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to my knowledge this is the first time this story has bubbled up in the major media. Let’s hope the debate gets more air before some other psychopath starts killing people and diverts our attention away from issues that are actually important.

-Ian. 20021109/ts_nm/politcs_antiwar_dc War with Iraq About Oil – San Francisco Activists Sat Nov 9, 6:56 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – While the Bush administration contends its stance against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news – web sites) was bolstered by the U.N. Security Council’s call for Iraq to disarm, San Francisco activists say they will continue protesting U.S. policy, calling it war planning on behalf of oil interests.

“The Bush administration is not interested in weapons inspections,” activist Medea Benjamin of the San Francisco-based groups United for Peace and Global Exchange told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It is interested in going to war against Iraq. This is a war for oil,” she added.

Benjamin, a former Green Party U.S. Senate nominee, charged that the United States threatened nations that did not support the U.N.’s resolution with loss of access to Iraqi oil after a possible military conflict with Iraq, or with loss of future aid, the Chronicle reported on Saturday.

San Francisco has emerged as a hotbed of activism against the Bush administration’s Iraq aims. The city last month hosted its largest peace rally since the Vietnam War, drawing a crowd of 80,000, according to organizers.

The newspaper also reported that Richard Becker, San Francisco representative for the sponsor group of recent large peace demonstrations, said the United States seeks a “colonial regime” that would “turn over Iraq’s oil to U.S. oil companies.”

Benjamin, who recently disrupted a presentation to Congress by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, will join an around-the-clock protest in front of the White House starting on Nov. 17, and Becker’s International ANSWER Coalition is planning three days of protests on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in January in Washington, D.C., according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

More than half a million anti-war protesters from across Europe marched through the Italian Renaissance city of Florence on Saturday in a demonstration denouncing any possible U.S. attack on Iraq.

President Bush (news – web sites) warned Iraq on Saturday that any act of delay or defiance would be a breach of its international obligations under a tough new U.N. resolution requiring Baghdad to disarm.

“The world has now come together to say that the outlaw regime in Iraq will not be permitted to build or possess chemical, biological or nuclear weapons,” Bush said in his weekly radio address. “And my administration will see to it that the world’s judgement is enforced.”

“Iraq must now, without delay or negotiations, give up its weapons of mass destruction, welcome full inspections and fundamentally change the approach it has taken for more than a decade,” Bush said. “Iraq can be certain that the old game of cheat and retreat, tolerated at other times, will no longer be tolerated.”