Wednesday, April 30, 2003

CIA: Syria Harboring More Than 15 Million Known Arabs
'In an alarming report released Monday by the Central Intelligence Agency, Syria may be harboring upwards of 15 million known Arabs within its borders.'

Killings At Falluja - analysis of biased BBC report on the killings
'Another useful rule of thumb that can also be seen to apply to today's report is that honesty about Western atrocities tends to decrease according to the importance of the media outlet. US dissidents have, for example, long received more positive treatment in, say, Canada, than in the US - it really doesn't matter much what writers like Herman and Chomsky say about centres of US power to a Canadian audience. But criticising US power to a US audience, much less to a mass US audience, is far more problematic for policy-makers and so happens far less. In Britain, the highly important and influential main BBC and ITN TV news programmes are similarly more tightly-controlled than the relatively low circulation broadsheet papers, and indeed the BBC's own website.'

Diplomatic Breakdown
'Most Greeks feel that the United States betrayed Greece during the 1967-74 dictatorship of the Colonels, having the power to save Greece from tyranny but ? at best ? failing to do so. Most Greeks blame the United States, rather than the Colonels, for the folly that triggered the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Greeks have concluded from their own experience that power will be abused, and they preemptively distrust the wielders of power. In this, their view is that of the majority of the Muslim world: The United States put itself into the ranks of evil by failing to impose the just peace in the Middle East its power allegedly permitted it.'

Anger Mounts After U.S. Troops Kill 13 Iraqi Protesters
'U.S. soldiers killed at least 13 Iraqi civilians who marched on a school west of Baghdad to demand the troops leave the building and get out of Iraq, doctors and witnesses said on Tuesday. Medics said 75 were also wounded in the march by more than 200 protesters on the school after Muslim prayers on Monday evening in Falluja, 30 miles from the Iraqi capital. Some witnesses put the death toll as high as 17. Residents said the marchers were unarmed. U.S. forces said the troops opened fire only after they were shot at by a group of gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles.'

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Despotism by Accident
'For a half century civilized people have asked, "how could the Germans, the most cultured and educated nation in Europe, have allowed themselves to sink into barbarism?" For an answer, just look about.'

'What begins as the unthinkable, can evolve into the "thinkable," the possible, and eventually the inevitable. This is how democracy ends, not with a bang but a whimper. But not necessarily this democracy. Not if a great many of us -- rich and poor, powerful and weak -- finally wake up to what is happening to us, to our Constitution, and to our republic.'

Unimaginable Futures
'Hermann Goering was a Nazi general and the German Reich's Air Marshal. It is apt to recall his infamous (but very insightful) words, communicated to Gustav M. Gilbert on April 18, 1946, in a private conversation during the Nuremberg Trials:

'"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."'

'Can it be fathomed that the Bush regime may one day decide to end the esteemed American democracy and install a system of outright totalitarianism? There were certainly shades of this during Bush’s dubious election as President. Was the recent controversy that reportedly saw a thousand black people in Florida magically removed from voter lists in Jeb Bush’s riding, for example, a premonition of similar things to come?'

Manipulation, propaganda, voter apathy: people are asleep to the danger.

Israeli Ambassador to US Calls for 'Regime Change' in Iran, Syria
'Ambassador Daniel Ayalon said the U.S. invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein helped create great opportunities for Israel but it was "not enough." "It has to follow through. We still have great threats of that magnitude coming from Syria, coming from Iran"'

'"Seventy percent of the population (of Iran) are really ready for regime change. They have tasted, they have been experiencing before democracy and Western cultures and they are yearning for it," he added. He was apparently referring to the authoritarian and undemocratic rule of the Shah of Iran, who was overthrown in 1979 by a popular revolution in the name of Islam. '

Detail on George Galloway case as he prepares libel suit
'Now I'm certain ... all these documents are forged'

Rate rise cap of 3.6% will barely do, say councils
'The president of the NSW Shires Association, Mike Montgomery, said local councils remained opposed to the concept of rate-pegging, and the increase would barely keep up with rising costs.'

Shi'ite clergy take charge in Iraq -- The Washington Times
'BAGHDAD ? Shi'ite clergy are giving the orders and providing services that govern the daily lives of 2 million people in this city's teeming northern neighborhood.'

Monday, April 28, 2003

Terry Jones: Mr Blair's dark days
'Nobody could have read this Saturday's accounts of the Iraq crisis without being deeply moved. To read how close Tony Blair had come to losing his job was a sobering experience. It was similarly dreadful to learn how "terrified" the Prime Minister had been that Iraq would prove to be his personal "Vietnam". And how touching it was to discover that Mr. Blair had had to warn his family that he might have to quit over Iraq. Those must have been dark days indeed.'

This is another in a series of effective and pointed articles by Terry Jones.

PR for the Victorian Legislative Council!
'The Victoria-Tasmania branch of the Proportional Representation Society of Australia is campaigning for the introduction of the Hare Clark Proportional Representation voting system in Victoria's Upper House. Please contact the society if you are interest in supporting this cause. Stay tuned to this page for the latest on developments.'

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Revealed: How the road to war was paved with lies
Intelligence agencies accuse Bush and Blair of distorting and fabricating evidence in rush to war

American Power Moves Beyond the Mere Super
New York Times articles summarises America's unchallengable military dominance. 'The cause of war is preparation for war.' To justify its existence, the US military will have to engage in action every so often, once every one or two years.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Rumsfeld: Iraqis Free to Form Own Gov't As Long As US OKs
This is the meaning of democracy in the American language: a government that the US approves of.

Keep Out of Town Hall, Kut Tells US Troops
'The prophecy that "Iraq will become Palestine" which some Iraqis were making within hours of the US entry into Baghdad is not as far-fetched as it first seemed... The protesters have three grievances. They want Iraq to be an Islamic republic, they reject US efforts to choose its government, and they are afraid Washington will reimpose Saddam's Ba'ath party.'

Ex-CIA Professionals: Weapons of Mass Distraction: Where? Find? Plant?
Discussion of the likelihood of the US planting evidence of WMDs in Iraq. Points that while the risk of planting is high given that the public will apparently accept the outcome of the war without any such evidence, the US has a substantial track record of planted evidence, eg, Guatemala, Cuba etc. Some of these incidents are hilarious... but becoming familiar with the history is essential in order to overcome the nearly mystical value which can be attributed to pronouncements from the lectern of the Whitehouse, the Pentagon or the State Department.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Robert Parry: Empire vs Republic
'George W. Bush’s doctrine of preemptive wars is creating a new deep divide in U.S. politics. On one side, Bush and his backers see the Iraq War as the start of an American global empire built around unparalleled military power. On the other, a scattered grouping of skeptics dig in for what they see as a fight for the soul of the American republic.'

Iran warns US over border "red line", alarmed over opposition deal
'Kharazi also voiced concern over a reported deal between Washington and the Iraq-based People's Mujahedeen guerrillas -- officially considered a "terrorist organisation" by the United States, the European Union and Iran. "If this news that they can stay there and keep their arms is correct, this will expose the Amercian's plans for the region and it would be contrary to international law. The United States should be responsible for this," Kharazi said at a joint press conference with his French coupterpart Dominique de Villepin... Washington may be looking to recast the mujahedeen -- which is believed to have thousands of soldiers in Iraq -- as "freedom fighters". The movement was given sanctuary by Saddam Hussein in 1986 after being driven out of Iran in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution.'

Ex-US diplomat Brady Kiesling returns to Athens in Wartime
'Greek public opinion had been mobilized fiercely against the war. Greeks were seeing on television unrelenting images of maimed Iraqi children, weeping Iraqi grandmothers, collapsed apartment blocks, and makeshift coffins, not the sanitized war Americans were watching. The headlines of the leading dailies competed to emphasize US aggression; and local columnists ranged in their comments from cold irritation to frothing, rabid rage. The US advance to Baghdad was for most Greeks a mad dash for oil, with tank treads grinding over the corpses of innocent civilians.'

Afghanistan update: Afghan security deteriorates as Taliban regroup (via DY)
'After a winter punctuated by scattered attacks, March and April saw the closest to a co-ordinated offensive the anti-Kabul opposition has yet achieved. This left no doubt that the predominantly Pashtun forces aligned against the western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai had used the winter to regroup, train and achieve a far greater degree of organisational cohesion than was evident in 2002. An ad hoc alliance comprising Taliban remnants, the Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) faction of former mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and groups of Al-Qaeda stragglers now appears increasingly to be co-ordinating its command structures and support and logistics networks. Politically, the opposition has displayed a new confidence and political assertiveness in recent months with various leaders publicly enunciating their goal of expelling western forces.'

BBC Chief Attacks American Media Networks for 'Gung-Ho' Coverage of Gulf Conflict
'Greg Dyke, director general of the BBC, attacked American television and radio networks for their "shocking" and "gung-ho" coverage of the Iraq conflict yesterday. He also issued a warning against US companies being allowed greater ownership of British media... In his first public comments since the war, Mr Dyke said America had "no news operation strong enough or brave enough to stand up against" the White House and Pentagon. He said: "Personally, I was shocked while in the United States by how unquestioning the broadcast news media was during this war."... Mr Dyke said that on a recent visit to America he was "amazed by how many people just came up to me and said they were following the war on the BBC because they no longer trusted the American electronic news media".'

British MP Galloway dismisses Saddam allegations as fantastic lies
'George Galloway, the member of Britain's ruling Labour party whom a London newspaper has accused of being in the pay of Saddam Hussein's former regime, said he had been set up and described the allegations as "absurd". "This is a lie of fantastic proportions which only the most credulous would believe," Scottish MP Galloway told BBC radio yesterday, as the allegations against him continued to mount.'

'For three days now, the right-wing Daily Telegraph - which led a pro-US stance in the build-up to and during the war on Iraq - has splashed its front page with damaging allegations surrounding Mr Galloway's links to Saddam... On Wednesday, Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman described the claims against Mr Galloway as "serious" while the Labour party has promised to launch an investigation.'

Pyongyang demands US security guarantee
'"The US should show its political will to make a bold switchover in its hostile policy toward the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] and prove it in practice," the North Korean statement said. It also called for the verification of US nuclear arms, and noted that Washington had used arms verification to start the war in Iraq."The DPRK-US talks should therefore discuss and settle the issue of the renunciation of its hostile intention and policy toward the DPRK before talking about the verification and dismantlement of physical deterrent force," it said. Pyongyang said the situation was so tense that war could break out at "any moment" because of the US.'

'"The lesson from the Iraq war is that we need to sign a non-aggression treaty to dispel worries about security," Mr Li said. Washington has assured North Korea it has no plans to invade - at the same time deploying 24 long-range bombers and stealth fighters to the region to support the 80,000 US troops and aircraft carrier stationed in South Korea and Japan.'

'The Prime Minister, John Howard, yesterday described North Korea as "the biggest security threat in our region" but refused to hypothesise about the prospect of a pre-emptive strike by the US on the country's nuclear installations, should Pyongyang not respond to the US's liking.'

It is clearly the United States that is the biggest threat to the region, and Howard's failure to distance himself from the 'pre-emptive strike' doctrine is grossly irresponsible. Labor of course has no coherent position.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The secret arsenal of the Jewish State
Interactive map of Israel's weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, biological, chemical, missiles.

US army was told to protect looted museum
'The United States army ignored warnings from its own civilian advisers that could have stopped the looting of priceless artefacts in Baghdad'


This Occupation is a Disaster. The US Must Leave - and Fast
'Along with humiliation over defeat and anger at the postwar chaos, resentment over colonization is on the rise. People point to the fact that the oil ministry was the only government office in Baghdad that the US did not bomb and protected from looters by planting a ring of troops around it on day one of "liberation". Episodes like the massacre in Mosul when on two consecutive days last week US troops fired into crowds of protesters have classic imperial overtones and feel like the foretaste of greater repression to come.

'In the vacuum of power the mosques are emerging as the main source of resistance. The good news is that far from confronting each other, Sunni and Shia clerics and worshippers are uniting behind a common agenda. Many are fundamentalists but Iraq's progressive secular forces say this is not the primary issue at this stage. "What we're faced with today is not a choice between secularism and religion. We're facing an invasion and foreign rule. We have to work together to end it," says Dr Wamid Omar Nadmi, a leading political scientist at Baghdad university.'

Secret US file: oust regime in Pyongyang
'The United States should team up with China to press for the removal of North Korea's leadership, according to a classified memo circulated by the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld... Just days before Mr Bush approved the negotiations with North Korea, scheduled for tomorrow, Mr Rumsfeld circulated the Pentagon memo to some members of the Administration.'

'Several officials who have seen it say it is ludicrous to think China would join in any US-led effort to bring about the fall of the North Korean Government. "The last thing the Chinese want," one official said, "is a collapse of North Korea that will create a flood of refugees into China and put Western allies on the Chinese border."'

Monday, April 21, 2003

Occupying powers responsible for grave humanitarian crisis in Iraq
'3. A genuine and lasting solution to the humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq can only be realized after the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all US and British occupation troops and the full restoration of Iraq's sovereignty on the entire Iraqi territory and on the basis of the Iraqi people's own free will.
'4. The US and Great Britain should be made to pay for all direct and indirect damages and suffering their war has inflicted upon the Iraqi people, country and society.
'5. In the meantime, as occupying powers, the US and Great Britain have the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population (Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention). They likewise have the duty of ensuring and maintaining, with the cooperation of national and local authorities, the medical and hospital establishments and services, public health and hygiene in the occupied territory. They must allow medical personnel to carry out their duties. (Article 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention)'

Sars measures too late
'China's drastic measures designed to curb Sars have likely come too late to prevent the epidemic from threatening virtually all the country's 1.3 billion people, according to analysts. A decision to cancel the week-long May Day holidays to keep people from travelling will also have little effect since the virus has probably already spread to all corners of the continent-sized country, they said. "It's too late, they can't put the genie back in the bottle," said Andrew Thompson, an expert on Chinese health issues at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "It's got to be everywhere by now, and if it isn't, it will soon be there," he said.'

US officer warned that there was a risk the museum would be looted
'On 5 April, US Major Christopher Varhola, a US cultural anthropologist attached to the military, gave a formal press briefing in Kuwait. He said: “Another concern is the looting, especially in the absence of law of and order and the economic uncertainty that is inherent to any military operation of this magnitude. All around Iraq there are a number of museums, in particular the National Museum of Baghdad, that hold priceless material. The US military is eager to coordinate with any organisation dedicated to the task of preservation, which transcends military and operational necessity.”'

Iraq treasures looted
Compelling account of the looting of the Iraq National Museum, the Mosul Museum, and the National Library. Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilisation: the invention of agriculture, cities, law, writing, astronomy, the wheel. Countless priceless treasures lost or destroyed.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Arab speculation: Baghdad Did Not Fall - It Was Handed Over
'Arabic media are speculating that a "safqa" -- Arabic for a secret deal -- was arranged between the United States and the Baath regime to hand over Baghdad. Although nobody can pinpoint the exact terms, there are three clear outcomes. First, the lives of many American and British forces as well as most senior Baath officials were spared. Second, Baghdad itself did not turn into the bloodbath widely anticipated by military experts. Third, the war was shortened dramatically, saving the region -- especially Saudi Arabia -- from catastrophic consequences.'

Pilger: The unthinkable is becoming normal. Do not forget the horror
'If, as Milan Kundera wrote, "the struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting", then we must not forget. We must not forget Blair's lies about weapons of mass destruction which, as Hans Blix now says, were based on "fabricated evidence". We must not forget his callous attempts to deny that an American missile killed 62 people in a Baghdad market. And we must not forget the reason for the bloodbath. Last September, in announcing its National Security Strategy, Bush served notice that America intended to dominate the world by force. Iraq was indeed the "test case". The rest was a charade.'

Graph of the SARS Epidemic: estimated 10 million deaths by October 2003
'The number of reported cases of SARS in the world is doubling every 17 days. This is implied by the slope of the blue curve, using the data available on April 19, 2003. There will be 100,000 cases on about July 7, 2003. A million cases will be reached on about September 2, 2003, and ten million on about October 28, 2003. These predictions will change every day as new data changes the slope of the curves. Only world cases after March 25, 2003 are used to compute the slope, because that is when China began reporting.

'The slope of red curve implies that the number of reported worldwide deaths due to SARS will double every 12 days. The number will be 100,000 on about August 8, 2003. A million deaths will be reached on about September 18, 2003, and ten million on about October 29, 2003. This forecast will change every day as new data changes the slope of the curves. Only world cases after March 25, 2003 are used to compute the slope, because that is when China began reporting.'

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Asia Sees America
Americans ask, sometimes with genuine puzzlement, why do they hate us? Throughout the world, the answer is coming back to America if they would only but listen: We love the republic, but hate the empire: the empire is ruining the country and endangering the world.

UN raises the stakes with call to Blix
'The United Nations Security Council has asked the head of the UN weapons inspection team, Hans Blix, to a meeting early next week to discuss the readiness of his team to return to Iraq. The request, issued by the current council president, Mexico, is expected to spark a heated debate between the United States and other members over whether Dr Blix and his team should be asked to verify any discovery of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq. Dr Blix may also be asked to help in the search for weapons.'

'The possibility of a new diplomatic stand-off overshadowed the European Union summit in Athens, following a call by the US President, George Bush, for the lifting of sanctions on Iraq. Russia and the EU suggested they would resist such a move unless it came with guarantees of a central role for the UN in postwar Iraq.'

'Russia insisted sanctions could be lifted only after international inspectors verified Iraq was free of weapons of mass destruction. And diplomats said that Security Council members, who must vote on the matter, would use that power to try to win for the UN the involvement Washington seems intent on denying it.'

Hawks recycle arguments for Iraq war against Syria
'Neoconservative Richard Perle, a leading hawk in the Iraq debate, yesterday called for Congress to pass a "Syrian Liberation Act" modeled on the 1998 law that made regime change in Baghdad official U.S. policy.'

Friday, April 18, 2003

Jordanian volunteers: Baghdad’s fall was a ‘deal’
'According to one account, the Iraqi forces left Baghdad early the morning of April 9. ?There were no Republican Guards, no Fedayeen Saddam or any other Iraqi official for that matter. No armed men were available to face the invading US forces except what remained of the Arab volunteers?who were deserted,? said one of the men, adding ?they left us exposed?we were exposed and even attacked by the retreating Iraqi forces.?

'?I woke up at dawn on April 9 to discover that the Iraqi armed forces have withdrawn from their positions without notifying the Arab volunteers - who were left on the frontlines of the battlefield?most of us were from Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon,? a Jordanian volunteer said.'

The fall of Baghdad and the regime on Wednesday April 9 was sudden and complete... this story is worth investigating.

The Memory Hole > Doctored Photo from London Evening Standard
Further evidence the toppling of the Saddam statue was a staged event for international propaganda purposes.

Blair's alliance with Bush is a damaging strategic error
Effective critique by Robin Cook MP of Blair's strategic error.

Michel Guerrin: Embedded Photographer: "I Saw Marines Kill Civilians"
Interesting account by embedded journalist of the Marines' drive to Baghdad. The embedded system has been much criticised due to its complete subservience to Pentagon censorship, but it could have substantial value if journalists realise that their best work can be done after the war, provided they have notes, film or video of the things they have seen.

Ellsberg Convinced Syria is Bush's Next Target
Ellsberg in this article also provides sound advice on the challenges facing the peace movement and the directions to follow.

Anti-Colonial War in Iraq
Robert Fisk argues the occupation of Iraq is going wrong faster than anyone imagined. Suggests the escape of senior officials and destruction of government documents is being allowed or even encouraged by the US.

Who Covered The War Best? Try al-Jazeera
Summary of the strength of al-Jazeera coverage. It sounds almost too good to be true. An English language version via cable to the west is a necessity.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Occupation of Iraq: Noam Chomsky Interviewed
Excellent interview with Chomsky.

Win Without War: Tom Andrews Speech to the National Press Club
'A vital citizens movement capable of exposing the dangers of the administration’s drive toward a world military empire is needed now more than ever. The mission of the Win Without War coalition is to defeat this administration’s policy of unilateral, preemptive war and its rejection of international cooperation, international law and the institutions that make the international rule of law possible. In short, we need to everything within our power to bury the Bush doctrine in Iraq. A small group within the administration has staged a silent coup and is reshaping America’s role in the world in radical ways that will severely threaten US and global security. And the sad truth is that Congress has largely abdicated its critical role as a check on executive power and a guardian of the public welfare in matters of war and peace.'

This is as good a statement as any of the objectives of the peace movement worldwide.

US starts military-build along Iraq's border with Syria: German daily
'The United States has apparently began a major military build-up along Iraq's western borders with Syria, the daily Bild cited confidential remarks by an unidentified US general. New American troop contingents and heavy military hardware, including A-10 fighter planes, M1 'Abrams' tanks, 'Apache' combat helicopters and massive bomb arsenals, have been secretly deployed in the Iraqi town of Ar-Rutbah.'

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Coalition in the Dock for war crimes?
'The sad truth is that prosecution has always been a function of power. No one seriously believes that Bush and Blair will be indicted. International law works only against weaker states. Big powers have an unmerited, but unassailable, immunity. Even if anyone were brave or rash enough to try to indict coalition leaders, the US has refused to ratify the statute establishing the international criminal court, which came into force on July 2 2002.'

No doubt this is true but the case should be mounted, run and publicised for its political impact. Find a lawyer or team of lawyers who will take the case and run it vigourously. Extended public discussion of the various illegal and criminal acts of Bush, Blair etc can only have a beneficial educative function, just as the extended Security Council diplomatic campaign waged by France, Germany and Russia could not hope to actually stop the war but did have a very important educative effect on world public opinion.

Neoconservatives pushing for World War IV
'Former CIA Director James Woolsey illustrated how extreme this vision really is when he recently told a group of California college students that the United States is engaged in fighting "World War IV," which will "last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II," but hopefully not as long as the Cold War. The enemies in this war, which he unconvincingly presented as a campaign for democracy, are the rulers of Iran, the "fascist" rulers of Iraq and Syria and groups like Al Qaeda.'

'A full scale civil war on the right over foreign policy has broken out in the press, with conservative icons such as columnist Robert Novak trading bitter accusations with overwrought neocons like David Frum, author of the irresponsible "axis of evil" speech. Stalwarts of the first Bush administration such as former Seretary of State James Baker, former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger have been openly trying to steer President Bush away from what one unnamed former senior official called "this bum advice he has been getting" from neocons. Another observed that "The only one who can reach the president is his father but it is not timely yet to talk to him," indicating a plan for a protracted campaign.'

Blair and to a lesser extent Howard have played the criminal and disgraceful role of appeasers of US neo-conservative aggression. The full magnitude of this irresponsibility remains to be seen. Certainly the only thing that may have stopped the aggression against Iraq would have been if Blair had been steadfast with Europe in opposing the US wardrive by all diplomatic means. It seems that, somewhat like after Munich, Blair belatedly realises US unilateral aggression cannot be supported, and thus he has explicitly ruled out a British attack on Syria. The questions for PM John Howard are, will he rule out Australian participation in an attack on Syria? Will he rule out Australian involvement in American preemptive wars? Will he rule out Australian involvement in any war not sanctioned by the UN Security Council?

Library Books, Letters and Priceless Documents are Set Ablaze in Final Chapter of the Sacking of Baghdad
'So yesterday was the burning of books. First came the looters, then the arsonists. It was the final chapter in the sacking of Baghdad. The National Library and Archives a priceless treasure of Ottoman historical documents, including the old royal archives of Iraq ­ were turned to ashes in 3,000 degrees of heat. Then the library of Korans at the Ministry of Religious Endowment was set ablaze... And the Americans did nothing.'

Barbarism: Baghdad Museum sacked as US Marines guard Oil Ministry
'The United States was fiercely criticized around the world yesterday for its failure to protect Baghdad's Iraq National Museum where, under the noses of US troops, looters stole or destroyed priceless artifacts up to 7,000 years old... In Iraq itself, art experts and ordinary demonstrators made clear they were far angrier at President George Bush than they were at the looters, noting that the only building US forces seemed genuinely interested in protecting was the Ministry of Oil.'

'Not a single pot or display case remained intact, according to witnesses, after a 48-hour rampage at the museum – perhaps the world's greatest repository of Mesopotamian culture.'

'Dr Jeremy Black a specialist on ancient Iraq at Oxford University, said: "What has befallen Baghdad and Mosul museums was foreseen by archaeologists worldwide. Meetings were even held with the American military before the war to warn of the extreme likelihood of looting should an invasion occur. Sadly, however, the occupying forces failed to implement in practical terms the measures to protect Iraq's and the world's cultural heritage"... A Chicago law professor, Patty Gerstenblith of the DePaul School, said the rampage was "completely inexcusable and avoidable".'

Sydney land boom - accelerating rates of increase
'Runaway Sydney house prices outstripped all other mainland capitals in the December quarter, rising 8 per cent, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia. A housing investment in Sydney returned 26.3 per cent in 2002. These stellar returns have proved irresistible to investors, especially with global sharemarkets in turmoil. Borrowing for investment in residential construction rebounded in February, rising 69 per cent to $613 million, separate Bureau of Statistics figures showed yesterday. This follows record borrowing for this purpose of $979 million in December.'

War Crimes Probe to include UKUSA
'A multinational coalition of jurists and civil society groups says it is launching an initiative to investigate alleged war crimes in Iraq for potential prosecution by the young International Criminal Court (ICC) or other legal bodies. The move is motivated in part by Washington's recent declaration that it plans to set up its own tribunal to try alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the nation that it invaded last month, despite widespread calls for an international body that would also examine U.S. conduct in Iraq. "Lawyers recognize no such principle as 'victors' justice,' the idea that it is just going to be the Iraqis and Saddam Hussein who have to face the consequences of committing war crimes," said Phil Shiner of the Birmingham, U.K.-based group Public Interest Lawyers.'

Monday, April 14, 2003

Iraq contract worth up to $7b awarded to Halliburton Subsidiary Without Competition

Invasion of Iraq: What went right
'Military texts will be kind to campaign that rushed to Baghdad and bypassed urban warfare... "What this campaign was really designed to do was get a force to Baghdad and demonstrate to the people that the regime was no longer in charge," said Carafano, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a private research group. "Obviously, that worked."'

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Marine orderd to put US flag on Saddam statue, then to take it down
'"At the moment, I was just doing what I was told to do by my commanding officer," Corporal Chin said. "I had to get the job done just like we've been doing out here in Iraq." He was quickly ordered to take the US flag down and replace it with an Iraqi flag. Moments later, the towering bronze statue was pulled down, and cheering Iraqis tore it to pieces.'

There are reports that the flag put on the statue is the same flag that flew over the Pentagon on September 11; other reports suggest that this was the most stage managed flag raising since Iwo Jima. As it is the iconic image of the fall of Saddam, compared to the fall of the Berlin wall or the fall of Soviet Russia, the whole matter deserves thorough investigative journalism.

Iconic image of the war: staged event
'On April 9, a US tank recovery vehicle tightened a metal rope and a statue of Saddam Hussein came crashing down in central Baghdad. The event was celebrated by "dozens" of Iraqi people at the scene, according to BBC online, but by hundreds of mainstream journalists in Britain and America. A rare, long shot photograph of the event shows a small crowd of people around the statue surrounded by empty space, then tanks, and then more empty space.
'The BBC's News At Six described this propaganda coup outside the journalists' hotel as a "momentous event", with the media "a witness to history", with US forces watching "amazed" on a "day of extraordinary drama and historic images", with Bush declaring "a historic moment" in reference to what were "extraordinary events" (April 9). This was all in the first 90 seconds of the programme.
'Compare and contrast the above with the BBC's response to the march, not of dozens, but of 2 million British people in London on February 15: "The people have spoken, or have they? What about the millions who didn't march? Was going to the DIY store or watching the football on Saturday a demonstration of support for the government?" (David Grossman, Newsnight, February 17, 2003)'

9/11 Pentagon Flag Used To Cover Saddam's Face In Baghdad
'The US flag that was put on the face of Saddam yesterday - it was replaced by an Iraqi flag when the people shouted for that - was the flag that was flying over the Pentagon on September 11. For a lot of the American marines, they think this war is all about defeating terrorism, they will tell you that over and over again. There is also a connection in the minds of the American public between the regime of Saddam and what happened on September 11, and apparently the flag that was draped over this face was flying over the pentagon when the plane crashed into it.'

This act symbolises one of the great propaganda victories of the post-war era: that Saddam was connected with September 11 and the war against terrorism justifies the invasion of Iraq. But even as the propaganda offensive has succeeded in mobilising a sufficient number of Americans, around the world including America itself more people than ever have experienced the scales dropping from their eyes.

The photographs tell the story...
Photo analysis of the iconic image of the war, which has been compared to the fall of the Berlin wall, the pulling down of Saddam's statue in Baghdad. Suggests the event was staged.

North Korea: 'fatal mistake' to bow to inspections
'"The US demand for the DPRK's (North Korea's) scrapping of its 'nuclear weapons programme before dialogue' would lead to inspection and the resultant disarmament spark a war," Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. KCNA said North Korea had learned from the war in Iraq that it was a fatal mistake to bow to inspections as Baghdad had learned to its cost.

'"The only way of averting a war is to increase one's own just self-defensive means," KCNA said. "The Iraqi war launched by the US preemptive attack clearly proves that a war can be prevented and the security of the country and the nation can be ensured only when one has physical deterrent force, a military deterrent force strong enough to decisively repel any attack of the enemy with any types of sophisticated weapons."'

Jailed colleagues refuse to testify against Palestinian leader Barghouti
'[Barghouti] refused to plead on the murder charges, or on membership of a terrorist organisation and several related charges. He said the Israeli courts had no jurisdiction, called the trial a "show" and denounced the occupation of Palestinian land as the real terror.'

German Foreign Minister Fischer rejects talks venue in East Jerusalem
'Visiting ministers from EU and other countries routinely refuse to attend meetings with Israeli ministers in east. Jerusalem. A European diplomat said other venues had been found in the past and that [Israeli Justice Minister] Mr Lapid had chosen to make a statement by insisting that this one take place at this office.'

Friday, April 11, 2003

Europe, UKUSA jostle over post-war Iraq
'"The jostling has begun," Jeffrey Gedmin, director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin, said of the rival meetings. "We have developed a cycle that is now hard to break...We have a different alignment of forces and a lack of trust. Will it develop into a full-blown round two or will it be a hiccup after the first fight? It's too early to say."'

'Underlying the differences is the widespread fear that the US will in fact do whatever it wants in Iraq... "We are no longer in an era where one or two countries can control the fate of another country," said French President Jacques Chirac. Many fear the second stage of an interim government will be dominated by US officials and US-groomed Iraqi exiles, giving Washington undue influence.'

Iraqis Have Paid the Blood Price for a Fraudulent War
Another fine article by Seamus Milne.

US Military Police Are Acting as ‘Censors’ in This War
'The American forces have put blanket restrictions on all unembedded reporters in Iraq, effectively banning them from traveling inside the country. Obtaining the necessary escort in order to report freely as an unembedded journalist is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Basically, the only journalists authorized to be in Iraq are those embedded with the troops, and they are escorted at all times. What those journalists are allowed to see and report on is controlled by the unit’s military commander.'

Embedded in a new world order
'The Australian Government has dismissed as "a straw man" the idea that the Bush Administration is planning to turn its military might to the task of regime change in other nations with repressive regimes and leaders no less odious than Saddam.'

The neocon takeover of Washington and the Bush doctrine of 'preemptive war' is the biggest foreign policy issue in the world, the most important development in years. It is characteristic both of the Howard government and of its totally ineffective opposition that this issue could be dismissed as a 'straw man' and the government can get away with it.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Roy: The Outline Of the Beast
'Question: More than 10 million people demonstrated around the world on February 15, including millions in the countries leading the war on Iraq. Why do you think we are seeing such large protests?

'Roy: I think that there’s only one reason. America has been stripped of its mask. Its secret history of brutal interventions and unforgivable manipulations is street talk. The dots have been joined, and the outline of the beast has emerged.'

Will US Fabricate WMD Evidence?
'Jadd called on the United Nations to send delegations to Iraq to monitor any finds of suspected chemical agents. ?International inspectors should be present in Iraq,? he said. ?They are the ones who should announce any findings,? he said. He cautioned against allowing US-led forces to move suspected material found in Iraq to outside the country for testing. ?When this happens, it means that the evidence is lost,? Jadd said. ?They should leave the material in its place.'

Scowcroft Urges Wide Role for the U.N. in Postwar Iraq
'"What's going to happen the first time we hold an election in Iraq and it turns out the radicals win?" Mr. Scowcroft asked. "What do you do? We're surely not going to let them take over."'

Scowcroft doesnt specify what he means by 'radicals' but presumably that means the people of Iraq and their desire to form their own government, control their own resources and expel colonial and occupying powers. Certainly this will be unacceptable to the United States and their problem is mainly one of appearances, how to have an internationally approved 'election' which leaves the US and its client state firmly in charge.

Ha'aretz on top rating Fox network
'As far as the war's motives are concerned, Fox looks like part of the propagandistic campaign of systematic disinformation by the Bush administration, while it accuses the Iraqi regime of disseminating false information about the situation on the battlefield. The motives for the war and measure of its justice are at the heart of the current conflict between the United States and its European allies, and has ramifications over its relations with Russia, China and the Arab world as well as its position as the global superpower. Just as the Iraqi TV deceives its viewers about the situation on the battlefield, Fox misleads its American viewers about the reasons for the war.'

Russian military intel update: April 8 War in Iraq
Fighting in Baghdad disintegrates to isolated groups. 5-7 days predicted to finish the fighting.

Russian military intel update: April 7b War in Iraq
Further detailed report of fierce fighting in Baghdad other areas and speculation the Iraqi high command has withdrawn to a reserve command centre in the north, meaning even the capture of Baghdad may not end the war.

Russian military intel update: April 7a War in Iraq
Describes fierce fighting in Baghdad.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Al Jazeera report on killing of one of their journalists and two others
Journalists on the scene and journalistic organisations around the world have little doubt the attack was deliberate.

'"The Americans want journalists' work to serve their military strategy," said Younes Moujahid, secretary general of the SNPM, adding that the US troops had earlier today "knowingly targeted journalists."'

Robert Fisk argues Americans deliberately targeted journalists in Baghdad
'The Americans responded with what all the evidence proves to be a straightforward lie... I was driving on a road between the tanks and the hotel at the moment the shell was fired – and heard no shooting. The French videotape of the attack runs for more than four minutes and records absolute silence before the tank's armament is fired. And there were no snipers in the building. Indeed, the dozens of journalists and crews living there – myself included – have watched like hawks to make sure that no armed men should ever use the hotel as an assault point.'

Scoop: Features What the US government (and media) do not want you to see
'EDITOR'S WARNING. THESE GRAPHIC IMAGES MAY DISTURB: The founding purpose of information sharing is to empower individuals to make informed choices. If publishing these images causes those, who would otherwise send more to their deaths or support the killing of innocents, to consider the true consequence of their decisions, then publishing is justified.'

Pentagon strikes non-embedded journalists
'Within the space of five hours, seven journalists were killed and wounded from US army fire in Baghdad yesterday. American forces also opened fire on the offices of Abu Dhabi television, whose identity is spelled out in large blue letters on the roof. All the journalists were killed and injured in daylight at sites known to the Pentagon as media sites.'

Such a coincidence naturally arouses suspicion that the journalists were deliberately targeted. The motive exists as media that is out of control of the US/Pentagon system threatens to ruin the political goals of the war, and by some estimates has already led to the political defeat of the USA. There have been calls for an inquiry and that should be fully supported.

Regular Everyday People: PUT A HUMAN FACE ON WAR
The truth about war and killing that Western media corporations think it is appropriate to censor.

Telling War's Deadly Story at Just Enough Distance
The New York Times 'debates' whether the reality of war should be reported. Suppression of images and truth about war is simply part of the propaganda effort to promote support for the war.

Footage said to show tank deliberately fired at journalists' hotel
'Footage filmed by France 3 television of a strike on a hotel which killed two journalists in Baghdad today shows a US tank targeting the journalists' hotel and waiting at least two minutes before firing. The journalist and film editor who filmed the attack, Herve de Ploeg, who filmed the attack, said: "I did not hear any shots in the direction of the tank'"

'The incident killed a cameraman for the Telecinco Spanish television station and another for the British news agency Reuters. Three Reuters staffers were also wounded.'

'A reporter for the Arab satellite television Al-Jazeera died earlier today and a cameraman was injured after the station's offices in Baghdad were hit in a separate attack that the Qatar-based channel charged was a deliberate US strike.'

Colman & Nelson: Weekly analysis - Iraq war
The authors admit to a lack of information at the tactical combat level, but overall the analysis appears sound and in some ways a better version than that provided by

'Democracy' for Iraq: US puppet Chalabi lands in Iraq
'Last November, The American Prospect published a damning piece on Chalabi and his U.S. backers, calling Chalabi the "front man for the latest incarnation of a long-time neoconservative strategy to redraw the map of the oil-rich Middle East, put American troops—and American oil companies—in full control of the Persian Gulf's reserves and use the Gulf as a fulcrum for enhancing America's global strategic hegemony."'

White man's burden - the vision of the neocons
'The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it's possible. But another journalist, Thomas Friedman (not part of the group), is skeptical.'

'That [neocon] doctrine maintains that the problem with the Middle East is the absence of democracy and of freedom. It follows that the only way to block people like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden is to disseminate democracy and freedom. To change radically the cultural and political dynamics that creates such people. And the way to fight the chaos is to create a new world order that will be based on freedom and human rights - and to be ready to use force in order to consolidate this new world. So that, really, is what the war is about. It is being fought to consolidate a new world order, to create a new Middle East.'

'Since that day [9/11], the Americans have understood that if they allow the Arab world to proceed in its evil ways - suppression, economic ruin, sowing despair - it will continue to produce more and more bin Ladens. America thus reached the conclusion that it has no choice: it has to take on itself the project of rebuilding the Arab world.'

Translated from neocon into English, this means that the traditional Anglo-American Middle East doctrine of the 'Arab facade' of Western-aligned Middle East governments is recognised to be failing and in danger of complete collapse; and so the answer is direct military intervention in an attempt to ensure Middle East govenments remain closely aligned with US interests.This is what neocons mean by 'democracy' in the Middle East: Prussian militarism, occupation and neo-colonialism. The danger of course with military invasion and intervention is that it will only intensify the hostility of the Arab world to America and stimulate the spread and growth of the call for the Americans to leave the region completely, voluntarily if they like but in coffins and body bags if they have to. Its the same problem that America has had throughout the Third World since the Second World War - militarily strong but politically weak, only accentuated now in the Middle East to a greater degree than ever. Collapse of American power and control is inevitable, although it may take years or decades.

In typical propagandistic style, the 'alternative' to the neocon vision in this article is given by none other than Thomas Friedman, the notorious New York Times Zionist and apologist for imperialism. However Friedman's doubts about the Iraq war do reflect the unease in upper levels of the American elite that the adventure could go wrong.

Islamist group Ansar al-Islam wiped out in northern Iraq - with help from Iran
'US forces have wiped out an alleged al-Qaeda-linked group in northern Iraq with help from their Kurdish allies -- but also their Iranian foes who have sealed off the Islamist militants' only exit.'

'In their campaign to topple Sadddam, the United States had used Ansar's presence in Iraq to charge the Iraqi president was supporting terrorism, although the Islamists were not deployed in areas under his control.'

Russian military intel update: War in Iraq
This looks like being the final 'Russian report'. How accurate and reliable these reports are is difficult to determine, but at least the attempt was made to produce a daily briefing on military action, movements and casualties. I cant find anything similar in the Western media. The reports tended to be upbeat in regard to the performance of the Iraqis and the Republican Guard, however at present it looks as though after a pause south of Baghdad the Americans have been able to launch a rapid drive towards and right into Baghdad. The extent of continued Iraqi resistance throughout the city remains to be seen.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Pakistani fury at UKUSA aggression
'Even the moderates here in Pakistan are outraged. Across the board, young and old, poor and rich, fundamentalist and secularist are united in their hatred of the US and their contempt for Britain. Such unprecedented unanimity in a country renowned for its ethnic and sectarian divides is a huge achievement. Qazi Hussein Ahmed, the leader of the combined religious party Majlis Muttahida Amal (MMA), announced triumphantly: "The pro-West liberals have lost conviction. Islamic movements have come alive."'

'Bush and Blair have already shown that they care little about world opinion, but what about when those feelings of resentment towards the US and Britain in Muslim countries translate into votes for virulently anti-Western fundamentalist parties?'

Uri Avnery: Roadmap to Nowhere
'The objectives are very positive. They are identical with the aims of the Israeli peace movement: an end to the occupation, the establishment of the independent State of Palestine side-by-side with the State of Israel, Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Syrian peace, the integration of Israel in the region.'

'The Road Map confirms that there now exists a worldwide consensus about these objectives. This fact will remain even if nothing comes out of it. Those of us who remember that only 35 years ago there were hardly a handful of people in the world who believed in this vision can draw profound satisfaction from this Road Map. It shows that we have won the struggle for world public opinion.

'But let's not exaggerate: in this document, too, there is a gaping hole in the definition of the aims. It does not say what the borders of the future Palestinian State should be, neither explicitly nor implicitly. The Green Line is not even mentioned. That by itself is enough to invalidate the whole structure.'

George Galloway: I am not a traitor and I will not be gagged over this war
'Last week the government enlisted the Murdoch press to launch an assault on me with the journalistic equivalent of a cluster bomb. The central thrust of their attacks, that I am a traitor not fit to sit in parliament, was scattered over the Sun, News of the World, Times and Sunday Times. Some bomblets were designed to wound now (like the incitement to pound me with hate mail and threatening phone calls), others to explode later, and with terminal effect (like the order to strip me of parliamentary rank through withdrawal of the Labour whip, followed by expulsion).'

'The real traitors are those who recklessly abandoned our European heartland and Labour's natural friends like Gerhard Schröder, Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter and subordinated our interests to an extreme rightwing faction of a foreign power; George Bush's USA.'

Halliday: Iraqi People Facing Humanitarian Crisis
'In my view the pre-emptive strike that was 9-11in New York City was the beginning of a process and to respond with the sort of violence that Mr. Bush responded with in Afghanistan and now very falsely in my view linking al Qaeda to Iraq -- and now with the Iraq war -- is of course exactly the wrong way to go about it. This is a guarantee of recruitment of many into terrorist organizations, if that's the way it works with al Qaeda or others. It's exactly the way to maintain the frustration, anger and poverty and the neglect and interference that so upsets the Arab community as represented by the people who think like bin Laden, and of course, most Arabs do not, happily.

'But that sort of thinking, which is very comparable to Mr. Bush himself, you know good and evil, black and white -- it's a very simplistic sort of messianic way of going about things. I think it's terribly dangerous and I think we're helping, sadly, the process of more terrorist involvement because we are perpetuating the presence of our Christian, western ideals, our corruption of their culture and Islamic values in the Middle East. And you know, what on earth are we doing there? Haven't we learned from the colonial past in this part of the world that we have no competence and no place in the Middle East?'

U.S. Marines in Iraq discard chemical suits
A virtual admission that Iraq has no 'weapons of mass destruction.' If Iraq cant or wont use them against invading US troops, then either they dont exist or they pose no threat at all to the US.

Diplomats injured in attack on convoy evacuating Russia's Baghdad envoy
'A Russian journalist traveling with the group, Rossiya's correspondent Alexander Minakov, said US forces initiated the shooting. Minakov said: "As we left the city (Baghdad) we passed through Iraqi forces who suddenly came under fierce fire. Shells exploded 50 to 70 metres (yards) from us followed by automatic arms fire. "I am 100 percent sure the Americans were the first to open fire," he continued: "The Iraqis obviously started shooting back and we were caught in a crossfire," the reporter added.

'"The first three cars full of diplomats came under machine gun fire," Minakov reported: "The ambassador was lucky because a bullet went through the windscreen between the driver and him." Minakov said they later approached US armoured vehicles, which ignored their request for medical assistance.'

North Korea and the US 'on a slide towards conflict'
'On Wednesday the UN security council will hear America's demand for sanctions against North Korea, which it accuses of planning to develop nuclear weapons. The Communist state has already said it would regard any such move as an 'act of war' and yesterday further warned that it would ignore any UN resolutions on the issue. It believes its dispute is solely with the US and wants direct talks with Washington - something the American government has refused to even consider.'

'North Korea fervently believes it is next on America's list for pre-emptive strikes, says Strong. It takes George Bush's rhetoric in his 'axis of evil' speech as a very real threat to its national security. Washington says it seeks a diplomatic end, but has not ruled out a military solution. 'There is such a complete breakdown of trust and confidence between these two countries that they are now unable to read the intentions of the other so there is real potential now for this to escalate into conflict,' Strong said.'

As a matter of the highest priority Australia should be seeking talks with countries in our region to achieve a peaceful resolution of this dispute. The origins of the recent problem seem to be the USA's pre-emptive war doctrine. If this analysis holds, then all efforts have to go into isolating that doctrine from support and preventing further incidences of it.

Suspected WMD site in Iraq turns out to contain pesticide
'The turnaround was an embarrassment for the US forces in the region, which had been quick to say that they thought they had finally found the proof they have been actively looking for that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction. A spokesman for the US army's 3rd Infantry Division, Major Ross Coffman, had told journalists at Baghdad's airport that the site "could be a smoking gun". "We are talking about finding a site of possible weapons of mass destruction," he said.'

The pressure on the Americans to find or manufacture evidence of WMDs is immense.

Margo Kingston exposes News Limited propaganda
Daily Telegraph story alleged human remains discoverned near Basra were victims of 'Saddam's torture', however the truth is that they are apparently recovered remains from the Iran-Iraq war as part of an exchange program with Iran. One of the more blatant and extreme propaganda exercises of this war.

'Rupert Murdoch's vast newspaper empire has waged a relentless pro-war propaganda war before and since the war began without even the pretence, in many cases, that even the facade of journalism - a genuine attempt to get the facts in the time available and to present what is known at the time of going to press, appropriately attributed - is being preserved. It just so happens that Murdoch wants US government approval to take over DirecTV and further extend his grip on pay TV.'

Monday, April 07, 2003

Interview with Herman: A "War On Terror?" Not!
'David Ross: In The Real Terror Network (1982), you documented how the U.S. government did not support democracy around the world as we've all been taught, but instead, supported totalitarian states that would insure a good climate for investment.

'Ed Herman: We support democracy when it will serve our interests, but as The Real Terror Network indicates, not when it won't serve those interests. The interests were talking about are not the general, public interests, but the interests of the forces that dominate U.S. foreign policy.'

Its often very hard for intellectuals in the Western world to grasp or comprehend the concept that the United States does not support democracy, but rather supports tyranny and dictatorship, for reasons that in the end amount basically to financial gain. As Chomsky has said, the cold war was primarily a war by the United States againt the Third World, and secondarily a war by the Soviets against their satellites. With the collapse of the Soviet Union the limited deterrent it provided has been removed and we now witness an expansion of aggressive warfare by the US against Third World countries.

The failure of the Western public to perceive this is due to the power and success of the propaganda system. People see Goebbels and his propaganda for what it is, clever techniques but not something any sophicticated person would be fooled by, especially after the event; they can also see how the Soviet press was a 'factory of lies'; but it is apparently inconceivable that the US corporate media could be in a similar category. Hence the enormous importance of Herman and Chomsky's 'Manufacturing Consent' and Chomsky's 'Deterring Democracy' which lay the whole matter out in a manner which can be compared to Robert Conquest's devastating expose of the Stalinist regime in his book 'The Great Terror.'

The interview here with Herman is well worth reading but it contains the major outstanding flaw of the progressive/left movement: a continued reliance on Marx. Herman says: 'Is Marx finished? I would argue that Marx has now come into his own, because Marx was analyzing how capitalism works, and I could make a case that capitalism was not really pure capitalism since 1989.' The fact is, Marx is finished, and the sooner the body is buried and forgotten the better. Anarchism culminating in Chomsky provides by far the most powerful critique of the ideological, political and military foundations of 'capitalism'; and what is most important but simply nowhere recognised, Georgist economic analysis provides the most effective critique of the capitalist 'economics'. Marx's set task was to analyse the mechanisms of economic exploitation but he failed completely. Georgism provides the clues to the successful completion of this basic task. On the Georgist side however, there is a tragedy that it has been unable to conceive the importance and relevance of the anarchist /socialist movement, and the necessity of its presence and involvement in these groups. George himself presented his remedy as a stand alone panacea and unfortunately his followers have tended to adopt the same isolationist attitude.

Iraqi army is tougher than US believes
Guardian article from November 2002 provides a more realistic analysis of Iraqi capabilities than has been promoted by the neo-con 'cakewalk' brigade.

The Saddest Thing Of All
'Her father Najem Khalaf stood beside her corpse. And I shall try to write what he and his family said in exactly the order they said it. I shall try because I hope it will better convey the bewilderment and horror that broke on one Iraqi household yesterday... It has been one of the saddest episodes I have ever witnessed in my 26 years reporting for this newspaper."

This is an effective piece of journalism but it seems to me there would be so much more impact if it was filmed and then edited to express the full drama, grief and sadness of the tragedy.

German chancellor puts full backing behind European Union joint military force
'In response to the Iraq war and the sidelining of the United Nations, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has called for the rapid creation of a security and military union at the European Union level and stronger ties to Russia.
In an address to the nation on Thursday, Schröder tried to rally support behind his goal of an EU-wide armed forces and the installation of a single EU foreign minister.
“The European foreign minister would outline Europe's joint interests and initiate joint action,“ the chancellor said. The EU Convention, to which France and Germany have already presented a proposal, is very open to the idea, Schröder said. The convention is currently drafting an EU constitution, which should be presented to the public this summer.

'The chancellor said an EU-wide military force would be the logical consequence of a joint foreign and security policy. He also pointed to the need to strengthen ties to Russia, although his foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, has refuted calls for Germany and France to form an axis with Russia in order to create a  counterweight to U.S. power.'

To counter US power it seems to me it would be more useful for Germany to invest in economic development rather than arms and weapons, to close all US bases, and to withdraw overflight rights.

US Casualties flooding into German hospital
'Soldiers arrive daily in C-141 transport planes after the eight-hour flight from Iraq: 46 on Friday, 39 today, 38 on Sunday, 25 on Monday... "It really is disgustingly sanitized on television," said [Dr] Bolles, who has spent the last 16 months as chief of neurosurgery at Landstuhl, the destination for the war's most wounded soldiers.

'As of Friday, 281 patients had been brought to Landstuhl since Operation Iraqi Freedom started, and plane-loads are arriving regularly. "We have had a number of really horrific injuries now from the war. They have lost arms, legs, hands, they have been burned, they have had significant brain injuries and peripheral nerve damage. These are young kids that are going to be, in some regards, changed for life. I don't feel that people realize that."'

Britain admits there may be no WMD's in Iraq
'Well into the war that was supposed to rid Iraq of its alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, a senior British official admitted on Saturday that no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons of mass destruction may after all be found. Making the startling confession in a radio interview, British Home Secretary, David Blunkett, added in the same breath that he would in any case rejoice the “fall” of Saddam Hussein and his regime — regardless of whether any weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq or not.

'The confession reconfirms the worst fears of opponents of the war that “weapons of mass destruction” is only a ruse for the US and the British to go to war against Iraq. At the very least the admission certainly deals a serious blow to the moral legitimacy that the US and the British have been seeking in prosecuting the war.'

Its a sick joke to admit there may be no WMDs after a devastating war to eliminate them has already been launched. Hardly less sick a joke than it will be to finish the war and announce there were no WMDs. What sort of impression do these officials think they are making on the world? Its a virtual public admission that the stated reasons for the war are not the real ones.

Russian sources have suggested the Americans will plant WMDs. Certainly there will be immense pressure to find or manufacture evidence of Saddam's WMDs, failure to do so would be too glaring a gap for those still under the grip of corporate media.

The Ministry of Mendacity Strikes Again
Robert Fisk savages British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon

Russia furious after diplomatic convoy shot upon by American forces
'Russia's Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow and his Iraqi counterpart, Abbas Khalaf, Sunday demanding explanations for the shooting incident near Baghdad that left at least five people wounded as a group of Russian diplomats, including the envoy, and journalists headed for Syria.

'Twenty-three people, including Ambassador Vladimir Titarenko, were traveling in the convoy that came under fire twice, 8 and 15 miles from Baghdad respectively, en route to the Iraqi-Syrian border. The motorcade left Baghdad at 10:30 a.m. Sunday and traveled along the previously agreed route, the state-controlled RTR television network reported. According to the network, Russian diplomats had duly informed U.S. military officials Saturday about their travel plans. Russia's mission in Baghdad communicated to the U.S. command the license plate information of all vehicles in the convoy. The U.S. military in turn was expected to provide the so-called "green corridor," ensuring safety of the convoy on its way toward Syria. However, the convoy was attacked by a group of soldiers suspected to be members of a U.S. intelligence platoon'

Russian military intel update: April 6a War in Iraq
'Despite the exchange of strikes there are no reasons to expect any serious attempts to capture the city in the nearest future. By numerical strength the coalition troops that have reached the city borders do not meet even the minimal requirements for storming and heavy urban fights. Coalition forces by Baghdad number up to 18-20 thousand men and can be enforced with no more than 3-5 thousand men while the minimal force necessary to capture a city like Baghdad equals from 80 to 100 thousand soldiers.

'According to weather forecasts, in the coming day the weather may abruptly change to the worse. The wind is expected to intensify, visibility may reduce to 200-300 m. All the claims made by aviation commander of the coalition, general Michael Mosley, about "Iraqi army, as an organized structure consisting of large units, exists no longer" are contrary to fact... In fact, the Republican Guards defending Baghdad have not lost even 5% of their numerical strength and military equipment. Most of those losses were due to bombardments and not land combats. The total losses of Iraqi army since the beginning of the war have not exceeded 5-8% of their defensive potential. This means the main battles are still to be seen.'

Russian military intel update: April 5 War in Iraq
'The overall situation in the central region of Iraq is characterized by gradual reduction of the coalition activity and change to active defense. But extraordinary dispersion of the ground forces, their fragmentation (the biggest group now contains up to 12 thousand troops) create advantageous preconditions for Iraqi counter-attacks, but the air superiority of the coalition severely complicate such projects. If, due to weather conditions, the coalition forces lose their air support, it may have very dramatic consequences.'

The impression given by the Russian reports is that the Americans are continuing their strategy of a very rapid advance direct to Baghdad, bypassing towns and other defensive strongpoints, hoping to achieve the collapse of the Iraqi regime. But the Iraqi resistance is tougher and better organised than expected and the Americans simply have insufficient forces to reduce garrisons in their rear or to mount an effective assault on Bahgdad itself.

Australia would not follow Americans into Iran or Syria, says Downer
'The Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, said yesterday that Australia would not be involved in any United States-led military action in Iran or Syria, if Washington chose that path. While initially saying the US had no plans "at the governmental level" to launch military action, when pushed Mr Downer said "we wouldn't be involved in such activity".'

Despite the fact that this issue has been discussed internationally for some time now and Britain has already expressly ruled out attacking Iran or Syria, Downer acted like he was surprised when asked this question by Laurie Oakes on the Sunday program. However, the admission has finally been forced. Critics should now begin to force the Howard government to distance itself from the American 'pre-emptive strike' (preventative war) doctrine.

Russian military intel update April 4: War in Iraq
'During the four days of the advance elements of the US 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division have bypassed from the east the Iraqi defenses at Karabela and, without encountering any resistance, advanced around 140 kilometers along the Karabela-Baghdad highway and reached the Iraqi capital... All indications are that the breakthrough by the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division toward the Baghdad international airport, although a significant thrust forward, did not come as a surprise to the Iraqi command...

'The coalition claims of "completely destroying" the "Media" ("Al Madina al Munavvara") and the "Hammurali" Republican Guard divisions of the 2nd Republican Guard Corps received no confirmation. No more than 80 destroyed Iraqi armored vehicles were found along the coalition's route of advance, which corresponds to about 20% of a single standard Iraqi Republican Guard division. It has been determined that only a few forward elements of the "Hammurali" Division participated in combat while the entire division withdrew toward Baghdad. A single brigade of the "Medina" division was involved in combat. The brigade was split in two groups during fighting and withdrew toward Baghdad and toward Karabela to join the main forces of the ["Medina"] division... All of this indicates that so far there has been no breakthrough for the coalition; Iraqi troops are not demoralized and the Iraqi command is still in control of its forces.'

The Russian reports provide a stark alternative to the relentlessly upbeat 'victory is nigh' reports in the Western media, even the 'quality' papers like the Sydney Morning Herald. Russian reports, however, tend to give an upbeat assessment of the strength and organisation of Iraqi resistance and the extent of losses and setbacks inflicted on the invaders. One has to wonder which is the more accurate and balanced.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Civilian Casualties 'Horrifying'; Truck Delivered Dismembered Women, Children
'Red Cross doctors who visited southern Iraq this week saw "incredible" levels of civilian casualties including a truckload of dismembered women and children... "There has been an incredible number of casualties with very, very serious wounds in the region of Hilla," Huguenin said in a interview by satellite telephone. "We saw that a truck was delivering dozens of totally dismembered dead bodies of women and children. It was an awful sight. It was really very difficult to believe this was happening."'

Russian military intel update: April 3
'This [US thrust towards Baghdad] came as a surprise to the Iraqi command... As we can see, the coalition command is continuing with its "march on Baghdad" tactics. In the course of their advance the coalition troops are moving around the primary centers of the Iraqi defense and blockade them leaving the rest of the work to aviation and artillery. The very near future will show how effective this tactics really is. So far, according to intelligence reports, more than 50,000 Iraqi troops continue fighting behind the coalition forward lines at Karabela alone. No fewer than 5,000 Iraqis are defending An-Najaf and An-Divania. Experts estimate that the total number of Iraqis fighting behind coalition front approaches 90,000-100,000 regular army troops and militia. Under such circumstances the coalition has two options: it can either try to quickly capture Baghdad, thus leaving the Iraqi garrisons in the occupied territories with no reason to continue with their resistance; or the coalition troops can dig in around Baghdad and prepare for the final assault while "cleaning up" the captured territory. The latter seems more likely as the coalition can use the fresh troops arriving now to Kuwait for these "clean up" operations.'

Friday, April 04, 2003

Umm Qasr aid effort 'a shambles' (via DY)
'Everywhere I went, the local people asked me for water. I went into the two rooms occupied by a family of 14, they were drinking from an oil drum half full of stagnant, dirty water. It was water I certainly would not have drunk.'

'Umm Qasr was taken 10 days ago and it was deemed safe for aid agencies to enter on Monday, and yet it is still a shambles. If the coalition has trouble looking after such a small town, then what are they going to do about the city of Basra or, my God, Baghdad?'

So This Is What War Looks Like?
Eloquent and moving article by Tim Wise on the trauma and horror of war.

Wailing Children, The Wounded The Dead;
Robert Fisk describes the effect of a cluster bomb attack on an Iraqi village: a frightful weapon, quite as hideous as a gas attack.

Powell dictates post-war role of UN; humiliates poodle Blair
'In a difficult meeting with Kofi Annan, in the first days of the war, U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice essentially claimed the right to issue a dictat for the role of the UN in post-war Iraq. Annan indicated he did not believe the UN should be co-opted into providing the U.S. with ex post facto legitimation for its illegal war. According to Secretary of State Powell, however, two weeks into the war, "what we have to work out is … how the UN role will be used to provide some level of endorsement for our actions, the actions of the coalition in Iraq."'

'Secretary of State Powell described the limits of what the potential United Nations role could be in decision-making regarding governance of post-war Iraq. A member of Congress asked him, "it seems to me it's one thing for there to be a future UN resolution about a role for the UN, particularly humanitarian. But it would be another thing for the UN resolution to lay out some road map for post-war Iraq in such a way that it [the UN] would basically grab that decision-making and control from the coalition.… Can you give us some assurance that whatever UN resolutions are in the future will not do that?" Powell replied "I don't even see a possibility of that right now. … We would not support …essentially handing everything over to the UN, for someone designated by the UN to suddenly become in charge of this whole operation." Later in his testimony Powell said that, "we didn't take on this huge burden with our coalition partners not to be able to have significant, dominating control over how it unfolds in the future... the UN has a role to play. If we want to get help from other nations, and we ask these nations to go get funds from their parliaments or their legislatures, it makes it a lot easier for them to get those funds and to contribute those funds to the reconstruction/redevelopment effort if it has an international standing, if I can put it that way, as opposed to 'just give us money to give to the Americans.' That will not work. And so there are a number of advantages to having a UN role in this effort." But the U.S. remains very clear that while it expected international financial support to cover its own humanitarian obligations, it has no intention of sharing actual authority, power, or decision-making with anyone."'

'European governments, including key U.S. ally Tony Blair of Britain, strongly oppose the plans for U.S. military control of Iraq. Blair is leading a European-wide effort to push for greater UN involvement in and perhaps even control of the reconstruction process, apparently viewing it as a way of repairing his damaged relations with European opponents of the war, particularly in France and Germany. UN officials have indicated they see the British proposal as a useful starting point for determining the UN role in Iraq beyond purely humanitarian relief. But, according to a UN staff member, "Even on that, the Americans have more or less signaled to us, 'forget about it.'"

Again, one is left to wonder whether Blair truly expects the UN to have such a role, or is just affecting to patch things up with Europe. Blair apparently still cannot comprehend the gap between current US unilateralism and the rest of the world, including the UK.

Iraq Invasion By The Numbers
Set of key facts and figures on the US and Iraq which speak for themselves. The author might have attempted to include number of state-sponsored acts of terrorism by the US and Iraq; also is it true that the US has been bombing Iraq for 26 yrs?

Map: Basra
Best map of Basra situation I have found. British line enloses the city on 3 sides but does not yet have it surrounded.

Chomsky on Turkey and The US War On Iraq
'The criticism of Turkey in the US is indeed bitter, and extremely revealing. The Turkish government took the position of over 90 percent of the population. That reveals that the government lacks "democratic credentials," according to former Ambassador Morris Abramowitz, now a distinguished elder statesman. The government is "following the people," he wrote, instead of following orders from Washington and Crawford Texas. That is plainly unacceptable. The view he articulates is standard.

'Turkey taught the US a lesson in democracy. That is regarded as criminal. One can debate the reasons and the background, but the facts are glaringly obvious, underscored even more dramatically by the reaction in the US to similar crimes elsewhere. Germany and France are bitterly condemned for the same reason, while Italy, Spain, Hungary and others are praised as the "New Europe," because their leaders agreed to follow US orders in opposition to the vast majority of the population, almost as much as in Turkey.

'I do not recall ever having seen such demonstration of intense hatred for democracy on the part of elite opinion in the US (and to some extent Britain).'

This gives a good idea of what US elites mean by 'democracy.' There can hardly be the slightest doubt that Iraqi 'democracy' will mean a government aligned with US elites, or a client state or puppet state. The public must not allow themselves to be deceived on this point. If there was to be anything like genuine democracy in Iraq the outcome would most likely be a Shiite dominated country aligned with Iran, no foreign occupying troops, and the oil resources of the country used for the benefit of the people. Plainly, none of this can be acceptable to the US.

Protestors may face 25 years to life in jail as terrorists
'An Oregon anti-terrorism bill would jail street-blocking protesters for at least 25 years in a thinly veiled effort to discourage anti-war demonstrations, critics say. The bill has met strong opposition but lawmakers still expect a debate on the definition of terrorism and the value of free speech before a vote by the state senate judiciary committee, whose Chairman, Republican Senator John Minnis, wrote the proposed legislation.

'Dubbed Senate Bill 742, it identifies a terrorist as a person who "plans or participates in an act that is intended, by at least one of its participants, to disrupt" business, transportation, schools, government, or free assembly.'

A severely repressive measure worthy of a police state from a congressman, wrapped in the flag, who doubtless calls himself a 'patriot' and defender of 'freedom.'.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Straw: UK will not attack Syria or Iran
'Britain would have "nothing whatever" to do with military action against Syria or Iran, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, signalled today.'

Australian Prime Minister Howard must be asked, will he categorically rule out Australian participation in any US-led attack on Syria or Iran?

UN 'Uniting for Peace' needs support
This article discusses the campaign for the UN General Assembly to pass a 'Uniting for Peace' resolution; and why the call for this resolution should be supported by national parliaments and the peace movement as a key demand.

Must-read Chomsky interview: Iraq is a trial run
'The doctrine of preventive war was announced explicitly in the National Strategy Report last September. It sent shudders around the world, including through the U.S. establishment, where, I might say, opposition to the war is unusually high. The National Strategy Report said, in effect, that the U.S. will rule the world by force, which is the dimension  -   the only dimension  -   in which it is supreme. Furthermore, it will do so for the indefinite future, because if any potential challenge arises to U.S. domination, the U.S. will destroy it before it becomes a challenge. This is the first exercise of that doctrine.'

British MP denounces war
'[Glasgow MP George] Galloway, meanwhile, defended an interview in which he branded Mr Blair and the US president, George Bush, as "wolves" for committing the "crime" of military action against Iraq. In an interview for Abu Dhabi TV, he questioned why Arab countries were selling oil to the coalition forces, and accused Mr Blair and Mr Bush of lying to the armed forces about the likely length of the war.

'The MP rejected suggestions that his interview amounted to an act of treachery. He said: "As for being a traitor, the people who have betrayed this country are those who have sold it to a foreign power and who have been the miserable surrogates of a bigger power for reasons very few people in Britain can understand."

'He added: "Given that I believe this invasion is illegal, it follows that the only people fighting legally are the Iraqis, who are defending their country." Mr Galloway denied that his interview amounted to incitement to Arabs to kill British troops. But he added: "The best thing British troops can do is to refuse to obey illegal orders."

'Mr Galloway, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live this morning, predicted that the international criminal court would one day sit in judgment on British policy makers and officers. America does not recognise the court's jurisdiction. He said: "I believe the international criminal court will, in years to come, take legal action against the British policy makers and some officers for the prosecution of illegal orders."'

Russian military intel update: April 2
'Military analysts believe that today and tomorrow will decide the outcome of the attack on Baghdad that begun two days ago. If the coalition forces fail to break the Iraqi defenses, then by the weekend the US will be forced to curtail all attacks and to resort to positional warfare while regrouping forces and integrating them with the fresh divisions arriving from the US and Europe. Such a tactical pause in the war, although not a complete halt in combat operations (the coalition command will continue trying to use localized attacks to improve its positions), may last seven to fourteen days and will lead to a full re-evaluation of all coalition battle plans.'

U.S. Using Cluster Munitions In Iraq

'"The United States should not be using these weapons," said Steve Goose, executive director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. "Iraqi civilians will be paying the price with their lives and limbs for many years."'

'The standard M26 warhead for the MLRS contains 644 M77 individual submunitions (also called dual-purpose grenades). According to a Department of Defense report submitted to the U.S. Congress in February 2000, these submunitions have a failure rate of 16 percent. Thus, the typical volley of twelve MLRS rockets would likely result in more than 1,200 dud submunitions scattered randomly in a 120,000 to 240,000 square meter impact area.'

Children Killed and Maimed in Cluster Bomb Attack on Town
'Much of the videotape was too terrible to show on television and the agencies' Baghdad editors felt able to send only a few minutes of a 21-minute tape that included a father holding out pieces of his baby and screaming "cowards, cowards'' into the camera. Two lorryloads of bodies, including women in flowered dresses, could be seen outside the Hilla hospital.'

Censorship of this videotape and similar evidence is a mistake. The truth must be covered in as much detail as possible and brought out of the country. It only serves the interests of the warmaking powers to suppress evidence of their grisly work. What they would like to have of course is a Gulf War 1 coverage, a videogame-style coverage which gives the impression almost no one has been killed.

India calls for war to end
'Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha said that the United States and Britain had made a mistake in attacking Iraq and urged the UN Security Council to take the initiative to end the war.'

'I saw the heads of my two little girls come off'
Gruesome account by survivors of the horrifying killing of civilians at a US checkpoint south of Karbela.

Roy: Mesopotamia. Babylon. The Tigris and Euphrates
'[Bush] has placed on full public view the working parts, the nuts and bolts of the apocalyptic apparatus of the American empire. Now that the blueprint (The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire) has been put into mass circulation, it could be disabled quicker than the pundits predicted. Bring on the spanners.'