US White House advisor on Vieques:
FARROW DECLARED PERSONA NON GRATA
Jeffrey Farrow, co-chair of the "White House Interagency Working Group on
Puerto Rico", said today that: "Puerto Rico can get out of the presidential
directives on Vieques whenever it wants. And I challenge Puerto Ricans to
break the directives so that they then see how the Navy will bomb however
it wants, as often as it wants, wherever it wants, so that they see how
they're not going to get even a bit of federal land, and that Vieques will
be chaos." El Nuevo Día newspaper, Oct. 4, 2000.
The Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques issued the
following press release on Farrow and his statements:
JEFFREY FARROW DECLARED PERSONA NON GRATA IN VIEQUES
Viequense leaders described the statements by Jeffrey Farrow challenging
the people of Puerto Rico to break the Presidential Directives on Vieques
as "a crass manifestation of the arrogance of the Navy and its lackeys".
Spokespersons for the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques
(CRDV) stated that Farrow's comments "come from someone who wants to act
like a bully and who thinks his superiority complex gives him license to
violate the rights of others."
"We don't want him here in Vieques. We consider Jeffrey Farrow an agent of
the Navy and persona non grata in our island," said Robert Rabin, CRDV
Rabin added that: "Jeffrey Farrow is the person who, last year at a meeting
in the White House, told Vieques Mayor Manuela Santiago that the Navy was
prepared to offer $80 million if she allowed it to remain in Vieques.
Jeffrey Farrow is the person who, last year at another meeting in the White
House, tried unsuccessfully to convince Congressmen Luis Gutierrez and Jose
Serrano, and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, to drop their demands that
Clinton order the Navy out of Vieques in exchange for having Clinton resume
talks on the political status of Puerto Rico.
Jeffrey Farrow is the person who recently, during the Democratic National
Convention, tried to shut down those delegates that were shouting 'Peace
for Vieques!' and tried to block their 'Peace for Vieques' signs from the
TV cameras. Jeffrey Farrow is the person who is not satisfied with having
contributed to the resumption of bombing in our island, and comes with
insults and threats. Jeffrey Farrow has acted and continues to act against
the people of Vieques."
Nilda Medina, leader of the CRDV, stated that the Vieques community
considers Farrow to be persona non grata, given his consistent support of
the continuation of bombing in Vieques. "Farrow and Governor Rosselló have
become the principal aides to the Navy and the principal enemies of the
people of Vieques. Their arrogance and their personal interests make them
insensitive to the suffering of our people. Each day that goes by, with or
without bombing, the carcinogenic toxics in the bombing area reach the
civilian sector as they are transported by the winds that blow from east to
west -from the bombing range to the civilian sector," stated Medina.
Regarding the "chaos" that Farrow predicts for Vieques if the presidential
directives are broken, Rabin said that that chaos has been the status which
has prevailed in Vieques for the last 60 years since the Navy arrived in
Vieques. The expropriation of three quarters of the island for military
purposes, the contamination, the high cancer rate, the high unemployment,
the forced migration, the poor transportation and health services, are
evidence of the chaos brought about by the Navy in this island, said Rabin.
Contact: Yvette Yolanda Martínez 787-741-0716
WORKERS WORLD NEWS SERVICE
- Friday, 6 October 2000 -
BIOTERRORISM: RED SCARE FOR A NEW MILLENNIUM
By Hillel W. Cohen
Reprinted from the Oct. 12, 2000 issue of Workers World newspaper
Soldiers and cops gown up in decontamination suits. With guns, flashlights
and electronic sensors they move carefully through smoke-filled streets,
stepping over bodies on the ground. Ambulances and helicopters drown out
the crackling of walkie-talkies.
It is not a movie. It is a bioterrorism drill in the United States.
According to a program currently underway, this scene will be played out in
at least 120 cities. In Wisconsin last year, one cop taking part
accidentally set off his pepper-spray canister. With irritated eyes and
lungs, some of the participants panicked, thinking that the scenario they
were following had become real.
These Pentagon-led drills are just one part of a multi- billion-dollar
program known as "bioterrorism initiatives." Research labs are studying
exotic toxins and diseases that "might" be used in an attack. City and
county health departments have set up bioterrorism units to handle
emergencies that no one really expects to happen. A lot of resources that
might otherwise have been used for public health are being diverted to
"protect" the public from bioterrorism.
What is bioterrorism? This new word has come to mean the use of biological
or chemical--sometimes even nuclear--weapons in a terrorist attack. Since
1997, bioterrorism has become a major topic in public health institutions
on the federal, state and local level.
It Beats Out Food and Blood Safety
The Surgeon General's office puts bioterrorism third on a list of four
areas of global concern--after polio eradication and emerging and
re-emerging infectious diseases, which include HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and
malaria. Bioterrorism is ranked ahead of food and blood safety.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Atlanta, have
launched a national health alert network in order to coordinate responses
to bioterrorist attacks. The Association of Schools of Public Health is
trying to make bioterrorism a core item in the education programs for all
public health students. Medical journals have regular articles about the
need to train doctors to recognize the symptoms of anthrax and smallpox in
the emergency rooms of local hospitals.
With all this attention and money, you might think that bioterrorism has
taken a huge toll in lives in the United States and other countries.
In the United States, the number of people who have died due to
bioterrorism attacks in the last 100 years is exactly-- zero. And in the
whole world, there have been only three documented incidents.
The most widely known was in Tokyo in 1995. Members of a religious cult
released a chemical agent in a subway, killing 12 people. The same group
had killed seven in an incident several months earlier in a Tokyo suburb.
The only other case took place in Oregon in 1984, when a religious cult
purposely contaminated several salad bars with salmonella bacteria. Over
700 people were sickened, but none died or were even sick enough to be
Yet in news reports, press releases and conferences on bioterrorism, these
incidents are mentioned over and over again to convince the public that
bioterrorism is a real threat.
Real Hazards Downplayed
In 1984, the same year as the salmonella attack, an industrial accident in
Bhopal, India, in a factory owned by the U.S. corporation Union Carbide,
killed thousands of people--so many that an accurate count was never
accomplished. Many more were blinded or otherwise permanently disabled.
Every year in the United States, according to testimony at congressional
hearings, there are approximately 60,000 chemical spills, leaks and
explosions, of which about 8,000 are considered "serious." Together, they
are responsible for some 300 to 400 deaths. In addition, an estimated 76
million illnesses from food-borne disease occur each year, leading to
325,000 hospitalizations and about 5,000 deaths.
Compared to these staggering numbers, the alleged threat from bioterrorism
is just about zero. There's a much, much greater risk of being hit by
lightning than being a victim of bioterrorism.
In fact, the dangers from the "anti-terrorism" campaign are much greater
than the virtually non-existent danger from bioterrorism.
So why do the Clinton administration and so many federal, state and local
health agencies put bioterrorism at the top of their agendas?
Diverting Public Health Dollars
A major reason is that terrorism in general and bioterrorism in particular
are useful for justifying bigger budgets for the Pentagon and Federal
Bureau of Investigation. Bioterrorism is also a handy excuse for all sorts
of nasty business lumped in the budget under "defense."
For example, the U.S. government claimed that a medicine factory in the
Sudan was making bioterrorism materials. The Pentagon destroyed the factory
on Aug. 20, 1998, with two cruise missiles. Within days, the allegations
were shown to be false. It is apparent now that the Pentagon and CIA never
had any real evidence for their claim. Yet a factory that supplied half the
medicines for North Africa and parts of the Middle East was wiped out. How
many people have died or suffered needlessly for lack of these medicines?
The U.S. government also continues to claim that the government of Iraq
makes or stockpiles biological and chemical weapons, thus justifying
economic sanctions that have already led to the deaths of over a million
Iraqi people. But it is the United States that has the largest stockpile of
chemical weapons in the world, even though Washington pledged to destroy
The Pentagon spends more each year than the next 10 biggest military powers
combined. The U.S. stockpiles more "weapons of mass destruction," including
nuclear weapons, than the rest of the world added together.
For decades the anti-communist red scare was used to justify the enormous
waste of military spending. With the fall of the Soviet Union, it is hard
for the capitalists and their politicians to explain why hundreds of
billions more are needed every year. Bioterrorism could become the phantom
menace of the new millennium.
Next: How the campaign against bioterrorism may be dangerous to your health.
Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted if source is
cited. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY
10011; via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For subscription info send message to:
email@example.com. Web: http://workers.org
ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (EPIC)
- Monday, 2 October 2000 -
FBI RELEASES CARNIVORE DOCUMENTS TO EPIC
Privacy Group Says Disclosure Insufficient
For immediate release
October 2, 2000
Contact: David Banisar, Senior Fellow, EPIC
WASHINGTON - The Federal Bureau of Investigation today released 565 pages
from government files on the Internet monitoring program known as
"Carnivore". The documents were disclosed to the Electronic Privacy
Information Center, following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by
the privacy rights organization in Washington, DC. Of the material
released, nearly 200 pages were withheld in full and another 400 pages were
redacted, many completely except for the page numbers. The source code to
the Carnivore system was withheld. According to the documents, the
Carnivore program was conceived under the name "Omnivore" in February 1997.
It was proposed originally for a Solaris X86 computer. Omnivore was
replaced by Carnivore running on a Windows NT-based computer in June 1999.
Other documents include discussion of interception of Voice Over IP (VOIP)
and reviews of tests for performance and recovery from attacks and crashes
for both systems. EPIC filed the FOIA lawsuit after the FBI revealed that
it developed an Internet monitoring system that would be installed at the
facilities of an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and would monitor all
traffic moving through that ISP. The Department of Justice announced a plan
for independent review, but EPIC's General Counsel said at the time that
"There is no substitute for a full and open public review of the Carnivore
system. The only way that the privacy questions can be resolved is for the
FBI to release all relevant information, both legal and technical." The
EPIC FOIA request seeks the public release of all FBI records concerning
Carnivore, including the source code, other technical details, and legal
analyses addressing the potential privacy implications of the technology.
At an emergency hearing held on August 2, U.S. District Judge James
Robertson ordered the FBI to report back to the court by August 16 and to
identify the amount of material at issue and the Bureau's schedule for
releasing it. The FBI subsequently reported that 3000 pages of responsive
material were located, but it refused to commit to a date for the
completion of processing.
The Judge subsequently ordered the FBI to disclose records to EPIC every 45
days. Today EPIC received the first set of documents from the FBI. Last
week, the FBI announced that it had selected the Illinois Institute of
Technology Research Institute (IITRI) to review the system after many
academic institutions refused to accept the secrecy requirements that were
a condition of submitting a bid.
Marc Rotenberg, EPIC Executive Director, said today "We intend to pursue
the litigation until the relevant documents are disclosed. We do not
dispute the need of law enforcement to protect public safety or pursue
criminals in the online world. But the use of investigative methods that
monitor Internet traffic and capture the private communications of innocent
users raise enormously important privacy issues that must be subject to
public review and public approval."
EPIC is a public interest research organization in Washington, DC. More
details about the case are available at the EPIC Carnivore Litigation Page:
JUSTICE STALKS LA's 'KILLER POLICE'
THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
World News: Americas
Sunday, 8 October 2000
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
Sonia Flores had no illusions about her policeman boyfriend. Not only did
she know he was dealing drugs on the side, she frequently volunteered to
act as a cocaine courier for him. She knew he was involved in other bad
stuff - after all, he was a member of a high-profile anti-gang unit in Los
Angeles' Rampart Division, which held rowdy celebration parties every time
a suspect was shot and whose officers sported skull tattoos as a mark of
prowess at hunting their prey.
But nothing quite prepared her for the evening six years ago when -
according to her account - she accompanied her boyfriend, Rafael Perez, and
another officer on a drug deal that quickly went sour. The man they went to
see, whom she knew only by his code name Chino, did not have the money he
was supposed to produce and an argument broke out.
At length, Perez pushed him to the floor and shot him first in the
shoulder, then in the head. Chino's mother, who witnessed the whole thing,
broke down in unconsolable sobbing until Perez's partner, David Mack,
killed her too with a handgun fitted with a silencer.
Flores was sitting on a couch just a few feet away and was splattered with
blood. The officers told her to get a plastic bag from the kitchen and wrap
it around the woman's head to stop blood spilling on the floor. The
officers then rolled both bodies in carpeting, sealed them with masking
tape and took them to their car.
According to testimony that Flores has given both to investigators and
reporters from the Los Angeles Times, she was told that if she ever talked
about what she had seen, she would be killed.
But that was not the end of it. A couple of months later, she went on a
trip across the Mexican border with Perez and Mack, only to learn half-way
there that there was a body in the boot - the body of Mack's girlfriend.
They were on their way to bury her in the same place the two previous
victims were buried - on a rubbish-strewn hillside above the border town of
Flores says she had been too afraid to come forward (Perez and Mack are now
both behind bars for other crimes), but her testimony could prove to be the
most explosive chapter yet in Los Angeles' ever-widening police corruption
In the next few days, investigators will travel south to Tijuana to try to
find the bodies, according to her description of where she saw their burial
mounds. In the meantime, publicity surrounding her as yet unconfirmed
revelations is causing a furore in the courts and in the corridors of
Not only has she given one of the most graphic accounts of police brutality
in the Rampart Division, she has also severely undermined the credibility
of the public prosecutor's star informer. Rafael Perez has been singing
like a canary ever since his conviction on cocaine-dealing charges last
year - hoping that by naming fellow officers he could escape further
prosecution. His testimony has triggered investigations into 70 officers,
five of whom have just gone on trial in the past few days, and caused more
than 100 convictions in gang-related cases to be overturned.
The snag is that Perez was supposed to give a full confession of his crimes
as a condition of his plea bargain. Now, even before Sonia Flores' story
has been verified, apologists for the Police Department are jumping all
over his credibility, calling him a "monster" and a "sociopathic serial
perjurer" who has dragged the maximum number of colleagues down into the
mud with him.
Perez's lawyer, meanwhile, has counter-attacked, calling Flores'
allegations "a desperate plea for attention".
It is impossible to overstate how high the stakes are in this terrifying
game of allegation and counter-allegation. The corruption scandal already
appears to have felled the career of the Los Angeles district attorney, Gil
Garcetti, who is almost certain to be voted out of office next month.
The future of police chief Bernard Parks is in doubt. He was recently
forced to relinquish control over the LAPD to a special oversight
commission from the federal Justice Department. And the scandal is also
sure to cast a long shadow over next April's mayoral election, in which the
incumbent, Richard Riordan, is barred from running again.
The just-opened trial of four officers accused of framing numerous suspects
in 1996 has become fraught with tension even during the jury selection
phase. While the defence has been hurling invective at Rafael Perez, the
prosecution has accused the LAPD of withholding documents and tipping off
officers whose houses were to be searched.
"The Rampart investigation has documented how difficult it is for a law
enforcement agency to police itself," Brian Schirn, the prosecuting
attorney, said last week. "Many of these investigators from the LAPD have
relationships, even friendships, with some of the individuals under
investigation. Accordingly, it is not surprising that there are some LAPD
investigators who have difficulty conducting a thorough investigation of
the police agency to which they belong."
Flores has offered to take a polygraph test. "What reason do I have to
lie?" she said. "Mack and Perez are smart people. The only stupid thing
they did was having me around when they did this stuff."
Copyright 2000 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd.
CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RIGHTS (CESR)
162 Montague Street, 2nd floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel: (718) 237-9145, ext. 18
Fax: (718) 237-9147
- Friday, 6 October 2000 -
MERIP Press Information Note 33:
THE IRON FIST IN THE PEACE PROCESS
By Roger Normand
October 4, 2000
(Roger Normand is executive director of the Center for Economic and Social
Rights in New York)
Televised images of Israeli combat soldiers killing unarmed Palestinian
children and helicopters strafing Palestinian neighborhoods have publicly
exposed the Israeli military force that undergirds and shapes the Oslo
Despite previous crises and setbacks over the past seven years, government
officials and media sources have portrayed the negotiations as a slow, at
times troubled, but nonetheless steady journey towards a peaceful
resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But after recent events,
the public is now well aware that something is seriously wrong with this
picture. It is difficult to reconcile even a troubled peace process with
the merciless images of war -- especially with this one-sided war in which
a heavily armed military force is crushing -- the word "massacring" may be
more appropriate -- crowds of largely unarmed protesters.
It is hardly a contest on the war front, but an equally important battle is
being waged over the meaning of the conflict. This parallel battle for
public opinion, and through it government support and political legitimacy,
mirrors the dynamics of the military conflict. Israel strategically deploys
a superior arsenal (in this case, media access and connections coupled with
well-funded and sophisticated spin control) to enforce its version of
events, while the Palestinian leadership squanders the opportunity to mount
effective resistance based on the moral and political appeal of a
defenseless, oppressed yet galvanized population.
The intensity of the conflict indicates larger forces at play than
spontaneous protest and military escalation. We are witnessing more than
the pent-up outrage of a people for whom seven years of peace negotiations
has meant increased poverty, repression and humiliation from both Israeli
occupation forces and their own corrupt and brutal self-rule authority. We
are also witnessing a harbinger of the Barak government's plan for final
status, the liberal Israeli vision of peace -- ethnic separation enforced
by a military iron fist.
Israeli officials charge -- and media outlets uncritically accept -- that
Arafat is orchestrating the violence for political gain. This charge is
truly Orwellian in its inversion of logic and reality. In a move calculated
to maximize Palestinian anger, Sharon, along with 1,000 well-armed police
and border guards supplied by Barak, chose to champion Israeli sovereignty
over the Haram al Sharif with a personal visit on the anniversary of the
Sabra and Shatila massacres. The ensuing Palestinian protests were
spearheaded initially by Islamists and students -- the very sectors that
most despise Arafat and over which he exerts the least control. And far
from intervening decisively, the PA's 40,000-strong security forces, which
Arafat does control, have largely avoided direct confrontation with the
Israeli army, offering only sporadic support to rock-throwing demonstrators
facing off against Israeli helicopter gunships, armored units and combat
platoons. In this context, the charge that Arafat is directing and
radicalizing Palestinian protest from behind the scenes is a transparent
pretext to shift blame for the violence and pressure the PA to crack down
on "the street" -- which paradoxically has the effect of distancing Arafat
and the PA even further from popular sentiment.
Notwithstanding Israeli claims, the issue of who is actually orchestrating
the violence seems rather obvious. Israel's massive and coordinated
military assault, with tank deployments ringing major Palestinian
population centers throughout the Occupied Territories, testifies to
careful planning. In recent months Barak and army leaders have openly
threatened the strategic deployment of overwhelming military force to crush
Palestinian "violence" in the event of a unilateral declaration of
statehood by Arafat. Other components of this very public plan included
annexing large areas of Palestinian territory and besieging encircled
Lack of international response to this brazen threat set the stage for the
recent conflagration. It should not be necessary to recall that
Palestinians have an internationally affirmed right to self-determination.
