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News titles, 28/9-4/10/02 This brings the news mailings more or less up to date. The week saw the Prime Minister sailing painlessly through the Labour Party conference, which also gave a standing ovation to ex-president Clinton. This represents a considerable failure for us. It means that we have failed to place the issue of sanctions at the centre of the public debate. The immense suffering, disease and death for which Messrs Blair and Clinton are responsible is not a major political issue. The mainstream anti-war argument sees the Iraqi government's 'weapons of mass destruction' as a real problem and is merely concerned about the modalities for dealing with it. Similarly we have not succeeded in establishing the argument that in 1998 UNSCOM fell through its own abuses. The aim of uncovering weapons of mass destruction was mixed up with the aim of inflicting ritual humiliation on the Iraqi government and prolonging sanctions indefinitely. This was widely recognised at the time and UNMOVIC was established on a different basis, more independent of the interests of individual member states. One of the main aims of the new proposed US/UK resolution is to undermine that different basis, to restore and amplify the worst excesses of UNSCOM. So far this has gone virtually unnoticed in the public debate, which has concentrated instead on the 'hair trigger' mechanism for war. The French, Russian and perhaps British anxiety seems to be to prolong a status quo that is intolerable. The war so clearly desired by President Bush at least has the merit that it would bring about radical change. In the introduction to the 20-27/9/02 mailing I mentioned 'Maurice Deat'. I was of course referring to the French Socialist politician and advocate of a policy of principled collaboration with the German victors, Marcel Deat, whose extensive and powerfully argued autobography may be seen as a useful guide to living under the conditions that the President of the United States wishes to impose upon the rest of the world. NEWS, 28/9-4/10/02 (1) US OPINION * Celebrities take sides over war on Saddam [Spielberg (perhaps) and Cruise for; Streisand against.] * Spielberg Did Not Support A War With Iraq * Monthly cost to fight Iraq: $9 billion ['"Relative to the Gulf War, it seems surprisingly affordable," said G. William Hoagland, the GOP staff director of the Senate Budget Committee.' Though theGulf War was eventually paid for by other parties.] * Records Show U.S. Sent Germs to Iraq ['"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.'] * 'Just war' and preemption: the case for attacking Iraq [George Weigel, senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., in reflections 'based on a quarter century of thinking and writing about the just-war tradition' demonstrates the absolute uselessness of that tradition as a means of reflecting intelligently on concrete political situations. It is an abstract scheme that can be made to justify the most monstrous abuses so long as the correct sentiments are mouthed by their perpretators. As Noam Chomsky would observe, it fails (at least in Mr Weigels'version of it) the most elementary test of morality: 'if an action is right (or wrong) for others, it is right (or wrong) for us. Those who do not rise to the minimal moral level of applying to themselves the standards they apply to others more stringent ones, in fact plainly cannot be taken seriously when they speak of appropriateness of response; or of right and wrong, good and evil.' Mr Weigel accords to USUK a right to interpret the idea of of defense in a way that he would not allow to any other nation.] * It only takes a joystick to get rid of Saddam [New video game, "Conflict: Desert Storm" "No diplomats. No negotiation. No surrender". Very educational.] * Visits to Iraq not offending voters [On Democratic Party reps, Jim McDermott of Seattle, David Bonior of Michigan, Mike Thompson of California and Nick Rahall of West Virginia] * Bush, House reach Iraq deal ['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.' One can see some tough bargaining must have gone on. The text of the resoution follows in the next article.] * House draft resolution on US force in Iraq * Gore calls on Bush to heal economy [Gore is almost beginning to sound like the leader of an opposition.] * Peace visit to Iraq had outside help [This refers to the Baghdad visit of Reps Jim McDermott, David E. Bonior, and Mike Thompson. The 'outside help' referred to was from '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'; so this was the sort of 'faith based' initiative George Bush is normally supposed to approve of ...] URLs ONLY: http://newsobserver.com/front/Editorials/story/1775068p-1783387c.html * FRIENDS, FOES AND FIASCOS by CHRISTOPHER DICKEY AND EVAN THOMAS News and Observer (from Newsweek), 29th September [Long article on US/Saddam Hussein relations, mainly useful for its recognition that it was D.Rumsfeld who restored US/Iraqi relations in December 1983 (Dec 20, to be precise) and that the US supplied Iraq liberally with the material needed to make biological weapons. Not much indication that these means were useful for any purpose other than to make biological weapons but, nonetheless, so we're told: 'No single policy-maker or administration deserves blame; many of their decisions seemed reasonable at the time.'] http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/nation/1602274 * CIA withholding Iraq information, senators say Associated Press, 3rd October [Complaint that the CIA hasn't suppled the Senate Intelligence Committee with a requested assessment of 'key questions, including what the effect of a military campaign would be for Iraq's neighbors'.] FINGER POINTING AT IRAQ * U.S.: Top al-Qaida Aide Visited Iraq [Account of Jordanian Abu Musab Zarqawi and Iraqi Ahmad Hikmat Shakir] * Arafat Lashes Out at U.S. over Jerusalem Law [Extract on arrest of 'Rakad Salem, a local leader of the Baghdad-based Arab Liberation Front'.] * U.S. Steps Up Ukraine-Iraq Probe INSIDE IRAQ * Hussein has many body doubles, scientist says * The bull's-eye in American bombsights [Not very revealing account of Tikrit.] * Iraqi Group Say Gov. Executed 15 [according to a report by 'the Center for Human Rights, which is linked to the Iraqi Communist Party'.] * Al-Muharrir news: Saddam is ready to resign [If only ... The story has since been officially denied.] * Iraq: British Dossier Full of Lies [Account quite clearly written by someone who hasn't bothered to read very much of the Iraqi document. The full text can be found at e.g. Dirk Adriaensen's website, http://www.irak.be/ned/nieuws/counter_dossier.htm] * Destroying Hope [A depressing reminder of the hopes raised by the opening of the airports that are now being bombed.] AND, IN NEWS, 28/9-4/10/02 (2) UK OPINION * Labour Backs Blair on Iraq [So long as he acts within the framework of the United Nations, which, of course, remains suitably ill-defined.] * The Lessons of Empire [Michael Elliott remembers (with more humour than shame; the tone of voice would hardly be thought acceptable if it was the son-in-law of an SS man remembering his father-in-law's exploits in Poland) Britain's role in Iraq at the time of the mandate, when: 'the R.A.F. routinely bombed women and children in Kurdish villages'. He gives the impression there was a British opposition to this that was eventually strong enough to stop it. Was there? He reckons that, like the British, the Americans mean well but that their good intentions might not be sufficiently appreciated by the people they are trying to help.] * Time for Labour's delegates to stand up and be counted [Mark Seddon hopes - in the event forlornly - that something of substance will come out of the Labour Party conference. One wonders if he realises how sinister is his remark about 'the Islamic fundamentalist genie ... a genie that Nasser and the secular nationalists knew had to be contained at all costs.' At all costs? Assad's massacre of 20,000 people in Syria for example? The war in Algeria? This 'at all costs' threatens to put him fairly far to the right of George Bush.] * Narrow victory for official Iraq line [The Guardian's account of the Labour Party conference 'debate' on Iraq. The government won by stressing its fidelity to the 'United Nations' (meaning the United Nations Security Council, the body that brought you the Gulf Massacre and the subsequent mass murder of thousands of people by starvation and disease; and that failed to prevent the assaults on Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada, Serbia, Chechnya and Palestine).] * Straw heads off rebellion on Iraq stance * Short issues Iraq warning [Clare Short, indicating how faith in the UN can turn one's mind to porridge.] * UN-Iraq Deal is Defective, Says Britain [Jack Straw categorically says that "Within these so-called presidential palaces, much of the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction has taken place." Is he making it all up as he goes along?] * Clinton's coded jibes at Bush give conference what it wants to hear [The two versions given here of Clinton's speech, British and American, show how successful he is at being all things to all men (which is why it is appropriate to place it in the UK Opinion section). He is the perfect and most revolting representative of modern politics. It was a stroke of genius on the part of Mr Blair to bring him on, thus putting a final end to any possibility of a coherent thought process accurring during the course of the Labour Party conference.] * Clinton supports Bush on UN's Iraq resolution ["It's fun to be in a place where our crowd's still in office," he said, beaming.] * Rifkind attacks Tories on Iraq [without apparently actually expressing an opinion of his own] REMNANTS OF DECENCY * U.S. Pacifists Volunteer to Risk Own Lives in Baghdad [The article is mainly about the volunteers, including Tom Nagy and Bert Sacks, but in the course of it, retired U.S. Air Force Col. John A. Warden III makes the interesting remark that 'Following the gulf war, the United States would have helped repair Iraq's damaged infrastructure if Saddam Hussein had allowed it'. Was this offer ever made?] * UK Gujaratis join anti-Iraq war protest [They include Dilip Hiro, who has written on the history of Iraq under sanctions.] * Britons March Against War With Iraq * Anti-Iraq March [in Washington] Echoes Vietnam Tone * Thousands march against US policies on Iraq[Demonstration on Washington's "embassy row" on Sunday.] HISTORY * Timeline: Iraq: A chronology of key events [From the British mandate. It seems nothing of any great note occurred between 1921 and 1932 (only the usual old state of continuous war with Kurds and Marsh Arabs). Nor did anything much happen between 1932 and 1958 (no British invasion in 1941, for example). History in Iraq begins with the arrival of the Ba'ath Party in 1963. Interestingly this account seems to suggest that the Iran/Iraq war was started by Iran, when an Iranian backed terrorist group tried to assassinate Tariq Aziz. George Bush would certainly see that as adequate grounds for launching a war. Perhaps Saddam Hussein's major fault was that in matters of just war theory he was a bit ahead of his time ...] AND, IN NEWS, 28/9-4/10/02 (3) UN MATTERS * Germany and Pakistan to join Security Council [Brief account of composition and method of election of the UNSC. It appears that Germany and Pakistan are joining right away and so will have a chance to vote for or against The Resolution.] * Presidential sites - a 'deal-breaker' [The article includes a summary of the Feb 98 agreement between the Iraqi government and Kofi Annan.] * Years have been lost, and it isn't all Saddam's fault [Barbara Crossette gives what appears to be a total fantasy version of the later history of the weapons inspections, arguing that poor Richard Butler 'was stiffed [there's that strange word again], insulted and humiliated by the Iraqis' because of lack of support from slippery Bill Clinton ...] * Iraq Suggests Inspection 'Companion Team'-Indonesia [Rather a good idea. A team to oversee the inspectors and ensure their good behaviour.] * US Wants Iraqi Scientists to Bring Families Out * U.N. [or rather Iraq] to pay Kuwait $700M for land mine cleanup [Is this the first time I've seen it suggested that the UN Compensation Committee's sources of income include 'Iraqi assets seized abroad'?] * The UN resolution on Iraq [This purports to be the text. The most poisonous elements I have noticed are the licence for spying in clauses 4 ('any permanent member of the security council can recommend to Unmovic and IAEA sites to be inspected, persons to be interviewed, the conditions of such interviews, and data to be be collected, and receive a report on the results.') and 5 ('any permanent member of the security council may request to be represented, with the same rights and protections accorded other members of the team'). There is no time limit on the account Iraq is supposed to give., within 30 days, of its 'programmes to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles' so it presumably dates back to the 1980s or even earlier and any error or omission would provide an occasion for immediate war by 'member states' (unpecified. Iran, for example?)] * Russia rejects automatic force against Iraq [Various reactions to the proposed UN resolution. The emphasis is on the automatic recourse to war, not on the unlimited scope the document offers to the US for 'playing games', as the expression is. The aim is to restore in spades the old tactics of espionage and provocation which discredited UNSCOM and conditioned the formation of UNMOVIC. If anything remotely resembling it goes through Hans Blix and his team are not honourable people if they do not, all of them, immediately resign.] * Iraq Arms Experts Probably Spied - Swede Inspector * Britain and US secure UN arms victory [meaning that they have succeeded in preventing the resumption of inspections.] WORLD OPINION * Anti-Iraq war protests in Italy * France waves the stick and carrot [Account of French policy in a front-page article in Le Monde by the foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin] * India may not oppose action against Saddam [so long as it is authorised by the UN, whatever that may mean.] * [Hungarian] Government backs US, Britain on Iraq [and doesn't insist on 'United Nations' consent.] * Butler accuses US of nuclear hypocrisy ["What America totally fails to understand is that their weapons of mass destruction are just as much a problem as are those of Iraq." And he voices another immensely important truth when he says: 'The UN Security Council's decision in 1991 to destroy, remove or render harmless Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was unique and far-reaching, far tougher than past attempts to disarm defeated countries like Germany and Japan.'] * Bulgaria offers air base for strikes on Iraq * Envoy: Canada Not for Iraq Change [ie the Canadian government doesn't support 'regime change' as a reason for going to war.] * Nato challenged to back action on Iraq [NATO hasn't been consulted but is expected to fall into line.] IRAQI OPPOSITION * Profile: Iraqi defector Wafiq Samarra'I AND, IN NEWS, 28/9-4/10/02 (4) ARAB/MUSLIM OPINION * Changing rules [Remarakable Arab paean of praise for Prime Minister Blair, who is credited with having averted war and saved the UN.] * Payback time as Saddam's 'friends' desert him [Paul McGeough reckons that the Arab autocrats will let the US go ahead and won't have any problems keeping 'the street' in order. All in the name of 'democracy'.] * Saudi Arabia Recalls Qatar Envoy * Al-Rai al-Aam: Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh says it is forbidden to assist attacks on Iraq * Iraq Provoked U.S. Adventurism in Region: Kuwaiti Defense Minister [Interesting argument that Kuwait and Iran have common interests in opposition both to Saddam Hussein and the US.] * Has Damascus struck a deal with Washington over Baghdad? * Iran and Kuwait Sign MOU for Military Cooperation MILITARY MATTERS * Iraqi sites targeted in air raids [Friday, 27th September] * U.S. Forces Building Up Around Iraq * Coalition Forces Hit Iraqi Radar [Sunday, 29th September] * U.S.-British airstrike hits Iraq military facility in no-fly zone [Tuesday, 1st October.] * Four U.S. carriers closing in on Iraq [Includes a suggestion that the earliest possible date for full deployment and therefore for war is the end of December.] * Allies Drop Leaflets Warning Iraqis [Thursday, 3rd October] NORTHERN IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Rival factions seek common ground [in new/old Kurdish parliament] * The dilemma of the Anti-War side: Lacking clear objectives [Passionately expressed Kurdish argument that a US war on Iraq, and indeed on every other Arab regime in the world, would facilitate the onward march of freedom and democracy.] URL ONLY: http://www.kurdmedia.com/reports.asp?id=1074 * The new KDP-PUK agreement and the Kurdistan Parliament by Dr Kamal Mirawdeli KurdishMedia.com, 1st October [A well written, but long, polemic against the KDP/PUK concept of what is meant by the words 'democracy' or 'parliament'.] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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