[CrashList] FW: Protestors May Use Nerve Gas!: a jaundiced view of s11.
CharlesB at cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us
Thu Sep 14 14:51:16 MDT 2000
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Sept. 14, 2000
issue of Workers World newspaper
IRAQ: IS WASHINGTON SETTING STAGE FOR ANOTHER ASSAULT?
By Pat Chin
The Clinton administration is threatening Iraq and setting
the stage for a massive military attack on that sovereign
On Sept. 1 the Washington Post reported that the Pentagon
had alerted an air defense artillery brigade in Germany to
be prepared for possible deployment to Israel over White
House "concern" that Iraq might attack Israel during the
U.S. presidential campaign.
National Security Adviser Samuel Berger admits that the
United States knows of no threat against Israel from Iraq.
But the brigade was still activated. Israeli Prime Minister
Ehud Barak dismissed the report, saying that Israelis
shouldn't be distracted or alarmed by it.
A month before the Washington Post piece appeared, the New
York Times ran an article headlined, "Flight Tests Show Iraq
Has Resumed A Missile Program." It claimed the Iraqis had
tested eight short-range ballistic missiles "that could
carry conventional explosives or the chemical and biological
weapons that Iraq is still suspected of hiding."
The missile tests were given extensive coverage even though
they did not violate restrictions imposed on Iraq by the
imperialist-controlled United Nations Security Council after
the 1991 Gulf War. The source of information was Clinton's
On the day the Washington Post broke the "news" about the
anti-missile alert, Thomas E. Kelsch quit his position as
civilian editor of Stars and Stripes, a military publication
distributed to U.S. troops abroad.
Kelsch resigned, according to the Associated Press, "to
protest what he called Pentagon pressure to kill a news
story." Kelsch had been forbidden from printing basically
the same report that appeared in the Washington Post due to
"national security interests."
The Clinton administration's saber rattling against Iraq
comes during the election campaign season and against a backdrop of growing
international and domestic opposition to the murderous
sanctions slapped on Iraq after the Gulf War.
Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush has accused
Clinton of not doing enough to "remove" Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein from office--a thinly veiled euphemism for
ANTI-SANCTIONS MOVEMENT GROWS
Meanwhile, the anti-sanctions movement continues to grow.
On Aug. 10, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez boldly defied
U.S. efforts to isolate and economically strangle Iraq when
he crossed the Iranian border into Iraq for a meeting with
Hussein on OPEC oil production.
Eight days later, the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and
Protection of Human Rights, in a report, called for an end
to the economic and trade embargo that has "condemned an
innocent people to hunger, disease, ignorance and even
Moreover, the UN oil-for-food program, which has allowed
Iraq to sell limited quantities of its oil since 1996 for
food and other essentials, has met "only part of the vital
needs of the population," said the report.
Sanctions have killed more than 1.5 million people since
1990, according to Iraqi estimates.
Other events in August also challenged Washington's attempts
to crush Iraq.
There was a rally of over 1,000 protestors outside the
Democratic Convention in Los Angeles, which took place
despite a massive police presence. People demanded an end to
the blockade and the almost daily U.S. and British air
strikes against Iraq, many of them on civilian targets.
The latest was on Sept. 3, when U.S. jets bombed southern
Iraq. Since the air attacks started in 1998, 311 civilians
have been killed and 927 wounded, according to Iraqi
Meanwhile, representatives for UN Security Council members
Russia and France are also taking on the United States over
Iraqi reparations to Kuwaiti oil companies. The Kuwait
Petroleum Corporation, for example, has asked for $21.6
billion in war damages, a sum that is grossly inflated,
according to oil industry experts. The award was blocked
after Russia and France challenged the amount.
"The disagreement," said the Aug. 23 New York Times, "adds
another irritant to an already frayed Security Council
consensus on how to deal with the government of President
Saddam Hussein as economic sanctions imposed on Iraq after
its invasion of Kuwait a decade ago drag on.
"As a critical moment approaches in the efforts of the
United Nations to return arms inspectors to Iraq--a key to
lifting the embargo--the new dispute over war reparations
reopens another divisive debate in a second important area,
the oil-for-food program."
Iraq has rejected inspection of its defense and military
facilities, and the latest team put together by the UN, as a
violation of its sovereignty.
The Clinton administration has blocked every effort at the
UN to lift sanctions on Iraq. But that hasn't stopped a
worldwide grassroots movement in support of that beleaguered
As if that weren't enough, Clinton now has to deal with
international leaders like Chavez, who openly defied the
U.S. by visiting Iraq. And there's resistance from
imperialist allies like France, who--along with Russia--are
also challenging the U.S. chokehold on Iraq.
Chavez and Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid have both
spoken out against sanctions.
Yugoslavia, another country now being victimized by
imperialist sanctions, recently broadened relations with
Iraq. And a Russian-Belarusian oil company signed a deal
with Baghdad in late August that will go into effect once
the blockade has been lifted.
With all of the above and November's elections fast
approaching, is it any wonder that the Iraqi missile tests
and the Clinton administration's rush to "defend" Israel
have been sensationalized in the big-business media?
Anti-sanctions activists and their allies should remain on
alert. This is but the latest set-up to justify blistering
Iraq with an even bigger military attack for resisting
imperialist domination and neo-colonial plunder.
- END -
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