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Alaskan Drilling Update * Jewish Manifesto: Sharon: Worst Enemy * Space Weapon

11 April 2002 (Continued)


3) Update- Senators to push for Alaska oil drilling this week
4) Jewish Manifesto: Sharon is Israel's Worst Enemy
5) First-Ever Weapons in Space -- (Space Planes)

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3) Update- Senators to push for Alaska oil drilling this week

Story by Tom Doggett
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

USA: April 11, 2002

WASHINGTON - Arguing that the United States should not depend on Iraq as an oil supplier, Republican Sen. Frank Murkowski of Alaska said on Tuesday he will offer this week an amendment to a broad energy bill to allow drilling in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Republicans, who have been scrambling to pick up more Senate support for the Arctic drilling proposal, said two prominent Jewish groups concerned about rising Middle East tensions endorsed the plan.

The Democratic-led Senate has been debating a broad energy policy for several weeks, with the Alaskan drilling amendment looming as one of its most contentious issues. The bill also seeks to promote conservation, increase funding of renewable energy sources, and encourage more domestic production of coal, nuclear power, natural gas and oil.

Murkowski said Iraq's threat on Monday to stop its oil exports for 30 days in protest of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict shows why oil companies should be allowed to tap the Arctic wildlife refuge's potential 16 billion barrels of oil.

"My intention is to offer an ANWR amendment this week," Murkowski told his colleagues in a Senate floor speech.

Republicans want to allow drilling in a small part of the 19 million acre (7.7 million hectares) refuge, a move they say is safe for the environment and important for U.S. security.

Democrats and green groups contend the Alaskan refuge, which they have dubbed "America's Serengeti," must remain closed to protect caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle accused Republicans of dragging out the ANWR debate and said he wants to have a vote on the drilling issue this week.

JEWISH SUPPORT FOR DRILLING

A coalition of Jewish groups, including the influential American Jewish Congress and B'nai Brith, came out on Tuesday in favor of Senate passage of an energy bill that would allow drilling in the Arctic refuge.

The groups said U.S. foreign policy should not be blackmailed by Iraq's attempt to use oil as a weapon.

Endorsement of Arctic drilling is a reversal for the American Jewish Congress, which adopted a resolution in January saying the amount of potential oil from the refuge was "too small to make a significant impact" on U.S. supplies.

Chuck Brooks, a spokesman for the mainstream group, said on Tuesday that passing comprehensive energy legislation that includes drilling in the refuge was now "a national security imperative."

U.S. purchases of oil from Iraq provide funds to Saddam Hussein to help pay Palestinians suicide bombers $25,000 each, Murkowski said. "Each time an American goes to the gas pump he is funding indirectly the suicide bombers," he said.

BUSH DOWNPLAYS THREAT

Iraq, which ships about 2 million barrels per day of crude oil, is the sixth-largest foreign supplier to the U.S. market.

Murkowski asked Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham late Tuesday for an emergency review of the impact of lost Iraqi oil supplies on the U.S. economy.

"Americans have reason to be concerned. Safe, secure and affordable energy is to our economy as oxygen is to our existence," the senator said in a letter to Abraham.

The White House has downplayed Iraq's threat.

President George W. Bush said he did not expect other oil-producing nations to fall in line behind Iraq.

"You know my opinion about Saddam... the world's not going to follow him," Bush told a Republican fund-raising lunch in Connecticut. "But it just goes to show how important it is to diversify our supply away from places like Iraq."

Abraham said the Bush administration was not seriously considering releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, or delaying crude deliveries to the emergency stockpile to counter any supply disruptions from Iraq.

"We're not at the point of even looking at those options," Abraham said. "It's obviously, however, a tool available to the president should he conclude that national security interests are involved."

The United States has plenty of oil. The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that U.S. weekly oil inventories reached a 3-year high of 326 million barrels.

Lawmakers have spent a total of 15 days so far debating energy legislation, a long period by Senate standards.

But Republicans face an uphill battle to win congressional approval for drilling in the Alaskan refuge.

A Reuters survey late last month found that 40 senators were on record in favor of opening the refuge. Fifty opposed drilling and 10 lawmakers were undecided.

Under the Senate's rules, 60 votes are needed to end debate on controversial measures and proceed to a final vote.

The Republican-led House passed an energy bill last summer that would allow drilling in the Arctic refuge.

"Now it's time for the Senate to finish its job. I regret it's taken this long," Abraham said.

All Contents © Reuters News Service 2002

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To reach your Senator, call the Congressional Switchboard telephone number 202-224-3121.

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4) Jewish Manifesto: Sharon is Israel's Worst Enemy

Many of us who have initiated and signed this manifesto lost family members during the Second World War. They died in concentration camps or perished in the mass graves of Eastern Europe. Often they had to dig their own graves before being catapulted into them. Others of us are survivors of Nazi persecution.

We totally repudiate Ariel Sharon's claim to speak in the name of world Jewry. He certainly does not speak in ours. Israel's declaration of war on the Palestinians could easily escalate into a major regional conflict. Israel has nuclear weapons, and there is little doubt that Sharon is fully prepared to use them. In our view, he and his policies have almost single- handedly brought the Middle East to the point where disaster could strike at any moment. Sharon is the biggest threat to the Israeli people and to Jews around the world.

The Saudi proposal adopted by the Arab League handed Sharon a unique historic opportunity to make peace. His only response was ruthless violence. Sharon is incapable of concluding agreements or forging compromises. A peaceful solution is impossible as long as he remains in power. He has never in his career done anything but resort to the toughest conceivable military measures.

The Israeli resistance and peace movements deserve all the support we can give them. As far back as 1952, Sharon commanded the infamous special operation Unit 101, whose task was to carry out reprisals on the Palestinian and Arab side of the armistice lines. During the next couple of years, he was responsible for two attacks on Palestinian villages that left almost 100 civilians dead. Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett condemned the atrocities.

In 1982, Defense Minister Ariel Sharon fashioned "Operation Peace in Galilee" - otherwise known as Israel's invasion of Lebanon. This time the toll was 20,000 killed and more than 100,000 homeless. Better than 80% of the victims were civilians, and at least 6,000 children were orphaned.

An International Commission of Inquiry set up by Nobel Peace Prizewinner Se√-¬°n MacBride determined that the Israelis had been in violation of international law during the Lebanese war. An Israeli government commission headed by Supreme Court President Yitzhak Kahan concluded that Sharon had not done enough to stop the massacre of 800 unarmed civilians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

In less than two years, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has managed to torpedo the agreements that took Israel and the Palestinians many years of patient accommodation to achieve. Sharon contends that Israel is above the Geneva Conventions and international law. That puts him in the company of the world's cruelest and most despicable dictators. On Sharon's orders, ambulances and hospitals are ambushed, doctors are shot, and pregnant women are left to die or give birth at Israeli checkpoints.

Our alternative to Sharon is the Jewish tradition of humanism and faith in the future. When challenged by a stranger to sum up the Jewish religion while he hopped on one foot, the great Rabbi Hillel replied simply, "That which you find hateful to yourself, do not do unto others. That is all of the law. The rest is merely commentary."

We demand that Israel immediately and unconditionally withdraw from the Occupied Territories, that an international peacekeeping force be sent to the region, that Israel comply with international law, and that Israel declare at once its willingness to negotiate peace on the basis of all U.N. resolutions.

(initial signers;)
Henry Ascher, physician (Sweden)
Channa Bankier, artist (Sweden)
Adrienne Levy Berg, physiotherapist (Sweden)
Nina Bergman, district medical officer (Sweden)
Set Bornstein (Sweden)
Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics (United States)
Ilan Cohen, certified engineer (Sweden)
Anja Emsheimer, teacher (Sweden)
Peter Emsheimer, PhD (Sweden)
Dror Feiler, musician (Sweden)
Lennart Grosin, associate professor of education (Sweden)
Hertha Fischer, county commissioner (Sweden)
David Gutman, sociologist (Sweden)
David Henley, senior physician, associate professor (Sweden)
Dan Israel, publisher (Sweden)
Erland Josephson, actor (Sweden)
Anja Karlsson, student (Sweden)
Katarina Katz, economist (Sweden)
Olle Katz, teacher (Sweden)
Ronit Koerner, Waldorf school teacher (Sweden)
John Lapidus, freelance author (Sweden)
Judit Luk√-¬°cs, journalist (Sweden)
Joanna Dubinska Malmberg, occupational therapist (Sweden)
Rafael Najdorf, male nurse (Norway)
Mitchell Plitnick, writer, activist (United States)
Georg Riedel, musician (Sweden)
Cynthia Roth, poet (United States)
Ken Schubert, authorized public translator (Sweden and the United States)
Jakub Srebro, certified engineer (Sweden)
Julianna Srebro, psychologist (Sweden)
Annika Thor, author (Sweden)
G√-¬°bor Tiroler, instructor in rehabilitation, public health expert (Sweden)
Zoltan Tiroler, research engineer (Sweden)
Maj Wechselman, filmmaker (Sweden)

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For a related web site on this Manifesto, viist:
http://www.swedishenglishtranslation.com/manilink.htm

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5) First-Ever Weapons in Space -- (Space Planes)

April 10, 2002
Military explores space planes
Vehicle could drop bombs, fix satellites, general says

By John Diedrich
The Gazette

Michael Limcango, left, representing Analytical Graphics Inc., and Adam Pederson of Lockheed Martin talk Tuesday at The Broadmoor against a backdrop of a screen depicting space technology. The Space Symposium at The Broadmoor continues through Thursday.] The military is looking into building a spacecraft that could drop bombs from space, fix orbiting satellites and give better pictures of the battlefield, the top space officer said Tuesday. If a military space plane becomes a reality, it would be the first time the United States has put weapons in space.

The Pentagon has military satellites that provide navigation, communication, weather, reconnaissance and missile warning information, all considered key to how the United States fights war. But none of them has weapons. Gen. Ed Eberhart, head of U.S. Space Command, Air Force Space Command and NORAD - all based in Colorado Springs - says the military needs a space plane.

"A reusable launch vehicle will be the key to operating and conquering the space frontier," Eberhart said at the 18th annual National Space Symposium at The Broadmoor hotel, an annual exposition of commercial, military and civilian space issues. About 3,800 people attended. NASA scrapped plans to build a spacecraft called the X-33 a year ago, in part, because of cost overruns. Eberhart said the military is interested in that spacecraft, but its version would be different. It might be designed to run without humans on board and to land in the oceans, he said.

A military space plane quickly could provide surveillance in areas of the world that become important to the Pentagon, he said. Moving satellites for better surveillance now can take days. It could fix or refuel satellites in orbit, which isn't a current option for the military. The plane also could bomb a target in a matter of hours, instead of the 17 hours it takes for a conventional bomber to travel halfway around the world. "(A space plane) has a lot of possibilities, a lot of applications in every one of our missions," Eberhart said. The space plane is only an idea and studying it doesn't mean the United States has decided to put weapons in space, said Army Maj. Barry Venable, spokesman for U.S. Space Command.

"We aren't doing our job if we don't look at things like this and think about it," he said. Some critics of Space Command have said a space plane that drops bombs would be in violation of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which says "space will be used for peaceful purposes." But Venable said "peaceful purposes" has been interpreted to mean nonaggressive acts.

In other words, weapons can be put in space to defend a nation and its assets, he said. Also Tuesday, Eberhart said information from military satellites may be useful for local police and other first responders in the war on terrorism.

"Over time we can leverage our space assets to support homeland security and law enforcement," Eberhart said, noting there is no such proposal yet. "A lot of it hinges on cooperation."

The general didn't give examples, but Venable said later satellite information could help fire departments track the spread of chemical or biological agents released by terrorists, provide police with more accurate city maps or give emergency workers better communications. "We need to look for ways to make this information available for the local guys as well," Venable said.

Copyright 2002, The Gazette, a Freedom Communications, Inc. Company.
All rights reserved. For the original posting with photos and links, see:
http://www.gazette.com/stories/0410loc1-2.php?section=3D1

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Related Story links:

Military High Ground Key To America's Security
http://www.space.com/news/nss_spacebomber_020409.html

Military, Civilian Spacecraft Respond To Homeland Defense Needs
http://www.space.com/news/nss_homeland_020409.html

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