The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
NEWS SUPPLEMENT, 3-10/12/00 * Platform: The sanctions boomerang [an Indian warning that the sanctions imposed on Pakistan may not have the desired effect] * The IDF is taking lessons in communication skills [secrets of the MoD's success in managing the media] * US Officials Should Look Beyond The Terrorist Pawns Deployed By Bin Laden And Take Action Against The States That Support Him * How Helms is sparking a real crisis [the 'American Servicemembers Protection Act' aimed to ensure that no American serviceman will ever go before an international tribunal] * Israel Launches Observation Satellite From Siberia * Pentagon Shapes the Bush Policy Team * The wrong man to run the State Department [On Colin Powell: 'After the irresolution of the Christopher-Albright years, the next secretary of state must be someone who is not uneasy with the assertion of US leadership or nervous about the projection of power abroad.' This seems very unjust to Madeleine Albright.] * Putin makes a political misstep in trip to Cuba * Saddam Wins, America Sleeps [the selection of US foreign affairs hysteria I am offering in this supplement comes to its shuddering climax] * CIA warns US faces biggest threat since World War II [though this runs it close] * The Biggest Robbery of the Century [about the UN Compensation Commission. But its just a rewrite of the Monde Diplomatique article circulated to this list by Sandeep Vaidya on 18th October] * Iraqis on the list [letter to the Observer commenting on 'Saddam's executioner' which featured in last week's supplement] http://www.hindustantimes.com/nonfram/041200/detOPI02.asp * PLATFORM: THE SANCTIONS BOOMERANG by Ramesh Thakur Hindustani Times, 4th December India should temper its delight at the imposition of US sanctions on Pakistan. The use of sanctions as a tool of foreign and international policy increased dramatically in the 20th century. Yet, as the crumbling sanctions on Iraq show, their track record in ensuring compliance is pitiful. They have a bad reputation and a worse history. The target country can choose from a range of sellers in the international market place. It is virtually impossible to secure universal participation in embargoes and difficult to police their application in participating countries. The incentive to make large profits by circumventing sanctions is more powerful than the motive for enforcing them, and a variety of means and routes exist to camouflage sanctions-busting contacts. Sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan in 1998 were especially egregious because both had already crossed the nuclear threshold and announced unilateral moratoria on further testing. Not a single country has been added to the proliferation-sensitive list as a result of those tests. The nuclear arsenal of the Big Five is more of a proliferant than a deterrent. Sanctions are counter-productive through two effects: political and economic. Politically, their goal is to reduce the support for sanctioned leaders by their own people. But sanctions offer an easy scapegoat for ruinous economic policies: economic pain is simply blamed on hostile and ill-intentioned foreigners. Bearing pain in order to cope with sanctions is portrayed as the patriotic duty of every citizen. Dissent is stifled and political opposition muted, silenced or liquidated. Economically, sanctions create shortages and raise prices in conditions of scarcity. The poor suffer, the middle class shrinks, the ruling class extracts fatter rents from monopoly controls over the illicit trade in banned goods. We have enough credible evidence to suggest that family cliques surrounding dictators under international sanctions have monopolised the black market spawned by the imposition of sanctions and the resulting shortages of goods in the open market. The more profitable the trade, the richer the leaders become and the greater the vested interest they have in perpetuating sanctions while using State-controlled media to plausibly scapegoat the West or the ŒWestern-controlled¹ UN for the peoples¹ misery. In addition, scarcity increases the dependence of the population on the distribution of necessities by the regime, so that sanctions give leaders yet another tool with which to exercise control and leverage over their people. The motives for the imposition and maintenance of sanctions are often rooted in domestic politics. Rivals for office seek to reap electoral advantage by depicting opponents as Œsoft¹ on the enemy. No US presidential candidate dares to offend the Cuban-American lobby by calling for the removal of sanctions on Fidel Castro, despite the clear demonstration of their failure. Sanctions on Cuba remain in place, not because they serve any purpose, not because they are achieving their original goals, but because of the power of a domestic electoral lobby. The geographical concentration of the exiles in Miami gives them a crucial swing vote role in determining the outcome of Florida¹s electoral votes, which in turn is important in influencing the outcome of presidential elections ‹ as we all learnt only too well this year! Having imposed sanctions on India and Pakistan, Washington finds itself imprisoned in the classic termination trap: how to lift sanctions without appearing to back down, on the one hand, or reward Œbad¹ behaviour, on the other. Having already paid the international price for testing, India sees no reason to revert to the status quo ante on high technology access in return for signing the CTBT and joining the global non-proliferation regime. The longer Washington vacillates, the more time other countries have to fill in the commercial void. Sanctions can damage producer-groups in the countries imposing them, for example farmers. In addition, because of the frequency with which a country resorts to sanctions, the long term reliability of its suppliers becomes suspect, with the result that foreign purchasers may not switch back to its products even after sanctions are lifted. They inflict pain on innocent countries in the neighbourhood. The readiness of the international community to impose sanctions is not matched by a willingness to defray the costs of adjustment of those among the non-targeted group for whom the pain is the greatest. Very quickly these countries conclude that their economic interests are better served by continuing economic exchanges with the targeted regime, if by other names and through alternative channels. US sanctions against the former Soviet Union, for example, with respect to the construction of a gas pipeline between the Soviet Union and Western Europe, often strained relations between Washington and other NATO capitals. Public and hence political support for sanctions rests in their image as a humane alternative, and perhaps a necessary prelude, to war, which is increasingly regarded as a tool of the very last resort. The imposition of sanctions is frequently accompanied by sentimentality and sanctimony in Western countries. Yet they cause death and destruction, sometimes on a large scale, through Œstructural violence¹: starvation, malnutrition and the spread of deadly diseases. In contrast to wars, sanctions shift the burden of harm solely to civilians, and solely on one side. The degree and scale of death and suffering inflicted by the Œstructural violence¹ of sanctions exceeds the Œcleaner¹ alternative of open warfare. And their primary victims are innocent civilians, mainly women and children. In a provocative essay in Foreign Affairs (May/June 1999), John Mueller and Karl Mueller argued that sanctions have caused more deaths in the 20th century than all weapons of mass destruction through-out history. The imposition of sanctions on India and Pakistan for their nuclear tests in 1998 also begged the question of moral equivalence. India and Pakistan breached no international treaty, convention or law by testing. For the five nuclear weapons states, to impose sanctions on the nuclear gatecrashers is akin to outlaws sitting in judgment, passing sentence and imposing punishment on the law abiding. http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/scripts/article.asp?mador=5&datee=12/04/00&id= 102536 * THE IDF IS TAKING LESSONS IN COMMUNICATION SKILLS by Sharon Sadeh Ha'aretz, 4th December LONDON - In an attempt to strengthen its shaky international image, Israel has turned to Great Britain for advice in a field where, thus far, it has not excelled - the IDF's public information apparatus. The study tour undertaken three weeks ago by IDF spokesman Brigadier General Ron Kitri, firstly in the British security establishment, and afterwards in Brussels, with the heads of NATO's information apparatus, provided him with an abundance of food for thought. The visit was planned half a year ago, but became much more pressing in the wake of the violent clashes in the territories. In spite of the problematic timing, the British did not rescind their invitation. They prepared a comprehensive schedule, which included meetings with senior officials and officers in the Ministry of Defence in London, and at the headquarters of the ground forces in Salisbury. Kitri met with the highest echelons, including the head of communications in the Defence Ministry, John Pitt-Brooke, the head of news, Martin Howard, and the chief of the Ministry of Defence Press Office, Simon Wren. He also met with the head of Corporate Communications (Army), Brigadier Sebastian Roberts. Kitri explained to the British the difficulties confronting Israel's communications hierarchy in recent weeks, in the wake of the terrible scenes of aerial bombings and dead children, and the limitations of the spokesman in dealing with the local and foreign media. The British hosts listened, but refrained from expressing criticism. The spokesmen in the British military operate within a different structure and with different conventions to military spokesmen in Israel. While the IDF operates with regular army officers or reservists, the British information service uses a team consisting of civilians and officers, who work as a unit. In contrast to the situation in Israel, there is no separation in Britain between the army spokesmen and those of the Ministry of Defence. The army's information hierarchy is subordinate to the Ministry of Defence, and its staff works within that ministry. Thus, the military information service is headed by civilians, top officials who constitute part of the bureaucratic establishment, and whose subordination to the political echelon allows for the uniformity of the message, in accordance with the needs of the government. In addition to the main Ministry of Defence offices in Whitehall, the British government's headquarters in London, there are countrywide and regional communications offices located at various bases. The British have come a long way - both conceptually and in terms of technology - since the era of censored reports from the battlefield on the Falkland Islands. Before the era of communications satellites, the British defense establishment ruled with an iron fist over the information given to the press, since it knew the media could get to the battlefield only under the aegis of the army. In the Falklands War, the British government allowed a handful of journalists to observe the operation from British warships, assuming, correctly as it turned out, that in this way it could better influence public opinion. The military journalists had to obey the instructions of military personnel, and information was carefully doled out. This arrangement no longer obtains. The British security network today works on the initial assumption that in the era of communications satellites and the Internet, it is impossible to prevent the transfer of information to the media. In Britain, military censorship, as it is known in Israel, does not exist and editors are free to make their own decisions about publishing military information, although they sometimes receive specific requests to demonstrate sensitivity on certain subjects; (only in the field of intelligence does the establishment exhibit great sensitivity, and often asks for and receives writs prohibiting publication). The outdated assertion that "the information comes from us, and we own it," has made way for an alternative approach to media relations: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." An official in the Ministry of Defence told Ha'aretz that their relationship with the media is based on principles of maximum openness and cooperation. He said that they avoid manipulation - which almost always leads to undesirable consequences. Instead, it is important to the British security establishment to preserve a relationship with the media based on credibility and trust, as this enables them to maintain a certain degree of influence over the editors and senior columnists. The Ministry of Defence may not be able to prevent the publication of juicy information, but with the help of pressure and connections with the right people, the damage to its image can be kept to a minimum. The British told Kitri that they consider the media to be an essential component in the success of military operations. The media not only serve to strengthen the tie between soldiers at the front and their families at home, but are also considered vital for gaining public support for sending soldiers on dangerous missions which serve international goals, rather than immediate British interests. The military is also interested in having immediate access to media newsrooms and editorial nerve centers, in order to feed them information in real time, and prevent manipulation by the other side. These efforts don't always succeed; the British media are suspicious of the security establishment, and are not willing to make do with information which originates from the government alone. When no such military events are taking place, the security establishment has to deal with newspaper reporters and editors in the same way as would any other public relations firm seeking to ensure that the media will publish information which is important to it. The British media are not as willing to publish military information as they used to be; one reason for this is the public's lack of interest. The indifference - a direct outcome of economic prosperity and the absence of any existential threat for about half a century - is clearly reflected in the position of the Minister of Defence within the cabinet: he is only fifth in the pecking order, after the heads of the treasury, the Foreign Office, the Home Office, and the Department for Education and Employment. The areas of activity and responsibility for spokesmen and information officers in the British security establishment also differ from those in Israel. Military service in Britain is not compulsory and the army relies heavily on publicity campaigns to recruit young people - these include advertisements, propaganda films, and assistance in preparing school finishing programs - alongside the usual information activities. One of the gimmicks shown to Kitri was a set of postcards bearing the picture of the new soldier, which is sent to parents with the caption: "We happened to meet your daughter/son and s/he sends regards." Furthermore, significant resources have been allotted to encouraging and preserving ties between military units and residents of outlying areas and distant towns and villages, who feel cut off from the bustle of life in London, by means of direct information supplied to local and regional newspapers. Investing in this relationship is worthwhile, since the army enjoys a high percentage of recruits from these places. Another difference between arrangements in the two countries is the physical area of military operation: While in Israel only a few kilometers separate the home front from the battlefront, Britain has worldwide political and military interests, and plays a significant role in NATO. During the past decade, the British have participated in dozens of operations, virtually all of them far from home - from Iraq, to Bosnia and Kosovo, from East Timor to Sierra Leone. The distances involved have led them to set up a portable communications system which includes backup for satellite communications, to serve military needs, but which is also available to representatives of the media when it is deemed necessary. The British allow journalists from all areas of the media to accompany them on military operations - during the battles in Kosovo, for instance, there were 3,000 registered journalists in the region. But the main difference highlighted by Kitri when he compared the information services of Britain and Israel lay in the way officers are prepared for their work with the media. Unlike their Israeli counterparts, future officers in the British army learn how to deal with the media as part of their basic training. According to a British official, the security establishment cannot know in advance who will have to stand opposite a microphone without prior notice, and therefore the ability to deal with journalists' questions on the spot, while taking into account the circumstances on the ground, is one of the basic qualifications demanded of an officer, even if he is not from the official spokesman's office. Kitri was present at a lecture at the military college in Sandhurst, part of which was devoted to testing the ability of officers to appear before the media. In a kind of variation on "The medium is the message," the British devote a great deal of thought to training officers in communicating effectively with anyone they meet. If the commander knows how to get his message across effectively - whether to a journalist or to one of the soldiers under his command - it will contribute to his success at his job. The journalist will attribute greater importance to the information he receives, and the soldier in his squad will carry out instructions more obligingly. http://www.individual.com/browse/story.shtml?story=b1201032.2rg&level1=46636 &level2=46675&level3=2884&date=20001204 * US OFFICIALS SHOULD LOOK BEYOND THE TERRORIST PAWNS DEPLOYED BY BIN LADEN AND TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE STATES THAT SUPPORT HIM by James Phillips of the Heritage Foundation BridgeNews, December 4, 2000 WASHINGTON--There have been several arrests, but U.S. officials still don't know who bears ultimate responsibility for the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. Oh, there are the usual suspects: Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan. But the fact that there's such a thing as "the usual suspects" when it comes to terrorism just goes to show America must develop a more sensible way to fight it. By all accounts, the Oct. 12 bombing appears to be the work of the loose terrorist network headed by Osama bin Laden, an exiled Saudi now based in Afghanistan. Bin Laden is known to have followers in Yemen and has launched terrorist operations there in the past. Worse, he may have had Iraqi government support. The sophisticated nature of the bomb--which was placed within a metal container to channel the blast into the Cole's hull--suggests state involvement. Iraqi officials are known to have made contact with bin Laden in Afghanistan, and Iraq has used terrorists-for-hire in the past. Saddam Hussein shares bin Laden's goal of expelling American forces from the Arabian peninsula, and the Cole was bound for the Persian Gulf to help maintain the naval blockade of Iraq. Iran may also have played a supporting role in the Cole bombing. Like Iraq, it has long supported terrorist groups operating against the United States and seeks to expel U.S. forces from the Persian Gulf region. Bin Laden is known to have entered into an agreement with radical regimes in Iran and Sudan to work together against the United States, Israel and the West. And bin Laden has sent some of his followers to Lebanon for bomb- making training from the Hezbollah, a pro-Iranian terrorist group. In fact, one of bin Laden's associates, a terrorist who pled guilty on Oct. 20 to the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, has linked bin Laden with Hezbollah's terrorist chief, Imad Mughniyah. This means Iran may be cooperating with bin Laden's terrorist network by using the Lebanon-based Hezbollah as an intermediary. Finally, the radical Taliban regime in Afghanistan has cooperated with bin Laden and even given him sanctuary, because bin Laden joined the Afghan jihad, or "holy war," against the Soviet army after moving to Afghanistan in 1984. He enjoys close relations with Taliban leader Mullah Omar, who reportedly has married one of bin Laden's daughters. The Taliban's support for bin Laden led the United Nations to impose economic sanctions on Afghanistan last year. But the Clinton administration has largely failed to penalize the Taliban regime for its support of terrorism and has yet to persuade officials to turn over bin Laden. Yes, a U.S. cruise missile attack in August 1998 on bin Laden's camp in eastern Afghanistan destroyed a few easily replaced facilities and killed a score of Islamic militants from Pakistan and Kashmir. But this "chuck and duck" policy has helped the Taliban by alienating Afghans from their former American ally, including many who oppose the Taliban's harsh rule. To effectively punish the Afghan government for supporting bin Laden, the next administration should support the opposition forces fighting to replace the Taliban with a government that doesn't export terrorism, Islamic revolution and illegal drugs. Washington should build an anti-Taliban coalition that embraces all the states that have suffered attacks from Muslim militants supported by the Taliban. These states include Russia, China, India and Afghanistan's northern neighbors Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Bin Laden's brand of Islamic terrorism is like a virus that has been incubated in the Afghan jihad. To fight it, the United States needs to destroy the incubator--the Taliban regime. If Iraq and Iran also are found to be implicated in the Cole bombing, the United States should redouble its efforts to work with opposition forces inside those countries to oust hostile regimes. It should also seriously consider retaliating with American forces. U.S. officials are trying to hunt down the culprits behind the Cole bombing and bring them to justice. But they should look beyond the terrorist pawns deployed by bin Laden and take action against the states that support him--the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and possibly Iraq or Iran. The United States must remove these regimes, not merely contain them. As long as they remain in power, the United States and its allies face a heightened threat, and the "usual suspects" of international terrorism will continue to enjoy a relatively free ride. End JAMES PHILLIPS is a research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. a Washington-based public policy institute. His views are not necessarily those of BridgeNews, whose ventures include the Internet site www.bridge.com. http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/340/oped/How_Helms_is_sparking_a_real_cris is+.shtml * HOW HELMS IS SPARKING A REAL CRISIS by James Carroll Boston Globe, 5th December Worrying about a potential constitutional crisis coming out of Florida, we hardly noticed a creeping constitutional crisis that showed itself in New York last week. At the United Nations, representatives of more than 100 countries are at work, until this Friday, on negotiations aimed at implementing the 1998 Rome Treaty on the International Criminal Court. Arising from American-backed tribunals in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the ICC will adjudicate genocide and other crimes against humanity. Replacing vengeance with law, the court represents a major step toward a new world-structure of peace. Recall that, out of concerns for sovereignty, the United States has yet to sign this treaty, a demurral that puts us in the company of Iraq, Libya, China, and a few others. The Clinton administration, which supports the court in principle, has been working in a delicate process to obtain side agreements that address its concerns, and there have been hopes that the president would sign the treaty by the Dec. 31 deadline that would keep the United States actively engaged in the shaping of the court, even without full ratification. But last Wednesday, in a clear violation of the American way, Republican Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina preempted the administration's transcending responsibility to conduct foreign policy by dispatching his press spokesperson to the United Nations, where he held a press conference to spotlight his diehard opposition to the treaty. (An Associated Press story, my source, reported on this event, but it was not covered in the Globe or The New York Times.) Helms will make his ''American Servicemembers Protection Act'' a ''top legislative priority,'' the spokesperson said, referring to a bill that would not only spike US participation in the court, but would punish countries that ratified the treaty, and would severely restrict future American support of UN peacekeeping. Thus Helms was not only inserting himself into an international forum, contemptuously intruding upon an American president's delicate and time-sensitive effort to shape foreign policy. He was threatening other nations with retaliation - a military aid cutoff - if they go forward with a court he doesn't like. And that is not all. Against the present administration, Helms produced a chorus of former officials to echo his intervention at the UN. On that same Wednesday - a coincidence? - a letter supporting the Helms bill was released by a dozen foreign policy heavy hitters, including Henry Kissinger, Jeane Kirkpatrick, George Shultz, and James Baker III - a sad demonstration of how far we've come from the post-World War II generation of internationalists who, in fact, gave first expression to the idea of an international war crimes tribunal. Helms and his supporters claim to be speaking for ''American servicemembers,'' but how do the military men and women who might find themselves subject to the ICC feel about it? In a phone conversation last Friday, I put the question to retired Major General William L. Nash, who commanded Task Force Eagle in Bosnia, a multinational division supporting the Dayton Peace Accords, and who has just returned from a stint as a UN administrator in Mitrovica, Kosovo. These responsibilities have given General Nash a clearer view of these complexities than almost anyone. He said, ''My experience from Vietnam to Desert Storm to Bosnia tells me that you behave within the laws of war. The treaty does not change that. It is an endorsement of what we believe in.'' Indeed, by deterring war crimes, the ICC would be the true protection of Americans, along with everyone else. General Nash is author of ''The ICC and the Deployment of US Armed Forces,'' a chapter in a study of the court published recently by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The academy's program director for international security studies, Martin Malin, watched events unfold last week. The Helms intervention, he told me, ''was timed to sharpen the divisions between the United States and other nations, threatening them by saying, in effect, `If you support this court, you put your military relations with the US at risk.' Senator Helms is way overstepping the right of Congress to exercise authority in foreign policy.'' That James Baker is a party to the Helms campaign signals that an incoming Bush administration would prefer to be shackled by a xenophobic Congress than to be constrained by multilateral and equitable agreements with other nations - a preference here for the old cycle of violence to a new structure of peace. Jesse Helms is an exact epiphany of the mindset, at once parochial and triumphalistic, that will guarantee not America's supremacy, as he so foolishly thinks, but its irrelevance. If, growing impatient, you thought there was nothing serious at stake anymore in whether Al Gore prevails in Florida, think again. http://news.excite.com/news/r/001205/11/science-israel-satellite-dc * ISRAEL LAUNCHES OBSERVATION SATELLITE FROM SIBERIA by Steven Scheer Tel Aviv (Reuters December 5, 2000) - Israel launched the first of a series of observation satellites Tuesday designed to take high-resolution photographs of any spot on earth. The launch, in Siberia, came almost two years after Israel's Ofek-4 satellite, which was widely reported to have been meant to spy on Iran, Iraq and Syria, malfunctioned and burned up after liftoff. Israel's Ofek-3 reconnaissance satellite has been in space for more than four years and is reaching the end of its life. The 550-pound, $100 million EROS-1 satellite from ImageSat International NV was launched in Siberia using a Russian Topol or SS-25 ballistic missile. It has enough fuel to stay in orbit for six years. Netherlands Antilles-based ImageSat said the satellite was meant for commercial purposes, such as mapping, urban development and fishery. But Israel's Ha'artez daily reported on Tuesday the Israeli Defense Ministry would be a customer. State-owned Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), with 31 percent, holds a majority stake in ImageSat. Israel's Electro-Optical Industries, United Mizrahi Bank (MZRH.TA), the Challenge Fund and Core Software Technology also own stakes. "We expect to commission up to eight high-resolution satellites in the coming years," said Jacob Weiss, chief executive officer of ImageSat. EROS-1, at nearly 300 miles above earth, will orbit the earth every 90 minutes, company officials said. "It will cover every place on the planet," said ImageSat vice president Yifrah Haim, a retired Israeli general. "When we have more than one satellite, the ability to cover the same area more often will improve." He noted that EROS should be ready within days to start taking photos, while all eight satellites should be operational within six years. Israel accelerated its spy satellite program after the 1991 Gulf War when Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles at Israeli cities. The current Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation has heightened tensions in the Middle East and raised war fears. Experts put the cost of detailed, high-resolution photos at about $1,500 each and Merrill Lynch forecast the commercial satellite imaging market reaching $6.5 billion in revenues by 2007, anticipating the annual growth rate to be about 35 percent. http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/20001206/t000116813.html * PENTAGON SHAPES THE BUSH POLICY TEAM by Jim Mann Los Angeles Times, 6th December WASHINGTON--No one's noticing, but American foreign policy is about to be turned over to the Pentagon Alumni Assn. If George W. Bush becomes the next president, as seems increasingly likely, the foreign policy team he is assembling will have a distinctly defense-oriented cast--much more so than in any recent presidency, including the last Bush administration. The flavor of U.S. foreign policy, it seems, is about to shift. Over the last eight years, the leading figures in the Clinton administration have come from the world of trade law and investment banking (Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger and Robert E. Rubin). Now we're going to see a return of The Commanders, the team that won the Persian Gulf War nine years ago. The trend starts near the very top. Bush's choice for vice president, Dick Cheney, spent his most recent years in government as Defense secretary. Bush's probable secretary of State, Gen. Colin L. Powell, was a career military official and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Richard L. Armitage, a powerful figure in the Pentagon during the Reagan administration, is expected to end up in a senior post, probably deputy Defense secretary. Paul Wolfowitz, formerly one of Cheney's top Pentagon aides, is likely to join the administration's senior ranks too. And the Pentagon orientation of the new administration, it seems, may filter down through the ranks to the working levels. Take Asia. The leading candidate to be Bush's assistant secretary of State for East Asia is said to be James A. Kelly, a Navy veteran who served as a Pentagon aide and later on the National Security Council in the Reagan administration. The Defense Department's Asia policy job may go to Torkel Patterson, another retired Navy official