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April 2002 - February 2009 Archive
Reflections on Religion, Current Events, and Other Subjects

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Tuesday,April 29,2003

Another really good article:

IVINS: Weapons of Mass Deception

By Molly Ivins, AlterNet

April 29, 2003

AUSTIN, Texas – The sour joke is: "Of course we know the Iraqis have weapons of mass destruction. We have the receipts." At this point, the administration would probably be delighted if it could find the WMDs the Reagan administration gave Saddam Hussein. At least it could point to some WMDs.

This is a "what if ..." column, since I have no idea whether Saddam Hussein was or was not sitting on great caches of chemical and biological weapons. What is clear is that not finding the WMDs is getting to be a problem – and if we don't find any, it's going to be a bigger problem. And if we do find some, we'd better make plenty sure they come with a chain-of-evidence pedigree, or no one is going to believe us.

You don't have to be an expert on WMDs in the Middle East to know that when the administration starts spreading the word that "it wouldn't really make any difference if there were WMDs or not," it's worried about not finding any.

In the weeks before Gulf War II, the United States told the world Saddam Hussein was hiding mobile chemical laboratories, drones fitted with poison sprays, 15 to 20 Scud missile launchers, 5,000 gallons of anthrax, several tons of VX nerve gas agent and between 100 tons and 500 tons of other toxins, including botulinun, mustard gas, ricin and Sarin. Also, we said he had over 30,000 illegal munitions. So far, we have found bupkes.

The United States, which insisted it could not give United Nations weapons inspectors so much as 10 days more to search, so dangerous were these WMDs, now says it needs months to find them. In the meantime, we are clearly being set up to put the whole issue of WMDs down the memory hole. Here are the lines of argument advanced by the administration so far:

Saddam did have WMDs, but in a wily plot, he poured them all down a drain right before we invaded, just so he could embarrass Bush.

The WMDs are still there, but in some remote desert hiding place we may never be able to find. "Just because we haven't found anything doesn't mean it wasn't there," one Pentagon source told the Los Angeles Times. Right.

Saddam had WMDs, but he handed them off to the Syrians just before we came in. Or maybe it was to the Iranians.

Well, maybe Saddam didn't have huge stores of WMDs, but he had critical blueprints, weapons parts and, most ominously, "precursor chemicals," so he could have manufactured WMDs.

Well, maybe he didn't have WMDs ready to deliver. The Pentagon has already backtracked on the Scud-missile claim.

So far, U.S. "mobile exploitation teams" and other special forces have visited 90 of the top 150 "hot" sites identified by U.S. intelligence. No wonder Hans Blix, head of the U.N. inspection team, says what he got from American intelligence was "garbage."

I'm sorry, but this does make a difference. The problem is called credibility. Tom Friedman of The New York Times, in a rush to be the first on his block to adopt the "it makes no difference" line, announced the other day it made no difference because Saddam Hussein was such a miserable s.o.b. on human rights. As one who long argued that there was a good case to be made for taking out Saddam Hussein on human rights grounds back when we were still sending him WMDs, think how pleased I am.

Unfortunately, that was not the case Bush made. Of the various shifting rationales advanced for this war, human rights was way, way down there, and WMDs were way, way up there.

If there are no WMDs, I would seriously advise this administration not to try to spin its way out of the problem. Bad idea. Will not fly. There's plenty of evidence that we believed in the WMDs – took along chemical suits, antidotes, etc. So if there are no WMDs, it's time for a blame-game witchhunt. I really hate those things, but someone needs to go around roaring, "WHOSE FAULT WAS THIS?!" It's a splendid opportunity to fire half the CIA, which has needed to be done for years anyway. Let it be a lesson to all intelligence analysts not to let political pressure sway them on evidence. As a minor plot point: It will be interesting to see if George Tenant, a skillful warrior in intra-bureaucracy turf wars, can survive this one.

Maybe the American people can be brainwashed into forgetting why we supposedly went to war. Near as I can tell, our national memory span is down to about two weeks, and the media have been spectacularly unskeptical on this issue. But the rest of the world is not going to forget that WMDs were our primary reason for an unprovoked, pre-emptive war.

Fascinating lecture by Ashleigh Banfield at Kansas State University:

MSNBC's Banfield Slams War Coverage

By Ashleigh Banfield, AlterNet

April 29, 2003

Editor's Note: The following is the text of MSNBC correspondent Ashleigh Banfield's Landon Lecture given at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, on April 24. Her comments sparked a media controversy which reportedly prompted her NBC employers to severely reprimand Banfield. While she has not commented on the issue, an NBC spokeswoman told reporters Monday, "She and we both agreed that she didn't intend to demean the work of her colleagues, and she will choose her words more carefully in the future."

Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. President. That was a very kind introduction. I would love to say that I'm a hero and was able to save this woman, but she was fine. I just gave her a quick checkover and she was just fine. But it was quite an adventure, nonetheless, and Chuck and I have a story to tell for the rest of time.

Thank you so much, by the way, for inviting me to be here. This is a real treat and a real honor. The last time I was in Manhattan, Kansas, there were a lot of other stories that were making top headlines, not the least of which were the anniversary of 9/11, the continued hunt for Osama bin Laden, the whereabouts of Elizabeth Smart, and what was to become of Saddam Hussein; and we have some resolution on very few of these stories, but we certainly know at least what Saddam Hussein is not up to these days, and it's leading Iraq.

So I suppose you watch enough television to know that the big TV show is over and that the war is now over essentially the major combat operations are over anyway, according to the Pentagon and defense officials but there is so much that is left behind. And I'm not just talking about the most important thing, which is, of course, the leadership of a Middle Eastern country that could possibly become an enormous foothold for American and foreign interests. But also what Americans find themselves deciding upon when it comes to news, and when it comes to coverage, and when it comes to war, and when it comes to what's appropriate and what's not appropriate any longer.

I think we all were very excited about the beginnings of this conflict in terms of what we could see for the first time on television. The embedded process, which I'll get into a little bit more in a few moments, was something that we've never experienced before, neither as reporters nor as viewers. The kinds of pictures that we were able to see from the front lines in real time on a video phone, and sometimes by a real satellite link-up, was something we'd never seen before and were witness to for the first time.

And there are all sorts of good things that come from that, and there are all sorts of terrible things that come from that. The good things are the obvious. This is one more perspective that we all got when it comes to warfare, how it's fought and how tough these soldiers are, what the conditions are like and what it really looks like when they're firing those M-16s rapidly across a river, or across a bridge, or into a building.

There were a lot of journalists who were skeptical of this embedding process before we all embarked on this kind of news coverage before this campaign. Many thought that this was just another element of propaganda from the American government. I suppose you could look at it that way. It certainly did show the American side of things, because that's where we were shooting from. But it also showed what can go wrong.

It also gave journalists, including Al-Jazeera journalists and Arab television journalists and Arab newspaper journalists, who were also embedded, it also gave them the opportunity to see without any kinds of censorship how these fights were being fought, how these soldiers were behaving, what the civil affairs soldiers were doing, and what the humanitarian assistants really looked like. Was it just a line we were being fed, or were they really on the ground with boxes of water and boxes of food?

So for that element alone it was a wonderful new arm of access that journalists got to warfare. Perhaps not that new, because we all knew what it looked like at Vietnam and what a disaster that was for the government, but this did put us in a very, very close line of sight to the unfolding disasters.

That said, what didn't you see? You didn't see where those bullets landed. You didn't see what happened when the mortar landed. A puff of smoke is not what a mortar looks like when it explodes, believe me. There are horrors that were completely left out of this war. So was this journalism or was this coverage-? There is a grand difference between journalism and coverage, and getting access does not mean you're getting the story, it just means you're getting one more arm or leg of the story. And that's what we got, and it was a glorious, wonderful picture that had a lot of people watching and a lot of advertisers excited about cable news. But it wasn't journalism, because I'm not so sure that we in America are hesitant to do this again, to fight another war, because it looked like a glorious and courageous and so successful terrific endeavor, and we got rid oaf horrible leader: We got rid of a dictator, we got rid of a monster, but we didn't see what it took to do that.

I can't tell you how bad the civilian casualties were. I saw a couple of pictures. I saw French television pictures, I saw a few things here and there, but to truly understand what war is all about you've got to be on both sides. You've got to be a unilateral, someone who's able to cover from outside of both front lines, which, by the way, is the most dangerous way to cover a war, which is the way most of us covered Afghanistan. There were no front lines, they were all over the place. They were caves, they were mountains, they were cobbled, they were everything. But we really don't know from this latest adventure from the American military what this thing looked like and why perhaps we should never do it again. The other thing is that so many voices were silent in this war. We all know what happened to Susan Sarandon for speaking out, and her husband, and we all know that this is not the way Americans truly want to be. Free speech is a wonderful thing, it's what we fight for, but the minute it's unpalatable we fight against it for some reason.

That just seems to be a trend of late, and l am worried that it may be a reflection of what the news was and how the news coverage was coming across. This was a success, it was a charge it took only three weeks. We did wonderful things and we freed the Iraqi people, many of them by the way, who are quite thankless about this. There's got to be a reason for that. And the reason for it is because we don't have a very good image right now overseas, and a lot of Americans aren't quite sure why, given the fact that we sacrificed over a hundred soldiers to give them freedom.

Well, the message before we went in was actually weapons of mass destruction and eliminating the weapons of mass destruction from this regime and eliminating this regime. Conveniently in the week or two that we were in there it became very strongly a message of freeing the Iraqi people. That should have been the message early on, in fact, in the six to eight months preceding this campaign, if we were trying to win over the hearts of the Arab world.

That is a very difficult endeavor and from my travels to the Arab world, we're not doing a very good job of it. What you read in the newspapers and what you see on cable news and what you see on the broadcast news networks is nothing like they see over there, especially in a place like Iraq, where all they have access to is a newspaper called Babble, if you can believe it. It's really called Babble. And it was owned by well, owned and operated by Uday, who you know now is the crazier of Saddam's sons. And this is the kind of material that they have access to, and it paints us as the great Satan regularly, or at least it used to. I'm sure it's not in production right now. And it's not unlike many of the other newspapers in the Arab world either. You can't blame these poor sorts for not liking us. All they know is that we're crusaders. All they know is that we're imperialists. All they know is that we want their oil. They don't know otherwise. And I'll tell you, a lot of the people I spoke with in Afghanistan had never heard of the Twin Towers and most of them couldn't recognize a picture of George Bush.

So you're dealing with populations who don't know better and who are very suspect as to who these news liberators are, because every liberator before has justreeked havoc upon their lives and their children and their world. So I wasn't the least bit surprised to see these marches and these pilgrimages in the last few days telling the Americans, "Thanks for the freedom to march to Najaf and Karbala, but get out." You know, this wasn't that big of a surprise. I think it may be a surprise though to the Pentagon. I'm not sure that they were ready to deal with this many dissenters and this many supporters of an Islamic regime, like next door in Iran.

That will be a very interesting story to follow in the coming weeks and months, as to how this vacuum is filled and how we go about presenting a democracy to these people when if we give them democracy they probably will ask us to get out, which is exactly what many of them want.

But it's interesting to be able to cover this. There's nothing in the world like being able to cross a green line whenever you want and speak to both sides of a conflict. I can't tell you how horrible and wonderful it is at the same time in the West Bank and Gaza and Israel. There are very few people in this world who can march right across guarded check points, closed military zones, and talk to Palestinians in the same day that they almost embedded with Israeli troops, and that's something that we get to do on a regular basis.

And I just wish that the leadership of all these different entities, ours included, could do the same thing, because they would have an eye opening experience, horrible and wonderful, all at the same time, and it would give a lot of insight as to how messages are heard and how you can negotiate. Because you cannot negotiate when someone can't hear you or refuses to hear you or can't even understand your language, and that's clearly what's happening in a lot of places in the world right now, the West Bank, Gaza and Israel, not the least of which there's very little listening and understanding going on. Our language is entirely different than theirs, and I don't just mean the words. When you hear the word Hezbollah you probably think evil, danger, terror right away. If I could just see a show of hands. Who thinks that Hezbollah is a bad word? Show of hands. Usually connotes fear, terror, some kind of suicide bombing. If you live in the Arab world, Hezbollah means Shriner. Hezbollah means charity, Hezbollah means hospitals, Hezbollah means welfare and jobs.

These are not the same organizations we're dealing with. How can you negotiate when you' re talking about two entirely different meanings? And until we understand we don't have to like Hizbullah, we don't have to like their militancy, we don't have to like what they do on the side, but we have to understand that they like it, that they like the good things about Hizbullah, and that you can't just paint it with a blanket statement that it's a terrorist organization, because even when it comes to the militancy these people believe that militancy is simply freedom fighting and resistance. You can't argue with that. You can try to negotiate, but you can't say it's wrong flat out.

And that's some of the problems we have in dealing in this war in terror. As a journalist I'm often ostracized just for saying these messages, just for going on television and saying, "Here's what the leaders of Hezbullah are telling me and here's what the Lebanese are telling me and here's what the Syrians have said about Hezbullah. Here's what they have to say about the Golan Heights." Like it or lump it, don't shoot the messenger, but invariably the messenger gets shot.

We hired somebody on MSNBC recently named Michael Savage. Some of you may know his name already from his radio program. He was so taken aback by my dare to speak with Al -Aqsa Martyrs Brigade about why they do what they do, why they're prepared to sacrifice themselves for what they call a freedom fight and we call terrorism. He was so taken aback that he chose to label me as a slut on the air. And that's not all, as a porn star. And that's not all, as an accomplice to the murder of Jewish children. So these are the ramifications for simply being the messenger in the Arab world.

How can you discuss, how can you solve anything when attacks from a mere radio flak is what America hears on a regular basis, let alone at the government level? I mean, if this kind of attitude is prevailing, forget discussion, forget diplomacy, diplomacy is becoming a bad word.

I'm fascinated to find out how we are going to diplomatically fix what's broken now in Iraq because nobody thinks Jay Garner is going to be a leader for Iraq. They don't want him to be a leader. He says he doesn't want to be a leader, but he sure as heck wants to put a leader in there that is akin with our interests here in America so that we don't have to face this trouble again. Clearly it's the same kind of idea we had in Afghanistan with Hamid Karzai. You know, they all look at him as a puppet, we look at him as a success story. Again, two different languages being spoken and not enough coverage of that side.

Again, I'm not saying support for that side. There are a lot of things that I hate about that side but there's got to be the coverage, there's got to be the journalism, and sometimes that is really missing in our effort to make good TV and good cable news.

When I said the war was over I kind of mean that in the sense that cards are being pulled from this famous deck now of the 55 most wanted, and they're sort of falling out of the deck as quickly as the numbers are falling off the rating chart for the cable news stations. We have plummeted into the basement in the last week. We went from millions of viewers to just a few hundred thousand in the course of a couple of days.

Did our broadcasting change? Did we get boring? Did we all a sudden lose our flair? Did we start using language that people didn't want to hear? No, I think you've just had enough. I think you've seen the story, you've' seen how it ended, it ended pretty well in most American's view; it's time to move on.

What's the next big story? Is it Laci Peterson? Because Laci Peterson got a whole lot more minutes' worth of coverage on the cable news channels in the last week than we'd have ever expected just a few days after a regime fell, like Saddam Hussein.

I don't want to suggest for a minute that we are shallow people, we Americans. At times we are, but I do think that the phenomenon of our attention deficit disorder when it comes to watching television news and watching stories and then just being finished with them, I think it might come from the saturation that you have nowadays. You cannot walk by an airport monitor, you can't walk by most televisions in offices these days, in the public, without it being on a cable news channel. And if you're not in front of a TV you're probably in front of your monitor, where there is Internet news available as well.

You have had more minutes of news on the Iraq war in just the three-week campaign than you likely ever got in the years and years of network news coverage of Vietnam. You were forced to wait for it till six o'clock every night and the likelihood that you got more than about eight minutes of coverage in that half hour show, you probably didn't get a whole lot more than that, and it was about two weeks old, some of that footage, having been shipped back. Now it's real time and it is blanketed to the extent that we could see this one arm of the advance, but not where the bullets landed.

But I think the saturation point is reached faster because you just get so much so fast, so absolutely in real time that it is time to move on. And that makes our job very difficult, because we tend to leave behind these vacuums that are left uncovered. When was the last time you saw a story about Afghanistan? It's only been a year, you know. Only since the major combat ended, you were still in Operation Anaconda in not much more than 11 or 12 months ago, and here we are not touching Afghanistan at all on cable news.

There was just a memorandum that came through saying we're closing the Kabul bureau. The Kabul bureau has only been staffed by one person for the last several months, Maria Fasal, she's Afghan and she wanted to be there, otherwise I don't think anyone would have taken that assignment. There's just been no allotment of TV minutes for Afghanistan.

And I am very concerned that the same thing is about to happen with Iraq, because we're going to have another Gary Condit, and we're going to have another Chandra Levy and we're going to have another Jon Benet, and we're going to have another Elizabeth Smart, and here we are in Laci Peterson, and these stories will dominate. They're easy to cover, they're cheap, they're fast, you don't have to send somebody overseas, you don't have to put them up in a hotel that's expensive overseas, and you don't have to set up satellite time overseas. Very cheap to cover domestic news. Domestic news is music news to directors' ears.

But is that what you need to know? Don't you need to know what our personality is overseas and what the ramifications of these campaigns are? Because we went to Iraq, according to the President, to make sure that we were going to be safe from weapons of mass destruction, that no one would attack us. Well, did everything all of a sudden change? The terror alert went down. All of a sudden everything seems to be better, but I can tell you from living over there, it's not.

There are a lot of people who hate us, and it only takes one man who's crazy enough to strap a bunch of suicide devices onto his body to let us know that he can instill fear in even a place like Manhattan. You know, you're not immune from it. One suicide bomb in a mall in a small town in America can paralyze this country, because every small town will think it's vulnerable, not just New York, not just D.C., not just L.A., everybody. And we may not be far from that, and I'm desperately depressed that it's come to this, that it's come to the American shores in the worst way.

I was under the second tower when it came down in New York City on September 11th. I have a real stake in this, and I've got two friends whose remains haven't been found yet at the Trade Center, and that stays with you for quite awhile. It's important that we continue to want to know what happens overseas when we leave. It's important to demand coverage of these things. It's important because your safety and your future and your world and your children will depend on this stuff.

If we had paid more attention to Afghanistan in the '80s we might not have had 9-11. If we hadn't left it in such a mess, we might not have had 9-11 and three thousand people would be alive to talk to you today. If we do the same thing in lraq it is possible that without you even knowing, a brand new federation is formed where deals are made in secret, because the leadership is not allowed to talk about America in good ways, the street would blow up. Because that's essentially what happens everywhere else in the Arab world right now. You can't talk about making deals and allowing the Americans to use your military bases or you will be out like the Shah. Not in the election, of course, but you'd be out like the Shah. And most of these people worry about that. I'm very concerned that Iraq may end up the same way.

There was a reporter in the New York Times a couple days ago at the Pentagon. It was a report on the ground in Iraq that the Americans were going to have four bases that they would continue to use possibly on a permanent basis inside Iraq, kind of in a star formation, the north, the south, Baghdad and out west. Nobody was able to actually say what these bases would be used for, whether it was forward operations, whether it was simple access, but it did speak volumes to the Arab world who said, "You see, we told you the Americans were coming for their imperialistic need. They needed a foothold, they needed to control something in central and west Asia to make sure that we all next door come into line."

And these reports about Syria, well, they may have been breezed over fairly quickly here, but they are ringing loud still over there. Syria's next. And then Lebanon. And look out lran.

So whether we think it's plausible or whether the government even has any designs like that, the Arabs all think it's happening and they think it's for religious purposes for the most part. Again, most of them are so uneducated and they have such little access to media, what they do get is a very bad story, and there's no reason why they shouldn't be afraid as they are. You know, they just don't have the luck that we do of open information.'

One of the things I wanted to mention about the technology of this war, because I know that we've got questions that we want to get to, so I'll just tell you a little bit about some of the technology and how that's changed, perhaps not only how the fighters behave, but how we see things.

The tanks and the vehicles that are used in the front lines are so high tech that an artillery engineer can actually pinpoint a target that looks like a tiny stick man on a screen and simply destroy the target without ever seeing a warm body.

Some of the soldiers, according to our embeds had never seen a dead body throughout the entire three-week campaign. It was like Game Boy. I think that's amazing in two different ways. It makes you a far more successful warrior because you can just barrel right along but it takes away a lot of what war is all about, which is what I mentioned earlier. The TV technology took that away too. We couldn't see where the bullets landed. Nobody could see the horrors of this so that we seriously revisit the concept of warfare the next time we have to deal with it.

I think there were a lot of dissenting voices before this war about the horrors of war, but I'm very concerned about this three-week TV show and how it may have changed people's opinions. It was very sanitized.

It had a very brief respite from the sanitation when Terry Lloyd was killed, the ITN, and when David Bloom was killed and when Michael Kelley was killed. We all sort of sat back for a moment and realized, "God, this is ugly. This is hitting us at home now. This is hitting the noncombatants." But that went away quickly too.

This TV show that we just gave you was extraordinarily entertaining, and I really hope that the legacy that it leaves behind is not one that shows war as glorious, because there's nothing more dangerous than a democracy that thinks this is a glorious thing to do.

War is ugly and it's dangerous, and in this world the way we are discussed on the Arab street, it feeds and fuels their hatred and their desire to kill themselves to take out Americans. It's a dangerous thing to propagate.

I hope diplomacy is not dead. I hope that Colin Powell at one point would like to continue revisiting the French. I hope that he has success in Syria at some point with Basha Assad.

Whenever that meeting is going to happen, and I sure hope we focus on the Middle East, and I sure hope that some kind of peace plan is revisited and attention is paid American attention is paid to the plight of the Israelis and the Palestinians on an equal basis and that some kind of resolution is made there, because that is the root of so much of the anger. For right or wrong, it's the selling point of all the dictators and despots and leaders overseas. They use that as a pawn any chance they get. Osama loves to sell the Palestinian's cause. I don't even think he cares a hoot about the Palestinians, believe it or not, but he uses it for his cult following to increase his leadership. That is something that we don't understand the power of overseas, and we must. And television has to play a better part in that.

We haven't been back to the West Bank since Operation Defensive Shield last year. It's been a good solid year since we gave you wall-to-wall coverage on what's been going on in the West Bank and Gaza. Hell, we just raided Rafa again. I mean, the Israelis had an incredible raid in Rafa, one of the deadliest in years, but it barely made headlines here.

Again, it is crucial to our security that we are interested in this, because when you are interested I can respond. If I put this on the air right now, you'll turn it off and we'll lose our numbers, as we're finding we're losing now the numbers being so much lower than they were last week.

There is another whole phenomenon that's come about from this war. Many talk about it as the Fox effect, the Fox news effect. I know everyone of you has watched it. It's not a dirty little secret. A lot of people describe Fox as having streamers and banners coming out of the television as you're watching it cover a war. But the Fox effect is very concerning to me.

I'm a journalist and I like to be able to tell the story as I see it, and I hate it when someone tells me I'm one-sided. It's the worst I can hear. Fox has taken so many viewers away from CNN and MSNBC because of their agenda and because of their targeting the market of cable news viewership, that I'm afraid there's not a really big place in cable for news. Cable is for entertainment, as it's turning out, but not news.

I'm hoping that I will have a future in news in cable, but not the way some cable news operators wrap themselves in the American flag and patriotism and go after a certain target demographic, which is very lucrative. You can already see the effects, you can already see the big hires on other networks, right wing hires to chase after this effect, and you can already see that flag waving in the corners of those cable news stations where they have exciting American music to go along with their war coverage.

Well, all of this has to do with what you've seen on Fox and its successes. So I do urge you to be very discerning as you continue to watch the development of cable news, and it is changing like lightning. Be very discerning because it behooves you like it never did before to watch with a grain of salt and to choose responsibly, and to demand what you should know.

That's it. I know that there's probably a couple questions. No one's allowed to ask about my hair color, okay? I'm kidding, if you want to ask you can. It's a pretty boring story. But I just wanted to say thank you, and let's all pray and hope in any way that you pray or hope for peace and for democracy around the world, and for more rain this summer in Manhattan. Thank you all.

posted at 04:41:37 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Monday,April 28,2003

One of the chief global problems is the free reign of national and partisan interests and the manner in which those nations and parties with converging interests are permitted to act with impunity.

The following is a gross over-simplification: In the American neoconservative movement, its Jewish supporters are concerned about Israel, its secular non-Jewish supporters want to see an American empire, its born-again Christian supporters oppose Islam and favor the promotion of evangelicalism, etc.

With respect to Israel, many Israelis want to insure their own national survival. The U.S., on the other hand, sees Israel as a supposedly democratic haven in the Islamic and Arab world and is interested in promoting U.S. economic and political interests, including the protection of Persian Gulf oil and the advancement of a global corporatocracy. Because of the power of the U.S., this dangerous alliance is allowed to continue without challenge.

The solution? A world government which would deprive nations and parties of the power to act independently.

In social constructionism, grounded in Derrida's and Foucault's postmodernisms, what is it that is being constructed? Relative to scientific knowledge, it is the particular research projects which are pursued and the uses to which that knowledge is directed (praxis). Scientific facts are independent of the observer, but research is limited by the questions (hypotheses) which are asked.

posted at 06:35:49 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Sunday,April 27,2003

Ever notice that George Bush prefers secular heads of state and secular government - unless, of course, that head of state or that government happens to be an evangelical Christian?

posted at 09:07:26 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Saturday,April 26,2003

Assuming this story isn't a fabrication:

The proof that Saddam worked with bin Laden

By Inigo Gilmore

(Filed: 27/04/2003)

Iraqi intelligence documents discovered in Baghdad by The Telegraph have provided the first evidence of a direct link between Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda terrorist network and Saddam Hussein's regime.

Papers found yesterday in the bombed headquarters of the Mukhabarat, Iraq's intelligence service, reveal that an al-Qa'eda envoy was invited clandestinely to Baghdad in March 1998.

The documents show that the purpose of the meeting was to establish a relationship between Baghdad and al-Qa'eda based on their mutual hatred of America and Saudi Arabia. The meeting apparently went so well that it was extended by a week and ended with arrangements being discussed for bin Laden to visit Baghdad.

The papers will be seized on by Washington as the first proof of what the United States has long alleged - that, despite denials by both sides, Saddam's regime had a close relationship with al-Qa'eda.

The Telegraph found the file on bin Laden inside a folder lying in the rubble of one of the rooms of the destroyed intelligence HQ. There are three pages, stapled together; two are on paper headed with the insignia and lettering of the Mukhabarat.

They show correspondence between Mukhabarat agencies over preparations for the visit of al-Qa'eda's envoy, who travelled to Iraq from Sudan, where bin Laden had been based until 1996. They disclose what Baghdad hopes to achieve from the meeting, which took place less than five months before bin Laden was placed at the top of America's most wanted list following the bombing of two US embassies in east Africa.

Perhaps aware of the sensitivities of the subject matter, Iraqi agents at some point clumsily attempted to mask out all references to bin Laden, using white correcting fluid. The dried fluid was removed to reveal the clearly legible name three times in the documents.

One paper is marked "Top Secret and Urgent". It is signed "MDA", a codename believed to be the director of one of the intelligence sections within the Mukhabarat, and dated February 19, 1998. It refers to the planned trip from Sudan by bin Laden's unnamed envoy and refers to the arrangements for his visit.

A letter with this document says the envoy is a trusted confidant of bin Laden. It adds: "According to the above, we suggest permission to call the Khartoum station [Iraq's intelligence office in Sudan] to facilitate the travel arrangements for the above-mentioned person to Iraq. And that our body carry all the travel and hotel costs inside Iraq to gain the knowledge of the message from bin Laden and to convey to his envoy an oral message from us to bin Laden."

The letter refers to al-Qa'eda's leader as an opponent of the Saudi Arabian regime and says that the message to convey to him through the envoy "would relate to the future of our relationship with him, bin Laden, and to achieve a direct meeting with him."

According to handwritten notes at the bottom of the page, the letter was passed on through another director in the Mukhabarat and on to the deputy director general of the intelligence service.

It recommends that "the deputy director general bring the envoy to Iraq because we may find in this envoy a way to maintain contacts with bin Laden". The deputy director general has signed the document. All of the signatories use codenames.

The other documents then confirm that the envoy travelled from Khartoum to Baghdad in March 1998, staying at al-Mansour Melia, a first-class hotel. It mentions that his visit was extended by a week. In the notes in a margin, a name "Mohammed F. Mohammed Ahmed" is mentioned, but it is not clear whether this is the the envoy or an agent.

Intriguingly, the Iraqis talk about sending back an oral message to bin Laden, perhaps aware of the risk of a written message being intercepted. However, the documents do not mention if any meeting took place between bin Laden and Iraqi officials.

The file contradicts the claims of Baghdad, bin Laden and many critics of the coalition that there was no link between the Iraqi regime and al-Qa'eda. One Western intelligence official contacted last night described the file as "sensational", adding: "Baghdad clearly sought out the meeting. The regime would have wanted it to happen in the capital as it's only there they would feel safe from surveillance by Western intelligence."

Over the past three weeks, The Telegraph has discovered various other intelligence files in the wrecked Mukhabarat building, including documents revealing how Russia passed on to Iraq details of private conversations between Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, and how Germany held clandestine meetings with the regime.

A Downing Street spokesman said last night: "Since Saddam's fall a series of documents have come to light which will have to be fully assessed by the proper authorities over a period of time. We will certainly want to study these documents as part of that process to see if they shed new light on the relationship between Saddam's regime and al-Qa'eda.

posted at 10:16:29 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Wednesday,April 23,2003

From another of the players in the axis of evil - each with it own agenda - in a coalition marching towards global destruction:

Longtime Moonie for Dubya's team?

With Ashley Pearson


April 22 -- George W. Bush has raised some eyebrows by nominating a former V.I.P. from the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church to a top government position.

FOR HIS NEW Deputy of U. S. Trade, Bush has selected Josette Shiner, a longtime member of the Unification Church, whose members are sometimes derisively called "The Moonies." Shiner was also the managing editor for Moon's Washington Times newspaper.

In December, Bush gave another longtime Moon follower a plum appointment. He named David Caprara to head AmeriCorps at VISTA, leading some to question whether Bush is paying back the reverend for his generosity to the Bush family.

Shiner joined the Unification Church in 1975, and although she has said that she became a practicing Episcopalian in 1996, she has never publicly repudiated Moon, whose followers believe that he is the true Messiah.

If appointed, Shiner will have tremendous influence over trade in Africa and Asia, including, of course, Moon's homeland of Korea, where he has extensive business interests.

posted at 08:29:32 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Tuesday,April 22,2003

>>I wonder what the U.S. would do in such a case [where Iraqi Shi'ih want a theocracy]?<<

Well, I don't think that the U.S., through Gen. Garner, would allow that to happen. They will find some way of preventing it - while not making it look like they are depriving Shi'ihs of a voice.

For instance, they may appeal to the rights of Christians. Iraq has the largest Christian population of any country in the Persian Gulf.

The situation is interesting. Garner has said that the U.S. will only be in Iraq for a few months. That is, IMO, complete nonsense. In order for the U.S. to meet its unstated objectives of reshaping the Middle East and Persian Gulf, it will need to have troops in Iraq for 5 years or more.

Now, how will the Iraqi Shi'ih respond? Will they attempt to forge an alliance with the Iranians, who are mostly Shi'ih, too? I think that the U.S. may come to long for the "good old days" of Saddam Hussein should it observe two of its "supposed" axis of evil countries in an alliance - and one of them (Iran) on the verge of become nuclear.

>>I guess that the Bush bunch will be OK with any Iraqi government that will do business according to their dictates, although some of the radical religious right might be put out by it.<<

The U.S. miscalculated. Bush assumed, with the help of the neoconservatives and their allies, that once the Shi'ih are liberated from Saddam, they would unconditionally welcome the U.S. Not so. Why would they want to exchange one oppressor for the most powerful country in the world - and one which is predominantly Christian.

>>They _did_ tell us that we were going there to give the Iraqis freedom, which _should_ include the ?right? to make ?wrong? choices.<<

Of course, that was pure spin. As I say to my students, only listen to what politicians say in order to observe the manipulation - especially directed at the less sophisticated masses. Watch what they do. Read between the lines. Look at the connections. See how they act on the psychological profiles they have created of different national leaders.

posted at 09:46:20 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Friday,April 18,2003

More on the neocons:

The Weird Men Behind George W. Bush's War

By Michael Lind

New Statesman - London

April 7, 2003

America's allies and enemies alike are baffled. What is

going on in the United States? Who is making foreign

policy? And what are they trying to achieve? Quasi-

Marxist explanations involving big oil or American

capitalism are mistaken. Yes, American oil companies

and contractors will accept the spoils of the kill in

Iraq. But the oil business, with its Arabist bias, did

not push for this war any more than it supports the

Bush administration's close alliance with Ariel Sharon.

Further, President Bush and Vice-President Cheney are

not genuine "Texas oil men" but career politicians who,

in between stints in public life, would have used their

connections to enrich themselves as figureheads in the

wheat business, if they had been residents of Kansas,

or in tech companies, had they been Californians.

Equally wrong is the theory that American and European

civilisation are evolving in opposite directions. The

thesis of Robert Kagan, the neoconservative

propagandist, that Americans are martial and Europeans

pacifist, is complete nonsense. A majority of Americans

voted for either Al Gore or Ralph Nader in 2000. Were

it not for the over-representation of sparsely

populated, right-wing states in both the presidential

electoral college and the Senate, the White House and

the Senate today would be controlled by Democrats,

whose views and values, on everything from war to the

welfare state, are very close to those of western


Both the economic-determinist theory and the clash-of-

cultures theory are reassuring: they assume that the

recent revolution in US foreign policy is the result of

obscure but understandable forces in an orderly world.

The truth is more alarming. As a result of several

bizarre and unforeseeable contingencies - such as the

selection rather than election of George W Bush, and 11

September - the foreign policy of the world's only

global power is being made by a small clique that is

unrepresentative of either the US population or the

mainstream foreign policy establishment.

The core group now in charge consists of

neoconservative defence intellectuals (they are called

"neoconservatives" because many of them started off as

anti-Stalinist leftists or liberals before moving to

the far right). Inside the government, the chief

defence intellectuals include Paul Wolfowitz, the

deputy secretary of defence. He is the defence

mastermind of the Bush administration; Donald Rumsfeld

is an elderly figurehead who holds the position of

defence secretary only because Wolfowitz himself is too

controversial. Others include Douglas Feith, the number

three at the Pentagon; Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a

Wolfowitz protege who is Cheney's chief of staff; John

R Bolton, a right-winger assigned to the State

Department to keep Colin Powell in check; and Elliott

Abrams, recently appointed to head Middle East policy

at the National Security Council. On the outside are

James Woolsey, the former CIA director, who has tried

repeatedly to link both 9/11 and the anthrax letters in

the US to Saddam Hussein, and Richard Perle, who has

just resigned from his unpaid defence department

advisory post after a lobbying scandal. Most of these

"experts" never served in the military. But their

headquarters is now the civilian defence secretary's

office, where these Republican political appointees are

despised and distrusted by the largely Republican

career soldiers.

Most neoconservative defence intellectuals have their

roots on the left, not the right. They are products of

the largely Jewish-American Trotskyist movement of the

1930s and 1940s, which morphed into anti- communist

liberalism between the 1950s and 1970s and finally into

a kind of militaristic and imperial right with no

precedents in American culture or political history.

Their admiration for the Israeli Likud party's tactics,

including preventive warfare such Israel's 1981 raid on

Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, is mixed with odd bursts

of ideological enthusiasm for "democracy". They call

their revolutionary ideology "Wilsonianism" (after

President Woodrow Wilson), but it is really Trotsky's

theory of the permanent revolution mingled with the

far-right Likud strain of Zionism. Genuine American

Wilsonians believe in self-determination for people

such as the Palestinians.

The neo-con defence intellectuals, as well as being in

or around the actual Pentagon, are at the centre of a

metaphorical "pentagon" of the Israel lobby and the

religious right, plus conservative think- tanks,

foundations and media empires. Think-tanks such as the

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Centre for

Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) provide

homes for neo-con "in-and- outers" when they are out of

government (Perle is a fellow at AEI). The money comes

not so much from corporations as from decades-old

conservative foundations, such as the Bradley and Olin

foundations, which spend down the estates of long-dead

tycoons. Neoconservative foreign policy does not

reflect business interests in any direct way. The neo-

cons are ideologues, not opportunists.

The major link between the conservative think-tanks and

the Israel lobby is the Washington-based and Likud-

supporting Jewish Institute for National Security

Affairs (Jinsa), which co-opts many non-Jewish defence

experts by sending them on trips to Israel. It flew out

the retired General Jay Garner, now slated by Bush to

be proconsul of occupied Iraq. In October 2000, he co-

signed a Jinsa letter that began: "We . . . believe

that during the current upheavals in Israel, the Israel

Defence Forces have exercised remarkable restraint in

the face of lethal violence orchestrated by the

leadership of [the] Palestinian Authority."

The Israel lobby itself is divided into Jewish and

Christian wings. Wolfowitz and Feith have close ties to

the Jewish-American Israel lobby. Wolfowitz, who has

relatives in Israel, has served as the Bush

administration's liaison to the American Israel Public

Affairs Committee. Feith was given an award by the

Zionist Organisation of America, citing him as a "pro-

Israel activist". While out of power in the Clinton

years, Feith collaborating with Perle, co-authored for

Likud a policy paper that advised the Israeli

government to end the Oslo peace process, reoccupy the

territories and crush Yasser Arafat's government.

Such experts are not typical of Jewish-Americans, who

mostly voted for Gore in 2000. The most fervent

supporters of Likud in the Republican electorate are

southern Protestant fundamentalists. The religious

right believes that God gave all of Palestine to the

Jews, and fundamentalist congregations spend millions

to subsidise Jewish settlements in the occupied


The final corner of the neoconservative pentagon is

occupied by several right-wing media empires, with

roots - odd as it seems - in the Commonwealth and South

Korea. Rupert Murdoch disseminates propaganda through

his Fox Television network. His magazine the Weekly

Standard, edited by William Kristol, the former chief

of staff of Dan Quayle (vice-president, 1989-93), acts

as a mouthpiece for defence intellectuals such as

Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith and Woolsey as well as for

Sharon's government. The National Interest (of which I

was executive editor, 1991-94) is now funded by Conrad

Black, who owns the Jerusalem Post and the Hollinger

empire in Britain and Canada.

Strangest of all is the media network centred on the

Washington Times - owned by the South Korean messiah

(and ex-convict) the Reverend Sun Myung Moon - which

owns the newswire UPI. UPI is now run by John

O'Sullivan, the ghost-writer for Margaret Thatcher who

once worked as an editor for Conrad Black in Canada.

Through such channels, the "Gotcha!" style of right-

wing British journalism, as well as its Europhobic

substance, have contaminated the US conservative


The corners of the neoconservative pentagon were linked

together in the 1990s by the Project for the New

American Century (PNAC), run by Kristol out of the

Weekly Standard offices. Using a PR technique pioneered

by their Trotskyist predecessors, the neo-cons

published a series of public letters, whose signatories

often included Wolfowitz and other future members of

the Bush foreign policy team. They called for the US to

invade and occupy Iraq and to support Israel's

campaigns against the Palestinians (dire warnings about

China were another favourite). During Clinton's two

terms, these fulminations were ignored by the foreign

policy establishment and the mainstream media. Now they

are frantically being studied.

How did the neo-con defence intellectuals - a small

group at odds with most of the US foreign policy elite,

Republican as well as Democratic - manage to capture

the Bush administration? Few supported Bush during the

presidential primaries. They feared that the second

Bush would be like the first - a wimp who had failed to

occupy Baghdad in the first Gulf war and who had

pressured Israel into the Oslo peace process - and that

his administration, again like his father's, would be

dominated by moderate Republican realists such as

Powell, James Baker and Brent Scowcroft. They supported

the maverick senator John McCain until it became clear

that Bush would get the nomination.

Then they had a stroke of luck - Cheney was put in

charge of the presidential transition (the period

between the election in November and the accession to

office in January). Cheney used this opportunity to

stack the administration with his hardline allies.

Instead of becoming the de facto president in foreign

policy, as many had expected, Secretary of State Powell

found himself boxed in by Cheney's right-wing network,

including Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Bolton and Libby.

The neo-cons took advantage of Bush's ignorance and

inexperience. Unlike his father, a Second World War

veteran who had been ambassador to China, director of

the CIA and vice-president, George W was a thinly

educated playboy who had failed repeatedly in business

before becoming the governor of Texas, a largely

ceremonial position (the state's lieutenant governor

has more power). His father is essentially a north-

eastern, moderate Republican; George W, raised in west

Texas, absorbed the Texan cultural combination of

machismo, anti- intellectualism and overt religiosity.

The son of upper-class Episcopalian parents, he

converted to southern fundamentalism in a midlife

crisis. Fervent Christian Zionism, along with an

admiration for macho Israeli soldiers that sometimes

coexists with hostility to liberal Jewish-American

intellectuals, is a feature of the southern culture.

The younger Bush was tilting away from Powell and

toward Wolfowitz ("Wolfie", as he calls him) even

before 9/11 gave him something he had lacked: a mission

in life other than following in his dad's footsteps.

There are signs of estrangement between the cautious

father and the crusading son: last year, veterans of

the first Bush administration, including Baker,

Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger, warned publicly

against an invasion of Iraq without authorisation from

Congress and the UN.

It is not clear that George W fully understands the

grand strategy that Wolfowitz and other aides are

unfolding. He seems genuinely to believe that there was

an imminent threat to the US from Saddam Hussein's

"weapons of mass destruction", something the leading

neo- cons say in public but are far too intelligent to

believe themselves. The Project for the New American

Century urged an invasion of Iraq throughout the

Clinton years, for reasons that had nothing to do with

possible links between Saddam and Osama Bin Laden.

Public letters signed by Wolfowitz and others called on

the US to invade and occupy Iraq, to bomb Hezbollah

bases in Lebanon and to threaten states such as Syria

and Iran with US attacks if they continued to sponsor

terrorism. Claims that the purpose is not to protect

the American people but to make the Middle East safe

for Israel are dismissed by the neo-cons as vicious

anti-Semitism. Yet Syria, Iran and Iraq are bitter

enemies, with their weapons pointed at each other, and

the terrorists they sponsor target Israel rather than

the US. The neo- cons urge war with Iran next, though

by any rational measurement North Korea's new nuclear

arsenal is, for the US, a far greater problem.

So that is the bizarre story of how neoconservatives

took over Washington and steered the US into a Middle

Eastern war unrelated to any plausible threat to the US

and opposed by the public of every country in the world

except Israel. The frightening thing is the role of

happenstance and personality. After the al-Qaeda

attacks, any US president would likely have gone to war

to topple Bin Laden's Taliban protectors in

Afghanistan. But everything that the US has done since

then would have been different had America's 18th-

century electoral rules not given Bush the presidency

and had Cheney not used the transition period to turn

the foreign policy executive into a PNAC reunion.

For a British equivalent, one would have to imagine a

Tory government, with Downing Street and Whitehall

controlled by followers of Reverend Ian Paisley,

extreme Eurosceptics, empire loyalists and Blimpish

military types - all determined, for a variety of

strategic or religious reasons, to invade Egypt. Their

aim would be to regain the Suez Canal as the first step

in a campaign to restore the British empire. Yes, it

really is that weird.

Michael Lind, the Whitehead Fellow at the New America

Foundation in Washington, DC, is the author of Made in

Texas: George W Bush and the Southern Takeover of

American Politics.

"The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from

the grasp of executive power." -- Daniel Webster


What's it all about, Alfie? Here is the "what." Did any reasonable person ever doubt that the global extension of the corporatocracy was one of the principal reasons for the war?

U.S. Seeks Iraqi Help on WMD, Diplomatic Row Brews

Fri April 18, 2003 02:40 AM ET

By Hassan Hafidh

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The United States says it needs the help of Iraqis to find Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction as a diplomatic row brewed between Washington and the United Nations over economic sanctions.

With diplomacy once again taking center stage following Saddam's downfall, Iraq's neighbors meet in Saudi Arabia later on Friday to discuss the country's future and what the crushing U.S. victory means for them.

In Baghdad itself, the U.S. military said it hoped to restore at least some electricity to the battered Iraqi capital and the FBI promised to send in agents to help recover priceless treasures plundered from the city's famed museum.

With all of Iraq now under U.S-led control, pressure is building on Washington to find banned chemical or biological weapons in Iraq -- the ostensible reason for the war.

But Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he did not think American teams would find the weapons unless Iraqis knowledgeable about the arms programs told them where to look.

"It is not like a treasure hunt where you just run around looking everywhere, hoping you find something," he said in Washington. "I think what will happen is we'll discover people who will tell us where to go find it."

The military hope captured Iraqi officials will confirm their belief that Baghdad had outlawed weapons.

U.S. forces have drawn up a list of 55 wanted Iraqis, but have so far seized just three of them, including Saddam's half-brother and reputedly his "banker in the West," Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, who was arrested on Thursday.

Saddam remains elusive although some U.S. officials believe he might have died during three weeks of air strikes on Baghdad.


President Bush has urged the United Nations to lift crippling, 13-year-old economic sanctions against Baghdad, but he faces an uphill battle to get them dropped quickly as the issue raises loaded questions over who controls Iraq's oil and thus who in effect runs the country.

U.N. sanctions banning most trade were imposed in 1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait and their removal is tied to Iraq being declared free of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

After long pressing for the sanctions to be eased, some diplomats, who were opposed to the U.S.-led invasion, have now changed their tune and say the restrictions should stay in place until the U.N. certifies that Iraq is free of banned weapons.

"For the Security Council to take this decision, we need to be certain whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or not," said Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, who pulled his team out of Iraq before the war, said the United States needed expert help to pursue the investigations.

"I think at some stage they would like to have some credible international verification of what they find," he told the BBC.

The United States has made clear it prefers to do the job itself, but a Pentagon official has said that it had enlisted about 10 former U.N. weapons inspectors to help the search.

Behind the maneuvering over sanctions and weapons inspections, many hugely lucrative contracts for rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure are at stake.

The U.S. Agency for International Development on Thursday awarded a contract worth up to $680 million to Bechtel Group Inc., a privately owned San Francisco company -- the biggest Iraqi deal awarded so far by the United States.

Bechtel's initial projects are to rebuild Iraq's power generation, water and sewage systems.


The commander of the U.S. Marines in Iraq, Major General James Mattis, said that after a blackout lasting more than a week, some electricity would be restored to Baghdad on Friday.

"Getting the water, the power, the trash back up, that's absolutely critical," he told Reuters.

As the mystery deepened over the disappearance of Saddam and most of his top officials, a U.S. official said there were signs that Syria might be considering expelling Iraqi officials believed to have sought haven there.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said he is considering a trip to Damascus as part of a wider Middle East visit and the United States has toned down its rhetoric after repeatedly accusing Syria of harboring members of Saddam's government.

Syria's foreign minister is due to meet his counterparts from Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt and Bahrain in Saudi Arabia on Friday at the first region-wide forum on postwar Iraq. None of their countries were on good terms with Iraq during Saddam's rule, but with a political vacuum opening at the heart of the volatile region, all now want a say in what comes next.

"We want to find a common policy to bring to the table whether it be humanitarian aid or reconstruction, and (discuss) what political relations (with a future government in Iraq) will be," a senior Saudi official told Reuters.

posted at 05:39:16 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Thursday,April 17,2003

Excellent information on neoconservatism:


Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 19:31:36 -0000

From: "johnmp_nr"

Subject: Carving Up The New Iraq - 1

The article below must be considered now the gold standard for

coverage of this subject; it is the standard by which all other

reports on this matter should be judged.

Carving Up The New Iraq

By Neil Mackay

The Sunday Herald

Tuesday 15 April 2003

IRAQ lies in ruins this morning. Its cities are bombed; its buildings

have been torched by teenage arsonists; its shops, hospitals,

factories and homes have been looted. This is Year Zero for Iraq. The

old regime is gone and the United States is to rebuild this country

literally from the ground up. Since the beginning of the year,

America has had its reconstruction plan in place. Answering directly

to Centcom commander General Tommy Franks, retired Lt Gen Jay Garner

will be in command of the reconstruction effort. He will be aided by

a series of military hardmen, diplomats and Republican party place-

men who will help the United States create "Free Iraq'' -- aided by

exiles who are returning to get their share of the spoils. This isn't

a selfless exercise. In a special Sunday Herald investigation, we

have charted the network of financial kickbacks, political pay-backs,

cronyism, self-interest and ferocious ideology that underpins the

entire reconstruction scheme. The US denies that men like Jay Garner

are in effect the first wave of a military occupation. The Bush

administration insists that it wants these men to work their way out

of a job as quickly as possible. Some have mentioned three months as

the possible length of their tenure in Iraq -- others, more

realistically, claim five years is a more likely term, taking the

length of the US occupation of post-war Japan as the best comparison.

America will be entrenched in this nation for decades to come. The

colonisation process has begun already. In this investigation we have

traced the roots of the reconstruction process back to the

ideologues -- the neo-conservatives now in the ascendancy in the US

government -- who devised the scheme. These men see the US military

as the "cavalry on the new American frontier'', they wanted

Saddam "regime changed'' long before Bush took power and they have

long dreamt of a permanent US satellite in the Gulf. They have also

been brutally honest about having a say over Iraq's oil fields .

Ideology is ideology, but in the US government political theory goes

hand-in-hand with big business. The end result of the lofty musings

of Republican hawks fashioning the concepts behind the new world

order is money-grubbing for the yankee dollar. The world isn't just

watching the spread of a political philosophy in Iraq, it is watching

a conquest by and for US big business as well. The term "military-

industrial'' complex brings to mind crazy conspiracy theories , but

let's consider the term again. Each and every one of the companies in

the running or in posession of contracts to reconstruct Iraq are

either major Republican donors or have government staff working for

them. The donations to the Republican party -- and also to George W

Bush himself -- run into millions . Is this payback time? In the UK,

connections like this between big business and politicians would be

front page news for months. But not so in America.

There is more to this than just kickbacks. The Americans call it "the

favour bank'', we call it more simply cronyism. The connections

between the reconstructors is staggering. If these people aren't in

the same think-tank together, then they work for the same companies,

have the same friends and interests.

Just look at one example -- under our power-brokers section you will

find Andrew Natsios. He's the head of USAid, the government

department which hands out Iraqi reconstruction contracts. Would it

surprise you to find out that Natsios has a connection to a company

called Bechtel which is -- yes -- tipped for a rather lucrative

contract? Then there's IRG. It secured one of the eight government

contracts up for grabs. Are you shocked to learn IRG has four vice-

presidents and 24 other staff who at one time worked for USAid?

There's also a subsidiary of Halliburton, the oil giant once run by

Dick Cheney (Bush's number two), which stands to make a cool $500

million out of reconstruction.

With only a few exceptions, there is a smoking gun for all those

behind the reconstruction work. Whether it's a seat on a board,

shares in a firm, a favour owed here or there, these question the

impartiality of seriously powerful people and ask important questions

about the levels of self-interest that lie behind the rebuilding of

Iraq. While Iraq may be free of Saddam, it looks like it's going to

be the most lucrative country on Earth for the foreseeable future --

at least for US hawks anyway.


Paul Wolfowitz

The deputy defence secretary is the arch-ideologue of the Bush

administration and the key architect in the Pentagon of the post-war

reconstruction of Iraq.

Like many of the reconstructors Wolfowitz of Arabia, as he is known,

is a ranking member of the leading neo-conservative think-tank the

Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which advocated regime

change in Iraq even before George W Bush took office. He is also,

like many of the reconstruction team, a key member of the ultra-right-

wing Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (Jinsa) -- a

think-tank that puts Israel and its security at the heart of US

foreign policy. Many of the reconstuctors -- known as Wolfie's People

or the True Believers -- are hand-picked place-men chosen by the

defence deputy. Wolfowitz is the ideological link in Team Bush's

grand scheme. His thinking is and was central to the war and its


Lewis Libby

Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff is a long-standing face

at the Pentagon, having served in the defence department during

George Bush Snr's presidency. He is also friend, confidant and a neo-

con fellow-traveller with Wolfowitz, and a founding member of the


He sits on the board of the Rand Corporation, a research and

development corporation which has a huge number of contracts with the

Pentagon. Zalmay Khalilzad (see the Arabs), Bush's special envoy to

the the Iraq opposition, was an employee of Rand Corp.

Libby owns shares in armament companies and has various oil

interests. He is a consultant to Northrop Grumman, the defence

contractor, which has an influential voice on the Defence Policy

Board (DPB), the so-called brains of the Pentagon. Rand Corp, which

won $83m in Pentagon contracts, is linked to the DPB.

Donald Rumsfeld

A founding member of the PNAC, the Pentagon supremo is probably one

of the best-connected men in American politics. It was Rumsfeld who

personally designed the Iraqi invasion plan.

Every detail of the post-war reconstruction has to be cleared by the

defence secretary. Each and every neo-con in the Pentagon owes their

position to him. One fact he doesn't want reminded about is his

former glad-handing with Saddam as Reagan's special envoy to Iraq in

the early 1980s. While Saddam was blitzing the Ayatollah's armies

with chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war, Rumsfeld spent most of

his time talking to the Ba'ath Party about the building of an oil

pipeline on behalf of the construction company Bechtel. Bechtel's

former vice-chairman is George Shultz, Reagan's secretary of state.

Bechtel is one of the front-runners in the bid to secure US

government contracts to rebuild Iraq.

Douglas J Feith

Under-secretary for policy at the Pentagon, he picks and selects

members of the DPB and is on the board of advisers of Jinsa. As a

lawyer, Feith represented Northrop Grumman (see defence box). He was

a Pentagon place-man when Perle was assistant defence secretary in

the 1980s and hired Michael Mobbs (see power- brokers) to work at his

law firm Feith and Zell. Zealously pro-Israeli, Feith is a keen fan

of Chalabi (see Arabs) as are Perle and Rumsfeld. Other Iraqis who'll

be keen to get his ear include: Jalal Talebani (Patriotic Union of

Kurdistan); Maj General Tawfiq al-Yassiri (Iraqi National Coalition);

Massoud Barzani (Kurdish Democratic Party); Ayadh Allawi (Iraqi

National Accord); Shaif Ali Bin Hussein (Constitutional Monarchy

Party); Abdelaziz al-Hakim (brother of Muhammed Bakr al-Hakim the

leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq) and

Major General Saad Obeidi (former head of Iraqi psychological


Richard Perle

The Pentagon's Prince of Darkness is a key member of Jinsa and a

prominent member of the American Enterprise Institute (described by

Ronnie Reagan as one of the most influential right-wing US think-

tanks) along with Dick Cheney's wife Lynne. He also sits on the

Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, another right-wing think-

tank, along with James Woolsey, tipped to become the information

minister in the post-war Iraqi interim government.

Perle acted as an advisor to the lobbying firm run by Douglas J

Feith -- the Pentagon's under-secretary of defence. Perle was also

chair of the DPB until he resigned following a scandal over a

conflict of interests relating to his business connections. However,

he still sits on the board of the DPB. Perle is seeking permission

from the Committee on Foreign Investment, on which the defence

secretary Donald Rumsfeld sits, to run telecommunications businesses

in Asia. He is also a member of neo-con think-tanks such as the

American Enterprise Institute, and worked as an aide to ultra-right-

wing former Israeli premier, Benyamin Netanyahu.

Dick Cheney

Capitol Hill's resident hawk-in-chief, is a PNAC founding member and

a was on Jinsa's board of advisors. The Vice-President was defence

secretary under Bush Snr and has been calling for Saddam's head for

over a decade. He was chairman and CEO of oil company Halliburton,

the corporate behemoth. Halliburton's subsidiary Kellogg Brown and

Root has secured contracts worth up to $7 billion from the US army's

Corp of Engineers to put out oil well fires in Iraq. He is a trustee

of the American Enterprise Institute and has had numerous oil

interests. He has links to Chevron, for whom he negotiated the

building of an oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea. Condoleeza Rice,

the national security advisor, was the director of Chevron until

2001 -- and even had an oil tanker named after her. During Condi's

tenure, Chevron's CEO Kenneth Derr once said: "Iraq possesses huge

reserves of oil and gas -- reserves I'd love Chevron to have access

to.'' Dick Cheney's wife Lynne sat on the board of Lockheed Martin,

which manufactures Cruise missiles and now has a $800 million

military satellite which will help troops in Iraq.

Michael Joyce

The former president of the Bradley Foundation, one of the largest

and most influential right-wing organisations in America. It set up

the PNAC led by William Kristol. Kristol's Weekly Standard is viewed

in Washington as the in-house paper for Team Bush. The Standard is

bankrolled by Rupert Murdoch. Joyce once said that Bush's key people

such as Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz "were clearly influenced by

Bradley Foundation thinking''.

There are rumours that Joyce's "best buddy'' William Bennett,

Reagan's education secretary and Bush Snr's drug czar, will have some

involvement with Iraq's post-war education system.

Joyce has phoned Bennett with the words: "This is coach Joyce and

this is what I want you to do.'' Neil Bush, Dubya's brother, has also

been spoken of in connection with rebuilding the education system in


Joyce is a self-styled moral guardian of American family values who,

along with James Woolsey, is an adviser to Americans for Victory over

Terrorism, a group that wants to stifle criticism of American

military muscle.

James Woolsey

A long-time supporter of war on Iraq and PNAC and Jinsa member, the

former director of the CIA has been named as the likely minister of

information in the new Iraq. His business interests have included:

the arms company British Aerospace; the Titan Corporation, which

provides military interpreters and DynCorp, which provides bodyguards

for Hamid Karzai, the Afghani president and has installed a police

force monitoring service in Bosnia. DynCorp is being sued for human

rights violations in Bosnia, environmental health disasters in

Ecuador and fraud in America. He was a partner in the law firm, Shea

and Gardner, which acts as foreign agents for the Iraqi National

Congress, led by Chalabi. He is vice-president of Booz Allen

Hamilton, a corporate consultant firm, which won a contract to

develop a computer model of post-war Iraqi society after the first

Gulf war I. Booz Allen is also closely linked to the DPB. He said

that "only fear will re-establish [Arab] respect for us ... we need a

little bit of Machiavelli''. He has also said: "We really don't need

the Europeans. Anyways, they will be the first in line patting us on

the back following our success and saying they were with us all



Lt Gen Jay Garner

Nicknamed variously the Sheriff of Baghdad, Iraq's king, pro-consul,

or president. Garner fought in the first Gulf war and in January was

coaxed out of retirement to be the director of the Office of

Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for Iraq. A fan of Jinsa

(the Jewish Institute for National security Affairs), he has praised

the Israeli defence force for its "remarkable restraint in the face

of lethal violence orchestrated by the leadership of the Palestinian


After one Jinsa junket he also said: "A strong Israel is an asset

that American military planners and political leaders can rely on.''

He is president of SY Coleman, the defence firm that specialises in

Patriot missiles and which was awarded over a billion-dollar contract

this year to provide logistics support to US special forces. SY

Coleman is a subsidiary of L-3 Communications, the ninth-largest

contributor to US political parties from the defence electronics


He is a Pentagon place man who is directly answerable to General

Tommy Franks, head of US CentCom. This has been jumped on by many as

proof that the reconstruction work is at best a Pentagon operation

and at worst a military occupation. A Vietnam veteran and former

assistant Chief of Staff, Garner is no stranger to Iraq, having

headed the Kurdish relief programme after the first Gulf war. He is a

close friend of Cheney and Rumsfeld, who co-opted him to work on the

extension of missile defence in space.

Lt Gen Ron Adams

Former commander of the Bosnia Stabilisation Force, in the first Gulf

war he was assistant divisional commander of the 101st Airborne . He

has held the office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans

and was hand-picked by Lt Gen Jay Garner to be his deputy on the

civil reconstruction committee.

Lt Gen John Abizaid

Tommy Franks's second in command at Central Command in Qatar, Abizaid

is the most senior military officer of Arab descent in the US Army

and is currently the director of the Joint Staff. He served in the

first Gulf war as well as in Bosnia. He will have a significant voice

in post-war Iraq.

Maj Gen Bruce Moore and Gen Buck Walters

Moore and Walters, both retired US Army officers, have been hand-

picked by the Pentagon to run the north and south of Iraq

respectively. Walters, a recently retired businessman, originates

from President George W Bush's home state of Texas.

Cap Frederick `Skip' Burkle

Burkle is a medical doctor and the Iraqi team's resident polymath. He

has worked for the World Health Organisation and USAid. This highly

decorated Vietnam and Gulf war veteran will play a key role in the

Iraqi health ministry.

Gen Jerry Bates

General Bates will lead the logistical and administrative support

operations for General Garner. He took part in the military

intervention in Haiti . He is senior vice-president of the National

Group, an arm of the MPRI (Military Professionals Resources Inc),

which has been condemned for being a Pentagon-funded mercenary


Col George Oliver

A former head of the Army War College's Peacekeeping Institute and a

Pentagon insider, Oliver has trained Israeli military staff and was a

delegate to the United Nations' military staff committee. He also

served as a military adviser to the US Permanent Representative to

the UN.

Col Richard Naab

Naab was the commander of allied forces during Operation Provide

Comfort in the Kurdish areas in northern Iraq following the first

Gulf war and, like Garner, is seen as a friend by the Kurds. He is

also an adviser to the Iraqi Institute for Democracy.


Robert Reilly

Former director of Voice of America, the pro-US radio service, Reilly

has been entrusted with overhauling Iraqi radio, television and


The Bush administration has already given Reilly the green light to

operate Radio Free Iraq. This will involve using transmitters that

have been sent to the Middle East for the military's psychological


Reilly is closely involved with an American administration plan to

establish a media network in the Middle East. A $62m (£40m)


TV station is scheduled to begin at the end of the year.

He is a very close friend and business partner of Ahmed Chalabi.

Michael Mobbs

Pentagon lawyer and overall civilian co-ordinator who will be in

charge of 11 of the ministries.

Mobbs wants US citizens imprisoned indefinitely without charge for

terrorist offences. A notorious hawk and close friend of Richard

Perle, Mobbs also worked for Douglas Feith's law firm.

Currently a Pentagon consultant, he created the legal framework for

the indefinite detention of al-Qaeda suspects at Camp X-Ray in

Guantanamo Bay, which was built by Bechtel (see The businesses) for

$16m (£10m). Also a former member of the US arms control agency


former president Ronald Reagan.

William Eagleton

Like George Shultz, a contemporary of George Bush Snr. and revered by

the right as one the grand old men of republican foreign policy.

The pair went to Yale together and both served in the Far East during

the second world war. A career diplomat, Eagleton was based in Iraq

between 1980-1984 as Chief of US Interests Section in Baghdad.

His tenure there came at a time when Iraqi use of chemical weapons

against Iran was being studiously ignored by Washington. He is tipped

to be the "Mayor of Kirkuk'', the oil-rich city in northern Iraq, or


Andrew Natsios

The head of USAid, United States Agency for International

Development, Natsios is the man who hands out the post-war

reconstruction contracts. Only US companies can bid for these

lucrative deals.

One of the most controversial episodes of his career saw him, as CEO

of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, oversee the Big Dig

construction project, a three-mile underground highway in Boston,

undertaken by Bechtel. The budget spiralled out of control costing up

to $10bn (£6.3bn) more than it should have, with the largest


rises under Natsios's tenure.

A former Massachusetts House of Representatives congressman, he is

the author of a book called US Foreign Policy And The Four Horsemen

Of The Apocalypse and a retired lieutenant colonel from the first

Gulf war. He was also the chairman of the Massachusetts Republican

Party for most of the 1980s. Natsios will be assisted by Michael

Marx, the head of USAid Disaster Assistance Response Team (Dart) and

a former US army officer. Marx previously headed the Dart team after

the conflict in Afghanistan.

Lewis Lucke, another USAid senior staffer, will oversee the Iraqi

reconstruction process. He headed the USAid mission team in Haiti

alongside Timothy Carney (see grey suits), one of the former US

ambassadors who is now involved in administering Free Iraq. Attempts

at establishing democracy in Haiti have so far failed, with elections

collapsing amid allegations of electoral manipulation and fraud.

George Shultz and Clint Williamson

A Republican heavyweight and former secretary of state under Nixon,

Shultz was Bush Jnr's presidential campaign adviser. He is also one

of the administration's key thinkers on running post-war Iraq, and on

the board of directors at Bechtel, which is in the running for

contracts after regime change. Like Perle, he has lucrative financial

relationships, which bring his impartiality into question. Shultz is

the chairman of the International Council of JP Morgan Chase, the

banking syndicate in which Lewis Libby (see neo-cons) has heavy

investments. Morgan Chase lent Saddam's regime $500m (£320m) in


Shultz is a member of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and a

patron of the American Enterprise Institute. Perle advised clients of

Goldman Sachs, the investment house, on post-war investment

opportunities in Iraq. Perle is also a director of the software

company Autonomy Corp, which has clients including the Pentagon.

Autonomy says it expects its profits to increase dramatically after

the war in Iraq ends.

Clint Williamson, who is expected to head the Iraqi ministry of

justice, appears to be one of the good guys. A former prosecutor at

the Hague's International War Crimes Tribunal, he helped compile

evidence against Slobodan Milosevic. Williamson now works at

Condoleezza Rice's National Security Agency. Williamson appears

ideally placed to deal with the unfolding chaos gripping the nation

of Iraq, and is skilled and seasoned in preparing indictments against

war criminals.

John Bolton

A prime architect of Bush's Iraq policy, Bolton served Bush Sr. and

Reagan in the state department, justice department and USAid and is

now under-secretary for arms control and international security in

Bush Jnr's state department. His appointment was intended to counter

the dove-ish Colin Powell.

Bolton now leads Rumsfeld's charge to destabilise Powell's

multilateralism. Bolton is part of the Jewish Institute for National

Security Affairs, the Project for the New American Century and is a

vice-president at the American Enterprise Institute. He was also one

of Bush's chad-counters during the Florida count. Bolton has long

advocated Taiwan getting a UN seat -- he's been on the payroll of the

Taiwanese government.

The US unilateralist is a regular contributor to William Kristol's

right-wing Weekly Standard and has vilified UN Secretary General Kofi

Annan. Bolton was an opponent of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

and a cheerleader for the Star Wars Defence System. He has hinted at

targeting Cuba in the war on terror. His financial interests include

oil and arms firms and JP Morgan Chase, like Shultz. It is said that

Bolton believes in the inevitability of Armageddon.

Like Woolsey, Bolton is said to believe we are in the midst of world

war four which he estimates could take 40 years to finish. Despite

evidence to the contrary they believe Iraq was involved in September

11. With Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Khalilzad, Bennet, Woolsey, Perle and

Kristol, Bolton co-signed a letter in 1998 urging President Bill

Clinton to take military action in Iraq .


These are the right-wing foundations and intellectual powerhouses

stuffed with Republican Party hacks which have successfully

influenced Bush's Iraq policy since he took power.

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

With its aims of informing Americans of the continued importance of

American security, and of the need for an Israeli "victory'' in the

Middle East, Jinsa places itself firmly on the extreme right wing. It

has repeatedly praised Israel for what it views as "remarkable

restraint'' in the face of a centrally-orchestrated campaign of

terror from the Palestinian authorities, and its ranks include most

of Bush's neo-cons. It also supports both Garner and Chalabi.

The Project for a New American Century.

Founded by the likes of Rumsfeld and Cheney in 1997 to counter what

it viewed as Clinton's drifting foreign and defence policy, this

think-tank would come to form the nucleus of Team Bush. It has always

lobbied for regime change in Iraq and for America to play a more

permanent role in the Middle East. It also believes American foreign

policy to be by definition, inherently "right''. Many see it as the

brains behind a US-controlled "new world order''.

The American Enterprise Institute.

One of America's biggest and most-established think-tanks, the

American Enterprise Institute has been pushing its conservative

agendas for over 50 years in both foreign and domestic policy. With

14 of its members in Bush's administration, it claims to be better

represented than any other think tank in the current administration.

The Bradley Foundation.

During the 15-year tenure of Michael Joyce heading up this charitable

body, the century-old foundation increased its profile dramatically

and can now claim to be cash-rich and very powerful. It even provided

the money needed to set up the Project for a New American Century.

The Republicans love it and some even call it the patron saint of

hawkish causes, thanks to the considerable amounts of money it doles

out to neo-con causes.


SteveDoring Services Of America

This world-leading Seattle port company won the first USAid contract

for Iraqi reconstruction -- a $4.8m (£3m) deal to manage Iraq's

strategic port, Umm Qasr. Known for its union-busting activities, it

turns over around $1bn (£634m) a year and its president, John

Hemingway, has made personal donations to Republican Party

candidates. SSA's contract has angered the British government and

army, and Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt unsuccessfully called on

Washington to intervene. The British shipping giant P&O is also

angered about missing out and about not being told why they lost. EU

commissioner Chris Patten called the US-exclusive

bidding "exceptionally maladroit''.


Almost certain to win $900m (£573m) in contracts. The total amount


business from Iraqi reconstruction could total $100bn (£634m).

Bechtel has donated $1.3m (£820,000) to political campaign funds

since 1999, with the majority going to the republican Party. George

Shultz (see power-brokers) is Bechtel's former CEO and is still on

the board of directors. Other Republicans linked to the company

include former Reagan defence secretary Caspar Weinberger. General

Jack Sheehan, retired Marine corp general, is its senior vice

president, he also sits on the Pentagon's influential Defence Policy

Board. In the 1980s Bechtel proposed building an oil pipeline through

Iraq with Rumsfeld as a intermediary for the company to Saddam.

International Resources Group The Washington-based company has won a

$70m (£44m) contract to establish the humanitarian aid programme


Iraq. Obviously this involves an exceptionally close working

relationship with USAid, which awards the contracts. Four of IRG's

vice-presidents have all held senior posts with USAid, and 24 of the

firm's 48 technical staff have worked for USAid. Other players tipped

to win contracts include Washington Group International, bidding for

the capital construction job, which gave $438,700 (£270,000) to


Republicans -- along with a donation to Bush, and the Louis Berger

Group which gave $26,300 to the republicans and is implementing the

USAid Croatia development programme.


This was Dick Cheney's old oil company until he joined Team Bush,

walking out the door with a pay-off worth around $30m (£19m).


have been deferred payments of $180,000 (£120,000) a year.

Halliburton's subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, was the first company

to be awarded an Iraqi reconstruction contract by the Pentagon to cap

burning oil wells, the deal is reportedly worth $500m (£320m). The

contract was awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers without any open

competitive bidding process thanks to federal laws allowing the

negotiations to take place in secret in the interests of national

security. KBR has won a string of lucrative contracts despite failing

to control the cost of work in the Balkans and being fined $2m

(£1.3m) following claims of fraud at a military base. KBR is also


of two contractors chosen by the Defence Threat Reduction Agency to

undertake the disposal of weapons of mass destruction -- if they are

ever found. Since 1999, Halliburton has given 95%, or just under

$700,000, (£448,000) of its political donations to the Republican

party. It also gave George Bush nearly $18,000 (£12,000). KBR has

subcontracted some of the work to two Houston firms -- Wild Wells,

and Boots and Coots, which is close to bankruptcy. Boots and Coots

have a capital deficit of $17m (£11m). They were recently given a


(£634,000) loan from a Panama-registered investment company,

Checkpoint, run by Texas oilmen. It claims Boots and Coots defaulted

and wants it to file for bankruptcy.

Best of the rest

Fluor Corp, which donated $275,000 (£175,000) to the Republicans


$3500 (£2200) personally to George Bush, has ties to a number of

intelligence and defence procurement officials. These include Kenneth

J Oscar, former acting assistant secretary of the army and Bobby R

Inman a retired admiral, former NSA director and CIA deputy director.

Also in the running is Parsons Corp, which donated $152,000


to the Republican party and £2000 (£1800) to Bush. It has


reconstruct Kosovo and Bosnia and built the Saudi "military city'' of

Yanbu. Bush's labour secretary Elaine Chao served on its board before

joining the cabinet. It has got a chance of $900m (£570m) of

reconstruction contracts and works closely with Halliburton. Chao's

husband, assistant majority leader and majority whip Mitch McConnell

has links to defence contractor Northrop Grumman. He has also

received donations from, among others, Halliburton and arms firm

Lockheed Martin .

California congressman, Darrell Issa, wants firms such as Lucent

Technologies and Qualcomm to rebuild Iraq's decrepit telecoms system -

- a deal worth around $1bn (£634m). Pentagon under-secretary,


Feith, has up to $500,000 (£317,000) invested in Lucent; and Dick

Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, has shares in Qualcomm.

Raytheon Corp alongside KBR is another company apparently chosen by

the Defence Threat Reduction Agency to deal with WMD. Libby also has

shares in this company.



Message: 4

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 19:33:15 -0000

From: "johnmp_nr"

Subject: Carving Up The New Iraq - 2

Subj: Carving Up Iraq - 2


The business players inextricably tied to the reconstructors:

SY Coleman

It is a key company connected to the US Patriot missile system. The

fact that the company is headed by Lt Gen Jay Garner, the so-called

Sheriff of Baghdad, has caused consternation among both aid agencies

and the UN.

Northrop Grumman

One of the biggest winners under Bush's increases in defence

spending, they won $8.5 billion in contracts last year. It has links

with Jinsa and the AEI and key Bush administration hawks. The company

planned a merger with Lockheed Martin, another defence giant who had

Dick Cheney's wife Lynne on the board.


Linked to former CIA director James Woolsey. It provides security in

world trouble spots where America has had to act as the policeman.

Woolsey's DynCorp links tally with his intellectual inclinations --

both he and Richard Perle sit on the Foundation for the Defence of

Democracy, a pro-military think-tank

The Defence Policy Board

This is the massively influential Pentagon advisory group, headed by

Richard Perle until forced to resign over a conflict of interests.

Currying favour with the DPB is the key to getting a Pentagon

contract. Eight other DPB members have links to firms that have won

defence contracts including Northrop Grumman, Bechtel and Rand Corp,

which is linked to Lewis Libby and Zalmay Khalilzad. DPB members

include General Jack Sheehan, who is connected to Bechtel, the CIA's

James Woolsey and former Republican secretary of defence James



Ahmed Chalabi

Leader of the London-based Iraqi National Congress (INC), Chalabi's

supporters include Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld, who are

pushing for him to be the interim leader of the post-war Iraq. He is

backed by the think-tank Jinsa and linked to the American Enterprise


Convicted in absentia in Jordan for his part in an massive

embezzlement scandal, Chalabi received up to $12 million from

Washington after the first Gulf war.

He will be working with Reilly (see power-brokers) on broadcasting

and communications in the new Iraq. Often referred to as "Cheney's

protégé'', he is unpopular in Iraq and loathed by Colin


state department. He has also fallen out of favour with the CIA,

which in the early 1990s funded the INC to the tune of $325,000 a

month. However, in a recent trip to Israel, organised by Jinsa, he

tried to warm up relations regarding Iraq's post-regime change. Other

Iraqis involved in a future government -- at the behest of Wolfowitz -

- include INC members Salem Chalabi (Chalabi's nephew) and Aras

Habib. Habib's cousin, Dr Ali Yassin Karim, a former medic with the

CIA, was nearly kicked out of the agency but was saved by the CIA's

James Woolsey. Wolfowitz also wants jobs to go to Chalabi's friends

Tamara Daghestani and Goran Talebani.

Zalmay Khalilzad

Afghanistan-born Khalilzad is Bush's special envoy to Afghanistan and

Iraq and has a wide variety of oil interests. He co-wrote an article

on Saddam, entitled Overthrow Him, with Wolfowitz, his former boss. A

consultant with the oil company Unocal, he was pushing for a natural

gas pipeline in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime, and worked

under Condoleezza Rice when she served as director of Chevron. He is

also a close associate of George Shultz, and encouraged Schultz to

use Iran to help topple Saddam. He is a former Rand Corp employee and

a charter member of the PNAC.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is

distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior

interest in receiving the included information for research and

educational purposes.) © Copyright 2003 by

posted at 09:51:23 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Sunday,April 13,2003

An interesting story from the Daily Telegraph:

Revealed: Russia spied on Blair for Saddam

By David Harrison

(Filed: 13/04/2003)

Top secret documents obtained by The Telegraph in Baghdad show that Russia provided Saddam Hussein's regime with wide-ranging assistance in the months leading up to the war, including intelligence on private conversations between Tony Blair and other Western leaders.

Moscow also provided Saddam with lists of assassins available for "hits" in the West and details of arms deals to neighbouring countries. The two countries also signed agreements to share intelligence, help each other to "obtain" visas for agents to go to other countries and to exchange information on the activities of Osama bin Laden, the al-Qa'eda leader.

The documents detailing the extent of the links between Russia and Saddam were obtained from the heavily bombed headquarters of the Iraqi intelligence service in Baghdad yesterday.

The sprawling complex, which for years struck fear into Iraqis, has been the target of looters and ordinary Iraqis searching for information about relatives who disappeared during Saddam's rule.

The documents, in Arabic, are mostly intelligence reports from anonymous agents and from the Iraqi embassy in Moscow. Tony Blair is referred to in a report dated March 5, 2002 and marked: "Subject - SECRET." In the letter, an Iraqi intelligence official explains that a Russian colleague had passed him details of a private conversation between Mr Blair and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, at a meeting in Rome. The two had met for an annual summit on February 15, 2002, in Rome.

The document says that Mr Blair "referred to the negative things decided by the United States over Baghdad". It adds that Mr Blair refused to engage in any military action in Iraq at that time because British forces were still in Afghanistan and that nothing could be done until after the new Kabul government had been set up.

It is not known how the Russians obtained such potentially sensitive information, but the revelation that Moscow passed it on to Baghdad is likely to have a devastating effect on relations between Britain and Russia and come as a personal blow to Mr Blair. The Prime Minister declared a "new era" in relations with President Putin when they met in Moscow in October 2001 in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks.

In spite of warnings by the British intelligence and security services of increasing Russian espionage in the West, Mr Blair fostered closer relations with Mr Putin, visiting his family dacha near Moscow, supporting the Russians in their war in Chechnya, and arranging for the Russian president to have tea with the Queen.

Mr Blair was surprised and dismayed when Mr Putin joined France in threatening to veto the American and British resolution on Iraq in the UN, but continued to differentiate between President Putin and President Jacques Chirac.

The Prime Minister refused to join the French, German and Russian leaders in their summit on Iraq this weekend, but still regarded Mr Putin as an ally in global politics.

The list of assassins is referred to in a paper dated November 27, 2000. In it, an agent signing himself "SAB" says that the Russians have passed him a detailed list of killers. The letter does not describe any assignments that the assassins might be given but it indicates just how much Moscow was prepared to share with Baghdad. Another document, dated March 12, 2002, appears to confirm that Saddam had developed, or was developing nuclear weapons. The Russians warned Baghdad that if it refused to comply with the United Nations then that would give the United States "a cause to destroy any nuclear weapons".

A letter from the Iraqi embassy in Moscow shows that Russia kept Iraq informed about its arms deals with other countries in the Middle East. Correspondence, dated January 27, 2000, informed Baghdad that in 1999 Syria bought rockets from Russia in two separate batches valued at $65 million (£41 million) and $73 million (£46 million). It also says that Egypt bought surface-to-air missiles from Russia and that Kuwait - Saddam's old enemy - wanted to buy Russian arms to the value of $1 billion. The Russians also informed Iraq that China had bought military aircraft from Russia and Israel at the end of 1999.

Moscow also passed on information of Russians who could help Iraqi politicians obtain visas to go to many Western countries.

The name of Osama bin Laden appears in a number of Russian reports. Several give details of his support for the rebels in Chechnya. They say bin Laden had built two training camps in Afghanistan, near the Iranian border, to train mujahideen fighters for Russia's rebel republic. The camps could each hold 300 fighters, who were all funded by bin Laden.

Training materials found at the complex give insight into the Iraqi intelligence gathering methods. One certificate shows that a Rashid Jassim had passed an advance course in lock-picking.

Other papers found at the headquarters include reports on the succession in Saudi Arabia and on US-Yemen relations.

The intimate relationship between Baghdad and Moscow is further illustrated by copies of Christmas cards - in the Christian tradition - sent by Taher Jalil Habosh, the head of the Iraqi intelligence service, to his Kremlin counterpart.

Russia has been a key ally of Baghdad since the 1970s and was one of Saddam's main arms suppliers. The Iraqis are understood to owe Moscow more than £8 billion for arms shipments. Russian oil companies had longed to forge links with Saddam Hussein to help develop Iraq's vast oil reserves.

posted at 08:11:06 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Friday,April 11,2003

Like many political leaders, Saddam Hussein was, it seems to me, primarily motivated by power. If he could not hold onto his power, I doubt he cared so much about living.

The latest U.S. intercepts intelligence, probably from the National Security Agency, suggests that Saddam may be dead. Of course, that assumes such assertions from the American spying community can be believed as legitimate, especially in war time.

posted at 09:43:32 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Thursday,April 10,2003

This is a strange article. Although I have read similar accusations, this one is so specific that I don't know what to make of it:

[Note, 9th April, 2003: The archive of this article has now disappeared. Rumor Mill was hit by all manner of harassment before Christmas 2002, and many messages disappeared.]

Rumor Mill News Reading Room Forum

9-11 Mossad Agents Admit Mission

Posted By: ChristopherBollyn

Date: Friday, 28 June 2002, 2:32 p.m.


By Christopher Bollyn

American Free Press

The jubilant Israeli intelligence agents caught photographing the attacks on the World Trade Center were allowed to return to Israel where they divulged the purpose of their mission on a radio program: “Our purpose was to document the event."

The explosive story of the 5 suspicious Israelis seen celebrating while filming the attacks on the

World Trade Center was first reported nationally in American Free Press shortly after September 11 ABC News recently reported on this story and added a comment that deserves attention.

The Forward, a respected Jewish newspaper in New York, reported that at least two of the men were Israeli intelligence (Mossad) agents The Israeli agents were first seen filming the attack on the WTC while kneeling on the roof of a white van in the parking lot of a New Jersey apartment building across the river from lower Manhattan.

"They seemed to be taking a movie," the resident who noticed them said. The men were taking video or photos of themselves with the World Trade Center burning in the background, she said.

What struck her were the expressions on the men's faces. "They were like happy, you know … They didn't look shocked to me. I thought it was very strange," she said.

She found the behavior so suspicious that she wrote down the license plate number of the van and called the police. The FBI was soon on the scene and a statewide bulletin was issued on the van.

The van belonged to a Mossad front company called Urban Moving Systems. Around 4 p.m. on Sept. 11, the van was pulled over, and five Israelis Sivan and Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari, all between 22 and 27 years old, were arrested at gunpoint. One had $4,700 in cash hidden in his sock while another carried two foreign passports. Box cutters were found in the van.


According to the police report, one of the men said they had been on the West Side Highway in Manhattan "during the incident" — referring to the World Trade Center attack. Sivan Kurzberg, the driver, said, "We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem."

The case was turned over to the FBI's Foreign Counterintelligence Section because the FBI believed Urban Moving Systems was a “cover for an Israeli intelligence operation,” ABC reported.

While the FBI searched the company’s Weehawken, N.J., offices, removing boxes of documents and a dozen computer hard drives, the owner of the company, Dominic Suter, was allowed to flee the country. When FBI agents tried to interview Suter a second time they discovered that he had cleared out of his New Jersey home and fled to Israel.

When ABC reporters visited Urban Moving Systems, “it looked as if it had been shut down in a big hurry. Cell phones were lying around; office phones were still connected; and the property of dozens of clients remained in the warehouse.”

The Israelis had been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, for overstaying their tourist visas and working in the United States illegally. Two weeks after their arrest, an immigration judge ordered them to be deported, however, FBI and CIA officials in Washington put a hold on the case, according to ABC.

The five men were held in detention for more than two months. Some of them were placed in solitary confinement for 40 days and given as many as seven lie-detector tests. One of them, Paul Kurzberg, refused to take a lie-detector test for 10 weeks and then failed it, according to his lawyer.


A deal was struck between Israeli and U.S. government officials after 71 days and the five Israelis were put on a plane, and deported to Israel. The detained Israelis discussed their experience in America on an Israeli talk show after their return home. One of the men said: "The fact of the matter is we are coming from a country that experiences terror daily. Our purpose was to document the event."

posted at 08:26:54 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Tuesday,April 08,2003

In the latest news from al-Jazeera, it is reported that the suspected cache of weapons of mass destruction were only pesticides.

An interesting story from al-Jazeera:

Britain admits there may be no WMD in Iraq

Wednesday 09, April, 2003 / Last Updated: 5:54AM Doha time, 10:54AM GMT

Ruben Bannerjee

Well into the war that was supposed to rid Iraq of its alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, a senior British official admitted on Saturday that no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons of mass destruction may after all be found.

Making the startling confession in a radio interview, British Home Secretary, David Blunkett, added in the same breath that he would in any case rejoice the fall of Saddam Hussein and his regime regardless of whether any weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq or not.

The confession reconfirms the worst fears of opponents of the war that weapons of mass destruction is only a ruse for the US and the British to go to war against Iraq.

At the very least the admission certainly deals a serious blow to the moral legitimacy that the US and the British have been seeking in prosecuting the war.

Critics of the war across the world have been accusing the US and the British of aiming for regime change in Baghdad under the guise of unearthing and dismantling weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

There have been constant accusations that the US and the British are eyeing Iraq's huge oil wealth, promoting Israeli interests, and that its campaign against weapons of mass destruction is only a convenient cover-up.

Even countries like Germany, Russia and France had been less than impressed with the US-led war against Iraq saying all along that the task of unearthing weapons of mass destruction, if any, is better left to UN weapons' inspectors.

In making the confession in an interview with BBC radio, the British Home Secretary however admitted that the non-discovery of any weapons of mass destruction would lead to a very interesting debate about the war.

We will obviously have a very interesting debate if there are no biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear weapons or facilities to produce them found anywhere in Iraq once Iraq is free, the home secretary added.

The US-led forces stand to face a huge global uproar if no weapons of mass destruction are found in Iraq.

US-led forces moving across the Iraqi deserts have been under pressure since the start of the war to find evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. But instead of solid evidence, the they have so far raised only false alarms.

From time to time, the US-forces have claimed to have unearthed suspicioussubstances. And each time, the claim has turned out to be without substance.

Today Saturday 5 April, US Marines were reported to be digging up a suspected chemical weapons hiding place in the courtyard of a school in the southeast of Baghdad.

Western media reported that the US Marines were digging after being tipped off by an Iraqi informer. We don't have a clue now but we are going to dig it up and check, said General James Mattis, the commander of the Marine division at the scene.

Iraq has always insisted that it does not possess any weapons of mass destruction.

UN weapons inspectors, who scoured the country for several months until the US asked them to leave last month, had repeatedly certified that they had found no credible evidence of Iraq possessing any weapons of mass destruction. -- Al Jazeera

posted at 11:24:15 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Friday,April 04,2003

Message from bin Laden Posted at a Kashmiri Jihadi Site:


03 April 2003

Praise be to Allah

We seek his help and ask for his pardon we take refuge in Allah's wisdom

and mercy for our wrongs and bad deeds.

Who ever been guided by Allah will not be misled and who ever has been

misled he will never be guided.

I bear witness that there is no God except Allah no associates with Him

and I bear witness that Muhammad is His messenger.

Our beloved Mujahidin.

O God, strengthen Islam and Muslims protect Islam destroy the enemies of Islam,

the tyrants and the corrupt close the ranks of Muslims and give wisdom to their leaders.

O God grant us safety in our homeland give wisdom to our Imams and leaders.

O God help the mujahidin promote your religion and your word everywhere.

O God give them victory in Palestine.

O God destroy the Zionist Jews and their Zionist supporters.

O God support our mujahidin brothers in Palestine Iraq Chechyna Kashmir and elsewhere.

O God strengthen them encourage them and give them a clear victory over their enemies.

O God destroy the Zionist aggressors and the unjust Americans Snakes.

