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Re: [casi] 'Aid as a propaganda tool'



"[T]he Today programme's foreign affairs correspondent, Mike Williams,
claimed that the [Galahad] docking had been postponed earlier this week
because helicopters had not been able to ferry journalists into position so
they could watch coalition forces handing out supplies to - hopefully -
grateful civilians."

http://media.guardian.co.uk/iraqandthemedia/story/0,12823,924594,00.html

The first casualty

A look at the way the war is being spun and reported

Steven Morris
Friday March 28, 2003
The Guardian

 Aid delay

Making sure the world witnesses aid reaching the people of southern Iraq
has become an essential part of the public relations battle.

At briefings yesterday British military chiefs said it was crucial that
supplies reached needy civilians quickly. "Our desire is to start aid
operations as soon as possible," said the chief of the defence staff,
Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, before explaining that the Royal Fleet Auxiliary
ship Sir Galahad, which is loaded with 200 tonnes of aid, had been unable
to dock because more mines had been found near the port of Umm Qasr.

But the Today programme's foreign affairs correspondent, Mike Williams,
claimed that the docking had been postponed earlier this week because
helicopters had not been able to ferry journalists into position so they
could watch coalition forces handing out supplies to - hopefully - grateful
civilians.

An Ministry of Defence spokesman insisted the Galahad would move in as soon
as the waters around the port were declared clear.

 Soldiers or civilians?

Though they have criticised Iraq for allowing images of captured servicemen
to be broadcast, coalition leaders have not always successfully stopped
embedded photographers and film crews taking pictures of their prisoners.

Iraq has not been slow in pointing out the apparent discrepancy and is now
also claiming that US and British soldiers have rounded up civilians in Umm
Qasr and the suburbs of Basra and passed them off as captured soldiers.

A regime spokesman told the Iraq news agency that the coalition was trying
to "delude public opinion into believing they managed to arrest our
military personnel".

He added: "We hold the Americans and the British responsible for violating
international law and the international conventions by kidnapping
civilians, shackling them and regarding them as PoWs."

 American heroes

The Americans yesterday put up three servicemen who had been injured in
Iraq to speak of their experiences.

The three were clean cut, coherent and their injuries would not have been
too unpalatable for the viewers back home.

"It was just like in the movies," said Sergeant Charles Horgan, from
Montana, telling a press conference at a US base in Germany about the
moment a rocket-propelled grenade found its target.

Staff Sergeant Jamie Villafane, his injured arm resting on a pillow, added:
"Getting shot at wasn't that bad. It was getting shot which sucked."

He described how he had taken a group of Iraqis prisoner. "There were four
against me and they gave up. They were terrified for their lives."

Later at their briefing in Qatar, the US had clearly decided to try to get
a new message across. Since Monday it has been showing dramatic cockpit
images of "precision" weapons seemingly hitting their intended targets.

Yesterday photographs of Iraqi children apparently smiling and waving at
troops were shown. Brigadier-General Vincent Brooks felt it necessary to
say that the children had not been "coerced".


At 15:19 30/03/03, Voices UK wrote:
>Dear list members,
>
>I don't know if the following Reuters story has already been posted to the
>list. The quote from Christian Aid re. the Galahad is an excellent rejoinder
>to the Sun's sickening coverage (eg. 'Ship, ship hooray',
>http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2003142089,00.html).
>
>Best wishes,
>
>Gabriel
>voices uk
>
>***************************************
>Source: Reuters
>Date: 28 Mar 2003
>
>Aid groups say military see aid as propaganda tool
>
>By Kate Holton
>LONDON, (Reuters) - Relief agencies accused British and U.S. forces on
>Friday of being more concerned with food aid as a propaganda tool than
>feeding hungry Iraqis.
>
>Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Save the Children said chaotic
>scenes shown on televisions on Wednesday, in which Iraqis scrambled for food
>thrown from a truck at Safwan near the border with Kuwait, was an example of
>how the provision of aid has become just another tactic in the U.S.-led war
>against Iraq.
>
>"What they are doing is not humanitarian aid but a 'hearts and mind'
>operation and that is quite different," Save the Children's Director of
>Emergencies Lewis Sida told Reuters.
>
>He said humanitarian missions would seek to avoid such high profile
>incidents, saying it illustrated that the military did not have the
>competence to do aid work and said such operations did not serve the best
>interests of the people most in need.
>
>Wednesday's pictures of young men fighting it out with each other to grab
>meagre supplies off the backs of trucks also raised concerns at Care
>International UK over the plight of those not strong enough to do battle for
>food.
>
>"Inevitably the people who need that assistance most are least able to
>physically collect it," Care's emergencies advisor Adrian Denyer told
>Reuters.
>
>"The most vulnerable and the weakest, the women and children, are a long way
>from that truck and it will be the young men who grab the aid and will most
>likely sell it rather than distribute it."
>
>Another concern is the amount of food aid that can get through to a country
>where 60 percent of the population had been relying on an oil-for-food
>programme, which was suspended when the U.S.-led war against Iraq began.
>
>The first ship to bring humanitarian aid since the start of the U.S.-led
>invasion was British ship Sir Galahad, which docked at the port of Umm Qasr
>on Friday. But its cargo is a drop in the sea of aid which the oil-for-food
>programme had provided. "To put it in context, we have been waiting for the
>Sir Galahad for days with its 200 tons of food. Under the oil for food
>programme ... 16,000 tons a day were supplied, so you are looking at 80 Sir
>Galahads a day just to restore the normal supply," Christian Aid spokesman
>John Davison told Reuters.
>
>He said aid agencies and the military have had many discussions over several
>years about how best to
>distribute aid.
>
>The agencies said their experience has taught them that the distribution of
>food and supplies must be held at secure warehouses if those most in need
>can hope to be fed.
>
>Almost all aid agencies have said southern Iraq is still too dangerous for
>civilian relief teams, but they are demanding the U.N. take control of
>humanitarian work when the fighting ends.
>
>They say they refuse to work alongside the military because being seen
>alongside troops would put their own workers in danger and erode the
>confidence of the Iraqi people in them.
>
>On Wednesday, another convoy of Kuwait Red Crescent trucks heading for
>Safwan was surrounded by Iraqis fighting for the food packages inside. The
>troops accompanying the convoy ordered the aid released for safety reasons.
>
>"The fact that it was chaotic and badly planned and off the back of a truck
>illustrates that they (military) do not have the competence to do that,"
>Sida said.
>
>A British defence source told Reuters that the military should not accept
>blame for Wednesday's chaos and said aid agencies should plan the
>distribution.
>
>"Ships are standing by all over the world to bring aid in but we must be
>sure we can effectively distribute it. It needs some planning - but that's
>for the aid agencies," said the source on condition of anonymity.
>
>
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Mike Lewis" <mhl24@cam.ac.uk>
>To: "CASI Committee" <soc-casi-committee@lists.cam.ac.uk>;
><casi-discuss@lists.casi.org.uk>
>Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2003 2:21 PM
>Subject: [casi] Aid and reconstruction figures
>
>
>
>[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]
>
>
>I've been trying to put together some figures for various amounts of aid
>pledged by various governments.
>So far I've got:
>
>1) UK (DfID): 210m pounds
>(120m for DfID's work in Iraq 2003/4; 50m for humanitarian agencies; 40m set
>aside for further contributions to the immediate humanitarian problem)
>http://wwww.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/ea8077f
>916a88c4b85256cf70075e057?OpenDocument
>
>2) Australia: 100.5m Australian Dollars
>(17.5m for unspecified humanitarian aid; 100,000 tonnes of Australian wheat
>at 38m; 45m for handling, processing, distribution)
>http://wwww.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/abd25d6
>d67e423a449256cf800196a5d?OpenDocument
>
>3) Romania: unknown
>Will despatch medical teams, drinking and mineral water, medicine, medical
>equipment, foodstuffs, clothing, shoes, and tents
>http://wwww.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/8f9d2c3
>46dd9115dc1256cf7005e8182?OpenDocument
>
>4) USA: 2.4bn US dollars allocated by budget supplemental for both aid and
>reconstruction
>(Thus far accounted for: 16.3m for stockpiled emergency supplies; 300m for
>food purchases; 206m for humanitarian relief organisations via USAID, (of
>which?) 60m for WFP logistics, 10m for WHO, 7m for IOM (International
>Organisation for migration, 8m for UNICEF water/health/sanitation, ); 600m
>for construction contracts, which at present have mainly gone to US
>companies with "security clearances")
>http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/
>http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/rm/19051.htm (USAID briefing, 25/03/03)
>http://wwww.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/f210f5f
>c9852814c85256cf70059d8d4?OpenDocument (UNDPI humanitarian briefing,
>28/03/03)
>
>5) European Union: 100m euros
>(from Emergency Aid Reserve, 79m of which still awaits approval by European
>Council)
>http://wwww.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/ea8077f
>916a88c4b85256cf70075e057?OpenDocument
>
>6) Canada: 100m Canadian dollars
>(of which immediate allocation of 20m to CARE Canada, UN agencies and Red
>Cross)
>http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/cida_ind.nsf/vLUAllDocByIDEn/636A2AFA0F8E6B1E8525
>6CF400585A09?OpenDocument
>
>7) Japan: approx. 112.53m US dollars (40bn yen), although most, it seems,
>actually to Jordan
>(3.3m for emergency medical activities by Japanese NGOs; 5.03m for advance
>procurement by UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF; 100m to Jordan to alleviate "economic
>impact" of situation in Iraq; 4.2m to Palestinian refugees via UNRWA)
>http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/c7ca0eaf6c79faae852567af003c69ca/a169366f
>096e743549256cf50028caa7?OpenDocument
>
>If anyone has any more recent or further information, it'd be very useful.
>
>Mike
>
>
>Mike Lewis
>Christ's College
>Cambridge CB2 3BU
>07712 655130
>mhl24@cam.ac.uk
>***********************************
>"We had a great day. We killed a lot of people" - Sergeant Eric Schrumpf,
>5th Marine Regiment (NY Times, 28/03/03)
>"I'm sorry," the sergeant said. "But the chick was in the way."
>www.camsaw.org.uk
>
>
>_______________________________________________
>Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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>To contact the list manager, email casi-discuss-admin@lists.casi.org.uk
>All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk
>
>
>
>
>_______________________________________________
>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 casi-discuss-admin@lists.casi.org.uk
>All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk


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All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk


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