Beginning February 2, demonstrations against bombing and sanctions are planned around the world.
Local activists will demonstrate Thursday, February 5, at 5:00 p.m. at Powell and Market St. in San Francisco.
Organizers include the International Action Center (IAC), Women Strike for Peace, Iraq Action Coalition, Voices in the Wilderness, the Emergency Committee Against U.S. Intervention in the Persian Gulf, and others.
For information regarding these or other upcoming demonstrations, call IAC's San Francisco office, 821-6545, or contact the Marin Center for Peace and Justice (459-5676) or the Social Justice Center of Marin (454-5027¼.
The U.S. government claims the current crisis was caused by the Iraqi's refusal to cooperate with U.N. inspection teams looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark of IAC, however, charges that U.N. inspection teams in Iraq are being used as "a blatant provocation meant to serve as justification for a new U.S. military strike against Iraq." As an example, he cites the fact that a current team is headed by a U.S. Marine captain who fought in the Gulf War.
The renewed threat of war has obscured increasing pressure to end U.S. support for deadly economic sanctions against Iraq.
A new U.N. report says nearly a third of Iraqi children under the age of five are suffering from malnutrition as a result of continuing economic sanctions. An Iraqi child with diarrhea had a one-in-600 chance of dying in 1990, before sanctions, rising to one in 50 in 1996, the report said For pneumonia, the odds grew from one in 60 to one in eight.
An oil-for-food program allowing Iraq to sell $2 billion in oil eery six months has been inadequate.
In January, 54 Catholic Bishops wrote to Clinton asking him to end sanctions and refrain from military action and the Pope condemned the sanctions saying "the weak and the innocent cannot pay for mistakes for which they are not responsible."
A coalition of Egyptian and international organizations that started a "One Million Signature Campaign" to end sanctions in July, 1997 (calling them "weapons of mass destruction") had 18 million signatures ready to deliver to the U.N. in January.
Chicago-based Voices in the Wilderness, which opposed the gulf War, has been delivering medical supplies into Iraq at the risk of fines and jail. One member of a recent mission, Gulf War veteran turned anti-war activist Erik Gustafson, is slated to tour the country beginning in March discussing why there has been so little dissent against the sanctions and what we can do about them. To schedule Erik to speak locally, contact Ken Preston at Global Exchange, 255-7296.
American Friends Service Committee is also continuing its program to send layette kits to Iraqi mothers leaving hospitals with newborns. Contact Allan Solomonow at AFSC in San Francisco, 565-0201, to help.
-Marin Peace News, February/March 1998
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