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News, 29/01-05/02/03 (5) IRAQI/UK RELATIONS * Iraq War Not Justified, Say Labour MEPs * Starting a massive offensive * The Asylum Trail * Saddam gives Benn TV interview * The Saddam Hussein Interview * Two Plaid Euro-MPs on Iraq visit * Safe havens plan to slash asylum numbers IRAQI/US RELATIONS * Iraqi spies said to be at work in US * Anthrax vaccination day for US Marines in Gulf * Bush reverses drift in poll * Building a buzz for peace IRAQI/UNITED NATIONS RELATIONS * Iraq to Take U.N. Post * Saddam gets six more weeks * Guernica Reproduction Covered at UN IRAQI/UK RELATIONS http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=5697217 * IRAQ WAR NOT JUSTIFIED, SAY LABOUR MEPS by Geoff Meade The Scotsman, 30th January Labour Euro-MPs were accused of defying Prime Minister Tony Blair this afternoon by backing a resolution declaring that Iraq has done nothing yet to justify war. Conservative MEPs refused to support the European Parliament vote which condemned Hussein, emphasised the need to remove Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and insisted that everything must be conducted through the United Nations Security Council. British MEPs were deeply split on one sentence in the cross-party resolution, which declared that "breaches of UN Security Council resolution 1441 currently identified by the inspectors with regard to weapons of mass destruction do not justify military action". Tory leader in the European Parliament Jonathan Evans said: "Labour MEPs' support of this resolution can only be seen as a deliberate snub to the Prime Minister weakening his diplomatic and political credibility on the eve of his visit to Washington. "Today's vote reflects not just a rebellious party but one in open revolt against the Government. "The Prime Minister has clearly failed to convince his own party of the need for decisive action against the threat Saddam Hussein poses and if he can't carry the support of his own party, he is clearly losing the battle to convince the British people." Labour leader Gary Titley said the Tories were playing party politics: "This is Tory extremism as its worst, it flies in the face of international community's efforts to find common ground and a reasonable way forward." "Tory MEPs have voted against a resolution which condemns Saddam Hussein and which makes it clear that disarmament is essential and calls for a common European approach. "This statement recognises the threat Iraq poses to the region and the need for complete disarmament, it stresses that if there are breaches then the Security Council must decide what to do." He said the decision to emphasise that there is no justification so far for military action is in line with UK government policy: "We have voted for motherhood and apple pie and I don't understand how the Conservatives can reject this at a time when all efforts should be focused on building an international consensus." The emergence of yet another European rift on Iraq will not be welcome in London especially with only four of the UK's 14 current EU partners openly supporting America's stance. The other three countries now backing Mr Blair come from the 10 nations which will join the EU next year bringing on board the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. That enabled Mr Blair today to proclaim eight European states, including the UK, which support America. But those opposing military force pointed out that if Mr Blair is playing the numbers game, the eight Europeans represent less than one third of the 25 Europeans in the expanded EU club. http://news.scotsman.com/features.cfm?id=121012003 * STARTING A MASSIVE OFFENSIVE by Stephen Dalton The Scotsman, 31st January Robert del Naja turned 37 two weeks ago. Like any selfrespecting British pop star, the spiky-haired creative dynamo behind Massive Attack spent the night getting wasted in overpriced London dives with celebrity friends like Kate Moss and Blur's Damon Albarn. Except that this was hardly a typical birthday party. Just hours earlier, Del Naja had marched on Westminster at the head of a demonstration against war in Iraq. He and Albarn had lobbied parliament, lending a dash of pop glamour to a deadly serious business. Later, mid-festivities, when an invitation call came through to discuss the march on Newsnight, the Blur frontman was all for storming the studio with Del Naja in his highly refreshed state. Thankfully, Del Naja's voice of reason prevailed - two drunk celebrities arguing their corner on national television would only confirm most people's suspicions about pop stars dabbling in politics, he argued. And with a new album about to be released, he was reluctant to let his anti-war efforts look like a "branding exercise". "Going on the march was really interesting because you suddenly realised how many different types of people were against this," says Del Naja, sipping beer in a deserted Bristol pub. "It wasn't just left-wing people or what the papers will try and give out as a typical anti-war campaigner. It was the exact opposite, every type of person: teachers, academics, people of every race and every age group." Massive Attack's high-profile anti-war stance is no dilettante pose. They have already spent £22,000 of their own money on huge "Wrong War" adverts in the music press, with more to come. They have been methodical in joining forces with CND and Stop the War and even helped fund a legal challenge to military intervention in the international courts. Funny how it took a band so often caricatured as lethargic stoners to kickstart rock's sleeping conscience in 2003. Recent music press tributes to Joe Strummer, a personal hero, spoke volumes to Del Naja about generational alienation, he says. "They were almost embarrassed by his politics," he scowls. "Then you think, well, what happened to all that? The wheel's moved into a different place now. I was chatting to Paul Weller about it and he said when he got involved in all that stuff it did become about ego politics. That's why he got out of the whole thing." Del Naja's opposition to military intervention sprung from a disgust he shared with Albarn about apathy among their pop peers - but also from a growing global awareness gleaned while touring the world. "It comes from getting older, getting more and more frustrated by the transparency of everything," he shrugs. "We came out of a period where conspiracies were mysterious and exotic, the truth behind the shadows. But some of the things that are happening politically, globally, are just so transparent I find it amazing. It's like daylight robbery - it's so blatant nobody can believe it. Being on tour, you meet people from so many countries, you get a real global feel about what people really believe about Britain and America, about our imperial history and our imperial nature now. "It seems like a long time since the British Empire, but it's only 100 years ago. Gandhi said that one small island, Great Britain, is holding the whole world in chains. That was 50 years ago and we're still doing it now with corporate fXXXing imperialism. There's no change, but the boundaries have now bled, you can't see right from wrong anymore, because we're all consumers." In the past, he admits, Massive Attack might have shrugged their shoulders and carried on living in their pop bubble. During the last Gulf War, they were even persuaded by a paranoid Radio1 to drop the second half of their name lest it be misconstrued. But age and experience have hardened them. "Ten years ago Saddam Hussein was a clear enemy," he argues. "He'd invaded Kuwait, so everyone was fighting for freedom and justice, even though I don't think anyone was sure about the way they bombed Baghdad. It was very confusing. Obviously there were much greater politics involved in the whole region with Israel, Palestine and all the other Gulf states. But no, I didn't get involved then. We decided to drop the 'Attack' from our name, under a great amount of duress, but also because a convincing argument was put forward that if people don't know who you are, you could be seen as making a pro-war statement. We went along with it, but it became apparent later that it was bullshit. I even thought about dropping it again for this album as an anti-war statement, but then I'd be buying into the whole notion that music and words and opinions are offensive. And they're not. Bombs and bullets are." [.....] http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-562133,00.html * THE ASYLUM TRAIL by Richard Ford and Daniel McGrory The Times, 1st February IRAQIS living in the UK will not face draconian security curbs in the event of war, ministers have decided. The Home Office has decided against using internment camps or forced mass deportation, despite intelligence service warnings that Iraqi terrorists may slip into the country as refugees. Iraqis are now the largest group seeking asylum in Britain. The Government is anxious to avoid a repeat of the chaos before the 1991 Gulf War when scores of Iraqis were jailed or forced to leave the country. David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, will leave it to MI5 and Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch to identify those who are potential security risks and can be detained under existing terror legislation. One Whitehall source said yesterday: "You can forget the idea of any mass round-ups and internment camps. "Government has taken on board the disastrous moves made in 1991 and ever since emergency terror legislation has been introduced in the UK, David Blunkett has been very careful about detaining someone without trial. This time there will be an intelligence-led operation." Leaders of Britain's 60,000-strong Iraqi community are seeking assurances that there will be no crackdown on them or on refugees who reach the UK, insisting that most oppose President Saddam Hussein's regime. Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, want to meet ministers and strongly oppose any repeat of 1991 when the security services were accused of glaring mistakes over the names and addresses of suspects they had identified. Kenneth Baker, then Home Secretary, had to revoke deportation orders. Iraqis who had lived in Britain for years had their visas cancelled and some Iraqi students who had been in the military were held in army camps on Salisbury Plain. Intelligence chiefs have given warning of a possible new security threat from among the thousands of Iraqi asylum-seekers who arrive in Britain every month. They fear that terrorist "sleepers" could be posing as refugees fleeing Iraq before war breaks out. Immigration investigators and the security services say that they are already stretched tracking down missing Algerian asylum-seekers after the discovery of a suspected terrorist cell allegedly making ricin in a North London flat and that they do not have the resources to monitor the 3,000 Iraqis a month now entering Britain. Investigators have uncovered evidence of how smuggling gangs instruct new arrivals on how to use Britain's asylum laws. They are told to destroy all identity documents and claim to be Iraqi Kurds who fear Saddam Hussein. The numbers arriving make it impossible to verify their stories. One security source said: "You don't need many to slip in and set up terrorist cells. It took fewer than 20 people in the US to carry out the September 11 attacks and since the summer 12,000 Iraqis have arrived in the UK." http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,887578,00.html * SADDAM GIVES BENN TV INTERVIEW by Suzanne Goldenberg in Baghdad The Guardian, 3rd February Saddam Hussein went over the heads of hostile world leaders for a direct appeal to a global television audience last night, granting a rare audience to the veteran former Labour MP Tony Benn. The one-hour encounter was the first TV interview the Iraqi leader had granted to a western interlocuter for 12 years. The eleventh hour visit by the British peace campaigner was a reprise of Mr Benn's meeting with President Saddam on the eve of the 1991 Gulf war which helped to secure the release of Britons held as human shields after the invasion of Kuwait. Mr Benn said his mission was undertaken in the hope of stopping a war, and that the Iraqi leader was "courteous and forthcoming" during the interview. "I think the cause of peace requires us to hear the president just as we hear President Bush and prime minister Blair," Mr Benn told a press conference last night. He said he had informed Tony Blair and the Foreign Office of his trip, but that he was not carrying any official message from Britain. The interview, which was filmed by an official Iraqi television crew, is to be put up for sale by the recently launched Arab Television network, on condition that it is broadcast in its entirety, Mr Benn said. He refused to reveal President Saddam's answers to his questions, but said he was optimistic they would further the cause of peace. His questions were fairly obvious - does Iraq have weapons of mass destruction or links with al-Qaida? But while Mr Benn's conversations with President Saddam appeared relatively straightforward, they provoked a degree of consternation from a couple of American reporters, who suggested that he had allowed himself to be used by the Iraqi leader. Mr Benn said he had anticipated hostility to his visit and expected more when he returned to Britain. But, the 77-year-old added: "I've reached an age where I am too old to bother." http://www.channel4.com/news/home/z/stories/20030204/saddam_benn.html * THE SADDAM HUSSEIN INTERVIEW Channel 4 News, 4th February Tonight a world exclusive - Saddam Hussein in his own words. At the weekend, the veteran labour politican Tony Benn travelled to Baghdad to meet and interview the Iraqi President. Tonight we hear why - according to Saddam - Iraq has no interest in war and possesses NO weapons of mass destruction. Here is the transcript: Tony Benn: I come for one reason only - to see whether in a talk we can explore, or you can help me to see, what the paths to peace may be. My only reason, I remember the war because I lost a brother. I never want to see another war. There are millions of people all over the world who don't want a war, and by agreeing to this interview, which is very historic for all of us, I hope you will be able to help me, be able to say something to the world that is significant and positive. Saddam Hussein: Welcome to Baghdad. You are conscious of the role that Iraqis have set out for themselves, inspired by their own culture, their civilisation and their role in human history. This role requires peace in order to prosper and progress. Having said that, the Iraqis are committed to their rights as much as they are committed to the rights of others. Without peace they will be faced with many obstacles that would stop them from fulfilling their human role. Tony Benn: Mr President, may I ask you some questions. The first is, does Iraq have any weapons of mass destruction? Saddam Hussein: Most Iraqi officials have been in power for over 34 years and have experience of dealing with the outside world. Every fair-minded person knows that when Iraqi officials say something, they are trustworthy. A few minutes ago when you asked me if I wanted to look at the questions beforehand I told you I didn't feel the need so that we don't waste time, and I gave you the freedom to ask me any question directly so that my reply would be direct. This is an opportunity to reach the British people and the forces of peace in the world. There is only one truth and therefore I tell you as I have said on many occasions before that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction whatsoever. We challenge anyone who claims that we have to bring forward any evidence and present it to public opinion. Tony Benn: I have another which has been raised: do you have links with Al Qaeda? Saddam Hussein:If we had a relationship with Al-Qaida and we believed in that relationship we wouldn't be ashamed to admit it. Therefore I would like to tell you directly and also through you to anyone who is interested to know that we have no relationship with Al Qaeda. Tony Benn: In relation to the inspectors, there appears to be difficulties with inspectors, and I wonder whether there's anything you can tell me about these difficulties and whether you believe they will be cleared up before Mr Hans Blix and Mr Elbaradei come back to Baghdad? Saddam Hussein: You are aware that every major event must encounter some difficulty. On the subject of the inspectors and the resolutions that deal with Iraq you must have been following it and you must have a view and a vision as to whether these resolutions have any basis in international law. Nevertheless the Security Council produced them. These resolutions - implemented or not - or the motivation behind these resolutions could lead the current situation to the path of peace or war. Therefore it's a critical situation. Let us also remember the unjust suffering of the Iraqi people. For the last thirteen years since the blockade was imposed, you must be aware of the amount of harm that it has caused the Iraqi people, particularly the children and the elderly as a result of the shortage of food and medicine and other aspects of their life. Therefore we are facing a critical situation. On that basis, it is not surprising that there might be complaints relating to the small details of the inspection which may be essential issues as far as we are concerned and the way we see the whole thing. It is possible that those Iraqis who are involved with the inspection might complain about the conduct of the inspectors and they complain indeed. It is also possible that some inspectors either for reasons of practical and detailed procedure, or for some other motives, may complain about the Iraqi conduct. Every fair minded person knows that as far as resolution 1441 is concerned, the Iraqis have been fulfilling their obligations under the resolution. When Iraq objects to the conduct of those implementing the Security Council resolutions, that doesn't mean that Iraq wishes to push things to confrontation. Iraq has no interest in war. No Iraqi official or ordinary citizen has expressed a wish to go to war. The question should be directed at the other side. Are they looking for a pretext so they could justify war against Iraq? If the purpose was to make sure that Iraq is free of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons then they can do that. These weapons do not come in small pills that you can hide in your pocket. These are weapons of mass destruction and it is easy to work out if Iraq has them or not. We have said many times before and we say it again today that Iraq is free of such weapons. So when Iraq objects to the conduct of the inspection teams or others, that doesn't mean that Iraq is interested in putting obstacles before them which could hinder the efforts to get to the truth. It is in our interest to facilitate their mission to find the truth. The question is does the other side want to get to the same conclusion or are they looking for a pretext for aggression? If those concerned prefer aggression then it's within their reach. The super powers can create a pretext any day to claim that Iraq is not implementing resolution 1441. They have claimed before that Iraq did not implement the previous resolutions. However after many years it became clear that Iraq had complied with these resolutions. Otherwise, why are they focusing now on the latest resolution and not the previous ones? Tony Benn: May I broaden the question out, Mr President, to the relations between Iraq and the UN, and the prospects for peace more broadly, and I wonder whether with all its weaknesses and all the difficulties, whether you see a way in which the UN can reach that objective for the benefit of humanity? Saddam Hussein: The point you raised can be found in the United Nations charter. As you know Iraq is one of the founders and first signatories of the charter. If we look at the representatives of two super powers - America and Britain - and look at their conduct and their language, we would notice that they are more motivated by war than their responsibility for peace. And when they talk about peace all they do is accuse others they wish to destroy in the name of peace. They claim they are looking after the interests of their people. You know as well as I do that this is not the truth. Yes the world would respect this principle if it was genuinely applied. It's not about power but it is about right and wrong, about when we base our human relations on good, and respect this principle. So it becomes simple to adhere to this principle because anyone who violates it will be exposed to public opinion. Tony Benn:There are people who believe this present conflict is about oil, and I wonder if you say something about how you see the enormous oil reserves of Iraq being developed, first for the benefit of the people of Iraq and secondly for the needs of mankind. Saddam Hussein: When we speak about oil in this part of the world - we are an integral part of the world - we have to deal with others in all aspects of life, economic as well as social, technical, scientific and other areas. It seems that the authorities in the US are motivated by aggression that has been evident for more than a decade against the region. The first factor is the role of those influential people in the decision taken by the President of the US based on sympathy with the Zionist entity that was created at the expense of Palestine and its people and their humanity. These people force the hand of the American administration by claiming that the Arabs pose a danger to Israel, without remembering their obligation to God and how the Palestinian people were driven out of their homeland. The consecutive American administrations were led down a path of hostility against the people of this region, including our own nation and we are part of it. Those people and others have been telling the various US administratio ns, especially the current one, that if you want to control the world you need to control the oil. Therefore the destruction of Iraq is a pre-requisite to controlling oil. That means the destruction of the Iraqi national identity, since the Iraqis are committed to their principles and rights according to international law and the UN charter. It seems that this argument has appealed to some US administrations especially the current one that if they control the oil in the Middle East, they would be able to control the world. They could dictate to China the size of its economic growth and interfere in its education system and could do the same to Germany and France and perhaps to Russia and Japan. They might even tell the same to Britain if its oil doesn't satisfy its domestic consumption. It seems to me that this hostility is a trademark of the current US administration and is based on its wish to control the world and spread its hegemony. People have the right to say that if this aggression by the American administration continues, it would lead to widespread enmity and resistance. We won't be able to develop the oil fields or the oil industry and therefore create worldwide co-operation as members of the human family when there is war, destruction and death. Isn't it reasonable to question this approach and conclude that this road will not benefit anyone including America or its people? It may serve some short-term interests or the interests of some influential powers in the US but we can't claim that it serves the interest of the American people in the long run or other nations. Tony Benn: There are tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions of people in Britain and America, in Europe and worldwide, who want to see a peaceful outcome to this problem , and they are the real Americans in my opinion, the real British, the real French, the real Germans, because they think of the world in terms of their children. I have ten grandchildren and in my family there is English, Scottish, American, French, Irish, Jewish and Indian blood, and for me politics is about their future, their survival. And I wonder whether you could say something yourself directly through this interview to the peace movement of the world that might help to advance the cause they have in mind? Saddam Hussein: First of all we admire the development of the peace movement around the world in the last few years. We pray to God to empower all those working against war and for the cause of peace and security based on just peace for all. And through you we say to the British people that Iraqis do not hate the British people. Before 1991 Iraq and Britain had a normal relationship as well as normal relations with America. At that time the British governments had no reason to criticise Iraq as we hear some voices doing these days. We hope the British people would tell those who hate the Iraqis and wish them harm that there is no reason to justify this war and please tell them that I say to you because the British people are brave - tell them that the Iraqis are brave too. Tell the British people if the Iraqis are subjected to aggression or humiliation they would fight bravely. Just as the British people did in the Second World War and we will defend our country as they defended their country each in its own way. The Iraqis don't wish war but if war is imposed upon them - if they are attacked and insulted - they will defend themselves. They will defend their country, their sovereignty and their security. Interview background: Saddam -- rarely interviewed, rarely appears in public, knows he's a target, assassination a permanent fear. Tony Benn -- focus of the anti-war cause in Britain, though he's no longer in Parliament When last they met, on the eve of the first Gulf War, the Allies were preparing to liberate Kuwait. Their meeting didn't stop the war, though Mr Benn returned with 15 British hostages held by Saddam as human shields. This time, the die already appears cast. Mr Benn arrived in Baghdad this weekend in the wake of the Bush/Blair summit. Still time for diplomacy, they said, but no one doubts the Americans willingness to go to war. As Colin Powell takes his much trailed "new evidence" to the UN, the pressure's mounting on Saddam to convince Hans Blix and his team of inspectors of a new and sudden era of cooperation. Barring that, or his sudden demise, war seems inevitable. What we normally see of Iraq's President are staged Cabinet meetings - fed to the world by Iraqi TV. This is the first time in this crisis Saddam Hussein has faced questions from a foreign visitor - albeit one known to be anti-war. Every word, every nuance will be eagerly scrutinised across the world. Tony Benn knew full well the interest in his promised encounter. The questions are his. and he thinks the answers make war less likely. Saddam continues to turn down all requests from journalists, but he wanted his interview with Mr Benn to appear worldwide. An Iraqi camera-crew filmed the interview and the tapes were given to a London-based television production company ATV. Channel 4 News paid ATV for access to the material to prepare this broadcast. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/2718879.stm * TWO PLAID EURO-MPS ON IRAQ VISIT BBC, 2nd February Two Welsh MEPs are heading for Iraq along with 32 other members of the European Parliament in a controversial visit that comes at a sensitive time. The delegation say they want to reiterate a "No to War" message and to assess the damage already done to Iraq after sanctions were imposed more than a decade ago. The two MEPs on the unofficial visit are Plaid Cymru's Jill Evans and Eurig Wyn - but even amongst their Euro-colleagues, the trip is criticised. Most Liberal and Conservative members of the parliament - including some Socialists - have condemned the visit. This is despite a vote in the Brussels based parliament to back the United Nations efforts to disarm Saddam Hussein's regime and against a unilateral American strike. The visit comes in the wake of an anti-war march in Swansea at which Jill Evans spoke in strongly anti-American terms. "We must not let the leaders of any militarily or economically powerful nation set the future scene for more bullying, posturing and intimidation. "Any weapons of mass destruction and the political hegemonies they encourage do not promise a secure future for anyone on this earth," she said. Some fear the trip will be manipulated by the Iraqis for their own benefit. Conservative leader Jonathan Evans called it "a disgraceful act of political ego that dangerously serves to support Saddam Hussein". Meanwhile, Labour MEP Gary Titley has said the trip was "pointless". "It has no official status and it is hard to see what can be achieved." As the two prepared to leave with the delegation, Labour Euro MEP Glenys Kinnock - who is not in the party - spoke of her feelings of concern about the Iraqi situation. "I'm in the camp that believes that we should go for a clear second mandate, but based upon substantial evidence from the weapons inspectors," she said. Speaking on GMTV's Sunday programme, she added: "I know that a six-week timescale has now been agreed. However, I don't think you should be setting timescales. "I fear that the US is hell-bent upon a unilateral response to Saddam Hussein, who is of course an appalling despot and someone who needs to be tackled. "But the prospect of war worries me very much indeed, in terms of the forces involved, but also of the suffering of the people of Baghdad and of Iraq generally." While in Iraq the delegates will be briefed by UN humanitarian and other relief organisations such as the World Food Programme, World Health Organisation, UNICEF and UNHCR, before splitting-up on the last day. On the last of their 4 day visit on February 6, half the delegation will visit Erbil in the autonomous Kurdish region in the north, while the other half will fly to the southern city of Basra. Delegates hope to visit a children's ward in the local hospital and tour the demilitarized zone separating Iraq and Kuwait. Hans Blix the chief weapons inspector will arrive in Iraq as the Euro-MP's depart to Brussels. He has been invited back for a 2 day visit by the Iraqi authorities as the count down to a possible war now seems to be between 4 and 6 weeks away. Meanwhile Welsh soldiers are making their way to the Gulf as part of the largest deployments of British troops since 1982. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,889014,00.html * SAFE HAVENS PLAN TO SLASH ASYLUM NUMBERS by Seumas Milne and Alan Travis The Guardian, 5th February A confidential government plan to slash the number of asylum seekers coming to Britain by deporting most of them to UN "protection areas" in their regions of origin has been drawn up by Whitehall and is to be presented to the prime minister this week. The official figures for 2002 to be published later this month are expected to show that asylum claims topped 100,000 for the first time last year. Tony Blair has demanded weekly reports on asylum arrivals and has already made clear he wants to see a radical reduction in the number coming to Britain. Under the terms of the "restricted" joint Cabinet Office-Home Office policy document, which has been passed to the Guardian, the large majority of asylum seekers would lose their right to claim asylum in Britain and would be returned to "regional protection areas", where their applications would be processed. Among locations mentioned for the regional protection areas, as part of a "new global asylum system", are Turkey, Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan for Iraqi refugees; northern Somalia for refugees from southern Somalia; and Morocco for Algerians. It also suggests Ukraine or Russia to stem the flow of economic migrants from the east of the new enlarged EU border. Officials stress that care needs to be taken that the scheme is not seen as "dumping asylum seekers on the poorer nations" nor as "using money to enable us to wash our hands of the refugee problem". Asylum seekers would stay in the UN special protection areas for six months while the position in their home country stabilised. The scheme envisages that those in need of longer term protection could be resettled in Britain and other European countries under a burden sharing quota scheme determined by each country's population. The report also sets out a case for international inter vention to reduce the flow from the main refugee-producing countries with a graded response ranging from aid packages through sanctions to armed intervention as a key element of what it calls a "new vision for refugees". While conceding that "any coercive intervention in other states is of course controversial", the Whitehall policy document argues for international recognition of the need to intervene to reduce "flows" of refugees, including "military action as a last resort". The report, which would require international agreement and funding, is to be presented to Ruud Lubbers, the UN high commissioner for refugees, when he meets senior British ministers in London on Monday. Under the policy, the UNHCR would be responsible for the regional protection areas and, if it agrees to take on the role, the detailed plans for the first pilot schemes could be ready this summer. Initially it could be taken forward by a coalition of five EU states will ing to fund the scheme. The officials raise the possibility of Australia joining as well. It is thought the plan could be carried out without changes to the Geneva convention or European convention on refugees. The plan makes clear that the quality of protection in the UNHCR areas will have to be high enough to satisfy a British court that the human rights of those removed from Britain were not being abused by the scheme. Deporting asylum seekers to protection areas should "rapidly reduce the number of economic immigrants using asylum applications as a migration route", the report argues, as well as being a deterrent to "potential terrorists". The restricted policy document says the plan "should gradually reduce the number of asylum seekers who enter the UK and need to be processed in the UK. Therefore this takes the burden off the current asylum system but will not completely replace it". IRAQI/US RELATIONS http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=121422003 * IRAQI SPIES SAID TO BE AT WORK IN US The Scotsman, 31st January IRAQI spies have been sent to Washington and New York to stir-up anti-war demonstrations, according to US reports. A classified US government document obtained by the New York Daily News also revealed a plot by militants linked to al-Qaeda to attack US targets in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the event of a US attack on Iraq. The report, which was compiled by a unit in the Homeland Security Department, said operatives from the Iraqi Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, were sent to Washington and New York to "intensify spying activities and to carry out anti-US demonstrations to stop a war against Iraq". The attacks on US citizens in Zimbabwe were being plotted by Tablik-i-Jama'at and would be carried out in the event of an attack on Iraq. The document also suggests that the group could be a "conduit for communication" between al-Qaeda and Iraqi leaders. In recent days, Britain and the US have been trying to emphasise links between Iraq and al Qaeda. In his State of the Union address, George Bush, the US president, said intelligence shows that Saddam Hussein "aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-Qaeda". Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, said on Wednesday the government "knew" of links between al-Qaeda and Iraq. However, the claims have been treated with caution by experts on Osama bin Laden and his terrorist organisation. Rohan Gunaratna, a researcher on terrorism and political violence at St Andrews University and an acclaimed author of six books on terrorism, including Al Qaeda: Network of Terror, said he had never found any evidence of a connection. However, the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, is expected to provide evidence of just such a link when he provides new information to the UN Security Council next Wednesday. http://www.jordantimes.com/thu/news/news6.htm * ANTHRAX VACCINATION DAY FOR US MARINES IN GULF Jordan Times, 30th January ABOARD USS TORTUGA (R) ‹ Sailors and Marines of the amphibious asault ship USS Tortuga were inoculated against anthrax and smallpox in the Gulf on Wednesday as the military gathered its forces for a possible aggression against Iraq. "It makes it very real when they start giving you vaccinations for things you hadn't even heard of before," said 22-year-old Carrie Cornell, a third class petty officer from Philadelphia, after her smallpox jab. A medical technician administers the inoculation with a two pronged needle, jabbing the patient's shoulder 15 times to pierce the skin without going too deep. "I've had three tattoos and this had to be the worst," said Lance Corporal Kent Jackson who drives an assault vehicle. The anthrax vaccination, which is said to feel like a bee-sting, is administered three times at two week intervals and then again in the sixth, 12th and 18th month from the first. "It's a little bit scary but dying of anthrax is more scary," said Ensign Robert Cripps after his vaccination. The inoculations are part of a range of preparations for a possible war against Iraq which the United States accuses of concealing chemical and biological weapons. "We're ensuring we'll be able to fight the war on terrorism," said Lieutenant Browin Richards, the navy doctor on the Tortuga, one of three ships carryingaround 2,300 Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The Marines on board the three warships could be among the first to be called upon if President George Bush launches a war. [.....] http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=76090 * BUSH REVERSES DRIFT IN POLL by Richard Morin & Claudia Deane Gulf News, Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service, 3rd February Washington: President Bush has reversed the downward drift in public support for war with Iraq despite widespread fears that the conflict would continue for many months and produce large numbers of U.S. casualties, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. After the president's State of the Union speech on Tuesday in which he laid out the case for a U.S.-led invasion, the survey found that 66 per cent of Americans favor taking military action against Iraq, up from 57 per cent two weeks ago and the most support for war since mid-September. Slightly more than six in 10 respondents also approve of the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq; two weeks ago, half the country endorsed the job that the president was doing. Bush's overall job approval rating stands at 62 per cent, up slightly from mid January. And for the first time in Post-ABC News surveys, about half of all Americans say the United States should take military action even without the endorsement of the United Nations. A total of 855 randomly selected adults were interviewed by telephone Thursday through Saturday for this survey. Margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points. Support for war is growing even though most Americans are realistic about the consequences. Two-thirds of those interviewed said they expect "significant" numbers of U.S. military casualties if the United States attacks Iraq. Less than one in five 19 per cent believe the conflict would be over in a "few weeks," while 32 percent say it would probably last several months and 45 per cent predict that it could continue for a year or more. Taken together, nearly four in 10 respondents expected the conflict to be relatively long and relatively bloody. But even among those who most fear a high-cost war, a narrow majority 52 per cent still favor taking military action against Iraq. Fifty-four per cent of the country said the administration has presented enough evidence to demonstrate the need for military force, up from 48 per cent in mid-January. Just under half worry that Bush is moving too fast to war, down slightly from two weeks ago. But most Americans 57 per cent would like to see Bush present more evidence before using force. Two thirds said the United States should be prepared to offer its own hard evidence to the United Nations to support an attack. NO URL (sent through list) * BUILDING A BUZZ FOR PEACE by Hilary E. MacGregor Los Angeles Times, 4th February One afternoon last week on the Fox Studios lot, a van pulled up at Stage 5. Tyne Daly and Amy Brenneman, co-stars of the show "Judging Amy," leapt out and were met by a cameraman, a boom operator, a director and a couple of lighting technicians, who pulled the actresses inside and swung into action. The camera rolled. "I love my country and I want to keep America safe," read Brenneman. "I believe we can contain Saddam Hussein through inspections." "Attacking Iraq makes us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks in the future," Daly said. "We do not need to go to war, killing American soldiers and innocent Iraqi people." Brenneman looked solemnly into the camera. "We can win without war," she said. In 25 minutes, the pair were back in the van, eating box lunches, zooming back to work. Within days, the footage was to be edited into a 30-second television spot, the latest in a series of antiwar ads filmed by Artists United to Win Without War and paid for by TrueMajority.com, a liberal activist group started by Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen. The first spot, featuring Susan Sarandon, aired last week, before and after President Bush's State of the Union speech. CNN rejected the spots, Cohen said. But TrueMajority is spending $200,000 to place the ads on local cable stations. The art of the antiwar protest is conventional, crude, creative and continually evolving, varying with the era and the mass medium of the moment. But the point has always been to raise awareness by getting attention. Today, peace and antiwar groups are protesting not only possible war with Iraq, but also the lack of coverage of the nascent movement in the mainstream media by spending scarce funds on newspaper ads and airtime. >From Republicans to Democrats to Hollywood celebrities, from labor unions to church groups, from middle-class suburbanites to college students, concerned citizens have pooled their resources in recent months to take out full page ads in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and dozens of smaller papers across the country. Some are simply lists of names; others are notices for marches. A group of Republican business executives bought a page in the Wall Street Journal on Jan. 13 for "A Republican Dissent on Iraq." The same week, a group of Democrats calling itself Americans Against War With Iraq ran a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times. "Who's against a U.S. War on Iraq?" it asked. "2 out of 3 Americans. 7 out of 8 Brits. 1 out of 1 Popes." It included 2,000 signatures. To generate buzz -- essentially free advertising -- for its own antiwar television spot, MoveOn.org hired Fenton Communications, the same company that promoted Arianna Huffington's recent anti-SUV ads. The Bush administration, of course, doesn't have to resort to advertising to get its message out, says Robert McChesney, a professor of communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "There is a frustration among peace activists that they feel they have to buy ads to even get news coverage. It ultimately reflects their dissatisfaction and powerlessness, politically and with the press." John Hanson, 30, is a volunteer organizer for International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), a group formed three days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as a response to the war on terrorism at home and abroad. It helped organize an antiwar march Jan. 11 in downtown Los Angeles and ran an ad in The Times' California section five days before to promote it. "We have been blasting the media with information about what is going on," Hanson said, "but we have had trouble getting coverage for different events, protests." This approach, he said, was born out of necessity. Historians and media critics say complaints about a lack of coverage by the mainstream media are nothing new. "Antiwar demonstrations, labor demonstrations, they are the weak spot of traditional journalism," McChesney said. "The problem has only gotten worse in the last 15 to 20 years." Former newspaper editor Bill Kovach, who heads the Washington-based Project for Excellence in Journalism, said the lack of media coverage is a cause for legitimate concern. "The most troubling examples I know firsthand are here in Washington," said Kovach, who is also a former curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. "The first antiwar demonstration in Washington last October was abysmally under-covered. The New York Times missed it entirely the first day and had to play catch-up with a story that wasn't good. It was the same with the Washington Post. The coverage was not even pro forma; it was dismissive. "I went to see the second demonstration for myself a couple of weeks ago, so I could compare what I saw with the coverage.... The thing that disturbed me most, in terms of journalism, was that there were a lot of speakers taking a lot of different positions and perspectives. That wasn't in the coverage. It all was anecdotal, as if they were covering a picnic.... "I can't really figure out why," Kovach said. "Editors with whom I spoke said they'd made a mistake the first time but that they'd catch up. They didn't do that, according to my judgment. It reminded me of when I was growing up in this business in east Tennessee in the late 1950s, and there was some coverage of the behavior of some young blacks at the lunch counters over in Greensboro, N.C. My local newspaper treated it with the same sort of dismissive story they'd given a panty raid at the local college about six months before." Lila Garrett, founder of Americans Against War With Iraq, said her group was the first to run a national newspaper ad protesting the possible war, back in September 2002. To date, it has spent $90,000 on three full-page ads in major papers, and more are planned. "We felt we were representing the opinion of the majority of Americans and that that opinion was not being represented in the mainstream media," Garrett said. Other activists say their perspectives are covered by the media, but are often misrepresented, belittled or marginalized. "It's not that there isn't coverage," said Eli Pariser, 22, international campaigns director for MoveOn.org. "It's that the coverage fails to describe the character of the opposition in the terms in which I see it -- as a mainstream and very widespread movement.... If you read the news articles, it still looks like this fringy thing. When you get the Sierra Club and the National Council of Churches and the NAACP and the big unions, when you get them in a room talking and they agree, that is not fringy." MoveOn.org was formed during President Clinton's impeachment trial as a grass-roots effort to get Congress to "move on" to other issues. It has since reinvented itself as an online civic group that specializes in mobilizing support through the Internet on issues ranging from campaign finance to tax policy and, now, opposition to a war with Iraq. The group, which claims more than 660,000 members, says it raised $400,000 from 11,000 people, much of it in contributions of $35 or less, to pay for a five-day television campaign in 13 major markets, including Los Angeles. Its ad, which raises the specter of nuclear war if the U.S. attacks Iraq, is a remake of the classic 1964 Lyndon Johnson campaign ad that suggested electing Barry Goldwater president could lead to a nuclear war. The new ad, which aired last month around the country, shows a little girl counting flower petals in a field of daisies, then cuts to a nuclear explosion. "Let the inspections work," it reads against the background of a mushroom cloud. Organizers of antiwar protests and grass-roots events say ads are not only a way to be heard, but also a way to reach beyond their core constituency and legitimize their position. "There are a lot of people who are in mainstream, middle-class society," Hanson says, "who think reading the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal brings an air of respectability. They will see that [ad] and feel that it is OK that they have had these feelings.... They are more likely to participate in an event if they read about it in a publication that a lot of people read. They think, 'Maybe I'm not the only one.' " Other organizers stress that they are not abandoning traditional forms of protest by embracing ads. They are simply adding to the mix. Wes Boyd, 44, founder and president of MoveOn.org, believes ads allow older, more mainstream Americans who don't want to carry picket signs to express their views. "At $35 a person, for 11,000 people, an ad is a great way for middle-class people to 'march,' to get out and be heard," Boyd said. MoveOn's goal is to show that resistance to war with Iraq is broad, and "nothing is more mainstream than television," he said. Charles Chatfield, a retired professor at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, who has studied the history of antiwar sentiment, says the repertory of protest remains largely unchanged. But the media -- and particularly television -- tend to focus on the newest and most dramatic forms. During the Vietnam War, for example, there was education in the newspapers, lobbying in Congress, and Southeast Asian specialists all speaking out, Chatfield said. "But nobody paid attention. That wasn't the peace movement. TV had convinced people that the peace movement was marches, young people and the counterculture." Today, though, "marches are not so novel anymore," Chatfield said, and for that reason, news of demonstrations is routinely "buried." Not everyone believes ads are the picket signs of the 21st century, however. "Resources are scarce for peace groups," said media critic McChesney. "If you are running them over and over, they start to have diminishing returns." He said the cost of a few full-page ads in major papers could pay for a full-time organizer for a year. Director-producer Robert Greenwald, co-founder of Artists United to Win Without War, a group of Hollywood actors, producers and directors who followed a celebrity press conference in December with a full-page ad in the New York Times pleading with President Bush to "Let the Inspections Work," said he can see McChesney's point. "Initially, the ad was important to show there was opposition," Greenwald said. "There is no secret now that there is widespread, deep, diverse opposition. We need to think about other tactics now." But Norman Solomon, author of "Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You" (to be published this month iby Context Books) and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, a nationwide consortium of public policy researchers, said print ads can be a compelling way to air a dissenting perspective. "There is a difference between being quoted in a news article or being sound-bitten, on TV or radio, and having an unfiltered opportunity to make a case," Solomon said. "One of the things print ads allow is the chance to convey a sense of logic that is usually truncated, if not shredded, by news accounts." Those who have placed ads -- especially television ads -- say there is no denying their effectiveness. A week after its TV ad first appeared on the news, MoveOn.org reported that its membership had grown by 100,000. The ad was covered on virtually every major network. It was shown and discussed on news programs in Australia, Pakistan, Russia and Japan. The tally is ongoing, but the ad generated at least 110 television news stories and dozens in print, according to an Interim Media Coverage Report by Fenton Communications. As MoveOn's Boyd says, "Controversial ads get covered." Times staff writer Tim Rutten contributed to this report. IRAQI/UNITED NATIONS RELATIONS http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/01/international/middleeast/01DISA.html * IRAQ TO TAKE U.N. POST New York Times, 1st February UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 31 ‹ In an embarrassing coincidence for the United Nations, Iraq is to take over as chairman of the disarmament conference in Geneva for four workweeks, officials here announced today. Just as the United States is preparing to go to war to disarm Iraq by force, it was announced that the country would step into the chairman's position from March 17 to May 25 after Iran abruptly stood aside, giving no explanation. The country to lead the conference is chosen by English-language alphabetical order; each country serves for four workweeks. The conference will observe several weeks of holiday during Iraq's tenure. The conference is nominally the United Nations' main forum for discussion of disarmament issues, but in more than two decades it has never been able to agree on a program of work. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,886823,00.html * SADDAM GETS SIX MORE WEEKS by Patrick Wintour and Julian Borger in Washington The Guardian, 2nd February [.....] US and British officials have embarked on a wide diplomatic offensive to win the backing of a majority of the 15 members of the UN security council for a resolution mandating military action. Over the last few days the US has agreed to blacklist three rebel Chechen groups, a long-standing request from Russia; approved $4.1m (£2.48m) for the resettlement of returnees to Angola; and approved an extra $2.1m for Liberian refugees hosted by Guinea, another council member. Only four of the 15 members currently favour a war, but a British source predicted an eventual majority of 13, with only Syria and Germany voting against. The US and UK need to win the backing of at least nine members for a resolution, which is expected to be tabled in a few weeks. [.....] http://www.artdaily.com/noticiaframe.asp?not=11&fnot=2/2/2003 * GUERNICA REPRODUCTION COVERED AT UN Art Daily, 2nd February NEW YORK.- The "Guernica" work by Pablo Picasso at the entrance of the Security Council of the United Nations has been covered with a curtain. The reason for covering this work is that this is the place where diplomats make statements to the press and have this work as the background. The Picasso work features the horrors of war. On January 27 a large blue curtain was placed to cover the work. Fred Eckhard, press secretary of the U.N. said: "It is an appropriate background for the cameras." He was questioned as to why the work had been covered. A diplomat stated that it would not be an appropriate background if the ambassador of the United States at the U.N. John Negroponte, or Powell, talk about war surrounded with women, children and animals shouting with horror and showing the suffering of the bombings. This work is a reproduction of the Guernica that was donated by Nelson A. Rockefeller to the U.N. in 1985. _______________________________________________ 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk