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Impeach Bush

U.S. Runs $253B Deficit in First 6 Months
By JEANNINE AVERSA
The Associated Press/Washington Post
Saturday, April 19, 2003; 11:32 AM

WASHINGTON - The government ran up a deficit of $252.6 billion in the first six months of the 2003 budget year, nearly twice the total for the same period a year earlier.

The latest figures, released Friday by the Treasury Department, highlighted the government's deteriorating fiscal situation. Record deficits are forecast this year and next.

The total deficit so far this fiscal year, from October through March, compares with a shortfall of $131.9 billion a year earlier.

Revenues were down by 6.1 percent to $825.2 billion for the six months in comparison to the same period a year earlier. That partly reflected lower tax revenue from the listless economy.

Individual income tax payments totaled $372.1 billion, representing an 6.8 percent decline from the previous year. Corporate tax payments plunged by 43 percent to $44.6 billion. That sharp drop reflected in part the impact of business tax cuts enacted last year and weaker profits, the Congressional Budget Office said.

Federal spending for the six months totaled $1.08 trillion, a 6.6 percent increase from the corresponding period in fiscal 2002.

The biggest spending categories so far this budget year are: Social Security, $249.3 billion; programs of the Health and Human Services Department, including Medicare and Medicaid, $246.5 billion; military, $180.9 billion; interest on the public debt, $160.6 billion.

For the entire 2002 budget year, which ended Sept. 30, the government ran up a deficit of $157.8 billion, ending four consecutive years of surpluses.

The Bush administration has blamed the return of deficits on lingering effects of the 2001 recession and the costs of fighting terrorism at home and abroad. Democrats say a major cause of the red ink has been Bush's 10-year $1.35 trillion tax cut and what they contend are bad economic policies being pursued by the administration.

For the month of March, the government produced a deficit of $58.7 billion. That was based on revenues of $120.4 billion and outlays of $179.1 billion. The deficit for March, however, was smaller than the shortfall of $64.2 billion recorded for the same month last year.

On the Net:

Treasury Department: http://www.ustreas.gov/

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
A little history. During the eight years of Reagan the US accumulated about $1.6 trillion of debt, or more debt than all previous president combined (less than one trillion).. His highest deficit was around $255 billion. George Bush Sr. gave us the largest deficit in history, $290 billion in 1992. Bill Clinton cut the deficit every year of his presidency until we had the largest surpluses in history--around $265 billion. Bush then promised to use the Clinton surpluses to "give us our money back." However, the surpluses were only projections and they dried up. Bush refuses to give up his tax cut even though they are based on a false assumption and now is on track to have a deficit close to $400 billion, or the highest in US history..

Compassionate conservatism then is borrowing trillions of dollars, giving it the super rich and then spending like there's no tomorrow. Reagan and Bush are masters of spending, give-aways and deficits.

Tax cuts that result in deficits are really tax increases since all deficits have to be financed and paid back. If you still think Bush (or Reagan) gave you a tax cut you're a moron. All they did was postpone when you have to pay the bill.


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Ashcroft Violates Court Ordered Gag Rule
An Impeachable Offense By DAVID RUNK
The Associated Press/Washington Post
Saturday, April 19, 2003; 1:55 AM

DETROIT - Attorney General John Ashcroft's public praise for a key government witness and surprise testimony about a former terror suspect gave lawyers for four men accused of acting as a "sleeper" terrorist cell reason to cry foul this week.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen on Friday denied a defense request for a mistrial. But he scolded government lawyers for trying to link the men on trial to the former suspect and said Ashcroft should have understood that he is covered by a gag order in the case.

"I was distressed to see the attorney general commenting in the middle of a trial about the credibility of a witness who had just gotten off the stand," Rosen said.

Defense lawyers argued that the remarks were at least the second time Ashcroft had violated Rosen's gag order since the investigation of their clients began. The judge said he would decide after the trial whether to consider a request to have Ashcroft explain his actions.

"Ashcroft's involvement in the case is making it (mounting a defense) almost an insurmountable task," lawyer James C. Thomas, who represents defendant Ahmed Hannan, told the court.

At a news conference Thursday in Washington, Ashcroft called witness and admitted felon Youssef Hmimssa's cooperation "a critical tool" in efforts to combat terrorism. He said it should put potential terrorists on notice that there are informants among them.

"His testimony has been of value, substantial value," Ashcroft said.

Justice Department spokeswoman Barbara Comstock said Friday that Ashcroft made the comments during a wide-ranging news conference and "certainly had no intent to contravene the judge's wishes regarding publicity."

The judged polled the jurors, who are under court order to avoid media coverage of the trial. They indicated they were unaware any government official had made remarks about the case.

Hmimssa, who is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to federal fraud charges in three states, says the men on trial are Islamic extremists who wanted to help support attacks in the United States and abroad and ship arms to the Middle East. He alleges they tried to recruit him.

Hannan, Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi, Karim Koubriti and Farouk Ali-Haimoud are charged with conspiracy to provide material support or resources to terrorists. There has been more than three weeks of testimony in their trial, the first in the United States for an alleged terror cell detected following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Defense lawyers say Hmimssa is a liar who is trying to save himself from harsher punishment. Hmimssa, who arrived illegally in the United States in 1994, has admitted using aliases, engaging in document fraud and leading a credit card scheme that netted more than $180,000.

Charges against Hmimssa in Michigan stem from the same raid of a Detroit apartment six days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that led to the arrest of Koubriti, Hannan and Ali-Haimoud.

Hmimssa was arrested in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His case was later separated.

Defense lawyers say Ashcroft also violated the gag order in October 2001, when Hmimssa was in custody along with Koubriti and Hannan. Ashcroft said three Arab men jailed on fraud charges in Michigan were "suspected of having knowledge" of the Sept. 11 attacks, but he later backed off that statement.

In denying the defense request for a mistrial made earlier in the week, Rosen said he won't allow the government to introduce evidence linking the men to former terror suspect Nabil al-Marabh, whom a witness on Wednesday had identified in a photograph as a man he had seen with Hannan in 2001.

Al-Marabh, who has not been charged with terrorism, served an eight-month sentence for entering the United States illegally and is awaiting deportation to Syria, where he is a citizen. The defense argued the government was trying to use the link to unfairly portray their clients.

Agents were looking for al-Marabh when they raided the Detroit apartment, which had his name on the mailbox.

Prosecutor Richard Convertino on Friday called al-Marabh an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the Detroit case and argued that the judge and the defense shouldn't have been surprised that the government would want to establish the link.

Mark Kriger, Al-Marabh's attorney, said his client doesn't know the defendants and denied that al-Marabh is a co-conspirator.

Rosen told the jury to disregard the photo of al-Marabh, who wasn't identified by name. Before jurors entered the courtroom, Rosen said the government was seeking to try al-Marabh without charging him.

"The government has had a year and a half to build a case against Mr. al-Marabh," Rosen said. "It has not done that."

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
If you and I violated a court order we'd be in jail. We can only guess that certain people in government can violate court orders with impunity. So much for the rule of law.


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Three Bush Advisers Quit Over Iraq Looting
By CARL HARTMAN
Washington Post/The Associated Press
Thursday, April 17, 2003; 5:57 PM

WASHINGTON - Three members of the White House Cultural Property Advisory Committee have resigned to protest the looting of Baghdad's National Museum of Antiquities.

Martin E. Sullivan, Richard S. Lanier and Gary Vikan, each appointed by former President Clinton, said they were disappointed by the U.S. military's failure to protect Iraq's historical artifacts.

"The tragedy was not prevented, due to our nation's inaction," Sullivan, the committee's chairman, wrote in his letter of resignation.

Noting that American scholars had told the State Department about the location of Iraqi museums and historic sites in Iraq, he said the president "is burdened by a compelling moral obligation to plan for and try to prevent indiscriminate looting and destruction."

Lanier criticized "the administration's total lack of sensitivity and forethought regarding the Iraq invasion and the loss of cultural treasures."

Vikan said in a separate interview that he saw "a failure on the part of the United States to interdict what is now an open floodgate."

White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said the United States "in liberating Iraq worked very hard to protect infrastructure in Iraq and to preserve the valued resources of Iraq for the people of Iraq."

"It is unfortunate that there was looting and damage done," she said.

Looters made off with statues, golden bowls, manuscripts and other treasures in the museum's collection chronicling ancient Mesopotamia, considered the cradle of civilization and modern home to Iraq.

President Bush in January appointed nine new members to the commission and they are undergoing background checks.

Sullivan heads a historic commission in St. Mary's, Md. Vikan is director of Baltimore's Walters Art Museum. Lanier is director of a New York foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, that deals with relations between the U.S. and Eastern Europe.

© 2003 The Associated Press


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Bush, Stupidity and Syria
The Guardian (UK)
Julian Borger in Washington and Nicholas Watt
Monday April 14, 2003

George Bush called on Syria yesterday to hand over the Iraqi leaders his government believes it is sheltering.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House, the president also repeated his belief that Syria possessed chemical weapons. "I think that we believe there are chemical weapons in Syria, for example," he said.

He did not explicitly threaten military action against the Damascus government, saying that "each situation will require a different response", but nor did he rule it out.

"First things first. We're in Iraq now," he said.

"Syria just needs to cooperate with the United States and our coalition partners, not harbour any Ba'athists, any military officials, any people who need to be held to account."

The Syrian deputy ambassador in Washington, Imad Moustapha, denied that his country was harbouring escaped Iraqis. He said it was the responsibility of US troops to monitor Iraq's border with Syria.

The Pentagon's allegation that Saddam Hussein's lieutenants had been offered a haven by Damascus met with scepticism from some US intelligence officials last week. One said there was no "validated intelligence" for such a claim.

But the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said there was "no question" that Syria was harbouring senior Iraqi officials.

Asked how Washington would respond if Saddam were found being sheltered there, he said: "The last thing I would do would be to discuss that." But he said Damascus was "making a lot of bad mistakes, a lot of bad judgments in my view".

Diplomats in Washington said they were certain the White House was not planning military action against Syria or Iran, which it has accused of lending support to Saddam.

"You have to understand how much exhaustion there is over Iraq, and now they have the job of running Iraq. There is no stomach for any more," one said.

And on BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend George Bush Sr's secretary of state, Lawrence Eagleburger, said if the president were to order an attack on Syria or Iran, "even I would feel he ought to be impeached".

Washington has told London that for the time being it is its job to secure Syrian and Iranian cooperation, and the Foreign Office minister Mike O'Brien has been sent to Damascus and Tehran.

Mr Rumsfeld said "busloads" of fighters had been crossing from Syria into Iraq to attack US troops.

"Some were stopped, the ones we could find we sent them back. Some we [put in] prisoner of war camps. And others are getting killed." One bus was carrying $650,000 and leaflets offering rewards for killing Americans, the Pentagon said.

Mr Rumsfeld said Syria was already suffering the economic consequences of supporting Iraq. "I mean, who in the world would want to invest in Syria? Who would want to go in tourism in Syria?

"They're associating with the wrong people and the effect of that hurts the Syrian people."

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

Commentary:
I put up this article so I could rant for a few seconds. If you don't like my rants go to the next article now.

Loyalist to Saddam are of little threat to the US. There will always be those who supported him. The real problem is if Syria has Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. I doubt it since Saddam had nothing to gain by giving his most valued weapons to another country and lose control over them, but it's still a concern worth noting.

My real problem is the war against Iraq was always be a sham. Destroying weapons is and always will be a farce--since they can be rebuilt. You can't kill everyone who knows how to build weapons in Iraq so the knowledge they have will remain no matter how weapons we find and destroy. They will be rebuilt. So, if you see success in Iraq, you're a morons. Period.


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Powell Regrets 1973 U.S. Actions in Chile
YahooNews/AP
By GEORGE GEDDA
Associated Press Writer

Apr 16,12:43 PM ET

WASHINGTON - When a student asked Secretary of State Colin Powell about the 1973 military coup in Chile, the retired general turned diplomat made no secret of his deep misgivings about the U.S. role in that upheaval.

"It is not a part of American history that we're proud of," Powell said, quickly adding that reforms instituted since then make it unlikely that the policies of that Cold War era will be repeated.

The matter might have ended there had not Washington operative William D. Rogers taken notice of Powell's televised comment. Rogers served under Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1975-76 as the department's top official on Latin America and maintains a professional relationship with Kissinger.

In a highly unusual move, the State Department issued a statement that put distance between the department and its top official. The statement asserted that the U.S. government "did not instigate the coup that ended Allende's government in 1973" — a reference to the elected president, Salvador Allende.

Rogers was concerned that Powell's comment was reinforcing what he called "the legend" that the Chile coup was a creation of a Kissinger-led cabal working in league with Chilean military officers opposed to Allende. He called the department legal office to point out that there was a pending law suit against the government and Powell's comment was not helpful.

"I also called Kissinger," said Rogers. "I talked to him about it. I wouldn't say he was upset. ... I told Henry I think this is bad stuff. It doesn't help the U.S. legal position."

Rightly or wrongly, Kissinger has been linked to the coup that brought Gen. Augusto Pinochet 's military government to power.

Rogers said the Chilean military acted not because the United States urged it to do so, "but because they believed that had the Allende regime continued much longer, Chilean liberties would be irretrievably lost."

Peter Kornbluh, a student of Latin American issues, whose book, "The Pinochet File," will be released in September, disputed Rogers' account. "The U.S. government carried out a clear effort to undermine and destabilize Allende's ability to govern, creating the climate necessary for a coup to take place," Kornbluh said.

Rogers insists Kornbluh overstates the case. "Climate is one thing. Instigating a military attack on the civilian regime is quite another."

Kornbluh said the perceived U.S. role in Chile did not end with the coup. He added that the U.S. government helped the Pinochet regime consolidate its power with overt and covert support, "despite the full knowledge of its atrocities."

The notion of Nixon administration involvement in the post-Sept. 11, 1973, period was reinforced last November when 11 residents of Chile filed a complaint against Kissinger and the U.S. government seeking damages for deaths and other rights abuses by the Pinochet government.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, also names Michael Townley, a U.S.-born former Chilean intelligence agent.

Under the long-standing rules, Rogers said Kissinger's role as defendant is assumed by the U.S. government on grounds that Kissinger was not acting as an individual but was carrying out government policy.

Rogers said his main concern is not the court proceeding but the perception that the U.S. government was working hand in hand with Pinochet and his allies to oust Allende.

"The accusation that the U.S. is morally, legally or factually responsible for the coup is a canard," he said. "This is the issue raised by Powell's comment."

The State Department statement that the U.S. government "did not instigate" the coup is more in line with Rogers' view than with Powell's.

As for the suit against Kissinger and the U.S. government, the plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages "in excess of $11 million" for rights abuses committed in the post-coup period. They also asked for punitive damages in an amount "at least twice the compensatory damages."
___

EDITOR'S NOTE — George Gedda has covered foreign affairs for The Associated Press since 1968.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Copyright © 2003 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
What is it with republicans? In 1973 they over through a democratically elected government in Chile and under Bush they tried to do the same in Venezuela. Why do they hate democracy and freedom so much?

Don't forget too, that when the US installed (or whatever you want to call it) Saddam's party, the US government recognized the new military government within three days. The US supports democracy only in words, not deeds. A sad commentary of our times.


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Beijing's Help Led To Talks
By Karen DeYoung and Doug Struck
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 17, 2003; Page A01

The Bush administration's decision to meet with North Korean representatives next week in Beijing, a significant retreat from its insistence that it would talk to Pyongyang only in the presence of officials from Japan, South Korea and China, was made in response to China's increasingly cooperative role in the North Korean crisis, senior administration officials said yesterday.

The administration has also dropped its demand that North Korea first dismantle its illegal uranium enrichment program. President Bush, said a top Japanese official who helped pave the way for the meeting, "decided to go ahead with discussions without any preset conditions."

China's effort to resolve the six-month impasse over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program came in an offer last month to host an initial tripartite meeting with the United States and North Korea, excluding South Korea and Japan, U.S officials said. China also obtained North Korea's agreement to drop its own demand for a one-on-one meeting with the United States. The Chinese will be present at all sessions of next week's talks, the officials said.

"We decided to go ahead with it because China had taken such a major role in setting it up," a senior administration official said. "After months of our telling them that they had to do more, they finally came up with this. It wasn't perfect, but it represented much more substantial involvement by them than anything they had done before."

During several weeks of high-level conversations, the substance of which was kept secret until details emerged Tuesday, Washington and Beijing worked to talk their Asian partners into the deal. A U.S. delegation headed by James A. Kelly, assistant secretary of state for Asia, will likely arrive in Beijing next Wednesday for as many as three days of talks, officials said.

U.S. officials said yesterday that China's presence satisfied Bush's demand that any meeting with North Korea be "multilateral." They said there will be no substantive discussion of Pyongyang's weapons program until South Korea and Japan, and possibly Russia, are represented at subsequent meetings. "That's one reason why I would characterize this as exchanging views rather than a negotiation," one official said.

The other reason, the official said, is North Korea's ongoing failure to begin dismantling its enrichment program. The standoff began in October, when the administration first confronted Pyongyang with evidence of the secret enterprise, begun in violation of a 1994 bilateral accord under which North Korea agreed to shutter a nuclear weapons plant being used to produce weapons-grade material, in exchange for energy and economic assistance. As the crisis escalated, the United States cut off oil shipments. North Korea, in turn, ejected U.N. weapons inspectors, restarted a closed nuclear plant, and withdrew from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The talks next week will mark only the beginning of an effort to ease these tensions. "Everybody knows this is a sort of 'appearance' " of multinational talks, the Japanese official said. "We all know that the key thing will be the direct discussion between the United States and North Korea."

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday the administration considers the meeting "the beginning of a long, intense process of discussion." He told Associated Press Television News the U.S. delegation will "lay out clearly our concerns about their nuclear weapons development programs and other weapons of mass destruction, of their proliferation activities, [and] missile programs," among other issues. North Korea has not announced who will head its delegation.

Bush gave Powell and White House national security adviser Condoleezza Rice the initial go-ahead to pursue the Chinese proposal last month. It was only in the past week, however, that Bush gave approval to the meeting. Scheduling was pushed forward when North Korea unexpectedly made public on Saturday its willingness to hold something other than bilateral talks.

The administration's own decision-making took place outside the normal National Security Council process that includes the Defense Department and other departments and agencies, officials said. Bush dealt directly with Rice and Powell, although Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was kept informed. The Pentagon's civilian leadership has favored a hard line with North Korea and has been opposed to talks.

Bush has been under conflicting pressures on North Korea. Before the Iraq war, many in Congress argued that the North Korean threat was more immediate. Others criticized the seeming inconsistency in Bush's decision to use military force to disarm Iraq of alleged weapons it could not deliver to the United States, while opting for diplomacy against North Korea, which the CIA has said may already possess one or two nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them abroad. Criticism also came from Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing and Moscow, which pressed the United States to move more quickly toward talks, even on a bilateral basis.

But while the Asian partners had pushed for more U.S. flexibility, their endorsement of next week's meeting was somewhat tepid. Seoul welcomed the Beijing meeting, but Foreign Minister Yoon Young Kwan said future sessions must be expanded to include the others. "We won't share the burden resulting from any talks that we do not participate in," Yoon said.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said the talks are "something that Japan desires, too." Japan and South Korea are key to the ultimate success of negotiations, not only because they are under a more direct threat from Pyongyang's weapons, but also because their potential contributions are vital to the aid package North Korea expects to be part of any weapons deal.

But "North Korea is in the driver's seat," said Kim Young Soo, a professor at Sogang University in Seoul. "The first priority of the South Korean government is to avoid tension and move this situation into dialogue. . . . The question is, when do we get into the talks? The second round? The third round? And do we accept that or not?"

Asian analysts were divided as to whether North Korea is stalling for time, or had signaled a real intention to abandon its nuclear program. "The Iraqi war is ending, and since North Korea probably will be the next" U.S. target, "they are thinking about how they can buy time so they won't be bombed," said Katsumi Sato, director of the Modern Korea Institute in Japan, an institution often critical of Pyongyang.

China, North Korea's principal benefactor and closest international contact, long resisted U.S. pressure to become more involved. Chinese analysts in Beijing said yesterday that the talks marked a major shift in China's traditionally passive and reactive foreign policy, coinciding with the formation of a new government under Communist Party Secretary (and soon to be president) Hu Jintao, and a realization that unless it helps find a solution to the Korean crisis, it risks losing influence in an area vital to its own security.

The first indications that Beijing was prepared to act came in February, when it sent a blunt message to Pyongyang by closing off an oil pipeline to North Korea for three days. Powell visited Beijing later that month, meeting with Hu and President Jiang Zemin. U.S. officials said there were talks about the North Korea meeting when Powell traveled to Seoul for Roh Moo Hyun's inauguration last month, and even in the margins of contentious U.N. Security Council meetings over Iraq.

Last week, discussions among the partners moved into high gear. On Thursday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov traveled to Seoul, while South Korea's foreign minister went to Beijing. On Friday, Powell spoke with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, and on Saturday, as North Korea made its surprising announcement, Ivanov was meeting Koizumi in Tokyo.

Yesterday morning, after the news was out, Bush called Koizumi in Tokyo. "We will start with three-way consultations," a Japanese official quoted Bush as saying, "but set ourselves in the direction of including Japan and South Korea."

Struck reported from Seoul. Correspondent John Pomfret contributed to this report from Beijing.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
This is very interesting. North Korea was able to get China to stop the US from a resolution against them in the UN. How did they do that? What did North Korea offer China in exchange for their veto threat? I'm thinking we need to look at Pakistan for the answer.

This story is simple...China is setting up or may host talks with the US and North Korea. China is rapidly becoming a superpower as the US becomes increasingly powerless. Note again that China is not considered evil even though its regime is far worse than North Korea, Iraq and Iran combined. Could it be because China has a real military?

North Korea too was able to get the US to back down from first strike. It seems the only countries we can challenge are those who have very, very, weak militaries. Countries we spend 12 years disarming-countries like Iraq. Yes folks, we're that weak.


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North Korea and Nuclear Blackmail
FORTUNE
Monday, January 6, 2003
By Bill Powell

"Let me talk about North Korea," George W. Bush said to the Washington Post's Bob Woodward in an interview at the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas, last August. The veteran Post reporter had just asked about Bush's plans for Saddam Hussein's Iraq--target No. 1 on the President's famous list of three nations making up the "axis of evil." But the President, for reasons that would become apparent to Woodward and the rest of the world only months later, had North Korea and its mysterious leader, Kim Jong Il, on his mind. Woodward, in his book Bush at War, then recounts an extraordinary scene: "The President sat forward in his chair. I thought he might jump up he became so emotional about the North Korean leader. 'I loathe Kim Jong Il!' Bush shouted, waving his finger in the air. 'I've got a visceral reaction to this guy, because he is starving his people.' "

Starving his people and, Bush did not add (though he knew), continuing to develop nuclear weapons, in direct contravention of a 1994 agreement with the Clinton administration to drop his nuclear ambitions. The President knew last summer, just when his administration had begun serious planning (both diplomatic and military) to separate Iraq's leader from his own weapons of mass destruction, that Kim Jong Il was going to complicate his life immensely.

And so--as everyone now knows--he has. In October assistant secretary of state James Kelly revealed that on a secret trip to Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, Kim Jong Il's government had admitted, in response to evidence Kelly had brought with him, that it was enriching uranium for use in nuclear weapons. Since then North Korea has defiantly and skillfully played a game of nuclear blackmail. On Dec. 12 the North announced it would restart a shuttered nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, the one covered by the so-called Agreed Framework deal of 1994. The facility has enough spent fuel on hand to make five to six nukes by the end of this year. (Restarting the reactor would also produce sufficient new spent fuel to make one additional weapon per year of operation.) Then, in late December, North Korea kicked out representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency who were monitoring the Yongbyon facility. Kim also seemed prepared to renounce the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, or NPT, which North Korea had signed in 1985. His next step could well be to start moving spent fuel rods from the reactor at Yongbyon to a nearby facility, where the plutonium would be reprocessed and ready for use in weapons.

That, for the Bush administration, would be a disaster on several levels. First and most obviously, it would put more weapons in the hands of a hostile regime that already possesses long-range missiles and is working on developing some that can hit the U.S. Second, North Korea is, in the words of Robert Walpole, one of the CIA's top experts on weapons of mass destruction, the "worst" proliferator of missile technology on the planet and could easily go into the loose-nuke business once it starts churning out the plutonium. If Kim could then figure out where exactly one pays a sales call to Osama bin Laden these days, Bush's worst axis-of-evil nightmare would be realized.

That puts Bush in an excruciating dilemma, because he lacks the Saddam option--that is, he can't take out Kim Jong Il, or his nuclear-development infrastructure, militarily. The reason that is true, as daily press stories about the unfolding crisis make clear, is that North Korea has an enormous amount of artillery within easy striking distance of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. As notorious as Kim's regime is, there is simply no constituency anywhere among U.S. allies in East Asia for another Korean war. That is now truer than ever in the South, where the newly elected President, Roh Moo Hyun, rode a wave of anti-American sentiment to victory Dec. 19.

But the other, more important reason that no real military option exists is this: Since the mid-1990s the working assumption of the U.S. government (as well as governments in East Asia) is that North Korea already has one or two nuclear weapons. Couple that with its demonstrated missile capacity--in 1998 it stunned Tokyo by test-firing a multiple-stage Taepodong-type rocket in the Sea of Japan--and the risks of a military strike become even more daunting. Yes, if the North ever used the one or two nukes it had, it would be the end of the regime, but it would come only after God knows how many casualties--and not necessarily all on the Korean peninsula.

That is why the administration, led by the President himself, has been so forthright about saying that North Korea is a diplomatic, not a military problem. They're not just trying to sound like reasonable guys to appease hostile Democrats and Europeans, some of whom persist in thinking Bush is a unilateralist yahoo from west Texas who wants to shoot now and take names later. The Bushies mean what they say. In turn, however, critics charge them with hypocrisy or strategic incoherence: Why, if North Korea is a card-carrying member of the AOE (axis of evil) and you think it has a couple of nukes and is about to make some more, are you worrying about Iraq?

It is a reasonable question, and the administration, for all the vaunted competence of its national security team, has been "inept," as Henry Sokolski, director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Washington, D.C., says, in providing a consistently coherent answer. And that's strange, because the answer isn't complicated. The reality of North Korea, run by a nuke-wielding dictator, doesn't detract from the case for going after Saddam--it enhances it. And the reason it does is that Saddam with nukes is precisely what you want to avoid at all costs. Even European opponents of a war with Iraq, like the Germans, concede that point. That is what the Israeli strike on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 was all about: preventing Saddam, a megalomaniac with obvious regional ambitions, from acquiring the nukes to back up those ambitions. Twice since 1981, Saddam has shown that he's willing to go to war with his neighbors--something that Kim Jong Il, for all his eccentricities, has never done. As Amatzia Baram of Israel's University of Haifa puts it, "Saddam with nukes guarantees that someday there would be a nuclear exchange in the Middle East."

Figuring all that out has been the easy part for the administration. The hard part comes now: how, diplomatically, to deal with North Korea's nuclear blackmail in a way that avoids a scenario in which everyone in East Asia--including Japan--feels it needs a nuclear deterrent. The North wants two things more than anything else: direct dealings with the U.S., in the hope of negotiating a long-sought nonaggression pact with Washington, and economic assistance. The last time the North played this game, it won: The Clinton administration negotiated face to face and signed the Agreed Framework, which included fuel oil and food aid as well as a commitment to build two nuclear reactors that were less of a proliferation threat. Eventually Madeleine Albright even went to Pyongyang for talks with Kim.

Given that Pyongyang went right on making nukes, the Bushies insist that scenario will not under any circumstances be replicated. North Korea needs to stand down its weapons program or face what the administration calls "tailored containment," a policy of enhanced sanctions against what is already one of the most economically isolated regimes in the world. It's not at all clear that such a policy would have the desired impact, and it has no chance whatever without the participation of China.

That's where things get even knottier. Without question, the road to any kind of diplomatic resolution runs through Beijing. It is the only country in the region that has halfway-decent relations with the North. And more important, China is the primary source of food and fuel for a famished and frigid nation. It, more than South Korea and Japan, has leverage over the North. But it is still not clear its leaders are willing to use that clout. Relations between China and the U.S. are good right now, and on Dec. 31, Bush pointedly noted that he and Jiang Zemin, Beijing's outgoing leader, had talked specifically about working together on North Korea when Jiang visited the Bush ranch last October. Bush intends to see just how serious Jiang was.

He may not like the answer. Beijing doesn't want a North with nukes, but it is also deeply wary of an economic-strangulation strategy. Already North Korean refugees by the thousands have poured into northeastern China--a region of high and rising unemployment and increasing worker unrest. The last thing Beijing wants is more bodies in Liaoning province looking for jobs that aren't there. That's why China's authorities forcibly repatriate any North Koreans they find.

If Beijing balks at Washington's proposed isolation strategy, it will be ineffective. And that means that eventually, no matter how much he may loathe Kim Jong Il, someone from Bush's administration is probably going to have to negotiate with him.

© Copyright 2003 Time Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Commentary:
Where do I begin? There are many mistruths in this article, so let's start with the obvious problems. Bush said he would never be blackmailed into talks with North Korea. He's now trying to have talks with North Korea--nuclear blackmail works.

Bush wanted a UN resolution against N. Korea but China and Russia promised vetoes. This came AFTER Bush's UN debacle on Iraq, which shows how weak the US and Bush are in the eyes of the world.

Bush was "stunned" to learn N. Korea has nuclear weapons in the fall, but the author implies Bush knew about the program in the summer. But if that was true why did he continue to give N. Korea oil until December?

In Bush's first strike doctrine in June he accuses N. Korea of missiles production and WMD, but fails to mention nuclear weapons. (It was know that N. Korea has chemical and biological weapons) "North Korea has become the world's principal purveyor of ballistic missiles, and has tested increasingly capable missiles while developing its own WMD arsenal."

North Korea was selling missiles to Pakistan, another nuclear power and a Bush ally, while Pakistan may have helped N. Korea with its nuclear program, though we don't know that for sure yet. Bush didn't put Pakistan on his axis of evil list even though they were helping North Korea.

There's NO EVIDENCE Bush was aware of the nuclear program until AFTER he created his "first strike" doctrine. This is very important because only days after first strike was announced, N. Korea said it had nukes. What evidence do we have that they have nukes? None. So, it's highly likely Bush's "first strike" created the North Korean Crisis.

Two main points. This has been over from day one and North Korea won the game. They wanted Bush to back down on his evil of axis and first strike nonsense. He has. They wanted talks with Washington to make sure Bush would not attack. They're getting those talks. All that's left now is how much money Bush will give North Korea to return to" pre-first strike."

Since Bush is backing down on every key point, it's now possible North Korea will return to " pre-first strike," but it'll cost us plenty.


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Rumsfeld Denies U.S. Blame for Iraq Museum Plunder
Reuters.com
By Charles Aldinger
Tue April 15, 2003 04:19 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday rejected charges that the U.S. military was to blame for the looting by Iraqis of priceless treasures from the antiquities museum in Baghdad.

Rumsfeld expressed sympathy over the plunder of the Iraqi National Museum last week, when U.S. troops stood by as looters walked off with antiquities or smashed what they could not steal. But he denied at a Pentagon briefing that the war plan for Iraq had not adequately prepared for such a threat.

"To try to lay off the fact of that unfortunate activity on a defect in a war plan it strikes me as a stretch," he said in response to questions from reporters.

"Looting is an unfortunate thing. Human beings are not perfect," Rumsfeld said. "No one likes it. No one allows it."

But he added: "To the extent it happens in a war zone, it's difficult to stop."

Rumsfeld noted that the United States had offered rewards for return of the artifacts and for information on their whereabouts, and he suggested museum officials had hidden some treasures ahead of the war for safety.

"I would suspect that over time we will find that a number of the things were, in fact, hidden prior to the conflict," he said. "That's what most people who run museums do prior to a conflict which was obviously well-publicized well in advance."

The museum housed key artifacts of ancient Mesopotamia, one of the earliest civilizations.

It was ransacked and its contents taken or destroyed in looting that swept the Iraqi capital after the collapse of President Saddam Hussein's rule last week.

MAY NEVER BE RECOVERED

Antiquities experts, dismayed that U.S. officials failed to heed their warnings to protect Baghdad's artifacts during the war, said on Monday they were concerned that the priceless treasures may never be recovered.

U.S. archeological organizations and the U.N.'s cultural agency UNESCO said they had provided U.S. officials with information about Iraq's cultural heritage and archeological sites months before the war began.

"Not to my knowledge. It may very well have been," Rumsfeld said when asked it he had received such advance warnings.

"But certainly the targeting people were well aware of where it was and they certainly avoided targeting it. Whatever damage that was done was done from the ground."

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. military Joint Chiefs of Staff, quickly added that Rumsfeld did receive advance warnings about archeological sites around Baghdad and that these warnings were passed on to the military's Central Command with responsibility for the war.

"I think it was the American Archeological Association -- I believe that was the title -- wrote the secretary with some concerns," Myers said. "We tried to avoid hitting those sites ... to my knowledge we didn't hit any of them."

Myers also rejected criticism of the U.S. war plan, which has seen American-led forces topple Saddam's rule in a four-week war.

He said the ground war was launched quickly and with fewer forces than expected by many in order to gain surprise and save both military and civilian lives.

"I think as much as anything else it was a matter of priorities," he said.

© Reuters 2003

Commentary:
Just another example of how the press allows the Bushies to lie and get away with it. International Law requires the invading country to maintain the peace and enforce existing laws. What part of that law doesn't the press and Rumsfeld understand? The War Networks and War Press are still engaged in a massive cover-up. Note, how there's not a word from someone outside the administration and the military. This alone should tell you there's something fishy.

The supporters of Bush (including the press) would make good communists. They push the party line without question. If this is your first stop at this website, do me a favor. Start asking yourself questions. The first of which is should be, "is this true." The press doesn't care, Rumsfeld and Bush don't care. But I'm thinking you do.


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Saddam and the CIA--the early years
By Richard Sale
UPI Intelligence Correspondent
From the International Desk
Published 4/10/2003 7:30 PM

U.S. forces in Baghdad might now be searching high and low for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but in the past Saddam was seen by U.S. intelligence services as a bulwark of anti-communism and they used him as their instrument for more than 40 years, according to former U.S. intelligence diplomats and intelligence officials.

United Press International has interviewed almost a dozen former U.S. diplomats, British scholars and former U.S. intelligence officials to piece together the following account. The CIA declined to comment on the report.

While many have thought that Saddam first became involved with U.S. intelligence agencies at the start of the September 1980 Iran-Iraq war, his first contacts with U.S. officials date back to 1959, when he was part of a CIA-authorized six-man squad tasked with assassinating then Iraqi Prime Minister Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim.

In July 1958, Qasim had overthrown the Iraqi monarchy in what one former U.S. diplomat, who asked not to be identified, described as "a horrible orgy of bloodshed."

According to current and former U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Iraq was then regarded as a key buffer and strategic asset in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. For example, in the mid-1950s, Iraq was quick to join the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact which was to defend the region and whose members included Turkey, Britain, Iran and Pakistan.

Little attention was paid to Qasim's bloody and conspiratorial regime until his sudden decision to withdraw from the pact in 1959, an act that "freaked everybody out" according to a former senior U.S. State Department official.

Washington watched in marked dismay as Qasim began to buy arms from the Soviet Union and put his own domestic communists into ministry positions of "real power," according to this official. The domestic instability of the country prompted CIA Director Allan Dulles to say publicly that Iraq was "the most dangerous spot in the world."

In the mid-1980s, Miles Copeland, a veteran CIA operative, told UPI the CIA had enjoyed "close ties" with Qasim's ruling Baath Party, just as it had close connections with the intelligence service of Egyptian leader Gamel Abd Nassar. In a recent public statement, Roger Morris, a former National Security Council staffer in the 1970s, confirmed this claim, saying that the CIA had chosen the authoritarian and anti-communist Baath Party "as its instrument."

According to another former senior State Department official, Saddam, while only in his early 20s, became a part of a U.S. plot to get rid of Qasim. According to this source, Saddam was installed in an apartment in Baghdad on al-Rashid Street directly opposite Qasim's office in Iraq's Ministry of Defense, to observe Qasim's movements.

Adel Darwish, Middle East expert and author of "Unholy Babylon," said the move was done "with full knowledge of the CIA," and that Saddam's CIA handler was an Iraqi dentist working for CIA and Egyptian intelligence. U.S. officials separately confirmed Darwish's account.

Darwish said that Saddam's paymaster was Capt. Abdel Maquid Farid, the assistant military attaché at the Egyptian Embassy who paid for the apartment from his own personal account. Three former senior U.S. officials have confirmed that this is accurate.

The assassination was set for Oct. 7, 1959, but it was completely botched. Accounts differ. One former CIA official said that the 22-year-old Saddam lost his nerve and began firing too soon, killing Qasim's driver and only wounding Qasim in the shoulder and arm. Darwish told UPI that one of the assassins had bullets that did not fit his gun and that another had a hand grenade that got stuck in the lining of his coat.

"It bordered on farce," a former senior U.S. intelligence official said. But Qasim, hiding on the floor of his car, escaped death, and Saddam, whose calf had been grazed by a fellow would-be assassin, escaped to Tikrit, thanks to CIA and Egyptian intelligence agents, several U.S. government officials said.

Saddam then crossed into Syria and was transferred by Egyptian intelligence agents to Beirut, according to Darwish and former senior CIA officials. While Saddam was in Beirut, the CIA paid for Saddam's apartment and put him through a brief training course, former CIA officials said. The agency then helped him get to Cairo, they said.

One former U.S. government official, who knew Saddam at the time, said that even then Saddam "was known as having no class. He was a thug -- a cutthroat."

In Cairo, Saddam was installed in an apartment in the upper class neighborhood of Dukki and spent his time playing dominos in the Indiana Café, watched over by CIA and Egyptian intelligence operatives, according to Darwish and former U.S. intelligence officials.

One former senior U.S. government official said: "In Cairo, I often went to Groppie Café at Emad Eldine Pasha Street, which was very posh, very upper class. Saddam would not have fit in there. The Indiana was your basic dive."

But during this time Saddam was making frequent visits to the American Embassy where CIA specialists such as Miles Copeland and CIA station chief Jim Eichelberger were in residence and knew Saddam, former U.S. intelligence officials said.

Saddam's U.S. handlers even pushed Saddam to get his Egyptian handlers to raise his monthly allowance, a gesture not appreciated by Egyptian officials since they knew of Saddam's American connection, according to Darwish. His assertion was confirmed by former U.S. diplomat in Egypt at the time.

In February 1963 Qasim was killed in a Baath Party coup. Morris claimed recently that the CIA was behind the coup, which was sanctioned by President John F. Kennedy, but a former very senior CIA official strongly denied this.

"We were absolutely stunned. We had guys running around asking what the hell had happened," this official said.

But the agency quickly moved into action. Noting that the Baath Party was hunting down Iraq's communist, the CIA provided the submachine gun-toting Iraqi National Guardsmen with lists of suspected communists who were then jailed, interrogated, and summarily gunned down, according to former U.S. intelligence officials with intimate knowledge of the executions.

Many suspected communists were killed outright, these sources said. Darwish told UPI that the mass killings, presided over by Saddam, took place at Qasr al-Nehayat, literally, the Palace of the End.

A former senior U.S. State Department official told UPI: "We were frankly glad to be rid of them. You ask that they get a fair trial? You have to get kidding. This was serious business."

A former senior CIA official said: "It was a bit like the mysterious killings of Iran's communists just after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979. All 4,000 of his communists suddenly got killed."

British scholar Con Coughlin, author of "Saddam: King of Terror," quotes Jim Critchfield, then a senior Middle East agency official, as saying the killing of Qasim and the communists was regarded "as a great victory." A former long-time covert U.S. intelligence operative and friend of Critchfield said: "Jim was an old Middle East hand. He wasn't sorry to see the communists go at all. Hey, we were playing for keeps."

Saddam, in the meantime, became head of al-Jihaz a-Khas, the secret intelligence apparatus of the Baath Party.

The CIA/Defense Intelligence Agency relation with Saddam intensified after the start of the Iran-Iraq war in September of 1980. During the war, the CIA regularly sent a team to Saddam to deliver battlefield intelligence obtained from Saudi AWACS surveillance aircraft to aid the effectiveness of Iraq's armed forces, according to a former DIA official, part of a U.S. interagency intelligence group.

This former official said that he personally had signed off on a document that shared U.S. satellite intelligence with both Iraq and Iran in an attempt to produce a military stalemate. "When I signed it, I thought I was losing my mind," the former official told UPI.

A former CIA official said that Saddam had assigned a top team of three senior officers from the Estikhbarat, Iraq's military intelligence, to meet with the Americans.

According to Darwish, the CIA and DIA provided military assistance to Saddam's ferocious February 1988 assault on Iranian positions in the al-Fao peninsula by blinding Iranian radars for three days.

The Saddam-U.S. intelligence alliance of convenience came to an end at 2 a.m. Aug. 2, 1990, when 100,000 Iraqi troops, backed by 300 tanks, invaded its neighbor, Kuwait. America's one-time ally had become its bitterest enemy.

Copyright © 2001-2003 United Press International

Commentary:
Like the Shah of Iran and other dictators, Saddam enters the history books as another failed dictator put in power by the United States. It's be nice if we were on the right side of history once in awhile. Maybe, our new dictator will be better than our last.


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US Allies have WMD
The Washington Post By JIM KRANE
The Associated Press
Monday, April 14, 2003; 4:56 PM

The Bush administration cited Iraq's alleged stocks of weapons of mass destruction in its decision to invade. President Bush now says Syria, too, owns an arsenal of chemical weapons.

But the list of countries with likely chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs is not confined to nations Washington may consider hostile. It also includes such U.S. allies as Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, India and Taiwan.

"The allegation is, we use weapons of mass destruction as an excuse when we have it out for other countries," said Jon B. Wolfsthal, deputy director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "We tend to look the other way when it suits our interest. That decision has come back to haunt us."

Israel's nuclear weapons program is thought to include about 200 warheads deployed on ballistic missiles and aircraft, Wolfsthal said. In 2000, Israel placed nuclear-tipped missiles on three submarines, pushing its capabilities beyond those of declared nuclear states India and Pakistan - and possibly even China, Wolfsthal said.

In a strategy reminiscent of Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel is believed to store nuclear missiles on mobile launchers in caves, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Israel is also believed to stock chemical and biological weapons, according to the Carnegie Endowment and the Monterey Institute of International Studies, which track such issues.

Israeli officials do not comment on the country's nuclear weapons potential.

Egypt, another leading U.S. ally, is believed to harbor chemical weapons - including deadly sarin and VX agents - along with, perhaps, an offensive bioweapons capability, according to the Monterey Institute.

India and Pakistan have publicly tested nuclear weapons. They are also suspected to be engaged in chemical and biological weapons research, according to Carnegie and Monterey.

Taiwan, another staunch U.S. ally, probably maintains a chemical weapons program and may have a biological research program, according to Monterey.

Saudi Arabia has bought nuclear-capable intermediate-range missiles from China, though the Saudis are not believed to have unconventional warheads to put in them, Wolfsthal said.

Wolfsthal said the Bush administration would be shortsighted to single out Syria, North Korea, Iran and Iraq. Ignoring proliferation among allies like Israel and Pakistan has allowed the technology to spread further, he said.

Israel is known to have aided South Africa's now-defunct nuclear program. Pakistan is believed to have cooperated with similar programs in North Korea and Iran.

Other countries with current chemical and biological weapons stocks or research programs include Russia, China, Libya and Sudan, according to the Carnegie Endowment.

The United States and Britain, both among the world's seven declared nuclear powers, developed their own chemical and biological weapons in the past. Britain has destroyed all such stocks, and the United States is still eliminating the last vestiges of its chemical weapons, said Amy Smithson, a chemical and biological weapons researcher with the Henry L. Stimson Center, a national security think tank in Washington.

The United States still develops small amounts of weapons-grade chemical and biological toxins in order to defend against them, Smithson said.

© 2003 The Associated Press

Commentary:
The US is good at one thing for sure. We're the world's perfect hypocrites. I guess I don't see the big deal one way or another. If a country has chemical weapons, so what? While I don't know much about such things it seems obvious that dead is dead and it doesn't matter how the person was killed. Death by a bomb is just as dead as dead by chemical weapons.

Btw, what are 20-ton US weapons made out of...daisy's and daffodils? Nope, chemicals, but they're good chemical, compared to Iraq's bad chemical. Good grief. All weapons are made out chemicals. Does it matter what kind of chemicals? Dead is dead.

Besides, chemical weapons don't destroy infrastructure and homes. They just kill, which is the point of all this nonsense anyway. Now all we need is a precision guided chemical weapon that doesn't spread beyond the point of impact. The perfect weapon.


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