The Dr. Dhafir Support Committee met with Denis Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary General, on Thursday afternoon, June 28th, this was followed by an evening panel discussion at Syracuse University Maxwell School. Halliday spoke about the sanctions and their effects on the Iraqi civilian population. He resigned after 34 years with the UN because the policy of sanctions against Iraq undermined “not only the UN’s own charter, but the Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention as well.” About one hundred people attended and we will have the video of the panel discussion available online soon.

Despite excellent publicity by someone on the support committee–announcements, press release, and follow up–the mainstream media chose not to cover the event, not the announcement, press conference or panel discussion; there was no mention at all. As John Pilger often says quoting Harold Pinter, “It didn’t happen.”

Fortunately Brian Dominick, formerly of The New Standard, covered the event for the Syracuse Peace Council Newsletter and his article will be in the September Peace Newsletter. The New Standard did some excellent early coverage of Rafil’s case, including two articles by Madelaine Baran: “The Terrorism Case That Wasn’t” and, “As ‘Help the Needy’ Charity Trial Nears, Case Further Politicizes.”

See John Pilger’s documentary on Iraq, Paying The Price: Killing The Children Of Iraq. This film shows the overwhelming man-made humanitarian catastrophe that Dr. Dhafir was responding to in founding his charity Help the Needy. Denis Halliday is in the documentary. Pilger’s interview with James Rubin, Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Chief Spokesman for the State Department under President Clinton, has to be seen to be believed.

“Sanctions enforced by the UN on Iraq since the Gulf War have killed more people than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945, including over half a million children – many of whom weren’t even born when the Gulf War began.” John Pilger The New Rulers of the World.

Broadcast 03/06/2000 ITV Runtime 75 Minutes