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* Continuation of "almost daily" airstrikes - one civilian injured (Associated Press) * Scott Ritter's new book about UNSCOM (Associated Press) * United Nations concerned about effects of air strikes on humanitarian programme (Associated Press) * One dead and several wounded in Monday airstrikes (Agence France-Presse) [Iraq Action Coalition notes that the death toll from air strikes so far this year is at least 24, with at least 122 people wounded] * Pentagon tries again to halt publication of Scott Ritter's book (Associated Press) ******************** US Jets Drop 2,000-Lb Bombs on Iraq Tuesday, February 23, 1999; 11:34 a.m. EST WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two U.S. F-15 fighters each dropped a 2,000-pound bomb on a military command and control installation in Iraq today after planes patrolling the northern no-fly zone came under anti-aircraft fire, Pentagon officials said. Army Col. Richard Bridges added that in a separate incident, an unknown number of F-15s dropped 500-pound bombs on a multiple-launch rocket site used as an air defense facility. Both incidents, near the city of Mosul, about 250 miles north of Baghdad, occurred at about 6 a.m. EST, Bridges said. He said there was no immediate word on the extent of damage caused by the bombing and that the U.S. aircraft were not damaged. The official Iraqi News Agency, quoting an unnamed military spokesman, reported nothing about structural damage from the attacks but said one Iraqi civilian was injured. It said the planes entered Iraq from Turkey in 13 waves and were aided by an Air Force AWACS airborne command and control aircraft. ``Our ground defenses engaged these planes and forced them to flee,'' the news agency report said. Iraqi forces have repeatedly challenged allied planes enforcing no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq since U.S. and British airstrikes on Iraq in December. In recent weeks U.S. and British planes have responded by attacking a variety of air defense targets almost daily. Weather curtailed U.S. and British patrol flights over the southern no-fly zone today, officials said. ******************** Book Says US Spied on UN Inspectors Tuesday, February 23, 1999; 9:53 a.m. EST NEW YORK (AP) -- A book by a former arms inspector says American spies were placed on U.N. weapons inspection teams in Iraq a year after the Gulf War, The New York Times reported today. Scott Ritter's book, due out in April, concurs with Iraqi allegations that the early inspection teams were rife with U.S. spies. It says the CIA worked with the United Nations to coordinate the inspections. The Times said it obtained galley proofs of the book on the condition that it not reveal its source. Ritter, a former Marine officer, resigned last year as a U.N. inspector and accused the Clinton administration of undermining the inspectors' job of rooting out Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's attempts to produce chemical and biological weapons. He has complained repeatedly that the administration's policy is ineffectual and wrong-headed and has been criticized in turn by the Clinton administration. Just last week, a Defense Department agency, reversing an earlier stance, told Ritter he might need to submit his book for pre-publication security review. Ritter's lawyer called the latest Pentagon position an attempt at intimidation. Ritter claims in the book that he and a high-ranking CIA official organized some of the most intricate U.N. inspections and that CIA paramilitary covert operators were placed on the inspection teams. An inspection team with nine CIA officials was in Iraq during a June 1996 coup attempt against Saddam and might have scheduled it, says Ritter, who according to the Times doesn't provide proof of all his claims. American officials have said that the CIA helped the U.N. inspection program and provided specialists for inspection teams. Ritter's book contends that the CIA was involved in the inspection program more heavily and much earlier than previously reported. Officials of the CIA and the United Nations had no immediate comment on the book. Ritter's U.N. inspection work began in 1991, the year of the Persian Gulf war. ******************** Iraqi Missiles Said to Cause Damage By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press Writer, Monday, February 22, 1999; 8:18 p.m. EST UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Iraqi missiles aimed at U.S. and British planes flying over the northern no-fly zone have caused some civilian damage and hampered U.N. operations, according to a U.N. report obtained Monday. The United Nations is concerned that continued aerial confrontations could affect food deliveries in northern areas and has restricted staff movements between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time -- the time when most incidents take place, it said. The report by Hans von Sponeck, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Baghdad, provided a rare insight into the effects of the aerial confrontations in Iraq's northern and southern no-fly zones over the past two months. During a council debate Monday on protecting civilians in armed conflict, Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Saeed Hasan called the no-fly zones illegal and accused Britain and the United States of shedding ``crocodile tears over the Iraqi people whom they massacre every day.'' He said council members had a historic opportunity to save Iraqi civilians by immediately lifting sanctions and telling Britain and the United States to stop attacks in the no-fly zones. The British and American ambassadors retorted that allied planes were responding to Iraqi threats and attacks, arguing that the no-fly zones are justified under international law because they protect civilians from Iraqi government repression. There have been more than 80 incidents involving American and British fighter jets in the no-fly zones in the past two months, but little independent information has been disclosed. Von Sponeck said the report was based on information from U.N. personnel and from his own visit on Feb. 12 to the region around the city of Dohuk, which is 40 miles south of the Turkish border. Between Feb. 2-12, the report said 33 missiles landed in a 100-square-mile area around Dohuk and at least 21 exploded. The missiles appeared to be surface-to-surface artillery rockets fired from mobile, multiple rocket launchers, it said. U.N. personnel in the area were not in a position to confirm any casualties. The U.N. World Food Program is concerned that the daily delivery of about 2,000 tons of food to Dohuk could be affected by continued aerial incidents, the report said. ********************* One dead, several wounded in air strikes: Iraq 13:04 GMT, 22 February 1999 BAGHDAD, Feb 22 (AFP) -An Iraqi was killed and several others were wounded in US-led air strikes on "civilian installations" in southern Iraq on Monday, the official news agency INA announced. A military spokesman, quoted by INA, said 10 formations of "enemy" planes carried out 32 sorties in a "no-fly" zone over southern Iraq, penetrating the country from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. "Our anti-aircraft defences retaliated against these black crows which bombarded several civilian installations, martyring a civilian and wounding several others," he said. ******************** Pentagon Revives Move to Halt Book on Iraqi Arms, February 21, 1999 By PHILIP SHENON WASHINGTON -- Reversing itself for a second time, the Pentagon has demanded that Scott Ritter, a former U.N. weapons inspector, provide it with an advance copy of a book in which he is expected to accuse the Clinton administration of hindering the search for evidence of Iraqi chemical and biological weapons. In a letter to Ritter's lawyer on Thursday, the Defense Department said Ritter was required to turn over the book for a security review before it could be published. A security review would almost certainly delay publication of the book, which is scheduled to be printed and distributed to booksellers next month. Ritter's lawyer, Matthew Lifflander, described the letter as an effort to intimidate his client into silence. Ritter, he said, would refuse to agree to the Pentagon's demand for a security review, raising at least the possibility that the Defense Department would go to court to try to block publication. "I understand that the book is basically at the printers," Lifflander said in an interview. "So you could easily conclude that this is a last-minute effort to delay publication. I don't think they have a legal leg to stand on. I find this a very destructive approach." The Pentagon's latest letter reflected another sharp and potentially embarrassing turnaround in its strategy for dealing with Ritter's book, which is expected to include accusations that senior administration officials repeatedly hindered the work of U.N. arms inspectors. The book is being published by Simon & Schuster. A spokeswoman said the publisher had no immediate comment on the government's dispute with Ritter and how it might affect publication of the book. Ritter, a former Marine intelligence officer, resigned from the United Nations last summer and accused the administration of a vacillating policy on Iraq that had led to repeated U.S. meddling in the arms-inspection program, undermining the search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. He said the United States interfered with the arms inspections in an effort to avoid direct confrontations with Iraq. The entire arms-inspection program was ended late last year when President Saddam Hussein of Iraq shut it down, a decision that resulted last December in the largest U.S. airstrikes against Iraq since the Persian Gulf war in 1991. The Defense Department, which paid Ritter's salary while the retired Marine worked for the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq, initially demanded a prepublication security review of the book in a letter to Ritter last month. But on Jan. 17, the day that news reports first appeared about the demand, the Pentagon reversed itself, insisting that the letter had been sent in error and that there had been no attempt to intimidate Ritter. Last week the department reversed itself again. In its letter to Ritter's lawyer on Thursday, the general counsel of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the agency of the Pentagon that paid Ritter's salary under contract, said that it expected Ritter to "comply with his responsibilities" and turn over the book for a prepublication review. "You are reminded that Ritter's contract requires that he may not release any information pertaining to any part of the contract or any program related to the contract without prepublication review," the letter said. Although their constitutionality is questioned by lawyers, Pentagon contracts routinely require contractors to submit to a prepublication security review of books and other materials that touch on their work for the government. In an apparent reference to its earlier reversals on the issue, the letter said that "no prior statements or actions by DTRA should be construed in any way as waiving under the contract or in permitting Ritter to ignore his responsibilities." In a letter of response on Friday, Lifflander said that the Pentagon "attempts once again to impose an unenforceable censorship agreement on a former employee." He continued, "For the agency to now reverse the position it stated publicly and once again seek a right to censor Scott Ritter's work is patently unreasonable." He said the book did not disclose any classified information about the arms-inspection program in Iraq. "Mr. Ritter," he said, "continues to believe that nothing in the manuscript could possibly be contested on a national-security basis by government censors, although some of what he has to say may be distasteful to some significant policy-makers." ******************** -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html