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'The French Connection'

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IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH! - Articles of Impeachment and the FAX number of your representative. Download, print and FAX.

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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 outside.
Allan Bloom The Closing of the American Mind

"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--

Faith of consciousness is freedom
Faith of feeling is weakness
Faith of body is stupidity.
Love of consciousness evokes the same in response
Love of feeling evokes the opposite
Love of the body depends only on type and polarity.
Hope of consciousness is strength
Hope of feeling is slavery
Hope of body is disease. [Gurdjieff]

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 13, 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!

Listen to Q&A session with CIA Analyst Stephen Pelletiere

US readies nuke option as WW3 erupts in Serbia. The assassination of the Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic marks a grave deterioration in international relations over US plans for a Gulf invasion. Meanwhile, the testing of a high power bomb by the US is a smokescreen for its preparedness to use theater nuclear weapons in the forthcoming conflict. NATO political gains in Eastern Europe were in disarray today after the murder of the Serbian Prime Minister Djindjic. The killing is clearly the opening of a second front in the international power struggle currently centered on the Gulf region.

Despite attempts to pin the blame for the killing on a Milorad Lukovic, a local Serbian gangster, the murder indicates a Hot War worse than any previous Cold War has broken out in Eastern Europe. Underneath the veneer of civilized debate at the United Nations, the world has just lurched sharply towards World War III.

"Europe has lost a friend... who fought hard for democracy," an EU statement said. But, Europe lost more than a friend and ally, it just lost the plot. Djinjic was the West's man in Serbia, and it was he who handed over Yugoslavia's former leader, Slobodan Milosevic to Western justice. His murder is eerily reminiscent of the killing of Franz Ferdinand, who was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo in June 1914. The assassination precipitated a crisis which led to the outbreak of World War I

Even before the Serbian killing, the US test of a high power Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or MOAB bomb in Florida, was a clear sign it is readying the nuclear option in the coming Gulf conflict. Although the 21,000 bomb used conventional munitions, it was universally described in Western media as having an explosion signature indistinguishable from a nuclear weapon mushroom cloud. That emphasis achieved two purposes:

For US public consumption, it served as convenient cover should such bomb signatures be detected as a result of the use of theater nuclear weapons in the Gulf conflict. The widely publicized bomb test allows these to be dismissed as MOAB effects. An unconvincing cover, as in fact the signature was nothing like a nuclear mushroom --but a cover nonetheless.

For international geopolitical elite consumption, the "mushroom" references were a clear sign to US enemies, that faced with possible conflicts on multiple fronts, the US will not risk depleting it's forces and resources in protracted battle in any individual region, but will seek quick victories by means of battlefield nuclear weapons.

Indeed, comments by Donald Rumsfeld that Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein might use chemical weapons on his own people was a sign that the US is prepared to use such weapons itself. "His regime may be planning to use weapons of mass destruction against its own citizens, and then blame coalition forces," Mr. Rumsfeld said. Given the little publicized US chemical warfare capabilities, that comment is more than a little disingenuous.

Against the backdrop of such statements, the murder of the Serbian Prime Minister is an ominous development which indicates that the US is facing a collapse of the international balance of power and that Western interests will face multiple conflicts on multiple fronts if the US pursues it's objectives in the Middle East. The next logical step in this sickening game of international war poker would be the sudden escalation of Korean Peninsular tensions and perhaps even a manufactured crisis over Taiwan.

The world just became a very dangerous place. The first significant shots of World War III were the two sniper bullets which downed Zolan Djinjic. We are lurching toward a conflict of global dimensions, in which the major powers may well loose control of the geopolitical situation and which will feature both chemical and nuclear weapons. The potential damage is likely to be beyond the capacity of even Kellogg, Brown & Root to repair.

One thing that I really am having trouble understanding is what is motivating Tony Blair. The vast majority of his "subjects" do not want war, most other EU heads of state are against war. Blair is alienating himself from his closest allies and the UN by siding with Bush in his insane dash to war. The US has been discredited on the world stage through its fabrication of evidence against Saddam. 40 members of Blair's own party are threatening to resign if he goes ahead with UN backing, meaning he may have to rely on support from the opposition, a situation that is tantamount to political suicide. So why? It just dosent make sense that he insists that he will continue this course of action regardless of the obviously negative consequences to him his party and his political future. We can understand perhaps that Bush is being pushed to wage war at any cost due to the enormous pressure from corporate america and the oil companies, 250,000 US troops and the accompanying hardware genreates a lot of money for the US economy and of course we cannot forget the main backer of war in Iraq - Israel and the massive Israeli lobby in the US. However this is not really the case with Blair, the UK has sent just 50,000 troops and from a political standpoint Blair would surely be better off siding with the other big European nations. So why, why risk so much? What good will it do Blair if he forces the issue and looses his job? It seems possible that there is something else behind the seeming recklessness of Tony Blair, he acts like a man with nothing to loose, as if the US (FBI) or even Israel (Mossad) has something "on him" so to speak, which is forcing his hand in supporting this agression, regardless of the risks to his position in power. In light of this, read this article. If the allegtions are true, then we get a clearer picture of what exactly is motivating Mr Blair and we see that he really could be in a position where he has nothing to loose, and indeed, being condemned for waging an illegal, unpopular war and even destroying his political career would seem preferable to the consequences that would result if the contents of the above article were to prove true and be revealed to the public at large.

Portugal's elite linked to paedophile ring Abuse was reportedly going on at Lisbon orphanage for 20 years A scandal over a paedophile ring run from a state orphanage gripped Portugal yesterday as it threatened to engulf diplomats, media personalities and senior politicians. Photographs of unnamed senior government officials with young boys from Lisbon's Casa Pia orphanage were among the evidence reportedly available to police after they arrested a former orphanage employee called Carlos Silvino. A number of former residents, and the mother of one boy who is still there, have denounced sexual attacks on children at what is known as Lisbon's most famous orphanage.

Mr Silvino, it was claimed, abused children himself and procured boys for a powerful group of clients. He has publicly denied the allegations and was expected to repeat that denial at a closed-door bail hearing in Lisbon yesterday. What has most shocked the Portuguese have been the revelations that systematic sexual abuse of children at the home had allegedly been going on for more than 20 years and had been known to police and other authorities for most of that time. A former president, General Ramalho Eanes, was allegedly among those who knew about abuse at the home but failed to stop it. The identity of the mysterious group of powerful paedophiles remained a secret yesterday, with only one person prepared to admit she knew at least some of the names.

Former secretary of state for families, Teresa Costa Macedo, said she had sent a dossier containing photographs and testimonies from children to the police 20 years ago but they had done nothing about it, while she was subjected to a campaign of threats. "He [Silvino] was just one element in a huge paedophile network that involved important people in our country," Mrs Costa Macedo explained in a newspaper interview. "It wasn't just him. He was a procurer of children for well-known people who range from diplomats and politicians to people linked to the media." The material sent to the police, which yesterday appeared to have been lost, was damning proof of the activities of the paedophile ring, Mrs Costa Macedo said.

"There are photographs, an account of the methods used to spirit children out of the orphanage and testimonies of a number of children," she explained. Mrs Costa Macedo said that many of the photographs were found at the house of a Portuguese diplomat in the town of Estoril, 20 miles from Lisbon. Four children who had gone missing from the orphanage were discovered at the house, where they had spent several days allegedly under lock and key. President Eanes was introduced to five boys who told him of the abuse occurring at the orphanage in 1980 but failed to act on it, according to Mrs Costa Macedo.

