APRIL 7-4, 03 Archives

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US troops suffer heavylosses in Baghdad fighting April 7, 2003 By Dakshin Murthy Fighting raged in Iraq’s capital Baghdad on Sunday with United States-led forces meeting fierce resistance in their efforts to capture the city. Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf said troops killed 50 US soldiers and destroyed or damaged 16 US tanks close to Baghdad airport. Troops from the Republican Guard are still tightening the noose around US troops in the area surrounding the airport, he said. Journalists in the area reported seeing a destroyed US Abrams tank on a main highway south out of Baghdad. Iraqi officers said five US soldiers had been killed in a battle at the scene. Dozens of Iraqi civilians crowded around the journalists taken to the scene, shouting "Down, down Bush" and "Long live Saddam Hussein". Iraqis with Kalashnikov rifles danced triumphantly over the hulk of the charred tank in the Sayadia area, a southern entrance to the capital. The journalists were taken to see the destroyed tank on the side of the highway from Baghdad to Karbala, as an Iraqi tank prepared to tow it away and stop it from obstructing traffic. "We destroyed it with an anti-tank rocket along with the column of trucks and vehicles that was following it," Ahmed Khoder, a member of the special Republican Guard, told reporters. Khoder said the fighting took place Saturday between 6:00 and 8:00 am (0200 and 0400 GMT). "One hour later President Saddam Hussein came to congratulate us and asked us to fight until the end," he said. Khoder, wearing civilian attire but armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and with ammunition strapped across his chest, said there were four men and one woman inside the tank. "They're all dead," Khoder said. english.aljazeera.net

Najem Khalaf weeps over his Nadia

THE SADDEST STORY OF ALL April 6, 2003 by Anton Antonowicz in Baghdad. Pictures by Mike Moore A shell came down into the room as she was standing by the dressing-table," Najem says. "My daughter had just completed her PhD in Psychology and was waiting for her first job. She was born in 1970. She was 33. She was very clever. "Everyone said I have a fabulous daughter. She spent all her time studying. Her head buried in books. She didn't have a care about going out enjoying herself. My other daughter is the same. She has a Master's degree in English and teaches at the university. Me? I'm just a lorry driver. A simple man." He holds out his dead daughter's identity card for us to see. His fingers are covered in her blood. I go to offer my condolence to his other daughter Alia, who is 35. "I don't know what humanity Bush is calling for," she says in English, "Is this the humanity which lost my sister? mirror.co.uk

It is not about Saddam anymore April 6, 2003 This war is about liberation of the Iraqi people. This war is about introducing democracy not only in Iraq but also in the entire Arab world. This war is about getting rid of Weapons of Mass Destruction. That is what we were told. Till day 16 of the war, what we have seen is that in order to destroy Weapons of Mass Destruction (which Iraq may or may not have) the US and UK forces are carrying out mass destruction of Iraq by using 'smart' bombs, cluster bombs, B52s etc etc. In his report from Iraq on dropping of cluster bombs by the Americans, Robert Fisk [The Independent, UK, April 3] writes: 'The wards of the Hillah teaching hospital are proof that something illegal -- something quite outside the Geneva Convention -- occurred in the villages around the city once known as Babylon.' Then he concludes the report with: 'One hesitates, as I say, to talk of human rights in this land of torture but if the Americans and British don't watch out, they are likely to find themselves condemned for what they have always -- and rightly -- accused Iraq of: war crimes.' rediff.com

Biblical Vengeance in the 21st Century Iraqis Slaughtered, Islam Slandered, Humanity Demeaned April 6, 2003 By JOHN STANTON As American made projectiles rip through Iraqi tissue, fracture bone, severe heads and scatter what was once a human body onto fields, floors and walls, the Bush fascists in business and government are salivating for a bite of the carcass that is Iraq. European and Arab leaders want their share too and, as of late, are distancing themselves from the anti-Bush, anti-war stance they held not so long ago when the US bypassed the United Nations to grab Iraq for itself in clear violation of international law. The world over, corporations and governments, hardly distinguishable anymore, are playing the same dreadful game. Even as the US daily mocks the Geneva Convention, impugns the Law of Armed Conflict and Rules of Engagement through the use of cluster bombs and indiscriminant murder of Iraqi men, women, children and livestock, counterpunch.org

War Crimes Proceedings In Iraq? The Bush Administration's Dilemma April 6, 2003 by George Fletcher "Both before and after the initial strike against Iraq, President Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld repeatedly threatened Saddam Hussein and the senior Iraqi leadership with prosecution for war crimes - based on their conduct over the last two decades. The potential charges include killing civilians, torture, and using chemical weapons in the war against Iran. The big question mark, however, is how will the Bush Administration find a court to hear these charges? The U.S. cannot go the newly established International Criminal Court (ICC) for two reasons. First, the United States is not a signatory to the document that established the court. Second, the alleged war crimes occurred on Iraqi soil. For non-signatory countries, ICC prosecutions require some connection either to the place of the crime or to the nationality of the perpetrators. Ironically, then, Iraq could, in theory, invoke the ICC to charge the United States for war crimes committed on their territory in the current campaign - but the U.S. could not invoke the ICC to charge Iraq with war crimes committed in the past on Iraq's own territory." writ.news

THE WAR FOR TRUTH April 6, 2003 By John Pilger WE HAD a great day," said Sgt Eric Schrumpf of the US Marines last Saturday. "We killed a lot of people." He added: "We dropped a few civilians, but what do you do?" He said there were women standing near an Iraqi soldier, and one of them fell when he and other Marines opened fire. "I'm sorry," said Sgt Schrumpf, "but the chick was in the way". For me, what is remarkable about this story is that I heard almost the same words 36 years ago when a US Marine sergeant told me he had killed a pregnant woman and a child because they had "got in the way". That was in Vietnam, another country invaded by the US military machine, which left up to two million people dead and many more maimed and otherwise ruined. President Reagan called this "a noble cause". The other day, President Bush called the invasion of Iraq, another unprovoked and piratical act, "a noble cause". mirror.co.uk

Russian military intel update: April 6, 2003 War in Iraq The situation on the US-Iraqi front is characterized by gradual reduction of American offensive activity. After the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division tank forces had marched towards Baghdad and its vanguards reached the city from south and south-west, engineering fortification of their positions began, which indicates the end of the current stage of the campaign as well as the loss of offensive potential of American forces and necessity to rest and regroup. It is supposed that during the next two days the American command will attempt local strikes in order to improve and extend their positions on the south and, especially, south-west approaches to Baghdad (crossing the Baghdad – Samarra roadway) and begin bringing fresh forces from Kuwait. As we supposed, during the last night Americans were moving 101st Airborne Division troops to help the 1st Mechanized Division that captured the airport of Baghdad yesterday morning. About 80 strike and transport helicopters and 500 marines were deployed there. But all the efforts to reinforce the brigade with heavy armor failed as Iraqi started powerful artillery strikes at the transport routes and organized mobile firing groups on the roads. After reports about losing 3 tanks and 5 APCs on the route the American command had to pause the movement of the reinforcements by land. Yesterday’s estimates of the forces concentrated here were overstated. After analysis of intercepted radio communications and reports of American commanders it was specified that at the airport there were only parts of the 1st brigade troops, up to 2 enforced battalions with the help of a self-propelled artillery division 3 thousand soldiers and officers strong, 60 tanks and about 20 guns. Another battalion enforced with artillery crossed the Baghdad-Amman roadway and came into position at the crossroads to the south of the airport, near Abu-Harraib. Soldiers of the 1st Mechanized Brigade spent almost all the last night in chemical protection suits, waiting for Iraqi to use their “untraditional weapons”. Apart from that, their positions were constantly shot with artillery and machine gun fire. The brigade commanders report that the soldiers are ultimately dead-beat, and are constantly requesting reinforcements. About 10 armored units including 4 tanks were lost in this area yesterday. Up to 9 men were killed, about 20 wounded, at least 25 reported missing. Moreover, the status of a patrol group that didn’t arrive at the airport remains unclear. It is supposed that it either moved away towards Khan-Azad and took defense there or got under an ambush and was eliminated. It is now being searched for. The losses of Iraqi were up to 40 men killed, about 200 captured (including the airport technical personnel), 4 guns and 3 tanks. iraqwar.ru

Al-Sahaf: 200-300 US soldiers killed during the battle to restore Saddam International Airport April 6, 2003 Abu Dhabi TV In a live interview aired by Abu Dhabi TV, the Iraqi Press (Media) Minister, Muhammed Sa'id Al-Sahaf, said that the Iraqi forces are in total control of the Saddam International airport after a battle that took place last night. He added that there were between 200 and 300 US soldiers, who were killed during the battle of restoring the airport. He also said that there would be photos and videos about the battle that would verify his statement. Moreover, he promised to take journalists to the airport when there life would not be in danger because of artillery bombardment from US forces which retreated to Abu Ghareeb area, 35 kilometers south of Baghdad. Al-Sahaf also said that there is a battle going on right now in which Iraqi forces are attacking US forces in Abu Ghareeb, using all kinds of weapons, including land to land missiles. He denied that there are any US forces in Baghdad, describing such claims as propaganda and psychological warfare. libertyforum.org

US-UK Troops humiliating proud Iraqis April 6, 2003 By Mohammed Almezel  Doha, Qatar Gulf News Suddenly, Hamad's face turned almost red and he became visibly agitated, as Al Jazeera, the Qatari satellite news channel, showed  footage of British soldiers searching a couple of Iraqis at a checkpoint somewhere Al Zubair, a small town in the south of Iraq. "Look, look at what they are doing," the 23-old-year Qatari university student said as we sat at one of the many coffee shops in the ultra modern Doha City Centre shopping mall. He didn't want his last name mentioned. It was a humiliating scene all right. The soldier, unnecessarily hostile, was grabbing an Iraqi man, appeared to be in his 40s, by his collar and pushing him hard to the ground. The man complained. "Why are doing this to me; I am not a soldier or a (Baath) party fighter," he was clearly heard as saying in Arabic. "Shut up," shouted the soldier, ordering the man to lie face down on the ground. He then started to examine the man's belongings; they were scattered on the ground. A few ID cards were there, so was a pack of Viceroy cigarettes, which was unexplainably thrown away by the aggressive soldier. The soldier began to tie the man's hands behind his back with what appeared to be a plastic cord. The same type is used by Israeli soldiers in the Palestinian occupied territories. The scene was over. But Hamad's voice was rising. "Is this the liberation the Americans have been talking about?" he asked angrily. "This is humiliation." The Anglo-American forces are not only "humiliating the Iraqis", Hamad claimed, his finger pointing at the TV screen, "They are humiliating all of us, the Arabs." aljazeerah.info

'No sign' of US in Baghdad April 6, 2003 Baghdad There was no sign of a US military presence in Baghdad on Saturday despite American officials' claim that coalition troops were in town to stay, AFP correspondents reported. On the west bank of the Tigris river where most government buildings are based, quiet had returned after a tense morning, enforced by patrolling soldiers and other heavily armed men. Many of them were seen heading toward Saddam International Airport on the southwestern outskirts of the city, which US forced announced they captured Friday and now held "secure". Iraqi Information Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf had said earlier that President Saddam Hussein's crack Republican Guard had driven coalition forces out of the facility in a prelude to a final rout in the capital. Navy Captain Frank Thorp, a spokesperson for the US Central Command, said earlier of the early-morning thrust into Baghdad: "This wasn't a patrol - go in and come out. "We had the opportunity and we moved in," Thorp said. "It was done in a deliberate way. When we had the opportunity we took it and moved forward into the middle of the city." The city seemed strangely normal in the afternoon. news24.com

BBC REPORTER SAY US FORCES NOT IN CENTER OF BAGHDAD April 6, 2003 Acording to Ragi Omar (BBC Correspondent) speaking live on BBC NEWS 24 at 6:10am EST Saturday, he had driven all around Baghdad and saw no signs of US Forces, and encountered no civillians reporting presence of US forces or fleeing from areas under US control. He also said that in conversations with other correspondents who had also travelled around Baghdad and the outskirts of the city --NONE OF THEM HAD SEEN ANY US FORCES. "The contradictions are enormous," according to the BBC NEWS 24 anchor. In earlier comments, a local US-UK commander describing his forces actions at the Baghdad Airport said their next objective was to "surround" the airport. He immediately corrected himself to say their objective was to take control of the areas "surrounding" the airport. The Iraqi Information Ministry is still maintaining that US forces have been expelled from the airport. rumormillnews.com

Attorney General's Comments Inappropriate, Ill-Advised WASHINGTON, April 6, 2003 Newswire "John Ashcroft's whitewashing of Israel's human rights abuses makes him inept to serve as America's Lawyer," said American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ) Executive Director Khalid Turaani. On April 2nd, Mr. Ashcroft spoke before "Stand for Israel," a special interest group with close ties to extremist forces in Israel.Ignoring the killing of thousands of Palestinians and Israel's deliberate crushing to death of 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie, Ashcroft applauded Israel. "Israel has remained steadfastly true to its defense of the values our two nations share," the Attorney General said. Mr. Ashcroft's speech came two days after the State Department's human rights report. (http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18278.htm) According to the Report, Israel denies Palestinians under its illegal occupation a long list of human rights. usnewswire.com

American Shot in Face By Israeli Soldiers April 6, 2003 BBSNews Today at about 6.30 pm Brian Avery, 24, of New Mexico was shot in the face by a burst of machine gun fire from an Israeli Armoured Personnel Carrier. The circumstances surrounding his injury are as follows: Today the Israeli army of occupation operating in the Jenin area imposed its second day of curfew on the people of the city. Groups of young men and boys continued their resistance to the curfew by venturing out onto the streets to throw stones at tanks and other military vehicles. At about 6.30 pm Brian and another ISM activist were at the ISM’s Jenin headquarters when they heard the sound of gunfire coming from the centre of the city, about two blocks away. They left the apartment to investigate and had traveled about a hundred metres when they arrived at a major crossroad and saw two armoured personnel carriers advancing towards them at low speed. There were no Palestinians on the streets in the area, armed or otherwise. bbsnews.net

Iraqi mother and child

US uses cluster bombs to spread death and destruction in Iraq April 5, 2003 By Henry Michaels “Weapons of mass destruction” have truly been unleashed in Iraq: new-generation cluster munitions are being used by US and British forces to massacre and terrorise the Iraqi population. Not a single Iraqi bio-chemical weapon has been witnessed, but the “liberators” have already resorted to weapons notorious for their vast and indiscriminate destruction of human life. After days of denials or refusals to comment, American and British government leaders and military commanders have admitted that high-flying bomber squadrons have dropped cluster bombs, which are designed to kill and maim thousands of people at a time. There is clear evidence that cluster weapons are also being fired from jet fighters, tanks, artillery and off-shore missile launchers. Gruesome pictures and footage of the mutilated bodies of Iraqi children and other innocents—images that the Western media has largely refused to show—reveal the bloody face of the “liberation” that Washington and London have in mind for the Iraqi people. These methods of warfare are a warning of the reprisals and repression that will follow any military victory. A clear pattern has emerged from the reports of cluster bomb carnage coming from places like Basra, Najaf, Karbala, Hilla and Baghdad itself. Wherever Iraqi soldiers and civilians have resisted or even obstructed the invading forces, cluster weapons have been deployed against them. The closer the US-British forces get to the outskirts of the sprawling Iraqi capital, the more the Pentagon and British military are utilizing these high-tech weapons of terror. In the worst atrocity so far, a day and night of furious American bombing on Monday and Tuesday left at least 61 Iraqi civilians dead and more than 450 seriously injured in the region of Hilla, 80 kilometers south of Baghdad. Most were children. Roland Huguenin-Benjamin, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Iraq, described what happened in Hilla and neighboring villages as “a horror.” His team saw “several dozens of bodies which were completely blown to pieces” and “dozens of severed bodies and scattered limbs.” wsws.org

What are cluster weapons? April 5, 2003 By Henry Michaels Cluster weapons are packed with small bombs, or bomblets, known as submunitions, designed specifically to cause the greatest possible number of human casualties. They can be bombs dropped from high-flying B-52s or low-flying jet fighters. They can also be guided missiles fired from hundreds of kilometers away, artillery canisters lobbed from a distance or shells fired from tanks at closer range. Those dropped from bombers are the most notorious for being inaccurate, and therefore likely to kill and maim indiscriminately. Bomblets are released after the canister is dropped from a plane and begins to spin. The submunitions spread over a large area and either explode instantly, ignite after a delay, or fail to explode until touched by a person—often a child. wsws.org

Kerry says US needs its own 'regime change' April 5, 2003 By Glen Johnson  PETERBOROUGH, N.H. - Senator John F. Kerry said yesterday that President Bush committed a ''breach of trust'' in the eyes of many United Nations members by going to war with Iraq, creating a diplomatic chasm that will not be bridged as long as Bush remains in office. ''What we need now is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but we need a regime change in the United States,'' Kerry said in a speech at the Peterborough Town Library. boston.com

Iraq tackles coalition superiority with unorthodox tactics April 5, 2003 Iason Athanasiadis The Iraqi army has abandoned conventional stratagems and is hitting coalition forces with a range of stratagems that are proving more effective than traditional methods of warfare. US war planners have been instituting stringent new measures to better respond to changed tactics from an Iraqi side that is utilising guerrilla-style attacks to considerable effect. In addition to hitting Anglo-American troops with a human bomb on Saturday, Iraqi irregulars are increasingly seeking to sidestep the main advance and hit the coalition’s frail supply lines. Since Saturday, when a man driving a taxi killed four US soldiers by setting off a bomb at a key military checkpoint outside the southern city of Najaf, Anglo-American forces have stepped up their vigilance. New security measures include razing trees at checkpoints to improve visibility and stopping cars some distance away to reduce the possibility of being hit by a blast. english.aljazeera.net

Who Cares About Dead Iraqis? Body counts, Rummy's plan, and the grisly stuff they don't want you to see April 5, 2003 Dang that pesky collateral damage. Darn those brutal civilian deaths. Hundreds and hundreds of 'em, bloody decapitated mutilated bombed-out burned-out women and children and families, over there in Iraq. Just another irritating little side effect, doncha know, of forcibly liberating a people who didn't really ask to be liberated and who are pretty much getting reamed from both ends and aren't exactly rushing out into the streets by the grateful thousands, as we had expected (except, finally, some in Najaf -- whew!) to toss flowers at the wide-eyed and confused U.S. troops and our well-armed Christian God and His almighty Starbucks franchises. What happened there, anyway? Just bad PR? Someone miss a memo? Did no one tell them we are the Great Liberator, the bringer of peace and calm and nice big oil conglomerates that will soon help them "manage" all their hundreds of billions' worth of delicious natural resources? Haven't they seen the joy and happiness we have brought to Afghanistan? Oh wait. Please believe it's not happening. Please ignore the actual data, the brutality, focus instead on the patriotism and the soothing sound of the war drum and the idea of liberation, as opposed to, you know, invasion. We don't want you to see. We don't want you to know. And we certainly don't want to make it easy for you to find out. sfgate.com

Bush family’s dirty little secret: April 5, 2003 By Rick Wiles President’s oil companies funded by Bin Laden family and wealthy Saudis who financed Osama bin Laden. President Bush recently signed an executive order to freeze the US financial assets of corporations doing business with Osama bin Laden. He described the order as a "strike on the financial foundation of the global terror network.” "If you do business with terrorists, if you support or succor them, you will not do business with the United States," said President Bush. He didn’t say anything about doing business with a terrorist’s brother – or his wealthy financier. When President George W. Bush froze assets connected to Osama bin Laden, he didn’t tell the American people that the terrorist mastermind’s late brother was an investor in the president’s former oil business in Texas.  He also hasn’t leveled with the American public about his financial connections to a host of shady Saudi characters involved in drug cartels, gun smuggling, and  terrorist networks. Doing business with the enemy is nothing new to the Bush family.  Much of the Bush family wealth came from supplying needed raw materials and credit to Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.  Several business operations managed by Prescott Bush – the president’s grandfather - were seized by the US government during World War II under the Trading with the Enemy Act. americanfreedomnews.com

U.S. 'wags the dog' with lies, Iraq says April 5, 2003 BAGHDAD - Iraq's information minister says Iraqi troops have isolated five American and British units near Baghdad and stopped them from advancing on the capital. Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahhaf told a news conference in Baghdad Friday that reports of recent coalition advances on the capital are an American invention. "What they have done yesterday and this morning is exactly what happened in that film Wag the Dog," he said. It is a reference to a 1998 movie in which a public relations expert works with the White House to make Americans believe the country is fighting and winning a war. Al-Sahhaf said the capture of the Baghdad airport by U.S. troops is just a "show of muscle." The information minister said Iraqi Republican Guard troops engaged coalition paratroopers north of the city early Friday morning. He said the Iraqi forces destroyed 11 tanks and eight armoured personnel carriers. cbc.ca

Support Troops = Support Bush False Propaganda April 5, 2003 The mad rush into the war, allowed by the worthless UN, has now been successfully utilized to chill debate on the morality of the war on Iraq. I knew it would happen. It was planned that way. "Get those troops in there!", and then intellectual, peace-seeking, problem resolving debate is made moot by the pro-war fanatics / sheep that cannot think outside of the box and the media talking heads that agitate them on. We all keep hearing the media boneheads telling us that if we support the troops we MUST support the Commander in Chief as well at the same time. This is pure brain-dead insanity. In our support for the welfare of our airmen, soldiers and sailors, we need not be forced into the balderdash notion that we must support the policy/commands of George W. Bush anymore than the Iraqi people must support the policy/commands of "Saddam Who's-Insane". informationclearinghouse.info

In Iraqi Hospitals, Child War Casualties Mount April 5, 2003 By Samia Nakhoul BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The moaning of Aisha Ahmed, eight, fills the hospital's emergency ward. One of hundreds of child victims in the 15-day-old U.S.-led war in Iraq, she lost one eye and her face and body are peppered with wounds from what must have been a storm of shrapnel. "Mummy! I want my mummy. Where is my mummy?" Aisha kept muttering. Yet neither the nurse nor the neighbor trying to comfort her dared to answer. reuters.com

British bid to land troops near Mosul foiled April 5, 2003 Zeina Khodr Iraq said on Tuesday that its forces had foiled a landing by British troops near the northern city of Mosul. “The British forces which were dropped there have been eliminated mostly on the battlefield, except for those who fled,” Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf told a news conference in Baghdad. He said the British landing took place in the Baaj district southwest of Mosul. He did not say when it happened, and there has been no confirmation from British sources. Al Jazeera Television reported late Monday that the operation was aborted by Iraqi tribesman and military units who killed 10 British servicemen. “The British troops consisted of dozens of men and 20 military machinery,” Mohamed Khair Bourini , the Al Jazeera correspondent reported. “Iraqi forces, tribesmen and citizens surrounded the unit when they landed and engaged in combat. Ten British soldiers were killed.” The television channel showed footage of what Bourini said were local tribesmen driving a captured Land Rover around the streets of Baaj. “They seized most of the British paratroopers' equipment and destroyed 14 tanks and other vehicles.” A British spokesman at the Central Command headquarters in Qatar said he knew nothing of British forces attempting to land in northern Iraq. english.aljazeera.net

Oil Must Be Controlled by Iraqis after War, Says Schroeder April 5, 2003 Xinhua The oil reserves in Iraq must remain under the control of the Iraqi people after the end of the ongoing war, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on Thursday."The oil reserves and natural resources of the county must be owned and under the control of the Iraqi people and be of benefit to them," said Schroeder in a government declaration to the lower house of parliament, or Bundestag. He also proposed further guidelines for the post-war order in Iraq. The territorial integrity of the country must be secured after the war and the Iraqi people be given the right to decide on theirown future, said Schroeder. crienglish.com

Arabs See Israel's Hand Behind U.S. War in Iraq April 5, 2003 By Sami Aboudi CAIRO (Reuters) - Long-standing Arab suspicions that Israel's interests are guiding U.S. policies in the Middle East have gained momentum since Washington's troops invaded Iraq. Many in the Arab world believe that as well as a U.S. desire to control Iraq's vast oil resources, the war is driven by a powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington out to destroy one of the main threats to the Jewish state. reuters.com

U.S. Maneuvers to Avoid Debt Ceiling April 5, 2003 Treasury Department debt managers intend to soon carry out an accounting maneuver that would free billions of dollars on paper to prevent the government from breaching the $6.4 trillion ceiling on the national debt. The step, announced Friday, is the latest in a series of moves Treasury has taken to prevent the government from defaulting on the national debt. Treasury is maneuvering because it has run out of room in its statutory authority to borrow. It has asked Congress to boost the government borrowing authority, a matter still pending on Capitol Hill. Treasury Secretary John Snow, in a letter Friday to House and Senate leaders of both parties, notified them that the department will - on paper - suspend new investments in Treasury securities that would be credited to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. ``Beneficiaries will be fully protected and will suffer no adverse consequences,'' Snow wrote in the letter. Snow said the action could begin as early as Friday. guardian.co.uk

US firms slash 108,000 jobs; unemployment rate at 5.8 percent April 5, 2003 (AFP) War-paralyzed US businesses slashed 108,000 jobs in March, but the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 percent. The job losses in the non-farm sector were about twice as steep as had been predicted by Wall Street analysts. The unemployment rate had been expected to edge higher. In February, companies cut 357,000 jobs, even more than first estimated, the Labor Department said. yahoo.com

Feds Attack On Ephedra Cover For Aspartame Poisoning? April 5, 2003 Before you knowingly eat or drink a product sweetened with aspartame, read the article below. If you still aren't convinced of aspartame's lethality, go to the Mission Possible website at www.dorway.com and follow your investigative senses. If you still aren't convinced that aspartame is an FDA-approved poison, then it must be your fate to become sick and eventually succumb to a painful death after suffering from a variety of chronic illnesses. Of course, you may luck out and be spared years of ill-health by suddenly, mercifully dropping dead from aspartame in the prime of your life. Pardon the harsh comments but there is a war going on and the battle is being waged in our bodies. Good soldiers don't eat and drink the enemies' weapons. rense.com

Outrage April 5, 2003 THE public chastising of Barbados and its neighbours by Otto Reich, United States special envoy to President George W. Bush for Western Hemispheric Initiatives, has earned a stinging rebuke from Government. Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Billie Miller said Government was “gravely concerned, deeply displeased, and most offended” by comments made on Wednesday by Reich during a live link-up with the regional Press. She said Government was particularly distressed at the “ambiguous intent” of his admonition that the Caribbean should study carefully not only what it says, but the consequences of what it says. Reich, who was in Barbados to attend a conference on Competitiveness In The Caribbean, told reporters the United States was disappointed at CARICOM’s criticism of the war in Iraq. He said the American people and Congress were listening, and it would be difficult, for example, to put a case about regional banana exports considering CARICOM’s position. nationnews.com

Outside the Geneva Conventions

'Butterfly' bomblets rip into Iraqi children April 4, 2003 By Robert Fisk The wounds are vicious and deep, a rash of scarlet spots on the back and thighs or face, the shards of shrapnel from the cluster bombs buried in the flesh. The wards of the Hillah teaching hospital are proof that something illegal - something quite outside the Geneva Conventions - occurred in the villages around the city once known as Babylon. The wailing children, the young women with breast and leg wounds, the 10 patients upon whom doctors had to perform brain surgery to remove metal from their heads, talk of the days and nights when the explosives fell "like grapes" from the sky. Cluster bombs, the doctors say, and the debris of the air raids around the hamlets of Nadr, Djifil, Akramin, Mahawil, Mohandesin and Hail Askeri show that they are right. Were they US or British aircraft that showered these villages with one of the most lethal weapons of modern warfare? The 61 dead who have passed through the Hillah hospital since Saturday can't tell us. Nor can the survivors, who, in many cases, were sitting in their homes when the white canisters opened above their village, spilling thousands of bomblets into the sky - exploding in the air, soaring through windows and doorways to burst indoors. Rahed Hakem said it was 10.30am on Sunday when she looked out the window and saw "the sky raining fire". Mohammed Moussa said the clusters of "little boxes" fell out of the sky like "small grapefruit". "If it hadn't exploded and you touched it, it went off immediately," he said. "They exploded in the air and on the ground, and we still have some in our home, unexploded." 'She found her daugthers in a pool of blood by the door' iol.co.za

Iraq attacks Annan, says war kills 1,250 civilians April 4, 2003 By Hassan Hafidh BAGHDAD, April 3 (Reuters) - Iraq's foreign minister attacked the U.N. secretary-general on Thursday and said he had helped the U.S.-led invasion in which he said some 1,250 Iraqi civilians had been killed since March 20. "We have now more than 1,250 civilians killed and 5,000 injured all over the country since the beginning of the war," Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri told Reuters in an interview in Baghdad's central Palestine hotel. Sabri accused U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan of doing nothing to stop the war and said he had actually facilitated the invasion by U.S. and British troops two weeks ago. alertnet.org

French prime minister says U.S. made 'grave mistake' in going to war April 4, 2003 By ELAINE GANLEY PARIS (AP) -- French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said Thursday the United States erred morally, politically and strategically by going to war with Iraq. "It should be said, there was an alternative to war," Raffarin said in a television interview. Going to war was a moral error, he said, when "one can disarm in other ways." Raffarin spoke a day before the foreign ministers of France, Russia and Germany -- the three countries most vocal in their opposition to the war -- were to meet in Paris. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin was then headed for a meeting at the Vatican with Pope John Paul II, who is opposed to the war. nola.com

Iraqi troops massacred from the air as US advances into Baghdad April 4, 2003 By James Conachy After a week of massive air attacks, the two-pronged offensive by US army and marine units launched on April 1 quickly pushed through the Iraqi Republican Guard divisions and regular army units defending the southern approaches to Baghdad. According to CNN, MSNBC and Fox television broadcasts throughout Thursday, April 3, US armoured columns have advanced into the outskirts of Iraq’s capital and are engaging Iraqi defenders around the Saddam Hussein International Airport. The city’s power has been cut off and it is under sustained bombardment from US aircraft and artillery. Amid the shameless celebration by the US media of the American assault, it is necessary to call things by their right name. What is unfolding in Iraq is a slaughter. It is one of history’s most unequal military conflicts. The US and British invasion forces are utilising their unchallenged control of the air and overwhelming technical supremacy to rain down death on Iraqi troops. wsws.org

Red Cross tells horror of war April 4, 2003 The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is reporting high numbers of civilian casualties throughout Iraq. ICRC spokesman in Baghdad Roland Huguenen-Benjamin says an average of 100 civilian casualties a day are being recorded at hospitals in the capital. Mr Benjamin says he and his staff have also been shocked by the numbers of dead and injured in a hospital in the town of Hila, 100 kilometres south of Iraq. "That hospital where we had a chance of travelling with our own surgeon was utterly overwhelmed by hundreds of civilian casualties brought in, in just over 48 hours," he said. "And there were lots and lots of dead bodies that were practically dismembered by the violence of the explosion they had been subjected to." abc.net.au

The message coming from our families in Baghdad April 4, 2003 Haifa Zangana You have failed to learn the lessons of your last occupation of Iraq. The last time I managed to speak to my eldest brother, Salam, was two days before the invasion of Iraq. He told me that his daughter Rana had just given birth to a baby boy. "But she isn't due for another month," I said. "The doctor tried to induce labour but failed, so he had to perform a caesarean," he explained. "We had to take the risk because we hear that war is starting in few days and then there'll be no hospital to take her to." Trying to ease my horror he continued: "She isn't the only one. Hundreds of women in Baghdad are doing the same thing." guardian.co.uk

Rescued POW had no gunshot, knife wounds: father April 4, 2003 The father of rescued POW Jessica Lynch said Thursday she suffered no gunshot or knife wounds at the hands of her Iraqi assailants, contrary to reports quoting a US official. In a televised press conference from his home in Palestine, West Virginia, Gregory Lynch said that he and his wife had spoken to her after she underwent surgery at a US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. An examination revealed that the 19-year-old private had "no multiple gunshot wounds or knife stabs," Lynch said, adding that there had been "no entry whatsoever." The Post, citing a US official, reported that Jessica Lynch had "continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds and watched several other soldiers in her unit die around her in fighting March Lynch said: "The doctor has completed one surgery on her back. They have released the pressure on a nerve and realigned all the discs and put plates and stuff in it." The surgery was performed "because she didn't have any feeling in her feet," and doctors were confident that the problem had been corrected. He said she would undergo further surgery on Friday for fractures to her legs and right forearm, adding: "She's in real good spirits." A supply clerk with the 507th Maintenance Company, Lynch was rescued in a pre-dawn raid on an Iraqi-held hospital in Nasiriyah, where she had been held for more than a week. Iraqi forces ambushed Lynch's company after it took a wrong turn last month near the southern city of Nasiriyah. spacewar.com

There's No Business Like War Business April 4, 2003 by Thalif Deen UNITED NATIONS - When the dust finally settles on post-war Iraq, the United States may have unleashed virtually all of its state-of-the-art weaponry on a country already devastated by 13 years of rigid U.N. sanctions. After 14 days of heavy pounding, U.S. military forces so far have dropped over 8,700 bombs, including more than 3,000 missiles, and also fired millions of rounds of ammunition on military and civilian targets inside the country. When U.S. fighter pilots in B-2 stealth bombers launched the initial attack on a residential compound in Baghdad - believed to be a meeting place for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and senior Baath Party officials - the opening salvo included a pair of 2,000 pound bombs and 36 deadly long-range Tomahawk missiles. The U.S. military will have to replace all of these weapons - worth billions of dollars - giving a tremendous boost to the U.S. military industry, which has been on the skids since the last Gulf War in 1991. In the latest 'Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations', the U.S. State Department predicts that U.S. arms sales are expected to reach over 14 billion dollars this year, the largest total in almost two decades, compared to 12.5 billion dollars in 2002. ''A tragic indicator of the values of our civilization is that there's no business like war business,'' says Douglas Mattern of the New York-based War and Peace Foundation. commondreams.org

Jobless Claims Highest in Nearly a Year April 4, 2003 WASHINGTON  The number of new U.S. jobless claims last week jumped to its highest in nearly a year, the government said on Thursday, offering little hope for a turnaround in the grim labor picture. The spike of 38,000 in first-time claims for state unemployment insurance benefits to 445,000 in the March 29 week was the largest one-week rise since an 86,000 hike in the Dec. 7, 2002 week, the number of new claims were at their highest since measuring 452,000 in the April 13, 2002 week and well above Wall Street economists' forecast for 410,000. The Labor Department said. The rise was due to a snowstorm in Colorado. reuters.com



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