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Trial of Saddam used as Cover Up of US-UK War Crimes
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In the following article, Elias Davidsson suggests that the war crimes committed against the Iraqi people are in the process of being erased by the Western media, which is ultimately complicit in the Criminalization of the State.
The trial of Saddam Hussein is being used precisely for that purpose: to erase the war crimes committed by the Anglo-American coalition during the sanctions regime as well as in its aftermath.
The Criminalization of the State is when those who commit war crimes not only occupy high office within the state system, but also decide "who are the war criminals", when in fact they are the war criminals.
The media becomes criminalised when realties are deliberately turned upside down, when the lie becomes the truth, when the war criminals are presented as defenders of justice and human rights.
The Criminalization of the State describes the current trend, not only in America but broadly in Western society, where not a single head of state or head of government has had the courage to state the obvious:
The Bush administration and its indefectible British ally are responsible for war crimes.
Those who hold high office as well as those who --within the the upper echelons of the financial establishment--- are pulling the strings behind the scenes, are war criminals. And that is precisely why they need Saddam Hussein, as a cover-up of their own war crimes.
Michel Chossudovsky, editor, 11 January 2003
The BBC website summarized on 10 January 2004, the "likely charges against Saddam Hussein". http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3320293.stm
According to the BBC report these are:
(a) The Iran-Iraq war
(b) Attacks against Iraqi Kurds
(c) Invasion and occupation of Kuwait
(d) Scud attacks against Israel
(e) Killings, persecution and torture (of own citizens)
Beween 1990 and 2002 over half a million Iraqi children have died as a result of UN-imposed economic sanctions (source: UNICEF). The Security Council and individual members of the Council, particularly the US and the UK, have repeatedly charged Saddam Hussein for these deaths (for having obstructed relief, diverted humanitarian goods, etc.). However the Council, in a document from 1995 recognized that economic sanctions have adverse humanitarian consequences, particularly on vulnerable segments of the population, such a children. It is therefore, highly significant, that neither the US nor Iraqis have indicated their intent to charge Saddam Hussein for the deaths of these children.
If Saddam Hussein will NOT be CHARGED for the deaths of half a million children in Iraq, the question remains unanswered: Who was responsible for these deaths? Perhaps those who maintained the most stringent economic sanctions since World War II ?
The international community, human rights organisations, and all those who care for justice, should demand that an independent international commission be established to determine the responsibilities for these deaths. It is unacceptable that 500.000 children would die in one country without anybody examining legal and criminal responsibilities for such carnage. Should the United Nations Organisation refuse to endorse the investigation of one of the major crimes of the 20th Century, it would be best to close down that organisation.
The deaths of half a million Iraqi children resulting from the sanctions regime is amply acknowledged
(1) In a Press Release of 12 August 1999, UNICEF's Director, Ms. Bellamy, noted that "if the substantial reduction in child mortality throughout Iraq during the 1980s had continued through the 1990s, there would have been half a million fewer deaths of children under-five in the country as a whole during the eight year period 1991 to 1998." (Iraq surveys show 'humanitarian emergency, http://www.unicef.org/newsline/99pr29.htm ).
While the figure "half a million" may be subject to debate, because it is statistically derived, the substantial nature of increased child mortality is not generally disputed and was even admitted by former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright in the CBS program 60 minutes of 12 May 1996.
(2) In its Daily Press Briefing of 12 August 12, 1999, James P. Rubin of the U.S. Department of State said: The "US continues to hold Saddam Hussein responsible for the suffering of the Iraqi people." ( http://www.fas.org/news/iraq/1999/08/990812db.htm ). Similar charges have been voiced from time to time by US and British leaders, without however explicitly claiming that Saddam Hussein is responsible for the deaths of half a million children.
(3) On 13 April 1995, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (hereafter P5) sent to the President of the Council a non-paper entitled "Humanitarian impact of sanctions",
In this non-paper, the P5 suggest that "future sanctions regime (sic) should be directed to minimize unintended adverse side-effects of sanctions on the most vulnerable segments of targeted countries (sic)." No specific reason was given for the drafting of this unusual and sloppily worded document. No reference was made to the Iraq sanctions nor to the awareness of Council members of increased child mortality in Iraq as a result of sanctions. What is interesting is that by declaring that sanctions could have "adverse side effects" which the Council should "minimize", the P5 effectively recognized
(a) a causal link between economic sanctions and "adverse side-effects" in sanctioned countries,
(b) the duty of the Council to "minimize" such adverse side-effects, and by implication
(c) the past failure of the Council to adequately minimize "adverse side-effects". The Council thus admitted, implicitly, its responsibility for the adverse consequences of the sanctions on Iraq.
It must be added that the expression "unintended side-effects" is disingenuous because economic sanctions' proximate aim is to cripple the economy of the targeted country. as a means of coercion, and that consequently the massive shortages which cause a humanitarian crisis, are deliberately caused. There is nothing unintended in such consequences.
(Source: UN Document No. S/1995/300 of 13 April 1995 http://www.un.org/sc/committees/sanctions/s95300.pdf ).
Elias Davidsson edavid@simnet is Director of PRICE, www.juscogens.org Reykjavik, Iceland
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