South News updates Jan 23-29

Pentagon contemplating nukes against Iraq
South News Jan 29

The Pentagon refused to rule out using nuclear weapons against Iraq. But has said that air strikes against Iraq would be massive and sustained. Cohen, warned recently that any military strike against Iraq as a result of the crisis would not be "pinpricks"

Asked whether that might include the use of nuclear weapons, Pentagon's chief spokesman said Tuesday. Bacon replied: "I don't think we've ruled anything in or out in this regard.'' But NBC News reported Wednesday that,"So-called bunker-buster bombs would be used to penetrate deep underground to take out hidden weapons, supplies and possibly his (Iraqi) top military commanders."

President Clinton's new nuclear-war guidelines expand the criteria for using nuclear weapons and adding new targets. Chief among the new targets are the rogue states. The directive orders the Pentagon to plan for attacks against countries that use weapons of mass destruction. It even identifies specific nuclear contingencies involving non-nuclear countries such as Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea.

The Pentagon's vision is that planning for nuclear war with the Third World is necessary to deter rogue states from using chemical and biological weapons. Threatening nuclear destruction, the argument goes, is the only language regional troublemakers understand.

Defense officials have said repeatedly, if anonymously, that they were concerned that the U.S. conventional arsenal would be incapable of penetrating some of Iraq's most hardened targets, such as deeply buried bunkers that may house biological or chemical weapons labs. The Pentagon has pointedly not ruled out the use of tactical nuclear weapons to attack these targets.

In an article "Allies ready to hammer Iraq Days of `pinprick' strikes over" in The Washington Times , Nov 27 1997 detailed possible targets. "Among the Pentagon's top targets for future attacks are command bunkers located at Talill and Nasiriyah, within the U.N.-mandated no-fly zone in southern Iraq, military sources said."

"Other primary targets include scores of sites in Iraq where the United Nations suspects nuclear, chemical and biological weapons are being developed. Additional targets would include the air defense missile batteries that surround many of them."

"The main purpose of a future large-scale attack on Iraq would be to "deny {Saddam} the capability to continue to threaten his neighbors and his own people, and to threaten the world with his capability" for using weapons of mass destruction, Gen. Zinni said."

US intelligence officials yesterday accused The Washington Times of leaking sensive information that quote from secret or top-secret reports. CIA Director George Tenet said Wednesday, asserting that their disclosures harm national security.

"The executive branch leaks like a sieve. I'm here to tell you that right now,'' Tenet said Wednesday in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. "There's guilt everywhere, but the executive branch and everybody sitting behind me knows it all too well and it's a major frustration there are people all over this executive branch who have violated a trust.''

Further information
See Penetrator N-bombs threaten third world

Late Note
Australian television last night ( Channel 9 and SBS ) ran  a story from
the American based  ABC News about the deployment of new penetrator bunker busting bombs
by the US against Iraq.

Iraq to go to World Court
South News Jan 29

BAGHDAD: Iraq's foreign minister accused the United States Wednesday of fabricating a crisis as a pretext to attack Iraq, and declared that Iraq was considering taking the issue to the World Court.

Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf accused the United States of ``pretexts, false pretexts ... to falsely justify a unilateral sheer use of force against Iraq.''He Al-Sahhaf declared that Iraq was considering taking the issue to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. For a case to be heard by the court, the parties must agree to submit to its jurisdiction.

``We are considering suggestions we received from different friends that we should go to the International Court of Justice in order to complain against the American military threats and seek the arbitration and the advice of this international body,'' al-Sahhaf said.

Iraq is considering lodging charges with the World Court in The Hague against states commiting aggression against the Republic of Iraq and causing the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi nationals. Libya lodged such a complaint last year. US Professor of International Law Francis Boyle has publicly offered to charge US leaders for genocide against the Iraqi people.

Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf canned Richard Butler, the chief U.N. weapons inspector, for telling The New York Times that Iraq's biological weapons program could ``blow away Tel Aviv.''
 and asked U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to ``punish'' Butler for his remarks.

``Those statements and interviews emphasized again that Mr. Butler is not a neutral expert,'' al-Sahhaf said. ``He is biased and blindly committing mistakes, deadly mistakes.''

 In New York, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Nizar Hamdoon, delivered a letter to the Security Council president, France's Alain Dejammet, protesting Butler's comments. The letter complained that Butler had ``violated his own mandate'' by making the comments to reporters and editors of The New York Times.

An official in Butler's office, Gustavo Zlauvinen, said he hadn't seen the letter and couldn't comment. Annan, the U.N. chief, also had no comment at this stage, said spokesman Fred Eckhard.

Security Council furious with Butler
South News Jan 28

United Nations:  UN envoys of Russia, China and France were furious on Tuesday that chief UN weapons inspector Richard Butler had spoken to the press about matters on which they said he had not yet briefed the Security Council.

Mr Butler was quoted in a newspaper saying Iraq has enough biological weapons to blow away Tel Aviv. That may have been the assessment Mr Butler was giving to the media, but the Russian Ambassador to the UN Sergey Lavrov says he did not pass it along to the Security Council during last Friday's briefing. "No the council hasn't been informed," the Russian envoy said

Council President Alain Dejammet of France said, ``several delegations expressed their preoccupation about press articles which were not, in their opinion, consistent with information made available to the Security Council during its informal consultations by the Special Commission,'' which Butler heads.

The council president said members were aware that ``what is reported in the press does not always coincide with what is supposed to have been said by those who have been in discussion with the press.''

Council members ``exclusively rely upon'' official reports provided by the U.N. secretary-general and the Special Commission, he stressed. Russia and China considered such suggestions went beyond Butler's mandate.

In an interview in Tuesday's New York Times that quoted Butler as saying U.N. inspectors last month believed they were closing in on some computer hard drives containing the records of Iraq's entire program of weapons of mass destruction. But the inspectors were stalled for 20 minutes as they watched from a distance while the old hard drives were replaced with new ones, and then found the equipment only ran computer games.

The council source said the Russian representative also referred to a part of the interview in which Butler was quoted as saying Iraq had enough biological material, such as anthrax or botulin toxin, ``to blow away Tel Aviv.''

This comment, also quoted on Cable News Network (CNN), was said liable to raise tensions at a time when Russian deputy Foreign Minister Viktor Posuvalyuk was in Baghdad for talks aimed at easing the latest crisis resulting from Iraq's refusal to allow U.N. teams access to all suspect sites.

Butler was also quoted in the interview as discussing a range of options that the Security Council might consider, short of a military strike, such as extending the current no-fly zone over Iraq or sealing off the port of Basra to end contraband trade.

Later that day Butler told a group of Jewish American leaders that Iraq had repeatedly failed to give U.N. inspectors information on its missile, biological and chemical weapons programs.

``They seem to have dug in pretty hard, pretty deeply on that policy,'' Butler told a gathering of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella group off 55 national organizations.

Referring to his New York Times ``blow away Tel Aviv.'' comments Butler told the American Jewish leaders, ``it was reasonable for us to extrapolate from what we know'' that Iraq could have that capability.
``I was not saying that I could take you today to a place in Iraq and say, 'there's the missile that could do that thing.''

Clinton delivers social security/war address
South news Jan 28

Washington: In his State of the Union address aimed at Middle America, US President Clinton promised increased funding for social security, education and drug law enforcement but warned Iraq not to ``defy the will of the world''.He directed Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to sweep through Europe and the Arabian Gulf in a drive for support of a US military strike.

Clinton said he was speaking for everyone in the House chamber, which included his Cabinet and House and Senate members, in saying to the Iraqi president, ``You cannot defy the will of the world. You have used weapons of mass destruction before. We are determined to deny you the capacity to use them again.''

Clinton said Iraq had spent most of this decade on developing nuclear,chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them instead of providing for his people. Clinton, speaking in the House of Representatives chamber to a joint session of Congress, credited U.N.weapons inspectors for finding and destroying Iraq's arsenal.

"Now, Saddam Hussein wants to stop them from completing their mission. I speak for everyone in this chamber, Republicans and Democrats, when I say to Saddam Hussein: "You cannot defy the will of the world," he said.

Domestically Clinton promised to "balance the budget" next year despite the reality that Pentagon defence expenditures break any budget. Shaken by scandal, President Clinton sought to reassert his Democrat crediblity urging Congress to ``save Social Security first'' before cutting taxes or increasing spending.

``I have a simple four-word answer: save Social Security first,'' the president said. ``Tonight I propose we reserve 100 percent of the surplus -- that's every penny of any surplus -- until we have taken all the measures necessary to strengthen the Social Security system for the 21st century.''

His address was strong on rhetoric but short on programs.

He also called on Congress to support the IMF in the Asian financial crisis. With undergoing a Asian financial crisis, Clinton requested $18 billion to replenish the International Monetary Fund. He also asked for more than $1 billion to pay the U.S. debt to the United Nations.Failure to pay U.N. bills undermines U.S. leadership during the standoff with Iraq, he said.

Clinton also asked Congress to support his decision to keep American troops in Bosnia for an unspecified length beyond their scheduled June withdrawal. ``The progress is unmistakable but it is not yet irreversible,''Clinton said. ``to take firm root, Bosnia's fragile peace still needs the support of American and allied troops when the current NATO mission ends in June.''

Along with Albright's planned trip, Defense Secretary William Cohen is weighing a parallel trip to the Gulf region, seeking backing for a military response in a calculated campaign to put maximum pressure on Iraq. Also, Bill Richardson, the ambassador to the United Nations, plans a weeklong trip to Europe, Africa and Latin America to reiterate the U.S. position.

Clinton, doing some high-level consulting of his own, talked to British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the telephone, the two closely allied leaders agreeing that the situation was serious.

Albright is due to depart Thursday to confer with the French, Russian and British foreign ministers and then go to the Persian Gulf for talks with leaders of Saudi Arabia and possibly Arab countries that are within Iraq's range. .

Cohen could leave as early as next week ``to consult with our friends and allies in the Gulf about possible military action'' against Iraq, said Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon.

``The train is leaving the station here,'' Bacon said, adding: ``If diplomacy fails here, we will have to look at different options.''

Butler tries to wag top dog
South News Commentary Jan 27

by Dave Muller

Richard Butler on Tuesday joined the growing list of tale spinners to deflect media attention away from the presidential sex scandal to organize a military strike on Iraq. Butler's tall tales read like the plot of the film ``Wag the Dog,'' in which a beleaguered president stages a bogus war with Albania to distract attention from allegations he molested a Girl Scout.

To legitimise the Iraqi threat The New York Times reported today that the head of the United Nations weapons inspection commission said Iraq has enough biological weapons to``blow away Tel Aviv'' . But Butler seems to be putting his foot in his mouth once again reading from outdated pre 1990 scripts when Iraq was said to have threatened to "incinerate half of Israel" if it attacked Iraq with nuclear weapons.

In a sounds familiar rerun of the Gulf war,"Butler also confirmed that inspectors have evidence that Iraq has loaded biological weapons onto missile warheads that could be driven around to avoid being hit by bombs," the NYT reported.

Mr Butler seems to give no credit to UNSCOM destroying any weapons of mass destruction at all. He did not describe the evidence for his claims. But no doubt they being manufactured out on some Hollywood sound stage, just like in the movie as zionist political minders and spin doctors are desperately trying to manipulate the public for a war.

Israel's weapons of mass destruction are seldom cause for concern in the US media.Israel has chemical and biological weapons, and used them just a few months ago in an assassination attempt in Jordan.

While Israel may welcome such a US attack the Arab world is decidately against it with many Iraqis and Palestinians likely to suffer as a result. The Arab League has already rejected the use of force and some members in the Gulf are opposed to a strike similar to the cruise missile attacks against Iraqi targets in September 1996.

 Hamdoon warns of options if Iraq attacked
 South News Jan 27

United Nations: Iraq could stop all cooperation with U.N. weapons experts if the US launches a military strike against Baghdad, Iraq's U.N. ambassador said Monday.

``Obviously if there will be a military action against Iraq, Iraq would have to respond,'' said Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Nizar Hamdoon. ``I think its premature to say right now what Iraq intends to do,'' he said, but added: ``One of the options is to stop cooperation with the Special Commission.''

Diplomats from several countries have warned there is growing concern that military force would backfire. In Cairo, the 22-member Arab League came out Monday against a U.S. strike, urging dialogue and diplomacy to solve the dispute Among the five permanent members of the Security Council, only the United States and Britain have refused to rule out military action. France, Russia and China have all opposed using such force.

Press secretary for Russia at the UN Kirill Speransky "Russian Federation considers any unilateral action of military character unacceptable, except by the resolution of the Security Council." President Boris Yeltsin sent a deputy foreign minister, Viktor Posuvalyuk, to Baghdad to try to negotiate an end to the standoff. But Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that use of force against Iraq in its standoff with United Nations arms inspectors is "unacceptable and counterproductive."

"All further steps concerning Iraq should be taken strictly in accordance with decisions by the U.N.Security Council and be of a political and diplomatic nature," said the statement, said ministry spokesman Valery Nesterushkin.

In Paris, Secretary-General Kofi Annan was set to discuss Iraq with France's foreign minister, Hubert Vedrine, on Tuesday.