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[casi] Halliday: "UNSC corrupted by the US"

These are two interviews with Dennis Halliday.
Long, but worth reading, if you have the time.

Give the Iraqi people a chance, Halliday says in
the second interview: End the sanctions, let people
build up their lives - and if they want a regime
change, they will do it.

What's so hard about this: Iraq for the Iraqis,
not for U.S. interests.

Elga S.

------------------Fwd Message------------------
From: Dave Muller <>
Subject: [southnews] Halliday: UNSC corrupted by the US
Date: 10 Jan 2003 02:57:00 -0600

Halliday is a former head of the UN oil-for-food program and a
former UN Assistant Secretary General. Over the last few days he
has met with Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, Foreign Minister
Naji Sabri, and Trade Minister Mohammad Saleh, as well as the heads
of UNICEF and UNDP in Iraq, two Iraqi families and numerous shopkeepers
he knew from his earlier time in Baghdad.


Ex-UN official slams Security Council

Baghdad | By Shaker Al Taee and Hachem Kamel [Gulf News]| 10/01/2003

Denis Halliday, former United Nations Assistant Secretary General,
yesterday said that the sanctions imposed on Iraq since 1990 have
"genocidal consequences."

Halliday, who resigned as the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Baghdad
in 1998, told Gulf News in an exclusive interview here yesterday
that the Security Council "is a body out of control and corrupted
by the U.S." Here is the full text of the interview:

Do you think the forthcoming Blix report to the Security Council
on alleged Iraq's weapons of mass destruction will be a turning
point in the ongoing crisis?

I think if we are overly optimistic about this matter. He (Blix)
will give us an honest appraisal that hopefully will show that there
is no capacity of producing weapons of mass destruction capacity
in this country. However, I fear that many are going to be disappointed
if that does not put an end to the economic sanctions and return
of the Iraqi people to their ordinary life.

We cannot continue to punish the Iraqi people for the decisions
made by their government many years ago. This is outrageous. The
population of this country now is 16 per cent less than what it was
12 years ago.

Why are they punishing the children, who are not responsible for
what had happened to Kuwait or anything else? We have got to stop

If Blix does an honest job, we have got to make sure that the UN
respects his decision and the Security Council lifts the embargo,
and we fully welcome Iraq back to the international community.

In case an attack is launched, do you think that dropping food for
the Iraqi people would enough to save their lives?

I have no faith in the U.S. whatsoever in terms of the humanitarian
consequences of this unfair war. They supposedly provided foodstuff
to the Afghani refugees, but they ended up dropping military packages
on that country!

They don't seem to understand that the Iraqi government has been
feeding its 27 million people everyday for years. This is a huge
operation in the world, and nobody can do this, except the Iraqi
government. They are extremely efficient. The U.S. military has no
idea of what we are talking about. This is not something that
requires food drops.

This is a massive operation of international effort and the delivery
of food to this country should be done through ships every week
every month.

We are facing an absolute catastrophe if the U.S. goes ahead with
its war plans, and if there is a war and if food supplies ran out,
which of course they will in three of four months. We would have
starvation in this country very quickly. You know if they do destroy
the water systems like they did before, we will have outbreaks of
cholera, typhoid and dysentery, which are real killers, particularly
for children.

Do you still consider the oil- for-food-programme a "fiasco"?

I think we have treated the Iraqis as refugees in their own country,
feeding them with their own money. It is an outrageous thing. The
Iraqis have now sold, I believe, $60 billion worth of oil under
this programme.

However, they have received less than $20 billion worth of food,
medicines, and basic equipment and utilities as water, agriculture,
education and healthcare.

Some $40 billion have disappeared. Where has all this amount gone?
It has gone into Kuwait, to compensation, to pay for Unscom, Unmovic,
and military inspections. It has gone to finance the UN presence
in this country with its 4,500 personnel. It is paying for the new
military inspections. It is paying for somebody's establishment in
New York, Paris and Rome. It is ridiculous!

The Iraqi people, who have great difficulties because of lack of
money for sophisticated drugs or equipment, are financing large
part of the UN system. It is a crime, a financial crime you might
say being imposed on the Iraqi people.

You have been quoted as saying that the Security Council is corrupt,
how do you see its role in the future?

I have said that the Security Council has been corrupted by its
permanent members particularly by the U.S. and Britain in connection
with Iraq. There are many other issues we can talk about. We have
resolutions in the council, which have impacts, and those impacts
are incompatible with the articles 1 and 2 of the UN Charter,
incompatible with human rights.

They are in fact incompatible with the Geneva Convention. Sanctions
themselves are designed to target civilians, though the Geneva
Conventions are designed to protect civilians. The whole thing is
wrong. We need massive reforms of the UN Security Council.

We need to remove the permanent membership issue, or at least expand
it so that the South as opposed to the North is properly represented.
I have a lot to say about the United Nations and its lost credibility.
But I think the Iraqi experience under UN auspices is so incredibly
bad, in my view genocidal, that the UN has done irreparable damage
to itself.

Al Nisr Publishing LLC - Gulf News Online


Scylla And Charbydris

An Interview with Dennis Halliday by Nyier Abdou and Dennis Halliday
Al Ahram ZNet December 30, 2002

In the vast machinery of the behemoth that is the United Nations,
even a high-level figure is just a worker bee. Or so it seems after
talking to Denis Halliday, who four years after resigning his post
as chief UN relief co-ordinator for Iraq still seems to relish the
liberty to speak freely about the notorious failings of the sanctions
regime. Upholding a sense of justice, keeping one's faith in the
various conventions that make up the body of international law --
these are not the purview of humanitarian leaders working under the
umbrella of the blue flag. As for the colony, even the secretary-general
is not the queen bee.

In an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly, Halliday described the
limitations on his autonomy during his tenure as the UN assistant
secretary-general as those of an "international civil servant". "I
mean, I was contracted;

I was subordinate to the secretary-general and I was not in a
position to criticise the work of the Security Council, the member
states -- they were my bosses. The secretary-general is a servant
of the council. I was the servant's servant."

Halliday's formal demeanour and fluent expression of indignation
mask a dry wit and fiery zeal with respect to the failure of sanctions
in Iraq and the disproportionate influence of the US in the functions
of the UN.

Candid, thoughtful and instinctively precise, Halliday has been a
standard-bearer of international efforts to end sanctions in Iraq.
More recently, he has been a prominent figure opposing another war
in Iraq.

Noting that his efforts to expose the devastating impact of sanctions
on the people of Iraq shook the ground under the UN establishment
-- and, by extension, his job -- Halliday has no regrets. "Of course,
that's when the pressure came for my removal, and when I decided
that I had made some changes; I'd made some difference in Iraq, and
maybe I could do better by leaving the organisation." With liberation
from the fetters of UN diplomacy came the freedom to "go public,
go worldwide with the crimes being committed in Iraq". Those crimes,
he says, have their bedrock in the sanctions regime, but they are
also derivatives of what Halliday clearly identifies as "war crimes"
committed by the US during the Gulf War. Among these, he singles
out the purposeful destruction of water systems, which, despite
being a contravention of the laws of war, "very deliberately kill
the children of Iraq". The escalating calamities that have proliferated
under sanctions, Halliday suggests, can be traced to a combination
of direct war damage, the use of depleted uranium and "chronic and
acute malnutrition".

It is striking that with such high-profile defections as that of
Halliday and his successor, Hans von Sponeck, not to mention the
persistent struggle of former UNSCOM inspector Scott Ritter to
debunk US and British half-truths about the threat from Iraq, the
sanctions regime remains in place. In Cairo last week for a conference
launching the International Campaign against US Aggression on Iraq
(ICAA), both Halliday and von Sponeck condemned the crippling of
the Iraqi economy, the prevention of health care and soaring infant
and child mortality rates in Iraq as nothing short of genocide
perpetrated by the very organisation founded to protect the humanity
and sovereignty of its member nations.

"Genocide" is a strong word; and one that, it could be argued, is
used too freely. But Halliday does not shy away from every implication
the term carries: from the institutional methodology, to the
systematic execution, to the racial hatred. In his address to the
conference last Wednesday, Halliday defined sanctions as "warfare"
and "consistent with war crimes". Speaking of US President George
W Bush's determination to invade Iraq, Halliday denounced the
administration's war plans as "obscene". "It's criminal," he said,
"and I believe it's indictable."

While Halliday maintains that sanctions -- provided for in the UN
charter -- are a legitimate device to force the hand of leaderships,
he is pointed about the punitive nature of sanctions in Iraq, noting
that he thinks given its experience in Iraq, the United Nations "is
rethinking, and hopefully will never use open-ended, comprehensive
sanctions again".

But he adds that the mistakes made in applying sanctions in Iraq
have been well acknowledged, justified, compounded and sustained.
"The fact is, the UN Security Council has allowed these sanctions
on Iraq to drag on for 12 years, and this is not happenstance; this
is deliberate decision-making. That's why I've determined it to be
a genocide."

Asked if there are sanctions "smart" enough to be defensible in
Iraq today, Halliday says we are too late in the game. "I think at
this late date, after 12 years, that is collective punishment; that
is, as I said, genocidal. That's unacceptable. That's got to come
to an end," he says.

"We've got to get the economy back on its feet, get people back
into their jobs, restore health care, education -- I mean, give
Iraqi people back their lives. That's the least we can do. Give
them their economic and social rights back."

The question that emerges out of this call is whether we can, or
should, reinstate systems that meet those needs under the leadership
of Saddam Hussein. Within this question nests the dilemma all
anti-war and anti-sanctions activists must labour under: can we
defend the people of Iraq without defending Saddam Hussein? Does
fighting for the end of sanctions and the sovereignty of Iraq carry
with it the necessary consequence of propping up Hussein's regime?

"That's a decision for the people of Iraq," says Halliday. "I don't
believe in regime change, or assassination. I believe if the Iraqis
had their economy, had their lives back and had their way of life
restored, they would take care of the form of governance that they
want, that they believe is suitable for their country." Pointing
to the model of Indonesia, where a "largely bloodless" revolt started
by students managed to oust a "genuine dictator" like Suharto,
Halliday argues that Iraqis "are certainly capable of doing the
same thing. We've got to give them the opportunity."

Far from crippling Hussein's regime, sanctions have in fact
strengthened Hussein's hold on power. Meanwhile, notes Halliday,
sanctions have "weakened the very people who think about democracy
or think about multi-party systems, or think about change of
government or governance".

The end result is that "we have sustained a regime that apparently
we don't like, and we've denied the opportunities for change.

The US and Britain, says Halliday, are well aware of damning reports
by the secretary-general that spell genocide. "This is a tragedy
for the United Nations. Of course, there's a much bigger tragedy
for the people of Iraq. And we're all responsible. The United Nations
is us, and we are bound by the resolutions of the Security Council."

How bound? It's a tricky question. Can one argue that a resolution
of the Security Council goes against international law, when it is
the Security Council itself that codifies international law? Halliday
has raised this predicament before, asking whether we are expected
to swallow a resolution that is incompatible with the UN charter
and the declaration of human rights. The answer, he feels, is
obviously no. "The Security Council is out of control," he says.
"There's no device in the UN structure to oversee the work of the
council, to monitor its decisions, to monitor the impact of those
decisions, and their compatibility, or otherwise, with other aspects
of international law. There's no Supreme Court. There's no review,
it's part of the reform discussion that many of us carry out."

Numerous reports have condemned the sanctions regime as institutionalising
the Iraqi people's dependence on aid. Though the Oil-for Food (OfF)
programme, authorised by UN Resolution 986 in 1995, has brought
some moderate improvement, it did not do the job of eliminating
Iraq's humanitarian crisis -- mainly because it was never designed
to be a substitute for a normally functioning economy. OfF can only
salve the most egregious suffering caused by sanctions, but it
cannot possibly address the long-term impact on health standards,
infrastructure and social life. It does not help Iraqis help

Asked if he thought sanctions were ever meant as a method of bringing
Iraq back into the international fold, Halliday is evidently

"No, I think the Gulf War, the invasion of Kuwait -- which was
supported by the United States, and encouraged by the United States
-- was all part of a plan to crush Saddam Hussein, and crush Iraq
-- perhaps the only country showing leadership potential in the
Arab world," he says.

Sanctions, he argues, were part of this. They built on the destruction
of the war -- the use of depleted uranium, the bombing of civilian
targets, the destruction of water systems and electric power. It
was "horrific"

back in 1991, says Halliday, "and, I think, we have very deliberately
been genocidal in our endeavours since then until today."

The loudest condemnation of US war plans is of course that US policy
on Iraq is solely determined by oil. "Well it's certainly not about
weapons, because there's no threat from Iraq," responds Halliday.
"We know that in this neighbourhood, and the Americans know it
perfectly well. It's a game being played by Mr Bush, a very dangerous,
nasty game." Halliday notes that the CIA and the Pentagon have
indicated to Bush that there is in fact no military threat from
Iraq. "So it's about oil. But it's also about oil and Israel,
Israel's position, Israel's representation of American interests
in the Middle East. I think that's certainly got to be part of the

"But I think it's also about this desire for influence and power
and presence throughout the world, including the Middle East," he
adds. "And it gets back again and again to the need to control oil
resources, which are of such importance to the survival of the
economy of the United States. And I think that Washington is very
insecure in its relationship with Saudi Arabia; they're not at all
sure what's going to happen in the years ahead, and they want a
reserve tank. And the reserve tank, unfortunately, is called Iraq.
It's sitting on a 120 billion barrels, it's cheap and easy to obtain,
and all it needs is a friendly regime in Baghdad that will cow tow
to American interests and American demands, and I think that's the
name of the game of the attack, the war, the bombing, the invasion,
[and] the occupation of Iraq that Mr Bush clearly has in mind. It's
part of a strategy to dominate world affairs, world economy, to
dominate world globalisation that is designed to support and enhance
the lifestyle of Americans."

In the West, however, knowledge of the human face of sanctions is
poor, and it grows poorer the further West you travel, suggests
Halliday. "I think in Europe and Britain there's much more knowledge
and understanding and empathy for the Arab world, Arab peoples;
there's more travel to and from this part of the world, there's
more visitors from the Middle East.

There's awareness. But there isn't, I think, a real understanding
of the impact of sanctions on people, on their families, of social

On women, on professional women, on all the daily concerns of life,
of education, of health care, of elderly parents, the complete
collapse of the high standards of human values that Iraq enjoyed
-- the introduction of corruption, all of this. The isolation,
intellectual and otherwise, all of this is not well understood in
Europe, or in Britain."

In the United States, where Halliday lives part of the year, "it's
much worse". "There's almost total ignorance there," he says. "The
media is not very helpful. The Americans themselves don't read, or
don't look outwards; they're focused more on domestic issues --
inward-looking people, unfortunately. Of course there are many
exceptions to that, but the great majority of Americans really don't
know what's happening in Iraq, they're not aware of their foreign
policy, [and] they're certainly not aware of their responsibility
for the foreign policy in Washington."

It has been argued by the US and Britain that the money brought in
by OfF has been misused by Hussein and that this accounts for the
continuing humanitarian difficulties in the country. But Halliday
maintains that no money coming from OfF ever made it into the hands
of the Iraqi government. Proceeds went from UN accounts to contractors
assembled by the ministries of trade and health to provide the basic
supplies allowed under the sanctions regime. "There may have been
some kickbacks on contracts, who knows?" concedes Halliday. "But
it's very small money in a country of 23 million people being fed
every day by this programme. This is a hugely dependent society."

As to illegal trade, Halliday says that everyone knows that there's
been trade across the Turkish and Jordanian borders, and perhaps
with Iran and Syria as well. "This has brought in additional money,"
he admits. "This money has been used perhaps unwisely or wisely, I
don't quite know, but it's legitimate as far as I'm concerned. The
only weapon that Iraq has is oil and its revenues. They're entitled
to use that weapon any way they can see fit, whether it's through
Syria or into Turkey, or whatever. We can't deny them that; they
have a right to defend themselves." Calling on Iraq's sovereignty,
Halliday adds that Iraq also has a right to keep weapons of defence
as well. "There's no right for the United States of America to bomb
this country as it does under this no-fly zone rubbish -- for which
there is no resolution of the United Nations. Iraq has a right to
defend its people and its territory, and they should do so."

Predicting a heavy loss of life in the event of another war in Iraq,
Halliday warns that there could be a total breakdown of civil society
already considerably weakened by years of sanctions. "I think, and
perhaps I even hope, that there will be a huge outrage in the Arab
world," he adds. "That the people will convince their governments
that this is grossly unacceptable." Ideally, he says, that decision
would be taken now. "We really need to see Arab governments refusing
to collaborate with the United States of America in its war to crush
the people of Iraq. This is criminal, you know, this is hypocrisy."

Halliday was keen to make the same point in talks last Tuesday
between himself, von Sponeck and Arab League Secretary-General Amr
Moussa. While Halliday praised the moves made by Moussa within the
network of the Arab League, he implored him to do more. Halliday
stressed the importance of co-ordinating a unified Arab stance on
a governmental level, noting that there is a big gap between Arab
opposition at the popular level and at the level of government.
Along with von Sponeck, Halliday impressed upon the secretary-general
that there cannot be any kind of resolution to the conflict in the
Middle East should the US decide to attack Iraq.

Comparing the US stance to that of British colonialism in the last
century, the two identified the role of the Arab League as crucial
to the Iraq debate.

"That, to me, is part of the tragedy for all of us," Halliday told
the Weekly. "That we look at the Arab world, we see the potential,
we see the history -- the great, great history of this part of the
world ... And we're standing back and allowing the United States
to totally demolish this potential. It doesn't serve anybody, and
the Arab governments, above all, should see it and should do something
about it, and have the courage to do so. And we Europeans who are
gutless, should support you, should support the Arab leadership."
Pausing to insert a sly jab, he added, "We think Mr Bush is a moron
-- like the Canadians. We know he's dangerous."

While there is no panacea for Iraq, Halliday certainly has a clear
picture of what could be done to set the country on the road to

"The first thing to do is to end the economic embargo, to allow the
economy to be rebuilt, to get people back to employment, housing,
education, health care, agriculture, water systems -- I mean, all
the things that have been damaged, broken down, through the 12
years." Next, and perhaps most important in terms of regional
stability, Halliday calls for the implementation of paragraph 14
of UN resolution 687, calling for the removal of all WMD from the
entire region. "That of course means stripping Israel of its nuclear
weapons -- that would ease a lot of tension, I believe, and it might
be a move in the right direction for ultimate, I would say, world
disarmament." He adds: "We've got to sanction the arms producers.
The five permanent members of the Security Council alone produce
80-plus per cent of the weapons sold in the world today. We need
to stop the availability of cheap weapons."

Finally, Halliday says that we will have to ask Baghdad to address
some of its own issues, "particularly, I think, the ethnic rights
of the Kurds, and their role in the greater Iraq". Human rights,
as well as civil and political rights, will also have to be on the
agenda. "They need to work with their neighbours and restore full
relations with the Kuwaitis and the Saudis, work within the Arab
League and begin to use their great resources," says Halliday.

But his vision doesn't end there. Once Iraq has fixed its oil
production capacity and rebuilt its infrastructure, its social and
economic participation, then Iraq should start to look outwards --
"to use its great wealth to improve and enhance the other peoples
of the Arab world who don't share this sort of income. Income
distribution needs to be looked at in the Arab world, and I hope
an Iraqi example of generosity and investment in the Arab peoples
where oil wealth is not present might encourage the other wealthy
countries, like the Saudis and Kuwaitis and others, to take their
money out of Wall Street and put it in the Arab world."

UN RESOLUTION 661 issued on 6 August 1990, placed Iraq under
comprehensive economic sanctions. These sanctions remain today.
Although the United Nations has instituted a number of reforms
regarding sanctions, the Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP) has
been deliberately separated from the Office for the Co-ordination
of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) such that sanctions reforms over the
last five years do not apply in the case of Iraq. In 1996, the
introduction of the Oil-for-Food programme was intended to help
alleviate the unintentional suffering of the Iraqi populace. But
even with the modifications made in May of this year, the effects
of the sanctions regime remain devastating.

-- An average of 250 people die every day in Iraq due to the direct
effects of sanctions (UNICEF, 1998).

-- According to the UNDP, 49 per cent of families do not earn enough
money to meet their basic needs.

-- Iraq's ranking in UNDP's Human Development Index fell from 96
in 1990, to 126 in 2000.

-- In October, the UN's Office of the Iraq Programme found that
1,528 approved humanitarian supply contracts, worth about $2.84
billion, are without available funds.

-- For every seven children in Iraq, one dies before the age of
five -- an estimated 5,000 excess child deaths every month above
the mortality rate in 1989, before sanctions were imposed (UNICEF,

-- Of children under five, 32 per cent (some 960,000 children) are
chronically malnourished -- a rise of 72 per cent since 1991. Almost
one quarter (23 per cent) are underweight -- twice as high as the
levels found in neighbouring Jordan or Turkey (UNICEF, 1997).

-- The total value allocated to each person in Iraq under the UN
Oil-for-Food programme amounts to less than 49 cents per day.

-- An estimated 110,000 Iraqi civilians died in 1991 from the direct
health effects of the Gulf War (Greenpeace, 1991)

-- In September 1989, 123 children died from diarrhoea. In September
2001, the number was 2,932 -- an increase of 2,284 per cent.

-- It will take an estimated $7 billion to bring Iraq's power sector
back to its 1990 capacity country-wide (UNDP).

-- In July of 1995, average shop prices of essential commodities
were 850 times July 1990 levels (March 1999 UN report).

-- And estimated 14-16 million Iraqis -- some two-thirds of the
population -- are solely dependent on food rations for their survival
(UN Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq -- UNOHCI).

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