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A decade ago when the Congress was manipulated to "vote for war" with Iraq it allowed itself to be bamboozled and disgraced. Kuwait, the CIA, the White House, hired public relations firms, and the Israelis (always active on Capitol Hill hard pushing their own agenda) purposefully deceived the Congress with false and misleading information and 'intelligence'.

At one point the Congress took 'testimony' from a young Kuwaiti woman who insisted she had personally seen terrible attrocities including the ruthless killing of civilians and the throwing of babies from incubators. Many months later, only after the war, it was learned that the woman wasn't even in Kuwait at the time, did not see anything personally, and in fact was the disguised daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador in Washington!

And here we go again... The US is already at war of course...the Congress and the public just serving as backdrop and chorus and, sadly, far too often, stooges



By Andrew Buncombe and Rupert Cornwell

[The Independent, UK, 19 September 2002 - Wasshington]: America is preparing to take on suspected al-Qa'ida members believed to be hiding in Yemen - possibly sending special forces troops on covert operations to capture them.

As Yemen emerged as the latest focus of America's "war against terror", it was revealed yesterday that 800 US troops and an unknown number of special forces personnel had been dispatched to Djibouti, the tiny African nation that faces Yemen across the Gulf of Aden. The assault ship Belleau Wood is also in the area and could be used as a platform for troops.

Officials at US Central Command (CentCom) said the deployments were intended to position people and equipment for any operations in the Horn of Africa, though they declined to say whether an operation was imminent.

It was reported at the weekend that the Bush administration had been increasing its support for anti-terror operations in Yemen, which was the third country - after Georgia and the Philippines - to which the Pentagon sent special forces training teamsthis year.

Those efforts are likely to be led by the CIA, which has its own paramilitary units. The Pentagon has also dispatched a team to assist the Yemeni authorities.

The importance of Yemen - home of Osama bin Laden's father - as a longstanding base for suspected al-Qa'ida members was underlined last week by the arrest of six Yemeni men accused of belonging to one of the network's cells based in Buffalo, in upstate New York.

The suspects have been charged with providing support or resources to foreign terrorists.

American officials said yesterday that two other alleged members of the cell, including the ringleader, were still at large, most likely in Yemen. The two men, referred to in affidavits as "uncharged co-conspirators", are believed to be Jaber Elbaneh and Kamal Derwish, the alleged ringleader.

Washington has been paying much closer attention to Yemen since 17 American sailors were killed in 2000 when al-Qa'ida bombed the USS Cole as it refuelled in the port of Aden.

The senior, self-confessed al-Qa'ida member captured last week in Pakistan, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, is also from Yemen, as were about a dozen other suspected al-Qa'ida members seized with him.

Yemeni officials said US troops would not be permitted to launch military operations in the country. One government official said: "Yemen's position is clear: Yemeni forces are the ones responsible for conducting any operations - be they searches or attacks." He claimed that co-operation with the United States was limited to training and the exchange of intelligence.

But it was reported yesterday that US special forces could launch covert strikes from Djibouti. The reports said that among those forces sent to the country were members of the US Army's secretive Delta group, which specialises in commando-style raids to kill or capture enemy personnel.

Yemen says it is holding 85 people arrested in a round-up of al-Qa'ida members. But US officials say there is little visible evidence that real progress against terrorists has been made in recent months.

In February the FBI handed over a list of al-Qa'ida suspects believed to be in Yemen. US special forces trained Yemeni soldiers in counter-terrorism this summer. Two weeks ago Mr Saleh deployed what officials said were the first of 2,000 troops to the northern provinces of Shabwa, Jawf and Marib, strongholds of Islamic militants.

US special forces played a leading role in the war in Afghanistan and were sent to Pakistan to help find al-Qa'ida fighters who fled over the border.

Such operations against terrorist groups overseas are likely to increase under an expected Pentagon reorganisation that will transfer control of the "war against terror" from regional commanders to the US Special Operations Command (Socom) and the elite forces in its charge.

The shake-up was disclosed by The Washington Post yesterday and was not denied by Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary.

The change would signal a more focused and co-ordinated offensive by US forces abroad, which have been criticised for failing to capture or kill many leading figures in al-Qa'ida. Most Americans regard terrorism as a more immediate threat to security than the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein.

Hitherto, Socom has trained and equipped special forces, such as the Navy Seals and the Delta Force, which are transferred to regular military commanders for use in specific operations. Under the plan, Socom will directly oversee these operations.

* Pakistan said yesterday that police had arrested seven "most wanted terrorists", including one suspected of masterminding a suicide bombing which killed 11 French naval engineers in Karachi in May. The French nationals and three Pakistanis were killed in a car-bomb attack outside the Sheraton hotel.


[The Independent, UK, 19 September 2002]: The United Nations is likely to throw into disarray America's war plans for Iraq by introducing a timetable for weapons inspections that could give Saddam Hussein a breathing space of almost 12 months.

The extended timetable, which would allow the inspectors first to deploy in Iraq and then to begin and complete their complicated mission, could exhaust the patience of Washington, which envisages attacking the country much earlier, probably in February. Yesterday the Bush administration asked Congress to endorse the military option before the UN makes its move.

President Bush "reserves the right to act in the interests of the United States and its friends and allies", his spokesman said.

Such a disavowal of the United Nations by the United States would spell both war and diplomatic disaster for the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who helped to persuade Washington to bring the crisis back under the UN's umbrella. Britain's global influence depends largely on its permanent seat at an effective and respected UN Security Council. The organisation will be shunted into irrelevance, diplomats fear, if President Bush unilaterally goes to war.

Even as envoys scurried in New York to craft a new resolution on Iraq, the Pentagon was privately briefing on plans to deploy 250,000 ground troops in the country to spearhead an assault aimed at toppling President Saddam and his regime.

Nailing down a schedule for the inspections will be the primary objective of the new resolution on Iraq that Britain wants to see passed in the Security Council before 30 September. On that date, Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, is due to start talks with Iraqi officials in Vienna on practical arrangements for the return of his teams.

Mr Blix is not expected to be able to begin serious deployment of inspectors and their staff before the end of October, a process likely to take two months. Thereafter, an existing Security Council text on Iraq - UN Resolution 1284 - stipulates that inspectors will need 60 more days to decide on what they need to do on the ground. The inspections proper would only begin, therefore, in early March, and last six months, until the end of August.

Diplomats acknowledge that the process could be shattered at any time if President Saddam reneges on the promise made on Monday to give inspectors unfettered or unconditional access. Indeed, any snag or hiccup in the process could give Washington a pretext to go to war with Iraq. It is for that reason that Britain will try to convince doubters in the Council - principally Russia and France - that a resolution reinforcing 1284 with new deadlines and demands must be adopted soon. Failure to do so would leave President Saddam with greater leeway to manipulate the process and increase the likelihood of US aggression


By Matt Kelley

[Associated Press - 18 September 2002}: US Congress must authorise the use of military force against Iraq before the UN Security Council votes on the issue, Defene Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress today.

"No terrorist state poses a greater and more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq," Mr Rumsfeld said in written testimony prepared for the House Armed Services Committee.

His testimony was interrupted by protesters who gathered at the rear of the hearing room, chanting "Inspections, not war!" repeatedly, as the secretary and committee members listened patiently. The demonstrators then left.

"As I listened to those comments, it struck me what a wonderful thing free speech is," Mr Rumsfeld observed.

His testimony came shortly after President George Bush said Saddam is "not going to fool anybody" with his promise to admit weapons inspectors and predicted the United Nations will rally behind his Iraq policy despite signs of unease.

In an Oval Office meeting with congressional leaders, the President thanked Democrats and Republicans alike for their commitment to vote on a congressional resolution on Iraq before November's elections.

"I think it's an important signal for the world to see that this country is united in its resolve," Mr Bush said.

Mr Rumsfeld said that message must be given before further UN action on Iraq.

"Only certainty of US and UN purposefulness can have even the prospect of affecting the Iraqi regime. It is important that Congress send that message as soon as possible - before the UN Security Council votes."

He said Iraq has stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and is trying to get enough weapons-grade material to build a nuclear bomb: "The last thing we want is a smoking gun. A gun smokes after it has been fired. The goal must be to stop Saddam Hussein before he fires a weapon of mass destruction against our people."

President Bush had earlier bristled at suggestions that some U.S. allies, particularly France and Russia, might allow the promise of inspections to replace the need for a tough new UN resolution demanding Saddam to disarm.

"All they've got to do is look at his record. His latest ploy, his latest attempt not to be held accountable for defying the United Nations. He's not going to fool anybody," he said.

"I'm convinced that when we continue to make the case about his defiance, his deception, the fact that time and time again - dozens of times - he has told the world, 'Oh, I will comply' and he never does, that nations who care about peace and care about the validity of the United Nations, will join us," the president said.

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