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Has anyone done a rebuttal of some of this stuff? Who to? http://www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/Show Page&c=Page&cid=1024313963681 Myths & Facts Myth: A decision has already been made to go to war against Iraq Fact: No decision has been taken to launch military action against Iraq and military action is not inevitable. As Jack Straw explained in Parliament on 7 January, our policy remains to ensure Iraq complies with its obligations under relevant UN resolutions, including by giving up its weapons of mass destruction. Myth: The British Government is only interested in Iraq's oil Fact: The UK does not import Iraqi oil directly and hasn't done so since 1998. This is about WMD and a regime that is deliberately flouting the will of the UN. Myth: UN sanctions are responsible for the suffering in Iraq Fact: The Iraqi regime is responsible for the suffering, not UN controls. US$36 billion worth of humanitarian goods have been approved for export to Iraq. Myth: Iraq is short of funds to buy humanitarian goods Fact: There is no shortage of funds. But Iraq consistently fails to use the funds available to it. Up to US$3 billion allocated by the UN for humanitarian goods is left unspent by Iraq and a further US$1 billion of goods already approved by the UN are consistently blocked by Iraqi bureaucracy. While Iraq cut its spending on medicines in half it announced its intention at the same time to use US$25 million of 'Oil for food' funds to build an Olympic stadium. Myth: UN sanctions have caused the death of 1.5 million Iraqis since 1990 Fact: There is no evidence for these figures, which are published by the Iraqi regime and which no independent observer has been able to verify. The Iraqi figures climb most steeply when the regime feels under pressure from the international community. In the last year alone the alleged figures have climbed by more than a million. Myth: Sanctions have had no effect on Saddam Hussein Fact: Sanctions deprive the Iraqi regime of control of the vast majority of their oil revenue - about $10 billion a year. There is no doubt that the Iraqi regime wants sanctions lifted. Myth: Sanctions prevent the export to Iraq of lists of harmless goods such as medicines, pencils, musical instruments and children's toys Fact: Stories of bans on pencils to prevent Iraq obtaining 'graphite' are untrue. These items are regularly exported to Iraq. Myth: Sanctions prevent the sending of private mail, including packets of aspirin, to Iraq Fact: UK legislation implementing UN sanctions requires exports to be licensed. There is no ban on postal packages up to 2kg. Myth: Sanctions have crippled Iraq's oil industry Fact: Iraqi oil exports have reached pre-1990 records of 2.6 million barrels. Iraq also continues to smuggle quantities of oil outside UN controls. Myth: Sanctions on Iraq will never be lifted Fact: Sanctions remain in place because Iraq refuses to comply with Security Council resolutions. The Iraqi regime knows what it has to do to see sanctions lifted. The UN has even offered a half-way step, in the offer of the suspension of sanctions in return for some co- operation with UN weapons inspectors. The Iraqi regime has so far failed to accept this offer. Myth: The UK and US are conducting a bombing campaign against Iraq Fact: UK and US forces are not conducting a bombing campaign. They are patrolling the northern and southern No Fly Zones which were established in 1991 and 1992 to stop Iraqi forces once again repressing the civilian population. Since December 1998 Iraq has systematically tried to shoot down UK and US aircraft carrying out these patrols. We must take action to protect our aircrew in self- defence. If Iraq stopped attacking our planes we would not need to respond. Myth: UK and US pilots have caused hundreds of Iraqi civilian casualties Fact: Iraqi reports routinely claim civilian casualties on days when no UK/US aircraft have even been flying. We believe Iraqi forces often cause civilian casualties. For example in June 2001 23 people were killed by a weapon landing on an Iraqi football pitch. Our aircraft were fired on that day by Iraqi surface-to-air missiles but did not respond. This tragic incident was caused by an Iraqi missile falling to the ground. Myth: Scott Ritter, a former weapons inspector says Iraq has already been disarmed Fact: Recent statements of this sort contradict everything Mr Ritter said while he was actually working as a weapons inspector. They also run contrary to the finding in March 1999 of a UN panel of 22 independent disarmament experts who concluded that serious gaps remain in Iraq's declarations on chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missiles. Myth: Iraq was right to stop co-operating with the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) weapons inspectors who were spying for other countries Fact: All activities by UK nationals assigned to UNSCOM, and all information exchanges between the UK and UNSCOM, were strictly in pursuit of UNSCOM's mandate to dismantle Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capability. Myth: Saddam Hussein is no worse than other dictators Fact: Saddam Hussein remains the only leader in world history to have authorised the use of nerve agents. The regime's human rights record is appalling. Violations include torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, extra-judicial killings and arbitrary executions. Myth: The continued use of Depleted Uranium weapons by UK forces has caused increased cancers in Iraq Fact: UK forces only used Depleted Uranium-based ammunition - fewer than 100 tank rounds - operationally against Iraqi forces during the Gulf conflict itself. We have seen no credible research data to support Iraqi claims of an increase in cancers. Nor is there any evidence that the illnesses of the types suggested, including cancers, are uniquely associated with exposure to Depleted Uranium. The World Health Organisation has not yet published the findings of its limited studies last year. Only when it has worked with the Iraqis on a proper study of the health situation can any particular problems be addressed. Myth: Funds desperately needed by the Iraqi people are being wasted on compensation claims under the UN Compensation Commission Fact: 25 per cent of 'Oil for food' revenue is allocated to the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC). This deals with claims by individuals, companies and governments of about 100 countries for losses and damage caused by Iraq's illegal invasion and occupation of Kuwait. These have included over 5,000 claims by British nationals and companies who have the right to expect to be compensated for losses caused by Iraq's aggression. The UN agreed to reduce the proportion of 'Oil for food' revenue directed to the Compensation Commission from 30 per cent to 25 per cent, on the understanding that Iraq would spend this revenue on meeting the Iraqi people's needs. So far the Baghdad regime has failed to spend this extra funding. Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk