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UN Sanctions Palestine * Venezuela: Next Chile? * Earth First! FBI Lawsuit

13 March 2002

That Leonard Peltier is still in the U.S. federal penitentiary, alone, is enough to see to the degree to which justice and human rights have been violated in the US for the last twenty-six years. The big commotion over the documents withheld in the Timothy McVeigh case was for show. But it did shine an illumination on the hypocrisy and suspicion of those 6,000 plus FBI documents still withheld from Leonard Peltier, and each of us, for the bogus reasoning of national security interests. This twisted form of injustice endangers our country, and threatens each one of us. The key question is how do we connect all these issues with enough awakened people to effectively take the reigns from misdirected administrations, when it comes to promoting democracy, freedom, and justice..

Item 1 is on the welcomed news of the UN supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state and to maintain a peace between the nations of Palestine and Israel. It is time for this, but the horrid thought is that the US was motivated to this decision for diplomatic purposes to bomb Iraq. We try to make peace here, to go to war there..?

Item 2 is also connected in the scope of everything, but barely has been reported. John Pilger writes an excellent commentary, "Venezuela: Next Chile?" "Almost 30 years after the violent destruction of the reformist government of Salvador Allende in Chile, a repeat performance is being planned in Venezuela."

Item 3 is on an historic lawsuit. On April 8, 2002, at the Oakland Federal Courthouse in California, Earth First! is going to court on a lawsuit against the FBI and Oakland Police Department. Among other issues, the lawsuit is exposing the FBI's continued use of "COINTELPRO" that strips away US Constitutional and basic human rights.

Time is getting short. People think that they are getting busier, but it is really, time that is running out for possibly most our entire species. We better reign in the cowboy policies of the Bush administration before it is too late, and we can't wait until 2004. So, please, support many of these and other important campaigns for justice, freedom, and human rights, but also work with a strategic focus on legislation that can change most everything: the Space Preservation Treaty of 2002 - H.R. 3616. We need more co-sponsors in the US House of Representatives and the introduction of similar legislation in the US Senate. The window of opportunity to accomplish this, is still with us, but time is disappearing fast.

1) U.N. backs 'vision' of Palestinian state
2) Venezuela: Next Chile?
3) Earth First! vs the FBI and Oakland Police Department


1) U.N. backs 'vision' of Palestinian state
March 13, 2002 Posted608 AM EST (1108 GMT)

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council has approved a resolution that for the first time endorses "the vision of" a Palestinian state.

The resolution, passed late Tuesday, described "a vision of a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders."

The U.S.-sponsored resolution, which only drew one abstention from Syria, also calls for an immediate cease-fire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But CNN's Ben Wedeman, speaking in Ramallah in the West Bank, said on Wednesday"There have been no signs of a cease-fire here. The situation in Ramallah was very tense overnight, with
continual bursts of shooting."

The U.N. move came after Israeli soldier s scoured the West Bank and Gaza on Tuesday to root out what they called the Palestinian "terrorist infrastructure" in the largest Israeli military operation since the 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

In all, the fighting has left at least 37 Palestinians dead -- four on Wednesday alone -- including 17 at the Jabiliya camp in northern Gaza that has long been a hotbed for Palestinian nationalism. Seven Israelis were killed, with six of those slain when two Palestinian gunmen -- disguised as Israeli army officers -- opened fire on motorists in northern Israel near the Lebanese border, authorities said.

The seventh Israeli was killed and another wounded in a separate incident in the Ramallah area, according to Israeli medical sources, who said the victims came under fire while working on a road.

In Wednesday's fighting, Palestinian security sources said a deputy commander for Force 17, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's personal guard, was killed during clashes with Israeli forces at the southern entrance to Ramallah. The sources identified him as Fouad Laadaili.

Also in Ramallah, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said three Palestinians had died and eight
others had been injured.

In addition, an Italian journalist for Corriere della Sera magazine was killed Wednesday in Ramallah, according to Italian media sources. The Israeli army said it was not aware of a journalist being killed but was checking into the alleged incident.

Israeli television reported that 20,000 Israeli troops were engaged in operations in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel Defense Forces would not confirm the number of soldiers involved, but said the military was waging a battle against terrorists.

Israeli Army Col. Gal Hirsch called the operation a success so far. "We have found many explosives, we've found many bombs ready on their way to the main populated areas of Israel," he said.

"We found a lot of ammunition, rifles, revolvers, machine guns. And we're fighting against terrorists wherever we went to."

Palestinian leaders said the Israelis' raids would only worsen matters.

"This is leading to a real open war between the army of occupation and us. We have called upon all the Palestinians to resist this occupation and to confront it," said Yasser Abed Rabbo, the Palestinian information minister.

Hasan Abdel Rahman, the chief Palestinian representative to the United States, echoed that sentiment"If Israel believes that terrorizing the Palestinian people is going to bring security to Israel, it is the opposite. ... This is pushing more people to become more radicalized."

The Israeli military operations were causing friction within the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Two Cabinet ministers -- members of the conservative National Union party -- have handed in their resignation letters, which will go into effect Thursday, an Israeli government spokesman said. They said Sharon was not taking strong enough action against the Palestinians.

The escalation of violence comes against a backdrop of renewed U.S. diplomatic efforts to calm tensions in the region, with Mideast envoy Anthony Zinni to arrive there Thursday, followed by Vice President Dick Cheney, who is currently on a 12-nation tour.

Speaking in Jordan on Tuesday, Cheney said, "The United States will do all it can to help end the tragic violence between the Palestinians and Israelis, and return the parties to a productive negotiating process."

Washington also is pushing for Sharon to allow Arafat to travel later this month to the Arab League summit in Beirut, Lebanon. Sharon has recently eased a travel restriction on Arafat but has yet to decide if the Palestinian leader will be free to attend the summit.

The Israeli operation prompted a sharp rebuke from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who criticized the Israeli government's use of heavy weaponry in civilian areas.

He called on the government to end its "illegal occupation" of Palestinian territory and "the daily humiliation of ordinary Palestinians."

Annan, addressing the U.N. Security Council, was also critical of the Palestinians. He told them the "deliberate and indiscriminate targeting of civilians is morally repugnant" and said acts of terror and suicide bombings were doing "immense harm" to their cause.

Israel on the offensive

Israel's new offensive followed recent terror attacks by Palestinians. Last weekend, 13 Israelis were killed in two attacks that came at the end of the Jewish Sabbath.

Ra-anan Gissin, a spokesman for Sharon, said the incursions were needed "to uproot the terrorists from their camps."

The military operations would serve to remind terrorists that "there is no sanctuary and no safe haven," Gissin said.

One Israeli military source said the operation was partly in response to the "threat of Qassam" rocket attacks. Israel sees the use of the homemade rockets as a dangerous escalation of conflict because they have the range to reach major Israeli population centers from the Palestinian territories.

In a sign of just how bitter tensions are in Ramallah -- the center of the Palestinian Authority -- the body of a Palestinian man killed earlier after being accused of collaborating with Israel was on display in the town's main square.


2) Venezuela: Next Chile?

Allied with Chavez's domestic enemies is the Bush administration. Defying Washington, Chavez has sold oil to Cuba and refused overflying rights to American military aircraft supplying "Plan Colombia", the US campaign in support of the murderous regime in neighbouring Colombia. Worse, although he condemned the attacks of 11 September, he questioned the right of the United States to "fight terrorism with terrorism". ===


Venezuela: Next Chile?

March 13, 2002
ZNet Commentary By John Pilger

He has won two elections, and he has made a start on relieving poverty. So now the US wants to get rid of Venezuela's president

Almost 30 years after the violent destruction of the reformist government of Salvador Allende in Chile, a repeat performance is being planned in Venezuela. Little of this has been reported in Britain. Indeed, little is known of the achievements of the government of Hugo Chavez, who won presidential elections in 1998 and again in 2000 by the largest majority in 40 years.

Following the principles of a movement called BolIvarism, named after the South American independence hero Simon BolIvar, Chavez has implemented reforms that have begun to shift the great wealth of Venezuela, principally from its oil, towards the 80 per cent of his people who live in poverty.

In 49 laws adopted by the Venezuelan Congress last November, Chavez began serious land reform, and guaranteed indigenous and women's rights and free healthcare and education up to university level.

Chavez faces enemies that Allende would recognise. The "oligarchies", which held power since the 1950s during the corrupt bipartisan reign of the Social Christians and Democratic Action, have declared war on the reforming president, backed by the Catholic Church and a trade union
hierarchy and the media, both controlled by the right.

What has enraged them is a modest agrarian reform that allows the state to expropriate and redistribute idle land; and a law that limits the exploitation of oil reserves, reinforcing a constitutional ban on the privatisation of the state oil company.

Allied with Chavez's domestic enemies is the Bush administration. Defying Washington, Chavez has sold oil to Cuba and refused overflying rights to American military aircraft supplying "Plan Colombia", the US campaign in support of the murderous regime in neighbouring Colombia. Worse, although he condemned the attacks of 11 September, he questioned the right of the United States to "fight terrorism with terrorism".

For this, he is unforgiven. On 5-7 November, the State Department, Pentagon and National Security Agency held a two-day meeting to discuss "the problem of Venezuela". The State Department has since accused the Chavez government of "supporting terrorism" in Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador. In fact, Venezuela opposes American-funded terrorism in those three

The US says it will "put Venezuela in diplomatic isolation"; Colin Powell has warned Chavez to correct "his understanding of what a democracy is all about". Familiar events are unfolding.

The International Monetary Fund has indicated it supports a "transitional government" for Venezuela. The Caracas daily El Nacional says the IMF is willing to bankroll those who remove Chavez from office.

James Petras, a professor at New York State University, who was in Chile in the early 1970s and has studied the subversion of the Allende government, says that

"the IMF and financial institutions are fabricating a familiar crisis. The tactics used are very similar to those used in Chile. Civilians are used to create a feeling of chaos, and a false picture of Chavez as a dictator is established, then the military is incited to make a coup for the sake of the country."

A former paratrooper, Chavez apparently still has the army behind him (as Allende did, until the CIA murdered his loyal military chief, opening the way to Pinochet). However, several senior officers have denounced Chavez as a "tyrant" and have called for his resignation. It is difficult to assess this; in its rumour-mongering, the hostile Caracas press plays a role reminiscent of Chile's right-wing press, with poisonous stories questioning Chavez's sanity.

The most worrying threat comes from a reactionary trade union hierarchy, the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV), led by Carlos Ortega, a hack of the anti-Chavez Democratic Action Party. The CTV maintains a black list of "disloyal" and "disruptive" members, which it supplies to employers.

According to Dick Nichols, writing from Caracas, Chavez's most serious mistake has been his failure to move against the union old guard, following a national referendum in which a majority gave him a mandate to reform the CTV.

The crime of Hugo Chavez is that he has set out to keep his electoral promises, redistributing the wealth of his country and subordinating the principle of private property to that of the common good. Having underestimated the power of his enemies, his current counter-offensive is imaginative but also hints of desperation.

He has set up what are called "BolIvarian circles", of which 8,000 are being established in communities and workplaces across the country. Based on the revolutionary heritage of Simon BolIvar's triumph in the war against Spain, their job is to ...

"raise the consciousness of citizens and develop all forms of participatory organisations in the community, releasing projects in health, education, culture, sport, public services, housing and the preservation of the environment, natural resources and our historical heritage".

Allied to this is a popular command "unifying and strengthening the forces in support of President Chavez".

These are fighting words that echo through the continent's history of epic struggles. They say that yet another South American country, in offering its people an alternative to poverty and foreign domination, the "threat of a good example", is entering a period of great uncertainty and fear. The achievements in Venezuela are a clear response to those who say that radical dreams and change are no longer possible. Chavez should be supported by all democrats. Chile must not happen again.

For more on the author of this article, visit:


3) Earth First! vs the FBI and Oakland Police Department

A Historic Lawsuit for Civil Liberties

The Earth First! lawsuit against the FBI and Oakland Police Department goes to trial on April 8, 2002 at the Oakland Federal Courthouse in California.

On May 24, 1990, Earth First! organizers, Darryl Cherney and Judi Bari, were the victims of a motion triggered car bomb. They were driving through Oakland on a tour to promote Redwood Summer, a nonviolent direct action campaign protesting the logging of the last old growth redwoods. The FBI and Oakland Police showed up at the bomb scene within minutes and quickly arrested the pair for transporting the bomb, despite ample evidence that Judi was the intended target. The Alameda County DA eventually refused to press charges against the pair due to lack of evidence. No real investigation to find the bombers was ever done and the bombers remain at large today. Instead the FBI used the bombing as an opportunity to vilify Earth First! and expand surveillance of nonviolent activists.

In 1991, Judi and Darryl filed a civil rights lawsuit against the FBI and Oakland Police Department for false arrest, illegal search and seizure and conspiracy to violate their first amendment rights. The lawsuit is exposing the FBI's continued use of the notorious and now illegal "COINTELPRO" program- the FBI campaign to, in their words, "disrupt and neutralize" political dissidents. Judi died of breast cancer in 1997 but the case survives.

This lawsuit is more important than ever! Since September 11th, there has been an alarming roll back in civil liberties. The FBI has been given more powers, without oversight or accountability. The Earth First! lawsuit honors the legacy of Judi Bari and exposes the FBI's misuse of authority to harass and intimidate nonviolent political activists. With your help, the historic trial can reverse the growing power of the FBI to trample on our right to dissent.

What you can do to help (even from far away):

Check out our website to get more background information on the lawsuit. From the website, you can join our informational listserv.

Publicize the trial! We would be happy to send you flyers or an article for your newsletter. Help get media coverage of the trial in your local papers or on radio stations.

Forward this email to your email list.

Do an event to educate your community about the lawsuit and FBI COINTELPRO! You can order a great short video about Judi Bari and the lawsuit by calling (415) 820-1635 or on-line at

Organize a solidarity rally at your local FBI offices on April 8th. Call us to find other groups in your area or to get flyers to pass out.

Donate money to the legal fund or organize a fundraising event. All funds raised pay court costs, publicity, and volunteer expenses. Make checks payable to Earth First!.

Contact us at:
Earth First! / Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters
2530 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 548-3113

Flyby News is a free electronic news service regarding peace in space, human rights, indigenous, and environmental issues.

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