Saturday, March 29, 2003

Iraq Rebuilding Costs to Be Shared
Although the final tab for the U.S.-led war against Iraq remains unknown, the Bush administration does not expect American taxpayers to bear the entire burden for rebuilding the country, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told Congress on Thursday.

"When it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayer, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government and the international community," Rumsfeld said.

The administration plans to tap frozen Iraqi assets, revenue from the country's oil fields and contributions from U.S. allies to largely fund the reconstruction effort, said Rumsfeld.

This contradicts previous statements by Bush, that US taxpayers would pick up most of the tab.
Iraq Rebuilding Costs to Be Shared
Although the final tab for the U.S.-led war against Iraq remains unknown, the Bush administration does not expect American taxpayers to bear the entire burden for rebuilding the country, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told Congress on Thursday.

"When it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayer, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government and the international community," Rumsfeld said.

The administration plans to tap frozen Iraqi assets, revenue from the country's oil fields and contributions from U.S. allies to largely fund the reconstruction effort, said Rumsfeld.

This contradicts previous statements by Bush, that US taxpayers would pick up most of the tab.
ARMY Article: Sun Tzu's Bad Advice: Urban Warfare in the Information Age, April 2003
As we embrace the urban fight, we must stop thinking of it as only an obstacle. In fact, urban fighting presents many advantages to the American joint and interagency team. Among these are ready access to the population, to infrastructure, water, fuel, shelter, communications and power. Cities are a treasure trove of information and intelligence, if we develop the right tools for extracting this most valuable commodity. If cities indeed present obstacles and disadvantages to modern warriors, let us remember that the enemy is equally disadvantaged. In short, urban operations have the potential for fostering sustained military and interagency success, provided we adapt ourselves to reality instead of clinging to Sun Tzu's bad advice. The city is an opportunity for maneuver.

Haunting Thoughts After a Battle
The brigade's chief chaplain, Maj. Mark B. Nordstrom, said he spent more than six hours with the troop's soldiers on Thursday after they returned from Kifl. Sergeant Redmond was among them.
Major Nordstrom belongs to a branch of the Mennonites with a pacifist theology. He has given this some thought. He cites St. Augustine's theory of just war: "War is love's response to a neighbor threatened by force."
"We're in the thousands now that were killed in the last few days," he said today. "Nothing prepares you to kill another human being. Nothing prepares you to use a machine gun to cut someone in two.
"They tell stories amongst themselves," he added of the soldiers. "When I come up, they tell different stories. It bothers them to take life, especially that close. They want to talk to me so that they know that I know they are not awful human beings."

Either Take a Shot or Take a Chance
"We dropped a few civilians," Sergeant Schrumpf said, "but what do you do?"

Tim Blair
CHINA sure is incredibly puritan for a place where half the population is named Dong or Wang or Boner or whatever.

Readership must be down if Blair's going for the racist potty talk.
FT.com Home Global
"Unlike Iraq, this is very complex, mountainous terrain," said Jim Coggin, brigadier general of the US second infantry division, involved in Wednesday's exercise. "Precision munitions fired from high altitude or long distance would be less effective in Korea than Iraq. War here would be up close and personal and very brutal."

New York City - Columbia Prof's Remarks Spark Furor
On Wednesday night, De Genova said, "The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military." Newsday also quoted him as saying, "I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus."

In an especially graphic image from the 1993 Mogadishu ambush and firefight, in which Somalis shot down two U.S. helicopters, a slain American soldier was dragged through the streets. The battle was portrayed in the film "Black Hawk Down."

The crowd of hundreds Wednesday night was largely silent as De Genova made the Mogadishu comment, but a number of them applauded later when he said, "If we really that this war is criminal ... then we have to believe in the victory of the Iraqi people and the defeat of the U.S. war machine."

De Genova said in a telephone interview Thursday that he intended to show his support for oppressed Iraqis and to encourage them to fight against their oppressors, whether domestic or foreign.

Anti-Hussein Officials Rebuke Unilateral U.S. Battle Strategy (washingtonpost.com)
"There is a difference between a war of liberation and a war of conquest. Liberation means Iraqis are at the forefront. Conquest means the invaders are in charge," said Hoshyar Zubari, an official of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of five groups recognized by the Bush Administration as allied opposition forces and one of two Kurdish organizations that have administered a 17,000-square-mile region of northern Iraq that has been protected by U.S. and British air patrols since the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Yahoo! News - Calif. Journalist Suspended Over Antiwar Protest
A San Francisco Chronicle reporter suspended after getting arrested in an anti-war rally said on Friday that he felt unfairly treated and that no one should expect complete objectivity from a journalist.

The Chronicle suspended technology reporter Henry Norr, 57, effective Thursday, after he was among more than 1,300 people arrested last week for blocking public streets on the first morning after the Iraq (news - web sites) war started.
"I don't write about national affairs, I don't write about national politics, I write about things like (e-mail) spam," Norr said in an interview. "To me, in any normal understanding of what is a conflict of interest, I didn't (have) one."

A Brown Dwarf with a Pocket Knife

Who is Going to Stop Us?
"There are 3 billion people in the world and we have only 200 million of them. We are outnumbered 15 to 1. If might did make right they would sweep over the United States and take what we have. We have what they want....If we are going to have visits from any aggressors or any enemies I would rather have that aggression take place out 10,000 miles from here than take place here in Anchorage....Without superior air power America is a bound and throttled giant, impotent and easy prey to any yellow dwarf with a pocket knife."

--President Lyndon B. Johnson, in a speech
given at Anchorage, Alaska, Nov. 1, 1966

The consensus seems to be that air power has failed so far to dislodge the Iraqis or the regime. In the cities, airpower will count for little.

This is going to be brutal, hand to hand combat with every likelyhood of civilian casualties "whatever it costs".
The Non Hostile Dead Count

The Department of Defense announced today that Marine Major
Kevin G. Nave, 36, of Union Lake, Mich., was killed March 26 in
a non-hostile vehicle accident in Iraq. Major Nave was assigned
to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division,
Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Godspeed Major K. Nave. I am sorry you are dead. May all your loved ones find some sort of justification for your death that rests their souls....but not ours.

Rumsfeld tells Syria, Iran to stay out of war. 29/3/2003. ABC News Online
He says the United States will hold Syria's Government accountable for what he calls "hostile acts".
"These deliveries pose a direct threat to the lives of coalition forces," he said.
"We consider such trafficking as hostile acts and will hold the Syrian Government accountable for such shipments."

The Syrians have been named by PNAC as the next target for US Coalition forces. Under international law, the Syrians would probably have a better case for allowing arms exports to Iraq in order to create a deterrent in Baghdad than the US did by invading the country.

The Syrian border is very long and rugged -- I doubt it could be effectively patrolled without assistance from US intelligence resources.
Yahoo! News - Halliburton Out of Race for Iraq Deal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Energy and construction company Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL - news) is out of the running for a massive U.S. government contract for reconstruction in Iraq (news - web sites), the Agency for International Development (AID) said on Friday.

First Perle's false "demotion", now Halliburton feels some faux heat from ShrubCo's "lash".
Capitol Hill Blue
"The war is having an impact on the region," he said. He said the polls are showing that from 79 percent to 94 percent of the people who live in the Middle East believe the war is going to result in less democracy.

Al Jahzeera is showing what the Americans refuse to show their viewers. Americans are being censored and slowly blinded by the Secret Team that surrounds Bush.
The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily
"What they are doing is not humanitarian aid but a 'hearts and mind' operation and that is quite different," Save the Children's Director of Emergencies Lewis Sida said.
He said humanitarian missions would seek to avoid such high profile incidents, saying it illustrated that the military did not have the competence to do aid work and said such operations did not serve the best interests of the people most in need.

Global Non Violence Alliance

Make your area a less likely terrorist target.
Take an action that can't be ignored.

Secede From The New American Empire - Down Tools for a day!

The Other Superpower
the war began, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld promised a "campaign unlike any other in history." What he did not plan or expect, however, was that the peoples of earth--what some are calling "the other superpower"--would launch an opposing campaign destined to be even less like any other in history.

Indeed, Rumsfeld's campaign, a military attack, was in all its essential elements as old as history. The other campaign--the one opposing the war--meanwhile, was authentically novel.

The Nation's portrait of a world in resistance via "smart mobbing".
General: A Longer War Likely (washingtonpost.com)
Enemy gunners on rooftops and balconies had apparently been alerted to the approaching helicopters by dozens of cell phone calls made by a network of observers, the sources said.

The enemy is employing smart mob tactics to "swarm" the Invader's heliocopters with small arms fire, so says the Washington Post. via smartmobs.
General: A Longer War Likely (washingtonpost.com)
"Everybody's frame of reference is changing," Col. Ben Hodges, commander of the 1st Brigade of the 101st, said shortly after arriving here Wednesday night. "The enemy always gets a vote. You fight the enemy and not the plan. I personally underestimated the willingness of the Fedayeen to fight, or maybe overestimated the willingness of the Shiites to rise up."

Isn't this time to...step aside, General? You might just need to take a rest.
Only a nuke would breach Saddam's bunker, says architect - War on Iraq - smh.com.au
Esser remembers giving Saddam a personal tour of the bunker's features, which include a water tank, electricity generator, air filter, 30 square metre command centre and so-called electromagnetic pulse protection system -- to shield electrical circuits from the impact of an explosion.
"He was satisfied," said Esser. "He was totally friendly. He was wearing civilian clothes and looked like an ordinary civil servant but you could tell he was important because everyone immediately went quiet when he started talking."
Esser said he had no qualms about having helped to protect a dictator likened to Hitler.
"It's not just one person getting protection, it's several people, it's the palace staff as well. I just see it as an achievement of bunker technology," said Esser.

The irony is so sour.
Charity Criticized For Canceling Event - from Tampa Bay Online
``People are angry, saying we're not supporting freedom of speech,'' United Way Chairwoman Robin Carson said Thursday. ``We support diversity and diverse thinking, not individual platforms. We support human needs. We don't focus on politics.''
The Women's Leadership group chose Sarandon as guest speaker in August because of her well-publicized generosity and her local connections. A brother works for the St. Petersburg Times, and Carson said the newspaper's charitable foundation planned to pay Sarandon's $20,000 fee.
But apparently, some organizers were unfamiliar with the actress' statements about the war with Iraq.
``We weren't all that aware of how outspoken she was,'' Carson said. ``That's not what this particular day was about. The whole message we were getting out was lost, and that's why we canceled it.''
Mark Kamleiter of the Green Party of Florida called the situation part of a disturbing pattern emerging nationally in which people who don't agree with the war are labeled anti-American.
``I think it is part of a very unhealthy reaction occurring at this time,'' he said. ``Opposing the war doesn't mean you're not patriotic or that you're against our soldiers. It's very disconcerting.''

Why not let her speak, then donate the fee to a neutral party like the Red Cross.
ArabNews: Bush Has Already Lost the Peace
It’s largely flim-flam, of course. Just as the Pentagon had prepared its war plans for nearly a year before this invasion, so it has prepared its peace plans for almost as long. In the same way that US president George Bush was prepared to go to the UN in the run-up to war so long as it backed his plans, so he is prepared to see the UN participate in relief and fundraising for reconstruction so long as it in no way dilutes US control. “He who holds the stick, owns the buffalo,” as the old Indian saying has it.

CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. 29 March. 2nd story.

An Iraqi family of three, including the family Patriarch, is killed by US Marines...Marines helpfully dispose of the bodies, family is reported by the anchor as being grateful to US forces and blaming Saddam.

One Marine digging the grave says, "We sure are sorry to have killed these innocent civilians."

Later, another Marine Grunt says "We see a car acting suspicious, we open up on it."

Civilian casualites will only get worse, says Grunt.

Not happy, Jan.

Moore takes on Bush-Bin Ladin links Flash LXXVII (77)
Michael Moore, who didn't endear himself to the Oscar audience, will doubtless arouse further ire with his next documentary.
Project will depict the murky relationship between President Bush's father and the family of Osama bin Laden. And it will suggest that the bin Laden family was greatly enriched by that association.
Moore is making a deal with Mel Gibson's Icon Prods. to finance "Fahrenheit 911," a docu that will trace why the U.S. has become a target for hatred and terrorism. It will also depict alleged dealings between two generations of the Bush and bin Laden clans that led to George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden becoming mortal enemies.

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraq unsettles US planners
"The enemy we're fighting is different from the one we had war-gamed against," says Lieutenant General William Wallace, the senior US ground commander in Iraq.

Friday, March 28, 2003

ArabNews: Unedited Videotape Is Raw, Painful – and Devastating
BAGHDAD, 28 March 2003 — Two British soldiers lie dead on a Basra roadway, a small Iraqi girl — victim of a US/UK airstrike — is brought to hospital with her intestines spilling our of her stomach, a terribly wounded woman screams in agony as doctors try to take off her black dress. An Iraqi general, surrounded by hundreds of his armed troops, stands in central Basra and announces that Iraq’s second city remains firmly in Iraqi hands. The unedited Al-Djazaira videotape — filmed over the past 36 hours and newly arrived in Baghdad — is raw, painful, devastating.

PM's upbeat take on war offends Greens. 28/3/2003. ABC News Online
"This is a very nasty, brutal war and it's unnecessary and it's illegal," Mr Brown said.
"Saying that it's going extremely well seems totally out of kilter with the carnage that's occurring, which should not be occurring and would not be occurring had the inspectors been left to do their job."

Broadcasting & Cable
In a survey of 6,400 viewers on their attitudes regarding Iraq and the media, the news consulting firm found that the viewers had little interest in anti-war protests. Magid doesn't tell news directors to avoid protests. It just says viewers tend to hate seeing them.
"Obviously, you have to give both sides of the story,'' says Senior Vice President Brian Greif. "But how much time you devote to [protests] and where you place it in your newscast becomes an issue."

TownHall.com: Conservative Columnists: Robert Novak
WASHINGTON -- "There were some who were supportive of going to war with Iraq who described it as a cakewalk," Tim Russert told Donald Rumsfeld on NBC's "Meet the Press" last Sunday. The secretary of Defense seemed surprised. "I never did," he replied. "No one I know in the Pentagon ever did." While Rumsfeld spoke the literal truth, his response was still disingenuous.

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Comment | Seumas Milne: They are fighting for their independence, not Saddam
The Anglo-American war now being fought in the Middle East is without question the most flagrant act of aggression carried out by a British government in modern times. The assault on Iraq which began a week ago, in the teeth of global and national opinion, was launched without even the flimsiest Iraqi provocation or threat to Britain or the US, in breach of the UN charter and international law, and in defiance of the majority of states represented on the UN security council.

Near Basra, British Purvey Juice, Milk and Artillery (washingtonpost.com)
There were reports of such an uprising in the making two days ago, but the British troops here on the edge of the city said it was largely exaggerated and seems to have ended.
"There were reports of a popular uprising in Basra," Coates said. "We saw no evidence of that, really. We saw groups of 40 to 50 people standing on street corners, which is like a Saturday night in Newcastle." He said a mortar position that had been firing on British troops did turn and fire inside the city, but it was destroyed by British artillery.

KoreaTimes : FM’s US Visit Crucial to Resolving Nuke Standoff
Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Yoon Young-kwan is set to hold an array of crucial talks with top U.S. security policymakers over the weekend, mindful of the high expectations placed on his visit to play an important role in resolving the escalating standoff over North Korea’s nuclear program.
Yoon’s U.S. mission has also been attracting keen attention as it will largely determine the direction of the alliance between Seoul and Washington during President Roh Moo-hyun’s five-year term.

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | No 10 backtracks on claim that two British soldiers were executed
During a joint press conference with George Bush at Camp David, Mr Blair called the supposed executions acts "of cruelty beyond all human comprehension".
A British military official at central command in Qatar was less adamant: "While the footage shown yesterday suggested that they might have been executed, the pictures are of a poor quality and don't provide us with the facts."
Mr Bush had supported Mr Blair. "They were murdered, unarmed soldiers executed. That's a war crime," he said.

Blair was so passionate about this last night. You could tell he was itching for it to be true - what a slap in the face from the British Army.
Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage
South Korean political parties decided on Friday to postpone until next week a contentious parliament vote on the government's plan to contribute non-combat troops to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, YTN cable news reported.
The second deferral this week of the National Assembly vote on President Roh Moo-hyun's proposed dispatch of 700 medical and engineering troops came after widespread public protest and strong opposition from within Roh's ruling party.

Interesting...Roh's party might crack under the strain of his massive youth base's newfound activism in Korean politics.
Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage
A rocket carrying Japan's first two spy satellites blasted off on Friday in an intelligence-gathering effort that some fear may spur its heavily armed neighbor, North Korea, to test-fire a ballistic missile.

Richard Perle Resigns: Donating Global Crossing Fees
Former U.S. Assistant Defense Secretary Richard Perle has resigned from the chairmanship of the Defense Policy Board, according to an NBC News report Thursday.
The board is a group that advises U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on a range of policy and strategic defense matters.

Au revoir, Monsieur Perle of Great Price, aka "Prince of Darkness". Like a floaty turd that won't be flushed, I'm sure you'll pop up again before too long.
The Scotsman - International - Anger over US plans for port
BRITISH military commanders are resisting a US plan for the captured cargo port of Umm Qasr to be operated by an independent company based in Seattle.

The UK troops who secured the port earlier this week are arguing that the task should go to Iraqis instead - and have already lined up a former Iraqi army colonel for the job.

Air Marshall Brian Burridge, head of UK armed forces in Iraq, said yesterday that initially British troops from the Royal Logistic Corps would run the port. "Subsequently I don’t known what arrangements will be" he said. "The best outcome would be if people who ran it before, run it".

However the US Agency for International Aid (AID) has already awarded a $4.8 million contract to Stevedoring Services of America (SSA). The deal was struck before British or American troops had taken control of the town.

I think Air Marshall Burridge will be given a nice job back in the Homeland before too long, with comments like these.
The Neocon Martin Boorman

"Compare with what said I think the level of causalities is secondary. It may sound like an odd thing to say. But all the great scholars who have studied American character have come to the conclusion that we are a warlike people. And that we love war . . . What we hate is not casualties but losing. And if the war goes well, and if the American public has the conviction that we're being well-led, and that our people are fighting well, and that we're winning, I don't think causalities are gonna be the issue."

- Michael Leeden over breakfast at the American Enterprise Institute the other day.

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Convoy hijacked in aid 'disaster'
The much heralded operation to distribute humanitarian aid to the people of the Iraqi border town of Safwan on Wednesday has been a "disaster", according to the vice chairman of the Kuwaiti Red Crescent - the organisation which despatched the lorry convoy of food parcels.
Dr Hilal Al-Sayer told BBC News Online that the tens of thousands of prepared meals and ration kits of rice, oil, sugar and cereals destined for farms just north of the Iraqi border, had instead been hijacked soon after leaving Kuwait.
"That aid didn't get to the farms where the women and children are, our people lost control and young Iraqi men began emptying the trucks," he said.

Analysts Say Threat Warnings Toned Down (washingtonpost.com)
Intelligence analysts at the CIA and Pentagon warned the Bush administration that U.S. troops would face significant resistance from Iraqi irregular forces employing guerrilla tactics, but those views have not been adequately reflected in the administration's public predictions about how difficult a war might go, according to current and former intelligence officials.

Say it with me now: Dot.Bomb Sunshine pumpers have taken over the White House! Help!

Thursday, March 27, 2003

theage.com.au - The Age
"The potential for the media to be the vehicle for disinformation and propaganda in this war is great, as it is in any conflict," says Stephen Hess, a media and terrorism expert at the Brookings Institution. "We don't expect the US Government to lie, yet we also know that they will put out information during a time of war to confuse the enemy and further their own aims. The question is, can these two be reconciled?"

ArabNews: No More Burning Bushes
No one on earth would be happier to see Saddam go than the Iraqis themselves. While the Kuwaitis suffered him once, the Iraqis suffer him daily. America, on the other hand, has enough technology to read my sentences before I even type them; won the Cold War without firing a shot; and has managed throughout its history to make even its deadliest enemies dream of emulating its freedoms and its lifestyle. Why, then, is this giant willing to lose France and Germany as allies, alienate a new ally in Russia, make Bin Laden giggle in his beard with unrestrained joy, and expose all those who would love to help it revenge Sept. 11 and heal its wounds? It is not for foreigners to provide the answers to these questions. That is the job of the American voter. Let us hope that, by the time they have a chance to do so, it will not be too late.

$3.3 billion energy overcharge / ANALYSIS: Governor's victory won't clear stain of crisis
For the first time, the nation's top energy regulators essentially endorsed the long-standing complaints by Davis, Attorney General Bill Lockyer and other state officials that corporate misbehavior on an enormous scale was a key component of the California energy crisis.
The victory may be a hollow one for Davis, however, who appears to have a long way to go to get money he has promised to return to the state and is probably forever tarnished by the electricity disaster. Blackouts, bankruptcy and record-setting rate increases will remain a permanent part of the governor's resume.
Still, the FERC, which includes two of three members who were appointed by Bush, on Wednesday largely accepted the state's vision of the crisis: Greedy companies held California hostage through illegal manipulation.

Iraq, here they come. The doyens of American capitalism.
IHT Article Print Page
The international health officials first sat down Tuesday with their Chinese counterparts to look at the internal data concerning the epidemic and said they were generally impressed with how the Chinese had investigated and sought to control the disease. But they noted that data was painfully slow in emerging from that system. World Health Organization officials in Beijing say they have still not been given statistics on the disease in other provinces, despite repeated requests.

In China disease statistics are often regarded as politically sensitive and are not publicly released.

China first began providing information on its epidemic to the World Health Organization only about two weeks ago. Doctors and officials in southern China said that it started in November, peaked in mid-February, and that the number of cases had fallen off dramatically in March. But the country has not provided recent data to support these claims.

Dar Al Hayat
The commander of UK forces in the Gulf said it would take three months and about $1 billion to repair Iraq's neglected giant Rumaila oilfield, allowing exports to flow.
"The south Iraq oilfield is in a terrible state... The civil engineering will take three months and at that stage we can flow oil," British Air Marshal Brian Burridge told a news conference in Qatar.
Western oil experts say that 12 years of United Nations sanctions have left Iraq's infrastructure in a deplorable state.
"It is estimated that it will cost around $1 billion to get the oil infrastructure to allow the field to yield its capacity of about 1.8 million barrels per day," Burridge said. "We expect that Iraq will be exporting oil in about three months."

On Reading the Media during this Crisis

So far the Iraqi claims have been more accurate than the coalition, which is shocking. I think the analysis of the aeronautics.ru site is interesting, though I get media from plenty of places to cross check. Interestingly enough they seem to believe the war is going slightly better for the Coalition on the ground, but the political war is lost.

Another observation, which might be bullshit but might not, is that the USA will be down to its strategic reserve of smart bombs in 3 weeks time -- which means out come the dumb bombs and up go the casualties, with unknown results on peace and order.

If the Russkies are right, and PNAC would tell me they might be, if something happens to a China-refortified North Korea, the US will be forced to go nuclear very quickly indeed in order to nip both in the bud. Iraq has severely depleted the bomb warehouse. The

I am consequently developing my own ways of "reading the media" during these dark times.

Take everything said by anyone at face value. Don't believe the hype.

Always wait for official confirmation from Centcom briefing sessions, held every night at Midnight, Australian time.

Then draw your own conclusions about Centcom's claims by visiting plenty of sites with views about the briefing unsimilar to your own and compare notes. Send plenty of email feedback to politicians, bloggers, writers and journalists questioning their views and sources.

Comments boxes on the key warblogs are great little "mini talking shops" -- one of the best ones, agonist, sees people like Gen. Wes Clark (or at least someone who claims to be Gen. Wes Clark) offering candid views on the conduct, strategy, legal justification and morality of this war.

Start from the facts, then work your way backward to something you really believe is close to the "truth". Remain aware of your personal filters and biases the best you can. Write down in your thoughts to share or keep private, in your own offline or online journal or blog.

Realise when reading or watching the war that battle causes human, personal suffering -- the kids with their heads blown apart, tiny broken dolls being clutched by their helpless, stunned fathers. Always try to put yourself in their shoes for at least one second, to keep alive your ability to feel compassion -- what many in the prowar camp believe this war is about, odd as that may seem to those of us, like me, who are on the antiwar side.

The truth of war is the shopkeeper who was made homeless last night along with his family in Baghdad, the man clutching his broken baby daughter. Too many Americans act like they couldn't give a shit -- won't even look at the pictures by the looks of all the hacker activity at al jazeera. This naturally doesn't play well outside the US.

Read foreign media.

The foreign media are of course all over the U.S. officials at the moment. Unlike in Washington, there is an extraordinary global suspicion in the foreign media surrounding the motives of certain gloomy sons of Scoop Jackson and a certain "PNAC". The word is out on these evil men and their plan for "total spectrum dominance" for the United States.

Flagrant lies told by some supporters of these men inside the U.S., like "8,000 surrendered" "Saddam bought Uranium" "massive chemical plant found" are unfortunately so obvious they are quickly dismissed by foreign media, yet the positive warblog feedback loop is plucked. The lie is amplified and spread in a way that Hitler and Goebels could have only dreamed about.

And so 50 percent of Americans have been encouraged to believe that Saddam caused 9/11., while no one outside of America thinks that is at all true, as no evidence has been brought foreward and ShrubCo. says it cannot make the case.

Dar Al Hayat
Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed increasing concern Wednesday at the growing civilian casualty toll in the war against Iraq and reminded the United States that it is responsible for civilian welfare in areas it controls.

This is what set off our war criminal P.M. to attack Kofi today in Parliament.

Mr Howard told Parliament: "Any suggestion of moral equivalence between the [military] coalition and the Iraqis on this occasion, I totally reject."

Totally lost it, I reckon.
Democracy Now!
Gazwan Al Muktar: Well ah—what I’m planning to do? I will pull up my rifle and I will shoot. And I will shoot at anybody who comes in. I’m a sixty year old man, but I am not going to let anybody, any foreigner tell me what to do or running my own country. This is a country I have spent all my life, trying to build something, to do something about improving the lot of the Iraqi people. Iraq is a wealthy country, Iraq has been, because of the sanctions, relegated to a third class country. You remember in 1961, that’s 42 years ago, the Iraqi government then, and it wasn’t the Ba’ath Party government, sent me to the States to study. I was a high school student. They sent me. Iraq has invested a lot of money in our education, a lot of time. The consecutive governments, all the governments of Iraq, and we are trying to build a country and you have ruined it. The US government is destroying everything. They destroyed it in ‘91 and we rebuilt it and they are destroying whatever we have rebuilt--

TIME.com: 9-11 Commission Funding Woes
Is the Bush White House trying to put the brakes on the congressional panel created last fall to investigate 9-11 attacks? Sources tell TIME that the White House brushed off a request quietly made last week by the 9-11 Commission Chairman Tom Kean, the Republican former governor of New Jersey, to boost his budget by $11 million. Kean had sought the funding as part of the $75 billion supplemental spending bill that the president just requested to pay for war with Iraq. Bush's recent move has miffed some members of the 9-11 panel.

The Agonist: Comment on OPEN THREAD
Think back to the late unlamented dot.com boom... Does the whole Rumsfeld military mindset and vocabulary remind anybody else of the worst egotism and excess of the dot commers?
It's all very "high concept" "network oriented" and "data intensive." Generals Franks and Myers, who wanted real armor and infantry forces in the theatre, just "didn't get it" - and were publicly mocked by those who thought they did, with GWB smirking happily at their cluelessness.
Fueled, of course, by vast amounts of other people's money, spent like water, gushing righteously into the coffers of those clever enough to be on the inside track, where the real action is.
Hubris, arrogance, groupthink. The total absence of reality checks and adult supervision. I think Rummy was getting in touch with his inner "Gen-X"
This wasn't a war, it was a product rollout media event, complete with cameras, VIPs and babes. I guesss they didn't get the memo in Iraq, though.

The Rummy dot.bomb meme picks up steam
The Courier Mail: Israel thanks Aussie troops [26mar03]
ISRAEL has thanked Australia for its troops' actions in western Iraq, the only area from which any Iraqi missile could hit the Jewish State.

Israeli Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom offered the sentiment in a call to Australian counterpart Alexander Downer.
"During the conversation, Shalom expressed his gratitude for the active participation of Australia in this offensive against Saddam Hussein," a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said today.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

The retired general named as civilian governor of occupied Iraq has visited Israel on a trip paid for by a right-wing group that strongly backs an American military presence in the Middle East.
Lieutenant-General Jay Garner, the co-ordinator for civilian administration in Iraq, put his name in October 2000 to a statement blaming Palestinians for the outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian violence and saying that a strong Israel was an important security asset to the United States.
The statement was sponsored by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (Jinsa), which pays for retired US military officers to visit Israel for security briefings by Israeli officials and politicians. Richard Perle, one of the architects of the US invasion of Iraq, is a member of the institute's board of advisers, as was Vice-President Dick Cheney before he took office in 2001.

JINSA is also a front for the disturbing neocon zionist Irving Moskowitz Foundation.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Marines losing the battle for hearts and minds
A few miles from the bridge to the south lie the ruins of the ancient city of Ur, founded 8,000 years ago, the birth place of Abraham and a flourishing metropolis at a time when the inhabitants of north-west Europe were still walking round in animal skins.
Sgt Sprague, from White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia, passed it on his way north, but he never knew it was there.
"I've been all the way through this desert from Basra to here and I ain't seen one shopping mall or fast food restaurant," he said. "These people got nothing. Even in a little town like ours of twenty five hundred people you got a McDonald's at one end and a Hardee's at the other."

Telegraph | Connected | Holy visions elude scientists
Does the biological structure of our brains program us to believe in God? Recent advances in "neurotheology" have even prompted some scientists to propose they can induce the kind of holy visions of prophets, even in those who have never experienced religious belief.

CNN.com - China readies for future U.S. fight - Mar. 25, 2003
Until late last year, Beijing believed a confrontation with the U.S. could be delayed -- and China could through hewing to the late Deng Xiaoping's "keep a low profile" theory afford to concentrate almost exclusively on economic development.
"Now, many cadres and think-tank members think Beijing should adopt a more pro-active if not aggressive policy to thwart U.S. aggression," said a Chinese source close to the diplomatic establishment.
He added hard-line elements in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) had advocated providing weapons to North Korea to help Pyongyang defend itself against a possible U.S. missile strike at its nuclear facilities.

'The Storm Is From God' (washingtonpost.com)
"The storm is from God," he said, looking out his trembling window. "Until the aggression started, never in my life did I see a storm like this. We all believe in God, we all have faith in God. And God is setting obstacles against the Americans."

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - Press briefing
A. Dr Klaus Stohr: Speaking as a scientist, we are looking at a very interesting and a fascinating situation. Looking from the point of infectious disease control, we are a bit puzzled because we are not only dealing apparently with one pathogen but with two. The reason why we believe that both pathogens should be given equal attention is that there is consistent finding of both pathogens in individual patients or of either of the pathogens in other patients. What we are seeing actually are three hypotheses. The first hypothesis is that one of the viruses, for instance the corona virus, causes the disease, and that might be a new corona virus. The second hypothesis is that the paramyxo viruses cause the disease and if that was the case, it’s certainly also a new paramyxo virus. The third hypothesis is, very obvious, is that these two pathogens have to come together to cause this very severe outbreak. One of the viruses, for instance the corona virus, is known to live in immune cells, cells which are important for the defence, for the body defence against infection. So what one could hypothesize is that this corona virus destroys or at least diminishes the immunity in the patient so that the second virus has practically an open door to go in and to sicken the patient beyond what this virus would be able to do normally.

Opinions Begin to Shift as Public Weighs War Costs
Pam Wallman, 60, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said, "I think the American public was duped into believing that our troops could just go in there, clean everything up and come home in 10 days."

The dot.bomb.
theage.com.au - The Age
The New York Stock Exchange said today it had banned reporters from the Arabic-language TV network Al-Jazeera from its trading floor - a move widely seen as retaliation for the channel's coverage of the Iraq war.

Sickening. So much for supporting an "open media" in Middle East.
Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | Coughs and Stam'rs help Blair say it clearly, again and again
What emerged from that cleared throat, though, made him sound like Bill Clinton, the master of televisual politics. There was only one verbal slip: when he promised to rebuild "Iran", which may have given Kofi Annan and Jacques Chirac a nasty moment.

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | Coughs and Stam'rs help Blair say it clearly, again and again
Tony Blair, by contrast, gave a live one-hour televised press conference yesterday.
He would doubtless be horrified at the idea that he had anything at all in common with Saddam Hussein. But consider that he found himself using a television appearance to play down allegations that he was seriously unwell and to counter the impression that the war was going badly for his troops.

Live From Iraq, an Un-Embedded Journalist
Most of these cruise missiles that we hear exploding at night are bursting into government buildings, ministries, offices and barracks that have long ago been abandoned. There’s nobody inside them; they are empty. I’ve watched ministries take all their computers out, trays- even the pictures from the walls. That is the degree to which these buildings are empty; they are shells.

The USA is running out of smart bombs. Here come the dumb ones, as sure as night follows day. A war in South Korea would probably delay the missile rebuild plan.
BBC NEWS | Europe | Belgium rethinks war crimes law
Belgium's governing parties are scrambling to amend a controversial law which some fear could be used in a war crimes lawsuit against US President George W Bush.
The law allows Belgian courts to pass judgment on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, regardless of where the alleged acts took place or the nationality of the accused.
Critics have warned that a case against President Bush could be filed under the law, known as universal competence, and Belgium's role as host to international institutions could be threatened.
"I expect there to be, any day, a suit against President Bush in Belgium," said Herman De Croo, president of the lower house of parliament.

CNN.com - Euphrates battle may be biggest so far - Mar. 25, 2003
According to reports, the fighting about 95 miles south of Baghdad pitted elements of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division against Iraqi foot soldiers firing rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons.
Officials said the division's 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry encountered a large Iraqi ground force, but a sandstorm in the region prevented troops from calling in air cover.

This is a turkey shoot on the front lines.
CBSNews.com: Print This Story
U.S. Drops 'E-Bomb' On Iraqi TV
March 25, 2003

The U.S. Air Force has hit Iraqi TV with an experimental electronmagetic pulse device called the "E-Bomb" in an attempt to knock it off the air and shut down Saddam Hussein's propaganda machine, CBS News Correspondent David Martin reports.

The highly classified bomb creates a brief pulse of microwaves powerful enough to fry computers, blind radar, silence radios, trigger crippling power outages and disable the electronic ignitions in vehicles and aircraft.

Iraqi TV did go off the air for several hours. It returned to broadcasting later with a weaker signal.

Govt yet to decide on troop rotation. 26/3/2003. ABC News Online
"A change to force structure of any type would be a matter for the Government and I'm not aware that any decision has been made in that regard."

We can stop our participation here. At this pace, the SAS will need refreshing very soon. The Government must now decide to make a second decision to support the war, in full knowledge that it is in defiance of the U.N.
The New Yorker: Fact
Over the next year, a former American intelligence officer told me, at least one member of the U.N. inspection team who supported the American and British position arranged for dozens of unverified and unverifiable intelligence reports and tips—data known as inactionable intelligence—to be funnelled to MI6 operatives and quietly passed along to newspapers in London and elsewhere. “It was intelligence that was crap, and that we couldn’t move on, but the Brits wanted to plant stories in England and around the world,” the former officer said. There was a series of clandestine meetings with MI6, at which documents were provided, as well as quiet meetings, usually at safe houses in the Washington area. The British propaganda scheme eventually became known to some members of the U.N. inspection team. “I knew a bit,” one official still on duty at U.N. headquarters acknowledged last week, “but I was never officially told about it.”

New Scientist
A microchip that uses chemicals instead of pulses of electricity to stimulate neurons has been created. It could open the way to implants that interact with our nervous system in a far more subtle way than is possible now.

Shock, Awe and Overconfidence (washingtonpost.com)
Why did Rumsfeld and his most trusted subordinates overrule the advice of their military planners? For political, bureaucratic and theoretical reasons. Rumsfeld, who is otherwise an inspiring wartime official, was out to prove a point. In his vision of the future -- one shaped by technocrats and the defense industry -- ground forces can be cut drastically in order to free funding for advanced technologies. To that end, Rumsfeld has moved to frustrate the Army's efforts to field medium-weight brigades that can be deployed swiftly to a crisis, which would have been invaluable in this conflict.

theage.com.au - The Age
But pilots said they were forced to abandon most of their targets because of a curtain of fire from suburban streets, roofs and back yards, hitting nearly all their aircraft.
Some of the dizzying array of fire was from Iraqi troops using conventional anti-aircraft artillery. But some was from individuals firing AK-47 rifles or rocket-propelled grenades into the sky.
"It was coming from all directions. I got shot front, back, left and right," said pilot Bob Duffney, 41, who flew combat helicopters in the 1991 Gulf War. "In Desert Storm (1991), we didn't have a firefight like this."
Pilots struggled as bullets whizzed past their heads and damaged some key components of their aircraft. The barrage was shocking to both seasoned pilots and combat newcomers.
Stepping out of his helicopter back at the base, Chief Warrant Officer Duffney was as emotionally drained as his fellow pilots. "We all hugged each other."

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Go Asia Pacific Breaking News Asia - China signals backing for Arab peace plan
China says it is ready to back any plan to stop the United States-led war in Iraq after Arab states called for an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to demand an end to the invasion.

A foreign ministry spokesman said China would seriously consider any proposals aimed at resolving the Iraqi issue through political means.

Arab envoys at the United Nations say they will call on the Security Council to convene an urgent session to press for a resolution demanding an immediate end to the US-led war.

China, a veto-holding permanent member of the council, has demanded an immediate halt to the war, saying it violates the UN charter and international law.

Fresh troops may be needed says minister. 25/3/2003. ABC News Online
Defence Minister Robert Hill says it is possible a fresh contingent of forces could be sent to the Middle East.
"If the conflict continued for some time, there may be a need for the rotation of forces," he said.
Senator Hill says the Australian deployment will remain at about 2,000 and there has been no decision made yet on whether the forces will be rotated.

War Desk | canada.com
The United Nations refused yesterday to surrender responsibility for disarming Iraq to the United States and Britain, with Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General, saying he expected UN weapons inspections to resume.
As coalition forces hunt for weapons of mass destruction, Mr. Annan said according to rules set by the UN Security Council only UN weapons inspectors can determine whether Iraq is clean.
"[The inspections] have only been suspended temporarily because it's inoperable given the situation on the ground," Mr. Annan said. He added the inspectors planned to resume their work as soon as it was safe to return.

Kofi is starting to stand up for his own organisation -- our own organisation -- the United Nations.
Report Says Egypt Jails And Beats War Protestors (washingtonpost.com)
Hundreds of activists opposed to the war in Iraq, including leaders of Egypt's opposition political parties, have been jailed, and several have been tortured by electric shock, according to a report issued today by Human Rights Watch.
The report, which declares that "fundamental freedoms in Egypt are now under serious threat," follows an outpouring of demonstrators in front of the U.S. Embassy and in downtown Cairo last week during the first days of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

War isn't bringing democracy to the Middle East. It's bringing state terrorism.
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Basra fighting intensifies
BBC correspondent says British commanders concede that the Iraqis are dictating the battle plan in Basra, playing their strongest suit by drawing the British into urban warfare.

Fucking hell. Somebody over at Agonist is claiming a massed Iraq tank force is trying to break through Coaliton battle lines around Basra.
A big 48 hours for the navy - War on Iraq - smh.com.au
Anzac steamed up the muddy Khawr Abd Allah to within 3.6 kilometres of Iraqi-held territory to provide naval gunfire support to the Royal Marines of 40 and 42 Commando, firing 24 rounds from its main gun to suppress enemy defences. Anzac's bombardment was the first time the navy had fired its heavy guns in anger since September 1971.

A Battle Plan Ambushed?
Gregory Clodfelter, a military historian at the National Defense University in Washington, said U.S. tacticians are following a doctrine laid down by British military thinker Sir Basil Liddell-Hart after World War I.

Liddell-Hart advocated "the indirect approach."

In this view, Clodfelter said, "any chance to bypass the enemy's strongest positions and go for the sweet spot, you always take it."

That's Saddam's strategy too. And the enemy has the ability to blend in with the landscape, the Coalition invaders do not.
Times Online
AUDIENCES for television news have reached heights not seen since the 1991 Gulf War as a nation of war addicts watches developments around the clock.

Parents warned to keep children away from protests - War on Iraq - smh.com.au
Parents have been warned to keep children away from anti-war protests in Sydney tomorrow amid police fears demonstrations could turn violent.
Assistant Police Commissioner Dick Adams said he feared a coalition of extreme protesters would incite anarchy and violence.
He said parents who planned to allow their children to march should be aware anarchists were encouraging civil disobedience.
"I want parents to know about the dangers children could face should the protest turn violent," Mr Adams said.
"They should also know that their child might be confronted by anarchists' propaganda at the demonstration."
Mr Adams said police were in possession of radical-style leaflets that claimed peaceful anti-war demonstrations had, so far, been ineffectual.
"This literature calls on demonstrators to act out and bring down the government," Mr Adams said.

Hmmm. "Anarchists" are trying to bring down the government through nonviolent civil disobedience. Anarchists don't uphold the law -- meaning Howard and Co are the biggest anarchists of all.
Antiaircraft Fire Described as 'Hornet's Nest'
Nearly all the gunships sustained damage, and military commanders said they were disappointed in their initial failure to destroy the entrenched Iraqi forces from the air.

Using your aerial calvery as a frontal assault weapon against entrenched defenders is stupid and is not how these machines were designed to play on the battlefield.
In These Times | Richard Perle: It Pays To Be the Prince of Darkness
But this little phrase led to a funny exchange with New York Times reporter Stephen Labaton. Perle insisted, “I’m not using public office for private gain, because the Defense Policy Board has nothing to do with the CFIUS process.” But when asked about his “unique perspective” and “intimate knowledge,” Perle claimed he had not noticed that phrase, saying it “was drafted by lawyers, and frankly I did not notice it.” He is a busy man, we understand.

But then, he called Labaton back to clarify, saying that the problematic phrase was in an earlier draft, he had noticed it and crossed it out. “You have a draft that I never signed,” he said. OK?

After consulting with Global Crossing’s lawyers, Perle called Labaton again to say that he had told the lawyers to strike the phrase because it “seemed inappropriate and irrelevant.” But then someone put the phrase back in, and Perle signed it without noticing. “It is a clerical error,” he explained, “and not my clerical error.” When in doubt, blame the lawyers.

So the final version will be submitted without referring to Perle’s “unique perspective” and “intimate knowledge.” But that doesn’t mean those are not what Global Crossing is paying him for.

More on the Mr War.dot.com

The Squeeze On Our Children (washingtonpost.com)
Their theme was one I had heard before, not just from social workers, academics and supposed bleeding-heart liberals but from police chiefs, prosecutors and other hard-nosed denizens of the criminal justice system.
It is the irrefutable evidence that the most effective anti-crime strategies -- and the least expensive -- are early childhood education, after-school programs and serious mentoring of youngsters who otherwise are almost certainly fated to be dropouts, delinquents and, yes, prison inmates.

Queensland Police Union - Contacting Us

Let them know we won't tolerate that Joh crap anymore.
ABC News - Qld Police journal criticised for 'racist' images
The Queensland Police Union (QPU) president has joined the criticism of material in the latest edition of the union's journal.

The February and March editions of the Queensland Police Journal contain what appear to be mock advertising material, sending up Middle Eastern issues.

Islamic leaders are demanding an apology over the images with Islamic Council of Queensland spokesman Sultan Deen saying the images are deeply offensive and potentially racist and could be interpreted as police making fun of Muslims.

The Australian: US awards contract for Iraqi port [March 25, 2003]
THE United States has awarded a $US4.8 million ($8m)contract to manage the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, which is still only tenuously-held by invading US and British troops.

The US Agency for International Development said the contract - the second to be awarded after Washington sought contracts from a select group of US firms - was given to the Seattle, Washington-based Stevedoring Services of America (SSA).

I guess they were serious about the hoisting the flag business.
The 'liberation' of Iraq looks more like old-fashioned conquest - theage.com.au
The Marine's flag raising was a simple, almost reflexive gesture - a symbol of conquest, harking back to the famous flag raising at Iwo Jima. It's a symbol of the old view of war - war as a business of violence and subjugation. The curt instruction from headquarters to take the flag down again was an attempt to reassert the Bush Administration's official view - that this in not an invasion and conquest of Iraq, but a liberation of it. It's the new view of war, much beloved by Donald Rumsfeld - of war as a matter of subtlety, psychology and persuasion.

Howard keeping troops in the dark: MPs - War on Iraq - smh.com.au
The investigation, one of the most exhaustive yet undertaken into the pathology of war service, is believed to be inconclusive about the existence of a "Gulf War syndrome" but shows those who served there are at increased risk of psychological disorders and substance abuse.

100,000 children at risk as water cut in Basra - War on Iraq - smh.com.au
The biggest grievance is lack of water, with supplies cut off by a thunderous ground and air assault in the south, home to Iraq's Shi'ite Muslims, many of whom are eager to see Saddam go.
"We need water. All we can do is dig for water in wells. It is water that even animals would not drink," said 30-year-old Muhammad Ali, who is unemployed.

The March of FollyThis is the business plan of the world's first dot.com war. An good idea, yet so inflated that it becomes dangerous buffoonery. A path of folly is chosen illogically, and that results in a big, big fall. That's why everyone is reading Tuchman's book The March of Folly again.

Tot@l Tr@nsform@tion, doncha know.
Group Captain Lockwood said coalition troops had met resistance from "people loyal to Saddam Hussein's regime".
"They are very much irregular forces providing difficulties for us with their guerrilla tactics. However we are maintaining our advance ... and will come back and look after them in our own time," he added.

IE, people not loyal to the U.S.A. and Israel. Maybe they are just defending their frickin homes and tribal territory, rather than "irregular forces". They are often Militiamen, not soliders, who are interdicting the Northern supply line.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage
Mohammad al-Harbaa, who works at a grocery store in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, said the pictures of U.S. prisoners of war on Iraqi television were "the most beautiful sights in the war."
"We hope to see more. Why do they (Americans) have rights and we have none? They are brutally slaughtering Muslims every day in Afghanistan and Palestine and now in Iraq. They taught us this brutality," he said.

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage
"This is real terrorism. Innocent people are sitting in their homes and bombs fall on their heads. I ask America, isn't this terrorism?" said Hulayel al-Jekhafi, whose house was damaged in the attack on the Qadissiya neighborhood.
"Where are the Arabs and where are the Muslims? Our houses are being destroyed, our children are being killed and they are not doing anything," Saad Abbas, another resident, complained.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Water forum 'giant talking shop'
After eight days of discussions involving 12,000 participants, mountains of paper and lakes of coffee, beer and sake, the Third World Water Forum ended with this ringing endorsement from the World Conservation Union:

A sake toast - but what about the water?
"The (ministerial) declaration will have virtually no impact on national policies. There is nothing in the text which will make a difference."

China arrests another Internet activist : HindustanTimes.com
Chinese Internet activist Zhang Yuxiang has been arrested in the eastern city of Nanjing and is being held in a guesthouse, New York-based Human Rights in China (HRIC) said.
Citing unnamed sources, the report said that following his detention on March 12, Zhang was taken by police to Siyang county in eastern China's Jiangsu province to be interrogated about articles he posted on the internet.
Zhang's wife has not been given any formal notice of his arrest, the report said.
The one-time party cadre who worked in the Air Force propaganda department had previously spent time in prison for helping to establish the Chinese Democratic Federation.

Another US State Department Defection
This is the only time in my many years serving America that I have felt I cannot represent the policies of an Administration of the United States. I disagree with the Administration’s policies on Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, North Korea and curtailment of civil liberties in the U.S. itself. I believe the Administration’s policies are making the world a more dangerous, not a safer, place. I feel obligated morally and professionally to set out my very deep and firm concerns on these policies and to resign from government service as I cannot defend or implement them.

An American Catholic bishop has forbidden his flock from participating or cooperating in military action against Iraq, under pain of mortal sin.
Bishop John Michael Botean, the head of the Romanian Catholic eparchy (diocese) of St. George in Canton, Ohio-- which has jurisdiction over all Byzantine-rite Romanian Catholics living in the US-- invoked the full measure of his authority in a Lenten Letter to his people. The bishop declared with "moral certainty" that the proposed attack on Iraq "does not meet even the minimal standards of the Catholic just-war theory."

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Al-Jazeera causes outcry with broadcast of battle casualties
Yesterday, al-Jazeera relayed footage of Iraqi television's interviews with five captured American soldiers, which the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, denounced as a breach of the Geneva convention. But the channel was unrepentant last night. "Look who's talking about international law and regulations," said al-Jazeera spokesman, Jihad Ballout. "We didn't make the pictures - the pictures are there," he continued. "It's a facet of the war. Our duty is to show the war from all angles."

The Courier Mail: Pre-emptive strikes correct: Hill [24mar03]
Senator Hill said pre-emptive strikes had always been allowed in relation to self-defence, authorised under the United Nations charter.
"There has always been an entitlement to act before the attack is actually carried out," he said.
"In the past, when there was long notice of such attacks, it was possible for the doctrine to be developed in fairly narrow terms so that one would look to see if the attack was imminent, if it was real and a number of other such criteria to determine whether the response was legitimate.
"In a world of terrorism, where that attacks are not advertised and are carried out by non-state players, where they use asymetric means such as flying aircraft into buildings, then this jurisprudence needs revision."

War crim Hill. May he rot in oblivion for what he has done.
Pyongyang readies for US attack - theage.com.au
The next potential flashpoint in the crisis is expected to come on Friday, when Japan launches spy satellites primarily aimed at watching North Korea.
Pyongyang claims the launch is a hostile act, and has indicated it may conduct a missile launch in response.

Meanwhile, outside Basra, cases of rockets, giant anti-shipping mines and other ammunition piled in dozens of bunkers were found at the Az-Zubayr Heliport.
Some of the boxes were clearly marked with the names of British manufacturers. One pile of boxes in a store housing rocket-propelled grenades bears the name of Wallop Industries Limited, based in Middle Wallop, Hampshire.
The most disturbing find was two Russian-made Al-Harith anti-shipping cruise missiles (self-propelled guided missiles), each 20ft long and 3ft in diameter, and nine warheads hidden in two enormous reinforced concrete bunkers.
The scale of the find took British forces by surprise and raised questions about the ability of weapons inspectors to cope with the task of scouring such a vast country for prohibited ordnance. The discovery of the missiles ­ date-marked 2002 ­ came as British troops from the Black Watch Regiment fought to secure the area around Iraq's second city.

Marines Meet Potent Enemy in Deadly Clash
The American command center was code-named Nightmare. On its maps, it appeared that besides mortar, up to four Iraqi tanks were shooting from behind a building.
"Waste it," an officer said under his breath, wanting to demolish the site. But firing would have been too dangerous with so little information about the target.
With every "denied" spoken over the artillery radios, curses followed and the unit was forced to hold its fire.

War on Iraq - smh.com.au
"Media reports are premature," the US Central Command said, in a brief statement read by Pentagon spokesman Major James Cassella. But he added: "We are looking into sites of interest."

aljazeera caps; dead american soldiers
aljazeera caps; dead american soldiers

As in "capped by Saddam". I can almost hear the cheering across the Middle East.
BBC NEWS | South Asia | Gunmen kill 24 Kashmir Hindus
Police in Indian-administered Kashmir say unidentified gunmen have killed 24 members of the minority Hindu community near the southern town of Shopian.

theage.com.au - The Age
Protesters in Cairo directed their anger not only at the US but at Israel, saying Washington has turned a blind eye to Israeli aggression against Palestinians.
In Lebanon, Rachel Corrie, the American peace activist killed last Sunday while trying to prevent an Israeli bulldozer from destroying a Palestinian house in the Gaza Strip, has become a national hero. Newspapers in Beirut are publishing letters she sent to her parents and people are naming their babies after her.

FT.com / Business / US
The company revealed that its assets in Iran were $43.8m at the end of 2001, just 0.4 per cent of the company's worldwide assets, and argued that the operations were therefore not significant. to Halliburton.
The company also argued that the Iranian investments were safe for shareholders because it did not sell its products directly to consumers, and thus "the chance of protests is remote". But the SEC rejected those arguments.

FT.com / Business / US
Halliburton, US energy services company, has bowed to shareholder pressure to reconsider its operations in Iran, acknowledging that there may be "financial and reputational risks" from doing business in a country the US considers a state sponsor of terrorism.

War on Iraq - smh.com.au
The military control over the media is close to total. Some 600 journalists were attached to the Hollywood-designed media centre in Qatar on the strength of promised daily briefings by General Tommy Franks.
They finally got one after four days, and then then only after near-mutiny by the journalists. The ploy has been dubbed "operation mushroom", and those who have protested against the information blackout too vigorously have been kicked out.

Essential reading. Now the Journos in this country are starting to dig for the truth.
War on Iraq - smh.com.au
But the slaughter, the horror of war, the images which might engage the audience at a more visceral level - these are largely missing. No blood, no tears. It is a coldly technical coverage of a coldly technical war.

Just reported on ABC News Radio: Turkey has been hit by two "stray" cruise missiles fired by the U.S. More later.

SignOnSanDiego.com > News > Nation -- Powdery substance found at New York's LaGuardia

10:58 a.m., March 21, 2003
NEW YORK – Authorities discovered a suspicious package containing an unknown powdery substance Friday at LaGuardia Airport and partially evacuated the main terminal, police said.
A New York Fire Department spokesman said 10 people were apparently sickened by the unknown substance and were being treated at the scene. But officials with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the city's airports, would not confirm reports of any injuries.
A Port Authority police spokesman said the substance was discovered about 1 p.m. during the search of a handbag at an American Airlines section of the terminal.
Results of an on-site test were inconclusive, and a hazardous materials team was called to the scene to investigate, police said.
The terminal was partially evacuated, officials said.

So why wasn't this person, whom some say was an Israeli citizen on route to Texas, detained and questioned?
Scoop: Rumsfeld Stakeout following CNN Interview
Rumsfeld: Look, facts are facts. Truths are truths. In wars people get killed. It's a tragedy. My heart goes out to their families and their friends. These are wonderful young people. They're all volunteers and God bless them for their service.
When they're buried, generally, when they're brought back, that's known and services for them around the country are known, and there is no intent to hide anything. It's a normal procedure.

No, Mr Rumsfield, it's not a normal procedure. You are not a normal procedure -- soon your ass may be before a court of law.

Rummy howler of the morning: "We're not bombing Baghdad!"
Scoop: Military Planning for Iraqi Flooding Considered
Department of Defense military planners are considering operational strategies in response to possible flooding by Iraqi military forces. If the Iraqi military releases water into the Tigris River from upstream reservoirs, extensive flooding between Baghdad and Al Kut could occur. Thousands of Iraqis could be displaced, adding to congestion on roads and requiring extensive humanitarian support.
Despite Saddam Hussein's claims to the contrary, historical precedence indicates Iraqi military strategies include the release of water as a viable option for deterring enemy forces. For example, during the Iran-Iraq war, the Iraqi military created water obstacles to deter Iranian advances.
Iraq's strategy could include releasing a small amount of water from major dams and canals to interrupt maneuvering units. Iraq also could cause catastrophic flooding of portions of the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys, either by releasing large amounts of water from dams or by destroying them. The latter could cause major humanitarian crises in parts of Iraq, though Baghdad would experience minimal damage.

Whoops! That American Smart Bomb went slightly astray -- blame it on the stoopid Coalition.
Charley Reese
Congratulations to me and congratulations to you. All of us Americans are about to become the proud mamas and papas of 22 million Iraqis — less, of course, the several thousand our forces kill.

Australian Greens - Bob Brown's Media Releases
Today’s Newspoll showing that a 47-45% majority opposes Australian involvement in the Iraq war makes this the only war in this nation’s history ever to have public disapproval at the outset, Greens Senator Bob Brown said today.

“Prime Minister Howard does not have the nation with him,” Senator Brown said.

“He is designing a future of greater insecurity for all Australians.

“US Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld’s description of the bombing of Baghdad as ‘humane’ will fill many people with revulsion.

“The ‘shock ands awe’ bombing of Bagdad is as shocking and awful as it is illegal.

“Many Iraqis are dying in these raids. Everyone that dies before Saddam Hussein falls is a failure of the Pentagon’s attack policy.

“For now, there is enormous censorship by the Pentagon on the number of civilian and soldiers killed and wounded by the bombing or advancing attack,” Senator Brown said.

More information: Ben Oquist 02 6277 3170 or 0419 704 095

Foreign Policy -- Blessed Are the Warmakers? - A debate between Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Richard Perle
The United States and the European Union both want peace in the Middle East—but that’s about all they agree upon. While Washington believes that regime change in Iraq will usher in an era of regional peace and stability, Brussels worries that U.S. adventurism will make the clash of civilizations a self-fulfilling prophecy. Will war in Iraq prove to be an act of creative destruction, or simply destruction? Two outspoken thinkers from opposite sides of the Atlantic—Richard Perle, a key national security advisor to the Pentagon, and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, leader of the European Parliament’s Green Party—traded views and barbs at a recent debate in Washington, D.C., at the invitation of Helga Flores Trejo, the new Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Daily Kos: Comment on Urban combat in Basra
Asked by Russert if "the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties," Cheney replied: "Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators."

SKYNews 10:58 PM "Large Question Mark" over Perle's Chemical Weapons Plant story
Skynews is very skeptical this Jerusalem Post story is true, as senior officers apparently are not willing to confirm it yet - Yet the news is saying "troops found a chemical weapons plant" , but also reports that the claims are "still being investigated" by the Pentagon. Disgraceful.

Richard Perle is a Director of the Jerusalem Post

by Rumor Mill News • Saturday March 15, 2003 at 10:50 PM

Corporate directors are nearly always called on to make important and sometimes difficult decisions regarding the personnel and policy of the business that they are directing. What standards apply to this seeming "conflict of interest," where Perle, who heads an important federal advisory panel, is also a director of a company which owns a media outlet in a foreign country ??

Dear Friends, Patriots and Concerned Citizens:

: With allegations of conflict of interest, and possible
: blackmail of U.S. allies in Saudi Arabia hitting Richard
: Perle, the head of the chickenhawk-loaded Defense Policy
: Board, the neo-conservative hatchetmen in the press
: are trying to stop the exposes about "Clean Break,"
: the 1996 policy paper that Perle wrote for Benjamin
: Netanyahu, that mapped out war against
: Iraq, Syria, and Iran, and abrogating the Oslo Accords.

: The neo-con line is that anyone who questions Clean Break is
: an "anti-Semite." But most of Perle's defenders are on the
: same neo-con foundations' payroll.

This morning, on the Imus In The Morning radio program, the editor of the Jerusalem Post -- who has been a frequent guest by telephone from Israel for the past several months -- was audibly distressed by the supposed statements of Patrick J. Buchanan, who was interviewed by Imus on Thursday's radio program. Buchanan and Press is a cable news show being carried by MSNBC, now, and Imus has frequently hosted guests from other MSNBC productions. His radio show is syndicated and reaches about ten to twelve million listeners every day, with an additional audience of about 300,000 who view the simulcast on MSNBC. The cable network carries the first three hours of the four-hour program ( although it often botches the simulcast and sometimes will cut away from Imus for a commercial, while he is still talking to a guest or doing a comedy bit ).

Tom Rose, the editor of the Jerusalem Post, stated today that he was receiving e-mail letters and outraged faxes from "listeners" who had heard Buchanan's comments on Thursday. But he had to admit that he had not heard the interview at all and was not sure what, exactly, Buchanan had said. Then Rose noted -- in complete candor -- that Richard Perle is a Director of the Jerusalem Post and is therefore "his boss."

Normally, a director for a major news media operation would receive quarterly or annual compensation for sitting on a corporate board, executive committee, or some other form of management group with directorial responsibilities. Corporate directors are nearly always called on to make important and sometimes difficult decisions regarding the personnel and policy of the business that they are directing. What standards apply to this seeming "conflict of interest," where Perle, who heads an important federal advisory panel, is also a director of a company which owns a media outlet in a foreign country ??

In addition, given that Seymour Hersh has met with Adnan Kashoggi and has asked the Saudi billionaire direct questions about his meetings with Richard Perle ( and others among the Chickenhawks ), and Hersh has said in an interview on Free Speech TV that Perle was essentially trying to run "a shakedown" of the Saudi regime for $ 100 million -- how does this information relate to Perle's responsibilities as a Director of the Jerusalem Post ?? Which side is Richard Perle really on ??

: ... in the Moonie Washington Times, columnist Tony
: Blankley lunges after NBC's Tim Russert for asking Perle about
: Clean Break and the Israeli stake in Iraq war during a Feb. 23
: interview. "If such a respectable citadel of the
: establishment as Russert's Meet the Press can air such
: a question, we could expect worse ...." But Blankley is
: not an objective observer; he was Newt Gingrich's chief
: of staff, when Gingrich was being courted by IASPS,
: the think tank that wrote the Clean Break.

We should also remember that Newt Gingrich -- the once-favorite whipping boy of the Democratic left and liberals -- was an early and persistent advocate of stupid free trade deals like NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, which established numerous new government and quasi-governmental panels and bureaus, and which William Jefferson Clinton used to provide employment for a bewildering variety of long-time Democratic Party hacks, hangers-on, patronage hawks and defeated members of Congress. So, too, Congressman Moran of Virginia ( D ), was an activist supporter of Free Trade a la Clinton !! Now, suddenly, he's "evil?" And anti-Semitic ? Does that mean he "hates" Christian Semites ( Arabs ) in Lebanon, as well as Israeli Arabs, all Jewish people and all the Arab Muslims too ??

They are all Semites, are they not ??" One suspects that Blue Dog Democrats like Moran are closer to Gingrich than not ....

Gingrich, who rode to power by embracing and usurping most of the message trumpeted by H. Ross Perot in the 1992 election, and in the 1993 arguments over "Term Limits" and other possible reforms, repeatedly sold out the Perot voters and other centrists concerned about "job losses" and the economic bloodletting that would follow in the wake of NAFTA and the World Trade Organization. Gingrich was and remains a globalist at heart, and his heart is definitely in Washington, D.C. and not in Georgia. Gingrich and Tony Blankely represent what others have called "the Stupid Factor" in the Republican Party.

Gingrich and others in the GOP marshalled the anger of conservative Democrats, native-born populists, and long-time Republican stalwarts from the Goldwater years to evict the Democrats from their control of the House of Representatives and the Senate in 1994's elections. They promptly reconvened, after winning a stunning electoral victory in that mid-term contest, and allowed a Lame Duck House and Senate to vote on and approve the most sweeping changes to the trade laws and regulations ever considered, by allowing the vote on the World Trade Organization and its enabling legislation. This was done in late November of 1994 and early December. Once accomplished, it was only a matter of a few weeks afterwards, when Mexcio -- the supposed beneficiary of NAFTA -- devalued its currency and plunged the trading partnership with the U.S. and Canada into a prolonged crisis.

Ten years after NAFTA and nine years after the WTO and all of the "concessions" to the Peoples Republic of China, the United States is bleeding red ink, losing manufacturing jobs by the thousands, losing entire industries, in fact; and the so-called "information economy" and service-industries which were promised as a palliative to the free-trade deals ... litter the economic landscape as ruins, shells, failed companies or Enron-style robberies. But Gingrich is employed, and so is Blankely and so are the liars and thieves who clustered around his supposed "enemy" or opponent -- Bill Clinton.

The take-home ?? Trust the neo-conservatives about as far as they can be hurled by a grown man using a slingshot.

No farther.

Someone ought to challenge Richard Perle to reveal all of his financial interests and all his foreign media entanglements.


Daily Times - Site Edition
The US Marines ran into a surprise counterattack by The Saddam Fedayeen militia after they thought they had secured two bridges across the Euphrates River at Nassiriya. They held up the advance for a full day with guerrilla tactics, US officers said. AFP reported that US troops had managed to get past Nassiriya and were just 100 km south of Baghdad.

Elsewhere, US and British troops were tied up in Basra, Najaf and Umm Qasr, while the bombing of Baghdad continued.

Armed groups of Mr Hussein’s Baath party militias were ranging Basra, US officers said. And the commander of an Iraqi division which US officials said on Friday had surrendered told Al-Jazeera television that he and his troops were fighting on in Basra. Iraq said 77 civilians were killed and 366 wounded in the city, mostly victims of cluster bombs.

The enemy is showing a clever use of guerilla tactics to harass and interdict US supply lines. As these lines grow longer, it becomes thinner. The enemy doesn't engage in suidcide, but blends back into society for a time, then emerges in small tactical groups of 150 -300 men led by highly trained Republican Guard units, who also enforce loyalty much like the Stalinist NKPVD.

Cluster bombs - weapon of mass destruction.
Israel News : Jerusalem Post Internet Edition
About 30 Iraqi troops, including a general, surrendered today to US forces of the 3rd Infantry Division as they overtook huge installation apparently used to produce chemical weapons in An Najaf, some 250 kilometers south of Baghdad.
One soldier was lightly wounded when a booby-trapped explosive went off as he was clearing the sheet metal-lined facility, which resembles the eery images of scientific facilities in World War II concentration camps.

A fine Conrad Black paper...and Richard Perle paper...yet not confirmed by the Pentagon: yet look who bought it.
FAIR ACTION ALERT: New York Times, Networks Shun U.N. Spying Story
Despite daily reports about the "showdown" with Iraq, Americans hear very little from mainstream media about the most basic fact of war: People will be killed and civilian infrastructure will be destroyed, with devastating consequences for public health long after the fighting stops.
Since the beginning of the year, according to a search of the Nexis database (1/1/03-3/12/03), none of the three major television networks' nightly national newscasts-- ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News or NBC Nightly News-- have examined in detail what long-term impact war will have on humanitarian conditions in Iraq. They've also downplayed the immediate civilian deaths that will be caused by a U.S. attack.

Reasonable Civilian Casualties -- not on TeeVee, so not on the Real Life channel.

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