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News ::
Dear Protestors - Keep your head in the sand (english)
23 Mar 2003
Modified: 03:05:28 PM
Have you heard about the Iraqi prisoner-shredder?

BY JAY AMBROSE mailto:AmbroseJ (at)

Published: March 21, 2003
(SHN) - I was surfing the TV for news about Iraq yesterday, and happened
upon an interview with a French war protester, a scientist, who said rather
cheerily that it was not Americans she disliked, but the policies of
President Bush and the kind of world those policies would bring about.

Here is a question for her. Has she heard about the Iraqi
prisoner-shredder, and does the world she seeks have room for it?

She had better consider the question, because Bush's policies would smash
that shredder by smashing the Saddam Hussein regime, whereas her position
would allow its existence and the continuation of fascistic torture and

Maybe you don't know about the shredder. As best I can tell from an
electronic library, it has not received extensive coverage in the United
States. Testimony about it came from Ann Clwyd, a member of the British
Parliament and also of a human rights organization called Indict, which has been collecting evidence about the
atrocities of Saddam's regime for two decades. In a recent article in the
Times of London, she quoted an eyewitness of a stomach-churning form of

"There was a machine designed for shredding plastic," the Iraqi told the
group. "Men were dropped into it, and we were made to watch. Sometimes they
went in head first and died quickly. Sometimes they went in feet first and
died screaming. It was horrible. I saw 30 people die like this. Their
remains would be placed in plastic bags and we were told they would be used
as fish food ... On one occasion, I saw (Quesay a son of Saddam's)
personally supervise these murders."

This business of shredding human beings - and of machine-gunning thousands
of prisoners, of drilling holes in the hands of people, of chopping off the
heads of dissenting women in the public square, of gassing thousands of
Kurds to death and much, much more - deserves the attention of those who
say they are on the side of decency and goodness in their opposition to
America's war in Iraq.

The war will almost surely save far more lives than it will cost. It will
save lives in part because it finally became the only definite means of
assuring that Saddam would not someday deliver weapons of mass destruction
to terrorists headed for the United States. Protecting Americans from
catastrophic terrorism is the main reason the administration is aiming to
remove Saddam from power, and it's a sound one: The events of Sept. 11
awakened most of us to the terrible risks we face in a world where
powerfully armed, America-hating, genocidal maniacs are left unfettered to
do their thing.

The war will also save lives by ending the vicious oppression of a regime
that ranks among the cruelest and crudest in the recent history of mankind.
Saddam is a bloodthirsty tyrant of the first rank. His evil seldom pauses.
Those who know this better than anyone are the Iraqis themselves, 4 million
of whom have fled their homeland. In interviews with the press, many
refugees have made it clear where they think humaneness resides - in the
exile or death of Saddam, accomplished through war if necessary.

It is more problematic for Iraqis still in Iraq to say the same. Say it too
loudly, and the secret police may knock on your door. And to be sure, there
are Iraqis who hate America. But in a recent New York Times account, many
residents of Iraq were shown to be eager for their liberation, if
simultaneously fearful of falling bombs. They are not fools. They do not
embrace their tormentor.

I do not deny there are reasons to be wary of any war, for wars are about
killing, and there is much that can go wrong. What I do deny is that those
who oppose this particular war are on higher moral ground than those who
think it justified. The protesters' practical arguments about alternatives
- for instance, that weapons inspectors could effectively contain Saddam -
are not really practical at all; Saddam has tricked inspectors in the past
and would again. And the protesters' idealistic arguments leave out a great
deal that would not be the province of inspectors.

One thing they leave out is that shredder.
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Left out (english)
23 Mar 2003
Shredder huh? Sounds horrible, that Saddam is pretty sick. You'd think someone that sick wouldn't be given all kinds of weapons, right? You know there was this little other thing left out in the media I can't seem to get over too:

U.S. Firms That Supplied Iraq's Weapons Program*
1.Honeywell (R, K)
2.Spectra Physics (K)
3. Semetex (R)
4. T.I. Coating (A, K)
5. Unisys (A, K)
6.Sperry Corp. (R, K)
7. Tektronix (R, A)
8. Rockwell (K)
9. Leybold Vacuum Systems (A)
10. Finnigan-MAT-U.S. (A)
11. Hewlett-Packard (A, R, K)
12. Dupont (A)
13. Eastman Kodak (R)
14. American Type Culture Collection (B)
15. Alcolac International (C)
16. Consarc (A)
17. Carl Zeiss--U.S. (K)
18. Cerberus (LTD) (A)
19. Electronic Associates (R)
20. International Computer Systems (A, R, K)
21. Bechtel (K)
22. EZ Logic Data Systems, Inc. (R)
23. Canberra Industries, Inc. (A)
24. Axel Electronics, Inc. (A)

A = nuclear weapon program
B = biological weapon program
C = chemical weapon program
R = rocket program
K = conventional weapons, military logistics, supplies at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, and building of military plants

*According to the German daily newspaper Die Tageszeitung, which identified this list as a since-deleted portion of Iraq's 11,000-page report to the U.N. Security Council.

Man that's weird we didn't hear anything about all this. That's pretty sick we sold him all those weapons. I also read somewhere Rumsfeld was in Baghdad backing him for the US after he murdered those Kurds. All these crazy stories, I wonder why they're not on the news or in the newspapers...oh wait Saddam gassed his own people! Go America!
agree (english)
23 Mar 2003
Both of you are right....

Saddm is evil and we should remove him from power. th reason he is in power is our fault. We allied ourselves with him he gave him weapons to fight Iran we did nothing when he slughtered the Kurds. We as Americans bare responsibilty for some of his crimes and we owe it to the Iraqi People to remove him.

I am for regime change and I am for the war. My problem is waht will be after the war. I belive that Liberals should not fear our use of force and army but should fear the powers that wield it. If we remove saddam an allow a fair goverment of the people to form in Iraq then we will have done a great and moral thing. If we put in anther American puppet who kills his people we will have wasted American and Iraqi lives for nothing ( of course we will get cheaper OIL!! Whoray for SUVS). If we go in and help solve the kurdish question we will stabalize the region.

What will probbaly happen is that we will put in another karzai. While Karzai might be an Ameican stooge I would take him any day over saddam.

waht we need to os get our message to the president and those who make poilcy. Use American power for good. Send our troops to Somolia end war in Congo ! help end the Israeli Palestinin conflict! . However learn from our sins in South America learn from our sins in the mideast!

Thanks Left out! (english)
23 Mar 2003
Thanks for bringing that up. Corporations love supporting
dictators. There is big bucks to be made. Bush, Hussein, even Hitler are all just corporate sponsored dictators. Many corporations from many different countries supported Hussein -- North Korea, China, France, Germany, Japan,England, Italy, Russia, oh ya even the good'ol USA helped madman Saddam. Wanna get rich fast, become a dictator, do unthinkable things to your own people, sooner or later corporations will comea flockin' to your door offering you the latest death toy. After awhile someone will scream terrorist and before you know it the bombs will a start-a-droppin'!
to jeff (english)
23 Mar 2003
Jeff Bander,

I admire your candor and your good wishes, and I truly wish what you advise would be possible, but I really don't think it is.

Yes, surely the U.S. invaders will install another Karzai, and create a parliament and all the trappings to make it look like a democracy. On one level I would take a Karzai over Saddam, of course. There will be many definite advantages, including some significant increase in civil liberties.

However, there will be significant invisible puppet strings connected to powerful global interests, mainly U.S.-based interests. There will also be the appearance of democracy without actual democracy, which some may argue is worse than a blatantly fascistic and repressive government. There will be a legacy of powerlessness created by "liberation" by a foreign power rather than autonomous liberation.

It's not in the nature of one repressive regime to fight another repressive regime for the sake of liberation. Surely "liberation" makes the best PR -- same was used in Vietnam war -- but look beyond the PR.

My 2 cents.


========== on the main post ==========

This shredder story may be true. Probably is. But it's propaganda of the most vivid sort, the kind meant to invoke pure revulsion in the reader. The same sort of propaganda could be created against the U.S. government, I am sure you know. There can be vivid descriptions of executions, including electric chair executions in which the victims did not die immediately. There can be vivid descriptions of Abner Louima's fate, or any number of other recipients of horrendous acts police brutality (area 5 in Chicago for another example). Anti-choice activists use the same propaganda tactics to cause visceral revulsion about women's reproductive choice. And there is the possibility of fabrication -- remember the 1991 story on Iraqi troops taking premature babies out of Kuwaiti incubators, later shown to be complete lies?

We must take such things for what they are -- fragments of truth presented as propaganda.
me again (english)
23 Mar 2003
What I really mean to say is ...

You have to judge a party's true intentions by the collection of past actions of that party. Otherwise, if you judge solely by what a party says, then you will be fooled time and time again, and rightly called naive or foolish.

If the U.S. were really interested in liberating oppressed people, it would not have repeatedly, even in the last 2 decades, opposed democratically elected parties and installed more oppressive parties who happened to be more in line with U.S. "interests".

As you mention, the U.S. supported Saddam for the longest time, even while fully knowing that Saddam was hugely curtailing civil liberties, allowing no real democracy, gassing people, torturing people, etc... in other words, the U.S. had full reason to believe he was not a good person, by any human rights standards. Yet the U.S. continued to support him until he conflicted with U.S. "interests"...

Obviously "interests" is a code word that does NOT mean democracy, freedom, human rights, or any other noble concepts that politicians love to speak about. On the contrary, it means access to resources and geostrategic gains.

You may be interested in reading papers from the people of the PNAC - project for a new american century - the administration thinktank behind the current global domination.

But basically, I am saying, please don't be fooled that supporting Saddam until 1991 was an aberration, a mistake, or a lack of intelligence. It was consistent with the U.S. pattern, and the same people continue to be in power. They don't change when the figurehead (president) changes. They're the same people acting from the same motives.

Interested to hear your response too.
democracy? (english)
23 Mar 2003
This is a great question to ask ANYONE who supports this war and I recomend you all bring it up to your friends and family.


If the U.S. does manage to install a "democracy" in Iraq what is stopping the Iraqi's from democratically electing and even more fundamental nutcase? Democracy is never perfect and does not guarantee good leaders (I think the United States has elected some pretty horrible presidents in the past and I think the majority of the population here can think of at least one they thought was pitiful). So, hypothetically speaking, what does the U.S. do in this situation? Do we again bomb iraq for not electing the right leader? That's not very democratic...

It's a very simple question I wish more people would be asking people like Ari Fliecher and Rumsfeld...
My response (english)
23 Mar 2003
I think that you agree with me... where we differ is how we go about changing American policy.

We both agree that US foreign policy has been pretty awful short sighted and undemocratic. In the middle East we supported Osama and got rid of pro-democratic leader Mosdeq in Iran. South America we are all aware of the terror.

However after WWII we did rebuild Europe with Marshal Plan. We played a leading role in Kosovo to end the slaughter (despite the UN Security Council veto). We lost soldiers in Somalia attempting to help end the crisis there.

So sometimes we act like a brutal empire and sometimes we act like a compassionate super power. I believe in the case of Iraq the US is acting as both an selfish empire and as compassionate super power.

We are going into Iraq because our economy depends on Oil and US interests are challenged by by Arab Interests. It essentially American/Western Imperialism Vs Arab/Islamic Imperialism (NOTE: I know Islamism and Arabism are not synonymous but for the sake of this post I consider them complimentary). Donít fool yourself with the propaganda that Arab/Islamic counties are fighting for there freedom, Human rights liberty etc. They are fighting for the same thing we are global domination. The US invades by forcing its economy on other nations via IMF and other coercions. Oil rich Arab counties attempt to exert there control by sponsoring Islamic uprising From Nigeria and Somalia to Chechnya and Dagestan. The best example is the hypocrisy over Palestine. If you would believe everything you hear on Al-jazeera and Indy media for that matter you would believe that Billions of Muslims are upset because of Israelís brutal occupation the West Bank and Gaza. First off nobody knows what people in these counties really think since the press is regulated so we rely on press statements, official government spokespersons, and self appointed leaders in the US. The brutal occupation reason does not hold water. If it did then we would have millions of Arabs marching against the Brutal occupation of Kurdistan, Western Sahara, Southern Sudan and Lebanon. Iran, Iraq, turkey Morocco, Syria are all occupying powers in defiance of UN resolutions. If Arab counties were really interested in peace and Justice in the Middle East they would be advocating for a lot more changes to the regional map then the (very just) addition of Palestine. What the arab leaders are upset about is that a non arab country is doing the occupying. Of course Israels policy often gives arabs good reasons to get upset.

So my theory is the US fears that Islamic Imperialism is a threat to US Imperialism. Donít get me wrong I am not asserting that Islam is the problem, not at all!! . Those counties that are exporting political Islam are corrupting the religion much in the same way the west corrupted Christianity when it went out conquering the world. To sum up this point I believe that this a minor replay of the Middle Age wars when the Islamic dynasties fought battle with Christian world. Essentially my point would be end ALL Imperialism and colonialism! So you right the Cabal that has been planning this attack is trying quash all resistance to us imperialism. Unlike you I feel that they are right to be scared.

Now I am a strange pragmatist. On one hand I have these lofty Ideas of World with no nation states that would make war obsolete and allow all humanity to thrive equally. On the other hand we are far from the ideal and I view democracy and US policy as the least evil political system we have. I believe that we need not destroy the system we have but enlighten it. As you can tell I am pretty open to new Ideas so feel free to throw info at me.

Sorry I got side tracked from your point. I agree with you about listening to our government and believing what they have to say. I get my news from Left wing, right wing, indy and government sources and piece together mt own understanding of world events.

So my own understanding comes down to this. Saddam is a brutal dictator who has killed over a million people used gas against civilians has cynically let his people children starve because he refused to comply with UN resolutions he brutally occupies Kurdistan and used his Oil for food money to finance weapons programs instead of buying medication. The US government cares little about this but views Iraq as a threat both economic and security. So while the US is getting rid of Saddam for there own reasons they happen to be doing a good thing. Will the US put in another Saddam in I donít know?Ö I still have faith that the spirit of Kossovo and Somalia and Western Europe will temper the Imperialist spirit of Cheny and Rumsfeld. From what I read while afgansatns is till a nasty place under Karzai with armed Northern alliance terrorists running around It still a much better place then Taliban Afghanistan.

Only time will tell what is right!

Governments and people (english)
23 Mar 2003
I almost didn't reply but I want to respect your long and thoughtful comments.

I find it hard to view the U.S. as a compassionate superpower, even in cases where there are liberatory aspects of U.S. foreign policy. I have observed for too long subtle dominations cloaked in humanitarian or pro-democracy language. I have watched subtle demonizations of the "other" for too long, and figured out many small pieces of the propaganda puzzle.

I'm not supposing that there are "Billions of Muslims" who are upset about U.S. policy, although I think that billions of people certainly are. I don't "massify" people by any aggregation. It dehumanizes people to do so. I don't think, however, that Indy media nor Al Jazeera portray quite as biased a picture as you suggest.

You write "Donít fool yourself with the propaganda that Arab/Islamic counties are fighting for there freedom, Human rights liberty etc." ...

I'm not thinking that the states of these nation-states are fighting solely or largely for human rights, any more than I think the same of the U.S. government. However, I think it is important to separate the agency of the state powers from the agency of individual people who live there.

You also write "nobody knows what people in these counties really think since the press is regulated so we rely on press statements, official government spokespersons, and self appointed leaders in the US." ...

Yes, everything you may read in the press is filtered, by definition, through the press. However, there are different sources with differing biases, and there are people one may talk with who actually have talked with the people in question. By some not-too-complicated interpolation, one can get a reasonable picture of the general feeling in a place.


I also am a pragmatist, but I think pragmatism without a large view is not very pragmatic, and so I continue to include consciousness of a more free world which is possible in my actions. Thus, I oppose both the U.S. and the Iraqi regimes and I work to expose that BOTH are rotten to the core in most respect, with only small semblances of justified authority.

Most of what you said about Saddam's regime can also be said, albeit in smaller scale in many cases, about the U.S. government. The examples are rife, and I am sure you know about many of them already.

I think there are shades of gray, things are not black and white, but my intuition strongly tells me to oppose the whole situation as it is playing out now, as an act of naked aggression cloaked in liberation, meanwhile trying to plant the seeds of a consciousness which can rise above all the complications and pragmatics and be empowered to oppose domination in all its forms squarely, on its own terms.