BARRATT, Paul. Top Australian defence official who launched 2003 UK Medact Report estimating up to 50,000 Iraqis had died in the first 9 months of the Iraq War: "we now have quite clear international legal obligations...Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention... Article 56"

Paul Barratt AO according to the Australian ABC (the Australian equivalent of the UK BBC) “ has had over 40 years’ experience of policy advising and international negotiations in the areas of defence, foreign relations, international trade and climate change. After completing an honours degree in physics he joined the Department of Defence as a scientific intelligence analyst. He undertook an intensive course at the Australian School of Nuclear Science and Engineering and completed a second degree, in economics and Asian Civilisations. He has been Secretary to the Department of Defence, Secretary to the Federal Department responsible for mining, oil & gas, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, Deputy Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Department and of the Trade Department, Special Trade Representative for North Asia, and Executive Director of Australia’s leading business roundtable. He is now an independent consultant, and a director of Australia 21 Limited” (see: ).

Paul Barratt interviewed after launching the 2003 UK Medact Report that estimated that up to 50,000 Iraqis had died in the first 9 months of the Iraq War (March-November, 2003): “There are two areas that it covers. First is the direct casualties due to war, but very importantly it covers all of the indirect consequences of war through breakdown of the medical system, chronic malnutrition leading to low birth weight for children and malnutrition-related diseases, and all those things that have to do with the breakdown of the civilian infrastructure, such as electricity, water, sanitation, unavailability of clean water, things like that… You have direct military casualties and civilian casualties. That is why war should be a last resort and in any civilised society it should only be resorted to when all other avenues have been exhausted, when there's a clear and present danger, which clearly was lacking in this case. Because… well, to my mind one of the important things about this report is the extent to which it shines a light on all of the side-effects of war, all of the things that happened to the civilian community, no matter how precise the weapons might be… We are, whether we like it or not, we are an occupying power. We voluntarily joined the Coalition of the Willing, we put combat forces, we deployed combat forces to the battle zone and we have participated in the destruction that's been done to Iraq and we now have quite clear international legal obligations… [re Occupier obligations] Ah, well, there's a great variety of them. But in relation to occupying powers, Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention requires the occupying powers to ensure the continued flow of food and medical supplies to the occupied population, and Article 56 requires that we do the systemic things that preserve health. That we take measures to prevent the spread of contagious disease, that we keep the hospital system going, that we vaccinate people. We've become responsible for all that… Well, I can understand why the Government doesn't want troops on the ground in Iraq. We have some officials and advisers there. What it really means is a financial commitment, to my mind, a financial commitment commensurate with the financial commitment we made to the war. Now, we won't get much change out of a billion dollars for the war. I think our commitment so far for the peace is more like $100-million, so a tenth of that. I would like to see us make a bigger contribution to ensuring the peace… For people who think that warfare and distant places doesn't affect them, some very interesting research published by the World Bank earlier this year, which shows that 95 per cent of the hard drugs that hit the streets of the West are produced in areas that have had civil war conflict let alone larger conflicts, that warfare plays a major role in the spread of contagious disease. The spread of HIV really got a massive head start through the civil war in Uganda. It was basically infected troops raping on a large scale. And thirdly, terrorist groups need areas that are beyond government control, beyond the control of governments, for training purposes. Now, the way I see Iraq, we've actually created an unstable area where terrorism can flourish rather than assist the development of peace.” [1].

[1]. Paul Barratt interviewed by Ben Knight, “” Up to 50,000 civilians died in Iraq war: report”, ABC Radio National, The World Today, 12 November 2003: .