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Al Jazeera (English)
    Baghdad Burning Blog
(by Riverbend, an Iraqi civilian girl)
            Dahr Jamail's Blog from Baghdad
                Imad Khadduri's blog "Free Iraq" (scroll down for English version)

Iraqi Civilian Deaths ... caused by Bush's unprovoked war

This site Web
 War on Iraq Archives    War on Iraq [Home]
What Bodies? . . . U.S. Government control of the media
(Patrick J. Sloyan, AlterNet, November 25, 2002)
Daniel and the rest of the world would not find out until months later why the dead had vanished. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers, some of them alive and firing their weapons from World War I-style trenches, were buried by plows mounted on Abrams main battle tanks. The Abrams flanked the trench lines so that tons of sand from the plow spoil funneled into the trenches. Just behind the tanks, actually straddling the trench line, came M2 Bradleys pumping 7.62mm machine gun bullets into the Iraqi troops. . . . "I came through right after the lead company," said Army Col. Anthony Moreno, who commanded the lead brigade during the 1st Mech's assault. "What you saw was a bunch of buried trenches with people's arms and legs sticking out of them. For all I know, we could have killed thousands." . . . What happened at the Neutral Zone that day has become a metaphor for the conduct of modern warfare. While political leaders bask in voter approval for destroying designated enemies, they are increasingly determined to mask the reality of warfare that causes voters to recoil. . . . On Bush's orders, the Pentagon banned future news coverage of honor guard ceremonies for the dead. The ban was continued by President Bill Clinton. . . . "I did not look on the press as an asset," Cheney said in an interview after Desert Storm. . . . Frankly, I looked on it as a problem to be managed," . . . This management had two key ingredients: Control the flow of information through high level briefings while impeding reporters such as Leon Daniel. According to Cheney, he and Army Gen. Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, orchestrated the briefings because "the information function was extraordinarily important. I did not have a lot of confidence that I could leave that to the press." . . . So when the air war began in January 1991, the media was fed carefully selected footage by Schwarzkopf in Saudi Arabia and Powell in Washington, DC. Most of it was downright misleading. . . . Just as distorted were Schwarzkopf's claims of destruction of Iraqi Scud missiles. After the war, studies by Army and Pentagon think tanks could not identify a single successful interception of a Scud warhead by the U.S. Army's Patriot antimissile system. U.S. Air Force attacks on Scud launch sites were portrayed as successful by Schwarzkopf. . . . In manipulating the first and often most lasting perception of Desert Storm, the Bush administration produced not a single picture or video of anyone being killed. This sanitized, bloodless presentation by military briefers left the world presuming Desert Storm was a war without death. . . . That image was reinforced by limitations imposed on reporters on the battlefield. . . . When a Scud missile eventually hit American troops during the ground war, reporters raced to the scene. The 1,000 pound warhead landed on a makeshift barracks for Pennsylvania national guard troops near the Saudi seaport of Dahran. Scott Applewhite, a photographer for the Associated Press, was one of the first on the scene. There were more than 25 dead bodies and 70 badly wounded. . . . As Applewhite photographed the carnage, he was approached by U.S. Military Police who ordered him to leave. He produced credentials that entitled him to be there. But the soldiers punched Applewhite, handcuffed him and ripped the film from his cameras. More than 70 reporters were arrested, detained, threatened at gunpoint and literally chased from the frontlines when they attempted to defy Pentagon rules.
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posted by Lorenzo 12:08 PM

Gulf Wars, Episode II poster by Mad Magazine
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posted by Lorenzo 2:57 PM

U.S. officials: Iraq ordered nerve gas antidote
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States was conferring with Turkey and other countries after learning that Iraq had ordered more than 1 million doses of atropine -- a drug used to counter the effects of nerve gas, Bush administration officials said Tuesday. Atropine is commonly used by hospitals to treat heart conditions and other medical problems, but authorities said the number of doses ordered by Iraq drew suspicions. Observers are concerned that Iraq may want the drug to provide protection for its forces against exposure to nerve agents. Speaking after a meeting with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, Secretary of State Colin Powell said it was not clear whether Baghdad had received any of the orders it placed for atropine. He said the United States was in touch with "any parties that might be a supplier." A senior State Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Iraq had requested 1.25 million doses of the drug and had contacted other countries to place orders.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 8:24 AM

Iraq Can Make Chemical Weapons That Penetrate U.S. Protective Gear
By Matt Kelley Associated Press Writer - Published: Nov 17, 2002
WASHINGTON (AP) - Iraqi scientists know how to make chemical weapons that can penetrate military protective clothing, and Iraq imported up to 25 metric tons last month of a powder that is a crucial ingredient to such "dusty" weapons.
Iraq told the United Nations the powder was destined for a pharmaceutical company that a former weapons inspector says was ordered by President Saddam Hussein before the 1991 Persian Gulf War to work on chemical and biological weapons. The powder, sold under the brand name Aerosil, has particles so small that, when coated with deadly poisons, they can pass through the tiniest gaps in protective suits. Experts inside and outside the U.S. government say they are not certain Iraq has dusty chemical weapons. Declassified U.S. intelligence documents say Iraq produced a dusty form of the blister agent mustard in the 1980s and used it during its eight-year war with Iran.

U.N. documents show that Iraq's Samarra Drugs Industry sought 25 metric tons of Aerosil last year under the U.N.-run oil-for-food program, and at least some of that order was delivered last month. American intelligence agencies were not overly worried about the shipment of Aerosil because the substance has many legitimate uses. Richard Spertzel, a former chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, was stunned when a reporter told him about the shipment. Saddam ordered the Samarra enterprise to work on chemical and biological weapons in 1989, and his government still controls the company, Spertzel said. "Do you know how much (dusty agent) a kilogram of that stuff makes? A couple cubic feet," Spertzel said. "This gives me another thing to worry about." Hasmik Egian, a spokeswoman for the U.N. oil-for-food program, confirmed that Iraq received a shipment of colloidal silicon dioxide in October. Egian would not identify the brand name, source or amount of the silicon dioxide delivered.

The sale was held up for three weeks by the U.N. commission that oversees the oil-for-food program, Egian said. That commission, whose members include the United States, decided colloidal silicon dioxide was not a banned substance and allowed the transaction, Egian said.

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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 7:06 AM

"Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY."
- Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 1:55 PM

1 in 3 say Bush is biggest threat
Patrick Wintour and Ewen MacAskill
Thursday November 14, 2002 - The Guardian
President George Bush is seen by a third of Britons as a bigger threat to world safety than Saddam Hussein, according to a new poll conducted by a senior US Republican and due to be broadcast today. But most of those questioned by the polling organisation You.Gov say they remain open minded, and ready to be convinced about the justification for an attack on Iraq. The weighted poll of 3,200 people throughout the country was conducted for Channel 4 by Robert Lunz, a senior Republican strategist, based on the You.Gov sample. Similar polling has been undertaken by Downing Street as it contemplates how to sell a war on Iraq. The Channel 4 poll found that a third of the British public have no trust at all in Mr Bush, and many actually fear him. In a straight choice between Mr Bush and President Saddam as to who poses the greater threat to world peace, 32% said Mr Bush and 49% said President Saddam. Almost half see Mr Blair as Mr Bush's lapdog, with the figure even higher among the under-30s.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 1:39 PM

After Saddam: Fledgling states, oceans of oil
By Francesco Sisci - Asia Times Online
BEIJING - The ongoing controversy between the United States and its allies over whether to make war on Iraq is in many respects out of date. The war is already on, and the real issue is not whether to wage it but how to win it. The war began the moment the United States declared that it was going to overthrow Saddam Hussein. It was already bombing Iraq's two no-fly zones but, most important, it was cordoning off Saddam politically and preparing for his demise. To stop the war after months of relentless propaganda against Saddam's government would be to lose the war. In fact, Saddam would be emboldened to step up his rearmament campaign. More important, backing off now would give greater sway to the anti-US hardliners in Saudi Arabia and Iran. And in fact the real target of the war on Iraq is not Iraq itself but Saudi Arabia. By toppling Saddam, the United States will gain control of the Iraqi and Kuwaiti oil reserves, shielding itself from the Saudi threat of raising oil prices and thus choking the already shaky Western economies. As well, with its hands on Kuwaiti and Iraqi oil, Washington will be in a better position to influence the power struggle in Saudi Arabia over the succession, and to make sure the anti-US elements there who armed and supported al-Qaeda's terrorists are eliminated. Iran would also feel the pinch of the US presence in Iraq, though here it is more difficult to assess whether the moderates would be able to use this new US presence to increase the pace of reforms, or whether the radicals would successfully wave the flag of a US threat. The unanswered question is: Couldn't Saudi Arabia be pressured into toeing the US line without waging a risky war on Iraq? The United States in effect controls Saudi security; it should have been easier to use existing US clout to force the Saudis' hand than to start a war with Iraq.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 12:05 PM

US oil at the heart of Iraq crisis
By Neil Mackay - The Sunday Herald
President Bush's Cabinet agreed in April 2001 that 'Iraq remains a destabilising influence to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East' and because this is an unacceptable risk to the US 'military intervention' is necessary.
Vice-president Dick Cheney, who chairs the White House Energy Policy Development Group, commissioned a report on 'energy security' from the Baker Institute for Public Policy, a think-tank set up by James Baker, the former US secretary of state under George Bush Snr. The report, Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century, concludes: 'The United States remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma. Iraq remains a de- stabilising influence to ... the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East. Saddam Hussein has also demonstrated a willingness to threaten to use the oil weapon and to use his own export programme to manipulate oil markets. Therefore the US should conduct an immediate policy review toward Iraq including military, energy, economic and political/ diplomatic assessments. 'The United States should then develop an integrated strategy with key allies in Europe and Asia, and with key countries in the Middle East, to restate goals with respect to Iraqi policy and to restore a cohesive coalition of key allies.' Baker who delivered the recommendations to Cheney, the former chief executive of Texas oil firm Halliburton, was advised by Kenneth Lay, the disgraced former chief executive of Enron, the US energy giant which went bankrupt after carrying out massive accountancy fraud.

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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 11:55 AM

US training Iraqis to run post-Saddam government
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington - 15 November 2002
The Bush administration has been quietly training scores of civil servants to oversee the transformation of the Iraqi economy in the aftermath of military strikes. The effort is said to have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. A private consultancy firm, contracted by the State Department, has been training Iraqi exiles in economics, accountancy and finance in preparation for restructuring the country's state-controlled system into a Western, market-driven economy.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 9:18 AM

FBI issues confidential terror alert
November 15, 2002
WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence agencies came under renewed attack in Congress on Thursday for failing to find Osama bin Laden, with the increasing certainty that he is still alive prompting senior Democratic senators to brand the effort to dismantle al-Qaida as a failure. As even Bush administration officials took the FBI to task for a warning issued on Wednesday about possible attacks on hospitals, the FBI on Thursday issued a vague and alarming alert to state and local law enforcement agencies warning that this week’s message from bin Laden, intelligence reports and recent overseas strikes by al-Qaida had raised the threat of “spectacular attacks” in the United States. “In selecting its next targets,” the FBI alert said, “sources suggest al-Qaida may favor spectacular attacks that meet several criteria: high symbolic value, mass casualties, severe damage to the U.S. economy, and maximum psychological trauma. The highest priority targets remain within the aviation, petroleum, and nuclear sectors as well as significant national landmarks.” Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, charged that the Bush administration has been distracted from the fight against terrorism by the preparation for a possible invasion of Iraq. “They are so focused on Iraq that they aren’t paying adequate attention to the war on terror,” he said in an interview. Graham added that U.S. intelligence should undertake a crash program to identify and take action against terrorist threats in advance of any military action in Iraq “before the threat level truly does spike when we don’t have enough time.”

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Thursday underscored concerns that the United States could face increased dangers of terrorist attack if President Bush orders military action against Iraq.

*****Well - Duh!!?!***** Is this a contra-indication of power or just plain old arrogance?
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 9:02 AM

U.S. a menace to world: Chomsky
Naom Chomsky, America's popular political dissident and conspiracy theorist, has countered Bush's triade of evil. It is not North Korea, Iraq and Iran, Chomsky told an audience of a thousand at a Bloor Street United Church in Toronto yesterday. The real axis of evil, he proclaimed, is the USA, Israel and Turkey. According to him the real axis of evil may be plotting the takeover of the Middle East as you read this article. He envisions an Ottomanized region of sorts controlled from an Israeli Jerusalem with the USA calling the shots.

By Patrick Corrigan/Toronto Star
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 6:13 PM

Sean Penn takes out anti-war ad
(Entertainment Index, October 21, 2002)
Actor Sean Penn on Friday weighed in on the international debate over a possible war with Iraq, paying for a $56 000 advertisement in the Washington Post accusing President Bush of stifling debate and threatening civil liberties. . . . "I beg you, help save America before yours is a legacy of shame and horror," Penn wrote, echoing voices of caution from around the world that have called for a measured response to allegations Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction. . . . Penn (42), said Bush was marginalising critics, manipulating the media and promoting fear. . . . Those actions and "your administration's deconstruction of civil liberties all contradict the very core of the patriotism you claim," wrote Penn.

Full Text of Penn's letter to Bush
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posted by Lorenzo 1:19 PM

Forced Vaccines Haunt Gulf Vets
By Elliot Borin
It was, the doctor at the Long Beach Veteran's Administration Hospital said, an incidental finding. A little gray smudge on the X-ray, a blob next to the pituitary gland. Six months later, University of California at Los Angeles surgeons worked six hours to sever a tumor from the brain of a muscular, 25-year-old ex-Special Forces Ranger and Gulf War veteran. The costly surgery was performed at UCLA, the patient said, because VA doctors denied that the "incidental finding" caused his excruciating, unremitting headaches. He blamed Army-administered drugs for the tumor. And his girlfriend said there were other "side effects" of his service in the Gulf, including increased agitation and sperm that "burned."

"We had a third day of shots before we went over (to the Gulf)," said the ex-Ranger, who requested anonymity because his Army Reserve commitment has yet to expire. "Guys in other units only had two, but most Rangers had three. They wouldn't tell us what they were for." Are this young man and tens of thousands of other veterans suffering from Gulf War sickness victims of coincidences beyond the Pentagon's control? Or are they casualties of a government that trampled both the Nuremberg Code and its own policies against forced medical experimentation? Ruling in the 1947 trial of 23 Nazi doctors and medical administrators charged with crimes against humanity during World War II, judges of the American Tribunal in Nuremberg set forth 10 conditions for permissible medical experiments. In a February 1953 directive, Defense Secretary Charles Wilson established what is still the "law of the land" governing such experimentation. Consistent with the Nuremberg Code, the directive's cornerstone is voluntary consent. "The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential," Wilson wrote, ordering that such consent be given in writing before at least one witness. Wilson also banned use of "force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion" in obtaining consent. Did the Pentagon obey this directive during the Gulf War? According to Dr. Jane M. Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, it did not.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 6:49 PM

War plans under fire as even Bush heartland talks peace
(The Observer, October 20, 2002)
As the United States edges towards a possible war against Iraq, a sudden torrent of concern has begun to flow - a revolt by the intelligentsia spreading beyond the expected opposition political circles and penetrating the heart of the media and foreign policy establishment. . . . From New York to the plains of Kansas, local and provincial papers, glossy magazines, serious periodicals and heavyweight national dailies have carried a range of articles and essays that challenge not only the proposed war, but the notion and conduct of unilateral American power in the world. . . . The latest salvo came on Friday from the unimpeachable New York Review of Books in an article by one of the country's leading commentators, Anthony Lewis, arguing that a regime change in Iraq could be 'the first step towards a new American imperium'. Meanwhile, wrote Lewis, 'the fear of looking unpatriotic inhibits dissent'. . . . Sontag wrote: 'Real wars are not metaphors _ they have a beginning and an end_ But the war that has been declared by the Bush administration will never end. That is one sign that it is not a war, but, rather, a mandate for expanding the use of American power.' . . . Fareed Zakaria is a pillar of the American foreign policy establishment, an instinctive conservative, former confidante of the National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and previously editor of the journal Foreign Affairs . In the current New Yorker , Zakaria warns of the perils of a unipolar world in which America is the sole power. He urges the US to 'gain the legitimacy that comes through an international consensus. Without this cloak of respectability America will face a growing hostility around the world.' . . . Thomas Friedman of the New York Times , seen by many as one of the conservative apologists for any strategy that backs Israel, also joined the opposition fray. 'Iraq cannot prevent an American victory. But it might be able to extend a war over weeks and months, imposing significant costs and putting on a bloody show for the rest of the world.'
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posted by Lorenzo 5:02 PM

Iraq war 'unjustifiable', says Bush's church head
(Ed Vulliamy, The Observer, October 20, 2002)
President George Bush's own Methodist church has launched a scathing attack on his preparations for war against Iraq, saying they are 'without any justification according to the teachings of Christ'. . . . Winkler is general secretary of the Board of Church and Society for the United Methodist church, which counts the President and the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, among its members. The church represents eight to nine million regular churchgoers and is the third biggest in America. . . . The Methodist Church, he says, is not pacifist, but 'rejects war as a usual means of national policy'. Methodist scriptural doctrine, he added, specifies 'war as a last resort, primarily a defensive thing. And so far as I know, Saddam Hussein has not mobilised military forces along the borders of the United States, nor along his own border to invade a neighbouring country, nor have any of these countries pleaded for our assistance, not does he have weapons of mass destruction targeted at the United States'.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:58 PM

Short of a coup against Saddam, war this winter is inevitable
(Fergal Keane, The Independent, 26, October 2002)
Meetings of men in suits speaking through translators make for remarkably dull television, as anybody who has tried to cover EU deliberations will tell you. But these men are debating the prospect of a war that could have huge ramifications for all of us, not least the citizens of America whose representatives are forcing the Security Council towards a moment of decision. The absence of television coverage probably suits the Bush White House for it prevents Americans from understanding the depth of international opposition to the planned war. . . . Opponents of war have seized crumbs of comfort from statements by Powell and Condoleeza Rice that getting rid of the weapons of mass destruction was the US priority, as well as the assertion by George Bush that if the regime changed its ways that would amount to regime change. Forget it. That was disingenuous weekend spin designed to mollify the other Security Council members. Preparations for war might be discreet, but they are still going on. . . . The administration is convinced that Saddam will refuse to disarm. . . . The Iraqi leader has repeatedly insisted that he has no weapons of mass destruction. How, then, can he possibly disarm? You cannot hand over what you say you don't have. . . . If nothing is found, Bush and Blair will face unprecedented humiliation. This is a very unlikely scenario. More probable is Mr Blix will find evidence, forcing Saddam to admit he was a liar and humiliating him in front of the Arab world. . . . The most important lesson of the post-11 September world is that when America decides it has a clear national interest America will act – with or without the rest of us.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:52 PM

Former CBS Anchor Walter Cronkite Warns Iraq War Will Ignite WWIII
(Christopher Ferrell, theEagle.com, October 28, 2002)
Walter Cronkite, the veteran newsman who covered almost every major world event that took place during his six-decade career, on Sunday warned that if the United States takes action against Iraq without support from the United Nations it could set the stage for World War III. . . . "I see the possibility if we do that of really setting forth World War III." . . . If the United States goes in without worldwide support, however, other countries in the region such as Iran and Pakistan could retaliate against the U.S., Cronkite said. He said the threat of nuclear exchanges between India and Pakistan could be increased if a conflict arises. . . . Cronkite said he fears Americans are learning less and less about what their government is doing, and worse, they do not seem to care. . . . “That means we don’t have a democracy,” he said. “We’ve got an oligarchy here, not a democracy. Our democracy is in some danger if we don’t concentrate on educating the populace.” . . . Since the Vietnam War, Cronkite said, the media has not been allowed to take its cameras, pencils and notepads into the field with the soldiers to give an accurate account of what is happening. . . . During World War II, reporters were in fox holes, and during the Vietnam War they were on the battlefields. . . . “[In past conflicts], you wrote it to be the history,” he said. “We have no history now of the Persian Gulf War. We have only what the military reporters wrote and that’s what their bosses told them. That’s not good enough.”
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posted by Lorenzo 4:40 PM

The Impossible War
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
[Posted November 5, 2002]

The War on Terror is impossible, not in the sense that it cannot cause immense amounts of bloodshed and destruction and loss of liberty, but in the sense that it cannot finally achieve what it is suppose to achieve, and will only end in creating more of the same conditions that led to its declaration in the first place. In other words, it is a typical government program, costly and unworkable, like socialism, like the War on Poverty, like every other attempt by the government, which has no tool at its disposal apart from coercion, to shape reality according to its own designs. The next time Bush gets up to make his promises of the amazing things he will achieve through force of arms, how the world will be bent and shaped by his administration, think of Stalin speaking at the 15th Party Congress, promising "further to promote the development of our country's national economy in all branches of production." Everyone applauded, and tens of thousands of landowners and factory managers were shot pursuant to that goal, but in the end, even if he did not know it, it was impossible to achieve.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 10:23 AM

Carve-up of oil riches begins
Sunday November 3, 2002 - The Observer

The leader of the London-based Iraqi National Congress, Ahmed Chalabi, has met executives of three US oil multinationals to negotiate the carve-up of Iraq's massive oil reserves post-Saddam. Disclosure of the meetings in October in Washington - confirmed by an INC spokesman - comes as Lord Browne, the head of BP, has warned that British oil companies have been squeezed out of post-war Iraq even before the first shot has been fired in any US-led land invasion. Confirming the meetings to US journalists, INC spokesman Zaab Sethna said: 'The oil people are naturally nervous. We've had discussions with them, but they're not in the habit of going around talking about them.' Next month oil executives will gather at a country retreat near Sandringham to discuss Iraq and the future of the oil market. The conference, hosted by Sheikh Yamani, the former Oil Minister of Saudi Arabia, will feature a former Iraqi head of military intelligence, an ex-Minister and City financiers. Topics for discussion include the country's oil potential, whether it can become as big a supplier as Saudi Arabia, and whether a post-Saddam Iraq might destroy the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Disclosure of talks between the oil executives and the INC - which enjoys the support of Bush administration officials - is bound to exacerbate friction on the UN Security Council between permanent members and veto-holders Russia, France and China, who fear they will be squeezed out of a post-Saddam oil industry in Iraq. Although Russia, France and China have existing deals with Iraq, Chalabi has made clear that he would reward the US for removing Saddam with lucrative oil contracts, telling the Washington Post recently: 'American companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil.' Indeed, the issue of who gets their hands on the world's second largest oil reserves has been a major factor driving splits in the Security Council over a new resolution on Iraq. If true, it is hardly surprising, given the size of the potential deals. As of last month, Iraq had reportedly signed several multi-billion-dollar deals with foreign oil companies, mainly from China, France and Russia.

***Well, that answers a lot of questions, I guess.*****
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 7:01 AM

Allies Find No Links Between Iraq, Al Qaeda
November 4, 2002
By Sebastian Rotella, Times Staff Writer

PARIS -- As the Bush administration prepares for a possible military attack on Iraq that it describes as the next logical step in its war on terror, some of its strongest front-line allies in that war dispute Washington's allegations that the Baghdad regime has significant ties to Al Qaeda. In recent interviews, top investigative magistrates, prosecutors, police and intelligence officials who have been fighting Al Qaeda in Europe said they are concerned about attempts by President Bush and his aides to link Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden's terror network.

"We have found no evidence of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda," said Jean-Louis Bruguiere, the French judge who is the dean of the region's investigators after two decades fighting Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorists. "And we are working on 50 cases involving Al Qaeda or radical Islamic cells. I think if there were such links, we would have found them. But we have found no serious connections whatsoever."

******this site requires registration, which is free
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 10:15 AM

Saudi Foreign Minister: Kingdom Will Not Allow Use of Its Territory to Attack Iraq
Monday, November 04, 2002

CAIRO, Egypt — Saudi Arabia will not allow bases on its soil to be used for an attack on Iraq even if the United Nations authorizes military action, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said in an interview broadcast Sunday. Saudi Arabia earlier ruled out the use of its territory for unilateral U.S. action against Iraq, but had indicated it would cooperate in some way if the U.N. Security Council approved. In the interview, however, Saud said more clearly that Saudi cooperation would not include permitting use of its territory for strikes against Iraq. "We will cooperate with the Security Council, but as to entering the conflict or using the facilities as part of the conflict, that is something else," Saud said. Pressed about whether Saudi bases could be used, he gave a definite "no." In Washington, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer refused to comment on the interview.

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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 8:37 AM

Some Nagging Questions
(Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom Foundation, October 29, 2002)
When and how did Iraq graduate from being merely a member of the Axis of Evil (with Iran and North Korea) in January to being “unique” in October? In his Cincinnati speech Mr. Bush said, “Iraq is unique,” but offered no explanation for the change in status. . . . If U.S. war planners are counting on Hussein to rationally abstain from using chemical and biological weapons for fear of the consequences during the coming war, why don’t they count on him to do so without a war? . . . When Mr. Bush said the congressional resolution he seeks “does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable,” did he realize he was confessing that it violates the Constitution, which delegates the war-declaring power exclusively to Congress? . . . When the administration released the new Bush doctrine calling for preemptive war and U.S. global domination, did the president’s handlers mean to let the curtain be pulled aside so far? Or did they assume we wouldn’t notice because we’re as dumb as they think we are?
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posted by Lorenzo 3:28 PM

Wake Up Everyone! It's All About Oil
The Iraqi National Congress, the main Iraqi opposition group in exile, has already made it known that they will open Iraq's oil reserves to the large U.S. oil companies. Also, they have stated that they may cancel the current French and Russian oil contracts. Now if France and Russia are going to lose their sweet oil deals with Iraq when the Bush-Cheny junta invades the oil fields, what consessions do you suppose the U.S. is making to France and Russia to get them to approve the blank check Bush is demanding from the U.N.? I fear that the world is once again being carved up behind closed doors.
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posted by Lorenzo 10:12 AM

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