Released February 28, 2001
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End Sanctions, Prohibit Assaults On Iraq

by Ramsey Clark

The genocide in Iraq caused by Security Council sanctions forced by the United States and the bombing of Iraq by U.S. aircraft and missiles continues unabated. A nationwide survey by 50 U.S. citizens in Iraq last month, my eleventh trip to Iraq since sanctions were imposed on August 6, 1990, confirmed that deaths caused by sanctions increased for the tenth consecutive year, though the rate of increase has declined. General health conditions continue to deteriorate though available food and medicine has increased slightly, apparently from the cumulative effects of decade long severe shortages.

Other health concerns include increasing cancer rates, greatest among the young, which the people of Iraq and the medical care system believe are caused by depleted uranium from the near one million depleted uranium shells fired into Iraq by the U.S. in the first months of 1991 and the probable use of depleted uranium ammunition since. Among many examples of such concern we encountered was a statement made to me by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Basra, Monsignor Djibrael Kassab, that the small Catholic population within his diocese has recently suffered three infant births with deformities never seen before including the absence of facial features and eyes, which he has reported to the Vatican.

Constant overflights with frequent aerial strikes against Iraq have continued, averaging several attacks a week with deaths and injuries nearly every week.

The Genocidal Effect Of Sanctions On Iraq To January 20, 2001

Infant mortality from selected llnesses caused by the U.N. sanctions against Iraq has increased from a monthly average of slightly less than 600 deaths in 1989 to more than 6700 in 2000, or eleven times. The percentage of total registered births under 2.5 kgs in 1990 was 4.5%. In 2000 it was nearly 25%, up five times. For children under five years old the average number of reported cases of kwashiorkor, marasmus and other malnutrition illnesses caused by protein, calorie and/or vitamin deficiences rose from less than 8550 in 1990 to 190,000 in 2000, an increase of more than 22 times.

The sanctions must be completely removed immediately. Every day the sanctions continue adds to the death toll of the worst genocide of the last decade of the most violent century in human history.

The U.S., realizing that world opinion will no longer tolerate the sanctions, is seeking to take credit for modifying them while its purpose will be to continue to control their implementation and cause their reinstatement for alleged violations by Iraq. Under the ruse of arms inspections and false claims of arms violations, the U.S. has systematically frustrated any easing of sanctions. The U.S. has claimed and failed to prove, a long series of violations by Iraq including false claims that Iraq was withholding food and medicine from its own people when Iraqs model system of food distribution and rationing has saved its people. I have repeatedly reported these U.S. deceptions to the Security Council since the food for oil program was initiated. Combined with the failure of the Sanctions Committee to approve contracts by Iraq for purchases of urgently needed medicines, food and equipment, the U.S. has succeeded in preventing the easing of sanctions and will continue to do so if they are not completely ended.

Criminal Aerial Assaults On Iraq

The United States has bombed Iraq from aircraft and cruise missiles with impunity since the cease fire in February 1991. In the week before the inauguration of William J. Clinton as President of the United States on January 20, 1993, President George Bush authorize a fierce campaign of bombing. President Clinton continued the aerial attacks and bombing on January 21, 1993 and throughout his eight years in office. On occasion large numbers of cruise missiles were launched hitting among many civilian facilities the Al Rashid Hotel in Baghdad and the home of Iraqs most famous painter and the Director of its Museam of Modern Art, Leyla al Attar. Out of thousands of unlawful aerial sorties and hundreds of violent attacks on defenseless people in Iraq, including the passengers on a U.N. helicopter, the U.S. did not suffer a single casualty. Still the U.S. has insisted it must attack and kill Iraqi's to protect its aircraft which had no right to fly over Iraq though no U.S. aircraft have been hit.

U.S. aircraft joined occasionally by U.K. planes attacking targets in Iraq are engaged in criminal violence and crimes against peace. Those who ordered the flights and attacks and the pilots who executed the orders committed criminal acts that have caused the deaths of hundreds of people.

The Security Council has condoned these continuing criminal assaults under pressure from the U.S. and tragically, has approved the genocidal sanctions against Iraq. It has ignored other illegal attacks by the U.S. including the surprise attacks on Tripoli and Benghazi, Libya in April 1986 which killed hundreds of civilians and the 20 cruise missile assault on the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan in August 1998 which provided half the medicine available to the people of Sudan. Nothing could be more dangerous to world peace.

The new U.S. Administration has continued to make criminal aerial assaults on Iraq and threatened to increase them as an alternative to sanctions which it now suggests have failed.

The Security Council must proclaim the assaults on Iraq to be the crime they clearly are and demand they stop.

Widespread and growing anger at the genocide sanctions and the criminal assaults against Iraq will turn into rage, violence and war unless they are stopped. The very first purpose of the U.N. is to prevent this scourge of war.

Copyright © 2001 Ramsey Clark. The preceding is a letter that Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General, sent to the UN Security Council on February 28, 2001.
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