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Iraq water

Dear Eric,
Your contact infers that a few water facilities may have been mistakenly
hit. To reiterate, Dr Levenson, who gave evidence on the subject at Ramsey's
Clarks International Tribunal, wrote that 4 out of 7 pimping stations were
destroyed, as were 31 municipal water and sewerage facilities - 20 in
Baghdad, And the 8 multi purpose dams 'repeatedly' hit.

Para 28 states: the entire Iraqi water system will not collapse
precipitously... (but) decline steadily ....' Last line of document: 'Full
degradation of the water treatment system probably will take at least
another six months.' Given the full content of the document, the actions of
the allies and the subsequent constant hold on parts for water and sewerage
treatment, it sure reads like a statement of intent to me.

Art 54 of the Geneva Convention is clear not alone on the prohibition of
attacking that essential to sustain life, but 'rendering useless' that
indespensible to the survival of the civilian population. The war and the
sanctions have done just that to just about eveything vital and the water
has become a weapon of mass destruction.

Further Basra's only (barely) functioning water tower was bombed about two
years ago (can't find date) and was not in a complex where it could have
been mistaken for anything else, as it stood alone and visible for what it

Denial of chlorine, water purifying chemicals and parts, thus further
rendering not alone useless, but lethal Iraq's water is not only immoral but

Further, 'assessment' or not the document has certainly become a self
fulfilling prophesy, aided and abetted by the sanctions committee with
almost all the holds generated by the US. However, re the intent of the
document, Levenson, on his immediate post war visit picked up on almost
every point the document predicts will be a consequence of the destruction
of Iraq's water, as having happened.

Further, due to the collapse of water systems at every level and the denial
of parts and reverse osmosis (to which the document also refers and which
has been constantly vetoed or 'held') there are hospitals which do not even
have hot water. Basra paediatric and maternity hospital is one - new born
babies are stalked by death from the moment of their birth.

As for chlorine being a potential weapon, we havent barred it from Turkey
who has so far destroyed 3,226 Kurdish villages, pillaged northern Iraq and
has one of the worlds most lamentable human rights records - or indeed from
plenty other woefully appalling regimes. We should also bear in mind that
when the US signed the chem and biological weapons treaty it sold much of
its stocks to Iraq. There are no clean hands in this whole shoddy affair of

Further, if as your correspondent states, this is a fine, high minded
assessment of how vulnerable Iraq's water system is, put out to Nato
Central, Maritime Central, UK Strike Command etc etc to warn them to be
extra careful, either they scrupulously ignored instructions or their smart
weapons were even dumber than we thought.

There is an allied reason for thinking that water was deliberately targetted
in that in addition to bombing, it seems Turkey reduced the flow of the
Euphrates during the war and an estimated 5.5 million people reliant on it
for agriculture etc. were affected. The document was also circulated to
'Ankara'. And now, as I mentioned in the piece, the Ilisu dam if it goes
ahead, will give Turkey control over water to Iraq and Syria.

As for not targetting civilians - the Basra road springs to mind - targetted
even after the ceasefire. And the ongoing bombings - including six flocks of
sheep since Dec 98 and the child shepherds who mind them - all in remote
areas, near no installations of any kind. It would be of interest to this
observer, who has visited all but one sheep bombing and interviewed
eyewitnesses and surviving families, to know what threat sheep pose to US
and UK aircraft.

Kindest regards,
Felicity Arbuthnot.
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