The War in Context  
  Iraq + war on terrorism + Middle East conflict + critical perspectives     
Tinker, banker, neoCon, spy
Ahmed Chalabi's long and winding road from (and to?) Baghdad

Robert Dreyfuss, The American Prospect, November 14, 2002

If T.E. Lawrence ("of Arabia") had been a 21st-century neoconservative operative instead of a British imperial spy, he'd be Ahmed Chalabi's best friend. Chalabi, the London-based leader of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), is front man for the latest incarnation of a long-time neoconservative strategy to redraw the map of the oil-rich Middle East, put American troops -- and American oil companies -- in full control of the Persian Gulf's reserves and use the Gulf as a fulcrum for enhancing America's global strategic hegemony. Just as Lawrence's escapades in World War I-era Arabia helped Britain remake the disintegrating Ottoman Empire, the U.S. sponsors of Chalabi's INC hope to do their own nation building.

"The removal of [Saddam Hussein] presents the United States in particular with a historic opportunity that I believe is going to prove to be as large as anything that has happened in the Middle East since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the entry of British troops into Iraq in 1917," says Kanan Makiya, an INC strategist and author of Republic of Fear.

Chalabi would hand over Iraq's oil to U.S. multinationals, and his allies in conservative think tanks are already drawing up the blueprints. "What they have in mind is denationalization, and then parceling Iraqi oil out to American oil companies," says James E. Akins, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Even more broadly, once an occupying U.S. army seizes Baghdad, Chalabi's INC and its American backers are spinning scenarios about dismantling Saudi Arabia, seizing its oil and collapsing the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). It's a breathtaking agenda, one that goes far beyond "regime change" and on to the start of a New New World Order.

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UK finance minister warns defence chiefs war on Iraq is 'too expensive'
Michael Smith, The Telegraph, November 2, 2002

Gordon Brown has told the Ministry of Defence that Britain cannot afford to send ground troops to the Gulf to take part in a war against Iraq.

The Treasury has ordered military planners to come up with new strategies after it worked out that the contribution to a US-led war would cost 3 billion pounds, about 0.5 billion pounds more than the British deployment in 1991.

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Bush's Iraq adventure is bound to backfire
Youssef M. Ibrahim, International Herald Tribune, November 1, 2002

Let us not be fooled: The upcoming war against Iraq has nothing to do with the war against terror.

President George W. Bush's war is fueled by two things: bolstering the president's popularity as he attempts to ride on the natural wave of American patriotism unleashed by the criminal attacks of Sept. 11; and a misguided temptation to get more oil out of the Middle East by turning a ''friendly" Iraq into a private American oil pumping station.

Both will backfire and may indeed cost this president and his warmongering cabinet their sought-after second term.

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Rally in Washington is said to invigorate the antiwar movement
Kate Zernike, New York Times, October 30, 2002

Emboldened by a weekend antiwar protest in Washington that organizers called the biggest since the days of the Vietnam War, groups opposed to military action in Iraq said they were preparing a wave of new demonstrations across the country in the next few weeks.

The demonstration on Saturday in Washington drew 100,000 by police estimates and 200,000 by organizers', forming a two-mile wall of marchers around the White House. The turnout startled even organizers, who had taken out permits for 20,000 marchers. They expected 30 buses, and were surprised by about 650, coming from as far as Nebraska and Florida.

A companion demonstration in San Francisco attracted 42,000 protesters, city police there said, and smaller groups demonstrated in other cities, including about 800 in Austin, Tex., and 2,500 in Augusta, Me.
See also Did New York Times Blow Coverage of Antiwar March?

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Dirty war
How America's friends really fight terrorism

Peter Maass, New Republic, October 31, 2002

If you happen to believe the only good terrorist is a dead terrorist, you are quite possibly a member of the U.S. government. I realized this while visiting the home of a U.S. official in Pakistan one Sunday afternoon. Security guards are always stationed outside his residence. When he ventures beyond his front door he does so in an armored car, with bodyguards at his side, and another vehicle follows his--lest he end up like Laurence Foley, the American diplomat who was killed outside his home in Amman, Jordan, on October 28.

We drank coffee and nibbled biscuits in his living room and chatted about the best place to buy handwoven carpets, which are plentiful in Pakistan, at prices that coincide with the sum the salesman believes he can extract from your American wallet. Our conversation then moved to the crackdown on religious extremists by Pakistan's military leader, General Pervez Musharraf. I assumed the official wanted every actual or potential terrorist thrown in jail. He shook his head; I didn't get it at all.

"We don't want them arrested," the official said. "We want them e--."

He interrupted himself. He was reconsidering his choice of words.

"Were you going to say, 'exterminated'?" I asked.

He smiled uncomfortably.

"No. I was going to say, 'eliminated.'"

I cannot disclose his name or the city where we met, but I can add one detail about my host: He was telling the truth. It is impolitic for U.S. officials to give their blessing on the record to regimes that skip judicial niceties and go directly to the gallows, but that is the reality of America's war on terrorism. Due process is a rarity in most Muslim nations; police and courts are rotten with ineptness, corruption, torture, and meddling by political and religious authorities. When the White House urges a crackdown, as it frequently does in public statements and private meetings, it knows--and does not mind--that terrorism suspects are far more likely to face summary executions than fair trials.

Publicly, the administration pretends this isn't true. "In the context of our counterterrorism efforts," Secretary of State Colin Powell said after meeting his Asian and Pacific Rim counterparts at the end of July, "I made the point to all my interlocutors that we still believe strongly in human rights and that in everything we do we have to be consistent with the universal standards of human rights." The next day Powell added, "The United States feels strongly about these sorts of issues and believes that if we are really going to prevail over this plague on the face of mankind, then we have to do it in a way that respects human dignity."

Powell, who is a smart man, knows this is nonsense. Earlier this year, in a report titled "Rights at Risk," Amnesty International warned that "the `war on terror' may be degenerating into a global `dirty war' of torture, detentions, and executions." In a statement accompanying the report, which cited a pattern of abuses in Egypt, China, Malaysia, Turkey, and elsewhere, Amnesty International said, "A number of states have introduced new laws that violate human rights standards while others have used existing measures to crack down on opposition." Says Peter Bouckaert, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, "The U.S. is facilitating these countries in committing torture to further its aims in the war on terror."

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Human rights body: suicide bombers guilty of 'war crimes'
Justin Huggler, The Independent, November 1, 2002

In a searing report published today, Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemns Palestinian suicide bombings and other attacks on Israeli civilians as crimes against humanity and war crimes, and calls for the prosecution of those responsible, including the political leadership of militant groups such as Hamas.

In an exhaustive 160-page report, the organisation found no evidence to support Israeli government accusations that Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority ordered suicide bombings and attacks on civilians. But the report does accuse Mr Arafat of not doing enough to prevent attacks.
See also HRW report Suicide Bombers Commit Crimes Against Humanity

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The US must now redraw Israel's 'road map' to peace
The Sharon government has offered revenge, but no resolution

Martin Woollacott, The Guardian, November 1, 2002

It is an indication of how weirdly oblique Israeli politics can be that the Labour party could only raise the profoundly moral issue of the settlements by staging a row about what they are costing the government.

That the settlements are the cause of a war which takes lives every day of the week somehow takes second place to the fact that they are burning a hole in the pockets of taxpayers.

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Army braces for 'primordial combat'
Vernon Loeb, Washington Post, October 31, 2002

Recent experimentation by the Marine Corps has shown that battlefield casualties exceed 30 percent in simulated urban operations involving troops who receive, on average, only about two weeks of urban combat training per year, said retired Marine Col. Randy Gangle, an official at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory.

Senior Iraqi officials have already said they would try to lure U.S. forces into Baghdad, acknowledging that the Persian Gulf War in 1991 taught them the folly of fighting in the desert against superior American armor and air power. Bluffing or not, the Iraqis understand that the U.S. military’s overwhelming technological advantages are to some extent nullified in cities, where buildings shelter enemy forces from reconnaissance aircraft and satellites and the presence of civilians makes the use of even the smartest bombs infinitely more difficult.

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The terrorist next door?
Rick Holmes, Milford Daily News, October 27, 2002

He lived upstairs, with his wife and daughter, in a house in south Framingham. He was an engineer, working at The Mathworks, a software company on Rte. 9. His wife, who was working on her doctorate, was "an absolute sweetheart," recalls Ginny Marino, who lives downstairs.

They were from Canada, and he often brought Marino maple sugar or other treats from his trips north. Early last year they moved back to Ottawa. Last month they took a family trip to Tunisia. On his way back to Canada, while waiting for a connecting flight to Montreal, the husband was grabbed, apparently by agents of the U.S. government. After weeks of mystery, when neither his wife nor Canadian officials knew where he was, he was found - locked up in a Syrian prison.
See also Canadians warned about visiting US

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Making a killing: The business of war
The Center for Public Integrity, October 28, 2002

At least 90 companies that provide services normally performed by national military forces – but without the same degree of public oversight – have operated in 110 countries worldwide, providing everything from military training, logistics, and even engaging in armed combat. Amid the global military downsizing and the increasing number of small conflicts that followed the end of the Cold War, governments have turned increasingly to these private military companies to intervene on their behalf around the globe, a new investigation by the Center for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has found.

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CIA concerned US war on terror is missing root causes
Agence France Presse, October 29, 2002

The US Central Intelligence Agency has warned that US counterterrorist operations around the world may not eliminate the threat of future attacks because they fail to address the root causes of terrorism, according to new documents.
In an unusual display of candor, the CIA pointed out that continued instability in Afghanistan, challenges facing Saudi rulers and the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict were likely to fuel radicalism in the Muslim world.

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Saddam safe on home front, CIA says
Bill Gertz, Washington Times, October 29, 2002

Saddam Hussein's hold on power in Iraq remains strong and his military forces can defeat any internal opposition, according to a CIA analysis.

"Saddam maintains a vise grip on the levers of power through a pervasive intelligence and security apparatus and even his reduced military force remains capable of defeating more poorly armed internal opposition groups," the CIA stated in written answers to questions posed by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in a February annual threat briefing.

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France is defending global order
Jacques Chirac is not concerned with Iraq, but US unilateralism

Jacques Amalric, The Guardian, October 31, 2002

The struggle between the French and American ambassadors that has been going on for the past two weeks in the corridors of the United Nations does not, of course, mean that Mr Chirac has suddenly rekindled his former love affair with Iraq, which dates back to the early 1970s, and that he is trying by every means available to save Saddam's skin.

No, what the present incumbent of the Elysée palace is defending is an international order - or an international disorder, depending on your point of view - that was born after the collapse of the Soviet Union and is threatened today by the new US doctrine of preventive unilateral intervention.

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Anti-war protesters plan day of civil disobedience
Matthew Tempest, The Guardian, October 31, 2002

Thousands of people were today expected to take part in a series of demonstrations up and down Britain to protest against military action on Iraq.

The Stop the War umbrella group was hoping for "the largest protest of direct action and disobedience there has been in Britain for decades", with mini-protests, sit-downs and occupations "from Beccles to Bournemouth, Canterbury to Aberdeen".

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The people must protest
Paul Foot, The Guardian, October 30, 2002

Forty years ago, I sat down proudly in Trafalgar Square alongside Bertrand Russell and thousands of others in protest against Britain's weapons of mass destruction. We were all breaking the law.

There was a lot of civil disobedience at that time, organised by the Committee of 100. The committee's arguments were founded in the horrific nature of nuclear weapons and the urgency of alerting the government to widespread public disquiet about them. The square was cleared by police in the early morning and the committee eventually vanished.

Now, however, 40 years on, a monstrous war looms in the Middle East for which there is not the slightest justification. Every single charge against Saddam Hussein - that he has nuclear weapons, repeatedly breaks international law by invading his neighbours, and is a constant threat to peace in the region - applies tenfold to the client state of the United States in the region, Israel.

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The military-industrial complex
James Fallows, Foreign Policy, November, 2002

Has U.S. politics shifted to the right? The domestic records of two 20th-century Republican presidents, Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, remove any doubt. Nixon took stands that would make him an isolated leftist among modern Democrats. He enforced (albeit grudgingly) school busing and racial-quota hiring plans, established the Environmental Protection Agency, redirected federal funds to state and municipal welfare programs, and tried to enact a "guaranteed annual income." Eisenhower sent troops to make sure schools were integrated and enacted public-works programs on a scale not seen since his time: For transportation, the interstate highways. For public health, the polio-vaccine campaign. For education and science, the flow of federal funds to local schools after Sputnik. The only Democrat since Franklin Delano Roosevelt with a comparably liberal record of accomplishment is Lyndon Johnson, with Medicare and the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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Labour walkout shatters Israeli coalition
Justin Huggler, The Independent, October 31, 2002

Israel's coalition government collapsed yesterday when Ariel Sharon's main Labour party partners resigned, leaving the country in political confusion even as an American war on Iraq loomed and amid the Palestinian intifada.

Mr Sharon faces a choice between calling early elections or trying to struggle on with the support of the hard right, which would give him a tiny majority.

An alliance with the hard right would be bad news for the little that is left of the peace process because its members are even more opposed to compromise with the Palestinians than Mr Sharon. There could be months of uncertainty ahead.

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Hawks trot out World War II to justify Iraq
Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service, October 25, 2002

In 1966, two years after Congress approved the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution that authorised U.S. escalation in the Vietnam War, then-chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, J. William Fulbright, deplored both the decision and the debate surrounding it.

''We Americans,'' he writes in his classic critique of U.S. policy, The Arrogance of Power, ''are severely, if not uniquely afflicted with a habit of policy-making by analogy: North Vietnam's involvement in South Vietnam, for example, is equated with Hitler's invasion of Poland and a parley with the Viet Cong would represent 'another Munich'.''

''The treatment of slight and superficial resemblances as if they were full-blooded analogies - as instances, as it were, of history 'repeating itself' - is a substitute for thinking and a misuse of history,'' he warned.

Fulbright, of course, was completely vindicated in his argument that Ho Chi Minh was neither the equivalent of Adolf Hitler; nor was he the puppet of an expansionist international communist movement orchestrated by Moscow and/or Beijing, as the hawks of the 1960s insisted. Nonetheless, the mis-analogy led directly to the loss of more than 50,000 U.S. lives, not to mention an estimated two million Vietnamese.

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Division, danger and diversion
Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., The Nation, October 27, 2002

This is the text of the speech given by the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., at the anti-war rally in Washington, DC, on Saturday, October 26.

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War crimes debate in Israel heats up again
Jim Lobe, OneWorld, October 30, 2002

A three-month-old controversy in Israel over a peace group's efforts to collect evidence of alleged war crimes committed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) against Palestinians intensified Tuesday when a senior member of the ruling Likud Party submitted a bill in Israel's parliament that would make it a crime for any Israeli citizen to provide assistance, documents or information to the new International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague.

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To some, real threat is U.S.
Many members of the U.N. Security Council see American bullying, not Iraqi defiance, as the greater risk to geopolitical stability

Maggie Farley and Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2002

For President Bush, this month's debate in the U.N. Security Council is all about Iraq and its alleged weapons of mass destruction. But for France, Russia and other countries, the issue isn't just the Iraqi threat—it's the U.S. threat, too.

The United States says it is providing leadership, lighting a fire under a Security Council that has failed for years to enforce its own mandates on Iraq. President Saddam Hussein's flagrant defiance has made the world body look "foolish," Bush said Monday during a campaign stop in Denver. "Our message from America is this: If the United Nations does not have the will or the courage to disarm Saddam Hussein ... the United States will lead a coalition and disarm Saddam Hussein."

But to many members of the Security Council, it appears as if the United States is using its strength not to lead, but to bully. These ambassadors fear that if Washington sidesteps the U.N. to attack Iraq, the result will be irreparable damage to the institution that should be at the center of international affairs, not on the margins.

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Picking olives and removing roadblocks as acts of resistance:
An interview with Ghassan Andoni

Ida Audeh, Counterpunch, October 28, 2002

It is olive picking season in Palestine, and so far about 120 activists from almost a dozen countries - the US, England, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, France, and Italy - have responded to an appeal by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and arrived to help Palestinians harvest their groves. But the season is not getting off to a good start. Reports from Jayous (near Qalqilya), Aqraba, Inbus, and Awartha and Beit Furik (in the Nablus district) tell of beatings and shootings of Palestinians by the Israeli settlers and at least one shooting death, that of Hani Yousef, a 22-year-old Palestinian from Aqraba. In some instances, the settlers harvest the olives while Palestinians watch, helplessly. The Israeli army does nothing to prevent this. Since October 2000, Israeli soldiers and settlers have bulldozed, uprooted, or set ablaze about 200,000 Palestinian olive trees, at a cost to Palestinian farmers of about $10 million.

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Daniel Ellsberg's Iraq scenario
Ahmad Faruqui, Daily Times, October 29, 2002

In recent speeches and interviews, Ellsberg paints a very grim future about the coming war with Iraq. Recalling the "Nuclear Posture Review" that was leaked to the Los Angeles Times earlier in the year, he says that "Israeli and US tactical nuclear weapons could very plausibly be launched against Iraq within months," if Saddam Hussein launches short-range missiles armed with chemical warheads against invading American troops or against Israel. Both countries have warned that such an act would lead to the "annihilation" of Iraq and to the "destruction" of its society. Ellsberg opines that the American people should not think that these are just threats that are meant to deter Saddam. They are statements about Washington's future intentions.

What is the likelihood that Saddam would use his biological and chemical weapons against the US armed forces? CIA chief George Tenet provided a letter to the House and Senate committees on intelligence prior to the Congressional vote on Iraq. Tenet wrote that his Agency had concluded that Baghdad "appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW [Chemical and Biological Weapons] against the United States." The Agency also had determined, "Should Saddam conclude that a US-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions." Tenet argued, "Saddam might decide that the extreme step of assisting Islamist terrorists in conducting a WMD [Weapons of Mass Destruction] attack against the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him." In other words, Saddam is not likely in the near future to hit the United States or share his weapons with Al Qaeda or other anti-American terrorists, unless the United States assaults Iraq. This is hardly the picture the President is sharing with the American public.

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Cost of Iraq war could total $1,600 billion, prof says
Elana Bildner, Yale Daily News, October 29, 2002

William Nordhaus hears the "drums of war" beating as the United States debates an attack on Iraq, but he would rather be listening to another sound: that of the Bush administration's number-punching as it computes the costs of such a conflict.

In a lecture Monday before an overflow crowd at Luce Hall, Nordhaus, a Sterling Professor of Economics, noted the lack of public discussion concerning economic consequences of war in Iraq. To fill this gap, he proposed his own estimate of these costs, which he said could total "$1,600 billion" in a worst-case scenario.

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Influencing the debate on Iraq
When defense expert speaks out on policy, Washington listens

Johanna Neuman, Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2002

When he was assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, adversaries called Perle the Prince of Darkness for his fierce resistance to arms-control treaties with the Soviets. Now he is often described as the administration's leading hawk on Iraq. As chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a panel of leading Republican foreign-policy thinkers who advise the secretary of defense, his sway inside government circles is considerable. He speaks to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld regularly. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz is a friend.

But it is his role outside the government -- from his perch at the American Enterprise Institute -- that affords Perle the luxury of moral outrage. While liberals look for accommodation with European allies before taking action against Iraq, Perle offers that it would be nice if antiwar German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder would resign. When some military experts urge time for weapon inspections to work, Perle charges appeasement, invoking the specter of Britain's Neville Chamberlain underestimating the menace of Adolf Hitler.

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Scenes from the rubble
Gideon Levy, Ha'aretz, October 25, 2002

Until this week, the rubble that remained in the wake of the Israel Defense Forces' incursion half a year ago had been left untouched. Now the Jenin refugee camp has begun to clear away the rubble. For half a year the ruins lay in place, as a monument to what happened. But no one took any interest. The camp, which for a moment captured the world's attention, has been utterly forgotten and has sunk back into its routine of a life of unemployment and death.

The residents left the heaps of rubble intact in the hope that someone would remember them and the ruins of their lives. Now, having despaired of that, they have decided to get rid of the rubble. A Palestinian bulldozer cleared away the remains of houses this week. Two weeks ago, the IDF published its full report of the events in the camp, which contained not a word about the vast destruction wrought by the soldiers - as though the army had nothing do with the present situation. The upshot is that the hundreds of newly homeless people have remained totally destitute, refugees for the second or third time, trying somehow to rehabilitate their lives in rented apartments, while the next crop of terrorists is undoubtedly springing up among the smashed houses.

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Appeals court again hears case of American held without charges or counsel
Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times, October 29, 2002

In nearly two hours of oral arguments here, the government said today that the Bush administration had the authority to hold a United States citizen caught in the Afghan battle for an unlimited period without charging him with anything or giving him access to a lawyer.

But the public defender, Frank W. Dunham Jr., said that finding such detentions lawful would set a precedent that would impinge on the civil liberties of all Americans.

The case is a potentially landmark clash between the powers of a president in wartime and the constitutional protections of due process for American citizens. It appears to be the first case in modern American law in which a citizen has been detained without being charged and without being given access to a lawyer. As such, it seems destined for the United States Supreme Court.

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Hady Hassan Omar's detention
Matthew Brzezinski, New York Times, October 27, 2002

Since his arrest on Sept. 12, 2001, Omar had been fighting a losing battle. No one would believe that he had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. He passed polygraph tests, but the F.B.I. still seemed convinced that he was linked to Al Qaeda. The guards in the isolation wing of Pollock maximum-security penitentiary in Louisiana kept telling him that under new antiterror measures, he could sit in jail forever. He wrote the attorney general. He even went on several hunger strikes. But the corrections officers just threatened to strap him to a gurney and force-feed him through a tube up his nose.

Omar was running out of the little hope he had left. His only solace now was prayer. He became convinced that he would never leave this place. His baby daughter, Jasmine, would take her first steps, utter her first words and grow up without him. If he could not be with her on her first birthday in December, he decided, life was not worth living.

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U.S. knew about nuclear link between N. Korea, Pakistan
Dan Stober and Daniel Sneider, San Jose Mercury News, October 24, 2002

Despite its startling announcement a week ago, the Bush administration had detailed knowledge for more than a year about North Korea's program to covertly make uranium fuel for an atom bomb, the Mercury News has learned.

North Korea's admission that the country's secretive, authoritarian government was pursuing a new route to nuclear weapons sparked international alarm last week. But interviews with experts and former Clinton administration officials, and a review of little-noticed statements by Bush officials, raise questions about why the administration waited so long to deal with this threat, now the subject of intense diplomatic efforts.

In addition, the administration had strong evidence, dating back to the Clinton presidency, that North Korea got help from Pakistan's top nuclear weapons scientist.

The Pakistanis appear to have given nuclear technology to North Korea in exchange for long-range ballistic missiles that could reach deep into the territory of its traditional foe, India. Bush administration officials pointed a finger at this in early June 2001, at a time when they were courting India. But since Sept. 11, when Pakistan became a key ally in the war on terrorism, they turned mum on the Pakistan connection.

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Al Qaeda's new leaders
Susan Schmidt and Douglas Farah, Washington Post, October 29, 2002

"It would be much easier if we had a more centralized structure to aim at, like al Qaeda was in Afghanistan," said a senior U.S. official. "Now, instead of a large, fixed target we have little moving targets all over the world, all armed and all dangerous. It is a much more difficult war to fight this way."

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Iraq as prison state - a review of Milan Rai's War Plan Iraq
Jeffrey St. Clair, Counterpunch, October 15, 2002

War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq by Milan Rai ... serves as a bracing antidote to the daily trawl of Pentagon-approved press releases that pass for war reporting in the US press. Indeed, Rai's book, just published by Verso, is nothing less than a pre-emptive strike on the Pentagon's rationale for war on Iraq, dismantling piece-by-piece the case for invasion.

The case against Saddam boils down to the following allegations: Iraq is in league with al-Qaeda; Iraq is re-building it's chemical and biological weapons capability; Iraq is close to developing a nuclear bomb or radiological weapon; Iraq is exporting weapons of mass destruction to other nations or terrorist groups. Most of these allegations are accepted as fact by the US press, but Rai proves there's precious little substance to the charges. Instead, he cleaves through the indictment of Iraq with a Chomsky-like precision.

The book is far from an exculpation of Saddam and his coterie of Baathist thugs. It is a defense of the Iraqi people and an evisceration of those, in Saddam's regime and in the Bush cabinet, who would further victimize the people of Iraq for self-indulgent geo-political purposes.

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Afghans tell of Guantanamo ordeal
BBC News, October 29, 2002

Three Afghans who have just been freed from a US military base in Cuba have spoken of their ordeal during months in captivity. The men, two of whom are believed to be in their 70s, are the first former detainees to describe the harsh conditions inside Guantanamo Bay.
See also Afghans freed from Guantánamo Bay speak of heat and isolation

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US weapons secrets exposed
Julian Borger, The Guardian, October 29, 2002

Respected scientists on both sides of the Atlantic warned yesterday that the US is developing a new generation of weapons that undermine and possibly violate international treaties on biological and chemical warfare.

The scientists, specialists in bio-warfare and chemical weapons, say the Pentagon, with the help of the British military, is also working on "non-lethal" weapons similar to the narcotic gas used by Russian forces to end last week's siege in Moscow.

They also point to the paradox of the US developing such weapons at a time when it is proposing military action against Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein is breaking international treaties.

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France issues warning on Iraq as UN deadline nears
Patrick Wintour, Alan Travis, Nicholas Watt and Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian, October 29, 2002

France is privately warning the US and the UK that they will be left alone in the political and economic task of reconstructing Iraq if they press ahead with a war on Saddam Hussein without UN support.

The French warning comes as the US and UK demanded a decision from the UN security council this week in support of a tough new resolution, or recognise that the British and the US will take unilateral action.

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The Rumsfeld Intelligence Agency
How the hawks plan to find a Saddam/al-Qaida connection

Fred Kaplan, Slate, October 28, 2002

You've got to hand it to Donald Rumsfeld and his E-Ring crew at the Pentagon. They know all the stratagems of bureaucratic politics, and they play the game well. In their latest maneuver, reported on the front page of last Thursday's New York Times, the secretary of defense has formed his own "four- to five-man intelligence team" to sift through raw data coming out of Iraq in search of evidence linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaida terrorists.

Rumsfeld has publicly continued to push this link as a prime—or at least the most easily sellable—rationale for going to war with Iraq, even after the CIA and the Pentagon's own Defense Intelligence Agency have dismissed the connection as tenuous at best.

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Good signs
The nascent antiwar movement and Saturday's rally in Washington

Kathryn Lewis, The American Prospect, October 28, 2002

Living in Washington, I've come to expect poorly attended marches -- but this weekend proved to be a pleasant surprise. A consortium of antiwar groups, spearheaded by International A.N.S.W.E.R., brought thousands to town on Saturday to protest George W. Bush's Iraq policies. While the streets were peppered with the usual suspects -- black-clad anarchists, radical cheerleaders, giant puppets -- the collection of protesters at this march appeared larger and more diverse than the crowd at September's anti-globalization rallies. It was also more focused on a single message -- not to mention unencumbered by the sideshow of confrontation and mayhem that accompanied the September protests.

One of the most hopeful elements of the budding antiwar movement -- its multi-generational make-up -- was on full display Saturday.

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War on Iraq will heighten risk of further al-Qaida attacks - report
Associated Press, October 28, 2002

A U.S.-led war on Iraq would heighten the risk of regional conflict and increase support for Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network, researchers warned Monday.

The independent Oxford Research Group said conventional war would kill 10,000 civilians in Iraq, and could trigger a desperate and destructive response from Saddam Hussein's regime.

The Baghdad regime was bent on survival at any cost and would retaliate using "all available military means," including chemical and biological weapons, which could in turn trigger a nuclear response from the United States and Britain, the group warned in a new report.

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The shrinking Saddam
Bush blows off CIA report that cites higher risks from al Qaeda

David Corn, LA Weekly, October 25, 2002

The CIA says that al Qaeda is a threat today, that North Korea dictator Kim Jong Il has an active nuclear-weapons program under way, and that Saddam Hussein is likely to lash out at the United States only if Washington hits him first. And what does President Bush do? He talks up Saddam as public enemy number one. On the campaign trail for Republican congressional candidates, Bush has been devoting more rhetoric to Iraq than to al Qaeda and what’s-his-name (that would be Osama bin Laden). He has not been expressing outrage — or even concern — over the bomb-making actions of North Korea, a charter member of his “axis of evil.”

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Hold the missiles — please
L.A.'s Iraqi community opposes Bush war march

Celeste Fremon, LA Weekly, October 25, 2002

As part of his push to get Congress and the United Nations to sign off on war with Iraq, President Bush has repeatedly promised that the Iraqi people are clamoring for liberation by U.S. forces. Likewise, the State Department has been holding regular meetings with a half-dozen Iraqi-American exile groups, talking up the post-Saddam future.

These are the proxies who have purportedly endorsed the U.S. invasion strategy, described by retired Army Lieutenant General Thomas McInerny in his August 1 testimony before the Senate, as "blitz warfare . . . [designed] for a devastating, violent impact [using] the most massive precision air campaign in history."

Scant evidence exists, however, that the State Department's hand-picked Iraqi interlocutors faithfully represent the prevailing views and desires of the 400,000 Iraqis living in the U.S., 78,000 of whom reside in Southern California.

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Dispatches from the peace movement
Don Hazen and Tai Moses, AlterNet, October 28, 2002

There can be no doubt about it -- there is a peace movement. Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and the armchair Chicken Hawks have provoked a full-fledged peace movement in just a few months, helped along greatly by the Internet.

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Energy companies weigh their possible future in Iraq
Neela Banerjee, New York Times, October 26, 2002

Though Iraq's future is hazy, energy companies have begun to weigh the roles they might play in the revival of the country's huge but dilapidated oil industry. According to a report by Deutsche Bank, oil field services companies like Schlumberger Ltd. and the Halliburton Corporation could be the early winners, but the prospects for oil companies themselves are less clear.

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Oppose Iraq war like Gandhi, says Indian author Roy
Reuters, October 23, 2002

Indian novelist Arundhati Roy urged anti-war campaigners Wednesday to use civil disobedience to oppose military action against Iraq, just as Mahatma Gandhi used it to fight for India's independence from British rule.

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Meet the new Zionists
Matthew Engel, The Guardian, October 28, 2002

The members of the Christian Coalition of America are some of the most passionate defenders of Israel in the United States. There's just one catch: they want to convert all Jews to Christianity.

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Americans rally against war in Iraq
Kevin Anderson, BBC News, October 26, 2002

Tens of thousands of protesters came to Washington from across the United States in one of the largest anti-war demonstrations since the Vietnam War. They filled Constitution Gardens within sight of the Vietnam War Memorial and spilled out down Mall before marching to the White House. They came from across the country, some travelling all day and night crowded onto buses to attend the rally. They wanted to counter the image and the polls that say a majority of Americans support a war against Iraq.
See also The usual suspects - and beyond and Antiwar protest largest since '60s

S.F. peace march draws thousands
Wyatt Buchanan, Christopher Heredia, Suzanne Herel, San Francisco Chronicle, October 27, 2002

Tens of thousands of protesters marched down Market Street in San Francisco on Saturday afternoon in a major demonstration against President Bush's policy on Iraq -- the largest peace rally police and protesters could remember since the Vietnam War.

Police estimated the throng at 42,000, while protesters said more than 80, 000 people joined the 11 a.m. march, which began at Justin Herman Plaza and ended with a rally at the Civic Center.

Thousands of demonstrators turn out in Europe and beyond to protest war against Iraq
Geir Moulson, Associated Press, October 26, 2002

Demanding an end to threats of an "unjustified" war against Iraq, thousands gathered in cities across Europe and beyond Saturday to demonstrate their opposition against U.S. policy toward Iraq.

Peace activists turn out in force
Aimee J. Frank, Daily Freeman, October 27, 2002

An estimated 1,500 peace activists from around the Hudson Valley filled Academy Green Park on Saturday to protest a potential U.S. attack on Iraq.

Global rally against war on Iraq
Associated Press, October 27, 2002

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have gathered in cities across Europe, the United States and beyond for a show of opposition to U.S. President George W. Bush's policy toward Baghdad.

In Berlin, demanding an end to threats of an "unjustified" war against Iraq, crowds of people brandishing placards that declared "War on the imperialist war," "Stop Bush's campaign" and "No blood for oil," along with a few Iraqi and Palestinian flags, converged Saturday on the downtown Alexanderplatz square and marched past the German Foreign Ministry.

Montpelier, Vermont: 1,000 rally for peace in city of 8,000
Anne Wallace Allen, Associated Press, October 27, 2002

About 1,000 Vermonters marched through the capital city under snow, sleet and rain Saturday to rally for peace.

They listened as one speaker after another stood at a podium on the granite steps of the Statehouse to call for an end to aggression.

Many who spoke out or who listened said they wanted the Bush administration to know its policies don't represent the desires of most people.

"Bush is ignoring the will of the people," said Matt Holland, 37, a Web site designer. He said the threat of a war against Iraq has prompted many people to become activists for the first time.

Thousands march with message of peace
Keith Edwards, Blethen Maine News Service, October 27, 2002

A crowd estimated at 2,500 by organizers marched through a steady, cold rain on Saturday to rally against war.

Swedish anti-war demonstrators condemn Saddam, possible U.S. war against Iraq
Associated Press, October 26, 2002

More than a thousand demonstrators gathered Saturday in a rainy Stockholm under a sea of red banners, Palestinian flags and umbrellas to protest a possible U.S. attack on Iraq.

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The right peace
Conservatives against a war with Iraq

Christopher Layne, LA Weekly, October 25, 2002

Not all Americans concerned about the Bush administration’s headlong rush to war with Iraq are on the political left. Many conservatives and serious academic students of international politics are equally troubled. I am one of them.

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Brakes of war
Signs are on that a full-scale invasion of Iraq is off

Bruce Shapiro, LA Weekly, October 25, 2002

Something unexpected has happened on the way to Baghdad. When Congress left for election break, relieved leaders of the House and Senate thought they had washed their hands of the troublesome Iraq debate. With overwhelming approval from both houses for President Bush’s resolution authorizing military action against Saddam Hussein, an invasion seemed to both its advocates and its enemies a foregone conclusion. Yet in the last two weeks, while Congress and most of the Beltway media continue to talk about war as inevitable, the Bush administration — frustrated and constrained by reluctant allies in Europe, the Middle East and even the Republican Party — has in fact been modifying its goals on an almost daily basis.

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Gore Vidal claims 'Bush junta' complicit in 9/11
Sunder Katwala, The Observer, October 27, 2002

America's most controversial writer Gore Vidal has launched the most scathing attack to date on George W Bush's Presidency, calling for an investigation into the events of 9/11 to discover whether the Bush administration deliberately chose not to act on warnings of Al-Qaeda's plans.

Vidal's highly controversial 7000 word polemic titled 'The Enemy Within' - published in the print edition of The Observer today - argues that what he calls a 'Bush junta' used the terrorist attacks as a pretext to enact a pre-existing agenda to invade Afghanistan and crack down on civil liberties at home.

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