June 30th, 2003 - by admin
by Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Statement –
The peoples and governments of the world face an urgent challenge relating to weaponry of mass destruction and particularly to nuclear weaponry.
At the crossroads of technology, terrorism, geopolitical ambition, and policies of preemption are new and potent dangers for humanity. Despite ending the nuclear standoff of the Cold War era, nuclear weaponry is again menacing the peoples of the world with catastrophic possibilities.
We recognize the need for any government to pursue its security interests in accordance with international law; and further, we recognize that distinctive threats to these interests now exist as a result of an active international terrorist network having declared war on the United States and its allies. Nonetheless, we reject the assessment of the current US administration that upgrading a reliance on nuclear weapons is in any sense justified as a response. We find it unacceptable to assign any security role to nuclear weapons. More specifically, nuclear weapons are totally irrelevant and ineffective in relation to the struggle against terrorism.
Nuclear weapons, combined with policies that lower barriers to their use, pose unprecedented dangers of massive destruction, recalling to us the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Any major use of such weapons could doom humanity’s future and risk the extinction of most life on the planet.
The international regime preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons has badly eroded in recent years, and is in danger of unraveling altogether. This is due in large part to the refusal of the nuclear weapons states to fulfill their long-standing obligations set forth in Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue nuclear disarmament in good faith. Other states, taking note of this underlying refusal to renounce these weapons over a period of more than five decades, have seen growing benefits for themselves in acquiring nuclear weapons.
Back in 1998, India and Pakistan, responding at least in part to the failure of the declared nuclear weapons states to achieve nuclear disarmament, decided to cross the nuclear weapons threshold. These two countries, both having always remained outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, have a long history of conflict and war with each other. They are a flashpoint for potential nuclear war in South Asia.
Another flashpoint is Israel’s undeclared, yet well-established, nuclear weapons arsenal, which introduces the risk that nuclear weapons will be used in some future crisis in the Middle East. Israel’s nuclear arsenal and the implicit threat of its use has encouraged other Middle Eastern countries to seek or acquire weapons of mass destruction, including the establishment of nuclear weapons programs.
A third flashpoint exists on the Korean Peninsula in Northeast Asia, where North Korea has withdrawn from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and other agreements restricting its nuclear program. The North Korean government has announced that it will expand its nuclear weapons program unless the US agrees to negotiations to establish a mutual security pact.
US government policies are moving dangerously in the direction of making nuclear weapons an integral component of its normal force structure, and terrorists are becoming increasingly unscrupulous in challenging the established order. Terrorist organizations have been boldly seeking access to weaponry of mass destruction. Beyond this, the recent Iraq War, supposedly undertaken to remove a threat posed by Iraqi possession of these weapons, seems to have sent the ironic message to North Korea and others that the most effective way to deter the United States is by proceeding covertly and with urgency to develop a national arsenal of nuclear weapons.
America’s New Nuclear Agenda
US official policies to develop smaller and more usable nuclear weapons, to research a nuclear earth-penetrating weapon for use as a “bunker buster,” and to lessen the timeframe for returning to underground nuclear testing, along with the doctrine and practice of preemptive war, have dramatically increased the prospect of future nuclear wars. The nuclear policies and actions of the US government have proved to be clearly provocative to countries that have been named by the US president as members of “the axis of evil” or that have been otherwise designated by the present US administration to constitute potential threats to the United States. Several of these countries now seem strongly inclined to go all out to acquire a deterrent in the face of American intimidation and threats.
There is no circumstance, even retaliation, in which the use of nuclear weapons would be prudent, moral or legal under international law. The only morally, legally and politically acceptable policy with regard to nuclear weapons is to move rapidly to achieve their universal and total elimination, as called for by the world’s leading religious figures, the International Court of Justice in its 1996 opinion, and many other governments and respected representatives of civil society. Achieving such goals would also dramatically reduce the possibilities of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorist organizations.
Given the existence of treaty regimes that already ban chemical and biological weapons, the outlawing and disarmament of nuclear weapons would complete the commitment of the governments and peoples of the world to the prohibition and elimination of all weaponry of mass destruction. Such a prohibition, and accompanying regimes of verification and enforcement, could lead over time to a greater confidence by world leaders in the rule of law, as well as encourage an increased reliance on non-violent means of resolving conflicts and satisfying grievances.
It is the US insistence on retaining a nuclear weapons option that sets the tone for the world as a whole, reinforcing the unwillingness of other nuclear weapons states to push for nuclear disarmament and inducing threatened or ambitious states to take whatever steps are necessary, even at the risk of confrontation and war with the United States, to develop their own stockpile of nuclear weaponry. In this post-September 11th climate, the United States has suddenly become for other governments a country to be deterred rather than, as in the Cold War, a country practicing deterrence to discourage aggression by others.
For these reasons, we call upon the United States government to:
• Abandon its dangerous and provocative nuclear policies, in particular, researching, developing and making plans to shorten the time needed to resume testing of new and more usable nuclear weapons;
• Take its nuclear arsenal off the high alert status of the Cold War;
• Meet its disarmament obligations under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Treaty’s Review Conferences, including making arms reduction agreements irreversible;
• Renounce first use of or threat to use nuclear weapons under all circumstances;
• Enter into negotiations with North Korea on a mutual security pact; and
• Assert global leadership toward convening at the earliest possible date a Nuclear Disarmament Conference in order to move rapidly toward the creation and bringing into force of a verifiable Nuclear Weapons Convention to eliminate all nuclear weapons and control all nuclear materials capable of being converted to weapons.
We also call on other nuclear weapons states to accept their responsibilities to work toward a world without weapons of mass destruction as a matter of highest priority.
These steps leading to the negotiation and ratification of a treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons should then be coordinated with existing arrangements of prohibition associated with biological and chemical weapons to establish an overall regime dedicated to the elimination of all weaponry of mass destruction. It would be beneficial at that stage to also create an international institution with responsibility for safeguarding the world against such diabolical weaponry, including additional concerns associated with frontier technologies, such as space weaponization and surveillance technology, radiological weapons, cyber warfare, advanced robotics, genetic engineering and nanotechnology.
Finally, we recommend that an international commission of experts and moral authority figures be appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations to issue a report on existing and emerging weaponry of mass destruction and to propose international arrangements and policy recommendations that would enhance the prospects for global peace and security in the years ahead and, above all, the avoidance of any use of weapons of mass destruction.
Humanity stands at a critical crossroads, and the future depends upon our actions now.
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan international organization dedicated to the elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, the strengthening of international law and the education of a new generation of peace leaders. Further information may be found at the Foundation’s web site: www.wagingpeace.org. David Krieger, President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, PMB 121, 1187 Coast Village Road, Suite 1, Barbara, CA 93108-2794, email@example.com, http://www.nuclearfiles.org
June 30th, 2003 - by admin
by Sydney Morning Herald –
(June 25, 2003) — Australian servicemen and women who served in the recent Iraq war were reporting symptoms of uranium sickness, a United States nuclear weapons expert said today.
Dr Douglas Rokke is a former US Army nuclear health physicist and was formerly the Pentagon’s expert on the health effects of depleted uranium ammunition.
Speaking in Melbourne today, Dr Rokke said Iraqi women and children and American and Iraqi military personnel had reported respiratory illnesses and rashes after the recent conflict, and he had also been told of Australian servicemen and women with similar symptoms.
“That’s the reports I received from the US Army medical department. That’s something that needs to be verified and looked into,” he said.
“When American soldiers are sick and the Iraqis are sick there’s nothing that says an Australian soldier is going to be isolated when he goes through those areas and he is not going to become ill.
During operation Desert Storm in 1991 Dr Rokke led a team assigned to clean up uranium contamination caused by friendly fire.
“What we saw can be described in only three words – Oh my God! The wounds were horrible, the contamination was extensive,” he said.
“Although myself and my team members wore respiratory and skin protection, that protection we know today does not provide any adequate protection against the inhalation, the ingestion, the absorption of uranium compounds.”
He said he now suffered rashes, respiratory problems, kidney problems and cataracts related to his exposure to uranium.
Dr Rokke is in Australia to speak against the use of depleted uranium weapons, which he describes as a crime against humanity, creating a toxicological nightmare.
He is campaigning for the outlawing of depleted uranium munitions, medical care for those who have been exposed to uranium and a clean-up of exposed environments.
He will speak at public meetings and meet government officials and returned service groups while in Australia.
“What I have learned from my work is that uranium munitions must be banned,” Dr Rokke said.
“When we can no longer clean up the environment and we can no longer provide medical care for anybody that’s exposed, then that weapon must never be used in conflict.”
Jacob Grech, of the OzPeace Network, said while Australia did not use depleted uranium munitions, the country exported between 2500 and 3000 tonnes of uranium to the United States each year for energy.
“It’s the waste energy products that is used in the manufacture of these munitions.
“From the very start, before they are even made, Australia and the Australian government is complicit in the production of these weapons.”
“We’d like our government as a bare minimum to put Australian service veterans from the first and second Gulf wars, as well as Afghanistan, through rigorous testing to get a baseline study of exactly what the health effects are of depleted uranium and other chemical toxins … and treat them,” Mr Grech said.
“So far our government has been furphying, it’s been releasing reports which parrot the Pentagon line six to 12 months later, it’s been in a state of denial.”
Mr Grech said he had not yet had reports of service personnel from the most recent conflict suffering uranium sickness, but there were a lot of veterans from the first Gulf war displaying symptoms.
“I think what we are going to see with Australian returned service people from the Gulf and Afghanistan is 20 years down the track exactly what happened with agent orange in Vietnam,” Mr Grech said.
Sydney Morning Herald
June 30th, 2003 - by admin
by Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law – University of Illinois School of Law
During the Fall of 2001, we witnessed anthrax attacks on the United States government that were obviously designed to shut down the government at a very critical time immediately after September 11. It was during this time that Congress should have been in session, making decisions regarding oversight of the Executive Branch of government. This note will discuss some historical background for the law, policy and science of biological weapons here in the United States.
Early US Bio-War Program
The US has had, at least going back to World War II, an extremely aggressive offensive biological warfare program. In 1969, President Richard Nixon decided to discontinue this program (at least with regard to biological “agents” which are used as weapons, as opposed to “toxins,” which were theoretically for researching methods of immunization and therapy). There were two reasons for discontinuing the weapons program: (1) it was counter-productive militarily, as biological weapons were very difficult to control, and (2) the US already had massive superiority in nuclear weapons.
Biological weapons were seen as the “poor man’s atom bomb” and Nixon wanted to get rid of them to prevent Third World nations from acquiring relatively inexpensive weapons of mass destruction.
In accordance with President Nixon’s order, the total destruction of antipersonnel biological agents and munitions was completed by May of 1972.  It is believed, however, that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) continued to research biological weapons in spite of the President’s order.
The US signed on to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) on 10 April 1972.  The BTWC entered into force on 26 March 1975. This convention prohibits the research, development and testing of biological weapons, agents and compounds. The convention has an exception for prophylactic and defensive purposes. There remained, however, a Chemical and Biological Warfare unit lurking in the Pentagon, starved for funds and wanting to come back to life.
The Reagan Administration
The administration of President Ronald Reagan came to power in 1980. The Reagan administration took the position that the US was going to exploit its superior technology with regard to all types of weapons. This also included the new technologies of gene-splicing and genetic engineering. Massive amounts of money, hundreds of millions of dollars, were poured into researching and developing what were claimed to be “defensive” biological agents.
The way the Reagan administration did this was by investigating every exotic disease one could imagine for the purpose of developing vaccines. In this way, the US operated within the exceptions of the BTWC. Of course, the technology used to get the vaccine is exactly the same technology used to create the agent. In fact, the agent is usually created first in order to then produce the vaccine. After one creates the agent, one creates the vaccine and then a delivery device. The result is a biological weapon.
Much of the research for these biological weapons was being done at universities around the country. The tip-off in many of these government contracts is that they call for the development of an aerosol delivery device. This is important because most biological warfare agents are delivered through the air.
Meanwhile, the Reagan administration was cutting back funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The effect was that second- and third-rate scientists, who were no longer able to receive research funds from the NSF, were forced to turn to the Pentagon for funding. 
Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989
On September 13, 1985, the Council for Responsible Genetics (CRG) had a Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill. I was asked to participate in this briefing and to explain what the Administration was doing and how dangerous the situation was. The US government was funding scientists to research biological warfare technology and it was going out all over the country — indeed, around the world.
I was asked by the CRG to help draft legislation to deal with this problem — in particular, the abuse of genetic engineering technology for biological warfare purposes. I worked in conjunction with the CRG scientists and the biotech industry. At that time, the biotech industry had no desire to get into developing biological warfare technology and the industry supported the proposed legislation. The result was the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989. 
The Reagan administration fought the proposed legislation tooth and nail. They knew full well that the legislation was designed to stop what they were doing at the Pentagon. The Act makes it very clear that research, development or testing of biological warfare agents would be punished by life in prison.
While this fight was going on, the Reagan administration authorized at least 40 shipments of weapon-specific biological agents to Iraq from the American Type Culture Collection, which is a large scientific institute. The Collection cultures every known type of disease for scientific purposes. It was clear that the Reagan administration was shipping all of these materials to Iraq knowing full well that Iraq was going to develop biological weapons and use them against Iran. 
The Bush, Sr. Administration
President George Bush, Sr. was elected in 1988. The question was whether we should continue to push for the legislation or abandon the project. The decision was made to go forward. To the credit of President Bush, Sr., the moment his administration came into power, all opposition to our legislation stopped. We were advised, however, that it would help on the Hill if we would repackage it as a piece of legislation designed to deal with biological weapons in the Third World — that there were crazies who were looking to develop biological weapons and our legislation was designed to deal with them. We agreed. The legislation was not changed, just the way in which is was presented. The Act was passed unanimously by both Houses of Congress and signed into law by President Bush.
Iraq’s US-supplied Chemical/Biological Weapons
In the Fall of 1990, the US went to war with Iraq after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. President Bush, Sr. and then-Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney ordered all US military personnel to take experimental vaccines for anthrax and botulin. As was later revealed, the Reagan administration had shipped these biological agents to Iraq, and Iraq had weaponized them.
These experimental vaccines were given to over a half-million US soldiers. At least 50,000 of these soldiers later developed unexplained illnesses, generally referred to as “Gulf War Syndrome.” I personally believe that this syndrome is the result of these vaccines. They were experimental medical vaccines in violation of the Nuremberg Code on medical experimentation. 
The Clinton Administration
In the last two years of the Clinton administration, the policy shifted back to the dual-use biological warfare work. Again, hundreds of millions of dollars were committed to research and develop every known exotic disease. The research was then turned over to the Pentagon, where it could be used to produce weapons. This is going on today.
Finally, the New York Times broke the story that the US government was violating the BTWC. The US was developing a resistant strain of anthrax with genetic engineering. The US had also developed super weapons-grade anthrax in quantities and strengths that have no legitimate defensive purpose.
It was very clear that the US was back in the business of researching and developing biological agents. This is a clear violation of both the international BTWC and the domestic Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act.
The Bush, Jr. Administration
That is why the Bush, Jr. administration repudiated the verification protocol for the BTWC. These negotiations had been underway for quite some time. The convention has no verification provisions.
In Fall 2002, all of a sudden, Bush, Jr. repudiated the whole thing and tried to kill it. Why? Because it is clear we are involved in this type of work, whether the Pentagon, the CIA, their contractors, or all of them.
Anthrax Attacks 2001
Finally we have the recent anthrax attacks in the United States. It was not clear what was going on until the New York Times published the details of the technology behind the letter [mailed to Democratic leader Tom Daschle]. The technology behind [the anthrax powder in] this and following letters was very sophisticated. These anthrax samples had a trillion spores per gram. That is super weapons-grade.
There was also a special treatment to eliminate electrostatic charges so the spores would float in the air. One must have special equipment for this treatment. The only people who would have the capability to do this are individuals who are either currently employed by the Department of Defense or the CIA doing biological warfare work, or people who had been employed in that capacity. One would probably need access to one of the government‚s biological warfare labs and there are only a handful of these labs in the country.
FBI Appears Involved in the Anthrax Coverup
The day I read the New York Times piece, I called a senior official in the FBI who handles terrorism and counter-terrorism. The FBI was coordinating its efforts with Fort Detrick, which is one of these few biological warfare labs. The obvious problem with this is that the person responsible for the anthrax attacks could very well be one of the personnel from Fort Detrick.
Soon thereafter, the FBI authorized the destruction of the anthrax culture collection at Ames, Iowa. It had been determined that the anthrax used in the attacks was an Ames-produced strain. The entire supply was destroyed. This was obviously a cover-up. If you had access to that supply, then you could do a genetic reconstruction of where the anthrax used in the attacks originated.
I believe that the FBI knows exactly who was behind these attacks and that they have concluded that the perpetrator was someone who was or is involved in illegal and criminal biological warfare research conducted by the US government (the Pentagon or the CIA) or by one of the government’s civilian contractors. For that reason, the FBI is not going to apprehend and indict the perpetrator. To do so would directly implicate the government in conducting biological warfare research. So this is where we are today. The FBI says that they are working on it, but of course, that is ridiculous.
Francis Boyle is Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois School of Law. Boyle, an expert on impeachment law, has filed briefs for the impeachment of George HW Bush, Bill Clintion and George W. Bush.
3. The Council of Responsible Genetics responded to this by putting out a Pledge where the signers declared that they would not accept any money from the Pentagon for any reason.
4. http://www.sunshineproject.org/publications/uscode.html also: Francis Boyle, The Future of International Law and American Foreign Policy, 277-316 (1989).
5. Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, shortly after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, in an attempt to take advantage of Iran‚s instability and gain territory.
Reprinted from Synthesis/Regeneration magazine. http://www.greens.org/s-r/30toc.html
June 30th, 2003 - by admin
by Bob Graham – Evening Standard
BAGHDAD — American soldiers in Iraq today make the astonishing admission that they regularly kill civilians.
In a series of disturbing interviews which throws light on the chaos gripping the country, GIs also confess to leaving wounded Iraqi fighters to die, and even to shooting injured enemy soldiers. They say they are frequently confronted by fighters dressed as civilians, including women.
Their response is often to shoot first and ask questions later, even when it means killing genuine civilians. Yesterday, US troops killed at least one man and injured three others during a demonstration in Baghdad by former Iraqi soldiers protesting at not being paid for two months. US troops first fired into the air and then into the crowd after the demonstrators began throwing stones and bricks.
In the worsening cycle of violence, American tactics like these are feeding the resentment of many Iraqis who object to the occupation of their country. US troops are facing a growing number of hit-and-guerrilla attacks and more than 40 soldiers have been killed since George Bush declared the war over seven weeks ago.
The threat American soldiers feel was illustrated today when a coalition-run humanitarian aid office north of Baghdad was shelled, killing one Iraqi worker and wounded 12. The attack represents a tactical shift by the guerillas as they target fellow Iraqis deemed to be too close to the allies.
One of the soldiers interviewed by the Evening Standard, Specialist Anthony Castillo, of the 3/15th US Infantry, said: “When there were civilians there, we did the mission that had to be done. When they were there, they were at the wrong spot, so they were considered enemy.”
The soldiers are furious that their commanders have reneged on promises to send them home as soon as the war was won and are now forcing them into the role of peacekeepers.
The interviews will make troubling reading for US and British politicians and senior military staff desperate to pacify the country and impose order before a transfer to a civilian government run by Iraqis.
June 30th, 2003 - by admin
by Institute for Energy and Environmental Research –
A new plant designed to manufacture plutonium triggers for the US nuclear arsenal is likely to cause several fatal cancers among its workforce, according to an independent analysis of newly released government documents.
The conclusion is based on a review of the May 2003 draft Department of Energy (DOE) Environmental Impact Statement on its proposed Modern Pit Facility by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER). The plutonium “pits” that trigger the initial explosion in modern multi-stage nuclear warheads are similar to the plutonium explosive in the bomb that the United States used to destroy Nagasaki during World War II.
According to IEER, the data tables in the DOE document project that the proposed plant to manufacture 450 plutonium pits per year would expose its workers to radiation sufficient to cause one fatal cancer every four and a half years. That would total about nine cancer deaths over the plutonium pit factory’s 40-year anticipated life. DOE projections of collective radiation dose to workers vary with projected plant size.
“This proposed plutonium explosives factory will be dangerous for its employees,” concluded IEER President Dr. Arjun Makhijani. “The Department of Energy‚s own radiation dose estimates indicate that several workers would die of cancer over the life of the plant as a result of their exposure. It seems unconscionable to propose to build such a risky and unneeded facility when the DOE is only just beginning to compensate workers that it put at risk during the Cold War after fifty years of denial of harm.”
The DOE admitted in the year 2000 that over half a million workers had been put in harm‚s way during the Cold War because of exposure to radioactivity at its nuclear weapons plants. Congress put a complex compensation program into place that year. Thousands of frustrated workers are yet to be compensated.
“This seems like a return to the bad old days of the Cold War, when public health was put at risk in an irrational pursuit of vast nuclear arsenals,” added Lisa Ledwidge, IEER’s Outreach Director. “It is lamentable that DOE does not clearly state that several cancer deaths would result from the operation of the plutonium pit factory. One has to calculate that from the fine print in the tables: the text is misleading and makes it seem that workers would be safe.”
The Modern Pit Facility is supposed to be a part of DOE’s “Stockpile Stewardship Program” to maintain the safety and reliability of the US nuclear arsenal. But no problems that would materially affect the reliability of plutonium pits in the current US arsenal are identified in the Draft EIS and or other literature. On the contrary the data indicate that aging of pits affects neither safety nor reliability.
“There is currently no scientific basis for claiming that pit replacement is required for safety or reliability of the existing arsenal,” said Dr. Makhijani. “Even the 20 pit per year capacity that the DOE plans to have at Los Alamos National Laboratory by 2007 may be superfluous, to say nothing of a huge new plant.”
The proposed plant could also be used to make plutonium cores for new bomb designs. Two new types have been proposed by the US government: “mini-nukes” which could be as much as 1,000 times bigger than the one Timothy McVeigh used to destroy the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City and “bunker busters.”
“Building large numbers of new bombs that could be used in nuclear war-fighting seems to be the real purpose of this plant,” said Dr. Makhijani. “This is a dangerous drift towards usable nuclear weapons that is in violation of US commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Using nuclear bombs to attack runways or bunkers would likely kill large numbers of civilians and create huge amounts of fallout.”
Fallout from nuclear weapons testing increased cancer risks for many people in the United States, including thousands of armed forces personnel who assisted in the US nuclear testing program. World War II occupation troops in Hiroshima and Nagasaki also faced increased risks.
“Thousands of atomic veterans are being denied compensation even though US government testing and use of nuclear bombs put them at risk,” said Ms. Ledwidge. “But instead of focusing on justice for ill veterans, the government is wasting money preparing for a dangerous new plan to build usable nuclear weapons, possibly even in a pre-emptive war. That‚s not only the wrong message to governments abroad. It’s an injustice for people in the United States.”
The United States has named several countries as potential nuclear weapon targets, including Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Libya. “Nuclear war-fighting strategies and nuclear threats are likely to spur proliferation,” said Dr. Makhijani. “For instance, India‚s nuclear bomb-building advocates received a great political boost when the United States threatened India during its war with Pakistan in 1971 by sending a US nuclear-armed aircraft carrier into the Bay of Bengal in a “tilt towards Pakistan.” India conducted its first nuclear explosive test in 1974.
Sites being considered for DOE’s Modern Pit Facility include the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Carlsbad, both in New Mexico; the Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina; the Nevada Test Site, 60 miles from Las Vegas; and the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas. Public hearings about plans to construct the new plutonium manufacturing are scheduled for communities near all the target sites and in Washington, DC during the early summer months.
Lisa Ledwidge, Outreach Director, United States, and Editor of Science for Democratic Action, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), 2104 Stevens Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55404 USA, (612) 879-7517, fax –7518, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.ieer.org IEER’s main office: 6935 Laurel Ave. Suite 201, Takoma Park, MD 20912 USA, 1-(301) 270-5500. –3029.
June 24th, 2003 - by admin
by The International Solidarity Forum –
TOKYO — The International Solidarity Forum was convened in Osaka and Tokyo on 24-25th May to address the people’s concerns against the occupation of Iraq and the expansion of the US led neo-imperialist project across the world.
We have discussed and shared the following basic analyses of the present international situation and confirmed the following internationally coordinated lines of actions. We intend this declaration to follow the Cairo declaration of December 2002, and so to strengthen the international struggle against war and imperialism.
The struggles against the war on Iraq that were fought all over the world developed into a huge people’s movement to stop the war before it started, and were successful in isolating the most bellicose proponents of global capitalism and war from Bush downward, and in delaying their war plans for several months. Although we could not stop the eventual outbreak of the war this time, the confidence of the people gained through the struggles is irreversible.
It is the task for all the peoples of the world to transform and disband the current war-machine system of globalization which prioritizes the interest of monopolistic capitalist circles above those of the people. In particular we must not allow any preemptive strike on North Korea using the nuclear threat as an excuse. Therefore, all the participants will commit themselves to these declarations.
We the participants of the International Solidarity Forum:
(1) Demand the immediate withdrawal of the US/UK occupation forces from Iraq and declare the war and occupation as a flagrant and shameful violation of international law.
(2) Demand an investigation of war crimes in Iraq and expose the realities of victims of the aggression, and create an International Democracy Watch Center in Iraq to promote the Iraqi people’s security, justice and rights to self-determination.
(3) Call for the establishment of an international People’s War Crime Tribunal movement to bring to account Bush, Blair and other war criminals for their war crimes, and demand their apology and reparations.
(4) Condemn all corporations which profit from war and occupation across the world, such as Bechtel, Halliburton, Caterpillar etc.
(5) Condemn media corporations, such as Fox, CNN, BBC, NHK, Murdoch, who misinform the people on the realities of war and who instead serve the interests of the political establishment rather than the people to whom they are responsible.
(6) Stop any further wars of US led imperialism before they take place and we recognize North Korea, Syria, Iran, and Cuba as most at risk and declare our solidarity with their people.
(7) Demand an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the dismantling of all illegal Israeli settlements and the recognition of Palestinian self-determination and human rights.
(8) Recognize the extreme Zionist threat to the Palestinians, and commit ourselves to the survival of the Palestinian people in their own land.
(9) Condemn US military, economic and political support to the Zionist crimes against the Palestinians, and call for her to withdraw this support and hold Israel responsible to its international commitments.
(10) Support the international anti-war conference in S. Korea and Japan on August 15, 2003, and the internationally coordinated peace demonstrations worldwide on September 27, 2003, against the occupation of Iraq, US led imperialism and to commemorate the Palestinian Intifada (uprising).
(11) Support the anti-nationalist movements in South Korea in their struggle against US led imperialism and war, especially against the Korean peninsula.
(12) Oppose any Japan/US led preemptive strike on North Korea under the false pretence of a nuclear threat.
(13) Oppose any US led interference in the Asia Pacific Region, economic or military, and demand that the affairs of this region are decided by its people.
(14) Oppose any Japanese imperial ambitions, and condemn Japanese support of US led global imperialist projects.
(15) Declare that the US led ‘War on Terror’ is a pretence for the expansion of its imperialist agenda of global dominance, to strip the civil liberties of its own people, and commit racist crimes at home.
(16) Declare this global people’s movement a grassroots struggle against US led Imperialism, and encourage people everywhere to organize their own resistances in their local areas, in their colleges, in their workplaces, in their streets.
Ratified by: Movement for Democratic Socialism (Japan) Zenko (Japan) Linking Peace and Life (Japan) Global Peace Action (Japan) Global Exchange (USA) ANSWER (USA) International Action Center (USA) Party of the Democratic Socialism (Germany) Stop the War Coalition (UK) Just Peace-Muslim for a just peace (UK) Socialist Political Alliance (Korea) Labor People Council (Korea)
June 24th, 2003 - by admin
by Mike Bryan – Common Dreams
Mr. President, please attack Appalachia.
You have promised the Iraqis that they will share in the wealth of their oil. We could use some of that same sharing here. We have coal and timber that is being extracted, yet very little of the profits remain in our area. If the Iraqis are to share in the profits from their natural resources, we would like to share in the profits from ours.
You have promised healthcare for all Iraqis. We could use the same thing here. Far too many of us are without health insurance and adequate access to good healthcare facilities. You have also promised to rebuild the schools in Iraq. We too have schools that need rebuilt and that need more funding.
Certainly you can find a justification for attacking us. We have weapons of mass destruction. Just go inspect the former uranium enrichment plant near Piketon, Ohio. You will still find all sorts of radioactive waste on and around that site. Test our waters. Test our ground. Test our air. You will find an abundance of chemical and biological agents that could be used as weapons. We literally live among them.
After all, Appalachia is America’s third world. Terrorists are breeding everywhere. Where there is poverty there is unrest. Where there is poor education there is suspicion. Where there is neglect there is anger. As far as potential dangers go, Appalachia should be near the top of your list. Stomp out the bad before it turns thoroughly evil. Pre-emptively strike us now before it becomes too late. Do it before we make something else out of our fertilizer ingredients.
Since Appalachia is a highly religious area an attack could easily be explained as the fulfillment of prophecy. Many here would even agree with your need to attack us. In fact, we would probably help supply the troops.
Without any long-term energy strategy or alternative planning, once the oil is gone the US will become increasingly dependent on coal and wood. Appalachia has lots of that. Even today, the profitability of many US businesses would be threatened if Appalachia refused to supply them with electricity, coal, and other resources.
Can America afford to wait until a crisis is at hand before attacking Appalachia? The decision is yours. You do not even have to involve the United Nations since we are within US borders. You can go it alone.
The rest of the country will be fairly easy to convince about the need to attack us. The national news media will surely rise to your side. Prejudice against hillbillies already devalues our lives in comparison to those in the rest of the country, so our devastation and casualties would have to be nearly as high as in Iraq before anyone from outside Appalachia complains too loudly. Besides, people here have lived as second-class citizens for so long we now thoroughly expect to be treated as second-class citizens – and the rest of the nation expects to treat us that way. How else could you explain the relatively small outcry currently raised by our exceedingly high unemployment rates, poor education, high pollution, poor healthcare, high poverty, and poor leadership?
In fact, attacking us will probably help cement your re-election.
You might experience some local militia counterstrikes, but those will probably be disorganized and minor. After all, Appalachia lacks any central command, what with its being comprised of the parts of twelve states and only the whole of one state. West Virginia could be your focus. Find someone evil there to target, such as Jay Rockefeller.
He asked the FBI to investigate those forged documents you used to help justify your war against Iraq. How embarrassing that must have been: International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Mohamed ElBaradei addressed the UN and publicly humiliated you by showing your assertion that Iraq was trying to import uranium from Niger was based on crudely faked information. Someone should pay for such an embarrassment and who better than a Democrat who is a Rockefeller?
So Mr. President, you have all the elements you need: weapons of mass destruction, a nearly third world enemy, potential terrorists, someone to call evil, and an easy path to victory. Now all you have to do is attack. And please, do it soon. We need the reparations, better schools, better infrastructure, universal healthcare, and a fair share in the wealth of our own resources.
You also promised Iraq democracy. We could use that here as well.
Please, Mr. President, attack Appalachia next.
Mike Bryan email@example.com
June 24th, 2003 - by admin
by Donna Abu-Nasr – Associated Press
Photo Caption — US military policeman Sgt. 1st Class Brian Pacholski, left, comforts his hometown friend, US military policeman Sgt. David J. Borell, right, both from Toledo, Ohio, at the entrance of the US military base in Balad, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Friday, June 13, 2003. Borell broke down after seeing three Iraqi children who were injured while playing with explosive materials. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
BALAD (June 23, 2003) — On a scorching afternoon, while on duty at an Army airfield, Sgt. David J. Borell was approached by an Iraqi who pleaded for help for his three children, burned when they set fire to a bag containing explosive powder left over from war in Iraq.
Borell immediately called for assistance. But the two Army doctors who arrived about an hour later refused to help the children because their injuries were not life-threatening and had not been inflicted by US troops.
Now the two girls and a boy are covered with scabs and the boy cannot use his right leg. And Borell is shattered. “I have never seen in almost 14 years of Army experience anything that callous,” said Borell, who recounted the June 13 incident to The Associated Press.
A US military spokesman said the children’s condition did not fall into a category that requires Army physicians to treat them — and that there was no inappropriate response on the part of the doctors.
The incident comes at a time when US troops are trying to win the confidence of Iraqis, an undertaking that has been overwhelmed by the need to protect themselves against attacks. Boosting security has led to suspicion in encounters between Iraqis and Americans. There are increased pat-downs, raids on homes and arrests in which US troops force people to the ground at gunpoint — measures the Iraqis believe are meant to humiliate them.
In addition, Iraqis maintain the Americans have not lived up to their promises to improve security and living conditions, and incidents like the turning away of the children only reinforce the belief that Americans are in Iraq only for their own interests.
For Borell, who has been in Iraq since April 17, what happened with the injured children has made him question what it means to be an American soldier.
“What would it have cost us to treat these children? A few dollars perhaps. Some investment of time and resources,” said Borell, 30, of Toledo, Ohio. “I cannot imagine the heartlessness required to look into the eyes of a child in horrid pain and suffering and, with medical resources only a brief trip up the road, ignore their plight as though they are insignificant,” he added.
Maj. David Accetta, public affairs officer with the 3rd Corps Support Command, said the children’s condition did not fall into a category that requires Army doctors to care for them. Only patients with conditions threatening life, limb or eyesight and not resulting from a chronic illness are considered for treatment. “Our goal is for the Iraqis to use their own existing infrastructure and become self-sufficient, not dependent on US forces for medical care,” Accetta said in an e-mail to AP.
The incident came to light after an AP photographer took a picture of Borell being comforted by a colleague after the doctors refused to care for the children. When Borell’s wife, Rachelle Douglas-Borell, saw the photo, she contacted AP with a copy of a letter he sent her describing what happened.
When Borell talks about the children, he pauses between sentences, keeps his head down, clears his throat. Seated on a cot in a bare room at an Army air base in Balad, 55 miles northwest of Baghdad, Borell said when he saw the three children, especially the girls, Ahlam, 11, and Budur, 10, he visualized his daughters, Ashley, 8, and Brianna, 5.
Borell, who spoke to the family through an Iraqi bystander with some English, did not understand exactly what happened to the children. But the children’s father, Falah Mutlaq, told AP they set fire to a bag of explosives they found on a street in their village, Bihishmeh, a few miles from the base.
Mutlaq, 36, who has 14 children from two wives, said he took the children to a hospital in Balad, but they were turned away because the facility could not treat them. He then took them to the base.
Borell’s eyes cloud with pain when he describes the children. Madeeha Mutlaq was holding her son, Haidar, 10, fanning him with a piece of cardboard. His legs, arms and half of his face were singed. Ahlam, Haidar’s full sister, and Budur, his half-sister, had fewer but still extensive burns. What struck Borell was the children’s silence.
“They did not utter a single sound,” he said.
Borell radioed his superiors, who contacted the base hospital. Two Army doctors, both of them majors, responded. One of them, according to Borell, “looked at (Haidar) … didn’t examine him, didn’t ask him questions. (He) never looked at the girls.”
“Through the interpreter, one of the doctors told the father that we didn’t have any medicine here … and were not able to provide them care,” said Borell. “And he also expounded on the fact that they needed long-term care.”
Borell said the combat hospital was fully stocked.
“Right before they left, I looked at the one doctor, asked him if he could at least give them comfort care,” said Borell. “He told me they were not here to be the treatment center for Iraq. He didn’t show any compassion,” the sergeant added.
Borell grabbed his first-aid kit and gave the father some bandages and IV solution to clean the wounds.
Mutlaq, who grows oranges and apples with water he gets from the Tigris River, laughed when he recalled the doctor’s words.
“He lied,” Mutlaq said. “The world’s greatest power going to war without burn medicine? Who can believe that?” Mutlaq took the children the next day to Baghdad for treatment.
Budur, a chubby, giggly child with light brown eyes, seems to have recovered except for a large scab on her right arm. Ahlam and Haidar are covered with yellowish scabs scattered over raw red flesh. Haidar keeps his left fingers bent and hops on his left leg because it’s too painful to use the right one. A smile rarely leaves his face despite the discomfort. Mutlaq said he often hears the children whimper at night from the pain.
Despite their suffering, Mutlaq said he feels no bitterness. “How can I not love the Americans? They helped me with a flat tire the other day,” he said.
Borell said he felt betrayed by the Army, which he joined after high school. Besides the letter to his wife, he also wrote to his congresswoman and several media outlets describing the incident. His superiors have not said a word, said Borell, “although I get the impression that they’re probably not very happy.”
Borell’s wife gave him a silver bracelet that says: “Duty, Honor, Country.” He wears it to remind him why he’s in Iraq. “After today, I wonder if I will still be able to carry the title ‘soldier’ with any pride at all,” said Borell.
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
June 24th, 2003 - by admin
by Greenpeace International –
BAGHDAD (June 24, 2003) — Greenpeace activists today confronted the occupying forces in Iraq with radioactive material collected near the Tuwaitha nuclear complex and called for a clean up of radioactive contamination of villages surrounding the plant, just south of Baghdad.
A convoy of vehicles bearing Greenpeace banners that read “Al Tuwaitha — Nuclear Disaster — Act Now!” and with a single activist walking at it’s head, carrying a white flag, are returning a large uranium “yellow cake” mixing canister to the US military guards stationed at the heart of the nuclear plant. The canister — the size of a small car — contained significant quantities of radioactive yellowcake. The contents had been dumped on a busy section of open ground near the Tuwaitha plant.
Despite the military being aware of its presence, locals say it has been left open and unattended for more than 20 days. “If this had happened in the UK, the US or any other country, the villages around Tuwaitha would be swarming with radiation experts and decontamination teams. It would have been branded a nuclear disaster site and the people given immediate medical check-ups. The people of Iraq deserve no less from the international community. That they are being ignored is a scandal that must be rectified without delay,” said Mike Townsley of Greenpeace International.
Greenpeace radiation experts have found abandoned uranium yellowcake and radioactive sources scattered across the community. Much of the material was looted from the facility by villagers who used it for house building and water and food storage. They did not realize the potential danger.
In a week-long survey Greenpeace uncovered:
o radioactivity in a series of houses, including one source measuring 10,000 times above normal
• another source outside a 900-pupil primary school measuring 3,000 times above normal
• locals who are still storing radioactive barrels and lids in their houses
• another smaller radioactive source abandoned in a nearby field
• consistent and repeated stories of unusual sickness after coming into contact with material from the Tuwaitha plant
• several objects carrying radioactive symbols discarded in the community
The preliminary survey and this morning’s action in front of heavily armed US troops, highlights the total failure of the occupying forces to address the urgent need for a full assessment, containment and clean up of missing nuclear material from the Tuwaitha Nuclear facility. (1)
The occupying forces have so far refused to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA, the UN’s nuclear experts) to carry out proper documentation and decontamination in Iraq. The US authorities in Baghdad have insisted upon retaining responsibility for protecting human health but consistently deny there is a risk to the local population. (2)
In the last two days, the IAEA itself has indicated, “most of the (uranium) material is accounted for.” (3) [Greenpeace has reached a different conclusion, however.]
“The Greenpeace team has only been surveying for eight days and has discovered frightening levels of radioactive contamination,” said Townsley. “The IAEA must be allowed to return with a full mandate to monitor and decontaminate. They may believe they have accounted for most of the uranium, but what about the rest of the radioactive material? If the inspectors are allowed to come out from the shadow of the occupying forces and into the community, they can do the job properly,” Townsley added.
(1) The Tuwaitha nuclear storage facility, south of Baghdad, was left unsecured by occupying forces after the fall of Saddam Hussein and was heavily looted. In contrast, oil pipelines and the oil ministry were immediately secured. Just days after the ceasefire, British Museum officials were brought in to reclaim stolen artifacts. It was nearly two months before IAEA inspectors were allowed to return.
(2) Washington Post, June 6th 2003 — “The US military has conducted an initial radiation survey in the villages, and a health study is set to begin in coming days. “There is no health risk to the population or the soldiers guarding the site,” said Mickey Freeland, part of the US team involved in the hunt for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
(3) Mohamed ElBaradei, speaking in Jordan — Reuters, June 22, 2003.
(4) None of the material stored at Tuwaitha can be used for conventional nuclear weapons as all such components were removed by the International Atomic Energy Agency after the first Gulf War.
CONTACT:Sara Holden, Greenpeace press officer in Baghdad: +88 216 5112 0748 Greenpeace temporary office, Baghdad: +870 76249 7816. Greenpeace International Communications Office: + 31 205249545 Mobile: + 31 6535 04701 Fax: + 31 205236212 firstname.lastname@example.org nowar.greenpeace.org
Two members of the Greenpeace team are maintaining a weblog of their mission to Iraq. You can review a history of the expedition to date and monitor live developments at http://weblog.greenpeace.org/iraq. For additional briefings on Tuwaitha, health impacts of radiation exposure, the risk of dirty‚ bombs and other information, please go to: http://www.greenpeace.org.
June 24th, 2003 - by admin
by Naomi Klein – Globe and Mail (Toronto)
The Bush administration has found its next target for pre-emptive war, but it’s not Iran, Syria or North Korea — not yet, anyway.
CANADA (June 20, 2003) — Before launching any new foreign adventures, the Bush gang has some homeland housekeeping to take care of: It is going to sweep up those pesky non-governmental organizations that are helping to turn world opinion against US bombs and brands.
The war on NGOs is being fought on two clear fronts. One buys the silence and complicity of mainstream humanitarian and religious groups by offering lucrative reconstruction contracts. The other marginalizes and criminalizes more independent-minded NGOs by claiming that their work is a threat to democracy. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is in charge of handing out the carrots, while the American Enterprise Institute, the most powerful think tank in Washington, DC, is wielding the sticks.
Aid Organizations Warned to become US ‘Partners’
On May 21 in Washington, Andrew Natsios, the head of USAID, gave a speech blasting US NGOs for failing to play a role many of them didn’t realize they had been assigned: doing public relations for the US government.
According to InterAction, the network of 160 relief and development NGOs that hosted the conference, Mr. Natsios was “irritated” that starving and sick Iraqi and Afghan children didn’t realize that their food and vaccines were coming to them courtesy of George W. Bush. From now on, NGOs had to do a better job of linking their humanitarian assistance to US foreign policy and making it clear that they are “an arm of the US government.” If they didn’t, InterAction reported, “Natsios threatened to personally tear up their contracts and find new partners.”
For aid workers, there are even more strings attached to US dollars. USAID told several NGOs that have been awarded humanitarian contracts that they cannot speak to the media — all requests from reporters must go through Washington. Mary McClymont, CEO of InterAction, calls the demands “unprecedented” and says, “It looks like the NGOs aren’t independent and can’t speak for themselves about what they see and think.”
Many humanitarian leaders are shocked to hear their work described as “an arm” of government; most see themselves as independent (that would be the “non-governmental” part of the name).
The best NGOs are loyal to their causes, not to countries, and they aren’t afraid to blow the whistle on their own governments. Think of Médecins sans frontières standing up to the White House and the European Union over AIDS drug patents, or Human Rights Watch’s campaign against the death penalty in the United States. Mr. Natsios himself embraced this independence in his previous job as vice-president of World Vision. During the North Korean famine, he didn’t hesitate to blast his own government for withholding food aid, calling the Clinton administration’s response “too slow” and its claim that politics was not a factor “total nonsense.”
Don’t expect candor like that from the aid groups Mr. Natsios now oversees in Iraq. These days, NGOs are supposed to do nothing more than quietly pass out care packages with a big “brought to you by the USA” logo attached — in public-private partnerships with Bechtel and Halliburton, of course.
Neo-McCarthyites Target Independent NGOs
That is the message of NGO Watch, an initiative of the American Enterprise Institute and the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, which takes aim at the growing political influence of the non-profit sector. The stated purpose of the Web site, launched on June 11, is to “bring clarity and accountability to the burgeoning world of NGOs.”
In fact, it is a McCarthyite blacklist, telling tales on any NGO that dares speak against Bush administration policies or in support of international treaties opposed by the White House.
This bizarre initiative takes as its premise the idea that there is something sinister about “unelected” groups of citizens getting together to try to influence their government. “The extraordinary growth of advocacy NGOs in liberal democracies has the potential to undermine the sovereignty of constitutional democracies,” the site claims.
Coming from the AEI, this is not without irony. As Raj Patel, policy analyst at the California-based NGO Food First, points out, “The American Enterprise Institute is an NGO itself and it is supported by the most powerful corporations on the planet. They are accountable only to their board, which includes Motorola, American Express and ExxonMobil.”
As for influence, few peddle it quite like the AEI, the looniest ideas of which have a way of becoming Bush administration policy. And no wonder. Richard Perle, member and former chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, is an AEI fellow, along with Lynne Cheney, wife of the vice-president. The Bush administration is crowded with former AEI fellows.
As President Bush said at an AEI dinner in February, “At the American Enterprise Institute, some of the finest minds in our nation are at work on some of the greatest challenges to our nation. You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such minds.” In other words, the AEI is more than a think tank; it’s Mr. Bush’s outsourced brain.
Bush’s NGO Doctrine: Buy Them Off or Shut Them Out
Taken together with Mr. Natsios’s statements, this attack on the non-profit sector marks the emergence of a new Bush doctrine: NGOs should be nothing more than the good-hearted charity wing of the military, silently mopping up after wars and famines. Their job is not to ask how these tragedies could have been averted or to advocate for policy solutions. And it is certainly not to join anti-war and fair-trade movements pushing for real political change.
The control freaks in the White House have really outdone themselves this time. First they tried to silence governments critical of their foreign policies by buying them off with aid packages and trade deals. (Last month US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said that the United States would only enter into new trade agreements with countries that offered “co-operation or better on foreign policy and security issues.”) Next, they made sure the press didn’t ask hard question during the war by trading journalistic access for editorial control.
Now they are attempting to turn relief workers in Iraq and Afghanistan into publicists for Mr. Bush’s Brand USA — to embed them in the Pentagon, like Fox News reporters.
The US government is usually described as “unilateralist,” but I don’t think that’s quite accurate. The Bush administration may be willing to go it alone, but what it really wants is legions of self-censoring followers, from foreign governments to national journalists and international NGOs.
This is not a lone wolf we are dealing with: it’s a sheep-herder. The question is: Which of the NGOs will play the sheep?
Naomi Klein is the author of No Logo andFences and Windows.
© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. Reposted on Common Dreams.
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