AUGUST 31-18, 02 Archives

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Environmentalists, social activists complain that World Summit's goals are being watered down 8/31/02 By ALEXANDRA ZAVIS JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) -- As negotiations intensified at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, environmentalists and social activists protested that the conference's goals were being watered down. Up to 20,000 people were expected to join two marches on Saturday from the shack-ridden township of Alexandra to the summit venue in the glittering suburb of Sandton to highlight the economic disparities world leaders are meeting to address. Groups meeting at a parallel forum want to deliver the message that "sustainable development is possible," said Muzi Khumalo, spokesman for the main march. He lashed out against the "posturing of U.S. delegates in Santon," whom he accused of blocking any real efforts to combat poverty and preserve the environment. The organizers of the second march, an alliance of anti-globalization groups, said they wanted to "unmask" the summit as a farce.

BUSH PLAYING CUTE WITH WAR TALK DESPITE DENIALS, HE'S MADE UP HIS MIND THE UNITED STATES is going to war with Iraq. August 30, 2002 As far as we're concerned, George Bush has already made up his mind - despite denials from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - and all this debate about whether we should or shouldn't, whether he has to consult with Congress or not, is all phoney, polite cow dung. We're going to war against Iraq. George Bush knows it and hasn't found the internal fortitude to tell the American people directly that he's going to drag us into the Persian Gulf War, Round Two.

Amid Worldwide Skepticism, Cheney Again Slams Iraq August 30, 2002 By REUTERS SAN ANTONIO - Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday hammered home the U.S. case for pre-emptive action against Iraq, brushing off a groundswell of unease among European allies, Muslim states and broader world public opinion. Cheney used a gathering of Korean War veterans to repeat an earlier indictment of Saddam Hussein, charging the Iraqi leader with acquiring weapons of mass destruction and posing a ``mortal threat'' to the United States. He also downplayed concerns, laid out by some senior members of his Republican Party and echoed abroad, that a U.S. strike could hamper the global war on terrorism and undermine pro-U.S. governments in the Arab world. ``Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,'' Cheney said, reprising a fighting speech he gave on Monday in Nashville, Tennessee. ``There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use them against our friends, against our allies and against us,'' he said.

Bush threatens to use troops against West Coast dockworkers 30 August 2002 By David Walsh and Ron Jorgenson The far-reaching threats made by the Bush administration against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in the event of a West Coast dock strike or work slowdown reveal the essential class character of the government’s “war on terrorism.” In the name of national security and its open-ended global war, the White House is threatening to use military force to destroy the basic rights of workers to organize and fight for decent wages and conditions.

Bush's Bizarro World August 30, 2002 by Wayne Madsen Superman comic book fans will fondly recall the topsy-turvy Bizarro world, a planet shaped like a cube where everything happened backwards and nothing made any sense. Welcome now to the Bush world, where the revered Dalai Lama of Tibet may now be branded by the United States as a "fellow traveler" of terrorists or, worse yet, an "enemy combatant." On August 27, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a shadowy ex-Special Forces officer who has been linked to everything from heroin smuggling in Burma's Golden Triangle to smuggling weapons to the Iranian regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, met with senior Chinese officials in Beijing. According to Reuters, Armitage, representing the world's second largest totalitarian regime, told the leadership of the world's largest one that the State Department had added a new group to its list of foreign terrorist organizations:

Wake Up, World Leaders!!! 30 August, 2002 WWF Johannesburg, South Africa, the WWF conservation organization, is asking world leaders in the South African city of Johannesburg to take decisive action in order to guarantee both people and the planet a secure future. WWF is concerned that currently, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) seems to be moving backwards on the environmental and trade agenda but is still hopeful that the tide can be turned. "World leaders are in danger of sleepwalking right into an environmental catastrophe if this trend is upheld through to next week," warned Kim Carstensen of WWF. 'It is not too late for a wake-up call." This week has been characterised by many governments reneging, instead of progressing, on a number of issues that had already been agreed upon at other international meetings including the Rio Conference or during the preparatory conference at Bali, Indonesia.

Pressure on Bush to back off Global outcry against Iraq attack August 29, 2002 By Nicholas Watt President George Bush was facing overwhelming pressure from across the world last night to step back from the brink of military action to oust Saddam Hussein. Alarmed by growing rhetoric from leading hawks in Washington, key countries from China to Saudi Arabia warned of the devastating consequences of a US-led assault against Iraq. Even Downing Street, which has gone out of its way to support Mr Bush, highlighted increasing tensions between London and Washington when it insisted that UN weapons inspectors should be given a chance to visit Iraq.

Is the US economy heading into deflation? 29 August 2002 By Nick Beams When the US economy went into recession last year, the initial concern among those economists who disagreed with the scenario of a rapid V-shaped recovery was that the recession would be somewhat prolonged, or that, even if a recovery did occur, the economy would quickly slide back again—giving rise to a so-called “double dip.” In the recent period, these predictions have given way to an even more serious concern: that the US economy has already entered a period of deflation not unlike that experienced by Japan following the collapse of its stock market and real estate bubble at the beginning of the 1990s.

Another Troubling Texas Execution August 29, 2002 By Diann Rust WASHINGTON -Today's scheduled execution of juvenile offender, Toronto Patterson in Texas epitomizes that state's determination to proceed with an execution despite mounting concerns. Pending a last minute stay, Patterson will become the third juvenile offender executed by Texas in four months and the 23rd person executed by Texas in 2002. Two-thirds of U.S. juvenile offenders put to death in the past decade have been in Texas. There are serious questions as to TorontoŽs guilt of the three murders, which resulted in his capital conviction. At trial, and continuing today, Toronto has maintained that he is not guilty of the murders.

Cheney Speech Seen Setting Path to War
August 28, 2002 by John Donnelly and Susan Milligan by John Donnelly and Susan Milligan WASHINGTON - The Bush administration has set itself on a ''path toward war'' against Iraq with Vice President Dick Cheney's forceful speech on Monday, accelerating the campaign to win over allies to oust Saddam Hussein, conservative and liberal analysts agreed yesterday. ''The debate is over,'' said William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and a former senior official in the first Bush presidency whose views are influential with members of the current administration. ''It marks a transition from an administration weighing what to do to an administration beginning to make its case at home and abroad over the next two or three weeks in favor of an attack.''

Inarticulate, and proud of it 8/28/2002 By James Carroll, By James Carroll, ''I'M A PATIENT man,'' President Bush said the other day. He was dressed in cowboy clothes. ''And when I say I'm a patient man,'' he added, somewhat impatiently, ''I mean I'm a patient man.'' The president was responding to reporters' attempts to make sense of the administration's scorching but confusing rhetoric about Iraq. His declaration of patience amended his declarations of war, seeking to douse expectations of imminent attack while promising that hostile action will come eventually. The nation is beholding something that can only be called weird. Ever since Bush announced his new doctrine of preventive war last spring, his administration has been engaged in an unprecedented war of words aimed at Saddam Hussein. In the beginning, the justification for ''regime change'' in Baghdad was entirely a matter of the threat Hussein represents but no more. Now the justification includes protecting the integrity of threat. We have to go to war now because we said we would. Language is no longer an expression of purpose but the shaper of purpose.

Big Business Accused of Hijacking Earth Summit August 28, 2002 by Alister Doyle JOHANNESBURG - Activists accused big business on Tuesday of hijacking the Earth Summit from its goal of curbing poverty without damaging the planet. "The resources of Mother Earth are being sold off," said Anuradha Mittal of Food First on the second day of the 10-day talks in Johannesburg tackling issues from promoting clean energy and preserving fish stocks to fighting AIDS. "The agenda has been taken over by the United States and the European Union in trade liberalization," she said, as activists complained about limited access to the main summit venue. Many other campaigners echoed charges that businesses would get better deals than those on environmental protection at the summit, a charge rejected by the main business lobby.

Bush 'free to attack Iraq' August 27, 2002 Lawyers in the White House have concluded that US President George W. Bush does not need the consent of the Congress to launch a military strike against Iraq. But the move comes as several prominent Republicans have warned of the dangers of a military strike on Iraq, amid signs of growing dissent on the issue within Mr Bush's party. On Sunday, the former US Secretary of State, James Baker, said it would be very risky and expensive to mount an invasion - especially if the White House decided to go it alone. "Although the United States could certainly succeed, we should try our best not to have to go it alone, and the president should reject the advice of those who counsel doing so," he wrote in the New York Times. "The costs in all areas will be much greater, as will the political risks, both domestic and international, if we end up going it alone or with only one or two other countries," he said. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft warned that a strike on Iraq "could unleash an Armageddon in the Middle East". Other Republicans who have voiced concern include former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Senator Chuck Hagel. Experts say the regular talk from the Bush administration of the need for "regime change", even in the eyes of some Republicans, has fuelled the need for further debate.

US city where you can be guilty until proven innocent August 27, 2002 Oliver Burkeman in New York Police make sure they have some usual suspects - before the crime. In a sinister, authoritarian American city of the future, cutting-edge surveillance technology and over-zealous policing combine to create the ultimate weapon in the war on crime: the ability to track down individuals who will go on to become criminals - before they have even done anything wrong. This may be the premise of Minority Report, the sci-fi thriller starring Tom Cruise, set in Washington DC in 2054 - but it also appears to be par for the course today, barely 100 miles away in Wilmington, the largest city in the otherwise unremarkable US state of Delaware. Civil liberties campaigners have responded with anger to the news that, for the last three months, Wilmington police have been compiling a database of people whom they believe are likely to break the law in the future. At least 200 people have had their photographs taken and stored, along with personal information, to aid police in finding potential suspects when crimes are subsequently committed, according to the Wilmington police department. The individuals, mostly black men, were photographed by "jump-out squads" of police officers, who cruise high-crime neighbourhoods in the city, often in unmarked cars, then jump out at street corners to round up and search people gathering there.

Ecological Decline 'Far Worse' Than Official Estimates, August 27, 2002 by John Vidal in Johannesburg by John Vidal in Johannesburg Leaked paper - OECD's grim warning on climate change. The real level of world inequality and environmental degradation may be far worse than official estimates, according to a leaked document prepared for the world's richest countries and seen by the Guardian. It includes new estimates that the world lost almost 10% of its forests in the past 10 years; that carbon dioxide emissions leading to global warming are expected to rise by 33% in rich countries and 100% in the rest of the world in the next 18 years; and that more than 30% more fresh water will be needed by 2020.

Bush Aides Say Iraq War Needs No Hill Vote August 26, 2002 By Mike Allen and Juliet Eilperin Lawyers for President Bush have concluded he can launch an attack on Iraq without new approval from Congress, in part because they say permission remains in force from the 1991 resolution giving Bush's father authority to wage war in the Persian Gulf, according to administration officials. At the same time, some administration officials are arguing internally that the president should seek lawmakers' backing anyway to build public support and to avoid souring congressional relations. If Bush took that course, he still would be likely to assert that congressional consent was not legally necessary, the officials said.

US rift widens over Iraq August 26, 2002 Matthew Engel in Washington, and Nicholas Watt Another senior member of the foreign policy establishment in President Bush's Republican party yesterday came out unequivocally against unilateral American action to overthrow Saddam Hussein. James Baker, secretary of state under the first President Bush from 1989 to 1992, chose the highest-profile platform available, the op-ed page of yesterday's New York Times, to declare that the White House should avoid going it alone on Iraq. "The president should reject the advice of those who counsel doing so," he said.

Rich, Poor Further Apart As Earth Summit Nears August 26, 2002 by Jon Jeter by Jon Jeter JOHANNESBURG -- With its velvety haze and Bohemian ambitions, the Bassline jazz club here usually draws a good crowd for poetry night. But as thousands of delegates began to pour into the city last week for the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development -- or Earth Summit -- the club challenged its poets to an unprecedented contest. Whoever reads the best poem in derision of President Bush's environmental policies wins. "I'm not a real political guy," said Brad Holmes, the Bassline's owner for eight years. "But you know, people just really want to see some action on taking care of our environment and addressing poverty, and no one feels like Bush gives a [expletive] or is even bright enough to understand the issues. We did this totally in honor of the summit and just how pessimistic people are these days about the way things are going."

Police attack anti-Bush demonstrators in Portland 25, August 2002 By Kate Randall Black-helmeted police in riot gear attacked protesters with batons, tear gas, rubber bullets, bean-bag rounds and “pepper balls” Thursday evening in Portland, Oregon. The police assault took place outside a downtown hotel where President Bush was holding a fundraiser. The demonstrators had assembled to protest Bush’s environmental and economic policies and the administration’s war threat against Iraq. Chanting, “Drop Bush, Not Bombs,” and carrying signs that included, “It’s the Economy, Stupid,” a crowd of about 500 marched from a downtown park to the Hilton Hotel where the president was hosting a fundraiser for Republican Senator Gordon Smith. Police ordered protesters to move from a barricaded area, and immediately declared a state of emergency. Attorney Alan Graph told KATU TV, “Without any provocation as far as I could see, they started pushing people, using their night sticks, spraying pepper spray indiscriminately into people’s faces.” Some of the protesters fell down, and police then began firing canisters of pepper spray into the crowd. Witnesses reported snipers perched on nearby rooftops. Participants said the attack was unprovoked. A demonstrator posted the following account on an message board: “Maybe the ones in front were warned to move, but I didn’t hear any warning. It had been a peaceful protest. Suddenly the police came forward spraying pepper spray. A man nearby with an infant in a backpack got hit real good. The baby’s face was so red I thought it had quit breathing.... From the other direction came cop cars through the crowd and rubber bullets were fired at those closest to the cars. I kept retreating but the cops kept spraying.” Witnesses reported the protesters included seniors, people in wheel chairs, children and babies in strollers. Activist Don Joughin told KATU that he told police he needed “to get out of there with his kids.” Joughlin says police pepper-sprayed his three children. “I wasn’t in the street, I wasn’t blocking traffic. I was engaging in peaceful protest,” he said. Protester Mike Pullman told KATU, “I was struck actually seven times” by the “non-lethal” ammunition fired into the crowd. He showed reporters welts on his arms, wrist, leg and chest from the assault. KPTV TV reported that several of their employees were pepper sprayed, including photographer Beth English. Her tape shows a police office taking dead-on aim at her face. A Portland Police spokesman later commented, “We’re not here to control you ... you’re here to film. But if pepper spray is deployed, I’m sorry but you’re gonna be a part of that.” Earlier in the day, Bush had signed his new “Healthy Forests Initiative,” which he claims will help control forest fires. Environmentalists have criticized the plan, which will make it easier for timber companies to cut wood from wilderness lands. Rob Moitoza, a Vietnam veteran, told Associated Press, “I don’t think any American boys’ lives are worth a barrel of oil. If [Bush] starts a war against Iraq, it will be to get re-elected. All he cares about is wealth and power.”

USA: PROTESTING THE BUSH REGIME Aug 25, 2002 Dissent Flares Against Bush on the West Coast 'Commander-in-thief' George Bush's visit to the West Coast of the United States this week was met with protests at every stop. In Oregon, Bush's purpose was to spread lies about forest health and shake down local wealthy to raise money for Senator Gordon Smith. In the late afternoon, police declared a state of emergency, and threatened to arrest anyone who did not disperse, though these annoucements were heard by very few people. Police then turned violent, shooting people with rubber bullets and pepper-spraying many others. Children were among the victims of chemical attacks, including a 10 month old baby. Corporate media accounts of the day betrayed an institutional bias against democratic action and in favor of police brutality. Friday morning, the chair of the Portland chapter of the National Lawyers Guild called for the police chief's resignation, and that afternoon protesters marched on City Hall to demand police accountability.

U.S. Democrats say special interests too powerful Aug 25, (Reuters) WASHINGTON - With congressional elections approaching, Democrats hammered at key campaign themes on Saturday as they accused Republicans of siding with special interests on issues like Social Security reform, prescription drugs for the elderly and corporate corruption. In the weekly Democratic radio address, Maine state Sen. Chellie Pingree, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in the November vote, said large corporations and other powerful interest groups exerted too much influence on many issues affecting ordinary Americans. "On Social Security, prescription drug reform and fighting corporate corruption, the choice is clear: Republicans have consistently sided with the special interests and big corporations that influence Washington," Pingree said. "Democrats are on your side, and we're taking on the tough fights to secure the future for all of our people," she said. Aug 25, (Reuters) WASHINGTON - With congressional elections approaching, Democrats hammered at key campaign themes on Saturday as they accused Republicans of siding with special interests on issues like Social Security reform, prescription drugs for the elderly and corporate corruption. In the weekly Democratic radio address, Maine state Sen. Chellie Pingree, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in the November vote, said large corporations and other powerful interest groups exerted too much influence on many issues affecting ordinary Americans. "On Social Security, prescription drug reform and fighting corporate corruption, the choice is clear: Republicans have consistently sided with the special interests and big corporations that influence Washington," Pingree said. "Democrats are on your side, and we're taking on the tough fights to secure the future for all of our people," she said.

Behind the official debate, US builds up forces for attack on Iraq 24 August 2002 By Patrick Martin While a highly publicized debate continues in the pages of the American press on the subject of when and how—rather than whether—to launch a war with Iraq, the US military is pushing ahead with the logistical and technical preparations for the invasion and occupation of the Middle East country. The White House and Pentagon repeatedly claim that no final decision has been taken on launching a war to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein. But the practical measures being carried out belie this, suggesting that war with Iraq is only a matter of time. More than 100,000 American and British troops are already on station in the region immediately surrounding the country. Significantly, according to several American press accounts, that is well above the minimum number of troops required under the most recent scenario for an invasion of Iraq proposed by General Tommy Franks, commander of the US Central Command.

Secret Wiretap Court Exposes Ashcroft Plans to Circumvent the Constitution August 24, 2002 WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union today said that the newly released decision from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court marks the latest rebuke to the government's response to last year's terrorist attacks and shows that Congress must decisively reject current proposals to lessen wiretap standards. "The secret court finally went public. In doing so, it exposed Attorney General John Ashcroft's efforts to use intelligence powers to circumvent the Constitution," said Gregory T. Nojeim, Associate Director and Chief Legislative Counsel of the ACLU's Washington National Office. "This strong opinion from the intelligence court proves once again that in this country, when the government is investigating crime, it must be able to show a judge strong evidence of wrongdoing before it is allowed to search a home or record telephone conversations," Nojeim added.

Scientists agree world faces mass extinction August 24, 2002 The complex web of life on Earth, what scientists call "biodiversity," is in serious trouble. "Biodiversity includes all living things that we depend on for our economies and our lives," explained Brooks Yeager, vice president of global programs at the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C. "It's the forests, the oceans, the coral reefs, the marine fish, the algae, the insects that make up the living world around us and which we couldn't do without," he said. Nearly 2 million species of plants and animals are known to science and experts say 50 times as many may not yet be discovered. Yet most scientists agree that human activity is causing rapid deterioration in biodiversity. Expanding human settlements, logging, mining, agriculture and pollution are destroying ecosystems, upsetting nature's balance and driving many species to extinction. There is virtual unanimity among scientists that we have entered a period of mass extinction not seen since the age of the dinosaurs, an emerging global crisis that could have disastrous effects on our future food supplies, our search for new medicines, and on the water we drink and the air we breathe. Estimates vary, but extinction is figured by experts to be taking place between 100 to 1,000 times higher than natural "background" extinction.

U.S. Law Enforcement Acting With Impunity August 23, 2002 The U.S. government's investigation of the September 11 attacks has been marred by arbitrary detentions, due process violations, and secret arrests, Human Rights Watch says in a new report. Some 1200 non-citizens have been secretly arrested and incarcerated in connection with the September 11 investigation, although the government has not disclosed the exact number. The vast majority are from Middle Eastern, South Asian, and North African countries. Having suffered no repercussions from these abuses against Arabs in America and having seen that it can disappear American citizens like Jose Padilla without interference by the courts, U.S. law enforcement is increasing its targeting of political activists. Moving closer to police state.Attorney General John Ashcroft is preparing for mass detentions of political dissidents. Plans were recently disclosed that the Justice Department is preparing to build concentration camps to house U.S. citizens labeled "enemy combatants." The Bush Administration asserts that the label allows it to deny citizens basic rights including access to the courts, even though the courts have consistently ruled against this.

Bush protest turns ugly Riot police disperse crowd PORTLAND -- Riot police fired pepper spray and rubber bullets at hundreds of protesters and struck some with batons Thursday after ordering them to move from an area near a hotel where President Bush was holding a fund-raiser. At least five protesters were arrested. Earlier in the day, several hundred demonstrators marched toward the Hilton Hotel after Bush's arrival there. Protesting Bush's foreign policy, they chanted "Drop Bush, Not Bombs." A melee erupted after police ordered about 500 protesters to move from a barricaded area. Riot police wearing helmets then walked into the area, pushing activists with their batons. Some activists fell. Police then fired aerosol canisters of pepper spray at the protesters.

November Surprise? Vacationing Bush Plots End of Iraq August 21 - 27, 2002 James Ridgeway The word among wags in Washington is that George W. Bush will invade Iraq right after the fall congressional elections, giving himself time to get the war out of the way before his own presidential campaign swings into gear. An attack before November would be difficult because the desert would be too hot for troops to maneuver with all their biochemical gear, or so the argument goes. More importantly, launching an expensive˜and hard to justify˜assault amid a suspect economy and heated midterm battles for the House would be politically tricky, at a minimum. What's more, say those who purport to know, the defense industry needs time to build up its stock of smart bombs, run down in the razing of Al Qaeda strategic positions and Afghan villages.

Bush seeks faster thinning of national forests Aug. 23, 2002 WASHINGTON - President Bush will ask Congress to relax environmental laws so the timber industry can step up logging across millions of acres of national forest land increasingly prone to devastating wildfires, senior administration officials said Wednesday. The plan is to be made public today, when Bush travels to southern Oregon. Environmentalists and some Democrats quickly condemned what they called a White House effort to promote rejuvenated logging in the name of fire prevention. "They're interested not so much in streamlining the process, but in streamlining the ability of their special-interest friends to take a national asset and turn it into private profit," said Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., the ranking Democrat on the House forest subcommittee.

Bush snubs doves and says Saddam must go August 22, 2002 PRESIDENT BUSH has reaffirmed his determination to oust President Saddam Hussein. He said the Iraqi leader was a threat and that his removal was “in the interest of the world”. His remarks came after he dismayed opponents of unilateral military action against Iraq by meeting what will, in effect, become his war cabinet, made up entirely of pro- invasion hawks. Most significant of all was the absence of Colin Powell.

ACLU Seeks Information on Government's Use of Vast New Surveillance Powers August 22, 2002 NEW YORK- Saying that the American people have a right to know how the government is using its extraordinary new surveillance powers, the American Civil Liberties Union today filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding that the Department of Justice provide information about the pervasiveness of domestic spying. "This AdministrationŽs penchant for secrecy is matched only by its contempt for accountability to the American people and their elected representatives," said Barry Steinhardt, Director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program. "Attorney General Ashcroft bullied a panicked Congress into an overnight revision of the nationŽs surveillance laws just six weeks after the September 11 attacks," Steinhardt added. "The nation needs to know if these powers are truly making us any safer or just less free."

A vision of dystopia August  22, 2002 Larry Elliott Larry Elliott This is for real, not the sequel to a sci-fi thriller. The World Bank paints a picture of a catastrophic global future if we do not change the way we live. New York City in 2022. Half the 40 million people in the swarming metropolis are unemployed, the air is thick with pollution, food and water are as precious as jewels. This was the world of the future as envisaged in the sci-fi thriller, Soylent Green, in 1973. Now, according to the World Bank, it could come true unless there are dramatic and immediate changes to the way we live.

Children are Victims of Privatization, Warns Charity August 22, 2002 by Anne Penketh by Anne Penketh The British charity Save the Children said yesterday that increased involvement by the private sector in supplying basic services would lead to price rises that would harm the world's poorest children. In a report released before the Earth Summit opens in Johannesburg on Monday, Save the Children UK pointed to the negative effects of opening up to multinationals the ownership of public services such as water distribution in poor countries.

Rumsfeld steps up Iraq war talk August 21, 2002 Julian Borger in Washington and Richard Norton-Taylor US 'cannot wait for arms proof' like appeasers of Hitler did The US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said yesterday that the US could not afford to wait for conclusive proof of Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes before it attacked Iraq, and he equated the reluctance of America's allies to get involved with the appeasement of Nazi Germany. His most outspoken remarks on Iraq to date appeared to be a deliberate move by the Bush administration to ratchet up the anti-Saddam rhetoric in the face of scepticism both at home and abroad. Speaking of Nazi Germany, Mr Rumsfeld told Fox News: "Think of all the countries that said, well, we don't have enough evidence.

Factory farming 'spreading disease around the world' August 21, 2002 Felicity Lawrence The worldwide spread of factory farming is increasing poverty and threatening health, according to a report yesterday by Compassion in World Farming. The report collated for the first time data on livestock production in developing countries and economic analysis from World Bank and UN reports. The animal welfare organisation also examined figures on disease transmitted through food production around the world. The worldwide spread of factory farming is increasing poverty and threatening health, according to a report yesterday by Compassion in World Farming. The report collated for the first time data on livestock production in developing countries and economic analysis from World Bank and UN reports. The animal welfare organisation also examined figures on disease transmitted through food production around the world.

Moscow extends life of 144 cold war ballistic missiles August 20, 2002 Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow Russia has announced a radical plan to overhaul more than 100 of its most powerful intercontinental nuclear missiles, which had been destined for the scrapheap under the arms reduction treaties with the United States. A total of 144 of the missiles, which weigh 200 tonnes and can each carry 10 warheads to the US from silos behind the Ural mountains, were due to be dismantled by 2007 under the Start 2 weapons treaty signed by George Bush Sr and Boris Yeltsin nine years ago. But the commander in chief of Russia's strategic nuclear forces, Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov, has declared that the missiles - nicknamed Satan by the west during the cold war - are to be refurbished and upgraded to keep them fully operational until 2014.

Who will save the world? August 20, 2002 Mark Townsend Mark Townsend Many of the 60,000 delegates in Johannesburg want big business to mend its ways. But thousands of lobbyists have other ideas. Leko Atarika and his wife and children no longer dare eat the food of their ancestors. Thousands of oil spills spewing into the swamps of Nigeria's Ogoni delta have ensured the oysters and crabs are too poisonous to eat. Foreign oil multinationals have exploited their homeland for decades, and the mood here has moved from despair to fury. 'We demand environmental justice,' said Atarika last week. It is a mantra echoed across the globe. And while the detail and scale of environmental degradation may vary, the targets of hostility remain the same. In South Africa communities are demanding compensation following leaks from an oil refinery operated by Shell and BP. Here families talk of 'corporate abuse', citing a catalogue of pollution incidents and blaming health problems on the plant.

Bush Turns His Back on World Summit August 20, 2002 WASHINGTON, DC,  (ENS) - Secretary of State Colin Powell will lead the American delegation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 through September 4. President George W. Bush made the announcement late today, giving no explanation as to why he will not be attending the summit to join 106 other world leaders on the speaker's podium.

Union protests government hypocrisy over September 11, US firefighters to boycott Bush appearance 20 August 2002 By Jeremy Johnson The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the union representing more than 240,000 professional firefighters and emergency medical personnel in the US and Canada, voted August 14 to boycott an upcoming appearance by President George W. Bush to commemorate firefighters whose lives have been lost in the line of duty. Bush is scheduled to address the annual ceremony of the National Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation to be held October 6 in Washington DC. The unanimous vote by the 2,000 union officials at the IAFF’s annual convention in Las Vegas came the day after Bush announced his rejection of $5.1 billion of supplemental spending that included some $340 million for fire department funding.

US adviser warns of Armageddon August 19, 2002 By Julian Borger One of the Republican party's most respected foreign policy gurus yesterday appealed for President Bush to halt his plans to invade Iraq, warning of "an Armageddon in the Middle East". The outspoken remarks from Brent Scowcroft, who advised a string of Republican presidents, including Mr Bush's father, represented an embarrassment for the administration on a day it was attempting to rally British public support for an eventual war. While Ms Rice was making the case for a pre-emptive strike, the rumble of anxiety in the US is growing louder. A string of leading Republicans have expressed unease at the administration's determination to take on President Saddam, but the most damning critique of Mr Bush's plans to date came yesterday from Mr Scowcroft. The retired general, who also advised Presidents Nixon and Ford, predicted that an attack on Iraq could lead to catastrophe.

White House uses intimidation to scuttle probe of September 11 19 August 2002 By Peter Daniels The FBI investigation of members of the US Senate and House Intelligence Committees to determine the source of a leak of classified information in connection with the September 11 attacks is the latest effort by the Bush administration to establish an authoritarian presidency and overturn the traditional balance of powers in the US. The FBI request that Congressmen subject themselves to lie detector tests and other questioning is a transparent attempt to intimidate the Democratic and Republican politicians who have called for a probe of intelligence “lapses” in connection with September 11. The media reports that led to the FBI’s action stated that the National Security Agency, the top-secret intelligence agency with an estimated annual budget of $6 billion, had intercepted two messages last September 10 warning that something was about to happen, but that the messages were not translated from Arabic until September 12, a day after the attacks. “Tomorrow is zero hour,” said one of the messages. The other stated, “The match begins tomorrow.”

US helped as Saddam plotted chemical attacks, report says August 19, 2002 David Teather The US conducted a covert military campaign to help Iraq during its war with Iran, despite knowing that Baghdad intended to use chemical weapons in a number of battles, according to a report in the New York Times. The report says the programme was carried out during the Reagan administration, at a time when the White House was publicly condemning Iraq for its use of lethal gas. President George Bush and the his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, have repeatedly cited Iraq's use of gas during the 1981-1988 conflict as justification for a potential attack on the country.

US Iraq Campaign Has Its First Engagement August 18, 2002 DEBKAfile Special Military Analysis America’s offensive against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq has begun as an exercise in gradualism rather than a D-Day drama. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that tens of thousands of US, British, French, Netherlands, Australian troops may take part in the campaign, openly or covertly, but not in massive waves that fling themselves telegenically on Baghdad. The fact of the matter is that American military concentrations are already unobtrusively present in northern and southern Iraq. The US campaign to oust Saddam is therefore unfolding already, albeit in salami-fashion, slice by slice, under clouds of disinformation and diversionary ruses – like the latest statements by President George W. Bush (No date set yet for the offensive) and British premier Tony Blair (Plenty of time before the war begins), or the grave reservations issuing from the Russian, French and German leaders. The peasoup of deception is further thickened by utterances in the last 48 hours from Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit, King Abdullah of Jordan, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and the Saudi crown prince Abdullah. They warn Washington that attacking Iraq would be a terrible mistake, one which they want no part of. DEBKAfile ’s military sources attempt here to pierce some of the thickets of confusion with a few facts on the ground:
A.  Special US forces entered the Kurdish regions of north Iraq towards the end of March nearly four months ago, to set up local Kurdish militias and train them for battle.
B. At around the same time, Turkish special forces went into northern Iraq in waves that continued through April, fetching up in Turkmen regions around the big oil towns of Mosul and Kirkuk.
C.  Meanwhile, the Americans threw a ring of bases – using existing facilities and adding new ones  – around Iraq. They have since been pouring into those bases US armored ground units, tanks, air, navy and missile forces, as well as combat medical units and special contingents for anti-nuclear, biological and chemical warfare.

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