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Iraq Coming Apart * Galloway * Actions 4 Peace


24 May 2005

"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out
to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American
soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded,
many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.."

-- British MP George Galloway

17 May 2005 - Statement to US Senate

1) Escalating Violence Threatens To Throw IRAQ Into Civil War
- - "It's coming apart at the seams now in Iraq." -- Dahr Jamail
- - Galloway vs. The US Senate: Transcript of Statement
- - U.S. Plans To Build Four New Bases In Iraq
- - National Call-In Week - Withdrawal of US Troops from Iraq
2) Filibuster remains ~ Compromise on Judges
3) Chavez Considers Breaking US Ties Over Terror Suspect

- - The CIA Was Involved In the Coup Against Venezuela's Chavez
- - Buy Your Gas at Citgo: Join the BUY-cott!
4) Open Letter to Kucinich for Reclaiming a Lost USA Democracy

Editor's Notes:


This week brings another overload, a scurry of breaking news. The first item contains information on a national call-in action (from May 31 to June 3) to urge your member of Congress to support withdrawal of troops from Iraq. We need to change course before our presence makes a birth place of civilization any more intolerable.

Item 2 is on the Filibuster deal. It will be around, but also with growing threats to our Constitutional civil liberties.

Item 3 is on story of a twist of fate. Here, an unquestionably majority-elected President of Venezuela is challenging the US government for the extradition of a terror suspect over the 1976 bombing of a Cuban plane that killed 73 people. "Mr Chavez says Washington would be guilty of protecting international terrorism if it refused extradition." This article also reveals that the suspect, Mr Posada Carriles, was a former CIA employee. Who are the terrorists? .

Item 4 is an open letter to Congressman Dennis Kucinich. The impetus of writing this letter was with the encouragement of Irene Michaud, who asked that I forward her letter and information that asks Congressman Kucinich to write a letter of support for the Nihon Hidankyo to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. But besides this, and that of the plight of Richard Sitcha, I wrote to Congressman Kucinich to request his support for a campaign to unite a coalition of politicians to help reclaim a lost USA democracy.

War:
first, one hopes to win;
then one expects the enemy to lose;
then, one is satisfied that he too is suffering;
in the end, one is surprised that everyone has lost.


-- Karl Kraus
(1874 1936)



1) Escalating Violence Threatens To Throw IRAQ Into Civil War

- - "It's coming apart at the seams now in Iraq." -- Dahr Jamail
- - Galloway vs. The US Senate: Transcript of Statement
- - U.S. Plans To Build Four New Bases In Iraq
- - National Call-In Week - Withdrawal of US Troops from Iraq

- - A Violent Cycle in Iraq
Published May 23, 2005 by the New York News Day / Long Island
Retaliatory Killings, Mainly Involving Shias and Sunnis,
Threaten to Throw Country into Deadly Civil War
by Mohamad Bazzi

[EXCERPTS]

BEIRUT, LEBANON -- The signs of sectarian warfare are everywhere in Iraq these days: clerics assassinated outside their mosques, dozens of execution victims turning up in ditches and car bombers inflicting heavy casualties on the country's Shia Muslim majority..

"We are at a moment of extreme danger," said Hazem Shammari, a political science professor at Baghdad University. "There is a level of sectarian tension that is unrivaled in Iraq's modern history."

Many Iraqis argue that the best way to avert sectarian fighting is to bring more Sunnis into politics, and especially the drafting of Iraq's new constitution. "The terrorists are raising the specter of Sunni disenfranchisement," said Sheik Hussein Shaalan, a member of parliament and leader of a Shia tribe in southern Iraq. "We must involve more Sunnis in the process."

..By becoming so heavily involved in the new government, some clerics say, al-Sistani risks losing some of his authority and ability to keep the Shia masses from retaliating.

"The Shia religious leadership has entered the political game," Ghitta said. "Before becoming a political actor, it had more legitimacy....The danger now is that some young Shias will no longer heed al-Sistani's call to stay calm."

