MARCH 20-14, 03 Archives

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THE EVE OF DESTRUCTION March 20, 2003 by Dan Dvorak As I sit here and await his majesty Bush’s “order” to let the games begin full well knowing I will be unable to sit through the smirking chimps lies and deceit as the beat of the war drum goes on. I am sick to death in my heart down to the pit of my stomach at what we are about to become. Yes Iraq screwed up when they invaded Kuwait. You could make a case for that action in that Kuwait was slant drilling into Iraq's oil fields, and Kuwait was ‘stolen’ from Iraq in the first place. But be that as it may, Iraq became invaders and the world lined up against Saddam and he paid a terrible price. The country suffered as the coalition bombed them into the stone age with a cable CNN light show worth billions. In the end most of Iraq was under no fly zones and UN inspectors destroyed what few weapons remained after the US military was finished, and there has been an embargo of most everything except medicine and food for 10 years, leaving Iraq a mere shell of the country it once was.

U.S. Attacks Iraq; War May Be Longer Than Some Expect March 20, 2003 01:03 By Bill Schmick U.S. forces attacked Iraq, opening the war that President George W. Bush says is necessary to disarm Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and remove him from power. ``These are the opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign,'' Bush said in an address to the nation. The war ``could be longer and more difficult than some predict,'' he said. The attack came 90 minutes after Hussein defied an ultimatum from Bush to leave Iraq by 8 p.m. Washington time yesterday. Bush says he took the offensive because the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strikes on New York City and Washington forced the U.S. to change its defense policy to include preemptive action against groups or countries that pose a threat. The U.S. struck ``selected targets of military importance,'' Bush said. Some of the attacks were aimed at Hussein himself, NBC News and CNN reported. NBC also reported that two stealth fighters dropped bombs on Baghdad. Hussein appeared on Iraqi television about three hours after the attacks, which he called a ``shameful crime'' committed by ``the criminal junior Bush,'' according to a CNN translation. Iraq ``will confront the invaders'' and win the war, Hussein said.

The twenty lies of George W. Bush 20 March 2003 By Patrick Martin Monday night’s 15-minute speech by President Bush, setting a 48-hour deadline for war against Iraq, went beyond the usual distortions, half-truths, and appeals to fear and backwardness to include a remarkable number of barefaced, easily refuted lies. The enormous scale of the lying suggests two political conclusions: the Bush administration is going to war against Iraq with utter contempt for democracy and public opinion, and its war propaganda counts heavily on the support of the American media, which not only fails to challenge the lies, but repeats and reinforces them endlessly. Without attempting to be exhaustive, it is worthwhile listing some of the most important lies and contrasting Bush’s assertions with the public record. All of the false statements listed below are directly quoted from the verbatim transcript of Bush’s remarks published on the Internet.

War! What is it Good For? March 20, 2003 While the Pentagon threatens reporters, orders body bags, and prepares for pre-emptive war against Iraq, activists around the world are preparing for massive anti-war mobilizations. In the few nations that have climbed aboard the Bush regime's war machine, such as the UK, Spain, and Australia, major demonstrations and direct actions are already in place. In addition, other anti-war actions such as vigils, boycotts, impeachment, and legislative work are ongoing. Meanwhile, in the belly of the beast where history may be repeating itself and mainstream media reports on polls misrepresent popular opinion, the chilling prospects for the Bush regime declaring martial law are apparently real. If planned actions in Washington, DC, Chicago, New York, San Francisco,[1],[2] and elsewhere are met with government repression what will be the toll in the "Land of Democracy"?

Dust Storms of Depleted Uranium March 20, 2003 Mike Ferner AT THE SAFWAN, IRAQ BORDER CHECKPOINT WITH KUWAIT--Congressional Medal of Honor winner and Viet Nam vet, Charlie Liteky, said, "It's the people here who are taking all the risks." That statement, mentioned casually in the lobby of Basra's modest Al-Iyoon Hotel, was true enough. But the dust storm that descended on this southernmost section of Iraq within minutes of Liteky's comment, dimming even the hotel corridors, gave us a gritty taste of what life has been like here since the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Dust storms are of course common here. But perhaps nowhere else on Earth is the dust so deadly. That's because DU, or depleted uranium, was the weapon of choice used here 12 years ago-over 300 tons of it. DU, a radioactive, carcinogenic by-product of nuclear reactors, is used to make armor-piercing bullets. Its heavy weight lets it cut through tanks and armoured personnel carriers like a hot knife through butter. Unfortunately for combat soldiers and hapless civilians living in former war zones, it emits alpha particles that are particularly effective in causing cancer once they get inside the body. DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. And getting inside the body is exactly what DU seems to be doing since bursting onto the scene here.

Four eyewitnesses describe the murder of Rachel Corrie March 19, 2003 Tom Dale The bulldozer drove toward Rachel slowly, gathering earth in its scoop as it went. She knelt there, she did not move. The bulldozer reached her and she began to stand up, climbing onto the mound of earth. She appeared to be looking into the cockpit. The bulldozer continued to push Rachel, so she slipped down the mound of earth, turning as she went. Her faced showed she was panicking and it was clear she was in danger of being overwhelmed. All the activists were screaming at the bulldozer to stop and gesturing to the crew about Rachel's presence. We were in clear view as Rachel had been, they continued. They pushed Rachel, first beneath the scoop, then beneath the blade, then continued till her body was beneath the cockpit. They waited over her for a few seconds, before reversing. They reversed with the blade pressed down, so it scraped over her body a second time. Every second I believed they would stop but they never did. I ran for an ambulance, she was gasping and her face was covered in blood from a gash cutting her face from lip to cheek. She was showing signs of brain hemorrhaging. She died in the ambulance a few minutes later of massive internal injuries. She was a brilliant, bright and amazing person, immensely brave and committed. She is gone and I cannot believe it.

Activist's memorial service disrupted March 19, 2003 Chris McGreal in Jerusalem Israeli forces fired teargas and stun grenades yesterday in an attempt to break up a memorial service for Rachel Corrie, the American peace activist killed by an army bulldozer in Gaza on Sunday. Witnesses including several dozen foreigners and Palestinian supporters say Israeli armoured vehicles tried to disperse the gathering at the spot in Rafah refugee camp where Ms Corrie was crushed to death. The 23 year-old activist with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) was trying to prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes by the Israelis when she was hit by the bulldozer. Joe Smith, a young activist from Kansas City, said about 100 people were gathered to lay carnations and erect a small memorial when the first armoured personnel carrier appeared. "They started firing teargas and blowing smoke, then they fired sound grenades.

DO YOU KNOW THE STORY OF TEN YEAR OLD HELMI'S SUDDEN DEATH? WELL, YOU SHOULD.... March 19, 2003 By: Khalid Amayreh Occupied Jerusalem A Jewish settler from the settlement of Bitar near Bethlehem beat a Palestinian school child to death on 27 October, 1996. Palestinian kids who were returning home from school told journalists the settler, who works as Security Officer at the settlement, chased three school kids on suspicion they had thrown stones at his car. The kids said the settler grabbed 10-year-old Helmi Salim Helmi Al Shawashe of the village of Husan near Bethlehem, dragged him to the ground, pressed his army boots against his neck and began beating him savagely on the head, using the butt end of his pistol. The kids said that as Helmi began screaming, begging for his life, the settler dragged him through a thorny terrain, and resumed beating him, until he lost consciousness. Motionless and brain-dead, Helmi was taken to hospital, where he was declared "clinically dead." At dawn, on 28 October, he succumbed to his injury. An autopsy report said Helmi suffered a massive brain hemorrhage resulting from external injury to the head. The settler himself, an officer in the IDF, initially denied any connections to the crime. However, later as witnesses identified him as the perpetrator, he confessed to having committed the nefarious act, claiming that he didn't intend to kill him but to teach him a lesson.

Sen. Robert Byrd: 'Today I Weep for My Country' March 19, 2003 By Thomas Ferraro The oldest voice in the U.S. Congress rose on Wednesday to offer a final pre-war warning that President Bush's march to battle is dangerously misguided. "Today I weep for my country," said West Virginia Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd. "No more is the image of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. ... Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned. "We flaunt our superpower status with arrogance," Byrd said, adding: "After war has ended the United States will have to rebuild much more than the country of Iraq. We will have to rebuild America's image around the globe." Byrd, a leading foe on Capitol Hill of war with Iraq, spoke in a nearly empty Senate chamber about four hours before Bush's 8 p.m. EST deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq or face a U.S.-led invasion. "May God continue to bless the United States of America in the troubled days ahead, and may we somehow recapture the vision which for the present eludes us," Byrd said. As the white-haired senator concluded his remarks, a number of people in the visitor's gallery rose and applauded before they were admonished to be quiet. At 85, Byrd is now the oldest member of Congress as well as the longest serving. He was first elected to the Senate in 1958, after six years in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Europe poll sees US falling from favour March 19, 2003 Gary Younge America's image, even within countries it counts as allies in the war against Iraq, has plunged in the past six months, according to an opinion poll yesterday. Anti-war sentiment and disapproval of President Bush's foreign policy has prompted citizens in eight out of nine European countries to support weaker diplomatic and security ties with the US, in the belief that its foreign policy is having a negative effect on their country. Britain is the only exception. The US's favourability ratings in Britain, Spain, Italy and Poland have plummeted dramatically, according to the survey by the Pew Research centre.

When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History March 18, 2003 By THOM HARTMANN The 70th anniversary wasn't noticed in the United States, and was barely reported in the corporate media. But the Germans remembered well that fateful day seventy years ago - February 27, 1933. They commemorated the anniversary by joining in demonstrations for peace that mobilized citizens all across the world. It started when the government, in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed. (Historians are still arguing whether or not rogue elements in the intelligence service helped the terrorist; the most recent research implies they did not.) But the warnings of investigators were ignored at the highest levels, in part because the government was distracted; the man who claimed to be the nation's leader had not been elected by a majority vote and the majority of citizens claimed he had no right to the powers he coveted. He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw things in black-and-white terms and didn't have the intellect to understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and internationalist world.

A world safe for democracy, or perpetual war? March 18, 2003 Eric Black An influential group of foreign policy thinkers sees the possibly imminent overthrow of Saddam Hussein as just one early step in an ambitious blueprint to spread democracy throughout the world and eliminate threats to the United States. Although they developed their thinking long before the Sept. 11 attacks, the strategists, often called neoconservatives or neocons, have increased their influence over the Bush administration since Sept. 11, many foreign policy analysts say. Critics argue that the neocon ideas, including "regime change," are a recipe for perpetual war, because they would steer the United States into many confrontations. There would be a long list of regimes to be changed. But the neocons themselves and their supporters say that the United States has an unprecedented historical opportunity to reshape the world in ways that will make our country safer and the rest of the world freer. The neocons, who sometimes call themselves neo-Reaganites, say the key concept is not perpetual war but "moral clarity backed by military strength."

International activists say Israel intentionally killed U.S. woman March 18, 2003 A Palestinian-backed group of international activists on Monday disputed a claim by the Israeli military that a U.S. protester standing in the path of an Israeli bulldozer was crushed accidentally. The International Solidarity Movement said Rachel Corrie of Olympia, Wash., was in the line of vision of the bulldozer driver Sunday as she stood in his path to try to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Rafah refugee camp. "When the bulldozer refused to stop or turn aside she climbed up onto the mound of dirt and rubble being gathered in front of it ... to look directly at the driver who kept on advancing," the group said in a statement. The Israeli military said Sunday that Corrie's death was an accident. It said small windows in the bulldozer's cab restricted the driver's vision. Several requests by The Associated Press to talk to an army commander in the area went unanswered.

War 'goes against world opinion' March 18, 2003 FRANCE has lashed out at the United States, Britain and Spain for following a path toward military conflict, saying they were acting against the international will. Foreign minister Dominique de Villepin said the three nations had decided to abandon diplomacy because a large majority of UN security council opposed their call for war against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. "Despite the will clearly expressed by the international community, the United States, Britain and Spain underlined today their determination to resort to force," de Villepin said. France "regrets a decision that is not justified today and that risks serious consequences for the region and the world".

Oil drilling in wildlife park gets nearer March 18, 2003 Matthew Engel With public attention diverted by Iraq, George Bush is poised to push one of his most cherished and controversial measures past strong opposition on Capitol Hill and into law.
The Senate is expected to vote this week on the White House plan to start drilling for oil in the Arctic national wildlife refuge in Alaska. The vote will be tight, but the balance appears to have shifted to the pro-drilling side.

The web at war March 18, 2003 As America's media slavishly back their President on Iraq, the public is going online for more balanced views, says Andy Goldberg More than 30 years ago, pictures of corpses and body bags on television in the United States helped to turn political opinion against the Vietnam War. Now, as the world's military superpower embarks on another foreign adventure, Americans at home are seeking out more anti-war pictures and opinions – not from their media, which declines to show them, but from the internet.

Bush: 48 hours, then war March 17, 2003 GEORGE W. Bush has given Saddam Hussein just 48 hours to leave Iraq or face war at a time of America's choosing. The US President laid down the ultimatum in a televised address as about 300,000 US, British and Australian troops gathered around Iraq waiting for the order to launch a military assault on Baghdad. "Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing," Bush said in the address from the White House. "The tyrant will soon be gone." Bush, who failed to muster the backing of the UN Security Council for military action, called on UN weapons inspectors and journalists to leave Iraq immediately. He urged Iraqi forces not to fight an invasion force and not to set oil wells alight or obey orders to use weapons of mass destruction. Bush admitted the risk of provoking terrorist attacks in America. But he said: "If our enemies dare to strike us they and all who have aided them will face fearful consequences."

PUSHED INTO WAR BY LIARS AND CHEATS Mar 17 2003 IT was a rare moment of truth in the shabby charade which is plunging the world into war. Suddenly President Bush's mask slipped. The pretence that he is a great statesman and the saviour of international freedom was laid bare. He was revealed as a petulant little man, sick of having to wait before sending his massive forces into Iraq, his patience with pretending to listen to other nations totally exhausted. Yesterday's trip to the Azores was always going to be a farce. Always going to leave the world a fingertip away from war.

On the eve of Iraq war America snubs new International Criminal Court March 17, 2003 By Stefan Steinberg On Tuesday March 11 the newly founded International Criminal Court (ICC) was officially opened in a ceremony in The Hague, capital of the Netherlands. Taking part in the ceremony, which included the swearing in of the courts first 18 judges, were Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. Washington pointedly snubbed the ceremony, with US Ambassador to the Netherlands, Clifford Sobel, turning down an invitation to attend the gathering.

Millions join in worldwide protests against US war with Iraq March 17, 2003 By Patrick Martin In a second round of massive international protests against the impending American military assault on Iraq, millions of people marched Saturday, March 15 in Australia, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and throughout the western hemisphere. The demonstrations came four weeks after the first day of globally coordinated antiwar protests, held February 15, which mobilized more than 10 million people.

Chance is Key to President's Calm President models self after Peter Sellers character March 16, 2003 by Keetjie Ramo In an exclusive interview at the White House, President Bush revealed to NBC correspondent Katie Couric the secret to his serenity on the brink of war with Iraq. "I like to watch TV," said the President, "and about twenty years ago I saw a movie on TV that made a tremendous impression on me." He went onto say that the movie was Being There, starring Peter Sellers. "As you know," continued Bush, "I was drinking in those days, and doing some drugs.

Greeks demand Bush be rocketed into outer space March 16, 2003 Greek anti-war protesters are demanding George Bush be sent into outer space. More than 10,000 anti-war demonstrators marched to the American embassy in central Athens and shouted they want to send the US President into orbit. They chanted: "We'll put Bush in a NASA rocket so he will stop murdering people." The protest outside the US embassy is part of a series of rallies planned throughout Greece to protest a possible US-led invasion of Iraq. Protesters also carried banners which read "Stop the war" and "No to the barbarism of the war."

Veterans tell Bush: 'Gulf war will be worse than Vietnam' March 16, 2003 1000 US servicemen and women warn military action will wipe out cities and breed terrorism By Neil Mackay, Home Affairs Editor MORE than 1000 US servicemen and women have told President George Bush that they oppose war against Iraq and warned him that any conflict with Saddam Hussein will become another Vietnam. The American soldiers, sailors and aircrew have written a letter to the President, signed by two vice-admirals, a brigadier-general, 14 colonels and hundreds of other high-ranking officers, asking Bush to meet with the leaders of the anti-war 'Veterans for Common Sense' group. The letter, signed by men and women who fought in the second world war, Korea, Vietnam and the first Gulf war, represents the biggest backlash yet delivered to the Bush administration from the US military. The letter says: 'We are patriotic citizens and veterans ... we feel duty-bound to share with you our serious concerns regarding issues of national security [and] the appropriate use of military strength.'It goes on: 'We strongly question the need for a war at this time ... We are not convinced that coercive containment has failed or that war has become necessary. Our own intelligence agencies have consistently noted both the absence of an imminent threat from Iraq and reliable evidence of co-operation between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Again, we question whether this is the right time and the right war.'

Bush Pushes Plan to Curb Medicare Appeals March 16, 2003 By ROBERT PEAR The Bush administration says it is planning major changes in the Medicare program that would make it more difficult for beneficiaries to appeal the denial of benefits like home health care and skilled nursing home care. In thousands of recent cases, federal judges have ruled that frail elderly people with severe illnesses were improperly denied coverage for such services. In the last year, Medicare beneficiaries and the providers who treated them won more than half the cases — 39,796 of the 77,388 Medicare cases decided by administrative law judges. In the last five years, claimants prevailed in 186,300 cases, for a success rate of 53 percent. Under federal law, the judges are independent, impartial adjudicators who hold hearings and make decisions based on the facts. They must follow the Medicare law and rules, but are insulated from political pressures and sudden shifts in policy made by presidential appointees. President Bush is proposing both legislation and rules that would limit the judges' independence and could replace them in many cases.

Mr. Bush's One-Two Punch at Families March 16, 2003 Steven Pearlstein's March 12 Business column, "The Truth: Tax Cuts and Deficits Don't Mix," did not discuss the fact that President Bush's tax cuts, coupled with his plan for war, are hurting the economy. My upper-middle-class family, based on the Bush tax cut plan, would receive about $600 in cuts in 2003. But our property taxes have increased once in the past 18 months and are scheduled to go up again this year. Because the federal government is helping states less, and states are helping counties less, the talk is of increased sales taxes, state income taxes and other taxes and fees to make up for revenue shortfalls. These would wipe out any cuts Mr. Bush makes. On top of this, gas prices have gone up. For two cars with an average fuel efficiency of 23 mpg, my family is spending more than $500 a year more for gas than we did in 2002 -- assuming gas prices don't go any higher. All of this adds up to less money in our pockets than before, not more. Less money means less spending. Less spending means no economic growth. We need to talk about tax cuts and deficits in terms of the real net effect on our citizens.

President's Budget Would Cost North Carolina $8 Million in Federal Funding for Afterschool, Denying Programs to 11,000 Children March 16, 2003 U.S. Newswire According to data released today by the Afterschool Alliance, North Carolina would lose an estimated $8,284,705 for afterschool programs next year if Congress accepts President Bush's proposed cut to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program (21st CCLC - the federal government's principal afterschool program). Using current state allocation funding formulas and the U.S. Department of Education's estimate of $700 per child for afterschool programming yearly, the Alliance determined that 11,836 North Carolina children would lose access to afterschool programs if the budget cut is adopted. The President proposed the cut in spite of a demonstrated need for afterschool programs; North Carolina received $35.6 million in grant applications in 2002, and had only $5.9 million in funds available. Nationwide, the President's proposed cut from the current $1 billion 21st CCLC appropriation to $600 million would deny more than 550,000 children afterschool care according to, Closing the Doors on Afterschool Programs: An Analysis of How the Proposed Cut to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program Will Affect Children and Families in Every State.

Dixie Chicks pulled from air after bashing Bush March 16, 2003 Reuters There are a lot worse things in country music than your wife leaving you or your dog dying. There's stations not playing your music because you done gone and said some things against the president. Music superstars the Dixie Chicks are finding out that criticizing President Bush's plans for war in Iraq can cost you air play, big time. Country stations across the United States have pulled the Chicks from playlists following reports that lead singer Natalie Maines said in a concert in London earlier this week that she was "ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." Station managers said their decisions were prompted by calls from irate listeners who thought criticism of the president was unpatriotic.

New-wave McCarthyism alive, thriving as war looms March 16, 2003 By John Nichols As a native Wisconsinite who has spent a good deal of my adult life chronicling the politics and history of the state that sent Joe McCarthy to the U.S. Senate, I know a thing or two about the dark political behaviors that are associated with the name of our most dubious contribution to American politics. I can certainly spot McCarthyism when I see it. And I have been seeing a lot of it recently. At the root of McCarthyism is political character assassination. Politicians who are incapable of winning straight debates exploit a tense time - such as the first years of the Cold War, or the eve of an American attack on Iraq - to destroy political opponents who are unwilling to buy into the hysteria of the moment. The preferred tactic of the practitioners of McCarthyism is to focus on an action or statement by a prominent foe, wrench it entirely out of context, and then attempt to create the impression that the opponent is disloyal, dysfunctional and, above all, unworthy of public trust. Tune in to talk radio, or talk television, and you will hear and see a new wave of McCarthyism. Peace marchers are portrayed as supporters of dictators and terrorism. Legal scholars who question the constitutionality of waging an unprovoked and undeclared war are dismissed as dupes of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Members of Congress who attempt to insert a measure of nuance into the debate about how to meet the threat of terrorism are said to be suffering from mental illness, acute naivete or patriotism deficit disorder.

I Vant to Be Alone March 16, 2003 By MAUREEN DOWD It will go down as a great mystery of history how Mr. Popularity at Yale metamorphosed into President Persona Non Grata of the world. The genial cheerleader and stickball commissioner with the gregarious parents, the frat president who had little nicknames and jokes for everyone, fell in with a rough crowd. Just when you thought it couldn't get more Strangelovian, it does. The Bush bullies, having driven off all the other kids in the international schoolyard, are now resorting to imaginary friends. Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars here yesterday and reassured the group that America would have "a formidable coalition" to attack Iraq. "The number of countries involved will be in the substantial double digits," he boasted. Unfortunately, he could not actually name one of the supposed allies. "Some of them would prefer not to be named now," he said coyly, "but they will be known with pride in due time."

I'll fight Turks with a hoe, says farmer March 16 2003 By Ashley Gilbertson Jule Amin has lived on Iraq's northernmost border with Turkey for 56 years, and he has no doubt which of the two country's armies would be the lesser of two evils. "If the Turkish military enter (northern Iraq), I prefer Saddam's regime than Turkish intervention. The Turkish military is even more hostile than Saddam Hussein." Mr Amin is an Iraqi Kurd, and like many in the region he fears the Turkish military may exploit the likely US war to crush the Kurds in northern Iraq. His muddy plot of land houses sheep, chickens and his family of three. In his 56 years here, he's experienced two conventional wars, one ongoing civil war, become an amputee due to a landmine injury whilst shepherding,

Point of No Return March 15, 2003 By Bridget Gibson George W. Bush will officially become a dictator when he announces the United States of America’s unilateral attack on the sovereign nation of Iraq. Our Senate and Congressional representatives, for the most part, have granted dictatorial powers to the only President appointed by the United States Supreme Court as a result of a disputed election. Bush received a minority of the popular vote. Today, we the people stand alone against our government. Not in revolution but in a diametrically opposed fashion. We stand without representation as surely as we did before our country was founded and declared its separation from the rule of King George of England. Few, if any, of our governmental leaders have anything or anyone that they will personally sacrifice during Bush’s war on Iraq. Few are willing to risk their political futures — they do not fear that their constituents will vote them out — they fear the cronyism links and lack of invitations to all the best parties, so they continue to carry water for the unelected president and his ruling cabal.

Charities warn 11 million Iraqis face starvation in event of war March 15, 2003 By Julie Hyland Some 11 million people would be at immediate risk of starvation if the US proceeds with its war on Iraq, leading aid charities in the UK have warned. On March 12, Care International, Christian Aid and Save the Children warned that military action could push 60 percent of Iraqis to the brink of starvation. Almost half of Iraq’s population is aged below 14 years. Raja Jarrah, programme director of Care International UK, said war would cause chaos to transport, fuel and energy supplies and severely disrupt the food ration system. The implementation of United Nations sanctions over the past 12 years has meant that 60 percent of the Iraq population is dependent upon the government for food aid. These people would immediately “face hunger, if not starvation” in the event of war. Distribution of food aid via the 45,000 outlets across Iraq would almost certainly grind to a halt, especially as UN officials are withdrawn in advance of the bombing. Although the Iraqi government doubled food rations last month, aid agencies say poverty has meant many of the poorest families have sold some of it. Jarrah explained, “About 90 percent of Iraq’s sewage treatment stations are vulnerable if the electricity goes down, leading to polluted drinking water and dire public health consequences. “Whilst we can’t predict the exact consequences of war, we can predict that they will be dire and, for many households, catastrophic.”

Senator Seeks FBI Probe of Iraq Documents March 15, 2003 By KEN GUGGENHEIM The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee asked the FBI on Friday to investigate forged documents the Bush administration used as evidence against Saddam Hussein and his military ambitions in Iraq. Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said he was uneasy about a possible campaign to deceive the public about the status of Iraq's nuclear program. An investigation should "at a minimum help to allay any concerns" that the government was involved in the creation of the documents to build support for administration policies, Rockefeller wrote in a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller. Secretary of State Colin Powell has denied the U.S. government had any hand in creating the false documents. "It came from other sources," Powell told a House committee Thursday. "We were aware of this piece of evidence, and it was provided in good faith to the inspectors." Rockefeller asked the FBI to determine the source of the documents, the sophistication of the forgeries, the motivation of those responsible, why intelligence agencies didn't recognize them as forgeries and whether they are part of a larger disinformation campaign. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

TESTS COULD SHOW GULF VETERANS HAVE DU POISONING March 15, 2003 Ex-US army doctor, Dr. Asaf Durokavic, a scientist who has worked very closely with the gulf war veterans, told a conference of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine that many Gulf War veterans suffered from renal and other diseases as a result of inhaling particles of depleted uranium used in anti-tank shells. At the conference in Paris on September 3rd, Durokavic said ``According to some estimates, 320 tonnes of depleted uranium were exploded during the (1991) Gulf War,'' ``Many of the patients (that I examined) suffered renal disease and failure, the clinical consequences of inhaled uranium,'' he said. Durakovic said depleted uranium that coated shells to ease penetration of thick armour exploded into multiple particles, which ``became part of atmospheric dust'' after hitting targets. ``Because of the omnipresence of small sub-micron radioactive dust in the Persian Gulf, uranium that was liberated by impact (with tanks) ... evaporated at temperatures higher than several thousand degrees centigrade,'' he said. ``Some of those particles were inhaled and stayed in the lungs ... where they can cause cancer, and some entered into the bloodstream and affected kidneys and bones.''

Oil War: The Smoking Guns March 15, 2003 by RITT GOLDSTEIN While chants of "No War for Oil" mark an increasingly dissenting and skeptical public, the Bush administration has continued bulldozing its way towards a crushing Iraq rendezvous. As you read this war may already have begun. But startling in its candor, a US Department of Defense document has just been discovered, a top-level document specifically discussing war for oil. This is the first official document found explicitly confirming as policy the US Defense Department's readiness to wage oil war.

Whole world feels effect of U.S. intent March 15, 2003 By TIMOTHY APPLEBY Argentine activist says "The chief threat to the world today is not Iraq, but the United States." The Bush administration's drive to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is so aggressive that even before a war has started its repercussions are being felt in every corner of the world, says Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel. The Argentine, who won the 1980 Peace Prize, views President George W. Bush's plans for attacking Iraq with great alarm. "Bush is setting the world on fire," he said. Mr. Perez Esquivel, a native of Buenos Aires, is an architect, sculptor and teacher. He won the 1980 prize for his resistance to Argentina's Dirty War against leftist rebels. Imprisoned and tortured, he was freed with help from Amnesty International and the Pope. At 71, he leads the Latin American human-rights group Servicio, Paz y Justicia, and travels widely on behalf of the antiwar movement. He has been in Toronto and Ottawa under the auspices of the church group KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. After visiting Iraq last year for a firsthand look at what 12 years of sanctions and U.S. bombing attacks have done to its battered infrastructure, Mr. Perez Esquivel scoffed at the notion that Iraq poses any significant threat. A U.S. attack, on the other hand, would open "a Pandora's box, threatening to set free the demons of death and destruction," he wrote recently. "The chief danger in the world today is not Saddam Hussein," Mr. Perez Esquivel said. "It is the United States."

World Community Speaks Out Against the Global Gag Rule; More than 275 Public Health Advocates Oppose Bush Administration Plan March 15, 2003 U.S. Newswire More than 275leading parliamentarians, public health practitioners, and religious leaders from every region of the world sent a letter to President George W. Bush opposing the expansion of the global gag rule (a.k.a. "Mexico City" policy) to global HIV/AIDS funding. "Rather than saving lives, this policy will have the opposite effect: consigning untold numbers of women and girls to infection, suffering and premature death that could otherwise have been prevented," said the letter.

The Empire Needs New Clothes March 14, 2003 By THOM HARTMANN It's easy to vilify George W. Bush as a cynical warmonger, anxious to attack Iraq to repay the oil companies that funded his election campaigns. But to do so is to make a dangerous and fundamental error, and such a myopic view of the Bush administration's policies puts America's future at risk. The reality is that the current administration has a clear and specific vision for the future of America and the world, and they believe it's a positive vision. In order to put forward an alternative vision, it's essential to first understand the vision of America held by the New Right. The core of the neoconservative vision was first articulated on June 3, 1997, in the Statement of Principles put forth by the Project For The New American Century. Signed by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Bill Bennett, Jeb Bush, Gary Bauer, Elliott Abrams, Paul Wolfowitz, Vin Weber, Steve Forbes and others from the Reagan/Bush administration, it clearly stated that "the history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership."

The glorious Bush program: sign me up! Buying friends, bullying allies, and bombing everyone else
March 14, 2003 Molly Ivins OK sign me up for the Bush program. I'm aboard. Who else can we insult, offend, bribe, blackmail, threaten, intimidate, wiretap or otherwise infuriate? Getting the Canadians, who are famous for their phlegm, seriously mad at us took real work. Our latest ploy in that direction was to contemptuously reject their compromise that had a few more days' delay in it than the British-U.S. version. Then, when our version didn't fly, we decided on a few more days' delay ourselves -- without, of course, the contempt. Then, to add to the festivities of "Let's Tick Off the Next-Door Neighbors Week," we started leaning on Vicente Fox of Mexico.

Bailing out of The Empire's War March 14, 2003 Mainstream politicians, career diplomats and officers are bailing out of The Empire's war machine almost daily. The Bush regime and its operatives in other nations are starting to feel the heat of dissent from within over their bellicose scheme to invade and occupy Iraq. Today, Labour MPs called on Tony Blair to resign. That, in the heels of MP, Claire Short's recent protest. In the States, U.S. diplomat John Brown has resigned in protest, as did another career diplomat before him. Even members of Bush's own party are protesting, the Missouri GOP Chairman's letter of resignation caused a stir in Republican circles and the Whitehouse is having trouble with Congressional Republicans as well. Another blow to Bush came when a high-profile FBI whistleblower warned FBI Director Mueller in a public letter about the unprecedented dangers posed by the Bush regime's war plans.

COOK: I WILL QUIT IF WE GO IT ALONE March 14, 2003 Ian Smith CABINET heavyweight Robin Cook yesterday threatened to quit if Britain attacks Iraq without UN backing. The Leader of the House of Commons used yesterday's Cabinet meeting to put more pressure on PM Tony Blair. International Development Secretary Clare Short, who has already publicly said she would resign over war without UN backing, repeated the threat during tense exchanges.

Senate panel acts to allow oil drilling in ANWR March 14, 2003 By Tom Doggett A Bush administration bid to allow drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge moved closer to reality on Thursday when a Senate committee approved language in a budget bill giving energy firms access to the area. Dismaying environmentalists, the administration wants to tap the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's potential 16 billion barrels of crude to help reduce U.S. reliance on foreign imports, a measure that is one of its top domestic priorities. The United States is the world's biggest consumer of energy, and opening the refuge to drilling is one of the White House's top domestic priorities. Drilling supporters say the possibility of war with Iraq, which could result in suspension of Middle East oil supplies, and current record-high gasoline prices make drilling in the refuge vital to U.S. national security. However, the refuge would not offer any short-term relief, because it would take about 8 years for oil production there to reach peak levels of about 1.4 million barrels a day.

Clear And Irrefutable Proof The US Government Planed And  Executed Genocidal Acts Against The Iraqi People. March 14, 2003 Our Worst Fears Confirmed. Washington professor Tom Nagy appeared (March 13 , 2003) on the national Swiss TV-channel SFDRS 1: This Washington professor presented Pentagon papers providing hard evidence on the past and present war-doctrines of the USAF and other US troops . These documents are hard evidence and proof of intentional genocide against the entire Iraqi civilian  population. These war crimes we committed by destroying the water systems with precision bombing. The bombing of the Iraqi water systems never was an obvious intentional target ! It' worked well in 1991, so we can expect that they'll use it once again. These US-War Criminals  should be brought to justice. A further US attack on Iraq's water purification systems will bring untold deaths due to lack of clean drinkable water and will ultimately lead to the deaths of million of Iraqi Civilians. We really have to face this clearly. The US-Government is prepared to commit intentionally an unimaginable GENOCIDE. We have the common duty to do whatever it takes to stop this war, everything possible which fits the concept of Peace and avoids the concept of War.

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