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Repeating History with Iran

Repeating History with Iran
by Jacob G. Hornberger

A French court recently recognized the idiocy of one of the U.S. government’s attempts to enforce its sanctions against Iran by denying the government’s request to extradite an Iranian businessman for allegedly violating the sanctions. U.S. prosecutors were alleging that the businessman, Majid Kakavand, violated the sanctions by exporting goods from the United States that could be used in weapons manufacturing.

Apparently, U.S. prosecutors took the position that by importing the items into Iran, Kakavand violated U.S. law that prohibits the exportation of the goods. In other words, in the minds of the prosecutors, importing is the same as exporting because when you import an item, it must be exported for you to import it.

Kakavand happened to be traveling in France when U.S. officials requested his arrest and extradition. Oddly, he did not oppose the extradition request on the same ground that the U.S. government has opposed Venezuela’s request for the extradition of suspected terrorist Luis Posada Carriles — a legitimate and well-grounded fear of being tortured. Instead, Kakavand simply claimed that the U.S. allegation that the imported items could be used for weaponry was ridiculous, pointing out that they wouldn’t have even “needed special customs clearance if they had been exported from a EU country.”

The French court agreed with Kakavand, denied the extradition request, and ordered the man’s release. Perhaps the court was familiar with how U.S. officials had used the so-called “dual use” game against the Iraqi people during the 11 years of brutal sanctions against Iraq.

The best accounts of the deadly game that U.S. sanctions bureaucrats employed against Iraq have been set forth in excruciating detail by Joy Gordon, in her article “Cool War: Economic Sanctions as a Weapon of Mass Destruction” and in her insightful new book Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions, which I highly recommend.

We shouldn’t forget that just as the U.S. government has gone after that private Iranian businessman for supposedly violating the government’s sanctions against Iran, it did the same thing to Americans who violated the government’s sanctions against Iraq.

What made the situation in Iraq even worse, however, is that some of the people they went after weren’t even accused of helping Iraq with its (nonexistent) WMD program. Instead, they went after them because they had committed the dastardly crime of trying to save Iraqi children from the brutal effects of the sanctions.

During the Persian Gulf War, the Pentagon intentionally destroyed Iraq’s water and sewage facilities after it conducted a study confirming that this would help spread infectious illnesses among the Iraqi people, especially through the drinking of untreated, sewage-infested water. As Gordon documents in her book, U.S. sanctions bureaucrats then used the sanctions to prevent the Iraqis from repairing the water-and-sewage facilities.

The Pentagon’s study proved to be right. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children died as a result of the sanctions. The U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright told “Sixty Minutes” in 1996 (five years before the sanctions were finally lifted) that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children were “worth it.”

Continue reading: http://www.fff.org/blog/jghblog2010-05-13.asp

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Oh, that's right,

they hate us for our freedoms.