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Rise of Extremism, Islamic Law Threaten Iraqi Women

March 31st, 2005 - by admin

Chris Shumway / The New Standard – 2005-03-31 23:09:21

http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/1600

(March 30, 2005) — The recent murders of several Iraqi women who had been active in human rights work, government service and business, combined with the ongoing economic crisis under US military occupation and the possible introduction of fundamentalist Islamic law into the country’s new constitution, suggest that conditions for women in Iraq continue to decay.

Iraqi women in prominent positions, as well as activists and those who do not abide by strict Islamic behavioral and dress codes, have increasingly become the targets of violence from Islamic extremists, street gangs and elements within the anti-occupation insurgency.

On a highway near Baghdad recently, the body of pharmacist and women’s rights activist Zeena Al-Qushtaini turned up ten days after assailants had abducted her at gunpoint from her pharmacy. Al-Qushtaini had two bullet holes close to her eyes and was reportedly clothed in a traditional Islamic abaya, a garment quite different from the Western clothes she was known for wearing, Reuters reported. Pinned to the abaya was a message that read, “She was a collaborator against Islam,” family members relayed.

Other stories of extreme violence against women are becoming more common. IRIN, the United Nations humanitarian news service, reports that decapitated female corpses have turned up recently, many accompanied by notes similar to the one attached to Al-Qushtaini.

In Mosul, Islamic militants have killed twenty women, most of them professionals and students, the London Times reports.

And in Basra recently, dozens of armed men attacked college students enjoying a spring picnic, the Times also reports. The students’ crimes: co-ed socializing and playing secular music. Students who escaped the scene say the attackers were members of Shi’ite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Mehdi militia, which fought US troops last year during prolonged battles in Karbala and Najaf.

“We beat them because we are authorized by [God] to do so, and that is our duty,” Sheik Ahmed Al-Basri, an Al-Sadr loyalist, reportedly said after the incident.

Fundamentalists Targeting Activists and Humanitarian Workers
In addition to activists, professionals and students, fundamentalists have also targeted women working for humanitarian agencies.

“I just want to do my work. It’s a humanitarian field. I should talk according to what we have seen,” Firdous Al-Abadi, a representative from the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, told IRIN. During the massive US-led assault on Fallujah last fall, she reported that civilians were trapped in the city without water, electricity or sufficient food. She desperately called on US-led forces to let humanitarian workers enter the city with supplies. Al-Abadi told IRIN that insurgents accused her of talking too much in public.

Several women in Baghdad who spoke to the Chicago Tribune say they feel under siege in their own neighborhoods, which have been overrun by criminal gangs and insurgents.

The London Times reports that walls in Latifya, a city south of Baghdad, are covered with leaflets warning women and girls not to go out in public without covering their head and face. Violators will be punished by death, the signs warn. As a result, many women who never wore traditional Islamic clothing are putting on the hijab and the abaya before leaving their homes.

“There are armed men everywhere,” Yanar Mohammed, a women’s rights activist, told the Tribune. “If you go without the protection of the scarf, they can stop you and you may get assaulted.” Mohammed also said women face “pressure from husbands and fathers” to comply with the wishes of armed fundamentalists. “Being good and chaste means you put a veil on. They tell you it’s voluntary, but how can it be voluntary when there’s that much pressure on you?” Mohammed asked.

Fashion Becomes Defiance
Some secular women say they will continue to wear Western-style clothing in defiance of the fundamentalists, while others opt to play it safe, though often not without expressing anger at the US for initiating the series of events that they believe has driven the rise of fundamentalism. “If George Bush thinks this is liberation, then he should make his own wife and daughters wear hijab,” Hanan Azzawi, a Baghdad hairstylist, told the Tribune.

Acts of violence and intimidation have caused many Iraqi women to withdraw from public life, according to a February report by Amnesty International (AI). Titled “Iraq: Decades of Suffering, Now Women Deserve Better,” the AI report concluded that, on the whole, conditions for women were no better under Iraq’s US-installed interim government than they were under Saddam Hussein.

Women Brutalized by US Troops
In addition to citing numerous cases of violence at the hands of anti-occupation rebel factions, AI noted that Iraqi women have suffered torture and abuse at the hands of US forces. Huda Hafez Amad, reportedly one of the last women detainees released from Abu Ghraib prison, testified that she was hit in the face by US interrogators who made her stand for twelve hours with her face against a wall.

Other female detainees were subjected to sexual abuse at Abu Ghraib, and a male Military Police guard raped at least one, according to a report issued in 2004 by Major General Antonio Taguba. US-led forces have also illegally detained Iraqi women and held them as “bargaining chips” in efforts to convince male relatives to turn themselves in or admit involvement in the resistance activities.

Beyond immediate violence, many Iraqi women fear that the rise of Islamic fundamentalism will result in the imposition of Islamic law, or Sharia, which could take the place of Iraq’s long-standing Personal Status Law, a secular civil code instituted in 1958 and maintained through the Saddam Hussein years. The Personal Status Law is considered highly progressive in comparison with the social decrees of most other Middle Eastern countries.

Although Sharia varies in its interpretation and implementation in countries where it has been adopted, it typically gives male-run religious courts jurisdiction over important social matters such as divorce, marriage, inheritance, dress code and domestic violence.

The Return of Resolution 137?
Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, the Shi’ite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance’s candidate for Prime Minister and a member of the Islamic Dawa party, told Germany’s Der Spiegel last week that his government would introduce Sharia as “one of several sources of jurisprudence.” Al-Jaafari promised that Iraq’s brand of Islamic law would not mirror Iran’s or Saudi Arabia’s, saying that women will “be free to choose for themselves” whether they will wear veils.

Activist Yanar Mohammed is skeptical of such pledges. “Ibrahim Al-Jaafari is well-decorated to look like a Western man, but he has this 100 percent Islamic agenda, and women will be inferior if he takes over,” she told the Chicago Tribune.

Mohammed’s group, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), rejected the results of January’s elections, arguing that the new parliament “only represents the Islamic and ethic parties” instead of the “masses in Iraq.” OWFI calls for a constitution that separates church and state as well as laws that “treat all residents of Iraq equally.”

Plans to introduce Sharia might face derailment efforts by secular Kurds who have the second strongest bloc in parliament and have generally resisted the imposition of religious law. Still, many Iraqi women fear that as negotiations to form a new government and draft a constitution drag on, women’s rights will be sacrificed as part of a compromise among the major players. In exchange for more regional autonomy, some fear that Kurdish delegates will allow the imposition of Islamic law on critical family issues.

Such a compromise has already been struck once. In late 2003, the US-installed Iraqi Governing Council, consisting of leading Shi’ites and Sunni Arabs, Kurds and secular Iraqis, passed a resolution that would have overturned the Personal Status Law in favor of religious law. That body withdrew Resolution 137, as it was known, after a massive outcry from Iraqi women’s groups.

But with more and more women fearing attacks by insurgents, and with others reluctant to venture outdoors — let alone participate in public affairs — some worry that the struggle for women’s rights will become far more difficult in coming months. “I’m expecting the worst, which is bringing back the 137 decree,” Basma Fakri, president of the Women’s Alliance for a Democratic Iraq, told Reuters. But Fakri also urged women to put up a fight, advising them to “join forces with other members of the assembly to fight for women’s rights.”

Suzan Sarkon, a Baghdad resident, was even less hopeful, telling the Chicago Tribune she thinks Sharia is inevitable. “I’m sure they will form an Islamic government and our freedom will be gone,” she said. “We’ve never lived freely in Iraq, and now I think we never will.”

© 2005 The NewStandard.
Posted in accordance with Title 17 USCode, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Stop Funding for New Nuclear Weapons!

March 31st, 2005 - by admin

Friends Committee on National Legislation – 2005-03-31 23:02:06

http://www.fcnl.org/nuclear/index.htm

Legislative Action Message

The Bush administration this year is reviving its proposal for a new generation of “usable” nuclear weapons, often described as “bunker busters.” Your actions and the efforts of thousands of others helped support efforts by Rep. David Hobson (OH) to eliminate funding for these weapons in 2004. Now we need to mobilize again to slam the door shut on these new nuclear weapons before the administration proposal gains momentum.

Background
In 2004, FCNL asked for your help in urging Congress to oppose new nuclear weapons. Your actions, and the leadership of Rep. David Hobson, resulted in Congress eliminating the money for new nuclear weapons in the final appropriations bill.

The Bush administration has renewed its effort to develop a “bunker busting” nuclear bomb that would penetrate the ground before exploding in order to destroy underground targets. The Energy Department budget request includes $4 million to develop this new nuclear bomb, also known as the “Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator.” Read FCNL’s fact sheet on these weapons at http://www.fcnl.org/issues/item.php?item_id=801&issue_id=48.

The administration is also asking for $4.5 million in the Air Force budget for non-nuclear tests that would evaluate the bunker buster’s ability to penetrate into the earth before exploding.

While the amount requested is small relative to the overall military budget, spending any funds on the bunker buster keeps alive a program that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars once it moves from research to production. In addition to the cost to the taxpayer, the program undermines US efforts to convince other countries not to develop nuclear weapons.

The administration is also asking for $9 million for a second nuclear weapons program: the “Reliable Replacement Warhead.” This program, if continued beyond the planning stage, would also result in hundreds of millions of dollars being spent to replace current warheads and could lead to the resumption of nuclear testing.

Act Now!
Contact your representatives today. Urge them to call for the elimination of all funding for the bunker buster weapons from the defense authorization bill and the energy and water appropriations bill that Congress is now drafting.

Also, thank Congress for eliminating funding for the bunker buster weapons last year. Tell your representatives that new nuclear weapons will not make the world more secure.

Developing new nuclear weapons sends a message to the rest of the world that nuclear weapons are usable. This undermines US security.

Contacting your members of Congress is easy. You can email or fax your member of Congress for free by going to FCNL’s website at http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=7330336&type=CO. Once there, you will also find talking points to help you write your letter. It is best to put your message in your own words, since congressional staff often ignore “form letters.”

Because this issue is so urgent, please pass this message on to your family and friends!

Your efforts and the efforts of thousands of others to successfully eliminate funds for the bunker buster in 2004 shows that the public does not support these weapons. Now we need to mobilize again to slam the door shut on new nuclear weapons.

RESOURCES
• Join the campaign to Stop New Nuclear Weapons, http://www.fcnl.org/nuclear/index.htm

• Contact Congress and the Administration: http://capwiz.com/fconl/dbq/officials/.

• Order FCNL publications and “War is Not the Answer” campaign bumper stickers and yard signs:
http://www.fcnl.org/newinfo/special_pub.htm
http://www.fcnl.org/iraq-war.htm

• Subscribe to other FCNL legislative, policy, and action alert lists:
http://www.fcnl.org/listserv/quaker_issues.php.

Friends Committee on National Legislation, 245 Second St. NE, Washington, DC 20002-5795
fcnl@fcnl.org * http://www.fcnl.org/
phone: (202)547-6000 * toll-free: (800)630-1330

Cultural Barbarism: Halliburton Destroys Babylon

March 31st, 2005 - by admin

Katrina vanden Heuvel / The Nation – 2005-03-31 08:05:59

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0324-28.htm

(March 24, 2005) — The sterile term “collateral damage” justifiably brings to mind the human tragedy of war. But the devastating and wanton damage inflicted on the ancient city of Babylon by US-led military forces gives another meaning to the term. I

n this case, we are witnessing violence against one of the world’s greatest cultural treasures.

Babylon’s destruction, according to The Guardian, “must rank as one of the most reckless acts of cultural vandalism in recent memory.” When Camp Babylon was established by US-led international forces in April 2003, leading archeologists and international experts on ancient civilizations warned of potential peril and damage. It was “tantamount to establishing a military camp around the Great Pyramid in Egypt or around Stonehenge in Britain,” according to a damning report issued in January by the British Museum.

The report, drafted by Dr. John Curtis–one of the world’s leading archeologists — documents that the military base, built and overseen by Kellog, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, jeopardized what is often referred to as the “mother of all archeological sites.”

Helicopter landing places and parking lots for heavy vehicles caused substantial damage to the Ishtar Gate, one of the most famous monuments from antiquity. US military vehicles crushed 2,600-year-old brick pavement, archeological fragments were scattered across the site, trenches were driven into ancient deposits and military earth-moving projects contaminated the site for future generations of scientists.

As several eminent archeologists have pointed out, while the looting of the Iraqi Museum in the first days of the war was horrifying, the destruction of ancient sites has even more dire consequences for those trying to piece together the history of civilization.

Making matters worse, the base has created a tempting target for insurgent attacks in recent months. As Yaseen Madhloom al-Rubai reports in the valuable Iraq Crisis Report (No. 117), “It was one of the seven wonders of the world, but ancient Babylon attracts more insurgents than tourists these days.”

Halliburton Subsidiary Has Militarized Babylon
“Turning Babylon into a military site was a fatal mistake,” the Iraqi culture Minister told Iraq Crisis Report. “It has witnessed much destruction and many terrorist attacks since it was occupied by Coalition Forces. We cannot determine the scale of destruction now.

“As a first step, we have completely closed the sites, before calling in international experts to evaluate the damage done to the [ancient] city and the compensation the ministry should ask Coalition forces to pay. We will run a campaign to save the city.”

That campaign is finding allies among a growing network of archeologists outraged by the unnecessary destruction of an irreplaceable site. John Curtis, author of the British Museum’s Report, has called for an international investigation by archeologists chosen by the Iraqis to survey and record all the damage done.

The overall situation in Iraq is overwhelmingly a human tragedy but that does not exempt the US authorities, who set up Camp Babylon, from the consequences of what The Guardian called an act of “cultural barbarism” — carried out in their name by a subsidiary of Halliburton.

There must be a full investigation of the damage caused, and Halliburton should be made to offer whatever compensation is possible for the wanton destruction of the world’s cultural treasure.

© 2005 The Nation
Posted in accordance with Title 17 USCode, for noncommericial, educational purposes.

Study Finds World on the Brink of Disaster

March 31st, 2005 - by admin

Steve Connor / The Independent – 2005-03-31 07:58:46

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/story.jsp?story=624667

Study Finds World on the Brink of Disaster
Steve Connor / The Independent

LONDON (March 30, 2005) — Planet Earth stands on the cusp of disaster and people should no longer take it for granted that their children and grandchildren will survive in the environmentally degraded world of the 21st century. This is not the doom-laden talk of green activists but the considered opinion of 1,300 leading scientists from 95 countries who will today publish a detailed assessment of the state of the world at the start of the new millennium.

The report does not make jolly reading. The academics found that two-thirds of the delicately-balanced ecosystems they studied have suffered badly at the hands of man over the past 50 years.

The dryland regions of the world, which account for 41 per cent of the earth’s land surface, have been particularly badly damaged and yet this is where the human population has grown most rapidly during the 1990s.

Slow degradation is one thing but sudden and irreversible decline is another. The report identifies half a dozen potential “tipping points” that could abruptly change things for the worse, with little hope of recovery on a human timescale.

Even if slow and inexorable degradation does not lead to total environmental collapse, the poorest people of the world are still going to suffer the most, according to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which drew on 22 national science academies from around the world.

Walt Reid, the leader of the report’s core authors, warned that unless the international community took decisive action the future looked bleak for the next generation. “The bottom line of this assessment is that we are spending earth’s natural capital, putting such strain on the natural functions of earth that the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted,” Dr Reid said.

“At the same time, the assessment shows that the future really is in our hands. We can reverse the degradation of many ecosystem services over the next 50 years, but the changes in policy and practice required are substantial and not currently under way,” he said.

The assessment was carried out over the past three years and has been likened to the prestigious Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — set up to investigate global warming — for its expertise in the many specialisms that make up the broad church of environmental science.

In summary, the scientists concluded that the planet had been substantially “re-engineered” in the latter half of the 20th century because of the pressure placed on the earth’s natural resources by the growing demands of a larger human population.

“Over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than at any time in human history, largely to meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber and fibre,” the reports says.

The full costs of this are only now becoming apparent. Some 15 of the 24 ecosystems vital for life on earth have been seriously degraded or used unsustainably — an ecosystem being defined as a dynamic complex of plants, animals and micro-organisms that form a functional unit with the non-living environment in which the coexist.

Degradation of Ecosystems Is Widespread and Unprecedented
The scale of the changes seen in the past few decades has been unprecedented. Nearly one-third of the land surface is now cultivated, with more land being converted into cropland since 1945 than in the whole of the 18th and 19th centuries combined.

The amount of water withdrawn from rivers and lakes for industry and agriculture has doubled since 1960 and there is now between three and six times as much water held in man-made reservoirs as there is flowing naturally in rivers.

Meanwhile, the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that has been released into the environment as a result of using farm fertilizers has doubled in the same period . More than half of all the synthetic nitrogen fertilizer ever used on the planet has been used since 1985.

This sudden and unprecedented release of free nitrogen and phosphorus — important mineral nutrients for plant growth — has triggered massive blooms of algae in the freshwater and marine environments. This is identified as a potential “tipping point” that can suddenly destroy entire ecosystems.

“The Millennium Assessment finds that excessive nutrient loading is one of the major problems today and will grow significantly worse in the coming decades unless action is taken,” Dr Reid said.

“Surprisingly, though, despite a major body of monitoring information and scientific research supporting this finding, the issue of nutrient loading barely appears in policy discussions at global levels and only a few countries place major emphasis on the problem.

“This issue is perhaps the area where we find the biggest ‘disconnect’ between a major problem related to ecosystem services and the lack of policy action in response,” he said.

Abrupt changes are one of the most difficult things to predict yet their impact can be devastating. But is environmental collapse inevitable?

“Clearly, the dual trends of continuing degradation of most ecosystem services and continuing growth in demand for these same services cannot continue,” Dr Reid said.

“But the assessment shows that over the next 50 years, the risk is not of some global environmental collapse, but rather a risk of many local and regional collapses in particular ecosystem services. We already see those collapses occurring — fisheries stocks collapsing, dead zones in the sea, land degradation undermining crop production, species extinctions,” he said.

Between 1960 and 2000, the world population doubled from three billion to six billion. At the same time, the global economy increased more than six-fold and the production of food and the supply of drinking water more than doubled, with the consumption of timber products increasing by more than half.

Meanwhile, human activity has directly affected the diversity of wild animals and plants. There have been about 100 documented extinctions over the past century but scientists believe that the rate at which animals and plants are dying off is about 1,000 times higher than natural, background levels.

“Humans are fundamentally and to a significant extent irreversibly changing the diversity of life on earth and most of these changes represent a loss of biodiversity,” the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment says.

The distribution of species across the world is becoming more homogenous as some unique animals and plants die out and other, alien species are introduced into areas in which they would not normally live, often with devastating impact.

For example, the Baltic Sea contains 100 non-native species, of which about one-third come from the Great Lakes of North America. Meanwhile, a similar proportion of the 170 non-native species found in the Great Lakes come from the Baltic.

“In other words, the species in any one region of the world are becoming more similar to other regions…. Some 10 to 30 per cent of mammals, birds and amphibians are currently threatened with extinction. Genetic diversity has declined globally, particularly among cultivated species,” the report says.

The Fate of the Drylands
Agricultural intensification, which brought about the green revolution that helped to feed the world in the latter part of the 20th century, has increased the tendency towards the loss of genetic diversity. “Currently 80 percent of wheat area in developing countries and three-quarters of all rice planted in Asia is now planted to modern varieties,” the report says. Dr Reid said that the authors of the assessment were most worried about the state of the earth’s drylands — an area covering 41 percent of the land surface and home to a total of two billion people, many of them the poorest in the world.

Drylands are areas where crop production or pasture for livestock is severely limited by rainfall. Some 90 per cent of the world’s dryland regions occur in developing countries where the availability of fresh water is a growing problem.

One-third of the world’s people live in dryland regions that have access to only 8 per cent of the world’s renewable supply of water, the scientists found. “We were particularly alarmed by the evidence of strong linkages between the degradation of ecosystem services in drylands and poverty in those regions,” Dr Reid said.

“Moreover, while historically, population growth has been highest in either urban areas or the most productive ecosystems such as cultivated lands, this pattern changed in the 1990s and the highest percentage rate of growth is now in drylands – ecosystems with the lowest potential to support that growth.

“These problems of ecosystem degradation and the harm it causes for human well-being clearly help set the stage for the conflict that we see in many dryland regions including parts of Africa and central Asia,” he said.

Poor people living in dryland regions are at the greatest risk of environmental collapse. Many of them already live unsustainably – between 10 and 20 per cent of the soil in the drylands are eroded or degraded.

“Development prospects in dryland regions of developing countries are especially dependent on actions to slow and reverse the degradation of ecosystems,” the Millennium Assessment says.

So what can be done in a century when the human population is expected to increase by a further 50 per cent?

The board of directors of the Millennium Assessment said in a statement: “The overriding conclusion of this assessment is that it lies within the power of human societies to ease the strains we are putting on the nature services of the planet, while continuing to use them to bring better living standards to all.

“Achieving this, however, will require radical changes in the way nature is treated at every level of decision-making and new ways of co-operation between government, business and civil society. The warning signs are there for all of us to see. The future now lies in our hands,” it said.

Asked what we should do now and what we should plan to do over the next 50 years, Dr Reid replied that there must be a fundamental reappraisal of how we view the world’s natural resources. “The heart of the problem is this: protection of nature’s services is unlikely to be a priority so long as they are perceived to be free and limitless by those using them,” Dr Reid said.

“We simply must establish policies that require natural costs to be taken into account for all economic decisions,” he added.

“There is a tremendous amount that can be done in the short term to reduce degradation — for example, the causes of some of the most significant problems such as fisheries collapse, climate change, and excessive nutrient loading are clear — many countries have policies in place that encourage excessive harvest, use of fossil fuels, or excessive fertilization of crops.

“But as important as these short-term fixes are, over the long term humans must both enhance the production of many services and decrease our consumption of others. That will require significant investments in new technologies and significant changes in behavior,” he explained.

Many environmentalists would agree, and they would like politicians to go much further.

“The Millennium Assessment cuts to the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing humanity,” Roger Higman, of Friends of the Earth, said.

“That is, we cannot maintain high standards of living, let alone relieve poverty, if we don’t look after the earth’s life-support systems,” Mr Higman said.

“Yet the assessment hasn’t gone far enough in specifying the radical solutions needed. At the end of the day, if we are to respect the limits imposed by nature, and ensure the well-being of all humanity, we must manage the global economy to produce a fairer distribution of the earth’s resources,” he added.

THE TIPPING POINTS TO CATASTROPHE

NEW DISEASES
As population densities increase and living space extends into once pristine forests, the chances of an epidemic of a new infectious agent grows. Global travel accentuates the threat, and the emergence of SARS and bird flu are prime examples of diseases moving from animals to humans.

ALIEN SPECIES
The introduction of an invasive species – whether animal, plant or microbe – can lead to a rapid change in ecosystems. Zebra mussels introduced into North America led to the extinction of native clams and the comb jellyfish caused havoc to 26 major fisheries species in the Black Sea.

ALGAL BLOOMS
A build up of man-made nutrients in the environment has already led to the threshold being reached when algae blooms. This can deprive fish and other wildlife of oxygen as well as producing toxic substances that are a danger to drinking water.

CORAL REEF COLLAPSE
Reefs that were dominated by corals have suddenly changed to being dominated by algae, which have taken advantage of the increases in nutrient levels running off from terrestrial sources. Many of Jamaica’s coral reefs have now become algal dominated.

FISHING STOCKS
Overfishing can, and has, led to a collapse in stocks. A threshold is reached when there are too few adults to maintain a viable population. This occurred off the east coast of Newfoundland in 1992 when its stock of Atlantic cod vanished.

CLIMATE CHANGE
In a warmer world, local vegetation or land cover can change, causing warming to become worse. The Sahel region of North Africa depends on rainfall for its vegetation. Small changes in rain can result in loss of vegetation, soil erosion and further decreases in rainfall.

© 2005 Independent News & Media (UK) Ltd
Posted in accordance with Title 17 USCode for noncommercial, educational purposes.


Two-thirds of World’s Resources ‘Used Up’
Tim Radford / The Guardian

LONDON (March 30, 2005) — The human race is living beyond its means. A report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries — some of them world leaders in their fields — today warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure.

The study contains what its authors call “a stark warning” for the entire world. The wetlands, forests, savannahs, estuaries, coastal fisheries and other habitats that recycle air, water and nutrients for all living creatures are being irretrievably damaged. In effect, one species is now a hazard to the other 10 million or so on the planet, and to itself.

“Human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted,” it says.

The report, prepared in Washington under the supervision of a board chaired by Robert Watson, the British-born chief scientist at the World Bank and a former scientific adviser to the White House, will be launched today at the Royal Society in London. It warns that:

• Because of human demand for food, fresh water, timber, fiber and fuel, more land has been claimed for agriculture in the last 60 years than in the 18th and 19th centuries combined.

• An estimated 24% of the Earth’s land surface is now cultivated.

• Water withdrawals from lakes and rivers has doubled in the last 40 years. Humans now use between 40% and 50% of all available freshwater running off the land.

• At least a quarter of all fish stocks are over-harvested. In some areas, the catch is now less than a hundredth of that before industrial fishing.

• Since 1980, about 35% of mangroves have been lost, 20% of the world’s coral reefs have been destroyed and another 20% badly degraded.

• Deforestation and other changes could increase the risks of malaria and cholera, and open the way for new and so far unknown disease to emerge.

In 1997, a team of biologists and economists tried to put a value on the “business services” provided by nature – the free pollination of crops, the air conditioning provided by wild plants, the recycling of nutrients by the oceans. They came up with an estimate of $33 trillion, almost twice the global gross national product for that year. But after what today’s report, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, calls “an unprecedented period of spending Earth’s natural bounty” it was time to check the accounts.

“That is what this assessment has done, and it is a sobering statement with much more red than black on the balance sheet,” the scientists warn. “In many cases, it is literally a matter of living on borrowed time. By using up supplies of fresh groundwater faster than they can be recharged, for example, we are depleting assets at the expense of our children.”

Flow from rivers has been reduced dramatically. For parts of the year, the Yellow River in China, the Nile in Africa and the Colorado in North America dry up before they reach the ocean. An estimated 90% of the total weight of the ocean’s large predators – tuna, swordfish and sharks – has disappeared in recent years. An estimated 12% of bird species, 25% of mammals and more than 30% of all amphibians are threatened with extinction within the next century. Some of them are threatened by invaders.

The Baltic Sea is now home to 100 creatures from other parts of the world, a third of them native to the Great Lakes of America. Conversely, a third of the 170 alien species in the Great Lakes are originally from the Baltic.

Invaders can make dramatic changes: the arrival of the American comb jellyfish in the Black Sea led to the destruction of 26 commercially important stocks of fish. Global warming and climate change, could make it increasingly difficult for surviving species to adapt.

A growing proportion of the world lives in cities, exploiting advanced technology. But nature, the scientists warn, is not something to be enjoyed at the weekend. Conservation of natural spaces is not just a luxury.

“These are dangerous illusions that ignore the vast benefits of nature to the lives of 6 billion people on the planet. We may have distanced ourselves from nature, but we rely completely on the services it delivers.”

Posted in accordance with Title 17, USCode, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Secret US Plans for Iraq’s Oil

March 31st, 2005 - by admin

Greg Palast / BBC Newsnight – 2005-03-31 07:43:09

http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=417&row=0

LONDON (March 17, 2005) — The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq’s oil before the 9/11 attacks sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC’s Newsnight has revealed.

Two years ago today – when President George Bush announced US, British and Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad – protestors claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq’s oil once Saddam had been conquered.

In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of “Big Oil” executives and US State Department “pragmatists.”

“Big Oil” appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.

Insiders told Newsnight that planning began “within weeks” of Bush’s first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.

An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant, Falah Aljibury, says he took part in the secret meetings in California, Washington and the Middle East. He described a State Department plan for a forced coup d’etat.

Mr Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration.

Secret Sell-off Plan
The industry-favoured plan was pushed aside by yet another secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq’s oil fields. The new plan, crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq’s oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.

The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed by Ahmed Chalabi shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel. Mr. Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, flew to the London meeting, he told Newsnight, at the request of the State Department.

Mr Aljibury, once Ronald Reagan’s “back-channel” to Saddam, claims that plans to sell off Iraq’s oil, pushed by the US-installed Governing Council in 2003, helped instigate the insurgency and attacks on US and British occupying forces.

“Insurgents used this, saying, ‘Look, you’re losing your country, your losing your resources to a bunch of wealthy billionaires who want to take you over and make your life miserable,” said Mr Aljibury from his home near San Francisco. “We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, built on the premise that privatization is coming.”

Privatization Blocked by Industry
Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA who took control of Iraq’s oil production for the US Government a month after the invasion, stalled the sell-off scheme.

Mr Carroll told us he made it clear to Paul Bremer, the US occupation chief who arrived in Iraq in May 2003, that: “There was to be no privatization of Iraqi oil resources or facilities while I was involved.”

The chosen successor to Mr Carroll, a Conoco Oil executive, ordered up a new plan for a state oil company preferred by the industry.

Ari Cohen, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, told Newsnight that an opportunity had been missed to privatise Iraq’s oil fields. He advocated the plan as a means to help the US defeat Opec, and said America should have gone ahead with what he called a “no-brainer” decision.

Mr Carroll hit back, telling Newsnight, “I would agree with that statement. To privatize would be a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brain.”

New plans, obtained from the State Department by Newsnight and Harper’s Magazine under the US Freedom of Information Act, called for creation of a state-owned oil company favored by the US oil industry. It was completed in January 2004, Harper’s discovered, under the guidance of Amy Jaffe of the James Baker Institute in Texas. Former US Secretary of State Baker is now an attorney. His law firm, Baker Botts, is representing ExxonMobil and the Saudi Arabian government.

View Segments of Iraq oil plans

Questioned by Newsnight, Ms Jaffe said the oil industry prefers state control of Iraq’s oil over a sell-off because it fears a repeat of Russia’s energy privatization. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, US oil companies were barred from bidding for the reserves.

Jaffe said “There is no question that an American oil company … would not be enthusiastic about a plan that would privatize all the assets with Iraq companies and they (US companies) might be left out of the transaction.”
In addition, Ms. Jaffe says US oil companies are not warm to any plan that would undermine Opec, “They [oil companies] have to worry about the price of oil.”

“I’m not sure that if I’m the chair of an American company, and you put me on a lie detector test, I would say high oil prices are bad for me or my company.”

The former Shell oil boss agrees. In Houston, he told Newsnight, “Many neo conservatives are people who have certain ideological beliefs about markets, about democracy, about this that and the other. International oil companies without exception are very pragmatic commercial organizations. They don’t have a theology.”

A State Department spokesman told Newsnight they intended “to provide all possibilities to the Oil Ministry of Iraq and advocate none”.

Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. View his writings at www.GregPalast.com.
Leni von Eckardt contributed investigative research for this project.

Greg Palast’s film — the result of a joint investigation by Newsnight and Harper’s Magazine — was broadcast on Thursday, 17 March, 2005. Read the story in greater detail in the April issue of Harper’s.
You can watch the program online from Democracy Now!


National Anti-War Coalition Opposes Wolfowitz Nomination to World Bank

United for Peace and Justice condemns
George W. Bush’s choice of Paul Wolfowitz, the Iraq War Architect, to head the World Bank. The Peace Movement in invited to join April 15-17 in Washington, DC to oppose the Occupation of Iraq and the regressive policies of the World Bank and IMF.

NEW YORK, NY (March 30, 2005) — United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) condemns the Bush Administration’s nomination of Paul Wolfowitz, architect of the Iraq War, to head the World Bank. UFPJ is calling on anti-war groups and individuals to join global justice activists for three days of protest against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, from April 15-17.

“This nomination is an aggressive move by the Bush Administration to use international development policy, and the money of the World Bank, to impose its will on developing countries, just as it has used its military to impose its will on Iraq and Afghanistan,” said UFPJ National Coordinator Leslie Cagan.

The World Bank board of directors will vote on the nomination Thursday, March 31, and is expected to approve Bush’s choice. Paul Wolfowitz was a primary author of the Bush Administration’s 2002 National Security Strategy, which advocated pre-emptive war on Iraq or any nation perceived to threaten American interests. The strategy further called for US economic and military domination in every corner of the world.

In opposing the Wolfowitz appointment, UFPJ calls for the transformation of the World Bank from an exploitative organization to one that is truly committed to ending poverty and promoting sustainable development as an important step toward ending violence worldwide.

“The U.S. has historically used its power over the World Bank to exploit the resources of the developing world, at enormous cost to the people of the Global South and the environment,” said Orin Langelle of the Global Justice Ecology Project http://www.globaljusticeecology.org, and UFPJ’s Global Justice Working Group.

“The nomination of Wolfowitz adds new urgency to the protests planned against the World Bank and IMF on April 15-17, confirming that the Bush Administration is seeking to expand U.S. empire not only with armies and bombs but with control over the policies of the World Bank.”

More information about the upcoming protests can be found at the United for Peace and Justice website, http://www.unitedforpeace.org.

United for Peace and Justice is the largest US. peace and justice coalition, with more than 1,000 groups under its umbrella. Since its founding in October 2002, UFPJ has spurred hundreds of protests and rallies around the country, including the two largest demonstrations against the Iraq war.

Contact: Bill Dobbs, (212) 868-5545 office, (917) 822-5422 mobile www.unitedforpeace.org
Alert forwarded by: Global Justice Ecology Project, PO Box 412, Hinesburg, VT 05461 +1.802.482.2689 ph/fax mailto:info@globaljusticeecology.org http://www.globaljusticeecology.org

How British Ministers Were Misled on Iraq Invasion

March 30th, 2005 - by admin

Clare Short / The Independent – 2005-03-30 23:38:44

http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/story.jsp?story=618099

LONDON (March 9, 2005) — Following the recent controversy about the Attorney General’s advice, I have gone over in detail the process by which he gave his advice on the legality of the war. I have concluded that he failed to comply with the Ministerial Code when giving his advice to the Cabinet and that he misled the Cabinet about his legal advice.

The Ministerial Code lays down that: “The Code should be read against the background of the overarching duty on Ministers to comply with the law, including international law and treaty obligations.”

When the Attorney came to the Cabinet on 17 March, the text of what purported to be his advice was distributed around the table. He began to read it out. There were murmurings indicating that he did not need to read it as members of the Cabinet could read it for themselves. I then attempted to initiate a discussion. I asked why it was so late and whether he had changed his mind. No discussion was allowed. The paper he provided was then published as an answer to a parliamentary question.

I was very surprised by the advice, but I accepted it as the official and authoritative advice of the Attorney. I said at the time: “The Attorney General has made clear that military action would be legal under international law. Other lawyers have expressed contrary opinions.

But for the UK Government, the Civil Service and the military, it is the view of the Attorney General that matters and this is unequivocal.” But I am afraid that the advice was not, in truth, unequivocal. It had been hedged around with qualifications. But none of this was revealed to the Cabinet or to Parliament.

The Butler Report
The evidence provided by the Butler report shows that he was not wholly honest with the Cabinet. The report provides details of the complex process through which his advice developed.

Butler tells us that prior to the adoption of UN Resolution 1441 the Attorney concluded that “there would be no justification for the use of force against Iraq on the grounds of self-defence against imminent threat”.

The Butler report confirms what I heard from my officials that after the passage of 1441 and following disagreement among Foreign Office legal advisers, all concerned agreed that the final word would belong to the Attorney.

Butler also tells us that in the weeks following the adoption of the resolution, the Attorney General had a number of discussions with the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary about whether 1441 was sufficient to authorise the use of force, and that he talked with our ambassador to the UN and in February 2003 met members of the US administration.

Butler says that he informed the Prime Minister’s advisers of his view at a meeting on 28 February 2003 and that his office asked him to put these views in writing, which he did in a formal Minute to the Prime Minister on 7 March 2003. None of these exchanges or the content of the minute were reported to the Cabinet.

This is very significant because the Attorney failed to share his concerns with the Cabinet and to describe how he came to be persuaded of the legality of war.

Butler informs us that his minute required the Prime Minister, in the absence of a further UN Security Council resolution, to be satisfied that there were “strong factual grounds for concluding that Iraq had failed to take the final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Security Council and that it was possible to demonstrate hard evidence of non-compliance and non-co-operation with the requirements of Security Council Resolution 1441, so as to justify the conclusion that Iraq was in further material breach of its obligations”.

Information Was Kept from the Cabinet
All of this was kept from the Cabinet, although at this time I was reading telegrams of Dr Blix’s reports to the Security Council indicating increased co-operation from the Iraqi regime. Butler tells us that on the basis of the Attorney’s advice, military campaign objectives were drawn up, making it clear that the objective was to bring about Iraq’s disarmament in accordance with its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions.

Butler tells us that the Attorney then informed Lord Falconer and Sally Morgan at a meeting on 13 March that in his view it was lawful under Resolution 1441 to use force without a further UN resolution, but on 14 March, after the breakdown of negotiations at the UN, his Legal Secretary wrote to the Prime Minister’s Private Secretary seeking confirmation that “it is unequivocally the Prime Minister’s view that Iraq was in material breach of its obligations under 1441”.

The Prime Minister so confirmed, and the Butler inquiry was informed that the Prime Minister relied on intelligence and other sources including Unmovic information. None of this was reported to Cabinet and it is notable that the Prime Minister was reaching dubious conclusions about factual questions without any Cabinet discussion. I was at the time reading accounts of Unmovic’s reports which did not point to this conclusion.

I have therefore made a complaint under paragraphs 22 and 23 of the Ministerial Code. Paragraph 23 provides that “When advice from the Law Officers is included in correspondence between Ministers, or in papers for the Cabinet or Ministerial Committees, the conclusions may if necessary be summarised, but if this is done, the complete text of the advice should be attached.”

My view is now that by failing to reveal his full legal advice and the considerations that underpinned his final advice, the Attorney misled the Cabinet and therefore helped obtain support for military action improperly. This is a very serious matter in relation to the war in Iraq, the integrity of his office, his own integrity and the proper working of UK constitutional arrangements.

The Right Honourable Clare Short, a British Labour Party politician, was Secretary of State for International Development in the Blair government from May 2, 1997 until her resignation on May 12, 2003.

Posted in accordance with Title 17 USCode, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Marxism in Iraq

March 30th, 2005 - by admin

Mohamed El-Anwar / Al-Ahram – 2005-03-30 08:53:19

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/734/re8.htm

BAGHDAD (March 17-23, 2005) —
The Iraqi Communist Party (ICP), also known as the People’s Union, won two seats in the interim National Assembly. Do you see a future for the ICP in Iraq?

Of course the ICP has a future. No party would keep going on if it doesn’t believe it has a future. What collapsed was not communism, but regimes that had distorted communism by deviating from the basic principles of communist thinking: chiefly, humanism, democracy and social justice. Those regimes turned socialism into bureaucratic and authoritative practice. They acted as if they were superior to the people, refused to listen to the people, concentrated power in the hands of one or a few individuals, and disregarded intellectual creativity and collective opinion, thereby creating the reasons for their own demise.

In Iraq, I believe that our party has a very wide base. This is why the ICP has been able to endure all the blows of repressive apparatuses and all the crimes committed against it during the 71 years of the party’s past.

At certain periods, when the political climate was right, the ICP was the largest political force in the country. When it was subject to genocide, through the execution and murder of its leaders and members, and when its members were exiled or forced to flee the country, the party was weakened. Some traces of weakness are still with us. But at the moment we are rebuilding the ICP, with the benefit of our own experience and of international experiences.

I believe we have made progress, despite factional and sectarian pressures. The ICP is a known political quantity. The ICP role and importance to the country outmatch the number of its membership or voters. Time will sort everything out. Had we won only one seat, the ICP would still have been a known quantity and a power to contend with. The ICP has never refused an alliance with political forces opposed to dictatorship and despotism and endeavouring to establish a democratic and pluralistic Iraq.

How do you view the US-led occupation of Iraq?

We are against occupation now and were against the war in the past.

First of all, as a party, we started our struggle by working against dictatorship. When things escalated, we added to our programme the words “No to blockade, No to dictatorship”. When the drums of war were beaten, we raised the slogan “No to war”. When the war took place, we could not stop it, nor could others, despite our warnings. Saddam was overthrown.

We support democracy and oppose occupation. This is where we stand.

And yet it was occupation that gave you legitimacy and your current status.

Occupation did not give us legitimacy. Occupation gives legitimacy to no one.

We earned our legitimacy through our presence on the street. They ignored our presence for some time, then found out that we are a force that exists in the Iraqi street and cannot be ignored.

Would you go into alliance with Islamic forces?

Where there are priorities in matters of alliance we begin with those that are nearest to us, the Kurdish centre, which is a democratic centre. We are part of the Kurdistan list, along with the Kurdistan Communist Party; a party that has gone into alliance with other Kurdish parties within a unified list, the Kurdistan list.

It is possible for us to go into alliance with Islamic forces so long as these forces believe in democracy, in ending the occupation, and in establishing a pluralist, federal and unionist Iraq.

We have our ideological differences with the Islamic forces, and these differences can be worked out. We have a working relation with the Iraqi Islamic Party and the Daawa Party. Our ideological differences will not impede our political cooperation. We are allies with Jalal Talabani and Masoud Barzani. What is needed now is not to fuel differences and stir disputes but — as everyone agreed — to continue working together, cooperating, coordinating and maintaining the alliance among all forces that took part in the political process and cooperated in the opposition.

Besides, there is agreement that those parties not represented in the new parliament must not be excluded from government posts or from the committees rewriting the Constitution. The situation in Iraq does not call for the needless fuelling of conflicts. We are not discussing social options, but trying to build a country that has been destroyed and a state that has been shattered.

Let me tell you this. We are not getting into a struggle to get one post or another. Everyone wants to have a key role. This is to be expected so long as we follow the route of elections and freedom. But it does not follow that those who have significant parliamentary power have the right to dominate or monopolise power. Iraq’s problems are of a magnitude and complexity that no single party or list alone can resolve all of them.

Cooperation is a fact of life that imposes itself on every political force, regardless of its share of seats.

How do you view the operations mounted against US forces in Iraq at present?

Resistance is a legitimate right for any nation. There is no denying that. Resistance is not necessarily a military affair, however. When we say resistance, we have to answer two questions: What do certain forces aim to achieve from counter- operations, and what methods are they using?

If these forces really want to end the occupation and adopt a democratic system instead, and if they are using honourable means to achieve that end, then they are forces of legitimate national resistance. But if they are hypocritical and deceitful in their enmity to imperialism, if they want to restore a defunct dictatorship, establish substitute despotism, or create a mediaeval system through bombings, assassinations and abductions, then they are not forces of resistance.

This may explain our position on operations that are acts of terror and sabotage. Tell me; is there no other means for resistance than bombings and weapons? They want power. It is as simple as that. We will try to restore calm and stability to the Iraqi street, so that the people may live normally, stand firmly, and — with the backing of the international, Arab and Islamic communities — force foreign forces to leave.

The Americans, let me tell you, are no givers of democracy. Any nation that imagines that democracy will come as a gift from foreign forces, or even from a ruler of one’s own nation, is wrong, for democracy has to be taken. The current acts help justify the occupation, for they reinforce the argument that security is unstable. The Americans, we all know, are motivated by their own interests, strategic considerations, and by the interests of America as a regime.

We have no illusions here. But when there are developments that accord with our objectives we make a distinction between good and bad and use the things in our favour.

What is your overall assessment of America’s conduct?

The Americans started out and still are in a state of political confusion and chaos in Iraq. Admittedly, they have a general strategy, which is to reshape Iraq’s political life to promote their own interests. But tactically speaking, the Americans have driven themselves into tight spots and harmed their goals and many of their allies.

The current situation in Iraq is proof enough. The administration and errors of the Americans did not help the Iraqi people to choose well, use reason, and return to normalcy.

Had there been stability, confidence, an absence of unemployment and other problems — such as the inflammation of sectarian strife — the situation would have been different.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Report on the Current Situation in Fallujah

March 29th, 2005 - by admin

Brusells Tribunal / Global Research – 2005-03-29 23:50:14

http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RUS503A.html

Report on the Current Situation in Fallujah
Presented to the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights for the period of 1 January to 25th March 2005
Studies Center of Human Rights and Democracy

(March 25, 2005) — The city of Fallujah was subjected to a genocidal war by the American forces. The military machinery destroyed almost 70 per cent of the city, from civilian houses to medical centers and general services facilities — especially water, electricity.

This war resulted in killing thousands of innocent civilians and sending almost a half- million refugees. It is well known that the American forces and their puppet government prevented any medical or humanitarian relief agency to enter the city throughout its siege of the city.

Since the beginning of this year, the citizens are increasingly returning to the city, driven by the very bad living conditions in the places where they took refuge and the will to try the reconstruction of their houses and shops.

Except for the few who found their houses still standing, the majority lived on the ruins whether by using tents or other means. In this bad living condition, the American occupation forces continue to commit grave violations to the basic principles of human rights and international law.

In order to give the international community a clear image of what is happening, we present this short report:

• 1 — Following the two reports that our center issued in mid-January 2005 and the other facts that came to the knowledge of the UN, the human rights office of UNAMI and the Iraq office of WHO have — on two occasions — officially requested to enter the city of Fallujah in order to examine the situation there but the American occupation authority did not respond to these requests until now on the pretext of the dangerous security situation.

Here we must ask, if the security situation is still dangerous, then how are families and children allowed to return to the city? Are the lives of the UN officials more precious than those of the Fallujah citizens? Or is it that there are crimes that the international bodies are not allowed to examine?

• 2 — The citizens of Fallujah are suffering many sorts of humiliations when entering or leaving the city. In their daily life, they go through many sorts of harassments and threats by the American occupation forces which consider them as terrorists simply because they refuse the occupation. Not to mention the continuous random killing in all parts of the city that does not exclude children or elder people, men or women.

In a dangerous step of racism and freedoms limiting, the American occupation authority issued special ID cards for the citizens of Fallujah, preventing visitors from other cities to enter it. This step isolates the city Fallujah from its surroundings and the rest of the country and so turning it into a huge prison.

• 3 — Until the issuing of this report the effort to find the corpses of the victims of November 2004 comprehensive attack on the city is still going on. The specialized burial teams have found about 700 corpses and we definitely think that the number of martyrs is greater than that.

The American occupation forces itself announced that they have killed about 1300 individuals but no one knows where those bodies were buried. This assures that there are mass graves in the city, the Americans continually refusing to allow the UN representatives to enter the city, confirm this assessment.

Furthermore, the medical authorities and the citizens could not find the burial ground of 450 bodies of the citizens of Fallujah that the American occupation forces have photographed and buried in a place that is still unknown.

• 4 — There are hundreds of missing personnel from Fallujah, but afraid of arrest and intimidation by the American forces, the families still hesitate to register the names of their missing with the official committee for registering the missing. That is why the registered number is less than the actual one.

• 5 — The detainees from the Fallujah citizens are suffering inhuman and bad treatment in both Abu Graib and Basra prisons. There is no reason behind keeping those detainees in the prisons. Unfortunately, there is no legal or official Iraqi authority that handles the issue of those detainees, it is left to two mosques in the city.

As a measure of collective punishment, the American occupation forces and the National guards continue to use some schools inside the city as compounds, depriving students from pursuing their education without offering substitutes.

• 6 — There are deliberate delays by the interim government and the American occupation authority in reconstructing the city of Fallujah even in restoring the basic services. What are being announced about the reconstruction are mere lies uncovered by the fact that the people who are working in Fallujah are only those governmental employees in the city, indeed their number does not match the size of destruction that the city suffered.

The Americans themselves admitted that more than 90,000 houses have been demolished. We wonder about the difference between the destruction that Fallujah has suffered and the destruction of the areas devastated by Tsunami. Both are devastated areas but the difference is that Fallujah is not announced officially as a devastated place in order to cover the crimes perpetrated on its soil.

• 7 — Despite that there is an Iraqi official committee for reconstruction, the occupation forces give out contracts without knowledge or coordination with that committee. For example one contract to build a school cost one million US dollars for each school, while the official committee estimates the cost between 200,000 and 300,000 US dollars. No local or official committee is supervising these money transactions.

• 8 — It was not allowed until now for anybody to examine the environmental pollution that affected Fallujah due to the usage of prohibited and dangerous weapons, except for analyzing the recently established processed water. Some cases are appearing now of fetus deformation for some of the newborns that is taking place in the city.

As an example the case of the child Mina Jabbar Mahmood Aljumaili who was recently born and is 3 months now in addition to another child in the same neighborhood who was born shortly later in Al’andulus neighborhood.

• 9 — The civilians who stayed in the city during the American offensive have gone through numerous tragic stories and inhuman treatment by the occupation forces and the Iraq so-called National Guards. The deliberate killing of civilians was the daily practice of the American forces.

Many children had to watch their parents being shot to death in front of them, or men who had to watch their children and their wives being killed. Almost every family who stayed in Fallujah has to bury a victim in their garden.

As example, Hamid Abdulrazzak Sultan, a citizen from Fallujah, witnessed the killing of his pregnant wife along with his 4 sons during an American attack on 9 Nov 2004. Four members of Fawzi Hussein Salman al-Aisawi family where deliberately killed in their house by the American forces in front of their daughter on the morning of 9 November 2005.

• 10 — Until now, the citizens and the sick people are not allowed to cross the bridge which connects the city to the main hospital, a matter that causes great suffering. The city has no means of communication to be used to report the urgent health cases during the curfew hours which force the sick to stay at home until dawn to be able to go to hospital.

Many cases happened of appendicitis, labour, death due to clots which need immediate health care. Not to mention to war phobia in thousands of women and children which warns of a permanent psychological disaster that will be difficult to cure since it is becoming a chronic case.

• 11 — Not allowing issuing death certificates that explain the real causes of death and their numbers that occur due the crimes of the occupation forces because there are no clear instructions until now. The crime of bombing cities with so much brutality and destruction is the biggest evidence of disrespect for the lives of the unarmed civilians that were in the first year of occupation more that 100 000 citizens.

• 12 — The puppet government is deliberately ignoring the crimes and the grave violations of the human rights happening every day in Iraq by the American forces and continued to talk about an old allegation of violations that allegedly happened years ago.

These allegations were tackled by the commission in details, whether by reports of special rapporteur or by the several decisions it had adopted and accordingly some measures which were implemented aggressively against Iraq in unprecedented way.

What more tragedies are international bodies waiting for in order to raise their voices demanding to stop the massacres and mass killings of the civilians?

Is what happened to Fallujah and its citizens just an accident while the entire world is on alert if a western citizen is killed in Iraq forgetting — that all that is because of the hated occupation?

We call upon all countries and organizations both governmental and non-governmental which are taking part in the meetings of the 61st session of the UN Human Rights Commission to raise their voices and denounce those violations and exercise pressures to dispatch an investigation team to visit the city of Fallujah to examine the facts and the tragic situation that its citizens are going through.

We demand the commission nominate a special rapporteur to the human rights situation in Iraq during the occupation.

We hope that this report will be distributed as among the documents of the session.

The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). www.globalresearch.ca.
© Copyright belongs to the author 2005.

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Interview with Giuliana Sgrena

March 29th, 2005 - by admin

Nur al-Cubicle – 2005-03-29 23:42:28

http://nuralcubicle.blogspot.com/2005/03/interview-with-giuliana-sgrena.html

(March 11, 2005) — Giuliana Sgrena was interviewed today by Marco Imarisio of the Milan paper, Il Corriere della Sera:

Did you expect to be freed the day of your release?
No. I just knew it was Friday. When I was kidnapped, I began to keep a calendar. If my kidnappers gave me any information, it was always on a Saturday. That was the day of the week when they filmed my video and had me write a handwritten letter proving I was alive. But I did notice that my two “guardians”, whom I always saw without a face mask, were joking between themselves. That struck me as odd.

After lunch, around 3 in the afternoon, I asked them why they were in such a good mood: So, am I staying or am I going? For days they had been telling me I would be released. One of them clammed up, but other told me to relax–it was not going to be today.

Then what happened?
In the afternoon, as usual, I went back to my room. For the first time, I noticed Western clothing there–a flannel shirt and pants. I tense up. Congratulations! You’re going to Rome. Hurry up and get dressed!

Were you told anything that seemed threatening to you?
Yes. In the house where I was staying, one of my guardians handed me a pair of sunglasses wrapped in gauze and asked, Are you feeling sure of yourself? You’re not nervous, are you? This is going to be difficult. If something goes wrong, we could all get killed. If we’re stopped, don’t act as if you are an American. I asked why they didn’t give me Arab clothing because that’s what le due Simone were wearing. All they said was, “No”.

Did you then leave the house?
Not yet. First, they gave me back my purse. That’s it. Two hundred of the one thousand dollars I was carrying were missing as well as a couple of notebooks. But I found all my documents, including my passport.

I also found the three official passes issued to me for elections coverage, one of which was issued by the Americans. They kept my satellite phone and my digital camera. When we stepped outside, it seemed to me that it was dark.

How many people were with you?
I’m certain my usual two guardians were there plus another person at the wheel. The cellphone they had rang continuously. I heard them talking in excited tones. I thought the conversations were with the car in front of us.

How long did the trip last?
At most 20 mintues. Then I heard the tires splash through a puddle and we came to a halt. One of them tells me not to move, then they leave. I heard the sound of passing cars and noticed headlights. I began to understand that we were parked on a busy street. I heard a helicopter overhead. That made me think of Mogadiscio, when I was interviewing a Somali warlord as US helicopters hovered overhead.

I told myself, I hope they won’t get us this time, either. Some cars pulled up alongside, then they left. I couldn’t have been waiting more than a half an hour.

Is that when Nicola Calipari arrived?
No. The car door opened on my side but it was just one of my guardians. Ten more minutes they told me, then they left. I began counting from 1 to 60 to guage a minute. I started again. After ten counts, the door on the other side of the car opened. It was Nicola Calipari.

What did he say to you?
“Don’t be afraid, you’ve been rescued.” He walked around the car, opened my door and pulled me out. “Trust me… now follow me.” He led me a few steps away. “I’ll be sitting on the seat right next to you,” he told me. We left in a car. After a few minutes, he told me to remove the gauze from my sunglasses. In the front seat there was another person — the driver.

Was yours the only car, or was there another?
I think we were alone, but I cannot say for certain that there wasn’t another car.

How fast were you going?
Not very fast — about 30 or 35 MPH.

Do you remember the sequence of phone calls placed from the car?
The first call was made by the driver. He composed a number. I had the feeling he was talking to someone in Baghdad. We’re on our way and there are three of us. He repeated that several times.

And Calipari, what about him?
He was looking around for his phone and couldn’t find it because he had forgotten his glasses. The driver then turned on the overhead light.

Did the overhead light stay on?
Right until the end. They had cellphones as well as a satellite phone. Calipari became angry because one of the phones didn’t work, but I don’t remember which one that was. They had several phone conversations in Italian.

There’s a lot of polemic over the phone calls.
I never said any of the calls were in English. In fact, I’m certain all of the calls were in Italian.

Were you able to recognize where you were?
Yes, because I recognized the road. It was an alternate route to the airport, one which goes through the American-controlled Green Zone and which bypasses populated areas.

Did you encounter any checkpoints?
None. We were never stopped. Of course, I was euphoric and I didn’t notice any soldiers along the road. But I certainly would have remembered a checkpoint.

By this time, you had to be close to the airport.
At a certain point the driver spoke to Nicola. “We are 700 meters away, almost inside the airport. We made it!” I remember thinking that our safety was relative.

Why did the driver say, “We made it”? One version from the Pentagon says you were going 100 MPH.
That’s absurd. A few moments after the driver said this, he slowed down because there was an elbow curve to the right. He slowed down considerably.

As he was finishing the curve, there was gunfire. From the right and from behind. Bursts, not single shots. It’s not true that they fired at the engine block or from in front of the car.

The Americans say they only shot in the air after shining a spotlight on you.
No. All the car windows shattered at the same time. I’m certain of one thing: there was no firing in the air. I heard the shooting and the car windows shattered into a thousand fragments. There was no spotlight, not even a tiny little light. It was dark as I looked around.

Then what happened?
The driver said, “They’re attacking us, they’re attacking us!” as he picked up his cellphone and stopped the car. I didn’t hear Calipari at all. I had the sensation he was on top of me. I spoke to him. All I heard was a moan. I then understood that he was dying.

What did you see from the car?
An armored vehicle, which was stationary on the side of the road, on the right. From above, a light was shining on us. A soldier opened the door on the right side. When he saw us, I had the feeling that he felt mortified. He swore. I remember that he said, “Oh, shit”. Even when the others got there, 7 or 8 from behind the armored vehicle, it seemed to me that they were ashamed.

You had previously spoken of a “hail of fire” and picking up bullets by the handful. It seems that things really weren’t that way.
I saw those bullets. I don’t know if there were really three or four hundred, but the interior of the car was filled with them. I remember wondering how in the world I was still alive with all those slugs around me.

What about the driver?
I saw him on the ground and he was talking on the phone. I heard him shouting into the phone: “Nicola is dead! She’s not next to me but I can see that she has her eyes open.”

At the hospital you were taken to — did they know who you were?
They asked me a lot of questions right away, but I did not note any surprise. A long while afterwards, while I was on a gurney, an American came up and asked me, “You’re the Italian reporter who was kidnapped, right?”

There is a lot of mystery surrounding the necklace the kidnappers gave you. What happened to it?
I had it on. A nurse took it off, saying she’d give it back to me. The next morning I asked her if she would get it for me. She said she had it, but then she didn’t give it to me. Then we left.

posted by umm_hmm

US Ordered Attack on Sgrena

March 29th, 2005 - by admin

Joe Vialls / Vialls.com – 2005-03-29 23:29:58

http://www.vialls.com/italy/sgrena.html

Nicola Calipari was already 220 yards inside Baghdad Airport’s security perimeter when he received an incoming call on his cell phone. Calipari said “Yes?” and instantly recognised the positive ident trap. As Deputy Chief Calipari cursed & threw himself across Giuliana Sgrena to protect her, the kill team from Langley fired more than 300 bullets at their car.

US Ordered Attack on Sgrena and Calipari

“I think it’s absurd to make any such suggestion that our men and women in uniform deliberately targeted innocent civilians. That’s just absurd,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

(March 10, 2005) — If the American Administration wishes to prove that it did not order the CIA to intentionally ambush and then brutally murder Nicola Calipari inside the American security cordon at Baghdad Airport, all it has to do is surrender the bullet-riddled target car to Italian forensic authorities for detailed examination.

As countless television programs have taught us with boring monotony in recent years, forensic scientists will then be able to match the blood spatters from Calipari’s horrific head wound suffered inside the car, with Calipari reference blood samples held in Italy. In addition, they will be able to match the bloo-soaked cloth from the car seat, with blood from badly injured journalist Giuliana Sgrena, currently in hospital.

Perhaps the Americans could fool the Italians by switching the interior furnishings of the target car with another of the same year and make, but with far fewer bullet holes? Unfortunately for New York, this would not work at all. Atomized blood particles from high-velocity wounds like Calipari’s get into every nook and cranny of the vehicle, rendering any car switch obvious to Italian forensic experts.

It was this advance necessity to hide the damning hard evidence of a premeditated ‘saturation’ attack on the car, that dictated the final selection of the killing ground itself: well inside the heavily fortified American defensive perimeter around Baghdad International Airport, and thus out of sight and range of cameras belonging to the Republican Guard and Mehdi Army, nowadays collectively known as “The Resistance”.

All American checkpoints at Baghdad Airport are outside on the the approach road, where they are frequently filmed by Republican Guard soldiers and agents, indirectly proving Italian media claims that Calipari’s car, “had already passed through all the checkpoints when it was attacked without warning”.

If the Italian vehicle had been challenged and attacked at one of these external American checkpoints, the Republican Guard [who had earlier accurately predicted the Americans would try to kill Sgrena and Calipari] would by now have spread pictures of the bullet-riddled car far and wide across al-Jazeera, Uruknet, and others.

Alas, the Republican Guard was unable to do so, thereby giving creative propagandists in New York time to deflect public attention to something markedly more tasteful, and 101% more believable as an ‘accident’.

As Fintan Dunne, Editor of BreakForNews.com points out:-
“Right-wing bloggers are circulating a photo purportedly showing the car in which Sgrena Guiliani was wounded and her rescuer Nicola Calipari was fatally shot. The photo is being used to discredit Sgrena’s account of the shooting.

“It shows a four-door sedan which has only the driver’s side window broken and no overt bullet damage to the bodywork. That contradicts the ‘hail of bullets’ described by Sgrena and others. And it boosts the US military’s case that the incident was just a ‘mishap’.”

To round this point off nicely, I can predict with 100% confidence that the American Administration will never surrender the target vehicle inside Baghdad Airport to the Italian or any other forensic authority, because the automobile in question has already been torched and run over by a bulldozer several times, to remove even the slightest trace of forensic evidence: All this with the tacit consent of Italian Prime Minister and American Cheerleader Silvio Berlusconi. Case proved.

Two Kinds of Hostages
In order to unravel the reasons why politicians in America and Italy wanted these particular Italian intelligence agents and Italian journalists murdered, you first have to understand that in Iraq there are two distiinctly different forms of “Hostage”.

By far the greatest number of hostages taken, are snatched by either CIA or Mossad ‘black ops’ teams, who then circulate and broadcast sadistic video footage of terrible atrocities they want you to believe were committed by “Evil Muslim Terrorists”. M

ost famous of these ersatz hostage situations is probably the Mossad [allegedly Muslim of course] ‘beheading’ of Nicholas Berg, an unarmed prisoner who had not been sentenced to death by a court.

Though we ‘Judeo-Christians’ in the west arbitrarily murder unarmed and unconvicted men on government orders without fear of serious repercussions [e.g. Panama, Colombia, Serbia, Palestine, Iraq et al ] , it is far different for those operating under even the most basic form of Islamic Law in a secular country like Iraq. If a pack of Muslims really was responsible for the murder of Berg, its members would themselves be ruthlessly hunted down, tried, convicted, and then legally executed by their own authorities.

Deliberate hostage taking is not something the Iraqi Resistance engages in, though from time to time it is circumstantially obliged to take prisoners for limited periods, normally to cover the withdrawal of its own forces from a combat area. Most famous of these is probably Thomas Hamill, a 43-year-old truck driver from Mississippi.

By his own account, Thomas Hamill’s broken arm was properly dressed by his Republican Guard captors, who did not torture, threaten or intimidate him in any way. Hamill was given an equal share of their meagre rations to eat, and later allowed to ‘escape’ in the general direction of an American convoy. The Republican Guard is fighting for the very survival of its sovereign territory, and has no time or food to spare for entertaining American guests.

Though much of this information may come as a surprise to many readers, it is no news at all to the Central Intelligence Agency and the Mossad. Because these two agencies control all of the propaganda ‘false flag’ hostage-taking situations, and because they know very well that the Iraqis do not take hostages at all, the ‘kidnapping’ of Giuliana Sgrena threw them into a spin. Clearly neither the CIA or Mossad had taken her, yet there she was on television pleading for Italian forces to be removed from Iraq.

Naturally enough, coalition partner Italy knew how the CIA/Mossad false flag ‘hostage’ situations worked, and had actively helped the American propaganda along on two occasions in the past.

The first was the joint freeing of Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, two Italian NGO workers kidnapped by the Mossad in September 2004, and the second involved four Italian security operatives kidnapped by the CIA. Lots of excited screams and flash bangs, and massive psychological reinforcement of the myth that all Muslims are “Evil Terrorists”.

But the ‘kidnapping’ of Giuliana Sgrena was entirely different. It did not take long for American snouts to discover that the Italian Intelligence Service was heavily involved in this unique third-party ‘hostage-taking’ situation, but there had been no consultation with coalition partner America. This was decidedly ominous, because the last time communication ceased between ‘partners’ in a foreign land, was when America invaded Somalia, and we all know what happened to American forces in Somalia after that.

Sgrena Detained to Document Fallujah Atrocities
Finally coming to their senses, the Americans realised that Italian Intelligence had managed to engineer the very gentle ‘kidnapping’ of Giuliana Sgrena by none other than the Republican Guard, who were filling her head, her notebook, and her camera with hard proof of American war crimes in Iraq (especially in Fallujah), while Nicola Calipari liaised unseen in the background. It is most unlikely that Sgrena knew the true identity of her ‘captors’, but she must have realised that she was being used as a credible conduit to the outside world.

Viewed through American eyes, Nicola Calipari was not only a spy and a traitor, but had seemingly also recruited one of the most dangerous journalists in Europe. Though Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi personally owns and controls the biggest media empire in Italy, he certainly does not own or control the Communist daily newspaper Il Manifesto, for whom Giuliana Sgrena works.

There seems little doubt that Giuliana Sgrena was cynically using Nicola Calipari, and he was equally cynically using her, in what might best be described as a makeshift marriage of convenience, where each apparently remembered the old adage, “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.”

Giuliana was in Iraq essentially on behalf of the more than ninety-percent of Italian citizens who want their 3,000 troops removed from Iraq for humanitarian reasons, and Nicola was in Iraq on behalf of powerful “Old European” and other bureaucrats who also want those 3,000 troops sent home, though for slightly different reasons.

Since both groups desired the same end result, it is not surprising that the micro Calipari-Sgrena coalition was formed.

Most European intelligence agencies have powerful factions that want their own sovereign troops removed from Iraq immediately, and Italy is no different fom any other.

Thus before his death, Nicola Calipari, Deputy Director of anti-Mafia operations for Italian external intelligence, headed one of the most powerful factions of all. To him fell the direct task of getting 3,000 Italian soldiers home alive to their families, against the express orders of his ‘democratically elected’ Prime Minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi.

Sgrena Used by Italian Intelligence to Sabotage Berlosconi
By deliberately inserting Giuliana Sgrena into the Republican Guard, Calipari was doing the only thing dynamic enough to drive Italians out onto the streets again to demand the return of their troops. Nicola Calipari knew very well that the Italian Intelligence Service could never go public and demand the return of the soldiers, because ordinary Italians would immediately smell a trap, though in reality there was none.

Giuliana Sgrena was an entirely different matter. She was well known, respected, and had unquestioned credibility — especially after she returned home with accurate and terrifying details of American war crimes against the women and children of sovereign Iraq.

There were the awesome cluster bombs that had laid waste entire villages; giant AC130 gunships which rained death through the open windows of civilian houses, and lauging soldiers who burst into private homes to strip-search or machine gun the occupants. All of this and more in the sacred name of ‘democracy’ — New York style.

Once more, driven on by the vivid images painted by Giuliana Sgrena, furious Italians would stalk the streets of Rome, demanding that ‘New York Toady’ Silvio Berlusconi bring the soldiers home from Iraq, and this time around, Berlusconi might be forced to comply. Nicola Calipari had made an inspired choice, but word had leaked out to both Bush and Berlusconi. The two elderly war criminals decided that the only way out of the mess, would be to kill both Sgrena and Calipari before they could actually leave Iraq.

How Calipari’s Vehicle Was Targeted
George W. Bush did not actually sigh a “kill order” of course, but got on the hot line to Langley, Virginia, where there are plenty of two-bit murderers who know exactly what to do, and how to do it. In fact, the answer turned out to be quite easy.

Nicola Calipari would be able to transport Giuliana Sgrena alone from a Republican Guard safe house just west of the “Green Zone” in Baghdad, but would then be vulnerable as he transited the American-controlled Baghdad airport on the way to a waiting Italian helicopter. There lay the critical window of opportunity, and the CIA rapidly assembled a kill team.

In her own way and in her own words, Giuliana Sgrena has personally verified that her hosts were Republican Guard rather than “Terrorists” or “Insurgents”, though at the time she might not have realised the implications of what she was saying, after arriving home wounded and dazed in Italy.

Italy’s La Stampa daily newspaper reported that Sgrena confirmed on Sunday she had been voluntarily released by her kidnappers. “They (the kidnappers) never treated me badly but I wish things had gone better last night [at the airport ] ,” the exhausted journalist told colleagues of left-wing daily Il Manifesto who greeted her inside the plane.

Most crucial of all was the statement that Giuliana, “had been warned by her captors that the Americans didn’t want her to get out of Iraq.” Apart from the Americans themselves, the only people in Iraq who could possibly have received intercepted electronic fragments of the plan to kill her, would be the Republican Guard via its active contacts at Russian GRU Sigint (Signals Intelligence). At present, only the Russians can crack American codes.

Despite the overwhelming publicity after her return to Italy, Giuliana Sgrena is not yet out of danger. One of the Italian Prime Minister’s privately owned media outlets put it rather coyly like this: “An Italian Cabinet member urged Sgrena, who writes for a communist newspaper that routinely opposes US policy in Iraq, to be cautious in her accounts and said the shooting would not affect Italy’s support for the Bush administration.”

The statement was factually correct, but the media outlet discreetly forgot to mention the name of the “Cabinet member” who warned Sgrena, which, when you come to think about it, is a very strange omissiion. So, why make the omission at all?

Perhaps the omission was made because the Cabinet member involved was Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi himself, who also happens to own the media outlet, and thus controls all staff jobs and pensions.

Berlusconi is a bully who has no time at all for truth in reporting, and his employees swiftly learn that their job is to broadcast only what he tells them to broadcast.

Asking why George W. Bush felt entitled to order the deaths of Nicola Calipari and Giuliana Sgrena is pretty much a waste of time. At his morning prayer meetings in the White House, George frequently hints that his Talmudic God has given him permission to kill whoever he likes whenever he likes, in an ongoing ‘holy crusade’ to bring ‘democracy’ (Wall Street hegemony and slavery) to the ‘autocratic’ and ‘dictatorial’ people of the Middle East.

By any reasonable psychological standard, George W. Bush is barking mad — the sad product of basic intellectual weakness, an inability to fly Air National Guard jets, premature ejaculation, and creeping but unstoppable megalomania. He is surrounded by obsequious fools including that “brilliant mind” Condoleeza Rice (New York Times), who by her criminal incompetence as National Security Advisor, has brought America to its economic knees. If this is brilliance, how much more of it can America afford?

Though European politicians like Blair of Britain and Berlusconi of Italy are adoring fans of George and his ‘religious enlighenment’, increasing numbers of hard-headed European bureaucrats are not. Their intelligence officers in particular have seen the unspeakable level of American savagery in Iraq, and in turn have increasing worries about long term security in Europe and the Middle East.

The Europeans are no strangers to war crimes, and comitted thousands of their own during the colonial era, but the problem here is one of scale. Chopping a few hundred colonial natives for disobedience was bad enough, but not in the same class as murdering more than 45,000 Iraqi women and children with custom-designed fragmentation bomblets, and laying waste the entire City of Mosques (Fallujah) with every heavy weapon known to man. Joe Stalin would have been proud, but the European intelligence agencies are not amused.

Calipari’s Real Mission
Though it took a long time, the European agencies finally came to realize what the Russians already knew before the first American soldier crossed the Crusader ‘start line’ in Kuwait: Iraq was a heavily baited trap designed to utterly destroy America and the Jewish State, and the only hope for the future of Europe and the Middle East together, was direct dialogue between European agents and the legitimate Government of Iraq, in this case represented by the commanders of the Republican Guard.

This was what Nicola Calipari’s mission was all about. First re-establish a dialogue and working relationship with the Republican Guard, and then find a way of getting Italy’s troops home to their families by bringing intolerable public pressure to bear on Berlusconi. Though it is sadly posthumous, Calipari’s mission can be justifiably claimed a success.

Nor is Calipari the only European agent who has talked to the Republican Guard. By mid-2005, all of the Europeans will be out of Iraq, and the only people stupid enough to send more sacrificial troops into the killing fields for America, are dim-witted obsequious Australian politicians in Canberra.

The Europeans have only just acted in time. George is now in crusader overdrive, blindly ordering Syria to pull its troops out of Lebanon, supported only by a thousand flag-waving Maronite Christians in Beirut, each paid $50.00 per day by the frightened Jewish State to attend this phony demonstration for ‘democracy’. Bush then completely ignores the counter demonstration by 250,000 unpaid Lebanese, all telling him in no uncertain terms to “F… Off”, and “Stay out of our country….”

Life is never easy for a former combat veteran living on a miniscule disabity pension, but mine has been made a great deal harder by sustained Internet denial of service attacks, defamation and in some cases complete bans by Yahoo, PayPal, 2Checkout.com, Rense, Rumor Mill and others.

Such attacks and bans cause me to switch or add servers, change email addresses, and laboriously update or replace old reports. All such ploys are designed to slow me down severely, and deliberately reduce my ability to analyze and report media disinformation in a timely manner.

If you appreciate these reports and would like to assist financially, my address is “J. Vialls”, 45 Merlin Drive, Carine, Western Australia 6020. Thank you for caring.

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