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[casi] News, 29/11-6/12/02 (2)



News, 29/11-6/12/02 (2)

HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAQ

*  An Iraqi doctor's tale
*  Ten years on, and the human shield victims still seek justice
*  Iraq dossier: Key claims at-a-glance
*  Dossier reveals Iraq's torture regime
*  Report lacks first-hand information
*  Saddam's useful idiots pollute the British Left
*  Human rights groups scorn dossier on Saddam brutality
*  Media and political salvo hits activists
*  Blair hits back in Iraq torture row
*  Rights group demands IOC action over alleged torture of Iraqi athletes

REMNANTS OF DECENCY

*  Iranian Film Director Calls For Peaceful Change of Regime in Iraq
*  Religious leaders [in Chicago] urge Bush against Iraq war
*  Thousands across Australia rally for peace
*  Turks Protest Possible War in Iraq
*  American Mothers Oppose U.S. War On Iraq
*  Sierra Club Opposes Utah Branch on Iraq
*  CND wins cap on costs in case against Iraq war
*  War - what is it good for?


HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAQ

http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?
/base/news-2/1038741072164640.xml

*  AN IRAQI DOCTOR'S TALE
by Tom Gantert
Anne Arbor News, 1st December

Maha Hussain tells the story while sitting in a Starbucks cafe in Ann Arbor.

A mother in Iraq hears a knock on the door. She opens it to the country's
secret police, who give her a bill for the bullet they used to kill her son.
The reason: harboring a Kurd. The police demand payment from the mother, who
is also told she may not cry or mourn her son's death or have a funeral.

Then, more bad news. Her daughter is in the hospital. She is dead, too, her
throat slashed and her breasts chopped off. The family hopes her throat was
cut first.

Hussain is not repeating a story she read in Time magazine or off a Web
site.

"This," said the woman who left Iraq in 1980 and now lives in Ann Arbor, "is
my family story."

The mother was Hussain's aunt; the dead brother and sister, her cousins.

As the United States prepares for a possible war with Iraq, Hussain believes
force is the only thing that will topple Saddam Hussein, the man she once
met when she was a teen ager. Thirty years later, she says the memory still
gives her shivers.

Hussain, 46, is a doctor with the University of Michigan Health System. She
attended medical school in Iraq.

She said would like to see Iraq begin a path toward democracy. She says
force is the only way to end the 30 years of terror under which her people
have lived.

She says Americans can never truly understand what it is like to live under
those conditions.

"No Western mind can imagine it," she said.

Hussain said Iraqis live in fear of who may turn them in for criticizing a
tyrant's regime. She said school teachers urge their students to turn in
their parents for speaking against Saddam. She said she knew a well-known
physician who made a joke in London about the regime; when he returned to
Iraq, his tortured, dead body turned up.

Those informers, sometimes turning on their own family, are well rewarded.

"A man whose son dies in one of Saddam's wars will get a new car," she said.
"The reward can be massive. The punishment can be massive. After 30 years,
the people are trained to be fearful and obedient."

For Hussain, the training began early. When she was 13 her school bus was
driven through downtown Baghdad, where 10 people, accused of spying for
Israel, were hanging from poles in the center of town. Her bus passed within
20 feet of the bodies.

It is her most vivid memory of the brutality.

"How could you forget it?" she said.

She acknowledges that not everyone from her country feels force is the only
solution.

Mohammed Alomari, 38, who graduated from the U-M in 1987, left Iraq in 1970.
He is now a spokesman for Focus on American and Arab Interests and
Relations. The organization, based in Southfield, says its mission is to
promote fair policies and a better understanding of issues pertaining to the
Arab World. The latest press release on FAAIR's Web site says the United
States has no legal justification for launching a war against Iraq and
details suffering caused by the United Nations trade embargo on Iraq.

Alomari said an invasion would devastate the Iraqi people.

"The hospitals, the schools, the civilian infrastructure will be destroyed,"
he said. "People die of diarrhea in Iraq because their drinking water is
contaminated. If the goal is to change the government, it can be done the
same way Saddam came to power. In a coup. It can happen. I can't tell you
how and when. It will happen if the people want it."

Hussain argued that 99 percent of Iraq's 23 million people detest Saddam and
that the only Iraqis who support him do so because they are afraid or are
very well paid.

"These people are not willing to die for him," she said.

Hussain has distant relatives in Iraq and realizes they could be punished
for her words if they ever got back to her homeland.

"A lot of us who are not speaking out are not for fear of family in Iraq,"
she said. "Some of us have made the conscious decision that enough is enough
and the truth as we know it should come out."

Tom Gantert can be reached at tgantert@annarbornews.com or (734) 994-6701.


http://observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,851485,00.html

*  TEN YEARS ON, AND THE HUMAN SHIELD VICTIMS STILL SEEK JUSTICE
by Gaby Hinsliff
The Observer, 1st December

The videotape made harrowing viewing. More than a decade after it was shot,
Patrick Herbert sat down yesterday and watched film of the moment that would
come to dominate his life.

The short tape recorded his audience with Saddam Hussein: a gaunt and
bewildered Patrick, who had spent three months held captive at gunpoint
along with thousands of foreign nationals being used as a human shield
during the Gulf war, was shown being solemnly lectured on why he was a
'guest' of the Iraqi dictator.

The British banker had been summoned to the presidential palace in Baghdad
for the bizarre televised meeting as a propaganda stunt - prompted by the
arrival of his wife Gwenette and nine other British women in Baghdad to
plead for their husbands' release over the heads of the then Prime Minister,
Margaret Thatcher.

'It is very, very easy to see how people come under his spell,' Herbert, who
now works for the NHS, said yesterday. 'That meeting was extraordinary.
Although we were sitting all around a fairly large room, and he was sitting
at the head of it, you felt drawn to him. 'He has a magnetism, a charisma
which in normal circumstances you would say was almost great, but was
probably an evil charisma.'

At the end of the lecture, Saddam suddenly announced that as a reward for
the wives' 'bravery in the face of the tyranny of Mrs Thatcher', their men
could go. Clutching an official photograph album of colour snaps of himself,
his wife and their six-year-old daughter with a beaming Saddam, Herbert was
freed, his terrifying ordeal over.

Copies of the video and those photographs have now been turned over to
lawyers attempting to prepare a landmark legal case against the Iraqi
dictator. Britain's Attorney General is due to announce shortly whether he
will allow a groundbreaking attempt by Indict, the pressure group chaired by
Labour MP Ann Clwyd, to charge Saddam in the British courts with war crimes
over his taking of British hostages during the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

A legal opinion prepared by Clare Montgomerie QC, a leading human rights
barrister from Cherie Blair's Matrix chambers, concludes the case against
Saddam is 'overwhelming': the Prime Minister has requested a copy.

For Herbert, 57, and many other ex-hostages whose traumas have been revived
by the prospect of another war with Iraq, it is the best hope of justice. He
would rather see Saddam in court than toppled in a war risking civilian
lives.

'I don't have feelings of vengeance. I just believe that it is part of the
process of justice that he should be held to account,' says Herbert.

Like many other Britons working in Kuwait, he believed the British Embassy's
reassurance that increasing Iraqi aggression was only 'sabre rattling' and
stayed on through the long hot days of July 1990. When the shells began
landing on Kuwait City on 2 August marking the Iraqi invasion, he initially
mistook them for the noise of building work.

Herbert and a colleague went into hiding when the Iraqis ordered all Western
citizens to come forward. But a month after the invasion came the knock at
the door. 'I looked through the spyhole and saw 10 Kalashnikovs pointing at
the doorway,' he recalls.

He was taken first on a gruelling 14-hour journey to Baghdad, then flown
back to the airport at Basra to act as a human shield, living 200 yards from
a fuel dump which would have exploded and killed his 10-strong group of
hostages had it been bombed.

First came the terror: that subsided eventually into a constant, dull
shredding of the nerves. 'You suffer from immense boredom, you are
constantly on edge because everybody has a gun except you,' he says. 'I have
heard hostages say they were never in any doubt that they would get away.
That's just sheer bravado.'

The guards were sometimes kind, sometimes brutal. The Basra hostages were
once treated to a bizarre party to celebrate the reunification of Germany,
complete with barbecue and cake iced in the colours of the German flag.

Yet a fellow hostage later told Herbert he had been driven into the desert,
blindfolded, surrounded by soldiers priming their rifles and convinced he
was to be shot dead. Both men and women have reported being raped by their
captors: beatings by guards were not uncommon.

Nor did release mark the end of their troubles. Reports of depression,
unexplained flashes of aggression, wrecked careers, and broken marriages are
not uncommon: there have been two suicides. The parents of Colin Blears, the
little boy whose fear as Saddam ruffled his hair in yet another televised
propaganda exercise became one of the lasting images of the war, have said
he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder - as did Patrick Herbert.

Maureen Chappell, who was captured with her engineer husband John and their
two teenage children when their flight to Madras stopped over in Kuwait on
the day of the invasion, says the drama deeply affected her children, who
saw a Kuwaiti shot dead at the airport.

Her son John, now aged 26, is still finishing his degree after repeatedly
dropping out of his studies: her daughter Jennifer, 12 at the time, has been
divorced and is currently out of work. 'It has been difficult for them to
settle,' says Chappell.

She too would rather see Saddam indicted than the West rush into war too
hastily: 'I think all the shouting from America is not particularly
productive.'

Clwyd has secured the support of more than 80 MPs - including Conservative
backbencher Andrew Selous, whose brother was a hostage - for the campaign to
indict Saddam and three other senior figures: his Deputy Prime Minister
Tariq Aziz; his cousin and governor of occupied Kuwait, Ali Hassan Al-Majid,
better known as 'Chemical Ali' for orchestrating the gassing of the Kurds;
and Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan.

Clwyd is undaunted by arguments that there is no real prospect of them
standing trial, saying that former Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic was
indicted despite widespread scepticism, and faces an international tribunal.
In the US, Pentagon lawyers are compiling evidence for war crimes charges
against the Iraqi regime.

'Our QC says, short of getting Saddam to sign a confession in blood, there
is nothing more the law could possibly require. When people are looking at
alternatives to war in bringing about regime change then this is a very
strong proposition,' she said.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2533897.stm

*  IRAQ DOSSIER: KEY CLAIMS AT-A-GLANCE
BBC, 2nd December

Here are some of the key extracts from the UK government's dossier of
alleged human rights abuses in Iraq.

The dossier's introduction:

Iraq is a terrifying place to live. People are in constant fear of being
denounced as opponents of the regime.

They are encouraged to report on the activities of family and neighbours.
The security services can strike at any time. Arbitrary arrests and killings
are commonplace.

Between three and four million Iraqis, about 15% of the population, have
fled their homeland rather than live under Saddam Hussein's regime.

These grave violations of human rights are not the work of a number of
overzealous individuals but the deliberate policy of the regime.

Fear is Saddam's chosen method for staying in power. This report, based on
the testimony of Iraqi exiles, evidence gathered by UN rapporteurs and human
rights organisations, and intelligence material, describes the human cost of
Saddam Hussein's control of Iraq.

It examines in turn Iraq's record on torture, the treatment of women, prison
conditions, arbitrary and summary killings, the persecution of the Kurds and
the Shia, the harassment of opposition figures outside Iraq and the
occupation of Kuwait.

The United Nations Security Council and the UN Commission on Human Rights
have repeatedly, over many years, condemned Iraq's human rights record. But
Iraq continues to flout UN resolutions and to ignore its international human
rights commitments.

On 19 April 2002, the UN Commission on Human Rights passed a resolution
drawing attention to "the systematic, widespread and extremely grave
violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law by the
Government of Iraq, resulting in an all-pervasive repression and oppression
sustained by broad-based discrimination and widespread terror."

On torture:

Torture is systematic in Iraq. The most senior figures in the regime are
personally involved.

Saddam Hussein runs Iraq with close members of his own family and a few
associates, most of whom come from his hometown of Tikrit.

These are the only people he feels he can trust. He directly controls the
security services and, through them and a huge party network, his influence
reaches deep into Iraqi society.

All real authority rests with Saddam and his immediate circle. Saddam is
head of state, head of government, leader of Iraq's only political party and
head of the armed forces.

Saddam presides over the all-powerful Revolutionary Command Council, which
enacts laws and decrees and overrides all other state institutions.

Several RCC decrees give the security agencies full powers to suppress
dissent with impunity.

An RCC decree of 21 December 1992 guarantees immunity for Ba'ath party
members who cause damage to property, bodily harm and even death when
pursuing enemies of the regime.

Saddam has, through the RCC, issued a series of decrees establishing severe
penalties (amputation, branding, cutting off of ears, or other forms of
mutilation) for criminal offences.

In mid-2000, the RCC approved amputation of the tongue as a new penalty for
slander or abusive remarks about the President or his family.

These punishments are practised mainly on political dissenters. Iraqi TV has
broadcast pictures of these punishments as a warning to others.

According to an Amnesty International report published in August 2001,
"torture is used systematically against political detainees. The scale and
severity of torture in Iraq can only result from the acceptance of its use
at the highest level."

Over the years, Amnesty and other human rights organisations have received
thousands of reports of torture and interviewed numerous torture victims.

Although Iraqi law forbids the practice of torture, the British Government
is not aware of a single case of an Iraqi official suspected of carrying out
torture being brought to justice.

Treatment of women and children:

Under Saddam Husein's regime women lack even the basic right to life. A 1990
decree allows male relatives to kill a female relative in the name of honour
without punishment.

Women have been tortured, ill-treated and in some cases summarily executed
too, according to Amnesty International.

The dossier says that BBC correspondent John Sweeney said he had met six
witnesses with direct experience of child torture, including the crushing of
a two-year-old girl's feet.

Prison conditions:

Conditions for political prisoners in Iraq are inhumane and degrading.

At the "Mahjar" prison "prisoners are beaten twice a day and the women
regularly raped by their guards.

Arbitrary and summary killings:

Executions are carried out without due process of law. relatives are often
prevented from burying the victims in accordance with Islamic practice and
have even been charged for the bullets used.

Persecution of the Kurds:

Under Saddam's rule Iraq's Kurdish communities have experienced terrible
suffering.

Documents captured by the Kurds during the Gulf War and handed over to the
non governmental oprganisation Human Rights Watch provided much information
about Saddam's persecution of the Kurds. They detail the arrest and
execution in 1983 of 8,000 Kurdish males aged 13 and upwards.

Persecution of the Shia community:

The Shia community, who make up 60% of Iraq's population is Iraq's biggest
religious group.

Saddam has ensured that none of the Shia religious or tribal leaders is able
to threaten his position. He kills any that become too prominent.

Harassment of the Opposition outside Iraq:

The UN Special Rapporteur has received numerous reports of harassment,
intimidation and threats against the families of opposition members living
abroad.

Occupation of Kuwait:

Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990. Iraqi forces committed robbery, raped
Kuwaities and expatriates and carried out summary executions. Amnesty
International documented many other abuses during the occupation of Kuwait.

Methods of torture:

 Eye gouging
 Piercing of hands with electric drill
 Suspended from ceiling by their wrists
 Electric shock
 Sexual abuse
 Mock executions
 Acid baths

Conclusion:

This dossier does not include every Iraqi's personal story of suffering,
caused by Saddam's regime, known to the British Government.

There are sadly far too many to mention them all. But the evidence in the
dossier is a faithful representation of what ordinary Iraqis face in their
daily lives.

It is no wonder that, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees in 2001, Iraqis have become the second largest group of refugees in
the world.

Iraqis also top the table of foreign nationals seeking asylum in the UK.

Saddam Hussein has been ruthless in his treatment of any opposition to him
since his rise to power in 1979.

A cruel and callous disregard for human life and suffering remains the
hallmark of his regime.


http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1344302002

*  DOSSIER REVEALS IRAQ'S TORTURE REGIME
by Gethin Chamberlain
The Scotsman, 3rd December

SADDAM Hussein and his sons, Uday and Qusay, are personally responsible for
operating a regime of systematic torture and murder designed to crush any
hint of dissent among the Iraqi people.

The dossier, released by the Foreign Office yesterday, claims killings are
commonplace and arrests arbitrary; there are reports of eyes being gouged
out, tongues cut off, hands pierced with electric drills, prisoners hung
from ceilings and locked in mortuary-style drawers, sexual abuse including
rape, electric shocks applied to the genitals, prisoners thrown into acid
baths, mock executions and cigarettes extinguished on the body.

Publication of the report was seen as an attempt by the government to
justify its increasingly belligerent stance towards Iraq, but human rights
groups expressed scepticism about the timing and the motives behind its
release.

Irene Khan, the secretary general of Amnesty International, said: "This
selective attention to human rights is nothing but a cold and calculated
manipulation of the work of human rights activists.

"Let us not forget that the same governments turned a blind eye to Amnesty
International's reports of widespread human rights violations in Iraq before
the Gulf War."

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said the dossier - based on intelligence
material, first-hand accounts of victims and reports by non-governmental
organisations - justified the government's position on Iraq.

"By disarming Iraq, we not only help those countries in the region which are
subject to Iraqi threats and intimidation, we also deprive Saddam of his
most powerful tools for keeping the Iraqi people living in fear and
subjugation," he said.

Among the abuses detailed in the report are the systematic rape of women
while in custody, the summary beheading with swords of dozens of women
accused of prostitution and the killing of 5,000 people in Halabja in a
chemical weapons attack ordered by Ali Hasan al Majid - known as Chemical
Ali - Saddam's commander in the northern region of Iraq.

The dossier describes how, at the Mahjar prison in central Baghdad where
600-700 prisoners are split between underground cells and former dog
kennels, two large oil tanks have been built nearby to flood the prison with
petrol and burn it down in an emergency.

At the Directorate of General Security building in Baghdad, prisoners in the
Sijn al-Tarbut - known as the Casket Prison - are kept in rows of
rectangular steel boxes until they confess or die. The boxes are opened once
a day for half an hour and prisoners get no solid foods, the report said.
Some prisoners survive for up to a year.

In the separate Can Prison, detainees are locked in metal boxes the size of
tea chests. Each box is said to have a tap for water and a meshed floor to
allow them to defecate.

At the launch of the dossier, Hussain Al-Shahristani, a former chief
scientist with the Iraqi atomic energy organisation, described how he was
incarcerated for over a decade for refusing to comply with Saddam's orders.
The scientist, who is now the chairman of the Iraqi Refugee Aid Council,
said: "I was arrested, tortured and kept in solitary confinement for over 11
years for refusing to work on the military nuclear programme.

"However, I was more fortunate than many of my fellow political prisoners .
I did not have holes drilled into my bones. I did not have my limbs cut off
by an electric saw. I did not have my eyes gouged out.

"My three children were brought into the torture chamber, but they were not
tortured to death in front of me to force me to make confessions to things I
had not done.

"Women of my family were not brought in and raped in front of me, as
happened to many of my colleagues.

"They only tortured me for 22 days and nights continuously by hanging me
from my hands tied at the back and using a high-voltage probe on the
sensitive parts of my body, and beating me mercilessly."

The 23-page dossier - Saddam Hussein: crimes and human rights abuses -
claimed there was no doubt about who is responsible for the catalogue of
human rights abuses. It said: "Torture is systematic in Iraq. The most
senior figures in the regime are personally involved. Saddam Hussein runs
Iraq with close members of his own family and a few associates, most of whom
come from his home town of Tikrit. These are the only people he feels he can
trust."

Saddam's elder son, Uday, was said to have been frequently accused of serial
rape and murder of young women. "He maintained a private torture chamber,
known as 'al-Ghurfa al Hamra' [the Red Room], disguised as an electricity
installation, in a building on the banks of the Tigris," it said.

On Qusay, the younger son, the document said: "As head of the Iraqi internal
security agencies, he has permitted and encouraged the endemic use of
torture, including rape and the threat of rape, in Iraq."


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-500921,00.html

*  REPORT LACKS FIRST-HAND INFORMATION
by Richard Beeston
The Times, 3rd December

THE Foreign Office's report into human rights abuses in Iraq fails to
advance substantially what is already known about the tactics employed by
the regime in Baghdad to stay in power.

Saddam Hussein: crimes and human rights abuses was meant to strengthen the
case against the Iraqi regime, which was accused of concealing weapons of
mass destruction in another dossier released by the Government in September.

It is clear from reading the latest report, however, that receiving accurate
and timely information from inside Iraq is a serious problem for the Foreign
Office, which closed its Embassy in Baghdad in 1990, before the Gulf War.

Eyewitness accounts of abuses are drawn mainly from second-hand sources,
published remarks by journalists and human rights activists, who have
interviewed the victims in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq or after they
have fled the country. Many of those concerned are connected with the
opposition, or have recounted their stories to groups linked to it.

In the past the British Government has questioned the credibility of the
opposition. Its claims are impossible to verify, because Iraq denies that
abuses take place and refuses access to prisons and secret police offices.

A greater effort could have been made to interview victims at first hand and
to check out their stories. For example, Paul Wolfowitz, the US Deputy
Defence Secretary, recounted yesterday how Scott Ritter, a former American
United Nations weapons inspector, had visited a prison for children of
enemies of the regime, where the oldest inmate was 12 and the youngest a
toddler. This chilling first-hand account, by a man known to be sympathetic
to Baghdad, could have a made a valuable contribution to the other
testimonies.

Documentary evidence is also problematic. All the documents published in the
report are more than a decade old and many appear to be the same
well-circulated government papers that were captured in the aftermath of the
Gulf War. The videos present shocking footage of prisoners being beaten and
executed. But it is not clear when and where the footage was taken, nor the
identity of the Iraqis involved.

The report also ignores the changes taking place in Iraq today. In October
this year the Iraqi authorities released 10,000 prisoners, most of them
criminals, in a general amnesty. Saddam has also invited some opposition
figures back into the country to discuss allowing groups other than the
Baath Party to run Iraq.

In making its public allegations against Iraq, the British Government should
keep in mind its experiences in the Balkans. Slobodan Milosevic, the former
Serb leader, was compared to Pol Pot and Hitler and accused of mass murder
and genocide. But as he stands trial now in The Hague facing those charges,
the case against him is proving hard to make.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,482-500997

*  SADDAM'S USEFUL IDIOTS POLLUTE THE BRITISH LEFT
by Michael Gove
The Times, 3rd December

You can vaccinate key military personnel against smallpox. But you can't
inoculate the British Left against its own strain of wilful stupidity.

The Government yesterday chose to highlight the grotesque campaign of
torture and brutalisation which President Saddam Hussein has been inflicting
on his own people. Drawing on the work of the United Nations and human
rights organisations, the Foreign Office briefly sketched the scale of
Saddam's depravity. His regime beats detainees on the soles of their feet
with metal cables until they lose consciousness, suspends individuals from
the ceilings of cells while their ligaments tear, bores holes in the hands
of prisoners and then pours acid into the wound, gouges the eyes out of its
citizens and licenses official rapists. Saddam'S ruling clique inflicts
these punishments as a matter of deliberate policy, ruling by terror,
presiding over what the distinguished Iraqi dissident Kinin Midday calls a
"republic of fear".

None is immune from Sadden's calculating use of torture as a means of social
control. It is not just the method he uses to cow his citizens, it is also
the mechanism by which he imposes collective responsibility on his Cabinet.
Two of the brothers of Iraq's Foreign Minister, Naja Sabre, have been held
by Saddam's torturers and one, Muhammad, died at their hands. Last year the
son of Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, was sentenced to 22 years
in prison, then released, then rearrested, then released again. The habitual
use of arbitrary power, and random violence, characterises Saddam's method
of government. The men whom he chooses to act as his mouthpieces are broken
creatures whose lives, and families, exist at Saddam's pleasure.

When Mr Sabri and Mr Aziz do the Iraqi dictator's bidding we know they speak
with his gun at their back. But what is Irene Khan's excuse?

Ms Khan is the Secretary-General of Amnesty International and, as of
yesterday, number one pin-up girl in Baghdad's presidential palaces. For her
reaction to the publication of the British Government's dossier on Saddam's
human rights abuses was not satisfaction that one of the world's most evil
men was facing the scrutiny he deserved, but anger that something might be
done about him.

"This selective attention to human rights," Ms Khan pronounced, "is nothing
but a cold and calculated manipulation of the work of human rights
activists." Why is Ms Khan's reaction to this dossier condemnation for the
British Government rather than the Iraqi? You would have thought that if
Amnesty International were objecting to anyone's cold and calculated
manipulation, it would be the Iraqi regime's wrenching of innocent
civilians' arms out of their sockets.

Having taken part in a Channel 4 debate with Ms Khan, in which she appeared
for those arguing against the War on Terror, I know where she is coming from
 that unhappy section of the British Left whose antipathy to Western policy
makes them Saddam's useful idiots. Like the Labour MP George Galloway, the
Labour NEC member Mark Seddon, the FBU leader Andy Gilchrist, the Mayor of
London Ken Livingstone or any of those currently arguing against action to
topple Saddam, Ms Khan stands in the way of liberating a tortured nation.
Why is it that so many of those whose political creed should be driven by a
desire to emancipate those who are suffering choose to object to a course of
action which would deliver millions from misery?

There are certainly objections which anyone with a properly progressive
conscience could make towards Western policy in Iraq. But they are not those
of Ms Khan or her cohorts. The most telling criticism which any genuine
human rights activist could make of the West's current stance is its
decision to go down "the UN route" and return weapons inspectors to Iraq.

As matters stand, the British and American Governments have chosen to put a
discredited means above a valuable end. Seeking the approval of the United
Nations for any action to deal with Iraq is the equivalent of asking a Mafia
conclave for permission to tackle the Corleone family. Many of those who
speak at the UN are representative of no one save the kleptocratic or
autocratic cliques who hold power by force in their respective states.
Deferring to their judgment does not lend sanctity to a course of action, it
may even tarnish it. Those on the Left who argue that action against Iraq is
justified only with United Nations backing are subcontracting their moral
judgment to the butchers of Tiananmen Square, the Baathist dictatorship of
Syria and Africa's choicest murderers.

The same moral failure, the abdication of judgment, is apparent in the
reliance many place on the UN's weapons inspectors. As individuals, many of
these men and women are no doubt worthy souls. But as a method for dealing
with the evil which is Saddam's Iraq they are sadly inadequate. The chief
weapons inspector, Hans Blix, has a truly shaming record of failure. Right
up until the Gulf War of 1990-91 Mr Blix claimed that Iraq's compliance with
weapons inspections was exemplary, and only after Iraq's defeat in that war
was the full and terrifying extent of Saddam's progress towards nuclear
bomb-making revealed.

The sorry record of past weapons inspections which have run into the sand
and past UN resolutions which have left a tyrant at leisure to torture
underlines the inescapable truth of dealing with Saddam. The only way to get
rid of the arsenal with which he hopes to terrorise us is to get rid of the
man who so enjoys terrorising his own people.

The only thing left puzzling me is why those who claim to believe in human
rights are not willing to see something worthwhile done to uphold them.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-500919,00.html

*  HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS SCORN DOSSIER ON SADDAM BRUTALITY
by Richard Beeston
The Times, 3rd December

THE publication of a British dossier on abuses in Iraq appeared to backfire
yesterday when human rights groups cited in the document accused the
Government of cynically trying to justify war against Saddam Hussein.

The 23-page report, Saddam Hussein: crimes and human rights abuses, was
billed by the Foreign Office as the most comprehensive investigation ever
undertaken by a government into Iraqi atrocities.

The document set out how the Iraqi authorities used mass arrest, torture and
killings to suppress the Iraqi people, in particular the Kurds of the north
and the Shia Muslims in the south. While providing little new information,
it named individuals responsible for torture and killings and cited the
testimony of victims. An accompanying video film showed suspects being
beaten and prisoners executed by firing squad.

The Government claimed that at the Sijn al-Tarbut or "Casket Prison", under
the secret police headquarters, more than 100 prisoners are kept in steel
boxes, which are opened once a day for half an hour, until they confess or
die. Torturers are accused of using a variety of methods on political
prisoners, including eye-gouging, acid baths and piercing hands with an
electric drill.

"The dossier makes for harrowing reading, with accounts of torture, rape and
other horrific human rights abuses," Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said
at a speech to the Atlantic Alliance. "The aim is to remind the world that
the abuses of the Iraqi regime extend far beyond its pursuit of weapons of
mass destruction in violation of its international obligations."

Amnesty International, which was cited repeatedly as a source for the
report, charged the Government with using the allegations as propaganda to
justify a future war to overthrow Saddam. "This . . . is nothing but a cold
and calculated manipulation of the work of human rights activists," Irene
Khan, Amnesty's secretary-general, said. "Let us not forget that these same
governments turned a blind eye to reports of widespread violations in Iraq
before the Gulf War."

She was referring, in particular, to the use of chemical weapons on Kurdish
civilians in the late-1980s, notably at Halabja, where 5,000 were killed by
poison gas. At the time Britain played down the incident and continued
high-level contacts with Iraq.

Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for Linlithgow and a critic of the Government's
policy on Iraq, described the document as "cranking up for war".

British policy also came under attack from Hussain al-Shahristani, a former
Iraqi political prisoner, who was presented by the Foreign Office to recount
his ordeal. He said that abuses "should have been noticed and acted upon a
long time ago", while conceding "later is better than never".

The Foreign Office description of living conditions in Iraq also threatened
to trigger a row with the Home Office. Only 150 Iraqis were granted refugee
status in Britain in the third quarter of this year out of 3,065 cases.
Future asylum-seekers may quote the report to back their claims.

Ann Clwyd, a Labour MP who chairs Indict, a group also quoted in the report,
said that the Government should follow up the publication by committing
itself to apprehending and putting on trial Iraqis suspected of war crimes.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianpolitics/story/0,3605,852644,00.html

*  MEDIA AND POLITICAL SALVO HITS ACTIVISTS
by Nicholas Watt
The Guardian, 3rd December

The fingerprints of Alastair Campbell, the prime minister's director of
communications, were all over yesterday's government report on human rights
abuses in Iraq.

Shorn of the government's normally cautious language, the report set out in
blunt language how the Iraqi regime has maintained its powerbase by showing
a "callous disregard for human life".

With an eye on the Sun, Mr Campbell ensured each section of the report was
short and punchy, with paragraphs in bold to underline the gravest charges.

But the report was undermined when human rights organisations, whose own
findings were quoted liberally, took issue. Amnesty International accused
the government of double standards because Britain "turned a blind eye" to
Iraqi human rights abuses in the 1980s.

Amnesty said all the facts attributed to it were accurate, apart from a
claim on page 14 that it had drawn attention to reports of hundreds of
deaths in the northern Kurdish town of Sulaimanmiya. Neil Durkin, of
Amnesty, said the group was checking this claim.

But Mr Durkin said the government's efforts did not amount to a traditional
human rights report, fuelling suspicions that it has been released for
purely political purposes.

Another group, Human Rights Watch, said three references to its work in the
report were largely accurate. But the group took exception to the
government's use of its extensive work on the atrocities against Kurds in
the late 1980s.

Investigators from Human Rights Watch interviewed 350 witnesses in northern
Iraq in 1992 to gather evidence of the 1988 "genocidal campaign", known as
operation Anfal. Mass graves were unearthed by the group which was praised
in the report for providing "much information about Saddam's persecution of
the Kurds".

But the group said that Britain had pointedly refused to back a Human Rights
Watch campaign to indict the Iraqi regime at the international court of
justice in the Hague. Richard Dicker, head of its international justice
programme, said the Foreign Office was "singularly non-receptive" when he
lobbied it in 1994.

"It is unfortunate," he said. "I can't blame this government... But there is
an important lesson ... to have stigmatised the revolutionary command
council in 1994 as a genocidal regime would have isolated it."

Human Rights Watch also took issue with a key allegation in the report,
which was used to show that women "lack even the basic right to life". In a
section on the treatment of women, the report said: "A 1990 decree allows
male relatives to kill a female relative in the name of honour without any
punishment."

But Hania Mufti, the group's London director, said the decree was repealed
months after it was imposed. "The decree was introduced at a specific time
after the end of the Iran-Iraq war when soldiers coming back from the front
found their women had had sexual relations with other men, mainly Egyptian
workers. Lots of the Egyptians were killed. The decree was an amnesty for
these people and was repealed within months."


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2544489.stm

*  BLAIR HITS BACK IN IRAQ TORTURE ROW
BBC, 4th December

Downing Street is standing by its claim that Iraq tortured its own football
team for losing a World Cup match.

Downing Street The allegation was included in a dossier of alleged human
rights abuses in Iraq published by the Foreign Office on Monday.

But veteran Labour backbencher Tam Dalyell has accused Tony Blair of being
"cavalier with the truth" over the allegation.

According to the government's dossier, Saddam Hussein's son Udayy ordered
the national football team to be caned on the soles of their feet after
losing a World Cup qualifying match.

But Mr Dalyell said a probe by football's governing body Fifa found no
evidence to back up the allegation.

Mr Blair appeared to concede the point, made during angry exchanges at Prime
Minister's Question Time, but insisted it was not important.

"There may be a disagreement between Fifa and the government or the Iraqi
authorities but I ask you to focus on the human rights abuses in Iraq that
are beyond any doubt at all," he told MPs.

"Frankly the Iraqi football team may be one matter, but these human rights
abuses are self evident and when you talk to people who have lived through
the regime of Saddam Hussein then I don't believe anyone can dispute it is
an appalling, brutal and terrible regime."

But Downing Street later said statements from players who had escaped Iraq
after the Fifa probe backed up the allegations.

Mr Blair's official spokesman added: "We would not have put this in a report
if we did not think this was true."

Mr Dalyell stood by his story, however, and said the government was in
danger of undermining its own case.

"Prime Ministers should not be cavalier with the truth.

"Small inconsistencies can reveal larger inconsistencies.

"Small lies are often part of larger lies," he said.

Mr Dalyell said he was not saying Iraq was "not a cruel regime, like Saudi
Arabia and many other places in the Middle East".

But he added: "The timing of the document is so cynical as to suggest it is
simply a device to soften up the British nation for going to war against a
demon figure."

The controversy came as Foreign Secretary Jack Straw issued a direct warning
to Saddam Hussein to "come clean" over weapons of mass destruction, through
Arab satellite TV station.

Military action was the alternative, Mr Straw told Al Jazeera, which is
known to be watched by the Baghdad regime.

"Saddam has to come clean, own up, tell the truth for the first time in his
life, and he has got to stop playing games," he said.

"This is the last chance for himself and for the resolution of the Iraq
crisis in a peaceful way. The choice is his.

"He can resolve this peacefully but he has got to be straight, he has got to
tell the truth, and the truth is that Iraq has had - and has - weapons of
mass destruction."


http://newsobserver.com/24hour/sports/story/660662p-4954906c.html

*  RIGHTS GROUP DEMANDS IOC ACTION OVER ALLEGED TORTURE OF IRAQI ATHLETES
by Jonathan Fowler
News&Obsever, 5th December

GENEVA (AP) - A human rights group formally demanded that the IOC expel
Iraq's national Olympic committee because its chief - Saddam Hussein's
eldest son Uday - tortured and jailed athletes who failed to please him.

Indict, which is based in London, said Wednesday it lodged a complaint
against the Iraqi body with the Ethics Commission of the International
Olympic Committee. The group said it included witness statements from exiled
former Iraqi athletes and United Nations reports to build its case.
"Iraq has violated every single provision of the IOC Code of Ethics," said
Charles Forrest, chief executive of Indict. "The IOC should have
investigated this on its own. Now I hope it will be forced to."

IOC officials said they were aware of the complaint but were unable to
comment because they had yet to receive the document.

Indict said the Iraqi leader's son once made a group of track athletes crawl
on newly poured asphalt while they were beaten and ordered that some be
thrown off a bridge. It also alleged he ran a special prison for athletes
who offended him.

"The Iraqi committee is the only Olympic committee in the world with its own
prison and torture chamber," said Ann Clwyd, a British lawmaker who also is
chairwoman of Indict. "To allow (it) to participate in the Olympic movement
is to mock all of the Olympics' high principles."

Iraq was investigated in 1997 by FIFA, the international soccer governing
body, following allegations that members of the Iraqi national team were
tortured because they lost a key match.

FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren said two officials were sent to Iraq, where
they interviewed members of the Iraqi Football Association. Twelve players
also were interviewed and physically examined.

"They weren't able to find any evidence or any witness to confirm those
allegations," Herren said.

But, he added, "We were quite conscious of the fact that our investigative
resources were very limited. We are a non-governmental organization and
there are limits to what we could achieve."

Indict was established in 1997 to get Saddam Hussein and leading members of
his regime brought before an international tribunal on charges of crimes
against humanity.


REMNANTS OF DECENCY

http://www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=11/30/02&Cat=10&Num=1

*  IRANIAN FILM DIRECTOR CALLS FOR PEACEFUL CHANGE OF REGIME IN IRAQ
Tehran Times, 30th November

MADRID -- The Iranian film director Bahman Qobadi attending the Gijon
International Film Festival in northern Spain, addressing a press
conference, underlined the need for regime change in Iraq without
necessarily resorting to war.

According to the report released by the EFE Spanish news agency, the Iranian
cinematographer of Kurdish origin, has accused the U.S. ruling politicians
of contributing to further instability of the war-stricken region, IRNA
reported. He added, "Given that the Middle East countries are looking
forward to the prospect of peace, the change of Saddam Hussein's regime in
Iraq through peaceful means is inevitable."

Qobadi is attending the Gijon festival to present his latest film Lost in
Iraq, which was hailed by the audience once it was screened at the Youth
Cinema Hall of the festival on Tuesday night.

Qobadi's film is predicted to grab one of the festival's top awards.


http://newsobserver.com/24hour/nation/story/653200p-4912304c.html

*  RELIGIOUS LEADERS URGE BUSH AGAINST IRAQ WAR
News & Observer, 30th November

CHICAGO (AP) - In an unprecedented show of unity, Chicago's top Christian,
Jewish and Muslim leaders have drafted a joint letter urging President Bush
to avoid war with Iraq.

It is the first public statement on any national issue by the Council of
Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago since the group was founded in
1984.

The letter was to be released Sunday at the Episcopal Cathedral of St.
James. An advance copy obtained by the Chicago Tribune read, in part: "In
the present situation, conditions justifying war have not been met. We still
lack compelling evidence that Iraq is planning to launch an attack ... We
believe that there is ample time and latitude for pursuing alternatives that
could avoid warfare, saving untold thousands of lives."

Other religious groups also have voiced concerns about the possibility of
war. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops acknowledged in September that
Iraq posed a threat, but said it would be difficult to justify a pre-emptive
attack under Catholic teachings on warfare.

Signers of the Chicago letter include Cardinal Francis George of the Roman
Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, Bishop William Persell of the Episcopal
Diocese of Chicago, Rabbi Ira Youdovin of the Chicago Board of Rabbis,
Metropolitan Iakovos of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Chicago, Bishop C.
Joseph Sprague of the United Methodist Church and Kareem Irfan, chairman of
the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.

Irfan acknowledged that many Muslims would have preferred stronger wording.


http://www.abc.net.au/news/politics/2002/12/item20021201000543_1.htm

*  THOUSANDS ACROSS AUSTRALIA RALLY FOR PEACE
ABC, 1st December

Author and filmmaker John Pilger has told a huge rally in Sydney that the
Australian Government is "extremist" in its pro-US stance on Iraq.

The anti-war rally was one of several held across Australia yesterday.

An estimated 15,000 people gathered in the Domain after marching through
city streets to protest against Australia becoming involved in any US-led
pre-emptive strike on Baghdad.

The crowd heard from leaders of religious, union and community groups.

Mr Pilger told the crowd their stance marked them as moderates.

But he says the Government's enforcement of sanctions against Iraq and its
willingness to join a war against Baghdad make them extremists.

"They have to be extreme to attack, unprovoked, a country that offers no
threat to Australia, with whom Australia trades," he said.

"A whole people held hostage to a medieval embargo, as well as to their own
dictator."

The Auxillary Catholic Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Pat Power, was one
of many speakers to denounce both the US and Australian governments for
linking the war against terrorism to Iraq and possible weapons of mass
destruction.

"All it has done is widen the divide between 'them and us' and produced a
climate of war," he said.

Award-winning actor Judy Davis told the crowd the Howard Government could
not be justified in getting involved.

"Mr Howard, you haven't presented us with a single compelling reason for the
further slaughter of innocent people and we will not ever support your war
on Iraq," she said.

Organisers Adelaide's peace protest say Australia will have to send troops
into Iraq before greater sections of the community will oppose war.

About 1,500 people marched through the city centre, calling for no war
against Iraq.

The protest was twice the size of a rally held earlier this month and
included grandparents, children and families.

But organiser Mike Khizam says opinions will not polarise until if and when
war breaks out.

"There's greater confusion about the issues and I do know the issue is no
longer top of the agenda on news reports," Mr Khizam said.

"Unless there is a sense of crisis or a war breaks out, it is unlikely we'll
see very large numbers on the street."

In Tasmania, more than 400 people demonstrated their opposition to a US-led
attack on Iraq.

They marched through the streets of central Hobart calling for peace, the
fourth demonstration of its kind in the past three months.

Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown addressed the crowd, calling on world
leaders to remember the lessons learnt during World War II and strive for
peace.

"How much better if instead of war they remembered back that half century
and brought in a Marshall Plan, not for reconstructing Europe but
reconstructing our planet to bring fairness, education, opportunity, food,
shelter to the dispossessed millions of people who are our brothers and
sisters on this planet," he said.


http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/wire/sns-ap-turkey-iraq
protest1202dec01,0,5449948.story?coll=sns%2Dap%2Dworld%2Dheadlines

*  TURKS PROTEST POSSIBLE WAR IN IRAQ
by Esra Aygin
Newsday, from Associated Press, 1st December

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Waving balloons emblazoned with peace signs, about
10,000 people took part in a protest Sunday against a U.S.-led war in
neighboring Iraq.

NATO-member Turkey is a close U.S. ally, but anti-war sentiment is running
high. Officials here are reluctant to support military action against Iraq,
and have not committed to allowing the use of Turkish territory or air bases
-- crucial to any U.S. war effort.

The rally came days before Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw were scheduled to arrive in Turkey to
discuss the possibility of military action.

"We will not be America's soldiers!" the demonstrators chanted. Others held
up banners that said "We're on the side of the Iraqi people" and "No to war
in Iraq."

"This is America's war and it is going to be waged even though thousands,
tens of thousands will be killed," said anti-war activist Ersan Salman.

Turkish officials says the 1991 Gulf War has cost Turkey's troubled economy
more than $40 billion from loss of trade with Iraq, once a main trading
partner. It fears a new war in the region would further ravage its economy.
The country is also preparing for an influx of refugees if war breaks out.

"We're here to show how much we oppose war," said Zarife Havlu, a
46-year-old teacher. "War means poverty and hunger."


http://palestinechronicle.com/article.php?story=20021202195355937

*  AMERICAN MOTHERS OPPOSE U.S. WAR ON IRAQ
Palestine  Chronicle, 2nd December

WASHINGTON - With anti-war campaigns going on in different spots around the
world, a growing peace movement, called Mothers Against War has been gaining
momentum and raises the possibility of much more dissent if U.S. bombs begin
falling on Baghdad.

The idea was hatched on a bright day in August, when Daphne Reed was
celebrating her daughter's and granddaughter's birthdays, and the talk
around the living room sofa turned to war, reported Washington Post on
Monday, December 2.

Reed began worrying that her 25-year-old grandson, who spent four years in
the Coast Guard, might be called to serve if the United States were to
invade Iraq. Her family also wondered why the United States was threatening
to invade Iraq even before the United Nations weapons inspections began.

Reed told the daily that "she fretted over the particular suffering that
would befall Iraqi women; their sons and husbands would be killed and that
the women would be left in the rubble to fend off contaminated water and
starvation."

"I said that all mothers should automatically be against war," Reed said.
"It was against their nature to be violent instead of nurturing." Maybe, she
said, it was time to start a movement -- Mothers Against War.

The retired Hampshire College drama teacher e-mailed about 15 parents in her
address book. Before long, Mothers Against War had 50 core members, and
thousands of supporters around the country and the world, the Post said.

Most members of Mothers Against War are grandmothers in their seventies
whose lives are already full. Yet they spend hours a day on the Internet,
reading and spreading information on Iraq and the United States and planning
for marches, e-mail campaigns and teach-ins, the paper said.

Having lived through the Vietnam antiwar movement, which took years to
build, the Mothers Against War find themselves part of a fast-growing
movement of people from every walk of life, from every political stripe.

The paper said that those who still remember the horrors of the Vietnam War,
like the members of Mothers Against War, find themselves connected to this
new antiwar movement on a personal as well as ideological level.

The other day, as half a dozen core members sat in Daphne Reed's living
room, they remembered friends who had fled to Canada to shield their sons
from the military draft, friends who died in the war, and lives forever
changed by the war.

Reed, recalling the four wars she has seen this country involved in during
her lifetime, said she is often motivated by a single memory decades old.

She was visiting the nation's capital, she said, when she saw a man without
a face.
"Yes," she said, "without a face. He had nothing but a plastic mask with two
holes for eyes and one for mouth. It still swims before my inner vision,
provoking an agony of grief that no one had been able to stop the war that
took away that man's face."

The extraordinary array of groups questioning the Bush administration's
rationale for an invasion of Iraq includes longtime radical groups such as
the Workers World Party, but also groups not known for taking stands against
the government, it added.

There is a labor movement against war, led by organizers of the largest
unions in the country; a religious movement against the war, which includes
leaders of virtually every mainstream denomination; a veterans movement
against the war, led by those who fought Iraq in the Persian Gulf a decade
ago; business leaders against the war, led by corporate leaders; an antiwar
movement led by relatives of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks; and
immigrant groups against the war.

There are also black and Latino organizations, hundreds of campus antiwar
groups and scores of groups of ordinary citizens meeting in community
centers and church basements from Baltimore to Seattle, the paper said.

After large rallies in Washington and San Francisco on Oct. 26, the next big
day to test the antiwar movement's might is Dec. 10, International Human
Rights Day. Hundreds of groups plan events, rallies and civil disobedience
to capture the nation's attention, including demonstrations in Lafayette
Park across from the White House and at a military recruitment center in
downtown Washington, the paper said.

Otherwise, antiwar groups, which tend to rely on the Internet to receive and
spread information, operate largely without the attention of the media or
Capitol Hill. Yet many of those speaking out against an attack on Iraq
represent large numbers of Americans.

Among themselves, the groups are quietly organizing their ranks. The
National Council of Churches, which includes Lutherans, Episcopalians and
President Bush's denomination, Methodists, is facilitating antiwar events
for traditionally liberal institutions and conservative churches, said the
Rev. Robert Edgar, its general secretary.

On that day, religious groups across the country plan to stage mass acts of
civil disobedience.

"I've never engaged in civil disobedience before," he said. "But if some
country was going to do this to us -- have a little preemptive war with the
U.S., bomb our people, kill or maim people because they thought that at some
time we might bomb them, we'd say that's a war crime. I feel that getting
arrested is the biggest statement that I could make to say that what the
Bush administration is doing is wrong."

That day, as well as the weekend of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Jan.
18-19, is important for the smaller groups across the country as well.

-IslamOnline & News Agencies (islamonline.net). Redistributed via Press
International News Agency (PINA).


http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nat-gen/2002/dec/03/120306785.html

*  SIERRA CLUB OPPOSES UTAH BRANCH ON IRAQ
by C.G. WALLACE
Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 3rd December

SALT LAKE CITY- The Sierra Club is threatening to disband its southern Utah
chapter for speaking out against the Bush administration's push toward war
with Iraq.

The San Francisco-based 700,000-member environmental organization said its
175-member Glen Canyon chapter violated Sierra Club policy in publicly
taking its own stand on the issue.

In November, the national organization's board of directors approved a
resolution in favor of stripping Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. It
said: "The Sierra Club is concerned about the global dangers presented by
possible Iraqi aggression and about the dire environmental consequences of
war."

At the same time, the national organization warned that Sierra Club policy
"does not authorize individual members, leaders or club entities to take
public positions on military conflicts as they arise."

The Glen Canyon chapter's leaders decried that as a "gag order" and issued a
news release Nov. 26 asserting their right to speak out.

Glen Canyon vice chairman Patrick Diehl said in the news release: "The
present administration has declared its intention to achieve total military
dominance of the entire world. We believe that such ambitions will produce a
state of perpetual war, undoing whatever protection of the environment that
conservation groups may have so far achieved."

In response, Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope threatened to dismiss
the four Glen Canyon officers. In a recent e-mail, Pope said: "I would leave
dissolving the group as a means of last resort if acting against individuals
who won't adhere to club policy fails to resolve the situation."

The Glen Canyon chapter was formed in 2000 and supports the draining of Lake
Powell on the Utah-Arizona line and the banning of cattle grazing on public
land.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,854699,00.html

*  CND WINS CAP ON COSTS IN CASE AGAINST IRAQ WAR
by Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
The Guardian, 6th December

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament made legal history yesterday when two
judges agreed to cap its bill for legal costs if it loses a high court case
to block the government waging war on Iraq without a fresh UN resolution.

In the first ruling of its kind, two senior judges held that the exceptional
nature of the case justified them making an order that, if CND loses, it
will not have to pay more than 25,000 towards the government's costs.

Lawyers said it was the first time a court had made an order in advance
capping the size of a potential legal bill in the event of losing.

The ruling was a blow to the government. It had opposed the move, and was
ordered to pay yesterday's costs.

CND is going to the high court in London on Monday to seek permission to
apply for an urgent ruling that no hostile action can lawfully be taken
against Iraq unless the UN security council first passes a fresh resolution
clearly authorising the use of force.

The application, to be made on CND's behalf by Rabinder Singh QC, a
colleague of Cherie Booth at Matrix chambers, is against the prime minister;
the foreign secretary, Jack Straw; and the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon.

The case is the first to challenge a government in the courts over the
possibility of a declaration of war.

In the two-day hearing starting on Monday, Lord Justice Simon Brown, Mr
Justice Maurice Kay and Mr Justice Richards will first have to decide
whether the high court has any role to play in a decision on when to go to
war.

If they decide to agree a full hearing, the government will be given time to
prepare its case.

Agreeing to the cap on costs yesterday, Lord Justice Simon Brown said he
found the arguments in favour of it "compelling" because the case was no
doubt an exceptional one brought in the public interest, and CND had limited
means.

CND's solicitor, Phil Shiner, said: "This is the first time ever that a
court in this country has made an order of this nature. CND is a relatively
small organisation and, in a case of such public importance, it was crucial
that it should proceed without having to put its individual staff or
campaigning activities at risk through having to meet a huge costs order."


http://news.scotsman.com/features.cfm?id=1355722002

*  WAR - WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?
by Craig McLean
The Scotsman, 6th December

[.....]

Listening to the new single by Blur is like being down Baghdad way as the
first barrack buster falls from on high. Don't Bomb When You're the Bomb is
the "anonymous" little seven inch Damon Albarn announced they were going to
release a few months ago. The label features what looks like Arabic writing,
while the grooves contain a rhythm track with, again, Middle Eastern
flavours.

This is perhaps the result of their recent recording sessions in Morocco,
where they went to begin work on their new album (due out next spring). It
seems they were saving the melody writing bits of the recording process for
the subsequent sessions with Fatboy Slim in Devon. Don't Bomb is big on
check-our-dangerous-new-direction vibes and very short on a tune.

Albarn and Del Naja [of Massive Attack] have joined forces in the Stop the
War campaign; both are at a similar juncture in their day-jobs. There's no
doubting their commitment to "Make A Change", politically and
professionally. Astute men both, they seem to be under no illusions as to
how few of their musical peers hear and comprehend their cause. Will they be
so understanding if the public feels similarly disinclined to listen to
their difficult new music?




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