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WW 3 report from NYC

WORLD WAR 3 REPORT by Bill Weinberg
Vigilant, Independent Sentry of Truth in the War on Terrorism
#. 35. May 26, 2002

with David Bloom and Sarah Robbins, Special Correspondents
THIS WEEK: Xenophobia and Reaction in Europe
1. Bombing Attacks Increase In Israel; New Wave Predicted
2. IDF Cuts Gaza in Half, Raids West Bank Villages
3. Saudi Papers Drop Use of The Term "Shaheed"
4. Haaretz: Syria Pressuring Hamas, Islamic Jihad to Attack
5. Hamas: No Coordinated Attacks with Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah
6. Mossad: Bin Laden Targeting Diaspora
7. Ramsey Clark Defending Palestine in US Court
8. Jewish Terror Suspects to Be Charged
9. PFLP-GC Blames Israel for Assassination of Leader's Son
10. Barghouti Allegedly Tortured; Urges Continued Resistance
11. Journalists Under Fire In The Middle East
12. Refusenik Speaks In Madison
13. No More Internet Pizzas for IDF

1. Royal Marines in First Afghan Firefight
2. US Raids Taliban Compound
3. Pashtun Threaten to Boycott Loya Jigra
4. Candidate for Loya Jigra Assassinated
5. Dostum's Forces Attack Fahim's
6. Afghan Government Gives Ultimatum to Warlord
7. UN Renews ISAF; Troops Remain Restricted to Kabul
8. Congress Skeptical of Bush's Afghan Plan
9. Taliban Arson Attacks On Video and Music Stores

1. India's War Rhetoric Cools
2. Musharraf: No More Incursions into Kashmir
3. ISI-Backed Militants Plan New Kashmir Attacks
4. Pakistan to Shift Troops from Afghan to Indian Border
5. Pakistan Carries out Missile Tests
6. Pakistan Prepared for Nuclear Strike in 1999
7. Moderate Kashmiri Separatist Assassinated
8. UK Pares Down Embassy Staff after Bomb Threats

1. Bush Exhorts Germans to Fight the War on Terror
2. Al-Qaeda on the Way to Britain?
3. Xenophobe Right Gains Power in The Netherlands
4. Concern Over the Rise of Islamophobia in Europe
5. Financial Times: Immigration Essential For European Economy
6. Support for Xenophobe Right Grows amongst European Jews
7. French Muslim Leader Speaks out against Anti-Semitism
8. Italian Riot Police Accused of Brutality Exonerated
9. Jewish Leader Indicted for Calling out Italian Fascists
10. 80,000 March for Middle East Peace in Italy
11. Terrorism Scare Continues in Italy
12. Mafia Terrorism Re-Emerges in Italy?
13. Rigoberta Menchu in Calabria
14. Anti-Crime Militarization in France
15. Swiss Pissed; UK Calls Banking Secrecy Cover for Terrorism

1. A Flurry of Terror Warnings


On May 20, one day after a suicide bombing attack killed three in
Netanya, a suicide attacker blew himself up when approached by Border
Police near the Ta'anachim junction in northern Israel (Ha'aretz, May
20). In Rishon Letzion, where 15 were killed in an attack on a pool
hall, on May 7, a 16-year-old bomber with bleach-blond hair blew
himself up at a park gazebo, killing two Israelis and injuring 27.
Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a group linked to Palestinian President
Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, took responsibility. The group's
statement said the attack was in revenge for the killing of a
30-year-old brigade leader, Mahmoud Titi, by an Israeli tank shell at
a cemetery in Nablus. The bomber, who an Israeli police commander
described as having "hair dyed blond, short, punk looking" to
disguise himself, was the youngest yet to conduct a suicide bombing
attack in the conflict. (NYT, May 23; Haaretz, May 23) Recently both
the PA and Hamas had disavowed the use of underage suicide bombers
(see WW3 REPORT# 31). In response to the attack, the Palestinian
Authority issued a statement "calling upon the Palestinian people to
declare their condemnation of such terrorist attacks, which
constitute a certain danger on the Palestinian people" (WAFA, May
23). Later that night, a bomber detonated a booby-trapped car bomb at
the entrance to a discoteque in Tel Aviv. He parked the car and tried
to enter the club, but security guard Eli Federman, the brother of
Noam Federman --who is alleged to be the ringleader of a Jewish
terrorist group, found the bomber suspicious and shot and killed him.
As he was shot, the bomber detonated his device, but only one person
was hurt as no one was near the car. (Haaretz, May 24) On May 27, two
people were killed and 53 were injured when a suicide bomber blew
himself up at the entrance to a café in Petah Tikva. The Al Aqsa
Martys Brigades claimed responsibility. The PA condemned the attack
(Haaretz, May 27)

In what was seen as an attempt by Palestinians to increase the level
of destruction caused by their attacks inside Israeli, a bomb
exploded underneath a tanker at Pli Glilot Israel's fuel depot near
Tel Aviv on May 23. The explosion failed to ignite a larger
conflagration at the depot, and caused no injuries (CBS, May 23)
During a raid on the West Bank city of Tul Karm, a plot was uncovered
to destroy Israel's tallest buildings, the Azrieli Towers in Tel
Aviv. A Palestinian militant arrested in the raid made a full
confession to the plan, in which a large explosive device hidden in a
truck would be detonated in the parking garage below the buildings
(CNN, May 24). Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said
after the Pli Glilot attack that Israel is "facing waves of suicide
bombers, men and women, and believe me that when I say waves I know
what I'm talking about," (Jerusalem Post, May 24)(David Bloom)

Israel cut the Gaza strip in half May 22, preventing north-south
travel for Palestinians. Israel said the move was in reprisal for
raids on Jewish settlements in the strip. On the same day, Israel
raided two West Bank villages, Salfit and Burkin, in searches for
militants (Ap, May 22) On May 26, the IDF invaded Qalqilyah and Tul
Karm, placed the towns under curfew and carried out searches. The IDF
pulled out of Bethlehem a day after entering the city on May 25. Two
explosions and gunfire were heard during the Israeli incursion.
(Haaretz, May 26)(David Bloom)

Newspapers in Saudi Arabia have stopped using the term "shaheed," or
martyr, in reference to suicide attackers. This is reflective of a
Saudi government attempt to cool pro-suicide bombing attack sentiment
in Saudi Arabia. In Egypt, the pro-government daily Al-Riad called
for an end to "suicide bombings," suggesting instead that the
Palestinians look to their "supreme national interests." (Haaretz,
May 22) (David Bloom)

According to Israeli military analyst Ze'ev Schiff, UN Security
Council member Syria is trying to convince Hamas and Islamic Jihad to
resume their suicide attacks on Israel, presumably in coordination
with Iran. Schiff claims that while publicly supporting the Saudi
peace initiative, Syria has promised additional funds to Hamas if it
steps up attacks. Hamas is reportedly split on whether to follow
Saudi requests to desist from conducting attacks, with some elements
within the group recommending a temporary, tactical halt. Schiff also
claims that Islamic Jihad has already agreed to the Syrian offer.
(Haaretz, May 20)(David Bloom)

The Radical Islamic militant group Hamas on May 21 denied an ABC news
report that the group had attended meetings in Lebanon with the
al-Qaeda terrorist network and Lebanese Shiite militant group
Hezbollah to plan coordinated attacks against the United States. A
Senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya, said "This
statement is completely false and is a media fabrication. It is aimed
at giving a bad image to Islamic movements and making them a target
of law enforcement agencies fighting terrorism." Haniya accused US
officials of concocting the story in order to "do a favour to Israel
to help it maintain its occupation of the Palestine." He added that
Hamas was only interested in fighting Israel and ending its
occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. "We will not move the
fight outside Palestine," Haniya said. (AFP, May 21)(David Bloom)

A senior Mossad official referred to as "Y" warned May 22 that Osama
bin Laden's al-Qaeda network is the most serious security threat to
Jewish communities worldwide. "Y" said Islamist extremist arrested in
Europe told investigators al-Qaeda is planning attacks on Jewish
communites like the April 11 attack on the Ghriba synagogue on the
Island of Djerba, Tunisia that killed 16. (ITIM, May 23)(David Bloom)

Former US Attorney General and International Action Center (IAC) head
Ramsey Clark, whose clients include Saddam Hussein and Slobodon
Milosevic, is defending the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, and PA
President Yasser Arafat in Rhode Island court. The three defendants
are being sued for $250 million by the families of three US citizens
who were terror victims. The defense Clark is providing: Palestine
is a sovereign state, and as such, is immune from prosecution is a US
court. Clark has asked a federal judge to dismiss the suit, arguing
that "Palestine meets the criteria for
Statehood." Clark cited Palestine's Nov. 15, 1988 declaration of
independence, and its establishment of embassies. A former legal
advisor to Israel's Foreign Ministry, Joel Singer, counters that
"they [the Palestinians] don't have a state; they are precluded from
declaring a state; they don't meet the legal criteria for statehood;
and the factual situation on the ground currently leaves no doubt"
that Palestine is not a state. David Strachman, the families' laywer,
is not so sanguine: "A judge in Rhode Island could give birth to the
Palestinian state," he said. (Jerusalem Post, May 23) For more on
Ramsey Clark, see  http://shadow.autono.net/sin001/clark.htm (David

Police have recommended that four suspected members of a Jewish
terror group be charged with attempting to blow up an Arab Girls'
school in Jerusalem on April 29. Among the four is former Kach
activist Noam Federman, whose brother Eli foiled a car bombing attack
in Tel Aviv on May 23. Federman denied taking part in plotting the
attempted attack on the girls' school, but refused to condemn it: "In
the last 18 months, the blood of Jewish children and women has been
spilled, and nothing has been done about it," Federman told a
Jerusalem court. (see WW3 REPORT #33)(Haaretz, May 23)(David Bloom)

The Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)
has blamed Israel for the assassination of Jihad Jibril, son of the
organization's leader Ahmed Jibril, in Beirut May 19. Jihad Jibril
was the operations officer of the militant group. He was to have
orchestrated the "Night of the Hang Gliders" attack near Kiryat
Shmona in 1987, in which six IDF soldiers were killed by PFLP-GC
commandos who flew into the north of Israel from Lebanon on hang
gliders. A day after Jibril was killed, the decomposed body of Ramzi
Ayrani, a Christian Forces student activist, was discovered in a car
trunk, prompting fears of a return to civil strife. Lebanon's Daily
Star newspaper has speculated that Jibril's killing was part of feud
between rival Palestinian factions. A previously unknown group
calling itself the "Movement of Lebanese Nationalists" took
responsibility for the assassination. The PFLP-GC is based in
Damascus.(Jerusalem Post, May 21)(David Bloom)

Marwan Barghouti, the West Bank Fatah leader captured April 13 who is
to be tried by Israel, has sent a message through his lawyer urging
Palestinians to keep up their resistance to Israeli occupation
(Jerusalem Post, May 22). LAW, the Palestinian Society for the
Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, has released a
statement called "Torture and ill-treatment of PLC member Marwan
Barghouti," claiming Barghouti has been abused by his Israeli
captors. Barghouti, LAW claims, was taken to a prison clinic because
"He suffers from pain in his back and hands, caused by position
abuse." The statement continues, saying that "Barghouti's and legs
are shackled to a small chair, angled to slant forward so that he
cannot sit in a stable position. Due to nails sticking out of the
chair on which is he is forced to sit for prolonged hours his back is
bleeding. This position abuse, also known as "shabeh" is the most
common method of physical abuse applied by the Israeli General
Service "Shin Bet" LAW also claims Barghouti is kept in solitary
confinement and is only allowed four hours a day to sleep, the
deprivation of which is known to be a common tactic employed by the
Shin Bet. He has been told his son is in Israeli detention and they
have threatened Barghouti by saying they may kill his son. The Shin
Bet told Barghouti that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has
decided Barghouti must confess to being a terrorist. (LAW statement,
May 23) In April, an Israeli security source was quoted by the ITIM
press agency as saying, "Marwan Barghouti is losing his
self-confidence, and we expect he will break soon" (ITIM, Apr.
24)(David Bloom)

The Israel Annual Report from Reporters Without Borders, an
organization that defends journalistic freedom, reports that since
the start of the second Intifada in September 2000, 45 journalists
have been injured by bullets, several seriously wounded. Since the
Israeli occupation began on March 29, at least 20 Palestinian
journalists have been arrested, according to RSF (for entire report,
see  http://www.rsf.fr/article.php3?id_article=1486). Yola Monakhov, a
New Yorker on assignment for the AP, was shot and nearly killed on
November 11, 2000, in Bethlehem, photographing Palestinian kids
throwing rocks at an Israeli Army post. The Israeli solider, who
fired at Monakhov from 50 yards away, said he though he was aiming at
a Palestinian combatant. His mistake sent a bullet that fractured
her pelvis, damaged her bladder, colon, and bowels, and severed a
nerve in her leg. (Newsday, May 5)

Others who elude harm are still at risk of having their press passes
revoked. Danny Seaman, director of Israel's Government Press Office,
revoked the passes of two Abu Dhabi television reporters-and expelled
one of them-for failure to cover the conflict in an unbiased manner.
Said Seaman: "It's the Interior Ministry, not me, that decides on
deportations, but I certainly recommended it. Why should we be fair
to them if they served as the enemy's mouthpiece? There's a limit to
freedom of expression even in a democratic country." (Haaretz, April
25) The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) recently has said the
Israeli government has gone to unnecessary extremes in order to deter
reporters covering the incursion. (BBC, May 3) On May 15, Reporters
Without Borders called on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to
release five Palestinian journalists who have been held without
explanation for several weeks. "Some of them have been detained for
nearly a month without being charged with any offence and one is
being held in an unknown place, which is unacceptable," RSF
secretary-general Robert Ménard said. "All of them were apparently
simply doing their job of informing the public."
 http://www.rsf.fr/article.php3?id_article=2143 (Sarah Robbins)

When Israeli refusenik Haggai Matar spoke in Madison, WI on May 13,
he told the audience at the First Unitarian Society: "It's not an
easy thing to refuse induction in IsraelŠpeople there grow up knowing
they're going to serve in the army." He said he first questioned the
morality of his country's defense tactics when he started to become
"aware of something different from the history they taught us in
school, different from what we see on the news. From listening to
alternative information sources, through knowing Palestinians and
talking to them, through going to territories-with time, I've
realized that the entire Israeli army is devoted to the cause of
prolonging the occupation." Born in Israel in 1984, he has been
politically active since Rabin's assassination, when he was 11. Last
August, Matar co-authored the "seniors letter,' an open letter to
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, signed by 62 16-18 year olds
soon to be called up for mandatory service, which stated the
signatories would "obey their conscience" and refuse to take part in
acts of oppression against Palestinians. He's since been denied
release from mandatory service, and expects jail time this July.

Matar recounted an experience during a recent humanitarian mission in
a besieged Palestinian village. Matar and 150 peace activists went to
the village with several truckloads of food. The group, Tayush
(coexistence), is comprised of both Arabs and Jews. While the
activists were working, three Israeli border policemen charged them
with trespassing and asked them to leave. The Arab members of the
group were singled out and arrested for alleged violence that Matar
insists did not take place. As an act of solidarity, the group
forced the Israelis to arrest some Jews, as well. Later they learned
that while they were detained at a police station at a nearby Jewish
settlement, settlers from there went to the Palestinian village and
burned several shops "for punishment." Matar spoke of the "apartheid
regime Israel is running in the occupied territories, where settlers
can do whatever they want without being held accountable." He added:
"When Jews and Arabs come to try and bridge over the gaps, to try and
show that Israel is not only settlements and soldiers, these efforts
are being torpedoed." (Sarah Robbins)

For more information and details about future refusenik speaking
arrangements, see Courage to Refuse
: http://www.couragetorefuse.org/default.asp?content=tour

The Israeli army has barred troops serving in the occupied
territories from accepting pizza deliveries they did not order
themselves. The army said it feared the pizza boxes could be
booby-trapped. Israeli pizzerias began last month to deliver through
an Internet site where customers could order pizzas as gifts to the
soldiers. More than 4,000 pizzas had been sent by this method, with
90% of the orders being sent by Americans. Orders also came from
Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand. Customers could
choose between ordering a "Pizza and Pepsi for a patrol," or up to
six pizzas in order to feed a whole platoon. The army stopped this
practice, "due to concern that hostile elements may exploit the pizza
deliveries to soldiers," (AP, May 22)(David Bloom)


British Royal Marines say their first action of their Afghanistan
campaign occurred when a carload of gunmen opened fire on their
observation post. There were at least three gunmen in the car, who
drove up to the post, stopped, and fired at least ten shots. There
were 12 marines in the post, who returned fire, wounding two of the
gunmen. A second car drove by and retrieved the injured gunmen's
bodies. The car then sped off. Two French Mirage fighter jets called
in to pursue the car subsequently lost sight of it. (UK Guardian, May
24)(David Bloom)

US forces raided a suspected Taliban Leadership compound May 24,
killing one, wounding two and taking 57 others captive, according to
US military officials. 150 troops from coalition forces took part in
the raid at the compound, which is located 50 miles west of
Khandahar. No one taken into custody has yet been identified, but
according to Army Lt. Col. Jim Yonts, a spokesman for Centcom, "We
don't know who we have, but we hope we've got some senior Taliban or
at least some Taliban folks there." The casualties had opened fire on
the coalition troops. Large amounts of weapons and money were
reportedly seized. (Washington Post, May 25)(David Bloom)

Eighteen Pashtun-dominated provinces are threatening to boycott the
Loya Jigra assembly, a traditional Afghan consensus-building body
that is to select a new Afghan government in June. Pashtun leaders
are reportedly unhappy with the composition of the 21-member
commission that will chose the compositon of the 1,600 member
assembly, saying it violates provisions of the Bonn agreement. They
feel too many members of the commission are from northern provinces
and are from minority groups, and that the Pashtun are
under-represented. The 18 provinces, whose leaders have agreed to the
boycott, are: Farah and Ghor, Ghazni, Helmand, Heart, Kandahar,
Khost, Kunar, Laghman, Logar, Maidan, Nangrahar, Nioz, Nooristan,
Orazghan, Paktia, Paktika, Wardak and Zabel. The Province leaders
made a formal complaint two months ago to the UN, Washington, and
London, but still have not heard back. The Chief of the Zazisub
tribe, Mohammed Gul Ayubwal, said the boycott threat should be taken
seriously: "We will have no option but to boycott the process if our
genuine concerns are not heard," he said. "If the majority community
is not given its democratic rights there will be a long and
variegated struggle to secure those rights."(Friday Times, May
24)(David Bloom)

Mohammad Raheem, a candidate for Afghanistan's Loya Jigra assembly, a
traditional body which will select a new government in June, was
assassinated in the western district of Chaghcharan on May 20,
according to officals. Raheem was elected to be a delegate in the
first two rounds of voting. "Mohammad Raheem, from Aodak village, was
selected in the Chaghcharan district shura. When he went home in the
evening, a group of people came into his house and shot him," the
official said. This marked the first assassination in selection
process. United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan
Lakhdar Brahimi confirmed recently there have been reports of
intimidation and bribery in the process. (South Nexus, May 21) (David

Forces loyal to Afghanistan's Defense Minister General Mohammad Fahim
and his deputy, General Abdul Rashid Dostum battled each other at Zal
fort, 40 miles west of the northern Afghan town of Kunduz, starting
on May 22. Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said six people were killed and
some were wounded as Dostum's forces attacked the fort, backed by
heavy artillery. The AIP said that Jamiat-I-Islami, Fahim's party,
has sent in 250 reinforcements. Dostum and Fahim's forces have
clashed in the past. The AIP quoted a source as saying, "Differences
between Fahim and Dostum still exist." Dostum, an Uzbek who once
ruled the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, had coveted the
position of Defense Minister, but it went to the Tajik Fahim instead.
Fahim took over the command of the Northern Alliance after General
Ahmed Shah Masood was assassinated by al-Qaeda operatives on Sept. 9.
(Reuters, May 23)(David Bloom)

The interim government of Afghan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai
threatened to remove warlord Bacha Khan from power if he did not
agree to the government's terms of capitulation, according to a
Foreign Ministry spokesman, Omar Samad. Samad told reporters that
Khan "has been given an ultimatum. He needs to agree to the terms
laid out by the interim administration. If he doesn't, any and every
measure will be taken to resolve this issue, including military." The
rebellious warlord was sacked as governor of Paktia province by
Karzai after Khan launched fighting there that killed 60 people, but
has refused to step down (see WW3 REPORT #31) Government troops have
been put on alert for a possible assault. "I would expect action
taken before the Loya Jirga" if Khan doesn't capitulate, Samad said.
(Washington Post, May 23)(David Bloom)

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously May 23 to keep the International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan, for another
six months. Calls to extend the force's mandate to regions beyond
Kabul were rejected. During that time, Turkey is to take over the
command of ISAF from the British. Hamid Karzai's interim Afghan
government had asked that the force be extended beyond the capital to
regions where Kabul has little control. UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan backed this request, but the Bush administration opposes any
expansion of ISAF while it is still trying to root out remnants of
the al-Qaeda network. (Reuters, May 23)(David Bloom)

The almost universal support the Bush administration once enjoyed in
Congress for the manner in which it prosecuted the War on Terror has
shown further signs of disunity as key legislators are questioning
the administration's strategy for dealing with post-Taliban
Afghanistan. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.), chairman of the
International Relations Committee, is backing an amendment that would
compel President Bush to explain how the administration will address
Afghanistan's deteriorating security situation. "We accompany the
funds with a rather strong request that the administration give us a
plan that is effective," Hyde said. Rep. Tom
Lantos (D-Ca.), the sponsor of the amendment, said "a failure to act
on this important issue may well lead to a failure to win the war on
terrorism in Afghanistan." A senior Democratic congressional aide
said "there is a real concern that the administration is seizing
defeat from the jaws of victory," pointing out the Kabul government
will not succeed unless it can impose order on the fractious country.
Republican Senator John McCain is circulating a letter in which he
argues for expanding the International Security Assistance Force
(ISAF) beyond Kabul. A recent report by the International Crisis
Group, a research organization based in Brussels, said that "An
unstable security situation coupled with a hurried, high-stakes
political process is a recipe for potential disaster, and the signs
that the country could once again come apart at the seams are
evident." But Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said the
administration's policy of dealing directly with regional leaders in
Afghanistan takes into account Afghanistan's culture, which he said
is one of "regional powers with a great deal of autonomy."(Washington
Post, May 21) (David Bloom)

Suspected Taliban activists from Afghanistan set fire to music stores
and video game clubs in the Pakistani border town of Chaman.
Journalists in Chaman from various newspapers and foreign press
agencies received death threat letters and phone calls from anonymous
sources, telling them not to work for US citizens. One source said if
they disobeyed, journalists would suffer the same fate as Wall Street
Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was murdered by Pakistani
religious extremists. The arsonists, wearing the distinctive turbans
common to the Taliban, poured gasoline on three music stores selling
audio and video cassettes, two pool halls, and two computer games
stores. (Reuters, May 24)(David Bloom)


India's influential Hindustan Times reported May 24 that the Indian
government would give Pakistan two months to curtail "cross border
terrorism" before it embarks on military action. Indian Prime
Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee told frontline troops facing Pakistan's
army in Kashmir on May 22: "It's time to fight a decisive battle."
But on May 23, he indicated war might not be inevitable: "Sometimes
lightning can strike even when the sky is clear. I hope there will be
no lightning," he said. In reaction, stock markets in Pakistan and
India both surged on May 24. Cross-Border exchanges of fire continue
despite the change of rhetoric. India and Pakistan have one million
troops facing each other across the Line of Control separating Indian
Kasmir from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. (UK Guardian, May 24)(David

While in St. Petersburg, Russia, US President George Bush stepped
into the crisis between India and Pakistan, pressuring Pakistani
President Pervez Musharraf to curb militant activity: "It's very
important for President Musharraf to do what he said he was going to
do ... and that is to stop the incursions across the border. Bush
said in a May 25 press conference with Russian President Vladimir
Putin. Bush added, "It's important that India know that he is going
to fulfill his promise"(BBC, May 25). In response, President
Musharraf said in a May 25 interview that Islamic militants were no
longer infiltrating Kashmir from Pakistan, and requested that India
respond to his request for the renewal of direct talks between the
two countries. Musharraf rejected accusations that his government
had not implemented its pledge to crack down on Islamic radicals
backed by Pakistan's Inter-service Intelligence Agency (ISI). "We
will ensure that terrorism does not go from Pakistan anywhere outside
into the world," Musharraf said. "That is our stand, and we adhere to
it." Musharraf said that he realized his sincerity on the issue was
doubted by many, but he said, "Let me assure you, there is no

Musharraf accused India of using the theat of war "to destabilize me,
my government and Pakistan." He also said that if war began: "We'll
take the offensive into Indian territory."(Washington Post, May
26)(David Bloom)

Kashmiri Islamist extremists backed by Pakistan's Inter-Services
Intelligence Agency (ISI) are planning new guerrilla attacks in
Kashmir, even as Pakistanti President Pervez Musharraf pledges to
curb such attacks. Militants backed by the ISI described how they are
receiving funds and training for the conflict, violating Musharraf's
ban. Although Musharraf announced a crackdown on militants in January
and arrested 2,000 of them, evidence shows Pakistani groups are still
involved in the Kashmir conflict. Several hundred ISI officers who
oppose Musharraf's participation in the US-led War on Terror have
survived a recent purge of the agency's leadership, according to a
Senior Pakistani Military source. (UK Guardian, May 25)(David Bloom)

Pakistani government sources said that Pakistan has begun
preparations to shift troops from the border area with Afghanistan,
where they are engaged in searching for Taliban and al-Qaeda
fighters, to the Line of Control with India in the disputed Indian
state of Kashmir. The move is to counter the buildup of Indian troops
and the threat of war between Pakistan and India. If the troops are
indeed shifted, it will constitute a serious blow to US efforts to
ferret out the remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. US Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld, reacting to the news, said: "We could be
getting a lot more help from the Pakistanis if there were not the
tense situation with respect to the two countries. They have forces
along the Indian borders that we could use along the Afghan border.
And it's unfortunate." (NYT, May 24)(David Bloom)

Pakistan carried out two unannounced missile tests over a space of
two days, while the international community attempted to ease
tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan. Pakistan's
state-run media said that on May 26, Pakistan completed a test of its
Hatf-3(Ghaznavi) missile, a short-range surface-to-surface missile
with a range of 180 miles that is believed to be capable of carrying
a nuclear warhead. On May 25, Pakistan successfully completed the
testing of its medium-range Ghauri missile. The Ghauri missile has a
range of 1000 miles, and is capable of striking the Indian cities of
Mumbai and New Delhi. (CNN, May 26) Indian defense spokesman P..K.
Bandyopadhyay said about the missile tests: "We are not impressed by
this. It has been done for demonstrative effect keeping in view the
domestic audience. And, to quote the defense minister, it also
indicates some kind of nervousness on part of the Pakistan
establishment" (Jang, May 27) The US criticized the missile launches:
"We are very disappointed in this," a State Department spokesman
said. "We continue to urge both sides to take steps to restrain their
missile programmes and their nuclear weapons programmes." (BBC, May
25)(David Bloom)

Pakistan deployed nuclear weapons during the Kargil crisis of 1999
and was prepared to use them against India, but was persuaded not to
use them by the US, according to former White House aide Bruce
Riedel. According to Riedel, the US knew Pakistan's armed forces were
preparing to deploy the weapons, when in late June the possibility of
Pakistan's defeat was raised by successful Indian-counter attacks on
Pakistani positions around Kargil, and Pakistan's diplomatic
isolation. On a trip to Washington on July 4, Pakistani Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif sought the intercession of US President Bill
Clinton to prevent an escalation with India. Clinton insisted that
Pakistan first pull back to the Line of Control (LoC) dividing
Kashmir and accept blame for causing the conflict. According to
Reidel's account, when Clinton asked Sharif if he had ordered
Pakistan's army to prepare nuclear missiles for deployment, Sharif
replied, taken aback, that the Indian army could be doing the same.
Clinton then told Sharif, "You've put me in the middle today, set the
US up to fail and I won't let it happen," he said. "Pakistan is
messing with nuclear war." Clinton offered to help with the Kashmir
dispute after Pakistan withdrew, and Sharif agreed, ordering his army
to withdraw from Kashmir once he returned home. Reidel said this
order led to the military coup that deposed Sharif from power and
into exile.(BBC, May 16)(David Bloom)

India and Pakistan blamed each other for the assassination of Muslim
Kashmiri separatist leader Abdul Ghani Lone. Lone was killed by
gunmen in police uniforms as he spoke at a memorial rally
commemorating the assassination of another Kashmiri separatist
leader. Lone was a leader of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference, a
group of religious and political parties that call for the separation
of predominately Muslim Kashmir from predominately Hindu India. Lone
favored dialogue with India, called for a cease-fire, and voiced
opposition to the participation of Pakistani militants in the
separatist campaign, which angered hard-line militant groups.
Likewise his decision to field candidates in upcoming legislative
election was unpopular with the militants, who considered the move a
sell-out. A Senior Hurriyet member, Abdul Ghani Bhatt said the
assassination was "a great tragedy. It is a hard blow not only to the
Hurriyet Conference but also to the people of Kashmir. We have lost a
seasoned leader who could blend his experience with political
reality." Lone's son Sajjad, addressing mourners at his father's
funeral, blamed Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI)
and conservative Hurriyet leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, for the
assassination: "The ISI is behind this," Sajjad Lone said "Mr.
Geelani and Pakistan is behind this."

In a December interview with the Washington Post, Lone said of the
Pakistani militants in Kashmir: "There was a time when we wanted
them, but now they should just go home.They don't support an
independent Kashmir. It's just part of their international struggle
to Islamicize the world." Last month, at a meeting in Dubai, Lone
reportedly told the ISI chief and the governor of the
Pakistani-controlled section of Kashmir that militants not of
Kashmiri origin should no longer participate in the struggle. One
official who knew of the meeting said "It did not go down well,"
(Washington Post, May 21)(David Bloom)

The British government has ordered 150 diplomats, aid workers and
other government workers out of Pakistan and warned thousands of
British citizen to leave after suicide bomb threats by the al-Qaeda
network, or one of the Pakistan-based militant groups associated with
it. The worker will start leaving with their families within days.
The Foreign Office has advised against travel to Pakistan. British
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the decision was taken in reaction
to "an acute and growing threat from terrorism to British interests
in Pakistan" and had nothing to do with the possible war between
Pakistan and India. (UK Guardian, May 23) (David Bloom)


Before leaving for his current European tour, US President George
Bush said "I will remind our friends that this war is far from
over."(Reuters, May 25) Ten thousand German policemen were mobilized
for protests in Berlin that turned out to be milder than expected,
with 20,000 anti-US demonstrators. While Bush was speaking in the
Reichstag, members of the former Communist party unfurled an anti-war
banner (UK Guardian, May 23). Bush later told German television "Iraq
ought to be on the minds of the German people . . . because the Iraq
Government is a dangerous Government," but a poll showed Germans are
deeply skeptical of the US: 76% of Germans think the US interferes
too much in other countries' affairs; and only 48% trust the US'
ability to defend global security (Times (London) May 20)(David Bloom)

A letter from Interpol to the German police said that more than 30
Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives have been smuggled into eastern
Europe and are on there way to Britain, according to the German daily
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. "A warning letter ... based on
information gathered two months ago by Interpol and Europol, says
that more than 30 'important people from the Taliban and Al Qaeda'
are in Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Austria on the way to
Britain, where they want to regroup and plan possible action," the
newspaper wrote. A spokesman for Europol in Brussels confirmed that a
"threat assessment" on Islamic extremists has been sent to the
organization's constituent states. (Reuters, May 23)(David Bloom)

On May 16 the Dutch people elected as the second-largest party in
parliament a right-wing party that could only exist in the
Netherlands-combining tolerance for lifestyles-its assassinated
leader was gay-but not for immigrants. Pim Fortuyn, a flamboyant
former Marxist-Leninist sociology professor and frequent talk show
guest who liked to be called "professor Pim", was assassinated by an
animal-rights activist days before the election. Fortyun's party,
Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF), was created in February when his previous
party found his anti-immigrant views too extreme. LPF went on to
become the second-largest party in its stronghold of Rotterdam, on
the strength of its anti-immigrant message. The Netherlands, Europe's
most densely populated country, has 10% immigrants, or people of
non-western descent, and Fortuyn proposed halting all immigration to
the country. Fortuyn, who didn't like to be called a rightist (he
found "intolerable" the fact that he was compared with Austria's Jorg
Haider or France's Jean-Marie Le Pen, and didn't care for the Flemish
Vlaams Blok) wanted to integrate all immigrants currently in Holland
into Dutch society, and a third of his supporters were immigrants.
Fortuyn especially objected to Islam, calling it a "backward culture"
because of its intolerance of his sexuality: "In Holland
homosexuality is treated the same as heterosexuality. In what Islamic
country does that happen?" he said, and the other tolerant elements
of Dutch society he favored -- including legalized prostitution and
decriminalized drug use. Fortuyn explained his views in his book,
"Against The Islamisation Of Our Culture." (BBC, May 12; BBC, May 6;
Financial Times, April 10)

The election proceeded with LPF headed by Fortuyn's
second-in-command, a dark-skinned Cape Verde islander named Joao
Varela. The 27-year-old businessman had himself immigrated to the
Netherlands at age six. "The Netherlands does have a problem with
asylum seekers, refugees, illegal and other immigrants," Varela told
the UK Guardian. "I'm fully behind Fortuyn on this. Stop people
coming in for the moment till we can sort out this conflict."
Stressing integration and the learning of the Dutch language, Varela
complained, "I see too many satellite dishes, too much trading in
goods imported from the countries they come from." (UK Guardian, May

It is not yet known why Volkert van der Graaf, 32, killed Fortuyn. A
vegan animal- rights activist, Van de Graaf said in an interview two
years ago that he didn't care for fishing with worms as a kid because
he felt it was cruel both to the worms and the fish. He had a strong
objection to factory farming, but Fortuyn did not have a well-thought
out policy on the issue.(BBC, May 12)(David Bloom)

A study by the Vienna-based European Monitoring Centre on Racism and
Xenophobia (EUMC) warns about rising anti-Muslim prejudice across
Europe. The EUMC report cited rises in violent assault, abuse and
attacks on Muslim property, even in tolerant Denmark and the
Netherlands. In Sweden, incidents of verbal abuse toward women
wearing the hijab were reported. EUMC Chairman Bob Purkis said
"September 11 has in some cases merely acted as a detonator of
feelings that we have failed to adequately address," and blamed the
British government for stoking these feelings in Britain. According
to Purkis, "by demonising refugees and asylum seekers you legitimize
racism and xenophobia. There are mixed messages coming from the prime
minister, from the Foreign Office. In the discussion about asylum
seekers we have to make sure we are not operating in ways that
legitimise the debate that racists are having."(UK Guardian, May 24)
Other European political leaders have also stoked anti-Islamic
sentiment. Six million voted for France's Jean-Marie Le Pen, who once
praised Serbian paramilitary leader Voijislav Seselj for the defense
of "near enough the same things that we defend". Seselj's White
Eagles perpetrated pogroms of Bosnian Muslims during the Bosnian war.
Italy's Silvio Berlusconi once claimed "the superiority of Western
culture over Islam." His government colleague Italian Northern League
leader Umberto Bossi has objected to the use of public land for
mosques for the "Muslim Invaders," and his party has called for
Muslims to be refused entry into Italy. Pim Fortuyn, the recently
assassinated right-wing Dutch politician, who campaigned on an
anti-immigrant platform, called Islam a
"backward culture." The Belgian far-right party, Vlaams Blok, has
enjoyed electoral success while campaigning to reduce the number of
mosques and for the institutionalization of discrimination against
Islam. Danish People's party leader Pia Kjaersgaard, who has declared
a "holy war" on Islam, campaigned using a poster that read: "By the
time you retire, Denmark will be a majority-Muslim nation." In 1999,
Jorg Haider of Austria's xenophobic Freedom Party rode to power using
the term "Uberfremdung" (foreigner-swamping) in its campaign
rhetoric. (UK Guardian, May 14; EUMC report, May 2002) (David Bloom)
The text of the EUMC report can be read online at

A May 13 article in the Financial Times argues that immigration is
necessary and essential for European economies to function and grow.
The Times article points out that by 2015, 20% of the European
population will be 65 or older, and by 2050, that figure will be 33%.
At the same time, fertility rates will be declining, creating an
constantly increasing retirement-age population that will have to be
sustained by a shrinking workforce. The Times says that this gap
cannot be bridged with immigration alone, but that it will help.
Labour shortages for both skilled and unskilled workers are expected
to occur. In Germany, by the 1980's, half of all miners and
sanitation workers were immigrants. The Stuttgart city council
calculated that its public transit system, schools and day care would
not be able to function without immigrant labour. The Times
recommends welcoming Immigration, and seeking to manage it, rather
than calling for a halt. (Financial Times, May 13)(David Bloom)

Faced with growing anti-Semitic violence from Muslim immigrant
quarters, some European Jews have gone so far as to express support
for the xenophobic, anti-Muslim right-wing politicians of Europe,
even though they have been associated with anti-Semitism in the past.
In Belgium, where the Flemish nationalist Vlaams Blok (VB) is the
largest party in its stronghold of Antwerp with 27% of the vote and
15.5% of the Belgian parliament, party leader Filip Dewinter has
recently reached out to Jews, condemning anti-Semitism. The VB has
campaigned to name a street in Antwerp after a wartime Flemish SS
officer,. (AP, Apr. 24; Xinhua, Aug, 15 1997). VB does not repudiate,
in fact looks nostalgically to Flemish nationalism of the 1930's,
Flemish-Nazi Germany collaboration, and glorifies the Vlaanderen
Division of the Waffen SS. While the VB voted for a 1995 law
prohibiting holocaust denial, there are VB members who are known
holocaust deniers. VB ideologists also use the term "Flamande," or
Flemish race in discussing their theory of nationalism (Stephen Roth
Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel
Aviv U., 1997)
Despite the VB's open neo-fascism, the party has recently been making
inroads among Belgian Jews, according to a May 1 article in the
Jerusalem Post. The article,"Antwerp Jews switching support to
Flemish far-right party," describes how a combination of a perception
of pro-Palestinian bias amongst Belgium's political elite, recent
attacks against Jewish targets by Muslim immigrants in Antwerp, and a
charm offensive by VB head Filip Dewinter are spurring this trend.
Dewinter is one of only a few European far-rightists to support
France's National Front leader Jean-Marie le Pen, who once referred
to the Holocaust as a mere "detail" of World War II. Andre Gantman, a
Jewish lawyer and former Liberal member of the Antwerp city council,
said "My heart is bleeding, but I understand the reaction of my
Jewish friends who regard the Vlaams Blok as the last straw they can
clutch." Gantman said that elements within the 30,000-strong Antwerp
Arab community were pushing for what he referred to as a showdown
with the Jews. While no surveys have been conducted among Antwerp's
20,000 Jews, recent attacks, including the firebombing of two
synagogues and a third raked with gunfire, a rabbi beaten up, and a
Jewish bookstore burned down has fueled this trend towards support
for the VB, and it has been helped by Dewinter's outreach to the
Jewish community: "I heard him (Dewinter) say: 'How is it possible
that Jews are being persecuted in our town in the year 2002.' That
deeply touched me," Gantman said. His colleague Claude Marinower, one
Antwerp's few Jewish politicians, acknowledged the trend towards the
VB and said Gantman was worsening the trend by not speaking out
against the VB: "The potential danger certainly exists, because of
what is happening and the indisputable charm offensive that was
launched some time ago by the Vlaams Blok toward the Jewish
community," Marinower said. Dewinter, claiming that his party has
gained strong support in the Jewish community, blamed Belgium's
left-wing parties for the trend: "A big part of the Jewish community
no longer wants to be used by the Left as a weapon against the Vlaams
Blok," he said. (Jerusalem Post, May 1)
Jean-Marie Le Pen, the French Front National leader who took
second place in the recent French presidential election, has also
made improbable inroads into the Jewish community of France. The
reason is similar to that of the Jews of Belgium; the French Jewish
community has been victimized by hundreds of anti-Semitic attacks
from Muslim quarters, and Le Pen has a strong law-and-order and
anti-immigrant message, and is hostile towards France's large Muslim
community. In the face of synagogues being set on fire, damage to
Jewish institutions, anti-Semitic slogans scrawled on walls, and
cursing at people who look Jewish, quite a number of Jews are known
to have voted for Le Pen, who once said that the Holocaust was a
"detail" of World War II. Some rabbis said the rise of Le Pen was a
divine miracle. A few called on Jews to vote for Le Pen, reasoning
that his election would bring chaos to France and accelerate
emigration to Israel. Leaders of the Likud party of Israel suggested
casting a blank ballot in the election, rather than voting for
Chirac, who has been seen as hostile to Israel. One listener of Radio
Shalom, a Jewish community call-in show said: "I'm speaking
emotionally because I am ashamed of our community leaders and of some
of our intellectuals. I saw many demonstrations against Israel and at
all of them there were only leftist Jews and Christians and Muslims.
Nor did I see Le Pen demonstrating against Israel. I'm not afraid of
a government of the National Front because it won't allow people to
demonstrate and call out `Death to the Jews.' I beg all the Jews who
are listening to me. Don't vote for Chirac, who is a hypocrite and a
Jew-hater. Cast a blank ballot. And anyway, how do you know that Le
Pen will be a bad president?" A Jew from Marseilles called Haaretz's
reporter and said: I so much wanted [Le Pen] to be elected. The fact
is that during the two weeks between the two election rounds, there
were no attacks against us. We could walk around the city freely,
with heads held high. The Arabs were even afraid to leave their
homes. I'll tell you the truth, I enjoyed seeing them sitting in the
cafes with long faces."(Haaretz, May 7)
Italy's "post-fascist" Alliance Nazionale (AN) Leader
Gianfranco Fini, Deputy Prime Minister in Silvio Berlusconi's
center-right government, hasn't been embraced by the Italian Jewish
community, but has made inroads with the Israeli government with his
pro-Israel stance. Italian Jewish leader Amos Luzzatto has not agreed
to meet with Fini, saying that while it's good that Fini apologized
for referring to Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who deported
thousands of Italy's Jews to their death in WWll, as "the greatest
statesman of the 20th century," but that he suspected Fini and his
party had not entirely rejected Fascism. When Fini re-formed
Mussolini's MSI party as the AN, he rejected the party's anti-Semitic
and racist doctrines. But while Italy's Jews remain unconvinced, and
against their advise, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has said
he would welcome Fini's long-sought after visit to Israel: "We do not
judge people on their pasts, but on their current positions," Peres
told Italy's RAI International radio. "The recent declarations of the
vice prime minister are in perfect agreement with our positions.
Furthermore, Fini has expressed his respect for the Israeli people
and has spoken in a clear manner about his relations with us,"(AFP,
May 9; AFP, Jan 30)(David Bloom)

A group of 57 Muslim, Christian and Jewish intellectuals and
religious leaders published a call in the French media decrying the
war in Israel and Palestine which included a protest about growing
anti-Semitism in France: "the Israeli-Palestinian war has awakened
criminal tendencies in France that endanger human lives and places of
worship, including Jewish synagogues." One of the signatories to this
document was Tariq Ramadan, who lectures on philosophy at the College
of Geneva, on Islamic Studies at Fribourg, Switzerland. Ramadan, a
grandson of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Bana , told
Haaretz: "Too few Muslims have spoken out against these anti-Semitic
and Judeophobic phenomena." Ramadan claims that anti-Semitism has no
place in Islam:

"To my regret, anti-Semitic utterances have been heard not only from
frustrated and confused young Muslims, but also from certain Muslim
intellectuals and imams," he says, "who in every crisis or political
backsliding see the hand of the `Jewish lobby.' There is nothing in
Islam that gives legitimization to Judeophobia, xenophobia and the
rejection of any human being because of his religion or the group to
which he belongs. Anti-Semitism has no justification in Islam, the
message of which demands respect for the Jewish religion and spirit,
which are considered a noble expression of the People of the
Book."(Haaretz, May 26)(David Bloom)

Citing insufficient evidence, an Italian court freed eight riot
policemen who had been under house arrest while accused of
brutalizing anti-globalization protesters in Naples a year ago. The
officers were also immediately re-instated to duty. Italian Interior
Minister Claudio Scajola of Silvio Berlusoconi's center-right
government was pleased by the decision, saying "I never had any
doubts."(AFP, May 12)

Berlusconi's government had been angered by the house arrests, and
"post-Fascist" Allianze Nazionale (AN) leader Gianfranco Fini had
warned of repercussions if the arrests proved to be unjustified.
Left-wing leaders, however, blamed Italy's shift to the right for
encouraging fascist tendencies within the police.

The eight policemen were accused of taking 80 young people from
hospitals, many of whom said they had nothing to do with the rioting,
and subjecting them to physical and sexual abuse. Thirteen other
officers were investigated, and reports say that over 100 took part
in the alleged beatings. They officers denied any wrongdoing when
questioned by magistrates.

An investigator's report said that the police barracks has been used
as "a torture chamber...a fetid cesspit of urine, feces, vomit, and
blood". The report quoted a female protester who now suffers from
panic attacks after she was stripped and sexually humiliated by both
male and female police officers. Some who were beaten so bady they
became disabled testified to being beaten, kicked, and sexually
threatened or assaulted. Some were forced to sing pro-fascist songs,
strip naked, or kiss portraits of Italian Fascist dictator Benito
Mussolini. (UK Times (London), April 29; DPA, April 30)(David Bloom)

A Rome court approved defamation charges against Leone Passerman,
president of the cityís Jewish community, for accusing the far-right
Forza Nuova party and its leader Roberto Fiore of "encouraging
Nazism, Fascism and racism." Prosecutor Franco Ionta said Passerman
had "offended the reputation and honor of Forza Nuova and thus also
of Roberto Fiore" in a statement printed in Oct. 2000 by La
Repubblica. Passerman was quoted as saying that Forza Nuova pamphlets
were "aberrant and highly violent," and accused party militants of
anti-Semitism. (International Herald-Tribune, May 11-12) Forza Nuova
posters spotted by WW3 REPORT in Naples read: "LE PEN IN FRANCE,

80,000 marched 24 kilometers from Perugia to the tomb of St. Francis
of Assisi to call for a peaceful resolution to the Middle East
crisis. Marchers carried the flags of both Israel and Palestine, and
signs condemned both Palestinian terrorism and Israeli state terror.
Both Palestinian activist Huda Imam and Israeli activist Dror Etkes,
of the group Peace Now, addressed the crowd. A message of support
from the Pope was also delivered. (La Repubblica, May 13)

A homemade propane-benzene bomb exploded at the Piazza del Duomo
subway station in Milan, and police are looking for a
still-unidentified man caught dropping the device by a video
surveillance camera five minutes before it detonated. Although nobody
was injured and little damage caused, the press speculated the blast
was the work of Islamic militants, citing a hand-written note found
in a nearby trashcan reading "Allah U Agbar" (sic). Authorities noted
the amateurish spelling error ("God is great" in Arabic is actually
"Allah U Akbar"), and speculated provocateurs might be behind the
incident. Homemade devices also exploded on public streets in
Agrigento, Sicily, on Nov. 5 and Feb. 15, the first damaging a car.
In both cases, hand-written statements referring to Allah or Islam
were found near the scene. (La Repubblica, May 13)

Ex-Mafia boss Giuseppe Insolito was killed when a homemade explosive
device detonated at his home in the southern Italian city of Cosenza,
20 years after he had agreed to cooperate with authorities in a
crackdown on the ruling criminal organization of his home city of
Messina, Sicily. Insolito was "exiled" to Cosenza under police
protection after "singing" to authorities on the workings of the
Messina Mafia in 1982. His death signals a possible resurgence of the
Mafia terror that shook Italy ten years ago. (Gazzetta del Sud, May

Maya Indian activist and 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta
Menchu, who helped bring the genocide in her native Guatemala to the
worldís attention in the 1980s, was hosted by supporters in the
southern Italian city of Reggio Calabria, where the local "Vento e
Sole" committee has assisted in development projects for her home
village of Chimel. In her remarks, Menchu drew a parallel between the
struggle in Guatemala and citizen demands for public accountability
in southern Italy, where a resurgence of violence by the Sicilian
Mafia and Calabria's 'Ndrangheta criminal machine have recently been
in the news. "Impunity is a crime against humanity, whether it is the
Mafia, state terrorism or genocide against an indigenous population,"
said Menchu. Raoul Bova of the Vento e Sole committee also told the
reception at the city's Excelsior Hotel, "To defend the rights of the
Maya is part of the same struggle we wage against the Mafia." He also
invoked the 10th anniversary of the death of Giovanni Falcone, an
anti-Mafia prosecuter killed in a bomb attack on a highway in Sicily
on May 23, 1992, at the height of a wave of Mafia terror throughout
Italy. (Il Domani Calabria, May 21)

The French government announced the formation of 28 new elite
crime-busting squads, in a clear attempt to appease supporters of
Jean-Marie Le Pen, the far-right leader who eliminated former
Socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin in the first round of the
presidential election in April. The new anti-crime "intervention
groups" will be sent into "no-go" zones in suburban housing projects
controlled by North African gangs. Ordinary police will also be
authorized to use rubber bullets in anti-gang operations. Le Pen
links his anti-immigration campaign to fears of crime and domestic
terrorism. The anti-crime units were announced the day after Gaullist
leader Jacques Chirac was sworn in as president, having won the
second round on a law-and-order platform strongly influenced by Le
Pen's upset victory in the first round. Rightist Interior Minister
Nicolas Sarkozy has been appointed number-two man in Chirac's
transition government, and pledges to centralize national command of
the 100,000-strong gendarmerie to fight criminal gangs. (Financial
Times, May 17)

Swiss officials reacted angrily to a call by the United Kingdom for
an overhaul of banking secrecy laws, which London charges are
exploited by terrorists. At the annual meeting of the OECD in Paris,
Switzerland's economic minister Pascal Couchepin blasted UK financial
secretary Paul Boateng for suggesting the Swiss tradition of banking
secrecy assists terrorist money-laundering operations. "To pretend
that Swiss banking secrecy is an obstacle to fighting terrorism is a
lie," said Couchepin. Switzerland opposed a UK-backed proposal for
greater transparency in exchange of information on tax matters.
Switzerland is said to manage one-third of the world's private
individual wealth, or some $1,860 billion. (Financial Times, May 17)


Since the revelations that US President George Bush was shown a memo
on Aug. 6, 2001, stating that an al-Qaeda attack on the US was
possible, but did not act on it, the US public has been barraged with
a flurry of warnings of possible terror attacks. Nuclear power
plants, boats, trains, subways, banks in northeastern U.S. states,
supermarket, shopping malls, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of
Liberty, and apartment buildings have all been been mentioned as
possible targets. The attacks could come in the form of walk-in
suicide bombers, terrorists in small planes, even terrorists trained
as scuba divers,. On May 20, FBI Director Robert Mueller said another
attack was "inevitable." President Bush spoke of the difficulty of
preventing another attack. Many of these threats come from Senior al
Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah, currently in US custody. Official do not
know how trustworthy his information is, but have decided to err on
the side of caution and publicize the warnings. (CBS, May 24) One
subway rider in New York said he was unperturbed by the threat to
subways: "You keep your eyes out and I think you look for people that
just might be some unsavory characters, but I think anybody that
rides the subway is always very much on guard" (CNN, May 24)(David

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