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Timeline: 2002

Jan 1  The Open Skies mutual surveillance treaty, created in 1992, goes into effect. Thirty-four nations have signed the treaty, including Russia and the United States. Cuba and China have not.

Jan 4  The US Supreme Court affirms patents on seeds. Farmers will no longer be able to save and share seeds as they have done for millennia. By law they will have to purchase seeds from the patent holder every new planting season. The primary beneficiary of the ruling is Monsanto Corporation.

Jan 9  The US Department of Justice announces that it will investigate the Enron Corporation.

Jan 29  In his State of the Union address, President Bush makes his axis of evil declaration, disparaging the governments of North Korea, Iraq and Iran.

Jan 31  In Pakistan, Daniel Pearl, reporter for the Wall Street Journal, is murdered by his kidnappers. 

Feb 10  In Algeria, government forces have been successfully hunting down members of the Islamic Army Group, said to be responsible for the slaughter of more than 100,000 civilians. Today, government forces gun down the group's leader, Antar Zuarbri. The Islamic Army Group is now described as having practically disappeared. But at least a few remain who are not giving up on terrorist tactics, and they are trying to link up with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda.

Feb 12  The United Nations war crimes trial of Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosević begins at the Hague in Belgium. 

Feb 22  In Angola, Jonas Savimbi is killed in a military ambush.

Feb 22  In Nepal, Maoist guerrillas, opposed to the monarchy, kill 32 policemen.

Feb 27  A train carrying Hindus on their way to rebuilding a temple at Ayodhya stops in the town of Godha, which is 40 percent Muslim.  Muslims believe the Ayodhya site is theirs. As the train leaves the station, Muslims set the train on fire, killing 59 including more than a dozen children.

Feb 28  In Ahmedabad, India, Hindu mobs kill more than 60 Muslims in their homes and shops.

Mar 7  In the Antarctic over the past 35 days, Larson B Ice Shelf, over 3,250 square kilometers, has broken apart – to be blamed on global warming.

Mar 11  Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein's deputy prime minister, announces that the amount of money given to the families of suicide bombers is increasing from $10,000 to $25,000. 

Mar 27  In Netanya, Israel, a suicide bomber kills 28 and wounds 140 at a Passover dinner for the elderly. Hamas claims responsibility.  For the month of March, 135 Israeli citizens have died from suicide bombings. 

Apr 2  Intending to arrest terrorists and those who finance them, Israel responds to suicide bombings with Operation Defensive Shield, the largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 War. 

Apr 11  In front of the ancient Ghriba Synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba, a suicide bomber kills 14 German tourists, 6 Tunisians, a Frenchman and wounds 30 others. 

Apr 30  Pakistani voters approve a referendum that grants a five-year presidency for Pervez Musharraf.

May 1 In Iran some have continued to press for improving relations with the United States, but the country's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei (not to be confused with the late Ayatollah Khomeini) has had a change in attitude since President Bush included Iran in an "Axis of Evil." In a Labor Day speech, Khamenei dismisses negotiating with the US and says "The Islamic Republic of Iran will never succumb to America's bullying."

May 5  Jacques Chirac is reelected President of France.

May 20  The people of East Timor celebrate becoming formally independent from Indonesia. 

May 20  In Algeria, elections for seats in parliament give legal Islamic parties 20 percent of the vote compared to the 50 percent received by the Islamic Salvation Front in 1991. The government denies the Salvation Front denying their election victory, and this will launch a civil war.

Jun 2  In a speech to the military academy at West Point, President Bush talks about defense that is proactive rather than reactive. He says that in some instances the US must strike first against another state to prevent a potential threat from growing into an actual one.

Jul 1  The UN's new International Criminal Court, located in the Hague, in the Netherlands, becomes a legal force. Not to be confused with the "World Court," it has been founded to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Those states having signed the agreement are 146 in number, well above the sixty required. The United States is among the 45 members of the UN who have not ratified the agreement

Jul 8  At his press conference, President Bush is asked whether it is his "firm intention to get rid of Saddam Hussein." He answers that it is "a stated policy of [his] government to have a regime change. And it hasn't changed. And we'll use all tools at our disposal to do so."

Abu Nidal

Abu Nidal in 1976. A photo released by Israeli intelligence.

Jonathan S. Landay

Jonathan S. Landay Journalist

Jul 14  During Bastille Day celebrations an attempt is made to assassinate President Chirac.

Aug 1  Saddam Hussein's administration announces that the UN's chief weapons inspector, Sweden's Hans Blix, is welcome in Baghdad for "technical talks."

Aug 3  President Bush signs into law a bill that authorizes the use of military force to liberate any US citizen or citizen of a US ally being held by the International Criminal Court (ICC), and it "provides for the withdrawal of US military assistance from countries ratifying the ICC treaty."

Aug 16  In an exclusive neighborhood in Baghdad, Abu Nidal is assassinated by Iraqi intelligence.

Aug 20  President Bush says to Bob Woodward: "I'm not a textbook player, I'm a gut player."

Aug 26  In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, US Vice President Dick Cheney says, "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. The CIA director, George Tene,t enjoys an insider relationship with the Bush administration and does not want to contradict such claims. (PBS Frontline, "The Dark Side," June 20, 2006)

Sep 5  In Afghanistan a car bomb kills at least 30 in an apparent attempt to assassinate President Hamid Karzai.

Sep 6  Johathan S. Landay, writing for Knight Ridder Newspapers reports that "Senior US officials with access to top-secret intelligence on Iraq say they have detected no alarming increase in the threat that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein poses to American security and Middle East stability."

Sep 8  Vice President Cheney tells Meet the Press that Muhamed Atta, in early 2001 "did apparently travel to Prague" to meet with an Iraqi government official. CIA and FBI attempts to confirm Cheney's allegation place Atta in Florida at the time that the meeting in Prague was supposed to have taken place.

Sep 12  At the United Nations, President Bush speaks of Saddam Hussein's violations of promises made at the close of the Iraq war in 1991 of violating Security Council Resolution 1373 by continuing "to shelter and support terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel and Western governments," and of Iraq attempting to assassinate the Emir of Kuwait, a former US President (his father)  and targeting Iraqi dissidents abroad. And he speaks of Iraq having "likely" stockpiles of "weapons of mass destruction." 

Sep 14  Scott Ritter, UN weapons inspector and former US. Marine Corps major, tells Time magazine that "no one has backed up any allegations that Iraq has reconstituted WMD capability with anything that remotely resembles substantive fact."

Sep 19 In Cote d'Ivoire, troops scheduled for demobilization rebel and take control of the northern half of the country.

Sep 22  In Cote d'Ivoire the government receives the assistance of French troops, the French describing the presence as protecting their nationals and other foreigners. French troops block a rebel advance southward against the capital. 

Sep 26  A Canadian telecommunications engineer, Maher Arar, returns from his vacation with his wife and family in Tunis to his job in Canada. He is intercepted at a stopover at Kennedy Airport in New York. He is not allowed to continue on his flight to Canada and in secret will be sent as a prisoner to his country of birth, Syria, where he will be tortured.

Sep 27 East Timor becomes the 191st member of the United Nations.

Oct 2  The US Congress passes a joint resolution authorizing the president to use the US military as he deems necessary and appropriate against Iraq, provided that the action will not hinder efforts to pursue the al Qaeda terrorist network and that the president declares to Congress that "diplomatic efforts to enforce the U.N. resolutions have failed."

Oct 7  President Bush tells the public that "Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases." This is information provided by a captured al-Qaeda operative, Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, who knew it was false and saw benefit in provoking a war between the US and Iraq.

Oct 8  For Knight Ridder Newspapers, Warren P. Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott write that "a growing number of military officers, intelligence professionals and diplomats in his [President Bush's] own government privately have deep misgivings about the administration's double-time march toward war. These officials charge that administration hawks have exaggerated evidence of the threat that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein poses – including distorting his links to the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Oct 12  In a tourist district on the island of Bali, a suicide bomber and a planted car bomb kill 202, 89 of whom are Australian tourists.

Oct 26  Vice President Cheney says to the Veterans of Foreign Wars: "Simply stated, thee is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us.

Oct 26  Opposition to another war in Iraq is organized into demonstrations in Europe, Latin America, Australia, Japan and the United States. In the US a common theme is that money spent on war could be better spent on social programs. One slogan is "No blood for oil." Most signs call for peace.

Oct 27  President Bush replies that peace is the ultimate goal. "If we remain true and strong and diligent," he tells a crowd in Arizona, "we can achieve peace."

Oct 27  For Knight Ridder Newspapers, Warren P. Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott continue on the subject of Iraq. They write that a "dispute pits hardliners long distrustful of the US intelligence community against professional military and intelligence officers who fear the hawks are shaping intelligence analyses to support their case for invading Iraq."

Oct 28  People including Paul Reynolds of the British Broadcasting Corporation are expressing doubts about a serious link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. They point to Hussein's secularist background and his hostilities toward the religious extremism of al Qaeda – Hussein's money to families of suicide bombers being for self-promotion in the Arab world. Reynolds writes that Saddam must know that to link with al Qaeda would be fatal for him.

Nov 1  Major General Geoffrey Miller replaces another general, Rick Baccus, as commander of the Guantanamo detention center (Camp X-Ray, Camp Delta and Camp Echo). The Pentagon's expectation is that Miller will toughen interrogation techniques. 

Nov 5  In the United States, elections give President Bush's party, the Republicans, gains in both the Senate and House of Representatives, where both already have majority representation. 

Nov 8  In the United Nations, US and British influence contribute to the creation of Resolution 1441, urging Iraq to disarm or face "serious consequences." In the fifteen member Security Council the resolution passes unanimously.

Nov 8  United Nations weapons inspectors return to Iraq.

Nov 24  After three days of rioting that results in the killing of 105 persons, the Miss World beauty pageant is moving from Nigeria to Britain. The riots began as a reaction to an article in a local newspaper describing the possibility of the Prophet Muhammad, were he alive, marrying one of the pageant contestants.

Nov 28 Suicide bombers attack Israeli tourists at the Paradise Hotel in Kenya, killing 15 and injuring 40, mostly Kenyans.

Dec 7  Iraq submits a 12,000 page declaration denying that is has weapons banned by the United Nations.

Dec 19  Charges against the Central Park Five are dropped. The real culprit, a convicted rapist and murderer, Matias Reyes, has confessed. His story describes details of the rape that were missing in the jumbled and fictitious confessions forced from the wrongly accused. DNA evidense confirms the guilt of the real culprit. Law enforcement will now be seen as negligent in their handling the case. Ken Burns will make a movie about it.

Dec 21 According to the journalist Bob Woodward, in the president's oval office CIA Director George Tenet with his deputy, John McLaughlin, show President Bush their best evidence that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. Bush responds: "Nice try, but that isn't gonna sell Joe Public. That isn't gonna convince Joe Public."

Dec 22  In Baghdad an advisor to Hussein, Amir al-Saadi, announces to journalists from around the world that Hussein's government is "ready to answer any questions raised by the United States and Britain on its arms declaration, and would allow the CIA to come and identify suspect sites for weapons inspectors." 

Dec 27  In Chechnya a truck-bomb suicide destroys government headquarters, killing 72.

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