Friday 28 February 2003

U.S. Diplomat Resigns, Protesting 'Our Fervent Pursuit of War'

A career diplomat who has served in United States embassies from Tel Aviv to Casablanca to Yerevan resigned this week in protest against the country's policies on Iraq.

The diplomat, John Brady Kiesling, the political counselor at the United States Embassy in Athens, said in his resignation letter, "Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson."

Mr. Kiesling, 45, who has been a diplomat for about 20 years, said in a telephone interview tonight that he faxed the letter to Secretary of State Colin L, Powell on Monday after informing Thomas Miller, the ambassador in Athens, of his decision.

He said he had acted alone, but "I've been comforted by the expressions of support I've gotten afterward" from colleagues.

"No one has any illusions that the policy will be changed," he said. "Too much has been invested in the war."

Full story...

Sharon in Palestine state u-turn

PM drops road map to peace in favour of settlers

Ariel Sharon yesterday virtually ruled out the creation of a Palestinian state under his hawkish new government just a day after President Bush pledged to broker a peace deal once he has dealt with Iraq.

Hours before his cabinet was sworn in, the prime minister revealed to the knesset that he has backed away from his commitment to the Palestinian state envisioned by Washington's "road map" for a settlement, as part of the deal to put together his government.

Mr Sharon told the knesset that the road map is "a matter of controversy in the coalition" and had been dropped from the written agreement which drew far right, pro-settler and anti-religious parties into the administration.

The prime minister will also have frustrated his American friends by promising to expand Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.

A Palestinian cabinet minister, Saeb Erekat, said Mr Sharon's speech killed any prospect of a peace process under the new government.

"He is saying there is no road map, no peace process. It's a government for the settlers, from the settlers and by the settlers," he said. "I think Sharon made it clear tonight that he wants the Palestinians to surrender to him. I hope President Bush will see the light."

The leader of the Labour opposition, Amram Mitzna, told the knesset that the composition of the government meant there is little chance of a breakthrough toward a settlement with the Palestinians.

Full story...

Thursday 27 February 2003

Rebel vote stuns Blair

It seems they paid some attention afterall, nice to know that democracy can actually work... My MP David Lepper was on the list, to his credit. Click here to see the list of MPs who were revolted by government policy on Iraq. If your MP is on the list may I suggest a congratulatory note, if they aren't then ask them why not and how they can justify the slaughter of innocent people to satisfy the desires of small, cowardly greedy men.

121 Labour members vote against war * Biggest ever revolt against a government * Tory support helps save PM

Tony Blair's Iraqi war strategy was shaken to the core last night when 121 Labour backbenchers defied a three-line whip to join a cross-party revolt and tell the prime minister that the the case for military action against Saddam Hussein is not yet made.

The vote, which came at the end of an impassioned and impressive six-hour debate in the House of Commons, dramatically reshapes the debate for the three crucial weeks ahead.

The scale of the revolt, the biggest within a governing party for more than a century, saw Mr Blair's plea for endorsement of his pro-UN approach to disarming the Iraqi regime rejected in favour of a "not yet" amendment by 198 rebels, including 121 Labour MPs, 52 Liberal Democrats, 13 Conservatives and 12 nationalists. The vote against the amendment was 393, with Iain Duncan Smith leading most Tory MPs into the Blairite lobby.

Jubilant rebels rubbed home their point when the bland main motion backing Mr Blair's position was carried by 434 to 124. Fifty-nine Labour MPs voted against.

The rebellion spread far beyond the hard core of 30 to 40 leftwing MPs who have consistently opposed western military interventions. It easily surpassed the 67 who rebelled against disability cuts in May 1999, and the 47-strong revolt over lone parents' benefit in December 1997.

The vote "demonstrates there is no public support for a war. The prime minister has failed to convince the public or the party. It's time for him to think again", said the leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn, who has been campaigning against Saddam Hussein's brutality since the 1980s when his regime was backed by the west.

Full story...

Wednesday 26 February 2003

Iran, Libya, Syria are next?

And you thought Saddam was bad...

After Saddam Hussein is ousted, United States foreign policy plans call for regime change in Iran, Libya and Syria, reports World

Intensifying concerns of Arab leaders who feel caught between a rock and a hard place over the issue of war against Iraq, a U.S. official told Arab journalists the tactic would differ for each country, but the end result would be the same – democracy throughout the Arab world.

"Change is needed in all those three countries, and a few others besides," Richard Perle told the London-based author and analyst Amir Taheri.

Perle is chairman of the U.S. Defense Advisory Board and is said to be one of the architects in the Bush administration of the proposed regime change in Iraq, according to the newssite.

He added that he felt U.S. intervention may only be necessary in Libya and that reform can come from within in Iran and Syria. He would not elaborate on what U.S. intervention might entail.

"As for Libya, it is a weird case," Perle told Taheri. "For the time being it is out of world reality. But the colonel knows that we have our eyes on him."

Perle asserted Arab leaders would support U.S. policy in the Middle East, as a dozen countries are behind the U.S. effort against Hussein.

Full story...

Governments versus Peoples

Obey! Having failed to produce or fabricate an Iraq-Al Qaeda connection, and in the absence of any WMD actually being found by UNMOVIC's inspectors, Anglo-Saxon war-enthusiasts have revived their earlier tactic of demonising Saddam Hussein in an increasingly desperate search for a pretext which will engender war fever amongst the citizenry.

Last week British PM Tony Blair claimed that at the basis of his "moral case" against the Beast of Baghdad was Saddam's "barbarous and detestable" human rights record, an "appalling situation [which] will continue" unless he is removed from power (The Age, 21 Feb 03). Joining the chorus, John Howard (Australian PM) and Alexander Downer (Australian Foreign Minister) expressed astonishment that others weren't equally mortified by Saddam's horrifying treatment of both his neighbours and his own people.

One reason why so few Australians are following Washington's script is that unlike George, Tony, John and Alex, they haven't just discovered Saddam's brutality. A number of people who marched two weekends ago expressed their concerns back in the late 1980s when the Iraqi leader was at the peak of his crimes - gassing Iranian child soldiers and defenceless Kurdish villagers. Unsurprisingly, within the corridors of power at the time, their protests fell on deaf ears. It's easy, therefore, to imagine their anger at the calumny of those who, previously silent, are now lecturing them about the evils of Saddam's regime.

At the heart of the West's credibility on this issue is its response at the time these atrocities took place. What forms did outrage in Washington, London and Canberra take after Saddam killed 5000 Kurds in the town of Halabja on 17 March 1988? What steps did governments in these capitals take to bring him to account for his wicked crimes? The answers to these questions will tell us how seriously we should accept the arguments that are currently being mounted for war.

Washington was so offended by Saddam's behaviour in the 1980s that it backed him in Baghdad's war against Iran. Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr supplied the Iraqi leader with intelligence, satellite imagery, arms and billions of dollars in loans. Two decades later, Saddam's attack on Persia - about which at the time Washington was officially "neutral" - is being invoked by many of the same people as a reason for his annihilation.

Full story...

It's under Bush's bed!

by Paulo Coelho

Bearing in mind that the president of the most powerful nation in the world is responsible for his actions and knows what he is talking about, I - a Brazilian writer, with no access to the secret services, the UN inspection procedure or confidential files, but able to read newspapers with a degree of intelligence - have come up with the definitive answer on how to locate the weapons of mass destruction being hidden by Iraq. I will require payment for this information, by the way.

This is how to locate the weapons, step-by-step:

1. All UN weapons inspectors currently in Iraq should pack their bags, settle their hotel bills and drive to Baghdad airport.

2. There they should buy business class air tickets to Washington. I stress business class so that they have time to rest, as the journey will involve a number of stopovers.

3. On reaching Washington, they should catch the first bus to the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency. The address can be found in the telephone directory for Virginia.

4. On reaching CIA headquarters, and armed with the appropriate UN inspection mandate, they should demand to see all photos, information and documents being supplied to Mr George Bush. These are the documents pinpointing the precise location of each arms cache that allow Mr Bush to assure us that Iraq has an arsenal capable of destroying the planet.

5. Once in possession of these documents, they should return to Iraq (again they should fly business class in order to arrive feeling rested) and go immediately to the places indicated in the photographs. Unable to deny the evidence, Saddam Hussein will have no option but to destroy his arsenal, for fear that the whole world will turn against him.

6. If the CIA does not have the documents, the inspectors should go straight to Mr George Bush's bedroom in the White House, Washington. On the way, they should avoid all contact with the thousands of American demonstrators taking part in protests against the war in Iraq.

7. If Mr George Bush fails to cooperate with the UN inspectors, they should look for the evidence under his bed. If they do not find it there, they should go and see the president's psychoanalyst, having first equipped themselves with a mandate from the UN security council, and ask the following question: "Does a son necessarily have to complete his father's work?" If the answer is yes, please advise me at once: my father was a civil engineer and, when he retired, he may well have left unfinished projects for his heir to deal with.

If the answer is no, demand that the psychoanalyst - on behalf of the UN, the US and the rest of the world - prescribe the necessary medication to his patient so that he no longer constitutes a threat to his country and to his planet.

Full story...

U.S. Officials Say U.N. Future At Stake in Vote

Bush Message Is That a War Is Inevitable, Diplomats Say

As it launches an all-out lobbying campaign to gain United Nations approval, the Bush administration has begun to characterize the decision facing the Security Council not as whether there will be war against Iraq, but whether council members are willing to irrevocably destroy the world body's legitimacy by failing to follow the U.S. lead, senior U.S. and diplomatic sources said.

In meetings yesterday with senior officials in Moscow, Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton told the Russian government that "we're going ahead," whether the council agrees or not, a senior administration official said. "The council's unity is at stake here."

A senior diplomat from another council member said his government had heard a similar message and was told not to anguish over whether to vote for war.

"You are not going to decide whether there is war in Iraq or not," the diplomat said U.S. officials told him. "That decision is ours, and we have already made it. It is already final. The only question now is whether the council will go along with it or not."

Full story...

Tuesday 25 February 2003

Startling Accusation From A Gulf War Vet Group

The American Gulf War Veterans Association, led by Joyce Riley, has issued a press release that accuses US forces of setting huge oil fires in Kuwait at the end of Gulf War One.

At the time, those fires---blamed on Saddam---burned a billion barrels of oil over a seven-month period and raised a poisonous lingering cloud over the Persian Gulf nations.

The ecological/health disaster persists to this day (see a story posted by CNN on Jan.3, 2003).

From Riley’s release: “One [US] veteran has now stepped forward and given a detailed account of how he and others in special teams moved forward of the front…and then set charges on the [Kuwait oil] well heads.”

This veteran, as yet unnamed, states, “We were mustered into the briefing tent at which point a gentleman who I first had thought to be an American began to brief us on the operation [to burn the oil fields]. I was concerned because he was not wearing a US uniform and insignias.”

The Gulf Wart Veterans’ release continues: “The information provided over a series of meetings with this veteran corroborates reports from other veterans who are totally unconnected with this individual. This testimony brings into serious question the integrity of the US government, as it [the government] provided information to the American public and military during the last Gulf War.”

Full story...

How the news will be censored in this war

A new CNN system of 'script approval' suggests the Pentagon will have nothing to worry about

by Robert Fisk

click here to visit his website Already, the American press is expressing its approval of the coverage of American forces which the US military intends to allow its reporters in the next Gulf war. The boys from CNN, CBS, ABC and The New York Times will be "embedded" among the US marines and infantry. The degree of censorship hasn't quite been worked out. But it doesn't matter how much the Pentagon cuts from the reporters' dispatches. A new CNN system of "script approval" – the iniquitous instruction to reporters that they have to send all their copy to anonymous officials in Atlanta to ensure it is suitably sanitised – suggests that the Pentagon and the Department of State have nothing to worry about. Nor do the Israelis.

Indeed, reading a new CNN document, "Reminder of Script Approval Policy", fairly takes the breath away. "All reporters preparing package scripts must submit the scripts for approval," it says. "Packages may not be edited until the scripts are approved... All packages originating outside Washington, LA (Los Angeles) or NY (New York), including all international bureaus, must come to the ROW in Atlanta for approval."

The date of this extraordinary message is 27 January. The "ROW" is the row of script editors in Atlanta who can insist on changes or "balances" in the reporter's dispatch. "A script is not approved for air unless it is properly marked approved by an authorised manager and duped (duplicated) to burcopy (bureau copy)... When a script is updated it must be re-approved, preferably by the originating approving authority."

Note the key words here: "approved" and "authorised". CNN's man or woman in Kuwait or Baghdad – or Jerusalem or Ramallah – may know the background to his or her story; indeed, they will know far more about it than the "authorities" in Atlanta. But CNN's chiefs will decide the spin of the story.

Full story...

Out of the wreckage

By tearing up the global rulebook, the US is in fact undermining its own imperial rule

George Monbiot The men who run the world are democrats at home and dictators abroad. They came to power by means of national elections which possess, at least, the potential to represent the will of their people. Their citizens can dismiss them without bloodshed, and challenge their policies in the expectation that, if enough people join in, they will be obliged to listen.

Internationally, they rule by brute force. They and the global institutions they run exercise greater economic and political control over the people of the poor world than its own governments do. But those people can no sooner challenge or replace them than the citizens of the Soviet Union could vote Stalin out of office. Their global governance is, by all the classic political definitions, tyrannical.

But while citizens' means of overthrowing this tyranny are limited, it seems to be creating some of the conditions for its own destruction. Over the past week, the US government has threatened to dismantle two of the institutions which have, until recently, best served its global interests.

Full story...

When Sharon Says Jump, Bush Asks 'How High?'

This article is going to be about Jews. So if you're uncomfortable with the subject I suggest you bail out right now.

Several months ago I wrote an article for our daily newspaper that I shouldn't have written if I were promoting my career.

It seems that I had the unmitigated gall to question what America was getting in return for the 3 to 5 billion dollars we are "investing" in Israel every year.

The article got me blackballed. Well, not exactly blackballed. But along with being demonized as an anti-Semitic, the paper never accepted any further articles I wrote. Naïve me, I couldn't understand what I had done wrong. Now I know better.

So let's connect a few dots.

A short while back I read a report that at a Knesset meeting Ariel Sharon had said to his deputy, Shimon Peres---Don't worry about the Americans. We own America. And all along I thought WE owned it.

Not willing to accept that at face value, I contacted a reporter in Hebron to try to verify Sharon's outburst. Sure enough, the reporter told me that news of Sharon's offhand remark had, in fact, been broadcast from an Israeli radio station, and that both Israelis and Palestinians had heard it and were talking about it.

Are the dots connecting?

Full story...

A Second Resolution is Not Enough

by Tariq Ali

A massive majority in Britain is currently opposed to the war, but the anti-war movement confronts a virtually uniform House of Commons. Both major parties are united and Labour MPs incapable of mounting a parliamentary revolt to ditch Blair, the only thing that could halt the drive to war. The British peace movement, however, has a soft underbelly. A war that is unjustifiable if waged by Bush and Blair alone becomes acceptable to some if sanctioned by the "international community" - ie the UN security council. The consciences of those opposed to the unilateralist bombing of cities and civilian deaths are appeased if the weapons of destruction are fired with UN support. This level of confusion raises questions about the UN today. Do its resolutions carry any weight if opposed by the US, as has repeatedly been the case with Palestine and Kashmir?

The UN and its predecessor, the League of Nations, were created to institutionalize a new status quo arrived at after the first and second world wars. Both organizations were founded on the basis of defending the right of nations to self-determination. In both cases their charters outlawed pre-emptive strikes and big-power attempts to occupy countries or change regimes. Both stressed that the nation state had replaced empires.

The League of Nations collapsed soon after the Italian fascists occupied Ethiopia. Mussolini defended his invasion of Albania and Abyssinia by arguing that he was removing the "corrupt, feudal and oppressive regime" of King Zog/Haile Selassie and Italian newsreels showed grateful Albanians applauding the entry of Italian troops.

The UN was created after the defeat of fascism. Its charter prohibits the violation of national sovereignty except in the case of "self- defense". However, the UN was unable to defend the newly independent Congo against Belgian and US intrigue in the 1960s, or to save the life of the Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba. And in 1950 the security council authorized a US war in Korea.

Under the UN banner the western armies deliberately destroyed dams, power stations and the infrastructure of social life in North Korea, plainly in breach of international law. The UN was also unable to stop the war in Vietnam. Its paralysis over the occupation of Palestine has been visible for over three decades.

Full story...

Monday 24 February 2003

It Keeps Getting Scarier and Scarier

This article appears in the March 7, 2003 issue Executive Intelligence Review.

by Jeffrey Steinberg

During the third week of February, a number of newspapers in the United States and Great Britain published segments of a Pentagon document, suggesting that the Bush Administration is moving ahead with plans to develop a new generation of "mini" nuclear weapons, to be used against "Third World despots" who collude with terrorists and possess weapons of mass destruction—ie. Saddam Hussein.

The Jan. 10, 2003 memo from Dr. Dale Klein, outlined plans for an August 2003 conference at the Omaha, Nebraska headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Command, where scientists and military planners will gather to make decisions on the production and deployment of a new generation of "mini" nuclear bombs, "bunker busters" and other nuclear devices that will become part of the U.S. military's arsenal of offensive weapons. No longer is the first use of nuclear weapons a taboo. No longer will the United States refrain from the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear nations, unless the madness is stopped.

Already, a number of prominent Democrats, including 2004 Presidential pre-candidate Lyndon LaRouche, and Senators Edward Kennedy and Diane Feinstein, are making a big stink over this insane utopian shift in policy.

LaRouche has identified the push for the use of nuclear weapons against Iraq as a scandal that must be exploited, to stop the war drive now. Senators Kennedy and Feinstein are reportedly circulating a draft resolution among Senate colleagues, to also take up the issue. And senior Democratic Party figures, in the circles of former President Bill Clinton, have confirmed that there is intense debate and worry behind the scenes, over the Bush Administration's war party being just insane enough to actually use such nuclear weapons in an attack on Iraq.

The prospect of the U.S. using nuclear weapons against Iraq adds a new, even more horrifying dimension to the threat of war in the Persian Gulf. LaRouche has already called on President Bush to renounce this madness.

Full story...

War a pretext to dominate world

Western leaders were accused by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of being callous killers using the war on terrorism and Iraq as a pretext to dominate the world, as the 116-nation Non-Aligned Movement summit opened in Malaysia today.

The charge was laid as he took over from South Africa as chairman of the organisation, before a record number of more than 50 heads of state or government.

"It is no longer just a war against terrorism," the veteran South-East Asian leader told the opening session. "It is in fact a war to dominate the world."

In a vitriolic attack over the threat to invade Iraq, which is a member of the movement, Mahathir compared the political and military leaders of the world's great powers unflatteringly with suicide terrorists.

While the terrorists died as they attacked, "the great warriors who press the buttons see nothing of the mangled bodies, the heads and limbs which are torn from disembowelled bodies, the blood and the gore of the innocent people.

"And because they don't see, the button-pressing warriors and the people who commanded them go back to enjoy a hearty meal, watch TV shows or morale boosting troop entertainers and then retire to their cosy beds for a good sleep."

Even for a man known for his outspoken views, it was an astonishing performance and obviously designed to set the tone for a summit expected to condemn any attack on Iraq without the support of the United Nations Security Council.

Full story...

When will we buy oil in euros?

When it comes to the global oil trade, the dollar reigns supreme. But it has a challenger, writes Faisal Islam

Whether the price of oil is surging to new highs, as it is today, or slumping, as is predicted after a war in Iraq, there is one enduring constant: the dollar sign.

Oil trading, whether from Norway to the Netherlands, Britain to Bermuda, or Bahrain to Bangladesh, operates through the US greenback.

The oil-dollar nexus is one of the foundations of the world economy that inevitably filters through to geopolitics. Recycling so-called petrodollars, the proceeds of these high oil prices, has helped the United States run its colossal trade deficits. But the past year has seen the quiet emergence of the 'petroeuro'.

Effectively, the normal standards of economics have not applied to the US, because of the international role of the dollar. Some $3 trillion (£1,880 billion) are in circulation around the world helping the US to run virtually permanent trade deficits. Two-thirds of world trade is dollar-denominated. Two-thirds of central banks' official foreign exchange reserves are also dollar-denominated.

Dollarisation of the oil markets is one of the key drivers for this, alongside, in recent years, the performance of the US economy. The majority of countries that require oil imports require dollars to pay for their fuel. Oil exporters similarly hold, as their currency reserve, billions in the currency in which they are paid. Investing these petrodollars straight back into the US economy is possible at zero currency risk.

Full story...

Revealed: 17 British firms armed Saddam with his weapons

Seventeen British companies who supplied Iraq with nuclear, biological, chemical, rocket and conventional weapons technology are to be investigated and could face prosecution following a Sunday Herald investigation.

One of the companies is Inter national Military Services, a part of the Ministry of Defence, which sold rocket technology to Iraq. The companies were named by Iraq in a 12,000 page dossier submitted to the UN in December. The Security Council agreed to US requests to censor 8000 pages -- including sections naming western businesses which aided Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme.

The five permanent members of the security council -- Britain, France, Russia, America and China -- are named as allowing companies to sell weapons technology to Iraq.

The dossier claims 24 US firms sold Iraq weapons. Hewlett-Packard sold nuclear and rocket technology; Dupont sold nuclear technology, and Eastman Kodak sold rocket capabilities. The dossier also says some '50 subsidiaries of foreign enterprises conducted their arms business with Iraq from the US'.

It claims the US ministries of defence, energy, trade and agri culture, and the Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, supplied Iraq with WMD technology.

Full story...

Israel's Proxy War?

The Motives For A Flawed War

It has been apparent to all but the purblind--a defect in understanding assiduously cultivated by America's mass media--that the war United States is ready to wage against Iraq has almost nothing to do with its security.

In an age when the people believe that their voices must be heard, the United States must sell its wars the way corporations sell their products. In the past, the people were asked to lay down their lives for visions of glory; now, governments appeal to their self-interest. The first Gulf War had to be fought to protect American jobs. If Saddam Hussain stayed in Kuwait, he would raise the price of oil, and Americans would lose their jobs.

The argument this time is different. It had to be weightier than any fear of losing jobs. This new war seeks regime-change; it involves greater risks. American forces must invade Iraq, defeat the Iraqi army, occupy Baghdad, and stay around, even indefinitely. Americans understand that "regime-change" is serious business. They would not back this war unless Iraq threatened American lives. That explains why the war against Iraq had to supersede the war against terrorism, and why Saddam replaced Osama as the new icon of America's loathing.

This substitution was quite easily executed. Most Americans take the President at his word when he talks about foreign enemies; this trust comes more easily when a Republican occupies the White House. George Bush told Americans that Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction, and he had to be stopped before he could transfer them to Al-Qaida. (Why hadn't he done this already?) For many Americans, it was an open and shut case. Saddam had to be removed.

The flaws in this argument did not matter. If Saddam hadn't used WMDs during the first Gulf War--when his army was being pummeled--why would he use them now? The CIA warned that a war, or the threat of it, would increase the risk of Iraq using WMDs. Others, like Scott Ritter, a former chief weapons inspector for the UN, pointed out that Iraq did not have any WMDs that mattered. More than 90 percent had been destroyed by inspectors; if any escaped, they would be past their shelf life. At least initially, few Americans gave any credence to these doubts, though that has been slowly changing.

Why then is United States straining to go to war against Iraq?

Full story...

The Roots of the Iraq War

Which is the more remarkable -- that the United States can openly announce to the world its determination to invade a sovereign nation and overthrow its government in the absence of any attack or threat of attack from the intended target? Or that for an entire year the world has been striving to figure out what the superpower's real intentions are?

There are of course those who accept at face value Washington's stated motivations of "liberating" the people of Iraq from a dictatorship and bestowing upon them a full measure of democracy, freedom and other eternal joys fit for American schoolbooks. In light of a century of well-documented US foreign policy which reveals a virtually complete absence of such motivations, along with repeated opposite consequences, we can dispense with this attempt by Washington to win hearts and mindless.

Presented here are some reflections about several of the causes that make the hearts of the imperial mafia beat faster in regard to Iraq, which may be helpful in arguing the anti-war point of view:

Full story...

Thursday 20 February 2003

Iraqis will not be pawns in Bush and Blair's war game

An American attack on my country would bring disaster, not liberation

Having failed to convince the British people that war is justified, Tony Blair is now invoking the suffering of the Iraqi people to justify bombing them. He tells us there will be innocent civilian casualties, but that more will die if he and Bush do not go to war. Which dossier is he reading from?

The present Iraqi regime's repressive practices have long been known, and its worst excesses took place 12 years ago, under the gaze of General Colin Powell's troops; 15 years ago, when Saddam was an Anglo-American ally; and almost 30 years ago, when Henry Kissinger cynically used Kurdish nationalism to further US power in the region at the expense of both Kurdish and Iraqi democratic aspirations.

Killing and torture in Iraq is not random, but has long been directly linked to politics - and international politics at that. Some of the gravest political repression was in 1978-80, at the time of the Iranian revolution and Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. But the Iraqi people's greatest suffering has been during periods of war and under the sanctions of the 1990s. There are political issues that require political solutions and a war under any pretext is not what Iraqis need or want.

In government comment about Iraq, the Iraqi people are treated as a collection of hapless victims without hope or dignity. At best, Iraqis are said to have parochial allegiances that render them incapable of political action without tutelage. This is utterly at variance with the history and reality of Iraq. Iraqis are proud of their diversity, the intricacies of their society and its deeply rooted urban culture.

Full story...

Prime Minister Tony Blair is under investigation leading to possible charges for criminal bribery with George W. Bush as a co-conspirator.

Cloak and Dagger has been contacted by reliable bank investigators who have uncovered evidence that British PM Blair was involved in criminal bribery. Blair accepted large bribes from the Bush oil interests.

The evidence consists of bank transfers from George Bush financial interests to PM Blair's personal accounts via the United Arab Emirates where the investigations into criminal bribery against Blair began.

The purpose of the bribery is so that the United Kingdom's PM would be sure to go along with Bush's plan to forcibly seize the Iraqi oil fields while also unseating strongman Saddam Hussein. Part of the bribery plan was to use the Oil fields for collateral to support an out of control US deficit.

In recent months the Cloak and Dagger program has exclusively presented on air, details from the moderator and producer Sherman Skolnick, of a Chicago Public Access Cable TV program. Bank investigators have shown senior French diplomats documents that corroborate the following.

Full story...


Wednesday 19 February 2003

War-makers, Bribees, And Poodles Versus Democracy

One of the most dramatic features of the Bush-Blair drive to war--actually, "massacre" given the imbalance of forces-- has been the split and struggle between governments and their citizenry. It might be argued that this ongoing struggle demonstrates that democracy works. But such struggles occur even in authoritarian systems, where there are frequent protests and strikes.

In democracies governments are supposed to represent the people, so that there shouldn't be a need for massive protests to get the government to do what the public wants done. We shouldn't see "democratic" governments trying furiously to drag their country into actions that people oppose--and that many oppose passionately- -even after being subjected to intense propaganda and disinformation.

The same split was evident in this country at the time the North American Free Trade Agreement was being debated (1993-1994). The Clinton administration fought hard and invested huge political capital to gain passage of this agreement, although a majority of the public and an even larger majority of Democratic voters opposed it (as consistently shown by polls).

The Republicans are the extreme and undisguised business party; but the Democrats have in the past shown flashes of representing a broader constituency from which they derive most of their votes. But in this important case (and it is not unique) Clinton worked very hard on behalf of the business community, with the almost unanimous support of the mainstream media.

Even with the media propagandizing furiously on behalf of NAFTA, polls continued to show hostile majorities. But in this plutocratic democracy, the corporate interest prevailed and the elite-class-money basis of U.S. democracy was made crystal clear.

War is extremely useful to elites, not only for carving out opportunities for business abroad, but for its internal effects. As Thorstein Veblen explained 99 years ago, war provides "the largest and most promising factor of cultural discipline....It makes for a conservative animus on the part of the populace. During war time, and within the military organization at all times...civil rights are in abeyance; and the more warfare and armament the more abeyance."

Full story...

Tuesday 18 February 2003

Endless Fake Terror Alerts: Fear Based Mind Control

The ultimate form of control is fear and the fear that you could lose your life at any moment elicits a Pavlovian response towards those who claim they can protect you. Trauma based mind control is not a conspiracy theory and can be observed naturally after people have been subject to distress. The New World Order know this and that is why the U.S. and British governments issued a spate of fabricated terror alerts immediately after September 11 and continue to do so to this day. Concurrently we are reminded daily that it’s not a matter of if but when the next large terrorist attack occurs. That is akin to a jail guard telling his boss that it’s not a matter of if but when all the prisoners are going to escape.

If the individuals who staff our intelligence agencies are unable to prevent large-scale terrorist attacks then they should be fired. And yet since September 11 nobody in a position of authority has been sacked and in fact the majority have received raises in addition to the millions of extra funding that has poured in to the FBI and CIA. They have been rewarded for their complicity in 9/11.

In December 2002 Senator Charles Grassly, a Republican, described as a “slap in the face” and “shocking” a decision by FBI director Robert Mueller to give an award for ‘exceptional performance to Marion "Spike" Bowman, head of the FBI's national security law unit. The award is officially titled ‘Presidential Rank of Meritorious Service’ and includes cash bonuses of between 20 percent or 35 percent of each recipient's base salary. Bowman was instrumental in calling FBI agents off the trail of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called ‘20th hijacker’ whose arrest many analysts conclude would have cracked the September 11 plot before it was carried out. Grassly stated, "Unfortunately, this award continues a bad tradition. If the FBI is ever to reform, there must be accountability."

The head of the State Department’s consular service Mary Ryan was awarded $15,000 in October 2002 as part of an ‘outstanding performance bonus’. Her office issued visas to 13 of the 19 suicide hijackers, giving them entry to the country. In addition, Thomas Furey, who was consul-general in the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was also awarded a bonus. The Saudi embassy was named by former Consulate officer Michael Springman as a conduit for Al-Qaeda members hired for CIA terrorist training in the 80's.

We have the dichotomy of the government being rewarded for protecting terrorists while at the same time issuing apocalyptic terror alerts. If I called in a hoax bomb threat to a government building I would rightfully be arrested and yet our governments have been doing the exact same thing on a larger scale without retribution.

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Their master's voice

Obey! What a guy! You have got to admit that Rupert Murdoch is one canny press tycoon because he has an unerring ability to choose editors across the world who think just like him. How else can we explain the extraordinary unity of thought in his newspaper empire about the need to make war on Iraq? After an exhaustive survey of the highest-selling and most influential papers across the world owned by Murdoch's News Corporation, it is clear that all are singing from the same hymn sheet. Some are bellicose baritone soloists who relish the fight. Some prefer a less strident, if more subtle, role in the chorus. But none, whether fortissimo or pianissimo, has dared to croon the anti-war tune. Their master's voice has never been questioned.

Murdoch is chairman and chief executive of News Corp which owns more than 175 titles on three continents, publishes 40 million papers a week and dominates the newspaper markets in Britain, Australia and New Zealand. His television reach is greater still, but broadcasting - even when less regulated than in Britain - is not so plainly partisan. It is newspapers which set the agenda.

It isn't always clear exactly what Murdoch believes on any given issue, but this time we know for certain, courtesy of an interview in the Australian magazine, the Bulletin (which, by the way, he doesn't own). To cite the report of that interview in Murdoch's own Sydney Daily Telegraph, the "media magnate...has backed President Bush's stance against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein". Indeed, his quotes are specific. "We can't back down now, where you hand over the whole of the Middle East to Saddam...I think Bush is acting very morally, very correctly, and I think he is going to go on with it". Then came words of praise for Tony Blair. "I think Tony is being extraordinarily courageous and strong... It's not easy to do that living in a party which is largely composed of people who have a knee-jerk anti-Americanism and are sort of pacifist. But he's shown great guts as he did, I think, in Kosovo and various problems in the old Yugoslavia."

Most revealing of all was Murdoch's reference to the rationale for going to war, blatantly using the o-word. Politicians in the United States and Britain have strenuously denied the significance of oil, but Murdoch wasn't so reticent. He believes that deposing the Iraqi leader would lead to cheaper oil. "The greatest thing to come out of this for the world economy...would be $20 a barrel for oil. That's bigger than any tax cut in any country."

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The media against democracy

Venezuela highlights the threat to freedom from corporate control

Obey! Poor Endy Chavez, outfielder for the Navegantes del Magallanes, one of Venezuela's big baseball teams. Every time he starts to bat, the TV sportscasters start with the jokes: "Here comes Chavez. No, not the pro-Cuban dictator Chavez, the other Chavez." Or "this Chavez hits baseballs, not the Venezuelan people".

In Venezuela, even sports commentators are enlisted in the commercial media's open bid to oust the elected government of Hugo Chavez. Andres Izarra, a Venezuelan TV journalist, says that the campaign has done so much damage to true information that the four private TV stations have effectively forfeited their right to broadcast. "I think their licences should be revoked," he says.

It's the sort of pronouncement one has come to expect from Hugo Chavez, known for nicknaming the stations "the four horsemen of the apocalypse". Izarra is harder to dismiss. A made-for-TV type he became news production manager for Venezuela's highest rated news programme.

