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NEWS, 25-31/3/01 (2) GENERAL INTERNATIONAL-IRAQI RELATIONS * Iraqi [health] minister arrives [in Pakistan. We learn that local pharmaceutical companies in Pakistan Œhad reached a stage where they were capable of manufacturing medicines of international quality, and compete with multinational companies based in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asian Republics, in exports.¹ This presumably means they are due a visit soon from the US Air Force] IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * Iraq hits out at UK, US proposals [to police the companies whp are buying Iraqi oil to prevent the payment of the surcharge] * Kurds: Saddam pressures UN for support [a question as to whether the UN work should be administered by Arabs/Iraqi or by others whom the Iraqis characterise as spies] * Mix of Uses Tangles Sanctions [on difficulties of determining Œdual use¹] US POLICY TOWARDS IRAQ * US moots changes in sanctions package for Iraq * Powell, Vedrine Hold Talks on Iraq Sanctions * White House Defends Iraq Sanctions [this article refers to Œan Arab League communique that demanded lifting all curbs on exports OF WEAPONS [my emphasis - PB] and technology to Iraq¹. Note that in this article, Richard Boucher is accusing the Arab leaders of being liars, supporting the US privately despite their public pronouncements. Which are only made to satisfy the - by implication, ignorant -Arab people. So much for the US commitment to Arab democracy] * Firing blanks at the Iraqi military [debate in the US military on the no fly zones] * The realists clean up [the New York Post rejoices that the big softy Colin Powell is being edged out by the hard men, Cheney and Rumsfield. Has anyone noted the reversal of roles since the last adminitration, when the Pentagon seemed to be the more internationalist, Œmoderate¹ element and the State department the more gung-ho?] COLLATERAL DAMAGE * 'A Great Deal Of Arrogance' [on the US military¹s reluctance to have its accidents seriously examined] * Pentagon Cites Gulf War Gas Danger [a possibility that some US soldiers might have been exposed when a chemical weapons depot was blown up. No concern expressed for anyone else who might have been in the area] * The depleted uranium: A slow, silent killer * U.S. Warplane Attacks Iraqi Site [not quite Œcollateral damage¹ but the article also tells us about 8 children blown up by an unexploded missile left over from the Guilf War near the border with Kuwait] NEW WORLD ORDER * GOP Core Wants Bush to Intervene in Sudan War * Washington studies possibility of an ambassador to Khartoum; oil reserve second largest in region [this might prove to be important ...] * War Could Litter Space with Debris - U.S. General * Creating a market for Star Wars URL ONLY http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,462960,00.html * Moscow doesn't matter any more. And neither do we by Peter Preston The Guardian, 26th March Article arguing that the Bush administration no longer take Russia seriously as a threat and consequently attach little importance to Europe. Their attention is focussed on China. CHILDREN¹S CORNER [two articles of mindnumbing triviality which are only included for patriotic reasons] * Cook defends Britain's 'ethical' foreign policy * This means war [The Guardian¹s typically frivolous reaction to the US refusal to abide by the terms of the Kyoto agreement. A joke about sanctions. Sanctions are not very funny] IRAQI/UN RELATIONS http://www.dailystarnews.com/200103/25/n1032505.htm#BODY5 * Iraq hits out at UK, US proposals Daily Star, Bangla Desh, 25th march REUTERS, Baghdad: Iraq Friday said the United States and Britain had proposed new restrictions on crude sales under the United Nations the oil-for-food programme. "The American and British representatives to the 661 committee put forward on March 16 two draft proposals on new measures to be adopted by the committee in dealing with purchasers of Iraq's oil," the newspapers quoted an oil ministry spokesman as saying. "These measures represent a dangerous and serious change in the work procedure of the memorandum of understanding signed by the United Nations and Iraq on May 20, 1996," the spokesman said. Western diplomats have said that the United States and Britain wanted the UN panel monitoring sanctions to reduce the list of operators purchasing Iraqi oil in an attempt to stop alleged kickbacks to Baghdad. But the oil ministry spokesman said the new proposals would cause delays. The new proposals by American and British representatives to the United Nations is a clear violation and a circumvention of the oil deal," he added. The oil ministry spokesman said the proposals included new criteria for the buyers of Iraq's crude and a demand for all companies registered with the United Nations to re-register names at the start of every six-month phase of the UN programme. The issue of determining companies fit to buy Iraq's crude is up to sovereign states and is not among authorities of the (sanctions) committee... so any new conditions or restrictions on the companies will be an interference in the affairs of these states," the spokesman said. Under the programme, Iraq is allowed to export unlimited quantities of oil through its Gulf port of Mina al-Bakr and a pipeline to Ceyhan in Turkey. Revenues go into a UN-controlled escrow account, out of which the United Nations pays suppliers for approved goods Iraq has ordered. Baghdad is widely reported to be imposing surcharges on buyers of its crude so it can get revenue directly, in violation of trade embargoes imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. Iraq's official oil exports in the programme fell to 1.31 million barrels per day in February from around 2.2 million bpd in November, before the surcharge was introduced. Last week sales surged back to 2.56 million bpd. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=171931 * KURDS: SADDAM PRESSURES UN FOR SUPPORT by Derk Kinnane Roelofsma WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) -- Saddam Hussein is pressuring United Nations humanitarian operations to do his bidding in Northern Iraq. Kurds in the region complain that he is being helped in this by other Arab U.N. personnel working there. The aim of the Iraqi dictator, according to analysts Tuesday , is to restore his control over what for the past decade has been a self-governing Iraqi Kurdistan. In his campaign to make officials of the world body bend to his will, he has launched a vitriolic attack on Benon Sevan, the well-regarded chief of the U.N.'s oil for food program. On March 18, the Baghdad newspaper, Babel, run by Saddam's son, Uday, accused Sevan of wishing to employ expatriate staff in Iraqi Kurdistan who would be spies for the United States, Britain and Israel. "Sevan asked the (U.N.) Security Council during a debate on the difficulties in the northern provinces (of Iraq) to recruit foreigners," Babel said. "But what Sevan omitted to say is that the foreigners that he wants to recruit for his program are spies paid by the United States, Britain and the Zionist entity and have nothing to do with implementing his humanitarian program." In fact, non-Iraqis are needed because Kurdish authorities in the north will not accept candidates selected from elsewhere in Iraq by Saddam's regime, as Sevan noted in a report to the Security Council on March 8. The Kurds tell visitors to the region that Iraqi intelligence would control choice of staff to ensure a readiness to do what they are told to do. The Babel attack came after Sevan's report in which he spoke of increasingly critical statements and allegations by Iraq against the U.N. Office of the Iraq Program of which Sevan is executive director. OIP supervises the U.N. oil for food program under which U.N. controlled sale of Iraqi oil is used to pay for humanitarian goods. Sevan's report followed complaints by Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahaf to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on Feb. 26 about the U.N. agencies in northern Iraq working with local Kurdish officials. Al-Sahaf claimed this violated Iraqi sovereignty. Baghdad lost control over much of Iraqi Kurdistan in the wake of the 1991 Persian Gulf War when the United States set up a safe haven, then a no-fly zone over the Kurdish north. This protection, maintained by U.S. and British air patrols, has enabled the Kurds to set up two self-governing areas run by rival Kurdish parties. The Bush administration last week reassured a visiting Kurdish mission that the air protection is to be maintained. The mission was made up of senior representatives of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Bitter rivals that have waged war on each other, the two parties are currently in a process of reconciliation. The PUK, headed by Jalal Talabani, governs the eastern part of Iraqi Kurdistan that has a frontier with Iran. The KDP, lead by Mas'ud