Date: Feb 28, 1998 [ 0: 0: 1]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 26 Feb 1998 to 27 Feb 1998

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There are 11 messages totalling 716 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Toddler Law (fwd)
2. U.N. Human Rights Boss to Meet Khatami
3. Arabs hail Saddam as Middle East victor
4. Sanctions, wars strengthen religion in secular Iraq
5. Writer convicted of "challenging crimes against humanity"
6. Two views of political parties
7. Mohajerani orders ban on Al Ahmad book
8. Revisiting the Iran-Iraq War
9. Saddam receives message from Iranian president
10. fwd: Afghanistan Holds Public Amputation
11. fwd: Afghan Crowd Watches Girl-Lashing

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 19:19:24 +1100
From: Mehdi Ardalan <mardalan@LAUREL.OCS.MQ.EDU.AU>
Subject: Toddler Law (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------

>
>TODDLER LAWS OF OWNERSHIP
>
> 1. If I like it, it's mine
>
> 2. If it's in my hand, it's mine
>
> 3. If I can take it from you, it's mine
>
> 4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine
>
> 5. If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way
>
> 6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine
>
> 7. If it looks just like mine, it's mine
>
> 8. If I think it's mine, it's mine
>
> 9. If it's yours and I steal it, it's mine
>
> 10. If I...........................! ooops, sorry! I've been reading
> Israeli Foreign Policy documents!! Never mind....
>

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 15:49:24 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: U.N. Human Rights Boss to Meet Khatami

U.N. Rights Boss to Raise Concerns in Iran

Reuters 27-FEB-98 By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Mary Robinson, the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will raise
concerns about rights issues in Iran during talks with top
officials this weekend, a spokesman said on Friday.

Robinson has received a pledge from Tehran that the U.N.
special rapporteur (investigator) on human rights in Iran,
Canadian jurist Maurice Copithorne, will be allowed to
visit in May or June, spokesman John Mills said.

Her visit comes two weeks before the annual U.N. Human
Rights Commission, whose 53 member states sharply
criticised Iran last year for continuing violations
including a ``large number of executions'' and cases of
torture.

Robinson is expected to meet Foreign Minister Kamal
Kharrazi on Saturday and President Mohammad Khatami on
Sunday.

``She will take advantage of opportunities to raise
concerns about human rights issues in Iran, but her visit
does not substitute for a visit by the special
rapporteur,'' Mills told Reuters.

``The High Commissioner is pleased to have received
assurances from the government that Copithorne will be able
to visit in May or June.''

It was not clear whether Robinson -- who has pledged to be
a ``voice for victims'' -- would raise the case of a
prominent newspaper editor, Morteza Firoozi.

Held since May on spying charges, Firoozi is said by
Iranian news organisations to have been condemned to death.
The New York-based group Human Rights Watch has called for
him to be released or given a fair trial.

Robinson, a former Irish president who took over as the
U.N. rights chief last September, will be in Tehran to open
the United Nation's sixth Asia-Pacific workshop on the
promotion and protection of human rights, Mills told a news
briefing.

Some 33 governments are expected to attend, as well as
non-governmental organisations active in the region, he
added.

``The aim is to adopt a regional framework programme on
technical cooperation with the United Nations,'' Mills
said.

This would include developing national human rights
institutions.

Amnesty International will send two delegates to the
workshop, which lasts from Saturday to Monday, a
spokeswoman for the London-based rights group said in
Geneva.

The U.S. State Department's latest annual human rights
report, issued on January 30, said Iran's rights record
remained ``extremely poor'' in 1997.

The report charged the government with having committed
systematic abuses including extrajudicial and summary
executions, disappearances and the widespread use of
torture.

The U.N. Human Rights Commission, in a resolution adopted
last April, urged Iran to ``refrain from violence against
members of the Iranian opposition living abroad.''

It also extended for one year the mandate of the special
rapporteur. Copithorne is the third rights expert to hold
the position, which has been continually renewed since
1984.

Copithorne, in a report to the main U.N. rights body last
year, implicitly rebuked Iran for maintaining a high rate
of death sentences, for persecution of religious
dissidents, for killings of dissenters abroad and for
pressures on the press.

Iran condemned his report as biased and unrealistic. The
latest resolution called on Tehran to provide
``satisfactory written assurances that it does not support
or incite threats to the life of (British writer Salman)
Rushdie.''

Iran's late spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei
issued a religious ruling, or fatwa, nine years ago that
condemned Rushdie to death for alleged blasphemy in his
novel ``The Satanic Verses.''

The fatwa said that any Moslem in a position to kill
Rushdie had a duty to do so.

The U.N. text also called on Copithorne, who was appointed
in 1995 and made a brief visit to Iran in February 1996, to
monitor treatment of minority groups.

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.All rights reserved.

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------------------------------

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 15:50:51 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Arabs hail Saddam as Middle East victor

The Independent
27 February 1998

Arabs hail Saddam as Middle East victor

By Patrick Cockburn in Amman


MIDDLE-EAST rulers believe Saddam Hussein has won the
latest round in the Iraq crisis, and are beginning to hedge
their bets between Baghdad and Washington. "Saddam is seen
as splitting the UN Security Council, showing that the Arab
states do not want military action against Iraq, and
frightening the Israelis with his biological and chemical
weapons," said an Arab specialist on Iraq who did not want
his name mentioned. "The mood is not so much pro-Iraqi as
anti-American and anti-Israeli."

The Arabs are not convinced, however, that the crisis is
over, in part because they cannot quite believe Washington
has backed down. Thirty American warships are still in the
Gulf and they wonder how far America has ruled out a
military option.

This difference in perception over what was won and lost by
the agreement signed last weekend by Kofi Annan, the UN
Secretary General, has a simple origin. The US and Britain
focus on their success in getting Baghdad to agree to
granting unfettered access to Saddam's eight presidential
palaces, in order to search for weapons of mass
destruction. But some Arab countries suspect Iraq's refusal
in December to let UN weapons inspectors enter the palaces
was just a ploy by Baghdad, which always intended to drop
its objections after milking the crisis for concessions.
After all, Iraq is a big country with many places other
than the palaces to hide weapons. The Arab states also see
these weapons primarily as a threat to Israel, not
themselves.

Viewed from the Middle East, the Iraqi leader has gained a
great deal by bringing the region to the brink of war. He
will now be allowed to export $5.2bn worth of oil, or
two-thirds of the volume of crude that he was exporting
when sanctions were first imposed in 1990. And Mr Annan's
visit appears to have largely ended international ostracism
of his regime. Above all, it seems clear that Saddam is
going to stay in power and that his neighbours will need to
reach some accommodation with him.

The option of overthrowing the government in Baghdad is
seen as having had its day. This dates back to 1991, when
the Gulf War alliance declined to march on Baghdad. The
CIA's subsequent efforts to build up an opposition force in
Iraqi Kurdistan then collapsed when Saddam sent his forces
in to capture the Kurdish capital, Arbil. Successive
military conspiracies backed from abroad have been crushed
by the Iraqi security services. Any further efforts to get
rid of the Iraqi leader, by a military coup, for example,
would now have to take place without the active support of
Arab governments, which are becoming more nervous about
Iraqi retaliation.

Supposing no military action takes place, how far has the
political map of the Middle East been changed by the
crisis? The allies of the US are feeling nervous. Saudi
Arabia and the Gulf states have shown this by refusing to
permit their territory to be used for launching air strikes
on Iraq. Jordan saw serious pro-Iraqi riots last weekend,
and even President Hafez al-Assad of Syria, arch-rival of
the regime in Baghdad, has recently been receiving senior
Iraqi officials in Damascus.

It is not merely Iraq's resurgence which is changing the
political atmosphere. It is more that the US is having to
pay a price for the policies it has adopted since 1993,
when Bill Clinton entered the White House. Despite the
Israeli-Palestinian Oslo accords of that year, the living
standards of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have
plummeted. The US has dropped its opposition to Israeli
settlements in the occupied territories, which it held
under President Bush, and there is little sign this will
change. Instead, the US Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright insists there is no connection between the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the confrontation with
Iraq. Without any political levers, the only card America
can deploy against Saddam remains military force.

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------------------------------

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 15:52:19 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Sanctions, wars strengthen religion in secular Iraq

The Guardian
Friday February 27, 1998


Saddam rides the tiger of Islamic devotion

The fear of US-led bombing raids has filled city mosques,
reports Julian Borger in Baghdad


Ahmed Yassem woke his wife, mother and child before dawn
and piled them into a taxi for a three-hour journey to
Baghdad, paying the equivalent of four months' wages so
that they could spend the day at the Sheikh Abdul Kader
Mosque to thank Allah for sending Kofi Annan to Iraq.

During the United Nations secretary-general's visit, the
Baghdad mosques were filled with pious, desperate Iraqis
thanking God for offering the prospect of peace and praying
for a end to sanctions.

Mr Yassem, a school teacher from the southern city of
Amara, said: "Allah is the only one who can lift sanctions.
We trust in Allah and in President Saddam Hussein to solve
our problems."

Allah and President Saddam are frequently mentioned in the
same breath these days. Mosque attendants wear Saddam
badges on their robes, and huge portraits of the Iraqi
leader praying are found at every turn, setting an example
to clerics and the faithful alike.

On an abandoned, bomb-scarred airfield on the other side of
Baghdad, work has started on what is supposed to be the
world's largest mosque, with room for 45,000 worshippers.
The mosque, to be named after President Saddam, will rise
from a huge artificial lake in the shape of the Arab world.

Under the relentless pressure of two decades of wars and
sanctions, Iraq is being transformed down to its
foundations from one of the most secular nations in the
Middle East to an increasingly devout society.

Almost every successive crisis has brought a corresponding
lurch towards religion, as the government has struggled to
counteract domestic unpopularity and regional isolation.
During the Gulf war the inscription Allah u Akbar (God is
Great) was added to the national flag. Two years later,
alcohol was banned. In the past 10 years the abaya (veil)
has become a common sight on Iraqi's formerly
fashion-conscious women.

A European diplomat in Baghdad believes the embrace of
Islam has so far paid political dividends, but represents a
high-risk strategy.

"It gives Saddam a direct line to the hearts and minds of
millions of Iraqis in the mosques. They are never without
Saddam. But religion is a very dangerous tiger to ride,"
the diplomat said.

The emphasis on religion also underlines the narrow base of
the regime's support. President Saddam and his clan from
the Tikrit region are Sunni Muslims, as have been all Iraqi
leaders since the 16th century, but more than 65 per cent
of the country's 20 million people are Shi'ites. The divide
is masked and hotly denied, but it broke to the surface
with bloody consequences after the Gulf war.

The southern Shi'ites revolted at the same time as the
northern Kurds and took their revenge on prominent Sunni
officials for centuries of second-class citizenship. The
regime responded by slaughtering thousands of Shi'ites and
levelling villages and mosques to reassert control. The
suppression of the Shi'ite revolt fragmented the vestiges
of organised opposition, but left the south a lawless
region infested with army deserters and bandits.

"The government controls the main roads by day - not
necessarily by night. We are always told to stay off them
after dusk," said a UN official who travels frequently to
the southern cities of Basra, Nasiriya and Najaf.

The greatest fear of some Sunnis in Baghdad last week was
that United States and British bombing would unleash a new
Shi'ite revolt.

"I know people who are collecting arms in their houses to
protect themselves, not against the Americans who can't be
touched, but against the Shi'ites," one Sunni said.

The ranks of the devout at Sheikh Abdul Kader, the
capital's main Sunni mosque, may have increased, but the
number of Shi'ites at the Khadhimain Shrine has exploded.

On a working morning this week the huge blue and gold
mosque was packed. Sayeed Abbas Hadi, the curator of the
500-year-old mosque, bristled at the suggestion that the
Shi'ite branch of Iraqi Islam was, perhaps, growing faster
than its Sunni counterpart.

"America and Britain tried to split Iraq during the Gulf
war. But they will not be divided. They have a great deal
of love in their hearts for Saddam Hussein," he said.

In the courtyard outside the government-appointed cleric's
reception room, the guardians of that love were everywhere
- young men in incongruously fashionable dark clothes stood
among the impoverished milling crowd, casually dispersing
small groups of worshippers.

There are carrots also for the Shi'ites. Sayeed Abbas Hadi
said: "All sponsorship comes from the government,
especially from President Saddam Hussein. He is -as you are
aware - one of the descendants of Ali."

Ali, the Prophet Mohammed's cousin and son-in-law, is
revered by the Shi'ites. That a northern Sunni leading an
avowedly secular party should have discovered such a direct
link appeared to be a perfectly understandable coincidence
to the venerable holy man.


Copyright Guardian Media Group plc 1998



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------------------------------

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 15:54:10 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Writer convicted of "challenging crimes against humanity"

Friday, February 27, 1998 Published at 17:33 GMT

BBC

World: Europe

Writer fined for Holocaust writings

Opponents and supporters of Garaudy clashed outside the court

The French author, Roger Garaudy, has been fined
$20,000 for questioning the Nazi Holocaust during the
Second World War.

A French court, which was cordoned off by police
because of the presence of Jewish protestors, convicted
him of challenging crimes against humanity and of racial
libel.

But it cleared him of provoking racial hatred,
discrimination or violence.

Under French law, it is illegal to question crimes against
humanity.

Mr Garaudy was not in court for the verdict.

Shortly after the ruling was announced, a group of
Jewish activists in the courtroom clashed with some
Arab journalists and shouted: "Garaudy Nazi, Garaudy
to Jail."

Questioned Holocaust

In his book The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, Mr
Garaudy argued that Hitler's killing of the Jews could not
be described as genocide.

He also questioned whether gas chambers were used for
mass slaughter.

In an appearance at his hearing last month, Mr Garaudy
said his book in no way condoned Nazi methods.

He said it was an attack instead on Israeli government
policy, which he said used the Holocaust as a "justifying
dogma" for its actions.

"I challenge anyone to find the word 'Jew' used
pejoratively anywhere in my book," Mr Garaudy told the
court.

However, the prosecution described his writings as a
new form of anti-Semitism and racism.

The 84-year-old writer, a former Communist who has
converted to Islam, won wide support across the Muslim
world in his confrontation with French law over the book.

His book was prominently displayed at Cairo's
International Book Fair this month.

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------------------------------

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 16:26:41 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Two views of political parties

Iran Daily (IRNA)
Thursday February 26, 1998


Press Watch


Iran interviewed the deputy interior minister for political
affairs, Seyyed Mostafa Tajerzadeh, and quoted him as
saying that President Khatami places great importance on
the rights of his opponents and that he has mentioned it
several times before during his speeches. Regarding the
issuance of permission for the legaliza-tion of political
groups, he mentioned two different views. "First, there are
those who believe that political parties should not be
required to attain written permission and then there are
those who think precisely the opposite," noted Tajerzadeh.
He added that the government accepts the first view, but
when the Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI) applied for
permission, its request was rejected on the basis of
article 10 of the constitution.


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------------------------------

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 16:28:04 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Mohajerani orders ban on Al Ahmad book

Iran Daily (IRNA)
Thursday February 26, 1998


Press Watch


Jame'eh wrote that despite the issuance of a permit for the
book 'Sangi Bar Gouri' (a stone on a grave) by Iranian
writer, Jalal Al Ahmad, the minister of culture and Islamic
guidance, Dr. Atta'ollah Mohajerani, has ordered a ban on
its circulation. It added that the minister has claimed
that the distribution of the book is to nobody's benefit,
not even the writer himself. "The book isn't written by Al
Ahmad, rather by others who have written it based on his
per-sonal notes," Mohajerani noted.

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------------------------------

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 16:28:45 -0600
From: Arash Alavi <arash__@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Revisiting the Iran-Iraq War

Iran Daily (IRNA)
Thursday February 26, 1998


PERSPECTIVE


Revisiting the Iran-Iraq War


By Dr. Saeed Alam - New Delhi


When every few months the US trains its guns on Saddam
Hussein for his non-compliance with the UNSCOM, one tends
to recall the Iran-Iraq war. It is a perfectly natural
reaction.

Saddam Hussein used that conflict as a cover to develop
chemical and biological weapons, the beginnings of a
nuclear arsenal and the means to deliver the entire lot.

The US was a willing accomplice in Iraq's designs.
According to the New York Times, as many as 10 transfers of
bio-logical agents were made by US firms to Baghdad during
the second half of the war.

The newspaper notes the Reagan administration was fully
informed that being weapon-specific, these substances could
be used by Iraq to develop biological weapons. Some 6,000
licenses were granted to American firms to sell Iraq USD
1.5b worth of tools with potential military applications.

This followed on the heels of Reagan's 1984 proclamation
that, "A defeat of Iraq will be against the US interests in
the region". Iraq also purchased from the US a machine tool
plant for manufacturing nuclear weapons' components and a
powder press suitable for the compaction of nuclear fuels.

Washington also provided financial assistance to Iraq's
missile and nuclear research programs. The US directed its
European allies to provide similar assistance to Iraq. This
advice was eagerly and fully complied with by them.

Fattened on US anti-Iranianism, when Iraq decided to be a
power on its own terms and was prepared to challenge even
American might, only then did Washington become critical of
that country's three-pronged program for producing weapons
of mass destruction.

Clinton recently has been repeatedly recounting how Saddam
had used chemical weapons against Iran. He does so to give
credence to his argument that Saddam not be allowed to have
the capability to manufacture chemical and biological
weapons today.

