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X-RaySavagery * DrugFraud * AristideReturns

15 March 2004

"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."

-- George Washington

1) Camp X-Ray's Savagery Revealed
2) Prescription-drug bill fraud
3) Haiti - Venezuela - US Coup D'etat Updates

- - Breaking News: Reports on Aristide's Return to the Caribbean
- - U.S. Revealed to be Secretly Funding Opponents of Chavez
4) Kucinich still a factor in presidential race
- - Kucinich Still Wants To Influence Dems' Platform
- - March 20 Global Day of Action
- - U.S. Families Protest War
5) Indecent War on Freedom - Film/Discussion

"I think we all agree, the past is over."
"This is still a dangerous world."
"It's a world of madmen and uncertainty
and potential mental losses."

George W. Bush

For source of GWB quotes, see:

Editor's Notes:

The above quote of GWB almost seems reasonable as an introduction for the madness revealed in this latest issue, especially on the first-hand report on life in Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay. The reality of violence begetting more violence just hasn't sunk into the psyche of many, but in Spain the people realize this, and voted out the administration supporting the preemptive oil-greed-driven preemptive illegal attack on Iraq. Item 2 is on a report on a deceitful action that was perpetrated to pass a prescription drug bill. Item 3 is late breaking word on Amy Goodman's heroics, who boarded an airplane with Haiti's elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his wife, attempting to return Haiti for Democracy Now! The second related section in this item offers confirmation on the US financing opposition to overthrow the elected President of Venezuela. These actions confirm the dictatorship now existing in the US, and this administration's contempt for the principles of the US Constitution and International Law. Item 4 is on attempts to reclaim US democracy, and updates on the role of Dennis Kucinich and election 2004. Item 5 is a press release for a film and discussions on the war on terror. This event is for March 22nd in Keene, NH, featuring the films: "Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror, A Special Report by John Pilger;" and a Dennis Kucinich speech, "A Prayer for America." Please use the resources of Flyby News and consider setting up a forum in your neighborhood. We can send you a flyer announcing your event.

This Saturday, Dennis Kucinich will be one of the speakers at a major peace rally in New York City.

For more information on March 20th Global Actions for Peace, visit:

United For Peace
International Action Center

We can have democracy in this country
or we can have great wealth in a few hands,
but we can't have both."

Louis D. Brandeis

1) Camp X-Ray's Savagery Revealed

Mar 12 2004
By Rosa Prince and Gary Jones

A BRITISH captive freed from Guantanamo Bay today tells the world of its full horror - and reveals how prostitutes were taken into the camp to degrade Muslim inmates.

Jamal al-Harith, 37, who arrived home three days ago after two years of confinement, is the first detainee to lift the lid on the US regime in Cuba's Camp X-Ray and Camp Delta.

The father-of-three, from Manchester, told how he was assaulted with fists, feet and batons after refusing a mystery injection.

FREEDOM: Jamal yesterday... but he will never forget camp horror

He said detainees were shackled for up to 15 hours at a time in hand and leg cuffs with metal links which cut into the skin.

Their "cells" were wire cages with concrete floors and open to the elements - giving no privacy or protection from the rats, snakes and scorpions loose around the American base.

He claims punishment beatings were handed out by guards known as the Extreme Reaction Force. They waded into inmates in full riot-gear, raining blows on them.

Prisoners faced psychological torture and mind-games in attempts to make them confess to acts they had never committed. Even petty breaches of rules brought severe punishment.

Medical treatment was sparse and brutal and amputations of limbs were more drastic than required, claimed Jamal.

A diet of foul water and food up to 10 years out-of-date left inmates malnourished.

But Jamal's most shocking disclosure centred on the use of vice girls to torment the most religiously devout detainees.

Prisoners who had never seen an "unveiled" woman before would be forced to watch as the hookers touched their own naked bodies.

The men would return distraught. One said an American girl had smeared menstrual blood across his face in an act of humiliation.

Jamal said: "I knew of this happening about 10 times. It always seemed to be those who were very young or known to be particularly religious who would be taken away.

