Stop the Killing Sanctions!
We first met former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark in the circles that are fighting for the life of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Debra Swinger, a sister in our Woodcrest Bruderhof, met him at a rally against welfare cuts in New Paltz, NY. She gave him a copy of the report of her humanitarian trip to Iraq where she toured the country and met with the General Federation of Iraqi Women. Mr. Clark sent the following response, along with sample letters to send to government officials in protest of the sanctions.
LAWRENCE W. SCHILLING LAW
LAWRENCE W. SCHILLING LAW OFFICES
NEW YORK, N.Y, 10003
FAX (212) 979-1583
November 14, 1995
P.O. Box 903, Route 213, Rifton, NY 12471-0903
Dear Debra Swinger,
It was a pleasure to Meet you at New Paltz. And thanks for your note. Your two reports, Introduction to Iraq and Sunday Morning report to the Community are very moving. I hope you can find ways to distribute them widely together with your slides.
We are essentially in a struggle for the truth. You are a witness. The need is to find as many meaningful ways as possible to spread the word.
Governments and the media are the major obstacles.
We need to try to persuade governments including the US, President and Congress and the U. N. Secretariat, Security Council and Member Nations and their Ambassadors that the sanctions are destroying life and health. Repeated communications to government officials from as many organizations and individuals as possible is important. Writing Hillary Clinton is very important. I wrote her early in 1991, but stopped. She is sensitive and cares about children and needs to be told the truth.
The media needs to be persuaded to investigate and cover this great human tragedy. It needs also to be asked to use pictures and texts from witnesses, to publish op-ed pieces, letters to the editor and present private commentary, editorials, and witness interviews for news and talk shows on radio and TV.
I am enclosing several samples of recent letters I have written. They are uncharacteristically harsh in tone (I hope), but finally the subject matter and lack of response makes anything less direct seem dishonest. Also enclosed is a copy of The Fire This Time with the 1993 update.
My love to you and all the Bruderhof.
Ramsey Clark and the International Action Center (IAC) have waged a five-year long campaign to end the United Nations economic sanctions that have caused widespread human suffering and the death of 700,000 iraqi civilians.
Although Iraq has fully complied with all of the conditions imposed at the conclusion of the 1991 Gulf War, the U.S. bullies the UN Security Council into renewing the sanctions every two months.
The following letter by Ramsey Clark was delivered to every member of the UN General Assembly. Clark and the IAC have published books, produced dramatic videos and have written hundreds of letters and press releases documenting the unimaginable horrors being inflicted on millions of innocent and defenseless people in a U.S.-led effort to replace the current Iraqi government with a puppet regime.
From National People's Campaign
International Action Center
New York, N.Y. 10011
Fax: (212) 633-2889
Ramsey Clark, Chairperson
October 6, 1995
On its 50th Anniversary, the United Nations, created to end the scourge of war. is committing one of the Greatest crimes against humanity of this epoch. Lost week the UN World Food Programme released a UN Crop and Nutrition Status Assessment Mission report on Iraq based on a survey In July and August 1995 updating the steady flow of increasingly horrifying UN reports over the last five years. It states,
More than four million people, a fifth of Iraq's population, are at severe nutritional risk
the victims include 2.4 million children under five, some 600,000 pregnant women or nursing mothers and destitute women, who head households as well as hundreds of thousands of elderly
alarming food shortages are causing irreparable damage to an entire generation of Iraqi children
the incidence of malnourishment and stunting among children under five is 29%
70% of pregnant women suffer anemia
It has taken five years of UN sanctions against Iraq following the devastation of its infrastructure by 110,000 US serial sorties which dropped 88,500 tons of explosives, 7 1/2 Hiroshimas, to bring the population to this tragic condition. During this period UNICEF personnel have estimated more than 500,000 Iraqi children under five have died from the sanctions.
Sanctions against a whole nation inherently harm the poor first, killing and crippling infants, children, the elderly, the chronically ill and emergency medical cases, the very parts of every population that society has the highest duty to protect,
The UN sanctions are in fact a weapon of mass destruction wrecking havoc collectively on the entire civilian population. They are the direct cause of hundred of deaths daily. Any attempt to place the blame elsewhere is a fatal deception. It is imperative that the UN end these sanctions now and provide immediate humanitarian relief.
The few courageous members of the UN who have resisted, or Spoken out against the sanctions have been systematically isolated and silenced by the United States, which alone with the United Kingdom. demands these sanction for its political ends without concern for how many men, women and children die.
On September 11, from Jakarta, US Ambassador Madelaine Albright said "The international community has to be absolutely assured of the intentions at Iraq before any sanctions are lifted." She thus appoints herself spokesperson for the international community. Yet every two months as the Security Council approaches review of the sanctions she presents come sensational false report about the evil acts and intentions of Iraq. No crimes or cruel intentions on the part of Saddem Hussein could possibly justify or excuse the mass destruction UN sanctions are inflicting every day.
US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, in his speech to the General Assembly last week dared to talk of unstated "horrific details about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction" uncovered by Rolf Ekeus with no mention of the horrific daily effect of sanctions upon the people of Iraq. The demonizing of Saddam Hussein cannot conceal the murderous effect of the US determination to continue sanctions. The Pentagon has stated US casualties In the Gulf conflict were 148, admitting 37 were caused by 'friendly fire." Twice that many Iraqis are dying every day and deaths now exceed 700,000 from sanctions alone. Who Is the threat to life?
Will the UN devastate 18,000,000 people living in Iraq by depriving them of food and medicine so the US can impose its political will on the region? No poor country will be safe from US sanctions and their threat if this genocidal policy is not condemned and stopped now.
And no sentient human being now or hereafter will be able to respect the United Nations as constituted if these sanctions are not ended and human assistance provided immediately.
International Action Center
New York, N.Y. 10011
Ramsey Clark, Chairperson
November 14, 1995
The Security Council has now voted for the first time in its second half century to continue five years of genocidal sanctions against the people of Iraq. No act of the UN has caused more deaths and suffering, or given greater cause for despair than its use of sanctions to punish all the people of countries which displease it.
Once again the US and UK representatives have trivialized the deaths they are causing. Thus Ambassador Weston speaks of "the will of the council to continue the existing sanctions regime on grounds that Iraqi performance under all the headings which are relevant continues to be less than fully satisfactory." He might add, "So the babies must die."
Edward Gnehm speaking as the representative accuses Iraq of attempting to "reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction." He added, Iraq "continues to lie." Then the US statement claims "... Iraq pleads poverty, but since 1991 has spent millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars, on military equipment, lavish palaces and luxury goods for the Iraqi elite."
How long will the Security Council tolerate such hypocrisy? . How harmful were Iraqi's "weapons of mass destruction" in 1991? How much are the sanctions hurting Saddam Hussain and his elite if they are spending millions on military equipment, lavish palaces and luxury goods? so why punish the poor?
Why would any sentient human being believe any such acts, if true, could possibly justify killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis by UN sanctions.
Today in Iraq, UN agencies advise that more than four million people are under imminent threat of death or severe permanent injury from malnutrition. The victims include 2.4 million children under five, some 600,000 pregnant women, nursing mothers and destitute women who head households as well as hundreds of thousands of elderly. Seventy percent of the pregnant women suffer anemia. The incidence of malnourishment and stunting among children under five is 29%. A year ago, UNICEF officials estimated 500,000 children in Iraq had died since 1990 because of the sanctions. Tens of thousands more have died this year and hundreds continue to die each week.
It is the Security council sanctions alone that are responsible for this vast human tragedy. You cannot escape responsibility for your acts, nor can the security council, by claiming Saddam Hussain made you kill all those helpless people. The Security Council is responsible for the deaths as surely as if it ordered several hundred Iraqi infants, children, elderly and infirm executed each day Saddam Hussein refuses to submit to Security Council demands.
If Saddam Hussein could save the Iraqi people by meeting Security Council demands, he has refused to do so. Does the Security Council consider this a license to violate international law and common morality by collective punishment of all the people in Iraq, by making civilians the direct object of its attack? Will the Security Council continue its barbaric acts until Saddam Hussein submits, or the last person in Iraq is dead?
Sanctions against a whole nation inherently harm the poor first, killing and crippling infants, children, the elderly, the chronically ill and emergency medical cases. These are the very parts of every population that society has the highest duty to protect.
Will the UN devastate 18,000,000 people living in Iraq by depriving them of food and medicine so the US can impose its political will on the region? No poor country will be safe from US sanctions and their threat if this criminal policy is not condemned and stopped now.
The UN sanctions are a weapon of mass destruction wreaking havoc collectively on the entire civilian population, Any attempt to place the blame elsewhere is a fatal deception. It is imperative that the UN end these sanctions now and provide immediate humanitarian relief for Iraq.
Tyranny has always blamed its victims for its excesses. Now the Security Council is blaming the very people its sanctions are killing and crippling. Both tyranny and the Security Council deny this and seek to transfer responsibility for their brutal acts thus revealing indifference and contempt for truth and the lives of their victims. History will record these sanctions as one of the greatest persecutions ever committed against an entire people. That it was committed in the name of the United Nations is the ultimate pity.
You must end these genocidal sanctions now.