O God shake the ground under them instill fear into their hearts and freeze blood in their veins.

O God strengthen Islam and Muslims support your Mujahidin servants everywhere.

O God destroy your enemies the enemies of Islam for they are within your power give the Mujahidin

safety and support.

O God clean our country from the filth of the Jews.

O God support the people of Palestine Iraq Chechyna Kashmir

O God lift the siege on the people.

O God lift the siege on the leadership of the people.

O God What is prepared for Iraq will also affect other Islamic countries. Anything contrary to this

reality is false and deception. It is time for Arabs and Muslims rulers and ruled to close their

ranks and block the US-British aggression against Iraq or any country in the Islamic world.

Any aggression against any Islamic country is an aggression against the whole Islamic nation.

Destroy the Americans Snakes and their Zionist masters. The tyranny of the Zionist enemy on any land

planning to attack this nation with the support of the United Snakes in order to humiliate Arabs and Muslims.

Our children are killed our women are killed our homes are destroyed on the land and our trees

are uprooted on the land. The United Snakes and Britain striking northern and southern Iraq and

the people of Iraq in order to control Iraq's oil to attack Arab and Islamic countries and to

humiliate and subjugate this nation. Block this barbaric dirty attack.

O God let our Yemen brothers go to Iraq to fight the defenders of Jews. To block war

against Iraq as well as this despicable corrupt marriage between Zionism and its supporters

in the United Snakes.

O God donot believe that the United Snakes is seeking to establish democracy in Iraq.

O God We offer ourselves as martyrs on the land for God's sake.

Take action in the face of the upcoming aggression against Iraq before it is too late.

O God let us have a Martyrs day on Sun 25 Safar 1424 A.H / 27/04/2003 in honor of Sheik Azzam a father and

teacher in the struggle.

O God give wisdom to our leaders.

O God give success to Arab and Muslim leaders and enable us to defy the Jews and their supporters.

O God our nation at this historic moment is passing through a difficult test imposed by savages led

by the Zionist US Snakes whose black history if full of evils and violations of our sanctities.

Denouncing the inspection of Masjids by the weapons inspectors as provocative,

As these enemies enter Baghdad the banner of God will be humiliated.

O God, close their ranks to fight for God's sake that victory is for the faithful.

Iraq is not the only target.

O God, tyrant Zionist America Snakes does not target Iraq just because it is Iraq but because

it carries the banner of God is Great there is no God but one God and Muhammad is God's messenger.

O Iraqi brothers you are required to close your ranks and defend your goal and joint fate.

By God no banner other than that of Muhammad will be raised a banner which Saddam raises.

The Iraqi people will fight side by side with Saddam Husayn. It is a religious war.

O God send 5000 mujahidin to Saudi to fight the invading troops near holy places.

O God support Saddam and the Iraqis.

O God support the mujahidin in Iraq Palestine Chechyna Kashmir.

O God destroy the Zionists and American Snakes, for they are within your power.

O God help our Muslim Mujahidin score victory.

O God help our brothers on the land of Iraq, Palestine, Chechyna, Kashmir, score victory.

O God strengthen them and encourage them.

O God help them.

O God destroy your enemies the enemies of Islam.

O God disperse them and destroy them.

O God donot believe the Zionist tongues of the statements from Jihad Unspun and others

claiming video and audio of I, This is Haraam supporting the Zionist and their sayings

that they are muslims, and gathering funds, selling videos of our suffering brothers and

sisters in Palestine Kashmir Chechyna the true brothers and sisters know the Shara'a.

O God disperse these enemies of such websites in trying to track our brothers and sisters.

Oh you who believe take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya they are but Auliya to one another.

And if any amongst you takes them as Auliya then surely he is one of them.

Verily Allah guides not those people who are Zalimun, Al-Ma'idah 5:51

All praise is due to Allah

Thu 1 Safar 1424 A.H / 03/04/2003

Usamah bin Muhammad bin Laden

English translation of arabic statement, translated by Islamic-News staff reporter: Pervez Khan.

posted at 03:41:04 PM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Thursday,April 03,2003

Of course, "meta" means after. Aristotle called one of his books "Metaphysics" because he wrote it *after* his book on physics (which takes away some romanticism from the name).

When "meta" is prefixed to a word, as with meta-Marxism, it usually indicates a presumed advancement over an existing concept, theory, or paradigm. Most theorists avoid it, at least in my field, because of the appearance of arrogance and prefer, instead, neo- or post-. However, applied to religion, it is quite appropriate, since one is not writing about something one created!

A meta-religion would not have been possible in past Dispensations. The world was largely unknown, and any discussion of the relativity of religious truth might have had a historical, but not likely a cross-cultural, significance.

It seems to me that a sophisticated approach to religious relativity, or meta-religion, is both personally and socially liberating, since it frees the believer from religiocentrism and places truth, not historical religious traditions, at the center of one's theological universe.

Interesting article:

UN urged to hold a General Assembly meeting on Iraq

Iraq-Regional, Politics, 3/31/2003

The whole world was vociferous in opposition to war, but no action was taken to stop it, despite attempts by some nations to obtain a resolution from the UN General Assembly on the illegality of the US-led attack against Iraq.

Meanwhile, the US is doing its utmost to block a General Assembly meeting.

What would the issuance of a UN resolution against the war mean? What might be the consequences of such a move by the UN?

The Arabic weekly magazine October tried to find answers to these questions by putting them to several experts in international law.

Professor of international law at Cairo University, Dr Ayesha Rateb thinks that a majority in the UN General Assembly could press for a meeting since the Security Council failed to settle the Iraq issue.

A resolution could be issued by the majority without fear of a member or members using the veto, Dr Rateb said, adding that during the Tripartite Aggression (Suez Crisis) in 1956, Yugoslavia asked that the issue be referred to the UN General Assembly according to the 1950 Resolution on Unity for Peace and Security, giving the assembly responsibilities of the UN Security Council.

Accordingly, the General Assembly assumed the responsibility of the then UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold to create a peace-keeping force for the first time to bring an end to the war.

Dr Rateb said that if the Arab countries or any other side succeeds in calling a meeting of the UN General Assembly and act according to the 1950 resolution, there would be the distinct possibility that the American-British aggression in Iraq could be halted.

"In the case of 1956, the UN formed a peace-keeping force and forced the withdrawal of the aggressors," the professor said.

"The recommendation was supported by the US and Russia, despite the fact that two of the aggressor states were permanent members of the UN Security Council and could use the veto.

The recommendation was therefore made by the General Assembly," Dr Rateb added.

Dr Rateb affirmed that a state like France or Russia with nine other members of the Security Council could vote for handing the issue over to the UN General Assembly to obtain a cease-fire resolution and the withdrawal of forces, thus making a valuable step towards ending the crisis.

In Dr Rateb's opinion, the difference between the UN of 1956 and today lies in the absence of a personality like Hammarskjold, who took the side of Third World Countries, while the present Secretary-General Kofi Annan made the mistake of agreeing to recall international weapons inspectors from Iraq, a few days before the war started.

UN resolutions would have moral value only, unless the UN Secretary-General orders the dispatch of peace-keeping forces, Dr Rateb said.

"However, any resolution would come as condemnation of the US-British assault and reveal the truth of claims by Bush and Blair about 45 nations belonging to the international coalition.

Dean of the Faculty of Law at Zagazig University, Nabil Ahmed Helmi said that the US has violated international law by attacking Iraq.

"Firstly, the US is using military force against a sovereign state, thereby threatening global peace and security.

"Secondly, the American-British attack with the aim of toppling a regime is a violation of one of the basic principles of international law, which prohibits one state from interfering in the internal affairs of another," Helmi said.

"Therefore, Iraq is entitled to seek recourse to the UN Security Council for its intervention and issuing a resolution to keep international peace and security.

"Since such a resolution could be vetoed by the US, the UN General Assembly could take on the responsibility of the Security Council and produce a resolution to suspend military operations and compensate Iraq for damage so far," Helmi said.

"Iraq could also use the International Criminal Court agreement and enjoy protection of the international community. In which case, it could sue the US and Britain, whose leaders would be put on trial, which is one of their biggest fears," he explained.

Professor of International Law at Cairo University, Dr Salah Amer believes that the Security Council or the UN General Assembly would meet soon in response to calls from the Arab League to debate the Iraqi crisis.

"Since the Security Council failed to make a resolution against military action against Iraq, nine members of the council could refer the issue to the General Assembly for resolutions, demanding an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of foreign forces," Dr Amer said.

Could this crisis have emerged from negligence of international law? Or has the UN been made all the weaker for not having resolved the crisis.

posted at 09:57:56 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Wednesday,April 02,2003

More of the same, but some interesting stuff:

Origins of Regime Change in Iraq

Long before September 11, before the first inspections in Iraq had started, a small group of influential officials and experts in Washington were calling for regime change in Iraq. Some never wanted to end the 1991 war. Many are now administration officials. Their organization, dedication and brilliance offer much to admire, even for those who disagree with the policies they advocate.

We have assembled on our web site links to the key documents produced since 1992 by this group, usually known as neo-conservatives, and analysis of their efforts. They offer a textbook case of how a small, organized group can determine policy in a large nation, even when the majority of officials and experts originally scorned their views.

In the Beginning

In 1992, Paul Wolfowitz, then-under secretary of defense for policy, supervised the drafting of the Defense Policy Guidance document. Wolfowitz had objected to what he considered the premature ending of the 1991 Iraq War. In the new document, he outlined plans for military intervention in Iraq as an action necessary to assure "access to vital raw material, primarily Persian Gulf oil" and to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and threats from terrorism.

The guidance called for preemptive attacks and ad hoc coalitions but said that the U.S. should be ready to act alone when "collective action cannot be orchestrated." The primary goal of U.S. policy should be to prevent the rise of any nation that could challenge the United States. When the document leaked to the New York Times, it proved so extreme that it had to be rewritten. These concepts are now part of the new U.S. National Security Strategy.

Links to Likud

In 1996, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser, now administration officials, joined in a report to the newly elected Likud government in Israel calling for "a clean break" with the policies of negotiating with the Palestinians and trading land for peace. They said "Israel can shape its strategic environment&by weakening, containing and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq&Iraq's future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly." They called for "reestablishing the principle of preemption."

In 1998, 18 prominent conservatives wrote a letter to President Clinton urging him to "aim at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power." Most of these experts are now officials in the administration, including Elliot Abrams, Richard Armitage, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz.

The Power of Planning

In 2000, the Project for the New American Century, which is chaired by William Kristol and includes Robert Kagan as a director, issued a report, "Rebuilding America's Defenses." The Project had organized the 1998 letter to Clinton and the 2000 report seems to have become a blueprint for the administration's foreign and defense policies. The report noted, "The U.S. has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in the Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

While not explicitly calling for permanent bases in Iraq after regime change, the report notes the difficulty of basing forces in Saudi Arabia, given "Saudi domestic sensibilities," and calls for a permanent Gulf military presence even "should Saddam pass from the scene" as "Iran may well prove as large a threat."

The official National Security Strategy of the United States, issued September 2002, holds that our defense "will require bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia."

A Rising Chorus

Immediately after September 11, Paul Wolfowitz and other officials urged President Bush to attack Iraq. New Yorker writer Mark Danner notes as part of a PBS Frontline special that they saw this as a "new opportunity presented by the war on terror-that is, an opportunity to argue to the public that Iraq presented a vital danger to the United States." Colin Powell and the joint chiefs opposed them. "Powell's view was that Wolfowitz was fixated on Iraq, that they were looking for any excuse to bring Iraq into this," Washington Post reporter Dan Balz told Frontline. Powell won, but briefly.

Neo-conservative writers began to urge regime change as part of a larger strategy for remaking the Middle East. In June 2002, Michael Kelly wrote that a democratic Iraq and Palestine "will revolutionize the power dynamic in the Middle East&A majority of Arabs will come to see America as the essential ally."

"Change toward democratic regimes in Tehran and Baghdad would unleash a tsunami across the Islamic world," claimed Joshua Muravchik in August of that year. Michael Ledeen on September 4, 2002, called for the US to launch "a vast democratic revolution to liberate all the peoples of the Middle East&It is impossible to imagine that the Iranian people would tolerate tyranny in their own country once freedom had come to Iraq. Syria would follow in short order."

Democracy experts, including Carnegie's Tom Carothers, call this vision "a dangerous fantasy." But on September 12, President Bush embraced the strategy when he told the United Nations, "The people of Iraq can shake off their captivity. They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world." The president seems to have absorbed the entire expansive strategy. Now, for him, regime change in Iraq is not the end, it is just the beginning.

Joseph Cirincione is Senior Associate and Director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International

posted at 12:14:13 AM by Dr. Mark A. Foster

Copyright © 2002- Mark A. Foster, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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