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Article plus editorial from #26 of the Militant, published weekly in New York (visit www.themilitant.com) Washington directs CIA to seek removal of Iraqi government BY RÓGER CALERO A feature article in the June 16 Washington Post reported that as part of the U.S. government's efforts to overthrow the Iraqi regime, the Bush administration has authorized the CIA to conduct covert operations in Iraq that include the use of lethal force. Seeking to create an incident and provoke the Iraqi government, the presidential order directs the CIA to increase support for Iraqi opposition groups and forces inside and outside Iraq, including with money, weapons, equipment, training, and intelligence information, reported Robert Woodward. As well, the CIA is to expand its intelligence operations inside the country. The U.S. president gave the go-ahead to the deployment of CIA and Special Forces units that would be "authorized to kill Hussein if they were acting in self-defense," Woodward wrote. Woodward quoted government officials who said that the operations should be viewed largely as "preparatory" to a military strike so "the agency can identify targets, intensify intelligence gathering on the ground in Iraq, and build relations with alternative future leaders and groups if Hussein is ousted." Meetings with opposition forces White House officials have held a series of meetings with representatives of opposition forces. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said they include the Iraqi National Congress, the Kurdish Democratic Party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the Iraqi National Accord, and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq. The highest-ranking official to meet with these groups is Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman. Since its 1990-91 war, in which the U.S.-led forces killed at least 150,000 Iraqis, the United Nations has maintained an embargo on the country. U.S. and British forces have also enforced a self-declared no-fly zone over the northern and southern parts of Iraq. Washington has launched several punishing air and cruise missile strikes against Baghdad and other major cities over the last decade as well. But Washington's imperialist rivals in Europe are increasingly doing business with the Iraqi government. Over the past four years some 185 companies have dropped a total of $2.9 billion of war-related claims in order to get in on lucrative contracts to rebuild infrastructure and supply food and medicines to the country. In addition, EU ministers announced June 17 they are launching negotiations with the government of Iran over closer economic relations. They hope to rapidly conclude a Trade and Cooperation Agreement as a first step to a free trade accord. Both of these moves cut across Washington's campaign to oust Hussein as part of the fight against the countries they have declared to be the "axis of evil"--Iraq, Iran, and north Korea. As well as being capable of building weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems, these countries are not on good terms with U.S. imperialism. Bush declared that the White House will take "preemptive action" against these and other countries it chooses to block from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. "The worst thing that can happen would be to allow a nation like Iraq, run by Saddam Hussein, to develop weapons of mass destruction, and then team up with terrorist organizations so they can blackmail the world," said Bush in April. "I'm not going to let that happen. "I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go," Bush said to journalists. "That 's all I'm willing to share with you." More recently, in a speech at West Point Bush came back to the theme of the preemptive strike doctrine, saying that "if we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long." Vice President Richard Cheney joined the campaign, stating, "A regime that hates America and everything we stand for must never be permitted to threaten America with weapons of mass destruction." The Bush administration does not say it has proof that the government in Iraq possesses nuclear and biological weapons, or that it may have given any such weapons to al Qaeda. "It's not because you have some chain of evidence saying that Iraq may have given a weapon to al Qaeda," said National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. "But it is because Iraq is one of those places that is both hostile to us and, frankly, irresponsible and cruel enough to make this available." The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. officials now say they "overestimated" al Qaeda's access to weapons of mass destruction. According to one "intelligence official," the "designs for nuclear weapons" found in Afghanistan "were rudimentary, the sort you'd draw on a cocktail napkin." U.S. troops "found no sign that al Qaeda had managed to acquire chemical or biological weapons or any nuclear material," the Journal noted. As part of building support for action against Baghdad, U.S. secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld met with officials of three Gulf states in June. During his tour Rumsfeld visited U.S. military bases in Kuwait, where there are 8,000 U.S. troops equipped with Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and Patriot air-defense batteries, as well as the crews for fighter planes flying over the no-fly zone in southern Iraq. Numerous articles in the big-business press, citing unnamed Pentagon or White House sources, say that Washington is not planning a full-scale military invasion at this point. Top military officers say that such an operation would require at least 200,000 troops, while preparations would take up to six months. CIA director Tenet stated that the job of putting together a proxy army like the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance would be a much more difficult task for the CIA than in Afghanistan, since the Iraqi army is eight times larger than the forces controlled by the Taliban before their downfall. Tenet said that a CIA effort to bring down Hussein without a military assault had only about a 10 to 20 percent chance of succeeding ************************************************************ Oppose U.S. adventure to provoke incident with Iraq Moves are parallel to 'preemptive' bipartisan assault on rights (editorial) The Militant urges all working people and youth to oppose U.S. imperialism's new adventure aimed at creating a provocative incident against the government of Iraq. The object of the U.S. rulers is to manufacture a justification for broader military action against Baghdad in order to pursue their long-sought goal of toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein. The course outlined in the presidential order directing the CIA to expand operations against Baghdad and raising the prospect of Special Forces operations in northern Iraq can never bring down the government there, a fact that is admitted by top U.S. government officials. Instead, it is another provocation, and an imperialist intervention into a sovereign country. There is an urgency in Washington's campaign, as its European imperialist rivals are moving to expand economic ties with Iraq, as well as neighboring Iran. Both countries have been declared part of the "axis of evil" by the Bush administration. One of the goals of the U.S. rulers in their brutal assault on Iraq in 1990-91 was to deal some blows to their imperialist competitors and firm up their hold on Mideast oil supplies. But unless Washington can make palpable progress in overthrowing the government in Iraq and replacing it with one to its liking, France, Germany, and other imperialist powers will make their own inroads in the region. The U.S. rulers are deadly serious about their "right" to take "preemptive action" against any country around the world that they declare to be planning to build or deploy weapons of mass destruction. On June 12 president Bush told a meeting of the Homeland Security Advisory Council that Washington is "just going to have to enforce the doctrine, either you're with us or you're against us. You join the coalition of freedom, or you're on the other side of the tracks." For those on the wrong side of the tracks, he said, Washington's forces will "run them down, wherever they try to hide, and bring them to justice." He boasted that "our coalition has hauled in about 2,400 of these terrorists, these killers." While the numbers of people jailed in hellholes in Afghanistan and concrete boxes at the illegally-occupied U.S. military base in Guantánamo, Cuba, have grown, the U.S. government has charged only one person apprehended outside the United States with a criminal offense, and that is only because John Walker Lindh is a U.S. citizen. The rest are "brought to justice" by being threatened with lifetime imprisonment or execution after being dragged before drumhead military tribunals. The U.S. rulers do face a problem. There are a number of countries that have the capacity to build and deploy long-range missiles topped with warheads capable of reaching the United States or threatening U.S. military bases. Without a perfected missile defense shield, Washington is driven to find and attack any country where the government is not to its liking and there is an indication that such weapons are being built or readied. It must do so in order to protect its rule of the world. The preemptive strikes are likely to be targeted military assaults, like the 1985 Israeli bombing of the nuclear reactor in Iraq. In a parallel move, bipartisan support has been declared for the Bush administration's "preemptive" and "precrime" arrests, jailings of U.S. citizens without charges, secret hearings of immigrants detained by the government, and summary deportations. The violations of constitutional rights being carried out by the Justice Department against Abdullah al-Muhajir, also known by his former name of José Padilla, are numerous. They include jailing him without charges, refusing to allow him to see a lawyer, and stating that he may not be able to confront his accuser in court. Despite a new federal court ruling declaring the INS's secret hearings on cases of immigrants jailed in New Jersey illegal, la migra still refused to carry out the court order to open the proceedings. As the U.S. rulers pursue this course abroad and at home, their attempts to carry out military strikes and erode workers' rights will run into resistance from working people. The tough talk and brutal actions of the Democratic and Republican party politicians are not some passing phase. It is the real face of U.S. imperialism and an indication of the future it holds for humanity. It is the kind of world where a wealthy oil man from Texas who happens to be the U.S. president will start talking about people being on the wrong side of the tracks. In the United States, being from "the wrong side of the tracks" has traditionally meant that you are a working person, often Black, and therefore can't fit it in the world of the rich, who live on the "right" side of the tracks. Talk of running people down and bringing them to justice has a certain ring to it as well, one that does not sit well with large sections of the working class and oppressed nationalities in the United States. Both at home and abroad it is working people who are ultimately the target of the imperialist assault. Organizing today to join the struggles of working people against the brutalities and attacks by the bosses and the bipartisan gang in Washington; expanding the distribution of the Militant, Perspectiva Mundial, and Pathfinder books among working people and youth; and building proletarian parties is the surest way to prepare for the social battles down the road that are being bred by imperialism's world disorder. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk