rn: Puerto Ricans occupy firing range (&: on terrorism)


Jan Slakov

Date: Tue, 02 May 2000 23:16:10 -0700
From: Bob Olsen <•••@••.•••> (by way of Rycroft & Pringle
Subject: Peace.ca.usa-- Puerto Ricans occupy firing range

Friday April 28 5:08 PM ET 
Navy Ships Head To Puerto Rico

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer 

WASHINGTON (AP) - Two Navy ships headed toward the
Caribbean on Friday in anticipation of an FBI-led
operation to remove Puerto Rican protesters from a
bombing range on the island of Vieques, government
officials said.

No military forces are to be used in the removal
operation, which is being planned by the Justice
Department in collaboration with the FBI and the Coast
Guard. It could happen as early as Monday.

The amphibious warships USS Bataan and USS Nashville
were picking up a contingent of about 1,000 Marines
from Morehead City, N.C., en route toward Puerto Rico.
The two ships left their home port of Norfolk, Va., on
Thursday evening, officials said, and could be in the
vicinity of Vieques by Sunday.

If the removal of the protesters goes forward, the
Marines would secure the perimeter of the bombing
range after the protesters are gone, government
officials said, speaking on condition that they not be

Navy officials had no comment on the operation.  

The Chicago-based Pastors for Peace, a charity group,
said Friday it will send a delegation to Vieques on
Saturday to set up camp alongside a church-run tent
camp of protesters. ``Our faith calls us to civil
disobedience,'' said its executive director, the Rev.
Lucius Walker Jr.

In Vieques, Mayor Manuela Santiago exhorted protesters
not to resist arrest and to avoid violence.

``I don't want anybody in Vieques to receive any
injury or blow from resisting the forces that are
going to dislodge them,'' she said in an interview
with WAPA radio.

In San Juan, Gov. Pedro Rossello refused comment.
``Ask the Navy,'' he responded to reporters' repeated
questions about a raid.

At the White House, press secretary Joe Lockhart was
asked about the possibility of a violent confrontation
with the protesters, who have camped out on the
bombing range for a year to block the Navy's use of
it. They usually number only a couple of dozen but on
weekends their numbers swell to several dozen.

Lockhart would say only that the White House expects
Puerto Rico to live up to its agreement to allow the
Navy to resume using the range. President Clinton made
a deal with Puerto Rico on Jan. 31 that provided an
extra $40 million in aid to Vieques, so long as the
protesters left and the Navy was allowed back.

``We have reached an agreement, now sometime ago, and
I'm just not going to speculate on, you know, any law
enforcement aspect of it,'' Lockhart said.

Federal marshals and FBI agents are expected to launch
the removal operation next week, possibly as early as
Monday, the officials said. Puerto Rican police are to
provide crowd control in the vicinity of the range.

While most of the several dozen protesters who are
camped out on the bombing range say they won't resist
arrest, they do say other demonstrators will replace
them. Some promise to scatter into the hills.

They've occupied the range since April 19, 1999, when
errant bombs from a Marine Corps jet killed civilian
guard David Sanes Rodriguez.

On Thursday, shortly before the Bataan and Nashville
got under way, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig
Quigley said U.S. officials were consulting with
Puerto Rican authorities on the Vieques issue but he
would not comment further. 
From: •••@••.•••
Date: Tue, 2 May 2000 13:55:56 EDT
Subject: in case you missed this

Here for your enlightenment is Michael Sheehan, State Department 
Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, speaking at a Briefing on the 1999 Annual 
"Patterns of Global Terrorism" Report, May 1, 2000

    SHEEHAN: Our definition of terrorism by the legislation is very explicit. 
 But in general terms, in a war, if military forces are attacking each other, 
it's not terrorism.  But if an armed terrorist organization attacks civilian 
targets, that's terrorism.  So that's generally the breakdown.  Or if you 
attack -- it's also -- there is a footnote in the report that includes a 
terrorist attack if you attack military people in barracks, such as the 
Khobar bombings or the Marine barracks in 1982.  Those are 
terrorist acts.  Each case is taken on a case-by-case basis. 
      QUESTION (from reporter): So, for example, if the United States were to 
drop -- what do you call them? -- cruise missiles on people that were in 
barracks or in tents, as it may be, would that be terrorism?  Could that be 
      SHEEHAN: No. 

The (laughter) wasn't included in the transcript of the briefing released by 
the State Department.  But I happened to catch this segment on CSPAN radio.  
I think in the past couple of years or so, the US press has been showing some 
signs of coming alive.  I have the impression (unsystematically arrived at) 
that they're asking tougher questions, and more frequently, than before.  
    The entire transcript is available on the State Dept. website.
Bill Blum