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Gaffe exposes monitoring sham
Syrians near border vow to fight U.S.
Depleted Uranium Shock and Stun in Iraq
Engineering: A job market recovery? 2003 Outlook
Chief Nuclear Inspector Warns Iraq
Report: Japan, U.S. to Hold Missile - Intercept Tests
North Korea to build four more nuclear reactors
Korea Can't Wait
N.Korea Says Sure of Winning Nuclear War with U.S.
Attack on nuclear plant 'could kill 3.5m'
Possible Weapons of Terrorism, Effects
Homeland Security Help on the Web
New weapons ready to fight Iraq
Colombian Farc rebels executed US 'contractors'
Germany exaggerated germs claim
Iraq Said to Plan Strategy of Delay and Urban Battle
Iraq Mourns Civilian Victims of Gulf War
An Iraqi Outpost Quietly Waits for War
IRAQ'S SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE NETWORK
4 Israelis Killed in Tank Blast
Bolivia Asks for International Investigation
Bahrain: 5 arrested in terror plot
Belgium Offers Compromise on NATO Dispute
Iraq passes on disarmament presidency
U.S., Britain rework draft on Iraqi arms
Pentagon does about-face on troop cremation plan
Unrivaled Military Feels Strains of Unending War
Sea lions called to duty in Persian Gulf
"The demise of the nuclear bomb hoax''
'Bin Laden' tape attacks 'crusaders'
CIA analysis shows bin Laden tape is genuine
Media's war footing looks solid
Anti-war lobby must not be silenced by the smear
POLICE / PRISONERS / COURTS
Call of the Riled: Mueller Has an Invite for Edwards
FBI, Local Police Prepare for Attacks
The State of our Defense
In Terror Alerts, an Art and a Balancing Act
High Alert and Emergency Preparedness
Weighing the Risks of Terror
5,000 Al Qaeda Operatives in the U.S.
ENERGY AND OTHER
Nuclear energy's place usurped by wind and waves
Ships Anchored in the Past
A Toxic Legacy on the Mexican Border
Body's First Defense May Be Root of Diseases
Police fire tear gas, rubber bullet at Colorado Springs war protest
Millions Worldwide Protest Iraq War
From New York to Melbourne, Cries for Peace
Antiwar Rallies Raise a Chorus Across Europe
Wide Range of Ages, Races and Parties Unite on Iraq
Antiwar protesters march in Tokyo
Protests for peace
Antiwar Organizer's Politics Cause Rift
Millions around world march against war
The streets were full but still they came
Label the protesters Americans
NYC protesters blast war
Millions give dramatic rebuff to US war plans
City throbs to drumbeat of peace
Spaniards Hold Mass Demonstrations Against War with Iraq
Israelis join global protest against Iraqi war
The day Middle England marched with the militants
Report From New York
Tunisia police beat anti-war protesters, 18 hurt
Code Pink trip recalled
-------- depleted uranium
Gaffe exposes monitoring sham
Ministry of Defence admits officer's slip-up is 'unhelpful'
By Rob Edwards, Environment Editor
16 February 2003
Official monitoring of the radioactive contamination caused by depleted uranium (DU) weapons is no more than a cynical ploy designed to reassure a worried public, a senior army officer has admitted.
His admission comes amidst mounting anxiety this weekend about the risks of DU poisoning people and the environment. Millions of shells containing hundreds of tonnes of DU are on their way to the Gulf from Britain and the US for the expected attack on Iraq, while nearly 200 DU rounds have just been tested at a firing range in southwest Scotland.
Now, in an extraordinary gaffe, the retired lieutenant colonel in charge of the Dundrennan military firing range in Kirkcudbrightshire, Grant Oliver, has let slip what many have long suspected: that the Ministry of Defence's environmental surveys of DU pollution are only meant to prove that there is 'absolutely no significant hazard'.
This has prompted criticism from scientists, politicians and Scotland's official pollution watchdog, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa). Clearly embarrassed, even the MoD has disassociated itself from Oliver's remarks, describing them as 'unfortunate'.
In an article in the latest issue of the MoD's glossy annual conservation magazine, Sanctuary, Oliver recounts the fuss that surrounded the testing of DU shells at Dundrennan in 2001.
'In early February, when there was little news from Westminster, the media persuaded the MoD to allow them to film a firing. The circus descended,' he wrote.
'The trials activity is now at an end. The aim is to survey any area that might have been affected by the firing and be able to announce that absolutely no significant hazard exists. This will enable more areas to be opened to public access.'
The MoD has been regularly monitoring radioactive contamination at the Kirkcudbrightshire range since the 1980s, and has always claimed there is no risk to human health. In the most recent analysis made available last year, ministry scientists concluded that there was 'negligible risk to anyone arising from DU contamination outside the controlled areas'.
But now, according to critics, Oliver's remarks have cast doubt on the independence and reliability of the MoD's surveys. Unlike other public and private agencies, pollution caused by the ministry is exempt from statutory regulation by Sepa.
'It is very clever of the range commander to predict the outcome of the survey before it has been done,' said independent nuclear consultant, John Large. 'But it is scientifically wrong because having such an objective beforehand prejudices the outcome.'
Alasdair Morgan, Scottish National Party MSP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale, was also worried that the monitoring could be biased.
'If you go looking for a clean bill of health, hey presto, it's no surprise if you find a clean bill of health. It makes one wonder how rigorous the monitoring is,' he said.
Morgan called for future monitoring to be carried out by agencies that were independent of the MoD, like Sepa. This was echoed by the senior Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon, Malcolm Bruce, who has investigated DU pollution.
Oliver's remarks were 'absolutely in the spirit of a military man who can't be bothered with all these nosy journalists and politicians,' Bruce said.
'It does appear that he is looking for a self-fulfilling survey to give predetermined results.'
Sepa has also called on the MoD to allow contamination at Dundrennan to be impartially checked.
'If the firing of depleted uranium projectiles at the MoD Kirkcudbright range poses no significant hazard to terrestrial and marine environments, the MoD should have no reason to object to an external environmental audit of this site. I think the public would be greatly reassured if this were the case,' stated Sepa's chairman, Ken Collins.
DU is used in armour- piercing shells because it is extremely dense and, as a waste by-product of the nuclear power industry, very cheap. The newest design of British tank, Challenger 2, is equipped to fire 120mm DU shells known bizarrely as 'Charm 3'.
The MoD confirmed that 120 Challenger 2 tanks armed with DU rounds were currently on their way to the Gulf. DU munitions are also expected to be widely used by US forces, which during the last Gulf war in 1991 unleashed 290 tonnes of DU on Iraq.
DU is blamed by some for causing Gulf War Syndrome amongst veterans of the conflict and a rise in cancer and other illnesses amongst Iraqi civilians. When DU shells hit hard targets they burst into flames and release clouds of toxic dust which can be inhaled.
In preparation for an attack on Iraq, Challenger 2 tanks fired up to 192 DU rounds at the Kirkcudbright range between February 3 and 7. The MoD said the aim was 'to test the performance of fire control and sighting systems', and promised that the site would be monitored for contamination.
But an MoD spokeswoman was careful to disown Oliver's comments about the point of monitoring. 'He was expressing a personal opinion,' she told the Sunday Herald. 'It's unfortunate the way he has phrased it but all he was trying to do was draw attention to the fact that we have a com prehensive monitoring programme before and after firings.'
The MoD has previously admitted that there have been 93 occasions since 1982 when DU shells have misfired and caused radioactive contamination on the Dundrennan range. More than 6000 shells have been fired into the Solway Firth and only one is known to have been recovered -- and that was dredged up by a local fisherman in 1997.
Syrians near border vow to fight U.S.
By Jon Sawyer
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ALBUKAMAL, Syria - If the sentiments of this Euphrates River city are any gauge, those planning the U.S. war on Iraq had best gird for hard times ahead, not just in Iraq itself but in the region beyond.
In this city of 50,000 people on the Iraq-Syria border, 180 miles northwest of Baghdad, almost everyone has a personal link to Iraq - and almost no one has anything good to say about the United States government.
Not long after they arrived on one of Albukamal's muddy, unpaved streets, two Post-Dispatch journalists and their van were surrounded by angry local residents eager to unload on the first Americans they've met.
A group of shopkeepers say the economy here has never recovered from America's first war with Iraq, in 1991, and that a U.S. invasion now would only make things worse.
They recall the "black rain" that fell for two days after the U.S. bombed a chemical plant just across the border, using weapons tipped with depleted uranium that officials here associate with a surge in cases of leukemia, birth defects and miscarriages.
They reject out of hand a reporter's suggestion that the United States is confronting Iraq to disarm a dangerous dictator and to liberate a long-oppressed Iraqi people.
"This war is about two things only: oil and Israel," one merchant says. "Everyone here knows that."
A group of children and teenagers, egged on by an adult with a megaphone, are more direct. They crowd around a Post-Dispatch photographer, chanting "Viva Iraq!" The chants continue and the crowd surges, more than 100 strong - slapping the sides of the van and throwing rocks as the journalists retreat.
"You're late," says the head man at the border crossing just outside Albukamal. "We expected you at 6."
In Syria, Bashar al-Assad's ascendancy to the presidency after the death of his father, Hafez, three years ago was supposed to mark a turn in Syria toward a less autocratic, more open society. There has been some movement, political and economic, yet a visit to Albukamal is a reminder that no one will confuse Syria with Missouri anytime soon.
On the first evening of a two-day visit a nervous businessman concludes an interview by insisting on taking the visiting journalists, immediately, to the city's security chief.
The chief, his well-turned-out double-breasted brown suit underscoring his local status, treats his visitors to a 45-minute lecture, punctuated by coffee and tea, on the merits of Syrian democracy. His promise of a hospitable welcome turns out to be full-time surveillance, including a motorcycle-and-jeep escort for much of the following day.
The border guards reject requests to photograph the site and limit access to half an hour. Aside from overbearing security, the scene appears routine, with long-haul truckers warming themselves over kerosene stoves and brewing early-morning tea.
A convoy of some 60 Iraqi trucks was waiting for permission to enter Iraq. The Iraqi drivers had been held up four days, they said, because border authorities would not let them proceed without a Syrian escort - and the Syrians assigned to them had gone off to visit relatives for the four-day Eid al-Adha festival that concluded Friday.
These trucks come to Syria empty, the drivers said, and return with the basic staples - sugar, grain and food oil - that Iraq is allowed to purchase under the United Nations oil-for-food program. A war would disrupt supplies; U.S. officials say plans are in place to assure no lengthy interruptions of key civilian needs in the event of war.
In 1991, Syria worked with international relief organizations, building tent camps here and elsewhere along the border to serve Iraqi refugees. There are no visible signs of such preparation today; Syrian officials say it is too soon to take such steps. Traffic by individuals across the border remains light, local officials say, with no more than 20 cars a day crossing in either direction.
The truck drivers, several of whom say they are army reservists, have but one question - "Why does America want to invade Iraq?" - and a quick rejoinder to a summary of U.S. aims.
"But Israel has far more sophisticated weapons and it's a danger to every country in the region," one driver says. "Even as ordinary citizens we know that. So why isn't the United States aligned with us, against Israel?"
The driver wears a red-and-white checked headscarf and a weathered camel's hair overcoat with his long cotton robe. His smile reveals two gold-capped teeth.
"Give my regards to America," he says. "Tell them we will fight, and fight well."
Just a half dozen miles down the Euphrates is the Iraqi town of al-Qaim, site of a chemical plant that was bombed during the 1991 Gulf War. For two days afterward, "the rain was black" in Albukamal, says Faisal Jassim, a surgeon at the local public hospital.
Faisal recalls that residents with asthma were the immediate victims. But he said that in subsequent years the town began to experience sharp increases in miscarriages, birth defects and forms of cancer that previously had been rare or nonexistent.
The U.S. military has acknowledged using depleted uranium to harden the tips on "tank-busting" munitions and other ammunition during the war but denies allegations of any adverse health effects. Preliminary studies by the World Health Organization and the U.N. Environmental Program have discounted reports of public-health consequences by non-government public interest organizations.
Faisal, who lost his twin baby brothers and a cousin to leukemia, is convinced that there is a link.
"The people here are vulnerable already," says Faisal, standing in a squalid corridor of the hospital. The bathrooms here are covered in filth; the sinks backed up. In the birthing room the dirty foam mattress on a bed has burst its plastic cover; a bedpan on the delivery table still contains drops of drying blood from the previous birth.
Faisal said that in a country as poor as Syria, with a per capita income of about $1,000 - significantly less in backwater cities like Albukamal - poor nutrition, poor sanitation and rudimentary health care are the norm. In that environment, he believes, the introduction of chemical contaminants such as depleted uranium can tip the balance.
Families who have lost children to new diseases say they aren't specialists and can't be sure of the cause. All they know for sure is the loss they bear.
Noraldin Othman shows a photograph of his son, Izadin, who died in December 2000 at the age of 8. He had been treated for leukemia since 1994, including five years when the family made the seven-hour drive to Damascus weekly for radiation.
Noraldin, a tailor, ticks off the names of six other families nearby who had lost children to leukemia since 1991, and two whose children have the disease today.
"These were the first cases ever in Albukamal," he says. "We had never seen this before, which is why my boy was treated for something else first. It was something new, something strange, that had never happened before."
Another of the leukemia victims was Abdul Rahman, who died in October 1999 at the age of 5. His mother, Hiam al Ali, holds a photograph that shows the earnest face of her son, a plaid-shirted boy who "loved football most of all," she says, "and was loved by all." He died after nearly two years of treatment in the hospitals of Aleppo and Damascus.
Adnan Tabus, a factory worker, cradles his son Mohamed in his arms. The boy was born in March 2001 with a hole in his back and his head nearly twice the normal size, the result of spinal fluid leaking into his brain. Surgery closed the opening but has left Mohamed paralyzed from the waist down. He clings to his father with strong hands and a searching gaze.
"I have two neighbors whose children were born with the same deformity, and both of them died," Adnan says. "The daughter of another neighbor has the same, and is still alive."
Faisal, the surgeon at the hospital, says that a month ago Albukamal received its first visit from foreigners - a team from a Japanese humanitarian agency - seeking to help with the medical aftermath of the 1991 war. Faisal says he wonders why no one from America, which talks so much about its concern for this region's people, has come to investigate the medical mystery of Albukamal.
The people of Albukamal may disagree violently with U.S. policies, but that difference proves no barrier to traditional Arab hospitality.
In this generally poor city, residents are quick to invite two strangers into their homes, to lounge on floor cushions and discuss the looming war over strong coffee and heavily sweetened herbal tea. A woman baking bread on the roadside refuses payment - "It is my honor," she says - for a couple of loaves still steaming from the heat of her adobe brick oven.
Two of the merchants who had excoriated U.S. policies when the journalists first arrived promptly invited them to their home, where the extended family was in the midst of celebrating the Eid al-Adha festival that marks the end of each year's pilgrimage to Mecca.
The holiday was the occasion for a visit home by Sufian al-Alao, an engineer who grew up in Albukamal and has gone on to a successful career in Damascus. He is now the government's deputy minister for electricity, a position that has brought with it a Mercedes automobile, the wherewithal to send two of his sons to the United Kingdom for medical training and the opportunity to treat his own heart failure with a double-bypass operation performed at the Cleveland Clinic.
All in all, Sufian says, he prefers the run-down streets and dilapidated shops of Albukamal. "Here you can go anywhere, anytime, and feel perfectly safe," he says. "In Cleveland you couldn't even go in many neighborhoods. The entire time I was there I was afraid of being killed."
American analysts talk of impressionable Arabs, easily subject to manipulation by corrupt dictators and fanatics like Osama bin Laden. Sufian turns the issue around, noting the way U.S. officials have demonized figures like bin Laden and Iraq's Saddam Hussein, both of whom enjoyed lavish American support at earlier stages in their careers.
"Who created al-Qaida?" he asks, referring to U.S. support for bin Laden when he joined Arab mujahedeen "holy warriors" that the U.S. recruited to battle the former Soviet Union during the 1980s in Afghanistan. "You take a dog, you feed it and feed it, and after a while it becomes so big that you can no longer control it."
In Albukamal local residents hailed bin Laden's purported statement last week voicing solidarity with the Iraqi people. Sufian said the great majority of Arabs had reacted initially to the attacks of Sept. 11 with horror and shame. That attitudes are changing reflects U.S. policies over the past two years, he says.
"That people are sympathizing with bin Laden now is simply the result of your own actions," he said. "If you continue down this road, you'll make him a global hero."
To Syrians like Sufian, the U.S. intervention in the Middle East is just a reprise of imperialism past, most notably the efforts by the British and French to carve up the Ottoman Empire after its collapse during World War I. The "lines in the sand" they drew created the artificial divisions among Arab states that have bedeviled the region in the decades since.
He insists that the hidden goal of the impending intervention is the old rule of divide and conquer, to strengthen Israel's regional hand by breaking up countries like Iraq into fractious smaller parts. The American people don't perceive what to Arabs appears as obvious fact, he says, because they have long enjoyed a level of security - unique in the world - that has allowed them to ignore the complicated realities of global politics.
"The American people are ignorant of what their government is doing," Sufian said. He blames the U.S. media for "constantly supporting this extreme action, and for magnifying the idea that Saddam Hussein is endangering them - as if this weak country, under siege for 12 years, could threaten the most powerful nation in the world."
"You should tell your readers this," he adds, "that blood is not cheap. There is a price to be paid when the merchants of war insist on unjustified killings. The Iraqis, and the Arabs, will get their revenge, no matter how long it takes.
"Let this war come," he concludes. "Our history is long. We know that other wars will follow."
Reporter Jon Sawyer: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 202-298-6880
Depleted Uranium Shock and Stun in Iraq
Fri, 14 Feb 2003
by William Thomas
American and British troops entering Iraq should bandage all cuts, keep their overheated rubber suits zipped tight, and stop breathing. It is dust, not bullets, that will likely pose the most lethal consequences to their invasion of Iraq.
American military strategist Harlan Ullman will not be accompanying them. But Ullman is excited about seeing his plan for mass murder enacted. Only weeks away from a "live-fire" demonstration over the streets of Iraq's biggest cities. Ullman compares hundreds of cruise missiles hitting Baghdad to moments of total devastation directed at another war-ravaged population half a century before.
"You have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but minutes," Ullman boasts. [The Sun-Herald Jan. 26 2003]
Intended as a lesson for a worldwide audience, the Pentagon says its plan is intended to shatter Iraq "physically, emotionally and psychologically" by raining down on its people in two days more than twice the number of missiles launched during the entire 40 days of Desert Storm. The World Health Organisation estimates that "as many as 500,000 people could require treatment as a result of direct and indirect injuries" from this unprecedented onslaught or radioactive high-explosives. [The Mirror Jan 29, 2003]
Extensive experimentation against urban centers in Bosnia, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq have shown cruise missiles to be wildly inaccurate. Military insider Al Martin recalls a U.S. general laughing during Desert Storm at the inaccuracy of American cruise missiles. "The defense contractors will get paid as long as the things go off and hit the right country," the general said. [All Fall Down: The Politics of Terror and Mass Persuasion]
It will take up to 800 missiles to ensure complete demolition of Iraq's remaining defences and infrastructure, including sporadically-functioning power stations, sewage and water purification plants. Repeatedly blasted in 1991 - then denied spare parts under U.S. and British embargoes - these key city facilities are located in crowded neighborhoods.
"The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before," a Pentagon official boasted to CBS News. "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad."
It's not safe now! Much of Iraq remains radiologically "hot" following undeclared nuclear attacks that have randomly distributed lethal air and food-borne radiation from Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions - without any mushroom clouds.
With a postwar toll of perhaps 650,000 deaths from lingering wounds, illness and DU exposure, Iraq has already suffered more radiation deaths than the 130,000 corpses produced at Hiroshima through American know-how and acute radiation exposure. [UN and Japanese figures]
The same type of uranium-tipped cruise missiles that carried cancer into Bosnia and Afghanistan will only add fresh "rems" to the radioactive dust of this distant desert land. Even if resistance collapses following an urban bombardment unprecedented in scale, timing and ferocity, allied forces face the specter of severe casualties from the lethal legacy of their last munitions testing on the people of Iraq.
"If your son or daughter is in the military today, opposition from the hapless Iraqi army is not the greatest threat," warns Depleted Uranium (DU) investigator John Kaminski. "In southern Iraq, American soldiers will be sent into battle with inadequate protections against a proven health hazard that will almost certainly doom them to lives diminished by a variety of cancers caused by uranium 238, which means they may transmit these illnesses to their family and friends - and birth defects to their children - when and if they return home."
JUST A DAB WILL DU YOU DU shells retain 60% of the radioactivity of unspent "hot" uranium. Radiobiologist Dr. Rosalie Bertell warns that "it can be breathed in by anyone: a baby, a pregnant woman, the elderly, the sick."
A speck of Uranium-238 can cause cancer. The Pentagon admits to firing 320 tons of DU into Iraq's farms and neighborhoods during Desert Storm. Greenpeace puts the figure at more than 800 tons.
Foremost expert on radiation sickness, Dr. Helen Caldicott explains that DU dust is a potent radioactive carcinogen, emitting a heavy alpha particle that can lodge in open wounds, the lungs or the stomach depending on its pathways of ingestion. The result: cancers in the lungs, bones, blood or kidneys.
These devastating diseases are already surfacing in Afghanistan and Bosnia, while continuing to decimate the survivors of what the City Council of Detroit condemns as "genocide" in Iraq. With a half-life of 4.5 million years, Caldicott says that contaminated areas "will remain effectively radioactive for the rest of time." [San Francisco Chronicle Oct. 10, 2002]
Former Basra Dean of Medicine Dr. Alim Abdul-Hamid says he has "plenty of first-hand experience with Iraq's unprecedented plague of cancers and birth defects." The Iraqi physician is seeing breast cancer among women in their 20s. "In their 20s!" he repeats. "There are increased incidences of colon cancer, thyroid cancer - in addition to, of course, leukemias and lymphomas." [Counterpunch Dec. 28, 2001]
Children are 10 to 20 times more sensitive to the effects of radiation than adults. Today more than half of all cancers in Iraq are occurring among children under the age of five. Helpless pediatricians in Basra have watched childhood leukemia and cancer increase up to 12-times peacetime rates. Hospitals throughout Iraq have reported as much as a 10-fold increase in birth defects since cities and countryside were strafed with radioactive munitions. [Counterpunch Dec. 28, 2001]
Pointing to a map of Basra, Dr. Abdul-Hamid demonstrated the dose-response relationship between DU and cancers, saying, "Areas which have got the higher level of background radiation have higher levels of cancers."
American and British military doctors insist that eating and breathing radioactive uranium is perfectly safe. So, they say, is being injected with mycoplasma-spiked anthrax vaccine. Believing these assurances, an estimated 250,000 disposable Desert Storm veterans in Canada, the United States and Great Britain currently suffer from debilitating "Gulf War Illness". [Bringing The War Home]
But because Depleted Uranium is unmatched as a shield and a weapon, international efforts to ban DU continue to be ignored by the U.S., Canada and Britain. Radioactive warfare is also a convenient way to redistribute mountains of mutagenic debris from atomic warfare factories to distant "colored" neighborhoods.
Dr. Doug Rokke knows these dangers internally. The American physician in charge of dealing with post-war contamination in Iraqi communities saw his medical records confiscated by the U.S. Army after long-delayed examination results showed radiation in his body at 5,000 times maximum "safe" levels.
Rokke, who headed the army's Depleted Uranium program after the Gulf Massacre, told reporters after returning from Iraq, "'Oh my God' is the only way to describe it. Contamination was all over."
Rokke's recruits measured dangerous levels of radiation up to 150 feet away from DU-fried tanks - including up to 300 millirems an hour in beta and gamma radiation. Alpha radiation registered in the thousands to the millions counts-per-minute on their Geiger counters.
"That whole area is still trashed," Rokke remarked. "It's hotter than heck over there still. This stuff doesn't go away."
NO TANKS Rokke's team spent three months cleaning up 24 tanks for return as outdoor exhibits to the United States. The army took another three years to clean up the tanks. But just three days after commencing their inspections, Rokke and his crew started getting sick." Over the past decade, 30 men out of 100 servicemen dealing with DU, "dropped dead."
Rokke says the biggest danger is the dust given off when a Depleted Uranium shell detonates. In heat fierce enough to melt armor plating, up to 70% of a DU round oxidizes. "This aerosolized power - uranium oxide - is the really dangerous stuff," Rokke says. "Particularly when it is inhaled."
Rokke suspects that, like many Iraqi adults and children, radioactive uranium oxide dust is permanently trapped in his lungs. Rokke also has lesions on his brain. Pustules protrude from his skin. He suffers from chronic fatigue, and cannot stop wheezing for breath and coughing. His fibromyalgia inflicts chronic pain in his muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Rokke's radioactive regrets reveal the hazards facing unprotected U.S. and British soldiers, as well as peacekeepers brought in from other countries - including Canada - to secure the second biggest oil fields on Earth.
Caldicott warns, "these tiny particles travel long distances when airborne." In Yugoslavia, Depleted Uranium fired into agricultural areas has irradiated food. Scottish scientists recently verified that residents of the Balkans exposed to fallout from DU-tipped cruise missiles are excreting uranium in their urine.
GULF WAR ILLNESS - THE SEQUEL?
Even before American and British troops enter Baghdad's radioactive environs to "liberate" families suffering the sickening strangulation of their sanctions - allied casualties continue to mount.
In preliminary announcements of what may later be called "Gulf War Illness II", Reuters reports that "Veterans groups on both sides of the Atlantic say up to one in three soldiers has fallen ill after taking the vaccine, and six of them died in the United States."
"We have hard facts," says British-based National Gulf Veterans and Families Association coordinator James Moore. "Two and Three Parachute Regiments have had anthrax injections. At least a third come down with flu-like symptoms and have been very poorly. In the United States, over 30 percent have come down with symptoms and six have died after taking the vaccine." [Reuters Jan. 8, 2003]
This is a war even the victors will lose.
Canadian journalist William Thomas has written Op Ed pieces for the Vancouver Sun, Times-Colonist and Globe and Mail while serving as a member of a three-man Gulf Environmental Emergency Response Team in Kuwait immediately after Desert Storm. Producer of the award-winning documentary, "Eco War", he is the author of Bringing The War Home and All Fall Down: The Politics of Terror and Mass Persuasion.
Engineering: A job market recovery? 2003 Outlook
Sunday, February 16, 2003
By SCOTT SCHNIERER
The North Jersey Record and Herald News
Bleak forecasts and all-too-frequent reports of job layoffs have, understandably, had a negative impact in the local and national marketplace. But how does New Jersey actually stack up against the rest of the nation? Despite the public perception, the state has fared better than most. New Jersey's December 2002 unemployment rate of 5.5 percent was down from the November rate of 5.6 percent, and the rate has remained within a narrow range of 5.3 to 5.6 percent since March 2002....
Unfortunately for the power industry, the short-term 2003 outlook and beyond looks the same. Since Burns & Roe is a diversified company, it expects growth in such areas as federal services, operations and maintenance, and infrastructure. Lupi added, "Being a diverse engineering company with a global reach, Burns and Roe offers engineers the ability to manage and design projects for commercial and government clients throughout the country and around the world."
Currently, the company is working with the Department of Energy to process the government's inventory of depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6), a material byproduct of weapons production activity, for disposal and reuse. Similar long-term government contracts will increase the need for project engineers.
In other specialized areas, such as national defense, many engineering jobs are related to developing related technologies. Because defense expenditures - particularly for aircraft, missiles and other weapons systems -are not expected to return to previous high levels, the employment outlook for engineers may not be as favorable.....
Chief Nuclear Inspector Warns Iraq
By George Jahn
The Associated Press
Sunday, February 16, 2003
The chief U.N. nuclear inspector said Sunday that world powers now opposed to using force against Iraq could change their minds if Baghdad doesn't show more willingness to reveal evidence of weapons programs.
Mohamed ElBaradei, who heads the U.N. search for banned weapons along with Hans Blix, told The Associated Press that the onus was on Iraq, not the U.N. inspectors searching for weapons of mass destruction, to prove that it had nothing to hide.
Secretary of State Colin Powell's call for support for military action was rebuffed Friday in a stormy U.N. Security Council meeting. Most Council members lined up behind the foreign ministers of France, Russia and Germany, who called for more inspections after Blix and ElBaradei reported some progress.
ElBaradei, who heads the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, said council sentiment could swing toward Washington unless Baghdad convincingly demonstrates its eagerness to reveal all evidence of past and present nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs.
"It is clear that the Security Council would like to give the inspections more time," ElBaradei said flying to Vienna from New York. "Having said that, Iraq should not get the wrong message."
"The Security Council is still very impatient, the Security Council believes that Iraq still is not cooperating the way it should cooperate," he said.
Despite majority Security Council sentiment that inspections should continue for now, "everybody is of the view that force might not be excluded as a last resort, and everybody is also saying that Iraq has a limited time to comply," ElBaradei said.
Rattled by the outpouring of anti-war sentiment, the United States and Britain began reworking a draft resolution Saturday to authorize force against Saddam Hussein. But diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the final product may be a softer text that does not explicitly call for war, unlike the draft originally planned.
Nearly four years ago, inspectors sent to Iraq in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War withdrew on the eve of U.S.-British airstrikes amid allegations that Baghdad was not cooperating with the teams. They returned in November under a U.N. resolution committing Iraq to cooperate and implying, but not explicitly stating, the threat of military action if it does not.
ElBaradei and Blix said Iraq's decision to allow surveillance flights, provide new documents and investigate past arms stockpiles showed improved cooperation.
On Sunday, ElBaradei said he expected high-altitude U-2 surveillance flights to begin "within the next few days," boosting the expanding search for banned weapons. But he stressed that the burden of proof was on Iraq to do more to show it was not hiding anything.
Specifically, he urged more scientists and military experts to consent to being interviewed without the presence of government minders, and in some cases outside the country. Up to now, only three Iraqis have consented to interviews alone or without taping their comments.
ElBaradei has previously suggested he would need several more months for his nuclear inspection teams. Picking up on a French suggestion to expand the number of inspectors, now reported to be at around 90, he said Sunday that he and Blix would "like to continue to build capacity."
More inspectors would allow for multiple teams to conduct simultaneous inspections and have U.N. customs experts check shipping documents for evidence of smuggling related to weapons of mass destruction.
He said his inspectors were "making progress even without 100 percent Iraqi cooperation," but suggested crews searching for biological and chemical weapons were more dependent on help from the Iraqis.
Whereas nuclear weapons programs "leave fingerprints" - radioactive traces - chemical and biological agents can easily be hidden, he said.
"They have to come with whatever they have," he said of the Iraqis. "They still have to come with the evidence to exonerate themselves and they should do that in the next few weeks, because we're still talking of a limited time span."
Report: Japan, U.S. to Hold Missile - Intercept Tests
February 16, 2003
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan has decided to start joint experiments with the United States next year on shooting down ballistic missiles, a response to rising tensions over North Korea's suspected nuclear weapons program, a Japanese newspaper reported on Monday.
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said Tokyo and Washington planned to carry out the experiments from the financial year starting in April 2004, as Pyongyang appeared likely to resume missile tests amid the crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
Japan and the United States have been jointly studying a theater missile defense (TMD) system aimed at shielding U.S. troops in Asia and its allies, but they have not yet conducted tests aimed at intercepting incoming ballistic missiles.
Tokyo began studying the technology for such a system with Washington after North Korea launched a ballistic missile that passed over Japan in August 1998, but has stopped short of moving the project to the development stage for fear of angering China.
Beijing is opposed to a U.S.-led regional missile defense system out of concerns that it would be extended to include Taiwan, which it views as a renegade province.
A Japanese Defense Ministry official declined to comment on the report.
The paper said Tokyo and Washington will decide whether to move to full-scale development of the system after completing the joint experiments, to be held in Hawaii for two years.
In an interview with Reuters last week, Japanese Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba said Japan ought to develop a missile defense system with the United States, since it lacks the capability to defend itself from missile attacks from North Korea.
He said an unspecified number of Rodong missiles with ranges of 750 miles were already deployed in North Korea.
In 1993, North Korea upset Japan by test-firing a medium-range Rodong-1 missile into the Sea of Japan.
And in August 1998, North Korea launched a three-stage Taepodong-1 missile over Japan, demonstrating that major population areas including Tokyo were within the estimated 600 mile range of the missile.
U.S. officials said last week that Pyongyang had a three-stage Taepodong-2 missile that could reach the West Coast of the United States, but that the missile had not been tested.
A standoff over North Korea's suspected nuclear program has been simmering since October, when Washington said Pyongyang had admitted pursuing a program to enrich uranium in violation of major international treaty commitments.
Since then, North Korea has expelled U.N. nuclear inspectors, withdrawn from a treaty which aims to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and said it is ready to restart a mothballed reactor capable of producing plutonium for bombs.
North Korea to build four more nuclear reactors
By Mike Thomson in Pyongyang
North Korea's director of energy has revealed plans to build four more nuclear plants, each bigger and more powerful than the controversial Yongbyon plant that America fears may be used to develop nuclear weapons.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Kim Jae Rok claimed that "desperate measures" were called for because much of North Korea is without heat or lighting.
He said that the planned nuclear plants could produce up to 200 megawatts of power - 40 times the output of Yongbyon.
"This will enable us to meet the urgent need for electricity supplies in our country," said Mr Kim from his warm, brightly-lit office in the capital, Pyongyang.
While North Korea was in festive mood this weekend, celebrating the 61st birthday today of its leader, Kim Jong-Il, news of the expansion plans will cause fresh alarm in America where intelligence agencies fear the regime could be producing nuclear weapons.
Last week George Tenet, the director of the CIA, warned for the first time that North Korea might already be capable of hitting the west coast of the United States with a nuclear missile.
As the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, ruled that North Korea had breached nuclear safeguards, Mr Tenet said that the North Koreans probably had "one or two plutonium-based devices".
Tension between North Korea and the West started to escalate last October when Washington said Pyongyang had admitted pursuing a secret programme to enrich uranium, breaching an agreement struck in 1994 not to pursue the development of nuclear weapons.
In December, the UN confirmed that North Korea had begun shipping fuel rods to the Yongbyon reactor which could be used to produce plutonium. At the same time, Pyongyang expelled two IAEA inspectors and said it planned to reopen a reprocessing plant that could turn spent nuclear fuel rods into weapons-grade plutonium within months.
Satellite images of the Yongbyon complex released recently by Washington showed cargo trucks moving around the site. A number of intelligence analysts said the pictures suggested that depleted nuclear fuel was being stored there.
The IAEA has asked the UN Security Council to consider North Korea's breach of nuclear safeguards, the strongest sanction it can impose. The Security Council has the power to impose economic or political sanctions against North Korea, which Pyongyang has previously said it would consider tantamount to a declaration of war.
There is international pressure to avoid sanctions, which are opposed by the European Union and many of North Korea's neighbours, including China, Japan and South Korea.
They believe that diplomacy rather than confrontation is the way forward, a view shared by Mohamed El-Baradei, the director general of the IAEA.
Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said the EU was prepared to send a delegation to North Korea to resolve the crisis.
Mr Kim insisted that North Korea was not producing nuclear weapons in its present facilities and would not use the planned new plants to do so. It is, however, difficult to see where the power already produced at Yongbyon is being used. In a country roughly the size of the United Kingdom, few people have access to a basic electricity supply, let alone consumer electronics.
# Mike Thomson is a correspondent on BBC Radio
Korea Can't Wait
By Brent Scowcroft and Daniel Poneman
Sunday, February 16, 2003
Within weeks, North Korea may start reprocessing 8,000 spent fuel rods containing enough plutonium for five to six nuclear weapons. Today we have no good options to confront that threat. But if we do not act now, our options will only get worse.
North Korea may already possess one or two nuclear weapons, but U.S. policy correctly calls for the Korean Peninsula to be free of all nuclear weapons. In a matter of months, the six to eight bombs' worth of plutonium Pyongyang could then possess would be enough to support an offensive military strategy -- and to export. North Korea has announced the restart of its existing nuclear reactor, and it could finish construction of two larger reactors that were frozen under the 1994 Agreed Framework. Within a few years it could be churning out dozens of bombs' worth of plutonium each year. By then, its secret enrichment program could be producing bomb-grade uranium, too.
Under those circumstances, intense pressure would build in South Korea and Japan to acquire nuclear weapons. The reverberations would quickly extend to Taiwan and China, then India and Pakistan.
If North Korea continues to view unconventional weapon exports as its chief cash crop, it will find numerous customers with adequate means and motive. Access to plutonium could shave years off the efforts of al Qaeda and other terrorists to obtain the weapon of ultimate destruction.
We cannot afford to defer this issue. Time is on North Korea's side; each day increases North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities, enhancing its military strength and bargaining leverage -- while narrowing our options to respond. The North Korean regime will ultimately follow other dictatorships into oblivion, but this will not happen soon enough to spare us the terrible consequences of its acquisition of weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, if North Korea builds up its nuclear arsenal while it sees the United States diverted by Iraq, it may enhance its ability to survive that much longer and inflict that much more harm.
What to do? First we should make clear to North Korea that separating plutonium from the spent fuel rods at Yongbyon represents an unacceptable threat to U.S. and allied security. We should work with our allies in Seoul and Tokyo to make clear that separation of that plutonium from the spent fuel would constitute a "red line" that Pyongyang would cross only at its peril. While attacking the Yongbyon facility is an option of last resort, the best way to ensure that we do not need to consider it is to deter Pyongyang now by demonstrating strategic clarity on this point.
Second, we should propose to North Korea that, in exchange for freezing all nuclear activities, we would be prepared to discuss the full range of security issues affecting the peninsula. While the president is right not to yield to blackmail, under this approach there is no need to "pay" Pyongyang to adhere to past commitments. Instead the United States should propose to go beyond the 1994 Agreed Framework to a comprehensive approach that, for example, expands the inspection rights of the International Atomic Energy Agency throughout North Korea and immediately secures the removal of the 8,000 spent fuel rods from the peninsula.
In exchange for such an expanded set of obligations, the United States should be willing to provide the kind of security assurances North Korea seeks, as well as other steps to bring North Korea into the community of nations. As the president has said, our quarrel is not with the North Korean people, so steps to improve their lot through increased trade and communications could be considered favorably.
The United States should be willing to enter into these discussions in any forum, multilateral or bilateral. The urgency of the crisis brooks no delay over matters of form. Moreover, direct talks represent no substantive concession to Pyongyang; allowing plutonium reprocessing would.
While the North Korean challenge clearly is multilateral in nature, pressing Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo and Moscow to act is no surrogate for U.S. leadership. First, these governments may join a U.S.-led consensus, but they are unlikely to support a U.S. vision of concerted action if Washington stands in the wings. Second, in order to persuade reluctant governments to apply meaningful pressure on Pyongyang, the United States needs to show a serious effort to resolve the situation through diplomacy.
If the United States offers a clear vision of the diplomatic solution it favors -- and a road map to get there -- it can mobilize an international consensus on the North Korean challenge. Only a united international community can muster enough pressure to induce North Korea to reverse course. Otherwise, we will soon face a rampant plutonium production program that could spark a nuclear arms race in Asia and provide deadly exports to America's most implacable enemies.
Brent Scowcroft was national security adviser under Presidents Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush. He is founder and president of the Forum for International Policy. Daniel Poneman was on the National Security Council staff under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
N.Korea Says Sure of Winning Nuclear War with U.S.
February 16, 2003
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said on Monday that victory would be certain for the communist state in any nuclear war with the United States thanks to Pyongyang's ``army-first'' political system.
``Victory in a nuclear conflict will be ours and the red flag of army-first politics will flutter ever more vigorously,'' state radio said, reported by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
``Our victory is certain and the future ever more radiant,'' it said, touting the dominance of the army in the world's most heavily militarized society.
The million-strong Korean People's Army is the world's fifth-largest, with nearly one in 20 North Koreans in uniform and spending on defense consuming as much as a quarter of the impoverished state's annual budget.
War warnings and claims that the United States is poised to attack North Korea have been almost daily fare in Pyongyang official media, which have ratcheted up the rhetoric since a nuclear crisis flared last year.
The standoff over North Korea's suspected nuclear program has been simmering since October, when Washington said Pyongyang had admitted to pursuing a program to enrich uranium in violation of major international treaty commitments.
Since then, North Korea has expelled U.N. nuclear inspectors and withdrawn from the treaty which aims to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and said it was ready to restart a mothballed reactor capable of producing plutonium for bombs.
Pyongyang has insisted that it only intends to produce electricity for its decrepit economy and that the nuclear row is a bilateral dispute with Washington that can only be solved through two-way talks leading to a non-aggression treaty.
But a vote on February 12 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog, referring the nuclear issue to the Security Council was seen as a rebuff to North Korea's insistence on a bilateral solution.
The Security Council has the power to impose economic sanctions -- a step North Korea has said would amount to a declaration of war.
But IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei has said there was no intention to push for sanctions immediately. North Korea's allies Russia and China and neighbors including South Korea have said it was too early to pursue sanctions.
Last week, Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet reiterated U.S. intelligence estimates that North Korea has already extracted enough plutonium for one to nuclear bombs.
Tenet said North Korea could recover enough plutonium for several additional weapons if it were to reprocess spent fuel from the reactor that had been frozen in 1994 under an agreement with the United States which Pyongyang abrogated in October.
The United States keeps 37,000 troops in South Korea under a 50-year-old security alliance formed to deter a repeat of the North Korean invasion of the south that sparked the 1950-53 Korean War.
Attack on nuclear plant 'could kill 3.5m'
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
16 February 2003
More than three and a half million people could be killed by a terrorist attack on a British nuclear plant, concludes a series of three reports so alarming that even Greenpeace - which commissioned them - is unwilling to publish them.
The reports - whose findings the Government has also sought to suppress - show that terrorists could identify the most dangerous parts of the plants from publicly available information and crash aircraft into them, releasing vast amounts of radioactivity.
Now MPs and peers have launched an investigation by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology into the revelations as part of a formal inquiry into "the possible risks and consequences of a terrorist attack at a nuclear facility in the UK". They decided to set up the inquiry last month - at the urging of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee - drawing on the reports and other material, even though ministers warned that much of the information they needed was secret and would not be made available to them.
The reports show that Britain could face a far greater threat than the danger of ricin, constantly quoted by ministers, or the warnings of a rocket attack on an aircraft that led to last week's deployment of tanks at Heathrow. Yet one of their authors - John Large, an independent nuclear expert - says that the Government has reacted to it with "staggering indolence".
The three reports, commissioned by Greenpeace after the 11 September attacks, cover the vulnerability of Britain's nuclear installations, the possibility of an attack from the air and the consequences of the resulting disaster. They were completed at the end of 2001, but the pressure group has sat on them for over a year, unable to decide what to do with them. They are still being kept a closely guarded secret.
The first, by Dr Large, concludes that Britain's nuclear plants are "almost totally ill-prepared" for an airborne terrorist attack. The second, by an aviation expert, suggests that it would only take four minutes for an airliner to divert from its regular flight path to attack the most dangerous target of all, the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria. And the third, by leading scientist Dr Frank Barnaby, estimates that, at worst, 3.6 million people could die as a result.
Dr Large said last night that he had found it "astonishingly easy" to get information on targets at Sellafield and other nuclear plants, and that he had been sent official reports identifying them without any attempt to check on his bona fides.
He said: "A terrorist cell charged with attacking Sellafield could readily obtain sufficient information from publicly available documents to identify highly hazardous and vulnerable targets for which there exists little defence in depth."
Dr Barnaby - a former Aldermaston scientist, who was for 10 years director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute - concludes that a jumbo jet crashing into Sellafield could cause a fireball over a mile high.
He says that 25 times as much radioactivity as was emitted by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 would be likely to be released, eventually killing 1.1 million people from cancer. In the worst case scenario, the number of deaths could reach 3.6 million.
Dr Large was so alarmed by his findings that he asked Greenpeace not to publish his report, and stamped the words "Not for Open Publication" on every page.
Greenpeace, for its part, has been paralysed by indecision by the reports, unable to decide even to disclose their findings to ministers or officials to try to get them to act on the vulnerabilities they identified.
The pressure group is highly sensitive about this, and has only now decided - after repeated questioning by The Independent on Sunday - "to seek to stimulate this debate within government over the next months".
Shaun Birnie, a nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace International, said last week that there had been "months of debate" inside the organisation about what to do with the reports, with some activists fearing that the Government might take action against it.
He admitted: "We never got round to agreeing how to use this report" but threatened that any suggestion in this article that Greenpeace had sat on the report would damage relations with the IoS.
Challenged to explain the organisation's lack of urgency at a time of an increasing terrorist threat, he said: "There is no reason to rush this. A year is a very, very short time in the half life of plutonium."
Possible Weapons of Terrorism, Effects
by Valerie Strauss
Sunday, February 16, 2003
The Bush administration has warned that recent intelligence suggests a high risk of terrorist attacks against U.S. targets. Following are some of the weapons that experts fear may be used by terrorists:
Organisms or toxins that can cause deadly disease in people, livestock and crops. There are different types, including bacteria, viruses and toxins, often colorless and odorless. The size of these agents -- five microns, or less than one-fifth the width of human hair -- means they can remain airborne for hours to a day or more. They can bypass the filtering mechanism in a human's upper respiratory system and enter the lungs and the bloodstream. Among those U.S. officials most fear are anthrax and smallpox.
Anthrax: Caused by a bacteria, it can cause illness in three ways: cutaneous, gastrointestinal and inhalation, the most deadly form. In 2001, anthrax was turned into a powder and sent in letters through the U.S. mail system. Twenty-three people contracted it, and five died. The perpetrator has not been caught.
Smallpox: Caused by a virus known as variola, it is spread most often by an infected person releasing saliva droplets from the mouth into the air, which is then inhaled by another person. The disease was eradicated in late 1970s, but officials fear terrorists may use it as a weapon. There is no specific treatment, and the only prevention is vaccination. President Bush recently ordered that some 500,000 U.S. troops deployed in high-risk parts of the world be vaccinated against smallpox. He was also vaccinated. Public health care workers, emergency room doctors and other officials also are to be vaccinated.
Other biological weapons include plague, an infectious disease of animals and humans caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which comes in three forms; botulism, a muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a nerve toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum; and tularemia, caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. These can be treated but are lethal without immediate medical attention. Chemical Weapons
These are poisonous gases, liquids or solids that have toxic effects on people, animals and plants. They are characterized by the rapid onset of medical symptoms and easily observed signatures, such as colored residue, dead foliage, pungent odor and dead animals and insects. Most chemical weapons cause serious injuries or death.
Sarin: A manufactured compound that is toxic to humans, it is colorless, odorless and tasteless and occurs both as a liquid and vapor. Inhaled or absorbed through the skin, it can suffocate its victims by paralyzing the muscles around their lungs.
VX: A nerve agent that disrupts the transmission of nerve impulses in the body. The most potent of all nerve agents and the least volatile, it is about 50 times more toxic than cyanide gas. A dose that would be lethal to 50 percent of the people exposed is about 10 milligrams, a tiny amount that could be held on the end of a straight pin.
Mustard gas: A liquid that can be vaporized to form a gas. It attacks the skin and eyes and, if inhaled, can damage the lungs and other organs. It enters the body through inhalation or skin contact and damages any tissue it touches. Radiological Weapons
A radiological dispersal device, known as a "dirty bomb," is a conventional explosive such as dynamite packaged with radioactive material that scatters when the bomb goes off. The device is designed to injure or kill by creating a zone of intense radiation that could extend several city blocks. People in the immediate vicinity of the blast would be killed, and radioactive material would be dispersed into the air and reduced to relatively low concentrations. Many experts say very few people would die or become sick from the radiation exposure.
Homeland Security Help on the Web
Sunday, February 16, 2003
Many Web sites offer information about emergency planning, including: • U.S. Department of Homeland Security: www.dhs.gov.
• U.S. Department of Justice: www.usdoj.gov.
• Federal Emergency Management Agency: www.fema.gov.
• American Red Cross: www.redcross.org.
• U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov.
• The Washington Post: www.washingtonpost.com/preparedness.
New weapons ready to fight Iraq
By Jim Krane
February 16, 2003
NEW YORK - If the United States unleashes a military attack against Iraq, U.S. forces are expected to unsheathe several new weapons and tactics, including devices still under development.
U.S. military officials and analysts say the new weapons would target Iraqi armored vehicles, communications networks and the chemical and biological weapons the Bush administration believes Iraq still holds.
"The only time you get realistic feedback on new capabilities is during wartime," said Bob Martinage, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a defense think tank. "The military will take advantage of that time to test new systems."
New arms range from an Air Force munition that spews tank-hunting bomblets to shadowy electromagnetic-burst weapons that can roast the innards of computers and radios.
Some weapons that get used may never be publicized.
"Once you're engaged and you have a capability that's almost ready, you'll try it," said Clark Murdock, a former Air Force strategic planner now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "All kinds of things have been invented, particularly in the [classified] world, that will be used. If you use it and it works and no one knows, why talk about it?"
One key job for U.S. forces is to smash Iraq's military communications networks, especially those controlling ballistic missiles, analysts said.
The Air Force has so-called "bunker busting" bombs designed to penetrate the concrete shelters that often protect such equipment.
But if civilians are nearby, the United States may fire a cruise missile tipped with a high-powered electromagnetic-pulse emitter - a so-called e-bomb - "which fries the electronics without killing the people," said Andrew Koch of Jane's Information Group, an organization that publishes reports and information on global defense issues.
The weapon's massive power surge is supposed to travel through antennas or power cords to wreck any unshielded electronic appliance - civilian or military - within a few hundred yards, according to studies cited by GlobalSecurity.org, a research organization.
The weapons have been studied for decades, but the military has said little about them.
The Pentagon has also developed penetrating bombs aimed not at blowing things up, but incinerating stocks of chemical and biological agents, Mr. Martinage and Mr. Koch said.
Precision-guided "agent defeat" bombs are supposed to puncture the warheads with titanium rods, then incinerate the agents inside without allowing vapor to escape, Mr. Martinage said.
Laser weapons, designed to blind opponents or disable weapons' firing optics, might also see their first use by U.S. forces, said Rupert Pengelley, technical editor of Jane's Information Group. The Army equipped its Bradley Fighting Vehicles with laser weapons in the 1991 Persian Gulf war, but they were never used, according to the Federation of American Scientists, a nonprofit organization that seeks to bring scientific perspectives to public policy issues such as human rights and arms control.
In a pair of 1995 studies, Human Rights Watch called for a ban on laser arms, which it labeled "unnecessarily cruel and injurious." But Mr. Pengelley said the U.S. military, which has been developing lasers for roles that include missile defense and airborne ground attacks, believes it "can now use this on a fitting and legal manner on the battlefield."
A new Pandora's box-like bomb, dubbed the Sensor Fuzed Weapon, may supplant aircraft in some dangerous ground-attack missions. In the Gulf war, coalition pilots hunting Iraqi tanks often flew at low altitudes in the 1970s-era A-10 "Warthog."
When dropped above groups of armored vehicles, the bomb distributes several smaller bomblets that float toward Earth on parachutes. Each fires four hockey-puck-sized "skeet" that can hone in on vehicles using laser seekers, said Steve Butler, engineering director at the Air Armaments Center at Eglin Air Force Base, near Pensacola, Fla.
One bomber toting 30 of the weapons can puncture and blow up vehicles across 30 acres, Mr. Butler said.
The Sensor Fuzed bombs were available in the 1999 Kosovo war, but U.S. forces never found an appropriate concentration of Serbian armor on which to test them, said Air Armaments Center spokesman Jake Swinson.
The Air Force might also fire a stealthy new missile dubbed the JASSM, or joint air-to-surface standoff missile, with an accurate range of 200 miles, Mr. Butler said. The satellite-guided JASSM uses an infrared seeker to recognize targets stored in its memory. The missile is being readied for Iraq although the Air Force has yet to complete testing, Mr. Butler and others said.
Colombian Farc rebels executed US 'contractors'
By David Harrison
The United States is mounting a huge search operation alongside the Colombian army for three Americans kidnapped by Left-wing guerrillas after their US government aircraft crashlanded in rebel-dominated jungle.
The Colombian army said that another American and a Colombian sergeant were murdered "execution-style, in an act of cruelty" at the scene in Caqueta province by members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).
American officials said that the men were "civilian specialist contractors", but media in Bogota reported that they were believed to be working for the Central Intelligence Agency.
It is the first time during the four-decade Colombian civil war that an American working for the US government has been killed by the rebels.
Colombian counter-guerrilla troops, backed by the army's American-made Black Hawk helicopter gunships and intelligence planes, mounted an intensive search of the jungle for the missing crew yesterday.
The US State Department said it was providing "assistance using all available United States assets". A spokesman said: "We demand the crew members be released unharmed immediately."
Gen Jorge Enrique Mora, Colombia's chief military commander, said that all five crew members were alive when the single-engined Cessna HK 1116 landed, but two were then shot dead by rebels.
The plane, which the Colombian military said was on an "intelligence mission", came down on Thursday near the village of Puerto Rico, 250 miles south of Bogota.
The United States, which lists the Farc as "terrorists", has spent about $2 billion (£1.3 billion) in mostly military aid in recent years to help Colombia destroy the world's largest cocaine industry.
Some 70 American Special Forces are deployed in the northern province of Arauca to train Colombian troops in counter-guerrilla techniques and to defend a key oil pipeline.
The plane incident comes as the 17,000-member Farc steps up its attacks against President Alvaro Uribe's hard-line security policies. Suspected Farc rebels detonated a massive bomb in the city of Neiva on Friday, killing at least 15 people, as police raided a house full of explosives.
On February 7, Farc rebels detonated a powerful car bomb outside a Bogota club, killing 35 people in the group's worst urban attack in decades.
MORE TERRIBLE THAN DEATH
Massacres, Drugs, and America's War in Colombia
By Robin Kirk PublicAffairs. 311 pp.
Reviewed by Mark Bowden
Sunday, February 16, 2003
This is a bleak, sad and ultimately despairing look at Colombia, the Job of modern nations. Beset by violence political and criminal and by some innovative blends of both, the nation seems stalled in a nightmarish backwater of history.
Author Robin Kirk has done brave work in Colombia to advance the cause of decency and human rights -- to little avail. Her politics lean leftward, and her sympathy for the ideals that launched the country's enduring Marxist rebel movements 50 years ago is clear. But her political sensibility is confounded by the reality of Colombia. No closer to victory today than when they started, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) and its lesser cousin, the Ej?ito de Liberaci?n Nacional (ELN), are still bombing, kidnapping and killing, as are the private, right-wing "self-defense" armies that help fight them; called autodefensas, or paramilitaries, these latter have longstanding ties to the Colombian army. Both sides take out their fury primarily on hapless civilians, most of whom have little sympathy for either side.
The struggle is post-ideological. Both sides are rich with drug money, having assumed leadership of the flamboyant criminal cartels that were crushed with U.S. assistance in the 1980s and 1990s. Neither side has a coherent political philosophy or a vision for the nation. Both are driven by greed, ambition and revenge.
Kirk's liberal assumptions have been overturned by this intractable dilemma. The murder of Josu?iraldo Cardona, a Colombian activist she deeply admired, has left her feeling defeated: "To me, the obstacles seemed insurmountable." The country's course has left her confused: "The point of Colombia's war eludes me."
But the cause of Colombia's misery is no great mystery. The violence endures because there is no authority to stop it. Outside the major cities, in the jungles, plains and mountains, there has never been a consistent presence of law and order and the institutions necessary for civil society. That's why the country has long provided safe haven for bandits, smugglers and guerrillas. Until its anemic central government lays claim to all of its spectacularly beautiful land, the violence will continue. Anyone who has ever wondered what life is like in a lawless zone need only consider the dilemma of the butchers of Tierralta. As Kirk tells it, the FARC began stealing cattle from more well-to-do ranchers, and trading them with poorer farmers. The guerrillas would trade five stolen steers for one legitimate one. So the AUC, a paramilitary army headed by Carlos Casta?o, began killing butchers in the region who dressed the meat. The FARC countered by killing butchers who refused to dress the meat.
"Over the previous months there had been dozens of reports of butchers killed, their bodies eviscerated, burned with acid, dismembered, beheaded, castrated, and dumped at the roadside," Kirk writes. She tells how her efforts and those of other human-rights activists have failed again and again to curb this kind of terror.
Her book makes a useful contribution. To my knowledge, it is the only account of modern Colombian history in English. It is not scholarly, but brisk and colorful, even if its litany of atrocities begins to feel more like a catalogue than a narrative. The carnage just piles up and up, one discovery of a mass grave following another, until we are simply numbed by the outrages, and they fail to move us.
Kirk intersperses this bloody history with accounts of her own often daring journeys in Colombia but doesn't pull them together into a coherent story of personal discovery and change. She offers only brief, superficial portraits of the courageous figures -- like her doomed friend Josu?ardona -- who sacrifice themselves heroically against intractable odds. Here and there she makes a self-conscious, ill-advised effort to imitate the faux-primitive manner of Colombian Nobelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez -- "It was in the square that Josu?aw men preparing to kill him. He saw them from a seat in a coffee shop. They saw him from a spot in the square. That moment is part of the story I want to tell."
She also finds plenty of fault with the U.S. role in this conflict, pointing out that it's the millions Americans spend on illicit drugs that finance the guerrillas and paramilitaries, just as U.S. tax dollars support the Colombian army and police. This is familiar territory -- American money is paying for both sides of the war -- and not particularly enlightening. Illegal drug use has hardly been encouraged by American government policies, and the tax dollars America spends in Colombia to strengthen its elected government are both vital and appropriate.
I recommend the book to anyone who wants an overview of the tangled local politics that have produced such characters as Medell?cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar, FARC leader "Marulanda" (Pedro Marin) and paramilitary commander Casta?o. But don't look for answers or insight. Kirk doesn't have any.
The Colombian people are less bewildered. Kirk may despair of finding a way out of this bloody anarchy, but the country voted overwhelmingly last year (by the largest electoral majority in the nation's history) to elect as president Alvaro Uribe, who has pledged to govern the whole country, and to make war on both the guerrillas and the paramilitaries. Sometimes, regrettably, war is the answer.
Mark Bowden is the author of "Black Hawk Down."
Germany exaggerated germs claim
Berlin - The German government said it exaggerated the threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes in an internal report last year that claimed Iraq had smallpox stocks and could use them in germ warfare.
The health ministry said it drafted the statement in August to back up funding requests for the stockpiling of smallpox vaccine.
But it denied that German intelligence has evidence of Iraqi smallpox stocks, contradicting the report's central assertion.
Nonetheless, opposition leaders seized on the statement's publication in a Sunday newspaper to renew charges that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government was playing down the Iraqi threat in public to avoid undermining its anti-war stand.
The report warned that a smallpox outbreak could kill about 25 million people - nearly a third of the population - in Germany alone, according to a copy published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
"German intelligence has documented evidence that smallpox samples are stockpiled" in Iraq, the health officials wrote.
But health ministry spokesperson Klaus Vater said that while the officials drew on intelligence reports, their risk assessment was hypothetical, "drastic and imprecise."
"The health ministry had no documented evidence about smallpox samples in Iraq, and it has none now," Vater said in a statement.
Germany's top security official, Interior Minister Otto Schily, said German intelligence has no evidence of Iraqi germ warfare stockpiles.
The revelations re-ignited a bitter dispute between Schroeder's government and the conservative opposition about whether Germans are being told the full truth about the threat posed by Iraq.
Since crushing Schroeder's Social Democratic party in two state elections this month, the conservatives have aligned more closely with US pressure for military action.
They accuse Schroeder's government of withholding intelligence on Iraq from the public - a charge the government rejects.
The government "has withheld critical information for months for reasons of domestic politics and has thereby deceived the public," Friedbert Pflueger, a foreign policy spokesperson for the main opposition Christian Democrats, was quoted as saying in the Frankfurt newspaper.
The leader of the small opposition Free Democrats, Guido Westerwelle, urged the government Sunday to reveal its intelligence information on Iraqi weapons to the public.
Iraq Said to Plan Strategy of Delay and Urban Battle
February 16, 2003
New York Times
By MICHAEL R. GORDON
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 - Iraq's strategy to thwart a United States-led attack calls for slowing American troops' advance toward Baghdad and then confronting them with the prospect of a bloody street battle in the Iraqi capital, according to American intelligence.
To impede American and allied forces, Saddam Hussein's administration has developed plans to blow up dams, destroy bridges and ignite its oil fields, United States Defense Department officials say. They say Iraq may also deny food to Iraqi civilians in the southern parts of the country to try to create a crisis that would saddle advancing allied forces with the responsibility of caring for millions of desperate Iraqi civilians.
Once American and allied forces approach Baghdad, they will encounter two defensive rings of elite Republican Guard forces, the Defense Department officials say. Many of the Republican Guard forces are now dispersed, a move that is intended to help them survive the airstrikes that would open the allied campaign. But as allied ground forces approach Baghdad, the Iraqis are expected to rush to fighting positions that have already been stocked with ammunition and supplies.
Some Republican Guard units are equipped with chemical protective gear, as are Special Republican Guard units and some intelligence and security forces inside Baghdad, according to intelligence reports. This is one of several signs that have led American officials to conclude that Iraq will try to use poison gas or germ weapons against the American and allied forces.
American intelligence agencies have also concluded that it is likely that Iraq will try to strike Israel with Scud missiles, weapons that officials said could be armed with poison gas or germ warheads.
"We have indications that their goal is to delay, impede and deny U.S. forces a clear and quick victory," a defense official said. "The basic strategy can be summed up as disperse, absorb and move to military operations in urban terrain."
As the United States, Britain, Australia and other members of President Bush's "coalition of the willing" prepare for military action to topple Mr. Hussein, American intelligence is working hard to figure out Iraq's intentions. American officials say Iraq's deployments and even statements by Mr. Hussein provide an indication of Baghdad's strategy.
Senior American military officials say they are aware of Iraq's options and are still confident of achieving a decisive victory and of avoiding a prolonged war. Allied ground forces are far better trained and equipped than Iraqi troops, and allied air forces already command the skies.
Iraq's army is about a third of its size during the Persian Gulf war of 1991. There are mounting indications that the morale within Iraq's regular army and even some of the Republican Guard forces is low. Mr. Hussein faces multiple threats: one from the American-led invasion force and another from a restive Shiite population and perhaps some elements of his armed forces that would rather try a coup than see the United States invade and occupy the country.
"At the end of the day, if called on, win we will," said Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the head of the United States Central Command, said in an interview.
Iraq, however, is striving to take a weak hand and make the best of it. Its objective is much different than in the 1991 conflict. During that war, Iraq's goal was to hold on to Kuwait, and it positioned the bulk of its ground forces far from its capital.
But this time, Mr. Hussein has one overriding goal: survival. His aim seems to be to force the Bush administration to seek a political compromise that stops short of toppling his administration by spurring fears of extensive allied casualties, dragging out the war and raising concern around the world over the fate of Iraqi civilians.
"There is no victory option for Iraq," said Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, a retired marine and former chief of the United States Central Command. "The question for Iraq is how to prolong the conflict. For Saddam, the goal is to inflict casualties and allow the Arab news networks to broadcast pictures of civilians dying. He will try to gather international support and try to find a place in history."
An American defense official said: "What lessons have they learned from the last war? They have learned that the possession of weapons of mass destruction is a force multiplier even if they are not used. And they have learned that they should not deploy forces out in the open but disperse them and then move into urban terrain and intermingle with the civilian population."
Slowing the Allied Advance
Drawing on its experience during the gulf war, Iraq is not mounting a major defense of its borders. But it is taking several steps to try to bog down American and allied forces as they try to advance to the Baghdad. Defense Department officials said Iraq had shipped rail cars full of ammunition and demolition equipment to its oil fields. That spurred concerns that Iraq planned to blow them up to hamper the invasion and portray it as an economic and environmental catastrophe.
United States officials said Iraq had also considered plans to destroy dams and flood the Euphrates River, a move that could make it more difficult for forces to cross the river, slowing an offensive. Iraq's 11th Infantry Division has been stationed near the city of Nasiriya, where it can try to put down a Shiite rebellion in the city and guard the crossing points over the river. Iraq has also moved some light infantry and artillery south to the Basra area.
"If hostilities begin, Saddam is likely to employ a `scorched earth' strategy, destroying food, transportation, energy and other infrastructures, attempting to create a humanitarian disaster significant enough to stop a military advance," Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Congress this week. Admiral Jacoby said the Iraqis would try to blame American forces for the damage.
Iraq is also positioning surface-to-surface missiles. Iraq has placed Al Samoud missiles north and west of Baghdad. American intelligence believes that the missile can travel much farther than the 90-mile range that is allowed by the United Nations. Iraq has also placed Ababil-50 and Ababil-100 missiles and Soviet-designed Frog rockets north of the capital. Defense Department officials say the missiles have been put in place both to strengthen Iraq's defenses in the north and to threaten population centers like Kirkuk and Mosul if they fall into the hands of American or Kurdish forces.
To threaten Kuwait and American forces there, Iraq has also deployed mobile missile systems in the south near Basra. On Tuesday, American and British planes attacked an Ababil-100 mobile missile system there, and on Wednesday they hit another. Those missile deployments, as well as the deployment of an antiship missile launcher near Basra that was attacked last month, represented an escalation in Iraqi war preparations.
American intelligence reports that Mr. Hussein has authorized his commanders to use chemical and perhaps biological weapons. It is difficult for intelligence experts to determine if the munitions being sent to Iraqi forces have chemical or conventional warheads. But American intelligence has noted that protective gear against chemical attack has been given to Special Republican Guard forces as well as intelligence and security personnel charged with defending Baghdad and other cities. It has been given to some Republican Guard units outside Baghdad as well.
United States intelligence agencies have concluded that Iraq will try to use chemical weapons against American forces. The intelligence agencies believe that Iraq has a small covert supply of long-range Scud missiles, which can be equipped with chemical or biological warheads. The intelligence agencies believe it is likely that Iraq will try to fire them at Israel in an effort to portray the war as a battle with an American and Israeli coalition and build support in the Arab world.
It is in Baghdad, however, where Mr. Hussein's administration is expected to make its last stand. A city of 4.5 million, it is a potential urban battleground where Iraq has its best command and control and most loyal forces. The Pentagon has received reports that the city is stockpiling food, apparently preparing for a long siege.
The approaches to Baghdad are protected by three Republican Guard divisions: the Medina to the south, Al Nida to the east and the Hammurabi to the west. The Republican Guard is considered Iraq's most capable and loyal force.
Mr. Hussein has kept regular army forces far away from Baghdad, because he does not trust their loyalty and they are not deemed to be very effective. A brigade from the 3rd Armored Division, however, has been stationed for months at Ramadi, on a western approach to the capital.
To defend Baghdad, the Republican Guard units are establishing two defensive rings: the first is about 50 miles from Baghdad, and the second is on the outskirts of the capital. The use of defensive rings is part of a long-established Iraqi strategy, one that Iraq employed to protect Basra during its war with Iran and that Mr. Hussein talked about in a January speech to top military commanders.
"When the enemy approaches with its infantry and armored units to storm our defensive position, we will absorb the momentum of its offensive through the successive defense lines, destroy him and defeat him," Mr. Hussein said. "This will be the fate of all invaders."
Defense Department officials say that Iraq's defenses consist of fortified fighting positions, including dug-in emplacements for tanks and other heavy equipment. Iraq is not constructing long defensive lines or trenches as it did during the 1991 war. This appears to be part of Iraq's plan to ride out the American and allied airstrikes.
Having experienced 43 days of bombing leading up to the 1991 gulf war and four days of day and night bombing during the 1998 campaign ordered by the Clinton administration, Iraqi forces have considerable experience with American air power. Because of that, Iraq has dispersed its tanks and other heavy weapons. Some military equipment is also positioned near schools and mosques in an effort to shield them from attack.
Iraq's strategy seems to be to absorb the initial round of American airstrikes and then rush its forces to their fighting positions outside Baghdad before allied forces arrive. In terms of air defense, many batteries of antiaircraft artillery have been placed in Baghdad. The Iraqi military is constantly moving its mobile surface-to-air missile systems in an effort to elude American detection and attack.
Fighting in the Streets
A central question, however, is whether Mr. Hussein will pull the Republican Guard divisions inside Baghdad as the Americans and their allies close in. Traditionally, only the Special Republican Guard and Iraq's intelligence and security services are allowed inside the capital, a precaution against coup attempts.
"To fight effectively in the city, he will have to pull important elements of the Republican Guard inside," a defense official said. "But he will be extremely reluctant to do so until the last moment, since they can be as much a threat to him."
Perhaps the main factor is not the number of Iraqi troops nor their specific tactics: it may come down to the Iraqi military's will to fight against a technologically superior and better trained adversary. American intelligence believe that the morale of Iraq's regular army forces is low and on the decline. Even the morale of some Republican Guard units is suffering, officials say.
Much will depend on whether Iraq's generals conclude that Mr. Hussein is going to fall, on how they assess their chances of surviving the fighting, and on what place they might secure in a postwar Iraq.
"We expect some resistance from the Republican Guard," a Defense Department official said. "From the regular army, we expect very little."
Iraq Mourns Civilian Victims of Gulf War
By NIKO PRICE,
Associated Press Writer,
Sun, Feb 16, 2003
BAGHDAD, Iraq - At the ruins of a bomb shelter struck by American missiles, Iraqi officials Sunday mourned the civilian victims of their last war with the United States and celebrated global anti-war protests aimed at preventing another one. Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan presided over the ceremony inaugurating a memorial for the 403 people - mostly women and children - Iraq says were killed when U.S. warplanes fired two missiles at the Amariya bomb shelter on Feb. 13, 1991.
"This is one of the most horrible crimes committed by the evil American administration and its evil allies. They are merchants of war and makers of darkness," he told a crowd of government officials, foreign diplomats and peace activists.
Survivors and victims' relatives also attended the ceremony, some of them openly weeping as they recalled the bombing.
"The memories still run in my blood," said Ahmed Dhia, 28, who lost his sister in the attack and was one of only 14 survivors. Despite 10 months of medical treatment in Germany, he still bears scars on his face and torso. "This is how America treats human beings."
The Amariya bombing was the worst civilian tragedy of the 1991 Gulf War, launched by a U.S.-led coalition after Iraq invaded Kuwait. U.S. generals believed the shelter to be a command center. Reporters who visited the site saw charred bodies of women, children and men being pulled from the wreckage.
The United States and Britain are threatening to attack Iraq again if it doesn't fully cooperate with U.N. weapons inspections aimed at verifying that Iraq has destroyed its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs, as ordered by U.N. resolutions ending the Gulf War.
The inspectors paid surprise visits to at least 10 sites on Sunday, including food factories, an air base in the northern city of Mosul and a science college.
Inspectors also visited an army unit in the al-Taji area 25 miles north of Baghdad to tag newly produced Al Samoud missiles, which chief inspector Hans Blix said were tested to ranges exceeding the 94-mile limit set by the U.N. Security Council, as well as three other sites involved in making missiles, spokesman Hiro Ueki said.
Meanwhile, aircraft of the U.S.-British coalition that patrols the southern "no-fly" zone over Iraq attacked five cable communications sites on Sunday. The strikes were in response to Iraqi threats to the aircraft, U.S. Central Command said.
On Saturday, millions of people around the world demonstrated against the threat of war, a global outpouring Baghdad officials celebrated as an Iraqi victory and "the defeat and isolation of America."
"The demonstrations and marches that are sweeping the world are a bright picture that clearly reflects the opposition by the people of the world to America's policies of arrogance and aggression," Ramadan said at Sunday's ceremony.
Iraq's tightly controlled newspapers gave prominent coverage to the demonstrations. "The world rises against American aggression and the arrogance of naked force," read one headline. "The world said with one voice: 'No to aggression on Iraq,'" read another.
"These demonstrations expressed in their spirit, meaning and slogans the decisive Iraqi victory and the defeat and isolation of America," the government daily Al-Jumhuriya said in a commentary.
Sunday's ceremony inaugurated a memorial built adjacent to the damaged bomb shelter, a concrete bunker whose roof still bears the missile's entry hole and whose floor is still stained from incinerated bodies.
Poets read impassioned verses composed for the occasion, and a children's choir was accompanied by the National Philharmonic Orchestra.
The new building, ringed by hundreds of symbolic graves, houses photographs of the victims and displays of their personal belongings: a necklace, an asthma inhaler, a toy kitchen set.
A giant clock faces the sky, its hands frozen at 4:30 - the early-morning hour of the attack.
The memorial service was held Sunday because Eid al-Adha, an important Muslim holiday, fell on Feb. 13 this year.
Zeinab Sabah, 61, came to the shelter on the attack's anniversary to mourn her daughter Hanan, who died with her husband and four children. Sabah was turned away and told to return Sunday.
When she did, tears flowed down her cheeks, which are tattooed with traditional dots. Pulling her black chador around her face, she recalled how she ran to the shelter when she heard about the bombing, and found rescuers still pulling out bodies.
"I saw screaming, smoke and fire," she said. "Things that, by God, cannot be told."
She said her grief is so deep that it has made her ill, and she wept again when she spoke of her daughter's beautiful 9-month-old baby boy.
"I think of the day when I will see them next," she said.
Niko Price is correspondent at large for The Associated Press.
An Iraqi Outpost Quietly Waits for War
By IAN FISHER
February 16, 2003
UMM QASR, Iraq - The wind from the Persian Gulf, people here say, brings headaches. On a recent morning it began to blow, churning up a sandstorm that pitted windshields, tore at the plastic sheeting atop tomato fields, drew a beige curtain across the view south to Kuwait and whatever other headaches may come this way soon from the gulf.
"If they come, we will fight," said Ahmed Abed Ali, 31, an unarmed Iraqi soldier standing watch here perhaps 100 yards from Kuwait in Iraq's portion of the demilitarized border zone.
That is what everyone says, at least to foreign reporters, in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
But people here in the six-mile-wide demilitarized strip of Iraqi borderland have a more immediate reason for defiance: just out of view, across Kuwait's own three miles of demilitarized desert, sit American and Kuwaiti tanks and soldiers, waiting.
Military experts agree that this strategic area - south of the city of Basra, next to the port and the thin strip of land connecting Iraq to the gulf - would be among the first targets for American troops in case of any attack.
But curiously there is no sign here that Iraq is doing much to prepare itself militarily against an invasion. A stray tank or two can be seen farther north, off the road from Basra to Baghdad, but otherwise there is little evidence of any real military presence near the zone.
Despite what seems like an almost complete absence of defensive preparations, people here at the closest point to Kuwait do not say they are worried - nor would it be wise to do so, even if they were.
Whether the American assault would come by sea, by land or by air, certainly no one here knows. But many who live in the demilitarized zone, administered by the United Nations since the end of the Persian Gulf war in 1991, believe that it is coming, because they have seen and heard the signs, more than anywhere in Iraq.
More and more American and British warplanes, local people say, have been patrolling the skies recently, enforcing the no-flight zone in southern Iraq. Last month there was a series of live-fire exercises on the Kuwaiti side that loudly proclaimed the Bush administration's intent.
United States warplanes have also been raining thousands of leaflets on the area, as well as deeper in southern Iraq, providing radio frequencies for the American version of the debate over Iraqi compliance with the United Nations weapons inspections. Whether from fear or mere inattention, no one here will admit to having seen the leaflets, but Mr. Hussein himself did take notice.
"Yes, your brothers in the armed forces hold some kind of celebrations after they gather these leaflets and burn them, chanting slogans as they disperse the ashes of these leaflets," he told soldiers, chomping on a cigar, in one of his many recent television appearances to rally Iraqi troops.
That determination, or perhaps, bravado, was echoed by Fadil Abbas, 45, general manager of the local headquarters of Mr. Hussein's governing Baath Party, who said: "We will never move from here. We will defend our land until the last man is standing."
But if past fights here are any indication of what may come, the people who live inside the Iraqi side of the 125-mile-long zone - some 30,000 of them here and in the equally sandy town of Safwan - cannot be feeling confident.
To the southeast of Basra, on the Fao Peninsula, overseen by three United Nations observation posts, lie the skeletons of some of the tens of thousands of Iraqi and Iranian soldiers who died in one of the principal battlefields of their war in the 1980's.
Near Jebel Sanam, a hill some 450 feet high and the only real rise along the border, Iraqi tanks and troop carriers were hit by American bombs and missiles in the last hours of the 1991 war.
They still sit, rusted and dusty, a monument to what Iraqis often tell visiting delegations was the brutality of the Americans. Nearby is the Iraqi end of the so-called Road of Death, where American planes also bombed Iraqi vehicles fleeing from the occupation of Kuwait.
"Yes, I see the tanks," said Nejma Abed, 35, who runs a little grocery in the desert selling canned goods and the famed dates of Basra a few hundred yards away from the tank cemetery near here.
But she said this daily reminder of so much destruction did not mean much. No one, she said, has made plans to leave, even though she hears on the radio that war may be coming, and not far from her home.
"It's our land," she said. "We can't leave our land." It is an unsettled land to live in, even without the threat of a new war. Sheep and sometimes shepherds still set off old land mines. Occasionally Iraqis trying to flee to Kuwait set them off too. Even when they manage to walk or drive through the zone safely, the would-be refugees are usually picked up by United Nations patrols, which return them to Iraq.
Tomato farmers, who nurture bright patches of plastic-covered green in the middle of the desert, complain that the depleted uranium from American bombs dropped last time has destroyed the soil and reduced their yields.
American technology is one of the few subjects that seems to give Iraqis pause. They cannot compete, they say, and if indeed Iraq does intend to defend itself strongly, people here say they hope the decisive battle is on the ground, not in the air.
"Why don't they use their soldiers first, and not planes?" asked one of the tomato farmers, Muttar Oeali, 39, a farmer who fought in the gulf war. "Then we will show them our fight."
IRAQ'S SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE NETWORK: A GUIDE AND ANALYSIS
By Ibrahim al-Marashi
[Ibrahim al-Marashi is a research associate at the Center for Non- Proliferation Studies in Monterey, California as well as a lecturer at the US Naval Postgraduate School. He is currently working on a project on Iraqi intelligence operations in northern Iraq and Kuwait.]
From: "Michael <email@example.com>"
Ensuring the survival of President Saddam Hussein are five primary agencies that make up the Iraqi security apparatus: Special Security, General Security, General Intelligence, Military Intelligence and Military Security. In addition to preventing coups and protecting Saddam, these agencies, whose duties largely overlap, maintain internal domestic security and conduct foreign operations. These intelligence agencies along with the Ba'th Party organizations and select units of the military form Saddam's security network, permeating every aspect of Iraqi life and ensuring his total control over the state.
Iraq's security apparatus, commonly referred to as the Mukhabarat, is one of the main instruments of state control for Saddam's regime and has been instrumental in its survival despite two costly wars plus numerous internal insurrections, coup attempts and crippling international sanctions.
Al-Mukhabarat al-'Iraqiyya (The Iraqi Mukhabarat) rather than a monolithic unit is a vast, complex labyrinth of security organizations with their own intelligence and military units pervading all layers of Iraqi society. The number and size of these agencies have grown dramatically since the Ba'th party takeover of Iraq in 1968. The five main agencies are the al-Amn al-Khas (Special Security), al-Amn al-'Amm (General Security), al-Mukhabarat (General Intelligence), al-Istikhbarat (Military Intelligence) and al-Amn al- 'Askari (Military Security). In addition, there is a myriad of Ba'th Party security agencies, civil police forces,aramilitary militias, and special military units which protect the regime.
The agencies' jurisdiction is designed to overlap in order to encourage competition and to ensure that no one service will become strong enough to threaten Saddam. In fact, some agencies were created specifically to monitor the activities of the others. All of them are responsible for protecting the president, countering domestic dissent, block coups or mass insurrections, prevent external threats to the regime and conduct foreign operations. All also play a role in procuring and concealing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program. All five intelligence agencies are headquartered in Baghdad, but General Intelligence, Military Intelligence, and General Security maintain field offices in numerous provinces, cities and towns of Iraq. Generally, Military Intelligence and Military Security deal exclusively with military matters, while General Security focuses focus on the civilian domain.
The majority of these forces are staffed by relatives of Saddam, members of his al-Bu Nasser tribe, or come from the towns of Tikrit, Dur, Sharqat, Huwayja, Bayji, Samarra and Ramadi, located in what is known as the Sunni Arab Triangle. Sunni tribes and families that have played a powerful role in the security apparatus include the Dulaym, the Jubur (mixed Shi'a/Sunni) and the `Ubayd tribe, as well as members of the Duri, and Samarrai families.(1)
As a rule, each agency has an inner security unit that monitors any dissent in that agency. The head of this unit reports directly to the agency chief who reports directly to the president or the Office of the Presidential Palace.(2) While in other countries, intelligence agencies report to their respective ministries, such as defense or interior, in Iraq they report directly to the president. After Saddam, Qusay, his younger son, is perhaps the most powerful person in the apparatus with direct control over Special Security and the Special Republican Guard.
The material on this subject is scant. However events after the Gulf War have provided a wealth of primary material on the activities, operations, structure and organization of Iraq's security apparatus. Kanan Makiya's book Republic of Fear gives a detailed background on the background of the apparatus.(3) Sean Boyne wrote a two-part article in Jane's Intelligence Review providing a detailed breakdown of its structure based on interviews with former members of the Iraqi intelligence.(4)
Documentation also became available after the invasion of Kuwait and the post-Gulf War uprising in the north of Iraq. In March 1991, Kurdish militias stormed Iraqi intelligence headquarters and Ba'th party bureaus in numerous northern Iraqi towns, among them Kirkuk, Dohuk, Sulaymaniyya, and Irbil. The militia of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) seized the confidential files in these buildings looking for information on the Iraqi government spies in their own organization.
After Iraqi Republican Guards brutally suppressed the insurrection, the retreating Kurds took about four million documents totaling about ten million pages with them. Makiya and Peter Galbraith were instrumental in arranging the transfer of most of these Iraqi government documents to the United States for study.(5) Human Rights/Middle East Watch was the first organization to analyze and publish material on the documents.(6) In addition, over 300,000 documents were abandoned in Kuwait by retreating Iraqi forces in the 1991 Gulf War. A sample of these documents can be found in the publications of The Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait.(7) Both sets of documents from northern Iraq and Kuwait are being studied by the Iraq Research and Documentation Project in Washington, DC and some files can be accessed through their website.(8)
All this provides unprecedented insight into the workings of Saddam's Iraq and the impressive, repressive state security apparatus. The documents give a blueprint of the operations, organizations, chains of command, and divisions of power in this network.
THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL (AL-MAJLIS AL-AMN AL-QAWMI)
The Iraqi National Security Council, al-Majlis al-Amn al-Qawmi,(9) is an important element of this network.(10) Headed by Saddam, but usually chaired by Qusay, the Council includes representatives from the Office of the Presidential Palace and Iraq's five major security units. Although Special Security was created to serve as an agency to coordinate Iraq's competing intelligence and security services, the National Security Council serves as the supervisory body on intelligence matters.
