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[casi] ...keep the momentum going + article on human shields

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Dear CASI members,

Most people marching in Amsterdam (70,000) last Saturday did so, I think,
because they believe that war is not the way to go in disarming Iraq and
liberating its people. They want to give inspections more time, and attack
only with a UN mandate. Personally I don't think I would feel any more secure
if Iraq were totally disarmed, because there would still be too many weapons
of all sorts of destruction available in other countries. Secondly I don't see
the logic in saying "No" to the US in going it alone, and "Yes" to "let's all
attack Iraq". If it were up to me, I'd say stop the inspections, stop the
"war", and stop the sanctions.

Whatever people's reasons were for marching, I'm glad they did, even though
the Australian PM and our own Dutch PM are pointing out that many more people
did not march than those who did, and using this as a green light to go ahead
with the "war" preparations, claiming that those who did not march support the
"war" effort.

By the way, those of you who think the US is comprised of 50 states - it's
not. It's actually comprised of 54 states: the 50 states in North America plus
Israel, Britain, Australia and The Netherlands, home of the International
Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. Last year the US
actually passed a law saying that if an American were brought to trial at the
ICC, the US has the right to attack Holland!!!

A big thank you to Glenn Bassett for the Amnesty quote. We should gather more
of such quotes which we could use, not only to refute arguments and claims by
politicians, but to present to the people - keep the momentum going.


Salwa de Vree,

Leiden, The Netherlands.

U.S. Accuses Iraq of War Crime Over Human Shields

 By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States warned Iraq on Wednesday not to place
civilians at military sites in a bid to ward off attack, saying using "human
shields" would represent a crime against humanity punishable after any war.

Iraq was also using schools, hospitals and orphanages to protect military
forces, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said.

He and Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of
Staff, addressed the issue of human shields a day after about 100 civilians
who drove to Baghdad from London said they would place themselves near
potential bombing targets to an attempt to prevent attacks.

The Human Shields group are guests of Iraq's government, staying in a hotel
across from one of President Saddam Hussein's palaces on the Tigris river.
Peter van Dyke, an organizer, said several Americans were in his group.

During a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld said the use of civilians as human
shields "is a practice that reveals contempt for the norms of humanity, the
laws of armed conflict, and, I am advised, Islamic law, practice and belief."

Myers, referring to the arrival of the group from London, said using
noncombatants to shield potential military targets -- even those who volunteer
for this purpose -- "could be considered a war crime in any conflict."

"Therefore, if death or serious injury to a noncombatant resulted from these
efforts, the individuals responsible for deploying any innocent civilians as
human shields could be guilty of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions," he

Myers also issued a similar warning on Jan. 15.

Rumsfeld noted that Saddam "held hundreds of non-Iraqi civilians at government
and military facilities throughout Iraq and described them as human shields"
before the 1991 Gulf War in which a U.S.-led military coalition expelled Iraqi
troops from neighboring Kuwait.


"It is the distinction between combatants and innocent civilians that
terrorism and practices like the use of human shields so directly assaults,"
Rumsfeld said.

Saad Qasim Hammoudi, a senior member of the ruling Baath Party, told Reuters
on Dec. 23 that civilian volunteers, including some from Europe and the United
States, "will be distributed to vital and strategic installations" in Iraq to
act as human shields. He called the strategy a "practical" reaction to the
buildup of U.S. forces in the region.

Rumsfeld accused Saddam of building mosques near military facilities, and
using schools, hospitals, orphanages and cultural treasures to shield military
forces, "thereby exposing helpless men, women and children to danger."

He provided no evidence at the news conference for the allegation.

"Deploying human shields is not a military strategy, it's murder, a violation
of the laws of armed conflict and a crime against humanity, and it will be
treated as such. Those who follow his orders to use human shields will pay a
severe price for their actions," said Rumsfeld, adding those responsible would
be "dealt with" after any war.

By placing civilians at military sites likely to be bombed, Iraq has sought to
dissuade enemies from attacking a target because of the civilian casualties
likely to result.

The last time Iraq used civilians as human shields was in December 1998 when
the United States and Britain launched an extensive bombing campaign triggered
by Iraq's alleged failure to cooperate with U.N. arms inspectors. Hundreds of
Iraqis were placed in a number of presidential palaces scattered in Baghdad
and other main Iraqi cities.

The United States is building a large military force in the region, as
President Bush vows to lead a coalition of nations to disarm Iraq if it fails
to heed U.N. demands to give up its alleged weapons of mass destruction.

* --

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