News Release

* Penn on ‘Larry King’ * Halliday Back from Iraq


Actor and director Sean Penn appeared on CNN’s “Larry King” program on Saturday night. When King asked if he hesitated to go to Iraq “because you have children,” Penn replied: “Well, I went because I have children.” The full text of the interview is available at:

Halliday is a former head of the UN oil-for-food program and a former UN Assistant Secretary General. He has just returned from Iraq and is available for a limited number of interviews. He said today: “In talking with people in the street and with Iraqi families, there was a tangible fear of the renewed horrors of bombing, missiles and war. One family I visited have their three months supply of food rations in the house (partially to avoid U.S. bombing of food warehouses as in the past), and were preparing to drill a well in the garden, but felt very fearful for their lives and the lives of their children under American bombing. The sense is that children already overhearing their parents talking of war are suffering psychologically….

“My own added fear is of American usage of depleted uranium on Baghdad and other cities — adding to destructive capacity but leaving behind contamination with a half-life of some 4.5 billion years. Massive outbreaks of various cancers, now seen primarily in the Basra area, would result….

“Amongst officials I found an overwhelming sense that nothing would stop Bush except perhaps the American people. They have no faith in the Arab League or Arab leaders having the guts to defend the people of Iraq or its sovereignty. Likewise the leaders of the European Union are seen as weak, seeking only their self-interest rather than genuine concern for the human rights of the Iraqis. The sense was that for the EU, such niceties as international law and UN credibility were secondary to their anxiety to please the Bush regime and thereby assure themselves of a slice of the Iraqi oil cake when occupation is complete.”

Kelly is coordinator of Voices in the Wilderness, a group which has openly challenged the economic sanctions against Iraq.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167