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13 March 2003

1) Threat of Terror - U.S. tests massive bomb
2) The Iraq crisis - about stopping the United States
3) 'Democracy Now!' Amy Goodman - Voice Heard on Iraq
4) Activists in Baghdad Brace for Consequences of War
5) Doves Step Up Efforts to Halt March to War
6) Pentagon Seeks Freedom to Pollute Land, Air and Sea

Editor's Notes:

Elizabeth Smart's coming home was welcomed and joyful news, but sadly too, likely to be used also as a distraction by war mongers calling for the build-up and execution of a US invasion and occupation of Iraq. The US is delaying the UN vote. Yet the US says its so gun-ho for what it calls an imminent war. So, the only real way to stop a US invasion is for a pro-active peace plan, Uniting for Peace. Innocent children don't need to die. Inspections are working, and the greater crisis at hand is with confirmed nuclear weapon programs and starving people. The brutal approach is too expensive for US soldiers', too. Not one child, or one soldier defending his home, need to die to effectively disarm Iraq from weapons of mass destruction.

The US is unresolved; the plan for a UN vote for Friday, has been delayed. Please take critical actions each weekday in support of a peaceful resolution.

For more on contacting UN Delegates in support of "Uniting for Peace to Resolve the Iraq Crisis," see this URL link:,41257,

This Sunday 16 March, thousands of communities will join in candlelight vigils in prayer for peace, beginning at 7:00 pm.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Reverend Robert Edgar, and other religious leaders call for candlelight vigils around the world on march 16th to say yes to peace -- and no to war with Iraq. So far, 2637 vigils have been scheduled in 91 countries. See the web URL link for a candlelight vigil in your area, or you can schedule a new vigil.

Please contact UN member states in support of pro-active peace plans. Encourage nations to act together to stop a US invasion that would harm innocent Arab people, and inflame unresolved emotions that could add to more problems. Thus, coinciding with Newton's law for action and reaction, cause and effect, karma.. War should only be a last resort, and per US Constitution, can only be declared by an act of Congress!

There is much to ponder in reading the following six items. The Amy Goodman interview is worth reading completely, and the story on the peace activists in Baghdad, protecting children, is simply inspirational.

Please Give Peace a Chance

1) Threat of Terror - U.S. tests massive bomb - Tuesday, March 11, 2003 Posted: 8:34 PM EST (0134 GMT)

U.S. tests massive bomb
Designed for use in 'psychological operations'

From Barbara Starr
CNN Washington Bureau

[For photo: "The MOAB, privately known in military circles as "the mother of all bombs," has been under development since late last year," see URL link following article.]

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Air Force Tuesday tested the biggest conventional bomb in the military's arsenal, dropping the new 21,000-pound device on a test site at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, U.S. officials said.

The Pentagon hopes the test will pave the way for use of the bomb -- should there be a war in Iraq -- against critical targets on the surface and underground.

The new Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or MOAB, was dropped from a military transport plane over a test site at Eglin, 60 miles east of Pensacola, Florida, just after 2 p.m.

It was the final test of the new Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or MOAB, and the first to use actual explosives. Two previously undisclosed tests, one in February and one on Friday, were inert.

The Air Force released video of the Tuesday's test, which showed the bomb falling through the sky and bursting into a massive fireball upon impact. A cloud of smoke then rose hundreds of feet into the sky.

The video was released in hopes of placing additional pressure on the Iraqi military, officials said.

For the complete article at with links and photos, see:

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For a related article:

Selling an Iraq-al Qaeda connection
Some critics blame TV news for making Baghdad new enemy
Bruce Morton -- CNN -- Tuesday, March 11, 2003

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Does Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein provide assistance to
Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda? It's a case the Bush administration has tried hard to make.

"These al Qaeda affiliates, based in Baghdad, now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network, and they've been operating freely in the capital for more than eight months," said U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in his presentation last month to the U.N. Security Council.

During testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in mid-February, CIA Director George Tenet added, "Iraq has, in the past, provided training in document forgery and bomb-making to al Qaeda. It has also provided training in poisons and gases to two al Qaeda associates."

These assertions, however, might be as good as the case gets for U.S. officials linking the terror network to Iraq. While some members of al Qaeda could be operating out of Iraq, intelligence and investigative sources said there is evidence the group also operates out of Iran and Pakistan. And while there is evidence Iraqi officials might have helped al Qaeda years ago, the same case could be made for Pakistani, Yemeni and Saudi officials.

The Iraqi president repeatedly has denied any connection between his government and bin Laden's terrorist network. "If we had a relationship with al Qaeda and if we believed in this relationship, we wouldn't be ashamed to admit it," Saddam said in a recent interview on British television. "The answer is no. We do not have any relationship with al Qaeda."

Bin Laden recently declared solidarity with the Iraqi people, but he lashed out at Saddam's government. In the latest audio-taped message purported to be recorded by the al Qaeda leader, bin Laden denounced Saddam's socialist Baath party as "infidels."

Bottom line: U.S. officials claim there is evidence of an al Qaeda-Iraq connection -- but there is no "smoking gun."

..Some critics blame the cable news networks for helping make Iraq the new enemy. "They use essentially the kind of logos, martial music, and so on that we saw after Gulf War One had started," Krugman said. "So, from the point of view of the American public, Iraq is already the enemy; we're already at war."

Many Americans who watch U.S. news coverage have accepted Saddam as the new enemy. Europeans have a different outlook.

"The European media, by contrast, have been very skeptical of the war, very aggressive of covering the anti-war movement," explained Kurtz, "and some people think they have a strain of anti-Americanism -- or at least anti-George Bush."

The above was excerpted -- the complete original article is posted:
© 2003 Cable News Network LP, LLLP. An AOL Time Warner Company.

2) The Iraq crisis - about stopping the United States

Toronto Star
Published March 11, 2003

Tide Turns Against Bush
by Thomas Walkom

The Iraq crisis is no longer about stopping Iraq. It is about stopping the United States.

This is the real significance of what is going on now at the United Nations, of the peace marches around the world, of the political turmoil that rocks staunchly pro-U.S. leaders such as Britain's Tony Blair and Australia's John Howard. Most countries outside the U.S. are no longer worried about rogue Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. They are worried about rogue American President George W. Bush.

It is this that finally pushed Russia and France to announce yesterday that they will veto any attempt by Washington to have the U.N. Security Council authorize a March 17 ultimatum to Iraq and, in effect, a March 18 war. It is this, rather than some kind of Gallic spleen, that sends French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin flying around the world lobbying against an Iraq war. When Bush's father cobbled together a political and military coalition in 1991 to oppose Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, he won widespread support from the rest of the world. At the time, most of those who dissented argued either on the basis of timing (as did then opposition leader Jean Chrétien) or consistency: Why make war to reverse Iraq's annexation of Kuwait but not, say, Israel's occupation of the West Bank or Turkey's invasion of Cyprus?

However, the principle behind the 1991 Gulf War — that nations do not have an open-ended right to invade other countries — was generally accepted.

..When, at Washington's urging, the Security Council gathered again last fall to debate Iraq, these same principles were at the forefront. Iraq had committed an international crime 11 years earlier; the U.N. had ordered it to rid itself of certain weapons; there was no evidence that this disarmament had occurred. The 15-member Security Council unanimously ordered weapons inspectors to enter Iraq again and make sure it had done what it was supposed to do.

However, two things have occurred since then. The first is that inspections worked. When pushed to the wall, Iraq reluctantly co-operated. Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and his team have found no evidence of a chemical or biological weapons program. Nor, as Blix told the U.N. last week, have they found evidence supporting any of the more extravagant U.S. allegations, such as mobile anthrax labs or underground chemical factories.

Where they concluded that weapons did break the rules (as in the case of the Al Samoud 2 missiles that fly 30 kilometres farther than they should), Iraq grudgingly agreed to destroy them. Similarly, nuclear inspectors have found no evidence that Iraq tried to restart its atomic bomb program. In fact, they found that some of the evidence suggesting otherwise, provided to them by Western intelligence agencies, was forged.

But the second, and more important, development since last fall has been a worldwide reappraisal of U.S. motives. Initially, some argued that Bush's bellicosity was a skillful tactic designed to pressure Iraq. But now, it's clear that simple disarmament is not his aim. Rather, Bush wants to occupy Iraq for an indeterminate period of time and eventually replace Saddam's government with one more to his liking. As Chrétien noted on Sunday, this makes the rest of the world nervous.

..War is to be no longer a last resort but an active part of superpower foreign policy. Decisions on the international order are to be made not at the U.N. but in Washington alone. The sovereignty of other nations is now to be wholly contingent upon U.S. geopolitical interests.

No wonder the rest of the world is nervous. No wonder that France, Germany, Russia and (maybe) China have forged their unlikely peace coalition. No wonder that even Canada is alarmed.

Thomas Walkom's column appears on Tuesday.
Copyright 1996-2003.
Toronto Star Newspapers Limited

The complete article is posted at this following URL:

3) 'Democracy Now!' Amy Goodman - Voice Heard on Iraq

Peace Correspondent

'Democracy Now!' Host Amy Goodman Is Making Her Voice Heard on Iraq

By Michael Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 10, 2003; Page C01


And now for the news

"President Bush last night claimed a war in Iraq would set the stage for peace in the Middle East, but he did not set any deadline or detail any specific steps." . . .

"The Financial Times describes the Bush administration's financial analysis as 'a piece of fiction.' " . . .

"In Australia, 43 legal experts warn that an attack on Iraq is a violation of international law." . . .

"And the United States asks aid groups in Baghdad for civilian satellite coordinates in Iraq" -- pregnant pause here -- "Is it to bomb them or save them?"

"This is 'Democracy Now!' " says the anchor. "The war and peace report." Cue the lilting Bob Marley reggae guitar licks.

This is not the news as Brit Hume construes it or Dan Rather intones it. In a "Show-down-Iraq," Blix-is-nixed, pack-my-trench-coat-honey testosterone media age, Amy Goodman and her radio show, "Democracy Now!," beam in as if from some alternative left galaxy.

For the complete article, see this Flyby News Archive URL link:,52669,

or if accessible, you can link to the following URL for the original Washington Post article, including photo and links:

4) Activists in Baghdad Brace for Consequences of War

Gannett News Service
Originally published: Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Activists in Baghdad Brace for Consequences of War

by Greg Barrett

BAGHDAD - If the invasion that the Pentagon has dubbed "Operation Shock and Awe" commences, Charlie Liteky is unlikely to feel either.

Charles Liteky
Ex-U.S. Army Captain
Congressional Medal of Honor

He expects the United States to bomb Iraq. He expects noise and destruction more powerful and frightening than he has ever known. He expects the Earth to shake and houses to go dark and children to scream themselves hoarse.

But Liteky sounds more determined than frightened.

Like 20 other members of the Chicago-based Iraq Peace Team who remain in Baghdad even as hostilities appear certain, Liteky abhors cluster bombs, cruise missiles and the civil unrest that combat causes. As a decorated Vietnam veteran, he knows firsthand the chaos and carnage of war.

That's precisely why he sounded elated Tuesday morning when he told his wife that the Iraqi government had extended his tourist visa 10 days and is likely to extend it again, long enough for him to help Iraqi children through the difficult time.

Most of the peace activists who descended by the hundreds on Baghdad this fall and winter have fled. Those who remain have no intentions of leaving. They are anchored to the bull's-eye despite the fact - or maybe because of it - that the World Health Organization predicts 100,000 Iraqis could die.

"I'm here because I hear the children cry," Liteky said. "In my mind ... I imagine the bombing and the noise and the windows shattering and something coming down from the ceiling and children looking up and parents grabbing them and fear being transferred from parents to

Save yourselves

Washington has warned the activists to clear out. The Pentagon has said its assault will leave no place in Baghdad to hide. So the rundown hotels that enjoyed full houses as recently as February are shuttering their windows.

At the Hotel Al-Fanar on the Tigris river, the Iraq Peace Team is moving to the lower floors because the eight-story building is old and seems unsteady. Its bomb shelter is a musty basement that stores the hotel's chemical cleaning supplies.

Members of the peace team have signed an ominous-sounding contract: "In the event of your death, you agree to your body not being returned to your own country but being disposed of in the most convenient way."

They have had awkward discussions about what to do with the corpses that might collect around them. Wrap the dead in hotel drapes, they decided. Pray for help.

Iraq Peace Team founder Kathy Kelly had a photo enlarged that shows her with some of her dearest friends - the family of an Iraqi widow and her nine children. The photo is being mailed to Kelly's mother in Chicago.

"She can see by that photo that I am very, very happy," Kelly said, sounding serenely calm despite the gathering storm.

On Monday, Kelly helped an Iraqi friend pack to leave. Teacher and artist Amal Alwan rushed her three young children into a taxi and paid $300 for the 10-hour drive from Baghdad to Damascus, Syria. Alwan doesn't have relatives in Syria and couldn't tell the cabbie exactly where to go.

"She doesn't have a clue where she will stay, but she can't possibly stay in Baghdad, not with children," Kelly said. "Her house is next to a communications center."

As Kelly spoke it was almost 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday in Baghdad and she was awake reading "A Fine Balance," a novel about civil war in India. She planned to rise six hours later for a daily prayer meeting then go with the peace team to the United Nations offices in Baghdad. They would hold aloft several enlarged photos of Iraqi families.

Each photo would carry a single question: "Doomed?"

"I don't have the slightest sense of not belonging exactly where I am right now," said Kelly, 50, a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee. "The thought of leaving has not even crossed my mind."

The Pentagon says the presence of U.S. pacifists will not deter the course of war. Although there are no plans to arrest them for violating sanctions on Iraq by traveling to Baghdad, officials throughout the U.S. government, from the White House to the State Department to the Pentagon, sound confused about how to best to deal with them.

"There's not a whole lot of precedence," said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Dan Hetlage. "It's not like you had human shields protecting the Taliban."

Armed for war

Members of the Iraq Peace Team say they are as prepared for war as they will ever be. They have "crash kits" packed neatly and set by their hotel doors. Liteky's is the size of carry-on luggage. It bulges with bandages, antibiotics, water-purification tablets, three liters of water, dried fruit, canned tuna, biscuits, power bars and a short-wave radio.

He hopes to ride out Operation Shock and Awe in Baghdad's Orphanage of the Sisters of Mother Teresa. Or at least to rush there as soon as the bombing subsides. He's compelled to at least try to quell the inevitable trembling of the children.

"I'd rather die doing something," he told his wife, Judy, "then die ... in some old folks home."

Liteky, 72, is a former Roman Catholic priest and Vietnam war hero awarded the congressional Medal of Honor for crawling under volleys of gunfire in 1967 to rescue 23 injured U.S. soldiers.

According to Army reports, during the firefight near Phuoc-Lac the wounded became too heavy to carry so Liteky turned onto his back in the mud, pulled the men on top of him and crawled backward under gunfire, using only his heels and elbows.

He's plenty scared of war, he said, but his fear is for the children.

When the attack comes, he said, "the most beautiful thing that can happen for me is if I am permitted to be at the orphanage. At least I could pick the children up, hold them, and try to let my calm and love transfer to them."

Liteky speaks every morning to his wife 11 times zones away in San Francisco. Since arriving in Baghdad three weeks ago, it has become increasingly difficult to hang up the phone. On Tuesday they spoke for 40 minutes, said goodbye twice, and kept talking.

"I don't have a death wish," he said in an interview Monday. "I have everything to live for. I have a wonderful wife and a wonderful life back home."

Liteky and his wife have thought for a week that the invasion of Iraq would begin sometime between March 10 and 17. So when Judy Liteky, a math teacher at a community college, left for work on Monday, she put a bumper sticker on her car.

"Attack Iraq? No!," it read.

"The bumper sticker made me feel just a little bit better," she said

Kelly heard late Monday that the United Nations would evacuate most of its remaining office staff on Tuesday. Still, she sounded steadfast in her decision to stay in Baghdad, even if it meant dying.

"A lot of people are concerned for the foreigners who remain here; you wonder if anyone is concerned for these very ordinary Iraqi people who are going to die here," she said.

When photographer Thorne Anderson chose to travel to Baghdad with Kelly in January to document the people and the war, he informed his family of the trip in an email.

Anderson, who has freelanced for Gannett News Service, Newsweek, The New York Times and other publications, said he expected a little preaching, lots of concern, and some pleas to reconsider.

Instead, his father, the Rev. Eade Anderson of Montreat, N.C., was succinct in his reply.

"I've always said life shouldn't be wasted on the small things," he wrote in an email. "Love, Dad."

© 2003 Gannett News Service

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Related article: "Pentagon Threatens to Kill Independent Reporters in Iraq

10th March, 2003
by Fintan Dunne, Editor

The Pentagon has threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists in Iraq, according to veteran BBC war correspondent, Kate Adie. In an interview with Irish radio, Ms. Adie said that questioned about the consequences of such potentially fatal actions, a senior Pentagon officer had said: "Who cares.. ..They've been warned."

For the complete article, see:

5) Doves Step Up Efforts to Halt March to War

San Francisco Chronicle
Published Thursday, March 13, 2003

Doves Step Up Efforts to Halt March to War
by Edward Epstein

WASHINGTON -- As war apparently draws nearer, anti-war members of Congress led by Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland outlined their last-ditch bid on Wednesday to reopen debate on whether the United States should attack Iraq.

Lee's vehicle, the latest in a host of anti-war resolutions that the leadership of both houses has refused to take up, is the introduction of a nonbinding resolution that would put the House on record as opposing so-called wars of pre-emption.

Lee and other anti-war House members admit there isn't much they can do to stop a war against Iraq, but they plan to hold more press conferences and try parliamentary maneuvers to force debate on the House and Senate floors.

President Bush's supporters say Congress spoke on the issue in October when the House voted 296-133 and the Senate 77-23 to authorize the president to use military force against Iraq. They argue that Saddam Hussein is still refusing to obey United Nations Resolution 1441 calling for Iraq to disarm.

Calling the president's justification for a pre-emptive attack against Hussein's regime "a statement of extreme arrogance and illegality," Lee said at a Capitol press conference that the Bush doctrine "undermines any moral authority of the United States in seeking peaceful resolution of any conflicts. "

One of her co-sponsors, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, was active on two fronts Wednesday. A lawsuit he and 14 other House members filed in U.S. District Court in Boston claiming Bush doesn't have the right to go to war without an express declaration from Congress was reinstated by an appeals court after a judge had thrown it out.

Last week, Kucinich filed a House "resolution of inquiry," asking that Bush be required to turn over to the House all 12,000 classified pages of Iraq's report on its weapons of mass destruction that Hussein's regime gave the United Nations in December. Last Friday, the administration quietly handed the report to the House Select Intelligence Committee, and most House members can see it as long as they keep its contents secret.

It's unclear whether Kucinich can view it, however. He, Rep. Pete Stark, D- Fremont, and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., have refused to sign the pledge of confidentiality required of members if they want to see classified material.

"I'm checking if I can get access," Kucinich said. "I think the American people will want to see it."

On Wednesday, the House International Relations Committee sent Kucinich's resolution to the full House, even though it is a moot point. Leaders made it clear that any floor debate must be limited to the resolution's specifics and cannot include a wider debate on Iraq policy.

Lee's proposal, which she introduced with more than a dozen House Democrats as co-sponsors, joins other bills recently introduced to try to forestall the move toward war. These include a proposal to repeal October's vote. Among the co-sponsors are Lee, Stark, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, and Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel.

Sens. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., have a similar bill in the Senate.

One member who voted for the resolution in October, Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D- Walnut Creek, has introduced a bill calling on Bush to make a full report to Congress before he launches an attack. And California's two senators, Barbara Boxer -- who voted against October's resolution -- and Dianne Feinstein -- who supported it -- put forward a resolution calling for U.N. inspectors to get more time to complete their work.

Bush has left little doubt that he intends to act against Hussein and feels fully justified in doing so. "We are determined to confront threats wherever they arise," he said at his press conference last Thursday. "I will not leave the American people at the mercy of the Iraqi dictator and his weapons."

©2003 San Francisco Chronicle
The above originally published article is posted at:

6) Pentagon Seeks Freedom to Pollute Land, Air and Sea

Independent (UK)
by Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles

The Pentagon is quietly seeking exemptions from some of America's main environmental laws, which would give the military free rein to dump spent munitions, pollute the air and poison endangered species at its bases without risk of liability for any damage.

The proposal, slipped into the fine print of the 2004 military budget last week, is enraging environmentalists and some senior figures on Capitol Hill, who say the Pentagon is taking shameless advantage of the 11 September attacks and the looming war against Iraq to wriggle out of its responsibilities to public health and the country's natural heritage.

"There is no justification whatsoever for the exemptions they are seeking. They do not even present examples of why they are seeking this exemption," John Walke, a clean air specialist with the National Resources Defense Council, said.

Among the laws the military is seeking to circumvent are the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, important pieces of legislation governing the clean-up of environmental disasters and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Navy sonars have been blamed for the deaths of whales found washed up on beaches.

For the complete originally posted article - URL link - see:


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