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News, 18­24/12/01 (3)

News, 18­24/12/01 (3)


*  Iraq threatens to hit back at Saudi, Kuwait
*  Iraq splits ministry of culture and information
*  Iraq's oil export rebounds from record low: UN
*   Iraq Warns Russia Over Oil Contracts [Russia might lose them if they
don¹t start drilling right away, sanctions or no sanctions]
*  Russian oil work in Iraq not UN approved-diplomats
*  Tunisia, Iraq agree free trade pact


*  No Œdirect evidence¹ of Iraq weapons [according to the CIA]
*  German spy report warns of Iraqi nukes [according to that sedulous
servant of the New World Order, the German BND]


*  Gunmen kill Iraqi Kurdish governor in ambush
*  Kurds despair under west's leaky umbrella [on the refugees beached on the
French riviera and on the plight of Kurds still under Iraqi control. Also
says there is 85% unemployment in Œthe so-called liberated areas¹ where Mr
Blair is always telling us eveything is so much better. But then, they¹re
under sanctions too, a bizarre fact no-one ever seems to question]


*   'Iraqi bombing like Hitler's invasion', [on George Galloway¹s recent
visit to Iraq. The substantial quotes are more interesting than the title
*  Protesters seek to end Iraqi sanctions [on the 7 day protest outside the
House of Commons]
*  Italy Ministry Blocks Iraq Aid Flight at UN Request

*  Group seeks to aid Iraqi citizens
by Karen Rouse, Denver Post
National Organizing Conference on Iraq conference in Denver. Doesn¹t say
much other than that they are opposed to sanctions.


*  We are not alone says Blair, as he defends Baghdad bombing [extract in
which Coiok¹s figure as to the amount of money the Iraqis aren¹t spending is
*  West's Gulf War Chiefs in Kuwait Victory Party
*  No Gulf War regrets for leaders [John Major doesn¹t regret not killing
Saddam Hussein]

*  Saddam's army is obsolete, but the know-how remains
by Amnon Barzilai, Ha¹aretz, 19th February
Israeli estimate of Iraqi military capacity. Very little hard information.


*  Powell Gets Quick Lesson in Arab Mistrust
*  Powell, Russian counterpart try to bridge gaps


*  Could British pilots face trial for bombings? [once the International
Criminal Court is set up?]
*  Taliban ready to send Osama bin Laden to Saudi
*  Wearing a T-shirt makes you a terrorist

*  Israel to face Iran alone when U.S. lifts sanctions
by Aluf Benn
Ha'aretz, 19th February
Israeli expectations that US is going to relax pressure on Iran and in
particular get rid of Œthe Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA), initiated by
former Republican Senator Alfonse D'Amato and passed with the lobbying
efforts of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)¹ which is
due to expire this year. The end of Œdual containment¹.


Times of India, 20th February

BAGHDAD (AFP): Iraq's ruling Baath party on Monday threatened military
retaliation against Saudi Arabia and Kuwait if they keep providing bases for
US and British air strikes, as demonstrators cried "Death to America" on
Baghdad streets.

"Doesn't Iraq have the right to adopt military measures against aggressors
and those who grant them facilities if the aggression is renewed?" asked the
party's mouthpiece, Ath Thawra.

The Iraqi leadership is determined "to face up to the aggression and step up
the means of resistance so as to turn the skies over Baghdad into a hell for
the crows of aggression," it said, referring to US and British warplanes.

Ath-Thawra said the Saudi and Kuwaiti leaderships should be "ashamed to put
forward pretexts" for the US and British strikes around Baghdad on Friday
that Iraq said left three dead and 30 wounded.

US and British warplanes police the skies of southern Iraq from air bases in
the two Gulf monarchies as well as from aircraft carriers in the Gulf.

To cries of "Death to America," thousands of Iraqi demonstrators protested
for a third straight day against the deadly air strikes and set fire to US
and Israeli flags.

About 10,000 people took part in demonstrations in the suburbs of Saddam
City and Al Adhamiya.

And in the West Bank, around 1,500 Palestinians on a protest march in Hebron
to condemn the Israeli army's killing of three Palestinians at the weekend
also expressed solidarity with Iraq.

They waved Iraqi flags and portraits of Saddam.


Times of India, 22nd February

BAGHDAD: Iraq on Wednesday split the ministry of culture and information
into two portfolios, under orders from President Saddam Hussein, the
official news agency INA announced.

It said the incumbent, Humam Abdul Khalek, would stay on as information
minister, while MP Hamad Yussef Hammadi, a former holder of the joint
portfolio, would take office as culture minister.

The two posts, which have been grouped together since the 1970s, were
separated to reinforce both the information sector and that of culture, the
arts and tourism, INA explained. (AFP)

Daily Star, Bangladesh, 23rd February

AFP, United Nations: Iraqi oil exports rebounded last week from a record
low, to reach 10.8 million barrels, the office administering the UN
oil-for-food programme said Wednesday.

The exports, lifted in six loadings, were worth a total of 254 million

Four loadings were through the Turkish port of Ceyhan, which had virtually
ceased to function as an outlet for Iraqi crude during a seven-week slump
caused by a dispute with the UN sanctions committee over the pricing formula
for December.

Although last week's level fell short of normal levels of exports, it was a
substantial increase from the programme's lowest weekly figure of 1.6
million barrels registered in the week ending February 9.

In the second half of last year, Iraq's exports averaged 14.6 million
barrels per week.

Two more contracts for the purchase of Iraqi oil were approved by the UN oil
overseers and sanctions committee last week, the office said.

It said a total of 103 contracts were awaiting completion, for over 262
million barrels.

The office also said that the value of import contracts blocked by order of
the sanctions committee rose by 100 million dollars to 3.28 billion dollars
as of February 16.

In an attempt to sidestep this blockage, the committee added more than 700
items to the lists of humanitarian supplies for fast-track processing by the
Office of the Iraq Program (OIP).

[ seems to be a Chinese news service ­ PB]

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq warned Russia's top integrated oil company on Thursday
that it risked losing contracts to develop huge oil reserves by failing to
implement them, AP reported.

Deputy Oil Minister Faiz Shaheen said OAO Lukoil, partly owned by the
Russian government, had signed contracts to exploit the giant West Qurna
deposit and other fields in southern Iraq in 1997.

``There are binding oil-field development contracts between Iraq and
companies from Russia and China and others. Any contract that is violated by
non-implementation on the ground will no longer be valid,'' Shaheen told The
Associated Press.

Russia and China have pushed for an easing of the U.N. trade sanctions
maintained on Iraq since its invasion of Kuwait in 1990, but they respect
the embargo. U.N. resolutions say it can be lifted only when Iraq proves to
the world body that it has eliminated its weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq is anxious to increase its oil production now that oil prices are
relatively high and the United Nations has authorized it to export as much
crude as it likes. The exports are part of the oil-for-food program under
which oil revenues must be spent on food, medicine and essential goods
approved by the United Nations.

Shaheen reminded Russia of its support for Iraq over the crippling sanctions
that have caused shortages and malnutrition among children.

``We awarded the contract (West Qurna giant oil filed) to the Russian people
and the Russian government, and they must give us implementation and
performance in return or suggest an alternative solution,'' Shaheen said.

Iraq has previously threatened to act if the contractors do not develop the
fields, but it has not abrogated the contracts.

Reuters Company News - February 23, 2001 18:03

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 23 (Reuters) - The U.N. sanctions committee on Iraq has
not approved a plan allowing Russia's Tatneft to start drilling for oil in
Iraq this year, U.N. diplomats said on Friday.

While Tatneft said in a statement issued earlier on Friday that it had won
approval for the drilling plan in December, the diplomats said the sanctions
committee had not approved the plan and that it had no chance of passing in
its current form.

"There's no way we're going to allow that. It would be a major breach of
sanctions," said one diplomat.

"The United States and Britain have major problems with this. I don't think
that they will approve it," said a Western diplomat. "They may allow some
equipment to come in, but I don't think they'll allow them to perform

Under U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990
invasion of Kuwait, a council committee monitors all contracts that Iraq
enters into with foreign business concerns, to assure goods brought into the
country cannot be used in making weapons of mass destruction.

Each of the council's 15 member-nations has a seat on the committee, and
each panel member has the power to block any contract by objecting.

Tatneft said in a statement that the decade-old Gulf War U.N. sanctions on
Iraq do not extend to work aimed at increasing oil output.

It said it would be operator of the year-long project to drill 45 wells for
Iraq's state-owned North Oil Company and work would begin only when the
Security Council opened a letter of credit with French bank BNP Paribas .

Tatneft has already met with Zarubezhneft and arranged to have all the
necessary technical equipment in Iraq within three months, the statement

The plan is based on a contract between North Oil Company, which handles all
production and exports in northern Iraq, and Russia's Zarubezhneft that was
signed around 18 months ago, Tatneft said.

Zarubezhneft is one of the main Russian companies involved in U.N.-approved
exports from Iraq under an oil-for-food programme.

BBC, 23 February

The Iraqi Vice President, Taha Yassin Ramadan, has ended a visit to Tunisia
during which the two countries signed a free trade accord.

Officials said the agreement, which aims to abolish tariffs on trade and
investments, was part of moves to set up a wider Arab free trade zone.

Correspondents say the accord could not be implemented before United Nations
sanctions against Baghdad are lifted. Iraq has reached similar agreements
with Egypt and Syria.


by Robert Windrem

NBC NEWS, Feb. 24: While the United States continues to see Iraqi attempts
to upgrade civilian facilities that could be used in superweapons programs,
a CIA report on proliferation released this week says the intelligence
community has no ³direct evidence² that Iraq has succeeded in reconstituting
its biological, chemical, nuclear or long-range missile programs in the two
years since U.N. weapons inspectors left and U.S. planes bombed Iraqi

³We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since
Desert Fox to reconstitute its Weapons of Mass Destruction programs,
although given its past behavior, this type of activity must be regarded as
likely,² said the agency in its semi-annual report on proliferation
activities, referring to the December 1998 U.S. attacks on Iraq. U.N.
inspectors left the country just before the bombing began.

³We assess that since the suspension of U.N. inspections in December of
1998, Baghdad has had the capability to reinitiate both its CW [chemical
weapons] and BW [biological weapons] programs within a few weeks to months.
Without an inspection monitoring program, however, it is more difficult to
determine if Iraq has done so,² the report said.

 Specifically, the CIA said Iraq has rebuilt some of the factories bombed
two years ago, facilities the United States believed could be turned from
industrial and commercial production to weapons production. Moreover, in the
10 years since the end of the Gulf War, Iraq has made great strides in
industrial production of chemical weapon precursors, the report said.


³Iraq has rebuilt key portions of its chemical production infrastructure for
industrial and commercial use, as well as its missile production facilities.
It has attempted to purchase numerous dual-use items for, or under the guise
of, legitimate civilian use.²

Dual-use material, which is under varying degrees of regulation, includes
materials that have legitimate commercial value but which can also be used
in weapons production. That could include anything from aerospace parts to
chemicals used as paint solvent.

Regarding biological weapons, the CIA report states that Iraq is apparently
hiding a continuing program.

³Iraq continues to maintain a knowledge base and industrial infrastructure
that could be used to produce quickly a large amount of BW agents at any
time, if needed,² according to the CIA.

Moreover, U.S. intelligence believes that Iraq is making good progress in
its attempt to develop a cruise missile-like system for delivering weapons
of mass destruction, based on the Czech jet trainer, the L-29.

³It is believed that Iraq may have been conducting flights of the L-29,
possibly to test system improvements or to train new pilots. These
refurbished trainer aircraft are believed to have been modified for delivery
of chemical or, more likely, biological warfare agents,² the report said.

As for the nuclear weapons program, Iraq¹s reconstitution capabilities
remain limited.

³We believe that Iraq has probably continued low-level theoretical R&D
associated with its nuclear program. A sufficient source of fissile material
remains Iraq¹s most significant obstacle to being able to produce a nuclear
weapon,² the CIA said.

Houston Chronicle, Reuters News Service, 24th February

BERLIN -- Saddam Hussein may be able to menace Iraq's neighbors with nuclear
weapons in three years and fire a missile as far as Europe by 2005,
according to a German intelligence assessment made public Saturday.

The Federal Intelligence Service -- known by its German initials, BND -- has
gathered evidence that Baghdad is also stepping up efforts to produce
chemical weapons and has increased buying abroad the materials to make
biological weapons.

Details of the assessment were published in German newspapers. A spokesman
at the BND's headquarters near Munich confirmed that selected correspondents
had been briefed on Iraq by intelligence officials Friday.

"It is clear that we have suspicions about Iraq," the spokesman told


Iraq barred U.N. weapons inspectors in 1998, making it extremely difficult
to keep track of what the West believes are Baghdad's efforts to menace the
Middle East and beyond with ABC -- atomic, biological and chemical --

Based on information it has gathered, the German BND has drawn the following
conclusions, according to reports in the Welt and Frankfurter Allgemeine

· There is evidence that Iraq has resumed its nuclear program and may be
capable of producing an atomic bomb in three years. Work has been observed
at the Al Qaim site, believed to be the center of Baghdad's nuclear program.

· Iraq is developing its Al Samoud and Ababil 100/Al Fatah rockets that have
a 95-mile range. Medium-range rockets capable of carrying a warhead 1,900
miles could be built by 2005 -- putting Europe within reach. Iraq is also
believed to be capable of manufacturing solid rocket fuel.

A New Delhi-based company, which is on a German government blacklist because
of its alleged role in proliferation, has acted as a buyer on Iraq's behalf.
Deliveries have been made via Malaysia and Dubai, the BND says.

· Since the end of U.N. weapons inspections, the number of Iraqi sites
involved in chemical production increased from 20 to 80. Of that total, the
BND believes a quarter to be involved in making weapons.

· Widespread procurement activity has been observed abroad and production of
biological weapons could be resumed at short notice. The BND does not rule
out the possibility that production may already have begun.


Tunceli, Turkey, Reuters, 19th February

Unidentified gunmen killed a prominent Kurdish official in the breakaway
region of northern Iraq yesterday, Kurdish television said. Fransu Hariri,
governor of the city of Erbil and a senior member of Massoud Barzani's
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), was shot to death in an ambush on his car,
satellite TV channel Medya TV said.

Erbil, 350 kilometres north of Baghdad, serves as Barzani's capital.
Hariri's bodyguard also died in the attack, and his driver was wounded,
Medya TV said. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.
Northern Iraq has been beyond Baghdad's control since the end of the 1991
Gulf War. A U.S.-brokered ceasefire agreement in 1998 led to a drop in
fighting between the KDP and Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan

But the fragile peace between the rival factions is threatened by separatist
Turkish Kurdish rebels, who withdrew from southeastern Turkey into Iraq.
Abdullah Ocalan, the condemned leader of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK),
ordered his fighters to leave Turkey after his capture and death sentence
two years ago.

The United States and Britain patrol a no-fly zone over northern Iraq from
an airbase in southern Turkey.  Ankara has sent soldiers into the region to
combat the PKK and has pledged technical support to both the KDP and the

by Brian Whitaker and Jon Henley in Paris
The Guardian, 20th February

The 900 refugees whose ship was beached on the French Riviera at the weekend
are the visible tip of a much larger exodus fleeing harassment by Saddam
Hussein, Kurdish sources said yesterday.

"People are continuously fleeing," Mahmoud Osman, a Kurdish leader based in
London said. "The arrival of the refugees in France should send a very
strong message to Europe that as long as Saddam is there people will leave.

He added: "Every Kurd I know wants the no-fly zone in northern Iraq to stay,
though at present it doesn't give adequate protection."

The 250 men, 180 women and 480 children who arrived in Fréjus on Saturday
claim to come from the Mosul area of Iraq where they were protected, in
theory, by British and American air patrols north of the 36th parallel.

The area, however, is just south and west of the territories controlled by
two rival - and effectively autonomous - Kurdish factions, the Kurdish
Democratic party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

Salih Azad, a Kurdish speaker who was called in by the French government to
interview the refugees, said they had fled because their village had been

"Many of them are house-owners and had had their property seized by Saddam
because they are Kurds and Yazidites - in other words, not Muslim. They all
thought they were heading for Italy.

"Some told me of throat-slittings and torture. They all say there is not
enough to eat there. Even the babies are deprived of food. They could no
longer live where they were."

Mr Azad, who himself came to France as a refugee, said they paid $300 (£210)
to get to the Turkish border, and then $2,000 to $3,000 (£1,400 to £2,100)
to be ferried out to the ship moored off a beach in eastern Turkey.

"This shows once more the desperate state of the Kurdish people. In northern
Iraq, some 4,000 of their villages have been destroyed or are completely cut
off from the rest of the country," he said.

The Kurdish areas of northern Iraq have long been in conflict with the
Baghdad regime. In 1988 Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons to attack the
Kurdish town of Halabjah, killing thousands of people.

In 1991, following the Gulf war, rebellions broke out in both northern and
southern Iraq and many Kurds fled their homes in the north as Iraqi forces
sought to reassert control.

UN security council resolution 688, passed in April 1991, called on Iraq to
end repression of its civilian population, and the US declared a no-fly zone
north of the 36th parallel to protect the KDP and PUK areas. Ground forces
also gave temporary assistance to the Kurds under Operation Provide Comfort.

The no-fly zone covers only about two-thirds of the Kurdish areas, leaving
large parts - such as Kirkuk - under Iraqi control on the ground. After
1991, the Baghdad government held on to the main oil fields around Kirkuk
and Mosul and since then has pursued a policy of moving in Arab families
from further south, displacing the resident, and unprotected, Kurds. Iraqi
influence also penetrates the Kurdish areas which have autonomy.

"Iraqi spies come in and go out," Mr Osman said. "Relations between the
Kurdish parties also allow infiltration, so the Iraqis are still active here
and there. There are some skirmishes, but Saddam can't bring in his army or
shell people with artillery as he did before."

Yesterday, the KDP said that gunmen with automatic weapons had killed
Francois Hariri, a former governor of Irbil. Hariri, who was the KDP's
governor until last year, was attacked in his car in the Kurdish-controlled
city on Sunday, the party said. It was not clear if Iraqi forces were to

If western air patrols provide incomplete protection they do, in the eyes of
many Kurds, fulfil a useful role.

Last December, according to the Foreign Office, Iraqi troops surrounded the
Kurdish village of Ba'edra, near Dohuk, but were driven back by the combined
efforts of KDP fighters on the ground and US-British patrols in the air.

Many of the Kurdish refugees who make their way to Europe come, originally,
from outside the protected area.

"Some are ousted from Kirkuk and the Arabised areas under Iraqi control," Mr
Osman said. "But when they come to the so-called liberated areas they can't
find homes or jobs. There is 85% unemployment in Kurdistan. These people,
when they come out, want to stay in Europe and help their families."

The northern no-fly zone, officially known as Operation Northern Watch, is
enforced from Incirlik air base in Turkey with about 45 US and British
aircraft and more than 1,400 support personnel.

In the most recent incident, on February 12, Iraq fired at patrolling
aircraft from sites north of Mosul. The western aircraft responded by
attacking Iraq's air defence system. Amid international criticism of the
no-fly zones following Friday's US-British attacks on radar stations around
Baghdad, the arrival of so many Kurdish refugees has highlighted the other
side of the argument.

A history of persecution

1988 Iraq conducts "Anfal" campaign against rebel Kurdish areas, culminating
in a chemical weapon attack on town of Halabjah, killing at least 5,000

March-April 1991 Iraqi forces suppress rebellions in Kurdish north and
Shi'ite south

April 1991 UN safe haven for Kurds created in northern Iraq, with no-fly
zone established north of 36 degrees north

1996 Iraqi forces temporarily allowed into city of Irbil by KDP during
fighting between rival Kurdish factions. Scores of anti-Saddam activists

1997 Operation Provide Comfort replaced by Operation Northern Watch

2000 Iraq resumes domestic passenger flights from Baghdad to Mosul


London Evening Standard, 12th February

Labour MP George Galloway has arrived in Baghdad and compared the bombing of
Iraq as "Hitler marching into Czechoslovakia".  

The maverick backbencher wants to assess the damage done by US and British
planes during raids.  

He said: "What the British and American governments are doing is reckless,
lawless and murderous."  

He added: "If they are not already working for Saddam Hussein then they
might as well be because for every bomb that is dropped, Saddam is getting

Mr Galloway described the mood in the capital as dark.  

"The people are very angry and I think that it's fair to say it is the
ugliest atmosphere I have seen here in recent years.  

"People here have thought that things would be getting better but all that
has gone up in smoke and it is them that are suffering as a result of

Mr Galloway said he planned to visit hospitals tomorrow to talk to people
wounded during the raids.  

The MP expects to stay in the Iraqi capital until the middle of the week.

BBC 22nd February

A seven-day protest aimed at lifting sanctions against Iraq has begun
outside the Houses of Parliament.

The demonstration, which is being led by members of the Socialist Alliance
and the Great Britain Iraq Society, follows last week's Anglo-US air strikes
against targets near Baghdad.

Cllr Ian Page, Socialist Alliance Both groups want all sanctions to be
removed saying they are only serving to hurt ordinary Iraqis.

The minister with responsibility for Iraq, Brian Wilson, said the review by
the UK and US governments would focus on sanctions that harmed the Iraqi

But he insisted that those which were preventing Saddam Hussein from
developing weapons of mass destruction would remain.

Peter Deegan, spokesman for the Great Britain Iraq Society, said: "We have
had 10 years of sanctions. They have not worked. We would like to see all
sanctions against Iraq lifted."

He added: "We are not convinced that sanctions are necessary."

Dave Nellist, a former Labour MP and now leader of the Socialist Alliance
group on Coventry City Council, also called for an end to sanctions.

He criticised the government's review saying its aim was to lift those
sanctions that prevented British companies from trading with Iraq.

Mr Nellist criticised the government's review

"The review of sanctions is not actually being driven for the wellbeing of
the Iraqi people. "It is being driven for commercial reasons."

Ian Page, a Socialist Alliance councillor in Lewisham in London, said
sanctions had failed. "Sanctions have done nothing to eliminate Saddam
Hussein, who is a brutal dictator. "They are not working and should go."

The protest which began on Thursday will continue until Wednesday 28

Labour MPs Tony Benn and George Galloway are expected to lend their support
to the campaign next week. They are both due to address a meeting in the
Commons next week calling for sanctions to be lifted. Both have been
criticial of last week's Anglo-US bombing of Iraq.

In an article in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, the Foreign Secretary,
Robin Cook, outlined the Government's strategy as, "first, to protect the
world from Saddam's weapons of mass destruction; second, to protect his
neighbours from his aggression; and third, to protect the people of Iraq,
who have suffered most of all from his brutality".

Mr Cook concluded: "We need to re-focus international opinion on the
continuing threat that he poses. We will continue to stand firm against
Saddam and his attempts to bring death and suffering on the people of Iraq
and its neighbour."


ROME (Reuters, 23rd February) - Italy said Friday it had blocked the
departure of a humanitarian aid flight to Iraq for technical reasons after a
request from the U.N. sanctions committee.

``We don't have any problems with the designation of the flight as a
humanitarian operation, but there are some technical issues to do with the
carrier,'' a foreign ministry spokesman said.

``We received a request from the U.N.'s sanctions committee Thursday night
asking for the flight to be blocked.''

The flight was scheduled to leave Rome for Baghdad Friday morning.

The sanctions committee, responsible for enforcing and monitoring a UN
embargo placed on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990, objected to the
company chartered to carry the humanitarian aid, the spokesman said.

A French-owned Russian Tupolev 154 was hired to carry more than two tons of
medicine, seeds and other aid to Baghdad as part of the mission, the trip's
organizer Father Jean Marie Benjemin said.

The flight was originally to have been with an Italian carrier but insurers
had demanded premiums of up to $2 billion to fly to Baghdad, making the
journey impossible, Benjemin said.

As well as the aid, the flight was to have carried 90 delegates including
Italian parliamentarians, Swiss and Austrian officials, aid agency
representatives and clergymen.

The aid mission was originally due to depart Tuesday, and had received
clearance from the United Nations (news - web sites) and Italy's foreign
ministry, but because of last week's U.S.-British air bombardments on
Baghdad the flight was postponed.

The foreign ministry would not elaborate on the technical issues the U.N.
sanctions committee had with the carrier but said the flight would not go
ahead as long as the current company was involved.

Benjemin said earlier he did not understand why the flight's departure had
been blocked.

``We have authorization from the United Nations and written consent from
(Italy's Foreign Minister) Lamberto Dini,'' he said from Rome's Ciampino

``We are waiting to deliver important humanitarian aid and they say there
are technical problems.''

Several non-government organizations have tried to send aid flights to Iraq
in recent months with varying degrees of success.

The South African government and 30 aid agencies plan to fly a shipment of
medical aid to Baghdad from Johannesburg later this month.

The United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq after the Iraqi invasion of
Kuwait in 1990, but allows Baghdad to buy humanitarian supplies under the
oil-for-food program which began at the end of 1996.


Boston Globe, 22nd February


Iraq blames sanctions for the death of a million of its people, but London
and Washington say Baghdad is deliberately failing to make full use of the
funds available under the UN's "oil-for-food" program.

The British Foreign Secretary, Mr Robin Cook, has complained that Iraq has
ordered no medicines for the past six months and that the equivalent of
$A20billion lies unspent in the escrow account of the UN sanctions

"Saddam is to blame for his people's suffering," he said.

However, a spokesman for the UN's Iraq Program said the amount of unspent
money was about $A7.7billion.


by Ashraf Fouad

KUWAIT (Reuters, 24th February) - Former U.S. President George Bush and some
of his military commanders arrive in Kuwait on Saturday to lead celebrations
marking the 10th anniversary of Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War.

``I wish this hero (Bush) and his family long life and health ... He
promised us and kept his promise'' by forcing Iraqi troops out of Kuwait,
said ruler Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al Sabah in rare remarks published in
Saturday's al-Qabas daily.

In a sign of Kuwaiti gratitude, Bush is being flown in with former British
prime minister John Major and some 35 other prominent guests aboard the
aircraft of Kuwait's emir.

Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher arrives separately on
Saturday and U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf, the commander of allied forces
in the 1991 Gulf War, is also due to attend.

The emir said Bush had telephoned him in Saudi Arabia after he fled Kuwait
as Iraqi troops advanced almost unopposed on August 2, 1990 to ``assure us
that God is with us ... and that Kuwait shall return liberated by God's will
... Before that call, only God knew the state I was in....''

On February 23, 1991, a 100-hour ground offensive by a U.S.-led
multinational force from some 30 countries was launched against Iraqi
troops, who swiftly withdrew from Kuwait, bringing an end to the
six-week-long Gulf War

Kuwait is awaiting talks on Washington's future plans for dealing with Iraq
when new Secretary of State Colin Powell arrives on Sunday.

Diplomats said the talks were expected to include plans by the new
administration to increase pressure on Iraq and revive efforts to support
groups opposed to President Saddam Hussein.

Powell served under Bush as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the
war. Kuwaitis affectionately call Bush ``Abu Abdullah'' or father of
Abdullah, making him one of their own.

Powell was going to Kuwait for the anniversary and to assess the situation
10 years on, U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait James Lorocco told Reuters.

``We stand ready to protect Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the whole region from
any threats and we believe that the security of the Gulf is a vital U.S.
national interest,'' Lorocco added.

But most Kuwaitis feel the celebrations are incomplete with Saddam still in
power. They hope Bush's son, the new U.S. President George W. Bush, will be
able to overthrow Saddam.

A joint U.S.-British military attack on Iraqi targets last week revived
hopes in Kuwait that Bush would seek to end Saddam's rule. Kuwait often
stresses that its much larger neighbor to the north continues to pose a
threat to it.

That fear is evident with the deployment of Patriot missiles in Kuwait City,
covering the country's main Bayan Palace and also the new United States
Embassy where some of the Gulf War commemorations will be held.

In an interview with al-Qabas, Bush senior reiterated defense of his
decision to stop the war and not pursue the Iraqi president, adding that at
the time ``everyone thought his people will end his (Saddam's) terrorist

Washington had accused Baghdad of trying to assassinate Bush during a visit
to Kuwait in 1993 and retaliated by firing missiles at Iraqi targets.

BBC, 24th February

Former Prime Minister John Major has joined with ex-US president George Bush
in defending the decison not to try to kill or capture Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein during the 1991 Gulf War.

Speaking on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the launching of Operation
Desert Storm, Mr Major said any other decision would have violated
international law and angered some of the coalition allies.

"I passionately believe the correct decision was taken to stop the war at
that time," Mr Major told the audience at the Texas A&M University.

Mr Bush, whose son George W has now inherited the presidency, said while he
thought the war was well-executed and the right decisions were made, he
admitted underestimating the Iraqi leader's "brutal" hold on power.

"I honestly thought and so did every Arab leader...that given the pounding
Saddam Hussein took, he couldn't survive.

"He did, but he did through total brutality of his own people... we
underestimated the tyranny," Mr Bush said.

But he added: "I really can't think of any fundamental mistakes (we made)".

The former president said the world had to maintain pressure "very, very
strongly" on President Saddam to comply with international law and the terms
of surrender he agreed to at the end of the war.

Retired US general and Gulf War commander Norman Schwarzkopf, who joined the
two former leaders on the panel, said he had just one regret.

Intense bombing

He said he wished allied bombers could have destroyed a statue of President
Saddam which stood in the centre of Baghdad.

Advisers ruled it out because of the possibility that civilians would be
killed but he said: "I really wish we'd blown that up."

The allied ground offensive, which followed 38 days of intense bombing of
Iraqi military positions, lasted just 100 hours before the Iraqis
surrendered their positions in Kuwait.

Summing up the importance of the war, Mr Bush said "it simply made a moral,
profound statement" against aggression.

The Iraqi leader now poses a problem for Mr Bush's son who, with the help of
UK forces, launched air strikes on Iraq last week, as part of the
enforcement of a "no-fly" zone imposed after the Gulf War.

Critics claim the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War have failed
to achieve their aim and have simply led to the deaths of thousands of Iraqi

But opponents of the sanctions, both in the US and the UK, have failed to
undermine London or Washington's commitment to them.


by Jonathan Wright

JERUSALEM (Reuters, 24th February) - On a Middle East mission to restore a
broad front against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Secretary of State Colin
Powell is quickly learning the depths of Arab mistrust of American motives.

``I know there is some unhappiness,'' Powell told a news conference in
Cairo, the first stop on a four-day tour that includes Jerusalem, Ramallah
in the West Bank, Amman, Kuwait, Damascus and Riyadh.

Egyptian commentators tried to rip U.S. policy to shreds, both on the impact
of U.N. sanctions on the Iraqi people and on last week's U.S. and British
air strikes on air defense installations near Baghdad. Those strikes have
been widely condemned in the Arab world as a sign of U.S. belligerence.

The victory of Likud hawk Ariel Sharon over Ehud Barak in Israeli
premiership elections on Feb. 6 added to the potent mix, given that most
Arabs see Sharon as a war criminal.

``Arab leaders should tell Powell openly that the issue is not Iraq but
Palestine, where the people are starving under the blockade of Israeli
criminals,'' columnist Kamal Abdel Raouf wrote in the pro-government weekly
Akhbar el-Youm.

At the Cairo news conference, Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa of Egypt,
whose country receives about $2 billion a year in U.S. aid, disagreed openly
with Powell's view that the Arab-Israeli conflict should be seen as only one
part of the whole picture of Middle East problems.

Moussa said the Arab-Israeli conflict was of paramount importance. Powell's
position is one of the new elements in the Bush administration's Middle East

A Syrian official reiterated Syria's criticism of the air strikes against
Iraq, saying they were aimed at diverting attention from Israel's harsh
treatment of the Palestinians.

Moussa was also openly critical of the sanctions still in place against
Iraq, saying they had more effect on the people than on Iraqi rulers.

``Sanctions should be reconsidered as a weapon or as one of the procedures
the Security Council resorts to,'' Moussa said.

Powell said the sanctions had largely succeeded in depriving Saddam Hussein
of weapons of mass destruction and preventing it from threatening its

But Powell has shied away from the original phrase for his objective -- to
``re-energize'' sanctions against Iraq by rebuilding the Gulf War alliance
of which he was a part as chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff 10
years ago.

A senior State Department official said on Saturday the United States was
now looking at requests to ease up on Iraq imports of items which can have
both civilian and military uses.

``People are telling us that some of the dual-use stuff that is not getting
through does contribute to an impact on the civilian population and that's
the area that he (Powell) said we would be looking at,'' the official said.

``We're quite willing to look at the sanctions to try to eliminate any
impact (on ordinary Iraqis), if there is an impact like that,'' he added.

One example is refrigerated trucks, which former U.N. weapons inspectors
have implicated in Iraq's biological weapons program before the Gulf War.

Powell was also mildly apologetic about the lack of diplomatic action in
conjunction with last week's air strikes.

NATO ally Turkey, where the United States bases planes patrolling Iraq, has
complained that Washington did not consult it in advance. Arab commentators
said it made no sense to advocate an alliance when Washington acted

``It (the reaction) has certainly sensitized us to the need to do a better
job of making our friends aware of the kinds of plans we are executing,''
Powell said.

A U.S. official said Powell did not mean that the United States would tell
Arab countries of such attacks in advance -- an offer that would dismay the
U.S. military -- but that it would explain better the rules of engagement
for the ``no-fly zones'' the United States and Britain enforce over Iraq.

The new secretary of state will not, however, try to sell Arab leaders on
the idea of overthrowing Saddam through support for the opposition Iraqi
National Congress (INC).

He has not brought on the trip the State Department official in charge of
``regime change'' and U.S. officials said he would not make much of the INC
in talks with Gulf leaders.

Powell will find a sympathetic ear in Israel, his current stop, but that
will not help much in the region as a whole.

The complaint at the root of Arab grievances is that the United States does
not treat Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Golan Heights, and its
treatment of the Palestinians, by the same standard as it treats Iraq.

The accusation of a ``double standard'' is likely to come to a head when
Powell visits Syria on Monday, with a request that Syria stop importing
Iraqi oil outside the sanctions system.

The Syrians will tell him that the key to peace and stability in the Middle
East is Israeli withdrawal to the borders as they stood before the 1967 war.

by Robin Wright and Robyn Dixon
Baltimore Sun (from Los Angeles Times), 24th February

CAIRO, Egypt -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Russian Foreign
Minister Igor S. Ivanov met here today to try to close the growing chasm
between the two former Cold War rivals on issues ranging from the
controversial U.S. national missile defense scheme to sanctions on Iraq.

Powell described the first encounter between the Bush administration and the
year-old government of President Vladimir V. Putin ‹less than a week after
the FBI uncovered a senior U.S. counterintelligence official spying for
Russia ‹ as ³very, very excellent.²

During the 90-minute session, Ivanov said, the two opened a ³constructive
dialogue² on the principal U.S.-Russian concerns as well as on ³urgent
international matters.²

The congeniality displayed by Powell and Ivanov, who met alone and agreed to
call each other by their first names, masked the increasingly lopsided
relations between Washington and Moscow. Ivanov jokingly conceded that any
notion that the two countries will be able to resolve their differences soon
³exceeds our expectations.²

No issue reflects the attitude of the new U.S. administration and Russia's
growing suspicion of U.S. intentions more than national missile defense. The
two governments have been sparring for months over the proposed $60-billion
plan to build a shield to protect the United States from a missile attack.

In Cairo, the two foreign policy chiefs agreed to reconvene working groups
of specialists, set up under the Clinton administration, to discuss both
offensive weapons and defensive systems. But this incremental step forward
was overshadowed by huge differences in substance.

Over the past week, Moscow has attempted to offer an alternative plan that
might, at minimum, make Russia a party to a missile defense system rather
than exclude it altogether.

En route to Cairo, however, Powell described the plan, presented by Putin to
NATO Secretary-General George Robertson last week, as ³interesting² but
noted that it would involve ³a different kind of system.²

Rather than welcome Russia's effort to find some compromise by offering an
alternative for a nonstrategic missile defense for Europe, the Bush
administration heralded the proposal largely because it implied Moscow's
acceptance that the threat of missile strikes by ³rogue² nations does exist.

³Their words indicate that they recognize that there are new threats in the
post-Cold War era, threats that require a theater-based antiballistic
missile system,² President Bush said Thursday at his first news conference.

Underlying the two countries' differences on specifics is a more fundamental
recent shift in attitude. In Washington, the issue debated during the
Clinton administration was ³Who lost Russia?² Under the Bush administration,
experts contend, the attitude seems to be ³Who needs Russia?²

The initial policy statements mark a major shift from the Clinton's
administration's description of Russia as a strategic partner and its
funneling of aid to help entrench the country's fragile young democracy.

³The dynamic in relations during the 1990s was getting Russia to go along
with things it didn't want to, such as the first NATO expansion. The United
States offered what amounted to bribes in the form of incentives ‹ aid or
(International Monetary Fund) credits or turning the G-7 (group of
industrialized nations) into the G-8 to include Russia. The difference now
is that there's not a lot on the table to bring them along,² said Michael
McFaul of Stanford University and the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace in Washington.

The new attitude has been bitterly noted in Moscow.

³A lot of people in Russia, especially among the top brass and in state
security bodies, feel angry and embittered over the fact that people in the
new U.S. administration act and talk as if they have already discarded
Russia,² said Dmitri Trenin, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace's Moscow Center.

In response, Putin has pledged that he will not make the kind of concessions
offered by former President Boris N. Yeltsin during the Clinton

In the future, Moscow would stand firm about its national interests, he said
in a foreign policy speech.

Putin has deliberately snubbed the United States on a series of foreign
trips designed to re energize Russian foreign policy, while cultivating
powers that Powell has called rogue states, such as North Korea and Iran.

The gap between the two former ideological rivals now exists with regard to
several other issues that were on the table in Cairo, including two of
particular concern to the Bush administration.

On Iraq, Russia has pressed harder than any nation to ease or lift sanctions
on the capital, Baghdad, and has sent regular missions to Iraq in a campaign
of support to end the 10-year international squeeze on President Saddam

This policy division has acquired a new twist in Moscow since Bush's
inauguration. The local media and deputies in Parliament have been charging
publicly that the new U.S. policy will be aimed at avenging the partial
defeat of Bush's father during Operation Desert Storm.

The U.S. and British airstrikes near Baghdad earlier this month deepened the

Washington feels it no longer must meet Russia halfway on many security
issues. While the U.S. defense budget is roughly $300 billion, Russia can
now afford less than $7 billion, according to Michael McFaul of Stanford
University and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Interestingly, the one issue not on Powell and Ivanov's agenda was the
arrest of alleged spy Robert Philip Hanssen, who is charged with having
passed information to Moscow for 15 years in one of the most damaging cases
of espionage in U.S. history. En route to Cairo, Powell said the case is
being handled through ³other channels.²


by Joshua Rozenberg, Legal Editor
Daily Telegraph, 20th February

COULD Tony Blair find himself hauled before the International Criminal Court
some time this decade, charged with committing a war crime? Might British
military commanders find themselves on trial at the Old Bailey for bombing

The prospect is not as fanciful as it seems. The International Criminal
Court Bill, currently before Parliament, makes it an offence under domestic
law for a British national to commit genocide, a crime against humanity, or
a war crime. The offences are identical with those that will be tried by the
new International Criminal Court.

War crimes have a broad definition in the international treaty setting out
the court's jurisdiction. They include: "Intentionally launching an attack
in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life, or
injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects, or widespread, long-term
and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly
excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage

Last Friday's raids by British and United States warplanes were aimed at
military command centres south of Baghdad, and the only reported civilian
casualty was the wife of an air defence officer. On this basis, presumably,
not even Saddam Hussein could suggest that the loss of life was "excessive"
in relation to the British and American military objectives.

Earlier conflicts may be less clear cut. Michael Caplan, Gen Pinochet's
former solicitor, asked last week what defence Tony Blair would have if he
were charged with bombing targets in Kosovo in the knowledge that civilians
might be killed.

As far as the ICC is concerned, the Prime Minister need have no fears. The
new court will have no jurisdiction over crimes committed before it comes
into existence, and that will not be until 60 states have ratified the 1998
treaty. So far, there have been 28 ratifications, most from countries that
would not regard themselves as world powers.

Britain will be able to ratify the treaty once Parliament has passed the
International Criminal Court Bill and the court could well be up and running
in two or three years. In all, 139 countries signed the treaty: the United
Kingdom did so with enthusiasm, while America and Israel left it to the last
possible moment, on Dec 31, 2000.

Their reluctance came as no surprise; in Rome, the US lobbied against the
International Criminal Court, fearing that malicious prosecutions would be
brought against its peacekeeping forces. Now, similar fears have been
expressed in Britain by Francis Maude, the shadow foreign secretary.
However, ministers have so far failed to answer the Tories' concerns.

Mr Maude said: "The Government has not fully assured us how our Armed Forces
are to be protected from vexatious prosecution from rogue states. We cannot
have the situation where our forces hesitate before following through an
order, fearing that their actions may be liable to cross-examination in
court later."

Another worrying aspect, he says, is a provision in the Bill that allows
officers to be prosecuted for crimes committed by their troops, even if they
were not obeying orders. Clause 65 states: "A military commander . . . is
responsible for offences committed by forces under his effective command and
control . . . as a result of his failure to exercise control properly over
such forces."

This applies "where he either knew, or, owing to the circumstances at the
time, should have known that the forces were committing or about to commit
such offences, and he failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures
within his power to prevent or repress their commission".

That clause was criticised in the House of Lords last week by Lord Howell of
Guildford, better remembered as Lady Thatcher's first Energy Secretary,
David Howell. He wanted it applied only to cases where a commander had
consciously disregarded information which indicated that offences were about
to be committed.

The Government says military responsibility for a failure to exercise
control over troops is already an established principle of international
law. The wording of the clause was copied from the treaty setting up the

It is crucial to understand that the ICC will step in only where other
courts are unable or unwilling to tread. Its jurisdiction is "complementary"
to national courts. It takes over, for example, when conflict has led to the
collapse of the local judicial system or when a dictatorial government
refuses to punish the abuses of its troops.

The minister, Baroness Scotland, said: "We want to make absolutely sure that
we can try British military personnel, including commanders, rather than
leave room for the ICC to say we were unable to try them and for the ICC to
take jurisdiction." If the ICC believes that a war criminal is lurking in
Britain, its first move is to ask authorities here to bring a prosecution in
a UK court.

The Conservatives want Parliament to be kept informed in cases like this. As
the Bill now stands, a valid arrest warrant from the court simply needs to
be rubber-stamped by the Senior District Judge at Bow Street magistrates'
court, and the suspect can then be locked up. There is a strong presumption
against bail.

Mr Maude warned: "The Government must ensure that there is discretion over
the execution of warrants." Geoffrey Robertson, QC, author of Crimes against
Humanity, dismisses these concerns as "fantasies".

He said: "It is entirely fanciful to imagine that a Briton against whom
there is evidence of war crimes would not be prosecuted under our own
military procedures. We have to be prepared, in theory, to have our soldiers
tried [by the ICC] but, in practice, it will never happen. They can't be
tried if there's an investigation going on here."

If Parliament is dissolved to make way for an early election, the
International Criminal Court Bill could be lost unless the Government has
Opposition support. All the more reason, then, for it to address Tory
concerns; this important measure must not be allowed to fail.

Times of India, 20th February

ISLAMABAD: The Taliban militia in Afghanistan is ready to send one of
Washington's most wanted men, Osama Bin Laden, to Saudi Arabia to face
terrorism charges, a report said here Monday.

Quoting a "high-level" but unnamed source, the Dawn daily said Taliban
supreme leader Mulla Mohammad Omar made the offer to visiting Pakistani
Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider earlier this month. "We never raised the
Osama issue -- it was raised by no less a person than Mulla Omar during the
talks," the source was quoted as saying. "Mulla Omar had proposed handing
over of Osama to Saudi Arabia for trial."

Earlier this month the Taliban raised the prospect of a "fourth proposal"
with the United States to resolve their tug-of-war over bin Laden.

The Taliban have made three offers to resolve the dispute -- to try Bin
Laden in an Afghan court, to try him before a panel of Islamic clerics from
overseas, or to keep him under the surveillance of the Organisation of the
Islamic Conference. Mutawakel said the latest proposal had not yet been
chalked out and refused to give details.

A US-based human rights group, expressed outrage Monday about reports that
as many as 300 Shiite Muslims were massacred by the Taliban in central
Bamiyan province. In a report released Monday the US-based Human Rights
Watch urged an immediate inquiry by the UN into reports that Taliban troops
rounded up abut 300 men after capturing Yakoalong in central Bamiyan
province in January.

The men were reportedly lined up and shot. Several of the dead or missing
were Afghans working for humanitarian organisations. The Human Rights Watch
released fresh accounts of the killing, a list of names of the dead and said
that at least two mass graves had been uncovered. ``After conducting search
operations throughout the city and nearby villages, the Taliban detained
about 300 civilian adult males, including staff members of humanitarian
organisations. The men were herded to assembly points in the centre of the
district and several outlying areas, and then shot by firing squad in public
view,'' the Human Rights Watch report said.

The organisation urged speedy action by the UN, accusing the global body of
failing to hold both sides in Afghanistan's bitter and protracted civil war
accountable for grave abuses. (AFP),3604,441314,00.html

by George Monbiot
The Guardian, 22nd February

Britain, Tony Blair announced at Labour's spring conference on Sunday, is on
the brink of "the biggest progressive political advance for a century". To
prepare for this brave new world, two days before his speech Mr Blair bombed
Baghdad. On Monday, the progressive era was officially launched, with the
implementation of an inclusive piece of legislation called the Terrorism Act

Terror, in the new progressive age, is no longer the preserve of the
aristocracy of violence. Today almost anyone can participate, just as long
as she or he wants to change the world.

Beating people up, even killing them, is not terrorism, unless it is
"designed to influence the government" or conducted "for the purpose of
advancing a political, religious or ideological cause". But since Monday you
can become a terrorist without having to harm a living being, provided you
believe in something.

In that case, causing "serious damage to property" or interfering with "an
electronic system" will do. Or simply promoting or encouraging such acts, or
associating with the people who perform them, or failing to tell the police
what they are planning. Or, for that matter, wearing a T-shirt or a badge
which might "arouse reasonable suspicion" that you sympathise with their

In his speech on Sunday, Tony Blair called for a "revolution" in our
schools, and spoke of "noble causes... asking us to hear their cry for help
and answer by action". So perhaps we should not be surprised to learn that
you can can now become a terrorist by supporting government policy.

British subjects writing pamphlets or giving lectures demanding a revolution
in Iraq can be prosecuted under the new act for "incitement" of armed
struggles overseas. The same clause leaves the government free to bomb
Baghdad, however, as "nothing in this section imposes criminal liability on
any person acting on behalf of, or holding office under, the crown."

By such means, our new century of progressive politics will be distinguished
from those which have gone before. There will be no place, for example, for
violent conspiracies like the Commons Preservation Society. The CPS launched
its campaign of terror in 1865, by hiring a trainload of labourers to
dismantle the railings around Berkhamstead Common, thus seriously damaging
the property of the noble lord who had just enclosed it.

The CPS later split into two splinter groups called the Open Spaces Society
and the National Trust. Under the new legislation, these subversive factions
would have been banned.

Nor will the state tolerate dangerous malefactors such as the woman who
claimed "there is something that governments care far more for than human
life, and that is the security of property, and so it is through property
that we shall strike the enemy" and "the argument of the broken windowpane
is the most valuable argument in modern politics". Emmeline Pankhurst and
her followers, under the act, could have been jailed for life for damaging
property to advance a political or ideological cause.

Indeed, had the government's new progressive powers been in force, these
cells could have been stamped out before anyone had been poisoned by their
politics. The act permits police to cordon off an area in which direct
action is likely to take place, and arrest anyone refusing to leave it.

Anyone believed to be plotting an action can be stopped and searched, and
the protest materials she or he is carrying confiscated. Or, if they prefer,
the police can seize people who may be about to commit an offence and hold
them incommunicado for up to seven days.

Under the new act, the women who caused serious damage to a Hawk jet bound
for East Timor could have been intercepted and imprisoned as terrorists long
before they interfered with what Mr Blair described on Sunday as his mission
to civilise the world. So could the desperados seeking to defend organic
farmers by decontaminating fields of genetically modified maize.

Campaigners subjecting a corporation to a fax blockade become terrorists by
dint of interfering with an electronic system. Indeed, by writing articles
in support of such actions, I could be deemed to be "promoting and
encouraging" them. Which makes me a terrorist and you, if you were foolish
enough to copy my articles and send them to your friends, party to my crime.

I don't believe the government will start making use of these new measures
right away: after all, as Mr Blair lamented on Sunday, "Jerusalem is not
built overnight". But they can now be deployed whenever progress demands.
Then, unmolested by dangerous lunatics armed with banners and custard pies,
the government will be free to advance world peace by bombing Baghdad to its
heart's content.

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