By Syed M. Aslam
Jan 20 - 26, 2003



*** "NO ACCESS TO THE COURTS, lawyers or relatives, the prospect of indefinite detention in small cells for up to 24 hours a day, the possibility of trials by executive military commissions with the power to hand down death sentences and no right of appeal..."

(Human rights watchdog Amnesty International urging the US either to release hundreds of detainees at the infamous Guantanamo Bay in Cuba or to try them under the law as their detention without trial is a violation of universal basic human rights)

*** "THE UNITED STATES reserves the right, in the absence of international action to disarm Iraq, to act with likeminded nations to disarm Iraq."

(US Secretary of State Colin Powell reiterating US' right to disarm Iraq after a report from the UN said that its inspectors had found 'no smoking guns' in the country)

*** "... BUT THE PEOPLE won't be allowed to demonstrate. They live under weak regimes who are frightened. They are afraid three or four million people will come on the street and they will lose power. They are afraid of losing America's dollars."

(Firebrand Algerian independence hero Ahmed Ben Bella explaining why despite an overwhelming anti-war and anti-US feelings the masses in the Arab world would not be allowed to vent their anger peacefully)

*** "IF THE UNITED STATES evades its responsibility and challenges us, we'll turn the citadel of imperialists into a sea of fire."



(North Korea's official 'Rodong Sinmun' newspaper blaming the US for the current crisis and warning it of dire consequences)

*** "WE HAVE EVERYTHING the cars, the villas, the diamonds, the bodyguards... It's pretty boring. So why not be a beggar or a pimp with a few mates just for a laugh?"

(Unidentified Russian planning to use pranks elaborately organized by a company allowing the bored nouveau riche to be poor and filthy for thousands of roubles. The costly pranks have become a new pastime of the new rich in Moscow)

*** "IN A DEMOCRACY one needs public backing for any war and the reality is that the public is still unconvinced."

(Chairman of House of Commons' foreign affairs committee, Donald Anderson, warning the British Prime Minister Tony Blair that the MPs would rebel unless there was a second UN resolution explicitly authorizing the use of force against Iraq)

*** "I CAN SACK the Prime Minister by issuing just one letter... I will not sack him for personal gains. But I will do it in the national interest."

(Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga warning Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of dismissal over what she said was the mishandling of Norwegian-backed peace talks with Tamil rebels. The warning was in response to Wickremsinghe's public warning to the President not to undermine the talks aimed at ending three decades of violence)

*** "IT'S A VERY cynical game. The reporters know these stories are nonsense and they know they are being used. But it's an exclusive. It's an exclusive built on air..."

(American news analyst Eric Umansky commenting on the absence of independent voice in the US newspaper no more interested to unearth the truth resulting in lack of journalistic credibility and objectivity)



*** "WE ARE NOT only ready to be beaten up in order to defend our ideas, we are also ready to die."

(Head of Italian Union of Muslims, Adel Smith, refusing to be bullied after being assaulted by a group of far-right extremists during a television show in the city of Verona)

*** "I THINK the Iraqi experience under UN auspices is so incredibly bad, in my view genocidal, that the UN has done irreparable damage to itself... [The Security Council is] a body out of control and corrupted by the US."

(Former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday accusing the United Nations of embezzling $ 40 billion worth of funds meant for Iraq's oil-for-food programme)