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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] dear casi-ites - Grant's (and George Monbiot's) points are well made, warmest, felicity a. ---------- From: "Grant Wakefield" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "FELICITY ARBUTHNOTT" <email@example.com> Subject: HYPOCRISY OF THE HIGHEST ORDER - ACT QUICKLY! Date: Fri, Apr 19, 2002, 3:57 pm Dear All, Take a moment to try and stop the world from going to hell Texas style. The hypocrisy of the Bush government is absolutely staggering as the information and article below will reveal. The bottom line: The US is seeking to overthrow the leader of an international, independent body tasked with destroying the world's stockpiles of chemical weapons and weapons facilities. This is PRECISELY THEIR STATED DEMAND IN RELATION TO IRAQ, and yet the US REFUSES TO ALLOW THEIR INSPECTORS UNFETTERED ACCESS TO THEIR OWN CHEMICAL WEAPONS SITES. This lack of "co-operation with weapons inspectors" is PRECISELY THE CHARGE THAT THE US LEVELS AT IRAQ as the latest pretext to bomb that country YET AGAIN. Please, write, ring, fax or e-mail every single journalist, MP, news and radio station that you know. Get this message out quickly. Thanks, Grant Wakefield. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dear Friend, Please join Peter Gabriel, Annie Lennox, Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Brian Eno, and many other cultural figures in speaking up on an important, last-minute issue. This Sunday, April 21, the United States will seek to remove Jose Bustani, the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), from his post. Bustani's crime is essentially that he was too good at his job. Under his lead, according to the Guardian article copied below, "His inspectors have overseen the destruction of 2 million chemical weapons and two-thirds of the world's chemical weapon facilities. He has so successfully cajoled reluctant nations that the number of signatories to the convention has risen from 87 to 145 in the past five years: the fastest growth rate of any multilateral body in recent times." But in the eyes of the US State Department, Bustani has been a nuisance. First, he's attempted to treat the US like any other signatory to the body, and the US, not unlike its enemy Iraq, is unsatisfied with the inspectors he's chosen. Second, he's actively working with Iraq to encourage it to accept inspectors, which would undercut support for a second US-led Gulf War. For these reasons, the State Department wants him deposed. In a meeting this Sunday, the US will propose a vote of no confidence in Bustani, even though it hasn't specified the exact nature of his failings. If the UK votes with the US, yet another international, multilateral organisation will essentially become a proxy of the US government. Please contact your MP immediately and urge him or her to "support Director-General Bustani and an independent Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons." You can do this easily at: http://www.faxyourmp.com Then pass this message on to your friends and colleagues and urge them to write. Since the timing is so close, we need to get as many people involved as possible. And please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> so that we can keep track of how many contacts have been made. A sample letter, drafted by Brian Eno and co-signed by many other cultural figures is copied below, as is an article by George Monbiot more fully explaining the situation. Please act today to support an important international institution. Sincerely, --Eli Pariser, 9-11peace.org April 19, 2002 SAMPLE LETTER -------------------- Dear Member of Parliament, We are writing to draw your attention to the very serious and urgent matter of the impending removal of the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Jose Bustani, from his post. This follows a campaign led by the United States which is ultimately aimed at further clearing the way for an attack on Iraq. If the United States succeeds in its campaign for Bustani's removal, it will not only be a victory for unilateralism and a blow to the principles of multilateral cooperation, but it will also mean that the world will be brought one step closer to a second Gulf War. Admittedly, this is only the latest in a series of attempts by the United States to disengage from, undermine and override international legal instruments and multilateral institutions. We have all witnessed the US's exceptionalism in recent years. It has refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, and torpedoed the statute creating the International Criminal Court. It has opposed the completion of negotiations to create a regime strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention, and indicated its intention to abandon the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. More recently it has "lost confidence" in the head of the International Panel on Climate Change, coincidentally following a consultation with US energy industry representatives. And after the failure of UNSCOM (largely the result of its use by the United States as an intelligence-gathering instrument), there are now reports that the CIA has been investigating the performance of Hans Blix, head of UNMOVIC, UNSCOM's successor. The difference this time is that the stakes are higher, and more evident. The OPCW is the first ever global regime designed to verify the complete abolition of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration is determined to remove the man who, over the last five years, successfully brought such alleged rogues as Iran, Sudan, Libya and Saudi Arabia into this multilateral disarmament regime. Bustani's mandate requires him to bring as many member states as he can into this regime, and for this reason he has consistently kept negotiations open with Iraq. In light of the Bush administration's preparations (both psychological and military) for an attack on Iraq, these negotiations are seen as highly inconvenient. The removal of Bustani would effectively mean the closing of one of the last peaceful routes to dealing with Iraq. Also at stake is the independence of the OPCW, and with it the independence of all other international organisations. Their staff and directors will become vulnerable to removal by a dissatisfied member state, as long as that member state is sufficiently powerful, financially or otherwise. Bustani has repeatedly refused to act on the instructions of the United States in discrimination against other member states, stating over and over that his employers are the integrity of the Conference of States Parties. This has made him a thorn in the side of the US State Department, which Bush and his team are now determined to remove. The US has made unsubstantiated allegations to justify its motion of no-confidence, and has declined on every occasion to provide the evidence, or even to conduct a formal inquiry. Nor has it submitted any document to the Conference of States Parties to support its request for a no-confidence motion. Given the lack of substantive motives for Bustani's removal, the United States has resorted to character assassination in the press. And in order to ensure the success of its campaign, the United States has threatened to withdraw its funding of the organisation, which would leave the OPCW 22% worse off, and effectively crippled. The United Kingdom has, from the early days of the Convention, been an exemplary member of the OPCW. As a proven leader in Europe, it now has the power to rally the rest of Europe and block the United States' vote of no-confidence. By making its voice heard in Washington, the United Kingdom and Europe would be keeping open a peaceful and multilateral route to a resolution in Iraq. More importantly, a defeat of the United States' motion would put a stop to the further deterioration of the international system of multilateral cooperation that has been built with such care and commitment since the end of the Second World War. We urge you to take the lead at the Special Session of the OPCW which opens on Sunday 21 April, and to ensure that morality, good sense and international justice prevail. Sincerely, [Your Name] [Your Address] [Your Phone Number] FROM THE GUARDIAN Tuesday April 16, 2002 http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4394862,00.html ------------------------- Chemical coup d'etat The US wants to depose the diplomat who could take away its pretext for war with Iraq George Monbiot On Sunday, the US government will launch an international coup. It has been planned for a month. It will be executed quietly, and most of us won't know what is happening until it's too late. It is seeking to overthrow 60 years of multilateralism in favour of a global regime built on force. The coup begins with its attempt, in five days' time, to unseat the man in charge of ridding the world of chemical weapons. If it succeeds, this will be the first time that the head of a multilateral agency will have been deposed in this manner. Every other international body will then become vulnerable to attack. The coup will also shut down the peaceful options for dealing with the chemical weapons Iraq may possess, helping to ensure that war then becomes the only means of destroying them. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) enforces the chemical weapons convention. It inspects labs and factories and arsenals and oversees the destruction of the weapons they contain. Its director-general is a workaholic Brazilian diplomat called Jose Bustani. He has, arguably, done more in the past five years to promote world peace than anyone else on earth. His inspectors have overseen the destruction of 2 million chemical weapons and two-thirds of the world's chemical weapon facilities. He has so successfully cajoled reluctant nations that the number of signatories to the convention has risen from 87 to 145 in the past five years: the fastest growth rate of any multilateral body in recent times. In May 2000, as a tribute to his extraordinary record, Bustani was re-elected unanimously by the member states for a second five-year term, even though he had yet to complete his first one. Last year Colin Powell wrote to him to thank him for his "very impressive" work. But now everything has changed. The man celebrated for his achievements has been denounced as an enemy of the people. In January, with no prior warning or explanation, the US state department asked the Brazilian government to recall him, on the grounds that it did not like his "management style". This request directly contravenes the chemical weapons convention, which states "the director-general ... shall not seek or receive instructions from any government". Brazil refused. In March the US government accused Bustani of "financial mismanagement", "demoralisation" of his staff, "bias" and "ill-considered initiatives". It warned that if he wanted to avoid damage to his reputation, he must resign. Again, the US was trampling the convention, which insists that member states shall "not seek to influence" the staff. He refused to go. On March 19 the US proposed a vote of no confidence in Bustani. It lost. So it then did something unprecedented in the history of multi lateral diplomacy. It called a "special session" of the member states to oust him. The session begins on Sunday. And this time the US is likely to get what it wants. Since losing the vote last month, the United States, which is supposed to be the organisation's biggest donor, has been twisting the arms of weaker nations, refusing to pay its dues unless they support it, with the result that the OPCW could go under. Last week Bustani told me, "the Europeans are so afraid that the US will abandon the convention that they are prepared to sacrifice my post to keep it on board". His last hope is that the United Kingdom, whose record of support for the organisation has so far been exemplary, will make a stand. The meeting on Sunday will present Tony Blair's government with one of the clearest choices it has yet faced between multilateralism and the "special relationship". The US has not sought to substantiate the charges it has made against Bustani. The OPCW is certainly suffering from a financial crisis, but that is largely because the US unilaterally capped its budget and then failed to pay what it owed. The organisation's accounts have just been audited and found to be perfectly sound. Staff morale is higher than any organisation as underfunded as the OPCW could reasonably expect. Bustani's real crimes are contained in the last two charges, of "bias" and "ill-considered initiatives". The charge of bias arises precisely because the OPCW is not biased. It has sought to examine facilities in the United States with the same rigour with which it examines facilities anywhere else. But, just like Iraq, the US has refused to accept weapons inspectors from countries it regards as hostile to its interests, and has told those who have been allowed in which parts of a site they may and may not inspect. It has also passed special legislation permitting the president to block unannounced inspections, and banning inspectors from removing samples of its chemicals. "Ill-considered initiatives" is code for the attempts Bustani has made, in line with his mandate, to persuade Saddam Hussein to sign the chemical weapons convention. If Iraq agrees, it will then be subject to the same inspections - both routine and unannounced - as any other member state (with the exception, of course, of the United States). Bustani has so far been unsuccessful, but only because, he believes, he has not yet received the backing of the UN security council, with the result that Saddam knows he would have little to gain from signing. Bustani has suggested that if the security council were to support the OPCW's bid to persuade Iraq to sign, this would provide the US with an alternative to war. It is hard to see why Saddam Hussein would accept weapons inspectors from Unmovic - the organisation backed by the security council - after its predecessor, Unscom, was found to be stuffed with spies planted by the US government. It is much easier to see why he might accept inspectors from an organisation which has remained scrupulously even-handed. Indeed, when Unscom was thrown out of Iraq in 1998, the OPCW was allowed in to complete the destruction of the weapons it had found. Bustani has to go because he has proposed the solution to a problem the US does not want solved. "What the Americans are doing," Bustani says, "is a coup d'etat. They are using brute force to amend the convention and unseat the director-general." As the chemical weapons convention has no provisions permitting these measures, the US is simply ripping up the rules. If it wins, then the OPCW, like Unscom, will be fatally compromised. Success for the United States on Sunday would threaten the independence of every multilateral body. This is, then, one of those rare occasions on which our government could make a massive difference to the way the world is run. It could choose to support its closest ally, wrecking multilateralism and shutting down the alternatives to war. Or it could defy the United States in defence of world peace and international law. It will take that principled stand only if we, the people from whom it draws its power, make so much noise that it must listen. We have five days in which to stop the US from bullying its way to war. www.monbiot.com <http://www.monbiot.com> _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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