The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
News, 4/310/3/01 (2) IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Chua [Malaysian health minister] to visit Jordan and Iraq * Russian Parliament Speaker to visit Iraq in March CHINA * China Talks Tough to U.S. Over Taiwan, Iraq * Three companies violated sanctions in Iraq: China * China Is Testing Bush With Denial on Iraq * U.S. says China promising action on workers in Iraq ANTI-SANCTIONS, ANTI-AIR RAIDS CAMPAIGNING * Algerian pedals to Baghdad in solidarity with Iraq * Blair protester: Iıll ignore fine [it appears it was a mandarin, not a tomato] * Greens Leader Attacks Missile Plan [still some signs of life in the German Green Party, despite the wretched Joschka Fischer] IRAQI OPPOSITION POLITICS * The Iraqi opposition forces document * Interview of the week: Aras Kareem [INCıs chief of operationsı. Quite interesting on the INCıs last days in Iraqi Kurdistan, but discreet on the really interesting question of the INCıs relations with the main Kurdish parties, especially the KDP, which invited the Iraqi army in] LIFE IN IRAQ * Deadly wind from Gulf battlefields [depleted uranium] * Iraqi Airways back in the skies - just [mainly an account of Baghdad airport] THE CHILDRENıS CORNER * Major left fuming after Thatcher reopens old wounds IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS http://www.bernama.com/bernama/general/ge0803_6.htm * CHUA [MALAYSIAN HEALTH MINISTER] TO VISIT JORDAN AND IRAQ KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 (Bernama, Malaysian news agency) -- Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng will lead a 40-member delegation for a six-day visit to Jordan and Iraq from March 13. The delegation will spend two days in Jordan and four days in Iraq. In conjunction with the visit, Television Airtime Services Malaysia will also bring 40 children to Iraq. Speaking to reporters here today, Chua said the delegation would include senior officials of the ministry as well as representatives from local universities, Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM), medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies and Muslim Doctors Association of Malaysia. http://www.timesofindia.com/080301/08euro10.htm * RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER TO VISIT IRAQ IN MARCH Times of India, 8th March MOSCOW: The Speaker of the Russian State Duma, Gennady Selezynov, is to pay an official visit to Iraq later this month, a spokesman said on Wednesday. Selezynov, who will be accompanied by the head of the parliament's international affairs committee, Dmitry Rogozin, will be in Iraq from March 16 to 18, his spokesman Viktor Cheryomukhin said. The Duma is the lower House of Parliament. (AFP) CHINA http://www.latimes.com/wires/wpolitics/20010306/tCB00a9237.html * CHINA TALKS TOUGH TO U.S. OVER TAIWAN, IRAQ by ANDREW BROWNE, Reuters Los Angeles Times, 6th March BEIJING--Urging Washington to "rein-in its wild horse" at the edge of the cliff, China's foreign minister issued Tuesday one of the strongest warnings yet over U.S. sales of advanced weapons to Taiwan. Tang Jiaxuan also said a Chinese investigation found no evidence to support U.S. charges that Chinese companies helped rebuild Iraqi air defenses, reigniting the controversy. And in what some in Washington will interpret as an ominous signal, he announced that China and Russia would sign a treaty of friendship, underlining deeper ties between the giant neighbors which share simmering resentment of U.S. power. At a news conference during the annual session of the National People's Congress, Tang reserved his strongest words for the most sensitive issue in U.S.-China relations -- Taiwan, which has the potential to draw the countries into war. President George W. Bush must decide in April how to respond to a shopping list of high technology weaponry requested by Taiwan, including the Aegis and Patriot missile defense systems. "The United States should come to a recognition of the serious dangers involved," Tang said. Using an old Chinese adage, he said Washington should "rein-in its wild horse right on the edge of the precipice." Tang declined to say how China would respond if the sales went ahead. During the last big crisis over Taiwan in 1996, China fired missiles into waters off the island, prompting the United States to send in two aircraft carrier battle groups. The previous U.S. administration of President Clinton trumpeted a "strategic partnership" with China and took a cautious line over arms sales to Taiwan, partly because it feared that upsetting Beijing could endanger its support for issues such as missile non-proliferation. Beijing fears Bush, who branded China a "strategic competitor" during the U.S. presidential election campaign, may not feel the same constraints. Tang said sales of advanced arms would endanger U.S.-China relations and "send a very wrong signal to the Taiwan authorities." They would "encourage a very small number of people -- the Taiwan independence elements -- to continue to engage in separatist activities," he said. China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and has pledged to reunify the island with the mainland, by force if necessary. Tang was equally forthright on U.S. charges that Chinese technicians may have bolstered Iraq's air defenses. "Relevant agencies have carried out serious investigations," he said. "The result of the investigations is that Chinese enterprises and corporations have not assisted Iraq in building the project of fiber optic cable used for air defense." Tang again insisted that China respected U.N. resolutions on Iraq and had rules that forced Chinese companies to comply. He said the accusations were designed to divert attention from U.S. and British bombing of Iraq last month, repeating China's initial hard-line response to the raids. China said last week it would look into the charges, the first sign of trouble between Beijing and the Bush administration. It had originally dismissed the allegations out of hand as part of a U.S. smokescreen. But, by offering to take the charges seriously, it had appeared interested in defusing the problem. Tang has now thrown the ball back into the U.S. court. Tang announced that President Jiang Zemin and Russian President Vladimir Putin would sign a Good Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation during a visit to Moscow by Jiang in July. He stressed the countries were not forming an alliance similar to one that once existed between China and the former Soviet Union, and that it was not directed at any "third party" -- a clear reference to the United States. Nevertheless, the move highlights a growing warmth between two countries drawn together by opposition to the United States over issues such as human rights and Washington's plans for a missile defense system. Russia has become China's biggest foreign arms supplier, providing advanced Sukhoi fighters and now trying to strike a deal to sell Russian Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. "It is not an alliance nor targeted at any third country," Tang said of the friendship treaty. "It is just a normal country-to-country relationship." Tang said he would initial the agreement on a trip to Moscow ahead of Jiang's visit. He also lashed out at what he called U.S. hypocrisy over human rights, saying while Washington readily criticized other countries it ignored its own shortcomings. Quoting an old Chinese saying, he compared the United States with a "county magistrate who sets people's houses on fire but will not let ordinary people use fire to light lamps." http://www.timesofindia.com/080301/08mide5.htm * THREE COMPANIES VIOLATED SANCTIONS IN IRAQ: CHINA Times of India, 8th March NEW YORK: Chinese officials have admitted that three Chinese telecommunications companies were violating U.N. sanctions by working in Iraq, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. China has told the United States that it ordered the companies to follow U.N. sanctions and stop doing business in Iraq, the Journal reported, citing a senior U.S. official. But Chinese officials, speaking Monday to U.S. Ambassador Joseph Prueher in Beijing, also denied Pentagon allegations that the companies were upgrading Iraq's air defence system. They said the three companies were doing civilian work, albeit without clearance from the United Nations. The report is the latest development in a nearly three-week-old controversy over whether China was helping Iraq install fibre-optic communications cable at military sites in violation of U.N. sanctions. U.S. military officials said the Chinese were reportedly working at some of the air defence sites around Baghdad targeted by U.S. and British jets in a Feb. 16 raid. China has publicly denied the U.S. claims, saying an official Chinese investigation disproved the reports. U.N. sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait ban military and many civilian sales to Iraq. Washington and London said they struck Iraqi defence sites in the February raids because Iraq was improving its ability to track and target planes patrolling a "no fly zone" imposed after the Gulf War. (AP) http://www.iht.com/articles/12739.html * CHINA IS TESTING BUSH WITH DENIAL ON IRAQ by Jim Hoagland International Herald Tribune, 8th March WASHINGTON: Most nations avoid directly contradicting the president of the United States, especially in the opening weeks of a new administration. But China is treating its first argument with George W. Bush as a golden opportunity to test the new occupant of the White House. The argument is over the technical help China gave to Iraq in breaking United Nations sanctions and improving Iraq's ability to fire missiles at American and British warplanes. Mr. Bush said last month that such assistance had happened. China denied that unequivocally on Tuesday, and warned Washington to "rein in" its "wild horse" behavior before relations are damaged. Whom are you going to believe, your intelligence agencies or your commercial and strategic interests? That was the implicit question asked of Mr. Bush by Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan at a confrontational Beijing news conference. China's response of bluster, denial and deception over being caught with its hand in the cookie jar of international misbehavior is business as usual. What is new in this case is Mr. Bush's chance to put U.S.-Chinese relations on a healthier footing. He can do that by not accepting Beijing's invitation to put the truth aside in the interests of better relations. This is the trap being laid for the new U.S. leader. The Chinese leadership is probing to see whether this new Washington bunch will swallow untruths as willingly, and thus compromise themselves as deeply, as did the Clinton crew, which brushed aside inconvenient evidence of China breaking its word on nuclear technology and missile proliferation. Control of the truth, or more precisely of the untruth, is too important for China's Communist leaders to leave to others. Lying is not a convenience but a basic political weapon, at home and abroad. What sets China's government apart is not that it lies (what government does not?) but that it demands that its lies be accepted, by its public and by governments that want its "friendship." The gerontocrats who run China find safety in their ability to impose their version of history on others. They know the crimes they would have to answer for if China's history books were not cooked. This is the totalitarian urge, which still dominates Chinese politics even as the Middle Kingdom's economic and social spheres slip beyond the Politburo's control. There can still be no accounting, much less apology, for the military massacres that occurred on the streets of Beijing in 1989. Today's Falun Gong movement must be vilified with monstrous distortions of its aims and practices. All blame for problems in the U.S.-Chinese relationship must lie with Washington. And so on. Politburo politics have become extremely unstable as the Leninist survivors of the 1949 revolution dwindle, and as economic and social change overtakes the dying Communist Party. A struggle for power within that body drives the brutal crackdown on the Falun Gong, just as it drove the massacres around Tiananmen Square nearly 12 years ago. With no ideology to guide or rank them, the claimants for power bid against each other for the chance to put down any dissent against the system, with brutality as the coin of their realm. The recent volume of seemingly authentic internal party documents smuggled out of China and published in the United States as "The Tiananmen Papers" exposes that competition in great detail. The book allows the first informed fixing of responsibility for the bloodshed. Arthur Waldron, director of Asian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, compares the book to Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 "secret speech" on Stalin's crimes as a potential detonator of political change. Mr. Bush and the leaders of other democratic nations can help speed that day of change by not treating the truth as something to be set aside for the convenience of the Beijing leadership. Mr. Bush has identified in public a serious breach of UN sanctions by China, one that threatened the lives of American pilots. That breach should be publicly referred to the United Nations for investigation. China should not be allowed to wield its latest lie as a shield for wrongdoing. http://dailynews.muzi.com/ll/english/1054867.shtml * U.S. SAYS CHINA PROMISING ACTION ON WORKERS IN IRAQ Muzi.com (Chinese interest news service), 9th March WASHINGTON, Reuters 9th March - China has told the United States that it has ordered companies suspected by Washington of helping Iraq rebuild its air defenses to stop what they are doing, Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Thursday. "China has now said that they have told companies that were in the area doing fiber optics work to cease and desist," Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The United States launched air raids twice last month to "degrade" Iraqi air defenses that U.S. officials said more aggressively targeted British and U.S. aircraft patrolling "no-fly" zones imposed after the 1991 Gulf War. Pentagon officials have privately accused China of violating U.N. sanctions imposed against Iraq for its invasion of Kuwait, by improving communications so Baghdad can better target aircraft. "We are still examining whether or not it was a specific violation of the sanctions policy and if it was, we will call that to the attention of the sanctions committee so that they can take a firm reaction with respect to China," Powell said. A State Department official said China's message was communicated to Ambassador Joseph Prueher at a meeting with a senior Chinese foreign ministry official in Beijing on Monday. "The concern is that Chinese companies might have been involved in activities that were not permitted under the sanctions against Iraq," said the official, who declined to be named. "The Chinese indicated to us that they have taken steps to abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions," he added. Powell gave no details on what China had told the companies to do and he did not suggest it acknowledged any wrongdoing. But the reassurances were a shot in the arm to relations ahead of a visit by Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen, a foreign policy expert, on March 18. He is bound to hear fresh criticism of China's human rights record, which President George W. Bush's administration wants to make the subject of a critical motion against China at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in April. Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said on Tuesday Beijing had found no evidence to support the charges that the companies were helping Iraq's defense and again accused Washington of trying to distract attention from the bombing raids. The exchange comes amid suspicion in the United States and alarm in Taiwan, which Washington arms, at plans for an increase of more than 17 percent in military spending by Beijing this year, to 141 billion yuan ($17 billion). Projected defense spending in the United States for 2002 is $310.5 billion. China's increase, announced on Tuesday, showed growing concern about U.S. arms sales to protect Taiwan. Defense analysts estimated the real budget could be up to four times that figure as China upgrades its army into a force capable of backing up a threat to invade Taiwan if the island declares independence. In his Senate testimony on Thursday, Powell tried to soothe fears about the Chinese increase and defend a 5.5 percent boost in spending on international affairs and foreign aid for 2002. "I don't view it as a breakout investment where suddenly China is on the march as an enemy," he said. "But it is of course something that we have to look at carefully to make sure we keep our forces in the region up to the best possible standards ... because we really are the balance wheel of stability in that part of the world," he added. He warned, "A 17 percent increase is probably leading to a 50 percent increase in total over the next several years." He said the United States wanted to discuss the nature of the build-up with China, adding, "We want to encourage them to have more transparency in what they do with their defense programs, as we have transparency in ours." ANTI-SANCTIONS, ANTI-AIR RAIDS CAMPAIGNING http://www.timesofindia.com/060301/06mide7.htm * ALGERIAN PEDALS TO BAGHDAD IN SOLIDARITY WITH IRAQ Times of India, 6th March BAGHDAD: An Algerian cyclist arrived in Baghdad on Monday after pedalling around 4,500 kilometres from Algiers in solidarity with sanctions-hit Iraq. Waqdi Mohammad al-Akhdar, 47, who timed his arrival for the start of the Muslim feast of Al-Adha (the sacrifice), said he left Algiers on October 1 and crossed Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Jordan to reach Iraq. "I've made this journey to make my voice heard to the world over the sufferings which the Iraqi people are having to endure because of the embargo," which was slapped on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, he said.(AFP) http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/uk.cfm?id=52801&keyword=the * BLAIR PROTESTER: IıLL IGNORE FINE by Cathy Mayer The Scotsman, 8th March A DEMONSTRATOR who pelted the prime minister with a rotten tangerine last night vowed to face prison rather than pay her fine. Jo Wilding, 26, was convicted yesterday by Bristol magistrates of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress and disorderly conduct on 9 January in the city. Wilding, defending herself, told the court she felt it was her "legal and moral duty" to do something to highlight the suffering of children in Iraq following sanctions. "Tony Blair is a war criminal and a hypocrite," she said. "He told the Omagh bombing victims if anything like that happened to his children heıd go mad with grief. That is the fate that he has condemned 67,000 Iraqi children to." Wildingıs defence, based on the international law of reasonable force and necessity, was rejected. She said: "I am not someone who likes to stand out from a crowd. The tangerine-throwing was the means of letting as many people know as possible what is being done in our name, the British people." Wilding was warned by magistrates that the court was only considering the facts of the offence and that political statements would not help her case. She was sentenced to a two-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £100 costs. Wilding, 26, of Bristol, told the magistrates she did not intend to pay as she had no money. She said: "Nothing you can do to punish me can make me regret what I did." http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=6124654&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * GREENS LEADER ATTACKS MISSILE PLAN STUTTGART, Germany (Associated Press, Fri 9 Mar 2001) An outspoken human rights activist was elected the new co-leader of Germany's Greens party on Friday and immediately assailed the United States for its national missile defense plans and airstrikes on Iraq. Members of the Greens, the junior partner in Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's governing coalition, cheered and applauded the speech by Claudia Roth, who was elected with 92 percent support to one of the two top party posts at a national convention. ``The American bombings in Iraq are no way to overcome the dictator Saddam Hussein quite the contrary,'' Roth said, laying out her credo to delegates gathered in this wealthy southern city. ``And it's just as right to persuade the Americans that (national missile defense) doesn't mean more security but more confrontation,'' she said. Schroeder is expected to raise missile defense and the Middle East when he travels to Washington on March 29 for talks with President Bush. Germany has urged the United States to consult widely over its missile plans, which have angered Russia and China. Roth, a former manager of an anarchist rock band, was the lone candidate to replace Renate Kuenast, who has sharply lifted the party's standing since taking over the government's fight against mad cow disease in January as the head of a new Ministry of Consumer Protection and Agriculture. In her speech, Roth also endorsed demonstrations against transports of waste from German nuclear power plants and said the outbreak of mad cow disease in Germany was a chance for the Greens to rally support for their ecology-minded policies. ``Yesterday, people just smiled at us,'' she said. ``Now organic farming is a mainstream movement.'' Roth has headed Parliament's human rights committee since Schroeder's Social Democrats and the ecology-minded Greens formed a government in 1998. She represents her party's left wing, where many share her opposition to the airstrikes on Iraq. Her views have put her in conflict with Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, the Greens' most popular politician. The party has closed ranks behind Fischer and Environment Minister Juergen Trittin in recent weeks amid a furious partisan debate over their past as leftist radicals. Fischer was to address delegates Saturday. In Germany's long-running debate on immigration, Roth has also strongly defended keeping borders open to victims of political persecution. In the Greens' two-member chairmanship, she will complement Fritz Kuhn, a pragmatist and Fischer ally. The national convention was also meant to rally Greens activists for two state elections this month and dampen infighting over the party's stand on protests against nuclear waste transports, just weeks before Germany and France resume such shipments. With activists calling for a revival of demonstrations and blockades that disrupted transports of radioactive waste from German power plants in the 1990s, Greens leaders have drafted a compromise saying the party can't endorse violent protest, but not rejecting peaceful demonstrations. Party leaders say they do not want to endanger a consensus plan with German utilities to phase out nuclear power over the next few decades. IRAQI OPPOSITION POLITICS http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010303/2001030308.html * THE IRAQI OPPOSITION FORCES DOCUMENT Arabic News, 3rd March The London- based al-Zamaan daily issued on Friday issued the text of the document issued by the Iraqi forces which oppose the Iraqi regime. These forces are the " Hizbullah Party, the Islamic work organization, the Arab tribes federation" and " the national army officers movement" what it called the first document to start the alliance of the Islamic and national forces in Iraq inside and outside it. The document noted the need of building an Iraqi political identity which is not subjected to the criterion of "remote sensing" and stems in its movement from the feeling in the capability of the " Iraqi national street " ( the impulse of people) in launching the confrontation " with the regime." The document explained that the alliance of the national and Islamic forces in Iraq includes all important Iraqi social strata and that the will of alliance asserts the effectiveness of these groups in establishing the will of the national project to topple the Iraqi regime. The document asserted that the alliance is convinced to maintain dialogue with all regional and international sides, which have links to the Iraqi file and in Iraq's position in the map of regional and international interests. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=164777 * Interview of the week: Aras Kareem by Eli Lake WASHINGTON, March 3 (UPI) -- As the Bush administration reviews its Iraq policy, one still unresolved question is whether the United States will fully support the Iraqi National Congress, the main resistance organization. In the decade since the Gulf War, U.S. intelligence support for Iraqi opposition groups has dwindled. Aras Kareem is hoping for enough support to make the INC a real threat to Saddam Hussein. Kareem is the INC's chief of operations, and one of the last INC members to leave Iraq after Saddam Hussein's troops seized the group's base of operations on Aug. 31, 1996. He taught himself counter-intelligence techniques by reading books about the CIA. In the early 1990s, he was one of the greatest assets for U.S. intelligence in Iraq when Washington prosecuted a more robust campaign to remove Saddam from power. Today, he lives in London and is still a target for Saddam's assassins. His cousin, Dr. Ali Karem, was detained in a California immigration jail because of his connection, after the underground leader had protested the CIA's decision to pull back support for the INC. Recently, he has been meeting with Pentagon officials on training matters. Kareem was in Washington on Feb. 21, when he spoke with UPI. Q. What is your background? A. My father was the secretary general of the Kurdistan Democratic Party from 1966 to 1975. He has remained in the leadership since then. He was nominated to be the vice president of Iraq from 1970 to 1974. But this didn't happen, there was fighting. After the Kurdish revolution collapsed in 1975, we went to Iran. From Iran we went to Lebanon and then Egypt, and then we went back to Iraq. When I went back to Iraq, because my father was a senior figure, I went to a primary school where the principal was Saddam's first wife, Sajeda. She gave me an exam for primary school, where her own sons and daughters were with us. Later on I scored very high marks in high school and it allowed me to go to engineering college. The civil engineering department at the University of Baghdad is considered an elite college, so all the senior figures in the government send their sons and daughters there. My classmates included the son of (Deputy Prime Minister) Tariq Aziz Ziad. He is not such a bad guy. Saddam's son Uday was also there. I trained as a civil engineer, and in 1992 joined the INC. At that time we established something called the IBC, the Iraqi Broadcasting Corporation. We broadcast news from all over Iraq, including the areas outside Saddam's control. Later, we did a lot to recruit people, Iraqis in the army, even officers working in the Iraqi intelligence. Q: You went to primary school and technical college with Uday Hussein and the children of other prominent Iraqis. How did this help you make contacts later on when you were working against the government for the INC? A: I knew a lot of people whose fathers are in the government, so I found it very easy to just talk to them and get whatever I wanted from them because they were friends. I would go to the Hunting Club where Uday would go always. You are not doing something suspicious to get information. A lot of them, they like you. I have many contacts who used to work for the Iraqi special security organization. They are my friends and they are helping me because I am their friend, not because they are my agents. If you know those people, life in Iraq is easier. For example, I was out of the army during the Gulf War because I had the right papers. If you have the right papers in Iraq, you can do anything. Q: What was the recruiting process? A: We used to broadcast from the north to the areas under Saddam's control, and encourage officers and soldiers to desert their units and come and join us in northern Iraq. When officers would join the INC they would send for their families. I must say we were very successful in attracting even very senior officials in the regime to the northern zone. Q: Who did you recruit? A: I'll give you examples. For example, in 1994 one of the officers working for us in the Iraqi military intelligence sent us a message saying Iraq planned a military buildup for another attempt to invade Kuwait. That was in 1994. On the same day, another officer who worked in the headquarters of the army 5th corps sent us another message saying they had been ordered to the Kuwaiti border. So we put this out to the news, and the Pentagon at first denied it. Twelve hours later, the Pentagon sent about 30,000 troops to Kuwait. U.S. intelligence wanted a copy of the Salahuddin, an encryption device made in Iraq that could be attached to the military radio communications system. The device had a range of more than 124 miles. We provided them with some of the units -- actually they asked us just for the motherboard. In less than a week we had given them four of these units. We got the device from the Republican Guard. We had sympathizers in the Iraqi Republican Guard. The actual units are very small. Q: Can you give other examples of how you were able to help U.S. intelligence? A: The CIA requested any information about the coaxial telephone and television cable linking Iraqi's main cities. We were able to bring them two parts of the cable. It's a metal cable, it is very fat and it is underground. A week later we brought them the physical cable. After another week we brought them the whole contract for the cables containing all the details. Q: You were one of the last INC leaders in Iraq when Saddam attacked your base of operations in Irbil on Aug. 31, 1996. Can you tell me about what happened that day? A: The attack happened at 4:50 AM in the morning. While it was going on I gave interviews about the battle to reporters on a satellite phone. Every 20 or 30 minutes I used to give two or three interviews. I remember the last interview was with an Arabic magazine. He phoned and at the same time one of my bodyguards said "(The Iraqi army) are very close, we have to withdraw to another headquarters. We have 10 minutes." So I told this guy I cannot do it. There were huge shellings. The house was on the corner. The Republican Guard's tanks were close by on the main street, and there was a crowd shouting how they loved Saddam and how they were ready to kill themselves for Saddam. They were shooting like crazy. The Kurdish forces allied with Saddam were closing in from the other side. I was talking on the phone, I said: 'I don't know if I will be alive or not, so just goodbye. If I don't call you again, that's it, I'm done.' We changed houses again, taking the back streets to another house. We were six senior figures from the INC. I went to my friend's house and made some arrangements. The Iraqis began to surround the areas from the street and search house by house. In front of the house where I was hiding in there was a minibus. The army thought we were hiding in that bus, so they began to shoot at it with machine guns. But apparently nobody was there. A soldier entered the hall of the house. I was just behind the door. The soldier went inside the house, and I had a pistol. I was standing behind the door in the house and I thought I will kill him and then I will kill myself. Q: Why would you have to kill yourself? A: If they would capture me it would be a disaster for many people. I know a lot, I know a lot of people inside Iraq, a lot of officers working with the INC. They would torture me and force me to say things I do not want to say. That was a decision we took, the six main senior people, before we are captured we will kill ourselves. There were two ladies with a baby girl just two days old in the house. So those two ladies went to the people outside and told them, 'We are here, we are only ladies in this house.' They spoke in the same accent as the Kurdish peoples allied with Saddam. While they were talking to them a soldier entered. The head of the force told the soldier, 'There is no one in the house.' The soldier said, 'No, we have information that they are in this house.' The commander said, 'I am ordering you to get out of the house. This house is for our people.' So the soldier left. And here I was behind the door, waiting for him. Q: What kind of activities do you envision in the future for the INC and what resources will you need from the American government? A: In my opinion, if we are able to send information teams, we can send them tomorrow. If the United States offers us combat training that is wonderful. If not, how can we do it? Everybody knows how to shoot, but how to organize the shooting is another story. Q: What about these conversations you are having with the Pentagon? A: We are having conversations with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which provides training for different countries all around the world. We have sent more than 133 trainees to the United States. We were discussing what the INC will need, plus training issues, uniforms, that kind of stuff. Q: Can you talk about Saddam's son, Uday Hussein? A: Uday is a nut, he is a crazy guy. He will drive in a new Mercedes -- with a new registration number. The next day he will drive another new car with a new number. One day he came to the university with a rifle on his shoulder and entered the class. When he raised his hand in class, the teacher and the professor will say, 'yes my master.' Uday is the student, can you imagine that. Uday will decide what is the appropriate time for the exam and how long it will last, and the examiners will give him the questions and the answers. It is up to him what to write, but he will get the full degree. In the history of the college of engineering, nobody scored 98.9 as an average. Even Einstein if he came to the College of Engineering would not score that. But Uday scored 98.9. If Uday talks to a lady, nobody should talk to her later on because the body guards will beat you. If Uday goes to a club or a hotel, nobody should park their car near his. If a daughter or son of a minister parks his car near Uday's car, they will beat him. LIFE IN IRAQ http://www.smh.com.au/news/0103/07/pageone/pageone9.html * DEADLY WIND FROM GULF BATTLEFIELDS Sydney Morning Herald, 7th March The doctors speak with resignation about the wave of disease that has afflicted the people of southern Iraq since Operation Desert Storm 10 years ago. They don't fully understand what confronts them. But out on the desert flats there are echoes of Agent Orange and troubling reminders of the radiation sicknesses that come after nuclear disasters. Dr Jawad El Ali, at Basra General Hospital, talks about the cancers: "We had 88 cases in 1988 but in 1998 we had 405 cases. That's more than a four-fold increase." Only later does he add that seven members of his wife's family are among the dead and that she has developed a lump. Dr Janan Ghlib Hassan, at Basra Children's Hospital, talks about the birth defects: "Last year we had 221 cases of congenital deformity." She mentions that most of their fathers had served in the armed forces, and only as an afterthought does she produce the book in which she has begun to keep a photograph and details of each of these terrible births. The people of the region are gripped by a fear that the illnesses are caused by exposure to depleted uranium (DU), which was contained in about 300 tonnes of the armour-piercing ammunition used to drive Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait and back into Iraq and to destroy any of his war machine abandoned during the retreat. Women are afraid to get pregnant, and if a child develops a fever they immediately suspect leukemia, which has increased six-fold since 1991. As war's losers, the Iraqis' cry ordinarily might have gone unheeded. But all the governments that joined then-US President George Bush's Gulf coalition are under pressure to investigate the effects of DU exposure on their servicemen, thousands of whom have been hit by what is known as Gulf Syndrome. Worries about the health risk to United Nations workers who frequent the region are driving inquiries by various agencies of the UN into the use of DU weapons in the Gulf, where they were used in combat for the first time, and later in the Balkans, where big numbers of NATO peacekeepers and a considerable UN staff served. The difficulty with an issue as emotive as DU is that it can be exploited for propaganda purposes - on both sides of a conflict. So it needs to be stated that the experts who spoke to the Herald in Iraq last week were not delivered up by the minders from the regime's Information Ministry - they were identified to the Herald by the staff of UN and other agencies working in Iraq. Confirming that they had not attended the Hill & Knowlton school of public relations, a victim interview organised by ministry staff backfired because it revealed that despite trade sanctions, money or friendship with the regime still secures effective medical treatment. General Hussain Jasim Salih was blessed. A measure of the trust vested in him was the five year posting to Moscow where he topped the class in his studies of sea mines and torpedoes. So when the Gulf crisis erupted, he was in command of the Iraqi minesweeper fleet at Um Qasir, Iraq's only port, which is at the top of the Persian Gulf. He had a substantial home in Basra and, as he put it, "I had cars and my wife had gold and jewellery." But the gaunt, thin-haired man sitting in the Basra garden, talking to the Herald during yet another air-raid alarm as US jets prowled high above the city, is not the handsome, well built officer in the photographs which he produced from the family album. His 51-year-old body is wrecked by leukemia, and the car and jewellery have been sold and more money borrowed to pay for the life-saving $US100 vials from which he injects himself daily. Ironically, the vials are produced in Ireland but the profit ends up in the US - the manufacturer is a subsidiary of the US drug-maker Schering & Plough. To demonstrate the cost, he sends one of his sons to fetch a big platter, on which there are more empty drug containers than the Herald had seen in visits to three Iraqi hospitals last week. They are brought to Iraq by members of his family who buy them in neighbouring Jordan. In his sickness the general has become philosophical: "Look at me now - it is better for humans not to be arrogant about money and the beauty of youth." What about arrogance with power? "Yes, of course, because our religion and culture motivate us to be humble." In Basra last week the humble and humiliated were at the children's hospital. Waves of worried mothers, shrouded in black from head to toe, throwing themselves in turn at the day clinic staff or at the door of Dr Janan's room for comfort or succour. On entering the drab, ill-equipped 10-bed leukemia ward, the sight of two empty beds brought a moment of cheer - but only until it was explained that their occupants had died in the previous 48 hours. Dr Janan, who has worked at Basra for 19 years, said the child leukemia figures for last year represented a 600 per cent increase since the year before Desert Storm. Most cases - she has pictures of the children strewn on her desk - come from the border village of Safwan, a windswept, dusty last stop on the road to Kuwait. And here is a hospital at which the leukemia sufferers have whole heads of hair, because the hospital does not have the drugs which might treat the cancer but which invariably cause the patients' hair to fall out. Then the doctor takes the deformity book from her bookcase. The pictures are appalling - children with grossly oversized heads and no limbs, with whole sets of organs outside their body, with no facial features except a single over-sized eye. "Last week we had three leukemia deaths and five of these births," she said. "They all died too. And of the 1,200 births we had here last year 221 were deformed. We have had 20 in the last month, whereas we used to have one or two such cases a year. "In most cases their fathers served in the military. If we had a specialist laboratory we'd be able to take samples and prove the link to DU; we do not have the formal and professionally proved link, but I'm sure it is the cause of all this, not because of its chemical toxicity but because of the radioactivity." Dr Jawad, the cancer specialist, is impatient, but his promise of 10 minutes becomes 40 minutes as he outlines the cancer epidemic. He said: "The figures are even more troubling if you look at the mortality rate - in 1988 we had 11 deaths per 100,000 people in Basra; in 2000 we had 83 deaths per 100,000 people. That is an increase of 7.5. "We also have to deal with a rare development - family clusters of cancer cases. There is a family with eight cases [only the Herald's efforts to identify the family brought forward the admission that it was his wife's] and another with six cases. There is a number of families also that have two or three cases. "The graphs are getting steeper and more alarming. I have looked at the geographical distribution of cancer in relation to the areas where the DU was used [only a few kilometres from the city]. "There has been a significant increase in lung cancer near it, and leukemia has increased further to the north, where the Qurna winds come in off the Gulf and blow the desert dust. "I don't know what we are to do. The area is 2,000 square kilometres, and that's too big to decontaminate. And there are many farmers still living in there. "It's a great problem for the French and the Italians because one or two of their soldiers have died. But where does that leave me? I've had 400 or more die." That's the extent of Dr Jawad's foray into propaganda before he agrees to talk about his wife. "The thing about these family clusters is that they cannot be put down as hereditary because there are different cancers within the clusters. In my wife's family there is leukemia, there is breast cancer, there is colonic cancer and there is Hodgkin's lymphoma. "My wife is 47 years old. She is complaining of pain but she is refusing to have an ultrasound or to allow me or anyone else to examine her. She says she will die without a diagnosis." Dr Hooda Amash, Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Baghdad, claims that the evidence is compelling, but she too wants a formal and detailed study into the link between the illnesses and exposure to DU. In her city pathology practice, above the din of a teeming city market, she said: "I want to deal in academically proven facts. But the evidence appears to be compelling. "Geographic - the cancer increases are across the country, but mostly in the south; nothing was done to clean up the area - tanks and other vehicles are still there producing radiation and pollution; the types of cancers - the ones that have increased are the ones that are associated with radiation." She warns that after last week's 10th anniversary of the Gulf War, Iraq could be on the verge of an even more dramatic increase in some of the cancers, in the same way that the populations of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were affected 10 years after they were bombed. US authorities argued that Gulf Syndrome could have been caused by the vaccines given to coalition servicemen in the Gulf, she said. But this could not be said of the Iraqi victims, because they had not been vaccinated. Other worrying trends that were becoming apparent were an increase in spontaneous miscarriages and miscarriages late in pregnancy. UN sources in Baghdad said that when the Iraqis had first raised the alarming statistics from the south, they had been dismissed as propaganda. Work is being done on the subject by various agencies of the UN in the Middle East and in the Balkans. Two preliminary reports are due to be published in the next few weeks. Despite this, some medical experts in Iraq and UN staff in Baghdad share a fear that some countries, notably the US and Britain, are reluctant for the research teams to get the funds or resources needed to arrive at an effective conclusion. Their fears are based on the British and US insistence that there is no link between exposure to DU and Gulf Syndrome and two sets of formal advice issued to workers who might be exposed - by the British Ministry of Defence to its servicemen and a memo to UN staff around the world. The UN memo says that the World Health Organisation does not have sufficient information on exposure to DU in the Gulf or the Balkans to make firm conclusions, and that areas of high concentrations of DU should be cordoned off. The British advice to its servicemen in 1999 was: "Do not climb on or enter a damaged hard target or loiter within 50 metres, do not eat, drink or smoke near the damaged vehicle." Some Iraqis express the hope that the pressure from Italy and Germany in particular will force a complete investigation into the impact of DU on servicemen in the Gulf from which they can interpolate the impact on the people of southern Iraq. A senior UN staffer in Baghdad said: "A lot of my colleagues are worried by the possible effect on them, and they are only mildly reassured by that memo from headquarters." http://www.smh.com.au/news/0103/10/world/world11.html * IRAQI AIRWAYS BACK IN THE SKIES - JUST by Paul McGeough Sydney Morning Herald, 10th March Flights are few and security is tight. Very tight. At the newly refurbished Saddam International Airport, passengers move through huge, marbled halls like a colony of ants.This morning Iraqi Airways has only one flight - about 200 people are flying from Baghdad to Basrah, the port city in the south. Flying to Basrah means going through hostile airspace - the no-fly zone declared by the United Nations 10 years ago and which is patrolled by United States and British fighter aircraft. But any concerns about becoming a sanction buster are offset by something close to smugness at getting around the six-hour drive to the south. And it is a cheap thrill - the round-trip ticket on the world's most restricted airline costs just $US16.60 ($32.44). There is something absurd about a huge airport that has few passengers and even fewer flights - there will be only two flights that day, one to Basrah and another to Mosul in the north. A postal worker is on duty in the airport post office ... though no-one is writing postcards. The car-hire booth is in darkness and the duty-free shop is locked-down. Everything in this post-war French reconstruction is perfect, down to a newly painted sign not often seen in airports: an arrow points down some stairs, to the basement bomb-shelters. And at the departure tax booth a staffer is collecting Saddam Hussein's due with great solemnity, but hyperinflation has reduced the 250 Iraqi dinar levy to the equivalent of US12˘. There are three x-ray luggage searches between taxi and aircraft and still the contents of every bag are examined between x-rays two and three. Every battery is confiscated, a pair of nail-scissors are taken away and every tube in every toilet-bag is opened and sniffed. All confiscated goods are bagged and numbered to be returned to passengers at the destination. Everything is new. The six fire engines sitting on the tarmac gleam and the seats and other fittings on the bus that ferries passengers from the terminal to the aircraft are still in their plastic wrapping. The aircraft is a special treat - a Boeing 747 that, in a neighbourly gesture, was given to President Saddam Hussein by a member of the royal family of Qatar, one of the United Arab Emirates to the south of Iraq. No doubt on security advice, Saddam does not make personal use of the jumbo, which he has presented to the people of Iraq. The flight crew is beaming, clearly pleased to be back in the air and in their new aqua uniforms and matching aqua nail-polish. For a decade all staff have been laid off, with the exception of a group of engineers who have attempted to maintain their skills by repeatedly dismantling and rebuilding the same aircraft engine. Iraqi Airways has been back in the air for about three months. But most of the 50 aircraft it operated before Operation Desert Storm have been grounded at airports outside Iraq - two of them sit on the tarmac at Amman, in neighbouring Jordan. The present Iraqi Airways domestic fleet is an odd job lot - the jumbo from Qatar, a Boeing 727 and an ancient Russian-built Iluyshin 76. But Iraqi Airways is not alone in the skies over Iraq. The UN-declared no-go zone in the north was imposed to protect the minority Kurds from Iraqi victimisation, and in the south the ban on flights was to protect the Shi'ite Muslims who also were under attack from Baghdad. The airlines of Egypt, Syria and Jordan make scheduled stopovers at Baghdad. And a string of European and other nations have been sending in one-off services, either as humanitarian gestures or touting for business. THE CHILDRENıS CORNER http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,3604,447037,00.html * MAJOR LEFT FUMING AFTER THATCHER REOPENS OLD WOUNDS by Nicholas Watt The Guardian, 6th March Margaret Thatcher and John Major, who are barely on speaking terms at the best of times, have had another spectacular falling out. Mr Major is said by friends to be "seething" after Lady Thatcher unceremoniously upstaged him at last week's 10th anniversary celebrations marking the liberation of Kuwait. Lady Thatcher, who makes no attempt to hide her contempt for the man she backed as her successor, swung the proverbial handbag in Mr Major's direction when she lamented the failure of Britain and the US to wipe out Saddam Hussein at the end of the Gulf war. Standing within yards of Mr Major in the garden of the British embassy in Kuwait, she declared: "I only wish that I had stayed on to finish the job properly. Perhaps then we wouldn't be where we are today with this cruel and terrible man securely in power." Mr Major, who defended the allies' decision not to march on Baghdad within moments of her outburst, flew home in a rage. One friend said: "John is seething with Margaret. He feels that once again she has shown no grasp of the finer details of policy." Friends said Mr Major was particularly enraged because he has been widely praised, along with George Bush snr, for his deft handling of the war. One friend said: "To suggest that the allies could have stormed up to Baghdad and take out Saddam after the liberation of Kuwait is ludicrous, not least because there was no UN mandate to do so." Lady Thatcher ensured she received top billing at last week's celebrations in Kuwait even though she resigned in November 1990, before the launch of Operation Desert Storm in January 1991. The former prime minister believes she deserves credit for the success of the war after she famously stiffened the resolve of Mr Bush when he prevaricated after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. The latest row shows there is little hope of a reconciliation between Lady Thatcher and Mr Major. Relations, which soured within months of Mr Major taking office, are so bad that Lady Thatcher is now said to be on comparatively better terms with Sir Edward Heath, despite his 26 year-long sulk after she deposed him as Tory leader in 1975. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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://www.casi.org.uk