APRIL 20-14, 2003 Archives

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Television history was made, as million of Americans saw in real time just how powerful and inescapable censorship can be.

Today Show Goes Dark On Tim Robbins April 20, 2003 By Steve Rosenbaum A conversation about free speech. An anchor asking reasonable questions. A guest responding in equally reasonable tones. No attempt to close out the discussion - to say "Well thank you Tim". This was not a filibuster. Robbins was not hogging the spotlight. Someone in the control room simply decided that it was time to pull the plug. And without grace or ceremony, or even the face saving of letting Lauer say "We're out of time" as morning shows do on so many occasions. A conversation about free speech and free expression was cut off mid sentence as the network went to black. Television history was made, as million of Americans got to watch in real time just how powerful and inescapable censorship can be. Robbins wasn't revealing troop locations, or giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Remember the war has been won - by all accounts. He was discussing freedom, free speech. rense.com

Give us back our democracy April 20, 2003 By Edward Said Americans have been cheated and lied to on matters of the gravest constitutional importance. In a speech in the Senate on 19 March, the first day of war against Iraq, Robert Byrd, the Democrat Senator from West Virginia, asked: 'What is happening to this country? When did we become a nation which ignores and berates our friends? When did we decide to risk undermining international order by adopting a radical and doctrinaire approach to using our awesome military might? How can we abandon diplomacy when the turmoil in the world cries out for diplomacy?' No one bothered to answer, but as the American military machine currently in Iraq stirs restlessly in other directions, these questions give urgency to the failure, if not the corruption, of democracy. guardian.co.uk

ACLU’s Latest Ads Highlight New Law Enforcement Powers To Conduct Secret “Sneak and Peek” Searches of Private Homes April 20, 2003 Highlighting new federal law enforcement powers to conduct “sneak and peek” searches of private homes, the American Civil Liberties Union today launched a new advertisement designed to alert the American public about the sweeping new powers granted the Justice Department in the weeks after September 11th. “Many of the powers that the government recently acquired -- and many of the ones it still seeks -- are not tied solely to anti-terrorism efforts,” said Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “Enacting policies that allow the government to enter our homes in secret and to collect highly personal information won’t make us safer, but it will make us less free.” aclu.org

ABC PRIME TIME ON WACO MISREPRESENTS FACTS April 20, 2003 Bradley H. Borst ABC misled children of Waco participants - and now the public.  The Producer of the ABC Prime Time program, scheduled to air this evening, misrepresented the facts of how this program would play out. I was told that we would be allowed to ask an FBI representative any questions we'd like to ask. When the time came to ask my questions, the Producer said I was not allowed to present my questions. This morning the Good Morning America host, Charles Gibson stated that, "The children were allowed to ask all of their questions, even the tough ones." This did not happen. The whole tone of the program promotional seen this morning appeared to be a sham designed to lay the entire blame for the events of 4-19-93 on David Koresh, and in the process exonerating the FBI of any responsibility. This was not the true story either. disc.server.com

Voices in the Wilderness Banned from Palestine Hotel in Baghdad by U.S. Military April 20, 2003 Less than 24 hours after issuing a press release highlighting the failures of the U.S. Military's attempts to oversee humanitarian intervention in Iraq, Voices in the Wilderness was banned from meeting with the U.S. Civil Military Operations Center, or international journalists, working out of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad. If the freedom to critique U.S. policies in Iraq regarding humanitarian issues is being curtailed already, then exactly what does this mean for building "democracy" here? commondreams.org

AP Cameraman Shot and Killed in West Bank April 20, 2003 NABLUS, West Bank (AP) An Israeli soldier shot and killed a cameraman with Associated Press Television News who was covering a skirmish between troops and rock-throwing Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus on Saturday, witnesses said. The Israeli military had no immediate comment but said it was looking into the shooting. Nazeh Darwazeh, 45, was filming clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians that began early Saturday. Doctors said Darwazeh died of a bullet wound to the head. guardian.co.uk

Bechtel contract sends 'deplorable message': NY Times April 20, 2003 (AFP) Awarding the first major contract for Iraq's reconstruction to politically-connected Bechtel sent "a deplorable message to a skeptical world," the New York Times said in an editorial Saturday. The move "can only add to the impression that the United States seeks to profit from the war it waged," the Times charged. spacewar.com

Reaganomics are back - but don't add up April 20, 2003 By Joanna Walters Bush's tax-lite deficit vision of recovery has even some Republicans worried. Deficits don't matter. Huge tax cuts will stimulate corporate America to invest, create jobs and lead the way back to prosperity. George W Bush presents his prescription, stands back and Wall Street holds its breath. Tick, tick, tick. That's not Vice-President Dick Cheney's pacemaker; it is the sound of what many economists in the US are calling the Iraqi time bomb. Combine the costs of war and reconstruction in Iraq with domestic tax cuts, depleted state revenues and a stalled economy and what looks like a harmless little budget deficit is a fiscal explosion waiting to happen, say his opponents. And his enemies this time are not just Democrats but moderate Republicans and many leading hired financial brains. guardian.co.uk

US culture advisers resign in protest over looting of Iraqi museums April 20, 2003 By Barry Grey Three members of the White House Cultural Property Advisory Committee have resigned in protest over US complicity in the looting of the Iraqi National Museum of Antiquities. Martin E. Sullivan, Richard S. Lanier and Gary Vikan, each appointed by former president Bill Clinton, denounced the Bush administration for failing to protect Iraq’s artistic and cultural treasures. Sullivan, the chairman of the 11-member panel, told Reuters News Service, “It didn’t have to happen. In a preemptive war that’s the kind of thing you plan for.” wsws.org

"This I consider a crime against peace, against humanity, Through our stupid policies we have crucified the Iraqi people,"- Maguire 

Think of the children, peace laureate tells Bush April 18, 2003 AFP The people of Iraq, and especially the children, have been “crucified through stupid policies”, Nobel peace laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire said yesterday. Speaking at a prayer vigil outside the White House that she has joined every day for more than three weeks, Maguire implored US President George W. Bush and his British ally, Prime Minister Tony Blair, to "think of the little children." "Through our stupid policies we have crucified the Iraqi people," Maguire said. Standing in a circle with about 30 others attending the vigil, she implored Bush and Blair to "please think of all the little children around the world." Maguire was spurred to take up the struggle for peace in Northern Ireland — for which she was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1976 — by the violent deaths of her sister, eight-year-old niece and two nephews, aged two and six weeks. She has unsuccessfully sought a meeting with Bush since arriving in Washington on March 24. On Tuesday Maguire addressed a letter to the US President to express her views on "the deepening tragedy of Iraq and the world situation." She told Bush that "the illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq ... has not been a victory for US/UK, nor has it liberated the Iraqi people. "Instead it has added even more terrible death and destruction ... and caused the unnecessary suffering of many more civilians, particularly children." The 1991 Gulf War and subsequent economic sanctions have "collectively punished for 10 years, causing the death of over half a million children under five years of age, a whole people for the policies of their Government. "This I consider a crime against peace, against humanity," Maguire wrote in the letter. emedia.com.my

British Aid Plane Prevented from Entering Iraq April 18, 2003 By Kate Holton  (Reuters) - U.S. forces have refused a Save the Children plane permission to land in northern Iraq to deliver aid, breaching the Geneva Convention and "costing children their lives," the British aid agency said on Thursday. Save the Children said in a statement it had been trying for more than a week to land a plane in Arbil carrying enough medical supplies to treat 40,000 people and emergency feeding kits for malnourished children. A U.S. official told the charity no aid flights would be allowed until the area was safe but the U.N. has already declared Arbil a "safe and secure" area, the charity said. "The doctors we are trying to help have been struggling against the odds for weeks to continue saving lives, but now the help we have promised them is being endlessly delayed," Emergency Program Manager Rob MacGillivray said. informationclearinghouse.info

The secret society April 18, 2003 Under Attorney General John Ashcroft, America is becoming an Orwellian state where people are locked up and no one can find out why -- least of all a compliant Congress. Mike Hawash was on his way home from his job at Intel in Portland, Ore., last month when FBI agents surrounded him in the company parking lot and took him into custody. At the same moment, agents armed with assault rifles were storming through Hawash's home, terrifying his wife and three small children waiting for their father to come home. The agents took Hawash to a federal prison outside of Portland, where he has been held in solitary confinement for nearly a month. Hawash is a 38-year-old immigrant -- born on the West Bank and raised in Kuwait -- who has been a U.S. citizen for 15 years. He has not been charged with any crime, and there has not been any suggestion that he committed one. The Justice Department says Hawash is a witness, but it won't say to what. It won't say what information it wants from him, it won't say what agents were hoping to find when they searched his house, it won't say why he needs to be in custody, and it won't say how long it plans to keep him there. salon.com

Amputations on children

Child casualties 'fill Iraq hospitals' April 18, 2003 The appalling injuries suffered by Ali Ismail Abbas are not unique, says an aid worker who has visited Mosul's hospitals. The 12-year-old lost both his arms and received extensive burns during a US bombing raid. He has been airlifted to a hospital in Kuwait for emergency surgery. However, Brendan Paddy of the aid charity Save the Children, who is working in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, says that he has seen dozens of similarly injured children whose plight has not attracted similar attention. He said that the injury toll was reducing experienced medical staff to tears. He told the BBC: "In the hospitals the doctors have struggled very bravely to keep things running during the bombing. "They were having to do amputations on children all the time. bbc.co.uk

Ahmed Deyari, 14-year-old wounded in a Mosul.

U.S. marines accused of civilian deaths in Mosul April 18, 2003 MOSUL, IRAQ Two straight days of gunfire exchange between U.S. marines and Mosul residents has caused 17 deaths in Iraq's third-largest city, say local hospital officials. Eighteen people were reported wounded. U.S. Central Command said its troops were involved in a gun battle Tuesday, but had no immediate comment on Wednesday's events. "They are killing us and no one's talking about it," Zahra Yassin said at a hospital with her wounded son. "We want Saddam back. At least there was security." Wednesday's shooting apparently began when police tried to drive looters away from a burning bank. The looters were after old Iraqi coins which lay scattered on the street. To disperse the crowds an Iraqi policeman fired warning shots in the air. This sparked U.S. marines, stationed on a roof across from the bank, to open fire with a heavy machine gun. A wounded policeman said, "The Americans thought we were shooting at them … We were just there to protect the people." cbc.ca

Embedded Photographer:  "I Saw Marines Kill Civilians" April 18, 2003 by MICHEL GUERRIN Laurent Van der Stockt, a photographer working for the Gamma agency and under contract for the New York Times Magazine, followed the advance of the 3/4 Marines (3rd battalion, 4th regiment) for three weeks, up to the taking of Baghdad on April 9. He was accompanied by New York Times Magazine editor, Peter Maas. Van der Stockt mainly works in conflict zones: the first Gulf War, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Africa and the Occupied Territories. This is his eyewitness account of the Marines' march to Baghdad: Their motto is 'Search and Kill'. The 'Kilo' unit is nicknamed 'Killer Kilo'. The words 'Carnivore' or 'Blind Killer' are painted on their tanks. The sniper said: 'I've got eight, Sir, but only five'. Literally meaning: I've shot eight, but only five of them are dead. On April 6, we were at the outskirts of Baghdad, facing a strategic bridge the Americans called 'the Baghdad Highway Bridge'. Residential zones were now much greater in number. American snipers got the order to kill anything coming in their direction. That night a teenager who was crossing the bridge was killed. On the morning of April 7, the Marines decided to cross the bridge. Later, there was some open terrain. The Marines were advancing and taking up position, hiding behind mounds of earth. A small blue van was moving towards the convoy. Three not-very-accurate warning shots were fired. The shots were supposed to make the van stop. The van kept on driving, made a U-turn, took shelter and then returned slowly. The Marines opened fire. All hell broke loose. They were firing all over the place. You could hear 'Stop firing' being shouted. The silence that set in was overwhelming. Two men and a woman had just been riddled with bullets. So this was the enemy, the threat. A second vehicle drove up. The same scenario was repeated. Its passengers were killed on the spot. A grandfather was walking slowly with a cane on the sidewalk. They killed him too (SEE PHOTO IN LE MONDE). As with the old man, the Marines fired on a SUV driving along the river bank that was getting too close to them. Riddled with bullets, the vehicle rolled over. Two women and a child got out, miraculously still alive. They sought refuge in the wreckage. A few seconds later, it flew into bits as a tank lobbed a terse shot into it. informationclearinghouse.info

In bombed neighborhoods, everyone 'wants to kill Americans' April 18, 2003 In Baghdad's al Kharnouq neighborhood, five unexploded American-made cluster bomblets perch precariously in Qusai Abdel Majid's lemon tree and the flower bed beneath it. Stepping carefully, one can follow a trail of dozens of the 2-inch-long black bombs that have killed four of his neighbors so far. "There was no military here to put the bombs on us. So, I imagine, they wanted to kill us," said Abdel Majid, 43, who is afraid to let his children play in the yard. In the al Adhamiya neighborhood, men point to fallen walls, collapsed roofs and smashed cars riddled with bullet holes. They speak swiftly and angrily. "A year ago, on these streets, we would have yawned if someone had mentioned America to us," Khalid Tarah said. "Now, look what they have done to us. Everyone feels this pain. Everyone here now wants to kill. Everyone here now wants to kill Americans." miami.com

Baghdad protests reinstatement of Saddam's police April 18, 2003 BAGHDAD Some Iraqis say the U.S. military is putting Saddam Hussein's henchmen back in power by reassembling Baghdad's police force. Most of the city's 40,000 police officers went into hiding after American forces seized control of Baghdad a week ago. Widespread looting struck the city soon after and U.S. officials decided to restore order by turning policing duties over to Iraqis. The small, and mostly unarmed, patrols of Iraqi police are being escorted by U.S. forces. In one case, a single police cruiser was being following by three U.S. assault vehicles. A noisy crowd of demonstrators gathered in front of the Palestine Hotel to protest against reinstating the police. They held banners reading, "We refuse Saddam's policemen" and "Open the prisons." Under Saddam's regime, all police officers had to join the ruling Ba'athist Party. One of the protesters, Zaid Kazafa, said the U.S. is wrong to give back power to those police officers. "They are the same people. They used to kill our people and in addition they take money," said Kazafa. The police were an extension of Saddam's security service, Kazafa said, and routinely abused their power. cbc.ca

Scientists urge shell clear-up to protect civilians Royal Society spells out dangers of depleted uranium April 18, 2003 Paul Brown Hundreds of tonnes of depleted uranium used by Britain and the United States in Iraq should be removed to protect the civilian population, the Royal Society said yesterday, contradicting Pentagon claims it was not necessary. The society's statement fuels the controversy over the use of depleted uranium (DU), which is an effective tank destroyer and bunker buster but is believed by many scientists to cause cancers and other severe illnesses. guardian.co.uk 

Senator to fight Bush policies Feingold takes on foreign policy April 18, 2003 By Ed Lowe U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold said Thursday that his fellow Democrats are partly responsible for the nation’s “almost bizarre foreign policy,” which he said could spawn an open-ended series of foreign wars. Feingold told 35 residents here for his yearly Waupaca County listening session that lawmakers fearful of damaging their re-election hopes remained silent last fall despite their concerns about the military course established by President Bush with the war in Iraq. Now, he said, Bush has established a “doctrine” of pre-emptive warfare against countries posing no proven threat to the United States. Since the apparent collapse of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s regime, administration officials have sent warnings to neighboring Syria about chemical weapons and the alleged harboring of senior Iraqi leaders. wisinfo.com

Media giant headed by Bush cronies promotes Iraq war April 18, 2003 By Joseph Kay One of the most striking examples of the integration of the American media into the political and military establishment is the series of pro-war rallies recently organized by radio stations associated with the media conglomerate Clear Channel, a company with close ties to the Bush administration. Philadelphia talk show host Glenn Beck, whose program is syndicated and broadcast nationwide by Clear Channel, has been the principal organizer of the rallies. They have been co-sponsored and supported by a number of the corporation’s 1,200 local radio stations and promoted on the corporate website. The rallies, for the most part attracting far fewer participants than the mass antiwar demonstrations of recent weeks, are a forum for promoting national chauvinism and boosting the Bush administration and its policies. gooff.com

Upset gun owners set to dump Bush Shooters angered with White House support for firearm ban April 18, 2003 By Jon Dougherty Unhappy with President Bush's decision to support continuation of a controversial gun ban passed during the Clinton administration, many gun owners say they'll dump Bush in 2004 and vote for someone else if he signs new legislation extending the prohibition. worldnetdaily.com

A chill wind is blowing in this nation. A message is being sent through the White House and its allies in talk radio and Clear Channel and Cooperstown. If you oppose this administration, there can and will be ramifications. Every day, the air waves are filled with warnings, veiled and unveiled threats, spewed invective and hatred directed at any voice of dissent. And the public, like so many relatives and friends that I saw this weekend, sit in mute opposition and fear.

'A Chill Wind is Blowing in This Nation...' April 17, 2003 Transcript of the speech given by actor Tim Robbins to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 15, 2003. You are either with us or against us. And the bombing began. And the old paradigm was restored as our leader encouraged us to show our patriotism by shopping and by volunteering to join groups that would turn in their neighbor for any suspicious behavior. In the 19 months since 9-11, we have seen our democracy compromised by fear and hatred. Basic inalienable rights, due process, the sanctity of the home have been quickly compromised in a climate of fear. A unified American public has grown bitterly divided, and a world population that had profound sympathy and support for us has grown contemptuous and distrustful, viewing us as we once viewed the Soviet Union, as a rogue state. This past weekend, Susan and I and the three kids went to Florida for a family reunion of sorts. Amidst the alcohol and the dancing, sugar-rushing children, there was, of course, talk of the war. And the most frightening thing about the weekend was the amount of times we were thanked for speaking out against the war because that individual speaking thought it unsafe to do so in their own community, in their own life. Keep talking, they said; I haven't been able to open my mouth. A relative tells me that a history teacher tells his 11-year-old son, my nephew, that Susan Sarandon is endangering the troops by her opposition to the war. Another teacher in a different school asks our niece if we are coming to the school play. They're not welcome here, said the molder of young minds. Another relative tells me of a school board decision to cancel a civics event that was proposing to have a moment of silence for those who have died in the war because the students were including dead Iraqi civilians in their silent prayer. A teacher in another nephew's school is fired for wearing a T- shirt with a peace sign on it. And a friend of the family tells of listening to the radio down South as the talk radio host calls for the murder of a prominent anti-war activist. thepeoplesvoice.org

US prosecuted Nazi propagandists as war criminals - The Nuremberg tribunal and the role of the media April 17, 2003 By David Walsh The ongoing US aggression in the Middle East raises the most serious questions about the role of the mass media in modern society. In the period leading up to the invasion, the American media uncritically advanced the Bush administration’s arguments, rooted in lies, distortions and half-truths, for an attack on Iraq. It virtually excluded all critical viewpoints, to the point of blacking out news of mass antiwar demonstrations and any other facts that contradicted the propaganda from the White House and Pentagon. The obvious aim was to misinform and manipulate public opinion, and convince the tens of millions within the US who were opposed to the administration’s war policy that they constituted a small and helpless minority. Now, as if on cue, the US media has obediently turned its attention to Syria, evidently the next target of the US military. If the focus of the White House and Pentagon should shift to North Korea or Iran, the appropriate items will begin to appear about the dire threat represented by those regimes to the security of the American people. wsws.org


Fearing FEMA April 16, 2003 Sander Hicks In the summer of 2002, FEMA published a bid request for qualified construction companies to compete for contracts for three $6 million projects to create temporary cities that can house massive populations in the event of a disaster. Published on conservative web site Newsmax, this news was dismissed by FEMA Spokesman Chad Kolton as "totally bogus." But when challenged by the publishers on the phone, Kolton confirmed the essence of the story. The camps and temporary cities are being planned, to be built in 2003. FEMA says the sprawling temporary cities are being built to handle millions of displaced persons in the event of a large-scale terrorist attack on a major population center. Perhaps. Maybe FEMA has shed the yoke of its dark history. But considering the agency's legacy, is it so far-fetched to think it is not in laying the groundwork to deal with those who dissent from our government's increasingly draconian program of permanent war? guerrillanews.com

WHAT PATRIOT II PROPOSES TO DO April 16, 2003 The Bush Administration's draft Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 would radically expand law enforcement and intelligence gathering authorities, reduce or eliminate judicial oversight over surveillance, authorize secret arrests, create a DNA database based on unchecked executive "suspicion," create new death penalties, and even seek to take American citizenship away from persons who belong to or support disfavored political groups. Here are a few highlights: 1. Secret Arrests. Section 201 would authorize secret arrests, overturning a federal court decision requiring the government to disclose the identity of persons it has detained in the September 11 investigation. This provision would mandate that all arrests in connection with "international terrorism" investigations be secret until an indictment is filed. Never before in our history have we permitted secret arrests... hatefreezone.org

American troops massacre Iraqi protesters in Mosul April 16, 2003 By Henry Michaels American troops opened fire on anti-US protesters in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday, killing at least 10. Hours earlier, 20,000 people marched through the southern city of Nasiriyah to oppose Washington’s plans to install a puppet government. In Baghdad, the US military tried to prevent journalists from reporting on the third straight day of anti-US demonstrations. Even as President Bush, speaking in the White House Rose Garden, was declaring that the Iraqi people were “regaining control of their own destiny,” US soldiers were turning their weapons on civilians opposed to American and US-appointed rulers. Witnesses told the Agence France Presse (AFP) news agency that 10-12 people were killed and perhaps 100 wounded when US troops fired on a crowd protesting a speech by Mosul’s new American-installed governor. The shooting broke out as the governor was making a pro-US speech from the building housing his offices. wsws.org

US Forces Encourage Looting April 16, 2003 By Ole Rothenborg of Sweden's largest daily newspaper MALMOE -- Khaled Bayomi looks a bit surprised when he looks at the American officer on TV expressing regret that they dont have any resources to stop the looting in Baghdad. "I happened to be there just as the US forces told people to commence looting." Khaled Bayomi departed from Malmoe to Baghdad, as a human shield, and arrived on the same day the fighting begun. "I had visited a few friends that live in a worn-down area just beyond the Haifa Avenue, on the west bank of the Tigris River. It was April 8 and the fighting was so heavy I couldn't make it over to the other side of the river. On the afternoon it became perfectly quit, and four American tanks pulled up in position on the outskirts of the slum area. From these tanks we heard anxious calls in Arabic, which told the population to come closer. "During the morning everybody that tried to cross the streets had been fired upon. But during this strange silence people eventually became curious. After three-quarters of an hour the first Baghdad citizens dared to come forward. At that moment the US solders shot two Sudanese guards, who were posted in front of a local administrative building, on the other side of the Haifa Avenue. "I was just 300 meters away when the guards where murdered. Then they shot the building entrance to pieces, and their Arabic translators in the tanks told people to run for grabs inside the building. Rumours spread rapidly and the house was cleaned out.  Moments later tanks broke down the doors to the Justice Department, residing in the neighbouring building, and looting was carried on to there. "I was standing in a big crowd of civilians that saw all this together with me. They did not take any part in the looting, but were to afraid to take any action against it. Many of them had tears of shame in their eyes. rense.com

War leads citizens to oppose taxes April 16, 2003 By Rotimi Agbabiaka Today, many Americans will grudgingly complete the unpleasant yearly ritual of filing income tax returns. However, for Mary Loehr, it will be an occasion for commemorating the choice she made several years ago to refrain from paying taxes. The Ithaca, N.Y., native will be joined by thousands of men and women around the nation who, for religious, moral or ethical reasons, label themselves as conscientious objectors to war. Their refusal to pay taxes stems from their opposition to the large percentage of the national budget allocated to military spending. "We don't want our money to pay for killing," she said. dailytexanonline.com

Israel to use flechette shells April 16, 2003 Jerusalem Israel's Supreme Court has given the army the green light to use controversial flechette tanks shells which spray thousands of darts over hundreds of metres, ripping apart anyone in the killing zone. Physicians for Human Rights, an Israeli advocacy group, said the use of such shells was in contravention of the Geneva Convention covering the rules of warfare and should be banned. It said the shells had killed 10 innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip since the start of the Palestinian urpising, or intifada, in September 2000. news24.com

Family Dreads Telling Father That Three Daughters Are Dead  April 16, 2003 By IAN FISHER BAGHDAD, Iraq, "I don't know how I'll tell him," Sindous Abbas, 30, said today. At her back was a window, which looked out to the sidewalk where her husband, Saad, 34, sat in pain and ignorance. He had been out of the hospital for just two days. She spoke inside so he would not hear. "It wasn't just ordinary love," Ms. Abbas said. "He was crazy about them. It wasn't like other fathers." What all his neighbors and relatives and his own wife have not yet been able to say to him is that three of his daughters — Marwa, 11, Tabarek, 8, and Safia, 5 — did not survive the missile that punched down into their apartment on the third night of American airstrikes. No one has any reason to believe it was anything other than an American missile. nytimes.com

ACLU Seeks Disclosure of “Secret Law” on Local Police Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws April 16, 2003 The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a lawsuit seeking disclosure of a new Department of Justice policy granting local police unprecedented powers to enforce non-criminal immigration laws. The Attorney General has refused to make the new policy public even though it reverses a longstanding federal policy. "There is no justification for secret lawmaking," said Lucas Guttentag, Director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, which filed the lawsuit. "If the Attorney General has nothing to hide and believes that this radical change in policy is permitted, let him say so openly and disclose the legal authority for his decision. That is the essence of responsible and accountable government." aclu.org

Keep your eye on the ball April 15, 2003 Brent Flynn Talk about revisionist history. It's as if the whole world is Winston Smith, the main character of George Orwell's book "Nineteen Eighty-Four." We are being asked to forget what we know to be true in order to remain loyal to the United States government's official version of reality. Although Bush hasn't officially declared victory in Iraq yet, it's just a matter of time. The ease with which our military toppled Saddam's regime will be held up as proof that the neoconservatives were right all along and that the "defeatist" liberals were once again on the wrong side of history. The scene of jubilant Iraqis taking sledgehammers to the statue of Saddam Hussein in Fardus Square is the new justification for our pre-emptive invasion of Iraq and, supposedly, irrefutable evidence that US soldiers are liberators, not conquerors (Never mind that there were fewer than 200 Iraqis present at the event and that the more widespread reaction of Iraqis to liberation has been burning and looting). But not so fast, there. Nobody said we couldn't whip Saddam--not even the bloodiest bleeding heart liberal. And I don't remember anyone arguing that Iraq would be better off if Saddam Hussein remained in power. No, it was always about the legality of a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, the true intentions of the Bush administration, and what would happen after the fighting stopped. Oh yeah, and then there was the small matter of the death, destruction and chaos that would be a direct result of the war. Despite the fact that the official title of the invasion was "Operation Iraqi Freedom" and the sole focus of the media right now is the liberation of an oppressed people, that wasn't the reason why we circumvented the UN and strained relations with our closest allies to invade Iraq. We were told it was a matter of national security. Saddam, the evil madman, had the most dangerous weapons of mass destruction and wouldn't hesitate to use them. brentflynn.com

How and why the US encouraged looting in Iraq April 15, 2003 By Patrick Martin The widespread looting in Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Kirkuk and other Iraqi cities, following the collapse of the Ba’athist regime of President Saddam Hussein, was not merely an incidental byproduct of the US military conquest of Iraq. It was deliberately encouraged and fostered by the Bush administration and the Pentagon for definite political and economic reasons. Thousands took part in the looting in Baghdad which began April 9, the day the Hussein government ceased to function in the capital city. Not only were government ministries targeted, and the homes of the Ba’athist elite, but public institutions vital to Iraqi society, including hospitals, schools and food distribution centers. Equipment and parts were stripped from power plants, thus delaying the restoration of electricity to the city of 5 million people. Perhaps the most devastating loss for the Iraqi people is the ransacking of the National Museum, the greatest trove of archeological and historical artifacts in the Middle East. The 28 galleries of the huge museum were picked clean by looters who made off with more than 50,000 irreplaceable artifacts, relics of past civilizations dating back 5,000 years. The museum’s entire card catalog was destroyed, making it impossible even to identify what has been lost. wsws.org

"A rapacious colonial war":  April 15, 2003 By Stefan Steinberg Interview with Arab journalist Said Dudin on US bombing of Al Jazeera. A WSWS team spoke with Arab journalist and writer Said Dudin last week on the Iraq war and the intimidation of Arab journalists, which culminated in the US bombing of the Al Jazeera media centre in Baghdad on April 8. Dudin emphasised there could be no doubt that the aim of the US bombing of Al Jazeera was the decapitation of its work in Iraq. “The Americans were very concerned about the work of the Al Jazeera journalists and, in particular, their ability to very quickly expose the propaganda lies of the American government and media. There are a number of very capable people working for Al Jazeera who have considerable knowledge of the local situation and local conditions. The station also has a number of Iraqi journalists who know Baghdad like the back of their hand. “Let me give you a few examples of their work. On the first day of bombing in Baghdad the US military reported that their planes had hit two of Hussein’s palaces. Al Jazeera conducted their own investigations. The truth is that the first ‘palace’ was, in fact, the official guest house of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. The second palace was a museum. The Al Jazeera journalists were very often able to expose these sorts of lies by the American government. wsws.org

War Without End, Amen: Crawford's Caligula Eyes Next Conquest  April 15, 2003 by CHRIS FLOYD As shovels scoop the shredded viscera of cold collaterals in Baghdad, and brisk hoses scour the blood from market stalls and children's bedrooms -- festive preparations to make ready for the enthronement of the new lords of Babylon -- we cast an anxious gaze beyond the barbed steel of the security perimeter, to a column of troops and ordnance rumbling toward the horizon. Whither are they bound? Who's next to feel the mailed fist of liberation? At the moment, all signs point to Syria. Iran, of course, would be a more glittering prize -- not to mention a more remunerative one for the unholy trinity of Oil, Arms and Construction, whose mephitic spirit broods over the rising American Empire. But Iran is a big beast; first Iraq must be chewed, swallowed and digested before there is sufficient room in the imperial gut -- and sufficient loot in the imperial treasury -- for another sumptuous banquet. Syria, however, would make a tasty snack counterpunch.org

Belgian parliament guts "genocide law" to appease Bush administration April 15, 2003 By Richard Tyler The Belgian parliament has effectively gutted the country’s 1993 “genocide law”, allowing the government to dismiss a series of cases against foreign political leaders including Ariel Sharon and George Bush senior. The law of “universal jurisdiction” had enabled the Belgian courts to hear cases involving genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity regardless of where they were committed or whether the suspects or victims were Belgian. Following the amendment, the judiciary can now reject cases where there are no victims of Belgian nationality or if the plaintiffs have not resided in Belgium for more than three years. The government is also given the power to intervene directly to quash cases if the accused comes from a “democratic country”. The US-based Human Rights Watch said the amended law created “political and diplomatic hurdles to the prosecution of many human rights crimes.” The 1993 law had led to some 30 cases against foreign leaders being submitted to the courts. The case against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon relates to the 1982 Sabra and Shattila massacres (Palestinian refugee camps in the Lebanon), and had been deemed admissible in a February Supreme Court hearing. The charges against Sharon led to heavy lobbying behind the scenes by Israel for the law to be scrapped. On March 19, a case was filed against President George Bush senior and Secretary of State Colin Powell, for the bombing of a civilian shelter in the 1991 Gulf War that killed over 400. The case was brought by seven Iraqi families who had lost relatives in the bombing of the shelter in Baghdad. When named in the case, Powell called the law a “serious problem” and warned that it jeopardised Belgium’s status as an international hub. These cases will now very likely be dropped. The American and British politicians and generals prosecuting the present war against Iraq can now visit Brussels without fearing a subpoena from the Belgian courts calling them to account for their actions in Baghdad and Basra. wsws.org

Mother sees no honor in death of her soldier son Other parents also struggle to find meaning in loss April 15, 2003 By MONICA DAVEY The night before her son left for Kuwait, Ruth Aitken argued with him on the telephone for nearly three hours. From her living room in State College, Pa., she told him that a war with Iraq made no sense, that it was really a scuffle over oil. Her son, an Army captain based at Fort Stewart, Ga., said America needed to be protected from terrorists. "Mother," he finally told her, "it's my job." The argument -- a "major confrontation" in Aitken's memory -- was by no means their first debate over the war, but it was their last. Capt. Tristan N. Aitken, 31, died on April 4 as U.S. soldiers fought for control of the Baghdad airport. seattlepi.nwsource.com

Israel's 'cleansing of Arab menace' shocks young activists April 15, 2003 Rafah, Gaza Strip - Shell-shocked after a fellow peace activist was rendered clinically dead by an Israeli sniper a day earlier, Nick and Tom still feel their work as human shields protecting Palestinians from army fire and bulldozers in the southern Gaza town of Rafah has been worth it. But the two teenagers are now considering going home following Friday's shooting, which has raised fears that international volunteers are becoming a target for the Israeli army. "Back home, I believed when a child was shot, something must have happened, but I've discovered here that it can actually happen just like that, without a reason," said 18-year-old Tom Diale from Britain. "When it is clear Israel does not give a damn and shoots at us, there is really nothing you can do about that," he said heatedly."I expected a certain level of violence, but I did not expect the level of planning by the Israeli state; it's planning for ethnic cleansing, for wiping out the 'evil Arab menace'," he said. thestar.co.za

City councillor calls U.S. president 'terrorist'  April 15, 2003 ERIK MARTENSSON  Laidlaw one of many to speak out during Saturday's March for Peace City Coun. Maggie Laidlaw is calling the U.S. president a "terrorist" for waging a war on Iraq not sanctioned by the United Nations. "George Bush is now an international terrorist as far as I'm concerned," said Laidlaw to the cheers of about 100 people taking part in the Guelph March for Peace Saturday. Laidlaw's comments came in the shadow of City Hall, where the march made a brief stop. Taking to the microphone, Laidlaw also told marchers that, "this is not the end of the war. This is just the beginning of the end of U.S. imperialism." Laidlaw said George. W. Brush is a terrorist because he waged a war that defied international law. "The war is illegal. Regime change is illegal under UN law. The war was about regime change. It wasn't about weapons of mass destruction -- there weren't any." Laidlaw wasn't the only marcher to speak out against Bush. Others called Bush a slave to corporate America, while one marcher held a sign showing a picture of the president above the words "I should be impeachified," as a way of poking fun at Bush's tendency to mispronounce words. Laidlaw is not concerned about her comments potentially hurting her chances of being re-elected this fall. "You can't be dishonest with yourself," she said, noting it's important for people to speak out about what they believe in. "If it costs me votes . . . so be it." guelphmercury.com

Three weeks on, and still no water. Now doctors fear an epidemic Lack of security holds up agencies April 15, 2003 Ewen MacAskill in Basra Doctors in Iraq's second city, Basra, warned yesterday of an epidemic as a majority of the 1.3 million residents were still without safe drinking water three weeks after the war began. Attempts to restore the supply have failed, despite hopes expressed in the first week that it would take a matter of days. Help from aid agencies is only trickling in. Tamara al-Rifai, the representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross based in Kuwait, said looting was partly to blame. Lack of security was making it difficult for aid agencies to enter the town, and looters had taken pipes before they could be installed to help distribution. "The fact that we have gone a few steps back makes it even more serious," she said. guardian.co.uk

"We can't let that happen"

Russia Warns US - No More Mideast Attacks April 14, 2003 St. Petersburg Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday warned the US-led coalition not to attack other countries under the pretext of promoting capitalist and democratic values after having defeated Iraq's dictatorial regime. "We are not going to export capitalist, democratic revolutions," the Russian leader told reporters as rumours in Washington allege that some elements of the US administration are mulling launching military operations against other Middle Eastern states. "If we do, we're going to end up on a slippery slope to non-ending military conflicts. We can't let that happen," Putin said at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac after holding talks with them. rense.com

The Weird Men Behind George W. Bush's War April 14, 2003 By Michael Lind It is not clear that George W fully understands the grand strategy that Wolfowitz and other aides are unfolding. He seems genuinely to believe that there was an imminent threat to the US from Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction", something the leading neo- cons say in public but are far too intelligent to believe themselves. The Project for the New American Century urged an invasion of Iraq throughout the Clinton years, for reasons that had nothing to do with possible links between Saddam and Osama Bin Laden. Public letters signed by Wolfowitz and others called on the US to invade and occupy Iraq, to bomb Hezbollah bases in Lebanon and to threaten states such as Syria and Iran with US attacks if they continued to sponsor terrorism. Claims that the purpose is not to protect the American people but to make the Middle East safe for Israel are dismissed by the neo-cons as vicious anti-Semitism. rense.com

Syria Is Our Next Victim - Wake Up To The Atrocity! April 14, 2003 By Archaeos Prime Dear America, This story finely illustrates the continuing agenda of the Bush Regime. It has not stopped at Iraq. Its thirst for blood and oil has not been quenched. Richard Perle is spitting out the exact same firing pattern of black speech the Bush Regime has already used twice to pre-emptively attack and destroy other nations. Perle's contemptuous words of are more than enough to confirm that Damascus falls next. How many times will we let them get away with this before enough of us wake up to stop them? How many more thousands of deaths does it take to establish an obvious, proven pattern of murderous imperial violence? We are all guilty of their deeds until we rise and crush the Amerikan Regime that has infiltrated and taken over our system of government. Words cannot stop them. The small numbers of the Awakened, those who understand what's going on all around us, are not enough to stop them. We MUST save America from this Insurrection! But without the vast majority of Americans comprehending what's happening, we'll remain impotent to do anything about Amerika's Totalitarian, goose-stepping march across the globe... rense.com

The Dangers of Dissent April 14, 2003 Dissent isn't easy these days. You're branded unpatriotic for questioning an unelected president's rush to war, and dismissed as insignificant even when you number in the millions. It gets much worse. If you work in an American university, you could be blacklisted, harassed and even lose your job for questioning the Bush Administration's conservative pro-war agenda. Thanks to a small number of deep-pocket groups with close ties to the government, campuses have been pummeled with a right-wing political agenda; one stated goal is to replace liberal-minded professors (found to be "short on patriotism" or failing to teach that civilization itself "is best exemplified in the West and indeed in America") with more politically correct conservatives. If you're a human rights activist in the States, things get even bleaker. Of the 10,000 who demonstrated in Fort Benning, Georgia last November to shut down what they call a terrorist training camp on US soil - the School of the Americas, renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC) - 96 peacefully crossed the forbidden line into the facility and were charged with civil disobedience. Those arrested included a priest, a reverend, Catholic nuns and veterans; as of now, 83 have been adjudicated, many receiving federal prison terms. Who says we don't have political prisoners in America? heatherwokusch.com

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