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[casi] Newsnight 19/11/02 (Desert Fox)

Newsnight is my favourite news programme on television. I am repeatedly
disappointed however by your reporting on Iraq. Given the normally high
standards of Newsnight on most issues I am perplexed by this. Our
Government can only get away with its disgraceful and genocidal policies
on Iraq by virtue of having a compliant media - in particular the broadcast
media. My only hope is Newsnight. After all, a couple of years ago, the
BBC Ten O'clock News referred to the UN (sic) no fly zones when the
US/UK had a big bombing spree.

Can I suggest that your journalists urgently get up to speed on Iraq rather
than rely on Foreign Office propaganda? Ex UN staff like Halliday and Von
Sponeck would tell them much about the truly disastrous effects of
sanctions on innocent civilians. I can supply you with further contacts and
references about inspections, depleted uranium, no fly zone operation etc.

The latest example:

Tonight, Jeremy Paxman described the Operation Desert Fox bombing of
Iraq in December 1998 as a 'response' to the withdrawal of the UN
weapon inspectors.

This is simply wrong!

Newsnight failed to report adequately at the time on this episode and
continues to fail. The truth about Desert Fox raises lots of questions which
I'd like to see someone like Jeremy ask a Government spokesman.


1)      Tony Blair stated at the time that one of the aims was to kill some
soldiers. What are the Government's estimates on how many were killed
whilst they were asleep in their barracks?

2)      Is it true that just before Desert Fox, Butler said: "we might have a
satisfactory account of Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction programmes
within six to eight weeks"?

3)      Is it true that for a very long time, it has been stated US policy that
sanctions would remain on Iraq as long as SH remains in power? (thereby
undermining inspections and the UNSC)

4)      Is it true that the US ambassador suggested to Butler that he pull
out the inspectors before the bombing?

5)      Is it true that the UNSC was not consulted before Desert Fox?

6)      In the period before Desert Fox how many of the inspections
actually caused a problem? (three!!)

7)      Is it true that UNSCOM was used by the US & UK to spy on the

8)      Is it true that Desert Fox so undermined UNSCOM that the UNSC
decided to abandon it and set up a fairer system of inspections less prone
to abuse by the US/UK?

9)      Is it true that Desert Fox undermined the UNSC in its dealings with

10)     Is it true that the Government still insists on bullying, threatening
and insulting Iraq rather than seeking to open a dialogue and listening to
Iraq's concerns - many of which are legitimate? (war, war and not jaw,

11)     Is it true that there have still been NO efforts by the US/UK to
address WMD held by other states in the region as explicitly detailed by
the UNSC resolution seeking disarmament by Iraq?

12)     Is it true that Desert Fox did not have UNSC approval?

13)     Is it true that the experience of Desert Fox (the US/UK acting
unilaterally) has driven the UNSC to try and prevent unilateral action
again? (by the 2 rogue states)

Mark Parkinson

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