There was no suggestion that General Eanes, a popular and respected figure who did not comment on the allegations yesterday, was involved in the paedophile ring. Portuguese police insisted yesterday they had no record of the documents sent to them by Mrs Costa Macedo. She said she had been the target of a campaign of intimidation to make her stop investigating the case. "I received anonymous threats, by phone and post. They said they would kill me, flay me and a lot of other things," she said. That campaign had started again yesterday, she said, with threatening phone calls made to her home.

Portugal has increasingly been under the scrutiny of anti-paedophile groups who have denounced its lax laws and uninterested courts for creating a paedophiles' paradise in Europe. Belgian and Dutch paedophile groups are reported to have operated in Portugal, with foreigners travelling to the island of Madeira to seek out young children. Investigators from the Swiss-based Innocence in Danger group, which claims children regularly disappear from the poorer streets of Portuguese towns and cities, say they too have been harassed and threatened. Mr Silvino claimed his accusers were making up their allegations. "It is all lies," he said. The orphanage's director and deputy director were sacked on Monday as the government pledged to clear up the case as soon as possible.

Israel's military debates use of flechette round The Israel Defence Force (IDF) is using tank-fired flechette anti-personnel rounds in its conflict with Palestinian militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Military sources told Jane's Defence Weekly that the IDF is divided about the employment of the round, with some officers arguing that the shell is effective against certain targets while others warn of an international backlash.

The IDF is using a modified version of the M494 105mm APERS-T round provided by the USA in the 1970s. According to a US Army manual, the round is "designed for close-in assault against massed infantry assaults and for offensive fire against exposed enemy personnel".

In IDF service the M494 is fitted with the Reshef Technologies OMEGA M127 electronic fuze which is set before the round is fired. At the set range the forward section of the M494 round ruptures releasing approximately 5,000 small flechette darts and a dye marker. The flechettes are dispersed in a cone-shaped pattern which is 300m long and about 94m wide.

Although the IDF spokesman refused to comment on operational matters, other IDF sources told JDW that commanders are under orders to use the round sparingly and insist it has been employed on only a "handful" of occasions in Gaza. They said the round is used against targets such as mortar crews who cannot be engaged effectively by automatic fire. Comment: See these pictures of Israeli handiwork in Palestine.

Trying to Shout Before it Happens - Warning to Soldiers Ad in Ha'aretz The following is an ad that ran in Israel’s daily Ha’aretz on 11 March, The ad was placed by the Israeli Human Rights Group, Gush Shalom

Soldier - Civilian - IDF Civil Employee – WARNING

Powerful factors in Israel may intend to take advantage of the American attack on Iraq in order to transfer parts of the Palestinian population.

According to article 4 of the Geneva Convention, the following acts constitute war crimes:

- Expelling the population from occupied territories to other countries. (For example: deportation to Jordan or Lebanon.)

- Transferring the population from one part of the occupied territories to another. (For example: Deportation from Kalkilya and Tulkarm to Nablus.)

- Demolition of homes without an immediate military necessity.

If you have received, in the course of your duties or any other way, information that may be connected to such acts, including:

- An exceptionally large order for means of mass transportation.

- An order for or preparation of tents, blankets, food packages etc..
- Infrastructure works for large camps in unexpected localities.

- Preparations for calling up large numbers of reserve logistic units.

- Plans or preparations for cutting off communications or electricity in the occupied territories.

- Other plans or preparations that might suggest a connection with possible plans of expulsion.

You are requested to report this information to the Army Chief Advocate, military post 9605, fax 03-5694370, or the Legal Advisor to the Government, fax 02-6274481. Any person who participates in the planning or execution of war crimes is in peril of being indicted sooner or later, in Israel or abroad. The statute of limitations does not apply to war crimes, nor is it a valid defense that one "only followed orders".

Powell: U.S. Policy Not Israeli Motivated Secretary of State Colin Powell flatly rejected on Thursday any suggestion that the Bush administration's confrontation with Iraq was engineered by Israel or American Jews. Powell told a House Appropriations Subcommittee that the drive to compel Iraq to disarm stretches back over two administrations and 12 years of United Nations resolutions.

``It is driven by our own national interest,'' Powell said under questioning by the subcommittee chairman, Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., who said he wanted to clear up media suggestions that American supporters of Israel - and Israel itself - were driving U.S. strategy. Powell told the subcommittee the U.S policy ``is not driven by any small cabal that is buried away somewhere,'' nor by a small group of individuals.

Among the U.S. goals are helping the U.N. to ``do its job'' and concern for the Iraqi people, Powell said. Powell's comments came a day after Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., apologized for making comments asserting that influential leaders of the Jewish community were pushing the country toward war with Iraq. Some Jewish leaders, including six Jewish members of Congress, have called on Moran to resign, but Moran says he has no intention of doing so. Comment: "I want to tell you something very clear, don't worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it." -- Ariel Sharon to Shimon Peres, October 3rd, 2001, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio.

[...]One prominent Democrat recently wrote "I warned that the toleration for the swamp of Sharon agents inside the Bush Administration, is another grave impediment to the President taking the urgently required action, in concert with our European allies and Russia, to stop Sharon from provoking this perpetual war....I named the names of the leading Sharonists inside the Bush Pentagon and State Department--Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, ! Doug Feith, David Wurmser--some of whom literally prepared the foreign policy doctrine of perpetual war for then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in July 1996.

These Netanyahu-Sharon Likud moles inside the Bush foreign policy and national security establishment are still suspected, now with more and more evidence of involvement with the convicted Israeli spy, the American-born Jonathan Pollard."

Besides Sharonists in the Bush Cabinet, there also exists a Defence Policy Board, chaired by Richard Parle, advising the Pentagon on war issues. It consists of 31 members including former Secretary of States - Henry Kissinger. An article in the Time (August 26, 2002) emphasises the patriotic contributions of these councillors to the Pentagon as they charge no free for their services but enjoy "unrivaled access without accountability."The main players are: Richard Parle, Elliot Cohen, Henry Kissinger, Kennneth Adelman, Barry Blechman, Mark Kisneros, Jack Sheehan, Gerald Hillman, James Schlenger, Mal Sonnenfeld, Chuck Horner, Kiron Skinner, Ron Fogelman, Newt Gingrich, Harold Brown and a few others.

It leaves no chance for any political analyst to bypass the striking resemblance of Germany under Hitler and America under Bush. Like Hitler, the Bush administration's never-ending warning for a dangerous enemy's threat hangs perpetually over its people's neck. Bush, despite being the most powerful ruler of the world, still continues to legislate more and expanded power and authority, to "deal with the crisis." His "extraordinary measures" in the pretext of democracy, does nothing but drowns out all the democratic dictum that once elevated this country at the top of all democracy of the world.

The image of America today is nothing short of a dictatorial power behind the disguise of democracy. The only difference is that its tortures to war prisoners happen at Guantanamo Bay and not on the US soil. Its press is still free to ask questions to the president and the president is still subject to impeachment.

Richard Parle recently appeared on a TV interview with the BBC. He maintained that there would be no violation of the UN Charter if the US invades Iraq without the approval of the Security Council. He contended that US invasion of Iraq would be solely for self-defence purpose. Elliot Cohen, another Sharonist, propounded in a debate that doing nothing against Iraq is a greater crime than doing something. With all these rhetorics from the Sharonists, surronding the US presidency, it leads anyone to ponder who is the real power behind the US presidency? Is it Bush or Sharon? Presumably, every word is dictated to him from Israel these days and Bush just delivers them in a press conference.

Not too many TV watchers can forget that it was Ariel Sharon who was the first one to implicate Iraq for the 9/11 incident when expressing his condolence to the US. Although the US government didn't find any clue to implicating Iraq for the terrorism and 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, it was Ariel Sharon who kept on pounding on the US presidency to impute the blame on Iraq ever since the incident took place. All these scenarios lead us to question whether the 9/11 terrorism was the "stroke of a genius" - a closest friend of the United States, or it was really a messy work of al-Qaeda?

Could it be that the 9/11 attack was a pre-calculated blueprint, dedicated to making the US citizens believe that they have no choice other than to eliminate Iraq from the world's map and to make Israel, the permanent land lord of the whole region? Though it lacks credence in the normal mind, the obstinacy of George Bush towards attacking Iraq, even without the expressed consent of the Security Council, makes the "conspiracy theory" more credible today than it was at the outset of the 9/11 incident. After all, Iraq could be a minor threat to Israel but in no conceivable way a threat to the American continent. Read more

Experts say likelihood of urban combat and exposure to WMD will result in "many thousands" of U.S. military dead.
Low casualty rates in the Gulf War, Kosovo and Afghanistan have led Americans to expect more of the same in Iraq.
Yet military experts are quietly warning that the impending war will likely yield a high U.S. death toll.
Analysts suggest that the Bush administration is keeping silent on the issue of casualties for fear of weakening public support for the war.
"I don't think the American public is prepared for the kinds of casualties that might occur in Iraq," said NBC military analyst Col. Jack Jacobs (ret.). A consensus appears to be emerging that U.S. deaths during an operation in Iraq will likely run into the thousands.
The two concerns most often cited to account for significant U.S. fatality rates are the likelihood of urban combat and of Saddam Hussein's use of chemical and biological weapons.

"If you want to get a regime to change, you have to go to Baghdad and the casualties are going to be great" said P. Terrence Hopmann, director of the Watson Institute's Global Security Program. One senior military official confided, "if we have to fight a pitched battle in Baghdad, it means we screwed up somewhere along the way." Yet the latest intelligence seems to indicate that this nightmare scenario is the one U.S. troops will be encountering. Hussein is reportedly transforming Baghdad into an "Alamo-like" last stand, and guns and rocket propelled grenades are being issued to the population. U.S. intelligence has detected a substantial concentration of forces around Baghdad "with the deliberate intention of creating an urban combat environment," according to a Pentagon official. Four of Iraq's six Republican Guard divisions are now concentrated in Baghdad. General Joseph Hoar, the former commander in chief of the military's central command, remarked "all our advantages of command and control, technology, mobility, all of those things are in part given up [in cities]."

The most comparable example of a modern urban war is the Russian offensive against Grozny. In 1994, 1,200 poorly-equipped Chechen rebels held the city against a Russian army of 30,000, resulting in many thousands of Russian dead. Whereas Grozny was comprised of a few hundred thousand people, Baghdad is a city of 5 million. The administration's expectation of low casualty figures is largely based on the hope that Hussein's government will quickly implode in the face of a U.S. attack. "The secret within the not-so-secret plan is that the top decision-makers are hoping that Hussein's regime will collapse," writes The Washington Post's Ralph Peters. "But wise soldiers don't go to war with hope as their primary weapon" (11/15/02). "It is always possible that the Iraqi military will refuse to fight for Hussein," notes Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down, "but this is wishful thinking . . . It is far more likely that they will fight, and tenaciously" (Los Angeles Times, 8/30/02).

The complex web of tribal relationships and loyalties hold the key to understanding the resistance U.S. troops are likely to encounter in Iraq.
Unlike most of the Shia or Kurdish conscripts who deserted or surrendered during the Gulf War, the Republican Guard, as well as most of Baghdad's population, is comprised of Hussein's own Sunni Arab tribe -- which by all accounts remains fiercely loyal to his regime.
Military analyst Gwynne Dyer noted that the only reason Hussein survived the Shia and Kurdish revolts after the Gulf War is because the Sunnis "closed ranks around Saddam Hussein and fought to defend his regime."

More troublingly, according to London's Observer, the Pentagon believes that "they will have 48 hours to find and kill or capture Saddam before he tries to deploy any nuclear, biological or major conventional weapons he may have" (7/14/02). Intelligence sources have already intercepted Iraqi communications authorizing field commanders to use weapons of mass destruction. While some analysts have cited less than a thousand U.S. combat fatalities, an emerging consensus of military experts appear to be warning of substantially higher casualty rates given the likelihood of urban combat and troop exposure to chemical or biological toxins. The National Security Advisor report to the president advised "if Saddam Hussein retaliates conventionally, estimates of U.S. casualties range from the dozens to tens of thousands."

According to his discussions with a number of military experts, former senator Gary Hart warned that if the Iraqis mount a resistance in the major cities, American casualties could easily reach 50,000 to 100,000. Military analysts such as Col. Jack Jacobs (ret.) warn of the potentiality of casualties in the "many, many thousands, depending upon what kind of war we fight and what kind of weapons are unleashed on our soldiers." Likewise, Michael O'Hanlan, a military analyst with the Brookings Institution, estimated that "the United States could possibly lose as many as 5,000 troops if the Republican Guard fights as hard and as effectively as its size and weaponry would plausibly allow."

A War Crime or an Act of War? It was no surprise that President Bush, lacking smoking-gun evidence of Iraq's weapons programs, used his State of the Union address to re-emphasize the moral case for an invasion: "The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages, leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind or disfigured."

The accusation that Iraq has used chemical weapons against its citizens is a familiar part of the debate. The piece of hard evidence most frequently brought up concerns the gassing of Iraqi Kurds at the town of Halabja in March 1988, near the end of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war. President Bush himself has cited Iraq's "gassing its own people," specifically at Halabja, as a reason to topple Saddam Hussein. But the truth is, all we know for certain is that Kurds were bombarded with poison gas that day at Halabja. We cannot say with any certainty that Iraqi chemical weapons killed the Kurds. This is not the only distortion in the Halabja story.

I am in a position to know because, as the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and as a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000, I was privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. In addition, I headed a 1991 Army investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States; the classified version of the report went into great detail on the Halabja affair.

This much about the gassing at Halabja we undoubtedly know: it came about in the course of a battle between Iraqis and Iranians. Iraq used chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians who had seized the town, which is in northern Iraq not far from the Iranian border. The Kurdish civilians who died had the misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not Iraq's main target. And the story gets murkier: immediately after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas.

The agency did find that each side used gas against the other in the battle around Halabja. The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated they had been killed with a blood agent — that is, a cyanide-based gas — which Iran was known to use. The Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have possessed blood agents at the time.

These facts have long been in the public domain but, extraordinarily, as often as the Halabja affair is cited, they are rarely mentioned. A much-discussed article in The New Yorker last March did not make reference to the Defense Intelligence Agency report or consider that Iranian gas might have killed the Kurds. On the rare occasions the report is brought up, there is usually speculation, with no proof, that it was skewed out of American political favoritism toward Iraq in its war against Iran.

I am not trying to rehabilitate the character of Saddam Hussein. He has much to answer for in the area of human rights abuses. But accusing him of gassing his own people at Halabja as an act of genocide is not correct, because as far as the information we have goes, all of the cases where gas was used involved battles. These were tragedies of war. There may be justifications for invading Iraq, but Halabja is not one of them. In fact, those who really feel that the disaster at Halabja has bearing on today might want to consider a different question: Why was Iran so keen on taking the town? A closer look may shed light on America's impetus to invade Iraq.

We are constantly reminded that Iraq has perhaps the world's largest reserves of oil. But in a regional and perhaps even geopolitical sense, it may be more important that Iraq has the most extensive river system in the Middle East. In addition to the Tigris and Euphrates, there are the Greater Zab and Lesser Zab rivers in the north of the country. Iraq was covered with irrigation works by the sixth century A.D., and was a granary for the region.

US Soldiers Storm UK Peace Camp Armed Us troops stormed the peace camp at RAF Fairford and ripped protesters' banners off the fence. Dressed in boiler suits and armed with serrated combat knives, the men stripped the 10ft steel fence at Gate 10. By 2pm yesterday they were putting up a barbed wire fence to keep the demonstrators at bay. Gloucestershire police intervened after airforce personnel and 12 protesters began to wrestle with the peace banners. The campaigners were given 40 minutes to move their camp after local police negotiated between them and airbase staff. They have now moved several metres away from Gate 10, on Top Road.

Protesters worked through the night to rebuild their camp as B52 bombers tested their engines on the runway. Sarj, a healthcare worker and a student, said: "The American airforce personnel were very aggressive. "One soldier hacked at my banner with a combat knife as I was trying to tug it away from the fence. "They told us that if we were in their country then we would be thrown in jail for what we were doing. "If the local police hadn't been there the situation could have escalated into something much worse. "This is just another case of Americans trying to push people about and have their own way and we're not standing for it. "We are here protesting by rights and in a peaceful manner. We've camped here in temperatures below freezing so something like this isn't going to stop us now." Read more

THIS IS THE COST OF BLAIR'S 'MORAL' WAR The Blair Government has known, almost from the day it came to office in 1997, that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were almost certainly destroyed following the Gulf War. Of all the pro-war propaganda of Blair and Bush, and their current threats giving Saddam Hussein yet another deadline to disarm, what may be their biggest lie is exposed by this revelation. Two weeks ago, a transcript of a United Nations debriefing of Iraqi general Hussein Kamel was obtained by the American magazine, Newsweek, and by Cambridge University analyst, Glen Rangwala (who last month revealed that Blair's "intelligence dossier" on Iraq was lifted, word for word, from an American student's thesis).

General Kamel was the West's "star witness" in its case against Saddam Hussein. He was no ordinary defector. A son-in-law of the Iraqi dictator, he had immense power in Iraq; and when he defected, he took with him crates of secret documents on Iraq's weapons programme. These secrets have been repeatedly cited by George W Bush and his officials as "evidence" that Iraq still has large quantities of deadly weapons of mass destruction, and that only war can disarm it. Bush, his officials and leading American commentators, have frequently lauded General Kamel as the most reliable source of information on Iraq's weapons. The Blair government has echoed this. In 1995, General Kamel was debriefed by senior officials of the United Nations inspections team, then known as UNSCOM, and by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The complete transcript, now disclosed for the first time, contradicts almost everything Bush and Blair have said about the threat of Iraqi weapons. For example, General Kamel says categorically: "I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons - biological, chemical, missile, nuclear - were destroyed." All that remains, he says, are the blueprints, computer disks and microfiches.

Newsweek says that the CIA and Britain's MI6 were told this; and Blair and Bush must have been told the truth. In other words, it is likely that Iraq has been substantially disarmed for at least eight years. With General Kamel now out of the way (he was killed when he returned to Iraq in 1996), his "evidence" was selectively made public by Washington and London. In his dramatic presentation to the UN Security Council on February 5, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the truth about Iraq's nerve gas weapons "only came out after inspectors collected documentation as a result of the defection of Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein's late son in law". What Powell neglected to mention was that his star witness had told them all the weapons had been destroyed. General Kamel's sensational admission has been corroborated by the former chief UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter who says that when he left Iraq in 1998, disarmament was "90 to 95 per cent". A United Nations verifying panel set up by the Security Council, confirmed that "the bulk of Iraq's proscribed weapons programmes has been eliminated". This has seldom been reported. Of course, none of these facts will deter the American and British security agencies from inventing and planting "evidence" of "Saddam's secret weapons" once Anglo-American forces take over Baghdad. When America and Britain crush Iraq, a new phase of their black propaganda will emerge - for which the British public ought to be prepared. This new range of deceptions will be designed to justify attacking a sovereign state and killing innocent people: a crime under international law, with or without a second UN resolution.

Black propaganda of this kind has a long history. My own experience of it was the American invasion of Vietnam. In 1964, the US State Department published a White Paper with pages of "conclusive proof" of North Vietnam's preparations to invade the south. This "proof" stemmed from the "discovery" of a stockpile of weapons found floating in a junk off the coast of South Vietnam. The White Paper, which provided a quasi-legal justification for the American invasion, was known as a "master illusion". The whole episode was fake, a set-up. Master illusion was the CIA's term for master lie. In 1982, I interviewed Ralph McGehee, a senior CIA officer who documented the planting of the fake evidence. He told me: "The CIA loaded up a junk, a North Vietnamese junk, with communist weapons ... They floated this junk off the coast of Central Vietnam. Then they shot it up and made it look like a fire fight had taken place. They then brought in the American press and the international press and said, 'Here's the evidence that the North Vietnamese are invading South Vietnam.' Based on this 'evidence', the US Marines went in, and the American air force began regular bombing of North Vietnam."

As a result of this fakery, which included the elaborate fiction that an American destroyer had been attacked by a North Vietnamese gunboat, the United States dispatched its greatest ever land army to Vietnam, and dropped the greatest tonnage of bombs in the history of warfare, and forced millions of people to abandon their homes, and used chemical weapons that profoundly damaged the environment and human genes, leaving a once beautiful land petrified. At least two million people were killed, and many more were maimed and otherwise ruined. Now replace "Vietnam" with "Iraq" in this story of lies; and you have the essentials of the same justification for another great criminal act.

Watch how the propaganda unfolds once the bombing is over and the Americans are running Baghdad and their spin machine. There will be the "discovery of Saddam's secret arsenal," probably in the basement of one his palaces. This will be accompanied by the "discovery" of gruesome evidence of Saddam's oppression. This will not come as news to the many dedicated anti-war campaigners, who for years tried to stop the American and British governments from supplying Saddam with the tools of his oppression. They include many Iraqis exiled in Britain, such as Khalid Sahi, who was tortured by the regime and opposes an attack "will bring nothing but more bloodshed, more misery"; and the anti-war Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, who has protested about the Iraqi dictator for more than twenty years and demanded that the British government prosecute British companies that sustained the Iraqi torturers.

Two years ago, Peter Hain, then a Foreign Office minister, blocked a parliamentary request to publish the full list of British companies that had illegally traded with Saddam Hussein. The reason why became clear last week when the Guardian newspaper disclosed that the Blair government had secretly paid out more than £33 million in taxpayers' money to British companies claiming non-payment on the weapons they sold Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. The total loss to the taxpayer on sales to Iraq now exceeds £1billion. Add this to the £3.5billion that Gordon Brown has "put aside" for an attack on Iraq. Add this to the £1billion that the bombing of Iraq has already cost - the rarely reported bombing by British and American aircraft in the so-called "no fly zones", which now cover most of Iraqi airspace and were set up, according to Blair, to "protect Iraq's minorities". Who believes this now?

This week, the Ministry of Defence said: "We never target civilians [in the no-fly zones]... there's no evidence of civilian casualties." The lie of this statement would be breathtaking were it not routine.

In northern Kurdish Iraq, I interviewed members of one family who had lost their grandfather, their father and four brothers and sisters when a "coalition" aircraft (British or American) dive-bombed them and the sheep they were tending. It was open desert, a moonscape with not a sign of other life, let alone a military installation. Amid the carcasses of blasted sheep were pieces of clothing and a single shoe. The attack was investigated and verified by the chief United Nations representative in Iraq at the time, Hans Von Sponeck, who drove there especially from Baghdad. His findings are listed among dozens of similar attacks - on shepherds, farmers, fishermen - in a document prepared by the United Nations Security Section.

At a windswept cemetery near the town of Mosul, I caught sight of the shepherd's widow as she grieved for her husband and four children. "I want to see the pilot who did this," she shouted. Last week, "coalition" aircraft killed another six people in the southern city of Basra. Nothing unusual there. When I was last in Basra, an American missile killed six children when it "mistakenly" hit Al Jumohria, a very poor section of Basra's residential area. I walked down the street where the missile had struck in the early hours; it had followed the line of houses, destroying one after the other. I met the father of two sisters, aged eight and 10, who were photographed by a local weddings photographer, Nabil al-Jerani, shortly after the attack. Their bodies were unlike the other four children, who were blown to bits, their limbs and flesh in the overhead wires.

These two little girls were left intact. In Nabil's photographs, they are in their nightdresses, one with a bow in her hair, their bodies perfectly engraved in the rubble of their homes, where they had been bombed to death, murdered, in their beds.

Look closely at their images on these pages; they are the faces of a stricken nation of whom 42 per cent are children. When Blair speaks about the "moral case" for sending hundreds of missiles against this nation of so many children, as well as new types of cluster bombs and bunker bombs and microwave bombs, and shells tipped with pure uranium, a form of nuclear weapon, the images of the two sisters provide an eloquent commentary on the Prime Minister's Christian "morality".

And when pictures of exhausted Iraqis greeting their "liberation" are flashed around the world, remember the faces that will be missing in the crowds - not only those of the children bombed and disposed of as "collateral damage", but more than a million faces declared expendable by the American-driven and British-backed economic embargo. Remember the vaccines, cancer-treatment equipment, pain-killers, plasma bags, food treatment equipment and much else denied over fourteen years: $5.4 billion worth as of last July, to be precise, blocked by the US government, backed by the Blair government. Remember the words of President Clinton's then representative at the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, when she was asked if the price of 500,000 Iraqi children was a price worth paying for the embargo. "We think the price is worth it," she said.

AND when you next hear Bush or Blair or Straw or Hoon talk about "the tyrant who gassed his own people", remember those American officials and British ministers who competed with each other to excuse and effectively reward Saddam Hussein for gassing 5,000 Kurds in the town of Halabja. Barely one month after the atrocity in 1988, Tony Newton, Margaret Thatcher's Trade Secretary, flew to Baghdad to offer Saddam £340million of taxpapers' money in export credits. Three months later, the smiling Newton was back, this time to celebrate with Saddam the joyous news that Iraq was now Britain's third-largest market for machine tools, from which a range of Iraqi weapons was forged - some of them used against British troops in the Gulf War.

Newton was followed by Assistant US Secretary of State John Kelly who flew to Baghdad to tell Saddam that "you are a source for moderation in the region, and the United States wants to broaden her relationship with Iraq". When the "liberation" of Baghdad is on the front page, remember the warmongering newspapers whose editorials defended Saddam Hussein throughout the 1980s by promoting the lie that his use of chemical weapons against Iran was purely defensive.

Remember, too, Blair's long silence. There is no record of Blair saying anything worthwhile about Saddam's "excesses" (as his crimes used to be known by British ministers when he was "one of us") until after September 11, 2001 when the Americans, frustrated at having failed to catch Osama bin Laden, declared the Iraqi dictator their number one enemy. Like a discredited East European autocrat, attended only by his court of supplicants and propagandists, Blair has few left to deceive. He even claimed the other day that "no Iraqis marched" in the great demonstration of February 15. In fact, as many as 7,000 Iraqis and Kurds marched. Iraqi families stood on the roadside holding up home-made placards: "Thank you for supporting my people."

None, it can be assumed, has any time for Saddam Hussein; but none want their country strangled, attacked, poisoned and occupied by another variety of dictator.

France hints at softening Iraq stance In an apparent softening of France's position on Iraq, the French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, said tonight that Paris wanted to achieve a consensus in the UN security council. "Everything should be done to preserve the unity of the council, and that is what we are working toward. France confirms its openness to seize all opportunities," Mr De Villepin told reporters in Paris. It was the first slight hint that France may be prepared to come to an agreement on a new resolution, which is being pushed for by Britain, the US and Spain. Earlier, however, Mr De Villepin stated France's opposition to Britain's six tests for Iraqi disarmament, dismissing them as "part of the logic of war".

But the prime minister, Tony Blair, who desperately needs UN backing for military action because of splits in his government and widespread public scepticism over an attack, did have other positive news from the US president, George Bush, who offered him a little more breathing space. The White House confirmed that the United States was prepared to allow the negotiations at UN headquarters in New York to run into next week in a final attempt to gain agreement in the 15-nation security council. Mr De Villepin's rejection of the six tests provoked a stinging attack from Downing Street over French President Jacques Chirac's declaration earlier this week that France would veto a new resolution "whatever the circumstances".

Russia however indicated it would at least consider it. The Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, cut short a visit to Tajikistan, saying he had to return to Moscow for consultations on the newest British proposal with President Vladimir Putin. The British proposal, unveiled yesterday at the UN security council, included a list of six steps the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, must take to avert war, including a television appearance renouncing weapons of mass destruction. The proposal is an attempt to narrow differences over a US-British-Spanish resolution in the United Nations giving Saddam a Monday deadline to disarm.The latest diplomatic manoeuvres were taking place against a background of quickening preparations for a war which many MPs at Westminster believe is now all but inevitable.

Buckingham Palace announced that a planned visit next week by the Queen to Belgium had been postponed on the advice of ministers. Meanwhile, the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, ordered a further 850 infantry and medics to join the British forces massing in the Gulf. And Mr Blair briefed the Conservative leader, Iain Duncan Smith, privately in Downing Street on the gathering crisis. The prospect that Britain may have to go to war without the authorisation of a new UN resolution was discussed by the cabinet, meeting for the first time since the international development secretary, Clare Short, threatened to quit. She stayed behind after the meeting for 50 minutes. As she left she responded to reporters' questions as to whether she was still a member of the Government with a one word answer, "yes", before being driven away.

Mr Blair's spokesman refused to be drawn on what was discussed or on suggestions that the leader of the Commons, Robin Cook, had expressed similar concerns to Ms Short about going to war without a new resolution. "There were a number of interventions and a number of points mad e across the cabinet table. I am not going to get into interpretation about what people said," the spokesman added. In other developments, Iraq's UN ambassador said Iraq will deliver a letter to UN inspectors late Thursday or Friday on measuring stocks of anthrax and VX nerve agents that have been destroyed.

Weapons inspector dies in car crash A UN weapons inspector was killed and another was injured in a car crash south of Baghdad. A car carrying the two inspectors crashed head-on into a truck on a highway south of Baghdad, according to a statement from Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate, the liaison with the inspectors. The inspectors - whose nationalities were not given - were returning to Baghdad after inspecting the al-Noamaniya tomato canning factory, 50km (30 miles) south of Baghdad, it said. Inspectors' spokesman Hiro Ueki said one inspector was killed and one injured in what he called a traffic accident this afternoon, adding that he couldn't provide more details. He said the inspection team was investigating the crash.

Let Them Hate as Long as They Fear Why does our president condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and allies this administration is fostering, including among its most senior officials? Has 'oderint dum metuant' really become our motto?" So reads the resignation letter of John Brady Kiesling, a career diplomat who recently left the Foreign Service in protest against Bush administration policy.

"Oderint dum metuant" translates, roughly, as "let them hate as long as
they fear." It was a favorite saying of the emperor Caligula, and may seem
over the top as a description of current U.S. policy. But this week's crisis in U.S.-Mexican relations — a crisis that has been almost ignored north of the border — suggests that it is a perfect description of George Bush's attitude toward the world.

Mexico is an enormously important ally, not just because of our common
border, but also because of its special role as a showcase for American ideals. For a century and a half Mexico has — often with good reason - seen its powerful neighbor as an exploiter, if not an outright enemy. Since the first Bush administration, however, the United States has made great efforts to treat Mexico as a partner, and Mexico's recent track record of economic stability and democracy is, and should be, a source of pride on both sides of the border.

But Mexico's seat on the U.N. Security Council gives it a vote on the
question of Iraq — and the threats the Bush administration has made to get
that vote are quickly destroying any semblance of good will.
Last week The Economist quoted an American diplomat who warned that if Mexico didn't vote for a U.S. resolution it could "stir up feelings" against Mexicans in the United States. He compared the situation to that of Japanese-Americans who were interned after 1941, and wondered whether Mexico "wants to stir the fires of jingoism during a war."

Incredible stuff, but easy to dismiss as long as the diplomat was unidentified. Then came President Bush's Monday interview with Copley News Service. He alluded to the possibility of reprisals if Mexico didn't vote America's way, saying, "I don't expect there to be significant retribution from the government" — emphasizing the word "government." He then went on to suggest that there might, however, be a reaction from other quarters, citing "an interesting phenomena taking place here in America about the French . . . a backlash against the French, not stirred up by anybody except the people."

And Mr. Bush then said that if Mexico or other countries oppose the United
States, "there will be a certain sense of discipline."
These remarks went virtually unreported by the ever-protective U.S. media, but they created a political firestorm in Mexico. The White House has been frantically backpedaling, claiming that when Mr. Bush talked of "discipline" he wasn't making a threat. But in the context of the rest of the interview, it's clear that he was.

Moreover, Mr. Bush was disingenuous when he described the backlash against
the French as "not stirred up by anybody except the people." On the same
day that the report of his interview appeared, The Financial Times carried
the headline, "Hastert Orchestrates Tirade Against the French." That's Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House of Representatives. In fact, anti-French feeling has been carefully fomented by Republican officials, Rupert Murdoch's media empire and other administration allies. Can you blame Mexicans for interpreting Mr. Bush's remarks as a threat to do the same to them?

So oderint dum metuant it is. I could talk about the foolishness of such
blatant bullying — or about the incredible risks, in a multiethnic, mulltiracial society, of even hinting that one might encourage a backlash against Hispanics. And yes, I mean Hispanics, not Mexicans: once feelings are running high, do you really think people will politely ask a brown-skinned guy with an accent whether he is a citizen or, if not, which country he comes from?

But my most intense reaction to this story isn't anger over the administration's stupidity and irresponsibility, or even dismay over the casual destruction of hard-won friendships. No, when I read an interview in which the U.S. president sounds for all the world like a B-movie villain — "You have relatives in Texas, yes?" — what I feel, above all, is shame.

Bin Laden rumour has world press in a tizz For what would have been a massive scoop, it began in unspectacular fashion. During a telephone interview with a Tehran radio station yesterday, a Pakistani political commentator dropped, almost as an aside, the earthshattering bombshell that Osama bin Laden had been captured. Murtaza Poya, deputy leader of the Islamic Awami Tahrik party, confidently informed the station that Pakistani intelligence agents and US troops had picked up Bin Laden inside Pakistan.

Unfortunately, Mr Poya's qualifications for giving the interview rested more on his fluent Farsi than his knowledge of the hunt for the world's most wanted man. With the Pakistani authorities rushing to kill off any suggestion that Bin Laden was within their borders, let alone had been caught, journalists there quickly established that the "exclusive" was as reliable as recent sightings of Elvis or Shergar. But in an extraordinary example of the jumpiness pervading the world's newsrooms, the rumour was racing around the globe within minutes.

First it was picked up by the BBC's monitoring service in Caversham and relayed straight to the corporation's news headquarters in London. Just before noon, BBC News 24 broadcast a newsflash about the claims, quoting unconfirmed reports from Iranian radio.Shortly afterwards, Andrew Neil, who was on air on BBC2 presenting his Daily Politics programme, announced - viewers could almost sense his hands trembling - that Iranian radio was claiming that Bin Laden was in custody. US news organisations began beaming similar alerts.

By lunchtime, journalists were bombarding government agencies on both sides of the Atlantic for confirmation. They were to be disappointed. Pressed for a response during an unrelated press conference in London, the home secretary, David Blunkett, dismissed Mr Poya's claim: "It's totally unconfirmed. There have been several reports of this sort."

Washington was also categoric. "We have absolutely no information to substantiate that," a CIA spokesman, Bill Harlow, told reporters. The BBC and CNN began carrying the denials shortly after 1pm. But last night Mr Poya was sticking to his claims. "He is in the custody of those who were chasing him and the announcement to that effect will be made between March 17 and 18 when the war in Iraq is expected to start," he told the Associated Press Comment: This is a very telling remark. Of course the US don't want Bin Laden captured, he is their boogeyman of choice at the moment and as such is much more valuble to them out there "in the field". However it is quite possible that in an effort to garner some support for their illegal war on Iraq they will arrange for him to be"captured" just before or on the day of their planned attack on Iraq.

March 12, 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!

The Great Dark Spot The Cassini spacecraft has photographed an extraordinary dark cloud on Jupiter twice as big as Earth itself.For more than a century, astronomers thought the Great Red Spot was the biggest thing on Jupiter. But cameras onboard the Cassini spacecraft have revealed something at least as large: a dark cloud twice the size of Earth swirling around Jupiter's north pole. Full Story

Rumsfeld remark sparks Whitehall panic The idea that Washington might be contemplating a military assault on Iraq without British troops provoked a mixture of panic and fury in Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence last night. But military experts said that US war plans, though they would be severely hindered by the withdrawal of UK forces, could, if necessary, accommodate such an eventuality.

Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, caught officials in London off guard yesterday when he told a briefing that British involvement was "unclear". British officials were the driving force behind his decision to issue a statement hours later, saying he had "every reason to believe there will be a significant military contribution from the United Kingdom". Frantic telephone calls were made between Mr Rumsfeld and Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, who has staked his reputation on his close relationship with his American counterpart.

British defence officials have said that it would be "unthinkable" that US forces would attack Iraq without UK troops taking part in a significant way. "If the Americans go in, we go in too," they said. Britain's deployment of 45,000 troops to the region - 25,000 of whom are in Kuwait - are a drop in the ocean compared with the 300,000 that the US has sent. But according to US war plans, they would play a crucial role in seizing the city of Basra and the oilfields of southern Iraq, preventing Saddam Hussein from setting them alight. Britain is also contributing at least 120 Challenger tanks and 160 Warrior armoured vehicles.

Loren Thompson, a Pentagon consultant, said: "The British contribution to this campaign is far more important than any other ally - the coalition of the willing is not a group of equal partners. "But remember, the US campaign plan calls for a huge excess of force, as an insurance policy against unforeseen developments ... that means that although the loss of the British would be significant, it would not be decisive." The specific roles of the British troops in the assault plan "would have to be handed off to the American forces", Mr Thompson said.

But analysts on both sides of the Atlantic agree that such an outcome remains highly unlikely. Military planners are bracing themselves for the possibility of prosecuting a war without the right to use bases in Turkey. Washington would countenance a war without the British only with extreme reluctance, as much because of the political and psychological ramifications as the military ones. "The psychological consequences would be considerable," Mr Thompson said. "The American people, especially the Bush administration, regards Britain as being the one reliable ally we have in Europe. And from the viewpoint of a third country, the loss of the British would push the American political system further in the direction that it really has no friends it can count on and really must act unilaterally."

40 Labour MPs call for Blair to resign Labour Party discontent over Tony Blair's stance on Iraq burst into the open for the first time yesterday when more than 40 MPs called for the Prime Minister to resign. The Campaign Group of Labour MPs issued a statement calling on the Prime Minister to "consider his position" and fellow left-wingers urged a party conference to discuss a leadership challenge.

Hilton Dawson, the MP for Lancaster and Wyre, also suggested in a Commons debate that Mr Blair should step down if he failed to get a fresh UN mandate for war. And union leaders used a Downing Street meeting with Mr Blair to warn of the dangers of going to war without a second resolution. John Reid, the party chairman, was withering about the chances of a special party conference, pointing out that the "usual suspects" were behind the idea and it would not get beyond the ruling National Executive Committee.

Government sources also stressed that Gordon Brown, the most likely successor to Mr Blair, would probably adopt a similar policy on Iraq. But the fact that MPs were openly prepared to contemplate Mr Blair's dismissal underlined the extent of the schism facing the Prime Minister in the absence of a second UN resolution. As well as resignation by Clare Short and others, he faces a rebellion by up to 200 MPs.

Mr Dawson, who is not known as a left-winger, said in the House of Commons that the Prime Minister should consider quitting or risk bringing the Labour Party "to its knees" over war with Iraq. John McDonnell, the MP for Hayes and Harlington, issued a statement on behalf of the 40 MPs in the Campaign Group that read: "It is time for the Prime Minister to consider his position. If he is not prepared to stand up to George Bush, he must make way for those that will," it said. Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, and other union leaders such as John Edmonds, the GMB leader, expressed their concerns about the Iraq crisis.

America boycotts opening of world court The United States showed its opposition to the new International Criminal Court (ICC) set up at The Hague to try war crimes by boycotting its inauguration ceremony yesterday. The American ambassador to the Netherlands, Clifford Sobel, refused to attend the gathering, which was hosted at The Hague by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general.

Mr Annan said the ICC, billed as the descendent of the tribunal at Nuremberg set up after the Second World War, was "the embodiment of our collective conscience". But the US, which claims its servicemen could be targeted by politically motivated cases, has signed treaties with more than 20 nations giving its citizens immunity from the ICC. Richard Dicker, director of the international justice programme for Human Rights Watch, accused the US government of trying to create a "two-tier justice system" with one law for US citizens and another for everyone else. Comment: It is natural that the US in its role of world terrorist would boycott this court, after all it would stand to be tried and rightly convicted of hundreds of crimes against humanity.

Serb Assassination Prompts Emergency Snipers lurking near government headquarters on Wednesday ambushed and assassinated Serbia's prime minister, a pro-Western leader who helped topple Slobodan Milosevic (news - web sites) and brashly declared war on organized crime. The slaying of Zoran Djindjic at midday in downtown Belgrade prompted the government to impose a nationwide state of emergency amid fears the volatile Balkan country could plunge into violence in a power struggle for his successor. Djindjic, 50, died in a hospital after being shot in the abdomen and back, said Nebojsa Covic, a deputy prime minister.

One of Djindjic's bodyguards was wounded, police sources said. It was the first assassination of a sitting European head of government since Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was gunned down in Stockholm in 1986.Police sources told The Associated Press two snipers firing from a building across from government headquarters shot Djindjic as he slowly left his car on crutches after suffering a soccer injury to his foot. A high-powered bullet left a dent on Djindjic's armored car.

Iraqis: "Smoking gun" made with duct tape. A remotely piloted aircraft that the United States has warned could spread chemical weapons appears to be made of balsa wood and duct tape, with two small propellors attached to what look like the engines of a weed whacker. Read more Comment: More BS from the US muck spreaders.

"The 20Bush administration believes that it is one vote shy " Bush administration one vote shyThe Bush administration believes that it is one vote shy of having the needed nine votes on a U.N. Security Council resolution giving Iraq an ultimatum to disarm, two senior U.S. State Department officials said Wednesday. These officials said the administration will focus its diplomatic energies on Mexico and Chile to secure their backing.

President Bush has spent much of the last week on the telephone, lobbying council members to support the resolution. "Bush and [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair are attempting to do whatever it takes to get the Latins to commit," one U.S. official said. Blair told members of the House of Commons on Wednesday that the council was considering a series of benchmarks that Iraq would have to meet to prove it was disarming -- a step that Chile and Mexico previously suggested.

These include handing over supplies of anthrax, or proving they were destroyed; allowing Iraqi scientists and their families to travel outside the country to be interviewed by inspectors; and accounting for unmanned drones that the United States and Britain say can be used to spray chemical or biological weapons. A U.N. diplomat said the British proposal could be circulated among Security Council members as early as Wednesday, and the United States has said it wants a vote by the end of the week. (Full story) White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the president "appreciates" the British proposal but had no comment on specific proposals or deadlines.

U.S. officials said the United States is confident it has the support of Pakistan as well as the three African members of the Security Council -- Cameroon, Guinea and Angola. Munir Akram, Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations, would not confirm that support Wednesday. The U.S., Britain and Spain co-sponsired the resolution and Bulgaria has assured them it will vote for it. Russia and France have threatened to veto the resolution, saying U.N. weapons inspectors should be given more time. "Under the circumstances, we frankly don't see any reason whatsoever for interrupting those inspections and using force," said Sergey Lavrov, Russian ambassador to the United Nations.

Nine votes on the 15-member council are needed to pass the resolution, but a veto by any of the five permanent members would defeat it. Britain, France, Russia, China and the United States are permanent members. Even if the measure is vetoed, the Bush administration would consider nine votes a moral victory, sources said. A task force assembled by the Council on Foreign Relations estimates that rebuilding post-war Iraq could cost the United States $20 billion per year for several years.

The task force said President Bush has failed to warn Congress and U.S. taxpayers about the costs. The group based its projection on the assumption that 75,000 troops would be needed to restore and maintain order in Iraq -- at a cost of $17 billion per year. Another $3 billion per year would be needed for rebuilding the country. The cost could be even higher if more troops are needed. Task force co-chairmen Thomas Pickering and James Schlesinger said at a news conference that Americans should not assume Iraq's oil wealth will be available in the early years to help pay for reconstruction. "In the early years, oil revenues will be insufficient," Schlesinger said, noting that the country's oil infrastructure is in dire need of refurbishing and that oil revenues are committed to supplying food and essentials. Comment: We should not uderestimate the potential effect we, the "little people" can have. The millions who marched on Feb 15 sent a shock wave around the world and a serious message to Bush and Blair. Send an email now to Mexican and Chilian senators urging them not to allow their countries to capitulate to US bullying.

Real Khalid Sheikh Still At Large, Much trumpeted arrest is fake
Information collected from different sources suggest that terror suspect, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad's family belonged to Panjgor district of Balochistan province and the wanted al-Qaeda member spent several years in Peshawar during resistance against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Arab and Afghan sources close to Khalid Sheikh Muhammad told The News that details made available by the government about the age along with the photograph revealed that the person arrested in Rawalpindi was not Khalid.

The sources said that the Kuwait born Khalid, who is a Baloch by origin, was in his late 40s and has not been arrested so far. "His actual name is Khalid and Sheikh Muhammad is his father," claimed a Taliban spokesman and an Arab source pleading anonymity. Khalid Muhammad joined the Afghan Jihad in early 1980s and landed in Peshawar after his return from the US, where he was sent by family to get higher education.

On arrival in Pakistan, Khalid joined Ittehad-I-Islami Afghanistan, a former Mujahideen faction led by Prof Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf and was residing most of the time with other Arab nationals in the Jallo-zai camp, east of Peshawar. Khalid was a known figure among the Afghan mujahideen, especially, those living in Jallozai refugee camp, who had established his own group of Mujahideen called Kateebatul Shuhada (party of martyrs), but was affiliated with Prof Sayyaf.

Like many other Arab nationals, Khalid too was close to Sayyaf because of the Salfi school of thought and was commonly known as Abu Sayyaf among his friends and colleagues because of his long beard. Prof Sayyaf too has a long beard. "Not only him, but Dr Abdullah Ezzam and Osama bin Laden have stayed at the Arab village within the Jallozai Camp during the Afghan Jihad," said an official of the camp, requesting not to be named. Ezzam was buried in the Arab cemetery at Jallozai camp after he was assassinated in a car bomb in Peshawar.

"I don't have particular information about this man, but he was not among the popular Arab leaders," the source said. He was active in motivating young Afghans studying at religious seminaries and schools at the camps all over the province and the tribal areas to send them for Jihad, specially during vacations, said an Afghan source, who was one of the students sent for preliminary military training to Nangarhar province. "Khalid was in contact with religious leaders and military command-ers in Kunarh, Nangarhar and Paktia provinces during the Afghan Jihad to impart religious as well as military training to them," the source said. One of his brothers was also killed at Samarkhel in the 1989 attack by Afghan mujahideen on Jalalabad, the source said. Comment: Words escape me, I am disgusted and aghast at the level of lies and deceit that we are subjected to on a daily basis. These people are toying with our very future, it is time we stood up and did something about it. The first step is to reject the lie and seek the truth.

Google as Big Brother

1. Google's immortal cookie:
Google was the first search engine to use a cookie that expires in 2038. This was at a time when federal websites were prohibited from using persistent cookies altogether. Now it's years later, and immortal cookies are commonplace among search engines; Google set the standard because no one bothered to challenge them. This cookie places a unique ID number on your hard disk. Anytime you land on a Google page, you get a Google cookie if you don't already have one. If you have one, they read and record your unique ID number.

2. Google records everything they can:
For all searches they record the cookie ID, your Internet IP address, the time and date, your search terms, and your browser configuration. Increasingly, Google is customizing results based on your IP number. This is referred to in the industry a
s "IP delivery based on geolocation."

3. Google retains all data indefinitely:
Google has no data retention policies. There is evidence that they are able to easily access all the user information they collect and save.

4. Google won't say why they need this data:
Inquiries to Google about their privacy policies are ignored. When the New York Times (2002-11-28) asked Sergey Brin about whether Google ever gets subpoenaed for this information, he had no comment.

5. Google hires spooks:
Matt Cutts, a key Google engineer, used to work for the National Security Agency. Google wants to hire more people with security clearances, so that they can peddle their corporate assets to the spooks in Washington.

6. Google's toolbar is spyware:
With the advanced features enabled, Google's free toolbar for Explorer phones home with every page you surf. Yes, it reads your cookie too, and sends along the last search terms you used in the toolbar. Their privacy policy confesses this, but that's only because Alexa lost a class-action lawsuit when their toolbar did the same thing, and their privacy policy failed to explain this. Worse yet, Google's toolbar updates to new versions quietly, and without asking. This means that if you have the toolbar installed, Google essentially has complete access to your hard disk every time you phone home. Most software vendors, and even Microsoft, ask if you'd like an updated version. But not Google.

7. Google's cache copy is illegal:
Judging from Ninth Circuit precedent on the application of U.S. copyright laws to the Internet, Google's cache copy appears to be illegal. The only way a webmaster can avoid having his site cached on Google is to put a "noarchive" meta in the header of every page on his site. Surfers like the cache, but webmasters don't. Many webmasters have deleted questionable material from their sites, only to discover later that the problem pages live merrily on in Google's cache. The cache copy should be "opt-in" for webmasters, not "opt-out."

8. Google is not your friend:
Young, stupid script kiddies and many bloggers still think Google is "way kool," so by now Google enjoys a 75 percent monopoly for all external referrals to most websites. No webmaster can avoid seeking Google's approval these days, assuming he wants to increase traffic to his site. If he tries to take advantage of some of the known weaknesses in Google's semi-secret algorithms, he may find himself penalized by Google, and his traffic disappears. There are no detailed, published standards issued by Google, and there is no appeal process for penalized sites. Google is completely unaccountable. Most of the time they don't even answer email from webmasters.

9. Google is a privacy time bomb:
With 150 million searches per day, most from outside the U.S., Google amounts to a privacy disaster waiting to happen. Those newly-commissioned data-mining bureaucrats in Washington can only dream about the sort of slick efficiency that Google has already achieved. Comment: Use " All the web" its better.

Pentagon threatens to kill independent Reporters in Iraq The Pentagon has threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists in Iraq, according to veteran BBC war correspondent, Kate Adie. In an interview with Irish radio, Ms. Adie said that questioned about the consequences of such potentially fatal actions, a senior Pentagon officer had said: "Who cares.. ..They've been warned." According to Ms. Adie, who twelve years ago covered the last Gulf War, the Pentagon attitude is: "entirely hostile to the the free spread of information." "I am enormously pessimistic of the chance of decent on-the-spot reporting, as the war occurs," she told Irish national broadcaster, Tom McGurk on the RTE1 Radio "Sunday Show." Ms. Adie made the startling revelations during a discussion of media freedom issues in the likely upcoming war in Iraq. She also warned that the Pentagon is vetting journalists according to their stance on the war, and intends to take control of US journalists' satellite equipment --in order to control access to the airwaves. Another guest on the show, war author Phillip Knightley, reported that the Pentagon has also threatened they: "may find it necessary to bomb areas in which war correspondents are attempting to report from the Iraqi side."


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