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[casi] News, 28/9-4/10/02 (1)

News, 28/9-4/10/02 (1)


*  Celebrities take sides over war on Saddam
*  Spielberg Did Not Support A War With Iraq
*  Monthly cost to fight Iraq: $9 billion
*  Records Show U.S. Sent Germs to Iraq
*  'Just war' and preemption: the case for attacking Iraq
*  It only takes a joystick to get rid of Saddam
*  Visits to Iraq not offending voters
*  Bush, House reach Iraq deal
*  House draft resolution on US force in Iraq
*  Gore calls on Bush to heal economy
*  Peace visit to Iraq had outside extricate


*  U.S.: Top al-Qaida Aide Visited Iraq
*  Arafat Lashes Out at U.S. over Jerusalem Law
*  U.S. Steps Up Ukraine-Iraq Probe


*  Hussein has many body doubles, scientist says
*  The bull's-eye in American bombsights
*  Iraqi Group Say Gov. Executed 15
*  Al-Muharrir news: Saddam is ready to resign
*  Iraq: British Dossier Full of Lies
*  Destroying Hope


by Mark Coleman in New York
The Scotsman, 28th September

THE Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg have joined a growing
celebrity debate over the impending war on Iraq, praising Tony Blair and
George Bush¹s pro-military policies.

Talking at the première of the blockbuster film Minority Report in Rome, the
two bucked a recent celebrity trend opposing military intervention,
asserting it was high time to depose of Saddam Hussein forcibly.

"If Bush, as I believe, has reliable information on the fact that Saddam
Hussein is making weapons of mass destruction, I cannot not support the
policies of his government," said Spielberg, 55.

The director of films such as Saving Private Ryan and Schindler¹s List added
that those policies were "solid and rooted in reality".

Cruise, 40, also spoke out in support of the US president. "Personally, I
don¹t have all the information President Bush has," the actor said. "But I
believe Saddam has committed many crimes against humanity and his own

In contrast, the singer and actress Barbra Streisand has taken an anti-war
stance. Streisand - such a fervent supporter of the former president Bill
Clinton that there were rumours of an affair - recently urged the Democrat
congressional leader, Richard Gephardt, and other Democrats to "get off the
defensive and go on the offensive".

In a message posted on a political website, Streisand, 60, added: "Don¹t
ignore the obvious influence of the Bush administration of such special
interests as the oil industry, the chemical companies and the logging
industry ... just to name a few."

Last week, the actresses Jane Fonda and Susan Sarandon were among 4,000
people who protested against Bush¹s policies in a newspaper and internet
manifesto headlined "Not In Our Name".

Fonda first dabbled in anti-war politics in the Sixties and Seventies when
she protested against the Vietnam War.

A group of UK stars, including the playwright Harold Pinter, the film
director Ken Loach and the musician Brian Eno recently set out their
opposition to the war, delivering an open letter to Downing Street.


LOS ANGELES, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Upon learning that his statement about
Iraq at a Rome press conference for his film "Minority Report" had been
taken out of context in news reports, Steven Spielberg issued the following

"I did not say I support a war with Iraq. I was asked a question about  the
film 'Minority Report' and its subject matter which deals with  stopping
murders before they can be committed. It led to a question as  to whether or
not there was a parallel with Iraq. I replied that the  film is science
fiction and Iraq is a reality. I do not have access to  information that
only the President has which might cause me to take a  different position.
In any case, it was never my intention to give an  endorsement of any kind."

by Jim Abrams
Seattle Times, from The Associated Press, 1st October

WASHINGTON ‹ Congress' top budget analyst estimated it could cost the United
States up to $9 billion a month to fight Iraq, as the Senate prepared for
debate as early as tomorrow on a resolution authorizing President Bush to
use force against Saddam Hussein.

Yesterday's report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said
uncertainty about the length and intensity of a U.S. effort to remove the
Iraqi leader made the total price tag of such a conflict unpredictable.

But the analysis made clear that the overall cost of a confrontation would
amount to many billions of dollars beyond the $6 billion to $9 billion
monthly estimated cost for combat by either heavy ground or air forces.
Besides combat expenses, the budget office said the war could also cost:

‹ From $9 billion to $13 billion to deploy U.S. forces to the Persian Gulf;

‹ From $5 billion to $7 billion to get them home after a war; and

‹ From $1 billion to $4 billion monthly to occupy Iraq with U.S.
peacekeeping troops, excluding other costs such as humanitarian aid,
rebuilding the country and dismantling Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.

The figures excluded expenditures that would be made if no conflict were
under way, such as soldiers' salaries.

Democrats used the estimate to argue that if the U.S. commits to a long-term
occupation that includes humanitarian aid and rebuilding, the price tag
would be pushed into the $100 billion to $200 billion range that White House
economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey estimated two weeks ago.

"This CBO estimate is a warning that the costs of the war means we may need
to reconsider other budget priorities," said Rep. John Spratt of South
Carolina, top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

Republicans, on the other hand, said the figures showed the costs of the
fighting alone could well be less than the $61 billion price tag of the 1991
war against Iraq, which lasted about six weeks.

"Relative to the Gulf War, it seems surprisingly affordable," said G.
William Hoagland, the GOP staff director of the Senate Budget Committee.


Associated Press, 1st October

WASHINGTON (AP) ‹ Iraq's bioweapons program that President Bush wants to
eradicate got its start with help from Uncle Sam two decades ago, according
to government records getting new scrutiny in light of the discussion of war
against Iraq.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent samples directly to
several Iraqi sites that U.N. weapons inspectors determined were part of
Saddam Hussein's biological weapons program, CDC and congressional records
from the early 1990s show. Iraq had ordered the samples, claiming it needed
them for legitimate medical research.

The CDC and a biological sample company, the American Type Culture
Collection, sent strains of all the germs Iraq used to make weapons,
including anthrax, the bacteria that make botulinum toxin and the germs that
cause gas gangrene, the records show. Iraq also got samples of other deadly
pathogens, including the West Nile virus.

The transfers came in the 1980s, when the United States supported Iraq in
its war against Iran. They were detailed in a 1994 Senate Banking Committee
report and a 1995 follow-up letter from the CDC to the Senate.

The exports were legal at the time and approved under a program administered
by the Commerce Department.

"I don't think it would be accurate to say the United States government
deliberately provided seed stocks to the Iraqis' biological weapons
programs," said Jonathan Tucker, a former U.N. biological weapons inspector.

"But they did deliver samples that Iraq said had a legitimate public health
purpose, which I think was naive to believe, even at the time."

The disclosures put the United States in the uncomfortable position of
possibly having provided the key ingredients of the weapons America is
considering waging war to destroy, said Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. Byrd
entered the documents into the Congressional Record this month.

Byrd asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld about the germ transfers at
a recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Byrd noted that Rumsfeld
met Saddam in 1983, when Rumsfeld was President Reagan's Middle East envoy.

"Are we, in fact, now facing the possibility of reaping what we have sown?"
Byrd asked Rumsfeld after reading parts of a Newsweek article on the

"I have never heard anything like what you've read, I have no knowledge of
it whatsoever, and I doubt it," Rumsfeld said. He later said he would ask
the Defense Department and other government agencies to search their records
for evidence of the transfers.

Invoices included in the documents read like shopping lists for biological
weapons programs. One 1986 shipment from the Virginia-based American Type
Culture Collection included three strains of anthrax, six strains of the
bacteria that make botulinum toxin and three strains of the bacteria that
cause gas gangrene. Iraq later admitted to the United Nations that it had
made weapons out of all three.

The company sent the bacteria to the University of Baghdad, which U.N.
inspectors concluded had been used as a front to acquire samples for Iraq's
biological weapons program.

The CDC, meanwhile, sent shipments of germs to the Iraqi Atomic Energy
Commission and other agencies involved in Iraq's weapons of mass destruction
programs. It sent samples in 1986 of botulinum toxin and botulinum toxoid ‹
used to make vaccines against botulinum toxin ‹ directly to the Iraqi
chemical and biological weapons complex at al-Muthanna, the records show.

Botulinum toxin is the paralyzing poison that causes botulism. Having a
vaccine to the toxin would be useful for anyone working with it, such as
biological weapons researchers or soldiers who might be exposed to the
deadly poison, Tucker said.

The CDC also sent samples of a strain of West Nile virus to an Iraqi
microbiologist at a university in the southern city of Basra in 1985, the
records show.

by George Weigel
Seattle Times, 1st October

Three basic ethical questions about preemptive military action and the "just
war" tradition have emerged in recent weeks, as the debate over U.S. foreign
policy, the war against terrorism and the case of Iraq have intensified.

The questions are not easy. The international political situation is fraught
with difficulties. And reasonable people can disagree on the prudential
options for addressing the threat of an outlaw state with weapons of mass
destruction that harbors terrorists and seeks a nuclear weapons capability.

Here are my answers to the key questions of moral principle, based on a
quarter century of thinking and writing about the just-war tradition.

Is preemption ever morally justifiable?

Classic just-war thinking identified three kinds of "just cause": defense
against an aggression under way, recovery of something wrongfully taken, or
punishment for evil.

Modern just-war thinking, reflected in the U.N. Charter, has tended to limit
"just cause" to "defense against an aggression under way."

When a vicious regime that has used chemical weapons against its own people
and against a neighboring country ‹ a regime that has no concept of the rule
of law and that flagrantly violates its international obligations ‹ works
feverishly to obtain and deploy further weapons of mass destruction, a
compelling moral case can be made that this is a matter of an "aggression
under way."

The nature of the regime, which is the crucial factor in the moral analysis,
makes that plain. It makes no moral sense to say that the U.S. or the
international community can only respond with armed force when an Iraqi
missile carrying a weapon of mass destruction has been launched, or is being
readied for launch.

There are serious questions of prudence here, of course. At the level of
moral principle, however, there may be instances when it is not only right
to "go first," but "going first" may be morally obligatory. Iraq may well
pose one of those instances.

How can the use of armed force contribute to international order?

President Bush's address at West Point this past June linked the war against
terrorism, and possible military action against aggressor states with
weapons of mass destruction, to the pursuit of a world order based on
justice and freedom. This speech has not been taken seriously enough by the
president's critics, who have not grasped the fact that regime change in
Iraq would have, as its larger strategic purpose, the creation of the
conditions necessary for genuine world order.

There is a great deal of concern in Europe and elsewhere about overriding
the presumption of "sovereign immunity" that nation-states traditionally
enjoy. This presumption assumes, however, that the state in question
displays a minimum of agreement to minimal international norms of order. A
regime like Saddam Hussein's cannot be granted that assumption. Its behavior
demonstrates that it holds the principles of international order in
contempt. Some states, because of the regime's clearly aggressive intent and
because there are no effective internal controls on the regime's behavior,
simply cannot be permitted to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Just-war thinking begins with a basic moral judgment ‹ that legitimate
authorities have a moral obligation to defend the peace of order. History
has shown that that kind of peace can be advanced, in certain circumstances,
by the proportionate, discriminate and strategically wise use of armed

Does the moral authority to wage a just war rest with the United Nations

The U.N. Charter itself recognizes a right to national self-defense, which
implies that defense against aggression does not require authorization by
the Security Council; it is an inalienable right of nations.

If the use of military force can help advance the cause of world order, it
certainly helps at the prudential political level if the use of force is
approved by the Security Council. But a correct reading of the just-war
tradition does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that prior Security
Council approval is morally imperative.

Some responsible analysts have raised questions of precedent here, too:
Would a failure to obtain prior Security Council approval for a U.S. or
coalition assault to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction mean that
the "law of the strongest" was replacing international law? I don't think

It would mean that the United States and allied countries, having made clear
that they intend their action to advance the cause of world order to which
the U.N. is dedicated, have decided that they have a moral obligation to
take measures that the U.N., as presently configured, finds it impossible to
take ‹ even though those measures arguably advance the charter's goals.

And that, I suggest, promotes the cause of the peace of world order over the
long haul.

(George Weigel is an adjunct fellow of the Discovery Institute in Seattle
and senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
He is the author of "Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II"
and "The Courage to Be Catholic.")

by Misha Davenport
Chicago Sun-Times, 2nd October

President Bush doesn't need congressional approval, international coalitions
or United Nations' resolutions to take out Saddam Hussein. He just needs to
pick up "Conflict: Desert Storm" from Gotham Games.

With a tagline of "No diplomats. No negotiation. No surrender," "Conflict:
Desert Storm" showed up on store shelves this week with a retail price of
$39.99 for the PC and $49.99 for video game consoles.

Nothing sets this game apart from any of the other third-person, tactical
combat games currently on the market--except for the fact that it allows a
replay of the first Gulf War on what may very well be the eve of a second

Using a combination of covert movement and an overt rainfall of Rambo-styled
gunfire, one to four players make their way through the desert terrain to
achieve a host of military objectives including taking out military
installations and rescuing prisoners of war.

Of course, "Conflict: Desert Storm" takes things a step further than the
real special forces were allowed. The final mission in the game involves
assassinating a despot the game identifies as "General Aziz," but there's no
mistaking Saddam's black beret or mustache.

While many might think that Gotham Games is capitalizing on the current
state of foreign affairs, a media representative for the software publisher
said the game has been in the works for more than two years. Programmers
enlisted the aid and analysis of Cameron Spence, who was an elite member of
the British Army that fought along side U.S. troops during the Gulf War.
Players get the sense that every rock, gun, and grain of desert sand is
exactly as Spence remembers it.

Bush may have had a hard time selling Europeans on his latest proposal for
military action against Iraq, but that hasn't stopped them from enjoying
this game. Released two weeks ago in Europe, it debuted in the No. 1
position for all its platforms--GameCube, PCs, Playstation 2 and Xbox--and
ranked third this week. Gotham Games expects U.S. sales to meet or exceed
those in Europe.

"Conflict: Desert Storm" is rated T for teens because of violence and blood.

by Melanthia Mitchell
Chicago Sun-Times, 2nd October

SEATTLE (AP): They have been called dupes of Saddam Hussein, at best. Their
harsher critics have called them traitors.

But in their home districts, four Democratic members of the House appear to
be suffering little political fallout from their visits to Iraq.

Reps. Jim McDermott of Seattle, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson
of California returned Tuesday night. Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia was
in Iraq earlier.

Two weeks ago, McDermott won 77 percent of the vote in the state's open
primary from his liberal Seattle constituency. After the visit to Baghdad,
columnist George Will called him a "useful idiot" for Saddam.

George Dignan, 58, of Seattle, said he applauded McDermott's willingness to
take an unpopular stand: "I appreciate a politician who will act on his
convictions rather than what the opinion polls tell him to do."

McDermott, who opposes U.S. military intervention in Iraq, said he wanted to
see for himself the likely consequences of a U.S. military campaign to oust
Saddam and to urge Iraq to comply with UN weapons inspectors.

McDermott was sharply criticized by Republicans after he suggested the
president might be misleading the American people about the need for action.

In Macomb County, north of Detroit, some Bonior constituents said they did
not oppose the visit but questioned its effectiveness.

"I don't really agree with him," said Debra Skrinner, 40. "I think we should
go ahead and bomb Iraq because we've had nothing but problems with Hussein."
Of Bonior, she said, "I think he's trying to do his job."

by Jim Abrams
Chicago Sun-Times, 2nd October

WASHINGTON (AP): Unswayed by a new U.N. plan for arms inspections, President
Bush and House leaders agreed Wednesday on a resolution that a top Democrat
said would deal with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein "diplomatically if we
can, militarily if we must."

As part of the deal, Bush bent to Democratic wishes and pledged to certify
to Congress-- before any military strike, if feasible, or within 48 hours of
a U.S. attack-- that diplomatic and other peaceful means alone are
inadequate to protect Americans from Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.

House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt announced the agreement as he emerged
from an hour-long White House breakfast with Bush and headed back to Capitol
Hill to brief Democrats on the wording of the resolution expected to be
debated in the House International Relations Committee this week.

"Members are trying to deal with this in the right way," Gephardt told
reporters after he met with his colleagues. "We've got to keep this out of
politics," he added. "This is about life and death."

The House resolution is similar to the one proposed last week by Bush and
gives him broad powers to use military force against Baghdad if he deems it
necessary. Democrats in the Senate and moderate Republicans hope to put some
checks on his authority.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden, D-Del., vowed to
press ahead with a proposed alternative by him and Sen. Richard Lugar,
R-Ind., the senior Republican on his committee. It would place more emphasis
on diplomatic efforts and coordination with the United Nations.

But Biden's efforts to take up the measure in his panel Wednesday morning
were frustrated by a procedural objection lodged by the panel's former
chairman, Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C.

The House resolution expected to be debated in the International Relations
Committee beginning this week authorizes Bush to "use the Armed Forces of
the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order
to 1) defend the national security interests of the United States against
the continuing threat posed by Iraq and 2) to enforce all relevant United
Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."

The resolution also requires Bush to report to Congress every 60 days on
"matters relevant" to the confrontation with Iraq. And, it reaffirms the
policy embedded in U.S. law that Saddam should be overthrown.

As Gephardt, D-Mo., explained the final deal: "Iraq is a problem. It
presents a problem after 9/11 that it did not before and we should deal with
it diplomatically if we can, militarily if we must. And I think this
resolution does that."

White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said Bush "believes it will make
available the tools he needs to deal seriously with the threat that Saddam
Hussein" poses.

The White House made plans for Bush to discuss the resolution in a public
event later Wednesday.

While the president and Gephardt conferred over breakfast with Senate
Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., Senate Republican leader Trent Lott,
R-Miss., and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., a dozen women crowded
around the White House's northwest gate in protest.

"No war in Iraq," read a banner they hung on the executive mansion's
wrought-iron gate while one woman mounted the fence and shouted from the top
of its post before being talked down by Secret Service officers.

Accord in the Democratic-controlled Senate was still up in the air, although
Daschle told reporters he expected that "at the end of the day we're going
to have a broad level of support on both sides of the aisle for a resolution
that indicates our support for the United Nations effort and our support for
the administration's effort in dealing with Iraq."

Agreement on an Iraq resolution could set the stage for a strong vote for
the president's policies before Congress recesses for the election campaign.

The administration was also pressing the U.N. Security Council to accept a
proposed U.S. British resolution to disarm Iraq, a campaign complicated by
an agreement announced in Austria Tuesday between Baghdad and U.N. arms

"The president sees what Iraq is discussing yesterday in Vienna as an Iraqi
ploy to string out the world as they build up their arms," Fleischer said.

"The president believes that any inspection regime that was done the way it
was done under previous resolutions is doomed to fail. ... Obviously, the
cat and mouse games have begun."

Secretary of State Colin Powell insisted Tuesday that there be no resumption
of inspections until the Security Council comes up with new ground rules for
those inspections and spells out the consequences if Iraq does not abide by

Bush challenged the Security Council to "show its backbone" by passing a
tough resolution. The other permanent members of the Security Council--
France, Russia and China-- have resisted U.S.-British demands that the
resolution include provisions for a military response to Iraqi failure to

While there's near-unanimous agreement that Saddam presents a threat to U.S.
security interests, lawmakers from both parties have been leery of giving
the president open-ended authority to wage war or to act unilaterally
without the backing of the United Nations or an international coalition.

Financial Times, 2nd October

The following resolution, unveiled on Wednesday morning, outlines the House
of Representatives' arguments for allowing the US to attack Iraq, with or
without the support of other nations. In order to pass both houses of
Congress, the House will have to reconcile its resolution with that of the
Senate, which is expected to contain different language.
Joint Resolution to Authorise the Use of United States Armed Forces Against

Whereas in 1990 in response to Iraq's war of aggression against and illegal
occupation of Kuwait, the United States forged a coalition of nations to
liberate Kuwait and its people in order to defend the national security of
the United States and enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions
relating to Iraq;

Whereas after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, Iraq entered into a United
Nations sponsored cease-fire agreement pursuant to which Iraq unequivocally
agreed, among other things, to eliminate its nuclear, biological, and
chemical weapons programs and the means to deliver and develop them, and to
end its support for international terrorism;

Whereas the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States
intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq
had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological
weapons program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development
program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence
reporting had previously indicated;

Whereas Iraq, in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire, attempted
to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq's
weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities, which
finally resulted in the withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31

Whereas in 1998 Congress concluded that Iraq's continuing weapons of mass
destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and
international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in "material and
unacceptable breach of its international obligations" and urged the
President "to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution
and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with
its international obligations" (Public Law 105-235);

Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the
United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf
region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international
obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a
significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a
nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harbouring terrorist

Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolutions of the United Nations
Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its
civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in
the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi
citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and
by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait;

Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its capability and
willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its
own people;

Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its continuing hostility
toward, and willingness to attack, the United States, including by
attempting in 1993 to assassinate former President Bush and by firing on
many thousands of occasions on United States and Coalition Armed Forces
engaged in enforcing the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council;

Whereas members of al Qaida, an organisation bearing responsibility for
attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the
attacks that occurred on September 11 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbour other international terrorist
organisations, including organisations that threaten the lives and safety of
American citizens;

Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11 2001 underscored
the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass
destruction by international terrorist organisations;

Whereas Iraq's demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of
mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either employ
those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United States or its
Armed Forces or provide them to international terrorists who would do so,
and the extreme magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and
its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the United
States to defend itself;

Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 authorises the use of
all necessary means to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution
660 and subsequent relevant resolutions and to compel Iraq to cease certain
activities that threaten international peace and security, including the
development of weapons of mass destruction and refusal or obstruction of
United Nations weapons inspections in violation of United Nations Security
Council Resolution 687, repression of its civilian population in violation
of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688, and threatening its
neighbours or United Nations operations in Iraq in violation of United
Nations Security Council Resolution 949;

Whereas Congress in the Authorisation for Use of Military Force Against Iraq
Resolution (Public Law 102-1) has authorised the President "to use United
States Armed Forces pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution
678 (1990) in order to achieve implementation of Security Council
Resolutions 660, 661, 662, 664, 665, 666, 667, 669, 670, 674, and 677";

Whereas in December 1991, Congress expressed its sense that it "supports the
use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security
Council Resolution 687 as being consistent with the Authorisation of Use of
Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1)," that Iraq's
repression of its civilian population violates United Nations Security
Council Resolution 688 and "constitutes a continuing threat to the peace,
security, and stability of the Persian Gulf region," and that Congress,
"supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United
Nations Security Council Resolution 688";

Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of
Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support
efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the
emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;

Whereas on September 12 2002, President Bush committed the United States to
"work with the United Nations Security Council to meet our common challenge"
posed by Iraq and to "work for the necessary resolutions," while also making
clear that "the Security Council resolutions will be enforced, and the just
demands of peace and security will be met, or action will be unavoidable";

Whereas the United States is determined to prosecute the war on terrorism
and Iraq's ongoing support for international terrorist groups combined with
its development of weapons of mass destruction in direct violation of its
obligations under the 1991 cease-fire and other United Nations Security
Council resolutions make clear that it is in the national security interests
of the United States and in furtherance of the war on terrorism that all
relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions be enforced, including
through the use of force if necessary;

Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigourously the war on terrorism
through the provision of authorities and funding requested by the President
to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist
organisations, including those nations, organisations or persons who
planned, authorised, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred
on September 11 2001 or harboured such persons or organisations;

Whereas the President and Congress are determined to continue to take all
appropriate actions against international terrorists and terrorist
organisations, including those nations, organisations or persons who
planned, authorised, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred
on September 11 2001, or harboured such persons or organisations;

Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take action in
order to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the
United States, as Congress recognised in the joint resolution on
Authorisation for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40); and

Whereas it is in the national security of the United States to restore
international peace and security to the Persian Gulf region;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This joint resolution may be cited as the "Authorisation for the Use of
Military Force Against Iraq".


The Congress of the United States supports the efforts by the President to--

(a) strictly enforce through the United Nations Security Council all
relevant Security Council resolutions applicable to Iraq and encourages him
in those efforts; and

(b) obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council to ensure that
Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion and noncompliance and promptly
and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions.

(a) AUTHORISATION. The President is authorised to use the Armed Forces of
the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order

(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing
threat posed by Iraq; and

(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions
regarding Iraq.


In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a)
to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon there
after as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such
authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and
the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful
means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of
the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not
likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security
Council resolutions regarding Iraq, and

(2) acting pursuant to this resolution is consistent with the United States
and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against
international terrorists and terrorist organisations, including those
nations, organisations or persons who planned, authorised, committed or
aided the terrorists attacks that occurred on September 11 2001.


(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORISATION. -- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of
the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is
intended to constitute specific statutory authorisation within the meaning
of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS. -- Nothing in this resolution
supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.


The President shall, at least once every 60 days, submit to the Congress a
report on matters relevant to this joint resolution, including actions taken
pursuant to the exercise of authority granted in section 2 and the status of
planning for efforts that are expected to be required after such actions are
completed, including those actions described in section 7 of Public Law
105-338 (the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998).

To the extent that the submission of any report described in subsection (a)
coincides with the submission of any other report on matters relevant to
this joint resolution otherwise required to be submitted to Congress
pursuant to the reporting requirements of Public Law 93-148 (the War Powers
Resolution), all such reports may be submitted as a single consolidated
report to the Congress.

To the extent that the information required by section 3 of Public Law 102-1
is included in the report required by this section, such report shall be
considered as meeting the requirements of section 3 of Public Law 102-1.

CNN, 2nd October

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Vice President Al Gore called on President
Bush Wednesday to put the same priority on healing the economy as he has on
foreign affairs and a possible war with Iraq.

"President Bush believes it is urgent that the Congress act on the issue of
war against (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein prior to the election on Nov.
5," Bush's Democratic opponent in the 2000 election said in a speech to the
Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

"For my part it is even more urgent that both the president and the Congress
take action prior to the election to strengthen our economy," he said.

"How can it be essential that we go to war prior to the election but
absolutely fine to wait until after the election before we take any action
to deal with the economy?"

Gore's speech on economic policy -- his second major policy speech in two
weeks -- came as Democrats were desperately trying to switch attention away
from Iraq and back to domestic issues like jobs, health care and
prescription drugs in advance of the congressional elections.

Some Democrats fear a focus on Iraq and foreign policy puts them at a
disadvantage ahead of next month's balloting, deflecting attention from
domestic issues where Democrats traditionally win more support.

"Today I want to urge the president to focus on our stalled economy just as
he has on foreign policy," Gore said.

"If we turn a blind eye to our weak economy it will eventually undermine
everything else that we are trying to accomplish -- whether it's winning the
war against terrorism or giving all families the economic opportunities they

Gore's remarks followed by a little more than one week his broad attack on
Bush's Iraq policy during a speech in San Francisco. That speech galvanized
Democratic concerns over Bush's plans for a military move against Baghdad,
encouraging other Democrats to step forward and criticize Bush.

Gore's back-to-back major speeches represented a dramatic increase in the
profile of the former vice president, who lost the White House to Bush in
2000 after a five-week recount battle in Florida. They will surely increase
speculation that he is preparing another presidential run.

Gore has promised to make a decision by the end of the year on whether he
will run again for the presidency.

by Joyce Howard Price
Washington Times, 3rd October

The trip that three Democratic congressmen made to Baghdad last week was
jointly funded by two private organizations ‹ a religious group and a
charity, both of which oppose a war with Iraq.

The costs were shared by the Interfaith Network of Concern for the People of
Iraq, a project of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, and a charity in
Southfield, Mich., called Life for Relief and Development (LIFE), which
provides humanitarian aid to Iraq.

"We definitely want a peaceful solution," LIFE spokesman Mohammed Alomari
said in an interview.

He added: "We're working together on the humanitarian aspects [of Iraq´s
problems] with the Church Council of Greater Seattle. They, too, have
concerns and are trying to avoid a war. They want to see what kind of
political settlement can be made."

Seattle is the home of Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington Democrat, while
Michigan is the home state of Democratic Rep. David E. Bonior, two of the
three lawmakers who visited Iraq on a peace mission. The congressmen caused
a stir by urging an end to economic sanctions, a return of United Nations
weapons inspectors into Iraq and by questioning President Bush's honesty
about the need for war.

In appearances on Sunday news talk shows, Mr. McDermott and Mr. Bonior spoke
of Iraqi officials' cooperation and said top Iraqi leaders had promised arms
inspectors would have unconditional access to suspected weapons sites.

The third Democratic congressman who went to Baghdad ‹ Rep. Mike Thompson of
California ‹ noted the suffering of the Iraqi people brought on by their
leader, Saddam Hussein. The lawmakers returned to Washington late Tuesday

The congressmen were criticized by Republican lawmakers. Senate Minority
Whip Don Nickles of Oklahoma derided them, saying on ABC's "This Week" that
they sounded like "spokespersons for the Iraqi government."

Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, said the
congressmen "should come home," after Mr. McDermott challenged the
administration's attempts to link Iraq to the al Qaeda terrorist network and
suggested Mr. Bush would lie to bring about military conflict.

"What happened to separation of church and state, which Democrats usually
insist on?" asked a Bethesda woman, who called Mr. McDermott's Capitol Hill
office Tuesday and was shocked to find out that a "private religious group"
helped pay for the congressmen's trip.

Mark Tooley, director of the United Methodist action committee for the
Institute on Religion and Democracy, which he describes as a "watchdog of
[protestant] mainline churches," said it's "interesting but not surprising"
that the Church Council of Greater Seattle sent the lawmakers to Iraq to
speak out against military action.

"Leaders of almost all the mainline churches have spoken out against a war
with Iraq and mainline churches in Seattle, Wash., which are among the most
liberal, have been among the most outspoken," Mr. Tooley said in an

Alice Woldt, acting executive director of the Church Council of Greater
Seattle, said in an interview yesterday: "Yes, we sponsored the trip. If we
designated money, it was designated for travel expenses. But none of this
came out of our general fund."

An aide to Mr. McDermott, speaking on the condition of anonymity, insisted
it's "terribly common" for members of Congress to go on trips financed by
religious organizations.

Mr. Alomari said yesterday that LIFE is not a political advocacy group, but
a "charitable organization that's strictly concerned with humanitarian

Mr. Alomari said the delegation that went to Baghdad consisted of about 10
people. It included the three congressmen, some representatives of the
Church Council of Greater Seattle and Muthanna Al-Hancoli, president of
Michigan-based Focus on American and Arab Interests and Relations.


by John J. Lumpkin
Las Vegas Sun, 2nd October

WASHINGTON (AP): A top al-Qaida operative was in Baghdad about two months
ago, and U.S. officials suspect his presence was known to the government of
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, a defense official said Wednesday.

Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian, is believed to have left Iraq, the official
said, speaking on condition of anonymity. U.S. counterterrorism officials
have called Zarqawi - also known as Ahmad Fadeel al-Khalaylah - one of
al-Qaida's top two dozen leaders.

His activities and contacts in Iraq are not known, but his presence in
Baghdad apparently was a factor in the Bush administration's recent volley
of allegations of al-Qaida contacts with the Iraqi government.

As the United States threatens war against Iraq, the administration has
sought to play up reports of those contacts to further vilify Saddam.

However, some U.S. officials say the al-Qaida presence is far greater in
countries like Yemen and Pakistan, and contend the United States has no
solid evidence of Iraq and al-Qaida working together to conduct terrorist

Because Baghdad is tightly controlled by Saddam's internal security forces,
some officials said it is unlikely Zarqawi could have been in the city
without the government's knowledge.

Officials believe Zarqawi and bin Laden operations chief Abu Zubaydah were
chief organizers of a foiled plot to bomb the Radisson SAS Hotel, in Amman,
Jordan, which is popular with American and Israeli tourists.

The attack was to take place during millennium celebrations, but Jordanian
authorities stopped it in late 1999. Abu Zubaydah was captured in March in
Faisalabad, Pakistan, in a raid by the CIA, FBI and Pakistani authorities.
He's now being interrogated by U.S. officials.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Zarqawi has been mobile, unlike some al-Qaida
leaders who are believed to have remained in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He
was in Afghanistan when the U.S. began bombing Taliban and al-Qaida targets
last October. He fled to Iran, and U.S. officials suspect the government
there also knew of his presence.

But the Iranians did not detain him, and he left Iran, officials have said.
This led to U.S. accusations earlier this year that Iran was obstructing the
U.S. war on terrorism. Iran denied sheltering any al-Qaida figures.

Officials declined to discuss what they know of Zarqawi's current
whereabouts, but he's the second al-Qaida operative who has been reported in
Baghdad this year.

The other, Ahmad Hikmat Shakir, is a native Iraqi, and may have simply gone
home, officials said. It is unknown if he has had any contacts with the
Iraqi government.

Shakir, 37, was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in January 2000, the same time
two eventual Sept. 11 hijackers met with another senior al-Qaida leader. But
officials don't know for certain if Shakir attended the meeting.

He was an associate of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who is in a U.S. prison for his
role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Shakir left his home in Qatar in October 2001, for Amman, where he was
detained by Jordanian authorities for several months. But the Jordanians
released him and he is thought to have gone to Iraq.

Last week, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and national security
adviser Condoleezza Rice accused Iraq of ties to al-Qaida, citing
intelligence suggesting the presence of al-Qaida leaders in Baghdad.

"Since we began after September 11th, we do have solid evidence of the
presence in Iraq of al-Qaida members, including some that have been in
Baghdad," Rumsfeld said.

They also said al-Qaida sought chemical and biological weapons assistance
from Iraq. Rumsfeld said that information al-Qaida and Iraq cooperated on
such weapons came from "one report," suggesting the information hasn't been

Contacts between the government and the terrorist organization date back
several years. In 1998, the Iraqi ambassador to Turkey traveled to
Afghanistan to meet with al-Qaida leaders, U.S. officials have said.

However, U.S. counterterrorism officials say they have obtained no credible
evidence that would tie Iraq to the Sept. 11 attacks. They doubt a reported
meeting in the Czech Republic between chief hijacker Mohammed Atta and an
Iraqi intelligence agent ever took place, although some Czech officials have
stood by the report.

Some Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaida have turned up in northern
Iraq, in Kurdish territory that is beyond Saddam's control. And other
al-Qaida operatives are believed to have passed through Iraq on their way
from Afghanistan to their home countries on the Arabian peninsula.

by Jeffrey Heller, 2nd October


In a move against a pro-Iraqi faction in the West Bank, Israeli undercover
forces in Ramallah detained Rakad Salem, a local leader of the Baghdad-based
Arab Liberation Front.

Israeli security sources said Salem was responsible for distributing money
sent from Iraq for Palestinians wounded or killed in the uprising.

The group's support includes allocations of up to $25,000 to the families of
Palestinian suicide bombers, payments which Israel says helps encourage more
youths to join the ranks of the bombers who have killed scores of Israelis.

At least 1,575 Palestinians and 602 Israelis have been killed since the
Palestinian revolt erupted in September 2000 after peace talks froze.

The Associated Press, 2nd October

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) ‹ The United States plans to send a team of experts to
Ukraine to investigate whether the former Soviet republic sold a radar
system to Iraq and will consider punitive measures beyond the halt of $54
million in aid, the U.S. ambassador said Wednesday.

The agreement on the arrival of a U.S. team with military and technical
expertise came during a two-day visit by Assistant Secretary of State
Elizabeth Jones, who pressed President Leonid Kuchma on evidence that he
personally approved the sale of a Kolchuha radar system to Iraq.

Jones gave Ukrainian officials a list of questions that they promised to
answer quickly, Ambassador Carlos Pascual said. He said no specific date was
set for the visit by U.S. experts, but the Interfax news agency quoted
Kuchma's chief of staff as saying they would arrive Oct. 13.

Pascual said Ukraine promised to cooperate with the U.S. probe.

"We appreciate the statement on the part of the Ukrainian side to complete
openness and transparency to try to reach a clear understanding of whether a
transfer of the Kolchuha system has taken place," Pascual said. "The key now
is obviously to ensure there is effective follow-up."

The State Department said last week that it had determined the authenticity
of an audio recording in which Kuchma, in a July 2000 conversation with
Ukraine's arms export chief at the time, approved the sale of a Kolchuha
system to Iraq in violation of U.N. sanctions.

Ukrainian officials have denied any transfer ever took place.

Pascual said the United States is beginning a policy review that will
include an examination of all types of assistance to Ukraine, which he said
receives about $230 million a year in U.S. aid. The $54 million that has
been halted is aid that would go directly to the government.

The Kolchuha radar system can detect approaching aircraft without tipping
off their pilots. That would give a boost to Iraqi air defenses, which are
facing U.S. and British warplanes patrolling "no-fly" zones over Iraq.

Pascual said the answers to the questions Jones listed will "would give us
greater capacity to provide for the protection of American and British
pilots" flying in the zones.


by Jeanette Oldham
The Scotsman, 28th September

A GERMAN forensic pathologist says he can prove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
has used at least three men as doubles for public appearances over the past
four years.

Dr Dieter Buhmann said that, using new technology, he examined some 450
images of people purporting to be Saddam from videos of public appearances
and was able to determine "without a doubt" that the dictator has doubles.

"The anatomical specificity of the faces is different," Buhmann said. "One,
for example, has a very large middle face. The distance from one ear to the
other is very much different to Saddam Hussein. And in another case the
region under the mouth is too small and not high enough."

Saddam¹s elaborate security precautions have been widely reported in the
Arab press, which has said he makes frequent use of doubles and also will
never spend two nights in a row in the same building. And he is known to
live in perpetual fear of assassination by his own officers.

Buhmann, a pathologist at the University of the Saarland in Homburg since
1979, said he presented his technique of comparing facial features using
overlays at an FBI forum in 2000, but did not know if US authorities had
adopted the method .

He took on the Saddam project for a German public television station.
Earlier this month, a former mistress of Saddam, Parisoula Lampsos, who
claimed she had been his lover for 30 years, said Saddam has a double whose
face has been altered by plastic surgery to make them identical.

She said the dictator laughed about UN weapons inspectors, saying they would
never find anything because he moved and hid his chemical and other secret
weapons before their visits.

CIA officials have said that Saddam never sleeps in the same location on
successive nights, and he immediately executes anyone whom he suspects of
betraying him.

Such measures have made it very difficult for the CIA to obtain reliable
intelligence on his whereabouts.

One official said: "We might know that he was in one of several buildings in
Baghdad - but then to be certain of killing him, we would have to blow them
all up, which would also kill a lot of innocent people. We¹re reluctant to
do that.",3604,800575,00.html

by Ewen MacAskill in Tikrit
The Guardian, 28th September

Twenty minutes from Tikrit it becomes obvious that you are approaching no
ordinary Iraqi town.

The road, congested, dusty and potholed, suddenly becomes a two-lane highway
with smooth tarmac, freshly painted markings and little traffic.

The reason is that Tikrit, 100 miles north of Baghdad, is the birthplace of
Saddam Hussein, and many of his most trusted ministers, officers and

Tikrit features prominently in the latest US military plan leaked to the
press: the strategy is to avoid attacking civilians and concentrate on
hurting the leadership. The Washington Post called it "the bull's-eye".

Rick Raftery, a retired marine corps intelligence officer who served in
northern Iraq during the Gulf war in 1991, told the Post: "Tikrit is the
political centre of gravity. It must be immediately eliminated."

A sleepy town of 250,000 which Western journalists can visit only with
permission and accompanied by a government minder, it has had money lavished
on it. Among the many new buildings is a mosque for Saddam Hussein's father,
Hussein al-Majid Abdul Gafur, completed last month. Tombstones commemorate
members of the clan.

It also has one of Iraq's eight presidential palaces, reputed to be the most
lavish, and, like the others, used to entertain guests. A closer look is not
permitted: much of Tikrit is off limits to Westerners.

It has the biggest collection of portraits, mosaics and statues of President
Saddam anywhere in Iraq. Residents, interviewed in the souk, one of the few
busy parts, admitted that they benefited from the association with the
president. Salah al-Kader, shopping in a chemists, said: "He's been very

But there is also a downside: Tikrit was a key target for bombing in 1991
and 1998.

The owner of the chemist shop, Jalil Ibrahim Abdullah, said he was mystified
by George Bush's threatened assault.

"It is a puzzle. We do not know what the Americans are thinking. We do not
know what they have against us but we fear the worst."

Iraqi officials say that schools, grain silos and other buildings were
destroyed in the previous raids. Four families were among the dead in 1991
and in 1998.

They add that the attacks were because of the symbolic importance of Tikrit
to President Saddam. The US argued that it is the political powerbase of the
country, with an abundance of key facilities.

Bamer al-Ameri, director of information for Tikrit, said the attacks were
aimed at undermining the Iraqi spirit.

"Why did the US attack Nagasaki? Because it was the birthplace of the
emperor. Tikrit is the symbol of the people. This is why Tikrit will be

He was sitting in the provincial headquarters, in a room reserved for
guests, complete with a framed box attached to a wall containing an
automatic pistol and four portraits of President Saddam.

Such is Tikrit's small-town feel that everyone interviewed claimed to have
known President Saddam's family. Mr Kader said: "The family of Saddam was
very poor. There is nothing very unusual about them. I did not know them
well but my family did."

Details about his early life in Tikrit proved difficult to pin down.
Government officials were unable to locate his birthplace.

He was born in humble circumstances in a village outside the town which
officials insisted has been swallowed by its expansion.

They said his original house had been knocked down. The home of the town's
other famous son, Saladin, the Kurdish conqueror of the Crusaders, suffered
the same fate.

While there is confusion about exactly where the president was born,
residents were unanimous that he had left Tikrit when he was six and was
brought up in Baghdad.

The provincial headquarters in Tikrit could be one of the targets of a US
attack, along with the compound of the president's Ba'ath party, military
facilities, and the presidential palace.

The deputy governor of Tikrit, Mohammed Yasin Mahmoud, sitting in the
provincial headquarters, insisted that he was relaxed about the prospect.

"We will deal with it and the Iraqis will show how they cope with such

Las Vegas Sun, 30th September

CAIRO, Egypt (AP): An Iraqi opposition group said Monday that 15 political
dissidents had been executed in a prison west of Baghdad.

The claim by the Center for Human Rights, which is linked to the Iraqi
Communist Party, could not be independently confirmed. The Iraqi government
does not comment on such allegations.

The center, citing unnamed sources inside Iraq, said that the executions
took place in the Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad, on July 21 and the
bodies were buried at night in a mass grave at al-Karkh cemetery in Baghdad.

A statement faxed to The Associated Press in Cairo said the men had been
executed for opposing President Saddam Hussein's regime. So far, the center
has reported 33 executions of political prisoners during July.

It said the executions are going on "while the hypocrite rulers claim ...
they endeavor to protect the Iraqi people from the dangers of an American
aggression and similar other allegations."

President Bush has called for Saddam to be toppled, accusing him of
stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and harboring terrorists. In his
speech to the U.N. General Assembly last month making his case against Iraq,
Bush added concerns about Saddam's human rights, saying: "If the Iraqi
regime wishes peace, it will cease persecution of its civilian population

The Iraqi regime had "probably the worst human rights situation anywhere in
the world ... uses the death penalty, rape and torture as a political tool,"
said the British government report on human rights abuses around the world
released on Thursday. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been Bush's main
ally on Iraq.

The Iraqi opposition group urged the international community to send human
rights observers to Iraq along with weapons inspectors.

The center is based in the Kurdish autonomous zone of northern Iraq.

Arabic News, 30th September

The Paris based al-Muharrir news weekly said in its recent issue that the
Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri informed the secretary general of the Arab
League (AL) Amr Moussa that the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is ready to
put his resignation at the disposal of an Arab summit to be held in Baghdad,
being plenary or mini, but he stressed that Saudi Arabia participation in
this summit is necessary.

The paper quoted Sabri as saying to the AL chief, Amr Moussa, that Saddam
Hussein welcomes the Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz which he
considers as "a friend and: a dear brother."

The magazine said also that, according to well-informed sources, the Iraqi
president enthusiastically showed readiness to attend a mini Arab summit if
such a summit is held in Saudi Arabia.

The Associated Press, 3rd October

BAGHDAD, Iraq: Iraq says war and U.N. inspections have ensured it is no
longer capable of producing nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, and
Baghdad released a detailed report Wednesday rebutting a British dossier on
its arms programs.

Washington says toppling Saddam Hussein may be the only way to ensure Iraq
is not rearming. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has been a strong
backer of the United States on Iraq, issued a 50-page dossier last week
detailing what British intelligence said was Iraq's growing arsenal of
chemical and biological weapons and Saddam's plans to use them. Blair also
said Iraq was trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The dossier, Iraq's Foreign Ministry said in its 29-page, English-language
rebuttal, was "full of lies, fabrications and fallacies."

"Iraq's capabilities to produce biological, chemical agents were destroyed
during the 1991 aggression," the Foreign Ministry said, referring to the
Gulf War that forced Iraq to reverse its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Iraq said its chemical program never advanced beyond a "crude" level and
that U.N. inspectors after the Gulf War destroyed stocks of chemical
weapons, munitions and production equipment.

Iraq said it cooperated with inspectors and described their destruction
during seven years of work of such items as entire buildings at nuclear
sites, missiles, 400 rockets filled with Sarin, and even "the furniture,
desks, cooling systems, refrigerators, science books and journals" at a
biological weapons laboratory.

Just as Blair's dossier seemed to offer little new evidence, Iraq's rebuttal
reiterated its long standing position that by 1998 it had complied with U.N.
resolutions barring it from stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and the
missiles to deliver them.

U.N. inspectors, accusing Iraq of blocking their work, withdrew from Iraq in
December 1998 ahead of U.S.-British airstrikes. In its rebuttal, Iraq said
that since then, any biological agents would have lost their effectiveness,
its nuclear program remained under International Atomic Energy Agency
scrutiny and monitoring of its imports was tight.

"It seems that those who prepared Blair's report seek to mislead the world,
simply because the production process requirements and complicated services
are not available," Iraq said of British allegations it has mobile
laboratories for developing biological warfare agents.



by Felicity Arbuthnot
Morning Star, 3rd October

On Thursday, Basra airport in Iraq's second city was bombed by the UK abd US
pilots patrolling the illegal 'no fly zones' for which there is no U.N.
Mandate, writes Felicity Arbuthnot.

Within the last month, Mosul airport too, in the north was bombed by the two
rogue states on the UN Security Council.

The lift in morale of the Iraqi people, when flights began two years ago was
tangible and visible.

This writer was on one which the British and Americans moved heaven and
earth to prevent (as they did all of them in November 2000. MP George
Galloway had also evaded them and had arrived the previous morning.

As Britain and America in 'Wag the Dog' rationale, roller coaster toward war
with unbelieved, weazel words, I revisited what I wrote just under two years

Perhaps I should rename this piece: 'Destroying Hope' :

For ten years the people of Iraq have been deprived of the most basic
essentials to sustain life and policies of a United Nations - established to
'protect succeeding generations ....' - have culled an average of 6,000
children a month. Yet the Iraq I have just returned from is an Iraq I did
not recognise - an Iraq with hope.

The opening of Baghdad International Airport in August and incoming flights,
are effectively eroding the embargo from within. 'There are tears in our
eyes every time a flight lands' remarked a friend. Isolation has been as
grinding as deprivation.

There were tears in the eyes of the passengers on Olympic Airways flight
3598 from Athens to Baghdad too as the Captain touched down, welcoming us to
Baghdad. It had been organised by Greek NGO's, the former first lady of
Greece, Margarita Papandreou, with the backing of the Greek Government. M.P.
George Galloway's spectacular flight to Baghdad, which arrived two days
earlier, had anything but the backing of the British government.

Two previous flights in which he was involved having been blocked, Galloway
borrowed the personal jet of the President of Bulgaria and flew from London
Manston airport with a group including Lord Rea and Father Michael Barry,
informing the Foreign Office that they were going on a pilgrimage to Sophia.
In the event, they touched down in Bulgaria only to  refuel and headed on.
One can only speculate on Peter Hain's reaction when Galloway rang him in
the early hours and said: 'Good Morning from Baghdad,  Minister of State...'

Baghdad's airport is  vast, marbled, efficient and very much open for
business. The fortuitous hijacking of a Saudi flight (during Iraq Tourism
Week) was a public relations coup for Iraq and disaster for Britain's
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook who declined to thank Iraq for its hospitality,
a diplomatic gaffe which reverberated around the world. 'What is your most
memorable moment of your ordeal in Iraq?' asked a journalist of one of
passengers. 'The tears in our eyes when we left' was the reply. Rumours are
rife in Baghdad that the hijackers responsible for this favourable limelight
- who applied for political asylum - are living in considerable comfort.

The increasingly isolationist rhetoric of Britain and America no longer
count on the Baghdad street. Shop windows gleam, shutters are repainted,
merchants rise at dawn to wash and sweep. Travel agents are reopened after
ten years and Royal Jordanian and Aeroflot airlines are importing computers,
polishing, and preparing for regular flights. As always it is a looking
glass world. Few can either afford purchases or travel, but hope is back and
in the Iraqi Airways office in the Palestine Hotel is a triumphant timetable
for flights to Mosul and Basra - defying  British and American planes
routinely bombing the 'safe havens' in which the two cities lie.

Beneath the surface tragedy is unabated. 'We shall visit another sadderly
place' said the Director of Baghdad's Childrens Hospital, excellent english
suddenly ambushed by emotion. Chronic shortage of diagnostic equipment,
anaesthetics, blood, drips, pain relief, antibiotics meant that five day old
Omar, with an internal obstruction was set to become another fledgling
victim of embargo.

Another 'sadderly' place is Basra Maternity Hospital, where birth
abnormalities are recorded, exhibiting further horrors in a new generation
of new born, linked it is thought to depleted uranium weapons used in the
Gulf war. A tiny body with neither arms, legs, or head. A part formed face
with one cyclopian eye and a nose at the hairline. 'I want the world to hear
my voice, to know what has happenedd here' says paediatrician, Dr Jenan

The great ziggurat at Ur, believed birthplace of Abraham is damaged from the
missiles which fell nearby in 1991, 1998 and 1999 when US or UK planes
bombed, in a policy upheld by their Christian leaders. In Basra, children in
a school next to a barracks did not even look up or break from their
playground games as the sirens warned of a further attack. I joined the
soldiers who pointed up to the returning planes, pinpricks in the
stratosphere. They did not even cast a glance at their 1950's anti aircraft
guns, there was no contest.

Another soldier who had earlier offered to show us the road to Ur pointed
out damage from both the Gulf war and subsequent bombings. The vast power
station which had supplied the region had remained off line since being
damaged in 1991 he said as we passed it. What was clearly bomb damage was
visible over vast tracts, mile after mile. A member of the Sheffield
delegation handed him a statement in Arabic, explaining the reason for their
visit - solidarity with the people of Iraq. He read it slowly and carefully.
Then he said: 'It is traditional in the south to offer travellers
hospitalty. My home is very simple, but I have five chickens, you will eat
well...' It was just days before Ramadan, which when ended, the chickens
would have undoubtedly been part of the traditional celbratory feast. He was
prepared though, to offer them to strangers from a land who had wrought such
devastation on his country. We pleaded pressure of time and declined, moved
beyond words.

In Mosul, we visited  Deir Matti - St Matthew's Monastry -  perched high on
Mount Maqloub, the Lourdes of the Middle East, where the sick are bought to
what is reputed to be the Saint's burial place, to benefit from his powers
of healing. On the event of the 1999 eclipse scientists and astonomers from
throughout the Middle East gathered on Mount Maqloub, the highest point in
the region, to watch. They were rewarded with the Monastry being shaken to
its foundations as the village below was bombed by patrolling UK or US
flights. The area is also a favourite for bombings of flocks of sheep and
their child shepherds. The priests are witness to the ongoing grief. 'Please
tell Tony Blair that he is a very, very bad man', said the aged priest in
charge solemnly. Half an hour after we left, there were reports of another

The help Iraq's people deserve is incalculable, but the airport is a beacon
of hope and a there is a new phrase on the street: 'for us the embargo is
over'. There is though an outstanding question. Satellite surveillance of
Iraq is such that the State Department boasted that 'a coca cola can in a
trash bin' could be picked up. How come the building of a vast international
airport was such a surprise?

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