His concern for Iran is a glaring example of too little,
too late, con-sidering that Saddam was outfitted for
terrorizing the region by the very same Americans. Now he
seems to be akin to a bone firmly lodged in Washington's
throat which it can neither swallow or spit out.





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------------------------------

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 23:39:38 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: Saddam receives message from Iranian president

BAGHDAD, Feb 26 (AFP) - Iraqi President Saddam Hussein received
a message Thursday from his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Khatami,
the official INA news agency said.
Khatami thanked Saddam in the letter for his message of
congratulations on the 19th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in
Iran, the agency said.
The Iranian leader also said he wished for "relations and
cooperation between the two countries to develop more," INA said.
Relations between Iraq and Iran have improved since the end of
their 1980-88 war, but normalization has run aground over the issue
of prisoners of war.
During the recent crisis over UN arms inspections, Iran opposed
a possible military strike against Iraq.
The United States and Britain threatened to use force to make
Iraq comply with UN resolutions if diplomacy failed.
But the United Nations and Iraq signed an agreement Monday
allowing checks by UN arms inspectors of so-called presidential
sites.

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 02:20:15 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: fwd: Afghanistan Holds Public Amputation

Afghanistan Holds Public Amputation

.c The Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Hameedullah sat on the cold, wet ground of a high
school football field Friday surrounded by 10,000 people who had come to
watch a doctor amputate his right hand - the punishment in Taliban-run
territory for theft.

Taliban soldiers with automatic rifles dragged 18-year-old Hameedullah from
the
back of an ambulance. Behind him a doctor followed.

Sobbing Hameedullah fell to the ground, while over a loudspeaker a mullah or
Islamic cleric condemned Hameedullah's crime. He had apparently stolen some
items from a small shop in Kabul's Karte Parwan district. The authorities
didn't say what he had stolen or its worth.

A guard stood next to Hameedullah, while the doctor crouched to administer an
injection of anesthetic. Within two minutes Hameedullah slumped to the ground,
witnesses said.

Using a knife, the doctor amputated his right hand.

``It was all over in two, three minutes,'' said Mohammed Ahmed, a driver who
watched the amputation.

After the operation, the soldiers moved quickly, picking up the bleeding youth
and carrying him into an ambulance. As it roared off to a nearby hospital, the
mullah yelled God is Great and extolled the virtues of the Taliban and its
brand of Islamic law.

In Afghanistan, Taliban troops rule roughly 85 percent of the country and
their
northern-based opposition the remaining 15 percent.

The Taliban, who swept through Afghanistan in the past three years, have
imposed a harsh version of Islamic law that calls for the death penalty for
people convicted of murder, treason or rape, amputation of limbs for anyone
found guilty of theft and public lashing for a variety of smaller crimes.

According to the mullah at Hameedullah's amputation, the young man had
confessed to the theft.

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 02:21:10 +0100
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@ALGONET.SE>
Subject: fwd: Afghan Crowd Watches Girl-Lashing

Afghan Crowd Watches Girl-Lashing

.c The Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Thousands of people watched Friday while a teen-age
girl, shrouded in a head-to-toe veil, received 100 lashes for walking with a
man who was not her relative.

The Taliban religious army, which has imposed a strict version of Islamic law
in the 85 percent of Afghanistan under its control, also publicly amputated
the
hands of two men convicted of stealing $500 from a shop.

Their hands were later displayed to the crowd in Kabul's sports arena. Over a
loudspeaker a local Taliban leader warned: ``This is the fate of anyone who
steals.''

At the other end of the arena, the girl, identified as Suhailullah, stood for
60 of her lashes and sat for the rest, witnesses said.

No sound could be heard from beneath her burqua, a large piece of fabric that
fits over the head with a mesh opening for the eyes.

It was unclear how old the girl is, or whether she required medical treatment
after the lashing.

Taliban troops arrested Suhailullah as she walked down the street with a man,
who ran off when they approached.

Roving bands of Taliban soldiers routinely beat women for not covering
themselves completely and beat men who appear to have shaven - both of which
are crimes under Taliban law.

On Wednesday, three men convicted of sodomy were buried under rubble for 30
minutes. They survived, and the Taliban spared their lives.

Earlier this month, a large yellow crane dangling the body of a man hanged for
treason drove slowly through Kabul. And a Taliban soldier convicted of theft
was strapped to the front of a truck and driven through the capital, his face
blackened with coal.

------------------------------

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 26 Feb 1998 to 27 Feb 1998
***************************************************