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Re: [casi] BBC radio 4 moral maze

Dear Elga & List,
Following discussions on this list, it has become
evident that it is useless to try to make any
interaction with the IPO group, let alone think that
it could be "a constructive one". This is simply
because the IPO group is not interested in engaging in
any dialogue. To start with, they are a group "without
an ideology" as one of its founders publicly stated...
Their tactics is to post their "analysis" of the news,
promote war against Iraq, and ridicule any and all
differing opinions, labeling people as Ba'thists and
Saddam's apologists… That has been the MO of their
group. The last message from Sama even included
unfounded allegations that look part of the US/UK
propaganda machine...

Sama states that her friends "were personally stopped
from using large quantities of stock till the
sell-by-date.." I find that absolutely false.

I am not a friend of Saddam or his regime, but I have
been to Iraq many times since 1991 and have seen with
my eyes the situation, and honesty and objectivity
demands that one tells things as they are... I don't
get my information from others whose judgment may be
influenced by personal or political motives.. First of
all, from 1991 until 1996, GOI supplied a food basket
and medicine for the Iraqis without the UN and fully
financed by it. During those years, opposition groups
in the West accused Iraq of smuggling oil and demanded
that it be stopped…There has been a shortage of
supplies since 1990, and that is because of the
sanctions and after that the criminal actions of the
Sanctions Committee, of which we are all aware.
Second, on numerous occasions, the medicine companies
have shipped medicines to Iraq with a very short life,
sometimes even expired... In known cases, Insulin was
allowed, but the cold storage trucks to transport it
were not allowed. Anesthesia was prohibited for many
years, as was Angised... There were occasions when
medicine or supplies were kept for extreme
emergencies: a case I witnessed in the Alawiyah
Children's hospital, where on a Thursday afternoon
they had only two x-ray films to last them until
Saturday at least. The doctor had to decide when to
take an x-ray and when not in order to save it for an
extreme emergency. We all know how Iraqis are used to
taking antibiotics for the simplest illnesses,
including the common cold. And so it could be that
there was an order to limit the use of medicines, but
it is being presented here out of context...

A visit to the web site of IPO will reveal an amazing
fact:  there is no reference to sanctions in their
site!  It simply does not exist!!  It is not important
to that group of "sectarian" Iraqis.. the only
important thing is revenging the suffering of their
families by removing Saddam.. And if thousands of
Iraqis die in the process, it is alright. They are
"collateral damage" as one of them put it...
And so when Sama states that she has been campaigning
against sanctions for years, she is clearly being less
than truthful... I have not seen a single statement
from Sama to support that claim.

There is something of importance that has to be
pointed out here: of the four people heading IPO, only
the Chairman could claim any close contact with Iraq.
Sama and Yasser left Iraq as new born, while Abtehale
was born in Kuwait. They have all been raised in the
West with no physical contact with Iraq; not even a
visit there. How could they know what sanctions mean
to Iraqis? Sending money doesn't make you "feel"
sanctions, just like it doesn't make you feel hunger
when you give aid to the hungry…

The claim that OFF is or was mismanaged is refuted by
the UN personnel in charge of the program. They have
all praised Iraq's cooperation and its execution of
the program. But like Elga said, the program was
temporary and supposed to supplement, not provide
fully for Iraqis.

It is very easy to forget, now that Saddam has been
demonized, how things improved in Iraq during his
rule: education, economy and health care were the best
in the whole Arab World. No two disagree on that, just
like no two disagree that there was political
oppression and opposition was not tolerated. But is
opposition tolerated in Syria, or Egypt or Iran or
Saudi Arabia?
Not only food and basic commodities were subsidized,
even consumer electronics and electrical equipment
were subsidized, to the limit that Kuwaitis used to
come to Iraq to buy and take back to Kuwait…

What surprises me is the contradictions in the
behavior and statements of IPO's members and their
selective thinking. Let's take an example:

In a message posted to CASI on Tue, 27 Mar 2001, Ahmed
Shames (the current Chairman of IPO, who left Iraq in
1996) gives information of a march against sanctions
on April 8th.  His Mission Statement included the
"We demand an end to the suffering of the Iraqi
people, caused primarily by the economic sanctions
imposed on the country by the UN for the past decade.
...Britain remains publicly supportive of the US’
hardline policy, in spite of this growing chorus of
criticism. It also routinely accuses sanctions
opponents of sympathy for the Iraqi regime

We completely condemn the oppressive Iraqi regime,
which has contributed to the destruction of an entire
people and catalysed the destructive effects of the
sanctions on the innocent population. However, this
does not make Britain's support for the economic
sanctions any less criminal."

So does IPO see sanctions differently now than 2001?
While Ahmed accused the UN and US/UK, Sama now accuses
Saddam… Is IPO going to demand bringing the British
officials, who imposed and supported sanctions into
the same court which they are demanding for Saddam??

We also have public statements made by Bush Sr. and US
officials that sanctions would not be lifted until the
regime was changed. That has been the policy since
1991. So Sama's and her friends' claims that "Saddam
brought the sanctions on to the Iraqi people to
further oppress them" is not only wrong, it
contradicts what the Americans themselves say… But it
has become clear that  IPO's members believe that the
ends justify the means, so twisting facts becomes
acceptable as part of those means…

Elga wrote: "..please give the (known) facts a chance.
For the sake of your integrity, for the sake of your
self-respect - and for the sake of the Iraqi people."

I am posting some facts on "integrity" and IPO:

1) On their website, the following information is
given by IPO:
"Abtehale Al-Hussaini - Born in Kuwait after mother's
family was deported."
" Sama Hadad - Born in Baghdad, forcefully deported 12
hours following her birth"

On the Carte Blanche Interactive website
(Iraq - to war or not to war?) on 02 February 2003,
Sama Hadad was described as follows:
"Twelve hours after she was born, Sama Hadad and her
parents were thrown out of Iraq on simply the
suspicion that they belonged to an opposition party."

The fabrications are clear... Saddam DID NOT deport
members of the opposition...
If their parents belonged to an opposition party, they
would have been imprisoned. Having been deported means
their birth certificates stated they were of Persian
stock, and those were suspected of loyalty to Iran.
They were deported NOT because they belonged to the
opposition, but because they were of Persian origin. I
am not saying that I approve of that action, but that
is not the issue here. The issue is being honest and

2) On April 6, 2002 Yasser Alaskary said during a
march in London
"We are not against any sort of military action that
would be targeted directly at Saddam Hussein. But we
oppose any aggression against the Iraqi people, such
as during the 1991 Gulf War."
"Bush has made the world into black and white, saying
you're either with Saddam Hussein or you're with us.
We're saying we are with the Iraqi people. Whatever is
in their benefit we would support.
We want concerted effort against Saddam Hussein
directed at him - only at him - and not at the Iraqi
people. We won't give Bush a blank cheque."

Yet we read the following from the same site above

Yasser: “How many have died in Afghanistan? How many
have died in any such war? Thousands have died. If we
keep Saddam, millions will die and are dying. It’s the
lesser of two evils.”

An estimated half a million people could die in a war
on Iraq - many of them civilians.

Sama: “My family along with many others in Iraq - as
we know they’ve said - are willing to be collateral
damage as long as Saddam is removed.”

IPO, for some unexplained reason, has decided to give
GWB a blank cheque. I wonder who gave IPO the right to
talk in the name of all Iraqis…


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