Over 100 people gathered at the Old Town House in Market Square to hold a Silent Vigil for Peace on the Eve of our nation's going to war against Iraq. The silent vigil has its own special power, expressing with candelight and deep silence more than words can express. These photos were taken by Mark Fisher and forwarded to the www.MoveOn.org organization. I took a photo of Rachel Corrie, and placed it above some candles on the steps. Rachel was a 23-year-old American student at the Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington and a peace activist who was was killed earlier in the day (see "In Memoriam" below). We gathered in silence and as our numbers grew, the moon rose in the sky above us.
Under candelight and moonlight
by the Town House steps
The Old Town House
with Shaft of Light
Gathering Close to the Old Town House
People began to collect at 7 pm. Our numbers
increased during the next two hours
until we were over 100 strong.
All photos by Mark J. Fisher
March 16th, 2003
Our mood was serious and thoughtful; yet it was comforting to gather together on this beautiful moonlit evening. Together, we were bearing witness.
There was a feeling of strength generated by this action, a strength to counter our individual feelings of helplessness in preventing the Bush war machine from unleashing horrific destruction against the people of Iraq.
Our peace vigils will continue.
Not in our name -- we are the people and the people have the power . . .
warmest regards to all, and peace,
Iraqui man weeping at the death of his wife
and three children killed by U.S. bombing
This photo was posted March 31st, 14 days after Mark
wrote his poem "Who mourns for war?", printed below.
Basra Resident weeping at the death
of his wife and children during bombing
Who mourns for war?
The governments call to arms appears to meet the nodding approval of leaders and average citizens across the country.
Yet all their arguments and speeches are meaningless when the only accompanying sound that matters most is suppressed.
Justified or not, war is always something to weep about. Anyone who supports war without empathy for the victims of war is a coward. No one can regretfully support a war.
The television screens are filled with politicians, generals, and entertainers who mistake
cameras for mirrors, cry for war without shedding a tear.
Rachel was defending the home of a Palestinian doctor and his family whose house was targeted for destruction. The bulldozer driver refused to stop and Rachel was crushed. She was a true peacemaker and died for her convictions. To learn more about Rachel's activities for promoting peace, see the last four articles at the end of this webpage.
75,000 and more strong . . . men, women, children & students say "NO" to Bush War Machine on a warm Saturday afternoon
Boston is the cradle of liberty!
People Have the Power!
Veterans Against the War
Viet Nam Veterans and their Families
gather on the Boston Common
for the March Against War on Iraq
These Veteran Warriors of Peace Marches
Have the Best Flag
The Spontaneity and Sincerity of Feeling
is shown by the homemade signs people
make and carry with them . . .
a Truly Grass Roots Peace Movement
No one group or person or ideology
dominates this worldwide movement.
Drop Bush Not Bombs!
" What do we want? ")
(We want) "Books Not Bombs!"
a march organizer consults with Boston cops . . .
below: mock funeral for Iraquis killed by bombing
The Mock Funeral of Iraqui People
Killed by the Bombings
Took Place Along the Length of
Commonwealth Avenue . . .
Three different groups marched
in procession to converge
on the Boston Common
Asses of Evil:
Bush, Cheney, Powell & Rice
All photos by Mark Fisher
March 29, 2003
Two Views of the Boston, Mass Peace March, Saturday, March 29, 2003
TWO VIEWS OF THE MARCH
BOSTON, MARCH 29, 2003
A Brief Forward -- July 11, 2003
This web-page is a kind of diary, and reflects my deep concerns, thoughts, and feelings regarding war and its social, ecological and economic consequences. It begins in February, with the massive worldwide peace demonstrations carried out by women, children and men -- globally -- the largest grass roots antiwar movement ever recorded -- a spontaneous uprising by the people on the Eve of War when the United States was preparing to bomb and invade Iraq for the purpose of deposing Hussein and his tyrranical regime, and to remove his "weapons of mass destruction". It is a compelling diary, with many significant articles and essays, and photos either taken by my husband, Mark Fisher, when we attended antiwar demonstrations, and including images I collected from numerous journalist sources. I worked on this web-page daily up until April 15th, when I needed to take a break from this war and all its horror and misery. The innocent children, mothers, students and families of Iraq, however, cannot "take a break". Every day, we hear of more civilian casualties and small numbers of coalition soldiers killed. When is war ever "over"?Maryclaire Wellinger.
Casualties as of November 15, 2003
There have been 491 confirmed coalition deaths, 420 Americans, 53 British, 17 Italians and one Polish, in the war as of November 17, 2003. The casualty list below reflects the names of the soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors whose families have been notified. This list is updated regularly.
The Fellowship of Reconciliation, in collaboration with many other peace and justice groups, is sponsoring a tour of two Iraqi women throughout the United States. Amal Al-Khedairy is the founder and director of Al-Beit Al-Iraqi, Iraqi House, an arts and cultural center in Baghdad. Nermin Al-Mufti is an internationally recognized Iraqi journalist. We encourage you to take part in the tour, a unique opportunity to support the first American visit of two remarkable Iraqi women who stayed and survived through the First Gulf War, the ensuing 13 years of oppressive sanctions and now the U.S. occupation. Click here for most recent tour itinerary.
The War on Iraq and Coalition Occupation --
An Italian soldier next to the barracks in Nassiriya destroyed by a suicide bomb attack. At least 18 Italians and eight Iraqis were killed. Photograph: Anja Niedringhaus/AP
On Day 246 of the War, November 15, 2003
Blasts Rock Synagogues in Turkey, Killing 20
The two car bombings in Istanbul also injure hundreds, most outside the targeted buildings.
ISTANBUL, Turkey Nearly simultaneous car bombs tore into two crowded synagogues during Shabbat prayers here Saturday, killing at least 20 people and laying waste to neighborhoods where Jews have lived easily for generations among Turkey's Muslim majority.
More than 300 people were injured, many critically, officials said. The government quickly blamed "international terrorists" for the attack, the latest in a string of bombings of civilian targets in Muslim countries.
Mosul, Iraq-- 2 Black Hawk Helicopters Crash in Iraq; 17 Aboard Die
Officials won't comment on reports that guerrillas shot at least one down. The U.S. and the Governing Council sign a pact to transfer power by June.MOSUL, Iraq Two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters plummeted to the ground Saturday in this northern city, killing at least 17 soldiers and wounding five others in the largest single loss of American life in Iraq since major combat ended May 1, the military said.
Plan to End Occupation Could Trim U.S. Force
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, November 16, 2003; Page A01
BAGHDAD, Nov. 15 -- Iraq's Governing Council and the American occupation authority agreed Saturday on the terms of a radical new plan for the country's political transition that would end the U.S.-led occupation by July 1 and could facilitate a significant withdrawal of U.S. troops next year.
On Day 243 of the War, November 12 2003 A suspected car bomb on an Italian military police base in the southern town of Nassiriya kills at least 14 Italian officers and eight Iraqis. Until now, no Italian military personnel had been killed in combat in Iraq. 22 killed in Iraq blast
Il Giornale Editorial, Italy, November 13
"Italy has received a loud and clear message... We are no longer the darlings... of the Arab and Muslim world as we used to be when the Italian government distinguished itself from the other western governments with their sly, oily, doublebluff policies. Today going on a peace mission means going to war...
Italian soldier's last letter home
Two months before carabinieri sergeant Alfio Ragazzi, 39, was killed in Wednesday's suicide attack in Nasiriya, he sent a letter home describing life in Iraq for Italian soldiers.
The letter below was published in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Thursday.
Two months have passed since I left our country, and even though there are thousands of kilometres between us, I can constantly feel your thoughts and Granny's prayers for me.
Things are quite OK here, despite the fact that journalists do their best to make our loved ones back home worry, and the news bulletins yell out the news.
Alfio Ragazzi with Iraqi children (picture: Enrico di Giacomo)
We always receive communiqués of the terror attacks that take place in the North, and sometimes the alert level is raised here, too.
But being true Italians, and with our 'football-spaghetti' policy, we have immediately managed to win everybody over: wherever we go, we are met with sympathy and esteem.
'Italy good', say the Mau Mau [sic], but it is the children in particular who go crazy when they spot our blue cars. They run after us and shout 'mister water' or 'mister food', which has become our trademark.
On a practical level, my squad and I have started a humanitarian aid campaign. We supply hospitals - mainly children's hospitals, which are in a pitiful state - with various goods and medicines.
When we leave Nasiriya to go on a mission, we often come across isolated villages where everything seems to have stopped at the time of the Sumerians.
Houses built with a mix of mud and straw; ovens made with hollow pottery where dung is used as fuel; bread made with flour ground by hand and food they gather after walking for several hours.
Time goes by and the days before we can meet again are fewer and fewer and go by increasingly faster
They drink water from the river and eat meat on special days.
The difference with our western civilization is unbelievable and difficult to understand unless you experience it first hand.
Apart from the outside world, life at the camp is perfectly Italian: lots of pasta and no shortage of bottled water, apart from some occasions when we celebrate K-day and eat combat lunch packs.
All considered, after the initial period of acclimatisation (which was really hard), things are becoming more normal.
We sleep in a bed, wash ourselves every day, we have a laundry service and eat at a canteen.
In short, time goes by and the days before we can meet again are fewer and fewer and go by increasingly faster.
I urge you not to worry too much.
A big hug and see you soon.
On Day 242 of the War, November 11 2003 Head of the US coalition, Paul Bremer, is summoned to Washington for high level talks amid growing unease at the lack of progress in Iraq and the mounting human and financial cost. The visit prompts speculation that the US is trying to speed up the transfer of power. Bremer flies to US for crisis talks
On Day 238 of the War, November 7 2003 Six US soldiers are killed when their Black Hawk helicopter crashes in central Iraq, apparently after being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. It is the third time in two weeks that Iraqi fighters have brought down a US military helicopter. Six US soldiers die in helicopter attack
On Day 237 of the War, November 6 2003 Several US papers report that, in the weeks before its fall, Iraq's Ba'athist regime made a series of increasingly desperate peace offers to Washington, promising to hold elections and even allow US troops to search for banned weapons. Saddam's desperate offers to stave off war
November 6th Message to Iraq
Food, music, letters and video prepared for Navajo SoldiersBy Marley Shebala,The Navajo Times
WINDOW ROCK : Navajo voices, food, faces, drawings, letters and music are headed to Baghdad, Iraq, today.
Navajo Nation Legislative Office staff assistant Leila Help-Tulley said on Wednesday that she and other Legislative Branch employees have been working late into the evenings to meet the Nov. 6 deadline for a Navajo care package for Navajo troops and other military personnel to enjoy by Nov. 20.
It takes about two weeks for mail to reach troops stationed in Iraq.
Help-Tulley said President George Bush designated Nov. 20 as the day for the "Native American Heritage Celebration" for military troops and personnel.
November is National Native American Month and this years theme is "Nations Within a Nation."
Help-Tulley said the idea for a message from home for the Navajo troops started with her brother-in-law, Julius Tulley.
Earl Tulley, who is Julius Tulleys older brother and married to Leila Help-Tulley, remembered on Wednesday that his brother went to Blanding, Utah, for his usual weekend military exercises for the Army Reserves in November 2001.
He said Julius Tulley never came home.
Earl Tulley said his brother and the rest of his company, which consisted of 30 other Navajos, were ordered to remain in Blanding until they were deployed to Iraq a few days later.Help-Tulley said that when Julius Tulley was deployed to Iraq on Nov. 26, 2001, her husband and she naturally kept in contact with Julius and his company.
Their latest contact with Julius was an email about a week ago, who wrote about the shooting down of an U.S. Army Chinook helicopter that killed 15 American soldiers and wounded 21.
"The attacks have definitely increased," stated Julius. "The enemy is now using sophisticated Iraq/Russian made anti-weapons more than ever before."He added, "Just a day before this tragic event, my platoon was attacked by four RPGs than landed about 150 yards in front of us. However, we were protected by ten-foot wall."The attacks dont really bother me anymore. Maybe its because it happens so often. I know Heavenly Father is mindful of me each and everyday.
"And of course this has to do a lot with your prayers for me. Thank you. Please tell my loved ones and supporters that their prayers are being answered here. Keep the faith and always be worthy of your blessings."
Help-Tulley said that Julius in earlier emails informed them about the Nov. 20 Native American Heritage Celebration that was being planned and who to contact about getting involved.
She said Navajo Broadcast Services NNTV-5 started working with them on taping messages of support and encouragement from Council Speaker Lawrence Morgan and several council delegates.
Help-Tulley said the legislative staff also contacted Navajo entertainers to provide some "rez" music on the video, which will be 40 minutes. She said students from Tse Ho Tso Middle School in Ft. Defiance and Ft. Wingate Community School asked to send letters and drawings to the troops for the Heritage Celebration.
A message board has also been created for people and family members to post messages for their loved ones and service people stationed in Iraq and other places overseas, said Help-Tulley. She said the video, letters and drawings, message board and food will be shared in Baghdad with all the troops and others to see on Nov. 20.
Enough traditional Navajo foods, such as nitsid digoohi (kneel-down corn bread) and Navajo tea, is being sent for Navajo soldiers and other service people to sample, said Help-Tulley.
She noted that the nitsid digoohi has to be dried before it was wrapped for mailing. Earl Tulley said other Navajo families tried to send nitsid digoohi and it molded before it reached their family member in Iraq.
He explained that nitsid digoohi and Navajo tea wee sent to Iraq because "its soul food." Earl added, "Its a familiar taste for Navajos. Home is so far away from them (Navajo service people). Particular smells, taste carry them back home. Thats the significance.
"Also corn is the staple diet of Navajos. We use it to prayer with and sustain and nourishment ourselves physically and spiritually. We wanted to recognize that."
He remembered that it was just a year ago that his younger brother was working as a staff assistant for then President Kelsey Begaye.
Earl said, "I love the soldier and hate the war. I do not agree with what lead up to this particular event, the war, but I understand and support that he (Julius) committed himself to a commander-in-chief and he (Julius) has to fulfill his mission. That sums it up - love the warrior and despise the conflict."
The 40-minute message from home will be aired on NNTV-5 on Nov. 10, Monday, at noon and 5:30
(below) Navajo Corn Maiden
On Day 235 of the War
Tuesday, November 4, 2003
Blasts hit Baghdad's 'Green Zone'
Bomb explodes at Karbala hotel; 1 U.S. soldier killed in Tikrit
Tuesday, November 4, 2003 Posted: 2:43 AM EST (0743 GMT) Tuesday, November 4, 2003 Posted: 2:43 AM EST (0743 GMT)
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Three rockets or mortar rounds exploded Monday night in the highly secure "Green Zone" of the Iraqi capital that houses the U.S.-led coalition's headquarters, a coalition spokesman said.
The explosions came a day after a U.S. Army transport helicopter crashed in a suspected missile strike, killing 16 soldiers and wounding 20 others.
One round hit a camp of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and two others struck areas near central Baghdad, all around 9 p.m. (1 p.m. EST), according to a Coalition Provisional Authority statement.
No damage or injuries were reported. The spokesman said an explosives disposal team was trying to determine whether rockets or mortar fire caused the explosions.
The area has been the target of previous mortar attacks. The Al-Rashid Hotel, which houses coalition military and civilian officials, was targeted in an October 26 rocket strike that killed a U.S. Army officer.
The violence continued Monday night, as a car bomb exploded in front of the Al-Barate hotel in the Shiite Muslim holy city of Karbala, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of Baghdad, a U.S. military spokesman said.
A coalition official Tuesday told CNN that the explosion killed one Iraqi and wounded five others.
The hotel is directly behind the Mukhaya mosque, where members of a militia -- formed by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr -- called Mahdi's Army are holed up. There was some damage to the mosque, but most of the damage was to the hotel, which was vacant at the time.
No coalition forces were in the area at the time of the explosion, the official said. Iraqi police are investigating and coalition troops are providing security around the blast site.
Witnesses said the bomb blew up near a generator at the hotel, wounding more than 10 people.
North of Baghdad, a 4th Infantry Division soldier was killed Monday afternoon when his vehicle hit a mine in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's ancestral homeland, a U.S. military spokesman said.
Outside the town of Uja, a 4th Infantry Division patrol came under attack by small arms fire Monday evening, the spokesman said. No casualties were reported.
The 4th Infantry said it arrested nine people and seized 15 guns, 16 grenades, three unidentified missiles and four makeshift bombs in raids in northern Iraq.
The latest violence came as 16 of 20 U.S. soldiers injured in Sunday's helicopter crash west of Baghdad arrived at Ramstein Air Base in Germany early Monday and were taken to nearby Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
All were reported in stable condition, but 11 were being treated and evaluated in the hospital's intensive care unit, said Lndstuhl's commander, Col. Rhonda Cornum.
"As with any airplane accident, [there are] a lot of broken bones, a lot of compressions, loss of consciousness from being knocked around, some head injuries -- that sort of thing," Cornum said.
The CH-47 Chinook crash and the deaths of another U.S. soldier in a Baghdad bombing and two civilian contractors in an attack near Fallujah made Sunday the deadliest day for Americans in Iraq since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1.
Witnesses reported seeing missile trails when the twin-engine transport helicopter went down, a U.S. military spokesman said, but the official cause was under investigation. A second helicopter was flying with it but was unscathed.
In a Monday speech largely about the nation's economy, Bush made no direct reference to the crash victims. But he did vow to continue the U.S. mission in Iraq. (Full story)
His comments followed a White House statement Sunday that mourned the soldiers' deaths and said American resolve was unshakable.
Senate Approves $87 Billion For Iraq Bush Gets Package Largely as Requested
By Helen Dewar Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, November 4, 2003; Page A01
The Senate gave final congressional approval yesterday to an $87.5 billion spending package for military and reconstruction operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, giving President Bush nearly all he wanted despite some lawmakers' earlier demands for changes.
The bill, one of the largest military and foreign aid spending measures in U.S. history, will go to the president for his signature. The House had approved it, 298 to 121, early Friday.
3 Blasts Seem Aimed at U.S. Compound
By DEXTER FILKINS
Published: November 5, 2003
AGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 4 Three powerful explosions in rapid succession shook central Baghdad on Tuesday evening in what apparently was a mortar attack on the headquarters of the American civilian authorities here.
Iraqi witnesses standing near the gates said the explosions hit the sprawling, walled-in American compound about 7:45 p.m.
A spokeswoman for American military said Tuesday night that four people had been wounded, but she gave no details.
The witnesses said the mortar shells had come from a neighborhood north of the American headquarters and landed inside.
"I looked up and saw trails of white light, and then they exploded inside there," said Muhammad al-Mayehi, an Iraqi, pointing toward the offices of L. Paul Bremer III, the chief civilian administrator, and his staff.
The explosions, which rattled buildings on both sides of the Tigris River, added to a growing sense of insecurity in the capital and in central Iraq, where guerrillas fighting the American occupation have recently carried out a number of spectacular attacks.
The explosions followed the deaths of at least 15 American soldiers on Sunday, when their helicopter was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over the town of Falluja. (Early reports from the military indicated that 16 had been killed, but the Department of Defense is now confirming only 15.) Last week, suicide bombers struck targets across the capital, killing 34 people.
On Day 234 of the War, November 3, 2003
The Pentagon is quietly moving to fill draft board vacancies nationwide. While officials say there's no cause to worry, some experts aren't so sure.
By Dave Lindorff, Colunnist, Salon.com
Nov. 3, 2003 | The community draft boards that became notorious for sending reluctant young men off to Vietnam have languished sinced the early 1970s, their membership ebbing and their purpose all but lost when the draft was ended. But a few weeks ago, on an obscure federal Web site devoted to the war on terrorism, the Bush administration quietly began a public campaign to bring the draft boards back to life. Especially for those who were of age to fight in the Vietnam, it is an ominous flashback of a message. Even floating the idea of a draft in the months before an election would be politically explosive, and the Pentagon last week was adamant that the push to staff up the draft boards is not a portent of things to come. Increasingly, however, military experts and even some influential members of Congress are suggesting that if Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's prediction of a "long, hard slog" in Iraq and Afghanistan proves accurate, the U.S. may have no choice but to consider a draft to fully staff the nation's military in a time of global instability.
On Day 233, November 2 2003 Sixteen US soldiers are killed after their Chinook helicopter is struck six miles south of Falluja in the deadliest attack against the occupying powers since the US declared major combat to be over. 16 die in attack on US helicopter
On Day 227, October 27 2003 Thirty-five people are killed in attacks in Baghdad on its bloodiest day since the fall of Saddam. A suicide bomber rams an explosive-laden ambulance into barriers outside the Red Cross headquarters and three police stations are attacked. 35 killed and 224 injured in Baghdad bomb attacks
On Day 226, October 26 2003 Iraqi resistance fighters fire a rocket salvo at the Rashid hotel in Baghdad, narrowly missing Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy defence secretary. An American colonel is killed and 18 people wounded. US hawk escapes Baghdad rocket attack
On Day 224, October 24 2003 Last-minute pledges from Arab states and Japan gave a major boost to Iraq's reconstruction funds as governments opposed to the US-led invasion began to soften their positions. Arabs and Japan pledge reconstruction cash
On Day 222, October 23 2003 Major security failures at the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad were partially responsible for the large number of deaths and casualties caused by the truck bomb there in August, according to a report on the incident. Security lapses blamed for UN bomb
On Day 218 October 19 2003 Two American soldiers are killed and one wounded in an ambush outside the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. Troops die as Saddam urges jihad
On Day 216, October 17 2003 Three American soldiers and at least seven Iraqis are killed in a gun battle outside the office
On Day 233, November 2 2003 Sixteen US soldiers are killed after their Chinook helicopter is struck six miles south of Falluja in the deadliest attack against the occupying powers since the US declared major combat to be over. 16 die in attack on US helicopter
On Day 227, October 27 2003 Thirty-five people are killed in attacks in Baghdad on its bloodiest day since the fall of Saddam. A suicide bomber rams an explosive-laden ambulance into barriers outside the Red Cross headquarters and three police stations are attacked. 35 killed and 224 injured in Baghdad bomb attacks
On Day 226, October 26 2003 Iraqi resistance fighters fire a rocket salvo at the Rashid hotel in Baghdad, narrowly missing Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy defence secretary. An American colonel is killed and 18 people wounded. US hawk escapes Baghdad rocket attack
On Day 224, October 24 2003 Last-minute pledges from Arab states and Japan gave a major boost to Iraq's reconstruction funds as governments opposed to the US-led invasion began to soften their positions. Arabs and Japan pledge reconstruction cash
On Day 222, October 23 2003 Major security failures at the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad were partially responsible for the large number of deaths and casualties caused by the truck bomb there in August, according to a report on the incident. Security lapses blamed for UN bomb
On Day 218 October 19 2003 Two American soldiers are killed and one wounded in an ambush outside the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. Troops die as Saddam urges jihad
On Day 201, October 2 2003 The man in charge of a hunt for Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction admits that no weapon stocks had been found, and that all a three-month search, costing some £180m ($300m), had uncovered was a single vial containing a possible strain of biological agent. 'There are no shining weapons'
On Day 192 of the War on Iraq
Wednesday September 24, 2003
Bush isolated as speech to UN falls flat Gary Younge in New York The Guardian
George Bush was increasingly isolated on the global stage yesterday as he defied intense criticism from a litany of world leaders at the United Nations over the war on Iraq.
Showing no contrition for defying the world body in March or the declining security situation in Iraq, the US president called for the world to set aside past differences and help rebuild the country: "Now the nation of Iraq needs and deserves our aid - and all nations of goodwill should step forward and provide that support," he said.
But the French president, Jacques Chirac, who spoke after Mr Bush, blamed the US-led war for sparking one of the most severe crises in the history of the UN and argued that Mr Bush's unilateral actions could lead to anarchy.
"No one can act alone in the name of all and no one can accept the anarchy of a society without rules," he said. "The war, launched without the authorisation of the security council, shook the multilateral system. The UN has just been through one of the most grave crises in its history."
Earlier the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, condemned the doctrine of preemptive military intervention, arguing that it could lead to the unjustified "lawless use of force" and posed a "fundamental challenge" to world peace and stability.
"My concern is that, if it were to be adopted, it could set precedents that resulted in a proliferation of the unilateral and lawless use of force, with or without credible justification," said Mr Annan. "This logic represents a fundamental challenge to the principles on which, however imperfectly, world peace and stability have rested for the last 58 years."
The Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who also spoke before Mr Bush, said: "A war can perhaps be won single-handedly. But peace - lasting peace - cannot be secured without the support of all."
Mr Bush's speech was received with polite applause from the 191-member states, while his critics were given a far warmer reception.
The American president was not just under fire for his decision to wage war without international consent but also for his refusal to move more quickly towards handing control of the country back to the Iraqi people.
Both Mr Chirac and the German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, called for a transition within months, insisting that this was crucial to securing peace. Mr Bush has not laid out a timetable. "This process must unfold according to the needs of Iraqis - neither hurried nor delayed by the voices of other parties," he said.
Mr Bush is under increasing domestic political pressure to outline a strategy to get out of Iraq, where increasing military casualties and growing financial burden on a strained economy are draining support ahead of next year's presidential election.
Having bypassed the UN to bomb Iraq, America returned to the security council earlier this month asking for military and financial help to assist it with the costs of the occupation. The resolution is currently before the security council, where France has the power of veto.
A Vague Pitch Leaves Most in Puzzlement
By GlennKessler Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, September 24, 2003; Page A01
TED NATIONS, Sept. 23 -- In his speech today to the U.N. General Assembly, President Bush tried to walk a fine line between defending a war deeply unpopular in much of the world and looking for help from reluctant countries to rebuild Iraq. The result left diplomats and lawmakers puzzled about his ultimate intentions.
Bush, in fact, sidestepped direct answers to many of the questions that have arisen since the administration said it would seek a Security Council resolution that would expand the United Nations' role in Iraq and call on countries to contribute more troops and money. How quickly would the United States grant sovereignty to the Iraqis? Would the administration grant any decision-making role to the United Nations in exchange for its imprimatur? Or does the administration simply want assistance without giving up much in return?
One reason for the vagueness is that U.S. diplomats have discovered in recent weeks that little help is likely to be forthcoming. Secretary General Kofi Annan, deeply disturbed by the bombing attacks on the U.N. mission in Baghdad, has urged a slow and careful review of the organization's role in Iraq, U.S. and U.N. officials say. The list of countries willing and able to provide troops appears to have dwindled, not increased, and even financially deep-pocketed countries such as Japan have indicated they would not be able to contribute much to the U.S. enterprise in Iraq, U.S. officials said.
"There is a hell of a case of donor fatigue," a senior administration official said today. "A realistic appraisal [of what a new resolution would bring] is 'not much.' "
Bush's rhetorical maneuvering room was limited in other ways. Faced with the worst approval ratings of his presidency, Bush designed his speech to appeal to a domestic audience. But the president's conservative base, long skeptical of the United Nations, would not approve of an explicit acknowledgment of a broad U.N. role in Iraq. Bush limited his comments on potential U.N. aid to programs that bring broad bipartisan support, such as UNICEF and the World Food Program.
In Bush's most direct plea for assistance, he declared, "Every young democracy needs the help of friends. Now the nation of Iraq needs and deserves our aid, and all nations of goodwill should step forward and provide that support."
Democrats on Capitol Hill quickly took note of Bush's unwillingness to offer a detailed plan for Iraq. "He came before the international community and he could have made the case for more troops, for more resources. He didn't do that," Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) said. "He hasn't presented a plan to the United Nations. He hasn't presented one to this country or to this Congress. It was a missed opportunity, and that's very disappointing."
In the view of many in attendance here, Iraq is largely a problem of Bush's making. The Security Council was deeply divided over whether to authorize military action against Iraq -- and Bush withdrew a proposed resolution before the war when it faced certain defeat. Many nations might have been willing to support a war if the administration had been willing to give U.N. weapons inspections a few more weeks, but the administration refused to alter its military timetable. The inability to find proscribed weapons after the war also hurt the administration's case.
Bush, in defending the war, argued, "Events during the past two years have set before us the clearest of divides: between those who seek order, and those who spread chaos; between those who work for peaceful change, and those who adopt the methods of gangsters."
But in two speeches that bracketed the president's address, Annan and French President Jacques Chirac suggested that it is the administration's doctrine of "preemption" -- the promise to strike against emerging threats -- that threatens to spread chaos across the globe. Both men bluntly said that the Bush administration is undermining the collective security arrangements that have governed the world since World War II.
"The United Nations has just weathered one of its most serious trials in its history: respect for the [U.N.] Charter, the use of force, were at the heart of the debate," Chirac said. "The war, which was started without the authorization of the Security Council, has shaken the multilateral system."
Annan said that reserving "the right to act unilaterally or in ad hoc coalitions . . . represents a fundamental challenge to the principles on which, however imperfectly, world peace and stability have rested for the last 58 years. My concern is that if it were to be adopted, it would set precedents that resulted in a proliferation of the unilateral and lawless use of force with or without justification."
The enthusiastic reaction to those speeches in the General Assembly hall, compared to the tepid, almost perfunctory applause for Bush's presentation, underscored the difficult task ahead for the administration as it tries to build support for the nascent Iraqi government.
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan Speaks to U.N. General Assembly
FDCH E-Media Tuesday, September 23, 2003; 1:26 PM
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan spoke Tuesday before the U.N. General Assembly. Complete transcript follows:
ANNAN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Distinguished heads of state and government, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the last 12 months have been very painful for those of us who believe in collective answers to our common problems and challenges.
In many countries terrorism has once again brought death and suffering to innocent people. In the Middle East and in certain parts of Africa violence has continued to escalate. In the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere the threat of nuclear proliferation casts an ominous shadow across the landscape. And barely one month ago in Baghdad the United Nations itself suffered (OFF-MIKE) in which the international community lost some of its most talented servants.
Yesterday, the United Nations was again attacked and it was only because of the prompt action by the Iraqi police that another major disaster was averted. Unfortunately, one Iraqi policeman lost his life.
On this occasion, I convey the most sincere condolences to members of the bereaved families, but I am also thinking of the 19 people who were murdered in the other attack. I hope that very quickly all those who have been injured or who were killed in the war, soldiers and innocent civilians, I do hope that they all remain in our prayers.
In this context I deplore, as you do all I am sure, the brutal attack. Dr. Akila al-Hashimi was attacked, the member of the governing council. I hope that he soon recovers from that attack.
The United Nations is you; you are the United Nations. The staff who were killed and injured in the attack on our Baghdad headquarters were your staff. You had given them a mandate to assist the suffering Iraqi people and help recover their sovereignty.
In future, not only in Iraq, but wherever the United Nations is engaged, we must take more effective measures to protect the security of our staff. I count on your full support: legal, political and financial.
Meanwhile, let me reaffirm the great importance I attach to a successful outcome in Iraq. Whatever view each of us may take of the events of recent months, it is vital to all of us that the outcome is a stable, democratic Iraq, at peace with itself and with its neighbors and contributing to the stability in the region.
Subject to satisfactory security considerations, the United Nations system is prepared to play as full a role in working for satisfactory outcome in Iraq and to do so as part of an international effort, an effort by the whole international community pulling together on the basis of a sound and viable policy.
If it takes extra time and patience to forge that policy, a policy that is collective, coherent and workable, then I, for one, would regard that time as well spent. Indeed, this is how we must approach all the many pressing crises that confront us today.
Excellencies, three years ago, when you came here for the Millennium Summit, we shared a vision, a vision of global solidarity and security expressed in the Millennium Declaration. But recent events have called that consensus in question. All of us know there are new threats that must be faced or perhaps old threats in new and dangerous combinations: new forms of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
But while some consider these threats as self-evidently the main challenge to world peace and security, others feel more immediately menaced by small arms employed in civil conflict or by so-called soft threats, such as persistence of extreme poverty, the disparity of income between and within societies, and the spread of infectious diseases, or climate change and environmental degradation.
In truth, we do not have to choose. The United Nations must confront all these threats and challenges, new and old, hard and soft. It must be fully engaged in the struggle for development and poverty eradication, starting with the achievement of the millennium development goals. In the common struggle to protect our common environment and in the struggle for human rights, democracy and good governance, in fact, all of these struggles are linked. We now see with chilling clarity that a world where many millions of people endure brutal oppression and extreme misery will never be fully secure even for its most privileged inhabitants.
Yet the hard threats, such as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, are real and cannot be ignored. Terrorism is not a problem only for the rich countries; ask the people of Bali or Bombay, Nairobi or Casablanca. Weapons of mass destruction do not threaten only the Western or northern world; ask the people of Iran or of Halabjah in Iraq.
Where we disagree it seems is on how to respond to these threats. Since this organization was founded, states have generally sought to deal with threats to the peace through containment and deterrence by a system based on collective security and the United Nations Charter.
This may be a moment no less decisive than in 1945 itself, when the United Nations was founded.
At that time, a group of far-sighted leaders, led and inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, were determined to make the second half of the 20th century different from the first half. They saw that the human race had only one world to live in and that, unless it managed its affairs prudently, all human beings may perish.
So they drew up rules to govern international behavior and founded a network of institutions with the United Nations at its center, in which the peoples of the world could work together for the common good.
Now we must decide whether it is possible to continue on the basis agreed then or whether radical changes are needed. And we must not shy away from questions about the adequacy and effectiveness of the rules and instruments at our disposal.
Among those instruments, none is more important than the Security Council itself. In my recent report on the implementation of the millennium declaration, I drew attention to the urgent need for the council to regain the confidence of states and of world public opinion, both by demonstrating its ability to deal effectively with the most difficult issues and by becoming more broadly representative of the international community as a whole, as well as the geopolitical realities of today.
The council needs to consider how it will deal with the possibility that individual states may use force preemptively against perceived threats. Its members may need to begin a discussion on the criteria for an early authorization of coercive measures to address certain types of threats; for instance, terrorist groups armed with weapons of mass destruction.
And they still need to engage in serious discussions of the best way to respond to threats of genocide or other comparable massive violations of human rights, an issue which I raised myself from this podium in 1999.
Once again this year, our collective response to events of this type in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia has been hesitant and tardy.
As for the composition of the council that has been on the agenda of this assembly for over a decade, virtually all member states agree that the council should be enlarged, but there is no agreement on the details.
I respectfully suggest to you, Excellencies, that in the eyes of your peoples, the difficulty of reaching an agreement does not excuse your failure to do so. If you want the council and the council's decisions to command greater respect, particularly in the developing world, you need to address the issue of its composition with greater urgency.
But the Security Council is not the only institution that needs strengthening. As you know, I'm doing my best to make the secretariat more effective and I look to this assembly to support my efforts. Indeed in my report, I also suggested that this assembly itself needs to be strengthened and that the role of the Economic and Social Council and the role of the United Nations as a whole in economic and social affairs, including its relations to the Bretton Woods institutions, needs to be rethought and reinvigorated.
I even suggested that the role of the trusteeship council could be reviewed in light of the new kinds of responsibility that you have given to the United Nations in recent years.
In short, Excellencies, I believe that the time is right for a hard look at fundamental policy issues and at the structural changes that may be needed in order to strengthen them.
History is a harsh judge. It will not forgive us if we let this moment pass.
For my part, I intend to establish a high-level panel of eminent personalities to which I will assign four tasks: first, to examine the current challenges to peace and security; second, to consider the contribution which collective action can make in addressing these challenges; third, to review the functioning of major organs of the United Nations and the relationship between them; and fourth, to recommend ways of strengthening the United Nations through reform of institutions and processes.
The panel will focus primarily on threats to peace and security, but it will also need to examine other global challenges insofar as these may influence or connect with those threats.
I will ask the panel to report back to me before the beginning of the next session of this General Assembly so that I can make recommendations to you at that session. But only you can take the firm and clear decisions that will be needed.
Those decisions might include far-reaching institutional reforms. Indeed, I hope they will. But institutional reforms alone will not suffice. Even the most perfect instrument will fail unless people put it to good use.
The United Nations is by no means a perfect instrument, but it is a precious one. I urge you to seek agreement on ways to improving it, but above all of using it as its founders intended: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, to reestablish the basic conditions for justice and the rule of law, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.
The world may have changed, Excellencies, but those sayings are as valid and urgent as ever. We must keep them firmly in our sights.
Thank you very much.
In Senate, Kennedy Fuels Sharp Debate Senator's Comments on War as 'Fraud' Prompt Angry Replies From GOP Colleagues
By Helen Dewar and Vernon Loeb Washington Post Staff Writers Wednesday, September 24, 2003; Page A25
With scathing criticism of a colleague that is rare in the clubby Senate, Republicans lashed out yesterday at recent comments by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) that depicted President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq as a "fraud" aimed at helping Republicans at the polls.
Democrats rose to Kennedy's defense, and he later took the Senate floor to restate his criticisms of Bush's Iraq policy. While giving no ground on substance, Kennedy moderated his language somewhat, avoiding words such as "fraud" and "bribery" that infuriated Republicans when he first used them in an interview Thursday with the Associated Press in Boston.
Yesterday's heated exchanges occurred as Bush defended his Iraq policy before a skeptical United Nations and Democratic presidential candidates sharpened their criticisms of his prewar and postwar decisions. Opinion polls, meanwhile, find waning public confidence in the president's postwar policies, and many Democratic voters now say the war wasn't worth the cost
In Thursday's AP interview, Kennedy said the decision to go to war was "made up in Texas," Bush's home state, to help the GOP cause. "This whole thing was a fraud," he said. The administration cannot account for billions of dollars in war spending, he said, suggesting it "is being shuffled all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops."
White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said yesterday that Kennedy's alleged "bribes" are actually nothing but standard foreign assistance. "As any member of Congress knows or should know, foreign assistance to friends and allies has been a staple of America's international policy for decades," she said. "Reducing the discourse to this level is a real disservice to the American people."
Yesterday's Republican attack and Democratic counterattack were unusual because senators usually avoid direct criticisms of one another, preferring instead to make their points in more oblique, old-school ways. But many GOP senators had been simmering over Kennedy's remarks and wanted to defend the White House.
Bush had called Kennedy's remarks "uncivil," and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said Democrats had "spewed more hateful rhetoric at President Bush than they ever did at Saddam Hussein." But, with senators out of town over the weekend, little had been heard on a national level from Senate Republicans.
The GOP response to Kennedy, which occurred just as Bush was addressing the United Nations, was led by Sen. Robert F. Bennett (Utah), the Republicans' chief deputy whip. Bennett cited warnings by President Bill Clinton, among others, that force might have to be used to oust then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The allegations of fraud cannot be substantiated, he said, suggesting that Kennedy deserved a rebuke for his remarks.
Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.) took the criticism a step further. "Stop to think of the reaction of a young wife surrounded by small children, not knowing from day to day whether her husband will survive another day's engagement in Afghanistan or Iraq," he said. "And they hear that this whole thing has been a fraud perpetrated upon this family and was made up in Texas. I find that very painful."
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) said: "I think it was a slur on my home state of Texas."
Senate Democratic Leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.), noting that he too has come under fire this year for criticizing Bush's Iraq policy, decried what he called an "orchestrated" GOP effort to attack anyone who criticizes Bush. Later, at a news conference, Daschle said it was "McCarthyesque" to criticize people who are vocal in their opposition to certain policies.
"It seems like anyone who comes to the floor to express concern or to express his views or her views on Iraq is now the subject of attack, regardless of one's views," he said.
Kennedy was not in the Senate during the Republicans' speeches but soon entered the chamber to respond. Rather than mentioning the "fraud" charge, he said the "administration's rationale [for war] was built on a quicksand of false assumptions."
"Many Americans share my views, and I regret that the president considers them uncivil and not in the national interest," he said. "The real action that was not in the American interest was the decision to go to war unilaterally, without the support of our allies and without a plan to win the peace."
There are "valid questions and deep concerns about the administration's rush to war in Iraq," he said, including "whether there's a plan for winning the peace, how the money is being spent and when our troops can come home with honor."
To bolster the senator's assertion that the administration could not account for billions of dollars and was "bribing" nations to send troops to Iraq, his office this week released a list of approved loans, expenditures and spending proposals, beginning with a new $8.5 billion loan package for Turkey.
While the United States has been pressing Turkey to provide 10,000 peacekeeping troops to help stabilize Iraq, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said Monday the loans were designed to help Turkey recover from economic losses due to the war in Iraq and are not contingent on Turkey's provision of soldiers. The $8.5 billion in loans for Turkey, according to Kennedy's spending list, comes on top of $1 billion in economic support funds previously approved in the current fiscal year for that nation.
Jordan, a key Middle East ally that allowed U.S. Special Operations forces to stage operations from its soil, received $700 million in U.S. economic support funds this fiscal year, Kennedy said. Egypt received $300 million in economic support funds plus $2 billion in loan guarantees.
Kennedy's list included $200 million spent by the administration in airlift and support costs for a multinational division under Polish command that recently replaced a U.S. Marine contingent south of Baghdad. In addition, it said the Bush administration has spent $800 million in the current fiscal year to "reimburse key cooperating nations for providing logistical and military support."
Finally, Kennedy cited a number of spending initiatives included in the administration's recent $87 billion supplemental spending request to support military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, including $1.4 billion to reimburse Jordan, Pakistan and other cooperating nations for logistical, military and other support to U.S. military operations and $200 million in economic support funds for Pakistani debt forgiveness.
On Day 193 of the War, September 25 2003 Aqila al-Hashmi, the most prominent of three women on Iraq's governing council, dies of wounds sustained in an ambush. Iraq council member dies after shooting
On Day 187 of the War, September 19 2003 Saddam Hussein's former defence minister surrenders to US troops in northern Iraq following weeks of negotiations, says a Kurdish mediator. Former Iraqi defence minister surrenders
On Day 185 of the War, September 17 2003 An audio tape message purported to have been recorded by the deposed Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, is aired by Arabic television channel al-Arabiya. New 'Saddam tape' issued
September 14 2003 Colin Powell, US secretary of state, meets Iraqi politicians in Baghdad as an American soldier is killed and three wounded in an attack near Falluja, where Iraqi police died in a "friendly fire" incident. Powell flies in to Iraqi anger at deaths
September 13 2003 President George Bush's approval ratings have slumped to a lower point than they were in the week of the terrorist attacks two years ago, according to the latest Gallup poll. Support for Bush and war slumps
On Day 178 of the War, September 10 2003 A suicide car bomber attacks the US intelligence base in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, killing three people and injuring 41. Three killed in Irbil suicide bombing
On Day 176 of the War, September 8 2003 Britain will send 1,000 more troops to bolster its security operation in Iraq, says defence secretary Geoff Hoon. UK to send 1,000 more troops to Iraq
On Day 175 of the War, September 7 2003 President George Bush seekst to reassure jittery Americans about their country's involvement in Iraq, dismissing doubts by arguing that it remains a central front in the war on terror. Fear of $80bn Iraq bill moves Bush to address nation
On Day 173 of the War, September 5 2003 A Briton and an American working in Iraq are shot and killed in separate incidents, fuelling concerns that guerrillas launching attacks on the military occupiers may be widening their targets. British charity worker killed in Iraq gun attack
On Day 170 of the War, September 2 2003 Tens of thousands of mourners turn the funeral service for the murdered Iraqi cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim into a show of defiance against the US-led occupation. Shia mourners demand end to US occupation
On Day 163 of the War, August 26 2003 Humanitarian aid agencies say they are evacuating their workers from Iraq in the latest sign that the security situation is slipping out of the US-British coalition's control. Aid agencies evacuate their workers
On Day 159 of the War, Friday August 22, 2003
Kelly's chilling words: 'I'll be found dead in the woods' Diplomat reveals inspector's pre-war doubts
Ewen MacAskill, Nicholas Watt and Vikram Dodd Friday August 22, 2003 The Guardian
The weapons specialist, Dr David Kelly, said six months ago that he would "probably be found dead in the woods" if the American and British invasion of Iraq went ahead, Lord Hutton's inquiry was told yesterday.
His chilling prediction of his own death during a conversation with the British diplomat David Broucher in Geneva in February, throws new light on his state of mind about the row over Britain's role in the Iraq war.
In a startling string of revelations yesterday, Lord Hutton's inquiry was told that Dr Kelly:
· confirmed there had been a "robust" debate between Downing Street and the intelligence services about the September dossier on weapons of mass destruction
· expressed scepticism about British claims that Iraq's weapons capability could be deployed quickly
· had been in direct contact with senior Iraqi scientists and officials he knew, promising them the war could be avoided
· feared he had "betrayed" these contacts and that the invasion had left him in a "morally ambiguous" position.
The latest twists came as Lord Hutton announced that Tony Blair would give evidence on Thursday and the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, on Wednesday. Both will be pressed about the September dossier and about the way the government helped put Dr Kelly's name into the public domain.
The disclosure of Dr Kelly's unease about the Iraq war even before the invasion on March 20 undermines assumptions that his apparent suicide was tied to recent events, principally the pressure he came under last month over his conversations with the BBC reporter, Andrew Gilligan.
Dr Kelly's body was found in woods near his home last month.
Towards the end of Lord Hutton's inquiry yesterday, Mr Broucher, British ambassador to the disarmament conference in Geneva, made a surprise appearance.
He said he had sent an email to Patrick Lamb, his boss at the Foreign Office, on August 5, recalling a chance conversation with Dr Kelly at disarmament talks in February, in which he set out his concerns.
Elaborating on the email yesterday, Mr Broucher said that Dr Kelly had told him the government had pressured the intelligence community to make the September dossier as "robust as possible, that every judgment [in the dossier] had been robustly fought over".
Contrary to a claim in the dossier that biological and chemical weapons could be deployed within 45 minutes, Dr Kelly said he thought the weapons and the material to be placed inside them "would be kept separately from the munitions and that this meant that the weapons could not be used quickly".
It emerged this week that the MoD knew that Dr Kelly's views on Iraq could make uncomfortable reading for the government, and the conver sation with Mr Broucher bears out why the MoD - in particular, Mr Hoon - was so keen to prevent any disclosures.
A government memo published yesterday showed that Mr Hoon tried to stop Dr Kelly talking about weapons of mass destruction when he appeared before the Commons foreign affairs select committee.
Mr Broucher said that Dr Kelly thought that the UN weapons inspectors could gain a good idea of the state of the Iraqi arsenal because the Iraqis had learned during the British colonial days to keep full written records. That assessment runs counter to the US, which insisted inspectors were wasting their efforts.
A crucial point in the conversation with Mr Broucher was Dr Kelly's revelation about continued links with Iraqis after working in Iraq in the 90s as a UN weapons inspector. He had retained contacts with Iraqi scientists and officials, and told Mr Broucher he had tried to persuade them to comply with the inspectors in order to avoid invasion.
In his email, Mr Broucher said Dr Kelly's concern was that "if an invasion now went ahead, that would make him a liar and he would have betrayed his contacts, some of whom might be killed as a direct result of his actions".
Mr Broucher added: "I asked what would happen then, and he replied, in a throwaway line, that he would 'probably be found dead in the woods'."
His interpretation of this was Dr Kelly feared a personal attack by the Iraqis: "I did not think much of this at the time, taking it to be a hint that the Iraqis might try to take revenge against him, something that did not seem at all fanciful then. I now see that he may have been thinking on rather different lines."
Barney Leith, secretary of the National Spiritual assembly of Britain, who knew Dr Kelly and will testify before the Hutton inquiry about the impact of the Baha'i faith had on him, said he could not know whether the scientist might have taken his own life because of guilt. But he added: "The teachings of the Baha'i faith strongly emphasise the importance of ... keeping one's word."
On Day 156 of the War, Tuesday August 19, 2003 A huge truck bomb strikes at the heart of the international humanitarian effort in Iraq, destroying part of the UN headquarters in Baghdad and killing at least 20 people, including the head of the UN mission. Iraq: the agony goes on
On Day 154 of the War, August 17 2003 US attempts to restore Iraq's shaky infrastructure suffer a serious setback when guerrillas blow up a vital oil pipeline in the north for the second time. A hole is also blown in a water main in Baghdad. Iraq hit by fresh attack on oil pipeline
On Day 152 of the War, August 15 2003 Saboteurs blow up a crude oil export pipeline in northern Iraq, starting a huge oil fire, halting all oil exports to Turkey and starving an economy in chaos of much-needed income to rebuild. Terror blast cuts off Iraq's oil pipeline to Turkey
On Day 151 of the War, August 14 2003 A British soldier is killed, and two others injured, in an attack on an army ambulance travelling through the outskirts of Basra. British soldier killed in Basra
On Day 147 of the War, August 10 2003 US officials say they are braced for further large-scale terrorist attacks in Iraq after reports from intelligence sources that hundreds of Islamic militants, who escaped across the border to Iran during the war, may have got back into the country. Be prepared for terror attacks, says Bremer
On Day 145 of the War, August 8 2003 US snipers shoot dead two Iraqis and injure at least two others they claim were selling weapons at a street market in Saddam Hussein's home town, Tikrit. US shoots two dead at start of softer rule
Six Iraqis, including a father and three of his children, are killed in Baghdad by US troops who open fire on them as they hurry home to beat the curfew. Civilians killed by US troops
On Day 144 of the War, August 7, 2003 Violence returns to the streets of Baghdad with a vengeance when at least 11 people are killed in a massive car bomb explosion outside the Jordanian embassy. The blast leads to fears that guerrilla fighters may now be turning their attention towards so-called soft targets. Jordanian embassy blast kills 11 in Baghdad
On Day 139 of the War, August 2, 2003 With their coffins wrapped in the Iraqi flag, but guarded by the troops of their mortal enemy, the bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein are laid to rest in a dusty cemetery in the village where their father was born. Tribe gathers to bury Saddam's sons
On Day 137 of the War, July 31, 2003 Around 10,000 young men have come forward to join an "Islamic army" in the holy city of Najaf, according to Muqtada al-Sadr, the fiery cleric who is trying to become the unchallengeable leader of Shia opposition. Anti-US cleric rallies recruits for Islamic army
On Day 135 of the War, July 29, 2003 A tape recording purported to be by Saddam Hussein declares that his two sons, Uday and Qusay, died as martyrs for Iraq, and pledges that the US will be defeated. Saddam praises dead sons
On Day 134 of the War, July 28, 2003 Tony Blair and other British ministers are accused of crimes against humanity in prosecuting the war against Iraq in a case lodged with the international criminal court by Greek lawyers. Greeks accuse Blair of war crimes in Iraq
On Day 133 of the War, July 27, 2003 Iraqi guerrillas kill a US soldier in a grenade attack south of Baghdad, bringing the American death toll in 24 hours to five. Iraqis kill five more US soldiers
On Day 131 of the War, July 25, 2003 Tokyo approves its biggest deployment of troops since 1945 as Washington casts around for help shouldering the post-Saddam burden. End of an era as Japan enters Iraq
On Day 130 of the War, Thursday, July 24th
US to show corpse photos
Pictures of Saddam's sons to provide proof to Iraqis
Julian Borger in Washington Thursday July 24, 2003 The Guardian
Graphic pictures of the bodies of Saddam Hussein's heirs, Uday and Qusay, will be released to prove to the Iraqi people that the brothers were killed by US troops, Washington announced last night.
The pictures have been described as "horrific", but Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defence secretary, argued that the US might have to show the "shocking" images because their release could undermine guerrilla groups devoted to restoring the old regime.
"The main consideration on our minds," he said, "is that it is saving the lives of American men and women who are on the line."
The US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, confirmed after a long debate in Washington that the images would be released
Saddam 'supporters' vow revenge
A Saddam supporter said the US would 'burn'
A group described as supporters of Saddam Hussein has appeared on the Arabic TV channel al-Jazeera.
The video footage, which the TV said was shot in an unidentified location in Iraq, shows a group of masked men brandishing assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
The men, who are also holding up a picture of Saddam Hussein, threaten to carry out attacks in the United States, Britain and Israel to avenge the deaths of the ousted Iraqi president's sons.
We will make them regret what they did to Uday and Qusay
Saddam supporter on al-Jazeera TV
"If this report about Uday and Qusay proves to be true, we will burn all of the United States," one of the men says.
"The United States, Britain and Israel will not have peace. We will carry out operations inside the United States, inside Britain, inside Israel, and inside Iraq."
"We will make them regret what they did to Uday and Qusay."
"All the Iraqis are ready, and are people of resistance. God willing, we will take revenge."
On Day 129 of the War, Wednesday, July 24th
Hoon pays visit to scientist's widow
Richard Norton-Taylor, Michael White and Nicholas Watt in Hong Kong Thursday July 24, 2003 The Guardian
The widow of David Kelly yesterday called the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, to her Oxfordshire home to discuss the circumstances which led to the suicide of the government's senior biological and chemical weapons adviser.
The meeting took place as details emerged of Dr Kelly's status as an adviser within the defence hierarchy, fuelling the dispute between the BBC and the government, which Lord Hutton is now set to examine.
The Kelly family has complained about the biologist's treatment at the hands of the Ministry of Defence.
Mr Hoon is likely to have been questioned about his department's hotly contested role in identifying Dr Kelly, who had been warned that his name might leak out.
The defence secretary, fighting for his political survival, spent 75 minutes with Mrs Kelly at her home in Abingdon, six days after her husband's apparent suicide, which came after giving highly publicised evidence on his role - posthumously confirmed - as the prime source of the BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan.
Defence officials declined to indicate what had been discussed. But Mr Hoon routinely sees the grieving families of servicemen killed in action, if they so request it, and faces whatever concerns they may have.
"People ask some very pertinent questions," one said.
The meeting took place as a fuller picture emerged of the central role Dr Kelly played in advising the government on Iraq's chemical and biological weapons programme.
The scientist sat on a number of high-level MoD committees at which intelligence assessments were discussed. Asked whether Dr Kelly would have had access to up-to-date intelligence, a defence source replied: "Yes, it would have been no good if he had not been."
Dr Kelly did not brief Mr Hoon, who never met him. He briefed those who did. His advice had been sought by M16.
It is understood Dr Kelly was a member of a high-level working group responsible for processing intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme and deciding what information about it could be published - for example in answer to questions from MPs.
As the government's chief chemical and biological warfare expert on Iraq he was security cleared to read sensitive intelligence material. But he was not the "senior intelligence source" claimed in some BBC reports.
As Lord Hutton, the judge appointed to investigate the handling of Dr Kelly, reads himself into the case, aides confirmed he may take some evidence before the TV cameras.
The BBC has confirmed that it has a tape of its science editor Susan Watts' interview with Dr Kelly. It will be given to Lord Hutton.
Also expected to be handed over - instead of being published today - is the transcript of Gilligan's second crossexamination by the Commons foreign affairs committee, in which he denies that MPs' claim that he had changed his story about his sources. A statement from the committee is expected at noon.
The BBC tape's confirmation that Dr Kelly had said ministers were "desperate" for information about Saddam's immediate military threat - about which Dr Kelly was sceptical - is regarded as a crucial part of its defence.
No 10 says it has no quarrel with Watts' reports, which acknowledge the crucial point: that Dr Kelly "was not disputing that the 45-minute claim was included in the dossier by the intelligence services", rather than inserted by Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's communications director, against their will.
In a separate development, Tom Kelly, No 10's spokesman, denied a Guardian report yesterday that he had been "furnishing information" which actively helped the Financial Times identify Dr Kelly.'
One of Lord Hutton's likely witnesses, Mr Blair, yesterday cut short his round-the-world trip as he fled Hong Kong a day early to escape the devastating typhoon Imbudo which has killed six people in the Philippines and threatened the safety of his flight.
On Day 128 of the War, Tuesday, July 22nd
American forces, CIA and Army, kill Uday and Qusay,Saddam Hussein's two sons. They are killed in a raid and shoot-out at a house in Mosul, near the Syrian border. One of the son's 14-year old boys is also killed, and a body guard during a 4-hour long assault with helicopter gunships and heavy mortar rounds.
On Day 126 of the War, Sunday, July 21, 2003
2 U.S. soldiers killed in ambush & International aid workers also ambushed
Sunday, July 20, 2003 Posted: 11:18 PM EDT (0318 GMT) Sunday, July 20, 2003 Posted: 11:18 PM EDT (0318 GMT)
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) --Two U.S. soldiers were killed Sunday and another was wounded after being ambushed with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.
The attack happened west of Mosul, in northern Iraq. The three soldiers, from the 101st Airborne Division, were brought to a hospital where two of them died, U.S. military officials said. Assailants also attacked a convoy of international aid workers near Hilla, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, U.N. spokesman Ahmed Fawzi said. The driver of one vehicle was killed and another aid worker was injured when their vehicle crashed during the attack, Fawzi said. The two vehicles in the convoy were carrying members of the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration, he said. An estimated 13,000 troops, mostly British, are in Iraq along with 148,000 U.S. troops. India was asked to contribute 17,000 troops but said it would not contribute peacekeepers unless they had U.N. backing.
Sunday's deaths brought the total Americans killed in Iraq to 92 since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations May 1. Of those, 26 deaths have occurred in July alone. Thirty-five of the 92 deaths were in hostile action.
BBC Says Dead Arms Expert Was Main Source for Disputed Report
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
iled at 10:23 p.m. ET
LONDON (AP) -- Prime Minister Tony Blair said he would take full responsibility if an inquiry finds the government contributed to the suicide of scientist David Kelly -- identified Sunday by the British Broadcasting Corp. as its main source in accusing the government of hyping weapons evidence to justify war in Iraq.
Blair, dogged on his trip through east Asia by angry charges about the Ministry of Defense adviser's death, said he has no intention of resigning over the dispute, as some critics at home have demanded.
On Day 125 of the War, Saturday, July 20, 2003
Thousands of Shiites protest outside coalition headquarters in Baghdad Saturday.
On Day 124 of the War, Friday, July 19, 2003
Dr. David Kelly, British Microbiologist & Former U.N. Arms Inspector in Iraq, is found dead near his home in England.
Dr. Kelly was reported missing by Thames Valley Police and a major search operation is launched in the vicinity of his home in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. The police say they are "very concerned for his wellbeing". Donald Anderson, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee, says he is "shocked" by the development that his witness, Dr. Kelly, is missing. Dr. Kelly is later found dead, with one wrist slashed and a packet of pills found near his body. His family say he was despondent after becoming the center of the political controversy of whether the UK government had lied or seriously exaggerated the threat Iraq presented with its so-called "WMD". in order to make a strong case for going to war against Iraq.
The scientist sat on a number of high-level MoD committees at which intelligence assessments were discussed. Asked whether Dr Kelly would have had access to up-to-date intelligence, a defence source replied: "Yes, it would have been no good if he had not been." Dr Kelly did not brief Defense Secretary, Mr Hoon, who never met him. He briefed those who did. His advice had been sought by M16. It is understood Dr Kelly was a member of a high-level working group responsible for processing intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme and deciding what information about it could be published - for example in answer to questions from MPs.
As the government's chief chemical and biological warfare expert on Iraq he was security cleared to read sensitive intelligence material. But he was not the "senior intelligence source" claimed in some BBC reports.
On Day 123 of the War, Thursday, July 19, 2003
WASHINGTON (CNN) --British Prime Minister Tony Blair offered an unrepentant defense of the war in Iraq, telling members of Congress on Thursday that "history will not forgive" world leaders who fail to confront the threat posed by proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
"If we are wrong, we will have destroyed a threat that at its least is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering. That is something I am confident history will forgive," he said. "But if our critics are wrong ... and we do not act, then we will have hesitated in the face of this menace when we should have given leadership. That is something history will not forgive."
Blair said he believes with "every fiber of instinct and conviction I have" that the U.S.-British stand in Iraq was right.
Blair's trip to the United States comes amid the contentious dispute over the veracity of intelligence reports on Iraq's banned weapons programs.
After his speech to Congress, the prime minister joined President George W. Bush at an afternoon news conference to refute suggestions that they manipulated the intelligence information to justify toppling Saddam Hussein.
"The regime of Saddam Hussein was a grave and growing threat," Bush said. "Given Saddam's history of violence and aggression, it would have been reckless to place our trust in his sanity or his restraint."
"As long as I hold this office, I will never risk the lives of American citizens by assuming the good will of dangerous enemies."
Blair also said that British intelligence information that the Iraqi regime was trying to buy uranium from the African nation of Niger was "genuine."
"We stand by that intelligence," he said. "In case people should think that the whole idea of a link between Iraq and Niger was some invention, in the 1980s, we know for sure that Iraq purchased around about 270 tons of uranium from Niger."
On Day 121 of the War, Tuesday, July 15th
Microbiologist & U.K. weapons expert Dr. David Kelly gives evidence to the foreign affairs select committee in which he denies that he was the main source for claims that Campbell "sexed up" the September dossier which Prime Minister Blair's administration used to convince Parliament to go to War against Iraq. MPs on the committee back him in a statement saying they do not believe he is the sole source and accuse the government of treating him as a "fall guy"
Earlier during the session Dr Kelly agreed that he had met Gilligan but said he did not believe he could be the primary source.
Committee members backed his claim when they later issued a statement concluding that Dr Kelly was "most unlikely" to have been the source.
Giving nervous and faltering evidence, Dr Kelly told the committee: "I believe I am not the main source. From the conversation I had with him I don't see how he could make the authoritative statements he was making from the comments that I made."
On Day 115 of the War, July 9th
UK Defence secretary Geoff Hoon names Dr. David Kelly, a Ministry of Defence microbiologist and weapons consultant, as the source for BBC story about UK government's distortion on how serious Iraq's WMD/
UK Defence secretary Geoff Hoon names Dr. David Kelly, a Ministry of Defence microbiologist and weapons consultant, in a letter to the BBC, asking the corporation to confirm or deny whether he is the confidential source of Gilligan's story about how the British government distorted the facts regarding the seriousness of Iraq's Mass Weapons of Destruction. The BBC dismisses the demand and says the situation is descending into farce. Although Dr. Kelly's name has not been made public, in the course of the day lobby journalists become aware of his identity, and Downing Street confirms his name to the Times political reporting team. By 11.40pm, Dr. Kelly has been named on the Press Association's newswire.
On Day 100 of the War, on June 24th
Six British soldiers dead, eight hurt as a fragile peace fractures
Puzzle over death of military policemen in Iraq
Jamie Wilson, Richard Norton-Taylor, Michael White, and Michael Howard in Baghdad Wednesday June 25, 2003 The Guardian
Six military police officers were killed and eight other soldiers wounded in two attacks in southern Iraq in the biggest setback to British forces since the war was declared officially over.
The bodies of the dead - the largest number of British military personnel to be killed by hostile fire since the war began and the first to die since April 6 - were recovered from the town of Majar al-Kabir, 15 miles south of Amara.
In an emergency statement last night the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, told the Commons that the dead soldiers had been engaged in training the local Iraqi police.
He said local information suggested they might have been involved in what he described as "an incident" at the police station.
"I regret that at this stage I am unable to provide any further details. British commanders are obviously investigating the situation as a matter of urgency," Mr Hoon said.
In a separate incident at 7.30am troops from the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment engaged in a routine patrol in the same town were ambushed by guerrilla forces.
Their two vehicles were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machineguns and rifle fire from "a large number of Iraqi gunmen", the defence secretary told MPs.
The paratroopers returned fire and called for assistance. When a troop of Scimitar vehicles and an RAF Chinook helicopter arrived nearby they also came under fire.
Mr Hoon said eight British troops had been injured - one on the ground and seven in the helicopter - and were taken to 202 Field Hospital. Two have since been transferred to a US field hospital in Kuwait for "specialist treatment for very serious injuries".
Mr Hoon, who said an investigation was under way into whether the two attacks were connected, cautioned against reaching wider conclusions about the security situation in southern Iraq, and promised coalition forces "will not be deflected from their efforts by the enemies of peace".
