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1/2) Halliday/NYT comments on FAO killings; 3) BMA against sanctions

Attached are Denis Halliday's remarks from Beirut [1] on the FAO killings,
followed by Barbara Crossette's [2] thinly veiled suspicions that the attack
had motivations beyond those of a solitary gunman.  Finally, the British
Medical Association [3] has stated that that sanctions are causing severe
health problems among Iraqi women and children, and is urging the World
Medical Association to act.

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA
Thursday, June 29, 2000  

Two UN officials are shot dead by Baghdad gunman 
<... snip... >
Michael Jansen adds from Beirut: 

Mr Denis Halliday, the former UN humanitarian co-ordinator in Baghdad who
resigned in 1998 to protest against the sanctions regime, reacted to the
news from Iraq with surprise and shock in Beirut, where he had been
addressing a conference about the issue.

He told The Irish Times: "I believe this is certainly not ntended by the
government or government policy. In fact, the Iraqi government has bent
backward over the years to protect the lives of UN staff . . . and we have
never had any reason to fear for our lives." Mr Halliday had earlier in the
week proposed alternatives to sanctions to a conference convened in Beirut
by the Association of Arab-American University Graduates. He proposed the
re-establishment of the UN inspection and monitoring of Iraq's weapons
programme; imposition of "smart" sanctions to prevent Iraq from obtaining
prohibited weaponry; an end to the "demonisation" of Iraq and dialogue with
Baghdad; lifting of economic sanctions; release of equipment to repair the
severely damaged oil industry; investment in the country's devastated
economy; postponement of reparations payments which consume 30 per cent of
gross oil revenues, and an end to the "illegal" daily bombing of Iraq which
has killed 150-200 people.

He admitted that he is not "very happy" with this plan, that it is
"imperfect" but he said he had drafted it in such a way as to secure the
support of the parties imposing sanctions as well as those who oppose them.
Mr Halliday, an Irish national who held the rank of assistant secretary
general, said he designed his plan to "help Washington and London to get out
of this dreadful mess they have gotten themselves into" by insisting on the
continuation of the punitive sanctions regime until the Iraqi President, Mr
Saddam Hussein, is no longer in power. Mr Halliday believes that the US
could "be blamed ultimately for crimes against humanity, including possibly

"What I am working on now is trying to get other governments . . . to put
pressure on Washington to change its policy. For, in much of the world there
is outrage amongst many parliamentarians over the continuation of economic
sanctions." He believes the efforts of these parliamentarians could
reinforce the position of the 70 "courageous" US Congressmen who have taken
a stand against sanctions. These lawmakers have come to realize that the
"human calamity" caused by sanctions "is not serving the best interests of
the USA, or Europe". The sweeping embargo is "illegal", he asserted. "What
is happening in Iraq is a complete breach of international humanitarian
law." It amounts to punishing "a people in order to get at their ruler.

"So, today 18 months after leaving Iraq and resigning from UN, I find myself
advocating that those countries of the UN, small, neutral and with some
integrity still remaining . . . work together to form an informal coalition
both inside and outside of the Security Council for an end to the killing in
Iraq. Member states of the General Assembly have got to take back the UN
from an undemocratic and corrupted Security Council" dominated by
"self-serving and vetowielding permanent powers . . . The UN is in very bad
shape. More discredited now than ever before in its history".

He said "I have been harassing my own government in Dublin" to assume a role
in the campaign to end sanctions on Iraq and restore the UN role.

June 29, 2000

Iraqi Gunman Kills 2 in Hostage Siege at U.N. Office in Baghdad
UNITED NATIONS, June 28 -- An Iraqi man brandishing two machine guns and
explosives shot his way into a United Nations office today in Baghdad, Iraq,
killing two officials, wounding seven and taking some 50 hostages. After a
siege of nearly three hours, he gave himself up and said he had taken the
hostages to demand an end to United Nations sanctions against his country. 
Iraqi officials, who later made the man available to reporters and
television cameras, identified him as Fuad Hussein Haider, 38, a car

But the demands he made and the fact that Iraqi citizens do not normally
have access to automatic weapons in a country that is very tightly policed
raised questions among diplomats and some officials here about possible
complicity of the Iraqi government or one of its many security services. 

"The reason is the embargo, the death and murder of thousands of Iraqi
children and elderly," Mr. Haider told reporters after the event in an
unusual news conference in Baghdad. "I wanted to relay a message, to explain
the tragedy." 

United Nations officials said that Mr. Haider had demanded the resumption of
now banned civilian flights between Baghdad and Amman, Jordan; an increase
in food rations distributed under the "oil-for-food" program; an end to
American and British sorties over no-flight zones in northern and southern
Iraq, and compensation for Iraqis who have suffered because of them; and the
installation outside United Nations headquarters of a statue in memory of
Iraqi children who died because of the embargo. 

Benon Sevan, who directs the Iraqi oil-sales program from New York and is
also in charge of United Nations staff security, told reporters that the
gunman first tried to enter the oil-sales program's offices at the edge of
Baghdad in a heavily fortified former hotel school shared with United
Nations arms inspectors. 

When Mr. Haider could not get into that building , he went to the offices of
the Food and Agricultural Organization in a wealthy residential neighborhood
near Baghdad University. 

The Iraqi police and officials of the Food and Agricultural Organization
said Mr. Haider began to fire in the office reception area on the ground
floor, then went upstairs and continued shooting. 

Mr. Haider told a different story to reporters in Baghdad. He said that he
did not shoot first, but was fired at by Iraqi guards in the building. 

"When the guards opened fire on me, I started shooting indiscriminately,"
Mr. Haider said. "I wanted to take foreigners working in this organization
as hostages." 

He said he was prepared to die, as many other Iraqis had died since
sanctions were imposed in 1990 after Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait,
and that he had been persuaded to surrender by an Iraqi official. 

The United Nations identified the dead as Yusuf Abdilleh, a Somali
administrative officer, and Marewan Mohammed Hassan, an Iraqi hired to
maintain a computer data base. 

The Food and Agricultural Organization, based in Rome, works with the
oil-sales program both in areas controlled by the Iraqi government and in
autonomous Kurdish regions, where the United Nations takes direct charge of
relief projects. 

Among the seven injured in the building were a Nepali consultant and four
government-supplied guards. Mr. Sevan said that 50 hostages were being held
at one point. There was no explanation for why it took the government more
than two hours to send police reinforcements to free them. 

Thursday June 29 6:24 PM ET 
BMA Urges Dropping Sanctions Against Iraq
By Georgina Kenyon

LONDON (Reuters Health) - The British Medical Association (BMA) asserts that
sanctions against Iraq are causing severe health problems among Iraqi women
and children, and are urging the World Medical Association to act.

At the BMA annual meeting in central London this week, Dr. Edwin Borm,
chairman of the international committee said, ''There are very real
humanitarian concerns by allowing these economic sanctions to continue.''

``And it is women and children who are suffering the most from illnesses as
a result,'' Borm added.
Sanctions, he explained, have not affected the Iraqi regime, as those in
power are benefiting through the black market.

The British Medical Council is urging the World Medical Council to send a
delegation to Iraq to assess the full effect of sanctions on the Iraqi

An Iraqi-born British physician explained at the BMA annual meeting that
children in Iraq are suffering from malnutrition and infectious diseases as
well as a high incidence of childhood leukemia.

``We must be physicians first and politicians second, `` he said.

The British Medical Association also voted for the UK Government to press
the other G8 countries to cancel world debt because of its serious effect on

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