Sunday, May 11
Iraq's most wanted
BBC News, May 7, 2003
The United States has released a set of 55 playing cards depicting what it describes as the most wanted members of the former Iraqi regime.
The list includes Saddam Hussein and his inner circle, as well as senior Baath Party officials and military commanders - some of whom have already been apprehended.
President of Iraq, commander-in-chief of military
War crimes claims against the Iraqi leader include genocide of the Kurds, "ethnic cleansing" in which tens of thousands of Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians around the oil-rich city of Kirkuk were expelled as part of an "Arabisation" programme, mass civilian executions after the Kurdish and Shia uprisings in 1991, and religious persecution.
Special Republican Guard and Republican Guard commander
Saddam Hussein's younger son and chosen successor. The 36-year-old Qusay was in charge of the Special Republican Guard and the feared intelligence and security services. He is accused of curbing dissident activity in Basra after the failed Shia uprising in 1991 with mass executions and torture.
Uday Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein's 38-year-old son was commander of Saddam's Fedayeen forces and president of the Iraqi National Olympic Committee. Uday's alleged brutality is legendary in Iraq. According to Indict, the committee seeking to prosecute the Iraqi leadership for war crimes, he was personally engaged in acts of torture and ordered torture by forces under his command. He is said to have routinely abducted and raped women.
Abed Hamoud al-Tikriti
One of Saddam Hussein's closest aides, Abed Hamoud controlled access to the president and was frequently at his side. He is said to have directed matters of state and handed down many of the regime's repressive orders. The US says he was also authorised to deploy weapons of mass destruction.
Ali Hasan Majid
Presidential adviser, southern region commander :: Reported to be dead
Saddam Hussein's cousin, Ali Hasan Majid, was known as "Chemical Ali" for his alleged role in the use of poison gas against Kurds in 1988. He is reported to have been killed in a coalition airstrike on his house in Basra.
Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri
Vice-chairman Revolutionary Command Council, Northern regional commander
Other leaders and officials:
Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti
Baath party official :: Taken into custody 16 April
The former director of the notorious intelligence service, or Mukhabarat, which is believed to have tortured and murdered thousands of opponents of the regime. He is listed as number 52 in the US deck. He is also a former ambassador to the UN in Geneva.
Watban Ibrahim al-Tikriti
Baath Party official :: Taken into custody 13 April
Saddam Hussein's half-brother and former intelligence minister and number 51 on the list. The former interior minister is believed to have been involved in repressing the 1991 uprisings.
Muhammad Hazmaq al-Zubaidi
Central Euphrates region commander :: Taken into custody 21 April
Former deputy prime minister and member of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) Mr al-Zubaidi was captured by pro-US Free Iraqi forces on 21 April.
Humam Abd al-Khaliq Abd al-Ghafur
Minister of higher education and scientific research :: Taken into custody 21 April
Number 54 on the list and a former member of Saddam Hussein's cabinet, Mr al-Ghafur was taken into custody by US troops on 21 April.
Jamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan al-Tikriti
Deputy chief of tribal affairs :: Taken into custody 20 April
Saddam Hussein's son-in-law and private secretary, and number 40 on the wanted list, he returned to Iraq after fleeing to Syria and was taken into custody on 20 April.
Finance minister :: Taken into custody 19 April
Number 45 on the list, Mr al-Azzawi was captured by Iraqi police in Baghdad and handed over to US forces on 19 April
Samir abd al-Aziz al-Najm
Baath Party chairman, Diyala region :: Taken into custody 17 April
Iraqi Kurds handed over Samir abd al-Aziz al-Najm, the Baath Party regional command chairman for east Baghdad and number 24, to US troops near Mosul on 17 April
Amir Hamudi Hasan al-Saadi
Presidential scientific adviser :: Surrendered 12 April
Saddam Hussein's high-profile scientific adviser surrendered in Baghdad after learning he was number 55 on the US list.
Hani abd Latif Tilfa al-Tikriti
Special Security Organisation director
Saturday, May 10
Who is Michael Ledeen?
William O. Beeman, Pacific News Service, May 8, 2003
Most Americans have never heard of Michael Ledeen, but if the United States ends up in an extended shooting war throughout the Middle East, it will be largely due to his inspiration.
... His most influential book is last year's "The War Against the Terror Masters: Why It Happened. Where We Are Now. How We'll Win."
Ledeen's ideas are repeated daily by such figures as Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. His views virtually define the stark departure from American foreign policy philosophy that existed before the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. He basically believes that violence in the service of the spread of democracy is America's manifest destiny. Consequently, he has become the philosophical legitimator of the American occupation of Iraq.
Now Michael Ledeen is calling for regime change beyond Iraq. In an address entitled "Time to Focus on Iran -- The Mother of Modern Terrorism," for the policy forum of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) on April 30, he declared, "the time for diplomacy is at an end; it is time for a free Iran, free Syria and free Lebanon."
With a group of other conservatives, Ledeen recently set up the Center for Democracy in Iran (CDI), an action group focusing on producing regime change in Iran.
Quotes from Ledeen's works reveal a peculiar set of beliefs about American attitudes toward violence. "Change -- above all violent change -- is the essence of human history," he proclaims in his book, "Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules Are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago."
In an influential essay in the National Review Online he asserts, "Creative destruction is our middle name. We do it automatically ... it is time once again to export the democratic revolution." [...]
Halliburton Continues to Flout the Law,
Cheney's Old Company Still Profits from Terror
Jason Leopold, Counterpunch, May 10/11, 2003
Halliburton Corp., the second largest oil services company in world, is the poster child for corporate greed and terror. And it seems that nothing will stop Vice President Dick Cheney's old company from repeatedly breaking the law to save and earn mountains of cash.
In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week, Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton unit that won a controversial no-bid contract to extinguish Iraqi oil well fires, disclosed that it paid $2.4 million in bribes to a Nigerian tax official to obtain favorable tax treatment in the country where it's building a natural gas plant and an offshore oil and gas facility. [...]
Liberation, one month on: Chaos on the streets, cholera in the city and killings in broad daylight
Phil Reeves, The Independent, May 9, 2003
Exactly a month has elapsed since the toppling of the statue of Saddam in the centre of Baghdad confirmed that the capital and the regime had at last fallen. Since then the country has seen an extraordinary redistribution of wealth, in which many thousands of impoverished Iraqis have embarked on a round-the-clock looting spree.
The lawlessness continues. Yesterday an American soldier was shot dead in broad daylight by an Iraqi who approached him with a pistol. US forces exchange fire with armed Iraqis almost daily across the country.
The continued failure to impose law and order on the streets of many towns and cities is drawing harsh criticism. "The last month has been pretty catastrophic in terms of building a new government," said Peter Galbraith, a former US ambassador who has spent the last three weeks in Iraq.
"The authority of the occupying power of the United States was very much diminished by this orgy of looting and destruction," he said.
There are some small successes. Thousands of manu-scripts and hundreds of artifacts missing from the National Museum have been recovered. Among them are a 7,000-year-old clay pot and a cornerstone from King Nebuchadnezzar's palace.
But it is the rapidly deteriorating public health system – as summer temperatures take hold – that is most worrying. After a month of occupation it remains in a state of collapse. Drinking water, from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, contaminated with sewage, has caused outbreaks of cholera and thyphoid among children in Basra. And the World Health Organisation warned yesterday that unless the security situation improves and medical staff can work in safety, the cholera outbreak could become an epidemic. [...]
Friday, May 2
Bush's Top Gun Photo-Op
David Corn, The Nation, May 1, 2003
Winning a war or two goes a long way toward redefining a man.
As the cable news networks enthusiastically covered George W. Bush's trip to the USS Abraham Lincoln--cool military hardware, guys in uniforms, the Big Man, and a touch of can-anything-go-wrong drama--there were plenty of references to Bush's days in the Texas Air National Guard, when he flew F-102 fighter jets. (Well, sort of--but we'll get to that.) [...]
... But could Bill Clinton--even in a similar situation--have gotten away with joy-riding a S-3B Viking aircraft onto a carrier for a mega-photo-op without commentators reminding viewers of his sly draft-dodging ways?
Bush looked quite heroic--so Tom Cruise-ish--hopping out of that plane dressed in a flight suit and striding across the flight deck. What imagery. This entire trip was only about imagery. He flew out to the Lincoln to announce that the major combat operations are done. What a news flash. Who didn't know that? And he could not have made such an announcement from Washington? Bush did not even plan to say that the war was officially over, because then Geneva Accords provisions pertaining to occupation would kick in and impose obligations upon the United States, such as releasing POWs. So what really was the point? Could it have been to score free television time during an hour that tends to draw one of the biggest viewing audiences of the week?
Bush's communications people just so happened to have scheduled his Lincoln speech for the time slot usually inhabited by CSI on CBS and Will & Grace on NBC. Last week, these two shows attracted 43 million viewers. Bush's primetime one-on-one with Tom Brokaw earlier this week only drew an audience of 9 million and lost out to an America's Funniest Home Videos rerun featuring dog tricks. (A nod of thanks to Lisa de Moraes, The Washington Post's television columnist for pointing this out.)