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Ending Sanctions Quickly, Changing the Discourse, & Progressive Art.

Dear Colleagues,

     We all share a desire to end the economic sanctions on Iraq as quickly as 
possible and to move discussion of the immorality and illegality of the 
sanctions off  the back burner of public consciousness.

     With these goals in mind, I have sent the CASI Discussion List the cover 
story of September's PROGRESSIVE, "The Secret Behind the Sanctions: How the 
U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water Supply". This article updates the 
story of the DIA's "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerability" which Felicity 
Arbuthnot broke in the Sunday Herald last year and which I elaberated upon in 
my Association of Genocide Scholars paper a couple of months ago (graciously 
posted to the CASI site by Glen Ringwala)

           The new article in the Progressive extends the previous work by 
incorporating six additonal documents from the DOD's 
site. These articles, all dated 1991, generally share recurrent themes:

              1) there is a great surge in water borne diseases and     
concommittant deaths

               2) the burden of water borne disease is killing in large 
measure, the  children

               3) the cause of the disease and deaths is largely due to the 
degradation of water and sanitation treatment facilties due to such factors as 
the lack of electricity resulting from Coalition bombing and shortages

               4) Out of the blue (deus ex machina), the documents also 
provide the standard apologetics subsequently used by the gov. of the U.S. and 
U.K and dutyfully repeated  pretty much unchanged (or challenged) by most of 
the respectible new media: the fault for any disease and death lies entirely 
with the government of Iraq. Curiously, the documents don't explain how they 
reach this judgement. Like government spokespersons, they just declare these 
conclusion as true, ex cathedra.

        Finally repeating the point in Felicity Arbuthnot's Sept. 2000, 
article, there is clear evidence of violation of the 1979 Protocol, Article 

        While the Progressive article has already generated considerable 
discussion in the U.S. (several radio interviews, a possible congressional 
press release), the question arrises, how can we use the article  to hasten 
the end of sanctions and to alter the public disourse.

         Is it possible that if we can find a member of the armed forces  of 
any of the powers enforcing the sanctions (U.S., U.K., Candada [any others?]) 
to formally charge his/her country with a violation of Geneva 1977, Art. 54, 
then the military would be automatically compelled to open an investigation? I 
don't know the answer, but hope that folks on this CASI list know and can 

        What prompts me to raise this possibility is reading "In April, 
1995...Captain Adolfo Scilingo was able single-handedly to repoen Argentine 
public debate about the dirty war by going public with his story of obeying 
orders to throw dozens of victime to their deaths from a navy helicopter. 
Scilingo then pressed criminal charges against the navy chief of staff 
...forc{ing] the Chiefs of Staff to reconsider an issue they though they had 
long since put behind them..."  p. 237 HUMAN RIGHTS IN POLITICAL TRANSITIONS: 

        I would hope that  by the U.S., U.K., and/ and Canadian military law 
even the partially declassified DIA documents available at gulflink, together 
with external evidence would satisfy a threshold requirement that there is 
good reason to believe that a crime (Geneva violation) has been committed and 
that the governments of the U.S., U.K and Canada are the guilty parties. As 
the perpetrator of an ongoing war by bombing (US, UK) and as the instrument 
for blocking of imports "indiscpensible to the survival of civilian 
populations" [US,UK,Canada], might any  active duty (and perhaps even 
reservists) military member  have automatic standing to bring forth the 
charges Geneva violations  which the military would then be compelled to 
investigate and defend?

        I hope there is something of utility to the goals of CASI in these 
ideas. My formal background is limited primarily  to information systems and 
secondarily  to public health, therefore I request the indulgence and 
assistance of  those who are expert in law (and related fields) to comment.


Thomas J. Nagy, Ph.D.
George Washington University

P.s. I will be in Iraq in October to study the relationship between the 
sanctions and the failure to "undegrade" the water treatment system after all 
these years. I am setting up interviews with water treatment folk in Iraq and 
would welcome any suggestions for interview questions especially as those 
which would  bear on the issue  proving/disproving  on-going Geneva 

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