The Acts of the Democracies

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Topic : Occupation

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Generated : 27th April 2017


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1945

Vietnam

Vietnam had been a French colony before World War II. During the War, the Vietnamese (led by Ho Chi Minh and backed by the USA) had fought against the Japanese. Two million Vietnamese had starved to death while the Japanese fed their own troops.

After Japan surrenders, the Vietnamese declare independence and make Hanoi their capital. They hope for USA support against their former colonisers, basing their new constitution on that of the USA and requesting support and aid from the USA president Harry Truman.

UK troops arrive in Saigon from Burma. They aim to restore French colonial rule. They re-arm the Japanese troops and use them to drive the north Vietnamese government out of Saigon and the south. The French re-establish colonial rule in the south and set up a government in South Vietnam with Bao Dai as emperor.


1946

France and Vietnam

A deal between France and China allows France to re-occupy North Vietnam. France bombs Vietnamese cities.


1947

Independence of India and Pakistan

India becomes an independent country with an democratic government. The old UK colony is divided into a Hindu dominated India and a Muslim dominated Pakistan. Over 500,000 people die during the partition.

The Hindu ruler of predominantly Muslim Kashmir decides to join India without the consent of his people. This leads to tensions with Pakistan which will sour relations between the two countries for generations. After a brief war, over 65% of Kashmir ends up under Indian control while the rest becomes part of Pakistan.

The United Nations recommends a plebiscite (referendum) by the Kashmiris to determine their future. This is never implemented.


1948

France in Vietnam

The USA backs French forces attempting to retake Vietnam. Thousands of civilians die in bombing.

France in Madagascar

France crushes independence movement in Madagascar with the loss of thousands of lives. After a difficult war of liberation against Germany only a few years earlier, France took on the role of invader and occupier.

Netherlands in Indonesia

Forces from the Netherlands (the Dutch) attempt to re-colonise Indonesia. The Dutch bombing kills thousands of people, mainly civilians. In Sulawesi, 40,000 people are killed in a matter of weeks by Dutch forces "pacifying" the region.

After a difficult war of liberation against Germany only afew years earlier, the Netherlands becomes an invader and occupier.

UK in Malaysia

UK forces begin a 12 year war in the jungles of Malaya (now peninsular Malaysia).

In December Batang Kali was attcked by UK soldiers who killed 24 Chinese and burnt the village.

In the next five years the UK dropped over 500,000 tonnes of bombs in 4,500 air strikes. Over 4,000 Malays died. 34,000 people were detained without trial. Hundreds of square kilometers of land were sprayed with defolient - an activity that would be famously repeated by the USA in Vietnam decades later.

Politically, the war was labelled as a police action so that the UK settler rubber barons would be able to get compensation from their insurers.


1950

China in Tibet

China invades Tibet while other countries take no action. The West continues to ignore the claims of Tibet for self-determination.

USA and Puerto Rico

The USA crushes the independence movement in Puerto Rico.


1951

UK in Egypt

UK troops seize the Suez Canal in Egypt.


1952

UK in Malaysia

The UK fights against independence movements in Malaya (later Malaysia). The UK media report the conflict in terms of terrorism, insurgency and external threat. In fact the conflict is about UK control of the country's rubber and tin. Over 500,000 people would be dispossessed.

UK in Kenya

The UK fights against independence movements in Kenya. The country had been a colony of the UK since 1920.

Around 1,500,000 people are imprisoned, many in hundreds of concentration camps. Most are tortured. Up to 300,000 die from starvation and the brutal regime in the prisons.

Nderi Kagombe, a book shop owner, spends five years in seven camps. He describes being punished by having to carry a bucket full of sand and human waste on his head for several hours. Others are strung up by their ankles and beaten. In Manyani camp, detainees have sand and water alternatingly stuffed into their anuses. On Mageta, people would be shakled to a post and smeared with sap from a tree which would cause the victim to be attacked by mosquitoes.

Several Asian lawyers, including Fitz de Souza, tell of representing detainees who are never seen again.

The Kikuyu people are the main target of UK forces. Thousands are evicted from the fertile highlands wanted by UK settlers (colonists) and resettled in more than 800 reservations on scrubland. Over 160,000 are incarcerated.

This conflict is reported in the UK media as a fight against Mao Mao terrorists. In fact it is about control of agricultural resources, like coffee plantations.

France in Morocco and Algeria

France fights independence movements in Algeria and Morocco.

The USA supports the European powers in their attempts to keep their colonies. These are examples of democratic and free countries denying the same to others.

Belgium and Berundi

The Belgian rulers of Berundi, had divided the population by educating the Tutsi minority and using the Hutu majority to work on the European coffee plantations. This split would eventually lead to genocie decades later.

Prince Rwagasore, who had campaigned for Hutu-Tutsi unity, is assassinated.


1953

UK and Egypt in Sudan

The UK and Egypt decide the future of Sudan without reference to the people there.

France and Laos

Laos fights against French rule. Many countries are beginning to demand the freedoms enjoyed by the West. The freedom fighters are labelled as rebels and terrorists in Western media.

France in Morocco, UK in Uganda

The UK exiles King Kabaka Mutesa II of Uganda from his homeland. Sultan Muhammad V is exiled from Morocco by France.

Western countries are unwilling to let go of their colonies, removing leaders and monarchs in order to keep the population leaderless.


1954

End of Vietnam-France War; Beginning of Vietnam-USA War

The French are defeated by Vietnam forces and forced to withdraw. The USA helps France militarily then takes over the French role in Vietnam. The big powers (USA, France, USSR, China) officially agree to partition Vietnam into two separate states regardless of the wishes of the people.

An agreement is proposed to allow for a referendum in 1956 to decide the future of the country. The USA refuses to agree to this knowing that over 80% of the population want reunification with the north.

Between 1945 and 1954, French forces killed over 300,000 Vietnamese.

Nigeria (Federation)

The UK forms the Federation of Nigeria from bits of its west African colonies without consulting the people involved. They create a "country" containing many different tribes, both Muslim and Christian, speaking over 400 languages. Frictions between these diverse peoples would cause a war in the late 1960s.

France in Algeria

The Algerian independence movement against French settlements (colonists) gains momentum.

UK in Kenya

The UK continues to occupy and settle Kenya although resistance is increasing.

In April 25,000 members of the UK military and security forces cordon off Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. All Africans are taken away from the city and held in concentration camps. The arrests are brutal with people beaten with clubs and rifle butts. Some people are taken in police vehicles and are never seen again. Families are separated. UK forces loot the houses of people, often burning their possessions while they watch. Castration is used by police to extract confessions. Some victims have their hands cut off to obtain information from their relatives.

The tribes of Kikuyu, Embu and Meru are separated from other Africans and exiled from the city.


1955

Algerian War of Independence

France ruthlessly crushes the independence movement in Algeria. Villages are razed to the ground by French troops and settlers are allowed to kill locals at will. France boycotts a United Nations debate on the conflict. France had fought a vicious occupation by the Nazis but now continues to occupy Algeria.

War in South Vietnam

Civil war begins in South Vietnam between factions who support the USA and French backed government and those who want unity with the (communist) north run by Ho Chi Minh. The USA backed Ngo Dinh Diem deposes the French backed Bao Dai.

The USA continue their support of the south. President Dwight Eisenhower, admits that "had elections been held, possibly 80% of the population would have voted for Ho Chi Minh, the communist leader".

UK in Cyprus and Sudan

The UK fights a Cyprus independence movement as well as revolts in Sudan against British and Egyptian rule.

Portugal in India (Goa)

Portuguese police kill demonstrators in Goa demanding return of the colony to India.


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.

UK in Kenya

The UK crushes the independence movement in Kenya after 10,000 Africans have been killed and 24,000 imprisoned without trial in four years. Although heavily reported as an attack on whites by savage blacks in the UK media, in fact 32 Europeans die during the conflict.

Villages are destroyed and their populations herded into concentration camps. Conditions are so bad that 400 people die every month. Torture, flogging, slave labour, deliberate starvation and abuse of women and children is common. The historian V G Kieman notes that "The special prisons were probably as bad as any similar Nazi or Japanese establishments."

The activities of the UK in Kenya are covered up except for a few military personnel who report them. The UK forces destroy documents relating to this conflict in 1963. The story would be published in a book by Caroline Elkins called Britain's Gulag in 2005.


1957

UK and Oman

The UK fights the independence movement in Oman.


1958

France in North Africa

France bombs a village in Tunisia in its attempt to keep Algeria as a French colony.

UK and Yemen

The UK fights independence movements in Yemen (then known as Aden).

Anti-personnel bombs are secretly used. Local political leaders are bribed to help undermine the position of political parties like the Peoples' Socialist Party who advocated independence.


1959

UK in Southern and Eastern Africa

The UK fights an independence movement in Nyasaland (later Malawi) and Southern Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe). 11 prisoners from the independence movement are killed in UK controlled Kenya in suspicious circumstances.

China and Tibet

The Dalai Lama flees Tibet and Chinese rule and requests United Nations help. Nothing is done to help the Tibetans.


1960

Belgium and Congo (Assassination of Patrice Lumumba)

Belgium agrees to the independence of Congo with the charismatic and popular leader, Patrice Lumumba. During the independence ceremony Lumumba calls for economic and political freedom for Congo.

Eleven days after independence, Belgium intervenes militarily to set up the mineral rich southern part of the country into a separate state, Katanga, ruled by Moise Tshombe and financed by European and American mine owners.

Lumumba is arrested by the Belgian military and transferred in early 1961 to Katanga where he is tortured and killed by Tshombe's forces and their Belgian advisors. After his death his body is dissolved in acid by the Belgian police under Gerard Soete. The USA CIA is later implicated in the assassination after an approval by the USA president Dwight Eisenhower. Belgium would apologise for the death of Lumumba in 2002.

Tshombe rules a united Congo after independence, allowing Western companies access to the minerals. The West's business interests over-ride the wishes and interests of the local people.

Kashmir

India makes its part of Kashmir a full state against the wishes of the majority of the Kashmiri people.


1961

Upper Volta

Upper Volta (now Burkina Fasso) gains independence from France. The French had been running a system of forced labour recruitment to supply European owned plantations.


1962

USA in Vietnam

The USA becomes more active in Vietnam.

Villagers are moved into fenced off camps. Chemical defoliants are sprayed into the jungle. These are later found to contain Dioxin. This is a cancer producing chemical that causes genetic mutations in children, who are born deformed or with parts of their bodies missing. No compensation has ever been paid.

UK and Yemen

The UK secretly supplies arms to rebels against the government of Yemen. The resultant civil war kills over 200,000 people.

The UK Defence Secretary, Peter Thornycroft, proposes organsising tribal revolts and "deniable action" to "kill personnel engaged in anti-British activities". Activities include mine laying and assassinations. A front company, Airwork Services, is set up to train pilots from Saudi Arabia and recruit mercenaries to fly combat operations using the territory of Israel.


1963

Vietnam

A Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc sets himself on fire in Saigon in protest against the USA backed authoritarian government of South Vietnam. This government had discriminated against Buddhism, the dominant religion in the country.

The USA, shaken because the immolation had been televised around the world, gives approval for a military coup that topples Ngo Dinh Diem (whom they had put into power in 1955). The ousted leaders are killed in cold blood. The South Vietnamese do not get a chance to vote for their leader.

Seven more monks commit suicide in the ancient Vietnamese capital, Hue.


1964

Palestine Liberation Organisation

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) is founded to gain independence for the parts of Palestine under Israeli rule. It is labelled as a terrorist group by the West.

South Vietnam

The police in South Vietnam, trained by the USA'a CIA, arrest and torture the local population in the hunt for "communists" and supporters of the National Liberation Front (NLF). The NLF were fighting for the liberation of the country from the USA backed government. One detainee is Thien Thi Tao who is arrested while a student aged 18:

"Like most students I hated the American backed regime, especially for bringing a foreign army to Vietnam. It is true I did work for the NLF and I was prepared to fight for them. We all respected them. The police demanded that I hand over NLF names; when I refused I was strung upside down and electrocuted, and my head was held in a bucket of water. Then I was sent to Cong Song Island and put in what they called the tiger cages. You couldn't stand up in them and, anyway, my legs were shackled; and every day they threw quicklime down on me. They had a place that was full of cow and pig excrement, and for no reason they'd put you in it and leave you. This was known as the coffin."

The USA CIA sets up Operation Phoenix which uses torture on opponents: electric shock to genitals, insertion of implements into ears, and throwing victims out of helicopters.


1965

The Vietnam-USA War

The USA commits 125,000 troops to fight in Vietnam. The military policy consists of indiscriminate killing, bombing and chemical warfare (cancer producing defoliants and napalm that burns flesh). Anti war protests occur in the USA capital, Washington DC.

In 1983, a specialist in CIA propaganda, Ralph McGehee, would admit that the evidence of communist weapons running that was the excuse for the troops being deployed was faked by the CIA.


1966

The Vietnam-USA War

The USA now has 385,000 troops in South Vietnam.

Many villages are destroyed. TV pictures of American soldiers casually setting fire to huts while distressed villagers look on disturb the USA public. Student and Buddhist led demonstrators in Saigon demand the end of the military government in South Vietnam. Vietnamese troops brutally suppress dissent.

The coal mining town of Hongai becomes the most bombed place in Vietnam. Carrier based planes bomb the town continuously from 7am until 5pm every day. This causes 10% of the town's children to become deaf.

In the USA, David Lawrence, editor of US News & World Report, writes:

"What the United States is doing in Vietnam is the most significant example of philanthropy extended by one people to another that we have witnessed in our times."

Most Western countries tacitly support USA actions in Vietnam.

South Africa and Namibia

South Africa extends its apartheid laws to its colony South West Africa (later Namibia). The United Nations requests South Africa to withdraw from the territory.

France and Djibuti

Djibouti votes to remain a colony of France after French authorities arrest opposition leaders and expel their followers to Somalia.


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]."

UK in Aden and Yemen

The UK continues fighting independence movements in Aden and Yemen but is eventually forced to withdraw.

The Vietnam-USA War

The war in Vietnam continues with 80 South Vietnamese civilians killed by "friendly fire" from USA planes.

The Australian journalist, John Pilger visits a hospital in Can Tho in the Mekong Delta. A region bombed heavily by USA B-52 bombers:

"'I guess he's around ten years old,' said the young American doctor, a volunteer. Before us was a child whose nose and chin had merged, whose eyes apparently could not close and whose skin, once brown, was now red and black and papery, like frayed cloth. 'Beats me how these kids live through all that shit out there,' says the doctor, 'This one's been burned with Napalm B. That's the stuff made from benzene, polystyrene and gasoline. It sticks to the body and is impossible to get off, and either burns the victim to death or suffocates him by using up all the oxygen.'"

The CIA runs Operation Phoenix to identify and kill alleged resistance leaders operating in Vietnamese villages. About 20,000 people are killed.


1968

Rhodesia

An independence movement begins in Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe).


1969

The Vietnam-USA War

The number of USA troops in Vietnam peaks at 541,500. In the USA 250,000 people demonstrate against this involvement in Washington DC.


1971

Vietnam

In Vietnam, the USA's Ninth Infantry Division completes a campaign called "Operation Speedy Express" against the Vietnamese. American officials later admit that 5000 non-combatants had been killed.

The USA magazine Newsweek holds the story for 6 months before publishing it.


1980

Palestine

3 Palestinian mayors are assassinated. The United Nations calls on states not to assist Israel with its settlements programme. It criticises the arming of Israeli settlers (colonists) who are allowed to terrorise the civilian Arab population.

On 30 July Israel annexes all of Jerusalem. The United Nations confirms that it considers Jerusalem as part of the occupied territories.

The USA vetoes six United Nations resolutions concerning Israel and the Palestinians: The first requests Israel to return displaced persons (the vote is 96 to 3 with Canada being the third country). The second condemns Israeli policy regarding the living conditions of the Palestinian people (118 to 2). Three resolutions condemn Israeli human rights practices in occupied territories (votes: 118 to 2; 119 to 2; 117 to 2). The sixth endorses self determination for the Palestinians (120 to 3 with the third country being Australia).

New Hebrides

The New Hebrides gains independence from UK and France after they had attempted to crush this desire militarily.


1981

Israel and Lebanon

Israel raids Palestinian bases in Lebanon.

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.


1984

Israel and Lebanon

Israel continues to occupy the south of Lebanon. Tanks and helicopters fire at a crowd in Jibsheet killing 7; at Sohmur, 13 are killed after being ordered by Israeli troops into a mosque.

The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli actions in Lebanon and bombards Beirut from the sea.


1985

Israel and Lebanon

Israel continues to occupy the south of Lebanon terrorising the civilian population: 7 are killed in Al-Husseinieh, 15 in Maaraka, 22 in Zrariah, 5 in Jibaa, 10 in Yohmur. In Homeen Al-Tahta, 20 villagers are killed after being ordered into the school which is then blown up.

The USA vetoes two separate United Nations resolutions condemning Israeli actions in Lebanon and the use of excessive force in the occupied territories.

A car bomb explodes outside a Mosque in Beirut, timed for when people would be leaving, killing 80 people. The USA's CIA is later implicated in this attack, an assassination attempt on Sheikh Fadlallah, a Mulsim cleric.


1986

Israel and Lebanon

Israel continues to occupy and terrorise the south of Lebanon: in Tiri, 4 people are killed while 79 have their ears and hands cut off. 20 people are killed after a raid at Al-Naher Al-Bared, a Palestinian refugee camp.

The USA vetoes two United Nations resolutions. One condemning Israeli actions against civilians in Lebanon and the other calling on Israel to respect Muslim holy places.

Israeli warplanes force an executive jet from Libya to land in Israel, in an effort to capture Abu Nidal, a Palestinian leader. He is not on board and, after interrogation, the passengers are allowed to leave.

The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning Israel for sky-jacking.


1987

Israel and Palestine

The Palestinians begin the intifada (an Arabic word meaning "resistance") to the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which had gone on for 20 years from 1967.

Israel responds by firing live ammunition at stone throwing demonstrators (killing many, often children), demolishing Palestinian houses, destroying crops, closing schools and universities, collective punishments, deportations, and the arbitrary arrest and torture of suspects. The Israeli Prime Minister, Yitsak Shamir (quoted in Israeli magazine, Hadashot) warns the Palestinians that they would be crushed "like grasshoppers".

During the five year uprising, over 1000 Palestinians would be killed resisting the occupation of their country. Thousands more would be injured.

The USA vetoes two separate United Nations resolutions both urging Israel to abide by the Geneva Conventions in its treatment of the Palestinians and to stop the deportations: "The United Nations calls on Israel to abandon plans to remove and resettle Palestinian refugees of the West Bank away from their homes and property". Voted by 145 to 2 (USA, Israel).

Little reportage of conditions for the Palestinians had appeared in the Western media. Under military administration, Palestinians were beaten and humilliated at checkpoints and had to show passes on demand. Armed settlers committed numerous, unpunished acts on violence on the Palestinian population.

Israel, Palestine and Lebanon

Israeli jets raid the Ain Al-Hillwee refugee camp in Lebanon, killing 75 Palestinians.

In 1988, the USA vetoes three United Nations resolutions condemning Israeli actions in Lebanon and urging a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon.

Between 1983 and 1987, Israeli forces have killed over 50,000 people in Lebanon.


1988

Israel, USA and Palestine

In a meeting in Algeria, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) recognises and accepts the existence of the State of Israel. It accepts all United Nations resolutions going back to 1947 and declares its abandonment its claim to all of historical Palestine.

The PLO declares the independence of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The declarations are rejected by Israel and Palestine continues under Israeli occupation.

The USA vetoes two separate United Nations resolutions condemning Israeli practices against Palestinians in the occupied territories. In 1989 three more similar resolutions are vetoed by the USA. The PLO wishes to appeal to the General Assembly of the United Nations but the leader, Yasser Arafat is refused a visa by the USA despite being recognised by over 60 countries. The Assembly meeting is moved to Geneva (Switzerland)

Israel assassinates Abu Jihad, the second in command of the PLO in Tunis (Tunisia). The action was commanded by future Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak from a naval vessel in the Meditteranean.

Hamas is founded, dedicated to reclaiming all of historical Palestine for a Muslim nation. The organisation is funded by Israel in an attempt to weaken the secular PLO.


1990

Israel and Palestine

In Israel, troops open fire on Palestinian demonstrators in Jerusalem killing 21 and injuring 150.

An Israeli soldier shoots and kills 7 labourers at Oyon Qara; 13 Palestinians are killed while demonstrating against the killings.

The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution to send three UN Security Council observers into the area.

The Israeli Ministry of Agriculture publishes a full page advertisement in newspapers saying:

"It is difficult to conceive of any political solution consistent with Israel's survival that does not involve complete, continued Israeli control of the water and sewerage systems [of the occupied territories], and of the associated infrastructure, including the power supply and road network, essential to their operation, maintenance and accessibility."

Israeli warplanes bomb a house in Siddiqine (Lebanon) killing 3 people.

A Save The Children report criticises Israel for its treatment of children in the occupied territories. The report documents the "indiscriminate beating, tear gassing, and shooting of children". The average age of the victims was 10 years old. In 80% of cases where children are shot, the Israeli forces prevent the victim from receiving medical attention. It concludes that 50,000 children required medical treatment for gun-shot wounds, tear gas inhalation and broken bones (often multiple fractures). Many children die after being shot by snipers in the head or heart.


1994

Russia and Chechnya

30,000 people are killed as Chechnya attempts to gain independence from Russia. This becomes known as the First Chechnyan War.

Palestine

Gaza and the West Bank gain limited self rule but Israel regularly closes borders leading to economic hardship for the Palestinians. Several thousand armed settlers (colonists) remain on the occupied territories, protected by thousands of Israeli troops.

One USA-born settler, Dr Baruch Goldstein, kills 29 Palestinians at prayer in a mosque in Hebron with an army assault rifle. Israeli occupation forces stand by during the massacre and delay the arrival of ambulances. Goldstein is killed. At his memorial service, Rabbi Yaacov Perin states that "one million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail."

After the killings, the Israelis impose a five week curfew on the 1 million inhabitants of the West Bank during which 76 more Palestinians are killed, mostly stone throwing children.

At this point, Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank began attacking Israeli military and civilian targets using suicide bombers, 27 years after the occupation of their land began.

Israeli Settlements (West Bank)

Since the occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem by Israel in 1967, hundreds of illegal settlements (the blue triangles) have been built in violation of the Geneva Conventions and United Nations resolutions. The USA has vetoed many United Nations resolutions condemning these settlements and has financed their building.

This is a 2002 map. The number of settlements (actually they are better described as "colonies") has continued to increase even after the Oslo Accords of the early 1990s.

© Foundation for Middle East Peace.


1995

Israel and Palestine

Israel and the PLO sign a peace agreement. Palestinians are given limited self rule in selected areas but Israel retains the right to control 145 settlements (colonies), 128 of them armed, with thousands of troops.

Under the Agreement, the West Bank (the occupied territories minus Gaza) would be divided into three areas:

The city of Hebron was to be split into two. 20% of the city (including the best commercial areas) would be reserved for the 450 heavily armed Jewish settlers. The remaining 80% would be for the 130,000 Palestinians, who are often subject to curfews and restrictions of movement.

Between 1992 (when Yitzak Rabin was elected Prime Minister of Israel) and 1995, the settler (colonist) population in the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights (but not including East Jerusalem) increased from 78,400 to 136,000. Land for the building of settlements is confiscated from the Palestinians.

Israeli policy in the West Bank was splitting the Arab areas into cantons criss-crossed by Jewish-only settlements and their Jewish-only access roads. This, and the need for Palestinians to hold and show passes leads Tanya Reinhart, a professor from Tel Aviv University, to compare the situation in the occupied territories to apartheid in South Africa.

The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution confirming that the expropriation of land by Israel in East Jerusalem is invalid and in violation of United Nations resolutions and the Geneva Convention.


1996

Israel and Palestine

Over 80 Palestinians are killed in the West Bank by Israeli troops. In one incident, an Israeli helicopter fires at an ambulance killing two women and four girls.

The parliament of Israel approves the building of more settlements (colonies) on Palestinian land against the wishes of the local people and in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations.


1997

Israel and Palestine

The Israel parliament approves building settlements (colonies) in East Jerusalem. This area had been annexed by Israel in 1980 after it had been occupied in 1967. This annexation and the building of settlements are both considered illegal by the United Nations and violate Geneva Conventions on occupied territory.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu outlines a plan in the Israeli newspaper, Jerusalem Post, for annexing 60% of the West Bank including Greater Jerusalem, hills east of the city, the Jordan Valley, the 145 settlements and all roads connecting them as well as the West Bank water supply.

Hamas writes a letter to Netanyahu, via King Hussein of Jordan, offering dialogue, with the king as mediator. The Israeli response is an attempted assassination of a Hamas leader in Jordan.

The USA vetoes two United Nations resolutions that call on Israel to cease construction of settlements in East Jerusalem and the other occupied territories. One of the votes was by 130 to 2 (USA and Israel).


1999

Israel and Lebanon

Israel continues its occupation and raids in southern Lebanon. Warplanes bomb a group of children celebrating a Muslim festival in the Bekaa Valley killing 8. In an interview with the Kolhaer magazine, five Israeli soldiers quote their commander:

"We are skilled marksmen. Anyhow, there are millions of Arabs... It's their problem. Whether Arabs become one more or less is just the same...We have accomplished our duty. The whole issue is not about more than a group of Arabosheem. We should have launched more shells to kill more Arabs."

Arabosheem is a racist term hostile to Arabs used by the Israelis.


2000

Israel and Palestine

Israel blockades the West Bank and Gaza, assassinates Palestinian leaders and kills hundreds of demonstrators, many of them children.

In the Old City of Hebron 40,000 Palestinians are subjected to local curfew for more than a month while 500 armed Israeli settlers can move about freely. 34 schools attended by thousands of Palestinian children are closed for more than a month while settler children are free to walk in the street among and with the Israeli soldiers stationed there.

The country, which is the largest recipient of USA aid, expels Palestinians from their land and builds illegal, heavily armed settlements (colonies) for Israelis. Between 1993 and 2000 the number of settlers has doubled to 200,000. In addition, 170,000 settlers reside in East Jerusalem, illegally annexed by Israel in 1980.

Water supplies are diverted from Palestinian areas to Israeli towns and settlements. Israelis are allocated 6 times as much water as Palestinians. Over 450km (300miles) of roads (built on confiscated 35,000 acres of Palestinian land) divide the West Bank into islands that prevent the free movement of Palestinians. Israeli closures (sieges) of Palestinian towns lead to unemployment and hunger.

1,400,000 Palestinians live under Israeli occupation in the West Bank plus another 800,000 are crammed into the Gaza Strip. Millions of Palestinians are refugees: 460,000 live in Lebanon; over 2,500,000 reside in Jordan; over 400,000 in Syria; 600,000 in other Arab countries and another 550,000 are scattered around the world.

The Oslo Peace Agreement (supported by Europe and the USA) does not allow for these refugees to return to their homeland, in violation of United Nations and Geneva Convention declarations. The Oslo Agreement also allows Israel to annex large swathes of land in the West Bank, control most of Arab East Jerusalem and its environs, and maintain most of the illegal settlements in a pattern that would divide the West Bank into non-contiguous cantons. This agreement is opposed by most Palestinians.

The USA plays the dual role of the chief mediator of the conflict as well as the chief diplomatic, financial and military backer of Israeli occupation forces. Over the past 30 years, the USA has used its United Nations veto power to protect Israel from censure more than all other members of the United Nations Security Council (UK, France, China, Russia) have used their veto power on all other issues combined. It has blocked enforcement of United Nations resolutions calling for Israel to withdraw its settlements from Palestinian land. These settlements were established in violation of international law, which forbids the colonization of territories seized by military force.

Mohamed el-Dura, a ten year old Palestinian boy, is shot by Israeli soldiers in Gaza while crouching in terror behind a wall next to his father. A cameraman risks his life to film the gunfight and the film is shown around the world. The boy becomes an iconic symbol of the Palestinian intifada (resistance).

The Death of Mohamed el-Dura
The Death of Mohamed el-Dura
The Death of Mohamed el-Dura
Mohamed el-Dura, a ten year old Palestinian boy, is shot dead by Israeli soldiers in Gaza while crouching in terror behind a wall next to his father.

A cameraman risks his life to film the gunfight and the film is shown around the world. Israel has been occupying Palestinian territory since 1967 with financial and political support from the USA.

A United Nations Special Report published on 13 November 2000 states: "In the past seven years... Israel's confiscation of Palestinian land and construction of settlements and bypass roads for Jewish settlers has accelerated dramatically in breach of Security Council Resolution 242 and of provisions of the Oslo agreements requiring both parties to respect 'the territorial integrity and unity of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.' Since 1993 the settler population in the West Bank and Gaza has doubled to 200,000 and increased to 170,000 in East Jerusalem."

The report also describes and condemns the demolitions of Palestinian houses, the diversion of water to Israeli cities and settlements, the policy of closures that has damaged Palestinian social and economic life, and the "widespread violation of their [Palestinian] economic, social and cultural rights" both within Israel and in the occupied territories. It also assails Israel's use of excessive force against Palestinians and hundreds of Intifada killings, "most of them unarmed demonstrators."

This report is given little publicity in Western media.

The Israeli author, Israel Shamir writing in the Israel magazine, RI, in December 2000 admits:

"[Israelis] are taught they belong to the Chosen People... They have been indoctrinated in belief that the Gentiles are not fully human, and therefore can be killed and expropriated at will. The Jewish state is the only place in the world possessing legitimate killer squads, embracing a policy of assassinations, and practicing torture on a medieval scale. But do not worry dear Jewish readers, we torture and assassinate Gentiles only."

Gentile is a Jewish term for a non-Jew.

According to writer, Edward S. Herman:

"Jews living in distant countries can come to Israel and immediately obtain rights denied Arab citizens, and of course the Palestinians expelled from their homes in Israel have no rights to return or compensation. In the Negev, where the indigenous Bedouin have been blocked from grazing their flocks, the state has allowed Jewish farmers to occupy the land, build on it, and then have their seizures recognized retrospectively in a process of 'Judaization' of the land (Orit Shohat, Ha'aretz, March 27, 1998). This is structured racism, and a set of policies which if applied against Jews in Italy or France would justifiably cause a furious outcry."

Lebanon

Israeli troops withdraw from southern Lebanon after 22 years. Israeli troops open fire at a crowd of 500 Palestinian demonstrators in Ramieh on the Lebanese side of the Israel-Lebanon border.


2001

Israel and Palestine

The Israeli military kills hundreds of mostly unarmed Palestinians demonstrating against Israel's occupation. Political assassination is used as a weapon of terror. Helicopter gunships and tanks are used in residential areas.

One human rights group states:

"There is a pattern of excessive, and often indiscriminate, use of lethal force by Israeli security forces in situations where demonstrators are unarmed and pose no threat of death or serious injury to the security forces or to others."

In one such attack, the Israeli Air Force kills 8 people, including two children and two journalists, wounding 15 others, including a human rights defender, as they shoot two missiles from a USA made Apache helicopter against the Palestinian Centre for Information in Nablus. This is a city that is officially being run by the Palestinian Authority. The 2 children are Ashraf Khader, aged 6, and Bilal Khader, aged 11, who are killed as they played outside, while their mother visits a clinic in the same building.

In Ramalah, Israeli jets fire a missile into a busy street to assassinate an activist, killing several people including two children. In Salfit, two policemen, Dia Nabil Mahmoud (19) and Abdul Ashour (22) are disarmed by Israeli soldiers, told to lie on the ground, and fatally shot at close range. Israeli bulldozers demolish 35 houses in Khan Younis making 345 people homeless.

The USA continues to finance Israel to the tune of $1,800 million per year. Since 1967 Israel has received $92,000 million in aid from the USA. In June the Israeli air force announces the purchase of 50 F-16 jets at a cost of $2,000 million, financed largely through American military aid. Shortly after, these F-16s are used to bomb Palestinian civilian targets.

The USA has repeatedly blamed the Palestinians for the violence of the past year, even though Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other reputable human rights groups have noted that the bulk of the violence has come from Israeli occupation forces and settlers.

The USA has also blamed the Palestinians for not compromising further in peace talks, even though they have already ceded 78% of historic Palestine to the Israelis in the Oslo Agreement of 1993. The Palestinians now simply demand that the Israelis withdraw their troops and colonists only from lands seized in the 1967, which Israel is already required to do under international law.

Since 1967 some 8,500 Palestinian homes have been demolished, 1,200 of these since the Oslo Agreement (with 5,000 people made homeless, including 2,000 children). Israel demolishes Palestinian homes on the slightest provocation, often allowing a family only 15 minutes to take what they can carry before bulldozing their property. Palestinian stone throwing against heavily armed Israeli soldiers can lead to demolition.

Israel's confinement of 800,000 people in the Gaza Strip, jammed into an area surrounded by a barbed-wire fence, and of over 1 million in the West Bank, all of whose entrances and exits are controlled by Israel, has few parallels in the annals of colonialism.

Israel forcibly controls all the water resources of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel utilises more than 85% of the water resources, thus leaving the Palestinian population with a mere 15% for survival. In Hebron, where a Jewish settler population was planted in and around the city, it is estimated that 70% of the water in Hebron goes to 8,500 settlers and 30% goes to the city's 250,000 Palestinian inhabitants. In the Gaza Strip, 3,000 to 4,000 settlers use 75% of the available ground water while around one million Palestinians use less than 25%.

Western reporting of the conflict has a tendency to depict Palestinian victims as nameless numbers killed. Israeli victims are named, pictured and their families interviewed. A new crop of words begins to appear in the Western media:

The largest circulation (Hebrew) newspaper in Israel, Yedioth Ahronoth (4 June 2001), publishes a statement from a spokesman from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF): "We set up a list of Palestinian names of individuals whom the Israeli government has approved for physical elimination, among the names are included members of Hamas, Fatah, Popular Front and Islamic Jihad activists."

Terror in Palestine

During the "war on terrorism", Israel continues to illegally occupy Palestine, using its USA made arms to crush resistance to the occupation. Over 100 Palestinians are killed, houses are demolished and the airport in Gaza is destroyed. The Israelis call on the Palestinian police to "arrest terrorists" while at the same time destroying police stations and using terror tactics on Palestinian areas. Televison pictures of the Israeli action along with the "war on terrorism" is seen around the Arab world as gross hypocrisy.

In December Israel police briefly detain Sari Nusseibeh, a senior political representative of the Palestinian Authority, along with several of his colleagues, after he had invited guests, including foreign diplomats, to a hotel in Jerusalem for a party to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Uzi Landau, the Internal Security Minister for Israel, calls the reception a "terror-related" activity.

Yasser Arafat (the elected Chairman of the Palestinian Authority) is banned by Israel from his annual visit to Bethlehem over Christmas. Earlier Israeli forces had destroyed Arafat's helicopters and the runway at Gaza airport and had banned him from leaving the country.


2002

India in Kashmir

India threatens Pakistan over Kashmir.

Kashmir had been incorporated into India from 1948 even though the majority of its population is Muslim. The region's ruler was a Hindu and chose to align his kingdom with India against the wishes of the population. A promised plebiscite (referendum) has never been allowed by India.

India justifies its actions by labelling them as a "War Against Terrorism" and stating "If the USA can come here and attack Afghanistan, why cannot we attack terrorism in Pakistan?"

Israel in Palestine

A report in the UK newspaper, The Guardian states that 200 children were killed and over 400 maimed by Israeli forces in Palestine between September 2000 and December 2001.

Israel demolishes 60 Palestinian houses in the Gaza Strip after four Israeli soldiers are killed. 93 families of about 600 people are left homeless. This collective punishment of a population violates the Genevea Conventions. The demolitions go ahead in spite of appeals from relatives of the dead soldiers. The Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz describes the action as a war crime and: "destruction on a systematic collective and indiscriminate level against Palestinians, whoever they may be. As far as is known, the only sin of most of them - perhaps even all of them - was the place where they lived."

Few reports of this action or its aftermath appear in Western media.

Israeli forces attack The Voice of Palestine radio station. Also destroyed are a number of properties funded by the European Union: irrigation schemes, a school building program, the airport in Gaza, the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, and a sea port. Chris Patten, the European Union Foreign Affairs Commissioner asks: "[Does] it really contribute to security if everything we try to support with EU assistance is destroyed." Many institutions of Palestinian statehood are destroyed including the ministries of health and education.

The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, is put effectively under house arrest by the presence of Israeli military forces near his residence. His compound is then attacked forcing Arafat into one windowless room. Israel refuses permission for Arafat to go to an Arab Summit in Beirut. The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, declares Arafat "an enemy of the world" and states that he regrets that "we did not liquidate" Arafat during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The USA ignores the comments which are condemned by European leaders. Saeb Ereket, a Palestinian cabinet minister responds: "I think these remarks reflect what has been always said - that Sharon is trying to finish what he began in 1982. And for prime ministers to announce openly their gangster intentions is a reflection of what kind of government we're dealing with."

Hundreds of reservist soldiers from Israel sign a petition refusing to serve in the occupied territories. The petition says that the occupation of Palestinian land is "corrupting the entire Israeli society". Soldiers had been issued with orders in the occupied territories that "had nothing to do with the security of our country [and had] the sole purpose of perpetuating our control [over the Palestinians]. We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people". Lieutenant Ishai Sagi adds: "Everything that we do in there [the occupied territories]... all the horrors, all the tearing down of houses and trees, all the roadblocks, everything - is just for one purpose, the settlers, who I believe are illegally there. So I believe that the orders I got were illegal, and I won't do that again."

In late February, a 22 year old Palestinian woman, Maysoun Hayek, begins experiencing the labour pains for her first child. Her husband, Mohammed, decides to drive his wife the 19km from their village Zeita (in the West Bank) to the nearest large town, Nablus. On the previous night a pregnant woman had been shot and injured by Israeli soldiers on the same road. Travelling at night on that road is dangerous but the woman's labour pains are too strong to wait until morning. Mohammed's father, Abdullah, decides to travel with them in the hope that a car containing an old man would be spared any trouble. The party leaves at 1:30 am and arrives at Nablus where the car is stopped at an Israeli checkpoint. The solders search the car and pat the woman's stomach. Five minutes later, the car comes under fire from Israeli troops stationed on a hillside. Mohammad is killed after 25 bullets penetrate his body. The old man, Abdullah, is hit in the chest and back; doctors say he may be permanently paralysed. At the hospital, Maysoun gives birth to a daughter, Fida. These people are Palestinians travelling from a Palestinian village to a Palestinian town. Many Palestinians have been killed travelling past Israeli checkpoints, some dying on their way to hospital.

In the same week an Israeli woman gives birth after being shot by terrorists. The Western media concentrate on her story and ignore the story of the two Palestinian women.

In March, Israeli forces kill an Italian photographer, Raffaele Ciriello, reporting for Corriere della Sera from the West Bank city of Ramallah. He is killed when soldiers in a tank open fire on him with a heavy machine gun. On the same day, a clearly marked television car is also attacked. Egyptian journalist, Tareq Abdel Jaber, is saved by his flak jacket after Israeli soldiers fire five shots at his vehicle.

Foreign journalists say that they are routinely fired at by Israeli forces. In another incident the Israeli army fires for 15 minutes into a hotel used by journalists in Ramallah. Seven shots are fired at a camera belonging to the USA ABC Network. A taxi carrying USA and UK journalists is fired at. According to Reporters Without Borders, 40 journalists have been injured in the previous two years of reporting in the occupied territories, mostly by Israeli forces.

By the end of March, Amnesty International reports that more than 1000 Palestinians had been killed. "Israeli security services have killed Palestinians, including more than 200 children, unlawfully, by shelling and bombing residential areas, random or targeted shooting, especially near checkpoints and borders, by extrajudicial executions and during demonstrations."

Palestinians begin to attack Israeli civilians with suicide bombers. Even so, Amnesty International comments: "These actions are shocking. Yet they can never justify the human rights violations and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions which, over the past 18 months, have been committed daily, hourly, even every minute, by the Israeli authorities against Palestinians. Israeli forces have consistently carried out killings when no lives were in danger."

In early April, Israeli tanks fire at a group of unarmed peace demonstrators (including many foreigners) in Bethlehem. A Jewish woman from the UK, Jo Bird, is among the people shot at: "I feared for my life, for sure. The soldiers carried on firing at us for 10 minutes... It opened my eyes to the brutality of the Israeli occupation".

The UK BBC reporter Orla Guerin is fired at and forced to abandon her vehicle. Another UK television station, Channel 4, reports that USA CIA operatives (who did not want to be filmed) were allowed to pass into the area under Israeli military control.

In the West Bank city of Bethlehem, USA-made F-16 warplanes drop large bombs on residential areas; one lands 200m from a United Nations school where 3000 children are studying. Helicopters fire heavy calibre machine guns at Palestinian police and civilians. 38 people are killed in a 12 hour period. On the ground, Israeli tanks shunt Palestinian ambulances off the street in violation of the protection afforded to rescue workers by the Geneva Convention.

Dr Ahmed Soubeih becomes the fourth doctor to be killed in one week of Israeli action. He had informed Israeli military authorities of his trip to a neighbouring hospital to get supplies for his patients. After being shot at, he again spoke to the Israelis who assured him of his safety. He was killed by a volley of bullets from an Israeli tank a few minutes later.

Red Cross workers describe ambulances and hospitals being attacked by Israeli forces, medical attention being denied to casualties, and bodies lying unburied. Israeli Arabs and Jews attempting to take food to Palestinian families under siege are tear-gassed by Israeli soldiers.

16 Palestinians (including 5 children) are killed in the Gaza village of Kouza.

Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia proposes a plan whereby the Arab world would recognise Israel diplomatically in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories and the Syrian Golan Heights occupied in 1967. Palestinian refugees would have the right to return (or compensation) and the settlements (colonies) would have to be evacuated. Both Israel and the USA ignore the plan.

An article in the USA magazine, USA Today talks of the "transfer" or "resettlement" of Arabs to Jordan to solve the "Palestinian problem". This is ethnic cleansing which would be a war crime. The question of whether Jewish settlers (colonists) should be transferred off illegally occupied Arab land is not mentioned.

In mid April, Israeli forces invade Palestinian territory. The USA takes time to condemn the invasion while European and Arab populations demonstrate against it. Arab leaders query why the USA Secretary of State, Colin Powell, takes over a week to reach the region (travelling slowly via Europe and other Middle East countries) while the invasion rages. In 15 days over 400 Palestinians are killed and 1,500 injured; many are children. The USA criticises the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, even though he is besieged in his offices with a few aids and no electricity. Two weeks previously, the USA had sold 24 Black Hawk helicopters to Israel worth $211 million and paid for by the USA. This fact is hardly mentioned in the Western media.

In the West Bank city of Jenin the director of the hospital, Dr Ziad Ayaseh, describes a warning by Israeli forces that ambulances would be fired on if they attempt to enter the combat zone. This is confirmed by the International Red Cross. The director of the hospital in Bethlehem, Peter Qumri, is issued with similar threats. Basil Bshaarat is shot in the thigh and cannot get medical treatment for two days. He lies in his university dormitory with a towel to stop the bleeding. Palestinian ambulances are eventually allowed into the area with orders to bring out only dead bodies. Bshaarat and another man is smuggled out under three bodies: "the smell was terrible". Stopping rescue services from treating the injured is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Both the Red Cross and the World Health Organisation state that people have died because Israeli forces had stopped rescuers getting through. The International Red Crescent has two of its ambulances destroyed while they are parked in Tulkarem.

Journalists are threatened and shot at to keep them out of the invasion zone. Stun grenades are used. A French television journalist is shot in front of BBC cameras. Michael Holmes of CNN has rubber bullets fired at him. Barbara Plett of the BBC is attacked with stun grenades when part of a five car convoy: "I was not shocked at the heavy-handed approach of the Israeli army. They have a sniper outside our hotel, for Heaven's sake." The BBC reporter Jeremy Vine, is denied access to the invasion zone but enters on foot. In Rumana, he films people whose hands had been bound for two days. Others had been wounded with dumdum bullets. These break up into many fragments when entering flesh. Hundreds of wounded civilians are being treated in houses.

In Bethlehem, hundreds of people take refuge in the Church of the Nativity which is surrounded by Israeli tanks. Among those trapped is the governor of the city, Mohammed al-Madani. The Christian bell ringer at the church for 30 years, Samir Ibrahim Salman, is killed while crossing to the building. A Muslim is shot while attempting to put out a fire at the Church. Brother Mark Boyle, a 60 year old monk from the UK, is confined to the Vatican funded university where he teaches, after Israeli missiles attack the building, destroying classrooms. From his vantage point he watches Israeli soldiers surrounding the Church of the Nativity and firing from all sites, starting several fires, as well as playing sounds of screaming women and barking dogs through loud-speakers.

USA-made Apache helicopters fire missiles and rockets on residential areas. Bulldozers demolish houses in the narrow streets. Hundreds of people are killed in Jenin over a three day period. Israeli troops open fire on the house of Sami Abda, even though neighbours had warned them there were only civilians inside. His mother and brother are killed after 18 bullets are fired through the open front door. Ambulances are refused permission to enter the street so the family has to live with the bodies for 30 hours. The United Nations Commission for Refugees report that Israeli soldiers smashed medical equipment even though there was no fighting.

The refugee camp in Jenin is closed to all outsiders for two weeks. Dozens of people are killed, half of them civilians. Many houses are bulldozed without warning with people inside, including several storey buildings. An area 0.5km wide, and home to 800 people, is flattened. Survivors talk of indiscriminate killings, mass graves (one trench with over 30 bodies), bodies taken away by the military, people shot as they surrendered, grenades being thrown into houses full of people, people used as human shields (including 72 year old Rajeh Tawafshi), ambulances shot at to keep them from treating the wounded.

Many civilians are killed. Mohammed Abu Sba'a, an elderly unarmed man, is shot in the chest after attempting to persuade a bulldozer driver not to crush his house. Fadwa Jamma, a nurse in uniform, is shot dead while attempting to help a wounded man outside her house. Atiya Rumeleh calls for an ambulance after her husband is shot in the face. The Israelis stop the vehicle and send it away and he dies. Afaf Desuqi, a 52 year old woman, is killed when Israeli soldiers blow her door open. Jamal Feyed, a mentally and physically disabled man, is killed when an Israeli bulldozer crushes his house, even though relatives had told the driver of his presence. Ahmad Hamduni, a man in his 80s, is shot by soldiers at close range in his house. Faris Zeben, a 14 year old boy, is shot from a tank while out buying groceries Mohammed Hawashin (15) is shot in the face while walking home. Kemal Zughayer, a 58 year old disabled man, is shot dead in his wheelchair while wheeling himself on the road with a white flag; a tank then runs over and mangles his body.

United Nations officials are shocked at the scale of the destruction; Terje Roed-Larsen states: "Given the deplorable and unprecedented refusal to allow international relief organisations into the camps while people were slowly dying in the rubble of their wounds and thirst, the onus is on Israel to account for the missing thousands of refugees who lived in the camp until a few weeks ago. [Israel] were hiding a war crime, in fact, two war crimes: the mass killing and the denial of humanitarian relief." The Israeli vilify him for his observations.

Amnesty International calls for a full enquiry by the United Nations Security Council. Many countries support this but the USA initially resists. The International Red Cross states that the camp "looks like it has been hit by an earthquake". After being denied entry for a week, workers from the Red Cross find injured survivors in the rubble. The Jenin refugee camp was home to 14,000 people and was established in 1953. Its inhabitants were originally ethnically cleansed from what is now Israel, a fact not widely reported in the Western media.

Israel blocks a United Nations enquiry into the events in Jenin. A few months later, the general in charge of the Jenin operation, Shaul Mofaz, is appointed Israel's Defence Minister.

Dima Sinafta, a 14 year old girl is killed after being hit by tank fire while standing on her balcony in Tubas. 8 year old Ahmed Srayer is one of 11 people injured when the car he is travelling is attacked by two helicopters in Hebron.

In Ramallah a group of Palestinian policemen, including two in their mid-50s are executed in a small room. Over 1000 prisoners are taken away to unknown destinations. Some are seen blindfolded and gagged in Jewish settlements (colonies). Hakam Kanafani, manager of Jawwal, a mobile phone company, describes his offices being wrecked and looted by Israeli soldiers: "All doors were broken even though the keys were available for them to use."

The Israel newspaper Ha'aretz describes vandalism and looting perpetrated by the Israeli army in the Ministry of Culture building in Ramallah occupied by troops for a month: "In every room of the various departments - literature, film, culture for children and youth - books, disks, pamphlets and documents were piled up, soiled with urine and excrement. There are two toilets on every floor but the soldiers urinated and defecated everywhere else in the building. They did their business on the floors, in emptied flower pots, even in drawers they had pulled out of the desk... someone even managed to defecate into the photocopier."

70 Palestinians are killed in Nablus. The Al-Shu'bis family loses 8 members when Israeli soldiers buldoze their house while they are inside. The dead include three children, their pregnant mother and their 85 year old grandmother. Soldiers continue to demolish the house even after neighbours inform them of the presence of people inside.

A woman and two children (aged 4 and 6) are shot and killed by a tank in Jenin while gathering firewood.

The Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, is called "a man of peace" by the USA. The USA president, George W Bush tells the Palestinians that they can have their own state only if they elect a leader acceptable to the USA and Israel.

140 people are wounded and 14 killed (including 9 children, some babies) when an Israeli F-16 warplane fires a missile into a residential area in Gaza City. The Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon describes the attack as "one of our greatest successes". The target had been a Palestinian leader accused by Israel of planning suicide bombings. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees informs Israel that "the reckless killing of civilians is absolutely prohibited, regardless of the military significance of the target being attacked." Only a week earlier, the UK government had agreed sales of electronic parts to the USA that would be used in the manufacture of F-16 warplanes for sale to Israel. European diplomats had agreed a deal to stop the suicide attacks when this incident occurred.

After demolishing the houses of several suspected militants, Israel attempts to deport their relatives as a deterrent. Amnesty International describes this as "collective punishment" and declares that "if these people have committed no crime then deporting them would be a breach of the Geneva Conventions".

Amnesty International publishes a report stating that in the first nine months of 2002, 322 children died in the conflict. Of these, 72 were Israeli children killed by Palestinian gunmen and suicide bombers.

During the same period, 250 Palestinian children were killed by Israeli military forces, nearly half of them under 12 years old. Israel is attacked in the report for "excessive and disproportionate use of lethal force [and] reckless shooting [in residential areas]". The report concludes that "No judicial investigation is known to have been carried out by members of the Israeli Defence Forces in the occupied territories, even in cases where Israeli government officials have stated publicly that investigations would be carried out."

In one highlighted incident, 9 children are killed with 8 adults when a 1000kg bomb is dropped on their house from a USA made F-16 jet. The dead include Dina Matar (2 months old), Ayman Matar (18 months), Mohamad Matar (3 years), Sobhi Hweiti (4), Diana Matar (5), Mohamad Hweiti (6), Ala Matar (10), Iman Shehada (15), Maryam Matar (17). The Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, describes this strike as a "great success". None of the victims is named or pictured in the Western media.

Another report, by The United Nations Children's Fund blames the Israeli army's curfews for preventing 170,000 Palestinian children from going to school in breach of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention of the Rights of the Child. Israeli troops frequently open fire on people breaking the curfew, even children.

In Gaza, several people are killed by Israeli tank fire including 12 year old Saher al-Hout. A hospital is fired on killing a hospital worker.

In the Gaza city of Khan Younis, eight Palestinians are killed while standing outside a mosque by a missile fired by an Israeli helicopter. Over 80 people are injured including children. Although reported in Reuters, this story is unreported in the Western media.

In November, two Israeli children are killed by Palestinians in a Kibutz. This is extensively reported in the Western media with photographs of the victims, videos of them playing and interviews with grieving relatives. During the same month a number of Palestinian children are killed by Israeli forces in the occupied territories. These include a 2 year old boy, Nafez Mishal, and an 8 year old girl, Shaima abu Shamaaleh. Only a few newspapers in the UK report these deaths and none in the USA. No television images are broadcast. Shaima's father states "The [Israeli] army fires at our houses and calls it self defence, but they call our attacks terrorism. I am against the killing of children". Between September 2000 and October 2002, 602 Israelis and 1591 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict.

Palestinians from the West Bank village of Yanun are attacked daily by armed Israelis from the nearby illegal settlement (colony) of Itamar while harvesting their olive groves. Hani Bani Minyeh is shot dead. Two international peace activists are beaten up by the same settlers: Mary Hughes-Thompson, 68 (from UK) and James Delaplain, 74 (from USA).

Palestine under occupation
The reality of occupation of the Palestinians. Most aspects of Palestinian life (including resources like water) are controlled by Israel.
 
Bethlehem under Israeli attack
The West Bank city of Bethlehem under attack by Israeli forces close to the Church of the Nativity.
 
Jenin after the Israeli military operation
Many Palestinian civilians are killed after Israel attacked the refugee camp in Jenin in 2002. Many of the inhabitants of Jenin had been expelled from Israel in 1948.

Iain Hook, a 54 year old United Nations relief worker is shot by an Israeli soldier in a clearly marked United Nations compound in Jenin. Israeli soldiers stop the ambulance sent to attend to the injured worker. The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning the killing and the destruction of a warehouse belonging to the World Food Programme.

Russia and Chechnya

The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, states that his country will impose a solution of the region of Chechnya after a terrorist attack in Moscow. The solution will not include the elected president of Chechnya, Aslan Maskhadov.

200,000 Chechen refugees have their utilities switched off by the Russian military in an attempt to forceably repatriate them. In the Chechen town of Achkoi-Martan, Russian forces blow up a house belonging to one of the Moscow terrorists after giving her family a few minutes to evacuate their home.


2003

Palestine and Israel

In Palestine, 300 Israeli soldiers demolish 62 shops in a market in the village of Nazlat Issa, destroying the livelihood of hundreds of Palestinians. The village is close to a fence being built by Israel on occupied West Bank land. This fence will cut off many Palestinian towns from the rest of the West Bank.

A vegetable market is demolished in Hebron where the Israeli army also close three police stations and two television channels. These actions are against international law but are ignored by the West.

In Gaza, Israel uses helicopter gunships, tanks and armoured vehicles in a 7 hour night attack on Gaza City. 12 Palestinians are killed and 67 injured. In mid February, Israel sends 40 tanks into the city killing 11 people including Mundur Safadi, a medic tending to a man with chest injuries. In March, Nuha al-Magadmeh, a woman who is nine months pregnant, is crushed to death when Israeli forces blow up the house next door.

In Nablus a 65 year old UK woman, Anne Gwynne, is shot at by Israeli soldiers while working as a volunteer medical worker in a Palestinian ambulance. The driver is killed by a shot in the head. Shooting at medical services violates the Geneva Convention. 61 year old Ahmad abu Zahra and his 17 year old grandson are shot dead while walking during an Israeli imposed curfew.

In Rafah a 7 year old boy is killed by Israeli army fire. A 65 year old partially deaf woman, Kamla Said, is killed in Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza when Israeli forces demolish her home while she is inside. Her stepson states: "Israeli troops were acting in a brutal way. They got us all out of the house so fast and in an aggressive manner, they gave no chance for us to see who was out and who was in".

In Bethlehem Israeli forces construct a high concrete wall across the occupied city cutting off 500 people from their work, schools and community. One resident, Amjad Awwad, is told that if a doctor is required in the night, the hospital will have to telephone the Israeli government for permission. A series of fences and walls is being built around Jerusalem to protect illegally built settlements (colonies) in the West Bank.

After elections in Israel, a coalition forms including parties calling for the expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank by force.

In March, TV film shows a Palestinian fireman, Naji Abu Jalili, being killed while putting out a fire in Jabalya by an Israeli tank shell. The shell is full of flachettes, arrow shaped pieces of metal designed to inflict mass casualties. Several people in a crowd opposite the building are also injured.

Israeli forces fire on people attempting to rescue the wounded. The wounded include Hamad Jadallah and Shams Odeh, journalists working for Reuters. The Israelis state that the man died from a booby trap in the building, a claim not supported by the film footage.

Rachel Corrie, a 23 year old citizen of the USA, is killed by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to protect a Palestinian house from being demolished in a refugee camp in Gaza. Another human shield, Nicholas Durie (Scotland, UK) explained "we were trying to frustrate their efforts by getting in front of the bulldozers. One of the drivers saw Rachel and drove towards her. She didn't get out of the way and he didn't stop. She was carried up with a heap of earth in the shovel of the buldozer. The driver continued working. She slipped and fell and was run over by the bulldozer. The driver saw that she had fallen, but carried her along for another 16 feet [5m]. Only then did he back off".

A senior Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erakat, stated: "Rachel died doing what world governments have failed to do - protecting defenceless civilians". A few months later, her parents visit the house she was protecting with the permission of the Israeli army. A UK television documentary shows them being shot at by Israeli snipers and bulldozers 30m from the house where they are visiting.

The bulldozers used to destroy Palestinian homes are manufactured the USA company, Caterpillar. It is estimated that 50,000 Palestinians have been made homeless by the company's D9 armoured bulldozer.

Tom Hurndall, a 21 year old human shield from London (UK), is shot in the head by an Israeli soldier while trying to lead a group of Palestinian children away from a gun fight in Rafah. His injuries leave him in a coma. His parents, Anthony and Jocelyn Hurndall, later visit the area from the UK to find out the circumstances. They are also shot at by Israeli soldiers at the Abu Khouli checkpoint while driving in a convoy organised by the UK Embassy and bearing diplomatic number plates. They had given notice of the journey on three occasions including a few minutes before the convoy arrived.

The Israeli army demolishes an apartment block in Hebron after an attack by non-residents on Israeli soldiers. Several families are left homeless. This form of collective punishment is common in the West Bank and Gaza and violates the Geneva Convention.

Two days before the USA invades Iraq, the President, George W Bush, and the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, both state that the USA is committed to a Palestinian state and publish a "road map" towards that goal. This story is publicised in all Western media. Within a day of this announcement, the Israel leader, Ariel Sharon states that he will not allow a viable, independent Palestinian state. This story is hardly reported in the West.

During the first week of the USA and UK invasion of Iraq, Israeli forces kill three children in the occupied territories: a girl aged 10 shot in a car she was travelling in; soldiers shot a 14 year old boy who had climbed onto an armoured car; a 15 year old boy who was throwing stones.

Five people are killed and 50 injured when Israeli forces fire a missile at a car in Gaza City. The bulk of the injuries occur when the jet fires at a crowd that had gathered around the damaged car.

More than 1000 men and boys are taken away at gunpoint in trucks from Tulkarem refugee camp.

In Rafah (a refugee camp in the Gaza strip), Israeli forces kill 5 Palestinians and injure over 40 when a large force is sent into the area.

In a 24 hour period, two journalists are shot dead by Israeli soldiers: In Nablus, Nazeh Darwazeh, 41, a cameraman who worked for Associated Press; in Rafah, Corporal Lior Ziv, 19, an Israeli army cameraman.

In late April, a "road map" for peace is published. The plan has been agreed by the USA, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

The plan calls for Palestinians to stop their violence but does not call on Israel to comply with UN resolutions concerning the occupation and settlements. The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, calls on Palestinians to renounce the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees before he will negotiate on the plan.

The right of refugees to return to their homeland is a human right under the United Nations. The new Prime Minister of the Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas, (himself appointed after pressure from Israel and the USA) is a refugee from 1948. He asks "Why should I drop the Right of Return of refugees. It is not my right to drop it".

22 Arab states reiterate their call for complete withdrawal from the occupied territories, in return for complete recognition of Israel. This is under-reported in the West.

James Miller, a well known UK cameraman filming a documentary, is shot dead by Israeli forces in southern Gaza. The victim was wearing a helmet marked with TV, walking slowly towards an Israeli post with a white flag, and shouting in English and Arabic that he was a journalist, according to witnesses. An ambulance is called but is not allowed through. The Israeli government states that he was shot by Palestinians. A post-mortem disproves this and several weeks later the Israelis admit culpability and promise an enquiry. In practice, the site of the shooting is bulldozed and the weapons used are not impounded for 11 weeks. Two years later all discipliary action against the accused are dropped.

The Israeli army demands that any foreign national entering the Gaza strip sign a waiver releasing the army of all responsibility for their safety.

The Israeli army occupy the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun (population 35,000) for five days. Seven Palestinians are killed including 14 year old Muhammad al-Zaneen who was helping his father paint their house. 15 houses are demolished.

As the army departs from the town, they bulldoze 6000 orange trees over 300 hectares. Since 2000, the Israelis have destroyed 70% of the town's citrus groves. One of the owners, Maher al-Shawwa (42), describes one of his trees: "I took care of it for 15 years. It produces at 15. When it is 40, I can make a profit". He estimates his loss at hundreds of thousands of dollars. One of his workers, Ibrahim Hussein (59) was asleep outside his house when the bulldozers arrived: "They fired three shots at me and told me to stay inside. I saw five bulldozers. They destroyed the farm. I have lost my salary, and so have 29 other farmers".

After pressure from the USA, the Israel Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, convinces his skeptical parliament to accept the USA-sponsored "road map" to peace: "The idea that it is possible to continue keeping 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians and bad for the Israeli economy".

In June, Israel continues its policy of targeted killings (assassinations) of Palestinian leaders. In one incident in Gaza City, an Israeli helicopter fires into a civilian area killing 7 and injuring 33. A day later, 23 people, including children, are injured. The attacks have become so common that Palestinians now leave their cars when they hear helicopters flying overhead. Gush Shalom, an Israeli peace group, accuses the Israeli Prime Minister of deliberately using assassination to destroy the "road map".

In a 32 month period up to the end of May 2003, 762 Israelis and 2,274 Palestinians have been killed. Almost 7,500 Palestinians are held in 22 Israeli prisons, detention centres or military encampments. 1,134 homes have been demolished in the Gaza strip.

In the first half of 2003, 5000 Jewish "settlers" moved into the occupied territories bringing the total of "settlers" to 231,443. All are regarded as illegal under the Geneva Convention. During the year, Israel announces its intention to build over 600 houses in 3 West Bank "settlements".

Israel's largest human rights group, Civil Rights in Israel, accuses the government of Ariel Sharon of gross human rights violations in the occupied territories including the use of human shields.

Israel continues its construction of a "security" fence despite international criticism. The fence is being constructed entirely on occupied Palestinian land, cutting the West Bank into a series of cantons (or reservations). The United Nations estimates that the completed fence will cut off 240,000 Palestinians from their communities and leave 160,000 Palestinians in enclaves surrounded by the barrier.

The fence will cut off 16.6% of the West Bank. The Israeli army issues an order that Palestinians living between the fence and the 1967 borders must obtain special permits to travel. Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, tells the UK newspaper, The Observer, "Israel is the promised land - promised to Jews and to no-one else".

In August, Israel passes a law that forbids Palestinians who marry Israelis from living in Israel. Citizens of all other countries who marry Israelis will not be affected by the new law. Children will also be affected after the age of 12. Several international and Israeli human rights organisations declare the law to be discriminatory and anti-democratic.

In Nablus, Israeli undercover troops (disguised as vegetable merchants) break into a hospital and seize two Palestinians with whom they had a gun fight. The men were being treated in intensive care. This act is a violation of the Geneva Convention. In Gaza, Israeli helicopter gunships fire into a residential area.

In September, the Israeli parliament agrees to expel the Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, from the occupied West Bank.

The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution urging Israel to refrain from deporting Arafat. The UK, Germany and Bulgaria abstain from the vote. During the debate 40 governments condemned Israel for its decision to "remove" Arafat.

Sana Al-Daour, a ten year old Palestinian girl, is killed when the car she is travelling in is hit by an Israeli missile fired from a helicopter. Amira Hass, a journalist for the Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz, quotes figures that suggest that 80% of the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces have no connection to armed resistance to the occupation.

In October, Israeli forces destroy 114 houses in Gaza, killing several people including children. United Nations officials estimated that 1,240 people had been left homeless including 10 year old Yasser Abu Swelen who said "I don't have a house, a bed or schoolbooks anymore". Eye-witnesses report residents running as bulldozers advanced: "Suddenly, a bulldozer was hitting the back of my house. We were ten people. We ran away. I saw barefooted women carrying children, with hardly any clothes on. I and my family went to Kholafa al-Rashedeen mosque. The army dug holes around my house. I am in the mosque with 200 people. Our house...is partly demolished". Many people tell of the demolitions being done at night and of being given little time to take anything. Hundreds of people are forced to live in the changing rooms of the football stadium. 45 people end up in the first aid room measuring 5m square. Others end up living in ruined buildings. The Israeli army demolish three apartment blocks in Netzarim Junction (in Gaza) after clearing more than 2,000 Palestinians from their homes.

Little of these events is shown or reported in the Western media.

Many people were badly wounded after a helicopter fired a missile into a building; some had to have limbs amputated, including 11 year old Louai Barhoum. Over 50 people were injured.

A few days later, the USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning the continued building of a fence by Israel on Palestinian land.

27 reservists are grounded by the Israeli air force for refusing to take part in assassinations of Palestinians.

In October, Israeli forces bomb targets in Syria. The USA refuses to condemn the action by stating that "Israel must not feel constrained in terms of defending the homeland". So, Palestinians are not allowed to fight for their homeland by attacking regions outside their (occupied) borders but Israelis are. This message does not go down well with the Arab peoples of the Middle East.

Peace Now, an Israeli peace group, declares that of the 104 settlements in Palestine, that Israel has pledged to remove, it has removed only 7, all staged for the media. Five new ones were set up.

In November, the USA complains to Israel after their soldiers destroyed a number of water wells build by a USA aid agency, the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) for civilian use in Gaza. At the same time the USA agreed $2,000 million of military aid to Israel for 2005, an increase of $60 million over 2004.

The table below lists the casualties in this conflict for the three years up to September 2003.

Israeli civilians killed by Palestinian attacks 552
Israeli civilians under 18 years old killed by Palestinian attacks 100
Israeli occupation soldiers killed by Palestinian attacks 246
Palestinians killed by Israeli attacks 2197
Palestinians under 18 years old killed by Israeli attacks 399
Palestinian children under 15 killed by Israeli attacks 200
Palestinians assassinated by Israeli forces 123
Palestinian bystanders killed by Israeli forces 84

Afghanistan

Since the USA removed the Taliban government from Afghanistan, heroin production increases from 185 tons in 2001 to 2,700 tons in 2002. It is estimated that 300,000 people use the drug in the UK. A United Nations announcement that Afghanistan is now the world's largest producer of opium is ignored by the Western media.

In mid-February it is reported that at least 17 civilians are killed in bombing raids by USA led forces in Helmand province. The Western media hardly report these continuing attacks.

In March, USA military officials admit that two Afghan prisoners captured the previous December had died under interrogation at Bagram air base. The cause of death for the two men is given as "homicide" contradicting earlier reports of death by a heart attack and a pulmonary embolism. The death certificates indicate that one of the victims (known only as Diliwar, aged 22 from the Khost region) died of "blunt force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease". The other victim, Mullah Habibullah (aged 30) died from a blood clot in the lung exacerbated by a "blunt force injury".

USA officials have previously admitted using "stress and duress" on prisoners including sleep deprivation, denial of medication for battle injuries, forcing them to stand or kneel for hours on end, subjecting them to loud noises and sudden flashes of light, and engaging in culturally humiliating practices such as having them kicked by female officers. The USA claims that these practices are "humane" while groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have denounced these practices as torture as defined by international treaty.

Human Rights Watch has also criticised the USA practice of handing over subjects to countries such as Jordan, Morocco or Egypt where torture is a normal part of the security aparatus. Legally, it says, there is no difference between using torture and "subcontracting it out". The USA continues to refuse to recognise captives as Prisoners of War subject to protection under the Geneva Convention.

In an address to his nation, the USA president George W Bush, said that Al-Qa'ida suspects would "no longer be a problem to the United States and our friends and allies". The USA continues to refuse to allow its citizens to be subject to the International Criminal Court.

On the same day as the USA invades Iraq, 1000 USA troops supported by helicopters attack a region of the Sami Ghar mountains. Hundreds of homes are searched in several villages in the district of Maruf.

The chief of USA forces in Afghanistan, Lieutenant-General Dan McNeill, accuses the West of failing to rebuild the country as promised before it was attacked. The Prime Minister, Hamid Karzai (supported and protected by the USA), only controls the area around Kabul, the country's capital.

19 prisoners are released without charge from military detention in Guanatanamo Bay in Cuba by the USA without charge or explanation after they had been held as "battlefield detainees" for more than a year.

In Loi Karez, 40 people are killed by USA forces.

Dozens of homes are demolished by the USA backed police chief, Basir Salangi, in Kabul. The homes were in Wazir Akhbar Khan, an area wanted for the development of luxury accommodation. Buldozers flattened 13 mud brick one room houses with the families' possessions still inside. At the same time, all but four of Hamid Karzai's 32 cabinet ministers are given plots of land worth up to $170,000 in the Shir Pur district of the capital.

Ten nomads (including women and children) are killed when their tents are attacked by USA helicopters in Naubahar district. One of the survivors, Haji Lawang, complained that no USA official had been to the site of the bombing: "They had nothing to do with politics. This is a disaster. People said the Americans came here to help us build our country, but they are not. They are killing our people."

Although, little is reported about the country in the Western media, in a two month period between August and September, 300 people are killed, including civilians, aid workers and USA soldiers. Schools for girls are attacked and set on fire.

Amnesty International produces a report about the lives of Afghan women two years after the USA led invasion of the country. The report states that women continue to the victims of forced marriage (often to settle disputes), domestic violence (including honour killings), abduction and rape (often by the groups loyal to the war lords backed by the USA). Prosecutions for violence against women and virtually unknown. Women are routinely detained for adultery or asserting their rights.

The Occupation of Iraq

The USA (with the UK and Spain) sponsor a United Nations resolution to remove sanctions from Iraq after the USA and UK military victory. The terms of the resolution break a number of promises and pledges made by the USA and UK before the invasion of Iraq.

Topic
Quote USA Proposal
Aid
"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.
Government
"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".
Oil
"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
"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".
Weapons
"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:

India and Kashmir

The government of India admits that 144 people have died in the custody of the country's security forces in Kashmir since 1989. A provincial minister, Abdul Rahman Veeri, also admitted that 3931 people have gone missing during the same period.

Human Rights Watch publishes a report about the failure of India to convict the ringleaders responsible for the deaths of over 2000 people in the state of Gujerat in 2002.

In the Palakkad region of India, the USA company Coca Cola manufactures 85 lorryloads of drinks per day. Each lorry contains over 13,000 bottles. The water is taken from deep wells which have caused problems for the local inhabitants. Each day the company uses enough water to meet the minimum requirements for 20,000 people. Local farmers who could pump water onto their fields for 12 hours a day now find that the water dries up after 30 minutes.

Russia and Chechnya

In the region of Chechnya a vote is organised by Russia to grant the region limited autonomy. People are coerced into voting for the new constitution by being promised that their relatives (seized by Russian security sweeps) would be returned to them.

Aslan Maskhadov, who won internationally recognised polls in 1997, is not allowed to stand; neither are any of his representatives. Akhmad Kodyrov wins the election against six other unknown candidates, after four serious contenders are forced to quit from the race.

The Chechens have been fighting for complete independence. Russia has responded by flattening several cities and killing tens of thousands of people. The conflict is under-reported in the Western media.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines states that in 2002, land mines killed or injured 5,695 people, making Chechnya, the world's most heavily mined place.


2004

The Occupation of Iraq

According to Human Rights Watch, over 1000 civilians were killed by nearly 13,000 cluster bombs used by USA and UK forces in Iraq. The cluster bombs produced over 2 million brightly coloured bomblets. Many of the victims are children who are attracted to these bomblets.

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."

Child Victims in Fallujah
Child Victims in Fallujah
Child Victims in Fallujah
Child Victims in Fallujah
Child Victims in Fallujah
Child Victims of USA power in Fallujah.
These images were not shown on Western media but were widely shown around the Arab world.

© 2004: Al Jazeera

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.

Iconic Image of USA Torture of Iraqi
 
This hooded prisoner, wires attached to his fingers, was told if he fell off the box, he'd be electrocuted. All the more shocking, because it took place inside Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison, where Saddam Hussein's regime tortured and executed thousands.

Torture of Iraqi Detainees
USA Private Lynndie England pointing to the genitals of hooded Iraqi male prisoners.
Sexual Humilliation of Iraqi Detainees
Charles Grainer, a USA marine pictured with naked male Iraqis who were forced to simulate sexual acts on each other.

Torture with dogs
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
Naked detainee covered in excrement being made to walk along a coridor.
 
Sexual Humiliation
Naked Iraqis forced to simulate sexual acts.

This is the body of a dead Iraqi prisoner wrapped in celophane. The body was taken out of the prison after a drip had been attached to it to make it look as if the man was still alive.
 
Dead Iraqi

© 2004: New Yorker Magazine, Washington Post

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 Occupation of Iraq (With An Iraqi Face)

The USA agree that a special United Nations envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, would nominate an Interim Iraqi Government (IIG) to "take over after 30 June 2004". He states that he will select technocrats and ignore the USA-appointed Iraq Governing Council (IGC).

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.

Fallujah
Fallujah

Fallujah
Fallujah, a city of 300,000 people is reduced to rubble after
a week-long invasion by USA forces.


© 2004: Associated Press and New York Times

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 Troops With Damaged Mosque
Most of Fallujah's 120 mosques have been damaged or destroyed.

© 2004: Associated Press and New York Times

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".

USA Troops in Fallujah
Dead Bodies
USA troops in a ruined Fallujah.
Dead Iraqi fighters.


© 2004: Associated Press and New York Times

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.

Dead Bodies
Woman's Body
Dead civilians. The USA refuses to count Iraqi casualties.

A woman's body lies in the street.


© 2004: Associated Press and New York Times

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.

Injured Prisoner
Blind-folded prisoner having a broken leg treated.


© 2004: Associated Press and New York Times

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.

Region Civilian Deaths
Baghdad 6103
Mosul 2009
Basra 6734
Nasiriya 3581
Diwania 1567
Wasit 2494
Babil 3552
Karbala and Najaf 2263
Muthana 659
Misan 2741
Anbar 2172
Kirkuk 861
Salah al-Din 1797

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".

Woman Fleeing
A fleeing woman.


© 2004: Associated Press and New York Times

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.

Prisoner
Some of the thousands of prisoners taken by the USA.
Their destination and status remains unknown.

 
 
Prisoner
Prisoners
 
 
Prisoner
Prisoners

© 2004: Associated Press and New York Times

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.

Injured Man
Frightened and injured.

© 2004: Associated Press and New York Times

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.

House Searches
USA troops searching houses while frightened Iraqis look on.

Refugees
Hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the invasion of their city.


© 2004: Associated Press and New York Times

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."

Injured child
Injured child with her leg blown off.


© 2004: Associated Press and New York Times

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.

Israel - Palestine

A group of Israeli and Palestinian politicians, former ministers and intellectuals produce the Geneva Accord, a proposed plan for peace between Israel and Palestine. The plan requires both sides to make concessions but attempts to treat both sides as equals. The main points of the accord are listed below:

The Accord is given support by former presidents and winners of the Nobel Peace prize including: Jimmy Carter (former USA president), Nelson Mandela (former South Africa president), Lech Walesa (former Poland president), Michael Gorbachev (former president of the USSR) and F W de Klerk (former South African president).

The Accord is rejected by the government of Israel and thousands of Palestinians who want to maintain the "right of return".

In March, Israel assassinates the spiritual leader of Hammas, Sheik Ahmad Yassin. The wheelchair-bound partially-sighted paraplegic was blown up outside a mosque by missiles fired from an Apache helicopter. Seven other people are also killed. The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning the assassination.

In April, the USA president, George W Bush, makes a speech that approves a unilateral plan by Israel concerning the Palestinians and their occupied territories. The following points are approved:

Western media report this as a wonderful breakthrough and a chance for peace, even though it rewards Israel's ethnic cleansing and denies the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and will effectively turn Gaza into a prison for a million people. The story is told in the form "Israel to withdraw from Gaza".

The plan is discussed with the Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, the President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak and the King of Jordan, Abdullah. No Palestinian representative is consulted. The UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who had boasted that invading Iraq with the USA would lead to a just peace in the Middle East, praises the plan.

The leader of the Palestinians, Yasser Arafat, declares that the resistance to Israeli occupation will continue and encourages Arab states to meet and discuss the new USA policy. A legal advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organisation told the USA newspaper, New York Times, "imagine if Palestinians said, 'O.K., we give California to Canada.' Americans should stop wondering why they have so little credibility in the Middle East."

Phyllis Bennis, of the Institute For Policy Studies, writes: "The U.S. position returns Middle East diplomacy to its pre-1991 position, when Palestinians were excluded from all negotiations. Israeli-U.S. negotiations become the substitute for Israeli-Palestinian talks, with the U.S. free to concede Palestinian land and rights. The official U.S. acceptance of the Israeli occupation of huge swathes of Palestinian territory, and the Bush administration's willingness to cede internationally-recognized Palestinian rights represents a new version of the 1917 Balfour Declaration in which Britain, the colonial power, guaranteed settlers of the early Zionist movement a 'national Jewish homeland' in Palestine disregarding the rights of the indigenous population."

The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, criticizes the USA endorsement of Israel's unilateral plan when he affirmed that "final status issues should be determined in negotiations between the parties based on relevant Security Council resolutions".

Shortly after, Abdul Aziz Rantisi, the leader of Hammas for only a month, is assassinated by an Israeli missile attack. The killing causes mass anger throughout the Arab world and is condemned by many countries (but not the USA).

20 armed Israeli settlers move into Silwan, an Arab neighbourhood in Jerusalem, to occupy a seven storey apartment building. Police help as Palestinians are evicted. The area is recognised as part of the occupied territories by the United Nations.

During May, Israeli forces attack occupied Gaza killing people and demolishing homes, shops, power and telephone lines and destroying agricultural land. Among the dead were Asmaa Mughayer (15) and her brother Ahmed (13) killed on their roof as they fed pigeons. The Israeli army says that they were killed by a Palestinian bomb. Dr Ahmed Abu Nkaira, at Rafah Hospital, shows the single bullet wounds to the heads with their larger exit wounds, to UK journalist, Donald Macintyre.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Israel destroyed 100 homes in 10 days, leaving 1110 Palestinians homeless. 131 residential buildings were damaged.

UNRWA declares that the demolitions violate the Geneva Conventions. The human rights group, Amnesty International, calls the actions "a war crime" as the demolitions are part of a policy of collective punishments and to help the establishment of illegal settlements (actually "colonies") in violation of international law.

The USA says it is "concerned" and "troubled" but condones the actions as "self defence" even though they are the actions of an occupying army on occupied territories. In the UK, only one newspaper (The Independent) and one television news broadcast (Channel 4 News) covers the story with pictures. These show distressed families in and around the wreckage of their homes trying to salvage possessions, buldozers tearing down walls of buildings and houses being blown up. Israeli Justice Minister Yosef Lapid criticised his own government with this moving statement:

"I saw on television an old woman picking through the rubble of her house in Rafah, looking for her medicine. She reminded me of my grandmother who was expelled from her home during the Holocaust."

In Rafah, an Israeli tank and helicopter fire shells and missiles on civilians demonstrating against the house demolitions. Dozens are killed and injured, mainly children and teenagers. The injuries include severed limbs and intestines hanging out. The pictures seen around the world are so graphic that in the United Nations Security Council, even the rabidly pro-Israel USA abstains and a resolution is passed (by 14 - 0) condemning the attack and calling for Israel to respect international law and to stop demolishing houses.

The death toll between September 2000 and May 2004 stands at 921 Israelis and 2,806 Palestinians. In Gaza, over 2,300 homes have been demolished by Israel, making 17,594 people homeless. Rafah is the worst affected area where 11,215 people have already been made homeless over a three year period. Many people in Rafah are refugees from 1948, 1967 and 1973. Many have been refugees on more than one occasion. The dispair of a people under a 37 year occupation while the powerful West looks the other way can only be imagined.

Israeli Buldozer
An Israeli buldozer in Rafah.
Demolished House
Family among the ruins of their demolished house.

Demolished House
Family looking for belongings in their demolished house.

House Demolition
House being blown up by Israeli forces.
Demolished House
Family outside their demolished house.
Homeless Family
A homeless family.

Crying Children
Children crying after their home has been demolished.
Desolation and Despair
Desolation and despair in Rafah.


© 2004: Rafah Today

In June, a group of MPs (Members of Parliament) from the UK visit the area as part of a United Nations fact finding mission. They are shot at by Israeli snipers. The UK media bury the story.

In July, the World Court rules that the wall being built by Israel in the West Bank is illegal. The court found that:

"Israel is under obligation to terminate its breaches of international law; it is under an obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein stated".

Israel ignores the ruling, saying the the wall (which it calls a "security fence") is temporary. The court disagrees: "the construction of the wall and its associate regime creates a 'fait accompli' on the ground that could well become permanent, in which case, and not withstanding the formal characterisation by Israel, it would be tantamount to annexation".

Further, the court states that Israel is under an obligation to make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. It specifically excludes portions of the wall built on Israeli territory. This indicates that there is no problem with the wall itself but with the route of the wall.

The court confirmed that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights applies to all people over which a state has jurisdiction, meaning that they apply to the Palestinian Territories under Israeli occupation.The court also noted that the wall's route has been drawn to include over 80% of the settlements - and it rules that the settlements are illegal, a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

The USA calls the ruling "inappropriate".

Map of the Wall
The wall snakes over occupied Palestinian territory.

The wall snakes across the occupied territory of the West Bank. It cuts off villages from their fields; sometimes it cuts villages in two. It cuts off tens of thousands of people from their families, schools and places of work. Over 200km of a planned 700km has been built. Its maximum height is 8m (30 feet). By comparison, the Berlin Wall was 3.6m.

The court quotes United Nations reports which state that 16% of the West Bank will end up between the wall and the internationally recognised armistice line (the Green Line). This belt includes 237,000 illegal Jewish settlers (a more accurate word is "colonists") and 160,000 Palestinians who will live "in almost completely encircled communities" (a more accurate word is "ghettos").

The United Nations warns that "with the fence/wall cutting communities off from their land and water without other means of subsistence" it fears that people will leave. In the town of Qalqilya over 6,000 people have already left and 600 business or shops have closed. The town will be completely surrounded by a 11km wall. The UN warning continues that the wall is depriving a significant number of Palestinians of the "freedom to choose [their] place of residence" and "is tending to alter the demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory". A better phrase for this is "ethnic cleansing".

The Israeli Foreign Ministry defends the building of the wall: "if there was no terror; there would be no fence". This is reported in the the Western media who fail to mention the counter claim that if there was no occupation, there might not be a resistance to it.

The Wall
The wall.
Over 200km of a planned 700km has been built. Its maximum (30 feet).
The Berlin Wall was 3.6m.
   
School Children
Primary school children walking home from school by the wall.

Mahmoud Jaffal tells journalist Sa'id Ghazali that his route to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem from his village involves going through a tiny opening in the wall: "I am angry at the world. Israel does not respect the international law. Israel is a rebellious country. Why can Jews who are from Africa and all over the world move freely here and I, who live in Abu Dis, can not enter Jerusalem? It is disgraceful that the world can not do anything. We are human beings and not animals.."

Meanwhile, Israeli companies have moved factories and complexes close to the wall where they employ Palestinians who earn less than the legal minimum wage in Israel and are not protected by Israeli labour laws. The industries moving from Israel to the West Bank are many of the most polluting - Israel's strict environmental laws will not apply.

The Wall at Qalqilya (Map)
An 11km section of the wall will completely surround the town of Qalqilya. According to the United Nations, over 6,000 people have left the town and 600 business or shops have closed (as of mid 2004).
   
Qalqilya Before the Wall  Qalqilya After the Wall
Satelite views of Qalqilya in 2002 (left) before the construction of the wall and in 2003 (right) during the construction of the wall.

School Children
School children waiting for the checkpoint to open to return home.
   
House Demolition
Ana'ta district in East Jerusalem. One of thousands of homes demolished to make way for the wall.

According to figures from the Israel Defence Force and the Palestinian Monitor, 587 Palestinian and 111 Israeli children have been killed in the region between 2000 and 2004. The following table shows the causes of death for all non-military deaths for the same period.

Cause of Death Israelis Palestinians
Live Ammunition 3661,816
Rubber / Plastic Coated Bullets 03
Shelling / Bombing 108650
Suicide Bombing 4500
Tear Gas 020
Prevention of Medical Treatment 087
Assassination 1308+
Bystanders During Assassinations 0152+
Miscellaneous 45446

For virtually every cause of death, many more Palestinians die than Israelis. The only cause of death that affects Israelis more than Palestinians is suicide bombings. The vast majority of the media coverage in the West covers these suicide bombings. They are endlessly discussed while the other sources of death are virtually ignored. Each event is given major coverage including views of victims and their families. In contrast, Palestinian deaths by, say, missile attacks are only briefly shown, if at all.

In television interviews, Palestinian leaders are constantly asked when the suicide bombings will stop. In contrast, Israeli leaders are rarely asked why so many Palestinians are killed by live ammunition (the biggest cause of death in the table above). Indeed, Israeli leaders are never asked the fundamental question of when the 37 year long occupation will end; or why people die because of being denied medical treatment (a violation of the Geneva Conventions).

This one sided coverage gives a misleading image of the conflict. The fact that Western governments condone it is a betrayal of an occupied people as well as a source of deep anger in the Arab world.

The United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution condemning Israel's building of a wall on Palestinian territory. The resolution is passed with 150 votes (including the European Union) with 6 votes against (including the USA) and 10 abstentions. The UK asks Israel to comply saying that it has a right to build the wall but not on occupied territory.

The USA sends 100 F16-I jets to Israel. These are advanced jet bombers that "can reach Iran and return" and are equipped with "special weapons". None of this is mentioned in the Western press.

In September, Israeli raids in Nablus and Jenin kill 10 people including an 11 year old girl, Mariam al-Nakhlah. The girl's grandmother, Muyasar al-Nakhlah, said that "She was watching the ambulances taking away the bodies when soldiers posted on the roof of a house shot at her, hitting her in the face". 30 people are injured including a 14 year old boy shot in the head.

As usual, none of this is covered by the Western media while Arab stations like al-Jazeera are barred from entering the area.

According to United Nations aid officials, Israeli army bulldozers demolish the homes of more than 200 Palestinians in the Gaza refugee camp of Khan Yunis. The attack came after midnight and resulted in 60 families (about 230 people) losing their homes.

The story appears on the BBC website but is omitted from television broadcasts. Their journalists are barred from entering the area. Fathi Zaroub (who has four children) told the Associated Press: "We were forced to leave the house under intensive shooting from the sky and from tanks, we took nothing from our belongings. We ran away in our pyjamas and we have no other refuge."

In October over 150 people, nearly half of them children, are killed when Israeli forces attack Gaza. The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning the action. Israel arrests 13 United Nations workers. Israel destroys over 100 homes. According to the UK based newspaper, al-Sharq al-Awsat, the lack of international criticism to Israeli policies has emboldened Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, assuring him that he can carry out "disproportionately aggressive reprisals against Palestinians". The report continues: "With the Arab world in a state of complete paralysis, the US in the fray of a contentious election where Bush and Kerry are vying to appease Israel irrespective of its crimes, and with the EU content with issuing polite calls for restraint, Sharon feels he is above the world and above international law and that he can do anything he wants with the Palestinians."

In Jenin, 12 year old Ibrahim Muhammad Ismail is shot dead by Israeli troops during demonstrations against the occupation. In Gaza, 7 year old Ahmad al-Smari and his cousin, 8 year old Muhammad al-Smari are killed when an Israeli tank shell slams into their house near Khan Yunis, shredding their bodies. Three other people are killed on the same day.

In Gaza, Israeli soldiers shoot and kill a 13 year old girl, Iman al-Hams, as she walks to school. An audio tape of the killing was broadcast on Israeli television station, Channel Two. A soldier is heard to clearly identify the target as a child: "It's a little girl. She's running defensively eastwards, a girl of about 10. She's behind the embankment, scared to death". The Israeli commander is heard to say "Anyone who's mobile, moving in the zone, even if it's a three year old, needs to be killed". Ten bullets were fired into the child as she lay motionless on the ground. This story is not covered in the USA or UK. A year later, an Israeli court clears the soldier and commander involved.

After being confined to his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah by the Israelis for three years, 75 year old Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat falls ill. He is allowed to leave for Paris where he dies. The Western media's coverage of his life is mixed, many following the Israeli and USA line that he was the cause of the problems in the region.

1400 Palestinian civilians, including 570 minors, were killed in the occupied territories in 2004. Many Israeli soldiers have begun to admit publicly that they are often given explicit orders to shoot Palestinian civilians, including children, when seen entering or approaching a certain "danger zone". Amos Harel of the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, describes the Israeli army's practice of shooting Palestinian children and then covering up the killing as "despicable and criminal".

A field study published in the British Medical Journal reports that, in the previous four years, "Two-thirds of the 621 children killed [by the Israelis] at checkpoints on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half the cases to the head, neck, and chest the sniper's wound." A quarter of Palestinian infants under the age of five are acutely or chronically malnourished. The Israeli wall "will isolate 97 primary health clinics and 11 hospitals from the populations they serve."

The report described "a man in a now fenced-in village near Qalqilya [who] approached the gate with his seriously ill daughter in his arms and begged the soldiers on duty to let him pass so that he could take her to hospital. The soldiers refused."

A Friends of the Earth report finds that 94% of Israeli settlements (colonies) pump untreated sewage onto Palestinian land.

Tim Llewellyn, the UK BBC Middle East Correspondent between 1970 and 1990, describes how bias in inbuilt in the BBC's coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict:

"In the news reporting of the domestic BBC TV bulletins, 'balance', the BBC's crudely applied device for avoiding trouble, means that Israel's lethal modern army is one force, the Palestinians, with their rifles and home-made bombs, the other 'force': two sides equally strong and culpable in a difficult dispute, it is implied, that could easily be sorted out if extremists on both sides would see reason and the leaders do as instructed by Washington...

"When suicide bombers attack inside Israel the shock is palpable. The BBC rarely reports the context, however. Many of these acts of killing and martyrdom are reprisals for assassinations by Israel's death squads, soldiers and agents who risk nothing as they shoot from helicopters or send death down a telephone line. I rarely see or hear any analysis of how many times the Israelis have deliberately shattered a period of Palestinian calm with an egregious attack or murder. 'Quiet' periods mean no Israelis died... it is rarely shown that during these 'quiet' times Palestinians continued to be killed by the score."

Afghanistan

A group of UK parliament members visit Afghanistan. Their report describes the country as "in a state of anarchy", "a forgotten country" and "a basket case" three years after being invaded by the USA and UK.

After being promised by the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in 2001 that the West would "not walk away", the country's infrastructure remains shattered, warlords rule vast regions and opium production continues to grow. The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, controls only the capital, Kabul.

USA forces, occupying the country, continue to kill uncounted, unreported and unmourned civilians. A report by Human Rights Watch states that USA forces arrest people arbitrarilly, loot homes and torture and kill prisoners. The report states that conditions and practices in the prisons at Bagram, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Asadabad violate international law by denying legal protection and access to the prisoners.

The USA uses aid to extract intelligence. The UK newspaper, The Independent (issue 25 May), quotes a USA soldier telling journalists: "It's simple. The more they help us find the bad guys, the more good stuff they get". Teena Roberts, head of the country's Christian Aid mission describes the effects of this policy: "The result of this is aid workers have become targets. I have not come across the use of aid in this way before".

In 2004, child mortality remains at 80% (no change from 2001) while life expectancy has dropped from 46 to 43 during the same period. Pregnancy and childbirth remains the leading cause of death amongst women.

Amanullah Haidar, an ex-soldier says "I remember all these people who came here from Europe and America and told us how they were going to help us. But where are the factories and offices we thought we would get? What about the elections we were promised?"

In 2002, Laura Bush, wife of the USA president, had stated that "the fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women". According to Amnesty International reports that in 2004 "the risk of rape and sexual violence by members of armed forces and former combatants is still high. Forced marriages, particularly of girl children, and violence against women in the family are widespread in many areas".

The rare snow leopard and mountain sheep are endangered by Western game hunters paying $ 40,000 to USA companies for the privalage of killing these animals.

The United Nations reveals that opium growing in Afghanistan has increased by 64% in 2004. Most profits are made by the war lords who fought alongside the USA against the Taliban government, which had surpressed the opium trade. The country is ranked by the United Nations as a failed state.


2005

Israel - Palestine

The Israeli human rights group B'tselem, publishes a report on the occupied territories of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

According to the report, of 803 Palestinians killed by the Israeli army from 1 January to 27 December 2004, at least 450, including children, had not been participating in hostilities when killed. In the final days of 2004, at least seven more Palestinians, including a 10 year old girl from Gaza, were killed, bringing the year-long Palestinian death toll to 810.

The report added that 107 Israelis, including 40 soldiers and 67 civilians, were killed by Palestinian resistance fighters.

Between September 2000 and 2005, 3174 Palestinians (including 617 minors) have been killed. Of those, 1702 (nearly 54%) were not involved in the resistance.

During Palestinian elections, Israeli forces allow favoured candidate, Mahmoud Abbas, to travel freely during campaigning. His rivals are restricted and some arrested.

In 2004, construction began on 1,500 housing units in settlements (colonies) on the occupied territories of the West Bank A total of 3,700 were under construction. All settlements in occupied territories are illegal under international law.

One million Palestinian olive trees cannot be accessed by their owners because of the wall being built on Palestinian land by Israel.

In March, the Israeli government orders the confiscation of large areas of Palestinian land in the West Bank. The area is 10 square kilometres close to the city of Hebron.

The confiscation orders allow the Israeli army to expropriate land extending from the village of al-Burj to southern Yatta.

Hundreds of acres of farmland, including numerous olive groves, is included. This will diminish the size of any prospective Palestinian state in the West Bank.

All this happens while Israel accuses Palestinians of terrorism.

The Palestinians declare a truce with Israel in February. Settlement building continues. In April three Palestinian boys playing football are killed in Gaza by Israeli troops. Two of the boys were 15 years old; the third 14.

According to an aerial photographic survey, Israel has continued expanding its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. According to Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian negotiator: "It's either settlements or peace. As far as the Israeli government is concerned, the line seems to be settlements and their kind of peace".

An Amnesty International report looks at the plight of women under Israeli occupation.

Israel is criticrised for failing to allow sick and pregant women to cross checkpoints for access to medical care. Many babies have died after women have been forced to give birth in the street. Some women who leave the country for medical treatment or to visit relatives may not be allowed back. Israeli's demolishing of 4000 homes between September 2000 and March 2005 has affected thousands of women who are made homeless, often with young children. A law passed by Israel in 2003 prevents Arab couples living together if one is a Palestinian from the West Bank and the other is an Arab Israeli citizen.

The Palestinians are also criticised in the report for "honour killings".

The report is completely ignored by the Western media.

Another report ignored by the West, from the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, is published in September. This report states that between 2000 and 2005, sixty one Palestinian women have given birth at Israeli checkpoints in the occupied territories. This has resulted in the deaths of 36 babies. The report states that Palestinian access to medical facilities had been "significantly impaired" by Israeli measures.

Israel pulls out of Gaza after an occupation of 38 years. Israel continues to control all Gaza's borders, its air space, its sea beyond 5km, and its water supplies. In addition, Israel continues to build its wall on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and continues building more illegal settlements (colonies) The Gaza pull out is decribed in the Western media as a historic step to peace. Western television stations show the anguish of Jewish families being evicted from their homes - the anguish of the many more Palestinians who have had their homes demolished has, in the past, been ignored by these same stations.

Israel continues to overfly the territory of Gaza in jets that cause sonic booms on a regular bases. Many of the flights are timed to coincide with children going to or returning from school. A medical report by Dr Eyad el-Sarraj submitted to an Israeli court tells of psychological problems being triggered in children by the flights. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency stated that 350 of its doors and windows were damaged by these flights and their sonic booms. A spokeswoman for the Israeli Defence Force stated that the sonic booms were a "message to the terrorists".

Iraq Under Occupation

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.


2006

Iraq Under Occupation

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:

Israel - Palestine

Elections are held in the Palestinian territories. Israel bans people from voting in East Jerusalem until international pressure forces them to relent. East Jerusalem is considered as part of the occupied Palestinian territories by the United Nations.

The Palestinian party Hamas (involved in resisting the occupation as well as social and religious programs) is banned by Israel (the occupying power) from participating in the elections.

Both the USA and the European Union threaten Palestinians with a cut in financial aid if they vote Hamas into power. In addition, the USA threatens that they will not allow a Palestinian state to develop unless voting goes as required. No Western journalists question the right of the USA (rather than the United Nations or international law) to decide on Palestinian statehood.

Israel assassinates Mahmoud el-Arquan in Rafah, a town in southern Gaza. Ten people were injured in the blast.

Hamas wins elections that are considered free and fair by observers. The media in the European Union and the USA begin a campaign to discredit Hamas while the governments continue to use economic blackmail to force them to change the policies they were elected on. Israel states it will withdraw funds it is collecting for the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas, accused in the Western media of being anti-Jewish responds with "We don't hate Israel becaue they are Jews; we hate them because they are occupiers".

In the UK, the BBC states that "Hamas is fighting against what IT SEES as an illegal occupation by Israel". No mention is made of United Nations resolutions that also call the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem illegal.

While discussing the violence of Hamas against Israelis no mention is made of the larger number of Palestinians killed by Israeli military attacks. While discussing funding received by the Palestinian Authority, no mention is made of Israel being the largest recipient of USA aid even though it has been occupying Palestinian territory since 1967.

In late February, Hamas select Ismail Haniya as Prime Minister of the Palestinian territories. In an interview with the USA newspaper, Washington Post, Hamas offers to recognise Israel if a number of conditions are met.

"If Israel declares that it will give the Palestinian people a state and give them back all their rights, then we are ready to recognise them. Let Israel say it will recognise a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, release the prisoners and recognise the rights of the refugees to return to Israel. Hamas will have a position if this occurs. If Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, then we will establish a peace in stages. We will establish a situation of stability and calm, which will bring safety for our people.

We do not have any feelings of animosity towards Jews. We do not wish to throw them into the sea. All we seek is to be given our land back, not to harm anybody."

This story is not reported on the television or radio news programs in the UK or USA even though it appears on the BBC and Washington Post websites.

The USA and Europe stop all aid to the Palestinians after the election of Hamas. The USA threatens countries who provide aid to the Palestinians and banks who transfer monies with economic sanctions. USA companies are banned from any trade with the Palestinians. Israel stops payment of taxes it "collects for the Palestinians".

The Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya declares that "the Palestinian people will not give up their government no matter how many sacrifices we have to make".

The USA finances the creation of a militia of 3,500 men around the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to destabilise the elected government of the Palestinians.

KryssTal opinion: It seems that the USA approves of democracy only if the voters produce the correct result.

In 2002, a group of Palestinian prisoners were imprisoned in Jericho. The prisoners were to be in a Palestinian prison with UK and USA monitors in place. On the morning of 15 March, the monitors suddenly left. A short while later, Israeli forces stormed the prison and, after a siege, took the prisoners away in violation of the 2002 agreement.

According to Palestinian human rights organisations, Israel has introduced new restrictions barring Palestinians carrying foreign passports, including those married to a Palestinian spouse, from re-entering the occupied West Bank after leaving for their adopted country of citizenship, even for a brief visit.

The measures also affect long term residents in the West Bank like college professors, NGO employees, religious figures and naturalised spouses of Palestinians living in the West Bank.

Adel Samara, a Palestinian economist from Ramallah has a wife who is a USA citizen. Because she is married to a Palestinian, the Israeli authorities could stop her from returning to her family in the West Bank: "I really dont know why they are doing this to us. I am sure there is a special think-tank in Israel specialised in devising and inventing creative ways to make us suffer."

At least two professors and an administration official at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank have been barred from returning there without any explanation. Ghassan Andouni, public relations officer at the university, said the Israeli military authorities refused to allow the Palestinian professor to return "because he didn't have residency rights. You see, they wouldn't even give him a tourist visa to enter his own country, his own homeland. They view Palestine, including the West Bank, as Israeli territory and us as foreigners."

Bahjat Tayyem, who holds USA citizenship and teaches at the university's political science department, was turned back at the Jordan border while trying to enter the West Bank: "I think Israel wants to effect a total siege on us, a total isolation. They are not content with physical isolation which this evil concrete wall embodies. They want to reduce our towns and villages to inaccessible detention camps and large open-air prisons until we succumb to their bullying or implode from within."

Several peace activists have also been black-listed by Israel.

In June, Israeli missiles kill seven Palestinian civilians in Gaza City. Among the dead were two children. The strike follows an Israeli assault on a Gaza beach the previous week which killed seven family members including five children. Television images of a ten year old girl howling over the dead body of her father are shown around the world. Israel denies the attack but a USA forensic team report that a missile from an Israeli ship caused the deaths.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights document the killing of 14 Palestinians in a 24 hour period due to Israeli attacks. In a period of seven weeks ending on 21 June with the killing of a pregnant woman, her unborn child and her brother and injuring 14 of the same family - Israel had killed 90 Palestinians, most of them civilians.

Children continue to suffer in Gaza, even after the Iraeli "withdrawal". The territories are being starved of funds (with the support or collusion of Europe and the USA). Israel has sealed the area like an open prison. Israeli warplanes fly overhead creating loud sonic booms. Half of the territoy's population is under 15. According to Dr. Khalid Dahlan, a psychiatrist who heads a children's community health project: "The statistic I personally find unbearable is that 99.4 percent of the children we studied suffer trauma � 99.2 percent had their homes bombarded; 97.5 percent were exposed to tear gas; 96.6 percent witnessed shooting; a third saw family members or neighbors injured or killed."

Conditions for Palestinians continue to be under-reported in the West.

Australians journalist John Pilger writes: "The struggle in Palestine is an American war, waged from America's most heavily armed foreign military base, Israel. In the West, we are conditioned not to think of the Israeli-Palestinian 'conflict' in those terms, just as we are conditioned to think of the Israelis as victims, not illegal and brutal occupiers. This is not to underestimate the ruthless initiatives of the Israeli state, but without F-16s and Apaches and billions of American taxpayers' dollars, Israel would have made peace with the Palestinians long ago. Since the Second World War, the USA has given Israel some $ 140,000 million, much of it as armaments. According to the Congressional Research Service, the same 'aid' budget was to include $ 28 million 'to help [Palestinian] children deal with the current conflict situation' and to provide 'basic first aid.' That has now been vetoed."

In September, doctors working for the World Health Organisation report the use of phosphorus based weapons being used by Israel in civilian areas in the Palestinian teritories. Bodies have been examined that were burned "down to the bones". Since Israel "withdrew" from Gaza, an average of 10 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, although generally unreported in the West.

Afghanistan

The UK sends more troops to Afghanistan to "fight terrorism". This is an escalation of the occupation of the country. This is the fourth invasion of Afghanistan by the UK.

In July air strike by the UK and the USA kill many civilians. In in Nawzad (Helmand Province) at least three 227kg (500-pound) bombs hit a market. An attack in Uruzgan Province also killed many civilians. Around 60 civilians are killed in a USA air attack near Tirin Kot, southern Uruzgan. One villager, Feda Mohammad, told the AFP news agency that "They shot people who were running out of houses under fire from helicopters, on the fields and everywhere."

The USA military admits killing 40 "militants" but these are Afghans killed in their own country by forces from the other side of the world.

UK forces were involved in a long fight in Sangin.

UK forces call in USA planes to drop 500lb bombs on a town in Helmand province. Witnesses tell of many civilian deaths and injuries. At least three bombs were dropped, destroying shops and a newly built school in Nawzad. Most of the town's market of 150 shops was reduced to rubble. Shopkeeper, Haji Ahmad said: "We don't have an accurate number of dead people but there are bodies under the rubble, and there is no-one here to take them out. There are more than 50 killed, not less."

The occupation of Afhganistan continues with bloody resistance to it. This is under-reported in the West. According to BBC correspondant, Roland Buerk: "Afghanistan is going through its bloodiest period of violence since the fall of the Taleban in 2001 and Kunar province has seen much of the fighting".

The BBC website states:

"In recent weeks coalition troops have been pushing northwards into the remote mountains but the Taleban and their al-Qaeda allies have been hitting back. The US led coalition has been hampered by the rugged terrain and the ability of the insurgents to slip across Kunar's border with Pakistan into the tribal areas of the northwest frontier province to regroup, our correspondent says."

KryssTal Opinions:

13 Afghan civilians (including 9 children) are killed by NATO air stikes. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) is a group of European countries dominated by the USA. The attacks occured in Lashkargar (Helmund Province). A family of 13 were fleeing the fighting when they were attacked by an A-10 Tank Buster aircraft armed with 30mm cannon.

The UK newspaper, The Independent quotes a UK soldier's account of what the occupying armies are doing in Afghanistan:

"We are flattening places we have already flattened, but the attacks have kept coming. We have killed them by the dozens, but more keep coming, either locally or from across the border. We have used B1 bombers, Harriers, F16s and Mirage 2000s. We have dropped 500lb, 1,000lb and even 2,000lb bombs. At one point our Apaches [helicopter gunships] ran out of missiles they have fired so many. Almost any movement on the ground gets ambushed. We need an entire battle group to move things. Yet they will not give us the helicopters we have been asking for."

A report by journalist, Stephen Lendman shows the contrasts in Kabul during the USA-led occupation:

"In parts of Kabul an opulent elite has emerged many of whom have grown rich from rampant corruption and drug trafficking, and the city actually has an upscale shopping area catering to them offering for sale specialty products like expensive Swiss watches and other luxury goods. They can be found at the Roshan Plaza shopping mall and Kabul City Center plaza that has three floors of heated shops, a cappuccino bar and the country's first escalator. The rutted streets are locked down and deserted at night, but during the day luxury jeeps and four-wheel drive limousines are seen on them. There are also upscale hotels including the five-star Serena, built and run by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), offering luxury accommodations for visiting dignitaries, Western businessmen and others able to afford what they cost in an otherwise impoverished city still devastated by years of conflict and destruction. The arriviste class there can, mansions are being built for them, foreign branch banks are there to service their needs, and an array of other amenities are there to accommodate their extravagant tastes and wishes. In a country where drug trafficking is the leading industry and corruption is systemic, there's a ready market for those able to afford most anything, even in a place as unlikely as Afghanistan.

There's also a ready market provided by the array of well-off foreign ex-pats, a well-cared for NGO community (with their own guest houses for their staff), colonial administrators, commercial developers, mercenaries, fortune-hunters, highly-paid enforcers and assorted other hangers-on looking to suck out of this exploited country whatever they can while they're able to do it. So far at least, there's nothing stopping them except the threat of angry and desperate people ready to erupt on any pretext and the growing resistance gaining strength and support from the resurgent Taliban. There's also no shortage of alcohol in a fundamentalist Muslim country where it's not allowed, high-priced prostitutes are available on demand with plenty of ready cash around to buy their services, a reported 80 brothels operate in the city, and imported Thai masseuses are at the luxury Mustafa Hotel where the owner is called a Mr. Fix It, an Internet Cafe is located on the bottom floor offering ethernet and wireless connectivity, and the restaurant fare ranges from traditional Afghan to steaks, pizza and 'the best burger in all of Kabul'. The impoverished local population would surely not be amused or pleased comparing their daily plight to the luxury living afforded the elite few able to afford it. Their city is in ruins, and desperation, neglect, despair and growing anger characterize their daily lives.

This Potemkin facade of opulence doesn't represent what that daily life is like in the city and throughout the country for the vast majority of the approximate 26 million or so Afghans. For them life is harsh and dangerous, and they show their frustration and impatience in their anger ready to boil over on any pretext. As in Iraq, there's been little reconstruction providing little relief from the devastation and making what work there is hard to find and offering little pay."

The following statistics are for Afghanistan in September 2006:

USA contractors can earn over $1000 per day compared to $5 for local workers.

In Afghanistan (as in Iraq), large open ended, no-bid contracts totalling many thousands of millions of dollars were awarded to about 70 USA companies, including politically connected backers of the USA administration: Bechtel, Fluor, Parsons, Shaw Group, SAIC, CH2M Hill, DynCorp, Blackwater, The Louis Berger Group, The Rendon Group, Halliburton (plus its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root) and many others. Between 2001 and 2006, Halliburton was awarded $20,000 million in war-related contracts. The company exploited these contracts by doing sub-standard work, overruning costs and then submitting exhorbitant bills. Halliburton is building permanent military bases in both Afghanistan and Iraq (one of the rerasons for both invasions).

In contrast, "reconstruction" in Afghanistan has stuttered. In one example, a USA pledge of $17.7 million in 2005 for education in Afghanistan was re-directed to a private profit-making American University of Afghanistan only available to Afghans who could afford its high cost - meaning only a privileged few.

The South African agency Action Aid has documented aid that is "pledged" by the USA and other countries that never arrives (so-called phantom aid). Usually around 60% of this "aid" never leaves the home country. It pays for overpriced "consultants" who provide little in return. Recipient countries are obliged to buy USA products and services even when cheaper alternatives are available locally. Much "aid" is spent on USA-made weapons. The report accuses the USA to be one of the two greatest serial offender countries (the other is France) and states that 86% of all the USA aid pledges turn out to be phantom aid. According to Stephen Lendman:

"In Afghanistan, aid pledges to rebuild are a scam to enrich politically-connected USA corporations by developing new export markets for them. Iraq, Afghanistan and other recipient countries get nothing more than the right to have their nations, resources, and people exploited by predatory USA corporations as one of the spoils of war or one-way trade agreements."


2007

Iraq Under Occupation

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 invasion655,000
Estimated strength of anti-occupation resistance30,000
USA and UK troops killed3,006
Journalists killed77
Percentage of children suffering malnutrition33%
Population with access to clean drinking water in 2003 (before invasion)12,900,000
Population with access to clean drinking water in 20079,700,000
Iraqi refugees outside the country1,800,000
Iraqi refugees inside the country1,600,000

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
Gunshot wound 48%
Car bomb 20%
Aerial bombardment 9%
Accident 6%
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.

Occupied Afghanistan

Hundreds of people are killed by USA and UK air strikes in Afghanistan.

In Nangarhar, 16 Afghans are killed after USA soldiers begin firing on them after a suicide bomb attack. Afghans injured in the shooting told the Associated Press news agency that USA soldiers had shot at pedestrians and passing cars indiscriminately along a five-kilometre stretch of one of eastern Afghanistan's busiest roads.

Tur Gul, a 38 yearl old man shot twice as he stood by the roadside stated: "They were firing everywhere, and they even opened fire on 14 to 15 vehicles passing on the highway. They opened fire on everybody, the ones inside the vehicles and the ones on foot.".

One man told Al Jazeera that five members of his family were killed in the shooting: "American bullets murdered my family ... it's tyranny and injustice." Mohammad Khan Katawazi, the district chief of Shinwar, said the Americans had treated every person and car along the road as a potential attacker.

Abdul Nangahar, a police chief, told news reporters: "When local people came to the scene, the soldiers just opened fire on the crowd. People got killed and wounded."

Local people demonstrated showting "Death to America! Death to Karzai!"

Journalists from Associated Press had their images of a vehicle with dead bodies deleted by USA soldiers.

A NATO air raid in Kapisa (northern Afghanistan) kills nine civilians including two children. NATO is a group of mainly European countries led by the USA.

At the end of May, USA forces bomb the village of Shindand, killing 57 people, half of them women and children. Mohammad Zarif Achakzai, who escaped, told the BBC: "The bombardments were going on day and night. Those who tried to get out somewhere safe were being bombed. They didn't care if it was women, children or old men." Baryaly Noorzai stated that USA forces arrived and entered houses in a culturally insensitive way, angering the local people: "When the Americans came the people started fighting them back, and then the planes came and started bombing us. Even under the Russians we haven't witnessed bombardments like it before."

Over 100 people, including many civilians, are killed by NATO air strikes over a weekend in July. The story is ignored in the UK because of a failed terrorist attack that hurt nobody apart from the attackers.

In the village of Watapour, NATO air strikes killed 25 people who were burying ten people killed by an earlier air strike. The ten included nine members of a single family. In Uruzgan, USA forces killed 33 people.

Phillip Gordon (a Fellow from the Brookings Institute which looks at USA foreign policy) told the Asia Times newspaper: "If you talk privately to the generals, they are very worried. Far from bringing about the intended softening up of the opposition, bombing tends to rally people behind their leaders and cause them to dig in against outsiders who, whatever the justification, are destroying their homeland."


2008

Iraq Under Occupation

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.

The latest non-mainstream news from Iraq can be found on Informed Comment (Global Americana Institute).

Afghanistan Under Occupation

An air strike by the USA on a wedding convoy in the province of Nangarhar of Afghanistan kills 47 people including 39 women and children.

In the UK the story is only covered on the inside pages of some newspapers with the USA being replaced by the word "coalition".

KryssTal Opinion: 47 USA citizens killed by an Afhgan suicide bomber would be front page news with the names and personalities of the victims being given extensive coverage.

A USA bombing raid on the village of Azizabad (Herat province) kills over 90 people, 60 of them children. According to the BBC website: "Video footage, apparently of the aftermath of the raid, showed some 40 dead bodies lined up under sheets and blankets inside a mosque. The majority of the dead captured on the video were children, babies and toddlers, some burned so badly they were barely recognisable."

None of this video is shown on USA or UK television.


2010

Afghanistan

In mid February the USA and UK attack Marjah in Helmund Province with 15,000 troops. The UK BBC states that "NATO" (the USA and its allies) is there "to protect civilians". On the second day 12 people are killed when a rocket is fired onto their house, ten of the victims are from the same family. The USA justifies the killings by saying the "three militants were among the victims", as if firing rockets into villages is not a miltant activity.

Five more people are killed in a similar incident a few days later.

The BBC reported that a NATO (translation: USA) air strike killed seven policemen in Afghanistan's northern Kunduz province.

Another USA airstrike (again reported by the BBC as a NATO airstrike) in Uruzgan province kills 27 people in a convoy of three cars. The dead included women and children according to troops on the ground. The governor of the province confirmed that all the victims were civilians.

In April (over the Easter period when people are less likely to watch television news or read newspapers) the USA admits that its troops killed a number of female civilians in February and then removed the bullets from the bodies to cover up USA involvement. The deaths occurred during a night-time raid on a home near Gardez. One of the women killed was a pregnant mother of ten and another was a pregnant mother of six. Two other civilians, a district prosecutor and local police chief, were also killed during the raid when they came out of the house to investigate.

Initially the USA had said that the women had been stabbed to death before the USA attack but a NATO spokesman, Brigadier General Eric Tremblay, later admitted that "international forces" (translation, "the USA") had killed the women.

52 civilians are killed by a USA helicopter attack in the village of Regey on Helmand province. The BBC described the misile attack as by "international forces" without mentioning the USA.

Mohammed Khan, 16, said helicopters had circled over the village before the incident. He said that he had warned other children to take cover. But his mother told him not to worry them. He went further away and was shielded by a wall that saved his life when the attack started. "I heard the sound of the rocket land on our house. I rushed in screaming with my father and saw bodies lying in the dust. I found I was even standing on a dead body." One of the bodies was his brother.

The occupying forces initially denied they caused the deaths but then accepted responsibility.

Thousands of documents are leaked which show a picture of the wat in Afghanistan different to media reports.

Human Rights Watch writes "These files bring to light what's been a consistent trend by US and Nato forces: the concealment of civilian casualties. Despite numerous tactical directives ordering transparent investigations when civilians are killed, there have been incidents I've investigated in recent months where this is still not happening.

Iraq Under Occupation

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.


Samar Hassan screams after her parents were shot by USA troops at a checkpoint.

Palestine Under Occupation and Siege

State Robbery, a report published by Israeli economists states that, since 1970, Israel has defrauded Palestinians working inside Israel of more than $ 2,000 million by deducting from their salaries contributions for social security / welfare benefits to which they were never entitled.

The deductions continued even after the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994 and part of the money was supposed to be transferred to a special fund on behalf of the workers. According to information supplied by Israeli officials, most of the deductions from the workers' pay were invested in infrastructure projects in the Palestinian territories (in other words to large state subsidies for the illegal settlements).

About 50,000 Palestinians from the West Bank work in Israel and have there contributions deducted from their pay.

The report adds that Histadrut, the Israeli labour federation is complicit in the deception as it levies a monthly fee on Palestinian workers, even though they are not entitled to union membership and are not represented in labour disputes.

Most workers lose 20% of their salary in deductions that are supposed to cover old age payments, unemployment allowance, disability insurance, child benefits, trade union fees, pension fund, holiday and sick pay, and health insurance. In practice the workers are entitled only to disability payments in case of work accidents.

In March Israel orders its army to seal off the occupied West Bank for 48 hours. Israeli aircraft hit two targets in southern Gaza Strip. Witnesses reported seeing several injured people.

The United Nations humanitarian official, John Holmes, criticised Israel for continuing its blockade of Gaza. He states that Israeli actions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, including expanding settlements, was counter to the peace process.

Egypt reinforces its Gaza border barrier with underground metal plates (with USA encourangement and help) in an attempt to block tunnels built by the Palestinians to break the siege.

Close to 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements (colonies) built by Israel since its 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These "settlements" are illegal under international law.

24,145 houses have been demolished in the occupied territories since 1967, including the 4,247 that the United Nations estimated were destroyed during Israel's military assault on Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009.

During the Easter holiday when much of the West is quiet, Israel attacks the Gaza strip with 13 air strikes.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) passes a resolution calling for the end of the Israeli siege of Gaza against objections from the USA, one of eight countries opposed. Sixty three countries voted for the resolution. The USA said the resolution would "stir up tensions".

189 countries agree to set up a conference aimed at achieving a nuclear-arms free Middle East. The proposal came at a United Nations meeting. Israel rejects the call and states that it will not attend beacuse it is being called on to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the chief rabbi of Elon Moreh, a West Bank settlement ("colony") has prohibited women from standing in a local community election. He said women lacked the authority to stand for the post of local secretary and wrote in a community newspaper that women must only be heard through their husbands.

A flotilla of boats carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza is threatened by the Israeli military which controls the sea and air space of Gaza. The United Nations has reported that the amount of aid being allowed into Gaza (15,000 tonnes according to Israeli sources) is only 25% of what is required and has referred to the Israeli blockade as a "Medieval siege".

In late May, Irsaeli military attack the ships in international waters killing several people and injuring 50.

Turkish television pictures taken on board the Turkish ship leading the flotilla appeared to show Israeli soldiers fighting to control passengers. The footage showed a number of people, apparently injured, lying on the ground. A woman was seen holding a blood-stained stretcher. Al-Jazeera television reported from the same ship that Israeli navy forces had opened fire and boarded the vessel, wounding the captain. The Al-Jazeera broadcast ended with a voice shouting in Hebrew, saying: "Everybody shut up!".

The complete footage from the Turkish TV film.

Most of the people on board the boats were Turkish. According to the AFP news agency, Turkey states that it "strongly condemn[ed] these inhumane practices of Israel". The passengers also included a Nobel laureate, several European legislators, a Swedish author and people from the USA, UK, Australia, Greece, Canada, Malaysia, Algeria, Serbia, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Egypt (including two MPs) and Kuwait (including, Waleed Al Tabtabai, an MP). Women and children and elderly people were on board along with many doctors, teachers and journalists.

Releatives of UK citizens on the ships have told the UK newspaper, The Guardian, that the UK Foriegn Office has refused to help its citizens. Israel denies access to the survivors.

In Turkey, dozens of protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in the Istanbul, while Israeli ambassadors have been summoned to the Turkish, Greek, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Jordanian and Spanish foreign ministries to explain what happened. Greece, which also has ships in the flotilla, withdraws from joint military exercises with Israel in protest at the attack on the Gaza flotilla. Demonstrators in Jordan call for the closure of the Israeli embassy. The European Union calls for an independent enquiry and an end to the siege of Gaza. The Arab League condemnned the attack: "We condemn this crime, taken against a humanitarian mission and people. They were trying to help people. They were not on a military mission. Everyone should condemn this." The banned opposition in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, call for an and to the siege and Egypt's part in it. The newly elected UK deplores the deaths and also calls for and to the siege. Russia condemned the attack and called for an end to the siege: "Use of weapons against civilians and detaining ships in the open sea without any legal reason constitute obvious and gross violations of generally accepted legal standards."

The USA (which in recent weeks had been condemning North Korea for attacking a South Korean ship) remains silent for most of the day and then opposes an independent enquiry preferring it to be run by the Israelis themselves.

According to the BBC web site "Israel and Egypt tightened a blockade of Gaza after the Islamist movement Hamas took power there in 2007."

KryssTal Opinion: In fact Hamas won elections declared as free and fair by international observers. The unelected Egyptian government coludes with Israel under USA pressure and against the wishes of its own population. Israel has also attacked the ships of two NATO countries in international waters. Imagine the reaction from the USA if Iran has done that!

According to Israel, their soldiers were attacked first. The Al-Jazeera correspondent, Ayman Mohyeldin, on one of the ships reported that a white surrender flag was raised from the ship and there was no live fire coming from the passengers. The correspondent continued:

"All the images being shown from the activists on board those ships show clearly that they were civilians and peaceful in nature, with medical supplies on board. So it will surprise many in the international community to learn what could have possibly led to this type of confrontation."

The BBC television coverage briefly shows the attack and then shows two Israeli spokesmen putting their side of the story, blaming the victims and calling the passengers terrorists. No Gazans or Turks are interviewed. The victims are referred to as "pro-Palestinian activists".

A USA protestor, Emily Henochowicz (21) loses an eye after having a tear gas cannister fired into her face by an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.

Israel refuses to end the siege of Gaza regardless of what the rest of the world thinks and blames Iran. An Irish ship, the Rachel Corrie, was heading for Gaza on 2 June. The ship is named after a USA student crushed by an Israeli bulldozer and is referred by the BBC as "this ship".

When survivors of the flotilla raid are released telling of being beaten and having all their possessions taken away, the BBC does not cover any of the stories. The autopsy results of the Turkish victims shows that five were shot in the back of the head or the back of the body from close range. This story is also not covered by the BBC. An audio tape of exchanges between the flotilla and the Israeli military is aired as fact in many USA media outlets and is later found to have been edited to add insults to Jews.

Israeli government spokesmen had to apologise for distributing a video that mocked the flotilla members, some of whom died in the Israeli raid. The video, a satire, shows a group of singers declaring, "There's no people dying. So the best that we can do, Is create the greatest bluff of all. We must go on pretending day by day that in Gaza. There's crisis hunger and plague."

The United Nations had declared Gaza to be in the midst of a humanitarian crisis.

Iran protests at reports that Israel is planning to send three nuclear submarines with nuclear cruise missiles to the Persian Gulf, a story ignored by most Western media.

Children International (DCI), an international children's rights charity publishes evidence that Palestinian children held in Israeli custody have been subjected to sexual abuse in an effort to extract confessions from them.

Israel announces the demolition of 22 Palestinian homes in the Silwan neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem to build a tourist park.

In September, another boat attempting to break the blockade of Gaza is captured by Israel in international waters. The crew were Jewish activists from the USA, UK and Israel.

A report by the Supreme National Committee for the Support of Prisoners states that the Israeli Occupation forces arrested more than 345 Palestinian in October from various parts of the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip including 130 children and two women. This is in addition to the detention of more than 500 Palestinian workers for not having obtained Israeli work permits.

According to the report, the largest number of arrests occurred in the city of Hebron where 90 people were detained including 15 children.

The USA offers Israel finaicial incentives to suspend settlement building in the occupied territories.

KryssTal Opinion: These sttlements are illegal so in effect the USA is bribing Israel not to break international law.

Earthquake in Haiti

A powerful earthquake destroys Port-au-Prince the capital of Haiti in early 2010 killing over 200,000 people and injuring over 300,000.

China sends rescue teams, Cuba sends doctors and the USA sends troops and mobilises its coastguard to stop refugees.

The writer Noam Chomsky said in an interview "that's atrocious. The United States is the richest country in the world, it's right next door to Haiti. It should be offering every possible means of assistance to Haitians."

Venezuela cancelled Haiti's debt but is not invited to a G7 donors' meeting in Montreal by the Western powers.

The UK BBC reports the rescue operations as being led by the USA without mentioning the other countries involved or the USA's role in the 2004 coup that removed Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Haiti. In recent elections, Aristide's political party, Fanmi Lavalas, was banned.

The Prime Minister of Haiti, Bellerive, thanked three countries for their rapid provision of aid: the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Venezuela.

Brief History of Haiti

Date Event
14 August 1791 A slave uprising begins in northern Saint-Domingue.
4 Februrary 1794 Abolition of French colonial slavery.
1 January 1804 Saint-Domingue is renamed Haiti, and declares itself independent of France.
1825 France recognizes Haitian independence for the payment of 150 million francs (later reduced to 90 million as compensation for lost property).
1915 to 1934 The USA (under President Woodrow Wilson) invades and occupies Haiti.
22 September 1957 Francois Duvalier ("Papa Doc") becomes president.
21 April 1971 Francois Duvalier dies and is succeeded by his son Jean-Claude ("Baby Doc").
7 February 1986 "Baby Doc" is pushed out of Haiti by a popular uprising; General Henry Namphy takes power.
16 December 1990 Jean-Bertrand Aristide is elected with 67% of the vote; his Prime Minister is Rene Preval.
30 September 1991 General Raoul Cedras overthrows Aristide, who goes into exile; over the next few years several thousands of Aristide's supporters are killed.
Summer 1993 The paramilitary death squad FRAPH is formed, led by Toto Constant and Jodel Chamblain.
19 September 1994 USA soldiers occupy Haiti for the second time; Aristide returns from exile.
Early 1995 Aristide disbands Haiti's armed forces.
Mid 1995 Aristide's party Fanmi Lavalas wins legislative elections.
17 December 1995 Rene Preval is elected with 88% of the vote.
21 May 2000 Fanmi Lavalas wins landlide victories at all levels of government; opponents form a USA-backed coalition called the Convergence Democratique.
26 November 2000 Aristide is re-elected with 92% of the vote.
28 July 2001 First of many commando raids on police stations and other government facilities by ex-soliers based in the Dominican Republic, led by Guy Philippe.
17 December 2001 Ex-soldiers attack the presidential palace, provoking popular reprisals against the offices of parties belonging to Convergence Democratique.
April 2003 Aristide asks France to repay the money it extorted from Haiti.
1 January 2004 Haiti celebrates bicentenary of independence from France.
29 February 2004 Aristide is forced onto a USA jet and flown to the Central African Republic.
March 2004 USA troops occupy Haiti for a third time. Interim government is formed with Gerard Latortue as Prime Minister. The UK medical magazine, The Lancet, estimates thousands killed by police and anti-Lavalas paramilitaries.
June 2004 USA forces replaced by a United Nations stabilisation mission (MINUSTAH).
7 February 2006 Preval wins presidential elections with 51% of the vote (with Fanmi Lavalas banned).
12 January 2010 Catastrophic earthquake strikes Port-au-Prince.

Adapted from Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment, courtesy Peter Hallward.


2011

Palestine Under Occupation and Siege

The USA vetoes a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a halt to the illegal Israeli West Bank settlements. All other 14 countries voted for the resolution.

According to the BBC web site: "The Obama administration's decision risks angering Arab peoples at a time of mass street protests in the Middle East, the BBC's Barbara Plett reports from the UN."

The resolution was sponsored by more than 130 countries. It declared Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories were illegal and a "major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace".

Jawaher Abu Rahma was killed by inhaling tear gas while watching a demonstration against the Israeli wall in Bil?in. The demonstration included 350 Israeli and international activists along with Palestinians.

A day later, Ahmed Maslamany, was shot and killed at a West Bank checkpoint because he failed to follow an instruction given in Hebrew, a language he did not understand.

A leaked cable from Israel to the USA discussed the real reasons for the siege of Gaza (published in a Norwegian newspaper:

As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to [U.S, Embassy economic officers] on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gaza economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.

Nakba is the name that Palestinians give to the 1948 founding of Israel when more than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from what is now Israel. On the 15 May anniversary, Israel attacks Palestinians commemorating this event.

Twelve people are killed and 80 wounded in northern Gaza as Israeli troops open fire on a march, including children, of at least a thousand people heading towards the Erez crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

In the West Bank refugee camp of Qalandiya injuries were reported from tear gas canisters fired at protesters.

Israeli forces killed 12 Syrian citizens who had been taking part in an anti-Israeli rally on the Syrian side of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights border.

Israeli gunfire kills ten people and injures scores more in the Lebanese town of Ras Maroun, on the southern border with Israel. A journalist, Matthew Cassel, saw at least two dead Palestinian refugees in the town and reported: "Tens of thousands of refugees marched to the border fence to demand their right to return where they were met by Israeli soldiers."

One of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon was Abbas Jomaa who explained his reasons for marching to the border: "Israel may be 63 years old today but its days are numbered. Sooner or later, we will return."

Israeli Apache helicopters and F-16 fighter planes (both USA made) flew over demonstrators.

The USA threatens to cut the funding of the United Nations if it votes to recognise a declaration of independence by the state of Palestine.

KryssTal Opinion: That says it all.

Dozens of people are killed in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes in August. The United Nations, USA and Europe which had only just condemned state violence in Syria stay silent as do the media.

While the world looks towards events in Libya, Israel uses air strikes against Gaza. In six days 26 people are killed and 101 injured. The BBC ignores this story.

In a prisoner swap, Israel releases hundreds of prisoners, many held without trial. Although the majority of the Palestinians live in Jerusalem or the West Bank, Israel "deports" them to Gaza.

Over 100 countries in the United Nations vote to admit Palestine to UNESCO. The USA is one of two countries to vote against (the other is Israel). The USA threatens to cut funding to UNESCO.

Israel theatens to build 2000 homes on occupied land.

A Canadian boat (Tahrir) and an Irish boat (Saoirse) taking $30,000 medical aid to Gaza are stopped by Israel in international waters. One of the people on the convoy, Ahmed Sholi, stated:

"We will come back. We will keep going. To free Gaza and break the siege. We have a spirit that they're not going to break. People of Gaza have a right to live. Kids in Gaza have a right to live like any other kids in the world. We will keep going back until we break the siege. We will free Palestine and Gaza."

Israel has illegally blockaded Gaza since 2007 when they opposed election results in the territory.

A bid by Palestine to be recognised by the United Nations fails. Eight countries (Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Niger, Gabon and Lebanon) voted for a Palestinian state. Seven countries voted against: USA, UK, France, Germany, Columbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Portugal abstained.

The United Nations passes a resolution calling for an accelerated return of displaced persons who became refugees in 1967 and calling on donor countries to assist the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in meeting the needs of the Palestinian refugees. This resolution was passed by 160 to 1 (Israel).

The USA vetoes five United Nations resolutions by the General Assembly concerning Palestine. Two described below.

A resolution urging Israel to reimburse UNRWA for all transit charges incurred and other financial losses sustained as a result of delays and restrictions on movement and access, and to cease obstructing the movement and access of the staff, vehicles and supplies of the Agency. Passed with a vote of 163 to 7 (Israel, Canada, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, USA).

A resoltion calling for the immediate and complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. Passed with a vote of 162 to 7 (Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, USA).

Afghanistan

NATO forces (essentially the USA) killed 64 people in the village of Heelgal during four days of air and ground attacks in the Kunar region of Afghanistan.

A correspondant from press TV described the scene: "When we arrived here, people were weeping for their loved ones killed in the raids. They were still collecting body parts for burial as many bodies were completely destroyed."

In the same week the USA calls for sanctions against Libya for attacking people with heavy weapons.

Also in the Kunar region, twelve boys under 12 who had been collecting firewood, were killed by NATO air strikes. The BBC covered the story for a few seconds by saying that the NATO commander, General David Petraeus, had apologised for the deaths of twelve "people".

In Nawzad district, a NATO (that is USA) airstrike kills 14 women and children in late May. Some of the eight children killed were as young as 2 years old.

Iraq Under Occupation

Police in Iraq shoot on demonstrators in Basra and arrest journalists filming the protests.

© 2017, KryssTal


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