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When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History

posted by admin on Tuesday March 18, @07:44AM
from the commondreams.org dept. Civil Liberties

by Thom Hartmann

The 70th anniversary wasn't noticed in the United States, and was barely reported in the corporate media. But the Germans remembered well that fateful day seventy years ago - February 27, 1933. They commemorated the anniversary by joining in demonstrations for peace that mobilized citizens all across the world.

It started when the government, in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed. (Historians are still arguing whether or not rogue elements in the intelligence service helped the terrorist; the most recent research implies they did not.)

But the warnings of investigators were ignored at the highest levels, in part because the government was distracted; the man who claimed to be the nation's leader had not been elected by a majority vote and the majority of citizens claimed he had no right to the powers he coveted. He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw things in black-and-white terms and didn't have the intellect to understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and internationalist world. His coarse use of language - reflecting his political roots in a southernmost state - and his simplistic and often-inflammatory nationalistic rhetoric offended the aristocrats, foreign leaders, and the well-educated elite in the government and media. And, as a young man, he'd joined a secret society with an occult-sounding name and bizarre initiation rituals that involved skulls and human bones.

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John Pilger: Disobey

posted by admin on Tuesday March 18, @07:14AM
from the informationclearinghouse.info dept. dissent

by John Pilger; March 13, 2003

How have we got to this point, where two western governments take us into an illegal and immoral war against a stricken nation with whom we have no quarrel and who offer us no threat: an act of aggression opposed by almost everybody and whose charade is transparent?

How can they attack, in our name, a country already crushed by more than 12 years of an embargo aimed mostly at the civilian population, of whom 42 per cent are children - a medieval siege that has taken the lives of at least half a million children and is described as genocidal by the former United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Iraq?

How can those claiming to be "liberals" disguise their embarrassment, and shame, while justifying their support for George Bush's proposed launch of 800 missiles in two days as a "liberation"? How can they ignore two United Nations studies which reveal that some 500,000 people will be at risk? Do they not hear their own echo in the words of the American general who said famously of a Vietnamese town he had just levelled: "We had to destroy it in order to save it?"

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Guardian (UK) Says Iraq War Illegal: The legal case for war with Iraq

posted by admin on Monday March 17, @06:41PM
from the guardian.co.uk dept. Iraq

As the US and UK appear set to pursue war in Iraq without a second UN resolution, Matthew Happold explains whether this course of action would be legal

Thursday March 13, 2003

Is war illegal without a second UN resolution?

The prohibition of the use of force is a foundational rule of international law. Only two exceptions are permitted: the use of force in self-defence, or with the express authorisation of the UN security council exercising its powers under chapter VII of the UN charter.

Iraq has not attacked the US, the UK or their allies, nor is there any evidence that it is about to do so. Force may only be used in self-defence in response to an actual or (according to some commentators) an imminent armed attack. Therefore any arguments based on self-defence fail. What the US national security strategy has advocated are pre-emptive attacks on countries which may threaten the US. The use of armed force in such circumstances is contrary to international law.

What about UN resolution 1441?

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War: War in Iraq a crime, says Vatican (Pope Shows His Cards)

posted by admin on Monday March 17, @06:32PM
from the theaustralian.news.com.au dept. Iraq

From correspondents in Vatican City
March 18, 2003

MILITARY intervention against Iraq would be a crime against peace demanding vengeance before God, the head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has said.

"War is a crime against peace which cries for vengeance before God," said Archbishop Renato Raffaele Martino, speaking on Vatican Radio.

He stressed the deeply unjust and immoral nature of war, saying it was condemned by God because civilians were the worst sufferers.

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France Denounces U.S. and Its Allies: "War is NOT a game"

posted by admin on Monday March 17, @06:15PM
from the washingtonpost.com dept. Iraq

Minister Warns Of Consequences

By Robert J. McCartney
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, March 18, 2003; Page A14

PARIS, March 17 -- French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin denounced the United States, Britain and Spain today for planning to wage war against Iraq, saying such a conflict ran counter to international opinion and risked "serious consequences" for the Middle East and the world.

De Villepin issued the forcefully worded written statement this evening, hours before President Bush was scheduled to deliver a television address on Iraq. The minister reaffirmed the French position that war was not justified now because U.N. inspections were effectively disarming Saddam Hussein's government.

"A wide majority" of the 15 members of the Security Council support the French stance, de Villepin said. The United States, Britain and Spain were resorting to force "despite the clearly expressed will of the international community," he said.

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PAUL KRUGMAN: Things to Come

posted by admin on Monday March 17, @05:27PM
from the nytimes.com dept. Iraq

By PAUL KRUGMAN

Of course we'll win on the battlefield, probably with ease. I'm not a military expert, but I can do the numbers: the most recent U.S. military budget was $400 billion, while Iraq spent only $1.4 billion.

What frightens me is the aftermath — and I'm not just talking about the problems of postwar occupation. I'm worried about what will happen beyond Iraq — in the world at large, and here at home.

The members of the Bush team don't seem bothered by the enormous ill will they have generated in the rest of the world. They seem to believe that other countries will change their minds once they see cheering Iraqis welcome our troops, or that our bombs will shock and awe the whole world (not just the Iraqis) or that what the world thinks doesn't matter. They're wrong on all counts.

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Foreign Policy: Voice of the dark corners

posted by admin on Monday March 17, @10:30AM
from the guardian.co.uk dept. Bush

Fidel Castro

Thursday March 6, 2003

The Guardian

These are hard times we are living in. In recent months, we have more than once heard chilling words and statements. In his speech to West Point graduating cadets on June 1 2002, the United States president declared: "Our security will require transforming the military you will lead, a military that must be ready to strike at a moment's notice in any dark corner of the world."

That same day, he proclaimed the doctrine of the pre-emptive strike, something no one had ever done in the political history of the world. A few months later, referring to the unnecessary and almost certain military action against Iraq, he said: "And if war is forced upon us, we will fight with the full force and might of the United States army."

That statement was not made by the government of a small and weak nation, but by the leader of the richest and mightiest military power that has ever existed, which possesses thousands of nuclear weapons, enough to obliterate the world's population several times over - and other terrifying conventional military systems and weapons of mass destruction.

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War: Sorry, Mr Blair, but 1441 does not authorise force

posted by admin on Sunday March 16, @07:11PM
from the guardian.co.uk dept. Iraq

> The Guardian

The legal community is deeply divided on the question of the legality of using force against Iraq in the absence of a further UN resolution. There are two camps. The first takes the view that military action can be justified without a further resolution either on the basis of self-defence or on the basis that previous UN resolutions, including resolution 1441, authorise the use of force. The second takes the opposite view that, as things stand, there is no actual or imminent threat from Iraq that would justify a "self-defence" response by the UK and that nothing in resolution 1441, or any other UN resolution, authorises the use of force without a further resolution giving clear authority to do so.

The government has been advised on the issue by Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general. His advice is to be disclosed today. All the prime minister has been prepared to say so far is that the UK will not take any action that does not have a "proper legal basis", as he made clear in his answers in parliament last week.

Time is now running out. In the very near future British troops are likely to be committed to battle. They, their families and the public have a right to know what the "proper legal basis" for their action is. Engaging in armed conflict in breach of international law is a precarious business. The idea that the prime minister would end up before the international criminal court for participating in a US-led attack is far-fetched. But military commanders on the ground will not thank the government if any action they take is later judged to have been in breach of international law.

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War: Global Eye -- Last Orders

posted by admin on Sunday March 16, @10:22AM
from the moscowtimes.ru dept. Iraq

By Chris Floyd

When George W. Bush finally launches his war of aggression and dominion against Iraq, the decades-long corruption of the great ideals of the American Republic will be complete. The shadowy militarized oligarchy created after World War II -- the infamous "National Security State," a military-corporate complex financed by the looting of the public treasury, protected and promoted by a hydra of secret agencies and covert armies, and driven by the fomenting of almost-ceaseless war -- will reach its apotheosis, standing triumphant and alone, having at last devoured the body politic upon which it has fed for so long.

We will then enter a new Dark Age -- the Age of Predation and Proliferation. For when the unconstitutionally appointed junta leader Bush sends his soldiers storming across the border into Iraq, the United States -- whose principles and ideals, however imperfectly realized, once represented humanity's brightest hopes of liberty and democracy -- will be teaching the world a new lesson: Attack your perceived (or manufactured) enemies even when they haven't injured or threatened you. Destroy them, seize their lands and drain their resources for your own profit. Attack without provocation, without mercy, with your entire arsenal of weapons of mass destruction "on the table" -- including the chemical weapons Donald Rumsfeld has received presidential permission to employ on Iraqi soldiers and civilians, and his vast stockpile of radioactive "depleted uranium" munitions, plus the 9,500-kilogram MOAB "superbomb" and the planned "shock and awe" barrage of cruise missiles on Baghdad, both of which will "rival nuclear weapons" in their indiscriminate destructive power, according to Pentagon warplanners.

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War: Blair Plans for War as UN is Given 24 Hours

posted by NYC on Saturday March 15, @02:07PM
from the War dept. Iraq

Kamal Ahmed, political editor

Sunday March 16, 2003

The Observer

Tony Blair held an emergency 'war Cabinet' meeting yesterday to finalise plans for military action against Iraq and demand that the United Nations comes to a decision on the vital second resolution against Saddam Hussein within 24 hours.

As Number 10 made clear that the chances of a diplomatic breakthrough in the Security Council were now 'bleak' and American bombers for the first time struck at targets in Iraq, the UN was given until tomorrow evening to come to a final choice on whether to back a second resolution or see America and Britain launch military action alone.

If it is clear Britain and the US cannot get the necessary nine votes to pass the resolution in the council, they will dump plans to put it to a vote and announce that Saddam is in 'material breach' of UN resolution 1441 passed last November.

That will be seen on both sides of the Atlantic as a trigger for war, which Ministry of Defence sources said would happen 'in short order'. It is expected that an air bombing campaign, followed by a massive ground offensive, would start within a few days.

It followed the disclosure by America yesterday that two US Air Force B-1 bombers knocked out truck-mounted anti-aircraft radar systems designed to alert Iraq to attack by British and US forces - a signal that war was imminent.

Continued.

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