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Re: [casi] Compensations!

Dear Bert and List,

I am trying to clear up some of the red herrings
thrown into Hassan's original post by Bert Gedin.
Hassan's point was that the USUK occupiers are legally
responsible for the damages caused to the civilian
population. And his question was how they can be
held responsible.

This is are valid points. The occupiers are, it
appears, in breach of the Hague Regulation and the
Geneva Convention "relative to the Protection of
Civilian Persons in Time of War".

The chances to make a claim stick may be slim,
given the moral corruption of the occupiers. But
there should be compensation. And above all, the
issue must be raised loud and clear.

The comparison with 1991 is also valid: Under the
Geneva Convention, an occupier is required to
ensure the protection of the civilian population.
This holds wether the invasion was "legal" or not.
And it applies to the winner and to the loser.

Now the spineless Kofi Annan has piped up and
reminded USUK of their duties as occupying powers.
Even AI has issued a statement, pointing out the
breach of the Geneva Convention.

The US doesn't seem to worry much. "Looting is
transition to freedom", Rummy is quoted as saying
by the UPI Pentagon Correspondent. And soldier
boys explain in interviews, "we just don't have
the manpower" and "we have other missions"
(bombing and shooting).

The UK seems to pay more heed: "US/UK Forces Breaching
Geneva Convention" run one headline in the Guardian.
"No 10 calls for 'reality check' on Iraq looting",
said another (April 11). "Only the UN can restore
order in Iraq", said a third (April 12).

(And I thought the UN was irrelevant...)

But the Blair government is trying to weasel out
of this with some absurd excuses. The most absurd
one being that looting is the natural result of
ending a repressive government - Rummy's line.
And the media is faithfully echoing these lame

There is at least one report stating that the US
occupiers encouraged the looting - killed the guards
and then invited the public in. And there are plenty
of pictures showing the occupiers benignly watching
the looting. AI also points out that "UK troops...
stood by passively watching the mayhem".

Anyway, the point is that the occupiers are
responsible for the security of the population under
the articles of the Geneva Convention.

> Sorry to have to say so, but you really are writing
> a lot of nonsense, in saying that the Kuwait war was
> NOT fought under the UN flag - WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!

("Kuwait war"? You mean the so-called Gulf War?)

Bert, I am also sorry that you feel you "have to
say so". But are you _telling_ CASI members or are
you trying to _persuade_ them? If the latter, you
haven't convinced me. I'm more amenable to facts and
reason, than to shouting.

And what is it that you didn't like about Hassan's
polite query? Intentionally or not, you derailed
his query with unrelated titbits.

Besides, did you think how Iraqi exiles must feel
now watching the destruction of their home land?
(They are not all Yassers and Samas.) So is this
the empathy you can muster for your fellow humans?

First red herring:

Yes, you are right in saying that the wording in
S/RES/0678 (1990) is by "all necessary means". But,
this makes no difference. As Hassan pointed out,
S/RES 678 contains no "explicit authorization for war".
And this, Bert, is based on legal interpretations of
the UN Charter and of international law.

Other wordings:
Before 1998, the US insisted on an even more menacing
wording: "very severe consequences" (S/RES ?). This
still constituted _no_ automatic authorization. (The
1998 attack was a fait accompli for the Security Council.)
In S/RES 1441 the wording is "serious consequences".
But to prevent another US 'misinterpretation', China,
France, and Russia issued the statement that
'"Resolution 1441...excludes an automaticity in the
use of force"'. - That's why the US started its
bribing/threatening campaign for another resolution.

Here is an interpretation by two international law
professors (in Australia) on S/RES 678 and 1441:
"No, this war is illegal", March 19 2003

Here is another one (American) on S/RES 1441 only
(which I posted to CASI Feb 26/03): "Lawyers Statement
on UN Resolution 1441 on Iraq", December 5, 2002

You may even read these interpretations, Bert - if
only for the sake of keeping an open mind.

True, lawyers on behalf of your government argued
differently. And you may chose to follow your
leader. But this doesn't mean that Hassan is
"WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!" (Why are you protesting so
much, Bert?)

Still, the legality of that war is a red herring
you (inadvertently?) threw out in your first response
to Hassan's original post. So he was not 'contradicting
himself' as you incorrectly claim - he was merely
responding to your red herring. You even quoted him
out of context to make that claim. Not quite cricket,
is it? What Hassan actually said was:

     'Even if we aaccept that the 1991 was a "legal"
     war authorized by the UN, it has no bearing on
     the issue of compensations or reparations now.'

And that's my point also: legality has no bearing on
the issue under discussion. So where is the

And what exactly do you mean by "the historical facts
have to be accepted"? The "historical facts" according
to Washington and Downing Street perhaps?

Second red herring (or misinterpretation?):

The UN Compensation Commission (UNCC).

UNCC has no bearing on the issue here. The breach
committed by the occupiers falls under the Geneva
Convention. Nor is an UNCC-like body required
to claim damages for the looting. The trick is to
make the claims stick.

Hassan's question was, "How can the US/UK be held
responsible... and how can they be forced to pay
compensations (from their money, not from Iraq's
oil money)??"

Do you have any problems with that question, Bert?
You prefer that your government be let off the hook
for the crimes it is committing in Iraq? That is
your prerogative of course.

No-one has answered Hassan's question, and I don't
know either. I do know that several Latin American
countries have files lawsuits against the US for
crimes committed in their countries. So did
individuals: the family of the Chilean general
Rene Schneider filed a federal lawsuit in Washington
against Kissinger - 31 years after Schneider was
killed. In another case, eleven Chilean human rights
victims also filed a claim against Kissinger. These
are very different situations of course, but still...

I know of no case where the US has actually paid up.
But the important thing is that the charges are being
laid, I think. If no charges are laid, worldwide moral
anarchy is going to become an accepted fact of life
under US domination.

Other red herrings:


As an aside:

UNCC was set up to make Iraq pay reparations for real
and alleged damages caused during the invasion of
Kuwait. There are six categories, I believe, for
companies and individuals. I don't know if the
compensations for looting, Hassan mentioned, were
collected under UNCC.

In fact, a commission to collect reparations should
never have been set up under the UN. (Reparations
are usually imposed by the winning side, as in the
Treaty of Versailles.)

In any case, it wasn't the UN that set up UNCC. It
was the US using the UN as a power toy for its own
machinations - like the sanction regime. And it
was the US that completely controlled UNCC and
directed (or misdirected) all its decisions.

Here is the article by Alain Gresh of Le Monde,
that many of you may have read: "Oil for Food:
The True Story"; Part 1: A Debt of Dishonour;
Part 2: How the UNCC Works.

Gresh gives an examples where Israeli businesses,
(e.g., florists, greengrocers, cinemas and hotels)
were awarded millions for revenues lost during the
conflict. This is the same, says Gresh, as if the UK
had demanded compensation from Germany because cinema
attendance dropped between 1939-45.

Sorry about the length of this missive. I just
feel it is important to try and keep the record
straight - with all this disinformation about.


------------Original Message------------
From: "Bert Gedin" <>
Subject: Re: [casi] Compensations!
Date: Sun, 13 Apr 2003 18:21:11 +0000

Dear Hassan & List,

Sorry to have to say so, but you really are writing a lot of nonsense, in
saying that the Kuwait war was NOT fought under the UN flag - WRONG,
WRONG!!! You then misquote: "using all means". Unless I'm mistaken, it
should be "all neccessary means". However, that might be trivial, the
is that all neccessary means would mean just that, i.e. including military
means (the UN not being a pacifist organisation).You then contradict
yourself, in saying "Even if we accept that the 1991 was a "legal" war
authorised by the UN..." I think we agree that official Iraq saw Kuwait as
natural part of Iraq. But, whatever opinions one might have, the
facts have to be accepted. Many sources would prove that the UN were
involved. Such as UNIKOM (= United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation
BBC reports also the United Nations own information, here an example:
Release, 27 December 1995. "SECRETARY-GENERAL ARRIVES IN KUWAIT. The
(National Assembly) President pointed out that the invasion of Kuwait by
Iraq in 1990 and its liberation by a multinational coalition 1991 under
Security Council had been one of the United Nations Success stories."

To leave civilians vulnerable & unprotected in a occupied area is, of
course, disgraceful, as well as being unlawful. But, try telling the
Coalition that they are contravening the letter & spirit of the Geneva
Conventions (I wish you success!)!



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