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"Welt am Sonntag" (Germany): A Veto for Oil and Weapons.. Good Explanation of Financial Connections
"Welt am Sonntag" ^ | March 9, 2003 | "Welt am Sonntag" / Hans Krech and Heimo Schwilk

Posted on 03/08/2003 6:57:53 PM PST by longjack

A veto for oil and weapons

France, Russia and China are playing the peace card in the UN Security Council. In reality, though, it's all about their business dealings with Baghdad amounting to billions.

By Hans Krech and Heimo Schwilk

It was the hour of the hypocrites and moralists. After the German Secretary of State Joschka Fischer, at that time still chairman of the UN Security Council, had opened the debate about the work of the weapon inspectors in Iraq on February 14th, France's Secretary of State Dominique de Villepin caught the chairman's eye.

With a concerned voice and with the stage manners of a diplomat who represents the Grand Nation, the gray-maned Frenchman adeptly told his American counterpart, Colin Powell: "We French know, my dear colleague, what a fight for freedom means, but similarly, we also know what war and destruction mean!" "France, obligated to her eternal values, believes that we can create a better world together". But, as Villepin continued, we must do that with peaceful means, not with war.

After the long-lasting applause had faded, the Russian Secretary of State, Igor Ivanov, got in on the action with the announcement, "Russia will exercise its veto against American war plans in order to maintain the international stability". The Chinese representative in the Security Council nodded in agreement.

What connects the three potential veto powers who have engaged the Americans for months in a stubborn diplomatic wrestling match over war and disarmament in Iraq? The answer is as simple as it is banal: It's all about big business.

If the USA and Great Britain should prevail, Russia, France and China would be weakened economically as well as strategically. The leaders of several Iraqi opposition groups have already announced that after the fall of Saddam Hussein they wouldn't want to have economic contacts with states which would have supported the regime of the dictator.

Iraq has the second greatest occurrence of oil in the world with about 100 billion barrels. Added to that are significant natural gas stocks, which, until now, have hardly been exploited. The financial contracts alone for the reconstruction of the Iraq after the fall of the dictator will amount to about 200 billion dollars. Who will get these contracts is the reason the UN Security Council is presently fighting.

Russia is traditionally the most important economic partner of Iraq. About 90 per cent of the armaments and equipment of the Iraqi forces was obtained from former Soviet Union. An Iraqi delegation led by General Amir Rashid signed a contract in Moscow in February 1995 for the delivery of 4000 T80 U battle tanks to Baghdad. The delivery shall start as soon as the UN sanctions are lifted. It would be the largest weapons order for Russia since the end of the cold war. Iraq would be able to quickly regain full offensive ability in the Gulf and once again be able threaten its neighboring states Kuwait and Iran militarily.

In March 2001 Iraqi vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan submitted an offer to the Russian government in Moscow for financial orders with a value of 21 billion dollars, if Russia would support the lifting of UN sanctions. In August 2002, the Russian government first officially confirmed 70 economic projects in Iraq, among these seven in petro-chemical areas and 14 in the areas of traffic and communication with a total value of 40 billion Euros. The contracts were signed in September. In so doing Iraq became the most important Russian foreign market of all, the most important hard currency source and the symbol of hope for an economic upswing in Russian industry. Furthermore, Moscow expects orders for the rebuilding of the Iraqi armed forces, such as delivering fighter planes, air defense missiles and modern radar equipment.

Russia's first contact with the Iraqi opposition happened in Washington in August 2002. Andrei Kroschkin of the Russian embassy explained to Intifad Kanbar, the head of the office of the Iraqi national convention INC in Washington, that the policy concerning Iraq was conducted exclusively by economic interests. Iraq is still indebted to Russia for six billion dollars.

Iraq's and Russia signed another three agreements for the development oil fields in the south and west at the beginning of this year. Furthermore the Russian energy group Lukoil disclosed that Iraq has overturned its decision of November 2002 to withdraw the contract for development of the West-Kurna oil field. The contract is valid again. Baghdad had cancelled it to force Russia to fully support the Iraqi position in the Security Council.

White Russia (Belarus) is sailing in Russia's wake. The country doesn't produce any weapons itself, however, it sells Russian equipment. Minsk is the sixth largest weapon's exporter in the world. As is well known, the Iraqi air defense hasn't managed to shoot down a single American or British fighter plane over the no-fly zones since 1991, because the radar equipment and air defense missiles have become obsolete.

It became known in March 2002 that 30 Iraqi officers at the military academy of Minsk were trained in the use of the modern Russian air defense misile S 300's the Russian counterpart to the patriot of NATO. The delivery of these S 300's to Iraq by White Russia shall have also been agreed to. At the Beirut airport in January of this year twelve tons of radio equipment and helmets for tank crews were confiscated which should have been delivered to Iraq from White Russia.

France is also behaving hypocritically in its resistance to Washington. What Secretary of State Dominique de Villepin forgot to mention in the United Nations Security Council: The Iraqi-French business relations are based on the long-standing and close relations of president Jacques Chirac with Saddam Hussein. In 1974, the only foreign trip to a western country the Iraqi vice-president at the time, Saddam, undertook was to Chirac in Paris. Thereupon France built the Iraqi nuclear reactor Osirak, which was destroyed in 1981 by Israeli fighter planes. Essential components of Iraq's secret nuclear weapon program come from France.

In the first gulf war (1980-1988) of Iraq against neighbor Iran, France supplied Mirage fighter planes and the anti-ship missiles, "Exocet", to Baghdad. Only through this was it possible for Iraq to hold against the superior Iranian navy.

Iraq still has substantial debts to France, also. Should Saddam remain in power, Paris beckons weapon's orders in the sectors of navy, air force and missile technology, and, as well, next to Russia, they will receive the most important share of the contracts for the rebuilding of the Iraq, including the development of new oil fields by the ELF group.

China, the third party in the federation against the USA,also has clearly defined economic interests in preventing the fall of Saddam. Chinese companies and technicians have been wiring the military communication facilities of Iraq for months, particularly in the area of air defense, with eavesdrop-proof fiber optic cable. Beijing can expect orders in the sectors of infrastructure and the navy if the dictator stays at the power. Two guided missile frigates have already been built for Iraq in China, which can be transferred ed as soon as the UN sanctions are lifted.

Germany, however, pursued a clearly defined policy opposing the Iraqi regime prior to 1998. She aimed for democratizing the country and thereby to protect the interests of the German economy. Hans-Dietrich Genscher was the first Secretary of State of a NATO country to denounce the Iraqi attack on Iran in 1980 as aggression. At that time, France and also the USA still strongly supported Iraq with supplies of arms. In 1991 Genscher demanded that Saddam be put before an international war crimes tribunal. German firms that violated the UN sanctions were prosecuted legally. By doing that, Germany secured for itself, on the side of the USA, the main share of the expected contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, as well as supplying Germany with mineral oil for the next 50 years.

After 1998, admittedly, the government Schröder/Fischer changed the strategic orientation of German- Iraq politics. Should the USA should be successful in an Iraq campaign Germany would be on the outside looking in, together with Russia, China and France. Germany would have no share at all of the expected financial contracts with a total worth of 200 billion dollars.

Artikel erschienen am 9. März 2003

Translated by longjack

Ein Veto für Öl und Waffen

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: china; france; germany; iraq; russia; un; warlist
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1 posted on 03/08/2003 6:57:53 PM PST by longjack
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To: americanbychoice; An.American.Expatriate; a_Turk; BMCDA; CatoRenasci; demlosers; eabinga; ...
German ping
2 posted on 03/08/2003 6:58:44 PM PST by longjack
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To: longjack
Weasels ping!
3 posted on 03/08/2003 7:05:32 PM PST by norton
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To: longjack
Very nice.

Danke for the clear translation.
4 posted on 03/08/2003 7:09:22 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: norton
This Troka's opposition is all about money...Politics defined..Who gets what and when.
5 posted on 03/08/2003 7:13:25 PM PST by TUX
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To: *war_list; Ernest_at_the_Beach
6 posted on 03/08/2003 7:29:37 PM PST by Free the USA (Stooge for the Rich)
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To: Free the USA
Outstanding analysis.
7 posted on 03/08/2003 8:04:50 PM PST by Don'tMessWithTexas
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To: longjack

have you noticed a subtle shift in reporting and opinion after the anti-american orgy a couple of weeks ago? It seems to me that after the catharsis of the anti-american venom fest, quite a few Europeans sobered up. Even some French deputies publicly questioned Chirac's course. Even Die Zeit seems to have lightened up.

But perhaps I'm dreaming.

8 posted on 03/08/2003 8:23:16 PM PST by pierrem15
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To: pierrem15
I think the reporting in Germany is more anti-American. It's hard to find anything where I look that will try to show America in even a little positive light. This article is an exception.

The "WamS", this paper, has an op-ed that strongly criticizes Schroeder. The article blames him for the state of the world as it is now. Maybe I'll have time to translate that tomorrow.

There are Germans who realize that the US is defending itself. The majority of the media, though, uses conjecture and insinuation to paint our motives as suspect.

Now they've decided that the best tactic to avoid a vote is to say it isn't necessary. The inspections are working, the resolution (1441)is in place, etc., B.S., etc.

Bush shut them up for a few days, though. If the UN doesn't vote the UN becomes irrelevant. The media knows that, but still doesn't have the ba..s to call the members to vote.

This is a rant, btw. JMO.


9 posted on 03/08/2003 8:41:41 PM PST by longjack
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To: pierrem15
I don't think it's your imagination. I occasionally tune into a newscast from Deutsche Welle (in English) on either World Link TV or News World International. I saw their coverage of the Blix report and was impressed; they did a good job.
10 posted on 03/08/2003 8:45:55 PM PST by Vroomfondel
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To: longjack
Middle East

Germany's leading role in arming Iraq
By Marc Erikson

Expurgated portions of Iraq's December 7 report to the UN Security Council show that German firms made up the bulk of suppliers for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. What's galling is that German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his minions have long known the facts, German intelligence services know them and have loads of information on what Saddam Hussein is hiding, and Schroeder nonetheless plays holier than thou to an easily manipulated, pacifist-inclined domestic audience.

If it's not the height of hypocrisy and opportunism, Schroeder's preemptive "no war. period" stance on Iraq and insistence on a "German Way" (Deutscher Weg) certainly come close. German Way? Haven't we heard that sort of talk before sometime, somewhere? But leave that be. It falls in the same category as Schroeder's former justice minister's comparison of US President George W Bush to Adolf Hitler in last summer's election campaign. Not only Schroeder and that unfortunate lady, but politicians elsewhere are of limited mental accountability when desperate about winning an election, and suffer lapses of speech and memory.

In 1991, Iraq fired dozens of Scud missiles at Israel and threatened to arm the missiles with poison-gas and biological warheads. Most of the contents of those warheads were made in Germany or made with the aid of German engineers and technology. In light of German history, can Herr Schroeder countenance the possibility of a future poison gas attack on Israel (or anyone else) facilitated by German know-how? Schroeder may not want to go to war. So be it. But he should regard it as his most solemn obligation to do his absolute damnedest to make sure that in the future "good Germans" don't once again stand there and say: "We didn't know."

