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RE: [casi] Churchill, gas and the Kurds

Dear Elga,

Please can you post the references from Simons' book to documents in the
Public Record Office? I will be ableto check them out next time I'm there.

I remain unconvinced that the UK used chemical weapons in the middle east in
the 1920s. I've been looking for hard information on this for several years,
and have yet to find any, but I'm open to correction.

Chris Williams

> -----Original Message-----
> From: H Sutter []
> Sent: 03 January 2003 01:12
> To:
> Subject:      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
> archives.
> Well done all for an excellent discussion site and hoping for a peaceful
> resolution. Daithi O hArgain
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