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RE: British proposal: three editorials and comment from von Sponeck

Thanks for the updates Gabriel - and congratulations on your recent letter
to the editor.  You are concerned that "the spin is certainly working".
There are some reasons to hope that it may not end up this way.

First, some of the more sobre news outlets are much less impressed.  The
Financial Times' article used the proposals as an opportunity to outline
Iraq's more pressing civilian needs, clearly indicating that the proposals
failed to meet them.  Evelyn Leopold's (Reuters) line about the new
proposals allowing everything from "bicycles to sewing machines" into Iraq
more easily has stuck with me: this makes it clear what a joke this is.  I
think that at least one serious weekly news magazine may be running
similarly critical commentary next week.

Second, no one that I've spoken to (UN Iraq people, and diplomats from two
countries, including one officially selling the proposals) thinks that the
proposals are either feasible (e.g. bringing the front line states on board)
or likely to offer much humanitarian improvement.

Last, but perhaps most importantly: there is a large community of people who
are both informed and concerned.  We're responding quickly and

These cracks do not bode well for these proposals.  Furthermore, their
infeasibility means that the US could take a real soaking on them.

Let's keep up the pressure!

Colin Rowat

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