The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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Encouraging note: In May, peace and civil rights delegates met in Jakarta and drafted the "Jakarta Peace Consensus." Occupation Watch Centres are mentioned in that document. Peace groups, anti-globalization groups, and religious groups are converging into one big movement - against war, militarism and neo-liberalism. Occupation Watch (Baghdad) is supported by all. Websites in countries around the world are linked to Occupation Watch: Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Macedonia, Indonesia, Sweden, Denmark, Spain and Latin American countries, and so on. It was written up in a German newspaper. And I am beginning to feel some hope... Perhaps others will too. So please don't let's spoil the mood. --- Dear Bert, Peace pipe...? I avoided mentioning your name as a protective measure - to keep you out of it, so to speak. No 'discourtesy' intended. And I did realize that the article pg posted had prompted your comments. That was the point: the source of that article was MSNBC.com - hence the "big stomach". Sorry about that ill-chosen phrase. I had no idea that it would conjure up such unhappy images. > grossly misrepresents my views re. Peace Groups > in Baghdad, & unpallatable facts are, conveniently, > sugar-coated by her. What I said in essence was that the Occupation Watch Centre (that's its name) has the right to exist. That it has set up its own guidelines and will act accordingly. And that no-one else has any say in it. At least, that's how I see it. And I can't see any sugar-coating of "unpalatable facts" in that. Yes, I know that atrocities were committed before. But this is not a 'previous government watch'. Besides, I don't accept the logic that former atrocities cancel out the current ones - or justify the invasion and occupation. You may differ of course. > These quotes underscore the views I was putting > across. Yes, they do - if you mean the looting, vandalism, murders, carjackings, and so on. And the reason I posted the CARE and ICRC reports was to show what chaos and insecurity there still is. But that's only half the story: The occupying powers (belligerent occupants) are totally responsible for maintaining law and order. And the fact that they let these things happen represents a breach in international law. Applicable are: The Annexed Regulations to Hague Convention IV of 1907, the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, and customary international law set forth the laws of belligerent occupation... And both the US and Britain have failed to meet their obligations. They have invaded iraq, they have dismantled the existing system, and they have even issued orders (initially) _not_ to interfere. Both the Americans and the Brits are on record for refusing help when asked - e.g, in hospitals. So any excuses, such we couldn't foresee that; or we can't cope; or we aren't occupiers, but liberators just don't hold. They are responsible. And Rumsfeld's "stuff happens to free people" is a bit of nonsense. You can see that these laws go back to 1907/1949. The fact that they do exist suggests that such things would happen in any country - to varying degrees - if law and order is completely disbanded. Even in yours. That the Iraqis had a totalitarian government, that they experienced 13 years of gruelling hardship through the embargo, and that they were at starvation point after the invasion obviously made people more vulnerable. But history shows that every society has weak members unable to govern themselves. Looting and vandalism even happen even in regulated life. Crime too. But once the legal and societal codes are totally abandoned, anything can happen, I think. You may also remember that back in April the ICRC, the UN, and other agencies repeatedly begged the occupiers to meet their responsibility in re-establishing law and order. All was in vain. So in the end the NGOs gave up. And now papers just report the incidents. To make things even worse, the occupiers disbanded 400,000 soldiers from the former government. 400,000 more unemployed people with no money, no food, and families to feed. In any case, the occupiers's responsibility remains. They are in breach of their obligations. And this is a war crime. To a better world! Elga Sutter _______________________________________________ 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