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]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Ramsey Clark - Report to UN Security Council on Iraq (fwd)

I can't remember seeing this on the CASI list; apologies if it's already 
been posted!
[Forwarded by Eric Fawcett, Canada]

     The following letter from former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark
     has been sent to each member of the Security Council.  Please help
     circulate this information widely.
     January 26, 2000
     Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations
     Dear H.E. Sir Jeremy Greenstock, KCMG,
     A delegation of U.S. citizens from twenty states has just returned 
     from Iraq.  On January 17, we observed in Baghdad the 9th Anniversary
     of the beginning of the January 17 - February 28, 1991. U.S. aircraft
     flew 110,000 aerial sorties against Iraq, averaging one every 30
     seconds, dropping 88,500 tons of explosives, the equivalent of 7 l/2
     Hiroshima bombs.
     This was by far the most intensive bombardment in history.  It killed
     tens of thousands of people, injuring many more.  Medicines and
     medical supplies were exhausted.  It devastated water systems from
     reservoir, pumping station, pipeline, filtration plant to kitchen
     faucet as well as urban sewage and sanitation systems nationwide. Food
     production, processing, storage, distribution, and marketing facilities
     were widely destroyed.  Poultry was nearly wiped out by loss of
     electricity and lack of grain.  Animal herds were decimated. Fertilizer
     and insecticide plants and storage structures were destroyed.
     Communications systems, telephone, radio, TV, were shattered.
     Transportation was badly battered.  Vital industries were attacked
     everywhere.  Electric power was knocked out across the nation in the
     first 24 hours of the assault.  Petroleum production, refining, storage
     and distribution from well to service station were attacked across the
     The combined effect of this vast destruction of essential goods,
     services and industries with the most comprehensive economic
     sanctions of modern times, first imposed on Hiroshima Day, August 6,
     1990, has caused more than a million and a half deaths.
     Conditions of Life and Death in Iraq
     I have traveled to and within Iraq ten times since sanctions were
     imposed, once during the bombing in 1991.  Each year, the death rate
     has risen radically.  The numbers of deaths have been reported
     internationally regularly and updated each month since 1991.  In Iraq,
     they are palpable. UN agencies, the World Health Organization, the
     Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program,
     UNICEF and others have found and confirmed the deaths time and
     time again.  They must shock the conscience of every sentient human
     being.  Comprehensive reports by UN agencies and other sources are
     available to you.  You are charged with this knowledge.  The total
     numbers of deaths in every segment of the society has risen radically in
     each of the past nine years under U.S./U.N. sanctions.
     As a tragic illustration total annual deaths of children in Iraq under the
     age of five from respiratory infection, diarrhea and gastroenteritis and
     malnutrition are:
 1989:7110 deaths
 1999(Jan.- Nov.):  73572
     The annual number of deaths of children under age five grew more
     than tenfold from 1989 to 1999.  Total deaths of children under age
     five from these selected causes alone during 1990 to November 1999
     is 502,492.
     While children under age five are the most vulnerable age group,
     except for the extreme elderly, every age group has suffered radical
     increases in the numbers of deaths.  Members of the population with
     serious chronic illnesses requiring regular medication, or therapy,
     suffer the highest percentages of death of any sectors, approaching
     100% for some illnesses where survival rates were as high as 95%
     before sanctions.
     The sanctions target to kill, or injure infants, children, the elderly,
     and the chronically ill.
     The Red Crescent and other knowledgeable professional groups
     believe it will be years after the end of sanctions before the
     increase in deaths from most causes stops rising because of the
     cumulative effect of the sanctions on the physical conditions of
     parents, children, the new born and the overall environment.
     Most of those who survive suffer severe physical and mental injury
     from the sanctions.  Indicative of the impact of sanctions is the
     enormous rise in the percentage of registered births under 2.5
     kilograms, a dangerously low birth weight in a nation without adequate
     food, medicine and medical supplies and equipment.  Like death,
     under weight births have risen radically every year:
     Year / % of live births at weights under 2.5 kilograms
 1999(Jan. - Nov.):  24.1
     The percentage of live births below 2.5 kg. has increased more than
     fivefold to one in four registered births.  The consequence for the
     lives of these children is enormous.  Many will have underdeveloped
     organs, mental retardation, remain smaller and weaker than average
     and be more vulnerable to sickness, malnutrition and bad water.  Their
     life expectancy has been reduced by as much as 30%.  Probably 90%
     of all the infants born in Iraq since 1990 have significantly lower 
     birth weights than they would if there were no sanctions.  The effect
     on lives and health of children with higher birth weights is also
     drastic. This is why foreign medical teams for five years have
     referred to a "stunted generation" in Iraq.
     Suggestive of the struggle the children living and dying under
     sanctions in Iraq face are the following increases since 1990 in
     treated cases of nutrition related sicknesses and deficiencies.
     Year  /  Number of cases
     1990:      485 (base)
     1991:  12796  26.3 times
     1994:  20975  42.6   "
     1998:  30232  61.4   "
     Year  /  Number of cases
     1990:      5193  (base)
     1991:    96186  18.5 times
     1994:  192296  37      "
     1998:  264468  50.8   "
     Year  /  Number of cases
     Protein, Calorie, Vitamin deficiency, Malnutrition
     1990:      96809 (base)
     1991:    947974  9.8 times
     1994:  1576194  16.3  "
     1998:  1910309  19.7
     Kwashiorkor is an extremely dangerous end product of malnutrition
     in which the victim wastes and dies without early intensive care.  Few
     doctors in Iraq had ever seen a case before late 1990.  From
     medical school and continuing studies they associated Kwashiorkor
     with starvation in the poorest regions of Africa and south Asia during
     periods of war, drought, pestilence and other calamities.  Marasmus
     inflicts a lower death rate than kwashiorkor, but is extremely
     dangerous, permanently damaging and requires early and extended
     care for survival.  The effects of severe and protracted malnutrition
     are permanent and life shortening.
     Common communicable diseases preventable by vaccination which
     are provided nearly all children in developed countries and were
     standard in Iraq before 1990 have increased by multiples.  While
     rates for these diseases fluctuate unlike the death rates and rates for
     malnutrition related sickness, because of the cyclical nature of their
     communication, they have been regularly higher, increasingly so, and
     have afflicted additional hundreds of thousands of children.  Increases
     in 1998 over 1989 were as follows: whooping cough, 3.4 times;
     measles, 4.5 times (25, 818 cases); mumps, 3.7 times (35,881).
     The Sanctions Committee of the Security Council has failed to
     approve negotiated contracts for Iraq to purchase vaccines for these
     and other diseases.  Poliomyelitis, which had been virtually
     extinguished in Iraq, has increased by a multiple ranging from 2 to
     18.6 times since 1989.   Cholera rose from zero cases in 1989 to
     2560 cases in 1998 and conditions in Iraq threaten an epidemic.
     Amoebic dysentery was 13 times greater in 1998, totaling 264,290
     cases, over 1989 and much higher in several earlier years.  Typhoid
     fever was up 10.9 times to 19825 cases in 1998 over 1989.
     Scabies increased every year from zero cases in 1989 to 43,580 in
     1998.  Every adult knows the misery, suffering and sometimes
     heartbreak these preventable communicable diseases cause.
     Doctors, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, all persons in health care,
     work under tragic conditions.  Doctors and nurses uniformly state
     that patients they could easily save under normal conditions die every
     day.  The hospitals are in wretched condition: dark, cold, dirty,
     stairwells crumbling, walls peeling, beds without sheets, plumbing
     inoperable, electricity erratic, equipment without parts, medicines,
     oxygen, aesthetics, antiseptics, antibiotics, x-ray film, catheters,
     gauze, aspirin, light bulbs, pencils always scarce, often unavailable.
     Common life saving medicines from dehydration tablets to insulin are
     never in adequate supply.
     In plain numbers without measuring the conditions under which they
     were performed, or the availability of important equipment and
     supplies, major surgical operations have declined each year from a
     monthly average of 15,125 in 1989 to 3823 in November 1999 or
     by 74.7%. The monthly average number of laboratory investigations
     has declined from 1,494,050 in 1989 to 454,375 in November
     1999, or by 68.6%.
     Drastic deterioration in the whole environment, the physical plant,
     sanitation and the introduction of some 25,000,000 ounces of
     depleted uranium by U.S. aircraft and missiles have caused enormous
     increases in illnesses from tuberculosis to leukemia and other cancers,
     tumors and malformations in fetuses.  These conditions will take
     many years and billions of dollars to restore to 1989 levels.  The
     hundreds of thousands of lives destroyed and the health of millions
     damaged can never be restored.
     Today unemployment is 60%.  95% of the private sector of the
     economy is shut down.  There are no ambulances.  80% of the
     sanitation trucks from 10 years ago are inoperable.  There are no
     new trucks, cars, tractors, buses, or other vehicles.  Food
     distribution from a comprehensive rationing system controlling staples
     delivers 1100 calories per day for every person throughout the
     country, Kurd, Sunni and Shi'ite Muslim, Christian, Jew, rich, poor,
     alien, with special rations for infants, pregnant women, the severely
     malnourished, and others with special needs.  The poor cannot
     significantly supplement their food rations.  In 1989, daily caloric
     intake in Iraq averaged 3400.
     These brief facts demonstrate the deadly conditions of life
     deliberately inflicted on the entire population of Iraq, but which
     inherently impact on infants, children, the elderly and chronically ill
     first and destroy a vast part of the nation and its overwhelmingly
     Muslim peoples.
     Representative of the attitude of the U.S. government foreign policy
     makers toward Iraq and the sanctions are the considered remarks of
     former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in a syndicated
     newspaper article published in the second week of January 2000 in
     which he referred to the "alleged suffering of the Iraqi people." 
     Then U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright spoke
     more forthrightly, if more cruelly.  She stated in an interview on the
     top-rated CBS national network magazine show 60 Minutes, seen
     by tens of millions of people in the spring of 1997, that she believed
     the deaths from the sanctions of 585,000 Iraqi children under the age
     of five as direct result of sanctions reported by the U.S. Food and
     Agriculture Organization in late 1986 was a price worth paying to
     maintain the sanctions against Iraq.
