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International Archive

Saturday, April 26, 2003

The Headache of Black Gold Ownership: At the UN, the struggle promises to be merciless. Those principally affected, Russia, China, and France, permanent Security Council Members with veto rights, have no intention of clearing out for the Americans and the British. "Those are legally our reserves. If all else fails, we'll go to the Arbitrage Court in Geneva, which will lead to an immediate freeze on those reserves": as the premiere Russian oil producer, Lukoil, specified, Moscow is determined to fight to secure the contracts it signed with the former regime.
   ...the Republican Administration would like to hew a new legal framework. The acknowledged objective is to support American companies- the Mastodon ExxonMobil and the Texan and Californian "juniors"- who were shut out of the Iraqi oil sector before the war. The future oil authorities could offer some kind of legal immunity, protecting companies from lawsuits before the courts.  New dispositions could, in addition, interdict the bribes that Russian and Chinese companies readily practice.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Rethinking Schools - Just For Fun Map Game - interactive map quiz for mideast and N Africa

Monday, April 21, 2003

The New York Review of Books: Anti-Americans Abroad - Tony Judt: "Europeans want a more interventionist state at home than Americans do, and they expect to pay for it. Even in post-Thatcher Britain, 62 percent of adults polled in December 2002 would favor higher taxes in return for improved public services. The figure for the US was under 1 percent. This is less surprising when one considers that in America (where the disparities between rich and poor are greater than anywhere else in the developed world) fully 19 percent of the adult population claims to be in the richest 1 percent of the nation--and a further 20 percent believe they will enter that 1 percent in their lifetime!" [first half of this review is not very interesting.]

Sunday, April 20, 2003

THE ABRIDGED 9/11 TIMELINE - the king of the 9/11 conspiracy web sites. Lots of interesting stuff...

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Swiss to keep Iraqi funds until UN backs leadership: "Switzerland will not hand over frozen Iraqi assets to a post-Saddam Hussein government backed by the United States without a United Nations resolution, the Swiss government announced Wednesday in an apparent rebuff of the Bush administration."

Thursday, April 10, 2003

War is Just a racket, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, 1933: " I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it."

Friday, March 28, 2003

Uniting for Peace - Why The U.N. General Assembly Has Authority To Speak on the War on Iraq In the Event of Security Council Stalemate By MARJORIE COHN

We Work for Peace and Justice Building a movement powerful enough to stop the war in Iraq or to successfully curb a next war in Syria or Iran or Venezuela, involves many factors. Among these, and perhaps the most fundamental, is sufficient numbers. Statement signed by Roy, Martinez, Zinn, Chomsky, etc.."

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Arrogance of Power: Today, I Weep for my Country. by US Senator Robert Byrd Speech delivered on the floor of the US Senate:
  ... We flaunt our superpower status with arrogance. We treat UN Security Council members like ingrates who offend our princely dignity by lifting their heads from the carpet. Valuable alliances are split. 
  After war has ended, the United States will have to rebuild much more than the country of Iraq. We will have to rebuild America's image around the globe. 
   The case this Administration tries to make to justify its fixation with war is tainted by charges of falsified documents and circumstantial evidence. We cannot convince the world of the necessity of this war for one simple reason. This is a war of choice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Doomsday Predictions, By Frederick Vreeland, former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East and Ambassador to Morocco. Prior to that he served for 35 years in foreign service posts including anti-terrorist assignments for both the State Department and CIA.
   "Yes, there is a clear link between Saddam's Iraq and Muslim terrorism" said several friends during a recent month spent in the Arab world. "The link is that an American attack against Iraq will immediately create a massive increase in terrorist volunteers throughout the Arab-Islamic region.".
   These words came from highly sophisticated Moroccans who have devoted their energies and assets to forging links with the United States, where they have their children educated and their economic interests invested. Morocco is the Arab country closest to America, obviously geographically but arguably also psychologically. Its conservative, secular-oriented, democracy-aspiring elite, have increasingly looked to New York and Washington for ties that would be at least as important as those with Paris and the European Union. And part of their over-all aspiration is to undercut any growth in the Islamic fundamentalism that they fear for their own country and for the entire Muslim arc from Casablanca to Jakarta.
   Many progressive, moderate, Westernized Arabs consider themselves more antiterrorist than their friends in the US because they are closer to it and have more to fear from it. They have been barring the door against fundamentalism in their own countries, and trumpeting the advantages of modern democracy, as well as desperately seeking entry into the Western global economy. But they are fearful of American insensitivity to the realities of the Islamic world.
   They define Washington's current foreign policy as the most effective possible formula for fortifying and galvanizing the fundamentalism that they have so far been successfully curbing. "America attacking Saddam -- which we condoned when he invaded sovereign Kuwait -- will put Washington in exactly the same category of public-enemy into which Iraq placed itself by that invasion in 1990,"they maintain. "The big difference is that while we Arabs were divided in our attitude toward the Gulf War, we will be totally united against America, if it at aggresses Iraq."
   "Do your leaders understand that a US-British attack on one Arab country will devastate the delicate balance that has kept our countries tranquil, and will sew pandemonium and murderous anti-Western actions. That would be totally contrary to the US stated aim of bringing Democracy to the Arab world; it would deprive us of Democracy for decades."
   They also say that Iran's failure as a fully Islamized state is just now starting to turn young Muslims against the allure of fundamentalism. This tendency would be reversed by an attack on Iraq, according to their belief that "Bombing Baghdad today will spawn a million Bin Ladens tomorrow." They cheered our hunt for Bin Laden last year but see war against Iraq as playing into his hands this year. Similarly, they firmly oppose Saddam Hussein, but warn that our attack will increase his popularity among the Muslim masses.
   In Rome these Arab fears were immediately brushed aside when I discussed them with a senior foreign policy advisor to Italy's Prime Minister, one of those who guides Silvio Berlusconi on his pro-US stance. My Italian friend, who also maintains good contacts on the other side of the Mediterranean, acknowledged that these are widely held Arab positions, but dismissed them. "The war will be short" he replied, "and once Saddam is gone, all these attitudes will change, as the Muslims hurry to join the victorious side."
   This man's experience in international affairs runs deep and he speaks with authority. But I remember him assuring me 15 years ago that the Europeans alone would rapidly solve the problems of ex-Yugoslavia, and he promised that the action would be lightening-quick. As one of the actors on the scene at the time he had believed that the comportment of others was predictable. He had been proven wrong in all three predictions.
   For America's leaders to assure us they will have the situation in the Middle East under control after a short, containable war is equally unconvincing and unrealistic. When taking decisions regarding the fate of this volatile region, Washington must listen to, and take properly into consideration, the doomsday predictions coming from the Arab world.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

The New York Review of Books: The Wrong War:  Avishai Margalit : "If you were to ask American officials after September 11 what the enemy is, you would hear three different answers: world terrorism, weapons of mass destruction in the hands of evildoers like Saddam Hussein, and radical Islam of the sort promoted by Osama bin Laden. I believe that the muddleheadedness in the American thinking about the war against Iraq comes from conflating these three answers as if somehow they were one and the same. In fact they are very different, with very different and incompatible practical implications. In my view radical Islam of the sort promoted by bin Laden is and should be regarded as the enemy. And fighting Saddam Hussein will greatly help this enemy rather than set him back. This will be true even if the war is successful, let alone if it turns out to be unsuccessful."

UN Resolution 1441 Does Not Authorize Force: "According to the UN charter, there are only two possible situations in which one country can take military action against another. The first is in individual or collective self-defence - a right under customary international law which is expressly preserved by Article 51 of the UN charter. The second is where, under Article 42 of the charter, the security council decides that force is necessary "to maintain or restore international peace and security" where its decisions have not been complied with. In other words, where a UN resolution clearly authorises military action. "

Monday, March 17, 2003

Why The U.S. Inspires Scorn: " for a growing number of observers outside the United States, the central issue in the crisis is no longer Iraq or Hussein. It is America and how to deal with its disproportionate strength as a world power."

Friday, March 14, 2003

Ex-U.N. Inspector Warns of War Consequences: The United States could face decades of worldwide political and economic turmoil should it take military action against Iraq without United Nations consent, a former chief U.N. arms inspector warned a Las Vegas audience Wednesday. "If the United States acts without such approval, then I frankly fear the consequences of such action," said Richard Butler, who from 1997 to 1999 worked to disarm Iraq as executive chairman of the United Nations Special Commission. "It will be a terrible business and its consequences incalculable in terms of the number of lives lost and the cost....
   ..."(Iraq) has come to be seen as much more about ... the question of what will the U.S. do with its great power than about the disarmament of Saddam Hussein," Butler said. "If you listen to the French, the Germans and the Russians, you could be given to thinking that they've decided the bigger problem in the world right now is the uses to which (President Bush) will put American power.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

George Monbiot: Out of the wreckage: "The men who run the world are democrats at home and dictators abroad. They came to power by means of national elections which possess, at least, the potential to represent the will of their people. Their citizens can dismiss them without bloodshed, and challenge their policies in the expectation that, if enough people join in, they will be obliged to listen. Internationally, they rule by brute force.
    They and the global institutions they run exercise greater economic and political control over the people of the poor world than its own governments do. But those people can no sooner challenge or replace them than the citizens of the Soviet Union could vote Stalin out of office. Their global governance is, by all the classic political definitions, tyrannical.
     But while citizens' means of overthrowing this tyranny are limited, it seems to be creating some of the conditions for its own destruction. Over the past week, the US government has threatened to dismantle two of the institutions which have, until recently, best served its global interests. "

The United States of America has gone mad - John le Carré  "America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War. The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded...
   How Bush and his junta succeeded in deflecting America’s anger from bin Laden to Saddam Hussein is one of the great public relations conjuring tricks of history. But they swung it. A recent poll tells us that one in two Americans now believe Saddam was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centre. But the American public is not merely being misled. It is being browbeaten and kept in a state of ignorance and fear. The carefully orchestrated neurosis should carry Bush and his fellow conspirators nicely into the next election."

Monday, February 24, 2003

U.S. on Diplomatic Warpath: "Senior U.S. officials have been quietly dispatched in recent days to the capitals of key Security Council countries where they are warning leaders to vote with the United States on Iraq or risk "paying a heavy price.""

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

This is the presentation Sr. Joan Chittister gave at the UN Conference, in Geneva: "It is time for religious women to put the world on notice that we will not go on silently supporting war-either its victims or its executioners, not only to make safe the world but to make real the religions we revere, so that life before death can come, as God wants, for us all. Say yes to life. Yes to life. Always, always yes to life."

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Daniel Ellsberg's comments.. on Bush's reasons for first-use nuclear threats against Iraq:
...  Bush administration has prepared us to the idea of responding to chemical or biological weapons with nuclear weapons. That turns out to have been the function of this new category, which at first puzzled me, of "weapons of mass destruction." I've been in the arms control field for nearly forty years now, and I'd never heard of this "weapons of mass destruction" category, which lumps together biological, chemical, and nuclear. Between chemical and nuclear there's an enormous difference of destructiveness, by a factor of at least a thousand. So what's the purpose of lumping them together in this new category, "WMD"?
...  A whole lot of strategists of the ilk of Wolfowitz and Perle and so forth, since the Cold War ended, think, "Well, now, the gloves are off. The big stick is going to be nuclear. They've been looking for a chance to show that when we threaten nuclear weapons, believe the threat."
  But this is what they cannot conceive. They don't understand Vietnam at all, even just from a military point of view. We couldn't get people to risk their lives to inform us about the Vietcong, but they would risk their lives to inform the Vietcong about us, so they knew every move we were making, and we didn't know any moves they were making. That didn't mean they could beat us from one year to the next, but it meant that we couldn't possibly beat them. We couldn't find them unless they wanted us to find them.
  Well, that's going to be the same with al Qaeda. After Iraq, we are not going to be able to get any degree of cooperation from governments with large Muslim populations. Al Qaeda can grow and do what they want—they're safe, essentially. That doesn't mean they're going to beat the U.S., and it doesn't mean they're going to drive us out of the Middle East. But it does mean they're going to be able to kill a huge number of American civilians, much more than if we had the police and intelligence cooperation of Arab and Muslim states, which the Iraq war will destroy.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

The Rise of the Fortress Continent: Naomi Klein - "the growing number of free-market economists, politicians and military strategists pushing for the creation of "Fortress NAFTA," a continental security perimeter stretching from Mexico's southern border to Canada's northern one. A fortress continent is a bloc of nations that joins forces to extract favorable trade terms from other countries--while patrolling their shared external borders to keep people from those countries out. But if a continent is serious about being a fortress, it also has to invite one or two poor countries within its walls, because somebody has to do the dirty work and heavy lifting.
   It's a model being pioneered in Europe, where the European Union is currently expanding to include ten poor Eastern bloc countries at the same time that it uses increasingly aggressive security methods to deny entry to immigrants from even poorer countries, like Iraq and Nigeria. "

Saturday, December 21, 2002

US blocks cheap drugs agreement: "The deal was agreed by 143 countries. The United States has blocked an international agreement to allow poor countries to buy cheap drugs. This means millions of poor people will still not have access to medicines for diseases such as HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis. US negotiators say the deal would allow too many drugs patents to be ignored. "

Saturday, December 14, 2002

What kind of antiwar movement is this? | ""Not In My Name" is fast becoming the most popular refrain of today's antiwar movement. At the demonstrations I attended in London, thousands of placards declare that an attack on Iraq is "Not In My Name." In March, a huge variety of American antiwar groups set up an umbrella organization in New York called the Not In Our Name Project. One protester I talked to recently said: "Whatever Bush does or doesn't do in Iraq, it won't be in my name." This slogan sums up the current antiwar sentiment. Rather than trying to stop America's and Europe's warmongers in their tracks, antiwar protesters instead wash their own hands of war. Saying "not in my name" seems to be a way of declaring that, if and when war breaks out, we personally want nothing to do with it. This is as passive as it gets. It's almost like saying, "Do what you like, we know we can't stop you - just count us out.""

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Capital Games: David Corn on Kissinger - "Asking Henry Kissinger to investigate government malfeasance or nonfeasance is akin to asking Slobodan Milosevic to investigate war crimes. Pretty damn akin, since Kissinger has been accused, with cause, of engaging in war crimes of his own. Moreover, he has been a poster-child for the worst excesses of secret government and secret warfare...  Consider the record: "

No more going it alone for Uncle Sam: The End of the American Era: US Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the 21st Century By Charles Kupchan. "claims American primacy in global politics will end before the decade is out. The transition to a multipolar world is the paramount issue of international relations, but recent events (read: war on terrorism) only obfuscate it. If the US is wise, it will "design" a liberal world order to accommodate rising powers such as Europe and China. But if America "defaults" and remains a "great power adrift," the consequences will be dire: an aggressive China and Japan; a resurgent Russia; a remilitarized Europe; and the hungry, angry masses of the developing world."

Saturday, November 30, 2002

Ideal Terror Weapons: Portable, Deadly, Plentiful Missiles: "The SA-7 is not as capable as the newer American Stinger, which proved devastating against Soviet aircraft during Moscow's failed occupation of Afghanistan. In fact, the threat of leftover Stingers in Afghanistan was so great that the Central Intelligence Agency offered to pay hefty bounties to anyone who would return one of the missiles during the American-led campaign to topple the Taliban and rout Al Qaeda there."

'One World': The Moral and Practical Challenges of Globalization: "Peter Singer's timely and thoughtful book, ''One World: The Ethics of Globalization.'' A professor of bioethics at Princeton University and one of the most provocative philosophers of our time, Singer writes, ''How well we come through the era of globalization (perhaps whether we come through it at all) will depend on how we respond ethically to the idea that we live in one world.'' "

The Latest Kissinger Outrage - Why is a proven liar and wanted man in charge of the 9/11 investigation? By Christopher Hitchens

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Why U.S. Oil Companies and Russian Resources Don't Mix: " Bush administration is pushing American oil companies to invest in Russia, and President Vladimir V. Putin has thrown his weight behind tax and regulatory changes to draw foreign investment. The only problem is that American oil companies are not buying. After years of grappling with stubborn bureaucracies and hostile local oil companies, Western executives doubt that even Mr. Putin can make investing in Russia much easier. The Russian industry, led by companies like Yukos and Sibneft, has turned itself around and is now battling to keep foreigners off its turf. The two sides are mired in a standoff that most executives and analysts say will drag on for years. "

Monday, November 11, 2002

British Judges Criticize U.S. on the Prisoners Held at Guantánamo: "A panel of three senior British judges used extraordinary language in a ruling this week to criticize the United States' detention of prisoners from Afghanistan at Camp X-ray in Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. The three judges, ruling in a case involving a British subject held at Guantánamo, said detention of prisoners at the United States naval base there appeared to be a violation of both international law and the concept of habeas corpus developed centuries ago in England. Although the judges said the holding of prisoners at Guantánamo with no recourse to a court created an unacceptable "legal black hole," they acknowledged that they could do little about it. But it appeared evident that the judges were intent on sending a message to an appeals court in the United States that is considering the same issue."

America's For-Profit Secret Army: "During the Persian Gulf war in 1991, one of every 50 people on the battlefield was an American civilian under contract; by the time of the peacekeeping effort in Bosnia in 1996, the figure was one in 10. No one knows for sure how big this secretive industry is, but some military experts estimate the global market at $100 billion. As for the public companies that own private military contractors, they say little if anything about them to shareholders.... Private military contractors are flushing out drug traffickers in Colombia and turning the rag-tag militias of African nations into fighting machines. When a United Nations arms embargo restricted the American military in the Balkans, private military contractors were sent instead to train the local forces. At times, the results have been disastrous. In Bosnia, employees of DynCorp were found to be operating a sex-slave ring of young women who were held for prostitution after their passports were confiscated. In Croatia, local forces, trained by MPRI, used what they learned to conduct one of the worst episodes of "ethnic cleansing" "

Sunday Herald - Ian Bell: "can liberal Americans really despise [Bush] so much if they cannot even be bothered to vote against his party? And does a result unthinkable in European terms not remind us, finally, that our American allies have become very distant cousins indeed? Isolationism is a fact of US history. American power, meanwhile, is now the only relevant fact in world affairs. The decay of American politics, its simul taneous surrender to money and voter apathy, is a third fact we now take for granted -- while listening to all those lectures on freedom -- yet we rarely make the connection between these truths.... A nervous people fearing attack have chosen the promise of security, have watched bemused as their leaders have lurched back and forth between bombast and paranoia, but have not all become subscribers to the weird Republican doctrine of interventionist isolationism. If -- and it is a big if -- the Democrats can begin to articulate reasoned dissent then America's multiple personalities, its extraordinary diversity, will again assert themselves.  Two apparently contradictory things are clear. First, according to all the rules, Bush won his electoral prize hands- down. Second, this president has yet to forge the sort of coalition among his own people that makes a long war possible -- let alone convince the rest of the world. Vietnam is too often called in evidence -- this time the stakes are much higher -- but the history of that conflict contains an important truth. It began with a broad consensus and ended in acrimony so profound that America was almost torn apart. It was launched by Democrats and continued by Republicans, but in the end neither party was capable of sustaining the effort, or of explaining away its sheer pointlessness. "

Saturday, November 09, 2002

In Guantánamo: By Joseph Lelyveld. "On February 7 the President decreed that Taliban captives would be treated humanely "in accordance with the Geneva convention." He had the grace not to say that it was better than they and their al-Qaeda brethren deserved and that we are prepared to hold the lot of them at Guantanamo until the distant day, if it ever comes, when Islamic terrorist networks have been universally uprooted; but that, basically, appears to be the administration's position."

Saturday, September 14, 2002

The Guns of September - Kristof quoting Prof Alison "Bush displayed Kennedy's toughness, resolve and even eloquence. But he did not display the other qualities of statesmanship: humility about the risks of miscalculation, a passion to avoid war. ... Kennedy turned first to diplomacy and a blockade. He offered the Russians a graceful exit and thus saved lives and avoided a dangerous spin into the unknown. Today as well, why shouldn't war be a last resort instead of the first tool that President Bush grabs off the shelf? The fundamental question is left unanswered: Why initiating war against Saddam is better than the next option, which is deterring and containing him... You could agree that this is an evil guy — he is evil — who defied the U.N. resolutions — he did — and still ask why he is not susceptible to the same treatment that was used against Stalin, who was also evil and dangerous and cheated. A succession of presidents chose to deter and contain Stalin — rather than invade and occupy Russia — just as every president until now has chosen to deter and contain Saddam. Before launching a war, Mr. Bush still needs to show two things: first, that the threat is so urgent that letting Iraq fester is even riskier than invading it and occupying it for many years to come; second, that deterrence will no longer be successful in containing Saddam."

Jesse Jackson, Jr. | Bush Needs Moral Authority To Use Military Force: "The U.S. and the UN must exhaust all other possibilities before launching military action against Iraq. The President must convince the world that the danger presented by Saddam Hussein is imminent. And the U.S. must respect the views of others in the world before we use, hopefully, any joint military might to attack and remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq"

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Drain the swamp and there will be no more mosquitoes: Chomsky - "much of the world regards Washington as a terrorist regime. In recent years, the US has taken or backed actions in Colombia, Nicaragua, Panama, Sudan and Turkey, to name a few, that meet official US definitions of "terrorism" - that is, when Americans apply the term to enemies. In the most sober establishment journal, Foreign Affairs, Samuel Huntington wrote in 1999: "While the US regularly denounces various countries as 'rogue states,' in the eyes of many countries it is becoming the rogue superpower ... the single greatest external threat to their societies." "

Monday, September 02, 2002

Bernard Weiner | The Charnel House Future: Why Bush&Co. Must Be Stopped Now: " by behaving in such an arrogant, bullyboy fashion around the globe, Bush&Co. is building up anti-U.S. resentment and anger, creating conditions in which terrorism grows, ignoring and insulting our traditional allies (especially in Europe), risking our long-term economic and social health, and so on. In the long run, the world is a shakier, more violent place, U.S. interests are damaged, the international economic and civil situation is more chaotic (and we all know what kind of leaders rise in chaotic times), the domestic political situation in the U.S. grows more fascist-like, with a concomitant rebellion amongst key elements in the citizenry. "

Monday, August 05, 2002

The Rush to War: Richard Falk - "here we are, poised on the slippery precipice of a pre-emptive war, without even the benefit of meaningful public debate. The constitutional crisis is so deep that it is not even noticed. The unilateralism of the Bush White House is an affront to the rest of the world, which is unanimously opposed to such an action."

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

U.S. to Block U.N. Torture Vote: "Concerned about the possibility of independent visits to U.S. civilian and military prisons, the United States sought Wednesday to block a vote on a U.N. plan meant to enforce a convention on torture. The United States wants negotiations on the plan reopened, a move human rights groups say could kill the proposal, which they believe is essential to ending torture around the world."

Monday, May 27, 2002

To Build a Country, Build a Schoolhouse. One of the most important goals has been identified by the United Nations: universal primary education by 2015. By Amartya Sen.

Collected by Jonathan March with Radio Userland software