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Dear CASI list: Here is the latest exchange with Newsnight's Mark Urban. Best wishes Eric Dear Mark Thank you for your reply. I too will try to be brief > From: Mark Urban > To: "'Eric Herring'" <Eric.Herring@bristol.ac.uk> > Subject: RE: Iraqi infant mortality rates: competing > explanations > Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 13:19:53 +0100 > > > UN people have told me, on a background basis that they > believe Saddam deliberately engineers the shortages. Your package referred to ‘powerful evidence’. There is powerful evidence of a contrasting infant mortality rate (higher in the centre and south, lower in the north). What you do not have is powerful evidence for your claim that Saddam deliberately engineers these shortages. This leaves you with two major problems. - First, what is their evidence that he is doing this? Maybe the people you know have access to privileged information such as intercepts of Iraqi government communications that provide the smoking gun? - Second, even if some UN people have taken the position that he deliberately engineers these shortages, you have failed to account for the contradiction that other UN people either directly or indirectly argue that he is not directly engineering them. I have started getting feedback from various senior UN and UN-related contacts, and they reject explicitly your claim. For example, when your claim was put by a colleague of mine to Bob Odeh, Head of the Multi-Disciplinary Observation Unit (MDOU) in Baghdad between September 1998 to September 1999 last, he rejected it. I checked with Richard Garfield, author of the most comprehensive infant mortality study in Iraq under sanctions before the UNICEF one and he he also rejected it. And it would seem very strange for Caroline Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF, if she was wanting to hint at your claim, that she would go out of her way to provide other reasons. I remind you that she said this: 'the difference in the current rate [of child mortality] cannot be attributed to the differing ways the Oil-for-Food Program is implemented in the two parts of Iraq. The Oil-for-Food Program is two and a half years old. Therefore it is too soon to measure any significant impact of the Oil-for-Food Program on child mortality over the five year period of 1994-1999 as reported in these surveys.' She attributed the contrast to the following factors: sanctions have been more easy to evade in the north, agriculture is easier there, and it has been receiving aid for a much longer period. I could understand Bellamy keeping quiet to get Iraqi cooperation - but instead she has been speaking up. > The suggestion in my e-mail that incompetance may play a > role too in no way changes the fact that Saddam bears a > responsibility for deliberate manipulation of shortages. On the contrary, it could be decisive, as incompetence may provide an alternative explanation to conspiracy. You insist that it is a mix of the two, which brings us back to: what fact? I am more than happy to be convinced, but unsupported assertions - openly disputed by personnel within the same organisation and openly disputed by the people on whose report you rely - hardly amount to fact. To sum up, you have powerful evidence of a contrast - no one denies this - but you have very flimsy and disputed evidence of that contrast being engineered deliberately by Saddam. As with my previous email, please forward this to Sian Kevill and Claudia Milne. Sincerely Eric On Thu, 30 Sep 1999 13:19:53 +0100 Mark Urban <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > I'll keep this brief: > a) the evidence of mortality rates is Unicef, the interpretation is clearly > not part of their original published report. I did not 'attribute' any view > to Unicef in the package. UN people have told me, on a background basis that > they believe Saddam deliberately engineers the shortages. As you know, since > OFP and Unicef require Iraqi partnership to implement their programmes, they > do not say these things on the public record. > b) Benon Sevan 'hints'. We did a long interview + I have spoken to his > staff. I know his views. His words about looking to the Iraqi government to > implement the programme were the reply to a question of mine about whether > he held them responsible for engineering shortages. It is inevitable in our > work that we condense and sometimes say in script things which we know to be > the view of our interviewees. > c) The suggestion in my e-mail that incompetance may play a role too in no > way changes the fact that Saddam bears a responsibility for deliberate > manipulation of shortages. > d) The US position on whether sanctions are tied to arms control or regime > removal has fluctuated and indeed I have reported on these changes in > previous Newsnight packages. I'm not sure what your point is about what > Albright said in the Newsnight story you have written in about. We simply do > not have time in a 5 minute story to embark on a lengthy televisual footnote > about the twists and turns of US policy. Since they are now backing the UK > draft resoultion which envisages lifting sanctions in return for final > compliance on arms control such a digression would be pretty irrelevant too. > > yours > MU ---------------------- Dr. Eric Herring Department of Politics University of Bristol 10 Priory Road Bristol BS8 1TU England, UK Tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582 Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133 http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Politics email@example.com -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Please do not send emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***