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[casi] News, 19-25/10/02 (1)

News, 19-25/10/02 (1)


*  Israel, Iraq and the US
*  War plans under fire as even Bush heartland talks peace
*  Scott Ritter Says Iraq Is 'Not a Threat.' But His Critics See a Loose
*  U.S. attack leans on shaky legal support
*  Black Caucus Fought Bush, Backed Clinton on Iraq Resolutions
*  Gore wants stronger defense against bioterrorism
*  Pentagon Sets Up Intelligence Unit


*  Bush gives go-ahead to train Iraqi exiles
*  Al-Hakim welcomes the American support
*  Al-Rikabi might preside over an Iraqi government; Baghdad negotiate with
oppositions abroad


by Edward Said
Counterpunch, 19th October


During the current American campaign for regime change in Iraq, it is the
people of Iraq, the vast majority of whom have paid a terrible price in
poverty, malnutrition and illness as a result of 10 years of sanctions, who
have dropped out of sight. This is completely in keeping with US Middle East
policy built as it is on two mighty pillars, the security of Israel and
plentiful supplies of inexpensive oil. The complex mosaic of traditions,
religions, cultures, ethnicities, and histories that make up the Arab world
-- especially in Iraq -- despite the existence of nation-states with
sullenly despotic rulers, are lost to US and Israeli strategic planners.
With a 5000-year old history, Iraq is mainly now thought of as either a
"threat" to its neighbours which, in its currently weakened and besieged
condition, is rank nonsense, or as a "threat" to the freedom and security of
the United States, which is more nonsense. I am not going to even bother
here to add my condemnations of Saddam Hussein as a dreadful person: I shall
take it for granted that he certainly deserves by almost every standard to
be ousted and punished. Worst of all, he is a threat to his own people.

Yet since the period before the first Gulf War, the image of Iraq as in fact
a large, prosperous and diverse Arab country has disappeared; the image that
has circulated both in media and policy discourse is of a desert land
peopled by brutal gangs headed by Saddam. That Iraq's debasement now has,
for example, nearly ruined the Arab book publishing industry given that Iraq
provided the largest number of readers in the Arab world, that it was one of
the few Arab countries with so large an educated and competent professional
middle-class, that it has oil, water and fertile land, that it has always
been the cultural centre of the Arab world (the Abbasid empire with its
great literature, philosophy, architecture, science and medicine was an
Iraqi contribution that is still the basis for Arab culture), that to other
Arabs the bleeding wound of Iraqi suffering has, like the Palestinian
cavalry, been a source of continuing sorrow for Arabs and Muslims alike --
all this is literally never mentioned. Its vast oil reserves, however, are
and, as the argument goes, if "we" took them away from Saddam and got hold
of them we won't be so dependent on Saudi oil. That too is rarely cited as a
factor in the various debates racking the US Congress and the media. But it
is worth mentioning that second to Saudi Arabia, Iraq has the largest oil
reserves on earth, and the roughly 1.1 trillion dollars worth of oil -- much
of it already committed by Saddam to Russia, France, and a few other
countries -- that have been available to Iraq are a crucial aim of US
strategy, something which the Iraqi National Congress has used as a trump
card with non-US oil consumers. (For more details on all this see Michael
Klare, "Oiling the Wheels of War," The Nation, 7 Oct). A good deal of the
bargaining between Putin and Bush concerns how much of a share of that oil
US companies are willing to promise Russia. It is eerily reminiscent of the
three billion dollars offered by Bush Senior to Russia. Both Bushes are oil
businessmen after all, and they care more about that sort of calculation
than they do about the delicate points of Middle Eastern politics, like
re-wrecking Iraq's civilian infrastructure.


So powerful is the United States in comparison with most other major
countries combined that it can't really be constrained by or be compelled to
obey any international system of conduct, not even one its secretary of
state may wish to. Along with the abstractness of whether "we" should go to
war against Iraq 7000 miles away, discussion of foreign policy denudes other
people of any thick or real, human identity; Iraq and Afghanistan seen from
the bombsights of a smart missile or on television are at best a chess board
which "we" decide to enter, destroy, re-construct, or not, at will. The word
"terrorism", as well as the war on it, serves nicely to further this
sentiment since in comparison with many Europeans, the great majority of
Americans have had no contact or lived experience with the Muslim lands and
peoples and therefore feel no sense of the fabric of life that a sustained
bombing campaign (as in Afghanistan) would tear to shreds. And, seen as it
is, like an emanation from nowhere except from well- financed madrasas on
the basis of a "decision" by people who hate our freedoms and who are
jealous of our democracy, terrorism engages polemicists in the most
extravagant, if unsituated, and non-political debates. History and politics
have disappeared, all because memory, truth, and actual human existence have
effectively been downgraded. You cannot speak about Palestinian suffering or
Arab frustration because Israel's presence in the US prevents it. At a
fervently pro-Israel demonstration in May, Paul Wolfowitz mentioned
Palestinian suffering in passing, but he was loudly booed and never could
refer to it again.


In fact, it seems obvious to anyone who knows anything about the Arab world
that its parlous state is likely to get a whole lot worse once the US begins
its assault on Iraq. Supporters of the administration's policy occasionally
say vague things like how exciting it will be when we bring democracy to
Iraq and the other Arab states, without much consideration for what exactly,
in terms of lived experience, that will mean for the people who actually
live there, especially after B-52 strikes tear their land and homes apart
relentlessly. I can't imagine that there is a single Arab or Iraqi who would
not like to see Saddam Hussein removed. All the indications are that
US/Israeli military action have made things a lot worse on a daily basis for
ordinary people, but this is nothing in comparison with the terrible
anxiety, psychological distortions and political malformations imposed on
their societies.

Today neither the expatriate Iraqi opposition that has been intermittently
courted by at least two US administrations, nor the various US generals like
Tommy Franks, has much credibility as post-war rulers of Iraq. Nor does
there seem to have been much thought given to what Iraq will need once the
regime is changed, once the internal actors get moving again, once even the
Baath is de-toxified. It may be the case that not even the Iraqi army will
lift a finger in battle on behalf of Saddam. Interestingly though, in a
recent congressional hearing three former generals from the US's Central
Command, have expressed serious and, I would say, crippling reservations
about the hazards of this whole adventure as it is being planned militarily.
But even those doubts do not sufficiently address the country's seething
internal factionalism and ethno- religious dynamic, particularly after 30
debilitating years under the Baath Party, UN sanctions, and two major wars
(three if and when the US attacks). No one in the US, no one at all has any
real idea of what might happen in Iraq, or Saudi Arabia, or Egypt if a major
military intervention takes place. It is enough to know, and then to
shudder, that Fouad Ajami and Bernard Lewis are the administration's two
major expert advisers. Both are virulently and ideologically anti-Arab as
well as discredited by the majority of their colleagues in the field. Lewis
has never lived in the Arab world, and what he has to say about it is
reactionary rubbish; Ajami is from South Lebanon, a man who was once a
progressive supporter of the Palestinian struggle who has now converted to
the far Right and has espoused Zionism and American imperialism without

9/11 might have provided a period of national reflection and the pondering
of US foreign policy after the shock of that unconscionable atrocity. Such
terrorism as that most certainly needs to be confronted and forcefully dealt
with, but in my opinion it is always the aftermath of a forceful response
that has to be considered first, not just the immediate, reflexive and
violent response. No one would argue today, even after the rout of the
Taliban, that Afghanistan is now a much better and more secure place from
the standpoint of the country's still suffering citizens. Nation-building is
clearly not the US's priority there since other wars in different places
draw attention away from the last battlefield. Besides, what does it mean
for Americans to build a nation with a culture and history as different from
theirs as Iraq? Both the Arab world and the United States are far more
complex and dynamic places than the platitudes of war and the resonant
phrases about reconstruction would allow. That is obvious in post-US attacks
on Afghanistan.

To make matters more complicated, there are dissenting voices of
considerable weight in Arab culture today, and there are movements of reform
across a wide front. The same is true of the United States where, to judge
from my recent experiences lecturing at various campuses, most citizens are
anxious about the war, anxious to know more, above all, anxious not to go to
war with such messianic bellicosity and vague aims in mind. Meanwhile, as
The Nation put it in its last editorial, the country marches toward war as
if in a trance, while with an increasing number of exceptions, Congress has
simply abdicated its role of representing the people's interest. As someone
who has lived within the two cultures all my life it is appalling that the
clash of civilisations, that reductive and vulgar notion so much in vogue
now, has taken over thought and action. What we need to put in place is a
universalist framework for comprehending and dealing with Saddam Hussein as
well as Sharon, the rulers of Myanmar, Syria, Turkey, and a whole host of
those countries where depredations are endured without sufficient
resistance. Demolishing houses, torture, the denial of a right to education
are to be opposed wherever they occur. I know no other way of re-creating or
restoring the framework but through education, and the fostering of open
discussion, exchange and intellectual honesty that will have no truck with
concealed special pleading or the jargons of war, religious extremism, and
pre-emptive "defense". But that alas takes a long time, and to judge from
the governments of the US and the UK, its little partner, wins no votes. We
must do everything in our power to provoke discussion and embarrassing
questions, thereby slowing down and finally stopping the recourse to war
that has now become a theory and not just a practice.

Edward Said writes a weekly column for the Cairo-based al-Ahram.,12239,815413,00.html

The Observer, 20th October

As the United States edges towards a possible war against Iraq, a sudden
torrent of concern has begun to flow - a revolt by the intelligentsia
spreading beyond the expected opposition political circles and penetrating
the heart of the media and foreign policy establishment.

>From New York to the plains of Kansas, local and provincial papers, glossy
magazines, serious periodicals and heavyweight national dailies have carried
a range of articles and essays that challenge not only the proposed war, but
the notion and conduct of unilateral American power in the world.

But the most dramatic intervention comes from President George Bush's own
United Methodist church which launched a scathing attack on his plans for

Jim Winkler, responsible for the application of the church's teachings to
social policy, said war against Iraq was 'without any justification
according to the teachings of Christ'.

After careful study of Christian doctrinal writings on Just War, Winkler
said he was 'told flatly' by the church's scholars, 'that they simply did
not apply to this situation'.

Winkler said 'we keep the lines of communication open' to the White House,
but added: 'I regret that the lines have been one way. I hope and pray that
the President has considered the church's teachings.'

Winkler's sentiments have an impact beyond the usual circles of dissent in a
church-going society that, for the most part, supports Bush.

>From the Bush heartland, from Kansas, where they teach the creation instead
of evolution in schools, come surprising voices of objection. The Kansas
City Star ran a long account of 'voices of opposition from people of faith',
quoting Winkler at length, saying: 'United Methodists have a particular duty
to speak out against an unprovoked attack. It is inconceivable that Jesus
Christ would support this proposed attack.'

The latest salvo came on Friday from the unimpeachable New York Review of
Books in an article by one of the country's leading commentators, Anthony
Lewis, arguing that a regime change in Iraq could be 'the first step towards
a new American imperium'. Meanwhile, wrote Lewis, 'the fear of looking
unpatriotic inhibits dissent'.

The uprising of the intelligentsia has burst its banks. The essayist Susan
Sontag sounded the first alarm across the opinion page of the New York Times
on the poignant date of 10 September (the article was intended for the
eleventh, but was shifted to make way for one signed by the President).

In it Sontag wrote: 'Real wars are not metaphors _ they have a beginning and
an end_ But the war that has been declared by the Bush administration will
never end. That is one sign that it is not a war, but, rather, a mandate for
expanding the use of American power.'

Then the theme spread. Most unexpectedly, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution -
published in the capital of the conservative South - broadened the language
of the debate with an article by its leading commentator headlined 'Invasion
would mark the next step towards an American empire'.

The author rejected claimed links between Iraq and al-Qaeda. His article
goes on to say that 'among the architects of this would-be American empire
are a group of people who now hold key positions in the Bush administration:
they envision the creation and enforcement of a Pax Americana'.

One of America's most illustrious historians of the Vietnam and Reagan eras,
Frances Fitzgerald, then took the stage in the New York Review of Books to
demand that Bush 'tell us about the risks' involved in entwining a war
against Iraq around that against terror. 'The Bush administration has
clearly broken with internationalist premises accepted by every other
administration since World War II.'

Fareed Zakaria is a pillar of the American foreign policy establishment, an
instinctive conservative, former confidante of the National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice and previously editor of the journal Foreign Affairs .

In the current New Yorker , Zakaria warns of the perils of a unipolar world
in which America is the sole power. He urges the US to 'gain the legitimacy
that comes through an international consensus. Without this cloak of
respectability America will face a growing hostility around the world.'

In the non-political Atlantic Monthly , James Fallows meticulously dissects
the various stages of an invasion of Iraq, foreseeing dire consequences: 'If
we can judge from past wars, the effects we can't imagine when the fighting
begins will prove to be the ones that matter most.'

The editorial sages at the American Prospect magazine, Paul Starr, Robert
Kuttner and Harold Meyerson, write what many others are thinking, that 'the
suspicion will not die that the administration turned to Iraq for relief
from a sharp decline in its domestic political prospects, corporate
scandals, and the fall of the stock market'.

Looking forward, the authors add: 'If the fighting turns ugly and there are
large numbers of civilian casualties - if we have to level the very cities
we say we are liberating - American legitimacy in the eyes of the world and
of the Iraqis will be shot. International law seems to count for nothing in
this administration's view of the world.'

As well as the glossy magazines, last week some of America's weightiest
newspaper columnists - conservatives and liberals alike - aligned themselves
firmly against the upcoming war.

'Texas on the Tigris' mocked the New York Times ' Maureen Dowd, jibing at
the oil interest that flows through every vein of the Bush administration.

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times , seen by many as one of the
conservative apologists for any strategy that backs Israel, also joined the
opposition fray. 'Iraq cannot prevent an American victory. But it might be
able to extend a war over weeks and months, imposing significant costs and
putting on a bloody show for the rest of the world.'

by Richard Leiby
Washington Post, 21st October


Flash back five years:

It's midnight in Baghdad, and Ritter is standing, arms folded, in the middle
of a downtown street, his athletic, 6-foot-4 physique starkly illuminated by
the headlights of a U.N. inspection convoy.

En route to a suspected "secret biological unit," Ritter's team has run into
a roadblock of pistol-toting officers from the Special Security Organization
-- the palace guard. One has leveled a gun at his head.

Where do you think you're going?

"Down the road," Ritter says, pointing nonchalantly, as if he's a tourist.

"No, it is impossible," says the Iraqi in charge, Amer Rashid. "How do you
dare to ask?"

Ritter reminds Rashid that he is allowed to inspect "any site," by
resolution of the U.N. Security Council.

"My dear," Rashid says in awkward English, "this is a palace. You know it is
out of bounds to you."

Ritter realizes he has no choice. He orders his team to retreat.

That October 1997 standoff, memorialized on a grainy black-and-white video
shot from an UNSCOM vehicle, provides the most dramatic moment in Ritter's 1
1/2-hour documentary, "In Shifting Sands: The Truth About UNSCOM and the
Disarming of Iraq."

Shot on a shoestring budget (about $500,000), the film plays like an
investigative TV news special, as directed by an ex-weapons inspector.
Ritter uses raw on-site footage from his years in Iraq, news clips and
interviews with former U.N. officials and Iraqi leaders to make these
points: The U.S. government "corrupted" the inspection process by planting
spies, and it manipulated UNSCOM to suit the politics of regime change.

"The United States orchestrated the events that led to the demise of
inspections," he said at the July 2001 premiere of his movie at the United
Nations. At the time, Butler called the allegations "completely false."

The movie's other message: A dozen years of economic sanctions have
"ravaged" Iraq's populace, inflicting starvation and death on innocent
civilians. Near the start of the documentary and again at its end, the
camera lingers on an unidentified Iraqi mother, cradling a crying, sick
child. She stares wordlessly at the camera.

"Iraq is a defanged tiger," Ritter concludes on-screen. "There's much better
things we could be doing with our money and our time besides pursuing a
brutal dictator to the point of debasing our own moral and intellectual

The credits roll, identifying the "senior executive producer" as Shakir
al-Khafaji. He is a Southfield, Mich., real estate developer, an American
citizen described by opposition movement Iraqi exiles as a propagandist for

Just back from one of his regular trips to Baghdad, al-Khafaji picks up the
phone in his office and says his motives as a movie producer are entirely

"I am not a sympathizer of Saddam Hussein nor a supporter of Saddam
Hussein," he says. "I don't think it was a propaganda movie. We tried to be
objective in that movie, as much as we could. . . . Believe me, the Iraqi
government was not very happy with the movie themselves."

Al-Khafaji, who emigrated from Iraq as a student in 1976, has long protested
the U.N. sanctions. He got to know Ritter in 1999 at anti-sanctions events,
liked his film idea, put up the lion's share of the budget and helped
arrange access to top Iraqi officials.

Al-Khafaji hoped to make millions on the documentary, but it proved to be a
bust. No distributor or network has picked it up. "He did not make any money
out of this movie," he says of his friend Ritter. "We still owe people money
on it."

Like many Iraqi exiles, al-Khafaji has a complicated relationship with his
native country. In 1982, while a university student in Detroit, he was
indicted for attempting to illegally transport guns to Iraq. A jury cleared
him of the main charge but convicted him of failing to provide the Customs
Service with written notice of several hunting rifles and handguns in his
airline baggage.

Al-Khafaji says he ended up spending four months in federal prison for this
"technical violation." The weapons, he adds, were presents that a friend had
purchased and "I was only delivering them."

Other exile sources say al-Khafaji, who organizes regime-sponsored
expatriate conferences in Baghdad, remains loyal to the government out of
fear that family members in Iraq may be imprisoned or killed. One of
al-Khafaji's brothers was executed by Hussein, these sources say.

No, al-Khafaji says, that's not true.

"My younger brother, in 1980, disappeared -- and we still don't know where
he is at. The government said, 'We took him for questioning and he was

"I don't know why he was taken in for questioning," he says. "We never saw
him after that."

But there's no evidence he's dead. It's just one of those mysteries.

Over the past decade, the FBI has investigated Ritter three times, most
recently looking into his financial relationship with al-Khafaji. In each
case it found no violation of law. "The whole accusation I was an Iraqi
agent is nonsense," Ritter says in a new pocket paperback, "War on Iraq:
What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know." The book was rushed into print
earlier this month, partially to serve as a "tool for protest rallies,"
according to its publisher.

"I wore the uniform of a Marine for 12 years. I went to war for my country,"
Ritter says in the book. "I'm doing all of this not out of sympathy for the
people of Iraq but because I love my own country."

The son of an Air Force officer, Ritter grew up on military bases and played
football for Franklin & Marshall College. Afterward he joined the Marines
and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1984. In his military and U.N.
career, Ritter developed a reputation for innovation, as well as
stubbornness and lack of tact. By his own admission, he could sometimes be
"a bull in a china shop."

>From 1988 to 1990, Ritter worked in the Soviet industrial town of Votkinsk,
in a Defense Department program that monitored missile disarmament. There he
met Marina Khatiashvili, who would later become Ritter's second wife. She
was one of the Soviet supplied escorts and translators, people who were
presumed by American officers to have KGB connections.

Still married to his first wife at the time, Ritter says a romance was out
of the question. He was working as a counterintelligence officer. "I was
living under a microscope," he says. "All my contacts [with her] were

Sent to the Persian Gulf for the Desert Storm campaign in 1991, Ritter was a
captain assigned to a battle damage assessment unit. He concluded that U.S.
pilots were not destroying any of Iraq's Scud missile launchers, only
decoys, or had misidentified the targets. This contradicted what the
coalition commander, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, was telling the world.

"I stood up to Norman Schwarzkopf," says Ritter, who refused to alter his
report that found no Scud kills. The facts mattered. He hewed to this motto:
"In combat, if you lie you die."

After the war, Ritter resigned from active duty and returned to the Soviet
Union to look into a job with an American firm and to look up Khatiashvili.
After they got married in 1991, the FBI launched an investigation into
whether Ritter represented a risk to national security. Marrying a foreign
national would ultimately cost Ritter his high-level security clearance when
he became a U.N. weapons inspector and had to, as he put it, "interact with
the intelligence community."

The FBI "never came close to representing a violation of any law," Ritter
says in the new paperback. "A man meets a woman and they fall in love.
That's it."

Ritter began working for UNSCOM in September 1991, a blue-hatted chief
inspector enmeshed in "a perilous game of hide and seek" with "one of
history's most devious and brutally efficient dictatorships," as he wrote in
"Endgame," his 1999 memoir.

The hard-nosed Ritter focused on how Hussein used his presidential security
forces to frustrate the inspectors' search for evidence of weapons. The
regime denounced him by name as a spy. But he says he only collected data
for the inspection program and that others supplied it to the CIA, violating
the impartiality of UNSCOM.

In 1998 the FBI investigated Ritter again, this time for trading information
about Iraq with Israeli intelligence sources, which he says was part of his
job and approved by his UNSCOM bosses. Again, no violations were found. "My
team under my control was held to the highest standards," says Ritter. (An
FBI spokesman declined to comment on Ritter.)

When he resigned, in August 1998, he decided not to go quietly. His
resignation letter suggested that both the U.N. and United States were too
weak in the face of Iraqi defiance, making a "mockery" of the inspection
process and providing only "the illusion of arms control."

The media loved his blunt honesty. He became a hero to defense hawks and
Iraqi opposition figures who successfully lobbied Congress to pass the
1998's Iraq Liberation Act, which called for Hussein's removal.

"It was a wild ride for him, he was just in a daze," recalls Brooke, the
Iraqi National Congress adviser. He says he used Ritter -- and "the
beautiful figure he cut, as a patriotic American standing up for what's
right" -- for political ends.

In a House hearing in September 1998 Ritter estimated that Hussein might be
able to build a nuclear weapon within three years.

"What is your time frame on a chem-bio operational capacity?" asked
then-Rep. Paul McHale (D-Pa.).

"Under six months," Ritter said.

"Endgame" practically makes the Bush administration's case against Hussein,
though it argues for a peaceful resolution. There's a handy seven-page
appendix, titled "Iraq's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction." It
inventories, in frightening detail, what Ritter knew after seven years of
hunting for Iraq's biological, chemical and nuclear capabilities.

Today Ritter says this is not proof of anything.

"Iraq is not known to possess any of that. It's not accounted for."

Where'd it all go? Another mystery.

Former colleagues cannot reconcile the contradictions. They grope to uncover
some key fact or event that might answer their questions. Great characters
require a motivation. What's his?

"The thing he wants most is attention," says Danielle Pletka, a former
staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who ran the 1998 hearing
at which Ritter also testified that Iraq remained "an ugly threat." "He is
cynically manipulating information in order to call attention to himself."

Others say Ritter seeks the spotlight for a simple reason: He needs money.
He relies on speaking engagements for income; he has to promote his film and

Ritter retained New York attorney Matthew Lifflander for a symbolic $1 in
May 1998. His firm helped Ritter negotiate the "Endgame" book contract,
represented him during an FBI investigation and handled public relations
work, according to court papers. Lifflander says he worked for free, on the
understanding Ritter would pay him later, when and if Ritter's various
projects produced income.

They parted company in 2000 and are now suing each other. Lifflander's firm
is trying to collect more than $150,000 in legal fees. Peter Barber,
Ritter's current attorney, says Ritter "was clear from the beginning he
could not pay" Lifflander and they had no agreement for future payment. He's
countersuing for damages, saying, "This is being used to defame Scott and
harm his reputation."


by Robert Collier
San Francisco Chronicle, 21st October

As the Bush administration continues its hard bargaining over Iraq with
other members of the U.N. Security Council, it is making a not-so-veiled
threat -- if the council fails to adopt a new resolution authorizing the use
of force against Saddam Hussein, the United States may go to war anyway.

We don't really need your approval, the administration appears to be saying.

We already have it, so we can invade whenever we want.

The point has been made repeatedly, most recently Thursday, when Secretary
of State Colin Powell said "the United States does not need any additional
(U. N.) authority, even now, to take action to defend ourselves."

It's a powerful blank check, backed legally -- in the administration's view
-- not only by the recently passed congressional resolution endorsing the
use of force, but also by Security Council resolutions passed in 1990 and
1991 that authorized military action to remove Hussein's forces from Kuwait.

There's only one hitch. According to most members of the council and
numerous U.S. legal scholars, Washington's interpretation is wrong.

Without a new council resolution explicitly authorizing war, the United
States cannot act alone, they say.

While Washington has backed down somewhat from its earlier go-it-alone
position by agreeing that the Security Council would first be consulted if
Iraq is found in breach of new weapons inspections, it still insists it will
not feel bound to wait for a U.N. decision before taking action.

Powell said Thursday that the congressional war authorization signed by Bush
the day before "says that the president has the authority to act . . . in
the best interest of the United States in concert with well-minded nations,
whether the United Nations is active or not."

The congressional authorization directly echoes legal arguments made
previously by the Clinton and Bush administrations. It cites Security
Council Resolution 678 of November 1990, which authorized "member states . .
. to use all necessary means to uphold and implement Resolution 660 (which
ordered Iraq out of Kuwait) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and
restore international peace and security in the area."

According to Washington's view, the mandate of Resolution 678 is not limited
to removing Iraq from Kuwait but refers indefinitely to all matters related
to Iraq, such as disarmament, regional security and protection of Iraq's
civilian population, as summarized in Resolution 687, which created the
cease-fire to end the Gulf War in 1991.

The United States argues that Iraq is violating 687 and other resolutions,
so the original authorization in 678 to use force still stands -- and can be
used again.

Many international legal experts disagree. They say 678's mandate referred
only to those resolutions related to Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. They also
note that 687 and other Iraq resolutions after the Gulf War state the
council "remains seized of the matter" -- legal jargon meaning that all
further actions are to be decided by the council.

"This broad interpretation of Resolutions 678 and 687 is absolutely
incorrect," said Jules Lobel, a law professor at the University of
Pittsburgh who is a leading scholar of U.N. jurisprudence.

"The French, Russians, Chinese and most other countries of the world are
correct that it's for the Security Council, not for the United States and
Britain, to decide on any other actions to further enforce the resolutions."

Since the Gulf War, all other U.S. and British military action against Iraq
-- imposition of the "no-fly" zones in northern and southern Iraq, and the
December 1998 bombing of Baghdad -- has employed the same interpretation,
which legal experts and other Security Council members say is equally
invalid because Washington and London did not obtain explicit U.N.

Even those who support the administration's policy say the U.S. case is far
from solid legally.

Abraham Sofaer, a former State Department legal adviser to the Reagan and
first Bush administrations who is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution
at Stanford University, said the current U.S. legal argument "isn't clear,
it's controversial. I support the president, I think we should act even
without explicit (new) authority from the Security Council. . . . But now,
you just can't say you have a clear case."

Sofaer agreed that the problem isn't new. "It's a dilemma we faced in Kosovo
(in 1999), where we didn't have explicit legal authority, but we went to
NATO and said, 'Let's just do it.' "

This creates a dangerous precedent, some analysts say.

"No single nation has the right to decide enforcement of U.N. Security
Council resolutions," said Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics and chair
of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco.

"If that were the case, Russia could invade Turkey because of its violation
of resolutions on Cyprus; Spain could invade Morocco because of the Western
Sahara; Syria could invade Israel, and so on."

Zunes recently carried out a study that found that since World War II, 91
council resolutions have been violated with no attempt to enforce them. In
many cases -- such as resolutions critical of Israel -- the United States
has blocked enforcement attempts.

Other scholars point out that because U.N. resolutions have the status of
foreign treaties and thus are "the supreme law of the land," as described in
the U.S. Constitution, they should trump any law passed by Congress.

Bruce Ackerman, a professor of constitutional law and political science at
Yale University, said such high principles have been ignored by American

"Under existing Supreme Court case law the courts will follow the
congressional resolution even though the country is violating one of its
solemn treaty obligations," said Ackerman.

Legal experts agree that the Bush administration's strongest card could be
to cite the right to individual or collective self-defense, which is
enshrined in the U.N. Charter. American officials have laid the groundwork
for the use of force under what they call "pre-emptive self-defense," saying
that Hussein supports al Qaeda and other international terrorist groups that
might use chemical, biological or nuclear weapons against the United States.

But the administration has held back from making an explicit legal case,
apparently because it lacks firm evidence that Iraq is giving such support
or that an attack is imminent, as the Charter requires.

What's worse, the self-defense argument could boomerang. If the United
States fails to get U.N. backing yet declares its intention to invade Iraq
anyway, Baghdad could cite self defense as justification to launch a pre-
emptive attack on U.S. military forces in the gulf region.

In the end, the legal issues may simply be determined by the realities of
the battlefield.

"If the United States invades and it's over in a week, this would be just
another violation of the U.N. Charter, the Security Council would be
powerless to do anything about it, and few people would pay any more
attention," said Sobel of the University of Pittsburgh.

"But if U.S. troops get mired in combat in Baghdad, it would be very serious
if they're doing it in contravention of the charter and Security Council

by Michael L. Betsch
Crosswalk, 22nd October

( - When 32 out of 37 members of the Congressional Black Caucus
(CBC) voted against a resolution authorizing the use of military force
against Iraq last week, critics asked whether the group was opposed to war
with Iraq or just to a Republican White House.

On December 16, 1998, then-President Bill Clinton ordered America's armed
forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq.

"Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons
programs, and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors," Clinton said
at the time. "Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the
United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East
and around the world."

At the time, the 38-member CBC did not adopt an official position on
Clinton's decision to launch Operation Desert Fox. But only three members of
the CBC, Reps. Barbara Lee (D Calif.), Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) and John
Conyers (D-Mich.), voted against the House resolution in support of
Clinton's unilateral use of force against Iraq.

Yet, when President Bush presented both chambers of Congress with a
resolution authorizing the unilateral use of military force against Iraq,
the CBC's members voted 32 to 5 against the measure.

According to Rachael Sullivan, spokesperson for Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson
(D-Texas) who chairs the CBC, members of the group composed a statement of
"principles" which they said President Bush should meet before authorizing
any military action against Iraq.

The CBC statement, she said, makes clear the group's opposition to any
military strike against Iraq "without a clearly demonstrated and imminent
threat of attack on the United States." And, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)
said the group has seen "no evidence nor intelligence that suggests that
Iraq poses an imminent threat to our nation."

Reps. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Sherrod Brown
(D-Fla.) also downplayed the Iraqi threat in a joint statement on Oct. 7.

"The Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein has abused the human rights of Iraqi
citizens and has used chemical weapons against its own citizenry. This
regime has failed to comply with certain international laws and United
Nations resolutions concerning weapons inspections and disarmament, and this
non-compliance potentially endangers the United States and regional security
interests," according to the statement. "Nonetheless, we do not believe that
Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States or its allies."

Lee has proposed the use of "diplomatic tools" to ensure that Hussein cannot
produce weapons of mass destruction by sending U.N. weapons inspectors back
into Iraq. "This alternative to war," she said, "would give the U.N.
inspections process a chance to work, continuing the successes of the 1990s
when thousands of Iraqi weapons were found and destroyed."

David Almasi, director of the black conservative group, Project 21, said the
CBC apparently sees a greater threat in President Bush than it does in
Saddam Hussein.

"They have been one of the biggest opponents of the Bush presidency and also
one of the most liberal, left-wing coalitions within Congress," Almasi said
of the CBC. "So, for them to be against taking out Saddam Hussein, it
doesn't surprise me, but it does show the possibilities for having them
replaced and the need for having them replaced."

According to Almasi, members of the CBC have been inconsistent in their
policies dealing with the use of military force against Iraq. He believes
partisan politics are the reason.

"That points to the idea that some of this may just be in their hatred for
George Bush, the man, or, their profound love for Bill Clinton," he said.
"They're not necessarily looking out for their constituencies."

Almasi said the 32 black congressmen who voted against the Iraq resolution
were only looking to satisfy their own political agendas.

"All of the people who are in the Congressional Black Caucus have in the
past shown themselves to have a very left-wing agenda," he said. "This just
happens to be perfect for them exercising their vote against the president's

CNN, 24th October

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Former Vice President Al Gore called Thursday for a
broad public health act to mobilize defenses against a possible biological
attack, saying the existing threat will grow with a U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In the latest in a string of policy speeches as he ponders another White
House run in 2004, Gore cited intelligence estimates that the threat of a
bioterror attack from Iraq would jump to "pretty high" after a U.S. strike
on Baghdad.

"We need a national defense public health act to respond to the immediate
threat in the wake of an attack against Iraq," Gore said in a speech at the
George Washington University Medical Center.

"This initiative would not only act as a new line of defense against
bioterrorism, it would also improve the way we prevent and detect many other
health care problems," he said.

The 2000 Democratic presidential nominee said there was an "immediate and
urgent need to act" given the possibility of a biological attack and the
implications of the possible threat from Baghdad in the wake of U.S.
military action.

"Unfortunately much attention has been focused on mobilizing public opinion
for war, but not enough attention has been focused on mobilizing America's
first line of defense against biological warfare -- our public health
system," he said.

The broader debate about the millions of Americans who lack proper health
care and health care insurance should "take a back seat temporarily" while
the United States revamps its public health care system to improve its
detection and response to a biological weapons attack, he said.

The public health act he envisioned would also integrate preventive health
care services into the main health care system, improve communication about
the outbreak of dangerous diseases and bolster inspections to prevent
attacks on the U.S. food and water supply, he said.

Gore did not give a price tag on the initiative, but an aide said later the
initial cost of instituting the public health changes would be about $10

Gore said it was "unfortunate" the intelligence estimate conveyed to
Congress about the increased biological threat after U.S. military action in
Iraq was not made public during debate in Congress on an Iraq war

But the estimate was made public two days before the vote on the resolution,
in a CIA letter to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham, a
Florida Democrat.

A Gore spokesman said the comment was meant to refer to information about
North Korea's attempt to obtain a nuclear weapons, which became public after
the vote in Congress. That link was mistakenly cut from the speech, he said.

The address to an overflow crowd in an auditorium at the college was the
third in little more than a month by Gore, who lost a bitter presidential
race to Republican George W. Bush.

Gore, who has promised to make a decision by the end of the year on whether
to challenge Bush in 2004, earlier delivered high-profile speeches
questioning Bush's military plans against Iraq and his stewardship of the

Gore also criticized Bush's plan outlined this week to lower the cost of
prescription medications, saying it was a "placebo" that would not save
patients as much as a Democratic-backed alternative languishing in Congress.

He said the health community has been "lulled into a false sense of
complacency" while infectious diseases are on the rise and
antibiotic-resistant diseases flourish.

by Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker
New York Times, 24th October

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23  Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his senior
advisers have assigned a small intelligence unit to search for information
on Iraq's hostile intentions or links to terrorists that the nation's spy
agencies may have overlooked, Pentagon officials said today.

Some officials say the creation of the team reflects frustration on the part
of Mr. Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz and other senior
officials that they are not receiving undiluted information on the
capacities of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq and his suspected ties to
terrorist organizations.

But officials who disagree say the top civilian policy makers are intent on
politicizing intelligence to fit their hawkish views on Iraq.

In particular, many in the intelligence agencies disagree that Mr. Hussein
can be directly linked to Osama bin Laden and his network, Al Qaeda, or that
the two are likely to make common cause against the United States. In
addition, the view among even some senior intelligence analysts at the
Central Intelligence Agency is that Mr. Hussein is contained and is unlikely
to unleash weapons of mass destruction unless he is attacked.

But Mr. Rumsfeld's inner circle of advisers view Mr. Hussein's record, which
includes aggression against Kuwait and the use of poison gas against his
people, as much more alarming, and they are not willing to risk leaving him
in power. They cite numerous intelligence findings indicating links between
the Iraq and senior Qaeda leaders.

The four- to five-person intelligence team was established by Douglas J.
Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy and another strong advocate
for military action against Mr. Hussein. It was formed not long after the
Sept. 11 attacks to take on special assignments in the global war on terror.

The team's specialty is using powerful computers and new software to scan
and sort documents and reports from the Central Intelligence Agency, the
Defense Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies.

The team's current task, described by one official as "data mining," is to
glean individual details that may collectively point to Iraq's wider
connections to terrorism, but which may have been obscured by formal
assessments that play down the overall Iraqi threat.

In an interview tonight, Mr. Wolfowitz said the members of the special
intelligence team "are helping us sift through enormous amounts of
incredibly valuable data that our many intelligence resources have vacuumed
up." He emphasized, "They are not making independent intelligence

He described "a phenomenon in intelligence work, that people who are
pursuing a certain hypothesis will see certain facts that others won't, and
not see other facts that others will."

"The lens through which you're looking for facts affects what you look for,"
he added.

But as adherents of different views on the Iraqi threat use intelligence
findings to argue their case, Mr. Wolfowitz said, "It should not permit you
to create facts or deny facts."

"The correct process is one that surfaces as many facts as possible," he

By law, the sprawling American intelligence bureaucracy is managed by the
director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet, who also is in charge of
the best-known spy organization, the Central Intelligence Agency. Separate
intelligence units also are operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
and the Departments of State, Energy and the Treasury.

But nearly 80 percent of the overall budget for intelligence is within the
Defense Department and managed by Mr. Rumsfeld. This classified sum is
divided among such organizations as the National Security Agency, the
National Reconnaissance Office, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, the
Defense Intelligence Agency and the intelligence arms of the armed services.

Agencies like the N.S.A. and the D.I.A. in effect have two masters, since
the defense secretary controls the budget and is a significant client of
their information, while the director of central intelligence watches over
the entire constellation of spy organizations.

Tension between the defense secretary and the C.I.A., which has resented
moves by Mr. Rumsfeld to beef up the Pentagon's role in intelligence
gathering, has been intensifying, according to one defense official.

"There is a complete breakdown in the relationship between the Defense
Department and the intelligence community, to include its own Defense
Intelligence Agency," the official said. "Wolfowitz and company disbelieve
any analysis that doesn't support their own preconceived conclusions. The
C.I.A. is enemy territory, as far are they're concerned."

Senior Pentagon aides reject that criticism, with Mr. Wolfowitz saying
tonight that both he and Mr. Rumsfeld rely on their C.I.A. briefings as "our
main source of information."



by Karen DeYoung and Daniel Williams
International Herald Tribune, from The Washington Post, 21st October

WASHINGTON: President George W. Bush has authorized U.S. combat training for
Iraqi opponents of Saddam Hussein, and the Pentagon has identified as many
as 5,000 recruits for an initial training phase to begin next month,
according to administration and military officials.

Bush authorized the training in a National Security Presidential Directive
on Oct. 3 that also approved spending $92 million in Defense Department
funds, officials said. Defense and State Department officials intend to
brief Congress this week on plans to instruct the Iraqis in basic combat as
well as specialized skills to serve as battlefield advisers, scouts and
interpreters with U.S. ground troops in an invasion force.

Others in a force eventually to number about 10,000 will be trained as
forward spotters for laser-guided bombs and as military police to run
prisoner-of-war camps inside Iraq. Officials said the recruits, drawn
largely from lists of Iraqi exiles that are being provided by the
London-based Iraqi National Congress and checked by the Pentagon, would be
trained together outside the United States. Military officials declined to
say where the instruction would take place, but said it would not be in the
Middle East region.

Bush's decision marks another major step forward in preparation for a U.S.
military assault on Iraq. In recent weeks, the Pentagon has built up
equipment stocks in Gulf states, begun sending additional combat troops,
issued orders to move headquarters units into place and made preparations to
facilitate the deployment of tens of thousands of troops should Bush decide
to attack. Last week, an army task force of Apache helicopters left Europe
for Kuwait.

The Pentagon began serious consideration of an opposition training plan
early last month. But long-standing uncertainty about the abilities and
cohesion of the often-bickering exile groups had limited discussions to an
initial phase of only about 1,000 recruits and a far smaller amount of

Bush's new directive appears to have ended that uncertainty. "It's a big
deal," an senior administration official said.

Although $98 million for opposition training was first authorized in 1998
under the Iraq Liberation Act, a directive signed that year by President
Bill Clinton restricted expenditures to nonlethal instruction. Until he
signed the new directive early this month, Bush had adhered to Clinton's
prohibitions, and only $6 million of the original money was spent, largely
on communications and management training for a handful of exiles. The funds
will now be spent on both training and arming the Iraqis to serve in
specialized capacities alongside U.S. troops.

Congress was notified of Bush's determination to draw down all of the
remaining money on Oct. 11, as required under the act, but not of the new
directive authorizing lethal training. The administration's eagerness to
spell out a role for the Iraqi opposition, and congressional pressure to
outline its plans for a post-Saddam Iraq, have been hampered through much of
this year by disorganization among the exile groups. But although some
opposition improvements, and the imminence of possible military action, have
forced Bush's hand, the training plan has already exacerbated problems among
the exile groups.

Opponents of the plan say it is a barely disguised effort to create a power
base for Iraqi National Congress leader, Ahmed Chalabi. The National
Congress is one of six groups officially designated by Washington as
eligible for funds, but "other Iraqi opposition groups" may be named,
according to a notice to Congress on the funding.

Although the State Department and Pentagon say they did not plan it this
way, the recruitment program has been largely in the hands of Chalabi's
organization, a situation that pleases his supporters but that has outraged
other groups. "The 5,000 or 6,000 names for the Pentagon are Chalabi's to
give," according to an Iraqi National Congress official in Europe.

Much of the dispute among the groups is centered on the relative closeness
of their leaders to various parts of the administration, and on their
various claims of the depth of their support inside Iraq.

Although distrusted by the State Department and the CIA, Chalabi is popular
at the Pentagon.

"Things are blowing Chalabi's way. He is backed by the Pentagon, so he is in
the best shape he has been for a long time, and this is angering rivals,"
said one long-time observer of opposition maneuverings.

Arabic News, 23rd October

The chairman of the higher council of the Islamic revolution in Iraq
Muhammad Baqer al Hakim on Monday stressed that he welcomes an international
support including an American one to topple the Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein, but he opposes the installation of a "puppet " government, for the
Americans in Baghdad.

In press statements in Tehran, al-Hakim added that his party and the US
support toppling the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein but they differ
regarding ways to achieve that.

Al-Hakim warned that he has information saying that Saddam Hussein will
order the use of chemical weapons in case of war. But he continued that " it
is not certain if the Iraqi army officers will obey his orders." He
expressed his conviction that in case the war erupts "Iraqi units will
refuse to fight," because they do not "support the regime."

Al-Hakim added that the Iraqi people not any foreign force should topple
Saddam Hussein," noting that "the Iraqi people were about to do so in 1991
on the wake of the Gulf war. He continued that "then the US gave the green
light " for oppressing the rebellions in the south and north of Iraq by
Baghdad's authority.

Al-Hakeem said "our best solution is that thousands of our soldiers will
topple Saddam Hussein at a political and military support from the
international society including the US." He warned that "a drowning man (
Saddam Hussein ) might do any thing in order not to die, (and ) should be
prevented from killing more Iraqis." He indicated that the "Iraqi people
will not accept" the formation of a provisional military government. He said
"we have said that to the Americans and they heard us."

Arabic News, 24th October

The Iraqi write Abdul Ameer al-Rikabi, who lives in Paris said he expects
the Iraqi government to resume talks with Iraqis in exiles, like him, over
forming a new government that he might be its prime minister.

In a statement al-Rikabi said "Unfortunately I have all the components
qualifying for presiding over a national unity government. I am a Shiite
Leftist and is accepted by the Leftist forces and I am an Arab and an active
writer and have Arab relations." He added "I say 'unfortunately' because I
am a journalist and not a statesman, but if I will be asked to carry out a
national mission to preside over a government, I will perform that mission."

Al-Rikabi ( 55 year old) said that there are indicators that Baghdad is
preparing to resume the negotiations with opposition members it considers as
"nationalists" in exile in order to agree on political arrangements that
meet the demands of the regime's opposition members.

He added he had met with Iraqi officials, whose identities he did not
disclose in Amman last spring. He also indicated that the Iraqi deputy
premier Tareq Aziz described him recently in Beirut as a typical example of
the "national opposition." He continued that negotiations between the Iraqi
government and the opposition nationalists has not stopped abroad since 11
years. He said "I personally went to Baghdad in 1992 to negotiate with the
government. He stressed that there is "a trend in the Iraqi opposition who
continued dialoguing with the regime in order to achieve a change by
national means "instead of having the change from outside." He, thereby,
referred to the Iraqi opposition backed by Washington.

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