Tuesday, June 22, 2004



You'll pay, US lawyer tells SA government
Six apartheid victims, including the mother of a teenager shot dead in the 1976 Soweto riots, are seeking $20-billion dollars (about R140-billion) in a lawsuit targeting the South African government and major corporations, their lawyer said on Monday.

The suit was filed in New York District Court on Saturday, demanding at least $10-billion for "genocide, expropriation and other wrongful acts" by international companies under apartheid, American lawyer Ed Fagan told a news conference.

The plaintiffs are also seeking another $10-billion in damages because President Thabo Mbeki's government "continued to allow companies to exploit victims without protecting them, allowing industry to violate people's rights."

'These companies were strategic partners of the apartheid government'
The full amount would be paid into what Fagan termed a "humanitarian fund."

"At the end of the day these companies were strategic partners of the (apartheid) government," Fagan said.

The post-apartheid government set up in 1994 was targeted in the case "because of its failure to fulfil its obligations and its conspiracy with specific companies to violate these people's rights," he added.

Apart from Mbeki, the suit targets mining giants Anglo American and Goldfields; United States computer giant IBM; UBS Bank of Switzerland and South African petroleum giant Sasol.

Among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is Dorothy Molefi, the mother of 13-year-old Hector Petersen, who was shot dead in Soweto in June 1976 when police opened fire on schoolchildren and teenagers who had gathered to protest against the imposition of Afrikaans - seen as the language of the white oppressors - in schools.

'South African matters resolved in South Africa'
The picture of Petersen being carried away by two teenagers became iconic of black South Africa's struggle against racist oppression.

Mbeki's spokesperson Bheki Khumalo said the government would defend its case, but wanted "South African matters resolved in South Africa."

"If Ed Fagan has decided to do this and he has indicated that he is doing it, well, the government will have to go to court and defend itself. We are convinced that we have a winable case."

Mbeki has in the past condemned any moves to sue major companies in the US, arguing that many of the companies were now assisting in South Africa's development.

Fagan said the civil action was separate to that of a class action on behalf of apartheid victims already before a New York court, and from which South African lawyers claimed Fagan had been dismissed.

This was disputed by the flamboyant US lawyer: "I was never fired. I merely took a back seat. It was them who were fired."

He has also drawn scathing criticism from civic groups for raising the expectations of poor and mainly black victims of apartheid.

Fagan became prominent when he won a $1.2-billion compensation claim by Holocaust survivors against Swiss banks, including UBS and Credit Suisse, in 1998.

Fagan said his clients would give the South African government two weeks to respond to a "proposal" - without divulging details - before the case would go ahead.

"Make no mistake about this. This is not a game, it is not a procedural play, it is not a show. It is a deadly serious lawsuit, it has legal legs, it has legal precedent.

"If our allegations are true, you are going to pay," he said.

Fagan said he did not want to comment on the other case already before the New York courts - in which judgment had been reserved - were 34 companies were being sued for billions of dollars.
Source; Sapa-AFP, June 04
Write; by Jan Hennop
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Syria preparing sanctions against United States
Syria is preparing a law that would prohibit trade dealings with the United States in response to U.S. sanctions imposed on the Arab country last month, Syrian legislators said Saturday.

More than 130 members of the 250-seat legislature have prepared a draft of the "America Accountability Act" that would impose "strict sanctions" on American interests in Syria.

In a statement faxed to The Associated Press in Damascus, parliament officials said the draft law is a response to "Washington's policy in the region and its unlimited support and bias for Israeli policies and practices and to the Syria Accountability Act."

The Syria Accountability Act is a U.S. law passed last year that calls for sanctions against Syria for its alleged support of terrorism. Syria denies the U.S. claims and says the sanctions are political.

Muhammad Habash, a lawmaker with moderate Islamic affiliations who is one of the campaigners for the draft law, said the law was meant to maintain the dignity of Syrians.

"We are not simple-minded to the degree that we imagine we can affect the great American economy," he said. "But we are able to maintain our dignity and slap the Americans so they know that if they continue with their arrogant policies, people everywhere around the globe will spit at them."

In May, President Bush banned all U.S. exports to Syria except for food and medicine, and banned Syrian flights to and from the United States after long-standing complaints that Syria was supporting terrorism and undermining U.S. efforts in Iraq.

The sanctions were based on the Syria Accountability Act.
The parliament statement said lawmakers would submit the draft law for a vote June 27 during a Parliament session in which Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara will explain the Syrian government's rationale for imposing the sanctions. The statement said the law was expected to pass overwhelmingly.

It would have to be ratified by President Bashar Assad before becoming law.

The statement did not give details on the nature of the sanctions Syria will impose.

Lawmaker Suleiman Haddad said the sanctions may be in the form of boycotting American goods but would not be a complete boycott of the United States, though he said some members of parliament supported that option.

"We in Syria believe that there is still a thread between us and America," Haddad said in a telephone interview Saturday. He said the sanctions would not impose restrictions on U.S. companies working in his country.

Trade between the United States and Syria amounts to $300 million a year. Several U.S. companies operate in Syria, which in the last year has signed oil-exploration deals with American companies worth a total of $34 million.

The U.S. sanctions imposed under the Syria Accountability Act also authorize the Treasury Department to freeze the assets of Syrian nationals and entities involved in terrorism. They also restrict relations between U.S. banks and the Syrian national banks.
Source; The Associated Press, June 04
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Mujahideen attack Russian military bases in Ingushetia
Chechen and Ingush Mujahideen armed with grenade and rocket-launchers have seized government buildings in Ingushetia, a region bordering warring Chechnya.

An Ingushetia Interior Ministry official said the attack on the ministry building in the city of Nazran began late on Monday. The official also said police buildings in Ordzhonikidzevskaya, just over the border from Chechnya, and in Karabulak have been seized by other attackers.

There is no official word on casualties, but witnesses said that dozens bodies are lying around the Interior Ministry building.

Ingush sources reported that Interior Minister of Ingushetia Murad Kostoev was dead. Dozens of Russian occupation solders and FSB servicemen's were kill when Mujahideen attack Russian military bases in Ingushetia.

In an interview on Radio Liberty last week, Chechnya's president Aslan Maskhadov said that Chechen solders were preparing to undertake new offensives.

"We are planning to change tactics. Before, we concentrated our efforts on acts of sabotage, but soon we are planning to start active military actions," he said.

A three-man crew from Russia's NTV television came upon some of the attackers at a border crossing as they tried to reach Nazran from neighboring North Ossetia.

"Out of the dark, a voice says 'Stop, put your hands on the hood,' said NTV correspondent Maxim Berezin. "A man carrying an automatic weapon came up. 'Who are you?' 'We're from NTV.' He took a few steps back, as if to shoot us.

"Then he said, 'Say that we are the Martyr's Brigade,' I don't remember of whom, Abu, Alyua, I don't remember what he said. 'We have shot everyone here. Go and announce that.'"

The town of Karabulak and village of Sleptsovskaya also came under attack. Mujahideen killed many Russian occupation solders on military base in Troickaya village near airport. Reports say a multiple rocket launcher was being fired in Nazran and other towns of Ingushetia, and people were sheltering in cellars.

Reports also say that 30 solders of Interior Ministry of Ingushetia were dead.

At 3 a.m. 22 June Mujahideen are begin leave villages and towns of Ingushetia.
Source; Russian media, June 04
Write; by LuisB
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Annan Sees 'Alarming Resurgence' of Anti-Semitism
Secretary-General Kofi Annan declared on Monday there was an "alarming resurgence" of anti-Semitism in the world and called for U.N. bodies to adopt resolutions and investigate the ancient scourge.

Greeted with a standing ovation, Annan opened the first U.N.- organized seminar dedicated to anti-Semitism in response to charges that the world body dwelled on Palestinian rights and deliberately ignored injustices to Israelis and Jews.

"When we seek justice for the Palestinians - as we must - let us firmly disavow anyone who tries to use that cause to incite hatred against Jews, in Israel or elsewhere," Annan told the gathering, which included a wide spectrum of American Jewish groups and representatives of other religions.

Annan said it was hard to believe that 60 years after the Holocaust that anti-Semitism was rearing its head.

"But it is clear that we are witnessing an alarming resurgence of this phenomenon in new forms and manifestations," he said. "This time the world must not, cannot be silent.

Annan called on U.N. member states to adopt a resolution to combat anti-Semitism, similar to one approved in April by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Fifty-five nations said the Middle East conflict could never justify anti-Semitism and attacks on Jews.

He also said the Geneva-based Commission on Human Rights, should examine anti-Semitism with the same diligence it looked into racism against Muslims in various parts of the world.

"Are not Jews entitled to the same degree of concern and protection?" Annan asked.

Jewish leaders pointed to dissent in the Arab world they say is descending into expressions of extreme anti-Semitism and a flurry of incidents in Europe, especially in France and Russia, they felt had not been addressed properly.

Only Germany came in for praise for its education system and tough laws to combat anti-Semitism, despite rising fears among the Jewish community there. There was little discussion of anti-Semitism in the United States where there are about 5 million Jews, slightly more than in Israel.

Author Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor, said he thought anti-Semitism had perished in the Auschwitz death camp, but "only the Jews perished there."

Wiesel, the keynote speaker, said that discriminating against Jews often translated into hatred against all minorities and "those who are different."

"When we urge you to fight anti-Semitism, it is because we want to save other people as well," he said.

Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, demanded Annan appoint an official charged with combating anti-Semitism, an annual report on the subject and a resolution to "unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism."

The United Nations came in for heavy criticism, especially from Anne Bayefsky, a professor and fellow at the Hudson Institute think tank, who said Israel was demonized on a regular basis while Arab nations got away with redrawing the map of the Middle East.

To cheers from the audience, she castigated the United Nations as well as Annan for an "inability to confront the corruption of its agenda."

Felice Gaer, a human rights and U.N. expert from the American Jewish Committee, said there were enough U.N. resolutions on the books against racism and intolerance but U.N. officials appeared afraid to activate them.

But she called Annan's address "forthright and unique in U.N. history. "It's as good as it gets," she said.
Write; by Evelyn Leopold, June 04
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Iran – UK naval dispute
Communications with three Royal Navy vessels and eight sailors seized by Iran have been lost.
A British military spokesman said the craft, which entered Iran's territorial waters, cannot be contacted.
Eight British sailors have been arrested by Iran. The seacraft were detained near the Iraqi border after, said Iran, they had entered its waters without permission.
A spokesman for the officially appointed Iranian Revolutionary Guards said: "We got news that a number of foreign vessels entered Iranian waters without permission.
"Three boats were guided to Iranian shores and more than five crew were arrested."
Iranian naval sources told the country's media eight British crew were arrested after their vessels were found to contain weapons and maps.
One station said the crew had confessed to making "a mistake" and that the Iranian navy had confiscated the three vessels.
The confrontation was said to have taken place in the Shatt al Arab stretch of water between Iraq and Iran.
Sky News' Foreign Editor Tim Marshall said: "Iran is making a point to Britain probably, and that point is 'back off'."
He added that Iran may be using the incident as a bargaining tool against British-backed UN demands on its nuclear programme.
A spokesman for the British Ministry of Defence said it was investigating the reports. Royal Navy boats patrol the waterway - a highly disputed boundary between Iraq and Iraq - to prevent smuggling.
Source; Sky News, June 04
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San Francisco proposes limited non-citizen voting
A plan is being considered that allow non-citizens, including illegal immigrants, to vote in San Francisco school board elections.
The San Jose Mercury News said Monday the proposed November ballot measure was aimed at getting more parents involved in their children's education by waiving California's requirement that voters be U.S. citizens.

San Francisco has long been a home to a large Asian immigrant community as well as growing numbers of Latinos. Only those non-citizens with children in public school would be allowed to vote, and only in school board elections.

The Mercury said a similar proposal that would have allowed immigrants to vote in all municipal elections was rejected in 1996 by a judge who ruled the move would require an amendment to the state constitution.

If passed, the measure would be the first in California, although similar laws have been enacted in New York, Chicago and Maryland.
Source; San Jose Mercury News, June 04
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Beheading a tool for propaganda
Islamic militants record gruesome killings and post them on Web to get media coverage
There has been a progression in the terrorists' exploitation of images to announce and dramatize their killings.

Beheading has been adapted widely by Muslim radicals for killing enemies in recent conflicts in Algeria, Bosnia and Chechnya, experts said.

But the executioners of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002, Pennsylvania businessman Nick Berg in Iraq on May 11 and aviation engineer Paul Johnson in Saudi Arabia on Friday have turned the act into propaganda by using digital cameras to record the spectacle.

On Friday, the grisly images were posted on the Web for a global audience, including Westerners for whom decapitation is particularly shocking.

The Site Institute - a Washington organization which tracks terrorist groups - located on Friday an Arabic-language communiqué about Mr. Johnson's killing accompanied by grim photographs of the murder on a website set up recently using the free service provided by Geocities, a subsidiary of Yahoo!.

Said Site analyst Josh Devon: 'Terrorism doesn't work unless the media is involved. Shooting someone isn't necessarily terrorism.

Beheading someone and posting it on the Web is terrorism.'

In Mr. Pearl's case, video footage of the murder was delivered to the US consulate in Karachi. Only later was it posted on the Internet and aired in part by CBS News.

The video of Mr. Berg's killing was posted immediately on the Web, provoking a storm of grief and outrage.

Mr. Johnson's killers managed to draw even more attention by announcing in their Web posting on Tuesday that he would be killed in 72 hours if their demands were not met.

'Here, we had the countdown: This guy was alive, but yet we knew he was doomed as the 72-hour countdown went on,' said Mr. Robert Thompson, a media and culture expert at Syracuse University in New York.

The combination of ritual murder with digital communications 'is this bizarre collision of worlds'.

He said the Internet had a powerful pull for terror groups because it allowed instant, international distribution to groups that otherwise could not broadcast their message through traditional media.

He said terror groups had been savvy enough to recognise, however, that only the most violent, most graphic events will draw attention.

'You can't put just anything on the Internet and expect people to pay attention,' he said.

'I can think of few things other than a beheading that is able to singularly focus people's attention.'

Mr. Marc Sageman, a former CIA officer and author of Understanding Terror Networks, said militants in Algeria, Chechnya and Bosnia had used decapitation widely.

'This has become the ritual way of slaughtering infidels,' he said.
'That's the way you slaughter animals, so I suppose it's a way of saying infidels are no better than animals.'

While beheading went out of use long ago in the West, the Saudi government still uses it for executing men and occasionally women for serious crimes, occasionally including religious crimes such as blasphemy.

The government's senior executioner, Mr. Muhammad Saad al-Beshi, gave several media interviews last year, bragging that his sword is 'very sharp. People are amazed how fast it can separate the head from the body'.
Source; LAT-WP, June 04
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Colombian drug dealers set up cocaine supply bases in Balkans
Colombian drug clans set up bases in the Balkans to penetrate into Eastern Europe, Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office Office for Drug

Control and Crime Prevention, said on Friday.

We discovered bases of Colombian drug dealers in the Balkans, in particular, in Albania, he noted. They promote Colombian cocaine to Eastern Europe, Russia and Ukraine.

According to Antonio Maria Costa, formerly Colombian cocaine was coming to Europe via Spain. However, Asia, first of all, Afghanistan, remains Europe's main source of cocaine and heroin.

Meanwhile, the UN report on cocaine production in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia says that illegal cocaine crops reduced by 20% in these countries.

All in all, 200,000 families live by cocaine crops in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, the report proceeds.

According to UN experts, big illegal military units in Colombia initiate cocaine production in the Andes.
Source; RIA Novosti's, June 04
Write; by Mikhail Belyat
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San want their day in Bostwana court
The fate of one of southern Africa's oldest nomadic tribes, the San or Bushmen, could be sealed when the Botswana High Court hears argument on the issue of ancestral land rights.

The court case, which commences on July 5 with an in loco inspection, could decide the future of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen communities.

Two hundred and forty-eight Bushmen and Bakgalagadi adults are taking the Botswana government, including President Festus Mogae, to court over the government's forced eviction of them and their families from their ancestral land, in what could be a test case for Bushman rights across southern Africa.

The in loco inspection is supposed to visit settlements from which the San were allegedly forcibly removed from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to settlements outside the reserve.

'Expected to become farmers overnight'
The Bushmen want the government to recognise their right to return to their land and live there without fear of further eviction, and to hunt and gather freely.

The original case of forced removal from their ancestral land was dismissed on a technicality in April 2002.

However, the Bushmen appealed and won the right to have the case re-heard on its merits.

The Botswana government had initially apparently terminated all services, including water, because it claimed that it could not afford the monthly cost of Botswana pula 55 000.

The first wave of removals took place in 1997, and most of the community has since been relocated to settlements outside the park.

In exchange for their traditional hunting-gathering existence, the Botswana government claims the San have been granted title deeds to plots, a mere 40 by 40 meters, in a conservation area - the Central Kalahari Game Reserve - about the size of Belgium.

The displaced tribesmen have also allegedly been given goats and cattle.

"People as old as 80 years and older who have been hunter-gatherers all their lives were expected to become farmers overnight", a South African spokesperson for the applicants said on Monday.

But the Botswana action has drawn strident opposition from Survival International, a British organization supporting tribal communities and their rights to their land and to decide their own future.

The organization has been at the forefront of an awareness campaign; organizing petitions across the world against the removal of the San and even suggesting that diamond prospecting could be behind the relocation.

Survival International also accuses the Botswana authorities of harassment of the San, saying they have been "tortured, beaten up or arrested for supposedly over-hunting, or hunting without correct licenses."

The Botswana government has vehemently denied these allegations, as well as that diamond prospecting was at the root of the relocation.
Source; Sapa, June 04

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Some lessons from nations that won the war on terror
At the Observatory of Human Rights in Algiers, the Algerian capital, a visitor is shown a chart indicating the course of almost a decade of terrorist war waged in the name of Islam.

The chart does not give the number of victims. Different sets of figures have circulated for years. In 1994 the Interior Ministry cited a figure of 11, 000. In 1996, Socialist opposition leader Hocine Ait-Ahmed estimated the number of those killed at almost half a million. In1999 Abdel-Aziz Bouteflika, then a presidential candidate, put the number at "over 100, 000". My estimate, based on information collected from many sources since 1994, produces a figure of around 28,000. But we still need years of painstaking research to establish the full facts.

There is more accurate information about the numbers and the frequency of terror attacks. The chart mentioned above shows that terror attacks reached their peak between 1994 and 1996. At some point, in 1995, the various terror groups were able to launch up to 30 more or less simultaneous attacks each day. In some cases, the terrorists killed hundreds of people in a day, the record being reached with the massacre of an estimated 500 people in the village of Ben-Talha.

In March 1994 during a visit to Algiers it was hard to avoid the impression that the Algerian state was on the verge of collapse and that the terrorists would soon ride into the capital to seize power. The nation had suffered human and physical losses on the scale of a conventional war. The damage done to its economic and administrative infrastructure by the terrorists ran into billions of dollars. Thousands of municipal buildings, schools, clinics, libraries and private homes had been destroyed. Dozens of villages had been turned into desert, their inhabitants driven out or massacred.

By 1996, however, the tide had begun to turn against the terrorists and within a year it was clear that Algeria was no longer in mortal danger. By 1999 Algeria had won its war against terrorism.

A similar story could be told of Peru, the Latin American nation most affected by terrorist war.

At one point, the main terrorist organization known as Sendero Luminoso (The Shining Path) was capable of striking anywhere and anytime it wished. Over almost two decades, the terrorist war claimed the lives of at least30, 000people, mostly civilians. By seizing control of a good chunk of the illicit narcotics trade, the terrorist groups had access to an almost endless source of cash to finance their campaign.

And, yet, by 1999 Peru, too, seemed to be emerging from its ordeal. With Sendero Luminoso flushed out of its safe havens and its leadership in the can, the Peruvian state was able to reassert its authority even in the deepest jungles of the hinterland.

Algeria and Peru are not the only nations to have faced and defeated modern terrorism. Egypt and Turkey have had similar experiences with exceptionally brutal terrorist movements.

Today no fewer than 22 countries are affected by terrorism of one form or another. In some, like India, the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar, the state has succeeded in containing the terrorist threat without fully defeating it. In others, like Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan, terrorism has transformed into low- intensity warfare that could continue for years.

Elsewhere, as in Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast and Uganda terror groups have organized themselves into mini-armies that control large chunks of territory and threaten the central state.

But all these experiences reveal one important fact: No terrorist movement in the past two decades has succeeded in overthrowing the state and seizing power for itself. This is in contrast with the experience of the previous decades that saw several terrorist movements, often disguised as revolutionary guerrilla movements, come to power on a wave of violence.

How did Algeria, Peru and other nations that have defeated terrorism managed to do so in the face of heavy odds?

The question is of interest to the latest victims of terrorism, including Saudi Arabia.

While Algerian, Peruvian and other experiences in fighting terrorism show important differences, they all have several key features in common.

The first of these is a psychological determination on the part of the ruling elites to stay the course. One central aim of the terrorist, of course, is to instill fear in society in general and the elite in particular. By refusing to be frightened, society and its leaders achieve their first victory against the terrorists.

This, of course, is easier said than done. In Algeria, for example, the terrorists launched a campaign of murdering university teachers and students, especially girls. Scores were killed, mostly by having their throats slit. The immediate effect was dramatic. More than half of the students of the Algiers University stayed away for weeks and months. By 1995, however, the authorities had provided enough security to persuade the students, and their teachers, to return. This was still an act of daily courage on the part of tens of thousands of young people who were prepared to risk their lives but not to allow terrorists to close the universities.

In both Peru and Algeria the authorities started by grouping key personalities of the system in fortified neighborhoods so as to protect them against assassination attempts. But they soon realized that this made the task of the terrorists easier. The terrorists, using a few people for surveillance, could chart the movements of all the key people to and from a small area. This gave them fixed targets while they themselves enjoyed maximum mobility.

The terrorists achieved spectacular successes by killing many top people. Dozens of ministers, governors, mayors, trade union leaders, political party personalities, prominent media men and women were murdered in Peru and Algeria. In Algeria they even assassinated the head of state.

Later, both countries decided to spread their key personnel widely, beyond the terrorists' capacity to organize surveillance operations leading to assassinations.

The second lesson to learn is to understand the difference in the rhythm and tempo of the terrorist organization and the state security forces. The terrorist is almost always capable of running the100 - meter course faster than his state adversaries. He aims at achieving big victories quickly and with a few spectacular operations. The state security forces, on the other hand, must be prepared to draw the terrorist into a marathon course. They need to slow things down as much as possible and to make sure that even the most spectacular attacks fail to produce the results desired by the terrorists.

The third lesson to learn is the strategy of forcing the terrorists into fixed positions before moving against them. The terrorist constantly seeks anonymity, like fish in water.

But he also needs safe havens, hospitals, recreation centers, places to hide his bigger weapons, and facilities to train new recruits or imprison potential defectors. All this means a loss of mobility, which is the terrorist's key advantage over the state.

In both Algeria and Peru, and to some extent even in Turkey and Egypt, the state decided to actually help the terrorists become fixed targets.
In Algeria, for example, the anti-terror units deliberately stayed out of some areas, notably the Mitidja plain and the town of Blida, thus shooing the terrorists there. On some occasions the security forces even refused to intervene to stop terrorist operations that took place under their noses, so to speak. The idea was to convince the terrorists that they had a safe haven. In time this meant that the terrorists became fixed targets while the security forces enjoyed the advantage of mobility and the choice of the time to attack.

Counterterrorism experts know the fourth lesson as "the onion principle." This means treating the terrorist organizations as bodies constituted by numerous layers. The classical counter terrorist method is to look for the core of the "onion" in the hope of eliminating it. But in both Peru and Algeria, it soon became clear that it was more efficient to deal with the outer layers first.

These outer layers provide finance, information, surveillance, espionage and a variety of logistical support for the core groups. Thus disrupting or destroying them would have a direct impact on the efficiency of the core groups.

Dealing with the outer layer is also important because they offer opportunities for misinformation campaigns and, more importantly, infiltration. This method was most successfully used in Egypt where the authorities managed to infiltrate virtually all terror groups, at times right to the highest levels of their leadership.
Write; by LB-Yuumei, June 04
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Babes and Bombs
Why do Palestinian children become human bombs, willingly strapping on suicide belts and slipping into Israel to kill as many Jews as possible?
That's the key question, which the New York Times has once again failed to answer, this time in an otherwise informative story by Greg Myre ("Israel Says Children Enlist Children as Suicide Bombers", June 13,2004).
While Myre pulls no punches when it comes to telling readers how Palestinian children are now recruiting their classmates and cousins to become suicide bombers, he shies away from telling readers why Palestinian kids have taken up this grisly task.
In Myre's rendition the child recruitment is a mystery - he reports only that "some Palestinian leaders have condemned the use of teenagers, and opposition to the practice is widespread among ordinary Palestinians..." Could the Palestinian kids have been indoctrinated in their schools? Myre casts doubt on this, reporting at face value the claims of one Palestinian school official that he tries to keep politics out of the classroom, "This place is for education and we don't want to talk about politics."
Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Far from being opposed to child suicide bombers, Palestinian society and Palestinian leaders revel in child "martyrdom," and the Palestinian media and schools do all they can to encourage a cult of death among children. The paramount Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, for example, stated in an interview on Palestinian TV that: "... this child who is grasping the stone, facing the tank, is it not the greatest message to the world when that hero becomes a shahid [martyr]? We are proud of them..." (PATV, Jan. 15, 2002 cited in Ask for Death, Palestinian Media Watch.)
While Arafat's words certainly carry weight among Palestinian children, perhaps the most effective recruitment tool has been music videos, which are broadcast for hours on end by official Palestinian television (there is no independent television under Arafat's rule). The videos are a call to death and martyrdom for Palestinian children, promising the glories and pleasures of heaven to the young "warriors for Allah":
"How sweet is the fragrance of the shahids, how sweet is the scent of the earth, its thirst quenched by the gush of blood flowing from the youthful body." (Quoted by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook in the Jerusalem Post, January 29, 2004)
Another music video also aimed at children and broadcast repeatedly told young viewers that: "Oh, young ones: Shake the earth, raise the stones. You will not be saved, O Zionist, from the volcano of my country's stones. You are the target of my eyes, I will even willingly fall as a shahid [martyr for Allah].
Allahu akbar [god is great]! Oh, young ones!" (Quoted by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook in the Jerusalem Post, June 2, 2004).
Yet another music video shown repeatedly on Palestinian TV centered on a Palestinian child who had been killed at the start of the present violence in October 2000. A young actor portrays the child in paradise, flying a kite and running on the beach, and encouraging other Palestinian children to follow him in martyrdom, "I am waving to you not
in parting, but to say, 'Follow me.' " (Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook in the National Post, April 8, 2004).
As for the claim that Palestinian parents oppose such suicide bombings, news reports, including in the Times, indicate the opposite. For example, a few months ago Myre's colleague James Bennet reported that
"Many Palestinian parents have praised their sons and daughters for carrying out suicide attacks, hailing them as heroes and martyrs." (New York Times, March 25, 2004) Palestinian support and encouragement for child suicide bombers is an ugly reality. The Times' reluctance to deal with this ugly reality will help only to perpetuate it.
Source; Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, June 04
Write; by Alex Safian
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Thursday, June 17, 2004



Impeachment process was illegitimate: Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton has called his fight against impeachment a "badge of honour" and his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky "morally indefencible" in a CBS television interview.

In the hour-long interview on CBS 60 Minutes to be telecasted on Sunday, two days before publication of his memoir My Life, Clinton said he was proud of his successful fight against impeachment, the network said in excerpts released on Wednesday.

"I didn't quit, I never thought of resigning and I stood up to it and beat it back," he said.

"The whole battle was a badge of honour. I don't see it as a stain, because it (the impeachment process) was illegitimate," added Clinton, who called the process "an abuse of power."

Clinton's more than 900-page memoir, published by Alfred A Knopf, hits book stores on June 22.

He told 60 Minutes that high on his list of regrets was his affair with Lewinsky, which he called "a terrible moral error."

Clinton said his wife, Hillary, and daughter, Chelsea, were able to overcome the effect of the revelation of the affair through counselling.

The former president said Hillary needed time with him to decide whether she would stay married to him.

"We'd take a day a week, and we did - a whole day a week every week for a year, maybe a little more - and did counselling," said Clinton. "We did it together. We did it individually. We did family work."

Clinton said there was no rational explanation for his adulterous behaviour.

"I did something for the worst possible reason. Just because I could," the former president said. "I think that's just about the most morally indefencible reason anybody could have for doing anything."

Clinton also discussed other issues during the interview, including the war on terror and Osama bin Laden and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and regretted his failure to convince Yasser Arafat to accept a proposal he thought could finally bring Middle East peace, CBS said.
Source; Reuters; June 04
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Navy Tests New Combat System
A new combat system is being tested during the Alaskan exercise Northern Edge '04 in June.

Used for what is commonly known as "jamming," the Improved Capabilities System III (ICAP III) overloads specific hostile communication bandwidths, causing users to temporarily lose service.

"Training and testing of ICAP III is a stepping-stone for the Navy," said Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Ron Szpynda, Air Test Evaluation (VX) 9.

"This is the first time we have used this system."

VX-9's EA-6B Prowlers are being used to test the system. The aircraft provides protection for strike aircraft, ground troops and ships, by jamming enemy radar, electronic data links and communications.

"The system floods an opposing bandwidth with more frequency than those operating systems release," said Cmdr. Jim Winship, VX-9 branch head. "This causes users to temporarily lose service. Everything from telephones to sophisticated electronic equipment goes static, because the jammer can overwhelm the frequencies they use."

More than 9,000 Navy, Marine, Air Force and Coast Guard service members from units stationed in the continental United States and the Pacific theater have come to Alaska to participate in the joint training exercise.
Source; US Navy, June 04

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Animal rights activists deny targeting lab 7 say they didn't push violence at test site
Seven animal rights activists pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges that they promoted violence and vandalism against a research company that tests chemicals on thousands of animals at a New Jersey lab each year.

The 10-minute arraignment drew about 30 protesters to the federal courthouse in Trenton, and prompted the U.S. Marshal's Office to heighten security in and around the building. But the demonstration was peaceful and the court proceeding ended without incident.

The defendants, members of the group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, were indicted last month on charges of conspiring to commit animal enterprise terrorism, an offense punishable by three years in prison. Prosecutors contend the defendants encouraged and in some cases planned attacks to intimidate the research company Huntingdon Life Sciences, its clients or associates.

Huntingdon uses thousands of animals - mainly rats, but also dogs and monkeys - to conduct product safety tests each year for its clients, primarily pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturers. The company is based in London, but performs most of the tests at a laboratory in Franklin Township, Somerset County.

In 1999, opponents formed SHAC and vowed to shut down the company. The indictment contends the group posted an online list of "Top 20 Terror Tactics" that encouraged attacks, threatening letters and phone calls, e-mail "bombs" to crash computers and home invasions against Huntingdon employees and business associates. Most of the actual incidents alleged to have occurred were acts of vandalism.

The charges represents a rare prosecution under a federal law enacted to respond to what critics said was an upsurge in violent animal rights activity. Members of such groups say the prosecution could be a test case for how far the government can go in policing activism.

U.S. District Judge Mary Cooper tentatively set an Aug. 17 trial date, but attorneys said they probably will ask for an extension.

Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles McKenna, who is prosecuting the case, said the evidence includes phone wiretaps and surveillance that yielded 440 audiocassettes and 50 videotapes. He told the judge that the case, "in many aspects, isn't the standard case."

Five of the seven defendants had lived until recently in central New Jersey, not far from the Huntingdon lab. The others hail from Long Island and Washington State. Almost all are in their mid-20s.

One, Darius Fullmer, is a paramedic. Another, John McGee, is a first-year law school student at Rutgers University. A third, Andrew Stepanian, was a student at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University, his attorney said last month. The others - Kevin Kjonaas, Lauren Gazzola, Jacob Conroy and Joshua Harper - are "social justice volunteers," according to online statements from the group.

Each entered identical not-guilty pleas yesterday. They declined to discuss the case, but are planning a multistate speaking tour to highlight their arrests.

Cooper approved court-appointed attorneys for each, but several private defense attorneys said after the hearing that they plan to ask the judge to let them represent the defendants for free.

"This case is about First Amendment practices in the 21st century, the use of modern technology, the freedom to use Web sites to speak for any cause," said Andrew Erba, a Cherry Hill attorney who said he has represented civil rights groups before. Erba said he expected to represent Kjonaas, 26, who calls himself the president of SHAC-USA.

Attorney Daniel Perez said he has advised Gazzola for more than a year and intends to represent her at trial. Perez said the group did nothing more than advocate protection for laboratory animals.

"All these people are really accused of is running a Web site that reports on the activities of the animal rights movement and supports direct action," Perez said. "They did not engage in illegal activity. They exercised their rights to free speech. So when I read the indictment, my reaction is, where's the beef? Or maybe I should say: Where's the tofu?"

The free speech issue was a favorite for the protesters who toted signs and chanted slogans for about an hour before yesterday's hearing. Armed U.S. Marshals ringed the building, with riot gear stored inside the entrance alcove just in case.

"I came here because this is a travesty of justice," said David Lambon, 31, of Norristown, Pa. Lambon said he was an independent activist and a college student "between schools."

"This case is about more than just SHAC," said Camille Hankins of New York Animal Rights Activists, who led chants outside the courthouse with a bullhorn yesterday. "It's about the right to engage in community activism everywhere."
Source; Star-Ledger, June 04
Write; by John P. Martin and Brian T. Murray. John P. Martin covers federal courts and law enforcement.
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Osama always used Pakistan as training base: US report
Osama bin Laden never cut his links with Pakistan or Afghanistan where he trained terrorists for Kashmir and other Islamic insurgencies even when he moved to Sudan in 1991, the US 9/11 Commission has said.

The commission, which presented new findings as it conducted its 12th round of hearings in Washington, said the Al-Qaeda chief continued his links with the region even when he moved to Sudan in 1991.

"Al-Qaeda had never entirely left the region, even when headquartered in Sudan, it had used Pakistan and Afghanistan as a regional base and training centre supporting Islamic insurgencies in Tajikistan, Kashmir, and Chechnya," said one of the two reports that commission investigators, introduced at the ongoing hearings.

Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan in May 1996, and as soon as the Taliban, a Pakistan-backed Afghan faction seized control of Kabul in 1996, he began building close relations with them.

"Pakistan did not break with the Taliban until after 9/11, although it was well aware that it was harbouring bin Laden," the report said.

"The Taliban's ability to provide Bin Laden a haven in the face of international pressure and UN sanctions was significantly facilitated by Pakistani support. Pakistan benefited from the Taliban-Al-Qaeda relationship, as Bin Laden's camps trained and equipped fighters for Pakistan's ongoing struggle with India over Kashmir."

The training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan provided multifaceted skills to Islamic terrorists because a worldwide jihad needed terrorists who could bomb embassies, hijack airliners, or provide foot soldiers for the Taliban, "and guerrillas who could shoot down Russian helicopters in Chechnya or ambush Indian units in Kashmir," noted the report.

Furthermore, it said, Al-Qaeda had a worldwide network of recruiters and travel facilitators, and "there are strong indications that elements of both the Pakistani and Iranian governments frequently turned a blind eye to this transit through their respective countries."

The two statements of findings by the commission also reveal other aspects of the war on terrorism that may impinge on Bush's presidency.

The reports said specifically that the commission could not find any substantive link between Al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussain.

The report also noted that bin Laden did not have any personal fortune of $300 million, a much touted number in the past, to support his activities. Rather, he raised the money through the network of charities and fundraisers and used the 'hawala', an informal method to move money around the world.

"Bin Laden relied on the established hawala networks operating in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and throughout the Middle East to transfer funds efficiently," the report stated.
Write; by Ela Dutt Indo-Asian News Service
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Deadly Attacks in Iraq Since January
A look at some of the deadliest bombings in Iraq this year:

- June 17: A sport utility vehicle packed with artillery shells slams into a crowd waiting to volunteer for the Iraqi military, killing at least 35 people and wounding at least 138.

- June 14: A car bomb rips through convoy in Baghdad, killing 13 people, including an American, two Britons and a Frenchman. Three of dead were General Electric Co. employees and two were security contractors. At least 62 people were wounded.

- June 13: A suicide car-bomber kills 12 people and wounds 13 near a U.S. garrison in Baghdad.

- June 8: A car bomb explodes outside a U.S. base in Baqouba, killing one U.S. soldier and five Iraqis. Fifteen Iraqis and 10 U.S. soldiers are wounded. A second car bomb explodes in Mosul, killing nine people and injuring 25.

- June 6: A car bomb explodes near the entrance to an American-run base at Taji north of Baghdad, killing at least nine people and wounding 30 others, including three U.S. soldiers.

- June 1: A roadside bomb explodes near U.S. base in the northern town of Beiji, killing 11 Iraqis and wounding more than 22 people, including two U.S. soldiers.

- May 17: A suicide car bomber kills Izzadine Saleem, president of the Iraqi Governing Council, and eight others including the bomber outside the Green Zone.

- April 24: A roadside bomb hits a bus south of Baghdad, killing 13.

- April 21: Five suicide bombings near police stations and police academy in southern city of Basra kill at least 74 people and wound 160.

- March 2: Coordinated blasts strike Shiite Muslim shrines in Karbala and in Baghdad, killing at least 181.

- Feb. 11: A suicide attacker blows up a car packed with explosives in a crowd of Iraqis waiting outside an army recruiting center in Baghdad, killing 47 people.

- Feb. 10: A suicide bomber detonates a truckload of explosives outside a police station in Iskandariyah, killing 53 people.

- Feb. 1: Twin suicide bombers kill 109 people in two Kurdish party offices in Irbil.

- Jan. 18: Suicide car bombing near main gate to U.S.-led coalition's headquarters in Baghdad kills at least 31 people.
Source; AP, June 04
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Iran ready to tear up nuclear agreement
Iran yesterday threatened to resume enriching uranium, the key to its suspected nuclear bomb programme, in response to European-led criticism of its lack of full cooperation with UN nuclear inspectors.
The warning, from President Mohammad Khatami, came as the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna prepared to adopt a resolution strongly critical of perceived continuing Iranian attempts to block and deceive the inspectors.

"We had, we have and we will have, a nuclear programme to enrich uranium to produce fuel," said Mr Khatami - in what is a blow to Britain, Germany and France, which last year struck a widely hailed deal for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

"With the ongoing trend, we have no moral commitment any more to suspend uranium enrichment," Mr Khatami said.

There has been discontent in the EU - and more visibly in the US - at the Iranian approach since it agreed to suspend enrichment. The IAEA says the country has continued to make equipment and refine crude uranium for the enrichment programme.
Source; The Guardian, June 04
Write; by Ian Traynor
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Anti-Terror Laws Target Americans, Not Just Terrorists
Federal and state prosecutors are applying stiff antiterrorism laws adopted after the 9/11 attacks to broad, run-of-the-mill probes of political corruption, financial crimes and immigration frauds.

If the government gets its way, even routine transactions of buying or selling American homes could soon come under the scrutiny of money-laundering provisions of the USA Patriot Act. The Treasury Department, which already has caught up financial transactions in casinos, storefront check-cashing stores and auto dealers for scrutiny, wants to expand Patriot Act coverage to home purchases as well.

Since 9/11, critics say the greatest effect of new state and federal antiterrorism laws has been on crimes already covered by other laws.

Washington-area snipers John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were both convicted under a post-9/11 Virginia antiterrorism statute making it a death-penalty offense to be involved in more than one murder in a three-year period. Muhammad was sentenced to death, and Malvo was given life imprisonment without parole.

The FBI has used Patriot Act provisions in a political corruption probe involving a Las Vegas girlie bar, and the Justice Department reported to the House Judiciary Committee last year that it used the new law in probes of credit-card fraud, theft from a bank account and a kidnapping.

In the first action of its kind, the Treasury Department also used the Patriot Act this year to put Syria's largest commercial bank and two commercial banks in Myanmar on blacklists actions that forbid any U.S. financial institution from doing business with them.

Legal experts say they're not surprised that antiterrorism laws are being used for more than just terrorism.

Peter Swire, a law professor at Ohio State University, recalled that Congress adopted antiracketeering laws in 1970 with the intent to thwart mobsters, but the punitive laws have since been broadened and put to use in civil cases against corporations, and most recently against the organized campaigns of pro-life protesters against abortion clinics.

Swire worked in the Clinton administration and chaired a White House working group looking at issues involved with electronic surveillance. He said many Patriot Act provisions, which sped through Congress within days after 9/11, were proposals that either Congress or the White House had previously rejected. Many provisions are slated to expire next year unless Congress makes the changes permanent.

Swire said one little-noted impact of that law on the judicial system is that prosecutors can add more charges against defendants, even when terrorism isn't involved.

"Prosecutors like to have more arrows in their quiver it gives them more leverage in plea bargaining," he said. Plea bargaining is the process where prosecutors offer to drop some charges in return for a defendant's guilty plea in order to avoid costly, time-consuming trials.

Swire contends the Patriot Act has been so controversial that the Justice Department has been very cautious in using all of its provisions.

"They are careful because they know people are checking to see if it is abused," he said. "Once it becomes permanent, I think it will be used more widely."

The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups are campaigning for Congress to terminate some of the more controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, contending the law unnecessarily expands government powers.

The ACLU says the government already has sufficient investigative tools, and the Patriot Act has been used for non-terrorist-related crimes such as seizing stolen funds from bank accounts in Belize.

Michael Mello, a law professor at Vermont Law School, disagrees and said the Patriot Act made some needed changes in government procedures, including provisions that tore down barriers that prohibited the FBI and CIA from sharing information.

"There's been a sea change by tearing down that wall," said Mello. "To forbid the FBI from getting spooks' (CIA) information that someone in the United States was carrying out a significant criminal enterprise is insane."

In spite of the criticism from the ACLU and others, Mello said he doesn't believe the Patriot Act has been misused or has resulted in any expansion of government powers. "In the absence of evidence, the critics lose," he said.

Mello agrees that there are some provisions in the Patriot Act that should be allowed to expire. He opposes a controversial provision allowing the Justice Department to use so-called "national security letters" to obtain library records, medical records and banking records of people put under surveillance. The Patriot Act wasn't needed when police searched library records in the hunt for Unabomber Ted Kaczynski or the effort to track New York's Zodiac killer, Mello noted.

Many government activities under the Patriot Act remain shrouded in secrecy. One of the provisions not expiring is an expansion of police powers to obtain "sneak-and-peek" warrants allowing surveillances - including break-ins - without notifying the people being watched.

The government is being more aggressive in asking courts for surveillance warrants. The Justice Department last year made a record 1,727 requests for wiretap approvals from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, but does not publicly disclose how many investigations that might involve.

Attorney General John Ashcroft told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that the Patriot Act has been used judiciously, and he urged Congress to give speedy consideration to extending it.
Source; Capitol Hill Blue, June 04
Write: by Lance Gay
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Jordan sentences al-Qaida suspects
Ansar al-Islam's founder Mullah Krekar was among those indicted

Jordan's state security court on Wednesday sentenced nine defendants, all but one of them absent, to 15 years in prison for conspiracy and al-Qaida membership. But court president Fawwaz Bakur commuted the sentence against the only one in court, Jordanian Ahmad al-Rayati, to seven and a half years with hard labour "to give him a chance to improve himself and because he is a bread-winner", the court said.

Riyati, 35, was among 15 people on trial since October. Eight of the absentees were also given 15 years but one was killed in a shootout in April.

The remaining six, all Jordanians who lived in Iran, had died under mysterious circumstances and in an unidentified location, prosecutors said in March, and Bakur dropped charges against them.

One of the absentees sentenced is Najm al-Din Faraj Ahmad, also known as Mullah Krekar, the founder of Ansar al-Islam, or Supporters of Islam, who has been cleard in Norway of charges of funding terrorism and inciting murder.

Al-Rayati was specifically charged with having received military training in Afghanistan and training others in Tehran to "prepare poisons and produce explosives for assassinating heads of the Jordanian intelligence service".

He was arrested by US troops in Iraqi Kurdistan during the US-led war on Iraq in March 2003 and extradited to Jordan.

Norwegian inquiry
Al-Rayati denied all the charges against him and interrupted the verdict by shouting at the court.

"I am not a criminal. You are the criminals," he said, adding that he wanted to leave Jordan to live in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip.

Mullah Krekar is on a US list of terrorist organisations, alleged by Washington to be linked to al-Qaida and having mounted attacks on US-led forces in Iraq.

"I am not a criminal.
You are the criminals"
Ahmad al-Rayati, defendant in state security court trial

On Tuesday Norwegian prosecutors in Oslo dropped their case against Krekar citing lack of evidence, but the United States said it still had serious concerns about him.

He had been the target of a Norwegian police inquiry since September 2002. Among other allegations he is suspected of involvement in a conspiracy to murder Kurdish political rivals and funding of "terrorist" organisations.

But Krekar, who has been living in exile in Norway since 1991, still faces an expulsion order for posing a threat to national security and violating his residency permit by returning to Iraq several times.

He founded Ansar al-Islam in December 2001, although he insists he has not led the group since May 2002 and denied all the charges against him.

Ansar al-Islam used to control a small group in northeastern Iraq before U.S forces pushed it out in late March last year. It then allegedly had between 700 and 900 members.
Source; AFP, June 04
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France: The Great American Migraine
America's problems with France didn't start with Jacques Chirac. Chirac is just the latest in a line of Frenchmen that has given the United States a long and seemingly unending, migraine headache.

As President Bush sat on the podium with Mr. Chirac - who was looking pompous as only Chirac can - it was obvious by the body language of the president that he would rather have been having a root canal done without Novocain than be sitting next to this man, Chirac, who reeks of arrogance and delusions of grandeur and needs to be frisked for the knife he always buries in the back of American presidents. While Bush did what was expected of him, giving the French leader due respect, Chirac seemed to feel no need to return the favor, even publicly.

There was a time, of course, when France was important. That was a long, long time ago and somewhere along the line France got the reputation of being just a tad quick to surrender to enemies. Has France had a great leader since Napoleon?

You might ask: "What about the French Foreign Legion?" Well, it that seems no French are allowed in the French Foreign Legion. Perhaps that's why it is so feared.

It has been said that we wouldn't have won the Revolutionary War without help from the French. The war may have lasted a year longer, but would the war have been lost without our "good friends" the French? What were the French after? Did they help us out of the goodness of their hearts or did they just want to poke a stick in the eye of their nemeses, the Brits?

Americans are even insulted by the French in Canada. The French Canadians tried to tear Canada apart and become a separate country, loyal to France and not England. French Canadians want to be independent, but prefer to sing the praises of the great French culture instead acknowledging Canada's English roots. It must drive French Canadians crazy that the Queen is on Canadian money and still honored after all these years. Canada's last president from the French providences, Jean Joseph Jacques Chretien, loved France so much that he named his first child, France. Chretien's loathing of the United States was very apparent every time he spoke. Following Mother France's socialist course, Chretien also destroyed Canada's military and ran their economy into the ground paying for social programs. It is unknown if Canada's military inherited the surrender gene from the French or the strong fighting gene from the English. Perhaps it depends on what part of Canada the soldier hails from.

The world met the great French leader and general, Charles De Gaulle, in the 1940's. De Gaulle received his promotion to general in the field and when his country collapsed and surrendered to Nazi Germany, De Gaulle fled to England. In France, as in most countries, promotions to that level must be approved by the government, but France's government had gone the way of the Dodo, so De Gaulle just "forgot" to tell anyone that his high rank was not official. De Gaulle set about becoming the de facto French leader in England by driving Winston Churchill crazy.

Churchill kept De Gaulle busy by giving him control of the 1st Free French division which was made up of whatever flotsam and jetsam the British leader could dig up or have released from prison early. De Gaulle was kept away from any real war plans as the Allied leaders sent him and his band of criminals here and there, usually somewhere in a flank position because anywhere else "General" De Gaulle got in the way of the real soldiers.

De Gaulle drove General Eisenhower to distraction. De Gaulle was never happy that the American general was chosen to be the supreme commander in Europe. De Gaulle, of course, felt that honor should be his. The free world can thank God everyday that De Gaulle was not leading anything. He was consulted out of political respect and the knowledge that he would probably lead France after the war but that was the only reason. De Gaulle felt D-Day would be a disaster and would never be successful. That was just one just one in a long string of De Gaulle's opinions that were wrong.

After the Allied forces liberated France, De Gaulle was allowed to "liberate" Paris with his nonexistent army. This man, with his supreme ego, probably believed he really did liberate Paris. It was all political, of course, and General Patton was left grinding his teeth over the slight.

General George Patton, a great general known to be a little pompous himself, said he would rather have a battalion of Germans in front of him than a battalion of French behind him. Patton had a big mouth, but at least he had the skills in warfare to back up his ego.

De Gaulle did become the leader of France after World War II and in the 1960's decided French soil could no longer stand having American soldiers standing on it so he pulled out of the military branch of NATO and ordered all American troops out of France. An angry President Johnson asked De Gaulle if he wanted us to dig up our dead and remove them as well. The story goes that a sputtering De Gaulle told him he didn't mean THOSE American soldiers.

In the here and now, Chirac proudly carries on the French anti-American tradition. However, Chirac has taken it to new heights. Saddam Hussein was a longtime good friend of Chirac, and Saddam thought right up until the first bomb dropped that his good friend in France would keep him safe from the Americans. Saddam should have known that the French always promise more then they can deliver.

As irritating as France's active support of Saddam was prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, the revelation that France, along with Germany and Russia and the United Nations were lining their pockets off the blood of Iraqi children does not seem to fall into the category of "friend and ally." The fact that our soldiers have been killed with weapons sold to Saddam by France and other "friends" is more than irritating, it's infuriating - considering the current attitude of the French Government.

The latest insult was Chirac's refusal to attend President Ronald Reagan's funeral. Already in the States for the G-8 conference, Chirac flatly refused to attend the funeral and, at first, was not even going to send a representative. After some protests from the French press, Chirac decided to send an underling. Could it be that Chirac is jealous of Reagan for doing what France could not? Reagan brought down the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union - something the mighty French thought was impossible.

Admit it. The average American would just like to smack Chirac every time his face is shown on the television screen. Chirac and the French use the U.N. to hang on to what little power France has left, and the fact the United States can survive quite nicely without any help from France just drives the French crazy. How dare the United States be so darn successful!

As France's economy tanks, the United States economy grows. As the French military perfects the art of surrender, our military doesn't know the meaning of the word. As "new Europe" looks to the United States for guidance - and not France - its pride is hurt. Didn't the world get the memo from God stating that France should be the leader of the world?

The world seems to have missed that memo - or read it, laughed, and threw it away.
Source; FOF, June 04
Write; by Barbara J. Stock
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UN expert warns Caterpillar Inc. over Israeli use of bulldozers to demolish Palestinian houses, orchards
A UN-appointed specialist said Wednesday that he has warned Caterpillar Inc. that Israel's use of bulldozers to demolish West Bank orchards and houses could make the company an accomplice in the violation of basic human rights of the Palestinians.

Jean Ziegler, the United Nations' special expert on the right to food, said he forwarded a letter to Caterpillar chief executive James Owen expressing concern "about the actions of the Israeli occupation forces in Rafah and in other locations in Gaza and the West Bank."

According to The AP, Ziegler said his letter was the first under a new resolution passed earlier this year by the 53-country UN Human Rights Commission extending responsibility for protecting rights beyond governments to "non-state actors."

Ziegler wrote to Owen under the letterhead of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the overall UN watchdog, and sent his letter on his own as he is entitled to do, a spokesman said.

The Israelis are "using armoured bulldozers supplied by your company to destroy agricultural farms, greenhouses, ancient olive groves and agricultural fields planted with crops," the May 28 letter said.

Ziegler, a Swiss university professor, told The Associated Press that he had yet to receive a response from the company.

"Allowing the delivery of your D-9 and D-10 Caterpillar bulldozers to the Israeli army through the government of the United States in the certain knowledge that they are being used for such actions might involve complicity or acceptance on the part of your company to actual and potential violations of human rights, including the right to food," Ziegler wrote in his letter.

The Israelis have also used the bulldozers to destroy "numerous Palestinian homes and sometimes human lives, including that of the American peace activist Rachel Corrie," he said.

Ziegler, appointed by the UN Human Rights Commission, said after a 10-day visit to Gaza and the West Bank last year that Israel was confiscating fertile Palestinian land for military zones or Jewish settlements.

"We saw thousands of olive trees destroyed by bulldozers," he said.
Source; Menareport, June 04
Write; by LuisB
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Saudi Ruler to Deploy Anti-Terror Forces
Saudi Arabia's ruling crown prince warned Islamic militants Tuesday that the kingdom planned shortly to deploy more security forces than they had ever faced before.

"Be assured that the kingdom has enough men whom you haven't seen so far, but within the coming few days you will see them," Crown Prince Abdullah told the militants, whose attacks have increased during the past three months. His remarks were televised.

Westerners in Saudi Arabia are responding to the attacks by moving to high-security compounds or even to Bahrain, and by pushing for the right to armed private guards, according to diplomats and real estate agents.

Western embassies in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, are negotiating with the government for a relaxation of the ban on private security guards carrying firearms, a Western diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Some Westerners have expressed concern that terrorist sympathizers may have infiltrated the Saudi security services, the diplomat said.

Security forces arrested a militant Tuesday north of Riyadh as they stepped up their presence in and around the city in a hunt for the kidnappers of Paul Johnson, an American who was abducted Saturday by a group calling itself al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Security officials said the militant was detained in the King Fahd district, but it was not immediately clear whether the detainee was connected to the recent terror attacks.

Johnson, 49, of Stafford Township, N.J., was employed by Lockheed Martin and worked on Apache helicopters.

Third Westerner Killed
The day he was seized, Islamic militants shot dead another American, Kenneth Scroggs, from Laconia, N.H., in his garage. Scroggs was the third Westerner killed in a week, after the shooting death of an Irish cameraman for the British Broadcasting Corp. on June 6 and another American who was killed in his garage June 8.

Soldiers with automatic rifles guarded government buildings and manned check points in the city on Tuesday. Other security forces were searching houses where Johnson might be held, a Saudi official said, speaking on a condition of anonymity.

The Interior Ministry set up a hot line to receive information about Johnson or possible terrorist attacks.

In his appearance on television, the crown prince addressed a group of writers, intellectuals and clerics, urging them to take a proactive position against Islamic militancy.

"What is required from you as brothers, as clerics, as writers, is not to be silent," Abdullah said. "Silence is a crime against your religion, against your country and against your people."

The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh has advised Americans to leave Saudi Arabia, and Britain has authorized the voluntary departure of its nonessential embassy staff and their families.

"There is no overcrowding at consulates and there is no panic among Westerners to leave," a Western diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

An estimated 35,000 Americans have been working in Saudi Arabia. It was not clear how many have left since the terror attacks became more frequent in April. Western diplomats said Monday that Americans and others were leaving in response to the violence, but that it could not be described as an exodus.

A real estate agent in Riyadh told The Associated Press that Westerners were moving from parts of the capital seen as less secure to walled compounds and upscale neighborhoods with greater security.

"They will feel safer as more security forces are deployed (in those areas)," the real estate agent said, speaking on a condition of anonymity.

Foreigners who work in the oil industry, and live on the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, have even crossed international borders to sleep soundly.

"Foreigners working in the oil industry have been renting houses in neighboring Bahrain," a second real estate agent told the AP. "They finish their work and come back the next day."

Bahrain is just a 30-minute drive across the 18-mile King Fahd Causeway from eastern Saudi Arabia.
Write; by LuisB, June 04
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Senate Rejects Harder Penalties On Companies, And Ban On Private Interrogators
The Senate on Wednesday defeated Democratic-led efforts inspired by controversies in Iraq to institute tougher criminal penalties for companies that overcharge on war and relief efforts and to ban private contractors in military interrogations.
Both measures grew out of events in Iraq, where some American companies have been accused of overcharging the government for goods and services, and where employees of private companies have been implicated in the prison abuse scandal.

Opponents said the proposals could disrupt military operations in Iraq and impair American intelligence and supply efforts. The plan to bar private interrogators within 90 days and translators within a year was rejected on a 54-43 vote; the tougher criminal penalties - of as much as 20 years – were defeated 52-46. If adopted, both would have been added to a major Pentagon bill now being debated in the Senate.

Senators approved an alternative Republican plan to extend current domestic antifraud laws to those operating overseas and, on a voice vote, adopted a declaration that those held in American custody should not be subject to torture.

Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he feared the proposal to allow jail terms of up to 20 years for those found to have "materially overvalued" goods and services could deter companies from seeking work in Iraq. He said such a step required more consideration.

"I think the Congress should deliberate very carefully a criminal penalty of up to 20 years for these thousands upon thousands of companies that are currently engaged," he said.
But Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, said current prohibitions did not seem to deter companies from charging excessive prices.
"We constantly pick up the paper about a number of these companies that are obviously overcharging and nothing is happening to them,'' he said. "I am one frustrated American and would like them to stop."
Source; New York Times, June 04
Write; by Carl Hulse
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When the EU adopts anti-terrorism measures is it trying to combat terrorism or crime?
Commission proposal on exchange of information on terrorism could lead to hundreds of innocent people being put on "watch-lists" for each anti-terrorist investigation- Companies, charities and all bank accounts to be targeted
- European Criminal Registry to be set up including data on all those charged - whether found guilty or not

At the EU Summit meeting (the 25 Prime Ministers) in Brussels on 17-18 June 2004 will adopt a new Action Plan on terrorism and a series of reports in the wake of 11 March 2004 (Madrid).

A recent detailed analysis of the 57 measures being put forward following 11 March 2004 (Madrid) by the Council of the European Union (the 15 EU governments) and the European Commission. The analysis found that 27 of the measures had little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism including measures to do with crime in general and the surveillance of telecommunications (phone-calls, e-mails, faxes, internet usage) and of movement. This strategy begs the question whether there is, at the highest level, a confusion of aims and effort.

The Action Plans for the Summit (from the Council of the Europe Union and the European Commission) are peppered with references to a Commission Communication dated 29 March 2004, which is a classic demonstration of confused aims. This contains a proposal for a Council Decision on exchanging "information and cooperation concerning terrorists offences" (see below) and a "wish-list" on criminal matters. The logic is to bring together the:
"Union's arsenal of weapons against terrorism. Many of these are not specifically anti-terrorism but range wider while including terrorism [and] a link should be established between terrorism and other forms of crime" [even though these are] not always immediately obvious..if the fight against terrorism is to be totally effective, it must be handled in conjunction with the fight against other forms of crime."

It argues that the connection is, in part, through the use of "similar" methods and proposes everybody’s (convicted criminal or not) bank accounts should be "registered" and "be accessible to law enforcement agencies". Companies and charitable organisations too are to be targeted because they could be "infiltrated" by terrorists. Everyone, across whole spheres of everyday life, are to registered and recorded to try and track down terrorist "suspects" - of course, the same information - once collected and accessible to a host of state agencies - could equally be used for other purposes which have nothing to do with terrorism.

The big project is the proposed creation of a "European Criminal Record" to be held on a "European Criminal Registry" - which according to a Commission spokesperson would contain not only all convictions and disqualifications but also all charges brought (even of those found innocent at trial) from the whole of the EU - in "the fight against crime, and in particular terrorism".

The simplistic notion in the Commission Communication is that there is an intrinsic link between terrorism and organised crime and indeed all crime - an argument which, if turned around, implies that all crime is linked to terrorism.

Framework Decision: exchanging information
The specific proposal in the Communication is a draft Council Decision on "the exchange of information and cooperation concerning terrorist offences". This envisages in Article 2 the exchange of "information" during investigations and prosecutions concerning terrorist offences as set out in Article 1 to 3 of the 2002 Framework Decision on combating terrorism. The "information" is to be communicated to Europol and Eurojust (EU prosecutors) and made "available immediately to the authorities of other interested Member States".

It is sensible that such information should be made available. However, the proposal contains no provision for the "information" to be removed/deleted should a person be found innocent. There is no provision for the "information" passed over on those caught up in a "criminal investigation" but never charged or convicted to be removed/deleted. This is especially worrying as an "investigation" into a suspected terrorist offence would embrace not just the subject but their family, friends and work associates to see if there were any links to the suspected offence. A typical investigation could involve 20-40 other people who are found to be quite innocent but "information" on them could be "immediately" transmitted to dozens of agencies across the 25 EU member states.

In April ten Muslim "suspects" were arrested in the north of England but never charged - this could have led to several hundred names and personal details being put into EU-wide circulation with no obligation for this data to be deleted. If there is no obligation to delete the names and details of innocent people they could find themselves on "watch-lists" for years to come.

There is another problem with the draft Decision. The intention is to widen the scope from those persons, groups and entities placed on updated lists of terrorist groups on formally adopted EU lists to all those investigated under Articles 1 to 3 of the controversial Framework Decision on combating terrorism (2002) which, despite some amendment, is still ambiguous as to where the line is drawn between terrorism and large-scale protests. It covers, for example, those acting with the aim of:
unduly compelling a Government or international organisation to perform or abstain from performing any act (Art 1.ii)
To broaden the scope of cooperation on terrorism to this much broader definition open the way for abuse and its application to non-terrorist offences.

"The increasing tendency to stress the "anti-terrorist" benefits of crime control and wholesale surveillance measures shows a confusion of aims which detracts from the clear need to protect people from terrorist attacks.
This has to be one of the most confused and illogical Commission Communications ever produced. It should be withdrawn and be re-presented and deal only with investigations into terrorist offences - and include absolute safeguards for those innocently caught up in them."
Write; by LuisB, June 04
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Honeypots Let You Spy on Your Enemy
What's one of the first tenets of warfare?
Know your enemy.

Well, the principal that holds for military warfare holds true for digital warfare, as well. But it's not like black hat hackers are having lunch with security administrators and sharing their secrets for intrusions and hybrid worm attacks. So how do you figure out who your enemy is and what he's trying to do to your network?

The answers lie in the honeypot. According to members of the Honeynet Project and the Honeynet Research Alliance, most of what you need to know about hackers can be found there. Their new collaborative book, Know Your Enemy: Learning About Security Threats looks at honeypots, honeynets and what they can teach us about the bad guys, as well as how to successfully set them up yourself.

Honeypots, which have been around for about 12 years but are gaining interest and momentum, are digital decoys, of sorts. They are built to be probed and attacked -- an online come-on to blackhat hackers. Once the honeypot is attacked, security administrators can watch how the hacker moves around the system, and she can see what tools the hacker is using and what information he's going after.

It's a way to spy on your enemy.

And if you're lucky, it might even be a form of camouflage. Hackers could be fooled into thinking they've accessed a corporate network, when actually they're just banging around in a honeypot - while the real network remains safe and sound.

There also are honeynets, which are a network of honeypots, loaded up with real hardware, like Linux boxes, Cisco switches, Windows NT and Solaris. Lance Spitzner, a senior security architect at Sun Microsystems Inc., created the Honeynet Project with the help of about 30 other security professionals.

Spitzner is one of the authors of the book Know Your Enemy. He talked about what they've learned about hackers, what companies should be doing to better protect themselves, and if putting together a honeypot or a honeynet is the right thing for most companies.

There also are honeynets, which are a network of honeypots, loaded up with real hardware, like Linux boxes, Cisco switches, Windows NT and Solaris.
Lance Spitzner, an engineer at Sun Microsystems Inc., created the Honeynet Project with the help of about 30 other security professionals.

Q: Are honeypots and honeynets the best way to learn about hackers?
It's definitely one of the best ways. You get to watch them operate in their own environment. It's difficult to survey hackers or talk with them... With a honeynet, you can watch and analyze what they're doing without them knowing they're being watched. What tools do they use? What systems are they going after? Who are they communicating with?

Q: What are some of the more interesting things you've learned about hackers?
The attackers and threats are far more aggressive and active than most people think. The typical home user, if they have a dedicated connection to the Internet, is getting scanned about 10 times a day. People think they only go after major companies, but they go after everyone.

And people think of hacker terrorism but most hackers are just criminals.
They're out to make money. There are so many creative ways to make money hacking computers. They can go online and take information, like addresses and social security numbers, off peoples' computers. Then they can use the information or sell it. They might even break into hundreds or thousands of computers and sell these hacked computers to someone else. They might set up a porn site on your computer and charge people to go see it.

Q: What changes have you seen in how hackers operate?
There have been two big changes. In '97, '98 or '99, you'd see the misguided youth. But in past few years, there's been a switch to the criminal. People are out to make money. Tools are far more aggressive and automated. It makes for a different level of sophistication.

Q: What should administrators and CSOs know about your findings?
Stay with the basics. People try to go for the latest and greatest. If you're running a current and patched operating system, you should be protected. Anti-virus software and firewalls will go a long way to eliminating most threats. It's not that hackers have super secret weapons.
They're trying to look for mistakes in your environment. They look for simple passwords or systems that aren't patched. With 20 percent effort, you can eliminate 80 percent of the threat.

Q: Should companies be running their own honeypots or honeynets?
Commercial organizations? Probably not. Do the basics. If you're having problems with patching and such, you shouldn't have a honeynet. If you've got all the basics done, sure. Go ahead. Get a honeynet because you can learn a lot. But academics, military and government run most honeynets. Stick to what you have to do first. Once you've got the basics down, honeynets can give you a lot of information, maybe even on internal threats.

Q: What should companies do to protect themselves that they're generally not doing?
Companies are not doing the basics. Most want to pass audit. They want to be able to tell shareholders that they're secure... In a lot of cases, you hear about companies being taken out by worms. These exploits have been known for six months and the patches have been out for six months. That means these companies haven't patched their systems in six months. That's just blowing it on the basics.
Write; by Sharon Gaudin, June 04
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Divisions over terror threat in Malacca Straits
There are mounting fears that terrorists will strike in the Malacca Straits. Concern over this notwithstanding, Malaysia and Indonesia are fiercely opposed to US policing of the body of water that lies between them. They have, however, signaled interest in cooperating with Washington on certain issues to enhance maritime security in this strategic waterway.

The terrorist threat to the Malacca Straits topped the agenda at a recent high-level conference in Singapore, which saw a narrowing in the gap between the positions of the United States and Singapore on the one hand and Malaysia and Indonesia on the other, with regard to measures to step up security in the Straits.

In March, Admiral Thomas Fargo, head of the US Pacific Command, put forward in Congress an initiative to work with Southeast Asian countries to protect the Malacca Straits. The Regional Maritime Security Initiative that Fargo outlined envisaged mutual intelligence gathering and joint patrolling of the waterway. Fargo indicated that the initiative would involve US elite troops who could "take action when the decision has been made to do so".

While Singapore embraced the initiative, Malaysia and Indonesia rejected the proposal as an infringement of their sovereignty. "I think we can look after our own area," Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told the media last month. At the conference, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who also serves as defense minister, said the use of US forces in Southeast Asia to fight terrorism would fuel Islamic fanaticism in the region and should be avoided as it would be a setback in the region's ideological battle against extremism and militancy.

Subsequently, Razak told the Malay-language Mingguan Malaysia newspaper: "The presence of foreign troops in our waters would trigger public anger and breathe new life into terrorist groups."

Articulating the Indonesian position on the proposed deployment of US forces, Nugroho Wisnumurti, a former director general for political affairs in the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrote in April in the Jakarta Post that the deployment of foreign marines and special operations forces in Indonesia's territorial waters could harm the country's national interests” even if the aim is to fight terrorism". He also pointed out that "the deployment of foreign forces in our territory, including in our territorial waters", would run counter to "one of the basic principles of Indonesian foreign policy, the policy of non-alignment".

"However well intentioned that plan might be, the US plan would not serve the best interests of the countries concerned in fostering regional cooperation to fight terrorism. There should be other ways to reach the same objectives. It is also desirable that the countries concerned should be consulted before any effort to fight terrorism in Southeast Asia is made public," the former diplomat wrote.
Singapore, in contrast, had no reservations over the involvement of the Americans in policing the Straits. And Singapore will also work with India, South Korea and other nations to enhance security in the Straits. Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan said this week: "One of the major issues which we will discuss with South Korea is involvement by South Koreans in maritime security. The Singapore armed forces has interactions with the Korean military from time to time. We hope to expand and deepen these interactions."

Connecting the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the Malacca Straits are one of the busiest ocean highways in the world. An estimated 50,000 ships are said to pass through the waterway a year - more than double the number that crosses the Suez Canal and nearly three times the number of ships that use the Panama Canal.

A terrorist strike in the 630-mile-long Malacca Straits would severely dislocate world trade for months. A quarter of the world's commerce passes through this waterway, including 10 million barrels of crude oil heading daily from the Persian Gulf toward China, South Korea and Japan.
About 80 percent of Japan's oil passes through the Malacca Straits. Closure of the Straits in the event of a terrorist attack would require ships to travel an additional 994 miles from the Gulf. Freight rates would increase sharply. In all, the Straits accounts for a third of the world's trade and half of the world's oil supply.

The security situation in the Malacca Straits has always been a matter of concern. For centuries, it has been a haven for pirates. It is a narrow waterway - just 1.5 miles wide at its narrowest point. Choking the Straits by blowing up a ship would not be difficult. Besides, its shallow reefs, innumerable islets and the slow movement of ships thanks to the heavy traffic in the waterway provide the perfect environment for pirates and terrorists to operate, making it a tempting target.

Maritime piracy in the Malacca Straits has witnessed a sharp increase in recent years. Worldwide, it has increased by three times in the past decade, growing by 20% last year alone. According to the International Maritime Bureau, Southeast Asia witnessed 189 incidents of piracy last year, accounting for more than 40% of the global total.

Terrorism experts point out that if pirates were able to strike with such ease in the Straits, terrorists would find it even easier. Analysts are warning that al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the region, such as Jemaah Islamiya, might take the help of local pirates to carry out an attack in the Malacca Straits.

A recent spurt in crew abductions in the Straits has triggered fear that pirates acting in concert with terrorists might be using the kidnapped crew to acquire training in navigating large commercial vessels. In March 2003, 10-armed men hijacked an Indonesian chemical tanker.
They seized control over the ship apparently to learn to steer it. After operating the ship for an hour through the Straits, they left with equipment and technical documents. "This might be the maritime equivalent to the Florida flight school where the September 11 [2001] terrorists took their flying lessons," observed the Washington-based Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS).

Security agencies are not ruling out the possibility of terrorists capturing a vessel loaded with liquid natural gas and slamming it into a pier in Singapore or ramming tugboats into oil tankers or vessels with chemical fertilizer.

Sections who are in favor of the Americans playing a bigger role in the Straits question whether the littoral states will be able to counter a terrorist attack on their own. The IAGS observed: "Despite claims by Indonesian naval officers that their navy is able to provide sufficient response to the security problems in the region, many naval experts think otherwise. The Indonesian navy is aging and suffers from lack of warships and resources to patrol its vast coastline and the periphery of some 17,000 islands. Of its 117 naval ships, comprising 14 warships, 57 patrol boats and 44 support vessels such as tankers and carriers, only 30 percent are seaworthy.

"With such insufficient maritime power, it is clear that Indonesia simply cannot secure the 600-mile Straits alone, but its fear of any perceived challenge to its sovereignty as well as its concern of American 'imperialism' apparently overrides military logic," said the IAGS.

At the Singapore conference, the US position on the maritime security initiative was a watered-down version of the plan outline by Fargo in March. US officials said it was up to concerned countries - not the United States - to decide how they wanted to police the Malacca Straits.

"It will not be US forces that do that. It will not be US forces coming down unnecessarily and doing anything aggressive," said Admiral Walter Doran, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, adding that there were also no plans for "bases, or standing forces".

There was a visible toning-down in Malaysia's position as well. While it continued to maintain that involvement of foreign forces would prove counterproductive, it indicated that it was willing to discuss the regional maritime security initiative. "We should definitely expand our cooperation with the US and others, in terms of acquiring and sharing quality intelligence," Malaysia's deputy prime minister said.

He is due to meet Fargo this month, when he will be discussing among other things "possible exercises, in the form of specific anti-piracy or anti-terrorist type of operations which, maybe, some countries are more familiar with and more experienced in than us".

However, Razak stressed that "the actual interdiction, if it comes to that, would come to the littoral states to execute".

Malaysia, meanwhile, will next year have its own version of the US Coast Guard to patrol and safeguard security along the Straits. A new paramilitary maritime enforcement agency will begin its operations in March, said Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, a minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

Mohd Nazri said that the agency would administer laws, curb criminal activities, monitor the maritime zone and rescue and research operations and assist the Malaysian armed forces during emergencies, crises or wars.

"The safety of the Straits of Malacca is important. If not guarded properly, foreign powers may be prone to intervene in its management, and this will pose a threat to the country's sovereignty," he said.

Currently, maritime enforcement laws are administered in a sectorial manner by 11 government departments and agencies involving 5,000 personnel and more than 400 vessels. Initially, the new agency will have 82 small and medium-sized boats and will take over assets from the various agencies in stages.

The narrowing of the gap in the positions between the various countries concerned with security in the Malacca Straits augurs well for the global effort to tackle maritime terrorism. The question is whether the concerned countries will get their acts together soon enough. Japan has also expressed interest in taking part in any talks on maritime security in the Malacca Straits.

US heavy-handedness and insensitivity to local concerns of sovereignty and national pride have contributed in significant measure to the failure of the "war on terrorism" to achieve its goals. If the war on maritime terrorism should succeed, this would have to change.

Comment - Singapore, in contrast, had no reservations over the involvement of the Americans in policing the Straits. And Singapore will also work with India, South Korea and other nations to enhance security in the Straits. Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan said this week: "One of the major issues which we will discuss with South Korea is involvement by South Koreans in maritime security. The Singapore armed forces has interactions with the Korean military from time to time. We hope to expand and deepen these interactions. LuisB"
Source; Asia Times Online Ltd. June 04
Write; by Sudha Ramachandran
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The Islamic belgian case
Shortly after 6:30 p.m. on a Tuesday in December, a young man named Ahmed Azzuz marched into a Belgian television station, burst onto the set of the evening news and, standing beside the startled anchorwoman and directly before the cameras, unfurled the red, black, green and white flag of Palestine. "Stop the hypocrisy!" he demanded in Dutch as news crews scrambled behind the scenes to regain control. It was the 16th anniversary of the first intifada, and Azzuz had a message: "Israel must vanish," he said, his voice calm and even. "The killings of Palestinians must cease."

When he had finished speaking, he calmly thanked the audience, rolled up his flag, and walked away. The whole episode took less than two minutes. Police were called, but lacking sufficient grounds for his arrest, he says, they simply gave him a ride home.

Azzuz is a Founder and the Belgian President of the Arab European League, or AEL, an outspoken self-styled civil rights movement with a growing membership - and growing influence - in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and beyond. Combining Arab nationalism with impassioned Islamism, it positions itself as an uncompromising defender of European Muslims, eschewing assimilation and espousing confrontational political ideas such as the introduction of sharia law in Europe. It has warned of - or threatened - an "almost unpreventable" attack on Antwerp's Jewish community if it does not "cancel its support for Jewish policy as fast as possible and distance itself from the state of Israel." (Azzuz's "Stop the hypocrisy" was a reference to those Belgian Jews who, he claims, join the Israeli army, which he sees as proof that Belgium is biased toward Israel.)

More recently, the Dutch faction of the League issued an invitation to Pakistani extremist Hussain Ahmed, leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, a group with known ties to al-Qaida and the Taliban, to speak at a congress center in the Netherlands. (Dutch officials subsequently refused to grant Ahmed an entry visa, citing national security concerns; the AEL blamed "the Zionist lobby" for the decision.) The AEL has issued public approvals of 9/11, pledged solidarity with Iraqi insurgents and has challenged new French measures to ban Muslim headscarves in public schools.

Had Azzuz used his guerrilla TV tactic at an American network, it would have been national news - and he might still be in detention. In Europe, however, Azzuz's piece of political theater aroused less outrage - in part because Europe, home to some 15 million Muslims, is struggling to figure out how to deal with the militancy of small but growing groups like the Arab
European League without trampling on civil rights, and without alienating more moderate Muslims who are by far the bigger bloc.

To its defenders, the league is an uncompromising advocate for European Muslims, in the tradition of American blacks and Latinos who aggressively called for recognition in the '60s. But to its critics, including some fellow Muslims, the league and its charismatic leader, Dyab Abou Jahjah, are a divisive and potentially destructive force, so provocative that some Belgian officials have sought to knock its Web site offline or even to have the group banned outright. In the wake of the March terror bombings in Spain and a pair of controversial new reports linking anti-Semitic acts in Europe to Muslim immigrants, Jahjah, Azzuz and their league allies are coming under closer law enforcement scrutiny and increasing political pressure.

Just before the Madrid attacks, the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service disclosed in a report that the number of Muslim immigrants in that country being recruited by international jihadists had increased.
Pinpointing groups like the AEL, the report warned "a violent radical Islamic movement is gradually taking root in the Dutch society." (The Dutch government has just learned that it could be targeted by al-Qaida, in part because of the radicalization of Muslims in the Netherlands, according to press reports. Spanish and Italian intelligence have reportedly heard on phone taps that a terrorist group is "standing by" in Holland.) And in a report by the European Union's Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia issued March 31, researchers found that young Muslims were the biggest force behind a wave of anti-Semitic incidents and attacks in Europe since 2001.

Far from apologizing, Jahjah and other league leaders have seemed to draw energy from conflict and controversy. The league has largely declined to condemn a wave of anti-Semitic acts by Muslim youth. League officials have offered no public criticism of the March 11 Madrid train bombings that left nearly 200 dead and hundreds more injured. (Authorities believe a Moroccan terrorist cell carried out the attack with ties to al-Qaida).
Instead, Jahjah suggested in a televised debate that a similar attack was likely in the Netherlands. "It's logical," he said. "You make war with us, we make war with you."

Despite their confrontational stance, AEL leaders insist that they advocate only peaceful methods of change: Jahjah has declared, "We are against violence." But their stance is ambiguous. One line from the AEL manifesto asserts: "You don't receive equal rights: you take them." And the league's Web site praises Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, who along with seven bystanders was assassinated in March by Israel in a missile attack. Yassin, the site said, is "an example for many of us."

Somali-born Dutch Parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim whose outspoken criticism of Islam's treatment of women has made her the target of death threats from Muslims around the world, blasted this statement in a March 27 Op-Ed in the Dutch newspaper de Trouw. "A terrorist leader with the blood of hundreds on his hands is evidently a source of inspiration for the young men and women of the AEL," she wrote.

Jahjah stirred more controversy in an open letter to U.S. President George W. Bush.

"Mr. President," the letter reads, "we are a peaceful people, we do not attack unless we are attacked, we do not kill unless we are killed, and we do not aggress, we defend. If you want peace, you and your people, there is only one way, and that is the way out of our land." But if the U.S. continues its close backing of Israel and "the Zionists," Jahjah warns, and persists with its "aggression and occupation troops in Faloudja, in Baghdad, in Nadjaf, in Gaza and Jerusalem and Ramallah ... more and more of your soldiers will undoubtedly rest in peace."

It is the sort of rhetoric that has come to define the self-described "Arabian panther." Eloquent, charismatic and Hollywood handsome - think George Clooney meets Robert de Niro - the 32-year-old Jahjah founded the Arab European League in Belgium in 2000, before the 9/11 attacks. Born in Lebanon and now a citizen of Belgium, he is part Malcolm X and part rock star. His makes no attempt to conceal his goal: He wants to introduce sharia - the religious laws and codes of Islam - to form what he calls a "sharocracy" in Europe. The sale of alcohol in grocery stores would be banned, as would sexually suggestive advertising. Islamic holidays would become national holidays, like Christmas.

Jahjah has spoken of the Sept. 11 attacks as "sweet revenge," though the Dutch newsweekly HP/de Tijd quoted him as saying he would prefer to have seen empty planes crash the Pentagon and the White House. "I'd have found that quite beautiful," he said.

Jahjah and his followers vehemently insist that Middle Eastern immigrants and their children must preserve their own culture and religion; comparing assimilation to "fascism" and "rape," Jahjah demands that the cultural and religious traditions of Middle Eastern immigrants and their children be not just preserved but integrated into the culture of the West. "I'd rather die than assimilate," Jahjah has said.

When asked by a Belgian television reporter if terrorism or a revolution were possible in the Lowlands, he offered a curt reply: "With the AEL, it could very well happen."

Jahjah and the AEL burst into the headlines in November 2002, when Moroccan youths (Belgians of Moroccan descent are simply called "Moroccans") looted shops, threw stones, smashed cars and staged a three-day standoff with police after a psychologically disturbed Belgian shot and killed a young Muslim teacher on the streets of Antwerp for no apparent reason. Belgian officials blamed Abou Jahjah. Though Jahjah insisted his only part in the event was trying to calm everybody down, police arrested him after the chaos had subsided and thoroughly searched his home. The AEL called this proof of Belgium's ongoing vendetta against their movement; Belgian lawmakers contended that Jahjah posed a danger to the community of Antwerp. Jahjah was released after an Antwerp court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to hold him.

Either way, the arrest propelled his name and the league's cause into the international arena. To some, he was a celebrity radical, an alluring combination of sex symbol and martyr; the Belgian media frequently called him the "black angel of integration."

That was hardly the first brush with notoriety for the league. In April 2002, enraged by Israel's massive military assault into the West Bank in response to a Palestinian terrorist attack, Moroccans and AEL members smashed the storefronts of Jewish-owned shops, calling for jihad and chanting "Osama bin Laden!" Before the U.S. invaded Iraq a little over a year ago, league members hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails during anti-American demonstrations staged at the Antwerp harbor.

In 2003, almost a year after Pim Fortuyn's assassination, the league opened a Dutch chapter; soon after, Mohammed Cheppih was appointed to head it. But earlier statements from Cheppih supporting suicide bombers in Palestine and the death penalty for homosexuals provoked such an outcry that he was forced to step down. Still, he remains an influential consultant to the league.

Today, behind a motto that is early Malcolm X - "by any means necessary" - the Arab European League reports steady growth, with members now in 12 countries. In Holland, it says, membership has surged from 200 in March 2003 to about 1,000 now. A new office has opened in France, and last summer, the league deployed a new political wing, the Muslim Democratic Party, to represent its views in European Parliamentary elections this year.

For its adherents, the AEL offers a united platform and an amplified voice. This is especially true for the second- and third-generation children of immigrants who came here - primarily from Turkey and Morocco - as guest workers in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, kids struggling to define their identity in a post-9/11 and increasingly nationalistic Europe. The children and even the grandchildren of Turkish and Moroccan immigrants are still considered "Turkish" or "Moroccan," rather than Dutch or Belgian. To these boys, Jahjah is a role model, a hero; for girls, he is a star. One newspaper quoted a young girl saying to Jahjah's bodyguards outside a talk he gave in Holland: "I just want to see him in the real."

In person and via the league's Web site, Jahjah speaks directly to these disenfranchised youth. He is deeply mistrustful of the Western press, arguing that no matter what he says, he will be misquoted or that “the Zionist lobby” will twist his words in an effort to turn popular opinion against him. Non-Muslim reporters are barred from Jahjah's lectures and speeches, and he pointedly ignored Salon's several attempts to reach him. Other AEL officers rarely speak to non-Muslim members of the press.

However, Jahjah's Belgian lieutenant, Azzuz, agreed to an interview in December, after a series of protests that led to the arrest of 10 league members - including some who hung the Palestinian flag over the Dutch Parliament building in The Hague and Azzuz's own television caper. Speaking by phone from Antwerp, the 27-year-old Belgian AEL leader, the son of Moroccan immigrants, was cordial but direct. The deaths of 9/11 were "collateral damage" - a term, he says, that Muslims learned from Americans.
"Finally, something had happened to those who kill our women and children," he said of the terror strikes that have reshaped world politics. "But America still blames others. They didn't learn their lesson at all." What lesson is that? "Stop supporting the terrorist state of Israel," Azzuz replied. George Bush "doesn't hold the strings," he says, the Zionists do.

Relations between the peoples of the West and the Middle East have deteriorated to such a point, Azzuz said, that "something like Sept. 11 is likely to happen again."

Belgium is a world capital of the diamond industry; it is a small but powerful engine of European capitalism, a bastion of conservatism and home to a large population of Orthodox Jews. It has long struggled to reconcile the submerged cultural conflicts between its Flemish, or Dutch-speaking, culture and the French-speaking Walloons. Neighboring Holland, by contrast, is a tiny country with a large reputation for liberalism and tolerance. In "coffeeshops" throughout the country, menu items for "Colombian" and "Purple Mountain" refer not to java but to varieties of marijuana; in the winding streets of Amsterdam's red light district, women pose in lingerie before the windows. It is here that same-sex marriage and doctor-assisted euthanasia were first made legal.

But the two countries share a common dynamic: As their Muslim populations have grown larger and more restive, both have spawned a sometimes-fierce anti-immigrant backlash. The result has been a cycle of building hostilities between Muslim and European in which it is usually impossible to tell who threw the first stone.

The influx of Muslims into Holland, Belgium and the other nations of Europe is hardly new. Tens of thousands have arrived, mostly from Turkey and Morocco, since the 1960s and 1970s. Those in the first wave, like immigrants everywhere, often came looking for political freedom and economic opportunity. Even now, though, the grandchildren of those immigrants say they often feel like second-class citizens in the countries they call home.
The immigrants' levels of education are generally lower; for them and their children, unemployment rates are higher. In Belgium, unemployment among Muslims is estimated at up to 40 percent.

Still, the population of Muslims in Europe continues to grow. According to one recent report, it could nearly double by 2015, approaching 30 million.

Almost a million Muslims now live in the Netherlands, giving the country the second-highest Muslim population per capita in Europe, after France. In a country still coming to grips with its guilt over the large numbers of Jews deported during the Nazi occupation more than 60 years ago, many are reluctant to discriminate against a different religious group, even if that group stands opposed to Holland's famed liberal and secular mores.

But after some Dutch Moroccans openly celebrated the 9/11 attacks, and after a radical imam in Rotterdam pronounced that "homosexuals are pigs," many among the Dutch were pushed over the brink. The rightist sociology professor Pim Fortuyn rose suddenly to political prominence, inaugurating his own party which he led into Parliamentary elections. Fortuyn, a gay man, ripped Islam as a "backward culture" and called for tough new curbs on immigration.
Though he was assassinated in the spring of 2002, his party swept to power with considerable support from voters under 30. Though Fortuyn's party did not hold power long, its powerful influence is still felt in strict new immigration rules and the planned deportation of 26,000 failed asylum-seekers.

The rise of far-right parties like Lijst Pim Fortuyn and Belgium's Vlaams Blok and the popularity of right-wing leaders like France's Jean-Marie le Pen has made European Muslims feel increasingly unwelcome, even hated.
"People are getting angry," says Ayhan Tonca, chairman of Holland's largest organization of Turkish mosques.

The international political climate in recent years has further eroded tolerance and goodwill on both sides. The bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict has inflamed Muslim animosity toward the West, a rage fueled by Arab news stations and Internet sites that beam graphic news and propaganda into Muslim homes throughout the West, thousands of miles from the zones of conflict.

In that atmosphere, the rhymes Moroccan youth chant beneath the stormy skies and along the cobbled streets of Holland's Jewish neighborhoods have become frighteningly familiar: "Hamas, Hamas, alle Joden aan het gas!" they cry. ("Hamas, Hamas, all Jews to the gas!) Or: "Joden moet je doden!" which translates with chilling simplicity: "Kill Jews!" On May 4, 2003, during a national moment of silence in remembrance of those who perished in Holocaust, a group of Moroccan boys began playing soccer with the wreath Holland's Queen Beatrix had placed by the Holocaust Memorial at the Palace in Amsterdam. There is an increasing incidence of race-based crimes, such as the recent murder of a teacher by a Turkish student in The Hague. "The teacher dishonored him," one friend of the confessed killer, known only as "Murat D.," explained to the media as other Turkish classmates chanted, "Murat, we love you!"

And while Jewish schoolboys in France now leave yarmulkes at home because the law demands it, in Holland, they do so out of fear. Indeed, the Dutch Center for Information and Documentation on Israel reports a 140 percent increase in anti-Semitic acts in the year 2002 and first half of 2003. That number "omits any act that could be viewed as anti-Israel," says the center's director, Ronny Naftaniel.

"There were some 330 incidents last year," says Naftaniel, who estimates that 75 percent were perpetrated by Moroccan youth. "There is a minimal amount of anti-Semitism that is constant in Holland, of course, but if you blame Jews for being the world power who direct the politics of the world, if you throw stones at Orthodox Jews, if you chant 'Hamas, Hamas' on trams and buses in the cities, that's anti-Semitism, and that's a problem."

Some Muslim leaders also acknowledge rampant, and often rabid, anti-Semitism in the Muslim communities here; even Jahjah and other AEL officials have, on occasion, spoken against it. But not Naima Elmaslouhi, the Arab European League's vice president in Holland. Speaking briefly by cellphone from the Amsterdam police station in December, as she waited for the release of fellow league officers arrested during a pro-Palestinian demonstration, she said the claims of anti-Semitism are exaggerated. "It's just one or two incidents," she said.

Perhaps the clearest expression of who Jahjah is and what he wants comes in his book, "Tussen 2 Werelden: Roots van Een Vrijheidstrijd," or "Between Two Worlds: The Roots of a Freedom Fight." Published late last year by the prestigious Dutch-Belgian publisher J.M. Meulenhoff, a house known for its strong list of Jewish literature, Jahjah's memoir-cum-manifesto suggests that ambiguity and contradiction are central to his character - and maybe to his strategy.

Born and raised in Hanin, in south Lebanon, Jahjah grew up in the midst of that country's civil war and Israel's invasion of Lebanon, which culminated in the 1982 slaughter in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla, where an Israeli commission of inquiry found that Israeli forces and their commander Ariel Sharon were indirectly responsible for the massacre of at least 800, and perhaps as many as 2,000, Palestinian civilians at the hands of Israel's Christian Phalange allies.

In the early 1990s, at the age of 19, Jahjah traveled to the West; he applied for political asylum in Belgium, telling immigration officials that he'd been a member of the militant Shiite group Hezbollah and was seeking to escape its persecution. When authorities began to question his story, he married a Belgian ex-girlfriend, receiving residency as her spouse. The couple divorced shortly after his papers came through. Since then, he has denied he was a member of Hezbollah, saying he made the story up to get asylum.

The league, Jahjah says in his book, isn't especially radical, but rather a "healthy, democratic protest organization born of the frustration and disappointment and hurt" of its members, a movement that seeks only equality and freedom. Only action, maintains Jahjah, will produce change. Azzuz agrees, saying that sometimes a bit of civil disobedience is necessary to win attention. "It's not like we take hostages," he says. But in another passage, Jahjah's book also contains a somewhat different message: "Violence is no solution," he writes, "but it can open the way to a solution."

In his book, Jahjah claims people wrongly accuse him of ties to al-Qaida when in fact, he says, it is the AEL that is terrorized. Bodyguards protect him from the many domestic and international organizations that he claims want him dead, including Israel's Mossad. (Israel dismissed the charge as "laughable.")

But critics see evidence of the league's character not only in what Jahjah says and does, but equally in what he doesn't say:. For instance, neither he nor the AEL condemns al-Qaida. And while it would be unreasonable to blame Jahjah, Azzuz or the Arab European League for the wave of anti-Semitism, they are widely seen as contributing to the climate of rage and polarization, if only by issuing mixed messages.

This impression was strengthened last November, after terrorists suspected of al-Qaida links killed more than 50 people and injured hundreds in four bombings in Turkey - including two bombings at Istanbul synagogues. Some in the AEL did publicly condemn the attacks. But Elmaslouhi, the Dutch league's vice president, voiced "support and understanding" for the bombers. "I am against the killing of innocents," she told the Dutch newspaper Algemeene Dagblad, "but how do you know who is innocent?"

To some critics, Jahjah, Azzuz and others in the Arab European League seem less interested in multicultural harmony than in hostile separatism. These critics warn that a militant "Arab pride" movement poses risks that far surpass mere social tension.

The recent report by the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service noted that self-styled mujahedin "purposefully influence members of the Muslim communities in the Netherlands in order to create a polarization in society and to alienate the Muslims from the rest of the population." The effect, according to the report, is to strengthen their recruitment efforts by "appealing to the idea that the rights and interests of 'good' Muslims are being violated time and again." As proof of the potential danger, the report cites the example of two Dutch-Moroccans who were killed in Kashmir while training for jihad.

Such concerns have provoked officials in both Belgium and Holland to wonder whether the Arab European League should be banned. In Belgium, Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has called Jahjah a "threat to society," though his effort to shut down the AEL on the grounds of "inciting violence, issuing threats and disturbing the public order" - a move Jahjah ascribed to "the Zionist lobby" - failed.

But when the AEL posted its statement supporting Hamas founder Yassin on its Dutch-language Web site, motions were filed in the Belgian courts to have the page, if not the entire site, pulled from the Web. While the courts debate, the provider serving the site has cancelled the League's account, forcing it to scramble for another and rebuild essentially from scratch. (The English version of the site remains for the most part intact.)

But some are concerned that banning the league would only send the movement underground, making it even more dangerous. "At least, it's out there in the open," says Ayhan Tonca, who heads the organization of Turkish mosques in Holland.

For their part, AEL members accuse European officials of criminalizing their movement and exaggerating the social problems within the Euro-Muslim community. Even if that's true, the increased pressure on the league and allied groups is likely to increase the tension. As with the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and the widening conflict between Islamist groups and the West, it sometimes seems that there is no middle ground.

Tonca, speaking from Holland's Turkish community, says he understands the appeal of the Arab European League, and cautions that Europe has no choice but to accept a cultural evolution. "We have to accept that Muslims are a part of Europe," he says. "It isn't just a Judeo-Christian culture anymore."

Moroccan-born Mohamed Sini, a Dutch Labor Party official who chairs the organization Islam and Citizenship, calls the league an "extremist group" that only exacerbates tensions. Tonca, too, accuses Jahjah of being not much different than his opponents - Fortuyn, le Pen, the Vlaams Blok. All, he says, divide in anger rather than unite in peace.

The European establishment is wrestling with similar worries. Last December, the European Union shelved a report that blamed Muslims for the recent wave of anti-Semitism; when a new draft was issued last month, it blamed neo-Nazi and other racist groups, with Muslims being only a secondary cause – even though the numbers in the report showed that Muslims were in fact behind most of the incidents.

But to those who say that Europe must become a melting pot now in a way that it has not been in modern times, Jahjah and other league members say they're not interested in blending in.

Absorbing the principles and norms of Holland, Belgium and other European democracies, they say, would mean sacrificing their integrity, their identity as Muslims. Rather, they argue, the Judeo-Christian majority of Europe should incorporate Islamic norms and values into its own. "Europe would be a better, safer place," a message on the now-defunct Dutch Arab European League Web site proclaimed, "if it observed the values and the norms of Islam."

"As a minority group," says Azzuz, "we have rights."

"Idiocy!" Naftaniel snaps in reply. "Integration doesn't ask that you give up your culture."

Despite the league's plans to expand its presence in the coming year, especially in France, Naftaniel, Tonca and Sini all maintain that the movement will eventually fall by the wayside. "They fail to serve the real concerns and interests of [European] Muslims," Sini says, "mostly because they blame everyone else for the tensions without looking within themselves."

But he is nonetheless concerned, both about the AEL's actions and about the responses they engender. "Extremism," he warns, "breeds extremism."

Tonca likewise worries that Abou Jahjah's call will produce Turkish militants. "The most dangerous terrorists are those who are well educated in the West," he notes, "and I fear that the Muslims who are educated here are becoming radical."

Separation, Naftaniel says, is not compatible with democracy; coexistence requires collaboration and cooperation. "If one believes in democracy," he says, "then the most challenging thing is to sit down with those who with whom you differ."

That might be the starting point for détente, but does the league want détente? Its signals have been mixed, at best. Jahjah himself has publicly denounced the chants of "Hamas, Hamas, alle Joden aan het gas!" Elsewhere, though, he has expressed impatience with talk of peaceful coexistence. "The days of sharing couscous with a Jew are over," he told Belgian newspaper De Morgen in April 2002.

Another top league official, apparently distressed by reports that Muslim children in Holland refuse to listen to classes about the Holocaust, wrote in a statement on a league site that the organization is "against each and every form of discrimination and racism. As Muslims we see the Jews as 'the people of the book' and it is obligatory to fight the hate against these people." But the statement continues: "With equal fury the AEL fights Nazism and Zionism." This association of Israel with Nazism, common these days among European Muslims, is widely seen as a crude and inflammatory form of anti-Semitism.

Which to believe, then - the overtures of peace, or the rhetoric of fury?
In the interest of the vrijheidstrijd, or the freedom fight, Jahjah wraps himself in the mantel of the American revolutionary hero Patrick Henry. "We seek only to live in peace and with the freedom to live our own lives with equality, appreciation, and respect," he writes in "Between Two Worlds."
"And if anyone tries to remove that right and to oppose us, we will fight until the oppression stops, and we acquire freedom - or die in the attempt."
Write; by Abigail R. Esman, a contributing editor at Art and Auction, writes on art and contemporary culture from New York and Amsterdam. June 04