April 3, 2002

Miscellaneous Subjects #138: The Insanity of War


Hello everyone

Considering how little real news and how much cover-up there is in the US TV news (print media is better though) about the US-sanctioned anti-Palestinian, Israeli-led pogrom which is now reaching a climaxing frenzy of insanity, I'm including several items of information that the US subscribers to this list are very unlikely to get in the US.

Crimes against humanity are being committed at this very moment... And this - *including* all suicide bombings that still continue almost everyday now in Israel - MUST stop immediately!

May Peace prevail in the Middle East...

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000

P.S. Look at http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/World/Mideast_Conflict/ and especially at http://jerusalem.indymedia.org for the latest news and see the critical coverage at http://www.alternet.org/?IssueAreaID=28 and the Dispatches from Ramallah at http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12762 (MUST READ!)

Check also my latest Media compilation #60: Ethnically Cleansing Palestine? at http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000/Archives2002/MediaCompilation60.htm


LAST MINUTE ADDITION:

Israel is reported to be on "nuclear strike standby". The story originated in an exclusive 'Globe-Intel' report by Gordon Thomas, who claimed, "Two Israeli fighter-bomber squadrons equipped with battlefield tactical nuclear weapons have been placed on 'cock-pit standby'. They are based at an airfield in Galilee - minutes only flying time from Syria.

- Taken from "WHAT MATTERS-73a: From Israel" Open Letter to American Jews by Assaf Oron and available at http://www.whatmatters.nu/wmemails/wmemails13.html#WM-73a


CONTENTS

1. International Civilians attacked by live gunfire in Beit Jalla
2. What Now? Dump hatred!
3. PARTY FOR PEACE - EMPOWER THE WORLD TO SAY NO TO WAR
4. Britain bans boy soldiers going to war
5. President of Iceland urged to work for peace or resign
6. Expect the unexpected...


SEE ALSO:

Diplomatic Pressure Mounts Over Israeli (Tue Apr 2)
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=586&ncid=721&e=1&u=/nm/20020402/wl_nm/mideast_protests_dc_1
BRUSSELS (Reuters) Israel came under mounting diplomatic pressure on Tuesday to ease its military crackdown on Palestinian militants as anti-Israeli street protests erupted from Indonesia to Brazil.
(...) Baghdad pressed the Arab League to endorse an Iraqi draft resolution calling on Arab countries to cut off oil supplies to the U.S.

Israeli Leader Ariel Sharon Proposes Yasser Arafat Go Into Exile; Aides Say He Won't Leave
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/03.31.BK.IDFvArafat.htm (Lots more news there!!)

Arafat's Key Aides Targeted
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/04.03F.Aides.Targeted.htm

Open Letter to the Commander of the Israeli Paratroopers
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12751
An Israeli human rights activists wonders how his former classmate, who is now leading Israel's military action in Ramallah, turned into a war criminal.
(...) In the days after the interview, news began to trickle about what took place in the camp. Prior to the incursion the Israeli military reigned terror on the inhabitants employing helicopters and tanks. Then, Aviv, you imposed a curfew on the camp, blew up the electric transmission lines, cutting off electricity to 20,000 civilian inhabitants; bulldozers ruined the water supply pipe lines. Your soldiers, Aviv, then moved from house to house by smashing holes in the interior walls; they destroyed furniture and other property, and riddled bullets in water tanks on roof tops. The soldiers spread terror on the inhabitants, most of whom were women, elderly, and children. But that wasn't all. I learned that your soldiers also used inhabitants as human shields. Also, in the first few hours of the incursion the Palestinians had 120 wounded, and that you, Aviv, refused to allow ambulances to enter and leave the camp. CLIP

RAMALLAH: Palestinian City Now an Israeli Garrison
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/04.02B.Garrison.htm

Israel's State Terrorism
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12748
While Yassir Arafat is blamed for the actions of individual suicide bombers, no one is holding Ariel Sharon responsible for the crimes committed by his own army.

The petition below will help the lawyers in Belgium who are suing Ariel Sharon for war crimes. They need 1,000,000 signatures. They currently have 304,551">
http://www.petitiononline.com/warcrime

Bush Is Criticized for Mideast Role
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/04.03C.Bush.Criticized.htm

http://www.halturnershow.com/IsraelAbusesAmericans.htm

Sept 11- Bush and Cheney were involved!
http://uk.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=19316&group=webcast
COMPELLING EVIDENCE THAT THE SEPTEMBER 11 TERRORIST ATTACKS IN THE USA WERE ORGANIZED, AT LEAST IN PART, BY USA AUTHORITIES, AS AN EXCUSE TO START AN ALREADY PLANNED WAR IN SOUTH ASIA, AND AS AN EXCUSE TO BEGIN THE BIGGEST ATTACK ON CIVIL LIBERTIES IN THE WEST SINCE THE FACIST ERA.

Rumsfeld Backs Plan to Hold Captives Even if Acquitted
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/29/international/asia/29DETA.html

Bush's Crony Capitalism
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/03.29H.Bush.Crony.htm

World tribunal 4 signatories away from ratification
http://www.washtimes.com/world/20020328-7602228.htm
The International Criminal Court is on track to become a reality by mid-April, claiming a mandate to indict and try anyone in the world, including Americans, U.N. officials and supporters said yesterday. With just four more countries needed to ratify the 1998 Rome Statute that creates the court, "it is very close," said U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq. "It is reasonable to assume that there will be a few more ratifications in the next few weeks."

New Global Court Moves Closer to Reality
http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=topnews&StoryID=746328
(...) The court would try those accused of mass murders, war crimes and other gross human rights violations and is expected to be set up in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2003. But no one can be prosecuted for crimes committed before that time. The U.N. Security Council has established two ad hoc courts: for war crimes during the 1990s Balkan wars and for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. But the International Criminal Court would be the first permanent criminal tribunal, modeled after the Nazi trials at the end of World War II. CLIP

US warned not to risk rift with Europe over treaty
http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT34QC6GAZC&live=true&tagid=IXLMS1QTICC&subheading=global%20economy
The UK has warned the US not to risk a serious rift with nearly all of its European allies by undermining the International Criminal Court before it is ratified next month.

Foes in Angolan War Sign a Cease-Fire
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/31/international/africa/31REBE.html

Chechens and Russians Begin New Talks (March 25, 2002)
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/25/international/europe/25CHEC.html
After more than two years of civil war in Chechnya, Russian lawmakers have opened a new dialogue with Chechen political figures in hopes of setting terms for direct talks between President Vladimir V. Putin and the rebel leaders he has branded terrorists. CLIP




1.

Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002
From: LESLEY WHITING <lesleywhiting@yahoo.com>
Subject: International Civilians attacked by live gunfire in Beit Jalla

Dear Jean,

You may be interested to know that approx 500 international civilians are on a 2 week mission in Palestine, from 29th March-12th April. Their aim is direct non-violent resistance to the occupation, acting as human shields for Palestinian families brutalised by soldiers and settlers, human rights monitoring and humanitarian aid. Participating organisations include ISM (international Solidarity Movement & GIPP (Intl Protection for the Palestinian People).

While I've largely desisted from forwarding you stuff, these brave people really deserve a mention so I hope you wont mind if I keep you updated with anything outstanding during the next couple of weeks.

Blessings,

Lesley

On a less happy note...

April 01, 2002

Internationals Attacked with Live Gunfire

Moments ago international civilians and two members of the Palestinian press were wounded by live fire in Beit Jalla.The internationals were attempting to visit the people in homes that have been taken over by the Occupation Forces.

Among the wounded are:

- British citizen: Aisa Kiysue, Kunle Ibidun, Chris Dunham
- Australian citizen: Kate Irving (currently being examined to see if surgery will be required)
- American citizen: Said Khulil

Wounded have been taken to Al Huissen Hospital in Bethlehem.

Word from the hospital staff is people were hit in the back of the head, face and one was hit in the upper thigh and knees. The Palestinians were hit in the chest.

Images from the Shooting:
http://jerusalem.indymedia.org/news/2002/04/2202.php
http://jerusalem.indymedia.org/news/2002/04/2201.php

The act of witness is very important.
Without journalism there's no democracy.
Without journalism, there's no freedom.

- Peter Howe




2.

From: "EdwinLainhart" <edwinlainhart@hotmail.com>
Subject: What Now? Dump hatred!
Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2002

"Don't try to build your happiness on the unhappiness of others. You will be enmeshed in a net of hatred."

- Buddha

"Do unto others as you would have then do unto you"

Think about that!

What would happen if people/humans started following that directive? What would happen if human beings stopped following/supporting political, corporate and religious institutions and leaders that don't follow the Golden Rule? WOW WHAT A GRAND AWAKENING THAT WILL BE! VIVA FREEDOM! Be humble, show courage, have faith, support Love. Viva Jesus Christ... Viva all Divine Beings.

To all my relations...

Edwin

---

There is only one evil

We live in a society that is so fantastically greedy, so fantastically irresponsible, that we cannot but be enmeshed in a net of hatred. Our selfishness, our indifference to the suffering of others, is simply staggering. Just consider...

First there are the business executives who subvert global warming treaties. Not only do that they do it but, like John Grasser of the mining industry and the Global Climate Coalition, they admit and justify doing it on the grounds that they are "buying time for our industries". Imagine that - they are obstructing action to stop a catastrophe that will claim countless thousands, perhaps millions, of lives, for short-term profit. Is it possible to conceive of such callousness, of such selfishness raised to the level of ultimate self-destruction, of such pragmatism raised to the level of ultimate naivety?

And then there are the political and media executives who almost visibly yawned when senior UN diplomats like Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck resigned in 1998 and 2000 describing how Western sanctions were really, truly responsible for genocide in Iraq, for the deaths of 500,000 children under five.

I wrote an article based on my own interview with Halliday. In it he demolished completely, incontrovertibly, the specious denials of Washington and London. Determined to publish such obviously vital material, I rang round every liberal newspaper in England, Ireland and Scotland. I was offering the arguments of an entirely credible high-level diplomat accusing my government of genocide. The article was dismissed out of hand, or because "Halliday is old hat", or because "the question and answer format is not right for us", or because "what is needed is for the Government position to change first", or because "we have already covered that subject" in an article before, once. The indifference and cynicism were breathtaking - they gave me a snapshot of a society utterly lost to self-interest and servility to power.

And now thousands of people lie crushed to death beneath giant buildings, and B52s are pounding a country packed with starving people. And my government, my media - this establishment, whose irresponsibility and cynicism I have personally witnessed - are telling me that 'we' are at war with evil. But they themselves are so befuddled by arrogance and compromise that they can't see the joke - that you can't wage war on evil with missiles and bombs. You can't hate someone else's hatred away.

You can wage war on evil with compassion for the suffering that causes evil, on the greed that creates the conditions on which evil thrives. You can wage war on evil by demolishing your own fatal arrogance, which, alas and alack!, makes you honestly, truly and sincerely believe that you - in your skin, in your clothes, in your car, in your job - are really more important, more special, dammit more human, than that person over there in his skin, clothes and job.

There is only one evil - it is the evil of me just caring for me and mine, and not caring a damn for him and his. To wage war on evil we have to wage war on this terrible delusion: that only +we+ matter, that we can best protect ourselves by caring only for ourselves. Bring the madmen to justice, but then turn things around for the rest of them: care for him and his, because I tell you we have not up to now, not for a moment.

But how do you do that when your whole political system, your entire economic system, your entire cultural system, is designed to take from him and to give to an opulent few?

The answer is simple: there are no systems, not really; there are only human hearts. So what are you going to do?

David Edwards is Co-Editor of http://www.medialens.org


See also:

Congresswoman Cynthia A. McKinney | Thoughts On Our War Against Terrorism
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/03.29G.McKinney.War.htm




3.

From: ilyes@mac.com
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2002
Subject: Britain bans boy soldiers going to war

I had no idea such was the case! What the UK -- AND US -- policies show is that only the immature, the mentally/emotionally/psychologically undeveloped -- THOSE WHO PERCEIVE THAT THEY HAVE NO OPTIONS -- are willing volunteers to fight in ANY war, indeed, to join a military force; once maturity 'happens', those who once eagerly signed up LEAVE, fewer and fewer are willing to 're-up' ... most adults DO NOT WANT TO SUPPORT WAR with their own bodies ... the message is clear.

If only our youth had options, if there'd be no one willing/forced to fight, perhaps we could actually stop war in its tracks ...


From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/03/29/nboy29.xml&sSheet=/portal/2002/03/29/ixport.html&secureRefresh=true&_requestid=65671

Britain bans boy soldiers going to war
By Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent
Filed: 29/03/2002

BRITAIN is to end its centuries-old policy of sending boy soldiers into battle after deciding to ratify a UN protocol aimed at preventing the use of children in warfare.

But it will continue to recruit 15-year-olds even though the protocol is specifically aimed at stopping armies from recruiting anyone under 18. At present, more than a third of recruits to the Armed Forces are below this age.

The deployment of 17-year-old soldiers during the Gulf war and the Kosovo conflict led Save the Children and other campaign groups to compare Ministry of Defence policy to that of Third World countries.

CLIP

A report last year by the International Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers singled out Britain as one of the worst offenders among 178 countries, most of them in the Third World. The MoD said it unreservedly condemned the use of children in armed conflict.

But the recruitment of 16- to 18-year-olds with the consent of their parents was fundamentally different to "the abusive, compulsory, or coercive involvement of children as members of militia or para-military forces".

No British servicemen or women under 18 would now be deployed on land operations outside the UK, although they might participate in purely humanitarian missions where no hostile forces are involved.

No one under 18 would be allowed to carry out operational patrols in Northern Ireland, although they might be sent there in other roles. A spokesman for Amnesty International said: "The UK holds the lowest minimum age for recruiting within Europe and is still seeking to broaden its recruitment of children.

"It has to decide what is the best way to defend Britain, with children or with adults."




4.

Sent by Amethyst Freeman <angelteehee@yahoo.com.au>
Subject: Fwd: PARTY FOR PEACE - EMPOWER THE WORLD TO SAY NO TO WAR

From: "Party for Peace" <saveourspecies@hotmail.com>

TO SAY NO TO WAR

Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002

PARTY FOR PEACE - EMPOWER THE WORLD TO SAY NO!!!

Party for Peace is a pre-emptive reaction to the decisions that will ravage our planet and its people over the next decade. Party for Peace aims to set up a non-profit organisation to administer the rapid world-wide growth of the World Youth for Peace Movement. The Party for Peace website and the Virtual Global Stand for Peace are platforms to ease the global roll out of a world-wide network of video linked Party for Peace night-clubs. Party for Peace is an opportunity and an invitation to the Worlds Youth to unite in a stand for Peace and to say NO to war. It is step back from all that is society and from the structure that supports it. It is in recognition that we cannot fight hate with war and a stand for love and global unity. With your help we can take that message to the World and it is within belief that we can make a lasting difference.

To add your voice to the Virtual Global Stand for Peace follow the big green button on the site. http://www.partyforpeace.info




5.

From: Peace 2000 Institute <thor@peace.is>
Subject: President of Iceland urged to work for peace or resign
Date: 01 Apr 2002

PRESS RELEASE The following is a translation from the website of Icelandic newspaper Morgunbladid - Easter Sunday 31 March 2002

President of Iceland urged to work for peace in the Middle East or resign from office.

Thor Magnusson, founder of Peace 2000 and former Presidential Candidate of Iceland, delivered an appeal to President of Iceland Mr. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, to launch an Icelandic peace initative in the Middle East or resign from office. A press release from Peace 2000 says that when Mr. Magnusson arrived at the Presidential Residence Bessastadir, the President had just got back from a jog, but spared a few minutes to talk to the guest. The appeal of Thor Magnusson to Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, on behalf of Peace 2000, was the following:

"Now when the world stands on end because of the situation in Israel and Palestine and as our colleagues from European peace movements are trying to take up positions in the office buildings of the Palestinian Home Rule to try to prevent the murder of President Arafat by the Israeli army, I make one more attempt at imploring you to use your position as President of Iceland for peace. Again I recall your promise when we were both Presidential candidates in 1996, that you would if elected, use the office of the President for peace activism. You underlined this many times in television interviews with references to your earlier work as a peace activist, and later reiterated this to me in personal meetings. However, now six years later you have done notthing. The time has come for you to show the solidarity that you promised to peace activism and keep your election promise!

The situation in the Middle East is rapidly developing into an all-out war that may lead the a broader conflict, even to a world war within a very short time. This transformation of events in the age of nuclear weapons poses a real threat to the future of mankind, the future of Iceland and its subjects. Those people who in good faith elected you as their President. I refuse to believe that you will continue occupying the Presidential offices and not even attempt to do anything for peace or to honor your election promises in this grave situation.

Peace 2000 partners have sent us the following news from the situation of the Palestinian town of Ramalla.

1. US made helicopters of the Israeli army hover over the city shooting at buildings and people.

2. Israeli bulldozers are being used to make way for armoured tanks in residential areas.

3. The journeys of doctors, ambulances and aid workers have been impeded. Red Crescent workers are prevented from providing medical assistance. Israeli soldiers shoot at people on the streets of the city.

4. More than 500 civilians, including foreigners, gathered at an Israeli army barricade and ask soldiers to allow them leave the town. The soldiers replied with gunshots over their heads, causing even more fear and resulting in most of the people fleeing back into the city.

5. Israeli soldiers have been holding civilians hostage and using them as human shields. In some cases whole families and even tens of people have been isolated in one room, sometimes without food and drink, while Israeli soldiers have used their homes to take up armed positions all over the city.

6. Some districts of Ramallah are now lacking water and food. The Israeli army has impeded transportation. The Israeli army has even used the residents' food while they have used their apartments and houses as armed hideouts.

7. Large parts of the city are without electricity. Telephone lines have been cut. Civilians are kept in isolation and increasing numbers are gripped by fear.

8. Soldiers are walking through the streets, taking prisoners and calling upon all men between the ages of 16 and 40 to "surrender". The injured are denied medical care. There have been occurrences of executions by army personnel.

9. The Israeli army has driven tanks over civilian automobiles and strewn them in the street in front of the owners' homes. Personal possessions are destroyed in house to house "visits" and army searches.

10. Five officers in the Palestinian security forces were found dead in a building that housed Arabian newsrooms, banks and the Internet company Palestinian Online. It is clear that these men were killed without recourse to trials or laws.

11. The Israeli minister Uzi Landau has said today that it is important to topple the Palestinian Home Rule from power. Another influential person in Israel, Eli Yishai, has today also called for increased and more extensive military action. Such actions are of course completely contrary to the will of the international community and will only result in dramtatically escelating the conflict and topple the world further towards a global war.

Peace 2000 has sent a proposal to the Icelandic Foreign Ministry asking for discussions regarding the ALTHING-JERUSALEM concept. The idea is rooted in the Althing meeting at Thingvellir the year 1000, when Thorgeir Ljosvetningagodi set the scene for an almost unbroken 1000 years era of peace in Iceland. Peace 2000 has been in contact with President Arafat and the Palestinian Home Rule, together with many other parties in both Israel and Palestine, about the initiative. Those who have studied the proposal feel it is worthy of a closer examination, and that such an initative from Iceland could play a part in bringing about lasting peace in the Middle East.

In light of the support Iceland gave to the founding of the state of Israel, and recent escalation towards an all out war in the Middle East, the reticent response of the Icelandic authorities can only be described as a total lack of responsibility. Even people in ivory towers must realize that Iceland has a duty to do all in its power to stem against the bloodbath.

We have repeatedly also sent you appeals to use your Presidential position for peace initatives in the Middle East. We have offered our assistance and support and this offer is now repeated. The undersigned is prepared to travel without delay to the Middle East as your ambassador if this would help. It is important that an Icelandic peace inititative is launched in the area before the situation develops into a wider conflict or even a world war. We have cautioned against looking to the US for a peaceful solution. The importance of our message has been further underlines now that US President Mr. George Bush has taken a firm partial stance with Israel and can no longer be regarded as an impartial party.

I refuse to believe that you, a former peace activist and former head of a global peace network, will continue occupying the office of the President of Iceland without attempting to do anything. That you will allow a conflict develop that endangers the whole future of humankind without a murmur.

If you, Mr Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, do not have the courage to act for peace at this time of distress, I urge you personally, in light of your election statements in 1996, to immediately resign from your position as President of Iceland."

---

Peace 2000, a non profit organization with associates in more than 40 countries. Peace 2000 was founded in 1995 at a town meeting set by the Icelandic Minister for the Environment with 500 people and speakers from organizations around the world, including UNESCO, World Court Project and the Chernobyl Childrens Project. Peace 2000 has been awarded for its Santa aid flights to war torn areas done under a special permission of the UN Security Council, by the Gandhi Foundation, UNESCO and the Greek Orthodox Church who decorated its founder, Icelandic Presidential Candidate Thor Magnusson with their Holy Gold Cross for humanitarian work at a ceremony in memory of Mother Theresa and Princess Diana. The work of Peace 2000 has been featured by REUTERS, CNN, ABC, CBS and others. Peace 2000 has worked together with several other charities, including the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. The work of Peace 2000 has been made entirely possible by the support of corporate and government sponsors including: Boeing Aeroplane Group, Alitalia, Icelandair, Air Atlanta, Air Cyprus, Royal Jordanian Airways, Cronus Airways, Parcelpost, LandRover, British Civil Aviation Authority, Eurocontrol, Hilton, Sheraton and Intercontinental Hotels, DHL, Shell, BP, Western Union and technology companies: Verisign, GlobeNet, Siebel, Ctirix, Trivium, Adenin and more than 300 other companies around the world. More information: http://www.peace2000.org. Telephone Iceland: +354 557 1000 or +354 552 2000.




6.

From: http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,676657,00.html

Blair opts for delay on Iraq

U-turn on Saddam: No 10 postpones 'damning dossier' to avert a Labour backbench backlash, reports Kamel Ahmed

Sunday March 31, 2002
The Observer

Tony Blair executed a last-minute U-turn on plans to publish a dossier of evidence against Saddam Hussein because he feared it would increase the frenzied speculation about an immediate war against Iraq, leading to an overwhelming backlash from his own MPs.

In a significant move which reveals the first softening of the line against the Iraqi dictator, Blair ordered that the report be pulled a few days before the Foreign Office was due to publish it.

He was also concerned that nervous Arab countries would see it as giving a green light to military action against Saddam, something they are set against.

The news comes five days before Blair is due to travel to the United States for a summit with President George Bush. At Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, Blair will privately argue for a more cautious tone on Iraq and say that any military action is 'a long way off'. He will also say that all diplomatic avenues should be explored and that the United Nations should have a key role in backing any coalition operation against the country.

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, was due to publish the Government's evidence during a speech last Monday, but No 10 told him the weekend before that it was no longer 'politically useful' to continue with the plans. Senior government sources said that 'frenzied speculation' about military action against Iraq was damaging Blair's relations with his party and had led to the suggestion that two Cabinet Ministers, Clare Short and Robin Cook, would quit.

The Observer revealed this month that senior figures in the armed forces are concerned that any moves against Saddam could be ill-thought out and lead to British forces being involved in an open-ended and highly dangerous military mission.

The decision to abandon the report has also led to speculation that the evidence against Saddam produced so far is not as strong as No 10 would like. Officials have been told to look again at declassifying more documents to make a more powerful case against the Iraqi dictator.

It is now expected that some form of document will be published in the next few weeks, missing the original US summit deadline set by Blair.

Backbench MPs possessing expertise in defence and military matters were called to a private meeting with Straw three weeks ago and were shown two pages of a report due to form the backbone of the Government's evidence. The document, seen by The Observer, was said by one MP to be 'pretty unconvincing'. 'They will have to do a lot better if they are going to get the widespread support they need for a move against Iraq,' the MP said.

There is now a concerted effort among senior government figures to move away from the bellicose language employed by Bush against Iraq. A number of senior figures in the Cabinet are urging Blair to seek a solution in Palestine before turning Britain's attention to Saddam. 'The two things are inextricably linked,' one said. 'It is clear that one cannot progress without the other.'

Peter Hain, the Europe Minister held in high regard by No 10, made it clear yesterday that any military action against Iraq was for the very long-term future. 'The idea that we'll be launching cruise missiles over Baghdad tomorrow is not on,' he said. 'A lot of people are reacting to something that isn't even on the agenda.'

Blair hopes the decision to back-pedal on Iraq will please nervous backbenchers, concerned that an attack on Iraq will not be backed by Arab states, would split Europe and could lead to mass anti-government demonstrations.

'Any massive strike against Iraq would further polarise and alienate opinion within the Middle East and broader afield,' said Tony Lloyd, the former Foreign Office Minister who is seen as a moderate, in an article this weekend on the Red Pepper website. 'Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, firmly in the pro-Western camp, are hostile to military action. Turkey has warned against action.

'The majority of our EU partners believe that diplomacy must take priority and that every alternative to invasion must be examined rigorously. If it isn't, the unprecedented global coalition formed since last September could collapse, and military action could push the Middle East still further away from the West.'

Special reports

Observer Worldview
http://www.observer.co.uk/worldview/0,11581,641237,00.html

Special report: Iraq
http://www.observer.co.uk/Guardian/Iraq/0,2759,423009,00.html

17.03.2002: Army fear over Blair war plans
http://www.observer.co.uk/worldview/story/0,11581,669030,00.html

Observer investigation: what is the evidence?
17.03.2002: Should we go to war against Saddam?
http://www.observer.co.uk/worldview/story/0,11581,669024,00.html

17.03.2002: Timeline: From friend to foe
http://www.observer.co.uk/worldview/story/0,11581,669022,00.html

17.03.2002: Key sources: who to believe?
http://www.observer.co.uk/worldview/story/0,11581,669023,00.html




7.

Expect the unexpected...

The man whispered, "God, speak to me"
and a meadowlark sang. But, the man did not hear.
So the man yelled, "God, speak to me!"
And the thunder rolled across the sky.
But, the man did not listen.
The man looked around and said,
"God let me see you."
And a star shined brightly.

But the man did not see.
And, the man shouted,
"God show me a miracle."
And, a life was born.
But, the man did not notice.
So, the man cried out in despair,
"Touch me God, and let me know you are here."
Whereupon, God reached down and touched the man.
But, the man brushed the butterfly away ...
and walked on.

The man cried,
"God, I need your help!"
And an e-mail arrived reaching out
with good news and encouragement.

But, the man deleted it and continued crying ...
Don't miss out on a blessing
because it isn't packaged the way that you expect.

Sent by Marie Baran <MARIESTELLAR@cs.com>







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