- The Washington Times - Monday, March 22, 2004


Anti-Jewish vandalism blights Toronto

TORONTO — Gravestones were desecrated, windows smashed and swastikas daubed on a synagogue as a new wave of anti-Semitic vandalism branded by police as “unacceptable hate crimes” hit Toronto.

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin promised swift government action after what he termed the “outrageous” weekend incidents. Police from Toronto’s hate-crimes division said attackers caused damage worth more than $15,000, toppling 27 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in north Toronto Friday night or Saturday morning.

Also overnight Friday, unknown vandals painted swastikas on the wall of a synagogue and broke windows. Seven swastikas also appeared on signs outside a Jewish school a block away from the cemetery, police said. Shocked by the incidents, Mr. Martin promised action. “They must be condemned and condemned loudly,” he wrote in a letter to Bernie Farber, executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress.


Marine general vetoes arms sweep

PORT-AU-PRINCE — The commander of a multinational force in Haiti insisted Sunday it is not his mission to disarm militants, contradicting U.S. assertions that the force would confiscate weapons.

“This is a country with a lot of weapons, and disarmament is not our mission. Our mission is to stabilize the country,” U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Ronald Coleman, head of the 3,000-strong U.N.-sanctioned force, told Reuters.

Army Gen. James Hill, who oversees the Haiti operation as head of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, told a Pentagon briefing this month the 1,600 U.S. Marines in Haiti would begin confiscating weapons from anyone without a valid permit.


Assassination chiefContreras to be freed

SANTIAGO — The founder of former dictator Augusto Pinochet’s secret police will be freed next week after spending more than three years under house arrest for the 1976 assassination in Washington of the country’s former foreign minister, a court has announced.

The Court of Appeals here announced Friday the pending release of Manuel Contreras, a former general who was jailed for the assassination of Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier and his American secretary, Ronnie Moffit, in a car bombing at Sheridan Circle in Washington on Sept. 21, 1976.

Mr. Letelier was the country’s top diplomat under elected President Salvador Allende, a Socialist slain in the U.S.-backed coup of September 11, 1973.

Weekly notes

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe will urge the United States to boost funding for the $2.6 billion Plan Colombia to combat the drug trade and leftist guerillas. Mr. Uribe, on a four-day visit to Washington that began yesterday, is to meet President Bush today. He wants the United States to extend the aid package by four years, until 2009. Plan Colombia, which began in 2000, otherwise expires in September 2005. … Venezuela’s relations with the United States could not be worse, and would improve if President Bush fails to win re-election, Foreign Minister Jesus Perez said in an interview published yesterday in El Universal newspaper. Bush administration officials have sharply criticized Venezuela’s twice-elected president, Hugo Chavez, questioning his commitment to democracy and his friendship with Cuban President Fidel Castro, though Venezuela remains a top supplier of oil to the U.S. market.

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