Church by the Sea
United Methodist.  Metered parking is enforced seven days a week throughout
the city limits from 8 a.m.  to 6 p.m., but not in proximity to churches on
Sundays during hours of worship.  The discriminatory practice has been
going on since 1970 when the City Council enacted a special ordinance.

Naturally, the City Attorney says that the policy has nothing to do with
religion, but rather "benefits the residents of the area."  Mayor Todd
Ridgeway told reporters that lifting the parking fee of 25 cents-per-
quarter-hour "would be a nightmare" and cause "bedlam" for residents,
presumably because church goers would park illegally in private driveways
and other locations.

Monsignor Daniel Murray of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church was less
circumspect in defending the special exemption, though.  He told the Orange
County Register newspaper, "The city is just accommodating the desire of
the people to go to church without having to pay to go to church.  It's
freedom of religion, and it's very important -- even more important than
the separation of church and state."

A similar practice exists in other communities nearby, including one in
Laguna Beach.  There, "an unwritten policy" is in effect whereby police do
not issue tickets until 1 p.m.  on Sundays in congested downtown areas.
The City Manager said that the procedure "isn't just for the churchgoers,
but for anyone parked in those areas -- shoppers or beach-goers."

Nelson insists that the practice favors religion and violates the
separation of church and state.

"I'm well aware this won't win me any popularity contests, but somebody has
to step up and take a stand," he said.  "I guess it's going to be me."

Nelson has already spent "thousands" in private legal fees to challenge
this special perk for organized religion.

                                  * * * * *

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.


    We have no ethical right to forgive, no historical right to forget.
       (No permission required for noncommercial reproduction)

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