Meeting questions Why !

An excellent video on the bombing of the baby milk factory in Iraq in January 1991 set the mood and agenda of a July 1 public meeting in Melbourne about the UN sanctions against Iraq. The video made by Ishtar TV for the Iraq Dairy Corporation questioned "Why" the United States was targeting the most vulnerable sections of Iraqi society.

The meeting heard reports about the devastation and premature deaths that UN sanctions had caused in Iraq particularly to the children. Of the sanction induced premature deaths over half the victims are children. More than 4,500 children under the age of 5 are still dying every month in Iraq due to the economic embargo, according to UNICEF figures.

David Muller of the South Movement likened the situation to that in Vietnam war in the !970's when the US tried to "bomb Hanoi back to the Stone Age" but when this did not work the US resorted to a crippling blockade. He said both aggressions had been a testing ground by the US military for its new weapons and both Vietnam and Iraq had sustained substantial ecological damage. Yet ironically in both wars the US had also contaminated their own soldiers- "Agent Orange" dioxin chemicals in Vietnam and depleted uranium in Iraq and Kuwait. One of the reason for the continuing blockades he said, "was the suppression of the truth and delaying compensation pay-outs."

He added that sadly the US continues its race for technological weapons superiority. It was about to begin new sub critical nuke tests tomorrow, July 2 for its low yield bunker busting Penetrator N-bombs in a project code named REBOUND breaking all international treaties involving weapons reduction. He wondered who were to be the next victims.

Another Speaker who preferred to remain anonymous said that US experiments in germ warfare were a greater worry. He said that all the hype about Iraq having a bacteriological warfare facility was a cover for the CIA's own experiments in germ warfare. He said that a Stephen King type scenario of an accidental spillage was a real possibility. He named the Coshocton Agricultural Research Lab in Ohio as one place where the CIA was conducting such experiments.

Speaker of Australian Palestinian Soldarity Commitee stressed that the CIA was totally paranoid about "getting rid of president Saddam Hussein" and the sanctions were part of a unsuccessful scheme to force the Iraqi people to go against the government.

The meeting chairman Mr. Fouad Elhage concluded by saying that: "this meeting was part of a world wide series of protests against the unjust sanctions against Iraq". He said: "the week long protest action in more than 100 cites worldwide began with teach ins across America on June 26 and culminates with a march on UN headquarters in New York on July 1".

He said that in less than 12 hours, hundreds of children from schools, mosques, churches and child care centers in New York will lead a march to the United Nations. The children will deliver petitions and messages from cities participating in the week of opposition, and asked the meeting to endorse the  open letter to the UN Security Council.