who worked in the Pentagon and on the NSC in the last Bush administration. In some respects, the Pentagon origins of many of the Bush foreign policy advisors may prove beneficial. Certainly the Bush administration would be in a strong position to cut out unneeded weapon systems and waste in the Pentagon budget, if it chooses to do so. Few people would be in a better position to say "no" to the Joint Chiefs of Staff than Cheney and Powell. Over the years, the Defense Department often has proved less addicted to conventional wisdom about foreign policy than the State Department or CIA. Among the few senior military leaders to serve as secretary of State was George Marshall, the revered architect of the Truman administration's Marshall Plan for Europe. "He was one of the great" secretaries of State, says historian Warren B. Cohen. "He reorganized the department and set up policy planning. When the Joint Chiefs came to him and said if we send 10,000 troops to China, we can turn around the Chinese civil war, Marshall said, 'Bull----, it'd take a million.' " Of course, the other side of this argument is that a military background may be of less help today than in Harry S. Truman's time. America is not fighting the Cold War any more, or for that matter the Persian Gulf War. It's unclear yet whether the Pentagon alumni who would return to government in Bush II are prepared to deal with a new challenge--a world where international economic issues loom larger than they did a decade ago. Moreover, even on security issues, these former officials may find, like Rip Van Winkle, that the world has changed since the glory days when the United States assembled the Gulf War coalition against Saddam Hussein. Back then, Mikhail S. Gorbachev's Soviet Union stood solidly with the United States in dealing with Iraq. Now, Vladimir V. Putin's Russia doesn't--and neither do France or China. Some within the Bush team (notably Wolfowitz) have advocated a tougher policy toward Iraq; they have pushed for stronger U.S. support for the exiles seeking to overthrow Saddam. By contrast, most Arab governments now seek an easing of the embargo against Iraq. The last Bush administration didn't draw so heavily on the Defense Department for its foreign policy team. Indeed, the patron saint of Bush I was, in some ways, Henry A. Kissinger. Two top-level officials (Brent Scowcroft, the national security advisor, and Lawrence S. Eagleburger, the deputy secretary of State) had been top aides to Kissinger; so had the assistant secretary of State for Asia, Richard Solomon. To be sure, not everyone in the new Bush team has a strong Defense Department pedigree. Condoleezza Rice, Bush's likely choice for national security advisor, gained most of her experience as Scowcroft's protege on the NSC--although even Rice worked briefly in the Pentagon in 1986-87. If there is any single guiding spirit behind Bush's incoming crew, it would appear to be not Kissinger but Caspar W. Weinberger, who was President Reagan's Defense secretary. Both Powell and Armitage rose to prominence in Weinberger's Pentagon. And it was Weinberger who enunciated a doctrine for strict limits on deploying U.S. forces overseas--a caution that Powell largely embraced as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Under the Weinberger doctrine, set down in 1984, American troops should be sent into conflict only in cases vital to U.S. national interests and only where there is overwhelming public support and a well-defined objective. George W. Bush voiced similar ideas during this year's campaign--thus setting the tone for the Pentagon mind-set of the incoming administration. http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/342/oped/The_wrong_man_to_run_the_State_De partment+.shtml * THE WRONG MAN TO RUN THE STATE DEPARTMENT by Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe, 7th December GEORGE W. BUSH has made it all but official that - assuming he becomes president - Colin Powell will be his nominee for secretary of state. It is a nomination sure to generate much applause. Herewith a dissent. In many ways, of course, Powell would be an admirable addition to any president's Cabinet. By all accounts he is a man of fine character. His reputation could hardly be more lustrous. When he considered running for president himself five years ago, both parties vied for his favor. He is dignified, tough, patriotic, and - not a small thing after two terms of Bill Clinton - manifestly an adult. But would he make a good secretary of state? Bush, it is clear, has no more of ''the vision thing'' than his father did; when it comes to foreign affairs, he has even less. More than most presidents, he will depend on his secretary of state for insight into international developments and for guidance in setting America's course in the world. After the irresolution of the Christopher-Albright years, the next secretary of state must be someone who is not uneasy with the assertion of US leadership or nervous about the projection of power abroad. Bush's senior Cabinet official will need to assist him in making hard decisions - even unpopular or dangerous ones, if that is what the national interest and the pursuit of world peace require. He will have to be unshakable when it comes to first principles and able to recognize at once when they are threatened. And when the United States has to rally reluctant allies or face down menacing foes, the incoming secretary of state will need the skill to make America's case, as Thomas Jefferson once put it, ''in terms so plain as to command their assent.'' That is not a job description Powell can meet. He has many terrific qualities, but strategic vision and innovation have never been among them. He is a company man who plays by the rules - the company in his case being the Army, in which he spent nearly all his adult life. He is a classic consensus-seeker, a cautious insider who rarely moves until he knows that everyone is on board. Thinking ''outside the box'' is not a Powell trademark; his instinct is always for the status quo, and time and again it has occluded his judgment. No chapter in Powell's life illustrates the problem better, ironically, than the one that made his reputation: the Gulf War. To this day he is routinely described as a ''hero'' of that war, and yet if his advice had been followed when the crisis with Iraq erupted, the result would have been disaster. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Powell was prepared to let him keep it. As Michael Gordon and retired General Bernard Trainor reported in ''The Generals' War,'' their detailed account of the war in the Gulf, Powell was adamant that Kuwait was not worth fighting for. ''The American people do not want their young dying for $1.50-a gallon oil,'' he insisted to then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. ''We can't make a case for losing lives for Kuwait.'' Only if Saddam attacked Saudi Arabia did Powell think America should act. When President Bush bluntly vowed that Saddam's aggression would be rolled back - ''This will not stand'' - Powell was dismayed. Even when the decision was made to confront Iraq, Powell opposed the use of military force. He was convinced, he told Britain's air chief marshal in October 1990, that economic sanctions would bring Saddam around, and he was willing to wait 12 to 15 months, and maybe as long as two years, for them to work. In Powell's view, wrote Gordon and Trainor, ''war with Iraq ... would be politically damaging to Western interests in the Middle East.'' And as soon as Iraqi forces were out of Kuwait, Powell called for ending the war at once. Saddam's Republican Guard was allowed to escape - and then to brutally cut down the countless Iraqis who rose up in desperation to topple the dictator. This reluctance to act in the face of Saddam's aggression was not an uncharacteristic lapse. Powell has repeatedly counseled passivity and nonintervention. During the Reagan administration, he was against arming the Afghan rebels with Stinger missiles - weapons that would prove critical in driving out the Soviet occupiers and beginning the end of the Cold War. In 1989, he opposed the use of US troops to help Panamanian rebels depose strongman Manuel Noriega. The result was that the coup failed, resulting in a massive and costly invasion 10 weeks later. And as Serb killers were slaughtering Bosnians by the tens of thousands, Powell rejected any American use of force to stop the bloodshed - or even, at first, to airlift food to civilians. ''When the fighting broke out, should the West have intervened militarily?'' he asked in 1995. ''Nobody really thinks it has a vital interest.'' A US general who cannot discern a vital Western interest in stopping genocide in the heart of Europe is not the man to run the State Department. Once the crucial decision to act has been made and a leader is needed to carry it out, Powell is superb. But to make that decision - especially in the absence of strong public support - takes vision, boldness, and clear strategic judgment. Powell's gifts are many, but those are not among them. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/commentary/printedition/article/0,2669,SA V 0012080075,FF.html * PUTIN MAKES A POLITICAL MISSTEP IN TRIP TO CUBA by Jim Hoagland, Washington Post Writers Group. Chicago Tribune, December 8, 2000 WASHINGTON -- Russia's President Vladimir Putin will travel to Cuba next week on a journey that underlines the "assertive but positive" attitude he will adopt with the next president of the United States, according to a senior Russian official. The timing of the trip--initially disclosed by U.S. sources--is ruffling feathers in the outgoing Clinton administration. Putin seems to some to be taking advantage of the long post-election limbo in Washington to poke a thumb in Washington's eye. There are also questions about Putin including the head of Russia's atomic energy ministry on the trip. The Russian president will fly across U.S. airspace after visiting Havana to start a visit to Canada on Dec. 15. The timing of the North American trip is unrelated to U.S. politics, the visiting official and other Russian sources insist. It was agreed on in September after Putin saw Cuban President Fidel Castro at the United Nations and postponed when Cuba needed more time to prepare. Putin's biggest interest in the trip is described not as geopolitics but as finding ways to get Cuba to pay large Soviet-era debts. Putin's decision to go ahead with the politically sensitive Cuba trip now nonetheless is an unintended signal of its own. Russia and other nations are factoring into their own policies the effect of the contested American presidential election and the advent of a more evenly divided Congress. Inevitably, foreign powers see room to pursue their interests with more assertiveness. Among those openly intensifying challenges to U.S. power during the limbo are Iraq, which has shut off oil exports, Iran, which has intensified support for Islamic guerrilla operations against Israel, and Libya, which has increasingly flouted an international travel ban backed by Washington. In his year in power, Putin has worked to deepen Russian ties with those three countries and with other Soviet-era clients. In his quest to collect back debts and open new markets for the Russian economy, he seems unconcerned about appearing to President Clinton to revive problems of the past rather than cooperate with the United States on the world's regional conflicts. Putin's outlook on future cooperation with Washington is "assertive but positive," the visiting official countered, insisting that Putin's active Third World diplomacy is not directed against the United States. The Russian president used a visit to North Korea "to introduce Kim Jong Il on the world stage as a different person," he continued. During her recent visit to Pyongyang, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright pursued proposals Putin originally made to restrain North Korean missile development. Moscow and Washington resumed talks at the expert level this week on Russia's conventional arms sales to Iran, even though Russia on Dec. 1 formally canceled a secret U.S.-Russia understanding that sought to restrain those sales, the official added. "Our attitude is not based on a memorandum. We can find ways to cooperate without that," the official said. "We continue to talk to Washington about U.S. concerns and try to understand them. We may not agree on all points, but we want a full and continuing dialogue with the next administration on this and other points, including arms control." His comments, delivered with an unusual authority and precision for such semipublic utterances, sought to emphasize common points of interest as he sketched a rationale for Russia's constructive engagement with troublesome states: "After all, President Clinton seemed at one point in his presidency to hope to visit Cuba, and maybe North Korea. When he was secretary of state, Jim Baker discussed how Moscow might help the United States normalize with Cuba. This is not intended as a signal." But the Russian official acknowledged that the U.S. presidential campaign and the Nov. 7 election results create new questions abroad about Washington's attention, and intentions. "With dialogue, we can get past" the campaign stereotype "that this relationship was conducted by a bunch of crooks in the Kremlin and a bunch of romantics in Washington. We averted more crises than is known, and created a basis for cooperating with the next administration." But there is a new risk created by the disputes of the presidential election and the nearly even partisan divisions of the Senate and House, he concluded: "Foreign policy is always an easy target in time of domestic troubles, in any nation." That is one reason Putin should have considered delaying the Cuba trip again. It may not be intended as a signal to Washington. But it will be an early window on a relationship that seems headed for rockier times. http://www.nydailynews.com/2000-12-08/News_and_Views/Opinion/a-91495.asp * SADDAM WINS, AMERICA SLEEPS New York Daily News, Friday, December 08, 2000 Americans are so mesmerized by the Bush-Gore struggle for the presidency that they are making a historic mistake. They think of it as the only important event taking place in the world. But something else is happening that will shape the next President's place in history and the destiny of all nations within range of Iraqi missiles. The presidential candidates have not discussed that; it might upset us. The reality is that Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq, has won the war against the United States and most of the world. No piece of paper says so, but every country knows it. The U.S., with United Nations help, defeated Saddam in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 in 100 hours of land warfare following a few weeks of missile attacks. Nine years later, that desert victory has been overturned at Saddam's headquarters in Baghdad, at the UN's skyscraper in New York, at the State Department and White House and in countries that used to be our allies but now prefer the profitable betrayal of oil trade. Saddam is not only out of the box, but owns it. On Tuesday, he nailed America in it, tighter. When our former allies saw that the Clinton administration had neither the plans nor the ability to protect the victory it had inherited from President George Bush, zip ‹ they were Baghdad-bound to destroy the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. when Iraq collapsed. The sanctions could have controlled Iraq's boundless military plans for future conquest and terrorism. Saddam pays off his new partners ‹ led by Russia, China and France ‹ in oil profits and Middle Eastern influence. He had fought to add Kuwait's oil fields to his own. After he was defeated, the Bush administration kindly left him with an army, but did get one important pledge. Saddam agreed to international inspections to make sure he was no longer on the road to the weapons he had been preparing to produce ‹ the chemical, nuclear and biological weapons that would give him dominance over all the Mideast, most of Islam and any other part of the world within his radius. If he did not cooperate with the inspections, the agreement said, he would be subject to sanctions, chiefly preventing him from selling oil to buy anything that might have military use. As soon as he made the pledge, he just said no. He shoved international inspectors around and threw many out of the country. Still, under Richard Butler of Australia, the inspectors were getting closer to his plans and materials for weapons of mass destruction. So he ordered the inspectors out. For two years, there have been no ‹ repeat, no ‹ inspections at all. The U.S. and the UN have done nothing about it. None of Saddam's elite goes without a Mercedes or caviar, while children of the poor suffer from lack of decent food and medicine. The UN has allowed him $37billion to buy both. But if the conditions are not to his taste, he just refuses the money to buy food and medicine for the children and sick of Iraq. Observing the sanctions is Saddam's choice, and he prefers to have Iraqi children die rather than allow unhindered inspections ‹ or even allow the inspectors back. In criticizing the sanctions recently, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan did not bother to point out Saddam's deliberate choice. Neither do any of the nations now frantically appeasing him, nor do they tell the world that if Saddam ever let inspectors discover and destroy the factories of his weapons of mass destruction, the sanctions would be lifted. There are other sanctions in place, like the one prohibiting civilian airplanes from flying in and out of Iraq. President Clinton just looks blank when that is violated, something that is becoming internationally chic. On Tuesday, the UN Security Council gave Saddam more leeway to raise and spend oil billions as he chooses. Soon, it will approve international air traffic to Baghdad. Saddam will be able to smuggle in weapons and technology not only by land, but aboard "civilian" planes from Russia and other U.S. "friends." The Tuesday decision, like all by the Security Council, was taken in a closed meeting. The U.S. did not use its veto power. Fake "consensus" was announced. James Cunningham, the American diplomat who has the nasty job of dealing with Iraq, said it was really "not a bad outcome." What would George W. Bush or Al Gore do about Iraq? They didn't say during the campaign. They don't say now. Could it be they don't have a clue? Saddam's power mania will bring on another war ‹ count firmly on that. People will probably call it Gulf II. But in deference to the current winner, we really should call it Saddam II. And hope we don't have to count higher. http://www.dawn.com/2000/12/09/int1.htm * CIA WARNS US FACES BIGGEST THREAT SINCE WORLD WAR II Dawn (Pakistan), 09 December 2000, 12 Ramazan 1421 LOS ANGELES, Dec 8 (Reuters): The 'wild card' of technology - from nuclear proliferation to the information revolution - has left US interests more susceptible to terrorist attack than at any time since the end of World War Two, CIA Director George Tenet said on Thursday. Tenet said America's technical superiority in intelligence gathering was under threat from such rapid advances, while the "evil mix of fanaticism and flexibility" behind the October attack on the USS Cole made the next strike "not a question of if, but of when and where." Tenet, addressing a Los Angeles luncheon in a rare public speech, declined to talk in detail about the Oct. 12 apparent suicide bombing of the Cole in Yemen. But he said the attack was a grim reminder of the "terrorist foe without heart or pity" that threatened US interests around the world on a daily basis. "We are in an environment where we are literally inundated with threats and warnings all the time," Tenet said in response to a question about the Cole. "Making sense of disparate threats is sometimes very difficult to do in the time available. We have deterred a great number of terrorist events. But you will not bat 100 (percent) with these people." US officials have said Saudi Arabian exile Osama bin Laden is considered a prime suspect in the planning of the Cole attack but they have not established a definitive link. Seventeen American sailors were killed when a small boat filled with explosives blew up alongside the USS Cole in the port of Aden in Yemen. Tenet said the destabilizing effects of ethnic conflicts, easy access to information such as satellite imagery, and the proliferation of nuclear weapon technology made for a world without front lines. "We in the intelligence community believe the chances for unpleasant - even deadly - surprise are greater now than at any time since the end of the Second World War," Tenet said. The CIA chief called rapid advances in technology the "wild card" in the volatile equation surrounding the military, commercial and diplomatic dominance of the United States since the end of the Cold War. "I will be blunt with you: the pace of technological change threatens to erode America's technical advantage in intelligence - an advantage that has long been a pillar of our national security," Tenet said. He said the CIA was pushing for investments in technology and in people to ensure that the United States does not fall "totally behind the curve." Despite issues ranging from drug trafficking and cyber warfare to humanitarian crises which he said had stretched the capabilities of US intelligence to their limit, Tenet said the CIA had a long list of accomplishments. - More than two dozen terrorists - more than half of them linked to Osama bin Laden - brought to justice around the world since July 1998. - Support of US government efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. - Zero US casualties in daily American air patrols of the no-fly zone in Iraq in the past 10 years http://www.dailystarnews.com/200012/09/n0120902.htm#BODY4 * THE BIGGEST ROBBERY OF THE CENTURY by Rafiq A Tschannen ['The writer is a Swiss Muslim.'] Daily Star (Bangladesh), 9th December DURING the gulf war 1991 the USA has destroyed the water distribution system of Iraq and thereby violated the Geneva war convention. Only recently an American High School teacher submitted a study which proved that the wilful destruction of a whole country was carried out with a strategic calculation. Nearly ten years later the whole population of Iraq continues to pay the price of the stubbornness of the USA and Iraq's leader Saddam Hussain. There is no end in sight in this situation. On the contrary during the US election campaign both candidates were eager to outdo each other in their anti-Iraq feelings. And quietly the robbing of Iraq continues as the work of the UNCC United Nations Compensation Commission shows, an obscure entity, which sucks off one third of all Iraqi export earnings. The UNCC has existed for the last ten years and remains nearly unknown to the public. But actually this discretely operating institution is one the most important instruments in the destruction strategy against Iraq. The economic sanctions against Iraq are being covered by the media. We see on TV malnourished children and hospitals where the most basic items are missing. We see a whole country and a whole culture being permitted to deteriorate further and further. But hardly any journalist seems to be interested in the work of the UN Compensation Commission and in their doubtful legality and their dubious practices. And this in spite of the fact that since December 1996, 11 billion dollars, approximately one third of the export earnings of Iraq, have flown into the coffers of this commission. In April 1991, shortly after the defeat of Iraq, the UN security council decided that according to international law Iraq will be liable for all losses, damages.... which other states, individuals, or foreign corporations have had as an immediate result of the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait. For the determination of such damages the UN compensation commission was created. The board of this commission is made up of representatives of the 15 members of the UN security council. The executive council, which has been dominated by its US members right from the start, is supposed to inform the commission, although disinform would be the more appropriate term. The method chosen by the Security Council is without parallel in history at least not since the Versailles Agreement at the end of World War I, which laid the foundation for the Second World War. In article 231 of the Versailles agreement Germany was made to pay. Hitler took advantage of this agreement that went too far. It was easy for him to point out that "enough is enough". The United States had not ratified the Versailles agreement, but today is carrying on in the same way "Iraq will pay!" How will this time? Iraq is not even recognized as a defendant party". Every petty criminal has the right of defence but the country of Iraq has no say in how and how much the country is bled. Every year 50 million dollars are being deducted from the Iraqi export earnings to finance the activities of the commission. Excellent salaries of the commission members and their travelling arrangements in business class are financed. For the first time in the history of countries since the Second World War a state has absolutely nothing to say about a juristic case that directly relates to it. Iraq has no right to vote at the UN because it did not pay its dues. At the same time the USA is in arrears for over one billion dollars. Just another small example of the double standards prevailing today. One law for the super power and another law for the rest of the world. No doubt Iraq does have a duty to provide compensation. But how can a law case be fought and presented without giving the other side a right to present their own case? For instance: The state of Kuwait had presented a claim for 21.6 billion dollars in 1994. Baghdad was given a summary of the claim five years later in 1999. The Iraqi Government was given a dateline of 19th September 2000. Iraq requested permission to use some fund out of the commission's funds actually Iraq's own export earnings! to pay for a legal office to scrutinize all the documents. The commission refused. After a long discussion finally Iraq was given one hour on 14th December 1999 to present its point of view. One hour to treat a 20 billion dollar claim! In spite of Russian and French reservations the compensation was fixed at 15.9 billion dollars. The UN Secretary General had recommended in 1991 that Iraq "be informed about all claims and to be given the right to present to the commission their point of view." The commission did not follow the Secretary General's directive (or probably thought they could claim to follow him by giving that one hour to Iraq to discuss a multi billion dollar claim...). The UNCC justifies these practices through the necessity to process hundreds of thousands of claims. In fact 2.6 million claims relate to individuals. These amount to 20 billion dollars, a small part of the total claims of approximately 320 billion dollars. The amount of 15 billion dollars approved for the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation amounts to about the total compensation approved for the 2.6 million individual persons. And it is double of what the Iraq central government was given from December 1996 to July 2000 for food and medicines of 15 million Iraqis. In the C-category, individual compensation, the US citizen Michael F. Raboin is the key figure. He brought along another American Norbert Wuhler. This team is of course highly biased. Staff members were shocked to continuously hear such instructions as the criteria should be interpreted in such a way that maximum approvals can be given, and doctoring the samples. It was made easy by the fact that most persons could not provide proof of their claims and as such mere statements of claimants were considered sufficient. Even more scandalous was the direct intervention of the US government to the executives of the commission to reinterpret the parameters in which the commission works. The practices of Washington remind one of the work of the UN special commission for the destruction of arms which were infiltrated by the CIA and totally manipulated by them (UNSCOM). The largest claims are still under consideration. As at 16th June 2000 a total amount of 267 billion dollars in claims was still outstanding. A large number of them are totally absurd and might well be rejected. Friends of the USA, such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Israel, are receiving preferential treatment. A good example how the commission works may be given in these instances: Many Israeli shops and businesses were compensated for lack of business during the war as for instance th were able to sell less flowers or less cinema tickets due to the political tensions of the Gulf war. Who would have got the idea that Great Britain could have claimed from Germany compensation for cinema tickets not sold during the Battle of Britain from 1939 to 1945? The total value of claims amounts to 320 billion dollars. Out of this amount 180 billion are claimed by Kuwait, that is 9-fold of the gross national product of Kuwait for 1989. Considering that for these claims one third of the export earnings of Iraq is being confiscated it would mean that Iraq might have paid off these claims by the year 2060. What will be left of the hospitals and schools by then? Is it justified to make a country pay without regard to its ability? In article 14 of the peace agreement between Japan and the United States dated 1951 it is stated: Japan must pay reparations to the allied powers for all damages occurred during the war. We however note that the resources of Japan and the economy will not be sufficient to pay for all such claims... and at the same time meet all their other obligations. It may be reminded that at that time the Japanese Emperor was also considered a war criminal just like now Saddam Hussain. UN resolution 687 does specially state that the requirements of the Iraqi people and the possibility to pay should be considered. Many jurists deny that the UN Security Council has the right to fix the amount of a compensation. In several cases the Israeli attack on the airport-of-Beirut in 1968, the Portuguese attack on Guinea in 1970, the South African excursion into Angola in 1976 did the Security Council state that compensation should be made. However for instance in the case of Angola the British Ambassador stated that. The Security Council is not a court, and therefore not the right place to decide about compensation claims. Shortly after the UNCC meeting of 28th September 2000 the Security Council decided to slightly amend the more scandalous points of the rules. As from December of this year the quota of the export earnings that will be confiscated by the commission will reduce from 30 to 25 pre cent. Furthermore, the commission should consider the interest of Iraq a bit more. As a compensation to this improvement France and Russia agreed to the claim of 15.9 billion dollars, which is mostly going into the coffers of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation. A deal which proves once more that it is the United States that plays the tune in the commission. The above mentioned actions of a UN commission bear ill for all other UN activities. How can we believe that other UN agencies have the welfare of the people as a whole at heart when the same UN permits itself to be manipulated in this way? http://observer.co.uk/letters/story/0,6903,409382,00.html * IRAQIS ON THE LIST Observer Letters Page, Sunday December 10, 2000 Your article on Saddam's executioners (World, last week) must be malign propaganda. The Home Office, (Immigration and Nationality Directorate) has only recently decided to place Iraq on the 'white list'. This means that asylum seekers from Iraq fall to be treated under the expedited procedure as the directorate is satisfied that the conditions of law and order, treatment of prisoners, and civil liberty is such that it is unlikely that Iraq will produce genuine refugees. I appreciate that you give UNHCR as a link, but surely in terms of veracity, there is no contest when comparing UNHCR's opinion with that of Jack Straw and his driven minions. Francis Deutsch Saffron Walden Essex -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk