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Re: [casi] Churchill, gas and the Kurds

Dear Daithi,

-- As to "reliable source":
Geoff Simons has used primary documents e.g., from the British
archives and other sources (no longer accessible to the
public, I believe). The papers include memoranda between
Churchill and his chiefs of staff. The book has a bibliography
and all quotes are properly footnoted. - I have read the book
and can look up any reference you need.

(Geoff Simons: _Iraq: from Sumer to Saddam_, New York:
St. Martin's Press, 1994 ISBN 0312102097.)

And Churchill is quoted extensively in the article "British
use of Chemical Weapons in Iraq". All quotes are from Simons'
book. The most well-known quote is this:

"I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of
gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against
uncivilised tribes."

-- "Did the RAF actually use chemical weapons after WW1?"

Simons' examples are from the 1920s. If I remember correctly
(from another source), no chemical weapons were used after
the 1925 convention forbidding their use.

-- As an aside, John Hemming's argument:

"I do think the situation in Iraq is unique from a
historical perspective", believes Mr. Hemming. Yet his
"constitutional solution for Iraq" seems to condone an attack
on Iraq on the grounds advanced by Bush - ignoring reality
and historical facts. Mr. Hemming says:

     "There are many similarities between Iraq and Yugoslavia.
     Iraq is a country that has been dominated by a dictator
     for a number of years. That dictator has kept control of
     a country with substantial ethnic divisions for many years
     thereby suppressing the impact of those divisions."
     (Quoted from John Hemming's Website: Operation Desert Haven.)

It is well to remember that oil and power are the driving
forces behind the war argument, not dictators. Historically,
the US has in fact _trained_ and assisted dictator regimes
to kill and torture hundreds and thousands of their people,
e.g., the Shah of Iran, the Somozas, or Suharto. But these
were of course right-wing dictators who did not nationalize
oil and other resources and thus impede western profits.

(And does Mr. Hemming know that the "humanitarian" war
against Yugoslavia was based on lies? The US Trade Department
advanced the money for the pipeline project only a few days
after the "victory". And the pipeline through Kosova is now up
and running.)

In Simons' book, Arab-Iraqis and Kurdish-Iraqis are cited
who still remember the RAF attacks of the 1920s. And in a
recent article by Dave Whyte (University of Leeds), Rumsfeld
is quoted as approving this strategy in an attempt to justify
a pre-emptive attack on Iraq:

     "Maybe Winston Churchill was right. Maybe that lone voice
     expressing concern about what was happening was right."
     (Donald Rumsfeld August 2002)

This article puts past and present in context: "War is
Business, Business is War" by Dave Whyte; Newsletter Issue 11
December-January 2002-2003 - I think you find it useful, Daithi.

A peaceful New Year to all (and lots of fortitude),
Elga Sutter

P.S. On a recent visit to Ankara, Wolfowitz presented several
billion dollars and the confirmation that KADEK has been
put on the US terrorist list (KADEK = Congress for Freedom
and Democracy in Kurdistan). "Continuation of insanity"
comments a Kurdish website for the freedom of Abdullah Ocalan.

-------- Original Message --------
From: "Daithi O hArgain" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, January 02, 2003 12:16 PM
Subject: [casi] Churchill, gas and the Kurds

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

It's often said that Churchill contemplated (and supported) using gas
against 'uncivilised peoples' such as Kurdish and Afghan tribesmen during
the 1920's.  Is there any hard historical evidence or reliable source for
this?  Did the RAF actually use chemical weapons after WW1? Apologies if
this has already been discussed.  I couldn't find anything in the
Well done all for an excellent discussion site and hoping for a peaceful
resolution. Daithi O hArgain

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