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[Apologies for any multiple postings] Dear friends, Voices and ARROW will be distributing a wide range of materials at this Saturday's big anti-war march in London, including the new voices anti-war postcard, information about the Pledge of Resistance and publicity for the nonviolent 'Warzone Whitehall' action on December 2nd. If you would like to come and help distribute these materials, please meet up with us outside the front of Charing Cross station (a few minutes walk from the Embankment) at 12.30pm. It would be useful for us to know in advance how many volunteers we're likely to have, so if you can definitely commit to coming please let me know by replying to this e-mail. Also, don't forget the Pledge of Resistance 'bloc' on the march (look for the big yellow Pledge banner), followed by a Pledgers picnic in Hyde Park. Bring food - and ideas for nonviolent action - to share! Finally, below is a recent article by the author of the popular ARROW briefings, Milan Rai, on the importance of September 28th with some comments on the recent Government dossier. Best wishes, Gabriel voices in the wilderness uk and ARROW ************************************************ The Importance of 28 September by Milan Rai 25th September 2002 1) The importance of the demonstration 2) The crucial issue of the moment - ripping up inspection procedures agreements 1) The importance of the demonstration Following the publication of the Blair Dossier, which should be subtitled 'The Assertions of the British Government' rather than 'The Assessment of the British Government', the anti-war movement has two primary goals. The demonstration on 28 September is a critical element in achieving both goals - in terms of its size, and in terms of how we use the opportunity. The first goal we have is to increase the domestic political pressure on Tony Blair to a level where he is forced to disengage Britain from the planned war on Iraq. We have already had some successes, and the pressure already exerted has forced the Prime Minister to recall Parliament and to modify his language. On a larger scale, international and domestic pressures forced President Bush, in part because of the urging of Mr Blair, to appear before the UN General Assembly and include the United Nations explicitly in the debate around Iraq, something he was very loath to do. The demonstration on 28 September cannot by itself force the Prime Minister to abandon his loyal position by President Bush's side, but its size will be a significant factor in his planning. The Example of Vietnam In 1985, former President Richard Nixon revealed that he had considered using nuclear weapons to end the war in Vietnam. Richard Nixon went beyond merely 'considering' the option, he actually decided to use nuclear weapons. In August 1969, the United States began a sequence of threats against North Vietnam, beginning with an ultimatum personally delivered by Henry Kissinger, stating that if by 1 November 1969 there had been no ceasefire by the Vietnamese resistance, 'we will be compelled -with great reluctance - to take measures of the greatest consequences.' Two nuclear bombs would be dropped on North Vietnam. To demonstrate the sincerity of his intentions, President Nixon ordered a full-scale nuclear alert, raising US nuclear forces to their highest level of alertness, DEF CON 1, for 29 days. On 13 October 1969, one of Nixon's aides sent a Top Secret memorandum to Henry Kissinger warning that 'The nation could be thrown into internal physical turmoil', requiring the 'brutal' suppression of 'dissension'. That month, the US anti-war movement was organising a massive wave of demonstrations and mobilisations culminating in the Vietnam Moratorium demonstration in Washington. President Nixon later wrote in his memoirs, 'A quarter of a million people came to Washington for the October 15 Moratorium... On the night of October 15, I thought about the irony of this protest for peace. It had, I believe, destroyed whatever small possibility there may have existed for ending the war in 1969'. The key factor in his decision not to drop an atomic bomb on North Vietnam was that 'after all the protests and the Moratorium, American public opinion would be seriously divided by any military escalation of the war'. Mobilised public opinion averted the world's second nuclear war. (References for this section in Milan Rai, War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Why We Shouldn't Launch Another War On Iraq.) The Importance of 28 September We know from Geoff Hoon's repeated pronouncements (see the ARROW Anti-War briefing on the matter www.justicenotvengeance.org ) that nuclear weapons are a live option in the projected war on Iraq. Whether or not the Government is planning to use them, if the demonstration is sufficiently large - and the Government perceives that there is a real threat of large-scale domestic turbulence if they participate in President Bush's war - this will at a minimum constrain the kinds of tactics, and possibly weapons, that they will plan to use in the war. We are already seeing reports that the US may spare the civilian infrastructure targets they destroyed in the 1991 war. The demonstration on 28 September may save tens of thousands of lives even if it only succeeds in confirming that restriction on war planning. The possible gains from the demonstration are greater than that, however. In itself, the demonstration can be a powerful signal to the Government. And if the demonstration is used as an educational opportunity and as a springboard for further action, it can ramp up the movement to another level of mobilisation. 2) The crucial issue of the moment - ripping up inspection procedures agreements One crucial issue must be thoroughly exposed on 28 September. It has been clear for months that, in the words of a top US Senate foreign policy aide, 'The White House's biggest fear is that UN weapons inspectors will be allowed to go in.' (May 2002) While inspectors are at work in Iraq, it will be very difficult for the US to strike. The even greater nightmare is that the inspectors will do their work, Iraq will cooperate, and nothing will be found. The pressure to lift sanctions will be huge, and a military strike will be virtually impossible. Now that 'nightmare scenario' is beginning, the central US goal is to derail the inspection process - preferably before it even starts. One key tool in doing that is to craft an offer that is designed to be refused. There are a number of precedents for this. Designed to be refused: the first oil-for-food deal For many years, the US and Britain blamed Iraq for the human suffering caused by sanctions because Iraq had refused an oil-for-food offer in 1991, and did not accept a UN-run oil-for-food programme until 1995. It was no surprise that Iraq refused. After the Gulf War, the UN Secretary-General sent an 'Executive Delegate', Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, to report on humanitarian conditions in Iraq. In July 1991, Prince Sadruddin recommended that Iraq should be allowed to sell $6.9bn over one year to restore the health services to full capacity; the electrical sector to 50 percent of its prewar capacity; the water and sanitation services to 40 per cent operation; to rehabilitate agriculture and some oil facilities, and to provide subsistence food rations to the entire population. The Security Council decided that the period for a one-off oil sale should be six months, which under the Executive Delegate's formula would have required $3.8bn worth of oil sales (half the annual amount, plus start- up costs of $350m). This proposal was rejected by the UN Security Council - by the United States, in effect - as too generous. Security Council Resolutions 706 and 712, the latter passed in September 1991 actually offered Iraq only $1.6bn in total oil sales over the six months. After deductions for war compensation and UN costs, and after taking out the start-up costs, the sum available for humanitarian aid had been reduced to roughly $706 million over six months - less than 20 per cent of the UN's expert assessment of Iraq's humanitarian needs. There were other humiliating conditions attached to the offer (detailed in War Plan Iraq) but Iraq would have been prepared to swallow them, if the UN had offered the Saddruddin figure. As it was, Iraq refused the oil-for-food deal, and international opinion condemned Baghdad for the suffering in Iraq. Designed to be refused: new aggressive inspection procedures The US is hoping to replay this scenario with the new inspection process, by ripping up existing agreements on how UN weapons inspectors should inspect Presidential and other 'sensitive' sites, and by making the inspection process completely objectionable to Iraq. If Iraq can be provoked into withdrawing its cooperation from UNMOVIC (UN Monitoring and Verification Commission) the new inspection agency, the way will be clear for a US assault on Iraq. Dossier Lies The Government's 'dossier' misrepresented how 'sensitive sites' in Iraq have been inspected in the past. A little-noticed paragraph packs in serious distortions: "In December 1997, Richard Butler reported to the UN Security Council that Iraq had created a new category of sites, 'presidential' and 'sovereign', from which it claimed that UNSCOM inspectors would henceforth be barred. The terms of the ceasefire in 1991 foresaw no such limitation. However, Iraq consistently refused to allow UNSCOM inspectors access to any of these eight Presidential sites. Many of these so-called 'palaces' are in fact large compounds which are an integral part of Iraqi counter-measures designed to hide weapons material. (dossier, page 34, paragraph 5) In his speech to Parliament on Tuesday 24 September 2002, the Prime Minister said that Iraq defined certain sites as special sites, from which inspectors were barred. It is true that Iraq resisted inspection of what came to be called 'sensitive sites'. However, a series of agreements between UNSCOM and Baghdad between 1996 and 1998, enabled UN weapons inspectors to visit all the disputed sites: In June 1996, Rolf Ekeus, then head of UNSCOM, agreed with the Iraqis that in designated 'sensitive sites' only FOUR weapons inspectors would enter the site. In December 1997, the new head of UNSCOM, negotiated a new agreement, whereby at larger 'sensitive sites' such as the sprawling presidential palaces, more inspectors could enter 'if the size of the site warranted it, as decided on a case by case basis. In February 1998, Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding creating new procedures for inspecting eight identified presidential palaces. Inspectors would be accompanied by foreign diplomats to safeguard Iraq's 'sovereignty'. (See Richard Butler, Saddam Defiant: The Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Crisis of Global Security, London, 2000, pp. 96, 125/127, and 155.) So in the very month that the Government suggests that Iraq banned further inspections of sensitive sites (December 1997), Iraq was actually agreeing to allow MORE inspectors into these sites than they had previously. None of the 'sensitive sites' agreements are mentioned in the dossier. The dossier also misrepresents the inspection of Presidential sites. Yes, Iraq resisted inspections of these sites, but in February 1998, an agreement was made allowing such inspections, and they were carried out: "Our inspections of the Presidential sites were eventually conducted over a period of ten days, and on April 15 , a report on these 'entries' (in the UN vernacular) was presented to the Security Council.' (Richard Butler, Saddam Defiant, page 164.) The 'sensitive sites' agreements would NOT stop inspections of ANY facility or building, contrary to insinuations in the press. The 'sensitive sites' agreements WOULD enable the inspectors to check the claims of defectors about new facilities or new developments at known facilities or locations. UNMOVIC Inherits The Sensitive Sites Modalities Agreement Paragraph 11 of Security Council Resolution 1284 says that UNMOVIC, the new weapons inspection agency, inherits all the existing arrangements and agreements between UNSCOM and the Government of Iraq. This includes the 'Agreement for the Modalities of Sensitive Sites Inspection' "For now, for example, Mr Blix [head of UNMOVIC] is assuming that special arrangements reached in the past between Iraq and the UN over access to presidential and other sensitive sites would be carried over. "Although agreed in memoranda of understanding that are not part of UN resolutions, UN decision 1284 which created UNMOVIC stipulated that previous special arrangements would be adopted by the agency. " 'We understand the MOU [memorandum of understanding] to still be valid', Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for UNMOVIC said yesterday. "This is not what the US has in mind. A senior US official said no conditions, including those relating to presidential sites, would be acceptable. (Roula Khalaf, 'UN weapons chief must win over US and Iraqi sceptics', Financial Times, 19 September 2002.) The US and Britain want 'anyone, any time, anywhere' inspections to be incorporated into a new UN resolution. They want to rip up existing agreements which allow the inspection of 'sensitive sites'. The US is hoping this will either provoke Iraq into withdrawing its offer to allow in inspectors, or that the inspection process will result in continued confrontations over this issue, creating a propaganda basis for the new war. At the demonstration, we must reject the ripping up of existing agreements which have enabled UN weapons inspectors to penetrate the heart of the Iraqi state. We must send a message loud and clear that no new conditions must be attached by the United States to the inspection process. No more offers designed to be refused. Inspection, not invasion. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk