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Re: Letters to editors! HRW critical of sanctions

Unfortunately, the HRW statement is so muddied with political verbose and
false allegations, that it becomes a week statement critical of the
sanctions. HRW is actually asking for tighter restrictions on 'dual-use'
items.  It further places the majority of the blame on the Iraqi
government, without validating that statement w/ UN reports - only with
statements that sound exceedingly like the US State Department itself.
HRW also insists on calling it a "humanitarian crisis." Consequences of a
hurricane would be a 'humanitarian crisis.' These sanctions are a
deliberate policy that directly leads to the deaths of thousands of
children every month and the destruction of a society.  Calling it a
'humanitarian crisis' further whitewashes the crime.  On top of all that,
HRW insists on charing only the Iraqi gov't with war crimes -- ignoring
the greatest war crime committed in Iraq -- the one committed by the

I am in the process of writing a letter about this HRW statement. I would
like to get the letter signed by anti-sanctions organizations and leading
activists, and then sent to HRW and to the press.  I welcome any input!

-Rania Masri

On Thu, 6 Jan 2000, Katy Connell wrote:

> Human Rights Watch has just made a statement critical of sanctions.
> Seems to me this would be good stuff to quote in letters to newspapers, if
> only because it has their name attached to it.
> Look out for it buried in the broadsheets somewhere!
> Cheers,
> Glenn
> The following is from BBC on-line World news
> Thursday, 6 January, 2000, 10:17 GMT
> Iraq trade sanctions plea
> The UN recently lifted Iraqi oil export restrictions
> A leading, international human rights group has called on the United Nations
> Security Council to lift most of its trade and investment sanctions against
> Iraq to ease the humanitarian crisis there.
> The New York-based group, Human Rights Watch, said the UN should, at the
> same time, tighten controls on Iraqi weapons imports.
> Instead of putting all the blame on Baghdad ... the Council has to face up
> to its own share of the responsibility
> The group also called for an international criminal tribunal to try Iraqi
> President Saddam Hussein and other top leaders for war crimes and crimes
> against humanity.
> The recommendations, outlined in a letter to the Security Council President,
> Richard Holbrooke, follow widespread concern over the impact of the
> 9-year-long UN embargo on the Iraqi population.
> Embargo suspension
> Human Rights Watch says the UN has not adequately addressed the public
> health emergency that has resulted from sanctions and the destruction of
> Iraq's civilian infrastructure.
> The Security Council last month adopted a resolution offering Iraq the
> chance of getting the UN embargo suspended if it co-operates with a new arms
> control body.
> Sanctions have left many Iraqis reliant on food handouts
> The UN also removed petroleum export restrictions on its oil-for-food
> programme. Human Rights Watch acknowledged this would enable Iraq to buy
> more medicine for its people, but said the measure did not go far enough in
> tackling the problems facing the country.
> Economy 'choked'
> "The scale of the crisis and the extent of the impoverishment require more
> than food and medicine and some spare parts," said Hanny Megally, executive
> director of HRW's Middle East and North Africa division.
> "Instead of being content to put all the blame on Baghdad, as the US
> government continues to do, the Council has to face up to its own share of
> the responsibility," he said.
> "Blocking the government's access to foreign exchange is one thing, but
> choking the entire economy to do so puts the burden mostly on ordinary
> Iraqis."
> The group said the Security Council should lift economic sanctions based on
> its responsibility to minimise harm done to civilians.
> But it accepted that military sanctions should stay, as well as the
> monitoring of goods which have both military and civilian uses.
> --
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
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In 1979, a meteorologist turned mathematician, Edward Lorenz discovered
that tiny differences in input could quickly generate overwhelmingly large
differences in output.  Lorenz called his notion the "Butterfly Effect." 
His paper was entitled "Does the flap of a Butterfly's wings in Brazil set
of a tornado in Texas?" His answer -- it could. ... Whereas most flaps do
little more than propel the creature, a few flaps might influence the
time, place, or strength of a tornado. 

The consequences of inaction are silence and death. 
               So -- "Flap your wings! "         


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