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Please write to the British Ambassador, Sir Ivor Roberts in Dublin, Ireland. He must hear from you all!! Address : Sir Ivor Roberts British Ambassador Merrion Road, Dublin 4. Ireland (Please also send us a copy: firstname.lastname@example.org) In last three weeks, the British Ambassador to Ireland has written as many as three letters to one of Ireland's main national newspapers, The Irish Times. The letters consist of the usual misrepresentations and lies that we have repeatedly heard from spokespersons and senior government officials of the US and UK. For example: 1) "The sanctions are not about choking-off legitimate civilian trade or humanitarian assistance. We have consistently sought to liberalise the sanctions regime to allow trade and aid to get through to the Iraqi people." (July 21) 2) "The Oil for Food (OFF) programme was designed to allow the Iraqi regime to export oil, through a UN-controlled account, to fund the humanitarian programme" (July 21) 3) "The argument that the UN is causing the humanitarian situation to deteriorate is false. If that were so, why are Kurdish areas of Iraq, which are self-governing, better off than those controlled by Baghdad? " (July 21) 4) "There are no restrictions on legitimate trade with Iraq." (July 21) 5) "The humanitarian situation in Iraq is appalling, but the guilt rests not with UN nor the UK. It rests squarely with the government of Iraq for failing to use its many resources for the benefit of its people. Instead it has sought to manipulate international public opinion by cynically parading the suffering which it has caused." (July 21) 6) "That is why we have spent so much time and effort trying to refine them. We want to achieve our objectives with the minimum effects on ordinary Iraqi people getting on with their lives" (2 Aug) 7) "But sanctions protect Iraq's neighbours and they protect us...... How else can we seek to ensure the safety of minority populations in Iraq? " (2 Aug) 8) "We must not allow Saddam to exploit our morality to force us into lifting sanctions. He wants us to do this so that he will be free to develop weapons of mass destruction. We know him to be capable of using such weapons - he did so against the Kurds. The result will be that the region will be in peril. And many of the Iraqi people (especially the Kurds and Shias) will be no better off." (11 Aug) There are more misleading claims in the three letters. I have posted them here. http://www.endiraqsanctions.net/ambassador-letters.htm The Irish Times has already published about 5 to 6 letters in response to EACH of the first two letters by the Ambassador. All of them were highly critical. One of the response was from Hans Von Sponeck. He and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton were in Dublin at the time and were outraged by the letter of July 21. (See http://www.endiraqsanctions.net ) It is now time to flood the Ambassador with protest letters. most of the points made in the letters are easily refutable. Please take time to send him even a short note and let him know what you think of the sanctions and the British government policy of bombing Iraq and the no-fly zones. Please also, send us a copy of your letters at: email@example.com I have appended to this email the 'talking points' by Rahul Mahajan which were posted recently in an EPIC email. Our website also has two responses by the Campaign to End Iraq Sanctions and one by Hans von Sponeck. Sandeep Campaign to End Iraq Sanctions - Ireland ------------------- TALKING POINTS on North vs. South Iraq and Sanctions 1. Northern Iraq, with 13% of Iraq's population, gets 13% of Iraqi oil revenues. The rest of the country, containing 89% of the population, gets only 59% of the revenues. This reduced rate is the result of deductions taken out to compensate victims of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait (25%) and to cover administrative expenses for various UN programs (3-4%). Thus, thanks to these deductions, inhabitants of south and central Iraq get 68% as much (per capita) as those living in the north. 2. 10% of money going to northern Iraq under OFF is in cash, so that cheap local goods and services (instead of expensive foreign ones) can be bought and salaries can be paid. In Southern and Central Iraq, no cash component is provided under OFF. 3. $3.4 billion out of the $17.9 billion in OFF contracts have been placed on indefinite "hold" (over 20% of the total value). Items currently on hold include toilet soap, vaccines, and blood bags. This causes tremendous hardship and dislocation even after the holds are released. The U.S. Mission to the UN is responsible for over 95% of all holds. Few contracts for northern Iraq are ever placed on hold. 4. The north is the traditional breadbasket of Iraq, with a far higher percentage of arable land. The rest of the country has to import most of its food. (The above figures can be found in the latest report of the UN Office of the Iraq Program - http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/latest/wu17July01.html) 5. Sanctions help to insulate the GOI from public accountability. During the Iran-Iraq war, the GOI went seriously into debt trying to retain public approval by simultaneously maintaining high social spending while financing the war. Right now, the Iraqi public rightly blames its suffering on sanctions, not on the GOI, so the government is under less pressure to serve the needs of its citizens. 6. Oil revenues, foreign investment, infrastructure repair and the return of Iraqi professionals are needed in order to rehabilitate Iraq's shattered economy and infrastructure. Without such a recovery, the Iraqi government cannot pay adequate wages to civil servants. As a result, many Iraqis will continue to leave the country. Government oppressions and fears of reprisals for the 1991 failed uprising also account for this trend. Since 1990, over 20% of Iraq's population has left the country. "An emergency commodity assistance program like oil-for-food, no matter how well funded or well run, cannot reverse the devastating consequences of war and then ten years of virtual shut-down of Iraq's economy." (Human Rights Watch, August 2000 http://www.hrw.org/press/2000/08/iraq0804.htm). 7. People in the North are better off because they don't need to import as much food, because they get over 1.5 times as much money per capita, and because contracts there aren't subject to U.S. holds. 8. On a microeconomic level, many families in Iraq will sell some of the Oil-for-Food goods they receive in order to survive. The excess goods are then resold on the black market for goods that are scarce and in higher demand. However, no report from the Secretary General corroborates the claim that the GOI resells Oil-for-Food goods before they are distributed. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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