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News, 39/6/01 (2) IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Nizar Hamdoun appointed at Iraq's new ambassador in Austria * S.Africa relief mission to Iraq coincides with diplomatic visit * Russia and Iraq sign emergencies pact * Pakistan emerges on wheat export map: Loading for Iraq begins today [readers may remember that this follows on a series of stories about India supplying Iraq then Iraq expressing dissatusfaction with the quality of the wheat. Is there more to it than meets the eye?] NO FLY ZONES * Rumsfeld: US Planes Face Bigger Danger in Iraq [Rumsfield in Turkey, an odd place and an odd time to announce that theyąre running scared] * Coalition forces strike site in Iraqi no-fly zone * Iraq gains NATO military secrets [or more realistically, Iraq might have gained some NATO military secrets from the Serbs. But on the other hand, they might not ...] INSIDE IRAQ * Human rights group expresses concern for journalists in Iraq GENERAL COMMENT * The Worst Terrorist Is Still in His Palace [not G.Bush, but S.Hussein, who might have been behind the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, he might not. Interesting to note that energetic anti-Saddam campaigner Laurie Mylroie Śwas Bill Clinton's advisor on Iraq during the 1992 presidential campaigną. She feels Bill let her down. As lots of people are beginning to feel George is letting them down] * Bombers cite Iraq sanctions [Ramsay Clark testifying at the trial over the 1998 US Embassy bombing in Kenya] * An appropriate welcome for Powell at Wits [University in South Africa. Gives a list of reasons why Africans shouldnąt like the US] * Robert Fisk: All these cruel Muslim regimes abuse the people of the Middle East [ŚIn Arab and Iranian homes, Muslim families exhibit infinitely more compassion and love than Westerners. They don't send their elderly and incurably sick to die in nursing institutions. The old and the fatally ill spend their last days in their family homes, cared for to the end by relatives. Shame on us. But how come the same men and women can stand on a rooftop to scream at a woman strangling on a rope?ą] IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010604/2001060414.html * NIZAR HAMDOUN APPOINTED AT IRAQ'S NEW AMBASSADOR IN AUSTRIA Arabic News, 4th June An Iraqi weekly said on Sunday that Iraq has decided to appoint the foreign ministry secretary Nizar Hamdoun as a new ambassador for Iraq to Austria in succession to Naji Sabri al-Hadeithi who at the meantime occupies the post of the minister of state for foreign affairs. Worthy mentioning that Hamdoun is a diplomat who occupied the post of Iraq's ambassador in Washington during the 1980 s and he also had the post of Iraq's permanent representative at the UN in New York before he returned back to Baghdad. Al-Hadeithi who was appointed in April this year as a minister of state for foreign affairs occupied the post of Iraq's ambassador to Austria and Iraq's representative at the International Agency for Atomic energy. http://www.timesofindia.com/070601/07afrc3.htm * S.AFRICA RELIEF MISSION TO IRAQ COINCIDES WITH DIPLOMATIC VISIT Times of India, 7th June CAPE TOWN: A South African relief mission to Iraq will depart on Saturday and arrive in Iraq to coincide with a visit by Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad, Pahad said Wednesday. "The flight, with about six tonnes of food and medicine, was postponed several times for logistical and cost reasons," Pahad told journalists in Cape Town. "All these have now been finalised and the flight will depart on Saturday from Johannesburg for Iraq via Oman," he added. The supplies were collected by the Iraqi Action Committee and other civil bodies in South Africa to relieve the plight of ordinary Iraqis suffering under UN sanctions. It will be the first time South Africa has undertaken a humanitarian flight to Iraq in the 10 years since the United Nations imposed sanctions on the country for invading neighbouring Kuwait and refusing to comply with arms inspections. Delegations from at least 15 other UN member-states have completed similar relief missions, according to the foreign ministry. The mercy flight is expected to arrive in Iraq when Pahad, who visited Baghdad in April, is in Iraq following a trip to Russia from June 7 to 9. Pahad said he would use his visit to get a sense of the Iraqi authority's response to the continuing debate about the UN sanctions -- currently under discussion in the UN Security Council. The Non-Aligned Movement, chaired by South Africa, favours the lifting of sanctions, he said. About 100 South Africans will accompany the supplies. (AFP) http://www.timesofindia.com/080601/08euro7.htm * RUSSIA AND IRAQ SIGN EMERGENCIES PACT Times of India, 8th June MOSCOW (AFP): Russia and Iraq signed an emergencies prevention agreement including the exchange of experts and specialist training, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported. Russian emergencies minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday to meet Iraqi officials. On Wednesday, he signed the emergencies pact with Iraqi interior minister Mahmoud al-Ahmed and announced the opening in July of a representative office there. The new emergencies deal will include help in case of emergencies as well as the exchange of expertise, ITAR-TASS reported. Shiogu also met Iraqi deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz on Wednesday. [.....] http://www.dawn.com/2001/06/08/ebr2.htm * PAKISTAN EMERGES ON WHEAT EXPORT MAP: LOADING FOR IRAQ BEGINS TODAY Dawn (Pakistan), 08 June 2001, 15 Rabi-ul-Awwal 1422 KARACHI, June 7: Pakistan emerges on the world wheat export map on Friday when loading of the first consignment of 35,000 tons begins aboard mv Iran at Port Qasim. This loading marks the beginning of shipment of 100,000 tons of wheat to Iraq for which, the Chairman of Trading Corporation of Pakistan Syed Masood Alam Rizvi said, full arrangements have been made to ensure "quality and delivery on schedule". Addressing a press conference in his office on Thursday in presence of senior executives of TCP, officers of Passco, the official wheat supplying agency, representatives of the shipping company and the pre-shipment inspection contractor, Syed Masood Alam Rizvi expressed complete confidence that Pakistan's 'hard winter' quality wheat would conform to the requirement set for this staple food by the Iraqi government. Giving details about the measures adopted for ensuring wheat quality as well as making it free from foreign elements, he said that mechanical as well as manual cleaning process and fumigation had been carried out prior to bringing it to Port Qasim. He said that to ensure insect free cargo another fumigation of the wheat will be carried out after de-bagging and prior to bulk loading into the vessel from covered plenths of the port. The entire process of loading of 35,000 tons of wheat, he said, would take ten days and this would mean that by June 18, the vessel would be ready to sail out with first wheat consignment for Baghdad. As per contract with Iraqi Grain Board the entire contracted wheat of 100,000 tons should be delivered within 90 days from the date of opening of L/C, therefore, he said the third and the last consignment of 35,000 tons would be reaching Baghdad by August 8, 2001. Consequently, Rizvi said that the second vessel will take berth on a tentative date of June 23 and leave by July 1, 2001, while the third and the last ship will come on July 13 and leave by July 23, 2001. Responding to a question, the chairman TCP said that Pakistani wheat, which is of "hard milling" quality meets the Iraqi specifications, which demands 28 per cent gluten and 14 per cent moisture. However, he said as per the contract average gluten of 26 per cent has been allowed by the Iraqi Grain Board. He lauded the efforts of Passco in arranging and ensuring wheat quality and also appreciated private sector involvement in the pre-inspection as well as timely haulage of wheat which carries great significance for the country in entering in the world wheat market. The chairman TCP indirectly hinted at the difficulties being faced by Pakistan in the process of entering world wheat market particularly in the presence of countries like the US, Canada and Australia in the market of Iraq and Iran. He said there is a fear that due to proximity Pakistan may capture both the markets though, he added, it was too difficult for Pakistan to meet huge requirements of around six to seven million tons of Iran and around 3.5 million tons of Iraq. Briefly speaking on the occasion general manager Passco Major (R) Muhammad Akram said that special arrangements have been made at Port Qasim to ensure that wheat quality was maintained in the process of transportation and loading. He said that already around 20,000 tons of wheat has reached Port Qasim and daily about 150 NLC trucks are bringing fresh loads from the upcountry to meet the shipping schedule. NO FLY ZONES http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200106/05/eng20010605_71853.html * RUMSFELD: US PLANES FACE BIGGER DANGER IN IRAQ People's Daily (China), 5th June US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday said improvements in Iraqi air defenses, aided by foreign powers, had increased the danger that US or British pilots could be shot down over north Iraq. US pilots at Turkey's Incirlik air base, nerve center of Operation Northern Watch flights over the Kurdish enclave, backed up Rumsfeld's comments when he visited them. Speaking in Ankara at the start of a week-long European trip, Rumsfeld said he saw no friction with Turkey over use of Incirlik as a base to enforce the no-fly zone established in the Kurdish enclave after the 1991 Gulf War. Operation Northern Watch is a crucial part of US policy in containing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. But US defense officials have said privately there is debate within the Pentagon on whether or not to reduce patrols. HIGH RISK OF CRASHES Defense analysts say there is a high risk that eventually a British or US aircraft could crash in the area as a result of improved Iraqi air defenses or because of a technical fault. "We've been very fortunate that we've not had a loss," Rumsfeld told journalists. "Is it conceivable that there could be one at some point? Certainly it is possible. "The risk grows to the extent that other nations assist Iraq in strengthening its air defense capability." He spoke of several nations helping Iraq in upgrading Iraqi communications in defense systems. 'NOT A BORING ENVIRONMENT' When Rumsfeld visited Incirlik in southern Turkey a US pilot at the base said the threat to flights had increased significantly in the last six months. "It is very uncommon to fly a mission and not be fired at," he said. "It is not a boring environment." Turkey occupies a special place in Pentagon strategic calculations, situated as it is on the edge of the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East - a Western-orientated Muslim country with ties to both Israel and the Arab world. Washington has played a central role in winning multi-billion dollar loans for Turkey to help it out of a financial crisis. "Turkey is acting very responsibly for security and stability in the region," Turkish Defence Minister Sabahattin Cakmakoglu said after meeting Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld said a dispute between Turkey and the European Union that threatens to disrupt plans for an EU defense force appeared close to resolution. Turkey has demanded full involvement in decision-making over deployment of NATO resources. The EU was offering consultative rights to the EU candidate member. 'TURKEY GETS A PAT We...feel it is quite close to resolution which, of course, would be a good thing for NATO and a good thing for Turkey," Rumsfeld said. He also met Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and Foreign Minister Ismail Cem. Talking to reporters traveling with him, he praised Turkey for supporting UN sanctions against Baghdad and specifically Northern Watch. Rumsfeld said the current administration of was debating overall US policy toward Iraq but that "we don't have any proposals to alter that at the present time." The United States and Britain want to ease UN sanctions against Baghdad to provide more goods for Iraqi civilians while preventing Saddam from obtaining military aid from abroad and building nuclear, chemical or biological arms. "That is not an easy task," Rumsfeld told reporters. "It is a complicated task and at its best it will be done imperfectly. Even when there were [UN] inspectors in there it was practically impossible to really monitor effectively and locate with any high degree of assurance what was going on because he [Saddam] is clever and he is determined." Rumsfeld's trip will take him to Ukraine and five other countries. He will visit US troops in Macedonia and Kosovo and attend regional defence ministers' meetings in Greece, Belgium and Finland. http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/06/05/iraq.air.strike/index.html * COALITION FORCES STRIKE SITE IN IRAQI NO-FLY ZONE CNN, June 5 MACDILL Air Force Base, Florida: U.S.-coalition aircraft fired precision-guided weapons on an anti-aircraft artillery site in southern Iraq's no-fly zone Tuesday, in response to recent Iraqi "hostile acts," the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) said in a written statement. The attack, which took place at 3:30 a.m. EDT, comes less than a month after the last coalition strike in the southern no-fly zone on May 18. Coalition officials are still assessing the damage, according to the statement. There was no immediate reaction from Iraq. The command estimates that Iraq has violated the southern no-fly zone restrictions more than 160 times, since December 1998. USCENTCOM also said Iraq has fired on coalition aircraft in more than 900 separate incidents, during the same period. The U.S. Central Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida is a division of the Department of Defense, which protects U.S. security interests in several countries, including Iraq. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010607/2001060705.html * IRAQ GAINS NATO MILITARY SECRETS Arabic News, 7th June The British daily " Evening Standard" issued in London on Wednesday said that the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has got military secrets from the NATO that might enable him to down American and British planes in the northern and southern parts of Iraq. The paper added that a military museum in the Yugoslav capital, Belgrade, at the meantime, exhibits an undamaged British missile which missed its goal during the NATO air raids against Serbia. A matter which made it possible that the Serbs deciphered the missiles and gave the information to the Iraqis. The paper added that the missile is considered one of the most important weapons of the NATO and the US in the air raids against Serbia and Iraq. The paper explained that a photographer has found the missile complete ( all sets available) recently at the Serbian military museum, but it was noted that the front of the missile which contains the deciphering equipment was replaced. A matter which made it possible that the decipher was taken to another place after testing its sensitive components. INSIDE IRAQ http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/06/05/hongkong.iraq.ap/index.html * HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP EXPRESSES CONCERN FOR JOURNALISTS IN IRAQ CNN, June 5, 2001 HONG KONG (AP) -- Debate over ending Western sanctions against Iraq should not eclipse international concern for journalists and others executed, tortured or otherwise abused by the Iraqi government, a human rights group said Tuesday. The Washington-based Human Rights Alliance is leading a campaign by 200 international non-governmental organizations for the establishment of an international tribunal to try Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. Iraqi authorities have killed more than 500 journalists and other intellectuals in the past decade, said the group's director, Bakhtiar Amin. More than 1,200 live in exile. In one of the most brutal recent killings, prominent Kurdish scholar Jamil Rozhbayani, 91, was axed to death in his home in Baghdad on March 26, said Bakhtiar Amin, who reported on the situation in Iraq to the annual congress of the World Association of Newspapers, meeting this week in Hong Kong. Iraqi journalist Najim Al Sa'doun, accused of espionage, died last year at the age of 83 after 15 years of imprisonment, the Human Rights Alliance reported. It listed 31 journalists, authors and artists who were detained and tortured and another four whose fate was unknown. Many others could not be listed out of fear that their families would face retaliation, the group said. The alliance fears that debate over whether to ease United Nations sanctions against Iraq could detract attention from human rights abuses inside the country. The United Nations imposed sanctions on weapons and consumer goods as part of a U.S. led drive to reverse Iraq's annexation of Kuwait in 1990. The Iraqi government maintains strict control over the media, which is largely under the jurisdiction of Saddam's eldest son, Uday, who heads a paramilitary organization as well as the national press union, Amin said. Uday runs a media empire that includes 11 newspapers out of the country's 35, a television network and a radio station. A recent report by the international group the Committee to Protect Journalists described freedom of expression in Iraq as "moribund." "Newspapers, radio and television were heavily censored," it said. "Any criticism of Hussein carried moral risks." Iraq's first Internet cafe opened in July of last year, but it allows access only to government sanctioned sites. Private ownership of modems, faxes and satellite dishes is restricted. The World Association of Newspapers promotes freedom of the press worldwide. It represents more than 17,000 newspapers and 68 national newspaper associations. GENERAL COMMENT http://www.latimes.com/news/comment/20010603/t000046286.html * THE WORST TERRORIST IS STILL IN HIS PALACE by Robert C. Mcfarlane, Laurie Mylroie Los Angeles Times, 4th June After last week's conviction of four followers of Islamic militant Osama bin Laden in the deadly bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998, we may be tempted to conclude that our greatest terrorist threat is from a Saudi renegade rather than the nation of Iraq. That would be a serious mistake. Here is why. On June 25, 1996, a 5,000-pound bomb exploded outside the Khobar Towers residence for American military personnel in Saudi Arabia, which housed the pilots enforcing the "no-fly" zone in southern Iraq. Nineteen U.S. airmen died. It was Saudi Arabia's most lethal terrorist bombing, and it occurred just after an Arab summit ended. That meeting, the first Arab summit since the Gulf War, was convened because Saudi Arabia and Syria both wanted Arab support for their special concerns. Benjamin Netanyahu had just been elected Israeli prime minister, and Syria wanted a tough Arab line against Israel. The Saudis were worried about Iraq. Hussein Kamel Majid, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, had defected in August (he later returned to Iraq and was killed within days), precipitating alarming revelations about the unconventional weapons Iraq retained in defiance of the U.N. cease-fire resolution. Iraq was the only Arab state not invited to the summit, which took a tough line against Baghdad. The summit demanded that Iraq comply with the U.N. resolutions and held the Iraqi regime responsible for the suffering of the people under sanctions. The Iraqi media responded to the summit's final statement by lashing out at the United States, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Al Thawra, the official newspaper of the ruling Baath Socialist Party, charged that it "was written with Arabic letters but with American sentences and phrases paid for by Saudi and Kuwaiti dirty money." The official Iraqi army paper, Al Qadissiya, warned, "Before it is too late, the Arabs should rectify the sin they committed against Iraq when a number of Arab armies joined the 30-state coalition and participated in the aggression against it." The daily Al Iraq wrote, "Both agent regimes in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the enemies of the Arab nation, instigated the Americans, Zionists and smaller agents to strike at Iraq and destroy it." In intelligence parlance, that kind of media assault is called a "threat environment" and is considered a meaningful indicator in regard to terrorism. Two days after the summit ended, with the Iraqi press still blasting away, the Khobar Towers bombing occurred. Who was behind the blast? Wasn't Iraq the most obvious suspect? Indeed, Wafiq Samarrai, a prominent defector who headed Iraqi military intelligence during the Gulf War, said that Iraq had formed a special committee to carry out terrorism, including attacks in Saudi Arabia, near buildings where U.S. soldiers lived. Yet in 1996, with elections in November, the Clinton administration had no interest in fingering Iraq for the Khobar Towers bombing. As a candidate in 1992, Bill Clinton had talked tougher than his opponent, President Bush, on Iraq, arguing that Hussein should have been overthrown. But as president, Clinton was much softer, settling on a policy of "containing" Iraq. Even after Majid's defection, the administration continued to maintain that its policy was sufficient to deal with the Iraqi threat. Initially after the Khobar Towers bombing, both the FBI and the CIA leaned toward the view that the renegade Saudi fundamentalist, Bin Laden--that is, not a nation-state--was responsible. That was convenient from a U.S. perspective. If evidence showed that a terrorist state was said to be behind the bombing, the administration would have been expected to take action. Yet from the Saudi perspective, it was the worst possible answer. It made the regime's domestic opponents appear more capable and determined than they were. That may explain why the Saudi Embassy leaked information from the interrogation of Saudi Shiites rounded up after the bombing. Under torture, they acknowledged responsibility and fingered Iran. Most people will say anything under torture, but the Saudi leak ended speculation that Bin Laden was responsible. It is now five years later. Thus far, the U.S. has no policy on Iraq, and the Saudis have turned to Iran to help them deal with Iraq. Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah recently rebuffed the Bush administration, turning down its invitation to visit Washington. One thing the new administration can do to help clarify matters is to revisit the bombings in Saudi Arabia. Almost certainly, it will find that the evidence points toward Iraq and that Hussein remains a far more dangerous figure than is generally recognized. - - - Robert C. Mcfarlane Was National Security Advisor Under President Reagan. Laurie Mylroie, Author of "Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America" (Aei Press, 2000), was Bill Clinton's advisor on Iraq during the 1992 presidential campaign http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/printedition/article/0,2669,SAV 0106050250,FF.html * BOMBERS CITE IRAQ SANCTIONS by Lisa Anderson Chicago Tribune, June 5, 2001 NEW YORK -- Seeking to avoid the death sentence for a man convicted in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, defense attorneys Monday cited a decade of U.S.-led sanctions against Iraq as a source of deep hatred of America across the Muslim world and as a motivation for the bomber. Lawyers for Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al-'Owhali, convicted last week of conspiracy and the killing of 213 people in the attack on the embassy in Nairobi, called human-rights activist and former Atty. Gen. Ramsey Clark to testify in the federal trial's penalty phase about the scope of suffering imposed by the sanctions on the Iraqi people. A frequent visitor to Iraq over the last 10 years, Clark, 73, also told the jury that he believed that anyone associated with alleged Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden has "little or no chance of getting a fair trial" in the United States. Clark testified that on his annual visits to Iraq he had seen a worsening of conditions among civilians, including an increase of illnesses and deaths among children and the elderly due to shortages of food, medicine and clean water. Under questioning from Al-'Owhali attorney David Baugh, Clark said he blamed Iraq's misery on international sanctions imposed in August 1990. Al-'Owhali, 24, of Saudi Arabia, was one of four men convicted May 29 of conspiring with bin Laden in a global campaign to kill Americans. That campaign included the near simultaneous bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Aug. 7, 1998, that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and injured 4,000 others. Al-'Owhali and Khalfan Khamis Mohamed of Tanzania, who delivered the bombs to the Kenyan and Tanzanian embassies respectively, face the death penalty. Wadih El-Hage of Arlington, Texas, and Mohamed Sadeek Odeh of Jordan, who were convicted of conspiracy, face the possibility of life in prison without parole. During his testimony, Clark said he met with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in a futile attempt to avert the Persian Gulf war and then returned to Iraq during the American-led bombing in 1991. Clark later provided legal representation in the trial of Egyptian extremist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted of conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and is serving a life sentence in prison. Most recently, Clark told the jury, he filed an affidavit in a British court in the case of Khalid Al Fawwaz, an associate of bin Laden charged in the bombings, who is fighting extradition to the U.S. In that affidavit, Clark said, he told the British court that he felt there was insufficient probing for prejudice among prospective jurors in the Rahman trial and that "20 years of anti-Arab sentiment" in the U.S. precluded the possibility of a fair trial for such defendants. Asst. U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald, who also prosecuted the World Trade Center bombing case, vigorously challenged Clark's depiction of the questioning of prospective jurors in the Rahman case. Fitzgerald recently was named by Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) as his choice to be the next U.S. attorney in the Chicago area. When asked by Baugh if he had had occasion to criticize the U.S. government over the years, Clark acknowledged that he had. "I believe if you love your country, that's your duty," said Clark, who served as attorney general under President Lyndon Johnson. Al-'Owhali's proceeding, which is expected to go to the jury later this week, is the first death penalty case to be heard in a Manhattan federal court since 1957. http://www.mg.co.za/mg/za/archive/2001jun/features/05jun-powel.html * AN APPROPRIATE WELCOME FOR POWELL AT WITS by Salim Vally and Patrick Bond The Mail&Guardian (South Africa), June 5, 2001 United States Secretary of State Colin Powell was forced to spend an extra hour hemmed in on campus by demonstrators, learning why the US is now widely regarded as the world's main rogue state. Wits students engaged in non-violent civil disobedience and blocked the US delegation's exit. For their trouble, security forces roughed up students David Masondo and Nick Dieltens, who both received nasty facial and head wounds. Throughout the day, members of Powell's security entourage patrolled the campus, on occasion ripping down posters critical of US foreign policy. A student was also "requested" to cover up his Che Guevara T-shirt because it was deemed "offensive". This arrogance and coercion seems to have been the trend throughout Powell's tour of Africa. Aids activists in Kenya say they were prevented by US officials from unfurling a banner that read: "Put lives before profit." Nevertheless, in spite of Powell's militaristic buffer, the message got through: while he may have a respectful audience in Pretoria (and in banal Sunday Times coverage), he's more often considered, as a sign said: "The Butcher of Baghdad." It was appropriate that the Bush administration's envoy received such an inhospitable welcome for several reasons. Firstly, Powell is personally responsible for an attempted cover-up of the horrific 1968 My Lai massacre of women and children by US forces in Vietnam; for participating in the mid-1980s cover-up of the Iran-contra Arms Scandal; and for covering up and downplaying 1991 "Gulf War syndrome" diseases and violations of the Geneva Convention associated with the mass slaughter of retreating Iraqi troops. Secondly, Powell's responsibilities for human rights violations continue, through: ‹ Washington's coddling of the apartheid state of Israel, which with US financial and military support is killing hundreds of Palestinians. ‹ The illegal blockade of Cuba, in the wake of at least 17 CIA assassination attempts on Fidel Castro. ‹ A $1,5-billion escalation of an alleged "drugs war" in Colombia, which in reality is merely another failing counterinsurgency in the tradition of Indochina, Central America and Southern Africa. Thirdly, there are other features of the Bush administration's disregard for the rest of the planet's citizens that Powell should have answered for: ‹ The refusal to honour more than $1-billion in United Nations dues. ‹ The retreat from international efforts to curb illicit money laundering. ‹ The rejection of obligations to stop trashing the environment through the Kyoto Protocol on carbon dioxide emissions. ‹ Massive military expenditure in the form of the "Star Wars" missile defence programme. ‹ A new attack by the US Office of the Trade Representative on Brazil's ability to produce anti-retroviral generic drugs to combat HIV/Aids. ‹ The recent refusal by Washington to fund organisations that provide family planning and abortion services in the Third World. ‹ Sabotage of Korean peace talks. ‹ The nomination of men with appalling human rights records to the United Nations and Organisation of American States. ‹ Insistence on Third World countries' repayment of illegitimate foreign debt to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). ‹ Ongoing demand that other countries adopt the World Bank and IMF free-market "structural adjustment", which cut the living standards of Africans while promoting transnational corporate and banking interests. ‹ Continuation of the extremist trade liberalisation process of the World Trade Organisation and African Growth and Opportunity Act, while hypocritically retaining protectionist tariffs at home. No one should really be surprised at the aggressive record of the Bush regime in these vital areas, though, given its origins in a banana-republic election in Florida. Thanks to Governor Jeb Bush and five white Supreme Court judges, African-American voters were blatantly disenfranchised. Though Powell is black, he serves alongside people who have promoted apartheid and repression of Africans. Vice President Dick Cheney, for example, voted in favour of keeping Nelson Mandela in prison and against anti-apartheid sanctions in the US Congress during the 1980s. As the CEO of the oil services company Haliburton during the 1990s, Cheney sustained the Sani Abacha regime in Nigeria. And while the Middle East, Colombia and Cuba are just three current sites of US aggression, our region knows Washington's history of meddling all too well: ‹ The CIA's decades-long support of the apartheid regime. ‹ Encouragement of Pretoria's invasion of Angola in 1975. ‹ US patronage of Renamo's war in Mozambique. ‹ Ronald Reagan's "constructive engagement" policy, which prolonged apartheid's life during the 1980s. During his term as US president, Bill Clinton apologised to the people of Central America for America's record of malign intervention, and Powell should have done the same while here. The critique of US foreign policy may be loudest when students protest, but it behoves the Department of Foreign Affairs to consider why Washington's international illegitimacy was confirmed by the US's own peers in the UN. Over the past few weeks the US was stripped of its seats on the UN Human Rights Commission and UN international drug monitoring board. Human rights activists across the world celebrate the growing rejection of the world's most dangerous rogue nation, including its main foreign policy representative, Powell. Will a US delegation return to Johannesburg next September for more evidence of international opposition to Washington's multifaceted war on the planet at the Rio+10 Summit on Sustainable Development? Salim Vally and Patrick Bond are Wits staff members. Bond is the author of the forthcoming book Against Global Apartheid http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=76415 * ROBERT FISK: ALL THESE CRUEL MUSLIM REGIMES ABUSE THE PEOPLE OF THE MIDDLE EAST Independent, 6th June 2001 Why, I ask myself, am I spending more time than ever - in 25 years covering the Middle East - cataloguing the barbarity, torture, hangings, head-choppings and human rights abuses of the region? No, I'm not talking about Israel's death squads, its vile torture apparatus at the Russian compound in Jerusalem and its shoot-to-kill army, some units of which are turning into an indisciplined rabble. I'm talking about the blind, cruel, vindictive Muslim regimes of the Middle East; because I'm beginning to ask myself if there isn't something uniquely terrible about the way they treat their people, the way they kill their people, the way they abuse them and flog them and string them up. Let's start low-key. Last month, an Egyptian court sentenced Saadeddin Ibrahim, the Cairo intellectual and human-rights campaigner, to seven years in prison for spreading "false reports" abroad about electoral fraud and religious persecution and for receiving illegal foreign donations. Now I happen to know Saadeddin. He is a palpably honest, decent man. At his hearing - in a state security court, for heaven's sake - every charge against him was disproved with documentary evidence. The so-called "foreign donations" came - again, don't gasp - from the European Union. But he got seven years. Now let's go to the other end of horror. The scene is the Tehran suburb of Khak e-Sefid on 19 March this year. A young woman called Fariba Tajiani Emamqoli has been sentenced to death for drug-trafficking, along with four other men. She is led out in front of a baying crowd, blindfolded and manacled, begging desperately for her life. But senior police officers ignore her. Along with her four male companions, 30-year-old Fariba is strung up from one of five cranes and spends 10 minutes choking to death before a crowd of 500 people - along with others who had gathered to watch from their rooftops - who shriek "death to dealers" as her body sways above the streets. Down in Saudi Arabia, where public execution is a fine art, they're well on their way to meeting last year's rich crop of 113 public beheadings. A week ago, three Saudis - Sotam al Dhouibi, Majid al-Dahiri and Hamad al-Matiri - were beheaded with a sword in Qassim province for theft and male rape. Guilty or not - and the kingdom's trials are a mockery of justice - our friends the Saudis are second only to the merciless Saddam when it comes to butchering their people in public. Then there's the other refinement of Saudi sadism: "cross amputation" (the chopping off of right hand and left foot for supposed crimes), a cruelty visited upon seven men, three of them Nigerian, in the first half of last year. Yes of course, Saddam still tops the cruelty league - women are hanged on Tuesdays (with Thursdays as an optional extra if the hangman is too busy the previous Tuesday) in Baghdad. And Saddam prefers to do most of his massacres in private. The Syrians do their hanging in private and only now are the political prisons beginning to open. One of their most recent liberations was that of a journalist who had spent 30 years in a dungeon. Even little Lebanon is now accused by Amnesty International of the increasing use of torture, with one report recording the use of the back-breaking "German chair" - a filthy instrument originally perfected by the East Germans in Damascus - on victims. What does it represent, this behaviour by the states of the Middle East? Yes, I know the Americans are poisoning, frying or shooting their condemned prisoners at a ferocious rate. And of course, I know about "sharia" law. I've heard more than I want to know about its severity. But what about the mercy and compassion that are among the first words of the Koran? In Arab and Iranian homes, Muslim families exhibit infinitely more compassion and love than Westerners. They don't send their elderly and incurably sick to die in nursing institutions. The old and the fatally ill spend their last days in their family homes, cared for to the end by relatives. Shame on us. But how come the same men and women can stand on a rooftop to scream at a woman strangling on a rope? Chibli Mallat, a prominent member of the anti-death penalty commission in Lebanon, dismisses the idea that brutality in the region is rooted in the "soul of the people", even though Hajaj ben Youssis, the ancient ruler of Baghdad, wrote about "pure power", a tradition that Saddam has followed. And Yasser Arafat - the "super-terrorist" who became a "super-statesman" and is about to be turned into a "super-terrorist" again - certainly learnt Ben Youssis's principles when he needed them. When Arafat had a collaborator, Alanbadi Odeh, publicly shot in Nablus on 13 January this year, there were the usual delighted shouts from a mob of Palestinians that "God is great" to send the man on his way to eternity. Chibli doesn't think this is endemic. "I think we lost a lot of our liberalism in the 1930s under colonialism because the (British and French) mandatory powers distorted the meaning of democracy," he says. "In Syria and Egypt, the decent, democratic liberals couldn't get into government. So people learned that they had to use the 'putsch'. And so, after the colonial powers, we got dictators. And they want power. Today, one of our Lebanese judges, Hassan Kawas, has become revolted by judicial killings. He's against them now. We want to put our compassion into legal means to end this. But we are blocked by governments that want strong power." I wonder about this. I wonder not so much about power but about the dark, undocumented complicity of dictators with their people. The Palestinian mob that screamed with joy at Odeh's execution loved Arafat. When Tunisia targets its human-rights defenders, the people are silent. When human-rights groups are put on trial in Morocco, the people are silent. Lebanon, which is not a dictatorship and hosts tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees, has reportedly sent 300 asylum-seekers back to their countries of origin in the past nine months, including an Iraqi, Ammar Kazim Shams, who was recognised as a refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Jordan currently wants to send Abdul al Ridha al-Ibrahimi, an Iraqi army deserter - whose family have already been tormented by Saddam's thugs - back to Baghdad. If they do, say goodbye to Mr Al-Ibrahimi. And so it goes on. And for the most part - unless it happens to involve Saddam - the Americans and British and French, those supposed upholders of human rights, stay silent. Why? But even more to the point, how did the Muslim Middle East produce this cruelty? Meanwhile, before you go, just one more execution. A 35-year-old Iranian woman was stoned to death in a Tehran jail this month for allegedly acting in obscene films. But not to worry. She was buried up to her shoulders for execution so the stones could not touch her breasts. And only the prison guards watched. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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