MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH


March 27, 2003

The U.S. Army of Mass Destruction Series #4: Coalition of the Unlawful


Hello everyone

The unlawful Bush Administration is conducting an unlawful war and unlawfully mass killing and torturing people they call "unlawful combattants" - see # 3 below.

We may indeed be living in fictitious times as said Michael Moore at the Academy Award Ceremony, but what is happening right now - just as what the U.S. has done in the past 40+ years - is anything but fictitious!

And the time to expose this is now!

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

Ths compilation is archived at http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2003/MassDestruction4.htm


NOTE: I highly recommend you review the VERY comprehensive war coverage at http://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/globalnetnews-summary


SPECIAL TIMELY FLASH BACK

Declaration of Interdependence

We the United People of the World determined:
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war;
to insure fundamental human rights;
to unite our strength to guarantee world peace;
to promote social progress, better standards of life and freedom;
to live together in peace as good neighbors; (Preamble to United Nations Charter)

We the United People of the World are aware that we are entering upon a new era in the evolution of humankind. Out of deep respect for the dignity, freedom and interdependence of all humankind, we reaffirm the truth that differences of race, color, sex, age, religious and political beliefs are natural; that diverse groups, institutions, and ideas are stimulating elements for the creative development of humankind; and that to generate unity in diversity is the responsibility and challenge before men and women throughout the world.

We the United People of the World urge all to join in cooperative action:
to advance human fellowship through mutual trust, understanding and harmony;
to champion the uniqueness of the person, human dignity, and universal rights;
to strive together to discourage hostility, exclusiveness, and aggressiveness;
to foster an enlightening synthesis through education, planning, human encounter, and service;
to build with joy a world civilization based on freedom, justice, and peace founded on reverence for life;
to insure that all factors of humankind and nature are returned to balance for the health, welfare, good, and happiness of all;
to provide present and future generations with the opportunity for maximum realization of their potential.

We the United People of the World, recognizing our common sacred origin, facing a world in crisis, to insure our survival and fulfillment, HAVE RESOLVED TO COMBINE OUR EFFORTS, form a movement to unite the people of the world, elect delegates to a world assembly, and establish world institutions that give the peopole of the world control of their own destiny.

- As written and adopted by the participants in the first World Citizens Assembly in San Francisco on July 25, 1975 and taken from the Guiding Manual for a New World published in 1985 by Jean Hudon


CONTENTS

1. War report and news sources
2. Arab TV Crew Says Found 40 Dead US Soldiers
3. Five PoWs are mistreated in Iraq and the US cries foul
4. Channels Of Influence
5. Dark days and Shiny Shoes


See also:

A COALITION OF WEAKNESS
http://www.fpif.org/papers/hr.html
As U.S. officials look for political cover after losing the drive for a second UN Security Council resolution, the recently renamed "Coalition to Disarm Iraq" is the Bush administration's only opportunity to salvage a semblance of international legitimacy for war. A closer look at the countries involved reveals that claims to multilateral action in the name of democracy are grossly exaggerated. In reality, the U.S. is isolated internationally, and a few of the countries signing on to "liberate" Iraq have human rights records that rival Saddam Hussein's. CLIP

The Perfect Storm - Part 2
http://www.rense.com/general36/pstr.htm

Iraq accuses U.S. and Britain of blocking relief (March 25)
http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/Swissinfo.html?siteSect=143&sid=1717959

Military Helicopters Marked "666 - The Beast"
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2003/03/38469.php

The Progressive Response: War, Neocons, Coalition, UN, Speech, Lessons (March 25)
http://www.fpif.org/progresp/volume7/v7n09.html

Anti-War protests rage across the world (March 24)
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?msid=41281611

Allies Risk 3000 Casualties in Baghdad - Ex-General
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=578&e=4&cid=578&u=/nm/20030325/ts_nm/iraq_mccaffrey_dc

U.S. Army prepares for 9,000 casualties (March 11)
http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=31461

500 US-UK Dead Kept In Afghan Morgue - Pak Paper
http://www.rense.com/general36/500USUKdeadkept.htm
(...) American and British authorities because of fear of strong reaction from their masses had kept the dead bodies of as many as 500 soldiers in a morgue established at Jacobabad Airbase instead of shifting them to their own countries (...) American and British authorities feared that shifting of dead bodies at this moment would affect the ongoing campaign of coalition forces in Iraq, sources pointed out. CLIP

POW rights denied 'on both sides'
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,921427,00.html

World and America watching different wars
http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0325/p01s04-woiq.html
CNN vs. Al Jazeera: Seeing is often believing

U.N. Official: Fake Iraq Nuke Papers Were Crude (March 25)
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030325/ts_nm/iraq_nuclear_un_dc_1
A few hours and a simple internet search was all it took for U.N. inspectors to realize documents backing U.S. and British claims that Iraq had revived its nuclear program were crude fakes, a U.N. official said. Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, a senior official from the U.N. nuclear agency who saw the documents offered as evidence that Iraq tried to buy 500 tons of uranium from Niger, described one as so badly forged his "jaw dropped." CLIP

USA Can Fabricate "Finding" of Mass Destruction Weapons in Iraq (March 25)
http://english.pravda.ru/usa/2003/03/24/44943.html
The United States can fabricate "finding" of mass destruction weapons in Iraq or "evidence" of Baghdad possessing prohibited weapon programmes, a Russian military expert, who decided to remain anonymous, told RIA Novosti. "The information war" conducted by Washington against Iraq "is no less intensive than the military operations themselves", he stated. Mass media of many countries point to the fact that filming of mass surrender of Iraqis hardly resembling regular Iraqi soldiers is, most probably, "an open falsification", RIA Novosti's interlocutor stressed. The Russian military expert believes that American propaganda in the war against Iraq is failing. Anti-war demonstrations are becoming increasingly frequent all over the world, he recalled. New York hosted the biggest anti-war demonstration in the last 15 years.

AN ANNOTATED CRITIQUE OF PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH'S MARCH 17 ADDRESS PREPARING THE NATION FOR WAR
http://www.presentdanger.org/papers/iraqspresp.html

Iraq accuses U.S. and Britain of blocking relief (March 25)
http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/Swissinfo.html?siteSect=143&sid=1717959

The fall of CNN, and what it means for the war (March 24)
http://www.reason.com/hod/tc032403.shtml
Since the beginning of the new Iraq war on Wednesday, the Qatari news network Al Jazeera has been showing images of corpses. The first few days, pickings were slim: A few bombing casualties from Wednesday night's selective strike, then a few more on the following evenings. The station really hit paydirt late Friday and throughout Saturday. Al Jazeera provided some of the most shocking war images ever broadcast on television: A field of bodies after the American strike on the Ansar al-Islam terrorist group in northern Iraq, a blood-soaked emergency room at the same location, and most horrendously of all, a luxuriously-paced tour of civilian casualties in Basra. Among those, one will linger in this viewer's mind forever. It was the corpse of a boy with the top of his head blown off. The kid's face, while stiff and covered with dust, retains its human features, but beginning at the forehead the skull simply deflates like an old balloon, ending in an unsupported scalp that resembles the loose hide of skinned animal. CLIP

The Moral Calculus of Killing, "Precision Bombing" and the American Definition of Innocence
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=40&ItemID=3314
Imagine if you will that an enemy nation--for the sake of argument, let's say North Korea, or China--were to attack the United States. And let's say they launched missiles and dropped bombs specifically on Washington D.C., having targeted the White House, Capitol Building, and Pentagon, and destroyed these facilities. And let's say that they took special care not to hit Georgetown, or Adams Morgan, or Tenleytown, or any of a number of residential areas surrounding the government installations that comprise an overwhelming share of the District's real estate. And let's say that they also bombed perhaps a dozen other military installations around the nation, seeking to destroy American weapons, our war-making capacity, and the soldiers themselves who make up the backbone of the nation's defense capabilities. And let's say that in the process, only a small number (relatively speaking) of non-combatant and non-governmental employees were killed or injured. Now ask yourself, if such a horrible tragedy were to transpire, would there be even one American citizen who would accept from the North Korean or Chinese government any of the following: "We are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid the loss of innocent civilian life." "Never before have weapons been used in war that were so precise, allowing us to target military and government installations without harming residential areas." "We take very seriously the need to protect the innocent from harm."

