Archive for October, 2004

Police terror sweeps across Haiti

Sunday, October 31st, 2004

The bodies had been whisked away but the dried pool of blood covering the dirt-floor dead end of a twisting alley was a chilling sign of what happened here last week.

Residents in the National Fort district, which like most of Port-au-Prince’s slums is a bastion of support for former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, gathered around the darkening blood the following day. Some, who were afraid to give their names, said policemen wearing black masks had shot and killed 12 people, then dragged their bodies away. At least three families have identified the bodies of relatives at the mortuary; others who have loved ones missing fear the worst.

‘The police officers will say that this was an operation against gangs. But we are all innocent,’ said Eliphete Joseph, a young man in a blue basketball jersey who claimed to be a friend of several of those killed, his eyes red with grief as he stood in the shadow of a crumbling concrete staircase. ‘The worst thing is that Aristide is now in exile far from here in South Africa, but we are in Haiti, and they are persecuting us only because we live in a poor neighbourhood.’

A police spokesperson confirmed there had been a police raid at National Fort looking for gang leaders and that at least eight people were killed.

The killings appear to be the latest example of what human rights groups describe as a campaign of repression against suspected supporters of Aristide, who was escorted out of the country on 29 February by US Marines. The US government said he resigned. Aristide says he was forced out in a US-backed coup.
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By Boat or Horse, Uruguayans Go to Elect President

Sunday, October 31st, 2004

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (Reuters) – Uruguayan emigrants caught the ferry from Argentina and cowboys from vast cattle ranches galloped their horses to town to vote in elections on Sunday that could give Uruguay its first leftist leader.

Polling stations opened at 8 a.m. local time (5 a.m. EST/1000 GMT) across this nation of 3.4 million, where voting is mandatory. They will close at 7.30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. EST/2130 GMT) and final results are expected a few hours after midnight (9 p.m. EST/0200 GMT).

Leftist candidate Tabare Vazquez, a 64-year-old doctor, has a good chance of clinching the presidency by winning more than 50 percent of the vote and avoiding a November runoff. His Broad Front coalition should also win majorities in Congress.

Heavy on voters’ minds is the 1999-2003 economic crisis that spilled over from Argentina, leaving one-third of Uruguayans living below the poverty line and forcing 100,000 mostly young people to emigrate.

Anger over the crisis is expected to take its toll on the two candidates from the traditional parties — the Blancos and the Colorados — that have ruled the once-prosperous nation of European immigrants for the last 170 years.

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Iranian Bill Backs Nuclear Program Drive

Sunday, October 31st, 2004

TEHRAN (Reuters) – To cries of “Death to America” and “God is Greatest” Iran’s hard-liner-dominated parliament passed a bill on Sunday obliging the government to continue efforts to develop a nuclear energy program.

The proposal, backed by 247 of parliament’s 290 lawmakers, did not specifically force the government to immediately resume uranium enrichment or end snap U.N. inspections of atomic facilities as some lawmakers had called for.

But the outline bill approved on Sunday called on the state to continue work on the nuclear fuel cycle which includes uranium enrichment — something which brings Iran into direct conflict with demands by the U.N.’s atomic watchdog that it halt such activities.

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Kerry and Bush Compete for the Role of Israel’s Best Friend

Sunday, October 31st, 2004

by Steven R. Weisman
WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 – Days before a tight presidential election focused on a handful of states with many Jewish voters, the campaigns of both President Bush and Senator John Kerry are trading charges over who would be the greater friend to Israel in the White House.

Interviews with aides to Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush indicate, however, that their views on Israel and the difficulties of getting talks started with the Palestinians are starkly similar. Whoever is elected on Tuesday, American policy in the Middle East is unlikely to change markedly.

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Fundamentalists in Agreement: Osama’s Endorsement

Saturday, October 30th, 2004

by John Chuckman
…Now, suddenly, just days before the election, we have Osama’s Jesus-like face again appearing on every front page in the world. Who benefits from Osama’s re-appearance? At first, you might say Kerry because the face is such a vivid reminder of Bush’s utter failure. He didn’t get the guy responsible for 9/11 (and from this tape we receive, for the first time, genuine evidence of Osama’s involvement), but Bush sure managed to kill a lot of innocent people.

Almost certainly, the re-appearance serves Bush’s interests, who for some unknown reason manages to hold a strong rating in polls narrowed to the specific issue of security. I know it’s a mind-numbing puzzle, but the man who shirked duty in Vietnam, the man who went AWOL from the National Guard, the man who spent years frying his brain with alcohol and cocaine, the man who continued reading about goats after being informed of the strike against the WTC, the man who has created armies of America-haters with his insane war in Iraq is regarded as strong on security by Americans.

The only rational explanation for this phenomenon is that Americans sense Bush’s psychopathic qualities and are re-assured by them at a time of absurdly-exaggerated fear. After all, I had Americans writing me seriously, after 9/11, that Afghanistan should be reduced to a chunk of radioactive glass. American fundamentalists’ much-beloved Old Testament and Book of Revelations, not to mention the entire history of Christianity, overflow with such bloodshed and ravings. Were a poll taken in America about the idea of “just killing them all,” I think the results might be painfully revealing.

Osama and the boys chose a critical moment to endorse Bush because they know four more years of his violent, incompetent arrogance does more damage to western interests than any attack they could hope to mount.
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Osama Tape Leads U.S. to Raise Vigilance

Saturday, October 30th, 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) – A new videotape of Osama bin Laden could be a signal for an attack, government officials warned in a new bulletin that urges state and local authorities to be extra vigilant.

There is no immediate indication that the tape of the al-Qaida leader, which aired Friday, offered any sign of an impending strike, said a U.S. government official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Intelligence agencies are conducting further analysis on the tape.

The warning shortly before Tuesday’s election follows public discussion by top Bush administration officials during the summer about the seriousness of a potential threat to disrupt the election.

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Amazing. Smells like Karl Rove. Ratcheting up the paranoia=vote Bush. Sick.


Former CBSNEWS anchorman Walter Cronkite believes Bush adviser Karl Rove is possibly behind the new Bin Laden tape.

Cronkite made the startling comments late Friday during an interview on CNN.

Somewhat smiling, Cronkite said he is “inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, he probably set up bin Laden to this thing.”

Interviewer Larry King did not ask Cronkite to elaborate on the provocative election eve observation.

Ha. Looks like I’m not the only one who thinks so…

Man Charged in Killings City Didn’t Know About

Saturday, October 30th, 2004

by Charlie LeDuff
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 29 – When the police announced last week that they had tracked down the worst serial killer in the city’s history, the news was met here with detached astonishment.

Serial killer? What serial killer? For the better part of a decade, the police say, a man was raping and strangling women and almost nobody knew.

Chester D. Turner, 37, a convicted rapist and former pizza deliveryman, is charged with killing 10 women between 1987 and 1998. With the special circumstances of rape, he will be eligible for the death penalty. Detectives say Mr. Turner may have murdered a half dozen others, though they lack physical evidence to connect him to some of those crimes.

As it happened, Mr. Turner was already behind bars for an unrelated rape when detectives pieced together his secret with DNA evidence.

Moreover, another man – a janitor with the mind of an 8-year-old – spent nine years in prison for two of the murders now attributed to Mr. Turner. The man, David A. Jones, was released in March after he was cleared by DNA specimens.

While the women were being raped and killed, there were no handouts by the police to warn that the City of Angels had a devil in its midst. There was no dragnet; no shocking nickname like the Hillside Strangler, the Night Stalker or the Freeway Killer, all infamous Southern California predators. There was nothing to capture or focus the public’s imagination. Women were raped, strangled and dumped in vacant lots and stairwells like so much worn-out furniture.

The women, for the most part, were black, drug-hobbled prostitutes who worked the street corners and hot-sheet motels in the notorious south side, the black part of town known for misery, gangs and spectacular violence.

Jeanette Moore, a prostitute, said she was close to some of the victims. She said the women who work along Figueroa Street, where the police say Mr. Turner did his killings, knew there was a serial killer at work.

“There had to be, but the police never asked nothing,” she said while standing on the corner of Figueroa and 84th Streets, her place of business for the past 22 years. The rain tinged her knee-high boots. She nervously lighted a cigarette.

“They never investigated nothing,” she said. “I knew half those girls. I know the man’s face. If it was in the better neighborhoods, you could be sure somebody would be asking questions. But it was here, so nobody cared.”

The editorial page of The Los Angeles Times agreed, calling the general attitude indifferent. “It was simply one more example of how the rest of the city had grown inured to the slaughter in South Los Angeles,” one editorial read.

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Transcript of Al Jazeera Tape

Saturday, October 30th, 2004

DUBAI, Oct 30 – Following are excerpts from a speech by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden addressing the American people in a video tape, parts of which were aired by Al Jazeera television on Saturday, as translated by Reuters.

“O American people, I am speaking to tell you about the ideal way to avoid another Manhattan, about war and its causes and results.

“Security is an important foundation of human life and free people do not squander their security, contrary to Bush’s claims that we hate freedom. Let him tell us why we did not attack Sweden for example.

“It is known that those who hate freedom do not possess proud souls like those of the 19, may God rest their souls. We fought you because we are free and because we want freedom for our nation. When you squander our security we squander yours.

“I am surprised by you. Despite entering the fourth year after Sept. 11, Bush is still deceiving you and hiding the truth from you and therefore the reasons are still there to repeat what happened.

“God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers but after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed — when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet.

“In those difficult moments many emotions came over me which are hard to describe, but which produced an overwhelming feeling to reject injustice and a strong determination to punish the unjust.

“As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way (and) to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women.

“We had no difficulty in dealing with Bush and his administration because they resemble the regimes in our countries, half of which are ruled by the military and the other half by the sons of kings … They have a lot of pride, arrogance, greed and thievery.

“He (Bush) adopted despotism and the crushing of freedoms from Arab rulers and called it the Patriot Act under the guise of combating terrorism…..

“We had agreed with the (the Sept. 11) overall commander Mohammed Atta, may God rest his soul, to carry out all operations in 20 minutes before Bush and his administration take notice.

“It never occurred to us that the commander in chief of the American forces (Bush) would leave 50,000 citizens in the two towers to face those horrors alone at a time when they most needed him because he thought listening to a child discussing her goat and its ramming was more important than the planes and their ramming of the skyscrapers. This had given us three times the time needed to carry out the operations, thanks be to God…

“Your security is not in the hands of (Democratic presidential candidate John) Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands and each state which does not harm our security will remain safe.

Labor Memo Suggests Bush to Win Election

Saturday, October 30th, 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) – Labor Department staff, analyzing statistics from private economists, report in an internal memo that President Bush is likely to do “much better” in Tuesday’s election than the polls are predicting.

The Kerry campaign said the analysis was an improper use of taxpayer money, and the Labor Department acknowledged Friday, “Clearly, this kind of armchair political analysis doesn’t belong in government memos, even if they are entirely internal.”

The Labor Department report, obtained by The Associated Press, includes an analysis of economic models that suggest Bush will beat Democrat John Kerry. Titled “In Focus: Predicting the Election Outcome,” the memo says, “Nearly every single model has him winning.”

“Some show the margin of victory being smaller than the models’ inherent margin of error, while others report the lead as substantial. And this is without the consideration of a third-party candidate.”

Bush’s win of the popular vote could be 57.5 percent, 55.7 percent or 51.2 percent, said the paper, dated Oct. 22 and prepared by the department’s Employment and Training Administration staff for the assistant labor secretary.

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Eight U.S. Marines Killed, Nine Wounded in Iraq

Saturday, October 30th, 2004

FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) – Eight U.S. marines were killed and nine wounded west of Baghdad on Saturday in the bloodiest attack on U.S. forces in Iraq for months.

The U.S. military gave no details of the circumstances of the deaths, which it said occurred in the western province of Anbar, which includes the rebel cities of Falluja and Ramadi.

Witnesses said earlier they had seen three U.S. vehicles burning on a road east of Falluja, in Anbar province. It was not clear if that is where the marine casualties occurred.

The latest deaths bring to 858 the number of U.S. troops killed in combat in Iraq since the start of last year’s war.

U.S. marine commanders said on Friday they were preparing to storm Falluja and Ramadi to crush guerrillas and foreign militants led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as part of efforts to pacify Iraq before elections in January.

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