The Acts of the Democracies

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Aggressor / Perpetrator Country : Australia

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Generated : 24th October 2017


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1960

Australia

Australia finally extends social services benefits to the Aboriginies (the indigenous people). These people would not be allowed to vote until 1962.

Aborigine workers are paid half the wages of a white worker. The pay goes into an account at the state owned Commonwealth Bank. The worker could not withdraw his own money without the authority of a protector, usually a white official.

Because many workers are illiterate, they are unable to check their accounts. Most of their money goes missing.


1964

Australia (Rupert Murdoch)

Rupert Murdoch begins his media career in Australia. His Sydney newspaper, the Daily Mirror, publishes a story with the headline "We Have Schoolgirl's Orgy Diary" about a 14 year old girl's sexual exploits. A 13 year old boy, named in the diaries, is expelled from school. He commits suicide by hanging himself. The girl is later examined by a doctor who confirms that she is a virgin. The diary had been a product of adolescent fantasy.

Murdoch's reaction when confronted with the consequences of his newspaper's story would be that "everybody makes mistakes". This type of journalism, new at the time, would eventually become the universal style of the West's media. Murdoch would become a very powerful media owner.


1966

Australia

In Australia, Charlie Perkins, an Aborigine (the country's native population), chains himself outside a swimming pool in Moree. Aborigines are excluded from entry into all the country's pools. This protest changes the rules, opening the way for swimming pools being available to all.


1975

Indonesia and East Timor

East Timor gains its independence from Portugal.

A few months later, Indonesia invades and occupies the tiny state, committing many atrocities. The Western countries remain silent during the invasion.

The USA president and Henry Kissinger (USA Secretary of State) visit Indonesia a few days before the invasion. The CIA reports that Indonesia is attempting to "provoke incidents that would provide [them] with an excuse to invade."

Over the next few years, up to 200,000 people are killed, a third of the population. Many villages are wiped off the map. Churches are destroyed or desicrated. The USA, Australia and the UK support the annexation.

The UK ambassador informs his government that "the peoples of Portuguese Timor are in no condition to exercise the right to self-determination."

Henry Kissinger affirms that "the United States understands Indonesia's position on the question [of East Timor]".

The Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, agrees that "the best and most realistic future for Timor was association with Indonesia".

The West continues to sell arms to Indonesia. Western companies, Woodside-Burmah, RTZ, BP, Britsh Gas and Britoil benefit from what they describe as a "favourable political climate".

After being tipped off about the invasion, Richard Woolcott, the Australian ambassador to Indonesia, decides that Australia should "leave events to take their course... and act in a way which would be designed to minimise the public impact in Australia and show private understanding to Indonesia and their problems..."

A radio transmission picked up in Darwin (Australia) describes the invasion:

"The Indonesian soldiers are killing indiscriminately. Women and children are being shot in the streets. We are all going to be killed... This is an appeal for international help. This is an SOS. We appeal to the Australian people... and to all the people of the world. Please help us..."

Philip Liechty, a retired desk officer of the USA's CIA in Indoinesia's capital, Jakarta, describes the events to Australian journalist, John Pilger:

"I saw intelligence that came from hard, firm sources in East Timor. There were people being herded into school buildings and the buildings set on fire. There were people herded into fields and machine gunned, and hunted in the mountains simply because they were there. We knew the place was a free fire zone and that Suharto was given the green light by the United States to do what he did. We sent the Indonesian generals everything that you need to fight a major war against somebody who doesn't have any guns. We sent them rifles, ammunition, mortars, grenades, food, helicopters. You name it, they got it. And they got it direct. Without continued, heavy US logistical military support, the Indonesians might not have been able to pull it off. None of that got out in the media. No one cared. No one gave a damn. It is something that I will be forever ashamed of."

After the invasion, Australia and Indonesia sign the Timor Gap Treaty splitting up East Timor's estimated 7,000 million barells of oil between them.

In the buildup to the invasion, five journalists and cameramen, are killed by Indonesian forces in Balibo. They are Greg Shackleton and Tony Stewart (both Australian), Malcolm Renee and Brian Peters (UK), and Gary Cunningham (New Zealand). Another journalist, Roger East, is killed while investigating the murders. The Australian and UK governments issue no formal protest to Indonesia and there is no enquiry into the deaths until 1996.


1991

Indonesia and East Timor

Indonesian troops massacre 400 people at the Santa Cruz Cemetary in the East Timor capital of Dili.

Gareth Evans, the Australian foreign minister supports Indonesia by describing the killings as "an aberration, not an act of state policy". The UK government and media describe the killings as an "incident" and go on to declare that it was "wrong to suggest that the widespread abuses of human rights persist in East Timor."

Bishop Carlos Belo, co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996, describes the massacre:

"This was no incident; it was a real massacre. It was well prepared. It was a deliberate operation to teach us a lesson... After the first massacre there were more killings [of the wounded]. Some of the killings happened near my house. When I visited the hospital... on the day of the first massacre... there were hundreds of wounded. When I came back the next day there were only 90. Witnesses have told me that the killing of the wounded began at 8 0'clock that night, and that most deaths occurred between two and three in the morning... when the lights suddenly went out in the city. And now we have the problem of justice because the families are still waiting for the bodies of their children. And we don't know where they are buried."


1993

Australia

Eddie Mabo (an Aborigine, one of the indigenous people of Australia), takes the Australian government to court over land rights.

When Europeans had arrived in Australia 200 years previously, they had seen the land as uninhabited and had parcelled it out into huge estates. The Aborigines had always been excluded from decision making over the development and use of their land.

The court's ruling (known as the Mabo Decision) states that the Aborigines might have title to land owned by the estates but only if the ownership was leasehold (possession for a limited period) rather than freehold (possession in perpetuity).

The government introduces a law that allows them to determine all land claims and to convert leaseholds to freeholds. The net result is that the native peoples lose their right to determine the future of the land. 42% of Australia would be controlled by 20,000 people, mainly the powerful and influential like media owners Kerry Packer (the 7th largest land owner) and Rupert Murdoch (who has nine large landholdings and controls 70% of the major newspapers).


1995

Indonesia

Ahmad Taufik, a journalist from Indonesia who founded the Alliance of Independent Journalists, is sentenced to prison for "insulting the government". He had visited the UK to ask for support for more democracy in Indonesia. The UK is Indonesia's biggest arms supplier. Carol Robson, at the UK Foreign Office, had assured Taufik: "The human rights situation in your country is improving."

Kopussus, an elite Indonesian military unit used in East Timor, killed five foreign journalists at Balibo in 1975. Many of the unit's leaders are trained in Australia.


1996

Western Companies and Child Labour

The UK imports $12 million worth of sporting goods made mainly by child labour in India.

Children can stitch two footballs (soccer balls) every day for which they are paid a daily wage of $0.25, barely enough to buy a litre of milk. Many of these footballs end up at large football clubs where they are signed by the players and sold for large profits.

Countries such as the UK (as well as Australia, the USA and Japan) have all moved their manufacturing industries to poor countries with low wages and lax safety conditions.

In Thailand, hundreds of workers making Bart Simpson and Cabage Patch Dolls, have died in factory fires. Workers in China (making Barbie and Sindy dolls, Power Rangers and Fisher-Price toys for infants) have also died in fires.

Thousands of workers use glues, plastics and paints without protection or ventilation leading to illness and disability.

East Timor

In Australia, an enquiry occurs into the deaths of six Australian, UK, and New Zealand journalists and cameramen during the invasion of East Timor by Indonesia in 1975. Both the UK and Australian governments had kept quiet about the killings until persistent campaigning from the widow of one of the journalists, Greg Shackleton.

After the enquiry concludes (against eye witness testimony) that the journalists were killed in "cross fire", the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, states that "you can't always expect countries with whom you want to have good relations to have the same value system as we have."

Indonesia's annexation of East Timor had resulted in 200,000 deaths, a third of the population. This figure had been verified by Amnesty International, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Australian Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Timor Gap Treaty, signed in 1989, had allowed Australia and Indonesia to exploit East Timor's huge oil reserves, estimated at 7000 million barells.

The two countries upgrade this treaty to allow the plunder of East Timor's fishing grounds. Another deal on infrastructure projects benefits the Indonesian president (Suharto) and his family to the tune of $53,000 million. The Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fisher, describes Suharto as "perhaps the world's greatest figure in the latter half of the 20th century".


1997

Australia

Aborigine workers on large farms in Australia have had their wages paid into accounts at the state owned Commonwealth Bank. Workers could not withdraw their own money without the authority of a protector, usually a white official. Because many workers have been illiterate, they were not always able to check their accounts.

Rodney Hall, an Aboriginal editor from Queensland, has shown that most of the workers' money has gone missing. Accounts that should contain tens of thousands of dollars are found to have accumulated a few hundred dollars for a lifetime's work.

Although the amounts involved are in the millions of dollars, the media ignore the story.

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission releases a report concluding that a third of all Aboriginal children had been forcibly removed from their families between 1919 and 1970. Over 100,000 children had been stolen by government officials and police. Boys ended up at sheep and cattle ranches being paid low wages. The majority girls had been sent to the Cootamundra Training Home for Aboriginal Girls where they were trained as domestic servants for white households. Physical and sexual abuse was common. Many young Aboriginal women were sterilised without their knowledge.

On victim, Joy, told Australian journalist, John Pilger:

"A truck would pull up outside and the officers would get out a bag of boiled lollies, give the kids one, then snatch them... My mum was snatched... later when I came along, of course I was taken away. Mum was given a hysterectomy at the age of eighteen. She didn't know anything about it."

The Australian government refuses to apologise or compensate the victims of this policy.


2003

USA-UK War in Iraq

The USA (with help from the UK) invades Iraq without United Nations authority.

After months of talking about disarming Iraq, the USA and UK governments now talk openly about regime change. After months of talking about the need to remove terrorism by attacking Iraq, the USA and UK give out world wide terrorist warnings to their citizens. After months of saying the the war will be short and quick, the USA and UK begin saying that it might take time and be difficult.

The USA president, George W Bush talks about a "coalition" of nations "disarming" or "liberating" Iraq. The "coalition" consists of:

World opinion is overwhelmingly against the war. Huge demonstrations erupt around the world even in the 30 countries whose governments support the war. UK and USA flags are burnt in streets.

Both the USA and UK attempt to allay public fears of civilian casualties by asserting that they will use "surgical strikes" of great accuracy and attempt to keep civilian casualties low. One of the bombs being used is called a Massive Ordinance Air Burst (MOAB). This bomb weighs 9,800kg (21,500 lbs) and is larger than a London bus. It devastates an area within a 1.5km (1 mile) radius. Another bomb used is the JDAM: everyone within a 120 meter radius is killed; to be safe from serious shrapnel damage, a person must be at least 365 meters away; to be really safe from all effects of fragmentation, a person must be 1000 meters away, according to Admiral Stufflebeem. The B-52 bombers (responsible for "carpet bombing" Vietnam during the 1960s and 1970s) are also being used (many from UK bases).

In addition, the USA and UK refuse to rule out the use of Cluster Bombs (which spread into hundreds of bomblets and are deadly to civilians) or cancer causing Depleted Uranium (DU). The UK Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, declares "Specifically, as far as DU and cluster bombs are concerned, they have a particular military purpose. If that purpose is necessary, they will be used." In the 1991 Gulf War, over 2000 Kuwaitis were killed by unexploded cluster bombs.

Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, warns the USA and UK of their responsibilities as belligerent and occupying powers.

The head of the United Nations weapons inspectors, Hans Blix expresses regret over USA "impatience" to go to war with Iraq - and suggests that the USA had little interest in peaceful disarmament from the outset.

The response of Iraq to the high technology weapons of the USA and UK is to fire short range missiles at UK and USA troops in Kuwait.

In the first two days over 320 missiles are fired at Baghdad. This is more than during the entire 1991 conflict.

The first civilian victim is Ahmed Rahal, a taxi driver in his 20s. He is making a phone call in a police station when a missile hits - he is blown to bits. In the first few days all UK military casualties are as a result of accidents or fire from their own or USA forces.

Baghdad
The bombing of Baghdad. "Shock and awe".
Bombing Victim
Young girl - victim of the bombing. 42% of Iraq's population is under 15.

© 2003: Reuters

Turkey moves 1500 troops into northern Iraq "for humanitarian reasons" and "to combat terrorism". Turkey fears that any independence of Iraq's Kurds will encourage its own Kurdish population.

Iran complains to the United Nations that its airspace has been violated by USA and UK forces. One of its oil refineries is bombed.

USA Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, states that television pictures showing captured USA soldiers violate the Geneva Convention. This story is the main lead on UK and USA television stations which do not show Iraqi civilian casualties. Very little comment is made about the denial of Prisoner of War status to fighters captured in Afghanistan whom the USA refers to as "battlefield detainees".

The Qatar based television station, Al-Jazeera, and some European television stations, beam pictures of Iraqi civilian casualties around the Arab world as well as UK and USA prisoners of war. After the first week of the war, Al-Jazeera is accused by UK forces of "bad taste". UK television channels and some newspapers had previously shown images of the gassing of the Kurds, not when it occurred during the period that Iraq was supported by the West, but during the run-up to the USA-UK invasion of Iraq.

Bombing Victim 2
Child - another bombing victim.
Bombing Victim 3
A frightened child in hospital.

Dead Iraqi Soldiers 2
Dead Iraqi soldiers at Umm Qasr.
Note the white flag of surrender.
Dead Iraqi Soldiers
Dead Iraqi soldiers.
Soldiers are fathers, sons and brothers of Iraqi civilians.

Civilians
Injured and frightened civilians plead for help.
Civilian Victim
Injured man with burns in hospital.

USA Flag
Soldier raising USA flag at Umm Qasr.
This was quickly taken down for propaganda reasons.

© 2003: Reuters

After a week, USA and UK forces bomb Iraqi television. Amnesty International declares that this breaches the Geneva Conventions by targeting civilian infrastructure. Reporters Sans Frontières, the international journalists' group, comment on double standards: "The Americans invoke the Geneva Convention when their prisoners are shown on Iraqi TV and just as soon forget it when it comes to bombarding a civil building that is protected by the same convention".

Bombed House
Bomb damage in residential district of Baghdad.


© 2003: Reuters

USA and UK media choose their language of war carefully:

Bombing raids by A-10 warplanes are mentioned by the Western media without the information that these use Depleted Uranium which cause cancers.

A USA missile hits a bus carrying Syrians to Damascus from Iraq, killing 5 people. UK forces destroy the Baath Party headquarters in Basra. The Baath Party is a secular, socialist and pan-Arabic political movement. Over 50 people are killed in Basra by a bombardment that includes cluster bombs. 57 Kurds are killed by missiles in Khormal.

The USA and UK consider themselves "liberators of Iraq" and are shocked at the resistance being put up by the people of Iraq. Vincent Cannistraro, a retired USA CIA counter-terrorism expert states: "People thought the Iraqis would be waving little American flags like it was occupied France in World War Two. This is not an occupied country. It is Iraq and it is run by Iraqis, and for better or worse they are not welcoming Americans as liberators".

The USA forces are shocked and surprised by Iraqi tactics. Lieutenant-General William Wallace admits to the USA newspaper, Washington Post: "The enemy we're fighting is different from the one we'd wargamed against".

Two cruise missiles hit a market in the residential district of Shaab in Baghdad killing at least 15 people. On UK television, a BBC correspondent asks a UK military commander if the Iraqis could have bombed themselves.

UK journalist Robert Fisk describes the aftermath:

"It's a dirt poor neighbourhood of Shia Muslims, the same people Bush and Blair still fondly hope will rise up against Saddam Husein. Everyone I spoke to heard the plane. Abu Hassan and Malek Hammoud were preparing lunch for customers at the Nasser restaurant on the north side of Abu Taleb Street. The missile that killed them landed next to the westbound carriageway, its blast tearing away the front of the cafe and cutting the two men - the first 48, the second only 18 - to pieces. A fellow worker led me through the rubble. 'This is all that is left of them now', he said, holding out before me an oven pan dripping with blood."

"At least 15 cars burst into flames, burning many of their occupants to death. Several men tore desperately at the doors of another flame shrouded car in the centre of the street that had been flipped upside down by the same missile. They were forced to watch helplessly as the woman and her three children inside were cremated alive in front of them".

"The second missile hit...the eastbound carriageway, sending shards of metal into three men standing outside a concrete apartment block... The building's manager, Hishem Danoon, ran to the doorway... 'I found Ta'ar in pieces over there', he told me. His head was blown off. 'That's his hand'. A group of young men and a woman took me into the street and there, a scene from any horror film, was Ta'ar's hand, cut off at the wrist, his four fingers and thumb grasping a piece of iron roofing. His young colleague, Sermed, died the same instant. His brains lay piled a few feet away, a pale red and grey mess behind a burnt car".


The bombed Museum in Tikrit.
Tikrit is the birthplace of Saddam Husein
It is also a historical city as the birthplace of Saladin.
Anti War Demo
Anti war demonstration in Jordan.
This pro-West "moderate regime" has banned all
demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq.

Baghdad Bombing
Results of a missile attack on a Baghdad residential area (Sha'ab).
Baghdad Bombing 2
Results of a missile attack on a Baghdad residential area (Sha'ab).

Iraqi Prisoners
Boy giving cigarettes to Iraqi prisoners of war near Basra.
Basra Woman
Woman outside her destroyed house in Basra.

Baghdad
Worried men watching B-52s flying over Baghdad.

Hilla Hospital
Bahjat Abid, an injured 28 year old man at Hilla hospital.
Ayd Sami
Ayad Sami. His entire family has just been killed in a bombing raid in Hindia.
Leiali Kobar
Leiali Kobar, 24, mourns four sons killed in bombing.

© 2003: Reuters and Los Angeles Times

The UBS Bank from Switzerland declares it will hand over Iraqi assets frozen in 1990 by the United Nations to the USA. Even before the war began, the USA company, Halliburton, is given the contract to repair Iraqi oil installations. The USA vice president, Dick Cheney, is a former head of the company, which has made large donations to the Bush campaign. This comes after repeated assurances by the USA and UK governments that "Iraqi oil belongs to the Iraqi people".

The USA Congress passes a law banning reconstruction contracts being given to companies from France, Germany or Russia. Contracts are awarded to USA companies with links to the Bush government. These include:

In the port city of Umm Qasr, the USA awards the contract for managing the port to a USA company called Syevedoring Services of America. The UK military reinstall the Iraqi man who directed the port before the invasion in order to be seen to be involving local people in the running of the country. Rodney Chase of British Petroleum and Phillip Carroll (formerly of Shell) are put forward by the USA as people who could run Iraq's oil industry after the war.

KryssTal Opinion: One wonders what the Iraqi people think of these contract awards made without their say. This point is rarely made in the Western media.

The USA Pentagon confirms that it authorised the use of "non-lethal" gases in the conflict. Similar gases had been used by Russia to end a siege in a cinema in 2002 with over 100 deaths. This leads to many accusations of hypocrisy by a country that has claimed to be at war to prevent the use of chemical weapons.

The UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, justifies the invasion of Iraq by alleging that two UK soldiers (Simon Cullingworth and Luke Allsopp) had been executed by Iraq. A day later this claim is retracted. The UK Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, claims that Iraqi chemical suits found proves that Iraq has chemical weapons. A day later this claim is also retracted.

The Al-Jazeera television continues to show scenes that the more sanitised Western media refuse to show. In the hospital in Basra scenes include an Arab correspondent for a Western news agency lying on a morgue with blood pouring from his head; a partially decapitated body of a little girl still wearing a red scarf around her neck; another small girl with half her head missing; a child with no feet.

Felah Hassan Mirza
Felah Hassan Mirza lost his right hand in Kefal.
He used to play football in goal.
Baghdad
Bomb damage in Baghdad.
Human Hand
A human hand lies in the bomb damage in Baghdad.

Baghdad
Searching for a woman's body after bombing in the
Radiha Khatoun district of Baghdad.
El Numan
Weeping for 5 dead relatives in El Numan Hospital in Baghdad.
Aqeel Khalil
Aqeel Khalil weeps over the death of his sister
after his house was flattended by a bomb.

Zina Sabah
Zina Sabah, 24, with her injured son, Ahmad Mounir.
Refugees
A family fleeing the fighting near Baghdad.
Shahid Halid
9 year old Shahid Halid lies injured
after the bombing that killed her mother.

Ali Ismail Abbas
12 year old Ali Ismail Abbas lies injured and without arms
in a Baghdad hospital after airstrikes.

© 2003: Reuters and Los Angeles Times

The USA Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, accuses Syria of supplying weapons to Iraq. He states: "We consider such trafficking as a hostile act and will hold the Syrian government responsible". Syria responds by stating that the USA / UK invasion of Iraq is "a clear occupation and a flagrant aggression against a United Nations member state". Syria is one of the countries described by the USA as part of the "axis of evil", a country like Iraq where USA influence is minimal. A few days later, USA Secretary of State, Colin Powell, threatens both Syria and Iran in a speech to the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee.

At least 62 civilians are killed by a missile strike at a market in the Shu'ale neighbourhood of Baghdad. David Chater of Sky News reports: "I think whole families have been wiped out, judging by the bodies in the morgue". The USA attempts to blame Iraqi anti-aircraft fire but one doctor treating the injured responds: "Even if that were true, we would not be using anti-aircraft guns if we were not being invaded".

UK journalist, Robert Fisk, writes about a piece of the missile having a Western serial number which he quotes as 30003-704ASB 7492 B (or H) with a lot number of MFR 96214 09. The numbers prove that the missile was manufactured by a company called Raytheon, who are based in the city of McKinney in Texas (USA).

He goes on to describe the suffering of some of the victims in the Al-Noor hospital: 2 year old Saida Jaffar, swaddled in bandages and with a tube through her stomach; 3 year old Mohamad Amaid, also completely covered in bandages. Dr Ahmed, an anaesthetist describes the injuries caused by the missile: "These people have been punctured by dozens of bits of metal". One old man has 24 holes in the back of his legs and buttocks, some 2cm wide.

At a USA checkpoint outside Najaf, Sergent Ali Jaffar Moussa Hamadi al-Nomani, a 50 year old Shia Muslim who had fought in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War and a father of five children, detonates a bomb in the car he is driving killing four USA soldiers. Even though the target is military, and the soldier was fighting in his own country against invading forces, the USA describes the attack as terrorism. The Iraqi Vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, states "The USA administration is going to turn the whole world into people prepared to die for their nations".

During the invasion, the military or politicians of the UK and USA put out a number stories that are later shown to be untrue.

UK and USA journalists are "embedded" with the Anglo-American forces. To be accepted, a 12 page document had to be signed for the USA Pentagon. Many UK journalists refuse to sign and are left reporting the war from the north of Iraq or nearby countries. Independent journalists not under the USA control are discouraged and refused protection by the USA military. One such group of journalists is told by an army spokesman: "My job is to make your lives as difficult as possible. You will get no help whatsoever". Four journalists (from Israel and Portugal) are detained by USA and UK soldiers 160km south of Baghdad at gunpoint, deprived of food for two days and expelled from Iraq. One of the Israeli correspondents, Dan Semama (55), is forced to lie on the ground in the sun. He describes one of the Portuguese journalists being beaten up by five soldiers: "he was crying like a child". A group of journalists from Australia are threatened with their Iraqi visas to be taken from them by UK troops. Non-embedded journalists are refused entry to a hotel compound in Umm-Qasar.

150 members of a group called Ansar al-Islam (in the northern part of Iraq controlled by the Kurds) are killed by USA special forces. The presence of their camp in Iraq had been used by the USA and UK as proof of a link between the president of Iraq, Saddam Husein, and the terrorist group, Al-Qa'ida. Ansar al-Islam controlled a number of villages and had set up an Islamic regime similar to that of the Taliban in Afghanistan and was actually fiercely anti-Saddam.

USA Brigadier General Vincent Brooks refuses to discuss Iraqi civilian casualties: "The casualty figures, that's not something I'm going to engage in".

Up to 10 women and children (five under the age of 5) are killed by USA soldiers at a checkpoint at Najaf when their vehicle fails to stop. None of the USA or UK media asks what language the stop sign is in, or name the victims. The UK BBC describes the deaths as an "unhelpful incident". USA sources say that the vehicle ignored warning shots.

William Branigin, a correspondent from the USA newspaper, Washington Post, who was near the scene, suggests troops had fired without giving enough warning. The shots had included 25mm high explosive cannon shells. He quotes Captain Ronnie Johnson of the USA 3rd Infantry Division shouting at a platoon leader: "You just ****ing killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough".

The soldiers are then reported to have given the survivors body bags and offered them money in compensation. According to William Branigin: "It was the most horrible thing I've ever seen and I hope I never see it again". Another unarmed driver is shot and killed in the same area.

The USA state that some Iraqi prisoners would be sent to a military prison in Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba.

USA bombing kills over 250 people and injures over 1000, mainly civilians, according to doctors in the hospital in Nasariya. A typical injury: a student called Haider Mohammed loses the lower part of both his legs and his fingers. Armed looters roam the city after a breakdown in law and order, even attacking the hospital.

33 people, many of them children, are killed by USA bombing in the city of Kerbala.

According to the news agencies, Reuters and Associated Press, over 33 civilians are killed (most of them children and baby) after USA bombing in Hilla, a suburb of Babylon and the nearby village of Mazarak. Video film taken by the first Western news agencies allowed on the Iraqi side of hostilities shows babies cut in half, children with amputated limbs, a father holding out pieces of his baby and shouting "cowards", two lorryloads of bodies. Alia Mukhtaff is seen lying on a bed - her husband and six of her children have been killed in the attacks; Majeed Djelil is sitting next to his child who has a foot missing - his wife and two other children had been killed.

According to UK-trained Dr Nazem el-Adali, the victims had been attacked with cluster bombs. The use of cluster bombs in civilian areas is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, a fact not mentioned very much in the Western media. Only a few minutes of the 21 minute video is shown by Western television broadcasters.

83 people, mainly civilians are killed in the Baghdad suburb of Furat. 200 people are injured, many by cluster bombs.

Mansour
Wreckage of buildings bombed in an attempt to kill Saddam Husein. 14 Christian civilians died.
Al Kindi
Taking a wounded relative to Al Kindi hospital.
Journalists
Journalists remember two collegues killed when their hotel was shelled by a USA tank.

Saddam Statue
Baghdadis pulling down a statue of Saddam Husein.

Looting Mosul
Looting in Mosul.
Looting Basra
Looting in Basra.
Looting Baghdad
Arms looted from a police station in Baghdad.

Dead Child
Dead 2 year old boy in Basra as shown on Al-Jazeera TV.
Injured Soldier
Injured Iraqi soldier.

© 2003: Reuters, New Zealand Scoop, al-Jazeera TV and Los Angeles Times

The UK Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, attacks the independent and award winning journalist, Robert Fisk, who has been reporting on Iraqi civilian casualties. Fisk counters:

"I cannot help remembering an Iranian hospital train on which I travelled back from the Iran-Iraq war front in the early 1980s. The carriages were packed with young Iranian soldiers, coughing mucus and blood into handkerchiefs while reading Korans. They had been gassed and looked as if they would die. Most did. After a few hours, I had to go around and open the windows of the compartments, because the gas coughed back from their lungs was beginning to poison the air in the carriage. At the time I worked for the [London] Times. My story ran in full. Then an official of the [UK] Foreign Office lunched my editor and told him my report was 'not helpful'. Because, of course, we supported President Saddam at the time and wanted revolutionary Iran to suffer and destroy itself. President Saddam was the good guy then. I wasn't supposed to report his human rights abuses. And now I'm not supposed to report the slaughter of the innocents by [USA] and [UK] pilots because the [UK] government has changed sides."

The Russian foreign ministry complains to the USA after a convoy of embassy staff is shot at by USA forces while leaving Baghdad. The convoy had previously been cleared with the USA.

BBC journalist, John Simpson, is part of a USA-Kurdish convoy that is bombed in a friendly fire incident:

"I've counted 10 or 12 bodies around us. It was an American plane that dropped the bomb right beside us. I saw it land about 12ft [4m] away I think. This is a scene from hell here. All the vehicles on fire. There are bodies burning around me, there are bodies lying around, there are bits of bodies. I am bleeding through the ear. [The bomb] took the lower legs off Kamaran our translator. I got shrapnel. Our producer had a piece of shrapnel an inch long [2.5cm] taken out of his foot. But apart from that and ruptured eardrums which is painful but not serious, and a few punctures from shrapnel, the rest of us were all right. But our translator was killed and he was a fine man."

Thousand of Iraqis have had this experience without the media being present to describe their suffering.

USA forces in Baghdad fire tank shells on the Palestine Hotel killing Taras Protsyuk, a Reuters cameraman, and Jose Couso, a Spanish cameraman, and injuring two journalists. A USA military spokesman talks of sustaining "significant fire" from the hotel, a fact denied by BBC and other journalists based there. The Palestine Hotel is the base of about 200 non-embedded journalists. David Chater, the Sky News correspondent asks "How are we supposed to carry on if American shells are targeting Western journalists?"

In a jet attack on the Al-Jazeera offices in Baghdad, Tariq Ayoub, a Palestinian-Jordanian journalist, is killed. Al-Jazeera had given the USA its office co-ordinates several months previously and had received two assurances that its offices would not be attacked. Al-Jazeera has its licence to report from the New York Stock Exchange removed. American opponents hack into its English language web site and close it down. During the bombing of Afghanistan, the offices of Al-Jazeera were destroyed in Kabul after threats from the USA.

The offices of Abu Dhabi television are razed trapping 29 journalists and support staff in the basement. The offices of the Palestinian Authority are also bombed.

Taras Protsyk
Taras Protsyk, a Ukrainian cameraman killed by
a USA shell at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad.

© 2003: Reuters

The International Red Cross warns that hospitals in Baghdad are being overwhelmed with casualties. They state that 100 patients are admitted per hour in one hospital (Yarmouk), one of five in the city. It is estimated that there have been 2000 military deaths in the city. Another hospital (Kindi) reports 14 people killed and 75 injured by a missile hitting a residential area.

One of the injured is 12 year old Ali Ismail Abbas, who was asleep when the missile destroyed his home in the village of Zafaraniya, killing his parents (Ismail and Azhar, who was pregnant) and 9 family members. The blast blew both his arms off. He has 60% burns over his body. A photograph of the boy, biting his lips in pain, becomes one of the images of the war.

The USA drop four large bombs from a jet on a restaurant in the Baghdad suburb of Mansur in an attempt to assassinate Saddam Husein. 14 (mainly Christian) Iraqi civilians are killed. The pilot is quoted to have said "It's a good feeling".

Widespread looting breaks out in Baghdad; some rapes are reported. Several hospitals are attacked and looted. After a week, only 3 hospitals out of over 40 stay open. The Rasheed psychiatric hospital is attacked, some patients being raped.

Several embassies are attacked - Germany and Slovakia among them - as well as United Nations offices. Three quarters of all Baghdad banks are raided.

Protecting medical facilities and embassies as well as their staff is the responsibility of the occupying powers under the Geneva Convention. The United Nations calls on the USA to assert control and stop the looting.

Edgy USA soldiers kill dozens of civilians including a 6 year old girl.

Kurdish forces take over the city of Kirkuk - the government of Turkey threatens action if the Kurds remain. During the 1990s, the Kurdish population in Kirkuk had been ethnically cleansed by the Iraqi government.

The USA Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) begins planning for Iraq's future. One official is quoted in the USA newspaper, New York Times as saying "To the victor the spoils, and in this case the spoils are choosing who governs". The USA reaffirms that the USA and not the United Nations will select the interim government. Jay Garner, a retired USA general, is to take over the running of Iraq. Former director of the CIA, James Woosley is lined up to run the information ministry. Paul Wolfowitz (USA deputy defence secretary) calls Russia, France and Germany "the axis of weasels" and suggests they contribute to the reconstruction by writing off Iraq's debts. These are estimated to be over $200,000 million.

Ahmed Chalabi, in exile since 1958, is flown to Nasariya by the USA. He begins gathering a private army around him with the support of the USA. Chalabi had been convicted in Jordan of financial irregularities. Another exile, Said Abdul Al-Qui is assassinated in Najaf. The USA trained Iraqi Coalition of National Unity is reported by residents of Najaf to be looting homes and businesses.

The museums in Baghdad and Mosul, full of ancient artifacts of Mesopotamia (some up to 7000 years old), are ransacked. What is not taken is smashed. Mosul University is sacked; Baghdad Library is set on fire. Both had priceless and rare manuscripts and documents. Over 170,000 artifacts are lost. USA forces had promptly deployed troops to secure the oil fields and to protect the oil ministry but had failed to protect museums or libraries (or indeed hospitals). The importance and location of these establishments had been indicated to the USA by archeologists worldwide. An outcry occurs around the world; the USA media shows limited interest in this cultural disaster. Martin Sullivan and Gary Vikan resign from the President's Advisory Committee on Cultural Property saying: "we certainly know the value of oil, but certainly don't know the value of historical artifacts". Cutural sites are protected under the 1907 Hague Convention.

The chief weapons inspector of the United Nations, Hans Blix, accuses the USA and UK of planning the invasion of Iraq in advance and of fabricating evidence against Iraq. The USA set up their own weapons inspection teams after attempting to recruit some of Blix's staff.

10 people are shot dead and over 100 wounded in Mosul after USA troops open fire after a crowd turned against an American-installed local governor, Mashaan al-Juburi. The crowd began chanting: "The only democracy is to make the Americans leave". In Baghdad and Basra thousands of Iraqis demonstrate against the USA and UK occupation; denouncing the lack of water and electricity, and looting.

The USA admits that intelligence material "proving" that Iraq attempted to buy fissile material from Niger was forged by a Western intelligence agency, either MI6 (UK) or Mossad (Israel). Around 50% of USA citizens are shown by a poll to believe that Iraq was responsible for the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 even though no link has ever been proven.

The USA awards a $680 million rebuilding contract to USA company Bechtel. The company had made $1,300,000 donations to USA political parties, 60% going to the Republicans. Another USA company, Creative Associates International, is awarded a contract worth up to $62 million to prepare Iraq's schools system for a new academic year.

Several USA charities, openly hostile to Islam, prepare to distribute food, water and medicines to Iraq. One charity, Samaritan's Purse, is run Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham and friend to the USA president. Graham has described Islam as "a very evil and wicked religion". Another charity (the Southern Baptist Convention) has described Mohammad as "a demon-possessed paedophile".

USA military officials admit to the USA newspaper, New York Times, that they want "access" to four military bases in Iraq. These bases are at Baghdad International Airport, Tallil (near Nasariya), an isolated airstrip called H-1 in the western desert, and Bashur in the Kurdish north.

The USA begins talks with the USA-backed Iraq National Congress to build an oil pipeline between Iraq and Israel. James Atkins (a former USA ambassador to Saudi Arabia) admits "There would be a fee for transit rights through Jordan, just as there would be fees for those using what would be the Haifa terminal. After all this is the new world order now. This is what things look like particularly if we wipe out Syria. It just goes to show that this is all about oil, for the United States and its allies." The plan was first put forward by Henry Kissinger in 1975 and has been revived by Donald Rumsfeld. The favoured company to build the pipeline is Bechtel.

Donald Rumsfeld, the USA Secretary of State, declares that "Iranian style [Islamic government] is not going to happen in Iraq". This prompts the comment from Kassem al-Sa'adi, a 41 year old merchant, "I thought the Americans said they wanted a democracy in Iraq. [If so,] why are they allowed to make the rules?"

USA President, George W Bush, attacks the president of France and the French people for opposing the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. This prompts the following editorial in the UK newspaper, The Independent which says that President Bush "believes in multilateralism so long as it consists of other countries doing what the US wants". It continues:

"Worse than that, is the growing evidence that the Bush administration intends to punish those countries that 'weakened' international bodies by refusing to do as they were told. This is a disastrous course for a country that sincerely believes itself to be acting for the good of the whole world. There is in American culture a dangerous streak of intolerance, at odds with the rhetoric of free speech..."

The USA president, George W Bush declares the end of "combat operations" in Iraq on 1 May.

Australia

The asylum policy of Australia is criticised by Amnesty International and the United Nations. Many are imprisoned for years in remote camps ringed by barbed wire fences.

Sadfar Sammaki (aged 7) and his sister Sara (3) had lost their mother, Endang, in the Bali bombing of 2002 and had been rescued by a charity. The government of Australia denies them entry into the country to visit their father Ibrahim who has been in detention since entering the country in 2001.

Indonesia (Aceh)

The army in Indonesia sends 45,000 troops to the province of Aceh (Sumatra) in a crackdown against separatists. The military is accused of committing atrocities against the population. Children as young as 12 are executed by the army. Some of the military involved in the campaign had presided over the violence in East Timor. Over 23,000 people have been forced from their homes.

Aceh is a resource rich region. It used to be an independent sultanate before the arrival of the colonial Netherlands. It was incorporated in the independent Indonesia after World War II but has always rejected rule from Jakarta.

Between 1976 and 2003, 12,000 people died in the region. The war began when the government of Indonesia refused to give Aceh autonomy as promised at independence.

The governments of USA, UK, Japan, Australia and the European Union express support for the actions of the government of Indonesia. The UK supplies the Hawk jet fighters used to bomb the region. The conflict receives little media coverage in these countries.

In June the Red Cross states that it has taken 151 civilian bodies to hospitals and mortuaries since the beginning of the conflict.

© 2017, KryssTal


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