FEBRUARY 26-20, 03 Archives

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Canadian in passport fiasco - Humiliated by immigration staff February 26, 2003 JIM RANKIN She was denied consular assistance and threatened her with jail. But wait there's more!  She was photographed, fingerprinted, barred from re-entering the U.S. for five years and immediately "deported." Not to Toronto, but to India. A Toronto woman coming home from India says she was pulled aside at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, accused of using a fake Canadian passport, denied consular assistance and threatened with jail. In tears and desperate, Berna Cruz says she told U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) officers she didn't want to go to jail. She told them she had to get home to her two children and was expected to be at work the next day at a branch of a major Toronto bank where she works as a loan officer. Instead of jailing her on Jan. 27, an INS officer cut the front page of Cruz's passport and filled each page with "expedited removal" stamps, rendering it useless. She was photographed, fingerprinted, barred from re-entering the U.S. for five years and immediately "removed." Not to Toronto, but to India, where she had just spent several weeks visiting her parents. It took four days, and help from Canadian officials in Dubai and a Kuwaiti Airlines pilot, to get her back home. "It was a total abuse," Cruz said in an interview with the Star. "I want to see them punished for this and bring some justice." This week, Cruz sent a letter, along with a sworn affidavit, and the INS removal documents to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham. The letter arrived at the Prime Minister's office yesterday, and staff had not had a chance to look into the story. But Foreign Affairs spokesperson Reynald Doiron confirmed yesterday that staff in Dubai issued Cruz an emergency passport and assisted in getting her home, via London. "We're going to bring her case to the attention of the State Department in Washington, request an explanation on the INS refusal to grant at least one phone call to Ms Cruz, and we'll see what the American response is going to be," Doiron said last night. informationclearinghouse.info

Coalition of the willing? Make that war criminals February 26 2003 A pre-emptive strike on Iraq would constitute a crime against humanity, write 43 experts on international law and human rights. The initiation of a war against Iraq by the self-styled "coalition of the willing" would be a fundamental violation of international law. International law recognises two bases for the use of force. The first, enshrined in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, allows force to be used in self-defence. The attack must be actual or imminent. The second basis is when the UN Security Council authorises the use of force as a collective response to the use or threat of force. However, the Security Council is bound by the terms of the UN Charter and can authorise the use of force only if there is evidence that there is an actual threat to the peace (in this case, by Iraq) and that this threat cannot be averted by any means short of force (such as negotiation and further weapons inspections). smh.com.au

Bush pushing world into danger, says Castro February 26, 2003 KUALA LUMPUR: Cuban President Fidel Castro on Tuesday attacked US President George W Bush's foreign policy and warned that the world was at risk of extinction due to the "insane" behaviour of rich nations. Speaking at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit here, Castro criticised Bush's doctrine of preemptive strikes and plans for an "almost certain and unnecessary" military action against Iraq. He noted that the US possessed thousands of nuclear weapons "enough to obliterate the world population several times over." "These are hard times we are living in. In recent months, we have more than once heard scary words and statements," he said. "For the first time, the human species is running a real risk of extinction due to the insane behaviour... Only we can save humanity ourselves with the support of millions of manual and intellectual workers from the developed nations who are conscious of the catastrophes befalling their peoples." The Cuban leader said developing nations were told a "huge lie" when they were promised a world of peace, financial assistance and a reduction of the wealth gap after the World War II. "The world is being driven to a dead road and within hardly 150 years, the oil and gas it took the planet 300 million years to accumulate will have been depleted," he said. As the world population ballooned to more than six billion, poverty expanded and diseases threatened whole nations with annihilation, he said. Authority was "snatched" from the United Nations and development assistance reduced. "There are continous demands from the Third World countries to pay a 2.5 trillion dollars debt that cannot be paid under the present circumstances while one trillion dollars are spent in ever more sophisticated and deadly weapons. Why is that? What is that for?" jang.com

In Bush we trust not February 26 2003 By PAUL KRUGMAN SO IT seems that Turkey wasn't really haggling about the price, it just wouldn't accept payment by cheque or credit card. In return for support of an Iraq invasion, it wanted - and got - immediate aid, cash on the barrelhead, rather than mere assurances about future help. You'd almost think President George W. Bush had a credibility problem. And he does. The funny thing is that this administration sets great store on credibility. As the justifications for invading Iraq come and go - President Saddam Hussein is developing nuclear weapons; no, but he's in league with Osama bin Laden; no, but he's really evil - the case for war has come increasingly to rest on credibility. You see, say the hawks, we've already put our soldiers in position, so we must attack or the world won't take us seriously. But credibility isn't just about punishing people who cross you. It's also about honouring promises, and telling the truth. And those are areas where the Bush administration has problems. straitstimes.asia1.com

US fines veteran cyclist £5,000 for taking holiday in Cuba February 26, 2003 Duncan Campbell Joan Slote, who went on a cycling holiday to Cuba, was fined nearly $8,000 (£5,000) for breaking the US embargo of the island. Her case is one of a growing number in which the US treasury department is actively pursuing Americans who have visited the island or who are suspected of encouraging others to do so. The numbers of American visitors sought for breaking the embargo has quadrupled since the Bush administration took office. The treasury department now warns that those who visit without permission may face fines of up to $55,000. guardian.co.uk

George Bush, you've got mail. February 26, 2003 Thousands of anti-war demonstrators are expected to launch a virtual march on Washington today, leaving their picket signs at home and flooding White House and Senate offices with a slew of e-mails, faxes and phone calls protesting war against Iraq. pressdemocrat.com / president@whitehouse.gov

It's under Bush's bed! February 26, 2003 Paulo Coelho Bearing in mind that the president of the most powerful nation in the world is responsible for his actions and knows what he is talking about, I - a Brazilian writer, with no access to the secret services, the UN inspection procedure or confidential files, but able to read newspapers with a degree of intelligence - have come up with the definitive answer on how to locate the weapons of mass destruction being hidden by Iraq. I will require payment for this information, by the way. This is how to locate the weapons, step-by-step: 1. guardian.co.uk

How the Mass Slaughter of a Group of Iraqis Went Unreported February 26 2003 By Patrick J Sloyan On February 25 1991 the war correspondent Leon Daniel arrived at a battlefield at the tip of the neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Daniel was one of a pool of journalists who had been held back from witnessing action the previous day, when Desert Storm's ground war had been launched. There, right where he was standing, 8,400 soldiers of the US First Infantry Division - known as the Big Red One - had attacked an estimated 8,000 Iraqis with 3,000 Abrams main battle tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, Humvees and armoured personnel carriers. Daniel had seen the aftermath of modest firefights in Vietnam. "The bodies would be stacked up like cordwood," he recalled. Yet this ferocious attack had not produced a single visible body. It was a battlefield without the stench of urine, faeces, blood and bits of flesh. Daniel wondered what happened to the estimated 6,000 Iraqi defenders who had vanished. "Where are the bodies?" he finally asked the First Division's public affairs officer, an army major. "What bodies?" the major replied. truthout.org

Bush hands UN an ultimatum on Iraq war 26 February 2003 By Patrick Martin The resolution presented to the United Nations Security Council Tuesday by Britain, Spain and the United States is an unprecedented ultimatum, not to Iraq, but to the entire world. The Bush administration is demanding unconditional support for the war of aggression it has decided to wage against an impoverished country that poses no threat to the American people. US officials have begun campaigning for passage of the resolution, which authorizes military action against Iraq without saying so explicitly. American diplomacy on the question is a combination of threats and bribery. wsws.org

Mass layoff statistics restored by Congress February 26, 2003 Mike Meyers Weeks after the Bush administration quietly ended collection of layoff statistics, Congress last week restored the $6.6 million required to keep track of companies that pare payrolls en masse. "It's good news for us and it's probably good news for the state because we'll be able to continue to report about layoffs," said Oriane Casale, manager of workforce analysis at the Minnesota Department of Economic Security. startribune.com

EPA Criticized on Mercury Standards February 26, 2003 By Edward Walsh A day after the Environmental Protection Agency expressed "growing concern" over the number of women of child-bearing age who have dangerous levels of mercury in their blood, environmental groups accused the Bush administration yesterday of undercutting steps to reduce exposure to the toxic substance. Carol M. Browner, who was head of the EPA throughout the Clinton administration, said standards she developed under the Clean Air Act -- if allowed to take effect -- would go much further in reducing mercury emissions than would a "Clear Skies Initiative" President Bush has proposed. At a conference here, she suggested the administration's proposed policy was designed to protect the interests of major utilities and their coal-burning power plants, the nation's single largest source of man-made mercury emissions. washingtonpost.com

British pensioner hits out at FBI February 26, 2003 Staff and agencies British pensioner Derek Bond, who was today released from a 21-day spell in custody in South Africa, has hit out at the American authorities who held him. Mr Bond was detained after the FBI mistook him for a dangerous fugitive. The 72-year-old, from Bristol, broke down in tears as he spoke of his ordeal. He said his constant protestations of innocence had "made little impact" on the FBI, which ordered his arrest. His voice shook with emotion as he told a news conference: "I was getting quite despondent." He revealed how he had to sleep on a concrete floor, and had only a newspaper crossword for company. "Since they [the US] consider themselves the leading country in the world, I thought that they would take a more human approach," Mr Bond said. "I did not eat for three days. guardian.co.uk

West: Bush's war plan 'Absolute Disaster' By Dan Hoover Former ambassador to Saudi Arabia John West said this weekend that the Bush administration's plans for a pre-emptive strike against Iraq are "an absolute disaster." West said the administration risks inflaming the Islamic world and would further destabilize the volatile region with its go-it-alone policy without affecting the root problem there. Military analysts said Friday that the opening attacks by U.S. and British forces could begin in mid- March. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said there are now enough troops and equipment in place to launch an invasion. "The evidence does not persuade me" that Iraq and its dictator, Saddam Hussein, are a clear and present danger to the United States," West told The Greenville News. Instead, he would pursue a policy of containment, as is being utilized with another prospective nuclear club member, North Korea. greenvilleonline.com

'Horrendous': Nobel economist George Akerlof criticizes Bush administration's economic stimulus package By Bonnie Azab Powell - "Ten Nobel Laureates Say the Bush Tax Cuts are the Wrong Approach" proclaimed a full-page advertisement in the Tuesday, February 11, edition of the New York Times. Paid for by the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, the ad went on to say that "there is wide agreement that [the Bush plan's] purpose is a permanent change in the tax structure and not the creation of jobs and growth in the near-term…Passing these tax cuts will worsen the long-term budget outlook, adding to the nation's projected chronic deficits." (Download the ad as a PDF.) berkeley.edu

Bush's image in Europe takes a negative turn Even before he took office, Europeans regarded President Bush as a cowboy, a mental lightweight with an itchy trigger finger and a me-first view of the world. Now, with war looming, Bush's image overseas is taking an even more negative shift - so negative, in fact, that recent polls say Bush is as big a threat as Saddam Hussein. Smirks at the president's down-home style and supposed lack of intelligence have largely died down, to be replaced by fears that his push for war could hurt Europeans where they live - either because war will widen into world conflict or because it will provoke more terrorist attacks at home. As Chris Martin, singer for the pop band Coldplay declared at the Brit music awards - the British Grammys_ last week: "We are all going to die when George Bush has his way." miami.com

Bush perceived as greater threat than Saddam: WASHINGTON: US President George W Bush is viewed by many around the world as a greater threat to peace than Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the Washington Post reported on Monday, citing field reports from US embassies. The article referred to classified cables from embassies to the State Department that have "for weeks" been describing a shift in public opinion about Bush -- sentiments generously on display during recent anti-war rallies. "It is rather astonishing," a senior US official was quoted as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity. "There is an absence of any recognition that Hussein is the problem." An ambassador who represents the United States in an allied nation said in that country, which was not named, Bush has become the enemy. jang.com.pk

Perpetual Death From America By Mohammed Daud Miraki "If they had killed us once, it would not be so bad. But what the Americans have brought upon us is not only depriving us but our future generations of our basic god given human right, the right to live. They will be killing us for generations to come" (An Afghan Victim of US-UK bombing) In Afghanistan, elders used to cite an ancient saying "we are made for death and death is made for us" to point to the inescapable reality of facing death sooner or later. However, when this natural phenomenon changes form from its natural course to one tailored by humans, it becomes a tool of life deprivation. This tailored and forced deprivation of life on millions of people took a form of its own when used for cleansing generations of people of their basic human right, their right to live. Specifically, for millions in Afghanistan, their natural course of life and death took a sharp turn when US-UK military used uranium based weapons. This violation of immense proportion transformed the natural process of birth, growth and death into the inescapable horrors of perpetual death. rense.com

Over 1 Million Iraqi Children Might Die in War - Secret UN Document A newly-obtained confidential UN document predicts that 30 percent of children under 5 in Iraq, or 1.26 million, "would be at risk of death from malnutrition" in the event of a war. The draft document, "Integrated Humanitarian Contingency Plan for Iraq and Neighbouring Countries", was produced by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on 7 January 2003. Its release comes as aid agencies and government representatives meet urgently in Geneva to discuss humanitarian operations in the event of war." The document, available at www.casi.org.uk/info/undocs/internal.html, contains the following key assessments:

Losing battle to prepare the babies for war February 25 2003 By Paul McGeough Baghdad , United Nations agencies in Iraq have embarked on a desperate drive to "beef up" hundreds of thousands of malnourished toddlers, hoping to enable them to survive a war. An aid official yesterday said: "The worst-case scenario is that we have only 10 days to finish what is an enormous task." The mercy dash, before what many UN staff believe will be their imminent evacuation from the country, follows the leaking of UN assessments that warn of a "humanitarian emergency of exceptional scale and magnitude". smh.com.au

Among Giants: Forest Defense Actions Continue A war is being waged against the earth by corporations such as Maxxam/Pacific Lumber which is currently engaged in a protracted fight against communities in Northern California which see the corporation raiding natural resources, destroying mountains, watersheds and forests in the quest for profit before nature. The communities are resisting through forest defense actions from interfering with logging, blockading of logging roads and tree sits in planned timber harvests. Pacific Lumber also claims to have come under attack recently from what they describe as eco-terrorists and others call liberators. An independent call for mass tree sits has been put forward for Earth Day. SF Bay IMC Forest Defense Coverage | Tree-sit.org

Bush Magic Turns Medicines Into Munitions by CHRIS FLOYD Six million marched for peace last week, but the Bush Regime and the Blair Regency were unmoved by this outburst from the ignorant rabble. Instead, the righteous leaders of the "Coalition of the Willing" (or COW) declared that no power on earth will halt their holy quest to rid the world of Saddam Hussein and his chemical weapons. Strange, then, to see one of COW's biggest bovines--Pentagon warlord Donald "Squinty" Rumsfeld--informing the dazed and docile rubberstamps of Congress of his intention to assault Iraq with, er, chemical weapons. counterpunch.org

The new American gulag: Hastert & Delay tighten control of the House By DOUG THOMPSON House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert & Majority Leader Tom DeLay, saying they are fed up with independent thinking from members of their party, have turned the Republican side of the chamber into what some colleagues call "the new American gulag." "The speaker and his majority leader are making it clear: It’s their way or the highway," says on GOP House staff member. "You either join in lockstep with the leadership or you’re out of it. capitolhillblue.com

Americans were duped before; it could be happening again By DON WILLIAMS Are you being duped? Ask yourself that question before condemning those who oppose bombing, invading and occupying Iraq. It wouldn't be the first time your own government, including your president, has lied to justify war. It happens in every other generation. This nation fought a war against Spain over a century ago because many in the media parroted the government line that Spaniards blew up the Battleship Maine in Cuba. Turns out that most likely was a mistake at best, a big fat lie at worst. During World War I, Germans were depicted as brutal barbarians who reveled in nailing babies to fences and gouging out their eyes, and World War I was billed as the war to end all wars. Instead, it led directly to World War II, the rise of communism and the Cold War in the bloodiest century the world has ever known. knoxnews.com

A RESPECTED GREEK PROFESSOR IS DETAINED, SHACKLED AND ASKED IF HE IS ANTI-AMERICAN: A DEMOCRACY NOW! EXCLUSIVE Eugene Angelopoulos is a Professor at the National Technical University of Athens. New York University invited him to speak at a conference on Philosophy and Politics last week. But when Professor Angelopoulos arrived at John F. Kennedy airport, he was detained, shackled, and asked if he is anti-American and whether he opposes the war against Iraq. This is the first time his story is being told. I spoke with him late last week. Tape: Recommendedstream.realimpact.net / webactive.com

Rumsfeld pushes big lie on "human shields” in Iraq
24 February 2003 By Henry Michaels Faced by protests against their war plans involving millions of people worldwide, the Bush administration and the US media are increasingly employing one of the “big lie” techniques notoriously employed by the likes of Hitler and Stalin: accusing their enemy of the crimes they are about to commit. International humanitarian agencies are warning that the coming US assault on Iraq could cause half a million civilian casualties and create two million refugees. But the White House and Pentagon, joined by a complicit media, are seeking to shift the blame for the impending slaughter to the Iraqi government. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ramped up the propaganda effort at a February 19 Pentagon press briefing where, without offering the slightest evidence, he accused Saddam Hussein of preparing to use civilians as “human shields” against US attacks. wsws.org

THE END OF TELLING-IT-LIKE-IT-IS TALK RADIO IS NEAR February 24, 2003 By Servando González Painter Pablo Picasso once said that in art, as in the dictionary, against comes before for. The current dismal state of conservative talk radio indicates that Picasso's words can be applied to politics as well. It is useful to remember that the enormous growth of audience experienced by conservative talk radio occurred during the Clinton era. At the time, it was very easy to handle a conservative talk radio program: the only thing you needed to do was to criticize Clinton and his administration for the wrong decisions, corruption, scandals and foreign policy disasters. But now there is a Republican administration in charge and, as Mary Starrett observed in her recent article, "Going...Going...Gone", the Limbaughs, Savages, Hannitys and O'reillys aren't speaking our language anymore, if they ever were. During the initial months after W. Bush received the presidency, all criticism was directed at mistakes inherited from the Clinton administration. As the months passed by, and that argument ran out of steam, the main scapegoat was Clinton appointees still working for the Bush administration -- no explanation was ever given as to why the new president did not fire them. But lately, faced with the fact that only the most gullible are buying such arguments, our conservative talk radio hosts seem to be totally lost. newswithviews.com

Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz lobbied Clinton in '98 to start Iraq war and topple Saddam February 24, 2003 By Jason Leopold Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz undertook a full-fledged lobbying campaign in 1998 to get former President Bill Clinton to start a war with Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein's regime, claiming that the country posed a threat to the United States, according to documents obtained from a former Clinton aide. This new information begs the question: what is really driving the Bush administration's desire to start a war with Iraq if two of Bush's future top defense officials were already planting the seeds for an attack five years ago? onlinejournal.com

DUBYA'S ENEMIES LIST - Nixonian Attack On Dean Of White House Press Corps February 24, 2003 Organized Official Republican Party Smear Campaign Against Helen Thomas Bush Assault To Intimidate Media White House Correspondents' Association Silent Not since Richard M. Nixon made a little list -- an enemies list -- of those in the press and in politics who disagreed with his policies has a U.S. President launched a public personal attack on a specific American journalist. Now, the ever-reliable Hotline reports, George W. Bush has mobilized the Republican National Committee to beat up the outspoken truth-teller, venerated senior White House correspondent, and "First Lady of the press," Helen Thomas, because she has DARED to criticize his public policies. Helen Thomas has had the courage to say what many are thinking, that Bush is "the worst president in all of American history."  For exercising her First Amendment freedom, the entire Republican Party smear machine has now been deployed against the brave and distinguished journalist. mediawhoresonline.com

Editor: Bush Cited Report That Doesn't Exist February 24, 2003 By James Toedtman CHIEF ECONOMIC CORRESPONDENT Washington - There was only one problem with President George W. Bush's claim Thursday that the nation's top economists forecast substantial economic growth if Congress passed the president's tax cut: The forecast with that conclusion doesn't exist. Bush and White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer went out of their way Thursday to cite a new survey by "Blue-Chip economists" that the economy would grow 3.3 percent this year if the president's tax cut proposal becomes law. That was news to the editor who assembles the economic forecast. "I don't know what he was citing," said Randell E. Moore, editor of the monthly Blue Chip Economic Forecast, a newsletter that surveys 53 of the nation's top economists each month. "I was a little upset," said Moore, who said he complained to the White House. "It sounded like the Blue Chip Economic Forecast had endorsed the president's plan. That's simply not the case." newsday.com

Bush Smallpox Inoculation Plan Near Standstill February 24, 2003 By Ceci Connolly Medical Professionals Cite Possible Side Effects, Uncertainty of Threat. When President Bush issued the call for 500,000 volunteer health care workers to be immunized against smallpox, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson promised to get the job done in 30 days. At today's one-month mark, however, the total number of people inoculated nationwide is just 4,200 -- less than 1 percent of the administration's target for the first phase of bioterrorism preparations. "It is as close to stalled as you can get," said William Bicknell, former Massachusetts health commissioner and a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. "There has not been a sufficient push from senior administration officials." washingtonpost.com

Bush lacks manhood says Iraqi leader BAGHDAD: February 24, 2003 Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said yesterday US President George W Bush had behaved without manhood and chivalry toward Baghdad, and that Washington would fail to humiliate Iraq. "The Iraqi (citizen) is not easy when he is angry. Iraqis are angered by the behaviour of their enemy that has not kept within the minimum of manhood and chivalry," Saddam told a Lebanese delegation. "Tell your brothers that the Americans can damage and destroy buildings and facilities, but they will fail to humiliate Iraq," Saddam said in comments carried by the Iraqi News Agency (INA). gulf-daily-news.com

Rupert Murdoch strikes out Feb. 24, 2003 By Keith Olbermann With the Sandy Koufax gay rumor, the News Corp. synergy sewer finally overflows. Most of us have learned to simply accept the fact that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. exists in the world, just as we've come to accept that there are terrorists among us, as well as people who scam grandmothers out of their savings. And then every once in a while the News Corp. will do something so rapacious, so pathetic, that one has to stand up and say no more, to call for legal and moral measures to stop it, even if all gestures prove futile. salon.com

Bush administration preparing new police state measures February 23, 2003 By John Andrews For months the Bush Administration has been secretly preparing a new bill to add or change dozens of federal laws and thereby dramatically increase the executive branch’s power to spy on people in the US, hold them secretly, and even strip them of their US citizenship. Entitled “The Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003,” the bill has been dubbed “Patriot Act II,” after the omnibus surveillance, immigration and crime bill rammed through Congress in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001. This secret plan to institute new police state measures only came to light because it was leaked to the Center for Public Integrity, which, on February 7, posted it on www.publicintegrity.org, along with a confidential Justice Department memorandum discussing each of its provisions. The Justice Department memorandum is dated January 7 and marked “Confidential—Not for Distribution” on each page. It methodically describes a blood-chilling plan to give Attorney General John Ashcroft and the federal police he leads unprecedented powers to spy, to conceal their activities, to arrest in secret and hold people indefinitely, and to expel people from the country. wsws.org

N.M. May Go On Record Opposing U.S.A Patriot Act February 23, 2003 KRQE Santa Fe, N.M. News Proposed memorials in the state Senate and House would put the New Mexico Legislature on record as opposing the U.S.A. Patriot Act. The legislation would urge state police not to conduct surveillance of people or groups for activities protected by the First Amendment. Democratic Representative Max Coll of Santa Fe is sponsoring the House memorial. He says the Patriot Act got a little too close for comfort on some things that are guaranteed by the First Amendment. The Patriot Act gives the federal government broad powers to use wiretaps, eavesdropping, searching and a wide range of other information-gathering techniques in the fight against terrorism. krqe.com

Saddam's shields Feb. 23, 2003 By Michelle Goldberg Peace activists are flocking to Iraq to put their bodies in the way of American bombs, with no training for what they'll face in a war zone. Are they heroes or dupes? On Sunday, Feb. 16, two red double-decker buses full of self-described human shields rolled into Iraq after a cross-continent journey that began in London, disgorging 75 Westerners who have sworn to put their bodies between American bombs and Iraqi civilians. As the Europeans, Australians, Canadians and Americans stepped off the bus, they were greeted by an adoring Iraqi throng chanting the praises of Saddam Hussein. An Iraqi group called the Friendship, Peace and Solidarity Organization helped the volunteers find accommodation and offered tours of potential bombing sites where the shields might station themselves. salon.com

Is There A Way To Rein In The American Government? February 22, 2003 By: Steve Turner A friend just pointed out that there might not be. Even for American's. Whoever started to protest, question, or make noise on a large scale would probably just dissapear, effectively silenced by the CIA, FBI, NSA or the new Homeland Security bunch. Sounds like a nightmare not a democracy doesn't it? It is. Sounds kinda like Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia, but the reality is we're getting real close. Think about it folks. We've got a president who effectively installed himself instead of being duly elected. It's kinda scary. Elections stolen, President's out of control, is our government out of control? And if it is, how in the hell can we ever gain enough control back to fix it? Millions of people protesting worldwide, major nations governments objecting daily and the Bush government still insists we must attack Iraq. President Bush seems to care about as much about human rights as he does about Social Security. These issues don't, and probably never have or will, affect him or his family. Think about it. maconareaonline.com

US government mounts conspiracy frame-up of Palestinian activists February 22, 2003 By the Editorial Board The indictment and arrest February 20 of University of South Florida (USF) Professor Sami Amin Al-Arian and three other men on terrorist conspiracy charges is an outrageous attempt to railroad individuals to prison because of their political opposition to the murderous policies of the Israeli government and Washington’s complicity in the repression of the Palestinian people. In addition to the four men arrested in Florida and Chicago, four others living in the Middle East were indicted. Among those charged is Abd All Aziz Awda, a resident of Gaza and a founder of Islamic Jihad. Abd All Aziz Awda is a member of the Palestine National Council. In the guise of the so-called “war on terrorism,” the Bush administration is employing state repression to intimidate and silence political speech and expression that is expressly protected under the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights. It is seeking to criminalize political opposition to the policies of the US government and its ally, Israel. In so doing, it is utilizing sweeping and unconstitutional powers of police surveillance sanctioned by the USA Patriot Act, which was passed in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001. wsws.org

Bush Expansion of Global Gag Rule Expensive, Unwelcome and Immoral, Says Population Action International February 22, 2003 WASHINGTON, U.S. Newswire The Bush Administration's plans to attach more expensive red tape and needless restrictions to international HIV/AIDS assistance and other international reproductive health programs have been strongly condemned by Population Action International (PAI). "The bottom line is: Does this policy help to save more lives? Clearly the answer here is 'no'. It erects walls between vital services, when it should be tearing them down," says Amy Coen, president of Population Action International. usnewswire.com

Feds Seeks to Dismiss Anti-War Lawsuit February 22, 2003 BOSTON (AP) The federal government Thursday asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to bar the president from launching a war against Iraq without an explicit declaration of war from Congress. The federal court should not get involved in this ``delicate international political scenario,'' the government's attorneys argued in court papers. ``Such an intrusion could embolden Iraq and thus reduce the chances of a peaceful resolution.'' A group of U.S. servicemen, their parents and six congressmen filed the lawsuit last week, arguing the resolution Congress approved in October supporting military action against Iraq did not specifically declare war and unlawfully ceded the decision to President Bush. guardian.co.uk

CBS executives warn against ‘anti-war’ February 22, 2003 By: Agencies Top CBS executives are deeply concerned that Sunday night’s Grammy Awards may turn from a celebration of music — into a giant anti-war political rally. The Grammy broadcast, which is set to air live from New York City, will feature performances by Eminem, Sheryl Crow, Springsteen, Coldplay, James Taylor and others. Word has reached network suites how one star is allegedly planning a dramatic anti-war gesture. “I hope artists will remember they are on stage because of their music,” a top CBS source told Drudge Report yesterday. During this week’s Brits award show, Coldplay’s Chris Martin yelled out to the audience: “We are all going to die when George Bush has his way. But at least we are going to go out with a bang.” web.mid-day.com

What Do The Imperial Mafia Really Want? February 22, 2003 By William Blum Which is the more remarkable; that the United States can openly announce to the world its determination to invade a sovereign nation and overthrow its government in the absence of any attack or threat of attack from the intended target? Or that for an entire year the world has been striving to figure out what the superpower's real intentions are? There are of course those who accept at face value Washington's stated motivations of "liberating" the people of Iraq from a dictatorship and bestowing upon them a full measure of democracy, freedom and other eternal joys fit for American schoolbooks. In light of a century of well-documented US foreign policy which reveals a virtually complete absence of such motivations, along with repeated opposite consequences, we can dispense with this attempt by Washington to win hearts and mindless. athena.tbwt.com

Murdoch’s Sun dismisses million-strong London march as “nothing” February 22, 2003 By Chris Marsden The Sun is the flagship publication of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in Britain. It specialises in sleaze, bare breasts, celebrity scandals, attacks on welfare recipients, asylum-seekers and encouraging every possible variety of jingoism. Its Monday, February 17 edition gave its views on the previous weekend’s antiwar demonstrations in London and internationally. The demonstration was barely reported on the front page, which led on an inconsequential incident between the England football team captain David Beckham and his manager at Manchester United, Alex Ferguson. Where the Sun came into its own was the vitriol and contempt heaped on the demonstrations in an equally brief editorial, “March ado about nothing”. “A million Britons had a jolly day out on the anti-war march,” it began. “But let’s not get carried away. Fifty-eight million other Brits DIDN’T march on London. They weren’t suckered by has-beens like [Labour MP] Tony Benn or never-will-be [Liberal Democrat party leader] Charles Kennedy. The reality is, the big march changes nothing” (emphasis added). wsws.org

February 22, 2003 During the past six years, the American Gulf War Veterans Association has received numerous reports from veterans stating that US forces were responsible for the setting of the oil well fires at the end of the Gulf War. One veteran has now stepped forward and given a detailed account of how he and others in special teams, moved forward of the front, behind enemy lines ahead of US forces, set explosive and incendiary charges on the well heads, and remained hidden until after the charges were remotely detonated and US forces advanced beyond their position. thepowerhour.com / Transcript of Gulf War veteran who set oil well fires in Kuwait in 1991 war.

The “Transfer” of Palestinians From Their Land is a Step Towards Genocide February 22, 2003 by Robert Jensen O ne way to cover up a crime is to find a benign term that hides the violence and cruelty of the act. Such is the case with "transfer," an idea increasingly being put forward in Israel as a solution to conflict with the Palestinians. Transfer conjures up images of a worker reassigned to a new office, or a slip allowing a rider to change buses for free. But transfer of the Palestinians would be nothing less than ethnic cleansing. dissidentvoice.org

US hawks hope to find - or fabricate - cause for war February 21, 2003 Patrick Seale   Determined to smash Iraq, US hawks are feverishly hunting for a casus belli ­ a pretext for war. With strong support from their Israeli allies, they hope to find or fabricate one in the next two or three weeks, in time to justify a massive blitz in early March when the full moon will facilitate night bombing of Iraqi targets. This is the message conveyed by sources in America and Israel, who report the huge anger and frustration of the hawks at the obstruction to their war plans from the UN weapons inspectors and the Security Council, but especially from President Jacques Chirac of France, now seen by the hawks as the principal villain. dailystar.com

US media move away from Bush February 21, 2003 Patrick Barrett The US media has begun to turn against President George Bush's hard line on military action against Iraq. A majority of the country's top newspapers now oppose any attack on Iraq by US and British forces without the full support if the international community. Influenced by the massive anti-war demonstrations staged around the world last weekend and the growing rift between the US and the less hawkish countries led by France and Germany, American press coverage has seen a substantial shift away from backing an immediate war regardless of international opinion. A survey of 37 leading US papers publishing editorials between February 15 and 19 found that almost two thirds now called for a "world coalition" to be formed before any military action in the Middle East. According to the research, the call for UN backing has now become an established theme in most major newspapers, in marked contrast to right leaning TV networks and papers such as Fox news and the New York Post, both owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. "If war becomes necessary, it will be better waged by the world than by even a broad 'coalition of the willing. The world remains safer if the peace-seeking United Nations remains intact," thundered the Detroit Free Press. Despite growing calls for international unity, "French bashing" amongst the US press has become a popular theme. Top of the Francophobes were the New York Daily News, and Murdoch owned New York Post.

Panic Is Near if 'The Gold Is Gone' February 21, 2003 By Kelly Patricia O Meara Gold. It's been called a barbarous relic, and those who focus on its historic role as a standard of value frequently are labeled "lunatic fringe." Given the recent highs in the gold market, it looks like the crazies have been having a hell of a year. With the stock market taking its third yearly loss, gold returned nearly 30 percent to investors, moving from $255 an ounce to six-year highs of $380. Just about every analyst and "expert" on Wall Street willing to mention any of this has been quick to explain that the increase in the price of gold is due to impending war with Iraq. But hard-money analysts are arguing that should the United States go to war it will be of very little consequence to the price of gold -- a momentary blip -- because gold is a commodity and its price a matter of supply and demand. The "lunatic fringe" long has argued that the price of gold was being manipulated by a "gold cartel" involving J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve, but that the manipulation had been sufficiently exposed to require that it be abandoned, producing the steady upward increase in the price of the shiny, yellow metal. In fact the "gold bugs," as they're known, are so sure of their research that not only do they believe the price of gold will continue to climb, but many are expecting to see prices of $800 to $1,000 an ounce. Until recently, most in the gold and financial worlds scoffed at such a prediction, but last month the Bank of Portugal made an announcement that shocked those who credit official gold-reserve data and added fuel to the contention of the gold bugs that the "gold-cartel" manipulation is in meltdown. insightmag.com

Bush's strong dollar produces record deficit February 21, 2003 Heather Stewart The United States last year ran up its largest trade deficit to date as exports to European economies plunged to their lowest level since 1997, according to official figures published yesterday. America's insatiable consumers continued to suck in cheap imports during 2002 as President Bush maintained the "strong dollar" policy of his predecessors. But foreign demand for American products was depressed by the global economic downturn. The department of commerce said the trade deficit hit $44.2bn in December - a monthly record - bringing the total shortfall for the year to $435.2bn, also a record, and more than 20% larger than that recorded in 2001. guardian.co.uk

F15: The World Said No February 21, 2003 Reports continue to come in of demonstrations on every continent, in every corner of the world. The editors of this section of Indymedia, like all participants in this past weekend's events, are still working to understand the breadth of the protest and its meaning. View reports organized by region, from Oceania, Eastern Europe, Western Europe [ 1 | 2 | 3 ], North America, South America, and the Middle East. http://indymedia.org/

An event of world historical significance February 21, 2003 World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board The mass demonstrations that unfolded simultaneously across the globe on the weekend of February 15-16, 2003 will live in history. What occurred on these days was an unprecedented manifestation of international human solidarity against war. In the face of the militaristic frenzy of the most ruthless imperialist regime in the world, more than 10,000,000 people have spoken out against the plans for an invasion of Iraq. These demonstrations represent a turning point in world politics. From North and South America, through Europe and Asia to Australia and Africa, the mass and largely spontaneous popular mobilizations of February 15-16 have exposed the deep and unbridgeable political, social and moral chasm that separates the ruling elites and their media propagandists from the people. In the aftermath of these powerful demonstrations, all pretence of democratic political legitimacy for the war policies of the Bush administration in the United States and the Blair regime in Britain has been irrevocably shattered. The demonstration of more than one million people in London and Glasgow was a stunning repudiation of Blair’s attempt to revive, through an alliance with Washington, the colonialist aspirations of British imperialism. wsws.org

Muslims Question Timing, Intent Behind Arrest of Muslim Professor February 21, 2003 U.S. Newswire In a statement released today, the Muslim American Society (MAS) said that this morning's arrest of a Florida Muslim professor spoke more to the government's targeting of Muslim leaders and civil liberties than the fight against terrorism. The professor, Dr. Sami Al-Arian of Tampa, Fla., a prominent community leader and outspoken defender of civil liberties, has long been a target of pro-Israel advocates because of his views in support of Palestinian rights. As a founding member of the Washington, D.C.-based National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom, Dr. Al-Arian campaigned against the use of "secret evidence," the government practice of keeping evidence secret from the accused and their attorneys. The MAS statement read: "The arrest of Prof. Sami Al-Arian today conforms to a pattern of political intimidation by an Attorney General who seems to be targeting the American Muslim community's leaders and institutions in a drive to erode Americans' civil liberties. "The Department of Justice has the discretion of whom it prosecutes and when. After ten years of investigating Dr. Al-Arian because of his political views and failing to come up with any evidence of a crime, we must ask why the department chose today to accuse him of wrongdoing. "Both the timing of the arrest and government officials' statements at today's press conference seem to indicate that today's action was based not on legitimate law enforcement considerations, but was rather an attempt to stimulate public fear of 'terrorists among us' and support for the Justice Department's ominous proposed Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. usnewswire.com

Bush Departs Amid War Protesters
February 21, 2003 KENNESAW, Ga. (AP) Dozens of protesters shouted anti-war chants Thursday outside the high school where President Bush was promoting his plans for the economy and a possible war in Iraq. The protesters waved signs and shouted "No blood for oil" as the presidential motorcade left Harrison High School, which is northwest of Atlanta in Cobb County. "The war is only going to create more terrorism," said Ron Cagle, a protester from Marietta. "Bush is a buffoon, and he has no idea what a world community should look like." Mojo Po, of Chamblee, who was carrying an American flag with a peace symbol where the stars normally are, said, "We have better ways of dealing with our difference. Human life is sacred." 11alive.com

President Bush's Ratings Fall Sharply February 20, 2003 ROCHESTER, NY - President's ratings now 52% positive, 46% negative Colin Powell now the only Cabinet Member or political leader with very high ratings. The last two months have taken a heavy toll on the president's popularity, but a modest 52% to 46% majority still gives him positive ratings. Two months ago, almost two-thirds of all adults (64%) gave the president positive ratings and only just over a third (35%) gave him negative ratings. Other members of President Bush's cabinet, as well as the parties in Congress and Congressional leaders, with one exception, have all seen a huge decline in their popularity since the very high numbers we recorded soon after September 11, 2001. The one exception is Secretary of State Colin Powell. He still enjoys an extraordinarily high degree of popularity, with 76% giving him positive ratings and only 21% giving him negative ratings. These numbers are fractionally better than they were in December 2002, perhaps because of his powerful recent testimony to the United Nations Security Council. While none of the other leaders has seen as big declines since last December as President Bush, their numbers, nonetheless, are all down very substantially since their peak soon after September 11. commondreams.org Remember the constant bombardment by polls that told us Al Gore's ratings were 35% and bush's were 60% during the election, when it was Gore who received the majority of votes. Personally, I can't find two people in a room full of people who will admit they voted for bush or who want his war, so basically this corporate poll data is bullshit.- Editor.



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