Iraq has given the United Nations a declaration on its past germ warfare program, a UN arms official in Baghdad said on Thursday despite US doubt Baghdad would come through.
"We have been waiting six years" for this information, a UN commission spokesman said in New York according to a CNN report on Thursday. Iraq has previously provided data about its chemical weapons and missile programs, which is still being analyzed.
Jo Lomas, special assistant to the director of the Baghdad Ongoing Monitoring and Verification Centre, told Reuters in Baghdad: ``Iraq handed on Wednesday evening a declaration of 639 pages of its past biological weapons.'' Lomas said the declaration was given to UN biological weapons expert John Spertzel in Baghdad.
On Tuesday Iraq had promised to make a full disclosure of its biological weapons program within two days to Richard Butler, the UN weapons chief.
``Now I will be able to say to the Security Council that all full, final and complete disclosures have been lodged,'' said Butler after he spoke with reporters after two days of talks with an Iraqi delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.
On Wednesday in New York, Bill Richardson, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, cast doubt on Iraq's promise. ``Iraq's compliance on biological weapons has been weak,'' Richardson said. ``And regrettably, we expect it to continue.''
Butler played a major role last year in salvaging the treaty which bans nuclear test explosions by successfully pushing it through the UN General Assembly. He also served as Australia's representative to a UN disarmament conference and on a commission, which outlined a plan to rid the world of nuclear arms.
UNSCOM has often said that Iraq has not disclosed all secrets about its past biological warfare capabilities. Baghdad has said it has nothing left to hide. ``What now remains is to proceed to verify the contents (of the declaration) so that we can empty all baskets of weapons as soon as possible,'' Butler said on Sunday.
Such a report is a prerequisite for the lifting of UN trade sanctions imposed on Iraq in August 1990. The sanctions include a ban on Iraq exporting oil, its main source of income.Weapons to be eliminated include biological and chemical weapons as well as missiles.
Butler later went to Bahrain, where he told reporters that Iraq and
the United Nations have resolved a disagreement concerning the destruction
of equipment used to make chemical weapons. The equipment was being crushed
or burned under UN supervision, he said.
Cuba arrests US trained terrorist
Cuban authorities announced late Wednesday the arrest of a Salvadoran citizen connected to the terrorist bomb attacks against Cuban tourism installations last September 4th
Raul Ernesto Cruz Leon stands accused of causing six of the seven explosions that rocked hotels in July and again last week, when a bomb in the Copacabana killed a 32-year-old Italian. Cruz Leon, who entered Cuba on a tourist visa on August 31st, said he was paid $4,500 for each blast. He said that he did it only for the money.
Cruz Leon stated that he is a former member of the Salvadoran Army,
trained by U.S. military instructors at the notorious School of the Americas
at Fort Benning.
US and Israel clash on settlements
The Israeli government and its bankrollers in Washington clashed publicly Thursday, with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright urging a freeze on Jewish settlements in occupied land and Israel bluntly rejecting the call.
Albright made the call over the head of hard-line Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a televised speech that contained the toughest public language she has adopted on his policies since she took office in January.
She said a freeze in settlements and other Israeli actions seen by the Palestinians as provocative would create a climate for achieving final peace, but Netanyahu's spokesman said: "We cannot freeze settlements any more than we can freeze life."
The speech at a Jerusalem high school shook the foundations of Netanyahu's bedrock policy of settlement expansion in the West Bank, where he contends Jews have a biblical right to live.
"There can be no backing off from Oslo commitments or from the principle of reciprocity that is inherent in them.
"Israel should refrain from unilateral acts including what Palestinians perceive as the provocative expansion of settlements, land confiscation, home demolitions, and confiscation of IDs," Albright said in a speech to Israeli high school students.
Nurit Peled-Eichanan, mother of 14-year-old Smadar killed in the Sept. 4 suicide bombing, blamed the Israeli government for her daughter's death. She described the Palestinian attacks as products of their continued oppression by the Israeli government. Peled-Eichanan's father was an Israeli major general in Gaza.
"I am angry, I am very angry to think that my government betrayed me. They sacrifice our children for their megalomania--for their need to control, oppress, dominate," she said. A representative of the Palestinian Authority attended her daughter's funeral.
In a symbolic step Rabin's widow, Leah, and Arafat Thursday signed a symbolic commitment to peace in the West Bank self-rule town of Ramallah, honoring the legacy of the assassinated Israeli prime minister. "The train of peace right now is deeply stuck but the day will come when we hear the train roll," Rabin said, reaffirming the Oslo accords Arafat and her husband sealed with a handshake on the White House lawn four years ago.
"Our message to everybody and everywhere that we, the Palestinians and the Israelis, are insisting on pushing forward and protecting the peace of the brave," Arafat said. Arafat called for an end to the wave of killing. "Now is the time for peace, for comprehensive peace...We do not believe in violence or terrorism. We reject it," he said.
The Israeli government has imposed collective punishment on the Palestinians, for months at a time denying them entry into Israel to work, leaving their families desperate and hungry. Tel Aviv has demolished Palestinian homes, limited a scheduled troop withdrawal to a humiliating 2 percent of the West Bank, withheld tax money owed to the Palestinian Authority, and started construction on a large Israeli housing complex in East Jerusalem--all the time blaming the Palestinians.
Netanyahu has seized upon the latest bombings to cancel further Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank, undoing what little is left of the Oslo agreement.
"Security" was a ruse for land grab
from Workers World News Service
The Israeli military seized Syria's Golan Heights during the 1967 war for "security reasons," to keep Syria from shelling Israeli settlements down below. At least, that's the official story.
The truth, it seems, is very different. And the source for the truth is the horse's mouth--Moshe Dayan, then-Israeli defense minister, who gave the order to seize Golan.
According to a conversation Dayan had with a young reporter 21 years ago, Syria posed no threat in 1967. Fire from Syria was carefully provoked as a pretext to seize valuable Syrian farmland.
This just came out in the May 11 New York Times in a story about an interview that Dayan, who died in 1981, had with a young reporter, Rami Tal, in 1976. Tal kept the notes secret for 21 years. Now that there is debate over possible returning the Heights to Syria, the conversation was made public.
"The Syrians on the fourth day of the war were not a threat to us," said Dayan, who did not want to wage war on Syria. What changed his mind? A meeting with the kibbutz leaders who demanded that he take the Heights for its farmland.
"The kibbutzim there saw land that was good for agriculture," said Dayan. "And you must remember, this was a time in which agricultural land was considered the most important and valuable thing. ... I saw them, and I spoke to them. They didn't even hide their greed for that land."
Dayan described how "80 percent" of these clashes began. "We would send a tractor to plow some areas where it wasn't possible to do anything, in the demilitarized areas, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn't shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance farther, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that's how it was."
These same provocative tactics are used against the Palestinians and the Lebanese today, to justify further Israeli incursions into Arab land.
No Solution To Nuclear Waste Says F.O.E.
Australian environment group Friends of the Earth has said last Friday that revelations of leaks in fuel rods at the Lucas Heights Reactor prove that there is no good solution to the problems posed by nuclear waste, except never to produce it in the first place. The conditions under which it has been stored for years at Lucas Heights are absolutely unacceptable. FOE says the current leak shows that HIFAR must be closed immediately and not replaced.
According to FOE nuclear campaigner John Hallam,
"The leak shows that the conditions HIFAR spent fuel is stored under now are unacceptable. The waste is stored in holes in the ground under not much more than a shed in permeable sandstone near a major water-source for Sydney, next to two national parks on the edge of Sydney's most rapidly growing residential area" Hallam said.
Hallam said that if the spent fuel goes overseas, people there are as unhappy to have it as the residents of Sutherland Shire are to have it near them. "In any case, our reprocessing contracts with Dounreay in the UK, with whom ANSTO appear to be negotiating a reprocessing contract, actually require the waste from reprocessing - liquid and highly radioactive - to be returned to Australia," Hallam said.
This is in contrast to statements by Minister Peter Mc Gauran that Australian agreements prevent the waste from coming back.
"Putting it in the desert somewhere in central Australia is no solution either. If that is done, it will certainly be on Aboriginal land, and just try telling them that we have decided to make their land radioactive for the next million years or so, " Hallam said.
"There is no solution to the long-term problems posed by nuclear waste except never to have created it in the first place. The leak shows that we urgently need to close down and not replace the HIFAR reactor. A new reactor will create more spent fuel waste, and more problems. Minister Peter Mc Gauran is absolutely wrong: We don't need a new reactor for neutron scattering research, we don't need it for medical radioisotopes, and we don't need a new reactor for anything else that makes sense, " Hallam said.
Cassini launch delay urged by US groups
US Scientists, engineers, public health officials and anti-nuclear activists called on President Clinton on Monday to delay the launch of NASA's plutonium-powered Cassini probe to Saturn. Cassini is scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral on October 6.
Leaders of groups opposed to the $3.4 billion nuclear-powered spacecraft
said at a news conference that they are asking President Clinton to stop
the Cassini launch next month to protect the Earth from the plutonium risk.
Call the Whitehouse on (202) 456-1111.