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Letter to Sian Kevill, Newsnight editor

Thought the list might like to see this letter. 



Ms. Sian Kevill
BBC2 Newsnight
Television Centre
Wood Lane
W12 7RJ

                                                        8 October 1999

Dear Ms. Kevill:

I am a lecturer in international politics at the University 
of Bristol engaged in research on the UN Security Council  
sanctions on Iraq. I have done various pieces of work for 
Newsnight on international crises over the years. 

I saw the package by your Diplomatic Editor, Mark Urban, on 
22 September regarding the UN Security Council sanctions on 
Iraq. In that package, Mr. Urban made the claims that the 
Iraqi government is deliberately keeping infant mortality 
high, that the UN has powerful evidence of this, and that 
this is the view of those running the UN programme, 
though they can only hint at it. The powerful evidence 
Mr. Urban referred to in the package was a UNICEF report, 
but that UNICEF report makes no such claim and UNICEFs 
Executive Director Caroline Bellamy has gone out of her way 
to attribute the relatively high infant mortality rate in 
the centre and south of Iraq to the relative ferocity of UN 
sanctions (see the attached correspondence).

>From my correspondence with Mr. Urban, it is clear that his 
evidence amounts to no more than off-the-record assertions 
which, far from that being the view of those running the 
UN programme, is openly and directly disputed by many of 

I would urge Newsnight not to claim again that Saddam is 
deliberately keep infant mortality high unless it labels it 
as mere speculation perhaps shared privately by some UN 
personnel but certainly contradicted openly  by some of 
them too. He is a vile and brutal dictator, but claims 
still have to be substantiated.

I would be happy to supply you with up-to-date background 
information should you decide to cover this issue again. in 
case it is of interest, I enclose a recent paper which 
critiques British government policy on the sanctions.


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