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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #71 - 6 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. US-led troops in Iraq are targeting hospitals, ambulances and civilians (Dirk Adriaensens)
   2. Disaster in Iraq-Yellow Times (
   3. Americans:Severe Case of Cognitive Dissonance re Iraq (k hanly)
   4. Perle's of Wisdom (k hanly)
   5. Protest coalition opposes corporate invasion of Iraq at oil and arms-trade backed business 
conference (Emma Sangster)
   6. a letter to Iraqi mothers from a mother of a soldier in Baghdad (Dirk Adriaensens)


Message: 1
From: "Dirk Adriaensens" <>
To: <>, <>
Subject: US-led troops in Iraq are targeting hospitals, ambulances and civilians
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004 21:20:57 +0200

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]



"STOP the war crimes. Respect the Geneva conventions and end the occupation=
 immediately," says an international campaign alliance.

April 21th: Released simultaneously from Baghdad, Manila, Bangalore, Managu=
a, Brussels, New York, San Francisco, Melbourne.

According to an international campaign group, there is strong evidence that=
 the US-led occupation forces are guilty of war crimes in Iraq.

In a press statement issued today, 'Health NOW! No war, No WTO- Fight for p=
eople's health'- an international campaign alliance - said that the US led =
occupation forces have "shown disrespect for civilians, health systems, hea=
lth workers and medical infrastructure, resulting in the death of hundreds =
of civilians and extreme misery for thousands of people in Fallujah and man=
y more in the rest of Iraq."

The alliance spearheading the campaign includes leading medical professiona=
ls, development and peace groups and networks, people-based mass movements =
and activists from over 100 countries.

Based on first hand field testimonies from health workers and peace activis=
ts in Iraq and eye-witness accounts from Fallujah, the campaigners leveled =
their charges:

1)      US- led troops have targeted unarmed civilians and used cluster bom=
bs in populated areas of the city.

2)      US-led troops have severely hampered relief work to the wounded.

3)      US-led troops have blocked access to Fallujah's hospital thus forci=
ng doctors and health personnel to set up field hospitals in private homes.

4)      US-led forces deliberately targeted ambulances that went about the =
city to collect the injured.

"These constitute war crimes as the US troops are required by the Geneva Co=
nventions to discriminate combatants from non-combatants," said Dr. Geert V=
an Moorter, a Belgian emergency doctor of intal/Medical Aid for the Third W=
orld who was in Iraq until early April. "These acts are repulsive and immor=
al as they cause unnecessary civilian casualties," he added.

The campaigners also pointed out that no less than the Iraqi health ministe=
r, during a less-reported press conference held on April 17th, confirmed th=
at the US-led forces have intentionally shot at ambulances.

The campaigners have posted the details, facts and proof for these charges =
along with corroborated eyewitness accounts at the campaign website http://=

"Indiscriminate killing of civilians and the refusal to provide people with=
 security, basic services and decent medical infrastructure have characteri=
zed the 'freedom' that the occupying forces have brought to the country" sa=
id Eman Ahmed Khammas, Director of International Occupation Watch Center, o=
ne of the participating groups in the campaign, from Occupied Baghdad.

Nicaraguan health activist Mar=EDa Hamlin Z=FAniga said: "The latest atroci=
ties in Iraq confirm our stand that the immediate withdrawal of the occupyi=
ng forces is a prerequisite for any improvement in the country's health sit=

"We urge the peoples of the world to show their unwavering solidarity with =
the Iraqi people and to demand an immediate end to the US-led occupation," =
Philippine Dr. Delen de la Paz added.

The alliance spearheading the campaign includes leading groups, networks, p=
eople-based movements and activist groups like the People's Health Movement=
, the International People's Health Council, International League of People=
's Struggle-Study Commission on Health, Women's Global Network for Reproduc=
tive Rights (WGNRR), Pesticide Action Network (PAN-AP), intal /Medical Aid =
for the Third World (Belgium), the Council for Health and Development (the =
Philippines), the Hesperian Foundation (USA), the Union of Health Work Comm=
ittees (Palestine), Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (Palesti=
ne), International Action Center (USA) and International Occupation Watch C=
enter (Iraq).

Stop the occupation of Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan!

WTO out of health!

Health care, not warfare!


Message: 2
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 10:08:51 EDT
Subject: Disaster in Iraq-Yellow Times

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

The disaster in Iraq and constructive criticism"

By Gabriel Ash
22 April 2004

( - "So what do you propose?" That is the question
hurled at us critics of the war. Presumably, being right about the
war so far is "irrelevant" now. We must be judged by giving sound,
practical advice that can make the best of a bad fix.

First, that we were right about the war should not be so easily
dismissed. We were right because we analyzed the U.S. government
objectively, while Thomas Friedman and the "give war a chance" crowd
was looking at things through a dark glass of misplaced piousness.
Has a lesson been learned? No it hasn't. The mainstream media, the
9/11 Commission, the Democrats and the liberal and conservative
pundits are critical of the failures of the Administration. But with
few exceptions, they still assume that the goals of the White House
were and are noble. Since that very assumption is the cause of
error, those who gave wrong advice will continue to be wrong.

There is a new "wisdom" that begins to unite some faux lefties and
some old defense hands. According to this new wisdom, the failure in
Iraq is the result of too much optimism, but optimism of a specific
kind. Supposedly, had we only understood that Iraq was just "not
ready for democracy," had we only sent twice as many soldiers, and
given them a simple mission, such as to put in charge a friendly
dictator and get out, everything might be different.

The warmonger's haven "National Review" now faults the
Administration for the "overestimation in particular of the
sophistication of what is fundamentally still a tribal society."
Thomas Friedman's new tune is quite similar: we made mistakes, but
the Iraqis failed to show up.

John Kerry follows the same line. He is critical of "the way" the
war was fought. To prove his point, he has backed from calling the
war crimes he, himself, committed thirty years ago "atrocities."
Perhaps the new p.c. term for burning villages and their inhabitants
should be "robust landscaping." Moral clarity is, of course, no
longer a priority, now that Marine snipers are taking potshots at
women, children and ambulance drivers in Falluja. But Kerry has an
eye for the future, too. A candidate who prepares to spend his term
in office burning cities should be careful how he describes burning

It was just a question of time before the exhilaration of empire
would turn into the melancholy of murder. In less than a year,
giddiness morphed into somber anxiety. But the one thing that
remained constant is the self-righteousness of the American public
discourse. We're back to faulting the natives for their stubborn
refusal to understand the purity of our hearts. And hell hasn't seen
the wrath of a heart-broken colonialist. Iraqis must learn now, as
did Native Americans, African slaves, Vietnamese and Palestinian
peasants, and many others, that ingratitude is a capital offense.

Miracles apparently now happen in pairs. Just as the new
anti-American wisdom in Iraq unites Shia and Sunni Muslims, so in
the U.S. the neo "anti-Wilsonianism" unites populist racism with the
cynicism of the old style imperialists. The dismal results of the
neo-con coup are about to stir a wave of nostalgia for the good old
days of Kissinger, Suharto and Pinochet. Bush's messianic lunacy is
losing its luster, but only so that we can go back to what the U.S.
knows best --- what William Blum calls "killing hope," i.e.
destroying indigenous liberation movements and installing and
supporting U.S.-friendly, mass murderers.

Although Bush understandably isn't very loud about it, the change of
tune is even noticeable in the Administration's future plans for
Iraq. Exit neo-con Paul Bremer; enter death squads aficionado John

What went wrong?

The trouble with the new, old wisdom is that it is as wrong as the
old, new wisdom. The mess in Iraq is not the fault of Iraqis. On the
contrary, most Iraqis were happy to see Saddam gone. Despite
suspicions, the majority of Iraqis were ready to give the U.S. the
benefit of the doubt. Moreover, most Iraqis wanted, and probably
still want, a stable, independent, pluralistic Iraq. Even more
important is that the public leadership with the greatest level of
legitimacy in Iraq, the Shi'a clergy, was and is supportive of a
pluralistic and democratic Iraq. The leading clergy of Iraq,
especially Al-Sistani, reject the theocratic Iranian model, put a
premium on public order and consider political violence legitimate
only as a last resort. To be sure, they were difficulties in Iraq
that any foreign intervention would have faced but, over all, the
U.S. could have stumbled on worse "nation building" projects.

Nor is it true that one country cannot liberate another by military
intervention. The U.S. did liberate France from Nazi occupation;
Vietnam did liberate Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge; India did
liberate Bangladesh from a Pakistani genocide. These were all
liberations achieved by armed, foreign intervention.

The most important causes of the current unfolding disaster are
rather the occupation's goals and attitudes -- racism and bad faith.

The biggest problem the U.S. occupation faced was mistrust. Iraqis
were aware of the history of U.S. support for Saddam, including Bush
Sr.'s betrayal of the Shi'a rebels in 1991. They were also aware of
U.S. support for Israel and anti-Arab policies in general. To
succeed, Bremer and his team had to address Iraqi mistrust head on
by being super cautious in showing deference and respect for Iraqis,
their wishes, their understanding of the situation and their
culture. Instead, the U.S. occupation followed the assumption that
Americans knew best. U.S. officials determined the vision of what
Iraq should become and how it should get there. Even momentous
decisions, such as disbanding the army and attacking Falluja, were
taken without input from Iraqis. Iraqis were invited to participate
based on their willingness to accept U.S. impositions rather than
based on their popular legitimacy. Instead of increased caution and
sensitivity, Bremer's occupation demonstrated a heightened level of
patronizing and obtuseness.

U.S. sense of cultural superiority is a feature of Washington and of
the nation as a whole. But the Bush administration is unique in that
its policies are fashioned mostly by a group of neo-con ideologues.
Paul Bremer, the appointed pro-consul of Iraq, is one of them, and
so are his bosses, Wolfowitz and Feith. The neo-cons are fervent
supporters of Israel's Likud party and its racism toward
Palestinians. Israeli racism is part of their world view.

Indeed, one needs only go back to key neo-con texts to discover the
depth of contempt for Arabs that animates the neo-con mind. Take for
example this passage from "A Clean Break," the now infamous position
paper written by Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and other neo-cons on
behalf of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

"King Hussein may have ideas for Israel in bringing its Lebanon
problem under control. The predominantly Shi'a population of
southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shi'a leadership
in Najaf, Iraq rather than Iran. Were the Hashemites to control
Iraq, they could use their influence over Najaf to help Israel wean
the South Lebanese Shi'a away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria. Shi'a
retain strong ties to the Hashemites: the Shi'a venerate foremost

the Prophet's family, the direct descendants of which -- and in
whose veins the blood of the Prophet flows -- is King Hussein."

Translation: Shi'a Arabs are opposed to Israel because they are a
dimwitted herd who follow the leader with the best blood lineage.
But that can work both ways. To make them love Israel, all one needs
is a pro-Israeli king with blood ties to the prophet Mohammad.

After a full year of being ruled by people with such deep
"understanding" of the Middle East, is there any surprise that
Iraqis are revolting?

Neo-con racism precluded acknowledging Arab grievances against U.S.
and Israeli policy. There was, therefore, no other way to make sense
of Iraqi mistrust except as misguided "anti-Americanism." No
surprise then that Bremer and his crew thought they could overcome
Iraqi suspicions by such patronizing means as a new TV station.
There is a short distance from that to the deluded doctrine, which
the neo-cons learned from their Israeli friends and teachers, that
"Arabs understand only force."

Another result of neo-con racism was that people with knowledge of
the Middle East and even minimal sympathy toward Arab concerns were
excluded from consultations. Even the mild officers of the State
Departments were shunned. We know now from insider accounts how the
neo-cons excluded State expertise and work in the preparation for
the war (including the prescient warning of large scale looting
following the collapse of the regime), and how they replaced
regional intelligence experts with pro-Israel ideologues. The
predictable result was a know-nothing administration in Iraq, and it

After racism, the second reason the U.S. occupation failed to win
the required support was bad faith. The problem with Iraqi mistrust
was that it was justified. The overarching goal of the U.S. in Iraq
was not to establish a pluralistic, independent and stable state.
These were perhaps considered good things in Washington, and
especially useful for domestic consumption but they were secondary
to the more important goal of keeping Iraq subservient to the U.S.
The White House's vision of Iraq was of a weak state, one that would
follow U.S. orders on foreign policy, help the U.S. militarily, and
leave oil under control of U.S. companies.

The Pentagon wanted permanent bases in Iraq to replace the bases
evacuated in Saudi Arabia. The U.S. occupation position is that no
Iraqi government would have the right to request the withdrawal of
the army. Nevertheless, the occupation didn't want the issue of U.S.
control to be debated at all. To achieve that, the neo-cons had to
bolster the power of legitimacy-challenged Pentagon favorites such
as Ahmad Chalabi. That necessitated marginalizing and weakening
groups that might refuse to accept his leadership, especially
legitimate Shi'a leaders such as Sistani. Hence, the unbelievable
display of hypocrisy of the U.S. occupation resisting calls for
elections and reacting with hostility to democratic processes.

In helping to consolidate Chalabi's position, the U.S. occupation
was also busy promoting corrupt privatization schemes. According to
Bremer's edicts, the privatization of Iraq is not subject to
revision by a future legitimate Iraqi government. This permanent
change to the ownership of national assets is a serious breach of
the Fourth Geneva Convention. The result of this corruption is that
very little of the reconstruction money approved by Congress ended
up in Iraqi pockets. Most of it went back to enrich foreign
corporations. The failure of economic improvement and the stubborn
above 50% unemployment rate is a leading cause of the general
disenchantment with the occupation.

Part of the problem is that Iraq is ruled today by fanatic market
fundamentalists who believe in counterfactual, "trickle down,"
economic theories. A little Keynesian-paying people to drill holes
and others to fill them would have improved things a lot more than
billions in reconstruction extravaganza. But public work is anathema
to the neo-con religion. Privatization, of course, was supposed to
be a boon to many U.S. corporations, including good friends of the
President and Vice-President such as Halliburton. But that, too, was
only a fringe benefit. There is strategic logic behind U.S. desire
to put the new Iraqi economy beyond democratic control. The goal is
a weak state, which can be remote controlled by U.S.-led
institutions such as the IMF and through the strings attached to
U.S. aid. Privatization also creates a system of corrupt patronage
centered on U.S. stooges. This is the policy that Clinton used with
such brutal success in Russia, a policy that is only now beginning
to unravel with Putin's assault on the "oligarchs."

The primary reason for the current level of resistance is that the
U.S. project of "exporting democracy" was conceived and administered
in bad faith. The mess in Iraq may be a matter of excess optimism.
But it wasn't optimism about Iraqi readiness for democracy. The
neo-cons were perhaps too optimistic in believing they could pull
the wool over the eyes of Iraqis the way they did it at home.
Unfortunately for them, the docility and media-induced stupor of the
American electorate is rather unique. Exporting that stupor to the
Middle East was perhaps the biggest neo-con pipe dream.

Now what?

The questions that need to be asked must address the core principles
of U.S. foreign policy rather than address particular "mistakes"
made. Why is the U.S. so bent on such an intrusive level of control?
Is it necessary for the U.S. to secure bases in Iraq against the
wish of the Iraqi people? Is long-term control of the economy of
Iraq a justified policy goal?

Could a less domineering U.S. policy have led to an independent,
Shi'a dominated Iraq that would perhaps refuse permanent bases but
would still be friendly to the U.S.? In theory, yes, if the U.S.
made good on its promises of democracy; but in practice no.

The reason no independent Iraq would be an ally of the U.S. in the
Middle East is that U.S. Middle East policy is based on support for
Israel. Furthermore, Israel became an ally of the U.S. after 1967
precisely because of U.S. hostility to democratic Arab movements
(which tended to be against U.S. control of their economies). There
is an inextricable link, therefore, between support for Israel,
opposition to Arab self-determination and the need to control Middle
East resources. Each of these three elements depends on and
reinforces the two others.

The domineering attitudes and goals of the U.S. occupation in Iraq
are, therefore, not "mistakes." They are an extreme version, but
still a version, of longstanding U.S. strategy in the Middle East:
control of regional resources through the twin pillars of support
for Israel and repression of Arab self-determination. To be sure,
this vision is falling apart. The supporters of Israel in America
are becoming more fanatic and more extreme the less it makes sense
for the U.S. to maintain its support for Israel. The neo-con coup
and the Iraq war are perhaps a last ditch attempt to reverse the
secular trend that makes Israel less and less useful to the U.S.
(defense contractors excluded).

The neo-con goals are grandiose. For the sake of humanity's
survival, we must hope they will fail. But despite the disaster
brewing in Iraq, this hasn't happened yet. Nor is there is a way
back to control Kissinger- style, "realist" fantasies
notwithstanding. The Middle East has moved. Failing to understand
that guarantees decades of burnt bodies.

The only change in policy that will make a dramatic, long-term
positive effect on U.S. Middle East relations would be for the U.S.
to dump Israel. Unless that happens, the U.S. is doomed to fight in
the Middle East all the way down to financial ruin. And until that
happens, offering advice is neither useful nor right.

[Gabriel Ash was born in Romania and grew up in Israel. He is an
unabashed "opssimist." He writes his columns because the pen is
sometimes mightier than the sword - and sometimes not. He lives in
the United States.]



Message: 3
From: "k hanly" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: Americans:Severe Case of Cognitive Dissonance re Iraq
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 09:49:47 -0500

Majority Still Believe in Iraq's WMD, al-Qaeda Ties

by Jim Lobe
U.S. public perceptions about former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's
alleged ties to al-Qaeda and stocks of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
continues to lag far behind the testimony of experts, boosting chances that
President George W Bush will be reelected, according to a survey and
analysis released Thursday.

Despite statements by such officials as the Bush administration's former
chief weapons inspector, David Kay; its former anti-terrorism chief, Richard
Clarke; former chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix, as well as
admissions by senior administration officials themselves, a majority of the
public still believes Iraq was closely tied to the al-Qaeda terrorist group
and had WMD stocks or programs before US troops invaded the country 13
months ago.

"The public is not getting a clear message about what the experts are saying
about Iraqi links to al-Qaeda and its WMD program," said Steven Kull,
director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the
University of Maryland, which conducted the survey.

"The analysis suggests that if the public were to more clearly perceive what
the experts themselves are saying on these issues, there is a good chance
this could have a significant impact on their attitudes about the war and
even on how they vote in November," he added.

The survey and analysis found a high correlation between those perceptions
and support for Bush himself in the upcoming presidential race in November.

Among the 57 percent of respondents who said they believed Iraq was either
"directly involved" in carrying out the 9/11 attacks on New York and the
Pentagon or had provided "substantial support" to al-Qaeda, 57 percent said
they intended to vote for Bush and 39 percent said they would choose his
Democratic foe, John Kerry.

Among the 40 percent of respondents, who said they believed there was no
connection at all between Saddam and al-Qaeda or that ties consisted only of
minor contacts or visits, on the other hand, only 28 percent said they
intended to vote for Bush, while 68 percent said their ballots would go to

The survey, which was based on interviews with a random sample of 1,311
respondents in March, was released amid a series of polls that indicate that
Bush and Kerry are in a virtual tie less than seven months before the actual

While Kerry appeared to be leading in the wake of last month's congressional
testimony by Clarke, who accused the administration of being insufficiently
seized with the threat posed by al-Qaeda before the 9/11 attacks, Bush, who
in recent weeks has spent an unprecedented amount of money on television
advertising so early in the campaign, has closed the gap and, according to
one 'Washington Post' poll published earlier this week, pulled slightly

The latest PIPA study is remarkable because it shows that public perceptions
about Iraq, or at least about the threat it posed before the US invasion,
are lagging far behind what acknowledged experts have themselves concluded
and whose findings have been reported in the mass media.

Virtually all independent experts and even senior administration officials
have concluded since the war that ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda before the
war were virtually nonexistent, and even Bush himself has explicitly
dismissed the notion that Baghdad had a hand in the 9/11 attacks.

Yet the March poll found that 20 percent of respondents believe that Iraq
was directly involved in the attacks - the same percentage as on the eve of
the war, in February 2003.

Similarly, the percentages of those who believe Iraq provided "substantial
support" to al-Qaeda (37 percent) and those who believe contacts were
minimal (29 percent) are also virtually unchanged from 13 months before. As
of March 2004, 11 percent said there was "no connection at all," up four
percent from February 2003.

Some - but surprisingly little - change was found in answers to whether
Washington had found concrete evidence since the war that substantiated a
Hussein-al-Qaeda link. Thus, in June 2003, 52 percent of respondents said
evidence had been found, while only 45 percent said so last month.

As to WMD, about which there has been significantly more media coverage, 60
percent of respondents said Iraq either had actual WMD (38 percent) or had a
major program for developing them (22 percent). In contrast, 39 percent said
Baghdad had limited WMD-related activities that fell short of an active
program - what Kay as the CIA's main weapons inspector concluded in
February - or no activities at all.

Moreover, the message conveyed by Kay and other experts appears not to be
getting through to the public, adds the survey, which found a whopping 82
percent of respondents saying either, "experts mostly agree Iraq was
providing substantial support to al-Qaeda" (47 percent) or, "experts are
evenly divided on the question" (35 percent).

Only 15 percent said it was their impression that "experts mostly agree
(that) Iraq was not providing substantial support to al-Qaeda."

There was similar confusion with respect to the WMD question: despite all
the publicity given Kay's, Blix's, and the findings of other independent
experts that Iraq did not have WMD before the war, nearly two-thirds of
respondents said they believed that most experts said it did have them (30
percent) or that experts were evenly divided on the issue (35 percent).

The poll found a high correlation between beliefs about prewar Iraq with
support for going to war with Iraq and for the intentions to vote for Bush
in November.

Among those who perceived experts as saying Iraq had WMD, 72 percent said
they would vote for Bush, and 23 percent said they would vote for Kerry,
while among those who perceived the experts as concluding that Iraq did not
have WMD, 23 percent said they would vote for Bush and 74 percent for Kerry.

The opinion of experts was found to be very important in predicting support
for Bush or Kerry, as well as support for the war itself, according to Kull.
While 38 percent of a discrete sample within the survey said they believed
that Iraq had WMD before the war, the percentage dropped to 21 percent after
they were informed later in the questionnaire that Kay had concluded that
Baghdad was engaged only in minor activities for developing WMD.

Confusion over what the experts are saying, according to Kull, could be due
to a number of factors, including the repetition by Bush (most recently in
his press conference last week) and other senior officials, such as Vice
President Dick Cheney, that Iraq had once used WMD, and the fact that in the
electronic mass media, in particular, Iraq is still discussed in the context
of the "war on terror."

In another misperception, 59 percent of the public believed that world
public opinion either favored Washington going to war (21 percent) or
believed that global views were "evenly balanced" (38 percent). Only 41
percent appeared aware that a majority of world public opinion opposed the
U.S.-led war.

Those who were aware or made aware that world opinion opposed the war were
more likely to think the decision to attack Iraq was wrong and less likely
to support Bush. Those who believed, on the other hand, that world opinion
supported the war were substantially more likely to support Bush and think
that going to war was correct.


Message: 4
From: "k hanly" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: Perle's of Wisdom
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 11:18:26 -0500

'Iraq Expert' Perle Shills for Chalabi at Senate Panel

by Juan Cole
It was quite an experience to be on the same panel on Tuesday with Richard
Perle and Toby Dodge, before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Perle wasn't added until the last minute, and it is mysterious why he was
there, since ours was supposed to be an "expert" panel. Dodge has an
important book on Iraq. Originally Ahmad Hashim was going to be on with us
(he came Wednesday instead), and then we heard Perle had been put on. Perle,
of course, is no Iraq expert. He doesn't know a word of Arabic, and has
never lived anywhere in the Arab world.

Perle's entire testimony was a camouflaged piece of flakking for Ahmad
Chalabi. He complained that the State Department and the CIA had not created
a private army for Chalabi and had not cooperated with him. Perle did not
mention Chalabi's name, but it was clear that was who he was talking about
(State and CIA famously dropped Chalabi in the mid-1990s when they asked him
to account for the millions they had given him, and he could not).

In fact, Perle kept talking about "the Iraqis" when it was clear he meant
Chalabi. He said the US should have turned power over to "the Iraqis" long
before now.

But here's an interesting contradiction. I said at one point that I thought
Bremer should have acquiesced in Grand Ayatollah Sistani's request for open
elections to be held this spring, and that if they had been, it might have
forestalled the recent blow-up. I had in mind that Muqtada al-Sadr in
particular would have been kept busy acting as a ward boss, trying to get
his guys returned from East Baghdad & Kufa, etc.

Perle became alarmed and said that scheduling early elections would not have
prevented the "flare-up" because the people who mounted it were enemies of
freedom and uninterested in elections. Perle has this bizarre black and
white view of the world and demonizes people right and left. A lot of the
Mahdi Army young men who fought for Muqtada are just neighborhood youth,
unemployed and despairing. Some are fanatics, but most of them don't hate
freedom - most of them have no idea what it is, having never experienced

But anyway, what struck me was the contradiction between Perle's insistence
that the US should have handed power over to Iraqis months ago, and his
simultaneous opposition to free and fair elections. The only conclusion I
can draw is that he wants power handed to Chalabi, who would then be a kind
of dictator and would not go to the polls any time soon.

Perle also at one point said he didn't think the events of the first two
weeks of April were a "mass uprising" and said he thought Fallujah was quiet
now. (Nope).

It is indicative of the Alice in Wonderland world in which these Washington
Think Tank operators live that Perle could make such an obviously false
observation with a straight face. Even a child who has been watching CNN for
the past three weeks would know that there was a mass uprising. (Even ten
percent of the American-trained police switched sides and joined the
opposition, and 40% of Iraqi security men refused to show up to fight the

I replied, pointing out that the US had lost control of most of Baghdad, its
supply and communications lines to the south were cut, and a ragtag band of
militiamen in Kut chased the Ukrainian troops off their base and occupied
it. It was an uprising. I suppose Perle hopes that if he says it wasn't an
uprising, at least some people who aren't paying attention will believe him.
It is bizarre.

It reminded me of the scene in Ladykillers where the fraudsters set off an
explosion in a lady's basement, and she hears it while outside in a car, and
is alarmed, and the Tom Hanks character says in a honeyed southern accent,
"Why, Ah don't believe Ah heard anything at all." I could just see Perle in
a Panama hat at that point playing the character.

It is deeply shameful that Perle is still pushing Chalabi, and may well
succeed in installing him. Chalabi is wanted for embezzling $300 million
from a Jordanian bank. He cannot account for millions of US government money
given him from 1992 to 1996. He was flown into Iraq by the Pentagon (Perle
was on the Defense Advisory Board, a civilian oversight committee for the
Pentagon) with a thousand of his militiamen. The US military handed over to
Chalabi, a private citizen, the Baath intelligence files that showed who had
been taking money from Saddam, giving Chalabi the ability to blackmail large
numbers of Iraqi and regional actors. It was Chalabi who insisted that the
Iraqi army be disbanded, and Perle almost certainly was an intermediary for
that stupid decision. It was Chalabi who insisted on blacklisting virtually
all Baath Party members, even if they had been guilty of no crimes,
effectively marginalizing all the Sunni Iraqi technocrats who could compete
with him for power. It was Chalabi who finagled his way onto the Interim
Governing Council even though he has no grassroots support (only 0.2 percent
of Iraqis say they trust him).

Now Chalabi's nephew Salem has been put in charge of the trial of Saddam
Hussein. Salem is a partner in Zell and Feith, a Jerusalem-based law firm
headed by a West Bank settler, in which Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of
Defense for Planning, is also a senior partner when not in the US
government. You can be assured that the trial will be conducted on behalf of
the Bush administration and the Neocons, and on behalf of the Chalabis.
Since the Chalabis have been trying to overthrow Saddam for decades, it is
hard to see how this can have even the appearance of an impartial tribunal.

Anyway, Perle was just a one-note Johnny, with his whole message being "We
must give away Iraq to Ahmad Chalabi yesterday! That will solve all the

If the Bush administration listens to Perle and puts Chalabi in as a soft
dictator, it will be the final nail in the coffin of the Iraq enterprise.
The whole thing is already going very badly wrong. Chalabi will play iceberg
to the Iraq/Bush Titanic.

It would be really interesting to know the list of secret promises Chalabi
has given Perle (and presumably the Israelis through Perle) that would
explain this Neocon fervor for the man.

