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Day of Action (14th Feb) : Send a Postcard to the FCO !

Next Monday (the 14th February) is the ninth anniversary of the bombing of
the Ameriyah shelter in which several hundred Iraqi civilians (mostly women
and children) were killed.

To mark this date voices uk is asking people to send their own
anti-sanctions postcards to the FCO, either *on* this date (or,
alternatively, post them on the Saturday to *arrive* on the 14th).

The message could be very simple eg. "Sanctions are killing the children of
Iraq. Lift the economic sanctions now !", together with your name.

Postcards should be addressed to : The Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook MP,
Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Whitehall, London SW1A,

If everyone sends a card the FCO will be deluged so please send one !

Best wishes,

Gabriel Carlyle
voices in the wilderness uk

tel. 01865 - 243 232


Other events on the 14th :

Our sister organisation in the States (Voices in the Wilderness) are
currently nearing the end of a 30 day fast against the sanctions in
Washington. On the 14th they will be joining  members of the Atlantic Life
Community, Friendship and Reconcilliation and others in an act of civil
disobedience at the US Permanent Representative to the UN (at the UN Plaza
in new York).

Some non-violent direct action will also take place at an appropriate venue
in London on the same day.

Below I've posted some recent correspondence, describing the Voices US fast
and lobbying activities :



1) Letter from Kathy Kelly in Washington DC

2) Report on the meeting with Toni Berry, head of the Iraq Desk at the
Department of State

3) Review of Tuesday's events

4) Schedule for NYC activities Feb 12-14

Letter from Kathy Kelly

Dear Friends,

The community of fasters in Washington, DC and elsewhere in the US and
Canada sincerely thanks the many people who have been our companions in this

Calls to US Congresspeople helped us quite a bit here in D.C.  One
congressional aide asked to meet with us because he'd received an
unprecedented number of calls and letters on the issue.  It's encouraging to
walk into offices and learn that workers are already familiar with the
issues we want to raise. It's also helpful to let government workers know
that we represent a growing list of community and faith-based organizations
that have gone on record as opposed to the economic sanctions.

Nevertheless, experience here in DC confirms our determination to continue
trying to educate US Congressional and Senate offices about the consequences
of economic sanctions and to work hard to generate media challenges to the
present policy.

This week we welcome activists from Detroit, Philadelphia, New
Hampshire, Luck, WI, and Colorado Springs who visited their
legislative representatives.  Tuesday was very full: some of us
went to the briefing on Iraq hosted by Representative Kilpatrick;
others stood outside of the briefing Secretary of State
Albright delivered to the Senate Foreign Relations committee, while still
others were be part of the blood drive at Georgetown University where many
people donated blood locally but in memory of Iraqi people who have died
because of economic sanctions.

Throughout the week, we have been trying to meet with Embassy
representatives from
each of Iraq's neighboring states.  We want to learn from them the
perspectives of their governments regarding consequences of economic
sanctions against Iraq.

Early this morning we sent letters to Ms. Albright and to the Iraq desk at
the State Department asking them to join us as we end our fast the morning
of February 11.  We'll let you know how plans develop for Friday.  Thanks in
advance to folks at the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Kairos Community,
the Atlantic Life Community, the New York Catholic Worker, and many others
for activities planned in New York City this weekend.

With you, we long for that time when people who already live so well will no
longer feel entitled to get more, when nonviolence will be so engrained in
us that we'll gladly and generously share food, resources, wealth, and


Kathy Kelly
for Voices in the Wilderness Washington D.C. Fast

Report on the meeting with Toni Berry of the U.S. State Department's Iraq

The following is the report of Voices in the Wilderness' meeting at the
State Department in January 24.

On January 24, 2000, Ms. Toni Berry of the U.S. State Department's Iraq Desk
met for an hour and a half with three Voices in the Wilderness
representatives, Chris Allan-Doucot, Nick Arons, and Kathy Kelly.

We introduced ourselves as representative not only of Voices in the
Wilderness, but also of a growing network of concerned individuals and
groups opposed to the US/UN economic sanctions on Iraq, including the
National Council of Churches, National Council of Catholic Bishops,
Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship,
Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi USA, the American Friends Service
Committee, Western Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, the
Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Arab-American Anti Discrimination Committee,
Life for Relief and Development, the Council on Islamic Arab Relations, and
Conscience International,

Chris Doucot displayed a carefully organized notebook of photos showing
victims of both bombardment and sanctions. We told Ms. Berry that State
Department reports frequently contradict UN official reports as well as
evidence we've witnessed first hand regarding destruction caused by a war on
two fronts, economic warfare and bombardment.

Ms. Berry told us the history of the no-fly zones, asserting that the
patrols are meant to protect Iraqi people.  We pointed out that the families
of the 143 people who've been killed by these "patrols" would have
difficulty appreciating this protection.  She said that State Department
contacts 'on the ground' in Iraq say that Iraqi people want the no-fly zone

patrols and bombing to continue. We noted that not a single person with whom
we've met, in the course of 31 delegations, has asked that no-fly zones and
bombardment continue.  She didn't dispute that bombing no fly zones is a
violation of international law and that innocent people are killed.  Nor did
she dispute that it's unfair of the US State Department to deny that people
are being killed.  We showed her fragments of bomb parts which we collected
in July of 1999.

Regarding the effect of economic sanctions on Iraq's economy, Ms. Berry said
that if sanctions were lifted today, Iraq's government would not have any
more revenue to work with than that which it already could generate.  She
then raised concerns over what the government of Iraq would do with added
revenue, given the recent record of building palaces.  She said they have no
indication that Iraq would use added revenue to help its people.  We noted
that prior to the Gulf War, Iraq had developed an advanced means of meeting
the health, housing and education needs of its people.  As a sovereign
nation, Iraq has a right to decide for itself how it will spend revenue
raised from sales of its own resources.  We frequently referred to UN
briefings which we attended in Baghdad during which Mr.Hans von Sponeck
assured us that stockpiling of goods should not be attributed to malice on
the part of the Iraqi government but rather to problems caused by the
economic sanctions.  We summarized some of the ways in which imposition of
the sanctions interferes with efficient distribution of goods and also
pointed out several reasons why distribution in the north is more effective
than in the south-valid reasons based on important facts which are not
mentioned in the US State Department reports which assign all blame to the
Government of Iraq.  We noted that this information is crucial for a better
understanding of why Iraqi people suffer from severe shortages and asked why
the State Department chose not to include these facts in their August

We noted that on three separate occasions President
Clinton, Secretary of State Ms. Albright, and Defense Secretary William
Cohen have stated that sanctions will not be lifted until the current regime
is removed from power.  We asked what incentive the Iraqi government would
have to comply with UN mandates if in fact the US has assured them that
compliance will not result in lifting the sanctions.

Ms. Berry stated that humanitarian concerns are "number one" in the US State
Department's view, but in concert with concern over containment of Saddam
Hussein.  She agreed that the role the US is playing is not good for the
country's image abroad.  She said they would prefer a situation in which
Iraqi people weren't suffering.  Chris Doucot said that he believes US
people would approve a change in the policy.  Ms. Berry said that "Congress
would never go along with a change in policy that alleviates suffering as
long as Saddam Hussein is still in power."

We felt quite positive about introducing ourselves and our concerns to the
State Department through this meeting with Ms. Berry.  She listened
carefully to our grievances and clearly understood our conviction that these
grievances are ground in human decency, truth, and international law.  The
exchange encouraged us to seek public debates between representatives of the
US State Department and spokespeople who favor lifting the economic

The meeting with Ms.Berry suggests to us that the strategy advocated by
Phyllis Bennis in a recent response to Resolution 1284 makes sense: continue
pressing the media to challenge the current policy and continue efforts to
educate and persuade legislators as regards the lethal effects of economic
sanctions.  It's also important that we continue linking with human rights
groups.  Ms. Berry noted that other human rights groups and religious groups
have visited her and asked that sanctions be maintained.  We've recently met
with Mr. Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch and are meeting today with Kani
Xalam of the Kurdish Information Agency.  Along with listening to the
concerns of these groups, we'll urge them to write to, call, and visit with
State Department representatives to express concerns over the human rights
abuses caused by economic sanctions on Iraq. These letters, calls, and
visits are noted.

Review of Tuesday's events

February 8  Washington, DC

At an early morning meeting, four representatives of the US State Department
met with Bishop Gumbleton and a delegation of activists from Detroit, most
of whom had traveled to Iraq in December 1999, in Carolyn Kilpatrick's
office.  Beth Jones, of the Iraq desk, listened to presentations by the
Detroit VitW travelers who clarified that they oppose weapons of mass
destruction and then gave first hand accounts of ways in which economic
sanctions had destroyed infrastructure in Iraq and destroyed lives.  Ms.
Beth Jones, of the State Department's Iraq desk, stated that Iraq's
government has had the revenue to buy needed items but has chosen not to.
We offered Ms. Jones and Representative Kilpatrick a copy of a recent UN
contract status document which lists items currently on hold, still being
processed, or blocked.  This list is available from the Office of the Iraq
Program on the UN website.  We also showed UN Iraq Coordinator Benon Sevan's
letter of February 7 which urgently asks the UN Sanctions Committee to
approve contracts that will allow Iraq to import crucially needed equipment
for oil production.

Next, the Detroit delegation moved to the briefing arranged by
Representative Kilpatrick and chaired by Representative Conyers.  Present
also were Representative Kucinich, Rep. Kildee, Rep. Stabenau, at least 20
congressional aides and a standing room only crowd.  Each of the speakers
offered moving testimony, and we're very eager to make available Raed
Battah's tape of this briefing.  Please let the VitW office in Chicago know
if you are
interested to get a copy.

Following our afternoon vigil, VitW activists fanned out to visit
congressional representatives.  Several fasters then met with
representatives of the Kuwaiti Information office.  We wanted to learn more
from them about why their government says that the government of Iraq poses
a threat to Kuwaiti people.  Also, we wanted to learn whether or not they
think that economic sanctions against Iraq are a helpful means to alleviate
their fears.  In a two hour meeting, the Director of the Kuwait Informatin
Office and his advisor spoke at length about the destruction and loss
Kuwaitis endured during the Gulf War and asked, particularly, that attention
be paid to the plight of 600 Kuwaitis believed to prisoners of war.  They
said that they still fear invasion or retaliation by Iraq.  We pointed out
the many ways in which economic sanctions cause, on a comparative scale,
ongoing and far greater suffering and destruction.  We think it's useful to
pursue this discussion with members of the Kuwait Information Office.  The
director is Dr. Shafeeq N. Ghabra, a former professor of political science
at Kuwait University.  202-338-0265

Throughout the day, Simon Harak, SJ and Ramzi Kysia were on hand at a blood
drive organized by Georgetown Students during which many people came to
donate blood locally but on behalf of Iraq people who have died because of
economic sanctions.  Simon and Ramzi ask that we promote this idea widely.
There was standing room only in the room reserved for the blood donation; as
people waited in line, Simon talked to each donor about conditions in Iraq.
Literature and pictures were taped to the walls, and letters writing
materials were available for those who wished to write a letter to their
congressperson while recovering from blood donatoin.  Each donor that was
approached either wrote a letter or promised to do so later.

In the evening, about 40 American University students gathered with four of
us who are fasting.  They are part of a group called "The Movement," and we
felt greatly heartened by their readiness to become actively involved in
campaign work to end the sanctions against Iraq.  The meeting lasted three

"One day and a wakeup" - on February 11 we plan to break our fast in front
of the state department and then gather with supporters and representatives
of the Arab American community in Washington DC at the Cafe Luna (12 noon).
Then we're heading north to New York City.  The sojourn here will hearten us
for the long haul.

Schedule for NYC activities Feb 12-14

Sunday, February 12

9AM-noon: Housing Check-in  at Maryhouse Catholic Worker, 55 East 3rd St.,
Centering prayer with Sr. Eileen Storey, scripture reflection, and sharing
from activists who have traveled to Iraq.  Maryhouse Catholic Worker.

1:30-5PM:  Teach-in at Judson Memorial Church, 55 washington Sq. South, NYC.
Speakers include Denis Halliday, Phyllis Bennis, Sam Husseini of the
Institute for public Accuracy, and David McReynolds of the War Resisters

7PM-11PM:  Pfeffer Peace Prize Presentation to Kathy Kelly of Voices in the
Speakers include Denis halliday, Kathy kelly, and John Dear.  Celebration
wih refreshments and music will follow.  St. Francis Xavier Church, 30 West
16th St, NYC.

Sunday, February 13

9-11AM:  Vigil at St. Patrick's Cathedral, 5th Ave and 51st St.

1-6PM:  Planning session for Monday's action at the UN.  Meet at NYU
Center, 58 Washington Square South.

1-6PM:  Youth Caucus, nonviolence training, planning session for nonviolent
action.  Aletheia School of prayer, 20 washington Square north.

Monday, February 14

9AM:  Meet at St. Patrick's Cathedral, 5th Ave and 51st St.  We will vigil,
to the UN, peacefully protest, and if moved, participate in the nonviolent
direct action at the Permanent Representative of the United States to the
United Nations, 799 United Nations Plaza, NYC

Questions about NYC?  Call Danny Muller at 212-714-8143

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