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News, 25/10-1/11/02 (2) SIDE OF THE ANGELS * The Voices of Conscience Must Be Heard on Iraq * 'Corrections' author attacks Blair's stance on Iraq war * Americans rally against war in Iraq * Europeans Rally Against War in Iraq * U.S. pacifist group stages Saddam rally in Baghdad * Retiring Archbishop of Canterbury speaks against war with Iraq * Thousands March In San Francisco Against War In Iraq * Wellstone Looms Large at St. Paul Peace Rally * Thousands Descend on Capital to Condemn Iraq War * Artist calls for "Silent Protest" on Iraq * Weapons of mass illusion * Iraq protesters halt assembly debate * 1,500 join war protest IRAQI OPPOSITION * Shia exile ready to end Iraq's 'nightmare' * Subtle performance from the pretender to Saddam's throne SIDE OF THE ANGELS http://www.newsday.com/news/opinion/ny vpdam252977511oct25,0,257465.story?coll=ny%2Dviewpoints%2Dheadlines * THE VOICES OF CONSCIENCE MUST BE HEARD ON IRAQ by Noelle Damico Newsday, 25th October [The Rev. Noelle Damico is ministries coordinator for the Justice and Witness Ministries, New York Conference of the United Church of Christ] Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, religion was invited into the center of the public square to provide comfort to our fearful and grieving nation. But religious traditions have more to offer than comfort. They also call us to ask critical questions, discern God's leading, make ethical judgments and witness publicly. Faith opens us up to new possibilities and refuses to believe that the way things are is the way they shall be or should be. Faith helps us to say, "It could be otherwise." All across Long Island, people of faith who are opposed to military action in Iraq have been actively approaching their members of Congress in unprecedented numbers. We are people who come from differing traditions but who have come to the same conclusion: An attack on Iraq now is morally wrong, theologically wrong, and we will not bless it. Do not mistake this position as idealistic ignorance of Saddam Hussein's deplorable history or potential threat. We are not naïve. Rather, we are concerned with how U.S. military aggression will destabilize the region; imperil the lives of countless children, women and men; and strengthen his hand by giving him a good reason to defend himself and his nation. We are further concerned that the arrogant behavior of our elected leaders in claiming we are rightly the United Nations' agent (with or without the UN) presumes that the United States is morally unassailable and that our interests are indeed always and everywhere in the best interests of the whole world. An important message that religious traditions brings is the reminder that America and its government are not God, and we dare not presume to act as if we were. Prior to the Senate's vote clearing the way for President George W. Bush to move against Iraq, I led a delegation of Jewish, Catholic and Protestant clergy and congregational leaders to the Melville office of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). This visit was to follow up on telephone calls religious people had made to congressional offices in opposition to a U.S. military attack on Iraq. Religious leaders from the New York community of churches visited with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in Washington to express their opposition to such a military attack. So have the voices of religious people opposed to the war been heard? It is unclear. After a speech that sounded as if she were about to vote against the resolution, Clinton voted for it, assuring us that this was not a vote for unilateralism or so-called pre-emptive strikes (despite the fact that the resolution precludes neither option). Schumer then rose and expressed his support for the resolution while hoping that the president wouldn't use the power Congress was handing him immediately. One congressional aide said that we should expect our senators to vote their consciences, not necessarily mirror their constituents. But in a democracy, I expect their consciences to be informed by their constituents. I don't think our senators suffer from a lack of conscience, just a lack of nerve. Their consciences were amply revealed in the cautionary language of their speeches. They just didn't vote their consciences; they abdicated to the president. They gambled that a vote authorizing military power would strengthen Bush at the UN or that the power they gave would not be used. They gambled that "action is better than inaction" and that people would not blame them if something went wrong. In fact, it was such a gamble that Schumer said we must prepare for war while praying it doesn't happen. I have bad news. When we prepare for war, we get war. To assume that somehow our prayer lives can and should be disconnected from our daily decision-making is a trivialization of prayer and God. Do I think the senator meant to trivialize prayer or God? Absolutely not. These words reveal his anguish. They were his conscience talking. The congressional vote has been taken, and President Bush has signed the resolution. But people of faith are called to speak truth to power, so we continue to approach Congress and the president in record numbers. Many of us will join a march for peace in Washington tomorrow. We continue to vigil and teach and pray. Our voices are many. And they are growing. http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=345950 * 'CORRECTIONS' AUTHOR ATTACKS BLAIR'S STANCE ON IRAQ WAR by Cahal Milmo The Independent, 26th October Jonathan Franzen, the best-selling and controversial American author, yesterday attacked Tony Blair for slavishly following the "cynical and self-serving" military agenda of George Bush. The left-leaning novelist, who has been criticised in the US for his perceived haughtiness, admitted that the 11 September attacks had forced him to temper his pacifism. Speaking in London, the author of The Corrections - hailed as one of the best post-war American novels - admitted he had found it difficult to oppose military action in Afghanistan. But he added that the Prime Minister had gone too far in his support for the White House in its plans to attack Iraq. Franzen told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "For a while, I thought he was going to be a [Bill] Clinton who got something accomplished. But I think he has co-operated [with the Bush administration] to a degree that even Clinton, had he been the British Prime Minister, would not have done." Franzen, 42, whose latest book a collection of essays titled How To Be Alone was published earlier this month, said the analysis that followed the New York attacks had struck him as hollow. "It created a mood of 24-hour manic self-examination, which in fact led to no real insight. It created a sort of hyper CNN environment that we still live in," he said. But he added that the nature of the World Trade Centre attacks had left him feeling unable to maintain his blanket opposition to war. He said: "It did do something to those of us who are left-leaning, it took away the certainty that a pacifist approach is always the best. For the first time in my life, here was a government I knew I didn't like or trust proposing a military adventure [in Afghanistan] of which I didn't automatically disapprove." But the author said he strongly believed that an attack on Iraq would be "cynical and self serving", and accused the White House of using "confrontational rhetoric" rather than attempting to establish a consensus for action. Asked whether he believed 11 September had given George Bush a sense of purpose, Franzen said: "I think that is giving him too much credit. One places one's hope in his handlers. I have been issuing spiritual life insurance policies for Colin Powell for more than a year now." Franzen, who wrote two unsuccessful novels before The Corrections became an international bestseller last year, is no stranger to controversy. He came under fire when Oprah Winfrey selected his novel for the Book Club, a televised reading group whose endorsement has turned unknown authors into millionaires. Snubbing an invitation to appear on her show, Franzen was quoted as saying that he was "solidly in the high-art literary tradition". He later said that the remarks had been misreported. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2365143.stm * AMERICANS RALLY AGAINST WAR IN IRAQ by Kevin Anderson BBC, 26th October Tens of thousands of protesters came to Washington from across the United States in one of the largest anti-war demonstrations since the Vietnam War. The filled Constitution Gardens within sight of the Vietnam War Memorial and spilled out down Mall before marching to the White House. They came from across the country, some travelling all day and night crowded onto buses to attend the rally. They wanted to counter the image and the polls that say a majority of Americans support a war against Iraq. Jean Hinton and Steve Phlegar flew for 12 hours to make the trip from Yuma Arizona. He said that the administration's new policy of pre-emptive military action is un-American and felt it important to come to the anti-war rally. Student Sana Malik says the Iraqi people are suffering daily under sanctions "It's one thing to sit around in your living room and talk about it, and it's another thing to show some public support and participate," Mr Phlegar said. Four students in the sea of people carried signs saying "Nebraskans for Peace." They left Lincoln Nebraska at 0738 on Friday, and some 26 hours later hit Washington. They might have arrived earlier had their bus not broken down. One of the students, Aaron Price, is 18. He fears a new draft and doesn't want to fight a war he does not support. His friend Jonathan Jones said little will be gained by attacking Iraq and feels such an attack is unjust and immoral. "It's just going to cause a lot more disaster and destruction," he said. Katherine Albrecht came with others on a bus from Manchester, New Hampshire. "We really felt strongly enough about it to spend a night on a bus," she said. "I'm ashamed of what my government is doing. I'm ashamed of our elected leaders," she said. "I wanted to send a message not only to them but to the world that not all Americans are behind this," she added. In a reference to President Bush's stated goal of ousting Saddam Hussein, many protesters carried signs saying, "Regime change begins at home. Vote." Critical mid-term elections are set for 5 November. Republicans and Democrats are locked in a fierce battle for control of Congress, and a few key races will decide the balance of power. The late Paul Wellstone was in the toughest race of his Senate career. He, his wife and their daughter were killed in an airplane crash Friday. Many in the crowd carried signs paying tribute to the late senator and mourning his death. Lisa Collins of Reston, Virginia, said that Senator Wellstone was a true liberal, a true Democrat who was not bought out by special interests. "He'll be greatly missed," she said. "We need more leadership like that, people who will stick with their principles." Although his Republican opponent tried to paint him as soft on national security, Senator Wellstone voted against the resolution authorising the use of force against Iraq. Many of the protesters questioned polls showing that a majority of Americans support a strike against Iraq. Some accused pollsters and the media of interviewing only war supporters. When Celia Gayer's member of Congress came to her town on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, people turned out 100-to-1 against the war. Yet, they voted to support the resolution authorising force against Iraq. "They're cowards. They don't have enough faith in their constituents," she said. She said they feared "the Bush propaganda machine" would use a no vote against them in the elections. One protestor carried a sign decrying WMD. No, not weapons of mass destruction, but rather weapons of mass distraction. Many protesters felt that the drive for war was motivated by the administration's desire to distract voters from domestic problems such as unemployment, a moribund economy and corporate scandals. Medea Benjamin of the group Global Exchange said, "I think the president has done a very cynical manipulation of the genuine fear people feel after September 11." http://cgi.wn.com/?action=display&article=16425839&template=baghdad/indexsea rch.txt&index=recent * EUROPEANS RALLY AGAINST WAR IN IRAQ The Associated Press, 26th October BERLIN: Demanding an end to threats of an "unjustified" war against Iraq, thousands gathered in cities across Europe and beyond Saturday to demonstrate their opposition against U.S. policy toward Iraq. In Berlin, crowds of people brandishing placards that declared "War on the imperialist war," "Stop Bush's campaign" and "No blood for oil," along with a few Iraqi and Palestinian flags, converged on the downtown Alexanderplatz square and marched past the German Foreign Ministry. Police estimated that as many as 8,000 people took part in damp, windy weather, while organizers put the number at 30,000. No trouble was reported. Some 1,500 people turned out in Frankfurt and another 500 in Hamburg, according to police, while another 1,500 rain-soaked demonstrators gathered under umbrellas outside the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, and more than 1,000 hit the streets in Stockholm, Sweden. The marches were planned by anti-war activists to coincide with protests in Washington and San Francisco. Closely watched by police in anti-riot gear, a few thousand people marched in downtown Rome in a protest dominated by banners referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that also was attended by some opposition politicians. "We're aware that war and terrorism feed each other," Paolo Cento, a lawmaker for the Greens party, said of his opposition to a war against Iraq. In Baghdad itself, American anti-war activists protested in front of U.N. offices, urging the U.N. Security Council not to give Bush a blank check for war against Iraq. Six members of the Chicago-based Voices in the Wilderness raised banners including "Drop sanctions not bombs." In Tokyo, about 300 Japanese staged a "peace walk," holding up placards urging governments to "stop the war before it starts." The United States, backed by Britain, wants tough new rules for U.N. weapons inspections and a declaration from the Security Council that Iraq faces "serious consequences" if it fails to comply. However, Russia wants to stick as closely as possible to current inspection rules and eliminate any language allowing an attack on Baghdad. France also opposes any language possibly authorizing military action and wants to water down some U.S. inspection proposals. "We say to President Bush: there is no reason for this war," pacifist German lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele told the crowd in Berlin, drawing cheers as he added: "This war is unjustified." Saturday's were the first major demonstrations in Germany in recent months against the prospect of military action against Iraq, which has been staunchly opposed by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. "I expect the government at least to stick to that," said Susanne Roessling, 41, an employee at a legal firm. "They should really exert pressure," for instance by refusing to let U.S. planes attacking Iraq fly over Germany, she added. Schroeder has argued that a strike against Baghdad could wreck the international anti-terror coalition and throw the Middle East into turmoil, and says Germany would not participate. That stance is credited with helping Schroeder narrowly win re-election last month, and led to a cooling in relations between Berlin and Washington. "It's a tactical position that could change tomorrow," 54-year-old peace activist Wolfgang Ratzel said at the Berlin protest. "I have no illusions about the effect" of the demonstration, he added. "Saddam Hussein is one of the absolutely worst dictators in the world today ... but that doesn't justify the USA's war plans," Gudrun Schyman, leader of Sweden's former communist Left Party, told the crowd in Stockholm. "You don't disarm a regime by conducting an armed war." http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/epaper/editions/sunday/news_d3bb29721768410 b00a4.html * U.S. PACIFIST GROUP STAGES SADDAM RALLY IN BAGHDAD by John F. Burns Atlanta Journal Constitution, from New York Times, 27th October Baghdad, Iraq --- A group of 12 Americans from a Chicago-based pacifist group, Voices in the Wilderness, gathered Saturday to bring the American style of protest to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. If they had been here to agitate against Saddam's government, as groups of Iraqis did briefly earlier in the week, they would almost certainly have been treated as the Iraqis were and ordered abruptly to disperse. Like the Iraqis, who were demanding that Saddam's government account for people who disappeared in the hands of the state security prisons years ago, they might even have been subjected to warning shots fired in the air. But since the Americans came to protest against President Bush and his threats of war against Iraq, the Iraqi police kept well away, giving the visitors as much time as they needed to make their case. Outside the U.N. offices in the eastern suburbs of Baghdad, and later outside the old U.S. Embassy near the banks of the Tigris, empty of U.S. diplomats since the Persian Gulf War, the Americans were given free rein. Standing on the shoulder of the busy highway that runs past the United Nations building, the Americans, from New York Indianapolis and Chicago, raised signs reading "No U.N. Blank Check for Bush," a reference to the U.S. campaign in the United Nations Security Council for a tough new mandate for arms inspections in Iraq. Such a resolution could be used as a basis for a military attack if Saddam's government impedes the U.N. inspectors, as it has done in the past. Kathy Kelly, a 49-year-old former Chicago high school English teacher who is a co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, used the occasion to speak out against the Bush administration and in defense of positions taken by Saddam. At one point, she said she wished that the U.S. government would follow Saddam's example in ordering the emptying of Iraq's prisons, a move the Iraqi leader made Oct. 20, in part to counter Bush's descriptions of him as a murdering tyrant. "I wish people in our country would be willing to show the same spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation to the 2 million people in our prisons," she said. What was notable at Saturday's protests by the Americans was not so much that the government left the visitors unhindered, since the Americans were making a case that Saddam clearly wanted to hear, but that Iraq's state-controlled news organizations were barely represented. The government apparently did not wish to give too much attention to the American demonstrators since that might have sent a signal that street protests are acceptable now, after all. The absence of the Iraqi news media left the field to Western reporters, mostly Americans, who outnumbered the protesters by about five to one. What ensued, outside the U.N. offices, was a curious free-for-all in which Kelly found herself at moments cast by questioners as a sort of "Hanoi Jane" --- a nickname given to actress Jane Fonda when she visited the then-North Vietnamese capital 30 years ago and spoke against U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. Kelly is on her 16th visit to Baghdad, going back to the period of the Persian Gulf War when she and her American companions, protesting against the U.S.-led war to drive Iraqi occupation troops from Kuwait, camped briefly on the Iraqi side of the desert border between Iraq and Kuwait. In 1996, she helped establish Voices in the Wilderness from her Chicago kitchen for the purpose of campaigning against the U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait. Those sanctions, greatly eased, remain in place as part of a U.S.-led effort to force Iraq to allow weapons inspections. While Voices in the Wilderness has spoken up against the sanctions --- and against threats of war on Iraq --- it has said little about the grim human rights record of Saddam. http://newsobserver.com/24hour/world/story/594287p-4617676c.html * RETIRING ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY SPEAKS AGAINST WAR WITH IRAQ News & Observer, 28th October LONDON (AP) - The spiritual leader of the world's 70 million Anglicans said Sunday he was not convinced of the need for a war to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey said the world "must pursue all diplomatic and political means" to contain the Iraqi regime's weapons of mass destruction. Carey told the British Broadcasting Corp's "Breakfast with Frost" program that he did not feel that arguments in favor of action "gives grounds, convincing grounds, to launch a ground warfare against Iraq." Carey delivered his final sermon Sunday before retiring as leader of the Church of England and symbolic head of the global Anglican Communion. His successor, Rowan Williams, has criticized Prime Minister Tony Blair's backing for possible military action against Iraq and opposed last year's U.S.-led attack on Afghanistan. Williams' appointment comes as Anglican churches struggle with issues such as the ordination of women and homosexuals. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/kpix/20021028/lo_kpix/4839 * THOUSANDS MARCH IN SAN FRANCISCO AGAINST WAR IN IRAQ by Arleen Bolton Yahoo, 28th October (KCBS) - A crowd of more than 40-thousand marched down Market Street before gathering at the Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco on Saturday. KCBS Reporter Peter Schofield says the anti-war march was peaceful. The march and anti-war demonstration in San Francisco was part of an international day of protest aimed at the Bush administration's policy toward Iraq. Berkeley City Council member Maudelle Shirek was one of the speakers at the demonstration. "Oh how beautiful you are to stand out and face this war. We're going to stop it before it starts. Let's stop this war in Iraq," said Shirek. Police say the crowd was large, but it was peaceful. NO URL (sent through list) * WELLSTONE LOOMS LARGE AT ST. PAUL PEACE RALLY by Ellen Tomson St Paul Pioneer Press, 27th October Thousands of Minnesotans, stunned by the death of U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone but galvanized to carry forward his work, rallied Saturday at the Cathedral of St. Paul and marched to the state Capitol to protest a war in Iraq. The anti-war gathering, which drew people of all ages and members of more than 50 peace organizations, was the largest in recent years. It was held simultaneously with demonstrations in New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and other cities. Protest organizers, a coalition of groups forming Minnesotans Against War on Iraq, expected more than 2,000 participants for the demonstration in St. Paul. During speeches at the Capitol, they claimed 10,500 attended. State troopers posted along the protest route and at the Capitol estimated the crowd at between 3,000 and 4,000. "I haven't personally seen this many people gathered for peace since Vietnam," said Pat McPeak, a St. Paul school nurse. The protesters included 15-month-old Graham Markert of Minneapolis, who attended his first peace rally snuggled inside a backpack carried by his mother, and Ruth Zack, 76, of St. Paul, who huddled against the cold with other senior citizens on the Capitol steps. The peace themes of the rally highlighted what many viewed as conflicting interests: corporations, oil companies and the country's wealthiest citizens vs. education, health and housing for the average taxpayer. Fran Conklin, 56, an educator from St. Paul, carried a sign with a message that expressed the sentiment of many of the marchers: "Remember Paul, work for peace." Another sign, carried by Eileen Watson of Eagan, said, "I walk silently to honor the memory of Ö Paul Wellstone, who courageously opposed war with Iraq despite political cost." While many of the marchers had planned to attend the protest weeks ahead of time, it was clear the rally was as much a memorial tribute to Wellstone as it was a demonstration against war. "It's a validation of what he did," said Jim Tincher of Minneapolis. "I think everyone here has come with two things in mind: to show respect for the man and to protest war," added Tincher, who marched with his wife, Susan, and children Danny, 7, and Rebecca, 5. Some marchers said they wished the upcoming election could be postponed to allow more time to grieve Wellstone's death. Most said they had not had time to think about a Democratic replacement. Those who did mentioned a potential candidate named Walter Mondale. Some Minnesotans who attended the rally said they doubt Iraq poses a threat as serious as that alleged by the Bush administration. "I don't think they have a weapon of mass destruction that they could launch that could be a threat to us," said Jean Coleman of Minneapolis, who marched with her husband, Brian Ross, and children, Sara Ross, 9, and Samuel Ross, 8. Memories of the Vietnam War era resonated in the crowds' chants ("Peace. Now!") and songs ("All we are saying is give peace a chance"), as well as in the minds of many participants. "I'm old enough to remember Vietnam, and what we learned then was that sometimes our own government lies to us," Conklin said. "I believe it is a terrible regime in Iraq and that he (Hussein) may indeed be as heinous as Hitler, but I also have to believe there are choices other than war," said Sara BernickLangworthy, an artist and mother of two from St. Paul who recently joined Women Against Military Madness, one of the march sponsors. "I think there are always diplomatic options." Like many of the rally participants, she spoke of the need for the United States to develop alternative energy sources to decrease its dependence on oil. Speakers at the event challenged the crowd to stop a war against Iraq, despite the congressional approval recently given to President Bush for pre-emptive action. Actor Josh Hartnett, who is from St. Paul, spoke briefly, making an unscheduled appearance at the rally. "I came here to support a man named Paul Wellstone," he said. "We can still support his policies. Just get out there and vote, and let's make a difference." "Although the war was preplanned and preapproved, we will stop it," promised Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a University of St. Thomas professor of justice and peace studies, who was keynote speaker for the event. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/oneworld/20021028/wl_oneworld /1032_1035799358 * THOUSANDS DESCEND ON CAPITAL TO CONDEMN IRAQ WAR by Katherine Stapp Yahoo, 28th October WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (IPS) - In the largest U.S. anti-war protest in recent memory, at least 75,000 demonstrators encircled the White House on Saturday to demand a diplomatic solution to escalating tensions with Iraq. Chanting "No blood for oil!" and "Iraqis are people too!" the peaceful crowd of Americans from all walks of life rallied near the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial and then marched through the stately Capitol District to Washington's seat of power. "We've got to liberate this country from militarism," Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general and leader of the ANSWER Coalition, one of the main organizer's, urged the rally. "This is not a democracy, it's a plutocracy. We know what's right, we just don't stand up." Other speakers invoked the name of Paul Wellstone, the Senate's most liberal voice and an implacable opponent of the Congressional resolution authorizing an invasion of Iraq, who died in a plane crash on Friday. "If we launch a pre-emptive strike on Iraq, we lose all moral authority," said Reverend Jesse Jackson, after requesting a moment of silence in memory of Wellstone. "How will we say no to India, to Pakistan, to China when they consider pre-emptive strikes?" Saturday dawned amid driving rain, but the skies quickly cleared and the mood turned decidedly upbeat. Homemade placards ranged from the earnest - "Support the U.N., not war" ¡ to the wry and whimsical - "God bless hysteria", "Regime change begins at home", and "Smoosh Bush". President George W. Bush was out of town Saturday at an economic summit in Mexico. Dozens of trade unions, grassroots groups and left-wing political parties dispatched busloads of supporters, but the majority of the crowd appeared to be individuals who felt compelled to speak out about what they believed was a wrong-headed policy. "I resent the fact that George W. Bush would even consider attacking another country," said Peter Hinds, a Vietnam veteran from Philadelphia. "Why? For what purpose? Let the (U.N. weapons) inspectors go in. We don't need any more lives being lost in a war with Iraq. If Saddam gets pushed hard enough, he's liable to do just about anything." Hinds' brother Michael spent two decades in the army and served in Vietnam during the bloody height of the conflict in the late 1960s. He said this was his first anti-war protest. "I'm just so angry," he said. "I had to come." In a reference to Bush's oft-repeated charge that Iraq has an arsenal of "weapons of mass destruction", many protesters called the sabre-rattling a "weapon of mass distraction". Chibo Shinagawa from Ithaca, New York quietly stood with a sign reading, "I'm 13 years old, and I don't want a war with Iraq." "It's critical for young people to get involved," she said. "What Bush is saying is wrong. Not everyone has been heard, and it's important that he hears us today." Others used the opportunity to decry what they say is the erosion of individual rights in the United States since the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11, 2001. "This is a very frightening moment in U.S. history," said Damon Moglen, an organizer with the American Civil Liberties Union. "In the midst of the war on civil rights and civil liberties, the government is covering up what we most need to fight for: equality, democracy, freedom and openness." But most people seemed focused on the civilian casualties that a possible war with Iraq would bring. "After 10 years of sanctions, the people are already suffering," said Arif Bustani, a member of a 100-person Muslim contingent from Raleigh, North Carolina. "War will just bring more suffering. Hopefully, today will have some effect on the decision making process." Skepticism about the motives of the Bush administration, which has numerous ties to the oil industry, also abounded. "This war is about oil," said Thomas Clayton, an aboriginal from Canada's Cree Nation. "And oil is the blood of the monster called globalization. We as Native Americans stand in solidarity with people in the Middle East." "We know what it's like to have people from outside come in and tell you how to live, what to eat, how to pray." Terry Klug, treasurer of the Transport Workers Union Local 241 in New York, said times had changed since the United States first sent troops to Iraq in 1991. Then, he did not feel comfortable telling other members of his union that he went to protests. "Now, more and more people are getting concerned about a war," he said. "You can be a lot more open about opposing U.S. policy. People understand that it's going to hurt them economically, they're going to pay with their jobs." Tens of thousands turned out for other anti-war rallies yesterday in San Francisco, Berlin, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, San Juan, and other cities. Organizers of the Washington DC protest put attendance at 150,000, but since the DC Parks Police no longer issue crowd estimates, this could not be verified. Some 600 police officers on horseback and motorcycles lined the route. No arrests were reported. ANSWER spokesperson Tony Murphy said another demonstration was planned for Jan. 18 in Washington. "Only the people have the power to stop the war," he said. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20021029/od_uk_nm/oukoe_ar ts_britain_drummond_1 * ARTIST CALLS FOR "SILENT PROTEST" ON IRAQ by John Joseph Yahoo, 28th October LONDON (Reuters) - Artist Bill Drummond wants the public to hold a day-long "Silent Protest" against any attack on Iraq -- and has produced a pack of playing cards to help people get through 24 hours without talking. Rather than comprising the usual four suits, each "Silent Protest" pack is made up of 52 individual cards, which have short statements or questions on them such as "Coffee", "Tea", "Please", "Thank you" and "Why?". The former KLF (Kopyright Liberation Front) musician, who once burnt 1 million pounds on the Scottish island of Jura, has produced the cards because he is concerned the world is "edging towards a huge mess". He estimates he needs to sell 3,000 of the six-pound packs to break even, but has so far manufactured only 1,000. Drummond will hold a presentation to explain the idea at a central London library on Tuesday and will later participate in another event with artist Tracey Sanders-Wood to mark the start of the protest on Tuesday evening. "I am of an age where every conflict since the Vietnam War has got to me," Drummond told Reuters in an interview. "This idea initially came as a response to the Afghanistan war, but it is has taken a long time for the cards to be produced. "Other than becoming a member of the CND in the 1980s I never did anything about what was happening in the world so I suppose this could be seen as the first time I have taken a political stance." After going to art school in Liverpool, Drummond played in the punk band Big in Japan, which featured Holly Johnson, who went on to success with Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Drummond's Zoo record label released singles with Echo and the Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes, whom he also managed. Together with Jimmy Cauty he then formed The Justified Ancients of Mu-Mu. The group recorded under several names, most notably the KLF, and had a number of hits, including "What Time is Love?", "3am Eternal" and "It's Grim Up North". As well as burning the money -- "my kids have never forgiven me," says Drummond -- the popstar duo also left a dead sheep outside a music awards ceremony. "I can understand why people would see that what I have done in the past as being a prank or scam. But all my work has had a incredible seriousness about it -- be that a three-minute pop record or producing these cards," the artist said. http://www.rnw.nl/hotspots/html/ira021029.html * WEAPONS OF MASS ILLUSION by our Internet desk and Andy Clarke Radio Netherlands, 29th October The United Nations Security Council is meeting again this week in an attempt to reach agreement on how to deal with Iraq and the threat of its alleged weapons of mass destruction. The all-important veto members of the Council are divided; the US and UK want a single resolution and tough action, while Russia, France, and China are pressing for a less bellicose approach. As these countries hammer out a deal, some commentators warn that the case for war has been seriously overstated. Hans von Sponeck, the former UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, says he visited two alleged sites of weapons production in Iraq in July. In this Radio Netherlands interview, he describes what he found there, beginning with the al-Dora Foot and Mouth Vaccine Production Unit on the outskirts of Baghdad: "You don't have to be a disarmament expert; what is destroyed cannot be a threat. Al-Dora is destroyed. You go there, you drive there, you see the grass growing there. Weeds are there. There's no sign of human activity. You go in there. It's dusty and destroyed, there's no electricity. When I went in there in July, it was completely disabled and destroyed, and I think in fact that only the shell is something one could possibly use. The rest needs to be totally rebuilt." RN: "You also visited another site called al-Fallujah. The UK government has expressed concern that there was a castor oil factory here, and that a by-product of that process is the dangerous biological agent ricin. What did you find when you went there?" "You go there, and it is a vast territory with many storage facilities. I saw all of these. In there you see pesticides and herbicides being produced in a very archaic manner. But that's not the point. The point is a separately identifiable castor oil unit, that is the point of concern. You go there and the first thing you see is pipes hanging down. It's rusting away. I don't think it has seen any activity for a long time. The impression, and more than an impression, is that that facility too hasn't been in production for a long time and certainly now when one tries to find arguments for justifying the possible pre-emptive strike against Iraq, because of its weapons of mass destruction, it certainly isn't a facility that can produce anything at this point." RN: "Why do you think there are these discrepancies then, between what you saw, and what the British and American assessment of these sites are?" "Well of course it could be poor intelligence. But I don't think so. When I see how the argument about Iraq goes as far as terrorism, as far as the Oil-for-Food programme I was responsible for, and the almost desperate attempt to show that there's an al-Qaeda Iraq connection, and there is absolutely no evidence for this. If you put it all together, then you cannot help but think this is all part of a systematic disinformation act in order to justify the policy and the decision that you want to go to war with this country." RN: "What do you make of the build-up of reports saying Saddam Hussein is a threat?" "I would say all three documents [the UK and US government dossiers on Iraq, and a report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies] particularly the IISS document, make one point very clear, and that is the international community must be concerned about Iraq's disarmament. But that's quite different from saying Iraq is so imminent a threat that we must not wait, that we must go and destroy. I think what the dossiers do is encourage the responsible international community to put pressure on the UN Security Council, let those inspectors go back to Iraq as soon as possible to end this drama of speculation and put facts to words." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/2377433.stm * IRAQ PROTESTERS HALT ASSEMBLY DEBATE BBC, 30th October The Welsh Assembly has seen its first protest from the public gallery after six people interrupted a debate with shouts of: "Don't Attack Iraq." The six jumped over barriers between the public and AMs and attempted to tie themselves to the Presiding Officer's desk. A woman protester was carried from the chamber, while a man in his fifties put up such a struggle that it took three assembly and police officers to remove him. First Minister Rhodri Morgan and other AMs did not seem to be particularly shaken and health minister Jane Hutt resumed her speech on the assembly's government's nutrition strategy. It appears the protesters - five men and a woman - avoided the attention of security staff by entering the building separately. Some of their colleagues continued the protest outside in the rain. What is perhaps harder to understand is why the protesters demonstrated on Wednesday - the day after AMs debated the possibility of war with Iraq. But one AM has said a measured response was called for. Alun Pugh, AM for Clwyd West said: "Security measures are in place to stop firearms and weapons into the assembly but today's incident must not be allowed to turn the assembly into a fortress. "The Welsh public must always be welcome in their assembly building and I would not support the sealing off of the public gallery from the chamber." The protesters were held in a small room next to the assembly's committee rooms after they were removed from the chamber. The demonstrators are believed to represent the South Wales Coalition against the War, which issued the following statement and promised further demonstrations in Cardiff city centre on Thursday. It said: "We are acting in sympathy with the innocent Iraqi people who will be murdered by US and UK weapons of mass destruction if we go to war with Iraq. "George Bush and Tony Blair are determined to attack Iraq. "It will not be a war for democracy - it will be a war to control the oil-rich and strategically vital Middle East. "The majority of people in Wales oppose war. "We urge our representatives in the Welsh Assembly to make an extraordinary public statement condemning the UK government's continued support for this illegal, immoral and politically catastrophic war." People entering the building have to pass through a metal-detection scanner. But Deputy Presiding Officer John Marek has announced a security review. "Obviously we will have a review of the situation to see what lessons can be learnt. "But this is a national Assembly and any member of the public has the right to access and lobby their AM. As soon as we say that, it means we cannot have 100% security." A spokesman for South Wales Police said: "Police officers and ushers removed them from the chamber and they were detained before being released without charge. "Nobody was injured and no damage was done - it was a peaceful protest." http://news.scotsman.com/edinburgh.cfm?id=1215392002 * 1,500 JOIN WAR PROTEST The Scotsman, 1st November ABOUT 1,500 people gathered in Scotland¹s capital yesterday to join a day of protest against a threatened war on Iraq. The demonstrators sang chants, lit torches and unfurled banners in Bristo Square, Edinburgh, before setting off towards the Scottish Parliament . George Rahma, 42, who was born in Baghdad and lived there until his early 20s, said people did not realise what a war would entail. He said: "We need to stop the consensus that there will be an allied attack and we must use the right that we have to protest this." Mr Rahma, who has lived in Scotland for 20 years and has become a British citizen, said the best way to remove Saddam Hussein is to concentrate on anti-regime propaganda inside Iraq. IRAQI OPPOSITION http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-458777,00.html * SHIA EXILE READY TO END IRAQ'S 'NIGHTMARE' by Stephen Farrell and Roger Matthews The Times, 26th October AYATOLLAH Sayed Mohammad Baqr al-Hakim has 50 good reasons to be rid of Saddam Hussein: many of them stare down from the wall upon which their martyrs' portraits are adorned with a red rose. Five of his brothers and seven nephews were among 28 family members murdered by the Iraqi despot. Another 22 relatives are missing, almost certainly dead. "It's not personal," shrugs the powerful Shia leader who, with extensive popular support and up to 12,000 fighters ready to roll across the border, is one of the few candidates to head Iraq in a post-Saddam era. "Saddam Hussein represents evil in its complete meaning and I see it as my political and legal responsibility to remove such a nightmare from Iraq." As head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Resistance in Iraq, the man who has spent 22 years in exile in Iran is the most prominent Shia figure in the patchwork coalition of Kurds, defectors and opposition groups that the United States wants to use to overthrow the Baath regime. His religious credentials for a leading role are impeccable: he is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and his late father, Grand Ayatollah Muhsin al-Haqim, was supreme leader of the Shia community until 1970. Yet he is also a most unlikely ally of the United Statets, becoming eloquently impassioned over the "bad memories" associated with American and British involvement with Iraq, not least Washington's abandonment of the Shias and Kurds when they rose up against Saddam in 1991 in the expectation of US military backing. Until several months ago he opposed a US attack on Iraq, reflecting the views of an Iranian regime that refers to him as a "guest". He has changed his stance. "We are going to use any chance because we think that the matter of changing this regime is the central issue for us. It is considered the most dangerous regime, not just for Iraq but for the region," he said. "We have had our contacts with the Americans from a few years ago, but we did not develop them because we felt they were not serious about changing the regime. Now they are more serious." He believes that Saddam's regime will collapse quickly ‹ and wants US forces to leave immediately. "They should stay not a month, not a week, not a day," he said. "We told the Americans in Washington that we would not agree to a military or even an imposed government." Promises to this effect had been made to a brother at a meeting of Iraqi opposition forces in Washington in August. The exact nature of these promises are unclear. One problem for the US is the fragmentation among opposition groups. However, the Ayatollah's London representative, Hamid al-Bayati, said this week that the groups had resolved "most of their outstanding problems" and would meet in Brussels next month. The cleric takes pains to assuage any fears that the end of Saddam's regime could see Iraq break up or a takeover by the 60 per cent Shia majority that has long been subjugated by Baghdad regimes. He is also quick to downplay fears of a Khomeini-style Shia Islamic revolution, something that would appal the West and Iraq's neighbours. Circumstances in Iran and Iraq were "wholly different", he said. "Of course the government will be elected by the people of Iraq," he says. Elections would be held after about a year, and the various religions would be respected. Aides say that there are 220,000 Shias ready to return with him. Sceptics say that 20 years of exile have diminished his influence within Iraq, and argue that there would be suspicions over his links with Iran. The Ayatollah repeats that he is a loyal "soldier" of his country. "We are not with any foreign power," he says, denying all knowledge of reports that exile forces are being trained by the US. "We are ready to train the Americans," he replies with laughter. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=345912 * SUBTLE PERFORMANCE FROM THE PRETENDER TO SADDAM'S THRONE by Leonard Doyle in Tehran The Independent, 26th October The delicate, grey-bearded figure of Iraq's exiled Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al Hakim gingerly picked his way across the carpet before sitting cross-legged on the floor and greeting some of the most senior mullahs of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As he nodded to those who hold the levers of power, the soft-spoken cleric whispered pleasantly to his neighbours, a smile of recognition flickering across his lips. Friday prayers in Tehran are where the flame of the Islamic revolution still burns brightest, though yesterday it was but a flicker compared to the heady days of Ayatollah Khomeini's prayer rallies. The vast carpeted hall was less than a third full, the audience stuffed with army and air force conscripts and officers ordered to attend as well as rows of senior government officials who owe their positions to their links with the ruling clergy. Twenty years ago when the revolution still had fire in its belly, all the surrounding streets of the campus of the University of Tehran would have been packed with tens of thousands of people chanting "Death to America". While Mr Hakim, a key ally for the West in the campaign to topple Saddam Hussein, took time out from running the main armed Iraqi Shia Muslim opposition group, the prayer leaders warmed to some well-worn themes of their middle-aged revolution. "America only wants genocide in the region" said one of Tehran's most powerful hard-line clerics, Ayatollah Mohammed Yazdi. Mr Yazdi is a member of the Iranian regime's Council of Guardians, or as George Bush would say,on the main board of the "axis of evil" of terrorism. Mr Yazdi's function on the council is to veto laws passed by the country's democratically elected parliament that ruling clerics deem unsuitable. He delivered a public broadside against the reform-minded parliament yesterday to chants of: "Those who have Western values should be executed" and "death to the atheists". By the time Mr Hakim had taken his seat, Mr Yazdi was getting into his stride, sketching out the prospect of a war which would leave Iran encircled by the "Great Satan" Afghanistan on one side and Iraq on the other. "America is looking for oil and gas and is trying its best to break the spinal cord of Islam" said Mr Yazdi, triggering chants from the audience of "down with America, down with America". Mr Hakim, in the front row, listened politely to the chants. Iran's military whose officers dutifully chanted on cue wants nothing more than to see Iraq's armed forces pulverised under the might of America's military machine. And Iran's ruling clergy want to see the back of President Saddam, whose secular regime, brutal army and chemical weapons brought death to so many followers of the Islamic revolution. But what Iran's ruling clergy fear is the emergence in Iraq of a resurgent, secular, oil-rich client state of America on their doorstep. That's where Mr Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, (SCIRI) comes in. With up to 15,000 men under arms near the border, a militia among the Shiite Iraqi tribes and a guerrilla army of "tens of thousands" operating underground in Iraq, Mr Hakim may be Iran's strongest card in the conflict. Long committed to an Iranian-style revolution in Iraq, Mr Hakim has performed a U-turn in recent months and now espouses an elected government, the precise form of which would be left to the Iraqi people to decide. With more than 60 per cent of Iraqis belonging to the Shia faith, Mr Hakim and his Iranian sponsors are confident that they will be major players in that government. On Thursday, surrounded by Iraqi armed guards, Mr Hakim spoke of his confidence that President Saddam will soon be gone. "We think the regime will collapse quickly," he said. After an interim period of a year, a government would be formed bringing together all strands of Iraqi society, Sunni and Shia as well as Christian. Mr Hakim favours US plans to attack President Saddam, despite opposing them a few months ago. "We are going to use any chance we have to get rid of the regime. Saddam Hussein represents evil in its complete meaning and it is my responsibility to remove the nightmare," he said. He stops short of the prospect of the US military staying behind to run Iraq. He said Washington told him it had no such plans. The US, training 9,000 Iraqi battlefield advisers to act as scouts, guides and interpreters for its forces, has been in close contact with Mr Hakim's London envoys. So far no training or other operations have taken place and Mr Hakim is not expecting to be armed by the US. With the Iranian regime solidly behind him and the mullahs relishing the chance of thwarting the "Great Satan", Mr Hakim can look forward to marching back to into Iraq with the phrase "death to America" ringing in his ears. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk