Dec 10 News: International Human Rights Day Americans Tell Bush--No War with Iraq!
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News Summary:
Los Angeles, CA (LA IMC):

Anti-war Constellations
As surely as the sun sets, when the stars of Los Angeles gather to speak out against war in Iraq, or when the 'entertainment' industry denies Palestine it's nationhood, people notice. With the politicization of personality, the memorial at John Lennon's Hollywood star becomes a political reflection. One thing that can be said for this is this phenomenon is that perhaps awestruck neighbors are emboldened to speak for themselves. This spectacle will continue as long as the mental environment remains in the hands of monopolized capital. To fight further media concentration , the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers has posted on the wire calling for people to write the FCC and enter comments into the public record of this regulatory commision's Biennial Regulatory Review of Ownership Rules.

Ignoring media and taking it to the streets, residents of Hollywood have joined other communitiesare organizing local anti-war protests.

Populist street protest aside, state-sponsored propaganda/culture is appearing again in ways that haven't been seen since the cold war, and the federales continue in little ways to keep in check manifestations of culture likeCoffee House Teach-In that are counter to their interests by harrassment at airports.

Oakland, CA (SF IMC):
12/10: Today in downtown Oakland, hundreds gathered to celebration international human rights day in front of the Federal Building. Scores of people protested in opposition of the war against Iraq, and to defend human rights and civil liberties.

Chicago, IL (Chicago IMC):
Dec. 10 - Chicago police and federal cops arrested 18 protesters today when activists blockaded doors and security checkpoints at Chicago's Kluczinski Federal Building. Organized by the Iraq Peace Pledge Team, the civil disobedience action was one of dozens across the country to mark International Human Rights Day by opposing the Bush regime's war drive against Iraq.

The arrests followed 10 days of accelerated anti-war organizing in the greater Chicago area. On Dec. 1, the city's top Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders issued a rare joint letter to President Bush urging him to avoid war. An anti-war resolution was also introduced into the Chicago City Council on Dec. 4, garnering 24 co-sponsors from the 50 member body, with public hearings likely in early January. And during the weekend of Dec. 6-8, community, religious and peace groups held over 50 anti-war events throughout Chicago and the suburbs.


Audio Report:
DemocracyNow! (New York, NY, USA)
December 10 Show
Full stories, links and Realaudio files
Listen to the entire show
(MP3, 60min., 34MB)

Today on International Human Rights Day, hundreds of church leaders are marching on the United Nations to call for peace: we talk to Martin Luther King’s mentor and civil rights leader, Rev. James Lawson about the role of Christian teaching and the Church in a non-violent peace movement.

Talk-back to war: people call in to Democracy Now’s answering machine

Over 600 gather for the funeral of legendary anti-war activist Philip Berrigan in Baltimore: We hear from historian Howard Zinn and Brendan Walsh, who co-founded Viva House, a Catholic Worker house in Baltimore.

1) 100 Arrested in U.S. Anti-War Protests (Associated Press)
2) Over hundred Hollywood performers oppose war with Iraq (Reuters)
3) US Treasury Fines Voices in the Wilderness $50,000 for Aiding Suffering Iraqis (Voices in the Wilderness,
4) Legal Challenge against War Filed in British Court (IPS)

Human Rights Issues...
5) Iraq: UK government dossier on human rights abuses (Amnesty International)
6) Britain Issues File on Iraq's 'Unique Horror' (New York Times, USA)
7) U.S.-Saudi Relationship Ignores the Oil-Rich Kingdom's Repression (Between the Lines, USA)
8) Democracy and Double-Talk on Turkey (IPS)

9) Common Myths in Iraq Coverage (FAIR, USA)
10) HBO Recycling Gulf War Hoax? (FAIR, USA)
11) This time I'm scared (Guardian, UK)

1) 100 Arrested in U.S. Anti-War Protests
By Allen G. Breed
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, December 10, 2002; 4:40 PM

From Goshen, Ind., grannies collecting relief kits to a "die-in" on an Ivy
League campus, Americans took to the streets Tuesday in mostly small, low-key
events to protest a possible war on Iraq. More than 100 people were arrested.

World War II veteran Ray Kaepplinger was among 40 people picketing outside a
Chicago federal office building as 20 others were being arrested in the lobby
for criminal trespass.

Kaepplinger, 84, said he had "been through the plume of hell in New Guinea"
and didn't want to see another war erupt. "As far as I'm concerned, President
George II is as bad as Saddam Hussein," he said.

About half of the 200 protesters demonstrating outside the U.S. mission to
the United Nations in New York were arrested for disorderly conduct,
including clergy members. Across the country in Sacramento, Calif., nine were
taken into custody for blocking the entrance to a federal courthouse.

"It's my first time ever," said Maria Cornejo, 41, a mother of four from
Dixon, Calif. "That's how important this is."

The group United for Peace counted more than 120 planned vigils, acts of
civil disobedience and marches in 37 states from Alaska to Florida. Protests
were being organized by fax and over the Internet by anarchists and
Communists, evangelicals and Quakers.

In the Mennonite community of Goshen, people gathered soap, bandages, towels
and other items to send to the poor of Iraq. Sharon Baker, 64, brought in
three kits for shipment through the Mennonite Central Committee.

"I'm opposed to any war, any time, anywhere, any place because war doesn't
solve anything," she said.

At the Women's Building in Albany, N.Y., dozens have signed up to fast for
one day each to protest the Bush administrations threats of war.

In the nation's capital, about 300 protesters, many with gray hair, staged a
march to a park near the White House. Flanked by police, John Steinbach, 56,
of Manassas, Va., an organizer of the Gray Panthers, was pushing the
wheelchair of his 97-year-old wife, Louise Franklin-Ramirez, who he said had
been protesting since 1917.

"The movement was looked on as being mainly youngsters," said Irving Irskin,
84, of Bethesda, Md., "but we want to show it's our war, too."

Earlier in Washington, several people were arrested after converging on two
military recruiting stations chanting, "Hell no, we won't go," and plastering
windows with red tape.

Students at the University of Michigan set up a makeshift graveyard on a
major walkway through the Ann Arbor campus, using cardboard headstones that
read "Iraqi child" and "Iraqi man." About 100 students and faculty at Brown
University in Providence, R.I., marched with signs and staged a "die-in" in
front of the city's federal building.

The White House said President Bush welcomed the protests as part of a
"time-honored tradition" of democracy.

While a recent USA/CNN/Gallup Poll found that a majority of Americans still
support sending ground troops to remove the Iraqi president, the percentage
opposed has nearly doubled to 37 percent since a year ago.

The protests were a far cry from October's mass rallies in Washington, San
Francisco and elsewhere that drew an estimated 200,000 participants. But Eric
Garris, director of, an affiliate of the nonprofit Center for
Libertarian Studies, said those events were sponsored in large part by groups
with agendas other than stopping a war with Iraq.

Unlike during the Vietnam War, mainstream groups are not waiting for a
full-blown conflict to register their opposition. The National Council on
Churches, which represents 50 million Christians, took out a full-page ad in
the New York Times last week asking Bush to avert a war.

"It took 12 years for the mainline Christian churches and the Roman Catholic
Church to come to an understanding that the war in Vietnam was wrong," said
the Rev. Robert Edgar, the council's general secretary and a member of
Congress at war's end in 1975.
The day of protest also coincided with former President Jimmy Carter's
receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway.

"War may sometimes be a necessary evil," he said in his acceptance speech.
"But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good."

Associated Press writers Jessica Brice in Sacramento; Mike Robinson in
Chicago; Carol Ann Riha in Des Moines; Danny Freedman in Washington; Michael
Virtanen in Albany; Karen Matthews in New York; and Elizabeth Zuckerman in
Providence contributed to this report.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Allen G. Breed is the AP's Southeast regional writer, based in
Raleigh, N.C. © 2002 The Associated Press

2) Hollywood performers oppose war with Iraq
By Steve Gorman

HOLLYWOOD, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Joining more than 100 celebrities on Tuesday in speaking out against a possible U.S. attack on Iraq, an actor best known for playing a fictional U.S. president on TV had some advice for America's real-life commander-in-chief: Give peace a chance.

Martin Sheen, who stars as President Bartlett on NBC's hit political drama "The West Wing," did much of the talking at a Hollywood news conference to release an open letter from a new group called Artists United to Win Without War.

"I've always believed that war is a reflection of despair, and I refused to accept despair," said Sheen, one of more than 100 stars who signed the letter. "We are the daughters and sons of God, and that means we are called to be peacemakers."

The move came as anti-war protesters staged small demonstrations across United States criticizing American military posturing toward Iraq in coordinated marches, speeches and acts of civil disobedience.

Sheen, long active in the peace movement and various social cause, was perhaps the best known of about 30 celebrities who turned out for the news conference. Other signatories include actors Kim Basinger, Laurence Fishburne, David Duchovny, Mia Farrow, Helen Hunt and such recording artists as David Matthews, Bonnie Raitt and Michael Stipe.

Sheen said he believed President George W. Bush and his administration "made up their minds a long time ago that they're going to have this war."

Asked what he thought would motivate Bush to go to war if Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, Sheen said, "I think he'd like to hand his father Saddam Hussein's head and win his approval for what happened after the 1991 Gulf War."

The senior Bush during his tenure as president led the coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in the Gulf War -- but that war stopped short of removing Saddam from power.

Also signing the letter were retired Rear Adm. Eugene Carroll, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Edward Peck, and a handful of other military and diplomatic experts.

The group was co-founded by actor Mike Farrell, who starred in the CBS TV military satire "M+A+S+H."


"We support rigorous U.N. weapons inspections to assure Iraq's effective disarmament," Farrell said, reading from the letter. "However, a preemptive military invasion of Iraq will ... increase human suffering, arouse animosity toward our country, increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks, damage the economy and undermine our moral standing in the world. It will make us less, not more, secure."

The letter, which Farrell said he hoped to get published in one or two major newspapers, came as peace activists around the country staged anti-war marches and rallies coinciding with International Human Rights Day.

Carroll, who once served as director of U.S. military operations for U.S. forces in Europe and the Middle East, accused Bush of exaggerating the menace posed by Iraq and putting the country on a war footing.

He warned that by gearing up U.S. forces for a possible Iraqi invasion, Bush ran the risk of making military conflict inevitable, even if Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein complies with U.N. demands to disarm.

"This has a life of its own, a momentum of its own," Carroll said. "For God's sake, let's take 'yes' for an answer and stand down from this march to war."

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Tuesday Iraq's weapons declaration to the United Nations should not be prejudged, and it could take weeks to reach conclusions about the 12,000 pages of documents.

Iraq handed over the voluminous declaration on its nuclear, biological and chemical programs to the U.N. at the weekend, saying it proved that Baghdad had no prohibited weapons.

But U.S. officials say there is substantial evidence, including some not made public, that Iraq has retained and accelerated banned weapons programs. President Bush has vowed to lead an international coalition to disarm Iraq by force, if necessary.

12/10/02 18:43 ET

3) Voices fined by the Treasury Dept and our response
Voices in the Wilderness []
Sent: Tuesday, December 03, 2002 6:21 PM
Dear friends,

Voices in the Wilderness received a letter from the Treasury Department, placing fines for $20,000, which are due this Thursday December 5th, 2002. The letter, and Voices response, have been posted on the front
page of This, along with individual fines placed against
Dan Handelman, Bert Sacks, and Rev. Randall Mullins, total $50,000. Many of you know of our recent efforts with the Iraq Peace Team, and how Bert and Randall refused to pay the fines and instead sent medicines to Iraq.

Voices in the Wilderness will decline payment, and continue our delegations that deliver medicines and other needed goods. We will not be silenced. We will not be divided.

We do need your help. Please help us spread the word - there is more information in the press release below and posted at We will also be sending a declaration asking for your direct help and participation to ' Break the Sanctions' in the coming days.

Thanks for all of your support and collaboration-

danny muller


Contact: Danny Muller
office: 773-784-8965
cell: 917-217-6809


On November 6 the U.S. Treasury Department imposed $20,000 in fines on Chicago-based Voices in the Wilderness (VitW), a campaign to end the sanctions on Iraq. On December 5 at 10 AM members of VitW will hold a press conference on the 2nd floor of Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn, Chicago. They will affirm that they have traveled to Iraq in nonviolent defiance of US/UN sanctions and announce that they intend to raise thousands of dollars to continue breaking the embargo.

Sue Mackley, Nathan Mauger and others who have returned from Iraq in the past few weeks will be joined by delegates scheduled to travel to Iraq before the end of the year.

These fines are for delivering medicine to Iraq without a permit in 1998. They are directed against VitW co-founder and double Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly of Chicago. Dan Handleman, of Portland,
Oregon, was simultaneously fined $10,000 for alleged travel-related expenses incurred during a 1997 VitW delegation to Iraq. Earlier this year, Bert Sacks and Rev. Randall Mullins, both of Seattle, were fined $10,000 each for taking part in the same 1997 delegation. They refused to pay, and instead raised over $10,000 to buy more medicine to bring to Iraq. This medicine was delivered by Sacks last September.

The fines come as VitW is sending Americans and other internationals to Iraq almost every week to take part in its Iraq Peace Team. Currently there are 16 volunteers in Baghdad with Iraq Peace Team. In the event of another US military assault on Iraq, they intend to help coordinate humanitarian efforts, offer independent reporting, and stand in solidarity with Iraqi civilians.

"We will not consent to pay any fine," said Kathy Kelly, currently in Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team. "We simply reject the government's contention that we cannot carry medicine to the sick, and assert that it
is a greater evil to let the children die."

Since January, 1996, VitW has sent over fifty delegations to Iraq. In addition to medicine, they have illegally brought to Iraq toys, medical books and journals, blood bags, pens and pencils for schools. Voices in the Wilderness representatives will be available to speak publicly and with the media. VitW has sent hundreds of delegates from over forty states- for local representatives, please contact us directly at (773)784-8065.

4) Legal Challenge against War Filed in British Court
Sanjay Suri

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has filed a case in the High Court in London to stop the British government from going to war with Iraq. Arguments are to be heard Dec 9 and the court must then decide whether this unprecedented action has legal merit.

LONDON, Dec 4 (IPS) - The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has filed a case in the High Court in London to stop the British government from going to war with Iraq.

A petition filed by the CND is due to be argued in court on Monday December 9. The court will decide then whether this unprecedented action is justifiable.

The case for the CND is being prepared by the Matrix chamber of barristers of which Cherie Blair, wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair, is a member. A CND spokesman told IPS Wednesday, however, that Cherie Blair is not personally involved in the case.

The case rests on the text of the United Nations Resolution 1441. The CND argues that it is normal to use the expression "any necessary means" to denote sanction of military action. "No such expression appears in the resolution," Tony Myers, campaigns officer with CND told IPS Wednesday. "We are arguing that military action would be unlawful without going back to the UN and seeking express approval for it."

Myers acknowledged that "there is no precedent for a small organisation going to court to stop a government going to war." But he said the CND is hopeful that the court will admit the case at the preliminary hearing on Monday.

A petition has been filed in the High Court against Prime Minister Tony Blair, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon. The CND case will be argued by Rabinder Singh and Charlotte Kilroy of Matrix, and Michael Fordham of Blackstone Chambers.

The hearing will take place the day after December 8, which is the date for Iraq to comply with the requirement to list all the sites and programmes relevant to weapons of mass destruction.

"If war on Iraq is unleashed, 500,000 could die," says Carol Naughton, chair of CND. "We face the real possibility of a first use of a nuclear weapon, which could be British, American or Israeli. We are acting on behalf of all the citizens of the world who want to stop war on Iraq."

The CND campaign is being supported by several MPs.

The petition filed in the court says: "Security Council Resolution 1441 does not authorise the use of force by member states of the UN. The UK would be in breach of international law if it were to use force against Iraq in reliance on Resolution 1441 without a further Security Council Resolution."

The petition points out that the UN Security Council resolution offers Iraq a "final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations". The petition points out that paragraphs 4, 11 and 12 of Resolution 1441 deal with the event of non-compliance by Iraq with the terms of the resolution.

The petition points out that the resolution says non-compliance "shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq's obligations and will be reported to the Council for assessment." The resolution therefore fully respects the competence of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations, the petition says.

"But despite these clear statements on the meaning of SCR 1441, several ministers of the UK government and United States officials have indicated that, in the event of non-compliance with SCR 1441 by Iraq, the UK and the U.S. would be entitled to take military action against Iraq even without a further Security Council resolution," the petition says.

The petition argues that the use of force by Britain against Iraq would not be justified under international law unless: (a) Iraq mounted a direct attack on the United Kingdom or one of its allies and that ally requested the United Kingdom's assistance; or (b) an attack by Iraq on the United Kingdom or one of its allies was imminent and could be averted in no way other than by the use of force; or (c) the United Nations Security Council authorised the use of force in clear terms.

The petition says: "It would be extraordinary if, having failed to obtain an express authorisation for the use of force, having incorporated minute changes to the final draft whose sole purpose was to exclude the possibility of 'automaticity' and 'hidden triggers' and to preserve the role of the Security Council, and having publicly agreed in their explanation of the vote for adoption of SCR 1441 that there was no such implied authorisation for force, the UK and the U.S. were to be able to use SCR 1441 as authority for the use of force without a further Security Council Resolution."

The petition adds: "In our view the implied authorisation arguments put forward by the UK and the U.S. would undermine the control exercised by the Security Council which is an essential feature of lawful delegation under the Chapter VII. These arguments would effectively allow member states to take unilateral decisions on the interpretation of resolutions, reading into them authorisation to take action which does not appear clearly on the face of the resolution."

Government solicitor Diana Babar said in reply to the petition that it seeks an assurance from the British government that it will not attack Iraq without a further resolution from the UN Security Council, but that "there is no legal obligation upon the proposed defendants to provide any such assurance, and they do not consider it appropriate to provide such an assurance."

The government solicitor said in reply: "There is no legal obligation upon the proposed defendants to engage in a debate about legal analysis...and they decline to do so." The statement added: "There are a number of legal reasons why any attempt by your client to claim relief in the courts in relation to these matters should not succeed, and would be strongly resisted by my clients."

The government solicitor said "the matter is non-justifiable and the courts will not intervene to dictate the conduct of foreign policy, especially, we would add, in a matter of high policy relating to a decision as to whether and when the United Kingdom would engage in military action against another state."

5) Iraq: UK government dossier on human rights abuses
News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International
AI Index: MDE 14/031/2002 (Public)
News Service No: 222
2 December 2002

Iraq: UK government dossier on human rights abuses

Amnesty International has not yet had time to study the report issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office detailing human rights abuses in Iraq. The organization has for many years documented gross human rights violations in Iraq and campaigned for adequate redress of these violations through proper internal and international mechanisms.

The statement attributed today to the Secretary General of Amnesty International is an extract from a previous statement published by the organization in September in response to statements and documents from the British and American governments in which they quoted from reports that Amnesty International had published over the years, on human rights abuses in Iraq.

The human rights situation in Iraq or elsewhere should not be used selectively. The US and other Western governments turned a blind eye to Amnesty International reports of widespread human rights violations in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and ignored Amnesty International's campaign on behalf of the thousands of unarmed Kurdish civilians killed in the 1988 attacks on Halabja.

As the debate on whether to use military force against Iraq escalates, the human rights of the Iraqi people, as a direct consequence of any potential military action, is sorely missing from the equation.

Life, safety and security of civilians must be the paramount consideration in any action taken to resolve the current human rights and humanitarian crisis. The experience of previous armed intervention in the Gulf and other conflicts has shown that, all too often, civilians become the acceptable casualties of war.

6) Britain Issues File on Iraq's 'Unique Horror'
NYT: December 3, 2002

LONDON, Dec. 2 Britain released a dossier of evidence today arguing that systematic rape, torture, gassing, public beheadings and mass executions of Iraqis by Saddam Hussein were the deliberate policy of his "regime of unique horror."

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the document, which the government said was based on intelligence material, victims' first-hand accounts and reports by nongovernmental organizations, set out a powerful human rights case in addition to the international security argument for disarming Mr. Hussein.

"We not only help those countries in the region which are subject to Iraqi threats and intimidations," Mr. Straw said. "We also deprive Saddam of his most powerful tools for keeping the Iraqi people living in fear and subjugation."

Some rights groups and antiwar politicians expressed fears that the government had other motives than protesting human rights abuses for releasing the file.

"I think that this highly unusual, indeed unprecedented, publication is cranking up for war," said Tam Dalyell of Labor, the longest-serving member of Parliament and a persistent critic of current policy toward Iraq.

Amnesty International accused Mr. Straw of a "cold and calculated manipulation" of the human rights situation in Iraq to back up the American and British governments' case for military moves against Baghdad.

"Let us not forget that these same governments turned a blind eye to Amnesty International's reports of widespread human rights violations in Iraq before the gulf war," said the secretary general of the group, Irene Khan.

A senior official, speaking under the Foreign Office practice of anonymity, said the bulk of the report was from reports by academic and human rights groups about incidents in the 1980's and 90's.

The release is the third time since the Sept. 11 attacks that Britain has come forth with compilations of published reports and intelligence findings to bolster tough joint American and British positions against terror and Iraq.

Mr. Straw made the dossier public at a breakfast meeting of the Atlantic Partnership, a group that aims to improve relations between Europe and North America.

Mr. Straw told the breakfast gathering that the aim of the disclosures was "to remind the world that the abuses of the Iraqi regime extend far beyond its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction in violation of its international obligations."

The document listed what it said were Mr. Hussein's favored methods of torture. They included eye gouging; piercing hands with an electric drill, stubbing out cigarettes on skin, mock execution, suspension from ceilings, electric shocks to the genitals, rape, finger- and toenail extraction, beating the soles of the feet and acid baths.

The report said that since mid-2000 the punishment for slandering or making abusive comments about the president or his family has been amputating the tongue. "Iraqi television has broadcast pictures of these punishments as a warning for others," the file said.

A copy of a government personnel card in the report, credited to the Iraq Research and Documentation Project at Harvard, described a state employee, Aziz Salih Ahmed, as a "fighter in the popular army." The report said his assigned "activity" was "violation of women's honor."

A graphic video that supplemented the 23-page document was played at a Foreign Office briefing and made available to television stations. It showed government opponents being kicked and beaten after an uprising in 1991 and the bodies of women and children after a chemical weapons attack in 1998 on Halabja, a Kurdish town in northern Iraq.

The senior official denied that the purpose of the presentation was to rally support for possible military moves against Iraq.

"This dossier itself is not attempting to provide a justification for military action," he said.

The former head of the Iraqi nuclear energy agency, Dr. Hussain al-Shahristani was at the briefing to relate his experiences of being imprisoned and tortured in Iraq. Like Amnesty International, Dr. Hussain noted that the British and American governments had not been so concerned about human rights in Iraq in the past. "However," he said, "later is better than never."

Dr. Hussain escaped Iraq in 1991 after 12 years in jail, 11 of them in solitary confinement, for his refusal to be involved in the nuclear program after it was diverted in 1979 to weapons development. He said he doubted that the current inspections would succeed in turning up weapons of mass destruction.

"Saddam is the master at hiding, concealing and moving around weapons," he said.

Dr. Hussain also questioned whether any scientists working in the weapons program would be able to take up the United Nations offer to leave Iraq with their families to testify to what they knew.

"They were all forced against their will to take part," he said. "But they will fear cooperating because they know Saddam will attack their relatives, their homes, their tribes and their towns."

7) U.S.-Saudi Relationship Ignores the Oil-Rich Kingdom's Repression
Date: 12/9/2002 10:35:18 PM Pacific Standard Time

From the radio newsmagazine
Between The Lines

Between the Lines Q&A
A weekly column featuring progressive viewpoints
on national and international issues
under-reported in mainstream media
for release Dec. 9, 2002

U.S.-Saudi Relationship Ignores the Oil-Rich Kingdom's Repression and Human Rights Violations
Interview with As'ad AbuKhalil,
author of forthcoming book, "The House of Bush and the House of Saud,"
conducted by Scott Harris
December 9, 2002

Listen in RealAudio:

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, where 15 of the 19 men who
hijacked three U.S. planes were citizens of Saudi Arabia, the oil-rich
kingdom has come under close scrutiny. The fact that Al Qaeda terror
network mastermind Osama bin Laden is a member of one of Saudi Arabia's
most prominent families has also contributed to new inquiries into Saudi
terror connections.

But because of the strategic importance of Saudi Arabia, which possesses
the single largest reserves of oil in the world, successive American
presidents have been hesitant to criticize the Saudi monarchy, its
government's repressive policies and its officially sanctioned religious
intolerance. In the post-9/11 period, the Bush family's positive
personal and business relationship with members of the Royal Saudi
family has added additional conflicts of interest in formulating U.S.
policies to effectively confront the roots of terrorism.

Recent unconfirmed reports alleging that the U.S. Saudi ambassador's
wife had funneled money to 9/11 hijackers underscores the strains now
apparent in this once strong relationship. Between The Lines' Scott
Harris spoke with As'ad AbuKhalil, associate political science professor
at California State University and author of the forthcoming book, "The
House of Bush and the House of Saud." Professor AbuKhalil explains why
he feels the U.S. must dramatically transform its relationship with the
Saudis if our nation is serious about applying one standard in
challenging oppression and supporting human rights.

As'ad AbuKhalil: There has always been a very close association between
the government, the elite of the United States and the elite of Saudi
Arabia -- a certain kinship between the royal family and the so-called
"royal" families of the United States who have ruled over. One of the
things I point out is that there are so many paradoxes about this
relationship. They tell us that they are based on shared values and one
wonders what these are -- unless they are speaking about religious
intolerance, misogyny, extremism and sexism that prevails in much of
Saudi Arabia. The president of the United States, despite the negative
press of Saudi Arabia in this country, assured the crown prince in a
phone interview that there is a permanent eternal friendship between the
two nations.

While there is now sudden attention to the record of the royal family in
funding, financing and supporting some elements of fundamentalist,
extremist Islam, the United States has a similar joint effort in that
regard. For much of the recent history of the Cold War, the United
States, through the CIA and the Defense Department worked hand in hand
with the royal family to support, sponsor and arm extremist,
fundamentalist Islam all in the hope of undermining the powers of
secularism and socialism in the Middle East. In many ways, you cannot
open the files of the responsibility of Saudi Arabia in the support for
the Islamic extremism from which emerged Osama bin Laden, without paying
some attention to the same record by the U.S. government.

Between The Lines: Why has the Bush administration gone out of its way
to placate the Saudi royal family? There are many obvious answers to
that question, including the word "petroleum."

As'ad AbuKhalil: Well, it's not only about oil, however. Oil is a big
factor. But not only this government, Bush, as well as Clinton, as well
as Bush before him, as well as Reagan, Carter, everybody -- they have
had an extremely deferential, respectful relationship with the royal
family because they are basically obedient clients of the United States.
They do what they are told, and most importantly, they provide the
United States with cheap oil and they play an extremely pro-American
role within the OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and
for that, they are rewarded with the kind of praise and deferential
treatment that they receive.

Between The Lines: What should American citizens be concerned about in
terms of the relationship between the Bush family and the House of Saud?

As'ad AbuKhalil: Very good question. In fact, in my forthcoming book on
the subject, I warn about the consequences of U.S. foreign policy toward
Saudi Arabia. I say that in many cases, Sept. 11 is an outgrowth of this
policy of the United States toward that government. The United States
has now 10,000 troops in that kingdom to prop up an extremely corrupt,
unpopular, despised regime in the region. We suffer in America today
because of that policy. The Bush family -- the father, certainly, and
the son -- through oil interests have had those close ties to the royal
family. The father and many of the people within his administration have
been involved with the Carlyle Group which has extremely strong ties to
the royal family of Saudi Arabia.

The response by America to Saudi Arabia after Sept. 11 is largely
technical. We wanted to crack down against financing, we wanted to
arrest more people, but not a single word is said about the most
troubling aspect of the relationship, which is Saudi Arabia is running
one of the most oppressive countries in the world. And you don't hear a
word in the press or from the government about sexism, discrimination,
and the lack of freedoms in Saudi Arabia.

Between The Lines: Now Saudi Arabia has played it down the middle of the
road in terms of its position on any future U.S. war undertaken against
Iraq and the government of Saddam Hussein. Obviously, there are many
considerations for the Saudi royal family -- balancing the maintenance
of a long-term relationship with Washington and the fear that they have
of angering (the Saudi) population that could overthrow their monarchy.

As'ad AbuKhalil: The royal family is concerned. You see, the United
States, after Sept. 11, is running according to the principle of what I
call "the Hamid Karzai rule," according to which the United States will
only tolerate clients who are supportive of U.S. foreign policy 100
percent. Ninety-percent, 95 percent, 99 percent kind of clientage is not
going to be tolerated by the United States. This really explains the
trouble that now is faced in the relationship between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia wants to be loyal to the United States, but they are also
worried about their own domestic audiences. You see, there is a kind of
bind that the royal family finds itself in. On the one hand, you want to
please the United States, but on the other hand, the more you please the
United States, the more you displease your people. So, which way do you
want to go? And the Saudi family is under pressure by the Americans to
go along with America much more closely, to align itself with !
the American war, but they are becoming increasingly unpopular in the
kingdom because there is a mounting tide of anti-Americanism in the
kingdom itself.

It's very fair to say that had the United States government over the
years not embraced and endorsed the Saudi corrupt oil family, the fight
between bin Laden and the House of Saud would be a fight that would have
taken place on Saudi soil. In other words, we would have been spared
Sept. 11.

As'ad AbuKhalil's book, "The House of Bush and the House of Saud" is
soon to be published by Seven Stories Press.

Scott Harris is executive producer of Between The Lines. This interview
excerpt was featured on the award-winning, nationally syndicated weekly
radio newsmagazine, Between The Lines (, for the week
ending Dec. 13, 2002

8) Democracy and Double-Talk on Turkey
Analysis - By Jim Lobe

Turkey has long occupied a very special place in the hearts and minds of the 'Attack Iraq' crowd that remains the dominant voice in the administration of President George W. Bush. Firstly because it is the only predominantly Muslim member in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (IPS) - Turkey has long occupied a very special place in the hearts and minds of the 'Attack Iraq' crowd that remains the dominant voice in the administration of President George W. Bush.

First, it is the only predominantly Muslim member in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

Second, its generals have cultivated a military alliance with Israel against hostile Arab states, one that was heavily promoted by the Jewish neo-conservatives who dominate the top ranks of the political appointees around Vice President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the administration's leading hard-liners.

In fact, the chairman of Rumsfeld's Defence Policy Board, Richard Perle, and his undersecretary for policy, Douglas Feith, have worked as paid lobbyists for Turkey and have also advised the Likud Party, proposing five years ago the creation of an Israel-Turkey-Jordan axis that would permanently alter the balance of power in the Middle East.

Third, Turkey occupies an especially valuable piece of real estate for anyone contemplating an invasion of Iraq. While the main thrust of any U.S. ground attack will almost certainly be launched from Kuwait, the advantages of a second front in the north are deeply compelling to U.S. military planners.

Fourth, and by no means last, the fact that Turkey holds regular elections and enjoys at least the formal institutions of a democratic state makes it particularly attractive at a moment when the United States is trying to persuade the rest of the world, particularly the Middle East, that it should be seen as a liberator, not as an invader of a benighted Arab nation.

In this view, long espoused by the neo-cons, Turkey ''can be an example for the Muslim world'' as the most hawkish of the Pentagon neo-cons, Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, said last March in one of the administration's first public utterances of its oft-repeated mantra that invading Iraq could transform the entire region by bringing democracy to Arab states long denied it.

During his visit to Ankara last week, precisely to persuade the new government of Prime Minister Abdullah Gul to permit tens of thousands of U.S. troops to use Turkish territory as a launching pad into Iraq, Wolfowitz was effusive in his praise of Turkish democracy.

He even invited the powerful chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to meet Bush at the White House next week, despite the fact that Erdogan, a devout Muslim whose party swept out the traditional secular parties in elections last month, is barred from holding public office for violating the country's long-standing secularist constitution.

As a message to Arab states and others who doubt Washington's altruistic intentions, Erdogan's appearance at the White House should speak very loudly to those who fear that Washington's confrontation with Iraq and its war on terrorism is stoking a ''clash of civilisations'', say U.S. officials.

''Our receptivity to the outcome of last month's election in Turkey clearly demonstrates this point,'' said Richard Haass, director of the State Department's Policy Planning staff, in a major address on U.S. support for ''Democracy in the Muslim World'' this week.

Haass quoted approvingly from Gul's remarks on taking office last month that his party wanted to prove that a Muslim identity can be democratic, transparent and compatible with the modern world.

''Americans are confident that the Turkish people can prove all this and we want to help them make it so,'' said Haass, who stressed that democracy went beyond elections in requiring adherence to the rule of law, checks and balances ''such that no one voice dominates unquestioned,'' and ''competition between legislative and executive branches'', among other key attributes.

In this context, some analysts were surprised to read The Washington Post's account of the Wolfowitz trip to Ankara, published within hours of Haass' address.

Turkey's 20-year-old constitution requires the nation's parliament to approve the deployment of foreign troops on Turkish soil, according to the Post. ''But a Western diplomat noted that most of the U.S. requests likely will be decided by Turkey's National Security Council, which includes the military's politically powerful general staff, along with senior elected officials.''

Moreover, when Turkey's Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis, citing domestic ''public opinion'', suggested that U.S. troops could operate from Turkish territory only if the United Nations Security Council authorised military action in a new resolution, the same ''Western diplomat'' told the Post that the foreign minister had gotten it wrong.

''He was trying to straddle a position and he just went too far,'' the not-so-mysterious source told the Post's reporters, who travelled with Wolfowitz from Washington. ''He was trying to bridge this public position that action in Iraq must await a second U.N. resolution, and the position of many others in the government that ... it is in the Turkish national interest to line up.''

Lest there be any doubt about who these ''many others in the government'' may be, the Post gave a hint when it quoted ''one senior general'' as dismissing Yakis' statements as ''personal opinion''.

''Turkish support is assured,'' said Wolfowitz on the record, after meetings with top Turkish officials, including senior generals.

While that may be true for senior generals, it almost certainly did not apply to the Turkish general public, according to the results of major surveys that were released here after Wolfowitz's visit by the Washington-based Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

According to one poll taken in Turkey just last month, 83 percent of Turks oppose allowing U.S. forces to use bases in their country to wage war in Iraq. Moreover, a solid majority rejected the notion that Washington's motivations in waging war were for anyone's benefit but its own.

Indeed, less than one in three of more than 1,000 Turkish respondents said they approved of Washington's war on terror, compared with better than two-thirds approval in all five NATO member-countries surveyed. Three in four Turks agreed with the statement that the United States fails to consider the interests of other countries in conducting its foreign policy.

The survey found that only 30 percent of Turks had a favourable image of the United States, a whopping 22 percent drop from the same survey two years ago, and the fourth lowest of the 44 countries surveyed, after Egypt, Pakistan and Jordan.

The poll results for Turkey, observed former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, helped illustrate the gap in ''what we're asking countries to do in terms of (their) leadership versus what people want us to do''.

''The essence of what we believe in - we in the United States - is that people should be free to determine their own future,'' Wolfowitz told a group of Turkish reporters last July. ''Turkey is proof that democracy can work for Muslims.''

9) Common Myths in Iraq Coverage
November 27, 2002
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism

An issue as serious as the Iraq crisis deserves the highest possible
degree of accuracy from the press. U.S. media coverage, however, is
marked by frequent misstatements and distortions of reality-- some of
which have been made repeatedly, even after being pointed out by critics.

Here are a few examples of commonly repeated errors:

1. "But as U.N. weapons inspectors prepare to return to Iraq for the first
time since Saddam kicked them out in 1998, the U.S. faces a delicate
balancing act: transforming the international consensus for disarmament
into a consensus for war." --Randall Pinkston, CBS Evening News (11/9/02).

One of the most common media errors on Iraq is the claim that the U.N.
weapons inspectors left Iraq in 1998 because they were "kicked out" or
"expelled" ( ). The
inspectors, led by Richard Butler, actually left voluntarily, knowing that
a U.S. bombing campaign was imminent. This was reported accurately
throughout the U.S. press at the time: "Butler ordered his inspectors to
evacuate Baghdad, in anticipation of a military attack, on Tuesday night"
(Washington Post, 12/18/98).

2. "The last weapons inspectors were pulled out of Iraq nearly four years
ago. Baghdad charged that there were spies on the team, and the United
States complained that Iraq was using the accusation as an excuse to
obstruct the inspectors. After the team withdrew, the U.S. and Britain
waged a four-day bombing campaign." --L.A. Times (11/19/02)

Treating the use of the U.N. weapons inspection team for espionage as a
mere Iraqi allegation might be referred to as "Saddam Says" reporting. In
fact, reports of the misuse of the inspectors for spying were made in
early 1999 by some of the leading U.S. newspapers, sourced to U.S. and
U.N. officials (FAIR Action Alert, 9/24/02; ). These papers reported
as fact that "American spies had worked undercover on teams of United
Nations arms inspectors" (New York Times, 1/7/99) in order to "eavesdrop
on the Iraqi military without the knowledge of the U.N. agency"
(Washington Post, 3/2/99) as part of "an ambitious spying operation
designed to penetrate Iraq's intelligence apparatus and track the movement
of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein" (Boston Globe, 1/6/99).

3. "Many [in Iraq], of course, are bitter over the 12-year-long
U.S.-supported embargo, which Baghdad claims has led to thousands of
infants and elderly people dying from preventable diseases." --Time

The topic of sanctions is also often covered in a "Saddam Says" fashion.
In fact, there are detailed reports on the deadly effects of sanctions
that come from respected international health organizations and public
health experts, not from the Iraqi government. For example, UNICEF
published a report in August 1999 that found that sanctions against Iraq
had contributed to the deaths of 500,000 children under five. Richard
Garfield, a public health specialist at Columbia University, estimates
that 350,000 children have died as a result of sanctions and the lingering
effects of the 1991 Gulf War (The Nation, 12/6/01; ). To describe
a death toll in this range as "thousands" is like saying that "dozens" of
people died in the World Trade Center attacks.

4. "The Pentagon also points out, the Bush administration also points out
very, very strongly, that the Iraqi regime itself is to blame for all of
these problems. If they simply complied with U.N. Security Council
resolutions and disarm, there would be no sanctions, there would be no
problem getting medical supplies, doctor, pediatricians, to all parts of
Iraq." --Wolf Blitzer, CNN (11/7/02)

It's not at all clear that sanctions against Iraq would automatically be
lifted if the country disarmed; President George Bush the elder declared
in 1991, shortly after the sanctions were imposed, "My view is we don't
want to lift these sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power." His
secretary of state James Baker concurred: "We are not interested in seeing
a relaxation of sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power."

President Clinton made a point of saying that his policy toward Iraq was
exactly the same as his predecessor's. His secretary of state Madeleine
Albright stated in her first major foreign policy address in 1997: "We do
not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its
obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be
lifted. Our view, which is unshakable, is that Iraq must prove its
peaceful intentions.... And the evidence is overwhelming that Saddam
Hussein's intentions will never be peaceful." (See Institute for Public
Accuracy, 11/13/98; . )

ACTION: When you see these mistakes being repeated, please contact the
media outlet and ask that the record be corrected. Contact info for many
leading U.S. news outlets can be found at .

The outlets mentioned above may be contacted at:

CBS Evening News:

Los Angeles Times:


CNN, "Wolf Blitzer Reports":

As always, please remember that your comments are taken more seriously if
you maintain a polite tone. Please cc with your

10) HBO Recycling Gulf War Hoax?
December 4, 2002
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism

The fraudulent story of Iraqi soldiers throwing Kuwaiti babies out of
incubators during the occupation of Kuwait in 1990 is depicted as if it
were true in "Live from Baghdad," the HBO film premiering on the cable
network this Saturday that purports to tell the story behind CNN's
coverage of the Gulf War. HBO and CNN are both owned by the AOL Time
Warner media conglomerate.

In the months before the Gulf War began, media uncritically repeated the
claim that Iraqi soldiers were removing Kuwaiti babies from incubators.
The story was launched by the testimony of a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl
before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in October 1990. Eventually,
as repeated in the media by the first President Bush and countless others,
it blossomed into a tale involving over 300 Kuwaiti babies.

What was not reported at the time was the fact that the public relations
company Hill & Knowlton was partly behind the effort, and the girl who
testified was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to
Washington. Subsequent investigations, including one by Amnesty
International, found no evidence for the claims (ABC World News Tonight,

In the film, the story is turned upside down, portrayed as a deft public
relations move by the Iraqi government, who grant CNN access to Kuwait in
a calculated attempt to discredit the rumors that their soldiers were
pulling babies from incubators. CNN reporters are ushered to a hospital
in Kuwait, where a doctor, under obvious pressure from Iraqi soldiers,
tells the reporters that no babies had been pulled from the incubators.

The CNN team does not believe the obviously nervous doctor is telling the
truth, and the Iraqi officials pick up on this, promptly cutting the
interview short. The scene ends with the doctor being led away by Iraqi
officials. Moments later, the CNN crew listens to a BBC report on the
radio that suggests that CNN had debunked the story of Iraqi soldiers
killing Kuwaiti babies, and CNN's reporters are upset that they've been
used by the Iraqi officials.

The key exchange happens as follows:

CNN correspondent: You are aware of the allegations, doctor?
Doctor: I have heard these stories.
CNN producer Ingrid Formanek (whisper): This sucks. He's scared.
CNN producer Robert Wiener (whisper): Yeah, this is bad.
Doctor: I can tell you, nothing has happened at this hospital... that I
Correspondent: But at other hospitals?
Doctor: I cannot tell about other hospitals.
Iraqi handler: Finish! Finish! We go now!
Formanek: To the other hospitals?
Handler: No, back to Baghdad!
Wiener: Hey, hey, that was part of the deal!
Handler: That is story.

The clear implication is that the CNN reporters were used by the Iraqi
government to make a true story of atrocities seem false. A review of the
movie in the Indianapolis Star (12/1/02) arrived at that very conclusion,
noting that CNN "played into the Iraqis' hands on a couple of occasions,
including an ill-fated trip to Kuwait where the Iraqis used the CNN crew
to counter reports that their soldiers had been removing Kuwaiti babies
from hospital incubators and leaving them on the floor to die."

"Live from Baghdad" is a dramatization, not a documentary, but it is being
presented by HBO as a "behind-the-scenes true story" of the Gulf War and
is being released at a crucial political moment. HBO's version of history
never makes clear that the incubator story was fraudulent, and in fact had
been managed by an American PR firm, not Iraq. Curiously, however, the
truth seems to have been clear to Robert Wiener, the former CNN producer
who co-wrote "Live from Baghdad." As he explained to CNN's Wolf Blitzer
(11/21/02), "that story turned out to be false because those accusations
were made by the daughter of the Kuwaiti minister of information and were
never proven."

Unfortunately, HBO viewers won't know that when they see the film.

Let HBO know you are concerned about the distortion of history in their
movie "Live From Baghdad." With another war with Iraq looming, HBO could
better serve viewers by debunking wartime propaganda, instead of re-airing


As always, please remember that your comments are taken more seriously if
you maintain a polite tone. Please cc with your

To learn more about Hill & Knowlton's role in the first Gulf War, read PR
Watch's "How PR Sold the War in the Persian Gulf":

11) This time I'm scared
US propaganda fuelled the first Gulf war. It will fuel this one too - and the risks are even greater
Maggie O'Kane
Thursday December 5, 2002
The Guardian,2763,854148,00.html

I have a picture from the last Gulf war. It was taken in the basement of the Al
Rashid hotel, the night the war started. The look on my face is one you might
expect of a 28-year-old reporter at the centre of one of the biggest stories of
my lifetime: earnest, excited and thrilled to be in Baghdad.

Eleven years later, I'm on maternity leave and the news of an impending second
Gulf war follows me around the kitchen. This time, I feel only a sense of
intense danger as the Middle East lurches towards a possible chemical and
biological war.

The chances of Saddam Hussein using chemical and biological weapons if attacked
are, according to the testimony of the CIA to the US Senate intelligence
committee on October 7, "pretty high" - a scenario that even one of greatest
hawks in US history, Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser to
George Bush senior, says would lead to meltdown in the Middle East. As of
December 7, when Iraq is expected to produce its definitive dossier, there
should be no illusions: no matter what Baghdad discloses, America and almost
certainly Britain are going to war. The "material breach", if it does not
happen by itself, will be manufactured, so wringing consent for the second Gulf
war just as consent was manufactured with breathtaking cynicism in 1991.

There were two glaring examples of how the propaganda machine worked before the
first Gulf war. First, in the final days before the war started on January 9,
the Pentagon insisted that not only was Saddam Hussein not withdrawing from
Kuwait - he was - but that he had 265,000 troops poised in the desert to pounce
on Saudi Arabia. The Pentagon claimed to have satellite photographs to prove
it. Thus, the waverers and anti-war protesters were silenced.

We now know from declassified documents and satellite photographs taken by a
Russian commercial satellite that there were no Iraqi troops poised to attack
Saudi. At the time, no one bothered to ask for proof.

No one except Jean Heller, a five-times nominated Pulitzer prize-winning
journalist from the St Petersburg Times in Florida, who persuaded her bosses to
buy two photos at $1,600 each from the Russian commercial satellite, the Soyuz
Karta. Guess what? No massing troops. "You could see the planes sitting wing
tip to wing tip in Riyadh airport," Ms Heller says, "but there wasn't was any
sign of a quarter of a million Iraqi troops sitting in the middle of the
desert." So what will the fake satellite pictures show this time: a massive
chemical installation with Iraqi goblins cooking up anthrax?

The US propaganda machine is already gearing up. In its sights already is Hans
Blix, the chief weapons inspector. He's too much of a softie for Saddam, the
former CIA director James Wolsey told the Today programme last week. His work
is of "limited value". He was Kofi Annan's "second choice".

What next? Blix's granny is Iraqi? He has a drugs problem?

Meanwhile, in Britain, Jack Straw's new human rights dossier on Iraq is timed
to coincide with the build-up. Convenient, eh? The second tactic used to get
consensus for war in 1991 was another propaganda classic: dead babies. Then,
the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador in Washington, Nijirah al-Sabah,
tearfully described how, as a volunteer in the Al Adnan hospital in Kuwait
City, she had watched Iraqi soldiers looting incubators to take back to
Baghdad, pitching the Kuwaiti babies on to "the cold floor to die".

Except it never happened. The Filipina nurses, Frieda Construe-Nag and Myra
Ancog Cooke, who worked in the maternity ward of the Al Adnan hospital, had
never seen Ms al-Sabah in their lives. Amnesty admitted they had been duped.
Middle East Watch confirmed the fabrication, but it was too late: a marginal US
Congress had been swung to vote for war. George Bush senior mentioned the
"incubator babies" seven times in pre-war rallying speeches. It was months
before the truth came out. By then, the war was over.

This time, we have yet to see what propaganda will be used to rally consensus
for the second Gulf war by proving a "material breach". It is highly likely
that Saddam Hussein maintains at least some chemical and biological capacity.
In a war in which his own survival is unlikely (and already rumoured to be ill
with cancer) Saddam Hussein has nothing to lose. If he knows his fall is
imminent, what terrible legacy might he choose to leave behind? What better
present to his extremist Arab brothers than an attack on Israel? And how will
the US, Britain or Israel respond if their troops or cities come under chemical
or biological attack?

I n 1995, the Washington-based Defense News reported on the outcome of the then
highly classified Global 95 Wargame, a high-level military exercise enacted at
the US Naval War college. Global 95 played out a simultaneous threat from North
Korea and Iraq. The North Korean situation was diffused, but Iraq attacked US
troops in the region with biological weapons. Washington replied with a nuclear
bomb on Baghdad. The main observation during the Global 95 experiment was just
how quickly the situation escalated.

But the greatest irony, and most important issue, is that although the war on
Iraq may indeed get George Bush re-elected, it will not win the war on
terrorism. It will instead fuel it.

In 1998, I spent an afternoon with Abu Ziad, an elderly accountant in Baghdad.
He recounted how, at 2am on February 13, 1991, two bombs had hit the Amiryia
bomb shelter near his home. The first pierced the roof, slicing into the
central heating tank and sending gallons of boiling water pouring over the
women and children below. The second bomb, 15 minutes later, exploded with such
force that he never had the chance to identify the bodies of his wife and four
of their five children: Zena,14, Fuad, 12, Lena, seven and Sadaad, six. He
remembers standing outside the shelter in the early morning and noticing the
ankles of dead women and children marked by the red hot mattress springs they
had fought to climb over to get out of the shelter before the second bomb

The Abu Ziads of the second Gulf war will be seen on al-Jazeera TV giving their
heartbreaking testimony to a new generation of disaffected and dispossessed
young Muslim men from Palestine, Indonesia, the Middle East and Africa. And we
can all hear the death chant of a hundred suicide bombers: Allahu Akbar. It's a
high price to pay for another four years in the White House.

I am not some naive pacifist. I supported intervention in Bosnia, the war in
Kosovo and military intervention in East Timor. Baghdad is a city where terror
hangs in the air in every home. Iraqis literally dare not speak Saddam
Hussein's name. But now he is cornered, dangerous and possibly dying. Provoking
him is criminally irresponsible and provoking him in order to secure a second
presidential term is unforgivable.

Remember the words of JFK to his brother Bobby, spoken in the ante-room of the
Oval Office the night before the Cuban missile crisis, now declassified. "I
have to do it, Bobby," said John Kennedy, explaining why he was facing up to
the Soviets. "I'll lose the presidency if I don't." Krushchev had a way out. He
ordered the Soviet ships to turn around. What would have happened if he had
nowhere to turn?

Maggie O'Kane is editorial director of GuardianFilms. She was named European
Journalist of the Year this week for its first documentary, Looking for

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