Regardless of the outcome of weapons inspections, the Bush Administration seems poised to soon launch an invasion of Iraq. In response, the antiwar movement is gearing up for a series of nationwide protests, highlighted by major actions planned forFebruary 15.
A coalition of antiwar groups, United for Peace and Justice, is stagingwhat is likely to be a large and spirited event in New York City on the 15th. Mayor Bloomberg's office however has been so uncooperative that event organizers were forced to file a federal lawsuit last Wednesday against the City over its refusal to issue a march permit.
Permission was requested to assemble near the United Nations, followed by a short march through Manhattan to a rally location near Central Park. The City countered that only a "stationary event," not a march, would be permitted. The legal wrangling continues but the show will go on. People like Desmond Tutu, Julian Bond, Danny Glover, and Patti Smith are already signed on to partcipate and bus caravans are being organized nationwide.
Speaking to the United Nations on Wednesday, in an address that was broadly portrayed as a case for war with Iraq, Secretary of State Colin Powell argued that, "Iraq today is actively using its considerable intelligence capabilities to hide its illicit activities." To support that claim, Powell said, "I would call my colleagues attention to the fine paper that United Kingdom distributed yesterday, which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities."
It turns out, however, that much of that "fine paper" â€“ a dossier distributed by the office of British Prime Minister Tony Blair under the title, "Iraq - Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation" â€“ was not a fresh accounting of information based on new "intelligence" about Iraqi attempts to thwart UN weapons inspections. Rather, the document has been exposed by Britain's ITN television network as a cut-and-paste collection of previously published academic articles, some of which were based on dated material.
Substantial portions of the report that Powell used to support his critique of Iraq were lifted from an article written by a postgraduate student who works not in Baghdad but in Monterey, California, and who based much of his research on materials left in Kuwait more than a dozen years ago by Iraqi security services.
Although the Bush Administration acts as if the war train has already
left the station, the antiwar forces continue to grow, and they are
mobilizing in large numbers for a worldwide protest on