Black Watch page 1
Black leaders rally on racial rhetoric at conference
Farrakhan in Iraq for 'solidarity' visit
How The West Grew Rich
Slavery's Effects Disappeared in Two Generations
Racist bigot Police Chief Moose, cost lives
Moose's officers compare him to Sharpton

Slavery's Effects Should have Disappeared in Two Generations

November 7, 2002
    By Lance Kramer   The Dartmouth Online

Economic disparities between the descendants of former slaves and free blacks largely disappeared within just two generations following emancipation, according to a study by Dartmouth economist Bruce Sacerdote that may lend ammunition to opponents of slavery reparations.

"There's nothing positive you can say about slavery," Sacerdote said. "But what the study shows is how little slavery actually has to do with today's problems. It seems rather unlikely that slavery itself caused a lot of the racism problems present in the U.S. today."

While the study does not set out to directly address the national debate on the topic, Sacerdote noted that his finding could be used to argue against slavery reparations.

Other economists and those involved in the reparations debate had varied reactions to the study.

Conservative thinker David Horowitz -- who made headlines over a year ago when he ran an advertisement in college newspapers nationwide citing reasons discounting the idea of slave reparations -- said the study's findings support his viewpoint.

"The study is a very strong argument against affirmative action and all these artificial programs set out by the government to rig the system," Horowitz said. "Even under the circumstances of extreme racism, it's obvious that slaves can make these advances in a short space and that once you remove the artificial barriers, the problem will solve itself."

However, supporters of reparations -- like Dorothy Benton Lewis, national co-chair of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America -- argued that the study's central question was irrelevant.

"The issue here isn't whether blacks could 'catch-up,'" Lewis said. "What [Sacerdote] is comparing here is victim to victim. Both of these groups were victims of white supremacy and that thanks to the attidudes of racist people, both groups have experienced the same outcome."

"If that's the kind of bogus research Dartmouth produces, I'm ashamed -- Dartmouth should be ashamed," Lewis continued.

Many studies to date have examined the differentials between blacks and whites. But Sacerdote's study, entitled "Slavery and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," is the first of its kind to specifically measure the status of the children and grandchildren of former slaves as compared to the descendants of free blacks.

"To date there's been no real empirical study of whether families were able to recover from the effects of slavery," Dartmouth economics professor Eric Edmonds said. "Bruce is really blazing the way in an important area. Prior to his study, this particular area has been ignored."

"It is an impressive piece of research," said Gavin Wright, an economics professor at Stanford University. "I would not have thought it possible to compare the descendants of free-born blacks, but Sacerdote shows that indeed it is. And the results are extremely interesting."

Sacerdote compared data on the children and grandchildren of free blacks and former slaves from the 1880 and 1920 U.S. censuses, concentrating on the outcome measures of literacy, school attendance, whether a child lives in a female-headed household and two measures of adult occupation.

Wright said that while each of the measures has its respective limitations, they nonetheless apply to the question at hand.

For example, the study found that the children of former slaves were less likely to be enrolled in school than the children of blacks born free. This gap disappeared, however, when examining the grandchildren of free blacks and former slaves.

"I was surprised at how quickly you get convergence between the two groups," Sacerdote said. "Today's biggest topic for domestic policy is black-white differentials, and the simplest explanation is that slavery was the direct cause."

Sacerdote noted, however, that emancipation itself did little to reduce economic disparities between blacks and whites. He said the results of his study indicate that other social factors must account for current social inequities between African-Americans and whites.

"It's certainly reasonable to think that past discrimination in the pre-civil rights era caused disadvantages that have persisted for a long time and that are still observable today," Sacerdote said. "But no one actually agrees on one specific factor to blame for these problems. There's something out there -- we just don't know what it is exactly."

According to the study, convergence between the two groups occurred substantially in every category except in the prevalence of female-headed households among the descendants of slaves. Sacerdote cited this as one possible way slavery could have had measurable and long-lasting effects on successive generations of black Americans.

Sacerdote and his colleagues emphasized that the point of his study was not to examine the legitimacy of affirmative action or slave reparations, though they accepted that the study will be used in many different ways since it has been released into public domain.

"A lot of the reparations debate isn't at all about the long-term consequences of slavery. Rather, people are trying to get paid the wages slaves were never paid," Professor Edmonds said. "Bruce's study has nothing at all to do with that aspect of the reparations debate. Rather, he is concerned about how individuals recovered from the experience of slavery and the distortions in investments, specialization, etc. that slavery implied."

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 Chief Moose cost lives
November 8, 2002    By Paul Sperry

WASHINGTON – Fox News, CNN, the Washington Post. The interviews lionizing Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose keep coming. Time magazine named him "Person of the Week." Book deals are in the offing.  His office door is adorned with a huge thank-you letter from area school kids. Fruit baskets, flowers and other gifts continue to arrive from grateful citizens. One Maryland couple gave him a case of champagne.  Sheets spray-painted with "Moose for President" hang from highway overpasses here. There's even a "Chief Moose Fan Club" website replete with songs and poems praising the "superhero." Its founder calls Moose "brilliant."

Part of me doesn't care who gets credit for capturing the Beltway snipers, however misplaced that credit may be, so long as they're off the streets. 

My family, like most in the Beltway area, was terrorized by them for three long weeks. After they shot someone near my neighborhood, I set the pump handle at the gas station and jumped back into my car whenever I filled up the tank. I did most of the shopping, zigzagging in the parking lot and feeling like an idiot. No more walking to school; my wife and I drove our school-aged child right up to the school's side entrance.

We were just as paralyzed and nerve-racked as everyone else around the capital, as the snipers methodically picked off 13 random people. Sounds crazy to live in such fear given the tiny statistical probability of being shot. But unless you were here, you can't fully understand what a nightmare it was – worse even than the D.C. anthrax scare. You can avoid opening your mail, or take drugs if you're exposed to germ spores. But there's no antibiotic for a bullet to the head.

At the same time, another part of me knows that rewarding incompetence validates incompetence, and can even institutionalize it, leading to more mistakes in similar cases down the road.  It's bad enough that we reward incompetence in public education. Doing it in law enforcement, where mistakes can cost lives, should never be tolerated, especially when Islamic terrorism now threatens us in our homes.

Truth is, John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo, both black Muslims, were caught in spite of Moose, not because of him.

Racial hypersensitivity delayed their capture, costing lives. Moose, a staunch foe of racial profiling, refused to go after suspects of color. (He and his second wife, a white civil-rights lawyer, are pathologically race-conscious, a matter I'll return to later.)  The sniper task force, which Moose led from start to finish, questioned white men right up to the day arrest warrants were issued for Muhammad and Malvo. 

Take Tim Carter and his boss, Mark Fanning. On Oct. 22, task-force detectives paid them a visit at their P-Com Network Services offices in Sterling, Va.  "I was yanked out of a staff meeting," Fanning told me.  Carter said the detectives asked "embarrassing" questions, such as whether they'd been in the vicinity of any of the shootings.

It wasn't until the snipers gave themselves away by bragging about another murder in Alabama that police broke the case on Oct. 23.  If not for that boast, Moose might still be profiling white guys.  The whole ordeal could have been over Oct. 3, when D.C. police ran the plates on Muhammad's car just hours before he or Malvo shot their sixth victim, a 72-year-old D.C. man.

But they weren't stopped, because according to D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey, "We were looking for a white van with white people."  Both descriptions turned out to be wrong.  But only the description of the white vehicle was based on eyewitness accounts, not the description of "white people." That was based on stock psychological profiles of mass murderers (pre-Sept. 11) and phone tips from people suspicious of white spouses, boyfriends and neighbors with guns.

Yet one witness to a Maryland shooting on Oct. 3 described two "Hispanic" men in a white vehicle. Other early witnesses ID'd "dark-skinned" men in a white vehicle. At least one woman said she saw a black man.  Those physical descriptions of the suspects were dismissed by Moose, while the physical descriptions of the vehicles were treated as gospel. In fact, Moose issued composite graphics of the mythical white truck and van.

But he refused to release a composite sketch of a suspect based on witness accounts, because he didn't want to "paint some group." Snipers were terrorizing Washington, assassinating people left and right, even a boy, and the top cop on the case was more concerned about offending a minority group than catching the killers. That's incompetence writ large and should be called by its proper name, black official or not.

And it wasn't just white vans that Moose had police look for in those dragnets. They were looking for white drivers.  In fact, police who checked cars on roads and freeways following each shooting were ordered to wave cars by if the drivers were minorities or females, according to one ATF agent. They were told to search only cars with white males behind the wheel.

Even when additional witnesses at a Home Depot shooting, separate from the one witness who lied, described suspects as being dark-skinned, Moose saw only white. In fact, he tossed their statements, implying they were colored by the bad witness. Fairfax County police had to "re-interview" their good witnesses, a spokeswoman told me, who were never heard from again.

Derek Baliles, one of Moose's officers at the Rockville, Md., headquarters, said that even if they still insisted they saw dark-skinned assailants, it would be hard to believe. He said the lights were bad in the parking garage. He even suggested they could have seen white guys in dark "make-up."  "We don't want anyone to give up on the fact that it could be a white guy," Baliles told me.  It was almost as if Moose and his investigators hoped the shootings were the work of a racist white guy – even though it defied logic, as whites were among his victims.  And the patternless shootings appeared designed only to spread terror in the nation's capital, which just a year earlier was attacked by Islamic terrorists.  Yet no one on Moose's task force put two-and-two together.

FBI Special Agent Larry Foust, a task force member borrowed from the bureau's Baltimore field office, criminal division, expressed surprise when I asked him if the task force had canvassed the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va., which is nine-tenths of a mile from the Home Depot. Astonishingly, he didn't know that one of the Washington area's largest mosques, one attended by many black Muslims, was so close to the shooting. Nor did he know that the same mosque was attended by two of the al-Qaida hijackers who slammed the jumbo jet into the Pentagon.

More, it took police three weeks to reach out to the immigrant community, even though it was clear the snipers were new to the area, having not left a local imprint with neighbors and co-workers, judging from all the bum leads, as FBI veteran I.C. Smith pointed out to me.  It was as if Sept. 11 never happened. It just had to be Timothy McVeigh's long lost cousin. Had to be.  Such tunnel vision is odd. Investigators usually adjust to facts and abandon early hunches that don't pan out.

Not in this case.

Why? Moose's background offers clues.

Chip on shoulder

Four times as a Portland, Ore., cop, Moose had to be disciplined for losing his temper in dust-ups with average citizens, most of them triggered by what he perceived to be racial slights by whites.  He was ordered to take an anger-management course (ironically, Moose's wife, Sandy, has taught an anger-management course at Montgomery College in Maryland). But he got into more racial confrontations.  Still, he was promoted to chief of the Portland Police Bureau.

Even at that level, he couldn't shake the chip from his shoulder. In another controversy, he had to apologize for making racial slurs against whites. Even the liberal Portland Oregonian lamented his "explosive temper."  Some white Portland cops complain that Moose discriminated against them.

"I tried to be very open-minded and extend myself to him on many occasions while working with him, but he made it very apparent he has some very strong bias against white males, especially ones with blonde hair and blue eyes," said a former Portland officer who served under Moose in the 1990s.

Moose has what some say is an annoying habit, as a public official, of putting his race in your face.  His corner office at police headquarters is a shrine to the black movement. Figurines of wild African elephants line a credenza. There's a plaque about black "pride." Pictures of black leaders line the walls. A poster reads: "Hatred thrives when bigotry is tolerated."  Moose came to Maryland vowing to end black criminal profiling as he had in Portland. Before taking the job in 1999, he met with the local NAACP.

When he arrived, he said he had reservations about moving to the area because he claimed the Ku Klux Klan was active there, and that it might be a "difficult" place for an interracial couple to live.  Huh? Montgomery County is one of the most liberal enclaves in the Beltway.  He quickly ended black profiling there – apparently only to replace it with white profiling.

A big fan of race-sensitive "community policing," Moose made Portland cops working the gang beat – during the crack wars, no less – carry blue pocketbooks filled with information about the city's social-service agencies.  Attorney General Janet Reno liked what she saw, and flew out to recognize him.

As her husband started his new job as Portland police chief in 1993, Sandra Herman Moose began law school in Tacoma, Wash., commuting home on weekends.   Her best pal at law school was a North African man, according to a classmate at University of Puget Sound School of Law.  She and Moose found time a couple of years later to teach a course on "multicultural communications" at Portland Community College.  Sandy Moose's ideas on race issues are downright scary.

She told CNN's Connie Chung the other night that she hit the roof when she heard a female newsie call her husband "hostile" after one of his hostile press conferences.  Sandy explained that whole discrimination law is built around that word, which she claims is racially charged and should never be used to describe a black man.

So, apparently we can't say Muhammad and Malvo are "hostile," either. Will she defend them if they sue?  If Moose's blond wife considers "hostile" to be a racial epithet, imagine what Moose considers discriminatory.  This isn't a chip, folks. This is a boulder.

Anti-gun bias

Moose also has it in for gun owners.  "We need to stand up as a community and attack the supply of guns," he told the citizens of Portland in 1995.  When Muhammad and Malvo were arrested, Moose said the task force got the "gun" off the street, not the sniper.  And, in an unsettling plea to the public at one press conference, he said, "You need to ask yourself: Who do you know that owns guns, and why?"

Sure enough, the ATF and other task force agencies went around confiscating guns.  Gun-rights groups in Maryland were flooded with calls from worried law-abiding residents.  "We got very interested when folks started reporting attempts to confiscate rifles for ballistic testing," said Robert D. Culver, co-chairman of Montgomery Citizens for a Safer Maryland.

"I have several reports from men who have had contacts with law-enforcement officers, some of whom rolled over and submitted their firearms," Culver told me.  Carter of Vienna, Va., says task-force detectives also came to his house on the previous Saturday morning asking to see his firearms.  "They not only wanted to see my rifles, they copied the serial numbers down, as well," he said. "And then they told me that the ATF may want to test one of my rifles for ballistics."

Carter, who complied, added: "I now wonder who retains the records of my firearms and for what purpose." 

This was pure insanity.

As Moose and his task force futilely chased "gun-crazed" white ghosts instead of the dark-skinned real killers, they deprived residents of Maryland and Virginia of firearms to possibly protect themselves from those killers.  "How much quicker and how many lives would have been spared in the recent sniper case if Moose had not allowed his prejudices to rule?" asked one law-enforcement veteran in the Washington area.

It's painfully obvious that Moose – a big fan of Head Start, which is fond of quoting Hillary Clinton's pal Marian Wright Edelman – is no hero. In fact, his personal prejudices may have cost several lives.  Even so, don't be surprised if his star rises. Hillary is no doubt eying Moose right now for FBI director in her administration.

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  How the west grew rich    By Dinesh D'Souza    July 4, 2002

The idea that America and the West grew rich through oppression and exploitation is strongly held among many intellectuals and activists. In the West, the exploitation thesis is invoked, by Jesse Jackson and others, to demand the payment of hundreds of billions of dollars in reparations for slavery and colonialism to African Americans and natives of the Third World. Islamic extremists like Bin Laden insist that the Muslim world is poor because the West is rich, and they use Western oppression as their pretext for unleashing violence, in the form of terrorism, against American civilians.

Did the West enrich itself at the expense of minorities and the Third World through its distinctive crimes of slavery and colonialism? This thesis is hard to sustain, because there is nothing distinctively Western about slavery or colonialism. The West had its empires, but so did the Persians, the Mongols, the Chinese, and the Turks. The British ruled my native country of India for a couple of hundred years, but before the British came, India was invaded and occupied by the Persians, the Mongols, the Turks, the Afghans, and the Arabs. England was the seventh or eighth colonial power to establish itself on Indian soil.

If colonialism is not a Western institution, neither is slavery. Slavery has existed in every known civilization. The Chinese had slavery, and so did ancient India. Slavery was common all over Africa, and American Indians had slavery long before Columbus arrived on this continent.

