The Acts of the Democracies
Years : ALL
Victim Country : Iraq
36 Items Selected
The Arabs had been encouraged to fight against the Turks with the promise of independence. However, France and the UK had secretly been dividing the Arab territories among themselves. By the early 1920s, Arab land was split into a number of smaller states.
Syria and Lebanon was put under the control of France. Iraq (which had been ruled as a single province with Kuwait), Jordan and Palestine were put under UK control.
The original plan would have given the Mosul region of Iraq to France but this was ceded to the UK in return for a stake in the Turkish Petroleum Company (later confiscated by the UK and renamed the Iraq Petroleum Company).
The UK installed a Western leaning monarch in Iraq as in several other countries in the region.
The USA makes plans to invade Iraq with Turkey. The USA CIA director, Allen Dulles, states that the situation in Iraq is "the most dangerous in the world today".
The UK have oil interests in the nearby semi-dependency of Kuwait and fear an independently minded Iraq. The UK Foreign Secretary, Selwyn Lloyd, sends a secret telegram (number 1979, dated 19 July 1958) to the UK Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, saying "The advantage of [immediate British occupation] would be that we could get our hands firmly on Kuwait oil [however] the effect upon international opinion and the rest of the Arab world would not be good." He goes on to say that it would be better to set up "a kind of Kuwaiti Switzerland where the British do not exercise physical control" but must be prepared to "take firm action to maintain our position in Kuwait" as well as the other Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar) and that the USA agrees with the UK "that at all costs these oil fields must be kept in Western hands".
Six months earlier, when considering partial independence for Kuwait, Lloyd had stated that "The major British and indeed Western interests in the Persian Gulf were:
The USA CIA plans and attempts to assassinate Kassem at the same time destabilising Iraq by funding the minority Kurdish population.
Although this region had been governed as part of southern Iraq during the Ottoman Empire, the emirate had been separated by the UK from Iraq and set up with a friendly Emir (king). Iraqi claims to the territory are resisted with UK troops.
Iraq would finally invade Kuwait in 1990. The USA magazine, Time, would then tell its readers that Iraq's claims to Kuwait were "without any historical basis."
UK government papers later declassified would indicate that the coup was backed by the USA and UK. One UK Foreign Office official writes the "such harshness may well be necessary as a short term expedient" and that the new regime "have shown courage and steadfastness in hatching and executing their plot" and should be "somewhat friendlier to the West". According to Roger Allen, the UK ambassador reported that the new regime "suits our interests pretty well".
Kassem had helped found the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in an attempt to curtail Western control of Arab oil. He had been planning to nationalise the Iraq Petroleum Company in which the USA had an interest. Iraq had also disapproved when Kuwait had been given independence by the UK with a pro-west emir (king) and oil concessions to Western companies.
A few days before the coup, the French newspaper La Monde had reported that Kassem had been warned by the USA government to change his country's economic policies or face sanctions.
The new government promises not to nationalise American oil interests and renounces its claim to Kuwait. A brutal offensive is launched against the minority Kurdish population who were seeking autonomy. The UK supplies 18,000 rockets to the Iraqi air force and large amounts of ammunition, mortar bombs, machine guns and helicopters. Kurdish villages are demolished with equipment supplied by the UK and bombed by UK supplied Hawker Hunter aircraft. Poison gas is also used while the West turns a blind eye. The USA recognises and praises the new government.
A USA CIA memo of 1974 would admit: "Iran, like ourselves, has seen benefit in a stalemate situation... in which Iraq is intrinsically weakened by the Kurd's refusal to relinquish semi-autonomy. Neither Iran nor ourselves wish to see the matter resolved one way or the other".
When Iran reaches an agreement with Iraq and seals the border; the Iraqis kill many Kurds while the USA denies them refuge and ignores their pleas for help. In the Pike Committee hearings, Henry Kissinger explains that "covert action should not be confused with missionary work". At the same hearings the CIA admit that "even in the context of covert action, ours was a cynical enterprise".
Iraq is financed by Saudi Arabia and armed by the UK and USA. Ten years later these weapons would be turned towards these supporters.
The USA also sent arms to Iran secretly via Israel; both countries hoping a military coup would take place.
A residential area in Saida is targeted killing 20 people; in Fakhani, jets raid residential areas killing 150; another 150 people are killed when the Arab University area in Beirut is attacked. In the raids, Israel also strikes at Palestinian and Lebanese refugee camps, ports, Lebanon's main oil refinery, and most bridges.
Israel estimates that 106 Israelis have been killed in the north of the country from Palestinian attacks (using small rockets, often home made) originating in Lebanon between 1967 and 1982. According to United Nations figures, 3,500 Lebanese and Syrians were killed between 1967 and 1975 by Israeli attacks as well as an unknown number of Palestinians. The Israeli attacks included the use of air power, artillery, tanks, gunboats using shells, bombs, incendiary bombs, cluster bombs and napalm. Between 1967 and 1977, over 300,000 Lebanese civilians in the south of that country had been forced to abandon their homes.
The Israeli government annexes the Golan Heights, seized from Syria in 1973. This violates United Nations Resolutions, the cease fire agreement between Israel and Syria and the Camp David Accords.
Israeli jets destroy a nuclear reactor in Iraq.
The USA vetoes 18 United Nations resolutions concerning Israel.
"There was the plump baby whose face, frozen in a scream, stuck out from under the protective arm of a man, away from the open door of a house that he never reached. Nearby a family of five who had been sitting in their garden eating lunch were cut down - the killer gas not even sparing the family cat or the birds in the tree, which littered the well kept lawn."
The UK and USA have been arming and supporting Iraq during its war with Iran. Between 1985 and 1989, private companies from the USA had exported the following biological agents to Iraq after obtaining licenses from the USA Department of Commerce:
Other exports had included the precursors to chemical warfare agents, production facilities and equipment for filling warheads with chemicals. During the 1990s United Nations inspectors would find and remove these substances from Iraq while USA president Bill Clinton would criticise Iraq for "developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons".
Shortly after the gas attack, the USA increases its economic ties to Iraq.
One month after the attack, the UK offers Iraq over $400 million in export credits (underwritten by UK tax payers) to buy machine tools. The machine tools are sent secretly to Iraq via Jordan by the UK company, Matrix Churchill. Another company, Astra, supplies $150 million worth of propellant. These deals had been negotiated with the full knowledge of the UK government which had not informed the UK Parliament. Some deals had been negotiated personally by the UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. An enquiry by Lord Justice Scott concludes that "ministers had deliberately misled Parliament, but had not intended to mislead Parliament."
The gassing of the Kurds is hardly reported in Western media. In 2003, when the USA and UK want to change the Iraqi regime, photographs of the gassed Kurds are published in several newspapers in the UK and the event is discussed in the USA without mentioning USA involvement.
|Iraq uses poison gas on Halabja, a Kurdish village, killing 6,000 men, women and children. At the time Iraq was a USA client state. Between 1985 and 1989, private companies from the USA had exported biological agents to Iraq after obtaining licenses from the USA Department of Commerce (including Bacillus anthracis, the cause of the often fatal disease, anthrax and Histoplasma capsulatum, a disease that attacks lungs, brain, heart and spinal chord). Other exports had included the precursors to chemical warfare agents, production facilities and equipment for filling warheads with chemicals.|
The war is reported in the Western media in terms of the military technology. Words like smart bombs and surgical precision are used to sanitise the conflict. Civilian casualties are referred to as collateral damage.
In actual fact, only 7% of the bombs were "smart". In all, 90,000 metric tonnes of bombs are dropped. This is equivalent to 7 Hiroshimas. 70% of the bombs miss their targets and fall on residential areas.
One bomb hits the Al-Amiriya bunker in Baghdad where between 300 and 400 people (mainly women and children) are incinerated. The video footage is not shown in the West until later.
Many of the bombs used are tipped with depleted Uranium (DU). This is a radioactive and chemically toxic metal. After exploding the metal is pulverised; the dust can be blown for 40km and inhaled. On exposure, it can cause lung cancer, bone cancer, kidney disease, and genetic defects in babies (like fused fingers or absence of a brain). Many Iraqi civilians and American soldiers are exposed. A report by the UK Atomic Energy Authority estimates that there is enough DU in Iraq and Kuwait to cause 500,000 deaths from cancer.
The effects of Depleted Uranium on children.
USA and UK forces routinely use this material which is known to cause cancers and genetic defects.
Two nuclear reactors are bombed less than a month after the United Nations had passed a resolution prohibiting military attacks on nuclear facilities. General Colin Powell confirms that: "the two operating reactors they had are both gone, they're down, they're finished".
Over 100km of trenches are buldozed (mainly at night) by USA ground forces, burying many soldiers alive, including the wounded. Colonel Anthony Moreno admits: "For all I know we could have killed thousands". Five military hospitals are bombed.
At the end of the war, retreating Iraqi conscripts (mainly from the Kurdish north of the country) and groups of foreign workers fleeing Kuwait, are attacked by massive USA air power. Rockets, napalm and cluster bombs are used in what is described by the pilots as a turkey shoot (a USA term meaning an unopposed slaughter).
|The "Turkey Shoot".|
At the end of the war, retreating Iraqi conscripts (mainly from the Kurdish north of the country) and groups of foreign workers fleeing Kuwait, were attacked by massive USA air power. Rockets, napalm and cluster bombs were used in what is described by the pilots as a "turkey shoot". This is a USA term meaning an unopposed slaughter.
During this conflict, more than 200,000 civilians are killed and 1,800,000 are made homeless. The Western media concentrate on the 9 UK and 148 USA soldiers killed. When asked about Iraqi casualties Powell replies: "It's really not a number I'm terribly interested in".
After the war, the unelected government of Kuwait is returned to power.
The Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, is left in power. The USA sells military hardware worth $100,000 million to neighbouring countries. 90% of all the arms sales are to unelected governments.
The United Nations authorises sanctions on Iraq; these were to be lifted once programs to develop weapons of mass destruction were ended. The USA makes it known that the sanctions would remain as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power even though these will drastically affect civilians.
After the conflict ends the USA newspaper, New York Times, admits that Iraq had become powerful "with American acquiescence and sometimes its help" and mentions $ 5,500 million worth of crops and livestock, some underwritten by the USA tax payer, that was sold to Iraq by the USA between 1982 and 1989.
In 1997 the USA admits that over 100,000 American soldiers have been exposed to sarin gas during the conflict when Iraqi installations were bombed. Symptoms include neurological problems, chronic fatigue, skin problems, scarred lungs, memory loss, muscle and joint pain, headaches, personality changes, and passing out. The USA authorities are slow to admit to the problems and there are suggestions that an anti-nerve gas vaccine may have caused some of the problems.
Clinton says that the attack "was essential to send a message to those who engage in state-sponsored terrorism and to affirm the expectation of civilised behaviour among nations."
Several reasons are given for the continuing of sanctions against Iraq ("the leader of Iraq is a dictator", "Iraq is making weapons of mass destruction") but the real reason is to do with safeguarding Saudi Arabia's economy which is dependent on the world oil price. Phyllis Bennis admits this in Covert Action:
"If Iraq were allowed to resume oil exports, analysts expect it would soon be producing 3 million barrels a day and within a decade, perhaps as many as 6 million. Oil prices would soon drop ... And Washington is determined to defend the Kingdom's economy, largely to safeguard the West's unfettered access to the Saudi's 25% of known oil reserves".
A strong Saudi Arabian economy is important to the USA arms industry which sells nearly 70% of all its arms to the country.
The sanctions are especially damaging to the civilian population. The USA Defense Intelligence Agency states (in a document, which was partially declassified but unpublicised):
"Iraq depends on importing specialized equipment and some chemicals to purify its water supply, most of which is heavily mineralized and frequently brackish to saline. With no domestic sources of both water treatment replacement parts and some essential chemicals, Iraq will continue attempts to circumvent United Nations Sanctions to import these vital commodities. Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease. Food processing, electronic, and, particularly, pharmaceutical plants require extremely pure water that is free from biological contaminants."
This policy is attacked by Cynthia McKinney, a USA senator who says:
"Attacking the Iraqi public drinking water supply flagrantly targets civilians and is a violation of the Geneva Convention and of the fundamental laws of civilized nations."
The USA finances the Iraqi National Accord with millions of dollars. This group uses car bombs in Baghdad and other cities in an attempt to destabilise Saddam Hussein. Over 100 civilians have been killed in Baghdad between 1994 and 1996. A few weeks later at a USA led conference in Egypt, one of the topics of discussion would be the flow of money to terrorist groups.
The World Food Program and UNICEF report that 1,211,285 children died of embargo-related causes between August 1990 and August 1997. This total is ten times the 130,000 people that Amnesty International estimated to have died in Iraq between 1979 and 1989 as a result of the country's human-rights record.
In 1989 the World Health Organization had recorded Iraq as having 92% access to clean water, 93% access to high quality health care and with high educational and nutritional standards.
The sanctions cover items that include: medicines, anesthetics, antibiotics, spare parts for X-ray machinery and incubators, children's toys, pencils, exercise books, lipstick, sanitary towels, shoelaces, medical journals, shroud cloth, and camera film.
"If they turn on their radars we're going to blow up their goddam SAMs [Surface to Air Missiles]. They know we own their country. We own their airspace... We dictate the way they live and talk. And that's what's great about America right now. It's a good thing, especially when there's a lot of oil out there we need."
The reason for the bombing raids given by the USA and UK is Iraq refusing entry to United Nations weapons inspection teams. Iraq has often accused the USA of using the inspection teams to spy on the country. On 7 January 1999 a headline in the USA newspaper The New York Times admits: "[USA] Spied on Iraq Under UN Cover, Officials Now Say". The article states:
"United States officials said today that American spies had worked undercover on teams of United Nations arms inspectors ferreting out secret Iraqi weapons programs.... By being part of the team, the Americans gained a first-hand knowledge of the investigation and a protected presence inside Baghdad."
The following day, the same newspaper asserts: "Reports that the United States used the United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq as cover for spying on Saddam Hussein are dimming any chances that the inspection system will survive.".
The USA media fails to follow this story. The USA later declares that "sanctions against Iraq would remain in place whether or not Baghdad fully complied with the inspection regimen.".
Peter Jennings, anchorman of the USA ABC News states that during the 1991 Gulf War "The USA did want Saddam to go, they just didn't want the people of Iraq to take over".
In 1996, the USA Ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright was asked on an American television programme ("60 Minutes", 12 May):
"We have heard that a half a million children have died [because of sanctions against Iraq]. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And - you know - is the price worth it?"
In her reply (in which the figures are not challenged) she asserts:
"I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it."
Many of the facts about what is happening in Iraq are largely unreported in the West. One such fact is that the incidence of myeloid leukemia cancers have risen fivefold since the Gulf War in 1991. There has also been a rise in congenital birth defects. Both are linked to the 96,000 depleted Uranium shells used primarily by the USA, UK and France during the 1990 war. These have left a residue of radioactive dust throughout the country.
In a rare report, the USA newspaper, the Washington Post admits that the ongoing aerial attacks on the country "leave behind a lethal litter that could claim civilian casualties for years... Civilian casualties have become routine."
On the newspaper's web site (but not published), an article describes how the USA has increasingly used "cluster bombs that have no real aim point and that kill and wound innocent civilians for years to come."
Cluster bombs leave hundreds of bomblets that can maim and kill civilians for months or years after they have been dropped.
Professor Thomas Nagy, (a teacher from George Washington University's Business School) publishes a report based on declassified documents from the USA Defense Intelligence Agency. One is titled "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerability".
This document shows that the USA had used sanctions to degrade Iraq's water treatment facilities. It states that "failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could result in increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease and to certain pure water dependent becoming incapacitated.". It also observed that "Iraq's overall water treatment capability will suffer a slow decline, rather than a precipitous halt as dwindling supplies and cannibalized parts are concentrated at higher priority locations". It concludes that "no adequate solution exists for Iraq's water purification dilemma".
The above policy violates the Geneva Convention which states: "It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive."
This report is unreported in the main USA newspapers (such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Time, and Newsweek).
The USA president, George W Bush states that he is looking for a "regime change" in Iraq and would like to use United Nations arms inspectors as an excuse.
100 warplanes from the USA and UK secretely bomb Iraq. In September and October the number of air raids on the country is more than for the previous eight months.
A United Nations resolution allows weapons inspectors to visit Iraq. When this resolution is accepted by Iraq, the country is bombed for ten days. Little of this action is reported in the Western media.
By the end of the year the USA has 100,000 soldiers in the region.
The USA military budget for 2001 was $ 343,000 million. This is 69% greater than that of the next five highest nations combined. Russia, which has the second largest military budget, spends less than one sixth of the USA budget. The above named "axis of evil" states spend $ 14,400 million combined (4% of the USA budget) with more than half of this amount accounted for by Iran.
None of the "axis" countries is under USA political control.
Ignacio Ramonet, writing for the French newspaper, La Monde states that USA "military domination is now absolute. And the punishment it has inflicted on Afghanistan warns all other countries: anyone opposing the USA will be isolated, devoid of allies, and exposed to the real danger of being bombed back to the stone age. A list of the likely targets has now been publicly announced in the USA press: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, North Korea."
In a speech at West Point on 1 June the USA president said there were 60 countries that were potential targets for regime change.
While United Nations weapons inspectors are in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of USA and UK troops are sent into the region surrounding the country. Many are based in non-democratic countries in the Gulf of Persia. These countries are part of the so-called "international coalition" or the "coalition of the willing". The USA and UK and their media vilify France and Germany for daring to show dissent against an invasion of Iraq even though these views are shared by a majority of European citizens and 50% of USA citizens.
The USA holds back information from the United Nations weapons inspectors. George Tenet, the director of the USA CIA, admits to a Senate committee that there were a "handful" of locations not passed on to the inspectors. Senator Carl Levin later tells the USA newspaper, The Washington Post that the USA has "undermined the inspectors".
In February 2003, the USA gives a presentation to the United Nations attempting to show that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was a threat. The evidence included a dossier (Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation) supplied by the intelligence services of the UK government. A few days later, this document was shown to have been copied from a 10 year old student PhD thesis on the internet complete with the original spelling and grammatical mistakes. One passage had been altered from "aiding opposition groups" to "supporting terrorist organisations".
In March 2003, one of the weapons inspectors, Dr Mohamed Al-Baredi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reports to the United Nations Security Council that several UK and USA reports about Iraq's nuclear capabilities were fake. Very little of this is reported in the Western media.
Hundreds of bombing raids over Iraq are made by USA and UK war planes under cover of patrolling no-fly zones. The USA and UK declare that the no-fly zones are supported by United Nations Security Council Resolution 688. Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali was Secretary General of the United Nations when this resolution was passed in 1992:
"The issue of no fly zones was not raised and therefore not debated: not a word. They offer no legitimacy to countries sending their aircraft to attack Iraq. They are illegal".
The bombings have been occurring since 1992. Between July 1998 and January 2000, the USA flew 36,000 missions over Iraq. In 1999 alone, USA and UK aircraft dropped over 1,800 bombs hitting 450 targets. This is the longest Anglo-American bombing campaign since World War II with bombing occurring on a daily basis. Yet it is mostly ignored by the media in the West.
Iraq gives the United Nations a large document detailing their weapons. Over 60% of this document is taken away by the USA without permission. The document lists various companies that helped arm Iraq:
UK journalist, John Pilger, writing in the UK newspaper, The Independent on Sunday, investigates the under-reported effects of Depleted Uranium used by the USA and UK in Iraq and Kuwait during the Gulf War of 1991.
Dr Al-Ali, a cancer specialist and a member of the Royal College of Physicians in the UK, is based at Basra hospital:
"Before the Gulf War, we had only three or four deaths in a month from cancer. Now it's 30 to 35 patients dying every month, and that's just in my department. Our studies indicate that 40 to 48 per cent of the population in [the Basra] area will get cancer. That's almost half the population. Most of my family now have cancer, and we have no history of the disease. ...It is like Chernobyl here..."
Under a United Nations embargo, Iraq is denied equipment and expertise to decontaminate its 1991 battlefields. The sanctions committee is dominated by the USA and UK.
Professor Doug Rokke is a USA army physicist who was responsible for decontaminating Kuwait:
"I am like many people in southern Iraq. I have 5000 times the recommended level of radiation in my body. Most of my team are now dead. We face an issue to be confronted by people in the West, those with a sense of right and wrong: first, the decision by [the USA] and [UK] to use a weapon of mass destruction: depleted Uranium. When a tank fired its shells, each round carried over 4.5kg of solid uranium. What happened in the Gulf was a form of nuclear warfare."
The USA offers Turkey an aid package worth $ 6,000 million in grants and $ 20,000 million in loan guarantees to allow 60,000 American troops to use the country to invade Iraq. Turkey says it will only accept the deal after the USA agrees that 40,000 Turkish troops be allowed to enter Kurdish regions in northern Iraq. Turkey has been oppressing its own large Kurdish population and over 20,000 Kurds have died. Turkish officials say that the USA has assured them that Iraqi Kurds will not be given autonomy in a post-Saddam Iraq.
Senior Kurdish leaders state that they fear Turkey more than Saddam. The Kurdish Interior Minister, Karim Sanjari, reveals that "Only a week ago the main topic in the streets among Kurds was Saddam and the fear of a chemical attack. Now the only thing people talk about is Turkey and the Turkish advance".
In February, the USA special envoy to Iraq, Zalmay Khalizad admits that after the removal of the Iraqi leadership, the infrastructure of the ruling Baath party would remain intact with the top two officials in each ministry replaced by USA military officers. Sami Abdul-Rahman, the Deputy Prime Minister of the northern Kurdish region of Iraq, states: "If the USA wants to impose its own government, regardless of the ethnic and religious composition of Iraq, there is going to be a backlash".
Kuwait and Qatar, two Gulf states, agree to allow the USA to use military bases on their territory to invade Iraq in return for both regimes to be guaranteed by USA power. Neither country is a full democracy. For allowing USA air, search and rescue teams to operate near its Iraqi border, Jordan is promised $150 million in extra aid, protection against Iraq and compensation for loss of trade.
Russia is offered a free hand in Chechnya and oil concessions if they support the USA invasion of Iraq.
In order to guarantee votes in the United Nations, the USA puts diplomatic and economic pressure on several countries:
The UK are the USA's biggest supporters. In a statement to the European Union, UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, warns "I say to France and Germany and all the other EU colleagues to take care. We will reap a whirlwind if we push Americans into a unilateralist position in which they are at the centre of this unipolar world". In other words, let us not upset the Americans otherwise we'll all be in trouble.
The USA announces that contracts worth $ 900 million to reconstruct Iraq after a war will be awarded only to USA companies. Colin Adams of the British Consultants and Construction Bureau is angered by this "Our own view is, given what the UK is doing in terms of supporting the USA, it would not be unreasonable if the USA were to enable UK companies to bid for work". No mention is made by the USA or the UK of the Iraqis making their own decisions about who they would like to reconstruct their country.
United Nations Security Council members are disconcerted by reports of USA spying on countries whose votes the USA requires. One country, Chile, angrily requests an explanation from the UK government. Pakistan states that: "given the level of intelligence sharing with the United States that's going on right now, it means they don't trust what we say behind closed doors."
In mid-March, the USA, UK and Spain order the leader of Iraq, Saddam Husein, to leave his country or have it bombed. The three countries blame France for the coming war even though it is the USA and UK that have 200,000 troops on the borders of Iraq. The president of France, Jacques Chirac counters "We are told by Washington that the UN Security Council will lose all meaning unless it takes a decision on Iraq but that the UN can only take one decision and that is the decision - for war - taken in Washington months ago".
France is blamed for threatening to use its United Nations veto. Between 1945 and 2002, France used its veto 18 times while the UK has used its veto 32 times. During the same period, the USA used its veto 76 times.
The USA expels two United Nations Iraqi diplomats from the USA and identifies 300 Iraqi diplomats in 60 countries that it wants expelled.
In Kuwait, USA General Buford Blount admits that Depleted Uranium will be used in any conflict in Iraq: "If we receive the order to attack, final preparations will only take a few days. We have already begun to unwrap our depleted uranium anti-tank shells". These remarks are ignored by Western media.
Lieutenant-General Jay Garner is named by the USA as co-ordinator of the civilian administration in post-War Iraq. In October 2000, he had put his name to a statement blaming the Palestinians for the Israel-Palestine conflict and declaring that "a strong Israel is an asset that American military planners and political leaders can rely on".
KryssTal Opinion: See Iraq - Why The USA Wanted Regime Change.
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:
Turkey is a democracy although parties representing the large Kurdish minority are banned. In late 2002 they had an election which was won by a party that opposed a USA attack on Iraq. In spite of this, and in spite of a poll conducted in March 2003 by the Pew Research Centre showing only 9% of the population have "a favourable view of the USA", the Turkish parliament agrees to allow USA war planes to use Turkish air space.
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.
The bombing of Baghdad. "Shock and awe".
Young girl - victim of the bombing. 42% of Iraq's population is under 15.
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.
Child - another bombing victim.
A frightened child in hospital.
Dead Iraqi soldiers at Umm Qasr.
Note the white flag of surrender.
Dead Iraqi soldiers.
Soldiers are fathers, sons and brothers of Iraqi civilians.
Injured and frightened civilians plead for help.
Injured man with burns in hospital.
Soldier raising USA flag at Umm Qasr.
This was quickly taken down for propaganda reasons.
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".
Bomb damage in residential district of Baghdad.
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 demonstration in Jordan.
This pro-West "moderate regime" has banned all
demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq.
Results of a missile attack on a Baghdad residential area (Sha'ab).
Results of a missile attack on a Baghdad residential area (Sha'ab).
Boy giving cigarettes to Iraqi prisoners of war near Basra.
Woman outside her destroyed house in Basra.
Worried men watching B-52s flying over Baghdad.
Bahjat Abid, an injured 28 year old man at Hilla hospital.
Ayad Sami. His entire family has just been killed in a bombing raid in Hindia.
Leiali Kobar, 24, mourns four sons killed in bombing.
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:
During the 1980s, Bechtel helped Iraq manufacture ethylene, a precursor for mustard gas.
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 lost his right hand in Kefal.
He used to play football in goal.
Bomb damage in Baghdad.
A human hand lies in the bomb damage in Baghdad.
Searching for a woman's body after bombing in the
Radiha Khatoun district of Baghdad.
Weeping for 5 dead relatives in El Numan Hospital in Baghdad.
Aqeel Khalil weeps over the death of his sister
after his house was flattended by a bomb.
Zina Sabah, 24, with her injured son, Ahmad Mounir.
A family fleeing the fighting near Baghdad.
9 year old Shahid Halid lies injured
after the bombing that killed her mother.
12 year old Ali Ismail Abbas lies injured and without arms
in a Baghdad hospital after airstrikes.
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.
Wreckage of buildings bombed in an attempt to kill Saddam Husein. 14 Christian civilians died.
Taking a wounded relative to Al Kindi hospital.
Journalists remember two collegues killed when their hotel was shelled by a USA tank.
Baghdadis pulling down a statue of Saddam Husein.
Looting in Mosul.
Looting in Basra.
Arms looted from a police station in Baghdad.
Dead 2 year old boy in Basra as shown on Al-Jazeera TV.
Injured Iraqi soldier.
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, a Ukrainian cameraman killed by
a USA shell at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad.
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.
|"The UN should have a key role in administering the delivery of humanitarian aid."
Tony Blair, UK Prime Minister, in the House of Commons: 18 March 2003
|The resolution states that the USA and UK will oversee all aid efforts with the UN reduced to a co-ordinating role.|
|"Military action is to uphold the authority of the UN and to make sure Saddam is disarmed."
Tony Blair, MTV: 7 March 2003
|The USA and UK will rule Iraq as an "occupying power".|
|"We don't touch it, and the US doesn't touch it."
Tony Blair, MTV: 7 March 2003
|The resolution will give total control of Iraq's oil revenues to the USA and UK governments until and Iraqi government is established.|
|"The UN will have a vital role to play."
George W Bush, USA President, in Belfast, Northern Ireland: 8 April 2003
|All operational decisions will be taken by USA and UK officials with the UN acting in an "advisory role".|
|"Should the UN have a vital role to play in respect of weapons inspections? The answer to that is Yes."
Jack Straw, UK Foreign Secretary in an interview: 25 April 2003
|There will be no role for UN weapons inspectors "in the forseeable future".|
The reaction in Iraq was negative. Bassen al-Khoja:
"This is very, very bad. We are in the same situation as we were with Saddam. They stole the oil money from the people and we got nothing and now the Americans and the British are doing exactly the same. We are not going to see any benefit from it. The United Nations should control the oil money, not the Americans".
The European Commissioner for Development, Poul Nielson warns: "The unwillingness to give the UN a legal, well-defined role speaks a language that is quite clear."
The resolution is passed even though it effectively rewrites some of the provisions of the Geneva Convention, which forbid occupying powers from creating a new government. It also allows the occupying powers to sell Iraq's resources as they see fit.
A panel of international lawyers declare that the invasion of Iraq by the USA and UK was a illegal: "There was no threat. There was no [UN] resolution".
In a televised address on 18 March 2003, USA President, George W Bush had stated: "Intelligence leaves no doubt that Iraq continues to possess and conceal lethal weapons." The UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair concurred: "Our choice is clear: back down and leave Saddam hugely strengthened or proceed and disarm him by force".
On 28 May 2003, USA Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, admits: "It is possible Iraqi leaders decided they would destroy them prior to the conflict."
As concern grows in the USA and UK, USA senator, Jane Harman, states "This could conceivably be the greatest intelligence hoax of all time".
Finally, in an interview in the July 2003 issue of magazine Vanity Fair, the USA Deputy Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, admits "For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on".
The USA Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, defends the lack of weapons of mass destruction in post-invasion Iraq with the following smug statement: "We haven't found Saddam Hussein either, but that doesn't mean he doesn't exist".
Hans Blix, the chief United Nations weapons inspector accuses the USA of giving him bad information during the inspections in Iraq. After being given four places to look "only in three of those cases did we find anything at all, and in none of these cases were there any weapons of mass destruction ... I thought 'My God, if this is the best intelligence they have and we find nothing, what about the rest?'"
Blix condemns the lack of patience by the USA and notes that "when the American inspectors do not find anything, then it is suggested we should have patience."
Another former United Nations inspector, Bernd Birkicht, accuses the USA CIA of making up information: "We received information about a site, giving the exact geographical co-ordinates, and when we got there we found nothing. Nothing on the ground. Nothing under the ground. Just desert". He added that a "decontamination truck" pictured on a satellite photograph was actually a fire engine.
A report by the USA Defence Intelligence Agency called Iraq: Key Weapons Facilities - An Operational Support Study, is leaked. The 2002 report states that "there is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons..."
USA soldiers open fire on a crowd of protesters in Fallujah, killing 17 and injuring up to 70. The USA alleges that the school it was using as a base had been fired on. Human Rights Watch refute this when they fail to find any bullet holes on the school despite Western media reports that the school was "pocked with bullet holes". In contrast, the buildings opposite the school where the demonstrators had been standing "had extensive evidence of multi-calibre bullet impacts that were wider and more sustained than would have been caused by the 'precision fire' with which the soldiers maintained they had responded... Witness testimony and ballistic evidence suggest USA troops responded with excessive force to a perceived threat". Two days later, 3 more Iraqis are shot dead.
In May, mass graves are found in the south of the country. These contain thousands of victims of the Iraqi regime. The Western media extensively cover this story as justification for the invasion. However, most reports fail to mention that the victims resulted from an uprising against Saddam Husein in 1991 that was encouraged by the USA president George Bush. The USA then abandonded the people to their fate preferring to leave the dictator in place rather than risk the breakup of Iraq.
USA forces kill three farmers in June. The men were trying to put out a fire started by flares used by USA forces.
Two months after the end of the invasion, the USA continues to hold over 3000 prisoners at Baghdad airport without charge. The former Iraqi, deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, is arrested by the USA but remains hidden. Little coverage of this appears in the Western media.
In July, USA forces kill the two sons of former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein. Two other people including a 14 year old are also killed. The USA broadcasts photographs of the dead bodies. USA soldiers drawn from the Florida National Guard shoot dead two Iraqis celebrating the deaths by firing guns into the air.
In a street in Hay al-Gailani (a suburb of Baghdad) two Iraqis are killed when their car is shot at by USA troops. The car bursts into flames and the troops leave; local people take the remains to Kindi hospital. No USA official attempts to enquire about the identities of the victims.
The USA stops Batelco, a mobile phone company from Bahrain, from setting up a mobile phone service in Iraq. The system used was one that is compatible with Europe and the Middle East. The USA wants to set up its own system, only compatible with the USA. No Iraqi is involved in this decision.
The Arabic TV station Al-Jazeera is harassed by USA soldiers by being shot at, having news material confiscated and arrests and detentions of its staff. The station had previously been harassed by the regime of Saddam Hussein and was previously praised by the USA for its services to free speech in the region.
11 Iraqis are killed in Baghdad in an attempt to capture Saddam Hussein. The raid is by USA soldiers and armed USA citizens in civilian clothes. Three wounded Iraqis are taken away and not seen again even after appeals to the International Red Cross. One of the wounded, Thamir Elyas, worked for the USA as a translator. The dead include women and children. Bullet-shattered cars were taken away in trucks while soldiers attempt to stop filming. No USA official visits the hospitals to enquire about the dead and injured.
In Karbala, three Iraqis are shot dead by USA soldiers during a demonstration.
In Baghdad, an average of 20 Iraqis are killed by USA forces daily. In one incident, a family car is fired on by USA soldiers at 9:30pm (before the 11pm curfew). The vehicle had stopped at a checkpoint. The father and three children of the abd al-Kerim family are killed - one child was only 8. The heavily pregnant mother and a daughter are the only survivors. The father and two of the children would have lived had they been given prompt medical aid but bled to death as USA forces refuse access to the wounded. On the same day, the USA president, George W Bush, makes a radio speech saying that "life is returning to normal for the Iraqi people".
In August, USA forces admit using napalm around Baghdad during the invasion of Iraq in March and April 2003. In 1980, a United Nations convention had banned its use against civilian targets. The USA (which did not sign the treaty) is one of the few countries to use the weapon. Napalm is a mixture of jet fuel and polystyrene which sticks to skin as it burns.
Dozens of napalm bombs were dropped near bridges over the Saddam Canal and River Tigris south of the capital. Colonel James Alles, commander of the Marine Air Group 11 commented "unfortunately there were people there... you could see them in the [cockpit] video. They were Iraqi soldiers. It's no great way to die. The generals love napalm. It has a big psychological effect".
A reporter from the Australia newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, witnessed an attack at Safwan Hill close to Kuwait. He wrote: "Safwan Hill went up in a huge fireball". At the time the USA military authorities in the Pentagon denied using napalm stating "We completed destruction of our last batch of napalm on 4 April 2001".
Robert Musil, director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, describes napalm is a "horrible" weapon. The napalm bombs used by the USA are called Mark 77 Firebombs and weigh 510lbs (230kg) and consist of 44lbs (20kg) of polystyrene-like gel and 63 USA gallons (200 litres) of jet fuel.
In a UK enquiry, government emails indicate that dossiers about Iraq's weapons threats were exaggerated to prepare public opinion for the invasion. The version of the dossier dated 19 September 2002 was entitled Iraq's Programme for Weapons of Mass Destruction. The published title was Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction.
USA forces shoot dead a Reuters cameraman, Mazen Dana in Baghdad. The USA claims that their forces mistook the camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Other journalists reject this claim as they were all in the area for half an hour before the killing. Stephen Breitner (of France 2 Television) states: "After they shot Mazen, they aimed their guns at us. I don't think it was an accident...". Dana's driver Munzer Abbas confirmed "There were many journalists around. They knew we were journalists. This was not an accident".
By September, 20 Iraqis are being killed and hundreds injured every day in Baghdad. The USA authorities respond to this by requiring journalists to seek permission before visiting hospitals and morgues.
In Falujah, 10 policemen are killed and 5 wounded by USA solders. The men were chasing a BMW car that had fired on the mayor's office after midnight. A USA checkpoint let the BMW through and then began firing on the police. A doctor at the Jordanian Hospital is killed during the gun fight which lasts for 90 minutes. The USA authorities take away the dead and wounded leaving relatives with no information. A USA tank fires on a palm grove outside the town badly injuring several children. This goes unreported in the mainstream Western press.
USA troops raid a building in Mansour killing 8 civilians including a 14 year old boy.
Two USA jets bomb a house in Fallujah killing a family.
Five months after the official end of the war, the Iraq Survey Group, a 1200-strong USA-appointed group of weapons inspectors, admit that they have failed to find any evidence of nuclear, chemical or biological material and concludes that weapons are unlikely to have been shipped out of Iraq.
Baha Mousa, a 26 year old hotel receptionist and father of two young children, is arrested from his work place by UK troops, taken to Darul Dhyafa military base, hooded and beaten. Two days later he is dead. The man's father, Daoud Mousa, was told of the death three days later. He states that his son had seen UK soldiers looting the hotel safe. 14 months later, a UK court rules that an independent enquiry should examine the incident. No UK soldier is convicted for this incident.
On 19th September, the USA governor of Iraq, Paul Bremer, enacts a new law called Order 39. This allows the privatisation of 200 state industries including electricity, telecommunications, engineering and pharmaceuticals. The law would allow foreign companies 100% ownership of banks, mines and factories. All the profits could be taken out of Iraq. Trade tariffs are removed; the tax rate is reduced from 45% to 15%. Companies or individuals will be allowed to lease land for 40 years.
All these changes are in violation of Iraq's constitution. Under the 1907 Hague Convention (signed by the USA), an occupying country must respect "the laws in force in the country" It also states that the occupying power "shall be regarded only as an administrator". Order 39 and its implications are not publicised by the Western media.
According to the UK newspaper, The Scotsman (22 May 2003), The UK attorney general, Lord Peter Goldsmith, informed UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair in a leaked memo that "the imposition of major structural economic reforms would not be authorised by international law".
The USA military continue killing and humiliating Iraqis:
In 1989, USA troops had detained staff from the Cuban Embassy and ransacked the residence of the Ambassador of Nicaragua during their invasion of Panama.
The report accuses the USA and UK of using the "war on terror" to abuse human rights. Draconian laws had been introduced by the two countries after the terrorist attacks on the USA on 11 September 2001. New laws allow torture, detention without trial and truncated justice.
The USA and UK are accused of double standards: attacking Iraq for "possessing weapons of mass destruction" while at the same time selling deadly weapons to regimes that abuse human rights.
The USA is accused of selecting "which bits of its international obligations under international law it will use, and when it will use them". Its detention of more than 600 prisoners of war in its military base in Guantanamo Bay (Cuba) "support[s] a world where arbitrary unchallengeable detentions become acceptable". It calls for the prisoners to either be charged and tried or to be released. The USA refuses even to name most of the prisoners in detention. 13 foreign nationals are being held without charge by the UK.
The report warns that post-war Iraq could end up like Afghanistan where human rights abuses are officially sanctioned: "Afghanistan does not present a record of which the international community can be proud". The report highlights two prisoners at Bagram air base who died under USA interrogation. Amnesty International has been denied access to Guantanamo Bay and Bagram. According to Amnesty "Bagram stands as an indictment of the USA and all other countries which refuse to condemn its existence".
The report also accuses Israel of committing war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Palestinians of crimes against humanity by targeting civilians in suicide bombings.
In late June a report appears in the UK newspaper, The Independent, in which the USA and UK are accused of using torture on suspected terrorists and holding them without the due processes of law.
Detainees are kept standing for hours in black hoods or spray painted goggles, bound in awkward or painful positions, deprived of sleep with 24 hour bombardment of lights, and beaten. The USA interrogators call these "stress and duress" techniques. Ten USA National Security officials spoke to the the USA newspaper, The Washington Post. One of them was quoted as saying "if you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you probably aren't doing your job".
The human rights organisation, Amnesty International, highlights the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The USA CIA hold his two sons (aged 7 and 9) as a "bargaining tool".
The USA is thought to be holding 15,000 people around the world including those it classifies as Prisoners of War. 680 people are held in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. In June, two 70 year old farmers are released without charge after USA authorities admitted they were "caught in the wrong place at the wrong time". During the first few months of their captivity they were kept in small wire mesh cells (less than 2m by 3m) covered by a wooden roof but open at the sides. They were allowed a one minute shower once a week. After going on hunger strike in the fifth month, they were allowed to shower for five minutes and allowed exercise for 10 minutes a week walking around a 10m long cage.
The UK is also treating detainees illegally. The UK has opted out of the section of the European Convention of Human Rights that guarantees everyone a fair trial. This contrasts with European countries (Netherlands, France, Italy) where terrorism suspects are processed through the courts. Amnesty International states that detainees held in the UK are subjected "to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment", even though they have not been charged or even interviewed by police.
The USA announces that two UK citizens detained at Guantanamo Bay are to be tried by a military tribunal without proper legal representation and could face the death penalty. One of the detainees, Moazzam Begg, was arrested by USA forces in Pakistan in 2002 and taken to Bagram air base in Afghanistan without access to consular staff and without any extradition procedures being completed. After several months he was transferred to Cuba, again without any legal extradition processes. The UK fails to make any representation for its citizens. The UK Forign Office minister, Baroness Symonds, states "The fact is I can't alter the legal processes in the USA" even though they are not being held under USA law. Human rights groups state that the detainees should either be charged and tried as criminals or held with Prisoner of War status.
The following table lists the geography and numbers of illegal detentions involving the democratic countries (as at July 2003). Sources include USA Justice Department, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Red Cross.
|Egypt||Thousands||Many transferred from Afhganistan to Egypt by the USA where the secret police use "full-blown" torture.|
|Jordan||Thousands||Many transferred from Afhganistan to Jordan by the USA where the security services use torture, including sleep deprivation, beating the soles of the feet, and suspension with ropes.|
|Uzbekistan||Thousands||Mainly dissidents and "Islamists". USA has stopped its criticism of the country's human rights record after being allowed to set up military bases there.|
|Iraq||3,087||Prisoners of War and interned civilians held in 19 sites. USA threats to send detainees to Cuba.|
|Afghanistan||3,000 +||In Bagram airbase and Jowzjan prison. Bagram is a USA CIA interrogation centre. Prisoners are tortured by being blindfolded and thrown into walls, kept standing or kneeling for hours, bound, sleep deprivation. No access to the Red Cross or legal representation. 2 detainees have died.|
|Chechnya||1,300||Russia routinely beats and tortures prisoners. Blind eye turned by USA and UK for economic reasons.|
|Israel||900||Palestinians held without charge or trial. Most have no access to lawyers.|
|Cuba||680||Suspects from 40 countries held as "battlefield detainees" even though some not arrested during battles. The USA insists that the Geneva Convention does not apply. Being outside USA legal juristiction, USA law does not apply either. All denied access to legal council. Nationalities include Afghans, Pakistanis, Saudis, Yemenis, Britons, Australians and Algerians.|
|USA||484||The USA government refuses to release the identity of most of the detainees. Human rights groups accuse the USA of violations.|
|China||400||Mainly ethnic Uighurs resisting Chinese control of their Turkic speaking homeland. The USA has labelled them "terrorists".|
|India||300 +||Mostly Muslim and Kashmiri dissidents.|
|Morocco||135||100 "referred" by the USA to a country infamous for the use of torture.|
|Spain||50||Mainly Basques. No access to outsiders; secret trials, up to 4 years pre-trial detention allowed by law.|
|Indonesia||30||Muslims and dissidents. Public interrogations.|
|UK||15||402 arrests. Restricted access to legal representation.|
|Syria||1||Syrian - German transferred to Syria by USA operatives.|
|Diego Garcia||Unknown||USA CIA interrogations of prisoners on UK island.|
|Saudi Arabia||Unknown||USA CIA watch interrogations through one-way mirrors.|
|Georgia||Several||After operation involving USA and UK special forces.|
Amnesty International publishes another report dealing with human rights violations in countries that are Western holiday destinations.
|Jamaica||Police brutality causes the deaths of 133 people in 2002.|
|Morocco||Secret detentions and torture. More than 30 political prisoners.|
|Tunisia||Arbitrary arrests, detentions and forced confessions.|
|Turkey||Islamic and Kurdish activists imprisoned. Torture in police custody. Extra-judicial killings.|
|Egypt||Crackdowns on homosexual men, minority religious groups, political opponents and journalists.|
|Burma||Highly repressive military government holds 1300 political prisoners. Use of slave labour for building tourist infra-structure. Trafficking of women and children.|
|Thailand||Violent crackdown on alleged criminals lead to 2000 deaths in 2003.|
|Maldives||Oposition parties banned and harassed. Arrest without charge. Torture.|
The USA bars Russia, France and Germany from rebuilding contracts in Iraq. The UK supports this stand even though it was not made by the representatives of the Iraqi people.
Since the invasion of Iraq, over 355 people have been killed by terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Indonesia, Turkey and Spain.
The USA announces a handover of power to Iraqis on 30 June. The handover will not be to an elected body but to the USA appointed Iraq Governing Council (known as "the Governed Council" by most Iraqis).
In March the Iraq Governing Council signs a new interim constitution which states that "The laws, regulations, orders, and directives issued by the Coalition Provisional Authority . . . shall remain in force".
These laws include the USA'a hated Order 39, which drastically changes Iraq's previous constitution to allow foreign companies to own 100% of Iraqi assets, and to take 100% of their profits out of the country. Other orders place USA auditors into Iraqi ministries to enforce and monitor Order 39, grant foreign contractors immunity from Iraqi laws, allow USA banks to purchase up to 50% of Iraqi banks, drop the corporation tax rate from 40% to 15% and caps income tax at 15%, suspend all tariffs for good coming into Iraq (this one has put financial pressures on Iraqi small businesses). These laws are a form of neo-colonialism and allow privatisation of most of the country's industries.
With this clause, it means that the occupation will not end on 30 June. As Iraq based journalist, Naomi Klein, puts it, the occupation "will simply be outsourced to a group of hand-picked Iraqi politicians with no democratic mandate or sovereign power. With its new Iraqi face, the government will be free from the ugly perception that Iraq's national assets are being auctioned off by foreigners, not to mention being unencumbered by input from Iraqi voters who might have ideas of their own."
The new constitution also contains the following provisions:
Interestingly, although the USA has changed the economic laws to benefit its companies, it has not altered anti-trade union laws imposed by the previous regime in 1987. In a related development, the USA selected one of the largest palaces in Baghdad as its future embassy. USA Senator, Joseph Biden, writing in the Washington Post described the policy thus:
"Our goal should be to take the 'American face' off the occupation so that we are not blamed for everything that doesn't go right in Iraq... Instead, the Bush administration's current plan is to have a new U.S. ambassador call all the shots, at the risk that Iraqis will think the occupation has not really ended on June 30. Indeed, we will be going from the CPA -- which at least has some international flavor -- to an exclusively American operation with a 'Super-Embassy.'"
USA writer, Jonathan Schell, put it more accurately:
"Instead of saying, 'On June 30, the Coalition will hand over sovereignty to the Iraqi people,' we should say, 'On June 30, the re-election campaign of George W. Bush will hand over the appearance of responsibility for the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq to certain of its local appointees'."
Two Iraqi journalists are killed by USA troops.
In April, USA forces close a newspaper, Al-Hawzah, which opposes the occupation. The USA newspaper, New York Times, justified the closure by saying: "Although the paper did not print any calls for attacks, the American authorities said false reporting, including articles that ascribed suicide bombings to Americans, could touch off violence". The USA appointed Minister of Communication, Haider Al-Abadi, is not informed. He asks: "Is this how we are going to run the country in the future sending soldiers to shut down newspapers?"
The closure provokes demonstrations. Iraqi soldiers, trained and controlled by the USA, open fire on demonstrators in Baghdad. As the demonstrators return to their homes in the poor neighbourhood of Sadr City, USA troops with tanks, helicopters, and planes, fire at homes, shops, streets, and ambulances. According to local hospitals, 47 people are killed and many more injured. Rasool Gurawi, a spokesman at the al-Sadr office, asked, "This is democracy? Attacking peaceful demonstrations? Killing people and destroying buildings?"
The injured include Ali Hussein (16) shot in the spine from a helicopter; Gailan Ibrahim (29) shot in the back by a USA plane; Ali Faris (14) shot while inside his home.
In Najaf, 20 demonstrators are killed and more than 150 injured.
In the town of Fallujah, four USA citizens are lynched. They are described in the Western media as "security contractors", but actually part of an army of mercenaries, who are unaccountable and outside military discipline. Over 400 companies provide security in Iraq, all paid for by UK and USA tax payers with the profits going to the USA companies awarded the contracts. The mercenaries include people from Chile who had served under the dictatorship of Pinochet and from apartheid era South Africa. Casualty figures for mercenaries are not normally given by the USA and UK authorities.
In retaliation, Fallujah (population 300,000) is sealed off and bombed as the USA attempts to crush anti-occupation resistance. During the attack, ambulances are barred from entering. The power station is bombed. The attack was with artillery, snipers, Apache helicopters, 500-ton, laser-guided bombs, cluster bombs (which shred human flesh) and F-16 jets. Entire residential areas, including mosques and schools are destroyed. Arabic stations like Al-Jazeera show the carnage but CNN (USA) and the BBC (UK) ignore the footage.
Sixteen children and eight women are killed when a house is attacked by aircraft. Forty people are killed when an F-16 jet fires a laser-guided missile into a mosque. In a single week, over 600 people are killed (including 200 women and 100 children). Thousands of refugees, stretching for 10 km, are stopped from leaving by USA troops.
USA forces close the bridge over the River Euphrates which means the population is cut off from the main hospital. Doctors are forced to close the hospital and set up a number of small, less well-equipped clinics. According to the organization, Doctors Without Borders, USA marines occupy the hospitals, preventing hundreds of wounded from receiving medical treatment. Snipers fire from the rooftops at anyone who tries to approach. These events are not reported or shown in the Western media.
Makki al-Nazzal, manages a small clinic. The clinic is busy as USA snipers shoot at people entering and leaving the main hospitals. Al-Nazzal also describes ambulances, women and children being shot by USA snipers. He says, "I have been a fool for 47 years. I used to believe in European and American civilization".
Jouralist Rahul Mahajan looked for verification and found "An ambulance with two neat, precise bullet-holes in the windshield on the driver's side, pointing down at an angle that indicated they would have hit the driver's chest (the snipers were on rooftops, and are trained to aim for the chest). Another ambulance again with a single, neat bullet-hole in the windshield. There's no way this was due to panicked spraying of fire. These were deliberate shots designed to kill the drivers."
Mahajan describes the scene at the clinic "we saw perhaps a dozen wounded brought in. Among them was a young woman, 18 years old, shot in the head. She was seizing and foaming at the mouth when they brought her in; doctors did not expect her to survive the night. Another likely terminal case was a young boy with massive internal bleeding. I also saw a man with extensive burns on his upper body and shredded thighs, with wounds that could have been from a cluster bomb; there was no way to verify in the madhouse scene of wailing relatives, shouts of 'Allahu Akbar' (God is great), and anger at the Americans."
Another journalist, Dahr Jamail, also visited the clinic: "One woman and small child had been shot through the neck -- the woman was making breathy gurgling noises as the doctors frantically worked on her amongst her muffled moaning. The small child, his eyes glazed and staring into space, continually vomited as the doctors raced to save his life. After 30 minutes, it appeared as though neither of them would survive. Two of the last victims that arrived at the clinic were reported by the locals to have been hit by cluster bombs -- they were horribly burned and their bodies shredded. One of the bodies they brought to the clinic was that of an old man who was shot by a sniper outside of his home, while his wife and children sat wailing inside."
One of the fighters in Fallujah (who calls himself Abu Freedom) is asked by UPI reporter, Mitchell Prothero, why he fights. His answer: "I don't want to see Americans in charge of my country". The USA calls these people, "rebels" and "haters of freedom".
Of the 1,800 people injured, over 200 are children. No names are given in the Western media and no interviews are conducted with any families. As part of its conditions for a cease fire, the USA insists that the Al-Jazeera news crew be handed over to them.
290 people are killed in other cities, over 30 of them children.
According to Robin Cook, former UK foreign secretary, the tactics used by the USA are similar to Israeli tactics in Palestine: "It is a vicious irony that having promised that victory in Iraq would bring a road map to peace in the Middle East, the Bush Administration has in practice brought to Baghdad, Sharon's military tactics against the Palestinians with precisely the same result in consolidating local opposition."
These images were not shown on Western media but were widely shown around the Arab world.
The uprising spreads so that the USA-led occupation simultaneously loses control in Basra, Najaf, Kerbala, Nasiriyah, Kufa, Kut, Diwaniyah, and in several Baghdad suburbs (Thawra, Shuala, and Kadhimiyah).
In Najaf, Spanish troops close a teaching hospital giving its 200 doctors two hours to leave. USA troops close another hospital in Qaim.
Shaykh Sadun al-Shemary, a former member of the Iraqi army told reporter Rahul Mahajan: "Things are exactly the same as in Saddam's time -- maybe worse."
The USA transfer the deposed leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, to their military base in Qatar without informing the country's rulers.
USA engineers begin the construction of 14 "enduring bases" in Iraq. These will be capable of housing thousands of USA troops. The bases are planned for Baghdad, Mosul, Taji, Balad, Kirkuk and in areas near Nasiriyah, near Tikrit, near Fallujah and between Irbil and Kirkuk. Airfields in Baghdad and Mosul are to be renovated and enhanced, and 100km of road will be upgraded.
No elected Iraqi has been consulted over these plans.
The USA-appointed Iraq Governing Council create a new flag for Iraq. All members of the resistance immediately take up the pre-invasion flag as their banner.
Photographs taken by soldiers and showing USA and UK soldiers torturing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners are published in newspapers. The story, which had been supressed by the USA military for several months, is headlined around the world (except in the USA where it initially appears on page 24 of the Washington Post). The prison is Abu-Ghraib in Baghdad, once used by former dictator, Saddam Hussein.
Some pictures showed USA troops smiling, posing, laughing or giving the thumbs-up sign as naked, male Iraqi prisoners were stacked in a pyramid or positioned to simulate sex acts with one another. The fact that female soldiers were involved causes shock and outrage in the Muslim world. The most iconic image shows a hooded prisoner standing on a small box with wires attached to his stretched-out arms.
Seymour Hersh, a USA journalist, asserts that most of the Iraqi prisoners were civilians picked up at checkpoints. He was writing for USA magazine, New Yorker and quoting from a secret military report written by Major-General Antonio Taguba in January 2004. He describes many tortures used on Iraqi prisoners: "Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee".
Taguba's report states that the abuse is systematic and also included punching, slapping and kicking detainees, forcing male detainees to wear women's underwear, forcing male detainees to masturbate while being photographed, pulling detainees by dog chains placed around their necks, and a case of a male guard having sex with a female detainee.
Terry Charman, museum historian at London's Imperial War Museum, describes the images: "This is on par with the images of the Holocaust and of the Nazis taunting their prisoners, shaving the heads of orthodox Jews, which they did a lot of when they took over Poland. It has a similar resonance. Now these images show that members of the Coalition are treating these people in exactly the same way he treated his people. The sort of thing is very counterproductive." His advice is that "You should never denigrate or underestimate your enemy in wartime. The humiliation you are heaping on them may be felt or revisited upon the troops who are on the ground."
The USA and UK governments describe the incidents as isolated. The UK government attacks the newspaper that published the photographs. However, Amnesty International reports that the torture of Iraqi prisoners by USA and UK soldiers is "not an isolated incident". During the year of occupation Amnesty International reports "frequent reports of torture or other ill-treatment by coalition forces during the past year" which included sleep deprivation, beatings, prolonged hooding and restraint in painful positions, and exposure to bright lights and loud music. The International Red Cross also says that these abuses have been occurring for a year. Their reports had been ignored.
Confirmation comes from USA soldiers. Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederik says he was told to use these techniques on prisoners to "soften them up" for interrogation. Staff Sergent Camilo Mejia says that Military Intelligence instructed him to deprive detainees of sleep and stage mock executions.
The USA newspaper, Washington Post publishes accounts by ex-detainees: Hasham Mohsen Lazim, a used tyre dealer spent four months in USA custody. He was one of the hooded men in the photographs.He was hooded and stripped. His body was covered with writing with a felt tip pen. He heard the laughter of females.
For three hours he and other men were made to masturbate against a wall, crawl on top of one another to form a pyramid and ride each other as if they were riding a donkey. He was left naked for two days.
He was handcuffed to a bed for several days. He had to sleep and urinate where he was. Haidar Saber Abed said: "They forced us to walk like dogs on our hands and knees". According to Ameen Saeed Al-Sheikh, "They forced me to eat pork and put liquor in my mouth". Liquor (alcohol) and pork are both forbidden to Muslims. Mohanded Juma says that the prison guards "...used to throw the food into the toilet and said 'go take it and eat it'".
No criminal charges can be brought against a USA soldier in Iraq because the USA-appointed Iraqi Governing Council has given the American military a blanket amnesty from prosecution. Secondly, with the coerced backing of many countries, no USA soldier or citizen can be prosecuted for war crimes in the International Criminal Court. Thirdly, many of the interrogators are non-military "security personnel" (mercenaries) who are not subject to USA military discipline.
Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, summed up the views of many around the world: "This is the straw that broke the camel's back for America. The liberators are worse than the dictators. They have not just lost the hearts and minds of Iraqis but all the Third World and the Arab countries".
According to Mahmoud Walid, a 28-year-old writer from Egypt, "These soldiers are being touted as the saviours of the Iraqi people and America claims to be the moral leader of the world, but they have been caught with their pants down, they have been exposed, the whole world sees them as they really are". Khadija Mousa, an ordinary woman from Syria put the view of many Arabs: "They keep asking why we hate them? Why we detest them? Maybe they should look well in the mirror and then they will hate themselves . . . What I saw is very, very humiliating. The Americans are showing their true image".
Nelson Madela, the ex-President of South Africa, makes a speech to the parliament in Cape Town as he retires from politics. In part of the speech, he criticises USA and UK actions in Iraq:
"We watch as two of the leading democracies ... get involved in a war that the UN did not sanction: we look on with horror as reports surface of terrible abuses against the dignity of human beings held captive by invading forces in the in own country". The speech is not broadcast on UK television which instead shows a prime time television program ("Beneith the Halo", Channel 4) attacking Mandela and his legacy.
According to Amnesty International, over 13,000 people are held at Abu-Ghraib prison, without trial, their families not allowed to meet them. In thousands of cases people are not even aware that their family members are there. During one news item by the UK television station, BBC, one woman told the cameras that she was a mother of five children before the interviewers were told not to film.
In all, over 18,000 prisoners are being held in Iraqi prisons by the USA. Including prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Diego Garcia, Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, the USA is holding over 25,000 detainees in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
USA Private Lynndie England pointing to the genitals of hooded Iraqi male prisoners.
Charles Grainer, a USA marine pictured with naked male Iraqis who were forced to simulate sexual acts on each other.
Terrified naked prisoner threatened with guard dogs. The next photograph in the sequence shows this man after having been bitten by one of the dogs.
Naked detainee covered in excrement being made to walk along a coridor.
Naked Iraqis forced to simulate sexual acts.
Three television stations (Canal Plus from France, ABC from USA, and CBC from Canada) broadcast a video taken from a USA Apache helicopter.
The video shows a 30mm gun fired at a clearly wounded man, crawling on the road in December 2003. In the soundtrack, the pilot says "Someone wounded". The reply is "Hit him, hit the truck and him". Deliberately shooting a wounded man is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.
No other Western television station shows the film.
Amnesty International criticises the USA record in Iraq saying that its forces have "shot Iraqis dead during demonstrations, tortured and ill-treated prisoners, arrested people arbitrarily and held them indefinitely, demolished houses in acts of revenge and collective punishment".
There is also criticism of the USA and UK for not keeping records of the number of Iraqis killed during the invasion and under the occupation. The UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, describes this failure as "odd".
In the eyes of people in the Middle East, the USA's actions resemble those of Israel in Palestine.
UK soldiers force four youths into a canal in Basra. One of the boys, 16 year old, Ahmad Jabbar Kareem, drowns. This is one of a number of cases of deaths in UK custody investigated by the Ministry of Defence. Other victims include Baha Mousa, 26, a hotel receptionist, kicked and beaten to death, and Abd al-Jubba Mousa, 53, a headmaster who was hit with rifle butts as he was taken away by troops.
USA forces attack the main mosque area in Kerbala killing over 25.
In the holy city of Najaf, over 110 people are killed. USA tanks conduct operations in the cemetery. This cemetery is full of ornately carved tombs; it the largest in the world and one of the holiest sites for Shia Muslims. The attack also damages the Shrine of Imam Ali, holiest of Shia buildings.
One resident, Ali Wasi, says "I feel humiliated, our sanctity has been violated". Demonstartions break out in Iran, not normally on friendly terms with Iraq.
In London (UK), an organisation called Child Victims of War (CVW) describes how children in Iraq are suffering because of the legacy of Depleted Uranium. This is a radioactive metal used in artillery because of its hardness. It was used by the USA and UK to destroy tanks in Iraq during the 1991 and 2003 conflicts. Radiation levels from destroyed Iraqi tanks has been measured to be 2,500 times higher than normal and 20 times higher than normal in the surrounding area.
Depleted Uranium produces dust that is rapidly absorbed by the body. The effects include children born with severe deformities (including shortened limbs and eye defects), several leukaemia cases per week (before 1991 this condition was almost unknown). The number of deformed babies has increased from 3.04 per thousand in 1991 to 22.19 per thousand in 2001. The number of Down's Syndrome children has increased by five times since 1991. It is estimated that around 300 tonnes of the metal was used in 1991 and 1,500 tonnes in 2003.
CVW also stated that child malnutrition, the supply of drinkable water and the amount of hospital medical supplies have all worsened since the 2003 invasion. According to CVW, every child in Iraq has "had a degree of psychological trauma". Many children ("hundreds" according to Human Rights Watch) are still being killed by unexploded cluster bombs.
A USA helicopter fires on a wedding party in Makradheep, a desert village in western Iraq close to the Syrian border. According to Sheikh Nasrallah Mikfil, the head of the local tribe, 41 people, including 10 women and 15 children, are killed. The USA calls the victims "foreign fighters", even though they themselves are the foreign occupiers. Major General James Mattis refuses to accept blame, declaring: "I don't have to apologise for the conduct of my men". Among the dead was Hussein Ali, a well-known wedding singer, who was killed along with his brother Mohammed. Both had been performing at the wedding. According to eye witnesses, 40 missiles were used during a one and a half hour attack on a village of 25 houses.
The Western media show very little of the filmed burials whereas the Arab world sees the bodies of brightly dressed women and decapitated children. No names of the victims are given unlike the detailed coverage when Europeans or Americans are killed. The UK BBC television news calls the massacre a "public relations disaster for the Americans" and "more bad news for George Bush" rather than a tragedy for the Iraqi families slaughtered.
On the same day, the Arab world watches images of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators killed and maimed by Israeli tank shells and helicopter missiles in Gaza.
The USA also attacked a wedding party in Afghanistan in 2002, killing 50 people.
The USA and UK attempt to draft a United Nations resolution that will give immunity to their troops for all acts committed in Iraq.
The USA backed Iraqi exile, Ahmed Chalabi, had arrived in Iraq with the USA invasion force and had been groomed to become the new leader of Iraq. After criticising the occupation, his house is searched and his property destroyed by Iraqi police with USA operatives present. Between 1992 and 2004, Chalabi's political party, Iraqi National Congress, had been given $ 100 million by the USA government.
The United Nations is sidestepped when, after a meeting with the USA proconsul, Paul Bremer, the IGC nominate the Prime Minister of the new government. He is one of their own members, Iyad Allawi who is a UK educated Shia Muslim with links to the USA's CIA and the UK's MI6. He has been responsible for passing some of the faulty intelligence to the West that was used to justify the invasion.
The nomination is quickly accepted by the USA, as a spokesperson says he "had emerged as a popular candidate". The UK newspaper, Financial Times, writes that Alawi "is the least popular of 17 prominent Iraqi political personalities monitored by the Iraqi Centre for Research and Studies".
Many consider that the "handover of power" is a cosmetic change and the nomination of Allawi a USA-backed coup. Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA case officer who served in the Middle East had this to say of Iyad Allawi: "Two facts stand out about Allawi. One, he likes to think of himself as a man of ideas; and, two, his strongest virtue is that he's a thug."
Lakhdar Brahimi tells UK newspaper, The Guardian, who was in control of the selection process: "I'm sure he doesn't mind me saying that Bremer is the dictator of Iraq. He has the money. He has the signature. Nothing happens without his agreement in this country". The members of the IGC itself are considered by most Iraqis to be collaborators. Several have been the targets of assassinations, some of which have been successful.
In addition, Paul Bremer threatens to veto the choice of president if it not the USA's preferred candidate.
The post of Defence Minister goes to Hazem Sha'alan, a former property developer from the UK; the Interior Minister is Falah al-Naqib, another former exile.
Once the new government is in place the Western media begin to refer to them as "the new Iraqi government" even though Iraqis themselves have had nothing to do with their selection. Allawi calls on the occupying powers to continue their occupation: "Iraq will need multinational forces to defeat its enemies - I call on the United States and Europe to protect Iraq".
The United Nations passes a resolution (number 1546) in which "the presence of the multinational force in Iraq is at the request of the incoming Interim Government of Iraq and therefore reaffirms the authorisation for the multinational force under unified command". In other words, the newly USA-selected government, requests the USA occupation forces to stay. The term "unified command" is a euphemism for "USA control".
The Interim Iraqi Government will have no control over the USA or UK military. According to articles in two USA newspapers, Wall Street Journal (issue 13 May) and New York Times (issue 2 June), the USA has been "quietly building institutions that will give the US powerful levers for influencing nearly every important decision the interim government will make. In a series of edicts issued earlier this spring, [the US] created new commissions that effectively take away virtually all of the powers once held by several ministries. 110 to 160 American advisers will be layered through Iraq's ministries, in some cases on contracts signed by the occupation, extending into the period after June 30. In many cases, these US and Iraqi proxies will serve multiyear terms and have significant authority to run criminal investigations, award contracts, direct troops and subpoena citizens".
As officials put it "the new Iraqi government will be unable to make major decisions within specific ministries without tacit US approval".
The USA passes a law barring what it calls "illegal militias" from standing in elections for three years. This will cover most people fighting against the occupation. Just before the "handover", the USA ensures that contracts are handed to its favoured companies who are mainly from the USA and who charge up to ten times what local companies would. The contracts are framed in a way that will make it ruinous for a future Iraq government to cancel them.
KryssTal Opinion: Anyone for Democracy? Anyone for a UN sell out? Anyone for economic imperialism?
Over 40 people are killed (including women and children) in USA airstrikes in Fallujah. The new puppet government in waiting supports the attack. The government then requests help from NATO (a local European-North American military alliance dominated by the USA and not a world body) to train its army.
Three soldiers accused of abusing prisoners in Abu-Ghraib prison go on trial. Their defence is that they were following orders. One of the lawyers, Paul Bergrin, admits (on the UK Channel 4 News, 21 June) that the interrogation procedures used were approved from higher up:
"They used the humility method that has been known based upon the Israeli government's intelligence and expertise on Arab prisoners of parading them naked in front of other people. And what that did emotionally and psychologically is that caused the Arab prisoner to not want that photograph displayed because of cultural issues so it made them talk."
In an attempt to show that the USA wanted to treat Iraqi prisoners humanely and did not condone torture, the USA government releases internal documents that set out what its soldiers are allowed to do to prisoners during interrogations. The documents included a memo by USA president, George W Bush, stating that the Geneva Convention would not apply. The USA is a signatory to the Convention. The list of approved interrogation techniques dates from December 2002 and applies to the concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay (in USA-leased land in Cuba) as well as to Iraq. The list included:
Sherman Carroll of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture affirmed that "the documents from the White House authorised specific interrogation techniques by US forces abroad that amount to torture".
In late June, the USA, pro-consul, Paul Bremer, passes Order 17. This makes USA and UK military personnel, security personnel ("mercenaries") and ordinary civilian contractors immune from all civil and criminal law in Iraq. Westerners will have exception from paying tax and will not even need to have driving licenses. Contractors will have immunity from anything done under a contract, including defaulting on payments or injuring people.
A few days later, Western governments and their media begin a massive propaganda campaign to convince the USA electorate that there has been a "transfer of power" to the Iraqis in Iraq. A low key ceremony is conducted in the USA compound in Baghdad (called the Green Zone). No foreign dignitaries are present. The first announcement is made in Istanbul during a NATO summit in Turkey.
The 160,000 USA occupation force is restyled "the multinational forces" which have been invited to stay in Iraq by the "new Iraqi government" (headed by the CIA-linked Iyad Allawi). The Coalition Provisional Authority is renamed "The American Embassy" with a staff of over 3000 (making it the largest in the world). All Iraqi ministries have USA "advisors" attached to them. The USA proconsul, Paul Bremer, leaves to be replaced by the new USA "ambassador", John Negraponte, who arrives unannounced and without ceremony.
Negraponte was ambassador to Honduras between 1981 to 1985 while the country was being used by the USA-armed Contras to destabilise the democratically elected government of Nicaragua. The USA newspaper, the Baltimore Sun, probed this period using released government papers and concluded that the ambassador knew of and supported the activities of Battalion 3-16, a Honduran death squad . According to a former Honduran congressman, Efrain Diaz, this was because "they needed Honduras to loan its territory more than they were concerned about innocent people being killed".
In July, the USA announces that Saddam Hussein, the former president of Iraq has been "handed back to the Iraqis" but he will remain in USA custody in Qatar. A pre-trial appearance before an Iraqi judge is made. This is made inside the USA controlled Green Zone (also known as "the American Embassy").
The USA selects the media to be allowed to cover the appearance (none of whom are Iraqi) and confiscates some of the footage, destroying the opening testimony of some of the defendants. The footage broadcast around the world is censored and contains the text "cleared by US military".
A USA television worker confirms that the USA was "... running the show. The Americans decided what the world could and could not see of the trial - and it was meant to be an Iraqi trial. There was a British official in the courtroom whom we were not allowed to take pictures of. The other men were US troops who had been ordered to wear ordinary clothes so that they were 'civilians' in the court".
Professor Michael Scharf, who is training the USA military to be judges in Guantanamo Bay, was more descriptive of the USA role: "The United States will be involved in the trial but from behind the scenes, more like a puppet master".
After "handing control to the Iraqis", the USA bombs a residential area in Fallujah killing more than 12 people.
After a week, USA-approved Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, introduces legislation allowing the imposition of martial law, curfews, a ban on demonstrations, restrictions of movement, phone-tapping, the opening of post and the freezing of bank accounts. This is less than two years after the USA and UK invaded the country "to bring democracy". In the same week, a USA senate committee reports that the intelligence for going to war in Iraq was flawed.
USA forces vacate a building that contains the names of 600,000 of Iraq's war dead from the Iraq-Iran War of the 1980s. The soldiers had daubed the walls with company insignias and other graffiti.
In the north of Iraq, Kurds force Arabs from their homes in Kirkuk, creating over 100,000 refugees living in camps in northern Iraq. This and the fact that the Kurds supported the USA invasion, engenders widespread anti-Kurdish feeling among the rest of the population in the country.
The Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, orders the Arab television station, Al-Jazeera, to leave the country while police close their Baghdad offices. This is the station watched by the majority of Arabs in the Middle East which has been criticised and had its offices bombed by the USA.
In Najaf, USA forces surround the city. Armed Iraqi police order all foreign journalists out of the city. The police chief announces that they had two hours to leave. He said that the order had been issued by the Ministry of the Interior of Iyad Allawi's (USA appointed) government.
A little later the journalists are told: "You have been warned. You have two hours. If you don't leave you will be shot". This story failed to appear on UK television news.
The next day, armed police return to the Sea of Najaf Hotel where all the journalists are staying. They attempt to arrest a journalist from al-Arabiya television, Ahmed al-Saleh. As journalists and hotel staff protest, a police lieutenant tells them "We are going to open fire on this hotel. We are going to smash it up. I will kill you all. You did this all to yourselves." The police eventually left and fired shots into the hotel.
The response of the UK government to their journalists being shot at and threatened was to issue a statement via a spokesperson: "I think we should not be too hasty to turn this into a debate about free speech. There is quite a lively media in Iraq for the first time in years".
KryssTal Opinion: Anyone for free speech?
According to the UK newspaper, The Independent, two USA companies were awarded huge reconstruction contracts without having to tender. Halliburton has received contracts worth $ 4,700 million while Bechtel was awarded $ 2,800 million. Both companies have close ties with the USA administration.
Abd Al-Jabbar al-Kubaisi, a politician who opposed Saddam Hussein but also opposed the USA invasion, is arrested by the occupying forces with the collusion of the USA appointed Iraqi government, and taken to an undisclosed location. According to the Arab National Forum, this is one of many such cases of the arrest of dissidents. This story is unreported in the Western media.
In early September, the USA bombs two houses in Fallujah killing 17 people, including children who are blown to pieces. The story fails to make the Western media a day after prominent television and newspaper headlines describing the deaths of 16 Israelis killed by Palestinian suicide bombers. A previous strike on Fallujah a few days earlier had killed 5 people and wounded 42. More people are killed in Fallujah over several days but the media fail to mention the region until 7 USA soldiers are killed.
35 people are killed in Baghdad by USA forces.
Fallujah is bombed for three successive days killing over 40 people, including three women, a 65 year old man and five children. The USA describes the attacks as a "precision strike" but photos of injured children are published by the Arab television station al-Jazeera. 15 homes are destroyed by tank fire. In Tal Afar, 27 are killed and 70 are injured.
a week-long invasion by USA forces.
In mid-September, air strikes on Fallujah by the USA leave 18 people dead, including women and children. Seven people, including the driver of an ambulance, are killed when USA aircraft fire a missile at the vehicle while it was transporting casualties near the northern gate of the city. A paramedic and five patients are also killed. According to Dr Rafia al-Isawi, director of Fallujah hospital: "Every time we send out an ambulance, it gets targeted". Attacking medical facilities is a violation of the Geneva Convention. Three homes are destroyed in al-Shurta neighbourhood.
USA snipers kill at least 11 people in the city of Ramadi. Dr Khamis al-Saad, general director of Ramadi hospital reports that the dead included a woman and children while another 18 were wounded by USA fire. Ambulances and medical teams are targeted by USA snipers in different areas of Ramadi including close to hospitals for women and children.
Two ambulance drivers and members of medical teams in the vehicles are also killed. Medical staff and patients inside the hospitals are targeted and several are shot in the head. 29 others were injured. Images of one of the targeted ambulances are shown on Arabic television at the same time as the USA is describing the attacks as a "precision raid".
Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations tells the UK radio station BBC World Service that the invasion of Iraq was "not in conformity" with the UN Security Council or the UN Charter. This is a polite way of saying that the invasion was not legal. On the same day (and mostly unreported in the West) the USA announces that $ 3,400 million originally allocated to providing water and power to Iraqis is to be redirected to boosting security and oil output.
Seven rockets are fired by two USA helicopters into a crowd in Baghdad killing 13 people and wounding 41. Film of the incident by al-Arabiya contradicts the USA account of the massacre in which Mazen-al-Tomeizi, a Palestinian television producer, is among the dead.
Another air attack on Falluja kills over 56 people and wounds 40. Several strikes on the village of Zoba, 7 km south of Falluja, demolish 13 houses. Dr Ahmad Khalil of Falluja general hospital reported: "The bodies of 30 people killed in Zoba were brought to Falluja general hospital as well as 40 wounded." He added that many of the victims were women and children.
The USA military described the attack as a "precision strike" which "destroyed a terrorist compound". However, Iraqi medical sources and independent journalists in Falluja say that most of those brought into the hospitals are civilians, and included many women and children.
After over a week of violence, the story appears on BBC television news in the UK but the number of victims is described as "several". After a further week of similar attacks, the USA appointed Iraqi government bans the Ministry of Health from revealing civilian casualty figures.
In October, USA forces attack the city of Sammara.
The USA uses helicopter gunships, jets and snipers; over 125 people are killed. According to an ambulance driver: "Dead bodies and injured people are lying everywhere in the city. The Americans fired at us when we tried to evacuate them. Later on they told us that we can evacuate only injured women and children, but we cannot pick up injured men".
The denial of medical treatment is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Local people complain that they are unable to take their injured to hospital as USA forces are arresting all males over the age of 15. All power and water has been cut off and snipers are firing at people. According to Iraqi journalist Ziyad al-Samarai: "The situation in Sammara city is very tense and unstable. US forces have taken up rooftop positions on the city's buildings and schools, completely closing the city and preventing people from moving around".
According to schoolteacher, Rahim Abdul-Karim, "There has been a lot of deaths, and they have been ordinary people. They are killing us to save us". Another man describes seeing stray dogs picking at corpses in the street.
The USA continues to describe their actions as "precision strikes". In the main hospital, doctors say that of the first 47 bodies brought in, 11 were women, 5 were children and 7 were elderly men. Even the BBC television news in the UK begins to talk about "US claims" while showing children being pulled out of the rubble of destroyed homes.
Fallujah was also attacked by USA warplanes during the hours of darkness. Two houses were reported to have been flattened in al-Shurta district. Dr Ahmad Tahir at Falluja's general hospital said seven dead, including children and women, and 13 wounded were received at the hospital. All the victims were civilians. A photographer from Associated Press describes seeing the bodies of women and children being removed from the rubble of the homes.
In the Sadr City suburb in Baghdad USA forces fire missiles into packed tenement buildings.
The USA appointed Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, makes a speech in the USA Congress. This is later shown to have been written by the USA president's re-election team.
An Iraqi organisation, Struggle Against Hegemony, states that over 37,000 civilians were killed between the start of the invasion in March 2003 and October 2003. This figure does not include deaths of Iraqi military and paramilitary forces. According to Muhammad al-Ubaidi:
"For the collation of our statistics we visited the most remote villages, spoke and coordinated with grave-diggers across Iraq, obtained information from hospitals, and spoke to thousands of witnesses who saw incidents in which Iraqi civilians were killed by US fire."
Al-Ubaidi, a physiology professor based in the UK, provided a detailed breakdown of the 37,000 civilian deaths for each region in Iraq.
|Karbala and Najaf||2263|
The counting stopped in October 2003 after researchers were arrested by USA forces and have not been seen since.
In October 2004, a scientific study published in the UK medical magazine, The Lancet, suggests that at least 100,000 people have been killed in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. More than half of the victims have been women and children killed by "the effect of areal weaponry", in other words, air strikes. The survey was undertaken by public health experts from Iraq and the USA (Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland). The figures are much higher than earlier estimates based on media sources. Some studies suggest that even these figures are an under-estimate. The occupying forces are also criticised by the report for failing to keep figures of Iraqi casualties.
The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that 350 tons of high explosive went missing from from storage at Al-Qaqa'a during the USA invasion in March 2003. Iraqi witness maintain that USA troops were told of the presence of the material at the site but failed to guard it. The site was one listed by the UK as producing illegal weapons.
In November, the secretary general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, warns the USA and UK not to attack the city of Fallujah as that would make the situation in Iraq more difficult. His plea is ignored. The USA heavily bombs the city from the air for several days and orders civilians to leave.
Ralph Peters, a former military officer told USA newspaper, New York Post: "We must not be afraid to make an example of Fallujah. We need to demonstrate that the United States military cannot be deterred or defeated. If that means widespread destruction, we must accept the price Even if Fallujah has to go the way of Carthage, reduced to shards, the price will be worth it''.
A month after stating that most of Iraq is "completely safe'', the USA-appointed Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, declares martial law throughout all of Iraq except the Kurdish north. The new powers allow public gatherings to be broken up, private houses to be entered without warrants, and people to be detained without trial. These are similar powers held by the previous regime that the USA had thought was so totalitarian that it had to be removed.
The USA invades the city of Fallujah (population normally 300,000) with over 10,000 troops for the second time in 2004, taking the Fallujah General Hospital, the city's main health care facility. Patients in the hospital are handcuffed and dragged out of their rooms for examination by troops. Most are later released. Mehdi Abdulla, a 33 year old ambulance driver describes USA actions: "Doctors in Fallujah are reporting to me that there are patients in the hospital there who were forced out by the Americans. Some doctors there told me they had a major operation going, but the soldiers took the doctors away and left the patient to die". Nazzal Emergency Hospital, a recently constructed trauma clinic, is bombed and destroyed killing 20 doctors and a dozen patients; a nearby warehouse for medical supplies is also destroyed.
Half of the city's 120 mosques are destroyed by air strikes. The effect on the Arab and Muslim world of images of mosques being attacked with tanks during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan can only be imagined. Many people are killed and bodies have to be buried in gardens due to the curfew. The wounded cannot get medical attention. There are reports of bodies lying in the streets.
According to Colonel Mike Ramos, anyone violating the curfew is part of a "free fire zone" - in other words, any thing that moves will be shot at. Colonel Gary Brandl, a USA marine, tells the UK television station, the BBC: "The enemy has a face. It is Satan's. He is in Fallujah, and we are going to destroy him."
Muhammad Abbud has to watch his 9 year old son, Ghaith, bleed to death after being hit by shrapnel: "We just bandaged his stomach and gave him water, but he was losing a lot of blood. He died this afternoon". This story is extensively covered by Middle Eastern media but ignored by Western television news. Sami al-Jumaili, a doctor at Fallujah Hospital said: "There is not a single surgeon in Falluja. We had one ambulance hit by US fire and a doctor wounded. There are scores of injured civilians in their homes who we can't move. A 13-year-old child just died in my hands". The USA-appointed Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, responds by accusing Iraqi doctors of exaggerating civilian casualties.
A resident of the city, Fadri al-Badrani, tells the Reuters news agency: "Every minute, hundreds of bombs and shells are exploding. The north of the city is in flames. Fallujah has become like hell". Another resident, Farhan Saleh added: "My kids are hysterical with fear. They are traumatised by the sound but there is nowhere to take them".
A fleeing woman.
The magazine, Christian Science Monitor, quotes a retired general with connections to the USA military as noting, This is being done for not only its effect on Fallujah, but for its demonstration effects...on other places resembling Fallujah�. In other words, if you resist us, this is what will happen to you. The use of violence for the purpose of intimidation and spreading terror is a violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions.
Television reports mention "phosphorous rounds" without elaborating. This is a substance that sticks to skin and burns. A hospital doctor, Kamal Hadeethi, is quoted in the USA newspaper, Washington Post as saying "The corpses of the mujaheddin which we received were burned, and some corpses were melted". People reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous or napalm burns.
None of this is mentioned in the Western media.
Their destination and status remains unknown.
As the slaughter continues some members of the the USA-appointed government, decide to speak out and pull out of the government. Mohsen Abdel Hamid, the leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party explains his reasons: "The American attack on our people in Fallujah has led and will lead to more killings and genocide without mercy from the Americans". The Association of Muslim Scholars calls for a boycott of planned elections as they will be held "over the corpses of those killed in Fallujah and the blood of the wounded". Up to 500 Iraqi troops that had been trained by the USA to "put an Iraqi face" on the invasion refuse to fight and desert.
Throughout the attack on Fallujah, most Western television reports state that "there are no reliable reports of civilian casualties". Prior to the attack, the Arabic television station, Al-Jazeera was excluded from Iraq. Al-Arabiya had an unembedded ("independent") reporter, Abdel Kader Al-Saadi, in Falluja, but on 11 November USA forces arrested him and held him away from the city. This detention has been condemned by Reporters Without Borders and the International Federation of Journalists: "We cannot ignore the possibility that he is being intimidated for just trying to do his job".
The USA-appointed Iraqi government orders journalists working in Iraq to tow the government line or face legal action. Media were ordered to "set aside space in your news coverage to make the position of the Iraqi government, which expresses the aspirations of most Iraqis, clear". It continued, "We hope you comply ... otherwise we regret we will be forced to take all the legal measures to guarantee higher national interests". Ann Cooper, director of the USA-based Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern at this development: "It damages the government's credibility in establishing a free and democratic society". The clampdown continues with the arrest of Mustafa al-Dulaimi, a member of the Association of Muslim Scholars, who had earlier spoken out against the invasion of Fallujah.
The USA television station, Fox News, reported that "US troops also raided a Sunni mosque in Qaim, near the Syrian border". The report described the arrests as "retaliation for opposing the Falluja offensive". Two Shia clerics associated with Moqtada al-Sadr have also been arrested in recent weeks; according to the news agency, Associated Press, "both had spoken out against the Falluja attack".
Fallujah resident, Luai Mansur Abd al-Karim, described conditions in the battered city: "The majority ... have stayed in the streets, in the open air. They have no food, no shelter. Life necessities are very little. Humanitarian organisations cannot reach these families as all roads leading to the city and its suburbs are closed. Anyone who walks in the streets exposes his life to danger and his vehicle to being bombed. US forces have cordoned off the city and all its suburbs. They are conducting group killings and eliminations in Falluja and its suburbs. These families cannot go anywhere."
Another resident, Rasul Ibrahim, told the Qatar based TV station, Al-Jazeera: "There's no water. People are drinking dirty water. Children are dying. People are eating flour because there's no proper food".
An Iraqi journalist tells Associated Press: "The Americans are shooting anything that moves". To dislodge just one Iraqi sniper, an embedded journalist with the newspaper, New York Times, reports that a three storey complex was hit with two 500-pound bombs, 35 155mm artillery shells, 10 120mm shells from tanks and about 30,000 rounds from machine guns and small arms. The building is left a "smoking ruin". From the television footage coming out of the city, USA troops "search" buildings by using grenades and machine gun fire on houses before entering. Every male found alive is being dragged away, bound and hooded, to detention centres.
Whole districts were leveled with many buildings destroyed. There is no electricity or water. Residents talk of the odour of death in the streets. Abd al-Hamid Salim, a volunteer with the relief organisation, Red Crescent observes that "anyone who gets injured is likely to die because there's no medicine and they can't get to doctors. There are snipers everywhere. Go outside and you're going to get shot."
Abbas Ali, a doctor reported: "I'm one of the few medical cadres that survived last Monday from the massacre. We are in a very tragic situation. Hundreds of dead bodies are spread in the streets. Even the injured are still there. We cannot transfer them. We cannot do anything to save them."
The USA President, George W Bush and UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, continue to say that the military operations in Fallujah are to "help Iraqis achieve their liberty and to defend the security of the world". Fallujah's resisters are described as "Saddamists" even though the city had a history of defying the former dictator, Saddam Hussein.
As Fallujah is battered into submission, uprisings occur in several places around the country, including Mosul, Baiji and Ramadi.
After a week, the USA declares that Fallujah is under USA control. Aid convoys are prevented by USA forces from entering the city, originally because of "security concerns" then because the USA is providing all assistance required. According to USA marine, Colonel Mike Shupp, "there is no need to bring supplies in because we have supplies of our own for the people". The USA appointed Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, states that there are "no civilian casualties" in Fallujah. Refugees, doctors and other witnesses from the city talk of outbreaks of typhoid, rotting corpses, thousands of people trapped, the wounded unable to get medical aid. These claims are mainly ignored by the Western media. No footage of bodies is shown. In contrast, bodies are shown in the Dafur region of Sudan during the same week.
USA troops searching houses while frightened Iraqis look on.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the invasion of their city.
A video by USA television station, NBC, shows a USA soldier killing a wounded Iraqi inside a mosque. The soldier is heard saying that the man was breathing and faking being dead. After a single shot is fired at the man's head the soldier says "He's dead now".
This is one of several pieces of footage showing USA soldiers killing wounded Iraqis in violation of the Geneva Convention as well as attacks on civilians by aircraft and helicopters. The NBC footage is shown in the USA and UK with a story of how the solder concerned had been previously shot and is broadcast in the middle of other news items; the UK television station BBC covers the story in less than 10 seconds during one broadcast. The actual shooting is never shown.
In the Middle East the footage is shown uncensored. According to Kevin Sites, the NBC reporter present at the time, "the prisoner did not appear to be armed or threatening in any way". Kathy Kelly of the peace group, Voices in the Wilderness, spoke about the images: "I don't think the US is paying much attention to the Geneva Conventions any more - that is the problem".
According to reports from newsmen embedded with the USA troops during the assault launched on 8 November, the shooting may not have been an isolated incident. Instead, it may have simply been the only one caught on camera, an illustration of the looser rules of engagement authorised for the Fallujah offensive. The night before the assault began, the order came down that troops could shoot any male on the street between the ages of 15 and 50 if they were viewed as a security threat, regardless of whether they had a weapon.
Residents of Saqlawiya, a village neighbouring Falluja, tell the TV station, Al-Jazeera, that they helped bury the bodies of 73 women and children who were burnt to death by a USA bombing attack: "We buried them here, but we could not identify them because they were charred by the use of napalm bombs used by the Americans," said one resident of Saqlawiya in footage broadcast on Al-Jazeera.
According to Abu Hammad, 35 year old trader, the USA "used everything -- tanks, artillery, infantry, poison gas. Fallujah has been bombed to the ground." Kassem Mohammed Ahmed a refugee from Fallujah tells the news agency, IPS, that he witnessed many atrocities committed by USA soldiers in the city: "I watched them roll over wounded people in the street with tanks. This happened so many times". Abdul Razaq Ismail another Fallujah refugee told of soldiers using tanks to pull bodies to the football stadium to be buried. "I saw dead bodies on the ground and nobody could bury them because of the American snipers. The Americans were dropping some of the bodies into the Euphrates near Fallujah."
Abu Hammad describes what happened when people attempted to swim across the River Euphrates to escape the attack on Fallujah: "The Americans shot them with rifles from the shore. Even if some of them were holding a white flag or white clothes over their heads to show they are not fighters, they were all shot". He also describes seeing elderly women carrying white flags shot by USA soldiers. "Even the wounded people were killed. The Americans made announcements for people to come to one mosque if they wanted to leave Fallujah, and even the people who went there carrying white flags were killed".
Kharma, a small city near Fallujah, was bombed by USA warplanes. In one instance a family of five was killed.
Initial figures by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) talk of over 800 civilians killed.
The USA newspaper, the New York Times, quoting the ICRC, cited the story of one family using a car to flee the carnage into the city only to come face to face with a marine squad who had taken control of a mosque as a defence position. "A barrage of bullets followed. Minutes later, Ms Abd Allah's mother lay bloodied and dying in the rear seat, glass shards strewn about her. Ms Abd Allah, hit in the back by a bullet, collapsed into her mother's lap. Three men in the car were lightly wounded," the paper reported.
When the USA marines realised they may have killed civilians, they rushed to check on the casualties. The USA-supported Iraqi National Guard (the so-called "Iraqi face" of the occupation) advised they kill the survivors, but the marines held off and provided medical assistance when it was determined the people in the car were not part of the city's resistance groups.
The Jolan and Askali neighbourhoods were the worst hit, with more than half of the houses destroyed. Dead bodies were scattered on the streets and narrow alleys of Jolan, one of Fallujah's oldest neighbourhoods. Witnesses told of blood and flesh were splattered on the walls of some of the houses. During one night, USA warplanes dropped eight 2,000-pound (900kg) bombs on the city overnight, and artillery boomed throughout the night and into the morning.
According to USA army captain, Erik Krivda: "For this operation, we took the gloves off."
Abdulla Rahnan, a 40 year old man, tells Lebanese-born USA journalist, Dahr Jamail, "The Americans want every city in Iraq to be like Fallujah, They want to kill us all-they are freeing us of our lives!" His friend adds "Everyone here hates them because they are making mass graves faster than even Saddam!"
Although mostly ignored by Western media, reports of war crimes continue to surface: Aziz Abdulla (27) reports: "I saw so many civilians killed there, and I saw several tanks roll over the wounded in the streets." Abu Mohammed (40) reports the use of cluster bombs by the USA, adding: "The Americans smashed our city, killed thousands of people, destroyed our mosques and hospitals." Abu Aziz (45): "The tanks rolled over wounded people in the streets. They shot so many wounded people who went to mosques for shelter. Even the graves were bombed."
Naomi Klein of the UK newspaper, The Guardian, commented on the lack of reporting of civilian casualties in the Western media: "The question is: what happens to the people who insist on counting the bodies - the doctors who must pronounce their patients dead, the journalists who document these losses, the clerics who denounce them? In Iraq, evidence is mounting that these voices are being systematically silenced through a variety of means, from mass arrests, to raids on hospitals, media bans, and overt and unexplained physical attacks."
Seven people, including a child, die when a bus is shot at by USA troops in Ramadi. Television footage from Reuters showed the bus peppered with bullet holes. Some of the windows were shattered and others spattered with blood. Flies buzzed around corpses in the vehicle, as men carried away bodies and loaded them into cars.
Many civilians are arrested in Samarra by USA troops and Iraqis working for the USA-appointed government. al-Adhamiya is put under a 6pm curfew. Citizens cower in their houses while USA helicopters fly overhead. USA troops conduct house to house searches in the Sadr City district of Baghdad where a 6 year old boy is shot for being outside during curfew.
A report published by Norway's Institute for Applied International Studies and the United Nations states that roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from "wasting," a condition characterised by chronic diarrhoea and dangerous protein deficiencies. This is 7.7% of the population, an increase since the invasion from 4%. Approximately 60% of rural residents and 20% of urban dwellers have access only to contaminated water.
The USA appointed Iraqi government announces that elections will take place on 30 January 2005. By the Muslim calendar this date is in the middle of the Haj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
Farnaz Fassihi, a reporter in Iraq for the USA newspaper, Wall Street Journal sent an email to friends describing conditions for reporters in Iraq:
"Being a foreign correspondent in Baghdad these days, is like being under virtual house arrest.... I avoid going to people's homes and never walk in the streets. I can't go grocery shopping any more, can't eat in restaurants, can't strike a conversation with strangers, can't look for stories, can't drive in any thing but a full armored car, can't go to scenes of breaking news, can't be stuck in traffic, can't speak English outside, can't take a road trip, can't say I'm an American, can't linger at checkpoints, can't be curious about what people are saying, doing, feeling. And can't and can't."
In December the Western media announced that Iraq's debts would be forgiven. What was omitted from most reports was that this would only happen if the country allowed its economy to be run by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for ten years regardless of what Iraqis themselves voted for. This is an excellent example of a story being misleading by omission.
A report by Dr John Curtis of the British Museum (UK) criticises the USA for causing "substantial damage" to one of the most important historical sites in Iraq.
The city of Babylon was the capital of a sophisticated civilisation in Mesopotamia between 1800 BC and 600 BC. It was built by Nebuchadnezzar and was the site of the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, considered one of the seven wonders of the world and a cradle of civilisation. The USA turned the archeological site into a military base which it shared with troops from Poland.
Large areas of the site were covered in gravel which was compacted and chemically treated to make landing areas for helicopters and car parks. Military vehicles had crushed 2,600 year old pavements. Trenches had been dug into ancient deposits. Archeological fragments, including broken bricks stamped with Nebuchadnezzar's name, are scattered around the area. Sand mixed with archeological fragments has been taken and used to fill sandbags. The famous Ishtar Gate has gaps where people have attempted to gouge out the decorated bricks.
According to Lord Redesdale, a UK archaeologist: "Outrage is hardly the word, this is just dreadful. These are world sites. Not only is what the American forces are doing damaging the archaeology of Iraq, it's actually damaging the cultural heritage of the whole world." Tim Schadla Hall, from the Institute of Archaeology at University College London, said: "In this case we see an international conflict in which the US has failed to take into account the requirements of the Hague convention ... to protect major archaeological sites - just another convention it seems happy to ignore."
Jimmy Massey, a 33 year old staff sergent admits that USA troops routinely kill unarmed civilians in Iraq, including women and children. These killings occur in the street and at road blocks: "We were shooting up people as they got out of their cars trying to put their hands up. I don't know if the Iraqis thought we were celebrating their new democracy. I do know that we killed innocent civilians."
According to Massey, USA troops were trained to believe that all Iraqis were terrorists. This caused them to open fire indiscriminately. He saw 30 civilians being killed in one 48 hour period in one Baghdad district. Dr Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish politician, says that the immunity from prosecution of USA soldiers is one of the reasons that the occupation is so unpopular.
The Iraq Survey Group, an organisation funded and controlled by the USA, was sent to Iraq in 2003 to look for "weapons of mass destruction" (WMD). The presence of WMD was used a pretext for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the USA and UK. In late 2004, The Iraq Survey Group state that the search for these weapons had ended and that none had been found.
In January an Iraqi doctor, Dr Ali Fadhil, broadcasts a report from within Fallujah, a city of 300,000 that had been attacked by the USA for over a month in November 2004. The USA had stated that 1200 "insurgents" had been killed but had not announced a figure for the number of civilians that had died. Aid agencies had not been allowed into the city but gangs had been hired to bury the dead. The report is published in the UK newspaper, The Guardian, and shown on the UK television's Channel 4 News.
According to Dr Fadhil:
"Fallujah used to be one of the few modern Iraqi cities and now there is nothing. I could smell bodies all over the city. I was taken to a house where four people had been shot while sleeping. There were no weapons and no bullet holes. In another house there was a dead fighter with his weapon. In both cases the bodies had been partially eaten by dogs."
The entire city is damaged, few buildings are functioning. Most of the city's inhabitants are in refugee camps receiving no aid. They are not allowed to re-enter the city unless they submit to finger printing and retina scans. Citizens would have to wear identity cards containing their names and addresses. Fallujahns resent the cards and consider them a humiliation by the USA. In one house, USA soldiers had written on a mirror in a trashed house: "F**k Iraq and every Iraqi in it".
In a cemetary Dr Fadhil saw over 60 new graves. One weeping mother, Mrs Salma, finds the body of her son, Ahmed (18) in the cemetary: "I blame Iyad Allawi [the USA appointed Iraqi Prime Minister] for all this. I'd like to cut his throat. Even then I would not be happy. I blame Saddam as well. I'd like to kill them both."
Dr Fadhil interviewed Sheikh Jamel al Mihimdi of the Abdul Qadir Mosque:
"I saw with my own eyes the Holy Quran thrown to the floor of the mosque by those sons of pigs and monkeys. The Americans were treading on the Holy Quran and it broke my heart." The Sheikh stated that many people who had stayed in the city to protect their properties were killed in their own homes, many just inside the front door. Bodies of familes were shown. One old man of 90 had been shot dead in his kitchen.
A group of men were shown looking around their houses, now rubble. Over 100 of the city's 120 mosques had been destroyed. Dr Fadhil concluded that "The city of mosques has become the city of rubble".
The Western media tend to interview Western politicians and Iraqis who are collaborating with the occupation. The following quotes are from refugees from Fallujah:
Many civilians were killed by bombs and artillery shells; a large number of people, including women, old men and children as young as four, were killed by USA snipers. Requests for medical aid were often refused. Dr Ali Abbas (28) worked in a clinic which was bombed by the USA, killing five patients. The USA had been informed of the location of the clinic by doctors in Fallujah's general hospital. Dr Abbas confirmed that many injured people died because of a lack of equipment and medicines. Many people who had been the victims of USA snipers had been shot in the head, neck or chest.
Bilal Hussein (33), a photographer working for Associated Press, describes the scene at the river, seeing "US helicopters firing and killing people who tried to cross. I saw a family of five shot dead. I helped bury a man by the river bank with my own hands". He continues: "I saw people dead in the streets, the wounded were bleeding and there was no one to help them".
According to USA marine, Captain P J Batty: "We didn't wish this upon anyone, but everyone needs to understand there are consequences for not following the Iraqi government". The "Iraqi government" was installed by the USA.
Citizens of Fallujah will be comforted by the observations of 21 year old Derrick Anthony, from the USA Navy: "It's kind of bad we destroyed everything, but at least we gave them a chance for a new start."
KryssTal Opinion: One wonders what citizens of the USA would have thought if the above quote had been made by Osama bin Laden about the Twin Towers.
In 2004, photographs appeared showing USA military personnel physically and sexually abusing Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib. In early 2005, similar photographs appear showing UK troops abusing prisoners in a similar way. In one photo, a soldier is shown standing on a prisoner lying on the ground and covered with a netting.
The Western media concentrate on the difficulties suffered by the military in a foreign land and use the word "allegedly" in every sentence. The political establishment blame "a few bad apples", a phrase meaning that they are isolated incidents. On one television debate in the UK (Question Time, 20 January), a woman working in a shop that develops photographs, states that she had seen similar images from film brought in by a soldier.
After a trial in which no Iraqis give evidence, four UK solders from the lower ranks are given derisory punishments. The UK military maintained that it could not trace the Iraqi victims; the UK newspaper, The Independent, found a number of victims after a 48 hour search. Several made statements describing their abuse - many had not heard that a trial was taking place.
Relatives of people tortured by the UK are arrested and beaten for asking about their family members.
According to papers obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), children as young as 8 years old had been held in Abu Ghraib by the USA. Among the documents were orders to hold a prisoner that the CIA had captured without keeping records. The USA has acknowledged holding up to 100 unaccounted prisoners, called "ghost detainees", keeping them off the books and away from humanitarian investigators from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The story remains unreported in the West.
A report by Transparency International, accuses the USA government of corruption in the awarding of business contracts to its own companies: "The US has been a poor role model in how to keep corrupt practices at bay." The USA-appointed government is accused of takings a perecentage of all contracts.
Two months after "elections" are held in Iraq, the USA-appointed Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, (who won less than 15% of the vote) warns Shia Muslim religious leaders (who won over 50% of the vote) to "stay out of politics".
In April, the USA Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, visits Iraq to stop the Shia Muslim winners of the "elections" from providing ministers for the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence. Rumsfeld warns that pro-USA officials in these ministries are not to be removed from their posts: "It's important that the new government be attentive to the competence of the people in the ministries and that they avoid any unnecessary turbulence".
KryssTal Opinion: So this is what the USA means when it talks about "democracy" in the Middle East.
In late March, and unreported in the West, USA soldiers storm a pediatric hospital in Ramadi. Another hospital had been targetted a few days earlier, leading doctors to question whether they are becoming targets.
In Fallujah, independent journalists report USA forces killing whole families, attacks on hospitals and the use of napalm-like weapons. These stories are covered in Arabic media but are little reported in the UK.
Dahr Jamail, a USA reporter of the Inter Press Service interviewed a 16 year old girl:
"She stayed for three days with the bodies of her family who were killed in their home. When the soldiers entered she was in her home with her father, mother, 12 year-old brother and two sisters. She watched the soldiers enter and shoot her mother and father directly, without saying anything. They beat her two sisters, then shot them in the head. After this her brother was enraged and ran at the soldiers while shouting at them, so they shot him dead."
Another story he documented involved a mother who was in her home during the siege. �On the fifth day of the siege her home was bombed, and the roof fell on her son, cutting his legs off. For hours she couldn�t go outside because they announced that anyone going in the street would be shot. So all she could do was wrap his legs and watch him die before her eyes.�
Dr Salem Ismael was delivering aid to Fallujah. He photographed the dead, including children, and interviewed remaining residents. Again his story does not tally with the indifference shown by the main media networks. He tells the story of Hudda Fawzi Salam Issawi:
"Five of us, including a 55-year-old neighbour, were trapped together in our house in Falluja when the siege began. On 9 November American marines came to our house. My father and the neighbour went to the door to meet them. We were not fighters. We thought we had nothing to fear. I ran into the kitchen to put on my veil, since men were going to enter our house and it would be wrong for them to see me with my hair uncovered. This saved my life. As my father and neighbour approached the door, the Americans opened fire on them. They died instantly. Me and my 13-year-old brother hid in the kitchen behind the fridge. The soldiers came into the house and caught my older sister. They beat her. Then they shot her. But they did not see me. Soon they left, but not before they had destroyed our furniture and stolen the money from my father's pocket."
Dr Salem Ismael is refused permission to speak in the UK.
The UK journalist, Naomi Klein, reports that hospitals are being targetted by the USA to stop casualty figures being released.
In April Maria Ruzicka, a 28 year old USA citizen, is killed in Iraq. She had managed to obtain an admission from military commanders that the USA did keep records of the number of civilian deaths in Iraq even though it did not publish the information. She stated that 29 civilians had died in Baghdad between 28 February and 5 April during firefights involving USA forces: this was four times the number of Iraqi police killed by the resistance. Sam Zia-Zarif of Human Rights Watch confirmed that the USA has never admitted to keeping figures and that Ruzicka's work allows victims' families to obtain compensation.
The USA flies its wounded soldiers into the country from bases in Europe only at night to keep them out of the public view. The number of USA wounded has been estimated at 25,000. Photographs of coffins were banned by presidential order in 2003. According to Code Pink, a peace group protesting outside Walter Reed Military Hospital in Washington: "The American public has very limited information about the real impact of the war".
In May, the new "Iraqi government" is formed after elections. This "government" features many of the same people appointed by the USA as well as a number of USA allies. Included is Ahmed Chalabi who was convicted for fraud in Jordan, and whose political party was given $ 100 million by the USA government when he was in exile. The resistance to the occupation continues unabated. The following story appears in a web site called Watching America, which features pieces about the USA from around the world:
"Iraq's new president has said he will not reside in the Presidential Palace, which for many Iraqis is a symbol of the country's sovereignty. Jalal Talabani said that the interim government has agreed to rent the palace to the Americans for two years. The presidential complex on the banks of the Tigris River is a maze of palaces, green lawns and orchards. President Talabani said that the Americans 'might' evacuate the palace when the lease expires."
Journalist Rory Carroll of the UK newspaper, The Guardian, observes that the new "government" must meet under USA protection and its members are often humiliated:
"Last week an assembly member named Fattah al-Sheikh said he was roughed up and humiliated by US troops on his way in. One allegedly grabbed him by the throat, another handcuffed him, and a third kicked his car. 'I was dragged to the ground,' he told parliament, weeping. 'What happened to me represents an insult to the whole national assembly that was elected by the Iraqi people. This shows that the democracy we are enjoying is fake.'"
In November, a televison documentary called Fallujah, the Hidden Massacre, is broadcast by RAI in Italy. It shows evidence that the USA had used white phosphorus weapons in its 2004 attack on Fallujah. Interviews with USA soldiers who took part in the Fallujah attack indicated that phosphorus shells were widely used. One stated: "Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way to the bone. I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 meters is done for."
The broadcast included photographs and videos provided by the Studies Centre of Human Rights in Fallujah. Most show the damage done to human flesh by these weapons. Some show Fallujah residents in their beds with largely intact clothing but whose skin has been dissolved or caramalised by the chemicals. A biologist from the city, Mohamad Tareq, stated: "A rain of fire fell on the city, the people struck by this multi-coloured subtsance started to burn.."
An incendiary device called Mark 77 was also used in Fallujah. This is an updated version of the napalm used by the USA in its invasion of Vietnam (1954 to 1975) and its use has been banned against civilian targets by the 1980 United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
The story is almost completely ignored by UK and USA media sources.
After months of denials, the USA government admits that it used White Phosphorus (WP) in the attack on Fallujah in November 2004. The admission came less than 24 hours after the USA Ambassador to the UK denied its use in letter to a newspaper.
In the March-April 2005 edition of the US military magazine, Field Artillery, three USA soldiers wrote that "WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions... and later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against insurgents in trench lines and spider holes... We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents using WP to flush them out and high explosive shells to take them out". To "take out" is a USA euphamism for "to kill".
Another account in North County News describes Captain Nicholas Bogert "a mortar team leader who directed his men to fire round after round of high explosives and white phosphorus charges into the city Friday and Saturday, never knowing what the targets were or what damage the resulting explosions caused."
Burhan Fasa'n, a cameraman for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation reported on the first eight days of the attack: "I saw cluster bombs everywhere and so many bodies that were burnt, dead with no bullets in them. So they definately used fire weapons, especially in Jolan district." His equipment was taken from him by USA soldiers. Residents reported seeing soil being taken away by USA forces and bodies being dropped into the River Euphrates near Fallujah. Adam Mynott, a correspondent for the UK BBC, informed television station, Rai News 24, that he had seen white phosphorus being used in Nassiriya. This story is unreported in the UK, even on the BBC itself.
The USA and UK and much of the media state that white phosphorus is not a chemical weapon - this contradicts USA intelligence reports that accused Sadaam Hussein of using white phosphorus and describing it as a chemical weapon.
Jean Ziegler, a United Nations human rights food expert, publishes a report stating that the USA has often stopped food from reaching towns and cities in order to drive out the inhabitants before an attack. Such activity violates the Geneva Convention.
Late in the year Iraq voted on a new constitution. This is depicted in the West as a triumph of democracy and USA-UK policy in the Middle East. The first draft of the document was leaked in June to the Iraqi newspaper, Al-Mada. It contained many social democratic elements like full rights to health care, social justice, free education and full ownership of natural resources by Iraqis. It proposed a mixed economy with the state would promote development, provide public services and provide work oportunities for every citizen.
The USA "ambassador", Zalmay Khalililzad (a former oil man) was sent to put pressure on the body preparing the constitution. The final product was shorn of its social democratic flavour and talked about a "reformed economy" whose resources were subject to "market principles". It would include "private sector involvement" in health and education which must be "within the limits of government resources". The economic control of Iraq by the USA has been frozen into the constitution.
According to a report by a number of groups (including War On Want and New Economics Foundation), Iraqis could lose up to $ 200,000 million in oil revenue to USA and UK companies. The report, Crude Designs, describes Iraq as falling into "an old colonial trap" as the USA backed Iraqi government begins negotiations with external companies even before elections are held. The rates of return for the companies would be between 42% and 162%, rather than the more typical 12%. The four companies that would benefit are BP, Exxon, Chevron and Shell. All four were asked to leave Iraq when oil was nationalised in 1972. Just before the invasion, the UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, told parliament that France and Germany would not be allowed oil concessions from the post-invasion Iraq.175 people are found in cramped conditions, some showing signs of torture, in a government building in Baghdad. Tortures included mutilation with knives and electric drills. The Iraqi units responsible for detaining the victims were trained by the USA. Shia Police trained by the UK in Basra, torture and kill civilians with electric drills, attack Christians for selling alcohol and Sunnis for supporting the Ba'ath Party.
Human rights groups accuse the USA and UK of using death squads to eliminate oponents to the USA-backed government. Ahmed Sadoun was arrested in Mosul in the middle of the night by paramilitaries accompanied by observing USA soldiers and held for seven months. "When they took me to their base I was blidfolded and beaten very, very badly with metal rods. They then hung me up on hooks by my wrists until I thought they would tear off." After being released he left Iraq. The group that arrested him is the Wolf Brigade.
During October and November, the towns of Husaybah and al-Qaim (In the North West) are attacked by USA forces. Haditah is bombed for 18 days - hospitals and schools are destroyed. Over 100,000 refugees are created without homes, food or water. The nearest hospital is 300km away. This human catastrophe remains unreported in the USA or UK.
A video is posted on the internet showing members of a USA and UK security firm in Iraq firing at random into civilian vehicles on the road linking Baghdad to its airport.
The company, Aegis Specialist Risk Management, is one of many hired by the USA to do the dangerous jobs like escorting convoys. The contract is worth $ 150 million. Security companies employ about 25,000 private security workers who are immune from legal action in Iraq according to sections of the Iraqi constitution written under USA pressure.
Aegis is headed by Tim Spicer, a former UK military officer, whose previous company was accused of violations of international arms embargos in Africa.
During elections the USA (and UK) finance and promote the campaign of Iyad Allawi. They send election advisers to assist. It is illegal for outsiders to finance elections in the USA.
In May, a story of a USA massacre breaks after an attempted cover up by the military. They had stated that 24 civilians killed in the town of Haditha the previous November had been victims of a bomb. Later the USA military had said that the civilians had died in crossfire after the USA forces had come under attack.
An enquiry by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) reported that a USA marine had been killed by a roadside bomb after which USA troops went on a rampage lasting five hours shooting civilians. Five men were shot while standing next to a taxi. The soldiers then entered at least two houses in which they shot women and children. Although a small number of USA marines carried out the massacre others failed to stop them or filed false reports about the incident. The investigation only occurred after a video shot by a survivor was handed to USA magazine, Time. The video showed the bodies of bullet-ridden women and children still dressed in night clothes.
The USA military continue to insist that they do not keep records of civilians killed in Iraq. One study by the UK medical magazine, The Lancet, conducted in 2005 indicated 100,000 deaths.
Several ex-soldier have stated that these events are common. Hart Viges tells of being ordered to fire on taxis in the city of Samawa and of suffering subsequent nightmares: "You can't wash your hands when they're covered in blood. This is what war does to your soul". Jody Casey tells of being ordered to carry shovels to be planted next to bodies to indicate that they were planting bombs: "You're driving at three in the morning. There's a guy on the side iof the road, you shoot him... you throw a shovel off".
A report by UNICEF states that a quarter of all children in Basra are suffering from chronic malnutrition. The survey covered 20,000 households. The number of children suffering acute malnourishment rose from 4% in 2002 to 9% in 2005.
A report by Corporate Watch reveals that UK companies have made around $ 1,800 million from various business ventures in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. Some 60 companies are named including construction and security firms:
Most of the contracts were agreed between the companies and the USA Pentagon completely bypassing the Iraqi people or "government". Corporate Watch reported that several hundred more companies are present in Iraq but keep their presence secret. The UK government refuses to name companies it has helped gain contracts in Iraq. Most of the money comes from tax payers in Iraq ($ 240 million), the UK ($ 125 million) and even the USA ($ 2,000 million). Most of the companies have long standing relationships with the UK government or are run by people in the UK establishment.
In April, in UK-occupied Basra, the European aid agency Saving Children from War reported: "The mortality of young children had increased by 30 percent compared with the Saddam Hussein era." According to the report, children die because the hospitals have no ventilators and the water supply, which the UK were meant to have fixed, is more polluted than ever. Children fall victim to unexploded USA and UK cluster bombs. They play in areas contaminated by depleted uranium; by contrast, UK army survey teams venture there only in full-body radiation suits, face masks, and gloves. Unlike the children they came to 'liberate', UK troops are given what the Ministry of Defense calls 'full biological testing'.
The aid agency's findings were not reported in the UK.
In late June, a story breaks about five USA soldiers from the 502nd Infantry Regiment raping an Iraqi "woman" and killing her and three members of her family including a five year old girl. The story is covered by the UK television station Channel 4 in less than 15 seconds in the middle of a news buletin and is ignored by the BBC (even though it appears on their web site). According to USA military sources, the incident occurred at Mahmudiya near Baghdad three months earlier and had been originally blamed on insurgents.
Steven Green, 21, is chanrged with rape and murder. According to a legal memo, three other USA soldiers also raped the victim. It is only later revealed that the rape vicitim was, in fact, a 14 year old girl, Abeer Qasim. The rest of the family were the victim's parents and sister. A neighbour of the family reported to the USA newspaper, the Washington Post, that the murdered family had been worried for their daughter as their house was near a USA checkpoint.
The USA occupation forces changed the law giving foreign nationals immunity from the Iraqi legal system prompting Nuri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister, to call for an independent inquiry: "We do not accept the violation of Iraqi people's honour as happened in this case. We believe that the immunity granted to international forces has emboldened them to commit such crimes and ... there must be a review of this immunity."
Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the speaker of Iraq's parliament states that USA forces have committed "butchery" in Iraq and should leave. He was speaking at a Uinted Nations sponsored conference on transitional justice and reconciliation in Baghdad: "Just get your hands off Iraq and the Iraqi people and Muslim countries, and everything will be all right. What has been done in Iraq is a kind of butchery of the Iraqi people".
He also criticised USA support for Israeli attacks against Lebanon.
According to a summary by the USA Central Command Air Forces (25 July 2006): "In total, coalition aircraft flew 46 close-air support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions included support to coalition troops, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities." 46 air strikes in a single day - none reported in the Western media. Notice how the invasion and occupation of a country is labelled as Operation Iraqi Freedom. The figure for Afghanistan on the same day was 32.
According to a spokesman for the USA military command in Baghdad, an analysis of the 1,666 bombs that exploded in July showed that 70% were directed against the USA-led military force. 20% targeted the USA-backed Iraqi "security forces" (up from 9% in 2005), and 10% of the blasts struck civilians (the so-called "sectarian violence"). However, the UK BBC correspondent, Mike Wooldridge, reported only on the civilian casualties stating that "the sectarian violence has come to overshadow all other kinds."
In September a United Nations report on torture in Iraq declares that the situation in the country during 2006 is worse than before the USA-led invasion. According to the report, torture is practiced in prisons run by the USA as well as the Iraqi government. The report continued that over 6,500 people died in Baghdad in a two month period (July-August 2006) but admitted that deaths outside the capital were difficult to calculate because it was too dangerous for journalists. Many of the killings are by government controlled police.
35,000 Iraqis are held in prisons, 13,000 by the USA and the rest by the "Iraqi authorities". This is a 28% increase over three months. Civilians kidnapped by sectarian militiamen provide the dozens of mangled bodies (beaten, burnt, bones broken, limbs holed by electric drills and eyes gouged out) that are being collected on rubbish dumps and in the streets of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities and towns every day. Very little of this is reported in the West, where government continue to claim improvements in Iraq.
Over a two day period USA forces kill two women in an air attack on a house in Baquba a day after five girls and a man were killed by USA tank fire onto their house in Ramadi. A week later two women and a child are among 24 people killed in a USA air raid on the village of al-Lihaib near the town of Garma.
A report by the UK medical magazine, The Lancet, that up to 650,000 people have died in Iraq since the USA-UK invasion is ignored by much of the media.
At the end of the year, the former dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, is executed by the USA backed government after a trial covering the few of the ruler's crimes not involving backing by the USA or the UK. He is convicted of ordering the execution of 150 people in the town of Dujail in 1982.
Crimes that he was not tried for include:
In Baghdad, over 100 people die every day from violence unleashed by the USA-UK invasion of the country in 2003. It is estimated that 180 attacks on the occupying forces and their collaborators occur each day. Only sectarian attacks are reported in the Western media. The "Iraqi government" cannot leave a fortified area of Baghdad called the Green Zone. Members of the government have stated that they are not allowed to move a single company of soldiers without USA permission. The Western media treats this "government" as a real entity.
Police are involved in kidnapping and there are death squads, the result of the USA policy known as the Salvador Option, based on deaths squads trained by the USA in Central America in the 1980s. Many of the death squads that commit multiple murders are under the control of the USA-backed government.
Ethnic cleansing is being committed by the different communities as the country heads to a civil war. The governments of the USA and UK blame anti-democratic forces, Iran, Syria, the media and everyone apart from their policies. According to the United Nations, 1,800,000 Iraqis are refugees outside the country while 1,600,000 are internally displaced. The following figures were compiled at the beginning of 2007:
|Iraqis who have died since the invasion||655,000|
|Estimated strength of anti-occupation resistance||30,000|
|USA and UK troops killed||3,006|
|Percentage of children suffering malnutrition||33%|
|Population with access to clean drinking water in 2003 (before invasion)||12,900,000|
|Population with access to clean drinking water in 2007||9,700,000|
|Iraqi refugees outside the country||1,800,000|
|Iraqi refugees inside the country||1,600,000|
The USA hand over the deposed president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, for execution. The execution is filmed on mobile (cell) phones and broadcast on the internet. His executioners (members of a different community) can be heard taunting him in his final moments. Hussein's final words about Iraqis overcoming the occupation of their country and support for the Palestinians are described as "sarcastic" by the UK's BBC who fail to inform their viewers of them.
A group of UK soldiers who had been filmed beating Iraqi civilians escape facing criminal charges. The soldiers had also abused a dead Iraqi's body while providing "amusing" comentary for the videos.
The USA backed government approves a new hydrocarbon law that will allow USA and UK companies generous concessions to the oil reserves of Iraq. The USA government helped to draw up the law with the help of a USA company called Bearing Point. This law will allow companies like British Petroleum, Shell (UK), Chevron and Exxon (USA) to take on 30 year contracts to extract the oil and take 75% of their profits out of the country. Foreign ownership of Iraq's oil plus the removal of profits has been illegal in the country since 1972. The USA illegally changed the constitution of Iraq in 2004 to allow this - occupying powers that change constitutions are in violation of the Haigue Convention.
In March 2003 the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, stated that oil was not the reason for the invasion and that Iraq's oil wealth would be managed by a United Nations trust fund. Also in 2003, Colin Powell, Secretary of State in the USA, had assured the world that "... the oil of the Iraqi people belongs to the Iraqi people: it is their wealth, it will be used for their benefit. So we did not do it for oil." In May 2003, the UK and USA co-sponsored a United Nations resolution (1483) that would give the two nations control over Iraq's oil revenues.
Iraq has the third largest oil reserves in the world, estimated at 115,000 million barrels.
The new legislation was scrutinised by the USA government, the major oil comanies and the International Monetary Fund. Very few members of the Iraq parliament had seen it by early 2007. The law allows for disputes to be settled internationally, undermining Iraq's sovereignty. It also allows for companies to take out their profits tax free and to freely sell shares to non-Iraqi institutions.
Iraqi trade unionists who met in Jordan have suggested that the terms of the law would cause problems in Iraq once its terms became known:
"The Iraqi people refuse to allow the future of their oil to be decided behind closed doors. The occupier seeks and wishes to secure energy resources at a time when the Iraqi people are seeking to determine their own future, while still under conditions of occupation. Iraqi public opinion strongly opposes the handing of authority and control over the oil to foreign companies, that aim to make big profits at the expense of the people. They aim to rob Iraq's national wealth by virtue of unfair, long term oil contracts that undermine the sovereignty of the State and the dignity of the Iraqi people. History will not forgive those who play recklessly with our wealth.... We consider the new law unbalanced and incoherent with the hopes of those who work in the oil industry. It has been drafted in a great rush in harsh circumstances."
Very liitle of the story of this law is covered by the Western media.
Since the 2003 invasion the USA has kept full control of the award of contracts in Iraq for the restoration of infrastructure, electricty and gas networks, securty, development of media, schools and hospitals, financial services and the oil industry. The USA company Halliburton has received $ 13,000 million - the USA Vice President, Dick Cheney, one of the loudest advocates for the invasion, used to be one of their directors. Other USA beneficieries include Bechtel, Bearing Point (the company that drafted the oil law and has also donated heavilly to the ruling political party in the USA) and General Electric. Over 150 USA companies haver been given contracts worth more than $ 50,000 million. Despite the amount of money given to USA companies in preference to Iraqi companies, clean water, sanitation and electricity are below pre-invasion levels.
Unreported in the Western media, food shortages begin to appear in Iraq. The Inter Press Agency (IPS) quotes 60-year-old Um Muthanna, a food vendor from Baghdad, "Look at us begging for food despite the fortunes we have. A country with two great rivers should have been the biggest exporter in the world, but now we beg for food from those who participated in killing us."
The Iraqi import laws were changed in 2004 by the former USA administrator, Paul Bremer. This constitutional change (illegal under international law) resulted in dropped tariffs on import of foreign products. This made it impossible for Iraqi farmers to compete. Countless Iraqi farms went bankrupt. Iraq was forced to import but prices of imported goods increased. By 2007, most of the food in Iraqi markets is imported, and more expensive due to increasing fuel costs and lack of government regulation. Imported foods like chicken, fruits and vegetables cost more than locally grown foods.
Food rations put in place in the 1990s have been cut due to their cost. As 35 year old mother of five children, Um Jamila, told IPS, "What food ration are you talking about. The whole country has been stolen from us. If this goes on another six months, we will be just like any starving country."
In January, a report released by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) showed that 1,500,000 internally displaced people in Iraq lack basic necessities such as adequate food, drinking water, sanitation, and health and education facilities.
In late February, USA soldiers raid and ransack the offices of the Iraq Syndicate of Journalists (ISJ) in central Baghdad. Guards are arrested. Computers and electricity generators are taken. According to Youssif al-Tamimi of the ISJ: "The Americans have delivered so many messages to us, but we simply refused all of them. They killed our colleagues, closed so many newspapers, arrested hundreds of us and now they are shooting at our hearts by raiding our headquarters. This is the freedom of speech we received."
Aidan White, general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists issues a statement saying that "anyone working for media that does not endorse U.S. policy and actions could now be at risk. In the past three years more than 120 Iraqi journalists, many of them Syndicate members, have been killed, and now their union has been turned over in an unprovoked act of intimidation."
Hashim Jawad of the Iraqi Lawyers Union in Baghdad: "The Americans and their Iraqi government followers are destroying social activities and civil unions so that no group can oppose their crimes and plans. The press is our remaining lung to breathe democracy in this country and now it is being targeted."
Reporters Without Borders lists over 148 journalists and media workers killed in Iraq since the beginning of the USA-led invasion in 2003. The group also compiles an annual Press Freedom Index for countries around the world. In 2002, before the USA invasion, Iraq ranked 130th. In 2006 Iraq had fallen to 154th.
Mansoor Salim, a retired journalist, told IPS: "I only wish the U.S. administration and our government would stop lying about freedom in Iraq. How stupid we were to have believed their statements about freedom. I admit that I was one of the fools."
After pressure from the USA, Egypt closes al-Zawraa television station which broadcasts from the Iraqi resistance.
On the fourth anniversary of the USA invasion of Iraq, the United Nations reports that nearly 2 million Iraqis have left the country as refugees. The majority have gone to Syria and Jordan with smaller numbers heading for Turkey and Iran. Some have been admitted to European countries but very few have been taken in by the USA whose invasion caused the refugee crisis. In addition just under 2 million Iraqis are displaced internally.
The reasons vary from sectarian violence, the occupation, torture (both by the state and by militias), lack of water and electricity, crime, lack of medical supplies and malnutrition.
Palestinian refugees who left Palestine when the state of Israel was set up settled in Iraq. Many of them have become refugees again fleeing from the USA occupation as well as sectarian violence. These people are effectivel stateless and many hundreds remain stranded on the border of Iraq with Jordan and Syria.
Al Iraqiya, a USA-financed national televisions station, broadcasts a reality program called Terrorism in the Grip of Justice. This program shows captured insurgents "confessing" to their crimes in front of the camera. Human rights groups condemn the program as violating the Geneva Conventions as none of the participants are charged before judicial authorities prior to appearing. Many show signs of violence. In one program a former policeman with two black eyes confessed to killing two police officers in Samarra. A few days later, his body was delivered to his family.
The detainees shown on television are captured by Iraqi commandos trained and supervised by USA advisers.
Peter Maass writing for the USA publication, New York Times Magazine, says that this is part of a USA strategy of getting local militias to do their fighting for them, the so-called Salvador option:
"The template for Iraq today is not Vietnam, to which it has often been compared, but El Salvador, where a right-wing government backed by the United States fought a leftist insurgency in a 12-year war beginning in 1980. The cost was high - more than 70,000 people were killed, most of them civilians, in a country with a population of just six million. Most of the killing and torturing was done by the army and the right-wing death squads affiliated with it."
In March, the Arab American Institute (AAI) and Zogby International, a polling organisation, release the results of a survey conducted among the populations of five Middle East countries with pro-USA governments and media. The poll asked if it was thought that USA influence in Iraq was positive or negative. Most said negative; for example for heavilly censored Saudi Arabia the figure was 68%, in Egypt it was 83%, Jordan with its large numbers of Palestinian refugees was at 96%.
Al-Jazeera present a report describing conditions for many children in Iraq on the 4th anniversary of the USA led invasion. Many children have lost their families to the violence and are forced to live on the streets during a civil war and occupation, surviving by living in dumps and eating whatever food they can find. According to the report, poverty in Iraq has reached new levels in the last four years. Many children have little or no access to basic necessities, like clean water, health care or education.
4% of all children die before the age of five. 25% (more than three million children) are malnourished and 20% do not go to school.
Sijad Ali is typical - both his parents died when he was 5 years old. He lived on the streets until taken to an orphanage. "The National Guards and the Americans used to beat and arrest me, suspecting I was a terrorist. No matter how much I told them I wasn't. Then I ended up here. It's a comfortable place and we have full rights."
In April, Iraqi troops, supported by USA helicopters, raided a mosque in the middle of old Baghdad. The muazzin (the man who calls from the minaret), Abu Saif and another person were executed in public. Local people attacked the troops. 34 people were killed in the resulting fighting, including women and children. A military statement drafted by the USA forces stated that USA and Iraqi forces were continuing to "locate, identify, and engage and kill insurgents targeting coalition and Iraqi security forces in the area".
The Western media tends only to report attacks on civilians if the USA is not involved. The occupation forces and their collaborators routinely break into homes and arrest people.
According to the International Red Cross, "the number of people arrested or interned by the multinational forces has increased by 40% since early 2006. The number of people held by the Iraqi authorities has also increased significantly."
An artical in the UK newspaper, The Guardian, discusses the little reported treatment of female detainees in a society that is deeply conservative: "Many of the security detainees are women who have been subjected to abuse and rape and who are often arrested as a means to force male relatives to confess to crimes they have not committed. According to the Iraqi MP Mohamed al-Dainey, there are 65 documented cases of women's rape in occupation detention centres in 2006. Four women currently face execution - the death penalty for women was outlawed in Iraq from 1965 until 2004 - for allegedly killing security force members. These are accusations they deny and Amnesty International has challenged". Amnesty International reports that 65 people were executed in Iraq in 2006, a number only exceded by China, Iran and Pakistan.
The Western media continue to report that Iraq is suffering a civil war. A study by the independent US research institute, Brookings, showed that 75% of recorded attacks are against occupation forces, and a further 17% on Iraqi government forces. The remaining 8% are the subject of most news items in the USA and UK. The average number of attacks against the occupation doubled during 2006 to about 185 a day in 2007. That is more than 5,500 a month.
A leaked document explains how the USA attempted to trick one of Iraq's leaders, Muqtada al-Sadr, into a meeting where they would trap and kill him. al-Sadr opposes the USA occupation, the building of military bases, and the Hydrovarbon Law.
In June oil workers strike in Iraq over the Hydrocarbon Law, which gives foreign companies control of the counry's oil for 30 years. This story remains unreported in the Western media. The USA-backed government in Iraq issues arrest warrents for the strike leaders.
The most contentious aspects of the new law are:
In July, Australian Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson, states in an interview that oil is the main reason that Australia has troops in Iraq. This is immediately denied by the Prime Minister.
USA company Blackwater comes under the spotlight after a number of Iraqis are killed. Blackwater have been paid $ 832 million by the USA government to provide "security". In fact they are a privatised mercenary army. They were awarded their contarct in Iraq (and Afghanistan) without having to bid. The 1000 strong private army is not subject to any laws (either USA or Iraqi).
In mid September, at least 28 civilians were killed when members of this private army fired indescriminantly into a feeing crowd of men women and children in central Baghdad. The shots incinerated cars with their occupants still inside - in one a mother and her infant died, their bodies fused together by the heat. One lawyer, Hassan Jabar Salman, was shot four times in the back while his car was riddled with eight bullets: "I saw womwn and children jump out of their cars and start to crawl on the road to escape being shot. But still the firing kept coming and many of them were killed. I saw a boy of about ten leaping in fear from a minibus, he was shot in the head. His mother was crying out for him, she jumped out after him, and she was killed."
The victims included Iraqi police and soldiers. A private attack helicopter was called in which added to the carnage.
A month later a USA Congressional report finds that Blackwater was involved in over 200 shootings between January 2005 and October 2007. In 80% of the incidents, the mercenaries had fired first. In one incident a drunken Blackwater employee shot and killed a bodyguard of an Iraqi vice president. His punishment was to be sacked and returned to the USA. The company paid the man's family $15,000. The USA government later offered the men immunity from prosecution.
Blackwater are one of many companies providing mercenaries in war zones, mainly for the occupying powers. The industry is worth $ 120,000 million world wide. 177 of these companies operate just in Iraq using 48,000 people. Over 800 have been killed between 2003 and 2007 - these deaths are not generally included in casualty figures. Companies include:
In October, a USA airstrike in the Lake Thar Thar region kills 34 people including 15 women and children. The news was covered on the UK BBC television news as a statement from the USA military which essentially blamed the Iraqis themselves for the deaths: "These terrorists chose to deliberately place innocent Iraqi women and children in danger by their actions and presence". This statement ignores that fact the the Iraqi victims were in their own country while the USA military were not.
Days earlier another USA raid on the village of Khalis (a Shia city) killed 25 people.
A group pf ex-soldiers from the USA called Iraq Veterans Against the War publish statements from soldiers who had fought in Iraq condemning the invasion. The interviews were conducted in the magazine, The Nation (30 July 2007). The statements include reasons why they oppose the war:
Russian author, Professor Adel Safty, writes that "the picture that emerges from the interviews is that of a depraved and brutal colonial war and a deeply oppressive occupation, in sharp contrast to how the Bush administration and the influential media have been portraying the war."
He continues: "The veterans� accounts revealed a pattern of behaviour that showed callous disregard for Iraqi civilian lives, and dehumanization of the Iraqi people on a daily basis. 'Dozens of those interviewed,' the report states, 'witnessed Iraqi civilians, including children, dying from American firepower. Some participated in such killings�' Although many interviewees said such acts were perpetrated by a minority, they described such acts as common and often go unreported.
Jeff Englehart from Colorado (USA), who was with the Third Brigade in Baquba admitted: "I guess while I was there the general attitude was, A dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi."
John Bruhns, a Sergent from Philadelphia (USA) fought in Baghdad and Abu Ghraib. He participated in hundreds of raids on Iraqi homes. He describes the process:
"You grab the man of the house. You rip him out of bed in front of his wife. You put him up against the wall. You have junior-level troops� will run into the other rooms and grab the family, and you'll group them all together. Then you go into a room and you tear the room to shreds�and you get the man of the home, and you have him at gunpoint, and you'll ask the interpreter to ask him: 'Do you have any weapons? Do you have any anti-US propaganda�?' Normally they'll say no, because that's normally the truth. And if you find something, then you'll detain him. If not, you'll say, 'Sorry to disturb you. Have a nice evening.' So you've just humiliated this man in front of his entire family and terrorized his entire family and you've destroyed his home. And then you go right next door and you do the same thing in a hundred homes."
Note the question about "Do you have any anti-US propaganda".
Sergent Patrick Campbell (California, USA) "said his unit fired often and without much warning on Iraqi civilians in a desperate bid to ward off attacks."
Many soldiers reported that the killing of unarmed Iraqis was common. Such killings were sometimes justified by framing innocents as terrorists. American troops would plant AK-47s next to the bodies of those they had just killed to make it seem as if the civilians they had just shot were combatants.
This reality of the occupation of Iraq is rarely aired on USA or UK television news.
According to the UK newspaper, Financial Times, the war in Iraq has cost UK tax payers over $ 13,000 million (till 2007). In the USA the cost to the people averages $ 10,000 million every month. Over $ 50,000 million is being spent by the USA every year building between six and twelve large permanent bases from which to control Iraq.
The USA "embassy" in Baghdad will cost around $ 600 million and is due to be completed during 2007. David Phinney, a researcher with CorpWatch says that this "embassy" "may be the most lasting monument to the U.S. occupation in the war-torn nation." The huge walled structure in a prime location in the city is being built by Asian migrants who work long hours earning around $500 a month. It will be a city within a city and have its own water and sewage system separate to the rest of the city. It will, in fact be a colonial headquarters.
Dahr Jamail, an unembedded (i.e. non USA controlled) journalist in Iraq makes a telling point about the large bases being constructed around Iraq (an example is a huge air base at Balad). He writes that these bases are "very similar as far as amenities, and infrastructure of the base, and the size, and the number of people there as you would see in, for example, [permanent] American bases in Germany, American bases in Okinawa, American bases in South Korea, American bases in other parts of the Middle East. [...] these are the same types of bases that are being built in Iraq."
According to Associated Press, the number of bombs dropped on Iraq during the first six months of 2007 increased by five times compared with the same period in 2006. Over 30 tonnes were cluster weapons, which take a heavy toll on civilians. F-16 airctaft were moved into Balad air base near Baghdad. This base conducts 10,000 air operations a week. Work is underway to strengthen its runways to handle the increase in air activity.
Improving the runways has allowed the USA Air Force to move B1-B bombers from Diego Garcia (an island in the Indian Ocean) to Balad. These large aircraft carry out daily strikes. A B1-B can carry over 20 tonness of bombs.
A study of "excess deaths" caused by the Iraq-USA war by the UK medical journal Lancet found that air attacks were responsible for 13% of deaths of Iraqis. This figure was 76,000 in June 2006. It also found that that 50% of deaths of children under 15 were caused by air strikes.
In October, 49 people are killed by USA forces in the Sadr City suburb of Baghdad. Victims of the USA, normally labelled as "militants", are labelled as "criminals". Many of the dead were killed when USA forces called in air strikes in the middle of a city. The Reuters news agency reported an interview with Abdul-Mehdi al-Muteyri: "Most of those killed and wounded were women, children and elderly men which shows the indiscriminate monstrosity of the attacks on this crowded area."
A statement by the USA military denied that women and children had died: "Ground forces reported they were unaware of any innocent civilians being killed as a result of this operation." This statement fails to explain why the USA has the right to accuse, try and execute Iraqis in their own country.
Results of a study by UK polling group ORB are published but not widely publicised. The report states that over a million Iraqis (1,220,580) had died between 2003 and late 2007 as a result of the USA-led invasion and occupation. This is more than the Rwanda genocide.
The following breakdown of the cause of death was found:
|Cause of Death||Percentage|
|Other blast / ordnance||6%|
The USA newspaper, Washington Post, publishes a report that USA soldiers use a secret tactic of leaving weapons as bait and shooting or arresting anyone who picks them up. Anyone killed is then labelled an "enemy combatant" and used to proclaim success of USA military policy. The statement by Captain Matthew Didier was typical: "Basically we would put an item out there and watch it. If someone found the item, picked it up and attempted to leave with the item, we would engage the individual as I saw this as a sign they would use the item against the US forces". "Engage the individual" is a military euphamism.
A USA television programme called 60 Minutes interviews Frank Wuterich, a staff sergent in the USA army who was the patrol leader in the massacre of 24 civilians in Haditha in 2005. In the interview he describes how he was trained to break down the front door of a house and "prep" the inside rooms by opening the door a crack and rolling a grenade inside. The interviewer, Scott Pelley, asked "But when you roll a grenade in a room through the crack in the door, that�s not positive identification, that�s taking a chance on anything that could be behind that door." Wuterich answered: "Well that�s what we do. That�s how our training goes."
In December, Turkey bombs Kurdish areas in Northern Iraq killing hundreds of people. The attacks are supported by the USA and are little reported in the Western media. In 2007, the USA has made 1447 air bombing raids over Iraq. No casualty figures have been published.
The USA begin 2008 with B-1 bombers and F-16 fighter jets dropping more than 18,000kg of bombs on more than 40 targets in the southern outskirts of Baghdad close to the village of Arab Jabour.
Many civilians are killed and over 300 families leave their homes. Many people are trapped in rubble and the injured are unable to reach hospitals because of the damage to the road. The media in the USA and UK ignore the story.
In Fallujah, a city attacked by the USA and sealed off from November 2004, hospitals are lacking basic necessities like drugs, fuel, electricity, generators, water treatment systems, oxygen and medical equipment. According to Dr Kamal 20 children die in his hospital every day. At the same time, the USA State Department has funded and built the Fallujah Business Development Centre (guarded by USA soldiers) and set up a pro-USA radio station, Radio Fallujah.In April USA Senators and Representatives discuss whether Iraq should pay towards the cost of USA "combat costs".
KryssTal Opinion: The invaded country should pay the invader's costs - what next?
Some of the consequences of the USA invasion and occupation of Iraq (from United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq and Save the Children):
As USA writer Kathy Kelly puts it: "In the past year, U.S. aerial bombardments of Iraqi neighborhoods increased five fold while the number of Iraqis incarcerated in U.S. prisons in Iraq has doubled. (Some 24,000 Iraqis are now imprisoned by USA forces, approximately 650 of whom are juveniles). If a foreign country were bombing U.S. cities and imprisoning U.S. civilians, would we ever agree to pay the invaders' military expenses? Would we agree that the aggressor nation had no fiscal responsibilities to pay for reparations?" Arms are captured from Shias in the Iraqi city of Kerbala. The USA accused Iran of supplying these arms and of "interfering" in Iraq. A USA arms expert, Kevin Bergner, is unable to link any of the weapons with Iran. After publishing and broadcasting every USA allegation against Iran, the Western media ignore this development.
The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (Stuart Bowen) publishes an audit of "reconstruction projects" in Iraq. The audit found that 855 projects had failed. Of these, 112 were ended because of the contractors' poor performance. The result of these failures is that USA tax payers have lost $ 10,000 million.
A report is leaked to the UK newspaper, The Independent, of a treaty being secretely forced on Iraq by the USA. The "treaty" allows the USA to keep 58 permanent military basis in Iraq, control Iraqi airspace, conduct military operations without consulting the Iraq government, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law for its military personnel plus contracters. These conditions would effectively turn Iraq into a USA colony.
The USA has been building 30 basis in Iraq, some the size of small cities, a news item that is rarely discussed in the USA or UK media. The USA has similar arrangements with more than 80 countries, many with undemocratic governemnts. These agreemenmts are rarely discussed by these countries.
In the USA, a book is published: Winter Soldier Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupation (Haymarket Books). This book features eye-witness accounts by soldiers who have returned from Iraq. The book includes accounts of ill-treatment and attrocities committed against the Iraqi people:
Corporal Jason Washburn (Marines): "I remember one woman walking by. She was carrying a huge bag, and she looked like she was heading toward us, so we lit her up with the Mark 19, which is an automatic grenade launcher, and when the dust settled, we realised that the bag was full of groceries. She had been trying to bring us food and we blew her to pieces."
"Something else we were encouraged to do, almost with a wink and nudge, was to carry 'drop weapons', or by my third tour, 'drop shovels'. We would carry these weapons or shovels with us because if we accidentally shot a civilian, we could just toss the weapon on the body, and make them look like an insurgent."
Hart Viges (Army): "One time they said to fire on all taxicabs because the enemy was using them for transportation...One of the snipers replied back, 'Excuse me? Did I hear that right? Fire on all taxicabs?' The lieutenant colonel responded, 'You heard me, trooper, fire on all taxicabs.' After that, the town lit up, with all the units ?ring on cars. This was my first experience with war, and that kind of set the tone for the rest of the deployment."
Vincent Emanuele (Marine rifleman): "An act that took place quite often in Iraq was taking pot shots at cars that drove by. This was not an isolated incident, and it took place for most of our eight-month deployment."
Corporal Brian Casler (Marines): "...I saw marines defecate into MRE bags or urinate in bottles and throw them at children on the side of the road."
The book and its contents is completely ignored by both the USA and UK media.
The USA continues to push a treaty with the "government of Iraq" that will allow the USA large amounts of control over the sovereignty of Iraq. The main points of the treaty include:
A slightly watered down version of the treaty is signed by the Iraq government in November.
Reports are published about United Kingdom military personnel torturing and sexually abusing detainees in Iraq. The reports include a case of two soldiers raping an 18 year old youth.
The USA legal system dismisses cases against six USA mercenaries working for USA company Blackwater who killed 17 Iraqis in 2007. One of the men had already admitted to the killings.
The District Judge, Ricardo Urbina, said the USA justice department had used evidence prosecutors were "not supposed to have". The Iraqi human rights minister, Wejdan Mikhail, said she was "astonished" by the move. She told the AFP news agency:
"There was so much work done to prosecute these people and to take this case into court and I don't understand why the judge took this decision."
The killings took place in Nisoor Square, Baghdad and raised questions about USA contractors operating in war zones. A man whose son died in the incident said he was surprised to hear the guards had been acquitted. He told the Reuters newsagency:
"But what can we do? We cannot do anything with the US government and their law".
According to a report in the UK newspaper, The Independent, evidence emerged that British military intelligence ran a secret operation in Iraq which authorised degrading and unlawful treatment of prisoners. The documents revealed that prisoners were kept hooded for long periods in intense heat and deprived of sleep by defence intelligence officers. The officers running the operation claimed to be answerable only "directly to London".
The documents emerged during an enquiry into the death of an Iraqi hotel worker, Baha Mousa, beaten to death while in the custody of UK troops in September 2003. The inquiry looked into how interrogation techniques banned by the UK government in 1972, as they were considered torture and degrading treatment, were used again in Iraq.
The special unit was called the Joint Forward Interrogation Team (JFIT). It operated in Iraq and used illegal "coercive techniques" (translation "torture") and was not answerable to military commanders in Iraq itself, despite official denials of its existance.
In April a video is leaked showing a USA Apache helicopter in Baghdad in 2007 repeatedly firing on a group of men including a Reuters photographer and his driver and on a van that stopped to rescue one of the wounded men.
The men were standing on a street corner. The Reuters photographer, Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, was killed along with his driver. The van driver was also killed and his two children were seriously injured. In the video, which Reuters has been requesting since 2007, the helicopter crew are heard celebrating their kills:
"Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards" says one crewman as bodies litter the street. One crewman asks permission to open fire on the van and its occupants, even though it has done nothing but stop to help the wounded: "Come on, let us shoot!"
The video shows soldiers finding injured children and a crewman says "Well, it's their fault bringing their kids to a battle."
The USA originally described the victims as "nine insurgents and two civilians".
Dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by USA Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped in Japan in 1945, according to a new study. The study was conducted by Dr Chris Busby, a visiting professor at the University of Ulster.
The survey showed a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s. Infant mortality in the city is more than four times higher than in neighbouring Jordan and eight times higher than in Kuwait.
The researchers were initially regarded with suspicion by locals, particularly after a Baghdad television station broadcast a report saying a survey was being carried out by terrorists and anybody conducting it or answering questions would be arrested. Those organising the survey subsequently arranged to be accompanied by a person of standing in the community to allay suspicions.
In October nearly 400,000 classified military documents about the war in Iraq are leaked. Some of the details revealed:
In the UK, the television station Al Jazeera covered the contents of the leaked documents for 30 minutes. The BBC showed a USA spokesperson condemning the leaks. The United Nations calls on the USA president, Barak Obama, to investigate human rights abuses in Iraq.
Police in Iraq shoot on demonstrators in Basra and arrest journalists filming the protests.