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No to war and occupation

February 27, 2004 | Page 10

NEW YORK--Tariq Ali, author of Bush in Babylon and Clash of Fundamentalisms, took on Gideon Rose, managing editor of Foreign Affairs, in a debate at Judson Memorial Church February 20. A capacity crowd of more than 500 people jammed in to watch the debate, which was sponsored by the New York University chapter of the Campus Antiwar Network.

Rose criticized Bush for deceit in mobilizing for the war, but defended the occupation. "Those who oppose the war but now support the occupation are holding an irrational position," Ali responded. "The problem is that empires always act in their own interests. That is the only reason they are there. It is the reason why the region is littered with military bases."

Amherst, Mass.
About 100 people, mostly graduate students, rallied in front of the UMass Amherst student union to protest the recently imposed Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS), part of the USA PATRIOT Act. The fee, which only applies to international students, is used to fund the U.S. government's information gathering on international students.

Protesters chanted, "Hey hey, ho ho, this racist fee has got to go!" and held signs which said, "Surveillance isn't a service" and "No surveillance" in several languages. After the rally, the protesters marched to the chancellor's office, growing to 150 along the way.

Chicago
About 125 people attended a forum titled "Silencing Dissent: Political Repression and the PATRIOT Act: A Forum on the Future of Civil Liberties" here February 19. The keynote speaker was Michel Shehadeh, a Palestinian activist who the U.S. government is trying to deport, using the USA PATRIOT Act retroactively to criminalize his distribution of pro-Palestinian literature and his fundraising for Palestinian charities in the 1980s.

The meeting, sponsored by a range of antiwar and civil liberties groups, featured an amplified call from Lebanon by Rabih Haddad, who was deported under the USA PATRIOT Act based on trumped-up charges that his suburban Chicago charity funneled money to terrorists in Bosnia.

Los Angeles
More than 100 teachers, students and antiwar activists attended a conference at Manual Arts High School February 7 to discuss how to organize against the constant presence of the U.S. military in our schools. Fernando Suarez del Solar, founding member of Military Families Speak Out, told the story of his son Jesús, who was killed last year in Bush's war in Iraq.

Suarez del Solar explained how a U.S. Marine Corps recruiter promised Jesús a $1,000 paycheck, but never told him that the government would make deductions for his college fund, his uniform, supplies and a life insurance policy paid to the military instead of the soldier's family.

Peter DiLeo, Randy Childs, Julien Ball and Yuval Sivan contributed to this report.

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