Richard Moore

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Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 23:01:55 -0500
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From: Snezana Vitorovich <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Iraque:The Great Cover Up

I know this is  a long message but we all have interest in
this topic .The same story is repeating in Yugoslavia.


John Pilger: 19 Jan. 2001 -  (John Pilger is an
internationally acclaimed documentary film journalist)
On the eve of an election campaign, the Blair government is
attempting, with desperation, to suppress a scandal
potentially greater than the arms-to-Iraq cover-up. This is
the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps many
more caused by decisions taken in Whitehall and Washington.
Moreover, the evidence of deceit and lying points to at
least two Cabinet ministers and three junior ministers. At
its centre is the unerring, wilful destruction of a whole
society, Iraq, the aim of which is to keep the regime in
Baghdad weak enough to be influenced by the west and yet
strong enough to control its own people.

This is longstanding Anglo-American policy. Contrary to the
propaganda version about protecting Iraq's ethnic peoples,
the objective is to prevent a Kurdish secession in the north
and the establishment of a Shi'ite religious state in the
rest of the country, while maintaining the west's dominance
of the region and its access to cheap oil.

The victims of this policy are 20 million Iraqis, uniquely
isolated from the rest of humanity by an economic embargo
whose viciousness has been compared with a medieval siege.
The word "genocide" has been used by experts on
international law and other cautious voices , such as Denis
Halliday, the former assistant secretary general of the
United Nations, who resigned as the UN's senior humanitarian
official in Iraq, and Hans von Sponeck, his successor, who
also resigned in protest. Each had 34 years at the UN and
were acclaimed in their field; their resignations, along
with the head of the World Food Programme in Baghdad, were

After more than a decade of sanctions, no one on the
Security Council wants them except the United States and
Britain. The French foreign minister, Hubert Vedrine, has
called them "cruel, because they exclusively punish the
Iraqi people and the weakest among them, and ineffective,
because they don't touch the regime". Had Saddam Hussein
said on television "we think the price is worth it",
referring to UNICEF's figure of half a million child deaths,
he would have been called a monster by the British
government. Madeleine Albright said that. Whitehall remained

The Blair government has played the traditional role of
Washington's proxy with particular enthusiasm. The latest
Security Council resolution, 1284, was drafted by British
officials in New York. They are said to be proud of it.
Peter Hain, the Foreign Office minister, constantly refers
to it as "Iraq's way out". In fact, it is a specious set of
demands, requiring the return of weapons inspectors, but not
offering any guarantee that sanctions will be suspended if
the regime complies. Last year, Jon Davies, then head of the
Iraq desk at the Foreign Office, admitted the "lack of
clarity in exactly what the provisions will be". The
suspicion all along, says Dr. Eric Herring, the Bristol
University specialist, is that "US and British policy is one
of continually moving or hiding the goalposts so that
compliance [by Iraq] becomes impossible and so that the
sanctions cannot be lifted.

In recent months, in the columns of the New Statesman and
the Guardian, Peter Hain has defended a sanctions regime
that, says UNICEF, is a principal cause of the deaths of at
least 180 children every day. Hain's articles and letters
are scripted by Foreign Office officials using the familiar,
weasel lexicon that denied British support for the Khmer
Rouge, the use of Hawk aircraft in East Timor and the
illegal shipment of weapons parts to Britain' s favourite
1980s tyrant, Saddam Hussein. Sir Richard Scott's inquiry
acknowledged their "culture of lying".

You get a sense of the scale of lying from Hain's latest
letter to the NS (15 January) in which he claimed that
"about $l6bn of humanitarian relief was available to the
Iraqi people last year". Quoting UN documents, Hans von
Sponeck replies in this issue (page 37) that the figure was
actually for four years and that, after reparations are paid
to Kuwait and the oil companies, Iraq is left with just $100
a year with which to keep one human being alive. That Hain
does not appear even to question the competence of those who
write his disinformation is remarkable. That he allows the
bureaucracy of a rapacious order he once opposed to invoke
his anti-apartheid record is a bleak irony. That he is said
privately to have serious doubts about sanctions, which he
rejected for Zimbabwe, saying they would "hurt the ordinary
people, not the elite", is a measure of his ambition, and
perhaps explains why he refuses to engage his critics,
preferring rhetoric and abuse. Each time he calls a
principled, informed critic, such as Halliday and von
Sponeck, "a dupe of Saddam Hussein", there is an echo of the
apartheid regime calling a young Hain "a dupe of communism".

The sanctions issue is one of three related scandals
involving epic suffering and loss of life. The truth about
the effects of depleted uranium in shells fired in the l99l
Gulf War and NATO's 1999 attack on Yugoslavia, is that the
Americans and British waged a form of nuclear warfare on
civilian populations, disregarding the health and safety of
their own troops. This was largely to test the Pentagon's
post-cold war strategy of "all out war".

On 9 January, John Spellar, the Defence Minister, told the
House of Commons that the conclusion of many years of
research showed "there is no evidence linking DU to cancers
or to the more general ill health being experienced by some
Gulf veterans". This echoes Peter Hain, who said there had
been "no credible research data". In fact, the data is
credible and voluminous, dating back to the development of
the atomic bomb in 1943, when Brigadier General Leslie
Groves, the head of the Manhattan Project, warned that
particles of uranium used in ammunition could cause
"permanent lung damage". In 1991 the UK Atomic Energy
Authority warned that, if particles from merely 8 per cent
of the DU used in the Gulf were inhaled, there could be
"300,000 potential deaths".

Spellar claimed there had been no rise in the number of
kidney ailments or cancers among veterans of the Gulf War.
The Ministry of Defence has been told by the National Gulf
Veterans and Families Association of a dramatic increase in
both diseases among veterans. Last year, Speller said: "We
are unaware of anything that shows depleted uranium has
caused any ill health or death of people who served in
Kosovo or Bosnia." Again, this was false.

NATO's own guidelines include: "Inhalation of insoluble
depleted uranium dust particles has been associated with
long-term health effects including cancers and birth
defects." It was only after six Italian soldiers, who had
served in Kosovo, died from leukaemia, that the scandal
caused panic in NATO, with the Defence Secretary, Geoffrey
Hoon, contradicting himself, saying DU posed a "limited
risk", then "no risks", then, bizarrely, that it is
"protecting British forces".

For the Iraqi people, however, the cover-up continues. What
has been striking about the political and media reaction
over the past fortnight is that most of the victims of
depleted uranium have rated barely a mention. Yet Tony Blair
himself was made aware of their suffering when he was sent,
in March 1999, UN statistics, published in the British
Medical Journal, showing a sevenfold increase in cancer in
southern Iraq between 1989 and 1994.

It is in southern Iraq that the theoretical figure of
"500,000 potential deaths" can be applied, in a desert
landscape where the dust gets in your eyes, nose and throat,
swirling around people in the street and children in
playgrounds. In Basra's hospitals, the cancer wards are

Before the Gulf War, they did not exist. "The dust carries
death," Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, a cancer specialist and member of
Britain's Royal College of Physicians, told me. "Our own
studies indicate that more than 40 per cent of the
population in this area will get cancer in five years' time
to begin with, then long afterwards. Most of my own family
now have cancer and we have no history of the disease. It
has spread to the medical staff of this hospital. We are
living through another Hiroshima. Of course, we don't know
the precise source of the contamination, because we are not
allowed [under sanctions] to get the equipment to conduct a
proper scientific survey, or even to test the excess level
in our bodies. We suspect depleted uranium. There simply can
be no other explanation."

The Sanctions Committee in New York has blocked or delayed a
range of cancer diagnostic equipment and drugs, even
painkillers. Professor Karol Sikora, as chief of the cancer
programme of the World Health Organization, wrote in the
British Medical Journal: "Requested radiotherapy equipment,
chemotherapy drugs and analgesics are consistently blocked
by United States and British advisers [to the Sanctions
Committee]. There seems to be a rather ludicrous notion that
such agents could be converted into chemical or other
weapons." Professor Sikora told me: "The saddest thing I saw
in Iraq was children dying because there was no chemotherapy
and no pain control. It seemed crazy they couldn't have
morphine, because for everybody with cancer pain, it is the
best drug. When I was there, they had a little bottle of
aspirin pills to go around 200 patients in pain." Although
there have since been improvements in some areas, more than
1,000 life-saving items remain "on hold" in New York, with
Kofi Annan personally appealling for their release "without

I interviewed Professor Doug Rokke, the US Army health
physicist who led the "clean-up" of depleted uranium in
Kuwait. He now has 5,000 times the permissible level of
radiation in his body, and is ill. "There can be no
reasonable doubt about this," he said. "As a result of the
heavy metal and radiological poison of DU, people in
southern Iraq are experiencing respiratory problems,
breathing problems, kidney problems, cancers. Members of my
own team have died or are dying from cancer.At various
meetings and conferences, the Iraqis have asked for the
normal medical treatment protocols. The US Department of
Defense and the British Ministry of Defence have refused
them. I attended a conference in Washington where the Iraqis
came looking for help. They approached myself, officials of
the Defense Department and the British MoD. They were told
it was their responsibility; they were rebuffed."

The third strand in the cover-up is the killing of Iraqi
civilians by RAF and American aircraft in the "no-fly
zones". As Hans von Sponeck points out in his letter, these
violate international law. In a five-month period surveyed
by the UN Security Sector, almost half the casualties were
civilians. I interviewed eyewitnesses to one of the attacks
described in the UN report. A shepherd family of six - a
grandfather, the father and four children - were killed by a
British or American pilot, who made two passes at them in
open desert. Pieces of the missile lay among the remains of
their sheep. United Nations staff - not Iraqi government -
confirmed in person the facts of this atrocity. The Blair
government has spent (Pounds) 800 million bombing Iraq.

In his 15 January letter to the NS, Peter Hain described my
reference to the possibility that he, along with other
western politicians, might find themselves summoned before
the new International Criminal Court as "gratuitous". It is
far from gratuitous. A report for the UN Secretary General,
written by Professor Marc Bossuyt, a distinguished authority
on international law, says that the "sanctions regime
against Iraq is unequivocally illegal under existing human
rights law" and "could raise questions under the Genocide
Convention". His subtext is that if the new court is to have
authority, it cannot merely dispense the justice of the
powerful. A growing body of legal opinion agrees that the
court has a duty, as Eric Herring wrote, to investigate "not
only the regime, but also the UN bombing and sanctions which
have violated the human rights of Iraqi civilians on a vast
scale by denying them many of the means necessary for
survival. It should also investigate those who assisted
[Saddam Hussein's] programmes of now prohibited weapons,
including western governments and companies."

Last year, Peter Hain blocked a parliamentary request to
publish the full list of culpable British companies. Why? A
prosecutor might ask why, then ask who has killed the most
number of innocent people in Iraq: Saddam Hussein, or
British and American murderous policy-makers? The answer may
well put the murderous tyrant in second place.

Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
email: •••@••.••• 
website: http://cyberjournal.org

    A community will evolve only when
    the people control their means of communication.
    - Frantz Fanon

    "Find out just what people will quietly submit to , and you
    have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong
    which will be imposed on them,and these will continue till
    they are resisted with either words or blows. The limits of
    tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they
    -Frederick Douglass

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