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[casi] Help needed this Saturday

[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,

voices in the wilderness uk

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

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

The Importance of 28 September

We know from Geoff Hoon's repeated pronouncements (see the
ARROW Anti-War briefing on the matter ) 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

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

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

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

"Our inspections of the Presidential sites were eventually conducted
over a period of ten days, and on April 15 [1998], 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

"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

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