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US wins 60 more days of Iraq sanctions

US wins 60 more days of Iraq sanctions 

South News June 25 

United Nations: The Security Council has decided to maintain sanctions
against Iraq Wednesday after a successful US disinformation campaign drew
attention away from the genocidal aspect of the embargo.

Following consultations, Security Council President Antonio Monteiro of
Portugal said, "after hearing the views of the members on this matter, we
concluded that there was still no agreement" to modify the sanctions
regime against Iraq which according to UNICEF, continue to claim the lives
of over 4,500 children each month.

The sanctions, reviewed every 60 days stay in place unless the council
votes to lift them, were to be discussed by the council Thursday. But Mr
Monteiro said members had time to discuss them at the end of a briefing by
chief weapons inspector, Richard Butler who said US tests detected traces
of VX and stabilising chemicals on warhead fragments.

"I explained to the council that that is very serious because Iraq has
always insisted it never weaponized VX," Butler said of the tests,
conducted by the US Army laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground in
Maryland, at a closed-door meeting of the Security Council. But at
Wednesday's meeting, Russian Ambassador Sergei V. Lavrov suggested that
future such tests be conducted in countries other than the U.S

Butler's presentation to the Council came as it conducted its periodic
review of the sanctions against Iraq as American and British officials
cited the VX evidence as contradicting Iraqi assertions that it had never
weaponised the nerve gas. "Facts are facts; Iraq has been deceiving the
international community with weaponization of nerve gas. It's that
simple," US Ambassador Bill Richardson said.

Yet Butler expressed deep regret that the findings had been leaked to The
Washington Post, noting that the source "certainly wasn't UNSCOM." The
Washington Post said a US army laboratory had found traces of VX nerve
agent in samples of Scud missile warhead fragments recovered in March from
a destruction site at Nibai, north of Baghdad.

In a pattern repeating itself whenever Iraq appears to take a step closer
to having the genocidal sanctions on its civilian population lifted,
stories about Iraqi UNSCOM non-compliance suddenly appear in the
Washington press, throwing cold water on hopes that another weapon of mass
destruction -- economic sanctions -- might end.

The Iraqi mission to the UN issued a statement Tuesday the lab findings
were dubious saying "since all sample were taken from destruction sites
then the results ought to match in some way in all samples".  The
statement said that of seven warhead samples tested, only one showed VX
traces. "Finding a trace of a stabilizer in one sample out of 7 analyzed
is not evidence because if VX was used, a stabilizer would have been found
in every sample", the statement said.

The Iraqi statement also criticised the sampling technique saying, "No
soil samples were taken from the destruction sites for comparison
purposes" and "those samples were taken individually without giving Iraq
equivalent samples as was agreed upon". 

A French official said the correct procedure would have been for UNSCOM to
corroborate any US finding of nerve gas by sending samples for tests to
French or Swiss laboratories. ``I'm suspicious. This smells of
manipulation,'' he said.

Butler said he was content to go along with a council decision to call for
further tests. Butler had described the original findings as ``utterly
unambiguous'' but added,``In the spirit of cooperation, we've said `yes,
we'll rerun some further tests in other labs and see what they come up

In Baghdad, Iraqi presidential adviser Amer al-Saadi said he was surprised
by what Butler reported. ``We know very well VX was never weaponized ...
how did the VX appear there (on missile warheads), we have no idea,'' he
told reporters in Iraq.

Developed by a British scientist in 1949, VX is made from common
precursors: chlorine , phosphorus pentasulfide and di-isopropylamine. It
was weaponized as a chemical superweapon by the US Army in 1961. The US
still retains 1,170 tons of VX stockpiled at the Newport Weapons Depot in
In a related matter, the United States filed a formal complaint with the
Security Council over a letter written to the council president by Iraqi
Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf.The letter is reported to have
described Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk as a "known Jew and
Zionist" in complaining about Indyk's comments before a Washington seminar
last week.

On Wednesday June 17 Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk said the UN
approach to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction now is one in which the
onus is not on UN inspectors to find the weapons but on Saddam ``to show
what he's done with his weapons of mass destruction.''

``We will be launching an effort to help them organize and coordinate
their case against Saddam Hussein,'' Indyk, who oversees Near Eastern
affairs, told a seminar for regional journalists at the State Department. 
Indyk, said the US effort would go forward ``in a visible and effective
way'' and would focus on Saddam's ``brutality and his war crimes''.

He said there are 73 opposition groups outside of Iraq and ''now we're
going to get behind them and try to help them ... They represent an
alternative vision for Iraq to Saddam Hussein that is democratic in terms
of its aspirations.''

In the letter Sahaf slams Indyk's ``explicit statement...represents a
dangerous development in international relations and is a violation of the
Charter of the United Nations, as well as a flagrant breach of the duties
of members of the Security Council' . Sahaf calls on the council ``to
condemn the hostile and conspiratorial policy of the United States towards
Iraq and to appeal to the United States administration to halt the policy
of conspiracy and incitement against a member state and founding member of
the United Nations.''

Sahaf also urged the council to take measures that would guarantee respect
for Iraq's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence
and prevent the ``irresponsible United States administration from
continuing this criminal behaviour'' against Iraq.

 "The destructive attempts and misleading of opinion by UNSCOM will not
throw dust in the eyes of the righteous after they discovered the full
truth, and the lies and the forgeries of the Special Commission and the
American role in supporting this aggressive programme," the spokesman said
on Wednesday after a joint meeting of Iraq's Revolutionary Command
Council, chaired by President Saddam Hussein. .

The United States is keen to maintain the economic embargo on Iraq as long
as President Saddam Hussein is in power, working with 73 groups outside of
Iraq funded by US Congress. This year it approved $5 million to fund a CIA
"Radio Free Iraq" to broadcast programming in Arabic to Iraq. Republican
lawmakers also proposed spending another $33 million to directly help
Iraqi opposition movements overthrow Saddam. 

State Department spokesman James Rubin told reporters on March 11 ``We
have worked with the Iraqi opposition in the past and we are actively
considering ways to do so more effectively in the future,'' he said. He
said then that the proposed funding was on top of humanitarian assistance
in the northern Iraq recently increased to $682 million.
The United States had an extensive overt and covert program of support for
Kurdish groups in northern Iraq opposing Saddam. But it collapsed in
August 1996 when the Iraq sent troops into the region to intervene in
Kurdish factional fighting.

Related : CIA lies enter fantasy-land



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