Barzani, controls the northern part with a border on Turkey. Baghdad is also stalling on issuing visas to U.N. personnel assigned to the Kurdish provinces of Dahuk, Irbil and Sulaimaniya in the northeast of Iraq. The result has, among other things, prevented experts from removing land mines and maintaining plants supplying electricity in the area, local Kurds report. Staff working in the field for the U.N. educational agency, UNESCO, are predominantly Arab, according to Kurds there. "When UNESCO offers expertise," a local official complained, "it often brings it in from regional countries -- and the Arab countries' educational system is no better than ours." When Japanese, German, or American experts are proposed, Baghdad refuses them visas, he said. In New York, U.N. officials told United Press International that Arabs have the advantage of speaking Arabic, a language widely understood in Iraqi Kurdistan. Saddam also has sought to get the United Nations to cut off relations with non governmental organizations in the Kurdish region that have not been authorized by Baghdad. A Westerner working in the area reports that among NGOs affected have been British Save the Children, Help Age International, the Swedish Qandil and Diakonia, Peace Winds of Japan and Handicapped International of Belgium. The demand prompted the U.S. mission to the United Nations to tell the Security Council on March 2 that it hoped the United Nations would continue to work with the NGOs. The prime minister of the PUK area, Barham Salih, told UPI, "The NGOs have a vital role to play in meeting the humanitarian needs of Kurds. To do so requires the NGOs involvement." OIP says it is continuing to work with NGOs with which it is jointly implementing projects in the region. Saddam's try at determining what NGOs are to be allowed into the north has been aided by some of the numerous Arabs employed in U.N. agencies in Iraq. Thus, Rima al-Azar, an Arab woman in charge of the child protection program of UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency, in Irbil, informed NGOs by e-mail on Feb 17 that there would be no more money for their activities. A request for written confirmation went unanswered, NGO workers said. At UNICEF headquarters in New York, a spokesman said a decision to cut off relations with NGOs would have to be made at the country level of administration. In Iraq, that authority lies with the office of the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Baghdad. The UNICEF official rejected any suggestion that UNICEF staff were acting contrary to the principles of the organization. In Baghdad, a U.N. official said he was unaware of funds to NGOs being cut off. But, he added, funding had been suspended for some NGOs while certain issues were sorted out. Asked what the issues were, he said he was not free to say what they were, but that they might include financial accountability and organizational structure. Another Arab, a Dr. Anwar who runs the UNICEF education program based in Irbil, the seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government, is considered by Kurds to be deferential to Saddam. So, local Kurds say, are a number of other Arabs from Sudan, Egypt Morocco and elsewhere Kurdish officials saw the attack on UNICEF in part as retaliation for the agency's reports showing that child and maternal health in Northern Iraq, even under U.N. sanctions, was significantly better than in the rest of Iraq. The finding contradicts Saddam's claims that it is the sanctions, and not his government, that is harming children in the area under his domination. Arabs in the employ of the World Health Organization are reported by Kurdish medical workers in the region to have denied Kurdish hospitals essential medical supplies. Hospitals have been able to carry out only the most urgent surgery. The individuals who took these decisions acted on their own and beyond their proper authority, Kurds say. An Arab WHO official told Kurds the cut off of medical supplies might be due to the United States or Great Britain holding them up. A check with U.N. headquarters in New York, Kurds say, determined this was not so. According to NGO staff, local offices of U.N. agencies have broken off with bodies doing such work as educating local physicians and social workers in how to deal with children traumatized by war, other violence and abuse. Kurdish officials have complained that U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization staff has undermined projects to improve water resources and irrigation. Kurdish intelligence services believe many drivers hired by the U.N. come to their jobs from Iraqi intelligence agencies or the ruling Baath party. U.N. jobs pay well, and Baghdad can cancel the visas of individuals in U.N. employ. So employees from poor countries, such as Egypt, Sudan, or Pakistan, fear losing their jobs unless they please Baghdad. U.N. employees who are Arab nationalists also sabotage projects they think could lead to greater autonomy for the Kurds from Arab-dominated Baghdad, Kurds have told Western visitors. An OIP spokeswoman dismissed the accusations as merely opinions. There has been no change in working with NGOs engaged in implementing projects in which the U.N. is participating under the food for oil program, she said. Saddam's attacks on the U.N., its agencies and NGOs comes as he is completing his escape from the isolation imposed on him by the Untied States and the U.N. for invading and occupying Kuwait. The U.N. system of economic sanctions has been increasingly circumvented by Baghdad, and Secretary of State Colin Powell has made adoption of modified sanctions one basket in the Bush administration's emerging policy on Iraq. Meanwhile, with the exception of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the Arab governments and others have been busy restoring diplomatic and commercial ties with his regime while his demand for an end to the no-fly zone is echoed by Russia. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56347-2001Mar25.html * MIX OF USES TANGLES SANCTIONS by Colum Lynch Washington Post, 25th March UNITED NATIONS -- As the Bush administration seeks to revamp the U.N. economic sanctions on Iraq, the predicament facing Siemens AG, the German electronics firm, underscores the challenge of untangling restrictions on military imports from those on more benign civilian products. During the last year, Siemens has sought U.N. approval to sell Iraq more than $14 million in medical equipment to help modernize the country's hospitals. But the United States has placed a freeze on nearly $11 million of it, citing concerns that computers that operate cardiac machines, called angiographs, included in the deal could be used to run weapons systems, according to diplomats and confidential U.N. documents. Much of the equipment that Iraq says it needs for upgrading its health, oil and other key industries can be converted to military uses. And Iraq has a long history of using civilian industrial programs to develop prohibited nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. By the end of last month, the United States had placed "holds" on $280 million in medical supplies alone, including orders for vaccines, laboratory growth medium, incubators and a host of high-tech machines used to produce pills or to eliminate kidney stones without surgery, according to U.N. documents. The items are among more than 1,500 contracts, amounting to about $3.3 billion, that Security Council members have frozen. The United States has blocked the vast majority of the proposed sales, about $3.1 billion worth, requesting further information on the products or citing their possible military applications. "Many of these materials have a potential use in preparing chemical or biological weapons," said George Parshall, a chemical weapons expert. "But they are exactly the kinds of things you need to keep pharmaceutical, electrical and oil industries going." An essential element of the Bush administration's plan to overhaul the 11-year-old sanctions is streamlining the U.N. approval process to minimize holds. American officials recognize that holds have become a major irritant between the United States and other countries. Critics argue that the United States is withholding essential medical supplies with only marginal military applications and depriving ordinary Iraqis of vital humanitarian relief. Yves Doutriaux, France's deputy U.N. ambassador, accused the United States of having no "concern for the safety of children" after Washington placed holds last month on two contracts from South Korean and Yugoslav companies for vaccines to treat infant hepatitis, tetanus and diphtheria. The United States, which fears that life-saving vaccines would be converted into deadly biological weapons, has since approved the two deals, according to U.N. diplomats. The United States, on similar grounds, has objected to a range of products, including a chemical used to treat heart arrhythmia and equipment that produces shock waves to pulverize kidney stones. The former can be used in connection with military nerve agents, and the latter could contain an electronic switch useful in building detonators for a nuclear bomb, officials said. Benon Sevan, head of the U.N.'s humanitarian program, meanwhile, said that restrictions on computer imports are ludicrous. The current list prohibits any computer that exceeds a speed of 12.5 million theoretical operations per second (MTOPS) -- the equivalent of an Intel 486 processor -- on grounds that it has military applications. US POLICY TOWARDS IRAQ http://www.dawn.com/2001/03/27/int1.htm * US MOOTS CHANGES IN SANCTIONS PACKAGE FOR IRAQ Dawn, 7 March 2001, 01 Muharram 1422 WASHINGTON, March 26: US ideas for a new sanctions package against Iraq include UN inspectors for Iraqi-bound planes, discounted pricing for Iraqi oil sold to "frontline" states and possibly oil subsidies from Gulf states to Iraq's poorer neighbours, US officials said on Monday. The new Bush administration has been working on the package since taking office in January, in the hope of restoring international solidarity against Iraq acquiring military equipment or materials for weapons of mass destruction. Another aim is to prevent the Baghdad government using the sanctions system to blame the United States and its allies for the sufferings of the Iraqi people. The US officials said the Bush administration still needs to work out the details internally, with Iraqi neighbours Syria, Jordan and Turkey, and with permanent members of the UN Security Council. The future of sanctions against Iraq has dominated preparations for Tuesday's Arab summit in Amman, where most Arab countries have said they favor lifting sanctions. The US ideas will feature prominently in talks in Washington on Monday between US Secretary of State Colin Powell and French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, whose government has been critical of the existing sanctions system. The US officials said the ideas include: - tightening controls at border crossings into Iraq, relying on national customs but with support from inspectors from the United Nations or some other international organization to ensure consistency between countries. Iraq's neighbors are worried that tighter controls will put them at an economic disadvantage compared with other countries which have profited from smuggling. The United States wants to find a system that reassures them. DISCOUNTED PRICES: - a system for inspecting aircraft at the airports from which they take off, to ensure they are not carrying banned goods. One official said he thought only a small number of airports would be approved for flights to Iraq. - arrangements to bring Iraq's illicit oil exports through Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Iran under the UN system, if necessary by authorizing discounted prices. "It doesn't matter what price Iraqi gets, as long as there's no money under the table and it goes into an escrow account under UN control," one senior US official said. But under the present smuggling system, Iraq offers discounts in return for receiving cash payments outside the UN system. The officials did not explain why Iraq should continue to offer a discount under the new conditions. - the United States could arrange for the frontline states, mainly Syria, Jordan and Turkey, to receive cheap oil from "other places" - in other words the wealthy oil-producing countries in the Gulf, if they suffer economically from cracking down on the illicit trade with Iraq. "We are not asking the (frontline) countries to pay the price of cooperating," one US official said. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Iraq's neighbors to the south and its enemies in the Gulf War of 1991, have a powerful incentive to prevent Iraq from building up its military strength, even if they advocate an end to controls over Iraq's civilian imports. - the United Nations would draw up a list of companies authorized to buy Iraqi oil, to cut out dubious companies suspected of making under-the-counter payments to the Iraqis. Reuters http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200103/27/eng20010327_66093.html * POWELL, VEDRINE HOLD TALKS ON IRAQ SANCTIONS People's Daily, 27th March US Secretary of State Colin Powell and his French counterpart Hubert Vedrine discussed Monday modification of UN sanctions on Iraq without loosening restrictions aimed at curbing Baghdad's weapons programs. "We agree that Iraq must honor its UN obligations," Powell said at a joint news conference with Vedrine. "The foreign minister and I discussed how we can ensure that the UN sanctions are targeted at the Iraqi regime's attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction while sparing the people of Iraq from any suffering," Powell said. Vedrine said he was pleased to see Washington's Iraq policy " evolving," adding that the change was common sense. It was their first intensive one-on-one meeting since the new US administration took power on January 20. http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=6437721&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * WHITE HOUSE DEFENDS IRAQ SANCTIONS [.....] In Amman, Jordan, at a summit meeting of the Arab League, Syrian President Bashar Assad and other Arab leaders rebuked Israel and pledged their support to the Palestinian uprising. The Arabs also endorsed Assad's call to renew their boycott of Israel, which imposed stiff restrictions for decades on businesses that deal with the Jewish state but has been inoperative in recent years. ``We are strongly against any renewal of the Arab boycott,'' [State Department spokesman, Richard] Boucher said. On broader Arab questions, the administration disputed an Arab League communique that demanded lifting all curbs on exports of weapons and technology to Iraq. The communique adopted at the 22-nation summit demanded that all sanctions be removed. It appeared to reflect solidarity with Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi president. Boucher insisted the Arabs privately agree with Powell's position. ``We think we know the true picture, because we talk to these people in great detail all the time,'' he said. ``We're talking to people about concrete steps,'' Boucher said. ``We're not merely reading what they say in public, but rather we're in touch with them on the specific steps that need to be carried out.'' [.....] http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/commentary/printedition/article/0,2669,SA V 0103290057,FF.html * FIRING BLANKS AT THE IRAQI MILITARY by Micah Zenko. Micah Zenko is a researcher in the foreign policy studies program at the Brookings Institution Chicago Tribune , March 29, 2001 A debate is underway inside the Pentagon about the prospects of scaling back or temporarily suspending the maintenance of no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq. Such a review is long overdue and if implemented would allow the U.S. and Great Britain to refocus its military objectives in the Gulf At their inception during the early `90s, no-fly zones were created to provide a safe haven for Kurds and Shiite Muslims and to contain the regime of Saddam Hussein. Today they represent less a shield for persecuted ethnicities than a burden and an embarrassment for the U.S. and Great Britain No-fly zones have been successful in that the Iraqi military does not threaten Kurds or Shiites from the air. Unfortunately, unless the Allies are willing to maintain military exclusion zones--prohibiting the movement of heavy armor and military convoys--the no-fly zones remove only one weapon from the Iraqi military. They do not deter the type of destruction visited upon the Kurdish uprising in the fall of 1995, which the Iraqi Republican Guard conducted in under a week without the assistance of aircraft. That the no-fly zones offer no protection to people on the ground was obvious to those Kurds who watched Allied planes circle overhead while Saddam's armored divisions crushed them below No-fly zones also give a tactician like Saddam the initiative in provoking airstrikes against his country. It is as simple as turning the switch of a tracking-radar from off to on, or launching a missile at an airborne aircraft, and then waiting for the U.S. reaction--during normal operations, Americans do all the bombing. Furthermore, due to the manner in which Saddam's military places radar and anti-air missile batteries near mosques or populated areas, no-fly zones also allow the Iraqi dictator to produce expected civilian victims from the bombings whenever he needs to redirect hostilities toward external enemies Due to their low-level nature the bombings remain background noise in the overall picture of confronting Iraq. However, when they make the news they do so in a way that is dubious for the Allies and beneficial to Saddam. The headlines range from: civilians killed by targeting error, Iraqi air defense assets being placed in civilian areas or the munitions were ineffective and deficient, as was the case with the Feb. 16 attack. With each of these incidents, support and credibility for U.S. policy in the Gulf is eroded Worse yet, no-fly zones are a constant danger to the those who support them. Though no pilot has been shot down in the more than 150,000 sorties flown, luck will eventually run out. According to U.S. military officials, some of the planes used are single-engine, and the law of averages say that an accident due to engine failure should have occurred by now. Inevitably, an American or British pilot will be killed or captured and Saddam will have a corpse or hostage that further highlights his defiance. While concerns of pilot safety should not halt the flights, when the reported effect of the flight schedules on the overall readiness of the U.S. Air Force and Navy is considered, a pause would be welcomed by the effected services No-fly zones are a counterproductive mission in search of an overall strategy of dealing with the threat Sadaam Hussein poses to the region and his people. To refocus this strategy the number of flights made by the U.S. and Britain should be markedly reduced or halted altogether. Consequently, the Bush administration should tell Baghdad that if its military resumes aggressive flights, no-fly zones will be instantly reconstituted. Combat aircraft flying in the zones will be targeted along with ground facilities used to support it While Washington and London may believe they are standing up to Saddam by flying figure "eights" over northern and southern Iraq, it is no longer a mission worth maintaining. By halting or decreasing the flights the Allies will not be lessening its pressure on the Iraqi regime or its military, because they were never a threat to it in the first place. It will, however, give the shrunken Gulf War coalition the standing to finally deal with Iraq in a comprehensive manner that does not infuriate its neighbors in the Middle East http://www.nypostonline.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/27553.htm * THE REALISTS CLEAN UP New York Post,March 28,2001 THE New York Times, serving as the voice of the foreign-policy establishment, reports this week, in the words of an A-1 headline, that the "Bush Team's Counsel Is Divided on Foreign Policy." Two intra-administration factions, it seems, are fighting to shape the new president's foreign policy: "an ideologically conservative Pentagon and a more moderate State Department." The clear suggestion in the Times article is that, while "in an ideal world there is nothing wrong with the president's receiving clashing recommendations," in the real world, and particularly in the case of George W. Bush, "public ideological cleavages" are not a good thing. Why not? Well, the Times is too polite to put it quite this way, but the danger is that Mr. Bush is so ignorant that he might actually allow the conservative view to prevail. The Bush administration is indeed divided on the fundamentals of foreign policy, with Secretary of State Colin Powell heading a faction that favors a softer, sweeter approach and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld leading those who would prefer to take a harder line in dealing with the world's hard cases. And the early indications are that the hard-liners will win. Indeed, in every test so far, the hard-liners have won. When Powell told reporters that sanctions against Iraq should be eased so as "to relieve the burden on the Iraqi people," White House and Defense officials put out the word that the secretary of state was speaking for himself and Bush promptly and publicly brushed Powell back: "Saddam should not read into our discussions about making [Iraq] policy more effective any weakness in our position." The administration's decision to expel 50 Russian diplomats for espionage activity was, on one level, a traditional spy-game move, a punishment for the Robert Hanssen embarrassment. But, as former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov has noted, it also reflected the administration's desire to demonstrate that it does not, in its dealings with Russia, intend to display the "flabbiness of the former administration." So, it is clear enough, the hard-liners have the president's sympathies and the warm-and fuzzy thinkers do not. What is not so clear is why anyone thinks this is so terrible. First, it is not manifest that "public ideological cleavages" are bad; second, it is not manifest tthat the hard-liners' triumphs in such a debate are also bad. We have had eight years of a foreign policy that frequently rested on the notion that wishing can make a thing so, or at least can make it go away - and it can, for a while, if by "away" one simply means "off the evening news." Now is the time for dealing with the realities of what was left behind, and that is a logical time to listen to the realists. COLLATERAL DAMAGE http://www.cbsnews.com/now/story/0,1597,274987-412,00.shtml * 'A GREAT DEAL OF ARROGANCE' (CBS, 27th March): Almost seven years later, Joan Piper still takes calls and receives letters about her daughter's death, and still believes her death is part of a pattern that may have resurfaced with a U.S. submarine off the coast of Hawaii, CBS News Correspondent Byron Pitts reports. "Every time there's a military incident like this," Piper said of the accident involving the USS Greeneville, "you begin to collect them mentally. You compare them." In 1994, Joan's daughter, Air Force Lt. Laura Piper, was killed. Her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down over Iraq ‹ not by an enemy, but by two U.S. F-15 fighter jets. The military ruled it an accident. "I refuse to call it an accident," Piper said. In her book, Chain Of Events, Piper claims that not only was no one ever held responsible for her daughter's death, but that the military did everything in its power to hide the truth. Her husband, retired Air Force Col. Dan Piper, agrees, saying that the military was being dishonest. Others close to the Black Hawk investigation agree with the Pipers. They agree there is a pattern of damage control and a lack of accountability. One who believes there is a significant lack of accountability is Eric Thorson. He was chief investigator for the U.S. Senate during the Black Hawk inquiry, in which military officers were subpoenaed. "Basically they told the United States Senate to go to hell. They would not appear," Thorson said. Thorson said the Pentagon has stonewalled other investigators, including those working to determine what caused the deaths of 23 Marines killed aboard Osprey helicopters; an accident where a gondola cable was sheared by a U.S. fighter jet, killing 20 civilians; and the Greeneville mishap. "I think there's a great deal of arrogance, and (having been) working in the Pentagon for a number of years at that level, I think you see that pretty clearly," Thorson said. But retired Army Col. Larry Wortzel believes the military can investigate, and ‹ when warranted ‹ punish its own. "Each of the service secretaries and the Secretary of Defense have civilian advisory boards already, so I think the institutions are in place," Wortzel said. Thorson disagrees. "Effective oversight is absolutely necessary because it keeps happening. It doesn't stop," Thorson said. There are other, more intangible reasons oversight is necessary, Piper said. "When you lose a family member in the service of this country, you have given you're most valuable possession. The military owes you more than a 21-gun salute and the flag that's on the coffin," said Piper. We are owed the truth, Piper says, in accidents past and present. http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=6422226&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * PENTAGON CITES GULF WAR GAS DANGER WASHINGTON (Associated Press, Tue 27 Mar 2001) ‹ Up to several dozen U.S. Special Forces soldiers may have been exposed to nerve gas when they secretly went into Iraq ahead of the Gulf War ground campaign, the Pentagon said Tuesday. The Department of Defense released a report on air strikes between Jan. 19 and Feb. 24, 1991, as coalition forces hit an Iraqi weapons storage site at Muhammadiyat. Among Iraqi munitions in the depot were bombs filled with mustard agents and the nerve agents sarin and cyclosarin. ``With the possible exception of a few forward-deployed Special Operations Forces in Iraq, U.S. forces were definitely not exposed to chemical warfare agents as a result of the bombing,'' the department said in a statement. For those few, it said, ``exposure is characterized as indeterminate from the facts available.'' An analysis of data on the weapons, weather at the time and other factors indicated that U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia were 35 miles away from nerve gas that might have been released in the attacks. American troops were 125 miles away from a ``possible mustard hazard area'' believed caused by air strikes on Feb. 10, Feb. 12 or Feb. 16. The Muhammadiyat ammunition site was about 95 miles west of Baghdad, officials said. An international coalition launched a six-week bombing campaign on Jan. 17, 1991, followed by a four-day ground war to drive Iraqi troops from Kuwait and reverse Iraq's Aug. 2, 1990 invasion of the neighboring emirate. ``There were some Special Ops guys in Iraq during the time of those bombings ‹ for security reasons, no one can talk about exactly what they were doing or exactly where they were,'' said Austin Camacho, spokesman for the Pentagon's special office on Gulf War illnesses. ``But it's possible that a small number of them may have been exposed to a small amount of sarin or cyclosarin.'' He said the number of people is ``less than 76'' and that they will be notified of their possible exposure in coming weeks. In a separate statement released Tuesday, officials said U.S. service members ``definitely were not exposed'' to chemical warfare agents during bombing to destroy another weapons site, at a place called Al Muthanna. In that bombing, on Feb. 8, 1991, ``most of the possible nine tons of sarin'' in the Iraqi rockets ``was destroyed by a very hot fire that ensued,'' the statement said. It said some 22 pounds of the gas was estimated to have escaped into the atmosphere, but U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia were hundreds of miles away and no Special Forces units were in the area. The Pentagon has done several such studies on Gulf War incidents that might have involved chemical exposure in its investigations into the cause of still-unexplained illnesses experienced by some veterans who served in the conflict. On the Net: Pentagon Gulf War Web site: http://www.gulflink.osd.mil http://www.dailystarnews.com/200103/28/n1032802.htm#BODY3 * THE DEPLETED URANIUM: A SLOW, SILENT KILLER by Brig (Rtd) M Abdul hafiz Daily Star (Bangla Desh), 28th March The trail of the devastation left by the Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons the US and other western countries deployed in the gulf war failed to stir the emotions in the offending countries let alone the question arousing the conscience of the perpetrators of the crimes. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis had already fallen victim to the deadly effects of DU munitions used in profusion during the gulf war. After the war thousands of Iraqis developed the symptoms of memory loss, headaches, muscle pain, abdominal pain, dissiness and respiratory problems. The incidence of cancer has increased rapidly and at abnormal rates. Leukaemia in children is especially rampant: it has shown a fourfold rise after the gulf war. The incidence of breast cancer among the women is around four times higher than it was before 1990. Abnormal births have drastically increased since the war. Many American and British veterans of Gulf War also developed syndromes that were euphemistically called the 'gulf war syndrome'. But the DU's primary victims were the people of Iraq where some 300 tonnes of uranium from the spent munitions lay scattered across the battlefields of the Gulf War. A confidential report prepared in 1991 by United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority described the presence of DU in Iraq and Kuwait as a 'significant problem' which would cause "tens of thousands of potential deaths." Yet the danger of DU evoked no reaction from the Western circles which kept turning it down. The Pentagon, despite mounting evidences to the contrary, continued to insist that the DU was only "very, very mildly radioactive." But there are indications that the US military establishment did have some clue about the lethal nature of DU. An US Navy instruction manual noted that the teams recovering Tomahawk missiles during the test rounds must have radiological protective gadgets. The DU munitions developed by the Pentagon during the late 70s was, in fact, a radioactive byproduct of the enrichment process used in producing atomic bomb and nuclear fuel rods. The material was provided free of cost to weapon manufacturers by nuclear arms industries. During the Gulf War the armour piercing rounds made of depleted uranium were used in a big way. The Tomahawk missiles which went into action from the very first day of operation desert storm were all tipped with DU. The US Army reported that a total of 14000 DU tank rounds were used during the course of Gulf War while another 7000 rounds were fired during the training in the sands of Saudi Arabia. The Pentagon could not but be aware of the resultant concentration of the DU and its potential dangers. The choice of DU for use in munitions manufacturing was made primarily for its effectiveness and economy. But at no stage the users could have been ignorant about its inherent danger both for the civilians and combatants. Because the US Army Armaments, Munitions and Chemical Command itself states: "When a DU penetrator impacts a target surface, a large portion of the Kinetic energy is dissipated as heat. The heat of the impact causes the DU to oxidise or burn momentarily. This results in smokes which contains a high concentration of DU particles. These uranium particles can be ingested or inhaled and are highly toxic". Even before the gulf war the armament experts in US had warned that the combat conditions with the new weaponry will lead to the uncontrolled release of DU aerosol. They also warned that the DU exposures to soldiers on the battle field could be significant with potential "radiological and toxicological effects". The US administration, however, did not care and tended to give clean chit to the use of DU. The scientists close to the Pentagon are at pains to prove it innocuous. The former US secretary of state Ms Madeleine Albright even administered the Europeans not to be "excessively nervous and hysterical about DU." The west woke up only after its own soldiers started dying of the complications believed to have originated from the exposure to the DU. It was only after the complaints of the European government that the eyebrows were raised in the west as to the dangers of the use of DU munitions. Last year soon after the Balkan wars the Italian soldiers started developing "mysterious illness" while seven of then already died of cancer. French and Portuguese peacekeepers in the Balkans were also diagnosed with cancer. As a result, the Norwegian soldiers refused to sign contract to go to Balkans for peacekeeping duties. A group of Belgian soldiers sued their government for the health problems caused to them by service in the Balkans. Five Belgian soldiers who served in Bosnia and Croatia died of cancer. Bernard Kouchner, the UN administrator of Kosovo brought up the issue of the dangers that DU posed to the region. In the mid-1990s the US combat aircraft used limited amounts of DU ammunitions against former Yugoslavia. But in 1999 during the war over Kosovo NATO resorted to blanket bombing of Yugoslavia using the DU weapons despite documented evidence of extremely harmful effects of the DU piling up in the gulf region. More than 100 places only in Kosovo are littered with DU particles. Kouchener forced the NATO to urgently address the issue but it seemed worried only about the health of its soldiers stationed in the region and not the local people. Only in early January last signs were put up by the UN and NATO warning civilians also to exercise caution while approaching areas in Kosovo where DU were dropped. NATO has, of late, admitted to dropping of 12 tonnes of DU in Kosovo alone. In all an estimated 31,000 DU shells were dropped over Yugoslavia. President Kostunica of Yugoslavia has characterised the use of DU weapons as a crime against humanity. He wants the International War Crime Tribunal in the Hague also to look expeditiously into this matter and apportion blame. After the disaster caused by DU weapons both in the Gulf and Balkans, countries like Russia had repeatedly warned NATO about the dangers of using DU. Boris Alexeyev, the head of Russia's environmental department in the Defence Ministry said that by using DU ammunition NATO has wilfully violated the agreement on radiation security. However, the most significant development with regard to increasing clamour against the DU weapons took place on 4 January last. On that day European Commission President Romano Prodi became the most important European leader to demand an investigation into the claims that the DU used in the NATO munitions had caused death or illness among Balkan peacekeepers. The German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said that it was not 'right' to use such munitions. The pressures are being built up even in the United States against the use of DU by the Gulf and Balkan wars Veterans. But there is little likelihood that Pentagon and arms manufacturers would take it in right spirit. The Pentagon, the EU and the UN have all set up Commissions to investigate the risks posed by the DU but at the same time the efforts are afoot to whitewash the investigations. In the US where the public opinion carries considerable weightage a number of scientists and academics have already joined the campaign to justify the use of DU. According to the UN half a million Iraqi children have died as a direct result of decade long sanctions. When asked about the cruelty, former US secretary of state Ms Madeleine Albright memorably replied "It is a price worth paying". With this state of cynicism prevailing in some quarters of US administration and elsewhere it is not surprising that a virtually invisible killing agent like DU has so far been disregarded by the US authorities as well as NATO. But perhaps the tide has turned now when it will be increasingly difficult to ignore the protests against DU ammunitions. The development and use of DU weapons, however, is yet another example of how the nuclear industry in the west works together with military industrial complex to support its military ventures around the world regardless of the consequences. http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=6481200&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * U.S. WARPLANE ATTACKS IRAQI SITE BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, Sat 31 Mar 2001) ‹ A U.S. warplane attacked an anti-aircraft artillery site in southern Iraq on Friday night in response to what U.S. officials called recent Iraqi attempts to shoot down American and British pilots. Earlier the same day, the burial of eight children killed in the explosion of a missile left over from the 1991 Persian Gulf War turned into an anti-American demonstration, the official Iraqi News Agency reported. The U.S. strike near the city of As Samawah on the Euphrates River, 130 miles south of Baghdad, was the first in southern Iraq since American and British planes attacked air defense sites around Baghdad on Feb. 16. A spokesman for the Iraqi military confirmed the attack, saying it ``targeted civil and service installations in the southern part of the country,'' and claimed it was repulsed. ``Our heroic missile units confronted the enemy warplanes, forcing them to leave our skies for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait,'' the official Iraqi News Agency quoted the unidentified spokesman as saying. Earlier Friday, mourners buried eight children, aged five to seven, who died Thursday when an unexploded Gulf War missile detonated at a soccer stadium in Safwan, 375 miles south of Baghdad, INA reported. Three of the victims were brothers. ``Participants in the funeral procession condemned the continuation of U.S. and British aggression against Iraq and said they were prepared to sacrifice themselves to achieve victory over the enemies of Iraq,'' the agency said. U.S. and British planes regularly patrol the skies over southern and northern Iraq to enforce ``no fly'' zones meant to prevent Iraqi forces from attacking Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south. Friday's strike by an Air Force F-15E warplane was announced by U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., which is responsible for U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf area. Central Command said precision-guided weapons were used against the site but did not specify the weapon or give any indication of damage inflicted. It said the U.S. aircraft involved in the strike returned safely from the mission. NEW WORLD ORDER http://www.sfgate.com/cgi bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/03/25/MN166923.DTL * GOP CORE WANTS BUSH TO INTERVENE IN SUDAN WAR by Steven Mufson San Francisco Chronicle, 25th March Washington -- It's a long way from Room 116 at the Longworth House Office Building to the southern part of Sudan, but an unusual assortment of people gathered in the congressional meeting room last month to plot ways to shorten the diplomatic distance. Among the 40 activists were evangelical Christians, a rabbi, a black radio talk show host and aides to conservative senators -- all united in a crusade for U.S. intervention to help Sudan's largely Christian south in its civil war with a predominantly Islamic government in the north. Many in the room had personally traveled to Sudan to pay money to "redeem" southerners abducted by northern raiders and pressed into slavery. "I felt like someone put me in a time machine, like I was in a scene from 'Roots,' " said the radio host, Joe Madison, of his visit to Africa's most expansive country. "I was literally just torn apart." Such passionate appeals are quickly making the 17-year-old Sudanese civil war the first test of the Bush administration's posture toward humanitarian crises abroad. Although the fighting has contributed to more than 2 million deaths from violence and hunger, no clear U.S. national interests are at stake. U.S. companies have no large investments in Sudan, and it is far from U.S. bases. It appears to be precisely the kind of place that President Bush and his advisers said they wanted to avoid when they criticized the Clinton administration during last year's presidential campaign for undertaking "nation building" and failing to focus on the "big" foreign policy issues, such as Russia and China. Yet the persecution of Christians and minority ethnic groups in southern Sudan has mobilized many parts of the Republican base, from neoconservative interventionists to evangelical Christians. They are pressing for steps such as tightening economic sanctions, sending a special envoy, arming southern forces or even declaring "no-fly" zones similar to those over Iraq, which would require U.S. military action. In the process, they are pushing Sudan onto the administration's foreign policy agenda and forcing Bush to choose between his campaign promises and an ardent, vocal wing of his party. The people who gathered at the Longworth Building reflected this diverse coalition. They included conservative Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va.; liberal former District of Columbia delegate Walter Fauntroy, D-D.C.; Rabbi David Saperstein, of the Reform Judaism Social Action Center, and an aide to the Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham. "To me this is a moral outrage," said Franklin Graham, who gave the invocation at Bush's inauguration and whose organization, Samaritan's Purse, runs a hospital in southern Sudan that has been bombed nine times. "We should use our economic power to bring this (Sudanese) government down. We should use our political power to persuade them to change their policies. And, if need be, use the military option as a last resort," he said. The administration is starting to listen. Earlier this month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee cross-examined Secretary of State Colin Powell on U.S. policy toward Sudan, with questioning led by Sen. Bill Frist, R Tenn., and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. Powell also met with Wolf, the new head of the appropriations subcommittee that handles the State Department's budget. Frist, Brownback and Wolf have all visited southern Sudan. On Thursday, at the dedication of a cultural center at Catholic University, Bush himself took note of the issue, declaring, "We're responsible to stand for human dignity and religious freedom wherever they are denied, from Cuba to China to southern Sudan." The civil war between Sudan's largely Arab and Islamic north and its largely black and non Islamic south began in 1955, when southern troops mutinied and demanded autonomy or secession. A 1972 accord ended the fighting. But the discovery of oil near the middle of the country -- combined with the imposition of sharia, or Islamic law, by the government -- reignited the violence in 1983. Since 1989, the United States has sent more than $1.2 billion in humanitarian aid to Sudan. But relations have been strained both by the war and by Sudan's alleged support for terrorists. U.S. Embassy personnel were withdrawn in 1996. U.S. trade sanctions were imposed in 1997; a notable exception allows imports of gum arabic, an ingredient in many packaged foods and soft drinks. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010326/2001032606.html * WASHINGTON STUDIES POSSIBILITY OF AN AMBASSADOR TO KHARTOUM; OIL RESERVE SECOND LARGEST IN REGION Arabic News, 26th March [.....] Meantime, A scientific study prepared by a specialized Sudanese academic in the reserve economic sciences has estimated the Sudan's oil reserves are 183.2 billion barrels of oil. The study which was issued on Saturday by the Sudanese daily al-Rai al-Am explained the Sudan's oil storage is only exceeded by the reserves of Saudi Arabia, adding that Sudan's oil reserves, on the other hand, exceed those of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates UAE, Qatar and Bahrain. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010328/sc/arms_space_dc_1.html * WAR COULD LITTER SPACE WITH DEBRIS - U.S. GENERAL by Charles Aldinger WASHINGTON (Reuters, 28th March) - Warfare high above Earth could litter space with speeding debris that might rip into commercial satellites and space shuttles, the U.S. military's space chief warned on Wednesday. Air Force Gen. Ralph Eberhart said instant intelligence and communications were so important to the United States and other nations that future enemies might consider blowing up each other's satellites. ``First and foremost, I'm concerned about the debris in space and not knowing what's going to happen once you blow it (a satellite) up,'' with a projectile, the head of the U.S. Space Command told reporters. ``I have to admit that I would also be concerned about the threshold that you cross if you do that ... what it might mean in terms of weapons in space and other space activities,'' the general added. Eberhart said the military was already tracking some 9,000 orbiting objects, some as tiny as a fountain pen, and that commercial satellites and shuttles were threatened by junk moving at thousands of miles (kilometers) an hour. ``Even a (speeding) fleck of paint can ruin your day if you are in the shuttle,'' he told reporters. Eberhart, who heads the North American Aerospace Defense Command for the United States and Canada, said the Pentagon was also increasingly worried about the ability of China, North Korea, Iran, Iraq and even ``terrorist'' groups and drug cartels to disrupt computers using electronic ``cyber warfare.'' ``We (the United States) have become so reliant on our computer systems, our information, that as we train and exercise and are involved in contingency operations we have come to take those capabilities ... for granted,'' he said. The United States is in the process of developing a space policy, including a decision on whether anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons should be used in the blackness beyond the atmosphere. Eberhart said he thinks that destroying another country's communications or spy satellites using a projectile would be ``a last-ditch option.'' Negotiations, disrupting satellite links electronically or even bombing ground communications stations might be preferable to launching weapons in space, he said. ``I would much rather use negotiations. I would much rather interfere with the uplinks and downlinks, I would much rather ... bomb a ground station,'' Eberhart told reporters. http://www.thestar.com/apps/AppLogic+FTContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout /Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=985890427642&call_page=TS_Opinion&call_pageid=9 68256290124&call_pagepath=News/Opinion * CREATING A MARKET FOR STAR WARS by Gordon Barthos Toronto Star, 30th March He barely got elected last fall. He lost the popular vote And after 10 weeks his approval rating is sliding fast Yet Bush has startled friends and foes alike with the sheer abrasiveness of his attitudes toward Russia, China and North Korea, and his indifference to world opinion on issues like global warming Last week Bush discovered that the Russians have spies, and gave 50 of them the heave-ho. He's been cool to meeting Vladimir Putin to talk arms control. His officials call the Russians "a nation of proliferators;" they complain about Moscow selling Iran weapons; they meet Chechen separatists Eyeing China, they talk about the need to "fight and win a nuclear war," with Asia as the likeliest battleground. They see China as a "competitor," not a strategic partner, and lambaste it for selling Iraq technology. They talk of selling Taiwan powerful anti-missile defences Meanwhile, Bush has undercut South Korea's bid to get North Korea to shelve its missile program, as it has its nuclear program, in exchange for trade and aid The Bush White House calls this "clarity, realism, decisiveness." Critics call it folly As the wreckage piles up, Republican think tanks crank out alarmist studies to demonstrate that the continental United States is open to attack and intimidation Has the world suddenly gone on a war footing? Hardly But the Cold War era people around Bush - Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Don Rumsfeld, to name two - are truly ambitious patriots They know that the U.S. is undefeatable, and has been for a decade or more. They dream of making it invulnerable as well. They don't want even to be threatened by pipsqueak powers They are convinced that Ballistic Missile Defence can deliver that invulnerability Ronald Reagan dreamed up Star Wars in 1983 as a hedge against Soviet attack. When the Soviets went away, Iraq became the new threat. Once Iraq was humbled, North Korea stood in as the villain. There's no prize for spotting a trend here If the Bush administration doesn't play its cards carefully, North Korea will go cuddly and there won't be a half-credible enemy left to shield against Most Americans support the idea of a Fortress North America But as the U.S. economy slows and Bush has to trim his $1.6 trillion tax cut or slash federal health, education and social services, people may think twice about sinking $100 billion into a missile shield, absent a clear and present danger However, if Washington can make a persuasive case that the U.S. is surrounded by hostile countries, Star Wars would be an easier sell This has implications for Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's government, indeed for all U.S. allies We've been lobbied by Washington to keep an "open mind" about missile defence, at least until Bush rolls out his plans later this year Meanwhile, U.S. officials are working overtime to persuade us that (1) missile defence can work; (2) that its deployment is both necessary and inevitable; and (3) that allies must sign on, or kiss off defence co-operation Flawed though these premises are, the Chrétien government is choosing not to question them. It should The Bush administration seems bent on creating sufficient friction to make the world a truly interesting place. Not one in which Canadians can feel safer That's a stiff price to pay for Republican daydreams Realistically, do the Americans face a potential threat? Yes. A small one. Though a regime would be crazy to lob a missile their way But working with players like the Russians and Chinese, the U.S. could easily contain bad actors However Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and friends would have to settle for America being the unbeatable nation, and not the invulnerable one The question for Chrétien is this: Why should Canada be stampeded into supporting a go alone U.S. program driven by a new global alarmism, and which will leave the world more dangerous than before? Rather than be cowed by Republican demagoguery, the Chrétien government should try to remember what the world looked like before all this began Russia was a weak, struggling democracy, tilting West and trying to salvage a shred of dignity as a faded power. China just wanted to turn a buck. North Korea was a starving beggar, seeking to come in from the cold. Iran was struggling with its own internal demons. Iraq was a broken reed Who, exactly, are we worried about? CHILDREN¹S CORNER http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=004682140446857&rtmo=0xeX0NNq&atmo=rrrrr rrq&pg=/et/01/3/29/ncook29.html * COOK DEFENDS BRITAIN'S 'ETHICAL' FOREIGN POLICY by Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor Daily Telegraph, 29 March 2001 THE Government mounted a defence of its "ethical" foreign policy yesterday, saying human rights were not just a question of morality but one of British national interest. Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, said the government's military intervention in Sierra Leone and Kosovo, its support for a permanent international criminal court and its greater openness on arms exports highlighted its commitment to human rights Speaking at the event at which four years ago he first set out his vision of an "ethical dimension" to British policy - a phrase that has repeatedly plagued him - the Foreign Secretary signalled that Labour would press harder on human rights issues if it won a second term There was no conflict between democratic principles and national interest, he declared. "I would robustly argue that the British national interest is promoted, not hindered by a commitment to human rights," Mr Cook told a gathering of diplomats and aid workers Mr Cook said the key question was to decide when to intervene in internal conflicts. "Governments which are democratically accountable will be more reliable partners for peace." http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,465418,00.html * THIS MEANS WAR Guardian, 30th March Now that George Bush has found out the Kyoto agreement is about emissions reduction and might annoy his oil chums back in Texas, he has done what the world had feared: torn it up. But if he thinks there is nothing we can do about it, then he is sorely mistaken. Stephen Moss suggests some sanctions Arms Britain should immediately withdraw its Tornado from Iraq and refuse to take part in any further bombing missions, no matter how many shiny new missiles we are promised. Nato should suspend the US, invite Russia to take its place and establish no-fly zones in the north and south of America. (OK, let's say over Nantucket for starters: we don't want to be too ambitious.) Support should be given to any coherent anti-Bush groups that may develop in Washington, though at present there is little evidence of effective opposition groups in the capital. US air bases in the UK should be closed and weedkiller sprinkled on the airmen's golf courses. Sport All sporting contacts should cease immediately. Pete Sampras will not be permitted to win Wimbledon for the eighth time, and even Jack Straw will accept that Mike Tyson should not be allowed into the country. Tiger Woods will be allowed to compete in the Open, but will have to play blindfold. He will still win, but we shall have made our point. Baseball, basketball and American football will be treated as the ludicrous, TV-dominated non-events they are. The term "World Series" to describe a contest between teams from rival American leagues is henceforth banned. We will continue to ignore Nascar racing and the Indianapolis 500. No wrestling will be shown in the UK, no matter how obscure the channel. Continuous coverage of the Ashes will be beamed to the US to demonstrate the historic wrong turning they made by opting for baseball in the middle of the 19th century. History It will be pointed out that the US was late arriving for both world wars, and that we had already softened up the oppo. We could have won the American war of independence if we had really been trying, and if our boys hadn't insisted on wearing red coats which made them such easy targets. As for the Spanish-American war, we imagine Spain could have won that too, but we can't be certain as we have no idea when it took place or what they were fighting about. (1) History books will also make it clear that Ulysses S Grant was a drunk with an outrageous name who took an age to subdue numerically inferior forces in the American civil war. Basically, count it as a win for the South, which will (with a bit of assistance from fifth columnists funded by MI6) rise again. Film and TV There will be a blanket boycott, except for films by the Coen Brothers, any half-decent new movie by Quentin Tarantino, and anything with Billy Bob Thornton. All references to the Oscars will be banned. Clearly, this will mean newspapers will be very restricted in size, and many supplements will disappear altogether, but these are difficult times and we must all make sacrifices. No US TV will be permitted except the Simpsons, Sex and the City, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Frasier and Friends. All repeats are prohibited. Blockbusters is out of bounds while sanctions are in force. T*m C***se No mentions under any circumstances. This is punishable by five years in prison or a fortnight spent watching Eyes Wide Shut, Mission Impossible (I and II), Top Gun, Days of Thunder and Cocktail, whichever punishment is deemed the worse. (2) Music (pop) White rap music will be banned. Yes, we know that means Eminem. And, yes, we know that he has been compared to Shakespeare by some respected literary figures. But in any war there are victims. Henceforth the only white American rapper permitted is Vanilla Ice, precisely because he is rubbish. Vanilla's collected works will helpfully confirm to us the complete and utter worthlessness of US culture. English musicians will be discouraged from singing in American accents. Large speakers will be put up along the Mexican and Canadian borders which will broadcast the Clash's I'm So Bored With The USA at regular intervals. Music (classical) No more John Adams operas will be produced, especially those staged by Peter Sellers. So what if that means we won't hear Nixon in China or The Death of Klinghoffer? We can sing a-long with Harrison Birtwistle instead. Barber's Adagio will also be banned, especially that dreadful dance music version by William Orbit. This will mean long periods of silence on Classic FM, but we all have our crosses to bear. Expulsions We are sorry that some innocent individuals will be caught up in this imbroglio, but frankly you started this. When that rich bloke appointed ambassador by Bush arrives, he should be detained on arrival, frisked at Heathrow, Diana Ross-style and then sent back on an economy flight via New Delhi. All US embassy staff above second secretary level will be expelled; they're probably just spying on the Russians anyway. Ruby Wax, Paul Gambaccini and Loyd Grossman will also have to go. Madonna can stay as long as she can persuade Guy Ritchie to stop making gangster films (better still, any films). Bob Kiley can definitely stay, ideally becoming mayor of London and/or secretary of state for transport in 2003. Withdrawals All of the following will be asked to leave the US: Anthony Hopkins, Michael Caine, Ridley Scott, Catherine Zeta Jones (and Michael Douglas if he wants to leave), Tina Brown, Lisa Snowdon (3), Amanda de Cadenet, Christopher Hitchens and Frank McCourt. Salman Rushdie will be asked to speed up his move and make radio broadcasts on the awfulness of life in New York. (4) Apparel Obviously, as the prime minister would say, we will no longer buy anything from Gap, especially those shapeless blue tops that schoolchildren wear instead of uniforms. Tommy Hilfiger is also banned, not that we could afford any of his stuff anyway. Ditto DKNY, whoever they might be. All Calvin Klein clothes are banned with the exception of underwear. Nike trainers are permitted because they are made in the developing world, but people will be encouraged to scrawl graffiti over the company's ads. We will insist on the removal of the Union Jack from all Reebok trainers. Baseball caps may not be worn, especially by prominent political figures. Anyone wearing them back to front will be interned. Coffee It is probably too late to stage a boycott of US-style coffee bars as they account for some 40% of British GDP, so we will need to employ guerrilla tactics. When using Starbucks, refuse to say "tall", "grande", "vente", or any of the other silly names. Say small, medium and large in a posh, supercilious voice. If the pony-tailed assistant encourages you to have a good day, push a full-fat blueberry muffin into his/her face. If newspapers are available on the premises, spread the pages over the floor and all the tables. Never under any circumstances buy in-store mugs, games or CDs. Cars Vehicles made by Ford and General Motors will be banned. That will have the useful side effect of relieving traffic jams in the UK, showing what really can be achieved to counter pollution. Restitution Obviously, we want London Bridge and the Queen Mary back. France insists on the return of all Renoirs. The Netherlands is happy for the US to keep its Van Go's, but it would definitely like its Van Goghs back. Germany says the US can keep its paintings, but can no longer perform Wagner at the Met. Britain will go to the UN to reclaim Virginia, which was never formally ceded by George III and still belongs to the family of Lord Fairfax. We might as well take Florida too, given that so many Brits go there on holiday. (5) Disneyland will be dismantled and Mickey Mouse memorabilia sent to the Taliban for safe-keeping. The US will also be banned from using our copyrighted place names. New York, Boston, Birmingham (Alabama) and Manchester (New Hampshire) must be erased from all maps, or there will be real trouble. Language Nothing can henceforth be described as "cool". "Dude", "man" and "babe" are also proscribed. Trick or treating will be banned. There can be no references to Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, or Superbowl. Anybody found finishing sentences in the American manner, rising to an interrogative, y'know?, will be subject to an on-the-spot fine. Grammatical redundancies such as "like, you know" and "duh" (except when used by, or quoting, Homer Simpson) will also be punishable. "Hoes" or "trim" must never be applied to women. Hoes, as we all know, are garden implements and trim is something one does to one's hedge on a Sunday afternoon. Notes (1) We think it had something to do with New Mexico, but invite contributions to Corrections and Clarifications. (2) Of course people will opt for prison, but it is important to provide alternatives. (3) George Clooney's girlfriend. Annoy George and you annoy America. (4) It is important that no one tells Phil Collins about the policy of selective withdrawal. It should also be said that Amanda de Cadenet was a close call. (5) Though there will be no official ban, Britons will be discouraged from visiting the US for the duration of these sanctions. Anyone who does visit will be expected to drive on the left. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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