South news June 27

Protests rock Security Council

A world wide protest of international condemnation for not reviewing the Gulf War sanctions against Iraq has shaken the complacence of the UN Security Council.

The protests come after a  Security Council resolution  taken at a late night meeting last weekend decided to not review the economic embargo on Iraq on June 30 and postpone all 60 days reviews until October, when the UNís own reports confirm  sanctions against Iraq are responsible for the premature deaths of over a million Iraqis over the last seven years.

World opposition to the sanctions has been growing. Demonstrations are scheduled in cities on all five continents--from Rome to South Africa, from the West Bank in Palestine to Canada, from Japan in the north to Australia & New Zealand in the south.

The week long protest action  in more than 100 cites worldwide began with teach ins across America on June 26 and culminates with a march on UN headquarters in New York on July 1.

On July 1, hundreds of children from schools, mosques, churches and child care centers in New York will lead a march to the United Nations. The children will deliver petitions and messages from cities participating in the week of opposition.

Of the sanction induced premature deaths over half the victims are children. More than 4,500 children under the age of 5 are still dying every month in Iraq due to the economic embargo, according to figures released in  a recent UNICEF report

Sara Flounders, one of the protest organisers in New York said, "The economic strangling of Iraq by the UN Security Council could not continue if people around the world knew about it and confronted the sanctions. This is a silent slaughter of enormous proportion.

"In the case of Iraq, the goal of U.S. corporations is to control the largest oil resources in the world. The sanctions are a brutal form of war that has implications for any country that attempts to resist U.S. dictates, as well."

Flounders concluded: "Sanctions are truly a U.S. weapon of mass destruction. Teach-ins and protests in 100 cities show there is growing opposition internationally. We must continue organizing a determined, coordinated opposition to defeat this criminal U.S. aggression against Iraq."

In Melbourne,  David Muller of the South Movement said, "this use or rather misuse of the UN charter has no equivalent in modern history" He quoted from The charter of economic rights and duties of states adopted by the General Assembly in 1974 which says
 "[N]o state may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights or to secure from it advantages of any kind.
He said that a further UN resolution GA 44/215 Dec 1989
"Calls upon the developed countries to refrain from exercising political coercion through the application of economic instruments with the purpose of inducing changes in the economic or social systems, as well as in the domestic or foreign policies, of other countries; Reaffirms that developed countries should refrain from threatening or applying trade and financial restrictions, blockades, embargoes, and other economic sanctions, incompatible with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and in violation of undertakings contracted multilaterally and bilaterally, against developing countries as a form of political and economic coercion that affects their political, economic, and social development."

Commenting the recent diplomatic maneuvering of the G-7 which brought on the UN Security Council vote he said, "despite their inter rivalries the economic super powers of the global north operate as veritable free mason society when it comes to a perceived challenge from a country in the global south."

The United States won agreement from France, Japan and Russia during the G-7 Denver economic summit to deepen measures against Iraq. France and Russia had reportedly expressed reservations about tighter strictures. But U.S. arm-twisting prevailed.

Mr. Muller concluded by making three points,
· "Repression breeds resistance but power never concedes anything without a struggle.
· The days of this imperialist oil conspiracy and blockade against Iraq are numbered.
·  When the world poor nations are united they can never be defeated."

 See:  Events 

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appalled by Somali atrocites

In a press statement on June 23 the UN secretary-general said he was  appalled and outraged by these actions which are unacceptable and counter to everything peace- keeping stands for.

"These soldiers are now being held to account by their contributing governments and will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.

"Let there be do doubt: United Nations peace-keeping soldiers are and should be held to the highest standard of service and conduct. Training of soldiers in their responsibilities to citizens, refugees and other facing hardships has been strengthened since 1993. The duty of commanding officers to immediately report any conduct that is out of order has been stressed.

"While soldiers are under the command of their own superior officer, I wish to assure that every possible effort will be made on the part of the United Nations to ensure that such incidents do not recur. I deeply regret these incidents and the pain they caused. "

Related story : UN atrocities in Somalia reviewed

Revenue from illicit drugs: $400 billion : '8% of total global trade', says UN report

The United Nations, which has its drug control and anti-crime offices in Vienna,  unveilled on Thursday, 26 June, a new World Drug Report, which is the first comprehensive overview of worldwide trends on all aspects of the drug problem -- including production, trafficking, abuse, interdiction, rehabilitation and prevention.

Among the findings reported are the following:

The report also provided a more detailed look at the drug situations in eight selected countries: Australia, Colombia, Italy, Pakistan, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States.The 332-page report, richly illustrated with maps, graphs, tables and photographs, is published by Oxford University Press. The World Drug Report is not to be confused with the annual reports of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), which is a watchdog body independent of the United Nations.

Related articles:

New book on CIA war on Saddam

In a new book on the CIA covert operations in northern Iraq, Warren Marik of the CIA says he did everything he could think of -- and was permitted to do.  He helped organize flights of unmanned aircraft over Baghdad to drop leaflets ridiculing the Iraqi president on his birthday. He organized military training and some small arms supplies to Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq. And he oversaw spending millions of dollars that went to a Washington-based public relations firm to produce radio scripts and videotapes denouncing the regime.  None of it worked.

Marik has come in from the cold to tell the story of the CIA's war on Saddam as he saw it.  Marik says he does so partly with the hope of getting the agency to reconsider what he views as a misguided shift of strategy. He criticizes a past shift toward fomenting a quick coup against Saddam, and away from the plan that he tried to carry out aimed at gradually strengthening a "liberated" zone in the country's Kurdish north.

Marik tells a story of sharp factionalism and confusion within the CIA as case officers warred with each other to impress superiors and promote different sets of "clients" among the Iraqi dissidents they supported.  In particular, while Marik was working with Chalabi and the National Congress, others in the U.S. government opted to support former political associates of Saddam and his generals in the belief that they had a chance to quickly overthrow his regime.

His matter-of-fact, precise descriptions of risky agency exploits in the remote Kurdish homeland of northern Iraq center on the help provided to the Iraqi opposition to assemble a force capable of taking on an Iraqi army division in March 1995.  Parts of the story of the failure of that offensive, and the rout of the competing CIA attempt to organize a palace coup against Saddam, have been previously published. Among the new points about the operation, which absorbed at least $100 million in U.S. funds and cost the lives or freedom of hundreds if not thousands of Iraqis who worked with the agency, are these:  A top CIA covert operative -- known to the Iraqis as "Bob" and not further identified in this account because he is still in covert service with the CIA -- designed what the Iraqis called the "Bob plan" for a direct attack on the Iraqi army in March 1995.

 The goal was to demonstrate the rebels' strength and, hopefully, highlight the unwillingness of Iraqi troops to fight to defend Saddam. Marik and "Bob" were the two principal CIA agents working in northern Iraq with the National Congress rebels.  According to Chalabi, the "Bob plan" included a secret contact with Iran -- a neighbor and bitter foe of Iraq -- seeking Iranian complicity in the Iraqi rebel attack. But Washington quickly disavowed that message and withdrew support for the operation.

 As its first step in the campaign to bring down Saddam, the agency hired an American public relations and political lobbying firm, the Rendon Group of Washington, to develop a worldwide propaganda campaign. John Rendon, head of the firm, is a former campaign consultant for Jimmy Carter.  Congress -- particularly the Senate intelligence committee, which sent two staff aides along with CIA agents on evaluation missions in the north -- has played a major role in pressing for covert action and in shaping a program that many at the agency saw as doomed to fail from the outset.

 The CIA official with direct departmental responsibility for the ill-fated operation, Steven Richter, is said by agency insiders to be the leading candidate for the powerful position of director of operations at the agency -- head of the CIA's clandestine wing -- if President Clinton's designated director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet, is confirmed by the Senate in mid-July as expected.

Two CIA sources noted that the pressure within the Clinton administration to get on with overthrowing Saddam accelerated when John M. Deutch moved from the Defense Department to become CIA director in May 1995, and intensified more as the 1996 presidential election campaign moved nearer.  Deutch, now teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, declined to comment for this article, as did the CIA's office of public affairs.

 The leaders of the agency's Iraq Operations Group doubted they could easily accomplish what an international army of 500,000 men had failed to do.  But they began drawing up a classic covert operation similar to those that had worked with varying degrees of success over the past half-century in Iran, Guatemala, Afghanistan, Nicaragua and elsewhere in the Third World.  "Lethal findings" -- under which the agency can with two exceptions undertake whatever action is needed, even if that action would lead to fatalities -- are rare. Marik only worked in two situations covered by such a document: Afghanistan and Iraq.

Under U.S. law, CIA officers cannot directly participate in an assassination plot. And they cannot suggest in their propaganda that the United States will support a public uprising against an entrenched regime.  Some agents call this latter red line -- a standard one in covert action -- "Budapest rules." The agency was accused of having incited the Hungarian population to rise against Soviet occupation in 1956 and then having done nothing to help fight the Russians.  The initial funding for the Iraq operation was set at $40 million, according to two independent sources. But that could grow under Bush.  "The question we kept getting from the White House then was `How much do you need?' " says a CIA source. "After Clinton and [national security adviser Anthony] Lake came in, it changed to `How much can you get along on?' At several key points, the Clinton White House refusal to come up with a few million dollars jeopardized or stymied the whole operation."  The agency's first reflex was to expand a global propaganda campaign the Kuwait government was already financing to denounce Iraqi atrocities in the 1990 invasion.

The Rendon Group, a public relations firm, got the contract.  John W. Rendon, head of the firm, is a political consultant close to the Democratic National Committee who worked as scheduler for President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 campaign. He was out of the country yesterday and his firm did not return a telephone call.  Rendon ran the operation from Washington with branch offices in Boston and London. Their main activity, veterans of the operation say, was to produce radio scripts calling on Iraqi army officers to defect for broadcast on two large radio transmitters the CIA established and managed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Agency-run radio stations also sprang up in Cairo and Amman. The Kuwait and Amman stations are still in operation.  By mid-1992, Chalabi and the National Congress were working with the Rendon group.

 Chalabi, a graduate of MIT and the University of Chicago, had been active in anti-Saddam efforts since the early 1970s but had not previously worked with the agency.  But in 1992 he and other leaders in the National Congress decided to accept covert support, which would eventually grow to $326,000 a month. In Washington, Marik, who came aboard the agency's Iraq Operation Group in 1993, began shifting money from the Rendon operation to direct support of the National Congress.  U.S. officials began visiting the northern enclave the United States had ordered Saddam to stay out of in 1991. In September 1994, two Senate intelligence committee staff aides accompanied "Bob," deputy director of the Iraqi Operations Group at that point, into the north and shortly afterward the committee cleared the agency to establish a clandestine, semipermanent team in northern Iraq.  Over the next two years a total of about 50 agents rotated in and out, living in a fortified compound in the opposition-controlled town of Salahuddin. Teams composed of four to 10 agents each lived there for an average stay of six weeks.

Their formal mission was to monitor the National Congress and gather intelligence.  In fact, they did much more. Marik, who led the first field team into Iraq in late October 1994, put it this way: "Nobody said we should provide military training and provide weapons to the [National Congress] force. But when we did that and reported it back to Washington, nobody said stop it, either."  His time in Iraq was a transforming experience for Marik, a Chicago native who entered the agency after military service in Vietnam. He brushes aside questions about what he did in Afghanistan by answering only "the usual stuff." But on Iraq, he feels passionately that the agency had a winning hand that it threw away.  In late 1994, control of the Iraq Operation Group was taken away from the veterans who had worked out the long-term political program with Chalabi and who, in the words of one agent, "kept the crazy ideas about silver-bullet coups away from the agency leadership."

After that the agency embarked on a "special channel" compartmentalized operation to prepare a quick-strike coup against Saddam. It was to be organized by former army officers and political cronies of the Iraqi dictator. They claimed they were in touch with serving military officers who would oust Saddam and take power.  Marik and the officers working with the Chalabi group were told to stay away from the operation, run with a dissident group called the Iraqi National Accord, when it became apparent to them that a second covert operation targeted at Saddam was under way.

 Upon his arrival in 1995, Deutch not only gave the coup effort the green light but also pressed his agency to set "milestones" for getting the job done. Some officials there had the impression they were facing a deadline of about a year, in time to remove Saddam as an issue in the 1996 election.

The idea was to hollow out the Iraqi army by making defection to the north safe. Chalabi sought to hold the two main Kurdish factions together and use their guerrilla forces as the core of a regional military force. But they needed training, weapons, a military plan and reason to hope the United States would help them in a crunch.

 Gradually "the Bob plan," named after the blond, blue-eyed, 6-foot-tall agent who elaborated it, came into being, with a target date of March 4, 1995, for a coordinated strike on the garrisons of Mosul and Kirkuk by 20,000 Kurdish guerrillas, 1,000 National Congress soldiers and 1,000 armed followers of the Iraqi Communist Party, according to Gen. Wafiq Samarrai, Saddam's former chief of military intelligence. He defected to the National Congress in 1994 and directed the offensive.  "We wanted Saddam to go on full alert, to try to fight back and see that his units would not fight for him," Chalabi says.

 According to Chalabi, on Feb. 27 "Bob" asked him to use his contacts with Iran's ruling ayatollahs to pass a message saying Washington would look with favor on Iran moving troops along its border to distract Saddam as the offensive began.  "Bob" could not meet the Iranians himself. But Chalabi says the CIA agent stood in the hallway of the Khadra Hotel in Salahuddin as two Iranian intelligence operatives filed into Chalabi's room to be given what they were told was a message from the White House. "They had to see an American there or they wouldn't believe it," says Chalabi. "Their eyes were popping out of their heads."  U.S. officials would not comment on that description. But two administration officials confirm what Chalabi says happened next, apparently after communications intercepts of Iranian messages alerted the White House to the "Bob plan."

 On March 3, they said, "Bob" and another agent showed up with a three-point message for Chalabi. One: Your operation has been penetrated and there is a risk of failure. Two: If you go ahead, it will be without U.S. involvement or support. It is your decision. Three: There is only one place for contact between Iran and the United States, and it is not in northern Iraq.  The effect of the message was to split the Kurds, who received a separate briefing on it.

Source: Jim Hoagland, Washington Post

US causing environmental damage in Iraq

Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz on Thursday June 26 accused the United States of causing serious damage to Iraq's environment and a deterioration in its living standards. In an address to a UN Earth Summit Aziz referred to the Gulf War and Washington's determination to maintain sanctions against Baghdad.
 ``The deliberate acts of the United States which aimed at inflicting . destruction on Iraq in 1991 and its insistence to maintain the iniquitous embargo have led to a serious setback of the environmental conditions in . Iraq as well as to a serious deterioration in living standards,'' he said. Aziz said a UN ``oil-for-food'' agreement allowing Iraq to export $2 billion . worth of oil every six months to buy food and other necessities had not led  to a tangible improvement.

``The agreement has not been implemented in fact due to the suspending of  a large number of contracts for food, medicine and civilian needs by the . American delegation in the sanctions committee,'' he said. Even if fully implemented, the ``oil-for-food'' deal ``would not lead to a serious improvement of the living and health conditions of the population . because of the insufficiency of the funds generated by it and the high rate of deductions.'' .

 He was referring to the fact that 30 percent of the proceeds of oil sales are  earmarked for Gulf war reparations and lesser amounts used to pay for the  destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and meet other UN  costs stemming from the war. Aziz said scientific studies confirmed that, during the Gulf war, the United  States ``used depleted uranium shells in the military operations against  Iraq.''

 He said this exposed ``vast areas of Iraq to lethal contamination,'' . resulting in congenital deformations, bone deformities, unexplained hair loss  and skin diseases. Aziz also said U.S. forces ``blew up after the cease-fire depots containing chemical weapons in the areas under its occupation in southern Iraq in an . irresponsible way.That in turn led to a chemical contamination covering  populated areas.'' Aziz said the bombarding of Iraqi power plants and other public utilities  halted services providing drinking water, sewerage, irrigation and drainage. ``This led to depriving our citizens of the needed energy, thereby forcing  them to cut down trees to use as a source of energy.

Source :Reuters

 US to REBOUND with new nuke tests

The U.S. Energy Department said on Friday June 27  it would begin controversial new underground nuclear weapons-related tests on July 2.

"We're going ahead with our subcritical experiments Wednesday, July 2," an Energy Department spokeswoman said. The first experiment, code-named REBOUND, will take place at the government's Nevada Test Site. The Energy Department plans another experiment later this year and four more in 1998.

But in  a letter to President Bill Clinton last week, 44 House lawmakers urged the administration to drop its test plans, saying that the U.S. program would encourage other nations with less high-tech equipment to justify underground testing.

Source : Reuter

Related information :  Antiwar