A wave of violence

For the complete Newsday Inc. article, see:
http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/ny-wosect224272672may23,0,5314425,print.story?coll=ny-worldnews-headlines
or
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0523-02.htm

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- - "It's coming apart at the seams now in Iraq." -- Dahr Jamail

Dahr Jamail on Living in Two Worlds
May 22, 2005 Daily Life in Baghdad, from Afar 20-22 May 2005

It's coming apart at the seams now in Iraq. We saw on the news today that members of the Mehdi Army in the south, the militia of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, exchanged gunfire with members of the ING (Iraqi National Guard) who in the south are primarily, if not entirely composed of members of the Badr Army, also a Shia group. So now we have Shia fighting Shia.
For the complete article, see:
dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/archives/dispatches/000248.php#more

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- - Galloway vs. The US Senate: Transcript of Statement

George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, delivered this statement to US Senators today who have accused him of corruption

British MP George Galloway has told US senators who accused him of profiting from Iraq oil dealings their claims were the "mother of all smokescreens".

Published on Tuesday, May 17, 2005 by the Times Online (UK)

[EXCERPT]

"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.

"I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11/2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.

"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.

"Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Halliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer.

"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.

"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government."

2005 Times Newspapers
www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1616578,00.html

The complete transcript is also available at:
www.commondreams.org/views05/0517-35.htm

Video ~ HERE ~ not to be missed!

Full testimony 47 Minutes

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- - U.S. Plans To Build Four New Bases In Iraq

Democracy Now! Headlines for May 23, 2005
Report: U.S. Plans To Build Four New Bases In Iraq

More signs are emerging that the U.S. intends to stay in Iraq for years to come. The Washington Post is reporting the US plans to build four new giant military bases inside Iraq. Under the plan, the US would station most of its troops in these heavily fortified bases designed to withstand mortar fire. Currently the US is operating out of more than 100 bases throughout the country. A spokesman for the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party warned the U.S. about the plan. He said "They appear to be settling in a for the long run, and that will only give fuel for the terrorists."

www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/05/23/1339215

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- - National Call-In Week - Withdrawal of US Troops from Iraq
May 31 to June 3 - Urge your member of Congress to support legislation for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Beginning of National Call-In Week - Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Code Pink, Peace Action, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), and others - will ask members of the House to co-sponsor (H.Con.Res.35 in expressing the will of Congress that the President develop and implement a plan for immediate withdrawal of U.S. armed forces from Iraq.

Representative Lynn Woolsey's (D-CA) House Resolution (H.Con.Res.35) calls for the President to: (1) develop and implement a plan to begin the immediate withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces from Iraq; (2) develop and implement a plan for reconstructing Iraq's civil and economic infrastructure; (3) convene an emergency meeting of Iraq's leadership, Iraq's neighbors, the United Nations, and the Arab League to create an international peacekeeping force in Iraq and to replace U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq with Iraqi police and Iraqi National Guard forces; and (4) provide the Iraqi people the opportunity to completely control their internal affairs.

Urge your member of Congress to support this legislation!

Please distribute this call far and wide!



2) Filibusters remain ~ Compromise on Judges

Deal Averts Filibuster Showdown
MSNBC

Monday 23 May 2005

[EXCERPTS]

Agreement preserves Senate rules, clears way for nominee votes.

Washington - Averting a showdown, 14 centrists from both parties in the Senate reached agreement Monday night on a compromise that clears the way for confirmation votes on many of President Bush's stalled judicial nominees, leaves others in limbo and preserves venerable Senate filibuster rules.

"In a Senate that is increasingly polarized, the bipartisan center held," said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn.

"The Senate is back in business," echoed Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

"We have reached an agreement ... to pull the institution back from a precipice … that would have had damaging impact on the institution," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at a news conference where the agreement was announced.

Officials from both parties said the agreement would clear the way for yes or no votes on some of Bush's nominees but make no guarantee.

Under the agreement, Democrats would pledge not to filibuster any of Bush's future appeals court or Supreme Court nominees except in "extraordinary circumstances."

For their part, Republicans agreed not to support an attempt to strip Democrats of their right to block votes.

The two-page memorandum of agreement said it is "based upon mutual trust and confidence."

Under the terms, Democrats would agree to oppose any attempt to filibuster — and thus block final votes — on the confirmation of Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor. There is "no commitment to vote for or against" the filibuster against two other conservative nominees, Henry Saad and William Myers.

Under the signed agreement, the senators vowed that the filibuster on judicial nominees will only be used in the future "under extraordinary circumstances."

"And each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether the circumstances exist," they wrote.

Democrats defend the filibuster as a check on the power of the majority.

For the entire article, plus Statement of Democratic Leader Harry Reid, see:
www.truthout.org/docs_2005/052305W.shtml



3) Chavez Considers Breaking US Ties Over Terror Suspect

- - The CIA Was Involved In the Coup Against Venezuela's Chavez
- - Buy Your Gas at Citgo: Join the BUY-cott!

- - Chavez Considers Breaking US Ties
Published May 23, 2005 by the BBC News
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he will consider breaking diplomatic ties with the US if it fails to hand over a Cuban-born terror suspect.

Venezuela says Luis Posada Carriles must stand trial over the 1976 bombing of Cuba's plane that killed 73 people.

Mr Chavez says Washington would be guilty of protecting international terrorism if it refused extradition.

Mr Posada Carriles - the 77-year-old former CIA employee - was charged last week with illegal entry into the US.

US immigration officials said that he would be held in custody until an immigration court hearing on 13 June.

Washington has up to 60 days to consider Venezuela's extradition request under a 1922 treaty between the two countries.

'Wasting money'

"If they don't extradite him (Mr Posada Carriles) in the time allowed in our agreement, we will review our relations with the United States," Mr Chavez said in his regular Sunday TV program.

He said Caracas would decide "if it worth having an embassy in the United States, wasting money, or for the United States to have an embassy here".

"It is difficult, very difficult, to maintain ties with a government that so shamelessly hides and protects international terrorism," Mr Chavez said.

The president last week described Mr Posada Carriles as "a self-confessed terrorist".

Washington stance

Mr Posada Carriles - who was born in Cuba but now holds Venezuelan nationality - has denied involvement in the attack on the Cuban airline passenger plane on a flight from Caracas to Havana.

Mr Posada Carriles escaped a Venezuelan prison in 1985 while awaiting a trial on appeal.

He was twice acquitted by Venezuelan courts of plotting to bomb the plane.

The US says it will not deport Mr Posada Carriles to any country that would hand him over to Fidel Castro's regime in Cuba.

Venezuela has said it will not hand Mr Posada Carriles over, and Mr Castro has insisted he will be happy to see him tried there.

For the original article, see:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4571957.stm
or
www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0523-05.htm

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- - The CIA Was Involved In the Coup Against Venezuela's Chavez
by Eva Golinger [Published by Venezuela Analysis - Nov 22, 2004]
www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno=1321

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- - Buy Your Gas at Citgo: Join the BUY-cott!
by Jeff Cohen
Published May 16, 2005 by CommonDreams.org

Looking for an easy way to protest Bush foreign policy week after week? And an easy way to help alleviate global poverty? Buy your gasoline at Citgo stations. And tell your friends.

Of the top oil producing countries in the world, only one is a democracy with a president who was elected on a platform of using his nation's oil revenue to benefit the poor. The country is Venezuela. The President is Hugo Chavez. Call him "the Anti-Bush."

Citgo is a U.S. refining and marketing firm that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company. Money you pay to Citgo goes primarily to Venezuela -- not Saudi Arabia or the Middle East. There are 14,000 Citgo gas stations in the US. (Click here www.citgo.com/CITGOLocator/StoreLocator.jsp to find one near you.) By buying your gasoline at Citgo, you are contributing to the billions of dollars that Venezuela's democratic government is using to provide health care, literacy and education, and subsidized food for the majority of Venezuelans.

Instead of using government to help the rich and the corporate, as Bush does, Chavez is using the resources and oil revenue of his government to help the poor in Venezuela. A country with so much oil wealth shouldn't have 60 percent of its people living in poverty, earning less than $2 per day. With a mass movement behind him, Chavez is confronting poverty in Venezuela. That's why large majorities have consistently backed him in democratic elections. And why the Bush administration supported an attempted military coup in 2002 that sought to overthrow Chavez.

So this is the opposite of a boycott. Call it a BUYcott. Spread the word.

Of course, if you can take mass transit or bike or walk to your job, you should do so. And we should all work for political changes that move our country toward a cleaner environment based on renewable energy. The BUYcott is for those of us who don't have a practical alternative to filling up our cars.

So get your gas at Citgo. And help fuel a democratic revolution in Venezuela.

Jeff Cohen is an author and media critic (www.jeffcohen.org)

###
This article is posted at:
www.commondreams.org/views05/0516-25.htm



4) Open Letter to Kucinich for Reclaiming a Lost USA Democracy
by Jonathan Mark

Dear Congressman Kucinich:

It has been a while since I have written. Are you still receiving, reading Flyby News?

Via regular postal mail on May 20th, I sent you information on the Hidankyo Organization, which is a group of survivors and visionaries that came out of the horrors of the use of atomic weapons that can help guide us toward peace and abolition of such weapons.

Dennis, you and I first united our efforts for such a direction after the Cassini flyby from your leadership to help maintain the ABM Treaty, and advance the "Preservation of Space" Treaties, 2001 and 2002. Since those efforts, we have seen US policy lead us into the weaponization of space, an illegal war for energy and power, loss of civil/human liberties and depletion of our national treasury. All this and global warming is getting more obvious, while the current Bush administration is making matters worse. How do we turn this around?

Well, looking ahead and back 60 years.. the Hidankyo group has given us a look into hell, and a way out of it.. Irene Michaud asked if I would forward her letter and information on this campaign for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. Could you write a letter of support for this effort? I know this is short notice, but your efforts on this would be welcome, and in harmony with many of your inspiring projects, i.e., ending occupation/war in Iraq, Preservation of Space Bill, Department of Peace, campaign for President.

I left a voice message with your press secretary on this, and two other issues. Another current concern that I hope you will address is in the case of Richard Sitcha from Cameroon, now in US jail. I transcribed his letter in the 18 May 2005 Flyby News. Can you encourage anyone to help stop his deportation to a Country where he was likely tortured? Can you help him get out of jail? He has committed no crime.. And should be given the right to leave the USA for a Country where he can live free and be safe.

The last call-for-help idea that I want to share with you is on a plan that I believe would be most effective in reclaiming our lost USA democracy. Can you engage the Progressive Caucus, and unite with other politicians, to gather a group to choose the best candidate that meets certain "peace-trust" criteria-record for grassroots and majority support for the elected President of the US? You may recall my encouraging you to manage the campaign much differently, especially in NH. We missed the boat.. partly due to a late entry into the race, so we were not able to make clear distinctions between you and Howard Dean, and GW by a grassroots effort to engage the citizenry of this State. I believe we could have converted many Dean, Independent, Republicans votes to support your campaign and platform for the USA.

We never communicated in a dialog about the campaign, and loss of nomination and election, but I hope we can learn from the past to look ahead and turn around the tide of fascism sweeping across our beloved country. More than 100,000 innocent dead, but that is only the beginning of a heinous policy threatening all life. We need a team, a group of politicians, united, which has a succession plan to best enable a survival or reclamation of democracy. Politicians must be able to bring into the open the majority of Americans wanting to save our land, our air, water, our human integrity. Have you talked with Senator Boxer on this idea? Are politicians able to work together, rather than individually, where the mainstream media can best divide and conquer us?

I am sending this letter by fax and regular mail. Irene Michaud mentioned that your response by June 1st to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee could be most helpful in our campaign for the Hidankyo organization.

I hope our friendship is still strong in light of the lapse of our communicating.. and our communicating in only one way, from me to you, since your announcement of seeking the Office of President. I sense there is much more to you, and what happens around you, than I realize.. So, please trust, beyond any criticism, remains my utmost appreciation of your efforts for all.

In the spirit of truth, and peace,

Jonathan Mark.

[This letter was sent by fax and by snail mail with enclosures to Congressman Kucinich's Lakewood, Ohio District Office.]

For more information on this and other related topics, see Campaigns for Reclaiming a lost USA democracy


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