IRAQ ACTION ALERT: Send Coloured Tape to U.S. Congress

in:

CPTnet
May 1, 2003
IRAQ ACTION ALERT: Send Coloured Tape to U.S. Congress

"We don't have any orange tape left," said Captain
Payne to CPT- Iraq member Lisa Martens. Martens had
requested that a large quantity of unexploded
munitions in one particular residential area of
Baghdad be marked off with tape until it could be
cleaned up by Unexploded Ordnance Engineers. This
conversation was not the first time U.S. Army
personnel had told CPT members that they did not have
enough bright-coloured tape to mark the
site, enough engineers to clean it up, or enough
personnel to keep children out of the potentially
lethal area.

Sites in residential areas with dangerous unexploded
munitions are left unguarded, while the U.S. Army has
put Iraq's Oil Ministry under heavy guard. CPT has
been told more than once by military spokespeople, "We
lack the resources" when the team has asked them to
act on behalf of Iraqi civilians. On one recent day,
a driver took CPT to ten different sites in one corner
of Baghdad which contained unexploded U.S. munitions
or abandoned stocks of Iraqi munitions, including
20-foot missiles, mortar rounds, land mines, and
rocket-propelled grenades.

Christian Peacemaker Teams members have been
monitoring the particular site described earlier for
more than a week, and have reported it to U.S. Army
personnel on several occasions, often using maps and
digital photos to pin-point the location (see report
below.) Twice, CPT has led or directed military
personnel to the site. They saw for themselves the
hundreds of unexploded munitions spread out within
metres of streets, sidewalks and
houses. They also saw children walking in and around
the area. U.S. Army Capt. Payne and Sgt. Ayers told
CPT on different occasions that these munitions are
unstable and especially dangerous because they are
partially burnt and crushed.

When Christian Peacemaker Teams members asked U.S.
Staff Sgt. Pinkston to have the U.S. Army clean up the
site right away, he replied that it is just one of
many similar sites in Baghdad and that Ordnance
Personnel are striving to clean-up "as fast as they
can." Another soldier told the team that the Ordnance
Engineers are two weeks behind schedule.

NBC News reporter Dr. Bob Arnot visited this site and
referred to it in a story about Baghdad children being
maimed and killed by unexploded munitions. CPT met
with Iraqi Red Crescent Society
officials about a four-year-old boy in the
neighbourhood who lost his sight when he picked up a
cluster bomblet. They also met with the International
Committee of the Red Cross who said that they have
reminded the U.S. of its obligations as an Occupying
Power under the Geneva Conventions to remove
unexploded ordnance. This clean-up could take two to
five years.

CPT INVITES YOU to send pieces or even rolls of the
bright-coloured tape, which authorities ordinarily
use to mark off dangerous sites, to your
congresspersons, or the U.S, Ambassador to your
country. Send it with a letter and /or phone calls
urging them to make protecting civilians a higher
priority than protecting the Oil Ministry. See sample
letter below.
-----------------------

To contact your congressperson or senator write his or
her name above these addresses:

U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510

If you need the name or further information like fax
or email for your Congressperson please check the
following sites

http://www.senate.gov
http://www.house.gov

President: president@whitehouse.gov

You will find the address US Embassy and name of the
US Ambassador
at http://usembassy.state.gov

Dear [Congressperson or Ambassador]

Peace to you. Our CPT Media Team in Baghdad reports
significant and immediate danger from hundreds of
sites containing unexploded munitions. Many of these
sites are in residential areas. As a result, children
and other civilians are being maimed and killed when
the munitions are accidentally set off. Your
influence is needed immediately to put an end to this.

On several occasions, U.S. military personnel have
told our team that US Forces do not have enough
bright-coloured tape to mark off dangerous sites, or
enough personnel to guard each one, or enough
demolition specialists to clean them up quickly. At
the same time, however, there are plenty of soldiers
assigned to guarding the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad.
I urge you to use your influence to ensure that
international or locally developed demolition teams
are deployed to Baghdad and other areas in need, along
 with plenty of bright-coloured tape. This will assure
Iraqis that the U.S. values their lives and the lives
of their children more highly than Iraq's oil..

Yours truly
[Your name]

------------------------------------------

Report on One Unexploded Ordnance Site in Baghdad
Christian Peacemaker Teams - Iraq
April 30, 2003

April 22, 2003
Christian Peacemaker Team members Scott Kerr, Lisa
Martens and Voices in the Wilderness member Cynthia
Banas were driving near the intersection of 14
Ramadhan Street and the Bridge to the Ramady
Expressway in Baghdad. They saw unexploded munitions
around blown-up Iraqi military vehicles on the
median between the streets and under the overpass.
They documented the scene with digital photography and
video.

The ordnance appeared to include mortar shells, small
rockets, and land-mines. From an initial inspection,
many appeared to be partly burned but probably still
active.

The same day, Kerr notified Captain Robbins of the
U.S. Army near the Palestine Hotel. Kerr gave the
approximate location and Robbins indicated he would
pass the message up his chain of command. He also
said that Kerr could find a military detachment closer
to the site and should give that detachment the same
information.

April 23
Kerr and Martens stopped at the Iraqi National Museum,
about a 10 minute drive from the underpass, and talked
with Lieutenant Colonel Joe Rice from the 308th
Civilian Affairs Brigade about the same site. He
assured CPT