Three Articles on Iraq
Posted: Tue, 19 Sep 2000 02:57:33 EDT
1. Sunday Herald (Scotland) Allies Deliberately Poisoned Iraq Public Water
Supply In Gulf War
2. Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting analyses NY Times article of Sept. 12
3. National Day of Silence for the Children of Iraq,Veterans Day, 2000
(November 11), an invitation from The Muslim Student Awareness Network at
Read it and weap -- and act.
Sept. 18, 2000
The Sunday Herald (Scotland)
Sunday, September 17, 2000
Allies Deliberately Poisoned Iraq Public Water Supply In Gulf War
US-led allied forces deliberately destroyed Iraq's water supply
during the Gulf War - flagrantly breaking the Geneva Convention and causing
thousands of civilian deaths. Since the war ended in 1991 the allied nations
have made sure that any attempts to make contaminated water safe have been
respected American professor now intends to convene expert hearings in
a bid to pursue criminal indictments under international law against those
Thomas J Nagy, Professor of Expert Systems at George Washington
University with a doctoral fellowship in public health, told the Sunday
Herald: "Those who saw nothing wrong in producing [this plan], those who
ordered its production and those who knew about it and have remained silent
for 10 years would seem to be in violation of Federal Statute and perhaps
have even conspired to commit genocide."
Nagy obtained a minutely detailed seven-page document
prepared by the US Defence Intelligence Agency, issued the day after the war
started, entitled Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities and circulated to all
major allied Commands.
It states that Iraq had gone to considerable trouble to provide a
supply of pure water to its population. It had to depend on importing
specialised equipment and purification chemicals, since water is "heavily
mineralised and frequently brackish".
The report stated: "Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage
of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to
increased incidents, if not epidemics, of disease and certain pure-water
dependent industries becoming incapacitated."
The report concludes: "Full degradation of the water treatment system
probably will take at least another six months."
During allied bombing campaigns on Iraq the country's eight multi-purpose
dams had been repeatedly hit, simultaneously wrecking flood control,
municipal and industrial water storage, irrigation and hydroelectric power.
Four of seven major pumping stations were destroyed, as were 31 municipal
water and sewerage facilities - 20 in Baghdad, resulting in sewage pouring
into the Tigris. Water purification plants were incapacitated throughout Iraq.
Article 54 of the Geneva Convention states: "It is prohibited to attack,
destroy or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the
civilian population" and includes foodstuffs, livestock and "drinking water
supplies and irrigation works".
The results of the allied bombing campaign were obvious when Dr David
Levenson visited Iraq immediately after the Gulf War, on behalf of
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.
He said: "For many weeks people in Baghdad - without television, radio,
or newspapers to warn them - brought their drinking water from the Tigris, in
"Dehydrated from nausea and diarrhea, craving liquids, they drank more of
the water that made them sick in the first place."
Water-borne diseases in Iraq today are both endemic and epidemic. They
include typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis, cholera and polio (which had
previously been eradicated), along with a litany of others.
A child with dysentery in 1990 had a one in 600 chance of dying - in 1999
it was one in 50.
The then US Navy Secretary John Lehman estimated that 200,000 Iraqis died
in the Gulf War. Dr Levenson estimates many thousands died from polluted
Chlorine and essential equipment parts needed to repair and clear the
water system have been banned from entering the country under the UN
Ohio Democrat Representative Tony Hall has written to American Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright, saying he shares concerns expressed by UNICEF
about the "profound effects the deterioration of Iraq's water supply and
sanitation systems on children's health". Diarrheal diseases he says are of
"epidemic proportions" and are "the prime killer of children under five".
"Holds on contracts for water and sanitation are a prime reason for the
increase in sickness and death." Of 18 contracts, wrote Hall, all but one on
hold were placed by the government in the US.
Contracts were for purification chemicals, chlorinators, chemical dosing
pumps, water tankers and other water industry related items.
"If water remains undrinkable, diseases will continue and mortality rates
will rise," said the Iraqi trade minister Muhammed Mahdi Salah. The country's
health ministry said that more than 10,000 people died in July of
embargo-related causes - 7457 were children, with diarrhoeal diseases one of
the prime conditions.
In July 1989, the figure was 378. Unicef does not dispute the figures.
The problem will not be helped by plans for the giant Ilisu Dam
project (to which the British government is to give £200 million in export
credit guarantees), which will give Turkey entire control of the water flow
to Iraq and Syria.
Constructors Balfour Beatty write in their environmental impact report,
that for the three years of construction, water flow to Iraq will be reduced
by 40%. Iraq has also suffered a three year drought, with the Tigris the
lowest in living memory.
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 19:47:02 -0400
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and news reports
ACTION ALERT: "Paper of Record" Distorts Record on Iraq Sanctions
September 13, 2000
On September 12, the New York Times ran a blatantly biased front-page article
by U.N. correspondent Barbara Crossette about Iraq's decision not to allow
two teams of United Nations experts into Iraq to assess the effects of the
sanctions. This article is only the latest example of Crossette's alarming
willingness to repeat increasingly shrill-- and largely discredited-- charges
from the U.S. State Department that the Iraqi government is sabotaging the
U.N.'s relief work. (See
Throughout the article, Crossette's reporting aims to give the impression
that Iraq does not allow any outside experts to investigate humanitarian
conditions inside the country. The headline reads, "Iraq Won't Let Outside
Experts Assess Sanctions' Impact on Lives." The lead paragraph reported,
"Iraq will not allow independent experts into the country to assess the
living conditions of Iraqis a decade after economic sanctions were imposed,
Secretary General Kofi Annan told the Security Council today."
Crossette anonymously quotes "a diplomat" who says, "They claim they can't
get things done, but won't let anybody come in and fix it." She cites an
anonymous "official" as saying that government repression has "made it almost
impossible to work there." An anonymous "European diplomat" is quoted as
saying that there are "fairly solid reports" that Iraq is exporting its
medicines abroad, with no further evidence given. Crossette writes that
"concern is growing" that "if no independent collection of information is
possible, Iraq can continue to blame outsiders, particularly the United
States, for illnesses and deaths from disease or malnutrition."
In fact, there are literally hundreds of outside experts in Iraq who
regularly collect such information and have done so for years. They include
officials from the World Health Organization, the World Food Program, the
Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Development Program,
UNESCO, UNICEF and the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator's office in
Baghdad. They make thousands of visits each year to water projects, power
plants, farms, warehouses, mills, food distributors, schools, hospitals and
The U.N.'s Baghdad office maintains a 150-person verification team, the
Multidisciplinary Observer Unit, to inspect relief distribution. It also
employs a Swiss auditing company on contract with the United Nations to
verify humanitarian shipments. Not only do the Iraqi ministries cooperate
with these groups, but the U.N. requires Iraq to *pay* for the operating
expenses of these last two groups out of the proceeds used to buy food and
All of this is documented in the very same United Nations briefing that is
the subject of Crossette's article. For example, the briefing describes a
World Food Program study carried out this summer to investigate Iraq's system
for transporting food. It "found most of the equipment...in a deplorable
state, owing to age, poor maintenance and lack of spare parts." The
investigators were "encouraged to learn, however, that the government of Iraq
was already entering into contracts for the gradual replacement" of the aging
In July, a World Health Organization team visited an Iraqi medicine factory.
"The observers reported that the plant would require substantial
investment...to bring it up to international standards." The factory's Iraqi
management "gave assurances that it will cooperate fully with the United
Nations and that observation of its facilities can be carried out at any
time, with or without prior notification," the Secretary General reported.
Several other examples of Iraq's cooperation with UN humanitarian workers
were discussed in the report. Yet Crossette's article, based on the same
report, sought to give exactly the opposite impression.
Last year, UNICEF worked with the Iraqi Ministry of Health on a comprehensive
nationwide survey of child and maternal mortality. Ironically, the study was
reported in the New York Times in an article by Barbara Crossette (8/13/99).
It went unmentioned in yesterday's article.
In a December 1998 letter to the London Independent, Michael Stone, the
outgoing chief of the U.N.'s Multidisciplinary Observation Unit wrote that
British officials, like their American counterparts, "frequently state that
the Iraqi leadership have diverted supplies under this [humanitarian]
program. This is a serious error. Some 150 international observers,
travelling throughout Iraq, reported to the United Nations Multidisciplinary
Observer Unit, of which I was the head. At no time was any diversion
recorded. I made this clear in our reports to the UN Secretary General, and
he reported in writing to the Security Council accordingly."
Other top United Nations officials have also challenged the assertion that
Iraq interferes in the relief effort. Former U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator
Denis Halliday and his successor, Hans von Sponeck have both expressed
frustration that the U.S. and British governments were putting out misleading
information designed to make it appear that Iraq was sabotaging the U.N.'s
relief work. Crossette has refused to cover their criticism (Hans von
Sponeck, U.N. Press Briefing, 10/26/99; Denis Halliday, press release,
Crossette's reporting is astonishingly selective. The Secretary General's
briefing, which Crossette's article is based on, is a 90-day progress report
that covers all aspects of the oil-for-food program. Typically, the Secretary
General notes both improvements and problems in the ongoing program, praising
and criticizing the Iraqis as necessary. But Crossette notes only the
criticisms, inflating and distorting them out of all recognition.
Out of this week's 50-paragraph briefing, Crossette's entire front-page
article is devoted exclusively to paragraphs 11 and 12, which note that Iraq
declined to host the newly proposed teams of experts. She fails to mention
that elsewhere in the briefing, Secretary General Kofi Annan praised Iraq for
improvements in its nutrition program that were made in response to criticism
Annan offered in a briefing last year.
In August 1999, Crossette wrote an entire article about that two-paragraph
criticism, found in Annan's 104-paragraph briefing, which noted some flaws in
Iraq's distribution of food supplies. Crossette trumpeted the comments as an
example of the U.N.'s alleged exasperation with Iraq ("Do More to Aid
Nourishment of Very Young, U.N. Tells Iraq," 8/24/99).
Since then, Iraq has implemented the changes that the Secretary General
recommended. In this week's briefing, Annan praised the government for having
followed his suggestions: "I welcome the decision by the Government of Iraq
to increase considerably the allocations... to meet the food, nutrition and
health requirements of the population.... [The steps taken by Iraq] are both
welcome and in line with the recommendation contained in my supplementary
The praise went unmentioned in Crossette's September 12 article.
ACTION: Call on the New York Times to publish an editor's note clarifying two
points: (1) that Iraq has hundreds of outside inspectors and experts
verifying the humanitarian relief programs, contrary to the Times' front-page
September 12 story; and (2) that United Nations humanitarian officials who
dispute the charge that Iraq sabotages the U.N. aid programs should have been
quoted in this story.
As always, please remember that your comments are taken more seriously if you
maintain a polite tone. Please cc firstname.lastname@example.org with your correspondence.
Bureau Chief, United Nations
To read the original New York Times article:
To read the United Nations report discussed in the New York Times article,
Hello All - The Muslim Student Awareness Network at Stanford asked me to
forward this to Coalition members, for your consideration to endorse or
participate either as the Coalition or on behalf of individual groups in
Replies can be sent to Narjes Misherghi.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: National Day of Silence for the Children of Iraq
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 00:58:35 -0700 (PDT)
From: Narjes Misherghi email@example.com
To: Peninsula Peace & Justice Center firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE CIRCULATE TO ALL YOUR EMAIL LISTS, AND REMEMBER,
PARTICPATE, PATICIPATE, PARTICIPATE!!!
All people of conscience are urged to participate in....
THE NATIONAL DAY OF SILENCE FOR THE CHILDREN OF IRAQ
VETERANS DAY, 2000 (November 11)
Why a Day of Silence?
Ten years have passed since the U.N.-imposed and U.S.-supported economic
sanctions were placed on the people of Iraq. Over one million Iraqi civilians
have been killed because of it, and thousands continue to die every month. It
is therefore important that people of conscience actively strive to raise
awareness about the condition of the Iraqi people as well as work diligently
to end the sanctions. To this end, people from all over the country are
coming together to participate in the Day of Silence, with the hope to bring
the issue of Iraq to the forefront.
How does the Day of Silence work?
Nationally, there will be a recognized hour of silent reflection and prayer
for the people of Iraq from 12-1pm Pacific Standard Time (3-4pm Eastern
Standard Time). In Los Angeles, the Day of Silence will be observed with an
event at the Federal Building in Westwood. Prior to the hour of silence
there will be displays and speeches to educate the community about the
situation in Iraq and discuss ways in which we can help the Iraqi people.
For more information, please visit www.DayOfSilence.com), email
email@example.com, or call 310 386 4179
What we need from the community:
1) Your support and participation in this program.
2) If you represent an organization, we want your organization to sponsor
this event, as well as take the lead on the committees that need involvement.
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