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Flashpoints Feb 11: Tony Benn just back from Iraq; Iran the next target?

KPFA Flashpoints Radio Feb 11. 2003 - Famous British Labor MP Tony Benn just back from Iraq, interviewed Saddam.. a wide-ranging Bernstein interview with Benn, a survivor of WWII, who tells how Churchill ordered poison gas dropped on the 'uncivilized' Kurds of Iraq - Is Iran the next Britain/ US/ Israeli target?


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Tuesday, Feb 11, 2003 - Start Audio




-00:00 Dennis Bernstein: introduction: British MP Tony Benn just back from Baghdad, interview with Saddam Hussein.. Is Iran the next target in the US crosshairs?
-00:48 Robert Knight and the Knight Report.. Robert:


European nations may need defence against the US.. as Bush prepares to *punish* Germany by removing troops.. British MP ousted for challenging Blair over the plagerism passed off as intelligence.. Pakistani ambassador recalled from Kuwait.. Iraqi to set oil fields ablaze?.. Iraq says five months food distributed to Iraqi people.. water, and weapons, too.. Pentagon has 70,000 body bags standing by, compared to 16,000 in 1991.. plans immediate cremation of dead US soldiers.. Ashcroft called to explain latest [un]Patriot Act bill.. in New York, a federal judge supports police denial of peacable assembly.. decision appealed.
-06:28 Dennis:


Tony Benn is the longest serving Labor MP in the British House of Commons.. a union member.. published diaries.. author of many other books.. Benn just back from Iraq, where he interviewed Saddam Hussein for TV.. Tony Benn: the Pacifica Network is my favorite American network, it is great.. Dennis: Germany and France saying more time, more inspections.. Bush says it is time for war.. Benn: one of the clauses of NATO says it works within the UN charter..


and to defend Turkey after Turkey has made an attack on another country.. France and Germany concluded that a NATO committment.. if the US and Britain attack Iraq without UN approval, it would be a war crime.. Dennis: the Green Party head in Germany, now head of UN SC.. confrontation with Rumsfeld.. got it backwards?.. Benn: clear Schroeder elected because of his opposition to Bush.. France has come along, Belgium too, maybe Russia.. Rumsfeld wants a NATO that does what it is told, a foreign legion for the White House.. looks like they are willing to break up NATO.. Dennis: is this a war for oil?.. Benn: take Saudi Arabia, there is no democracy there, a royal family, in the main square, women have their heads cut off for adultery.. why is the US focus on human rights on Iraq, and not Saudi Arabia.. and about Saddam's use of gas, while Iraq was fighting Iran, and so Saddam was popular in Washington.. to explain now, oil is obvious answer.. there is a lot of oil in Iraq.. I don't think it is about weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam detests Al-Qaida.. Dennis: North Korea negotiations.. Benn: their power stations produce plutonium.. the non-proliferation treaty has two sides to it.. one: countries that don't have nukes pledge to not get them.. and two: countries that have them, pledge never to use them on countries that don't have them.. and Bush and Blair have said they are willing to use nukes anywhere they want.. Dennis: some in the government want to redraw the map of the Middle East?.. Benn: we redrew the map of the Middle East when we had control.. Winston Churchill used gas on the Kurds because they were 'uncivilized'.. I have a feeling about American imperalism, having been born under empire.. understand how you feel that everybody hates you.. you can't run any organization without consent, and when coercion outpaces consent.. (you're in big trouble).. Dennis: my friend the beekeeper.. Benn: I saw kids playing in the streets, and knew some of them would be dead in three weeks, if.. but the long term consequence: the damage between Christians and Muslims.. the Crusades still remembered.. Dennis: Saddam Hussein seen as Osama bin Laden, and Hitler rolled into one.. about your interview with him.. Benn: I had a successful visit in 1991.. I wrote again and asked to have another, and last Sunday week, I went to the Presidential Palace and had an interview.. I asked him five questions (lists).. I went to hear his answers.. he is a brutal dictator, and he knows I have said that.. I don't whether to believe him, but I don't believe Blair's dossier.. and I know Powell was dishonest.. and about the fraudulent story about the Kuwaiti babies thrown off incubators.. I believe Blix, he says more time, more inspections.. Saddam is a brute, but he was America's brute.. America funded Osama bin Laden, taught him terrorism, to defeat the Russians.. If diplomacy was conducted by agressive journalists, there would be a nuclear war every week.. Saddam is a lawyer by training, personally courteous.. the interview was shown uncut.. they showed the whole thing.. the more people could hear for themselves and make up their own minds, the better for all of us.. about the attitudes of the Iraqi people.. their civilization goes back 7,000 years.. the first to develop math.. when they think of a US invasion, they think of it like another Mongol invasion.. there is no sign of war prepations.. people going in and out of government buildings without security checks.. they see us as the barbarians.. Tariq Aziz, a Christian.. he said he felt the Americans were so powerful they would be about to bribe and threated everyone else to fall in line.. I talked to the (person who deals with the weapons inspectors).. about the U-2s.. and about the interviews with scientists.. fear of US bribing scientists, and fear of intimidation.. I got the feeling that Saddam is willing to cooperate, but always the US raising the bar higher.. never a particular demand, but the US.. Dennis: the US threatening to bomb 800 missiles in the first 48 hours.. Benn: would destroy the city of Baghdad, and cause massive civilian casualties among people without defence.. the sanctions have been very brutal.. Halliday and Von Sponek estimate maybe half million people dead already.. a broken regime to face this onslaught.. water purification plants bombed.. war crimes.. if the US invades, I imagine the Iraqis will fight like tigers.. war crimes don't bother the US, Bush has declare the US exempt.. Britain is not so exempt.. as a person who remembers the Nuremberg trials.. Dennis: why is Blair willing to risk his career?.. Benn: an overwhelming number of Brits are opposed.. in the US more mixed reaction.. the political cover Blair supplies for Bush is important.. if Blair demands UN Security Council approval, Bush won't go.. Blair in a unique position to say yes or no.. Why is he doing it? Everyone is asking that.. Bush has empire, Blair remembers it.. and Bush can do some nasty things.. which of two preeminent in Blair's mind, I do not know.. Eisenhower stopped the Suez war.. a very serious thing to do to tear up the UN charter.. Dennis: when Powell addressed the UN, they covered up (a painting) of the German bombing of civilian areas of Spain starting WWII.. Benn: in 1938 Britain, they supported Hitler.. probably many in the US as well.. Truman in 1941 said we should.. at the time of Suez, we were told that Nassar of Egypt was another Hitler.. Benn: (remembering the bombing of London).. and I don't want war.. the younger generation sees it as a computer game.. my attitude to war, is you really have got to make an effort if peace is to survive.. war is not better than peace.. I am speaking at the upcoming demonstration.. millions and millions of people will be on the street.. it would be good if some from the White House came down and listened..

-46:39 music break "Ya Rayah" by Dahmane El Harrachi.
-47:15 Dennis:


yesterday Iran says it is starting to process uranium, are the next in the US crosshairs.. now w Professor Sasan Fayazmanesh, Professor of Economics at Cal State Fresno.. [no review this segment]
-54:50 Marvelous Mary Bishop: wrapup
-55:22 End today's show. today's review by john lionheart