Why we need transformation: News Review


Richard Moore

   "The agenda, as always, begins with trying to find out
    what is happening in the world, and then doing
    something about it, as we can, better than anyone else.
    Few share our privilege, power, and freedom -- hence
      - Noam Chomsky, in posting #9 below

17 articles posted to newslog on 18 Apr 2003:

  1 - Eyewitness: US Troops Initiated Looting 
  2 - How and why the US encouraged looting in Iraq 
  3 - Robert Fisk: Oil Ministry protected while others burn 
  4 - Experts: Looters Had Keys to Iraqi Vaults 
  5 - The pulling down of the Statue was a staged media event 
  6 - "Baghdad did not fall -- it was handed over" 
  7 - Democracy for Iraq?...Don't believe it for a minute! 
  8 - Dynacorp sex-slavers to police Iraq 
  9 - Noam Chomsky re: Iraq invasion & aftermath 
 10 - Don't forget the oil: the payoff is huge 
 11 - Syria: next victim of Bush's Panzer Divisions 
 12 - Fuhrer Bush's version of Mein Kampf 
 13 - "Behind Our Backs" - Bush torpedoes the economy 
 14 - While we're watching the War, WTO takes over... 
 15 - Saddam: a career in service to the CIA 
 16 - Northern Ireland: British army aided paramilitaries 
 17 - Meanwhile in Columbia: Bush funds the Death Squads 

Excerpts follow...
  1 - Eyewitness: US Troops Initiated Looting 

   "During the morning everybody that tried to cross the
    streets had been fired upon. But during this strange
    silence people eventually became curious. After
    three-quarters of an hour the first Baghdad citizens
    dared to come forward. At that moment the US solders
    shot two Sudanese guards, who were posted in front of a
    local administrative building, on the other side of the
    Haifa Avenue.
   "I was just 300 meters away when the guards where
    murdered. Then they shot the building entrance to
    pieces, and their Arabic translators in the tanks told
    people to run for grabs inside the building."

      Q: "But people in Baghdad tore down a big statue of Saddam?"
   "They did?  It was a US tank that did this, close to
    the hotel where all the journalists live. Until noon on
    the 9th of April, I didn't see a single torn picture of
    Saddam anywhere. If people had wanted to turn over
    statues they could have gone for some of the many
    smaller ones, without the help of an American tank. Had
    this been a political uproar then people would have
    turned over statues first and looted afterwards."

  2 - How and why the US encouraged looting in Iraq 

    ...As in every action of the Bush administration, personal
    greed and profit-gouging are an important aspect. The
    ransacking of Iraqi government facilities, added to the
    devastation caused by American bombing, is part of the
    process of demolishing the large state-run sector of
    Iraq's economy, to the benefit of American companies.
    Already contracts have been awarded to private American
    firms to provide new school books, replace looted
    medical equipment, even train a new Iraqi police force.
    There is more at stake, however, than rank hypocrisy or
    an appetite for Iraq's oil wealth. The looting in Iraq
    directly serves the political interests of American
    imperialism in cementing its domination of the
    conquered country.
    The Bush administration is seeking to encourage the
    emergence of a new ruling elite in Iraq, formed from
    the most rapacious, reactionary and selfish elements,
    which will serve as a semi-criminal comprador force
    entirely subservient to the United States. The
    acquisition of property through the theft of Iraqi
    state assets serves to bind these elements to the US
    occupation forces by their own economic self-interest...

  3 - Robert Fisk: Oil Ministry protected while others burn 

    ...Iraq's scavengers have thieved and destroyed what
    they have been allowed to loot and burn by the
    Americans -- and a two- hour drive around Baghdad shows
    clearly what the US intends to protect. After days of
    arson and pillage, here's a short but revealing
    scorecard. US troops have sat back and allowed mobs to
    wreck and then burn the Ministry of Planning, the
    Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Irrigation, the
    Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Industry, the
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture
    and the Ministry of Information. They did nothing to
    prevent looters from destroying priceless treasures of
    Iraq's history in the Baghdad Archaeological Museum and
    in the museum in the northern city of Mosul, or from
    looting three hospitals.
    The Americans have, though, put hundreds of troops
    inside two Iraqi ministries that remain untouched --
    and untouchable -- because tanks and armoured personnel
    carriers and Humvees have been placed inside and
    outside both institutions. And which ministries proved
    to be so important for the Americans?  Why, the
    Ministry of Interior, of course -- with its vast wealth
    of intelligence information on Iraq -- and the Ministry
    of Oil...
  4 - Experts: Looters Had Keys to Iraqi Vaults 

   "It looks as if part of the looting was a deliberate
    planned action," said McGuire Gibson, a University of
    Chicago professor and president of the American
    Association for Research in Baghdad. "They were able to
    take keys for vaults and were able to take out
    important Mesopotamian materials put in safes.
   "I have a suspicion it was organized outside the
    country, in fact I'm pretty sure it was," Gibson said.
    He added that if a good police team was put together,
    "I think it could be cracked in no time."

  5 - The pulling down of the Statue was a staged media event 

    [One of these should work.  The photos tell a 
    different story than CNN does. -rkm]

  6 - "Baghdad did not fall -- it was handed over" 

    ...While Arabs all over the Middle East now routinely
    talk of the deal that saved Baghdad, they also
    speculate that the same deal may have saved Saddam.
    Unlike the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan,
    which preoccupied U.S. forces for months, the hunt for
    the dictator no longer appears to be the top priority
    for U.S. forces in the wake of Baghdad's fall.

  7 - Democracy for Iraq?...Don't believe it for a minute! 

    ...So there you have it...the modern-day occupation of
    the Iraq, a key country in the heart of the Arab world
    and Islam.   Forget all the rhetorical swashbuckling
    about 'the Iraqi people' and 'democracy'.  The
    democracy the Americans have in mind for Iraq will be
    akin to what they have brought to the Palestinians --
    CIA at the top, agents throughout, quisling officials
    in the news flying around to this and that meeting to
    get their marching orders and payoff-bank accounts...
    MOSUL, Iraq (AFP - 4-15-03 - 11:30pm)    At least 12
    people were killed and scores wounded in the northern
    Iraqi city of Mosul when US troops fired on a crowd
    angered by a speech by the new US-backed governor,
    witnesses reported.
    "We didn't fire at the crowd, but at the top of the
    building," the spokesman added. "There were at least
    two gunmen, I don't know if they were killed."
    But witnesses charged that US troops fired into the
    crowd after it became increasingly hostile towards the
    new governor, Mashaan al-Juburi.

  8 - Dynacorp sex-slavers to police Iraq 

    The British daily The Observer recently revealed that
    US military contractor Dyncorp has won a multi-
    million-dollar contract to police post-Saddam Iraq...
    In Bosnia, Dyncorp personnel were involved in sex slave
    trading of young girls as well as a number of
    fraudulent acts. Several Dyncorp employees have been
    accused of videotaping the rape of one woman.
    "The longer I stayed in Bosnia the worst these men
    acted. Finally one day I heard a something to the
    effect of DynaCorp employee brag that his girl wasn't a
    day over twelve. I reported this all to the CID of the
    Army. I also reported the problems to my supervisors
    and co-workers, but all stayed the same in DynCorp's
    little Bosnian Boys Club. For going to the CID I was
    fired, put in protective custody and have had my name
    thrashed by Dyncorp..."

  9 - Noam Chomsky re: Iraq invasion & aftermath 

    ...in September 2002: the administration released its
    National Security Strategy, sending many shudders
    around the world, including the US foreign policy
    elite. The Strategy has many precedents, but does break
    new ground: for the first time in the post-war world, a
    powerful state announced, loud and clear, that it
    intends to rule the world by force, forever, crushing
    any potential challenge it might perceive.
    Iraq was...a perfect choice for an "exemplary action"
    to establish the new doctrine of global rule by force
    as a "norm of international relations." A high official
    involved in drafting the National Security Strategy
    informed the press that its publication "was the signal
    that Iraq would be the first test, but not the last."
    "Iraq became the petri dish in which this experiment in
    pre-emptive policy grew," the New York Times reported
    -- misstating the policy in the usual way, but
    otherwise accurate.

 10 - Don't forget the oil: the payoff is huge 

    Iraq has oil reserves of 112 billion barrels, second
    only to Saudi Arabia, which has some 265 billion
    barrels. Iraqi reserves are seven times those of the
    combined UK and Norwegian sectors of the North Sea. But
    the prize for oil companies could be even greater. Iraq
    estimates that its eventual reserves could be as high
    as 220 billion barrels.
    Three giant southern fields - Majnoon, West Qurna and
    Nahr Umar have the capacity to produce as much as
    Kuwait. The first two could each equal Qatar's
    production of 700,000 barrels a day. "There is nothing
    like it anywhere else in the world. Its the big prize,"
    Mr Butt said.

 11 - Syria: next victim of Bush's Panzer Divisions 

    MER: Now strategically isolated and militarily
    endangered, the screws are being put to Syria and to
    the few remaining bastions of opposition to near-total
    Palestinian defeat and near-total Israeli hegemony. The
    world stage is being set for a politically-
    economically-militarily imposed 'agreement' -- one
    quite literally to be shoved down the parched and
    bloodied throats of the Palestinians and thrust upon
    the weak/divided/corrupt Arab States. It is a
    historical rape of the region almost laughingly pursued
    in the name of 'freedom' and 'democracy'.
    [The Independent - 14 April 2003]:    There is
    something unseemly, not to say alarming, about the way
    in which the US appears to be setting up Syria as the
    next threat to world peace and security even before the
    guns have fallen silent in Iraq. With looting and
    violence continuing, barely restrained, over the
    weekend, President Bush and his senior officials
    peppered Syria with warnings about its behavior -
    warnings all too reminiscent of the ones that preceded
    the war on Iraq.

 12 - Fuhrer Bush's version of Mein Kampf 

    Toronto Star, April 17, 2003, quoting Bush:

   "Our military is strong and our military is ready, and
    we intend to keep it that way,"..."Across the world,
    terrorists and tyrants are learning that America
    ...will act in our own defence,"... "Instead of
    drifting towards tragedy, we will protect our security
    and we will promote peace in the world." ..."In this
    new era of precision warfare, we can target a regime.
    Our aim is to strike the guilty.
   "Terrorists and tyrants have now been put on notice:
    They can no longer feel safe behind innocent lives,"
    ..a senior Democratic senator told the New York Times
    yesterday.  "This administration will never end the
    war..."  And, according to Democrats, it puts the onus
    on their candidates to slug it out over who can keep
    Americans safer, with Bush having a powerful edge.
    Already, in the last few days, the White House has
    refocused its enmity from Iraq to Syria... It's an
    Orwellian scenario, straight out of 1984.
   "For the sake of the security of this country, and for
    the sake of peace in this world, the United States must
    maintain every advantage in weaponry and technology and
    intelligence...our edge in warfare comes ... because of
    the American spirit of enterprise. The character of our
    military reflects the character of our country," he
    added, before touring Boeing's facilities. "America
    uses its might in the service of principle."
    And, repeatedly, Bush said the military conflict isn't
    over.  "Our work is not done; the difficulties have not

 13 - "Behind Our Backs" - Bush torpedoes the economy 
    PAUL KRUGMAN, New York Times,  April 15, 2003:
    ...we have entered a new stage in the tax-cut debate.
    Until now, the Bush administration and its allies
    haven't made any effort to explain how they plan to
    replace the revenues lost because of tax cuts. Now,
    however, party discipline is starting to crack: a few
    Republicans in the House and Senate, and many erstwhile
    supporters on Wall Street are beginning to notice how
    much we're looking like a banana republic.
    ...the list of cuts -- in child nutrition, medical care
    for children, child-care assistance and support for
    foster care and adoption (leave no child behind!) --
    was clearly designed to suggest that the budget can be
    balanced on the backs of the poor...
    But back to the amazing spectacle of the war's opening,
    when the House voted to cut the benefits of the men and
    women it praised a few minutes earlier. What that scene
    demonstrated was the belief of the Republican
    leadership that if it wraps itself in the flag, and
    denounces critics as unpatriotic, it can get away with
    just about anything. And the scary thing is that this
    belief may be justified.

 14 - While we're watching the War, WTO takes over...

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Without approval by Washington's
    legislature or Gov. Gary Locke, the Bush administration
    plans to submit offers next week at the World Trade
    Organization (WTO) that could require the state to open
    public services to foreign, for-profit ownership and
    strictly curtail state regulation of banking,
    insurance, electricity, water systems, transportation,
    alcohol distribution and professional services,
    including those provided by doctors, lawyers and
    States would be required to conform their policies to
    global rules established as part of negotiations
    occurring under the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in
    Services (GATS). The threat to numerous state laws and
    policies was revealed only weeks ago when the European
    Union's (EU) demands of the U.S. were leaked from
    secretive talks being held at the WTO's Geneva
 15 - Saddam: a career in service to the CIA 

    Now comes a UPI story, based on interviews with various
    British and U.S. intelligence sources, claiming that
    from Jack Kennedy in the early 1960s on up to the first
    Persian Gulf War in 1991, Saddam was in the hands of
    the CIA. In his early twenties, Saddam was recruited to
    kill Iraqi prime minister Abd al-Karim Qasim
    Ever after, the CIA took care of Saddam, helping to
    spirit him out of Baghdad to Tikrit, and from there to
    Syria and Beirut, and on to Egypt.
    During the 1980s the CIA drew close to Saddam's
    Baathist party, currently reviled as a bunch of vicious
    killer thugs, but then warmly regarded as our allies
    against the wacko ayatollahs in Iran. The CIA was
    providing Iraq with battlefield intelligence gained
    from a Saudi AWACS plane. It was during this period
    that Rumsfeld visited the dictator to see if there was
    anything the U.S. could do to help out.

 16 - Northern Ireland: British army aided paramilitaries 

    BBC, April 17, 2003
    Rogue elements within the police and army in Northern
    Ireland helped loyalist paramilitaries to murder
    Catholics in the late 1980s, the UK's most senior
    police officer has said.
    Alan Erwin, PA News, 17 April 2003
    Rogue elements in the security forces were involved in
    a deadly plot with loyalist paramilitaries to carry out
    a series of sectarian murders in Northern Ireland, a
    devastating new report confirmed today.
    Following a four-year inquiry into allegations of
    widespread collusion between Special Branch, Army
    officers and Protestant terrorists, Metropolitan Police
    Commissioner Sir John Sevens concluded there was
    damning proof of the use of agents in assassinations
    and the withholding evidence.

 17 - Meanwhile in Columbia: Bush funds the Death Squads 

    George Monbiot
    Tuesday February 4, 2003
    The Guardian

    Last week, on the day George Bush delivered his state
    of the union address, the Pentagon received a visitor.
    A few hours before the president told the American
    people that "we will not permit the triumph of violence
    in the affairs of men", General Carlos Ospina, head of
    the Colombian army, was shaking hands with his American
    counterpart. He had come to discuss the latest
    instalment of US military aid.
    According to Human Rights Watch, the fourth brigade,
    under Ospina's command, worked alongside the death
    squads controlled by the paramilitary leader Carlos
    Castaño..On October 25 1997, a force composed of
    Ospina's regulars and Castaño's paramilitaries
    surrounded a village called El Aro, in a region
    considered sympathetic to the country's leftwing
    guerrillas. The soldiers cordoned off the village while
    Castaño's men moved in. They captured a shopkeeper,
    tied him to a tree, gouged out his eyes, cut off his
    tongue and castrated him. The other residents tried to
    flee, but were turned back by Ospina's troops. The
    paramilitaries then mutilated and beheaded 11 of the
    villagers, including three children, burned the church,
    the pharmacy and most of the houses and smashed the
    water pipes. When they left, they took 30 people with
    them, who are now listed among Colombia's disappeared.
    This operation was unusual only in that it has been so


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