"I would joke with the other British lads, 'Bring them to us - we'll have them'. It made us laugh. But the Americans obviously knew we wouldn't be shocked by seeing Western women, so they didn't bother.

"It was a profoundly disturbing experience for these men. They would refuse to speak about what had happened. It would take perhaps four weeks for them to tell a friend - and we would shout it out around the whole block."

Jamal added: "The whole point of Guantanamo was to get to you psychologically. The beatings were not as nearly as bad as the psychological torture - bruises heal after a week - but the other stuff stays with you."

HE was talking from a secret location after being reunited with his family. The website designer, a convert to Islam, had gone to Pakistan in October 2001, a few weeks after September 11, to study Muslim culture.

He accidentally strayed into Afghanistan - believing he was being driven to Turkey - and was arrested as a spy, perhaps because of his British passport. He was held in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and fell into US hands.

Now Jamal bears the scars of Guantanamo. He stoops into a hunch as he walks because the shackles that bound him were too short.

As a punishment, inmates would be confined so tightly they would be forced to lie in a ball for hours. During lengthy interrogation, they would be tethered to a metal ring on the floor.

Jamal said: "Sometimes you would be chained up on the floor with your hands and feet actually bound together. One of my friends told me he was kept like that for 15 hours once.

"Recreation meant your legs were untied and you walked up and down a strip of gravel. In Camp X-Ray you only got five minutes but in Delta you walked for around 15 minutes."

Jamal said victims of the Extreme Reaction Force were paraded in front of cells. "It was a horrible sight and it was a frequent sight."

He said one unit used force-feeding to end a hunger strike by 70 per cent of the 600 inmates. The strike started after a guard deliberately kicked a copy of the Koran.

Rice and beans was the usual diet and the water was "filthy". Jamal added: "In Camp X-Ray it was yellow and in Delta it was black - the colour of Coca-Cola.

"We had it piped through with a tap in each 'cage' but they would often turn the water off as punishment.

"They would shut off the water before prayers so we couldn't wash ourselves according to our religion.

"The food was terrible as well, up to 10 years out-of-date. They would open a hatch and shove it through a section at a time.

"We had porridge and something they called 'like-milk', which was disgusting and 'like-tea' and a piece of fruit. The fruit had been frozen and pounded with chemicals. An apple might look red but there was waxy white stuff all over it and inside it would be black and brown.

"They would play tricks on people by denying them things - you might be the only person on your block who didn't get any bread. I prided myself on never asking them for anything. I would not beg." Jamal said they were told they had no rights. "They actually said that - 'You have no rights here'. After a while, we stopped asking for human rights - we wanted animal rights. In Camp X-Ray my cage was right next to a kennel housing an Alsatian dog.

"He had a wooden house with air conditioning and green grass to exercise on. I said to the guards, 'I want his rights' and they replied, 'That dog is member of the US army'.

"You would be punished for anything - for having six packets of salt in your cell rather than five, for hanging your towel through the cage if it wasn't wet, even for having your spoon and things lined up in the wrong order."

Being forced to use a bucket as a toilet in view of other inmates and guards was particularly embarrassing. Jamal said: "I never got used to it - we would all put our towels and clothes around us.

"But the Military Police up in the tower would see us and would shout to each other.

"We were only allowed a shower once a week at the beginning and none at all in solitary confinement.

"This was very tough because you are supposed to be clean when you pray.

"Gradually the number of showers rose to three a week. They were always cold.

"You would be chained by two MPs while you were still in the cage before being taken off for what they called 'rec and shower'.

"You could sometimes see the guards tampering with the shower heads to make water squirt all over the inmate's clothes if he had put them up to protect his privacy."

Inmates were issued with "comfort items" - known as CIs - like shampoo, towels, a washcloth and boxer shorts. CIs would be removed as a punishment.

Jamal defiantly refused "treats", such as watching a James Bond film in a room dubbed The Love Shack by inmates.

He added: "Some people were given pizzas, ice-cream and McDonald's, but they didn't offer them to me. I guess they knew bribery would work with some and not with others."

To pass the time, inmates would chat to each other, pray, read the Koran and sing Islamic songs. In Camp X-Ray, they were given Mills and Boon-style romance novels in Arabic, which they refused to read.

Describing medical treatment, Jamal said he knew of 11 men who had legs amputated and two who lost toes and fingers. He was told that the Americans had removed far more tissue than was necessary.

HE added: "The man in the cell next to me had frostbite in two fingers and two toes. He also had it in his big toe, but they didn't treat that for a year by which time they had to cut off much more than was needed.

"All the men who had lost limbs complained they would chop them off high up and not bother to try to save as much as possible."

Jamal added that he didn't have close friends in Guantanamo, saying: "When I did meet the other Brits, we would reminisce about home - particularly the food.

"We were all obsessed with Scottish Highland Shortbread - we wanted some so much.

"One of the Brits told me he was asked why he was a Muslim, because he ought to be praying to the Queen."

Jamal, who is divorced with daughters aged three and eight and a son of five, is convinced his refusal to succumb to mind-games gave him the will to come through.

He said: "It was very, very hard at times, but I tried to think about nothing but survival.

"I kept my thoughts from home as much as possible because it would drive me crazy.

"About a year into my time, I had a dream. A voice said, 'You will here for two years'.

"In my dream I said, 'Two years! You're joking'. But when I woke up, I was calmer because at least that meant I would be getting out one day.

"I was sent to Guantanamo on February 11, 2002 and left on March 9, 2004, so I was there for just over two years, just like the voice in the dream said."

For this original posting, including a photo and related links, see:

2) Prescription-drug bill fraud

Medicare Analyst Confirms Muzzling
By Tony Pugh
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Saturday 13 March 2004

He said his boss told him he'd be fired if he gave lawmakers higher cost estimates for the prescription-drug bill.

WASHINGTON - The nation's top Medicare cost analyst confirmed yesterday that his former boss had ordered him to withhold from lawmakers unfavorable cost estimates about the Medicare prescription-drug bill. He said the estimates exceeded what Congress seemed willing to accept by more than $100 billion.

Richard Foster, chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said that in early June he received a written note from Thomas Scully, then the centers' administrator, ordering him to ignore information requests from members of Congress who were drafting the drug bill.

The Inquirer Washington Bureau reported the episode in an exclusive published yesterday, but Foster's comments were his first on the matter. Yesterday, House and Senate leaders called for investigations into the alleged muzzling. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D., S.D.) said the allegations justified reopening the vote on the drug benefit. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D., Mass.) wrote President Bush demanding to know what cost estimates he used in pushing the new drug benefit, which Congress passed in November and which Bush signed into law Dec. 8.

Scully's note, Foster said, "was a direct order not to respond to certain requests and instead to provide the responses to him and warn about the consequences of insubordination."

The note was Scully's first threat in writing, according to Foster, and came after at least three less formal threats.

They "came in different forms," he said. "Sometimes he would make a comment that 'I think I need another chief actuary,' or, 'If you want to work for the Ways and Means Committee, I can arrange it.' It was that sort of thing." Ways and Means was drafting the bill.

Efforts to reach Scully at his office and home yesterday were unsuccessful. In a recent interview, he denied closing off Foster's lines of communication with Congress. On only one occasion, Scully said, did he block Foster's contacts with lawmakers, in this case Democrats, saying their motives were purely political.

Foster said Scully insisted on a pattern of withholding of information.

"Estimates that were supportive of the legislation were generally released, and estimates that could be used to criticize the legislation were generally not released," Foster said.

He said he believed that higher-ranking members of the administration than Scully knew of the higher cost estimates his office had computed.

"Did the President know? Did Secretary Tommy Thompson know? I don't know," Foster said Thompson heads the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Medicare office.

The White House press office did not respond to requests seeking comment.

The Inquirer reported yesterday that Foster's office had suggested that the drug benefit would cost at least $100 billion more than the $395 billion estimated by the Congressional Budget Office, whose job it is to project costs of legislation.

One projection prepared in early June by Foster's office and obtained by the Inquirer Washington Bureau concluded that a Senate version of the bill might cost as much as $551 billion.

At the time of the estimate, the House was sharply divided on the proposed new Medicare drug benefit, which the administration strongly backed. Ultimately, the House passed the measure, 216-215, on June 27. In November, it endorsed a House-Senate compromise version, 220-215; the yes votes included 13 Republican fiscal conservatives who had said they would vote against the bill if it cost more than $400 billion for its first 10 years.

When Bush signed the bill, the drug benefit was touted as costing $395 billion. In January, Bush's budget director, Joshua Bolten, raised the estimate to $534 billion.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R., Tenn.) noted yesterday that Foster's estimates were based on different and costlier assumptions than those of the Congressional Budget Office.

Frist spokesman Bob Stevenson added: "If an individual's job was threatened and if they were trying to shield information from Congress, that could be an issue of concern."

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R., Iowa), chairman of the Finance Committee, said Foster's estimates "should not have been withheld. Government analysts with relevant information should never be muzzled."

In a floor speech yesterday, Daschle called for reopening the vote on the drug benefit. He also called for an investigation into the firing threat and assertions that the administration had withheld its cost estimates from Congress.

"Whether this is criminal or not is a matter we will certainly want to clarify," Daschle said. "But if not criminal, it was certainly unethical. And I think we need to know the facts."

A group of House Democrats concurred, asking that the HHS inspector general investigate.

Foster, a senior civil servant, remains on his job. He said he had new and strong support from Thompson and from Medicare's newly confirmed chief, Mark McClellan.

# # #

Contact reporter Tony Pugh at 202-383-6013 or

For the original posting of this article, see:

3) Haiti - Venezuela - US Coup D'etat Updates

- - Breaking News: Reports on Aristide's Return to the Caribbean
- - U.S. Revealed to be Secretly Funding Opponents of Chavez

- - Breaking News: Exclusive Reports on Aristide's Return to the Caribbean
by Democracy Now!

Sun, 14 Mar 2004

Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman is currently on board a plane en route to the Central African Republic. She is accompanying a delegation that will escort President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Jamaica, which has offered to host him. The delegation includes Rep. Maxine Waters, Randall Robinson, an emmisary of the Jamaican prime minister as well as Aristide's lawyer, Ira Kurzban. The only other journalist accompanying the delegation is Peter Eisner of the Washington Post. The delegation is expected to arrive in the Central African Republic on Sunday, March 14, and is expected to arrive in Jamaica, along with the Aristides, on Monday March 15, 2004. Democracy Now! will be providing reports throughout the weekend.

Around 9 p.m. on Saturday night, Amy Goodman filed her first report shortly before the delegation left for the Central African Republic.

Read Transcript & Listen to MP3:
Check too at following URL for updates direct from Democracy Now!

*** This is a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive.
-- Check the Democracy Now! website --
regularly for the latest news on this historic trip. ***

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- - U.S. Revealed to be Secretly Funding Opponents of Chavez
By Andrew Buncombe
The Independent UK
Saturday 13 March 2004

Washington has been channelling hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund the political opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez - including those who briefly overthrew the democratically elected leader in a coup two years ago.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that, in 2002, America paid more than a million dollars to those political groups in what it claims is an ongoing effort to build democracy and "strengthen political parties". Mr Chavez has seized on the information, telling Washington to "get its hands off Venezuela".

For the complete article, see:

Also posted by

4) Kucinich still a factor in presidential race

- - Kucinich Still Wants To Influence Dems' Platform
- - March 20 Global Day of Action
- - U.S. Families Protest War

The Miami Herald
Posted Fri, Mar. 12, 2004
PERSPECTIVE: Kucinich still could be factor in presidential race
by Malia Rulon
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - A long shot in the presidential race, Rep. Dennis Kucinich may yet be a player in the Democratic Party's bid for the White House.

Ohio is widely seen as one of the most important battleground states for the 2004 election. Cuyahoga County, which includes Kucinich's hometown of Cleveland, is a must-win region because it boasts the state's highest percentage of Democratic voters.

That means if Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry wins the Democratic Party's nomination, which he is expected to do, he still may need Kucinich's help to win Ohio in November.

"Cleveland is key, and within Cleveland, Kucinich is key," said John Edgell, a former chief of staff for Kucinich who is now a Washington lobbyist.

The state's longest-serving Democratic member of Congress agreed.

"Turnout in Cleveland is critical and I think Dennis Kucinich and (Cleveland Congresswoman) Stephanie Tubbs Jones are essential in that," said Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo.

Kerry asked the Ohio lawmakers to help his campaign in a closed-door meeting with members of the U.S. House on Thursday, Kaptur said.

"We as a delegation are committed to that," she said.

Kucinich still hasn't quit his own race in the presidential primary, but said his ultimate goal is helping the Democratic Party regain the White House.

"The issue now isn't of who the nominee is. The people have spoken. Now, the issue is what does the Democratic Party stand for?" Kucinich said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Kucinich agreed that Cleveland will play an important role in November and pointed to Democrat Al Gore's strong showing in that area before the former vice president decided to pull out of the state in the 2000 race.

"Historically, you've got to come out of Cuyahoga County with a huge vote," Kucinich said. "That's my back yard. That's me. That's where I'm working."

Paul Beck, a political science professor from Ohio State University, said that if Kucinich can provide any kind of advantage to the Democratic nominee in Cleveland, they'll have to court him.

"They obviously would want to approach him and try to get his help," Beck said.

Fellow OSU political science professor Herb Asher, who has studied state politics for 30 years, said former Sen. John Glenn and Rep. Louis Stokes also could play important roles in helping Kerry win the state.

"Probably another critical element will be how active the mayors are since we have Democratic mayors in all the large Ohio cities," Asher said.

Beyond Ohio, Kucinich still could have a role in the race because he's able to attract the most liberal voters in the Democratic Party, including the ones who are most likely to splinter off and vote for independent candidate Ralph Nader.

Nader ran as a Green Party nominee in 2000 and has been widely criticized for siphoning votes away from Gore. Kucinich is ideologically similar to Nader on economic and social issues.

"His new prominence ... is going to help with those folks who are concerned that we've left those progressives behind," said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Dan Trevas. "Dennis will be outstanding with that."

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- - Kucinich Still Wants To Influence Dems' Platform

"While the nomination may be a foregone conclusion, what we stand for as a Democratic Party is not a foregone conclusion," Kucinich said in a highly-charged speech at the Rainbow-PUSH weekly forum in Chicago yesterday. He was introduced by Jesse Jackson at the forum. [Read the report from WBBM Radio]

Kucinich Still Wants To Influence Dems' Platform

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- - March 20 Global Day of Action

On Saturday, March 20, people all around the globe will take to the streets to say YES to peace and NO to pre-emptive war and occupation. A number of leading peace groups and coalitions have recognized this day as a Global Day of Action to protest against the invasion, occupation and corporate control of Iraq. Dennis Kucinich will speak at one of the largest of these rallies, in New York City.

Dennis Kucinich has been one of America's most outspoken opponents of the war in Iraq and the continuing occupation. He is the only national political leader representing the peace movement. Kucinich opposed the U.N. sanctions, led the opposition to the war in Congress before it officially started, and continued to actively speak out after America accelerated the war with overt attacks. Kucinich has a detailed ten-point plan to get the U.N. in and the U.S. out within ninety days.

At all times unequivocally supporting the service men and women deployed in Iraq, Kucinich knows the best way to support our troops is to bring them home, and to fulfill all our obligations to them for ongoing medical care and treatment.

The Kucinich for President campaign has endorsed the national action on March 20th in New York. We urge all supporters to rise up, be seen and be heard at this large event and at other events being held around the world on March 20th.

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- - U.S. Families Protest War

"Anyone who has been killed over there has died in vain," Niederer said. "What are we there for?

For the above article and other links for extensive heartfelt news, see:

5) Indecent War on Freedom - Film/Discussion


Indecent War on Freedom
A Grassroots Forum on the War on Terror

For this press release, see link for Films that Make a Difference

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