     The Sanctions Violate the Genocide Convention of 1948
     Genocide is defined in the Genocide Convention, in part, as follows:
          Article II...genocide means any of the following acts committed
     with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical,
     racial or religious group, as such:
     (a)  Killing members of the group;
     (b)  Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the
     (c)  Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated
     to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
     There can be no doubt that the sanctions against Iraq intentionally
     destroyed in major part members of a national group and a religious
     group, as such, killing members of the groups, causing bodily and
     mental harm to their members and deliberately inflicting conditions of
     life calculated to bring about their physical destruction, at least, in
     part.  If this is not genocide, what is?
     The United States, after decades of resisting, finally ratified the
     Genocide Convention before these sanctions were imposed.  It has
     frequently accused other governments of genocide, sometimes
     assaulting them severely with its massive, high tech military weapons
     against which nearly all nations are defenseless.
     The Food for Oil Program has failed to stop the increased death rates
     The Food for Oil program was approved in December 1996 as a
     means of maintaining the sanctions against Iraq which were meeting
     growing opposition in the Security Council.  After three years of
     operation barely six billion dollars in contracts under the program
     have been received from 19 billion dollars of oil sales.  Despite
     Iraq's desperate needs, more of the funds from sales of its oil have
     been turned over to the U.S., the UN and others making claims against
     Iraq than have been allocated to contracts approved for purchase of
     food, medicine, equipment and equipment parts for the people of
     Iraq.  Five billion in contracts for purchases entered into by Iraq has
     not been approved.
     As has been seen the deaths of children and every other segment of
     the society from the sanctions have continued to rise in 1997, 1998
     and 1999.  To rebuild the health care system, the food production
     processing, storage and distribution system and the water systems
     will cost many billions.  Restoring facilities for health,
     communications, transportation, education, industry and clean up of
     the environment polluted by the U. S. aerial assaults, including the use
     of depleted uranium found in extremely dangerous concentrations in
     parts of Iraq, will cost many tens of billions of dollars.
     Iraq was devoting more than 20 billion annually to public facilities,
     goods and services before 1989.  Income from oil sales for 1997-
     1999 averaged under 2 billion dollars annually, 10% of the amounts
     available before sanctions.  If Iraq devoted all of the funds under
     the Oil for Food Program to food, medicine and water, the deaths
     caused by sanctions would continue to rise and the health of the
     nation decline.  The United States has proceeded to frustrate
     approval of contracts under the program in a systematic way to
     prolong the genocide against Iraq.
     United States military aircraft deliberately destroyed Iraq's water
     storage, distribution and quality control systems during the intensive
     bombing during January and February 1991.  Within two weeks
     there was no running water in any city or town in Iraq.  Many tens of
     thousands of people in Iraq have died as a direct result of drinking
     contaminated water.
     Iraq has entered into contracts totaling $700,000,000 for water and
     sewage projects.  This sum is a very small fraction of current needs.
     Only $65,000,000 has been received, less than 9%.  This is done
     deliberately to continue conditions of life destructive of the 
     population of Iraq.  Purchase of chlorine for municipal water
     treatment, a standard international usage, has been completely rejected. 
     People continue to die at increasing rates from bad water.
     Oil production for even the very low levels authorized under the
     program, less than 1/3 of the pre-sanctions level, has been difficult to
     achieve and usually below authorized amounts, because of
     deteriorated and destroyed facilities and lack of equipment and parts.
     Still the sanctions committee has approved only 18% of the tendered
     contracts for oil production, refining and transport.  This is done to
     prevent Iraq from restoring its ability to save its people through the
     sales of oil.
     Of the $207 million sought for communications under the program,
     not a penny has been approved.  The sanctions committee fears
     communicated truth will set opinion free and end the sanctions.
     The Oil for Food Program has never been anything more than a
     means for slowly increasing the rate of destruction of the people of
     Iraq.  Security Council Resolution 1284 is simply a means of starting
     the process over again.  During three years under the program from
     1996 to 1999, well over 200,000 children under age five died in
     drastically increasing numbers each year at a rate growing from just
     under 9 to well over 10 times the number who died in 1989.  That
     experience must not be repeated.  The sanctions must be ended now.
     It is criminal to hold the lives of the people of Iraq hostage to
     demands of the U.S. against their government, whatever those demands
     may be.  In war it is prohibited to use starvation as a weapon.
     Medical aid must be given enemy wounded.  Under sanctions an Iraqi is
     being deliberately killed every two minutes by conditions of life.
     Sanctions are the functional equivalent of pointing guns at the heads
     of Iraq's children and elderly while saying do what we demand to
     their government, or we will shoot, then pulling a trigger every two
     minutes, or less.
     To save the United Nations in the judgment of history, the Security
     Council must end the sanctions immediately.  They are genocide.
     To save itself from the judgment of the people of the world, the U.S.
     must immediately act to end the sanctions and account for its acts.
     Ramsey Clark
 International Action Center
 39 West 14th Street, Room 206
 New York, NY 10011
 phone: 212 633-6646
 fax:   212 633-2889
This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]