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BBC Newsnight - Peter Hain transcription



Again, Hain uses the constant fall-back argument of the US and UK govts
about the possible 'threat' posed by Saddam if sanctions were to be lifted -
a catch-all argument seemingly justifying any action on our part.

I get the feeling we need to address this argument more directly and more
often.


INTERVIEWER asks how the Government justifies continuation of sanctions in
the light of Sponeck/ Halliday/ Burghardt resignations...

HAIN: "We justify it because unless we had sanctions Saddam Hussein would be
able to invade Kuwait as he did 9 years ago, 10 years ago, or strike war
with Iran or any other neighbour that he wanted to be aggressive with.

"Sanctions have contained one of the most brutal and aggreesive operators in
the world, and certainly in that region,
AND if the sanction's Oil-for-Food programme that's linked to it had been
applied by Saddam Hussein in the way that it was provided for, billions and
billions of dollars of food could have gone to the Iraqi people -- some IS
going, much more could have gone, along with medical supplies, to relieve
the appalling suffering that he's inflicting upon them."

INTERVIEWER asks about 1284.

HAIN: "Well in the end I hope that Iraq WILL comply with the United Nations
Security Council resolution -- it's been backed by all the countries on the
Security Council [sic] -- it's been implemented by all the countries and the
whole United Nations is behind it -- it has the force of international law,
he should comply. And if he does so there is the prize of sanctions being
suspended and also extra food and medical aid and so on getting in.

"He is blocking some of that medical aid and food aid at the present time,
and unfortunately we had in Mr Von Sponeck an administrator who was simply
not up to the job."

(NOTE Hain does not say WHY he thinks Von Sponeck was not up to the job, but
simply asserts it as a truth.)


At the end of the piece, and Sponeck's interview, the interviewer says that
they put all Sponeck's points to the FCO who said:

(INTERVIEWER quotes) "To lift sanctions now with vital questions about
Weapons of Mass Destruction programmes unanswered would undermine the
authority of the United Nations."

[and they say]  "It would INCREASE the threat to Iraq's people and its
neighbours."


Note also that Hain considers the human rights of the Iraqi people to be a
"prize" that their ruler can win for them - not rights that exist anyway and
that we have a duty to recognise and respect.

Hope this is of some use,

Glenn.

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