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News, 25-31/3/01 (2)

NEWS, 25-31/3/01 (2)


*  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]


*  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 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?]


*  '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]


*  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,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]


*  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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.


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

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

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

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

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.



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

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.''

V 0103290057,FF.html

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

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

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

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

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,1597,274987-412,00.shtml


(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

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.


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

On the Net: Pentagon Gulf War Web site:

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.


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


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.

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.

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

``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

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.

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

Has the world suddenly gone on a war footing?


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

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

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

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

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?


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.",3604,465418,00.html

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


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.


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


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.


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.


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)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

(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
(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.
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