Marines embroiled in urban warfare after all (March 25)
http://www.iht.com/articles/90856.html
NASIRIYA, Iraq - As American marines battled their way into the heart of this city Monday, they appeared to be stepping into just the sort of urban imbroglio they have been hoping to avoid. Following heavy fighting Sunday, when at least 10 Americans were killed near here, the battle that unfolded Monday had all the hallmarks of a confused and chaotic urban shootout. Helicopter gunships rocketed the city from above, and Nasiriya's residents claimed the raids had killed and injured scores of civilians. This claim was impossible to verify in the chaos of the fighting today.

Russian Military Expert: USA Tests Highly Devastating Weapons in Iraq (March 24)
http://english.pravda.ru/politics/2003/03/24/44944.html
The USA is testing in Iraq new samples of exceptionally devastating weapons, a Russian military expert said Monday on the condition of anonymity. According to him, excessive use of force is a very soft word for characterising the USA's and Britain's activities in Iraq. "Bomb strikes at towns and the countryside can be compared only to the devastating power of weapons of mass destruction," said the expert. In his opinion, the US blows can hardly be called "pinpoint" or "selective" - the latest bombing of Basrah killed 77 peaceful residents, and in Baghdad, bombs and shells hit an orphanage and the university building. Besides, two American Tomahawk cruise missiles fell down on Turkish territory, this preceded by a "unintentional" strike at Iran. The expert drew attention to US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's statement that Baghdad is violating international law by an alleged misuse of the civilians as a live shield. "Rumsfeld has meanwhile ignored," continued the expert, "that the American aviation is violating the same norms by bombing the population in places of permanent residence."

Democracy in Iraq will take up to 30 years (March 25)
http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/swissinfo.html?siteSect=105&sid=1711276
“Democracy in Iraq will take up to 30 years” - The United States has neither the will nor the ability to bring democracy to Iraq, according to Middle East specialist Arnold Hottinger. Hottinger is a Swiss journalist, acknowledged as one of the country’s foremost experts on Middle East affairs. He has travelled extensively around the region, making his name as a correspondent for the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” and Swiss radio.

Shell evacuates four more oil facilities as Niger Delta crisis deepens http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/news/0303/25nigeria.html
LAGOS, Nigeria - Oil giant Shell evacuated four oil facilities Monday, joining ChevronTexaco in a massive pullout from the Niger Delta, where ethnic violence has killed dozens of people and destroyed villages. Activists from the Ijaw community accused Nigeria's military of attacking and firing indiscriminately on residents in three villages, killing 10 people. Military officials denied the allegations.

MANY MORE WAR NEWS AT http://www.rense.com




1.

From: Ian Henshall <inkchair@pro-net.co.uk>
Subject: War report and news sources

27.03.03

Here is a short update on the war.

The UK media have been largely taken over by war propaganda which contains an indeterminate amount of straightforward lies.

This is the site with the military news from the Iraqi side, it is getting millions of hits: http://www.aeronautics.ru/news/news002/news076.htm

Other sites independent of the US/UK disinformation system are: http://www.wsws.org
http://www.rense.com
http://www.WhatReallyHappened.com

Al Jazeera, the station run by ex-BBC employees broadcasts out of pro-war Qatar, now host to the Blair/Bush attack. They show pictures banned in the US/UK media of civilian casualties and have exposed the more obvious US/UK lies. http://www.aljazeerah.info/

WAR UPDATE

The Bush/Blair forces are facing fierce resistance from all Iraqis including Shias, so far the Republican Guard has hardly been engaged. The supply lines are overstretched and the possibility of a damaging Iraqi counter-attack is looming. Battles are raging all over Southern Iraq and nobody except the respective military commands has the full picture.

The official casualty figures are almost certainly false, the US/UK deaths and serious injuries are probably running into the hundreds. Dozens if not scores of vehicles are lost and many hitech systems are not withstanding the desert conditions.

The Iraqis have evolved tactics to overcome some of the technical US/UK superiority and there is fury from US/UK that they have acquired communications and night vision technology which should have been banned by sanctions.

As well as lying about casualties, US/UK are lying about damage to civilian targets which have probably caused hundreds of deaths and serious injuries by now. There is a complicity here with the Iraqi regime which also wishes to understate civilian casualties so as to maintain morale.

The most spectacular lie was over the `insurrection` in Basra, carried as fact in all the UK newspapers except The Guardian and the Mirror where coverage has remained reasonably objective. The `insurrection` was probably concocted to distract from the real story: that the US/UK invaders are blockading the city and have interfered with water and electricity supplies, creating a massive humanitarian crisis there.

Promoting this lie on BBC Radio 4 a military PR officer spent some time explaining that this was a war of liberation and went on to tell interviewer Nick Clarke that Basra would soon be `captured - I mean liberated`.

If as appears the US/UK invaders are already running low on precision weaponry they may resort to indiscriminate bombardment and lie about it, as happened in the 1991 war. The pattern was repeated again in Kosovo where a war promoted by Blair to teach Milosovic a lesson caused a massive humanitarian crisis and was escalated to a criminal bombing campaign against civilian targets. At one point NATO falsified film footage to excuse an attack on a civilian train.

The 1991 Iraq war ended when US pilots destroyed two large convoys fleeing Kuwait, killing thousands of Iraqi military and civilians along with their Kuwaiti hostages. Then the attackers had the cover of a large coalition of complicit states. If US/UK forces conduct similar atrocities this time the war could escalate.

It is now clear that Bush/Blair have made a horrendous strategic error in assuming the Iraqis won't fight, a similar error to that made by Hitler in his attack on Russia. Many arabs are optimistic that Baghdad could prove to be Bush/Blair's Stalingrad.

If Iraq holds out for long there will certainly be renewed moves against US/UK in the UN which will make it clearer than ever that the attacks are illegal.

In the UK, opinion polls are claiming a swing back to support for Blair who plans to promote himself again as Mr Nice and blame all the problems on Bush. UK citizens are some of the most gullible in the world: egged on by the pro-war media, a section feel that `our` troops should be supported right or wrong once the war has started.

This will not survive a military failure. The anti-war movement should concentrate on Blair as much as the war, reminding everyone that he got us into this.




2.

Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" <mgraffis@vitelcom.net>

From: http://www.rense.com/general36/40.htm

Arab TV Crew Says Found 40 Dead US Soldiers

The following appeared in the letters section of http://www.WhatReallyHappened.com

3-26-3

"Sanwa ata Mosahra reporting. A film crew from al-Minar TV, a television network of Lebanon, stumbled across the bodies of about 40 US soldiers scattered in the desert outside Maseriah. Ali Fawsua a camera man for al-Minar said "It was obvious the soldiers had been in a major battle as there was empty ammunition casing everywhere".

"We searched around but could not find any dead Iraqi soldiers and must be thinking they took their dead and injured away from the battle" he added.

"We called on our satellite phone to our base camp and told them what we had found and they told the Americans where we were located".

"Soon some American helicopters came to us and the Americans took all our camera and recording equipment and smashed it. They told us to leave the area and say nothing of this finding".

"When we arrived back at our base to the south there were American military police everywhere and they destroyed all of our equipment and told us to leave Iraq immediately".

al-Minar has lodged a complaint with the IJCO and US with a claim for compensation for the many thousands dollars of destroyed equipment.




3.

VITAL REMINDER OF THE U.S. MILITARY ABSOLUTELY INHUMANE ABOVE-ANY-LAW TREATMENT OF HUMAN BEINGS IN GUANTANAMO BAY AND DEADLY CRUELTY LAST YEAR IN AFGHANISTAN

From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,921192,00.html

One Rule For Them

Five PoWs are mistreated in Iraq and the US cries foul.

What about Guantanamo Bay?

by George Monbiot, The Guardian, March 25, 2003

Suddenly, the government of the United States has discovered the virtues of international law. It may be waging an illegal war against a sovereign state; it may be seeking to destroy every treaty which impedes its attempts to run the world, but when five of its captured soldiers were paraded in front of the Iraqi television cameras on Sunday, Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, immediately complained that "it is against the Geneva convention to show photographs of prisoners of war in a manner that is humiliating for them". He is, of course, quite right. Article 13 of the third convention, concerning the treatment of prisoners, insists that they "must at all times be protected... against insults and public curiosity". This may number among the less heinous of the possible infringements of the laws of war, but the conventions, ratified by Iraq in 1956, are non-negotiable. If you break them, you should expect to be prosecuted for war crimes.

This being so, Rumsfeld had better watch his back. For this enthusiastic convert to the cause of legal warfare is, as head of the defence department, responsible for a series of crimes sufficient, were he ever to be tried, to put him away for the rest of his natural life.

His prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba, where 641 men (nine of whom are British citizens) are held, breaches no fewer than 15 articles of the third convention. The US government broke the first of these (article 13) as soon as the prisoners arrived, by displaying them, just as the Iraqis have done, on television. In this case, however, they were not encouraged to address the cameras. They were kneeling on the ground, hands tied behind their backs, wearing blacked-out goggles and earphones. In breach of article 18, they had been stripped of their own clothes and deprived of their possessions. They were then interned in a penitentiary (against article 22), where they were denied proper mess facilities (26), canteens (28), religious premises (34), opportunities for physical exercise (38), access to the text of the convention (41), freedom to write to their families (70 and 71) and parcels of food and books (72).

They were not "released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities" (118), because, the US authorities say, their interrogation might, one day, reveal interesting information about al-Qaida. Article 17 rules that captives are obliged to give only their name, rank, number and date of birth. No "coercion may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever". In the hope of breaking them, however, the authorities have confined them to solitary cells and subjected them to what is now known as "torture lite": sleep deprivation and constant exposure to bright light. Unsurprisingly, several of the prisoners have sought to kill themselves, by smashing their heads against the walls or trying to slash their wrists with plastic cutlery.

The US government claims that these men are not subject to the Geneva conventions, as they are not "prisoners of war", but "unlawful combatants". The same claim could be made, with rather more justice, by the Iraqis holding the US soldiers who illegally invaded their country. But this redefinition is itself a breach of article 4 of the third convention, under which people detained as suspected members of a militia (the Taliban) or a volunteer corps (al-Qaida) must be regarded as prisoners of war.

Even if there is doubt about how such people should be classified, article 5 insists that they "shall enjoy the protection of the present convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal". But when, earlier this month, lawyers representing 16 of them demanded a court hearing, the US court of appeals ruled that as Guantanamo Bay is not sovereign US territory, the men have no constitutional rights. Many of these prisoners appear to have been working in Afghanistan as teachers, engineers or aid workers. If the US government either tried or released them, its embarrassing lack of evidence would be brought to light.

You would hesitate to describe these prisoners as lucky, unless you knew what had happened to some of the other men captured by the Americans and their allies in Afghanistan. On November 21 2001, around 8,000 Taliban soldiers and Pashtun civilians surrendered at Konduz to the Northern Alliance commander, General Abdul Rashid Dostum. Many of them have never been seen again.

As Jamie Doran's film Afghan Massacre: Convoy of Death records, some hundreds, possibly thousands, of them were loaded into container lorries at Qala-i-Zeini, near the town of Mazar-i-Sharif, on November 26 and 27. The doors were sealed and the lorries were left to stand in the sun for several days. At length, they departed for Sheberghan prison, 80 miles away. The prisoners, many of whom were dying of thirst and asphyxiation, started banging on the sides of the trucks. Dostum's men stopped the convoy and machine-gunned the containers. When they arrived at Sheberghan, most of the captives were dead.

The US special forces running the prison watched the bodies being unloaded. They instructed Dostum's men to "get rid of them before satellite pictures can be taken". Doran interviewed a Northern Alliance soldier guarding the prison. "I was a witness when an American soldier broke one prisoner's neck. The Americans did whatever they wanted. We had no power to stop them." Another soldier alleged: "They took the prisoners outside and beat them up, and then returned them to the prison. But sometimes they were never returned, and they disappeared."

Many of the survivors were loaded back in the containers with the corpses, then driven to a place in the desert called Dasht-i-Leili. In the presence of up to 40 US special forces, the living and the dead were dumped into ditches. Anyone who moved was shot. The German newspaper Die Zeit investigated the claims and concluded that: "No one doubted that the Americans had taken part. Even at higher levels there are no doubts on this issue." The US group Physicians for Human Rights visited the places identified by Doran's witnesses and found they "all... contained human remains consistent with their designation as possible grave sites".

It should not be necessary to point out that hospitality of this kind also contravenes the third Geneva convention, which prohibits "violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture", as well as extra-judicial execution. Donald Rumsfeld's department, assisted by a pliant media, has done all it can to suppress Jamie Doran's film, while General Dostum has begun to assassinate his witnesses.

It is not hard, therefore, to see why the US government fought first to prevent the establishment of the international criminal court, and then to ensure that its own citizens are not subject to its jurisdiction. The five soldiers dragged in front of the cameras yesterday should thank their lucky stars that they are prisoners not of the American forces fighting for civilisation, but of the "barbaric and inhuman" Iraqis.

More from Monbiot at http://www.Monbiot.com

See also:

MP says U.S. treatment of Afghan prisoners coming back to haunt it http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2003/03/24/godfrey030324




4.

From: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/25/opinion/25KRUG.html

Channels Of Influence

by Paul Krugman, krugman@nytimes.com

March 25, 2003

By and large, recent pro-war rallies haven't drawn nearly as many people as antiwar rallies, but they have certainly been vehement. One of the most striking took place after Natalie Maines, lead singer for the Dixie Chicks, criticized President Bush: a crowd gathered in Louisiana to watch a 33,000-pound tractor smash a collection of Dixie Chicks CD's, tapes and other paraphernalia. To those familiar with 20th-century European history it seemed eerily reminiscent of. . . . But as Sinclair Lewis said, it can't happen here.

Who has been organizing those pro-war rallies? The answer, it turns out, is that they are being promoted by key players in the radio industry - with close links to the Bush administration.

The CD-smashing rally was organized by KRMD, part of Cumulus Media, a radio chain that has banned the Dixie Chicks from its playlists. Most of the pro-war demonstrations around the country have, however, been organized by stations owned by Clear Channel Communications, a behemoth based in San Antonio that controls more than 1,200 stations and increasingly dominates the airwaves.

The company claims that the demonstrations, which go under the name Rally for America, reflect the initiative of individual stations. But this is unlikely: according to Eric Boehlert, who has written revelatory articles about Clear Channel in Salon, the company is notorious - and widely hated - for its iron-fisted centralized control.

See: http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2002/03/27/beltway/index.html

http://dir.salon.com/ent/clear_channel/2001/08/08/riverbend/index.html

http://dir.salon.com/ent/clear_channel/2001/08/08/antitrust/index.html

http://dir.salon.com/tech/feature/2001/06/28/telecom_dereg/index.html

http://dir.salon.com/ent/feature/2001/05/30/clear_channel_employees/index.html

Until now, complaints about Clear Channel have focused on its business practices. Critics say it uses its power to squeeze recording companies and artists and contributes to the growing blandness of broadcast music. But now the company appears to be using its clout to help one side in a political dispute that deeply divides the nation.

CLIP

Or perhaps the quid pro quo is more narrowly focused. Experienced Bushologists let out a collective "Aha!" when Clear Channel was revealed to be behind the pro-war rallies, because the company's top management has a history with George W. Bush. The vice chairman of Clear Channel is Tom Hicks, whose name may be familiar to readers of this column. When Mr. Bush was governor of Texas, Mr. Hicks was chairman of the University of Texas Investment Management Company, called Utimco, and Clear Channel's chairman, Lowry Mays, was on its board. Under Mr. Hicks, Utimco placed much of the university's endowment under the management of companies with strong Republican Party or Bush family ties. In 1998 Mr. Hicks purchased the Texas Rangers in a deal that made Mr. Bush a multimillionaire.

CLIP

---

See also:

Huge US media conglomerates organizing pro-war rallies
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/25/opinion/25KRUG.html?ex=1049584474&ei=1&en=9b99e56d182e6766




5.

VERY MOVING ACCOUNT

From: <info@vitw.org>
Subject: Dark days and Shiny Shoes
Date: 25 Mar 2003

Dear Friends,

I doubt many people in Iraq heard the ominous comic book assertion this morning from U.S. Central Command that there were "Dark days ahead for the dark side" in Iraq. A quick glance at the news this evening suggests that the "dark days" are here... for all sides.

CLIP

Out of Baghdad this morning, we have a brief reflection from Shane Claiborne called "Dark days and Shiny Shoes":

"I have grown especially close to one of the 'shoeshine boys', a homeless boy (about 10 years old), named Mussef. The first day I met him, he was begging me for money to eat. When I stubbornly said 'no' to his relentless attempts on my wallet, he turned away and muttered, 'Son-of-bitch-mother-fucker.' I whipped my head around in shock, as he took off running. Not the best first impression. Day after day, we have grown on each other. We go for walks, turn somersaults, and yell at the airplanes 'SALAAM!' (PEACE!!!). Now everyday when I walk outside he runs at full speed, jumps into my arms, and kisses me on the cheek. And I have the shiniest shoes in Baghdad.

"One day Mussef joined our group on a walk into the center of town, carrying pictures of Iraqi children and families suffering from the war and sanctions. Press and journalists took pictures and talked to us as we stood in one of Baghdad's busiest intersections, and Mussef begin to internalize what was happening. His shining face became bleak. Nothing I could do made him smile. As the group went home, and the cameras left, we continued to sit. He motioned with his hand the falling of bombs, and made the sound explosions, as tears welled up in his eyes.

"Suddenly, he turned, and latched onto my neck. He began to weep; his body shook as he gasped for each breath of air. I began to cry. Somehow I was glad all the cameras were gone. We wept as friends, as brothers, not as a peacemaker and victim. Afterwards I took him to eat, banquet style (tipping everyone extravagantly so my guest would be welcome). Every five minutes he would ask me, 'Are you okay?' I would nod, and ask, 'Are you okay?' And he would nod. To be honest I think we were both scared out of our minds but we each wanted to assure that the other did not start weeping again."

In these dark days, we are anxious for a new beginning in Iraq. It was new beginnings that Andrew Mandell - who traveled to Iraq with VitW two years ago - had in mind recently when he penned an open letter to a friend in Baghdad. "It is time for a modest sunrise" for the people of Iraq. That sunrise, he writes, "will slip around to my children's dawn as well. There is no seam to divide the dawns of this confused species. The only way to promise my daughter a morning will be to promise yours one as well."

Until tomorrow,

Jeff Guntzel, for Voices in the Wilderness and Iraq Peace Team




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