MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH


January 13, 2003

Defeating the U.S. War Plans Series #14: Staying the Hands of the Assassins


Hello everyone

Here are some of the latest developments about the planned Iraq war.

Please continue to pray & meditate for Peace!

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

This compilation is archived at
http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2003/DefeatingUSWar14.htm

P.S. Check also my latest "Media Compilation #108: A Matter of Conscience... and Truth!" archived at
http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2003/MediaCompilation108.htm


"Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up from time to time, the scum floats to the top."

- Edward Abbey


CONTENTS

1. U.N. Sees 500,000 Iraqi Casualties at Start of War
2. PENTAGON TO USE NEW WEAPONS IN IRAQ: Battle of the boffins
3. Act Now Against War


See also:

Who is the greatest threat to peace? (10 Jan)
http://www.time.com/time/europe/gdml/peace2003.html
Time Magazine is running an online poll on the biggest threat to world peace. But, for some reason, they were foolish enough to include the US in the list of dangerous countries. And guess what: the online polling this Jan 13 at 6 pm has the United States leading at 76.3%, way out ahead of the others with Iraq at 13.8% and North Korea at 10.0% - Total Votes Cast: 100,058 - GO CAST YOURS!

Helen Thomas Socks it to the White House (Jan 6) MUST SEE! Short and punchy!
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030106-1.html#2
Q. My follow-up is, why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis? CLIP

Los Angeles; Thousands Rally Against War in Iraq, Push Peace (Jan 12)
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/011403D.lat.p-rally.htm
This event was a precursor to a series of upcoming demonstrations set to take place in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

UK, 77% Oppose Assualt Without UN
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/011403A.uk.77.no.htm

Anti-war train drivers refuse to move arms freight
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,870967,00.html
The anti-war revolt is the first such industrial action by workers for decades.

UK 'Rejects' Lone Action Against Iraq (Jan 12)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/2649959.stm

LOTS OF EXCELLENT ARTICLES ON TO THE POSSIBLE IRAQ WAR
http://www.takebackthemedia.com/index.shtm

"Signs of Peace" Billboard Campaign
http://www.peaceroots.org/billboards/index.htm

The Lies We Are Told About Iraq (Jan 6)
http://www.latimes.com/la-op-marshall5jan05,0,290533.story
Pentagon Propaganda got us into the first Gulf War. Will we be fooled a second time?
The Bush administration's confrontation with Iraq is as much a contest of credibility as it is of military force. Washington claims that Baghdad harbors ambitions of aggression, continues to develop and stockpile weapons of mass destruction and maintains ties to Al Qaeda. Lacking solid evidence, the public must weigh Saddam Hussein's penchant for lies against the administration's own record. Based on recent history, that's not an easy choice. The first Bush administration, which featured Dick Cheney, Paul D. Wolfowitz and Colin L. Powell at the Pentagon, systematically misrepresented the cause of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the nature of Iraq's conduct in Kuwait and the cost of the Persian Gulf War. Like the second Bush administration, it cynically used the confrontation to justify a more expansive and militaristic foreign policy in the post-Vietnam era.

U.S. Moves Toward Final Readiness for War With Iraq (Jan 8)
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/08/international/middleeast/08CND_IRAQ.html

Happy Imbeciles At War (Jan 10)
http://sfgate.com/columnists/morford/
Massive U.S. military buildup, billions of dollars, a useless enemy, and no one seems to know why.

UN inspectors fear Bush will ignore them (Jan 5)
http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,868839,00.html
UN weapons inspectors in Iraq fear their work - which has failed to turn up any evidence thus far of weapons of mass destruction - will still be used as an excuse to trigger a US-led invasion of Iraq. Leaks from the inspections teams - and the two agencies in charge of them, Unmovic and the International Atomic Energy Agency - have fuelled an increasingly frenetic diplomatic effort among opponents of the war. (...) As of yesterday they had checked 230 sites in all. If one is to believe the few inspectors who have been prepared to be interviewed anonymously, they have found absolutely nothing. Nuclear weapons sites that the British and the Americans claimed as late as last September had been reactivated have been revealed as rusting, disabled shambles. It may be that Iraq has squirrelled away its most portable weapons and components. But as one inspector complained to the LA Times last week, they had found 'zilch'. CLIP

'Human shields' head for Iraq (Dec 29)
http://www.observer.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,866177,00.html
A convoy of anti-war activists, likely to include dozens of British volunteers, will leave London next month to act as human shields protecting strategic sites in Iraq.

SHUT DOWN THE TOWN
http://www.thestranger.com/2003-01-01/feature.html
(...) In Seattle, antiwar activists are getting ready for the day the war starts. Several antiwar coalitions have put together a joint "Emergency Response" plan aimed at drawing attention to antiwar sentiment in Seattle. The plan kicks in as soon as Bush declares war, begins bombing, or deploys troops. (...) Activists predict that tens of thousands of people will take to Seattle's streets, bringing the center of the city to a standstill. CLIP

Post-Saddam Iraq: Linchpin of a New Oil Order (Jan 3) (A MUST READ!)
http://www.fpif.org/papers/oil.html
Only in the most direct sense is the Bush administration’s Iraq policy directed against Saddam Hussein. In contrast to all the loud talk about terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and human rights violations, very little is being said about oil. The administration has been tight-lipped about its plans for a post-Saddam Iraq and has repeatedly disavowed any interest in the country’s oil resources. But press reports indicate that U.S. officials are considering a prolonged occupation of Iraq after their war to topple Saddam Hussein. It is likely that a U.S.-controlled Iraq will be the linchpin of a new order in the world oil industry. Indeed, a war against Iraq may well herald a major realignment of the Middle East power balance. CLIP

War's Cost May Dwarf Stimulus Effect (Jan 8)
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/010903E.war.stim.htm

A War for Oil? (Jan 5)
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/05/opinion/05FRIE.html
(...) Any war we launch in Iraq will certainly be - in part - about oil. To deny that is laughable. But whether it is seen to be only about oil will depend on how we behave before an invasion and what we try to build once we're there. I say this possible Iraq war is partly about oil because it is impossible to explain the Bush team's behavior otherwise. Why are they going after Saddam Hussein with the 82nd Airborne and North Korea with diplomatic kid gloves - when North Korea already has nuclear weapons, the missiles to deliver them, a record of selling dangerous weapons to anyone with cash, 100,000 U.S. troops in its missile range and a leader who is even more cruel to his own people than Saddam? One reason, of course, is that it is easier to go after Saddam. But the other reason is oil - even if the president doesn't want to admit it. (...) But when we tell the world that we couldn't care less about climate change, that we feel entitled to drive whatever big cars we feel like, that we feel entitled to consume however much oil we like, the message we send is that a war for oil in the gulf is not a war to protect the world's right to economic survival - but our right to indulge. Now that will be seen as immoral. And should we end up occupying Iraq, and the first thing we do is hand out drilling concessions to U.S. oil companies alone, that perception would only be intensified. And that leads to my second point. If we occupy Iraq and simply install a more pro-U.S. autocrat to run the Iraqi gas station (as we have in other Arab oil states), then this war partly for oil would also be immoral.

North Korea adds fuel to nuclear crisis (Jan 8)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,870746,00.html
George Bush's decision to go easy on Kim Jong Il leaves his plans to invade Iraq looking ever more inconsistent. (...) the prospect of a clash in North Korea with nuclear implications would produce an international backlash that could derail even the Bush administration's determined advance on Baghdad. Most strategic analysts say that - short of a coup in Baghdad - a significant worsening of the North Korea confrontation is just about the only scenario that could postpone an invasion of Iraq until next winter. The untimely eruption of defiance in Pyongyang has thus forced the White House to improvise hastily to plug the holes it has punched in the Bush doctrine. There is, for instance, an administration-wide ban on using the word "crisis" in relation to North Korea. CLIP

---

SPECIAL NOTE: Last Sunday night, the American TV viewers were presented a lavishly produced story of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s life which *of course* also featured the official version about the circumstances of his death -- which is that he lost control of his plane in some fog above the Atlantic Ocean. It reminded me that at the time it happened I saw lots of Internet claims that his death - along with the death of his 2 passengers - was a shrewdly done assassination - undoubtedly at the hands of the same handlers who put Bush Jr. in the White House - because he was poised to announce his desire to run against Gore to lead the Democrat ticket against Bush in the 2001 elections. With his enormous popularity he would have most possibly won against Gore and then Bush, thus destroying the well-laid plans for the current Big Brother onslaught against the world. I thought it important to review this hidden piece of history in light of the current and most likely imminent "pre-emptive strike" against Iraq. I wonder where this "pre-emptive" notion came from...

More details:

The Assassins
http://www.atmosphere.be/media/sea/jfk.htm

A Tribute to the denied President of the United States
http://www.angelfire.com/co2/breathe1/jfk.html
(...) We always feared for the safety of John F. Kennedy Jr., but we underestimated their ruthless disregard for human life.

JFK Jr. A Profile in Courage.
http://www.atmosphere.be/media/sea/prince.htm
JFK Jr. was a cautious, methodical pilot. (...) The evidence that JFK Jr. and his passengers were murdered is astoundingly conclusive. The following is a direct quote from an uncensored news group post: Commentaries made by Jim Keith, George Magazine, journalist Barry Chamish and Sherman Skolnick suggested that, and I quote: "The recovered aircraft shows evidence of an explosive device having been glued or affixed within the tail luggage compartment."

Explore also those links at:
http://www.google.ca/search?q=A+reporter+for+the+Vineyard+Gazette+newspaper+told+WCVB-TV&ie=ISO-8859-1&hl=en&btnG=Google+Search&meta=




1.

From: http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=2004746

U.N. Sees 500,000 Iraqi Casualties at Start of War

January 7, 2003

As many as half a million Iraqis could require medical treatment as a result of serious injuries suffered in the early stages of a war on Iraq, U.N. emergency planners said in a document disclosed Tuesday.

The total includes some 100,000 expected to be injured as a direct result of combat and a further 400,000 wounded as an indirect result of the devastation, according to estimates prepared by the World Health Organization, the document said.

The confidential U.N. assessment was drafted a month ago but an edited version was posted Tuesday on the Web site of a British group opposed to sanctions on Iraq http://www.cam.ac.uk/societies/casi/info/undocs/war021210.pdf

U.N. officials confirmed the authenticity of the document, which assumes that unlike the 1991 Gulf War, a new war in Iraq would develop beyond an initial aerial bombardment into a large scale and protracted ground offensive.

"The resultant devastation would undoubtedly be great," the U.N. planners concluded. The estimates were based on material from several different U.N. organizations.

The U.N. staff has been quietly planning for months how to cope with the humanitarian fallout from a conflict in Iraq.

But the process has been kept largely under wraps for fear it might be interpreted as a sign the world body had concluded the weapons inspections now under way would fail to avert war.

The confidential assessment assumes that Iraqi oil production would be shut down and the Iraqi electricity network, railway and road transportation systems would be significantly damaged.

U.N. officials had previously disclosed that as many as 4.5 million to 9.5 million of Iraq's 26.5 million people could quickly need outside food to survive once an attack began.

HUGE HOMELESS PROBLEM

War would also produce a huge refugee problem, driving some 900,000 Iraqis into neighboring countries, with about 100,000 of those requiring immediate assistance as soon as they arrived, according to the U. N. estimate.

Another 2 million could be driven from their homes but remain inside Iraq, where access by relief agencies would be a particular problem due to the fighting, the planners say.

The U.N. arms inspections resumed last month, after a four-year hiatus, under a U.N. Security Council resolution giving Baghdad a final chance to eliminate any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or face "serious consequences."

Chief arms inspector Hans Blix is due to provide an interim report to the Security Council on his findings Thursday. His first in-depth report is set for Jan. 27.

President Bush, who favors a "regime change" in Baghdad, has threatened to disarm Iraq through force if it fails to act on its own, although Washington says no decision has been made to go to war.

According to the assessment, Iraq can be expected to have four months' supply of basic medical supplies on hand at the start of a conflict. However, some key supplies would still likely be in short supply or nonexistent, it said.

Children under 5, pregnant women and mothers who are breast-feeding their infants "will be particularly vulnerable because of the likely absence of a functioning primary health care system in a post-conflict situation," it said.

"Furthermore, the outbreak of diseases in epidemic if not pandemic proportions is very likely," it said. "Diseases such as cholera and dysentery thrive in the environment ... When determining the requirement for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, these factors must be considered.

---

SEE ALSO:

UN report details humanitarian disaster expected from war vs. Iraq
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/jan2003/unre-j13.shtml

On eve of US war against Iraq: the political challenge of 2003
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/jan2003/2003-j06.shtml
(...) The onslaught against an impoverished and tortured nation will evoke revulsion both internationally and within the US itself. There is no mass constituency in America for the type of barbarism the US government intends to unleash.




2.

From: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/01/03/1041566227384.html

PENTAGON TO USE NEW WEAPONS IN IRAQ: Battle of the boffins

Weapons manufacturers have an array of frightening new high-tech devices ready to play a part in any attack on Iraq.

If the fighting starts in Iraq, Saddam Hussein and his forces will be instant guinea pigs for a new generation of US weapons which may be used for the first time in all-out war. The keyword will be "remote". This is not to gloss over the risks facing tens of thousands of US and allied troops who will be on the ground, but such is the excitement at the new gee-whizzery in the armoury that Washington is shipping , or hopes to ship, to the Gulf, that observers could almost believe that the men in white coats had devised the ultimate video game - a war without troops.

The design and deployment audacity of what the US likes to call its "robo-assassin" hardware was displayed in Yemen early in November when the CIA used a remote-controlled, pilotless Predator drone to launch a Hellfire missile from 7500 metres above the desert. It obliterated a vehicle travelling on a desert road and killed six al-Qaeda suspects inside.

In the years since the last Gulf War it has emerged that America's so-called smart bombs were not as precise or as plenty as the world had been led to believe. This time the US and its weaponry have to be smarter - if Washington wants world acceptance of its role in Iraq during and after a war, it cannot afford to trash the country and its civilian infrastructure as it did last time.

Which is where a new suite of US weapons will come into their own. These are high-powered microwave devices, "directed energy" weapons that the US hopes can be used to render a fleet of army vehicles useless by destroying their ignition or fuel systems. They will also cause disorientating pain - but apparently no lasting damage - by playing with nerve-ends in the enemy's skin.

A military affairs analyst, William M. Arkin, elaborates: "Microwave weapons work by producing an intense surge of energy, like a lightning bolt, that short-circuits electrical connections, interferes with computer motherboards, destroys memory chips and damages other electrical components. They send a narrow beam of energy that penetrates about 10th of an inch into [human] skin, to where nerves that cause pain are located."

Describing the panic-causing intensity of the pain inflicted by the high-powered microwaves, he quoted a military officer who had experienced it: "All the glossy slide presentations cannot prepare you for what to expect when you step in the beam." The weapon is at an advanced stage.

In the much-vaunted surgical precision of the 1991 conflict, only 7 per cent of the munitions used were "smart". That proportion jumped to 30 per cent in Kosovo in 1999 and to 60 per cent in Afghanistan. The Pentagon is punting on 100 per cent smartness in the coming conflict.

The improving targeting accuracy comes from a new device called a Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), a tail assembly fitted to "dumb" bombs so that they always know where they are and where they are going - either by data relayed from the aircraft that will drop them or being sent by satellite once they have been launched. The JDAM costs a mere $US 27,000 compared with the $US 1 million-plus cost of a cruise missile.

The JDAM engineers promised the Pentagon that 50 per cent of the weapons fired would hit within 13 metres of their targets. But an Air Force general who had a hand in the Afghanistan war, bragged to Time magazine that they fell within three metres of their target 100 per cent of the time.

But there is more upside to the JDAMs. In Afghanistan, the Taliban air force and anti-aircraft defences were never a serious threat. In Iraq it's a different story, but the JDAMs promise to keep US pilots out of harm's way - pilots had to fly at 4500 metres to drop the old laser-guided bombs, but the JDAMs can be launched from more than 10,000 metres up and while the aircraft is a good 25 kilometres from the target. They take as little as 10 minutes to launch compared with up to an hour for a cruise missile, and instead of being dropped in ones and twos, as was the case in 1991, these bombs can be dropped in dozen or two dozen lots.

Such are the precision and flexibility of US firepower that there are confident predictions from within the Pentagon that less than half of the 500,000 troops who were deployed to the Gulf in 1991 will be needed in 2003 - but that still leaves up to 250,000 allied troops on the ground in what could be a bloody and brutal war zone.

Each day six US intelligence satellites over Iraq hoover up imagery and data which flood into the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, near Washington. There, mapmakers have been refining what is called the Digital Point Positioning Database with the co-ordinates of every possible target for the coming war.

One of the few brakes on American enthusiasm as the Iraq conflict looms is a desperate shortage of satellites. Masses of mapping data is being funnelled through space for the targeting database and for the creation of three-dimensional street-by-street maps of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. As US troops go in, their commanders will be able to watch their every move on instant video links that will be overlaid on the maps.

This technology is so sophisticated that during the Afghanistan war, the President and Commander-in-Chief, George Bush, had a live feed in the Oval Office.

It is this flood of electronic information that is clogging satellite capacity.

That capacity is needed to control the pilot-less Predators and their weapons as they link up with commanders who might be thousands of kilometres away, manned aircraft that might be in the same skies and special operations troops who might be on the ground in the target area.

The Predator drones also make brilliant - if terrifying - surveillance platforms. During the battle of Jenin, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank early last year, stricken Israeli army chiefs watched from their command bunker while a drone-borne camera gave them live footage as it hovered over a tiny courtyard in which an elaborate Palestinian booby-trap claimed the lives of 14 Israeli soldiers.

But it was in Afghanistan that the US had the first opportunity to test the drones to their limit. Air Force Captain Eilssa Beddow told The Wall Street Journal how, operating from hundreds of kilometres away in neighbouring Pakistan, she used a control stick, a computer keyboard and several television monitors to direct an unmanned 8.2 metre-long spy-plane up and down a road on which Taliban fighters had been sighted.

After 30 minutes she found them. Using the same satellite links that ran the drone and relayed its video imagery, she called in a manned Navy fighter jet and directed it to a hut near where the men of al-Qaeda were milling around their parked 4WD.

She told the Journal of her thoughts as she watched them die: "You almost wanted to scream, 'run, get out of the way! You're going to be killed'."

When the US was developing the drone technology in the early 1990s, it predicted that it would be able to call upon close to 1000 privately operated satellites. It didn't happen and in Afghanistan it could keep only three of the eight drones it had in the area in the air at any one time because of the paucity of satellite capacity.

That Beddow was able to call in the attack aircraft was the refinement early in the Afghanistan war that made the Predator and Global Hawk drones more than simple surveillance platforms. But the price was using up scarce satellite capacity.

Now the Air Force Research Lab has teams hard at work in an attempt to defeat the satellite shortage by developing a new laser-based system of communication which would increase the throughput of the satellites.

And the Pentagon is experimenting to further refine the application of the drone technology - by dropping small seismic sensors from the air that have the ability to detect vibrations from tanks and other heavy vehicles and beam signals to those controlling the drones. They will be able to manoeuvre the drones into the area to investigate enemy movement and take snapshots of targets that can then be relayed to bomber pilots to save time and errors caused by verbal descriptions of targets at the height of battle.

Arkin, the military affairs analyst, recently lifted the veil of secrecy on the newest so-called "agent defeat" weapons in the US, revealing the development of a new cluster bomb that would release 4000 titanium rods to cut through chemical and biological bunkers with explosive force, and a new incendiary device which he said would create a firestorm so intense that water would not extinguish it.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, he said that the new weapons would help the US to seize or neutralise Iraqi weapons of mass destruction with greater speed and security and, at the same time, cause less damage to surrounding areas and people.

But he cautioned: "There are risks, however, because some of the new weapons could arguably be construed as violating established codes of wartime conduct. And the risk of a backlash, whether at home or abroad, are magnified by the Administration's almost total refusal to talk about what it is doing and thereby build public understanding and support.

"Unfortunately one side effect of framing the war on terrorism in terms of weapons of mass destruction is that it instils in government officials a sense of moral certainty so great that they feel no need to explain or to justify themselves."

In 1991, the US and its allies mounted a 38-day air assault on Iraq before putting troops on the ground, but such is its confidence in the marriage of means and objective this time, the Pentagon believes it will have foot soldiers in Iraq within days of the commencement of bombing.

The emerging technology is well suited to the US objective in Iraq - an assault on one man, his cronies and the machinery of his military and security apparatus. As one military planner put it to The Washington Post: "[We want to] very quickly decapitate the regime."




3.

From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,869807,00.html

Act Now Against War (Jan 7)

Those against an attack on Iraq must do more than shake their heads at the television

by George Monbiot

The rest of Europe must be wondering whether Britain has gone into hibernation. At the end of this month our prime minister is likely to announce the decision he made months ago, that Britain will follow the US into Iraq. If so, then two or three weeks later, the war will begin. Unless the UN inspectors find something before January 27, this will be a war without even the flimsiest of pretexts: an unprovoked attack whose purpose is to enhance the wealth and power of an American kleptocracy. Far from promoting peace, it could be the first in a series of imperial wars. The gravest global crisis since the end of the cold war is three weeks away, and most of us seem to be asking why someone else doesn't do something about it. It is not often that the people of these islands have an opportunity to change the course of world events. Bush knows that the Americans' approval of his war depends, in part, upon its credibility overseas: opinion polls have shown that many of those who would support an international attack would withdraw that support if they perceived that the US was acting alone.

An international attack, in this case, means an attack supported by Britain. If Blair pulled out, Bush could be forced to think again. Blair will pull out only if he perceives that the political cost of sticking with Bush is greater than the cost of deserting him. Bush's war, in other words, depends upon our indifference. As Gramsci remarked: "What comes to pass does so not so much because a few people want it to happen, as because the mass of citizens abdicate their responsibility and let things be."

There are several reasons why most British people do not seem prepared to act. New military technology has removed the need for a draft, so the otherwise unengaged young men who might have become the core of the resistance movement are left to blast imaginary enemies on their Gameboys. The economy is still growing, so underlying resentment towards the government is muted; yet we perceive our jobs and prospects to be insecure, so we are reluctant to expose ourselves to trouble.

It also seems that many people who might have contested this war simply can't believe it's happening. If, paradoxically, we were facing a real threat from a real enemy, the debate would have seemed more urgent. But if Blair had told us that we had to go to war to stop Saruman of Isengard from sending his orcs against the good people of Rohan, it would scarcely seem less plausible than the threat of Saddam of Iraq dropping bombs on America.

These factors may explain our feebleness. They don't excuse it. It is true that our chances of stopping this war are slight: both men appear determined to proceed, with or without evidence or cause. But to imagine that protest is useless if it doesn't lead to an immediate cessation is to misunderstand its purpose and power. Even if we cannot stop the attack upon Iraq, we must ensure that it becomes so politically costly that there will never be another like it. And this means that the usual demos will no longer suffice.

There have, so far, been many well-organized and determined protests, and several more are planned over the next six weeks. On January 18, demonstrators will seek to blockade the armed forces' joint headquarters at Northwood, in north London. Three days later, there'll be a mass lobby of parliament; at 6pm on the day the war is announced, protesters will gather in almost every town center in Britain. On February 15, there'll be a massive rally in London. These actions are critically important, as they'll demonstrate the level of public opposition. But they're unlikely, by themselves, to provoke one of Blair's famous sweats. We must raise the temperature. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has already tried one bold and unprecedented measure: seeking to persuade the courts to rule that attacking Iraq without a new UN resolution would be illegal. But on December 17, the judges decided that they did not have the power to interpret the existing resolution. It seems that we now have few options but to launch a massive, though non-violent, campaign of disruption.

CND and the Stop the War Coalition have suggested an hour's stoppage on the day after the war begins. Many activists are now talking about building on this, and seeking to provoke wider strike action - even a general strike. This is, of course, difficult and dangerous. Some general strikes have been effective, forcing the tsar to agree to a constitution and a legislative assembly in 1905, for example, reversing the Kapp Putsch in Berlin in 1920, and overthrowing the Khuri regime in Lebanon in 1952. Others have been counter-productive, in some cases disastrous. When the French general strike was broken in 1920, the labour movement all but collapsed. Mussolini used the announcement of a general strike in 1922 to represent himself as the only man capable of restoring order; he seized power, with the king's blessing, after the fascists had routed the strikers and burnt down the Socialist party headquarters. If we call for a strike and almost everyone goes to work, Blair will see this as a sign that he can do as he pleases.

But this is the scale on which we should be thinking. If we cannot mobilize the workforce, there are still plenty of means of concentrating politicians' minds. We could, for example, consider blocking the roads down which Blair and his key ministers must travel to meet their appointments, disrupting the speeches they make and blockading the most important public buildings.

Hundreds of us are likely to be arrested, but that, as the Vietnam protesters found, serves only to generate public interest. Non-violence, however, is critical: nothing did more harm to the anti-war movement in the late 1960s than the Days of Rage organized in Chicago by the Weathermen. But peaceful, well-focused and widespread nuisance, even if it irritates other members of the public, forces the issue to the front of people's minds, and ensures that no one can contemplate the war without also contemplating the opposition to the war. We must oblige people to recognize that something unprecedented in recent times is taking place, that Bush, assisted by Blair's moral slipstreaming, is seeking to summon a war from a largely peaceful world. We will fail unless we stage a political drama commensurate with the scale of the threat.

All this will, of course, be costly. But there comes a point at which political commitment is meaningless unless you are prepared to act on it. According to the latest opinion poll, some 42% of British people - as against the 38% who support it - want to stop this war. But if our action is confined to shaking our heads at the television set, Blair might as well have a universal mandate. Are you out there? Or are you waiting for someone else to act on your behalf?

Details of the actions already planned:

http://www.stopwar.org.uk

http://www.unitedforpeace.org




SUBSCRIPTION TO THE EARTH RAINBOW NETWORK E-LIST

If you would like to subscribe to the Earth Rainbow Network automated listserver and regularly receive similar compilations covering a broad range of subjects, including each new Meditation Focus issued every two week, please click on this SUBSCRIPTION page.





BACK TO THE FIRST HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE