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Paying the Price. Killing the Children of Iraq. For those who do not live in the UK, what follows is a summarized account of the main points/interviews in this moving, fair and accurate ninety minute documentary. Of the many officials interviewed, only two, a UN Ambassador and James Rubin of the US State department, did not condemn the sanctions. All others were staunchly opposed to them. I do not have all the time to mention all the points, but I think I have covered the most important bits. Pilger's starting comments: "Widespread chronic malnutrition and death. Unprecedented human disaster. Lack of clean water, fresh food, and life-saving drugs. People selling their furniture to buy medicine, and children becoming beggars. The sanction's impact is equivalent to the two atomic bombs dropped over Japan. Death rate of children under five is more than 4000/month." Dennis Halliday (former UN official in Iraq): Reunited with a girl he helped to save her life, after suffering leukemia a couple of years ago, he commented "Tony Blair and Bill Clinton should be here to witness the impact of sanctions." "We are in the process of destroying human rights in Iraq." "There is no democracy in the Security Council." "General assembly of the UN would overturn the sanctions." "History books will write that we are correct." Hans Von Sponeck who resigned lately:"Iraq should not go through another year of sanctions." Pilger notes that the "UN had not known a rebellion like the resignation of Von Sponeck and his colleagues." After commenting on how Saddam and his cronies are well fed and hospitalized, Pilger asked UN Ambassador Peter ??: "Why should the Iraqi people be held hostage for the mistakes of the Iraqi regime?" Ambassador replies: "Well, sanctions are not a form of development aid." Pilger was very puzzled! Pilger: "Why sanctions are not on Israel?" Ambassador: "Israel is surrounded by countries that wanted to destroy it." Pilger: "What about Israel's nuclear capability?" Ambassador: "We are not sanctioning nuclear powers." Pilger: "It attacks Lebanon everyday. What about Turkey killing thousands of Kurds?" Ambassador pauses for a while then refers to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. In a later segment, Pilger asks the Ambassador if he accepts that "Human rights are for the individual?" Ambassador: "Yes." Pilger: "Isn't what happening in Iraq a violation of that?" Ambassador: "Iraq is a complex issue. The regime is also responsible." Pilger: "Of course." Then a short discussion that I was not able to note. Pilger asks James Rubin about Secretary Albright's reported comments that scarifying half a million children was a price worth paying? Rubin replies: "We do not accept that figure. Secretary Albright was not accepting that figure. Dubious methodology." Later, Rubin says: "The Security Council must make decisions based on what's most dangerous for the world. It would be more dangerous if the Security Council accepted the views of some UN officials." "Prior to sanctions poverty was going on. Lifting sanctions would not mean Iraqis would live better under the current regime." Pilger reports how a CIA official once said: "Saddam is a SOB. But he is our SOB." Gates, former director of the CIA: "Saddam once shot down a minister in a cabinet meeting. He was no democrat." Dr. Laith Kubba: "The UK, USA, and other states sided with Saddam. They did not want to know about human rights atrocities. All abuses were brushed aside." "Iraq must not be ruined under the pretext that Saddam must be denied weapons of mass destruction. The two issues are very different. Iraq is a country. Iraq is not Saddam." Later, Dr. Kubba says: "That policy is causing the death of thousands and thousands. They did not choose Saddam. They are caught in this." Scott Ritter (former UN Arms inspector): "Is Iraq disarmed? Yes. Does it have a nuclear program? No. Does it have a biological program? No. Does it have a chemical program? No. Get the inspectors back to certify that and start monitoring." Professor Rokke who was hired to clean up the environment of Kuwait, and became a victim himself, has five thousand times the recommended level of radiation in his body. "Forty eight percent of the population might have cancer in their later life." "Unless the environment is cleaned, the effects are going to be lasting forever and ever and ever." "You do not deny necessary medical equipment under the pretext that Saddam is bad. The women and children can not change the regime. That policy is wrong." Other parts of the program interviewed Iraqi doctors talking about children suffering from cancer, and noting the lack of essential medications like morphine and vaccine. The World Health Organization chief of cancer program also spoke about that. There were also very short segments about Iraqi history earlier in the twentieth century, comments by a UN official on the deterioration of the educational system in Iraq, comments by the author Abu Rish on the "lack of principles in the relationship with Iraq", a story of the wife of the head of the Iraqi national orchestra who burned completely in front of him, a very tragic story of how an entire family were wiped out when they were bombed by allies' planes while they were eating on a Friday (the Sabbath for Muslims). The latter could not be described by any words. There were also short segments about the Intifadah in the south nine years ago showing some of the Intifadah soldiers blindfolded and taken "for execution." Finally, Pilger asks: "Why the suffering of the Iraqi people have been allowed to go on year after year? Is there a hidden agenda? The US wants to control oil from the Gulf to the former Soviet Republics. Starvation and bombing of Iraq a blueprint for this strategy." Pilger concludes by mentioning that "Saddam and Robin Cook were the only two people who refused to appear on this documentary. Cook refused to appear in a documentary where dying children are shown. I wanted to ask him the Albright question, why medical supplies like vaccine are denied, and why bombs are dropped. The Foreign Office wanted a ten minute uncut segment for Mr. Cook to make a statement. In effect, they wanted editorial control. What is the Foreign Office afraid from?" Pilger's final words "At the dawn of the millennium how is the world to be judged? When those politicians talk about ethical foreign policy, and moral crusades, do they justify the suffering of twenty one million people held hostage for the brutality of their dictator? Madeline Albright thinks that the price is worth it. No it is not. It is time that we reclaim the United Nations. While you have been watching this program countless children have died." More information can be obtained by contacting the program at: IRAQ, PO Box 8000, Birmingham, B1 2JN. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi