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Iraqi supplement, 17-24/12/00

[Article of reflection directly dealing with Iraq]

*  Grief-stricken Palestinians getting checks from Iraq
*  Iraqis reeling under sanction see glimmer of hope
*  Bush's Saddam test [Israeli view of Powell¹s remarks on sanctions. They
are not reassured]
*  Bush Team Sets Ambitious Target in Iraq Policy [I include this in full
because it gives a rundown of the views of a wide rangle of Œexperts¹ in the
*  Report: economic growth linked to Iraq, Mideast peace [extract]
*  Matthew Norman's 'turncoat competition' [on P.Hain]
*  Board Sees Stress As a Primary Cause of Gulf War Illnesses
*  No cover-ups on Gulf War Syndrome, panel says
*  Powell Reconsiders Sanctions on Iraq (5 years ago he wrote against them;
now he'd make them tougher) ["The problem is that sanctions are most often
imposed against regimes that have only their own interests and the retention
of power at heart ... And since these leaders are still going to have a roof
over their heads, food on their table and power in their hands, sanctions
rarely work against them." ­ Colin Powell, 1995]
*  The Anglican Church's voice in the Valleys [very short extract. The
Archbishop of Wales¹ views on Iraq]

*  Iraq would have preferred Gore
by Hussein Hindawi
*  Powell Sees end to Saddam's Regime
by George Gedda, Associated Press Writer
Los Angeles Times, 20th December,2669,SAV

by Hugh Dellios
Chicago Tribune, December 17, 2000

ABU KASH, West Bank -- A winter cap pulled down to his brow, a look of
profound grief on his face, Adnan Bayatneh stepped out into the cold to
welcome his visitors.

Only days before, the Palestinian waiter's son, Ramzi, was killed in a clash
with Israeli soldiers. The boy, 14, was Bayatneh's eldest son, a 9th grader
with a sharp aim with a slingshot and hands so skilled that his father
dreamed of building him his own mechanic shop someday.

On this day, however, the grieving father's guests did not come just to
mourn. Once inside, they said a prayer, put a poster of Saddam Hussein in
Bayatneh's hands and gave him a $10,000 check from the Iraqi dictator,
asking for his signature on a receipt before they left.

"We come on behalf of Saddam Hussein to pay our cordial respects," said
Rakad Salem, head of the delegation from the Iraq-backed Arab Liberation
Front. "Despite the difficult conditions for Iraqis, they decided to support
the families of the martyrs."

The visits have been repeated at the homes of every Palestinian who died
during the last 11 bloody weeks in the Mideast, all as part of Hussein's
campaign to promote the Palestinian intifada and nurture his growing support
among the Arab masses who want confrontation with Israel.

What worries the Israelis and many Western diplomats is that it is working.
Around the West Bank, posters of Hussein are carried in funeral processions,
and his name is shouted by stone throwers inside Jerusalem's Al Aqsa

The grieving families, poor as most are, accept the money from Iraq with
deep reservations, but many use part of it to pay for photographs of Hussein
in local newspapers next to advertisements thanking him for his generosity.

"Saddam knows what he is doing," said Zakaria Al Qaq, a political analyst
with the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information. "When you ask
the shabab [street youths] who is their hero, do they say [Yasser] Arafat?
No. They say Saddam."

Hussein's motive, analysts say, is to raise his profile as the one true
pan-Arab leader and to further break down support for the United Nations
economic sanctions and military no-fly zones that have crippled his country
since the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

Over the last several months, popular support for the intifada has increased
pressure on moderate Arab leaders to disregard the 10-year-old sanctions.
Jordan has been among several nations that have resumed commercial flights
and other contacts with Baghdad, with or without UN approval.

The Israelis accuse Hussein of using his money to cynically encourage
Palestinian families to send their sons to die. They fear that what Hussein
most wants is for the intifada to escalate into a full-fledged Israeli-Arab
war, which would be the best way to assure his resurrection.

"One of the things that worries Saddam most is the intifada dying out," said
Amatzia Baram, an Iraq analyst at the Israeli National Defense College.
"What Saddam has in mind is to speak to the Arab masses above the heads of
their leaders, to force the leaders to be more active against Israel. If
there is war, he knows that all the sanctions and all the no-fly zones are

Al Qaq, the Palestinian analyst, says he believes Hussein's goal is not war
but to force other Arab leaders to a summit where they could not resist
popular demand to break the sanctions once and for all.

The checks to the families of "martyrs" are not Hussein's only assistance to
the Palestinians. Each wounded Palestinian gets $1,000 from Iraq, in
addition to assistance for all victims from the Palestinian Authority, Hamas
and other Palestinian groups.

Last week, Hussein proposed that $900 million be given to the Palestinians
from the special program through which the UN allows Iraq to sell oil in
exchange for food and medicine. That assistance is supposed to go to the
Iraqi people, who have suffered under the sanctions.

Hussein also has opened Iraq's hospitals to wounded Palestinians, bringing
them in on special flights. And he recently sent 68 Iraqi trucks to the
border between Jordan and Israel to deliver food and medical supplies.

This raises obvious questions about Hussein's priorities in alleviating his
own people's suffering.

"Can you imagine how many Iraqi families could live on $10,000 per year?"
said Baram, the Israeli defense analyst. "I'm not so sure the Iraqi people
are so happy about this, but I'm also sure that no one is going to protest."

In the Ramallah area, the checks come from the small fifth-floor office of
the tiny Arab Liberation Front, where posters of a smiling Hussein fill the
plate-glass windows and a man with a Kalashnikov rifle stands guard on the

Next door is the office of the Palestinian Liberation Front. That is the
party of Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Abbas, the man behind the
hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1986, who moves freely between
his homes in Baghdad and Gaza since the 1993 Oslo peace accords.

Salem, the Arab Liberation Front's general secretary, says his party is
under the umbrella of Hussein's Iraqi Baath Party and that the money is
simply an extension of Hussein's effort to promote unity throughout the Arab
world. It also is reciprocity for Palestinian support during the gulf war,
Salem said.

A Palestinian who fled his village near Acco in 1948 and lived in exile in
Baghdad, Salem said it is not the first time that Hussein has aided the
Palestinians. During the Lebanese civil war, he often sent money to the PLO
in times of crisis, though never checks to individual families.

Salem said that, despite the applause from the masses, the Palestinian
families do not always want the money.

"A high number of the families asked us to take the money back, to give it
to the Iraqi people," he said. "But we refused. It is the decision of Saddam
Hussein and it's a donation. The amount for the martyrs is not a big

The money actually is a hefty sum for a Palestinian family, especially
during the holy month of Ramadan, during winter and during a period when the
Palestinian economy has nearly come to a halt behind Israeli army blockades.

The Bayatnehs were alerted by telephone that the Baath leaders were coming,
and a cousin searched all over Ramallah for an Iraqi flag to fly from a
ladder. A line of family men with checkered headscarves and rough workmen's
handshakes greeted the delegation in the yard.

Yet Ramzi's father sat emotionless during the visit, his eyes downcast. One
relative stood to read a statement of gratitude, but after the visitors
left, the father slumped back in a chair with the check buried deep in his
trouser pocket.

"Maybe somebody needs this," said Bayatneh, 47, who has not been to his job
at an East Jerusalem hotel since the fighting began in September. "I don't
need it, because it comes this way. It is fire in my pocket."

The dead boy's face peered out from two posters on the living room wall
heralding him as a martyr, although the photos had been taken when he was
far younger than 14.

Ramzi, his father and cousins said, was a master at building things at his
private school in Jericho. He hunted birds with his slingshots, but also
kept some as pets in his room, along with a handsome dog named Rocky, who
hasn't eaten since Ramzi failed to come home.

"Before he died, I told him, `When you finish school, I will build you your
own shop,'" Bayatneh said, brightening when the questions turned from the
money to his son. "I told him when you work in your shop, I will sit with
you and smoke the nargileh," a water pipe.

Bayatneh said Ramzi always denied going to the clashes. Now he chooses not
to ask how his son died, although the family can guess what happened in
Ramallah, where hundreds of youths have confronted Israeli soldiers with
stones and the soldiers are authorized to open fire on the ones that
endanger them.

"The truth is that Ramzi was the very best at the slingshot," said Abu
Shakri Nasser, a second cousin. "He could hit a bird at 200 meters, and he
used this expertise to fight the Israelis." [India]

Economic Times (India), 18th December

Baghdad (Reuters): Ali works 10-hours a day at a bakery shop in Baghdad
where he earns $4 a month and a few loaves of bread to feed a wife and four
children. Despite the odds, he makes it with the help of the government food
rations. And despite the gloom around him he still finds room for optimism.

"Things are looking up," he said. "There is hope that, God willing, things
would start to improve and this embargo would be lifted soon."

Ali¹s remarks are echoed by other average Iraqis in Baghdad ever since
foreign states resumed flights, albeit mostly humanitarian, to Iraq since
August after a 10-year break because of UN sanctions imposed on Baghdad
after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

"The flights mean the end of our isolation and show that despite what the
United States says, the world is on our side," Hassan, a hotel employee,
said. "Dawn might not be far away." Diplomats said that the flights had had
little physical impact on Iraq but had given a huge boost to the morale of
Iraqis. The UN Security Council was considering a formula to allow more
regular flights to and from Baghdad.

Iraqis are also seeing some improvements in their daily life. Electricity
cuts, a regular feature of the past 10-years, have become less severe,
drinking water and sewerage networks are being repaired and the capital is
looking cleaner.

An increase in revenues from unlimited oil sales under a humanitarian
programme with the United Nations have helped the authorities to increase
spending on the infrastructure.

The Security Council lifted a year ago a ceiling on oil sales in the
programme, first introduced late 1996. Iraq has sold oil worth around
$17-billion this year.

A third of that sum went to a compensation fund and to cover UN expenses
while the remainder was allocated to buying food, medicines and other
essential goods, such as spare parts for the oil industry and other
infrastructure sectors.

Iraq regularly complains that many contracts to buy goods under the
programme are either blocked or delayed by the United States and Britain.

Revitalised plans mean that the Iraqi government is distributing food
rations to the 23 million population more efficiently under the supervision
of the United Nations.

"Things are better in general, but make no mistake there is a long, long way
to go before any kind of normalcy is restored," a diplomat said. "The
economy remains in ruins and the vast majority of people are way under the
poverty line." He said that the health and educational sectors in particular
were still major problems.

Iraq, which agreed to an extention of the oil-for-food programme last week,
said it had fulfilled all its obligations under Security Council resolutions
and sanctions should be lifted.

Jerusalem Post, December 18

It takes some reading between the lines, but sparks of the Republican
critique of eight years of Clinton foreign policy can be discerned in George
W. Bush's first statement about the world as president-elect. Words like
"freedom," "democracy," "values," and "friends" suddenly have moved to
center stage. The question is whether this subtle change in tone will
reflect a real change in policy, particularly toward the Middle East.

Upon introducing Colin Powell, his nominee to be secretary of state, Bush's
first words to characterize his foreign policy were, "In word and deed we
must be clear and consistent and confident that our values are real. And we
must be true to our friends."

Bush continued, "As president I will set our priorities and we will stand by
them. If we do not set our own agenda, it will be set by others, potential
adversaries or the crises of the moment... Our stand for human freedom is
not an empty formality of diplomacy, but a founding and guiding principle of
this great land. By promoting democracy we lay the foundation for a better
and more stable world."

All of these are fine and refreshing words, which could set the stage for a
dramatic change in the US foreign policy of the last eight years, which was
characterized by peacemaking efforts that enjoyed varying degrees of
success, but passivity and vacillation in the face of simmering global
threats. The decade of the 1990s, which was expected to see the advance of
an unstoppable wave of freedom following the collapse of the Soviet bloc and
America's victory in the Gulf War, has instead witnessed a range of unsavory
dictatorships hanging on to power quite nicely.

The most glaring example, of course, is Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

George Bush's father, or Colin Powell, for that matter, hardly expected
Saddam to survive the utter defeat they dealt him. Today, however, Saddam
not only has survived, but is practically unfettered by the sanctions regime
that was supposed to have crushed his ability to produce weapons of mass

The case of Iraq, then, is a good place to start in judging who will be
"setting the agenda," as Bush puts it: the US or Saddam. Powell's opening
salvo, in this respect, is not encouraging. On the one hand, in setting his
tone regarding the world as a whole, Powell tracked his new boss's more
muscular approach nicely: "We will stand strong with our friends and allies
against those nations that pursue weapons of mass destruction, that practice
terrorism. We will not be afraid of them, we will not be frightened by them.
We will meet them, we will match them, we will contend with them."

But when it came to the specific case of Iraq, Powell began to sound awfully
like the people he was replacing: "We will work with our allies to
reenergize the sanctions regime. And I will make the case in every
opportunity I get that we're not doing this to hurt the Iraqi people... I
think it is possible to reenergize those sanctions and to continue to
contain him and then confront him, should that become necessary again."

The UN sanctions regime at its height was unable to fulfill its mandate of
discovering and destroying all of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Now
that Saddam has succeeded in keeping out even a watered-down version of
UNSCOM and the air embargo is leaking like a sieve, talk of "reinvigorating
sanctions" is more akin to a wet noodle than a big stick.

For a more realistic policy befitting the solid principles that he and Bush
laid out, Powell need only look to Bush's own stable of foreign policy
advisers. In a February 25, 1998 open letter to President Bill Clinton,
senior Bush adviser Paul Wolfowitz and others urged recognition of a
provisional government led by the Iraqi opposition, and assisting its
offensive against Saddam "logistically and through other means." Another
Bush adviser, former undersecretary of state Robert Zoellick, advocated
helping the Iraqi opposition to "slowly taking away pieces of his territory"
by extending the current US-policed "no-fly zone" to also include "no-drive"
zones that would keep out Iraqi tanks.

Powell, of all people, should understand that Saddam Hussein is not
impressed by empty saber-rattling. Sitting back and waiting for Saddam to
put up a sign stating "We have nuclear weapons" is precisely the reactive
foreign policy that the Bush team claims to be rejecting. A lack of realism
toward Saddam bodes ill for the Arab-Israeli peace process as well, since
the forces of rejectionism will take their cue from how the US treats its
most aggressive leader.

by Jonathan Wright

WASHINGTON (Reuters, 19th December) - With its pledge to restore the vigor
of sanctions against Iraq, U.S. President-elect George W. Bush (news - web
sites)'s team has set itself a challenging goal that it might live to
regret, analysts said on Tuesday.

But the pledge is open to differing interpretations, and some versions would
offer concessions to win over countries like Russia and France, which are
skeptical about the effectiveness and moral basis for the sanctions system.

Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell (news - web sites), chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, made the pledge
on Saturday when Bush announced his appointment. He repeated the Clinton
administration mantra that the sanctions, now in their 11th year, should
remain as long as Iraqi President Saddam Hussein does not meet the
cease-fire conditions imposed on Iraq at the end of the Gulf War in 1991.

``They (the Iraqis) have not yet fulfilled those agreements and my judgement
is that sanctions in some form must be kept in place until they do so,''
Powell said. ``We will work with our allies to re-energize the sanctions

Coupled with Bush's remark in a campaign debate with Vice President Al Gore
(news - web sites) on Oct. 11, that he wanted the sanctions to be tougher,
Powell added to the impression that a Bush administration would try to
tighten the screws on Iraq.

Some Bush advisers, as well as Republicans in the U.S. Congress, have also
openly advocated arming the Iraqi opposition in an attempt to overthrow the
Iraqi leader -- a step that the Clinton administration carefully avoided.

Some analysts said the Bush administration would be going down a blind alley
if it seriously expected to restore the cohesion of the alliance which
defeated Iraq in 1991 and to plug all the gaps breached since then in the

Against U.S. objections, a long list of countries have started flights into
Baghdad. Iraq exports more and more oil outside the U.N. supervision system,
through Turkey, Iranian territorial waters and now the pipeline to Syria.

``It is a reality that although the U.S. can try to buttress the sanctions,
they are going to continue to erode and there will be steadily less
effective control over the normal flow of imports and exports,'' said
Anthony Cordesman, a military and Middle East specialist at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

``Tightening the sanctions is not in the realm of feasible realism. The idea
also shows traces of unnecessary provocation,'' added Clovis Maksoud,
director of the center for the Global South at American University.

Ruth Wedgwood, a specialist on U.N. affairs at the Council on Foreign
Relations, said that in the long term it would not be possible to restore
the integrity of the sanctions.

``Given the tenor of the U.N. Security Council -- unless they get a short
spurt of goodwill -- but otherwise it's just a long and grinding decay,''
she said.

But other analysts say there are steps the Bush administration can take to
try to stop the erosion and put together a package that would win the
support of U.S. allies.

Cordesman said the United Nations (news - web sites) could impose
restrictions on travel by Iraqi leaders and focus the embargo on ``dual use
items'' -- goods that have both civilian and military uses.

Meghan O'Sullivan, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, said the best
approach would be to give up sanctions which do not work in exchange for
allied support for those which do.

``They should bargain away what's not in place for what is in place, to show
we are willing to play ball,'' she said.

The United States could offer, for example, to let foreign oil companies
invest in the Iraqi oil industry in return for a commitment that their
governments would stick to the rules.

In the case of Russia, the United States could offer to let it take Iraqi
oil to pay down the huge military debt which Iraq owed to the Soviet Union,
O'Sullivan added.

``It's open to question to what extent a proposal that has something in it
for everyone can be cracked, but that should be one of the focuses of the
new administration,'' she said.

Guy Caruso, an oil specialist at the Center for Strategic and International
Studies, said it would be tough to restore the credibility of sanctions.
``But there are some things they can do to stop the salami tactics,'' he

Caruso speculated that the Bush team might tell the U.S. Navy in the Gulf to
intercept a tanker loaded with Iraqi oil for which the buyer has paid a
covert surcharge.

That would deter other companies tempted to go along with Iraq's surcharge
proposal, which is designed to put more of the country's oil revenues
outside U.N. control.

Caruso said another idea would be for the U.S. air force to bomb one of the
pumping stations along the Iraqi-Syrian oil pipeline, which appears to be
carrying Iraqi oil.

But Jon Alterman of the U.S. Institute of Peace said that ''smart
sanctions'' may be just a grand way of saying ``sanctions other than the
ones we have now'' and that the smartest sanctions would do little without
smart implementation.

Even if the Bush administration does try to work on a concerted Iraq policy
with Europe and Russia, some countries would continue to try to ``push the
envelope'' on sanctions.

``The Europeans only want to cooperate on the basis of the five percent
possibility of Iraqi good behavior, not on the 95 percent possibility of
Iraqi bad behavior,'' he added.

The analysts dismissed proposals to overthrow Saddam through the opposition
Iraqi National Congress (INC).

``There's a universal feeling in the region that support for the INC and an
overt effort to overthrow Saddam Hussein borders on the ridiculous. The INC
is greeted with total contempt outside the Beltway (the Washington area),''
he said.

``But there are many true believers (in the Republican Party) who have never
had much to do with Iraq so it would be foolish to assume it won't be
tried,'' he added.

UPI, Tue 19 Dec 2000

Western Asia's economy was predicted to improve through 2001, especially if
the United Nations lifts sanctions on Iraq and the Middle East peace process
makes progress, according to a report released Tuesday in Beirut by the U.N.
Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. The energy sector will
affect the economy and growth in the ESCWA region in 2001, along with
developments surrounding the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq since 1990,
progress in the Middle East peace process and implementation of economic
reforms by ESCWA members. Scarcity of water and promotion of information and
communication technologies also could play a role.

The report said the oil sector in the region was expected to perform very
well -- though not as well as in 2000. Although the region's oil production
was projected to rise, the increase will be on a much smaller scale than in
2000. Moreover, the average price of OPEC crude oil was projected to be
around $26 per barrel for next year, which is 7 percent below the
priliminary estimate of $28 per barrel for 2000. Although oil revenues are
expected to be lower than in 2000, they will continue to boost economic
growth and development, particularly in the six countries of the Gulf
Cooperation Council. According to the report, the removal of economic
sanctions against Iraq in 2001 could have a considerable positive effect not
only on Iraq but on other members as well, in particular Egypt, Jordan,
Lebanon and Syria.


Developments in the international oil market had also considerable economic
implications for the region. Of the 13 ESCWA members, only three -- Jordan,
Lebanon and Palestine -- are not oil exporters. In 2000, the oil sector
performed exceptionally well in most countries of the region, with world oil
prices surged by 60 percent and preliminary estimates indicating that the
region's oil production increased by 6.1 percent and its oil revenues by
70.8 percent. The ESCWA members are Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait,
Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates
and Yemen. The gross domestic product for the ESCWA's 13 member states, with
the exception of Iraq, is set to grow by 4 percent. Although this would be
lower than the real GDP growth rate estimated for 2000, it would be one of
the highest since 1992 and sufficient to yield a real GDP growth rate of 1.5
per cent per capita for the region. It expected economic conditions to
improve markedly in Iraq in 2001, particularly if the economic sanctions are
lifted. --,3604,413160,00.html

Diary , Guardian, Tuesday December 19, 2000

An edge of tension creeps into relations with two of our Turncoat of
Turncoats candidates. First up, a warm Diary hello to that relentlessly
ambitious Foreign Office minister Peter Hain. What a paradox he is. The
effects of his sanctions policy on the sick, dying and starving of Iraq he
takes in his stride, and yet at a hint of personal criticism the poor lamb
goes into shock. His latest bleatings appear in Tribune, where he rebukes
George Galloway, John Pilger and myself for doubting his motives in
propagating the policy that led two heads of the UN humanitarian aid
programme in Iraq to resign in disgust.

Ah well, no doubt people have done worse on the long crawl towards cabinet
before. And when Peter talks of opponents as people who "cannot stand a
serious argument so they resort to cheap smears" ... high praise from one
who routinely dismisses sanctions critics as "Saddam apologists". As for the
section about serious argument, should we take this as formal acceptance,
after so many timid rejections, of George Galloway's continual offer of a
public debate? Perhaps Peter's diary secretary would care to call with a
time and date?

It was Peter who responded to a recent item over a delayed humanitarian
flight from Morocco to Baghdad by drawing a distinction between "blocked the
flight" (my words) and "placed the flight on hold" (his). It now seems that
fellow Turncoat contender Barbara Roche is another semantic stickler. She is
irritated by Friday's item in which we mentioned her reference to the "vile"
behaviour of asylum seekers. What in fact she said earlier this year was
this: "These people have come here with the intention of exploiting the
system and exploiting their children. It's a vile thing to do." Somewhere in
all that is another absolutely crucial semantic distinction, and I trust
that this clarifies the matter.



WASHINGTON (Reuters December 20) - Stress is a likely primary cause of
illness in at least some Gulf War veterans, a presidential study group
concluded Wednesday in its final report.

The Special Oversight Board, appointed by President Clinton to evaluate work
done by the Defense Department on the controversial issue of Gulf war
illness, said the department correctly found that chemical, biological and
environmental factors had limited or no impact on the Gulf War troops.

The board also cleared the department of complaints that it had deliberately
withheld information on Gulf War illness from the general public and

"The board concludes that stress is likely a primary cause of illness in at
least some Gulf War veterans," the report said.

"It is likely a secondary factor in (making possible) other causes of
undiagnosed illnesses among some Gulf War veterans," it added.

The board acknowledged that owing to misunderstanding "an unfortunate
reluctance" exists among the American public, some members of Congress and
veterans themselves "to recognize the impact that stress can have on an

But the board asserted that "stress can lead to genuine illnesses ... The
symptoms are indeed real; they are not imagined and they are not 'all in the

During the Gulf War, the board said American military felt stress from being
in the war zone; coming under fire; enduring the perception of a threat from
biological or chemical warfare; coming into direct contact with smoke from
Kuwait oil well fires or using insect repellent on a regular basis; working
under adverse conditions; and struggling with family issues (like divorce,
death, severe illness) far from home.

The board urged that combat stress be investigated by the private
Washington-based Institute of Medicine "with the same academic and
scientific rigor that was used to evaluate other Gulf War exposures whose
investigation Congress mandated."

After the 1991 U.S.-led Gulf War, which ousted Iraq from Kuwait, many
American veterans complained of illnesses whose origin could not be
determined. This prompted considerable study and controversy over potential

The board endorsed Defense Department findings that the only known potential
exposure of U.S. personnel to chemical warfare agents remains the accidental
low-level release of nerve agents during demolition operations in
Khamisiyah, Iraq in March 1991.

It found that department assessments regarding environmental exposures were
consistent with "available evidence."

"Available evidence does not support claims that depleted uranium caused or
is causing the undiagnosed illnesses (or diagnosed illnesses) from which
some Gulf War veterans still suffer," the board said.

It also agreed with a previous report that special camouflage paint posed a
health hazard only to about 200 personnel who participated in spray-painting

Finally, the board found that contaminant concentrations in smoke caused by
oil well fires in Kuwait "were below those known to cause short or long-term
health effects."

It did recommend, however, that ongoing research must be completed before
there is a final determination on oil well fires.

Turning aside criticism leveled at the Defense Department and its office
charged with handling the Gulf War illness issue, the board said both had
"worked diligently to fulfill the President's directive to leave no stone
unturned" in investigating possible causes of Gulf War illnesses.

Further, the department "has made no effort to deliberately withhold
information from the general public of from veterans concerning its
investigations or findings related to Gulf War illnesses," the board found.

On the contrary, the department has made an "extraordinary effort" to
publicize its finding through the publication of reports and newsletters,
public outreach meetings, briefings to veterans and active duty service
members, the creation of a toll-free hotline and an actively update Web
site, the board said.,2669,SAV

by Pauline Jelinek
Chicago Tribune, December 21, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A presidential panel says the Pentagon worked
"diligently" and didn't cover up anything in investigating Persian Gulf war
syndrome, veterans' ailments still unexplained 10 years after the war. But
the head of one veterans advocacy group called the conclusion "a whitewash."

A 90-page report released Wednesday details 30 months of work by the board,
ordered by President Clinton to oversee Pentagon investigations of illnesses
reported by thousands of veterans of the 1991 war.

One of the board's seven members, Dr. Vinh Cam, dissented in a three-page

An immunologist, Cam charged that the board, made up largely of retired
military brass, lacked independence from the Pentagon office it was
overseeing, the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illinois, or
OSAGWI. She also said it had no authority to suggest that stress be studied
further as a possible cause.

"At times [the board] acted more like an extension of OSAGWI," Cam wrote.

The investigating board concluded that the Defense Department has "worked
diligently to fulfill the president's directive to `leave no stone unturned'
in investigating possible causes" for illnesses, which include memory loss,
nervous system disorders, headaches, joint pains and chronic fatigue.

It also found the department "made no effort to deliberately withhold
information," an allegation made by critics who believe the Pentagon is
hiding data about Iraqi chemical warfare agents or other toxins to which
veterans may have been exposed.

"On the contrary, [the Pentagon] has made an extraordinary effort to
publicize its findings through the publication of reports and newsletters,
public outreach meetings, briefings to veterans," a Web site and so on, said
the Presidential Special Oversight Board for Department of Defense
Investigations of Gulf War Chemical and Biological Incidents.

The board repeated the theme of all Pentagon findings so far: "To date,
research has not validated any specific cause of these illnesses." It said
research must continue.

An estimated $300 million has been spent and scores of studies have looked
into such possible culprits as Iraq's chemical and biological weapons,
vaccinations of military personnel, oil well fires, anti-nerve agent tablets
taken by troops, desert sand and stress.

"It's a whitewash, exactly the kind of whitewash we were expecting," said
Pat Eddington of the advocacy group National Gulf War Resource Center,
criticizing what he called the board's "cozy relationship with the

In a 1997 lawsuit pending in federal court, Eddington is seeking thousands
of pages of Pentagon and CIA documents he says could contain information on
Iraqi chemical and biological weapons and other information relating to
troop health.

Wednesday's report is the final one by the oversight board, which goes out
of business this month.

Officials have said that of the 700,000 troops who served in the Persian
Gulf war, some 100,000 have registered with the Pentagon or Veterans Affairs
Department for free exams to look into unexplained illnesses. The two
agencies have said about 20,000 of those were found to be ill.  Front Page
by John Lancaster
Washington Post/International Herald Tribune, December 21, 2000

WASHINGTON Critics of United Nations sanctions against Iraq, who have long
complained about hardships that the restrictions inflict on ordinary Iraqi
citizens, could hardly have argued their case more eloquently than General
Colin Powell did in his 1995 autobiography, "My American Journey."

"The problem is that sanctions are most often imposed against regimes that
have only their own interests and the retention of power at heart," wrote
General Powell, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the Gulf War that followed in 1991.

"And since these leaders are still going to have a roof over their heads,
food on their table and power in their hands, sanctions rarely work against

"Saddam was the perfect example," he added, referring to the Iraqi
president, Saddam Hussein.

But General Powell, chosen by President-elect George W. Bush to serve as
secretary of state, appears to have undergone a change of heart.

"We will work with our allies to re energize the sanctions regime," General
Powell said Saturday during a joint appearance with Mr. Bush. "And I will
make the case in every opportunity I get that we're not doing this to hurt
the Iraqi people, we're doing this to protect the peoples of the region, the
children of the region, who would be the targets of weapons of mass
destruction if we didn't contain them and get rid of them."

During the campaign, Mr. Bush and his advisers accused the Clinton
administration of neglecting policy on Iraq, citing the end of UN arms
inspections in 1998 and the erosion of support for sanctions by the members
of the UN Security Council. Although he did not offer any specifics, Mr.
Bush suggested that he would take a more aggressive approach to get rid of
Mr. Saddam, starting with increased support for opposition groups.

A retired colonel, Bill Smullen, General Powell's spokesman, attributed the
change to "a contrast of times and conditions."

General Powell's earlier criticism of sanctions, Mr. Smullen said, reflected
the former chairman's experience during the buildup to the Gulf War, when he
and other members of the Bush administration hoped that economic sanctions
alone would force President Saddam to withdraw from Kuwait.

"We're in a different situation now," Mr. Smullen said. "His view today is
that sanctions in the year 2000 are in place, and should be, with respect to
the containment of the Saddam Hussein regime from building and spreading
weapons of mass destruction."

Daily Telegraph, 23 December 2000


Dr Williams, 49, became Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Wales in March.
A DD from Oxford, he is the only bishop in Britain with an international
reputation as a theologian. He is tipped to be the next Archbishop of
Canterbury, although he laughs at the suggestion, saying he neither wants
nor expects the post.


To him, the rise in populist politics, such as the fuel protests, is another
example of people's demand to be made "to feel better" instantly. The
country, he says, also does things to "make itself feel better", without
considering G_•bÄI¶Pnsequences. E~ÄGulf war and the intervention in
Kosovo, in his view, were examples of Britain "rushing in to relieve its own
sense of injustice".

He said: "We do not look ahead and think how our actions will affect the
situation in these countries in 10 years. In Iraq, there is no change except
a lot more people are dying." He is also "deeply unhappy" at the vote in the
Commons this week to allow cloning of human embryo cells for medical


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