|Iraq + war on terrorism + Middle East conflict + critical perspectives|
Blair and Bush plan Iraq war summit
Kamal Ahmed, Jason Burke and Nick Pelham, The Observer, July 14, 2002
Tony Blair is preparing for a 'lightning visit' to meet President Bush at a specially - convened war summit, as America continues to press for a military invasion of Iraq. In a move that will heighten speculation that the US is in the final stages of planning an assault against Saddam Hussein, a date in the autumn for the summit at Camp David has been put forward.
War clouds gather as hawks lay their plans
Jason Burke and Ed Vulliamy, The Observer, July 14, 2002
World leaders appear to be in deadly earnest over warnings that Saddam must be deposed by force. But some in the US are asking why a blueprint for the conflict was leaked at the moment when sleaze scandals hit a new peak.
One (constitutionally illiterate) nation under God
The Constitution can't protect our rights if we don't understand them
Jamin B. Raskin, TomPaine.com, July 11, 2002
On the spectrum of constitutional abuses in John Ashcroft's America, the God-infused Pledge of Allegiance is surely not the gravest. But courts take cases as they come, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' explosive decision in June ruling the pledge unconstitutional was built on a brick wall of Supreme Court precedent.
U.S. peacekeepers given year's immunity from new court
Serge Schmemann, New York Times, July 13, 2002
The Security Council today concluded an unusual wrangle between the United States and many other members, unanimously adopting a resolution that effectively gives American peacekeepers a year's exemption from prosecution by the new International Criminal Court.
The US and the world: 'us' and 'them' in perpetual contest?
Paul Rogers, Open Democracy, July 10, 2002
As the increases in US defence spending begin to take effect, we are starting to see the longer-term effects of 11 September on the US military posture. Some of the changes are in evidence in other countries and they are joined by another factor that complicates US defence thinking – the resolute determination of the Russian arms industry to rescue itself from collapse by a vigorous arms export policy.
State Department detains reporter over leaked Saudi cable
Howard Kurtz, Washington Post, July 13, 2002
State Department officials detained a young National Review reporter for questioning at the daily briefing yesterday after he asked about a classified cable involving embarrassing problems with U.S. visas in Saudi Arabia.
America is conspicuously absent
John R. Van Eenwyk, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 14, 2002
If there is no officially sanctioned international tribunal to investigate and to adjudicate war crimes -- in other words, when justice cannot prevail -- individuals will assume the role themselves.
In tough times, a company finds profits in Terror War
Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr., New York Times, July 12, 2002
The Halliburton Company [whose former CEO is Vice-President Dick Cheney], the Dallas oil services company bedeviled lately by an array of accounting and business issues, is benefiting very directly from the United States efforts to combat terrorism.
From building cells for detainees at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to feeding American troops in Uzbekistan, the Pentagon is increasingly relying on a unit of Halliburton called KBR, sometimes referred to as Kellogg Brown & Root.
Although the unit has been building projects all over the world for the federal government for decades, the attacks of Sept. 11 have led to significant additional business. KBR is the exclusive logistics supplier for both the Navy and the Army, providing services like cooking, construction, power generation and fuel transportation. The contract recently won from the Army is for 10 years and has no lid on costs, the only logistical arrangement by the Army without an estimated cost.
Pashtuns losing faith in Karzai, U.S.
Pamela Constable, Washington Post, July 13, 2002
Afghanistan's Pashtuns, the country's dominant ethnic group, say they are beginning to lose faith in President Hamid Karzai and to fear that the U.S. military campaign here is working against them.
U.S. foreign policy: Shaping global affairs
Tom Barry, Foreign Policy in Focus, July 10, 2002
September 11 and America's post-trauma syndrome have done what foreign policy reformers have long sought - injected global affairs into America's mainstream consciousness. Unfortunately, this new international consciousness has been shaped by the Bush administration's largely military response to terrorism and is supported by a groundswell of public anger, fear, and jingoism. In less than six months, many of the modest foreign policy (and domestic) gains of the previous decade - liberalization of Mexico-U.S. migration, cuts in military spending, declassification of documents, limitations on U.S. involvement in Colombia, increased human rights and environmental conditionality to U.S. aid, negotiations with Iran and North Korea, progress on ending the embargo on Cuba - were rolled back.
What have the 9/11 investigators overlooked?
Janet McIntosh, Christian Science Monitor, July 11, 2002
The USA is widely loathed, but our leaders never fully grasped that before last September. Shortly after the attacks, President Bush claimed to be "amazed" that anyone hates America, because "I know how good we are." This naivete is a failure of "intelligence" not the kind the FBI and CIA specialize in, but a lapsed ability to see the global political landscape from any perspective outside one's own.
Osama bin Laden: Now you see him, now you don't
Tai Moses, AlterNet, July 11, 2002
The familiar, expressionless countenance of Osama bin Laden, the world's most wanted man, has occupied a slot on the F.B.I's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for nearly a year now. He gazes out from the upper left-hand corner, looking less like a terrorist than one of the B-list celebrities on Hollywood Squares.
George W. Bush probably wishes he could bump Osama down and over a few squares, perhaps to Carlos the Jackal's old chair. For not only is Osama far from being apprehended and thus dismissed from the list, U.S. intelligence sources admit they don't have a clue where he is or even if he's dead or alive - a fact that so embarrasses Washington the messages coming from the administration are increasingly schizoid.
Bush should invade Wall Street, not Iraq
Bill Berkowitz, WorkingForChange, July 11, 2002
Since September 11, the president has been able to maintain his unusually high standing in the polls, mainly due to the American people's ongoing support for his "war on terrorism." Never mind that the "war on terrorism" has had some pretty rough going the past several months: Osama bin Laden is still out there somewhere and errant bombs continue to slaughter dozens of innocent civilians. Despite these setbacks, the "war on terrorism" is still a winning issue for the president. Enough so that Bush advisor Karl Rove has all but advised Republicans to run in November on the "war on terrorism."
If the president has an Achilles heel, however, it is his all-too-cozy relationship with America's corporate elite—the one-percenters. Tax cuts for the rich, the proposed abolishing of the estate tax, which clearly would benefit the richest among us, are issues that have not really interested the American people. However, messing with working people's livelihoods and their retirement funds is another thing altogether. Bush's feeble handling of the substantive consequences arising out of the epidemic of corporate misconduct might finally be what Democrats have been waiting for.
Whoops, our bad
David Corn, Working For Change, July 11, 2002
With the most recent event - the worst known case of civilian casualties of this war - the Pentagon, once again, tried at first to duck responsibility and to explain away the slaughter. But as more information became available about the attack in Kakrak, it became harder for the Defense Department to hold the line. A look back at its changing story is instructive.
Editorial, New York Times, July 12, 2002
The United States does not rule the world, and the administration needs to think more creatively and strategically about how this country works with the rest of the planet. A dash of humility might be a help, too.
The fence at the heart of Palestine
Ilan Pappe, Al-Ahram, July 11, 2002
In the middle of last month, Israel began building a fence to separate itself physically from the West Bank. Among my friends on the Israeli left, there are those who received this news with great enthusiasm. These are the same friends who were convinced that the Oslo process would inevitably lead to a lasting and comprehensive peace. Now, they are rejoicing again, because they believe that this separation is the first step that will ultimately lead to the creation of an independent Palestinian state. In their eyes, the fence will serve as demarcation of the future border between Israel and Palestine.
If they are right, and the planned fence is indeed meant to delineate these boundaries, then Palestine -- the geopolitical entity for which the PLO had been struggling ever since its inception -- is probably lost. For in that case, the fence will virtually complete the process which was begun by the Zionist movement in 1882, and has been continued vigorously by Israel since 1948 -- the process of de-Arabising the land of Palestine.
Edward Said, Al-Ahram, July 11, 2002
Even by the terribly low standards of his other speeches, George W Bush's 24 June speech to the world about the Middle East was a startling example of how an execrable combination of muddled thought, words with no actual meaning in the real world of living, breathing human beings, preachy and racist injunctions against the Palestinians, an incredible blindness, a delusional blindness, to the realities of an ongoing Israeli invasion and conquest against all the laws of war and peace, all wrapped in the smug accents of a moralistic, stiff-necked and ignorant judge who has arrogated to himself divine privileges, now sits astride US foreign policy. And this, it is important to remember, from a man who virtually stole an election he did not win, and whose record as governor of Texas includes the worst pollution, scandalous corruption, the highest rates of imprisonment and capital punishment in the world. So this dubiously endowed man of few gifts except the blind pursuit of money and power has the capability to condemn Palestinians not just to the tender mercies of war criminal Sharon but to the dire consequences of his own empty condemnations. Flanked by three of the most venal politicians in the world (Powell, Rumsfeld, and Rice), he pronounced his speech with the halting accents of a mediocre elocution student and thereby allowed Sharon to kill or injure many more Palestinians in a US endorsed illegal military occupation.
Suicide bombings: deadly to Israelis, but how self-destructive to the Palestinian cause?
Bradley Burston, Ha'aretz, July 12, 2002
Amid a blistering Amnesty International report on Palestinian militancy - openly denouncing attacks on Israeli civilians as murder and "crimes against humanity" - and heated White House condemnations of "homicide bombings," can international pressure change minds in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the political efficacy of the bomb belt?
Warlords could seize control in Afghanistan - UN
Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters, July 11, 2002
Afghanistan could slide back under the control of warlords if it fails to receive the aid it urgently needs, a top U.N. official warned on Thursday. Kenzo Oshima, U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said that $777 million was needed up to the end of this year to finance requirements including food and shelter for returning refugees, as well as police and army salaries.
War against what?
Brendan O'Neill, Spiked, July 2, 2002
The more the war drags on, the more trouble US leaders seem to have pinpointing what America is fighting against. The war has moved from focusing on bin Laden to focusing on 'evil dictators everywhere'; from 'destroying terrorism' in Afghanistan to 'rebuilding hope' across the third world; from bombing terrorist camps in Afghanistan to a 'first strike' policy that will target 'over 60 nations' to keep international terrorism in check. One left-wing US commentator argues that 'what started as a war against one man... has turned into a war against the world'.
Gorbachev: I fear Bush and Blair war plan
Oonagh Blackman, Daily Mirror, July 11, 2002
Mikhail Gorbachev last night branded George W Bush and Tony Blair a threat to world peace. The former Russian president said US and British plans to attack Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein would wreck the international coalition against terrorism.
West sees glittering prizes ahead in giant oilfields
Michael Theodoulou and Roland Watson, The Times, July 11, 2002
President Bush has used the War on Terror to press his case for drilling in a protected Arctic refuge, but predicted reserves in Alaska are dwarfed by the oilwells of the Gulf. Anthony Cordesman, of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said that the issue for the US was as much the security of the Gulf as access to particular oilfields. "You are looking down the line to a world in 2020 when reliance on Gulf oil will have more than doubled. The security of the Gulf is an absolutely critical issue."
U.S. plans massive invasion of Iraq
Richard Sale, UPI, July 10, 2002
President George W. Bush and his advisers are reviewing plans for a massive, full-scale military conquest of Iraq, composed by Central Command under Gen. Tommy Franks, that would require five ground force divisions numbering 200,000, two Marine Corps divisions, and 15 wings of U.S. fighters and bombers, key administration officials told United Press International. These officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Britain is expected to provide as many as 25,000 troops for a total on-the-ground force of 250,000 men.
Who wants this war?
Michael Kinsley, Slate, July 10, 2002
It was amazing to read the Pentagon's detailed plans for an invasion of Iraq in the New York Times last week. The general reaction of Americans to this news was even more amazing: Basically, there was no reaction. We seem to be distant observers of our own nation's preparation for war, watching with horror or approval or indifference a process we have nothing to do with and cannot affect.
A strange kind of freedom
Robert Fisk, The Independent, July 9, 2002
The most astonishing – and least covered – story is in fact the alliance of Israeli lobbyists and Christian Zionist fundamentalists, a coalition that began in 1978 with the publication of a Likud plan to encourage fundamentalist churches to give their support to Israel. By 1980, there was an "International Christian Embassy" in Jerusalem; and in 1985, a Christian Zionist lobby emerged at a "National Prayer Breakfast for Israel" whose principal speaker was Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to become Israeli prime minister. "A sense of history, poetry and morality imbued the Christian Zionists who, more than a century ago, began to write, plan and organise for Israel's restoration," Netanyahu told his audience. The so-called National Unity Coalition for Israel became a lobbying arm of Christian Zionism with contacts in Congress and neo-conservative think-tanks in Washington.
See also U.S. Christians find cause to aid Israel - evangelicals financing immigrants, settlements
We need to talk about the war on Iraq before it begins
Hugo Young, The Guardian, July 11, 2002
The fiercest debates about war usually take place after the slaughter has begun, and sometimes only when it's over. Vietnam crept up on Kennedy, and then Johnson, and even in 1965 when their private deliberations concluded with American military intervention, the public argument was nugatory. The mainstream media gave it near-total support. Somewhat later, opinion turned, and war fury both ways dominated the whole of politics. By then it was too late to save anyone from catastrophe. The case of modern Iraq is different. We can see war coming.
U.S. bid for exemption from International Criminal Court rebuffed
Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service, July 10, 2002
The United States appeared isolated Wednesday in seeking -- and failing to secure -- exemptions for its U.N. peacekeepers from the jurisdiction of the nascent International Criminal Court. At a meeting of the Security Council, the 15-member European Union, a traditional U.S. ally, and the 114-member Non-Aligned Movement rejected the U.S. request to shield its citizens from the Court, which has entered into treaty force and is expected to open its doors early next year.
Israelis close main office at Palestinian university in Jerusalem
Molly Moore, Washington Post, July 10, 2002
"The closing of [Al-Qud University President] Nusseibeh's offices exposes the true nature of this government -- systematic destruction of any possible political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Moria Shlomot, director of the Israeli anti-war group Peace Now, said in a statement.
The offices were shut down because of "suspicion that they operated under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority and on its behalf," said a spokesman for the Jerusalem superintendent of Israeli police. "According to the law, the P.A. is not allowed to operate in the boundaries of the state of Israel."
Nusseibeh, who recently was criticized by some Palestinians for being a signatory to a newspaper advertisement denouncing suicide bombings by Palestinians, was at a conference in Greece when, at 9 a.m., about 60 police surrounded the two-story office building that houses the administration of the multi-campus university, Diliani said.
"They sealed off the area around the university and declared it a military zone, with nobody allowed in or out," said Diliani, who has worked for the university four years. "They were changing locks, taking computer hardware, files and file cabinets without even looking inside."
Israel's closure policy
An ineffective strategy of containment and repression
Amira Hass, Journal of Palestine Studies, Spring 2002
This article examines the Israeli policy of closure from its introduction in 1991 through its consolidation under Oslo, when its devastating potential was heightened by an intermeshing with Oslo II's division of the occupied territories into zones of Israeli and Palestinian control. The author argues that closure, first applied as a military-bureaucratic preemptive security measure, crystallized with Oslo into a conscious political goal: demographic separation without meaningful political separation. Despite the absence of an organized Palestinian resistance to closure, the reasons for which are explored here, a spirit of resilience and defiance has enabled the population to bear up under closure's intensification during the present uprising, when virtually all movement is banned and the territories are under siege.
Circumventing courts to bypass democracy
Moshe Gorali, Ha'aretz, July 9, 2002
Three [Israeli] Supreme Court verdicts of recent years have become controversial precisely because of their enlightened attitude toward Arabs - the ruling against holding Lebanese hostages as "bargaining chips" in the Ron Arad case; the prohibition against the Shin Bet shaking Palestinian prisoners; and the Kadan-Katzir verdict prohibiting the state from discriminating between Jewish and Arab citizens in allocating state land.
Such decisions should be simple - what court in a democracy would uphold torture, hostage taking, or racial discrimination?
Look who's prejudiced
Nicholas D. Kristof, International Herald Tribune, July 10, 2002
Since Sept. 11, appalling hate speech about Islam has circulated in the United States on talk radio, on the Internet and in particular among conservative Christian pastors - the modern echoes of Charles Coughlin, the "radio priest" who had a peak listening audience in the 1930s of one-third of America for his anti-Semitic diatribes.
America shouldn't fear the international court
Chris Patten, International Herald Tribune, July 10, 2002
The United States was fully engaged in the Rome conference that prepared the court. It sought all sorts of assurances, and it got them. For example: The International Criminal Court is complementary to national courts. It would have had nothing to say, for example, about the sorry business a couple of years back involving indecent assaults by U.S. troops in Okinawa. Not only did this involve what might be called "common crime" rather than crimes against humanity but the United States itself took appropriate action.
The international court will not be retrospective.
Investigations can proceed only after a pretrial chamber has determined there is a reasonable basis for action. Under Article 16 of the court's statute the UN Security Council can decide to block prosecutions for fixed periods. In short, the United States demanded elaborate safeguards, and it got them. But in a pattern that has become wearily familiar in other contexts such as the Kyoto climate change treaty, it then revoked its intention to sign. This technique carries serious long-term risks. Why should people make concessions to America if the United States is going to walk away in any case?
The welcome is going sour
Selig S. Harrison, International Herald Tribune, July 10, 2002
Mounting anger over civilian casualties inflicted by U.S. forces is not the only reason why anti-American sentiment is growing in Afghanistan. More than 120 Afghan villagers were inadvertently killed or wounded by a C-130 gunship on June 30 in Oruzgan Province, a stronghold of the 10 million Pashtun tribesmen who are Afghanistan's largest ethnic group. But even before the Oruzgan tragedy, the Pashtun goodwill earned by the United States for sweeping away the Taliban had been replaced by resentment after U.S. pressure to block the re-emergence of a Pashtun-dominated regime at the recent loya jirga, or grand council, held in Kabul.
U.S. deported 131 Pakistanis in secret airlift
Diplomatic issues cited; no terror ties found
Steve Fainaru, Washington Post, July 10, 2002
In a highly unusual airlift involving hundreds of U.S. immigration officers, the Justice Department secretly chartered a Portuguese jet to deport 131 Pakistani detainees who had been held for months at INS detention facilities around the country. A majority of the detainees, a Pakistani official said, had been arrested under a Justice Department program to locate and apprehend immigrants who have ignored previous deportation orders and who came under scrutiny after the Sept. 11 attacks. None of the detainees appeared to have links to terrorism, U.S. officials said.
The man who wasn't there
How Louis Freeh escaped responsibility for 9/11
Joshua Micah Marshall, Slate, July 9, 2002
For more than a month, congressional committees have been investigating America's recent track record on intelligence and counterterrorism. Members of Congress have heard from Robert Mueller, the current chief of the FBI, and George Tenet, the current chief of the CIA. They've heard from former heads of these agencies, such as William Webster. They've taken testimony from a star-studded array of other intelligence and counterterrorism worthies. But along the way, it somehow hasn't occurred to any of the committees doing post-9/11 investigations to call up Louis J. Freeh, the man who headed the FBI—the country's primary domestic intelligence and counterterrorism agency—from 1993 to June 2001, the most critical eight years in question.
The human cost of war
Leela Jacinto, ABC News, July 9, 2002
Days after President Bush expressed his sympathies over the "tragedy" of the July 1 bombing raid , Sultan — who currently works as a program coordinator for the New York-based Women for Afghan Women -— and a number of other activists addressed a small gathering of protesters outside the White House. Her demands were simple: an investigation into all the reported cases of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and for the U.S. government to set up a trust fund to assist families of innocent victims of U.S. bombings in Afghanistan. "I find myself asking that in this age of information, don't we want to know the successes and failures of the war?" she says. "And why don't we want the people to know?"
Bush threatens future of peacekeeping
Jim Lobe, AlterNet, July 9, 2002
The ongoing test of wills over the future of U.N. peacekeeping mission in Bosnia within the Security Council has turned into a watershed event -- one that may decisively shape the United States' relationship with the rest of the world.
Rebel groups reject CIA overtures down on the farm
Julian Borger, The Guardian, July 10, 2002
Deep in the bowels of the US state department, not far from the cafeteria, there is a small office identified only by a handwritten sign on the door reading: The Future of Iraq Project. Such is the ramshackle reality lying beneath the Bush administration's pronouncements on regime change in Baghdad. There is little doubt that the Pentagon is devising invasion plans in deadly earnest, but the parallel effort to build a political alternative has been half-hearted to say the least. In fact it is in retreat on several fronts.
If Afghanistan goes down
Editorial, Washington Post, July 9, 2002
It is not clear who killed Abdul Qadir, one of Afghanistan's vice presidents, but the message from Saturday's assassination is obvious enough. Afghanistan's post-Taliban political order remains fragile; it is threatened by all the forces that may lie behind the killing: ethnic tensions, rivalries between the provinces and the center, the opium trade. The United States and its allies need to recognize that, without stronger efforts to stand behind Hamid Karzai's interim government, the opportunity to stabilize Afghanistan will be fumbled.
'Jews-only' law sparks firestorm
Bradley Burston, Ha'aretz, July 9, 2002
"If we are not already totally an apartheid state, we are getting much, much closer to it," said former cabinet minister and leftist Meretz party founder Shulamit Aloni.
"We are also moving farther and farther away from the founding document of the state of Israel," she said, in a reference to the nation's 1948 Declaration of Independence, which pledged "development of the country for the benefit of all its residents" and "complete social and political equality to all its citizens, regardless of religion, race, or gender."
Documenting the massacre in Mazar
Genevieve Roja, AlterNet, July 8, 2002
A documentary film by Scottish filmmaker Jamie Doran titled "Massacre at Mazar" offers eyewitness testimony and film footage of human remains and mass graves of what may be damning evidence of mass killings at Sherberghan and Mazar-I-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan.
The massacre allegedly took place in November 2001, when Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum of the Northern Alliance took control of Kunduz, and accepted the surrender of about 8,000 Taliban fighters that included al-Qaeda, Chechens, Uzbeks and Pakistanis. Almost 500 suspected al-Qaeda members were taken to the Qala Jangi prison fortress (where a revolt would eventually leave one CIA agent dead and make John Walker Lindh a household name), while the remainder of the prisoners -- about 7,500 -- were loaded in containers and transported to the Qala-I-Zeini fortress, almost halfway between Mazar-i-Sharif and Sherberghan Prison. Human rights advocates say that close to 5,000 of the original 8,000 are missing.
FBI raids immigrants' stores
David B. Caruso, Associated Press, July 9, 2002
About 75 stores have been searched by investigators hoping to discover financial backing for terrorist groups, said a law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The raids have taken place in several cities over the past two weeks, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and New York. Dozens of foreigners, mostly from Pakistan, have been detained or questioned. The shop owners have been asked about their accounting practices and whether they send money to any foreign organizations on a regular basis. They also are asked whether they support al-Qaida or know anyone who does, officials said.
Immigration attorney Neil Rambana, who is representing three Pakistani men and a woman from Nepal arrested in a raid at the Governor's Square mall in Tallahassee, Fla., said the FBI and INS were on a "fishing expedition." "There is no proof and no one has presented any evidence that would put these people under suspicion," Rambana said. "This was all about abusing people's rights in the hopes that there were a few guilty people among them."
Racism debate flares in Israel
Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2002
The government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has endorsed a proposed law that would allow Jews to bar Arab citizens of Israel from purchasing homes or living in many Israeli communities, a move that has touched off a divisive national debate.
The attempt to legalize "Jews-only" towns was swiftly criticized by numerous Israeli politicians and human rights groups, who said it was a discriminatory and racist proposal. Supporters praised the bill for protecting what they called the essence of Zionism.
The debate goes to the heart of Israel's existential contradiction: How can it be both a Jewish state and a democratic state?
Ties binding U.S. to Arab world are weakened
Howard Schneider, Washington Post, July 8, 2002
Among the universities that it was hoped would send recruiters back to the Middle East this fall, "no one has registered," said Sohair Saad, educational information director at the training group Amideast, which helped sponsor the MBA tour. Students, she said, are expressing less and less interest in studying in the United States. "We're scared of them, they are scared of us," she said of the current attitude toward the United States. "This is very unfortunate."
No wedding and too many funerals
Bill Berkowitz, WorkingForChange, July 5, 2002
The "war on terrorism" is failing. The challenge is to find other ways of dealing with state- and organizationally-sponsored terrorism. For now, money is flying down the rat-hole called Bush's "war on terrorism."
I'm not the first to say this and nor will I be the last: The United States and its allies are making one holy heck of a mess of the "war on terrorism." Errant bombs continue to slaughter civilians. Coalition troops continue to pursue, and not find, remnants of al-Qaeda and Taliban troops.
Minister suspended over 9/11 service
AP, July 9, 2002
A minister with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has been suspended for participating in an interfaith service at Yankee Stadium for the families of those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Kurdish leaders reluctant to join U.S. move against Saddam
John F. Burns, New York Times (via IHT), July 9, 2002
As the United States considers ways of accomplishing President George W. Bush's call for an end to Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq, Washington's goal of a "regime change" in Baghdad is running into strong reservations from Iraqi Kurdish leaders who would be crucial allies in any military campaign.
ONE NATION UNDER GOD - AYATOLLAH SCALIA WON'T LET DEMOCRACY UNDERMINE HIS FAITH
From Justice Scalia, a chilling vision of religion’s authority in America
Sean Wilentz, New York Times, July 8, 2002
"The reaction of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government should not be resignation to it, but the resolution to combat it as effectively as possible," [Scalia] said in Chicago.
New Afghan exodus looms
Owen Bowcott and Alan Travis, The Guardian, July 9, 2002
A fresh exodus of Afghan refugees could be triggered as early as next month if the UN agency assisting the resettlement of 2 million people runs out of funds and is forced to suspend its aid programme, western donor nations are being warned.
Israel accused of 'racist ideology' with plan to prevent Arabs buying homes
Eric Silver, The Independent, July 9, 2002
Opposition was growing last night to a plan by Ariel Sharon's government to build public-sector housing within Israel exclusively for Jews. Left-wing and Arab MPs denounced as "racist" Sunday's cabinet decision to back a private member's bill barring Arabs from buying homes in "Jewish" townships, built on state-owned land. Israel has about 1 million Arabs, nearly 20 per cent of the population. Shulamit Aloni, a veteran civil rights campaigner and former minister, said: "If we are not an apartheid state, we are getting much, much closer to it." Yossi Sarid, who succeeded her as leader of the Meretz party, added: "The Israeli Arabs are not guests here. They are citizens with equal rights." Azmi Bishara, of the Arab Balad party, said: "Racism has become an official ideology of the state of Israel."
Middle Eastern gulf separates EU and US
Brian Whitaker, The Guardian, July 8, 2002
When continents drift apart they usually move so slowly that nobody notices, but since George Bush became president the Atlantic has widened perceptibly. In the pre-Bush era, disputes between Europe and the US could often be passed off as differences of nuance rather than substance. What is emerging now, however, particularly in relation to the Middle East, is a fundamental difference of approach that will be hard to ignore or resolve.
FLAG-FLYING IS EASIER THAN SUSTAINING DEMOCRACY
After 9/11, patriotism's up, but not presence at the polls
Brian Faler, Washington Post, July 8, 2002
"What the citizenry was asked to do was to return to normalcy, consume material goods and invest in the stock market -- hardly clarion calls to civic involvement."
Reality gap in Afghanistan
Despite rosy reports, women's rights remain wishful thinking
Belquis Ahmadi, Washington Post, July 8, 2002
For 10 days I sat inside a tent in Kabul as one of 200 women delegates participating in the loya jirga to determine Afghanistan's future government. Given my experience, the widespread willingness to declare that assembly an unmitigated success is a mystery to me and, I would hope, to all those who put reality before rhetoric when it comes to women's rights.
The power to imprison
Philip Heymann, Washington Post, July 7, 2002
The Bush administration is claiming the power to decide alone and in secret whether Americans shall be imprisoned indefinitely to protect us against terrorism. It's that simple. The president claims the power to detain citizens as well as illegal immigrants as "combatants" until the war on terrorism is over. That war, like the war on drugs, is likely to continue indefinitely; terrorism in Northern Ireland and Israel have been facts of life for 35 years.
A detained person will not have access to a lawyer. The factual basis for calling a citizen a combatant on behalf of terrorism will generally be secret. There will be no judicial review of the grounds for finding that the citizen poses a danger of terrorism and often no trial on any criminal charges. Our most basic freedom now depends on the good faith of the administration in power -- the very situation the Founders meant most clearly to prevent. The United Kingdom, although faced with an onslaught of terrorism in Northern Ireland and in England, abandoned use of preventive detention without criminal charges in 1975.
The president's claim of such power is not bolstered by congressional support. As the Supreme Court noted in denying President Truman the power to seize the steel mills to avoid economic disruption of our war in Korea, such authorization -- or its absence -- is often critical to a president's claim of national security powers. The closest the administration can come to finding such congressional support is the resolution broadly empowering it to fight al Qaeda -- a resolution nowhere even hinting, however remotely, that extraordinary powers to seize and then indefinitely detain Americans seized in the United States (and not captured in battle) were granted or even imagined. Congress has never provided the president any support for this claim.
Interview with Tariq Ali
How Bush used 9/11 to remap the world
Counterpunch, July 8, 2002
I think that the Left, using the word in its broadest sense, is divided. Many intellectuals were panicked into supporting the 'war on terrorism'. Though a strong minority exists in the United States that opposes the new imperialism. In Europe there is a majority in Germany, Britain and Italy that is opposed to any new war on Iraq and many are now beginning to see that the US utilised 9/11 to re-map the world. So there is an opposition in the First World. In Britain at the moment 170 Members of Parliament (mainly Labour) have signed a public declaration against a war on Iraq.
Expecting Taliban, but finding only horror
Carlotta Gall, New York Times, July 8, 2002
After an American plane bombarded this village on July 1, American and Afghan soldiers surrounded the settlement and advanced at first light, searching houses and detaining people, apparently expecting to find Islamic militants, residents said today.
But as the soldiers neared the center of the cluster of mud-walled farmhouses, they found a horrifying scene, survivors said.
Women and children lay dead and wounded in and around one big house where they had been gathered for an engagement party, torn apart by cannon fire from the American attack plane, an AC-130 gunship. Survivors said they were gathering up the bodies, picking up limbs and body parts from the streets and adjoining orchard, and carrying the wounded to the village mosque, when the soldiers arrived.
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
UK paper's Bush attack angers US shareholder
Roy Greenslade, The Guardian, July 8, 2002
The Daily Mirror editor, Piers Morgan, has vowed to go on publishing articles critical of US president George Bush despite concern from an American shareholder.
The news about the news since Sept. 11: Not good
H.D.S. Greenway, Boston Globe, July 7, 2002
There has always been a tension between news gatherers and newsmakers, and the war on terror will prove no exception. The US government will try to control and guide information about its doings, as all governments do. It has already chipped away at liberties that Americans heretofore could take for granted. Who will guard these rights if not a free press?
Stop the war before it starts
David Cortright, The Progressive, August, 2002
The Bush Administration once again is gearing up for war against Iraq. It's a war that could cause a massive loss of life and could end with the use of nuclear weapons by the United States or Israel. It's a war that is unnecessary, a war we--as progressives, as peace activists--have an obligation to oppose with all nonviolent means at our disposal.
Axis of Evil World Tour 2002
Mitchell Koss, Los Angeles Times, July 7, 2002
In 1996, I went to Iraq to report on life after the Gulf War. I've reported from Iran several times over the last decade. But it wasn't until last month that I completed the third leg of my Axis of Evil World Tour with a trip to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. In many ways, it's hard to figure what President Bush was thinking when he linked the three countries. Iran is a theocracy. Iraq is a strongman state. And North Korea is a museum piece, our last living relic of totalitarianism. Now that I've spent time in all three places, I have some ideas about how they're connected, although I'm not sure they're the links the president had in mind.
VICTIMS OF THE OCCUPATION
A cancerous situation
Gideon Levy, Ha'aretz, July 7, 2002
How would you feel if, heaven forbid, you were to fall ill with cancer but be unable to get to the site of treatments that could save your life? A case in point is Dr. Mazen Tiatana, 50, an economist who studied in Poland, is married without children and lives in the village of Abu Qash, north of Ramallah in the West Bank. He had an appointment to get chemotherapy yesterday, but once again, he didn't get there.
Britain is bypassing its own arms embargo on Israel by selling military equipment via America
Kamal Ahmed, The Observer, July 7, 2002
In a move that has split the Cabinet, the Foreign Office is set to reveal that components for F16 fighter planes will be allowed to leave the country despite being destined for aircraft already sold to Ariel Sharon's government. The move will be viewed with dismay by Arab states and anti-arms campaigners who say the arming of Israel raises tension in the area. One senior Government figure said there was a 'clear understanding' the fighter planes could be used for aggressive acts against the Occupied Territories, in direct contradiction to Tony Blair's call for peace.
Minister's killing rocks Afghanistan
Jason Burke, The Observer, July 7, 2002
Afghanistan faced the threat of new instability yesterday after a key Cabinet Minister was gunned down in broad daylight outside his office in Kabul.
US 'to attack Iraq via Jordan'
Jason Burke, Martin Bright and Nicolas Pelham, The Observer, July 7, 2002
American military planners are preparing to use Jordan as a base for an assault on Iraq later this year or early in 2003. Although leaked Pentagon documents appear to show that Turkey, Kuwait and the small Gulf state of Qatar would play key roles, it is believed that Jordan will be the 'jumping-off' point for an attack that could involve up to 250,000 American troops and forces from Britain and other key US allies.
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