Uncomfortable facts

In his eccentric reply to John Pilger on Iraq (Letters, 20 November), Peter Hain asserts "fact" over "polemic". Here is one fact, culled from an article by Alain Gresh in October's Le Monde Diplomatique; it concerns not oil-for-food, but oil-for-compensation: "The Kuwaiti Petroleum Corporation, and a few others, were awarded this year, in just one payment, $15.9bn - which is double the amount the Baghdad government received between 1996 and 2000 to feed and care for 17 million people." Further, Iraq will have to pay until 2070 for wreaking "loss and damage" during the occupation of Kuwait.

Adrian Kozlowski
Moseley, Birmingham

The day Peter Hain's letter was published, Reuters reported that the 120th person had been executed in Saudi Arabia this year, compared with 99 in 1999. This year's executions are up by 23 per cent in relation to last year's figures. This is a regime that receives accolade and support from Hain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Mohammed Ahmed Khan
Pakistan Progressive Forum
London SW15

This article first appeared in the 27 November 2000 issue of the New Statesman, The rise of stealthy wealth