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News, 15-22/6/02 (titles) This mailing brings us back up to date. The item of most immediate interest to anti-sanctions activists is probably the prosecution of Bert Sacks in the US (under Remnants of Decencyı). There is also George Bush, licensing the CIA to do such things/What they are, yet I know not, but they shall be/The Terrors of the earthı (King Lear, II.iv), which is, if anything, reassuring; but note the commentary (under License to Killı) by Scott Ritter. Note also that the general intention of all this is to increase the already well-established paranoia of the Iraqi government, which is hardly calculated to make life more agreeable for the citizens of Iraq. US policy is to force the Iraqi government into the modes of behaviour (seeking radical means of self defense and tighter security) which it then condemns. We also now have the quote we want giving the precise nature of the Czech evidenceı for the Atta/al-Ani meeting (under Finger pointing at Iraqı). Otherwise its the usual old mixture. FINGER POINTING AT IRAQ * Iraq accused of smuggling nuclear arms parts on aid flights [The Times does its patriotic duty in relaying incendiary bits of anonymous intelligence.] * U.S. agencies doubt terrorist Atta's meeting in Prague [This article at last gives us the full story on the Czech sighting of Atta in Prague in April 2001 (though really this has been obvious for a very long time): The service based its intelligence on a recruited agent who identified Atta from a photograph after September 11. The agent said he met both Atta and al-Ani in the Iraqi Embassy in Prague but was not 100 percent confident about the identities of the men ...ı There is also a quote from the FBI which scotches William Safireıs claim (News York Times, 18th March) that the FBI had concrete evidence that Atta visted Prague in April 2001. If readers are curious, as I am, to know why the Czechs have been so insistent on the story it may interest them to learn that the PM of the time, Milos Zeman, caused a bit of a scandal in Czechoslovakia because he had said, in Jerusalem, that the Israelis should deal with the Palestinians in the same way that the Czechs (at a time when, if Iım not mistaken, Madeleine Albrightıs father was in the Czech government) had dealt with the Sudeten Germans. Zemanıs party has since been re-elected, but without Zeman at its head.] * Al Qaeda find Iraqi escape [This article could more accurately have been titled: Al Qaeda members might have passed through Iraq. But on the other hand, they might not ...ı But that wouldnıt have had quite the same ring to it.] INSIDE IRAQ * Relics of Iraq's colonial past join the ghosts of other empires [Impressionistic acccount of British/Iraqi relations with curious note at end that the British Council is planning to resume activities (has no-one told them...?). On the whole however the letter that follows this article may serve as its commentary.] * Maintaining war graves in Iraq [Letter from the Director-General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission] * Saddam may hand power to his son [Qusay] to avoid attack [If this should happen I predict that Mr Hussein will be indicted before a specially created International Kangaroo Court and Iraq will move into the Serbia category. The sanctions will be seasoned with bribes with a view to securing his voluntaryı surrender.] * Iraq's tortured children [Preview of John Sweeney programme on Monday 24th. See note sent to list by Gabriel of Voices in the Wilderness, 22nd June. Note also the following, from 100 MPs back protest over strikes on Iraq , article in the Daily Telegraph, 15th March (News, 9-16/3/02): John Sweeney, a journalist working for BBC Five Live, unearthed the fact that an Arab from whom Mr Galloway received thousands of pounds in cash for expenses in the 1990s was the same man who was named in an American court as the purchaser of a satellite telephone used by al-Qa'eda in Afghanistan.ı There was also an enthusiastically pro-sanctions representative in Congress - Rep, NY - called John Sweeney, but it could hardly be him, could it?] URL ONLY: http://atimes.com/front/DF21Aa01.html * Iraqis not ready to lie down just yet by Kim Ghattas Asia Times (from Inter Press Service), 21st June [Account of life in Iraq. Seems fine as far as it goes but nothing we havenıt seen before.] IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (RUSSIA, SUDAN, AUSTRALIA) * Russia May Reap Policy Dividends [Russia, appearing in this article as a prostitute, haggling over the price.] * Sudanese VP Visits Iraq to Boost Ties * US 'Strike First' Strategy Gets Thumbs-Up From Australia AND, IN NEWS, 15-22/6/02 (2) LICENSE TO KILL [in self defense] * CIA given powers to topple Saddam: WP [You and I probably thought this was US policy already, even though it is presumably illegal under UN principles, not that that matters. The license to kill clause, devised to conform to US domestic legislation, is, however, quite amusing: Possible use of CIA and US Special Forces teams, similar to those that have been successfully deployed in Afghanistan since the Sept. 11 airliner attacks. Such forces would be authorized to kill the Iraqi president if they were acting in self-defence.ı] * Gunning for Saddam - but is the CIA capable of triggering his demise? [In the light of the CIA license to kill President Hussein (in self defence) this is a little roundup of CIA history for those who may not already be familiar with it.] * Behind 'Plot' on Hussein, a Secret Agenda [Clearsighted explanation by Scott Ritter of the license to kill announcement as a deliberate effort to sabotage the effort to reintroduce weapons inspectors to Iraq. Discussion of Iraqi fears - clearly not at all groundless - that the role of such inspectors is to gather intelligence to aid an assassination attempt.] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Islamist militants suspected behind Iraq blasts * Iraqi Kurds fear talk of war [Includes an interview with a retired bazar salesman in Erbil called Jamil who seems a little confused: We don't want the U.S. to bomb Iraq, because we're part of Iraq and we don't want the Iraqi people to suffer ... If nothing like in '91 or '96 [when the US betrayed two previous Kurdish efforts at revolt - PB] happens, then we'll help [a U.S. attack]," Jamal said.ı It is the same confusion (we support the US war on Iraq so long as they donıt kill any Iraqis) that exists in the heads of some of the contributors to the CASI list.] * Kurds report ethnicity cleansing by Iraq [This article states that Kurds can only stay in the area by declaring thmeselves to be Arabs. A previous article [Iraqi Kurds' story of expulsionı in Kurdish supplement, 3-10/11/01] stated that, on declaring themselves to be Arabs, Kurds were liable to be displaced on the grounds that, as Arabs, they would clearly be happy to settle anywhere in Iraq. Iım not suggesting that either of these stories are discredited by this discrepancy. It is bound to be very difficult to get an idea of what is happening in that part of the world.] IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * 3 new Israeli submarines may carry nuclear warheads [The article includes an analysis by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on the reasons why different countries in the area might want nuclear weapons. Only Iraq (the country which above all has been the victim of a continual international aggression over the past thirteen years) is accused of merely aggressive intentions. With regard to US complicity in the Israeli programme, the following is said: "It is above top secret knowing whether the sub-launched cruise missiles are nuclear-armed." Another former official added, "We often don't ask."ı And the world continues to accept the US as an honest broker in international affairs including questions of nuclear proliferation, and the Israeli/Palestinian dispute.] * Iraq is ready to discuss issues of the missing since the Gulf war [This is a recurring item and I nearly didnıt give it. The obstacle to this co-operation taking place is, so far as I can see, the Kuwaiti insistence that the US and Britain should participate in the discussions.] * Iran 'opposes US attacking Iraq' NO FLY ZONES * U.S. Plane Bombs Iraqi Defense Site [Wednesday] * US planes strike command center in Iraq [Thursday] * US-British raids kill four Iraqis in Baghdad [This refers to the Thursday raid and actually occurred 366 km south of Baghdad.] IRAQI OPPOSITION * US turf wars betray the Iraqis [Complaints about US failure to support the INC. The article attributes this to the INCıs pro-democracy agendaı, ie to the State Departmentıs preference for a Saddam lookalike, a Sunni strongman. But this doesnıt explain why the INC also appears to have been dropped by the KDP, PUK and SCIRI. Also the article (the title implies that the Guardian supports the forthcoming war on Iraq) takes for granted the reliability of the defectors that the INC has smuggled out of Iraq even though being set up comfortably in the West is clearly being offered as the reward for a good story ...] * Iraqi opposition to hold meeting in London [The longawaited meeting of ex-army generals, calling themselves the Iraqi National Coalitionı. A quick search of previous news reports came up with only one reference to this name, an obvious error for the Iraqi National Congress. Or is it another name for the Iraqi National Accord?] AND, IN NEWS, 15-22/6/02 (3) PROSPECTS FOR WAR * Attack on Iraq may surprise everyone [This, suggesting that the war will start out of the blue without any military buildup, I think, belongs to the realms of fantasy, but with the current US leadership one never knows.] * Third time a charm for Albright [Madeleine Albrightıs latest reflections on Iraq. She thinks a war would be a mistake (systematic reduction of the population to a state of destitution is better) but that it will happen.] * U.S. Talks Iraq but Thinks Iran [The application here would be that once 250,000 U.S. and British troops mass to strike in that festering part of the world, they would hit in two quick blows at Iraq and Iran. I believe that's the reason for the delay in striking Iraq.ı This is what passes as respectable political speculation in the USA today. Note the reference to that festering part of the worldı and the way in which the and Britishı part is taken for granted.] * Iraq Attack: Why an October surprise is likely" [Latest thoughts, or rather, latest hopes, of James Woolsey and Francis Brooke, ie the white boys of the INC. They seem to think, I donıt know on what grounds, that the demise of President Hussein will result in the establishment of democracy in Iraq.] * Cheney Sees 'Gathering Danger' in Iraq URL ONLY: http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Artic le_Type1&c=Article&cid=1022100166362&call_page=TS_Editorial&call_pageid=9682 56290204&call_pagepath=News/Editorial&col=968350116795 * Bush's scary Iraq policy Toronto Star, 17th June [The article boldly declares that Washington ought not act as if it were a law unto itselfı, but the author has already swallowed so many outrages that his whining over this matter carries very little weight.] REMNANTS OF DECENCY * First US dissidents speak out against 'war on terrorism' [Text of statement referred to in News 8-15/6/02, ³US artists damn 'war without limit'²] * The U.S. vs. Bert Sacks' principles on Iraq [Sympathetic account of Voices activist Bert Sacks given in his local press.] * Treasury Department vows to prosecute Iraq activist [This version of Bert Sacks contains an intriguing reference to the US Customs confiscating illegal film from their (Voicesı members) baggage.ı One assumes they werenıt smuggling pornography but what other sort of film is illegal in the freedom loving United States?] IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * Iraq: UN Oil Pricing Threatens Program * UN Gulf war reparations panel approves $4.7b claims [One hopes that any potential leader the US finds to replace Mr Hussein will insist as a condition of taking office that this particular circus comes to an end. One hopes, but its more likely that compliance with outrageous compensation demands will be made a condition of being installed as leader of (the new, democratic) Iraq. URL ONLY http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/business/index.ssf?/cgi free/getstory_ssf.cgi?f0077_BC_WSJ--GulfWarReparatio&&news&newsflash-financi al * Iraq presses firms to forgo billions in reparations by STEVE STECKLOW and ALIX M. FREEDMAN The Wall Street Journal, 19th June [Readers will hardly credit it but this is a long article expressing moral outrage that Iraq uses its economic muscle to prevent companies from jumping on to the UN compensation scam: Saddam Hussein's regime - with the complicity of major corporations and some governments - has repeatedly subverted the international goal of forcing Iraq to take responsibility for the losses it inflicted.ı Well, thatıs one way putting it. The possibility that firms may have made false compensation claims in order to oblige Iraq to bribe them to drop them isnıt, so far as I can see, considered.] IRAQI/US RELATIONS * US says diplomat from Iraq is a spy [US demands expulsion of Iraqi diplomat accredited to UN. This is the principle version of the story which Iıve taken. The other related items give details that arenıt given here.] * U.S. says Iraqi U.N. envoy was spying, seeks expulsion [Note on US refusal to give Iraqi mission any detailed explanation.] * US orders Iraqi diplomat expelled from UN [Note on relations with UN] * Iraq: Expulsion of Diplomat is Revenge * Accused Spy for Iraq on Trial [It may be noted that there is no suggestion here or in other accounts weıve seen of this case that Iraq accepted the offer Mr Regan is said to have made to them.] * Iraqi Diplo Credit Bill Hits 70G * Poll: U.S. should take military action in Iraq [But support for military action is still declining.] URL ONLY: http://www.unfoundation.org/unwire/util/display_stories.asp?objid=27072 * U.S.: Iraqi U.N. Envoy Ordered Expelled For Alleged Spying UN Wire, 17th June [This article refers to a previous case when an Iraqi official accredited to the Algerian Embassy was expelled in 1994 for allegedly lobbying the U.S. Congress illegally.ı] COMIC CUTS URLs ONLY: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,585-332916,00.html * Who's in charge here? by Caitlin Moran The Times, 20th June [A funny article, for those who like that sort of things. I donıt, so Iım not giving it.] http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2002/06/21/120.html * Global Eye -- Southern Cross by Chris Floyd Moscow Times, 21st June [Another funny article for those who like that sort of thing. But this one hides a serious point. It seems that Brazil is about to elect a Socialist President, so Brazil might be next after Iraq (and Iran?) on President Bushıs hit list] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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