The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
a couple of news articles: November 29, 1998 BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- Iraq hosts a conference this week to focus attention on what it says is an enduring health and environmental disaster caused by depleted uranium munitions used by the United States and Britain in the 1991 Gulf War. "This war has not ended," Nasra Sadoon, director-general at the Information and Culture Ministry, told Reuters. "It's still going on without the world knowing about it." Depleted uranium (DU) is used to harden ammunition, making it highly effective in piercing tank armour. Britain has said DU rounds can produce small amounts of radioactive and toxic particles on impact, but it is unlikely that anyone outside the target area could be affected. Sadoon is among the organisers of the two-day conference due to open on Wednesday, bringing together Iraqi researchers with 50 foreign doctors, scientists and veterans of U.S. and British forces suffering from so-called Gulf War syndrome. Iraq will give details of what it says is a dramatic jump in cancer cases since the Gulf War, especially in the south. "There is massive radioactive contamination in southern provinces, in addition to the exposure of the people to radioactive and chemical toxicity," said Sami al-Araji, who serves on a government committee studying the war's aftermath. Araji said allied forces had estimated they had used 300 tonnes of DU munitions against Iraqi forces, but said other researchers put the figure at 700 to 800 tonnes. "There has been an alarming increase in cancers and other unusual diseases," he said, citing genetic deformities and abnormalities in Iraqi children born after the Gulf War. "Among military personnel, lymphomas and leukaemia have risen five to six times in the last five years. Among children and civilians the rise has gone beyond that number," he added. The southern Shi'ite Moslem provinces are some of Iraq's poorest, regularly scoring badly in surveys of health care, malnutrition, school attendance and water sanitation. With its health services devastated by eight years of sanctions imposed for its invasion of Kuwait, Iraq says it cannot afford expensive cancer drugs to treat the afflicted, let alone the huge cost of decontaminating DU-polluted areas. Sadoon said particles from DU munitions had found their way into food and water chains, causing cancer and other diseases. "The conference will also discuss the link between Gulf War syndrome and similar effects in Iraq, which we believe are caused by depleted uranium," she added. Iraqi officials say they hope to spur scientific debate on what they see as a deadly legacy of the conflict, while acknowledging that more research needs to be done. "We are seeing a good number of patients coming from the area of heavy bombardment, especially in the south," said Selma Haddad, head of the oncology unit at the Mansour Children's Teaching Hospital in Baghdad, one of the two main centres to which child cancer cases are referred from all over Iraq. "It might be related to the effect of that (DU) pollution, but I think we need a more wide epidemiological and statistical study to be sure of that," she said. Iraq sent a formal complaint to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in May, reserving its right to compensation for the "appalling damage" caused by allied use of DU tank shells. Britain rejected Iraq's charge that its use of DU weapons violated the U.N. Charter and international agreements. It said its Challenger tanks had fired fewer than 100 new 120-mm rounds with a DU core against Iraqi forces and its armoured forces had been operating well away from population centres. In October a preliminary report by the World Health Organisation proposed sending a WHO mission to southern Iraq to research radiation levels and reportedly higher cancer rates. ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Rania Masri <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: [ADC Iraq Task Force] Iraqi Weaponry - focus of CNN-Time Good morning, Yesterday evening, CNN dedicated a segment of its evening program (CNN+Time) to further presenting the possibility of Iraq's weaponry program. (article enclosed below). There was no mention of the suffering of the Iraqi people due to the sanctions. There was no mention about the impossibility of the UNR 687 resolution -- according to Zalinskas (former UNSCOM inspector) to completely verify destruction of biological and chemical weapons is impossible. This is the second report in the mainstream news that talks about Iraq without mentioning the Iraqi peole. (the first was a report on 60 minutes a week ago that talked about the barbarity of Odei - Saddam Hussein's son - according to a defector.) - Rania Masri ---------- Forwarded message ---------- CNN: Iraq Tried to Buy Weaponry By The Associated Press Sunday, November 29, 1998; 9:59 p.m. EST Despite years of claims it has ended all programs to build weapons of mass destruction, Iraq made a bid to acquire prohibited missile technology last May, CNN reported Sunday. In its program NewsStand, produced with Time magazine, CNN said Iraqi missile experts, escorted by Iraqi secret police, went to the Romanian capital Bucharest to negotiate the purchase of guidance equipment for long-range missiles. Iraq is required to eliminate its long-range missiles and chemical, biological and nuclear weapons under resolutions by the U.N. Security Council adopted Pd0us the 1991 Gulf War that ended Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. The CNN report quoted unnamed sources and Scott Ritter, an American ex-Marine who resigned as a U.N. arms inspector in August who complained the U.S. government was undermining the search for Iraq's forbidden weapons. Iraq has insisted since the early 1990s that it has destroyed all its prohibited weapons. Tough U.N. trade sanctions, imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, cannot be lifted until U.N. inspectors certify that its weaponry has been destroyed. According to the program's transcript, the Iraqi purchase in Bucharest was blocked because spy agencies from the United States, Romania and Israel uncovered the potential deal and monitored the Iraqis' two-week visit. ``We had the goods on the Iraqis. ... We caught them red-handed,'' Ritter told NewsStand. CNN said Romania's government cooperated in the spying operation. Iraq refused to comment on the reports until after Sunday's broadcast, CNN said. NewsStand also noted the Security Council, which set up the arms inspection program, was never officially informed of the spy operation in Bucharest that was approved by Richard Butler, the chief U.N. arms inspector. Ritter, who earlier had disclosed U.N. arms inspectors' dealings with Israel's Mossad spy agency and the CIA, expressed disappointment the Romanian operation had remained secret. ``We could not present to the Security Council the most compelling evidence'' of Iraqi non-compliance with U.N. resolutions, Ritter said. He said revealing the information would have opened up ``the sources and methods used to collect it ... which governments did not want to put at risk.'' According to NewsStand, agents learned of the plans for the Romanian visit from an Iraqi engineer who defected. They also had documents found at the farm of Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel al-Majid, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's son-in-law. Iraq allowed inspection of al-Majid's chicken farm after he defected in 1995; he later returned to Iraq and was killed. Among the documents from his farm was a previous contract for missile equipment with the state-run Romanian company Aerofina. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html