The PLO's 1988 Declaration of Independence already constitutes a
declaration of statehood, recognized by almost all countries in the world
(except of course Israel, the US, and a handful of others). Israel's
self-proclaimed veto over Palestinian statehood, and Arafat's playing
politics by repeatedly postponing the (re)declaration, in no way negate the
legal, moral and political basis of this fundamental Palestinian right. Yet
the international community stood silently by when Israel asserted an
explicit commitment to deploy massive and illegal military force against
Palestinians for declaring their right to statehood. Now that Israel has
chosen to implement this plan, albeit a bit later under different
circumstances than anticipated, it is hardly surprising that most world
leaders have issued only weak appeals for "both" sides to stop the killing,
even while Israeli helicopter gunships fire American-supplied TOW missiles
into residential Palestinian neighborhoods. This muted reaction is only the
latest and most egregious example of the "even-handed" approach adopted
throughout the Oslo process, whereby the two parties are left to their own
devices to work things out irrespective of power imbalances or human rights
Ominous Developments in Israel
Inside Israel, police contingents have killed nine and wounded hundreds of
Palestinian citizens of Israel in northern towns like Nazareth and Umm
al-Fahm. Many of the casualties were struck in the head and chest with live
ammunition, apparently the victims of shoot-to-kill targeting. According to
rights groups, scores of demonstrators have been detained, beaten and
tortured. Unlike their counterparts in Gaza, these protestors do not
include armed police within their ranks, or even experienced
stone-throwers. The use of excessive force against Israel's Palestinian
citizens comes on the heels of a recent campaign by Galilee police
commander Alik Ron, who accused Arab communities in northern Israel of
harboring a network of Islamic terrorists. Though later proven false, these
widely reported charges generated a wave of anti-Arab sentiment among the
Israeli public. Many Israeli Palestinians fear that Ron's slanders,
followed by the brutal police response to unarmed protests, are part of a
broader campaign to isolate and intimidate Israel's Arab minority.
Implications for the Oslo Process
In the short-term, all progress towards final status talks has stopped. The
larger question is whether Barak can revive momentum for his peace plan,
repeated endlessly to the Israeli public of "us here, them there." This
model of socio-economic, cultural and especially physical separation
between Jew and Arab derives from the original Labor Zionist ideology that
culminated in the 1948 military expulsion of 90 per cent of the indigenous
Palestinian population from what became Israel. Through the Oslo process,
Barak is seeking international sanction and legal ratification for this
longstanding vision of ethnic and religious segregation. "Us here, them
there" has a formula to resolve the contentious final status issues of
statehood, land, refugees and Jerusalem. Palestinians are to be separated
from Israel politically and geographically, linked only economically in the
form of cheap labor and captive markets. Arafat will be anointed president
of his cherished state on 90 per cent of the West Bank and Gaza. But the
population will remain confined in territorially non-contiguous bantustans,
encircled by and controlled through a network of Israeli settlements, roads
and military checkpoints, and subject to repressive PA security forces. In
return for Israeli sovereignty over the settlements, the Barak camp has
even floated the possibility of ceding sovereignty over Arab areas in
northern Israel, thereby ridding the state of 300,000 Palestinian citizens.
As the final element in this plan, over three million Palestinian refugees
will be denied their internationally recognized human right to return to
homes within Israel, and instead given some cash and the "choice" of
involuntary resettlement in either the new statelet of Palestine or
surrounding Arab countries.
At Camp David, the narrow dispute over the old city of Jerusalem
overshadowed broader agreement on these basic elements of "us here, them
there." While the recent crisis has temporarily set back prospects for a
final status agreement, it may also reinforce Barak's fundamental message
to the Israeli public that Jews and Arabs are better off apart -- including
in divided Jerusalem. To Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories
and inside Israel, the message is even more clear: the alternative to
Israeli-imposed peace is the ruthless iron fist of war. It remains to be
seen whether Palestinians can effectively put forward alternatives of their
(When quoting from this PIN, please cite MERIP Press Information Note 33,
by Roger Normand.)
International Program Associate
Center for Economic and Social Rights
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