On April 13 2002, the day after businessman Pedro Carmona briefly seized power, Izarra quit. Ever since, he has talked out against the threat posed to democracy when the media abandons journalism and pours itself into winning a war being waged over oil.

Venezuela's private TV stations are owned by wealthy families with stakes in defeating Chavez. Venevision, the most-watched network, is owned by Gustavo Cisneros, a mogul dubbed the "joint venture king" by the New York Post. The Cisneros Group has partnered many US brands - from AOL and Coca-Cola to Pizza Hut and Playboy - becoming a gatekeeper to the Latin American market.

Cisneros proselytises for free trade, telling the world, as he did in 1999, that "Latin America is now fully committed to free trade, and fully committed to globalisation ... As a continent it has made a choice". With voters choosing politicians like Chavez, that looks like false advertising.

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Monday 17 February 2003

Midwinter madness

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
Dwight David Eisenhower
April 16, 1953

The news is not good. Osama bin Laden wants us to invade Iraq. As of this writing, we're at orange on the alert code. The economy is tanking. We're spending $1.08 billion a day on the military.

And the president wants a $674 billion tax cut.

In the first year, 50 percent of that tax cut would go the richest 1 percent of Americans, and three-quarters of it would go to the richest 5 percent. In the years beyond that, the concentration at the top actually gets worse, according to Citizens for Tax Justice.

To pay for that, George W. Bush wants to raise the rent on subsidized housing for the poorest people in the country and break up Head Start, sending it down to the states, where governments are frantically cutting everything they can. Money to pay for everything from cleaning up Superfund sites to leaving no child behind is being slashed to pay for this obscene tax cut.

We're about to got to war with a country that hasn't fired a shot at us or anyone else. Our war plan calls for us to "shock and awe" Iraq by smashing 800 cruise missiles into Baghdad in the first 48 hours of the war. That's one every four minutes night and day.

According to Harlan Ullman, the "defense intellectual" who advocates the "shock and awe" tactic, it's supposed to work like the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. That worked, all right.

During the Persian Gulf War, we killed 13,000 civilians directly, and another 70,000 died in the aftermath from no water, no food, no electricity, no medical care, etc. I'd like to get rid of Saddam Hussein myself, but how many lives is it worth? And do they get to vote on it?

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Blair's 'moral' case for war in Iraq is shot full of holes

As public opposition mounts, the PM is forced to play his last card

Downing Street is at panic stations as the full implications of Hans Blix's inspections report sink in. The two main US-British arguments in favour of launching a war on Iraq next month - that Saddam currently possesses deployable weapons of mass destruction and poses an immediate or near-term threat to the region and to us - already had few takers before Friday's UN meeting. In his peculiarly dispassionate, persuasive way, Blix further undermined and, for many, destroyed the credibility of the Anglo-American case for an early, pre-emptive attack.

A third core argument, favoured by George Bush and blithely reiterated by him in Florida last week - that Saddam is in cahoots with al-Qaida and is somehow linked or even to blame for 9/11 - is not seen as convincing even by those who have espoused it. Downing Street now knows this argument, too, is a definitive non-runner.

Assailed on all sides by unprecedented popular protest, at odds with Europe, outnumbered in the security council, with the Pentagon's clock inexorably ticking, and rightly worried that an impatient Bush may reject the "UN route", dish his British ally and press on regardless, Tony Blair has now reached his bottom line: morality.

With his back against the wall, belatedly aware of the depth of his difficulty, and surrounded by the empty shell casings of a defeated polemic, Blair played his last card in Glasgow at the weekend. Action was a moral imperative, he declared. If Saddam remains in power, he warned emotively, there will be "consequences paid in blood". The moral case for intervention was overwhelming. Those who opposed it, he implied, were themselves acting immorally.

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We'll Oust Blair

Tony Blair faces a leadership challenge over his plans to attack Iraq.

The Daily Mirror has learned of a plot involving disillusioned MPs, peers and union bosses.

It would be the first such move against the Premier since he swept to power in 1997. One ringleader said: "These are firm proposals."

The Labour MP, who asked not to be named, added: "We have the numbers required to mount a challenge.

"It is now a firm view right across the Labour Party that Tony Blair is finished because of his refusal to listen to overwhelming opposition to war with Iraq."

Our source said: "I will not speculate on who will be asked to front this challenge.

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"This Is A War Between Judaisim And Islam"

by Edgar J. Steele

click here to visit his website "Zionist. Used to mean those who worked toward the establishment of a jewish homeland. Now it means jewish supremacist, pure and simple. Kind of like white supremacist, only kosher. Zionists are the real problem and they are found among the ranks of jews everywhere. They are the ones that always cross the line and get the whole lot of them thrown out of a country. You don't believe this? Ok, then you offer a single logical reason why it has happened, time and again, in all the European countries. Zionism is racism of the first order."

An anti-Semite used to mean a man who hated Jews. Now it means a man who is hated by Jews. -- Joseph Sobran September 2002

I wanted to call this, "Why I am an anti-semite." It is telling, indeed, that even I finally knuckled under and chose a less sensational title.

The silence in America concerning jews is simply deafening, isn't it? The old adage has it that, when visiting a foreign country, to ascertain who really runs things, one need determine only who is spoken about in whispers, if at all.

Never unwilling to offend, I would like to talk about jews today. And not in whispers, either. This piece will be longer than most I write, even though I will only be skimming the field. A good deal of ground must be covered, else the true picture does not emerge.

What gets lost in all the sabre rattling and bellicosity concerning Iraq is the WHY of the impending war. Because the Iraqis "hate our freedom?" No, obviously not. Because they are too evil to exist? Come on. Because they have used awful weapons, still possess them and will use them again? Give me a break - on the basis of that rationale, we should be marching on every member of NATO.

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One Man Against the World

by Uri Avnery

- A great, civilized nation democratically elected a fanatic demagogue, who preached war. Actually, he did not really receive the majority of votes, but, somehow, his ascent to power was arranged nevertheless.

- Soon after assuming power, he manipulated a dramatic incident in order to tighten his grip upon the country and prepare for attack on smaller nations. An immense propaganda machine turned “enemies” into devils, the incarnation of evil.

- The call for war enabled him to unite the whole people behind him, to silence all opposition, gradually abridge human rights, overcome the economic crisis and embark upon a voyage towards world dominion.

- He loved being photographed in uniform, walking along lines of soldiers, pretending to be a great military leader ---

I mean, of course, Adolf Hitler.

The German people, which gave him power and followed him with closed eyes even when he committed heinous crimes, paid a heavy price. It has learned the lesson. Now it abhors war, any war, from the depth of its soul. Hundreds of thousands – young people, children, grandchildren and grand-grandchildren of that generation – march these days through the streets of Germany to protest against Bush’s war. Their leader, Schroeder, was reelected solely because he expressed this deep longing for peace. The most warlike people has turned into the most anti-warlike.

That’s great, isn’t it? Not at all! American and British leaders condemn Germany for its refusal to go to war. The Israeli government heap scorn on its head. Wet rugs, these Germans! Damn pacifists! Cowards! Pitiful people who refuse to fight!

All this less than 60 years since Hitler’s suicide. Who would have believed.

And this is not the only miracle that is happening these days. Not by any means.

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Big lie masks real motive for Iraq war

The tasks facing the new international anti-war movement include developing a popular and effective answer to the White House propaganda machine. Bush and the Pentagon are working non-stop to demonize the victims of their planned attack, while creating a credible pretext for war.

Working people in the United States, and especially the youth, must be able to learn the real causes for the coming conflict and learn how to respond to the Pentagon's lies. Otherwise people will be susceptible to the pro-war hype and frenzy that are being cynically generated to prepare public opinion for war.

The main argument used by the White House to scare up support for an invasion is that "Saddam Hussein must be prevented from acquiring or developing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons--a.k.a. weapons of mass destruction."

The White House has focused on this bogus argument because it has no other. Every effort was made to connect Iraq to the Sept. 11 attack and later to the anthrax attacks in the autumn of 2001.

But there was no evidence of a connection, so Bush simply broadened the scope of the "war on terrorism" by proclaiming that Iraq, Iran, north Korea and other "evil" countries would be considered terrorist and subject to preemptive military attacks.

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Sunday 16 February 2003

America's motive for invading Iraq

Some excellent analysis, a little dated but worth the read anyway...

by Joe Vialls

Although most of this long report was first written in the aftermath of the first Gulf War, it is still valid today in terms of explaining America and Israel’s apparent obsession with “Ridding the World” of Iraq’s “Evil Dictator” President Saddam Hussein, plus his alleged [and apparently unique] "weapons of mass destruction".

Very few people know or even care that until 1971, all of the oil reserves in Iraq were owned and completely controlled by American and British interests. At that precise point in recent history, the Iraqi people were regarded by the “Western Powers” merely as serfs, who were graciously allowed to keep three cents out of every three dollar barrel of their own Iraqi oil. The balance of US$2.97 per barrel went straight into the New York and London bank accounts of western “investors”.

Then suddenly in 1972, the young Saddam Hussein peacefully nationalized the Iraqi Oil Company, and told its American and British employees to recognize this new reality or leave the country. Most decided to leave, and horrified western investors then found “their” oil reserves in Iraq were no longer paying the rent on luxury apartments in Manhattan and Mayfair. From a Wall Street perspective it was Fidel Castro and Cuba all over again, and the bankers quietly vowed to take revenge on Saddam Hussein for his “reckless insubordination”.

As each year rolled by, Hussein ordered that all of Iraq’s recovered oil wealth be invested in irrigation, infrastructure, education, medicine, defense and other essentials. Within a decade Iraq became easily the most advanced secular Muslim country in the world, with large numbers of women in the professions, and a free health service that could only be marveled at by less fortunate nations.

Predictably perhaps, Saddam Hussein became a national hero: the man who “Kicked the Americans and British out” and catapulted Iraq into the 20th Century. Even today in 2003, all Iraqi citizens are free to carry loaded automatic weapons on the street, because President Hussein has nothing to fear from his own people.

As recently as last October, an Iraqi woman on a balcony in Baghdad saluted her President as he passed less than fifty yards away, by a firing a three-shot burst from a fully-automatic AK-47 assault rifle up in the air. Saddam Hussein, standing erect and unprotected in an open Jeep, merely smiled and nodded his acknowledgement. If any woman in Washington, London or Canberra had dared to salute President Bush, Prime Minister Blair or Prime Minister Howard in this way, she would have been shot dead immediately by government snipers.

By the late eighties, the western powers decided to take action against Iraq and in particular against the charismatic Saddam Hussein. It was time to lure President Hussein into a trap cunningly laid by Ambassador April Glaspie of the US State Department, and take back “their” oil reserves. Within two years the western media thoroughly demonized Saddam Hussein as the man who “killed his own Kurds at Halabja [he did not], whose troops ruthlessly butchered helpless babies in incubators in Kuwait [they did not], and who collectively terrorized the defenseless Kurds and Shiite Muslims in the south of Iraq [they did not].

For many years the real truth behind these structured western lies was available on the Internet as the original “Falklands Alternative”, which was suddenly hacked and destroyed a few weeks ago, curiously in company with all my work on the sabotage of Air France Concorde 4590. For those interested in why Iraq was invaded in the first Gulf War, and why American and British troops are once again assembling in Kuwait today, here is the original “Falklands Alternative” again, edited only for context and spelling.

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War spells disaster for Iraqis, UN warns

A US-led war against Iraq could trigger "a humanitarian emergency of exceptional scale and magnitude", according to confidential United Nations planning documents.

They warn that 30 per cent of Iraqi children under the age of five could die from malnutrition and that attacks on electricity and transportation would severely hamper UN efforts to help those affected.

"The collapse of services in Iraq could lead to a humanitarian emergency of proportions well beyond the capacity of UN and other aid organisations," say the documents. "The effects of over 12 years of sanctions, preceded by war, have considerably increased the vulnerability of the population," they state.

The documents have come to light through the Centre for Economic and Social Rights (CESR). Roger Normand of the CESR said staff in Iraq obtained them from UN experts who "believe the humanitarian impact of war is of global concern and should be discussed openly".

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The great unheard finally speak out

What a sight! The people of the world united in common cause, it shows you just how representative people like Blair and Bush are. On their heads be it if they fail to take heed!

The age of apathy stops here, between a Thomas Cook branch and the Bloomsbury Diner, where the bodies are jammed together too tightly to move. In the minutes before the march begins, anyone will tell you why protest has supplanted politics.

Some of these twenty-first century Chartists with mobile phones are veterans of the Vietnam demonstrations. Some are too young to remember the Cold War. What unites them is anger against Bush and Blair, but mainly Blair. Everyone I talk to says that he will not have their vote again.

It is odd to think that these are the sloths who could not be prised from their armchairs when elections rolled round and who hit the remote at the first flicker of any BBC political coverage that wasn't Have I Got News For You.

These people, in New Labour's analysis, were the inert of the Earth. And here they are, out in their hundreds of thousands, quoting Hans Blix verbatim and defying a Prime Minister who longed to galvanise them and must now regret becoming the Frankenstein of the protesting classes.

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Saturday 15 February 2003

The spreading revolt against U.S. hegemony

by Patrick Seale

There were two striking moments in Russian President Vladimir Putin's long interview on French television last Tuesday night at the end of his state visit to France. The first was when he said that Russia was, of course, part of Europe. "Look at the map! Look at our history!" he exclaimed.

"We are the heirs of Greece, of Rome, of Byzantium, we are the heart of Orthodox Christendom." (I am quoting him from memory and may not have recorded his exact words.) The second moment was when, in discussing the Iraq crisis, he declared that Russia's ambition was to see the emergence of a multipolar, rather than a unipolar, world.

Putin's remarks signal that, beyond the trans-Atlantic dispute over Iraq, we are witnessing a rebellion by major European states against the dominance of the United States, a dominance which has characterized international relations since the collapse of the Soviet Union a dozen years ago.

The notion that a single hegemon can dictate terms to the rest of the world and make war on whomever it pleases is being categorically rejected.

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The case against war: A conflict driven by the self-interest of America

by Robert Fisk

click here to visit his website In the end, I think we are just tired of being lied to. Tired of being talked down to, of being bombarded with Second World War jingoism and scare stories and false information and student essays dressed up as "intelligence". We are sick of being insulted by little men, by Tony Blair and Jack Straw and the likes of George Bush and his cabal of neo-conservative henchmen who have plotted for years to change the map of the Middle East to their advantage.

No wonder, then, that Hans Blix's blunt refutation of America's "intelligence" at the UN yesterday warmed so many hearts. Suddenly, the Hans Blixes of this world could show up the Americans for the untrustworthy "allies" they have become.

The British don't like Hussein any more than they liked Nasser. But millions of Britons remember, as Blair does not, the Second World War; they are not conned by childish parables of Hitler, Churchill, Chamberlain and appeasement. They do not like being lectured and whined at by men whose experience of war is Hollywood and television.

Still less do they wish to embark on endless wars with a Texas governor-executioner who dodged the Vietnam draft and who, with his oil buddies, is now sending America's poor to destroy a Muslim nation that has nothing at all to do with the crimes against humanity of 11 September. Jack Straw, the public school Trot-turned-warrior, ignores all this, with Blair. He brays at us about the dangers of nuclear weapons that Iraq does not have, of the torture and aggression of a dictatorship that America and Britain sustained when Saddam was "one of ours". But he and Blair cannot discuss the dark political agenda behind George Bush's government, nor the "sinister men" (the words of a very senior UN official) around the President.

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Friday 14 February 2003

It's the Dawning Age of the Apocalypse . . .

I realise that there probably isn't anyone really listening out there so I'm going to speak frankly. Something miraculous has happened on this planet. We all seem to be able to agree about something - no-one wants war. The only problem with this miraculous occurance is that they still don't care what we think! Isn't it a coincidence that the largest anti-war demo ever is planned for this weekend and suddenly we have tanks outside Heathrow.... Terrorist alerts, more and more media hysteria, and somehow I have this nasty feeling that sparrow-fart on Saturday will see the dawning of a huge terror alert in London. Suddenly our beloved Tony decides that it's too dangerous to allow the march to proceed. Either that or something nasty will happen and the "terrorists" will get the blame for it. I don't have a crystal ball but when you reach the level of hysteria that we have now who knows what will happen....

And as regards the ten oclock news can I just say; one Venezuelan with a grenade doth not a bin Laden make! That story is the biggest load of cobblers I've ever heard in my life! He had a grenade in his luggage and got arrested coming IN to Heathrow.... Surely if he was going to run the risk of having a grenade (pure suicide bomber weapon) on him he would have put it somewhere he could use it and don't you think he would have blown hisself up on the way ovah...? And how many nasty terrorists (professional enough to do 9/11) do you know who carry their weapons on the flight with them anyway? Yeah, really story credible guys...

In the words of the imortal Homer Simpson being flown off to become a missionary; "HELP ME JEBUS!"

Earth, Love it or Loose it - Copyright © 2001 Jim Warren, All Rights Reserved. How quickly things change.

Ten years ago, we read professor Francis Fukuyama's essay and toasted the end of history. That was followed by professor Samuel Huntington's musings on clashing civilizations. Now it's worse: We're being warned to worry not just about the clash of civilizations, but the end of civilization as we know it, the end, perhaps, of the world itself.

Last week was a pretty typical one in this new age of the apocalypse. Last Sunday, White House chief of staff Andrew Card refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons by the United States against Iraq, perhaps preemptively, vowing that "the United States will use whatever means necessary to protect us and the world from a holocaust." On Monday, Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes threatened that Pakistan would be "erased from the world map" if it were to launch a nuclear attack on India. On Tuesday, Pyongyang Broadcasting Station said that "the United States is in danger of falling into the grave that it has dug" and if it does, it "will never again survive."

The language of our nation's top leaders reflects this grim sense of what the future might hold. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells reporters that a nuclear attack on the United States is only "a matter of time." And in his State of the Union address last Tuesday, President Bush said, "It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known."

Not surprisingly, perhaps, 43 percent of all Americans -- and 61 percent of Washington area residents -- have taken specific precautions against terrorist attacks, according to a 2002 Pew Research Center poll. But the underlying fear can't be stuck in a box alongside the emergency food and water supplies

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Thursday 13 February 2003

Israeli Weapons of Mass Destruction: a Threat to Peace

With between 200 and 500 thermonuclear weapons and a sophisticated delivery system, Israel has quietly supplanted Britain as the World's 5th Largest nuclear power, and may currently rival France and China in the size and sophistication of its nuclear arsenal. Although dwarfed by the nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia, each possessing over 10,000 nuclear weapons, Israel nonetheless is a major nuclear power, and should be publically recognized as such. Since the Gulf War in 1991, while much attention has been lavished on the threat posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the major culprit in the region, Israel, has been largely ignored. Possessing chemical and biological weapons, an extremely sophisticated nuclear arsenal, and an aggressive strategy for their actual use, Israel provides the major regional impetus for the development of weapons of mass destruction and represents an acute threat to peace and stability in the Middle East. The Israeli nuclear program represents a serious impediment to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation and, with India and Pakistan, is a potential nuclear flashpoint (prospects of meaningful non-proliferation are a delusion so long as the nuclear weapons states insist on maintaining their arsenals). Citizens concerned about sanctions against Iraq, peace with justice in the Middle East, and nuclear disarmament have an obligation to speak out forcefully against the Israeli nuclear program.

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Belgium rules Sharon can be tried

Belgium's highest appeals court has ruled that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon could face war crimes charges, but only after he leaves office.

The court was responding to an appeal by a group of 23 Palestinian survivors of a massacre in Lebanon more than 20 years ago, when Mr Sharon was Israel's defence chief.

The killings in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps were carried out by Lebanese Christian militia allied to Israel, which then occupied southern Lebanon.

Israel withdrew its ambassador to Belgium "for consultations" in response to the court ruling.

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Another Phony Bin Laden Tape

On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell dropped a bombshell at a Congressional hearingon Iraq and revealed that he had a transcript of an "upcoming" audio message from Osama bin Laden that betrays the links between bin Laden and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

However, the White House may have put its foot in its mouth this time around.

Upon careful scrutiny of the audio message from bin Laden (and broadcast at 3pm EST on the Arabic News Network Al-Jazeerah), it appears the Bush administration may have been so desperate to pin anything on Saddam and bin Laden that they did not wait to actually hear the contents of the message, nor provide adequate and reliable translation.

The bin Laden message expresses solidarity with the Iraqi people, advises them to remain steadfast in the coming invasion of their country and declares that Saddam and his aides are not important. "It is not important if Saddam and his government disappear," the man thought to be bin Laden says. "This is a war against you, the Muslims, and you must take arms to defend yourselves."

U.S. officials were quick to point out that the bin Laden message directly incriminates Iraq and proves the existence of ties between bin Laden's al-Qaeda and Saddam.

U.S. media touted the official line before even hearing the tape, or awaiting a reliable translation. "Undeniably links Iraq with al-Qaeda," says one CNN anchor.

And then something happened that neither the U.S. administration nor the media anticipated: bin Laden called Saddam an apostate.

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Wednesday 12 February 2003

Another dubious 'Bin Laden tape' comes when the US needed it the most

It doesn't matter what these fools tell us, I refuse to believe that there is a threat from anything other than pernicious and fascist elements within our own governments. The lies and propaganda (not to mention stoopid "terror warnings") of Dubya and Phony combined with Ariel "The Butcher" Sharon and his nukes scare me a whole shitload more than some Bearded ex-CIA Looney in a cave somewhere! The media whores continue to rabbit on endlessly about how serious ministers are about the threat... Oh and it just so happens that this is happening just after the government's "evidence" against Iraq was utterly trashed. These "people" are experts in the use of fear for the purposes of manipulation, they're trying to scare us into letting them do whatever the hell they want to.

Can I just ask one thing, how is a soldier in a tank patrolling Heathrow gonna stop a lone nut with a stinger missile? Provided of course that the "terrorist" even manages to hit the blimmin' plane - based on past experience, they don't seem all that hot at hitting things with their sophisticated missiles...

The Arab-language television station, al-Jazeera, has broadcast a message allegedly from Osama bin Laden, in which he calls for Muslims to stand with the Iraqi people against the United States.

The message was contained in a poor quality audio recording in which a man's voice, identified as Bin Laden's, is heard calling for suicide attacks against Americans and resistance to any attack on Iraq, reports BBC.

The Bush administration believes the tape to almost certainly be genuine and officials say the message heralds a "burgeoning alliance of terror". Before the Al-Jazeera broadcast the tape, US Secretary of State was quick to announce in the US Senate that “Bin Laden tape is coming proving Iraq’s links with Al-Qaeda.”

The broadcast came on the same day that the head of the CIA, George Tenet, warned of an increased risk of al-Qaeda attacks in the US and on the Arabian Peninsula using a "dirty bomb" or poisons. Although no where in the tape, so-called “Bin Laden” referred to his alliance with Sadam Hussein of Iraq, the US media and government are describing it as a proof to their allegations that Saddam has links with Al-Qaeda.

But the BBC's security correspondent, Frank Gardner, said the figure on the tape voiced support for Iraq, but that in no way did it prove a link between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi leadership.

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Why the Warhorses Stomp & Snort

by Richard Neville

Hey ho, the “Old Europeans” unstrap their rusty sabres & lurch towards peace. Hands soaked with the blood of Chechen children, Vladimir Putin declares an Iraqi war “not inevitable”, so ending his likelihood of future romps in a Texas ranch. The world jokes that the latest US dossier against Iraq is not worth the paper it’s stolen from. Smouldering from the wings, his great Arabian arms bazaar now under threat, the man who sold a nuclear power plant to North Korea while sitting on the board of the global tech group, ABB, Donald Rumsfeld, is spitting chips. Is this a major setback to the US plan of 21st Century domination?

McDonald’s arches are sagging, Mecca Cola is gushing and peace marches are breaking out all over. It is a moment of promise and peril. The ones who come between the hawks and their prey take heed. Media warhorses are stomping and snorting. “Bigger and bolder assertions of American power” are sought in the Sydney Morning Herald by strategic analyst Hugh White, who believes Australia has “much to gain” by bombing Baghdad. White yearns for a tautological world in which “American values . . . are even more strongly valued . . . than they are today”, even at the price of innocent lives.

Well, there are many American values I too fully embrace, such as transparency, truth telling, and a free press, which are now more honoured in their breach than observance. Other values, such as arms dealing, overthrowing populist governments, slaughtering civilians, Government lying, ecological abuse, etc, are worth exposing and opposing, a task undertaken with relish by millions of American citizens.

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Uncle Sam reinstates big brother

Attorney General John Ashcroft wants even more power to snoop on the Internet, spy on private conversations and install secret microphones, spy-ware and keystroke loggers.

Ashcroft's Justice Department has quietly crafted a whopping 120-page proposal that represents the boldest attack yet on our electronic privacy in the name of thwarting future terrorist attacks. The non-partisan Centre for Public Integrity posted the draft legislation, which reads like J. Edgar Hoover's wish list, on its Web site Friday.

Called the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA), the legislation has not been formally introduced in Congress, and a representative for Ashcroft indicated on Friday that it's a work in progress. But the fact that the legislation is under consideration already, before we know the effects of its USA Patriot Act predecessor, should make us realise that the Bush administration thinks "homeland security" is the root password to the Constitution.

Don't believe me? Keep reading and peruse some of DSEA's highlights:

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The Bush Administration is Fascist

Democracy is based upon a dialogue between equal parties. The current administration in Washington neither respects the notion of equality among nations nor does it tolerate a process of open dialogue.

The notion that “If you are not with us, you are against us” brings with it the hidden notion “and you will be punished for thinking differently”. This is the line adopted by the USA, which was quick to follow up September 11th with a bellicose discourse, giving a golden opportunity to the powerful lobbies which gravitate around the White House and Pentagon to push for their type of policy.

Whenever there is an internal crisis in the United States of America, this country’s foreign policy responds by creating situations which require crisis management. Only with the Bush administration, there is no management of the crisis. It is eliminated, like cracking an egg with a sledgehammer.

Around the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice axis circulate the all-powerful energy lobby but also the steel lobby, a sector in crisis and allied to this, the armaments industry, all of which are hungry for contracts or resources which will stimulate the economy at home.

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Tuesday 11 February 2003

Iraq - The Facts

This is a classic, worth a re-run :-) Thanks to Lord Harry for sending it in.

Blair should beware of regime change in Britain

Fetch Tony Fetch.... Good boy.... In the circle around Tony Blair a certain air of unreality now rules. This is not unreality on the scale of Louis XVI, writing "Rien" in his diary entry on the day the Bastille fell. But it is not negligible unreality either.

In recent days the Blairite talk has been of the postwar future, of what they will do after Iraq. They talk of how they are focused on the public services. They talk of how they will take Britain at last into the euro. They talk of what to do about Gordon Brown. And yesterday, in a Downing Street seminar, they talked of how they will re-energise what used to be known as the "third way" and what they now dub "progressive governance".

In one sense, all this is a necessary reminder, to ministers and to us, that politics goes on and that the Blair government is about much more than an attack on Iraq. But that cuts both ways. It is also a reminder of how much is at issue for Britain in the next few weeks. For it is not just Baghdad, but London, that is threatened with regime change if George Bush goes to war unilaterally with Iraq.

The stakes for Britain are very high. It is possible that Blair will emerge as strong as ever from a quick early war on Iraq. But there is little evidence for such claims. To believe them, you would have to dismiss the consistently damaging messages in recent polls and, at the same time, look at difficult times ahead through unusually rose-tinted glasses.

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Monday 10 February 2003

Dalyell kicked out of Commons

This is what happens when an MP actually tries to do his job, represent his people and the country, he gets booted out of the House of Commons! What a load of cobblers! He represents more people than the Prime Monster and he gets fookin' told to "withdraw" what the HELL kind of democracy is this anyway??????

Tam Dalyell - the UK's longest serving MP - has been ordered out of the House of Commons following a dispute with the Speaker over his concerns about the Iraq crisis.

The Linlithgow MP was told to leave the chamber after he refused to obey Michael Martin's repeated requests to sit down as he raised points of order about the government's recent dossier on Saddam Hussein.

Mr Dalyell accused the government of misleading Parliament after admitting part of the dossier was copied from an American student's outdated thesis.

Mr Dalyell, known as the Father of the House because he is the longest serving MP, eventually left the chamber unescorted.

Later, the Speaker's Office insisted Mr Dalyell had not been suspended and had merely been issued with what was effectively a final warning.

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Washington and London isolated

The United States of America and the United Kingdom have managed to isolate themselves from the main decision-making centres of international diplomacy and simultaneously, put on stand-by a process of forming a New World Order, based upon the UNO, discussion, diplomacy and a multi-lateral, equalitarian approach to crisis management.

Washington and London stand isolated not only from world public opinion but also from the main poles where policy is made: France, Germany, Russia and China stand firm in their declarations that there are not, at present, any grounds for an attack against Iraq while NATO stands more divided than ever on the issue of applying contingency plans for the defence of Turkey. Although Lord Robertson stated today at a press conference in Brussels that this decision is not connected in any way with a decision to strike at Iraq, the fact that a schism is threatened, if not yet a fact, lends credence to the belief that the position defended by London and Washington needs to be corrected.

On Sunday, Hans Blix, Director of the UNMOVIC team, declared that progress was being made after documentation on biological weapons and missiles were handed over to his team by the Iraqi authorities. “There are some good developments from these two days”, he declared at a Press Conference in Baghdad last night, an opinion shared by Mohammed Al-Baradei, Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who has repeatedly stated that there are no signs whatsoever that Iraq is pursuing a nuclear weapons programme, contrary to the claims by Washington.

These claims, based upon flimsy evidence, were weakened this weekend after it was discovered that an important part of Colin Powell’s speech to the UNO was based upon a 1991 report which had been lifted from the Internet by the British Intelligence services, MI6.

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Attack Iran the day Iraq war ends, demands Israel

An article from November last year, one worth repeating. Time to wake up and smell the manipulation in the air! This story forms a piece in the overall puzzle, if you read it you'll understand; Iraq is NOT THE REAL TARGET! Saddam is like a fly on Ariel Sharon's butt, the only reason they need to take down Iraq is to get it out of the way. The oil is like the icing on the cake, they're not lying when they say it's not about oil, they're just not telling you the whole story. This whole thing is about Anglo-American-Israeli hegemony pure and simple.

Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has called on the international community to target Iran as soon as the imminent conflict with Iraq is complete.

In an interview with The Times , Mr Sharon insisted that Tehran — one of the “axis of evil” powers identified by President Bush — should be put under pressure “the day after” action against Baghdad ends because of its role as a “centre of world terror”. He also issued his clearest warning yet that Israel would strike back if attacked by Iraqi chemical or biological weapons, no matter how much Washington sought to keep its controversial Middle Eastern ally out of any war in Iraq.

He made clear that western Iraq would be one of the first areas targeted by the US in any invasion, saying that lessons had been learnt from strategic mistakes of the 1991 Gulf War when Iraq successfully fired 39 Scud missiles into Israel.

Mr Sharon, 74, was speaking as he conducted high-level negotiations to keep his Government afloat after the desertion of his centrist coalition partners. Last night he survived three no-confidence votes, giving him more time to forge a coalition with small right-wing parties. He rejected calls for early elections

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The Real but Unspoken Reasons for the Upcoming Iraq War

US Plans To Use BioChemical Weapons On Iraq

I guess the US English Dictionary stopped including the word HYPOCRISY in it's latest edition. Those war-mongering lunatics don't seem to understand the concept. How the hell are we supposed to rid the world of nasty weapons if we're prepared to use them ourselves?!?!? Have they all gone stark-raving bonkers???? If ever a geo-political bully existed it is this current US administration, current US foreign policy can be summed up in the following sentance:

"Do what I say not what I do, and do it right now or I'll kick your head in."

Top US military planners are preparing for the US to use incapacitating biochemical weapons in an invasion of Iraq. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, revealed the plans in February 5th testimony before the US House Armed Services Committee.

This is the first official US acknowledgement that it may use (bio)chemical weapons in its crusade to rid other countries of such weapons. The Sunshine Project and other nonprofits have warned since late 2001 that the "War on Terrorism" may result in the United States using prohibited biological and chemical armaments, thereby violating the same treaties it purports to defend. The US announcement creates grave concerns for the future of arms control agreements, particularly the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Rumsfeld stated that plans are being made for multiple applications, including use of gas or aerosols on unarmed Iraqi civilians, in caves, and on prisoners.

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Powell's 'proof' is all smoke and mirrors

by Eric Margolis

American Secretary of State Colin Powell used the UN Security Council last Wednesday to make Washington's case for war against Iraq. The widely respected Powell delivered a weighty indictment based on a mosaic of circumstantial evidence obtained by U.S. intelligence.

Powell's philipic encouraged those favouring war. Skeptics dismissed it as a farrago of dubious claims.

A good defence attorney would have had most of Powell's charges thrown out of court. France, Germany, Russia and China concluded Powell's indictment showed the need for stronger, continued inspections rather than war.

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