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2003-02-23 - 5:08 p.m.

:::News and Commentary, Feb. 23rd:::

A lot of interesting articles have crossed my email this past couple of days. Thought I would share a few of them.

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Virtual March on Washington Headquarters

On February 26th, every Senate office will receive a call every minute from a constituent, as they receive a simultaneous flood of faxes and e-mail. Hundreds of thousands of people from across the country will send the collective message: Don't Attack Iraq. Every Senate switchboard will be lit up throughout the day with our message -- a powerful reminder of the breadth and depth of opposition to a war in Iraq. And on that day, "antiwar rooms" in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles will highlight the day's progress for the national media, while local media can visit the "antiwar room" online to monitor this constituent march throughout the day.

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What the Cheney White House really wants out of Iraq

For the morally flexible oilman and his cronies, it's all about money.

By Arianna Huffington

Feb. 19, 2003 | Boys, boys, you're all right. Sure, it's Daddy, oil, and imperialism, not to mention a messianic sense of righteous purpose, a deep-seated contempt for the peace movement, and, to be fair, the irrefutable fact that the world would be a better place without Saddam Hussein.

But there's also an overarching mentality feeding the administration's collective delusions, and it can be found by looking to corporate America's bottom line. The dots leading from Wall Street to the West Wing situation room are the ones that need connecting. There's money to be made in postwar Iraq, and the sooner we get the pesky war over with, the sooner we (by which I mean George Bush's corporate cronies) can start making it.

The nugget of truth that former Bush economic guru Lawrence Lindsey let slip last fall shortly before he was shoved out the Oval Office door says it all. Momentarily forgetting that he was talking to the press and not his buddies in the White House, he admitted: "The successful prosecution of the war would be good for the economy."

To hell with worldwide protests, an unsupportive Security Council, a diplomatically dubious Hans Blix, an Osama giddy at the prospect of a united Arab world, and a panicked populace grasping at the very slender reed of duct tape and Saran Wrap to protect itself from the inevitable terrorist blow-back -- the business of America is still business.

No one in the administration embodies this bottom line mentality more than Dick Cheney. The vice president is one of those ideological purists who never let little things like logic, morality or mass murder interfere with the single-minded pursuit of profitability.

His on-again, off-again relationship with the Butcher of Baghdad is a textbook example of what modern moralists condemn as "situational ethics," an extremely convenient code that allows you to do what you want when you want and still feel good about it in the morning. In the Cheney White House (let's call it what it is), anything that can be rationalized is right.

The two were clearly on the outs back during the Gulf War, when Cheney was secretary of defense, and the first President Bush dubbed Saddam "Hitler revisited."

Then Cheney moved to the private sector and suddenly things between him and Saddam warmed up considerably. With Cheney in the CEO's seat, Halliburton helped Iraq reconstruct its war-torn oil industry with $73 million worth of equipment and services -- becoming Baghdad's biggest such supplier. Kinda nice how that worked out for the vice-president, really: oversee the destruction of an industry that you then profit from by rebuilding.

When, during the 2000 campaign, Cheney was asked about his company's Iraqi escapades, he flat-out denied them. But the truth remains: When it came to making a buck, Cheney apparently had no qualms about doing business with "Hitler revisited."

And make no mistake, this wasn't a case of hard-nosed realpolitik -- the rationale for Rummy's cuddly overtures to Saddam back in '83 despite his almost daily habit of gassing Iranians. That, we were told, was all about "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

No, Cheney's company chose to do business with Saddam after the rape of Kuwait. After Scuds had been fired at Tel Aviv and Riyadh. After American soldiers had been sent home from Desert Storm in body bags.

And in 2000, just months before pocketing his $34 million Halliburton retirement package and joining the GOP ticket, Cheney was lobbying for an end to U.N. sanctions against Saddam.

Of course, American businessmen are nothing if not flexible. So his former cronies at Halliburton are now at the head of the line of companies expected to reap the estimated $2 billion it will take to rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure following Saddam's ouster. This burn-and-build approach to business guarantees that there will be a market for Halliburton's services as long as it has a friend in high places to periodically carpet bomb a country for it.

In the meantime, Halliburton, among many other Pentagon contracts, has a lucrative 10-year deal to provide food services to the Army that comes with no lid on potential costs. Lenin once scoffed that "a capitalist would sell rope to his own hangman." And, while the man got more than a few things wrong, he's been proven right on this one time and time again: from Hewlett-Packard and Bechtel helping arm Saddam back in the '80s, to the good folks at Boeing, Hughes Electronics, Lockheed Martin and Loral Space whose corporate greed helped China steal rocket and missile secrets -- and point a few dozen long-range nukes our way.

Clearly, our national interest runs a distant second when pitted against the rapacious desires of special interests and the politicians they buy with massive campaign contributions. Oil and gas companies donated $26.7 million to Bush and his fellow Republicans during the 2000 election and another $18 million in 2002. So does it really come as any surprise that Cheney's staff held secret meetings in October with executives from Exxon Mobil, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips -- and, yes, Halliburton -- to discuss who would get what in a post-Saddam Iraq? As they say, to the victors -- and the big buck donors -- go the sp-oil-s.

Here's my bottom line: At a time of war, at what point does subverting our national security in the name of profitability turn from ugly business into high treason?

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US media move away from Bush

Patrick Barrett writes: The US media has begun to turn against President George Bush's hard line on military action against Iraq.

A majority of the country's top newspapers now oppose any attack on Iraq by US and British forces without the full support if the international community.

Influenced by the massive anti-war demonstrations staged around the world last weekend and the growing rift between the US and the less hawkish countries led by France and Germany, American press coverage has seen a substantial shift away from backing an immediate war regardless of international opinion.

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UN: Russia Affirms Objection To Second Resolution On Iraq

Moscow, 22 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yurii Fedotov is quoted today as saying his country opposes any new UN resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq.

Fedotov was quoted by Ekho Moskvy radio as saying, "If a resolution is presented that authorizes the use of force at this stage, Russia could not support it."

Fedotov said if a new resolution is presented at the UN Security Council, Russia would study it. He declined to say if Russia would use its veto as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

The U.S. and Britain are preparing a second resolution that could be used to authorize military action to force Iraq to disarm.

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CNN CROSSFIRE: Interview With Dennis Kucinich

This is an excellent interview with Dennis Kucinich who just recently announced his bid for the Democrat Nomination for President.

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Transcript: Jane Wallace Interviews Seymour Hersh

On Feb. 21, 2003 the PBS television show "Now With Bill Moyers" interviewed Seymour Hersh, the investigative journalist who won the Pulitzer for international reporting in 1970 for his story on My Lai. In the PBS transcript, Seymour Hersh relays the story of how an evacuation of Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan into Pakistan was authorized by Rumsfeld as a favor to Pakistan.

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A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Moon

An investigative journalist uncovers a 31-year-old mislabeled, unedited reel of footage (dated three days into the flight) that shows the Apollo 11 crew falsifying part of their photography! This exclusive footage is only available in "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Moon" (a video movie made of the investigation). When Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin (the one believed to have shot the bogus footage) was recently shown the tape he said, "Well you're talking to the wrong guy! Why don't you talk to the administrator at NASA? We're passengers!" He then threatened to sue them if they showed it publicly.

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Democracy University

FEATURED VIDEO COMPILATIONS

The "Why" Tape - Vol. 38

- Chomsky, Parenti, Zinn, Nader & Grossman

Democracy University - Vol. 39

- West, Lee, Goodman, Zinn, Kesey Tribute...

Big Med "Countercoup Edition" - Special Collection

- Palast, Moore, 9/11 "Unanswered Questions" Press Conference

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S. Brian Willson's Web Page

THIS SITE CONTAINS essays describing the incredible historic pattern of U.S. arrogance, ethnocentrism, violence and lawlessness in domestic and global affairs, and the severe danger this pattern poses for the future health of Homo sapiens and Mother Earth. Other essays discuss revolutionary, nonviolent alternative approaches based on the principle of radical relational mutuality. This is a term increasingly used by physicists, mathematicians and cosmologists to describe the nature of the omnicentric*, ever-unfolding universe. Every being, every aspect of life energy in the cosmos, is intrinsically interconnected with and affects every other being and aspect of life energy at every moment.

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News Release: Dr. Boyd E. Graves Reveals the 1971 HIV Flow Chart

"The 1971 flowchart makes it perfectly clear, the design, intent and purpose of the U.S. Special Virus program. As Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS says, the HIV/AIDS virus is the result of many steps in the laboratory, it was no accident.

The 1971 flowchart provides absolute evidence of the United States' intent to kill its own citizens and others."

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Addicted to War

"Addicted To War is must reading for Americans of all ages, who are concerned with understanding the true nature of U.S. foreign policy and how it effects us here at home."

~Martin Sheen, Actor

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Operation Garden Plot

The United States Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2

This plan is just plain scary! It is a must read!

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U.S. Bombing Watch: When was the last time the U.S. Bombed Iraq?

This is a compiled list of all the times the U.S. and Britain have bombed Iraq in just the last 3 years. Of course, since these took place in the "No Fly Zones," no one is supposed to be upset about this. However, what these two governments fail to tell us is that there are civilians living in these "No Fly Zones" who are dying from OUR bombs. Oh, but then again, this is not supposed to upset us either because we are supposed to be blaming Saddam for putting his weapons in civilian living quarters. I do not accept murder under any guise! and I do not believe in calling the death of innocent people "collaterial damage!"

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Rumsfeld was on ABB board during nuclear deal with North Korea

onald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defense, was on the board of technology giant ABB when it won a deal to supply North Korea with two nuclear power plants.

Weapons experts say waste material from the two reactors could be used for so-called “dirty bombs”.

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US disallowed to use Iran's airspace

Tehran, Feb 20 - Iran will never open its borders, including its airspace, to Americans even if the United Nations endorses a military action against Iraq, Defense Minister Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani declared here Wednesday.

The Islamic Republic would also give a 'swift and decisive answer' if Americans set foot on Iran's borders, he told reporters after a cabinet session. "We will not allow (US) to commit any errors against our country, Shamkhani said, adding, "Given the trust which the Americans have in their equipment, if they make a mistake, we will confront the mistake by giving a swift and decisive answer.

(Why would we ask Iran for the use of their airspace? So *now* we want to be THEIR allies?)

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Anti-war campaign pushes UN vote on Iraq back to March

David Usborne wrote: British and American plans for a new United Nations resolution to open the way to war were snagged in diplomatic barbed wire yesterday. A final vote inside the Security Council is not likely before early March at the earliest.

The dragging timetable, the result of stiffening international opposition to the Anglo- American stance, suggests that hostilities – while perhaps still inevitable – will at least be delayed until the middle of next month, giving Saddam Hussein some unexpected additional breathing space.

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Bush Blocks Deal Allowing Cheap Drugs for World's Poor

Charlotte Denny writes: George Bush's close links with the drugs industry were last night blamed for the failure of talks in Geneva aimed at securing access to cheap medicines for developing countries.

Delegates at the World Trade Organization expressed frustration after the US again rejected a deal that would have loosened global patent rules to enable poor countries to import cheap copies of desperately needed drugs.

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News Analysis: In God he trusts - how George Bush infused the White House with a religious spirit

Rupert Cornwell writes: But for Christ, George Bush likes to tell churchy visitors, he might be found today in a bar rather than the Oval Office. As it is, the man who may soon take the world to war over Iraq heads the most overtly religious US administration in memory, where cabinet meetings start with prayers and where no presidential speech is complete without some statement of Christian faith.

The tale of Bush's transformation is well known, but no less remarkable for that: the feckless near-alcoholic who rediscovered his Christianity after a long conversation with the evangelist Billy Graham in 1986, and went on to become a teetotaller , the Governor of Texas, and finally one of the most relentlessly disciplined presidents in history.

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Strange, but interesting:

Masons and the Mount

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Amnesty International Petition

Human rights in Iraq - what about the people?

The population of Iraq is in imminent danger of a human rights and humanitarian catastrophe. Military action could trigger a disaster for the people of Iraq and surrounding countries.

Sign our petition, calling on the President of the UN Security Council to consider seriously the civilian population of Iraq.

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Alleged Terrorist Met With Bush Adviser - Al-Arian Part of Muslim Outreach

Mike Allen and Richard Leiby write:A former university professor indicted this week as a terrorist leader attended a 2001 group meeting in the White House complex with President Bush's senior adviser, Karl Rove, administration officials said yesterday.

Sami Al-Arian, a former computer engineering professor at the University of South Florida, had been under investigation by the FBI for at least six years at the time of the June 2001 briefing for a Muslim organization. Numerous news accounts also had said federal agents suspected Al-Arian of links to terrorism.

(Be sure to click on article link to see a picture of Sami Al-Arian, his wife, Nahla, and children posing with presidential candidate George W. Bush and wife Laura in a March 2000 family photo.)

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Greg Palast, freelance journalist and author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, will make an appearance in New York City at the Barnes and Noble on Broadway at 85th Street on Monday, March 3rd. Check out his calendar here for frequent updates: Calendar Updates

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Iraq Weighing Order To Destroy Missiles

(CBS) Iraq has withheld a decision on a U.N. order to start destroying its Al Samoud 2 missile program by the end of the week, but said Sunday it is "serious about solving this."

Iraq's chief liaison to U.N. weapons inspectors insisted Baghdad is "clean" of weapons of mass destruction and that there should be no new U.N. resolution on disarming Saddam Hussein, as the United States is demanding.

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