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News 22-28/4/01 (2)

News 22-28/4/01 (2)


*  French 'weapons grade' exports to Iraq blocked [an accont of some of the
965 contracts being challenged by the sanctions Committee in the 18 month
period to February 2001, all but one of them by Washington and London]
*  Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Knew [a former Iraqi weapons inspector
outlining nasty possibilities such as launching foot and mouth disease on
the innocent American public. Well, its his job, after all ...]
*  German intelligence chief warns of Iraqi, Iranian weapons threat
*  Iraq tested radioactive bomb [according to another weapons inspector
looking at a document which someone passed on to someone who passed it on
... ]


*  Iraq, Kazakstan to World Cup Finals
*  Iraqi MPs recommend Saddam's birthday a holiday
*  Jordanian Ambassador to Iraq Robbed


*  Czech Republic Ousts Iraqi Diplomat [no explanation why]
*  Spain urges easing of sanctions against Iraq
*  Pope calls for an end to Iraq's suffering


*  Secret u-turn to send Kurds back [Kurdish refugees being sent back
because Mr Straw thinks that Iraqi Kurdistan is safe. An interesting detail
I didnıt know is that there is a third Kurdish body which controls territory
in the area - the Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan, and they apparently
control Halabja, where the chemical weapons attack took place]
*  France to Study 'Gulf War Syndrome'
*  Bizarre secrets of Bush club exposed [Further details of the ŒSkull &
Bones Clubı may be had at]


*  British police probing war crimes allegations against Saddam [the crimes
incude taking hostages in the run-up to the war. Will this prompt anyone to
ask why Saddam Hussein RELEASED his hostages? All of them? Or will anyone
other than myself notice that it was only when the last one had been
released that the UN assault began?]
*  Tonight, the Babylonian tyrant will sleep less easy [in which we learn
that Œmost of the medical equipment and medicines taken into Iraq by the UN
is smuggled abroad to be sold for more cash on the black markets of Lebanon,
Syria, Turkey and Iran.ı Gosh. The article continues: ŒI estimate that he
has caused the deaths of more people than did Genghis Khan and Tamberlane in
the 13th and 14th centuries put togetherı. Presumably the author reaches
this conclusion by ascribing to Saddam all the deaths that have been caused
by Antony Blair, Robin Cook and their predecessors and allies]
*  Why is Yard chasing Saddam? [A historic article. The first time ever I
find myself in almost complete agreement with The Sun]


by Stephen Grey, Brussels
Sunday Times, 22nd April

BRITAIN and America have accused France of mounting a billion-pound export
drive to Iraq that they fear could help Saddam Hussein build weapons of mass

A confidential list of 6,000 contracts signed by Baghdad, obtained by The
Sunday Times, reveals that French companies have agreed to supply Iraq with
chemicals, refrigerated trucks and sophisticated pumps that British security
sources believe could be used to make chemical weapons.

The planned exports - which under United Nations sanctions must be approved
by the security council - also in-clude fast computers and high-speed
communications equipment that could be employed in making missiles.

British and American diplomats are blocking 117 French contracts worth £200m
containing components thought to be of potential use in making missiles or
chemical, nuclear or biological weapons. They are among 965 contracts being
challenged from the 18-month period to February 2001. All but one challenge
has been instigated by officials in London or Washington.

The exports are permitted under the "oil for food" programme set up in 1996
to allow Iraq to buy humanitarian aid from the proceeds of oil sales.

British security sources claim to have uncovered evidence that exports
described as part of farming or school programmes were instead destined for
the Iraqi military.

In February Britain blocked one such £200,000 contract claiming it contained
high-technology valves that were "an essential component of ballistic
missiles". The name and nationality of the exporting company were not clear.

Francis Maude, the shadow foreign secretary, accused Paris last week of
ignoring the dangers of Iraqi rearmament. "The French are engaged in a
massive export programme de signed to enhance their economic power," he
said. "But this should not be a signal for us to abandon these controls."

Of the £10 billion of contracts under consideration, the largest shares are
accounted for by Egyptian companies (worth £1 billion) and by Russian firms
(£975m). French exports, worth £972m, are viewed with the greatest concern,
because many involve high technology.

The list shows £12m of contracts are with British companies as against £8m
for American firms. According to the list, obtained in conjunction with Gulf
States Newsletter, the contentious contracts include a £30,000 deal by Rohm
& Haas France to supply Iraq with water treatment chemicals. It has been
blocked as "dual use" - with military as well as civilian applications. The
company says the chemicals are harmless.

Contracts involving other French companies that have been frozen include a
£900,000 deal to supply chemicals for insecticide and a £4.6m deal for a
sprinkler irrigation system.

Also affected are contracts worth £1m signed by Ensival, a Belgian pump
manufacturer; they include one worth £20,000 that Britain claims could
"provide Iraq with the ability to produce items of chemical weapons and of
nuclear concern".

Ensival refused to comment last week, saying that "sensitive negotiations"
were under way to have the suspensions lifted.

America is blocking a contract for "educational materials and equipment"
from Elettronica Veneta in Italy on the grounds that it includes pressure
controls and transducers that have "nuclear weapons applications".

Another £1.4m contract for transport equipment involving Energomachexport, a
Russian firm, has been frozen because it contains detonators with "nuclear
and missile potential". The company said there was "nothing nuclear or
illegal in any way among our machines".

The dispute over exports coincides with a wider debate over whether
sanctions on Iraq, imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, are still
justified. "With infant mortality doubled in Iraq, these blockages have
caused real suffering," said one French foreign ministry source.

Proceeds from authorised oil sales are paid into a UN account at a bank in
Paris; 72% of the money is used to pay for imports and 25% goes towards
compensating the victims of the invasion of Kuwait.

 by Charles Duelfer

WASHINGTON--Could the United States be at war and not know it? The current
outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom makes one wonder.
Not about Britain's plight specifically: There's nothing to suggest that the
epidemic there is an act of war. But consider how quickly and easily it has
spread. Then consider a regime like Iraq's, which has demonstrated a
commitment to developing biological weapons. Might such a nation find it
advantageous to strike anonymously and biologically by spreading an
economically devastating disease or a slow-acting toxin?

This is not an abstract question. The Iraqi regime insists that the economic
sanctions imposed on it are nothing less than a genocidal attack by the
United States and the United Kingdom. The regime has said it is still
bravely fighting the Persian Gulf War, and that it will respond to the
plight of the Palestinians. It is easy to dismiss these statements as pure

But let's remember that Iraq developed significant weapons capabilities and
has a track record of using them. Iraq acknowledged using 101,000 chemical
munitions in its war with Iran. The regime employed chemical weapons and
possibly biological ones against Iraqi Kurds in the north. Iraq acknowledges
that it conducted extensive research and produced a range of biological
weapons and agents. Among the agents known to have been loaded into warheads
are aflatoxin, a fungal toxin that can cause liver cancer, and wheat-cover
smut, which destroys grain crops. Neither of these is a traditional weapon.
Neither causes immediate death or the incapacitation of an enemy army. Their
ultimate devastating effects are long term and difficult to trace, which
could make them particularly appealing to a rogue nation wishing to avoid

As a U.N. weapons inspector, I and others on the inspection team sent to
Baghdad tried repeatedly to get the regime to explain its intentions for
biological weapons. In September 1995, during a late night meeting with
Iraqi ministers and generals, the Iraqis provided me with long explanations
and a few presidential documents that raised more questions than they
answered. Our experts tried to determine the ultimate fate of these
programs, but were stonewalled. Still, we know that Iraqi researchers
considered combining agents in various ways to either enhance effects or
conceal intent. We know they looked into mixing tear gas with aflatoxin.
Iraq has not explained why it conducted such experiments.

However, if a regime wished to conceal a biological attack, what better way
than this? Victims would suffer the short-term effects of inhaling tear gas
and would assume that this was the totality of the attack: Subsequent
cancers would not be linked to the prior event. And if a slow-developing
disease can't be linked to the event that triggered it, how can a country
prevent such attacks? How can it respond?

Science may be able to address part of this problem. Subtle differences in
varieties of biological agents can be analyzed and traced to certain
regions. Other effects may have signatures that can be observed in victims.
Christine Gosden, a professor of medical genetics at the University of
Liverpool, has been conducting a program of research and humanitarian
assistance in the northern regions of Iraq, where the population and
environment may have been subjected to biological weapons, in addition to
chemical ones.

The long-term genetic, health and environmental effects of these attacks are
significant. Gosden's early work is beginning to suggest that it may be
possible to trace discernible genetic effects back to the specific agents
that caused them. The evidence suggests that Saddam Hussein's army used more
than simply nerve agent and mustard gas against the Kurds. This kind of
analysis could be invaluable in confirming and tracing chemical and
biological attacks.

But it still won't be easy. Let's suppose that Midwestern farmers suddenly
experience a damaging blight of wheat-cover smut. This might be an attack
from Mother Nature. But it might also be a more sinister attack, one from
Iraq or some other nation with a beef against the United States, the last
superpower. Today, it would not be easy to say which.
- - -
Charles Duelfer Is a Guest Scholar at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies and Former Deputy Chairman of the U.n. Special
Commission on Iraq

Times of India, 23rd April

BERLIN: Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is alarmed by a new
threat from weapons being developed in Iraq and Iran, some with the help of
German companies, Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday.

"We are concerned because new chemical weapons are being developed in Iraq,"
BND president August Hanning told the paper in an interview.

"We handed over information on this at a very early stage to UN inspectors
and German authorities. German companies apparently delivered important
components for the production of poison gas to Iraq's Samara plant."

Hanning added that Iran was developing "missiles that in the future could
reach as far as Germany.

"We must assume that these weapons will be ready for use in 2015 at the
latest," he said.

Hanning said he was also concerned by a booming trade in organised smuggling
of illegal immigrants to Germany.

"In Turkey, more money is already being made from immigrant smuggling as in
the drug trade.

"More than 150,000 illegal immigrants per year come above all from Iraq, and
increasingly from Africa and China." (AFP)

Orlando Sentinel, April 29, 2001

Iraq tested a bomb in 1987 that cast a radioactive cloud in the open air and
was designed to cause vomiting, cancer, birth defects and slow death,
according to a secret Iraqi report on the weaponıs construction and testing.

Radiation sickness from the bomb, the document said, would "weaken enemy
units from the standpoint of health and inflict losses that would be
difficult to explain, possibly producing a psychological effect." Death, it
added, might occur "within two to six weeks."

The bomb, 12 feet long and weighing more than a ton, according to the
document, could be dropped on areas used by troops, industrial centers,
airports, railroad stations, bridges and "any other areas the command

While Iraqıs effort to build a radiological weapon has been known for
several years, the 1987 report sheds light on the secret effort. The New
York Times obtained the document from the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms
Control, a private group in Washington that said it acquired it from a U.N.

Radiation or radiological weapons, sometimes known as "dirty nukes," are the
poor cousins of nuclear arms. Their conventional high explosives scatter
highly radioactive materials to poison targets rather than destroying them
with blast and heat. Their effects on people can range from radiation
sickness to agonizingly slow death, which is why military experts often see
them as ethically bankrupt.

"It shows what kind of guy weıre dealing with," said Gary Milhollin, the
groupıs director, of the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein. The bomb, he added,
was "nasty stuff meant to kill people over a long period of time" and thus,
he said, "crossed the line into moral barbarism."

It was basically a dud, however, Milhollin said, and that caused the Iraqis
to scrap the project. The radiation levels were considered too low to
achieve the grisly objectives.

The episode nonetheless "shows Iraqıs intention" to develop weapons of mass
destruction, he added. The official who disclosed the document, Milhollin
said, is "concerned that Saddam is going to get the bomb."

The United Nations rarely discloses documents gathered in Iraq, but David
Albright, formerly a nuclear inspector in Iraq, said he had seen the
document and that he did not doubt it is authentic.

He and other experts agreed that the document, which is to be posted on a
Web site Monday, gives away no secrets that could aid weapons development
and gives no indication that the project was a resounding failure.

Nuclear experts say that Iraq today neither has programs to develop
radiological weapons nor the reactors needed to make radioactive materials
for them, and no fuel for nuclear arms. But the inspectors are largely gone,
and experts worry that Iraq may be shopping for bomb fuel and parts on the
black market.


Associated Press, 23rd April

Iraq and Kazakstan won World Cup qualifiers Monday, forcing a showdown later
this week for a spot in the Asian finals.

Iraq beat Nepal 4-2 and Kazakstan defeated Macau 5-0 in a doubleheader at
Almaty, Kazakstan.

Going into their Wednesday matchup, which will determine first place in
Group Six, Iraq and Kazakstan are both 4-0-1, but Iraq is ahead on goal
difference: plus 23 to plus 18.

Group Seven play began Monday with a doubleheader at Tashkent. Uzbekistan
routed visiting Taiwan 7-0 as Dzhafar Irismetov scored four goals and
Turkmenistan beat Jordan 2 0.

The group winners join Bahrain, Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the
10-nation Asian finals, which will produce two qualifiers for the 2002
tournament in Japan and South Korea.

Iraq took a 3-0 lead when Haidar Jassim scored in the 27th minute, Abdul
Wahab Abolheel converted a penalty kick in the 30th following a hand ball in
the penalty area and Emad Ridha scored in the 32nd.

Nari Khadka scored for Nepal (1-4)in the 37th, but Amer Mhasen made it 4-1
in the 53rd. Naritan Ramachi got the final goal in the 62nd.

In the opener, Kazakstan defeated Macau (0-5) behind two goals each from
Igor Avdeyev (53rd and 72nd minutes) and Dmitry Byakov (49th and 70th) plus
another from Konstantin Gorovenko (83rd).

Turkmenistan won the opener of its doubleheader on goals by Jamadurdy
Marevov in the 52nd and Redjepmurad Magamayev in the 81st.

In the second game, Irismetov scored in the third, 23rd, 68th and 74th
minutes for Uzbekistan, which also got goals from Alexei Dionisiyev (21st),
Vladimir Maminov (35th) and Georgy Georgiyev (43rd).

Baghdad, Reuters, 24th April

Iraq's parliament recommended yesterday that April 28, President Saddam
Hussein's birthday, be made an annual national holiday, the Iraqi News
Agency INA said. "Members of the parliament have agreed on a recommendation
that regards the birthday of President Saddam Hussein as a holiday and
national occasion," the agency said.

It said the MPs' decision was an "appreciation of the president's role in
leading the Iraqi people in the most difficult time that is confronting
aggressors and their conspiratory plots against Iraq and its people.
"...Under the leadership of the president Iraq, was able to repulse the
aggressors who were doomed to fail," INA added.

Saddam has ruled Iraq since 1979, leading the country through the 1980-1988
war with Iran and then the Gulf War, in which U.S.-led forces evicted Iraqi
troops from Kuwait in early 1991. Despite more than a decade of UN sanctions
and frequent U.S. and British air strikes in northern and southern Iraq, he
retains an iron grip on power.

Parliament's recommendation has to be approved by Iraq's highest authority,
the Revolutionary Command Council, before it can be implemented. Iraq is
preparing big celebrations for Saddam's 64th birthday on Saturday with
street parties, exhibitions, concerts and a festival in his home town of
Tikrit, north of Baghdad.

Los Angeles Times, 24th April (Associated Press)

AMMAN, Jordan--Jordan's ambassador to Iraq was carjacked by three armed men
on an Iraqi highway last week, Jordanian officials said Tuesday.

Hmoud Qatarneh reached the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad safely after three
assailants intercepted his car on the highway and sped away in it, the
officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The envoy was returning to Baghdad from a vacation in Jordan.

Jordanian newspapers published a similar account Tuesday, quoting a report
carried by the official Petra news agency late Monday.

The officials disclosed little other information, such as the vehicle's
contents, how Qatarneh made it to Baghdad, and the day and time of the

The robbery happened last week in Iraq on a 620 -mile highway linking the
Jordanian capital Amman with Baghdad, officials said, adding that
investigations were continuing.

The highway has been the main lifeline to Iraq since 1990, when
international flights to and from the country were banned under U.N.
sanctions imposed after its invasion of Kuwait.

In the past few years, Iraqi highway bandits have reportedly staged
occasional robberies and killings. At least six Jordanian motorists have
been robbed or killed.

The Jordanian diplomatic pouch was snatched by highway thieves several years



PRAGUE, Czech Republic (Associated Press, 26th April) ‹ The Czech Foreign
Ministry said Thursday it has expelled an Iraqi diplomat, prompting Iraq to
retaliate by kicking out one Czech diplomat.

The ministry said in a statement that Iraqi consul Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim
Samir Al-Ani was pronounced persona non grata on April 19 ``due to his
activities that are incompatible with his status as a diplomat.''

According to the statement, Iraq announced Thursday it was expelling the
radio operator of the Czech Embassy in Baghdad. The statement gave no
details on the activities of the Iraqi consul.

Kuwait, Reuters, 27th April

A senior Spanish official said yesterday modifying UN sanctions would weaken
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's hold on power and called for allowing
foreign investment in Iraq.

Visiting Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Miguel Nadal told a news
conference in Kuwait City that he felt from his visit to Iraq earlier this
year that the ruling class was "comfortable" with sanctions imposed since
Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

In January, Nadal became the first Spanish official to visit Iraq since the
1991 Gulf War ended Baghdad's seven-month occupation of Kuwait. Nadal, who
arrived from Saudi Arabia, also said the sanctions needed to be modified to
achieve their goals, adding that they have "tremendous, dramatic effects on
the Iraqi population, which is not one of the objectives..."

"Analysing the situation of the Iraqi regime, our impression is that the
more fresh air gets into a country the better it is for the normalisation of
the situation of Iraq and weakening of the power of the regime itself," he
said in English.

"Fresh air means keeping an eye on the sanctions...and as much economic
normality in the country as possible and we see investors going in and
trade...because this will be the way to reinforce civil society...and
(create) a counter-balance to the monopoly of power now by the regime," he

Spain shared its views on sanctions with Washington in talks there last
month as the U.S. administration formulates a new policy of "smart

Times of India, 29th April

VATICAN CITY: Pope John Paul II called on Saturday for an end to Iraq's
suffering, saying the decade-old UN embargo and effects of a "destructive"
war were hurting the weakest.

The pontiff, who has frequently spoken out against economic sanctions on
Iraq, Cuba and other countries, made the comments during a meeting with
Iraq's new ambassador to the Vatican, Abdul-Amir Al-Anbari.

"As the embargo in your country continues to claim victims, I renew my
appeal to the international community that innocent people should not be
made to pay the consequences of a destructive war whose effects are still
being felt by those who are weakest and most vulnerable," John Paul said.

The 80-year-old pope also used the occasion to urge greater dialogue in Iraq
between Muslims and Christians and to subtly call on the Baghdad authorities
to respect those of different faiths.

"It is the obligation of every government to ensure that the equality of all
citizens before the law is never violated for religious reasons, whether
openly or covertly," the pontiff said.

John Paul told the ambassador that one of the Vatican's top priorities was
to remind public opinion that no government or policy has the right to
"reduce" human beings to merely what they can do or produce.

"The inalienable rights and personal dignity of every human being must be
upheld, the transcendent dimension of the human person must be defended,"
the pope said.

The UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Iraq after Baghdad's 1990
invasion of Kuwait. The council has said the embargo won't be lifted until
Iraq has destroyed its weapons of mass destruction.

John Paul had planned to travel to Iraq at the start of his Holy Year
celebrations last year, but Baghdad cancelled a trip, claiming it was unable
to organise the visit. (AP)


by Vikram Dodd
The Guardian, Wednesday April 25, 2001

The government has secretly decided to order Iraqi Kurds seeking refuge from
the war-torn country out of Britain, the Guardian has learned.

The Home Office has admitted to an unannounced "change of practice" in the
way it assesses asylum claims from Iraqi Kurds who say they are fleeing
Saddam Hussein and conflict in the region.

This has led to a dramatic increase in the refusal rate. In February, the
last month for which figures are available, 78% of Iraqi applicants were
refused asylum or exceptional leave to remain, compared with 14% in July
2000. The refusals peaked in October when 91.4% of those seeking asylum were
ordered out of Britain.

Amnesty International last night accused the government of putting its
efforts to clamp down on asylum claims ahead of its duties under
international guidelines to shield people fleeing persecution.

The Home Office says part of northern Iraq, which it calls the Kurdish
autonomous area, is safe for the asylum seekers, as it is under control of
Kurdish groups. But in some cases Iraqis from outside the safe area are
being ordered out of Britain. In one case a man who says he was tortured
after defying President Saddam was told that Jack Straw, the home secretary,
regarded his case as one of "prosecution not persecution" and his arrest as
having a "valid cause".

Some of the Iraqis ordered out of Britain say they will commit suicide
rather than be sent back.

Critics say the change in policy is hypocritical, considering that Britain
joined the US in bombing Iraq in January, citing as a justification the
continuing danger its leader poses.

A Home Office spokesman said: "There has been a change of practice rather
than a change of policy towards asylum seekers from the Kurdish autonomous
area of northern Iraq. The Home Office country assessment on which case
workers base their decisions has reflected the fact that the Kurdish
northern autonomous area is regarded as safe for certain Iraqi Kurds by the
Home Office and the office of the United Nations high commissioner for

"To that end the government is in the process of exploring the options to
return Iraqi citizens of Kurdish origin to northern Iraq."

A spokeswoman for the UNHCR, Hope Hanlan, said: "A case-by-case approach is
warranted. You can't guarantee the safety of anyone going back ... We do not
pronounce ourselves on the safety of any country."

A spokesman for Amnesty said: "We weren't told of the change, it was noticed
by us and other groups. The Home Office can call it what it wishes, a change
of policy or practice - it's a bogus distinction."

The deportations cannot be enforced yet as there are no direct flights to
the parts of Iraq not controlled by President Saddam. Control of northern
Iraq falls between three groups, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the
Kurdistan Democratic party and the Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan. Some
of those refused asylum say they are fleeing these groups.

One man who says he fled President Saddam was arrested twice in Dora, an
area controlled by the Iraqi dictator. The man, a power plant engineer, says
he tried to resist an order to cut power to Kurdish parts of Iraq. He was
suspended, arrested and tortured with electric shocks, beatings and mock

The Home Office's refusal letter said: "The secretary of state considers
your claim to be an example of prosecution not persecution. In order to
qualify for asylum under the terms of the 1951 United Nations convention ...
you would need to be able to show that you would not receive a fair trial or
that any punishment you might receive as a result of a conviction would be
disproportionate for reasons of race, nationality, membership of a
particular social group or political opinion. The secretary of state
considers that you have failed to demonstrate that you would be treated
unfairly for any of these reasons."

Ali Namik, 28, says he fled Halabja, a city controlled by the Islamic
Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan, after the IMIK persecuted him for owning a
video shop selling western films, and for being a communist: "I was tortured
psychologically and physically. I was beaten up, sometimes with cables,
sometimes for an hour they would beat me.

"They're going to kill me, I know what they're like. I won't let them kill
me, I'll kill myself."

Ali Rahimi, a solicitor who says he has had 100 Iraqi clients refused asylum
since October, said: "Returning to Iraq ... is absolutely terrifying for
them. People can not believe what they see in the refusal letters. All they
see is that this government is proposing to send them back to Iraq, the same
government that has been in a state of war with Iraq for the last 10 years."

by Lisa Bryant, Paris, 24 Apr 2001 

The French government says it will launch a study into the health effects of
the Persian Gulf war on French soldiers who served in the battles almost a
decade ago.

A newly released report by a panel of French experts recommends that 25,000
French military personnel should be studied for signs of the so-called Gulf
War Syndrome.

Findings of the 135-page report, presented to France's Defense and Health
ministries by a government health office, concluded there is no hard
evidence of symptoms to suggest a health syndrome linked to the 1991 war
against Iraq.

But the report says medical symptoms and complaints were higher among the
Gulf War veterans than among the rest of the French population.

In televised remarks following the report, French Defense Minister Alain
Richard indicated the government would follow the panel's recommendations.

Mr. Richard said even if very few signs existed of health complaints, it was
necessary to conduct a medical questionnaire on all 25,000 French personnel
who served in the multinational force that fought against Iraq.

The French defense minister said the government should launch an in-depth
study of multiple health symptoms that may have been reported and take the
proper precautions.

Thousands of British, U.S. and Canadian Gulf War veterans have also
complained of health problems, including chronic fatigue, skin problems,
nausea, and headaches.

Soldiers at the time had been vaccinated against possible Iraqi use of
chemical or biological weapons. One study by British researchers suggested
the symptoms could have been caused by stress and medical injections given
to soldiers during the conflict. But other reports have found no conclusive
medical links.

A press release by the French Defense Ministry said a study into the
military deaths of Gulf War veterans would also extend to personnel who
served in the Balkans. In recent months, European governments have launched
inquiries into possible health hazards of depleted uranium weapons on
soldiers who fought in Bosnia and Kosovo.

A team of U.N. experts concluded that the risk of contamination from
depleted-uranium ammunition used in the Kosovo conflict was low.

by Philip Delves Broughton in New York
Daily Telegraph, 25th April

THE bizarre rituals of one of America's most exclusive clubs, which counts
both President Bush and his father among its members, have been laid bare by
a hidden camera.

The all-male Skull and Bones club at Yale University has long been held up
as an example of the powerful cabals that run America from behind the
scenes. Fifteen new members in their final year at Yale are initiated
annually and remain in the club for life.

Besides the Presidents Bush, the club has among its members Wall Street
businessmen, ambassadors, politicians and judges. Soon after he entered the
White House, George W Bush held a private dinner for his year of Bonesmen,
as they are called.

The initiation rites at the club, however, have always been a mystery.
Initiates simply disappeared into The Tomb, the club's gothic building at
Yale, and emerged as Bonesmen, set up with a network that would see them
through life.

A night-vision camera, however, planted by fellow students at Yale caught
this year's initiation. For Mr Bush, it will reinforce his image as an
establishment scion rather than man of the people.

It shows one member posing as George W Bush, wearing a cape and speaking in
a Texas twang threatening an initiate: "I'm gonna kill you like I killed Al
Gore!" Initiates are then seen kneeling and kissing a skull at the feet of
the members, while they are bombarded with sexual insults and shouts of "Run

The group then joins in chanting the Skull and Bones mantra, part of the
ritual since the club's founding in 1856: "The Hangman Equals Death/The
Devil Equals Death/Death Equals Death."

During the initiation, new members undergo a mock throat-cutting ceremony
and then take turns to lie in a coffin and recount their personal and sexual
histories to forge a bond of secrecy within the club. Having died as
"barbarians" they step from the coffin reborn as members of "The Order".


AFP, London, 26th April

British police are probing war crimes allegations made against Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein over the 1990/91 Gulf conflict, they said yesterday.

The investigation centres on more than 4,500 Britons taken hostage in Iraq
and Kuwait in 1990 at the start of the Gulf War.

Evidence collated by the London-based group Indict, which campaigns for the
indictment of Iraqi war criminals, was earlier given to Attorney General
Lord Gareth Williams of Mostyn.

Although he concluded there was insufficient evidence to bring charges, he
referred the case to Scotland Yard for further investigation.

"These documents are being considered and advice is being sought as to what,
if any, further action is practicable," a police spokesman said.

Ann Clwyd, Indict's chairwoman and a member of parliament for Britain's
ruling Labour Party, said there was a sound case against Saddam Hussein and
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz.

"Our lawyers tell us that we have got sufficient evidence, more than
sufficient evidence, to provide a realistic prospect of conviction of Saddam
Hussein and Tareq Aziz on charges of hostage-taking... so we are very
optimistic," she told BBC radio.

"The deficiency in the Iraqi case is that there is no international tribunal
set up by the (UN) Security Council... so in the absence of that we have
been collecting the evidence.

"We have just three researchers, but over the last 18 months they have
collected evidence from all over the world, documentary evidence, video
evidence, sworn statements from victims and so on.

"We believe that Saddam Hussein and Tareq Aziz in fact are not immune from

When Iraq invaded its oil-rich neighbour Kuwait in August 1990 hundreds of
British civilians were trapped and moved to strategic installations as
"human shields."

The captives included about 360 passengers on board a flight from London to
Kuala Lumpur, which landed in Kuwait just minutes before Iraqi troops
crossed the border.

The passengers were held for more than five months. Soon after the invasion
the Foreign Office protested at the reported rape of a British woman.

One woman later told how her 13-year-old son was marched from their home
with a rocket launcher held at his head.

Former hostage Joe Wild, a 63-year-old marine consultant who was working as
an adviser to the Kuwaiti navy, said he spent 33 days in hiding before being
captured, beaten and taken to a prison camp close to a chemical warfare
plant, where he suffered a heart attack.

He was later freed with other sick hostages.

Some hostages said they had found it difficult rebuilding their lives and
became frustrated while trying to get compensation. Many were also left with
psychological scars. Some committed suicide.

by Hazhir Teimourian
The Scotsman, 26th April

Since Pol Pot died at the hands of his own revolutionary children in
Cambodia in 1998, Saddam Hussein has had no rival for the title of the
worldıs worst living killer.

Yet he continues to enjoy a life of luxury of which the caliphs of Baghdad
in The Arabian Nights 1,300 years ago would rightly have envied.

Since the end of the war that ousted his forces from Kuwait, Saddam has
built himself at least 38 new palaces and mansions. He and his cronies have
the use of one of the best equipped hospitals in the Middle East. While
their Iraqi subjects suffer and sometimes die from lack of medicine, he and
his partners in crime have taken holidays abroad and enjoyed medical
treatment in European countries like Austria.

According to the British Government, Saddamıs new freedom to sell oil in
unlimited amounts has allowed him to amass £5 billion that lies unspent in
banks. Meanwhile most of the medical equipment and medicines taken into Iraq
by the UN is smuggled abroad to be sold for more cash on the black markets
of Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Iran.

He is without doubt the worst tyrant in the history of Mesopotamia, going
all the way back to Babylon and its sister state Assyria. As in Assyria in
particular - where people were regularly skinned alive - he owes his
survival to his readiness to use extreme cruelty.

I estimate that he has caused the deaths of more people than did Genghis
Khan and Tamberlane in the 13th and 14th centuries put together (although to
be fair, this is not because those two Mongols were kindlier than Saddam -
the population of the Middle East was much smaller in those times).

The decision of the British Attorney General, Lord Williams, to refer
evidence of war crimes to Scotland Yard for review will blunt the criticism
of those people in the Middle East who accused the British of double
standards on human rights.

While it is true that the crimes committed under Slobodan Milosevicıs rule
in the Balkans are minor compared to those committed by Saddam Hussein and
his regime since 1968, the critics did not appreciate that there were no
legal mechanisms in place in the world to bring tyrants to book.

The Baghdad regime knows now that as far as the British and Americans are
concerned, there will never be a rehabilitation. The European Community,
including the reluctant French, will have to follow suit.

A great deal of the credit must go to people like Ann Clwyd, the MP who
founded the organisation Indict several years ago with the aim of widening
the net on war criminals prosecutions to include such regimes as Iraq.

Unlike some of her colleagues in the Labour Party, Ms Clwyd stuck to
principles and did not get into bed with tyrants.

It should be no surprise that Scotland Yard has been asked to investigate
relatively minor crimes against Saddam. Governments and international courts
sometimes start with minor charges, to be on firm ground before they widen
the scope of their investigation. There is no shortage of evidence for
Scotland Yard to dig up. Apart from reports of the rape of British Airways
stewardesses in Kuwait by Saddamıs soldiers, which now fall within the scope
of war crimes, I know of at least one Iraqi woman who survived the gas
attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja in March 1988.

More than 6,000 civilians, mainly the elderly and young, died during that
single attack. This woman refugee who survived her wounds will continue to
suffer, like 30,000 other injured, for the rest of her life. This woman now
lives in Britain and has become a British subject. I understand that new war
crimes laws will apply to her case as well.

All suffering inflicted upon the "human shields" as hostages will fall
within the scope of war crimes because they were merely the subjects of
another country that happened to be moving towards war with Saddamıs

Some people will say that it is unlikely that Saddam Hussein will personally
be punished by the courts. But in the first instance, this new measure will
make it much more difficult for his ministers and his commanders to move
around the world as freely as they do today.

It embarrasses their friends such as the Russians and Chinese to be seen
shaking hands with people such as Tareq Aziz, the foreign minister. As for
Saddam himself, while he has lasted a long time by any standards, he can
never be sure that the Iraqi people will not finally wreak their revenge on

In that case, unlike Idi Amin, the former dictator of Uganda, who lingers in
ignominious exile in Saudi Arabia, he will find it almost impossible to find
refuge anywhere. Tonight the Babylonian tyrant will sleep less easily.

Hazhir Teimourian is a writer on the Middle East.

by Nick Parker
The Sun, 26th April

THEY are short-staffed, up to their necks in unsolved crimes and drowning in
a sea of paperwork.

But the Metropolitan Police have been asked to use precious manpower to
investigate Saddam Hussein's war crimes.

A pressure group headed by Labour MP Ann Clwyd has compiled a dossier on the
Iraqi tyrant's atrocities before and during the 1991 Gulf War.

Now the Attorney-General has told the London force to investigate the claims
with a view to bringing charges against Saddam - even though they have
almost no chance of securing a conviction.

The move, which could cost a fortune in police man hours, comes at a time
when the hard pressed Met has more than 40 unsolved murders under

They include the brutal killing of 10-year-old Damilola Taylor on an estate
in Peckham, South London.

And robberies and muggings rocketed 18 per cent last year, topping the
50,000 mark for the first time.

Despite this, the force is being driven to CUT BACK on beat patrols as
officers stay behind desks to cope with mountains of paperwork.

Stations are so swamped that officers have been forced to abandon many
routine chores like checks on drivers' documents.

The Met's Commissioner Sir John Stevens said recently: "We have had to take
200 officers off the street to do office duties and deal with things like
999 calls to ensure we provide a proper service.

"What happens is that visible patrolling on the street declines because of
the priorities and increased demands."

The Saddam probe is already being considered by police legal teams and
advisers, even though police coffers are being drained as they pore over the
details in the dossier which was handed over by Indict.

But Mrs Clwyd, chairman of the London-based Indict group, is campaigning for
the prosecution of Iraqi war criminals including Saddam and his foreign
minister Tariq Aziz, his chief henchman and spokesman during the Gulf War.

The group, which is funded by the US Congress, won Labour Government support
in 1998.

It is focusing on events in 1990 when 4,500 Britons were taken hostage
before the Gulf War.

It also wants Saddam prosecuted for gassing Kurds in 1988 and allegedly
trying to assassinate former US President George Bush in 1993.

But experts have already warned that Saddam would claim immunity from
prosecution because he is Iraq's head of state.

The Attorney-General, Lord Williams of Mostyn, has decided that Indict has
not produced enough evidence to bring charges but has STILL insisted on
referring the case to Scotland Yard for further investigation.

Norman Brennan, spokesman for the Victims Of Crime Trust and a serving
policeman, said: "I find this move astonishing. It's madder than Saddam

"The Attorney-General must be fully aware of the pressures already on the
Met yet he has passed the buck for blatantly political reasons.

"We haven't enough officers to investigate burglaries, yet we're being asked
to waste manpower on this nonsense.

"It's a face-saving exercise that will put more pressure on a force already
at breaking point."

Mudhafar Amin, head of the Israeli Interest Section in London, said: "This
is just a political manoeuvre as part of the campaign to keep up sanctions
against Iraq."

A police source said: "There is a great deal of anger that an issue like
this has been shoved into the Met's hands.

"The timing could not be worse when resources are stretched like never
before and fear of street crime is so high.

"I have little doubt that the issue will be sidelined now the Met's
involvement has been made public.

"It must rank at the very bottom of our list of priorities. But it was a
pretty low trick to pass the buck to us in the first place."

But MP Mrs Clwyd last night insisted that there was a sound case against
Saddam and Aziz.

She said: "Our lawyers tell us that we have more than sufficient evidence to
provide a realistic prospect of conviction.

"Over the last 18 months our researchers have collected documentary
evidence, video evidence and sworn statements from victims.

"We believe that Saddam Hussain and Tariq Aziz are not immune from

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