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News, 13-19/5/01 (1)

News, 13-19/5/01 (1)

This badly out of date news compilation is the first in a series designed to
cover the period over the past couple of weeks when I was travelling and my
computer broke down. The UN Security Council proposal to reform the
sanctions system and the Iraqi response will be rather under-represented in
these mailings, but it has been extensively discussed in other material sent
to the list.


*  Iran Opposition claims attack in Tehran
*  2,000 Iranians seek damages from Iraq [through the Gulf War compensation
*  Syria set to open office in Iraq
*  Arab free trade areas, new addition inter-Arab cooperation [Egypt,
Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia]
*  Iraq, Iran negotiate resumption of air links


*  EU approves euro 13m aid package to Iraq


*  Seized ships continue to smuggle Iraqi oil
*  Swiss to Investigate Glencore [over diversion of oil from US to Croatia.
The mystery of why Iraq should sell oil more cheaply to the US than to
Croatia still isn¹t explained]


*  Escaped Iraqi footballer tells of the team run on torture
*  Iraq sees US hand behind anti-Pokemon campaign [improbable story of the
week - PB]
*  Iraq blames sanctions for 9,000 deaths in April
*  Iraqi gunman in UN murders granted [yet another - PB] delay on verdict


*  Changes Likely for Iraq's 'No-Fly' Zones
*  U.S. jets hit Iraqi missile site


*  Activist Berrigan Calls Oklahoma City War Atrocity [not terribly relevant
to Iraq but interesting and impressive nonetheless]
*  End the Iraq war [views of Hans von Sponeck]

AND IN NEWS, 13-19/5/01 (2)


*  For Bush, the Sanctions Conundrum
*  Iraq threatens to stop oil sales to Jordan, Turkey
*  Britain Urges Lifting Iraq Sanctions

A Dawn Anthology. Four articles from the Pakistani paper, not generally
immediately relevant to Iraq but interesting on US policy in general:
*  US-India strategic alliance [India¹s surprising support for the American
National Missile Defense proposal]
*  Poor Afghans, defiant Taliban [article which, without actually supporting
the Taliban, expresses admiration for their spirited opposition to US
*  Bush's indefensible missile plan [on the absurdities of the NMD.  Reminds
us of the paranoia about Soviet nuclear attack in the US in the early days
of the Cold War, which in turn reminds me of the Œparanoia¹ attributed to
Enver Hoxha about the possibility of a US attack on Albania - now fully
occupied by the US to their heart¹s content]
*  America's most shameful secret [astonishing story I didn¹t know about the
Israeli attack on an American spy ship, the USS Liberty, in the early days
of the 1967 Arab Israeli war]
*  Nonsense About Missile Defense [more on the absurdities of the NMD, from
Thomas Friedman who however blandly states that in the event of any real
imminent threat from a Œrogue state¹, ³we would preempt¹. Isn¹t that what
the Japanese did at Pearl Harbour?]


Times of India, 13th May

NICOSIA: Iran's principal armed Opposition, the People's Mujahedeen, said it
attacked the headquarters of two government organizations at a conference
centre in Tehran with mortars and grenades Friday night, inflicting heavy
casualties and damage.

In a statement faxed to AFP in Nicosia Saturday, the Mujahedeen said it
struck the Islamic Culture and Communications Organization (ICCO) and the
headquarters of the state security forces' counter-intelligence operations
at the Khomeini complex in the Abbas Abbad district of northern Tehran.

It said the targets were hit with "mortars, grenade-launching guns and
rifle-launched grenades" at 8:30 pm (1600 GMT).

The Iraq-based Mujahedeen said "heavy damage and casualties were inflicted"
on the ICCO headquarters, and that "flames and smoke could be seen from a

The Mujahedeen, which frequently claims attacks on targets inside Iran, said
the latest operation was in response to what it said was the "brutal
assault" on people in the northern city of Sari.

The statement said "residents and young people" in Sari had staged a protest
and clashed with security forces after the roof of the city's football
stadium collapsed on Sunday.

An estimated 30,000 were packed into Sari's Mottaqi stadium, built to hold
no more than half that number, when the northwest stand collapsed during a
football match. Two people were killed and another 287 injured.

The Mujahedeen said Revolutionary Guards opened fire on the protesters, and
that a number of people were killed or wounded, and a large number of young
people arrested.

The ICCO is a powerful conservative-dominated organization in Islamic Iran,
run by Ayatollah Ali Tashkiri and responsible for cultural relations with
monotheistic religions abroad.

It frequently organizes conferences to which international personalities are

However, the Mujahedeen claims that the ICCO has as one of its main tasks
the recruitment of non-Iranian Muslims for "terrorist operations" against
resistance activists or foreign targets abroad." (AFP)

Times of India, 13th May

TEHRAN: Some 2,000 Iranians have filed to claim war reparations for losses
they suffered in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion that sparked the Gulf War,
the official IRNA news agency reported Saturday.

Citing the interior ministry, it said a team of experts was in the southern
Iranian city of Shiraz to investigate the claims, which would be passed on
to the United Nations if accepted by Tehran.

A large Iranian community, mostly from Fars province where Shiraz is
located, lived in Kuwait and ohter Persian Gulf nations but many fled
following Iraq's 1990 invasion. (AFP)


DAMASCUS, Syria, May 13 (UPI, 13th May) -- Syria was to open an office to
protect its interests in Baghdad this week, according to a Syrian
well-informed source on Sunday.

The source told United Press International that Mohhamed Hassan al-Tawab,
who has the rank of minister plenipotentiary,  "will be the head of this
office."  He said the move indicates the "growing trade relations" between
Syria and Iraq.

Iraq has opened an interests office in Damascus in March of last year while
the United States showed dissatisfaction over the development of
Syrian-Iraqi relations.

Syria has repeatedly called and emphasized the need for lifting the
U.N.-imposed embargo on Iraq. The volume of trade exchange between the two
countries reaches $500 million.

Arabic News, 15th May

Secretary General of the Arab Economic Unity Council Ahmed Goweili termed
the agreement on the establishment of a free trade area among Egypt, Jordan,
Morocco and Tunisia as a "new addition" to inter-Arab cooperation on the
road to an Arab common market.

Speaking to MENA on Monday, Goweili pointed out that this active drive by
the four countries adds a new model to the one already existing inside the
council, grouping Syria, Libya, Iraq and Egypt.

"Those drives at the level of Arab economy come within the context of
proceeding towards the projected common Arab market and all aim at achieving
Arab-Arab economic integration and raising inter-Arab trade rates," he

"Arab economic integration and the hoped-for common Arab market could be
effected in full if all restrictions and obstacles hindering Arab trade flow
are removed and trade movement among Arab countries is liberalized," he

"Participants at the council's coming session, to be held in Baghdad in
June, will agree to the establishment of the Arab federation for Information
Technology (IT) to be the 27th Arab qualitative one," he added. "Conferees
will also review a new vision for trade and economic conditions for the
coming twenty years," he said.

"Dimensions and impact of world trade agreements on the Arab world and the
Euro Mediterranean partnership will also be debated," he added.

Times of India, 16th May

BAGHDAD: Iraq and Iran are negotiating a resumption of air links that were
broken off more than 20 years ago when the two neighbours went to war, a
newspaper reported Tuesday.

Al-Rafidain, quoting a transport ministry source, said Iran and Iraq - which
fought a 1980 1988 conflict and have yet to sign a peace treaty - were
planning two regular flights a week.

As part of a campaign to restore a normal service despite the sanctions
regime in force since Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Baghdad also plans air
links with other neighbours, including Turkey, the paper said.

Jordan's deputy premier and transport minister, Saleh Rcheidat, said Sunday
that national carrier Royal Jordanian was to resume regular flights to
Baghdad "in the first week of June."

But organisation of the flights still depends on UN approval.

Despite the embargo, dozens of Arab and European planes have touched down in
Iraq since the August 2000 reopening of Baghdad airport, amid disagreement
between UN Security Council members over interpretation of the embargo.


Irish Times, 18th May

The European Commission said today it would spend 13 million euros on
providing clean drinking water, improving hospitals and other aid in Iraq.

Some of the money, to be spent over the next year, will go to orphanages and
schools and to vaccinating 3.5 million children against polio.

The Commission will finance nine projects in central and southern Iraq,
which will be run by aid groups and United Nations' agencies.

The Commission said the humanitarian package was one of the biggest it had
ever approved for Iraq. It was given 50 percent more funding than last
year's humanitarian aid package.

Iraq said on Tuesday nearly 9,000 people, mostly children, had died in a
single month this year because of diseases it blames on a decade of
sanctions which the UN imposed on Iraq after its 1991 invasion of Kuwait.

The EU is the biggest aid donor to Iraq and has, since the end of the Gulf
War in 1991, donated 273 million euros for humanitarian operations in the


by Nissar Hoath
Gulf News, 14th May

One of two over-aged vessels carrying illegal Iraqi oil which were seized by
the Coast Guard off Fujairah last week was auctioned in Abu Dhabi for
Dh300,000 last year after being busted for oil smuggling.

The Sea Wind and the Lilian were intercepted by the Coast Guard in UAE
territorial waters with more than 2,000 tonnes of crude oil. The
Honduran-flagged Sea Wind was among six vessels caught between last July and
August by the Multinational Interception Force enforcing UN sanctions
against Iraq.

The vessels were handed over to the Coast Guard and were auctioned last
September. The Sea Wind was intercepted last July 19. It was carrying 1,150
tonnes of oil which was sold before the vessel was auctioned.

The other vessels seized last year included the Honduran-flagged Al Maidan
and Al Mabrouka, the Kingston-registered Divind 2 and Good Premium, and the
Belize-flagged Sunshine 1. Like many other ships smuggling Iraqi oil, the
26-year-old Sea Wind was a cargo vessel converted into a tanker. Since its
auction last year the vessel has continued smuggling.

The other vessel caught along with the Sea Wind is the Lilian, which
according to earlier reports is owned by an Iraqi company run by Jordanian
and Lebanese businessmen. The company had nine vessels involved in

One was the St Vincent-flagged Johanna, built in 1969 in Germany. It was
carrying 2,200 tonnes of Iraqi crude when it was intercepted near Muscat in
April last year. The vessel was bought back by the company at an auction in
Abu Dhabi on May 23 last year for Dh210,000.

One of the company's vessels, Al Barak, escaped the UN forces at  a holding
area in international waters in 1998 and is still wanted by the
multinational forces. The captain, now a partner in the company, sailed the
ship, which was carrying Iraqi dates, out of the anchorage in darkness.

Later the cargo ship was converted into a tanker and it sails under the name
Maggi. Other ships of the company are the Australia, Johangela, Marwan Roy,
Master Star, Tole Kareem, Lilian and Lady Nora.


BERN, Switzerland (AP) -- Swiss authorities will investigate commodities
firm Glencore International after it allegedly diverted Iraqi oil bound for
the United States to Croatia.

Othmar Wyss, director of the export control and sanctions section of the
Economics Ministry, said the probe will center on accusations that Glencore
violated the United Nations' oil-for-food program for Iraq. The U.N.
sanctions committee asked the Swiss to look into the matter.

In February, Glencore diverted a shipment of 1 million barrels of Iraqi
crude oil intended for the United States to Croatia.

Iraq, like other global oil producers, offers different prices for different
destinations as part of an effort to build a customer base with a large
geographic spread. The difference can be as much as $2 to $3 a barrel.

By diverting the 1 million-barrel cargo to Croatia, the United Nations said
the oil was sold for an extra $3 million -- revenue which wasn't earmarked
for the oil-for-food program.

Glencore has agreed to repay the money back to the United Nations.

The incident was the second known diversion of Iraqi crude oil under the
U.N. program.

South African-based Montega Trading PTY diverted a cargo of 2 million
barrels of Iraqi crude destined for the United States to Singapore in
February. U.N. officials said Montega pocketed $8.5 million euros ($7.7
million) from the diversion, but agreed to repay the money.

Glencore, a major international oil trading firm founded in the 1970s and
later sold by financier Marc Rich, is one of about 600 international
companies authorized to purchase Iraqi oil through the oil-for-food program.


by Jon Swain
Sunday Times, 13th May

ANOTHER Iraqi football star has fled to Europe with a detailed account of
how he and his team-mates were beaten and humiliated on the orders of Saddam
Hussein's son, Uday.

Saad Keis Naoman, who played in international tournaments including the 1988
Seoul Olympics, described having his head shaved and being beaten on his
back with a heavy cane during a month in jail because Uday was furious that
he had been sent off.

The punishment was delivered by wardens called "teachers" at the notorious
al-Radwaniya jail, a sealed section of which contains prisoners from sport
and journalism who fall foul of Uday's violent moods.

Uday heads Iraq's football federation and national Olympic committee, and
owns its leading sports paper, al-Baath. But his passion for sport is
accompanied by brutality and corruption.

"My back was a mess of blood and I could not sleep for days except on my
stomach in a tiny cell," said Saad. "Since I was a boy kicking a ball around
Baghdad's streets, football has been my life. But the beatings ruined the
game for me. One day I decided I no longer wanted to be a part of it and
found the courage to leave."

Saad is the second Iraqi footballer to leave in less than two years. His
testimony confirms that of Sharar Haydar Mohamad al-Hadithi, a 32-year-old
team-mate. After fleeing in 1999, Sharar described being hit on the soles of
his feet, dragged on his bare back through gravel, then forced into a tank
of sewage so the wounds would be infected.

Two years earlier the first reports of the punishment of footballers
filtered out. The allegations that members of the national football team had
been beaten and tortured on Uday's orders after losing a World Cup
qualifying match against Kazakhstan led Fifa, the governing body of world
football, to send two investigators to Baghdad.

There were calls for Iraq to be suspended from international football.
However, the Fifa experts exonerated Iraq. Fifa refused to re-examine the
case, even after Sharar gave written testimony. Saad's account may bring new
pressure and he is ready to testify.

"I remember the Fifa investigation," he said. "It was naive to think it
could find out what was happening by asking questions inside Iraq. Nobody
dares tell the truth and the Fifa men were able to meet only players who had
not been punished."

Saad's punishment occurred in 1997 after he was sent off for arguing with
the referee in a match against Turkmenistan, which Iraq lost 4-0. On his
return home, he was driven to Uday's Olympic committee headquarters for a
lecture about his "poor" play and then to al- Radwaniya.

There he was taken into a room with an array of canes mounted on the wall.
"I was ordered to strip to the waist and lie on the floor," he said. "Then I
was flogged. I bled and passed out." The beatings were repeated over several

Saad's future is uncertain. He has no job and his son Mohamad, 9, needs
medical care for a protein deficiency disease.

Uday once loaned Saad to Qatar for two weeks. Of his $10,000 fee he received
only $2,000. The rest was taken by Uday. "We sometimes earned big salaries
and presents but he always took a share," Saad said.

Times of India, 13th May

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi minister on Saturday blamed the United States for the
anti-Pokemon campaign in the Arab world, saying the real aims were to
distract attention from the Palestinian uprising and damage Japanese

"It's a commercial war being orchestrated by Washington to cut the profits
of the Japanese company," which manufactures the children's game, Education
Minister Fahd Salemal Shaqra told Iraqi television.

He said the undeclared purpose was also "to preoccupy Arab public opinion
with futile subjects rather than support for the intifada," the uprising
against the Jewish state.

Iraqi scientific experts have carried out tests which showed that the
Japanese game "does not in any way incite violence or carry symbols which
are offensive to anyone," the minister said.

"I am not defending Pokemon, but I regret that fatwas (Muslim religious
edicts) against this game, especially in Saudi Arabia, outnumber fatwas
banning links with the Zionist entity," he said.

Muslim authorities have likened the drive to collect Pokemon products to
gambling and said they perceived subversive Jewish propaganda behind the
popular phenomenon.

The top religious leader in Saudi Arabia, grand mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin
Abdullah al Sheikh, announced a ban on Pokemon on March 25, and fatwas have
since also been issued in neighbouring Qatar and Dubai.

The Saudi commerce ministry last month set up special squads to confiscate
and destroy Pokemon products in line with the fatwa designed to protect

Pokemon was developed by Satoshi Tajiri, based on a childhood fondness for
gathering insects and watching monsters on TV. At first, he created a video
game inhabited by 150 animated creatures.

The game's success has spread to trading cards, comic books, a television
series, film and toys, with sales running into billions of dollars. (AFP)


BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters, 15th May) -- Iraq said on Tuesday nearly 9,000
people, mostly children, died in a single month this year because of
diseases it blamed on a decade of U.N. sanctions.

The Health Ministry said 5,696 children under the age of five died of
diarrhea, pneumonia, and malnutrition-related diseases in April, compared to
347 deaths in the same period in 1989, a year before the embargo was

The official news agency (INA) quoted the ministry as saying 3,101 other
people died of heart problems, diabetes, kidney and liver diseases and
cancer last month, compared with 457 deaths from those diseases in the same
period in 1989.

INA said these figures brought to 1,489,959 the number of people who had
died since the United Nations imposed sanctions in August 1990.


Times of India, 15th May

BAGHDAD: The verdict in the trial of an Iraqi gunman who carried out a
deadly attack on UN offices in Baghdad and has at least 20 defence lawyers
was postponed for a seventh time on Monday.

The verdict was put off, this time until May 28, because defendant Fuad
Hussein Haidar has been hospitalised with a "severe" illness, judge Lukman
Abdel Razzek told reporters.

The court has previously delayed the ruling six times to allow more lawyers
to join a defence team that is now at least 20 strong, 15 of whom were
appointed by the Iraqi parliament.

The prosecution has called for the death penalty since the trial opened on
November 6, while the defence argued that Haidar was "not responsible for
the crime attributed to him."

The 38-year-old Iraqi allegedly burst into the Baghdad offices of the UN
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and opened fire on staff with a
Kalashnikov rifle on June 28.

The Somali deputy head of the FAO office, Yusuf Abdullah, and an Iraqi
computer expert were killed. Seven other people were wounded.

After surrendering to Iraqi authorities, Haidar said he wanted to draw
attention to the "genocide of thousands of Iraqis" under the UN embargo in
force since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. (AFP)

Wednesday May 16 09:39 PM EDT

by Barbara Starr

The United States is considering a major shift in its commitment to
patrolling the "no-fly" zones over northern and southern Iraq, military
officials said.

"Options are being discussed. No final decisions have been made," confirmed
Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, the Pentagon spokesman.

U.S. forces have patrolled the "no-fly" zones for more than a decade to
monitor any military actions that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein might
instigate against Kurdish minorities in the north. In the southern Iraqi
marshlands, Americans monitor Iraqi activity against Muslim minorities.
Plus, the U.S. military watches possible Iraqi military movements toward
Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.

For the last several weeks, the Bush administration has been conducting an
ongoing review of its Iraq policy. Besides military operations, U.S.
officials must make decisions about diplomatic and economic issues such as
assessing continued allied support for enforcing sanctions against Baghdad.

"I don't think you are going to see any military piece of that taken in
isolation," Quigley said.


In favor of making changes are two key generals, who split responsibility
for running the northern and southern "no-fly" zone operations. Gen. Joseph
Ralston, head of the U.S. European Command, and Gen. Tommy Franks, head of
the U.S. Central Command, worry the American luck is running out, sources

Sooner or later, Ralston and Franks fear Hussein's forces might get lucky
and actually shoot down a U.S. pilot, sources said.

Indeed, there have been two close calls recently. Last year a British
warplane flying with the Americans over southern Iraq, reportedly developed
mechanical trouble and barely made it back to friendly territory.

Earlier this year over northern Iraq, a single engine U.S. Air Force F-16
also developed mechanical trouble. The plane made an emergency landing at an
airfield just over the Turkish border, sources said.

Ralston and Franks reportedly are not in favor of full withdrawal. Part of
the reason is that such a move is politically unpalatable ‹ President Bush
is the son of former President George H.W. Bush, who led the international
coalition in the war against Iraq more than 10 years ago.


The question now is whether the United States could cut back on the flights
it runs in order to lower the risk to pilots and to ease the deployment
strain on military forces. Satellites and unmanned aircraft may be able to
perform some of the reconnaissance missions, according to sources.

But there is a risk to that strategy. Iraq often moves its surface-to-air
missile batteries and anti-aircraft guns around the countryside. Plus, only
manned fighter aircraft can really keep up to date on the latest threat

This discussion comes as Iraq has significantly stepped up firing
surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns against U.S. warplanes. "Go
back to the January time frame, you've seen a considerable increase in
activity in the northern no-fly zone," said Quigley.


Administration sources confirm that in April, firings of missiles and
anti-aircraft artillery doubled, compared to March. U.S. officials said
there was no particular explanation for the increase, and noted that Hussein
is still offering a reward for the shooting down of a U.S. pilot.

In addition, U.S. officials confirm the Iraqis have now repaired much of the
radar capability around central Iraq that U.S. and British forces bombed in

U.S. officials said they are watching to see if the repaired radar once
again becomes part of a broader command-and-control network that allows the
Iraqis to target allied aircraft in southern Iraq from stations near

If that network is re-established, Pentagon officials said the United States
will be ready to drop bombs again ‹ at the very time the Pentagon is
continuing to look for ways to reduce its operations in the region.

by Pamela Hess

WASHINGTON, May 18 (UPI) -- For the first time in almost a month, U.S.
forces attacked a surface-to-air missile site in southern Iraq on Friday,
U.S. Central Command said.

The site was 180 miles southeast of  the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, within the
boundaries of the area the United States has declared a "no-fly zone" for
the Iraqi military.

The last such strike occurred on April 19, and is part of a noticeable
slowing of the pace of operations in the no-fly zones in northern and
southern Iraq since a Feb. 16 raid on five military sites surrounding the
capital. The United States said that attack was undertaken because Iraqi
gunners had improved in their ability to target U.S. and British jets
enforcing the no-fly zone in southern Iraq.

With the help of a fiber-optic network linking their radars and weapons
sites, Iraq was getting closer to hitting a U.S. plane than at any time
since December 1998 when it first began targeting Western fighter jets.
Those attacks followed a four-day raid on Baghdad in apparent retaliation
for Iraq's refusal to allow U.N. arms inspectors access to its weapons

Since February, U.S. bombings in Iraq have slowed considerably. In January
and February, U.S. fighter jets attacked Iraqi sites on seven days. In March
and April, there were only three such attacks.

Lt. Col. Joe LaMarca of U.S. Central Command said U.S. planes fly nearly
every day and are almost always targeted, but they choose when and against
what targets they will respond.

"I wouldn't say they've stopped firing at us," he said. "That's certainly
not the case. It's a matter of ... we look at the right time to strike back
at targets we consider are dangerous.

"The fact is they do continue to target our airplanes and that has not
changed. It is still almost a daily occurrence. It's their ability to hit us
... is what we were able to degrade during that strike on the 16th (of
February)" he said.

U.S. and British forces have been enforcing the no-fly zones for nearly a
decade, following the end of the Persian Gulf War. They were set up to
protect Kurdish minorities in the northern region and Shiites in the south.
Both groups were targets of President Saddam Hussein's military attacks.

The airstrikes have also helped to degrade Iraqi military capabilities over
time, allowing Western fighter jets to attack air defenses at will.


by David Morgan

ELKTON, Ohio (Reuters, corrected version, 13th May) - Thirty-four years
after his first arrest as a Vietnam War protester, peace activist Philip
Berrigan is hardly surprised to find the United States once again transfixed
by the slaughter of innocent civilians.

This time, the civilians are not Vietnamese villagers but 168 Americans
killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. Yet Berrigan says the military
character of bomber Timothy McVeigh puts the tragedy in the same league as
U.S.-led campaigns that have left a trail of civilian deaths from Southeast
Asia to Serbia.

McVeigh, a decorated Gulf War veteran, mounted his April 19, 1995, attack to
avenge 80 people killed in the 1993 federal siege of a Branch Davidian sect
compound in Texas.

His execution was originally scheduled for May 16, but was postponed 30 days
after the FBI disclosed it had found documents relevant to the case that had
not been shown to defense attorneys.

``His answer to the U.S. government is so American,'' Berrigan, a
77-year-old former Roman Catholic priest, told Reuters in an interview at a
federal prison where his lifelong commitment to peace activism has landed
him behind bars again.

``It's an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, until everybody's eyeless
and toothless -- and the ones you really take it out on are innocent

Berrigan rose to fame in 1968 when he and his Jesuit brother, the Rev.
Daniel Berrigan, ignited national resistance to the Vietnam War by burning
draft records in Catonsville, Maryland. It was one of the first major
antiwar protests, and the Berrigans were on the cover of Time magazine.

Though critics dismiss them as naive troublemakers, the two are still active
leaders of a peace movement opposed to U.S. military policy and nuclear
proliferation. Daniel, now 80, was last arrested on Good Friday at a
demonstration in New York.

Philip leads a Baltimore community called Jonah House, whose members
practice nonviolent resistance as a form of religious devotion. A renowned
felon, he has been arrested over 60 times and has spent nearly 11 of the
past 34 years in jail.

``The deep, deep sense I have of him is really beyond praise, beyond
words,'' said his brother Daniel, who spends most of his time working with
AIDS patients.

Seated at a bare table inside the Federal Correctional Institution near
Elkton, the activist once known for his barrel chested physique is now
stooped with age but no less incisive.

His voice loses its avuncular tone and his blue eyes blaze when the subject
turns to revelations that a Navy Seals unit commanded by former Sen. Bob
Kerrey killed Vietnamese civilians in 1969. ``You can stack Kerrey right
next to McVeigh,'' he said. ''McVeigh's horrible act was against American
civilians. Kerrey and his boys were among many who wasted Vietnamese


Berrigan, himself a World War II combat veteran, says the United States
waged ``total war'' in Vietnam, Iraq and Serbia.

U.S.-led forces have tried to avoid civilian casualties in recent conflicts,
but statistics still tell a sobering tale, with civilian death tolls at 2
million Vietnamese, 1.3 million Iraqis who died either in the 1991 Gulf War
or later as a result of sanctions, and 500 Serbs killed by NATO air strikes.

``All our rhetoric about protecting civilians is bullshit ... McVeigh was
corrupted by his experience in the Persian Gulf,'' Berrigan said. ``Nothing
has changed since 1967.''

Americans may chafe at the suggestion that the criminal bombing in Oklahoma
City is somehow on a par with wartime acts of U.S. forces overseas. Kerrey
had no comment; neither did the Pentagon. But Berrigan's views have some
high-powered support among people like Massachusetts Institute of Technology
professor Noam Chomsky, a noted critic of U.S. foreign policy.

``When the Oklahoma City bombing took place, the headlines were full of
stories about how the city looked just like Beirut. Well, Beirut looks like
Beirut, too, and one reason is that in 1985 the CIA set off a car bomb right
outside a mosque. It was timed to kill the maximum number of people, just
like Oklahoma City,'' Chomsky said. ``Is that considered a crime?''


Reuters PhotoA CIA spokesman denied involvement in any such bombing, saying
the U.S. intelligence agency was devoted to thwarting ''terrorism'' and
saving American lives.

To Berrigan, the violence, racism and social injustice that tear at U.S.
society stem from the country's superpower role, which requires $300 billion
a year to maintain the Pentagon and its nuclear arsenal of 7,000 strategic

``The Bomb is the taproot of violence in the United States. Everything wrong
with our society and our people is connected with that,'' Berrigan said. He
and his mainly Catholic followers conceive of life as ``a seamless garment''
in which individuals are sacred -- Americans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, the
unborn, the elderly and condemned mass murderers like Timothy McVeigh.

Mention the number of people McVeigh killed and Berrigan points to the 151
Texas prison inmates executed while President Bush was governor. ``The
government shouldn't be killing Timothy McVeigh,'' he said.

Berrigan's 1996 autobiography, ``Fighting the Lamb's War,'' describes Jesus
as a revolutionary committed to social justice and Washington as a
plantation environment where minorities live in shoddy housing and work at
lousy jobs or wait to be herded into prison as members of a neglected
surplus populace.


``We're an empire,'' he said, ``and empires have always acted as we act --
shortsighted, with mediocre leadership, an over-reliance on the military,
threatened by bankruptcy, and always ignoring the people.''

The Berrigan brothers inaugurated the Plowshares movement against nuclear
weapons in 1980 when they entered a General Electric plant near
Philadelphia, smashed the nose cones of Mark 12A warheads and doused
blueprints with blood.

``If humankind is to survive, these weapons have to be gotten rid of, so we
keep trying to disarm them,'' Philip said.

These days, Berrigan's actions have brought him a 10-month stay in a new
low-security federal prison, a sparkling complex of cellblocks bristling
with security cameras and surrounded by shimmering coils of razor wire that
is home to 2,500 inmates.

Despite his age, Berrigan -- due to be released in mid-December, two months
after his 78th birthday -- lacks none of the zeal he demonstrated as a
Josephite priest in 1967.

In 1999, he and three other Plowshares activists entered an Air National
Guard base near Baltimore and attacked two A-10 warplanes with blood and
hammers to protest the military's use of depleted uranium shells known as
``tank busters.'' They contend that shells coated with the heavy metal have
scattered radioactive waste across 41 countries and 30 U.S. states.

``It's our contention that we were involved in a second nuclear war in Iraq,
and a third in the Balkans,'' said Berrigan, who went to prison for the

His arrest in Maryland also violated his federal parole for a 1997 action in
which he damaged a Navy guided-missile destroyer in Maine, so when Maryland
released him this year he was whisked into federal custody as a parole

Plowshares' ranks have dwindled since the 1980s arms race, but Berrigan says
they are seeing a revival in Europe thanks to Britain's purchase of Trident
nuclear submarines. And nuclear arms may soon be back on the front burner
here as Bush pushes his missile defense plan and media mogul Ted Turner
readies an initiative to curtail weapons of mass destruction.

Meanwhile, Berrigan, the father of three and husband of ex-nun Elizabeth
McAlister, shows no sign of calling it quits.

``There are times when I'd like to just sit back in my rocking chair, but
I'm going to fight all the way and hopefully die with my boots on,'' he
said. ``I've been blessed with exceptionally good health and I'll continue
as long as I can, with the help of God.''

(Note: Philip Berrigan was first arrested as a Vietnam War protester in 1967
for pouring blood on draft records at the Baltimore Customs House. All other
references to 1967 stand.)

Seattle Times, 14th May

Collateral damage, a military term made famous by Timothy McVeigh, is his
term for the children he killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. Americans
recoiled at that. But we should also recoil at the collateral damage our
economic sanctions are inflicting on the people of Iraq.

Hans von Sponeck, who was the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in
Iraq for 17 months, describes a society whose social and business leaders
have "died out, emigrated or become deprofessionalized." Former doctors
peddle food at roadside stands. The remnants of the business class have
become Mafiosos dependent on enforced scarcity. Iraqi paper money, with its
imposing bust of Saddam Hussein, buys almost nothing.

Iraq was once a middle-income country. It had electricity, medicines,
sanitary sewers and urban water safe to drink. Its health statistics were
fairly good. According to the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund, Iraq
now has an under-5-year-old mortality rate of 12.8 percent - a rate of child
death comparable to Haiti, Cambodia or Uganda.

Defenders of sanctions blame all this on Saddam Hussein, because he started
the Gulf War and because he insists on staying in power today. That is true,
as far as it goes.

But don't excuse the United States, which destroyed water-treatment plants
with guided bombs. In a 100-hour war, the water-treatment plants had no
strategic importance. In a 10 year embargo, they did.

Von Sponeck is a German, the son of a general executed on orders of Adolf
Hitler. Von Sponeck was 6 years old when World War II ended and the GIs,
with their cigarettes, candy bars and Marshall Plan, dealt with a vanquished
people. He wonders what Germany would have been like had the Allies left it
in ruins, forbidden to recover.

"No country has ever been punished by sanctions after a war," he says.

Ten years of sanctions have left an estimated 300,000 to 1.5 million Iraqis
dead. CBS' Lesley Stahl used the figure of 500,000 dead when she interviewed
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1996. Was such collateral damage
worth it? Albright replied, "I think this is a very hard choice, but the
price - we think the price is worth it."

The United States is the safest nation on the planet. No nation dares to
attack us. Scott Ritter, who headed the U.N. weapons inspection team in
Iraq, told the City Club of Seattle recently that Iraq has no ability to
make chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in militarily significant

It is worth noting that when Saddam Hussein did have chemical weapons, he
used them only against the Iranians and the Kurds. Ritter said flatly that
at present, "The Iraqi military is a threat to no one other than the
indigenous people of Iraq."

Iraq's neighbors have reason to keep it that way through deterrence and
military sanctions. There is no remaining rationale for economic sanctions.
Trade sanctions do not promote human rights or dislodge dictators; they shut
a country in and make it impossible for millions to make a living.

Saddam Hussein is much to blame for the ensuing "collateral damage" - of
course. But blame also those who shut the door on an entire nation in their
pursuit of one man.
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