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News, 13-19/5/01 (1) This badly out of date news compilation is the first in a series designed to cover the period over the past couple of weeks when I was travelling and my computer broke down.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. IRAQIARAB/MUSLIM RELATIONS * Iran Opposition claims attack in Tehran * 2,000 Iranians seek damages from Iraq [through the Gulf War compensation scam] * 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 IRAQI-EUROPEAN RELATIONS * EU approves euro 13m aid package to Iraq SMUGGLING * 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] INSIDE IRAQ * 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 NO FLY ZONES * Changes Likely for Iraq's 'No-Fly' Zones * U.S. jets hit Iraqi missile site CAMPAIGNING * 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) SANCTIONS REFORM * For Bush, the Sanctions Conundrum * Iraq threatens to stop oil sales to Jordan, Turkey * Britain Urges Lifting Iraq Sanctions NEW WORLD ORDER 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 bullying] * 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?] IRAQIARAB/MUSLIM RELATIONS http://www.timesofindia.com/130501/13mide4.htm * IRAN OPPOSITION CLAIMS ATTACK IN TEHRAN 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 distance." 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 invited. 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) http://www.timesofindia.com/130501/13mide3.htm * 2,000 IRANIANS SEEK DAMAGES FROM IRAQ 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) http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=185287 * SYRIA SET TO OPEN OFFICE IN IRAQ 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. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010515/2001051536.html * ARAB FREE TRADE AREAS, NEW ADDITION INTER-ARAB COOPERATION 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 added. "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 said. "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. http://www.timesofindia.com/160501/16mide4.htm * IRAQ, IRAN NEGOTIATE RESUMPTION OF AIR LINKS 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. (AFP) IRAQI-EUROPEAN RELATIONS http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2001/0518/breaking66.htm * EU APPROVES EURO 13M AID PACKAGE TO IRAQ 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 country. SMUGGLING http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=17065 * SEIZED SHIPS CONTINUE TO SMUGGLE IRAQI OIL 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 smuggling. 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. http://biz.yahoo.com/apf/010516/switzerland_glencore_probe.html * SWISS TO INVESTIGATE GLENCORE 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. INSIDE IRAQ http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2001/05/13/stifgneur03003.html? * ESCAPED IRAQI FOOTBALLER TELLS OF THE TEAM RUN ON TORTURE 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 days. 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. http://www.timesofindia.com/130501/13mide6.htm * IRAQ SEES US HAND BEHIND ANTI-POKEMON CAMPAIGN 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 exports. "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 children. 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) http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/05/15/iraq.sanctions.reut/index.html * IRAQ BLAMES SANCTIONS FOR 9,000 DEATHS IN APRIL 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 imposed. 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. [.....] http://www.timesofindia.com/150501/15mide8.htm * IRAQI GUNMAN IN UN MURDERS GRANTED DELAY ON VERDICT 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) NO FLY ZONES http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/abc/20010516/wl/iraq010515_bombing_1.html Wednesday May 16 09:39 PM EDT * CHANGES LIKELY FOR IRAQ'S 'NO-FLY' ZONES by Barbara Starr ABCNEWS.com 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. WATCHING THE NUMBERS 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 said. 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. AN EFFORT TO DO MORE WITH LESS 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 locations. 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. TAKING A STEP FORWARD BEFORE STEPPING BACK 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 mid-February. 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 Baghdad. 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. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=186981 * U.S. JETS HIT IRAQI MISSILE SITE 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 sites. 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. CAMPAIGNING http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010513/lf/mcveigh_berrigan_dc_2.html * ACTIVIST BERRIGAN CALLS OKLAHOMA CITY WAR ATROCITY 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 people.'' 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 civilians.'' 'NOTHING HAS CHANGED SINCE 1967' 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?'' Photos 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 warheads. ``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. 'EMPIRES HAVE ALWAYS ACTED AS WE ACT' ``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 incident. 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 violator. 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.) http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorialsopinion/134295363_iraqed14.h tml * END THE IRAQ WAR 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 amounts. 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. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk