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The most successful tyranny is not the one
that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the
awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable
that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an
"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." - Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural
It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. --Voltaire--
consciousness is freedom
Life is religion. Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God. Those who are asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the worlds will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They will become merely a dream in the "past." People who pay strict attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality of the "Future." [Cassiopaea 09-28-02]
March 22, 2003 Today's edition of Brought to You by The Bush Junta, Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions....The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen." If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!
Journalists missing after gunfire British TV reporter Terry Lloyd and two of his news crew are missing after coming under fire while travelling to the Iraqi town of Basra, ITN said today. Cameraman Fred Nerac and local translator Hussein Othman are also missing after the incident at Iman Anas, near Iraq’s second city.
Another cameraman, Daniel Demoustier, was injured as the
crew drove towards the key southern city in two vehicles, but was
able to get to safety. He was not able to see what happened to his
colleagues, and coalition and Iraqi military sources were unable to
confirm their whereabouts. British and Iraqi forces were in the
area at the time. “Every effort is being made to establish
what happened,” an ITN statement said. Comment: Well the US did
would target journalists so this is to be
CNN reporters kicked out of Baghdad for 'ludicrous' reasons Two CNN reporters expelled from Baghdad were safe in Jordan today and don’t expect to be returning soon. Nic Robertson described how an information ministry official summoned him and his crew from their hotel room at about 3.30pm Baghdad time yesterday to tell them they had to leave.
The official said: “You are worse than the American administration. Get out of Iraq! Get out immediately!” Robertson said. He said the official gave a list of reasons, which Robertson said were “ludicrous”. Robertson, Rym Brahimi, producer Ingrid Formanek and photographer Brian Puchaty had been the only staff members of a US-based TV network still in Baghdad. They waited until daylight today to drive to Jordan.
Robertson speculated that the authorities did not want Iraqi citizens – many of whom can see CNN – to view pictures of the country losing territory to American troops. “One of the only ways they can vent their anger and frustration is on the international media organisations,” he said, “and CNN is the one they see most and know most.” CNN reporters have been ordered out of the country at least three times since the Baghdad bureau opened in 1990. Comment: The reasons the Iraqi offical gave were valid, CNN is a "media whore" an arm of the US propaganda and lies machine.
Let there be no doubt "Iraqi parents have no good news to tell their children. Their attitude is: if you don't talk about your fear, we won't talk about ours," said Norwegian psychologist Magne Raundalen, who has interviewed 91 12-year-old Iraqi children in schools in Baghdad, Kerbala, and Basra.
A five-thousand-year old civilization, located in the valley between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, hallowed by the reverence of history, is about to be destroyed by a 200-year-old technologically superior and morally challenged tribe, high on steroidal missiles and bombs, coveting world domination and empire.
Civilian Iraq is defenseless, and this war will be murder.
Let there be no doubt: this is an act of unprovoked barbarism that will be recorded in blood and will be on this nation's hands. Instead of pledging allegiance to the flag, we should teach our children to pledge allegiance to justice, reason, and compassion. Americans wonder why our principles are no longer respected in the world. It's because we have allowed these principles to become empty of meaning and commitment, a piece of cloth, a fetish—a remnant of the whole. A citizenry observant of the nation's values will honor the flag with actions and not with hypocritical gestures of shallow and meaningless worship.
Let there be no doubt: this war will violate the sovereignty of a state and will reverse the progress of the modern age, poised for 300 years on the hope of preventing war. The treaty of Westphalia enshrined the concept of the inviolability of national boundaries in the modern political landscape. By violating the integrity of the Iraqi state, we take a step back into the logic of feudalism, where war, indeed, was the order of the day because the idea of international law was not entrenched.
Let there be no doubt: what is now called preemptive war is a swift attack, followed by invasion, carnage, and enforced submission. Regardless of the sanctimonious bleatings of the ridiculous camp follower, Tony Blair, the undignified tantrum fits of the unfit-to-rule George Bush, and the pitiful, ceremonial peace rites at the UN, an organization bending and turning like a tin weather vane in the US-fomented tempest winds of bribes, blackmail, lies, plagiarized and forged documents, and intelligence scandals, the war about to be waged will have no moral ground on which to stand and will be recorded as an act of aggression by the United States against a people starved by genocidal sanctions and a previous war; a United States whose bombardments in volume and frequency have no precedent in history.
Let there be no doubt: when the first bomb falls on Iraq, the world will shrink away from us, in shock but not in awe. United Nations inspectors have found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Colin Powell's irresponsible claim (among so many in his February reports to the UN) that Niger supplied nuclear equipment to Iraq was based on forged documents, now being investigated by the FBI. Bombing Iraq will make the United States a rogue state, the shredder of the UN Charter and the assassin of children who comprise 50 percent of the Iraqi population. Is this the American concept of bestowing democracy? Will we be surprised if the world retreats from us in horror as from a leper, whose infection is reviled.
Let there be no doubt: "There is no alliance of the willing, only ultimately an alliance of countries which want to be on the winning side of the war." So spoke Hans von Sponeck, former UN humanitarian co-ordinator in Iraq, who resigned in order not to participate in the genocide of Iraq, caused by the sanctions. Sanctions are a measure intended to avoid war, but the US imposed sanctions, then war, and now another war. Let us remember that the Geneva Conventions prohibit withdrawing from a population the means that guarantee their survival.
Oil means food in Iraq, and medicines and replacement parts for vital infrastructure. Now, under the oil-for-food program, 50 percent of the oil money goes to pay reparations to Kuwait and provide the salaries of UN officials, inspectors, and the rest of the humanitarian force. Let us also remember that the Geneva Conventions prohibit collective punishment. Even if we believe that Saddam Hussein is a monster, how do we justify punishing his people for the crimes of one man, their victimizer? No wonder no one is with us!
Let there be no doubt: this is a war callous in the extreme. It will enrich the US energy and weapons industries. Exxon has the sole concession for fueling the US army; Halliburton will fix the oil infrastructure; Kellogg, Brown and Root (owned by Halliburton) will build American bases. The contracts are in their pockets. What does this have to do with the avowed reasons for which our soldiers are going to war, misled by the greed of corporate old men?
Let there be no doubt: the
responsibility of citizens of the United States is inscribed in the
record of the Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal. This responsibility is
clear: "Individuals have international duties which transcend the
national obligations of obedience . . . Therefore [individual
citizens] have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes
against peace and humanity from occurring" (1950).
When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History The 70th anniversary wasn't noticed in the United States, and was barely reported in the corporate media. But the Germans remembered well that fateful day seventy years ago - February 27, 1933. They commemorated the anniversary by joining in demonstrations for peace that mobilized citizens all across the world. It started when the government, in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed. (Historians are still arguing whether or not rogue elements in the intelligence service helped the terrorist; the most recent research implies they did not.)
But the warnings of investigators were ignored at the highest levels, in part because the government was distracted; the man who claimed to be the nation's leader had not been elected by a majority vote and the majority of citizens claimed he had no right to the powers he coveted. He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw things in black-and-white terms and didn't have the intellect to understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and internationalist world. His coarse use of language - reflecting his political roots in a southernmost state - and his simplistic and often-inflammatory nationalistic rhetoric offended the aristocrats, foreign leaders, and the well-educated elite in the government and media. And, as a young man, he'd joined a secret society with an occult-sounding name and bizarre initiation rituals that involved skulls and human bones.
Nonetheless, he knew the terrorist was going to strike (although he didn't know where or when), and he had already considered his response. When an aide brought him word that the nation's most prestigious building was ablaze, he verified it was the terrorist who had struck and then rushed to the scene and called a press conference. "You are now witnessing the beginning of a great epoch in history," he proclaimed, standing in front of the burned-out building, surrounded by national media. "This fire," he said, his voice trembling with emotion, "is the beginning." He used the occasion - "a sign from God," he called it - to declare an all-out war on terrorism and its ideological sponsors, a people, he said, who traced their origins to the Middle East and found motivation for their evil deeds in their religion.
Two weeks later, the first detention center for terrorists was built in Oranianberg to hold the first suspected allies of the infamous terrorist. In a national outburst of patriotism, the leader's flag was everywhere, even printed large in newspapers suitable for window display. Within four weeks of the terrorist attack, the nation's now-popular leader had pushed through legislation - in the name of combating terrorism and fighting the philosophy he said spawned it - that suspended constitutional guarantees of free speech, privacy, and habeas corpus. Police could now intercept mail and wiretap phones; suspected terrorists could be imprisoned without specific charges and without access to their lawyers; police could sneak into people's homes without warrants if the cases involved terrorism.
To get his patriotic "Decree on the Protection of People and State" passed over the objections of concerned legislators and civil libertarians, he agreed to put a 4-year sunset provision on it: if the national emergency provoked by the terrorist attack was over by then, the freedoms and rights would be returned to the people, and the police agencies would be re-restrained. Legislators would later say they hadn't had time to read the bill before voting on it.
Immediately after passage of the anti-terrorism act, his federal police agencies stepped up their program of arresting suspicious persons and holding them without access to lawyers or courts. In the first year only a few hundred were interred, and those who objected were largely ignored by the mainstream press, which was afraid to offend and thus lose access to a leader with such high popularity ratings. Citizens who protested the leader in public - and there were many - quickly found themselves confronting the newly empowered police's batons, gas, and jail cells, or fenced off in protest zones safely out of earshot of the leader's public speeches. (In the meantime, he was taking almost daily lessons in public speaking, learning to control his tonality, gestures, and facial expressions. He became a very competent orator.)
Within the first months after that terrorist attack, at the suggestion of a political advisor, he brought a formerly obscure word into common usage. He wanted to stir a "racial pride" among his countrymen, so, instead of referring to the nation by its name, he began to refer to it as "The Homeland," a phrase publicly promoted in the introduction to a 1934 speech recorded in Leni Riefenstahl's famous propaganda movie "Triumph Of The Will." As hoped, people's hearts swelled with pride, and the beginning of an us-versus-them mentality was sewn. Our land was "the" homeland, citizens thought: all others were simply foreign lands. We are the "true people," he suggested, the only ones worthy of our nation's concern; if bombs fall on others, or human rights are violated in other nations and it makes our lives better, it's of little concern to us.
Playing on this new nationalism, and exploiting a disagreement with the French over his increasing militarism, he argued that any international body that didn't act first and foremost in the best interest of his own nation was neither relevant nor useful. He thus withdrew his country from the League Of Nations in October, 1933, and then negotiated a separate naval armaments agreement with Anthony Eden of The United Kingdom to create a worldwide military ruling elite. His propaganda minister orchestrated a campaign to ensure the people that he was a deeply religious man and that his motivations were rooted in Christianity. He even proclaimed the need for a revival of the Christian faith across his nation, what he called a "New Christianity." Every man in his rapidly growing army wore a belt buckle that declared "Gott Mit Uns" - God Is With Us - and most of them fervently believed it was true.
Within a year of the terrorist attack, the nation's leader determined that the various local police and federal agencies around the nation were lacking the clear communication and overall coordinated administration necessary to deal with the terrorist threat facing the nation, particularly those citizens who were of Middle Eastern ancestry and thus probably terrorist and communist sympathizers, and various troublesome "intellectuals" and "liberals." He proposed a single new national agency to protect the security of the homeland, consolidating the actions of dozens of previously independent police, border, and investigative agencies under a single leader. He appointed one of his most trusted associates to be leader of this new agency, the Central Security Office for the homeland, and gave it a role in the government equal to the other major departments.
His assistant who dealt with the press noted that, since the terrorist attack, "Radio and press are at out disposal." Those voices questioning the legitimacy of their nation's leader, or raising questions about his checkered past, had by now faded from the public's recollection as his central security office began advertising a program encouraging people to phone in tips about suspicious neighbors. This program was so successful that the names of some of the people "denounced" were soon being broadcast on radio stations. Those denounced often included opposition politicians and celebrities who dared speak out - a favorite target of his regime and the media he now controlled through intimidation and ownership by corporate allies.
To consolidate his power, he concluded that government alone wasn't enough. He reached out to industry and forged an alliance, bringing former executives of the nation's largest corporations into high government positions. A flood of government money poured into corporate coffers to fight the war against the Middle Eastern ancestry terrorists lurking within the homeland, and to prepare for wars overseas. He encouraged large corporations friendly to him to acquire media outlets and other industrial concerns across the nation, particularly those previously owned by suspicious people of Middle Eastern ancestry. He built powerful alliances with industry; one corporate ally got the lucrative contract worth millions to build the first large-scale detention center for enemies of the state. Soon more would follow. Industry flourished.
But after an interval of peace following the terrorist attack, voices of dissent again arose within and without the government. Students had started an active program opposing him (later known as the White Rose Society), and leaders of nearby nations were speaking out against his bellicose rhetoric. He needed a diversion, something to direct people away from the corporate cronyism being exposed in his own government, questions of his possibly illegitimate rise to power, and the oft-voiced concerns of civil libertarians about the people being held in detention without due process or access to attorneys or family.
With his number two man - a master at manipulating the media - he began a campaign to convince the people of the nation that a small, limited war was necessary. Another nation was harboring many of the suspicious Middle Eastern people, and even though its connection with the terrorist who had set afire the nation's most important building was tenuous at best, it held resources their nation badly needed if they were to have room to live and maintain their prosperity. He called a press conference and publicly delivered an ultimatum to the leader of the other nation, provoking an international uproar. He claimed the right to strike preemptively in self-defense, and nations across Europe - at first - denounced him for it, pointing out that it was a doctrine only claimed in the past by nations seeking worldwide empire, like Caesar's Rome or Alexander's Greece.
It took a few months, and intense international debate and lobbying with European nations, but, after he personally met with the leader of the United Kingdom, finally a deal was struck. After the military action began, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain told the nervous British people that giving in to this leader's new first-strike doctrine would bring "peace for our time." Thus Hitler annexed Austria in a lightning move, riding a wave of popular support as leaders so often do in times of war. The Austrian government was unseated and replaced by a new leadership friendly to Germany, and German corporations began to take over Austrian resources. In a speech responding to critics of the invasion, Hitler said, "Certain foreign newspapers have said that we fell on Austria with brutal methods. I can only say; even in death they cannot stop lying. I have in the course of my political struggle won much love from my people, but when I crossed the former frontier [into Austria] there met me such a stream of love as I have never experienced. Not as tyrants have we come, but as liberators."
To deal with those who dissented from his policies, at the advice of his politically savvy advisors, he and his handmaidens in the press began a campaign to equate him and his policies with patriotism and the nation itself. National unity was essential, they said, to ensure that the terrorists or their sponsors didn't think they'd succeeded in splitting the nation or weakening its will. In times of war, they said, there could be only "one people, one nation, and one commander-in-chief" ("Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer"), and so his advocates in the media began a nationwide campaign charging that critics of his policies were attacking the nation itself. Those questioning him were labeled "anti-German" or "not good Germans," and it was suggested they were aiding the enemies of the state by failing in the patriotic necessity of supporting the nation's valiant men in uniform. It was one of his most effective ways to stifle dissent and pit wage-earning people (from whom most of the army came) against the "intellectuals and liberals" who were critical of his policies.
Nonetheless, once the "small war" annexation of Austria was successfully and quickly completed, and peace returned, voices of opposition were again raised in the Homeland. The almost-daily release of news bulletins about the dangers of terrorist communist cells wasn't enough to rouse the populace and totally suppress dissent. A full-out war was necessary to divert public attention from the growing rumbles within the country about disappearing dissidents; violence against liberals, Jews, and union leaders; and the epidemic of crony capitalism that was producing empires of wealth in the corporate sector but threatening the middle class's way of life.
A year later, to the week, Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia; the nation was now fully at war, and all internal dissent was suppressed in the name of national security. It was the end of Germany's first experiment with democracy. As we conclude this review of history, there are a few milestones worth remembering.
February 27, 2003, was the 70th anniversary of Dutch terrorist Marinus van der Lubbe's successful firebombing of the German Parliament (Reichstag) building, the terrorist act that catapulted Hitler to legitimacy and reshaped the German constitution. By the time of his successful and brief action to seize Austria, in which almost no German blood was shed, Hitler was the most beloved and popular leader in the history of his nation. Hailed around the world, he was later Time magazine's "Man Of The Year."
Most Americans remember his office for the security of the homeland, known as the Reichssicherheitshauptamt and its SchutzStaffel, simply by its most famous agency's initials: the SS. We also remember that the Germans developed a new form of highly violent warfare they named "lightning war" or blitzkrieg, which, while generating devastating civilian losses, also produced a highly desirable "shock and awe" among the nation's leadership according to the authors of the 1996 book "Shock And Awe" published by the National Defense University Press.
Reflecting on that time, The American Heritage Dictionary (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1983) left us this definition of the form of government the German democracy had become through Hitler's close alliance with the largest German corporations and his policy of using war as a tool to keep power: "fas-cism (fbsh'iz'em) n. A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."
Today, as we face financial and political crises, it's useful to remember that the ravages of the Great Depression hit Germany and the United States alike. Through the 1930s, however, Hitler and Roosevelt chose very different courses to bring their nations back to power and prosperity.
Germany's response was to use government to empower corporations and reward the society's richest individuals, privatize much of the commons, stifle dissent, strip people of constitutional rights, and create an illusion of prosperity through continual and ever-expanding war. America passed minimum wage laws to raise the middle class, enforced anti-trust laws to diminish the power of corporations, increased taxes on corporations and the wealthiest individuals, created Social Security, and became the employer of last resort through programs to build national infrastructure, promote the arts, and replant forests.
To the extent that our Constitution is still intact, the choice is again ours.
Traveling with Atta, or meeting him around the state, Atta's German friends appeared to share a relationship with him of long-standing, according to eyewitnesses, dating back to his days in Hamburg. The meetings, in places like Key West and Miami, were apparently very serious business; when they returned, said someone who was there, Atta and his German associates "always came back glum." Only one of the seven is still in the U.S.; five live in Germany or Switzerland. The seventh, with whom Atta reportedly traveled extensively, has a criminal record in Germany, and today lives in Saudi Arabia.
The identities of the seven German nationals were pieced together from information gleaned in interviews with Atta's one-time American girlfriend, corroborated by independent aviation sources in Venice and Naples, FL. From what has been learned so far, the backgrounds of Atta's German associates seem strikingly similar to that of another German national, Andreas Strassmeir, whose possible relationship with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was in the news a decade ago. Strassmeir was at one point named in a lawsuit by families of the victims as a "US federal informant with material knowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing."
Strassmeir's father was once a top aide to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl; Atta's German friends are all children of the German elite. But before delving further into Atta's German connections, there were two other related developments in Florida last week. In the first, the former owner of the terror flight school in Venice, FL., Rudi Dekkers, was arrested last week on a single count of felony fraud, and booked into the Collier County Jail in Naples FL. As the MadCowMorningNews has been reporting, suspicious and often illegal activities were commonplace occurrences at Dekkers-owned flight schools at the same time the schools were training a veritable "Who's Who" of Hamburg cadre terrorists.
Now the arrest of the controversial Dutch national comes amid indications from authorities that Federal agencies involved in the 9/11 investigation are taking a closer look at Dekker's business activities in Florida during the past decade, fueling speculation he might become the first non-Arab charged in a wider 9/11 conspiracy than has so-far been revealed. Despite settling his lawsuit with former partner Wally Hilliard, Rudi Dekker's legal woes may be just beginning, said State's Attorney Jonathon Greene. Being forced to pose for a new mug shot is just the latest in a series of reversals suffered recently by the Venice "Magic Dutch Boy," so-called because he is one of two Dutch nationals who owned flight schools at the Venice Airport which each--by apparent freak coincidence--ended up training terrorists to fly.
Dekkers also recently lost his battle for control of Huffman Aviation. Last week its sale to new owners was ratified by the Venice City Council in a unanimous voice vote, amid questions about who had been responsible for approving Dekker's lease at the Venice airport in the first place. Then, too, Dekker's helicopter crashed recently, while he was en route to a showdown meeting with partner Wally Hilliard over control of Huffman Aviation. In another apparent 'freak coincidence,' the owner of the second Dutch-owned flight school at the Venice Airport, Arne Kruithof, has also recently suffered a near-fatal aviation mishap. His happened last summer, when his plane fell from a hundred feet in the air onto the runway of the Venice Airport.
It appears as if both Dekkers and Kruithof would be well-advised to stay away from open windows. The German element arrived in Florida with "Wolfgang" in 1996. Prior to arriving in Naples he was associated with an organization called "The Flying Club of Munich." "Wolfgang showed up from Munich in the mid 1990s and immediately began operating a flight school illegally," stated an aviation source in Naples. "He’s half Swiss, half German." Wolfgang was instrumental in bringing another of Atta's German associates to Florida, a pilot named "Stephan," who we were to learn has done jail time in Germany, was on parole there when he came to the U.S., and recently spent a year in Gundogdu, Turkey. While regular German flight students struggle to obtain the necessary visas, Wolfgang and Stephan had inside connections which smoothed their progress. “Sometimes it makes me mad that a criminal gets preference," stated one German national flight instructor in Naples with obvious bitterness.
"Wolfgang signed off on
Stephan’s books, and Stephan also got in on a fraudulent
business investor’s visa." "Wolfgang was in his
thirties," says Amanda Keller, who lived with Atta during March and
April of 2001. "He and Wolfgang were very tight, they went
everywhere together. When he came into the picture they were
together all the time." "Him and Wolfgang drove
around in the red convertible," Keller remembers. "Their favorite
place to eat was Hooters in Sarasota. They got kicked out for
grabbing a waitress's boobs." Keller also states that
Atta always spoke German with Wolfgang, directly contradicting the
testimony of Rudi Dekkers, who told a Congressional Committee that
when he addressed him in German, Atta had merely looked at him
Less than 24 hours after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks the world's eyes were riveted on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where FBI agents swarmed the peaceful retirement community of Venice. Authorities said the tiny airport there had served as a secret terrorist training site, teaching three of the four pilots involved in the Sept. 11attack to fly. Since then, authorities have had strikingly little to say about Venice. The last related development last week was the reported ‘outrage’ over 9/11 that Florida Sen. Bob Graham said prompted to join the Democratic presidential sweepstakes last week. The 66-year-old Graham—who recently had heart surgery—has toyed with the idea of running for years, but says he always lacked “fire in the belly,” until, he says, FBI and CIA failures inspired his White House run.
Graham told NEWSWEEK, his experience last year overseeing a joint House-Senate inquiry into the events of 9-11 left him outraged by the intelligence and law-enforcement failures discovered by the inquiry—most of which, he charges, are still being suppressed by the Bush administration. The inquiry’s 400-page report can’t be publicly released because the administration won’t declassify key portions. Graham says the report documents far more miscues by the FBI and CIA than have been publicly revealed, as well as leads that remain unpursued which point to “facilitation” of the hijackers by a “sovereign nation.” “There’s been a cover-up of this,” Graham said. NEWSWEEK says its sources say the unnamed country is Saudi Arabia. That may prove partly correct. But there are few--if any--Saudis named "Wolfgang."
Newsweek should keep digging
Lie No. 1: “My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision.”
The decision for war with Iraq was made long ago, the intervening time having been spent in an attempt to create the political climate in which US troops could be deployed for an attack. According to press reports, most recently March 16 in the Baltimore Sun, at one of the first National Security Council meetings of his presidency, months before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Bush expressed his determination to overthrow Saddam Hussein and his willingness to commit US ground troops to an attack on Iraq for that purpose. All that was required was the appropriate pretext—supplied by September 11, 2001.
Lie No. 2: “For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war.”
The US-led United Nations regime of sanctions against Iraq, combined with “no-fly” zones and provocative weapons inspections, is one of brutal oppression. The deliberate withholding of food, medical supplies and other vital necessities is responsible for the death of more than a million Iraqis, half of them children. Two UN officials who headed the oil-for-food program resigned in protest over the conditions created in Iraq by the sanctions. The CIA used the inspectors as a front, infiltrating agents into UNSCOM, the original inspections program. The CIA’s aim was to spy on Iraq’s top officials and target Saddam Hussein for assassination.
Lie No. 3: “The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament...”
Iraq has never “defied” a Security Council resolution since the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. It has generally cooperated with the dictates of the UN body, although frequently under protest or with reservations, because many of the resolutions involve gross violations of Iraqi sovereignty. From 1991 to 1998, UN inspectors supervised the destruction of the vast bulk of the chemical and biological weapons, as well as delivery systems, which Iraq accumulated (with the assistance of the US) during the Iran-Iraq war, and they also destroyed all of Iraq’s facilities for making new weapons.
Lie No. 4: “Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again because we are not dealing with peaceful men.”
According to the Washington Post of March 16, referring to the 1991-1998 inspection period: “[U]nder UN supervision, Iraq destroyed 817 of 819 proscribed medium-range missiles, 14 launchers, 9 trailers and 56 fixed missile-launch sites. It also destroyed 73 of 75 chemical or biological warheads and 163 warheads for conventional explosives. UN inspectors also supervised destruction of 88,000 filled and unfilled chemical munitions, more than 600 tons of weaponized and bulk chemical weapons agents, 4,000 tons of precursor chemicals and 980 pieces of equipment considered key to production of such weapons.”
Lie No. 5: “The Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”
The Washington Post article cited above noted that CIA officials were concerned “about whether administration officials have exaggerated intelligence in a desire to convince the American public and foreign governments that Iraq is violating United Nations prohibitions against chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons and long-range missile systems.” The article quoted “a senior intelligence analyst” who said the inspectors could not locate weapons caches “because there may not be much of a stockpile.”
Former British Foreign Minister Robin Cook, who resigned from the Blair government Monday in protest over the decision to go to war without UN authorization, declared, “Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term.” Even if Iraq is concealing some remnants of its 1980s arsenal, these would hardly deserve Bush’s lurid description, since they are primitive and relatively ineffective. “Some of the most lethal weapons ever devised” are those being unleashed by the United States on Iraq: cruise missiles, smart bombs, fuel-air explosives, the 10,000-pound “daisy-cutter” bomb, the 20,000-pound MOAB just tested in Florida. In addition, the US has explicitly refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons.
Lie No. 6: “[Iraq] has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of Al Qaeda.”
No one, not even US government, seriously believes there is a significant connection between the Islamic fundamentalists and the secular nationalist Ba’athist regime in Iraq, which have been mortal enemies for decades. The continued assertion of an Al Qaeda-Iraq alliance is a desperate attempt to link Saddam Hussein to the September 11 attacks.
It also serves to cover up the responsibility of American imperialism for sponsoring Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. The forces that now comprise Al Qaeda were largely recruited, trained, armed and set in motion by the CIA itself, as part of a long-term policy of using Islamic fundamentalists as a weapon against left-wing movements in the Muslim countries. This policy was pursued from the 1950s and was escalated prior to and during the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, which ended in 1989. Osama bin Laden himself was part of the CIA-backed mujaheddin forces in Afghanistan before he turned against Washington in the 1990s.
Lie No. 7: “America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully.”
The Bush administration went to the United Nations because it wanted UN sanction for military action and it wanted UN member states to cough up funds for postwar operations, along the lines of its financial shakedown operation for the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Bush’s most hawkish advisors, such as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney, initially opposed going to the UN because they did not want diplomacy to slow down the drive to war. They only agreed after Secretary of State Colin Powell argued that the pace of the US military buildup in the Persian Gulf gave enough time to get the UN to rubber-stamp the war.
Lie No. 8: “These governments [the Security Council majority] share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it.”
This is belied by virtually every statement on Iraq issued by the governments of France, Russia, China, Germany and other countries opposed to military action, which have repeatedly declared that they see no imminent threat from Iraq. Bush brands his opponents on the Security Council as cowards, as though they were afraid to take action against Saddam Hussein. These countries were, in fact, increasingly alarmed—by the United States, not Iraq. Insofar as they summoned up resolve, to the shock of the Bush administration, it was to deny UN support for the war that Washington had already decided to wage.
Lie No. 9: “Many nations, however, do have the resolve and fortitude to act against this threat to peace, and a broad coalition is now gathering to enforce the just demands of the world.”
Only three nations are contributing military forces to the war: 250,000 from the US, 40,000 from Britain, and 2,000 from Australia. The other members of the “broad coalition” are those which have been bribed or browbeaten to allow the US to fly over their countries to bomb Iraq, to station troops, ships or warplanes on their territory, or provide technical assistance or other material aid to the war. None will do any fighting. All are acting against the expressed desire of their own population.
Lie No. 10: “The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.”
Bush defines the UN body’s responsibility as serving as a rubber stamp for whatever action the United States government demands. In relation to the UN, however, the United States does have definite responsibilities, including refraining from waging war without Security Council authorization, except in the case of immediate self-defense. Under Article 42 of the UN Charter, it is for the Security Council, not the US or Britain, to decide how Security Council resolutions such as 1441 are to be enforced. The US decision to “enforce” its interpretation of 1441 regardless of the will of the Security Council is a violation of international law.
Lie No. 11: “If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you.”
The widely reported US military strategy is to conduct an aerial bombardment of Iraq so devastating that it will “shock and awe” the Iraqi people and compel the Iraqi armed forces to surrender en masse. According to one press preview, US and British forces “plan to launch the deadliest first night of air strikes on a single country in the history of air power. Hundreds of targets in every region of Iraq will be hit simultaneously.” Estimates of likely Iraqi civilian casualties from the immediate impact of bombs and missiles range from thousands to hundreds of thousands, and even higher when the long-term effects are included.
Lie No. 12: “As our coalition takes their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need.”
This is particularly cynical, since the immediate consequence of Bush’s 48-hour ultimatum was the withdrawal of all UN humanitarian aid workers and the shutdown of the oil-for-food program, which underwrites the feeding of 60 percent of Iraq’s population. As for medicine, the US has systematically deprived the Iraqi people of needed medicine for the past 12 years, insisting that even the most basic medical supplies, like antibiotics and syringes, be banned as “dual-use” items that could be used in a program of biological warfare.
Lie No. 13: “We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free.”
The goal of the Bush administration is to install a US puppet regime in Baghdad, initially taking the form of an American military dictatorship. It is no exaggeration to say that the US government has been the leading promoter of dictatorships around the world, from Pinochet of Chile to Suharto of Indonesia to Saddam Hussein himself, who, according to one recent report, got his political start as an anti-communist hit-man working in a CIA-backed plot to assassinate Iraq’s left-nationalist President Qasem in 1959.
A classified State Department report described by the Los Angeles Times of March 14 not only concluded that a democratic Iraq was unlikely to arise from the devastation of war, it suggested that this was not even desirable from the standpoint of American interests, because “anti-American sentiment is so pervasive that elections in the short term could lead to the rise of Islamic-controlled governments hostile to the United States.”
Lie No. 14: “Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war and every measure will be taken to win it.”
This combines a lie and a brutal truth. The Bush administration has taken every possible measure to insure that war takes place, viewing the resumption of UN weapons inspections with barely disguised hostility and directing its venom against those countries that have suggested a diplomatic settlement with Iraq is achievable. In prosecuting the war, the Bush administration is indeed prepared to use “every measure,” up to an including nuclear weapons, in order to win it.
Lie No. 15: “War has no certainty except the certainty of sacrifice.”
There will be colossal sacrifices for the Iraqi people, and sacrifices in blood and economic well-being for the American people as well. But for Bush’s real constituency, the wealthiest layer at the top of American society, there will be no sacrifices at all. Instead, the administration is seeking a tax cut package of over $700 billion, including the abolition of taxation on corporate dividends. Major US corporations are in line to reap hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from the rebuilding of Iraqi infrastructure shattered by the coming US assault. These include the oil construction firm Halliburton, which Vice President Cheney headed prior to joining the Bush administration, and which continues to include Cheney on its payroll.
Lie No. 16: “[T]he only way to reduce the harm and duration of war is to apply the full force and might of our military, and we are prepared to do so.”
Every aggressor claims to deplore the suffering of war and seeks to blame the victim for resisting, and thus prolonging the agony. Bush is no different. His hypocritical statements of “concern” for the Iraqi people cannot disguise the fact that, as many administration apologists freely admit, this is “a war of choice”—deliberately sought by the US government to pursue its strategic agenda in the Middle East.
Lie No. 17: “The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed.”
No one, even in the American military-intelligence complex, seriously believes this. US counter-terrorism officials have repeatedly said that a US conquest and occupation of Iraq, by killing untold thousands of Arabs and Muslims and inflaming public opinion in the Arab world and beyond, will spark more terrorism, not less.
Lie No. 18: “We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over.”
This is belied by the record of the past twelve years, which has seen a steady decline in Iraqi military power. Saddam Hussein has never been a threat to any “free nation,” if that term has any meaning, only to the reactionary oil sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf and to neighboring Iran, all ruled by regimes that are as repressive as his.
Lie No. 19: “As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country.”
The demands of the world were expressed by the millions who marched in cities throughout the world on February 15 and March 15 to oppose a unilateral US attack on Iraq. Bush seeks to have it both ways—claiming to enforce previous Security Council resolutions against Iraq (“the just demands of the world”), while flagrantly defying the will of the majority of the Security Council, the majority of the world’s governments, and the vast majority of the world’s people.
Lie No. 20: “Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty... The United States with other countries will work to advance liberty and peace in that region.”
For “the Iraqi people,” substitute “the Egyptian people,” “the people of the Arabian peninsula,” “the Pakistani people” or those of other US-backed dictatorships, not to mention the Palestinians who live under a brutal Israeli occupation that is supported by Washington. Does the US government believe that any of them are “deserving and capable of human liberty?” When the parliament of Turkey, under the pressure of popular opposition, voted to bar the US from using Turkish territory to invade Iraq, the Bush administration appealed to the Turkish military to pressure the government into overturning this democratic decision.
Familiar, Haunting Words At 8 o'clock last night, the Sikh in a blue turban in the subway change booth at 42nd Street gave me a little wave and I waved back. Suddenly, he was a front-line soldier in a war. I designate the subway at Times Square as a prime target in America in the war with Iraq. I had just been at the public library, where I discovered the speech that started World War II. I print much of it here. It is darkly familiar to what we have been hearing here, when for the first time in American history we became all the things we ever hated and invaded another country. Herewith the speech:
Address by Adolf Hitler to the Reichstag, Sept. 1, 1939.
For months we have suffered under the torture of a problem which the Versailles Diktat created - a problem that has deteriorated until it becomes intolerable for us ...
As always, I attempted to bring about, by the peaceful method of making proposals for revision, an alteration of this intolerable position. It is a lie when the outside world says that we only tried to carry our revisions through by pressure. Fifteen years before the National Socialist Party came to power there was the opportunity of carrying out these revisions by peaceful settlements and understanding. On my own initiative I have, not once but several times, made proposals for the revision of intolerable conditions. All these proposals, as you know, have been rejected - proposals for the limitation of armaments and, even if necessary, disarmament, proposals for the limitation of warmaking, proposals for the elimination of certain methods of modern warfare ... You know the endless attempts I made for peaceful clarification and understanding of the problem of Austria, and later of the problem of the Sudetenland, Bohemia and Moravia. It was all in vain.
It is impossible to demand that an impossible position should be cleared up by peaceful revision, and at the same time constantly reject peaceful revision. It is also impossible to say that he who undertakes to carry out the revisions for himself transgresses a law, since the Versailles Diktat is not law to us.
In the same way, I have tried to solve the problems of Danzig, the Corridor, etc., by proposing a peaceful discussion. That the problems had to be solved was clear. It is quite understandable to us that the time when the problem was to be solved had little interest for the Western Powers. But time is not a matter of indifference to us ... For four months I have calmly watched developments, although I never ceased to give warnings. In the last few days I have increased these warnings ...
I made one more final effort to accept a proposal for mediation on the part of the British government. They proposed, not that they themselves should carry out the negotiations, but rather that Poland and Germany should come into direct contact and once more pursue negotiations. I must declare that I accepted this proposal and worked out a basis for these negotiations which are known to you. For two whole days I sat in my government and waited to see whether it was convenient for the Polish government to send a plenipotentiary or not. Last night they did not send us a plenipotentiary, but instead informed us through their ambassador that they were still considering whether and to what extent they were in a position to go into the British proposals. The Polish government also said they would inform Britain of their decision.
Deputies, if the German government and its leader patiently endured such treatment Germany would deserve only to disappear from the political stage. But I am wrongly judged if my love of peace and my patience are mistaken for weakness or even cowardice. I, therefore, decided last night and informed the British government that in these circumstances I can no longer find any willingness on the part of the Polish government to conduct serious negotiations with us.
The other European states understand in part our attitude. I should like all to thank Italy, which throughout has supported us, but you will understand for the carrying on of this struggle ... we will carry out this task ourselves.
This night for the first time, Polish regular soldiers fired on our territory. Since 5:45 a.m. we have been returning the fire and from now on bombs will be met with bombs. Whoever fights with poison gas will be fought with poison gas. Whoever departs from the rules of humane warfare can only expect that we shall do the same ... until the safety, security of the Reich and its rights are secured.
On that night, Hitler used this dry, unimaginative language to start a world war that was to kill 60 million, and they stopped counting.
Last night, George Bush,
after speech after speech of this same dry, flat, banal language,
started a war for his country, and we can only beg the skies to
keep it from spreading into another world war.
Intense sand, dust storms due in Iraq next week 50-mph wind gusts could limit troops A powerful storm system is likely to pummel military forces in and around Iraq with blinding sand and choking dust beginning Monday night, meteorologists predicted yesterday. Next week's dust storm, the same weather system that blanketed Moscow with heavy snow yesterday, probably will be nearly twice as strong as the one that grounded helicopters and limited troop movements in Kuwait on Wednesday, private and government meteorologists said.
Winds are expected to exceed 50 mph in gusts in southern Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, said meteorologists at Accuweather.com, a commercial forecasting company. The dust storm Wednesday blew through at about 20 to 30 mph. Potentially further hampering early military action, temperatures around Baghdad are predicted to climb unusually high Monday ahead of the storm front, reaching 90 degrees, weather experts said. Following the early taste of summer heat, the winds should peak Tuesday, meteorologists said.
In northern Iraq next week, the powerful front is likely to produce rain that will limit dust clouds. But the precipitation is not expected to reach the south, where troops are rolling into the country from Kuwait, so nothing will prevent gusts of 40 to 50 mph from scouring the earth and raising thick veils of dust. In the region, storms this intense can limit visibility to less than 100 feet. Some American troops can use heat-sensing gun sights that can detect targets even in fairly thick dust. Satellite-guided bombs are not hampered. But even the most advanced attack helicopters are put at great risk by the heavy dust, military experts said.
For soldiers, the dust adds yet another dimension of discomfort. They already face warming temperatures and the constant threat of dangerous gases that will require them to wear gas masks and other protective gear. The chances of powerful storms will ebb in the coming weeks, but temperatures probably will keep rising. March in southern Iraq began with daily highs averaging about 69 degrees, but the daily high will be 75 by April and 110 by June, said Ken Reeves, a senior meteorologist at Accuweather. "If you have to endure that kind of heat in the biohazard suits they have to put on, it can get very difficult," he said. Comment: Operating in sand storms is something that the US forces will likely have little training in. There are many forces at play here, not only the apparent ones. This phony war is set to get extremely messy, exactly what the US governement wants, yet the final result will not be what they expect.
Dawn strikes over central Baghdad Two large explosions struck central Baghdad early this morning, shaking the city and sending fresh plumes of smoke into the sky. Coalition warships and B-52 bombers fired more than 1,000 cruise missiles in a matter of hours last night, in an escalation of the aerial campaign aimed at convincing the Iraqi military that it would be futile to continue to resist a ground invasion.
The onslaught started shortly after 1700GMT and reached a crescendo about one hour later in Baghdad, as hundreds of cruise missiles fired from coalition warships and B-52 bombers rained down on barracks, government buildings and at least one presidential palace. At about 2000GMT the first wave of fighter jets - led by RAF Tornados - joined the attack, hitting targets on the outskirts of Baghdad.
Large explosions were also heard around the city of Basra in the south and Kirkuk in the north, while anti-aircraft guns peppered the skies over Mosul. The US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said the unprecedented attack was designed to convince President Saddam that "he and his regime are finished". The attacks came as rapidly advancing coalition ground forces seized the first key targets in southern Iraq and accepted the surrender of Iraq's regular 51st Division, numbering 8,000 troops.
US and British armoured columns pushed 160 miles into Iraq, more than one-third of the way toward the Iraqi capital. One US commander said he expected US troops to invade Baghdad within "three to four days". Leading elements of a coalition battalion also reached the outskirts of Basra, Iraq's second city last night. They were said to be preparing for a final push to take the city in the coming hours. Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations accused UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan of violating the UN Charter by withdrawing key UN personnel to clear the way for the "illegal, immoral and unjustifiable" attack.
Minute after minute the missiles came, with devastating
shrieks Robert Fisk in Baghdad
In an operation officially intended to create "shock and awe'', shock was hardly the word for it. The few Iraqis in the streets around me no friends of Saddam I would suspect cursed under their breath. From high-rise buildings, shops and homes came the thunder of crashing glass as the shock waves swept across the Tigris river in both directions. Minute after minute the missiles came in. Many Iraqis had watched as I had television film of those ominous B-52 bombers taking off from Britain only six hours earlier. Like me, they had noted the time, added three hours for Iraqi time in front of London and guessed that, at around 9pm, the terror would begin. The B-52s, almost certainly firing from outside Iraqi airspace, were dead on time.
Police cars drove at speed through the streets, their loudspeakers ordering pedestrians to take shelter or hide under cover of tall buildings. Much good did it do. Crouching next to a block of shops on the opposite side of the river, I narrowly missed the shower of glass that came cascading down from the upper windows as the shock waves slammed into them. Along the streets a few Iraqis could be seen staring from balconies, shards of broken glass around them. Each time one of the great golden bubbles of fire burst across the city, they ducked inside before the blast wave reached them. At one point, as I stood beneath the trees on the corniche, a wave of cruise missiles passed low overhead, the shriek of their passage almost as devastating as the explosions that were to follow.
How, I ask myself, does one describe this outside the language of a military report, the definition of the colour, the decibels of the explosions? When the cruise missiles came in it sounded as if someone was ripping to pieces huge curtains of silk in the sky and the blast waves became a kind of frightening counterpoint to the flames. There is something anarchic about all human beings, about their reaction to violence. The Iraqis around me stood and watched, as I did, at huge tongues of flame bursting from the upper stories of Saddam's palace, reaching high into the sky. Strangely, the electricity grid continued to operate and around us the traffic lights continued to move between red and green. Billboards moved in the breeze of the shock waves and floodlights continued to blaze on public buildings. Above us we could see the massive curtains of smoke beginning to move over Baghdad, white from the explosions, black from the burning targets.
How could one resist it? How could the Iraqis ever believe with their broken technology, their debilitating 12 years of sanctions, that they could defeat the computers of these missiles and of these aircraft? It was the same old story: irresistible, unquestionable power. Well yes, one could say, could one attack a more appropriate regime? But that is not quite the point. For the message of last night's raid was the same as that of Thursday's raid, that of all the raids in the hours to come: that the United States must be obeyed. That the EU, UN, Nato nothing must stand in its way. Indeed can stand in its way.
No doubt this morning the
Iraqi Minister of Information will address us all again and insist
that Iraq will prevail. We shall see. But many Iraqis are now
asking an obvious question: how many days? Not because they want
the Americans or the British in Baghdad, though they may profoundly
wish it. But because they want this violence to end: which, when
you think of it, is exactly why these raids took
place.Reports were coming in last
night of civilians killed in the raids which, given the
intensity of the cruise missile attacks, is not surprising. Another
target turned out to be the vast Rashid military barracks, perhaps
the largest in Iraq. But the symbolic centre of
this raid was clearly intended to be Saddam's main palace, with its
villas, fountains, porticos and gardens. And, sure enough, the
flames licking across the façade of the palace last night
looked very much like a funeral pyre.
1,000 Turkish troops cross into northern Iraq More than 1,000 Turkish commandos have rolled across the border into northern Iraq in armoured vehicles, a military official said. It was a reminder to the Kurdish population on both sides of the border – and to the war planners at the Pentagon in Washington – that Turkey’s interests cannot be ignored. Last night, US Secretary of State Colin Powell had said: “We don’t see any need for any Turkish incursions into northern Iraq.”
He was speaking after Turkey delayed opening its airspace to US war planes for strikes against Saddam Hussein’s regime, insisting that the United States agree to its demands to move ground troops into northern Iraq. After appearing to drop the demand and saying it would allow the overflights, about 1,000 Turkish troops in M-113 armoured personnel carriers then moved into northern Iraq from near the town of Cukurca, where the borders of Turkey, Iraq and Iran converge, a military official said. The unit reinforces several thousand Turkish troops already in Iraq to fight Turkish Kurdish rebels who have bases in the area.
Some of the existing Turkish troops in northern Iraq were repositioned yesterday to strategic hilltops, the military official said. Thousands of Turkish troops are also camping just four miles away from the Iraqi border, near the town of Silopi. Scores of Turkish tanks, artillery and armoured vehicles are also positioned around Silopi. The entire border area has been declared a military zone and is off limits to journalists. About 5,000 Turkish troops were on their way to the border area, military officials said. Turkey fears the US-led war could lead Iraq to fragment, with northern Kurds declaring independence. That could encourage Turkey’s Kurdish rebels who have battled the army for 15 years, leaving 37,000 people dead.
“Turkish soldiers will go in,” Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said. He said Turkey’s objectives were “Iraq’s territorial integrity” and containing within Iraq any refugee flow caused by the conflict. “Turkey has no designs whatsoever on Iraq’s territory,” he said. For years Turkey has maintained several thousand soldiers and a few dozen tanks in northern Iraq to counter Turkish Kurdish guerrillas. Turkey says the Turkish Kurdish rebels have benefited from the power vacuum in northern Iraq following the 1991 Gulf War and have exploited it to stage hit-and-run attacks into Turkey from the region. “This time, we will not allow such a vacuum,” Gul said. Comment: Looks like this phony war was designed to rope as many different countries/factions into the conflgration as possible, in this way the US can then claim justifcation for sorting it all out in the name of "national and world security" and effectively reorder the middle east to its liking. Has anyone wondered why 300,000 troops were needed to attack such a delapidated Iraqi army? The answer is that Iraqi is only one of many nations they will be attacking.
'Dead bodies are everywhere'...Saddam's first martyrs lost Herald Correspondent Lindsay Murdoch, travelling with a Marines artillery unit, reports on one of the war's first battles on the Iraq-Kuwait border.
There was little initial resistance as the United States Marines swept into southern Iraq early yesterday. One of the first encounters of the ground war was more like a massacre than a fight. The Iraqi gunners fired first, soon after United States President George Bush announced the attack on Saddam Hussein was under way. It was a fatal mistake.
The Iraqi artillery unit, preparing for the American invasion, had tested the range by firing registering shots at a likely spot where the American tanks would cross from Kuwait. US radar picked up the incoming shells and pinpointed their source. Within hours, the Iraqi gunners and their Russian-made 122mm howitzers were destroyed as the Americans unleashed an artillery barrage that shook the ground and lit up the night sky with orange flashes. "Dead bodies are everywhere," a US officer reported by radio.
Later in the day, the American firepower was turned on Safwan Hill, an Iraqi military observation post a couple of kilometres across the border. About six hours after US marines and their 155mm howitzer guns pulled up at the border, they opened up with a deafening barrage. Safwan Hill went up in a huge fireball and the Iraqi observation post was obliterated. "I pity anybody who's in there," a marine sergeant said. "We told them to surrender."
The destruction of Safwan Hill was a priority for the attacking forces because it had sophisticated surveillance equipment near the main highway that runs from Kuwait up to Basra and then Baghdad. The attacking US and British forces could not attempt to cross the border unless it was destroyed. Marine Cobra helicopter gunships firing Hellfire missiles swept in low from the south. Then the marine howitzers, with a range of 30 kilometres, opened a sustained barrage over the next eight hours. They were supported by US Navy aircraft which dropped 40,000 pounds of explosives and napalm, a US officer told the Herald.
A legal expert at the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva said the use of napalm or fuel air bombs was not illegal "per se" because the US was not a signatory to the 1980 weapons convention which prohibits and restricts certain weapons. "But the US has to apply the basic principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and take all precautions to protect civilians. In the case of napalm and fuel air bombs, these are special precautions because these are area weapons, not specific weapons," said Dominique Loye, the committee's adviser on weapons and IHL.
When dawn broke on Safwan Hill, all that could be seen on top of it was a single antenna amid the smoke. The marines then moved forward, their officers saying they were determined to push on as quickly as possible for Baghdad. The first air strike on Baghdad, and Mr Bush's announcement that the war was under way, appeared to catch US officers in the Kuwait desert by surprise. The attack was originally planned for early today. But the US officers did not seem worried. Within hours of Mr Bush's announcement, a vast army of tanks, trucks, bulldozers and heavy guns was surging through the dust of the Kuwaiti desert to positions on Iraq's border. Comment: Again, we should keep in mind that the almost EVERYTHING you hear read or see coming from western media sources will have been "cleared" first by the pentagon, meaning that it is very likely nowhere near the truth. The above reports of massacres of Iraqi troops are desinged to boost morale expecially when it is also very likely that US forces are suffering heavy losses. The report that "one" US marine had been killed is laughable, as is the report that 16 troops were killed when a helicopter "crashed". For a perhaps more accurate view of what is happening, or at least another perspecive check out this russian report about US "colossal losses", translated from Russian by translation software.
Seven dead as UK helicopters collide Two British Royal Navy helicopters collided today over the Persian Gulf, killing the six British and one American crewmen on board, military officials said.
The two Sea King helicopters were not hit by enemy fire, said Group Captain Al Lockwood, a spokesman for the British forces in the Gulf. “All those on the helicopters have perished,” he said. “It is a great tragedy.” The helicopters crashed at about 4:30am (1.30am Irish time), just after they took off from a ship in the Gulf, officials said. The cause was under investigation. “We do have very careful plans and procedures to ensure we have separation of all the aircraft being used,” Lockwood said.
“Sadly, last night
something was not quite right and we are looking to find out what
that was as quickly as possible.” Pentagon spokesman Major
Ben Owens said a US Navy officer was among the victims. The
accident was the second involving coalition helicopters since the
US-led campaign began. Eight Royal Marines and four American
Marines died when their CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crashed before
dawn in Kuwait yesterday. Lieutenant Colonel Ben Curry, a Royal
Marines spokesman, said that crash occurred as troops were being
deployed to seize the al-Faw peninsula in southern Iraq.
Comment: More hubris? Is every downed US or
British aircraft going to be an "accident"? Disabuse yourself of
the idea that what you are seeing is the truth or anywhere near it.
The US and British, as we have seen, are well-veresed in the art of
lies and deceit.
photo explains a lot aswell
Iran Oil Depot Hit By
Rocket - Iran Warns US, UK An oil refinery depot in
southwestern Iran close to the Iraqi border was hit by a rocket on
Friday, officials said, and the Islamic Republic warned Washington
and London to respect its airspace.
March 21, 2003 Today's edition of Brought to You by The Bush Junta, Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions....The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen." If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!
For those that missed the defining moment of American foreign policy......
Saddam was inside compound The UK Defence Chief has said that he cannot confirm reports that Saddam Hussein was killed in the attempted "decapitation strike". Sir Michael Boyce was addressing the first of regular Ministry of Defence briefings on the progress of the war. US intelligence officials believe that Saddam was inside the compound in Baghdad that was destroyed by cruise missiles.
The Iraqi leader was thought to be accompanied by one or both of his sons when the underground bunker in southern Baghdad was attacked during the opening hours of the war. Saddam appeared on state television this morning meeting with his son, Qusay, who heads the Republican Guard. His appearance followed a statement from the White House which said that it had "no concrete" information on Saddam's fate.
"The preponderance of the evidence is he was there when the building blew up," said one official. Another official said Saddam was believed to be "at least injured because medical attention was urgently summoned on his behalf". The condition of his sons, and any others who may have been at the compound, was unknown. Saddam's appearance on Iraqi TV after the attack was not a surprise because he was believed to have recorded several statements earlier this week. The Iraqi ministry of information has claimed that Saddam "is safe". Comment: It should be remembered that EVERYTHING you read or hear or see from western media, particularly the "media whores" like CNN SKY etc is very likely disinformation.
Wants UN Troops to End Fighting in Iraq. The State Duma has
suggested to President Vladimir Putin that he should raise the
question at the UN Security Council of dispatching UN peacekeeping
forces to Iraq to separate the warring parties. They also suggested
that he "initiate the convocation of a special UN General Assembly
session to discuss the aggression initiated by the United States,
Britain, and their allies" against Iraq, as well as "the post-war
political, social and economic restoration of Iraq under the UN
The document says, among other things, that the action taken by the United States, Britain, and their allies against Iraq "has created a military-political situation which potentially threatens Russia's national interests," and which "requires from the military and political leaders of this country urgent measures to consolidate Russia's defenses."
In this connection the Duma suggested that the President and the government should submit proposals on amendments to the 2003 federal budget before June 1 to increase defence expenditure to a level of no less than 3.5 per cent of gross domestic product, and to allocate additional resources to accelerate the modernisation of the Russian armed forces. It has been suggested that, starting from 2004, the amount of money allocated for defence purposes by annual federal budgets will remain at this level. The MPs urged the executive authorities to render humanitarian assistance to the civilian population of Iraq.
The document stresses that
the actions of the anti-Iraqi coalition has dealt a serious blow to
the international community's efforts to achieve a political
settlement of the conflict in the Persian Gulf area and ensure the
decommissioning of potential Iraqi weapons of mass destruction
along with their delivery vehicles. Russian legislators believe,
"The whole system for maintaining international peace and security,
with the UN Security Council as its key element, has been seriously
damaged." Comment: "Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered
Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This
is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat
from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very
existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with
world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every
man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario,
individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee
of their well being granted to them by their world government." --
Henry Kissinger speaking at Evian, France, May 21, 1992
Bilderburgers meeting. I suggest that the "evil" spoken of
above could well turn out to be a certain rampaging Imperialist US
Mr. Bush's War. Welcome to the American Empire. Don't be surprised that your rights and privileges have changed all of a sudden. We used to be a constitutional democracy. That's pretty much done now. You're a citizen of an empire today, one that attacks sovereign nations without cause, with the backing of such international heavyweights as Spain and Eritrea. You're not a citizen. You're a customer. Take a number and get in line.
By: William Rivers Pitt - 03/20/03
The television in the other room is filled with purposeful, strident music. All sorts of well-coifed 'journalists' on CNN and MSNBC are parading across the screen in stylishly-cut desert gear from Banana Republic. Graphics sail by periodically, describing whatever sort of bomb is striking a faraway city of five million innocent civilians. The anchors, back in the studios, can be seen suppressing grins from time to time. They are, after all, professionals, and they know the eyes of the world are on them tonight.
Welcome to war in the 21st century. If it took you by surprise, don't worry. You're certainly not alone. They had to wake Tony Blair out of a sound sleep to tell him that the attack he'd worked so hard to bring had finally come. He had no idea it had started until one of his handlers shook him out of his jammies and handed him the phone.
It is late here in Boston, and I do not have the time to go into the details again. Take a pass through two articles I have written for this publication: Of Gods and Mortals and Empire and Blood Money. If you're feeling particularly frisky, you can take a run through The Other American Dream, which I wrote all the way back in September of 2002. Between the three of them, you will have a pretty good idea of what is happening here. At the beginning of the press conference from the Department of Defense, after the attack had started, a camera caught Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Don Rumsfeld congratulating each other. If that doesn't mean anything to you, then you haven't yet clicked the links in the last paragraph. Go ahead. I'll wait.
Let's make one thing very clear here. This war belongs to several groups. It belongs to the cable news 'journalists' who have absolutely gone above and beyond the call of duty to sell this war to the American people.
When asked to obfuscate the reality of Iraq by calling this an attack on Saddam Hussein, thus making it easier for average people to forget about the blood and intestines that are about to be splattered on a number of walls and streets, they do the work of the few conservative extremists who have, through a nightmarish run of luck and money, taken control of our government. Iraq is inhabited by 24 million people just like you. A lot of them will see their last dawn soon. We're attacking Saddam, though, so forget all that.
When asked to investigate who is pushing this war and why – when asked, essentially, to follow the oldest journalistic rule in the book and follow the money – they shrug their shoulders and mutter "Conspiracy theory." That's fine. Here is another theory for you TV 'journalists: You are damned. Not just by me, or by the billions worldwide who see this rape for what it is. God sees you, and knows your names. This war belongs to Richard Perle, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Dick Cheney and all the fellows from the Project for a New American Century. Again, if you have not yet clicked the links above, go ahead. I'll wait.
Welcome to the American Empire. Don't be surprised that your rights and privileges have changed all of a sudden. We used to be a constitutional democracy. That's pretty much done now. You're a citizen of an empire today, one that attacks sovereign nations without cause, with the backing of such international heavyweights as Spain and Eritrea. You're not a citizen. You're a customer. Take a number and get in line.
Above all, and amusingly enough, this war belongs first and foremost to George W. Bush. Mr. Bush ran a number of oil companies straight into the ground before becoming the constitutionally castrated governor of Texas. From thence to our current greatness, it seems. This has been his party since July, but few were truly interested in attending. 160 nations want nothing to do with this attack, and eleven of the fifteen United Nations Security Council vote-counters told him to go pound sand, despite a month-long bribery campaign that would have made John Gotti blush with envy. The inevitable terrorist attacks upon our wholly unprepared shores are also, by the way, the sole property of Mr. Bush. The aftereffects of this attack on Iraq, which will effect your children's children, are also the sole property of Mr. Bush.
I hate to delve into semantics on such a bucolic evening, but there is an aspect of this whole situation which needs clearing up. "War" is a violent engagement between nations. "Attack" is something that happens when one person, nation or group sets about to beat the Jesus out of another person, nation or group. This is not a war. This is an attack. Iraq does not have, and – were the inspectors allowed to complete the job given to them by Resolution 1441 – would never have the ability to attack America, either on their own or by proxy.
America is not making war on Iraq. We are attacking a nation of 24 million people. Some will tell you that this is the first time a democracy has instigated a war. This is wrong. Military empires have reached out to crush other peoples and nations since time out of mind. Silly you, for thinking this was a constitutional democracy. This is Mr. Bush's war, which is in truth an attack. He can have it. The rest of us need to make sure that we use those constitutional freedoms to the best of our ability before they dry up completely. The time has come for peaceful civil disobedience. Stop traffic. Stop commerce. Turn your proud and noble American flag upside down, so as to display the universally accepted signal for 'Distress, Send Help.' Take the streets and dare them to arrest you. They will. We might be able to bring down an empire and reinstate a democracy.
That would be something.
You are your mother's son, your father's daughter, your grandparent's pride. You are the inheritor of a noble, righteous tradition of resistance. Make use of it. It is in your blood. Do what you can. Do not kill, do not steal, do not break and destroy. You don't need to. With the onset of Mr. Bush's war, all you need do to disrupt things is to stand forth and say, simply, "No."
If you are the praying type, now would be a good time to take to your knees and ask whatever Being you believe in to remember that most of us are good and kind and decent people who wish only to work and raise our children and love and live in freedom and in peace. Go ahead.
Stormin' Norman says attack 'boggles the mind' The leader of US forces during the last Gulf War said the bombing raids in Baghdad tonight are much more intense than any in the first conflict.
General Norman Schwarzkopf, who led the 1991 invasion of Iraq, told NBC that the bombing was much more intense than that seen in the first conflict. “This is far more devastating than anything we had the ability to do. It really boggles the mind.” Human rights organisation Amnesty International said that in response to the start of the large scale attack on Baghdad, a city of five million people, it was seeking urgent clarification from the US and UK governments of the measures taken to protect against civilian casualties. The organisation warned that under international humanitarian law, an attack must be cancelled or suspended if it became apparent that it was causing disproportionate loss of civilian life. Comment: The devastating attack on Baghdad, a city of 5 million people, the majority children, is a crime against humanity. Ask yourself, what has Iraq done to the US to warrant such mass slaughter of innocents? The answer is absolutely nothing other than possess oil. The image that comes to mind when watching the horrible destruction and death delivered to the people of Baghdad is that of the spectacle of naked christians being murdered or eaten in the Roman Coloseum, all courtesy of the "Imperial ruler". There is no difference. To listen to Bush and Co talk with barely hidden pride and glee at the horrifying death-dealing capability of their own WMD is sickening in the extreme.
Detaining "Iraqi Sympathizers" Concerns About Al Qaeda,
Iraqi Terrorism Prompts High Alert. With the nation back on high
alert and officials warning that terrorists may already be planning
major new attacks, ABCNEWS has learned the government will begin
detaining dozens of suspected Saddam Hussein sympathizers in at
least five U.S. cities this week.
''Pentagon press briefing: farce, charade and deception'' The typical Washington press briefing -- whether from the White House or Pentagon -- generally displays one dominant characteristic: a notable lack of useful or new information. As of late, the presence of a barely disguised hostility and contempt towards the attending reporters is also quite noticeable.
Reporters are at least half the reason why press briefings are usually a waste of time -- Washington's press corps simply ask the most meaningless, non-confrontational questions imaginable. What is worse is when, after the fact, correspondents or pundits talk about how the reporters in attendance "pressed the issue" or "touched sensitive areas." Such comments further obscure the fact that the real questions are not asked and powerful figures in Washington are not held accountable for what they say.
Today's briefing presented by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers was no exception. After opening statements from Rumsfeld and Myers, the groveling reporters squealed from their seats, "Mr. Secretary," "General," like a gaggle of pre-pubescent boys trying to win a chance to kiss the prom queen. Rumsfeld continued the simile with his tough guy responses and general air of disrespect. One of the first questions Rumsfeld faced was: "Mr. Secretary, two quick ones, if I may. Did you have information--"
The Defense Secretary quickly reprimanded the questioner for wanting to ask two questions: "With all this crowd, why don't we just try one?"
After, quite naturally, ending up asking multiple questions anyway, the reporter was reprimanded further by Rumsfeld: "I thought we agreed on just one."
While tone of voice cannot be conveyed through the printed word, the environment Rumsfeld attempts, and succeeds, to create is one of sheer intimidation.
Some of the "pressing" and, indeed, almost rhetorical questions asked include:
"Do you plan to try and move quickly to stop [the setting afire of oil wells]?"
"[I]f indeed we missed Saddam last night, what does that do to the Iraqi spirit?"
"Is it also your hope that some elements of the military might remove Saddam themselves?"
There was also the following exchange:
Rumsfeld: The fewer [Iraqi defectors] there are, the risks that it will be broader and more difficult, take more time, and more lives will be lost.
Q: Mr. Secretary, what evidence do you have that it's actually working, that there are actually Iraqis who are heeding this call to--
Rumsfeld: We have evidence.
Q: And what sort of evidence is that?
Rumsfeld: Good evidence.
This coming from the same administration that recently presented forged documents to the United Nations Security Council as the key evidence in its campaign to prove that Iraq had revitalized its nuclear weapons program. Rumsfeld also made a highly questionable comment regarding the depth of the "coalition of the willing." Reuters news agency picked up on this and has already released an article refuting his claim. Rumsfeld said, "The coalition in this activity is larger than the coalition that existed during the Gulf War in 1991."
Reuters skillfully pointed out that "But the facts put out by the administration itself suggest otherwise. "In 1991 at least 33 countries sent forces to the campaign against Iraq and 16 of those provided combat ground forces, including a large number of Arab countries. "In 2003 the only fighting forces are from the United States, Britain and Australia. Ten other countries are known to have offered small numbers of noncombat forces, mostly either medical teams and specialists in decontamination, making a comparable alliance of about 13 countries.
"U.S. officials have named 33 countries which support the U.S. invasion of Iraq but this includes countries which are providing overflight and basing rights and which are giving only diplomatic or political support for the invasion. "President Bush said on Wednesday that 35 countries have chosen to 'share the honor' of supporting the campaign but U.S. officials could not name more than the 33. "They say some 15 other countries are cooperating with the U.S. war effort behind the scene, mostly by giving access to bases and airspace, but they do not want to be named.
"In 1991 the United States and its allies did not count countries which provided overflight rights or political support because the campaign had the overwhelming support of the U.N. Security Council, which had voted 12-2 for the use of force." Arguably, the most significant thing uttered during the entire briefing was this chilling threat from the Defense Secretary: "What will follow will not be a repeat of any other conflict. It will be of a force and scope and scale that has been beyond what has been seen before." Comment: "the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do." -Samuel P. Huntington-
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