Weekly News Review

22nd March

Spectre's Condolences

...on these sad, angry days, to the family and friends of Rachel Corey, 23, from Olympia, Washington, USA, who was killed when she ran in front of the bulldozer to try to prevent it from destroying a house. We will try to honour her memory by doing all in our power to save others from losing their lives in the path of the pitiless bulldozer of the Bush Junta's greed for oil and lust for power. We didn't know Rachel, but we'll miss her all the same.

European Parliament holds special session on war

On Thursday 20 March the European parliament held a special session to debate the war, plans for which it had already condemned in a resolution saying that no war should be waged without UN Security Council backing. The session was called after pressure from left MEPs.

In a letter to EP President Pat Cox, Francis Wurtz, leader of the United Left group of 50 Euro-MPs, demanded that the European Parliament hold an urgent meeting in response to the decision by the US and a number of member states of the European Union to ignore the UN Security Council and launch a war against Iraq. "This is an act with incalculable consequences not only for the Middle East but for international security," Francis Wurtz said.

"Despite the view of a broad majority of members of the UN Security Council in favour of continuing the disarmament of Iraq by means of the inspections, and in the face of an international public opinion massively against any recourse to force, the USA, Spain and Great Britain persist in their course.

"We refuse to accept this illegal, unjust and dangerous war. We consider that the United Nations remains the sole repository of international law."

At the session itself, Mr Wurtz had this to say:

Mr Chairman,

                 T he day began in Baghdad this morning, with the population - those men, women, and children some of whom we met, saw living, spoke with a few weeks and whose faces come back to us in spirit in these dramatic hours - drawn from sleep by the deafening unbearable noise of the first bombs.

They know that 3,000 missiles will be released on Iraq in the first phase of the war. They expect to see or re-examine the terrible endless stream of F15s, F16s, B1s, B2s, B52s, Awacs, and Apaches rain on their country.

Bush dares to evoke honour and morals and to invoke God, while he took the most inhuman, most unforgivable of decisions: to stop the peaceful disarmament of Iraq, to launch against this country, exhausted by the previous wars and by a criminal embargo, and half of whose population is under 15 years of age, 600 fighter aircraft, 70 warships, 6 aircraft carriers, tank columns and 300,000 soldiers!

Perhaps some of the 600 journalists "embedded" in the armed forces will deliver some scenes of popular celebration by Iraqis welcoming their liberation "with sweets and flowers", as was promised to George W. Bush, by Kanan Makiya, figurehead of the pro-American Iraqi exiles.

The New York Times-Magazine tells us that this presidential adviser, who has been living in Cambridge since 1968, that he spent a good part of the time of his meeting at the White House, last January, explaining to his famous host that there are two kinds of Moslems in Iraq: Shias and Sunnis! This shows how much the knowledge of this country and consideration of its future has penetrated the summit of American power!

And these are the people - who claim to decide, in the place of the international community, on war and peace!

What prospects do they promise to the Iraqi people? Saddam Hussein's eviction? The Iraqi people will probably not cry for the dictator. But afterwards? A long-term American military occupation, in one of the largest and most emblematical Arab countries? Who can believe that it would be accepted? And what prospects do they promise to the world in general? A new hunt for the "Hooligan-states" under other skies, as suggests general Wesley Clark, who directed the NATO forces in Yugoslavia and for whom "if our ultimate aim is to obtain the end of the terrorist threat (...), Iraq constitutes only a battle in an otherwise vast campaign".

Do we appreciate the extent to which we are being dragged into the destabilisation of the region and the threat to the safety of the whole planet? A superpower, with a military strength without precedent in History, openly claims to be imperial, even if it means worsening divisions, generating world disorder and nourishing terrorism!

History will record that world public opinion was strongly expressed and mobilised against this irresponsible policy; that courageous voices were heard, including that of the Churches; that statesmen dared to say NO and hold fast under pressure, calumnies, or even threats.

What will one record of Europe in these historical circumstances? This morning, I heard nothing on the essentials. Will Europe dare to require the immediate halt to this unjust, illegal and dangerous war? What does it say of the Iraqi population's fate, including the Kurdish and Iraqi refugees who are likely to be threatened by this war?

Unanimity or not, among the 15, there are issues in which Europe can and must involve itself in any event because they involve the bases of our international system, in force since 1945, and of the law that it embodies in the eyes of all democracies!

Thus Europe must express itself on the new strategic doctrines of the Bush administration which magnify military strength, which justify unilateralism and which legitimate "preventive war".

It must forcefully come out against the extremely serious precedent represented by fact that the American defence secretary does not exclude the use of tactical nuclear weapons or of nerve gases in Iraq.

It must denounce with absolute clarity the irresponsible decision taken unilaterally by a group of states, including two Member States, to launch a war without the support of the Security Council of the UN, and even against the opinion of the overwhelming majority of its members.

It must engage in a much more active way for the effective revival of the peace process in the Middle East; for a just and durable solution of the Palestinian problem. Moreover, by allowing the war in Iraq to continue, the way is opened for the worse, in the Middle East! "The doors of hell are opened" warned the President of the Arab League.

The only European institution to have given an opinion on this war is finally our Parliament. I would recall the terms of our resolution adopted on 30 January last:

"Parliament reaffirms its commitment with regard to peace (...) and with regard to international law (...)

It "supports fully the work of Messrs Hans Blix and El Baradei (...)"

It "considers that the violations of the resolution 1441 (...) currently raised by the inspectors (...) do not justify the launching of military action" (...)

It "expresses its opposition to any unilateral military action and considers that a preventive attack would contravene international law as well as the Charter of the United Nations, and would generate a more serious crisis, which would involve other countries of the region.

That, at least, provides to our President, the basis of a clear, explicit and strong intervention at the European Council today. But we cannot leave it at that, for all that! Faced with the very serious events which unfold before our eyes and which are likely to degenerate dramatically, we must assume our responsibilities to stop the logic of war. "Old Europe" must be able to make the vision of a new world emerge. Let us listen to the pressing calls of our fellow-citizens: it is what they expect from us!   thank you."

 The Left Group (GUE-NGL) is also demanding an urgent enquiry into allegations that the US embassy has bugged the phones of MEPs from France and Germany.

Anti-war protester hurls red paint at Danish prime minister.

COPENHAGEN -- An anti-war protester hurled red paint at Denmark's prime minister Tuesday shortly before a press a conference where he was expected to back U.S. military action against Iraq. Read all about it at  http://www.utopia2000.org/

...while Aussie PM has to sneak out of his own house like a burglar

CANBERRA, March 19 (AFP) - Australian Prime Minister John Howard was forced to leave home by a back door Wednesday as anti-war protesters blocked the front gates of his official residence here. Read the rest at herel

Spanish Internationals stay in Baghdad

Transmitted by the Cuban Embassy (It is not by chance that the Cuban Embassy is the only one not closed and which has not retired its diplomatic delegation, manifesting, once again, an example of internationalist solidarity.)

"We will stay here.

"To our relatives, comrades, friends, loved ones all:

"Teresa, Maria Rosa, Ana and Mine, Pepe and Carlos have decided to remain in Baghdad when the military assault of USA and its allies begins and when the Eukal Herria brigade, the fifth of those which in the framework of the Brigades to Iraq agains the war have traveled to this country in the course of this month have been evacuated.

"We count in this on the acceptance of our Iraqui interlocators, always respectful, who nevertheless have asked us to leave Iraq for our own security. We also count on the support of the friends which we have made here in these years, who have promised to look after us and ours like their own families. Finally, we count of the express support, in case of necessity, of the Cuban embassy , in Iraq, one of the few diplomatic representations which has decided to remain open in Baghdad, giving with this a new example of the international solidarity of the government and the Cuban people. We have adopted also basic measures of protection and provisioning.

"Do not see our decision as any folly or presumption. It is not of we six you should be concerned: we are concerned essentially for the fate of this people, to which we have freely linked our own. But ours is not a personal option; we remain here to continue demanding in the same manner as you there - the right of the peoples to self-determinaion, to sovereignty, to the popular administration of its resources, to an authentic democracy cemented in the enjoyment of inalienable social and economic rights. We feel ourselves part of the powerful international movement and of the Spanish State against the war, we call for your protection not over us and ours but over this people and these principles.

"Who among us having come to Iraq in these years, or who have done it for the first time in these weeks, imagined us leaving this country now, even when our presence may be considered no longer useful?

"We have seen this people in their homes, in their centers of work, in the schools and universities, in the stores or the street shops - collectively confront, united and in solidarity, an unfortunate imposition with no compassion whatever, a buried and permanent war, the insupportable and daily violence of the embargo, and all this with firmness, industry and courage, always with a ready and luminous smile. In spite of coming from an aggressor country, we have received up to this very day hardly 48 hours from when the bombing begins, only warmth and gratefulness.

"Like the Palestinian people, the Iraqi people, defenseless and exhausted as they are after 12 years of sanctions and permanent military aggression, is none the less a victorious people, which

has not bowed, has been able to go ahead, has maintained its dignity and its faith in itself and the future, anxious to learn and to prosper, to finally live in peace. Those who have decided to attack this country, our own government, also - do it, including in the first place to take control of its petroleum wealth or to eliminate its leaders, to dominate this sovereign spirit in this region of peoples and regimes which are subjected and defeated - will be guilty of an ignominious crime.

"The governments involved in this genocide are trying to convince the media of communication and the internationalists still present in Iraq that we should abandon the country. No one knows for certain what can happen in the next days and weeks, but it is clear that the aggressors and no less the Spanish government, do not want the existence of witnesses, or, disposed as they are to use all their military power against this people in order to crush any possible resistance, do not want victims with Western names and faces: like the million and a half Iraqis assassinated by the sanctions, the Iraqi dead will have neither face nor name. But these six brigadists still have face and name, and when we return we will carry with us as testimonial their looks, the timbre of their voices, their frank smiles.

"With all this our warm greetings from Baghdad,"

Maria Teresa Tunon Alvarez, Maria Rosa Panarroya Miranda, Ana Maria

Rodriguez Alonso, Belarmino Marino Garcia Vilar, Jose Bielsa Fernandez,

Carlos Varea Gonzalez.

Boycott War Profiteers!

A list of the "100 (US) Companies Receiving The Largest Dollar Volume Of Prime Contract Awards - Fiscal Year 2002" can be found at here Find out who these accessories to genocide are and use your only real right in capitalist society. Don't buy their shit.

Fidel on the War

These are hard times we are living in. In recent months, we have more than once heard chilling words and statements. In his speech to West Point graduating cadets on June 1 2002, the United States president declared: "Our security will require transforming the military you will lead, a military that must be ready to strike at a moment's notice in any dark corner of the world."

Read the rest of Fidel Castro's "The War on the Dark Corners of the World: Resisting the Doctrine of Pre-emptive Strike at here

Atomic Midnight

DOWNWINDERS and LABWATCH have joined to issue the highest alert: Atomic Midnight. The liklyhood that nuclear weapons will be used by the U. S. on innocent civilians in the form of a test, an accident, or a military use, has risen to a near certainty. The arms race is out of control. This is not an alarm. Do not be alarmed. When the government is out of control “We the people...” must peaceably take control. More at here

UK puppet ruler faces 'war trial' by wife's law firm

"London, March 16: British Prime Minister Tony Blair is facing the embarrassing prospect of being prosecuted for 'war crimes' over the Iraq crisis by his wife's human rights law firm. The interesting row has intensified on whether Britain's plan to bomb Iraq is legal, as it emerged that Left-wing MPs are backing plans to employ Cherie Blair's law chambers, Matrix, in legal action against the British Government." Read more about this marital tiff at


Move to protect Commission from democracy

A group of right wing MEPs is trying to hammer yet another nail into democracy's coffin with an extraordinary proposal which would make the European Commission immune from any kind of pressure from the European Parliament. Under the proposal, MEPs would only be able to sack the Commission if they themselves were prepared to stand down and call new elections. MEPs are hardly likely to plunge themselves into a gruelling election process of uncertain outcome, and so the Commission could carry on wasting our money and doing whatever it likes in complete impunity.

EU-Cuba relations advance towards normalisation

The European Commission has for the first time opened a formal delegation office in Havana. Cuba applied in January to join the ACP group of developing countries which enjoy a special trading partner status with the EU.  The move is intended to help Cuba bypass the illegal blockade. Spectre readers may see trading "privileges" with the EU as something of a mixed blessing, but the fact that US puppet leader Tony Blair expressed "reservations" over it, while war criminal Donald Rumsfeld condemned it, is good enough for us.

Brown: euro means labour market "liberalisation."

“In a single currency area, where the old flexibilities to adjust exchange rates are no longer available at a national level, labour, product and capital market flexibility are even more essential. Adjusting to shocks without putting at risk high and stable levels of growth and unemployment demands even greater market flexibility.” British Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) Gordon Brown tells it like it would be.

Liberation, the British anti-imperialist quarterly, has its first 2003 edition out with features on International Women's Day, resistance to the war, human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, and Diego Garcia. Write to liberation@btinternet.com for more informaation.


...the British Trades Union Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has published a succinct pamphlet setting out in plain language why working class people should oppose Blair and Bush's illegal war. Cover price is £1, but if you write for it add enough to cover postage. War on Iraq...Not In Our Name can be ordered from TUCND, 2 Hartington Place, Carlisle, CA1 1HL, England.

The funny papers

Thanks to Paul-Emile Dupret for uncovering a website full of "Excellent American cartoons, on the war and others issues..." at here

From Greenpeace

...we hear that "As an organisation based on principles of peace and non-violence, we strongly believe that violence cannot resolve conflict. Find out more about our demonstrations around the world and what you can do at here