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---Forwarded message: From: GUSTNancy@aol.com Introduction: -- PLEASE FORWARD TO ACTIVISTS -- I have crafted this letter to you as carefully as possible within the short window of time available. There may be wordings which "trip you up" as you read; try to glide over those so they don't detract you from my primary messages. I am a marketing and communications specialist; I feel this letter to you may be the most important application of those skills I have ever made. I do this out of love for the people of Iraq. Respectfully, Nancy Gust, delegate with Voices in the Wilderness. Boston. Wednesday 11/11//98. . (To provide specifics without overwhelming the reader, I varied font sizes.) =========================================================== Dear Fellow Activists working on behalf of the People of Iraq, We are at a critical phase. The stakes are enormous. And we are both out-spent and out-numbered by the powers-that-be in Washington. We are in the right. But that's not enough. Before this becomes a matter of missiles, it is still a war of words. Some of us have been analyzing this war of words and have both A SUMMARY OF THE SITUATION and an ACTION PLAN to recommend for your consideration and possible implementation. This is NOT an academic exercise; this is nothing less than a Guerilla Communications Plan for Saving the Lives of the Iraqi People. SUMMARY OF SITUATION: On October 30, the UN Security Council decided "to review Iraq's compliance with UN resolutions-but without the guarantee...that this would lead to a lifting of trade sanctions." (AP Oct 31) "This decision ignored Russian and Chinese support for Iraqi demands that the review must lead to the lifting of the sanctions." (AP Oct 31) IN RESPONSE to this refusal of some expectation of the lifting of sanctions, the following day, October 31, the Iraqi government announced that it had decided to halt cooperation with UNSCOM weapons inspectors "until the United Nations looks at the issue in an honest and positive way, leading to Iraq's rights to the lifting of the unjust sanctions." "However, Iraq said the International Atomic Energy Agency will be allowed to continue monitoring compliance on its nuclear program." (AP Oct 31) The reasoning of the Iraqi government may be this: despite 8 years of inspections, despite UN data acknowledging the death of over 300 Iraqis each day attributable to sanctions (UN data), and despite the clearance given by the IAEA that Iraq was free of nuclear weapons, there have been no reductions in the sanctions. To the contrary, US government officials have repeatedly stated that the economic sanctions, though in violation of international laws, would remain in place until Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. Whatever one might think of the current regime, who could argue with their attempt to free their people of this genocidal policy of the most stringent UN sanctions in history? BUT, "Maintaining sanctions is at the heart of the new US strategy - and of the unpublicized plan to cripple Saddam... The blueprint was developed last spring by the National Security Council." (Newsweek Nov 16) THUS the US found itself in an impossible position. How could it diplomatically say that it wanted these deadly, illegal sanctions to continue when Iraq was willing to publicize the effects of the sanctions at the risk of tremendous destruction. As Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh said, "They [the US] will not kill in a military strike more than they are killing with sanctions every day." (AP Nov 9) How could the US possibly respond? HERE'S WHERE THE SPIN COMES IN: The US government chose to re-frame the conflict as one in which Saddam Hussein poses a threat to the region and to ignore the real issue: the creation of a plan for the lifting of the sanctions that has killed over 1.5 million Iraqis, mostly children under 5. Here is an illustration of re-framing the issue away from sanctions, taken >from Clinton's speech on Veteran's Day (11/11): "Reversing Iraqi's decision and getting UNSCOM back on the job remains the most effective way to ... prevent Iraq from reconstituting weapons of mass destruction... But if the inspectors are not permitted to visit suspect sites or monitor compliance [the latter is a lie].... That would open a window of opportunity for Iraq to rebuild its arsenal of weapons." Explaining this spin in other words: After 8 years of these unprecedented sanctions and masses of data on the devastation by the UN Humanitarian agencies (UNICEF, WHO, FAO etc.), Iraq is trying to get the world to hear their cry for help by throwing a monkeywrench into the inspection process. (After all those deaths, can you blame them?) The US government's reaction has been: Oh yeah? Babies dying daily? Too bad!* See how you like this: Missile attack! * Remember Madeline Albright on 60 Minutes in 1996 when Leslie Stahl asked her if the death of over 500,000 children was worth it? Albright's response: Well, that is a tough question, but we think the price is worth it. (very close quote) CONCLUSION: We need to counter the spin of the US government and re-focus the issues back on the real issue. The real issue is the need for an acceptable plan for the lifting of sanctions. This might mean a plan in which the progress of the inspections earns Iraq a reciprocal lifting of the sanctions, or a complete de-linking of the economic sanctions from the weapons inspections. We need to return this to the original debate because it is an argument that the US government will have a much tougher time winning - and one which further jeopardizes our standing in the world community. INDICATED ACTIONS: #1 First and foremost, keep the debate focused on the need for a plan to lift sanctions so that the people of Iraq can live. Some of us will argue for the delinking of the economic sanctions, while others will argue for a phased reduction of the sanctions. I think there is room for both arguments. In fact, that can be an effective strategy. This "choose A or B" strategy is being used by the Pentagon when they say they are debating between "a quick clean (sic) strike" and "a longer bombing campaign." (Boston Globe Nov 10) A commitment to keep the debate focused on the need for a plan for lifting sanctions would have several important implications: A. Create actions NOW, not "after the bombing." Planning "Day-After" actions plays into the US government's frame that the issue is about bombing ("bombing or not bombing," "quick bombing vs protracted bombing") someone who is a military threat. B. Messages on posters, flyers, etc. should focus on the need for a plan to lift sanctions. Specifics could include: data on the total number of deaths (1.6 million per UNICEF 1996), the current death rate (5,000-6,000 children monthly or 300 people/day per WHO 1998), the malnutrition rate (30% of children under 5 per UNICEF April 1998); the deliberate resignation Oct 31 of Denis Halliday, former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq and Assistant Secretary-General, in protest of the sanctions; that these are the most severe Security Council sanctions in history; that the deaths caused by the sanctions are "unquestionably a violation of the Genocide Convention" according to former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and others. These quick examples give the idea: "NEGOTIATE SANCTIONS" "RAISE SANCTIONS, NOT THE DEATH TOLL" "STOP THE DEATH BY SANCTIONS" "250+ DEATHS/DAY: STOP THE KILLING" "1,600,000 DEAD IS ALREADY TOO MANY" C. "Stop the bombs" is an effective "internal message" for mobilizing people who are anti-bombing but are not yet aware of the deadly effects of sanctions. However, it is ill-advised as a message to the general public because it reverts the debate into the one favored by the White House. And it diverts attention away from the true, reasonable, and negotiable issue of ending sanctions. Signs that work against us and play into the government's hands include, for example, "No New Bombing," "No Gulf War 2." D. Attack the fallacies in the US government position. For example: "300 Iraqis die daily. Clinton says we need to bomb them to teach them a lesson." (Too long for a poster; good for a flyer.) "Clinton (Albright, etc.) says there is world-wide support. Where are they?" (For a flyer, this needs specifics.) Clinton's charge that a failure to act "would permanently damage the credibility of the UN Security Council to act as a force for promoting international peace" (quoted by Ramsey Clark 11/11 in letter to UN). As in, "Seek peace by making war"? #2 Stress the need for a negotiated settlement. Emphasize the reasonable and preferable solution of a negotiated settlement. And call on the American government to be willing to negotiate. Stage "call-in days" where your community phones and faxes their Senators and Congresspeople, and set up meetings with them asap. Provide flyers with names, numbers, position on sanctions and on military strikes, and outline of script. Get the word out that Iraq is willing to negotiate. "'We believe that with good will on both sides, that a compromise could be worked out,' former Irish Prime Minster Albert Reynolds told reporters. He talked with Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, for more than two hours on Sunday, describing Aziz as 'open' and 'very flexible.' Reynolds ... was crideted with encouraging the Irish Reoublic Army's 1994 cease-fire. He said he would travel to the US on Thursday to confer with American politicians." (AP Nov 9) (cite) Demand that the American government to negotiate. "What is not needed - and there is no plan for it - is negotiations with Saddam Hussein,' said State Department spokesman James Rubin on Tuesday." (NYTimes Nov 11) #3 Use as appropriate: Consider showing up the lies being told by this administration. Americans have experienced Bill Clinton looking us in the eye and lying. The utility of this arguement will vary by city/population. Sample lies and half-truths (said or implied): "The world community supports a US military action." "The security of the Middle East is threatened. They want us to take military action to protect them." Evidence includes: None of the countries has asked for US military intervention; only the country of Kuwait has registered some approval; Jared : quotes of strong no's; UN inspection teams claim to have destroyed 90% of the remaining Iraqi missile capacity and designated military material; Turkey regularly attacks the Kurdish people and others living on northern Iraqi soil at will with US support and UN acquiescence. Clinton, in a speech on 11/11 spoke of: "..if the inspectors are not permitted to...monitor compliance..." (Not true. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Commission were working on Nov. 2. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, in a letter to Kofi Annan, explained that "The Government of Iraq has not asked UNSCOM or the IAEA to leave Iraq. Moreover, the decision of the Iraqi Government issued on 31 October allows the IAEA to continue its work in the field of monitoring." (BBC) ALSO: On Nov. 12 the UN Security Council "demanded an explanation for the sudden decision to pull out all UNSCOM staff from Iraq" in a "tense" discussion with China, Russia and France critical of the decision. (South News Nov 12)) The "implication by omission" that a US military strike on Iraq is legal. (Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law, has begun a National Campaign to impeach President Clinton for his criminal attacks on Sudan and Afhghanistan and his threatened criminal attack on Iraq. Nov 11 <FBOYLE@LAW.UIUS.EDU>) "This current problem is Iraq's fault." (Rubin, Boston Globe Nov10) I.e., that this latest development has been created by Iraq, when in actuality Iraq was responding to the UN Security Council's Oct 30 decision. CLOSING: While we represent many viewpoints, and are spread far and wide, the more we can speak out with a unified voice the more effectively we can counter the "message control center" is in Washington. I encourage you to forward this widely, and welcome feedback or requests. Long live Iraq! Nancy Gust ======================================================== For further reading: (1) SPIN CYCLE : How the White House and the Media Manipulate the News by Howard Kurtz, former media reporter for The Washington Post (2) THE SECOND FRONT: The Propaganda War Behind the Gulf War. (3) THE SPIDER'S WEB (on the armament of Iraq by US and UK through 1990) (4) THE SCOURGE OF IRAQ by Geoff Simons -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html