Posted by AssyrianVoices4Peace from dialup-126.96.36.199.Dial1.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (188.8.131.52) on Sunday, October 13, 2002 at 0:06AM :
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 15:24:19 -0500
Subject: Ramsey Clark: Report to UN Security Council re: Iraq
The following letter from former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark
has been sent to each member of the Security Council. Please help circulate this information widely.
January 26, 2000
Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations
Dear H.E. Sir Jeremy Greenstock, KCMG,
A delegation of U.S. citizens from twenty states has just returned from Iraq. On January 17, we observed in Baghdad the 9th Anniversary of
the beginning of the January 17 - February 28, 1991. U.S. aircraft flew 110,000 aerial sorties against Iraq, averaging one every 30 seconds,
dropping 88,500 tons of explosives, the equivalent of 7 l/2 Hiroshima
This was by far the most intensive bombardment in history.It killed tens of thousands of people, injuring many more. Medicines and medical supplies were exhausted. It devastated water systems from reservoir, pumping station, pipeline, filtration plant to kitchen faucet as well as urban sewage and sanitation systems nationwide. Food
production, processing, storage, distribution, and marketing facilities
were widely destroyed. Poultry was nearly wiped out by loss of
electricity and lack of grain. Animal herds were decimated. Fertilizer
and insecticide plants and storage structures were destroyed.
Communications systems, telephone, radio, TV, were shattered.
Transportation was badly battered. Vital industries were attacked
everywhere. Electric power was knocked out across the nation in the
first 24 hours of the assault. Petroleum production, refining, storage
and distribution from well to service station were attacked across the
The combined effect of this vast destruction of essential goods,
services and industries with the most comprehensive economic
sanctions of modern times, first imposed on Hiroshima Day, August 6,
1990, has caused more than a million and a half deaths.
Conditions of Life and Death in Iraq
I have traveled to and within Iraq ten times since sanctions were
imposed, once during the bombing in 1991. Each year, the death rate
has risen radically. The numbers of deaths have been reported
internationally regularly and updated each month since 1991. In Iraq,
they are palpable. UN agencies, the World Health Organization, the
Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program,
UNICEF and others have found and confirmed the deaths time and
time again. They must shock the conscience of every sentient human
being. Comprehensive reports by UN agencies and other sources are
available to you. You are charged with this knowledge. The total
numbers of deaths in every segment of the society has risen radically in
each of the past nine years under U.S./U.N. sanctions.
As a tragic illustration total annual deaths of children in Iraq under the
age of five from respiratory infection, diarrhea and gastroenteritis and
1999(Jan.- Nov.): 73572
The annual number of deaths of children under age five grew more
than tenfold from 1989 to 1999. Total deaths of children under age
five from these selected causes alone during 1990 to November 1999
While children under age five are the most vulnerable age group,
except for the extreme elderly, every age group has suffered radical
increases in the numbers of deaths. Members of the population with
serious chronic illnesses requiring regular medication, or therapy,
suffer the highest percentages of death of any sectors, approaching
100% for some illnesses where survival rates were as high as 95%
The sanctions target to kill, or injure infants, children, the elderly, and
the chronically ill.
The Red Crescent and other knowledgeable professional groups
believe it will be years after the end of sanctions before the increase in
deaths from most causes stops rising because of the cumulative effect
of the sanctions on the physical conditions of parents, children, the
new born and the overall environment.
Most of those who survive suffer severe physical and mental injury
from the sanctions. Indicative of the impact of sanctions is the
enormous rise in the percentage of registered births under 2.5
kilograms, a dangerously low birth weight in a nation without adequate
food, medicine and medical supplies and equipment. Like death,
under weight births have risen radically every year:
Year / % of live births at weights under 2.5 kilograms
1999(Jan. - Nov.): 24.1
The percentage of live births below 2.5 kg. has increased more than
fivefold to one in four registered births. The consequence for the lives
of these children is enormous. Many will have underdeveloped
organs, mental retardation, remain smaller and weaker than average
and be more vulnerable to sickness, malnutrition and bad water. Their
life expectancy has been reduced by as much as 30%. Probably 90%
of all the infants born in Iraq since 1990 have significantly lower birth
weights than they would if there were no sanctions. The effect on lives
and health of children with higher birth weights is also drastic. This is
why foreign medical teams for five years have referred to a "stunted
generation" in Iraq.
Suggestive of the struggle the children living and dying under
sanctions in Iraq face are the following increases since 1990 in
treated cases of nutrition related sicknesses and deficiencies.
Year / Number of cases
1990: 485 (base)
1991: 12796 26.3 times
1994: 20975 42.6 "
1998: 30232 61.4 "
Year / Number of cases
1990: 5193 (base)
1991: 96186 18.5 times
1994: 192296 37 "
1998: 264468 50.8 "
Year / Number of cases
Protein, Calorie, Vitamin deficiency, Malnutrition
1990: 96809 (base)
1991: 947974 9.8 times
1994: 1576194 16.3 "
1998: 1910309 19.7
Kwashiorkor is an extremely dangerous end product of malnutrition
in which the victim wastes and dies without early intensive care. Few
doctors in Iraq had ever seen a case before late 1990. From
medical school and continuing studies they associated Kwashiorkor
with starvation in the poorest regions of Africa and south Asia during
periods of war, drought, pestilence and other calamities. Marasmus
inflicts a lower death rate than kwashiorkor, but is extremely
dangerous, permanently damaging and requires early and extended
care for survival. The effects of severe and protracted malnutrition
are permanent and life shortening.
Common communicable diseases preventable by vaccination which
are provided nearly all children in developed countries and were
standard in Iraq before 1990 have increased by multiples. While
rates for these diseases fluctuate unlike the death rates and rates for
malnutrition related sickness, because of the cyclical nature of their
communication, they have been regularly higher, increasingly so, and
have afflicted additional hundreds of thousands of children. Increases
in 1998 over 1989 were as follows: whooping cough, 3.4 times;
measles, 4.5 times (25, 818 cases); mumps, 3.7 times (35,881).
The Sanctions Committee of the Security Council has failed to
approve negotiated contracts for Iraq to purchase vaccines for these
and other diseases. Poliomyelitis, which had been virtually
extinguished in Iraq, has increased by a multiple ranging from 2 to
18.6 times since 1989. Cholera rose from zero cases in 1989 to
2560 cases in 1998 and conditions in Iraq threaten an epidemic.
Amoebic dysentery was 13 times greater in 1998, totaling 264,290
cases, over 1989 and much higher in several earlier years. Typhoid
fever was up 10.9 times to 19825 cases in 1998 over 1989.
Scabies increased every year from zero cases in 1989 to 43,580 in
1998. Every adult knows the misery, suffering and sometimes
heartbreak these preventable communicable diseases cause.
Doctors, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, all persons in health care,
work under tragic conditions. Doctors and nurses uniformly state
that patients they could easily save under normal conditions die every
day. The hospitals are in wretched condition: dark, cold, dirty,
stairwells crumbling, walls peeling, beds without sheets, plumbing
inoperable, electricity erratic, equipment without parts, medicines,
oxygen, aesthetics, antiseptics, antibiotics, x-ray film, catheters,
gauze, aspirin, light bulbs, pencils always scarce, often unavailable.
Common life saving medicines from dehydration tablets to insulin are
never in adequate supply.
In plain numbers without measuring the conditions under which they
were performed, or the availability of important equipment and
supplies, major surgical operations have declined each year from a
monthly average of 15,125 in 1989 to 3823 in November 1999 or
by 74.7%. The monthly average number of laboratory investigations
has declined from 1,494,050 in 1989 to 454,375 in November
1999, or by 68.6%.
Drastic deterioration in the whole environment, the physical plant,
sanitation and the introduction of some 25,000,000 ounces of
depleted uranium by U.S. aircraft and missiles have caused enormous
increases in illnesses from tuberculosis to leukemia and other cancers,
tumors and malformations in fetuses. These conditions will take
many years and billions of dollars to restore to 1989 levels. The
hundreds of thousands of lives destroyed and the health of millions
damaged can never be restored.
Today unemployment is 60%. 95% of the private sector of the
economy is shut down. There are no ambulances. 80% of the
sanitation trucks from 10 years ago are inoperable. There are no
new trucks, cars, tractors, buses, or other vehicles. Food
distribution from a comprehensive rationing system controlling staples
delivers 1100 calories per day for every person throughout the
country, Kurd, Sunni and Shi'ite Muslim, Christian, Jew, rich, poor,
alien, with special rations for infants, pregnant women, the severely
malnourished, and others with special needs. The poor cannot
significantly supplement their food rations. In 1989, daily caloric
intake in Iraq averaged 3400.
These brief facts demonstrate the deadly conditions of life
deliberately inflicted on the entire population of Iraq, but which
inherently impact on infants, children, the elderly and chronically ill
first and destroy a vast part of the nation and its overwhelmingly
Representative of the attitude of the U.S. government foreign policy
makers toward Iraq and the sanctions are the considered remarks of
former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in a syndicated
newspaper article published in the second week of January 2000 in
which he referred to the "alleged suffering of the Iraqi people." Then
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright spoke
more forthrightly, if more cruelly. She stated in an interview on the
top-rated CBS national network magazine show 60 Minutes, seen
by tens of millions of people in the spring of 1997, that she believed
the deaths from the sanctions of 585,000 Iraqi children under the age
of five as direct result of sanctions reported by the U.S. Food and
Agriculture Organization in late 1986 was a price worth paying to
maintain the sanctions against Iraq.
The Sanctions Violate the Genocide Convention of 1948
Genocide is defined in the Genocide Convention, in part, as follows:
Article II...genocide means any of the following acts committed
with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical,
racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated
to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
There can be no doubt that the sanctions against Iraq intentionally
destroyed in major part members of a national group and a religious
group, as such, killing members of the groups, causing bodily and
mental harm to their members and deliberately inflicting conditions of
life calculated to bring about their physical destruction, at least, in
part. If this is not genocide, what is?
The United States, after decades of resisting, finally ratified the
Genocide Convention before these sanctions were imposed. It has
frequently accused other governments of genocide, sometimes
assaulting them severely with its massive, high tech military weapons
against which nearly all nations are defenseless.
The Food for Oil Program has failed to stop the increased death rates
The Food for Oil program was approved in December 1996 as a
means of maintaining the sanctions against Iraq which were meeting
growing opposition in the Security Council. After three years of
operation barely six billion dollars in contracts under the program
have been received from 19 billion dollars of oil sales. Despite Iraq's
desperate needs, more of the funds from sales of its oil have been
turned over to the U.S., the UN and others making claims against
Iraq than have been allocated to contracts approved for purchase of
food, medicine, equipment and equipment parts for the people of
Iraq. Five billion in contracts for purchases entered into by Iraq has
not been approved.
As has been seen the deaths of children and every other segment of
the society from the sanctions have continued to rise in 1997, 1998
and 1999. To rebuild the health care system, the food production
processing, storage and distribution system and the water systems
will cost many billions. Restoring facilities for health,
communications, transportation, education, industry and clean up of
the environment polluted by the U. S. aerial assaults, including the use
of depleted uranium found in extremely dangerous concentrations in
parts of Iraq, will cost many tens of billions of dollars.
Iraq was devoting more than 20 billion annually to public facilities,
goods and services before 1989. Income from oil sales for 1997-
1999 averaged under 2 billion dollars annually, 10% of the amounts
available before sanctions. If Iraq devoted all of the funds under the
Oil for Food Program to food, medicine and water, the deaths
caused by sanctions would continue to rise and the health of the
nation decline. The United States has proceeded to frustrate
approval of contracts under the program in a systematic way to
prolong the genocide against Iraq.
United States military aircraft deliberately destroyed Iraq's water
storage, distribution and quality control systems during the intensive
bombing during January and February 1991. Within two weeks
there was no running water in any city or town in Iraq. Many tens of
thousands of people in Iraq have died as a direct result of drinking
Iraq has entered into contracts totaling $700,000,000 for water and
sewage projects. This sum is a very small fraction of current needs.
Only $65,000,000 has been received, less than 9%. This is done
deliberately to continue conditions of life destructive of the population
of Iraq. Purchase of chlorine for municipal water treatment, a
standard international usage, has been completely rejected. People
continue to die at increasing rates from bad water.
Oil production for even the very low levels authorized under the
program, less than 1/3 of the pre-sanctions level, has been difficult to
achieve and usually below authorized amounts, because of
deteriorated and destroyed facilities and lack of equipment and parts.
Still the sanctions committee has approved only 18% of the tendered
contracts for oil production, refining and transport. This is done to
prevent Iraq from restoring its ability to save its people through the
sales of oil.
Of the $207 million sought for communications under the program,
not a penny has been approved. The sanctions committee fears
communicated truth will set opinion free and end the sanctions.
The Oil for Food Program has never been anything more than a
means for slowly increasing the rate of destruction of the people of
Iraq. Security Council Resolution 1284 is simply a means of starting
the process over again. During three years under the program from
1996 to 1999, well over 200,000 children under age five died in
drastically increasing numbers each year at a rate growing from just
under 9 to well over 10 times the number who died in 1989. That
experience must not be repeated. The sanctions must be ended now.
It is criminal to hold the lives of the people of Iraq hostage to demands of
the U.S. against their government, whatever those demands may be. In war it is
prohibited to use starvation as a weapon. Medical aid must be given enemy
wounded. Under sanctions an Iraqi is being deliberately killed every two
minutes by conditions of life inflicted by the sanctions. Sanctions are the
functional equivalent of pointing guns at the heads of Iraq's children and
elderly while saying do what we demand to their government, or we
will shoot, then pulling a trigger every two minutes, or less.
To save the United Nations in the judgment of history, the Security
Council must end the sanctions immediately. They are genocide.
To save itself from the judgment of the people of the world, the U.S.
must immediately act to end the sanctions and account for its acts.
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