April, 2005 — Aiden Delgado: 23-year-old mechanic spent six months helping to run the now-infamous Abu Ghraib prison outside of Baghdad, witness to widespread U.S. war crimes in Iraq:
“'Hajji' is the new slur, the new ethnic slur for Arabs and Muslims.   It is used extensively in the military.   The Arabic word refers to one who has gone on a pilgrimage to Mecca.   But it is used in the military with the same kind of connotation as 'gook,' 'Charlie,' or the n-word.
Official Army documents now use it in reference to Iraqis or Arabs.   It’s real common.   There was really a thick aura of racism.”
The events detailed below have been acknowledged in subsequent articles
The perpetrators however, while they are likely known in Basra, still are not detailed accurately in Western reports, including the one below
Kewe - Kewe.info
Published on Wednesday, March 23, 2005 by the Times/UK
Death at 'Immoral' Picnic in the Park
Students are Beaten to Death for Playing Music as Shia Militiamen Run Amok
by Katherine Philp
THE students had begun to lay out their picnic in the spring sunshine when the men attacked.
“There were dozens of them, armed with guns, and they poured into the park,” Ali al-Azawi, 21, the engineering student who had organized the gathering in Basra, said.
“They started shouting at us that we were immoral, that we were meeting boys and girls together and playing music and that this was against Islam.
“They began shooting in the air and people screamed.   Then, with one order, they began beating us with their sticks and rifle butts.”    Two students were said to have been killed.
Standing over them as the blows rained down was the man who gave the order, dressed in dark clerical garb and wearing a black turban.   Ali recognized him immediately as a follower of Hojatoleslam Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia cleric.
Unknown if US black budget, special operations money is involved
Ali realized then that the armed men were members of Hojatoleslam al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army, a private militia that fought American forces last year and is now enforcing its own firebrand version of Islam.
The picnic had run foul of the Islamist powers that increasingly hold sway in the fly-blown southern city, where religious militias rule the streets, forcing women to don the veil and closing down shops that sell alcohol or music.
In the election in January, the battle between secular and religious forces in Basra came down to the ballot box.   The main Shia alliance triumphed with 70 per cent of the province’s vote, most of the rest going to a secular rival.
That victory has brought to a head the issue of whether Iraq’s new constitution will adopt Islamic law — or Sharia — as most religious Shia leaders desire.
In Basra, however, Islamic militias already are beginning to apply their own version of that law, without authority from above or any challenge from the police.
Students say that there was nothing spontaneous about the attack.
Police were guarding the picnic in the park, as is customary at any large public gathering, but allowed the armed men in without any resistance.
One brought a video camera to record the sinful spectacle of the picnic, footage of which was later released to the public as a warning to others.
Unknown if US black budget, special operations money is involved
It showed images of one girl struggling as a gunman ripped her blouse off, leaving her half-naked.   “We will send these pictures to your parents so they can see how you were dancing naked with men,” a gunman told her.
Two students who went to her aid were shot — one in the leg, the other twice in the stomach.   The latter was said to have died of his injuries.   Fellow students say that the girl later committed suicide.
Another girl who was severely beaten around the head lost her sight.
Far from disavowing the attack, senior al-Sadr loyalists said that they had a duty to stop the students’ “dancing, sexy dress and corruption”.
“We beat them because we are authorized by Allah to do so and that is our duty,” Sheik Ahmed al-Basri said after the attack.   “It is we who should deal with such disobedience and not the police.”
After escaping with two students, Ali reached a police station and asked for help.   “What do you expect me to do about it?”  a uniformed officer asked.
Ali went to the British military base at al-Maakal and pleaded with the duty officer at the gate.   “You’re a sovereign country now.   We can’t help.   You have to go to the Iraqi authorities,” the soldier replied.
When the students tried to organize demonstrations, they were broken up by the Mehdi Army.   Later the university was surrounded by militiamen, who distributed leaflets threatening to mortar the campus if they did not call off the protests.
When the militia began to set up checkpoints and arrest students, Ali fled to Baghdad.
A British spokesman said that troops were unable to intervene unless asked to by the Iraqi authorities.
Colonel Kareem al-Zeidy, Basra’s police chief, pleaded helplessness.   “What can I do?    There is no government, no one to give us authority,” he said.   “The political parties are the most powerful force in Basra right now.”
The students have begun an indefinite strike, but fear that there is little that they can do to stop the march of violent fundamentalism.   Saleh, 21, another engineering student, said: “If this is how they deal with the most educated in Basra, how would they deal with ordinary people?   The soul of our city is at stake.”
© Copyright 2005 Times Newspapers Ltd
Common Dreams © 1997-2005
Sunday, 16 October 2005
Shia militants gaining strength in Basra
Paul Wood
By Paul Wood
BBC defence correspondent, southern Iraq<
Shia militia members in Basra
Shia militias have increasing influence in Basra
Voting on the new constitution was a joyous affair for Iraq's Shias.
It was only the second time in decades they have been able to cast a democratic ballot, following January's election.
In the queues outside polling stations, people were clear about what they thought a "Yes" vote would mean.
"We want to live in an Islamic republic," said one woman dressed in the traditional black abaya.
"That is our religion, so we must have a president who is Islamic too."
The prospect of such an outcome from Iraq's new democratic process causes dread in London and Washington.
But whatever happens nationally, Shia militias — many backed by Iran — are already imposing their own strict version of Islamic Sharia law on the streets of Basra, in southern Iraq.
Students attacked
Local people say three female students at Basra University have been killed for failing to cover themselves in the black abaya and hijab.
This follows a notorious incident in March when gunmen attacked students in a park.
As the police stood by, the gunmen ripped the blouse from one woman, leaving her half-naked.    Two male students who went to help her were shot.
The militia filmed all this, concentrating on the woman's humiliation; she was later said to have committed suicide.
The gunmen, loyal to a radical Shia cleric, distributed a CD of the footage in Basra.
It was a warning to others not to allow men and women to mix in public.
Iraqi women in Basra
Women have complained of human rights abuses
"The militia were hitting us again and again with iron bars and rifle butts," said one of the students.
"I have left Basra with my family now because the militias control all aspects of our lives, because of the killing and the kidnapping."
He went on: "The miserable thing is that the British forces were just watching all this.    They let the militia destroy the rule of law here."
Coalition failing
This student must remain anonymous to protect relatives still in Basra.    But he is not the only one accusing the coalition of failing the people it is supposed to be helping.
Inside the heavily fortified British embassy in Basra, diplomats had gathered a small group of Western-leaning, reform minded, middle class Iraqis.
These were Britain's friends in Basra but they could hardly contain their bitterness.
"The British Army handed the city to the Islamist groups as a gift," one human rights campaigner said.
"People are even saying bring the Americans here.    Some people actually want the Americans instead."
One of the few who does not mind being named, Professor Adel al Thamary of Basra University, told me:
"All in all, our life is worse than when we used to live under Saddam because now we are under fire.    Now we can be killed any time on the streets."
Scaled down
The British Army's response is that what happens on the campus of Basra University is a matter for the Iraqi authorities.
"We can't just go in mob-handed," one British officer said.    "We're supposed to be handing the country back to the Iraqis."
The Iraqi liberals we met at the embassy accepted that they were pleading for the coalition's help because their elected politicians had failed them.
"Our democracy is not a British democracy," one of them said.
"We vote but the outcome if not always good.    Here the Islamist parties control the council."

UK troops in Basra
British troops now often patrol in helicopters
The British army has scaled down its patrols in Basra.    Convoys into Basra have been cut and journeys are undertaken by helicopter if at all possible.
The reason is a new, more lethal kind of roadside bomb which has killed eight British soldiers in the past two months.
The bombs have shaped charges that can punch through an armoured vehicle.    The British government believes Iran is supporting the bombing campaign.
"We are 100% certain there's a connection with Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah in the technology, in the training, and in the route with which it is entering the country," one source said.
Iranian connection
Defence sources also make another specific and damning allegation — that the original expertise in how to make these bombs comes from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
That implicates the Iranian government and not just rogue elements of the security services.
Religious rule would cast Iraq into problems with a beginning but no end
Iyad Allawi
Former Iraqi prime minister
Tehran denies the allegations but British intelligence sources believe specialist bomb makers are being trained in Lebanon and Iran, then returned to southern Iraq to instruct others.
Worryingly, the know-how is spreading, with other militant groups now able to make the bombs.
"It is proliferating," our source said.    "One man can train 10 others."
Basra police
British diplomats say Tehran is doing this in order to tie down the coalition in southern Iraq, and prevent a concerted effort to stop the Iranians developing nuclear weapons.
"A complete collapse in Iraq is not in the Iranians interests," one official said, "but they want to keep us busy here."
It was while trying to interrupt the flow of men and arms from Iran that the two SAS men were detained last month, to be rescued later from a police station.
The links between the Iranian backed militants and some elements in the police seemed to be confirmed last week when British troops raided a house in Basra.
They netted 12 suspects, including three police officers.    This is an effort the British Army is having to carry out on its own, just as it was left to deal alone with the unrest on Basra's streets a month ago.
This is disappointing for the British as the coalition has spent much time and money on training the Iraqi security forces.
One coalition officer outlined the extent of British support for the local police.
The donations, he said, included 24,000 uniforms and flak jackets, 16,000 pistols, 12,000 assault rifles, 6,000 radios, and 1,400 vehicles, including armoured cars.
I asked an Iraqi police commander in Basra why, given all this help, not a single member of the Iraqi security forces had come to the aid of the British Army during the recent troubles.
He smiled apologetically and turned his palms outwards, saying he didn't know the details of the incident.
"It's not surprising," said the army captain with me.    "He knows we'll be gone eventually and we won't be able to help them when that happens."
Political process
The pessimists warn that Iraq's new constitution will only make a civil war between Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish communities more likely.
The UK hopes success in this new political process will create the conditions for a withdrawal of its troops.
But one risk is that even if a stable government is produced in Baghdad, international forces will withdraw from the south leaving behind an autonomous statelet run by militants linked to Iran.
An official in neighbouring Saudi Arabia said: "The constitution will give Iranians or pro-Iranian Iraqis an open hand in seven provinces in the south, to bring them together into an autonomy which will create a Shia republic."
And Iraq's former prime minister, the secular Shia Iyad Allawi, told Reuters: "Religious rule would cast Iraq into problems with a beginning but no end.    It will not stop at the borders of Iraq.    It will spread.    The battles and problems and secret movements and chaos would prevail in the entire region."
The British Army mounted Operation Bugle on Saturday, to provide an outer cordon of security for the refereundum to take place.
In Basra, this meant they kept at least a mile away from the nearest polling station.
The coalition did not want even the impression that it was interfering in the vote.
But it was also a reflection of the tensions between the British Army and a police force they have largely trained and equipped.
Through binoculars, the British soldiers watched the voting.
The coalition can do little more than wait and watch a democratic process which could deliver it from Iraq, or which could only deepen the morass.
Sunday December 11
Iraqi general tells of prison torture horror
AMMAN (AFP) — An Iraqi general formerly in charge of special forces said he witnessed horrific scenes of torture in Iraqi prisons and accused a Shiite militia of being responsible.
"It was horrific.   Thousands of detainees, often teenagers, beaten, burned, receiving electric shocks, then the majority killed," Muntazar al-Samarrai, who fled Iraq for Jordan five months ago, told AFP.
In video footage Samarrai said he filmed at one detention center, men show whip marks and acid burns.   One of them has lost an eye.   Another's legs are broken.   Still another has nails driven into his body.
The video also shows the mutilated corpses of three men who Samarrai said died as a result of torture.
Samarrai, 45, a Sunni Arab with a long career in the military, left Iraq for Jordan in July after two attempts on his life, yet said he remained convinced he had to tell of the abuses he had witnessed in numerous clandestine prisons, which he had visited as part of his work.
He said Iraq's Interior Minister Bayan Jabr Solagh had named as ministry policemen 17,000 fighters from the Badr organization, the disarmed militia of the pro-Iranian Shiite fundamentalist Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).
The ministry forces "continued to receive salaries from Tehran," and "spoke amongst themselves in Farsi," he said.
Samarrai said the interior ministry chiefs were all members of SCIRI or the Shiite Dawa party and that the prisoners were "all Sunnis."
"The torturers were all Iranians or Iraqis who had lived in Iran and had come to Iraq after the (US-led) invasion" in 2003, he added.
Unknown if US black budget, special operations money is involved
Samarrai said he began to encounter problems with his superiors in the interior ministry after he fired a 14-member inquiry commission and replaced it with what he called "men of integrity," and also freed 124 "innocent" detainees from a facility north of Baghdad.
Last month, the US military said it dismantled one of Iraq's secret detention facilities in Baghdad, but Samarrai said nine other such facilities are lurking throughout the country.
Three are located in the Iraqi capital, the largest of which holds 600 detainees, and at least three more are in largely Shiite regions of the country, he said.
He also said there are two detention centers for women in Baghdad where "female prisoners are tortured and raped."
The testimony given by a Shiite woman during ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's trial last week "could have been the testimony of a female prisoner in one of these centers.   Nothing has changed," he said.
Samarrai was making reference to "Witness A," who testified on December 6 with a chilling account of how she was tortured by intelligence agents and flung into Baghdad's notorious Abu Ghraib jail in the early 1980s for four years.
US forces announced on December 2 that they would conduct surprise inspections on Iraqi prisons to assure that detainees are not victimized by Iraqi guards.
Samarrai said US forces "should be aware of what is happening.   Arrests are made during night-time raids when a curfew should be in effect, and vehicles used by the interior ministry are clearly visible."
Samarrai, a father of four, said he plans to move to another undisclosed location shortly, though he would never have left Iraq had he not realized his life was in danger.
He said he was proud to have been able to free some detainees before he left, the last of whom was a Muslim religious leader Abdel Karim Abdel Razzak, who recently told Arab television of how Samarrai liberated him.

Copyright © 2005 Agence France Presse.
Copyright © 2005 Yahoo! Inc.   All rights reserved.
February 17 - 21, 2006
Atrocities attributed to "rogue" Shiite and Sunni militias — trained by Americans, "advised" by Americans, run largely by former CIA assets
By Chris Floyd
Friday, December 2, 2005. Issue 3308. Page 112.
The recent revelations about the virulent spread of death squads ravaging Iraq have only confirmed for many people the lethal incompetence of the Bush Regime, whose brutal bungling appears to have unleashed the demon of sectarian strife in the conquered land.
The general reaction, even among some war supporters, has been bitter derision: "Jeez, these bozos couldn't boil an egg without causing collateral damage."
But what if the truth is even more sinister?   What if this murderous chaos is not the fruit of rank incompetence but instead the desired product of carefully crafted, efficiently managed White House policy?
Investigative journalist Max Fuller marshals a convincing case for this conclusion in a remarkable work of synthesis based on information buried in reams of mainstream news stories and public Pentagon documents.
Car bomb attack
Samara, Iraq
Unknown if US black budget special operations money involved
Piling fact on damning fact, he shows that the vast majority of atrocities attributed to "rogue" Shiite and Sunni militias are in fact the work of government-controlled commandos and "special forces," trained by Americans, "advised" by Americans and run largely by former CIA assets, Global Research reports.
Saddam's security muscle
We first reported here in August 2003 that the United States was already hiring Saddam's security muscle for "special ops" against the nascent insurgency and reopening his torture haven, Abu Ghraib.
Meanwhile, powerful Shiite militias — including religious extremists armed and trained by Iran — were loosed upon the land.
As direct "Coalition" rule gave way to various "interim" and "elected" Iraqi governments, these violent gangs were formally incorporated into the Iraqi Interior Ministry, where the supposedly inimical Sunni and Shiite units often share officers and divvy up territories.
Bush helpfully supplied these savage gangs
Bush helpfully supplied these savage gangs — who are killing dozens of people each week, Knight-Ridder reports — with U.S. advisers who made their "counter-insurgency" bones forming right-wing death squads in Colombia and El Salvador.
Indeed, Bush insiders have openly bragged of "riding with the bad boys" and exercising the "Salvador option," lauding the Reagan-backed counter-insurgency program that slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians, Newsweek reports.
Bush has also provided a "state-of-the-art command, control and communications center" to coordinate the operation of his Iraqi "commandos," as the Pentagon's own news site, DefendAmerica, reports.
The Iraqi people can go without electricity, fuel and medicine, but by God, Bush's "bad boys" will roll in clover as they carry out their murders and mutilations.
Packing high-priced Glocks
For months, stories from the Shiite south and Sunni center have reported the same phenomenon: people being summarily seized by large groups of armed men wearing police commando uniforms, packing high-priced Glocks, using sophisticated radios and driving Toyota Land Cruisers with police markings.
The captives are taken off and never seen again — unless they turn up with a load of other corpses days or weeks later, bearing marks of the gruesome tortures they suffered before the ritual shot in the head.
Needless to say, these mass murders under police aegis are rarely investigated by the police.
Milking Iraq dry — into hands of a few Bush cronies,
The Bushists may have been forced to ditch their idiotic fantasies of "cakewalking" into a compliant satrapy, but they have by no means abandoned their chief goals in the war: milking Iraq dry and planting a permanent military "footprint" on the nation's neck.
If direct control through a plausible puppet is no longer possible, then fomenting bloody chaos and sectarian strife is the best way to weaken the state.
The Bushists are happy to make common cause with thugs and zealots in order to prevent the establishment of a strong national government that might balk at the ongoing "privatizations" that have continued apace behind the smokescreen of violence, or at the planned opening of Iraq's oil reserves to select foreign investors — a potential transfer of some $200 billion of Iraqi people's wealth into the hands of a few Bush cronies, The Independent reports.
The violence is already dividing the county into more rigid sectarian enclaves, The New York Times reports, as Shiites flee Sunni commandos and Sunnis flee Shiite militias in the grim tag team of their joint endeavor.
Terrorized, internally driven society much easier to manipulate
It's all grist for the Bushist mill: An atomized, terrorized, internally driven society is much easier to manipulate.
Car bomb attack
Samara, Iraq
Unknown if US black budget special operations money involved
And of course, a steady stream of bloodshed provides a justification for maintaining a U.S. military presence, even as politic plans for partial "withdrawal" are bandied about.
There's nothing new in this; Bush is simply following a well-thumbed playbook.
In 1953, the CIA bankrolled Islamic fundamentalists and secular goon squads to destabilize the democratic government of Iran — which selfishly wanted to control its own oil — and pave the way for the puppet Shah, as the agency's own histories recount.
In 1971, CIA officials admitted carrying out more than 21,000 "extra-judicial killings" in its Phoenix counter-insurgency operation in Vietnam.
In 1979, the CIA began sponsoring the most violent Islamic extremist groups in Afghanistan — supplying money, arms, even jihad primers for schoolchildren — to destabilize the secular, Soviet-allied government and provoke the Kremlin into a costly intervention, as Robert Dreyfus details in his new book, "Devil's Game."
Later, Saudi magnate Osama bin Laden joined the operation, and sent his men to the United States for "anti-Soviet" terrorist training, as the BBC's Greg Palast reports.
Remarkably consistent for more than half a century
The policy has been remarkably consistent for more than half a century.
To augment the wealth and power of the elite, U.S. leaders have supported — or created — vicious gangs of killers and cranks to foment unrest, eliminate opponents and terrorize whole nations into submission.
The resulting carnage in the target countries and the inevitable blowback against ordinary Americans mean nothing to these Great Gamesters; that's simply the price of doing business.
Bush's "incompetence" is just a mask for stone-cold calculation.
Crying Wolf: Media Disinformation and Death Squads in Occupied Iraq
Global Research, Nov. 10, 2005
Baghdad, Iraq
Unknown if US black budget special operations money involved
Frontline Police of Iraq are Waging Secret War of Vengeance
The Observer, Nov. 20, 2005
Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam
Metropolitan Books, 2005
Killings Linked to Shiite Squads in Iraqi Police Force
Los Angeles Times, Nov. 29, 2005
The Salvador Option
Newsweek, Jan. 14, 2005
Die Laughing: The Bush Way of Rehabilitation
Empire Burlesque, Aug. 29, 2003
Iraqi Guards Seen as Death Squads
Newsday, Nov. 15, 2005
Sunnis Accuse Iraqi Military of Kidnappings and Slayings
New York Times, Nov. 28, 2005
Sunni men in Baghdad targeted by attackers in police uniforms
Knight-Ridder, June 27. 2005
Abuse of Prisoners in Iraq Widespread, Officials Say
Knight-Ridder, Nov. 29, 2005
Robert Dreyfus on Bush's Deadly Dance With Islamic Theocrats
TomDispatch, Nov. 30, 2005
A History of Violence: Robert Dreyfuss Interview
Salon.com, Nov. 28, 2005
Documents From the Phoenix Program
The Memory Hole, May 2003
Secrets of History: The CIA in Iran
New York Times, April 16, 2000
The Hidden History of CIA Torture
TomDispatch.com, Sept. 9, 2004
The World's Most Dangerous Man
Antiwar.com, Nov. 30, 2005
Abuse Worse Than Under Saddam, Says Iraqi Leader
The Observer, Nov. 27, 2005
Revealed: The Grim New World of Iraqi Torture Camps
The Observer, July 3, 2005
Lost Amid the Rising Tide of Detainees in Iraq
New York Times, Nov. 21, 2005
Did the President spike the investigation of bin Laden?
Greg Palast, Nth Position, March 2003
If the CIA Had Butted Out [In Iran]
Los Angeles Times, Oct. 21, 2001
Up in the Air: Where Is the Iraq War Headed Next?
The New Yorker, Nov. 5, 2005
Private Security Crews Add to Fear in Baghdad
The Washington Post, Nov. 28, 2005
al-Tanaf checkpoint
Woman waits at Syrian, Iraq border
UK Funds Aid Iraqi Torture Units
The Observer, July 3, 2005
The CIA and Operation Phoenix in Vietnam
Ralph McGehee, Feb. 19, 1996
U.S. Senate Review of Operation Phoenix
United States Senate, Feb. 17 to March 19, 1970
Counter-Revolutionary Violence: Bloodbaths in Fact & Propaganda
Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman
Project X, Drugs and Death Squads
Consortium News, 1997
Phoenix Project: It's How We Fought the War
Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2001
The Phoenix Program Revisited
CounterPunch, May 15, 2004
The Gentlemanly Planners of Assassinations
Slate.com, Nov. 1, 2002
© Copyright 2005, The Moscow Times.   All Rights Reserved.
      Iraq death squads — Badr, White Toyota Land Cruisers      
      Glock pistols, Interior Ministry memo      
      Salvador Option      
      The hands might be Iraqis, but the minds and the money are not      
                          To rebel is right, to disobey is a duty, to act is necessary !
Loyality of Moqtada to his principles
Saturday 2nd April 2005
Interview with Sheikh Hassan Al Zargani
Interview with Sheikh Hassan Al Zargani, responsible of the office for foreign affairs of Moqtada Sadr made in the framework of the 3d Cairo Conference against Globalization, Imperialism and Zionism and in support of the Iraqi and Palestinian Resistances.

Can you give us information about the situation in the South of Iraq and the current of Moqtada Sadr?
Our movement started with the fall of the regime as we took over the responsability for the medical supply because of the absence of the Iraqi State. The same for the food supplies and the security, we organized the people to the mosques and we guarantee the security and we could stop the plundering. We even organize the traffic.
We supplied the people also with gas and petroleum.
The Sadr Movement has an old tradition in Iraq in the conscience of the Iraqi people. Its exists since the 70’s with the movement of the first Sadr and continued with the Second Sadr who was martyred in 1999. The movement continued under the leadership of Moqtada Sadr after the death of his father, his brother and ant and his uncle.
You can call it "current", you can call it "line" or wathever, anyhow this movement is coming from the people and working for the people. Its represents the helft of the Iraqi people.
This loyality comes from the loyality of Moqtada to his principles and to his responsabilities. The current was not hot to take the power. The current refused to take part in the new government based on the confessionnal quotas principle.
So many sector of the masses and also many religious leaderships gathered around this young and energical leadership and took part immediately after the fall of Baghdad in the pacific resistance like strikes, demonstrations and all form of protests.
Then came the time as the American troops started to shoot on the peacefull demonstrations and closed the offices of Imam Moqtada Sadr, his official newspaper. And thety threatened us with a penalty of 100.000 dollars if we publish any newspaper speaking about our movement. All that was because we wrote for the people and worked for his interests. We didn’t bent down our head. We started a popular uprising. We were the only one who adopted officially the resistance. We fought with uncovered face and known name. And with a political line which is known by everybody. We are proud of this. Because there is no other force on the earth who stood openly against USA being on its own ground and fighting with its own masses without having to disappear and to go underground.
What do you think about a reationship with the other forces of the Resistance?
We coordinated will all the forces of the Iraqi Resistance but we did not consider as resistance who just wants to export the criminal violence into Iraq, putting bombs beside mosques, churches, students and simple policemen, killing innocent people. These are terrorists and the are actually forces who resist against the Resistance.
They damage the reputation of the Resistance, weaken the popular bases and deapen the split between the different people confessions. But practically, we had a coordination with the other parts of the resistance and we participated in the fight of Fallujah. The mujahidins raised in Fallujah the photos of Moqtada Sadr and the banners with the slogan "From Fallujah to Kufa, we will not give up our homeland. (Min Fallujah le Kufa, hada al Watan men ’ufa)". Now we have a cimeterry in Fallujah which is called the "cemeterry of Al Sadr".
By the beginning of the confrontations in Fallujah and I mean here defending the city against the invasion and not the guerilla street fights, we had four brigades of the Mahdi Army defending Fallujah.
There is a documentary and official books. Everybody admits this and nobody dares to deny it. Also the fighters of Fallujah came to Najaf and participated in the fights there. They supplied us with food and medecines during the battle of Najaf and we supplied them with food and medecines. That exhausted the ennemy and that’s why the attack against Imam Sadr was more violent. Because they were claiming that the Kurds and the Shi’as were victims of the former regime and that the Resistance existed only in the Sunnite zones and was performed by the followers of the Baath regime.
The Resistance led by Sadr who himself was a important opponent of the former regime took the Resistance from its confessionnal aspect and gave it a Iraqi national dimension.
The second point is the charisma of Moqtada Sadr who gained popularity after the confrontation against the American, destroying the image of the invincible USA, using simple weapons. The third point is that this resistance formed a strong solidarity between all the Shi’as of the population and showd the Resistance is an important factor unifying the Iraqi people.
Thats why, the attacks against Imam Sadr was crucial and joined with a strong media diffamation campaign. The Iraqi people understands this role and the difficulties and the responsabilities and its support to the Sadr current increased and the masses defended the offices of Moqtada Sadr in Najaf, Kufa and all cities of the South, the Middle and the North and in Kerkuk. I have to mention that Kerkuk called for help for the damage caused by the Kurds and nobody was ready to help except the Mahdi Army.
That’s why, the people of Kerkuk are proud of the Mahdi Army and thankfull to Moqtada Sadr who saved them from the hegemony of the US allied peshmergas.
What are you perspectives for the future?
We hope in a better Iraq because there are many resisting people who refuse the occupation but we have to be carefull because some fundamentalist groups are trying to cause an conflict between the confessions or between the political parties, the different nationalities or between the Muslims and the Christians, putting bombs. Many challenges are still here. The occupation and the traitors are still here. But we still have the big bases of the people masses believing in the victory of the Iraqi homeland against all these phenomena.
A message to the peoples of Turkey?
We wish from the Turkish people a positive role concerning the current situation, a role which corresponds to their regional weight.
Interview made by Bahar Kimyongür from the Front for Rights and Freedoms (HÖC-Turkey)
26th March 2005

by : HÖC
Saturday 2nd April 2005

> Interview with Sheikh Hassan Al-Zargani
Friday 6th May 2005
Sadr vs. Bush

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Iraq: our fatal blunder
By Stephen Grey
British forces in the south of Iraq have ceded power to Islamic radical militias.   The police recruits they have armed and trained are now their enemies.  
It was at about 3am when they came to Muhammed's home in the poor Khalija el-Arabi district of Basra and took him away.   "There were about 20 men who burst through the door," said his brother Faisal.   "Some of them were wearing police uniform.
Others were in commando jackets and others wore civilian clothes," he said.   That was New Year's Eve 2003; Muhammed has not been seen since.   His crime had been to be a junior member of the Ba'ath Party, even though his family members were no friends of Saddam Hussein's regime.   For this, like many others before him in Basra, he paid with his life.
Faisal was able to track Muhammed's movements as far as the headquarters of what the Iraqi police were then calling their intelligence department, though their British "mentors" referred to it more discreetly as the Special Operations Department.
When I visited the intelligence department at Jamiat Police Station, I found prisoners stiff with fear, bound and gagged, their heads resting on a concrete wall.   On that wall was a poster of the former Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini.
Occupying soldiers search village of Biabanak, Afghanistan
More than 18 months after that visit, that same police station was in the news worldwide, for it was there that two SAS soldiers were bound and gagged, and British armoured vehicles broke down a wall during a rescue operation.
According to some reports, the SAS men were engaged in an undercover operation to track Iranian agents operating in the city, and after their capture they were handed by Iraqi police directly into the hands of extremist militias.
Violence in Basra comes in waves, so it is hard to see the long-term trends, but it seems clear now that the city - which in April 2003 welcomed the British army with open arms - is becoming more dangerous both for coalition troops and for any westerners.
In the past two months two journalists who investigated police corruption have been killed, while insurgents have developed more powerful roadside bombs to use against British patrols.
For politicians in Westminster, the idea that Basra's new British-trained police force might be, to some degree, in league with Britain's enemies seems to have come as a surprise, prompting some to demand a hastened withdrawal.
Yet most insiders have known it all along; the religious militias that now threaten British forces have been the hidden hand.   They have largely controlled the city since its liberation from Saddam Hussein.   The dilemma for the British was always whether to confront or tolerate these forces.   One British officer summed it up: "It's not that the extremists have infiltrated Basra's police.   They run it."
Since taking over Basra, the British army has been forced to play a dangerous game.   Though the level of insurgency it has faced has been lower than that faced by the Americans in northern Iraq, the British forces' potential armed opponents have acquired critical jobs all around them, in the civil administration and the police.
At one police station where British soldiers were conducting basic training in the safe use of AK-47s, an Iraqi recruit noted: "They [the British] are really only giving us the most simple training and weapons, because they know that one day we might be fighting them."   At Jamiat last January, the deputy commander, Abbas Abdel Ali, was equally open when I asked him how the station acquired recruits.
"From the Badr and Sadr forces," he said.   These are the main Shia militias: the Badr Brigade (armed wing of the Iranian-backed Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or Sciri) and the Sadr army, the more radical of the two groups, which fought a brief war with the coalition forces in April 2004 and is led by Moqtada al-Sadr.
Unknown if US black budget, special operations involved
The British soon learned what this meant.   They tried to close down the intelligence unit, to remove extremists and train the police in interrogation techniques that did not involve torture - but this drove the worst abuses underground.
They discovered a new torture centre hidden in an abandoned nightclub next to a police station.   Some men were prosecuted - but not the senior officers who probably ordered these activities.
Night after night, meanwhile, the bodies of former Ba'athists, or Christians involved in the alcohol trade, were found dumped on the streets.   Witnesses reported that the gangs responsible sometimes wore police uniform.
The parties and the militias differ from one another in a number of ways, including their attitude to the British.   The Badr Brigade and its Sciri party, though backed by Iran and keen to establish a new religious state in Iraq, have tended to be reluctant to confront the British.
For this reason they have been tolerated as a bulwark against even more extreme elements.
In May, when the uprising by the Sadr militia spread to Basra, I watched from the roof of the Diafa Hotel as the British army fought gun battles with Sadr militias.
In broad daylight, Warrior armoured vehicles fired cannon across the Shatt al-Arab River.   Though a few of the Iraqi policemen held firm, most melted away at the first sign of trouble.
Their AK-47s would have been no match for the rocket-propelled grenades and machine-guns of the militiamen, it is true, but the truth, known to all, was that many of the militia were drawn from the police itself.
On the night of that uprising, the British commander and the governor of Basra held a press conference to announce that the trouble was over and the threat from the Sadr forces had been exaggerated.
The officials had arrived by a secure back door, so they did not see what journalists saw: a large poster of Moqtada al-Sadr.   This, in the main government building in Basra.   There have been other signs.
In August last year, a freelance journalist, James Brandon, was kidnapped from the same Diafa Hotel by abductors wearing police uniform.   It would be easy to buy or fake the costumes, but the sense that the Iraqi police were indeed complicit was underlined when Brandon escaped and fled to a police station - only to be handed back to the kidnappers.
US paid Blackwater agents
I was always intrigued, when in Basra, that there was never a general insurrection against the British, who are heavily outnumbered.   Certainly there were deadly attacks and at one stage the threat was so great that Challenger battle tanks were needed to escort trucks resupplying the general hospital, yet there was no conflagration.
I once asked a British officer whether this was because the extremists did not have so complete a grip on the city's police and government as was generally supposed.
"No, you're being too simplistic," he replied, explaining that the religious parties and the Badr Brigade did not want a revolt at that time and were keeping the Sadr forces under control.   "They have no reason to fight the British; they know they have the majority," he said.   "They will take over without a fight."
By the end of last year British intelligence was hearing about a new police squad, known as Internal Affairs, that was sending a chill through the town.   It was responsible for capturing and torturing not only alleged criminals but also uniformed members of the Iraqi police who were resisting the political parties.
Should the British have intervened?   Should they have tried to purge Basra and its surrounding region of extremists?   One difficulty is that, for many people in the city, the Badr Brigade and their ilk are heroes - many of them fought Saddam for years, defeating his fedayeen forces during the 2003 invasion and curbing the looting afterwards.   The Sciri party, Badr's political master, now forms part of the elected government of Iraq.
Another difficulty is that though Basra once had a strong educated, secular community, its ranks are severely depleted by years of economic decline and Ba'athist repression.   Secularism has grown weak.   Most of the population hold strong religious views and many of them see nothing wrong, for example, with the punishment and even execution of alcohol sellers.
British soldiers and officials in Iraq say their political masters ordered them to install democracy.   This means that although they have at times intervened, sometimes ruthlessly, to combat extremism, if the extremists carry majority support there is a limit to what can be done.   They insist that more heavy-handed intervention would have been counter-productive.
As one officer put it: "If we start throwing our weight around, then we would become very quickly the enemy, and we can't afford that."   At times this has meant extreme restraint.
In al-Amarah, north of Basra, the British had to tolerate the appointment of a governor who, their intelligence indicated, was linked to those responsible for the killing of six members of the Royal Military Police.
No matter what is said in Whitehall, everything is geared towards an exit strategy.   If Britain is to withdraw it has to allow the Iraqi security forces, however imperfect, to stand on their own feet.   But there is a price to be paid.   While Iraq may yet become free and independent, it may become not only a place that rejects western ideas, but one where all outsiders are in danger.
© New Statesman 1913 — 2005
Saturday, 12 May 2007
Iraq's catalogue of death
By Robert Greenall
BBC News
There has been no bigger grey area in the Iraq conflict than the number of ordinary Iraqis killed and injured.
US forces in Falluja

The report on Iraq casulties says 37% of deaths in Iraq were caused by US-led forces
US forces in Falluja
The report says 37% of deaths were caused by US-led forces
More than 1,700 US and dozens of other coalition troops are known to have died. But the figures for civilian dead had never been more than rough estimates, ranging wildly from 10,000 to 100,000.
Figures for the injured and for people killed in what has been described as a surge in criminal activity since the invasion were simply unavailable.
A report by the UK-based group Iraq Body Count (IBC), in combination with the Oxford Research Group, says it aims to remove some of the uncertainty by producing the most detailed picture yet of civilian casualties in the two years since the 2003 invasion.
The goal of the IBC is to fill the information vacuum, it says, with a comprehensive analysis of over 10,000 press and media reports.
It describes the death toll as the "forgotten cost" of the decision to go to war.
But some critics have questioned the groups' methods of compiling statistics, and indeed the ability to produce reliable data.
The Iraqi government has already responded by describing the report's results as "mistaken".
The US and UK governments, meanwhile, have always maintained that chaos in the war-torn country has made it impossible to gain accurate information
Our data has been extracted from a comprehensive analysis of over 10,000 press and media reports... Our accounting is not complete: only an in-depth, on-the-ground census could come close to achieving that
'Few excuses'
Middle East analyst Toby Dodge told the BBC that reports like this were bound to be sketchy.
"It's on the conservative side, if anything it underestimates the casualty figures," he said.
The report attempts to show that Western governments are at least partly wrong in their assertion that counting bodies is futile.
"Nearly two-and-a-half years on, neither the US or UK have begun to systematically measure the impact of their actions in terms of human lives destroyed," Professor John Sloboda, one of the authors of the report, said.
"Our report has shown that what is lacking is not the capacity to do this work but the will.
"The internet has proved an essential tool for the research, Professor Sloboda adds.
"This is in fact a new type of research on war and its effects, research which would have been impossible to conduct without the World Wide Web and search engines," he said.
Shock and awe invasions using massive air power and overwhelming force caused a far higher concentration of deaths, injuries and child fatalities than even the intense insurgency we are experiencing now
Professor John Sloboda
Author of report

'Higher concentration of death'
The report — A Dossier on Civilian Casualties in Iraq, 2003-2005 — provides a grim catalogue of death and injury.
A total of 24,865 civilians were reported killed in the first two years of the conflict, beginning with the invasion, almost 20% of them women or children.
This means approximately one in every 1,000 Iraqis has been killed since March 2003.
The report's assertion that 37% of deaths were caused by the US-led forces may cause dismay among Western governments, especially as only 9% are attributed to insurgents.
But even if another 11% attributed to "unknown agents" is included in the second figure, the report says coalition forces are still the main cause of death.
The US-led coalition maintains that it has never targeted civilians, while insurgents quite clearly do.Professor Sloboda accepts this argument, but says the dossier's data proves that precision-guided weapons — even if targeted elsewhere — do far more harm to civilians than hand-held firearms.
"Shock and awe invasions using massive air power and overwhelming force caused a far higher concentration of deaths, injuries and child fatalities than even the intense insurgency we are experiencing now," he said.
"This is a fact which must be taken on board if hearts and minds are ever to be won back."
Scene of recent attack in Baghdad
Almost half of all recorded deaths occurred in Baghdad
Child victims
The report builds up a picture of who the victims were — where and when they were killed or injured, what weapons were used against them and by whom and — where known — what their names, professions, genders and ages were.
The result suggests that no sector of Iraqi society has escaped violent death.
Some conclusions make especially sober reading — for instance that children made up almost half the victims of air attacks, but only 6% of those from small-arms fire.
Unexploded ordnance such as cluster bombs have proved the most lethal for children, because of their curiosity about foreign objects.
The report also details the media which reported the casualties and the sources they used — from eyewitnesses to mortuaries — all, it says, rigorously checked by the project's 20-odd volunteer staff.
And while the dossier obviously records well-reported deaths like those from suicide attacks or roadside bombs, it also covers a less-known source of violence — criminal killings.
Civilian deaths have been reported throughout Iraq
But 77% (19,215) of them occurred in 12 towns and cities
Baghdad alone accounted for almost half of all deaths
Falluja had the second highest loss of life after the capital
Only reports of mortuary records have allowed the IBC to reveal the "extraordinary levels" that this form of violence has reached, it says.
Around 14 people died every month in criminal-related violence before the invasion — over 372 more have died every month since.
The dossier has recorded 42,500 wounded (the actual count, not an estimate), but this is based only on reports of deaths where the numbers of injured could also be determined.
It estimates that approximately 12,500 more injuries have gone unrecorded.
May 10, 2005
Ain't But One Way Out
Naomi Klein's "Courage"
N aomi Klein, in a recent article posted on In These Times, tells us "How to end the war".
She says we need to know the reasons for it, that these are exposed by the US' pursuit of military bases and Iraqi oil wealth.
She says that we should struggle for what the Iraqis themselves want, meaningful self-determination and real democracy, buttressed by respect of international law.
Her essay pretty well collects in one place everything that is wrong with so much left-wing thinking right now.
What's wrong?
First, to end the war, we do not need to know the real reasons for it.
That's historical research, not political planning.
It's like saying that, for the allies to win World War II, they needed to know Hitler's real reasons for making it.
These reasons are still debated — A.J.P.Taylor introduced major competition to the naked aggression thesis — yet the war is long won.
This is not nit-picking; it exemplifies the left's obsession with pointless, endless, fruitless analysis.
Second, Klein's claims about what counts as evidence for what are feeble.
Of course, when one country invades another on a shoestring budget — and the whole point of Rumsfeld's policies was to make war on the cheap — then its first priorities will be to:
(1) make the place safe for your own forces, so that the political and economic cost of the war doesn't spiral out of control, and
(2) use the country's assets — in this case oil — to pay your way.
So the invasion's activities were dictated by the invasion's budget, and are no indication of any ultimate objectives.(*)
As for making the place safe for foreign investment, that is a third, more long-term priority along the same lines: get the private sector to do the reconstruction, which would otherwise cost far more than the US could ever afford.
This is classic creepy-Republican wishful thinking and again has nothing to do with any ultimate objectives.
Third, Klein makes much of the insincerity of US democracy-rhetoric about Iraq.
Well, duh. What has this to do with anything?
Everyone but some few Americans know this, and those few Americans are either too steeped in their prejudices to be moved, or don't really give a damn whether the US is out to make Iraq into a democracy.
They are far more concerned about kicking terrorist butt and generally showing the world that America is boss.
Their motives are pure 9-11 reaction.
Fourth, Klein tells us we should have the courage to be serious, and then recommends what might as well be frivolity.
She tells us that "the core fight is over respect for international law".
Nope, international law is a non-starter, because there is no overriding, neutral sovereign to enforce it.
What Klein is asking us to respect is in reality no more than a bunch of sentences expressing good wishes, articulated by courts and lawyers without the slightest authority because, in the real world, authority rests on naked power.
No, the core fight is to get the US out of Iraq, isn't it?
Which would be preferable: the US leaving Iraq tomorrow, and remaining completely contemptuous of international law, or leaving in five years, imbued with the deepest respect for international law?
Klein's priorities are just a case of political ADD.
Fifth, Klein's position is drawn and quartered by the tug-of-war between her wish to avoid Bush's nation-building and her embrace of that very doctrine.
First she says: "The future of the anti-war movement requires that it become a pro-democracy movement.
Our marching orders have been given to us by the people of Iraq... We need to take our direction from them."
Then she says: "We need to support the people of Iraq and their clear demands for an end to both military and corporate occupation. ...It doesn't mean blindly cheerleading for "the resistance.
Because there isn't just one resistance in Iraq... Not everyone fighting the U.S. occupation is fighting for the freedom of all Iraqis; some are fighting for their own elite power.
That's why we need to stay focused on supporting the demands for self-determination, not cheering any setback for U.S. empire."
Then she says: "Anybody who says Iraqis don't want democracy should be deeply ashamed of themselves. Iraqis are clamoring for democracy and had risked their lives for it long before this invasion — in the 1991 uprising against Saddam, for example, when they were left to be slaughtered. The elections in January took place only because of tremendous pressure from Iraqi Shia communities that insisted on getting the freedom they were promised."
It's confusing, but I get it: getting the US out of Iraq is not really our first priority.
It's getting the US out of Iraq *on our terms*.
Who's 'we'?
Well, 'we' support democracy, which means supporting, not all Iraqis, but the Iraqis who support democracy.
The other Iraqis are bad: they just want to support 'their own [now conspicuously absent] élite power.'
Worse, "Some elements of the armed resistance are targeting Iraqi civilians as they pray in Shia mosques — barbaric acts that serve the interests of the Bush administration by feeding the perception that the country is on the brink of civil war and therefore U.S. forces must remain in Iraq."
So we support the people who want democracy, and who don't attack the Shia.
We support the people who really want democracy, namely the nice Shia (not any nasty ones who want a theocracy) and, though she does not mention them, the Kurds.
In other words, we support exactly the elements of the population Bush supports, and whatever other nice people we can find.
It's all very well for Klein to talk of a 'responsible agenda' for withdrawal and even reparations, but if she's really committed to democracy in Iraq, she is committed to large parts of the US government's current policies.
This is pure bone-headed American ideology all over again.
Of course the Shia communities wanted elections — wouldn't you, if that was your gateway to power?
Sure they revolted in 1991 — we are told they wanted Saddam Hussein off their backs, and thought they saw their chance.
None of this shows that Iraqis have the American left's infantile commitment to a system of government which, in America itself, has been a miserable failure.
Democracy, if it works anywhere, seems to work best in very settled, very prosperous countries — like those of Western Europe, at least before it got riled up about its immigrants.
Iraq is no such place.
There's more.
If Klein were not as arrogant as Bush, she would be the first to stress that she knows nothing about Iraq or what the Iraqis want, rather than trumpeting her great certainty on that subject.
She would not produce embarrassing nonsense like "Now Iraqis are struggling for the tools that will make self-determination meaningful...".
For one thing, 'self-determination' is comical: do the Iraqi Kurds want it in the same sense that the other Iraqis do?
It is like the joke (yes, joke) that Kant reports: Two kings, Francis I of France and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, both want Milan.
Francis proclaims a harmonious convergence of interest: "what I my brother Charles wants, I want too."
For another thing, in our ignorance of Iraq, shouldn't we tend to go with the obvious?
Savage resistance to an invasion is usually taken to mean that the resisters want the invaders out of there.
It is usually taken, not as a struggle to make self-determination meaningful, but as a struggle for self-determination.
Quite possibly Iraqis do want what Klein apparently considers the prerequisites of meaningfulness: "freedom from debt for Iraq, a total abandonment of Bremer's illegal economic laws, full Iraqi control over the reconstruction budget".
Quite possibly that they want many other things.
But haven't quite a few Iraqis been telling and showing us that, first and foremost, they want the Americans out, period, not only if the departure is meaningful?
Doesn't their first priority seem to be, not some search for meaning, but the killing of America's soldiers and lackeys?
Is there something unclear about this message, or something I missed?
Have the Iraqis expressed passionate longings for the American left to pick and choose among the factions in their country?
Throughout, Klein lacks precisely what she says we should have: the courage to be serious.
What sort of courage does it take to demonstrate for True Democracy?
Klein has not even asked the hard question.
If she wants democracy so much — because, just like Bush and Blair, she absolutely knows those pitiful little Iraqis are pining for democracy — just when and how should the US withdraw its troops?
Presumably the answer must be: once they have made Iraq safe for democracy.
This would mean withdrawing once the 'democratic Iraqis' are strong enough to prevail over the undemocratic Iraqis, who seem to be quite powerful and well-organized.
This would certainly require US military assistance, perhaps for years, or the introduction of other military forces to do the same thing, e.g. getting the UN or NATO to spell off the American invaders.
(If Klein thinks that, somewhere in the universe, there are decorous, respectful, virtually nonviolent troops ready to somehow neutralize Klein's and Bush's 'bad guys'; this is another fantasy.)
So Klein's courage consists in asking for pretty much what Bush is giving her.
Yes, Klein is sincere, she wants real democracy, she supports the truly democratic elements, and Bush is insincere.
But in the end it is a difference that makes no difference.
If you insist on bringing democracy to Iraq — always protesting that this is what the Iraqis themselves want — you will have to beat the anti-democratic elements you both deplore, and this will mean US bases and American soldiers shedding Iraqi blood.
Any sincerity infusing these policies, and their ultimate objectives, are so much posturing over the same vicious meddling.
Getting Serious
The courage to be serious would mean something quite different.
It would mean, not this bloodless, venti-decaf-latte substitute for passion, but real hatred of America's actions and single-minded, furious determination to get every last 'coalition' soldier off Iraqi soil, as soon as possible, by any means necessary.
No ifs ands or buts about democracy, just get them out.
Anyone who really believed in the Iraqis' right to their own damn country would not be fussing about whether their projected form of government or mode of self-determination matched American leftist ideals.
This in none of our business, not least because it is mere insolence to presume that we know what the Iraqis want or how they should get it.
It takes years to know a country, and, if one doesn't live there, at least long study, bolstered by fluency in the country's language.
Only American yahoos, of all political stripes, would think otherwise.
"How to end the war?"
Neither I nor Klein know how, but trying involves real, angry, nasty opposition, something a government might be concerned about.
It cannot be built on a demand for withdrawal hedged with cherrypicking among which Iraqis 'give us our marching orders'.
Real opposition requires something beyond reasoned persuasion; the utter impotence of the utterly reasonable left has shown as much.
It is not a matter of discovering what documents which neocon produced in 1990.
It is not a matter of billions and billions of emails, insulating us from the world like so much pink fiberglass.
It is not a matter of blandly 'building constituencies', but of using the constituency that we already have, that we are.
It is a couse of action which demonstrates that this war disgusts us, that we will stop at nothing to end it, and that we couldn't care less if it tears our country apart.
The US should just leave, now, and we should all just shut up about democracy in Iraq.
Decisions about policing belong to Iraqis and perhaps international agencies, whether or not these agencies have the slightest commitment to a democracy, and not to Americans of any political stripe.
That's a clear message on which clear, resolute, all-out opposition can be built.
The courage to be serious also means not 'supporting our troops'.
This support really has become obnoxious.
We have just been treated to dozens of Vietnam commemorative pieces.
The best of them make some mention of the three million Vietnamese we killed, and perhaps the Vietnamese children who, thanks to Agent Orange, must live some sort of life in hideous deformity.
But on the left as on the right, it is all too common for the piece to be built around some loveable Vietnam vet.
A recent Nation article, for instance, we meet
"Mike Sulsona, a former Marine... just back from his first trip to Vietnam since the war.
He was excited because he surprised himself by liking it there this time and because he was pleased with the research he did for a play he wants to write about an Army tank driver."
We learn that
'Back in Ho Chi Minh City, the old Saigon, Sulsona was rolling his chair down a crowded sidewalk before his return to New York.
He almost collided with a Vietnamese man, also in a wheelchair, rolling in the opposite direction, trying to sell lottery tickets.
Recognizing each other by their differentness from everyone else and similarity to each other, the two paraplegics stopped rolling.
The Vietnam veteran and the Vietnamese veteran wheeled their chairs to face each other as they might once have done with weapons.
'Neither knew many words in the other's language, but they spoke briefly, haltingly, enough for Sulsona to determine the other man had also been in the war.
"Suddenly, we began laughing," Sulsona said.
"Heavy belly laughs.
I have no idea if he was in the South Vietnamese Army fighting for our side, or in the Viet Cong, or had come down with the North Vietnamese Army... Does it make a difference?
We were laughing and laughing and couldn't stop, couldn't help ourselves, just a couple of guys who got fucked up in the war. ...Neither of us could stop laughing.
I mean, what was all that about, anyway?"'
Heck, that sure is a nice send-off for bathing a country in fire and poison: let's pause and reflect on how gosh-darn crazy war is.
It's exactly the slimy, war-is-hell-and-we're-just-human cop-out that endears so many to the Korean-war wackiness of M*A*S*H, which first aired three years before the fall of Saigon.
This is not compassion; it is cowardice.
Unless you are a third force, with decisive power to affect the world situation, in a war you must take one side or the other.
The left is no such third force.
We are for the American invasion of Iraq, and the troops that effect it, or we are against it.
To be serious is to acknowledge that one can't always pick and choose.
We could not have seriously said, "we support the war against Hitler, but oppose Stalin", because that, taken seriously, would have been silly.
Are you going to fight Stalin?
Then you help Hitler.
Are you not going to fight Stalin?
Then who gives a damn what you 'oppose'?
If we support the troops, that means we don't want them to be killed, and we support their efforts to protect themselves, at least until such time — months, years? — as they can withdraw.
In other words, we are against the Iraqis who attack them.
We are for the deaths of the attackers, and anyone else who gets caught in crossfire as American troops fight back.
If not, how is our support 'meaningful'?
We make patronizing excuses for 'our' soldiers: they are poor, ignorant, oppressed, deceived by recruiters, they are canon-fodder, they are everything that has formed the backbone of evil armies since the dawn of history.
They are everything, that is, but adults, responsible for their decisions.
As a consequence of these decisions, they have come thousands of miles to kill and mutilate people who did them no harm.
If we — to use Klein's idiom — 'meaningfully' support 'our' troops, we 'meaningfully' support the rape of Iraq, however much we bleat about the right and proper, partisan and time-consuming way to bring the boys home.
The courage to be serious means the courage to make hard choices.
Do we have it?
* * *
(*) Yes, some of the bases look permanent.
Sure, the US government would like to have them forever, who wouldn't?
Countries like to be powerful, and seize on the opportunity to extend their power.
But it is quite a stretch to suppose that the US invaded Iraq for these bases when, at far less cost of every kind, they could have built them elsewhere in the region.
Michael Neumann is a professor of philosophy in Canada
                          To rebel is right, to disobey is a duty, to act is necessary !
What struck me was the absence of reconstruction machinery
Saturday 2nd April 2005
How to End the War — Naomi Klein
The central question we need to answer is this:  What were the real reasons for the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq?
When we identify why we really went to war — not the cover reasons or the rebranded reasons, freedom and democracy, but the real reasons — then we can become more effective anti-war activists.
The most effective and strategic way to stop this occupation and prevent future wars is to deny the people who wage these wars their spoils — to make war unprofitable.
Private 'security'
And we can’t do that unless we effectively identify the goals of war.
When I was in Iraq a year ago trying to answer that question, one of the most effective ways I found to do that was to follow the bulldozers and construction machinery.
I was in Iraq to research the so-called reconstruction.
And what struck me most was the absence of reconstruction machinery, of cranes and bulldozers, in downtown Baghdad.
I expected to see reconstruction all over the place.
Iraqis had no place in the reconstruction process
I saw bulldozers in military bases.
I saw bulldozers in the Green Zone, where a huge amount of construction was going on, building up Bechtel’s headquarters and getting the new U.S. embassy ready.
There was also a ton of construction going on at all of the U.S. military bases.
But, on the streets of Baghdad, the former ministry buildings are absolutely untouched.
They hadn’t even cleared away the rubble, let alone started the reconstruction process.
The one crane I saw in the streets of Baghdad was hoisting an advertising billboard.
One of the surreal things about Baghdad is that the old city lies in ruins, yet there are these shiny new billboards advertising the glories of the global economy.
And the message is:  “Everything you were before isn’t worth rebuilding.”
We’re going to import a brand-new country.
Private 'security'
It is the Iraq version of the “Extreme Makeover.”
It’s not a coincidence that Americans were at home watching this explosion of extreme reality television shows where people’s bodies were being surgically remade and their homes were being bulldozed and reconstituted.
The message of these shows is:  Everything you are now, everything you own, everything you do sucks.
We’re going to completely erase it and rebuild it with a team of experts.
You just go limp and let the experts take over.
That is exactly what “Extreme Makover:Iraq” is.
There was no role for Iraqis in this process.
It was all foreign companies modernizing the country.
Iraqis with engineering Ph.D.s who built their electricity system and who built their telephone system had no place in the reconstruction process.
They built enduring military bases and didn’t rebuild the country
If we want to know what the goals of the war are, we have to look at what Paul Bremer did when he first arrived in Iraq.
He laid off 500,000 people, 400,000 of whom were soldiers.
And he shredded Iraq’s constitution and wrote a series of economic laws that the The Economist described as “the wish list of foreign investors.”
Basically, Iraq has been turned into a laboratory for the radical free-market policies that the American Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute dream about in Washington, D.C., but are only able to impose in relative slow motion here at home.
So we just have to examine the Bush administration’s policies and actions.
We don’t have to wield secret documents or massive conspiracy theories.
We have to look at the fact that they built enduring military bases and didn’t rebuild the country.
Their very first act was to protect the oil ministry leaving the the rest of the country to burn — to which Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld responded:  “Stuff happens.”
Theirs was an almost apocalyptic glee in allowing Iraq to burn.
Private 'security'
They let the country be erased, leaving a blank slate that they could rebuild in their image.
This was the goal of the war.
Most powerful emancipatory ideas ever created, of self-determination
The administration says the war was about fighting for democracy.
That was the big lie they resorted to when they were caught in the other lies.
But it’s a different kind of a lie in the sense that it’s a useful lie.
The lie that the United States invaded Iraq to bring freedom and democracy not just to Iraq but, as it turns out, to the whole world, is tremendously useful — because we can first expose it as a lie and then we can join with Iraqis to try to make it true.
So it disturbs me that a lot of progressives are afraid to use the language of democracy now that George W. Bush is using it.
We are somehow giving up on the most powerful emancipatory ideas ever created, of self-determination, liberation and democracy.
And it’s absolutely crucial not to let Bush get away with stealing and defaming these ideas — they are too important.
Being shut out of the reconstruction of their own country
In looking at democracy in Iraq, we first need to make the distinction between elections and democracy.
The reality is the Bush administration has fought democracy in Iraq at every turn.
Because if genuine democracy ever came to Iraq, the real goals of the war — control over oil, support for Israel, the construction of enduring military bases, the privatization of the entire economy — would all be lost.
Because Iraqis don’t want them and they don’t agree with them.
They have said it over and over again — first in opinion polls, which is why the Bush administration broke its original promise to have elections within months of the invasion.
I believe Paul Wolfowitz genuinely thought that Iraqis would respond like the contestants on a reality TV show and say:  “Oh my God.  Thank you for my brand-new shiny country.”
They didn’t.
Injured Man treated in Jordan
They can’t do any of this because their democracy has been shackled
They protested that 500,000 people had lost their jobs.
They protested the fact that they were being shut out of the reconstruction of their own country, and they made it clear they didn’t want permanent U.S. bases.
That’s when the administration broke its promise and appointed a CIA agent as the interim prime minister.
In that period they locked in — basically shackled — Iraq’s future governments to an International Monetary Fund program until 2008.
This will make the humanitarian crisis in Iraq much, much deeper.
Here’s just one example:  The IMF and the World Bank are demanding the elimination of Iraq’s food ration program, upon which 60 percent of the population depends for nutrition, as a condition for debt relief and for the new loans that have been made in deals with an unelected government.
In these elections, Iraqis voted for the United Iraqi Alliance.
In addition to demanding a timetable for the withdrawal of troops, this coalition party has promised that they would create 100 percent full employment in the public sector — i.e., a total rebuke of the neocons’ privatization agenda.
But now they can’t do any of this because their democracy has been shackled.
In other words, they have the vote, but no real power to govern.
Overwhelming majority of Iraqis fighting to end the occupation of their country
The future of the anti-war movement requires that it become a pro-democracy movement.
Our marching orders have been given to us by the people of Iraq.
It’s important to understand that the most powerful movement against this war and this occupation is within Iraq itself.
Our anti-war movement must not just be in verbal solidarity but in active and tangible solidarity with the overwhelming majority of Iraqis fighting to end the occupation of their country.
We need to take our direction from them.
Iraqis are resisting in many ways — not just with armed resistance.
They are organizing independent trade unions.
They are opening critical newspapers, and then having those newspapers shut down.
They are fighting privatization in state factories.
They are forming new political coalitions in an attempt to force an end to the occupation.
Free of Saddam’s debt and the IMF and World Bank agreements signed under occupation
So what is our role here?
We need to support the people of Iraq and their clear demands for an end to both military and corporate occupation.
That means being the resistance ourselves in our country, demanding that the troops come home, that U.S. corporations come home, that Iraqis be free of Saddam’s debt and the IMF and World Bank agreements signed under occupation.
Injured woman treated in Jordan
It doesn’t mean blindly cheerleading for “the resistance.”
Because there isn’t just one resistance in Iraq.
Some elements of the armed resistance are targeting Iraqi civilians as they pray in Shia mosques — barbaric acts that serve the interests of the Bush administration by feeding the perception that the country is on the brink of civil war and therefore U.S. forces must remain in Iraq.
Not everyone fighting the U.S. occupation is fighting for the freedom of all Iraqis; some are fighting for their own elite power.
That’s why we need to stay focused on supporting the demands for self-determination, not cheering any setback for U.S. empire.
And we can’t cede the language, the territory of democracy. Anybody who says Iraqis don’t want democracy should be deeply ashamed of themselves.
Iraqis are clamoring for democracy and had risked their lives for it long before this invasion — in the 1991 uprising against Saddam, for example, when they were left to be slaughtered.
The elections in January took place only because of tremendous pressure from Iraqi Shia communities that insisted on getting the freedom they were promised.
“The Courage to be Serious”
Many of us opposed this war because it was an imperial project.
Now Iraqis are struggling for the tools that will make self-determination meaningful, not just for show elections or marketing opportunities for the Bush administration.
That means it’s time, as Susan Sontag said, to have “the courage to be serious.”
The reason why the 58 percent of Americans against the war has not translated into the same millions of people on the streets that we saw before the war is because we haven’t come forward with a serious policy agenda.
We should not be afraid to be serious.
Part of that seriousness is to echo the policy demands made by voters and demonstrators in the streets of Baghdad and Basra and bring those demands to Washington, where the decisions are being made.
But the core fight is over respect for international law, and whether there is any respect for it at all in the United States.
Unless we’re fighting a core battle against this administration’s total disdain for the very idea of international law, then the specifics really don’t matter.
We saw this very clearly in the U.S. presidential campaign, as John Kerry let Bush completely set the terms for the debate.
Recall the ridicule of Kerry’s mention of a “global test,” and the charge that it was cowardly and weak to allow for any international scrutiny of U.S. actions.
Afghanistan and Iraq asylum seekers detained in Indonesia
Why didn’t Kerry ever challenge this assumption?
I blame the Kerry campaign as much as I blame the Bush administration.
During the elections, he never said “Abu Ghraib.”
He never said “Guantanamo Bay.”
He accepted the premise that to submit to some kind of “global test” was to be weak.
Once they had done that, the Democrats couldn’t expect to win a battle against Alberto Gonzales being appointed attorney general, when they had never talked about torture during the campaign.
And part of the war has to be a media war in this country.
The problem is not that the anti-war voices aren’t there — it’s that the voices aren’t amplified.
Bremer’s illegal economic laws
We need a strategy to target the media in this country, making it a site of protest itself.
We must demand that the media let us hear the voices of anti-war critics, of enraged mothers who have lost their sons for a lie, of betrayed soldiers who fought in a war they didn’t believe in.
And we need to keep deepening the definition of democracy — to say that these show elections are not democracy, and that we don’t have a democracy in this country either.
Sadly, the Bush administration has done a better job of using the language of responsibility than we in the anti-war movement.
The message that’s getting across is that we are saying “just leave,” while they are saying, “we can’t just leave, we have to stay and fix the problem we started.”
We can have a very detailed, responsible agenda and we shouldn’t be afraid of it.
Camp 'Victory'
Orwell style
We should be saying, “Let’s pull the troops out but let’s leave some hope behind.”
We can’t be afraid to talk about reparations, to demand freedom from debt for Iraq, a total abandonment of Bremer’s illegal economic laws, full Iraqi control over the reconstruction budget — there are many more examples of concrete policy demands that we can and must put forth.
When we articulate a more genuine definition of democracy than we are hearing from the Bush administration, we will bring some hope to Iraq.
And we will bring closer to us many of the 58 percent who are opposed to the war but aren’t marching with us yet because they are afraid of cutting and running.
Naomi Klein is a columnist for In These Times, the British Guardian and The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper and the author of No Logo:  Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies.
by : Naomi Klein
Friday 6th May 2005
March 23, 2005
"They are Allowing the Breakdown of Iraqi Society"
US Frees Iraqi Kidnappers to Become Spies
U S intelligence and military police officers in Iraq are routinely freeing dangerous criminals in return for a promise to spy on insurgents.
In one case where we have seen documents, police rescued a doctor after a gun battle with his kidnappers and arrested two of the kidnap gang, who made full confessions.  But US military police took over custody of the two men and let them go.  The doctor had to flee to Egypt after being threatened by the gang.
The police station where the men were held recorded that they had been handed over to an American military police lieutenant for transfer to the US-run Camp Cuervo detention centre.  But an American military spokesman told the IoS that there was no record of the two prisoners in their database.
"The Americans are allowing the breakdown of Iraqi society because they are only interested in fighting the insurgency," said a senior Iraqi police officer.  "We are dealing with an epidemic of kidnapping, extortion and violent crime, but even though we know the Americans monitor calls on mobiles and satellite phones, which are often used in ransom negotiations, they will not pass on any criminal intelligence to us.  They only want to use the information against insurgents."
An Iraqi government source confirmed that criminal suspects were often released if they agreed to inform on insurgents, despite the dangers to ordinary Iraqis.  The Iraqi middle class has been heavily targeted by kidnappers since the fall of Saddam Hussein.  Many doctors, a favourite target, and businessmen have fled to Syria, Jordan and Egypt.  The police admit that they have been unable to do anything to stop the wave of abductions.
Dr Thamir Mohammed Ali Hasafa al-Kaisey, 60, a GP, was seized by a gang of 11 kidnappers in three cars as he drove home from his clinic in Baghdad at 6.30pm on 23 December.  "I was 50 metres from my house when men with guns in a Jeep Cherokee stopped me and beat me with their fists," Dr Hasafa later told police.  "They put me in their car with my face on the ground and tied me up with my own jacket."
Although kidnappers operate with near impunity in central Iraq, Dr Hasafa had an extraordinary stroke of luck.  His captors ran into a police checkpoint, and shooting broke out.  Even though his leg was broken in the beating, the doctor was able to crawl out of the back of the car and shout to the police: "I am a doctor and I was kidnapped."
The case was a rare breakthough for the police.  In their confessions, obtained by the IoS, the two suspects - one a serving police lieutenant - give a unique picture of how the gangs work, and the extraordinarily high number of kidnappings they carry out.
Mohammed Najim Abdullah al-Dhouri, the police lieutenant, and Adnan Ashur Ali al-Jabouri are both members of powerful tribes from which Saddam drew many of his inner circle of security men and army officers.  But the motive of the gang seemed to have been purely criminal.
Adnan Ashur told the investigating judge that the leaders of the gang were Eyhab, nicknamed Abu Fahad, who ran a mobile phone shop, and his brother, Hisham.  Eyhab, he said, was a criminal sentenced to 40 years in jail by the old regime.  He had apparently been freed during a general amnesty by Saddam at the end of 2002.
Mohammed Najim, who was based in Sadr City in east Baghdad, lived in special police housing.  He said: "I was involved with Hisham prior to the fall of Saddam.  Later he approached me about kidnapping prominent men.  My task was to provide security for the gang."  All the gang members were armed with pistols.  They had safe houses in which to keep kidnap victims.  Both suspects said they had taken part in numerous other kidnappings in the previous few months, with their victims paying up to $60,000 (£31,000) each.  Ironically, the informant who had told them that Dr Hasafa was worth kidnapping was a guard hired by householders to protect the street where he lived.
The Iraqi police were jubilant that they finally had detailed information on how a kidnap gang operated.  The two captured men were willing to provide the names and addresses of other gang members, and the success was lauded by Iraqi television and the local press.  To the consternation of the police, however, on 30 December a convoy of US military police arrived at al-Khansa police station, where Mohammed Najim and Adnan Ashur were being held.  The Iraqi police officer at the station recorded: "They have requested the custody of the two assailants."  Iraqi police dropped the case against the rest of the gang.
Dr Hasafa, meanwhile, received two visits from the families of the prisoners.  The first was from the father of Mohammed Najim, who offered money if the kidnap charge was withdrawn.  He said he had been an officer in the Republican Guard and added menacingly: "You know what we are capable of doing."
During the second meeting Dr Hasafa learned that his kidnappers had been freed.  He refused to withdraw charges, despite death threats to his family, but in January he fled to Jordan and then Egypt.
iraq photo of the war in iraq, the oocupation of iraq, and an iraq map, with arabic translation for voices in the wilderness

How are people managing?

School children mentioned in the article who threw rocks at four humvees as they drove by their school
School children mentioned in the article who threw rocks at four humvees as they drove by their school (photo: Cathy Breen)

By Cathy Breen
Amman, Jordan
Thursday, March 10, 2005

Dear Friends,

Last night I ran into two Iraqi men that I know.  They had recently arrived from Baghdad.  We were stunned to see each other after so many months.  One of the men is a trusted and beloved young friend.  I have been to his family home, know his widowed mother and several of his family members.  He is like a son to me.

We sat and spoke for a long time.  I want to relate some of our conversation.  Sadly, I cannot use their names as it would put them at too great a risk.

How are people doing; how are they managing? I asked.

“It is getting worse day by day” was their response.  The aunt of one of the men suffered broken legs and her husband was killed when a U.S. tank crushed their car.  The other lost an innocent friend to U.S. bullets.

“After 7:00pm (at the latest 8:00pm) most of Baghdad is closed down and very dangerous.”   My young friend related how he had lost track of time while in an internet cafe.  When he left the cafe, he found the streets deserted.  No taxis, no buses.  “A horrible deep silence” he said.  “If you would drop a needle, it would make a loud noise in your ears!” He was terrified and walked along the street close to the houses, thinking that if he were to be fired upon he would bang on the doors or try to leap over a wall.

I was anxious to hear about the employment situation and if children are able to go to school.

“Some people found jobs” they replied, “but they are few.”  Besides the police force and the army, one of the only sources of employment, they related, are street cleaners [sanitation].  The pay for an 8-hour day is about $5.00.  “Students and children are leaving school to do this work...In my neighborhood (an area of approx.  1 kilometer), about 80 people are working.”  I asked him to repeat these figures to make sure I had heard correctly.  “Most of them are between the ages of 9 and 13yrs.”

A police officer earns about $500 a month; a regular policeman about $200-300 a month.  For a soldier, the normal salary is approx.  $500 monthly.  “In the Sunni community it is different.  Most would prefer to starve or die before serving in the police force or the army.”

I asked if they could give me some idea of what percentage of men between the ages of 18 to 50yrs are unemployed.  I suggested 50%.  They were thoughtful, and didn’t answer right away.  They put the figure at 80%.  Some people find sporadic work for a day or two they said.

The current electricity output in Baghdad is 6 to 8 hours a day.  That is one of the reasons, my friend told me apologetically, that he has not been able to communicate with me via internet for so many months.

The scarcity of water throughout most of the city is also alarming.  People come to work not having slept, because they have been opening the water spigot throughout the night, hoping to collect enough water for their daily use.  Without a pump however (which is dependent on the electricity), the water flow is often just a feeble drip.  Children’s faces break into broad smiles when they see water coming from the taps.

There was an empty pint-sized soda bottle on the table where we were sitting.  Reaching for it, one friend spoke about the petroleum crisis.  “There have been periods when this much petroleum costs $l.50, and drivers must wait in line for 2 days to buy gasoline!

It is an on-again off-again situation.  People have been selling their furniture, their carpets, their sofas and even their livestock if they have it — a bull, an ox.

I asked if the food rationing system was working or not.  They related that a referendum was taken among the people, suggesting that they receive money instead of food.  The majority opted to continue with the food rationing.  I have heard from several sources that foodstuffs, like milk, tea and rice are sometimes missing from the “breadbasket.”  The government says that trucks cannot get through due to the insecurity of the roads, but some contest that corruption is the cause.

My worst fears were born out as I heard the story of some 125 children who one day were outside of their school waiting to get in.  My friend, who was there, made the offer to teach English to them.  “What’s the use of English” some of them said.  “Teach us how to use Kalashnikovs.”  Four humvees drove by and the children agreed to throw rocks at them.  They then fled, but my friend witnessed a child, who had been in the bathroom at the time of the incident, who was caught and beaten about the face by the soldiers.  “The resistance is growing” said my friend.

They spoke of how the U.S. military is “hiring people to help them get the resistance.  They are using Shia soldiers.  This makes conflicts between families.”  We spoke of Fallujah.  “No one except the residents are allowed to go there.  We know that chemical weapons were used.  A friend of mine went there to see how his daughter’s house was, but he couldn’t tell which of the houses was hers.”  Residents of Fallujah were advised in person and also via TV, radio and local newspapers not to eat any foodstuffs that were stored in their homes during the assault, nor touch any of the animals such as dog, cats, sheep, chickens, etc.

The words of another dear friend who arrived just two days ago from Baghdad, for a 2-day sojourn in Amman, expressed the climate in Baghdad much better than I ever could.  He himself is the father of 2 little girls.  He just told me that whenever he arrives home late from work, even 1/2 hour late, he is met by his own father’s distress and accusing words.  “Why are you late!   You have scared us; we fear that something has happened to you! You must come home before the sun goes down! The whole family has been waiting anxiously for his return.  He will be leaving to return to Baghdad in the early morning hours tomorrow.  Now we too at this end will fear for his safe return because of the treacherous roads.  May God go with you, dear brother.  I assure him that so many people are holding him and his family in their hearts and prayers.

iraq photo of the war in iraq, the oocupation of iraq, and an iraq map, with arabic translation for voices in the wilderness

The One Percenters

Children stand in front of their ruined home in the Iraqi city of Fallujah.
Children stand in front of their ruined home in the city of Fallujah.
(photo: CPT)

This article contains recent photos from inside Fallujah taken by CPT

By Cliff Kindy

Mohammad told the CPTers on their way to Fallujah, “You have a 99% chance that you will be refused entry into Fallujah today.”  Five CPTers, two persons from Muslim Peacemaker Team, two local human rights activists, and two Iraqi friends were at a factory outside of Fallujah, ready to enter the city.  The prospects of entry were dim, as US soldiers had turned back representatives of the Ministry of Religion earlier that same day.

One Iraqi in the visiting group brought wheelchairs and medical supplies to the hospital and the one clinic still operating in Fallujah.  The devastating assault on the city by the US last November had started with an attack on the hospital and its clinics, reportedly because those centers were the sources of reports on civilian casualties in the April 2004 attack on Fallujah, reports that turned public opinion against the attack.

The visitors entered without incident, perhaps because they brought medical supplies.  The team pushed five wheelchairs from the city center across the Euphrates River Bridge, where only foot traffic is allowed to pass to the hospital.  Next they visited the lone clinic left in the city that has a population of over 200,000 people.
Chaos and ruin, Fallujah, Iraq
Chaos and ruin, Fallujah, Iraq.   (photo: CPT)

The devastated city exposed itself as the visitors drove into different sectors.  The main streets were busy with people walking, driving, and shopping.  Shops were open, though many are still unusable because of the damage in November.  Independent journalists and NGOs have reported that over 65% of the homes in Fallujah are destroyed or so badly damaged as to be unlivable.  The team confirmed massive destruction of the homes and businesses in the city.  A member of the reconstruction team for the city told the group that US and Iraqi security forces attacked 30 of the 55 mosques in the city and destroyed most of the electrical and water infrastructure.

A meeting with a sheik and imam from a mosque in the city center was revealing.  The visitors consisted of Shi’a representatives from Iraq and Christians from the US and UK.  At the mosque, the group explored the ways in which non-Sunni outsiders could support the rebuilding of Fallujah.  The sheik cautioned the visitors, “Our hearts are open; our borders are closed,” referring to the US security orders keeping visitors from the city.  He continued, “If you come as Christians to help and show how good Christians are, we don’t need your help.  If you come as human beings to share our tragedy with the world, you are welcome.”

At least four extended families welcomed the visitors to one tent community where families had returned from refugee camps outside the city to be “home.”  In every direction, as far as one could see, almost every home was leveled by air attacks and bulldozers.  Residents said, “When we left, all our homes were standing and there were no resistance fighters in the area.”  A school across an empty field had suffered the fate of the homes.

A massive rebuilding task faces the people of Fallujah.  One could say they have a 99% chance of failure.  A CPTer said after leaving the city, “The Fallujans are one percenters.”
An Iraq child stands in the rubble of a destroyed classroom.
An Iraq child stands in the rubble of a destroyed classroom. (photo: CPT)

Even the bathrooms in the schools in Fallujah became the target of machine gun fire.
Even the bathrooms in the schools in Fallujah became the target of machine gun fire. (photo: CPT)

By Sheila Provencher

March 7, 2005

Our new 23-year-old, Metallica-T-Shirt-wearing translator is fun to be around. I tease him by saying that he is more American than me, since he knows so much of the pop culture.  But he possesses a seriousness beneath the pop-culture exterior: a year ago, he spent 11 months in Bucca prison camp in southern Iraq.  After all that time he still does not know what his charges were.

He told me about his experience: “Sometimes, we became friends with the soldiers.  They were more like friends than guards.  They would tell us, ‘You know, it’s like we’re in prison too.’  They didn’t want to be there.  They would come into our tent and play cards.

“When I got out of prison, I felt lost and depressed.  In Bucca Camp, at least I had work to do—there were 500 detainees in my camp I had to translate for.  I could forget that I was in prison.  When I was released, I had no purpose anymore.  I felt confused.  When I tried to use my computer, it was like I had forgotten how to use it.  One day I was at the market, and I reached into my pocket to use cigarettes to pay for the food.  In prison we used cigarettes as cash.  It was hard to adjust.  And so I started volunteering at Women’s Will, a human-rights group that my mother works at.  Now I can look back and feel that it all happened for a reason.”

March 8, 2005: International Women’s Day

Four of us CPTers attended a demonstration in Firdos Square, Baghdad, with the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq.  It was amazing! Little girls with head scarves holding banners, older women draped in full black abaya and hijab, young women in jeans and T-shirts.  They chanted for equality, separation of religious and state law, and an end to the American occupation.  They seemed delighted to see four Americans there who also wanted the occupation to end.  It was a beautiful way to resist with voices rather than with violence.

Along the road from the demonstration, tiny yellow flowers pushed their way through cracks in concrete only yards away from razor wire.

Later, Cliff and I went to Women’s Will, an organization for women’s rights founded by Hana, a dynamic woman whose eyes snap with both mirth and determination.  We talked about Iraqi women detained without trial in U.S. prisons in Iraq.  At the idea of an action to highlight their situation, Hana practically leapt into action.  “Yes, we must do this,” she said.  “Even if only five of us march, if we take one step, others will follow.  I believe this!”

March 9, 2005

Life in Iraq is like a rollercoaster.  At 6:30 this morning I woke up because the bed and windows were shaking.  A car bomb had exploded about a mile away.  As usual I went to the roof to see what had happened and guessed it must have hit a fuel station because the clouds of black smoke just kept coming and coming.  After two weeks of quiet in the neighborhood, dull “booms” continued throughout the day.

It would be easy to look at bombs as something that only terrorists do, but every time I feel an explosion here in Iraq, I wonder what it was like to be beneath the “Shock and Awe” of March 2003.  Every Iraqi I’ve ever asked has said that there is nothing like the American bombs.  This morning one of our translators said to me, “You cannot imagine it.  It was like traveling through hell.”

Later today I was at a meeting with the UN representative for human rights and one of my Iraqi colleagues from a village west of Baghdad.  My Iraqi friend walks a tightrope between the resistance and the U.S. military presence: his humanitarian organization received CPA funding for their projects, so he is viewed by the resistance as a collaborator.  His best friend, a kind man I met last summer, was shot dead by resistance a few weeks ago.  But to my Iraqi colleague, the U.S. military occupation is just as dangerous: last fall they wrongly detained him for six weeks, suspecting him as resistance just because he is on the governing council of his village.  His car was in an accident caused by a military convoy, caught fire, and was later crushed by a tank.  The military refused to give him compensation.

He told the UN worker about the problems happening in his village.  “There is a curfew between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.,” he began.

“What happens if you break the curfew?” asked the UN rep.

My friend’s face became grave.  “There have been many accidents because of this.  Soldiers have shot whole families by mistake — if we break the curfew because someone needs to go to the hospital, because someone is sick, anything.  Many mistakes.”

Listening to my friend, I remembered my reaction when I read about the Italian journalist and her guards being shot by U.S. troops.  Once the shock passed, the first clear thought in my mind was: “That happens to Iraqis all the time.”  I have a photograph of the bullet-riddled body of an Iraqi man accidentally shot at a checkpoint a year ago.

Tonight, I spoke by phone to an Iraqi woman whose sister has been taken to the high-security airport prison.  The woman and her sister were imprisoned for more than seven months last year, during which time their detained brother’s dead body was thrown into their laps.  They finally were released last July after authorities concluded that they were not involved with the resistance.  Two weeks ago, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers raided her sister’s home again and took her away.  The woman’s voice was tired and sad.  “Maybe we will talk later,” she said.

Going to sleep, I remembered something my Iraqi friend from the village west of Baghdad said: “You are very brave to be with us through all this.  I feel that you are my family.”

Little does he realize that he is the brave one.

Blair won't bring me back my arms
Abbas lost his mother, father, and a little brother as well as 13 other members of their family in the UK-US allied 2003 invasion.
When the missile hit my home I heard my family screaming
At 12:00 o’clock in the night I suddenly heard a very big blast hitting my home, the house collapsed on us. There was a lot of fire
I want to ask Blair if he wants to come back with me to Iraq and tell the Iraqi people that he will do the same thing again…
That attack left the young man disabled — having suffered burns to 60 percent of his body, he lost his arms amputated due to severe burns.
Iraq devastated cities towns villages — 2013
7386 died in bombings in Iraq 2013 — Sadr City, Basra, Fallujah, Ramadi, Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, Najaf...
The invasion is not just some kind of mistake, the invasion and US UK occupation is a serious crime
Pools of blood shoes flesh cover the ground
US employe classic divide and rule strategy
An Iraq boy cries after car bomb explodes blood over his body
     October 5, 2013 — 73 people killed in Iraq including 2 journalists      
      Iraq 2013 a year of carnage       
      US UK created Iraq      
      Tal Afar mayor Abdel-Aal al-Obeidi says the twin blasts hit the nearby Shia village of Qabak Sunday morning     
Iraq devastated cities towns villages — 2008
State-Sponsored Terror — British and American Black Ops in Iraq
American Delta Force responsible for terror
P2OG in Action — Iraq’s most sacred Shiite mosque blown up
US employe classic divide and rule strategy
After being questioned for a short while, he was told to drive his car to an Iraqi police station, where his license had been forwarded, and that he should go quickly
     Western Governments Worldwide Matrix      
      CIA executes the plans using Department of Defense assets       
     100 kilograms of explosives booby-trapped by the Americans intended for al-Khadimiya Shiite district of Baghdad      
      Pentagon program termed the 'Salvador Option'     
Iraq devastated cities towns villages — 2007
US black budget special operations continuing in Iraq — Russian expert cites US special services as source of sectarian tension
March 2007 Shrook Jawar sits with daughters at makeshift home at former president Saddam Hussein's Republican guard barracks destroyed in US bombing
233 Dead in Carnage, Health Ministry Besieged, 3,000 Widows Created Each Month
     Loup de Loup: The Deeper Darkness      
      More reports of US special operations planting 'suicide ' bombs in cars       
     US shot up the van killing 4 creating unhappy families in Sadr City      
      The jihad now is against the Shias, not the Americans     
Iraq devastated cities towns villages — 2006
A man covers a toddler killed by a U.S. military attack
A boy who was wounded in a U.S. military attack lies in a hospital in Baghdad's Sadr City
It is for sure that they did it, the tortured bodies were found the second day, they came in their official police cars
     Loup de Loup: The Deeper Darkness      
      140 metal cages placed in the farm       
     He saw dead bodies of whole families      
      egarding the purported Iraqi Shi'i-Sunni civil war     
US destroyed Fallujah as it tries to destroy the rest of Iraq
Published on Monday, July 4, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
by Sheldon Drobny
Justice O'Connor's decision in Bush v. Gore led to the current Bush administration's execution of war crimes and atrocities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places in the Middle East that are as egregious as those committed by the Third Reich and other evil governments in human history.
The lesson is clear.
Those people who may be honorable and distinguished in their chosen profession should always make decisions based upon good rather than evil no matter where their nominal allegiances may rest.
Justice O'Connor was quoted to have said something to the affect that she abhorred the thought of Bush losing the 2000 election to Gore.
She was known to have wanted to retire after the 2000 election for same reason she is now retiring.
She wanted to spend more time with her sick husband.
Unfortunately, she tarnished her distinguished career with the deciding vote in Bush v. Gore by going along with the partisan majority of the Court to interfere with a democratic election that she and the majority feared would be lost in an honest recount.
She dishonored herself and the Supreme Court by succumbing to party allegiances and not The Constitution to which she swore to uphold.
And the constitutional argument she and the majority used to justify their decision was the Equal Protection Clause.
The Equal Protection Clause was the ultimate basis for the decision, but the majority essentially admitted (what was obvious in any event) that it was not basing its conclusion on any general view of what equal protection requires.
The decision in Bush v Gore was not dictated by the law in any sense—either the law found through research, or the law as reflected in the kind of intuitive sense that comes from immersion in the legal culture.
The Equal Protection clause is generally used in matters concerning civil rights.
The majority ignored their basic conservative views supporting federalism and states' rights in order to justify their decision.
History will haunt these justices down for their utter lack of justice and the hypocrisy associated with this decision.
Sheldon Drobny is Co-founder of Air America Radio.
Unspeakable grief and horror
                        ...and the circus of deception continues...
— 2018
— 2017
— 2016
— 2015
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— 2012
— 2011
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— 2003
Circus of Torture   2003 — now
He says, "You are quite mad, Kewe"
And of course I am.
Why, I don't believe any of it — not the bloody body, not the bloody mind, not even the bloody Universe, or is it bloody multiverse.
"It's all illusion," I say.   "Don't you know, my lad, my lassie.   The game!   The game, me girl, me boy!   Takes on interest, don't you know.   T'is me sport, till doest find a better!"
Pssssst — but all this stuff is happening down here
Let's change it!
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Mother her two babies killed by US
More than Fifteen million
US dollars given by US taxpayers to Israel each day for their military use
4 billion US dollars per year
Nanci Pelosi — U.S. House Democratic leader — Congresswoman California, 8th District
Speaking at the AIPAC agenda   May 26, 2005
There are those who contend that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is all about Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.   This is absolute nonsense.
In truth, the history of the conflict is not over occupation, and never has been:  it is over the fundamental right of Israel to exist.
The greatest threat to Israel's right to exist, with the prospect of devastating violence, now comes from Iran.
For too long, leaders of both political parties in the United States have not done nearly enough to confront the Russians and the Chinese, who have supplied Iran as it has plowed ahead with its nuclear and missile technology....
In the words of Isaiah, we will make ourselves to Israel 'as hiding places from the winds and shelters from the tempests; as rivers of water in dry places; as shadows of a great rock in a weary land.'
      Iraq death squads — Badr, White Toyota Land Cruisers      
      Glock pistols, Interior Ministry memo      
      Salvador Option      
      The hands might be Iraqis, but the minds and the money are not      
  Afghanistan — Western Terror States: Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy      
       Photos of Afghanistan people being killed and injured by NATO      

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