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dear casi-ites - Grant's (and George Monbiot's) points are well made,
warmest, felicity a.
From: "Grant Wakefield" <>
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
THEIR OWN CHEMICAL WEAPONS SITES. This lack of "co-operation with weapons
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.

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

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:

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 <>  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


--Eli Pariser,
  April 19, 2002


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

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.


[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[Your Phone Number]

Tuesday April 16, 2002,4273,4394862,00.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

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

"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. <>

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