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News 22-28/4/01 (2) IRAQI WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTIONı * 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 ... ] LIFE IN IRAQ * Iraq, Kazakstan to World Cup Finals * Iraqi MPs recommend Saddam's birthday a holiday * Jordanian Ambassador to Iraq Robbed IRAQ/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Czech Republic Ousts Iraqi Diplomat [no explanation why] * Spain urges easing of sanctions against Iraq * Pope calls for an end to Iraq's suffering MISCELLANEOUS * 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 Skull & Bones Clubı may be had at http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/8425/BONES.HTM] CHILDRENıS CORNER * 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 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.ı Gosh. The article continues: I 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] IRAQI WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTIONı http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2001/04/22/stifgneur03003.html * FRENCH 'WEAPONS GRADE' EXPORTS TO IRAQ BLOCKED 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 destruction. 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/comment/20010422/t000033972.html * SUPPOSE THEY GAVE A WAR AND NOBODY KNEW 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 bluster. 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 retaliation. 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 http://www.timesofindia.com/230401/23euro1.htm * GERMAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEF WARNS OF IRAQI, IRANIAN WEAPONS THREAT 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) http://orlandosentinel.com/news/orl-asec-iraqbomb 042901.story?coll=orl%2Dnews%2Dprint%2Dasec * IRAQ TESTED RADIOACTIVE BOMB 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 decrees." 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. official. 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. LIFE IN IRAQ http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010423/sp/soc_world_cup_rdp_2.html * IRAQ, KAZAKSTAN TO WORLD CUP FINALS 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). http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=15401 * IRAQI MPS RECOMMEND SADDAM'S BIRTHDAY A HOLIDAY 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. http://www.latimes.com/wires/winternat/20010424/tCB00V2567.html * JORDANIAN AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ ROBBED 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 robbery. 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 ago. IRAQ/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=6898939&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * CZECH REPUBLIC OUSTS IRAQI DIPLOMAT (English) 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. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=15625 * SPAIN URGES EASING OF SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ 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 added. Spain shared its views on sanctions with Washington in talks there last month as the U.S. administration formulates a new policy of "smart sanctions". http://www.timesofindia.com/290401/29euro6.htm * POPE CALLS FOR AN END TO IRAQ'S SUFFERING 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) MISCELLANEOUS http://www.guardian.co.uk/Refugees_in_Britain/Story/0,2763,478073,00.html * SECRET U-TURN TO SEND KURDS BACK 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 refugees. "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 execution. 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." http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=BDA88CBD-38D3-11D5 841900508BF9712A&Title=France%20to%20Study%20%27Gulf%20War%20Syndrome%27 * FRANCE TO STUDY 'GULF WAR SYNDROME' 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. http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=004682140446857&rtmo=VD86SqDK&atmo=rrrrr rrq&pg=/et/01/4/25/wclub25.html * BIZARRE SECRETS OF BUSH CLUB EXPOSED 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 Neophytes". 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". CHILDRENıS CORNER http://www.dailystarnews.com/200104/26/n1042613.htm#BODY6 * BRITISH POLICE PROBING WAR CRIMES ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SADDAM 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 prosecution." 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. http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/world.cfm?id=67072&keyword=the * TONIGHT, THE BABYLONIAN TYRANT WILL SLEEP LESS EASY 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 government. 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 him. 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. http://www.the-sun.co.uk/news/13628341 * WHY IS YARD CHASING SADDAM? 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 investigation. 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 himself. "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 prosecution." -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk