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RE: Halabja

Dear CASI list,

Apologies to the CASI list for including an unchecked and inaccurate factual
statement in my recent posting, as picked up by Sir Terence Clark in his
reply (see below).

Just as Glen, in his posting on Halabja, showed in a positive way why we
should all carefully check and weigh facts before asserting them, so I have
provided a negative example of this same imperative.

Sir Terence has set the record straight on one issue of fact, but he has
used my inaccuracy to recreate some of the confusion about who carried out
the attack on Halabja, an important issue which had been substantially
settled by Glen's observations.

It is interesting what Sir Terence does and does not say in his brief
posting. He refers to the "two conflicting version of events", as if
responsibility for Halabja is an open question. He adroitly - or should I
say maladroitly - sidesteps other parts of my statement: both the general
point about the UK government's nefarious alliance with the Saddam regime
during the period when he was London's representative in Baghdad, and the
specific one about the UK government's role in protecting Saddam from UN
censure for perpetrating the Halabja attack.

Sir Terence is undoubtedly in a position to shed light on these and many
other questions of interest to the ordinary people of Iraq and the UK. It
would be interesting to know, for instance, which arms deals he did help to
arrange during the period in question (from, say, February 1988, which he
describes as "well before Halabja", which took place on March 16th, to
autumn of that year).

Sir Terence's comment will spur me to locate the press cuttings I made of
the Scott enquiry; and, as time permits (which is right now in very short
supply), I look forward to formulating some more precise questions for him
to answer. Any other CASI list subscribers who would like to participate in
this, please get in touch.

John S

Original Message from Terence Clark 10 January 2002

Subject: RE: Halabja

Message text written by "John Smith"
>Halabja is important not just for what it confirms about the character of
the Saddam regime, but also for what it reveals about his western sponsors.
The US and UK acted to cover up the Halabja atrocity, to protect Saddam
UN censure, and - as the Scott enquiry revealed - the UK government sent
David Mellor to Baghdad to negotiate a major arms contract while the bodies
were still lying in the street.<

As the British Ambassador to Iraq at the time, my recollection is rather
different! Leaving aside the enormous difficulties of verifying at the time
either of the two conflicting versions of events, as they have been related
on this List, I accompanied David Mellor throughout his visit, which took
place in February 1988 well before Halabja, and can assure you that he did
not negotiate a major arms contract. The only really successful piece of
negotiation was to persuade Saddam Hussain to release one of our long-term
prisoners - a certain John Smith!

Terence Clark

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