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European States Rule Out Death Penalty in Wartime
(Bryan Bradley, Reuters, April 3, 2002)
European states tightened a ban on capital punishment Friday, agreeing to rule out its use in times of war . . . "The Council of Europe was already proud to have banished the death penalty in peacetime on a continent where more than 800 million people live," . . . Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, signed in Vilnius, abolishes capital punishment even in cases of war, imminent threat of war or exceptional circumstances. . . . "Protocol No. 13 opens the way to abolishing this barbaric punishment in all circumstances. We hope that this will be a decisive step toward a universal abolition of the death penalty and we shall spare no effort in achieving this," . . . [Editor's Note: China, Saudi Arabia, the United States and Iran are the chief countries using the death penalty. Together they account for at least 88% of all known executions. Since 1973, more than 90 prisoners in the US have been released from Death Row after their innocence was proven. Many had spent several years awaiting execution.]

 

Next time, Mr Blair, you won't carry British Muslims with you
(Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, The Independent, 01 April 2002)
providing factual evidence to show how there is no moral justification for US attacks on Iraq . . . "This is not the war against Taliban and al-Qa'ida. We were right to support Mr Blair. To show him our loyalty, and to help the poor people of Afghanistan. We had to show the world that we do not support terrorists. But now, if they ask me to say yes to the bombing of Iraq, I am so afraid that is not right. No proof, nothing, just to go and bomb. No, I cannot agree. My community will not trust me, you know, if I do that." . . . Whatever the planned topic, Muslims have brought up their feelings about the war against Iraq. Actually I lie. Not only Muslims. I have not met a single Briton of colour who supports this action . . . I am talking of young Muslims in sharp suits who are working in the City, at our major hospitals as doctors, about nouvelle restaurant owners and dynamic entrepreneurs, and a large number of brilliant university academics. Some have never before been engaged in the politics of fervour. . . . They use the internet well; they know that Iraq was already 90 per cent compliant when the US deliberately provoked a new confrontation before imposing sanctions. . . . Men and women are getting in touch to say that they will take to the streets if we go into Iraq. . . . The majority world view sees the US as in the vanguard of sustaining an unjust world order.

 

Europe's Anger at U.S. Reaches Boiling Point
(David S. Broder, Washington Post, March 28, 2002)
The United States has been fighting a war in Afghanistan. It has troops in the field in the Philippines and in Colombia. It is trying to mediate the bloody Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East. The last thing it needs is a quarrel with Europe. But that is exactly what has developed . . . The looming and larger point of conflict is Iraq. And the underlying complaint is that the Bush administration . . . From the European perspective, Washington looks unpredictable, erratic and impulsive - all the things that jar the allies' nerves. . . . The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the European Union is planning to target Florida orange juice and Wisconsin-made motorcycles - hitting two states that were virtual ties in the last presidential election. Their target list also includes steel exports from Pennsylvania and West Virginia and textiles from the Republican political strongholds of North and South Carolina. . . . By hitting electoral college battlegrounds and states with key Senate and House races in November, the Journal said, the EU will strike Bush "where it could hurt the worst: at the ballot box." . . . Americans are being asked: What has happened in the past few months that makes it so imperative to remove Saddam Hussein? Is there any evidence that Iraq was implicated in the Sept. 11 attacks? With whom do you plan to replace Saddam? And what will a war with Iraq mean for Israel, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia? If removing Saddam is vital to America's national interest, how are the interests of the neighboring countries to be protected? . . . The Europeans would like to hear answers to all these questions.

 

Church accuses Blair of 'cruel thirst for vengeance'
(Jonathan Petre, News Telegram, 24/03/2002)
THE Church of England is on a collision course with the Government over Iraq by producing a report for bishops which argues that an attack on Saddam Hussein would be immoral and seen as the "cruel thirst for vengeance". . . . The report, by the Church's Board for Social Responsibility, says that it would be difficult to see how Western military action in Iraq could meet the criteria of being a just war. . . . It adds that the Church would also have "grave concerns" about inter-faith relations in Britain in the wake of an attack on another Muslim country such as Iraq. . . . "An attack on another Muslim country - particularly one with no proven link to the September 11 atrocities - would be taken by many as evidence of an in-built hostility to the Islamic world. . . The consequence for inter-faith relations of an attack on Iraq must therefore be of grave concern."

 

All is not well on the Continent either.
Europe's Right Turn
(Doug Ireland, In These Times, February 28, 2002)
The "Rose Europe" of the '90s -- in which social-democratic governments of the left, or left-center coalitions, held power nearly everywhere in Western Europe -- is coming to an end. . . . But this year's elections on either side of the Rhine threaten to shift the balance of power sharply to the right. . . . If Edmund Stoiber becomes the new German chancellor next fall, there is a grave danger that a new Rome-Berlin-Vienna axis of conservative, nationalist, immigrant-baiters would halt the construction of a federal Europe and roll back the European Union's sterling commitment to human rights. With the dark cloud of racism hanging over the Continent, the future of European social democracy looks increasingly bleak.

 


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