WHAT'S NEW IN INES?
Dateline: March 25, 2003
This is the weekly electronic information service of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility
Editor: Tobias Damjanov, e-mail:
WNII is archived at: http://inesglobal.org/archive.htm
INES homepages: http://inesglobal.org http://www.inesglobal.com/
INES International Office
INES Chair: Prof. Armin Tenner [Please note that the first "1" in q18 is the number one, while the last "l" is an "L"]
From the Editor:
Dear WNII readers,
Due to the huge amount of war-related items I have decided to produce this additional WNII issue hoping you'll find it useful.
Sincerely yours, Tobias Damjanov
CONTENTS of WNII No. 7/2003
THE US/UK WAR AGAINST IRAQ
Robert Fisk in Baghdad: Minute after minute the missiles came, with devastating shrieks (22 March 2003)
Saddam's main presidential palace, a great rampart of a building 20 storeys high, simply exploded in front of me a cauldron of fire, a 100ft sheet of flame and a sound that had my ears singing for an hour after. The entire, massively buttressed edifice shuddered under the impact. Then four more cruise missiles came in.
It is the heaviest bombing Baghdad has suffered in more than 20 years of war. All across the city last night, massive explosions shook the ground. To my right, the Ministry of Armaments Procurement a long colonnaded building looking much like the façade of the Pentagon coughed fire as five missiles crashed into the concrete.
In an operation officially intended to create "shock and awe,'' shock was hardly the word for it. The few Iraqis in the streets around me no friends of Saddam I would suspect cursed under their breath.
From high-rise buildings, shops and homes came the thunder of crashing glass as the shock waves swept across the Tigris river in both directions. Minute after minute the missiles came in. Many Iraqis had watched as I had television film of those ominous B-52 bombers taking off from Britain only six hours earlier. Like me, they had noted the time, added three hours for Iraqi time in front of London and guessed that, at around 9pm, the terror would begin. The B-52s, almost certainly firing from outside Iraqi airspace, were dead on time.
Police cars drove at speed through the streets, their loudspeakers ordering pedestrians to take shelter or hide under cover of tall buildings. Much good did it do. Crouching next to a block of shops on the opposite side of the river, I narrowly missed the shower of glass that came cascading down from the upper windows as the shock waves slammed into them.
Along the streets a few Iraqis could be seen staring from balconies, shards of broken glass around them. Each time one of the great golden bubbles of fire burst across the city, they ducked inside before the blast wave reached them. At one point, as I stood beneath the trees on the corniche, a wave of cruise missiles passed low overhead, the shriek of their passage almost as devastating as the explosions that were to follow.
How, I ask myself, does one describe this outside the language of a military report, the definition of the colour, the decibels of the explosions? When the cruise missiles came in it sounded as if someone was ripping to pieces huge curtains of silk in the sky and the blast waves became a kind of frightening counterpoint to the flames.
There is something anarchic about all human beings, about their reaction to violence. The Iraqis around me stood and watched, as I did, at huge tongues of flame bursting from the upper stories of Saddam's palace, reaching high into the sky. Strangely, the electricity grid continued to operate and around us the traffic lights continued to move between red and green. Billboards moved in the breeze of the shock waves and floodlights continued to blaze on public buildings. Above us we could see the massive curtains of smoke beginning to move over Baghdad, white from the explosions, black from the burning targets.
How could one resist it? How could the Iraqis ever believe with their broken technology, their debilitating 12 years of sanctions, that they could defeat the computers of these missiles and of these aircraft? It was the same old story: irresistible, unquestionable power.
Well yes, one could say, could one attack a more appropriate regime? But that is not quite the point. For the message of last night's raid was the same as that of Thursday's raid, that of all the raids in the hours to come: that the United States must be obeyed. That the EU, UN, Nato nothing must stand in its way. Indeed can stand in its way.
No doubt this morning the Iraqi Minister of Information will address us all again and insist that Iraq will prevail. We shall see. But many Iraqis are now asking an obvious question: how many days? Not because they want the Americans or the British in Baghdad, though they may profoundly wish it. But because they want this violence to end: which, when you think of it, is exactly why these raids took place.
Reports were coming in last night of civilians killed in the raids which, given the intensity of the cruise missile attacks, is not surprising. Another target turned out to be the vast Rashid military barracks, perhaps the largest in Iraq.
But the symbolic centre of this raid was clearly intended to be Saddam's main palace, with its villas, fountains, porticos and gardens. And, sure enough, the flames licking across the façade of the palace last night looked very much like a funeral pyre.
NOTE that Robert Fisk articles can be found at: http://www.robert-fisk.com/
INES Letter of support to the US peace movement
Berlin, 22 March 2003
Dear colleagues , dear peace friends,
The world stands at a historical moment of greatest drama. We look on while a war-crazed government pursues an aggressive war and a bombing strategy of "shock and awe.“
Our time demands protest and acts of peace from all corners of our planet. We must stand in solidarity against this illegal and immoral war of aggression.
The American war government must not accomplish its goals of domination and Empire.
We will continue our campaign for strike actions at the universities.
We wish You much success in our common struggle.
With peaceful greetings,
David Krieger: Shock But Not Awe (24 March 03)
I write with a heavy heart. Our cause has shifted from trying to prevent a needless war to seeking to end an illegal war. The audacity of the Bush administration takes one’s breath away.
The United States is bombing Baghdad, engaged in its “shock and awe” strategy. Shock yes, but there is no awe. To suggest awe reflects only the arrogance of the Bush militarists. US attacks on Iraq are shocking and awful.
Shocking that we are at war in violation of international law and our Constitution.
Shocking that our government is committing aggressive warfare, which is a crime.
Shocking that a large majority of the US Congress has been so compliant and cowardly, handing over their responsibility to declare war to the president. By giving up their Constitutional powers, Congress is putting the future of our Republic in jeopardy.
Shocking that Bush has demonstrated contempt for the strongly held positions of our allies, and hundreds of millions of their protesting citizens throughout the world.
Shocking that Bush has shown such studied indifference to the millions of Americans who have taken to the streets in protest of his war plans.
Shocking that the United States has attacked Iraq in defiance of the United Nations Security Council and with disregard for US obligations under the Charter of the United Nations.
Shocking that the United States has acted in bad faith, having assured the other members of the Security Council at the time of passage of Resolution 1441 that it does not provide for an automatic recourse to war. John Negroponte, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, assured other members of the Security Council on the day that Resolution 1441 was passed: “Whatever violation there is, or is judged to exist, will be dealt with in the Council, and the Council will have an opportunity to consider the matter before any other action is taken.” What he apparently meant was that the Security Council would have a chance to endorse a US-led war against Iraq or be cast aside as irrelevant.
Now we are faced with the challenge of ending this illegal war, and bringing those who are committing war crimes to justice. This must not be only victors’ justice, but justice that applies to all sides. As Bush and Rumsfeld have emphasized, following superior orders will not be a defense to the commission of war crimes. This should be so both for the Iraqi leadership and for the American leadership.
The anger wells up at the hypocrisy and arrogance of the Bush administration. The two most powerful statements that I have seen recently in opposition to the war are Senator Byrd’s lamentation, “Today, I weep for my country…” and the expression of bitterness of Michael Waters-Bey, the bereft father of one of the US soldiers to die in a helicopter crash returning to Kuwait from a mission in Iraq. Mr. Waters-Bey said that he wanted to tell the president that “this was not your son or daughter. That chair he sat in at Thanksgiving will be empty forever.”
There will be more killing and more deaths, more empty chairs. It is a time of sadness, as our country is losing its credibility and honor throughout the world. It is a time of tragedy that the militarists are having their day. It is a time of shock, but far from a time of awe. We will find a way back to decency, democracy and the rule of law. Until then, we must continue to express our dissent and opposition to this war, to policies of perpetual war, and to the diminishment of our democratic rights. We must also find a way to hold the guilty accountable for their crimes against peace and war crimes.
David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and deputy chair of INES. He is the editor of Hope in a Dark Time, Reflections on Humanity’s Future (Capra Press, 2003).
Hague Appeal for Peace Statement on Outbreak of Iraq War http://www.haguepeace.org (INES is an associate of the Hague Appeal for Peace)
The Hague Appeal for Peace, which has always called for the force of law, not the law of force, as the instrument of international relations, notes with distress that a few nations are prepared to violate international law, ignore the voice of the world's second super power -- public opinion -- and risk a lawless and violent future.
* We believe the best way to support the young men and women in military service is to bring them home alive and well.
* We believe the use of the billions of dollars that will be required for carrying out the destruction of Iraq and the $20 billion per year projected for post war expenditures, would be better allocated to cleaning up the swamp of poverty, disease and illiteracy that gives rise to despotic rule and terrorism.
* We believe the United Nations is the world’s only forum for debating and managing peace and security. We will defend the fundamental values of international law, of the Charter of the United Nations, of democracy and human rights.
*We commend those who have resisted blind reliance on the law of force including most members of the Security Council and Secretary General Kofi Annan. We are as critical of the despotic regime of Saddam Hussein as anyone, but we have learned much over the years about safer ways of handling tyranny and saber rattling. The quantity and nature of weapons in today’s world is of such lethal consequence that to risk war is to risk massive numbers of dead, wounded and people made ill, hungry and homeless and angry.
* The new doctrine of preventive war will do more to prevent the achievement of democracy and justice in the world than to prevent terrorism.
* We call on all nations to abide by treaties and agreements long ago reached that require the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.
We grieve with the victims of this atrocity.
20 March 2003
"Protests Flare Across the Globe". How the news agency Reuters reported the international protests on 20 March
London (March 20) - Tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators staged huge marches across the world on Thursday, often clashing with police as they converged on heavily guarded U.S. embassies.
Barely three hours after the first cruise missiles slammed into Baghdad, a wave of demonstrations started in Asia and Australia and rolled swiftly across Europe and the Middle East towards the United States, where anti-war activists planned hundreds of protests later on Thursday.
In the Arab world, thousands of protesters vented their fury at the start of the war to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, with demonstrators in Egypt and Syria demanding the expulsion of U.S. ambassadors.
In Cairo, the Arab world's biggest city, riot police used water cannon and batons against hundreds of rock-throwing protesters who tried to storm towards the U.S. embassy.
''This war is a sin,'' said 43-year-old Cairo taxi driver Youssef, as religious music blared from his car radio. ''It's a sin because ordinary Iraqis will suffer. It's not a sin because of Saddam, who was too stubborn. He's got a head of stone.''
In Italy, where Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is one of Washington's staunchest allies on Iraq, the three biggest trade unions staged a two-hour strike.
Italian cities were thrown into chaos as tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets, in many cases blocking train stations and highways. The biggest demonstration was a march on the U.S. embassy in Rome.
In Germany, more than 80,000 schoolchildren, many with faces painted with ''No War'' or peace signs, protested in the capital Berlin and the cities of Stuttgart, Cologne, Munich and Hanover.
''Let's bomb Texas, they've got oil too,'' read one banner.
In Berlin, people lay in pools of red paint outside the heavily guarded U.S. embassy to symbolise civilian casualties.
Swiss police clashed with hundreds of protesters, mainly students, who marched on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Geneva, firing teargas into the air to disperse them.
Spanish police in riot gear fired rubber bullets at anti-war demonstrators, including well-known actors and celebrities, who gathered in central Madrid in protest at Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's support for the U.S.-led attacks on Iraq.
Earlier they beat some demonstrators with batons in an attempt to move them on.
Violence also erupted in Calcutta, eastern India, when about 1,000 protesters waving banners reading ''U.S. warmongers go to hell'' tried to storm a U.S. cultural centre. At least 12 policemen and six demonstrators were injured when cane-wielding police drove them back, a senior police official told Reuters.
Thousands of British anti-war campaigners, enraged by the involvement of British troops in a war they see as an illegitimate grab for oil by Washington, blocked roads and scuffled with police as protests spread across Britain.
At the biggest rallying point in London's Parliament Square, police hauled away demonstrators, including many schoolchildren, who were sitting in roads and blocking access points.
''We're here for peace,'' said schoolgirl Tallulah Belly, 14, at Parliament Square. ''We've walked out of school -- we are the future generation and they should be listening to us.''
The only reported clash outside a British embassy was in the Lebanese capital Beirut, where around 1,000 protesters were sprayed with water from a fire truck when they crossed barriers outside the mission. Witnesses said police beat several of them.
In France, more than 10,000 people, mostly students, surged through Paris chanting anti-war slogans, reflecting their government's rigid anti-war stance which has infuriated Washington and split the international community into two camps.
Huge protests also took place in Greece, Spain and Austria.
In the Gaza Strip, about 1,000 Palestinian women and children marched in the Rafah refugee camp, holding Iraqi flags and posters of Saddam and setting fire to Israeli and U.S. flags. About 150 people marched in Bethlehem in the West Bank.
On the other side of the planet, protesters brought Australia's second largest city, Melbourne, to a standstill. Organisers put the crowd at 40,000, police said it numbered ''tens of thousands.'' Australia is a staunch ally of the U.S. and a supporter of the use of force to disarm Saddam.
Anti-U.S. sentiment was also strong in Muslim Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan, where many saw the attack as the start of a U.S. campaign to subjugate the Islamic world and seize oil.
In Pakistan there were scattered but peaceful rallies across the country against what some called ''American terrorism,'' while in Indonesia some 2,000 people from a conservative Muslim party sang and chanted anti-American slogans outside the U.S. embassy.
NOTE: another first-day report about protests by MSNBC is available at: http://www.msnbc.com/modules/exports/ct_email.asp?/news/887126.asp (If you can't retrieve this article from the URL indicated above, it is also available from the WNII Editor as an rtf-formatted email attachment.)
New web links
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MEMBERSHIP AND PROJECTS NEWS
Russia: Socio-Ecological Union: "The SEU TIMES" No 8 (42) – March 2003
The latest issue of "The SEU Times" has the following contents:
INESPE International Conference: Between Acquisitiveness and Conscience - When Civil Courage becomes Dangerous - Warning before it is too late
The programme of this international conference is currently being translated.
For more details contact Antje Bultmann, Managing Director, INESPE: < >
INES WEB AND E-MAIL SERVICE
No new or changed email or web addresses in this issue. All INES e-mail addresses and homepages are available upon request from:
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