rn: Fill the jails, US/Canada action against Iraq sanctions


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

To start off this posting there are three marvelous quotes urging us on to
civil disobedience, when what is being done legally is nonetheless immoral.
It comes to us from an activist in British Colombia, Canada who lives near
the Nanoose Bay naval base where for years US nuclear subs have been
landing. The BC government wanted to bring an end to this agreement (as did
most British Colombians) so the federal government exproriated the base and
has renewed the US/Canada agreement allowing these nuclear sub visits. But
the work to convert the Nanoose Bay base to something useful continues.
all the best, Jan
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 12:48:44 -0800
From: Denise et/ou Roger =?iso-8859-1?Q?Lagass=E9?= <•••@••.•••>
To: Nuclear Free Goergia Strait <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Fill the jails

Dear Nanoose resistor,
            I just came across this quote and thought it an appropriate
message to send to the  Nanoose list to open the new millenium.  Denise
is planning a march from Victoria to Nanoose Bay [site of the naval base
that accepts US nuclear submarines] in the New Year.  If
you would like to walk along with her for all or part of the way, just
respond and you will be kept abreast of plans.

Gandhi writes that "the real road to happiness lies in going to jail and
undergoing sufferings and privations for one’s country and
religion." In the same spirit, Martin Luther King Jr. told a packed Detroit
stadium in 1963 that Christians who go to jail for acts of nonviolent
resistance to injustice "transform those dark dungeons of despair into
havens of hope and harmony." When asked what is needed to end our country’s
lust for war, Dorothy Day spoke right to the point:
"Fill the jails," she said.
Roger Lagassé
C.P. 39 Southwood Site
RR#1 Halfmoon Bay, Colombie-Britannique, Canada V0N 1Y0
rés: 604-885-4353  tra: 885-4743 téléc: 885-4786

Nanoose Conversion Campaign / Nuclear Free Georgia Strait

Jeunes Écrivains du Canada / Young Writers of Canada
From: "Kathy Kelly" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: VitW update
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 22:45:09 -0600

Dear Friends,

On December 17, 1999, following many months of negotiations, the United
Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1284.  The resolution offers the
Iraqis a plan that could ostensibly lead to a suspension of sanctions
sometime next year if the Iraqis allow arms inspectors to begin monitoring
in Iraq.  We'll be watching carefully to see what happens as this new
resolution takes shape.

Our campaign has never suggested that lifting economic sanctions against
Iraq should be contingent on the actions of the Iraqi government.  We
believe the sanctions should be lifted because they have in the past cost
many, many lives and will, in the future, continue to cause unfair
deprivation.  This is immoral and should be stopped unconditionally. 

Eye witness accounts from thirty previous Voices in the Wilderness
delegations have all likened the effects of economic sanctions to a form of
warfare far more lethal and destructive than even the worst of the
bombardments Iraqis have endured since 1991.  We continue to believe that
economic sanctions are contrary to the UN charter and constitute crimes
against humanity because they target innocent civilians.  

Our most recent delegation returned to the US on Thursday, December 16,
1999.   At a school in Mosul, three little children were so petrified by the
presence of Americans that they screamed and cried and their mothers had to
be called at their homes to pick them up.   Delegation members met 9
children who, during a recent US bombing, were covered in glass when
shrapnel from a US bomb shattered their classroom window in the middle of
the day.   They saw hospitals full of dying children.  One doctor was in
tears when he said that a patient, whom he held up, would die the next day
for want of leukemia medication.   They walked through a Mosul public
hospital as air-raid sirens went off, reminding the delegation that the
Iraqis face daily and deadly threats from both bombs and sanctions.
Johanna Berrigan, Nick Arons, Simon Harak, SJ and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
led the delegation.  They concurred that Iraqi people with whom they spoke
seemed profoundly indifferent to the results of UN Security Council
discussions.  "I heard again and again, 'when the vote is over, we expect to
be bombed,'" said Johanna Berrigan.  "It was as though they expected rain." 

We ask, what can we do, now, to help Iraqi children grow up believing that
other people in the world genuinely care about their welfare, truly want to
see them thrive, finally realize that undue and often deadly deprivation has
afflicted these children and their families?

As several of us prepare for close to a month of fasting and reflection in
Washington DC (January 15 - February 11), we earnestly hope that we can help
people cut through the cynical layers of misinformation and understand the
truth behind this excerpt from Nick's Arons's diary, written immediately
after he returned to the United States:

"The State Department is engaging in a massive PR campaign to make Iraq's
rejection of the resolution appear to be part of its continuing disregard
for the welfare of its own people. One must seriously question the State
Department's "concern" for Iraqi people.  
Why didn't the Security Council include Iraq in the discussion and framing
of the resolution? Iraq had declared its rejection of the resolution long
before the Security Council even began debate.  After months of debate, 3 of
the 5 permanent members of the world's most powerful body did not vote for
the plan, yet it became international law. Has the entire process been a farce? 

Given past experiences with UNSCOM inspection teams, can anyone actually
believe that Iraq will be found in complete compliance with a new inspection
regime whose formation requires US approval?  

It is important to remember that Secretary of State Albright, President
Clinton, and Warren Christopher have stated that sanctions will remain
intact until Saddam Hussein is gone (so why should Iraq realistically expect
that sanctions will soon be lifted even if inspections go smoothly?).  If
Iraq is going to renounce its intent to manufacture weapons of mass
destruction, then the US should be asked to retract its maxim that sanctions
will remain until Hussein is gone. 

Meanwhile recent articles in papers such as the _New York Times_ continue to
cultivate a skewed and amazingly inaccurate sense of Saddam Hussein's
international power, recreating the climate of fear that made the Gulf War
and a sanctions regime possible. 

Let's also not forget that $97 million of US tax dollars still fund the
Iraqi opposition -- a group of people committed and commissioned to
overthrow, perhaps violently, the Iraqi government. 

Why should Iraqis, themselves victims of the longest bombing campaign the US
has waged since the Viet Nam war, now trust US expressions of care for Iraqi
people? Why should Iraqis accept care and concern from the US when the US
has spent 10 years keeping medical textbooks out, has regularly used
misinformation to maintain animosity toward Iraqis, bombed last December the
day after Clinton was impeached, has spent 10 years banning pencils,
chlorine, spare parts, and trucks to intentionally create a humanitarian
crisis and exacerbate suffering, funds opposition groups, has helped foment
a coup in the north, has used depleted uranium coated ammunition, has
accused  U.N. humanitarian coordinator Hans Von Sponeck of overstepping his
duties, has bombed the infrastructure for  "long-term leverage,"-suddenly
Iraqis are to believe the US has undergone a change of heart?  And by the
way despite their amazing altruism towards Iraq, the US couldn't convince
permanent UN Security Council members France, Russia and China to go along
with their sincere kindness and sympathy. 

All the while the Iraqi people continue to wait it out, forced to watch a
once healthy and educated society slowly disintegrate, burdened by daily
death and despair.  Hans Von Sponeck, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in
Iraq, in our most recent meeting with him, put it very eloquently, 'The US
is trying to cage a wild tiger, but it is killing a rare and beautiful bird.' "

Thank you, friends, for paying attention to this long letter.  In a separate
message, we'll send additional updates from the team in Baghdad, along with
a brief digest of some very compelling actions happening here in the US, -
sparks of hope for creating a new world within the shell of the old, a world
wherein it's easier to be good.


Kathy Kelly and Jeff Guntzel, 

for Voices in the Wilderness

p.s. We count seven working days during which to call your Representative to
urge him or her to sign on to the Campbell/Conyers letter.  Call via the
congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121.   Action needed before January 6,
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 1999 13:17:54 -0800
From: Linda &  David Morgan <•••@••.•••>
Subject: From linda re events around the 16th

Hi and Season Greetings to All.

[Following is a description of activities planned to help bring an end to
sanctions against Iraq.]

Here in Vancouver, we are planing at least three events sponsored by Hands
off Iraq in cooperation with  CESAPI

On Saturday the 15th, we are planning an Evening of Solidarity with the
People of Iraq at the Heritage Hall (16th & Main) 7:00pm  Svend Robinson,
who will have just returned from Iraq, will speak at the Heritage Hall that
On Sunday, the 16th, we are going to hold a vigil/demonstration outside
that Art Gallery. We are going to have tables. One will show some of the
simple items banned under the sanctions, the other will be the rations
table and for a third, we are trying to collect 250 doll representing the
number of children who die evry day. We hope this will attract the
attention of passerbys, so we can engage them in conversation This event
will last from 2:00pm until 5:00pm. 

For the 17th, cross Canada phone-in to Axworthy's office, each city has
been given a time slot, and we are waiting to hear back if groups in those
cities can do it. COULD YOU PLEASE EMAIL IRENE <•••@••.•••> to confirm
your participation.  We are planing to keep Axworthy's office
line tied up all day.<snip>
This is what I've heard so far from other cities regarding actions on the
16th. Sorry I don't have more details.

Winnipeg: Planning a candle light walk to Lloyd Axwothy's office.
 Jennifer Wushke (ProjectPloughshares) 204-775-8178

Edmonton: Planning a demonstration of items denied under sanctions in a Mall
              Patricia Hartnagel <•••@••.•••> 

Peterborough: Demonstration similar to Edmonton

Montreal: Their delegation will have just returned from Iraq, so will be
holding a press conference
                        Marc Azar, 514-722-5538 
                          Objection de conscience/Voices of Conscience 

Halifax:  Planing a demonstrations with coffins.
 Daniel Haran , 902-422-0559 <•••@••.•••>
                         Sheila, 902-477-1382  <•••@••.•••>

Wishing you all a peaceful and sanction free New Millennium.