News Release Archive - 2002

Columbus Day — Then and Now

VERNON BELLECOURT,
Director for International Affairs of the American Indian Movement, Bellecourt said: “You can trace the history of American militarism. It started with waging war, including smallpox on the Eastern Seaboard. Beginning then on one side you have talk about God-fearing, Jesus-loving people; on the other side committing genocide and war. Look at the history of degrading and demonizing people: ‘Injuns,’ ‘Redskins,’ ‘Niggers,’ ‘Kikes,’ ‘Japs,’ ‘Krauts,’ ‘Terrorists,’ ‘Towelheads.’ You now have comedians on late night shows telling jokes about Arabs and Muslims. You demean and trivialize a people — whoever it is at the time you portray as being your enemy. That justifies your greed for land and natural resources and makes them hated or expendable. They used the black ‘buffalo soldiers,’ of which Colin Powell is the modern-day contemporary — people who are willing to do the killing for the U.S. military-industrial complex.”
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BRENDAN O’NEILL and JUSTIN FRANCESE
Organizers for Action for Community and Ecology in the Regions of Central America, O’Neill and Francese are helping to coordinate protests for indigenous rights in the Americas during Columbus Day, focusing on “militarization that accompanies corporate globalization.”
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AMBROSE LANE
Author of the books Return of the Buffalo and For Whites Only? How and Why America Became a Racist Nation, Lane said today: “We’re becoming the colonial power in the world, you can call it Empire or whatever — it’s colonialism. We are determined in our arrogance that we will tell the whole world what they ought to do and what they ought not to do. All Columbus was doing was trying to find some wealth for his patrons, and all Bush is trying to do is control the wealth of that region [the Middle East] for his and his father’s patrons.”

J. WINTER NIGHTWOLF
member of the Buffalo Ridge Cherokee people, Nightwolf said today: “We have a president who has undermined democracy, who was not elected by the people, and is using war around much of the world. It’s now Iraq. There are clear parallels with Columbus. He came, he saw, he took, he murdered peace-loving people with little defense.”

MARQUETTA PELTIER
Currently co-coordinator of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Marquetta Peltier is daughter of Leonard Peltier, who has been in prison for 26 years and is regarded by Amnesty International as a political prisoner.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Bush’s War Case: Fiction vs. Facts at Accuracy.org/bush

As Congress debates war with Iraq, the Institute for Public Accuracy has made available a detailed analysis of President Bush’s Cincinnati address. The assessments feature a dozen Middle East, legal, weapons and policy analysts with multifaceted critiques of Bush’s claims. Issues covered range from biological weapons to U.N. Security Council resolutions to Congress’s constitutional role.

The analysis is available at: www.accuracy.org/bush

Here are some of the points made:

CHRIS TOENSING
The editor of Middle East Report, responding to allegations that Iraq is threatening the region, Toensing said: “There is no evidence whatsoever that Iraq is doing so, or has any intention of doing so. Other powers are actively disrupting the peace in the region: Israel is trying to crush Palestinian resistance to occupation with brute force, and the U.S. and Britain have bombed Iraq 46 times in 2002 when their aircraft are ‘targeted’ by Iraqi air defense systems in the bilaterally enforced ‘no-fly’ zones.”

JAMES E. JENNINGS
President of Conscience International, a humanitarian aid organization that has worked in Iraq since 1991, Jennings said: “The claim that al-Qaeda is in Iraq is disingenuous, if not an outright lie. Yes, the U.S. has known for some time that up to 400 al-Qaeda-type Muslim extremists, the Ansar al-Islam, formerly ‘Jund al-Islam,’ a splinter of the Iranian-backed Islamic Unity Movement of Kurdistan, were operating inside the Kurdish security zone…. [L]ast Spring the Kurds themselves attacked and killed most of the terrorists in their territory, sending the rest fleeing for their lives across the border into Iran…. [But] this area was under U.S. protection, and not under Saddam Hussein’s rule.”

SUSAN WRIGHT
Wright, co-author of the new book Biological Warfare and Disarmament: New Problems/New Perspectives, responding to the administration’s charges of current Iraqi possession of weapons of mass destruction, said: “We’re expected to accept the administration’s word for this without seeing any evidence. We have no way of judging the accuracy of these claims and the only way to do so is to hold inspections. The only country in the region that is known to possess a nuclear arsenal is Israel.”

STEPHEN ZUNES
Author of the new book Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism, Zunes is associate professor of politics, University of San Francisco, and Middle East editor of the Foreign Policy in Focus project. His response to demands that U.N. resolutions be taken seriously: “There are well over 90 U.N. Security Council resolutions that are currently being violated by countries other than Iraq. The vast majority of these resolutions are being violated by allies of the United States that receive U.S. military, economic and diplomatic support. Indeed, the U.S. has effectively blocked the U.N. Security Council from enforcing these resolutions against its allies.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Detailed Analysis of Bush Speech on Iraq

An in-depth factual critique of Bush’s speech last night is posted at www.accuracy.org/bush — with the following analysts available for interviews:

CHRIS TOENSING
Toensing is editor of Middle East Report.
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SUSAN WRIGHT
Co-author of the book Preventing a Biological Arms Race and the forthcoming Biological Warfare and Disarmament: New Problems/New Perspectives, Wright is a research scientist at the University of Michigan.
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JACQUELINE CABASSO
Executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation, Cabasso is co-author of the report “The Shape of Things to Come: The Nuclear Posture Review, Missile Defense, and the Dangers of a New Arms Race.”
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RAHUL MAHAJAN
Mahajan is author of the book The New Crusade: America’s War on Terrorism.
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PHYLLIS BENNIS
Author of the just-released book Before & After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the September 11 Crisis, Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.
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MICHAEL RATNER
Ratner is president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
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STEPHEN ZUNES
Author of the new book Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism, Zunes is associate professor of politics, University of San Francisco, and Middle East editor of the Foreign Policy in Focus project.
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AS’AD ABUKHALIL
Author of the book Bin Laden, Islam & America’s New “War on Terrorism,” AbuKhalil is associate professor of political science at California State University at Stanislaus.

JAMES E. JENNINGS
Jennings is president of Conscience International, a humanitarian aid organization.

FRANCIS BOYLE
Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence.

ROBERT JENSEN
Author of the book Writing Dissent, Jensen is an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
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JOHN C. BERG
Berg is director of graduate studies of the Government Department at Suffolk University.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Ways Out of War?

STEVEN KULL
Kull is director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes, which just released a report entitled “Americans on the Conflict With Iraq.” Among the findings of the poll: 68 percent agreed more with the statement “If Iraq allows the U.N. to conduct unrestricted inspections, the U.S. should agree to not invade Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein as long as Iraq continues to cooperate, because we should only go to war as a last resort”; 30 percent agreed more with “The U.S. should invade Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein, whether he cooperates with U.N. inspectors or not, because the U.N. inspectors might not find all his weapons.”

NORMAN SOLOMON
Solomon’s op-ed piece “Drown Out Drums of War with the Sound of Dialogue” appears in today’s Baltimore Sun. He wrote: “The conventional wisdom in Washington is that it’s pointless or reckless for Americans to speak with Iraqi officials. But some on Capitol Hill are beginning to think otherwise…. Unless war is their goal, elected officials in Washington should find ways to conduct more dialogue with Iraq in the very near future.” Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, recently accompanied Rep. Nick Rahall and former Sen. James Abourezk to Baghdad.

The newly formed Peace and Justice Studies Association — http://www.evergreen.edu/PJSA — is holding its first conference beginning tomorrow at Georgetown University in Washington. Among the participants:

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MARK LANCE
Associate professor of justice and peace at Georgetown University, Lance said today: “There are real options to going to war. Most obviously, the U.S. should work through the U.N. legal system, allow inspectors to do their work and bring alleged violations to the appropriate legal bodies. Long term we should work with regional organizations like the Arab League to address the militarization of the region, which should include Israel’s nuclear arsenal, the withdrawal of U.S. forces, as well as India’s and Pakistan’s arsenals. Working for disarmament on a regional and world scale is the responsible and morally consistent way to lessen these types of dangers.”

SIMONA SHARONI
Executive director of the Peace and Justice Studies Association, Sharoni is author of Gender and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

LEAH WELLS
Peace education coordinator of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Wells was recently in Iraq.
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STEPHEN ZUNES
Zunes is associate professor of politics and chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. He is author of U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism.

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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

U.S. Demanding an “Occupation Arrangement”?

JAMES PAUL
Executive director of Global Policy Forum and author of several recent papers on Iraq, Paul said today: “The U.S./U.K. draft of a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution, leaked to The New York Times [published in the Oct. 2 edition], says that ‘Iraq shall provide … immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to any and all areas, facilities,…’ and ‘Any permanent member of the Security Council may request to be represented on any inspection team with the same right and protections….’ This is one of several booby traps in the text to make sure that the Iraqis don’t accept it. The idea is that the U.S. and the U.K. can put their people on the team and can be present anywhere, anytime in Iraq. When the Security Council created the new inspection regime, UNMOVIC [U.N. Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission], it was seen as intended to be free of the taint of espionage and other covert operations, primarily by the U.S., that destroyed the credibility of UNSCOM. This resolution totally undermines that. The text also says: ‘Teams shall be accompanied at the bases by sufficient U.N. security forces,… shall have the right to declare for the purposes of this resolution no-fly/no-drive zones, exclusion zones, and/or ground- and air-transit corridors, which shall be enforced by U.N. security forces or by members of the Council;…’ What they are talking about is an occupation arrangement, similar to demands made at Rambouillet on Yugoslavia. Since the government of Iraq will not accept that, Iraqi rejection will be used as a pretext for war. The resolution further says that if Iraq does not comply, member states can use ‘all necessary means’ — a green light for the use of force.”
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JOHN QUIGLEY
Professor of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley said today: “The U.S. should not be seeking to disrupt an agreement between the U.N. and Iraq on how this should be resolved…. The U.S./U.K. resolution says that ‘failure by Iraq at any time to comply and cooperate fully in accordance with the provisions laid out in this resolution, shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations, and that such breach authorizes member states to use all necessary means…’ It’s saying that any violation, even an insignificant or accidental one, could be used as a pretext for invasion. It also says that member states can make such determination. You should have some mechanism, such as further consideration by the Security Council. This is really just a blank check for an armed attack on Iraq.”

FRANCIS BOYLE
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, Boyle said today: “The resolution is just a pretext for war. No way Iraq, or any other state, could accept such a resolution…. The U.S. government is [currently] violating the U.N. Charter … by using military force to allegedly ‘police’ the illegal ‘no-fly’ zones…”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Missions to Baghdad: Value in Dialogue?

JAMES ABOUREZK
Members of Congress have been attacked for speaking out against U.S. policy while in Iraq. Former Sen. James Abourezk, who visited Iraq in mid-September, said today: “We’ve arrived at a very scary state in this country where people opposed to the administration are accused of not being patriotic. The real act of patriotism is not to fall into line behind a president who is desperately trying to get us into a war — but to raise questions to save lives and our national morality.”

EDWARD L. PECK
Peck is a former chief of mission to Iraq and deputy director of the White House Task Force on Terrorism in the Reagan Administration. He is available for a very limited number of interviews. He said today: “Having these congressmen over there is a fantastic thing. They should talk. You don’t lose a thing by talking.”

CHRIS TOENSING
Toensing is editor of Middle East Report.
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JOAN CAMPBELL
Director of the Department of Religion at the Chautauqua Institution, Campbell is a former Secretary General of the National Council of Churches. She said today: “We must pursue every diplomatic effort to avert war. We should truly work with the UN, not simply issue demands.”

LEAH WELLS
A teacher and peace education coordinator of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Wells just returned from Iraq. She said today: “There’s no dialogue between students in Iraq and the United States. All they have grown up knowing is sanctions and bombing and my students have grown up hearing that Iraq is simply a country of 25 million Saddam Husseins.”

ANTHONY ARNOVE
Editor of the book Iraq Under Siege, Arnove said today: “Rep. Jim McDermott has been criticized for saying ‘I think the president would mislead the American people’ about the reasons for going to war. In fact, Bush has already been deceiving the U.S. public as he tries to sell the country on a war against Iraq. Speaking in Phoenix on Sept. 27, Bush said that Saddam Hussein is ‘a man who loves to link up with Al Qaeda.’ Bush is untroubled by the lack of any evidence for this claim. Bush has also dissembled about the U.S. withdrawal of United Nations weapons inspectors in 1998. Bush said in January 2002, ‘This is a regime that agreed to international inspections, then kicked out the inspectors.’ In reality, the inspectors were pulled out by the UN at the behest of the U.S. in anticipation of the planned U.S. bombing of Iraq in December 1998. And, as the Washington Times reported Sept. 27, a report Bush cited as saying that Iraq was only six months away from developing a nuclear weapon in 1998 doesn’t exist, according to the alleged source of this information, the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020 or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Interviews Available: New Congressional Visit to Iraq

BERT SACKS
Currently in Baghdad, Sacks is accompanying Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., who has begun a visit to Iraq along with two other members of Congress. Sacks is an activist with the Interfaith Network of Concern for the People of Iraq, based in Seattle.
Also in Baghdad at: ivoices@uruklink.org

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RAMZI KYSIA and DANNY MULLER of the Iraq Peace Team

BARBARA LUBIN, director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance

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LEAH WELLS
Wells is peace education coordinator of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Voices in the Wilderness is a humanitarian group opposed to sanctions and bombing of Iraq. Members of the organization are available for interviews in the United States: KATHY KELLY and JEFF GUNTZEL, info@vitw.org, www.vitw.org

JIM JENNINGS
President of Conscience International, a humanitarian aid organization, Jennings recently returned from Iraq.

REV. GRAYLAN S. HAGLER
Pastor at the Plymouth Congregational Church UCC, in Washington, D.C., Hagler said today: “This administration has moved to one war issue after another, hiding its failures on the domestic front. The administration has a hard time articulating so it lacks any moral clarity. Anyone looking for rational articulation is left at a loss since the administration cannot necessarily admit the real reasons for wanting war.”

GORDON CLARK
National coordinator of the Iraq Pledge of Resistance, Clark is a former executive director of Peace Action. He noted that calls from the public to Congress are overwhelmingly against the bombing of Iraq. Clark said today: “Although he claims it to be part of his war on terror, Bush’s unquenchable desire for war against Iraq will result in the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians — probably many times the number of people killed in the horror of September 11.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 332-5055; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Interviews Available as D.C. Protests Get Underway: World Bank and IMF: Problem or Solution?

CAROLA KINASHA
Kinasha is with the Tanzania Gender Networking Program. She said today: “The World Bank continues to support ‘user fees’ on primary health care in Tanzania, despite the opposition of women’s groups to this policy, and despite the fact that this policy blocks access to health care for the poor.”
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SHELLY RAO
Coordinator of the Economic and Social Justice Program at the Ecumenical Center for Research, Education and Advocacy in Fiji, Rao said today: “We have been told by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank that our countries’ debts are ‘sustainable,’ but our people lack access to basic education and health care while our governments use scarce resources to pay for debt.”
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RUDOLF AMENGA-ETEGO
National campaign coordinator of the Ghana National Coalition Against the Privatization of Water, Amenga-Etego said today: “The ‘cost recovery’ policies of the World Bank in Ghana led to a 95 percent increase in water rates in 2001. Poor people have lost access and now Ghana is second only to Sudan in the incidence of guinea worm, thanks to the privatization policies of the World Bank.”
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MARK WEISBROT
Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Weisbrot said today: “Our research shows that it is extremely likely that Brazil will default on its public debt; the only question is when…. The recent IMF ‘bailout’ did nothing to help the people of Brazil — it only helped foreign banks get their money out of the country.”
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MONTI AGUIRRE
Aguirre is the Latin American campaigner with International Rivers Network and is the co-producer of the film “Amazonia: Voices From the Rainforest.”
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JIM VALLETTE
Vallette is the research director for the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network and the author of “Transnational Corporate Beneficiaries of World Bank Group Fossil Fuel Projects, 1992-2002.” He said today: “Our new study shows that many energy corporations facing government investigation here and abroad for alleged accounting irregularities, energy market manipulation, fraud, bribery and human rights abuses have leveraged billions of dollars in World Bank Group financing over the past decade. These include Halliburton (the number two beneficiary of WBG fossil fuel financing at $1.97 billion), Enron (number 11 with $967 million), El Paso Corporation (number five with $1.5 billion) which has been found to have illegally manipulated the energy markets in California, General Electric (number nine with $1.1 billion) whose accounting practices and executive excesses have placed it on the corporate hot seat, as well as Harken Energy (George W. Bush’s old company) and Unocal, which a federal court this month ruled could be liable for human rights abuses associated with its Burma gas venture.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 332-5055; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Interviews Available: The U.S. Economy and War

DEAN BAKER
Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Baker said today: “The economy is facing the largest economic crisis since the great depression. The collapse of the stock market bubble destroyed more than $5 trillion of paper wealth, and the impending collapse of the housing bubble will destroy almost as much wealth….”
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DIANA ZUCKERMAN
President of the National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families, Zuckerman said today: “The threat of war has sent the stock market reeling, undermined consumer confidence, and is putting enormous pressure on Congress to cut health and safety net programs that millions of women and families rely on….”
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RICHARD DU BOFF
Professor emeritus of economics at Bryn Mawr College and author of “Accumulation and Power: An Economic History of the United States,” Du Boff said today: “War against Iraq will cost somewhere between $50 billion and $100 billion by most estimates — excluding postwar costs of occupation of the country for longer than most Americans realize or care to think about. The effect on the U.S. economy will be mildly stimulative, limited only by a possible run-up of oil prices once U.S. attacks on Iraq begin. The basic economic impact of the war will be fiscal. It will represent one more way that Bush is using the terrorism of Sept. 11, 2001 as a perfect pretext for carrying out right-wing domestic and international policies that he could only dream about before 9/11. In this case, war spending will join ‘Homeland Security’ spending in crowding out, and reducing, all other ‘nonessential’ — in other words, social — expenditures. The federal budget deficit will be increased, providing another reason to cut government spending; Bush has returned to this theme twice in the past week, and, with congressional Democrats silent on the issue, he has been able to avoid any discussion of his massive and regressive tax cuts coming to a theater near you in the next four to ten years.”

DOUG HENWOOD
Author of the book “Wall Street,” Henwood said today: “Though it looked for a while like the recession ended in December, the economy hasn’t really recovered, and forward-looking indicators are slipping. So we’re either facing another downturn or an extended bout of economic trouble. If we had a grown-up political culture, we’d be seriously discussing some long-term structural issues, like polarization, debt, the causes of the late ’90s bubble and the consequences of its breaking. Instead, we’re getting gossipy coverage of corporate scandals — or were, until the war drums drowned everything else out….”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Interviews on Iraq: Another UN Resolution?

SCOTT RITTER
Ritter, who was a chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq, is available for a very limited number of interviews. He said today: “It is clear that the U.S. government doesn’t want a peaceful resolution to this. It is bent on war. The move for a new Security Council resolution is a deliberate provocation to scuttle inspectors. The Iraqis acceded to the international community’s demands on the weapons inspectors. They should be held accountable; they will be held accountable. The inspectors should do their job, Iraq should comply and the UN should ensure that the inspectors are not misused as they have been in the past. Why is the U.S. government rushing for another resolution now? Because it is not interested in compliance and disarmament — it wants war.” Ritter is the author of “Endgame: Solving the Iraqi Problem Once and For All.”
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PHYLLIS BENNIS
Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, is author of the forthcoming book “Before & After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the September 11 Crisis.”
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JOHN QUIGLEY
Quigley is professor of international law at Ohio State University.

JAMES PAUL
Executive director of Global Policy Forum and author of several recent papers on Iraq, Paul said today: “The U.S. wants a new UN Security Council resolution to pave the way for an invasion of Iraq and to ensure that the UN inspection process does not move forward. Secretary-General Kofi Annan negotiated Iraq’s agreement on inspectors based on existing Council resolutions. A new resolution may upset that agreement, which is what Washington apparently wants. But the UN is moving ahead rapidly with inspections. UNMOVIC head Hans Blix is saying that his core team could be in Iraq by Oct. 15 and they can provide a preliminary report in 60 days. That would not be the definitive report, but a preliminary assessment of the situation. That could lead to a relatively speedy judgment on Iraq’s weapons — Washington’s nightmare. Unfortunately, the U.S. will probably be able to get a Council resolution, in spite of broad opposition. If you read the chapter in James Baker’s autobiography on the 1990 Gulf crisis you will see the precedent. He talks about how, as Secretary of State, he cut deals, bribed, cajoled and threatened countries into going along with what the U.S. government wanted. It had nothing to do with international law or enforcing Security Council resolutions. We see the same horse-trading going on now. There’s a fair amount of evidence that the U.S. government is divvying up Iraq’s oil between the powers on the Security Council, particularly France, Russia and China, to get them to acquiesce to a U.S. war. Of course, the lion’s share will still go to U.S. and British firms. These deals, which are similar to other deals among the major powers going back to World War I, divide the spoils of war based on raw political power. In the past, such deals remained secret for many years, but now those in power seem to have no shame, and references are emerging in the press even before the final deals are struck.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167