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Bush Planning To Appoint Arms Merchant As Viceroy Of Baghdad

by Paolo Pontoniere

on Jay Garner
(PNS) -- How motivated will the future American civilian governor of Iraq be to bring peace to the Middle East? The question has raised serious concerns for Europeans.

Reports in the British and Italian press recently focused on the role played by retired Army Gen. Jay Garner in the evolution of the current Iraqi conflict. Garner, who has been chosen by the Bush administration to become governor of Iraq once Saddam is ousted, is president of Virginia-based SYColeman Corp., an arms manufacturing company. His company has provided vital technical support to Patriot missile systems employed by the U.S. Army in its current war on Iraq, according to European media.

During the 1991 Gulf War, Garner was instrumental in the deployment of the Patriot system to Israel. SYColeman has also worked on the Arrow missile defense system, a component of the U.S. national missile defense program, which has also been deployed to Israel.

Garner was chosen to head the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance -- the Pentagon agency appointed to govern Iraq's 23 million people after the war -- on the strength of his past experience as director of the Provide Comfort Program, the operation that coordinated humanitarian help in Iraqi's Kurdish territory at the end of Gulf War I. Named to that position by then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, Garner oversaw an office that was created by UN mandate.

During his tenure as head of Provide Comfort, Garner never missed a chance to express his belief that the best vehicle to deliver humanitarian aid is always the U.S. Army. Suspicious of this position, European analysts are reporting uneasiness with Garner's business and political ties -- arms trading and an apparent rootedness in the Republican right.

European commentators report that Garner has been involved in the formulation of the U.S. National Missile Defense policy, which arms control experts say has deeply damaged the integrity of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972. In 1998, Garner advised now Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on his work as head of the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States. In its report to Congress, the Rumsfeld Commission, which was responsible for expanding missile defense into space, accused three countries -- North Korea, Iran and Iraq -- of developing missile hardware that could be potentially threatening to the United States, thus laying the foundation for the Bush's "Axis of Evil" speech and providing the philosophical inspiration for the Iraqi pre-emptive action.

Before joining SYColeman in 1997, Garner had been commander of the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command. When the effectiveness of the Patriot performance was questioned during congressional hearings, Garner dismissed those criticizing the interceptor system, claiming that it had proven effective 40 to 70 percent of the time when it was used in Israel and Saudi Arabia. His assessment was denounced as biased and over-inflated by Ted Postol, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1999, SYColeman won a contract for $365 million to become a consultant on space and missile defense to the U.S. Army. In March, L-3 Communications, which acquired SYColeman last year, received a $1.5 billion assignment from the Pentagon to provide logistic support to U.S. special forces.

U.K. Jailing More Blacks
British media reported last week that the United Kingdom's penal system has begun to resemble the U.S. system in one significant way -- the high number of blacks being imprisoned.

According to a study released by the Home Office, currently one in 100 black British adults is in prison. The number of jailed adult Afro-Britons has risen 54 percent since the Labor Party came to power in Great Britain. These figures have generated great alarm among prison reform advocates and human rights activists. Since African and Caribbean blacks account for only 2 percent of the U.K. general population but make up 16 percent of Britain's prison population, advocates fear that the British judicial system may be relying increasingly on racial profiling to tackle rising crime rates and street violence.

Many U.K. journalists believe that their country is becoming worrisomely similar to the United States, where black men are 10 times more likely to go to prison than white men, and where one in 20 black adults over the age of 18 is in jail.

This trend has prompted the Howard League for Penal Reform, a U.K. group dedicated to prison reform, to call on the police to refrain from profiling black youth in gang violence and street crime.

"There's a growing perception that street crime is black people's crime, when it may simply be that they're more visible to the police and courts," says Frances Crook, director of the league. "The courts are picking up on low-level antisocial behavior on the streets because young black men have nowhere else to go, either because they're poor or because it's part of their culture to be on the street," continues Crook.

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Albion Monitor April 10, 2003 (

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