Sunday, December 25, 2005

Setting the Terms of Debate - Part II (Volcker Report)

This is the promised continuation of the last post, which ended with the statement:

For that matter, the Volcker Report itself is a good example of "setting the terms of debate".

...Set-up to investigate the corruption in the UN-sanctioned Oil-For-Food program, Paul Volcker's agenda clearely (and cleverly) skirted any investigation in the historical background of the Oil-For-Food Program (and the illegal, criminal activities that led to the necessity of having such a program) here is a brief reminder of the historical background:

1. In August 1990, UN Security Council, led/convinced by the US, imposed trade santions against Iraq, as a punishment for its invasion of Kuwait.

2. Why did Iraq invaded Kuwait? Iraq suspected and blamed Kuwait of "slant" mining into Iraqi territory... As this story points out, apparently, it was "set up" to create a justification for US to invade...
Was Gulf War A Setup For Iraq?

3. To build up support for military action against Iraq, in October 1990, "Nurse Nayirah", an alleged refugee from Iraq, told the US Congress how she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers dumping Kuwaiti infants out of their incubators "on[to] the cold floor to die," and then leaving with the machines.

This testimony was organised by the PR company, Hill & Knowlton, who were hired by the exiled Kuwaiti government, to create support for the US counterstike. The company also got the tearful performance filmed and circulated it to more than 300 news-channels...

The 15-year old "Nurse Nayirah" later turned out to be the daughter of Kuwaiti ambassador to the US, and two maternity nurses in that ward later said that they had never seen Nayirah there and that the baby-dumping had never happened).

But by that time, the US Congress had already approved the invasion of Iraq (leading to Gulf War I)...

...Hill & Knowlton got paid US $14 million by the US government for its help in promoting the Gulf War.
Nurse Nayirah (Wikipedia)
Lies, Damn Lies and War (Daily Mirror)

4. During the Gulf War of 1991, US forces intentionally - and in contravention to Article 54 of Geneva Convention - bombed Iraq's civilian infrastructure (the Iraqi electrical grids that powered its 1,410 water-treatment plants). This was a calculated move. To quote the scenario predicted in one of US Defense Intelligence Agency document (Jan 1991, titled "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities"):

"SUBJECT: Effects of Bombing on Disease Occurrence in Baghdad
Food- and waterborne diseases have the greatest potential for outbreaks in the civilian and military population over the next 30 to 60 days.... Increased incidence of diseases will be attributable to degradation of normal preventive medicine, waste disposal, water purification/distribution, electricity, and decreased ability to control disease outbreaks. Any urban are in Iraq that has received infrastructure damage will have similar problems."

How the US Deliberately Destroyed Iraq's Water

5.Not surprising that by mid-90s, the Iraqi population was devastated.

Iraq was dependent on its oil exports for its food imports. Combined with the use of later UN sanctions - embargo on export of Iraqi oil, which reduced its legal foreign trade by 90% - to prevent Iraq from getting the equipment and chemicals necessary for water purification (and food), this was a perfect recipe for an UN-mandated genocide:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) observed in March 1996 that, due to the sanctions, there was a six-fold increase in the mortality rate for children under five and the majority of the country's population was on a semi-starvation diet.

  • UNICEF reported in October 1996, that about 4,500 children under the age of 5 were dying every month in Iraq due to hunger or disease.

  • UN figures showed that by 1995-96, more than 1.7 million Iraqi civilians had died as a result of the sanctions. ...etc.
    Bleeding The Gulf
    UNICEF Says Thousands of Iraqi Children Are Dying

    6. In May 1996, Madeleine Albright, the then US ambassador to the UN (and later made the US Secretary of State), when asked about the death of half a million Iraqi children due to sanctions, made the (in)famous statement: "I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it."
    Iraqi Sanctions: Were They Worth It?

    7. After a major public outcry, the Oil-for-Food program was established in 1996 through a UN resolution... after much resistance by Saddam Hussain.

    Reasons for the reluctance/resistance were many:

  • The price fixed for sale of oil was much below the global market price.

  • Proceeds from such oil sales were banked in New York. 34% of that was disbursed to outside parties with claims on Iraq, e.g., the Kuwaitis, UN, etc. Another 13% went to meet the needs of the Kurdish autonomous area in the north.

  • The rub was that US could anytime deny the import of any equipment - which it did, e.g., when it allowed the purchase a sewage treatment plant, but blocked Iraq from buying the generator necessary to run it!!! ...etc.

    8. Meanwhile, the US-UK coalition enforced "no-fly" zones over north and south Iraq (they were illegal, since not mandated by UN... Surprisingly, they were also not objected-to by UN either!), and kept on bombing Iraq for 12 years... The so-called "international community" - an oft-used term these days - sat on the fence and watched a nation being decimated...
    Iraq Was Being Bombed During 12 Years of Sanctions
    Squeezed to death

    9. Since then, we all know that US re-invaded Iraq on the pretext of the alleged WMDs (Weapons-that-Mysteriously-Disappeared...

    ...etc. etc.

    Predictably, Paul Volcker's report on Oil-for-Food program does not go into this histry of deceptions/ crimes/ payoffs, etc...

    It starts with the innocent premise that the Oil-for-Food program was "legal" (thus, justifying the sequence of actions that led to - and followed - it as "legal")....

    After all, if Genocide is taken as legally sanctioned by the "rule of law"... Then any action - for whatever reasons - that violates the intention to kill becomes "illegal"...

    This is setting the term of debate!!!


    AKS said...

    This was too good. Very powerful case. I am speechless at the dynamics of geo-politics in the world.

    Let the USA be doomed - someday it should see similar strategies being executed against it.

    Kindly write this as a series somewhere in the MSM

    Raghunandan D H said...

    Sir, I have been reading about US and its love for war and hypocracy for a long time now, whether it is your bolg or any other source... but at the end of it its only reading ... is there any way we can influence or atleast try to influence the situation.... there has to be a way through ... may be blogs like this are one such medium where we are creating awareness about the subject .. but what next ????