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FBI Agents Admit Terror Alerts Manufactured

December 31st, 2003 - by admin

by Jon Dougherty / World Net Daily –

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=30312

(January 4, 2003) — Intelligence pros say the White House is manufacturing terrorist alerts to keep the issue alive in the minds of voters and to keep President Bush’s approval ratings high, Capitol Hill Blue reports, .

The Thursday report said that the administration is engaging in “hysterics” in issuing numerous terror alerts that have little to no basis in fact.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t made a lot of progress against al-Qaida or the war on terrorism,” one FBI agent familiar with terrorism operations told CHB. “We’ve been spinning our wheels for several weeks now.”

Other sources within the bureau and the Central Intelligence Agency said the administration is pressuring intelligence agencies to develop “something, anything” to support an array of non-specific terrorism alerts issued by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.

“Most of the time, we have little to go on, only unconfirmed snippets of information,” a second FBI agent, who also was not named in the report, said. “Most alerts are issued without any concrete data to back up the assumptions.”

Indeed, the most recent terrorism alerts have been issued absent specific threat information. Each of the accompanying warnings comes without any shift in the nation’s new color-coded alert system; the current warning level of yellow, or “elevated,” has been in place since late September.

Terror Alerts Sometimes Proven Baseless
Even recent reports regarding five Arab men who may have slipped into the country via Canada using phony identification could be politically motivated, one expert said.
“We have very, very little to support the notion that these five represent any more of a threat than any of the other thousands of people who enter this nation every day,” terrorism expert Ronald Blackstone said. “It’s a fishing expedition.”

On Wednesday, one of the five, a Pakistani jeweler, Mohammed Asghar, was tracked down in Pakistan by The Associated Press. He told reporters there he’d never been to the US, though he said he tried once – two months ago – to use false documents to get into Britain to find work.

“I imagine the finger-pointing has started at the White House,” Blackstone said.
On Thursday, President Bush said of the Asghar case: “We need to follow up on forged passports and people trying to come into our country illegally.”

“Don’t misunderstand, there is a real terrorist threat to this country,” another FBI agent told CHB. But, the agent continued, “every time we go public with one of these phony ‘heightened state of alerts,’ it just numbs the public against the day when we have another real alert.”

Last year, the FBI issued alerts that terrorists may attack stadiums, nuclear power plants, shopping centers, synagogues, apartment houses, subways, and the Liberty Bell, the Brooklyn Bridge and other New York City landmarks, reported Knight-Ridder newspapers.

The bureau also advised Americans to be wary of small airplanes, fuel tankers and scuba divers.

Terror Alerts Provide ‘Political Advantage’ and Constitute a ‘Fund-raising Tool’
CHB reported that FBI and CIA sources said a recent White House memo listing the war on terrorism as a definitive political advantage and fund-raising tool is just one of many documents discussing how to best utilize the terrorist threat.

“Of course the White House is going to exploit the terrorism threat to the fullest political advantage,” said Democratic strategist Russ Barksdale. “They would be fools not to. We’d do the same thing.”

The White House did not return phone calls from WorldNetDaily seeking comment. Knight-Ridder Newspapers, meanwhile, reported the FBI has never meant for all its warnings and advisories to be made public. “Everything is being described as a terror alert, and that’s not what this stuff is,” said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, in a July interview.

But, he added, “if information is becoming public, then we naturally cannot work in a vacuum and pretend like all this information is not becoming public.”

“We live in a world of threats; not all of them necessitate a warning,” says FBI terrorist warning chief Kevin Giblin, a 27-year veteran of the bureau. He told Knight-Ridder there should be a generally increased level of vigilance, and he looks to the color-coded advisory system – not the alerts intended for police – to signal it.

The threat of terrorism may also be helping the White House manage the sagging economy. Officials at home finance giant Freddie Mac said yesterday that the threat of terrorism may have played a role in bringing 30-year mortgage rates down to 5.85 percent, their lowest since an average 5.83 percent in 1965.

“Current issues such as the possibility of military actions abroad, heightened terrorism alerts and an unexpected drop in consumer confidence contributed to the decline in mortgage rates this week,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist, told Reuters.

Jon E. Dougherty is a staff reporter and columnist for WorldNetDaily. © 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

December 31st, 2003 - by admin

by Dr. Lawrence Britt / Free Inquiry Magazine (Spring 2003) –

The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, studied the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile). He found the regimes all had 14 things in common, and he calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism.

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homo-sexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Revealed: Who Really Found Saddam?

December 31st, 2003 - by admin

by David Pratt / The Sunday Herald –

http://www.sundayherald.com/38816

LONDON (December 21, 2003) — Saddam’s capture was the best present George Bush could have hoped for, and then Gaddafi handed a propaganda gift to Blair. But nothing’s ever that simple.

It was exactly one week ago at 3.15pm Baghdad time, when a beaming Paul Bremer made that now-famous announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, we got him!” Saddam Hussein: High Value Target Number One. The Glorious Leader. The Lion of Babylon had been snared. Iraq’s most wanted — the ace of spades — had become little more than an ace in the hole.

In Baghdad’s streets, Kalashnikov bullets rained down in celebration. In the billets of US soldiers, there were high fives, toasts and cigars. In the Jordanian capital Amman, an elderly woman overcome by grief broke down in tears and died. Inside a snow-blanketed White House, George W Bush prepared to address the nation.

“There’s an end to everything,” said a sombre Safa Saber al-Douri, a former Iraqi air force pilot, now a grocer in al-Dwar, the town where only hours earlier one of the greatest manhunts in history had ended under a polystyrene hatch in a six-foot-deep “spider hole.”

But just how did that endgame come about? Indeed, who exactly were the key players in what until then had been a frustrating and sometimes embarrassing hunt for a former dictator with a $25 million (£14m) bounty on his head?

Task Force 20, Greyfox and Qusrat Tasul Ali
For 249 days there was no shortage of US expertise devoted to the hunt. But the Pentagon has always remained tight-lipped about those individuals and groups involved, such as Task Force 20, said to be America’s most elite covert unit, or another super-secret team known as Greyfox, which specialises in radio and telephone surveillance.

Saddam, of course, was never likely to use the phone, and the best chance of locating him would always be as a result of informers or home-grown Iraqi intelligence. On this and their collaboration with anti-Saddam groups the Americans have also remained reticent.

Enter one Qusrat Rasul Ali, otherwise known as the lion of Kurdistan. A leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Rasul Ali was once tortured by Saddam’s henchmen, but today is chief of a special forces unit dedicated to hunting down former Ba’athist regime leaders.

Rasul Ali’s unit had an impressive track record. It was they who last August, working alone, arrested Iraqi vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan in Mosul, northern Iraq. Barely a month earlier in the al-Falah district of the same town, the PUK is believed to have played a crucial role in the pinpointing and storming of a villa that culminated in the deaths of Saddam’s sons Uday and Qusay.

In that mixed district of Mosul where Arabs, Kurds and Turkemen live side by side, PUK informers went running to their leader Jalal Talabani’s nearest military headquarters to bring him news on the exact location of the villa where both Uday and Qusay had taken shelter.

Armed with the information, Talabani made a beeline for US administration offices in Baghdad, where deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz was based for a week’s stay in Iraq at the time.

The Kurdish leader and US military chiefs conferred and decided that PUK intelligence would go ahead and secretly surround the Zeidan villa and install sensors and eavesdropping devices. The Kurdish agents were instructed to prepare the site for the US special forces operation to storm the building on July 22.

Kurds Set-up Saddam’s Sons for Public US Assassination
American officials later said they expected that the $30m bounty promised by their government for the capture or death of the Hussein sons would be paid. Given their direct involvement in providing the exact location and intelligence necessary, no doubt Talabani’s PUK operatives could lay claim to the sum, but no confirmation of any delivery or receipt of the cash has ever been made.

The PUK and Rasul Ali’s special “Ba’athist hunters” have, it seems, been doing what the Americans have consistently failed to do. In an interview with the PUK’s al-Hurriyah radio station last Wednesday, Adil Murad, a member of the PUK’s political bureau, confirmed that the Kurdish unit had been pursuing fugitive Ba’athists for the past months in Mosul, Samarra, Tikrit and areas to the south including al-Dwar where Saddam was eventually cornered. Murad even says that the day before Saddam’s capture he was tipped off by PUK General Thamir al-Sultan, that Saddam would be arrested within the next 72 hours.

Clearly the Kurdish net was closing on Saddam, and PUK head Jalal Talabani and Rasul Ali were once again in the running for US bounty — should any be going.

It was at about 10.50am Baghdad time on last Saturday when US intelligence says it got the tip it was looking for. But it was not until 8pm, with the launch of Operation Red Dawn, that they finally began to close in on the prize.

US Military Feeds US Media a Cover Story
The US media reported that the tip-off came from an Iraqi man who was arrested during a raid in Tikrit, and even speculated that he could get part of the bounty. “It was intelligence, actionable intelligence,” claimed Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, commander of coalition ground forces in Iraq. “It was great analytical work.”

But the widely held view that Kurdish intelligence was the key to the operation was supported in a statement released last Sunday by the Iraqi Governing Council. Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, said that Rasul Ali and his PUK special forces unit had provided vital information and more.

Last Saturday, as the US operation picked up speed, the Fourth Infantry Division moved into the area surrounding two farms codenamed Wolverine 1 and Wolverine 2 near al-Dwar, the heart of the Saddam heartland — a military town where practically every man is a military officer past or present. It is said to have a special place in Saddam’s sentiments because it was from here that he swam across the Tigris River when he was a dissident fleeing arrest in the 1960s.

Every year on August 28, the town marks Saddam’s escape with a swimming contest. In 1992, Saddam himself attended the race. It was won by a man called Qais al-Nameq. It was al-Nameq’s farmhouse — Wolverine 2 — that about 600 troops, including engineers, artillery and special forces, surrounded, cutting off all roads for about four or five miles around.

Next to a sheep pen was a ramshackle orange and white taxi, which US officials say was probably used to ferry Saddam around while he was on the run, sometimes moving every three or four hours.

Inside the premises was a walled compound with a mud hut and small lean-to. There US soldiers found the camouflaged hole in which Saddam was hiding.

It was 3.15pm Washington time when Donald Rumsfeld called George W Bush at Camp David. “Mr President, first reports are not always accurate,” he began. “But we think we may have him.”

Kurd’s Role in Saddam’s Capture First Broke on Iranian TV
First reports — indeed the very first report of Saddam’s capture — were also coming out elsewhere. Jalal Talabani chose to leak the news and details of Rasul Ali’s role in the deployment to the Iranian media and to be interviewed by them.

By early Sunday — way before Saddam’s capture was being reported by the mainstream Western press — the Kurdish media ran the following news wire:

Saddam Hussein, the former President of the Iraqi regime, was captured by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. A special intelligence unit led by Qusrat Rasul Ali, a high-ranking member of the PUK, found Saddam Hussein in the city of Tikrit, his birthplace. Qusrat’s team was accompanied by a group of US soldiers. Further details of the capture will emerge during the day; but the global Kurdish party is about to begin!

By the time Western press agencies were running the same story, the emphasis had changed, and the ousted Iraqi president had been “captured in a raid by US forces backed by Kurdish fighters.”

Rasul Ali himself, meanwhile, had already been on air at the Iranian satellite station al-Alam insisting that his “PUK fighters sealed the area off before the arrival of the US forces”.

By late Sunday as the story went global, the Kurdish role was reduced to a supportive one in what was described by the Pentagon and US military officials as a “joint operation”. The Americans now somewhat reluctantly were admitting that PUK fighters were on the ground alongside them, while PUK sources were making more considered statements and playing down their precise role.

So just who did get to Saddam first, the Kurds or the Americans? And if indeed it was a joint operation, would it have been possible at all without the intelligence and on-the-ground participation of Rasul Ali and his special forces?

The Secret Role of the PUK and other Conspiracy Theoris
If the PUK themselves pulled off Saddam’s capture, there would be much to gain from taking the $25 million bounty and any political guarantees the Americans might reward them with to keep schtum. What’s more, Jalal Talabani’s links to Tehran have always worried Washington, and having his party grab the grand prize from beneath their noses would be awkward to say the least.

“It’s mutually worth it to us and the Americans. We need assurances for the future and they need the kudos of getting Saddam,” admitted a Kurdish source on condition of anonymity. It would be all to easy to dismiss the questions surrounding the PUK role as conspiracy theory. After all, almost every major event that affects the Arab world prompts tales that are quickly woven into intricate shapes and patterns, to demonstrate innocence, seek credit or apportion blame. Saddam’s capture is no exception.

Of the numerous and more exotic theories surrounding events leading to Saddam’s arrest, one originates on a website many believe edited by former Israeli intelligence agents, but which often turns up inside information about the Middle East that proves to be accurate.

According to Debka.com, there is a possibility that Saddam was held for up to three weeks in al-Dwar by a Kurdish splinter group while they negotiated a handover to the Americans in return for the $25 million reward. This, the writers say would explain his dishevelled and disorientated appearance.

But perhaps the mother of all conspiracy theories, is the one about the pictures distributed by the Americans showing the hideout with a palm tree behind the soldier who uncovered the hole where Saddam was hiding. The palm carried a cluster of pre-ripened yellow dates, which might suggest that Saddam was arrested at least three months earlier, because dates ripen in the summer when they turn into their black or brown colour.

Those who buy into such an explanation conclude that Saddam’s capture was stage-managed and his place of arrest probably elsewhere. All fanciful stuff. But as is so often the case, the real chain of events is likely to be far more mundane.

In the end serious questions remain about the Kurdish role and whether at last Sunday’s Baghdad press conference, Paul Bremer was telling the whole truth . Or is it a case of “ladies and gentlemen we got him” – with a little more help from our Kurdish friends than might be politically expedient to admit?


Relatied Stories

Capture of Saddam Hussein: Was the Photographic Evidence Manipulated? Centre for Research on Globalization. 22 December,

Doubt regarding Capture of Saddam , several authors, 22 December 2003,

Nun Nixes New Nukes

December 31st, 2003 - by admin

by George Edmundson / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution –

http://counterpunch.org/wolman12082003.html

WASHINGTON — Former Democratic U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn criticized the Bush administration Tuesday for exploring the possibility of developing new nuclear weapons.

Nunn, senator from Georgia from 1972 to 1997, said the recent move dims prospects for reducing the international threat of nuclear attacks.

“I think it’s very damaging to America’s security position because I think it sets back our effort and our moral persuasion effectiveness in trying to move the world away from nuclear weapons,” he said. “So I think it’s counterproductive to our own security interests.”

Congress recently approved funding for research into smaller nuclear weapons and what are called “bunker-buster” bombs to attack deep underground facilities. Funding also was approved to improve the testing site in Nevada.

Nunn said averting catastrophe from weapons of mass destruction will require unprecedented cooperation: “We have to have that cooperation, not because cooperation will give us a warm, fuzzy feeling of community, but because every other method will fail,” he said.

Any unilateral action “that is not absolutely necessary” works against further cooperation, he said, adding that even the massive military power of the United States is not sufficient to deal with the problems.

“And when we take actions in other arenas of the world that look like we don’t need or want any help, I think it’s counterproductive to what I consider to be our most important security problem,” Nunn said. He added that he hoped the issue would be addressed by all candidates in the upcoming presidential campaign.

Nunn is co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, an organization he founded with Ted Turner in 2001. He and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) helped establish a threat reduction program to help Russia and the former Soviet republics deal with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Nunn spoke at a symposium on Capitol Hill the NTI sponsored with Kazakhstan, which has been praised for dealing with nuclear weapons after it declared independence 12 years ago.

At that time, the country had 1,410 nuclear warheads and was the site of a nuclear test site as well as an anthrax production facility. All of the warheads have been removed from Kazakhstan. The nuclear test site has been shut down and the anthrax facility’s capability has been eliminated.

“Iran and other nations could learn from Kazakhstan that a nation can grow, modernize, make progress and gain stature not in spite of renouncing nuclear weapons but because of it,” Nunn said.

Looking Back on 2003

December 31st, 2003 - by admin

by David Krieger / Nuclear Age Peace Foundation –

The turning of the year is a good time to look back and recall some of the momentous events and trends of 2003.

We witnessed the greatest uprising of people ever in the history of the world in protest to war. In cities large and small across the planet, ordinary people took to the streets to try to stop a US-led war against Iraq. In the end, we didn’t succeed, but our effort marked the opening of a new era of global protest against war and violence.

We witnessed poets across the globe rise up and generate more than 13,000 poems in opposition to a war against Iraq.

We witnessed the government of the United States ignore the people of the world, the poets and the United Nations Security Council and initiate an illegal war against Iraq in violation of the UN Charter, a war that has thus far resulted in the deaths of some 8,000 to 10,000 Iraqi civilians, some 475 US troops and unknown numbers of Iraqi troops.

We witnessed the increase of deadly attacks against US and other troops and international relief workers in Iraq after the president declared an end to major hostilities on May 1st aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.

We witnessed US leaders make claims of the imminent threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, but after massive searches no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq as of the end of the year.

We witnessed North Korea withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, declare itself a nuclear weapon state and offer to give up its nuclear arsenal and ambitions if the United States would agree to a non-aggression pact. At year’s end, despite six nation talks, the US and North Korea continue to threaten each other without coming closer to agreement.

We witnessed Iran deny it had a nuclear weapons program and allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency greater leeway for inspections, and we witnessed Libya admit that it had a nuclear weapons program and allow inspectors of the IAEA to verify that it had ceased. At the same time, the US government made plans for building a new facility to create some 500 plutonium pits each year for new nuclear weapons.

We witnessed US government leaders press for and the US Congress support research on more usable nuclear weapons, mini-nukes and “bunker-busters,” and the allocation of funds for shortening of the time necessary to resume nuclear testing. We witnessed the United States move toward deployment of missile defenses and pressure other states to join in this program.

We witnessed assassination attempts on Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf. The death of Musharraf would open the door for nuclear weapons to fall into the hands of Islamic extremists, which almost certainly would lead to war, possibly nuclear war, with India or the United States.

We witnessed the United States stand nearly alone in opposing major nuclear disarmament resolutions in the United Nations. In one vote on bringing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty into force, the US cast the only vote against the resolution while 173 countries voted in favor. In a resolution put forward by Japan on the Path to the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, only the US and India opposed the resolution.

We witnessed the capture of Saddam Hussein, a pathetic fallen dictator, and the ongoing international trial of another fallen dictator, Slobodan Milosevic. At the same time, we witnessed the United States government take extraordinary steps to oppose the newly formed International Criminal Court, which has the support of nearly all major US allies.

We witnessed the world spend nearly a trillion dollars on war and preparations for war, including the United States spending more than $1.1 billion per day on its military, while more than a billion people lived in utter poverty on less than $1 per day.

But despite the wars and preparations for war, the breakdown of international law and the global inequities, we witnessed a resurgence of hope that ultimately people power can and will prevail over imperialism; that peace can and will prevail over the obscene spectacle of war and its preparations; and that human security and dignity can and will prevail over the current state of global inequities. In 2004, there will again be an opportunity for the people of the world to unite in support of peace, international law and the rights of children and people everywhere to have their basic needs fulfilled and to live with dignity.

David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Nuclear Age Peace Foundation PMB 121, 1187 Coast Village Road, Suite 1 Santa Barbara, CA 93108-2794; www.wagingpeace.org .

North Korea SlamsUS Over Nuclear Research Spending

December 30th, 2003 - by admin

by Reuters –

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/international/international-korea-north-research.html http://snipurl.com/3i64

SEOUL (December 20, 2003) — North Korea condemned a US decision to step up nuclear weapons research as a grave challenge to world peace and said such moves only compelled the communist state to strengthen deterrent forces to cope with any attack.

The North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper said on Saturday that President Bush’s administration had decided to spend $401.3 billion on national defense in 2004, of which $15 million was allocated for developing smaller nuclear weapons.

”The Bush administration adopted it as its policy to mount preemptive nuclear attacks on certain countries after coming to power,” the ruling party newspaper said in a commentary, which was carried by the

North’s official KCNA news agency. “It is no secret that it designated the DPRK and six other countries as targets of its preemptive nuclear attacks,” it added, using the initials of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, communist North Korea’s official name.

”The US imperialists’ moves to develop smaller nukes only compel the DPRK to beef up its deterrent force to cope with the nuclear attacks of the U.S,” it said, denouncing the move as “a grave challenge to the human cause of peace.” KCNA did not say which other six countries had been selected as targets, but it quoted Rodong Sinmun as adding:

”No one is entitled to fault the DPRK as it is a legitimate right for it to maintain and strengthen a nuclear deterrent force as a means for self-defense to cope with the US policy to stifle the DPRK with nukes.”

Chinese and US officials met in Beijing on Friday to discuss a second round of six-way talks to curtail North Korea’s nuclear arms program. The timing of the talks, which will follow an inconclusive first round in August, remains uncertain.

Washington’s Plan to Carve Up Iraq

December 30th, 2003 - by admin

by Michel Collon / Centre for Research on Globalisation –

http://globalresearch.ca/articles/COL312A.html

CANADA (December 23, 2003) — They have found the solution! Divide Iraq into three mini-states and then pit them against one another. Does that remind you of something else? Oh, yes! It’s not the first time something like this happened….

The New York Times published an editorial on November 25, 2003 carrying Leslie Gelb’s by-line. He’s an influential man who, until recently, presided over the very important Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank that brings together the CIA, the secretary of state and big shots from US multinational corporations.

Gelb’s plan? Replace Iraq with three mini-states:

“Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” The objective? “To put most of its money and troops where they would do the most good quickly — with the Kurds and Shiites. The United States could extricate most of its forces from the so-called Sunni Triangle, north and west of Baghdad…. American officials could then wait for the troublesome and domineering Sunnis, without oil or oil revenues, to moderate their ambitions or suffer the consequences.”

In short, starve the central state around Baghdad because the Sunnis have always spearheaded the resistance to US imperialism.

Plan to Divide Iraq at least 20 Years Old
We denounced this CIA plan, which has been around for some time now, albeit discreetly, in an article that appeared in September 2002. But, to divide Iraq has, in fact, been an old Israeli dream. In 1982, Oded Yinon, an official from the Israeli Foreign Affairs office, wrote: “To dissolve Iraq is even more important for us than dissolving Syria. In the short term, it’s Iraqi power that constitutes the greatest threat to Israel.

The Iran-Iraq war tore Iraq apart and provoked its downfall. All manner of inter-Arab conflict help us and accelerate our goal of breaking up Iraq into small, diverse pieces.”

Will you take some ethnic cleansing again?

Would Plan Risk Provoking a Civil War?
So, Gelb wants to break up Iraq while transforming the north (Kurdish majority) and the south (Shiite majority) into “self-governing regions, with boundaries drawn as closely as possible along ethnic lines.”

But didn’t this method provoke a civil war and a bloodbath in Yugoslavia? Because all the diverse regions in that country contained significant minorities, and partition was impossible without the forced transfer of populations. That is why Berlin, and then Washington, discreetly financed and armed racist extremists, who were nostalgic for World War II. This made civil war almost inevitable because the IMF and the World Bank had plunged Yugoslavia into bankruptcy to make it submit to triumphant neo-liberalism after the fall of the Berlin Wall. All of this was carefully concealed from the public.

Just as they are now concealing from the public the fact that all of the peoples of the former Yugoslavia have been plunged into misery and unemployment, which is worse now than it has ever been. Meanwhile, multinational corporations have taken the upper hand in controlling the country’s wealth.

Iraq’s Ethnic Population Are Currently Intermingled
In Iraq too, the three large populations do not reside “each in their own region,” but are, for the most part, intermingled. Furthermore, Gelb knows very well that to start up this strategy in Iraq once again would, in all likelihood, provoke serious “ethnic” conflicts, even maybe a civil war. He cynically announces that the state in the center of Iraq “might punish the substantial minorities left in the center, particularly the large Kurdish and Shiite populations in Baghdad.

These minorities must have the time and the wherewithal to organize and make their deals, or go either north or south.” In this way, millions of people would be forced to leave the regions where they have always lived, but Gelb doesn’t find this inconvenient if it permits the US to secure colonial domination.

Doesn’t the Yugoslav precedent serve as enough warning? The truth is that, for Gelb, the civil war in Yugoslavia was a great success for the U.S. because it permitted the breakup of a country that resisted multinationals.

Again the Theory of “Ethnically Pure States”!

In effect, Gelb openly refers to “a hopeful precedent … Yugoslavia.” Curious, indeed! Weren’t we told that the United States intervened there in order to prevent “ethnic cleansing”? Not at all, he admits : “ethnically pure” states are alright when they serve Washington’s plans.

‘Ethnically Pure States’
While extolling “ethnically pure states” (Gelb also speaks of “natural states”!), he criticizes Tito for having regrouped in a united Yugoslavia “highly disparate ethnic groups,” while pretending that Iraq is “an artificial state” for the same reasons; Gelb is resorting to old theories held by the extreme right.

His theory about ethnically pure states is really identical to Hitler’s: “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer” (one people, one empire, one führer). It is also a theory adopted by Zionists who dream of Israel “purified of Arabs.” In Yugoslavia, it was the theory held by Western protégés, the Croat Tudjman and the Bosnian Muslim Izetbegovic. It was also a theory held by the right-wing Serbian leader, Karadzic. It is strange to find the U.S. extolling theories that it once pretended to fight against!

The Political Utility of Ethnic Division
The truth is that the United States — just as all other colonialists — is for or against ethnically pure states according to whether or not it suits US strategic interests. The only thing that counts is to weaken resistance. Divide in order to conquer. As always.

The Britons carefully organized the division of Ireland, India and Pakistan as well as other places in the world. The influential US strategist, Zbigniew Brzezinski, wants to divide Russia into three countries in order to isolate Moscow from oil reserves.

The CIA also has its “own plans” to divide Saudi Arabia. In an era when very large economic and political entities are forming around the European Union and the United States, look at how these same Great Powers are organizing the balkanization of certain other states — states that resist them.

The guiding principle of US international policy is that there is no guiding principle. The US can pretend to fight ethnic cleansing one day and then organize it the next. And with complete arbitrariness.

In the past, the United States had obliged the Kurds to remain inside the Turkish state which was being led by fascist generals, but today, the US is preparing a Kurdish state, allegedly rooted in the principle of “self-determination” (in reality a puppet state). They are pretending to bring democracy to the world, but in these instances the US is rehabilitating fascist theories about “ethnically pure” states.

The Danger of a Theory that Is Exportable throughout the World
The danger of this false theory goes far beyond Iraq and Yugoslavia. Most of the states existing on the planet today are “multinational.” And sensible people consider themselves to be enriched by this mixing of cultures. But if one allows theories of “ethnically pure” states, the USA would have a pretext to break up any “multinational” country that resists it.

Washington, in effect, intends to trample to a greater and greater extent international law and state sovereignty. The U.S. is preparing to do throughout the world what it had begun in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, which, unfortunately, a majority of Western leftists allowed them to do for the worst reasons.

Stop! It is time to assess the disastrous alliance of this Left with the United States in the Yugoslav and Afghan affaires. If anyone wants to resist global war, that is to say the recolonization of the world, it is time to come to the defense of the sovereignty of Third World countries, a principle that is embodied in the UN Charter. This change for the better took place in 1945 and the USA is intent on dismantling it.

Support the Resistance
The essence of Gelb’s plan is to plunge Iraq into a long civil war in order to rescue the U.S. colonial occupation and to be able to continue stealing oil. The US will attempt to divide the resistance — which can be found in all of the various populations — by punishing those who would continue to live together and by hypocritically organizing “ethnic cleansing.” The US plan is to divide Iraq by blackmail, while defaming the Sunnis, who have long been at the forefront of resistance to imperialism.

Will Washington implement Gelb’s plan? What will prevent them from doing so? The fear that an Iraqi Shiite state would join Iran, the most powerful “hostile” army in the Middle East. And the fear that an Iraqi Kurdish state would become a lightning rod for Kurds who want to secede from Turkey, a respected strategic ally that lies on the crossroads of the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East. But if Iraqi resistance continues to grow and unite its diverse currents, including Shiites, then Washington risks missing its chance to implement its plan to break up the country.

Remember Yugoslavia
The Yugoslav precedent must serve as a solemn warning! Plunging other countries into the same drama is out of the question! In view of the fact that Bush has unleashed new dangers throughout the entire world, and in view of the fact that he is resorting to fascist theories more and more frequently, the only possible answer is to build up a united world front against the policies of the United States and to support the resistance everywhere — and first and foremost, the remarkable Iraqi resistance (the mainstream media have often characterized them as “terrorists”).

The Iraqi resistance is preventing Bush from attacking Iran, Syria, North Korea and Cuba in stride. It shows once again that the United States has never been invincible. Bush is becoming the world’s laughingstock. “Paper tiger” is the classic expression. In this way, the Iraqi resistance offsets the discouragement and the pessimism that had begun to spread in Iraq after the “liberation of Baghdad.” The war is not over; it’s only just beginning. Support the resistance, because we are supporting ourselves.

Translated by Milo Yelesiyevich. Also available in French and Spanish michel.collon@skynet.be. For Fair Use reposting under USC Title 17.


In Order to Understand Iraq

• 23 million inhabitants, divided into 3 large groups (no official census and the USA destroyed state and civil registries).

• Shiites: 55 – 60%. Mostly in the south.

• Sunnis: 20 – 25%. Mostly in the center (between Mosul and Baghdad).

• Kurds: 20%. Mostly in the north (significant Kurdish minorities also live in Turkey, Iran, Syria, Russia). The majority of them are Sunni.

• Minorities (5%): 200,000 to 300,000 Turkmen, Assyrians-Chaldeans (Christians), Yezidis, 2.000 Jews….
• But no region is ethnically “pure”:

• At least one million Kurds live outside of Kurdistan (mostly in Baghdad, but also in the south, in Basrah).

• At least one million Shiites live in Baghdad.

• Some Sunnis live in the south.

• Some Arabs live in Kurdistan.

For this reason, dividing up Iraq is impossible without risking a civil war and ethnic cleansing. Especially so in a climate where the US has done everything it could over the past twenty years to stir up conflicts while provoking (i.e., financing) certain minority leaders so that they will favor a breakup. This is exactly how they did things in Yugoslavia.

In short, if the USA is permitted to divide up Iraq, important “minorities” risk being targets throughout the country. Then, Bush is going to say that he is obliged to keep his troops there to “protect” these minorities.

Exactly as in Kosovo, where the U.S. has installed a military base with a landing strip that can accomodate bombers (sic !), after having systematically fanned the flames of the conflict behind the scenes. Today, the USA in Kosovo is protecting KLA criminals and the mafia which practices ethnic cleansing. (see Test-medias, Kosovo questions 2, 5, 7 in our report “Autopsy of Yugoslavia”).

In order to Understand Yugoslavia

• 21 million inhabitants, divided into 6 republics. According to the official census of 1991: Slovenia (1.9 million), Croatia (4.7), Serbia (9.7), Macedonia (2.0), Montenegro (0.6), Bosnia (4.3).

• No region was ethnically “pure”: substantial minorities resided throughout the country which rendered the country indivisible.

• In Croatia: Serbs (12%).

• In Macedonia: Albanians (21%), Turks (5%), Roma (2%), Serbs (2%).

• In Bosnia: Muslims (43%), Serbs (31%), Croats (17%), Others (7%). All of these groups were mixed together throughout the region.

EDITORS NOTE: In Iraq, Civil Registries were also destroyed by occupation forces. SEE: Destroying Iraq’s Public Records by Saad Kiryakos
http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/KIR307A.html

Despite the warnings of numerous experts and Western leaders in 1991, Germany, and then the United States, forced the division of the country at the price of a terrible civil war and the forcible displacement of populations of all minorities.

Here also, Berlin and Washington have supported, financed and armed – secretly – separatist leaders and extremists. All this has been carefully hidden from the public.

BIBLIO: Maps showing the “indivisible” nature of Yugoslavia and Bosnia, in particular. Michel Collon, Liar’s Poker: The Great Powers, Yugoslavia and the Wars of the Future, IAC, New York 2001, P. 11 & 13.

The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) at www.globalresearch.ca grants permission to cross-post original CRG articles in their entirety, or any portions thereof, on community internet sites, as long as the text and title of the article are not modified. The source must be acknowledged as follows: Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) at www.globalresearch.ca .

© Copyright 2003 For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement.

Uganda’s Rebel Army — Terror in the Name of the Lord

December 30th, 2003 - by admin

by Andrew Harding / BBC –

The Tyranny of The Lord’s Resistance Army

UGANDA (December 24, 2003) — I was planning to write something upbeat about Africa for a change, something full of Christmas cheer. Unfortunately, I’m sitting in a hotel in a place called Lira in Northern Uganda, and there’s nothing much to smile about here.

It’s almost seven in the evening, and there’s a spectacular rainstorm going on outside. When I pulled back the curtains a minute ago, there were five small, soaking children walking past in the gloom.

They, and thousands more like them, come in every night from the villages outside Lira. They find any inch of shelter they can, usually in front of the shops on the main street and camp out for the night. A carpet of damp, coughing children.

Fear Drives Children to Hide in the Cities
They come here to escape what may well be the purest form of terrorism on earth. It’s called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a group of brainwashed killers who specialise in abducting children and butchering anyone else they run into. Terror for terror’s sake.

The LRA have been in business now for 17 years. Their crazed ranting leader, Joseph Kony, doesn’t seem to have any real political agenda. He’s more like a biblical plague which has now forced almost a million and a half Ugandans to abandon their homes. Joseph Kony ironically proclaims Uganda should be ruled by the Ten Commandments

Right now, 25-year-old Esther is sitting on a veranda down the street, trying to keep her five children warm. The family has been coming in every night for a month since the LRA hacked her husband to death and seized a dozen children from her village.

Esther’s got a three-week-old baby. He was born on the street. She hasn’t got round to naming him yet, but he’s coughing like everyone else.

I could go on and tell you about people like Rose, an 18-year-old I met this afternoon who was abducted by the LRA and forced to machete a man before she managed to escape.

Or Angelous Aweng, a tall, earnest town councillor whose two daughters are missing. He’s got so fed up with the army’s failure to beat the rebels that he’s just signed up to a local vigilante group.

Progress Is the other Underreported Story
But this wasn’t supposed to be another African despair story. I was planning to talk about all the things that have actually gone right on the continent this year.

• The wars that seem to be ending in Sudan, Congo and Burundi.

• The fact that Aids drugs are getting cheaper.

• That there was no famine in Ethiopia and that Kenya has finally got round to sacking half its judges for being so outrageously corrupt.

There is plenty of good news around, but in Africa the bad news is always so obscenely bad that it’s hard to keep a sense of proportion. You can’t play the glass “half full” or “half empty” game when you’re sitting in a place like Lira.

Hasan Rotansi: Local Hero
A few days ago back home in Nairobi, I went to a funeral. It was for an 82-year-old Kenyan businessman, called Hasan Rotansi. He’s the sort of man you don’t read about much in Africa.

He doesn’t fit in to the usual Western media diet of disasters and emergency appeals. For the past half century, Mr Rotansi has been quietly rescuing Kenyans from poverty by funding them through university.

The average Kenyan earns $350 a year according to a recent estimate. Rotansi’s educational trust has given bursaries and scholarships to thousands of needy students, making all the difference between a drop-out and a doctor. And he’s done all this without once inviting the cameras in to show him handing over a cheque or asking Western donors to buy him a 4×4 jeep.

In his newspaper obituary, he was described as a selfless icon of virtue, a man Africa’s famously corrupt elites would do well to emulate, and someone to bear in mind when you hear this continent written-off as a basket case, utterly dependent on outside help.

Well, the rainstorm seems to be getting worse here and it’s pitch black outside now. Here in my hotel, I can get satellite television, email and an international mobile phone network. Outside, Esther and her children are probably trying to sleep.

Six small, damp shapes on the crowded veranda.

Was the Bush Administration Complicit in 9/11?

December 30th, 2003 - by admin

by Book Review of “The New Pearl Harbor” – Dr. Rosemary Radford Ruether

Until recently I dismissed the suggestions that the Bush administration might have been complicit in allowing 9/11 to happen as groundless “conspiracy theory.” I regarded the federal investigative bureaucracies as suffering from a “lock the barn door after the horse has escaped” syndrome. American government agencies seemed to me to be full of repressive energy and exaggerated overreach after some atrocity had occurred, but remarkably incompetent when it came to preventing something in advance.

There is no question that the Bush administration has profited greatly from the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but I did not imagine that they could have actually known they were being planned and deliberately allowed them to happen.

Thus it was with some skepticism that I agreed to read the new book written by David Ray Griffin, a process theologian from the Claremont School of Theology (Claremont, California), that argues the case for just such complicity. This book, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11, is due for release in January, 2004.

Griffin admits that he too was skeptical toward such suggestions until he began to actually read the evidence that has been accumulated by a number of researchers, both in the United States and Europe. As he became increasingly convinced that there was a case for complicity, he planned to write an article, but this quickly grew into a book.

The PNAC Proposed a ‘New Pearl Harbor’ in 2000
The first startling piece of evidence that Griffin puts forward is establishing the motive among leaders in the Bush administration for allowing such an attack. Already in 2000 the right-wing authors of the “Project for the New American Century: Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” opined that the military expansion they desired would be difficult unless a “new Pearl Harbor” occurred.

They had outlined plans for a major imperial expansion of American power that included a greatly increased military budget and invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, primarily to secure oil supplies, but also to control the region generally. But they believed that the American people would not have the will for such actions without some devastating attack from outside that would galvanize them through fear and anger to support it. In short, they had already envisioned facilitating a major attack on the United States in order to gain the public support for their policy goals.

Mounting Evidence that Bush Had Foreknowledge of 9-11 Attack Plans
Griffin then shows the considerable evidence that the Bush administration knew in advance that such an attack was being planned, despite claims by the administration that such an attack was completely unanticipated.

As early as 1995 the Philippine police conveyed to the US information found on an Al-Queda computer that detailed “Project Bojinka” that envisioned hyjacking planes and flying them into targets, such as the World Trade Center, the White House and the Pentagon.

By July of 2001 the CIA and the FBI had intercepted considerable information that such an attack was planned for the Fall. Leaders of several different countries, including the Taliban in Afghanistan, as well as leaders of Russia, Britain, Jordan, Egypt and Israel, conveyed information to the United States that such an attack was being planned.

It appears not only that all these warnings were disregarded, but that investigations into them were obstructed.

Why Were US Standard Defense Policies Deactivated on 9-11?
The actual events of September 11 leave many puzzling questions. Standard procedures for intervention when a plane goes off course were not followed in the case of all four airplanes. Within ten minutes of evidence that a plane has been hyjacked standard procedures call for fighter jets to intervene and demand that the plane follow it to an airport. If the plane fails to obey, it should be shot down. There was time for this to happen before the plane was over New York City in the case of the first jet and more than ample time in the case of the second.

Moreover when the order was finally given to intervene, it was not to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, seventy miles from New York City, but from Otis Air National Guard in Cape Cod.

Griffin also examines unexplained issues about the other two planes. Eye witnesses and on-site evidence suggests that a missile or guided fighter aircraft, not a large commercial plane, crashed into the Pentagon. Moreover the part of the Pentagon that was hit was not where high ranking generals were working, but an area under repair with few military officials.

Flight #93 was the only plane shot down, although only after it appeared passengers were on the verge of taking control. Griffin also examines the conduct of President Bush on that day, giving considerable evidence that he knew of the first crash immediately after it happened, but delayed his response for some half a hour, nonchalantly continuing with a photo op with elementary school children.

These are only a few details of the myriad data that Griffin assembles to show that, not only did the Bush administration have detailed information that such attacks were going to occur on September 11 and failed to carry through protective responses in advance, but that they also obstructed the standard procedures to intervene in these events on the actual day it happened.

Bush Continues to Obstruct In-depth Investigations into the 9-11Attacks
Griffin concludes the book with some considerable evidence of the way the Bush Administration has obstructed any independent investigation of 9/11 since it occurred, both withholding key documents and insisting that the official investigation, when it was set up, limit itself to recommendations about how to avoid such an event in the future, and not focus on how it actually was able to happen.

Griffin writes in a precise and careful fashion, avoiding inflammatory rhetoric. He argues for a high probability for the Bush Administration’s complicity in allowing and facilitating the attacks, based not on any one conclusive piece of evidence, but the sheer accumulation of all of the data. He concludes by calling for a genuinely independent investigative effort that would examine all this evidence. He himself plans to send the book to the Kean Commission presently charged with that task, even though he has doubts about its real independence.

I personally found Griffin’s book both convincing and chilling. If the complicity of the Bush Administration to which he points is true, then Americans have a far greater problem on their hands than even the more ardent anti-war critics have imagined. If the administration would do this, what else would they do to maintain and expand their power?

Dr. Rosemary Radford Ruether has been a pioneer Christian feminist theologian for over three decades and is among the most widely read theologians in the world. Her book, Sexism and God-Talk, a classic in the field of theology, remains the only systematic feminist treatment of the Christian symbols to date. With wide-ranging scholarship, Dr. Ruether has written and edited more than 30 books and hundreds of articles and reviews.

The Strange Inflation of Iraq’s Reconstruction Costs

December 30th, 2003 - by admin

by Patrick Martin / World Socialist Web Site –

(October 11, 2003) — Basic reconstruction in Iraq next year would cost less than half the amount requested by the Bush administration from the US Congress, according to a joint report prepared by the United Nations and World Bank. The report estimates that $9 billion are needed for reconstruction in Iraq in 2004. The report was released the same day that an $18.6 billion reconstruction budget was approved by the House Appropriations Committee.

The report provides breakdowns of costs for restoring essential services that bear out this estimate. For example, while the Bush administration has demanded $5.7 billion for rebuilding the country’s electricity system, the UN-World Bank report puts the price tag at $2.38 billion. Similarly, for rebuilding the water and sanitation infrastructure, the administration has asked for $3.77 billion, while the joint report estimates that less than $1.9 billion is needed.

The introduction to the UN-World Bank report makes clear the contradiction underlying any reconstruction plan: the continued US occupation and the growing resistance struggle against it make any genuine rebuilding and social progress impossible. “When work on the assessment commenced, a main underlying assumption was that there would be a stable security environment,” the document says. “This clearly is not the case at the time this Needs Assessment is being finalized.”

The report was released in advance of a “donors conference” scheduled to take place in Madrid October 23-24. The Bush administration has estimated that $55 billion will be needed for Iraqi reconstruction between 2004 and 2007. In addition to the $20 billion that it is seeking from Congress, it has called upon other nations to come up with $35 billion.

UN officials involved in organizing the conference, however, project that as little as $1 billion may actually be forthcoming. The right-wing Spanish government of Prime Minister Jose Aznar, which is hosting the gathering, is reportedly considering a postponement in order to spare its American ally the embarrassment.

The UN/World Bank report comes in the wake of the virtual collapse of the Bush administration’s attempt to line up support in the United Nations for a new Security Council resolution on Iraq, which would provide a political cover for governments willing to contribute troops to the US-British occupation force.

With major powers like France, Germany, Russia and China showing little enthusiasm for the proposal-and few countries willing to contribute significant forces, with or without a resolution-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan made a series of unusually blunt public statements opposing a subordinate UN role in a US-controlled Iraq and torpedoing the US plan.

UN and US Differ on Costs of Reconstruction
The UN/World Bank report may thus be viewed in Washington as a further act of sabotage by Annan and its opponents in Europe and Asia. That belief was evident from the reaction by the Bush administration after the Financial Times, the leading British business newspaper, published a prominent article on the report Friday. The White House immediately disputed comparisons between the UN figures and its own Iraq budget, saying the US cost estimate was for an 18-month period while the UN’s was for 12 months. However, the White House sent the request to Congress for Fiscal Year 2004, which runs for 12 months, from October 1, 2003 to September 30, 2004.

This is not the first time the Bush administration’s estimate for the cost of rebuilding Iraq’s war and blockade-devastated infrastructure has been challenged. The Iraqi Governing Council, the 25-member body appointed by US administrator Paul Bremer, has called into question many of Bremer’s own budget projections. The council has charged Bremer with using higher-priced foreign contractors, mainly American, to do jobs that Iraqi businessmen could perform much more cheaply.

Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of the council, told the New York Times, “There is no transparency, and something has to be done about it. There is mismanagement right and left… A lot of American money is being wasted, I think. We are victims and the American taxpayers are victims.”

It goes without saying that Bremer and the Bush administration are not lavishing these unaccounted-for billions on the Iraqi people. What underlies the UN/World Bank report and the complaints of the Iraqi Governing Council is the dirty secret of the Bush administration’s request for rebuilding Iraq: the funds being appropriated by Congress will go primarily not to Iraqis, but to large American corporations, especially those, like Bechtel and Halliburton, with the highest-level connections to the Republican Party and the Bush administration.

$66 Billion in ‘Military Spending’ would Go to Corporate Cronies, not Troops
This is the case, not merely for the $20.3 billion in “reconstruction” funds, on which press and congressional attention has largely focused, but for the entire $87 billion package Bush announced last month. While the bulk of these funds, $66 billion, is earmarked as military spending, almost none of it will go into the pockets of American soldiers or their families. The soldiers’ pay is part of the regular Pentagon budget, not the new package, and they receive only a small supplement for service in a combat zone.

What is listed as military spending would be better described as a huge slush fund for the American corporations that supply food and fuel and munitions, build barracks and other facilities, and conduct many other logistical operations in Iraq. Over the past decade, most such functions have been privatized, with only the actual shooting and killing reserved to military personnel.

Combined with the initial $79 billion cost of the invasion and conquest of Iraq, the latest administration request brings the total current spending on the Iraq war to $166 billion, the vast majority of it ending in the coffers of giant US companies. These corporations reap guaranteed profits in contracts which typically provide full reimbursement of costs plus a 7 percent profit: the more the companies charge the Pentagon, the more profit they make.

War profiteering is not the only reason for the US conquest of Iraq, but it is an enormously powerful factor in the decisions of the Bush administration, which includes an inordinate number of former CEOs among its key personnel.

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Copyright 1998-2003. World Socialist Web Site. All rights reserved. Reposted under the Fair Use provisions of USC Title 17.

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