International

By Grady Hawkins

The first shots have been fired in this new digital global war. WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has surrendered to authorities in London, to answer charges of sexual assault. Charges already clouded by accusations of American Intelligence involvement. A cold war resurrected honey trap engineered to ensnare and eliminate an embarrassment. But Mr. Assange is far more than a thorn in the side of empires. He very well could be the focal point in a global power struggle pitting ordinary people against those who rule them. As he fights extradition to Sweden, governments are closing ranks, determined to crush this dissent.

George Orwell‘s wildest dreams pale in comparison to what’s at stake. And what’s at stake could very well affect global interests.

The gauntlet was tossed when WikiLeaks and its reckless band of maniacs leaked a reported 250,000 classified U.S. State Department documents.

Thousands of pages guaranteed to once again fill with rage and righteous indignation the power elite who call the shots in this American empire.   

Torture is still practiced by governments around the world. It is brutal and horrifying. Torture leaves more scars than the ones that can be seen. People who survive torture always carry that experience with them. Some torture survivors are able to talk about their experiences, to tell the world that this practice must be ended forever. Carlos Mauricio is one of these individuals. In June 1983, Carlos was teaching science at the University of El Salvador when the police took him out of his classroom. He was held for two weeks and constantly interrogated and tortured. After his release, he fled to the United States. He now teaches science in a high school in California.

Carlos and two other torture survivors won a lawsuit against two Salvadoran generals, who had retired to Florida. They are Generals Jose Guillermo Garcia (minister of defense from 1979 to 1983) and Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova (director-general of the Salvadoran National Guard and later minister of defense).

Read more about Carlos' story and his lawsuit at http://www.cja.org/forSurvivors/CarlosforSurvivors.shtml
Carlos has started a project, called the "Stop Impunity Coalition," to end torture throughout the world.

Another organization that tells the world that the practice of torture can never be tolerated is the Torture Awareness and Survivors Support Coalition International (see http://www.tassc.org). It is an organization that was founded for and by torture survivors. Its executive director, Sister Dianna Ortiz, is a torture survivor. A missionary teacher in Guatemala in 1989, Sister Dianna was kidnapped and brutally tortured by the military. She has told the story of her torture in a book, "The Blindfold's Eye" (published by Orbis Books in October 2002). TASSC International provides support and hope for torture survivors and their families.

I first met Sister Dianna in the fall of 1987, when we both were students at an Antigua, Guatemala, language school. I remembered Sister Dianna as a sweet, adventurous young lady with a delightful sense of humor. Years passed, and we did not meet again until the fall of 2005, in Washington, D.C. Sister Dianna's mission has changed, but she is still the sweet, kind individual I met in Guatemala in 1987.

There are so many others who have been tortured and who have been unable to tell their stories. Some were killed by their torturers. Others, unable to live with the physical pain and the emotional scars left by their torturers, committed suicide. Many survivors go about the business of every day life and keep their painful memories stored inside of themselves. It is too hard to talk about it. Sister Dianna said that retelling the story of one's torture means reliving that torture.

This is the month to remember all torture victims, both those who survived and those who did not. It is a time to remember survivors who are able to share their stories and those who walk in silence.

It is a time to remember that the United States, which claims to be the shining beacon of democracy, has been implicated for practicing torture. The events that occurred at Abu Ghraib are not isolated incidents. The United States has been accused of operating secret prisons all over the world. Allegedly, the sites for these prisons were in Egypt, Jordan, and Eastern Europe. For five years, the United States has operated a detention center at Guantanamo Bay. According to Amnesty International, detainees in Guantanamo, who are from 35 countries, have been held in a "legal black hole, without access to any court, legal counsel, or family visit."

Detainees allege that they have been subjected to torture and other cruel treatment.

The United Nations also has harsh words of criticism for the country that invaded Iraq to bring that nation democracy. The UN Committee Against Torture released a report on May 18, 2006, also criticized the United States for sanctioning the use of various torture techniques, including waterboarding and short shackling. You can read this eleven-page report at http://www.extras.timesonline.co.uk/un_report_190506.pdf
Amnesty International has called for the immediate closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Amnesty International said, "Guantanamo Bay has become a symbol of injustice and abuse in the U.S. administration's 'war on terror.' It must be closed down."

How can the United States "spread democracy" while, at the same time, commit one human rights violation after another?

As a U.S. citizen, I ask my government to accept responsibility for its human rights violations.

One of the actions that I have chosen is to participate in a one-day fast, organized by TASSC International. It is a small sacrifice for people who have suffered so much.

Perhaps with enough attention, the practice of torture can be ended, forever.

Please join me.Torture is still practiced by governments around the world. It is brutal and horrifying. Torture leaves more scars than the ones that can be seen. People who survive torture always carry that experience with them. Some torture survivors are able to talk about their experiences, to tell the world that this practice must be ended forever. Carlos Mauricio is one of these individuals. In June 1983, Carlos was teaching science at the University of El Salvador when the police took him out of his classroom. He was held for two weeks and constantly interrogated and tortured. After his release, he fled to the United States. He now teaches science in a high school in California.

Carlos and two other torture survivors won a lawsuit against two Salvadoran generals, who had retired to Florida. They are Generals Jose Guillermo Garcia (minister of defense from 1979 to 1983) and Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova (director-general of the Salvadoran National Guard and later minister of defense). Read more about Carlos' story and his lawsuit at http://www.cja.org/forSurvivors/CarlosforSurvivors.shtml
Carlos has started a project, called the "Stop Impunity Coalition," to end torture throughout the world.

Another organization that tells the world that the practice of torture can never be tolerated is the Torture Awareness and Survivors Support Coalition International (see http://www.tassc.org). It is an organization that was founded for and by torture survivors. Its executive director, Sister Dianna Ortiz, is a torture survivor. A missionary teacher in Guatemala in 1989, Sister Dianna was kidnapped and brutally tortured by the military. She has told the story of her torture in a book, "The Blindfold's Eye" (published by Orbis Books in October 2002). TASSC International provides support and hope for torture survivors and their families.
I first met Sister Dianna in the fall of 1987, when we both were students at an Antigua, Guatemala, language school. I remembered Sister Dianna as a sweet, adventurous young lady with a delightful sense of humor. Years passed, and we did not meet again until the fall of 2005, in Washington, D.C. Sister Dianna's mission has changed, but she is still the sweet, kind individual I met in Guatemala in 1987.
There are so many others who have been tortured and who have been unable to tell their stories. Some were killed by their torturers. Others, unable to live with the physical pain and the emotional scars left by their torturers, committed suicide. Many survivors go about the business of every day life and keep their painful memories stored inside of themselves. It is too hard to talk about it. Sister Dianna said that retelling the story of one's torture means reliving that torture.
This is the month to remember all torture victims, both those who survived and those who did not. It is a time to remember survivors who are able to share their stories and those who walk in silence.
It is a time to remember that the United States, which claims to be the shining beacon of democracy, has been implicated for practicing torture. The events that occurred at Abu Ghraib are not isolated incidents. The United States has been accused of operating secret prisons all over the world. Allegedly, the sites for these prisons were in Egypt, Jordan, and Eastern Europe. For five years, the United States has operated a detention center at Guantanamo Bay. According to Amnesty International, detainees in Guantanamo, who are from 35 countries, have been held in a "legal black hole, without access to any court, legal counsel, or family visit."
Detainees allege that they have been subjected to torture and other cruel treatment.
The United Nations also has harsh words of criticism for the country that invaded Iraq to bring that nation democracy. The UN Committee Against Torture released a report on May 18, 2006, also criticized the United States for sanctioning the use of various torture techniques, including waterboarding and short shackling. You can read this eleven-page report at http://www.extras.timesonline.co.uk/un_report_190506.pdf
Amnesty International has called for the immediate closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Amnesty International said, "Guantanamo Bay has become a symbol of injustice and abuse in the U.S. administration's 'war on terror.' It must be closed down."
How can the United States "spread democracy" while, at the same time, commit one human rights violation after another?
As a U.S. citizen, I ask my government to accept responsibility for its human rights violations.
One of the actions that I have chosen is to participate in a one-day fast, organized by TASSC International. It is a small sacrifice for people who have suffered so much.
Perhaps with enough attention, the practice of torture can be ended, forever.
Please join me.
Please check the TASSC International website to see what you can do to help end the practice of torture.Torture is still practiced by governments around the world. It is brutal and horrifying. Torture leaves more scars than the ones that can be seen. People who survive torture always carry that experience with them. Some torture survivors are able to talk about their experiences, to tell the world that this practice must be ended forever. Carlos Mauricio is one of these individuals. In June 1983, Carlos was teaching science at the University of El Salvador when the police took him out of his classroom. He was held for two weeks and constantly interrogated and tortured. After his release, he fled to the United States. He now teaches science in a high school in California.

Carlos and two other torture survivors won a lawsuit against two Salvadoran generals, who had retired to Florida. They are Generals Jose Guillermo Garcia (minister of defense from 1979 to 1983) and Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova (director-general of the Salvadoran National Guard and later minister of defense).

Read more about Carlos' story and his lawsuit at http://www.cja.org/forSurvivors/CarlosforSurvivors.shtml
Carlos has started a project, called the "Stop Impunity Coalition," to end torture throughout the world.

Another organization that tells the world that the practice of torture can never be tolerated is the Torture Awareness and Survivors Support Coalition International (see http://www.tassc.org). It is an organization that was founded for and by torture survivors. Its executive director, Sister Dianna Ortiz, is a torture survivor. A missionary teacher in Guatemala in 1989, Sister Dianna was kidnapped and brutally tortured by the military. She has told the story of her torture in a book, "The Blindfold's Eye" (published by Orbis Books in October 2002). TASSC International provides support and hope for torture survivors and their families.

I first met Sister Dianna in the fall of 1987, when we both were students at an Antigua, Guatemala, language school. I remembered Sister Dianna as a sweet, adventurous young lady with a delightful sense of humor. Years passed, and we did not meet again until the fall of 2005, in Washington, D.C. Sister Dianna's mission has changed, but she is still the sweet, kind individual I met in Guatemala in 1987.

There are so many others who have been tortured and who have been unable to tell their stories. Some were killed by their torturers. Others, unable to live with the physical pain and the emotional scars left by their torturers, committed suicide. Many survivors go about the business of every day life and keep their painful memories stored inside of themselves. It is too hard to talk about it. Sister Dianna said that retelling the story of one's torture means reliving that torture.

This is the month to remember all torture victims, both those who survived and those who did not. It is a time to remember survivors who are able to share their stories and those who walk in silence.

It is a time to remember that the United States, which claims to be the shining beacon of democracy, has been implicated for practicing torture. The events that occurred at Abu Ghraib are not isolated incidents. The United States has been accused of operating secret prisons all over the world. Allegedly, the sites for these prisons were in Egypt, Jordan, and Eastern Europe. For five years, the United States has operated a detention center at Guantanamo Bay. According to Amnesty International, detainees in Guantanamo, who are from 35 countries, have been held in a "legal black hole, without access to any court, legal counsel, or family visit."

Detainees allege that they have been subjected to torture and other cruel treatment.

The United Nations also has harsh words of criticism for the country that invaded Iraq to bring that nation democracy. The UN Committee Against Torture released a report on May 18, 2006, also criticized the United States for sanctioning the use of various torture techniques, including waterboarding and short shackling. You can read this eleven-page report at http://www.extras.timesonline.co.uk/un_report_190506.pdf
Amnesty International has called for the immediate closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Amnesty International said, "Guantanamo Bay has become a symbol of injustice and abuse in the U.S. administration's 'war on terror.' It must be closed down."
How can the United States "spread democracy" while, at the same time, commit one human rights violation after another?

As a U.S. citizen, I ask my government to accept responsibility for its human rights violations.

One of the actions that I have chosen is to participate in a one-day fast, organized by TASSC International. It is a small sacrifice for people who have suffered so much.

Perhaps with enough attention, the practice of torture can be ended, forever.

Please join me.

Please check the TASSC International website to see what you can do to help end the practice of torture. Please check the TASSC International website to see what you can do to help end the practice of torture.

We’d read Kevin Bales’ important expose in 1999 when it was first published, attracted by the strong cover photo as much as anything. And when we were asked, six years later, if we’d like to film any part of Bales’ three-day marathon of speaking engagements in western Pennsylvania – and do an interview with him -- we jumped at the opportunity, and so spent a day chasing him around several campuses in Erie. When he sat down for an outdoor interview with me, I’d filmed him at two events. By this time it had sunk in that Bales, though he saw new slavery to be a consequence of globalism, it wasn’t an inevitable let alone an intended consequence, but rather a grotesque phenomenon that could be addressed and corrected (over many years) within the context of globalism. Further, Bales was reluctant to draw political conclusions from his research because, as he stated, it might jeopardize the 501c3 status of his organization as well as the NGO status of Free The Slaves.

From the nature of our questions it became clear to Bales that we thought his approach was flawed, in part because it failed to look at the clear criminality of the Bush administration and its aggressive pursuit of the ongoing neo-liberal globalist agenda. And our couple of questions about 9-11, given his acceptance of the “official story,” convinced him to proceed with caution and clipped answers during the rest of our subsequently brief interview.

After filming Bales’ evening lecture (the questions to him were for the most part excellent), I had over seven hours of video from four separate events. Karen edited it down to an hour to play for cable access television (Chautauqua County, Channel 5, Mayville) and we sent a copy out to the Erie sisters. They never responded, and we promptly forgot about all, chalking their silence off as one more instance anti-war activists’ (religious or secular) fear of those associated with “conspiracy theory.”

A year later, while working on a vid that touches on a couple of chapters of Barrie Zwicker’s forthcoming book, Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-Up of 9/11, I came across a U. of Pennsylvania lecture by Noam Chomsky of Oct. 3, 2002. Chomsky’s overview of globalism brought to mind Bales’ lecture. I had made no attempt to put his talk of a year ago into perspective, letting it drop and rushing off to the next project. Putting globalism in context has been readily done by Michel Chossudovsky in his book The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order:

“Humanity is undergoing, in the post-Cold War era, an economic and social crisis of unprecedented scale leading to the rapid impoverishment of large sectors of the world population…The New World Order feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the natural environment.”

Prof Chossudovsky’s book is an explication of the IMF/World Bank New World Order program of “Economic Genocide.” (note 1)

Of course, mass extermination is a frightful project, apt to get messy when the victims find out. So here we turn to Prof Chomsky in his “Masters of the World” (see below) talk, October 3, 2002, the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He begins:

“Looking forward, what’s likely to happen in the years ahead, I think a good place to start is with expectations of the masters of the world, the expectations of the powerful: what do they anticipate?” Chomsky calls attention to two plans that outline the “masters of the world” strategy: Global Trends 2015 (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/globaltrends2015/index.html) which projects “chronic financial volatility and a widening economic divide” as globalism continues. Those are the euphemistic words of mass murderers, eugenicists. As Chomsky notes, the paper was produced “the US National Intelligence Council, that’s the CIA and the other intelligence agencies. The publication was put together jointly with representatives of the business world and the academic profession.”

Chomsky then discusses a 2nd document: Vision For 2020 produced by the Space Command (which Chomsky points out speaks for the “masters of the world” during the “Clinton era.” How do the “masters of the world” intend to cope with their mass killing? Vision For 2020, parallels Global Trends 2015 in its description of the protracted consequences of the globalist agenda: the “growing number of have-nots as the globalization proceeds with deepening stagnation and a widening economic divide which is going to foster extremism, violence” which will be addressed by the weapons in space program that will “…provide the United States with absolute freedom in using or threatening to use force in international relations, cementing US hegemony and making Americans the masters of the world.” In his next breath, Chomsky says of the plan, in his dismissive way, “It’s not going to work, but that’s another story.” Chomsky’s a blue-pill sort of guy. For are more insightful look at the Space Command document, see Bruce Gagnon (http://www.space4peace.org).

Those of you who take economics courses know that in theory globalization is supposed to lead to a single market, an integrated market with a common price and wage so what they’re actually predicting is less globalization in a technical sense, that is a widening economic divide, but more globalization in the doctrinally preferred sense, which means that the people who matter will do just fine, and the rest will… it’s not our department. That’s widening economic divide. Financial volatility means slower growth, harming mostly the poor. That’s what they call their most optimistic projection.

Well, that projection actually extends previous tendencies, the so-called neo-liberal period, the period that’s sometimes called globalization. The term doesn’t mean much. The last 25 years or so have been marked by a very notable deterioration in almost every aspect of economic development: growth of economies, productivity, investment, even growth of trade. And that’s true pretty much world-wide: United States an almost everywhere else. The only real exceptions being the countries that didn’t follow the rules. And so they’re predicting that’s going to continue.

The military planners make pretty much the same predictions. So Clinton-era planners also published expectations of the future. There are many but this one is the most interesting. It’s called ‘Visions For 2020.’ It’s actually meant for the public so you should look at it. They predict a growing gap between the haves and the have-nots and they predict that the have-nots will become disruptive and it’ll be necessary to control them in the interests of what’s called stability.

Stability is a technical term that means everybody follows orders. You can have perfect stability but if they’re not following orders you have to get rid of it, destabilize it in the interest of stability. Actually I’m quoting, believe it or not.

As that’s described by the National Intelligence Council, the same prediction, they say that as globalization proceeds, deepening stagnation will foster political, ethnic, ideological and religious extremism along with violence, much of it directed against the United States. Okay, so that’s the anticipation from the success of what they call globalization. That’s part of the motive, a good part of the motive between the vast expansion of US military power even before September 11th. The US vastly outspent any conceivable collection of adversaries and allies and the figures are misleading because it does not count other things; for example the United States has an offshore military base in the Middle East called Israel [applause]…. which there, in Israel, they call it….

The reason is, a very good military correspondent in the mainstream rightwing newspaper reporting the views of the military described Israel not as a state with a military but a military with a state. And the military is actually a branch of the US military so that’s probably the way to look at it. It’s a small country, but since it has become essentially a US military base, it has a very powerful military force which is not counted in US military strength, though it should be. And it’s not small. They estimate that they’re own air and naval forces are larger and more technologically advanced than any NATO power outside the United States. And the same is true of their armored forces.

Britain which theoretically is called an independent country approximately in the sense Ukraine was independent under the Soviet Union, that’s the major military force in NATO outside the United States. So we have the United States, Israel, Britain. Forty years ago a senior Kennedy adviser described Britain as ‘our lieutenant.’ The fashionable word is partner. The British like to hear the fashionable word, but it’s nice to know the way they’re thought of internally. All of this is part of the US military, so yes, it’s enormous.

September 11th was used as a pretext for rapid expansion of military spending, and a pretext. I mean the spending has essentially nothing to do with the spread of terrorism, just as the military doesn’t. The plan is, and in fact the reality, to make the United States so overwhelmingly dominant that it is in a place of world control without challenge. The President’s recent national security strategy spelled this out rather starkly, and it goes way back.

Going back to the Vision For 2020, the Clinton-era document. This happens to come from Space Command, but it’s general. They give a historical survey explaining why this has to happen, and it’s pretty accurate. They say in the past countries like the United States had to develop armies for self defense. We need an army for self defense as the US was taking over the national territory. It was self defense against what the Declaration of Independence calls the ‘merciless Indian savages’ who were brutally attacking the innocent colonists who just wanted to live in peace and had no other thoughts in mind. And you needed an army in self defense until the national territory was conquered. And [the] country also established navies, later air forces, in order – I’m quoting it now – ‘in order to protect commercial interests and investments.’ Of course Britain was in the lead back in the old days, but when Britain developed a navy to protect its global interests and investments – incidentally funding the navy from the greatest narco-trafficking enterprise in human history [Opium Wars, 1839-42 and 1856-60]; that’s a large part of the history of empire and involves part of the conquest of India and the break-in to China; it was really extraordinary. But they did have the navy, thanks to narco-trafficking primarily. But it could be countered by others, so Germany could construct a navy to counter the British navy – with consequences in the 20th century we don’t have to talk about. But the Clinton planners point out that this time it’s going to be different. The US is going to have such overwhelming power that there will be no counterforce, and in particular that’s going to be true of what they call ‘the next frontier,’ namely the militarization of space which is what they’re specifically interested in and they say that it necessary to protect US interests, markets and investments, and of course to control the growing number of have-nots as the globalization proceeds with deepening stagnation and a widening economic divide which is going to foster extremism, violence, so therefore we’ll need a what’s going to be called, as it has been for the last 20 years, ‘a war on terror.’ And anyone who has a good University of Pennsylvania education knows that when you hear ‘war on terror’ you mean ‘terrorist war’ which is exactly what it’s been for 20 years, including the new phase which was re-declared on September 11th.

THE LAST ACT

The most ominous part of these general projections actually has to do with militarization of space. It’s not talked about much but it’s very critical. This is still Clinton-era planning; it’s been escalated by Bush. The idea is to put highly destructive weapons in space, probably nuclear powered; they gotta be on hair-trigger alert, automated, which raises a very high probability of what’s called in the trade, ‘normal accidents.’ Normal accidents re the accidents that unpredictably take place in any complex system. So if you have a computer, you know about normal accidents. Things happen in complicated systems which are unpredictable. When a normal accident takes place under militarization of space, you can say goodbye to your friends and children and people overseas and so on because that’ll probably be the last act. But that’s the plan and it requires violating another treaty which isn’t talked about much, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. Though it isn’t talked about much here, it’s well known around the world. The UN general assembly has for the last couple of years brought up the Outer Space Treaty, which has so far been observed. They brought it up just for ratification, just reaffirmation. The US doesn’t vote against it, it abstains; it’s passed unanimously with US and Israel abstaining. I think once maybe, Micronesia.

The UN disarmament committee has been meeting the last couple of years and the major focus of it is to try to abandon expansion of military development into space. That’s been pressed by just about everybody. The US has been blocking it consistently so nothing has happened, and the reasons are the background ones I’ve just described. There’s total silence about this – you read nothing about it. I guess the reasoning in the editorial offices is that it’s not a good idea to let citizens know of plans that may bring to an end biology’s only experiment with higher intelligence. At lot of this is concealed as missile defense, but again when you hear the word ‘defense’ you interpret it as offense. And that’s the way it’s understood by planners, so, for example, the Rand Corporation which is the main sort of analytic and advisory research agency more or less for the Pentagon. The Rand Corporation’s reports on missile defense happen to be almost verbatim the same of the pronouncements of the Chinese government protesting missile defense. Both of them say in almost the same words that, quoting it, “Ballistic missile defense is not simply a shield but rather an enabler of US actions.” That is, “…provide the United States with absolute freedom in using or threatening to use force in international relations, cementing US hegemony and making Americans the masters of the world.”. It’s not going to work, but that’s another story. Talking about their thinking. Missile defense is supposed to…. I’m quoting now, “…provide the United States with absolute freedom in using or threatening to use force in international relations, cementing US hegemony and making Americans the masters of the world.” I’m quoting military analysts in the conservative and liberal press.

In the liberal press they point out that liberals are wrong when they oppose missile ballistic defense. They’ve got matters backwards. They should be in favor of it because it’s going to enable the US to use military force without any concern and that’ll enable the US to carry out the humanitarian intervention everywhere that liberals are in favor of, and the logic…. so therefore they oughta be in favor of missile defense and a huge military build up and weapons in space and everything else. The logic is completely impeccable as long you accept the basic principle of religious doctrine, namely that anything the United States does is uniquely in history and uniquely, in the current word, is benevolent. If you accept the fundamental theological principle, everything else follows. And that one can’t be questioned. If you raise a question about that, you’re labeled as someone who hates America or some other insult.

That’s the reasoning behind the long-term global planning that was recently announced. It’s true that the current administration takes an extreme position on the spectrum, but you have to bear in mind that it’s a pretty narrow spectrum. That’s why I was quoting Clinton-era documents.

His scheduled visit to Buffalo coincided with an Anti-War Demonstration marking the beginning of four years of war in Iraq and some organizers of that event are skeptical that the complete cancellation of Mr. Adams appearances, here might be an attempt on the part of Congressman Higgins to save face.

"Brian Higgins is for staying the course in Iraq. Brian Higgins voted for the Patriot Act. His positions on these critical issues are diametrically opposed to those taken by Gerry Adams,” Martin Sawma, leader of the Coalition of Progressive Democrats said.

The Western New York Peace Center, one of the organizers of the Anti-War demonstration had invited Mr. Adams to speak at the event, and although they did not receive a definitive commitment from the Sinn Fein leader, they did receive an e-mail from Paula MacManus of Sinn Fein indicating that Rita O'Hare, an official traveling with Mr. Adams, was informed of the event.

Leaders of United for Peace and Justice, A Washington-based group have, “appealed to Mr. Adams to speak out in legislatively concrete ways for Congress to end the war he and his party (Sinn Fein)has consistently condemned from before its inception,” according to a press release issued prior to Mr. Adams arrival in this country.

Earlier in the week John Curr III of the New York Civil Liberties Union, another co-sponsor of the demonstration filed a Freedom of Information request with the federal government to determine whether federal agents are spying on anti-war activists. Some activists, speaking on condition of anonymity suspect that federal agents are attempting to infiltrate the movement in order to create dissension and lead activists into illegal actions.

They say that the detention of Mr. Adams may be another attempt to disrupt the anti-war movement here. Historically, the Western New York area has strong traditions of dissent. From its position as a key terminus in the underground railroad, helping runaway slaves escape to Canada to the takeover of the University of Buffalo by students during the Vietnam conflict, the area is known to have the potential to become a political tinderbox.

The ratio of Democrats to Republicans in Buffalo is five to one and the popularity of President Bush is at an all time low here, as it is in the rest of the country. Within the last two months two left wing talk radio stations have gone on the air blasting the policies of the Bush Administrations.

St. Patrick's Day Surprise
Initially, Gerry Adams was scheduled to speak at the Irish Center in South Buffalo on St. Patrick's Day at 7:15 PM EST. Lines of people braved subfreezing temperatures to get into the hall to hear Mr. Adams and to partake in the traditional celebration.

As the warm up band put down their instruments, the crowd pressed forward to get a glimpse of the dignitaries entering the room at a side entrance. The anticipation was intense as Congressman Brian Higgins took the podium to raucous cheers.

“This is bad because I'm a politician, and politicians should deliver good news,” he began. “We got a call tonight that Gerry Adams is being detained in Washington for an inordinate period of time, because his name turned up on a terror watch list, “ Higgins told a stunned crowd.

Higgins kept his remarks brief as the crowd began to boo. One heckler referenced Higgins vote for the Patriot Act.“If Gerry Adams could be here, he would be here because here's what he told me,” Higgins said,” They wanted him in Washington tonight, They wanted him in Chicago, they wanted him in Boston, they wanted him in Los Angeles, they wanted him in San Francisco. Gerry Adams wanted to be in Buffalo. It says nothing about me it says everything about you. “Tonight each and every one of you has reason to be proud in this community, proud of Western New York and the Irish people are tough and resilient people so tonight let the celebration continue. Let's celebrate our Irish heritage in this great community and in this great hall. Thank you very, very much. I am profoundly regretful that this happened, thank you.”

The mood of anger gave way to optimism that Adams' delay would be temporary and that he would be able to march in the traditional St. Patrick's Da y parade on Saturday through a working class neighborhood known as “The Old First Ward.” Adams was also scheduled to lay a wreath at a memorial for victims of the Irish Famine located near the terminus of the Erie Canal which was built largely by Irish immigrant labor. However, at a hastily arranged press conference after his talk Higgins expressed deep uncertainty about the Adams visit. At the press conference, Higgins stated that he would phone Mr. Adams later that evening. A report in The Buffalo News the following morning indicated that Mr. Adams was released at 8:00 PM and would cancel his appearances in Buffalo so that he could travel to New York City by train.

On Saturday morning, critics of Mr. Higgins were not buying the story. Mr. Sawma indicated that Mr. Adams was still free to travel to Buffalo by car and could have made at least some of the events scheduled for Saturday. A check on flights available out of Reagan National Airport to the Buffalo/Rochester area showed that Mr. Adams may have been able to catch a flight to the area as late as 2:00 AM EST, but it appeared as of Saturday morning that Mr. Adams was still not permitted to fly on domestic flights.

The following is a transcript of Brian Higgins' Press Conference held on the second floor of The Irish Center at approximately 7:45 EST March 17

Congressman Higgins: Gerry Adams was unable to get his flight out of Washington because his name came up in a terror watch list, as well as somebody else he was traveling with. AS I've mentioned previously Gerry Adams, having met with all of the major political parties in January in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, uh, each one of them, with the possible exception of Ian Paisley, recognized that Gerry Adams is a gifted politician, a gifted diplomat who is almost exclusively responsible for the Northern Ireland peace process reaching the point that we have.

Today they are still negotiating implementation of the Good Friday accord which was reached in 1998 toward the devolution of government back to the people of Northern Ireland and Ireland. There's issues of policing, there's issues of decommissioning. When I was in Ireland a couple of months ago I met with a catholic priest who was overseeing the decommissioning and destruction of arms which was a precondition for the implementation of the Good Friday accord. Gerry Adams has done more than anybody else in Northern Ireland to promote the peace process there. He did at great risk to his own life work for twenty years to pull the Irish Republican Army - who had a long history back to 1905, founded by Arthur Griffith – pull that nation whose military use of physical force to political ends.

If you understand the very interesting and complex Irish history , Northern Ireland's history, that organization, the only way it could find its way to the political process was through the use of physical force. throughout most of its history. Gerry Adams made strides and continues to make major strides toward the Northern Ireland peace process.

It would be irresponsible and premature for me to speculate exactly what has happened. I have a phone call into Mitchell Reiss, who is the special envoy to northern Ireland on behalf of the Bush Administration. I have called into the State Department. As we speak Gerry Adams is still detained at Washington airport. It's profoundly disappointing. He was looking forward very much to being here, with us and spending a couple of days and I'm certainly looking for this to be resolved hopefully sooner rather than later. I'll take any questions you have

Q: Mr. Adams was at the White House today?

He was at the White House. Q: How did he get in in the first place?

I think, uh I don't know. We have to ask that question of the State Department and the information we've heard is very speculative and its not from a primary source. I'm hoping to speaking with Gerry Adams tonight and I'm hoping to get the full story.

Q: When you say “detained” is he in some sort of custody?

No, he's not in custody. What happened was there were four folks traveling, including Gerry Adams from Washington to Buffalo and two of the four, including Gerry came up on the terror watch list, and they were detained by a transportation security official in the airport, for well over an hour and their bags are still being inspected.

Q: When was he last in the United States prior to this visit?

Gerry comes pretty regularly, and this is a pretty common occurrence as I am told, that he comes up, is detained and very often misses his events as a result of that. You have to understand something here, is that people don't have, aren't steeped with a knowledge, necessarily of the Northern Ireland conflict, its history, but Gerry Adams should be allowed to come to this country without any restrictions. Under the Clinton Administration, Gerry Adams was given a fund raising visa to travel freely as all the other parties in the Northern Ireland peace process have been given. Most recently he was denied a fund raising visa and was given a travel visa, but that he comes up on a terror watch list at this point at a critical, critical juncture in the Northern Ireland peace process is unconscionable.

Q: It's not a matter then of mistaken identity, like Ted Kennedy's name actually came up on the watch list?

It is, his name and I forget who else's name actually came up on the terror watch list.

Q: Sinn Fein is made up of a lot of former IRA members. Do you think that's why he was detained tonight?

Well, given the history and the name Sinn Fein, which means “ourselves, alone” the political arm of the Irish Republican Army, but what Gerry Adams is trying to do is , very effectively, pulling the Irish Republican Army away from their history of using physical force to achieve political ends and major progress was made when Gerry Adams was issued a full fund raising visa to come to the United States. It solidified the United States' support for Sinn Fein's involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process. So this is not a good sign, when in fact we're at a very critical point in the Northern Ireland peace process. Every single political party leader that I met with personally in Northern Ireland in January believed that Gerry Adams was the primary influence in getting the Northern Ireland peace process to where it's at, so, there is a history. It's a complicated history, but the fact of the matter is that the State Department needs to get through those issues so that people understand who is what and...

Q: Congressman, you talk about the history, but of course, Mr. Adams' personal history included being held without charges in British concentration camps, including Long Kesh. Now, he's been a very outspoken opponent of the United States policy of detaining prisoners without charges.

I think, the only charge they ever brought against him was the charge that he tried to escape. So given that history do you think that this might have something to do with his stand against Gitmo and his stance against the war in Iraq?

Well, I think that Gerry Adams obviously is, you know, he was jailed twice about twenty years ago without any jury trial. He was a target of an assassin who didn't succeed, but he was in the hospital for five days. I think that this administration needs to be more understanding of the issues surrounding the Northern Ireland peace process because this is a critical point. Every political leader that we've met with -Peter Hain the Northern Ireland secretary - they negotiate with Gerry Adams as a legitimate leader of an established political party, Sinn Fein.

The Irish Republican Army, which Sinn Fein is the political arm of, agreed to and participated in a decommissioning, a destruction of arms that was observed by the international monitoring commission, a world body to observe this process, which in fact, confirmed the Irish Republican Army would not return to their tradition of using force.

Q: But sir, if you could address the question.

Do you think this has to do with Bush Administration's fear of him speaking out against our policies with Guantanamo Bay and also the way the war is going in Iraq? I would certainly hope that it would not be and I don't know. I hope to have more information this evening about the circumstances. I want to talk to Gerry directly about this, his feelings about it. As I said I have a phone call into Mitchell Reiss who is a special envoy on behalf of this administration for Northern Ireland affairs, and we're going to get to the bottom of it one way or other.


Q: Can you talk a little bit about the, uh, you say he's not being detained but his baggage is being held? Or is he still being-

No, no. He's been cleared.

Q: Any hope of getting him here later tonight or tomorrow?

I can't say for certain. I'm going to have to find out. I'll being talking with him later on to find out what the situation is.

Q: You said this is not the first time this has happened. How frequently does this happen?

I don't know. In talking with various people from Sinn Fein, uh they explained what had occurred given that context, that this very frequently happens because his name comes up on a terror watch list and the fact of the matter is Gerry Adams shouldn't be on a terror watch list. If he's been recognized by the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, if he's been recognized by the Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, if he's been recognized by James Kenny the United States Ambassador to Northern Ireland, why does his name appear on a terror watch list? I'm not quite sure and hopefully we can get an answer to that.

This administration has an obligation to promote peace in Northern Ireland. It's not a unionist or loyalist issue. It's not a nationalist or Republican issue. It's an issue of self-determination and that's the tradition of this nation and that's what Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams are all about.

Q: Do you fear that this could damage his image, just the fact that he was detained?

Well, unfortunately I think this is a fairly common occurrence, because his name appears on a terror watch list. And the fact of the matter is we want to find out why it does.

Q: Did he go straight from the white House to the airport, then?

I have to assume that they tried to get assistance from the State Department. Again I don't have the details, the sequence of calls and who had called and what time that was, but they were at the airport with plenty of time to catch the flight, which was a 5:30 flight or approximately thereof to Buffalo.

Q: What was the flight?

Washington National, United Airlines

Q:Is he cleared to fly to Buffalo now if he wanted to. Would it be possible tomorrow since he's been cleared?

I don't know that. Obviously, flight availability would be an issue, there - it is quite late. I'll know better when I speak with him.

Q:Let's just say it works out that he does want to come to Buffalo. Yeah, I think this is an aberration.

I think it's an anomaly. I think what had happened from time to time, his name will come up and he may be detained inordinately, for an inordinate period of time, but eventually, so I don't know what the motivation is behind it. I don't know if it's deliberate or-

Q: The question is in the Irish community, is it justifiable?

No, it's not. Gerry Adams does not belong on a terror watch list. Gerry Adams is promoting peace. Gerry Adams is, as I mentioned earlier, in big demand, particularly on this day. He wanted to be in Buffalo. He recognizes the extraordinary influence that America, generally, has had in promoting peace in Northern Ireland. And good progress is being made. We're at a very critical juncture and it's profoundly disappointing but the Irish American community is generally, a tough and resilient community and the people of Buffalo and Western New York are even tougher and more resilient.

Q: Are you surprised to learn that his name is on that list?

I am. I really am because what our nation has an obligation to do is to help all of the parties. I was part of Congressional delegation to travel to Northern Ireland to London and to Ireland. We didn't meet with just the nationalist parties. We met with the Unionists and the Loyalists in very frank discussion, in very candid discussion. That is, I traveled with a Republican member of the House. That is the tradition of this nation in a bipartisan way promoting a process that will achieve peace and recognizing all of the significant political parties in that peace process.

Q:Do you see this as a slap in the face by Republicans?

Absolutely not. This is disappointing, obviously, but we don't have the details to draw any hard conclusions yet and we hope we will have more answers to our questions and yours, later tonight and into tomorrow. But don't let this dampen the spirit.

Q:Are you buying Brian, is that what your saying?

(Laughs)

Q: Congressman, another question: Critics of the Patriot Act have feared exactly this type of thing. Do you regret your position voting for it? No, you know what's fundamental to the Patriot Act is border security. And what the Patriot Act does, fundamentally, it removes the barriers that exist for a federal agencies to better share information and enhance border security. Unfortunately, in this day and age a lot of issues are bundled. A lot of bad things are thrown into the fundamental issues. My vote on the Patriot act is essentially, given where we live and that is on an international border, and I thought it was important to maintain that level of security. Also keep in mind that since the enactment of the Patriot Act there have been no documented evidence of abuse

Q:Documented? No documented -

Q: But that doesn't mean there hasn't been abuse?

Well, no documented evidence of abuse.

Q: Mr. Adams was not allowed fund raising (visa) but are there other avenues whereby contributions can be made?

I'm not quite sure about other avenues. I know people from the United States can send contributions. I know it restricts his ability to actually physically fund raise. To be at an event where the event is intended to raise money for Sinn Fein. That seems to be the restriction I don't think it restricts anybody from initiating a contribution themselves.

Q:(inaudible)

I'm sure that goes on on a regular basis. The urban industrial cities of America were a prime destination for people who were forced to emigrate from Ireland particularly during the famine years, which were 1845 to 1849. The population of the City of Buffalo almost doubled during that period. Now they weren't all Irish immigrants but a good percentage of them were. So I think, again, it's very, very disappointing and we'll see what happens when we call later on tonight.

Q: But do you expect that he'll be here tomorrow for the scheduled events? I'm hoping again, that it can be worked out but I don't know. I've not heard from him directly and I can't say.

Q:Don't you think this kind of thing strengthens the hand of extremists such as the Reverend Ian Paisley. Doesn't it sort of reaffirm his sort of propaganda?

I think these sort of incidents don't help. I don't think these incidents are beneficial to anybody.

Q: If I could just get a sequence of events. He was at the White House then he was at the airport at what- 4:30 probably?

Two hours after his flight was supposed to take off, you're telling us that his luggage is still- They were detained physically. He was detained physically for over an hour.

Q: Okay, and the luggage?

They're still at the airport.

Q:So he's been cleared, but his luggage is-

You're not cleared till your cleared. So even though he's not being physically detained on purpose, he is being detained in terms of his movement.

Q:Is he traveling with somebody who has never traveled with him in the U.S. Before?

No. He's traveling with his attorney

Q:Same People?

Yeah, Rita O'Hara and the fourth person, I don't know the identity of that individual. But two of the four came up on the terror watch list.

Q: (inaudible) Comment on his decision to come to Buffalo as opposed to larger cities?

He's never been to Buffalo, number one. He's been to other cities. Number two he recognizes Buffalo is a unique place, and a place that has a very significant Irish -American community as evidenced by this place where we are sitting today. This is not the Irish Center of South Buffalo it is the Irish Center of Buffalo and Western New York. So I think it's in recognition of his appreciation and his admiration for Western new York and Buffalo and the people of this community. Thank you all.