Friday, April 07, 2006

FYI - A Big Crazy Important Email: "Remember back in the days, when niggaz had waves, Gazelle shades, and cornbraids..." - The Notorious B.I.G.

Verse One:

Remember back in the days, when niggaz had waves,
Gazelle shades, and corn braids,
Pitchin pennies, honies had the high top jellies,
Shootin skelly, motherf**kers was all friendly,
Loungin at the barbeques, drinkin' brews,
With the neighborhood crews, hangin on the avenues,
Turn your pagers, to nineteen ninety-three,
Niggaz is gettin smoked G, believe me,
Talk slick, you get your neck slit quick,
Cause real street niggaz, ain't havin that shit,
Totin' techs for rep, smokin blunts in the project hallways,
Shootin' dice all day,
Wait for niggaz to step up, on some fightin' shit,
We get hype and shit, and start lifin' shit,
So step away, with your fist fight ways,
Motherf**ker, this ain't back in the days,
But you don't hear me though...

Verse Two:

No more, cocoa leave-io, one-two-three,
One-two-three, all of this to me, is a mystery,
I hear you motherf**kers talk about it,
But I stay seein' bodies with the motherf**kin chalk around it,
And I'm down with the shit too,
For the stupid motherf**kers wanna try to use, Kung-Fu,
Instead of a Mac-10, he tried scrappin',
Slugs in his back and, that's what the f**k, happens,
When you sleep, on the street,
Little motherf**kers with heat,
Want ta leave a nigga, six feet deep,
And we comin' to the wake,
To make sure, the cryin' and commotion, ain't a motherf**kin fake,
Back in the days, our parents used to take care of us,
Look at 'em now, they even f**kin scared of us,
Callin the city for help, because they can't maintain,
Damn, shit done changed...

Verse Three:

If, I wasn't in the rap game,
I'd probably have a key, knee deep, in the crack game,
'Cause the streets, is a short stop,
Either you're slingin' crack rock, or you got a wicked jumpshot,
Shit, it's hard being young, from the slums,
Eatin' five cent gums, not knowin' where your meal's comin' from,
And now the shit's gettin crazier, and major,
Kids younger than me, they got the Sky brand pagers,
Goin' outta town, blowin' up,
Six months later, all the dead bodies showin' up,
It make me wanna grab the nine, and the shottie,
But I gotta go, identify the body,
Damn, what happened to the summertime cookouts?
Everytime I turn around, a nigga gettin' took out,
Shit, my momma got cancer in her breast,
Don't ask me why I'm motherf**kin stressed,
Things done changed...

- The Notorious B.I.G., "Things Done Changed"

"Like so many of his peers, Jaheim is nostalgic for 'hood days gone by and those times when "shots get popped" and "cops shut down the party". On "Let's Talk About It", Ja reminisces "about a time and a place when we thought we'd never see tomorrow, from the drama". Of course for Jaheim (who co-writes the song with Lighty and Muhammad) these were the good times ("no more younger days sipping brews getting blazed -- wish I could turn back the time") before "Pataki killed crack with the RICO act".
"Let's Talk About It" follows the logic of Biggie's "Things Done Change" ("Remember back in the days, when niggaz had waves Gazelle shades, and corn braids / Pitchin pennies, honies had the high top jellies / Shootin skelly, motherfuckers was all friendly"), suggesting that there really must be some dire conditions in some contemporary inner-city communities if they are longing for the Reagan era.
As Julianne Malveaux notes in Race and Resistance: African Americans in the 21st Century, despite the growth economy of the 1990s, many folk, especially those who were not homeowners, did not reap the benefits. The illicit drug trade was one of the spheres where some folk could get their earn on and as such a figure like Jaheim can wax poetic about the passing of that era."


Contact your MPs before Monday

Stop the War Coalition

1:08 pm (1 hour ago)

Items in this e-mail:

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1) Contact your MPs before Monday
2) Reel activism film series: TONIGHT
3) Protest Rick Hillier's visit to Toronto
4) Souha Surviving Hell and Women In Struggle
5) Missing posters - have you seen them?
6) Three big lies about Afghanistan
7) War against Iran
8) Cindy Sheehan speaks out
9) "Rumsfeld should be tried for war crimes"

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1) Contact your MPs before Monday

The Conservative minority government has finally relented to weeks of pressure to debate in Parliament Canada's role in Afghanistan. The "take-note" debate will happen on Monday, April 10 in the evening and will not include a vote. Please use the time between now and Monday to contact your MPs asking them to call for the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan. A sample letter, a full list of MPs' e-mails and other resources about Afghanistan are available below.

Sample letter

This following letter was sent this week to Alexa McDonough (Foreign Affairs critic) and Dawn Black (Defence critic) of the New Democratic Party to urge them to call for troops to be removed from Afghanistan during the debate which will be held in the House of Commons Monday night. Please forward the letter to your lists and get as many people as possible to submit letters as well. If possible, please CC the Canadian Peace Alliance at when you send in the letters.

Sid Lacombe
Canadian Peace Alliance
tel 416-588-5555
fax 416-588-5556

Dear friends:

The Canadian Peace Alliance is thankful that the New Democratic Party is raising the debate about the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. This is a combat mission that is causing more violence and suffering for the Afghan people. Any clarity that can be gained by a debate will be helpful yet we are concerned that the NDP has not yet raised the call for troops to be removed from Afghanistan. It is, in our view, the only moral choice for ending the conflict and allowing for real democracy to flourish.

We are calling for troops to be removed for a series of reasons. The role of Canadian forces is to extend the influence of the central Afghan State in Kandahar province. The nature of that state is rarely discussed but it must be addressed. The Government of Afghanistan was founded on a deal struck between the warlord factions, the US and Hamid Karzai in Bonn, Germany in December 2001. The deal has entrenched the power of some of the worst warlords and human rights abusers in the nation's history. The documentation from human rights groups has consistently shown that the warlords are the chief source of violence and corruption in the country. The Canadian Government is supporting these warlords, which ensures that Canadian troops will continue to be attacked.

The conduct of the occupation forces led by the United States has resulted in abuses of human rights. The US has operated secret prisons in Afghanistan and has been involved in arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and extrajudicial killing of Afghan civilians. Canada must cease all support for the US occupation under these circumstances.

Members of the Afghan parliament are being financed by opium cultivation. The Taliban had many faults but they had eradicated opium production as of June 2001. The resurgence in poppy cultivation, which has come because of the invasion, is now more than double the amount of internationally dispensed aid. The warlord groups that now make up more that 60% of the Afghan parliament are the main organizers of that trade. We are supporting the drug trade in Afghanistan if we support the Afghan State.

It is often argued that we would help the people of Afghanistan if we change our tactics. But peacekeeping in support of the warlords is no better than combat in support of the warlords. We are supporting a government controlled by US forces in conjunction with drug runners and former Taliban commanders. How we support that government is not the issue. Any support for these enemies of democracy in Afghanistan has the effect of increasing violence. Recruitment for the Taliban and Al Quaeda has increased in Kandahar since Canada arrived. Strangely, our military leaders seem clear on this issue. Major General Andrew Leslie said at the Couchiching Conference last summer: "[E]ach time we kill a man overseas we are creating 15 more who will come after us."

There have been many foreign interventions in Afghanistan over the past 30 years and none of them has had the best interests of the Afghan people at heart. Whether it was the invasion by the USSR or the US support and arming of the Taliban, each intervention has made life worse for the citizens of the country. Canada is now fighting alongside groups the US armed 5 years ago and against groups the US armed 10 years ago. The people of Afghanistan have had enough of that type of international help.

US foreign policy towards Afghanistan has been dominated by need for the Trans Afghan Pipeline. Dick Cheney, while an executive at UNOCAL corporation, lobbied the Clinton Administration to support the Taliban because they supported the construction of the pipeline. The new pipeline project signed in spring 2002, called the Turkmenistan Afghanistan pipeline (TAP), has Canadian corporate involvement as well. Canadian oil and gas companies have signed multi-million dollar deals with the governments of the Caspian region for projects associated with the TAP. The person who signed those deals for the Canadian companies was none other than Jean Chrétien, our former Prime Minister and the man responsible for sending more than 8000 Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan. There is only one stumbling block to completion of TAP. The route, which goes through Kandahar province, has to be secured.

The people of Afghanistan want peace. The US and Hamid Karzai want oil. We are legitimizing that occupation by supporting the US and the Afghan State. There is not a shred of hope that either the Harper government or the Liberals have any interest in changing the nature of our involvement in Afghanistan. While Canadians debate potential changes in the intervention, our soldiers continue to create more violence and anger in Afghanistan. The only choice is to call for the troops to be removed.

There are democratic forces in Afghanistan which are trying to bring about real change there but they are consistently undermined and attacked by the very state we are supporting. Malalai Joya, an MP from Farah province, has just finished a tour of North America where she exposed the true nature of the Afghan State. She has received death threats for being outspoken and, while she was here, the government of Hamid Karzai cut her security funding. We can support these grassroots groups in Afghanistan but not while Canadian soldiers kill to support their enemies. We hope that our friends in the NDP can aid us in this our call for Canadian troops to be removed now.

Sid Lacombe
Canadian Peace Alliance
tel 416-588-5555
fax 416-588-5556

For more information, please see the CPA website:

Full list of MPs' e-mails






Other resources

Factsheet on Afghanistan


Ten facts you should know about the deployment to Afghanistan

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2) Reel Activism film series: TONIGHT

The film and discussion series Reel Activism is proud to present documentaries related to the state of civil liberties in Canada today including:

Anice Wong's Speaking out Against Secret Trials in Canada


Arshad Khan's film on the RCMP's Project Thread, which terrorized almost two dozen South Asian students in the GTA

Followed by a discussion with lawyer Barbara Jackman, one of Canada's best-known refugee lawyers, who will be arguing the case against security certificates before the Canadian Supreme Court in June.

Film screening
Friday, April 7
Bloor Street United Church
300 Bloor Street West
(at Huron Street;
nearest subway: St George)

For more information, please phone 416-966-2815.

Presented by the Social Justice Committee of Bloor Street United Church
Donations for church expenses will be gratefully accepted

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3) Protest Rick Hillier's visit to Toronto

Troops out of Afghanistan!
Protest General Rick Hillier!

Tuesday, April 11
The Empire Club
Fairmont Royal York Hotel
Across the street from Union Station
Downtown Toronto
(nearest subway: Union)

On Tuesday April 11, General Rick Hillier, Chief of Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces, will be in Toronto. ACT for the Earth and community allies are organising an appropriate welcome for our own homegrown warmonger. Canadians are overwhelmingly opposed to the war in Afghanistan, and our complicity in it. As Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail puts it, "Canadians aren't buying it. According to a Globe poll, public support for our Afghan mission is running at 27 per

The war in Afghanistan is one which Canadians don't want and Afghans don't need. It is also one based on lies and misinformation. And Afghan civilians and Canadian soldiers increasingly are going to be paying the price. General Hillier has been doing everything he can to sell the public on the war, as well as telling us we need to be there for at least 10 years. According to General Hillier, the job of the Canadian Army is to hunt down "scumbags" in Afghanistan and "to kill people".

But if the role of the Canadian military presence in Afghanistan is to hunt down and kill the Taliban, as Hillier and the Canadian government claim, why is the Canadian military supporting the warlords and former Taliban who are currently in Afghanistan's Parliament? Perhaps it has something to do with securing the oil pipeline through Afghanistan from the Caspian Sea.

Stephen Harper says: "When we send troops into the field, I expect Canadians to support those troops." We say "Support the troops by bringing them home now!"

Compiled by members of MANA (The Media Alliance for New Activism)

The Canadian mainstream media has been promoting our role in Afghanistan, with almost no critical voices, despite polling that indicates between 48% to 62% of Canadians not only question but oppose our engagement of troops in this war-torn country (Ipsos-Reid, Mar. 4/06; Strategic Counsel/Globe and Mail, Feb. 24/06).

FACT #1: Jean Chrétien & Canadian Corporations Involved in Trans-Afghan Pipeline
FACT #2: Gordon O'Connor, Defence Minister, Is Former Military Lobbyist
FACT #3: Current Afghan Parliament Includes Warlords and Drug Lords
FACT #4: Afghan Warlords Considered Bigger Threat Than Taliban
FACT #5: Afghan Women Face Repression Despite Removal Of Taliban
FACT #6: Elected Afghan Woman Faces Death Threats For Speaking Out
FACT #7: Since the U.S.-led War, Afghanistan Is Increasingly Hooked on Heroin
FACT #8: U.S. And Coalition Forces Using Excessive Force & Arbitrary Detention
FACT #9: Canada Complicit In Violation of Human Rights For 'War On Terror'
FACT #10: U.S. Finds More Oil and Gas Reserves After 4-Year Search

To read more about each of these facts, please visit:

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4) Souha Surviving Hell and Women In Struggle

Sumoud, the Palestinian Political Prisoner Solidarity Group,
Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition,
are pleased to present:
A film screening: Souha Surviving Hell and Women In Struggle

Film screening
Thursday, April 13
Medical Sciences Building Auditorium
Room 2158
1 King's College Circle
University of Toronto

Journey into Khiam prison with Souha Bishara, imprisoned Lebanese resistance fighter (60 min, 2001).

- and -

Four Palestinian women discuss their experiences in Israeli prisons (56 min, 2004).

Discussion and update on the recent raid of the Jericho prison and kidnapping of the Jericho 6.

$ 5.00 in advance
$ 10.00 at the door

Available at:

Toronto Women's Bookstore: 73 Harbord Street
A Different Booklist: 746 Bathurst Street; Phone: 416-538-0889
OPIRG, University of Toronto: 563 Spadina Avenue, Room 101; Phone: 416-978-7770
Or contact Sumoud directly by e-mail:

All proceeds will go to the upcoming 'Palestinian Child Prisoners Speaking Tour'

Organised by Sumoud, the Palestinian Political Prisoner Solidarity Group
To find out more about Sumoud, establish a Sumoud group in your community and support our work, please contact us.

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5) Missing posters - have you seen them?

Four large posters of Iraqi detainees - used by the Christian Peacemaker Teams at the March 18 rally and march in Toronto - are missing. The posters were used as visual displays while CPT members spoke and performed at the March 18 event.

If anyone has seen the posters or knows where they're located, please contact the CPT in Toronto. If you brought your own posters, placards and materials to the March 18 event, please check to see that you didn't accidentally take the CPT posters with your own materials at the end of the event.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Christian Peacemaker Teams - Toronto
Phone: 416-426-5525

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6) Three big lies about Afghanistan

April 03, 2006
Eric Margolis - foreign correspondent - Sun Newspapers

Three big lies about Afghanistan

The public is getting distorted news from Afghanistan because the North American media has substituted jingoism and flag-waving for reporting of hard news.

Afghanistan's complexity and lethal tribal politics have been marketed to the public by government and media as a selfless crusade to defeat the 'terrorist' Taliban, implant democracy, and liberate Afghan women. Afghanistan is part of the 'world-wide struggle against terrorism,' we are told.

None of this is true. In 1989, at the end of the Soviet occupation, Afghanistan fell into anarchy and civil war. An epidemic of banditry and rape ensued.

A village prayer leader, Mullah Omar, who lost an eye in the anti-Soviet jihad, armed a group of 'talibs,' (religious students) and set about defending women from rape. Aided by Pakistan, Taliban stopped the epidemic of rape and drug-dealing that had engulfed Afghanistan and imposed order based on harsh tribal and Sharia religious law.

Taliban was a religious, anti-communist movement that drew its power from Afghanistan's Pushtun (or Pathan) ethnic majority, the world's largest tribal group (Kurds are the second largest). Most of Taliban's energies were spent battling the remaining Afghan communists, united with various Tajik groups under the banner of the Northern Alliance, whose leader, Ahmad Shah Massoud, was a long-time Soviet KGB collaborator, and its military chief, Gen. Fahim, the former
director of the notorious Afghan secret police which executed and horribly tortured tens of thousands of victims.

Production of opium and heroin was stopped by Taliban, except in the North Alliance-controlled zones.

Taliban's rule was extremely harsh; its leaders were backwards hillbillies. Because the communists had infiltrated the nation in the 1970s through the education system - particularly female education - Taliban shut down many schools for girls, oppressed minority Hazaras, whom Taliban considered heretics, and, in an act of supreme idiocy, blew up Buddhist idols.

However, the US government viewed Taliban as a potential ally and gave it millions in aid until four months before 9/11. Washington was considering using Taliban and al-Qaida's 300 members to stir trouble in China's western Muslim regions, and in Russian-dominated Central Asia. But US aid was cut off after Taliban refused a contract from the US oil firm Unocal to build a strategic pipeline south from the Caspian Basin to Pakistan.

Taliban's leaders knew nothing of the 9/11 plans to attack the US, which was mounted in Germany. When the US demanded Kabul hand over bin Laden, Taliban refused. Bin Laden was a guest and national hero wounded six times in the anti-Soviet struggle. Taliban leaders refused to violate their honor by failing to defend an honored guest. Taliban promised to deliver him to an international tribunal once the US submitted evidence of his guilt. The US refused, and promptly invaded Afghanistan.

Unable to withstand US power, Mullah Omar ordered his fighters to blend back into the Pushtun population and wage guerilla war against the invaders. Taliban has been joined by the Hizbi-Islami movement of Gulbadin Hekmatyar and other tribal groups or individuals opposed to foreign occupation.

After Taliban's overthrow, Afghanistan fell back into the hands of the old Communist Party and war criminals, now allied with Russia, Iran and India, and drug warlords who control much of the chaotic nation. The US-installed 'democratic' Karzai puppet regime in Kabul rules only the capital.

The Talibs represented the most backwards sector of Afghan society. But they brought law and order, ended drug dealing, and fought the communists who killed 1.5 million Afghans. Today, women in post-Taliban Afghanistan are just as repressed as they were under Taliban, save for a few schools in Kabul. Women are equally repressed in Pakistan, India, and Saudi Arabia. Many Afghans share Taliban's social views, if not politics. The Uzbeks in the north - now US and Canadian allies - are in even more vicious and brutal than Taliban, and up to their turbans in drug dealing. The US and NATO are running a nation that supplies 80-90% of the world's heroin.

Most foreign journalists see none of this. They get the Cook's tour, led around by their noses by government or military P.R. specialists, and fed handouts. Call this blinkered news. At least the old Soviet media did a better job, occasionally criticizing Moscow's claims that it was implanting democracy, freedom and human rights in Afghanistan. The North American media has no such professional reservations.

Few reporters get away from the military and go see the reality beyond. Even fewer know about Afghanistan's tortured history. That's why we have been getting so much disinformation and so little honest reporting about Afghanistan.

Taliban is neither a terrorist group, like al-Qaida, nor an enemy of the United States. Washington should be talking to its moderate elements as part of a strategy to stabilize that nation, foster a genuinely popular national government that excludes terrorist groups, and ends Afghanistan's role as the world's premier narco-state.

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7) War against Iran

April 1, 2006
By Jorge Hirsch

War against Iran
Biological Threat and Executive Order 13292

04/01/06 "Anti-War" - History repeats itself, but always with new twists. We are back to the good old days when a Declaration of War preceded the start of a war. Such declaration occurred on March 16th, 2006. Reversing the old order, we are now in the "Sitzkrieg", to be followed shortly by an aerial "Blitzkrieg" in the coming days.

In the old days, Congress declared war, and directed the Executive to take action. In the new millenium, the Executive declared war last March 16th, then Congress will pass H.R. 282, "To hold the current regime in Iran accountable for its threatening behavior and to support a transition to democracy in Iran." This bill and previous ones like it are in direct violation of the legally binding Algiers Accords[pdf] signed by the United States and Iran on January 19, 1981, that states "The United States pledges that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs"; however, this is clearly of no interest to the 353 policymakers sponsoring the bill.

The US promised Russia and China that the UN Security Council statement just approved will not be a trigger for military action after 30 days; true to its promise, the US will attack before the 30-day deadline imposed by the UNSC for Iran to stop its nuclear enrichment activity, i.e. before the end of April. The "justification" is likely to be an alleged threat of imminent biological attack with Iran's involvement.

The Declaration of War against Iran

In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the Congressional Declaration of December 8, 1941 stated: "Whereas the Imperial Government of Japan has committed unprovoked acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial Government of Japan which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and the president is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Imperial Government of Japan."

Similarly, the formal war declaration against Iran, the National Security Strategy of March 16, 2006, stated:
€ "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran."
€ "The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism; threatens Israel; seeks to thwart Middle East peace; disrupts democracy in Iraq; and denies the aspirations of its people for freedom."
€ "[T]he first duty of the United States Government remains what it always has been: to protect the American people and American interests. It is an enduring American principle that this duty obligates the government to anticipate and counter threats, using all elements of national power, before the threats can do grave damage."
€ "The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction ­ and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack. There are few greater threats than a terrorist attack with WMD."
€ "To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively."
€ "When the consequences of an attack with WMD are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize."
€ "[T]here will always be some uncertainty about the status of hidden programs."
€ "Advances in biotechnology provide greater opportunities for state and non-state actors to obtain dangerous pathogens and equipment."
€ "Biological weapons also pose a grave WMD threat because of the risks of contagion that would spread disease across large populations and around the globe."
€ "Countering the spread of biological weapons .... will also enhance our Nation's ability to respond to pandemic public health threats, such as avian influenza."

This has to be combined with the 2005 U.S. State Department "FINDING. The United States judges that, based on all available information, Iran has an offensive biological weapons program in violation of the BWC." In addition, the March 16 declaration makes it clear that the US will use nuclear weapons in the war against Iran:
€ ."..using all elements of national power..."
€ "Safe, credible, and reliable nuclear forces continue to play a critical role. We are strengthening deterrence by developing a New Triad composed of offensive strike systems (both nuclear and improved conventional capabilities)."

and this is further reinforced by the just released "National Military Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction"[pdf] that states "Offensive operations may include kinetic (both conventional and nuclear) and/or non-kinetic options (e.g. information operations) to deter or defeat a WMD threat or subsequent use of WMD."

There is of course also the claim that Iran is a threat because it intends to develop nuclear weapons. The sole purpose of that claim, which flies in the face of all available evidence, is to generate a diplomatic stalemate at the UN that will allow Bush to state that other nations share the US concern but not the resolve to act. However the actual trigger for the bombing to begin will not be the long-term and by now discredited nuclear threat, rather it is likely to be the threat of an imminent biological attack.

Casus Belli

There is no casus belli against Iran based on its nuclear program. The IAEA has found no evidence that in the 20 years of its development there has been any diversion of nuclear material to military applications. The Bush administration now officially acknowledges that the issue with Iran arises from a "loophole" in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, that allows non-nuclear countries to pursue uranium enrichment. However it is not a loophole, the right to a full civilian nuclear program is an integral part of the compromise, that made non-nuclear countries agree to it. For the US to call it a loophole means to abrogate the treaty unilaterally and propose a different treaty that non-nuclear countries will have no motivation to agree to.

The Bush administration declares that a civilian nuclear program that gives Iran "knowledge" or "capability" to build a nuclear weapon is unacceptable. It could apply exactly the same logic to biotechnology. The State Department says that "Iran is expanding its biotechnology and biomedical industries by building large, state-of-the-art research and pharmaceutical production facilities. These industries could easily hide pilot to industrial-scale production capabilities for a potential BW program, and could mask procurement of BW-related process equipment." Why isn't the US demanding that Iran stops its biotechnology research and development, and that it transfers all biotech related activities to Russia?

The key lies in Executive Order 13292, which made information on "weapons of mass destruction" and on "defense against transnational terrorism" classified. If concrete details about Iran's alleged biological weapons programs were made public, they would be subject to public scrutiny and they would be discredited, as the allegations on Iran's "nuclear weapons program" have been. The US is likely to have "assembled" classified information on Iran's biological weapons programs and shared it with selected individuals, including members of Congress, under the constraint that classified information cannot be made public. For example, at the June 25, 2004 House subcommittee "MEMBERS ONLY CLASSIFIED BRIEFING on Iran, Middle East Proliferation and Terrorist Capabilities." The unclassified portion of that briefing states "It is time for Iran to declare its biological weapons program and make arrangements for its dismantlement."

There is likely to be a team of "experts" lined up by the administration that will support its claims that Iran had a biological weapons program representing an imminent threat. There is always room in science for differing opinions, and if an open scientific debate is not possible because information is classified, any outlandish claim can find some supporters in the scientific community. The most likely biological threat to be invoked, because it has a natural time element associated with it, is the threat of a bird flu pandemic caused by a deliberately mutated H5N1 virus carried by migrating wild birds.

The Biological Threat

Consider for example Dr. Ward Casscells, a renowned cardiologist that has of late become an "expert" in bioterrorism. Even more recently, Dr. Casscells joined the Army as a colonel. According to the US Defense Department, "his years of research on now-spreading avian flu are now deemed cutting edge." However, I know of no independent credible scientific body that makes the same assessment: Dr. Casscells has written a total of four papers on the effect of influenza on cardiac disease which have been cited by no other scientists. His paper "Influenza as a bioweapon" has a grand total of 5 citations, meaning a mere 5 other papers refer to it; "cutting edge" scientific papers have hundreds or thousands of citations. His only other paper on the subject, "Influenza as a bioterror threat: the need for global vaccination" has zero citations.

Nonetheless, Dr. Casscells' outstanding credentials as a scientist will be invoked by the administration if he vouches for the credibility of "intelligence" indicating that a dangerous mutated bird flu virus has been developed in an Iranian underground bioweapons laboratory. Dr. Casscells has been surveilling the Middle East to "scope out the possibility for a widespread outbreak" of bird flu. Because he has been advocating the view that "Bird flu is poised to be an explosive problem" and has predicted the use of influenza as a bioweapon, he is likely to be inclined to believe such claims. Similarly his scientific colleagues at the "Defense of Houston" committee, that work on anticipating bioterrorism threats and are highly lauded by the administration and very well funded by Army grants.

The Bush administration has spent vast sums of money in combating bioterrorism threats, reportedly over $7 billion per year, without any evidence or precedent for bioterrorism attacks. Nevertheless there will always be plenty of scientists that will flock to where the grant money is and devote efforts to validate conclusions that are valued by the organizations giving the grants, and news media duly publicize the hyped threat of bioterrorism. Still, last year over 700 scientists including 2 Nobel laureates signed a petition objecting to the diversion of funds from projects of high public-health importance to biodefense, calling it a "misdirection" of priorities. Dr. Richard H. Ebright, a renowned molecular biologist, states that "A majority of the nation's top microbiologists ­ the very group that the Bush administration is counting on to carry out its biodefense research agenda ­ dispute the premises and implementation of the biodefense spending."

On the supposed threat of bird flu, while it is continuously being hyped by the administration [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], expert opinion is that it is not a serious threat [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6] and is politically motivated. The blaming of bird flu spread on wild birds is also highly questionable [1], [2].

On March 15th, right before the disclosure of the new National Security Strategy, I suggested the bird flu casus belli against Iran, that would "necessitate" bombing of Iranian facilities before the bird migration season begins in the Spring. Several elements emphasized in the March 16 NSS appear to support that scenario, as discussed above. In a March 20 press conference concerning federal preparedness for avian flu, Secretary Michael Leavitt (who also warned a few weeks ago to store tuna and milk under the bed to prepare for bird flu ) stated "Think of the world if you will as a vast forest that is susceptible to fire. A spark if allowed to burn will emerge as an uncontainable fire. That's a pandemic. If we are there when the spark happens, it can be squelched. But if allowed to burn for a time it begins to spread uncontrollably." An aerial attack on Iranian installations may be touted as the "squelching" of the bird flu pandemic spark.

Does Bush need congressional authorization to bomb Iran?

The answer is contained in the Statement by the president of October 16, 2002, in signing into law the congressional authorization to use force against Iraq. It states

"...I sought an additional resolution of support from the Congress to use force against Iraq, should force become necessary. While I appreciate receiving that support, my request for it did not, and my signing this resolution does not, constitute any change in the long-standing positions of the executive branch on either the president's constitutional authority to use force to deter, prevent, or respond to aggression or other threats to U.S. interests or on the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution."

In other words: "I appreciate Congress' authorization but didn't need it and will not need it next time with Iran."

The War Powers Resolution encourages the president to consult with Congress "in every possible instance", yet allows the president to introduce Armed Forces into hostilities without Congressional authorization; it simply compels him to terminate hostilities within 60 to 90 days unless Congress authorizes an extension. Plenty time enough.

The Attack

It is unlikely that there will be a public announcement of the impending attack before it starts, since it would generate opposition. Allies do not want to be implicated and will deny any knowledge. Who will be officially notified that an attack is about to take place? Most likely, Iran itself.

Direct conversations between the US and Iran are about to start, nominally on the subject of Iraq only. They will also provide the only direct conduit for the US to communicate with Iran without intermediaries. An "ultimatum" unacceptable to Iran, as was delivered publicly to Iraq on March 17th, 2003, could be delivered privately to Iran through that route.

The reasons for our actions will be clear, the force measured, and the cause just.

The initial US attack on Iranian facilities is likely to be "measured": a highly accurate strike on selected facilities "suspected" of bioweapons work, with cruise missiles launched from submarines or ships in the Persian Gulf. That is a component of the CONPLAN 8022 Global Strike mission, which recently became operational and also includes nuclear preemptive strikes.

The "clear" reasons and "just" cause for the administration to attack can be stated as follows: if a bird flu pandemic can cause 150 million deaths and there is even a one percent probability that the "intelligence" is right, i.e. even if there is a 99% "uncertainty about the status of hidden programs", the expected number of deaths that would be prevented by bombing the Iranian facilities is the product of those two numbers, i.e. 1.5 million, vastly larger than the few thousand Iranian casualties due to "collateral damage."

Any military reaction by Iran to the attack, perhaps even a verbal reaction, will be construed as "aggression" by Iran towards the US and Israel, and result in large scale bombing of Iranian missile, nuclear and other facilities. Does that sound absurd? Recall that the US and Britain bombed Iraq's no-fly zones well before the Iraq invasion, and Iraqi response was labeled "aggression toward planes of the coalition forces."

Nuclear earth penetrating weapons may be used in the initial attack, and certainly will be used in the large scale attack that will follow.

Why will this happen? Because it was "pencilled in" a long time ago. The actions of the US against Iran in recent years have been clearly directed towards a confrontation, to suppress the rise of Iran as a strong regional power that does not conform to US interests.

Can it be Prevented?

A small group of thugs is about to lead America across a line of no return. On the other side of this line there is no nuclear taboo, no restraint on preemptive nuclear attacks on non-nuclear nations, and no incentive for non-nuclear nations to remain non-nuclear. A global nuclear war and the destruction of humanity will be a distinct possibility.

Americans are largely unaware of what is about to happen. Half a million people go to the streets on immigration law, yet nobody is demonstrating against the Iran war that will radically change the life of Americans for generations to come. The more informed sectors of society, scientists, arms control organizations, the media, the political establishment, the military, are not taking a strong stand against the impending war. Congress is silent.

Only people in the know can stop this. Resigning from the job is not good enough [1], [2], [3]. People in the know have to come forward with information that brings the impending attack to the forefront of attention of Congress and the American public and thwarts it. Not doing so is being complicit in a plan that will bring tragic consequences to America and the world.

Else, all that will be left is to bring the perpetrators to justice. Danton, Robespierre, Mussolini, Petain, Ribbentrop, Goering, Ceausescu also occupied positions of power and prominence at some point in their careers.

Jorge Hirsch is a professor of physics at the University of California San Diego.

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8) Cindy Sheehan speaks out

April 1, 2006
By Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan Responds to Congressman's Attacks
t r u t h o u t | Letter

Congressman Kingston,

How dare you psychoanalyze me and call me a "nutcase!" How dare you call me a beatnik and lie about me in your blog! (

First of all, April 4th, 2006, this upcoming Tuesday, will be the 2nd anniversary of my son's death. Casey Austin Sheehan was a man filled with integrity and courage. He was a hero who never backed down from the right thing his entire life. He was an amazing person who did not hide when his commander in chief sent him to a war based
on lies even when he knew they were lies. He carried out his duty, unlike his commander in chief, who went AWOL from the Alabama Air National Guard (whoo ... tough duty), and he volunteered to serve his country, unlike the vice-commander in chief, who had "other priorities" during the Vietnam war. I am not against anyone getting out of that generation's mistake of a war, but to illegitimately come to power when they grew up and send an entire new generation off to fight, die and kill innocent people in their own war of choice for greed is unconscionable. I hope I am not using words that are too big for you.

Second of all, I have never called "terrorists" freedom fighters. I have called the resistance fighters who killed Casey such, but they are fighting to get the occupying forces out of their country and have a legitimate right to wage a resistance against occupiers. I don't like that they are killing our children - for God's sake, they killed my oldest child, my sweet and wonderful Casey. However, our government is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity
against the people of Iraq. Have you heard of white phosphorous? Have you heard of torture? Have you heard of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo? Have you heard about our Constitution and the Geneva Conventions? Have you also heard that Saddam had nothing to do with the tragedy of 9/11 and that he had no WMD? How can you support a liar and his policies that are draining our precious life blood, depleting our military, sucking our treasury dry and have harmed,
almost beyond repair, the people and land of the Gulf States hit by Hurricane Katrina? Have you heard that Osama bin Ladin is still at large and two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, that had nothing to do with 9/11 are devastated? I hope they can recover from George's brand of "freedom and democracy."

As to you having a problem with me meeting with Hugo Chavez, who survived a coup that was orchestrated by the Bush administration and has been democratically elected to his office 8 times? You can't pick and choose to support only the Democracies that agree with George Bush. I don't support everything that President Chavez stands for, but his people love him, and he is truly trying to make things better for the 80 percent of the people who were in poverty when he took over; has has reduced that figure to 37 percent. He is stealing from the rich to help the poor, whereas George Bush and his policies do the opposite. Hugo Chavez is not anti-American - he is anti-George Bush, and I have to agree with him on that. He has provided low cost heating fuel to underprivileged citizens in our own country and has donated at least $40,000 to the various aid organizations in the Gulf States.

Did you have a problem with George Bush kissing the sheik from Saudi Arabia when 16 of the terrorists that flew airplanes into our buildings on 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia? Did you have a problem with Donald Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's hand and selling him weapons that are now killing our children in Iraq? Do you have a problem with the
fact that since your party's devastating invasion of Iraq, members of the so-called "Axis of Evil" have become more powerful and even more dangerous to America? Did you have a problem with George Bush wanting to sell our ports to Dubai, when they are one of the only countries on earth that recognize the Taliban? Did you have a problem with the bin Laden family being flown out of the United States days after 9/11, when our own citizens could not fly and many of us were trapped far from our homes ourselves? Did you have a problem with George, et al, ignoring all of the intelligence reports before 9/11 that said that terrorists were planning on "flying airplanes" into our buildings?

I am not a leftwing Democrat and I hold many of the members of that party as responsible as I hold your party and George Bush and his administration. I do not think that there is anything political about an illegal and immoral war. Our country was founded on dissent and on the blood of "freedom fighters." I have every right to be doing what I am doing to try and stop the needless and unnecessary killing without being wrongly judged by you. I believe that you and anyone else who would deny me, and Michael Moore for that matter, our rights and responsibilities as patriotic Americans are the ones who are un-American and traitors to the American way of life. A member of your own party and a noted war-monger, Theodore Roosevelt, said: "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand
by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else."

George Bush has admitted that Saddam had no WMD or ties to al-Qaeda. He has admitted to spying on Americans without due process and has called the Constitution an "old scrap of paper." He is responsible for the tragic deaths of thousands of people and for America losing its reputation in the international community, and to support his failed presidency is not only unpatriotic, as Teddy said, but is also a war crime.

I am not a nutcase and I am not an unpatriotic war criminal like you and others who still support the most failed presidency in the history of our country. What I am is a devastated, broken-hearted mother who will mourn the needless death of my son for the rest of my life. I just want the killing to stop before there are anymore
American or Iraqi Casey and Cindy Sheehans.

Peace soon,
Cindy Sheehan

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9) "Rumsfeld should be tried for war crimes"

March 23, 2006
By Richard Norton-Taylor,,1737164,00.html

The rancid relationship
Britain's close alliance with the United States has become nothing but one-way traffic

A senior British military commander in the invasion of Iraq said the other day that Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, should be tried for war crimes. He was speaking in private and, I assume, did not mean to be taken literally. But there was no mistaking the anger in his voice.

It reflected a deep fury at the decision to disband the Iraqi army after the invasion, a decision that was the formal responsibility of the US proconsul Paul Bremer, but, according to British officials, was actually taken by Rumsfeld - and is now regretted even by the neocon warriors in Washington. It also contradicted orders given by British military chiefs to their commanders in the field.

This resentment - shared by senior officials in all key Whitehall departments - is compounded by warnings from British officials to ministers well before the invasion that the Bush administration had no post-invasion strategy. That these warnings were made is clear from leaked Whitehall and Downing Street documents. They also show that, despite Rumsfeld's claims, the US did need British help. "The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical," a secret record of a Downing Street meeting noted on July 23 2002.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair agreed that Britain would take the lead in eradicating the opium harvest in Afghanistan, the origin of 90% of British heroin. In his new book, State of War, James Risen quotes a CIA official as saying: "The British were screaming for us to bomb those targets because most of the heroin in Britain comes from Afghanistan. But they [the US military] refused." He writes: "The Pentagon feared that counter-narcotics operations would force the military to turn on the very warlords who were aiding the United States against the Taliban and that would lead to another round of violent attacks on American troops."

Risen refers to a meeting between Rumsfeld and Afghan commanders where the message was clear: help fight the Taliban and the US will leave the traffickers alone. British troops are now preparing for a "nation-building" mission to counter insurgents and narcotics in southern Afghanistan. It could take 20 years, according to a leaked Ministry of Defence briefing paper.

What is Washington doing in return for all Blair's help? Bush has blocked a billion-dollar deal with Rolls-Royce to build engines for the proposed joint strike fighter - which Britain wants for its two new aircraft carriers - despite repeated lobbying from Blair. The US still refuses to share advanced military technology with us. It is refusing to let British agencies question terrorist suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged September 11 mastermind; it won't even say where they are being held.

There are two areas that traditionally are said to prove the value of the "special relationship" - the Trident strategic nuclear-missile system, and intelligence. Yet there are question marks over their value. What is Trident's purpose or worth in a post-cold-war world? GCHQ, meanwhile, spends time and money eavesdropping on targets at America's behest. As an internal GCHQ manual put it: making the relationship sufficiently "worthwhile" to the US "may entail on occasion the applying of UK resources to the meeting of US requirements".

Is it in Britain's national interest to be so closely allied to a US that takes Britain for granted, to an administration that sets up Guantánamo Bay - where the treatment of prisoners led a high-court judge to remark that "America's idea of what is torture is not the same as ours and does not appear to coincide with that of most civilised nations"?

· Richard Norton-Taylor is the Guardian's security affairs editor

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Toronto Coalition to Stop the War

TCSW is Toronto's city-wide anti-war coalition,
comprised of more than fifty labour, faith and community organisations,
and a member of the Canadian Peace Alliance. 416-795-5863

Peace, (NOW!!!)



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