By the way, that Jordanian bank that Chalabi embezzled from in the 1980s?
There has been speculation that he was using it to launder Iranian money for
the Khomeini war effort against Saddam. So perhaps from his point of view,
he hadn't so much embezzled $300 million at the end, but rather collected
his retainer from Tehran.

Since Perle was the source of most of the rotten advice that got the US into
its current quagmire in Iraq, and since he was forced to resign as chairman
of the Defense Advisory Board under a cloud of scandal, it was doubly
inappropriate for him to be testifying before the Senate about what to do in


Message: 5
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 14:20:27 +0100
From: Emma Sangster <>
Subject: Protest coalition opposes corporate invasion of Iraq at oil and arms-trade backed business 

PRESS RELEASE      Voices in the Wilderness UK [A]
23rd April 2004
Contact 0845 458 2564 or 07791 486 484


Activists call for workers rights and for genuine and democratic
reconstruction in Iraq

Tuesday 27th April, outside the London Hilton, Park Lane at 6.30pm: Two
suited 'executives' wearing pig masks and bearing corporate logos will
gorge themselves on a trough of blood-stained banknotes outside the
London Hilton on Park Lane to symbolise the 'corporate feeding frenzy'
taking place at the business conference 'Iraq Procurement 2004: Meet the
Buyers.' The protest - timed to coincide with the conference's four
course 'gala dinner' - is being organised by a number of groups and
individuals and is supported by Voices UK, Campaign Against Arms Trade,
Rhythms of Resistance and the Green Party amongst others. The London
Hilton on Park Lane is 'the official hotel of choice' for the conference
at which representatives from 300 companies - including Shell,
ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and US arms manufacturer Raytheon - will be
meeting members of the US-installed Iraqi "government" to discuss 'the
wide range of =E2=80=A6 opportunities available' to make a profit out of th=
increasingly blood-soaked occupation of Iraq [B].

Also attending the conference will be Brian Wilson (Tony Blair's special
envoy on reconstruction) and former US Rear Admiral David Nash (the man
in charge of handing out $18bn worth of US tax-payers money for the
"reconstruction" of Iraq).

The conference takes place in the context of:

=C2=B7 a series of new laws, passed by the US last September, that
'effectively put [Iraq] up for sale' to foreign investors [C];
=C2=B7 a growing body of evidence that the way in which the Bush
administration has been  'treating [reconstruction] contracts as prizes
to be handed to their friends' has been 'delaying Iraq's recovery, with
potentially catastrophic consequences' [D]
=C2=B7 the ongoing repression of workers rights in Iraq: keeping Saddam's
harsh 1987 labour law on the books, trying to impose big wage cuts,
raiding union offices, arresting union leaders and refusing to grant
unemployed Iraqis demands for jobs-or-benefits [E]
=C2=B7 US attempts to 'restructure' - rather than cancel - Iraq's odious
debts, which are likely to 'rob Iraq of [its] economic freedom, by
requiring that it adhere to an IMF structural adjustment program' [F]

It also takes place in the wake of the killing of over 600 people in the
US siege of Fallujah, 'the vast majority of [whom] were women, children
and the elderly' according to the director of the town's general
hospital [G].

Voices spokesperson Gabriel Carlyle said 'After three devastating wars
and thirteen years of comprehensive economic sanctions Iraq desperately
needs reconstruction. However, whilst billions of dollars worth of
contracts have been handed out to US and British companies, today Iraq's
hospitals remain in a dire condition and Baghdad still only receives
about 12 hours of electricity a day. We are here today in solidarity
with the people of Iraq to demand that Iraqis be allowed to determine
their own economic future, for a reconstruction process directed by the
Iraqi people for the benefit of the Iraqi people - not by big business
for its own profit - and for justice for Iraq's workers. The corporate
feeding frenzy in Iraq must stop.'

The protest (Tuesday 27 April, London Hilton, Park Lane, 6-9pm) - which
will include music and free food - will also be addressed by some of the
Iraqis who have not been invited to the conference, including
representatives from the Union of Unemployed Iraqis; the Organisation
for Women's Freedom in Iraq; and Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation.
Amongst others speaking will be representatives from the Green Party,
Stop Esso campaign, No Sweat campaign, Jubilee Iraq and the Campaign
Against Arms Trade.

The following people are available to speak to the media:

Andrew Wood from Campaign Against Arms Trade (on Raytheon): 020 7281
Paul Ingram who works at a defence policy research institute and is the
Green Party European Parliamentary candidate: 07932 448 290 or 020 7639
Hani from Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation - just returned from Iraq:
020 7252 5333
Yasar from Jubilee Iraq (on Iraq's debt): 07958 216 162
Mick from No Sweat (on workers rights in Iraq): 07904 431 959
Houzan from the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq (on women's
rights in Iraq): 0795 688 3001
Cindy from Stop Esso (on ExxonMobil's participation): 020 7354 5708
Dashty from the Union of Unemployed of Iraq (on workers rights in Iraq):
07734 704 742
Gabriel from Voices UK: 0845 458 2564 or 07947 839 992

[A] Voices in the Wilderness UK has been campaigning on Iraq for the
last six years. For more info. see
[D] Economist Paul Krugman, New York Times, 30th Sept. 2003
Emma Sangster


Message: 6
From: "Dirk Adriaensens" <>
To: <>, <>
Cc: <>
Subject: a letter to Iraqi mothers from a mother of a soldier in Baghdad
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 21:04:43 +0200

Dear Iraqi mothers:
I grieve with you at this time, my heart cries out for justice, for the
Iraqi people and for the many child soldiers, such as my stepson, who are in
Iraq and know full well they should not be hurting anyone. I reach out to
all Iraqi mothers as a parent, and let you know from the depths of my heart
I am so sorry, I am so sorry, I am trying to stop this insanity, this
bloodbath that is happening, and I want to come over to Iraq and bring my
stepson home, as my husband and I live in fear and horror daily as we see
the children of Iraq dying, as we see the child soldiers who do not always
understand why they are there dying, as we see the wounded on both sides. I
am a US citizen who marched against this war, marched against the debacle we
now see and continue to speak out against the atrocities that are occuring.
I reach out to you and ask forgiveness for what this administration is
doing, and ask that as mothers we somehow bridge this horror we are all now
ensuffering, the loss, the grief, the ignorance of anger and cruelty that
prevails in this war.
I say this in earnest, I say this with a gentle heart, I say this as a
mother .
Please allow me to extend my heart to you, and allow me to tell you that my
stepson does not wish to be there, he wants to come home, he is not George
Bush, he is just a child, who is afraid, and does not want to die. May great
goodness prevail in this time, because I know that the love of a mother and
a father reaches past all pain and anger, the love of human beings for each
other reaches past all hatred and anger and sorrow. I extend my hand in
peace. I extend my hand and ask for forgiveness. Please know I will work
tirelessly to end this occupation as best I can, and may the truth and
beauty of life overcome these horrors and sorrows we all endure at this
Mrs Marianne Brown
South Haven Michigan

        This letter is a reply to the letter from an Iraqi mother

      A Letter from an Iraqi Mother to the Mothers of the Americans Killed
in Fallujah by Samih Ossaily Wednesday, Apr. 07, 2004 at 4:02 AM

      Dear Sisters,

      1 call upon you because we are sisters in motherhood.

      The American media described us with as "barbarians", "savages", and
"criminaIs" in the aftermath of  the mob lynching scenes of the bodies of
charred Americans in Fallujah, as Iraqis beat on dead bodies then hung them
off a bridge.   But the american media does not want you to know the true
picture against which those scenes took place,  nor does it want to let you
know why Iraqis did this thing. The media does not want you to know the
extent to which Iraqis have come to hate the soldiers of the occupation for
them to act like this.

      I address you as American women, as mothers, sisters; wives, and

      Sisters, I know how painful it is for a woman to lose someone dear. I
can feel your pain. For we, Iraqi women, have lost too much, and have
suffered what no mother on the face of the earth has. For example, when your
governement imposed the injust embargo on our country, we had to watch our
children everyday dying from lack of medicine. Because of the weapons of
mass destruction your soldiers used, especially depleted uranium, we had to
carry babies in our wombs for nine months only to see them born severely
deformed.As if all this was not enough for your governement, it topped all
it off wich a war that  is launched under false pretexts just to control our
wealth, our oil and resources. And it was a brutal war in which many of our
cbildren were killed and many others were arrested, both sons and daughters.
As of today, your governement continues to kill and arrest our sons and
daughters. So, after all this, do you still wonder why Iraqis carry such
hatred in their hearts towards your kids?!

      You sons, dear sisters, were not exactly angels or missionaries
preaching the religion of mercy! Your sons have killed our fathers,
brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters. Your sons have stolen,

      pillaged, raped, polluted the earth and the water, and burnt the
fields. In fact, dear sisters, your

      sons are the real barbarians, the murderers, and criminals. Therefore,
please don't blame us for hating them..

      Dear sisters, I call upon you, as someone just like you who has
experienced the pain of Iraqi brothers and sons being killed by the invaders
in the worst possible way: if you want our collective pains not to increase
and multiply, and if you want the return of your sons and husbands back home
safe and sound, PLEASE LET THEM LEAVE IRAQ, for they are NOT welcome here.
And, therefore, I teIl you that nobody can possibly promise you that the
Iynching scenes of yesterday in Fallujah won't be repeated again, okay?

      Why do you let your loved ones be sacrificed like this, dear sisters?
So murdering beasts like Bush, Rumsfeld, Sharon, and Halliburton would get
richer and more powerful? Is that a good reason for them to die? We think
not. We want it all to stop, for us and for you. So please let your children
leave lraq alive.

Sincerely. An Iraqi  Mother

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