SECTION NINE

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COLUMN SEVENTY-EIGHT, NOVEMBER 1, 2002
(Copyright 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)

1.  March on Washington October 26

STOP THE WAR ON IRAQ BEFORE IT STARTS!
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2002
NATIONAL MARCH ON WASHINGTON DC with a joint action in San Francisco

The Bush administration is rushing towards war. The time to act is now. The people of the United States can stop this madness.

World public opinion and almost every government opposes Bush's planned war of aggression. But it will take a mass peoples' movement--in the streets, workplaces, communities, campuses and high schools--to stop the coming war.

On Saturday, October 26, 2002 -- the first anniversary of the signing of the so-called Patriot Act -- anti-war, civil rights, labor, student and other forces are joining together to launch a massive international mobilization in opposition to a new war against the people of Iraq. Mass marches and rallies will be held in Washington DC and San Francisco in the U.S., and in many other countries.

As the Bush administration violates international law it has been systematically engaged in a campaign of division and repression in the United States including a wholesale assault on the Bill of Rights, institutionalization of racial profiling, and aggregation of near dictatorial powers to the Executive branch.

In articulating the so-called doctrine of preemptive war, the Bush administration is preparing to violate all existing international law and the UN charter, which forbids countries to carry out war except in the case of self-defense. Preemption is merely a slogan to justify a foreign policy of armed aggression and military adventure.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and company are planning to send tens of thousands of young GIs to kill and be killed in another war for Big Oil. Simultaneously, the Bush Administration is diverting billions of dollars to feed military conquest and away from jobs, education, healthcare, childcare and housing.

The so-called debate that is opening now to public view from within the political establishment presents a necessity for all anti-war forces to become a major factor in generating an authentic opposition to U.S. war plans in the Middle East. The October 26 National March in Washington DC and joint action in San Francisco come just one week before midterm Congressional elections.

There won't be a real national debate on a planned invasion of Iraq until the people are in the streets. We can't leave it to the military establishment to decide when and how they will go to war and to define the debate. We must tell Bush and his corporate and Big Oil patrons that we will not allow this to happen.

This war can be stopped. Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and company can be stopped. But the essential element must be the mobilization of a massive new anti-war movement in the streets. We call for civilians and soldiers alike to exercise their political right to speak out against an illegal war. On October 26, there will be a National March in Washington DC, a West Coast march in San Francisco, and protests around the world.  ##

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2.  Denounce the Pacifists  

"Why, of course the people don't want war ... But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."

        - Hermann Goering, Nazi leader, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II

                                johnw@elmhurst.edu  ##

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3.  The Mother of all Weapons

Subject: The Mother of all Weapons of Mass Destruction

How did Iraq get its weapons? We sold them.

THE US and Britain sold Saddam Hussein the technology and materials Iraq needed to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.

Reports by the US Senate's committee on banking, housing and urban affairs---which oversees American exports policy---reveal that the US, under the successive administrations of Ronald Reagan and papa George Bush, sold materials including anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs and botulism to Iraq right up until March 1992, as well as germs similar to tuberculosis and pneumonia. Other bacteria sold included brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene.

Classified US Defence Department documents also seen by the Sunday Herald show that Britain sold Iraq the drug pralidoxine, an antidote to nerve gas, in March 1992, after the end of the Gulf war. Pralidoxine can be reverse engineered to create nerve gas.

The Senate committee's reports on US Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual-Use Exports to Iraq, undertaken in 1992 in the wake of the Gulf war, give the date and destination of all US exports. The reports show, for example, that on May 2, 1986, two batches of bacillus anthracis---the micro-organism that causes anthrax---were shipped to the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education, along with two batches of the bacterium clostridium botulinum, the agent that causes deadly botulism poisoning.

The shipments to Iraq went on even after Saddam Hussein ordered the gassing of the Kurdish town of Halabja, in which at least 5000 men, women and children died. The atrocity, which shocked the world, took place in March 1988, but a month later the components and materials of weapons of mass destruction were continuing to arrive in Baghdad. . .

By Neil Mackay and Felicity Arbuthnot

Sunday Herald

(Scotland)  ##

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4.  Advance to the Rear

At the height of the summer, as talk of invading Iraq built in Washington like a dark, billowing storm, the US armed forces staged a rehearsal using over 13,000 troops, countless computers and $250m. Officially, America won and a rogue state was liberated from an evil dictator.

What really happened is quite another story, one that has set alarm bells ringing throughout America's defence establishment and raised questions over the US military's readiness for an Iraqi invasion. In fact, this war game was won by Saddam Hussein, or at least by the retired marine playing the Iraqi dictator's part, Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper.

In the first few days of the exercise, using surprise and unorthodox tactics, the wily 64-year-old Vietnam veteran sank most of the US expeditionary fleet in the Persian Gulf, bringing the US assault to a halt.

What happened next will be familiar to anyone who ever played soldiers in the playground. Faced with an abrupt and embarrassing end to the most expensive and sophisticated military exercise in US history, the Pentagon top brass simply pretended the whole thing had not happened. They ordered their dead troops back to life and "refloated" the sunken fleet. Then they instructed the enemy forces to look the other way as their marines performed amphibious landings. Eventually, Van Riper got so fed up with all this cheating that he refused to play any more. Instead, he sat on the sidelines making abrasive remarks until the three-week war game---grandiosely entitled Millennium Challenge---staggered to a star-spangled conclusion on August 15, with a US "victory".

Friday September 6, 2002

The Guardian  ##

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5.  The Big Picture 

The Agitprop of Mike Alewitz.
By Edward Ericson, Jr.
Published 09/19/02
Hartford Advocate  

Mike Alewitz is an iconoclast, fiercely independent from both the commercial art world and the sectarian leftist factions that have helped shape his thinking and his art during three decades as an artist and activist.

Today, Alewitz teaches mural painting at Central Connecticut State University, while spending his summers, often abroad, creating politically charged murals that seem as much designed to court controversy as to illuminate past and present social struggles.

This summer, for example, Alewitz painted in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He's also painted in Chernobyl, Nicaragua and Iraq. In 2000 Alewitz lost a wall he had been given to paint after he refused to remove a musket from the hands of abolitionist Harriet Tubman. "I don't want to make Harriet Tubman a meaningless icon that hangs in McDonald's to try to get you to buy hamburgers," Alewitz said at the time. "She was a freedom fighter---and that is how she should be painted."

He painted Tubman on a huge canvas instead, and it has toured the country.

A detailed and inspiring portrait of the artist, his art, and the social and political movement from which it springs, Insurgent Images: The Agitprop Murals of Mike Alewitz, by Paul Buhle & Mike Alewitz (Monthly Review Press 149 pp $27.95) could serve as an inspiring cautionary tale for other would-be activist/artists, as a succinct but spotty labor history, as a proto-biography of this under-rated talent or as a hip coffee-table book for the fashionable leftist.

It's probably destined to serve all these roles. But the book is for "artists, activists, people interested in doing political art," Alewitz says.

After the forward by actor Martin Sheen, Insurgent Images is organized into six chapters, including a long introduction by author Paul Buhle, a professor of American civilization at Brown University, to set the context for Alewitz's art.

The introduction reads like a graduate level primer on labor history, packed with offhand references to events, themes and personalities that are familiar mainly to those already grounded in labor and progressive politics. But the succeeding chapters stew much of the history---at least that which inspired Alewitz to his vocation---into spicy chunks. And the inspired reader with an Internet connection can quickly fill in the blank spaces.

Most of Alewitz's works are huge---20 feet tall and much wider than that. He has developed a collaborative system in which workers---often those on strike---are brought in to help design and paint the murals. The process builds solidarity and gets the work done faster, and Alewitz always hopes the skills he imparts carry on to new projects after he leaves. More is always needed as most of the old murals are destroyed within a few years of their creation.

In a way Alewitz's surviving murals have been rendered invisible---nearly so--- by the prevailing media orthodoxy. News about workers has for decades been subsumed by stock market listings, musings by economists, and lately, accounting debauchery and bankruptcy scandal. Alewitz cuts against the grain, always lionizing the everyday employees---the chemical and atomic workers, teamsters, striking meat-packers and even the non-unionized, scorned immigrant legions who work "temporary" jobs.

In Temporary Sanity, Alewitz's tribute to those forgotten workers in New Brunswick, N.J., he painted the vans and buses that transport the workers from street corners to all businesses, leading up a spiral road to a cornucopia of bread, roses, a computer and a book: "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed," the page reads.

As is often the case, Alewitz had trouble finding a wall for this mural. The city refused, area churches did likewise. The Labor Education Center at Rutgers University refused. Alewitz found a wall and made those workers visible.

He's always looking for a new wall.

"The problem is it's just not part of labor culture in the U.S. the way it is in other countries," he says. "In Latin America you don't have to explain to people why you need a mural. Here you do. That's because in the 1950s in America artists were driven away from the movement."

Alewitz's noble life's work is to bring them back.  ##

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6.  Chickenhawks

"A chickenhawk [describes] public persons -- generally male " who (1) tend to advocate, or are fervent supporters of those who advocate, military solutions to political problems, and who have personally (2) declined to take advantage of a significant opportunity to serve in uniform during wartime."  --The New Hampshire Gazette

WASHINGTON -- We are being dragged toward war with Iraq by such chickenhawks. The loudest voices demanding war are those of men who once upon a time quietly skipped out on the fun in Vietnam.

Men like Dick Cheney, who famously explained, "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service."

Cheney received draft deferments as a college student until he got married in 1964; marriage removed him from the draft. But the next year, the government announced married men would be drafted, unless they were also fathers. Nine months and two days after that announcement, the Cheneys had their first child.

A list of chickenhawks---including many who are eager for war with Iraq, yet who had "other priorities" when Vietnam came a-calling---has been compiled by Steven Fowle, a Vietnam veteran who edits The New Hampshire Gazette. (It's at http://www.nhgazette.com/chickenhawks.html ).

It starts with the president himself. George W. Bush waited out the war from a post with light duties in the Texas Air National Guard. And, apparently, even that cushy deal was too onerous: There's an unexplained one-year gap, from May 1972 to May 1973, in Bush's service record. That year he was supposed to have reported for duty at the Alabama Air National Guard, but apparently never showed. Bush's reply is that he was honorably discharged and is proud of his service---but also that he can't recall the specifics.

By Matt Bivens

Monday, Sep. 2, 2002. Page 8  ##

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7.  Dershowitz Sings Torture's Praises

By James Bamford
Sunday, September 8, 2002; Washington Post 

Excerpt:

As the United States fights its holy war against the Muslim hordes, new ways must be found to deal with nonbelievers and criminal suspects back home. If celebrity lawyer Alan M. Dershowitz could have his way, those methods would include such Draconian tactics as "torture warrants," collective punishment and national ID cards. "I am willing to think the unthinkable and move beyond any kind of conventional wisdom," he admits in Why Terrorism Works: Understanding the Threat, Responding to the Challenge (Yale Univ., $24.95).

Dershowitz, who has long championed the cause of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, spends much of this convoluted book arguing that Ariel Sharon's hard-line approach to the Palestinians has not been hard enough. The sometime civil libertarian also chastises those who seek to understand the "root causes" of the Middle East violence, arguing that it merely plays into the hands of the terrorists. On one of his many visits to Israel, Dershowitz analyzed the Israeli government's program of collective punishment against the Palestinians--- demolishing the homes of innocent relatives of those involved in suicide bombing. It is a practice outlawed under international law. Nevertheless, Dershowitz decided to recommend a more effective policy---leveling the buildings in entire villages. "The next time the terrorists attack," he said, "the village's residents would be given twenty-four hours to leave, and then Israeli troops would bulldoze the houses."

Dershowitz also came up with the idea of torture while on a visit to Israel. He discovered that the Israeli government regularly used the technique, also long outlawed under international statutes, against Palestinians in custody and thought it might be useful in the United States. After all, he argues, law enforcement does it anyway, so why not legalize it and allow judges to issue "torture warrants"? "I think there would be less torture with a warrant requirement than without one," he argues. Thus if a person still refuses to talk, or tell where a bomb is hidden, after the "torture warrant" has been issued, says Dershowitz, "he would be subjected to judicially monitored physical measures designed to cause excruciating pain without leaving any lasting damage." One form of torture recommended by Dershowitz---"the sterilized needle being shoved under the fingernails"---is chillingly Nazi-like.  ##

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8.  Union Democracy

By Kirstin Downey Grimsley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 13, 2002  

Top corporate executives aren't the only officials living high.

More than two dozen officials of the Washington-based International Brotherhood of Teamsters earned more than $200,000 last year, and 225 earned more than $100,000, according to a report by a union dissident group. Some officials received multiple salaries from different locals, the group said.

Teamsters President James P. Hoffa was paid $236,725 in salary and $272,096 in total compensation, said Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU). Frank Wsol, head of Local 710 in Chicago, received $298,005 in total compensation.

More than 100 Teamster bosses got multiple salaries by simultaneously holding posts in different parts of the organization. Eleven received four separate salaries, while 53 received three or more.

"This is a union, not Enron or General Motors," said Ken Paff, national organizer for TDU, which is based in Detroit. "It's a movement of working people. This shouldn't be a road to the upper classes, or even to the country clubs. We should pay our officers well, but not likeCEOs. This distorts our values and resources."

Many of the individual salaries reported by the TDU are lower than the group found in past surveys. In the mid-1980s, for example, then-president Jackie Presser raked in $500,000 annually by serving in multiple posts, the dissident group said.  ##

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9.  They Feel Your Pain

The 60,000 delegates (from 182 countries) to the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, luxuriated not only in four-and five-star accommodations but an elegant food and drink layout, including tons of lobster, oysters, filet mignon, salmon, caviar, pate de foie gras, champagne, fine wines and mineral water. (An estimated 60 African children a day die from contaminated water.) The conference center (which cleared out hundreds of nearby trees to accommodate delegates' limousines) is only a few miles from the squalid neighborhood of Alexandra, one of Africa's poorest. (Poverty in Africa is up 35 percent since the last such summit, in 1992.)

Daily Telegraph (London), 8-31-02  ##

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10.  Patriotism Run Amok

US media cowed by patriotic fever, says CBS star

Network news veteran admits national mood caused him to shrink from tough questions on war in Afghanistan

Matthew Engel in Washington
Friday May 17, 2002
The Guardian, UK  

Dan Rather, the star news anchor for the US television network CBS, said last night that "patriotism run amok" was in danger of trampling the freedom of American journalists to ask tough questions. And he admitted that he had shrunk from taking on the Bush administration over the war on terrorism. In the weeks after September 11 Rather wore a Stars and Stripes pin in his lapel during his evening news show in an apparent display of total solidarity with the American cause. However, in an interview with BBC's Newsnight, he graphically described the pressures to conform that built up after the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.  ##

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MIKE ALEWITZ
alewitzm@ccsu.edu  

Department of Art
Central Connecticut State University
New Britain, CT  06050
Phone: (860)832-2359  ##

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