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.
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THE FIRE THIS TIME AUDIO PROJECT
An open letter requesting sponsorship
November 17th 1999
In April of this year I travelled to Iraq with a 'Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility' medical delegation who were researching the effects of economic sanctions on that country. They were also delivering medicines directly to Iraqi hospitals in defiance of sanctions, an act that under US Federal Law could see them face fines of up to a million dollars and up to twelve years in jail.
Until my visit I had not fully understood what happens to a country when its’ civilian infrastructure is destroyed, and what happens when this country, heavily reliant on foreign food imports, is isolated by the most comprehensive sanctions policy the world has ever known. The combined effect is devastating. Hyper-inflation, massive disease proliferation in both people and animals, mass migration, chronic malnutrition, extreme poverty, increased crime, collapse of medical services, collapse of agriculture, collapse of water and sewage processing, increased reliance on the state. The list is endless. The sanctions regime is so draconian that many Iraqis now have a lower calorific intake than sub-Saharan countries. 30% of Iraqi children under five are chronically malnourished and will never fully recover. Iraq now has the highest infant mortality rate in the world. In the words of Denis Halliday, the former UN Humanitarian Aid Co-ordinator in Iraq:
"We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and as terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral."
The sanctions policy enforced by the UN Security Council has designs on ridding the country of a brutal regime. However, it has failed spectacularly, and at the cost of between 1.2 and 1.7 million lives. The inability of mainstream media to make a differentiation between the leader of a country and the inhabitants of a country has resulted in almost ten years of immense suffering for innocent civilians who had no part in their leader’s aspirations.
What has happened in Iraq is not a natural disaster, it is a man made disaster, and one that all compassionate, rationale people should not accept. I most certainly do not accept it, and have been campaigning against it for over a year now. I have also been involved in the production of two videos on the subject, one as director, the other as cameraman. Neither film has been shown in this country by mainstream media outlets.
It is my belief, having now watched a video tape archive of the entire Gulf War television coverage, and from all my research efforts, that mainstream media can no longer be relied upon to provide objective and informative material to the public that supports it. Thus I have decided to attempt to bring the facts to the public through what I believe is an innovative and unique project. A brief proposal for this project follows.
A complete proposal for the project is available on request as a hard copy, or at my web site that supports the project:
The site contains copious background and supporting material, including a large selection of photographs and video frame captures. If this project interests you, and you wish to obtain further information, I highly recommend a visit to the site.
I thank you for your attention, and hope to hear from you soon.
I am asking for your support and financial contribution to a project I feel is of tremendous importance. It is to be a 74 minute CD entitled THE FIRE THIS TIME, inspired primarily by the book by former US Attorney General, Ramsey Clark. I have been working on the project for eight months, and have so far financed it entirely from my own funds.
The project will utilise music, samples and spoken word performances to reveal the hidden history and the true agenda of the United States and Allied ‘war’ against Iraq in 1991. It will also draw attention to the plight of the civilian population who have, for the past nine years, endured appalling suffering under the sanctions imposed on them by the United Nations Security Council.
The project is designed as a public service, and will be released free of charge on the Internet as an MP-3 file. The CD is also being released commercially, thus any sponsors can reasonably expect to be repaid in full. All remaining proceeds from sales of the CD will be donated to organisations campaigning to lift the sanctions, and to international relief and medical organisations working in Iraq.
Mainstream Western press, radio and television coverage of the ‘war’ and its’ terrible consequences has been largely non-existent. Mainstream coverage was, and is, subject to unprecedented censorship. The rationale of THE FIRE THIS TIME project is to attempt at a grass-roots level to provide the public with information it has been prevented from obtaining. It is my assertion that an informed public will question and protest possible future conflicts of this nature, and against the imposition of non-military sanctions on any country, resulting in less loss of life.
The project is first and foremost concerned with human rights and international law, thus it is neither religiously nor politically motivated. It will simply document the build up to the war, the war itself, and it’s aftermath. With contributions from some of the finest performers in modern music, and samples from a wide variety of sources, I hope to construct a powerful and harrowing experience that will tell the full story for the first time. The album is scheduled for release in August 2000, to co-incide with the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Kuwait and the imposition of sanctions.
Please find enclosed with this proposal a list of confirmed and potential contributors, additional background material, and sponsorship rationales.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information.
BANCO DE GAIA
JOCHEM PAAP (‘SPEEDY J’)
EMERGENCY BROADCAST NETWORK
HEAD AND LEG
MIKA VAINIO / PAN SONIC
FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON
CONFIRMED CONTRIBUTORS (as at Oct. 25th ’99)
DAVID THRUSSELL / SOMA
THE HIGHER INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
"THE FIRE THIS TIME" by RAMSEY CLARK
ARCHIVES OF BILL HICKS
UN ARCHIVE RECORDINGS
US CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS RECORDINGS
INTERNATIONAL WAR CRIMES TRIBUNALS RECORDINGS
US, UK and IRAQI TELEVISION AND RADIO STATIONS
IRAQI CIVILIANS AND DOCTORS
Sponsorship Rationales + FAQ's
1) For what exact purpose is a sponsorship sought, and what difference would that make?
Sponsorship is sought for the purposes of continuation of the projects’ running expenses. These expenses relate to the day to day running of the project and are utilised in the payments of Federal Express/Parcel delivery and collection, DAT tape, Mini Disc and CD-R stock, postage, telephone and internet time used during research, travel expenses to meetings with artists and researchers, and other miscellaneous expenses including research video transfers and duplication, computer software adaptation, computer maintenance, proposal production and printing, ink, and paper.
The project has been underway for eight months, and all expenses so far have totalled approx. £7000 and have been met entirely by Grant Wakefield from his own personal funds. Sponsorship would enable the continuation and finalisation of the project, as all personal funds are almost exhausted.
2) What is the amount required, and how has this figure been arrived at?
The initial research portion of the project involved a trip to Iraq in April of this year that incurred high expenses not proportional or relevant to the continuation of the project.
The amount now required is £5000. This amount need not come from a single source. A group of sponsors would be most welcome.
This figure was arrived at by calculating the average running expenses of £200 per month, and based upon this calculation the sum of £2000 will be required to finish the project by August 2000, ten months from the date of this communication. This is combined with £3000 which will be required to pay for a professional final sound mix. This sound mix is being provided at an enormously reduced rate by an industry professional with keen interest in the project.
3) What other sources of income are being explored?
An anonymous sponsor has recently donated £500 to the project. The project is designed primarily as a public service with a free Internet release. However, due to the popularity of many of the artists contributing to the project, there is now a record company that is planning to release the CD commercially. This record company may be able to provide an advance for the forthcoming work, and should this eventuality come into play, any sponsorship will be reimbursed in full either at the time of receipt of the record company advance, or after the commercial release of the CD.
4) What are the aims of the organisation?
THE FIRE THIS TIME project is being written, researched, directed and edited entirely by Grant Wakefield. There are contributing artists and researchers involved, but all are giving their time and services free of charge until the commercial release. There is no single named organisation involved under whose banner the project is being undertaken.
5) What are the details of the last annual report/audited accounts?
There are no 'official' annual reports or audited accounts available in relation to expenses incurred so far. However, all receipts relating to research and running expenses incurred by Grant Wakefield have been collected.
6) What are the plans for monitoring and evaluating the work?
In September of this year a supporting web site for the project was created. Entitled "THE DREAM THIS TIME", the web site is updated month by month, with the latest update due in November. The site is primarily specific to the project and was designed to keep all the contributing artists and researchers up to date. However, it also serves as an information resource to campaign groups and individuals attempting to raise awareness of the Iraq/Sanctions issue. I intend to monitor and evaluate the work month by month through the web site, but will provide hard copy reports if so requested by specific sponsors.
7) What are the commitments to equal opportunities?
The project is committed to fundamental human rights at their most profound level. It is my most sincere hope that the project will educate and inspire people of all nationalities to realise the true extent of the horror of the Gulf War and the effects of sanctions on Iraq. In turn I hope to encourage said people to look deeper, and with more compassion, at world events than are currently available through mainstream media channels.
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