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Year 2001 No. 94, June 1, 2001 Archive Search Home Page

Professional Opposition to NHS Failings

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

Professional Opposition to NHS Failings

Opposition to MOX Fuel

Britain and US Back Down over Iraq Sanctions

Talking Points on Smart Sanctions

Ireland’s June 7 Nice Referendum

World Bank Demonstration on African Liberation Day

Russia Cancels $4.8 billion Ethiopian Debt

UN Completes Decolonisation Seminar in Havana

Letter to the Editor: Questioning Which Countries are "Self-Governing"

For Your Information: The Government of Guadeloupe and Martinique

International Fact-finding Team Accuses US of Wartime Atrocities in Korea

Interview with Ramsey Clark, Former US Attorney General: US Atrocities Are Not Things of the Past

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Professional Opposition to NHS Failings

GPs are leaving the NHS and are organising opposition to the direction the NHS is taking. As well, a number of consultants and others are standing as independent candidates on June 7 in opposition to the government’s programme for the NHS and out of concern for its future.

In East Kent, the former chairman of Concern for Health in East Kent (CHEK) is standing as an independent candidate in Thanet North. David Shortt said that his was a serious challenge to the three-party policies juggernaut, and that many voters are feeling increasingly disenfranchised. He criticised the Labour government’s policy towards health in East Kent, in which a scheme costing £102 million will not provide one extra bed but lead to cuts in services and beds simply to service the debt.

A few weeks ago, an East Kent GP resigned, saying, "We were told there was no money and the only way forward was to take out a huge loan." Dr Ricky Allen said, "This is a hard working community and there are some serious health problems here. All we want is a decent health centre. Many people here spent 40 years digging coal in appalling conditions and now they are spending the last years of their life on a waiting list for an operation."

A consultant from the Staffordshire General Hospital is to stand against Health Secretary Alan Milburn in the Darlington constituency. Dr Craig Platt said that as a working doctor he would only be able to campaign at weekends, but he wanted to make the government think carefully before embarking on another health service reorganisation. He said, "There is supposed to be no shortage of cash for the health service at the moment. Perhaps they should just put the cash in and not start tinkering with the structure." Alan Docherty of the Socialist Alliance and Amanda Rose of the Socialist Labour Party are also standing in the constituency.

Dr Richard Taylor, a retired consultant, is standing as an independent candidate in the Wyre Forest constituency for the Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern. Dr Taylor points out in his manifesto: "The drastic, unfair and unjustified downgrading of our hospital is the most important matter to effect local people for many years. A hospital has existed in Kidderminster for over 150 years and has become ‘woven into the fabric of our lives’. It is vital for our well-being." He continues: "With government backing the Worcestershire Health Authority then removed all inpatient and A&E services to Worcester and Redditch in September 2000! Since then travel/traffic difficulties, expense, sad experiences and delays have affected many of the people who must travel to Worcester or Redditch for basic hospital treatment or to visit others. Few of these difficulties will improve when the new hospital at Worcester opens in 2002."

Dr Taylor says of the NHS: "This is under intense pressure from the very reforms that are being sold to us as the answer to its problems. Independent, academic authorities believe that the Private Finance Initiative introduced by the last Tory government and amazingly taken forward by the current New Labour administration, while making vast profits for private investors, carries the severe risk of bankrupting the NHS and forcing further public private partnerships that are already threatening the basic ideals of the NHS. Adequate funding and some form of rationing of some parts of health care have to be discussed openly and honestly so that the aim of ‘cradle to grave’ care can continue to be possible for those that need it."

Regarding extra funding for the NHS, the British Medical Association said on Thursday that any such funding is not getting through to patients. At their annual conference, they warned that the NHS is reaching breaking point. The consultants also spoke out against working hours and waiting lists. Dr Hawker, chairman of the BMA, accused Labour of pressurising doctors into meeting "spurious targets" and of short-term political expediency.

In a survey carried out for the Consumers’ Association, published last Wednesday, nearly a third of adults said that they feared the NHS would not exist within ten years’ time. Other news shows that the Labour Party’s new "Concordat Two" on long-term care is perceived as meaning increased charging for elderly patients.

The Blairite think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research, has questioned whether the government’s PPP scheme could really deliver improvements in health, education and transport. The report says, "While the principle of public-private partnerships is compatible with centre-left values, the practice remains far behind the lofty ambitions."

In contrast, at the launch of Labour’s last seven days of campaigning on Thursday, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Margaret Beckett put forward their new election slogan, "schools and hospitals first". Tony Blair said the last seven days were a "crusade". He said that he wants a mandate from the voters to renew the health and education systems.

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Opposition to MOX Fuel

A confidential report submitted to the government by Frank Barnaby highlights the dangers of MOX fuel produced at the BNFL plant at Sellafield. MOX fuel is a mixture of plutonium and uranium dioxides. The author of the report worked at the nuclear weapons laboratory at Aldermaston in the 1950s and later headed the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Although Frank Barnaby’s report concentrates on what it refers to as the terrifying possibility of the theft of MOX fuel pellets by "terrorists intent on mass destruction", the point is not lost that the irresponsibility is the government’s if they were to give the go-ahead for production to begin at Sellafield’s MOX plant, completed in 1996. To create panic about "terrorists" may be the stock-in-trade of the big powers as they threaten and blackmail "rogue states" and criminalise political protest, but the conclusion can be drawn that it is the imperialists who wish to monopolise the technology of mass destruction and threaten the world’s peace and the people’s safety.

Having raised the spectre of "terrorists" stealing nuclear materials, the "confidential" report, the details of whose existence are published in the New Scientist, goes on to list three methods of manufacturing an atomic bomb from MOX pellets.

There is an almost inextricable connection between nuclear fuels and the manufacture of nuclear weapons. This is the chief reason why their manufacture should be universally banned and state terrorism itself be brought to an end. Meanwhile, while raising the issue of terrorist groups could be considered a diversion, there are more than enough reasons to be concerned at the safety implications of nuclear fuels, and MOX in particular which is considered one of the most dangerous as well as one of the more expensive.

Protests continue to be staged against nuclear fuel wherever it is manufactured and transported. Japan is one country which is trying to press ahead with the use of MOX fuel in light-water reactors. The Japanese people have been waging a struggle against its importation and use. Most recently the residents of the village of Kariwamura in north-western Japan voted in a referendum to reject plans by the monopoly Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) to use recycled plutonium fuel at a local plant.

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Britain and US Back Down over Iraq Sanctions

Britain and the US have decided to postpone their attempts to push through their resolution on "smart sanctions", it was reported on Thursday.

Instead, the 15-member UN Security Council will be asked to extend the current system of the "oil-for-food" programme before it expires at midnight on Sunday. The length of the extension is still reported to be under dispute. Britain and the US want one month, Russia has advocated six months and France is suggesting a compromise of three months.

France, China and Russia had argued that the deadline could not be met because of the necessity of examining a lengthy British-US list of "dual use" goods that allegedly have both civilian and military applications.

Correspondents say that the delay is a major setback for US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who made revising the sanctions a high priority when he took office in January.

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Talking Points on Smart Sanctions

Document from the Iraq Network, available at

A brief explanation of the British proposal is available at


Iraq is suffering from the effects of one the largest, most destructive bombing campaigns in history, one that deliberately and successfully targeted key infrastructure, like water treatment and electrical power, as well as fertiliser, seed stock, and key industries. That is compounded by the effects of almost 11 years of enforced neglect because of the sanctions. The proposed changes are nowhere near what is needed. As The Economist, the conservative British weekly, said, "The British proposal of 'smart sanctions' offers an aspirin where surgery is called for" (The Economist, 24th February 2001).

A. There are still too many banned items in the new proposal. While the Secretary General has clearly called for the allowed list of items to include everything not on the so-called "1051 list" of possible dual-use items which might require end-use monitoring or outright bans (Secretary-General's report, 14 May 2001, para 125, the new proposal has a new 30-page list of banned items, which Security Council members were only recently allowed to see (

B. The British proposal would allow more commodities into Iraq, but will not address the fundamental problem of low purchasing power of the vast majority of Iraqis. Presently, and also under the "new" sanctions, Iraqi people who are employed are paid low wages, with a greatly devalued currency. In 1989, 0.31 Dinar=$1. In 2001, 1780 dinars=$1 ( In the centre and south of Iraq, no money is allowed to Iraq from the Oil-for-Food programme. This does not appear to change with the "new" sanctions, even though the Secretary General has repeatedly stressed the need for a "cash component" in the Oil for Food programme (S-G report, 14 May 2001, para 127

C. More commodities will not address the need to rebuild the country:

1)" ... the humanitarian situation in Iraq will continue to be a dire one in the absence of a sustained revival of the Iraqi economy which in turn cannot be achieved solely through remedial humanitarian efforts" (UN Humanitarian Panel Report, March 1999

2) Oil-for-food "does not contain the elements of comprehensive planning and economic revival that we believe to be essential in order to reverse the dangerously degraded state of the country's civilian infrastructure and social services" (Human Rights Watch, January 2000

3) "An emergency commodity assistance programme like oil-for-food, no matter how well funded or well run, cannot reverse the devastating consequences of war and then ten years of virtual shut-down of Iraq's economy." (Human Rights Watch, August 2000

4) Oil-for-food was "never intended ... to be a substitute for normal economic activity" (UN Secretary-General's Report, March 2001), the absence of which "has given rise to the spread of deep-seated poverty" (Secretary-General's Report, 29 November 2000

D. Smart sanctions do not lift the almost complete ban on foreign investment, necessary because Iraq's infrastructural and reconstruction needs are so severe:

1) Concerns about Iraq's civilian infrastructure, expressed since 1991, were dramatically underscored last August when Iraq's Mussaiyab power station failed completely, bringing the national power grid close to "a catastrophic system failure" (S-G report of 29 November 2000, para 99

2) "The deterioration in Iraq's civilian infrastructure is so far reaching that it can only be reversed with extensive investment and development efforts.' (Human Rights Watch, and others, August 2000

3) "Regardless of the improvements that might be brought about - in terms of approval procedures, better performance by the Iraqi Government, or funding levels - the magnitude of the humanitarian needs is such that they cannot be met within the context of [the oil-for-food programme] ... Nor was the programme intended to meet all the needs of the Iraqi people ... Given the present state of the infrastructure, the revenue required for its rehabilitation is far above the level available under the programme.'(UN Humanitarian Panel, March 1999

E. Oil for Food imposes on Iraq an externally-controlled centrally-planned economy. Attempts at planning are handicapped by constant holds on computers and telecommunications equipment necessary for co-ordination (S-G report of 14 May 2001, para 105 The difficulties of this central planning for the Iraqi government are insurmountable:

"With the increased funding level and the growing magnitude and scope of the programme, the whole tedious and time-consuming process of the preparation and approval of the distribution plan and its annexes are no longer in step with current realities." (S-G report, 14 May 2001, para 129

The result is that the Iraqi government bureaucracy is completely unable to keep up with needed procurements.

F. Under these "new" sanctions, Iraq will still not have control over its own major source of income -- oil. The UK proposal requires that money Iraq earns from oil sales continue to be deposited into an escrow account controlled by the UN Security Council. Thus the US and the UK would retain the power to make decisions about when, where and most importantly, whether resources could be purchased to restore the health of Iraq's people and economy. At the present time, the US and UK have $3.71 billion in goods on "hold," preventing them from reaching the Iraqi people (S-G report, 14 May 2001, para 18

Iraq cannot use funds placed in the escrow account to contract for goods and services locally, but only for contracting with foreign companies. The result is often that it pays far more than necessary and that local enterprise is discouraged.


Most of the world is no longer ready to tolerate the sanctions. The resumption of plane flights into Iraq and the signing of trade agreements between Iraq and its traditional trading partners are signals that if the policy continues countries will start to openly violate it. Furthermore, thanks largely to the efforts of anti-sanctions activists, the world has realised that the sanctions regime and specifically the United States are to blame for most if not all of the suffering in Iraq. In a press briefing on March 8, Colin Powell put it this way "Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime had successfully put the burden on us as denying the wherewithal for civilians and children in Iraq to live and to get the nutrition and the health care they needed."

Smart sanctions are an attempt by the US and British governments to spin things so that they are no longer blamed for the suffering that will certainly continue in Iraq under their plan as a British diplomat recently told reporters, "If our proposals are adopted by the Security Council, Iraq will have no excuse for the suffering of the Iraqi people"


In both quotes there is an indication that the motivation for "smart sanctions" is less to alleviate the suffering in Iraq than to try to remove the blame from the shoulders of the US and Britain As another anonymous British official said of smart sanctions, "It may be that all there will be is a change of presentation to re-focus domestic and international opinion on Saddam" (quoted in the Daily Telegraph, 21 February 2001).


Currently, 25% of the proceeds from Iraq's oil sales are diverted to the UN Compensation Commission, which processes claims for damages by victims of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. One previous victim was the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, which was awarded $15.9 billion in October 2000 ( Several US multinational corporations also have claims before the Commission.

Before the KPC award, 30% of oil proceeds went to the UNCC, but the award aroused so much opposition from some members on the Security Council (oil-rich corporations taking food and medicine from starving children) that they were able to get UN Security Council Resolution 1330 ( passed, cutting the amount to 25%.

The new British proposal would restore the UNCC's cut to 30% (, ostensibly to create a fund to "compensate Iraq's neighbours for future losses." This would be taking away revenue desperately needed by Iraq for reconstruction and basic needs.

What is needed is a dismantling of the escrow account and (at least) an indefinite suspension of compensation payments.

Article Index

Ireland’s June 7 Nice Referendum

The Republic of Ireland is to hold a referendum on June 7 on the ratification of the Treaty of Nice, a treaty which paves the way for the enlargement of the EU. The date had originally been set for May but was postponed because of foot-and-mouth disease.

The Irish government is campaigning in favour of a "Yes" vote, and the opposition parties of Fine Gael and Labour also support ratification. Sinn Fein, Greens and Independents oppose ratification. It is suggested that, although the referendum is likely to endorse the treaty, it is not a foregone conclusion, since there is growing opposition among the Irish people for EU membership.

On the same day as the Nice vote, constitutional referendums will be held on prohibiting capital punishment and amending the Irish constitution so that it recognises the International Criminal Court which is being set up in the Hague.

Although the Nice Treaty must be ratified by all 15 existing EU members to come into effect, only Ireland is putting the issue to a referendum.

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World Bank Demonstration on African Liberation Day

A crowd of women, men and children kept up a two hour salvo of speeches and chanting outside the World Bank offices in London on Saturday, May 26, to mark African Liberation Day this year. Organised by the African Liberation Support Campaign (ALISC), the event took place on one of the busiest streets in central London.

"Africa Needs Liberation Not Charity", said one placard; "The Debt Is A Fraud", said another. Africans and supporters of African liberation crowded the pavement to hear speakers from Ivory Coast, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Angola, and from British-based organisations.

Every speaker emphasised that the World Bank and the IMF are committing genocide and robbery in Africa. This means more work and suffering for women particularly, it was pointed out. African governments, who implement the IMF's structural adjustment policies and pocket "loans" from the World Bank, must be fought against. Why should people have to grow coffee or flowers or sugar, none of which feeds them? Resistance to the IMF and World Bank has been going in Africa on for years, speakers said, and this resistance needs support from people in the north.

As well as individuals from the anti-capitalist movement and various Pan-Africanists, at the demonstration there were members of the Socialist Party, Black Women for Wages for Housework, Workers' International, Railway, Maritime and Transport trade union, English Collective of Prostitutes, the Anti Terrorism Act Campaign, Peace and Liberation - Tamil Eelam and Sri Lanka, The Group (Ivory Coast), Fight Racism Fight Imperialism, Red Pepper, New Communist Party, Campaign Against Privatisation, the International Liaison Committee, and the All African People's Revolutionary Movement & Liberation Army.

"Freedom Now!", "Brick By Brick, Wall By Wall, We Will Stop The IMF!", "We Can Do It, We Will do It!" were some of the chants the demonstrators kept up. They expressed the determination to liberate Africa from the colonialism which exists even now, shaped by the IMF and World Bank.

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Russia Cancels $4.8 billion Ethiopian Debt

Ethiopia reported on May 30 that Russia had cancelled $4.8 billion (around £3.4 billion) of debt which had been incurred by the former regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam.

The lead of Ethiopia’s loan and investment department, Teklu Teferra, told the Ethiopian News Agency that Russia had so far cancelled 80% of debts. The remaining 20% of the loan has been included in the debt reduction and rescheduling programme of the Paris Club of creditor nations, of which Russia is a member, Teklu Teferra said. Russia made the debt reduction following a series of negotiations with the Ethiopian government, he added.

Ethiopia owes external creditors $5.5 billion (around £3.9 billion) in debt, of which $2.9 billion (around £2 billion) was obtained from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other international credit institutions, Teklu Teferra said. Much of Ethiopia’s foreign debt is expected to be written off this year under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative designed by the World Bank and the IMF.

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UN Completes Decolonisation Seminar in Havana

The United Nations completed a three-day decolonisation seminar in Havana, Cuba, on May 25.

The seminar attracted a record number of participants who focused on new challenges facing the world’s Non-Self-Governing Territories. The seminar was attended by 124 participants, which was more than any such event held over the past decade. It adopted a report containing a series of recommendations for the General Assembly’s "Special Committee of 24", a committee which deals with decolonisation issues.

The Chairman of the Special Committee, Julian R Hunte, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Saint Lucia, said that at the beginning of the 21st century, the business of decolonisation was not something to be relegated to the back burner. "To be free no matter how small they are – that is what the Committee is about," he said.

Cuba’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Abelardo Moreno Fernandez, told participants that peoples of the Southern hemisphere were being "recolonised" as problems of debt, unequal trade terms, contagious diseases and a lack of drinking water worsened. He said that the Special Committee’s regional seminars were important not only to supplement the Committee’s work but also as a vehicle to inform international opinion on everything that remained to be done in order to achieve decolonisation, and on the important role played by the UN in pursuit of that goal.

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Letter to the Editor

Questioning Which Countries are "Self-Governing"

In WDIE of May 25, a list of non-self-administering states, sourced from the UN was printed. It is a useful thing to highlight that the evils of colonialism still persist in our world into the 21st century.

Two states which were not mentioned on the list of 17 which I am aware, other readers maybe able to add others, of are Guadeloupe and Martinique, islands in the Caribbean which are currently part of the French colonial territories. I was wondering if it is known why they did not make the list, and what others might make a comprehensive list? Needless to say there are many peoples and nations within recognised UN member states which may or may not have some form of self administration but are not really "self determining" but this is another part of the coin in which the UN is increasingly negating its responsibility to uphold.

I am aware of the debate going on at the moment about the upcoming UN conference against racism and xenophobia, to take place in South Africa, in which Britain and other western powers are trying to force the African and Caribbean countries from pushing for the trans-Atlantic slave trade being acknowledged as a crime against humanity. As these western powers dominate the UN’s decision-making processes rather than its decisions reflecting the collective sentiment of its member states based on upholding the principles of its founding charter, it seems to me that its more dependent on the results of brinkmanship.

East London Reader

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For Your Information:

The Government of Guadeloupe and Martinique

Guadeloupe: Guadeloupe is administered by a prefect, appointed by the French Ministry of the Interior. The local legislature consists of a 43-seat general council, elected by popular vote, which sits for six years, and a 41-seat regional council made up of the locally-elected councillors and the two senators and four deputies elected to the French parliament. Guadeloupe also sends two councillors to the Economic and Social Council in Paris. Political parties include the Socialist Party, the Communist Party, Union for French Democracy, Union for the Liberation of Guadeloupe and Rally for the Republic.

Martinique: Martiniquans are French citizens and Martinique, a Department, is officially and administratively part of France. The President of the French Republic is Head of State. Local government is headed by a Prefect (for France), the President of the General Council (for Martinique) and the President of the Regional Council (for Martinique). There are two legislative bodies: the General Council (45 seats, elected for six years) and the Regional Council (41 seats). It is represented by four directly elected Deputies to the National Assembly in Paris, by two indirectly elected Senators in the Senate and by one representative on the Economic and Social Council. The General Council votes on matters of interest to the department, administers and manages local services and allocates funds to the local councils: communes. Martinique has 34 communes, each with a mayor and elected municipal council.


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International Fact-finding Team Accuses US of Wartime Atrocities in Korea

An international fact-finding team, headed by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, visited the DPRK between May 15 and 19 to investigate the cases of massacre committed by US troops during the 1950-53 Korean War.

During its five-day visit, the international group to probe the truth behind GI's atrocities inspected scenes of massacres committed by US troops, heard testimonies of survivors and discussed matters with the DPRK officials concerned. The Korea International War Crimes Tribunal on US Troop Massacres of Civilians during the Korean War is to be held from June 23 to 25 in New York, when the evidence will be presented.

The investigation team visited Sinchon County in South Hwanghae Province to conduct an inquiry in the Sinchon Massacre, and visited the Sinchon War Museum, collecting documents and materials on the massacre and hearing testimonies of victims. The US troops, after occupying Sinchon County, killed 35,383 innocent people in the county or a quarter of the total population of the county from October 17 to December 17, 1950. In the DPRK, the Sinchon massacre is a symbol of the US troops' wartime massacre.

Ramsey Clark noted that the US government, afraid of the disclosure of its wartime atrocities to the world, has tried to cover up the truth, stressing that victims' testimonies were of great importance. They exposed part of the US's history of aggression against Korea and would be widely used to let many people know about the sufferings imposed by the US on the Korean people.

The fact-finding team also held talks in Pyongyang with survivors of the Korean War and collected their testimonies about US troops' mass killings of civilians, indiscriminate bombing by the US Air Force and its use of germ bombs.

The former US attorney general said that facts probed and testimonies made by victims would be made public at the upcoming international war crimes tribunal to be held in New York.

In a press conference held on May 18 in Pyongyang, Ramsey Clark said that he had "the urgent task to let people know about the misfortunes and sufferings the Korean people have undergone since the US forces occupied South Korea in 1945".

"We will strive to let people of the world have a correct understanding of Korea and war crimes committed by the GIs," he added.

The investigation team also said, in a press conference in Seoul after wrapping up its five-day visit to North Korea, that it witnessed the severity of the US wartime crimes committed in North Korea during the Korean War. The team said that the US crimes were much severer than those committed in South Korea in the scale of damage and degree of cruelty.

Referring to the facts that the US still stations its armed forces in south Korea and maintains the condition of the division of Korea, Ramsey Clark pointed out that the US still persistently makes vicious propaganda against the DPRK to cover up the truth about its war crimes.

Stressing that the biggest scar left by the Korean War was the division of Korea, he said that the US's policy of maintaining the division of Korea should be punished as "a crime against peace" in the New York war crimes tribunal.

Brian Becker, a joint chairman of the International Action Centre, said he would make every effort for the withdrawal of the US troops from South Korea and for a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

In September 1999, Associated Press began publishing a series of articles based on an investigation of the massacre that took place in the south Korean village of Rogun-ri in July 1950.

Faced with the increasing demand at home and abroad for a thorough inquiry into the truth about the incident, the US and South Korea formed a joint investigation body to probe the Rogun-ri massacre.

But their 15-month-long joint investigation of the massacre produced a joint investigation report which evaded liabilities of the government and the armed forces of the US for their active commitment in the massacre. Lame duck President Clinton supported this US no-fault conclusion, issuing a statement of "regret", which the survivors denounced as a total whitewash.

The historic people's war crimes tribunal is scheduled to be convened on June 23 in New York, co-sponsored by the Korea Truth Commission on US Military Massacres of Civilians, the International Action Centre, a US national progressive organisation, and Veterans for Peace, a veterans' group in the US.

The tribunal will judge cases of massacre committed by the US armed forces from 1945 to 1953 and crimes committed by the USFK against South Korean people after the truce of the Korean War.

Kitandra Shandra, former justice of the Indian Supreme Court, will serve as presiding judge. Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, former justice of the South Korean Constitutional Court Pyon Jong Su and a north Korean lawyer will form a joint prosecution panel.

Ramsey Clark said that one of the main purposes of the New York war crimes tribunal is to expose the US war of aggression against Korea in order to "raise international public opinion that the US should not interfere in the matters of the Korean nation and prepare a favourable situation for Korea's reunification", as well as to thoroughly probe the truth behind war crimes.

In the war crimes tribunal, victims in North and South Korea and in foreign countries will give testimonies on war crimes committed by US troops. A joint judging panel will be formed by lawyers from 16 nations which participated in the Korean War as members of the US-led UN Forces.

The Korea Truth Commission, a pan-national coalition of civic groups, was organised in June 2000, participated in by civic organisations of North, South and overseas Koreans, after the political parties and organisations of North Korea issued a joint appeal to their South Korean counterparts and overseas Koreans to unfold a more active nation-wide struggle to disclose and condemn the US wartime massacre of Korean civilians.

While activities for investigation in the US wartime massacres of civilians had been severely restricted in south Korea for a long time, the DPRK established a national fact-finding committee in July 1950, the month following the breakout of the Korean War, to probe US war crimes. Ever since the cease-fire of the war, the committee has conducted a systematic investigation, widening its scope of activity to crimes committed by the USFK in South Korea.

Jong Gi Ryol, secretary-general of the joint secretariat of the Korea Truth Commission, announced that North and South Korean lawyers would meet in Beijing on June 17 to draw up a joint indictment to be presented to the forthcoming Korea international war crimes tribunal. He also informed that Ramsey Clark, lawyer Michael Choe and other lawyers plan to file a suit in a US court against the US government for the war crimes committed by its armed forces during the Korean War.

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Interview with Ramsey Clark, Former US Attorney General:

US Atrocities Are Not Things of the Past

Q: What is the significance of the war crimes tribunal to be held in the US?

A: During the 20th century, the Korean people have been forced to suffer severe agony by the US.

The Korean people were victims of atrocious crimes in the US-launched Korean War from 1950 to 1953. In the three-year war, about six million Korean people were sacrificed, and four million of the total war dead were civilians, not combatants. Immoral massacres and indiscriminate napalm- or germ-bombing by the US troops took their lives.

But the world knows only distorted facts about this, because mass media and major powers of the world have schemed to cover up the truth on a large scale for fear of the disclosure of facts about US troops' atrocities. So, we have an important duty to make public the truth of history.

Q: What is your point of view on judging the US forces' war crimes?

A: We should take a correct viewpoint in investigating the atrocities committed by the US troops. The US's systematic massacres started in September 2, 1945, the day when the US forces landed on Inchon Port. The US put protesters and communists in prison, tortured and, what is worse, killed them. Even after the conclusion of the armistice agreement in 1953, the US stationed and continues to station its troops in south Korea, inflicting the pain of national division on the Korean nation up to now by, dividing the Korean Peninsula in two.

It is another aspect of the US-committed barbarous acts that the US has made military threats to and an economic blockade against the DPRK. The US has persistently continued vicious propaganda, which labels Pyongyang and the people of the DPRK as "devils" to justify its aggressive Korean policy.

Why has the US, which desperately crushed communism in the Cold War era, still clung to vicious propaganda against the DPRK even after the end of the Cold War? This is because the US is afraid of the main factor for the DPRK's victory over severe trials imposed by the outside forces being made public.

Exaggerating a "threat" by the DPRK, the US is now trying to force the DPRK to reduce its military force to half. But 37,000 strong US forces are stationed in South Korea, and nuclear weapons are deployed in the whole area of South Korea. Which is the real threat? The answer is obvious.

During my visit to the DPRK, I could see the reality of the DPRK that all the people were advancing their way through many hardships and making a firm onward march toward a bright future.

We will show the people of the world what the DPRK really is as well as reveal the truth about the war crimes committed by the US.

Q: How do you evaluate the US Korean policy?

A: I am one of the persons who experienced for a long time the process of enforcement of the US's foreign policy. Historically, the US committed bloody massacres often under the mask of a "liberator". A hard-and-fast principle in analysing the US's external policy is never to blindly accept what the US says and does, and never to have any sweet visions of them.

With the Associated Press report in 1999 on the Rogun-ri massacre, the world came to know that US troops had committed a massacre of civilians in Rogun-ri, South Korea, during the Korean War. The then President Clinton said that he would do anything for the settlement of the Rogun-ri issue, but what changed? Nothing changed. Far from changing favourably, the situation is getting more serious after the Bush Administration was inaugurated. The DPRK-US relations came to a standstill, in spite of the hope that the bilateral relations were expected to improve.

Q: What is your opinion on the issue of the withdrawal of the USFK?

A: The US has stationed its troops in south Korea, attaching strategic significance to the Korean Peninsula, which is surrounded by China, Russia and Japan. No country can enjoy freedom or peace if foreign troops continue to stay in it.

In the US, the Korean War is called "a forgotten war". But I think that Korean people can never forget the barbarous acts committed by US forces. Searching for truth and reconciliation are closely related with each other. First, the US should begin with recognising the atrocities it committed, and then it should put an end to barbarous crimes that still continue. This is really the best way for the US to contribute to the reunification of Korea.

We should raise international public opinion to put pressure to make the US withdraw from Korea. That is why we wage a campaign to accuse the US of its war crimes and to tell the truth about its wartime massacres of civilians to the world.

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