The Acts of the Democracies

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Topic : Invasion

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Generated : 25th February 2017


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1956

UK, France and Israel in Egypt (The Suez Crisis)

In Egypt, President Nasser nationalises the Suez Canal then owned by a joint UK-French company. The canal had been built while Egypt was a colony of the UK.

The UK, France and USA impose economic sanctions on Egypt. Israel invades Egypt taking the Gaza Strip. This is supported by the UK and France, who bomb Egypt from the air.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces massacre 275 people in a refugee camp at Khan Younis. Another 60 people die in Gaza City after the city centre is shelled.

All of the invaders are eventually forced to withdraw by United Nations pressure after 18,000 Egyptians had died. The USA becomes the dominant power in the Middle East after this time and proposes international control of the canal.


1958

USA and Lebanon

The USA sends 14,000 troops to put down anti-Western dissidents in Lebanon. The USA CIA had funded the election campaign of Camille Chamoun and had targeted opponents to American influence in the country.


1961

Cuba (Bay of Pigs)

A secret invasion of Cuba to remove Castro by USA backed forces fails. The invasion, called The Bay of Pigs, had been approved by the USA president John Kennedy.


1963

Coup in Dominican Republic

The democratically elected government of the Dominican Republic is removed by a military coup.

Juan Bosch had become the first democratically elected president of the country since 1924. His program included land reform, affordable housing, the avoidance of exploitative foreign investment, civil liberties, and nationalisation.

After the coup, USA marines are sent in to look after American business interests and support the new regime.


1965

USA and Dominican Republic

The USA sends 23,000 troops to the Dominican Republic to keep the previously elected president Juan Bosch from returning to power.

Falling sugar prices had led to a popular uprising against the USA-backed military dictatorship. More than 4,000 Dominicans are killed. The USA newspaper New York Times admits that Dominicans were "fighting and dying for social justice and constitutionalism."


1967

War Between Israel, Syria and Egypt (The 6 Day War)

After a build up of tension in the region, Israel attacks its Arab neighbours. It occupies the Gaza Strip and the Sinai from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria.

Israel between 1948 and 1967
Israel (in yellow) between 1948 and 1967. Gaza is under Egyptian control while the West Bank is under Jordanian control.

More Palestinians become refugees, some for the second time in less than 20 years. The Sinai is eventually returned to Egypt but the other regions remain under Israeli occupation. 2,000,000 Palestinians live under occupation with no voting rights while another 2,000,000 are refugees in neighbouring countries.

In East Jeruselem, dozens of Palestinian houses are demolished in front of the Western Wall of the ancient Jewish Temple creating an open space. More than 5,500 Arab inhabitance are forced out of the city. Little or no compensation is paid.

Several West Bank villages are destroyed by the military and their populations expelled. These include Imwas, Yalu, Bayt Nuba, Bayt Marsam, Bayt Awa, Habla, al-Burj, Jiftlik. Over 430,000 Palestinians are forced to leave their homes. Any that attempt to return are shot, regardless of age or gender.

In the Golan Heights, the Israelis destroy 244 villages out of 249 and expel 147,000 people.

According to figures published by the United Nations, between 1967 and the end of 1969, over 7,500 Palestinian homes would be destroyed by Israeli forces. By 1971 this figure would rise to more than 16,000.

The occupied territories are put under Israeli military administration. This includes restrictions on movement and rights of residence, arrest without trial, torture, collective punishments, discrimination, theft of natural resources, house demolitions and destruction of agricultural plants (like olive or citrus trees), deportations and curfews. Israel has cited security needs for these measures. The USA writer, Noam Chomsky, suggest a more sinister motive, quoting official Israeli government records. In these, the Israeli Defence Minister, Moyshe Dayan, instructs his ministers to inform residents of the occupied territories "we have no solution, that you shall continue to live like dogs, whoever wants to can leave". He concludes that "In five years we may have 200,000 less people - and that is a matter of enormous importance".

Within a month of the war, the Israelis begin building settlements (colonies) on the occupied land in violation of the Geneva Convention and several United Nations resolutions, which have consistently declared the settlements illegal. Any resistance is crushed ruthlessly and labelled as terrorism. In the Golan Heights alone, 42 Jewish settlements are built housing 18,000 Israelis. In the West Bank, the settlements break up Arab communities as agricultural land is stolen for their construction.

During the war, the USS Liberty, an unarmed USA spy ship is attacked by Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats off the coast of Egypt. 34 USA sailors are killed. Other USA naval ships based in the Mediteranean assume that Egypt was the attacker and send out nuclear capable warplanes to attack Cairo. These are called back by the USA leadership at the last moment. The story is then buried - for example it appears on page 29 of the USA newspaper, the New York Times. The Israelis apologise, saying the attack was an accident.

The surviving crew members are told not to discuss the incident on pain of court-martial. Their medals are awarded without publicity; the citations failing to mention Israel. The crew are separated by being given different postings.

30 years later, a USA-Israeli plot is exposed. The idea was to attack a USA ship, blame the Egyptians and use the incident as an excuse to invade Egypt and depose the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat. The plan, Operation Cyanide, had been discussed two months before the war by a secret organisation called the 303 Committee.

Israel since 1967
In 1967 Israel occupies Gaza (from Egypt), the West Bank and East Jerusalem (from Jordan) and the Golan Heights (from Syria). The Golan was never part of the original United Nations Partition Plan.

Israel has since maintained that the country went to war because of the threat of an imminent attack from Egypt after Egyptian president Abdul Nasser moved troops into the Sinai Peninsula. Yitzak Rabin (a later Prime Minister of Israel) is quoted in the French newspaper, La Monde (29 February 1968): "I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions that he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it." In 1982, Menachem Begin (another prime Minister of Israel) made a speech in which he stated that "The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."

Israel has also maintained that the war was necessary because the combined power of the Arab states was a threat to Israel's existence. A month before the war, the USA CIA produced a report that supported a conclusion reached by the UK MI6: Israel would win a war with one or all of the Arab states, whoever attacked first, within a week. In 1972, General Mattityahu Peled (a military planner for the 1967 war) wrote in the Israeli newspaper, Ma'ariv that: "There is no reason to hide the fact that since 1949 no one dared, or more precisely, no one was able to threaten the existence of Israel". He concluded "To claim that the Egyptian forces concentrated on our borders were capable of threatening Israel's existence not only insults the intelligence of anyone capable of analysing this kind of situation, but is an insult to [the Israeli army]."


1969

Indonesia and West Papua

With the collusion of the United Nations, Indonesia annexes West Papua, renaming it as Irian Jaya. Indonesia encourages migrants from other parts of the country to colonise the area which has a diverse and unique culture and peoples. Any resistance is brutally crushed.

West Papua has a copper mining industry worth $1,400 million per year which is part owned by UK company Rio Tinto Zinc. The company is responsible for pollution and the dispossession of local communities.


1970

Cambodia

USA and South Vietnamese troops invade Cambodia. The King, Norodom Sihanouk, is deposed in a USA-backed coup by Lol Nol.

The King had refused USA requests to participate in the Vietnam-USA War. The new leader immediately commits troops to this conflict. This unpopular policy strengthens minor movements like the Khmer Rouge, who would eventually become powerful enough to cause chaos in the country.

Israel, Egypt and the Palestinians

Jordan attacks and destroys Palestinian bases. Israel and the USA prepare to intervene on side of Jordan if Syria backs the Palestinians.

Israel bombs Cairo (Egypt) causing many civilian casualties, including 30 school children.

Israel and Jordan are both supported and armed by the West.

Oman

The USA helps and directs a secret invasion of Oman by Iran.


1971

Israel in Gaza

Under the name "Pacification of Gaza", Israel, under Ariel Sharon, imposes a brutal policy of repression on the Gaza Strip, blowing up houses, bulldozing large tracts of refugee camps, imposing severe collective punishments and imprisoning hundreds of young Palestinians. Numerous civilians are killed or unjustly imprisoned, their houses demolished. The whole area is effectively transformed into a prison or ghetto.

Laos

Troops from the USA backed South Vietnam invade Laos.


1974

Turkey in Cyprus

Greece attempts to unite itself with Cyprus, which has a majority of Greeks and a minority of Turks. Turkey invades and divides the island.

37% of the country is occupied with 40,000 troops stationed on the island. Eventually 120.000 Turkish settlers ("colonists") would move to the north of the island.

Both Greece and Turkey are NATO members so little is said. The UK, one of the three guarantors of Cypriot independence, has bases on the island but does nothing.

Israel and the Palestinians

Israel attacks Palestinian refugee camps.


1975

Indonesia and East Timor

East Timor gains its independence from Portugal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israel and Lebanon

In Kawnin, Lebanon, an Israeli tank runs over a car carrying 16 people who are all killed.

Western Sahara

Morocco invades the Western Sahara. Although the International Court of Justice rules that Morocco has no historical claims to the territory, the USA backs the country diplomatically and financially in the war to annex the area. In return, the USA is allowed emergency bases for planes.

The Moroccan ruler, King Hassan ll, lives in extreme luxury with 7 palaces, 260 horses, camels, ostriches, zebras, 1000 head of cattle, a 1500 acre dairy farm, and 2 harems. In contrast, 95% of the population lives in abject poverty. Members of the opposition are arrested and tortured.


1978

Israel and Lebanon

Israel invades Lebanon to remove PLO bases. Over 700 Palestinians and Lebanese are killed.

At Abbasieh, the mosque is shelled killing 80 people who had taken shelter inside; at Adloun, Israeli soldiers shoot at a car killing 7 people

The United Nations forces Israel to withdraw. Instead of handing control to the United Nations forces sent to the region, Israel gives control to Christian militias which it controls.

The USA vetoes three United Nations resolutions. The first urging the permanent members (USA, USSR, UK, France, China) to insure United Nations decisions on the maintenance of international peace and security. The actual vote is 119 to 2 (Israel also voted against).

The second criticising the living conditions of the Palestinians (110 to 2). The third condemning the Israeli human rights record in occupied territories (97 to 3).


1981

Southern Africa

South Africa attacks dissidents in Angola. A major invasion of the southern part of the country occurs. 11,000 men and several battalions of tanks and armored cars are deployed in Cunene province. Over 80,000 people become refugees.

South African commandos raid Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. They begin to create, arm and deploy special military units in Mozambique to attack roads, railways, bridges and other economic targets, as well as to terrorise in rural areas.

South African agents carry out sabotage and assassinations in Zimbabwe.

South Africa (with help from the USA's CIA) attempts to mount a coup against President Kaunda in Zambia. The CIA director, William Casey flies secretly to Lusaka and threatens sanctions against Zambia if the role of the CIA is exposed.

In addition to these military activities, South Africa begins a full scale economic war against Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

After being elected to the USA presidency, Ronald Reagan states that closer relations with South Africa are a means "to counter Soviet influence in southern Africa". Arms and money are passed by the USA's CIA to groups supported by South Africa in the region.

The USA blocks the implementation of the United Nations plan for a settlement in Namibia, currently under South African rule. It does this by unilaterally linking the Namibian issue with Angola. While the USA continues to state its support for the United Nations plan, the USA Secretary of State, Al Haig, informs the South African Foreign Minister "that the United States would not press South Africa to settle the Namibian question unless Cuban troops were withdrawn from Angola."

The USA vetoes seven United Nations resolutions condemning the actions of South Africa, condemning apartheid and attempting to strengthen sanctions. These votes are 145 to 1, 124 to 1, 136 to 1, 129 to 2 (with UK), 126 to 2 (with UK), 139 to 1, and 138 to 1.


1982

Israel Invades Lebanon

On 6 June, Israel forces invade Lebanon.

According to G H Jansen, correspondent to the UK magazine, The Economist, Israeli forces would surround a town or city "so swiftly that civilian inhabitants were trapped inside and then to pound them from land, sea and air." Robert Fisk, journalist for the UK newspaper, The Independent, observes that the Israelis bombard residential areas with "50 shells at a time.. slaughtering everyone within a 500 yard [460m] radius of the explosions".

During the invasion, over 17,500 people are killed, many of them Lebanese civilians. Beruit is placed under a two month siege, in an attempt to evict Palestinians. The city is attacked with hundreds of cluster bombs (which shred flesh), phosphorus bombs (which are designed to create fires and produce untreatable burns on flesh) and vacuum bombs (which ignite aviation fuel, creating such pressure that buildings implode).

An entire apartment building in Beirut is destroyed by Israeli aircraft in an attempt to kill Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian leaders. More than 100 people are killed but the Palestinian leadership had left.

The embassy of the USSR is seized for two days in violation of diplomatic rules. A hospital is bombed killing hundreds of patients. Eight of the nine orphanages in Beirut are destroyed by cluster and phosphorus bombs despite being clearly marked and despite Israeli assurances that they would be spared according to a report by Elain Carey writing in the USA magazine, Christian Science Monitor (4 August 1982).

Chris Giannou, a Canadian surgeon working in a Palestinian hospital testified to the USA Congress that he witnessed "total, utter devastation of residential areas, and the blind, savage indiscriminate destruction of refugee camps by simultaneous shelling and carpet bombing from aircraft, gunboats, tanks and artillery".

The city of Sidon is bombed killing over 2,000 civilians. According to Olof Rydbeck of the United Nations Refugee Agency, 32 years work had been destroyed with virtually all schools and clinics for the refugees "wiped out".

Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners are executed by the Israelis and secretly buried in Sidon. Torture is used including severe beatings, attacks by dogs on leashes, the use of air rifles (intense pain but not usually fatal), humiliation and allowing prisoners to go thirsty. Similar techniques would be used by the USA on Iraqi prisoners in 2004.

Palestinian leaders are eventually forced to leave, escorted out of Beirut by USA troops to Tunis (in Tunisia). The USA envoy, Philip Habib, promises that the Palestinian civilians left behind would be protected by the international community and Israeli forces would not be allowed to enter Beirut.

A few days later, the Phalangists (a Lebanese Christian militia) massacre over 2,750 Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila (in the suburbs of Beirut). Most of the victims are women, old men and children. Many girls (as young as 6) and women are raped by soldiers. During the three day massacre, Israeli troops look on and assist by sealing the camp perimeters and illuminating the camps at night. Bulldozers (supplied by the Israelis) are used to dig mass graves for bodies. A number of houses are also bulldozed to cover up the bodies of the victims.

One of the first journalists to enter the camps writes:

"The corpses of the Palestinians had been thrown among the rubble that remained of the Shatila camp. It was impossible to know exactly how many victims there were, but there had to be more than 1,000 dead. Some of the men who had been executed had been lined up in front of a wall, and bulldozers had been used in an attempt to bury the bodies and cover up the aftermath of the massacre. But the hands and feet of the victims protruded from the debris."

Another journalist (Loren Jenkins) from the USA's Washington Post describes the scene at the camps:

"The scene at the Chatila camp when foreign observers entered Saturday morning was like a nightmare. Women wailed over the deaths of loved ones, bodies began to swell under the hot sun, and the streets were littered with thousands of spent cartridges. Houses had been dynamited and bulldozed into rubble, many with the inhabitants still inside. Groups of bodies lay before bullet-pocked walls where they appeared to have been executed. Others were strewn in alleys and streets, apparently shot as they tried to escape. Each little dirt alley through the deserted buildings, where Palestinians have lived since fleeing Palestine when Israel was created in 1948, told its own horror story."

Two American journalists, Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone, later give this account to an international enquiry:

"When we entered Sabra and Chatila on Saturday, September 18, 1982, the final day of the killing, we saw bodies everywhere. We photographed victims that had been mutilated with axes and knives. Only a few of the people we photographed had been machine-gunned. Others had their heads smashed, their eyes removed, their throats cut, skin was stripped from their bodies, limbs were severed, some people were eviscerated. The terrorists also found time to plunder Palestinian property as well as books, manuscripts and other cultural material from the Palestinian Research Center in Beirut."

A 13 year old Palestinian girl who survived relates her story to a Lebanese officer:

"We stayed in the shelter until really late on Thursday night, but then I decided to leave with my girl friend because we couldn't breathe anymore. Then all of a sudden we saw people raising white flags and handkerchiefs and coming toward the kata'ib saying, 'We're for peace and harmony.' And they killed them right then and there. The women were screaming, moaning and begging [for mercy]. As for me, I ran back to our house and got into the bathtub. I saw them leading our neighbors away and shooting them. I tried to stand up at the window to look outside, but one of the kata'ib fighters saw me and shot at me. So I went back to the bathtub and stayed there for five hours. When I came out, they grabbed me and threw me down with everybody else. One of them asked me if I was Palestinian, and I said yes. My nine-month-old nephew was beside me, and he was crying and screaming so much that one of the men got angry, so he shot him. I burst into tears and told him that this baby had been all the family I had left. That made him all the more angry, and he took the baby and tore him in two."

In 2001, evidence would be unearthed that many survivors of the original massacre are taken away by Israeli troops to a football (soccer) stadium. Many are executed and buried in the tunnels under the pitch. The stadium would later be rebuilt.

The United Nations General Assembly condemns the massacre and declares it to be an act of genocide. The vote is 147 to 2 (Israel and the USA). The world condemns Israel and 400,000 of its own citizens join a Peace Now demonstration in Tel Aviv.

For the Arab world, the words Sabra and Chatila resonate all the injustices of this conflict. Israel, on the other hand, continues to receive massive military and financial aid from the USA as well as political and media support. In 2002, the anniversary of a terrorist attack on New York is marked in the UK with 2 minute silences in offices and work places as well as television programs about the victims. Less than a week later the 20th anniversary of the Sabra-Chatila Massacre is completely ignored by the West's media, as is the entire invasion.

Between 1982 and 1983, six separate United Nations resolutions condemning the Israeli invasion of Lebanon are vetoed by the USA. In addition, the USA refuses to invoke its own laws prohibiting Israeli use of American weapons except in self-defense.

According to Mordechai Bar-on, an education officer in the Israeli military, the aim of the invasion was "to deal a crushing blow to the national aspirations of the Palestinians and to their very existence as a nation endevouring to define itself and gain the right to self-determination".

Sabra and Chatila
Sabra and Chatila
Sabra and Chatila
Sabra and Chatila

Sabra and Chatila
Sabra and Chatila
The Sabra and Chatila massacre of Palestinians in Lebanon by militia allied and supported by Israel. The military incursion into Lebanon was planned and led by Ariel Sharon. USA vetoed six separate United Nations resolutions between 1982 and 1983 condemning Israel's invasion of Lebanon. In 2002 the USA referred to Ariel Sharon as "a man of peace".


1983

USA and Grenada

USA troops invade Grenada to remove the leader, Maurice Bishop, and to replace him with a pro-USA government. During the invasion, nearly 500 people are killed, including 85 construction workers from Cuba.

Although, Grenada is a member of the British Commonwealth and the UK Queen is the head of state, the UK government is not informed of the invasion and does not comment.

The invasion makes the island a "haven for offshore banks", according to the USA newspaper, Wall Street Journal.

Reporters are banned from Grenada. Those who attempt to land on the island are arrested and imprisoned on USA ships offshore. This happens to Morris Thompson of the magazine, Newsday.


1989

USA and Panama

The USA invades Panama to capture Manuel Noriega, the former USA backed president whom they accuse of drug trafficking. Over 4000 Panamanians are killed in the operation with unknown numbers buried in mass graves or incinerated. Of the invaders, 23 Americans die. The USA, UK and France veto a United Nations resolution condemning the invasion.

During the invasion, residential areas are attacked by helicopters. A tank destroys a bus killing 26 people. Houses are burnt and buldozed. Over 15,000 people lose their homes. Troops shoot at ambulances killing many wounded. Access to the Red Cross is denied by the USA military.

The village of Pacora is sprayed with a gas that causes peoples' skin to burn and gives the villagers diarrhea.

Political offices, newspaper offices and radio stations are searched and looted; opposition and union leaders are detained. The office of the Panamanian publishing company ERSA (which owns three newspapers) are occupied by USA security forces who turn it over to a member of the ruling elite who had favoured USA intervention in Panama. The editor of the newspaper La Republica, which had opposed USA intervention and had reported casualty figures, is arrested by the USA military, held for six weeks and imprisoned without trial or charge.

Staff from the Embassy of Cuba are detained. Loud music is blared at the Embassy of the Vatican City after Noriega takes refuge there.

The residence of the ambassador of Nicaragua is ransacked by USA troops in violation of the Geneva Convention. The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning the violation of diplomatic privilege; the UK abstains. This was not reported in the USA media.

Noriega is eventually arrested and imprisoned in the USA after having worked for the CIA since the early 1950s. He had spied on fellow students, instructors and officers at the Military Acadamy for the CIA and had monitored union activity against the USA company United Fruit. During the 1980s he had been receiving $ 200,000 per year from the USA for his activities.

The Panamanian military is put under the leadership of Colonel Eduardo Herrera Hassan. The USA newspaper, The New York Times writes that Hassan "most energetically shot, gassed, beat and tortured civilian protestors during the wave of demonstrations against Gereral Noriega that erupted [in Panama] in the summer of 1987" but is "a favorite of the American and diplomatic establishment here."

Money laundering and drug trafficking continues in the new regime with USA soldiers implicated.

The news agency, Associated Press, reports that the USA Congress passes a resolution (389-26) "commending [President George] Bush for his handling of the invasion and expressing sadness over the loss of 23 American lives".

Little mention is made of Panama's civilian casualties in the USA media and no compensation has ever been paid to the thousands of homeless living in refugee camps. The poor neighbourhood of El Chorillo, flattened by the USA action, is to be redeveloped into a posh area as business opponents of Noriega had long desired.

All foreign media is banned by the USA during the invasion.

The USA president, George Bush, is asked if the capture of Noriega was worth the death toll: "I have to answer, yes, it has been worth it".

The USA author Noam Chomsky later writes:

"A few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the USA invaded Panama, killing hundreds or thousands of people, vetoing two [United Nations] Security Council resolutions, and kidnapping a thug who was jailed in the USA for crimes that he had mostly committed while on the CIA payroll before committing the only one that mattered: disobedience. The pattern of events was familiar enough, but there were some differences. One was pointed out by Elliott Abrams, who pleaded guilty to crimes committed when he was a State Department official during the Reagan years, and has now been appointed Human Rights specialist at the [USA] National Security Council. At the time of the invasion, he commented, astutely, that for the first time in many years the USA could resort to force with no concern about Russian reactions. There were also new pretexts: the intervention was in defense against Hispanic narcotraffickers, not the Russians who were mobilizing in Managua, two days march from Harlingen, Texas."

Elliot Abrams observed that "[USA President] Bush probably is going to be increasingly willing to use force [now that] developments in Moscow have lessened the prospect for a small operation to escalate into a superpower conflict".


1991

Iraq, Kuwait and the "First Gulf War"

The USA and UK (with token forces from other countries) invade Iraq after it had brutally invaded Kuwait. The United Nations Security Council is debating whether to authorise the attack on Iraq when it commences.

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.

Depleted Uranium
Depleted Uranium

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).

Turkey Shoot 1
Turkey Shoot 2
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.

Costs of 1991 Gulf War


1992

USA and Somalia

After entering Somalia for "humanitarian reasons", USA helicopters fire on a crowd including women and children killing over 200 people. According to a CIA estimate, in the entire operation (called "Operation Restore Hope") at least 7,000 people are killed by USA forces.

A newspaper in the USA, the Sunday New York Times has a headline declaring: "Colonialism's back -- and not a moment too soon." (18 April).

The article, written by Paul Johnson, charges that "some countries are just not fit to govern themselves," and argues that the poorest nations of the southern hemisphere should be forced to submit to formal "recolonisation" for a period of about 50 to 100 years. Johnson, who refers to developing countries as the "third world" and to industrialised nations as "the civilised powers," is writing about the USA military presence in Somalia - something which numerous other writers have compared to a return of formal colonisation.

Alex de Wall and Rakiya Omaar of African Rights in London (UK), are among them: "'Operation Restore Hope' represents an important strategic precedent for the way in which the USA, and to a lesser extent the European countries, use the United Nations to have their way with the world," the two human rights activists write the Spring 1993 edition of Covert Action Information Bulletin, a publication by opponents of underhanded actions against people in the Southern Hemisphere. They continue:

"Limits placed on Western access are warded off with charges of narcotics trade, international terrorism, and nuclear and chemical weapon proliferation. The potential disruption posed by unstable nations with no powerful central government is more problematic. In this context, philanthropic imperialism, spearheaded by ostensibly independent human aid agencies, can play an important strategic role. It can legitimise intervention taken for wholly different motives, for example, to win human rights credentials back home for electoral purposes, to safeguard military budgets, or to act against a perceived threat of Islamic fundamentalism. All these motives figures in the case of 'Operation Restore Hope.' Above all, Somalia was an easy and timely test for this new weapon in the arsenal of international control."


1994

USA and Haiti

The reforming priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide had won the 1991 election in Haiti only to be removed by a coup. On his return to power, USA troops arrive to participate in the change of government and to look after American business interests.

The Western media's reports of the invasion talk of Haiti "festering in America's backyard" and that the USA had "brought democracy" to Haiti. No mention is made of USA involvement in the country's dictatorships since 1849.

The USA historian, Amy Wilentz explains:

"[The invasion] achieves two strategic [American] goals - one, a restructured and dependent agriculture that exports to [USA] markets and is open to American exploitation, and the other, a displaced rural population that not only can be employed in offshore [USA] industries and towns, but is more susceptible to army control."

General Raoul Cedras is flown by the USA to exile. Several generals involved in torture and killing end up living in the USA. General Prosper Avril (tortured opponents and displayed the victims on television) retires to Florida. Colonel Carl Dorelian (responsible for the deaths of 5000 people and numerous kidnappings, rapes and torture) also retires to Florida. Emmanuel Constant (leader of a paramilitary group responsible for murders, torture, public beatings, arson raids, machete attacks) moves to New York; the USA government refuses to extradite Constant to Haiti.

While in Haiti, the USA military remove 160,000 documents, audio and video tapes. The USA refuses to return the material despite requests by the government of Haiti, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.


2003

USA-UK War in Iraq

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2003: Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2003: Reuters

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

Bombed House
Bomb damage in residential district of Baghdad.


© 2003: Reuters

USA and UK media choose their language of war carefully:

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

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

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

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

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

UK journalist Robert Fisk describes the aftermath:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

© 2003: Reuters and Los Angeles Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2003: Reuters and Los Angeles Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saddam Statue
Baghdadis pulling down a statue of Saddam Husein.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2003: Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2007

Invasion of Somalia

Ethiopia invades Somalia. The USA has warships patrolling off the coast of the country and directs operations. The USA backs the invasion in an attempt to ensure a pro-USA regime. The previous month, the United Nations had passed a resolution (1725) calling for a military force from the African Union. The countries that agreed the resolution insisted that no country sharing a border with Somalia would be involved. The USA agreed to this in order to get the resoltion (which they sponsored) passed and then ignored it by allowing Ethiopia to invade.

The West backs a "transitional government" run by Ali Mohammad Gedi which is not popular in Somalia as he is a war lord. The country had been relatively peaceful since June 2005 under a popular government called The Union of Islamic Courts who had pushed the previous USA backed governemnt out. They had ruled Somalia under the following principles: The independence of Somalia, freedom from warlord terror, justice, and respect for the Muslim faith. During their brief rule they had begun to restore property looted by the previous regime.

The UK supports the invasion and declares that members of the Islamic government should not be in power.

10,000 people are displaced by the fighting. Looting by war-lord led militias occurs in the capital, Mogadishu. Banditry by the militias begins again - it had been stopped by the previous government. The new "government" imposes martial law which is enforced by Ethiopian troops. Public meetings and gatherings are banned.

A few days later, USA forces bomb the south of the country in a series of air strikes using AC-130 gunships. These contain huge machine guns that fire 3000 rounds per minute. Over 150 Somalis are killed, including a group of 70 nomads in their night camp at Afmadow. Dozens of people were killed and over 100 are injured in an air raid in the fishing village of Ras Kamboni. At the same time Kenya, a USA ally, closes its border. The USA Ambassador, Michael Ranneberger, declares that no civilians had been killed. Moalim Adan Osman, a village elder in Dhobley, contradicted this: "We estimated about 100 civilians have been killed. Some are still missing. The aeroplanes have bombed large areas. The have bombed the nomads indiscriminately".

The USA ignores international protests and sends a small number of its forces into the region to "check whether they had killed their targets".

20,000 Ethiopian soldiers remain in Somalia after the invasion.

The International Somalia Contact Group (a USA led grouping) calls for a United Nations peacekeeping force. The USA grants $ 16 million aid to the new Somali "government" and offers $ 14 million to any peacekeeping force.

Over 150 people who fled across the border to Kenya during the Ethiopian invasion are arrested and secretly flown at night from Nairobi to Somalia. They are held in underground prisons at the airport at Magadishu shackled to walls and without access to legal represenation. According to human rights groups, the detainees were questioned by USA and UK officials. They are then trasnferred to prisons in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. No legal extradition procedures had been followed.

Maini Kiai, the chairman of the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, accuses the USA and UK of carrying out "extraordinary rendition". This is the process where people are moved illegally across borders and detained.

The USA backed government orders the Arabic news station, Al Jazeera, and two local private radio stations (HornAfrik and IQK Koranic Radio) to stop broadcasting from Mogadishu. The radio stations come back on air for a few months until the military shoot at their offices and attack their offices with grenades. One of the presenters and the owner of HornAfrik are assassinated.

Ethiopian soldiers arrest business people and intellectuals who oppose the new government.

Fighting between Ethiopian forces and Somali resistance kills over 1000 people during March in the capital Mogadishu.

In April more fighting breaks out between the USA-Ethiopian government and Somalis resisting the occupation. Nearly 400 civilians are killed. The USA, having got its people in power, calls for a peace deal - in contrast to its failure to call for a cease fire when its ally, Israel, was bombing Lebanon in 2006.

Fighting continues with hundreds of civilians killed. In one incident rockets were fired into a crowded market and into a bus station. Resistance to the invasion is labelled as terrorism and blamed on Al-Qaida.

According to the United Nations, 321,000 people fled from Mogadishu, a city of two million people, by the middle of 2007.

KryssTal Opinion: Somalia had enjoyed a few months of peace after years of civil war. The overthrow of its government by the USA using Ethiopian troops has resulted in hundreds of unrecorded and under reported deaths from USA foreign policy.

As people continue dying in Somalia, the conflict and its reasons are ignored by USA and UK media. Andrew Cawthorne (Reuters in Kenya) reported that "the carnage and suffering in Somalia may be the worst in more than a decade -- but you'd hardly know it from your nightly news." By May 2007, more people had died in the conflict that had been killed in Lebanon during the 2006 bombing by Israel.

Nunu Kidane, a writer from Priority Africa Network (PAN) describes the situation: "USA political and military alliance with Ethiopia - which openly violated international law in its aggression towards Somalia, is destabilizing the Horn region and begins a new shift in the way the US plans to have permanent and active military presence in Africa." The Horn of Africa is the region of East Africa around Somalia.

Walter Lindner, the German Ambassador to Somalia wrote a letter describing the situation in the country: "The obviously indiscriminate use of heavy artillery in the capital has killed and wounded hundreds of civilians, and forced over 200,000 more to flee for their lives. [Displaced persons were] at great risk of being subjected to looting, extortion and rape - including by uniformed troops at a various 'checkpoints'." The refugees are contracting cholera. International aid groups are being attacked by armed militia.

Andrew Cawthorne's report for Reuters continues with several quotes:

"There is a massive tragedy unfolding in Mogadishu, but from the world's silence, you would think it's Christmas. Somalis, caught up in Mogadishu's worst violence for 16 years, are painfully aware of their place on the global agenda."

"Nobody cares about Somalia, even if we die in our millions."

Michael Weinstein, a USA expert on Somalia at Purdue University explains why the media has been quiet about the situation in Somalia:

"For the major [world] leaders, there is a tremendous embarrassment over Somalia. They have committed themselves to supporting the interim government -- a government that has no broad legitimacy, a failing government. This is the heart of the problem. ... But Western leaders can't back out now, so of course they have 100% no interest in bringing global attention to Somalia. There is no doubt that Somalia has been shoved aside by major media outlets and global leaders, and the Somali Diaspora is left crying in the wilderness."

Although Ethiopia invaded Somalia and installed a puppet government, the affair was planned by the USA who are present in the background. The USA newspaper, Washington Post, reported "a picture of a nation that jails its citizens without reason or trial, and tortures many of them -- despite government claims to the contrary. Such cases are especially troubling because the US government, a key Ethiopian ally, has acknowledged interrogating terrorism suspects in Ethiopian prisons, where some detainees were sent after being arrested in connection with Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia in December. There have been no reports that those jailed have been tortured."

The next day the newspaper was reporting that "more than 200 FBI and CIA agents have set up camp in the Sheraton Hotel here in Ethiopia's capital and have been interrogating dozens of detainees -- including a U.S. citizen -- picked up in Somalia and held without charge and without attorneys in a secret prison somewhere in this city, according to Ethiopian and U.S. officials who say the interrogations are lawful."

Carl Bloice of the USA based National Coordinating Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism reveals: "On file are plans - put on hold amid continuing conflicts - for nearly two-thirds of Somalia's oil fields to be allocated to the U.S. oil companies Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips. It was recently reported that the U.S. - backed prime minister of Somalia has proposed enactment of a new oil law to encourage the return of foreign oil companies to the country.

Nunu Kidane: "The unlawful U.S.- Ethiopian invasion and occupation of that country and the accompanying human suffering and human rights abuses constitute a new - and still mostly hidden - war in many ways similar to that in Iraq. And, waged for the same reason.

Sound familiar? The same process that were seen in Afghanitsan, Haiti and Iraq are now operating in Somalia. The rest of the world stands meekly by or, in the case of the UK, approves.

An exiled leader of Somalia, Hassan Dahir Uways, flees to Eritrea. The USA (which essentially paid Ethiopia to change Somalia's government) accuses Eritrea of destabilasing the region and threatens the country with sanctions. Eritrea publishes a condemnantion of USA foreign policy.

Nine months after the USA backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, over half a million people have been displaced and 80,000 children are in danger of starvation. The central market in Mogadishu is closed by the Ethiopian military who then burn it down. Kiosks and roadside stalls are also torn down leaving many people with no source of income.

Stephen Grey, a UK journalist in London and author of Ghost Plane, publishes an artical detailing the detention and torture of a UK citizen who was in Mogadishu at the time of the USA-backed Ethiopian invasion.

Reza Afsherzadegan was a 25 year old computer student from London (UK) who had gone to Somalia during the pre-invasion peace to teach computer skills to young people. Reza fled the capital during the invasion. He was captured by Kenyan soldiers near the frontier and flown to Nairobi.

He was held in crowded communal cells, with buckets as toilets, and accused of going to Somalia to train as a terrorist. "They would ask me if I've handled any weapons or received any training. I said I hadn't seen any of that. But they would look at me and say `you're lying'." Among the prisoners were women and children. "I saw a woman with five-year-old kids in cells opposite me and it was just incredible; you can't believe the way they've treated people." In violation of the Vienna Convention, Reza was denied access to his embassy (which would have been the UK embassy as he was a British national) but instead was questioned in a hotel by MI5, the British security service. Other detainees were treated in the same way.

A month later, Reza was flown blidfolded to Somalia with other detainees: "I thought to myself, can they do this? You know, can they send us to Somalia? The MI5, they know about us. They just sent us to Somalia. Can they do this?" They were held in dark, dirty underground cells.

Reza and other UK citizens were released and flown to the UK by the British embassy in Somalia. Other detainees were flown to Ethiopia. These included 11 women (five of them heavily pregnant) and 11 children as young as seven months old. Many of the people held in secret in three countries were released without any charge. Four of the women gave birth in captivity.

The story of the secrret detentions came out when some detainees obtained mobile (cell) phones from their guards and contacted human rights groups (among them Reprieve and CagePrisoners). The Muslim Human Rights Forum obtained flight manifests showing that 90 people were taken from Kenya to Somalia and these included women and children. Many ended up in Ethiopia where they were questioned by a team of USA agents.

One female victim was Fatma Chande, a 25 year old woman from Tanzania. She reported that she had been questioned by USA agents in Ethiopia. They also took her fingerprints and a DNA sample.

She stated: "The Kenyans told me originally that it is the Americans who wanted my husband, it's the Americans who were interested in us. The police tried to force me to admit my husband was a member of al-Qaida. I told them he was a businessman. He was nothing to do with al-Qaida. They kept banging on the table. They threatened to strangle me if I didn't tell them the truth."

Fatma's children also suffered: "When we arrived at the airport, we were handcuffed and our headscarves were pulled down over our eyes. The men were hooded. The children were crying all the time saying `we want to go home, we want to go home'."

This story was completely ignored the UK and USA newspapers and television news.


2008

Occupation of Somalia

In December 2006, Ethiopia invaded Somalia with USA backing and military help and UK political support. The purpose was to install a pro-USA governemnt and gain access to the country's oil for Western companies.

According to the United Nations, 600,000 people have had to flee their homes in the capital, Mogadishu from the time of the invasion up to the end of 2007. Over 200,000 continue to live in squalid camps close to the city - the largest concentration of displaced people anywhere in the world.

The Western media has completely ignored the plight of these people even as it broadcasts and publishes stories about another African region Darfur.

The USA (which has caused the catastrophe) gives no aid but spends millions to extend and modernise a runway at the port city of Bosasso. USA warships stationed off the coast of Somalia regularly attack inland targets killing many people.

The Prime Minister of Somalia, Ali Mohhammad Gedi, keeps a $ 32 million donation from Saudi Arabia, money meant for the organisation of a "peace conference". The USA summond Gedi to Addis Ababa (the capital of Ethiopia). In return for stepping down as Prime Minister, he is allowed to keep the money and given asylum in the USA where he has bought a house in Los Angeles.

Hawa Ali Abdi is less fortunate as she lives under a tree at Afgoye, 40km from the capital with her husband and two children (both under two years old). The family fled from Mogadishu: "There is no food and no water. Nowhere to go to the toilet and nowhere to get shelter for the night".

The USA bombs Somalia in early March from an AC 130 plane killing four people.

The United Nations says that Somalia is the worst place in the world for children. Rising food prices and conditions brought about by the USA backed Ethiopian invasion were causing famine.

Human rights group, Amnesty International publishes a report describing conditions in Somalia as "dire". The report states that more than 6000 civilians were killed in Somalia from mid 2007 to mid 2008. Troops from Ethiopia (whose invasion of Somalia in late 2006 was backed and helped by the USA) are the worst offenders looting, raping and killing indiscriminantly. Other reports talk of children's throats being slit while mothers watch and eyes being gouged out.

The USA supports the invasion with air strikes and warships off the coast. The European Union provides funding for the new government.

The BBC described the killing of a Somali "militant" by a USA air strike that killed 11 people.

KryssTal Opinion: Is a Somali defending his own country from invasion more "militant" that a USA military that has come half way round the world to drop a bomb on him?

Human Rights Watch publishes a report describing the UK and USA as complicit in war crimes being committed by Ethiopian forces is the Ogaden region of Ethiopia which is a mainly Somali region in Ethiopia. The borders between the two countries were set up by European colonial powers.

The human rights violations include rape, torture and public executions. Many villages have been burnt to the ground, a fact confirmed by USA satellite images. These events remain unreported in UK television broadcasts which instead run stories on the similar events in Dafur (Sudan). Instead UK aid to Ethiopia incresed from $ 130 million to $ 260 million between 2005 and 2008. The USA also increased aid to the military.

© 2017, KryssTal


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