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Whoops, there go the BBC's facts. Among many other examples, you may want to join me in correcting this basic error. ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001 11:17:53 +0000 (GMT) From: Glen Rangwala <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Error in Iraq story Dear Corrections Editor Your main story on Iraq contains a significant error. In the section entitled 'Routine mission' of "Iraq defiant over missile attack" <http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1175000/1175206.stm> you write that: "Saddam Hussein expelled UN weapons inspectors in 1998 and has not allowed them back." This is wholly untrue, and has been repeatedly acknowledged as untrue by BBC online. Of course, as you should be aware, Saddam Hussein did not expel the weapons inspectors. I don't think that any serious person doubts that UNSCOM inspectors were withdrawn early on 16 December 1999, on the order of the then head of UNSCOM, Richard Butler; they were not expelled as you state. Inspectors had been conducting investigations from 18 November to 15 December; on 15 December, Richard Butler reported to the Security Council that Iraq had failed to grant full and unconditional access to (at least) four sites; and, in anticipation of the airstrikes the US and UK governments were threatening, weapons inspectors were withdrawn the following day. Airstrikes immediately followed. Of course, it is widely thought (and was extensively reported at the time), that the US asked for the inspectors to be withdrawn, but even if this is not so, inspectors were clearly withdrawn, not expelled. UNSCOM's own official chronology of events records this bluntly: "16 Dec 1998 The Special Commission withdraws its staff from Iraq." <http://www.un.org/Depts/unscom/Chronology/chronologyframe.htm> Given that the debate about the role of arms inspectors in Iraq continues to hold considerable political significance, I hope the BBC can in future get at least the basic historical facts correct, and can remove this error without delay. Yours sincerely Glen Rangwala Faculty of Social and Political Sciences Free School Lane Cambridge CB2 3RQ UK Tel: 44 (0)1223 334535 Fax (shared): 44 (0)1223 334550 Home tel: 44 (0)1223 515183 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk