America Orders 100,000 Body Bags &Bush and Saddam wear £600 Vito Artioli
by Stephen White and Paul Gilfeather
© 2003 The Mirror (UK)
February 10, 2003 -- Up to 100,000 'body bags' and 6,000 coffins have been secretly delivered to a US base in
Italy, a Catholic
archbishop claimed yesterday.
Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pope's Council of Peace and Justice, said the consignment had
arrived at the Sigonella
base near Catania on the island of Sicily 10 days ago.
He said: "Americans are expecting a high number of casualties. That is why so many body bags and coffins
have been sent to the
"I am very apprehensive about this. War brings only destruction, misery and hate. It doesn't resolve anything and
is always like
"A true preventative action would be to try and avoid war. The consequences of this war will make themselves all
too obvious on the
American people when they start to see coffins with loved ones in them returning home".
Archbishop Martino added that he would be willing to travel to Washington and meet President Bush if the Pope
asked him to be his
The naval air station at Sigonella has been an American "hub" command centre since 1959. More than 3,000 US
marines and Navy
personnel are stationed there.
Britain risks being dragged into another Vietnam, ex-Chancellor Ken Clarke warned yesterday. He said Tony
Blair would pay heavily
at the polls if he launched an invasion of Iraq without public backing.
Clarke, a former Tory leadership contender, said on BBC Radio 4: "If you go to war in modern times you need the
broad bulk of the
public behind you - you are putting the forces at risk, you are engaging the country in military conflict in the short
more terrorism in the long term.
"It is a broad analogy to draw between America and Vietnam but what destroyed America in Vietnam was the
bulk of the American public
were never really persuaded of the case for fighting in Vietnam at all."
Bush and Saddam turn out to be sole mates
George W Bush and Saddam Hussein both wear the same brand of Italian hand-made shoes.
The Sun says both leaders wear £600 Vito Artioli shoes and have three pairs that are exactly the same.
Bush, who apparently wears size 10 shoes, while Saddam, a nine-and-a-half, both bought a plain leather shoe, a
brogue and a
crocodile, all in black.
Vito, who runs his business in Milan, said: "It came as a bit of a surprise when I noticed the order forms from both
"We've been making shoes for important figures for years. But to have both Bush and Saddam in the present
climate is a bit odd.
"Now let us hope they learn to walk together in step".
Back to Main News Page
The CIA's Secret Army
Because of past scandals, the agency had largely
dropped its paramilitary operations. But the war on
terrorism has brought it back into the business
By DOUGLAS WALLER
Sunday, Jan. 26, 2003
The U.S. is not yet at war with Saddam Hussein. Not
officially. But quietly, over the past few months, some
of its savviest warriors have sneaked into his country.
They have been secretly prowling the Kurdish-controlled
enclave in northern Iraq, trying to organize a guerrilla
force that could guide American soldiers invading from
the north, hunting for targets that U.S. warplanes might
bomb, setting up networks to hide U.S. pilots who might
be shot down and mapping out escape routes to get them
out. And they are doing the same in southern Iraq with
But the biggest surprise of all is that they are not
even soldiers; they are spies, part of the CIA's rough
and ready, supersecret Special Operations Group (SOG).
Until fairly recently, the CIA, in an effort to clean up
a reputation sullied by botched overseas coups and
imperial assassination attempts, had shied away from
getting its hands dirty. Until about five years ago, it
focused instead on gathering intelligence that could be
used by other parts of the government. Before that,
traditional CIA officers, often working under cover as
U.S. diplomats, got most of their secrets from the
embassy cocktail circuit or by bribing foreign
officials. Most did not even have weapons training, and
they looked down on the few SOG commandos who remained
out in the field as knuckle draggers, relics of a bygone
era. Now the knuckle draggers are not just back; they
are the new hard edge of the CIA, at the forefront of
the war on terrorism. And, says a U.S. intelligence
official, "they know which end the bullet comes out of."
It was George Tenet who began rebuilding the SOG five
years ago when he took charge of the CIA, but the
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, accelerated his efforts.
Confronted with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, an enemy
that has no army, no fixed assets and no clearly defined
territory, the Bush Administration needed an
unconventional military force. It wanted combatants who
could match al-Qaeda for wiliness, adaptability and, up
to a point, ruthlessness. It wanted its own army of
James Bonds. So in the past year, hundreds of millions
of additional dollars have been pumped into the CIA
budget by President George W. Bush, a man who may be
predisposed to believe strongly in an agency his father
once headed. He has ordered SOG operatives to join
forces with foreign intelligence services. He has even
authorized the CIA to kidnap terrorists in order to
break their cells or kill them.
All of which could make for a more agile, effective
intelligence agency. Or it could also mean a CIA that
once again steps beyond the realm of collecting secrets
to intervening forcibly in the affairs of foreign
states. In that area, the agency's history has often
been one of blunders and worse, from Iran and Guatemala
in the 1950s through the Bay of Pigs fiasco under John
F. Kennedy to the Nicaraguan war that led to the Iran-
contra debacle in the '80s. Some longtime intelligence
watchers are wondering whether a reinvigorated
paramilitary wing of the CIA could be a mixed blessing
for America once again. And the military itself is not
too pleased. It believes its special-ops forces are
perfectly equipped to handle these jobs. Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has reacted in part by
planning his own secret unit, which would function much
like the SOG but would answer to him rather than Tenet.
Though tiny by Pentagon standards, the SOG has swelled
to several hundred officers. They are planted in
Pakistan, Central Asia, North Africa and East Asia.
"These are people who are operating every day around the
world," Jim Pavitt, the CIA's deputy director of
operations, told TIME. "I can insert a team anywhere
quickly and clandestinely." The future may bring even
more ambitious missions. Last May, Bush signed a top-
secret directive authorizing pre-emptive strikes by the
Pentagon and the CIA against nations that are close to
acquiring nuclear weapons. Administration sources tell
TIME that the Department of Energy's nuclear-weapons
experts are training SOG operatives on ways to attack
enemy nuclear facilities. In the current crisis with
North Korea, Washington so far is committed to diplomacy
as a means of pressuring Pyongyang to give up its
atomic-arms program, but it might well be a SOG team
that gets called to action.
The latest debate over the wisdom of expanding CIA
powers in this way has been confined mostly to a small
group of professionals, escaping the public's notice.
That's largely because the evolution of the CIA's
mission has proceeded so quietly. Americans did get a
glimpse into the world of the CIA paramilitary when
American Johnny (Mike) Spann, 32, was killed in
Afghanistan in November 2001 after being overpowered by
Taliban prisoners he had been interrogating;
uncharacteristically, the CIA confirmed that Spann was
one of its own, a member of the sog. Another peek into
the shadows came last November when it was revealed that
the explosion that had carbonized a carful of alleged
al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen was caused by a Hellfire
missile let loose by a CIA Predator drone.
The outlines of this new mission are not new, but TIME
has uncovered enough fresh details to construct the
fullest picture yet of the CIA's secret army. It spoke
to past and current intelligence officials, including an
active member of the sog, as well as to detractors
within the Pentagon. Our report:
Officially, the war in Afghanistan began on Oct. 7,
2001, with the first round of U.S. air attacks. For the
SOG, however, the battle opened on Sept. 26, just 15
days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon. That was how "John," one of the SOG's
paramilitary officers, unexpectedly found himself
peering out the open window of a Soviet-made Mi-17
helicopter that day as it soared over the Anjuman Pass
and into the Panjshir Valley, northeast of Kabul. Just
ahead on the ground, John spotted a patrol of bearded
men in turbans toting AK-47 rifles.
John tugged the sleeve of the pilot from the rebel
Northern Alliance, who was aboard to guide the aircraft
through the treacherous mountains of northeastern
Afghanistan. "They're not ours," the Afghan shouted,
letting John know that the helicopter could be fired on
from below. The Taliban fighters, however, were so
stunned by the appearance of the beastly aircraft
roaring above them that they did not have time to
shoulder their weapons and shoot before it flew out of
range. "Wonderful," the CIA officer shouted to his
Afghan comrade. Just a week earlier, John (who talked to
TIME on the condition that his real name not be used)
had been studying at a language school in Virginia,
preparing for an entirely different assignment overseas.
(What language and what posting, he would not say.) The
agency yanked him out to join the first U.S. team going
into Afghanistan. That was typical for a CIA
paramilitary officer, who at a moment's notice may be
thrown into what John calls a pickup team. John's team
included four CIA officers fluent in Farsi or Dari who
for years had been sneaking into Afghanistan, recruiting
spies for the agency. Their mission now was to hook up
with those contacts, collect intelligence for the
impending U.S. aerial attack and hunt for bin Laden.
Along with the light arms, radios and rations they had
packed into the Mi-17 were two suitcases stuffed with $3
million. It was used for bribing Afghan warlords to
fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
WHO JOINS UP?
Like all the SOG's other paramilitary operatives, John
had spent years in the U.S. military before joining the
cia; five years is the minimum requirement. CIA
recruiters regularly prowl clubs like those at Fort
Bragg, N.C., where the Army's Special Operations Command
has its headquarters, looking for Green Berets
interested in even more unconventional work and higher
pay (a starting SOG officer can earn more than $50,000 a
year; a sergeant in the Green Berets begins at about
$41,000). Special-forces soldiers, Navy seals and Air
Force commandos are routinely dispatched to the agency
on a temporary basis to provide special military skills
that the CIA needs for specific missions. If a soldier
is assigned highly clandestine work, his records are
changed to make it appear as if he resigned from the
military or was given civilian status; the process is
called sheep dipping, after the practice of bathing
sheep before they are sheared.
Military commandos who join the CIA full time are sent
to the "farm," the agency's Camp Peary training center,
located on 9,000 heavily wooded acres surrounded by a
barbed-wire-topped fence near Williamsburg, Va. There
the soldiers go through the yearlong course that all new
CIA case officers must take to learn such skills of the
trade as infiltrating hostile countries, communicating
in codes, retrieving messages from dead drops and
recruiting foreign agents to spy for the U.S. The CIA
wants its paramilitary officers to be able to steal
secrets as well as blow up bridges. John proudly recalls
overhearing an Afghan commander tell a comrade, "Yes, I
have these Americans with me, and, yes, they have
rifles, but I don't think they're soldiers. They spend
all their time with laptops." Says John: "We wrote
hundreds and hundreds of intelligence reports."
At Camp Peary, new SOG recruits also hone their
paramilitary skills, like sharpshooting with various
kinds of weapons, setting up landing zones in remote
areas for agency aircraft and attacking enemy sites with
a small force. Some are sent to Delta Force's secret
compound at Fort Bragg to learn highly specialized
counterterrorism techniques, such as how to rescue a
fellow agent held hostage.
Over the years, the SOG has taken on some of the CIA's
most dangerous work. Paramilitary officers account for
almost half the 79 stars chiseled into the wall in the
main foyer of the agency's Langley, Va., headquarters
commemorating all the spies who have died since the cia
was founded in 1947. The newest star is dedicated to
Spann. But the CIA suffered additional casualties in
Afghanistan and some injuries that the agency has not
yet publicly acknowledged. A CIA officer was wounded by
a bullet in the chest during a fire fight in southern
Afghanistan, and one of the U.S. soldiers confirmed
killed was working with a CIA team when he was hit in a
IN, OUT AND IN AGAIN
The SOG traces its roots to the days of William (Wild
Bill) Donovan, the general in charge of espionage and
clandestine operations during World War II, whose Office
of Strategic Services sent paramilitary commandos behind
enemy lines. The CIA, since its founding after the war,
has always had a paramilitary unit, which has carried
various names. At the height of the cold war, the agency
had hundreds of paramilitary operatives fomenting coups
around the world. It was involved in assassination plots
against the leaders of Congo, Cuba and Iraq and was
linked by a 1976 Senate inquiry to ousters that resulted
in the deaths of the leaders of the Dominican Republic,
Vietnam and Chile. When Ronald Reagan wanted to roll
back communism in the 1980s, the agency organized
paramilitary operations in Central America. These
adventures had checkered results. The governments that
the CIA destabilized in Iran, Guatemala and Chile were
replaced by repressive regimes that ended up doing more
damage in the long run to U.S. foreign policy.
By 1990 the SOG had practically been disbanded, the
victim of domestic and international outrage over the
agency's lethal meddling in other countries.
Congressional and CIA budget cutters slashed money for
the clandestine force, believing that billion-dollar spy
satellites collected intelligence more efficiently and
without embarrassing the U.S. The pendulum soon began to
swing back, however, as intelligence officials realized
that technology has its limitations. Satellites, for
instance, can't see inside buildings; phone taps can't
capture an enemy's every move. When Tenet was installed
as CIA director in 1997, he began fielding more human
spies and rebuilding the SOG.
During the Balkan conflicts in the mid- and late 1990s,
agency paramilitary officers slipped into Bosnia and
Kosovo to collect intelligence and hunt for accused war
criminals like Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and
his top general, Ratko Mladic. But the newly formed
teams did not have enough manpower for snatches even
when they were able to pinpoint Serbian targets. "The
CIA," complains a former senior Clinton aide, "didn't
have the capability to take down a three- or four-car
motorcade with bodyguards."
Today it does, and the sog's capacities are growing. Its
maritime branch has speedboats to carry commandos to
shore, and the agency can rent cargo ships through its
front companies to transport larger equipment. The air
arm, which Pentagon officials have nicknamed the Waffen
CIA, has small passenger jets on alert to fly
paramilitary operatives anywhere in the world on two
hours' notice. Other cargo planes, reminiscent of the
Air America fleet that the agency had in Vietnam, can
drop supplies to replenish teams in remote locations.
For areas like Afghanistan and Central Asia, where a
Russian-made helicopter stands out less, the agency uses
the large inventory of Soviet-era aircraft that the
Pentagon captured in previous conflicts or bought on the
The part of the air arm that has received the most
publicity lately is the fleet of remote-controlled
Predator drones, armed with 5-ft.-long Hellfire
missiles, that the agency bought from the Air Force. In
November 2001 the CIA deployed the drone to eliminate
bin Laden's lieutenant, Mohammed Atef. Last November's
Predator hit in Yemen killed an al-Qaeda commander and
his entourage of five, though the strike was
controversial: one of the dead men turned out to be a
There have possibly been other missteps as well. In
February 2002 a cia Predator fired at a group of Afghan
men gathered around a truck, killing at least three of
them. U.S. intelligence insists the men were an al-Qaeda
band, but locals say they were nothing more than scrap
dealers or smugglers. And as the agency tries to pull
together rival Iraqi Kurdish forces into a viable
guerrilla force that could take on Saddam, it must
confront its sorry history in that territory. In 1995 it
attempted to organize a Kurdish rebellion against
Saddam, but in the end CIA officers fled their base in
northern Iraq, abandoning their Kurdish agents to Iraqi
police, who rounded up and executed hundreds. The
Clinton Administration, fearing the operation would end
in disaster, had pulled the plug.
But perhaps the sog's most notable lapse in the field
has been its failure to locate bin Laden. "They're still
developing their capability," says a Bush Administration
official who has worked with the unit. "It doesn't mean
that they won't be a force to be reckoned with. But
they're not there yet."
OPPOSITION AND RIVALS
The pentagon is not happy about the SOG's moving
aggressively onto its turf. When aides told Rumsfeld in
late September 2001 that his Army Green Beret A-Teams
couldn't go into Afghanistan until the CIA contingent
there had laid the groundwork with the local warlords,
he erupted, "I have all these guys under arms, and we've
got to wait like a little bird in a nest for the CIA to
let us go in?" What's more, Rumsfeld, according to a
Pentagon source, does not like the idea that the CIA's
paramilitary operatives could start fights his forces
might have to finish.
The resentment burns even more because the generals know
that when it comes to special-operations soldiers, they
have a deeper bench than the spooks at Langley. And in
Afghanistan, the Pentagon was regularly asked to supply
the CIA with people from that bench. The Defense
Department already has 44,000 Army, Navy and Air Force
commandos in its U.S. Special Operations Command, who
are as skilled in covert guerrilla warfare as the CIA's
operatives. In the basement vaults of the command's
headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., sit secret
contingency plans to send military special-ops teams to
any trouble spot in the world, complete with
infiltration routes, drop zones, intelligence contacts
and assault points.
The CIA ended up having about 100 officers roaming in
Afghanistan during the U.S. invasion. But the agency
teams were still critically short of key operatives. "I
kept signing more and more deployment orders for folks
to go to the CIA," recalls Robert Andrews, who at the
time was a deputy assistant secretary of defense for
special operations. "They were looking for any medics,
operational soldiers and even intelligence specialists
that we had."
Even some old agency hands think the CIA should stick to
intelligence and leave the commando work to the
military. "Agency operators lack the experience to be
effective military operators," says Larry Johnson, a
former CIA officer and State Department counterterrorism
expert. "They have just enough training to be dangerous
to themselves and others." And there is the historic
danger that CIA paramilitary operations, cloaked in
layers of secrecy, can become rogues. "Everybody has
seen this movie before where secret wars have developed
into public disasters," warns John Pike, director of
GlobalSecurity.org, a defense and intelligence think
tank. "We're going to wind up doing things that, when
the American people hear of them, they will repudiate."
The CIA responds that its commandos take on the jobs the
military can't or won't handle. The SOG prides itself on
being small and agile, capable of sending teams of 10
operators or fewer anywhere in the world much faster
than the Pentagon can. One reason the agency was the
first into Afghanistan was that the Special Ops Command
dragged its feet getting its soldiers ready for action.
Intelligence sources tell Time that the CIA had
requested that commandos from the U.S. Army's elite
Delta Force join its first team going into Afghanistan
but that the Pentagon refused to send them.
Once deployed, CIA operatives have fewer regulations to
hamstring them than their military counterparts do. In
Afghanistan, CIA cargo planes were dropping warm-weather
clothing, saddles and bales of hay for allied Afghan
foot soldiers and cavalry. One cable that officers in
the field sent back to Langley read, "Please send boots.
The Taliban can hear our flip-flops." Says Kent
Harrington, a former CIA station chief in Asia: "If a
military special-operations soldier parachuted in with
$3 million to buy armies, he'd have to have a C-5 cargo
plane flying behind him with all the paperwork he'd need
to dispense the money."
The CIA also has far more contacts than the Pentagon
among foreign intelligence services that can help with
clandestine operations overseas, plus a global network
of paid snitches on the ground. The agency "deals with
everything from bottom feeders around the world to their
governments on a routine basis," says a senior U.S.
intelligence official. "Name a country anywhere, and
(the CIA) can identify with a couple of telephone calls
four or five people who will have a variety of skills to
go into that country if it becomes a difficult place."
Green Berets can operate covertly in a combat zone, but
they would stick out like sore thumbs if they tried to
infiltrate a foreign city, because they don't have the
intelligence network in place to conceal themselves. "We
have the ability to hide in plain sight, get in and get
out before anybody figures out who we are," asserts a
CIA officials, leery of being sucked into new scandals,
insist that their covert operations are now subject to
layers of oversight. Before an agency paramilitary team
can be launched, the President must sign an intelligence
"finding" that broadly outlines the operation to be
performed. That finding, along with a more detailed
description of the mission, is sent to the congressional
intelligence committees. If they object to an operation,
they can cut off its funds the next time the agency's
budget comes up.
After approving a covert operation, Bush leaves the
details of when and how to Tenet and his senior aides.
For example, Administration officials say Bush did not
specifically order the Predator attack in Yemen. But
after Sept. 11 he gave the CIA the green light to use
lethal force against al-Qaeda.
Rumsfeld, nevertheless, is intent on building his own
covert force. He recently ordered the Special Operations
Command to draw up secret plans to launch attacks
against al-Qaeda around the world, and he intends to put
an extra $1 billion in its budget next year for the job.
Elsewhere in the Defense Department, small, clandestine
units, coordinating little with the CIA, are busy
organizing their own future battles. Several hundred
Army agents, with what was originally known as the
intelligence support activity, train to infiltrate
foreign countries to scout targets. With headquarters at
Fort Belvoir, Va., the unit is so secretive, it changes
its cover name every six months. Delta Force has a
platoon of about 100 intelligence operatives trained to
sneak into a foreign country and radio back last-minute
intelligence before the force's commandos swoop in for
The CIA isn't amused. "Don't replicate what you don't
need to replicate," argues a senior U.S. intelligence
officer. So who referees this dispute? In addition to
running the CIA, Tenet, as director of Central
Intelligence, is supposed to oversee all intelligence
programs in the U.S. government. But the Pentagon, which
controls more than 80% of the estimated $35 billion
intelligence budget, doesn't want him meddling in its
Ultimately, the man who chooses between them is the
President. Both Tenet and Rumsfeld report directly to
him. And thus far, Bush has been eager to give Tenet
leeway to build up his commando force. With a major
conflict looming in Iraq, units from all branches of the
military are mobilizing to get a piece of the action.
The CIA, at least, will have its own.
From the Feb. 03, 2003 issue of TIME magazine
Back to Main News Page
Terror Alert Partly Based on Fabricated Information
By Brian Ross, Len Tepper and Jill Rackmill
Thursday 13 February 2003
A key piece of the information leading to recent terror alerts was fabricated, according to two senior law
enforcement officials in Washington and New York.
The officials said that a claim made by a captured al Qaeda member that Washington, New York or
Florida would be hit by a "dirty bomb" sometime this week had proven to be a product of his imagination.
The informant described a detailed plan that an al Qaeda cell operating in either Virginia or Detroit had
developed a way to slip past airport scanners with dirty bombs encased in shoes, suitcases, or laptops,
sources told ABCNEWS. The informant reportedly cited specific targets of government buildings and
Christian or clerical centers.
"This piece of that puzzle turns out to be fabricated and therefore the reason for a lot of the alarm,
particularly in Washington this week, has been dissipated after they found out that this information was not
true," said Vince Cannistraro, former CIA counter-terrorism chief and ABCNEWS consultant.
It was only after the threat level was elevated to orange -- meaning high -- last week, that the informant
was subjected to a polygraph test by the FBI, officials told ABCNEWS.
"This person did not pass," said Cannistraro.
According to officials, the FBI and the CIA are pointing fingers at each other. An FBI spokesperson told
ABCNEWS today he was "not familiar with the scenario," but did not think it was accurate.
Despite the fabricated report, there are no plans to change the threat level. Officials said other
intelligence has been validated and that the high level of precautions is fully warranted.
New Yorkers Taking Police Presence in Stride
In New York, police are out in force in the subways, at train stations and airports and at the bridge and
tunnel crossings into the city with radiation detectors and gas masks. In a press conference this afternoon,
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said 16,000 law enforcement officials trained to combat terrorism were deployed
in the city. Air patrols have also returned to New York.
"We are constantly changing what we're doing so no one can predict what instruments we'll be using
and where we'll be going," Bloomberg said. The mayor stressed that while people should be vigilant, they
should also be aware that New York City has been on code level orange for 17 months -- since the Sept.
11, 2001 attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center.
New Yorkers, and people around the country, should not be frozen by fear and must carry on with their
daily lives, the mayor said. New York Gov. George Pataki said it is important for people to be alert to
anything suspicious around them, but that they should not spread rumors that could create panic.
'Threat Is Still There'
"By no means do people believe the threat has evaporated," said Cannistraro. "The threat is still there,
the question really is the timing and when this is going to happen."
It's not the first time a captured al Qaeda operative has made up a huge story and scared a lot of
The FBI concluded the information that led to a nationwide hunt for five men suspected of infiltrating the
United States on Christmas Eve was fabricated by an informant, and the agency called off the alert sparked
by the information.
Officials said this one got so far because it coincided with other intelligence, that officials still believe
points to a coming attack, timed to hostilities with Iraq.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
Back to Main News Page
CIA 'Sabotaged Inspections and Hid Weapons Details'
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
Friday 14 February 2003
Senior democrats have accused the CIA of sabotaging weapons inspections in Iraq by refusing to
co-operate fully with the UN and withholding crucial information about Saddam Hussein's arsenal.
Led by Senator Carl Levin, the Democrats accused the CIA of making an assessment that the
inspections were unlikely to be a success and then ensuring they would not be. They have accused the
CIA director of lying about what information on the suspected location of weapons of mass destruction had
been passed on.
The row is of heightened significance given the Bush administration's preparations to argue later today
before the UN Security Council that the inspections have run their course and it is now time to move to
France, Russia, Germany and other members of the Security Council are likely to back a
counter-proposal to increase the number of inspectors, providing them, if necessary, with the support of
armed UN soldiers, as a means of avoiding a military strike.
The accusation of US sabotage emerged from a series of Senate hearings on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday,
George Tenet, the CIA director, told the armed services committee panel that the agency had provided the
UN inspectors with all the information it had on "high" and "moderate" interest locations inside Iraq -- those
sites where there was a possibility of finding banned weapons. But Mr Tenet later told a different panel that
he had been mistaken and that there were in fact "a handful" of locations the UN inspectors may not have
Senator Levin, from Michigan, responded by saying the CIA director had not been telling the truth. Citing
a number of classified letters he had obtained from the agency, he said it was clear the CIA had not shared
information with the inspectors about a "large number of sites of significant value".
He said the CIA had told him additional information would be passed to the inspectors within the next
Mr Levin pushed Mr Tenet on whether he thought the inspections had any value. The CIA director
replied: "Unless [President Saddam] provides the data to build on, provides the access, provides the
unfettered access that he's supposed to, provides us with surveillance capability, there is little chance
you're going to find weapons of mass destruction under the rubric he's created inside the country ... The
inspectors have been put in a very difficult position by his behaviour.
Mr Levin said later he believed the CIA had, in effect, taken the decision to undermine the inspections.
"When they've taken the position that inspections are useless, they are bound to fail," he told The
Washington Post. "We have undermined the inspectors."
Mr Levin has raised his concerns with the White House. In a letter to President Bush, the senator
asked that America provide the inspectors with as much information as available.
He wrote: "The American people want the inspections to proceed, want the United States to share the
information we have with the UN inspectors and want us to obtain United Nations support before military
action is used against Iraq."
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
Back to Main News Page
RIGHTWATCH - Feb. 14, 2003 (please forward)
Lying Us Into War: Exposing Bush and His "Techniques of Deceit"
By Dennis Hans President George W. Bush and his foreign-policy
team have systematically and knowingly deceived the American
people in order to gain support for an unprovoked attack on
Before I catalog the Bush administration’s “Techniques of
Deceit,” let me acknowledge that no U.N. resolution requires the
president to be honest with the American people. The fine print
of Resolution 1441 imposes no obligation to treat Americans as
citizens to be informed rather than suckers to be conned. He may
mislead, distort, suppress, exaggerate and lie to his heart’s
content without violating a single sentence in 1441.
So if compliance with 1441 is all that matters to you, read no
further. Turn on the TV and tune in Brokaw, Rather, Jennings,
Blitzer or Lehrer, to name five of the journalistic imposters who
control what you hear and see, who seem psychologically incapable
of conceiving of Bush as a liar, and who wouldn’t have the guts
to call him one even if they reached that conclusion.
But if you are an American citizen who believes in the bedrock
democratic principle of “the informed consent of the governed,”
*********** Why lie?
The president and many of his top advisers have wanted to invade
and overthrow the government of Saddam Hussein for a long time.
But they knew they couldn’t sell such a war against Iraq to a
majority of Americans and a majority in both houses of Congress
if they acknowledged just how pitifully weak and unthreatening
Iraq really is. If, however, the administration could portray
Iraq as an imminent, mortal threat to the United States — and
even a shadowy accomplice in the terrorist attacks of 9-11 — then
a majority of the population might come to see an invasion of
Iraq not as unprovoked U.S. aggression but as a wholly justified
response to what Iraq did to us.
That is precisely what the administration has done. In an October
poll by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, “66
percent believed [Saddam] was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks on
the United States.” Yes, two-thirds of Americans had come to
believe a horrible thing about Saddam that the Bush
administration knew for a fact was false, even as it encouraged
its lesser spokespeople to continue to promote the connection.
According to a Knight-Ridder poll conducted in January (
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/4911975.htm), 41 percent of
us believe Iraq has a nuclear weapon RIGHT NOW and another 35
percent are unsure or refused to answer the question. Only 24
percent know what Bush knows for an absolute fact: Iraq has no
nukes. And even many in that 24 percent might not realize that
Iraq would still be several years away from developing a nuke
even if we did the unthinkable and allowed them to import the
vast array of high-tech equipment needed just to get started.
How do people get such ridiculous thoughts in their head? A
dishonest administration plants them there with a steady drumbeat
of exaggerations, distortions and lies. In a process I call “lie
and rely” (
administration relies on a cowed and craven news media to present
their lies to the American people as fact — or at a minimum, as
still-to-be-confirmed assertions by respected officials with a
reputation for truth-telling. A handful of print reporters
occasionally exposing the most egregious lies can’t begin to
overcome the effect of the steady drumbeat of lies reported as
truth day after day on television.
If we factored out of the opinion polls all the people who have
internalized White House disinformation as fact, support for the
president’s position would plummet. Without the support of these
misled millions, Bush wouldn’t have been able to ramrod through
Congress a blank-check declaration. He wouldn’t have had that
blank check to use as a bludgeon against the U.N., and the U.S.
wouldn’t be on the verge of committing an act of unprovoked
*********** How Bush lies: The Techniques of Deceit
Although Bush presents himself to the world as a plain-spoken,
straight-shooting friend of the common man, he regularly employs
a variety of techniques to deceive the very people most inclined
to trust him.
So far, I have tallied 14 techniques. But there are more to be
uncovered, and there are far more examples than I can include
here. Consider this the tip of a deceitful iceberg.
In the paragraphs that follow I first will describe the technique
of deceit. Then I will illustrate it with one or more quotations
or propaganda themes, placing within brackets that portion of the
quote that illustrates the technique. Then I will explain how the
president applied the technique. Unless otherwise noted, the
president’s words are from the State of the Union address.
1) Stating as fact what are allegations — often highly dubious
ones (this is a staple of Bush’s speeches and Powell’s U.N.
presentation; I’ll limit myself to three):
a) “From three Iraqi defectors [we know] that Iraq, in the late
1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are
designed to produce germ warfare agents and can be moved from
place to a place to evade inspectors. Saddam Hussein [has not
disclosed] these facilities. He [has given no evidence] that he
has destroyed them.” Comment: What we “know” is that defectors
make this unproven claim. We don’t know if they were paid or
coached to make the claim, or volunteered it on their own. For
more on this, see Point 9 of the analysis (
http://www.traprockpeace.org/firstresponse.html) of Powell’s
address by Dr. Glen Rangwala, Lecturer in Politics at Cambridge
University, an advisor to Labor Party opponents of Tony Blair and
perhaps the world’s foremost authority on U.S. claims about Iraq,
which may explain why one never sees him in the U.S. media.
Rangwala notes that one defector made no mention of the labs in
his first press conferences. It was several months later, after
“debriefings” by the U.S. and the Iraqi National Congress, that
he started talking about mobile labs. Hans Blix told the Guardian
newspaper of Britain ( http://truthout.org/docs_02/020603A.htm)
he has seen no evidence that these mobile labs exist. Acting on
tips from the U.S. about labs disguised as food-testing trucks,
he investigated. “Two food-testing trucks have been inspected and
nothing has been found,” he said. That doesn’t mean that such
labs don’t exist, but at this point there simply is no proof of
that claim. It is NOT an established fact.
b) “The British government [has learned] that Saddam Hussein
recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
Comment: Wrong verb. What he should have said is the Brits assert
this but have produced no evidence of its veracity. The Brits
have offered no date for these efforts, but “recently,” in this
case, may well mean “the 1980s.” IAEA director Mohamed Elbaradei
has for weeks been asking — so far, in vain — for the U.S. and
Britain to provide “specifics of when and where.” He said in a
Jan. 12 interview, “We need actionable information.” (Interview
cited by Rangwala in his invaluable “Counter-Dossier II,” (
c) “We've [learned] that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in
bomb making and poisons and deadly gases.” (Bush’s televised
October speech) Comment: The L.A. Times reported a few days after
that speech that CIA director “Tenet's letter was more equivocal,
saying only that there has been ‘reporting’ that such training
has taken place. Unlike other passages of the letter, he did not
describe the reporting as ‘solid’ or ‘credible.’”
2) Withholding the key fact that destroys the moral underpinning
of an argument (and, in Powell’s case, reveals him to be a
“Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a murderous
tyrant, who [has already used chemical weapons to kill thousands
of people.]” (Bush’s October speech) Comment: The problem here is
that much of Bush’s national-security team aided and abetted
those crimes. After the worst attack, on Halabja in 1988 near the
end of the Iran-Iraq war, the Reagan team covered for Saddam by
implicating Iran, then prevented Congress from imposing tough
sanctions on Iraq. Joost R. Hiltermann, an official with Human
Rights Watch, shows in a recent column for the International
Herald Tribune ( http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0117-01.htm)
that Saddam was likely emboldened to use ever more lethal
concoctions to polish off the Kurds because he knew from past
gassing experience in 1983, 1984 and 1987 that he could always
count on the support of Reagan, Powell and George H. W. Bush. The
latter’s son has yet to mention this in any of his righteous
condemnations of Saddam. There are any number of governments who
have the moral standing to condemn Saddam’s gassing of the Kurds.
The one headed by George W. Bush does not.
Powell, of course, is the current administration’s knight in
shining armor, the trusted figure who commands the respect even
of the European leaders who cannot stomach Bush. But give a
listen to Peter W. Galbraith, former U.S. ambassador to Croatia
and now professor of national-security studies at the National
War College in Washington, D.C.:
“the Kurds have not forgotten that Secretary of State Colin
Powell was then the national security adviser who orchestrated
Ronald Reagan's decision to give Hussein a pass for gassing the
a) “I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into
Iraq and were denied — finally denied access, a [report] came out
of the Atomic — the IAEA that they were [six months away from
developing a weapon]. I don't know what more [evidence] we need.”
(Bush speaking at a news conference Sept. 7 with Tony Blair)
Comment: As Joseph Curl reported three weeks later in the
conservative Washington Times, there was no such IAEA report: “In
October 1998, just before Saddam kicked U.N. weapons inspectors
out of Iraq [actually, they were withdrawn], the IAEA laid out a
case opposite of Mr. Bush’s Sept. 7 declaration: ‘There are no
indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability
for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any
practical significance,’ IAEA Director-General Mohammed Elbaradei
wrote in a report to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan” (
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20020927-500715.htm). To this
day, the administration has yet to produce a convincing
explanation for Bush’s bogus assertion.
4) Delegated lying/Team lying:
Iraq was involved with 9-11 hijacker Mohamed Atta, via an Iraqi
agent who met him in Prague in the spring of 2001, and thus the
Iraqi regime may have participated in some fashion in 9-11.
(summary of major, long-lasting propaganda theme)
Comment: For the most outrageous, easily disproved, yet highly
effective lies, such as the Iraqi connection to 9-11, sometimes
the wise course is to assign personnel far removed from the
president to push the lie. That way, the president’s credibility
won’t suffer when the facts — known to the administration months
before it stopped peddling the lie — come out. And in a perverse
fashion, the man at the top of this disinformation pyramid, the
president, GAINS credibility for the disinformation in his own
speeches, because commentators will note what a cautious and
careful performance it was, given that he steered clear of the
not-yet-confirmed 9-11 connection.
The farther out of the loop the designated lie-pushers are, the
better: The administration can more easily keep from them the
intelligence data that flat-out refutes the lie, which helps
those lie-pushers who are more convincing when they THINK what
they’re saying might be true than when they know for a fact it’s
not true. For our purposes, whether the speaker believes what he
says is irrelevant. What matters is that the administration is
consciously deceiving the public.
The most aggressive pushers of this story have been
neoconservative extremists Richard Perle, James Woolsey, Ken
Adelman and Frank Gaffney, who either serve on the Defense Policy
Board or are otherwise tangentially connected to the
administration. (Gaffney has even tried to link Iraq to the 1995
terror bombing in Oklahoma City.) See this article (
http://slate.msn.com/id/2070410/) for details on how this myth
stayed alive long after intelligence pros definitely disproved
it. Of course, now that the Atta link has petered out, another al
Qaeda “connection” of comparable validity is being spread — this
time by Powell and Bush.
5) Straw man:
“The risks of doing nothing, the risks of assuming the best from
Saddam Hussein, it’s just not a risk worth taking.” Comment:
Notice that Bush doesn’t name anyone who advocates “doing
nothing.” The whole idea behind DOING inspections and containment
is that everyone knows we can’t take Saddam at his word. Here,
for instance, is former President Jimmy Carter’s eminently
sensible and non-violent “do-something” strategy to ensure the
security of Iraq’s neighbors as well as the United States:
6) Withholding the key fact that would alert viewers that the
purported grave threat is non-existent:
“We’ve also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a
growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could
be used to disperse chemical and biological weapons across broad
areas. We are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using UAVs
for missions [targeting the United States].” (October speech)
Comment: Bush omits the fact that the vehicles have limited
range, thus requiring Saddam to transport the vehicles to our
coast line WITHOUT BEING DETECTED. The odds of that happening
start at a billion to one. (Dana Millbank exposed this lie last
October in the Washington Post. The Post link has expired, but
you can read this summary of the lies Millbank exposed:
7) Using mistranslation and misquotation to plant a frightening
impression in the minds of trusting citizens that is the exact
opposite of what you know to be true:
“Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear
scientists, a group he calls [his ‘nuclear mujahedeen’ -- his
nuclear holy warriors].” (October speech) Comment: Here Bush
plays on two fears of the public: of Islamist holy warriors and
nuclear weapons. But Saddam runs a secular state and has no ties
to Islamist terrorists such as al Qaeda (despite other lies to
the contrary). As for nukes, Iraq’s production capabilities had
been destroyed completely by 1998, and today Elbaradei is in the
process of verifying that Iraq has not taken even the first baby
steps in what would be a mammoth effort to rebuild a nuclear
infrastructure — an infrastructure that would be virtually
impossible to hide.
Equally insidious on Bush’s part is the mistranslation and
misquotation. In “Counter-Dossier II” (
http://traprockpeace.org/weapons.html), Dr. Glen Rangwala,
observes that the speech Bush is referring to was delivered by
Saddam “on 10 September 2000 and was about, in part, nuclear
energy. The transcription of the speech was made at the time by
the BBC monitoring service. Saddam Hussein actually refers to
‘nuclear energy mujahidin,’ and doesn’t mention the development
of weaponry. In addition, the term ‘mujahidin’ is often used in a
non-combatant sense, to mean anyone who struggles for a cause.
Saddam Hussein, for example, often refers to the mujahidin
developing Iraq's medical facilities. There is nothing in the
speech to indicate that Iraq is attempting to develop or threaten
the use of nuclear weapons.”
Was Bush aware of the mistranslation and misquotation? We’d have
to inject him with truth serum to find out. Even if some senior
intelligence official did the deed and kept the accurate quote
and translation from Bush, it’s obvious who is setting the
deceitful tone in the administration. The official would have
every reason to believe that this is just the sort of dirty trick
— played on the unsuspecting American citizenry, not Saddam
Hussein — that this president would love.
8) Putting the most frightening interpretation on a piece of
evidence while pretending that no other interpretation exists:
“Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to
purchase high-strength aluminum tubes [suitable for nuclear
weapons production].” Comment: Those tubes, unaltered, happen to
be a perfect fit for a conventional artillery rocket program. For
details, see the tubes section in my essay “An Open Letter to the
U.N. About Colin Powell” (
The Washington Post’s Joby Warrick (
ml) adds this: “The tubes were made of an aluminum-zinc alloy
known as 7000-series, which is used in a wide range of industrial
applications. But the dimensions and technical features, such as
metal thickness and surface coatings, made them an unlikely
choice for centrifuges, several nuclear experts said. Iraq used a
different aluminum alloy in its centrifuges in the 1980s before
switching to more advanced metals known as maraging steel and
carbon fibers, which are better suited for the task, the experts
said. Significantly, there is no evidence so far that Iraq sought
other materials required for centrifuges, such as motors, metal
caps and special magnets, U.S. and international officials
Following Powell’s address, Susan Taylor Martin of the St.
Petersburg Times (
ut_is.shtml) reported this: “Powell's speech was 'not quite
accurate' on two points, according to the Institute for Science
and International Security, a nonpartisan organization in
Washington that deals with technical aspects of nuclear
proliferation. Contrary to Powell's claim, anodized tubes are not
appropriate for centrifuges and the anodization, designed to
prevent corrosion, would have to be removed before the tubes
could be used, said Corey Hinderstein, assistant director: 'It's
not to say it would be impossible to use anodized tubes for
centrifuges but it adds an extra step.' She also challenged
Powell's comment that the tubes must be intended for a nuclear
program because they meet higher specifications than the United
States sets for its own rocketry. 'In fact, we found
European-designed rockets that had exactly this high degree of
specificity,' Hinderstein said.”
9) Withholding highly relevant information that would weaken your
case, because what you really want to obtain from the citizenry
is “the UNINFORMED consent of the governed”:
North Korea’s “secret” nuclear-weapons program wasn’t a secret to
the administration last fall. Yet it kept the information to
itself, waiting till very late in the congressional debate over
Iraq to inform not the entire public and Congress, but merely a
relative few members of Congress. Thus, the Bush team didn’t have
to explain — well before each House even began to debate the
various Iraq resolutions — exactly why the administration had no
problem seeking a non-invasion solution to a crisis far more
grave and imminent than Iraq.
10) Bold declarations of hot air:
a) “[The only possible explanation], the only possible use he
could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate or
attack.” Comment: “Deterrence” is also a generally understood
reason to develop WMD. Just ask the leaders of North Korea,
Israel, Pakistan, India, Russia and the U.S. Deterrence and
regional “balance of power” considerations were obvious factors
in Saddam’s efforts in the 1980s to develop nuclear weapons. Not
the only factors, but factors nonetheless.
b) “Every chemical and biological weapon that Iraq has or [makes]
is a direct violation of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf
War in 1991.” (October speech, national television) Comment: As
Rahul Mahajan correctly observes (
http://www.accuracy.org/bush/), “There are no credible
allegations that Iraq produced chemical or biological agents
while inspectors were in the country, until December 1998. The
reason we don’t know whether they are producing those agents or
not since then is that inspectors were withdrawn at the U.S.
behest preparatory to the Desert Fox bombing campaign.” Visit the
Institute for Public Accuracy website ( http://www.accuracy.org)
for detailed critiques of Bush’s major addresses on Iraq.
11) Creating in the public mind an intense but unfounded fear:
“[Knowing these realities], America must not ignore the threat
gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot
wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in
the form of a [mushroom cloud].” (October speech) Comment: Iraq
cannot turn American cities into mushroom clouds because it has
no nuclear weapons and no long-range missiles to fire the nukes
it does not have. The world is not about to let Iraq under Saddam
resurrect its nuclear-weapons program. But even if the world did,
Iraq would still be several years away from being able to develop
12) Citing old news as if it’s relevant today, while leaving out
the reason it’s not:
a) “The International Atomic Energy Agency [confirmed] in the
1990s that Saddam Hussein [had] an advanced nuclear weapons
development program, [had] a design for a nuclear weapon and was
working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a
bomb.” Comment: IAEA has also confirmed, that they shut the
program down and destroyed all the production facilities –
seemingly relevant facts: In October 1998, Elbaradei reported to
the U.N: “There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any
physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear
material of any practical significance” (
“[This nation fights reluctantly], because [we] know the cost,
and [we] dread the days of mourning that always come.” Comment:
Bush is deliberately confusing the sensible, compassionate
American people with his bellicose, bullying self.
14) Hallucinatory lying:
Bush’s assertion, based on absolutely no evidence, that Saddam
hopes to deploy al Qaeda as his “forward army” against the West:
“We need to think about Saddam Hussein using al Qaeda to do his
dirty work, to not leave fingerprints behind,” he told a
Republican audience in Michigan prior to the congressional
elections. (See David Corn’s report at The Nation’s website:
Comment: “We need to think about” Bush using Adelman, Woolsey,
Perle and Gaffney to do Bush’s dirty work, so as to not leave
presidential fingerprints on the hoariest lie of all — that Iraq
was an accomplice in 9-11.
15) Withholding the key fact that would show your principled pose
to be a pose devoid of principle:
“Saddam Hussein [attacked Iran in 1980] and Kuwait in 1990.”
(U.N. speech, Sept. 12, 2002) Comment: The Swedish government is
entitled to condemn Iraq for invading Iran. The current U.S.
government — featuring key players from the very Reagan
administration that supported Iraqi aggression through much of
the 1980s— is not. If you surround yourself with officials who
supported the aggression in real time, you’re not entitled to be
angered by it 20 years later.
*********** Conclusion: What to do with a president who is trying
to lie us into a war
It is not one single lie that has an effect on the public. It is
the cumulative effect of dozens of lies, big and small,
reiterated daily and challenged rarely. That is the effect that
has brought us to where we are today.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, speaking January 19 on ABC
tml), offered the media splendid advice on how they should handle
in their broadcasts and articles a leader that lies:
“Well, first, Saddam Hussein is a liar. He lies every single day.
. . . He is still claiming that he won the war. His people are
being told every day that they won. It was a great victory in
1991 when he was thrown out of Kuwait and chased back to Baghdad.
Now, it seems to me that almost every time you quote something
from him, you should preface it by saying ‘here’s a man who has
lied all the time and consistently.’”
That’s good advice for Brokaw and company, but what about the
citizenry? What should we do?
Do we as a nation want to follow our dishonest president into an
aggressive, unnecessary war? I say the wiser course is to stop
the war train in its tracks and intensify inspections, which will
give the American people the breathing space to decide what
exactly we should do with a leader who has sunk this low.
# # # - Bio: Dennis Hans is a freelance writer whose work has
appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Post
(Canada) and online at TomPaine.com, Slate and The Black World
Today (tbwt.com), among other outlets. He has taught courses in
mass communications and American foreign policy at the University
of South Florida-St. Petersburg, and can be reached at
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Back to Main News Page
Robert Brenner: The Continuing Collapse of the US Economy
(from the London Review of Books)
* Bethlehem to retirees: "Screw you!"
Bethlehem will terminate retiree health benefits (Pittsburgh Business
[from Supporting Facts
In an essay in the London Review of Books, economic historian Robert
Brenner argues the vaunted US economic boom of the 90's was an
exercise in unprofitable overinvestment fueled by speculation and
fraud, whose excesses have yet to be unwound. The decade was
characterized by a frenzied surge in high-tech investment excited by
the potential of the Internet, which had to be financed through
corporate borrowing and stock offerings in the absence of retained
earnings. The speculative orgy was encouraged by financial
deregulation, and the easy money policies of Allan Greenspan's
Federal Reserve. The accounting scandals which rocked corporate
America at the end of the decade resulted from desperate attempts by
companies to disguise their low or non-existent profitability in
order to preserve their access to capital markets. When this no
longer proved possible, a wave of bankruptcies washed over the
private sector, precipitating a recession from which it has not yet
recovered. Brenner believes the economy is still plagued by
overcapacity and is headed for deflation, unemployment, and
depression, which the Bush administration's economic program of
military spending and tax cuts for the wealthy will do nothing to
"The 'virtuous cycle' touted by Greenspan was little more than hype.
What drove the economy . . . was a vicious cycle that proceeded from
rising equity prices to rising investment, in the face of falling
profitability, which issued in increasing overcapacity that lowered
profitability still further."
[read more: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v25/n03/bren01_.html]
Bethlehem to retirees: "Screw you!"
Bethlehem will terminate retiree health benefits Pittsburgh Business
Times online 09:41 EST Monday, February 10, 2003
[posted by John Lacny to <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A day before it accepted a takeover proposal from International Steel
Group, Bethlehem Steel Corp. said it will seek to terminate health
and life insurance benefits for tens of thousands of retirees.
Bethlehem announced the plan, which was immediately condemned by the
steelworkers' union, the day before its board accepted the offer from
ISG to buy substantially all of its assets. That deal is worth about
Bethlehem, which has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection for more than a year, said it would seek to eliminate the
benefits for 95,000 people - almost all of its retired work force
and their eligible dependents - by March 31. The Pension Benefit
Guaranty Corp., a federal body, already had taken over Bethlehem's
underfunded pension plan.
The company, based in eastern Pennsylvania, said it has paid $300
million in retiree health bills since it filed for bankruptcy
protection. Robert Miller, chairman and chief executive officer, said
the company cannot afford those costs any longer. ISG is unwilling to
Mr. Miller said that decision was "extremely difficult but
But the United Steelworkers of America, which is headquartered in
Pittsburgh, condemned the action, calling it a "morally callous act."
Leo Gerard, the union's president, said the Steelworkers would fight
for federal legislation to protect the benefits for retired
steelworkers. He said in a statement that the union "will negotiate
with ISG to address the moral obligation that Bethlehem's executives
have so callously abandoned."
International Steel Group, which is based in Cleveland, offered in
January to pay $1.5 billion for the bulk of Bethlehem's assets.
Bethlehem said last week that it had conditionally accepted the
offer, which must still win approval from the bankruptcy court. The
company called a special meeting of its directors Saturday to give
the proposal its final approval.
"This sale will provide a new beginning for our employees and our
operations," Mr. Miller said. He said the company will move quickly
to conclude the sale, probably by early in the second quarter, after
which ISG will be the largest steel maker in North America.
ISG was formed by W.L. Ross & Co. LLC, the New York-based private
equity firm headed by a former Rothschild Inc. banker, Wilbur Ross.
Last year, W.L. Ross acquired Cleveland-based LTV Corp.'s idled mills
out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for $125 million in cash and
the assumption of about $200 million of LTV's environmental and other
Back to Main News Page
t r u t h o u t | Statement
by US Senator Robert Byrd
Senate Floor Speech
We Stand Passively Mute
Wednesday 12 February 2003
"To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. On this February day, as
this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of
Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent -- ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no
discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing.
We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly
stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. Only on the editorial pages of our newspapers is there much
substantive discussion of the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war.
And this is no small conflagration we contemplate. This is no simple attempt to defang a villain. No.
This coming battle, if it materializes, represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly a turning
point in the recent history of the world.
This nation is about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an extraordinary
way at an unfortunate time. The doctrine of preemption -- the idea that the United States or any other nation
can legitimately attack a nation that is not imminently threatening but may be threatening in the future -- is
a radical new twist on the traditional idea of self defense. It appears to be in contravention of international
law and the UN Charter. And it is being tested at a time of world-wide terrorism, making many countries
around the globe wonder if they will soon be on our -- or some other nation's -- hit list. High level
Administration figures recently refused to take nuclear weapons off of the table when discussing a possible
attack against Iraq. What could be more destabilizing and unwise than this type of uncertainty, particularly
in a world where globalism has tied the vital economic and security interests of many nations so closely
together? There are huge cracks emerging in our time-honored alliances, and U.S. intentions are suddenly
subject to damaging worldwide speculation. Anti-Americanism based on mistrust, misinformation,
suspicion, and alarming rhetoric from U.S. leaders is fracturing the once solid alliance against global
terrorism which existed after September 11.
Here at home, people are warned of imminent terrorist attacks with little guidance as to when or where
such attacks might occur. Family members are being called to active military duty, with no idea of the
duration of their stay or what horrors they may face. Communities are being left with less than adequate
police and fire protection. Other essential services are also short-staffed. The mood of the nation is grim.
The economy is stumbling. Fuel prices are rising and may soon spike higher.
This Administration, now in power for a little over two years, must be judged on its record. I believe that
that record is dismal.
In that scant two years, this Administration has squandered a large projected surplus of some $5.6
trillion over the next decade and taken us to projected deficits as far as the eye can see. This
Administration's domestic policy has put many of our states in dire financial condition, under funding
scores of essential programs for our people. This Administration has fostered policies which have slowed
economic growth. This Administration has ignored urgent matters such as the crisis in health care for our
elderly. This Administration has been slow to provide adequate funding for homeland security. This
Administration has been reluctant to better protect our long and porous borders.
In foreign policy, this Administration has failed to find Osama bin Laden. In fact, just yesterday we heard
from him again marshaling his forces and urging them to kill. This Administration has split traditional
alliances, possibly crippling, for all time, International order-keeping entities like the United Nations and
NATO. This Administration has called into question the traditional worldwide perception of the United
States as well-intentioned, peacekeeper. This Administration has turned the patient art of diplomacy into
threats, labeling, and name calling of the sort that reflects quite poorly on the intelligence and sensitivity of
our leaders, and which will have consequences for years to come.
Calling heads of state pygmies, labeling whole countries as evil, denigrating powerful European allies as
irrelevant -- these types of crude insensitivities can do our great nation no good. We may have massive
military might, but we cannot fight a global war on terrorism alone. We need the cooperation and friendship
of our time-honored allies as well as the newer found friends whom we can attract with our wealth. Our
awesome military machine will do us little good if we suffer another devastating attack on our homeland
which severely damages our economy. Our military manpower is already stretched thin and we will need
the augmenting support of those nations who can supply troop strength, not just sign letters cheering us
The war in Afghanistan has cost us $37 billion so far, yet there is evidence that terrorism may already
be starting to regain its hold in that region. We have not found bin Laden, and unless we secure the peace
in Afghanistan, the dark dens of terrorism may yet again flourish in that remote and devastated land.
Pakistan as well is at risk of destabilizing forces. This Administration has not finished the first war
against terrorism and yet it is eager to embark on another conflict with perils much greater than those in
Afghanistan. Is our attention span that short? Have we not learned that after winning the war one must
always secure the peace?
And yet we hear little about the aftermath of war in Iraq. In the absence of plans, speculation abroad is
rife. Will we seize Iraq's oil fields, becoming an occupying power which controls the price and supply of that
nation's oil for the foreseeable future? To whom do we propose to hand the reigns of power after Saddam
Will our war inflame the Muslim world resulting in devastating attacks on Israel? Will Israel retaliate with
its own nuclear arsenal? Will the Jordanian and Saudi Arabian governments be toppled by radicals,
bolstered by Iran which has much closer ties to terrorism than Iraq?
Could a disruption of the world's oil supply lead to a world-wide recession? Has our senselessly
bellicose language and our callous disregard of the interests and opinions of other nations increased the
global race to join the nuclear club and made proliferation an even more lucrative practice for nations which
need the income?
In only the space of two short years this reckless and arrogant Administration has initiated policies
which may reap disastrous consequences for years.
One can understand the anger and shock of any President after the savage attacks of September 11.
One can appreciate the frustration of having only a shadow to chase and an amorphous, fleeting enemy on
which it is nearly impossible to exact retribution.
But to turn one's frustration and anger into the kind of extremely destabilizing and dangerous foreign
policy debacle that the world is currently witnessing is inexcusable from any Administration charged with
the awesome power and responsibility of guiding the destiny of the greatest superpower on the planet.
Frankly many of the pronouncements made by this Administration are outrageous. There is no other word.
Yet this chamber is hauntingly silent. On what is possibly the eve of horrific infliction of death and
destruction on the population of the nation of Iraq -- a population, I might add, of which over 50% is under
age 15 -- this chamber is silent. On what is possibly only days before we send thousands of our own
citizens to face unimagined horrors of chemical and biological warfare -- this chamber is silent. On the eve
of what could possibly be a vicious terrorist attack in retaliation for our attack on Iraq, it is business as
usual in the United States Senate.
We are truly "sleepwalking through history." In my heart of hearts I pray that this great nation and its
good and trusting citizens are not in for a rudest of awakenings.
To engage in war is always to pick a wild card. And war must always be a last resort, not a first choice.
I truly must question the judgment of any President who can say that a massive unprovoked military attack
on a nation which is over 50% children is "in the highest moral traditions of our country". This war is not
necessary at this time. Pressure appears to be having a good result in Iraq. Our mistake was to put
ourselves in a corner so quickly. Our challenge is to now find a graceful way out of a box of our own
making. Perhaps there is still a way if we allow more time.
Back to Main News Page
SHOWDOWN WITH IRAQ
Federal Bastion Raises a Peace Flag
By David Lamb Times
February 12 2003
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- One day when historians scour old
newspaper clips to glean America's mood as war seemed
to grow ever closer, the town meeting here to discuss
the possible invasion of Iraq may escape unnoticed -- a
minor event that made no news, changed few minds and
maybe wasn't even representative of the nation as a
But in an overflowing school auditorium Monday night,
at a forum with their congressman, a two-star Marine
general and an assistant secretary of Defense, the
citizens of Alexandria spoke of overwhelming concerns
about war with Iraq, and particularly its aftermath.
Their antiwar sentiments sounded like those heard in
France and Germany.
The message was surprising because Alexandria, across
the Potomac River from Washington, is on the front
lines of the war on terror.
The Pentagon is nearby, and the federal court where
charges against some terrorists have been filed is
located here. Six percent of Alexandria's 133,000
residents work for the Defense Department.
"If you live in Cincinnati, you're not likely to be the
subject of a terrorist attack. Here it's already
happened," said Steve Dujack, editor of an
environmental publication. "So our concern is real.
What happens as a result of Iraq is real.
"I was very much a supporter of the first Persian Gulf
War. I thought our strategic interests were at stake.
Iraq's move into Kuwait was naked aggression. I thought
there was a legal justification for war. But this war
seems unabashedly put forth by a president to advance
his political interests."
Dujack was one of 600 people who turned out on a cold,
drizzly winter evening for the town hall organized by
James P. Moran, Alexandria's six-term Democratic
congressman, who said he shared many of his
At Moran's invitation, the Defense Department sent Maj.
Gen. Kevin Kuklok, a Gulf War veteran, and Victoria
Clarke, spokeswoman for Secretary of Defense Donald H.
Rumsfeld, to explain the Bush administration's views.
Moran told the audience -- which was so unexpectedly
large the school cafeteria had to be opened to hold the
overflow -- that he thought Secretary of State Colin L.
Powell had made a convincing case in condemning Iraq
before the United Nations, and that he believed Saddam
Hussein did indeed possess chemical and biological
But to loud applause, he questioned giving Iraq a
higher priority than North Korea; not pressing harder
for a diplomatic solution; the lack of debate over what
happens to Iraq after the war; and the fact that
"American people have not been asked to bear any
sacrifice. We've been given tax cuts and told to spend
them at the malls."
The audience snickered when Clarke said Bush had made
no decision about military action. But it sat in somber
silence when she said the casualties of the Sept. 11
attacks would pale in comparison to the death toll in a
chemical attack. The country had changed since the
attack on the World Trade Center in New York and at the
Pentagon, she said: Inaction could pose a greater risk
"I am an Iraqi Kurd," said a woman, one of several
dozen who lined up behind two microphones on the
auditorium floor. "Saddam Hussein has gassed my family.
He has cruelly bombed my brothers and sisters. I know
what this man is capable of. And I am against this war.
Against it! It will solve nothing."
"Thirteen years ago I bought a car that got 30 mpg,"
said a man who believed the potential war was about
oil. "Today you buy that same Ford and it gets 20 mpg.
Can you explain that to me?"
"When you say the Iraqi threat is imminent, what do you
mean by imminent -- a month, a year, 10 years?" asked a
Vietnam War veteran. "I woke up in Tay Ninh one morning
and half a North Vietnamese division was on our
doorstep. Now, that's a clear and present danger. But I
don't believe Saddam Hussein today presents a clear and
present danger to the United States."
The audience -- mostly middle-age professionals --
broke into sustained applause when the veteran said the
nation was being led into war by men who had never gone
to war. He thundered off half a dozen names: "George
Bush, hawk, did not fulfill his National Guard duty;
Dick Cheney, hawk, did not serve; Paul Wolfowitz, hawk,
did not serve; Richard Perle, hawk, did not serve."
Applause also greeted Moran's comment that, unlike what
happened in the Vietnam era, "if we go to war, it is
incumbent on all the American people to support our
If this was the face of a new antiwar movement in the
auditorium, it had vastly different features from that
in the 1960s and '70s.
"When you have a town hall meeting on an issue, you're
going to get the people who are most upset by the
prevailing policy," Moran said Tuesday. "So last night,
with probably 80% against the war, wasn't an accurate
random sampling. Still, of the people who have
contacted my office to express an opinion, 69% are
"What surprised me the most was how closely people are
following the issue. There was a level of
sophistication a little higher than you might find in
some areas of the country, like the South and Midwest,
where people were calling my office Tuesday to call me
a communist." If you want other stories on this topic,
search the Archives at latimes.com/archives. For
information about reprinting this article, go to
Copyright 2003 Los Angeles Times
Back to Main News Page
2003/02/12 Wed PM 05:17:10 EST
Report from Iraq
Report from Iraq
Submitted to portside by Charlie Clements
I am a public health physician and a human rights
advocate. I have just returned from a 10-day emergency
mission to Iraq with other public health experts to
assess the vulnerability of the civilian population to
another war. I'm also a distinguished graduate of the
USAF Academy and a Vietnam veteran, so I have some
sense of the potential consequences of the air war we
are about to unleash on Iraq as a prelude to the
introduction of American troops.
The population of Iraq has been reduced to the status
of refugees. Nearly 60 percent of Iraqis, or almost 14
million people, depend entirely on a government-
provided food ration that, by international standards,
represents the minimum for human sustenance.
Unemployment is greater than 50 percent, and the
majority of those who are employed make between $4 and
$8 a month. (The latter figure is the salary of a
physician that works in a primary health center.) Most
families are without economic resources, having sold
off their possessions over the last decade to get by.
Hospital wards are filled with severely malnourished
children, and much of the population has a marginal
nutritional status. While visiting a children's
hospital, we were told about newly emerging diseases
that had previously been controlled when pesticides
were available. (Current sanctions prohibit their
importation.) Later I saw a mother who had traveled
200 km with her young daughter, who suffered from
leschmaniais, or "kala azar" as it is known there. She
came to the hospital because she heard it had a supply
of Pentostam, the medicine needed to treat the disease.
The pediatrician told her there was none. Then he
turned to me and, in English, said, "It would be kinder
to shoot her here rather than let her go home and die
the lingering death that awaits her". Our interpreter,
by instinct, translated the doctor's comments into
Arabic for the mother, whose eyes instantly overflowed
The food distribution program funded by the U.N., Oil-
for-Food, is the world's largest and is heavily
dependent upon the transportation system, which will be
one of the first targets of the war, as the U.S. will
attempt to sever transport routes to prevent Iraqi
troop movements and interrupt military supplies. Yet
even before the transportation system is hit, U.S.
aircraft will spread millions of graphite filaments in
wind-dispersed munitions that will cause a complete
paralysis of the nation's electrical grids. Already
literally held together with bailing wire because the
country has been unable to obtain spare parts due to
sanctions, the poorly functioning electrical system is
essential to the public health infrastructure.
The water treatment system, too, has been a victim of
sanctions. Unable to import chlorine and aluminum
sulfate (alum) to purify water, Iraq has already seen a
1000% increase in the incidence of some waterborne
diseases. Typhoid cases, for instance, have increased
from 2,200 in 1990 to more than 27,000 in 1999. In the
aftermath of an air assault, Iraqis will not have
potable water in their homes, and they will not have
water to flush their toilets.
The sanitation system, which frequently backs up sewage
ankle deep in Baghdad neighborhoods when the ailing
pumps fail, will stop working entirely in the aftermath
of the air attack. There will be epidemics as water
treatment and water pumping will come to a halt. Even
though it is against the Geneva Conventions to target
infrastructure elements that primarily serve civilians,
this prohibition did not give us pause in Gulf War I --
and, based upon current Bush administration threats,
will not this time. Pregnant women, malnourished
children, and the elderly will be the first to succumb.
UNICEF estimates that 500,000 more children died in
Iraq in the decade following the Gulf War than died in
the previous decade. These children are part of the
"collateral damage" from the last war.
How many civilians will die in the next war? That is
hard to say. One estimate for the last Gulf War was
that 10,000 perished, mostly during the bombing
campaign that led up to the invasion. That figure will
surely climb because our government has promised that a
cruise missile will strike Iraq every five minutes for
the first 48 hours the war. These missiles will seek
out military, intelligence, and security-force targets
around highly populated areas like Baghdad, Basra, and
Mosul, Iraq's largest cities, where "collateral damage"
is unavoidable. Unable to meet the acute medical needs
of the country's population now, the health care system
of Iraq will be overwhelmed by such an assault.
This scenario is conservative. I have not taken into
account any use of weapons of mass destruction, or the
possibility that the war will set loose massive civil
disorder and bloodshed, as various groups within the
country battle for power or revenge. I have also
ignored what would happen if we became bogged down in
house-to-house fighting in Baghdad, which could easily
become another Mogidishu or Jenin.
There was a lot that made me angry on that trip. I
have worked in war zones before and I have been with
civilians as they were bombed by U.S.-supplied
aircraft, but I don't think I've experienced anything
on the magnitude of the catastrophe that awaits our
attack in Iraq. Still, as deeply troubling as this
looming human disaster is, another issue troubles me
far more. If the U.S. pursues this war without the
backing of the U.N. Security Council, it will undermine
a half-century of efforts by the world community to
establish a foundation of humanitarian and human rights
law. Such an act on our part would also violate the
U.N. Charter and make a mockery of the very institution
we have helped to fashion in the hopes it would help
prevent crimes against humanity. Many might define the
consequences of such an attack on the population of
Iraq as just that.
Saddam is a monster, there is no doubt about that. He
needs to be contained. Yet many former U.N. weapons
inspectors feel he has been "defanged". His neighbors
do not fear him any longer. There are many Iraqis who
want him removed, but not by a war. Against the short-
term gain of removing Saddam, we must take into account
that idea that we may well unleash forces of hatred and
resentment that will haunt us for decades to come in
every corner of the world. I can just hear Osama Bin
Laden saying now, "Please President Bush, attack Iraq.
There's nothing better you could do to help the cause
of Al Qaeda!"
Letter from Charlie Clements <email@example.com>,
Back to Main News Page
House of Cards
Bush's paper-thin evidence to justify a war has fallen apart
Los Angeles Times | Commentary
Monday 11 February 2003
There is a smoking gun.
Unfortunately -- and to the disgrace of a basically decent man -- it is in the hands of Colin Powell, who
finds himself touting the flimsy, exaggerated and often phony evidence of alleged links between Saddam
Hussein and Al Qaeda.
From the beginning, the 9/11 attacks that horrified the world have been cynically exploited by this
administration as a golden opportunity to settle an old Bush family score with Hussein. Even as we went
justifiably to war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the White House kept inexplicably
hinting that Iraq would be next. But why? After all, Iraq's arsenal, eviscerated by war, inspections and
bombing raids, was not a pressing threat.
One answer is that Hussein, hunkered down in Baghdad, was a handy stand-in for Al Qaeda leader
Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, both of whom have not been brought to
account as promised by George W. Bush. This was especially convenient for a powerful clique of White
House "chicken hawks" -- so called because they are quick to support war but managed to avoid service
themselves -- who were eager to dust off a decade-old plan to seize Iraq as the first step in redrawing the
map of the Middle East and, incidentally, gaining control of its oil.
In normal times, the selling of this imperial fantasy to a properly skeptical public, both at home and
abroad, would have been impossible. But if Hussein could be linked to the mass murderers of 9/11? Piece
of cake. That is why the good soldier Powell in his United Nations speech labored gamely to establish such
The main evidence presented by the secretary of State was a satellite photo of a forlorn outpost,
allegedly linked to Hussein and Al Qaeda and which Powell claims is in the business of producing
chemical weapons. However, the camp is outside the area controlled by Hussein and is in the northern
Kurdish region protected by U.S. and British warplanes. It is run by the Islamic fundamentalist group Ansar
al-Islam, which has a history of opposing both the secular Hussein and his equally secular rivals in the
dominant Kurdish group, one of whose leaders was assassinated Monday.
Later it was revealed that the United States had had this camp under surveillance for months and could
have taken it out on one of many recent bombing runs.
Over the weekend, 20 foreign reporters finally got to visit the camp and found a dilapidated collection of
shacks without indoor plumbing or the electrical capacity to produce the weapons in question.
A further embarrassment was another bit of intelligence touted by Powell, a British report that Powell
referred to as a "fine paper ... which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities." The report,
grammar and spelling errors intact, turned out to be largely plagiarized from a graduate student paper,
grabbed off the Internet from an Israeli publication, that relied on 12-year-old data. Unfortunately, unlike
Scotch, intelligence does not age well. Nevertheless, there were the dregs of old dissertations and
magazine articles, recycled and served up in a report cobbled together by British Prime Minister Tony
Blair's press officer, just before Blair's meeting with Bush last month.
There was nothing better to report in regard to an Al Qaeda-Iraq connection because England's vaunted
spy agencies would not confirm the falsehoods that Blair and Bush wanted to hear.
Like their professional counterparts in the United States, British intelligence agencies don't believe there
is an Iraq-Al Qaeda connection -- a rather inconvenient fact revealed by the British Broadcasting Corp. on
the eve of Blair's visit. The BBC had obtained a top-level report from British intelligence that stated flatly that
there were no current ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
"The classified document ... said there had been contact between the two in the past, but it assessed
that any fledgling relationship foundered due to mistrust and incompatible ideologies," reported London's
This last is the rub. Hussein, himself evil in so many ways, is the secular apostate to the Islamic
fundamentalist nuts that are behind our terror fears; that is precisely why the U.S. backed Iraq, nasty
weapons and all, in its devastating war with fundamentalist Iran. This is all further evidence that the
increasingly frenetic and discredited argument for preemptive war against Iraq is not based on a coherent
Depressing as it is to acknowledge, it now seems clear we are witnessing the tantrum of a woefully
untutored and inexperienced president whose willfulness rises in direct proportion to his inability to
comprehend a world too complex for his grasp.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
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You have been sent this message from firstname.lastname@example.org as a
>courtesy of the Washington Post - http://www.washingtonpost.com
> To view the entire article, go to
> Save The Seeds
> By Donald Kennedy
> Among all the scientific disciplines, one arguably has the greatest
>potential for providing human benefit on a global scale. Hundreds of
>millions of people in urban and rural areas in the poorest countries suffer
>from chronic hunger. Meanwhile, the world's great monocultures of staple
>grains -- rice, wheat and corn -- are at risk from novel pathogens, arising
>from sudden genetic alteration or from delivery by an agroterrorist.
> The only line of defense depends on plant breeding, empowered by the new
>science of genomic analysis, which allows us to know far more about plant
>biology than ever before. But successful plant breeding requires the right
>resources accumulated over decades of painstaking effort -- and this
>resource is in danger of being lost.
> The tools are the collections of crop genetic diversity, stored in the
>seed banks and crop diversity collections maintained by international
>centers and more than 150 nations. These collections hold samples of
>thousands upon thousands of crop varieties and their ancestors. Using the
>material in the collections -- a task now made easier by modern methods --
>holds the prospect of fighting new plant diseases, dealing with drought and
>other consequences of climate change, and protecting us against the
>consequences of possible malevolent assaults on the crops that feed most of
> The problem is that these storehouses of diversity are being allowed to
>depreciate. Serious underfunding prevents adequate curation. In many banks,
>living seeds are waiting to be duplicated while the cooling systems that
>protect them break down because there is no money to repair them. New work
>to capture and preserve the results of breeding experiments fails for lack
>of support. Data collected by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization
>demonstrate that in the years between 1996 and 2000, 66 of the 100 nations
>studied saw the size of their collections shrink, while gene bank budgets
>either decreased or remained constant in 60 of the countries over the same
>period. And funding for the vitally important Consultative Group on
>International Agricultural Research, which maintains important
>international seed banks, has decreased dramatically. So, for that and
>other reasons, has the rate at which they are gaining access to important
>new genetic resources.
> The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, adopted in Rome last
>year, represents a legal commitment by governments to conserve and use
>their crop diversity in the interest of food security. The United States
>signed the treaty on Nov. 1. Nevertheless, the disconnect remains between
>the long-term requirement for crop diversity conservation and the
>short-term nature of most funding for such conservation.
> Fortunately, there is a movement toward improvement. The Global
>Conservation Trust, which was established to strengthen and expand public
>and private resources in agricultural research, has made a good start on
>establishing an endowment to protect this global public good. The United
>Nations Foundation, other private donors and a number of European and Latin
>American nations have already made contributions to a fund targeted
>initially at $260 million. The United States has made a major commitment to
>support the trust.
> In our effort to feed people, we have created a vulnerable enterprise:
>Its weakness emerges in our inadequate knowledge of how to help small
>farmers in the poorest countries and -- on the other hand -- in the
>liability of the monocultures of our major cereal grains. Both depend on
>our capacity to keep their genetic armaments in good shape. That will take
>serious support, and unless we get behind the Global Conservation Trust,
>the support may not be there.
> The writer is editor in chief of Science magazine, president emeritus of
>Stanford University and a former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug
Back to Main News Page
>Yes - in 10 years we may have no bananas
>James Meek, science correspondent
>Wednesday January 15 2003
>It is a freakish, doped-up, mutant clone which hasn't had sex for thousands
>of years - and the strain may be about to tell on the nation's fruitbowl
> favourite. Scientists based in France have warned that, without radical
>and swift action, in 10 years' time we really could have no bananas.
>Two fungal diseases, Panama disease and black Sigatoka, are cutting a swath
> through banana plantations, just as blight once devastated potato crops.
>But unlike the potato, and other crops where disease-resistant strains can
>be bred by conventional means, making a fungus-free variety of the banana
>is extraordinarily difficult.
>Emile Frison, head of the Montpellier-based International Network for the
>Improvement of Banana and Plantain, told New Scientist magazine that the
>banana business could be defunct within a decade. This doesn't just mean we
>will be eating aubergine splits and that future govern ments may be mocked
>for policy melon skins. The banana, in various forms, is the staple diet
>for some half billion people in Asia and Africa.
>Almost all the varieties of banana grown today are cuttings - clones, in
>effect - of naturally mutant wild bananas discovered by early farmers as
>much as 10,000 years ago. The rare mutation caused wild bananas to grow
>sterile, without seeds. Those ancient farmers took cuttings of the mutants,
>then cuttings of the cuttings.
>Plants use reproduction to continuously shuffle their gene pool, building
>up variety so
> that part of the species will survive an otherwise deadly disease.
>Because sterile mutant bananas cannot breed, they do not have that
>Commercial banana plantations were devastated in the 1950s when Panama
>disease slew the dominant variety, the Gros Michel. A resistant variety,
>the Cavendish, filled the gap. But only massive amounts of fungicide spray
>- 40 sprayings a year is common - now keep Sigatoka at bay, and a new
>version of Panama disease cannot be sprayed. The Amazon banana crop has
>been devastated by the fungi, and accord ing to Mr Frison, some parts of
>Africa now face the equivalent of the Irish potato famine.
>One possibility is GM bananas, but growers fear consumer resistance. The
>big growers are pinning their hopes on better fungicides.
>One ray of hope comes from Honduran scientists, who peeled and sieved 400
>tonnes of bananas to find 15 seeds for breeding. They have come up with a
>fungus-resistant variety which could be grown organically. If bananas don't
>disappear from supermarket shelves by 2013, they will look, and taste,
>Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited
Back to Main News Page
NY Comptroller Calls for Review of U.S. Firms' Ties to Terrorism
Monday 10 February 2003
Prompted by heightened concerns about corporate ties to states sponsoring terrorist activity, New York
City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. is calling for a review of three U.S. companies that conduct
business with terrorist-linked countries. Thompson has submitted shareholder resolutions on behalf of the
New York City Police and Fire Department Pension Funds to the Halliburton Company, ConocoPhillips and
the General Electric Company.
The resolutions call on shareholders to vote to establish a Board of Directors' committee to review the
corporation's operations with reference to "potential financial and reputational risks."
"If we are trying to eradicate terrorism, we must ensure that companies in our portfolio are not using
off-shore subsidiaries to legally evade United States sanctions against terrorist-sponsoring states,"
Comptroller Thompson said. "This is an issue of paramount importance."
"We believe their use of off-shore and United Kingdom subsidiaries to establish operations with
countries that sponsor terrorism violates the spirit, if not the letter of the law," he added. "These actions
also expose the companies to the prospect of negative publicity, public protests, and a loss of consumer
confidence, all of which can have a negative impact on shareholder value."
Halliburton opened an office in Iran under the name Halliburton Products and Services Ltd., its Cayman
Islands subsidiary, in February 2000. The resolution requests the following statement be put before
shareholders for a vote at Halliburton's annual meeting on May 21: "The Iranian government has actively
supported and funded terrorist operations against innocent civilians outside its own borders. These activities
led to the imposition of government sanctions that provide that virtually all trade and investment activity with
Iran by U.S. corporations is prohibited."
The Police and Fire Department funds have more than $18 million in holdings in Halliburton. In total, the
city's five pension funds have invested more than $23 million in the corporation.
Halliburton has challenged the resolution. The firm has asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission to refrain from sanctioning the company if Halliburton omits the proposal from its 2003 proxy
materials. The SEC has not yet responded to the request.
General Electric conducts business operations with the Iranian government through its Canadian
subsidiary, General Electric Hydro. The two funds have more than $205 million in holdings in General
Electric. The city's five funds have invested $951 million in General Electric. Discussions began between
the Comptroller's Office and General Electric last week to examine the issue.
ConocoPhillips has operations in Iran and Syria through its UK subsidiary, Conoco, Ltd.
The two funds have more than $31 million in holdings in ConocoPhillips. The city's five pension funds
have invested more than $124 million in ConocoPhillips. ConocoPhillips has not challenged the resolution.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
Back to Main News Page
Osama Rallies Muslims, Condemns Hussein
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Wednesday 12 February 2003
Osama bin Laden rose from the dead yet again on Tuesday to prophesy doom and death for America.
This is nothing new; he has been clawing his way out of various burial holes for seventeen months now, and
always manages to strike fear into the American heart by way of the American media and the Bush
administration at exactly the moment when incredibly important shifts in history are in the offing.
At this moment, George W. Bush stands almost completely alone in his desire to make pre-emptive
war on the nation of Iraq. Several key NATO allies - France, Germany and Belgium among them - have
thrown sand into the gears of battle by refusing to prepare Turkey for an immediate war they do not support
nor deem necessary. As this incredible state of affairs unfolded, Americans found their ears ringing with
orange-hued warnings of imminent death. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge went so far as to tell
people to load up on plastic sheeting and duct tape so as to bar their windows from chemical attack, but
the administration he calls home made sure to tell people to live their lives normally and continue shopping.
And so it goes. This is fairly standard stuff within the American echo chamber. Let there be one
important piece of legislation, or one highly embarrassing turn of events for the administration, and the word
goes forth that the sky is falling. We have been dealing with this politically manufactured low-grade hysteria
for many months now. Most Americans have reached a suspended state of disbelief about it all, and won't
be taking these warnings seriously unless they see Osama bin Laden on their doorstep in a black cassock
with scythe in hand. Bush and Ashcroft will soon run out of colors on the warning chart if this keeps up; the
shade after red likely exists somewhere in the fourth dimension, visible only to ultraconservative war-hawks
and media talking heads.
When the voice of Osama comes out of the television, however, things suddenly become much more
serious. The Bush administration may have forgotten him entirely, but every single American still sleeps
with visions of burning towers and plummeting bodies projected on the backs of their eyelids. Peter Bergen,
noted terrorism expert, stated on CNN that such messages from bin Laden usually herald new attacks. If
the Orange Alert was dubious on Monday, it was given new importance on Tuesday.
Secretary of State Colin Powell set the stage for this new bin Laden statement early on Tuesday, much
to the surprise of CIA Director George Tenet. Powell, during testimony at a Senate Budget Committee
meeting, let it drop that the Middle East news network Al Jazeera had in hand a tape of Osama bin Laden.
Tenet, seated with the Intelligence Committee, had not heard of this tape. One is left wondering at Powell's
sources, especially after the story unfolded.
Powell used the existence of this tape, and the words he claimed bin Laden had said on it, to further tie
Saddam Hussein to international terrorism. He claimed bin Laden was clearly establishing a connection
between himself and Hussein on the tape, beyond all question. "This nexus between terrorists and states
that are developing weapons of mass destruction," said Powell, "can no longer be looked away from and
The actual tape, played and translated live on every major cable news channel, told a very different
story. Osama bin Laden swore vengeance against America if Iraq was attacked, and demanded that the
Muslim world stand in solidarity with the Muslim people of Iraq. In very clear words, Osama bin Laden told
the people of Iraq to rise up against both American aggression and against "socialist" Saddam Hussein. If
the translations that were provided were reliable, there is no ambiguity in bin Laden's words on the matter.
So much, it seems, for Powell's case that Hussein and bin Laden are working together.
And this is where it gets interesting.
An MSNBC.com report on the bin Laden tape carried the following sentence: "At the same time, the
message also called on Iraqis to rise up and oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who is a secular
leader." This clearly confirms the clarity of mind Osama bin Laden displayed in regard to Saddam Hussein,
and conforms to the recorded message heard by millions and millions of people around the world.
Less than twenty minutes after this report appeared on MSNBC, that sentence was deleted from the
report. A few intrepid Internet news junkies, including myself, preserved what is called a 'screen-grab' of the
original article before it was scrubbed. The version of the article currently in existence has replaced the text
above with this far more benign text: "The taped statement reflected Saddam, a secular leader, but made it
clear that Saddam was not the immediate target." A similar story line, bereft of the portions describing bin
Laden's wish that Hussein be killed, has appeared in virtually every mainstream news media report on the
The manner in which this story unfolded brings forth a number of serious questions.
First of all, questions must be asked regarding Colin Powell's motives in this. The recording heard by
the world diverged significantly from the spin Powell put on it before the Budget Committee. Osama bin
Laden did not state an alliance with Saddam Hussein, but with the Muslim civilians in Iraq who will bear the
bloody brunt of any American attack. In fact, bin Laden told the Iraqi people to rise up against Hussein.
This is not the way allies deal with each other.
Why would Powell go to such lengths to stretch the glaringly obvious truth in this matter? He is already
suffering from a deficit of credibility in the aftermath of the plagiarism scandal that is currently rocking Tony
Blair's administration. Powell stood before the UN last week and praised a British intelligence dossier that
contained cut-and-pasted pages and pages of an essay, with all spelling and grammatical errors intact,
written by a postgraduate student from California. The data was years out of date, flat-out contradictory in
several key areas, used without the student's awareness, and yet was offered as an up-to-the-minute
assessment of Iraqi weapons capabilities.
This, in combination with Powell's obviously skewed interpretation of Tuesday's bin Laden recording,
forces us to call into question every single word he and the Bush administration have said on the matter.
The question of whether Saddam Hussein has ties to al Qaeda terrorism and Osama bin Laden can be put
to bed now, it seems, alongside the tatters and shreds of honor and dignity formerly enjoyed by the
Secretary of State.
More ominously, why would a news network like MSNBC so obviously haul water for the failed
allegations of the Bush administration? Events happen in seconds on the internet, but merely scrubbing
uncomfortable sentences from articles cannot stop the tens of thousands of readers who are wise enough
now to save the evidence before it evaporates in a cloud of silicon.
These deletions display a manifest breach of faith on behalf of MSNBC, and call to mind issues
surrounding the conflict of interest that are inherent in the ownership of this network. MSNBC, along with
NBC and CNBC, are owned by the corporate giant General Electric. GE is one of the largest defense
contractors on the face of the earth, and will, bluntly, be paid a king's ransom in the event of a war.
Following this line of questioning leads to some dark corners, indeed. How often is the data being
manipulated by the corporate-owned media? Are we to rely solely on the nimble fingers of keyboarded
citizens to get to the heart of the matter?
A report appearing later on Wednesday on MSNBC.com served to refute the claims of collusion
between bin Laden and Hussein. "Although Powell sought to characterize the tape as a concrete link
between al-Qaida and the Iraqi government," the MSNBC.com report read, "White House officials
acknowledged later to NBC News that it did not. Powell did not know it had not been broadcast when he
spoke to the committee and was 'a little on the front of his skis,' a government source said." These lines
were buried deep within the report.
By Thursday morning, this text had been completely removed from the article.
Finally, we must deal with Osama bin Laden himself. In a gross display of celestial irony, there was
virtually no ambiguity in his words, as opposed to those of Powell and the members of the journalistic
realm. His statement was a call to arms directed at the followers he has across the globe. If the United
States attacks Iraq, Osama bin Laden will attack the United States. The Bush administration has done
nothing of substance to defend us against such attacks except increase the stock value of companies that
manufacture plastic sheeting and duct tape. We are not prepared to defend ourselves in this fight, period.
Virtually the entire global community stands against us today on the subject of this war, with nations
willing and able to destroy NATO before allowing it to take place. The Bush administration has cut billions
of dollars from street-level homeland defenders like police forces and fire houses, yet has the eagle
screaming for a war that will be fought simultaneously in downtown Baghdad and in your utterly undefended
neighborhood. They have the gall, simultaneously, to speak of trillion dollar tax cuts for rich people that will
further debilitate our budgetary ability to defend ourselves. Links between Osama bin Laden and Saddam
Hussein have proven to be not only false, but laughable. The credibility of the Bush administration has been
And yet we go, with the news media whistling 'Onward Christian Soldiers' all the while. The Bush
administration is ecstatic, believing they can spin bin Laden's statement of support for Iraqi civilians into a
connection between the terrorist and Hussein.
You are being lied to, clumsily.
Pass it on.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times bestselling author of two books - "War On Iraq" (with Scott
Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in May 2003
from Pluto Press. He teaches high school in Boston, MA.
Scott Lowery contributed research to this report.
to Main News Page
Two Million Muslims Pray for Forgiveness, Peace in Iraq
Tuesday 11 February 2003 -- 02:08 AM
With the setting of the sun, some two million Muslim pilgrims on Monday began their descent from
Mount Arafat, a revered place in Islam where they had prayed for forgiveness and for Iraq to be spared an
attack by the United States.
The culimination of the annual pilgrimage, or hajj, behind them, they made their way to nearby
Muzdalifa, where they were to gather small rocks to take part in a symbolic stoning of the devil in the Mina
Valley on Tuesday.
Tuesday will also be the first day of the three-day feast of the sacrifice, or Eid al-Adha, recalling
Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismhael to demonstrate his obedience to God.
The pilgrims from around the world earlier Monday set out from Mina on foot and in buses and small
vehicles for Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Mohammad delivered his last sermon 14 centuries ago.
"Here I am Allah, answering your call, there is no God but you," the sea of humanity, all dressed in
white, chanted as they approached Arafat.
Standing on Mount Arafat before sunset is the culmination of the hajj, and pilgrims who fail to make it
here on time must repeat their pilgrimage in future.
The faithful -- men clad in a two-piece seamless white cloth, the women covered except for the hands
and face -- spent the day praying for forgiveness and beseeching God for success in a symbolic enactment
of the Final Judgement at the scene of the Prophet's last sermon.
Many pilgrims also prayed for peace and for Iraq to be saved and to emerge victorious in its
confrontation with the United States over Baghdad's alleged concealment of weapons of mass destruction.
"May God protect Iraq and its people. They are my brothers. May God make Iraq victorious against its
enemies," 40-year-old Khalil el-Ghandur from Egypt said.
"I pray for peace for all peoples on earth. I don't want war. I don't want to see my country taking part in
military actions. Iraqis are my Muslim brothers," added Omer Dogan, 27, from Turkey.
Others vented their anger at Washington and urged Arab and Muslim countries to break their silence
and help defend Iraq.
"America wants to control the Arab world and its wealth. We are all soldiers for Iraq," asserted Faruq
Ahmad, a 50-year-old engineer from Syria.
Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, addressed the masses, lashing out at
"enemies" of the Islamic world for targeting the faith and the economy of the Muslims.
"The struggle today is religious and economic. The enemies are trying to use any pretext to attack this
nation" to control its economy, the mufti said in the main pilgrimage sermon, although without making any
mention of US threats against oil-rich Iraq.
"The Islamic Ummah (nation) is (also) being targeted by its enemies ... in its values, morals and
culture," said the mufti, the Saudi kingdom's top cleric.
"Don't you see the tragedies that have been inflicting the Ummah? ... Don't you see how the enemies
are gathering and are preparing to wage war on you? ... This has been caused by us because we
abandoned the religion," he said.
On the ground, Iranian pilgrims were also expected to hold their annual anti-US rally.
Official figures show 1.431 million pilgrims have come from outside Saudi Arabia and up to 600,000 from
various parts of the kingdom. They have been joined by around 200,000 Mecca residents.
Thousands of police, soldiers and paramilitary troops were stationed along the routes to Arafat as
helicopters hovered overhead. Saudi authorities said security had been extra tight this year in light of
regional tension as the United States steps up threats to invade and occupy Iraq, a predominantly Islamic
nation and Saudi Arabia's northern neighbor.
The hajj has so far passed off peacefully without major incidents. The health ministry said no diseases
have been reported. Some 25 pilgrims, mostly elderly, have died of natural causes.
Arafat is a small plain, some 250 meters (yards) above sea level, surrounded by high mountains from all
directions. Pilgrims stay the day under thousands of tents and in the open.
Many trucks, parked by the side of the road, were distributing food and water free to pilgrims.
Muslims must perform the hajj at least once in their lifetime, if they have the physical and financial
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
Back to Main News Page
European Allies Unite Against US-Led War
by AFP and PA News
Monday 10 February 2003
France, Russia and Germany tonight united to block plans for war against Iraq by issuing a common
declaration that called for increased weapons inspections in I
President Vladimir Putin and President Jacques Chirac said in a joint declaration after meeting in Paris:
"Russia, Germany and France support the continuation of inspections and their substantial reinforcement
by any means in terms of manpower and technical capabilities."
The three countries also agree that the debate on the Iraqi crisis "must be pursued in the spirit of
friendship and respect that characterises (their) relations with the United States and other countries".
The declaration also made clear that: "Russia, Germany and France favour the continuation of the
inspections and a substantial reinforcement of their human and technical capacities through all possible
means and in liaison with the inspectors."
The declaration seemingly widened the diplomatic rift with Washington over the looming confrontation
with Baghdad. It came just hours after another rebuff - this time at Nato - was delivered by France,
Germany and Belgium.
The trio used their veto powers to block Nato from lending military support to Turkey in case of a US-led
war on Iraq. The three countries argue that it would send the wrong signals if Nato was seen to be planning
for a military conflict when the diplomatic process was still underway.
Reacting to the Nato move, Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, raised he extraordinary
prospect that Nato's other 16 members "would form an alliance" without Paris, Berlin and Brussels.
Mr Rumsfeld said that plans to use the assets of Nato countries to strengthen Turkish defences would
proceed "at a good clip".
Meanwhile Iraq moved to take the sting out of a crucial report to be delivered on Friday to the UN
Security Council by Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, by agreeing to a strong of concessions,
including allowing the use of U2 spy planes to aid inspectors on the ground.
They also said that they would allow inspectors to drill and analyse findings and "encourage" Iraqi
scientists to co-operate more with the inspectors.
US officials were determinedly unimpressed by Iraq's offer, saying that only "complete co-operation" by
Baghdad could avert war. "I haven't seen anything that's worth getting excited about," said Richard
Boucher, the State Department spokesman.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
Back to Main News Page
John Conyers, Jr., Robert C. Scott, Sheila Jackson Lee
Members of Congress
John D. Ashcroft Attorney General of the United States
Objection to USA Patriot Act 2
Monday 10 February 2003
The Honorable John D. Ashcroft
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
10 th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. Attorney General:
We write to express my profound disappointment about your Department's handling of anti-terrorism
policy. Recent reports irrefutably indicate that the Department of Justice has been working on a successor
bill to the "USA Patriot Act" for some time. Notwithstanding the Judiciary Committee's jurisdiction in this
matter and outstanding record of dealing with this legislation, the Committee reported a bipartisan version of
the Patriot Act by a unanimous vote, according to the Chairman's spokesman, there have been no
consultations with the Committee on this bill.
Your spokesperson, Barbara Comstock, claimed in a February 7 statement (attached) that the new
draft bill was still in "internal deliberations" within the Department and still being discussed at "staff levels"
and has not been "presented... to the White House." This is blatantly false in several respects, yet a
Department of Justice "Control Sheet" (attached) plainly indicates that the bill was forwarded to the
Speaker of the House and Vice President on January 10.
The Department's handling of this matter has only lent credence to suggestions that this Administration
is intent on using the war on terrorism as a partisan political tool and the Justice Department is waiting to
spring this bill on the Congress when the nation once again has endured a terrorist attack or is in the midst
As Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and former Ranking Members of the
Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, and the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border
Security and Claims, we request immediate consultations on this legislation. Please reply no later than
John Conyers, Jr.Robert C. ScottSheila Jackson Lee
Member of CongressMember of CongressMember of Congress
cc: The Honorable James Sensenbrenner, Chairman
The Honorable Jamie Brown, Acting Assistant Attorney General
Back to Main News Page
What Happens To the Disappeared?
Kari Lydersen, AlterNet February 4, 2003
Viewed on February 10, 2003
When Roger Calero got to customs at Houston's international airport Dec. 3,
he thought long lines were all he had to worry about. The Nicaraguan-born, New
York-based journalist had been in Guadalajara, Mexico covering a story and, as a
legal permanent resident of the U.S. since 1990, he had been through customs
Yet by the end of the day, Calero was stuck in an immigration detention
center, surrounded by immigrants who, like himself, had lived in the U.S. for
years, had raised families here and considered themselves Americans.
The reason for Calero's detention and ongoing deportation proceedings was a
1988 conviction for marijuana possession, when he was a high school student in
L.A. Calero had freely disclosed his conviction on both his original application
for permanent residency and his 2000 renewal; both were granted without
But under strict immigration reforms passed in 1996, even legal residents
convicted of a wide variety of crimes are deportable. Deportable crimes include
misdemeanor drug- and gang-related incidents and other minor, nonviolent
offenses as well as DUIs and sex crimes, including statutory rape.
"People with kids, houses, the whole successful American dream and now
they're getting deported," Calero told me, noting that one of his fellow
detainees had actually helped build the very center they were being held in.
"These are the big 'terrorists' and 'criminals' [the INS] is talking about."
What happened to Calero could happen to any of the thousands of legal
immigrants in this country with past criminal convictions. Likewise for millions
of undocumented immigrant workers, despite the fact that the vast majority of
them are hard-working contributors to the national economy.
Take the case of Arturo, an undocumented Mexican immigrant and Chicago
resident. In fall 2002, Arturo and a group of friends set out on a road trip to
attend an immigrants' rights rally in Washington D.C. Little did Arturo know
that a flat tire in the hills of rural Pennsylvania would crush their plans and
land him and another man in jail facing deportation proceedings.
As they were fixing the flat, the van-load of brown faces caught the
attention of a local police officer who found a pretense to ask for their
residency papers. Arturo languished in detention in Pennsylvania for weeks
before finally being released pending a deportation hearing.
As part of the war on terrorism, legal immigrants of Arab descent are
vulnerable to deportation after secret hearings based on nebulous "suspicion" of
links to terrorism. There is a particularly high risk of deportation for those
with minor visa violations, such as students who have overstayed their visas or
professionals whose visa renewals are caught up in the system. While the INS has
not released any data on Sept. 11-related deportations, advocate groups note
that thousands have been detained and well over 1,000 have been deported --
though investigators have not found not a single link to terrorism among those
Rabih Haddad, a native of Lebanon and U.S. resident for over 20 years, is
one of these detainees who still remain behind bars. Haddad was arrested based
on his leadership of the charity Global Relief, which the FBI claimed was
funneling money to terrorists. Although the FBI couldn't prove any terrorist
links, he has been held for 14 months without bond.
Rabih's brother, Nazen Haddad, said Rabih's detention and impending
deportation have been a horrible strain on the whole family. If Rabih is ordered
deported, his wife and four children, who live in Ann Arbor, Mich. will be
"It's taking a big toll on our mother," said Haddad, who lives in Toronto.
"And his wife is having to deal with raising and supporting four kids and
keeping her sanity. Beyond the effect on the family it also has a sociopolitical
effect on the whole community. This kind of profiling has filled everyone with
Haddad worries that if his brother is deported to Lebanon, he might face a
fate like that of Syrian national and Canadian citizen and resident Naher Arar,
who was deported to Jordan and then Syria in September 2002 while trying to make
a connecting flight through New York. Arar has been held in a Syrian prison with
no contact with his family ever since. "This way the U.S. can still have access
to him if they want, but they don't have to answer to the concerns of his
lawyers and the public," Haddad said.
Out of Sight
"Out of sight, out of mind" seems to be the prevailing philosophy of the
U.S. government and other proponents of deportations. People don't like seeing
Arabs in their schools and workplaces -- it makes them nervous about terrorist
attacks. Employers don't like pesky Latino or Asian factory workers who are
talking about unionizing. Wealthy homeowners don't like seeing Mexicans standing
on corners waiting to be picked up for day labor work, or camping in the bluffs
behind their mansions. Unless they need to hire one of these Mexicans for
something, the sight annoys and frightens them.
On a visit to an INS detention center in DuPage, Illinois well before the
Sept. 11 attacks, many of the Latin American and Chinese men I talked to had
been sitting there for months with no clue as to their fate. A few of them
hadn't even seen a lawyer yet. And for immigrants from countries with which the
U.S. has no diplomatic ties, like Cuba and North Korea, the situation is even
more bizarre. These would-be deportees need permission to go back to their own
countries, but if they are dissidents or exiles they may not be granted this
permission, leaving them as stateless people living in limbo. The same applies
to Palestinians whose homeland has been subsumed by the Israeli occupation, or
others whose home countries have literally ceased to exist.
In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that indefinite detentions of 'countryless'
immigrants was unconstitutional and said they could only be held for six months.
However, the government has used post- Sept. 11 'homeland security' measures --
which allow detention without time limits -- as a pretext to extend these
six-month periods indefinitely.
But while the thousand of deported and detained immigrants may be out of the
public eye, their expulsion has serious consequences. Take the case of a Mexican
man deported while his immigrant wife and children are left behind in the U.S.
with no grasp of the English language and little way to make a living. While
before they would have been a self-sufficient family, now the wife and children,
who might even be U.S. citizens, become the proverbial "drain on society." While
the man may try to return to join his family, even risking his life in an
illegal border crossing, the Mexican border has become so dangerous thanks to
armed vigilantes, harsh weather and increased security, there's a good chance he
would not return alive.
Meanwhile, others who are deported might as well be strangers dropped in a
strange land. The DuPage facility in Illinois, like facilities all over the
country, was full of young Asian and Latino men who were to be deported because
of gang- and drug-related convictions. Most of these men had lived in the U.S.
from a young age, and English was their only language.
Refugees and asylum seekers whose petitions have been denied are also
deported. This includes women who face genital mutilation in their home
countries, women or gays fleeing cultural oppression, political dissidents
facing torture and imprisonment by their home governments. Some even have valid
fears of execution or murder if their asylum petitions are denied. At least one
Somali immigrant has been killed since being deported to Mogadishu and a lawsuit
filed in November 2002 is seeking to block the deportation of 1,000 to 5,000
others back to Somalia, which has no functioning government.
Deportation may mean more comfort and peace of mind for some American
citizens, business owners and lawmakers. They might see it as expelling unwanted
hordes from a country where they don't belong and returning them to their
rightful homelands. But for thousands of immigrant men, women and children in
the U.S. and their family members around the world, it means far more than that.
It means terror, loneliness, hopelessness, despair. In extreme cases it could
even mean imprisonment, torture or death.
"Deportation really shatters families and communities," said Arnoldo Garcia,
program associate of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
"People disappear literally overnight, sometimes without warning. Kids are
abandoned when their parents are picked up at work. Unaccompanied minors can be
deported without having a guardian present. It's a really devastating
experience. People don't expect to be separated from their families and
disappeared, just for speeding."
Kari Lydersen is a reporter at the Washington Post Midwest bureau in Chicago
and the assistant program director/ instructor for the Urban Youth International
Journalism Program. This is the first installment of "And Liberty for All," her
weekly Rights and Liberties column for AlterNet.
Â© 2003 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
Back to Main News Page
War could cause mass walkouts
The Guardian Staff and Agencies -- Monday, February 10, 2003
Trade union leaders today warned that there could be "massive" strikes if and
when an attack on Iraq was launched.
Speaking at a Stop the War coalition meeting, the leaders of five of Britain's
biggest unions warned the prime minister that the day the bombing began could
see mass walkouts in workplaces across the country.
The union bosses stopped short of encouraging industrial action, but demanded a
recall of the TUC.
Aslef's Mick Rix said some railway workers were already refusing to move
materials that could be used in a conflict.
And Paul Mackney, of lecturers' union Natfhe, warned of widespread industrial
action if the prime minister went to war against the country's wishes.
"It is not appropriate for us today to issue a specific call to industrial
action," Mr Mackney said.
But the day war started could see "massive protests in every industry against
it", he warned.
The anti-war movement was compared by the RMT's Bob Crow to the Romanian
revolution - which ended with the execution of dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu.
Mr Blair was not listening to the public, the leftwing transport union leader
said. "Look at what happened in Eastern Europe when people didn't listen," Mr
Billy Hayes, the leader of the Communication Workers' Union, and Mark Serwotka,
of the PCS civil servants' union, also attended the press conference.
The TUC constitution provides for a recall in the face of conflict and it
should be enacted to help prevent military action against Iraq, the leaders
said. All insisted they represented a majority in Britain opposed to war.
Mr Hayes said anti-war sentiment was comparable with that at the time of the
Suez crisis, which cost Anthony Eden his premiership.
And Mr Mackney warned: "Unless Blair changes course, Blair will fall on this."
The five urged their 750,000-strong membership and as many members of the
public as possible to turn out in support of the anti-war demonstrations
planned for the coming weekend.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003
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In a message dated 2/9/03 5:09:09 PM, email@example.com writes:
<< Israeli Professor - 'We Could Destroy All European Capitals'
By Nadim Ladki
(IAP News) -- An Israeli professor and military historian hinted that Israel
could avenge the holocaust by annihilating millions of Germans and other
Speaking during an interview which was published in Jerusalem Friday,
Professor Martin Van Crevel said Israel had the capability of hitting most
European capitals with nuclear weapons.
"We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them
at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals
are targets of our air force."
Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University in
Jerusalem, pointed out that "collective deportation" was Israel's only
meaningful strategy towards the Palestinian people.
"The Palestinians should all be deported. The people who strive for this (the
Israeli government) are waiting only for the right man and the right time.
Two years ago, only 7 or 8 per cent of Israelis were of the opinion that this
would be the best solution, two months ago it was 33 per cent, and now,
according to a Gallup poll, the figure is 44 percent."
Creveld said he was sure that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wanted to
deport the Palestinians.
"I think it's quite possible that he wants to do that. He wants to escalate
the conflict. He knows that nothing else we do will succeed."
Asked if he was worried about Israel becoming a rogue state if it carried out
a genocidal deportation against Palestinians, Creveld quoted former Israeli
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan who said "Israel must be like a mad dog, too
dangerous to bother."
Creveld argued that Israel wouldn't care much about becoming a rogue state.
"Our armed forces are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather
the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us.
And I can assure you that that this will happen before Israel goes under."
Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) http://www.iap.org
"Your enemy is not surrounding your country. Your enemy is ruling
-- George W. Bush, Jan. 28, 2003 >>
Back to Main News Page
10 February 2003
SHELL IN OGONI CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT
Plaintiffs are 14 sons and daughters of Ogoni resident in the USA vs.
Defendants - Royal Dutch Petroleum Company (Shell). This Class Action
lawsuit has been brought before the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York on 20 September 2002. The complaint alleges
that Shell during the period of October 1, 1990 to May 28, 1999 engaged in
militarised actions in a conspiracy with the former Military Government of
Nigeria and knowingly instigated, planned, facilitated and participated in
unprovoked attacks against the unarmed residents of Ogoniland, resulting in
extra judicial murder, crimes against humanity, torture, rape, arbitrary
arrest and detention, forced exile and the deliberate destruction of
villages and property. By Class Action, this trial seeks an unspecified
amount of money as compensation and punitive damages from Shell on behalf of
all Ogoni persons – man, woman and child who were similarly situated and
whose human rights were violated by Shell’s actions in this period.
Reactions across the world to the Class Action lawsuit have been
overwhelming. Commenting in London, Mrs Phido – President MOSOP-UK said
“This is history in the making for all oppressed people of the world.
Justice has been given a glimmer of hope since the wake of the Ogoni
struggle. This is the best news to come to Ogoniland since January 4, 1993
when Ken Saro Wiwa led Ogonis to stand up for their rights. This is an
opportunity we have been hoping for and we will cease it with all our might.
For getting this case to Court at all, we believe we are already
victorious. Mrs Phido continued. “The day of reckoning and judgement has
come when Shell will answer for all its crimes in Ogoniland.” Mrs Phido
A historic landmark Class Action lawsuit against Shell is the realisation of
Ken Saro Wiwa’s prediction -
“I repeat that we all stand before history. I and my colleagues are not the
only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial …….. holding a
watchful brief. THE COMPANY HAS, INDEED, DUCKED THIS PARTICULAR TRIAL BUT
ITS DAY WILL SURELY COME….. for there is no doubt in my mind that the
ecological war the company has waged in the Delta will be called to question
sooner than later and the crimes of that war duly punished…..”
Ken Saro Wiwa - 40 page statement to the Ogoni civil disturbances tribunal …
21 September 1995.
The crime of economic thievery which Shell carried out in Ogoniland between
the years of 1958 to 1993 under the umbrella of capitalism caused the Ogoni
people a catalogue of irreparable damages. The effects of the oil
exploration and drilling which was carried out with the most antiquated
methods and equipment has left Ogoniland and its people indelible marks of
great pain and suffering. The pollution and devastation of our environment
has left our people with chronic illnesses which cannot be diagnosed or
cured. Yet out of our land came great wealth of over $30 billion which
made a few very rich. Ours is a tale of woe.
For daring to protest against this inhumane treatment, Shell the
perpetrator, unleashed a reign of terror, mayhem and intimidation on the
Ogoni people and generally depriving the people of basic human dignity.
Since these experiences, MOSOP and Ogonis in general made clear demands to
Shell among which was the demand for compensation for all the damage it
caused the Ogoni people.
To further make clear our demands this case has been brought on our behalf
by a leading world class law firm – Berger and Montague whose special
expertise is in Class Actions. The success of the company in prosecuting
Class Actions and others is best explained by the company’s results for its
high profile and internationally renowned cases – In re Holocaust Victim
Assets Litigation – Holocaust survivors against the three largest
Switzerland-based banks (received a settlement of $1.25 billion for its
clients). In re Nazi Era Cases Against German Defendants Litigation – the
case against the use of forced labour during the Nazi era (received a
settlement of $4.5 billion which created a fund for victims).
We appeal to Ogonis in particular and the public in general to give this
case the utmost support and cooperation by providing all information of
personal experiences or otherwise which will further strengthen our case and
provide justice to all Ogonis. We plead with all Ogonis to sink their
individual differences and utilise this once in a lifetime opportunity to
speak with one voice by rallying for the greater success of this case which
is ultimately part success for the Ogoni struggle. The outcome of this case
will be a living memento to the memory of our loved ones who died while
demanding justice for our people and the rest of the oppressed minority in
the world. To our friends and neighbours of the Niger Delta, we ask your
support and assistance as a victory in this case will mean victory against
oppression and intimidation from the oil producing companies in our land.
To withhold any information that would otherwise be useful to this case will
be seen as hypocritical and unfair to the suffering Ogonis who continue to
wallow in abject poverty and sufferings and also to all those who have died
for this struggle.
It is worth noting that while no amount of financial compensation may bring
back our dead, return our natural vegetation or change the lives of those
that have been destroyed in the course of our struggles; we believe strongly
that justice would have been served for a people and the multi billion
company Shell who has always put profit before people would have paid a
little price for their arrogance.
We remain grateful for your continued support while the struggle
Please send all information directly to our lawyers as below:
Carey R. D’Avino
Berger and Montague Law Offices
1622 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-6365, USA
Telephone (215) 875 – 3000
Fax (215) 875 – 4604
For further information and enquiries either contact us as above or contact
the person below:
Anslem D. John-Miller
6966 N. Wolcott Avenue, Unit 1N
Chicago, Illinois 60626, USA
Telephone (773) 856 - 5219
Back to Main News Page
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 09:10:48 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: ZIMBABWE FOOD DEAL SEALED
Food deal sealed
By Munyaradzi Huni
THE Government has awarded a Chinese company, China International Water and
Electric Corporation, a tender to develop 100 000 hectares of land that it
intends to put under irrigation to grow food crops as it moves to guarantee the
country’s food security, it has been learnt.
This major investment, the Nuanetsi Irrigation Project, was awarded to the
Chinese company by the Tender Board on Thursday and is the flagship of the
Government’s thrust to provide food security, not only to the country but the
continent as a whole.
It is estimated that the project can yield a minimum of 700 000 tonnes of
maize, three times a year, meaning that it can produce about 2.1 million tonnes
of maize per year. This would be enough to feed the nation and export to other
Once this project starts functioning, it is expected to also play a
significant role in reducing the country’s inflation, as it is estimated that 60
percent of the country’s inflation is food-related.
The Nuanetsi Irrigation Project is an Agricultural and Rural Development
Authority scheme that is a result of the policy initiative taken by the Minister
of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Dr Joseph Made.
A similar project was started in Chiredzi last year and its success has
convinced the Government to take the bold move to tap the untapped irrigation
capacity that the country has.
Under the project, the Chinese company is expected to develop the 100 000
hectares that will be sub-divided into three main areas that will further be
sub-divided in blocks of 20 000 each.
Initially, the whole area is to be planted with maize and sorghum.
According to the project document, the company’s tasks will include "clearing
within the perimeters all trees and woody lands, ripping, levelling, ploughing
and discing of the land to the consistence suitable for ploughing". The company
will also be required to plant maize and sorghum.
The contract will also include the construction of permanent roads to
designated headquarters and subsidiary headquarters.
The contract will be governed and constructed according to the laws of
Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwean courts will have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and
determine all actions and proceedings in connection with or arising out of the
contract, and the contractor will submit to the jurisdiction of the Zimbabwean
The Chinese company will not commence any separate operation without the
consent of the engineer, who will either be the chief executive of ARDA, a
parastatal under the Ministry of Lands, or such engineer as the ARDA boss may
appoint to act on his behalf.
The Chinese company, CWC, is a wholly state-owned company. It has branches in
Nigeria, Malaysia, Sudan, Ethiopia, India and Mauritius, where irrigation
infrastructure is being constructed.
The company’s area of expertise is earthmoving, with emphasis on earth-dam
In Zimbabwe, the company is currently constructing the Dande Dam and has also
constructed the Mundi-Mataga Dam, Dotito Dam, Nzvimbo Dam and Mutawatawa Dam.
The award of the tender to the Chinese company is the first major move that is
set to confirm the "looking East" thrust by Government and will also open other
doors of co-operation between China and Zimbabwe.
China is a major market for the country’s agricultural products, especially
The Nuanetsi Irrigation Project is situated in the rural district council of
Mwenezi in Masvingo province.
The project area consists mainly of mopane, with isolated baobab trees.
The area lies on a generally flat area, with gentle slopping in the south-east
If the Nuanetsi Irrigation Project succeeds, it is set to restore the country’
s tag as the breadbasket of Africa and position the country as the leader in
irrigation and agriculture.
Besides guaranteeing the country’s food security, the project will also create
thousands of jobs and provide surrounding communities with irrigation support.
There are plans also to establish an irrigation scheme of at least 500
hectares at each of the country’s 59 districts to contribute to food security.
Already there are irrigation projects in Chirundu and Chisumbanje.
This project, together with the Government’s initiative to secure irrigation
equipment from white commercial farmers for use by the newly resettled farmers
is set to boost the country’s food security.
The invitation for bids was open to all bidders, including all members of a
joint venture and all sub-contractors.
Financially autonomous public enterprises in the country that operate under
commercial law and that are not dependent agencies were also eligible for the
Domestic contractors received a margin of preference in bid evaluation.
The deadline for bids was January 7 2003.
Back to Main News Page
Drop The Big One Now?
By Rip Rense
The song was meant to be ironic. It was meant to depict an ignorant, frustrated,
self-pitying, petulant bully, lashing out. It was meant to be black humor.
"No one likes us/ I don't know why/ We may not be perfect/ But heaven
knows, we try/ And all around, even our old friends put us down/ Let's drop
the Big One and see what happens. . ."
It has now become foreign policy.
When Randy Newman wrote "Drop the Big One" in 1971, Vietnam was still
"winding down," as the euphemism went, in search of Nixon's dishonorable
attempt at face-saving, "Peace, with Honor." There was no talk of escalating
war, let alone "dropping the big one."
Today, the United States of America is threatening to use nuclear weapons
It has effectively redefined the Big One, the doomsday weapon of last resort, as
conventional. As William Arkin's Jan. 26 report in the L.A. Times explains, the
administration has described two circumstances in which nuclear weapons
might be used:
*If Iraq (or presumably any nation) retaliates with bio/chemical warfare during
a U.S. attack.
*As part of a massive assault to terrify Iraq (or presumably any nation) into
surrender, known in chilling military parlance as "shock and awe."
Let's examine the two scenarios.
If Saddam calculates that he cannot retire to a nice palace in exile somewhere
outside Iraq---something suggested by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
for the "evildoer," astoundingly enough---he will likely use any bio/chemical
weapons now being hidden from U.N. inspectors. If he figures he's a goner,
he'll go out with a bang. That will, President Bush promises, prompt a U.S.
Result: Saddam provokes the U.S. into an act that will forever earn the hatred
of the Arab world, much of the non-Arab world, and will recruit countless new
Islamic extremist terrorists for decades to come.
Analysis: Saddam wins.
As for the second scenario. . .if the U.S., as it has threatened, resorts to "shock
and awe" tactics involving nuclear weapons---say, the "bunker busters"
designed to destroy underground facilities (that in fact penetrate no deeper than
20 feet, and scatter radiation above ground almost as much as a surface
blast)---this will mean our government will have, incredibly, used nuclear
weapons without provocation. Simply as an intimidation device. This would
galvanize much of the world---perhaps the entire world---into sheer hatred of
this country, and it would encourage India, Pakistan, North Korea, and all
nations with nuclear weapons to use them. WWIII would loom in the near
Analysis: Saddam wins.
How did it come to this? Myth-making, in part. The Bush adminstration creates
myths with the aplomb, if not the poetry, of Homer. Here are the principal
myths being used to cow the American public into support:
*The invasion of Iraq is a response to terrorism.
*Oil, as Rumsfeld has said, has nothing to do with the invasion.
*Iraq is in cahoots with Osama bin-Laden and Al-Qaeda.
*The U.S. wishes to "liberate the Iraqi people."
*There is an ongoing "war" since 9/11.
Look at the first two points. One need only consult the Project for the New
American Century proposal for "Global Pax Americana"
(www.newamericancentury.org), to glean the truth here. This report was
prepared before the administration took office---before 9/11---by Dick Cheney,
Rumsfeld, Rumsfeld deputy Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, and Cheney's chief of
staff, Lewis Libby. In other words, the Bush team. It calls for, among other
things, permanently occupying the Middle East and controlling its oil.
The PNAC paper is a blueprint for current foreign policy. The horror of 9/11
provided the administration with just the excuse---and nationalistic fervor, and
fear---to implement "Global Pax Americana," which begins with an invasion of
the Middle East. In fact, there is a passage in the PNAC report that spells
out---almost wistfully---the need for a massive terrorist strike to unite the
American public. Here is the quote: "The process of transformation is likely to
be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event-like a new Pearl
Harbor." (No wonder people make careers out of conspiracy theory.)
As for point two, that the gold ring is security, not oil, look at the situation in
broad strokes. The administration's priorities align with those of multi-national
corporations (Bush, Cheney, and various underlings were all energy company
executives.) Multi-national corporations are forever angling to exploit energy
reserves of countries from Venezuela to Indonesia. To even imagine that
one-fifth of the worlds' oil reserves is not a top priority is laughable.
Saddam and Osama? In its hard-sell campaign, the administration persists in
making the case for a link---minus any evidence. Here are some facts:
Bin-laden and Al-Qaeda loathe Hussein because of his murder and persecution
of Islamic Kurds. Hussein is reported to be a Muslim only to the extent that it
serves his dictatorial purposes. The 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia and
Egypt. There is evidence to suggest that they were supported by Saudi money.
Saudi Arabia is the principal breeding ground of Wahabi extremists, the sect of
Islam that calls for war against the west, and that has been exporting its agenda
of hatred to poverty stricken countries in Africa and Asia for years.
Conclusion: Saudi Arabia---our "ally," is the principal terrorist breeding ground
in the Middle East, not Iraq.
"Liberating" the Iraqi people? It has as much to do with administration goals as
Michael Jackson has to do with Michael Jordan. If the United States were really
interested in "freeing" the Iraqis from Saddam, why did Bush Sr. stop short?
Why did Bush Jr. not declare this as an objective immediately after taking
office? Why has it only recently been offered as a reason for war? Since when
are U.S. citizens preoccupied with the welfare of the Iraqi people?
"Liberation" would prove a costly mess for the U.S. and Middle East.
Remember that Iraq contains three populations: the Kurds in the north, who
have strong allegiance to other Kurds in Iran, Turkey, and Syria; the Sunnis,
who control the army and government despite comprising a mere 20 percent of
the population; and the majority Shiite Muslims. "Liberate" them, and you wind
up not with a free country, but with three countries. Three countries that do not
like one another. Either that, or one U.S.-propped "democratic" dictatorship.
Finally, consider the administration's claim that the United States is "at war,"
and will be for years to come.
By all conventional and unconventional definitions of "war," there is. . .no war.
The U.S. was attacked by lunatics with box cutters and high I.Q.'s. They had
primary allegiance not to a country, but to a warped version of a religion. There
are many more such murderers out there, but they are scattered throughout the
world. There is an imperative---a chief imperative---to increase security at
home, and to use all intelligence methods in cooperation with allies to find and
combat such terrorists, the world over. (This should have been a top
international priority since the 1972 Munich Olympics!) Except for inter-agency
jealousy and stifling bureacracy in U.S. intelligence, and poor prioritizing, 9/11
might never have happened..
Calling the ongoing terrorism crisis a "war" is effective public relations for the
administration; cynical manipulation of public opinion. It is using scare tactics to
shill for "Global Pax Americana." It also helps the 2004 re-election campaign, as
countries rarely change leaders in times of "war."
But all these points sound flat and lifeless in the face of the new U.S. nuclear
To even have to make logical arguments against the use of nuclear weapons
demonstrates the runaway madness of current foreign policy. Can Pax
Americana stop terrorism? Rhetorical answer: what happens when you take a
baseball bat to a hornet's nest? Pax Americana? What pax?
Think of it:
The U.S. government is threatening to use the most hideously violent force yet
invented, a force that puts all of humanity at risk, simply as means of
intimidation, as part of its "shock and awe" military plan. Is this really the
United States of America? Is this what the U.S. citizenry wants? It sounds more
like something the maniac in charge of North Korea would do---or another
maniac, long departed. That's right, think "blitzkrieg." It's exactly the same thing
as "shock and awe." Nazi Minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels would
admire the American military's skill with euphemism.
Even without nuclear "bunker-busters," however, "shock and awe," promises a
rain of 300-400 missiles per day on a country that not only has not attacked us,
but---get this---continues to export huge amounts of oil to the U.S., even now!
Yes, that's correct. Weeks before a prospective invasion, Iraq has reportedly
doubled its exports of oil to America, bailing out U.S. refineries crippled by the
strike in Venezuela.
Wait---isn't Iraq the 'enemy'?
Let's hear it for insanity, greed, and death.
"They all hate us, anyhow/ So let's drop the Big One now/ Let's drop the Big
One now. . ."
Back to Main News Page
'Regime Change' & Oil Reserves
By Conn Hallinan
posted to Portside
Feb 6, 2003
The one word President George Bush II never uttered in
his State of the Union is the one that will launch the
war against Iraq sometime in the next six weeks: oil.
There was much talk of weapons of mass destruction, the
World Trade Towers, and evil. But what most Americans
don't know is that the decision to invade Iraq was made
long before 9/11 and that the coming war has little to
do with democracy and a great deal to do with oil
The planning for this war even pre-dates this
administration. Back in 1997, former Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld and former White House Chief of Staff
Dick Cheney cooked up the Project for a New American
Century and lobbied the Clinton Administration for a
"regime change" in Iraq to "protect our vital interests
in the Gulf."
The members of the Project read like a "who's who" in
the Bush Administration: Under Secretaries of state John
Bolton and Richard Armitage; PaulWolfowitz, Assistant
Secretary of Defense; Richard Perle, Chair of the
influential Science Board; Elliot Abrams, National
Security Council; and Zalmay Khalilzad, Special Envoy
to Iraq and former Unocal Oil Company employee.
Clinton took a pass but these guys and the energy
companies they represent don't give up.
Four months after Bush took the oath of office,
Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group
recommended that the President "make energy security a
priority of our trade and foreign policy," arguing that
control of the Middle East was the key.
When you crunch the numbers, it's hard to argue with
the logic. Oil production in the U.S., Mexico, and the
North Sea is declining, while U.S. consumption will
increase by one-third in the next 20 years. By 2020,
two-thirds of our oil will be imported, and since 65
percent of the world's remaining reserves are in the
Middle East, that is where it will come from.
Some 62 percent of U.S. energy is generated by oil or
While the U.S. is also interested in developing oil
fields in the Caspian Sea, Africa and Latin America,
these areas are dwarfed by the proven reserves of Saudi
Arabia (264 billion barrels); Iraq (112 billion
barrels); United Arab Emirates (97.8 billion barrels);
and Kuwait (96.5 billion barrels).
The U.S. is pouring money (and troops) into the Caspian
Sea area, and either building or planning pipelines
from Turkey to Pakistan. But Caspian Sea reserves are
at most 22 billion barrels, roughly the same as North
Sea or Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The real gold lies in the
Gulf, and that is why we are headed there.
Back in the 1970s, when the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC) was formed, most of the big
western oil companies lost control of Middle East oil
reserves. While the "big five"-Exxon-Mobil, Chevron-
Texaco, Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, and
TotalFinaELF-continue to drill, pump and sell 29
million barrels a day, they only control 4 percent of
world's total reserves. That's about 12 years of
But if a "friendly" regime is inserted in Iraq, the
door will swing open, particularly for American and
British oil companies. Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraq
National Congress, and Rumsfeld's candidate to take
over post-Hussein Iraq, says "American companies will
have a big shot at Iraq oil" and companies from nations
who don't support the war---read Russia, France and
China---may be sidelined.
According to a recent article in the Wall Street
Journal, the Pentagon and the State Department are
debating how to control the oil, and the U.S. Energy
Department's "oil and natural gas working group" has
already met with the Iraqi opposition.
Most people in the industry think it's pretty straight-
forward." If you turn up and it's your tanks that
dislodged the regime?then you're going to get the best
deals. That's the way it works," says Credit Suisse
First Boston analyst Mark Flannery.
Indeed, if there is anything that will eventually drag
a reluctant Russia, France and China along, it will be
the fear of being frozen out of the oil. Russia's
LUKOIL has been developing Iraq's West Qurna oil field,
China's National Petroleum Company has a 50 percent
stake in the al-Ahdab field, and France's TotalFinaELF
has its eyes on the huge Majnoon field.
The Russians are particularly concerned. "Do Americans
need us in Iraq?" asks Nikolai Tokarev, general
director of Zarubezhneft, a state-owned oil company,
"Of course not. Russian companies will lose the oil
forever if the Americans come."
Oil analysts say that Iraq could eventually pump up to
8 million barrels a day, plummeting oil prices
worldwide. That would be good for us, but not for
countries that rely on oil as a major source of income.
Aleksei Arbatov, deputy chair of the Russian Defense
Committee, says if the price of oil falls below $24 a
barrel-it is $30 now-"our budget will collapse."
Iran and Saudi Arabia, with their exploding populations
and falling living standards, will also find themselves
Cheap gas for Americans and huge profits for western
oil companies may end up destabilizing international
finance and measurably increasing instability in the
Middle East, Central Asia and Russia.
The dominoes are endless.
Back to Main News Page
Date: Thu, 06 Feb 2003 11:49:15 -0500
Subject: Sent This to Oprah for her POLL ON THE WAR
Here is the statement I just sent to Oprah for a poll on the war that her
show is taking, at
Please vote there now!
Statement by Mitchel Cohen:
I strongly oppose bombing the hell out of innocent civilians or even
military soldiers, who are usually teenage draftees stationed in their own
country. The leukemia rates among children in Iraq have gone through the
roof since the 1991 bombardment, due to the use of depleted uranium weapons
by the US.
I listened carefully to Colin Powell insinuate that Iraq had something to
do with the Anthrax calamity that befell the US two years ago -- but said
nothing about the fact that anthrax has been traced to the US biowarfare
program at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
I see Powell and Bush show satellite photos of stationary trucks in Iraq,
claiming they MIGHT BE bio-chemical laboratories, but then produce no
satellite photos of where those trucks actually went.
And, of course, there is no indication in the media that ALL of the
precursor biological and chemical material needed to manufacture weapons
was sold to Iraq BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND US CORPORATIONS, as
well as by Germany.
Meanwhile, US soldiers are being forced to take experimental and now
genetically engineered vaccines, which is thought to be the cause or
co-cause of Gulf War Syndrome along with pesticides and exposure to
depleted uranium (England says that Organophosphate poisoning is the cause;
in France, which did not vaccinate its soldiers, there is no evidence of
Gulf War Syndrome). Many US soldiers are resisting vaccination with
experimental drugs, and still no stories in the mainstream media about
this. (The fact that Eli Lilly Co. is specifically exempted from lawsuits
under a clause added to the Homeland Security Act by now Majority Leader
Robert Frist should be worth noting in this context.)
I was a draft resister during the Vietnam War and fought to end the war
immediately to save the lives of the Vietnamese people (2 million killed)
and our own soldiers. Now I find that most of the clique running the US
government who came of age in the Vietnam period escaped military service
(which is fine, by itself) but is dead set on sending today's youth off to
kill and die, when they were not willing to do so themselves.
So, NO to war for oil, for empire. Too many lies. Too many business
interests. And we -- along with the people of Iraq -- are the guinea pigs.
- Mitchel Cohen
editor, "Green Politix,"
the national newspaper of the Greens/Green Party USA
As of 11:30 a.m. Thursday, 2/6/03
Should the U.S. Attack Iraq? Poll Results
Number of responses: 2797
How should the U.S. deal with Iraq?
Use military force without U.N. or coalition support27.3%
Use military force, but only with U.N. and coalition support12%
Find a diplomatic solution without the use of military force60.7%
Number of responses: 2796
Do you believe Iraq is a serious threat to the U.S.?
Number of responses: 2772
Are you concerned the U.S. is moving too quickly towards war?
Number of responses: 2792
On Wednesday, February 5, Secretary of State Colin Powell presented
evidence alleging Iraq has been hiding weapons and also has ties to Al
Qaeda. Did this change your position on whether you support a war in Iraq?
Number of responses: 2780
Do you believe Iraq is hiding weapons?
Number of responses: 2702
Do you think U.N. weapons inspectors should get more time to find evidence?
Number of responses: 2779
Do you fear terrorist retaliation if the U.S. goes to war against Iraq?
Number of responses: 2779
If the U.S. goes to war with Iraq, do you think anti-American sentiment will:
Stay the same18.4%
Number of responses: 2790
If the U.S. goes to war with Iraq, what do you think will happen to
America's foreign relations?
They will improve.16.2%
They will suffer.68.5%
They will stay the same.15.4%
Number of responses: 2785
What kind of role do you think oil plays in the crisis with Iraq?
A significant role.57.1%
It is one of many factors.27.5%
It does not play a role.15.4%
Number of responses: 2795
Back to Main News Page
NOTE: Below is another hard-hitting commentary from the Black
Commentator website- a weekly must-visit place:
You should also checkout some of the email replies to the Commentator's
"Devil's Hanmaiden" critique as well as the political cartoons:
Send in the Clowns:
The GOP’s two-ring Black "outreach" circus
To the outside observer, the Republican Party may seem to have
no coherent plan for Black America. Actually, the GOP has two
game plans. One is a farcical show of "inclusion" through appointments
and hiring, a petty cash and publicity diversion designed to
have no significant effect on GOP policy or its strategic position
as the White Man's Party. Armstrong Williams is Clown-in-Chief
in this ring of the circus, but it's really just a sideshow.
The other game is pure subversion, far more sophisticated and
deadly. The goal is to sow confusion and chaos among Black Democrats,
the party's only dependable mass base. This ring of the circus
is where the real action - and money - is, the GOP's strategic
Black game plan.
House Republican leader Tom DeLay spent much of last week going
through the motions of paying attention to Black columnist-consultant
Armstrong Williams, the central player in what the Washington
Post editorially derided as a Republican "affirmative action
plan" for Black conservatives. Williams, for whom Hard Right
Republicanism is the Living Word, pretended to slap his clients
into racial sensitivity, demanding that they renounce lily-whiteness
and buy into his bag of Black resumes. (The Post editorial, with
wicked sarcasm, had Williams describing a roomful of whites turning
"ashen and silent" under his tirade.)
Armstrong's pills for what ails the GOP were no problem at all
for Tom DeLay to swallow. In fact, the archconservative seemed
quite pleased with himself when he told an AP reporter, "One
of our problems was, in the hiring of African-Americans, we can't
find good conservative African-Americans to work for us." (It's
so hard to get good help these days.) But a package from Armstrong
Williams had arrived, and "I've got 20 resumes now of young conservatives."
Armstrong Williams' contrived rebellion consists of holding white
Republicans' hands, while they perform painless exercises. "It's
our responsibility to help them," said Strom Thurmond's Black
Of the 20,000 staffers on Capitol Hill, about 8 percent are African
American, according to Black Republican Ohio Secretary of State
Kenneth Blackwell. About one percent are Black Republicans.
On the West Coast, the same marginal drama occupies media attention.
Shannon Reeves, top Black in the California Republican Party
and renegade Oakland NAACP chief, is locked in epic combat with
state party Vice Chairman Bill Back, a fan of the Confederacy.
Back endorsed and distributed a tract that lamented the plight
of emancipated slaves because "most of the poor devils had no
experience fending for themselves."
Cut that out, cried Reeves! He quickly fired off an open letter
to the Los Angeles Times, denouncing Back's "bigoted propaganda."
GOP strategist Kevin Spillane chimed in: "What this whole episode
demonstrates is that there continues to be a tremendous degree
of insensitivity among Republican leaders about how to handle
What is the point, here? That moss-backed bigots should learn
to bite their tongues? That the Republican Party's legislative
agenda will be affected by the addition of a few more Black staffers
- or 100 more?
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum also complained about his
party's racial inertia. "It took us the last two years to convince
our members that actually having a [Black-oriented] communications
plan and a message and a strategy by which to implement
that is a good thing," he told the congressional newspaper The
Hill. However, Santorum's eyes are focused on the legislation
agenda, which is where the rest of us ought to be looking.
Buying the Black church
The core of the GOP plan to wreak havoc in the Black body politic
is faith-based funding of Black churches. That's the real show
in this circus, and the clowns in that ring wear clerical collars.
"I would argue that roughly a third of the African American community
are culturally and fiscally fairly conservative," Santorum said.
"That's a block that we should get if we do a good job communicating
what we're all about and why it makes sense for them to vote
The actual Republican National Committee goal is to garner 15
to 20 percent of the Black vote in 2004, enough to dash Democratic
hopes of resurgence and convince white Republicans that they
are members of an integrated party.
Yet Black congregations have not been significantly swayed in
the past by Republican cultural and fiscal messages. This time,
the plan is to bribe the preachers. George Bush has instructed
five of his cabinet departments to make hundreds of millions
of dollars in contracts available to the Black clergy. (See "De-funding
the Right Rev. Dr. Greedygut," January 2.) His $600 million State
of the Union pitch for faith-based drug "rehabilitation" programs
was developed for Black churches by the Milwaukee-based Bradley
Foundation, the GOP's Hard Right brain. Under other Republican
legislation, church buildings could be partially financed with
federal money. Black churches are also prime targets for the
$756 million that Bush wants this Congress to spend on private
Much of what goes on in Black Republican circles is of no lasting
impact: Armstrong Williams' hollow bombast, Condoleezza Rice's
ceremonial presence, Shannon Reeve's bickering with racists.
However, faith-based funding and school vouchers, if passed,
have the potential to thoroughly corrupt Black American politics
for many years to come. "All of those will be issues that will
be coming out of the box within the month," said Senator Santorum.
We will soon see what the Congressional Black Caucus - and the
Black church - are made of.
Back to Main News Page
Date: Thu, 06 Feb 2003 18:37:59 -0500
Subject: Understanding What Just Happened on The Oprah Winfrey Show
Understanding What Just Happened on The Oprah Winfrey Show
Today, Oprah Winfrey started a two-part series focusing on the impending
U.S. war on Iraq. About halfway through the show the broadcast was
pre-empted by coverage of Pres. George Bush, with Colin Powell at his side,
reading a prepared statement on Iraq. The coincidental timing of this
pre-emptive press statement raised immediate questions about the motives of
the White House war strategists. Students of the Civil Rights Movement will
recall an incident in 1964 when activist Fannie Lou Hamer sat before a live
television audience and gave a riveting account of the oppression she and
other Blacks faced in the South. President Lyndon Johnson was so convinced
of the power of her appeal to undermine his own political/racial agenda,
that he hastily called a press conference to pull cameras away from Hamer's
impassioned revelations. Though the networks pre-empted Hamer's testimony to
cover the president, the newscasts later showed her entire presentation.
The pre-emption of Winfrey's show today should be seen in the same light.
Oprah's audience is a vast and powerful--but largely apolitical--force of
middle-class white women. It is likely that most did not watch Colin
Powell's live testimony at the U.N. yesterday. In fact, it is likely that
this huge audience was being oriented to the issues of the Iraq war for the
first time. Bush and his handlers are also aware that powerful Republican
voices, including Rush Limbaugh's, credit Bush's pre-election appearance on
the Oprah Show with "turning the tide" in his favor. It is unlikely that
they treated this show with anything but intense propaganda interest.
The first 30 minutes of the show was decidedly anti-war and highlighted not
only worldwide unanimity in opposition to the war but presented many of the
heretofore unheard voices of ordinary people speaking forcefully against
Bush's motives. CNN assisted the Oprah Show by presenting overseas
confirmation of this from Great Britain and Iraq. For instance, the British
correspondent said at one point that it was hard to find anyone in Britain
EXCEPT TONY BLAIR that supported the war. Other voices repeated their
conclusion that the war is "for oil," not "against terrorism." Those
familiar with the Bush administration's network cheerleaders at ABC, NBC,
and CBS would, no doubt, view this expose' with raised eyebrows.
Then, without warning or introduction, Bush is seen at the podium
reiterating Powell's statement at the U.N. yesterday! One immediately had to
assume that Bush was actually declaring war on Iraq, given the urgency of
this interruption. Soon, however, it became clear that OPRAH herself was the
target of this sabre-rattling and not Saddam Hussein. Bush simply summarized
Powell's presentation for Oprah's audience, hitting key emotional points for
this afternoon women's gathering. He said nothing more of any import at all.
Returning to the show, 15 or so minutes later, found still more impassioned,
but reasoned, anti-war input from members of Oprah's audience. There was
indeed a balance of pro-war input but the net effect of the show--in spite
of Bush's strategic Johnsonian interruption--was to embolden the anti-war
voices and to make opposition to the war as "patriotic" a position as that
of the warmongers.
What we just saw was a replay of an old propaganda ploy of an ol' Texas
politician, Lyndon Baines Johnson, against the sharecropper's daughter from
Mississippi, Fannie Lou Hamer. In 1964, enough of Hamer's message was heard
to force Johnson into acting against his own political desires. Bush's ploy
in 2003 may have backfired as well.
Back to Main News Page
February 8, 2003
New Iraq Report
Yes, Tony, There is a Conspiracy
by JACOB LEVICH
Here's the prewar zeitgeist in a nutshell: In a widely reported January 16
speech, Tony Blair proclaimed that the impending invasion of Iraq "has
nothing to do with oil, or any of the other conspiracy theories put
One week later, Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, quietly passed word to Russia and France that their
countries will be frozen out of staggeringly lucrative postwar oil contracts
unless they roll over and endorse the US attack.
Yes, Tony, there is a conspiracy, in the dictionary sense of the term: an
agreement among people to perform a criminal or wrongful act. It consists,
not of a tiny cabal, but of the whole of the American power elite, from
politicians to business executives to journalists. It has everything to do
with oil. But it is not secret.
The conspirators know they can count on the uncritical support of the
mass media. Therefore knowledge of their cynical motives and thuggish
tactics can be made available in journals and other specialized fora, all but
invisible to most Americans but accessible to the few with sufficient time
and inclination to dig beneath the headlines.
Building on that knowledge, a Mumbai-based independent think tank has
now anatomized the conspiracy behind the coming war and issued a truly
comprehensive explanation of the current global crisis.
Behind the Invasion of Iraq, the startling new book- length report authored
by the Research Unit for Political Economy (RUPE), synthesizes the
seemingly disparate threads of the US war drive in what amounts to a
blistering indictment of American foreign policy. The report (available on
the Web at http://www.rupe-india.org ) is lavishly documented and jargon-free;
the effect, especially for readers with limited understanding of global
commerce and finance, is of puzzle pieces clicking decisively into place.
The RUPE report wholly confirms the widely-held view of the coming war
as a massive oil grab, "on a scale not witnessed since the days of
colonialism." Further, the current debate about arms inspections and
alleged links to al-Qaeda is revealed as pure political theater, since the
decision to invade Iraq was made months ago.
But seizure of Iraq's multi-trillion-dollar petroleum reserves is only the
immediate goal, the report shows. RUPE's rigorous analysis of publicly
available sources -- including official documents, think-tank papers, and
press reports -- reveals that the US intends to use the invasion of Iraq as a
launching pad for a drastic reshaping of the Middle East, to be followed by
an unprecedented expansion of US power worldwide. The strategic trend
of US foreign policy now points unmistakably towards global empire.
To be sure, an imperial project on so ambitious a scale entails big
downside risks for the US, including staggering costs, military hazards, and
the disruption of global "stability" (i.e., the dearly-bought loyalty of US
allies and client states.) But the American Establishment seems prepared to
go for broke, and its enthusiastic consensus behind a naked war of
conquest cannot be explained solely by the "cowboy mentality" that some
detect in the White House.
What's really at stake -- and this will come as no surprise to leftists -- is
control of global markets. The report reveals that the US economy is now
facing a nightmare scenario: A crisis of overproduction has crippled US
GDP, resulting in monstrous trade and budget deficits, even as a
potentially disastrous deflationary spiral appears to be under way
Meanwhile, superpower rivals Europe, Russia and China are mounting a
vigorous challenge to US economic preeminence, which is further
threatened by the euro's emergence as a credible alternative to the dollar
as global reserve currency. (All this is exhaustively detailed in the RUPE
report, which draws its most telling evidence from the mainstream financial
In this context, the US sees confiscation of the world's richest oil-
producing regions as a magic bullet. While securing its own access to
petroleum supplies for the foreseeable future, it can simultaneously
defend dollar hegemony and restructure Middle East markets for the
exclusive benefit of US-based corporations.
Which brings us to the crux: Direct American control of oil would render
any potential challengers for world or regional supremacy perpetually
dependent on US forbearance. In RUPE's words, "once it has seized the oil
wells of west Asia the US will determine not only which firms would bag
the deals, not only the currency in which oil trade would be denominated,
not only the price of oil on the international market, but even the
of the oil."
RUPE's argument here is powerful but complex, and this summary is
necessarily an extreme oversimplification. But the overall thrust is quite
clear: The US invasion of Iraq needs to be understood not as an end in
itself but as the means to an end -- the foundation of a New American
Needless to say, you won't catch Tony Blair owning up to the war's real
purpose as he flogs it to a skeptical public. But the truth, or something
pretty close to it, is now readily available to anyone who cares to look.
Jacob Levich (, a writer and editor based in Queens, N.Y., assisted RUPE in
researching Behind The Invasion of Iraq -- which is a fancy way of saying he
forwarded several hundred articles to an email address in Mumbai. He can
be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Forwarded for your information. The text and intent of the article
have to stand on their own merits.
------- End of forwarded message -------
"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so
long as I'm the dictator."
-GW Bush during a photo-op with Congressional leaders on
12/18/2000. As broadcast on CNN and available in transcript on
their website http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0012/18/nd.01.html
Steve Wingate, Webmaster
ANOMALOUS IMAGES AND UFO FILES
Back to Main News Page
Senior Groups Begin Boycott of Drug Maker
They take action after Glaxo halts supplies to Canadian
pharmacies that give Americans steep discounts on
By Catherine Saillant - Times Staff Writer
February 9, 2003,Los Angeles Times
With a battle cry of "Tums down!" senior citizens groups
have started a boycott of drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, after
the company cut supplies to Canadian pharmacies that sell
its drugs to Americans on the Internet at bargain prices.
The seniors are taking aim at the British maker of Tums
antacid, Aquafresh toothpaste, Contac cold remedy and dozens
of common prescription medicines, calling Glaxo's decision
"mean-spirited" and harmful to older people.
Last week, hundreds of groups began an e-mail and phone
campaign urging U.S. consumers to stop buying Glaxo's over-
the-counter products. Organizers plan to publicize the
boycott with a Feb. 20 rally outside Glaxo's U.S. operations
in Philadelphia, said Pedro Rodriguez, who heads that city's
Action Alliance of Senior Citizens.
"Glaxo has really picked a fight with the wrong group,"
Rodriguez said. "They have the money, but we have the
On Jan. 21, Glaxo stopped shipping its prescription drugs,
including such popular medicines as the antidepressant Paxil
and allergy drug Flonase, to Canadian pharmacies. Shipments
will not resume, the company said, until the pharmacies stop
filling U.S. prescriptions. Patients could be putting
themselves at risk from unsafe or counterfeit medicines that
are not regulated by U.S. authorities, the company said.
"We're sorry to hear that seniors may choose not to buy our
over-the-counter products in response to this," Glaxo
spokeswoman Patty Seif said Friday. "But we are doing this
out of patient safety."
Company officials also suggested the boycott is being
engineered by Canadian druggists, who stand to lose
business. Rodriguez scoffed at that, saying, "This is pure
and simple American anger at the corporate greed of the drug
Activists maintain that Glaxo's move was prompted by
profits. Like other drug companies, it has been losing
American customers to Canadian pharmacies that offer cut-
rate deals over the Internet, senior advocates say.
A favorable currency exchange rate and Canadian government
price controls mean prescriptions can cost up to 80% less in
Canada than in the U.S., and many Americans are taking
advantage of the savings.
If consumers do not challenge Glaxo, the world's second-
largest drug maker with $29.5 billion in annual sales, other
drug companies may follow its lead, the activists say. That
would effectively shut off an avenue to lower-priced
medicines that is used increasingly by the uninsured and
seniors of moderate means, they say.
Elvira DeBernardis, 83, is one of them. Her daughter learned
that her mother could save 50% on the eight medications she
relies on to control blood pressure, cholesterol and other
ailments by buying them from Canada. For the last year,
DeBernardis' doctor has called a Winnipeg pharmacy every
three months to renew her Internet order. The drugs are
mailed to her West Los Angeles home.
DeBernardis, who gets by on Medicare and her Social Security
check, worries about what will happen if cross-border sales
are curtailed. Medicare does not cover prescription drugs.
"We are paying a tremendous amount of money in the United
States," she said. "So I hope it all turns out OK."
Chicago interior designer Kirstin Williams turned to Canada
to help her 89-year-old grandmother find bargains. Lucille
Gustafson had insurance that covered her drugs until her
husband, a retired railroad man, died recently, Williams
"These are people who worked for hardly anything their whole
lives and now they are having to struggle again," Williams
said. "It's really kind of dehumanizing."
Seif said Glaxo offers two discount cards that can slash up
to 40% off prices for eligible seniors. She also noted that
the regulations governing importing drugs for personal use
are muddy and seniors could be violating U.S. law.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials, however, have
repeatedly said they will not act against Americans who are
buying Canadian prescriptions for their own needs.
The move against Glaxo has senior action councils in
Pennsylvania, New York, California and 15 other states
tapping hundreds of local senior groups, sympathetic
physicians and union members to get out word of the boycott,
dubbed "Tums Down."
One New York group's Web site urged seniors to use their
consumer power to "strike back" against Glaxo. The posting
by New York Statewide Senior Action Council also lists the
products that boycott supporters should refrain from buying
"in direct retaliation for Glaxo refusing to sell to
Canadian Internet pharmacies that sell to Americans."
Bruce Livingston, executive director of the Senior Action
Network in San Francisco, said his group voted last week to
join the campaign.
"The people have to make their voice heard because the
pharmaceutical industry has way too much power over the
legislative process," he said. "They've held up [price]
reforms we think are necessary."
American drug makers do not release cross-border sales
tallies or information about the effect of such sales on
their $400-billion industry. But an official with AARP, the
senior citizens' advocacy group, said drug company officials
have told him that the Internet trade to Canada is growing
by 20% to 30% a month.
"What this is showing is the extreme hardship of people on
this side of the border to afford the medications they
need," AARP spokesman Steve Hahn said. "It speaks volumes
about the need for a Medicare drug benefit for seniors."
Glaxo also supports congressional passage of a drug benefit.
"We believe that is the long-term answer to this problem,"
New York-based Pfizer Inc., the world's largest drug maker,
and New Jersey-based Merck & Co., the third largest, said
they are closely watching Glaxo's action but have not
decided whether they would follow suit.
Cross-border Internet pharmacies now number in the dozens.
They sprouted up in recent years as the cost of U.S.
prescriptions spiraled, Canadian pharmacists said.
Daren Jorgenson, a Winnipeg pharmacist who operates
Canadameds.com, said his Web site business grew from two to
500 employees in three years, serving 200,000 U.S.
customers. He and other druggists stockpiled supplies in
anticipation of Glaxo's action, he said.
"But in about a month from now, they will be calling to
refill their prescriptions," he said, "and we will have to
tell them we can't fill it because we don't have any."
Copyright 2003 Los Angeles Times
Back to Main News Page
Level with us, Mr. President
By Edward Kennedy
Boston Globe | Op-Ed
Saturday 08 Februauy 2003
SECRETARY POWELL has made a convincing case to the United Nations Security Council that
Saddam Hussein is a dangerous and deceptive dictator, and is concealing weapons of mass destruction.
We live in a dangerous world and Saddam must be disarmed.
The question is, how to do it in a way that minimizes the risks to the American people at home, to our
armed forces, and to our allies. Even after Secretary Powell's strong presentation, however, the president
must still answer key questions before resorting to war.
The questions are obvious. It is far from clear that war is in our national interest now. Won't war with Iraq
divert the administration's attention from more immediate and graver dangers to our security from the Al
Qaeda terrorist network and the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula? How much support will we have
from the world community? What will be the cost in American lives, especially if the war involves
hand-to-hand, door-to-door urban combat in Baghdad?
We will certainly win the war, but how do we win the peace if there are massive civilian casualties, if
factional fighting fractures Iraq, if food, water, and medicine are in short supply and millions of Iraqis are
displaced from their homes, or if a new wave of terrorism erupts against America as an occupying power, or
because of the war itself? What if the war ignites a conflagration that consumes other nations in the Middle
East. There is no more important decision by Congress or the president under the Constitution than the
decision to send our men and women in uniform to war.
The Administration says we can fight a war in Iraq without undermining our most pressing national
security priority - the war against terrorism. But a war in Iraq may strengthen Al Qaeda terrorists, especially
if the Muslim world opposes us. We have not broken Osama bin Laden's will to kill Americans. Our nation
has just gone on new and higher alert because of the increased overall threat from Al Qaeda. What if Al
Qaeda decides to time its next attack for the day we go to war?
War with Iraq could swell the ranks of terrorists and trigger an escalation in terrorist acts.
As General Wesley Clark told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sept. 23 that a war would
''super-charge recruiting for Al Qaeda.''
These are real dangers that the administration has minimized or glossed over in its determination to
The administration maintains that there are convincing links between Al Qaeda and Iraq that justify war.
There are links. But there are also links to other Middle Eastern countries. Al Qaeda activists are present in
more than 60 countries.
Even within the administration, there are skeptics about the links with Iraq. CIA and FBI analysts are
clearly questioning whether there is a clear and compelling pattern of links, and are concerned that
intelligence is being politicized to justify war.
The UN inspectors have found no evidence so far of a revived nuclear weapons program in Iraq, but there
is evidence in North Korea. With inspectors gone and North Korea gone from the Non-Proliferation Treaty,
we face an urgent crisis, with nothing to prevent that nation from quickly producing a significant amount of
nuclear materials and nuclear weapons for its own use, or for terrorists hostile to America and our allies.
Desperate and strapped for cash, North Korea can easily provide nuclear weapons to terrorist groups.
The UN's inspectors fully understand the nature of the repressive and deceitful regime they are dealing
with, but they need more time. Why not give it to them? We accomplished more disarmament in Iraq in
seven years of inspections than we did during the Gulf War. We are on the verge of war with Iraq because
of its weapons of mass destruction. Recently, we learned that the administration is considering even the
use of nuclear weapons against Iraq - a reckless prospect that should set off alarm bells everywhere.
Using our nuclear arsenal in this unprecedented war would be the most fateful decision since the
nuclear attack on Hiroshima.
It is far from clear that we will be safer by attacking Iraq. In an Oct. 7, 2002 letter to the Senate
Committee on Intelligence, CIA Director George Tenet said the probability of Saddam Hussein initiating an
attack on the United States was low. But his letter said, ''should Saddam Hussein conclude that a US-led
attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist
The administration must be forthcoming about the potential human costs of war with Iraq, especially if it
pushes Saddam into unleashing whatever weapons of mass destruction he possesses.
The administration has released no casualty estimates, and they could be extremely high. Many
military experts have predicted urban guerrilla warfare - a scenario which retired General Joseph Hoar, who
had responsibility for Iraq before the Gulf War, says could look ''like the last 15 minutes of `Saving Private
Ryan.''' Nor has the administration been candid about the humanitarian crisis that could result from war.
Refugee organizations are desperately trying to prepare for a flood of as many as 900,000 refugees.
Billions of dollars and years of commitment may well be needed to achieve a peaceful postwar Iraq, but
the American people still do not know how that process will unfold and who will pay for it.
No war can be successfully waged if it lacks the strong support of the American people. Before pulling
the trigger on war, the administration must tell the American people the full story about Iraq. So far, it has
Edward M. Kennedy is the senior senator from Massachusetts.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
Back to Main News Page
Volume 14, Issue 2.
February 1, 2003.
A Charged Atmosphere
Mexican unions block Fox's campaign to privatize
By David Bacon
If the proposals for privatizing Mexico's nationalized
electrical system bear an eerie resemblance to
California's disastrous experiment in deregulation, it
should come as no surprise. The proposals, after all,
share some of the same authors. In fact, as Jeffrey
Skilling and Ken Lay were setting up shadow
corporations to hide Enron's huge U.S. losses in 2001,
other Enron executives found time to hobnob with
Mexican politicians and design projects in cooperation
with that country's industrial elite.
Enron executives advised incoming President Vicente Fox
on energy policy during his transition period. Since
Fox took office in 2000, a slew of power companies,
many of them U.S.-based, have gone on a construction
spree in Mexico in anticipation of legislation that
will privatize the nation's electric-power industry,
which has been nationalized for the past four decades.
On April 4, 2002, Enron Energia Industrial de Mexico
received a license from Mexico's Electricity Regulatory
Commission to build a 245-megawatt plant in partnership
with a number of major Mexican companies, including a
number of Monterrey-based industrialists who've had
longstanding relationships with their Texas
Bechtel Enterprises, the multinational construction
giant based in San Francisco, partnered with Shell
Generating Ltd. to set up Intergen Aztec Energy and
build a plant generating 750 megawatts near Mexicali.
Two-thirds of the power will be sold in Mexico; the
remainder will be exported to California. Sempra Energy
Resources, a San Diego generator that figured in the
state's power meltdown last year, is building another
power station near Mexicali. Its 600 megawatts will all
be sent to the United States, and the gas for its
boilers will come from the United States in a Sempra-
built pipeline, making the plant the first true energy
Controversy over the rapid growth of private power
generation in Mexico boiled over last year when Fox
introduced legislation to privatize the industry. Those
proposals have become so controversial that Fox may
have lost the votes in the Mexican Congress needed to
pass them. A former Coca-Cola executive, Fox is allied
with the Monterrey industrialists and their U.S. energy
partners. His proposals carry the blessing of the World
Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which have
been urging the privatization of Mexican industry for
more than a dozen years. Not surprisingly, another
powerful Texan, President George W. Bush, is a longtime
supporter of building U.S.-owned power plants south of
In the United States, a similar alliance of corporate
and political forces steamrolled all opposition to
deregulated, private-sector power generation -- at
least until California's experience with privatization
became such a manifest debacle. In Mexico, however, an
alliance of progressive organizations and old-guard
nationalists has thus far managed to thwart Fox's
The key institution that has stopped privatization in
its tracks is the Mexican Electrical Workers Union
(SME). At the end of September, the union and its
allies brought 50,000 people into Mexico City's main
square, the Zocalo, to protest Fox's plans. The union
vowed to distribute 10 million leaflets urging
It wasn't the first confrontation between the union and
the forces of neoliberal reform. In 1999, Fox's
predecessor, Ernesto Zedillo, also proposed privatizing
electricity. The union formed the National Front of
Resistance to the Privatization of the Electrical
Industry, collected 2.3 million signatures on petitions
in three weeks and brought a million angry capital
dwellers into the streets. Zedillo was defeated,
marking the first time a privatization initiative in
Mexico had not succeeded.
In Mexico, two state-owned power companies provide
electricity. The Federal Electrical Commission (CFE)
brings power to all of the country except Mexico City
and part of central Mexico, which is supplied by the
Power and Light Company. The SME, the union at the
Power and Light Company, is one of the oldest and most
democratic in Mexico.
The SME charges that Fox's plan is a giveaway to the
top 1 percent of Mexican users -- the big companies
that consume 70 percent of the nation's energy. That
should sound familiar to Californians, as the original
deregulation plan drafted by Pacific Gas and Electric
and some of the state's largest corporations also
proposed to allow the largest power consumers to opt
out of the system, leaving residential users and small
businesses holding the bag. The SME warns that under
Fox's plan, small-scale users would shoulder all of the
expenses of maintaining the transmission grid and the
distribution system. The union fears that the two
existing power companies would lose most of their
revenue and go bankrupt. Adding fuel to the fire, Fox
proposes to entice private companies to build
generating plants; his plan is to finance them using
the national pension fund (the equivalent of Social
Opponents say both national companies would likely be
sold off once they become bankrupt, or they'd be
replaced in the market by foreign-owned firms. New
owners would increase profits by raising rates for
small-scale customers while cutting wages, laying off
workers, tearing up union contracts and holding down
expenses on maintenance. The opponents are not just
issuing doomsday predictions -- they describe the
bitter experience at Mexico's railroads, copper mines,
airlines and other once-state-owned businesses
privatized over the last decade.
To older Mexicans, Fox's proposal brings back bad
memories of the era before nationalization. In 1960,
the then-private, foreign owners of Mexico's power
system wanted a big rate increase. They pressured the
government by threatening to stop bringing lines into
rural areas and building new generating capacity. But
then-President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz nationalized the
companies instead. Diaz's action was very popular, and
in line with Mexico's most historic nationalization --
of oil, in 1936.
In fact, national ownership of electricity is not just
a matter of rates and jobs but a symbol of Mexico's
independence from the United States. "We don't just
look at this as workers but as Mexicans," says Ramon
Pacheco, the electrical union's secretary for external
relations. "Yes, we'd lose our contract and jobs, and
the company would go bankrupt. But this is about more
than that -- it's about the direction our country is
Such popular opposition prevented the inclusion of the
electrical and oil industries in the NAFTA
negotiations. But in 1992, then-President Carlos
Salinas de Gortari allowed private companies, including
foreign ones, to build and operate plants in Mexico so
long as they consumed or exported all the energy they
produced -- or sold it to the Federal Electrical
Commission. According to Jesus Navarrete, a leader of
Mexico's other electrical workers union, the Sole Union
of Electrical Workers of the Mexican Republic (SUTERM),
almost all new government construction of power plants
halted after 1992; private construction, meanwhile,
surged ahead. In addition to Enron, Sempra and
Intergen, 23 other foreign companies have been granted
building permits in Mexico.
One of Fox's principal arguments for privatization,
therefore, is that the national constitution needs to
be changed to legalize what already exists. Energy
Secretary Luis Tellez says that Mexico needs to add
22,000 megawatts to its present 35,000-watt capacity,
and that only foreign investors can come up with the
$50 billion required to add that capacity. Navarrete
and others, however, point out that cogeneration
between the CFE and the oil monopoly Pemex alone could
generate 9,000 new megawatts.
A knowledgeable authority on the U.S. side of the
border is skeptical of Mexico's drive toward
privatization. Carl Wood, a member of the California
Public Utilities Commission, says, "It's crazy for
Mexico to be doing this. Mexico is blessed with lots of
energy resources. But this proposal accommodates the
needs of the large consumers without meeting those of
the public, and sticking the cost of old technology
with consumers. That was always the root of
California's deregulation problems."
Nevertheless, Fox's argument swayed not only his own
party, the conservative National Action Party, but also
the leaders of the Party of the Institutionalized
Revolution (PRI), which governed Mexico for 71 years
before Fox's election. In May, the Mexican congress
passed a resolution opposing any changes to the
constitution that would make privatization possible.
The PRI took a similar position in its own national
meeting. But after Fox invited PRI leaders Roberto
Madrazo and Elba Esther Gordillo to the presidential
residence of Los Pinos for a late-night snack last
September, they announced that they'd give his proposal
serious consideration. The PRI has 40 percent of the
votes in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, and
Fox's National Action Party has another 40 percent. If
Madrazo and Gordillo can hold their members, Fox's
scheme has more than the required two-thirds majority.
But some of the PRI's most conservative yet nationalist
leaders, including its former Chairman Manuel Bartlett,
have organized vocal opposition. In fact, there may now
be just enough PRI numbers to deny Fox the
supermajority he needs. Bartlett and many PRI leaders
are historically and currently linked to many of
Mexico's old-guard, machine-dominated unions (including
SUTERM), which also oppose privatization. "Look at the
energy chaos in California," he declared. "Do they want
to sell the American failure to us?" Bartlett
introduced an alternative bill that would ban any
increase in the 10 percent of current generation
presently provided by private companies.
An alliance of the SME, the National Union of Workers
(Mexico's new independent union confederation), the
left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution and
nationalist elements in the PRI have all vowed to
cooperate in staging a mass protest.
The campaign to privatize has become a de facto
referendum on the direction of Mexico's economic
development. Either the Fox government will succeed in
finally burying the last and biggest remnants of
Mexico's old nationalist development policy or it will
suffer a defeat that may make it possible to recover a
road toward national economic independence.
Copyright © 2003 by The American Prospect,
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King Alfred Plan
The truth about the King Alfred Plan is that it was developed by the National Security Council between the years 1960-1964. It is called "King Alfred Plan "The plan details the encampment and extermination of 22 million Blacks (U.S. census count for 1970 ). It has been solidified by Reagan under an ex-Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) [pronounced (fee-mah)] .The plan is under the control of FEMA and had been secured under executive order 11490, 11921, 12148 and amended under National Security Directive #52(aka
REX-84) as of April 6, 1984.
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UK war dossier a sham, say experts
British 'intelligence' lifted from academic articles
Michael White and Brian Whitaker
Friday February 7, 2003
Downing Street was last night plunged into acute
international embarrassment after it emerged that large
parts of the British government's latest dossier on Iraq
- allegedly based on "intelligence material" - were
taken from published academic articles, some of them
several years old.
Amid charges of "scandalous" plagiarism on the night
when Tony Blair attempted to rally support for the US-
led campaign against Saddam Hussein, Whitehall's dismay
was compounded by the knowledge that the disputed
document was singled out for praise by the US secretary
of state, Colin Powell, in his speech to the UN security
council on Wednesday.
Citing the British dossier, entitled Iraq - its
infrastructure of concealment, deception and
intimidation in front of a worldwide television audience
Mr Powell said: "I would call my colleagues' attention
to the fine paper that the United Kingdom distributed...
which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception
But on Channel 4 News last night it was revealed that
four of the report's 19 pages had been copied - with
only minor editing and a few insertions - from the
internet version of an article by Ibrahim al-Marashi
which appeared in the Middle East Review of
International Affairs last September.
Though that was not the only textual embarrassment No 10
seemed determined to tough it out last night.
Dismissing the gathering controversy as the latest
example of media obsession with spin, officials insisted
it in no way undermines the underlying truth of the
dossier, whose contents had been re-checked with British
intelligence sources. "The important thing is that it is
accurate," said one source.
What Whitehall may not grasp is the horror with which
unacknowledged borrowing of material - the crime of
plagiarism - is regarded in American academic and media
circles, even though successive US governments have a
poor record of misleading their own citizens on foreign
policy issues at least since the Vietnam war. On a
special edi tion of BBC Newsnight, filmed before a
critical audience last night, Mr Blair stressed that he
was willing to forgo popularity to warn voters of the
dangers of weapons of mass destruction: "I may be wrong,
but I do believe it."
With trust a critical element in the battle to woo a
sceptical public the first sentence of the No 10
document merely states, somewhat cryptically, that it
"draws upon a number of sources, including intelligence
But Glen Rangwala, a lecturer in politics at Cambridge
University, told Channel 4: "I found it quite startling
when I realised that I'd read most of it before."
The content of six more pages relies heavily on articles
by Sean Boyne and Ken Gause that appeared in Jane's
Intelligence Review in 1997 and last November. None of
these sources is acknowledged.
The document, as posted on Downing Street's website at
the end of January, also acci dentally named four
Whitehall officials who had worked on it: P Hamill, J
Pratt, A Blackshaw and M Khan. It was reposted on
February 3 with the first three names deleted.
"Apart from passing this off as the work of its
intelligence services," Dr Rangwala said, "it indicates
that the UK really does not have any independent sources
of information on Iraq's internal policies. It just
draws upon publicly available data."
Evidence of an electronic cut-and-paste operation by
Whitehall officials can be found in the way the dossier
preserves textual quirks from its original sources. One
sentence in Dr Marashi's article includes a misplaced
comma in referring to Iraq's head of military
intelligence during the 1991 Gulf war. The same sentence
in Downing Street's report contains the same misplaced
A Downing Street spokesman declined to say why the
report's public sources had not been acknowledged. "We
said that it draws on a number of sources, including
intelligence. It speaks for itself."
Dr Marashi, a research associate at the Centre for
Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, said
no one had contacted him before lifting the material.
But on the regular edition of Newsnight he later gave
some comfort to No 10. "In my opinion, the UK document
overall is accurate even though there are a few minor
cosmetic changes. The only inaccuracies in the UK
document were that they maybe inflated some of the
numbers of these intelligence agencies," he said.
Explaining the more journalistic changes inserted into
his work by Whitehall he added: "Being an academic
paper, I tried to soften the language.
"For example, in one of my documents, I said that they
support organisations in what Iraq considers hostile
regimes, whereas the UK document refers to it as
'supporting terrorist organisations in hostile regimes'.
"The primary documents I used for this article are a
collection of two sets of documents, one taken from
Kurdish rebels in the north of Iraq - around 4m
documents - as well as 300,000 documents left by Iraqi
security services in Kuwait. After that, I have been
following events in the Iraqi security services for the
last 10 years."
Iraq's decision last night to let weapons inspectors
interview one of its scientists for the first time
without government "minders" signalled that Baghdad may
be bending under international pressure.
But diplomats will be trying to determine over the next
few days whether it is a token gesture or a real shift
away from what they describe as Iraq's "catch us if you
can" approach to inspections. Hours before the
announcement, a Foreign Office source in London
signalled that this was the kind of change of heart that
Iraq would have to make to avoid war.
Downing St admits blunder on Iraq dossier
Plagiarism row casts shadow over No 10's case against
Michael White, Ewen MacAskill and Richard Norton-Taylor
Saturday February 8, 2003 The Guardian
Downing Street yesterday apologised for its failure to
acknowledge that much of its latest dossier on Iraq was
lifted from academic sources, as the affair threatened
to further undermine confidence in the government's case
for disarming Saddam Hussein.
MPs and anti-war groups were quick to protest that other
features of Whitehall's information campaign are suspect
at a time when MI6 and other intelligence agencies are
privately complaining at the way No 10 has been over-
egging intelligence material on Iraq.
It emerged yesterday that the dossier issued last week -
later found to include a plagiarised section written by
an American PhD student - was compiled by mid-level
officials in Alastair Campbell's Downing Street
communications department with only cursory approval
from intelligence or even Foreign Office sources.
Though it now appears to have been a journalistic cut
and paste job rather than high-grade intelligence
analysis, the dossier ended up being cited approvingly
on worldwide TV by the US secretary of state, Colin
Powell, when he addressed the UN security council on
Downing Street yesterday toughed it out, insisting that
what mattered was that the facts contained in the
document were "solid" and helped make the case Tony
Blair rammed home on BBC Newsnight. But the middle
section of the dossier, which describes the feared Iraqi
intelligence network, was taken, much of it verbatim,
from the research of Dr Ibrahim al-Marashi without his
knowledge or permission.
"In retrospect we should have acknowledged [this]. The
fact that we used some of his work does not throw into
question the accuracy of the document as a whole, as he
himself acknowledged on Newsnight last night, where he
said that in his opinion the document overall was
accurate," the No 10 spokesman conceded. "We all have
lessons to learn," he added. The four officials
originally named on the website version of the 19-page
dossier include Alison Blackshaw, Mr Campbell's senior
assistant, and Murtaza Khan, described as a news editor
on the busy Downing Street website.
Professor Michael Clark, director of the International
Policy Institute at King's College London, said
presenting such intelligence material "invalidates the
veracity" of the rest of the document. The shadow
foreign secretary, Michael Ancram, called for a cabinet
minister to oversee government information on Iraq.
Even before the latest row some Whitehall officials were
protesting that MI6 and other intelligence material was
being used selectively by Downing Street. A well-placed
source made it clear that the dossier had been the work
of Downing Street and the Coalition Information Centre,
the body set up after September 11 to put the US-British
case on the war against terrorism. The source dismissed
a key section of the dossier as full of "silly errors".
Glenda Jackson, the Labour former minister, was one of
several MPs to protest that the government was
misleading parliament and the public. "And of course to
mislead is a parliamentary euphemism for lying," Ms
Jackson told Radio 4's Today programme.
Dr al-Marashi expressed "surprise" at the lack of a
credit for his work, as did other authors whose research
was quickly identified. One anti-war group, Voices in
the Wilderness, identified a passage from No 10's
September dossier directly traceable to Saddam Secrets,
a book by Tim Trevan published in 1999.
The Middle East Review of International Affairs, from
which Dr al-Marashi's work was lifted, is based in
Israel, which makes it a suspect source to even moderate
Arab opinion, and another reason why the origin of the
information should have been listed.
In Whitehall one official who regularly sees MI6 reports
said that Britain's knowledge about Iraq until recently
had been very poor. But another claimed there has been a
recent transformation: "What has happened in the last
nine months is that there is now strong intelligence
The government has issued three reports in the past six
months, trying to establish a case for action against
Iraq. Each one has drawn progressively more criticism.
September The 50-page dossier Iraq's Weapons of Mass
Destruction: The Assessment of the British Government
relied heavily on input from the Foreign Office and MI6.
The material was damning, but most of it turned out to
be years old. British journalists in Baghdad visited
several "facilities of concern" highlighted in the
report and found nothing sinister. UN weapons inspectors
later visited the same sites and uncovered nothing.
December The 23-page Saddam Hussein: Crimes and Human
Rights Abuses provided a horrifying account of abuses
but was widely criticised by human rights groups, MPs
and others for recycling old information.
At the launch, the Foreign Office had on the platform an
Iraqi exile who had been jailed by President Saddam for
11 years. Later, he disclosed that handcuffs he had worn
had been made in Britain.
January 30 Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment,
Deception and Intimidation, was a Downing Street
production. The first sentence of the report said it was
based on a number of sources, including intelligence
material, but it turned out that much of it was lifted
from academic sources. Glen Rangwala, an academic who
blew the whistle on the dossier, said yesterday: "It
really does cast doubt on the credibility of the
intelligence that has been put to us."
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From: palestine <mailto:email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 1:49 PM
Subject: View from Baghdad
Tuesday, February 4
Dear Friends, Greetings from Baghdad! It is very late here and I am
sleepy. the hotel will not stop playing the theme from "The Last of the
Mohicans" over and over again and we have had an exhausting day. once
again I will try to give you some idea of what it is like to be in Iraq
during this time. And once again, as I have little time, this may be
somewhat disorganized. But first I just have to share some very strong
It becomes clear so quickly here that the Iraqis are not and cannot
prepare for war. They wait for the terror to come as helpless as any people
have ever been. They are totally unprepared. They are severely lacking
medically and only have food to last three months. They have nowhere to go
and if Team Bush does as they have threatened, and Baghdad is "leveled to the
ground," they will have murdered five million helpless people. These people
are sitting ducks. The US is the biggest military might in the world. The
Iraqis are a depleted people, stripped of all economic support and without
resources. The word genocide has been raised by some of the humanitarian
workers here and as the days pass I see it also. It is the murder of a whole
Do you remember the old movies of Christians being thrown out into the
coliseum to be killed by lions? It seems a little like that from the view
The insidious nature of the sanctions become more and more apparent as we
go deeper into the society and see the lives of everyday people. Every person
in Baghdad receives rationed food. Iraqi cannot supply its own people under
the sanctions. The UN oversees the "Food for Oil" program and people receive
rations papers based on the numbebr of persons in a family. At one time the
Kurds in the north grew wheat which was sold throughout Iraq. But with the
sanctions they can no longer sell directly in Iraq. Without a market they
have stopped growing the wheat. An ancient agricultural tradition dies as
the field grow dusty. And a culture begins to wane.
People are beginning to come to us for medicine. A waiter needs cough
syrup for his little boy. A woman is waiting for us at the hotel for
vitamins for her children. Someones uncle has pneumonia and need
antibiotics. The waiter has tears streaming down his cheeks and you can see
it is humiliating for him to ask.
Today we saw a part of the food distribution, visited an orphanage and
walked in a very poor neighborhood where we were mobbed by children.
Yesterday was a very difficult day as we went to a bomb shelter which was
hit in February, 1991. It was filled with over a thousand people, mostly
women and children. 480 died. The shelter was a very large concrete
structure built into the ground. The walls were at least six feet thick made
of concrete and rebar. The shelter was two stories deep into the ground. We
were told that the people came there from the surrounding neighborhood to
feel safe. They made their beds on the floor and slept during the bombing of
Baghdad. At 4:30 in the morning a rocket sliced open the roof of the shelter
and exploded. A few minutes later another rocket bore in through the hole
made by the first and went through to the second level. From the survivors
we hear that there was horror and chaos. People in the immediate area were
incinerated on the spot. As the inferno grew the temperature was estimated
to reach 450 degress. All along the floor of the shelter you can see the
marks of incinerated bodies. you can see the shape of the person and
sometimes even the features of the face. I will tell you the hardest thing
was to see a mother and her child, a black blotchy outline and smears of
blood, etched into the floor. I just could not imagine it. There are photos
of the victims on the walls and you cannot help but look at the outlines
etched on the walls and floor and the photos and wonder, "was that her?"
And I wonder exactly who shot that rocket. Does he or she know the
horrible result. what officer gave the command? Who authorized this?
Another thing that is becoming clear is the resignation of the people here
in Baghdad. They seem to believe that it is inevitable they will be bombed;
that war is coming and they will be destroyed. I have come to recognize
this kind of sigh when they speak about the coming onslaught. A little
shudder. It is difficult for them to talk about the future. Or perhaps it
might be better to say "a future."
I have never spent time with people anywhere without hearing about plans
for the future. "This child is planning to go to the university" or "this
summer we hope to take a vacation" Or "Tomorrow I will see my friend" or
whatever. People in Iraq do not speak about the future. At first I just
could not figure it out, what was lacking in conversations. There was a
missing element. It was the future. they do not know if they will have a
When they speak of this inevitable war they just hope that somehow, they
and their families might survive. They know that within a few weeks they
will lose friends; perhaps family. You can see that parents are overly
protective of their children. There is this desperation. And you can see
that they want to believe that we can somehow help them. "You are Americans,
perhaps you can speak to the president and explain that we are no threat"
Today we went to a restaurant high about the city. As we were looking out
at the city a young man approached two of us. He wanted to know why
Americans wanted to bomb Iraqi people. We tried to explain the oil thing and
he kept on asking, with a genuine innocence, "why?" We could tell that he
really thought we knew something and could explain it to him. It just did
not make sense to him and he really wanted to understand.
It's gotten out that there are these American women in town who are
working for Peace. Everywhere we go we get a thumbs up. We flash the peace
sign and they flash it back. Sometimes we are treated almost like
celebrities, with people comiing up in the streets and thanking us. Men in
suits, women in chadors, young men and women in jeans with hip haircuts,
they all take a moment to thank us. They tell us they know it is not the
American people who want to bomb them. They are completely lacking in
hostility. When we say we are from the United States at first there is this
surprise and then, immediately a smile.
Last night three of us also met with this totally wonderful group of 43
Spanish actors, dancers and singers. They plan to take over their embassy
here. They embody word "vivacious" completely. After we had talked a while
and described our work here and in the US, one of the reporters with them
began to ask us about the American people. Why were they allowing this to
happen. How could they tolerate this action by our President? Don't Americas
read? How is it possible that Americans would allow their government to
commit this horrible atrocity and not take action? Whoa, these were such
hard things to describe. ANd we never did completely satisfy their questions.
Maybe we don't fully understand it ourselves.
There are many Europeans here. Members of the European Parliament are
here. They are all outraged and radical. They speak of the American "Bully"
and in one press conference yesterday the US was described as "arrogant" and
"full of itself". It's kinda the way I see it. It's embarrasing when you
see the common view Europeans have of people in America.
We are moving about the city a lot and seeing many things. Orphanages,
hospitals, etc and meeting with officials of various programs. There has not
been time for small quiet talks with Iraqi people. We are moving fast.
A quick note to Rick Abraham. I am with your friend Diane Wilson and just
love her! For the rest of you Diane is a fourth generation fisherman from
the Texas Gulf coast. She has spent the last fifteen years fighting
enviromental pollution. She has tied in the environmental issues to this war
very nicely. Tonight we were talking about the reality that if we had
developed or were in the process of developing alternative energy, there
would be no iraqi war. Without the need and greed for oil, we would not be
bearing down on these people to take control of their oil.
Thursday we go to Babylon!! We will spend the day with a family and see
their buffalo farm. Doctors without Borders are here and tomorrow morning we
will meet with them.
Every night here as i go to sleep I cannot help but think of faces of
children I have seen that day. I think of them being put to bed by their
parents and how it will be if the bombing starts. It is beyond the
imagination that these little children are seen as so expendable, "acceptable
collateral damage." What kind of monster finds that acceptable. all for
And I cannot help but think of that one young man who looked at me so
direct and asked with such urgency, "Please help us."
Good night all. and Peace, Sand
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Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 22:26:07 -0800
From: Tom Winburn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Secret Document Reveals USA PATRIOT Act update
The draft bill was provided exclusively to
NOW by the Center for Public Integrity, [www.publicintegrity.org], which
obtained it from a confidential government source. The document,
entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, outlines
significant broadening of law enforcement powers, including domestic
intelligence gathering, surveillance, and law enforcement prerogatives,
while decreasing public access to information and judicial review
Dr. David Cole, Georgetown University Law professor and author of
Terrorism and the Constitution assessed the document for NOW with Bill
Moyers and the Center for Public Integrity. "I think this is a quite
radical proposal. It authorizes secret arrests. It would give the
Attorney General essentially unchecked authority to deport anyone who he
thought was a danger to our economic interests. It would strip
citizenship from people for lawful political associations," he told
NOW's Roberta Baskin. "And...it has not been put on the table so there
can be a discussion about it."
NOW interviewed executive director of the Center for Public Integrity,
Charles Lewis, in New York on Thursday. When asked to gauge the
significance of the document Lewis responded: "It just deepens and
broadens, further extends the first Patriot Act," he says. "And it's
arguably...a more thorough rendering of all the things law enforcement
and intelligence agencies would like to have in a perfect world. I
think it's a very tough document when it comes to secrecy and
Share your views on the issues and read more about the secret document
RIGHTS GROUP CRITICIZES PROPOSED EXPANSION OF PATRIOT ACT
By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (February 7, 2003 5:51 p.m. EST) - The Justice
Department is preparing to expand the 2001 Patriot Act to
increase surveillance within the United States while
restricting access to information and limiting judicial
review, a nonprofit government watchdog group asserted Friday.
The Center for Public Integrity said it obtained a copy of
the draft legislation from a government source. The document,
labeled "confidential," was posted Friday on the
organization's Internet site along with an analysis.
Justice Department officials said no final decisions have
made on any such legislation, and it could change
substantially before it is completed. Spokeswoman Barbara
Comstock acknowledged the department is "continually
considering anti-terrorism measures and would be derelict if
we were not doing so."
"The department's deliberations are always undertaken with
the strongest commitment to our Constitution and civil
liberties," she added.
The original Patriot Act, passed by Congress in the weeks
following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, gave the
government broad new anti-terrorism powers to use wiretaps,
electronic and computer eavesdropping, searches and the
authority to obtain a wide range of other information in it's
investigations. It also broke down the traditional wall
between FBI investigators and intelligence agents.
According to the Center for Public Integrity, the draft
expansion of the Patriot Act would be called the Domestic
Security Enhancement Act of 2003.
Among other things, it would prohibit disclosure of
information regarding people detained as terrorist suspects
and prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from
distributing "worst-case scenario" information to the public
about a nearby private company's use of chemicals.
In addition, the measure would create a DNA database
of "suspected terrorists;" force suspects to prove why they
should be released on bail, rather than have the prosecution
prove why they should be held; and allow the deportation of
U.S. citizens who become members of or help terrorist groups.
"It really is a broadening and a deepening of the
government's powers," Lewis said.
Congressional aides said they had not been consulted by the
Justice Department on the development of such a bill.
However, several have said they considered it likely that the
Bush administration would propose some changes this year.
Back to Main News Page
Jewish World Review Jan. 22, 2003 / 19 Shevat, 5763
by Walter Williams
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | A typical belief among the world's foreign
aid agencies is there's a "vicious cycle of poverty" that makes economic
development virtually impossible for the world's poor nations. This idea
holds that poor countries are poor because income is so low that savings
cannot be generated to provide the kind of capital accumulation necessary
for economic growth.
Thus, it is alleged, the only way out of the poverty quagmire is foreign
aid. As popular as the vicious cycle of poverty theory is among economic
development "experts," it has to be one of mankind's most foolish ideas.
"Explain yourself, Williams!" you say. "That's what my professors taught
when I went to college, and they're teaching the same thing to my kids."
Let's look at it.
The vicious cycle of poverty theory can't even pass the straight-face test.
After all, how did countries such as the United States, England, Canada, New
Zealand, Switzerland and others break that cycle and become rich? Were they
simply "born" rich? That's a big fat no.
So how in the world did these once poor and backward countries become
wealthy without what today's development experts say is absolutely necessary
for economic growth -- foreign-aid handouts, and World Bank and
International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans? Maybe part of the answer lies in
the fact that there were no foreign-aid handout programs and economic
development experts around during their economic development.
According to a recently released report by Heritage Foundation policy
analysts Paolo Pasicolan and Sara Fitzgerald, "The Millennium Challenge
Account: Linking Aid With Economic Freedom," despite decades of economic aid
, most recipient nations are poorer now than they were before they first
received development assistance. What foreign aid usually achieves is the
enabling of Third World tyrants to retain power by having the resources to
build grandiose projects that make little economic sense, pay off cronies
and buy military equipment to suppress their people, not to mention setting
up multimillion- and even multibillion-dollar Swiss bank accounts.
Then there's the population myth that holds that countries are poor because
they are overpopulated. That's nonsense. For example, the population density
of China is 409 people per square mile; in Taiwan it's 1,478 per square mile
and in Hong Kong, it's 247,500. Which people have higher incomes? If you
said Hong Kong, you'd be dead right. But for people who see overpopulation
as a cause of poverty, China should be the richest, and Hong Kong the
poorest. The late economist Lord Peter Bauer said, "Economic achievement and
progress depend on people's conduct, not on their numbers."
The latest mythical explanation for Third World poverty is globalization and
multinational corporation exploitation. Peaceable trade and contact with
other nations have always raised the potential for higher living standards.
In fact, Third World countries least touched by the West, whether the
contact was in the form of imperialist conquest, trade or multinational
corporations, are among the poorest of the poor -- countries like: Nepal,
Tibet, Sikkim and Bhutan in Asia, and Ethiopia and Liberia in Africa.
Poverty is mostly self-inflicted -- indigenously created. What are some of
the most commonly held characteristics of the non-poor world? In non-poor
countries, people tend to have greater personal liberty, property rights are
protected, contracts are enforced, there's rule of law and there's a
market-oriented economic system rather than a socialistic one.
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