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Re: Banned Goods

Hi Tim and others,

You ask:

> Can anyone confirm [that chlorine imports have been
> blocked by the Sanctions Committee] and refer me to
> details?

I don't have evidence of this (in part perhaps due to
the secretive operation of the 661 Committee), so
don't know whether and to what extent chlorine imports
have been blocked.

What I do know is that, since the early stages of "oil
for food", provisions have been made to import
chlorine to Iraq.  The 90 day report for Phase II of
"oil for food" (the "oil for food" programme has run
in 180 day phases; the UN Secretary-General issues a
report every 90 days, therefore at the half way point
and end point of each phase) is available at:

You will see that paragraphs 19 and 37 of this report
(dated 4 September 1997) mention expected arrival of
chlorine and protocols developed for tracking it in
Iraq.  (A complete list of Secretary-General's report
can be found at

More recently, I have heard from a member of Unmovic,
the new UN weapons inspectors, that there has been
debate about removing chlorine gas from the "1051
lists" of potentially dual-use items.  His explanation
was that there is so much chlorine being imported into
Iraq that (i) it takes up one and a half staff
people's time just to file the applications; (ii) most
of the sites receiving chlorine in Iraq (c. 900?) are
then never inspected; and (iii) the chlorine tracking
protocol has never worked anyhow.

This doesn't answer the question of whether there is
enough chlorine in Iraq, whether due to imports or
domestic production.  I don't have an answer to that. 
Conversations with UN and NGO staff that I had in
Baghdad in December did suggest that the main problem
with, say, delivering clean drinking water was NOT the
problem of purifying it in a plant: that was
reasonably easy.  Problems arose because (i) the staff
couldn't afford to be at work to maintain and use the
plant properly; (ii) the distribution system was badly
damaged, etc.  (I don't recall my clothes smelling of
diesel, but don't have enough experience to know
whether my experience is typical.  I do know that our
hotel would clean its floors with some form of petrol

I hope that this is of some help.


Colin Rowat
274 Vanderbilt Ave., #2
Brooklyn NY 11205
(m) 917 517 5840
(f) 707 221 3672

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