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Dear CASI, I am intrigued by Nermin Al-Mufti's appeal to women Worldwide. Nermin's article in Al-Ahram fails to mention that Huda Ammash was a member of the Ba'ath Regional Command. The earlier appeal by Barbara Nimri Aziz appended to Nermin's message is misleading in that it speaks of Ammash's election to what she calls the "Iraq Supreme Council" when we know that there was no such thing resembling an election to the Ba'ath leadership. In fact, Ammash can plead that she could not have rejected a position she had been forced into by Saddam Hussain. Barbara Aziz also speaks of Ammash's "distinguished family, with a father [Salih Mahdi Ammash] who was once a popular political figure". Salih Mahdi Ammash was a military attache in Washington in the 1950s and subsequently participated in the bloody 1963 coup in which many thousands of leftists were murdered and the country was plunged into chaos for the best part of a year. Ammash senior was involved in another conspiracy that brought the Ba'ath back to power in 1968 with himself as Interior Minister. In this position, Salih Mahdi Ammash was at least nominally in charge of the Amn Al-Amma (Public Security Department) headed by the notorious torturer Nadhim Kzar. Kzar was in reality answerable to Saddam Hussain (before they fell apart) who was building up his own separate security agency as well. To be sure, Ammash was more moderate and more cultured than the thuggish Saddam and Kzar, and he was also popular among the then tiny band of Ba'ath Party faithful, but he was a conspirator who disgraced his high public office and who was responsible for assasinations and military coups. Ammash's power relied not so much on popularity, but on the military and on Saddam's and Kzar's brutality, and because of that, he himself was soon made dispensable and kicked up to ceremonial positions which he accepted without protest. Saddam went ahead corrupting Iraq's politics and public institutions and plunging the country into a series of crises that ultimately led to the catastrohpic conditions it is in today under a US colonial regime. I write the above because I believe that solidarity with the Iraqi people in their struggle against the occupation must not be hijacked through the back door by supporters of the old regime. Now for Dr Huda Ammash herself, there is no evidence that she was responsible for any specific crime apart from her collective responsibility as part of the Ba'ath leadership. Furthermore, the reason why she is being held has almost certainly nothing to do with involvement in a weapons programme either. Nevertheless, with all the human rights violations going on in Iraq today, Huda Ammash's incarceration is not one that should execise the greater energy of the friends of the people of Iraq. Huda Ammash should not be held out as the prime example of Iraqi scientists being persecuted by the occupation authorities in order to cover the lies of the absence of so-called WMD. It is important to continue to highlight the plight of Iraqi scientists who are in US custody or who are otherwise being persecuted by the occupation. It is also important to state that many of those scientists and engineers were responsible for the remarkable rehabilitation of Iraq's infrastructure after the destruction in 1991 and that they are being prevented from doing so today by the occupation, Bremer and Haliburton. However, List members would be doing the Iraqi people a disservice if they fell into a trap of defending the record of the Ba'ath regime. I do not wish Dr Huda Ammash any harm, but she is not my hero. Kamil Mahdi Dr Kamil Mahdi University of Exeter _______________________________________________ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk