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Turkish Police Seize Weapons-Grade Uranium
September 28, 2002 10:24 AM ET
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish paramilitary police have seized more than 33 pounds of weapons-grade uranium and detained two men accused of smuggling the material, the state-run Anatolian news agency said on Saturday. Officers in the southern province of Sanliurfa, which borders Syria and is about 155 miles from the Iraqi border, were acting on a tip-off when they stopped a taxi cab and discovered the uranium in a lead container hidden beneath the vehicle's seat, the agency said. The incident happens at a time of mounting speculation the United States could launch a military attack on neighboring Iraq for its alleged program of weapons of mass destruction. U.S. President George Bush has accused Baghdad of clandestine efforts to develop a nuclear bomb as his administration works to build international support for an operation to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Officials at Ankara's Atomic Energy Institute would not confirm they had been notified about the material, which Anatolia had reported.
"Our investigation on whether the uranium was destined for a neighboring country is continuing," a Sanliurfa police official was quoted as saying by Anatolian. Police officials in Sanliurfa and Ankara declined to comment on the case. Authorities believe the uranium came from an east European country and has a value of about $5 million, Anatolian said. It was not immediately clear when the operation was carried out. Anatolian only gave the first names of the suspects, which appeared to be Turkish. Smugglers use Turkey's porous eastern border to import drugs, and hundreds of thousands of migrants each year illegally cross the rugged frontier on their way to more affluent European Union nations. Police in Istanbul seized more than 2.2 pounds of weapons-grade uranium last November that had been smuggled into Turkey from an east European nation. The smugglers were detained after attempting to sell the material to undercover police officers.
**Now, wasn't that convenient?? I wonder if Condi burned her fingers? Whoops, sorry, she would never dirty her hands. I wonder what Ollie was doing last week?**
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 5:05 AM
Robert Fisk: The dishonesty of this so-called dossier
(Robert Fisk, The Independent, 25 September 2002)
If the details of Saddam's building of weapons of mass destruction are correct – and I will come to the "ifs" and "buts" and "coulds" later – it means that our massive, obstructive, brutal policy of UN sanctions has totally failed. In other words, half a million Iraqi children were killed by us – for nothing. . . . The Blair "dossier" tells us that, despite sanctions, Saddam was able to go on building weapons of mass destruction. . . . Here is one example of the dishonesty of this "dossier". On page 45, we are told – in a long chapter about Saddam's human rights abuses – that "on March 1st, 1991, in the wake of the Gulf War, riots (sic) broke out in the southern city of Basra, spreading quickly to other cities in Shia-dominated southern Iraq. The regime responded by killing thousands". What's wrong with this paragraph is the lie is in the use of the word "riots". These were not riots. They were part of a mass rebellion specifically called for by President Bush Jnr's father and by a CIA radio station in Saudi Arabia. The Shia Muslims of Iraq obeyed Mr Bush Snr's appeal. And were then left to their fate by the Americans and British, who they had been given every reason to believe would come to their help. No wonder they died in their thousands. But that's not what the Blair "dossier" tells us. . . . Now maybe Saddam has restarted his WMD programme. Let's all say it out loud, 20 times: Saddam is a brutal, wicked tyrant. But are "almost certainly", "appears", "probably" and "if" really the rallying call to send our grenadiers off to the deserts of Kut-al-Amara? . . . So there it is. If these pages of trickery are based on "probably" and "if", we have no business going to war. If they are all true, we murdered half a million Iraqi children. How's that for a war crime?
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posted by Lorenzo 2:09 PM
UPDATE 1-Sen. Daschle says Bush politicizing Iraq issue: (Adds Lott, paragraphs 8-9, Fleischer, paragraphs 10-11, Gephardt, paragraphs 16-18)
WASHINGTON, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Majority Leader Tom Daschle demanded an apology on Wednesday from President George W. Bush for saying the Democratic-led U.S. Senate "is not interested in the security of the American people," arguing that this "outrageous" remark politicized a possible war with Iraq.
Daschle's Democratic colleagues, many of whom have complained that they were being stampeded by Bush into approving the use of force against Iraq, gathered on the Senate floor during the speech and reached out to shake his hand afterward.
"We ought not to politicize this war. We ought not to politicize the rhetoric about life and death," Daschle said in his speech, his voice thick with emotion.
Bush on Monday commented on a bill to establish a department of Homeland Security in response to last year's Sept. 11 attacks that has stalled in the Senate in a dispute over labor rights in the proposed department.
"The House responded, but the Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people," Bush said on Monday.
Breaking the recent veneer of bipartisanship over Iraq, Daschle demanded an apology from Bush to the American people and Senate Democrats.
"You tell those who fought in Vietnam and in World War Two they're not interested in the security of the American people," Daschle said of the numerous Senate Democrats who are war veterans. "That is outrageous, outrageous."
Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, said in a later floor speech that he was "saddened by the tone and tenor" of Daschle's comments, which he called "way over the top, way too shrill."
"The accusations levied against the president of the United States today cannot stand. This is not about unity. That's the worst kind of division," Lott said.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Daschle based his accusations on newspaper accounts using segments of Bush's comments that he said were taken out of context.
"Now is a time for everybody concerned to take a deep breath, to stop finger-pointing, and to work well together to protect our national security and our homeland defense," Fleischer said.
Bush's jab at Democrats came as congressional leaders were negotiating with the White House over a resolution that the president wants to give him a free hand to strike Iraq, which he says threatens the United States and its allies with weapons of mass destruction.
A number of Democrats said the administration has not shown that Iraq poses an immediate threat. They questioned the timing of the push for military action, which has overshadowed the stumbling economy as an issue in the weeks leading up to Nov. 5 elections that will decide what party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate.
"This war strategy seems to have been hatched by a political strategist intent on winning the midterm election at any cost," said Sen. Robert Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat who has been an outspoken opponent of Bush's Iraq policy.
"I've been in this Congress 50 years. I've never seen a president of the United States or a vice president of the United States stoop to such a low level," Byrd said on the Senate floor, following Daschle.
House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, a Missouri Democrat, said he called White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card after Daschle's speech, asking that "we double and redouble our efforts on both sides to pull these issues out of politics."
Gephardt said he agreed with Daschle's statements.
"There is an implied if not a direct effort to pull these issues into the political realm," Gephardt said of the Iraq threat and homeland security.
Gephardt and Daschle, both possible presidential candidates in 2004, have been walking a tightrope on the Iraq issue with Democrats fractured over whether to back Bush, or to insist that the United States act in concert with the United Nations to enforce U.N. requirements that Iraq disarm.
Gephardt has backed Bush's call to oust Saddam. After Bush addressed the United Nations on the issue earlier this month, Daschle was generally supportive and said Congress should move to approve the war-powers resolution.
"I'm still hopeful we can produce a compromise that will accommodate bipartisan support," Daschle said of the resolution. "But as I said on the floor, now I am very concerned the politicization of this issue undermines our effort to do that job right," he told reporters.
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posted by West 4:21 PM
by Scott McPherson, September 23, 2002 - The Future of Freedom Foundation
As President Bush rushes the nation headlong into another foreign war, an important question should be finally and unambiguously answered: What exactly were those old gentlemen talking about in 1787 when they wrote that Congress, not the president, held the power to declare war? Are we to believe that they actually meant what they said? Was the authority to send our armed forces into war against another sovereign nation to lie, not in the hands of a single man, but instead amongst the many representatives and senators in Congress? You bet.
America’s Founding Fathers were no fools. True, they made many mistakes when drafting the Constitution, but whatever their individual or collective failings, these were men who, for the most part, desired to create a system of government unlike any other. They were men who had experienced firsthand the injustices that accompany a powerful monarch, and sought to hamstring the newly created executive branch by sharply limiting its power. Perhaps the most important limitation on the president was the requirement that he secure a congressional declaration of war, not some type of resolution, before leading the nation to war. America’s Founders were deeply interested in “clogging rather than facilitating” the president’s ability to wage war. Thomas Jefferson himself spoke of a “check” on the “dog of war by transferring the power of letting him loose” out of the president’s hands. James Wilson, a member of the Constitutional Convention, said that requiring Congress to approve an act of war meant that it would “not be in the power of a single man ... to involve us in such distress.”
The result of these deliberations was Article 1, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution, which states clearly, “The Congress shall have Power ... To declare War.”
But the last 50 years reflect Congress’s terrible track record in holding presidents to their oaths and upholding the constitutional order. The Korean “police action”; the use of American “advisors” and later combat troops in Vietnam; the invasions of Grenada, Panama, and Somalia, (and the threatened invasion of Haiti); the deploying of forces to Saudi Arabia; intervention in Bosnia, air campaigns against Serbia and Yugoslavia — and now, the likely military assault on Iraq, a country which, like the others, has never having attacked the United States. Each of these military campaigns was conducted right under the nose of the U.S. Congress, with nary a peep of protest against an unconstitutional assumption of power by a succession of presidents. It is high time for Congress to reassert its rightful constitutional role by declaring war against Iraq or not. “Resolutions” are cop-outs, and more important, the Constitution does not authorize them. It is well past time to rein in the ambitions of any president who feels that Congress is, at most, a body to be “consulted,” like the “allies” or his cabinet, when he feels like flexing a little military muscle. The Constitution’s limitations on the president’s war-making abilities should not be casually brushed aside. The Founders knew well the nature of government. War meant more than national glory and foreign conquest — it meant the raising of mighty armies, taxes and public debt, control of domestic industries, interference with free trade, and the curtailment of civil liberties at home. This was no small price to pay, and should only be considered after a rigorous and thorough debate — followed by a vote of the people’s representatives.
Fortunately for us, our Founders foresaw presidents smitten by an overblown sense of their own self-importance and sought to curtail the ego of any one man through constitutional law. There is no time like the present for a resurgence of respect for the letter of the Constitution and a rebirth of a national desire to hold our leaders to its constraints.
Unfortunately, in the vacuum left by Congress’s irresponsible silence, there is hardly anyone speaking for either the people or the Constitution. (Congressman Ron Paul of Texas is a notable exception.) Now a man who would be king is single-handedly dictating the fate of this country. At a time when war is looming, Congress must overcome the mistakes of the past and affirm its legitimate control over the declaration of war once and for all.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 12:46 PM
UK 'sells' bomb material to Iran
Monday, 23 September, 2002, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
British officials have approved the export of key components needed to make nuclear weapons to Iran and other countries known to be developing such weapons. An investigation by BBC Radio 4 programme File on Four will disclose that the Department of Trade and Industry allowed a quantity of the metal, Beryllium, to be sold to Iran last year. That metal is needed to make nuclear bombs. Britain has had an arms embargo to Iran since 1993 and has signed up to an international protocol which bans the sale of Beryllium to named countries, including Iran.
Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, Menzies Campbell, who has been alerted to the BBC programme's material, is said to be extremely alarmed. Beryllium is a metal with a limited number of high-tech uses in civilian industry, but is mostly used in defence applications and is a vital component in a nuclear bomb. The programme has also interviewed a leading nuclear weapons expert in the UK who says that the Beryllium and other items which the DTI has licensed to Iran add up to a shopping list for a nuclear weapons programme. The UK has an arms embargo against Iran, but not a trade embargo.
Export control weaknesses
The programme highlights the weaknesses in the UK's new export control system, which was set up to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It will reveal that Iranian procurement agents have been working in the UK to get sensitive material back to Iran, and that Pakistan has also been successful in procuring material for its nuclear programme from here. It is also likely to cause concern among Britain's allies.
President Bush named Iran as part of an "axis of evil" accusing the Iranian regime of sponsoring terrorism.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 11:13 AM
America, Meet Your Leaders by Harry Browne
Poor President Bush. He apparently wants to invade Iraq more than anything else in the world. And just when he thought he had sufficient support to do so, foreign leaders started backing out. So he went to the UN and gave a stirring speech -- saying Saddam Hussein must allow weapons inspections or the U.S. will invade -- only to have Hussein agree to allow the inspectors in.
If you try to deal with any of the war-mongers claims, they change the subject. . . .
- If you point out that Pakistan (a military dictatorship), India, Russia, China, France, Britain, Israel, and the United States all have "weapons of mass destruction" (including chemical and biological weapons), the war-mongers say, "But Hussein gassed his own people."
- If you point out that Bill Clinton gassed the Branch Davidians at Waco, the war-mongers say, "But Hussein invaded Kuwait."
- If you point out that the U.S. invaded Panama and Grenada -- and has bombed numerous countries that didn't attack the U.S. -- the war-mongers say, "But Hussein operates a brutal dictatorship."
- If you ask if this means we must invade several dozen other countries in the world who are suffering under brutal dictatorships, the war-mongers say, "But Hussein has violated a dozen UN resolutions" (this is usually claimed by someone who doesn't think the UN should even exist).
- If you point out that the U.S. also violates UN resolutions -- and didn't even pay its dues for many years -- the war-mongers say, "But Hussein has weapons of mass destruction," and we've come full circle and can start all over again.
If any of these claims were a truly serious concern, the war-mongers wouldn't be jumping around from one contention to another.
Lies & Damned Lies.... READ MORE-->
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posted by Hal 7:00 PM
Missing the Point: Bush's Speech to the U.N.
by Ted Galen Carpenter - 09/21/02
Ted Galen Carpenter is vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and is the author or editor of 14 books on international affairs including the new book, "Peace & Freedom: Foreign Policy for a Constitutional Republic."
In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, President Bush challenged the world body to enforce the various resolutions that it had passed since 1991 requiring Iraq to unconditionally accept the dismantling of its chemical and biological weapons and nuclear research facilities. If the U.N. proves unwilling or unable to enforce those resolutions, Bush indicated that the United States would take action on its own.
Bush's speech was a classic case of missing the point. The pertinent issue is whether Saddam Hussein poses a serious threat to the security of the United States. If he does, this country is justified in taking whatever steps are necessary to terminate that threat. Whether the U.N. approves of Washington's course is irrelevant. Although it might be desirable to have the U.N.'s endorsement, America's security cannot be held hostage to the vagaries of multilateral diplomacy.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 1:46 PM
Hackworth: Define The Iraqi Threat
(Military.com, September 4, 2002)
Since nobody has yet come up with sufficient justification for our grunts laying their lives on the line, the war gang would do well to slow down and study this brilliant Chinese general's [Sun Tsu's] words as well. . . . By the way, none of these hawks – not one of whom ever wore a soldier suit, even though most were of draft age back during the dark days of Vietnam – or their sons or daughters will be accompanying our warriors on their march to Baghdad. As usual, it will be a war fought by mainly blue-collar Americans with no vested interests in the oil business. . . . Even though many experts say it isn't so, let's buy into Cheney's pitch and agree that Iraq has a few small nuclear warheads. The question then becomes: “Can he land them in New York City or Los Angeles?” The answer is: “No.” . . . During the 50-year Cold War – the good old days through post-9/11 eyes – the Soviets had approximately 50,000 nukes. About half were capable of zipping across our oceans and turning our country into a radiated inferno. But we never took the Sovs out, even when their leader hammered his shoe and warned the United Nations that he was going to bury us. Even when we knew Soviet soldiers had one hand on the nuclear button while the other was holding the bottles of vodka they were slugging down. . . . Our president must bring us equally convincing reasons for going to war with Iraq. And it's going to be a stretch for 43 [Bush Junior] to prove that Iraq's WMD are a clear and present danger to our country when they're apparently not threatening the Middle Eastern states within their range, states whose leaders have so loudly said, “USA, don't use the military solution.”
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posted by Lorenzo 9:11 AM