Friedbert Pflueger, foreign policy spokesman of the main opposition Christian Democratic parties and an embittered critic of Schroeder's and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's Iraq policy, last Thursday accused the red-green coalition government of deliberately keeping the German and world public uninformed of BND (German foreign intelligence service) evidence and assessments on the continued existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). "If we trust our [intelligence] services, and I do, then we know that there exist weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," said Pflueger, and referred to a November 13, 2002, BND briefing of members of parliament's foreign affairs committee in which relevant information was disclosed. As a member of parliament, added Pflueger, he was bound by his secrecy oath not to pass on such information, but challenged Schroeder to make it public forthwith. This was necessary, he said, "so that Herr Schroeder cannot continue to spread the impression that the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is a figment of George W Bush's imagination". He said further that he would dearly like to know exactly how many different types of smallpox virus were in Iraq's possession as - during a November 13 budget committee meeting - Health Minister Ulla Schmidt had motivated her request for a several million euro allocation for the purchase of smallpox vaccine with reference to such Iraqi stocks. Well, Gerhard, why's your minister worried? Or do vaccine purchases fall into the category of economic stimulus for the pharmaceutical industry?

The reason the BND is well-informed of Iraqi WMD programs - nuclear, biological and chemical - is straightforward: since the early 1980s, it has monitored German exports of dual-use nuclear technologies, precursor chemicals for poison-gas weapons, and "pharmaceutical" products and equipment for biological weapons manufacture to the Middle East. Indeed, there are strong suspicions that it was a silent partner in a Hamburg front company, Water Engineering Trading or WET, which covered for and facilitated such exports. Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said in his January 27 report that tons of Iraqi chemical and biological agents and precursors were unaccounted for. Over the years, well over half of the precursor materials and a majority of the tools and know-how for their conversion into weapons were sold to Iraq by German firms - both prior to and after the 1991 Gulf War. The BND has the details.

In the summer of 1994, the BND conducted a major study to estimate the magnitude of the - as at that time - still undeclared and concealed Iraqi WMD arsenal, relying on sales records in its possession of post-Gulf War German, Austrian, and Swiss exports of technologies, sub-systems and strategic materials to Iraq. It concluded that these exports pointed to several specific weapons programs, ranging from ballistic missile upgrades to poison gas manufacture, which Iraq had not declared and UN inspectors were unaware of and hence, not surprisingly, had failed to discover. While the magnitude of the current (1994) Iraqi weapons program "is difficult to assess", said the BND, there is no doubt that "some of the material and equipment" has eluded discovery and certain projects "are being revived and run clandestinely".

In February 2001, the BND compiled a further report and intelligence chief August Hanning told Spiegel magazine that, "Since the end of the UN inspections [December 1998], we have determined a jump in procurement efforts by Iraq," adding that Saddam was rebuilding destroyed weapons facilities "partly based on the German industrial standard".

According to the report:

Iraq has resumed its nuclear program and may be capable of producing an atomic bomb in three years;

Iraq is developing its Al Samoud and Ababil 100/Al Fatah short-range rockets, which can deliver a 300kg payload 150km. Medium-range rockets capable of carrying a warhead 3,000km could be built by 2005 - far enough to reach Europe;

Iraq is capable of manufacturing solid rocket fuel;

A Delhi-based company, blacklisted by the German government because of its alleged role in weapons proliferation, has acted as a buyer on Iraq's behalf. Deliveries have been made via Malaysia and Dubai. Indian companies have copied German machine tools down to the smallest detail and such equipment has been installed in numerous chemicals projects. [Note that such Indian cooperation with Iraq is something of a tradition: during the Iran-Iraq war India delivered precursors for warfare agents to Iraq - and later was found to have delivered quantities of the same materials to Iran. Baghdad's middleman at the time, an Iraqi with a German passport, founded a company in Singapore expressly for this purpose.]

Since the departure of the UN inspectors, the number of Iraqi sites involved in chemicals production has increased from 20 to 80. Of that total, a quarter could be involved in weapons production.

The BND's warnings didn't stop with that report. In April 2001, Hanning told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that Iraq was developing a new class of chemical weapons, reiterated his alert on Iraq's missile and nuclear programs, and said that several German companies had continued to deliver to Baghdad components needed for the production of poison gas. In March 2002, he told the New Yorker magazine that, "It is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years." The German opposition parties' demand that the government make public what it knows is thus no irresponsible, idle, politically inspired chatter as the ruling Social Democrats and Greens charge. The irresponsible chatter and politicking is Herr Schroeder's.

Houston, Texas, attorney Gary Pitts announced late last December that his firm, Pitts and Associates, would soon launch a class action suit on behalf of more than 3,000 sick Gulf War veterans against dozens of European companies accused of helping arm Iraq with weapons of mass destruction. Pitts said he had received a list of 56 international suppliers of equipment and raw materials necessary to make sarin, VX, mustard gas and other chemical agents from the Iraqi government. The list, brought back from Iraq by former weapons inspector Scott Ritter last September, proves identical to one included in a 1998 Iraqi chemical weapons declaration to the UN, resubmitted unchanged on December 7 and withheld from publication by the inspectors - along with other items - for reasons of "sensitivity". Withheld as well is a list of Iraqi nuclear technology suppliers originally contained in a 1996 declaration and also resubmitted on December 7. That nuclear weapons production details on uranium enrichment, detonation, implosion testing and warhead construction contained in Iraq's declarations should be withheld from all but the five permanent UN Security Council members may have some justification. That lists of suppliers for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons components are being withheld makes sense only if the UN inspectors want to save supplier countries and firms from embarrassment - precisely the embarrassment they should be exposed to to forestall future deliveries.

The list in Iraq's 1998/current chemical weapons declaration contains 31 "major suppliers", 14 from Germany. The 1996/current nuclear suppliers list has 62 company names on it, 33 from Germany. As Iraq claims that since 1991 it has not engaged in WMD production, the lists name no post-Gulf War suppliers. Call it old news. So much the sillier that the UN refuses to make them public. But since the BND claims that deliveries did not stop at the end of the Gulf War as well as simply as a matter of record of German complicity in arming Iraq, the issue remains an urgent current concern.

Leading the honor roll of chemical agents and production equipment suppliers (in this case nerve gas precursors and manufacturing) to Iraq is the German firm Preussag, now a subsidiary of Europe's largest travel agent and tour operator TUI - happy holidays! And Preussag has long been a firm dear to Schroeder's heart. In early 1998, when Schroeder was running for re-election as prime minister of the state of Lower Saxony which he had governed for eight years, he had the state buy 51 percent of Preussag's troubled steel division to the tune of US$500 million, claiming that 12,000 jobs were at stake. It was a characteristic Schroeder move: he knew that the Social Democrats would appoint him chancellor's candidate if he won in Lower Saxony. Win he did - first in Hannover, later in 1998 at the federal level to become chancellor. What did he know about the Preussag conglomerate's Iraq poison gas dealings? Don't ask.

Included on the Iraqi suppliers' lists are other world-renowned (eg, Hoechst, Daimler-Benz, Siemens, Kloeckner, Carl Zeiss, Schott Glas, etc) and smaller German firms. Notable are Karl Kolb/Pilot Plant and WTB (Walter Thosti Boswau) who built and equipped Iraq's two major "pesticide and detergent" plants which, said a WTB employee, produce "detergents to exterminate two-legged flies" (Spiegel 4/1989, p 24). The WTB undertaking was supported by a credit guarantee for several hundred million German marks by Hermes, a German government export and credit insurer. Noteworthy also is Rhein-Bayern, which supplied Iraq with eight mobile toxicological labs housed in sand-colored, camouflage-painted Magirus trucks.

Chemical agents? Biological agents? Machine tools and parts and materials for uranium enrichment and missile production? You name them and the Germans delivered them - and not only that: they supplied the plants and know-how for Iraq to make its own "pesticides" ("to protect the date harvest"), "vaccines" ("to eradicate smallpox and other contagious diseases"), and "x-ray machines".

Karl Kolb told investigative reporters following up the Pitts and Associates law suit that it has done business with Iraq for 35 years, but had no connection to its weapons programs. Preussag claimed that accusations it had supplied precursor chemicals for Iraqi weapons were untrue. Schott Glas said it was "a manufacturer of glass and glass components, not of weapons".

If Herr Schroeder had his way, one assumes, then that's where things would end. Happily, with some nasty American trial lawyers on the case, that's unlikely. And happily, though he tried once more in advance of last Sunday's state elections in Lower Saxony and Hesse to rally Germans to his party's cause with anti-Iraq war rhetoric, Schroeder was dealt a humiliating defeat in both states. He should have bought re-privatized Preussag once again. Even the most gullible of German voters saw through his miserable Iraq-war ploy this time around, blamed him for over 10 percent unemployment, and threw his candidates and party into the trash bin.

(©2003 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact for information on our sales and syndication policies.)

11 posted on 03/08/2003 9:18:51 PM PST by Kay Soze (F - France and Germany - They are my Nation's and my Family's enemies.)
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To: longjack


12 posted on 03/08/2003 9:20:14 PM PST by Kay Soze (F - France and Germany - They are my Nation's and my Family's enemies.)
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To: longjack
Ewigen Werten bumpen.
13 posted on 03/08/2003 9:40:12 PM PST by concentric circles
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To: longjack
Great translation, longjack. You may find this article from the nachbarland interesting.
14 posted on 03/09/2003 1:17:21 AM PST by Int (Ever notice how the Freepers that have been here longest are the most 'moderate'?)
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To: Int
Thanks Int.

That's a good example of conjecture and insinuation by the media that I was talking about:

"Swiss Gold Stored In Fort Knox!" (along with a lot of other European institutions, including the ECB, who store Gold there, also, you know, incidentally.). "USA might not give it back!" (but the people who know what they're doing don't seem to be at all worried about it, also, you know, incidentally, and, also, you know, incidentally, the sun might not come up tomorrow, either.)

The "Blick" is the Swiss "Bild", isn't it? That explains some of this story. Unforunatly, it seems that a lot of the media I look at are pulling similiar types of articles out of their A.., er, Hat.


15 posted on 03/09/2003 3:09:38 AM PST by longjack
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To: longjack
I am glad to see the German public at least has the opportunity to be informed as to what is behind the Axis of Weasels.

Longjack,do you think this type of information is getting any traction with the public?
16 posted on 03/09/2003 3:17:15 AM PST by fightinJAG (Scouts Out!)
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To: longjack
Yeah, although the Sunday Blick is usually almost readable when compared to the week-day Blick. But it's still cheap stuff - a la Bild - the headlines take up more space than the accompanying articles.

17 posted on 03/09/2003 3:21:58 AM PST by Int (Ever notice how the Freepers that have been here longest are the most 'moderate'?)
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To: longjack
Thanks for the translation!

In addition to business dealings I would not rule out the possibility of old-fashioned bribery.

Baksheeh is ingrained in Arabian culture, Saddam is rich and I would not put it past Chirac accepting multi-million Euros in a secret bank account.

Such a deal would explain his basically weird behavior more plausibly than bone fide (or even shady) business dealings since he would face French prison if found out following a successful war. If he had cooperated with the USA from the beginning French interests in post-Saddam Iraq would be respected. Now he's putting them at risk.
18 posted on 03/09/2003 3:44:19 AM PST by aculeus
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To: fightinJAG
Longjack,do you think this type of information is getting any traction with the public?

I think it's inconsequential to the public. The public thinks this is normal, it's what politicians do, ergo, no biggie.

A lot of people use thought processes that are not logically connected. They can hold various, even contadictory viewpoints, without finding it necessary to consolidate them logically. Thus, the media can easily manipulate issues to bring about a desired result. The people react emotionally to the present issue, forgetting the previous ones.



19 posted on 03/09/2003 6:20:33 AM PST by longjack
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To: MizSterious; rebdov; Nix 2; green lantern; BeOSUser; Brad's Gramma; dreadme; Turk2; Squantos; ...

If people want on or off this list, please let me know.

20 posted on 03/09/2003 7:09:59 AM PST by knighthawk
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