But this does not mean that the National Security Council actually coordinates the agencies' activities precisely because the system is designed to encourage inter-agency competition and duplication. Information-sharing or cooperation among the agencies is rare. Instead, all intelligence is meant to flow directly to the Presidential palace.(11) But the Council does provide another way for Saddam and his closest advisors to get an overview of the agencies' activities and also to coordinate the actions of the independent, rapid-response military brigades attached to General Security, Military Intelligence, General Intelligence and Military Security, as well as the Special Republican Guard.(12)
SPECIAL SECURITY [AL-AMN AL-KHAS]
Al-Amn al-Khas (Special Security)(13) was created during the Iran- Iraq War and emerged as the most powerful agency in the security apparatus. It emerged from within General Security in 1982 to provide bodyguards to the president after a failed assassination attempt.(14) Hussein Kamil, Saddam's cousin, son-in-law, and minister for military industrialization, (as well as minister of defense after the 1991 Gulf War)(15) was instrumental in creating this agency and selecting the most loyal agents from General Security, Military Intelligence and General Intelligence to serve in it. Hussein Kamil's brother, Saddam Kamil, was also a member of Special Security, before both of them defected to Jordan in 1995 and were later killed by Saddam Hussein upon their return to Baghdad. After graduating from his studies in 1988, Qusay Hussein, the son of Saddam, was made deputy director. During the 1991 Gulf War, Fanar Zibin Hassan al-Tikriti was made head of Special Security,(16) but was replaced in 1992 by Qusay. There are an estimated 5,000 members(17) in this organization mostly from the towns of Tikrit, Huwayja and Samarra.(18) Members of this Bureau enjoy a higher standard of living than the elements of the other agencies.(19)
The responsibilities of Special Security can be roughly classified as follows: 1) providing security for the president, at all times, especially during travel and public meetings; 2) securing all presidential facilities, such as palaces and offices; 3) supervising other security and intelligence services; 4) monitoring government ministries and the leadership of the armed forces; 5) supervising internal security operations against the Kurdish and Shi'a opposition; 6) purchasing foreign arms and technology; 7) securing Iraq's most critical military industries; and 8) directing efforts to conceal Iraq's WMD programs.
While its primary duty is protecting the president, it manages the actions of the Republican Guard and the Special Republican Guard. Special Security is charged with the surveillance of General Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Military Security, and General Security. It is clearly the regime's most important security agency. (20) According to one source, "It is the eyes and ears of the President, as well as the hand to implement, directly or indirectly, the President's security directives. This body is in charge of collecting information about the activities of all high ranking officials and even information about members of the President's immediate family."(21)
The director-general of Special Security supervises its Special Bureau, Political Bureau and Administration Bureau, the agency's own military brigade, and the Special Republican Guard.(22) Its own military brigade serves as a rapid response unit independent of the military establishment or Special Republican Guard. In the event of a coup attempt from within the regular military or Republican Guard, Special Security can easily call up the Special Republican Guard for reinforcements(23) as this unit is also under its control.(24)
The Security Bureau: The Security Bureau is divided into a Special Office, which monitors the Special Security agency itself to assure loyalty among its members. If necessary, it conducts operations against suspect members.(25) The Office of Presidential Facilities, another unit of the Security Bureau, guards these places through Jihaz al-Hamaya al-Khas (The Special Protection Apparatus). It is charged with protecting the Presidential Offices, Council of Ministers, National Council, and the Regional and National Command of the Ba'th Party, and is the only unit responsible for providing bodyguards to leaders.(26)
The Political Bureau: The Political Bureau collects and analyses intelligence and prepares operations against "enemies of the state." This unit keeps an extensive file on all Iraqi dissidents or subversives. Under the Political Bureau, the Operations Office implements operations against these "enemies," including arrests, interrogations and executions. Another division is the Public Opinion Office, responsible for collecting and disseminating rumors on behalf of the state.(27)
The operations of Special Security are numerous, particularly in suppressing domestic opposition to the regime. After its creation in 1984, Special Security thwarted a plot of disgruntled army officers, who objected to Saddam's management of the Iran-Iraq War.(28) It preempted other coups such as the January 1990 attempt by members of the Jubur tribe to assassinate him.(29) It played an active role in crushing the March 1991 Shi'a rebellion in the south of Iraq. Along with General Intelligence, Special Security agents infiltrated the Kurdish enclave in the north of Iraq in August 1996, to hunt down operatives of the Iraqi opposition.
Special Security watched over the activities of Military Intelligence and the KGB, Soviet secret police, advisors in Iraq during the 1980s who assisted their Iraqi counterparts in concealing covert weapons production facilities.(30) It serves as the central coordinating body between Military-Industrial Commission, Military Intelligence, General Intelligence, and the military in the covert procurement of the necessary components for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.(31) During the 1991 Gulf War it was put in charge of concealing SCUD missiles(32) and afterwards in moving and hiding documents from UNSCOM inspections, relating to Iraq's weapons programs.
It is also thought that Special Security is responsible for commercial trade conducted covertly tin violation of UN sanctions, especially with Iran.(33)
GENERAL SECURITY SERVICE (AL-AMN AL-'AMM)
Al-Amn al-'Amm (General Security),(34) the oldest security agency in the country, dates back to 1921, when it was created during the British Mandate era.(35) In 1973, Nadhim Kazzar, head of General Security attempted a coup against both President Hassan al-Bakr and then Vice-President Saddam Hussein. After this coup attempt, Saddam arranged for the KGB to aid in a reorganization and modernization of General Security.(36) One reform was transferring many of General Security's responsibilities to his newly formed General Intelligence agency.(37)
General Security remained under the Ministry of the Interior as a civilian police force until the late 1970s, when it was established as an independent agency reporting directly to the Presidential Palace.(38) In the late 1980s, a number of detectives were transferred to General Security from the investigative section of the civilian police.(39) The size of General Security is estimated to be 8,000 personnel.(40)
As a policy, Saddam staffs General Security with relatives, members of the Tikriti clan, or members of Sunni tribes. In 1980, Saddam appointed `Ali Hassan al-Majid, who would later be the architect of the regime's anti-Kurdish campaign, as its director to instill the ideology of the Ba'th Party into the agency.(41) General Security was given more political intelligence responsibilities during the Iran- Iraq War. When Majid was put in charge of repressing the Kurdish insurrection in 1987, General `Abdul Rahman al-Duri replaced him until 1991 when Saddam Hussein's half-brother, Sabawi Ibrahim al- Tikriti, (who had served as its deputy director prior to 1991) then became head of this agency.(42) In 1996, General Taha `Abbas al- Ahbabi was appointed director after Saddam doubted Sabawi's loyalty. (43)
General Security is essentially a political security police force whose activities are: 1) detecting dissent among the Iraqi general public; 2) reacting to political "criminal behavior"; and 3) preventing economic criminal activity. It monitors the day-to-day lives of the population creating a pervasive local presence.(44) It maintains an extensive filing system of personal files-such as birth certificates and marriages records--of Iraqi citizens. The agency operates an extensive network of informers, under the 1970 "Law of Securing the Trustworthy in Defending the Revolution." General Security coordinates its operations with the civilian police force and maintains a unit in every police station.(45) However, the agency's responsibilities have been reduced, as other organizations have assumed many of its former responsibilities.
The headquarters of General Security is located in Baghdad, from which it guides the work of branches in each Iraqi governate. Saddam provided it with a paramilitary wing known as Quwat al-Tawari' (The Emergency Forces)(46) after the 1991 Gulf War to reinforce law and order.(47)
The Investigations Directorate of General Security maintains a large network of informants, while its Technical Directorate monitors daily telephone conversations and radio frequencies.(48) Its intra- intelligence unit, the Security Office, is responsible for surveillance of other members and countering any dissent within the organization.(49)
The majority of the documents in the Northern Iraq Dataset were produced by General Security, since its responsibilities included countering any dissent in the Kurdish areas, as well as Military Intelligence, since the army was responsible for the actual counterinsurgency operations there.(50) After the 1991 Gulf War, al- Quwat al-Tawari' units were responsible for hiding Iraqi ballistic missile components.(51) It also operates the notorious Abu Ghuraib prison outside of Baghdad, where many of Iraq's political prisoners are held.(52)
IRAQI INTELLIGENCE SERVICE [AL-MUKHABARAT]
While General Security and Military Intelligence were created during the period of Iraq's monarchy, al-Mukhabarat (The Iraqi Intelligence Service)(53) emerged from within the Iraqi Arab Socialist Ba'th Party. Saddam Hussein participated in an unsuccessful Ba'th Party attempt to assassinate Iraq's ruler `Abd al-Karim Qasim in October 1959. After escaping arrest from the failed assassination, a 26-year- old Saddam Husayn assumed a position in the party leadership in 1964, and under his exclusive control, created a small internal, security intelligence organization consisting of some of the party's younger members. He selected the members personally to protect the Ba'th from external and internal enemies. This unit has been referred to by the codename, Jihaz al-Khas (The Special Apparatus)--not to be confused with Special Security. After 1968, it was known as Jihaz al-Hanin (The Yearning Apparatus).(54) Al-Jihaz was infamous for assassinating members of other political groups as well as fellow Ba'th Party members. Saddam's experience in controlling this small intelligence unit allowed him gradual control over the party organization, and by manipulating the ruling party, he was able to control the Iraqi state. (55)
After al-Jihaz aided in the Ba'th Party coup on July 17, 1968, Saddam expanded its role, while at the same time he attempted to consolidate his control over the already existing General Security. In 1973 al- Jihaz was transformed officially into the Da'irat al-Mukhabarat al- 'Amma (The General Intelligence Department) or General Intelligence, in response to the failed coup attempt by General Security director Nadhim Kazzar.(56) Al-Jihaz formed the nucleus to what would emerge as the all-encompassing agency known today as General Intelligence. Makiya says, "Unlike other policing agencies, the Mukhabarat is a distinctly political body, not merely a professional organ of state charged with safe-guarding national security."(57)
Afterwards, another of Saddam's half-brothers, Barzan Ibrahim al- Tikriti was given a prominent role in General Intelligence, while Sa'dun Shakir, Saddam's cousin, served as its head. In 1982 Barzan replaced Sa'dun as director due to the latter's failure to preempt an assassination attempt on Saddam's life.(58) Barzan's appointment did not last long until in 1983 Saddam made him Iraq's ambassador to the UN in Geneva. Barzan was succeeded by an academic, Fadil Barak al- Tikriti, who held this position until 1989, when he was replaced by Barzan's brother, Saba'wi Ibrahim al-Tikriti.(59) Saba'wi served as the director of General Intelligence during the 1991 Gulf War.(60) After the Gulf War, Saba'wi was replaced by Sabir `Abdul `Aziz al- Duri.(61) Mani `Abd al-Rashid al-Tikriti thereafter became the director and was replaced by Rafi Dahham al-Tikriti. Rafi Dahham, according to opposition sources, was killed on President Saddam Hussein's orders.(62) Intelligence director Tahir `Abd al-Jalil al- Habbush became the director in October 1999.(63)
General Intelligence is estimated to have approximately 8,000 members, but such numbers are difficult to corroborate.(64)
General Intelligence is roughly divided into a department responsible for internal operations, coordinated through provincial offices, and another responsible for international operations, conducted from various Iraqi embassies. Its internal activities include: 1) monitoring the Ba'th Party, as well as other political parties; 2) monitoring other grass roots organizations, including youth, women and union groups; 3) suppressing Shi'a, Kurdish and other opposition; 4) counter-espionage; 5) targeting threatening individuals and groups inside of Iraq; 6) monitoring foreign embassies in Iraq; 6) monitoring foreigners in Iraq; and 7) maintaining an internal network of informants.
Its external activities include: 8) monitoring Iraqi embassies abroad; 9) collecting overseas intelligence; 10) aiding opposition groups in hostile regimes; 11) conducting sabotage, subversion, and terrorist operations against hostile neighboring countries such as Syria and Iran; 12) murder of opposition elements outside of Iraq; 13) infiltrating Iraqi opposition groups abroad; 14) providing disinformation and attempts to exploit or use Arab and other media; and 15) maintaining an international network of informants, using popular organizations as well such as the Union of Iraqi Students.(65)
The Iraqi Intelligence Service is headed by a directors office, and is divided into a Special Bureau, Political Bureau and a bureau that performs routine administrative tasks.(66)
The Special Bureau: The Special Bureau's responsibilities include interrogation of suspects, training of personnel, and counter- espionage. Its Directorate Five serves as the security unit of General Intelligence, countering any internal dissent within the agency.(67)
Other directorates are responsible for targeting suspects, recruiting prospective members, while others are issued with coordinating operations with the Iranian opposition group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) based in Iraq. A counter-intelligence directorate recruits foreign agents inside of Iraq, particularly in Syrian intelligence.
Political Bureau: The Political Bureau includes a number of Directorates, such as Directorate Four, The Secret Service Office. The Secret Service Directorate Four agents infiltrates agents into Iraqi government departments, the Ba'th Party, in unions and organizations, Iraqi embassies and the Iraqi opposition abroad. The Directorate also includes a number of offices specializing in the collection of information against a specific country or region, including South Asia, Turkey, Iran, the US, Europe, Arab states, Africa and the former Soviet Union.(68) Directorate Nine works outside of Iraq in coordination with other directorates focusing on sabotage and assassination operations.(69)
Other units of this bureau are responsible for the development of materials needed for covert operations, ranging from poisons to explosives. Some are charged with electronic surveillance, such as planting video and audio bugging devices in the other directorates of General Intelligence. A Planning Office collects and analyses information and media from around the world. The Propaganda Office conducts psychological operations, including spreading false stories and rumors, similar to the Public Opinion Office attached to Special Security.(70)
Regional Bureaus: Directorates 21 through 26 are responsible for monitoring various regional districts in Iraq. Directorate 21, the residency located in Baghdad, is in charge of security issues in the capital as well as issuing residence permits to foreigners in Iraq. Directorate 23, the Southern District based in Basra, conducts operations in the south of Iraq, while Directorate 24, the Northern District, does the same in northern Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Based in Mosul, with an office in Kirkuk, it is responsible for infiltrating the opposition in Iraqi Kurdistan. Directorate 25, the Western District, is located in Ramadi and maintains a network of informants in Syria and Jordan. Directorate 26, the Eastern District, operates in the Karbala Governate.(71)
General Intelligence's activities after the Gulf War were prioritized to concentrate on internal security. However it began to shift to foreign operations soon afterwards. According to Lebanese security forces, three agents of General Intelligence were responsible for the assassination of an Iraqi exile, Shaykh Talib al-Suhayl in 1994 in Lebanon.(72) Similar operations are focused in Amman, Jordan, which became a hub of Iraqi exiles and anti-Saddam opposition groups after 1991. Its main task is the infiltration of anti-regime organizations, such the Iraqi National Accord, an opposition group based in Jordan. By infiltrating the INA in 1996, the regime was able to arrest and execute military officers connected to the organization.(73) When relations improved between Saddam and the Mas'ud Barzani's Kurdish Democratic Party in 1996, General Intelligence agents were able to infiltrate areas in Northern Iraq to eliminate agents of the CIA or Iraqi opposition.(74)
It also undertook operations against Iraqi expatriates in Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.(75) Reports say that General Intelligence opened offices in a number of countries, such as Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Jordan.(76) It is said to monitor the activities of Iraqi journalists abroad, with the purpose of inducing them to write sympathetic works for the Iraqi regime or silencing them if they refuse. Dissident Ba'th journalists, who are either in Jordan or Europe, receive warnings against involvement in press and media activities that oppose the regime.(77) Other sources indicate that General Intelligence even conducts drugs smuggling operations to neighboring Arab countries, including an illicit cigarette trade.(78)
Its role in assassinations abroad is most likely why General Intelligence headquarters was targeted in June 1993 by US cruise missiles. The attack was launched in retaliation for a planned attempt on former President George Bush's life during a visit to Kuwait in April 1993.
MILITARY INTELLIGENCE [AL-ISTIKHBARAT AL-'ASKARIYYA]
Mudiriyyat al-Istikhabarat al-`Askariyya al-`Amma (The General Military Intelligence Directorate) was created in 1932, at the time of Iraq's independence.(79) Although initially under the Ministry of Defense, in the early 1980s it was reorganized to report directly to the Presidential Palace.
The head of Military intelligence, generally, did not have to be a relative of Saddam's immediate family, nor a Tikriti for that matter. Saddam appointed, Sabir `Abd al-`Aziz al-Duri(80) as head of Military Intelligence during the 1991 Gulf War.(81) After the Gulf War he was replaced by Wafiq Jasim al-Samarrai.(82) After Samarrai, Muhammad Nimah al-Tikriti(83) headed Military Intelligence in early 1992(84) then in late 1992 Fanar Zibin Hassan al-Tikriti was appointed to this post.(85) While Fanar is from Tikrit, both Sabir al-Duri and Samarrai are non-Tikriti Sunni Muslims, as their last names suggest. Another source indicates that Samarrai was replaced by Khalid Salih al-Juburi, (86) demonstrating how another non-Tikriti, but from the tribal alliance that traditionally support the regime holds top security positions in Iraq.(87)
These shifting appointments are part of Saddam's policy of balancing security positions between Tikritis and non-Tikritis, in the belief that the two factions would not unite to overthrow him. Not only that, but by constantly shifting the directors of these agencies, no one can establish a base in a security organization for a substantial period of time, that would challenge the President.(88)
Al-Isitkhbarat has approximately 4,000 to 6,000 members.(89)
Responsibilities of Military Intelligence include: 1) tactical and strategic reconnaissance of regimes hostile to Iraq; 2) assessing threats of a military nature to Iraq; 3) monitoring the Iraqi military and ensuring the loyalty of the officer corps; 4) maintaining a network of informants in Iraq and abroad, including foreign personnel, and military human intelligence; and 5) protection of military and military-industrial facilities.
The primary functions of Military Intelligence are ensuring the loyalty of the military and gathering military intelligence, but it is also involved in foreign operations, including assassinations of opponents to the regime.(90) Military Intelligence is responsible for maintaining a network of informants including operatives in Jordan, Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, the Gulf states, Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Turkey, and Yemen, as well as a large intelligence network in Iran.
Like the other agencies, Military Intelligence is divided into a Special, Political and Administrative Bureau.
The Special Bureau: The Special Bureau is primarily responsible for investigations and clandestine operations. MThe Military Intelligence Security Unit is responsible for countering dissent throughout the military. This unit would later evolve in 1992 into a separate agency, Military Security. Military Intelligence still retained its own intra-intelligence security unit to monitor personnel.(91)
The Political Bureau: The Special Bureau is responsible for carrying out military operations, while the Political Bureau focuses on the collection of intelligence and information. The Political Bureau collects intelligence from defense attachés in Iraqi diplomatic missions. It also collects intelligence through other agents, such as the extensive networks of informants in Syria, Iran, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt.(92)
Regional Bureaus: Military Intelligence maintains regional headquarters throughout the country, in administrative areas known as manthumat. Al-Istikhbarat al-'Askariyya is divided into four manthumat and their areas of jurisdiction for collecting intelligence include: 1) Kirkuk (responsible for the northern Iran border region and the Kurdish region of northern Iraq); 2) Mosul (Turkey and Syria); 3) Basra (the Gulf states and the southern Iranian border region); and 4) a special section in Baghdad that monitors Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the central Iranian border region and Iraqi opposition groups.(93)
Military Intelligence was reportedly responsible for the assassination operations against Saddam's opponents in Beirut, Detroit, London, and Paris. Among the victims was `Abdul Razzaq al- Nayef, a former senior Ba'th official who was murdered in London in 1978.(94) It also provided logistical support for the takeover of the Iranian Embassy in London in May 1980.(95)
After the 1981 Israeli raid on Iraq's Osiraq nuclear research facility, Military Intelligence turned to the Soviet KGB for assistance. From 1982 to 1985, the KGB aided Military Intelligence in concealment and protection techniques of its military program and facilities, as well as strategic reconnaissance deception methods.
During the 1991 Gulf War, it was in charge of protecting combat airplanes. After the Gulf War, along with Special Security and General Intelligence, Military Intelligence was charged with infiltrating Kurdish and Shi'a opposition.(96)
MILITARY SECURTIY (AL-AMN AL-'ASKARI)
Initially constituted as part of the Special Bureau of Military Intelligence in 1992 Saddam established al-Amn al-'Askari as an independent entity reporting directly to the Presidential Palace rather than military command or the Ministry of Defense. This unit was created after Saddam detected disturbances in the military. Thus, Military Security, General Intelligence and Special Security were created in response to specific threatening events, whether they were coup or assassination attempts against Saddam. At the time of its creation, it was headed by Muhammad Nimah al-Tikriti.(97)
Military Security is responsible for 1) detecting and countering dissent in the Iraqi armed forces; 2) investigating corruption and embezzlement within the armed services; and 3) monitoring all formations and units in the armed forces. Its task of internal security and detecting dissention in the armed forces was designed to overlap with some of the functions of Military Intelligence. Part of this strategy included infiltrating loyal officers into every military unit.(98)
The Security Unit of this agency monitors al-Amn al-'Askari as an internal surveillance body. Like other agencies, it has its own military brigade.(99)
OTHER SECURITY UNITS
The Socialist Arab Resurrection Party (Hizb al-Ba'th al-'Arab al- Ishtiraki)
While not an official state security agency, the Ba'th party is a crucial element in maintaining state security. The Ba'th Party is officially independent from the state, with its structure separate from that of government institutions. However, the Ba'th Party has ruled Iraq since 1968, and Saddam Hussein acts as its secretary- general.
The party has a wide membership throughout public institutions, the armed forces, work places, educational institutions and the local community as a whole. Such community-based organs serve as surveillance units as well. The Ba'th Party promotes its ideology in Iraq through its regional bureaus. The Ba'th Party Northern Bureau under the leadership of `Ali Hassan al-Majid was given sweeping government sanction to suppress rebellious Kurdish activity from 1987 to 1988. It has its own internal security agency known as Amn al-Hizb (Party Security), which monitors party members and ensures their loyalty.(100)
The Special Protection Apparatus (Jihaz al-Himaya al-Khasa)
Another unit in Saddam's security apparatus is known as Jihaz al- Himaya al-Khasa (The Special Protection Apparatus.)(101) This unit is always headed by Saddam's immediate family, and is the only unit which has armed men in the direct proximity of the President, serving as bodyguards.(102) Special Security exercises operational control over this apparatus.(103)
The Special Republican Guard, (al-Haris al-Jamhuri al-Khas)
Al-Haris al-Jamhuri al-Khas (The Special Republican Guard) is also referred to as the Republican Guard Special Protection Forces. As the Republican Guard expanded rapidly during the Iran-Iraq War, the Special Republican Guard was created to serve as a praetorian guard. Qusay heads this unit, which provides protection for all presidential sites, including offices and personal residences, as well as escorting Saddam when he is traveling within Iraq. The Special Republican Guard usually has around 15,000 men, but some estimates state that it has up to 13 battalions with 26,000 men.(104) The Special Republican Guard is organized into four brigades, with three brigades guarding the northern, southern and western routes into Baghdad. Additionally, it has an artillery and air defense command. Special Security exercises operational control over the Special Republican Guard.(105)
The Ministry of Information
The Ministry also has close links to intelligence services so it can control or spy on foreign visitors and journalists and manipulate crowds and media events in Iraq.(106)
The security apparatus that emerged as a small unit under the guidance of Saddam Hussein during the 1960s has emerged as a vast and complex network that has kept him in power by swiftly dealing with threats to his regime, both real or imagined. The system was created, expanded, controlled and managed by Saddam. Iraq's intelligence and security network permeates every aspect of Iraqi life, ensuring his total control over the state. No organization, agency or military unit, nor even opposition groups outside of Iraq are ever secure from Saddam's surveillance or free of penetration from his intelligence agencies.
While agencies rival and overlap each other for intelligence in the field of foreign and domestic operations, Saddam still has managed to develop a security network closely adopted to his needs and centralized only through his personal control. Given Saddam's personal role in structuring and molding this security network, it remains to be seen whether it will survive in its current form in case of his departure from the Iraqi political scene. At the same time, of course, its effectiveness makes it less likely that Saddam would be ousted.
1. Amazia Baram, "Between Impediment and Advantage: Saddam's Iraq," United States Institute of Peace Special Report <http//:www.usip.org> and "Saddam Husayn Between His Power Base and the International Community," MERIA Journal, Vol. 4, No. 4 (December 2000), p. 11-12. <http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2000/issue4/jv4n4a2.html>.
2. Boyne, July 1997, p. 312.
3. Kanan Makiya, Republic of Fear: The Politics of Modern Iraq (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998).
4. See Sean Boyne, "Inside Iraq's Security Network, Part One," Jane's Intelligence Review, Vol. 9, No. 7 (July 1997), and No. 8 (August 1997). The Federation of American Scientists supplement the information provided in his article is on their website under the section "Iraq's Intelligence Agencies" <http://www.fas.org>.
5. See Saddam's Documents: A Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, May 1992. Also see Peter W. Galbraith, "Genocide and the Kurdish Documents Report," Kurdistan Times, No. 3 (December 1993).
6. Human Rights Watch/Middle East Watch, Genocide in Iraq: The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds, (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1993), and Bureaucracy of Repression: The Iraqi Government in its Own Words (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1994).
7. Ali Abdul-Lateef Khalifouh and Youssef Abdul-Moa'ti, Kuwait Resistance As Revealed by Iraqi Documents (Kuwait: Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait, 1994). This volume is also available in Arabic from the same center under the title, al-Maqawama al- Kuwaitiyya Min Khilal al-Watha'iq al-Iraqiyya.
8. Both sets of documents can be viewed on the Iraq Research and Documentation website <http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~irdp>.
9. Also referred to as al-Maktab al-Amn al-Qawmi (The National Security Bureau).
10. Dilip Hiro, Neighbors, Not Friends, Iraq and Iran After the Gulf Wars (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), p. 54.
11. Boyne, July 1997, p. 313.
13. Al-Amn al-Khas (Special Security) is also known as Mudiriyyat al- Amn al-Khas (The Special Security Directorate) or Jihaz al-Amn al- Khas (The Special Security Apparatus, The Special Security Organization or The Special Security Service). It is also referred to as Jihaz Mukhabarat al-Ra'isa (The Presidential Intelligence Apparatus, The Presidential Affairs Department or The Presidential Intelligence Bureau). In some publications it is abbreviated by the acronym, SS, SSS or SSO.
14. Dilip Hiro, Neighbors, Not Friends, Iraq and Iran After the Gulf Wars (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), p. 55.
15. Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000), p. 254.
16. Michael Eisenstadt, Like A Phoenix From the Ashes: The Future of Iraqi Mlilitary Power (Washington DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1993), p. 11.
17. Hiro, p. 56. This figure is also claimed by Federation of American Scientists, see "Iraq's Intelligence Agencies" <http://www.fas.org>.
18. Anthony Cordesman, Iraq and the War on Sanctions (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1999), p. 152.
19. Unattributed article, "The Secret War Between the CIA and Iraqi Intelligence," in al-Hawadith (London, in Arabic), February 2, 2001, p. 21. Translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS).
20. Unattributed article, "The Secret War Between the CIA and Iraqi Intelligence," in al-Hawadith (London, in Arabic), February 2, 2001, p. 21. Translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS).
21. Mustafa Alani, "Saddam's Support Structure" in Sean McKnight, Neil Patrick and Francis Toase (eds.), Gulf Security: Opportunities and Challenges for the New Generation (London: The Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies, 2000), p. 43.
22. Boyne, July 1997, p. 314.
23. Boyne, August 1997, p. 367.
24. Scott Ritter, Endgame: Solving the Iraq Problem Once and For All (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999), p. 125.
25. Sean, July 1997, p. 314, and see "Iraq's Intelligence Agencies" <http://www.fas.org>.
26. Gregory R. Copley, Defense and Foreign Affairs Handbook, 1999 (Alexandria, Virginia: International Strategic Studies Association, 1998), p. 714.
27. Boyne, July 1997, p. 314.
28. Ritter, p. 77
29. Ritter, p. 97.
30. Ritter, p. 75.
31. Boyne, July 1997, p. 314.
32. Ritter, p. 102.
33. Unattributed article, "Fifteen Years Jail Sentence for Iraqi Intelligence Deputy Chief,"al-Zaman June 26, 2000, translated in FBIS.
34. It is also known as Mudiriyyat al-Amn al-'Amm (General Security Directorate or General Security Service) and also referred to as "The Secret Police," and is sometimes written with the acronym GS or GSS.
35. Dilip Hiro, Neighbors, Not Friends, Iraq and Iran After the Gulf Wars, p. 54.
36. Makiya, p. 12.
37. Ritter, p. 62.
38. Human Rights Watch, 1993, p. 3
39. Human Rights Watch, 1994, p. 3.
40. Boyne, August 1997, p. 367.
41. Dilip Hiro, p. 55.
42. During the 1991 Gulf War, Sabawi was the chief of the Mukhabarat.
43. Hiro, p. 55.
44. Makiya, p. 12.
45. Sean Boyne, July 1997, p. 312
46. According to the Human Rights Watch publications, there also existed "Emergency Forces" prior to the 1991 Gulf War, under the control of the Ba'th Party.
47. Ritter, p. 122.
48. Ritter, p. 122.
49. Boyne, August 1997, p. 367.
50. Human Rights Watch, 1993, p. xvii.
51. Ritter, p. 122.
52. Ritter, p. 88.
53. It is also known as al-Mukhabarat al-Amma (General Intelligence), and is also referred to as Da'irat al-Mukhbarat al-'Amma (The General Intelligence Directorate, The General Intelligence Department, The General Intelligence Service or The Iraqi Intelligence Service). It is sometimes written with the acronym, IIS, GID or GIS.
54. Makiya, p. 15.
55. Mustafa Alani, p. 42.
56. Eberhard Kienle, Ba'th v Ba'th: The Conflict Between Syria and Iraq, 1968-1989 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990), p. 85.
57. Makiya, p. 15.
58. Helm Chapin Metz, Iraq: A Country Study (Washington DC: Library of Congress, 1988), p. 245. The 1982 assassination attempt was the primary force behind the creation of al-Amn al-Khas from within al- Amn al-'Amm
59. Fadil al-Barak was arrested in 1989 on espionage charges and later executed. See Cordesman, p. 153.
60. Eisenstadt, p. 11.
61. Sabir al-Duri was the former head of the military al-Istikhbarat.
62. Ali Abd al-Amir, "Plan to `Track Down' Iraqi Oppositionists Put into Effect," al-Hayat, March 12, 2000. Translated in FBIS.
63. Unattributed article, "The Secret War Between the CIA and Iraqi Intelligence."
64. Boyne, p. 367.
65. Hiro, p. 56.
66. See Federation of American Scientists, "Iraq's Intelligence Agencies" <http://www.fas.org>.
67. Boyne, August 1997, p. 365.
69. Boyne, August 1997, p. 365.
70. Boyne, August 1997, p.365-6.
71. See Federation of American Scientists, "Iraq's Intelligence Agencies" <http://www.fas.org>.
72. Boyne, p. 65.
73. Ritter, p. 116.
74. Hiro, p. 56.
75. Ali Abd al-Amir, "Plan to `Track Down' Iraqi Oppositionists Put into Effect."
76. "Anti-regime secret cells in the Republican Guard units; Iraqi intelligence expands activities abroad," Iraqi Communist Party, August 26, 2000. Transcribed in FBIS.
77. Muhammad al-Salih, "Saddam Husayn is Trying to Revive his Media Empire Abroad," al-Ra'y al-Amm (Kuwait in Arabic), November 12, 2000. Transcribed in FBIS.
78. Unattributed article, "Fifteen Years Jail Sentence for Iraqi Intelligence Deputy Chief."
79. Hiro, p. 56.
80. Sabir Abd al-Aziz al-Duri was then placed as head of al- Mukhabarat after the 1991 Gulf War.
81. Eisenstadt, p. 11.
82. Sammarai would later defect to the north of Iraq and then to Syria.
83. Muhammad Nimah al-Tikriti was made the head of another unit called al-Amn al-Askariyya (or Military Security) after 1992.
84. Hiro, p. 57.
85. Eisenstadt, p. 11. Fanar al-Tikriti served as the head of al-Amn al-Khas during the 1991 Gulf War.
86. Cordesman, p. 154.
87. Amazia Baram, "Saddam Husayn Between His Power Base and the International Community," MERIA Journal, Vol. 4, No. 4 (December 2000), p. 12. <http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2000/issue4/jv4n4a2.html>.
88. Exceptions to this rule include Ali Hassan al-Majid, who directed al-Amn al-Amm for seven years and Qusay, Saddam's son who has headed al-Amn al-Khas since 1992.
89. Boyne, August 1997, p. 366.
90. Makiya, p. 14.
91. Copley, p. 714.
93. Human Rights Watch, 1994, p. 4.
94. Cordesman, p. 155
95. Makiya, p. 13.
96. Boyne, August 1997, p. 367.
97. Hiro, p. 57.
99. Cordesman, p. 155.
100. Hiro, p. 57.
101. It is also referred to as "The President's Personal Protection Unit" with the acronym PPPU or referred to as "The Presidential Palaces Security Unit" or as Himayat al-Ra'isa (The Presidential Guard).
102. Alani, p. 43.
103. Eisenstadt, p. 10.
104. Boyne, July 1997, p. 313.
105. Eisenstadt, p. 10.
106. Cordesman, p. 156-7.
-------- israel / palestine
4 Israelis Killed in Tank Blast
Crew Trapped After Vehicle Runs Over Explosive in Gaza
By Molly Moore
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, February 16, 2003; Page A27
ATATRA, Gaza Strip, Feb. 15 -- Four Israeli soldiers were killed today in the northern Gaza Strip when their tank rumbled over a bomb and exploded, igniting ammunition and fuel that turned the inside of the armored vehicle into a fiery death trap for its crew, according to Israeli military officials.
Blasts from exploding tank shells, machine gun bullets and fuel ripped through the tank's cavity, tore off part of its turret and flung one soldier's body out of the tank, which burned for nearly four hours before rescue workers could extinguish the blaze, Palestinian witnesses and military officials said.
"I heard a huge explosion," said Mohammed Abu Halima, an 18-year-old college student who lives near the site of the blast. "Fire came from the middle of the tank, and I saw a soldier flying in the air with the fire."
"All four soldiers were killed immediately," said Maj. Gen. Doron Almog, who heads the Israeli Southern Command, which includes the Gaza Strip. "We dragged the tank away with the dead inside."
A military spokesman confirmed that one soldier was thrown out of the tank by the force of the explosions.
The blast destroyed the Magach 7 tank as it crawled atop a sand berm separating this sprawling Palestinian town from the desert strip that surrounds the nearby Jewish settlement of Dugit. It was the fourth Israeli tank to be destroyed in the Gaza Strip in the past year and the first time an entire crew has been killed, Almog said. Seven soldiers have died in three previous attacks on the larger and more heavily armored Merkava tanks.
The military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement, known as Hamas, claimed responsibility for the attack. A statement released by the organization shortly after the explosion said the assault was retribution for the deaths of two Palestinian men who were shot by Israeli forces on Thursday near the wall surrounding Dugit.
"They [the Israelis] have the military power," said Ismail Haniya, a Hamas political leader, in an interview in nearby Gaza City. He said the attack on the tank was intended to show that "they can't break our will or destroy the resistance."
At 8:21 a.m. today, the four men inside the Israeli tank were following the tracks of an armored bulldozer designed to take the brunt of mines and explosives when a 220-pound bomb hidden in the sand detonated beneath the tank's rear left side, Almog said at a press briefing in Tel Aviv. He said the device may have been hidden in the berm "a long time."
Israeli armored vehicles routinely chug up the berm to observe activity on the Palestinian side, Israeli military officials and Palestinian witnesses said.
The rescue operation was hampered by the intense heat radiating from the tank, as well as a driving rain and thick mud, Almog said.
Although Almog said a 220-pound explosive "will penetrate any kind of armor," he said the military will investigate whether the Magach tanks need additional improvements to protect the soldiers inside.
As soon as the tank was lifted off the berm by a crane and driven away, Israeli armored bulldozers began demolishing two Palestinian apartment houses and several vegetable greenhouses about 200 yards from where the tank exploded.
A Southern Command spokesman said the houses were demolished because Israeli forces will continue to conduct operations in the area.
"After this incident we recognized it will be harder to do those activities," he said. "That's why we had to take down these buildings."
Palestinian residents said soldiers fired into their neighborhood during the rescue operation and set up a sniper post on the top floor of one house. An Israeli soldier fired on journalists interviewing a group of neighbors two blocks from the housing demolitions. No one was injured.
It took military officials hours to notify the soldiers' families of their deaths because many observant Jews do not answer their telephones on Saturday, the Sabbath, military officials said. As of late tonight, a military spokesman said the names of the soldiers could not be released because all of their families still had not been reached.
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Bolivia Asks for International Investigation
Sunday, February 16, 2003
LA PAZ, Bolivia -- Bolivia called on international human rights groups to investigate the shooting deaths of 13 people in rioting that swept the capital last week.
Government officials said President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada would appeal to activists to probe the deaths of four soldiers and nine police officers killed during demonstrations in La Paz's central plaza Wednesday.
Rights groups in Bolivia blasted the government's heavy-handed response to the protests, criticizing the use of live ammunition and tanks to break up the demonstrations.
Witnesses and reporters said unidentified gunmen fired into the crowd from nearby rooftops.
Clashes between soldiers and striking police and protesters left 22 people dead and about 140 people injured.
Bahrain: 5 arrested in terror plot
Source: Target was Americans
Sunday, February 16, 2003
MANAMA, Bahrain -- Bahraini authorities say they have broken up an alleged terrorist ring planning attacks in the Gulf kingdom -- home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.
Five Bahraini men aged between 31 and 41 were arrested on charges of plotting terrorist acts against the island's "national interests and endangering the lives of innocent people," the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported. Police also seized weapons and ammunition.
A senior Gulf official told Reuters the target was Americans in Bahrain and that two of those arrested were from the Bahraini military.
They were named as Bassam Yousif Abdul-Rahman Ali, Isa Abdulla-Rahman Al-Balooshi, Jamal Hilal Mohammed Al-Balooshi, Mohideen Mahmoud Mohideen Khan, and Bassam Abdul-Razak Abdulla Bukhawa.
It was not clear if the men were acting alone or were part of a larger terrorist network. The detentions are the first terrorism-related arrests made in Bahrain, a close U.S. ally, since the September 11 attacks.
Washington is pouring troops and arms into the region and Bahrain, where about 4,000 U.S. troops are stationed aboard Fifth Fleet ships, is likely to be a launchpad for any attack.
Military planners are acting cautiously to prevent attacks like the 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, which killed 17 U.S. sailors.
Two weeks ago a court in another Gulf state, Kuwait, handed down five-year jail terms to four alleged al Qaeda members, one accused of links to the attack on the U.S. warship Cole and a plot to bomb a hotel in Yemen.
Last month, U.S. Navy chiefs ordered the deployment of high-speed Navy patrol cutters to the Gulf to protect U.S. military ships, oil tankers and command vessels from suicide bomb threats.
The U.S. Navy headquarters in Bahrain said security was boosted earlier this week after warnings from local authorities.
The U.S. embassy in Manama had issued an advisory on February 12 notifying citizens that the State Department has authorised the departure of family members and non-emergency personnel at the mission on a voluntary basis.
"Private U.S. citizens should evaluate rigorously their own security situation and should consider departing," it said.
An Arab television station earlier this week aired a message believed to be from fugitive militant Osama bin Laden in which he urged Muslims to fight to repel any U.S. attack on Iraq.
Last September, a Yemeni suspected of Qaeda links was arrested in Bahrain together with his two sons for questioning.
Officials said Mukhtar al-Bakri later surrendered to U.S. authorities in the Gulf state and was sent to the United States.
There are several Bahrainis among hundreds of suspects held at a U.S. military base in Cuba captured during the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan to flush out al Qaeda members.
Belgium Offers Compromise on NATO Dispute
Alliance Asked to Make Clear That Arms for Turkey Are Defensive and Not Part of War Buildup
By Paul Geitner
Sunday, February 16, 2003; Page A24
BRUSSELS, Feb. 15 -- Belgium offered a compromise today to end a bitter dispute within NATO over providing military aid to Turkey in advance of a possible war against Iraq.
Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said Belgium, France and Germany would endorse a U.S. proposal for such help if NATO makes clear the aid is defensive in nature and if the aid is not seen as making the alliance a participant in war preparations against Iraq.
NATO called an urgent session of the ambassadors of its 19 member states for Sunday to discuss the proposal.
Verhofstadt said his government has been consulting with France and Germany on language letting the three countries withdraw their vetoes of plans to deploy early-warning aircraft, missile defenses and anti-biochemical units to Turkey, the only NATO country bordering Iraq. The thrust of the compromise was to "avoid above all that this decision is a first step in a buildup to war," Verhofstadt said.
Belgium, France and Germany refused to endorse any military planning for Turkey, which has requested assistance from its allies, saying that sending military hardware would undercut efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Iraq crisis. The other 16 allies argued that withholding support for Turkey's defense would erode NATO's credibility and send the wrong signal to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Sunday's meeting will be held by NATO's Defense Planning Committee, in which France does not participate. France attends only political discussions since leaving NATO's integrated military command structure in the late 1960s.
Verhofstadt said that under his compromise, the NATO allies would have to "make it explicitly clear that [aid for Turkey] does not imply participation of NATO in a military operation against Iraq."
Also, aid for Turkey must be defensive in nature and the allies must commit themselves to a "permanent monitoring" of the Iraq debate in the U.N. Security Council.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder refused to comment earlier today on divisions within NATO. While Schroeder reiterated his support for continued U.N. weapons inspections to disarm Iraq without war, he shrugged off the rift between Europe and the United States over the crisis.
"Everybody must understand . . . that even in old and good friendships there can be differences," he said in Finland, where he met with Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen.
Schroeder said in a speech last week that a NATO decision was not necessary because Germany would provide Turkey with missiles to be operated by Dutch soldiers. "We have, in fact, already met the demands which have been made in NATO," he said. "In December, I publicly announced that German AWACS [surveillance aircraft] crews were available to protect Turkey. Together with the Netherlands, we will provide Turkey with the most modern missile defense equipment available in Europe, the Patriot system."
"This is one of the reasons why we, along with our friends in France and Belgium, do not feel that a formal NATO decision on war plans is appropriate in anticipation of further debate by the Security Council," he said.
Iraq passes on disarmament presidency
February 16, 2003
NEW YORK - Iraq has given up its turn to take up the rotating presidency of the world's top disarmament forum, a prospect that had prompted U.S. opposition, the United Nations said.
Iraq was to take over the monthlong chairmanship of the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament on March 17.
But Iraq's U.N. Mission informed Secretary-General Kofi Annan Friday "that the Iraqi government had sent a letter to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva saying they would not be assuming the rotating presidency of the conference," the U.N. spokesman's office said in a statement.
The presidency of the conference rotates in alphabetical order. India is the current president, followed by Indonesia.
Iran also has given up its turn to chair the body; Ireland follows Iraq on the list.
The prospect of Iraq's chairing the conference, at a time when Baghdad faces U.S.-led military action for failing to prove it has eliminated weapons of mass destruction, prompted strong protests by the Bush administration.
Officials at the State Department had no immediate comment, and a spokesman at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
The United States also objected to Libya's presidency of the 53-member U.N. Human Rights Commission, saying the African country's "horrible" record disqualified it for the top human rights post.
Libya was elected this year's president on a wave of African solidarity. The 66-nation Conference on Disarmament was established in 1979 following a decision by the U.N. General Assembly, taking over from other Geneva-based negotiating bodies.
It has negotiated major arms control and disarmament agreements including the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
It also steered talks on the Biological Weapons Convention.
Member nations meet annually for 24 weeks in three sessions beginning in January.
U.S., Britain rework draft on Iraqi arms
By Dafna Linzer
February 16, 2003
NEW YORK - The United States and Britain, rattled by an outpouring of anti-war sentiment, began reworking a draft resolution yesterday to authorize force against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Diplomats, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the final product may be a softer text that doesn't explicitly call for war.
Before Friday's dramatic Security Council meeting, where weapons inspectors gave a relatively favorable accounting of Iraq's recent cooperation, Washington and London had been preparing a toughly worded resolution that would give them U.N. backing for military action.
British diplomats had said then that any resolution would have to include an authorization of force. They described working versions of the draft as short, simply worded texts that found Iraq in "material breach" of its obligations and reiterated that Saddam now faces "serious consequences," as a result.
In diplomatic terms, coupling the consequences with material breach would be tantamount to an authorization.
But the measured reports by inspectors, in addition to massive global opposition to war - expressed both in the council and in the streets - came as a blow to their plans.
The two English-speaking allies had hoped to push through a new resolution quickly, and there even had been talk of a council meeting yesterday to introduce it. But their plans were put on hold Friday after staunch opposition, led by France, Russia and China, drew rare applause inside the council chamber.
British and U.S. diplomats conceded they would need to go home, consider the views of others and soften the tone of the draft.
"The situation is very fluid, and so is the language right now," said Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram. He said a resolution giving Saddam an ultimatum to relinquish power or be removed by force was still an option. But Mr. Akram said it would be very hard for Pakistan - a key ally for the United States despite an anti-American population at home - to vote in favor of any resolution authorizing war.
Others council members agreed.
Noting the opposition, diplomats from Mexico, Chile, Angola and Bulgaria, key swing votes thought by the United States to be likely supporters, were considering abstaining in a vote as long as the five powers were unable to agree.
While Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said after Friday's meeting that there was no talk of compromise yet, some diplomats said privately that it was the responsibility of the five council powers - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China - to negotiate a way out of the impasse over Iraq.
Unless that happens, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are unlikely to gain U.N. support for a war to disarm Iraq. While the two leaders may be prepared to act without it, U.N. backing would offer international legitimacy and a guarantee that reconstruction costs would be shared.
U.N. backing is particularly important for the British government, which faces strong public opposition to a war. An estimated 750,000 people attended an anti-war protest in London yesterday and millions more joined in similar demonstrations across the globe.
Mr. Blair yesterday said there is a strong moral case for deposing Saddam but stressed that his goal is to disarm Iraq peacefully through the United Nations.
"Ridding the world of Saddam would be an act of humanity," he told a conference of his governing Labor Party in Glasgow, Scotland. "It is leaving him there that is inhumane. That is why I do not shrink from military action, should that indeed be necessary."
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in an interview yesterday with Abu Dhabi Television that a second Security Council resolution would be necessary before force was used against Saddam.
"Iraq should have no doubt that on the critical issue, the council is united: that Iraq must disarm," Mr. Annan said. "Iraq must cooperate fully and proactively with the inspectors and Iraq must honor its commitment to and obligations to the Security Council."
At NATO's Brussels headquarters, Belgium, trying to end a bitter dispute within the alliance, said it would join France and Germany in endorsing a U.S. proposal on war planning as long as it was clear that preparations to help Turkey were defensive in nature and not seen as pushing the alliance toward war against Iraq. The compromise offer is to be discussed in an urgent session today.
For the past month, Germany, France and Belgium have blocked a U.S. proposal for NATO to send early warning planes, missile defenses and anti-biochemical warfare units as a precaution to Turkey, the only NATO country bordering Iraq.
A meeting of the European Union tomorrow will be the first opportunity to gauge readiness on the Continent to negotiate. On Tuesday, the Security Council is to hold an open meeting on Iraq, designed mostly to embarrass the United States by providing a forum for non-council members to air their opposition to war.
But diplomats say that by the middle of next week Washington and London will have a better idea about how soon they can circulate a draft.
All sides acknowledge they want to avoid forcing France, Russia or China to veto the resolution. So the draft will have to be considerably reworked or be designed to be withdrawn - a diplomatic strategy that would demonstrate Britain and the United States want U.N. support but not at any cost.
A similar situation occurred in the run-up to NATO's bombing of Kosovo in 1999 when a resolution authorizing force was withdrawn in the face of a threatened Russian veto.
At the end of the 78-day bombing campaign, the United Nations then came together to pass a resolution authorizing a U.N. administration of Kosovo and a framework for its reconstruction. Several council diplomats, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said a similar play on Iraq may be the best way around the current split in the council.
Pentagon does about-face on troop cremation plan
Washington Post Service
Sun, Feb. 16, 2003
WASHINGTON - After an outcry from the families of service members, the Pentagon has backed off a proposal to cremate any U.S. troops killed by biological or chemical attacks in a war with Iraq rather than bring their bodies home for burial, defense officials said.
The Pentagon also has decided against a proposal to bury in mass graves the corpses of U.S. troops who might be health hazards.
The proposals -- part of a review of military burial procedures that concluded this month -- were meant to prevent the spread of chemical or biological agents from contaminated bodies to people on the home front. But they raised concern among veterans.
''The Department of Defense recently reviewed the policy and determined that cremation was not an option,'' the Pentagon said in a statement Friday. ``Cases involving contaminated remains will be handled with the dignity and respect accorded to all remains.''
The Veterans of Foreign Wars was among those contacted by the Pentagon about the proposals, the group said Saturday.
Unrivaled Military Feels Strains of Unending War
For U.S. Forces, a Technological Revolution and a Constant Call to Do More
By Thomas E. Ricks and Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 16, 2003; Page A18
PRINCE SULTAN AIR BASE, Saudi Arabia -- An F-15C fighter rips the bone-dry air as it roars down the runway, heat-seeking Sidewinder missiles pointing from its wingtips.
A succession of American technological wizardry quickly follows: an RC-135 "Rivet Joint" reconnaissance plane, for intercepting enemy communications; EA-6B jets, for jamming enemy radars and radios; F-16CJs, which specialize in destroying enemy antiaircraft installations, and, finally, a big tanker aircraft that refuels the "package" of aircraft in midair.
Here on the fringe of the Arabian Desert's forbidding Empty Quarter, this aerial armada, mobilized to patrol the skies of southern Iraq, is emblematic of the U.S. military -- which now stands astride the globe more dominant than any armed force since the legions of the Roman Empire.
Four times over the past 12 years -- in Iraq, in Haiti, in Yugoslavia and in Afghanistan -- U.S. forces have dispatched enemy forces in a matter of weeks. Today, on the eve of a possible new war against Iraq, those forces are exponentially more lethal, and their commanders, who have known little but victory over their careers, are confident almost to the point of cockiness.
"At no time in the history of modern warfare has a force been as well-trained, well-equipped and highly motivated as our Air Force is today," Gen. John P. Jumper, the Air Force chief of staff, said last month. Indeed, one of the Air Force's slogans is "Global Reach, Global Power."
That reach, say military commanders and other experts, may also prove to be an Achilles' heel: The more capable the U.S. military has become, the more it has been asked to do, and now strains are beginning to show. As the Bush administration prepares for war with Iraq, it is also sustaining peacekeeping missions in the Balkans, protecting South Korea from a newly aggressive North Korea and pursuing a war against terrorism that stretches from Afghanistan and the Caucasus to the Horn of Africa and Southeast Asia.
This is a period characterized by what seems like continuous warfare, likened by military analyst Ralph Peters to the Thirty Years War that decimated Western Europe in the 17th century, and the effects are beginning to tell on the military's manpower, on its budget, on the nation's treasury, and on a conflict of priorities -- between the need to fight today's wars and the pursuit of means to dominate tomorrow's.
These tensions are partly the legacy of the nation's response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but they will not dissipate any time soon: They are implicit in the administration's new national security strategy. That 33-page document, issued in September, commits the nation both to maintaining U.S. military hegemony and to attacking rogue or terrorist states before they can threaten the United States.
If the United States does attack Iraq, it would be the first preemptive strike this nation has ever launched.
Here at Prince Sultan Air Base, the headquarters of U.S. air operations in the Middle East, there are two different -- but not mutually exclusive -- points of view on the state of the U.S. military.
One warm winter afternoon, Brig. Gen. Dale C. Waters, commander of Air Force operations here, drove his big GMC Yukon SUV past F-15 and F-16 fighter jets lined up on the tarmac and said, "Yeah, I'd say there's a high level of confidence."
Back at Air Force headquarters on the base, Lt. Col. Matt Molloy, an animated young F-15 squadron commander, noted that his men and women flew out of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Iceland and the United States -- nine countries -- last year alone.
"We need to put this thing to the north to rest," he said, pointing in the direction of Iraq. "My airframes are cracking. We are doing too much with what we've got."
A tour of the military, from the sands of Saudi Arabia to the waters of the Mediterranean, and from the halls of Congress to the think tanks of national security strategists and academics, shows the sources and extent of U.S. military might -- and the limitations on it. 'We're Digital Now'
The USS Harry S. Truman, cutting a wide swath through the eastern Mediterranean, is a 97,000-ton, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier whose deck is as long as the Empire State Building is tall. But to get an idea of how far the U.S. military has come since the Persian Gulf War, follow Rear Adm. John D. Stufflebeem into the ship's cavelike Strike Intelligence Analysis Center.
In 1991, the Navy carried out airborne photo reconnaissance with "wet" film, which was flown off the ship in canisters for development and interpretation. Days passed before the intelligence could be put to use.
But the day of the canister is done. "We're digital now," Stufflebeem said as he walked across the strike center, which was chockablock with computers and other information systems. One wall was dominated by a screen displaying real-time black-and-white video images from an unmanned Predator drone over Afghanistan.
Today, every ship in the Truman's battle group, commanded by Stufflebeem, is linked to the other -- and to the world beyond -- by satellite-uplinked data networks. The carrier's strike aircraft and reconnaissance planes beam pictures back to the ship, where they are immediately interpreted by eight "point droppers" -- eight sailors whose jobs didn't exist 12 years ago.
Sitting in the semidarkness of the ship's analysis center, they consult constantly with intelligence analysts back in the United States, sometimes using a secure chat room set up for that purpose. Then they determine coordinates for targets.
Stufflebeem walked to the "precision targeting" workstation to tap a computer screen displaying the image of a tank. "We can send this information into the cockpit [of a fighter jet in flight] and say, 'Here's the coordinates; go strike this target.' " The process, from sensor to shooter, has been compressed to hours -- and, in some cases, minutes.
This ability -- to add velocity to data -- is the most dramatic improvement in the U.S. military over the past decade, the one that underlies overwhelming advances in the speed and accuracy with which those forces can bring ordnance to bear.
Many military analysts and historians believe that U.S. precision-strike capabilities, first seen in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, represent the third "revolution in military affairs" of the 20th century, during which emerging technologies and new war-fighting concepts changed the nature of war.
The first took place between 1917 and 1939, with the combination of internal combustion engines, improved aircraft design, radio and radar; it produced the German blitzkrieg, carrier aviation and strategic aerial bombardment. The second came at the end of World War II, with the advent of nuclear weapons. The third is all about precision strikes, information dominance and near-real-time targeting as the U.S. military leads to the way from Industrial Age warfare to Information Age operations.
There was a time when mass on the battlefield meant military strength. But now, with 24-hour battlefield surveillance and instantaneous targeting, mass on the battlefield is a liability, because it makes forces easier to track and target.
"High-quality intelligence is the American 21st-century version of mass," said Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, director of the National Security Agency. "With it, we have replaced mass on the battlefield with knowledge and precision."
In Afghanistan at the end of 2001, the fusion of precision weapons and information dominance produced a new war-fighting concept in which small numbers of Special Operations soldiers on the ground used laser pointers and Global Positioning System receivers to designate targets for attack by bombers and fighters. That war will also be remembered for the U.S. military's first use in combat of an armed, unmanned aerial vehicle: a Predator drone equipped to fire laser-guided Hellfire missiles at targets its own sensors had identified. In that case, sensor and shooter had become one and the same.
In any war against Iraq, U.S. military planners would be expanding on the lessons learned in Afghanistan. The View From Above
If they do attack Iraq, U.S. commanders would have an unprecedented view of the battlefield, provided by a network of spy satellites at 400 miles in space, Global Hawk reconnaissance drones loitering at 65,000 feet, manned JSTARS aircraft with moving-target indicator radar at 40,000 feet and Predator drones with video, infrared and radar sensors at 20,000 feet, all feeding data back to command centers and, in some cases, directly to combat aircraft.
In 1991, such real-time intelligence wouldn't have mattered much: During the Gulf War, more than 90 percent of the bombs dropped were "dumb" bombs, unguided, and they often fell hundreds of feet from their targets.
Now, using the same aircraft, U.S. pilots will be dropping either laser-guided bombs or the Pentagon's new smart bomb of choice, the satellite-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM. Unlike laser-guided munitions, JDAMs cannot be blinded by weather or the dust of the battlefield.
With this new precision-strike capability, a single aircraft carrier's complement of 50 fighter jets can hit more targets in one night than hundreds of aircraft did on the opening night of the Gulf War -- and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has deployed five carriers to the Persian Gulf region.
Along with that capability, the military has significantly upgraded several key weapons systems.
The Navy's Tomahawk cruise missiles -- which would likely be used against Iraq as they were in 1991, to target the enemy's most heavily defended air defenses without risking pilots -- now have GPS satellite receivers, which can be programmed with coordinates more rapidly and allow the missiles to fly regardless of anomalies in terrain.
The Army's Apache Longbow helicopter gunships have vastly improved radars that can detect and identify 128 targets on a battlefield five miles away; they will fire new radar-guided Hellfire missiles that can lock onto and track moving targets, much like an air-to-air missile. The initial "A" version of the Apache starred in the Gulf War, but the Army calculates that the Longbow model is 400 percent more lethal and 720 percent more able to survive combat.
The centerpiece of the Air Force's campaign is expected to be an array of bombers, beginning with the bat-winged, radar-evading B-2, which flew its first combat missions in 1999, over Kosovo. Each B-2 can carry 16 JDAMs, and each JDAM can be programmed with coordinates to hit a different target. They will undoubtedly be joined by B-52 bombers, which can carry 18 JDAMs, and B-1 bombers, which can carry 24.
These are only the most dramatic of dozens of upgrades in equipment ranging from night-vision goggles to targeting pods that enable aircraft to drop smart bombs from 40,000 feet.
"During the Gulf War, we were at the beginning of a technological revolution," said Capt. Michael Groothousen, a veteran fighter pilot who is now skipper of the Truman. "Since then, it's come on like gangbusters."
The success of that revolution accounts for so much besides the military's sheer strength: its confidence, its professionalism, the better-educated men and women in the ranks -- and the number of those men and women.
At the end of World War II, there were 12 million troops on active duty. Today, with the nation's population doubled in size, there are just 1.4 million.
Even since the Gulf War, the military has shrunk by about one-third. The force waging the current continuous campaign is surprisingly small. 'Do More With Less'
Capt. John Rhone has a commanding view of the United States' military might. He is a weapons control officer in an AWACS command-and-control aircraft. He is also tired.
In the Air Force seven and a half years, he is now in his seventh rotation through Prince Sultan Air Base. "I think I'm ready for a break," he said. Rhone is not alone.
President Bush came into office criticizing the Clinton administration for overburdening the military with unending "nation-building" exercises and questioning whether the country could sustain its peacekeeping commitments. The terrorist attacks on the United States altered everything. Since Sept. 11, 2001, active-duty personnel and reservists have been deployed around the world at an extraordinary pace.
With 250,000 service members overseas even before the massive buildup began in the Persian Gulf region for a possible war with Iraq, the strains of a soaring "operations tempo" are starting to show across their military -- on the men and women who fill out its ranks, on their families, and on the machines they operate. The nature of those strains suggests that they may become acute not in any war against Iraq -- an enemy the military remains highly confident of defeating -- but in a more indefinite future.
Units find themselves hardly back from one deployment before heading out for their next. One company in the Army's 94th Engineer Battalion was deployed to Kosovo from May to November, when it returned to its base in Germany. It has now been ordered to leave for Kuwait by the middle of this month.
That unit's quick turnaround isn't unusual. "You got people coming home from the Gulf and going back to the Gulf," said Sgt. Maj. Fred Wheeler, a Washington, D.C., native who is the senior enlisted Marine aboard the USS Harry S. Truman. "You've still got Afghanistan going. You've got Iraq out there. I just worry about our ability to keep going."
The biggest change in the Air Force over the past 12 years, said Lt. Col. Michael Krueger, commander of the KC-135 tanker squadron at Prince Sultan, is that the service is doing more than it used to, but has 40 percent fewer people on active duty to do it with. "Taskings haven't gone down; they've gone up," Krueger said, sitting in the operations group offices. "We're being forced to do more with less."
The Pentagon has relied on tens of thousands of reservists to prosecute the war on terrorism, conduct new homeland security missions in the United States and, now, prepare for war with Iraq. There are now more than 150,000 reservists and National Guard members mobilized, more than at any time since Sept. 11.
A surge of patriotism has kept morale, recruiting and retention high since the attacks on New York and Washington. But defense officials fear that the open-ended nature of the war on terrorism and a possible lengthy occupation of Iraq could deplete the ranks of the all-volunteer active-duty force and break the reserve system.
Rumsfeld recently told the House Armed Services Committee that there is no evidence that recruiting and retention are suffering. But committee leaders, who have long championed increasing the size of the active-duty force, seemed far from convinced. Rep. John M. McHugh (R-N.Y.) told Rumsfeld that he did not believe the current size of the military was "sufficient and sustainable" and urged the defense secretary to go out and talk to deployed reservists, as McHugh had recently done in Europe.
"To a person, every one of these Guard and reserve individuals were questioning their willingness to re-up, and were questioning the sustainability of the call-ups that they have all experienced," McHugh said. "Every single one, multiple call-ups in the past several years."
The consequences of a decline in retention rates could be disastrous for the all-volunteer force. Defense officials say the United States has the world's most professional military. About half of all enlisted personnel now reenlist, up from 10 percent during the draft years, which ended in 1973.
It is also the best-educated. Ninety-five percent of enlisted personnel had high school diplomas in 2000, up from 80 percent in 1974. Forty-three percent of officers had advanced degrees, up from 25 percent.
It is also an older military, and increasingly a married military. That's why no single factor breeds disharmony at home faster than repeated overseas deployments.
"I can barely remember what it was like before Sept. 11," said Capt. Scovill Currin, 27, a tanker pilot from Charleston, S.C., deployed at Prince Sultan. "We're running back-to-back marathons. The airplanes may not be able to take it, and more importantly, the people may not."
And Currin is younger than many of the airplanes he flies.
The average age of Air Force tankers is now more than 37 years. All told, the average age of the Air Force's 6,300 aircraft is 22 years, twice that of the U.S. airline industry. It reflects deep cuts in military procurement in the 1990s. The fleet's average age is projected to hit 30 years by 2015, even with new planes, such as the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter and the Joint Strike Fighter.
The rate at which these aging planes are capable of flying war-related missions -- their "readiness" -- has dropped 25 percent over the past five years. The cost per flying hour, over the same time, jumped 45 percent.
Aviation accident rates are also up. Rates of major mishaps -- those defined as causing death or permanent disability or more than $1 million in aircraft damage -- generally have risen in all the services in recent years.
The Air Force recorded 35 major accidents in 2002, including the highest number of helicopter mishaps in 33 years. An official Air Force safety study noted that the service flew 200,000 more flight hours in fiscal 2002 than the previous year. The study posed the question of whether that pace was "pushing the envelope."
The Army and Marine Corps posted the biggest increases in such accidents, with the Army rate more than doubling, from 1.03 major mishaps per 100,000 flying hours in 2001 to 2.58 in 2002, and the Marine rate almost tripling, from 1.40 to 4.01. A study of the causes of Navy and Marine accidents blamed, among other things, inexperience among air crews and increasing "cannibalization" of planes for parts. On the Harry S. Truman, pilots said their planes have the parts they need. But they said the Navy has kept them whole by removing the engines and other major components from aircraft back in the United States that should be used to train new pilots. The result, they say, is that pilots are arriving on the carrier with less training than they did in the past.
With the military on a constant war footing, everyone who is adequately trained is being used. As Lt. Trevor Estes, an EA-6B pilot from Poland Springs, Maine, put it: "There are no guys [waiting] on the beach," as Navy pilots refer to dry land.
Keeping soldiers, sailors and airmen happy and machines working and safe costs money -- lots of it. And although military spending, excluding homeland defense, already dwarfs all other discretionary spending in the federal budget, a debate over how that money will be spent, and whether it will be enough, is already taking shape on Capitol Hill. [See story, Page Axx]
But the budget is not the critical document that will shape the future of the U.S. military, or the pressures on it. That place is reserved for the Bush administration's new National Security Strategy. A Force Without Rival
Issued in September, that 33-page document lays out an ambitious agenda that carries enormous implications for the nation's foreign policy -- and gives a central role to the U.S. military.
The first item on that agenda is that the United States will move beyond decades of trying to deter and contain its enemies. Instead, it embraced a doctrine of preemptive military attack, meaning it will attack terrorist and rogue states before they can threaten the United States with weapons of mass destruction.
The second is that the United States will do what it takes to maintain its position as a military without rival. "Our forces," it says, "will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States."
This agenda is causing anxiety on both the left and the right.
Harvard University foreign policy expert Stanley Hoffmann recently wrote in the liberal magazine American Prospect that "the Bush doctrine . . . amounts to a doctrine of global domination" that also is "breathtakingly unrealistic."
In the American Conservative, Boston University political scientist Andrew J. Bacevich, a retired Army colonel, worried about a new "militarization of foreign policy." The Bush administration, he wrote, regards the use of force not as a last resort, but as the nation's "most effective instrument of statecraft."
In summary, he warned, "The Bush administration's grand strategy reeks of hubris."
A few officers are beginning to worry that traces of a dangerous pride may also be showing in the military.
In contrast to the Vietnam-haunted officers who commanded during the Gulf War, said retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who commanded the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division back then, today's top brass have known mainly success over the past 12 years. (Many of them regard the October 1993 firefight in Somalia, during which 18 soldiers were killed, as an anomalous episode caused by civilian leaders pushing the Army into a misbegotten mission.) But that pride may lure the military into thinking it can take on more missions than it can carry.
The administration has been notably close-mouthed about the likely cost of an invasion and occupation of Iraq. One expert, Brookings Institution analyst Michael O'Hanlon, estimates that occupying Iraq -- and holding together its three disparate parts -- could require from 100,000 to 250,000 troops in the first year. Assuming that only 15 percent to 25 percent of that force is American, O'Hanlon recently told the House Armed Services Committee, the Pentagon's contribution would be 15,000 to 60,000 troops.
That is one to three divisions -- in an Army that has only 10 active-duty divisions.
That would come on top of a continuing, open-ended U.S. presence in Afghanistan, which is keeping 8,000 U.S. troops busy and costing $1 billion a month.
The Army simply isn't large enough to carry that load, retired Gen. Frederick Kroesen worried in a recent series of essays in the magazine of the Association of the United States Army. And he predicted that if the administration doesn't prepare better for the tasks facing the military, "we will see a return to the Vietnam deterioration" -- almost the gravest charge short of treason that an officer of his era can make.
Aside from questions of manpower and materiel, the military's power raises questions about the United States' place in the world.
The National Security Strategy would be unthinkable without the U.S. military as it exists right now, with its unprecedented combination of a professional military wielding unique weaponry. One of the fears among military experts is that as this force becomes more precise, the threshold for using it will become lower and lower. The hazards go beyond bombing the wrong target because of faulty intelligence, as in the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999.
The Pentagon is now so superior militarily that it really does not like to fight alongside its allies -- it feels they slow U.S. forces down. Yet the United States still needs allies, said retired Army Lt. Col. Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr., director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, "for forward basing, niche capabilities we find valuable, and to take care of the peacekeeping" that follows each war.
If the United States keeps pursuing military hegemony, Krepinevich and others fear, it will alienate its allies and become weaker in the long run.
And what of the reaction among those who aren't U.S. allies -- not so much would-be competitors, such as China and Russia, but such rogue states Iraq, Iran and North Korea?
Former defense secretary William J. Perry, who for his work at the Pentagon in the late 1970s is arguably the intellectual father of today's high-tech military, remains bullish on the United States' unparalleled military strength and precision-strike capability.
But he acknowledges that U.S. military dominance has also probably pushed those rogue states to develop nuclear weapons sooner than they otherwise might have -- because they know they can no longer compete with the United States on the conventional battlefield.
Sea lions called to duty in Persian Gulf
By Donna Leinwand,
MANAMA, BAHRAIN - The U.S. Navy has deployed sea lions trained as underwater sentries to protect ships in the Persian Gulf from terrorists.
The sea lions, part of the Navy's overall security plan, were sent to the Gulf after the Navy picked up reports that terrorists may use divers to lash explosives to the bottoms of ships, says Lt. (j.g.) Josh Frey, a spokesman for the Navy's 5th Fleet in Bahrain.
It is the closest the sea lions, which have long been used in U.S. military training, have come to combat.
The sea lions are trained to detect swimmers or divers approaching military ships or piers. The animals carry a clamp in their mouths. They approach the swimmer quietly from behind and attach the clamp, which is connected to a rope, to the swimmer's leg. With the person restrained, sailors aboard ships can pull the swimmer out of the water.
"The potential is incredible," says Tom LaPuzza, spokesman for the Navy's Marine Mammal Program. When sonar detects an object near a ship or pier, the usual response is to drop concussion grenades, LaPuzza says. "What if it's one of your guys? The sea lions sound out an alarm and put the object in control until people can assess whether it's Seaman Jones being an idiot or it's an enemy with bombs," he says.
A sea lion attaches the spring clamp by pressing it against a swimmer's leg. Navy officials say the sea lions, part of the Shallow Water Intruder Detection System program, are so well-trained that the clamp is on the swimmer before he is aware of it. "He's going to be there and be gone in only a second," LaPuzza says. "You won't know anything was there until you have the clamp on your leg."
The sea lions operate in shallow water, usually in harbors and around piers. Normally used to retrieve practice mines from the ocean, this is the first time that they will demonstrate their new skills as underwater guards in what could become a combat area.
The Navy has a history of training sea mammals. Six dolphins patrolled around the USS La Salle, the 3rd Fleet flagship, when it sat in the harbor in Bahrain in 1987 and 1988. Ships in the La Salle's command group were escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers through areas that had been mined by Iraq.
Training of sea mammals started in 1960 when the Navy purchased a dolphin to study its hydrodynamics, how it moves swiftly and efficiently through the water. The service hoped to adapt the animal's hydrodynamic secrets for a new torpedo design. Although a dolphin-like torpedo never panned out, the Navy learned more about dolphins' sonar systems and ability to navigate and find objects underwater. Civilian scientists working for the Navy began training the animals to perform tasks in water too deep for human divers.
A bottle-nosed dolphin became the Navy's first sea mammal to complete an open ocean military exercise in 1965. Tuffy delivered supplies to Sea Lab II 200 feet underwater.
As the program evolved, the Navy recruited beluga whales and sea lions and broadened their training. The animals could deliver equipment to divers, locate and retrieve equipment, detect and mark underwater mines, conduct underwater surveillance and guard ships and submarines.
Sea lions, which have extraordinary underwater directional hearing and can see in near-darkness, can home in on the pinging devices in mines. They can attach recovery lines to objects so a crane can haul them back to land.
In all, 20 sea lions from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego have been trained. The military won't say how many are working in Bahrain's harbor. The sea lions traveled to the Gulf by plane with their handlers and two veterinarians.
-------- propaganda wars
"The demise of the nuclear bomb hoax''
Sunday, February 16, 2003
Guest Editorial By Imad Khadduri Former Iraqi nuclear scientist
YellowTimes.org Guest Columnist (Canada)
(YellowTimes.org) - On February 14, 2003, Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), submitted, in accordance with U.N. Resolution 1441, his second report to the Security Council on Iraq's nuclear non-capability.
Much to the chagrin of President Bush and Colin Powell, the nuclear inspection chief's findings not only cleared the smoke from the imagined "smoking gun," but also dissipated the smog of misinformation with which the American government, hungry for war, has surrounded this issue.
The matters raised by ElBaradei merit further comment.
The inspectors, the IAEA head reported, collected hundreds of soil, air and water samples, and installed and reinstalled dozens of radioactivity detectors -- including gamma-ray surveillance instruments both airborne and ground based -- during 177 inspections and visits to 120 nuclear related locations in the past nine weeks.
What is not generally known is that when Hans Blix, a month ago, challenged Bush and Blair to put up or shut up, in effect challenging them to produce their "sensitive" intelligence on suspected sites in order to allow the inspectors to verify the vociferous claims of the likes of White House spokesman Ari Fleischer's "we know they have it," a list of 25 sites was quietly provided.
The inspectors visited each one of these sites and found nothing. The total sum of all these samples, detectors and visits, as far as the nuclear weapon program is concerned, was nil.
Powell's insinuations about Iraq's imagined nuclear capabilities (fissile ore importation, secret laser enrichment techniques, nefarious aluminum tubes, etc.) now echo with a hollow ring. One wonders of what sort of scientific information he availed himself, if any, before presenting such flimsy allegations as evidence. Perhaps he confined himself to advice from "consultants" in ivory think tanks such as the Nuclear Control Institute.
One might humbly ask what is stopping his "scientists" and consultants now from "advising" their government regarding the extreme unlikelihood that ongoing work related to research and development of a nuclear weapon program would not leave a trace, even in minute amounts, of certain half-life isotopes that would surely be susceptible to detection by the latest highly-touted, ultra sensitive instruments employed by the IAEA inspectors?
In succinct terms, should not the "no finding" be a finding in itself, especially in a place where something was specifically alleged to be a major finding?
Having raised the false specter of an Iraqi mushroom cloud for a decade, Powell's scientists should consider it a matter of conscience to enlighten their government with their expertise in these matters.
The aluminum tubes fanfare so brazenly trumpeted by Powell is reduced to whether the reverse-engineering attempt by Iraqi military engineers amounted to anything more than extra precaution on the part of the engineers. They were most probably demanding definite tolerances in order to ensure the success of their attempt to manufacture locally the combustion chamber for a solid propellant rocket. Powell's only claim to annoyance is that they were more expensive than American aluminum tubes used for this purpose.
The fact is that aluminum tubes have been used to build tens of thousands of rockets. The hypothesis is that the tubes might be diverted for centrifuges. The "coating" applied to the tubes found in Iraq confirms the reason for why they were purchased.
It was also amusing to realize, while I watched the generous outpouring by American "scientists" of detailed technical information in support of Powell's fallacious claim, that they were, in fact, explaining to Iraqi ears actually how to convert these aluminum tubes to centrifugal isotope enrichment cylinders! I can only hope that the "scientists" will not want to be paid for their generous technical advice from the Oil for Food program revenue.
ElBaradei confirmed in his report that it was "intelligence" information that led UNMOVIC to the invasion of the private home of Faleh Hamza -- the supposedly "secret" keeper of the laser enrichment technique -- and the consequent confiscation of 2000 pages of personal documents. Powell had pursued this case in a pathetic attempt to provide "evidence" for the third enrichment process. One wonders what kind of arm-twisting was applied to UNMOVIC (reminding me of their CIA infiltrated UNSCOM predecessors) to carry out this James Bond style fiasco, since the IAEA itself was already fully aware of the insignificance to the Iraqi nuclear program of Faleh Hamza's work on laser enrichment.
We, the Iraqi nuclear team, declared as much in our final report to the IAEA in 1997, pointing clearly to the demise in 1988 of Faleh Hamza's line of research. ElBaradei confirmed that fact the day after Blix brought it up in his first report to the Security Council two weeks ago. He pointed to the personal nature of the seized papers and even chided Blix for referring to it.
One would wonder whether this rejuvenated "intelligence" might not have been the stale information provided by CIA mouthpiece Khidhir Hamza, perhaps in an attempt to stay on their payroll.
In an interview with Hamza published in the Washington Post on February 6, 2003, Powell, in his report to the Security Council two weeks ago, referred to information gleaned from "another defector in 1995." "He was referring to me," Hamza boasts.
If Khidhir Hamza has indeed managed, through his connections with Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld, to bypass the entire intelligence community, which disposed of him years ago, if his information is false or silly, if he was not there when Iraq began its serious weaponization program, if he has no new sources, if his testaments are filled with personal diatribes against Iraq, why would the Secretary of Defense turn to him for information?
The U.S. could save billions in the intelligence budget if they would just use what they do find and discard what they know is false!
At the end of his report, ElBaradei unequivocally stated that the Iraqi nuclear weapon program was "neutralized" and that there is "no evidence" of its rejuvenation. Being part of the U.N. system, he felt the need to add a few politically correct question marks concerning "speed," "assurance" and "patterns" of intentions and actions.
Certain European countries are rightly asking how long Bush and Powell can blow into a balloon full of holes. One might also reasonably ask about Bush and Powell's "speed," "assurances" and "patterns" in the misinformation game.
Powell is certainly not new to it.
From The Scourging of Iraq, by Geoff Simons: "Washington lied persistently and comprehensively to gain the required international support [for the Gulf war]. For example, the U.S. claimed to have satellite pictures showing a massive Iraqi military build-up on the Saudi/ Iraqi border. When sample photographs were later obtained from Soyuz Karta by an enterprising journalist, no such evidence was discernible."
Simons makes reference to an article by Maggie O'Kane, published in the Guardian Weekend, 16 December 1995, which revealed that the enterprising journalist was Jean Heller of the St. Petersburg Times in Florida.
Eventually, the U.S. commander -- none other than Colin Powell himself -- admitted that there had been no massing of Iraqi troops. But by then, the so-called evidence had served its purpose.
Yet with a tongue in his own cheek, Powell claimed on February 14, 2003 in the Toronto Star, while still blistering under Blix's and ElBaradei's reports, that "force should always be a last resort -- I have preached this for most of my professional life as a soldier and as a diplomat."
Perhaps this time history should not be allowed to repeat itself.
[Imad Khadduri has a MSc in Physics from the University of Michigan (United States) and a PhD in Nuclear Reactor Technology from the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom). Khadduri worked with the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission from 1968 until 1998. He was able to leave Iraq in late 1998 with his family. He now teaches and works as a network administrator in Toronto, Canada. He has been interviewed by the Toronto Star, Reuters, and various other news agencies in regards to his knowledge of the Iraqi nuclear program. This article was originally printed in YellowTimes.org.]
Imad Khadduri encourages your comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
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'Bin Laden' tape attacks 'crusaders'
Osama Bin Laden: Hostile to western rulers and their allies
Sunday, 16 February, 2003
A new audio tape said to be from Osama Bin Laden accuses the United States of plotting to carve up Muslim countries in the Middle East to benefit Israel.
The message urges Muslims to "fight the enemy that sabotages the world," describing jihad, or holy war, as "a necessity".
President George W Bush The tape says "foolish" Bush wants a "Zionist Crusader war"
Excerpts of the 53-minute recording were published on Sunday by the Saudi-owned Al Hayat newspaper. It is not clear where or when the recording was made.
If authenticated, it would be the most recent of a series of anti-US messages attributed to the fugitive al-Qaeda leader, blamed for the 11 September 2001 terror attacks on the United States.
The message says a US-led war on Iraq "will only be a stage in a series of planned attacks targeting other countries, including Syria, Iran, Egypt and Sudan".
The message denounces US President George Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as "crusaders trying to destroy the Islamic nation".
US policy is aimed at the creation of a "Greater Israel" in the region, the message says.
This would include inside its borders "large parts of Iraq and Egypt along with Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the whole of Palestine, as well as part of the land of the holy mosques (Saudi Arabia)," the message said.
The message appears to be the same as that released by a UK-based Islamic website, Waaqiah, on Friday.
Al Hayat said the new recording could be found on the Islamist "Jihad Forum" website at www.arabforum.net, and was timed to coincide with the three-day Eid al-Adha festival, which ended on Thursday.
Last week, US intelligence experts said technical analysis of another audio tape aired on the al-Jazeera satellite TV network showed "almost certainly" that it came from Bin Laden.
The 16-minute message, broadcast on al-Jazeera on Tuesday, called for suicide attacks against the US and resistance to any attack on Iraq.
CIA analysis shows bin Laden tape is genuine
Sunday February 16, 2003 Zil Haj 14 1423 A.H.
WASHINGTON: A CIA technical analysis of an audiotape aired on al Jazeera satellite television channel this week shows "almost certainly" it is of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, a US intelligence official told Reuters on Friday.
"The technical analysis tells us it is almost certainly bin Laden," the intelligence official said, adding the audio was of better quality than a tape released last November.
Another US official said "fairly sophisticated" means were used to compare the recent audiotape with past samples known to be of bin Laden's voice. US intelligence analysts familiar with bin Laden's voice had earlier this week determined the tape was probably of the al Qaeda leader, but it could not be determined to a greater degree of probability until the technical analysis was conducted.
The United States has blamed al Qaeda for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that killed about 3,000 people. The US government recently raised its national alert to the second-highest level of orange after intercepted communications of suspected al Qaeda operatives and other intelligence information suggested they were poised to strike US interests possibly as early as this week, US officials have said.
One US official said on condition of anonymity that some of the information about the al Qaeda threats came from a "walk in" who approached US authorities overseas with intelligence that corroborated other information that US spy agencies were picking up.
That person, who was not identified, confessed later to lying to US authorities about a threat to a Jewish-owned hotel in Virginia Beach, Virginia, after failing a polygraph question about that piece of information, the official told Reuters. But other information from the "walk in" matched intelligence that was coming in from multiple sources and methods, and the basis for raising the threat level to orange was not substantially based on this individual's information, the official said.
Some US officials have seized on the references to Iraq in bin Laden's tape to promote their views that Baghdad has links to al Qaeda. Iraq denies any ties to al Qaeda. CIA Director George Tenet said earlier this week at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that bin Laden was trying to energize followers in the latest audiotape and that US intelligence agencies were analyzing it to determine whether it contained hidden signals to prompt an attack.
The US intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was uncertain whether there was a signal in the recent tape aimed at prompting a specific attack.
Media's war footing looks solid
By Peter Johnson
Not since Vietnam have readers and viewers had this opportunity: to watch and read firsthand accounts of U.S. soldiers in the heat of battle. Now that chance has come again, thanks to a Pentagon plan to have reporters accompany frontline troops as they invade Iraq.
Combined with the addition of Fox News and MSNBC to CNN's once exclusive cable news world, and advances in technology - handheld digital cameras that can transmit video back home live - the virtual news blackouts of the last Gulf War and last year's invasion of Afghanistan may be relics of the past.
"It could be groundbreaking - a fascinating piece of insight into how the military actually does it," says CNN anchor Bill Hemmer, who is in Kuwait gearing up to report on the war.
One thing is sure, says David Martin, CBS' veteran Pentagon correspondent: "Whenever it begins, this is going to be a war like no other we've ever seen."
For starters, Martin says that the sustained salvos this time around may make the last bombing of Baghdad - which CNN, in its famous scoop, showed live to viewers worldwide - look like child's play. There'll be "more cruise missiles being fired in the first day than in all of Desert Storm, to special weapons that have never been used before," Martin said last week at a briefing in which CBS brass, anchors and correspondents talked about the network's war plans.
This time, Martin says a lightning-fast attack is intended to bring Iraq to its knees in a few days.
As such, editors and producers throughout the print and broadcast media world are bracing for war. They're positioning reporters and correspondents with fighting units or in key spots, under the Pentagon's potentially generous new rules of coverage, to make sure that they're in place when the first shot is fired.
The Pentagon has nicknamed this Operation Shock and Awe. But in covering it, will the media do either? Some experts say yes.
Thanks to the new guidelines, which will allow some 500 reporters to accompany fighting units, combined with smaller, better digital cameras hooked to portable satellite dishes, viewers and readers may get some of the most graphic and revealing war footage and reporting ever.
In contrast, during the invasion of Afghanistan and in Desert Storm, reporters were kept largely away from any action and the best reporting came afterwards, in retrospective analyses.
"The characters are the same: The president is a Bush and the other guy is Hussein. But the technology - the military's and the news media's - has exploded," says MSNBC chief Erik Sorenson. He likens it to "the difference between Atari and PlayStation."
Coverage a '3-D experience'
TV coverage, Sorenson predicts, "will be a much more three-dimensional visual experience, and in some cases you may see war live. This may be one time where the sequel is more compelling than the original."
Others are more skeptical of the coverage's potential, despite the technological advances. They note that the deep distrust between the military and the media - smoldering since Vietnam and on display with media restrictions in Afghanistan - could quickly re-ignite in the heat of battle and once again lead to a virtual news blackout.
"I don't think we will know very much until it begins," says ABC News anchor Peter Jennings of Pentagon signals that it intends to give reporters leeway. "But let's take them at their word."
This much is true, says Jennings, whose World News Tonight has been gauging the mood of the heartland by airing from a variety of cities: "People want to know what their sons and daughters are doing on behalf of the nation. And we want to tell them. At the same time, the press does not wish to be merely cheerleading."
The media cried foul after Desert Storm and Afghanistan. And some in the military regretted the censorship because its biggest base of support - Hometown, USA - never got to see what rank-and-file soldiers were up to.
That's why this time the Pentagon is pledging to allow "embedded" reporters to file stories from the battlefield.
Current technology means that TV reporters don't have to carry cumbersome machinery or be accompanied by a camera operator or an audio technician anymore.
All the gadgets a reporter needs can be carried in a single suitcase that fits in the overhead compartment of most planes.
That's a big change from the last Gulf War and light-years beyond Vietnam. And it makes it technically possible for viewers in Des Moines or Miami or Portland to watch U.S. soldiers and their Iraqi counterparts wounding and killing each other - on live TV.
But the Pentagon is determined that coverage won't go that far, based on the guidelines sent to news organizations last week.
"Information on on-going engagements will not be released unless authorized for release by on-scene commander," the rules state. In addition, "Date, time, or location of previous conventional military missions and actions, as well as mission results are releasable only if described in general terms."
Such rules are a sign that the Pentagon has not yet forgotten how reporting by the likes of CBS' Morley Safer in Vietnam helped turn Americans against the war.
"One thing that is seared in the military's memory is Safer's report of a soldier with a Zippo lighter burning a thatched hut. That is their worst nightmare," says Tom Rosenstiel of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. He predicts reporters will be muzzled.
In an invasion of Iraq, "the guy who might burn a thatched hut - if there is such a guy - is not going to be standing next to an embedded reporter. There are myriad ways the Pentagon and the military can make sure that doesn't happen," says Rosenstiel.
'Embedded' or 'entombed'?
"There's a pretty fine line between being embedded and being entombed," says CBS News anchor Dan Rather. He notes that during the Gulf War, much of the material gathered by reporters traveling with the military was not allowed to be printed or aired until long after the war was over.
"I've seen the gates come crashing down" in previous embedding operations, says Sandy Johnson, Washington bureau chief of the Associated Press.
But, she thinks having reporters with troops is better than not having them there at all. And it could open up cooperation between the media and the military.
"We can show the military that we're not three-horned toads, that we can work responsibly. In the end we have the same goal: to let the American public know how their sons and daughters do at war. Our goal is to win, also," she says.
The Pentagon's new policy "appears, on the face, to be a remarkable effort by the military to accommodate media access, although how much they will be allowed to report remains to be seen," Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell wrote last week.
"From a journalist's point of view, it sounds like it will be the experience of a lifetime - one hell of a story to bring back to the American people," says CBS White House correspondent John Roberts. He trained at Fort Benning, Ga., in order to be allowed to accompany frontline troops and expects to be wearing a chemical suit much of the time, in case of biological warfare. "From a personal standpoint, it will be an incredibly dangerous place to be."
CBS correspondent Jim Axelrod agrees. "Let's just say that on behalf of my pregnant wife, a short war would be fine." Axelrod left Saturday to hook up with the Army's Third Infantry and "hopefully make it to the gates of Baghdad."
Speed vs. substance
Rosenstiel worries that in the rush to be first, and with a preoccupation with live television amplified by the unique availability of direct-from-the-front coverage, TV reports will inevitably be shallow.
Well-produced, in-depth pieces already are a rarity in cable news even "when it's easy to do," says Rosenstiel. "Going live means you have less time to do reporting." And he fears that much of what viewers see from Iraq will end up being "gee-whiz gizmo technology reporting" with little substance.
But Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker says that those little digital cameras - held by non-military personnel - could end up documenting this war. "Anybody who is sort of in the right place at the right time - a firefight, for instance - could end up playing a major role."
Whitaker edits Newsweek on a less intense weekly deadline than both the 24-hour cable news outfits and daily papers. But he worries about painting an accurate picture of this war. In battle and under pressure, even the best reporters can miss the bigger picture.
"We'll report it as aggressively as we can," he says, "But once the smoke clears, we'll have to go back in and piece together what really happened in the fog of war."
Anti-war lobby must not be silenced by the smear
February 16 2003
By Ray Cassin,
The Age (Australia)
When "un-Australian" is introduced into a political debate, it is a sign that the speaker has given up on argument. An oddity of this country's debates about the prospect of war with Iraq, however, is that even some people who would not stoop to using the "un-Australian" slur appear to have no qualms about branding their opponents with an epithet that is equally vacuous, and equally an appeal to low prejudice: "anti-American". Typically, the accusation is that those opposed to a war pay no attention to what is wrong with Iraq and too much attention to what they believe to be wrong with the US, because they see the world through the filter of something called anti-Americanism.
What can it mean to be"anti-American"? One possible answer is that to be anti-American is to oppose the policies of the present US Administration. But, on this definition, a substantial number of Americans at any given time must be considered anti-American. Indeed, a majority of the popular vote in the last presidential election was cast by voters whose preferred candidate did not get up, and who would, therefore, be accounted as anti-Americans in this sense. Some members of the US Republican Party might think of them as anti-American, but clearly the label will not stick. Those who voted for Al Gore know they are just as American as any of their compatriots, not least because, by casting their votes, they expressed their commitment to democracy, which is one of the ideals that the US purports to be upholding in its plans for "regime change" in Iraq.
In US politics, "anti-American" and "un-American" are smears used in the hope of excluding certain points of view from serious consideration, just as"un-Australian" is in Australia. And, just because they are used in this way, the motives of the smearer are as transparent as are those of people who use terms such as "un-Australian" in Australia. When the "anti-American" tag is transported outside the American context, however, it too often acquires an illusory content. People who use it are still trying to exclude from debate arguments they do not wish to consider; but sometimes even those they are smearing - the alleged "anti-Americans"- are lured into treating the smear as a term that actually refers to a coherent point of view.
For example, when the Labor frontbencher Mark Latham described George W. Bush as "the most incompetent and dangerous president in living memory", this was seized upon by the US embassy and a horde of conservative commentators as a virulent expression of "anti-Americanism" and, therefore, as a view with the potential to undermine Australia's alliance with the US should it prevail in a future Labor government. Yet what had Latham actually said? To claim that Bush is the most dangerous and incompetent president in living memory is implicitly to contrast him with predecessors who were not incompetent and dangerous, or at least not as incompetent and dangerous. In other words, Latham was distinguishing between what America has been in the world and what Bush, with his doctrine of preventive war, is trying to make of it. This is hardly anti-American, it is anti-Bush; but, in the world of the smearers, that distinction cannot be permitted.
If there is doubt about the future of the alliance, it is not because an opposition politician has forthrightly criticised the US president; it is because some people evidently think that forthright criticism of the president by an opposition politician is incompatible with the existence of the alliance. If they get away with setting boundaries for democratic debate in this way, then the notion of an alliance will wither anyway. A nation whose politicians cannot speak their minds without being reprimanded by an allied ambassador is a nation that has ceased to be an ally, and become a client.
The depressing thing in the whole saga of the US ambassador and his intervention in Australian domestic politics is not so much the ambassador's comments themselves, unacceptable though they were, or even the fact that it took Opposition Leader Simon Crean so long to tell the ambassador to butt out. It is that some of Latham's frontbench colleagues, including foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd, have, while defending the right of Latham and others to speak their minds, also implicitly accepted that the exercise of this right must somehow be constrained lest Labor's opponents be able to tag it as "anti-American". Writing in The Australian last week, Rudd began with observations about the nature of democracy similar to those that have been made in this column, but concluded: "As the debate unfolds in the critical weeks ahead, let the nation conduct it without allowing it to degenerate into a mindless swamp ofanti-Americanism that obscures the substance of the legitimate policy differences between us". This is gibberish. Either you criticise the policy differences or you don't. And, if you do, the chances are that coalition MPs and conservative commentators will at some point accuse you of anti-Americanism because you defend the prerogatives of the UN and uphold respect for international law. It is not possible to rebut such accusations by timid arguments that take the form "We're not anti-American, but..." They only serve to give substance to the smear. Labor's strategists may fear that voters will be swayed by the "anti-American" tag but, if opinion polls can be believed, Australians understand very well that the Bush doctrine is a dangerous innovation, and they do not want to live in a world that has been shaped by it.
Ray Cassin is a staff writer Email: email@example.com
-------- POLICE / PRISONERS / COURTS
Call of the Riled: Mueller Has an Invite for Edwards
By Dan Eggen
Sunday, February 16
Washington Post, 2003; Page A05
Although FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has been known to lose his temper with subordinates, the former Marine and prosecutor rarely gets carried away in public. But earlier this week, a long-winded harangue from Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) apparently got the best of him.
Edwards, taking over the microphone during a "Worldwide Threat Assessment" hearing by the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday, aimed a lengthy critique of the bureau's performance at Mueller and argued that "the FBI's effort at reform is too little, too late."
The Democratic presidential contender put in a plug for his own proposed legislation, which would create a new "Homeland Intelligence Agency" along the lines of Great Britain's MI5, taking away responsibility for domestic intelligence from the FBI.
After first accusing Edwards of overlooking the bureau's accomplishments, Mueller raised his voice a notch.
"I've offered you personally to come down to the bureau and be briefed on the changes that we've made since September 11th. You have declined . . . to come down," Mueller said, plowing past an interruption by Edwards. "And I asked you in particular, before you introduced the legislation, that you come down and see the changes we have made. So I ask you to do that before you submit the legislation."
Two days later, Edwards formally unveiled his proposed bill, alleging in a statement that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks showed how the FBI "failed as an intelligence agency."
An Edwards spokesman said Friday that the senator plans to visit FBI headquarters to talk about the issue sometime next month.
FBI, Local Police Prepare for Attacks
By JOHN SOLOMON
Associated Press Writer
Feb 16, 2003 7:30 AM EST
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Facing the prospect of a U.S.-led war with Iraq, FBI officials are working to help local law enforcement look beyond the end of the Muslim holiday that prompted the most recent terror warning and improve preparations for possible chemical, biological or radiological attacks, officials said.
In detailed advisories over the past week, the FBI and Homeland Security provided information to local law enforcement about the type of biological and chemical weapons that U.S. and foreign intelligence indicates al-Qaida already has obtained and tested.
Some of the advisories reported that U.S. authorities obtained last year evidence from al-Qaida showing members of the terrorist network had tested mustard gas and Sarin and VX nerve agents, according to law enforcement officials who saw the advisories.
"Information indicates the group has experimented with procedures for making blister (mustard) and nerve (sarin and VX) chemical agents," one unclassified advisory sent out at midweek said.
Some of the advisories cautioned that chemical and biological attacks could be staged at multiple locations and synchronized to cause the greatest possible panic, officials said.
Other law enforcement intelligence highlighted evidence gathered from recent arrests overseas of terrorists who were dabbling with a lethal poison known as ricin, derived from the castor bean plant, officials said.
Federal law enforcement and U.S. intelligence officials say they have no specific intelligence as of yet suggesting a specific type, location or timing of a terrorist operation connected to possible U.S. action of Iraq but that intelligence analysts believe there is a high likelihood such an attack will be attempted by al-Qaida if a war begins in the Persian Gulf.
Osama Bin Laden's tape recorded message last week calling Muslims to take up arms in defense of Iraq has only heightened that concern, officials said.
FBI investigators also have gathered evidence that as many as a dozen men who trained at al-Qaida training camps are currently on U.S. soil - raising the prospect they may be part of existing terror cells able to launch attacks if a war starts, officials said.
Officials said the effort to prepare law enforcement for war-related terrorism is more subtle and preparatory than the instant alert last week that raised the nation's threat level to orange, its second highest.
That step was taken because of specific, multiple pieces of intelligence indicating the likelihood of attack during the Eid al-Adha, the four-day Muslim holiday at the end of the hajj pilgrimage. The trek to Islam's holy city, Mecca, ended Thursday.
The warning and subsequent government efforts to inform the public led the American people to make a rush on survival supplies at stores, including duct tape, plastic and bottled water.
FBI and Homeland Security officials said the advisories to law enforcement last week were designed to prepare for potential terror scenarios prompted by a possible war with Iraq - well before real intelligence arrives suggesting a specific threat tied to military action.
"These intelligence bulletins are one of many ways the federal government communicate with state and local law enforcement, and one of the primary purposes is to provide detailed information in a variety of terrorism related situations they may encounter," FBI spokesman Mike Kortan said.
For instance, law enforcement nationwide were sent a copy last week of the Chemical, Biological and Radiological Incident handbook, a 1998 document maintained by the CIA that educates readers about the various terms, dangers and histories of such potential terrorist weaponry, officials said.
Police also were reminded anew of older intelligence that before the Sept. 11 attacks, al-Qaida operatives, including hijacking ringleader Mohammed Atta, expressed interest in crop dusters. Such information raises "concerns that al-Qaida has considered using aircraft to disseminate biological and chemical agents," one advisory said.
The law enforcement advisories last week preceded the expected start soon of an education plan by the Bush administration to better inform the public about potential terrorist attacks and protections against them.
-------- homeland security
The State of our Defense
The Bush Administration believes al-Qaeda is poised to strike the U.S. again, but has it done enough to improve homeland security?
By ROMESH RATNESAR BROOKS KRAFT/CORBIS FOR TIME
Sunday, Feb. 16, 2003
When top officials at the FBI arrived for work last week, they had reason to feel even more anxious than usual. Beginning each day before dawn, FBI Director Robert Mueller and his top aides huddled on the seventh floor of the J. Edgar Hoover Building, reviewing overnight intelligence reports gathered from human and electronic sources around the world. Taken together, the reports suggested what intelligence officials had suspected for weeks: al-Qaeda operatives, in the words of a senior U.S. official, "are in the execution phase of some of their operations." The intelligence sources couldn't pinpoint the kind of strikes in the works or the cells charged with executing them. But U.S. officials told Time that earlier this month Mueller and other top officials received credible intelligence that al-Qaeda had an attack-or multiple attacks-set to begin at some point last week, perhaps to coincide with the end of the hajj, the five-day Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Officials say the intelligence specifically mentioned that the likely targets were New York City and Washington.
Even though the feared attacks failed to materialize, the anxieties didn't subside. Inside the FBI, fears of a devastating attack are as high as they've been in months, in part because of the possibility that "other tools are in play"-meaning biological and chemical weapons. A senior Administration official says that telephone calls and e-mails exchanged between several suspected terrorists and intercepted by the U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies pointed to a plot inside the U.S. using nerve gas, poisons or radiological devices. "It wasn't just chatter," says Republican Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "It was a pattern."
Some of the plots are believed to be in the planning stages. A senior Administration official tells Time that domestic law-enforcement agencies are investigating a report that Islamic extremists in this country are trying to acquire parts to build an unmanned aerial vehicle (uav) abroad-the kind of machine that terrorism experts believe could be deployed to spray chemical agents over populated areas. The fear is that a uav assembled overseas could be used against U.S. assets there.
Some alleged terrorist plans were very close to home.
Counterterrorism officials say they received a phone tip that unnamed members of Congress could be the targets of assassination attempts. On Wednesday, U.S. Capitol Police chief Terry Gainer warned House members to be on alert for attempts on their lives. At a closed-door briefing Thursday a group of Senators grilled Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge about whether they should clear their families out of the capital in anticipation of an attack. Ridge counseled them against it, but when pressed by the Senators for the odds of an attack on U.S. targets at home or abroad in the next several weeks, Ridge, according to one source familiar with the meeting, put the probability at "50% or greater." Ridge's spokesman denies that the Secretary gave that figure. Still, a congressional source says the White House is "definitely worried. They're not jacking this up for effect." In private, White House officials sounded almost resigned to the inevitability of catastrophe. "All we can do," Vice President Dick Cheney told a gathering of top Administration officials to discuss bioterrorism, "is ask ourselves, Have we done everything we can to prevent an attack? I want to be able to look all of you in the eye and (have you) tell me that we have done all that we can."
So have we? While the Administration demonstrated again last week its determination to remind Americans of the dangers of terrorism, it has done far less to prepare the country for actually defending against it. While the White House's suggestion that Americans defend themselves against chemical or biological attacks with duct tape and plastic sheeting was dismissed by many for its naivete, it laid bare a sobering truth: the U.S. still doesn't have a credible and comprehensive system in place to cope with such attacks. "We're not building the means to respond well," says Stephen Flynn, a homeland-security expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. "And when we have that next terrorist incident, there will be hell to pay, because the American people will be in disbelief about how little has been done."
Though President Bush pledged last January to send $3.5 billion to the state and local authorities who will bear the burden of responding to a terrorism emergency, the money was appropriated by Congress only last week. Interviews with dozens of homeland-security officials, from New York City to Long Beach, Calif., reveal that while local authorities around the country are more aware of the potential for terrorist strikes, they lack the resources to upgrade defenses against them. Hospitals say they can't train enough employees to effectively spot and treat victims of biological attacks; fire departments can't afford to buy the haz-mat suits needed to guard against deadly germs; sheriffs say they still learn about terrorist threats from cnn. The bottom line is that in many respects, the homeland is no more secure than it was on Sept. 10, 2001. "The biggest thing we've done," says William Harper, head of homeland security for the state of Arkansas, "is to avoid feeling comfortable."
The White House contends that every locality can't be sprinkled with money from the Federal Government. Early this month, Budget Director Mitchell Daniels said that "there is not enough money in the galaxy" to devise a homeland-security system strong enough to protect every American. The White House points out that the $41 billion the Administration's current budget devotes to homeland security is double the amount spent on domestic defense programs before Sept. 11. But because of the partisan bickering that delayed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, almost none of it has actually been spent. Democrats are accusing the White House of neglecting homeland security while it slashes taxes and takes up fights with enemies abroad. "How is it," says Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, "that we're asking widows to put duct tape on their house, when police, firemen and medical personnel don't have adequate resources?"
Part of the answer rests in the new Homeland Security Department itself, the impetus behind the biggest reorganization of the Federal Government in a half-century. The new department, first proposed by the President last July, aims to bring 22 agencies and 175,000 employees, from border agents to biologists, under a single bureaucratic roof-and to do it before al-Qaeda tries to mount another attack. But the department is only beginning to pick up momentum. Since it opened its doors Jan. 24, only three out of a possible 23 appointees to the new department have received confirmation; most have not even been named.
Given the challenge he faces in launching a new department in the midst of war and mushrooming deficits, Ridge has stayed upbeat. He has tried to shrug off the late-night barbs aimed at the department's color-coded alerts and duct-tape tutorials. A sheepish but good-humored Ridge finally said last week that "we do not want individuals or families to start sealing their doors or their windows," adding that "there may come a time" when authorities recommend that Americans do so. Undaunted by criticism that the White House may be needlessly frightening the public, Ridge plans to unveil this week yet another set of practical guidelines for how citizens should prepare for attacks.
Ridge insists that on the whole, the country is safer than it was on Sept. 11. "Let me count the ways," he says, rattling off improvements in aviation security-from the hiring of 45,000 new federal screeners to the hardening of cockpit doors. Ridge says the Administration has improved communication between the FBI and the CIA, struck agreements with Mexico and Canada to tighten border controls and upgraded the "push packs" of medicines that can be dispatched to cities hit by biological or chemical attacks.
But bad guys may still be slipping in-or eluding detection. FBI officials told TIME the bureau has identified "less than a dozen" Islamic men residing in the U.S. who have been to al-Qaeda training camps and are currently in contact with al-Qaeda leaders.
Law-enforcement agents are monitoring these men with wiretaps, physical surveillance and other covert means; a handful of known Iraqi intelligence agents and 20 to 40 suspected al-Qaeda associates are receiving similar scrutiny. Officials say there's no credible evidence that Saddam, on his own or in league with al-Qaeda, has managed to smuggle biological or chemical weapons into the U.S. Still, so many targets on U.S. soil remain undefended or indefensible. Federal Homeland Security officials confided last week that the country's major subway systems are vulnerable to a toxic attack. The government has developed new sensors that can detect a toxic-chemical release and instantly alert emergency workers to where the substance is and how to fight it. So far, Washington has installed 100 sensors in its Metro stations; Boston has a small program in place, while New York City is still experimenting. That's it. The agency that regulates the country's 103 nuclear plants ordered security around sites tightened after Sept. 11. But watchdogs say those measures haven't been rigorously tested, and past test runs identified obvious security lapses like unlocked doors.
Federal Homeland Security officials say they are now focused on bolstering security at the country's commercial seaports, which counterterrorism experts believe would be the most likely point of entry for a nuclear or dirty bomb. Customs officials have invited port owners to apply for grants for increased video monitoring, strengthened security fences and patrol boats; U.S. agents have also been deployed to foreign ports to check out containers before they head Stateside. But U.S. ports are still porous. The Coast Guard says it needs $4.4 billion to make minimal improvements to physical security at the nation's 361 ports, but so far the government has authorized only $92 million. The Long Beach-Los Angeles port, which handles 43% of the nation's incoming seaborne cargo, has received just $5.8 million. "Right now," says Flynn, a former Coast Guard commander, "we have a port system running that practically invites terrorists to attempt to come after us."
So why are the holes so large? Put the question to just about anyone outside the Bush Administration, and you'll hear a familiar answer: money. It's a typical complaint, but experts of both parties agree that in this case increased funding would actually lead to more protection. A Brookings Institution study released last month estimates that the President's 2003 budget falls $7 billion below what's needed to fund basic security needs. Others want even bigger boosts. Last week Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman called for an additional $16 billion in homeland-security spending, to pay for thousands of additional border-patrol agents, bigger stockpiles of vaccines and antidotes and more aid to fire fighters and police departments.
Outside Washington, at least, there is consensus. In New York City, police commissioner Ray Kelly says the city is still waiting for $900 million it has requested from the feds, some of which would go toward training police officers. "We are continuing to ask Washington for that money," he says. In Detroit, a critical node of homeland security, given its heavily trafficked border and large Arab-American population, city officials say they have spent $10 million on helicopters, protective suits and beefed- up border patrols. But other needs, including a communications system that would allow the city's emergency teams to talk with one another and their Canadian counterparts, have been shelved until federal help arrives. Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick says he has pleaded for more money. "It's very frustrating," he says. Smaller cities have fared even worse, with many forced to spend money on basic equipment they expected the feds would pay for. Says Donald L. Plusquellic, mayor of Akron, Ohio: "If you had told me when we met with Bush that it would now be some 500-plus days since Sept. 11 and we would still not have this money, I wouldn't have believed you."
And yet in small and even heroic ways, officials across the country have thrown themselves into roles as the country's new defenders. Officials in rural Hardin County, Ohio, purchased a portable decontamination shower and are planning to simulate a terrorist-sponsored train derailment to test the danger posed to the area's local chemical facilities. In Iowa, state officials have held eight-hour seminars with farmers on the possibility of "agroterrorist" attacks on the food supply.
But do citizens in Akron and Hardin County have any real reason to believe they could be hit next? The Administration's duct-tape alert had the perhaps counterproductive effect of suggesting that every household should consider itself a target-even while prime targets went undefended. "These threats are real," says Brian Jenkins, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corp., "but the increased probability of a terrorist attack does not increase the risks to any single individual." At the same time, even strengthening our defenses won't deter terrorists forever. The truth is, we probably have no way of knowing whether the country is prepared for the next attack until after it occurs.
-Reported by Timothy J. Burger, James Carney, John F. Dickerson, Viveca Novak, Elaine Shannon and Michael Weisskopf/ Washington, Maggie Sieger/Detroit, Leslie Whitaker/ Chicago, Steve Barnes/Little Rock and Leslie Berestein/Los Angeles, with other bureaus
In Terror Alerts, an Art and a Balancing Act
February 16, 2003
New York Times
By PHILIP SHENON
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 - Shortly before 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. every day, video cameras and banks of television monitors flicker to life at the White House and in small studios at the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and a handful of the other agencies responsible for trying to track down terrorists who might strike on American soil.
In these twice-daily, supersecret video conferences, begun shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the agencies are expected to share their latest intelligence on the whereabouts of Al Qaeda terrorists and their possible plans for attack.
Administration officials say the intelligence about Al Qaeda in the 17 months since the attacks has often been alarming. But this month the evidence became "downright terrifying," a senior law enforcement official said. He said interrogations of captured terrorists and other intelligence suggested an imminent terrorist attack that might even involve chemical, biological or radioactive "dirty bombs" aimed at lightly guarded targets like hotels or apartment buildings.
Two weeks ago, officials said, the intelligence was so frightening and so specific - some information pointed to attacks that were timed to coincide with the end of the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage that concluded Thursday - that they decided the public had to be notified.
That conclusion set in motion a sequence of events that by late last week had led millions of people to stock up on duct tape and plastic sheeting, with some parents pulling their children out of school and topping off their gas tanks to be ready for a quick evacuation - an expression of public anxiety not seen since the first days after the Sept. 11 attacks and rarely seen since the height of the cold war.
On Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge tried to calm the public, saying that there was no new intelligence to suggest the need to raise the alarm any further.
But even as he suggested that some people had overreacted - "We do not want individuals or families to start sealing their doors," he said - Mr. Ridge insisted that the administration was pleased by how its new color-coded public-warning system was working.
"The federal government, the state and local authorities and the private sector have all taken very important steps to ramp up protective measures to do whatever they can to prevent a terrorist attack," Mr. Ridge said.
The administration's critics, including private security specialists, see the events of the last two weeks very differently, arguing that the government's system for analyzing terrorist threats and sharing the information with the public is not making the public any safer. The critics say it is only frightening them.
"The public is being scared, unnecessarily," said Michael Cherkasky, the president of the private security agency Kroll Inc., who said he had spent much of the last week trying to calm his frightened corporate clients. "These draconian announcements from the government are taking away any perspective that people should have about their lives."
Within the administration, even supporters of what is known as the Homeland Security Advisory System admit that the system is more art than science - much more - and that the analysis of often scant intelligence and decisions about whether to alert the public to its contents must often be subject to hunch.
If not handled properly, they concede, the system can lead to unnecessary panic, or to public complacency that could be equally dangerous. And they acknowledge that the much ridiculed color-coded system may have added to the confusion, with few people understanding the difference between a warning level that is yellow ("elevated") and orange ("high").
"Every day we see information that suggests that terrorists are going to hit some American target," said a senior law enforcement official. "But is it worth creating panic if the intelligence is sketchy, or if there is no real way for people to protect themselves?"
Officials say that whatever the criticism, the new procedures for analyzing threats and making the information public have brought order to the slapdash process that existed in the first days after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, when the administration issued a series of vague terror alerts without offering the public any substantive guidance about how to respond, apart from a repeated call for "vigilance."
The decision to raise the public's alarm this month can be traced back to the discussions held in the twice-daily intelligence video conferences in the first days of February, when intelligence analysts at the C.I.A. and elsewhere reported a sudden burst of evidence that Al Qaeda was nearing an attack.
George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, testified to Congress last week that the intelligence was "the most specific we have seen" since Sept. 11. He pointed to "plots that could include the use of a radiological dispersal device, as well as poisons and chemicals."
Administration officials said that by Feb. 6, the evidence had grown so alarming that it was the subject of an urgent White House meeting that afternoon of the No. 2 officials from most of the nation's intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
Those officials urged that there be a special meeting the next day of the Homeland Security Council, including Vice President Dick Cheney, Mr. Ridge, Mr. Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft, to decide how to notify the public.
The council, which was established six days after the attacks as a domestic counterpart to the National Security Council, met the next morning at 9, with Mr. Cheney included by video conference from outside the White House; since the alerts were issued, Mr. Cheney has often been been kept away from the White House to guarantee the government's continuity if Mr. Bush dies in a terrorist attack.
Officials said the conversation in the White House situation room, a vaultlike suite of wood-paneled offices beneath the West Wing that effectively serves as a war room, was straightforward. "It wasn't a brief meeting, but the principals were pretty unanimous on their feeling," said an administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
After the meeting, Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Ridge walked to the Oval Office to recommend to the president that the national alert level be raised from "elevated" to "high," a move that would lead to a significant tightening of security precautions across the federal government. Officials say Mr. Bush quickly agreed.
The alert level had been raised only once before, for two weeks last year around the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Administration officials said one element of the discussions on Feb. 7, at the Homeland Security Council and in the Oval Office, was the impact the alert would have on industries that would also be expected to step up security. Many companies have complained that, especially in the midst of a difficult economy, it is expensive to fortify themselves against a hidden enemy.
Within hours, Mr. Ridge had organized a conference call with 66 chief executives who are members of the Business Roundtable, which represents executives of most of the nation's largest companies. Aides say they were urged to step up security in the lobbies of their buildings, to limit access to uninvited visitors, and to monitor ventilation systems to avoid the possibility that terrorists might try to release chemical or biological weapons.
Mr. Ridge and Mr. Ashcroft went before television cameras at 12:30 p.m. to notify the public. "We are not recommending that events be canceled or travel or other plans be changed," Mr. Ridge said. "But we do recommend that individuals and families in the days ahead take some time to prepare for an emergency."
High Alert and Emergency Preparedness
Sunday, February 16, 2003
Washington Post; Page B06
Now that Washington is on a terrorism high alert and war with Iraq appears imminent, I find D.C. police cruisers' display of red and blue lights during routine, nonemergency patrols disturbing, no matter how well-intentioned. Lights and sirens on official vehicles unfortunately took on a sinister new meaning after Sept. 11, 2001.
While it's certainly good to be aware of our police at work, the light displays ratchet up the fear factor.
I hope D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey will reconsider this regrettable policy -- soon.
The current emergency alert signaling system over the airwaves is insufficient.
I work at night and sleep during the day. On Sept. 11, 2001, I did not know we had been attacked until I woke up and found eight phone messages from friends and relatives calling to check on me because I live in Northern Virginia near the Pentagon.
Why not bring back the air siren system? It is the fastest way to inform many people of an imminent threat. Why not have designated shelters that people could go to when they heard the air siren?
I was in Jerusalem when the Persian Gulf War started and witnessed the efficient free distribution of gas masks, kits containing several injections to counter bioterrorism agents, and plastic sheeting and tape with instructions on how to seal a room. Citizens were instructed on how to self-administer the injections and how to tell which ones to administer.
In contrast, Americans have been given no gas masks and no injections. Plastic sheeting and duct tape have sold out in many hardware stores. On "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," a representative of U.S. firefighters said that firefighters have been given no means of testing for chemical or biological weapons, no gas masks and no hazardous-materials suits.
President Bush could have taken a lesson from Israel on this one.
Weighing the Risks of Terror
'Snippets and Threads' Can Sway Threat Index
By Dana Priest and Susan Schmidt
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 16, 2003; Page A01
Days before the decision to warn the nation of a possible terrorist strike, Vice President Cheney sent for his counterterrorism experts to talk about preparations for a biological attack.
With officials from the Central Intelligence Agency and the departments of state, defense and health seated around him, Cheney ended the somber White House meeting with a question: "At the end of the day, we have to be able to ask ourselves: Did we do everything we could?"
The room fell dead silent as the vice president looked slowly and deliberately at each participant. "If something happens, I want to be able to look each of you in the eye and say: Did we do everything we could?"
Cheney's words sent some people back to their offices with chills, knowledgeable officials said. Not because the vice president had inflamed fears of an attack, but because the answer to his question hung on a most uncomfortable fact of their new life: Most of the time they would have an imperfect understanding of the threat the nation faces.
Short of discovering a specific plot, the nature of estimating the domestic terrorist threat is, in the words of one CIA veteran, "like peeking through a peephole," trying to deduce from a tiny image what an entire room holds.
As Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Friday at a news conference meant to de-escalate the nation's growing jitters about an attack: "I would like to remind everyone that the information we have to work with, more often than not, is very vague. It does not tell us when, where or how the terrorists might try to harm us again."
Weaned on spy movies that depict the pinpoint accuracy of high-tech tracking technology, the public has come to expect that the CIA and FBI can find even a lone terrorist hiding in the tunnels of a country as desolate and vast as Afghanistan. The unsuccessful hunt for Osama bin Laden and the stunning revelations of how the Sept. 11, 2001, plotters escaped detection do not seem to have dampened those expectations.
Many Americans find it hard to believe their government doesn't know a lot more than it does. "There is an assumption that the government has more information than they're telling the public," said Roger Cressey, who spent years tracking terrorists for the National Security Council. "But really you mostly have snippets and threads of information you can bundle together. It's rare when you know the actual plot."
By its nature, the "orange" alert issued by the government Feb. 7 to indicate a "high risk" of a terrorist attack was based on incomplete information. If the government knew of a specific attack, officials said, the warning would immediately be elevated to "red" -- imminent attack -- and SWAT teams from the FBI, CIA and the military would be deployed.
Still, the bits of information that led to this threat alert were "as specific as they have ever been," CIA Director George J. Tenet told Congress last week.
Most of the specifics were bites of information: a date not connected to a place; a particular building or city with no date; a method without an operating site. "There are scores, to be conservative, of pieces of information," said a source close to law enforcement.
Still, law enforcement and intelligence officials said they have many clues that have allowed them to narrow their search. They believe New York, Washington and Saudi Arabia are likely targets. They believe Khalid Sheik Mohammed, mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, is behind the latest threats. They have glimpsed what they believe to be separate operations, one in the United States, one in the Arabian Peninsula.
In addition, according to an administration official, there have been threats on a specific site that is a Jewish symbol, but that is believed to be a future target, not one that is in immediate danger.
The FBI is monitoring and investigating scores of people in the United States for possible terrorist links. Law enforcement officials are scrutinizing several people in the Washington area and several others elsewhere in the United States, putting them "under a microscope" in the words of one official, for possible involvement in the current threats.
Authorities also have monitored financial transactions and have seen suspects meet up with other suspicious individuals, leading them to surmise that the plot was "going operational," in the words of one source.
Without specifics, police and FBI agents here, and CIA officers abroad, must run down every lead, time-consuming work that usually leads nowhere.
The CIA received one such scrap of information from a detainee now imprisoned overseas, whose prior confessions about terrorist colleagues had turned out to be accurate, according to senior government officials. Several weeks ago, the man told his interrogators that a Jewish gathering scheduled in Virginia Beach over this weekend was a target. The date matched information that had been collected in previous weeks indicating that attacks could occur right after the conclusion of the hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. The dates Feb. 13, 14, and 15 were specifically mentioned.
It took two squads of FBI agents three weeks to run down the tip. When the FBI finally conducted a polygraph on the detainee, it concluded Feb. 9 that he had fabricated the information, perhaps to please his interrogators. Though the detainee's tip was only a small part of the information used to raise the threat alert, this was not the first time precautions were taken based on false claims. In 1981, word that a five-man Libyan hit squad was on its way to assassinate President Ronald Reagan prompted the stationing of snipers and surface-to-air missile launchers on the White House roof. The CIA later concluded that the plot was a hoax.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, analysts have increased the amount of intelligence they must sift through tenfold. Where foreign intelligence services once provided their U.S. counterparts with hundreds of transcripts of interrogations and intercepted communications each week, now they provide thousands, said intelligence officials and outside experts.
Millions of pages of documents from Afghan caves and computers of suspected and known al Qaeda members are still being reviewed. The volume of detainee statements and National Security Agency telephone and Internet intercepts has grown exponentially, as have FBI wiretaps of U.S.-based suspects.
"There is a lot of 'code' talk that they have put together," said one source close to law enforcement.
Those who sift through intelligence for signs of attacks long ago resigned themselves to living with uncertainty. In April 2001, analysts were alarmed by a spike in intercepted chatter that ominously dropped off. Nothing happened.
On Sept. 11, 2002, officials went through almost the same drill as they did this week. Based on a similar pattern of intelligence snippets, officials concluded another attack might be in the works for Southeast Asia or the Middle East. President Bush raised the index to orange, prompting U.S. security precautions.
Two weeks later, he reduced the alert level to yellow, citing the apprehension of alleged al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan, Singapore, Yemen and Lackawanna, N.Y., and the passing of the anniversary. There were no attacks here, but in October terrorists linked to al Qaeda bombed a nightclub in Bali patronized by Westerners, killing 180; in November, al Qaeda suicide bombers attacked a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, killing 16. It remains unclear whether no attack was planned for the United States, or whether heightened security thwarted plotters.
"It will be a constant threat," Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said after a hearing this week on the al Qaeda threat to the United States. "Americans will have to come to grips with it."
NUMBER IN THE NEWS
5,000 Al Qaeda Operatives in the U.S.
February 16, 2003
New York Times
By NOAM SCHEIBER
You could practically hear Wolf Blitzer's heart stop last fall when one of his guests on CNN, Representative Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, suggested that there might be 5,000 Qaeda operatives in the United States. Blitzer challenged him. ''Well, I just heard that number thrown around within circles in the newspaper or wherever,'' Chambliss said. ''I don't know where the number came from.''
As it happens, that 5,000-person figure came from the F.B.I. And the newspaper Chambliss most likely had in mind was The Washington Times. On July 11, the paper reported that ''classified intelligence reports sent to government policy makers'' included an estimate that some 5,000 people ''connected to'' Al Qaeda were at large in the United States. The Feds quickly dismissed the estimate, but the F.B.I. clearly did generate the number, which has enjoyed some staying power over the last several months. According to a person familiar with the report, the 5,000-person estimate was a response to Capitol Hill pressure on the F.B.I. Pressed by members of the Senate for information about Al Qaeda's presence in the United States, the F.B.I. could cite only the relatively small number of specific cases under investigation. The frustrated senators instructed the officials to go back to the bureau and prepare an overall estimate. ''It was in response to specific questions that the F.B.I. was forced to come up with the number,'' the source says.
The problem: ''The F.B.I. doesn't come up with numbers like that,'' says a former F.B.I. counterterrorism analyst, Matthew Levitt. ''They're conducting field investigations.'' More to the point, no one can generate an accurate estimate of Al Qaeda's overall size -- in the United States or elsewhere. Because Al Qaeda cells tend to graft themselves onto existing organizations -- usually other terrorist groups -- extrapolating from limited data is useless. Not surprisingly, the F.B.I.'s final number was more or less a wild guess based loosely on a small number of actual suspects, the number of graduates of Qaeda training camps (current estimates top out at about 15,000, though many didn't actually join Al Qaeda) and maybe some immigration statistics.
Even after factoring in support personnel, the 5,000-person estimate should have struck anyone familiar with Al Qaeda as unlikely. ''It's a relatively small organization, and field operatives represent the smallest part,'' says Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former C.I.A. agent. Gerecht recalls a conversation he had in 1999 with the Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, who estimated that there were only 700 or so Qaeda operatives fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan. Based on that count, the number of Qaeda members operating in the West, much less the United States, probably wouldn't even be in the hundreds. It's possible that Al Qaeda has grown since 1999, but that's not likely when you consider how many terrorists must have been killed or captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan and been caught in the international dragnet that ensued. And, as Gerecht notes, Al Qaeda's fear of infiltration makes ''recruitment into Al Qaeda a fairly slow process.''
So why would the F.B.I., which must know a bit about Al Qaeda, have given Congress such an unrealistically high estimate? Bureaucratic politics. The greater the threat, the larger the budget that can be justified. Even more important, says Larry Johnson, a former State Department counterterrorism official: ''If you give a realistic estimate, people can say, 'See, you underestimated the threat.' As long as you make a dire prediction, it's never going to be proved wrong.''
-------- ENERGY AND OTHER
-------- alternative energy
Nuclear energy's place usurped by wind and waves
Green revolution as Britain turns to renewable fuel
Sunday February 16, 2003
No more nuclear power stations will be built in the foreseeable future as the Government turns to wind and wave energy to provide Britain's future electricity needs.
In a seismic shift in policy, Ministers have agreed to back renewable energy as the best way of meeting the UK's targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The long-awaited energy white paper will plunge the nuclear industry into fresh crisis by rejecting demands to build new plants.
Until now, government support for renewables has been patchy due to concern that Britain would not meet its carbon emissions targets.
The white paper, which sets out the UK's future energy strategy, will be unveiled by Patricia Hewitt, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, later this month.
Sources who have seen its final draft - agreed by cabinet Ministers last week - confirmed that nuclear power had been superseded by renewables as the Government's preferred way of providing power in the future.
'What is clear is that the Government does not want to build a new generation of nuclear power stations if renewables and energy efficiency can deliver,' said one.
However, plans to produce a fifth of the UK's electricity from renewable sources by 2020 have been controversially abandoned.
The nuclear industry had wanted to build another 10 stations; however, Ministers are increasingly concerned about their potential as a terrorist target and safety concerns persist on the reprocessing of nuclear waste.
Confidence in the nuclear industry has failed to recover since the £650 million bail-out of British Energy, the privatised nuclear power generator, underlined concerns over its long-term viability.
The future of the nuclear industry will be reviewed in 2005 alongside plans for a major increase in funding to the renewable sector.
However, sources said the next two years would be spent examining improvements in 'green' technology in order to create a watertight case against expanding nuclear power plants.
Bryony Worthington, energy expert for Friends of the Earth, said: 'We are delighted that the white paper has rejected the nuclear industry's calls for more assistance.'
In addition to pledging support for wind and wave energy, the white paper will also place heavy emphasis on reducing carbon dioxide emissions through energy efficiency.
The preferred option is to reduce heat lost in homes through boilers and heating systems with a campaign to encourage homeowners to install better insulation.
A European-wide cap on carbon emissions from coal-fired power stations will be brought in during 2005.
Environmentalists also welcomed the fact that demands by the nuclear industry to help build a new generation of nuclear plants by streamlining planning policy had been ignored.
The white paper also represents a major snub to the national academy of sciences, which has urged the government to end its self-imposed moratorium on building nuclear power stations.
Defence analysts have warned that nuclear power stations remain a key - and vulnerable - terrorist target.
A report by the influential thinktank close to New Labour, the IPPR, suggested a plane flown into the intermediate level waste stores at Sellafield could lead to 30,000 deaths within two days.
Ships Anchored in the Past
U.S. 'Ghost Fleet' Poses Environmental And Other Dangers
By Eric M. Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 16, 2003; Page C01
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- On the rotting deck of the Albert J. Myer, a group of super-sized men in gloves and hard hats is struggling to level the 4,000-ton mothballed Navy ship, which is listing badly to its port side. Three decks below, workers are crawling in the dark, connecting hoses to get rid of oily bilge water.
The Albert J. Myer is slowly being righted. But not to fight another day. All the effort and expense is to keep the 57-year-old ship -- and the more than 136,000 gallons of oil sloshing around inside -- floating and upright in its watery purgatory.
The ship is just one of 71 decommissioned cargo and military support vessels in the government's so-called Ghost Fleet, aging rust buckets, all docked together here in the middle of the James River. They are bloated with nearly 13 million gallons of oil and fuel -- by comparison, the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons -- and crammed with PCBs, their brittle hulls thinning by the day. The vessels increasingly present a high environmental risk and a potential terrorist target.
"They're a ticking time bomb," said Lynn Ridley, "riverkeeper" for the James River Association.
A large spill could oil much of the James River within 48 hours, including military installations and a nearby nuclear power plant. A spill of 300,000 gallons would foul miles of riverfront, including historic Jamestown, and kill tens of thousands of fish and birds, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.
Today, there are 99 ships anchored on the river and maintained by the Maritime Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. They include a half-dozen vessels that are kept in top shape and ready to sail. Two have just been activated for a possible war with Iraq. Others could be quickly taken out of mothballs in the case of a major war.
But the vast majority consist of the 71 outdated, outmoded, best-forgotten hulks -- half of which are 50 years old or older. Tied together in groups of a dozen or more several miles upriver from Hampton Roads, they look like antique erector sets left out in the rain.
"Some have deteriorated to a point where a hammer can penetrate their hulls," said a report by the Department of Transportation's inspector general. A 2001 Rand Corp. study found that "as the current inactive ships age and corrosion takes its inevitable toll, accidental spills and discharges become more likely."
In the past three years, there have been nine oil spills, including one that released 1,000 gallons of oil, according to Maritime Administration records.
Just keeping the fleet afloat and upright requires 75 workers and more than $2 million a year.
But there's little indication that the ships will be moved any time soon. Congress has appropriated $31 million toward scrapping the fleet. But the money is only a down payment; it could cost more than 10 times that to finish the job, according to government estimates.
The ships have long been blockaded on the river by environmental regulations, international political pressure and the inattention of the federal government, maritime observers say.
The decommissioned ships used to be sold overseas for scrap at a small profit to the U.S. government. But since 1994 the process has been stopped over concern about environmental and working conditions in the ship-breaking yards of India and Bangladesh, where the vessels were moved. As a result, surplus ships have accumulated here. The number stuck on the James River has doubled in the past five years.
So for now, the Albert J. Myer and the rest of the Ghost Fleet still lie at anchor, the floating dead.
Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) called the situation "somewhat ironic."
"We need to be cognizant of the international environment, but we're concerned about the potential damage here -- to the James River and Virginia," he said.
The state has threatened to sue the federal government unless it moves the ships or drains them of oil and fuel.
The area where the ships are docked is important to commercial fishing, seed oyster beds and intake lines for municipal water systems. And the James, with its width, wind and strong tides, would make an oil spill an extreme challenge even in the best conditions, reports say.
"How can you be prepared?" Ridley asked. "I'm not confident that if there was a major event like a hurricane, a spill can be adequately contained in that part of the river."
Two storms, Hurricane Hazel in 1954 and Hurricane Floyd in 1999, caused havoc to the fleet, ripping some of the ships from their moorings. In response to Floyd's damage, the Maritime Administration installed a new anchoring system at a cost of $2.3 million.
All told, the price tag for cleaning up a worst-case disaster could reach $123 million, according to a federal government assessment, money that is not budgeted.
Ridley said that the James River is a shipping community and that few object to the presence of a well-maintained ready reserve fleet. It is the obsolete surplus ships that worry area residents who depend on the river.
"If they're going to put them out there and forget about them, without any maintenance, without any plan or end game, that's where the potential problem lies," Ridley said.
Working on the decrepit ships can be deadly. Two years ago, a scrap worker was killed when working on a Ghost Fleet ship in Texas. He was climbing on the ship's ladder when it crumbled under him.
"Some ships, you know that when you walk on them, you're going to find a problem," said Brent Reid, 37, a 15-year marine mechanic who works on the ships in the James. "You're down in a shaft alley, the water's waist deep, more water is coming in, the hull looks flimsy and you're three or four decks down and there's no electricity but this," he said, pointing to his flashlight. "Well, it gets a little tight."
Aboard the Albert J. Myer, the only crew is the flocks of birds that have occupied the officers' quarters. On the decaying deck of the Lauderdale, which was built in 1944, a three-foot-tall shrub grows next to a windlass.
On other ships, pilothouse windows are covered with sheet metal. On an exposed pipe, bits of what appears to be asbestos lining flutter in the breeze. In windswept corners, pieces of ship lie in a heap of deck wood, bird guano and rust. Open hatches lead to the darkest black holes. Documents peppered with military abbreviations are posted for no one to read.
"None are going to sink to the bottom tomorrow," said Robert G. Rohr, a Maritime Administration supervisor whose job it is to ensure they don't.
Rohr is, in effect, running an experiment on how long cargo and military supply ships can be kept afloat, an experiment that costs roughly $25,000 per ship per year.
Sometimes decisions are made based on experience and gut. "We try to make the calls that are the right ones," Rohr said. But with some of the ships, he admitted, "there is some reason to dwell on them after hours, shall we say."
The Lauderdale would fit into that category.
"She pretty much speaks for herself," Rohr said, as his Maritime Administration boat pulled up in front of the World War II-vintage ship. The Lauderdale is so improbably rusty and unstable -- looking as if it has been doctored by a Hollywood special-effects crew aiming for just that appearance.
Rohr's crew tries to visit each obsolete ship at least once a month. Some problems are discovered only by noticing that a ship is listing to one side or observing a pool of oil-slicked water.
To explain why the fleet is so big and in such bad shape requires an appreciation of the laws of unintended consequences.
Through the 1970s, the Navy and the Maritime Administration recycled their surplus ships by selling them at a small profit to dozens of domestic ship-scrapping companies. Since then, the industry has migrated overseas in search of cheaper labor and looser environmental standards. The industry settled in places such as India, Bangladesh and China, where ships are steered onto filthy beaches and dismantled practically by hand by low-wage workers.
Today, most of the world's private surplus ships are still disposed of in that region. And from 1983 through 1994, the Maritime Administration sold 199 U.S. government vessels to the overseas scrappers, according to the General Accounting Office.
But in 1994, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stopped the practice by ruling that the ships contained enough toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, that they are in effect toxic waste. In 1998, in response to international outrage over the shipyard conditions, Vice President Al Gore reinforced the EPA action by obtaining a moratorium on overseas scrapping. The United States has not sold a surplus ship overseas since 1994.
"When the moratorium was put into place, there was no serious effort to find economical and workable solutions to the problems," said William G. Schubert, the chief of the Maritime Administration.
Under Schubert, government officials are looking to once again sell U.S. ships to overseas scrappers. They are eyeing scrap yards in Mexico, India and Wales.
To scrap the surplus ships in domestic shipyards in compliance with U.S. environmental and worker safety laws would cost $340 million, Schubert said. Two years ago, the Maritime Administration got $10 million, which turned out to be enough to get rid of six of the worst ships.
"The solution is a combination of domestic and foreign scrapping, but only under some very controlled and monitored conditions," said Schubert, who met with top EPA officials last week to discuss the restart of overseas sales.
The effort to revisit foreign sales is certain to create opposition. Environmental groups are gearing up to fight what they say is the Bush administration's attempts to ship the problems from Virginia to India or Mexico. They say the sales would still violate U.S. environmental laws and international treaties.
"It is not acceptable to handle toxic waste by trying to save a buck at the expense of the poorest people in some of the poorest nations in the world," said Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network, an international environmental group.
Even if officials agreed on a plan to get rid of all the obsolete ships tomorrow, it is unclear whether the ships would even make it in one piece from the James River to a scrap yard.
In December 2001, the aging Wayne Victory was being towed to a Texas scrap yard when, 12 miles off Miami Beach, its hull cracked open. Only $100,000 worth of emergency repairs kept it afloat and prevented a leak, Maritime Administration records show.
Inside the Wayne Victory were 57,000 gallons of oil.
A Toxic Legacy on the Mexican Border
Abandoned U.S.-Owned Smelter in Tijuana Blamed for Birth Defects, Health Ailments
By Kevin Sullivan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, February 16, 2003; Page A17
TIJUANA, Mexico -- Andrea's monster lives up here.
It breathes lead dust that coats her windows and her baby toys. It sweats rivers of arsenic and cadmium and antimony that seep into her water and the soil where her children play. It squats on a hilltop above her home, horrible and poisonous.
"There it is," says Andrea Pedro Aguilar, breathing heavily from the hike up the hill.
She is standing in front of her monster, the derelict remains of a lead smelter that everyone here calls Metales. For more than a decade, an American-owned company, Metales y Derivados, took in thousands of U.S. car and boat batteries, cracked them open to extract their lead, melted it into bricks and shipped the bricks back to the United States.
Mexico shut the plant in 1994 and the next year its owner, a U.S. citizen named Jose Kahn, crossed the border back into San Diego. Mexican arrest warrants were outstanding, charging him with gross environmental pollution. He still lives in a comfortable neighborhood of San Diego.
According to the Mexican government, he left behind up to 8,500 tons of toxins from battery guts that lie strewn over three acres, in open piles, rusted barrels and in rotted bales. Every time the wind blows or the rain falls, more of the toxins end up in Colonia Chilpancingo, a worker's village of 10,000 people directly below the plant.
According to Mexican environmental officials and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the toxic dump here exemplifies how much of the border area is a no man's land, a place where international companies have polluted the environment.
When the Metales furnaces were still burning in 1990, a Mexican university study found levels of lead more than 3,000 times higher than U.S. standards and levels of cadmium more than 1,000 times higher in a stream that runs through the community and eventually flows north over the border into the United States. A 1999 study by the enforcement division of Mexico's environment ministry found lead concentrations in the soil near the plant 50 times higher than the limit set by Mexican law. That report called the Metales site a "major health risk."
A cleanup of the site could cost $6 million or more. Two months ago, the state of Baja California and Kahn filed a joint loan request for $800,000 from the North American Development Bank, which was created as part of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). A bank official said the unusual request -- coming amid rising demands from residents for a cleanup -- is being reviewed. He said one concern is that the loan might not cover the cost of the cleanup.
In the meantime, the toxins bake in the sun and blow in the wind. The pollution keeps flowing into Chilpancingo, from Metales and from some of the other 130 factories, known as maquiladoras, in the huge industrial park where it sits.
"Danger, hazardous waste" is stenciled on the concrete wall that partially surrounds Metales. But the place is still a favorite for dare-taking kids who scoot through holes in a fence into the forbidden site.
Reached by telephone, Kahn, who is in his late eighties, said, "We are negotiating a loan to clean up the place. I really can't tell you anything more than that." He declined further comment on Friday. In an interview published in December in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Kahn said the loan request shows that he is serious about cleaning up Metales: "We all want a solution. No one wants to walk about without a cleanup."
It hasn't rained in Chilpancingo for nearly two months, but dirty water still runs down the middle of Andrea's street. It starts in a gaping drainage pipe that emerges from beneath the industrial park that emits a milky white flow of God-knows-what that flows downhill to Andrea's neighborhood. Factories there are required by law to treat their own hazardous waste, but state environmental officials say many still dump illegally.
"I don't know what they were thinking," says Andrea, who had two feet of acrid, filthy water in her living room when heavy rains caused flooding last year. "People live down there."
Neighbors like her kids. Lupita is 4 and Ivan is 6. They ride scooters in their living room and watch Monsters Inc. and Rugrats for hours on end. Andrea thinks it's safer for them to be inside even though her little lead-testing kits have turned up elevated levels of the toxin on her dishes and on the sill of her kitchen window. Outside, the fruit trees and grass that her mother planted 20 years ago have all died.
Just before Christmas, 20 Chilpancingo children under the age of 6 were tested for lead. Officials from the Environmental Health Coalition, a San Diego-based organization, said that all the results showed significant and potentially dangerous levels of lead in their bloodstreams. Lupita's blood had the highest level, 9 micrograms of lead per deciliter, just under the level of 10 micrograms per deciliter, classified as elevated for children by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lead, especially in children, can damage organs and severely retard mental development, and studies suggest it may cause cancer and birth defects.
Officials at the CDC said arsenic, cadmium, antimony and other byproducts of the smelting process are carcinogens. CDC officials also said that exposure to those metals can cause skin rashes, nosebleeds and hair loss.
Lupita's hair slips out by the brush-full every day, and she has suffered spontaneous bleeding in her nose and throat for the past couple of years. It got so bad in November that Andrea and her husband slept with Lupita, out of fear that she might drown in her own blood. Andrea says they did not know what was causing her problems. Then her lead test came back positive.
Now Andrea stands before the monster, a mile south of the U.S. border, shaking her head in disgust.
Wenceslao Martinez, a physician, runs a health clinic a few blocks from Andrea's house. He says he constantly sees patients with suspicious diseases, from chronic rashes to cancers to fatal birth defects.
"For a colonia of only 10,000 people, what we see here is very strange," he said. "There is definitely a link to the maquiladoras. But it's hard to prove. So who gets the blame? Nobody."
He treated Margarita Jaimes's 3-year-old son, Serafin Vidrio, who turned up one day last July with swelling in his neck and eyes. He was diagnosed with acute leukemia on Aug. 6. He died on Aug. 24.
Margarita, like the others, is frustrated no one has spent the money to study whether the illnesses around these factories are linked to the toxins they have dumped. As she talks, her daughter, Eva Paulette, 6, sits on her lap. She has been having nosebleeds. Her hair is falling out in clumps. The doctors cannot explain it.
Carmen Garcia used to walk to work every day past Andrea's house, past the open piles of sludge at Metales to a factory where she assembled stereo speakers. When she became pregnant two years ago, she knew her factory was not the best environment, because in the previous two years three of her co-workers had delivered stillborn babies.
Then on Nov. 3, 2000, Carmen delivered Miguel Angel, who suffered from anencephaly, a fatal defect in which babies are born with little or no brain or skull. Miguel Angel's empty skull was open wide like a tulip. He survived for two months.
"It's like a trap here," Carmen said. She's pregnant again. "I'm so scared."
A CDC spokesperson estimated that anencephaly occurs in two to four of every 10,000 births in the United States; hydrocephaly, a related disorder, occurs in about six of 10,000 births.
The state of Baja California, which includes Tijuana, is now conducting its first major study of those two birth defects. Moises Rodriguez Lomeli, the state's chief epidemiologist, said the study was launched 18 months ago after state officials realized the rate of those birth defects in the state was abnormally high. In one two-block area of Chilpancingo, residents count eight babies born with those two defects in recent years.
Andrea and other community leaders, working with the Environmental Health Coalition, filed a complaint about Metales with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, NAFTA's environmental watchdog agency. The commission issued a report last year noting that "exposure to these heavy metals can severely harm human health" and called the site's cleanup "urgent."
In the commission's 154-page report, the enforcement division of Mexico's environment ministry said that "with alarming regularity" foreign-owned factories are being abandoned, with their hazardous waste left behind. It also said the EPA viewed the Metales situation as "exemplifying a critical public policy issue in the border region: the use of the border as a shield against enforcement." The Mexican government has been reluctant to clean up foreign-made messes, and when the foreigners return home they are beyond the reach of Mexico's laws.
Black smoke is rising from a burning car behind Andrea's house. She's standing in her fenced-in yard, where she rents out a couple of small shacks to make a little money. The woman who lives in one of them gave birth a few months ago to a baby missing most of its lower body. The previous tenant in the same house woke up with her neck swollen like a bullfrog's. "Two months later, she was dead," Andrea says. "Nobody ever knew why."
Andrea and other women in the community, with help from the Environmental Health Coalition, are now trying to educate residents about the hazards around them. They pass out lead-testing kits and arrange blood tests for children. They write to government officials and hold all-night vigils outside their offices. They marched on Kahn's office in San Diego, holding up signs with such messages as: "Jose Kahn: you forgot something in Tijuana."
A couple of unhurried firemen arrive to begin hosing down the burning car. Andrea, who is pregnant again, says she dreams of the day when all the toxic pollution is gone, when Chilpancingo is clean and healthy, filled with flowers and trees, the way she remembered it as a girl.
Then she closes her eyes against the thick, black smoke.
Body's First Defense May Be Root of Diseases
Cancer, Even Alzheimer's, May Begin With Inflammation
By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 16, 2003; Page A01
Medical researchers are becoming increasingly convinced that the most primitive part of the immune system, usually the body's first defense against infection and injury, may play a crucial role in some of the most devastating afflictions of modern humans , including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and possibly Alzheimer's.
According to a theory that has been steadily gaining ground in recent years, the immune system reaction commonly known as inflammation has a troublesome tendency to go awry. While inflammation's familiar manifestations, such as the redness of an infected cut or a raw sore throat, are unpleasant, the reaction is crucial to survival. It unleashes powerful immune cells, enzymes and other chemicals to fend off viruses, bacteria and other invaders, and to coax wounds to heal.
But inflammation can misfire, or fire far too long, and evidence has been mounting that this "inflammation theory" of disease may cut across what are usually unrelated fields of medicine.
"It's hard now to think of a medical specialty that doesn't concern itself in part with the study of inflammation," said Carl Nathan, chairman of the department of microbiology and immunology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York. "There's no part of the body that's off limits to the inflammatory response. It can go anywhere -- lung, heart, blood vessels, brain, wherever."
The theory has led to an explosion of research by academic scientists and drug companies to validate the concept and translate it into new ways to prevent and treat illnesses. There is already compelling evidence that some of the damaging effects of inflammation can be countered with common medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, cholesterol drugs called statins, and possibly the new generation of "super aspirins" for arthritis such as Vioxx and Celebrex. And scientists are pressing hard to develop entirely new anti-inflammatory compounds.
"It's a major effort. I don't think there are any pharmaceutical companies that don't work on this," Nathan said. Examples are everywhere.
In Kansas City, Mo., Marsha Van Dever is among about 100 women who are lining up to take one of the new arthritis drugs even though they don't have arthritis. The women are, however, at increased risk for breast cancer. They are part of an experiment to see if the painkiller will stave off the malignancy.
In Baltimore, Joel Ingersoll joined a study testing the same drug as a way to prevent or treat prostate cancer.
In Brentwood, Tenn., Bob Green has been gulping down four white capsules every day for three years as part of yet another trial -- this one designed to help see whether the medicine can protect against colon cancer.
And in Boston, researcher Paul M. Ridker has begun gathering thousands of volunteers for a project aimed at producing convincing evidence that a similar approach will save millions of people from an entirely different class of ailments: heart attacks and strokes, the nation's No. 1 killer.
Last month, the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that doctors consider using a test that measures inflammation when trying to decide how to treat patients at risk for cardiovascular disease.
In addition to potentially leading to a new generation of treatments for cancer, heart disease and other ailments, the inflammation theory may help explain why such ills seem to plague modern life.
"Hundreds of millions of years ago, the primary causes of death were infection and starvation. And so the human genome selected for a gene pool with an active immune system . . . because that way you'd have a better chance of surviving," said Ridker at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital.
"Fast forward hundreds of thousands of years, and suddenly we're in an environment where infection is not a major threat and food is not scarce. The same genes . . . are now a root cause of the epidemics of diabetes and heart disease."
The strength of the evidence supporting the theory varies depending on the disease, and researchers caution it could still turn out that inflammation plays less of a role than the surge of interest would suggest. But the case is already very strong for heart disease, strong and getting stronger for many cancers, and much more mixed but still tantalizing for illnesses such as Alzheimer's.
While it's clear that inflammation is part of the picture in all these diseases, the trigger for it remains unclear. For heart disease, the spark may be bad cholesterol in the blood or possibly some yet-to-be-identified infection inside artery walls. In cancer, it could be chemical carcinogens such as cigarette smoke, or DNA-damaging compounds called free radicals, or maybe viruses, bacteria or other microbes. In diabetes, part of the problem could be chemical signals sent out by fat cells, some of which are identical to those produced during inflammation.
"I think the first thing we have is an epidemic of unhealthy lifestyle," said Peter Libby, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "And the way in which the lifestyle is wreaking its havoc is through inflammation."
Inflammation is part of the earliest defensive system that organisms evolved. It is what causes redness and itchiness where a mosquito bites; heat, pain and swelling when a bowling ball lands on a foot; and sneezing, stuffiness and aches when cold viruses invade. Aspirin, ibuprofen, antihistamines and ice packs alleviate the nasty effects of inflammation, but without it our bodies would be defenseless.
White blood cells, the immune system's scouts, are constantly patrolling, searching for anything dangerous -- a virus, a bacterium, an injury. When they detect something, they rush to the site to attack the threat, and immediately summon help by spewing chemical signals that urgently recruit other, more specialized cells. These cellular SWAT teams can ooze enzymes potent enough to liquefy tissue and bone if necessary to stem a microbial invasion.
"The innate immune cells are the shock troops of immunity designed to respond very quickly," said Gary S. Firestein, chief of rheumatology, allergy and immunology at the University of California at San Diego.
But scientists have long known that the inflammatory response can boomerang. Inflammation run amok is what causes autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease, which occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, nerves or digestive system for reasons that remain a mystery.
"It's a hair-trigger kind of design," said Nathan, who edited a special section on inflammation published recently in the journal Nature. "This is a system that has to make a decision in a very short period of time. So you can imagine that sometimes it fires by itself, or sometimes it fires off correctly but doesn't slam shut properly."
The idea that inflammation may be involved in other diseases began to gain credence with the realization that stomach ulcers were caused not by stress, worry or spicy food, but by an inflammation triggered by a bacterial infection. Soon, evidence began to accumulate that inflammation was important in far more than just ulcers.
"If you have a million people engineered for this bear-trap kind of response and put them in a box called life and shake them up and down once in a while, the bear trap will spring when it shouldn't," Nathan said.
The standard theory of cardiovascular disease says cholesterol in the blood accumulates on artery walls, like a pipe getting clogged with gunk. Eventually the passageway gets blocked, usually by a clot, cutting off blood to the heart or brain and causing a heart attack or stroke.
The new theory says that in addition to that process, the immune system can also react to something in the artery, perhaps cholesterol in the blood, devour it and suck it into the artery walls, creating something akin to a pimple. Eventually, the pimple pops, prompting a clot to form, which causes the blockage. That would explain why many people suddenly drop dead from heart attacks even though their arteries look fine.
One of the ways aspirin may protect against hardening of the arteries is by neutralizing substances called prostaglandins, some of the chemical signals sent out during inflammation. A multitude of studies have shown that people who take aspirin and other drugs with anti-inflammatory properties, such as the statin cholesterol drugs, seem to have lower levels of inflammation in their bodies and a lower risk of heart disease.
Ridker's study, known as the Jupiter Trial, will involve 15,000 healthy middle-aged men and women with normal cholesterol to see if the anti-inflammatory properties of statins reduce their risk. "This is the first real test of the hypothesis," Ridker said.
There have been clues for some time about a link between inflammation and cancer. It has long been known that people who suffer from chronic inflammation are at higher risk for cancer. For example, people with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, have a higher rate of colorectal cancer.
Part of what inflammation does is promote the growth of cells to heal wounds, and the growth of blood vessels to nourish the wounded area. But evidence has been accumulating that many other forms of cancer may also result from that process gone wild.
"Tumors when they're developing are just proliferating cells. The theory is that it looks much like a wound to the host. So inflammatory cells come in and do their job. They urge the growth onward," said Lisa Coussens, an assistant professor in the department of pathology and the cancer research institute at the University of California at San Francisco.
Scientists have found signs that inflammation may also interfere with normal cell death and produce DNA-damaging free radicals, possibly contributing to cells becoming cancerous in the first place, she said.
Tumors are often teeming with inflammatory cells and their chemical messengers, and genes involved in inflammation are often active -- telltale signs that inflammation is playing a role.
Many studies have found that people who take anti-inflammatory drugs have a lower risk for certain types of cancers, particularly colorectal cancer, as well as precancerous growths. A study led by Robert Sandler of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is expected to be published soon in the New England Journal of Medicine with promising results about the power of aspirin to slash the risk of precancerous growths called polyps in people who have had colon cancer.
Dozens of other studies are underway exploring the potential of using anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent, and possibly treat, a wide range of cancers, including cancer of the breast, bladder, esophagus, skin, prostate and lung.
"There's a tremendous amount of work going on in this field because of the promise of the agents and the convergence of the data, which is quite compelling," said Ernest T. Hawk of the National Cancer Institute.
In Alzheimer's, some scientists think that giving people anti-inflammatory drugs early in life may forestall the development of that devastating brain disease, though that remains highly speculative.
"It may turn out that using the anti-inflammatory drugs in your fifties and sixties may have an impact on what's happening in your seventies and eighties," said Bill Thies, vice president for medical and scientific affairs at the Alzheimer's Association. "People are talking about how you do a trial to test that. This is a piece of science that still evolving."
Police fire tear gas, rubber bullet at Colorado Springs war protest
By The Associated Press
February 15, 2003
Rocky Mountain News
COLORADO SPRINGS - Police fired tear gas at anti-war demonstrators and hit at least one with a rubber bullet after a rally spilled out of a park and blocked a major thoroughfare Saturday.
At least two people were treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released after the rally at Palmer Park. Thirteen people were arrested after they forced the closure of a half-mile stretch of Academy Boulevard, police spokesman Lt. Skip Arms said.
A second rally at Peterson Air Force Base ended with 21 arrests but no tear gas. Peterson is home to the Northern Command, the joint military command in charge of homeland security.
Arms said one person who picked up a tear gas canister and threw it toward police was hit with a .40-caliber rubberized bullet and subdued with a stun gun. Arms had initially denied reports that anyone was hit by a rubber bullets.
The demonstrators were protesting the threatened U.S. strike on Iraq. Police did not provide crowd estimates, but KVOR radio in Colorado Springs reported that about 3,000 people attended the Palmer Park rally and 300 turned out at Peterson.
After the park rally, some protesters emptied into Academy Boulevard. Arms said police fired tear gas after the protesters refused repeated warnings to disperse.
Some of the protesters danced and chanted, "Who owns the street? We own the street," angering some of the people who remained in the park.
Arms said the protesters had told police they planned to have a peaceful rally but he said police had received intelligence indicating that some protesters would try to break laws.
The protesters arrested at Peterson were taken into custody after police ordered them to leave, Arms said.
Most face misdemeanor charges of failing to disperse.
Members of the Colorado Coalition Against War in Iraq said they invited protesters from across the state to Colorado Springs because it is home to the largest concentration of military personnel and facilities in the state.
Well over a million people turned out in cities across the country and around the world on Saturday to protest the possible war.
In Boulder, home of the University of Colorado, an anti-war group circulated a petition on the city's pedestrian mall to impeach President Bush.
"The current administration is using fear tactics and the threat of perpetual war to control the American public," said Alexia Parks, spokeswoman for the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.
Millions Worldwide Protest Iraq War
Coordinated Effort Yields Huge Turnout in Europe
By Glenn Frankel
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, February 16, 2003; Page A01
LONDON, Feb.15 -- Several million demonstrators took to the streets of Europe and the rest of the world today in a vast wave of protest against the prospect of a U.S.-led war against Iraq.
The largest rallies were in London, Rome, Berlin and Paris -- the heart of Western Europe -- where the generally peaceful demonstrations illustrated the breadth of popular opposition to U.S. policies among traditional allies. But there were also protests in dozens of other cities on five continents, from Canberra to Oslo and from Cape Town to Damascus, in an extraordinary display of global coordination.
In London, a sea of protesters estimated by police at more than 750,000 flooded into Hyde Park and clogged streets for several miles on a crisp, clear day in what observers and organizers said was probably the largest political demonstration in British history. It was aimed not just at President Bush but also at Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, who has been Bush's staunchest ally in the campaign against Iraq but who is besieged by opposition at home from virtually every part of the political spectrum.
Blair, in a speech earlier in the day, insisted he would stand his ground. But he also said Britain would wait for the next interim report from U.N. inspectors on Feb. 28 before seeking a Security Council resolution authorizing military action.
Nearly 1 million people turned out in Rome, where Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has also supported the U.S. position. Between 300,000 and 500,000 people demonstrated in Berlin, at the largest rally since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. About 100,000 demonstrators poured through the streets of Paris. Germany and France have emerged as the most vocal opponents of military action against Iraq.
Demonstrators in London sang, chanted and shouted slogans while carrying flags, banners and posters with slogans ranging from "Bush and Blair Wanted for Murder" to "Make Tea, Not War."
"Tony, Listen to the People," pleaded one poster, while another read, "I'm American and I Care -- Please Don't Think That We Are All Like Bush." Posters calling for "Free Palestine" were also widespread.
The demonstrators seemed to represent a cross-section of modern British society. There were entire families -- fathers and mothers with small children in tow -- and elderly people moving slowly but deliberately. Some wore costumes and some were in jeans. There were veteran activists and people who said they had never been on a march before.
"We explained to them what this was about and they wanted to come," said Julie Isherwood, whose 4-year-old twins, Jack and Robert, walked beside her with hand-lettered signs reading, "Boys Against War."
Lisa Rosen, a lawyer from New York who has lived here for five years, said she felt a strong sense of anti-Americanism from many in the crowd. "Some of my American friends decided not to come, but I thought it was important to show that you can be pro-American and antiwar at the same time," she said.
Radicals and moderates shared the speaker's platform. Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London and a longtime left-wing activist, called Bush "a stooge for oil interests" and said he was presiding over "the most corrupt and racist American administration in over 80 years."
"This is a man who has sent his own soldiers to die [but] who got his daddy to get him out of national service," said Livingstone. "Where I come from we call that cowardice."
Charles Kennedy, leader of the minority Liberal Democrats, the only mainstream British party to oppose the prospective war, said he was not anti-American but was "deeply worried" by the administration.
"Given the evidence from Dr. Blix yesterday, there can be no just or moral case for war against Iraq," Kennedy added, referring to U.N chief weapons inspector Hans Blix.
Jesse L. Jackson, who arrived here Friday from the United States, said it was not too late to prevent military action. "Turn up the heat," he told the crowd. "I say to Tony Blair, please take a step back from war: Hear the voices of Britain. This war may be your legacy, Mr. Blair. Surely this is not what you want."
A beleaguered Blair, speaking earlier at a Labor Party conference in Glasgow, Scotland, warned that the international community still needed to be prepared to confront Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
"If we show weakness now, if we allow the plea for more time to become just an excuse for prevarication until the moment for action passes, then . . . the menace, and not just from Saddam, will grow," he said. "The authority of the U.N. will be lost, and the conflict when it comes will be more bloody." Blair said demonstrators were expressing an "entirely understandable hatred of war," but he added, "If there are 500,000 on that march, that is still less than the number of people whose deaths Saddam has been responsible for."
In Rome, the protesters massed in the city center in an atmosphere that was half-demonstration, half-carnival, the Reuters news agency reported. Young and old marched arm in arm, some wrapped in rainbow peace flags, while marching bands played and whistles blew.
In Brussels, tens of thousands of protesters braved freezing temperatures and fierce winds. Many residents placed white handkerchiefs in the windows of homes, stores and pubs as an expression of support.
Patricia Tarabelsi, 23, an American student, said she couldn't help but feel uneasy as anti-American sentiment has intensified in Europe. "It makes you feel like your country's a target," she said, "and I don't really think Americans back home realize just how angry the world is at us right now."
There were also demonstrations in Ukraine, Bosnia, Cyprus, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Japan, India, Bangladesh, Hungary, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand. Many of the rallies were organized by peace groups around the world, with the Internet playing a key role in the coordination.
In Baghdad, according to the Associated Press, tens of thousands of Iraqis, some carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles, demonstrated in support of Hussein. "Our swords are out of their sheaths, ready for battle," read one of hundreds of banners carried by marchers along Palestine Street, a broad avenue in Baghdad. In Damascus, Syria, protesters chanted anti-U.S. and anti-Israel slogans as they marched to the People's Assembly building.
About 2,000 antiwar protestors, both Jews and Palestinians, marched peacefully in central Tel Aviv for about 90 minutes early tonight. Many waved Israeli and Palestinian flags and carried pictures of gas masks and placards reading, "Drop Bush Not Bombs."
"This is part of the war on Islam," said Ibrahim Housseni, 26, an unemployed Palestinian from East Jerusalem. "Why attack Saddam and not Khamenei, Assad or Sharon?" he said, referring to the leaders of Iran, Syria and Israel. "They all suppress their people. Bush should not hide his reasons -- this war is against Islam and for oil."
"The U.N. report shows they [the Iraqis] are not hiding anything," said Yaron Levy, a Tel Aviv restaurant owner. "Bombing a country to get one man is not exactly conventional. This is nonconventional warfare."
A small counter-demonstration of about 20 people from the ruling Likud Party's youth wing heckled the antiwar protesters, shouting, "Saddam is the next Hitler!" and handing out "No War" signs with the "No" ripped off.
An antiwar protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow drew an estimated 1,000 people, mostly middle-aged or elderly supporters of the Communist Party.
Ludmilla Likhikh, 52, a factory worker, accused the United States of hypocrisy, saying it should focus on disarming itself. "America is looking for arms in Iraq while it has so many of its own," she said. "America is the number one terrorist nation."
Correspondents John Ward Anderson in Jerusalem, Sharon LaFraniere in Moscow and Philip P. Pan in Beijing and special correspondent Steven Gray in Brussels contributed to this report.
Please write us to add more marches!
Millions across the planet are marching against war on Iraq today - here are the estimates and final numbers in cities and countries around the world.
Please send us any additions you see we don't have - in article form and preferably after the march so we have final numbers!
PS: Quite a few of these are in Spanish, Portuguese, or other languages, at least so the numbers are documented. Please send English versions if they are found!
2500 in Phoenix
30,000-100,000 in Hollywood (Los Angeles)
5000 in San Diego
5000 in Santa Cruz
5000 in San Jose
3000 reported in Colorado Springs
500 in Miami, 200 in Broward
25 in Weeki Watchee
"Several Hundred" in Orlando
500 March to Pearl Harbor
100 in Wichita
20 in Shreveport
1000 in Portland
2000 in Detroit 1500 in Lansing
7500 in Minneapolis
160 in Jefferson City
4500 in Santa Fe
7000 in Raleigh
500 in Akron
1100 in Salem
10,000 in Philadelphia
500 in Knoxville 500 in Nashville
10,000 in Austin 3000 in Houston 300 in Corpus Christi 3500 in Dallas (registration only) (another Dallas report)
400 in Blacksburg, 100 in Roanoke
60,000-75,000 in Seattle
700-3000 in Milwaukee
50,000 in Buenos Aires
250,000 in Sydney
100,000-200,000 in Melbourne
15,800 in Canberra
2500 in Bellingen
20,000 in Newcastle
100,000 in Adelaide
30,000 in Perth
5000-20,000 in Hobart
100,000 in Brisbane, 2000 in Darwin
5000-7000 in Lismore, 3000 in Byron Bay
15,000-30,000 in Vienna
Dozens Outside UN House
2000 in Dhaka
30,000 in Brussels
10,000-20,000 in São Paolo
1200 in Sofia
150,000 in Montreal
30,000 in Vancouver
3000 in Quebec City
12000 in Edmonton
2000 in Ottawa
1500 in Halifax
5000 in Calgary
80,000 in Toronto
20,000 reported in Copenhagen
15,000 in Helsinki
400,000 in Paris
10,000 reported in Lyon
10,000 reported in Marseille
15,000 reported in Montpellier
5000 reported in Nimes
6000 reported in Perpignan
10,000 reported in Toulouse
500,000 in Berlin
10,000 in Cologne
50,000 in Athens (Violence attrributed to splinter group)
70,000 in Amsterdam
20,000 in Budapest
4000 reported in Reykjavik
500 reported in Akureyri
100,000 in Dublin
2000 in Tel Aviv
1 Million in Rome - unofficial: 2 million reported in Rome
6000 in Tokyo
1000 in Osaka
"Thousands" in Amman
100 in Srinagar
400 in Skopje
2000 in Kuala Lumpur 500 in Penang
13,500 in Mexico City
8000-10,000 in Auckland
6000 in Wellington
60,000 in Oslo (100,000 for all of Norway)
2500 in Warsaw
80,000 in Lisbon,
10,000 in Porto
200 in Belgrade
6 in Law-and-Order Singapore - All Arrested
"Several Thousand" in Cape Town
3000 in Johannesburg
5000 in Durban
Two Million Across Spain (English)
800,000 in Madrid (Spanish)
1.3 Million in Barcelona (Spanish)
60,000 reported in Sevilla
35,000 in Stockholm
25,000 in Gothenberg
3000 in Malmo
40,000 in Bern
200,000 in Damascus
500 in Taipei
10,000 in Pattani Province
3000 in Bangkok
Final Tally? 1 Million in London - unofficial: up to 2 million reported in London
Cops: "Well Beyond 500K" - Organizers:1.5 Million
"800,000" in London
"Tens of Thousands" in Belfast
30,000 reported in Glasgow
3000 reported in Kiev
50,000 in Montevideo
From New York to Melbourne, Cries for Peace
February 16, 2003
New York Times
By ROBERT D. McFADDEN
Confronting America's countdown to war, throngs of chanting, placard-waving demonstrators converged on New York and scores of cities across the United States, Europe and Asia today in a global daisy chain of largely peaceful protests against the Bush administration's threatened invasion of Iraq.
Three years after vast crowds turned out around the world to celebrate the new millennium, millions gathered again today in a darker mood of impending conflict, forming a patchwork of demonstrations that together, organizers said, made up the largest, most diverse peace protest since the Vietnam War.
On a freezing winter day in New York, a huge crowd, prohibited by a court order from marching, rallied within sight of the United Nations amid heavy security. They raised banners of patriotism and dissent, sounded the hymns of a broad new antiwar movement and heard speakers denounce what they called President Bush's rush to war, while offering no sympathy for Iraq's dictator, Saddam Hussein.
"The World Says No to War," proclaimed a huge banner over a stage on First Avenue near 51st Street, the focal point of a vast crowd that filled the avenue between 49th and 72nd Streets and spilled over into the side streets and to Second, Third and Lexington Avenues, where thousands more were halted at police barricades, far from the sights and sounds of the demonstration.
Crowd estimates are often little more than politically tinged guesses, and the police did not provide one. Organizers said that more than 400,000 people attended and, given the sea of faces extending for more than a mile up First Avenue and the ancillary crowds that were prevented from joining them, the claim did not appear to be wildly improbable.
There were similar though smaller demonstrations in Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, Sacramento, Miami and scores of other American cities, organized under the umbrella of United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of 120 organizations.
In London, 500,000 to 750,000 people rallied in Hyde Park, while 200,000 gathered at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and hundreds of thousands more protested in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Barcelona, Rome, Melbourne, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Auckland, Seoul, Tokyo and Manila. Many contended that America's interest in Iraq had more to do with oil than disarming a dangerous tyrant.
Protests unfolded in more than 350 cities around the world - some drawing hundreds of thousands, others only a few hundred - and for the most part the dissents were peaceful. There were about two dozen arrests for disorderly conduct in New York, and the police in Athens fired tear gas and clashed with demonstrators who threw a gasoline bomb, but no injuries were reported.
The demonstrations were the culmination of a global campaign that has been building for weeks in opposition to the growing threat of war, with thousands marching, rallying, signing petitions, raising funds, publishing articles and using the Internet to enlist a diverse coalition of citizens and celebrities.
Unlike the stereotypical scruffy, pot-smoking, flag-burning anarchists of the Vietnam era, today's protests were joined by a wide segment of the political spectrum: college students, middle-aged couples, families, older people who had marched for civil rights, and groups representing labor, the environment and religious, business and civic organizations.
For most demonstrators, President Bush was the chief villain, a casualty of what some called an obsession with his father's Persian Gulf War in 1991 and its failure to oust Saddam Hussein. Other targets were Mr. Bush's secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, and his secretary of state, Colin L. Powell.
"I came to go to the rally and be a part of a global voice against going to war against Iraq again," said Mary Baxter, 31, employed by a software company in Cambridge, Mass., whose quiet solemnity seemed typical. "I feel the current administration has been escalating and destabilizing things. I'm disappointed that Colin Powell is going along with Bush, Cheney and the rest of them."
Angela Tsang, 21, a Barnard College student who was part of a contingent called the Columbia University Antiwar Coalition, said her group believed that an American attack on Iraq would achieve nothing but death and injustice.
"We see the war against Iraq as unjust," she said. "We don't believe Bush's rhetoric. I think he's not acting in the best interest of the American people. We're risking the lives of hundreds of American soldiers and an untold number of lives in the Middle East, and a war will not solve the problem of terrorism. It disgusts me. I can't accept that."
Beyond criticizing Mr. Bush and his lieutanants, many protesters offered nuanced arguments about the conflict, agreeing that President Hussein should not be allowed to possess weapons of mass destruction, but insisting that pre-emptive military strikes were morally bankrupt and would harm the economy, deepen the divisions between America and the Arab world and undermine United States alliances in Europe and Asia.
It was a hard day for a rally in New York. The ground was frozen and the protesters were buttoned to the eyes against the 25-degree cold and an icy wind that scythed off the East River and scorched the face. But the crowd was enthusiastic: cheering speakers, chanting antiwar slogans and raising banners that promoted other agendas as well, including "Free Palestine" and "Free Medical Marijuana."
They were joined by a number of celebrities, including Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and the actors Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon and Harry Belafonte. American flags and other symbols of patriotism waved in the crowds.
The singer Richie Havens led off the proceedings with a rendition of "Freedom," the song he performed 34 years ago on Max Yasgur's Farm for the Woodstock Festival.
"Peace! Peace! Peace!" Bishop Tutu, the 71-year-old veteran of the peace movement, declared. "Let America listen to the rest of the world - and the rest of the world is saying, `Give the inspectors time.' "
Martin Luther King 3rd told the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd, "Just because you have the biggest gun does not mean you must use it."
One face in the crowd belonged to Michael Callandrillo, 53, a teacher from Dover, N.J. "I've been to demonstrations and rallies all over the country, and some have had a nasty feel to them," he said. "Others have had a lackluster feeling. But this one feels just right. People are informed, people are passionate. People don't want trouble. They just want to be heard."
All morning, buses had converged on Midtown Manhattan, disgorging groups from New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, and other states. Despite lines of barricades and a huge police presence, surging crowds spilled off sidewalks, jammed streets leading to the East Side and occasionally clashed with police officers.
In accordance with a federal court order, the demonstrators in New York were prohibited from staging a march, which city officials had insisted might be dangerous to the protesters. Instead, they were limited to a rally behind barricades, a penned-in, more pacific and less powerful expression of protest.
The area set aside for the rally, First Avenue between 49th Street and 72nd Street, was filled from sidewalk to sidewalk by early afternoon, and thousands more were caught behind barricades on other East Side avenues and streets, unable to reach the demonstration.
Blocked by barricades and officers, a few dozen protesters were arrested at Second Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets when they breached the barricades in an attempt to get to the rally. They were charged with disorderly conduct, officers said. Many in the crowd at that location were waving Palestinian flags and chanting: "Free Palestine."
But the main body of demonstrators consisted of young to middle-aged Americans who were skeptical of Bush administration war plans and frustrated by the seemingly implacable move toward conflict, the mobilization and movement of naval flotillas, aircraft and thousands of troops into the Persian Gulf region in recent weeks, and daily pronouncements from Washington about war preparations and the urgency of invading Iraq.
The police did not disclose details of their security operation, but it was mounted during one of the most intense national security alerts since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and it included thousands of uniformed officers in the streets, sharp-shooters on rooftops and plainclothes officers in the crowds.
Antiwar Rallies Raise a Chorus Across Europe
February 16, 2003
New York Times
By ALAN COWELL
LONDON, Feb. 15 - From the parks of London to the piazzas of Rome and the avenues of Paris and Berlin, more than 1.5 million Europeans marched today in a huge protest against war in Iraq. It was the Continent's biggest coordinated peace demonstration in memory and left many protesters jubilant at the show of antiwar sentiment.
With similar protests taking place in scores of cities around the world, including New York, demonstrators in London streamed along Piccadilly Circus and Whitehall, close to 10 Downing Street, the residence of Prime Minister Tony Blair, Washington's most committed ally in the effort to force President Saddam Hussein of Iraq to disarm.
Across Europe from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to the Piazza Venezia in Rome and the Place de la Bastille in Paris, protesters of many ages, backgrounds and political affiliations shouted, blew whistles and raised banners to oppose any war in Iraq. Highways filled with buses bringing demonstrators from provinces to major cities as Washington's planning for a war touched a raw, pacifist nerve among Europeans either opposed in principle to the war, suspicious of Washington's motives or unconvinced by the evidence cited in the United States and Britain as justifying an invasion.
"This is a question of voting by foot," said Christian Taylor, 31, an ecologist who had traveled 150 miles from Devon, in southwest England, to march in London. "It sends a very powerful signal internationally."
For many, the focus of that message was Mr. Blair himself. "I believe that we should have peace rather than war," said Pamela Keats, 55, a fashion expert from London. "Tony Blair lives in a democracy and he's lucky to live in a democracy and he should listen to the people."
Many in Italy, Britain, the Netherlands and Germany said their target was not the American people but the Bush administration. "Most are not anti-American - they are against the Bush government and its foreign policy," said Ruth Oldenziel in Amsterdam. About 200 Americans marched side by side in the Amsterdam protest with exiled Iraqis. The Dutch police estimated the number of protesters at 70,000.
The same sentiments, however, found much harsher expression in a vituperative attack on President Bush by Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, who recalled Mr. Bush's personal history, calling him a draft-dodger, a "stooge for the oil industry" and a stock market swindler. "And we are asked to send our young women and men to die for this creature? I don't think so," he said.
But, in a mood more carnival than confrontational, many across Europe said they believed that their marching had a real chance of shaping history. "When there are this many people, there's a special feeling," said Valerio Conti, 40, a factory worker from Tuscany, as a protest in Rome wound its way from the Circus Maximus and across the Piazza Venezia. "It's as if we really have the ability to change the world."
The British police estimated the number of marchers in London at 750,000. Organizers said that almost two million people, many of them traveling across the country by bus, took part. The biggest previous rally recorded in Britain came last fall, when some 400,000 people marched in support of rural Britons.
The demonstrations came just one day after one of the chief United Nations weapons inspectors, Hans Blix, told the Security Council that Iraq's cooperation with his team had increased, deepening the aversion of countries like France, Germany and Russia to the readiness of the United States and Britain to go to war.
The demonstrators want to force Mr. Blair to distance himself from the United States' effort, a move that would strip Washington of its principal ally and undermine its claim to international support.
"The prime minister and the president have got to start listening," said Charles Kennedy, an opposition leader in the British Parliament.
Even as hundreds of thousands marched through his capital, waving banners and blowing whistles, however, Mr. Blair stood firm in his support for President Bush, telling a meeting of his Labor Party in Glasgow that Mr. Hussein "would not be making a single concession without the knowledge that forces are gathering against him."
As he spoke, about 25,000 demonstrators gathered outside the hall where the conference was being held, roaring their disapproval. Some Labor delegates joined the protest.
While Mr. Blair challenged the marchers to consider Mr. Hussein's bloodstained human rights record, marchers generally insisted, in the words of Seth Green, a 23-year-old American student who joined the London march, that "the antiwar movement does not have to support Saddam Hussein." Mr. Green said he joined the march because he wanted "to send the message that you can be pro-American and antiwar" a message that suffused protests in Berlin, Amsterdam and elsewhere.
As he spoke, the demonstrators poured into Hyde Park, where speakers exhorted Mr. Blair and President Bush to bow to the protesters' demands for peace. In Berlin, protesters from the eastern and western parts of the city met at the Brandenburg Gate, once a symbol of the city's cold war division. The police said the number of protesters was around 500,000.
Some German protesters carried placards proclaiming pride in "Old Europe," the term used dismissively by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to pour scorn on French and German opposition to the war.
In Paris, the police said 100,000 demonstrators marched the three miles from the capital's Place Denfert-Rochereau to the Place de la Bastille, filling the broad Boulevard Saint Michel, which passes the French Senate, and spilling into the surrounding streets.
"Bush will never admit it, but I know this war is about the oil because you look in the paper and you read about North Korea conducting nuclear testing, and Bush doesn't seem too worried about that," said William Bazot, a 36-year-old Parisian holding his infant boy, who wore a cardboard sign declaring "No to the War."
The demonstrations have coaxed forth a broad, informal coalition from Muslim activists to hard-left-wingers. Some in London carried banners saying "Freedom for Palestine." The protesters included young children and veterans of the 1960's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, older people in wheelchairs and babies in strollers. Some were demonstrating for the first time.
Karie Rudsbraaten, 44, from Woking, just outside London, said she had never marched before but "nothing has been as important as this."
Apart from politicians, rock stars and other celebrities, writers and intellectuals have come out in support of the march, challenging Mr. Blair to recognize that he faces a groundswell of popular discontent.
In Italy, the police said at least 600,000 people took part; organizers put the figure at over one million.
Even in Baghdad, several thousand Iraqis staged an orchestrated demonstration, chanting, "We love Saddam Hussein." Protests were also reported from as far afield as Kashmir and New Zealand, Hong Kong, Prague, Moscow and Tokyo. In Russia, one of the leaders of the antiwar coalition in the United Nations, about 700 demonstrators turned out opposite the American Embassy for a Communist-led protest against United States policy in general, and against Mr. Bush in particular. The turnout was also relatively low in Prague.
In Turkey, where the government is wrestling with a request to allow American troops to use the country as a base against neighboring Iraq, thousands called on their leaders to stay out of the conflict.
Several thousand people gathered in the Kadikoy Iskelesi neighborhood of Istanbul to denounce the military preparations and America's leading role. While young men shouted into bullhorns, others held aloft large banners that offered one-line appraisals of the looming war. "We won't be anyone's soldiers," read one.
"We are here to protest the sorrow inflicted on the world's nations by the U.S.A.," Huseyin Kahraman, a 32-year-old computer specialist, said in a typical comment. "We are here today to show and prove that we can prevent war."
Wide Range of Ages, Races and Parties Unite on Iraq
February 16, 2003
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
LONDON, Feb. 15 - Like many people in this country, Christine Gibbon is the first to admit she is not likely to put up a fuss when things go wrong. She is not the type to raise her voice or shake her fists or take to the streets.
But this is not another broken-down train or overburdened hospital or bloated tax bill. This is war - to her mind, dangerous and unnecessary and irrational. And for this, Ms. Gibbon, 60, boarded a train in Sussex and traveled to London to attend her first-ever demonstration. In so doing, she joined at least 750,000 marchers from as far away as the Shetland Islands, all of them hoping to send one unequivocal message to Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush.
"The Iraqi people will suffer most, first of all, but they will also be a threat to us," she said. "And in the end, they won't get Saddam Hussein, anyway."
Armed with a kaleidoscope of hand-scrawled placards and a few choice words for Mr. Blair, hundreds of thousands of protesters braved frigid weather and descended on the heart of London today to oppose a war with Iraq in what is being described as the largest demonstration in the country's history.
True to form, the orderly British marchers - mothers with babies, Muslim women in head scarves, well-heeled women in Burberry, wildly pierced teenagers - walked peaceably past Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park, where the crowd converged to hear a string of speeches from celebrities and local politicians.
The protesters aimed their own words at Mr. Blair, a steadfast ally of President Bush in the clash over Iraq, and said they hoped their large numbers would convince their prime minister that war against Iraq was wrong and would lead to nothing but widespread violence and chaos.
"This war is absolutely dreadful," said Janet Rutherford, 65, who came to the protest with a friend. "This can only escalate terrorist attacks here. It can only end badly."
Protesters made it clear that they were not anti-American, but anti-Bush. More important, they said, they wanted to stave off becoming anti-Blair, and hoped the march would serve as a signal to the prime minister that most of Britain was vehemently against ousting Mr. Hussein through war.
"We don't want war with Iraq," said Patricia Elder, 65, who traveled with Ms. Gibbon, her sister, to join the march. "He's not a danger to us. It's all about oil, cheap oil for America. Saddam should be got rid of, but war will cause too much chaos."
Muslims turned out in force, too. One large group from the Islamic Forum Europe said they hoped to remind Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush that not all Muslims are militants.
"Our image has been tarnished by radicalists," said Abdullah al-Jundi. "We are moderate law-abiding Muslims. We believe that Saddam Hussein's regime is corrupt and we are against it, but changes should happen through the people."
As the marchers headed for Hyde Park, Anne Simpson clutched a sack that read, "A peaceful old bag," and talked about how she wrote a letter to the queen. "Blair is the prime minister of this country, not the president. He is the prime minister of her government, not his government."
It was a reminder to the queen, Ms. Simpson said, that Britain is not at all happy with Mr. Blair's behavior. "We must have structure," she said, "and the structure is a United Nations."
Paris Throwing a Party With a Purpose
PARIS, Feb. 15 - It was a party a hundred thousand strong, flowing haltingly below the slated mansard roofs of Paris's stately avenues, accompanied by balloons and banners and vendors selling foot-long hot dogs and fries. If there is one thing the French know how to do, it is how to conduct a demonstration.
Ladies in stiletto heels and fur-fringed jackets, fathers pushing strollers trailing McDonald's balloons, drably dressed union members, students in face paint and carnival clothes - all turned out to make some noise. Yet despite the gay atmosphere beneath a brilliant blue sky, the message was stark, even dark.
"The United States is a barbarian country," shouted some. "Bush, let's murder," shouted others. One group chanted, "Bush, Blair, Sharon, Putin, Chirac: Justice in Palestine, don't touch Iraq."
Dozens of organizations, some with vehicles bristling with loudspeakers, others with drums, one flying a giant Palestinian flag, ambled along. A man in one group held aloft a placard with pictures of President Bush and Hitler beneath the label "Twins." Another carried a coffin lid, to which was nailed the bloody effigy of a dove, its wings spread like the arms of Jesus on the cross.
The ground was littered with fliers and stickers bearing pictures of roses and fists and the Communist Party's hammer and sickle. Protesters climbed onto bus stop shelters and 18th-century statues, blowing whistles and whooping.
"People don't support Saddam Hussein," explained Marcella de Luca, a 35-year-old Italian economist carrying a rainbow-colored flag that read "Pace," which means peace in Italian. "But we're not here to support him. We're against America's policy in Iraq, and we don't think war is the solution."
The human river, mostly white, flowed through central Paris, across the Seine to the Place de la Bastille, site of the start of the French Revolution and the psychic center of protests in France.
The demonstration shut down much of the city's traffic, cutting bus lines and blocking a broad swath of side streets that fed into the protest's path. But even the police, brought in from the provinces, seemed to be having a good time.
CRAIG S. SMITH
Rome A Festive Tone, But Somber Ideas
ROME, Feb. 15 - So many people took to the streets for an antiwar march here today that the starting time was moved up three hours to make room for protesters who kept arriving from around the country in packed train cars and buses.
The human traffic was thick on the streets, snaking past the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia and around the capital's historic center.
Despite the slow procession, the mood was anything but somber. The day was crisp and bright, and trucks loaded with stereos blasted festive music with a refrain of "Strike the war" and "Say yes to peace." Politicians mixed with celebrities, and teenagers drew peace signs on each other's cheeks. The police said there was not so much as a scuffle.
"The most beautiful thing is that it doesn't even seem like a protest, but more like Rome has been invaded by pacifists," said an organizer of the event, Vittorio Agnoletto. The police estimated the crowd at about 600,000.
While the tone of the protest was festive, the message, at least in certain places, was not. A banner by the ancient Circus Maximus racetrack depicted a demonic President Bush setting fire to a slip of paper labeled "U.N. Resolution" as he crushed a Palestinian house with his elephant foot, the sole of which was painted in stars and stripes.
At three in the afternoon, after the first wave of protesters had reached the final destination in front of St. John's Cathedral, an air-raid siren marked a minute of silence to show solidarity with the civilians of Iraq.
Words on some banners dripped blood, while ornate papier-mâché sculptures of President Bush showed him bombing schools to get at oil. There were few, if any, such morbid depictions of Saddam Hussein.
There were plenty of flags, however: thousands of red flags for the Communist supporters, green flags for the Green Party supporters, even banners waving for the wives of fired autoworkers in Sicily.
Some protesters feared that what they deemed a just cause was being usurped and manipulated by smaller interests.
"It's a good thing if it's really for peace, not publicity," said Carlo Taschetti, 19, as he stood in front of Piazza Venezia. He took a second look at the jubilant mass around him. "I'm for peace, but not this protest."
Berlin New German Unity At Old Dividing Line
BERLIN, Feb. 15 - There are few more powerful symbols of German unity than the Brandenburg Gate, at the meeting point of east and west Berlin. It was here in 1989 that Germans celebrated the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. It was also here, after Sept. 11, that Germans gathered to show solidarity with the United States.
On this cold afternoon, however, the monument stood for German unity of a different kind, as hundreds of thousands of people peacefully marched here to protest the likelihood of an American-led war in Iraq.
"Old Europe" peace stickers and antiwar balloons distributed by the organizers set the general tone. Many marchers also displayed their viewpoints in homemade signs written on cardboard or spray-painted on cloth. "No War for Oil," was one popular slogan. "Warmonger Go Home!" read another, displaying a picture of President Bush.
Henrik Buchhorn, 20, a student who traveled seven hours by bus with his classmates to take part in the rally, said he was here to protest the war, not the United States. "I'm not anti-American," he said. "I'm against the way the Bush administration has handled Iraq."
Starting around midday, the protesters formed two giant processions from separate staging areas in east and west Berlin. The marchers gradually approached the Brandenburg Gate from opposite directions and converged in the early afternoon.
The police estimated that about 500,000 people took part in the demonstration - which would make it the largest in Germany since World War II.
"What happens in the end should be up to the taxpayer," said Freimut Schwarzkopf, 47, an employee of Volkswagen in Braunschweig, who came to march with 25 co-workers. "A war in Iraq is going to cost lives and damage the world economy."
Participants who were alive during World War II expressed concern about the collateral effects of an attack on Iraq. "I lived through the bombing of Germany as a child," said Gisela Baumann, 68, a retired veterinarian. "America has never experienced that. It's the civilian population, not Saddam, who will suffer."
Along the Unter den Linden, the avenue leading to the Brandenburg Gate from the east, the atmosphere was calm and police control was sparse. The entrance to the nearby American Embassy, however, was fortified with barricades, a row of police vans and a tank.
Lutz Meyer, 50, a psychologist who grew up in the former East Germany, said he was taking part in his first protest since German reunification. "When we were growing up, we always looked to America as a sign of hope, and I'm very depressed to be demonstrating against the United States," he said. "But there is this arrogance and missionary zeal about Iraq right now that makes no sense to me." NYT
DEMONSTRATION AT U.S. EMBASSY
Antiwar protesters march in Tokyo
By NAO SHIMOYACHI
Sunday, February 16, 2003
Japan Times Staff writer
Thousands of people took to Japan's streets Saturday to protest against a probable war in Iraq.
News photo Antiwar protesters take to the streets of Tokyo's Shibuya district Saturday as part of an International peace demonstration expected to involve more than 400 cities around the world.
The events were part of an international day of action that may have involved as many as 10 million people in at least 400 cities around the world.
Several hundred people packed the narrow street in front of the American Embassy in Tokyo to express anger at the United States for moving closer to military action.
"Respect international law!" an American demonstrator said through a loud speaker, a chant that was repeated by the crowd. Other chants included, "Don't attack Iraq!" and "U.S. kills for oil!"
Children drew pictures depicting their wishes for peace while a group of demonstrators sang a peace song nearby.
"This is more than I expected," said Akira Kawasaki, who has organized protests in front of the embassy every Saturday since early January. He submitted to an embassy official a collection of messages written by people taking part in the protest.
"Thanks to information technology, we have been able to mobilize more people this time," said Kawasaki, who arranged protests during the Gulf War in 1991. "There are many people here whom I didn't know until today."
Another organizer said she received numerous inquiries from people who said they had never attended a demonstration.
Makoto Nakamura, a 25-year-old computer salesman, was one such person. He encouraged college friends to join him.
"I heard war could break out sometime in March. I felt it's useless complaining to the TV (at home)," he said.
In Tokyo's Shibuya district, thousands of people took part in protests that continued into the evening.
Similar protests were held in major cities throughout the country, including Osaka, Nara, Shizuoka and Fukuoka, organizers said.
"I think we can be optimistic," said Kawasaki, citing the fact that the U.S. is facing strong opposition, including from powerful countries such as Germany and France.
"We can act to encourage the countries that are calling for continued inspections," he said.
Iraqi tries to avert war An Iraqi man living in Japan said Saturday that he will return to his homeland for the first time in four years with a group of Japanese citizens in the hope of preventing a possible U.S.-led attack on Iraq.
"I worry about my family. They are already suffering as a result of economic sanctions," said Ismail Ali, 34, who lives in Tachikawa, western Tokyo.
Ali, whose mother and the families of his brother and sister are in Iraq, will leave Japan on Sunday with the Iraq International Citizen Research Group.
As well as assisting the group, which is to investigate the current situation in Iraq, Ali plans to marry his 30-year-old fiancee in Baghdad. Apart from hoping for peace in his country, Ali says his other hope is to come back to Japan with his new wife.
"No one desires war," he said, but added, "I can't tell what will happen depending on the situation. I may get drafted."
Ali, who arrived in Japan in 1999 as a student and is now working as an interpreter, was living in Baghdad at the time of the Persian Gulf War.
Protests for peace
By Julia Duin
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
February 16, 2003
America's newest anti-war movement, which began as a grass-roots effort bolstered by a cluster of sympathetic Web sites, blossomed this weekend into demonstrations in an estimated 150 cities around the country, including a mass rally in the streets of New York yesterday.
Anti-war demonstrators packed the streets north of the United Nations headquarters yesterday, filling police-barricaded protest zones for more than 20 blocks.
"Just because you have the biggest gun does not mean you must use it," Martin Luther King III told the demonstrators as he stood before an enormous banner reading: "The World Says No To War."
New York police wouldn't provide a crowd estimate, but the protesters stretched for 20 blocks along First Avenue and spilled west to Second Avenue, where police in riot gear and on horseback patrolled. Organizers had hoped to draw at least 100,000 people.
Police reported some arrests, but didn't immediately provide details. A similar rally is planned for this morning in San Francisco. Anti-war protests yesterday occurred in 300 cities worldwide, including 78 cities in Europe.
Anti-war rallies had been planned in about 150 U.S. cities, from Yakima, Wash., to St. Petersburg, Fla., as well as in major cities including Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Miami and Seattle. Protesters had been buoyed by encouraging turnouts on the Mall on Oct. 26 and during a sunny but freezing day on Jan. 18.
The majority of Americans - 66 percent - back a war in Iraq to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. They identify far more with the swashbuckling battle fever in the new Civil War movie "Gods and Generals" than with any pacifist outpouring. But as soon as body bags start arriving from the Iraqi front, anti-war demonstrators believe popular sentiment will swing their way.
"The greatest patriots of this country are here today," Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, told a sign-toting anti-war crowd that stretched four blocks along the Mall on Jan. 18. "The president said it'd be a cold day in Washington before this country turns against this war, but it is a cold day in Washington and here we are."
Some of the old allies - from far-left political movements such as the Worker's World Party (a Marxist group) and Millions4Mumia, a coalition to free convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal - are teaming up with new organizations such as Veterans for Common Sense, founded last August, to oppose the likely war.
"In the veterans community, there's a lot of concern for the United States shifting to a new national security posture where we wage war against perceived future threats instead of responding to imminent threats," said Eric Gustafson, who helped found the District-based veterans group.
"For many of us who have experienced combat, we know how horrific the war can be. It should be a last resort," said Mr. Gustafson, who spent eight months in far northeastern Saudi Arabia as part of the 864th Engineer Battalion during the 1991 Persian Gulf war. "Seeing the carnage in Kuwait after the war; you don't forget things like that."
Anti-war passion at local level
Opposition has seeped into local governments. Seventy city councils and county governments around the country have passed resolutions against the looming war on Iraq, including Seattle, Chicago, Portland, Maine, Philadelphia and the District. Copies of their resolutions were delivered Thursday to the White House.
The upcoming conflict is emerging as America's first Internet war, bolstered by a host of Web sites: citiesforpeace.org, commondreams.org, antiwar.com, wagingpeace.org, moveon.org, and epic-usa.org. They can get anti-war bulletins out more quickly than during previous conflicts. Case in point: the legal tug of war during the past week concerning yesterday's demonstration in New York. A federal judge ruled Monday that protesters were not allowed to march through the city but could only rally at a fixed point.
United for Peace and Justice (UPJ), the umbrella group organizing yesterday's New York demonstration, raised much of its $150,000 budget for the gathering through its www.unitedforpeace.org Web site. With links to 57 affiliated organizations, it serves as a clearinghouse for the peace movement.
Based in New York, with offices in the District and San Francisco, UPJ was founded last year and now has a core staff of between five and 10 activists plus staff donated from other peace organizations. Spokesman Jason Kafoury said speeches by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell at the United Nations and President Bush last week only "galvanized the anti-war movement."
"It showed how speculative the Bush administration's push for war is," Mr. Kafoury said. "There were only a few pictures and a couple of intercepted audios. For all the billions we have spent on our intelligence, I'd expect more documents, more intercepted exchanges and more videos."
Others, however, suggest it's the anti-war protesters who are jumping the gun.
"Protests in the 1960s took years to reach that point, but here they are flying out of the chute in top gear," said Joel Kernodle of Marines and Other Veterans Engaging Un-American Traitors, a counterprotest group. "A lot of the left realizes that because of the overwhelming technology, this isn't going to last very long, so if they want to get their 2 cents in they have to do it now."
"It's become significantly easier to organize protests these days if you have a fax machine and an Internet connection," said Rice University political science professor Richard Stoll. Only after the spring of 1970, when four college protesters died May 4 at Kent State University in Ohio and two more protesters died May 14 at Jackson State University in Mississippi, did a majority of Americans turn against the Vietnam war, he said.
Not giving 'a balanced view'
Unlike Vietnam, this coming war involves a cheering section of Iraqis and Kurds who welcome American military intervention. Few of last month's protesters may have seen the black-coated figure of Aziz al-Taee, a representative of the Iraqi-American Council who watched the demonstration.
"They are not giving people a balanced view of Iraq," said Mr. al-Taee, who spoke at a counterprotest close to the Vietnam Veterans Wall. "They never tell of Saddam's horrible crimes. They never show pictures of Halabja, but they only want to show pictures of [United Nations] sanctions." Halabja was the scene of a mass gassing of 6,000 Kurds by Saddam's forces in 1988.
What would be considered a balanced view? Mr. Stoll says it's the messenger more than the message.
"Who gave the anti-war movement a black eye were hippies, the Weathermen, socialists, communists, people who used foul language, Black Panthers around whom the media focused their attention," he said. "In the [Lyndon] Johnson administration, most of the foot soldiers were college students and young people. During the Nixon administration, demonstrations became more broad-based. More Democrats came out against it once Johnson was gone.
"If I am a conservative Republican and I see [Senate Minority Leader] Tom Daschle against the war, I will not listen to him, but I will listen to a Republican senator," he said. "During Vietnam, a lot of Americans were against the war, but they didn't like any of the protesters: how they looked and how they smelled and how they acted."
What makes the current anti-war movement different from that of the 1960s is that some conservatives have crossed the picket line.
Unlike previous conflicts, a few prominent conservatives have broken ranks to oppose the looming war against Iraq, beginning with an Aug. 15 column in the Wall Street Journal. "Don't Attack Saddam," was written by former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, who served in the first Bush administration.
Then Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, the general who commanded U.S. forces during the Gulf war, began broadcasting his doubts about the military's ability to occupy Iraq and dethrone Saddam without massive bloodshed. However, on NBC's "Meet the Press" last Sunday, Gen. Schwarzkopf said he changed his mind after hearing Mr. Powell's Feb. 5 presentation to the United Nations Security Council.
Other conservatives also have sounded uncertain notes. Syndicated columnist Robert Novak took to calling Mr. Bush "the war president." Retired Army Col. David Hackworth began posting cautionary pieces on his hackworth.com Web site, urging the president to contain Saddam instead of going to war against him. Jack Kemp, co-director of Empower America and the 1996 Republican vice presidential candidate, wrote on Jan. 22 that "President Bush has played his cards well on Iraq, and we are so close to victory that it would be a tragedy if a few war hawks pushed us into an unnecessary invasion and occupation of an Arab country."
And on Feb. 6, libertarian columnist Joseph Sobran pointed out that Mr. Powell never has effectively linked Iraq to the September 11 attacks.
"The purpose of the 1991 Gulf war was to restore the status quo when Iraq seized Kuwait. Gulf war II has no such pretext," he wrote. "The American people aren't in the mood for yet another war."
New alliances have been struck, such as the American Civil Liberties Union's recent decision to hire retired Republican Reps. Dick Armey of Texas and Bob Barr of Georgia as consultants on the one issue they agree on: privacy rights of citizens. Both men have criticized the Bush administration on post-September 11 violations of civil liberties. The strange-bedfellows phenomenon got so pronounced that www.salon.com posted a Dec. 13 article, "Rock-ribbed Republican - and anti-Bush," saying the sheer numbers of dovish Republicans was creating new political alignments.
Not that such matches are made in heaven, said Jon Basil Utley, a former foreign correspondent for the Journal of Commerce, whose Web site, againstbombing.com, asks "Should Conservatives Join Leftist Demonstrations?"
The answer: Yes.
"Although," he says, "I admit I find it tough seeing display tables of fringe groups still supporting the Vietnamese communists or far-out socialists condemning free markets. However, the battle is bigger today and few enough are ever willing to dare to fight big government, much less when it plans a war. The Washington establishment really thrives on war."
Younger conservatives also have weighed in.
In "The Conservative Case for Peace," published last fall on Doublethink, a Web magazine of America's Future Foundation, which is a think tank aimed at Generation X, Timothy P. Carney lamented the "Beltway conservatives, who beat the drum for invasion in their columns and talking-head appearances."
His case is for a "culture of life" that, in order to be comprehensive, "must regard killing universally as an evil," wrote Mr. Carney, a writer for the Evans-Novak Political Report. "War makes us root for the death of people we've never met. War, insofar as it is carried out with our dollars and by our leaders, implicates us in killings."
Religious groups against war
Liberal and mainline Protestant church groups also have come out against the war, as has the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which represents about 62 million Catholics.
"It is difficult to justify the resort to war against Iraq, lacking clear and adequate evidence of an imminent attack of a grave nature," says a statement posted on the Catholic Bishops' Web site, www.usccb.org. U.S. bishops fear a war "would not meet the strict conditions in Catholic teaching for overriding the strong presumption against military force."
Pope John Paul II has likewise urged the United States to refrain from waging war. At the heart of the debate is the Christian doctrine of the just war, developed by St. Augustine, whereby exceptions can be made to the New Testament doctrine of turning the other cheek.
There are even debates within denominations, such as the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church, whose presiding bishop, the Most Rev. Frank Griswold, told the Religion News Service that "We are loathed and I think the world has every right to loathe us. ... I'd like to be able to go somewhere in the world and not have to apologize for being from the United States."
President George Bush, the president's father, who is Episcopalian, struck back in a speech broadcast live on Fox News Channel.
"I found these particular quotes to be offensive," the former president said. "And knowing the president as I do, I found them uncalled for." Bishop Griswold later said his quotes had been taken out of context.
Many black churches are likewise against the war, judging from a standing-room-only rally on Jan. 20 at Plymouth Congregational Church in Northeast. "They say black people are not concerned about this war," Damu Smith, founder of Black Voices for Peace, said to the crowd. "Well, look at you all today."
But traditionally liberal Jewish groups - many of which opposed the Vietnam war - are largely sitting this conflict out. So are leaders of the country's largest Protestant denomination, the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention, along with millions of evangelical Christians.
"That left-leaning church leaders are speaking beyond the level of their information or competence is no excuse for right-leaning church leaders to make the same mistake," says Richard Cizik, spokesman for the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents 51 denominations and 250 parachurch organizations.
"The NAE is extremely interested in not being positionalized in support of this war. Individually, many members are supportive of the president's dilemma, but to collectively take a stand in support of the war is not where they are at."
Seeking an answer
In terms of anti-war groups, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, known as ANSWER, was first off the block to mount large demonstrations for peace. Styling itself as a coalition for various anti-war groups, its Web site, www.aicenter.org, recounts its growing influence - a plaudit on the New York Times editorial page essentially agreeing with ANSWER's position - plus a poll showing its Web site in the top 1 percent in popularity.
Few of its youthful backers may know its ties to the Workers World Party (WWP), a socialist group. It is also tied to the International Action Center (IAC), founded by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, himself co-chairman of the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of Serbia now on trial at the Balkans war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.
"It's one of the Leninist, Trotskyist organizations that has emerged in the past few decades," said Stephen Zunes, chairman of the Peace and Justice Studies program at the University of San Francisco. "They all try to latch onto some popular cause. They are good organizers, they can hustle and they have a good hierarchical structure, unlike a lot of peace groups that do a lot of things by consensus. So these groups have a disproportionate influence in some sectors of the peace movement."
The IAC folks, who are a lot "of the same people" involved in ANSWER and the WWP, upset anti-war moderates "because they are not willing to say a bad thing about Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic," Mr. Zunes said. "And if you ask questions, they accuse you of red-baiting."
ANSWER, which did not return repeated phone calls requesting comment, is criticized by activists who say it doesn't represent the true anti-war movement; it was just the first group to get the necessary parade permits for last month's rallies. Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the San Francisco-based Tikkun magazine and a founder of the Tikkun Community, was refused permission to speak at today's San Francisco rally because of his pro-Israel stance.
"The fundamental thrust of the demonstration was misguided," he said, "because it was against Jews.
"We are upset with ANSWER because it's anti-Israel. A significant portion of American Jewry is critical of Israeli policy but we are critical of Palestinian terrorism against Israelis as well. ANSWER has a one-sided approach where it's made Israel the culprit. Last month in San Francisco, part of the folks who said they were part of the ANSWER crowd, who were going about collecting money, were wearing kaffiyas."
[Much as I hate to include any of the debate about ANSWER, since once again the media are diverting attention from the issues, since the Washington Times chose to include this stupid debate in its big article today, here's what the Washington Post had to say. et]
Antiwar Organizer's Politics Cause Rift
By Evelyn Nieves
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 16, 2003
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 15 -- When the first large antiwar rallies began in October, here and in Washington, few of the tens of thousands of marchers had even heard of International ANSWER., one of the main organizers.
Some pundits, most of them conservative, complained that International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) was an offshoot of the Trotskyite Workers World Party, which has defended dictators such as Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and North Korea's Kim Jong Il and decried the state of Israel. The critics said this proved that the antiwar movement was out of step with society's mainstream.
But as the rallies grew larger and more prominent, drawing hundreds of thousands of people in San Francisco and tens of thousands more in smaller protests nationwide, ANSWER's politics seemed moot. To the vast majority of people marching this weekend in global demonstrations against war on Iraq, they still are. Yet over the last several days, ANSWER's politics have created a rift within the leadership of the antiwar movement that demonstrates the difficulty in having such a small, radical group play a prominent role in organizing the peace effort.
The problem was exposed when Rabbi Michael Lerner, one of the nation's most prominent liberal Jewish leaders and editor of the San Francisco-based magazine Tikkun, went public to complain that he was "banned" from speaking at the Sunday rally here, because ANSWER objected to his positions on Israel. (Lerner favors a two-state solution, while ANSWER is fervently anti-Israel.) "A complete falsification," countered Richard Becker of ANSWER Lerner was not invited to speak, said Becker and other rally organizers, because he had previously "attacked" ANSWER's positions, and organizers of the rally had agreed not to have speakers who had criticized any of the organizing groups.
Lerner had criticized ANSWER for allowing too many speakers who believe that the United States is threatening to attack Iraq because Israel wants the war and far too few speakers "who share my view that this war is not in the best interests of either Israel or of the United States."
He was also quoted in a newspaper saying: "There are good reasons to oppose the war and Saddam. Still, it feels that we are being manipulated when subjected to mindless speeches and slogans whose knee-jerk anti-imperialism rarely articulates the deep reasons we should oppose corporate globalization."
In a news release, the four coalitions organizing the antiwar demonstrations -- Bay Area United Against War, Not In Our Name project, United for Peace and Justice and International ANSWER -- wrote: "When members of the Tikkun community, who have actively participated in the organizing meetings for Feb. 16, suggested to Bay Area United for Peace and Justice, that it propose Michael Lerner as a speaker, it was explained by members of UFPJ that since he had publicly attacked ANSWER in both the New York Times and Tikkun community e-mail newsletters, his inclusion in the program would violate the agreement among the Feb. 16 organizing groups."
In other words, dissent among dissenters was not allowed.
But many national leaders of the antiwar movement refuse to accept the San Francisco coalitions' explanation. In a letter on the Web site Commondreams.org, more than 150 of the most notable progressive writers and intellectuals in the country, including Howard Zinn, Barbara Ehrenreich, Stanley Aronowitz, Jack Newfield and Frances Fox Piven, strongly protest the refusal to allow Lerner to speak and they take direct aim at ANSWER: "We believe this is a serious mistake, and that it exemplifies ANSWER's unfitness to lead mass mobilizations against war in Iraq."
Privately, organizers of the San Francisco rally are furious at Lerner for going public and thus, they said, giving conservative critics such as Rush Limbaugh an opportunity to exploit the divisions in the antiwar movement. Publicly, they criticized the news media for focusing on internal divisions rather than on the strength and broad base of the growing movement.
"There's a lot of focus recently on divisions in the antiwar movement," said Andrea Buffa, co-director of the United for Peace and Justice coalition. "What I think is a lot more reflective of reality is the incredible way that all different kinds of people and organizations are bridging their differences to try to stop this war. The vast majority of people who have been going to peace marches are just regular people who aren't associated with any organization -- whether United for Peace and Justice or ANSWER."
Millions around world march against war
From combined dispatches
February 16, 2003
LONDON - Millions of protesters, many of them marching in the capitals of the United States' traditional allies, demonstrated yesterday against U.S. plans to attack Iraq.
The largest outcry against war occurred in the European countries whose leaders have vocally supported President Bush's position at the United Nations. A million people marched the streets of Rome, 1.3 million paraded in Barcelona and 2 million in Madrid.
In London, at least 750,000 people joined in the city's biggest demonstration ever, police said. Berlin had as many as a half-million on the streets, and Paris was estimated to have as many as 100,000.
London's marchers hoped, in the words of keynote speaker Jesse Jackson, to "turn up the heat" on Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has been President Bush's staunchest European ally for his tough Iraq policy.
Rome protesters showed their disagreement with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's support for Mr. Bush, while demonstrators in Paris and Berlin backed the skeptical stances of their governments.
"What I would say to Mr. Blair is stop toadying up to the Americans and listen to your own people, us, for once," said Elsie Hinks, 77, who marched in London with her husband, Sidney, a retired Church of England priest.
Some leaders of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government took part in the Berlin protest, which turned the tree-lined boulevard between the Brandenburg Gate and the 19th-century Victory Column into a sea of banners, balloons emblazoned with "No war in Iraq" and demonstrators swaying to live music. Police estimated the crowd at 300,000 to 500,000.
"We Germans in particular have a duty to do everything to ensure that war, above all a war of aggression, never again becomes a legitimate means of policy," shouted Friedrich Schorlemmer, a Lutheran pastor and former East German pro-democracy activist.
In the Paris crowd at the Place Denfert-Rochereau, a large American flag bore the black inscription, "Leave us alone."
Gerald Lenoir, 41, of Berkley, Calif., came to Paris specifically to support the French demonstrators. "I am here to protest my government's aggression against Iraq," he said.
In Southern France, about 10,000 people demonstrated in Toulouse against the United States, chanting, "They bomb, they exploit, they pollute, enough of this barbarity."
Police estimated that 60,000 turned out in Oslo, 50,000 in the bitter cold in Brussels, while about 35,000 gathered peacefully in frigid Stockholm.
About 80,000 marched in Dublin, Irish police said. Crowds were estimated at 60,000 in Seville, Spain; 40,000 in Bern, Switzerland; 30,000 in Glasgow, Scotland; 25,000 in Copenhagen; 15,000 in Vienna, Austria; 10,000 in Amsterdam; 5,000 in Cape Town and 4,000 in Johannesburg, in South Africa; 5,000 in Tokyo; and 2,000 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
"War is not a solution. War is a problem," Czech philosopher Erazim Kohak told a crowd of about 500 in Prague.
In Baghdad, tens of thousands of Iraqis, many carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles, demonstrated to support Saddam Hussein and denounce the United States.
"Our swords are out of their sheaths, ready for battle," read one of hundreds of banners carried by marchers along Palestine Street, a broad Baghdad avenue.
In Damascus, the capital of neighboring Syria, an estimated 200,000 protesters chanted anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli slogans as they marched to the People's Assembly.
Several thousand protesters in Athens unfurled a giant banner across the wall of the Acropolis - "NATO, U.S. and EU equals War" - before heading toward the U.S. Embassy.
Police fired tear gas in clashes with several hundred anarchists wearing hoods and crash helmets, who smashed store windows and threw a gasoline bomb at a newspaper office. Thirteen youths were arrested, and five policemen and two protesters were injured.
In Moscow, 300 people marched to the U.S. Embassy, with one placard urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to "be firmer with America."
Three thousand to 5,000 people marched through a suburb of Canberra, the Australian capital, to protest government support for U.S. policy. Australia has committed 2,000 troops to the Persian Gulf.
The streets were full but still they came
By Neil Mercer, Sean Nicholls and Ellen Connolly
February 17 2003
Sydney Morning Herald
All ages, all creeds, all ethnic backgrounds ... Sarah Yassine, 9, of Auburn, followed by a giant Grim Reaper as the march made its way up George Street yesterday. Photo: Peter Rae
The centre of Sydney came to a standstill yesterday when more than 250,000 people crammed into Hyde Park and the surrounding streets to protest against the looming war with Iraq.
The peace rally, thought to be the biggest in the country's history - police put the crowd at more than 200,000, while organisers put it at about 300,000 - took the total number of Australians who have marched since Friday to more than 500,000.
In Sydney there were babies, toddlers and teenagers, the middle-aged and the elderly, and they came from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. They arrived from all directions, mostly on foot, but also in strollers, on dad's back, on stilts and in wheelchairs, although many were left stranded when the bus and rail network was unable to cope.
Thousands carried banners, paper doves, United Nations flags and placards.
"Kill Bush, Blair, Sharon and Howard," said one, but it missed the mood of the rally, which was serious but good-natured.
Closer to the mark was the popular "Somewhere in Texas a village is missing its idiot."
"No war" signs were everywhere and "No war" T-shirts sold by the Greens were disappearing fast even before the rally started just after noon.
Tom Uren, the former Labor Party minister who first took part in an anti-war march in 1969, said: "I've never seen anything like it."
As the crowd grew, it was difficult to move in parts of the park.
Dozens sought a vantage point on the roof of the entrance to St James station in Elizabeth Street and the nearby coffee shop, while others climbed trees.
Applause and laughter greeted an effigy of George Bush towing an effigy of John Howard as a dog - with his nose regularly making contact with the US President's backside.
Thunderous cheers and applause greeted speakers, including the Greens' Senator Bob Brown and the journalist John Pilger.
Just before the rally got under way, Senator Brown told The Herald: "This is going to send a message to our Prime Minister that he cannot ignore. This is democracy on the move."
The former Liberal minister Peter Baume, now chancellor of the Australian National University, said backstage: "We have never started a war. Why start now?"
Commenting on the crowd, he said: "There's a message there, and if they [the Government] don't listen to it they are mugs."
A few metres away from him the NSW Deputy Premier, Andrew Refshauge, stood talking to members of the crowd.
At 1.10pm the march got under way, or at least it did for those in Elizabeth Street. For those near the stage, making the 100 metres to the street - normally covered in a minute or so - took the best part of an hour.
Just before 2pm a decision to divert the march down Art Gallery Road and into the Domain was taken by organisers on the advice of the police, who believed the numbers made it impossible to steer them back into Hyde Park.
Once there, the marchers collapsed onto the grass in the heat, many seeking some shade under trees.
"It was beyond everybody's expectations," said Bruce Childs, a spokesman for the Walk Against the War Coalition.
"We knew it was going to be big, but didn't realise it was going to be as big as it was."
He believed about 300,000 people had "walked the route".
A spokesman for State Transit said it had underestimated the size of the crowd, many of whom were forced to walk many kilometres into town when bulging trains, buses and light rail left thousands behind.
Extra services were added in the afternoon as people left.
Adding to the chaos, the North Shore line was closed yesterday due to track work.
Buses were brought in to replace the trains.
War of the words
Placards spotted among the marchers yesterday:
Somewhere in Texas a village has lost its idiot
Howard is Bush's fridge magnet
Fight plaque not Iraq
War is so 20th century
Stop mad cowboy disease
War begins with Dubya
Axis of Weasels
That's Oil Folks
If it's not UN it's not ON
How Many Lives Per Gallon?
Not in my name, not with my taxes
Weapons of Mass Distraction
Label the protesters Americans
By Oliver Mackson firstname.lastname@example.org
February 16, 2003
So what does an anti-war protester look like?
Sorry. Trick question. There's no broad brush you can use to paint the people who filled up the streets of New York City yesterday. There'll be those who run down the protesters as a bunch of granola-chewing commies. That's wrong. There's no label you can slap on the people who are trying to put the brakes on Washington's bomb Iraq talk, whether they're doing it by marching with signs, writing letters to the editor or going on the radio.
The skeptics run the gamut from college kids to Washington insiders to silver-haired grandmothers like Mary Reader of Middletown.
If her name rings a bell, it's because you may have seen her in the paper. She says that she and her protest sign got the boot from Orange Community College on Feb. 6. The college says security people were just saying hello. OK, let's move on. Let's take another look at Mary and see what she's about. Let's see why it's wrong to dismiss the protesters as a bunch of wackos.
Mary's a 65-year-old retired English teacher whose voice barely rises above a whisper. She's a past president of the League of Women Voters, an outfit that's as American as apple pie and duct tape.
Mary's been a Little League mom, a classroom volunteer, a cooking teacher for 4-H. Her brother served in Vietnam. She and her husband, the Rev. Robert Reader, raised three kids in a solidly middle-class Middletown neighborhood. They've lived here for 37 years. They've got an American flag in front of their house.
She and Robert would have been marching in New York yesterday, but they had a wedding in New Jersey. So instead, Mary fired up the computer and fired off letters to members of Congress and the Senate and the White House.
"My concern is that people are somewhat immune to, or romanticizing, the ugliness of the human cost of war," She says. "It's not the military I object to. It's the legislators, who remove themselves from this stuff," she adds. "War is not diplomacy. War is failure."
The protesters aren't all pacifists who think there's never a time to fight. But there's a powerful case against going to war in Iraq right now. Pick a reason: U.N. weapons inspectors say they're making progress, there's no clear link between Saddam Hussein and the murderers of Sept. 11, 2001. There's no evidence Saddam has weapons that can touch the United States. Congress hasn't declared war.
Even all the war protesters aren't on the same page on some issues. This isn't some Marxist monolith. Last year, Mary and Robert went to a march in Washington. They were disgusted by people in the crowd who cursed Israel and compared Ariel Sharon to Hitler. The Readers walked away from that part of the crowd.
There are conservatives like Pat Buchanan who are opposed to a war on Iraq. He's the consummate D.C. insider, a former speechwriter for Richard Nixon.
Mary Reader isn't a talking D.C. head, a wide-eyed college kid or a wacko. But the chances are, there's someone like her in your neighborhood, whether you live in Kingston or the Catskills or Middletown:
Someone who works hard for a living, or who's retired after many years of hard work. Someone who donates time and energy to all the things that make our little towns up here better places to live. Someone who questions authority, someone who can have a disagreement without shouting "traitor!" or "Hitler!"
On second thought, there is a one-word label that fits such people: American.
Oliver Mackson is on assignment. He can be reached at 346-3130 and email@example.com.
NYC protesters blast war
By Victor Whitman
Times Herald-Record firstname.lastname@example.org
February 16, 2003
Photo - mounted NYPD officers charge war protesters on the sidewalk: http://www.recordonline.com/archive/2003/02/16/etspc2.jpg
New York - Yesterday's massive peace demonstration near the United Nations began for Bill Cramer in a drafty train shelter at the Beacon stop overlooking the icy Hudson River.
The 56-year-old Cooperstown man stepped on "The Peace Train" to Grand Central Terminal with his teen-age daughter at her first demonstration.
The veteran of many Vietnam war protests said he didn't know what to expect as the train rolled closer to a mob of protesters and NYPD police officers. Would the peace demonstration be peaceful?
"I'm a little worried," he said. "I think a lot of people feel very strongly about this."
Cramer soon disappeared into an ocean of protesters that included some 5,000 Hudson Valley residents. Organizers estimated the crowd at anywhere from 375,000 to 500,000 people - vastly surpassing their hopes of 100,000 people. NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said about 100,000 people were in the crowd, which stretched 20 blocks deep and spanned three avenues.
And though the huge crowd was, for the most part, organized and peaceful, there were moments of tension and struggle between protesters and police.
"It's picking up more hostility,'' observed Shelley Ryan, who was stuck in her SUV at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue for more than 20 minutes as a mob blocked the road in front of her. "I want to get out of here."
Fifty arrests were made and two people hospitalized, Kelly said. Eight officers were injured, including a mounted cop who was pulled off his horse, he said.
At 3rd Avenue and 56th Street, a man tried unsuccessfully to rally a crowd to rush police blocking the way. Up the street, a young man waved a red and black flag atop a truck stranded in the center lane. Demonstrators shouted, "Hell no, we won't go to fight a war for Texaco!" and carried banners saying "Drop Bush, not bombs" and "No blood for oil."
Buses and trucks were marooned on Third Avenue, halted by the crowd. One protester walked on stilts wearing a death mask and Statue of Liberty crown. A young girl, about 5 years old, held a "No War in Iraq" sign as tall as she.
"We're not supposed to be marching," said Charlene Deck of Ossining, noting that a court order had prohibited protesters from marching in the streets. "I love it."
The rally was held under tight security, as New York law enforcement remained on high alert after recent warnings of a possible terrorist attack. Undercover officers carried tiny radiation detectors, while sharpshooters worked from rooftops. Bomb-sniffing dogs were out in force, and hundreds of police officers patrolled the area around the United Nations.
The crowd stretched for 20 blocks along First Avenue, where the demonstrators were permitted to gather after the city - citing security issues - refused to allow a march past the United Nations.
Many marchers ended up on Second and Third avenues, complaining that police kept them from crossing barriers to First Avenue. Police, in riot gear and on horseback, arrested at least a dozen people on Second Avenue while protesters screamed, "Our Streets!"
Eighty-six-year-old Matti Mattson, an ambulance driver during the Spanish Civil War, was encouraged by the size of the crowd.
"I think it's great,'' he said, as he walked in front of the blue banner of the Lincoln Brigade. Among the few still alive who fought against the Fascists in 1937, he was optimistic the march would change the president's mind about Iraq. "It must have an effect."
Millions give dramatic rebuff to US war plans
Sunday February 16, 2003 4:57 PM
Weekend protests worldwide by millions of anti-war activists delivered a stinging rebuke to Washington and its allies on their hard-line advance towards war.
The unprecedented wave of demonstrations, involving eight million to 11.5 million people, according to various estimates, further clouded US war plans a day after they suffered a diplomatic setback at the United Nations.
Significantly, some of the biggest rallies were held in countries which have strongly supported the pledge by US President George W. Bush to use force if necessary to strip Iraq of suspected weapons of mass destruction.
In Sydney Sunday, Prime Minister John Howard was greeted upon his return from a nine-day trip that took him to the United States and Britain by the largest anti-war demonstration ever seen in Australia.
An estimated 250,000 people filled the streets of the antipodean nation's largest city, following on from demonstrations that began Friday in Melbourne and cropped up from Brisbane to Canberra.
A crowd estimated by organizers to be three million-strong marched through Rome to condemn Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's backing of Washington. More than five million people turned out in separate demonstrations in Spain, protest leaders said.
Even Britain, the staunchest US ally, saw at least 750,000 people tramp through London in the country's biggest protest ever to give their government's stance the thumbs down. Organizers put the figure at more than two million.
"If we don't stand up and say no to Bush, he thinks he can do what he likes because he's got the most powerful military and economy in the world," said Nick Lobnitz, a 24-year-old Briton.
Demonstrators turned out in droves Saturday in New York, where organizers expected more than 100,000 people as the focal point of the largest display so far of US public opposition to an attack on Iraq.
The White House, which appears to have been rattled by the surge in resistance to its calls for quick military action, was low key in its response to Saturday's massive display of pacifist feeling.
"The president is a strong advocate of freedom and democracy, and one of the democratic values that we hold dear is the right of the people to peaceably assemble to express their views," said Jeanie Mamo, a spokeswoman.
Mamo also stressed that Bush views the military option in Iraq "as a last resort. He still hopes for a peaceful resolution, and that is up to (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein."
There were other signs the US march toward war was losing steam, at least for the moment, after most members of the UN Security Council urged Friday that UN weapons inspectors be given more time to do their work in Iraq.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair sounded a conciliatory note Saturday after a relatively upbeat report issued by chief UN arms inspector Hans Blix on Iraqi cooperation in his search for chemical and biological arms.
"There will be more time given to inspections," and Blix will report back to the Security Council on February 28, Blair told a Labour Party conference in Scotland. But he added the crisis cannot be allowed to drag on forever.
A senior diplomat at the United Nations in New York said an early Security Council vote on a resolution to authorize the use of force against Iraq looked unlikely after Friday's show of support for more inspections.
The diplomat, who asked not to be named, acknowledged the anti-war camp was likely to gain more support at an open council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, when non-members will be allowed to take the floor.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and the president of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, also voiced their support for UN weapons inspectors to continue their work in Iraq.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who backed Bush in the war in Afghanistan, told him by telephone Friday that a strike against Iraq is "not a good option," officials in Islamabad said Saturday.
From Baghdad, papal envoy Cardinal Roger Etchegaray told Italian television after a two-hour meeting with Saddam that the Iraqi leader felt "more relieved" after Friday's report by the UN disarmament inspectors.
"He is doing everything to avoid war," said Etchegaray, who brought Saddam a personal message from Pope John Paul II. "He is the first to be concerned. He is the first to be mobilising all his energies to avoid war."
Saddam's deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz, a Christian, spent Saturday morning in Assisi praying at the tomb of St Francis as part of a peace ceremony organized by an Italian Catholic Foundation outside the anti-war march.
Arab foreign ministers met in Cairo to discuss the crisis. Egypt said an extraordinary Arab summit on Iraq and the Palestinian question would be held at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh in the week beginning February 22.
The United States has already deployed some 150,000 troops in the Gulf region in anticipation of a move against Iraq but is still trying to win the approval of Turkey to use its soil to mount a northern front.
Turkey is seeking NATO's assistance to prepare for possible reprisals by Iraq. But France, Belgium and Germany sparked a crisis within the alliance by blocking such help until the issue of a war against Baghdad was decided.
Diplomats in Brussels said NATO ambassadors should reach a compromise in the dispute by Tuesday.
City throbs to drumbeat of peace
February 17 2003
My life as a dog ... Effigies of Bush and Howard march along with the crowd. Photo: Rick Stevens
The Grim Reaper came, and girls in tutus, all passionately against the war, Valerie Lawson writes.
The people's army marched as one, with one voice, one heartbeat, through the streets of Sydney.
To the insistent rhythm of the chant "No war, no war," punctuated by three hand claps, they marched as they sang as they whistled as they cheered.
"No, war, no war," cried the little girl in a pink fairy dress, the pregnant woman with a peace sign painted on her belly, the man chattering on his mobile dressed as the Grim Reaper, the 33 members of the Wayward Wanderers bushwalking group, the Quakers, the Palestinians, the Peace Angels, Masaya Arellano, a schoolgirl in a frangipani necklace and with a peace banner wrapped round her head, and Chloe, nine months, on her first march.
As the bushwalking leader, Mike Heffernan, said: "It makes you proud to be a Sydneysider. The city, and the state, rallied in Hyde Park, then marched through four streets, as about 250,000 joined in a show of anti-war unity not seen in Sydney for 30 years.
Nancy Gill, 82, of Newport Beach, was one of the thousands who stood shoulder-to-shoulder at noon, blanketed in 30 degree-plus heat in Hyde Park. "I've been through one war, and that was enough," she said. "I'm dead against wars, and especially this one."
Graeme Morgan and his wife, Heather, had come down from Killcare, on the Central Coast. Before yesterday, Mr Morgan had "no need to protest against war. But what we are talking about now is the most inhumane form of killing people. That's bombing."
With freewheeling spirit, some marchers went round and round the route, while others mapped out their journeys - backtracking, branching off, many ending up in the Domain, where the first band of marchers was sent by organisers to avoid a dangerous, heart-stopping crush back at Hyde Park.
At noon the paths round Archibald fountain were an unofficial parade ground of protest groups such as the bushwalkers, each bearing aloft a polystyrene white dove, and the Sydney Anti-Bases Pine Gap Coalition, wearing white paper lantern hats shaped like the domes of Pine Gap.
"Is this where the Society of Friends are meeting?" asked one woman. No, they were assembling elsewhere, near the white satin-gowned, white-winged Peace Angels, among them the model Julie Healy.
The colour of the day was purple, with many marchers sporting purple satin ribbons, and others dressed top to toe in shades of lavender, mauve or deep purple.
As Alexander Theroux once wrote, purple combines blue (spirituality and nobility) and red (courage and virility) - symbolising wit, intelligence, knowledge, religious devotion, sanctity, humility, sobriety, penitence and sorrow.
One woman tottered in purple mules, stiletto-heeled, while Peter Wright, a Korean War veteran from Springwood, wore a purple ribbon on his blue shirt.
He had journeyed from the Blue Mountains with other blue-garbed travellers, and sat on a kerb in Park Street when the marshals cried out, "If you're against the war, sit down."
Mr Wright, a retired electrician in his 70s, was marching alone. His wife was at home. "She's a Howard supporter, right or wrong. Our family are polarised." And his children? He brought out some family photos wrapped in a white tissue. "All deceased."
We marched on, under the face of Picasso, smiling ruefully down on the crowd from banners advertising an exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW.
The Grim Reaper, holding a sign saying "Overworked. Pay Rise Now", asked for directions. He could not see clearly through the black veil covering his face. Few were eager to help.
"I seem like a bad omen, which it [the war talk] is." His name was Mark Anderson and he had found his costume, complete with rubbery skeleton gloves and shoes, in a costume shop. Where was he from? "England. All dark, and miserable things come from England, don't they?"
A woman said: "This march shows the multi-cultural nature of the city," and it did, as groups assembled with national flags at the front of the march. They cheered the prancing Friendly Fire - street theatre actors on stilts dressed as George Bush and his marionette, John Howard. Another puppet pair showed Bush, trailed by Howard as a dog, sliding back and forth near the President's rear.
Down Elizabeth Street, down King Street, where the steady rhythm of commerce continued in the jewellery stores, where shop assistants stood at the doors, bemused by this interruption to normal trading.
The chant continued, "No war, no war," a message echoed on a small cardboard sign worn round the neck of a whippet named Mr Percy, and a woman in a mauve hat holding a placard, "Bugger off Bush."
Up George Street, and Patricia Cahalan, 72, said: "I hope the message gets through." Did she march against the Vietnam War? "No, I was too busy looking after children." Her four grandchildren were alongside her, two in strollers.
"What do we want? Peace. When do we want it? Now."
We arrived, at last, at the Domain, where seven police sat by the closed public toilets.
"It's good to see so many cops guarding the dunnies," one woman shouted, not really upset. The police laughed. Other marchers flung themselves and their banners onto the grass, bringing out lunch, looking lost. There was no full stop to the day.
Others ended their long afternoon in the Royal Botanic Gardens, trailing after a band of drummers, the beat on the steel drums waking the bats from their Sunday slumber. Finally, the people's army had come to rest.
As marcher Jackie Woods had said earlier: "Who knows if it will achieve anything?" She had to march, though, like the 250,000 others. "I feel like it's out of control and this is the only way I can express how I feel."
Spaniards Hold Mass Demonstrations Against War with Iraq
Gil Carbajal Madrid
16 Feb 2003,
Voice of America News
In some of the biggest worldwide anti-war demonstrations, hundreds of thousands of people throughout Spain took to the streets on Saturday. Although the government of Prime Minister José María Aznar firmly supports the Bush administration's policy on a possible war with Iraq, polls show that more than 80 percent of Spanish are against the use of force.
Anti-war demonstrations took place in 57 cities throughout Spain, including all the provincial capitals. The two biggest were held in Madrid and Barcelona, with a total of about two million people.
Spain's Prime Minister José María Aznar has been a staunch supporter of U.S. policy toward Iraq, despite the fact that polls show that the vast majority of Spaniards are against the use of force to make Iraq disarm. The result has been that his ruling Popular Party has stood alone in parliament in defending the U.S. policy on Iraq. The peace demonstrations were organized or supported by the major opposition Socialist party, the United Left Coalition, the major labor unions, and various non-government organizations like Greenpeace. Following Pope John Paul II's opposition to the war option against Iraq, Catholics led by priests and nuns turned out in large numbers, and church bells chimed in some cities during the demonstrations.
Both the Madrid and Barcelona demonstrations were headed not only by opposition politicians and union leaders, but by Spanish actors and artists as well. Film Director Pedro Almodovar, nominated for Oscars as best script writer and director, read the closing manifesto in Madrid.
Spain's Prime Minister José María Aznar is expected to advocate U.S.-led war against Iraq at a special meeting of European Unions leaders on Monday. Mr. Aznar is one of the world leaders to speak most frequently to President George W. Bush by telephone, and the White House has confirmed that he is due to meet with Mr. Bush at his ranch in Texas next weekend.
Israelis join global protest against Iraqi war
Sat Feb 15, 2003
By IAN DEITCH,
Associated Press Writer
TEL AVIV, Israel - An estimated 2,000 Israelis and Palestinians marched on the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday night, joining hundreds of thousands of people in cities around the world in a display of opposition to a threatened U.S.-led strike against Iraq.
Jewish men in skullcaps marched alongside Arab women in headscarfs holding banners and placards reading "Israelis against Bush's war" and "War is not the answer."
Although Israel itself is a potential target of Iraqi attack and Saddam Hussein launched 39 Scud missiles at the country during the 1991 Gulf War, marchers said their opposition to a war was based on moral and ideological reasons rather than fear.
Yaron Levy, 40. a Tel Aviv restaurateur, said that by bombing an entire country to get rid of the Iraqi leader, U.S. President George W. Bush was himself engaging in unconventional warfare.
Ibrahim Housseini, 26, an unemployed Palestinian from the Old City of Jerusalem said that if the Americans really wanted to clean up the Middle East they could over the years have targeted Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, late Syrian President Hafez Assad or Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
"They all suppressed their own people," he said. "Bush should not hide his reasons, His real reasons are war against Islam and for oil."
Giora Raz, 65, a social worker from near Tel Aviv said he feared war would destabilize the whole Mideast region.
"The U.S. failed in Vietnam, in the last Iraqi war and all the others, so what's the point now," he said. "Everybody knows how it will start, nobody knows how it will end."
Police supervision of the rally was light, with no evidence of riot gear or any apparent expectation of trouble.
About 20 counter-demonstrators from Sharon's Likud party called the anti-war protesters traitors and likened Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler, but there was no violence.
Sharon's government views Saddam Hussein as a threat it would like to see ousted, but the coalition of leftist groups behind Saturday's rally said a military attack on Iraq would be unnecessary and damaging.
"With an American attack against Iraq, all the peoples of the Middle East, including us - Israelis and Palestinians - will pay the price; Death, destruction and more wars," a joint statement by the organizers said. "
The rally joined Jewish and Arab Israelis with Palestinians from Jerusalem who have freedom of movement in Israel, unlike their kin in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Kinneret Milgram, 20, a student from the southern Israeli town of Sderot, said she had so far been unswayed by the U.S. case against Saddam.
"If someone wants to fight in our region they'd better explain to us why," she said. "They'd better have a convincing reason."
The day Middle England marched with the militants
One family's journey
By Cole Moreton
16 February 2003
Guy Butler had never been on a protest march before in his life. Finance directors from the Surrey broker belt don't do that sort of thing; but yesterday he found himself marching behind a black anarchist flag in the middle of a vast crowd of angry people who were chanting anti-government slogans. It wasn't a march, it was an invasion - central London taken over by a million or more peace-lovers.
Shuffling across Waterloo Bridge he could see the South Bank and the Embankment packed with people. The usual suspects were there - but so were many, many others like himself who had come up from the leafy lanes of suburban England to shout their disapproval of war.
"We have found common cause with a lot of people, I guess," said Guy with a smile. He was surprised to find himself there, driven to march alongside hardened political campaigners by a simple but powerful conviction that it was wrong to invade Iraq.
The 45-year-old talked with the measured tones he might use to present a set of accounts, but his eyes constantly switched from the crowd to his daughters, Ellen and Caragh. The three-year-old twins munched crisps as their double buggy inched forward, pushed by their au pair Sara. Mummy was with them: Erica Butler, 45, a voluntary church worker, had been equally convinced they should come.
The couple left their large, detached house just after 10 in the morning, having loaded the buggy with food, drinks, wipes and a makeshift potty system for the girls. They listened to Tony Blair's speech in the car on the way to the station and were not impressed. Leaving Saddam Hussein in place would be inhumane, said the Prime Minister. "That's not the point, Tony," muttered Guy, who had voted Labour in the past. "The point is bombing and killing tens of thousands of Iraqis. There is no justification for that and no international mandate. We agree Saddam has got to be got rid of - it's just that war is not the way to do that."
Speaking directly to the marchers from the Labour conference platform in Scotland, Mr Blair said he did not wear unpopularity like a badge of honour but it was the price of conviction. "So it's his conviction against all of ours, is it?" said Erica, shaking her head. "He's in a very scary place just now, isn't he? That's where Mrs Thatcher was before the end."
The train was jammed and there were many familiar faces on board. The family took ages to get out of the station at Waterloo, walking behind a huge, stately puppet of George Bush and a placard belonging to a group called Cornish Ravers that said: "Clotted cream not ruptured spleen."
Other groups were still waiting with their banners furled until stragglers arrived. The M1 was a car park, someone said, and the Tube a nightmare. It was a good day, though, for the street traders who were selling whistles on rainbow necklaces and loud horns.
Some people chose to stay away yesterday because they were wary of one or other of the groups who usually dominate such events. But the Socialist Workers, Palestinian solidarity and Islamic campaigners must have been away at the front of the march because there was little sign of them. The ranks of Barbours and ski jackets could have been on the Countryside march.
It took more than an hour to cross the river, plenty of time to read the extraordinary array of banners, from unions, churches, mosques and "house music against war" to one that said, bizarrely, "It's the black worms working under Tony Blair's skin". "I just saw a banner that said, 'Arse!'" said a gothic teenager to her friend. "I told him I agreed with him, absolutely."
Peter Mitchell, a 53-year-old carpenter, had come up from Dorset for the day with his granddaughter. He was absolutely livid at Tony Blair's speech that morning. "He can't just dismiss us like that, surely? Doesn't the man realise that he has been elected by the people? Leadership is one thing but he's there because of us, and public opinion is massively against what he is doing."
Alongside Mr Mitchell was a man in sunglasses on a freezing afternoon, clutching an inflatable banana. Behind us were the usual quota of bongo drummers whose rhythms gave frozen feet something to do. A child's buggy had been decorated to look like a tank; painted on the side was a question: "I am two years old today - will George Bush let me be three?"
The Butlers broke away from the crowds at Lancaster Place; nobody seemed to know which direction they should be marching in, but everybody seemed to be taking their own route through to Hyde Park. "So that's it," said Erica. "Now the march is everywhere." Yesterday afternoon it did seem that way. Many streets had been blocked off to become pedestrian zones and the capital was an eerily quiet and vastly improved place for it, despite the crowds and the helicopters hovering overhead.
The Butlers finally reached Hyde Park in mid-afternoon, cold and weary but moved by the "overwhelming numbers of peaceable people". One of the girls was even asleep in the buggy. There was no sign of the trouble Guy had privately feared, and now he was glad to have made the effort. "Tony Blair is a populist," said Guy. "He seems to want to take people with him. Now he's got to know that he's losing our support. The march will send that message loud and clear."
Report From New York
By Liza Featherstone,
February 16, 2003
"This is so unconstitutional!" frustrated demonstrators kept exclaiming, as police kept blocking their passage.
Protestors in New York City on Saturday were angry, not only because President Bush was making plans to wage a brutal war on Iraq, but because, five days earlier, a federal judge had upheld the city's right to deny organizers a permit for a march. The city had permitted a rally at the United Nations, but most people never got there because of the police blockades.
As a result, in an exhilarating expression of the anti-war movement's profound decentralization and spontaneity, peaceful demonstrators filled the streets, marching in whatever direction they could. It was the best anti-war protest yet, everyone agreed. Who needed to stand still in the cold and listen to the (at least 30) boring speeches, when so much of the city was one enormous, intoxicating, unpredictable protest march?
More than 70 illegal feeder marches - organized by everyone from NYC People of Color to NYC Labor Against the War to the GLAMericans for Peace (the latter decked out in glitter and feather boas, bearing signs like "Makeup Not War" and "Baby, I am the Bomb") set the tone for the day, though people quickly lost track of organizations and affinity groups, happily mingling with the festive multitudes. Try as they did - and they did, of course - police could not contain this protest. Taking over First, Second and Third avenues, from Midtown, extending past 80th Street, people of all ages chanted and marched, waving signs, which included, "War in Iraq is Wack," "Goo Goo Dolls Fans for Peace," "Viva La France!" "It's Imperialism!" "Lay Down Your Swords (J. Christ, Occupied Palestine)" and "Eat Another Pretzel, Asshole."
The protest, organized by United for Peace and Justice (though every major national coalition participated), was a phenomenal achievement. There were probably well over one million people demonstrating in New York City on Saturday. Melbourne had kicked off the protest weekend with 150,000 people on Friday. At least a million turned out in London on Saturday. Protests took place in Syria, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Bulgaria, Spain, France, Italy, Ireland, Indonesia, Uruguay, Germany, Greece, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand, Holland, Denmark, South Africa, Japan, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Hong Kong, Kashmir, Russia, China, Ecuador, India, Iceland, Egypt, Nigeria and even Antarctica.
Israelis and Palestinians demonstrated for peace together in Tel Aviv. In the United States, rallies were also held in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Seattle, Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Buffalo, Raleigh (North Carolina), Columbus (Ohio), Huntsville (Alabama), Athens (Georgia) and numerous other cities. Worldwide, Saturday's may have been the largest coordinated peace protest in history.
The day's protests were so massive that even the mainstream media were compelled to report on them, and even the President had to respond. Back in New York, in Flanagan's, an Irish bar on First Avenue where some protesters stopped to eat, drink and get warm, patrons cheered as TV reporters remarked on the staggering size of the protest. They jeered at President Bush's assurances that he, too, favored peace and was still hoping the conflict with Iraq could be resolved peacefully.
On the streets, the mood was buoyant. At one point, when a police car, siren blaring, drove through the crowd, one protester laughed. "They're making it so much better. I hope they know that. More noise, more fun!" She was right, of course. But at certain points in the day, things got ugly.
As it grew dark, I followed a group of protesters, younger than the majority of the day's marchers. Though confrontational, they were more law-abiding than most of us had been all day: they were actually staying on the sidewalk. They were marching and chanting on the sidewalk on Eighth Avenue, away from Times Square, where the police presence was dense and intimidating. As the group turned to walk downtown on 41st Street, more than a dozen mounted police officers surprised them. The marchers hastily turned away. A few minutes later, we were ambushed on 39th Street, by cops on foot coming at us from both sides. "Freedom to Assemble," protesters chanted. One young man yelled, "What's the big deal? There are more people on the sidewalk after 'Miss Saigon.'"
Some people were taunting the police and showing a certain tactlessness, chanting "Go fight crime" and "We pay your salary" ("Cops deserve a raise" might have won us more friends). But mere rudeness is legally protected. The cops arrested all of us, abruptly, for absolutely no reason, lining us up against the wall to be searched. Clearly they were sick of us and wanted to go home. That was understandable, but last time I checked, no legal basis for arresting people.
Just as I realized, panicking, that I forgot to bring the National Lawyers Guild phone number with me, a small group of us were released, again for no apparent reason. (Yet probably not entirely at random: a young black man capturing everything on videotape was among those released. As we ducked into a warm, cop-free Starbucks, he told me, "They usually let me go when I've got the camera turned on.")
Those who weren't so lucky were taken down to One Police Plaza, where they were held without charges, in handcuffs, denied medical attention and access to toilets, food and water. According to the National Lawyers Guild, the NYPD arrested more than 322 people throughout the day.
Police misconduct should never be allowed to overshadow the issue of war - and the lack of a permit undeniably made the protest bigger, more conspicuous and more fabulous - but the city showed remarkable indifference to protesters' rights, and shouldn't get away with it. Some cops expressed private dissatisfaction with the city's decision not to grant the permit, saying it made their jobs much harder: a single, legal march would have been easier to control.
John Mage, who has been active in the National Lawyers Guild for decades, said the city was unlikely to make this blunder again. "Trust me," he laughed, "next time they'll be allowed to march."
New York City-based journalist Liza Featherstone has written for The Nation, Lingua Franca, the New York Times, the Washington Post and Ms.
Tunisia police beat anti-war protesters, 18 hurt
16 Feb 2003
TUNIS, Feb 16 - Riot police in the Tunisian city of Sfax baton-charged demonstrators against a possible U.S.-led war on Iraq on Sunday, injuring at least 18, organisers and witnesses said.
Police stormed into the crowd of about 3,000 protesters thronging the centre of Sfax, 230 km (145 miles) south of Tunis, and beat demonstrators with batons and truncheons, they said.
"It was a peaceful march but the police intervention was brutal. The repression of the march, intended to show solidarity with Iraq, was savage," trade union leader Mohamed Chaabane said.
Chaabane, head of the local branch of the country's main Union Generale des Travailleurs Tunisiens, told Reuters several protesters, mostly union activists, were hurt, but he could not give an exact number.
Another rights activist said he and other organisers counted at least 18 injured. "Ten of them were rushed to hospital with head injuries," he told Reuters by telephone.
Pro-Iraqi sympathy is running high among the Muslim North African country's 10 million population. Many Tunisians already resent the U.S. government for a perceived pro-Israeli bias.
The Tunisian government, a staunch ally of Washington, has been walking a tightrope over the Iraq issue. It has been a strong backer of the U.S. "war on terror" but publicly opposes any assault on Iraq.
Tunisian law officially allows peaceful demonstrations, provided that the Interior Ministry grants a permit, although this is rare in a country run under very tight police control.
Last December, the government barred 11 political opposition and civic groups from staging an anti-U.S. protest in Tunis.
Code Pink trip recalled
By NANCY CACIOPPO
February 16, 2003
THE NEW YORK JOURNAL NEWS
UPPER NYACK - The children of an Iraqi guide bore cancerous lesions and malformations from depleted uranium used in weapons during the Gulf War.
An Iraqi English professor asked for books on Shakespeare.
An archaeologist at Islamic University in Baghdad said, "Only God can stop this war," before breaking down in tears.
An Iraqi guard on the Jordanian border told an American peace delegation, "You know we are all of one heart."
Those are the images that have stayed with the Rev. Patty Ackerman of Nyack, one of a dozen American women from the Code Pink Women's Delegation for Peace in Baghdad who returned last week from a 10-day peace mission to Iraq. Ackerman is a member of the Iraq Response Team at the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the oldest peace organization in the United States.
"We were trying to send a message that war should not be against the Iraqi people, and we advocated for a nonviolent resolution," Ackerman said. "Across the board, the people we spoke with said they don't want war. They kept pleading with us not to turn the cradle of civilization into the grave of civilization."
The delegation also included lawyers, businesswomen, environmentalists and artists from California, Texas, New York and Virginia. Several have participated in the Code Pink Women's Peace Vigil in front of the White House since mid-November 2002.
"We thought it was essential we be represented in the Code Pink delegation," said Richard Deats, editor of FOR's Fellowship Magazine. "Women's voices of peace and justice need to be heard at this critical moment when we're rushing toward war. We hope their voices will awaken people in a way other voices have not."
Organizers included peace activist Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange and Code Pink: Women for Peace, and another co-founder, businesswoman Jodie Evans. The organization was named to contrast with the "red-orange-yellow-blue-green" color codes used for the federal government's national terrorism alert levels.
"We came away convinced that the weapons inspections are working, and that war will have a calamitous effect on the civilian population," Benjamin said in a prepared statement. "We came away determined to stop the Bush administration from launching this disastrous invasion on a defenseless population."
In Iraq, the delegation joined more than 100 other women from Europe, Australia and Africa who called for peace and spoke out about the effect of war on women, children, families and the environment.
Ackerman said the Iraqi people were both welcoming and hospitable, whether wealthy or poor.
"During the endless 15-hour drive from Amman, Jordan, to Baghdad, we were met with some unfamiliar stares, our bright pink buttons stating our mission, some of us wearing small banners on our backs which read 'Women for Peace' or 'No War in Iraq,'" Ackerman said.
"Person after person, especially children, flashed us a smile, lifting their hand in the peace symbol," she added. "Some just said, 'Thank you.' There was nothing we saw to bomb except innocent people, their beautiful children and animals."
During the week, the delegation met with Iraqi women and international women's groups, held daily peace vigils at public squares to express their opposition to a U.S. war against Iraq and marched from the German to the French embassy to show support for the anti-war position of those nations' governments.
The delegation also brought vitamins and over-the-counter medicines to a children's hospital and an orphanage.
"The children's hospital is still dealing with the carcinogenic effects of depleted uranium used on weapons in the Persian Gulf War," Ackerman said. "And with the post-war sanctions on trade with Iraq, they are only getting 50 percent of their medications and are unable to get chlorine for their hydrotherapy pool."
Not everyone shared the views of the peace delegation. Gulf War veteran Kent Kildow of Stony Point, who served with the Army's First Cavalry Division, said he disagreed with many of the peace activists.
"I think they are expecting a much higher standard of conduct than Saddam Hussein is able or willing to put forth," Kildow said. "I think he has a mandate from the U.N. to be more forthcoming about accounting for his weapons of mass destruction, but he's still playing hide and seek. Hopefully, he will reconsider those actions. But based on his performance in the past, I have serious doubts that will happen."
Kildow said keeping the pressure on the Iraqi president was the only way to get results.
"I don't necessarily think war is the only answer at this point," Kildow said. "But if Saddam doesn't have this hanging over his head, he won't change what he's doing. He has used weapons of mass destruction on his own people, so asking him nicely will not be sufficient."
Ackerman said the Code Pink delegation found that 1,000 Iraqis a day were being fed in one mosque's soup kitchen.
"Given the threat of bombing, people are stockpiling food and rations," she said. "Few places have electricity for 24 hours a day. And there is no potable water."
Group members also participated in a blood drive outside a Baghdad oil refinery, Ackerman said, to state their belief that the proposed war against Iraq would be a war for oil.
"We visited a bomb shelter where more than 400 Iraqi civilians, including women and children, were killed during the Gulf War," Ackerman said. "And we met with United Nations people on several occasions who emphasized the Iraqis suffered under the sanctions and that the likelihood of their having weapons of mass destruction was slim."
Ackerman said the delegation was trying to get visas for seven Iraqi women - among them a doctor of philosophy, a housewife, an English professor, a cultural arts center director, a journalist and an archaeologist - to come to the United States.
Meanwhile, Ackerman said she planned to attend a week-long retreat the Code Pink delegation was organizing for the Iraqi women later this month in Bonn, Germany. She also hopes to be part of a women's delegation that plans to travel to Babylon on March 15 for the Iraqi New Year festival.
Even war, Ackerman said, would not prevent the delegation from attending the festivities.
"We will do everything we can," she said, "to get across the border."
Code Pink itinerary
The Code Pink Women's Delegation for Peace in Baghdad arrived in Iraq on Feb. 1 and left Feb. 8. Here's an abbreviated itinerary of their trip:
• Visited the Al-Mansour Pediatric Teaching Hospital.
• Prayer service the Amariya bomb shelter outside of Baghdad where over 400 people, mostly women and children, died during a U.S. attack in 1991.
• Conducted a food distribution in a local neighborhood.
• Marched from the German to the French embassy to show support for those nations' position on war with Iraq.
• Visited markets and an Islamic university.
• Watched Colin Powell's speech at press center; met with and granted interviews to media, including al-Jazeera. Feb. 6:
• Went to Babylon, visited ruins, saw the Gate of Ishtar.
• Visited a buffalo farm and had mozzarella-type buffalo cheese with warm honey on pita bread.
• Went to U.N. headquarters to cheer the teams of weapons inspectors as they left the compound.
• Visited the market to purchase gifts and talk with women.
• At the hotel, preparations for war began after President Bush's "The game is over" speech.
• Attended the Maquam, a gathering of men listening to traditional musicians.
• Left hotel; rode 14 hours to Jordan for flight home.
The Rev. Patty Ackerman sent a couple of e-mail dispatches back to her friends at the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Here are some excerpts:
• "There is absolutely nothing but poverty everywhere you look."
• "Upon entering Baghdad, the portraits of Saddam Hussein dominate everything except the architecture."
The Fellowship of Reconciliation Iraq Response Team will host or attend these events:
• 7:30 p.m. Wednesday: Slide and video presentation of delegation's findings at FOR, 523 N. Broadway, Upper Nyack.
• 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday: Code Pink Pre-emptive Strike for Peace bus trip to Washington, D.C., to join Code Pink Women's Peace Vigil outside the White House. Cost, $15 to $35 per person. Men also invited.
• March 8: International Women's Day anti-war gathering in Washington, D.C., with Alice Walker and Susan Sarandon.
Information: Call Juliana Keen at the Fellowship of Reconciliation, 845-358-4601.
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