What is uniquely Western is not slavery but the movement to abolish slavery. There is no history of anti-slavery activism outside of Western civilization. Of course in every society, slaves have strongly resisted being slaves. Runaways and slave revolts occurred frequently in all slave cultures. But only in the West did a movement arise, not of slaves, but of potential slave-owners, to oppose slavery in principle.

The unique Western attitude is captured in Abraham Lincoln’s remark, "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master." Lincoln understandably doesn’t want to be a slave, but interestingly, he doesn’t want to be a master either. He rejects slavery altogether, and he is willing to expend a good deal of treasure and ultimately a great deal of blood to destroy the institution. During the Civil War, hundreds of thousands of white men died to bring freedom to African Americans-a group that was not in a position to secure freedom for itself.

Considering these undisputed facts, how should we think about the issue of reparations? My own view of the subject was rather tersely expressed by Muhammad Ali. After defeating George Foreman for the heavyweight title in Zaire, Muhammad Ali returned to the United States where he was asked by a reporter, "Champ, what did you think of Africa?" Ali replied, "Thank God my grand-daddy got on that boat!"

Ali’s point was that although the institution of slavery was oppressive for the slaves, paradoxically it benefited their descendants because slavery was the transmission belt that brought African Americans into the orbit of Western freedom. And the same is true of colonialism: against the intentions of the European powers, who came mainly to conquer and rule, colonialism proved to be the mechanism by which Western ideas like democracy, self-determination, and unalienable human rights came to the peoples of Asia, Africa, and South America.

These truths cast a new light on the issue of reparations. Reparations are a bad idea, not only because people living today played no role in the evils of slavery and colonialism, but also because the descendants of those who endured servitude and foreign rule are vastly better off than they would have been had their ancestors not endured captivity and European rule. Reluctant though he would be to admit it, Jesse Jackson has a much better life in America than he would have had in, say, Ethiopia or Ghana.

If oppression and exploitation did not make the West rich and powerful, what did? The answer is that the West invented three institutions that never existed before: science, democracy, and capitalism. Each of these institutions is based on a universal human impulse that took on a very specific institutional expression in the history of the West.

First, science. Of course people everywhere want to learn about the world. The Chinese recorded the eclipses, the Hindus invented the number zero, the Mayans developed a sophisticated calendar. But science--which means experimentation, and verification, and a "scientific method" that one writer has termed "the invention of invention"--this is a Western institution.

Just like the impulse to learn, the impulse to barter and trade is universal. People in every culture exchange goods for mutual benefit. Money is not a Western invention. But capitalism--which implies property rights, and courts to enforce them, and free trade, and stock exchanges, and institutions of credit, and double-entry bookkeeping--this system developed in the West. Finally tribal participation is universal, but democracy--which requires elections, and peaceful transitions of power, and separation of powers, and checks and balances--is a Western institution.

None of this is to deny that the West, like every other culture, has shown itself to be arrogant and oppressive when it had the chance. Oppression and exploitation, however, were not the cause of Western success; they were the fruits of that success. Those who say that America and the West have grown rich at their expense are simply wrong. The real cause of Western wealth and power is the dynamic interaction of science, capitalism, and democracy. Working together, these institutions have created our commercial, technological, participatory society.

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Black leaders rally on racial rhetoric at conference

By Steve Miller

ATLANTA — Mayor Bill Campbell welcomed the audience for the State of the Black World Conference here last night, and the audience reciprocated, applauding his punch line that "while the rest of the country waves the flag of Americana, we understand we are not part of that."

The four-day conference's stated purpose is to create a dialogue on where the world's blacks stand today, as their key issues of reparations, election reform and racial profiling have been eclipsed by America's war on terrorism.

Minutes after Mr. Campbell aroused the audience, the Rev. Al Sharpton, tuning his skills for a potential 2004 presidential bid, cranked up the rhetoric even higher.  "We don't owe America anything; America owes us," he yelled to the 700 people at the Georgia International Convention Center.  The audience stood in honor of his emphatic statement, some waving the African symbolic colors — red, green and black.

Last night's keynote panel featured civil rights activists from around the country, as well as representatives from Britain and the Caribbean.  It was a star-studded event for the civil rights establishment — with Mr. Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson seated next to each other, two men who appeared content to continue to avoid giving public face to their reported rivalry.  

Moderator Bev Smith, who hosts a radio show out of Pittsburgh, asked the panel to define the state of the black world and the key issues. The latter was left to be determined later in the conference.  But the state of the black world is dire, said the panelists.

Mr. Jackson cautioned the crowd that new anti-terrorism laws, which give more leeway to law enforcement to tap phones and question potential suspects, are part of a movement to dethrone current black leadership.  "We are in danger," Mr. Jackson told the audience, his glasses perched imperiously at the end of his nose. "The extreme right wing has seized the government. Tonight, [Attorney General John] Ashcroft and the CIA and the FBI and Homeland Security and the IRS can work together, so look out.  Because without a definition of who is a terrorist, anyone can be ... Martin Luther King could have been ... Malcolm X, the Black Panthers.

"The right-wing media, the FBI, they are targeting our leadership," Mr. Jackson said.  Mr. Jackson urged vigilance and stressed that elections next year were crucial to gaining political sway — hinting that to give the Democrats control of Congress would unleash the all-Democratic Congressional Black Caucus.  "If we can win in 2002, we can empower 40 of our black leaders," he said. "Maxine [Waters] becomes a No. 1 congressional leader ... and we can put on trial the Ashcroft contingent."

The conference has made a slow start, an organizer said early yesterday.  In fact, she noted, only 400 people had preregistered, plunking down $35 to attend full days of meetings, seminars and planning sessions.  "We are guessing there will be a lot more people who just show up for this," she said. "We are actually hoping."  The event has been planned since January, sponsored by African American Institute for Research and Empowerment and the Black World Today, an online magazine.  Some have been no-shows.  Mrs. Waters, who represents south-central Los Angeles, was scheduled to participate in last night's panel, as was Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney of Georgia. Neither Democratic lawmaker appeared, citing duties in Washington.  But the words were strident, pointed — and moved the gathered to vocal approval.  Sonia Sanchez said the black world today is no different that it was in the 1800s.  "You and I know we have been under assault for a long time," said Miss Sanchez, an author and civil rights activist from Philadelphia.  Referring to the terrorist attacks and the resultant hardships that many New York residents are experiencing, she said, "White people are now enduring the black experience."

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Farrakhan in Iraq for 'solidarity' visit

From the International Desk
Published 7/6/2002 4:15 PM
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BAGDAD, Iraq, July 6 (UPI) -- Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan held a series of meetings Saturday with Iraqi officials on the second day of his visit to the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, to discuss ways to avoid a possible U.S. military campaign.

The official Iraqi News Agency, INA, said Farrakhan, on a "solidarity" visit to Iraq, held talks with Islamic Affairs Minister Abdul Munem Saleh on "ways to confront the American threats against Iraq."

INA quoted the African-American Muslim leader as saying "the Muslim American people are praying to the almighty God to grant victory to Iraq."

Saleh was quoted by INA as urging common effort among the Muslims of the world to "expose the American and Zionist crimes toward the people of Iraq and Palestine."

Farrakhan, heading a Nation of Islam delegation, also met with Health Minister Omeed Mubarak, who briefed him on the "effects of the sanctions on Iraq and the health reality represented by the death of 1.6 million people a year because of food and medical shortages."

Iraq has been living under economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations since its invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.

The health minister sharply criticized Security Council Resolution 1409, which amended the Iraq-U.N. oil-for-food deal, in which Iraq exports oil in return for buying badly-needed food and medicine under U.N. supervision.

Mubarak described the resolution as "arbitrary that further complicates the import of medicine and medical equipment to Iraq." He added the total lifting of the sanctions was "the only way to end the suffering of the Iraqi people."

Farrakhan, who arrived from Damascus on Friday as part of a regional tour, said in Baghdad he wanted to "see what we can do to stop the possibility of war."

Earlier Saturday, he visited a number of hospitals in the Iraqi capital, as well as the Ameriya Shelter, which was bombed by U.S.-led allied forces during the 1991 Gulf war, killing around 500 people.

This is Farrakhan's second visit to Baghdad. He first visited Iraq in 1997.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Kuwait, officials denied any knowledge of U.S. plans for a widescale military attack on Iraq, according to press reports on Saturday.

The Kuwaiti al-Rai al-Aam quoted Defense Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak as saying his country "has no knowledge of a secret American plan aimed at launching an intensive attack on Iraq."

Al-Mubarak said U.S. press reports of such an attack were "just media reports and we have no official information on this," adding Kuwait has not been notified on these plans from the United States or other countries.

The New York Times said Friday a military plan has been prepared to attack Iraq from the north, south and west with air, ground and naval forces. Quoting unnamed sources, the daily said the plan envisions the use of thousands of Marines and ground troops, perhap from Kuwait.

During a visit to Syria, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin Foreign Minister dismissed the media reports as "rumors." Villepin is visiting the region in an effort to restart Middle East peace talks.

Speaking at a joint press conference Saturday with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa, Villepin said talks between French officials and President George W. Bush and State Department Secretary Colin Powell made clear "there is no military plan today against Iraq."

The French foreign minister also encouraged U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to pursue his efforts with Iraq and said the return of the U.N. inspectors to Baghdad "is a necessity for the stability of the region and we hope that Iraq will facilitate such a return."

Syria's Sharaa, for his part, told reporters that Arab countries unanimously support lifting the U.N. sanctions.

He said Iraq does not oppose the return of the U.N. disarmament inspectors but "refuses using such a return for matters that do serve the goal of lifting the sanctions."

He added that Iraq was ready to allow the U.N. disarmament inspectors back if the sanctions are lifted.

(Thanaa Imam contributed to this report from Damascus, Syria.

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Moose's officers compare him to Sharpton
Chief's wife likened him to M.L. King for defying ethics commission

Posted: April 24, 2003   1:00 a.m. Eastern  
By Paul Sperry
© 2003

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- The wife of Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose compares her husband to civil-rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King.

But some of his officers say he's more like the Rev. Al Sharpton, the controversial political figure dismissed by critics, including some blacks and Democrats, as a hustler.

Sandra Herman-Moose, a lawyer, made the comparison to King at a news conference last week in equating the chief's ethics row over selling his planned book on the Beltway sniper probe to the great civil-rights struggles of the last century.

In a stunning act of defiance by a public official, Moose has hired a First Amendment lawyer to fight the Montgomery County Ethics Commission decision to deny him a waiver to profit from the book deal, which is worth more than $100,000.

Herman-Moose insisted her husband is fighting for ideals, not money.

"He's no less of a man than Dr. King, Nelson Mandela and any great person that stood for principle," she said.

Her comments have sparked outrage among the officer ranks.

"It is an insult to great men who made significant contributions to their fellow man," said a Montgomery County police officer. "If she compared him to Al Sharpton, I could see the similarities."

The officer, who wished to remain nameless, added that the chief is acting as if "he is above the rules," and is "single-handedly destroying the honor and reputation of the department for his own personal gain."

Walter E. Bader, president of the Fraternal Order of Police's Montgomery County lodge, said many officers found the remark "disgusting," and are upset that Moose insists on cashing in on the prestige of his office in spite of the ethics ruling.

But some point out that other members of the department have written books about the job, such as former officer Tracy Sparshott, who penned the book "Trust Me."

Difference is, Bader notes, Sparshott was retired when his book was published, and he was not in senior management.

Moose and his lawyers declined comment.

In appealing the ethics panel ruling, lawyer Jamin Raskin argues that the county violated Moose's free speech and expression rights.

But the panel disagrees, arguing that its opinion is backed by a recent conclusion by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics that barring federal employees from profiting from writing that relates to their official duties is consistent with the First Amendment.

"That federal prohibition is limited to services that relate to the employee's official duties, unlike the broader federal honoraria ban that the Supreme Court struck down on First Amendment grounds" in 1995, wrote Montgomery County Ethics Commission Chairwoman Elizabeth K. Kellar for the panel last month.

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