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News items

*       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
*       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

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

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

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

Pentagon Revives Move to Halt Book on Iraqi Arms, February 21, 1999

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

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."



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