But British commanders began a review of their peacekeeping tactics in the face of what one military source described as attacks from "pretty organised opposition".
On Day 98 of the War, on June 22 2003 George Bush addresses increasing national disquiet over the number of US servicemen killed in Iraq. More than a quarter of US casualties have occurred since the president declared an end to major military combat on May 1. Bush forced to defend rising US death toll
On Day 95 of the War, on June 19 2003 One American soldier is killed and two are injured when the military ambulance they are travelling in is struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. US soldier killed in Iraq grenade attack
On Day 94 of the War, on June 18, 2003
US troops kill demonstrator 18jun03
US troops fired on protesters here today, killing a former Iraqi soldier, as a British minister warned that lack of security 10 weeks after the fall of Baghdad was hampering rebuilding efforts. It was the first time that US soldiers fired on a crowd of angry demonstrators in the Iraqi capital since it fell to the US-led coalition on April 9.
The crowd of up to 300 former soldiers was demonstrating at coalition headquarters in central Baghdad and started throwing stones at American troops, who opened fire, said an AFP correspondent at the scene. A US army spokesman refused to comment.
One of the protesters, Essam Mansur Hussein, a 49-year-old officer under the ousted regime, warned that they were now prepared to take up arms against the US troops occupying the city. "Every day we come to protest peacefully, but it's useless. In the coming days it will not be peaceful. They have to realise that if we have nothing to eat there will be Feyadeen (militia) operations every day.
The former soldiers were demanding payment of salaries still unpaid three weeks after the top US civil administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, officially dissolved the Iraqi army on May 23. Bremer, the top US overseer in Iraq, last month abolished the Iraqi army and the network of security services which propped up Saddam Hussein's regime, announcing that a non-political army would be created.
In London, International Development Secretary Baroness Valerie Amos said today she has postponed a trip to Iraq because of the threat of a guerrilla attack by Saddam loyalists. Amos said that the security situation in the country was hampering rebuilding efforts.
On Day 93 of the War, on June 17 2003 Scores of American troops mount new searches through Baghdad after a sniper shot dead a US solider on patrol. Sniper adds to US toll in Iraq
On Day 91 of the War, on June 15 2003 Hundreds of American soldiers sweep through Falluja in a further, apparently more precise, operation against guerrilla resistance. Policing Iraqis tests US troops
On Day 88 of the War, on June 12 2003 US troops questioning about 400 suspects after the biggest military operation in Iraq since the regime collapsed two months ago. US moves in on Iraq's resistance
On Day 86 of the War, on June 10 2003 The all-party parliamentary intelligence and security committee serves notice that it expects ministers to cooperate fully with its inquiry into Iraq's banned weapons programme.
On Day 84 of the War, on June 8 2003 David Blunkett becomes the most senior minister to admit publicly that Downing Street was wrong to publish the "dodgy dossier" on the military threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Blunkett admits weapons error
On Day 82 of the War, on June 6 2003 Hans Blix hits out at the quality of intelligence given to him by the United States and Britain on Iraq's alleged chemical and biological weapons programmes. "Only in three of those cases did we find anything at all, and in none of these cases was there any weapons of mass destruction, and that shook me a bit, I must say," he says. Blix criticises weapons intelligence
On Day 78 of the War, June 2 2003 Tony Blair faces mounting pressure from across the House of Commons to hold an independent inquiry into the Iraq war after Clare Short levelled the incendiary allegation at the prime minister that he had lied to the cabinet. Short: Blair lied to cabinet and made secret war pact with US
On Day 75 of the War, on May 30 2003 Military police question a British soldier about photographs of alleged "torture" of Iraqi prisoners of war, including one gagged and bound, and dangling in netting from a fork-lift truck. Soldier arrested over Iraqi torture photos
On Day 74 of the War, on May 29 2003 Tony Blair's Iraq crisis deepens as ministers accused of distorting the findings of the chief UN weaponsinspector to support Britain's claims about Saddam weapons programme. Ministers 'distorted' UN weapons report
On Day 72 of the War, on May 27 2003 Two US soldiers are killed and nine injured in an attack on an army checkpoint in the Iraqi town of Falluja. Two US soldiers killed
On Day 68 of the War, May 23rd
Colonel Collins: new inquiry into how he ran regiment Fresh claims prompt MoD to launch second investigation
The Ministry of Defence is to conduct a far-reaching inquiry into the Royal Irish Regiment, the unit commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Collins, the officer at the centre of allegations that he seriously mistreated Iraqis in the recent war. This inquiry is entirely separate from an investigation by the military police into allegations made by a US army major that the senior British officer pistol-whipped an Iraqi civil leader - a claim the ministry suggests is an exaggeration; shot at the feet of Iraqi civilians; and shot at the tyres of vehicles when there was no threat to his soldiers.
Allegations of a culture of bullying in the Royal Irish Regiment were prompted partly by the suicide of Paul Cochrane, 18, in Armagh in 2001. His family told the Guardian they believed the army owed them a full explanation as to how a happy teenager living out his childhood dream of being a soldier was suddenly pushed to such an extreme measure. Sources spoke of an "extreme culture of bullying by some senior officers", but Col Collins did not intervene.
Earlier this month, the Northern Ireland-born officer gave an interview to the News of the World, which reported Col Collins' "legendary exploits". It described how he told a looter to stop stealing vital equipment. The man carried on, so the colonel took out his sidearm, shot out all four of the man's lorry tyres and bellowed: "What part of 'No' don't you understand?" He described Ba'ath party officials who "were threatening people who cooperated with us so we paid some of them a visit". He added: "One man found that a shot through his kitchen floor somehow helped him remember where his weapon was hidden." The Iraqi allegedly attacked by Col Collins was also subjected to a mock execution, it was reported today. Ayoub Yousif Naser, a member of Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist party, told the Times that after he was hit by the colonel he and his son were lined up facing a wall. He heard the officer give the order to fire before he saw other troops approach with bandages to treat their wounds.
On Day 60 of the War, on May 15 2003 Foreign secretary, Jack Straw, concedes that hard evidence of weapons of mass destruction might never be found in Iraq. He says it is "not crucially important" to find them because the evidence of wrongdoing was overwhelming. Straw retreats on finding banned weapons
On Day 59 of the War, on May 14 2003 Human rights workers accuse the US military of failing to protect and properly excavate the largest mass grave discovered in Iraq. More than 3,000 bodies were dug up in a field near the ancient Babylonian city of Hilla, south of Baghdad. US accused of failing to protect mass grave
On Day 58 of the War, on May 13 2003 A mass grave is found near Baghdad. It could hold the remains of up t0 15,000 people, missing since a Shiite uprising in 1991. British-trained microbiologist Dr Rihab Taha, known as "Dr Germ" for her role in Iraq's biological weapons programme, surrenders to coalition forces. Iraq's 'Dr Germ' surrenders to coalition forces
On Day 57 of the War, on May 12 2003 The new head of the US-led interim administration arrives in Baghdad as the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, concedes that progress towards restoring order in the Iraqi capital was "not satisfactory". New US chief takes control in Baghdad
On Day 56 of the War, on May 11 2003 Iraqi agriculture is on the brink of collapse, with fears that many of its 24.5 million people will go hungry this summer, according to a confidential report being studied by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation. Iraq in danger of starvation, says UN
On Day 53 of the War, May 8th
2 US soldiers killed in Baghdad
Criminal courts reopen in still-perilous capital
By Charles A. Radin and Patrick Healy, Globe Staff, 5/9/2003
BAGHDAD -- Two US soldiers were killed yesterday in separate attacks in the Iraqi capital, one shot at close range as he sat in an Army vehicle and the other hit by a sniper, military officials said.
No information was available last night on the identities of the slain Americans. In one incident, a US soldier said, a man walked up to a military vehicle on a bridge, pulled out a gun, and shot the victim in the head. The soldier, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that many Iraqis had approached the Americans at the scene trying to sell them things. ''We can't tell who is a vendor and who isn't,'' the soldier said. US soldiers said that an arrest had been made in connection with the killing, but they were not clear whether the person arrested was the suspected killer. Low-flying helicopters continued to comb the area long after the incident.
In the second attack, a US soldier was killed when a sniper shot him in the head in east Baghdad, Captain Tom Bryant, spokesman for the Army's Fifth Corps, which is based at Baghdad's airport, told the Associated Press. He had no further details. McKiernan said that disarmament of Iraqi civilians is a priority for coalition forces and the reconstituted police. He said 250 truckloads of ammunition and weapons have been removed from Baghdad recently.
Autopsy suggests British cameraman killed in Gaza shot by Israeli gunfire By Peter Enav, Associated Press, 5/8/2003 08:16
JERUSALEM (AP) A British cameraman killed last week in the Gaza Strip was shot from the front, according to an autopsy that suggests he was hit by Israeli troops.
The autopsy report was released Thursday by Israel's national forensic institute.
James Miller, 34, a prize-winning documentary filmmaker, was shot in the neck Friday in the southern Gaza city of Rafah while he and his crew were filming Israeli troops on a search operation for weapons-smuggling tunnels.
Associated Press Television News footage showed the crew waving a white flag and yelling that they were British journalists as they approached an armored Israeli army bulldozer.
Witnesses said that an Israeli tank opened fire at the journalists, but the army denied that tanks were in the area. The army said it came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades and returned fire.
On Sunday, the army said that Miller had been shot from behind, raising the possibility that he had been shot by Palestinian gunmen, not Israeli troops.
But the forensic institute said Thursday an autopsy showed that Miller had been shot from the front. The army said Thursday that it had not received the report and had no comment.
The local Foreign Press Association, the British Foreign Office, the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders and the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists have called for investigations into Miller's death.
On Day 50 of the War
BBC News, Monday, May 5, 2003
James Miller was well-respected
In the southern troublespot of Rafah on the Gaza Strip, British journalist, cameraman James Miller, 34, from Devon, England was shot in the back while filming a documentary. The award-winning journalist was filming a documentary on the effect of terrorism on children for the American cable giant HBO.The killing of reporters in war zones should be made a new war crime after his death.
Initial findings from an Israeli Defence Forces investigation into the affair indicate that the correspondent was shot in the back, with sources suggesting that he may have been hit by Palestinian gunfire.
Another Briton who had been with Mr Miller said they were waving a white flag and moving towards an Israeli armoured vehicle when it opened fire. Aidan White, general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, said the Israeli army must not be allowed to "brush aside" Mr Miller's death with their "routine and callous expressions of regret". The Israeli army said it had returned fire after being attacked by rocket-propelled grenades and expressed "sorrow at a civilian death".
But a spokesman added: "It must be stressed a cameraman who knowingly enters a combat zone, especially at night, endangers himself."
Palestinian journalists have showed their support
Mr White, whose federation operates on behalf of about 500,000 journalists globally, said there must be a full inquiry into Mr Miller's death, a call echoed by the Foreign Office.
On Day 42 of the War, Wednesday, April 30th
Al Fallujah,, Iraq--
There were more Killings in Al Fallujah, the "City of Mosques", as U.S. troops fired into a crow of Iraqui civilians. As the crowds became louderand more insistent, the American troops fired into the crowd and killed 13 people and injured more than 20 more according to doctors at the local hospital. The American troops said they were fired on; but all other witnesses at the scene denied the gunfire came from the demonstrators. Today, 2 more people were killed and more injured, with the Muslims of Al Fallujah and the city officials saying no one shot at the Americans, the American troops claiming otherwise.
On Day 28 of the War, Wednesday, April 16th
Three Iraqis were killed and 11 wounded during a shooting in Mosul, and some victims said U.S. troops shot at them. A Marine sergeant denied that, saying American troops shot back after coming under fire from nearby gunmen. So Many deaths since our Peace Vigil in Marblehead on the Eve of War, one month ago, March 16th.
On Day 27 of the War, Tuesday April 15th
Iraquis demonstrate against a meeting to rebuild war-torn Iraq to be held in Nasariyah.
Hundreds of Iraqui Shia's demonstrated , saying their leaders had not been invited to the meeting.
On Day 26 of the War on Iraq, Monday, April 14, 2003
(right) a US soldier sits in a chair at Uday, Saddam's private wing in Baghdad's main presidential palace.
The Baghdad Library was burned by mobs.
The damage is great, the loss stupefying to the residents
of Baghdad, who plead for our armies to stop
he wanton destruction of the city.
It was revealed by a Harvard University Busch Reisinger Museum archaelogist today that scholars of art and antiquities for the middle east had met with the Bush administration before the bombing of Baghdad began, and the U.S. government had promised to preserve and protect Iraq's National Museum, which houses one of the greatest art collections in the world. They are deeply disturbed that nothing was done to protect these priceless art objects, in age up to 3,000 years old. Professor Elizabeth Stone of SUNY reveals that we may never recover the thousands of Mesopotamian sculptures and inscribed stone reliefs. These priceless art objects were stolen by a highly professional group, armed with glass cutters and special detonating devices to blow off vault doors. Not one American tank nor one American soldier was present when the art thieves entered the museum under cover of the looting mobs --they knew exactly which pieces were real, and which were copies, and only stole the valuable items. See further notes on the looting of the museum in my "War Crimes" essay.
On Day 23 of the War on Iraq, Friday, April 11, 2003
The Iraq National Museum was looted. The museum featured priceless artifacts dating back more than 5,000 B.C. Reporters visiting it found empty glass cases, many of them smashed, and bits of broken pottery and sculpture.
Residents in a Baghdad neighborhood complained that U.S. soldiers haven't cleared cluster bombs dropped during the war. The residents said three people were killed and one injured trying to pick up them up.
U.S. Brigadier General Vincent Brooks holds up a deck of playing cards with pictures of Iraquis most wanted by the U.S. The deck will be issued to help troops recognize the faces of personalities "they can pursue, capture of kill".
Are we playing with a full deck?
What is going on in the minds of these Pentagon people that they think it's cute to not only demonize Iraqui leaders, but to invoke card-game symbolism for a process that is serious, monumental, and has grave effect on the international rule of law, for human rights, and for a country's ability to maintain its own autonomy? All of these serious issues are glossed over and characterized as trivial by the Pentagon's issuing a deck of playing cards. Our government is actively engaged in the killing of national leaders and the occupation by our armies, and then the "replacement" of the "despised and discredited" regime (by us) with individuals and groups we help to put in place. Since the military's seizure of major cities in Iraq, "our behavior" (coalition political and military leaders' behavior ) illustrates a contempt for the Iraqui people and culture. Our coalition "leaders" stand by, allowing and encouraging frenzied mobs of poor, oppressed, uneducated men to ransack and destroy Iraqui society's assets -- its schools, mosques , doctors' offices, research scientists' laboratories, professional offices, and most symbolically -- the ransacking of the national Museum's vaults of all the priceless art tresures and rare, irreplaceable artifacts from civilizations 5,000 years old. We are like the Goths, the Visigoths, and the Vandals, sacking the city. The mindless mentality of the conqueror.
War Crimes -- Massive Bombings and the Sacking of Bagdad
The sacking of Bagdad was committed by our military forces, de facto, by allowing frenzied mobs to loot and vandalize. This is a war crime. Especially, the destruction of the National Art Museum. Great Centers of art and antiquities which house such treasures, like the National Museum in Bagdad, are protected by the Geneva Convention. During World War II, it was agreed by all parties not to bomb or shell Florence, Italy, and the world's great art treasures were preserved. Even without the looting and vandalizing behavior which occurred this week, the United States and Great Britain and other coalition governments were already guilty of violating the Geneva Convention. Blair and Bush are responsible for destroying these priceless cultural treasures, by the reckless and wanton, indiscriminate massive bombings of Bagdad. The bombs themselves were so heavy, so powerful, weighing often up to 2,000 pounds each, that they created enormous vibrations that cracked and shattered the fragile artwork which had survived thousands of years. Thousands of pieces in the museum's vaults weredamaged beyond repair by the bombings alone -- artifacts from Mesopotamia, Sumeria, Babylon, the cradle of all civilization. What have we become? --mcw.
On Day 20 of the War on Iraq, Tuesday, April8, 2003
Pentagon sources says that over 30,000 bombing sorties have been flown.
Battle of Bagdahd
left: warriors resting in Hussein's bombed out palace
below: Today, three journalists died and three were wounded in three separate incidents in Bagdad. Left, Al-Jezeera TV anchor moments before he was killed by U.S. forces when the Al Jezeera Media Headquarters was bombed. Right, a Spanish cameraman is fatally wounded at the Palestine Hotel which came under shelling by U.S. tanks. The third incident reportedly involved the American bombing of Abu Dabi television station.
On Day Nineteen of the War On Iraq, Monday, April 7th
Are we feeling liberated yet?
April 7th from the Los Angeles Times:
Today Police fired on unarmed citizens protesting the War on Iraq in Oakland, California. The police fired "Sting Balls" and "Wooden Batons"on the more than 500 protestors at the Oakland Port. More than one dozen protestors and six longshoremen were injured. 31 were arrested. Read the story below:
Is this the best we can do?
On the Tenth Day of War, Saturday, March 29th
*Coalition has dropped 6,000 precision-guided bombs
*U.S. has fire 675 Tomohawk cruise missiles
*Coalition warplanes have flown more than 1,000 missions
women of Basra lined up by U.S. Marines
in a "security checkpoint" as they attempt
to flee the seige of Basra
*On Monday, March 31, soldiers opened fire at a vehicle killing seven women and children and wounding two. The four other occupants of the vehicle were unhurt, according to the Pentagon. William Branigin of the Washington Post says the vehicle contained 15 people, of whom 10 were killed and two seriously injured. He also reports that soldiers at the checkpoint failed to fire warning shots in time. "You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!" the paper quotes Captain Ronny Johnson as telling his platoon leader.
A spontaneous expression by the citizens of the world,
against War and against the destruction of Our Sacred Mother Earth
below: Hyde Park, London Madrid Rome
Istanbul, Berlin, Amsterdam,
above: London, Dublin,
below: Amsterdam, Glasgow, Athens over 800,000
row 1: Prague, New York & Los Angeles
row 2: Jakarta, Indonesia & Hattiesburg, Mississippi
row 3: Women of Bagdad and and Seoul, South Korea
Arabs and Israelis together protest
the proposed War against Iraq
in Tel Aviv, February 15, 2003
Greenpeace Flag flies high
over Auckland on the day
of the start of the
America's Cup Race
below: London, Wellington, New Zealand, Bordeaux, France
above: Shetland Islands, Tokyo, Kuala Lampur
Consider the Parallels with Vietnam
An Iraq War & Occupation Glossary
By DAVID LINDORFF
July 11, 2003 from "Counterpunch", a web zine
As the war in Iraq grinds on and American casualties mount, the situation there is increasingly coming to resemble the one in Vietnam some 35-40 years ago. We even have a Defense Secretary who, like Robert McNamara before him, is an over-confident egotist devoid of self-doubt and incapable of tolerating criticism, and who thinks himself so brilliant that he can outsmart a popular insurgency and overpower it with fancy weaponry. What makes this historic parallel particularly haunting is the return of terminology, some of which hasn't been heard in years. To help readers understand likely future developments in Iraq, here is a glossary of some of those terms:
Guerrilla war -- An unconventional conflict, in which the enemy can hide among the people, popping out to fire on U.S. soldiers and ducking back before he or she can be challenged or identified. Are we in a guerrilla war in Iraq? Ask Don Rumsfeld. His denials are starting to sound like his claims before the war about WMD's: empty.
Quagmire -- A sticky situation in which the military cannot hope to win victory, but cannot retreat for fear of losing the entire warSand face. Is Iraq becoming a quagmire? The latest testimony by Rumsfeld and Gen. Tommy Franks (who has, it is worth noting, quit his post as head of the military in Iraq before things can get worse and damage his reputation), is that at least 150,000 troops will be needed in Iraq "indefinitely."
Body count -- A tally of how many of our guys and their guys get killed each day. The U.S. body count has been averaging about one a day until recently, but now we're starting to see two people a day get hit, and larger-scale attacks are becoming more common. We haven't been getting the enemy body counts that used to be de rigeur (and massively inflated) at Pentagon press conferences during the Vietnam War, but as the U.S. body count mounts, the pressure will rise on the Pentagon to respond to public dismay by showing that the "score" of dead is always in our favor. (Obviously, the fact that 10 times as many Vietnamese troops were dying as Americans didn't affect the outcome of that conflict, any more than it is likely to affect the outcome of this one.)
Light at the end of the tunnel -- This gloomy image was popular for years in the White House and Pentagon during the interminable Indochina conflict. We haven't heard it used yet with respect to Iraq, but if "quagmire" starts to be more in vogue, can this grizzled phrase be far behind?
Search and Destroy -- This was a favorite tactic of U.S. forces in Vietnam. It had the effect of killing the occasional Vietcong or Vietcong sympathizer as well as many innocents. It also had the effect of driving entire rural populations into the arms of Vietnamese insurgents. Search and destroy efforts in Iraq are already having the same effect, as innocent bystanders get killed in droves each time the U.S. mounts a campaign. (Search and destroy is likely to be even more counterproductive as a strategy in Iraq than it was in Southeast Asia, given the Arab culture's tradition of eye-for-eye vengeance.)
Allies -- As in the Indochina War, the U.S. in Iraq is twisting arms to compel a few weak client states (in the Vietnam era it was Korea and Australia, now it's Poland, Bulgaria and maybe India, a particularly weird choice given that nation's fundamentalist Hindu government and its militant crackdown against Muslims), to send a token few troops to make the occupation and counterinsurgency look like an international effort. This is, in other words, not your grandfather's allies of World War II.
Letting Iraqi boys defend Iraq -- Nixon's "secret plan" to end the Vietnam War was to "Vietnamize" it. The strategy proved a dismal failure, because he was trying to get a corrupt government to battle committed nationalists. Current plans to create a new Iraqi army of 40,000 to fight with U.S. troops against Iraqi resistance are unlikely to fare any better. (Sound familiar? For a preview of how well it works, check out the performance of the new American-made Afghan "army.")
Winning hearts and minds -- This was what U.S. military efforts in Vietnam were supposed to accomplish. The idea was that somehow by napalming villages, terrorizing populations with high-tech weapons, defoliating cropland and littering it with hair-trigger anti-personnel bomblets, and then after all that distributing some goodies--chocolate bars, medicine and food rations for example--the people's hearts and minds would won over to the U.S. effort. This of course never happened in Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia. Now we're attempting the same thing in Iraq, where similar actions can be expected to produce similar results.
Vietnam Syndrome -- This term came into vogue among Republicans and neo-con Democrats directly after the U.S. defeat in Indochina. The idea was that the loss in Vietnam had soured American policy makers and the public on foreign military actions of any kind. The Bush administration's war-mongering in Afghanistan and Iraq was supposed to drive a stake through that syndrome, by offering an example of successful use of military force in promoting American foreign policy. With Afghanistan quickly returning to its pre-invasion condition of feuding warlords and anarchy (and continuing to prove a hospitable place for Al Qaida-type terrorists), and with Iraq becoming a guerrilla war quagmire that the U.S. has little hope of actually "winning," it seems Bush, Rumsfeld and National Security Director Condoleeza Rice are well on their way to reviving the syndrome, though it will probably eventually get a name change, to Iraq Syndrome. Another variant of Vietnam Syndrome was The Lessons of Vietnam, a phrase more popular among liberals). The irony is that the "lesson" of Vietnam (which was supposedly taken to heart too by Secretary of State Colin Powell), was that the U.S. should not get involved in future wars unless the objective was clear and the public was solidly behind it. Yet here we have a war that, like Vietnam, was entered into based on a series of lies to the American public, and that, like Vietnam, has no clear objective. Eventually, thousands of Iraqi and American deaths hence, we will, sadly, no doubt also be hearing about the Lessons of Iraq.
Peace with honor -- This was the semantic contortion that Richard Nixon attempted to use to disguise America's embarrassing defeat by the peasant army of Vietnam. Again, as the American public loses patience with the continued slaughter of American troops in Iraq, and the lack of progress there towards some resolution of the conflict, we can expect Bush and Rumsfeld to come up with some version of peace with honor to describe their eventual humbling retreat from Iraq.
Escalation -- During the Vietnam war, escalation was the term used for upping the intensity of the fighting. Whenever the U.S. found itself starting to lose the war, presidents, from Kennedy to Nixon would "escalate" the U.S. effort, adding troops and expanding the field of battle, first to North Vietnam, then to Laos, and finally to Cambodia. The more they escalated, the worst they got trounced. We're already hearing the term escalation applied now to Iraq. So far, it's the Iraqi resistance that has been escalating the fighting since the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime. Inevitably, though, unless the U.S. decides to declare peace with honor and quit Iraq, we can expect to see the U.S. begin escalating the counterinsurgency effort, with the addition of more troops and more aggressive search and destroy tactics.
The Draft -- One big difference between the Vietnam War and the current war in Iraq is that during the decades of the Southeast Asian conflict, the U.S. had a draft, and consequently an almost unlimited supply of soldiers to throw into battle. The U.S. military now, which numbers about 1 million, is largely dependent for front-line combatants upon reservists and National Guardsmen. Already some one-third of U.S. forces are directly committed to the war effort in Iraq, counting the 150,000 actually stationed in Iraq, and the 200,000 who play supporting roles in Kuwait and other regional countries. Given the enormous back-office operation required by today's technologically complex, highly bureaucratic, and managerially top-heavy U.S. military, there is actually little in the way of more troops that could be assigned to this conflict should it escalate in intensity. Moreover, with morale crumbling among the reservists and guard troops in Iraq, most of whom are older than typical soldiers in a draft army, and who have left behind jobs and families, the U.S. is facing a serious manpower crisis, just in terms of replacing current troops in the field. If it doesn't turn to a draft, it will have a hard time recruiting more reservists and guard troops, since most people join those units to make a little extra money, not to actually have to go overseas and fight. If it does restart the draft, popular support for war, such as it is--in Iraq or anywhere in the world--will evaporate completely. (The mechanism for a draft--the Selective Service office and local draft boards, and a lottery machine to allocate priority numbers by birthdate--is already in place, and a national call-up could happen within 30 days of a Congressional vote authorizing a return to compulsory service.)
WOMEN AT WAR The role of Soldier Sisters questioned in light of fierce fighting By Theresa Minor AUGUSTA FOCUS Staff Writer
(above) Sister Soldiers: Jessica Lynch and Lori Piestawa
Pfcs. Lori Piestewa, right, and Jessica Lynch (left) pose at Fort Bliss, Texas the day before their deployment to the Middle East in Feb. 2003. The Army notified the Piestewa family in Tuba City, Ariz., Friday, April 4, 2003, that they had recovered Lori's remains after rescuing Jessica, who was in Piestewa's company in Iraq. AP Photo/courtesy Piestewa family
Perhaps its the look of terror in Spc. Shoshana Johnsons eyes while being interrogated by her Iraqi captors, or the image of a wounded Pfc. Jessica Lynch on a stretcher being hustled into a waiting plane or the knowledge that Pfc. Lori Piestawa, a single mother and the first woman killed in the war, leaves behind two toddlers. Whatever the reason, these feminine images of war are stirring the nations conscience and causing some to question the expanded role of women in the military.
Im not comfortable with it to be honest with you. I personally dont feel that women should be on the battle field. Just listening to the news about women who have been captured and women dying on the battle field, it just makes me sad, said Wendy Mathis, a local account executive. Mathis is not alone in voicing those concerns. According to Judy Bellafaire, chief historian for Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, there is a noticeable level of anxiety over women at war with Iraq.
Army Spc. Shoshana Johnson of Texas. AP Photo/IraqiTV via APTN
I didnt notice a lot of concern on the part of the American public in the first Persian Gulf war about why were the women in these particular jobs or questioning how could this happen and should we be putting women in these positions. That is what is happening today. I see that as a distinct difference between the two time periods, said Bellafaire. This is the first conflict since Congress relaxed restrictions on women, rescinding the so-called Risk Rule following public response to the presence of women in the Persian Gulf war in 1991. Women are now able to perform about 70 percent of the jobs available in the military excluding duties that may result in direct ground combat and Special Operations such as Navy Seals. And while the intent is to minimize the chances of women doing battle, even with the expanded roles, Bellafaire says,
In this horrible thing called war when so many things are happening so rapidly, its almost impossible to keep any center of the armed forces safe from harm. It is never really possible for the armed forces to predict what is the front line. Thats what happened with Johnson, Piestawa and Lynch. As members of the 507th Maintenance Company, a non-combat unit, neither were expected to be in danger. However when the unit took a wrong turn and encountered enemy soldiers it was forced to fight, women included. Another factor influencing the perception that women are increasingly in harms way in the military is the fact that there are more women serving than ever before, particulary African-American women. According to the Department of Defense, black women account for 46.5 percent of female enlistees in the Army and 35.3 percent of women when considering all branches of the military. Black women officers are also on the rise, comprising 23.2 percent of female Army officers and 16 percent of female officers in the Department of Defense. In fact, one in seven military personnel currently in the Middle East is a woman. The phenomenon of women at war has prompted some African American women to do mass emails to other black women urging them to pray for sister soldier Shoshana Johnsons safe return from a land where cattle is prized more than women. It has sparked the telling and retelling of stories about women warriors by national media. However, Bellafaire says this heightened sensitivity to women in the military translates into questioning womens ability during war.
Im afraid that its really an insult to the women who are serving over there right now doing their jobs so well. That we should be standing back and questioning their ability seems a shame. I certainly understand the emotion. But what worries me is the plight of the women POWs are held out as being more horrible or more emotionally devastating than that of the men POWs. Their families are hurting too, says Bellafaire.
Members of Iraq's Governing Council, from left, Karim Mahud Hattab al-Mahamadawi, Ahmed Chalabi, Jalal Talabani and Adnan Pachachi discuss the transition agreement at a news conference in Baghdad. A constitution will be drafted, and elections for a permanent government would be held by Dec. 31, 2005. (Mauricio Lima -- AFP) Plan to End Occupation Could Trim U.S. Force
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, November 16, 2003; Page A01
BAGHDAD, Nov. 15 -- Iraq's Governing Council and the American occupation authority agreed Saturday on the terms of a radical new plan for the country's political transition that would end the U.S.-led occupation by July 1 and could facilitate a significant withdrawal of U.S. troops next year.
In a major revision of the Bush administration's earlier political blueprints, the new plan authorizes the creation of a provisional national assembly that would assume sovereignty and serve as Iraq's interim government until a constitution is written and elections are held. The administration had demanded that a constitution be drafted and elections convened before a transfer of power, a process that could have stretched into 2005.
Although the creation of the assembly will result in the dissolution of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council, its leaders nevertheless hailed the accelerated handover of sovereignty as a victory for Iraqis. "This is a feast for the Iraqi people," said Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish leader who holds the council's rotating presidency. "This is what Iraqi people were dreaming to have."
Much of the work of organizing the provisional administration will fall to the council, whose leaders pledged to establish a government that would respect human rights, ensure religious freedom and provide for the separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers. The agreement, which calls for members of the national assembly to be chosen in caucuses in each of Iraq's 18 provinces, appears certain to resurrect political discourse that had been suffocated during 35 years of dictatorial rule by former president Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.
But just as it speeds up the political transition, the process will introduce a new level of uncertainty for the U.S. government. By ceding sovereignty to a provisional administration, the United States will lose veto power over the content of Iraq's constitution and the shape of the government. The Bush administration also will have no guarantee that formerly exiled Iraqi political leaders, with which it has long cultivated ties, will be chosen in the caucuses.
"When sovereignty is transferred, sovereignty is transferred," a senior White House official said. But the official added that the administration expects to have "a good working relationship" with the provisional government.
U.S. officials expressed optimism that transferring power over the summer would help quell anger over the occupation and reduce attacks on U.S. forces, which have become more frequent in recent weeks. The establishment of a provisional government also would result in Iraqi security forces taking over more responsibilities from U.S. troops.
"It's going to have an enormous impact," a senior U.S. official in Baghdad said. "The political dimension of the security strategy is as important as the military dimension."
The midyear handover would enable President Bush to head into the 2004 election with a much smaller -- and less vulnerable -- contingent of U.S. forces in Iraq. Under Saturday's accord with the Governing Council, the United States would sign an agreement with the provisional government that would stipulate the size and function of the U.S. force in Iraq after June, although U.S. officials expressed confidence that the new government would endorse a continued U.S. military presence. Pentagon officials have said they want to base tens of thousands of soldiers in Iraq for the next few years.
Talabani said U.S. troops would remain as "invited guests," but he added that precise details on the size of the force and its role would have to be worked out with the U.S. government. Adnan Pachachi, another council member, said the negotiations would be "between two sovereign powers."
Bush welcomed the new plan in a statement issued by the White House, calling it "an important step toward realizing the vision of Iraq as a democratic, pluralistic country at peace with its neighbors."
The agreement was reached Saturday afternoon after a lengthy meeting at Talabani's riverfront villa between council members and the U.S. administrator of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer. "It was a very spirited discussion," the senior U.S. official said.
The plan to create the provisional government was proposed to the council by Bremer. The new approach, crafted by Bremer with input from the Pentagon and the National Security Council, was approved by Bush and other top administration officials during Bremer's visit to Washington last week, U.S. officials said.
Although the council's nine presidents had generally endorsed the creation of the provisional government in a meeting on Friday, several members sought to debate various aspects of the plan. In the end, however, the council reached a consensus to support it, Iraqis and Americans in attendance said.
Iraq War Diary -- Wednesday September 24, 2003
Iraq: the reality and rhetoric
Rory McCarthy reports from al-Jisr, scene of the killing of three farmers at hands of US troops
It was the middle of the night when the crack paratroopers from America's 82nd Airborne Division arrived outside Ali Khalaf's farmhouse in the parched fields of central Iraq.
Some of the family were asleep on mattresses in the dirt yard outside the single-storey house. Ali's brother Ahmad lay there with his wife, Hudood, 25, and their two young sons and so they were the first to hear the soldiers as they approached the house at around 2am yesterday.
"We heard voices and so my husband went out to check what was happening. We thought they were thieves," said Hudood. "My husband shouted at them and then immediately they started shooting."
By the family's account, the troops of the 82nd Airborne - known proudly as the "All American" - opened up a devastating barrage of gunfire lasting for at least an hour. When the shooting stopped, three farmers were dead and three others were injured, including Hudood's two sons, Tassin, 12, and Hussein, 10.
Yesterday a US military spokesman in Baghdad, Specialist Nicole Thompson, insisted that the troops came under attack from "unknown forces". The "unknown forces" ran into a building, which was surrounded by the troops who then called in an air strike. "I can confirm at least one enemy dead," she said.
The US military has chosen not to count the civilian casualties of the war in Iraq. But while more than 300 US soldiers have now been killed since the invasion to topple Saddam in March, thousands more Iraqis have died.
The US military likes to advertise its achievements: how their patrols in the troubled town of Falluja, a few minutes drive from Ali Khalaf's farmhouse, hand out colouring books and repaint schools and how elsewhere they repair broken water mains and sewage plants.
Most of the time it matters little. In the heartlands of central Iraq, home to the Sunni Muslim minority, and now too in the Shia-dominated provinces of the south, there is less and less sympathy for the American military and their allies.
The growing wave of frustration comes only in part from the few loyalists who still fight for Saddam Hussein and increasingly from a population affronted and humiliated by the same American tactics employed yesterday.
Though Sunnis, Ali Khalaf's family can have benefited little from Saddam's rule. Their homes are humble, with little electricity and only brackish drinking water. Five brothers share a few acres of farmland where they grow just enough wheat and cucumbers to survive.
As mourners gathered in a tent outside the farm yesterday, the family walked through the yard, enclosed by a brick wall and pointed out where the "enemy dead" were killed.
"There was no shooting from the house. It was the soldiers who shot at us," said Hudood. "There was so much firing and shelling we couldn't even get out of the farm."
Four thin mattresses still lay in the open air, close to the house and stained in blood. Just a few feet away were two large craters caused, the family explained, by missile strikes from the jet fighters called in as air support. The two young boys were injured on the mattresses and then carried bravely inside by Hudood.
Together the family tried to count the number of bullet holes in the wall of the farmhouse that bore the brunt of the attack. There were at least 90, perhaps 100. Outside in the fields lay dozens of the small 5.56mm bullet casings cast out by the US military's M16 assault rifles.
It was probably one of these bullets which hit Ali Khalaf in the chest. He crawled inside the first room of the farmhouse apparently looking for a strip of cloth to improvise a bandage.
He slumped to the floor just below the shattered glass window and next to an old wooden chest and there he died. A large pool of his blood lay caked to the floor of the room yesterday, chunks of plaster torn off the wall by the gunfire lay close by.
Hudood rushed her children into the second room of the farmhouse. She sat on the ground next to the bed with her children
"I covered my children in my arms and brought them close to my chest. I covered them with blankets, I thought perhaps it would help protect them," Hudood said. "They are just small children. One of them said to me: 'Don't cry mummy. We have got God with us.'"
Next to her on the floor was her cousin Saadi Faqri, 30, who was staying in the house and ran to help her. During the shooting, a rocket or a large piece of shrapnel ripped through the wall of the bedroom, past Hudood and the children, and struck Saadi in the chest. He slumped on the floor and died.
The third man to die, Salem Khalil, 40, was a neighbour who came running to help when he heard the shooting. His body was found lying on the ground outside.
Eventually the shooting stopped, the soldiers pulled back and then they called in the air strike. At least seven missiles were fired but only one hit the house, tearing through the ceiling of an unoccupied storeroom.
Yesterday morning the villagers of al-Jisr gathered to bury their dead in the large graveyard by the main road. At the same time, US military officers arrived at the farmhouse, took photographs, gathered shell casings and, through a translator, briefly apologised to the family. The words meant little.
"My brother was a polite and decent man. He was poor and we had only enough farmland to survive," said Ali Khalaf's brother Zaidan, who lives nearby.
"None of us are interested in politics, none of us worked in Saddam's regime. We got nothing from Saddam.
"I swear we don't have any weapons in our homes and we don't have any intention to fight the Americans. But the Americans have become a heavy weight on our shoulders. They don't respect human beings, they humiliate the Iraqi people. They promised freedom and democracy. Is it freedom to kill people, make bloodshed and destroy our house? Is that what they mean by freedom?"
Neville Watson is a lawyer and Uniting Church Minister from Australia and is presently with the Iraq Peace Team in Baghdad. He answered a series of questions for IPT.
Question: What is life like for you in Baghdad?
Neville Watson: It's not all that bad. The bombing is frightening at first, especially when you feel the building move beneath your feet. Some of the bombs seem to burst in the air. Others seem to come up from underneath your feet. Some of the group go to the basement each night. Others of us stay in our rooms on the basis that average Iraqis have no basement in their homes. The idea of us being here is to be with the Iraqi people in some small way as they suffer an unjust, unnecessary, and unconscionable war.
Question: Are you still free to move around?
Neville Watson: No. No longer! It's a lock down situation and we can only go out with a minder. The Iraqi people are as gracious as ever and when I go shopping there is always much laughter and good naturedness. I came across the first touch of hostility the other day when I was visiting a hospital and the father of an injured little 5 year old said with feeling: In the name of democracy you kill our children!, which was a fair comment. All I could do was to say I am sorry. I am so very sorry., and in so doing I fulfilled one of the reasons for me being up here, to apologise for the brutality of the Australian Government. What we in the Iraq Peace Team are trying to do is to identify with the suffering of the Iraqi people and apologise for our part in it.
Q: Has there been much damage from the bombing?
Neville Watson: A lot. The accuracy of bombs and missiles is as over-rated as they were in the Gulf War, and when they go astray they cause terrific damage. The death and the personal injury to innocent civilians is horrific and it disturbs me that it is not being shown on television in America and Australia. This is a deliberate strategy of the military machine and the establishment, because if people generally saw the mangled and burned bodies of innocent women and children they would demand a stop to the war.
Q: Have you personally seen instances of the damage?
Neville Watson: Of course. We have visited many hospitals and many sites. That is the advantage of being up here. Where you stand determines what you see, and we see a terrible lot of suffering. This isn't a war against Saddam Hussein. It is a war against the country of Iraq and its people. I don't know who the genius was who dreamed up the phrase Shock and Awe for this senseless bombing but it certainly is shocking.
Q: The Generals say that they try and avoid civilian casualties...
Neville Watson: I do not doubt this but civilian casualties are the name of the game. When war is waged it is not soldiers who are the primary casualties, it is women and children. Look up the statistics of any war. No politicians, no generals, some soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent women and children. Don't talk about 'war crimes' to me. War itself is the crime because it destroys the lives of innocent men women and children.
Q: Are you sure that the damage was caused by American and not Iraqi missiles?
Neville Watson: As sure as I can read. We recovered parts of missiles with part numbers on them and the words Radom not paint. I've no idea what radom is but it certainly isn't Arabic.
Q: What would be your chief concern at the moment?
Neville Watson: I think it would be the hypocrisy and the distortion of the facts by the Americans. Let me give one of a dozen examples I could give. Donald Rumsfeld says that showing prisoners of war on television is against the Geneva Convention. This is the guy who runs Guantanamo Bay which is the most blatant violation of the Geneva Convention of the century. The occupants there are now killing themselves as they recognise they are forgotten people with neither military nor human rights. They are nobodies. Showing prisoners of war on television may be distasteful but it sure beats Guantanamo Bay!
Q: Where do you see Australia fitting in all of this?
Neville Watson: It's very sad. Australia wasn't included in the Azores summit because it is obvious to all that Australia is now adequately represented by the United States. Our Prime Minister is now reduced to fatuous phrases like It is in the national interest. What nation? We have sold our birthright for a free trade agreement. The Australian of the year for me is the pilot who refused to drop his bombs on non military targets. He is the toast of the Iraq Peace Team and I am basking in his glory. I'd very much like to know his name so that at his court martial he gets good legal representation for what was a courageous and legal action.
Q: How long will you be up there?
Neville Watson: I do not know. Nobody knows what is going to happen. Our aim is to be a nonviolent presence in a very violent place. We share a common humanity with the Iraqi people and as my ten year old granddaughter says, our aim is to comfort the Iraqi people as the Americans bomb them. How long that is going to be? I do not know but they are sure copping it at the moment. And if the Americans think that they can win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people by bombing them, the only ones they are fooling are themselves.
Baghdad's hospitals in crisis
Last Updated:Monday, 7 April, 2003, from the BBC
The wards were already full before last Saturday's US incursion
Hospitals in Baghdad are being overwhelmed by new patients, are running out of medicine and are short of water and electricity, the Red Cross has said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which is still operating in Baghdad, says the war is stretching the capital's medical resources to their limit.
Around the city, casualties have been admitted on an average of 100 per hour, with staff working day and night.
Wards at the five major hospitals treating wounded were already overflowing with injured when American troops made their first incursion on Saturday.
Surgeons have been working round the clock for two days... Conditions are terrible
Roland Huguenin-Benjamin, Red Cross spokesman
Medicines such as analgesics, antibiotics, anaesthetics and insulin, as well as surgical items are now running out.
ICRC spokesman Roland Huguenin-Benjamin said of the al-Kindi hospital in north-eastern Baghdad: "Surgeons have been working round the clock for the past two days and most are exhausted. Conditions are terrible.
"You could hear very close range explosions. The windows are rattling from the thud of explosions."
Al-Kindi was the only hospital the ICRC could reach on Monday.
Mr Huguenin-Benjamin said hospitals were now relying on generators and that getting clean water to patients was a priority.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of a health emergency both in Baghdad and in the country as a whole.
The struggle to treat the injured in Baghdad has been complicated further by the disappearance of two aid workers from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Baghdad.
Almost half of Iraqis are aged under 18 and many suffered malnutrition before the war began
Most Iraqi families are entirely dependent on monthly food handouts - due to run out by May
MSF's head of mission in the city, 43-year-old Frenchman François Calas, and Ibrahim Younis, a 31-year-old logistician of Sudanese descent, were last seen on Wednesday.
In a statement released on Monday, MSF said it had to assume that Iraqi officials were holding the two men.
The four remaining members of the six-strong MSF team are still in the Iraqi capital.
MSF's Martyn Broughton told BBC News Online that the team had suspended its work at al-Kindi in response to the disappearance.
Stephen Crawshaw, director of Human Rights Watch in London, told the BBC he was concerned at possible siege tactics in Baghdad, as they might involve "starvation and failure to have access to water".
"It is certainly worrying if we hear talk of ways of prosecuting this war where the concerns of civilians are, if you like, put to one side," he said.
The US military command has talked of "isolating" Baghdad, where the Iraqi Government is still putting up resistance, rather than storming it.
ICRC spokeswoman in Geneva, Antonella Notari, told the BBC the organisation might need to bring extra supplies into Baghdad from warehouses in Iran, Kuwait, Jordan or Syria, depending on the length of the fighting, the number of new casualties and security guarantees.
Hospitals are relying on generators and have fears over water supply
In general, aid agencies have had only limited success in shipping food relief to Iraq, notably to the Kurdish north, although a United Nations team is now assessing conditions at the deep-water port of Umm Qasr in the south.
Caroline Hurford, a public information officer at the UN World Food Programme's Cyprus-based office for Iraq, told BBC News Online that food aid was reaching the north but security concerns were holding up deliveries in the south.
Some 25,000 people in rural areas have received wheat flour - the critical commodity for Iraqis - since lorries carrying 850 metric tons reached Dahuk at the weekend, and a further 1,000 tons is on its way to Irbil.
The WFP has about 30,000 tons of food aid ready to be moved into the south of Iraq, but is waiting for security clearance at Umm Qasr.
The UN's children's agency Unicef has been tankering water to hospitals and other facilities in the area between Umm Qasr and Basra for several days, Anis Salem, Unicef's communications chief in Amman, told BBC News Online.
Tanker drivers report that with electricity down in many areas, hospitals are badly affected and cases of diarrhoea among children are on the increase.
Enter subhead content here
Rally in London to stand in silence for war dead
Sarah Hall, political correspondent Friday April 11, 2003 The Guardian
Anti-war protesters are to go ahead with a mass demonstration in London this weekend despite the apparent successes of coalition forces in Iraq.
Up to 400,000 campaigners are expected to converge on Parliament Square and stand in silence to draw attention to the 1,500 Iraqis who have died in the conflict, and to highlight their concern at a new "neocolonial" regime.
Walking under banners proclaiming Stop the Killing, the protesters - stung by criticism that the anti-war movement has "melted away" - will lay flowers and wreaths outside Downing Street.
They will then attend a Hyde Park rally where speakers will include MPs Tam Dalyell and George Galloway, both of whom face having the Labour whip withdrawn because of their anti-war comments.
Stop the War coalition, which is organising the rally, is adamant that public opposition has not diminished and that, despite scenes of apparent jubilation at the dramatic toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue, Iraqis view this as the "final humiliation" by coalition forces intent on introducing a regime they believe will be no better than Saddam's.
Speaking at a press conference in Westminster, Andrew Murray, the coalition's chairman, said: "We are very much going ahead with the demonstration on Saturday.
"The number of deaths is in four figures and is scheduled to rise still higher and so our central demand to end the war and the killing is now more important than ever."
He added that the number of coaches booked for the march and support at meetings suggested opposition had barely diminished since the last rally on March 22.
"I don't think support is falling off. All our indications are this will be a very big demonstration because millions of people still reject the policies of this government and a neocolonial peace."
Anas Altikriti, an Iraqi and an official of the Muslim Association of Britain, said that Iraqis viewed Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the exiled Iraqi National Congress, as no better than Saddam.
"All the signs show that we will be left with a puppet regime, governed by corrupt, fraudulent figures who have no credibility in the country, a repeat of the regime the Iraqi people were lingering under for 30 years," he added.
Monday, April 7th, 2003
from "Doctors Without Borders"
Press Release: April 4 MSF Without News of Two Team Members in Baghdad
Paris, April 4, 2003 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) confirms being without news of two members of its team in Baghdad, reported missing since Wednesday evening (April 2). The four other members of the team are safe.
These two volunteers belong to the 6-person team that has been present in Baghdad for several weeks. The team provided medical help to the medical staff of Al-Kindi hospital, in the northeast of the capital. All activities of MSF in Iraq have been suspended.
At this point, MSF is not able to provide further information.
News Update: April 1 Report From Baghdad
Last week, a team from the international medical humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) joined their medical colleagues at the 250-bed Al-Kindi General Hospital in northeast Baghdad to help treat emergency injured patients. A surgeon, anesthesiologist, and emergency physician from MSF became integrated into a surgical and medical team, and will work 24-hour shifts every other day. On Tuesday April 1, one doctor, Morten Rostrup, President of MSF International, spoke to MSF through a journalist from Baghdad:
For two days last week, when the sandstorm raged, you couldn't see for more than 200 meters, and sand was everywhere - in our eyes, ears, sand in our throats. And then there's smoke from oil fires that ring the city. By chance, rain cleared the air, but the bombings continue.
The atmosphere has changed. When the war started, people in Baghdad tried to live a normal life, hoping to keep a pattern in a bizarre situation. But tensions are rising and the bombings intensify.
We've seen some wounded so far, a range of civilian casualties, from very light wounds, to major traumas warranting operations, and some deaths. A lot of the injuries are from flying debris and metal pieces. It's difficult to judge when examining a patient whether bombs or anti-aircraft fire caused the injuries.
A few days ago, parts of a wall fell on one woman, fracturing several bones in her face. Luckily there was no cerebral hemorrhaging. Yesterday, the hospital admitted 19 casualties, including several children. One child died in the operating theatre, while 3 other patients died shortly after arriving at the hospital. The main traumas were from shrapnel. Two days before we were present for two operations on boys who had shrapnel injuries in the abdomen. Luckily, there was no perforation of the intestines, just some less serious injuries of the liver and kidneys. These casualties frustrate and distress the team.
The psychological trauma and shock from explosions has resulted in shock syndromes and stress-related chest pain, breathing problems, and strokes. We've seen an increase in heart attacks, as well. The situation is very tense and people are worried, they're afraid, they're staying in their homes, and most of the shops are closed. Some normal traffic continues on the streets, and our team is able to move back and forth between the hospital and our house in a quiet suburban neighborhood that has been spared for the most part. There are damaged homes in the city, and as we travel we often hear explosions.
Up until now, al Kindi has been functioning well, with skilled local doctors, but there is a need for some specific drugs, especially painkillers and anesthetic drugs. MSF will re-supply these. Normal health services continue - people still need help with chronic health problems - and since war can disrupt supplies of all basic medical materials quickly, we will carefully monitor the situation and try to get more supplies when necessary.
The doctors are experienced in trauma surgery, and are very committed to stay and work in the hospital. We are here to help if our medical colleagues need it. And if there is a battle around Baghdad, Al-Kindi could be a major receiving hospital of injured, so our presence may be important later as well.
Morten Rostrup, MD
Press Release: March 26 Doctors Without Borders Relief Cargo En Route to Baghdad
Amman, Jordan, 26 March 2002 The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) sent two trucks of medical supplies for Baghdad from Amman, Jordan, today. The 10 tons of supplies include materials for 300 surgeries, post-operative medicines, water and sanitation supplies, and some nutritional material.
An MSF team in the Iraqi capital is currently assisting staff at the 250-bed al-Kindi General Hospital in northeast Baghdad. An MSF surgeon, anesthesiologist, and emergency physician, will continue working alongside their Iraqi colleagues at the hospital in the coming days. Earlier, MSF donated some surgical materials from their current stock, and an emergency kit with enough supplies to treat 150 injured. Dressings for treating burn victims may also be provided if needed.
"MSF has notified the relevant coalition and Iraqi officials about this convoy," said MSF midwife Catrin Schulte-Hillen from Amman. "For the moment, the al-Kindi staff is working hard to care for their patients, and MSF can provide help if it is needed. Sending back-up material like this is part of our normal operations for any war situation."
Currently, MSF has a 6-person international team in Baghdad, consisting of volunteers from Italy, France, Austria, Norway, Sudan, and Algeria. MSF is also monitoring the situation as it develops from several neighboring countries, including Syria and Iran.
IRAQ CRISIS: OVERVIEW OF MSF ACTIVITIES
Three doctors from Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) six-man team in Baghdad are integrated into 24-hour surgical and medical shifts every other day to assist their medical colleagues at al Kindi Hospital in northeast Baghdad, one of several hospitals designated as first-line treatment centers for emergency war-wounded in the city.
While on duty Saturday, five emergency casualties arrived, 3 requiring immediate abdominal surgery. On Monday, the hospital received 19 casualties, many of them children, and some eventually died. Intense bombings continue, and the situation is deteriorating.
AL KINDI HOSPITAL
Al Kindi is a teaching hospital in northeast Baghdad with about 250 beds, 60 senior doctors, plenty of residents and junior doctors, and main surgical specialties including Ear, Nose, and Throat and opthamology. Up until now, the hospital has been functioning well, especially in terms of doctors, but there are some shortages in painkillers and anesthetic drugs. MSF hopes to re-supply these.
The al Kindi physicians are skilled and experienced in trauma surgery, and there are many surgical specialties available on a 24-hour basis. They are committed to staying and working in the hospital. MSF is there to support the staff if needed. Last Thursday, MSF doctors were integrated into a surgical and medical team, so they will now be at the hospital every other day in scheduled 24-hour shifts.
In addition to war-wounded, normal health services continue at al Kindi - babies are born, people need help with chronic health problems. Elective surgeries have been delayed, though, and war quickly disrupts supplies of all basic medical materials, which is why MSF will try to send more supplies.
MSF has seen only a very limited refugee or displaced movement towards Syria, Jordan, and Iran, and it is still not sure there will be many. People are leaving certain parts of Baghdad to areas that are less exposed, but there has not been a major flow of people either within or outside of Iraq.
MSF has pre-positioned small teams and some material in many of the neighboring countries in the event of a refugee crisis. In Iran, MSF will provide for health needs at 2 camps (out of 10) Iranian authorities have established in Qas-re-Sherin and Kermanshah.
MSF has also entered into agreements with Syrian authorities to provide for health and water and sanitation needs at a camp being prepared for 20,000 people at el Hol, near Hassake. These refugee camps are in the middle of the desert - which could be a burden in terms of water, cooking food, shelter, sandstorms, and extreme heat.
And in Jordan, MSF continues to travel to the border, but there have only been a small number of third-country nationals who left Iraq shortly before and shortly after the war began.
Los Angeles Times
April 7, 2003
Police Fire "Sting Balls" at Oakland Protestors:
Other non-lethal weapons such as wooden dowels are used.
A dozen demonstrators and six longshoremen are injured.
31 people are arrested, police report.
Police opened fire this morning with wooden dowels, "sting balls", and other non-lethal weapons at anti-war protestors outside the port of Oakland, inuring at least a dozen demonstrators and six longshorement standing nearby.
Most of the 500 demonstrators at the port were dispersed peacefully, but police opened fire at two gates when protestors refused to move. the longshoremen, pinned against a fence, were caught in the crossfire.
The port protest was one of several anti-war demonstrations today in the San Francisco Bay area. Twelve people were arrested at the Concord Naval Weapons Station, and seven were arrested after temporarily blocking an off-ramp from Interstate 280 in San Francisco.
The Rev. Lee Williamson of Hayward knelt quietly in prayer at the foot of one officer at the naval weapons station.
"I think it's necessary to come to places that continue to fuel death and destruction," Williamson said. "I think the whole thing is immoral from the get-go."
About 50 medical students, doctors and teachers demonstrated for two hours in front of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office in San Francisco. In Sunnyvale, demonstrators planned to present a letter to Lockheed Martin opposing the use of that company's products in the war.
And in Sacramento, nine anti-war protesters were arrested when they blocked the entrance to the federal building.
About 200 of the port demonstrators later marched to the federal building in Oakland, blocking a street and chanting: "Out of the office and into the streets! U.S. out of the Middle East!" They were joined by Oakland City Council members Jane Bruner and Jean Quan. They should not have been using the wooden bullets," Bruner said. "Given what's happening in the " world today, we're going to be seeing more of this. And we should be prepared to handle it."
Demonstrators said it was the first time they had been fired upon since anti-war protests started in the San Francisco Bay area more than two weeks ago.
Oakland Police Chief Richard Word said the use of non-lethal projectiles was necessary to disperse the crowd. Some protesters threw rocks, set a bonfire and shut down the port, Word said.
"In response to direct illegal action we've deployed non-lethal action," Word said.
Word said his department would evaluate the use of the projectiles by his officers. The dowels are supposed to be shot at the ground and carom up to strike protestors, Word said, but some of those injured complained the officers took direct aim at them.
Mayor Jerry Brown spoke with some people from both sides of the protest line about the police tactics.
"We are always willing to support people's right to free speech, but we will not tolerate unlawful activities," Erica Harrold, Brown's spokeswoman, said on behalf of the mayor.
"We are always willing to support people's right to free speech, but we will not tolerate unlawful activities," Harrold said on behalf of the mayor.
Liz Highleyman, a San Francisco writer who has been at many of the major protests across the country in recent years, said the police response reminded her of the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle four years ago.
"This is a level of injury as high as I've seen anywhere since Seattle in 1999," she said.
Protesters said they targeted the Port of Oakland because at least one of the companies there, APL, is handling war supplies.
APL spokesman Jerry Drelling declined to discuss the shipping company's military contracts. But he confirmed that APL participates in the U.S Department of Transportation's Maritime Security Program that pays commercial shipping lines for the right to take over their vessels during war.
Oakland police said 31 people were arrested at the port.
"Some people were blocking port property and the port authorities asked us to move them off," said Deputy Police Chief Patrick Haw. "Police moved aggressively against crowds because some people threw rocks and big iron bolts at officers."
Police spokeswoman Danielle Ashford said officers fired bean-bag rounds and wooden dowels. They also used sting balls, which send out a spray of BB-sized rubber pellets and a cloud of tear gas.
"When they hit you, it feels like a bee sting," Haw said.
Six longshoremen were treated by paramedics, as were at least a dozen protesters -- some of whom had bloody welts the size of a silver dollar.
"I was standing as far back as I could," said longshoremen Kevin Wilson. "It was very scary. All of that force wasn't necessary."
Steve Stallone, spokesman for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, said most of the dockworkers went back to work after the protesters left. A few were too shaken up to return.
He said a union arbitrator was evaluating the situation, trying to determine whether the longshoremen should cross the protesters' picket line and go to work, when police started firing.
"They didn't care," he said. "They just attacked the picket line. They declared it an illegal assembly and gave people two minutes to disperse. The police did not move to arrest anyone, they just started shooting."
The San Francisco Bay area has been the site of some of the biggest and most boisterous anti-war protests in the country. In the first few days after the war began, there were more than 2,000 arrests when demonstrators blocked downtown streets and tried to seize control of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
by Staff of the Guardian and agencies Saturday February 15, 2003
The Rev Jesse Jackson insisted that it is "not too late to stop this war" and urged protesters to "march until there is peace and reconciliation".
"War should be necessary as a last resort, and not pre-emptive, and it should have moral authority," he said.
"Today, we can stop this war. It's cold outside, but our hearts are warm. All of you together are generating some serious street heat.
"George Bush can feel it, Tony Blair can feel it: turn up the heat."
He attacked the Bush administration, saying: "America is a great nation: better than the vision of our leadership," and urged Mr Blair to "listen to the voices of the British people". Ken Livingstone
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, launched a scathing attack on the US president, George Bush, during his address to crowds in London's Hyde Park.
"This is a president who uses the death penalty with complete abandon and disregard for any respect for life. This is no example," Mr Livingstone said.
"So let everyone recognise what has happened here today: that Britain does not support this war for oil. The British people will not tolerate being used to prop up the most corrupt and racist American administration in over 80 years.
"If you listened to Tony Blair today ... he talked about giving more time to the inspectors, he talked about the need for a new UN resolution, and there's the weakness.
"There are nations on the security council that are for sale. Nations who will be offered the liquidation of their debts and offered major grants. Let's watch the security council like hawks.
"Let's not, having won the moral case and demonstrated the opposition of the world, lose this fight because of corruption and vote-buying on the security council." Tony Benn
Labour MP Tony Benn said that anti-war protesters had "formed a new political movement" which would last beyond the Iraq crisis.
"It's to stop a war in Iraq but it must be about other matters as well," he said.
"It must be about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It must be about democracy in the Middle East - there is no democracy in Saudi Arabia or Iraq - and about some democracy in Britain as well, and letting parliament decide. "We are starting something really big, and our first task is peace in Iraq: but we must not stop until we have achieved the objectives which have brought us to Hyde Park this afternoon." Charles Kennedy
The Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, told the crowd that he was "not persuaded" by the case for war in Iraq.
"The arguments have been contradictory and inconsistent," Mr Kennedy said. "The information has all too often been misleading as well as inconclusive. It's no wonder people are scared and concerned.
"Given the evidence we heard yesterday in New York from Dr Blix, there can be, as we stand, no just or moral case for war against Iraq.
"If we reach the stage, at some point in the future, where British troops are asked to enter some form of military conflict, that's got to be achieved in a democratic way.
"The House of Commons should be given the right it so far has been denied: the right of a vote on whether it believes our forces should be sent into battle.
He called on the prime minister to recall the commons when it is in recess next week and "make a full statement", and branded the Iraq crisis "the riskiest moment for Britain since Suez". Mo Mowlam
Former Labour minister Mo Mowlam told the crowd that Mr Blair and the government had themselves in "a right corner" over Iraq.
"Things can only get better if we stick together," she added. "Keep it peaceful. Because being peaceful, people will have no excuse not to listen.
"There is a position now ... that if a country has a lot of people killed from poverty and military dictatorship, if that number is smaller than that killed by war then the war is OK. That, to me, is totally illogical." Harold Pinter
The playwright Harold Pinter described the US as "a country run by a bunch of criminals ... with Tony Blair as a hired Christian thug".
"The planned attack on Iraq is a pre-meditated attack of mass murder," he added. "Resistance is embodied today in this massive gathering, and the word I want to direct to Tony Blair is resign, resign, resign." Bianca Jagger
Bianca Jagger accused the prime minister of "listening to President Bush rather than the voices of the British people".
"We want to live in a world where peace, democracy and security are enshrined in the UN charter," she added.
"I would like to see democracy in Iraq, but not by carpet bombing Iraq and killing innocent civilians."
Voices from the march: A teacher, marketing manager and Greenham Common veteran speak
Sarah Left, Gwladys Fouché and Sally Bolton Saturday February 15, 2003
Jenny Brealey, 53, a teacher from Whitstable, Kent
We must do everything we absolutely can to stop the war. I've come here today with a conviction that we must stop the war. I've given up thinking that Tony Blair will listen to anyone. So while I hope there won't be a war I feel there will be. The atmosphere here is fantastic. Michael Johnson, a marketing manager from London
I marching today with my family because I don't think the case has been made for war against Iraq. I think the evidence is inconclusive - the whole thing started with September 11 and Osama bin Laden and now we're going into Iraq. I don't think the two things are linked.
I think the case was better made for the war in Afghanistan. That was a kneejerk reaction and they just went in because they were looking for Osama bin Laden and that could have been justified by the atrocity in New York, I just don't the case has been made for an attack on Iraq. And if there is one where is it going to stop - we've heard that North Korea have got nuclear weapons, or are going to develop weapons, so does that mean we are going to go in their next.
I hope marching today makes a difference but I'm not optimistic. The show of strength today has shown the outrage of the British people. Mary Boardman, 53, from Hereford
We left at half past eight in five coaches, which is five times more coaches than there has been for any other protest I've been on. I'm part of three generations protesting today - my mother is 86 and on a small demo in Hereford, she's too old to join this march, and my nine-year-old daughter is here with me.
People feel that bombing Iraq would be a very unjust act and they are worried it might escalate into a full-scale world war with Muslim countries getting involved on Iraq's side. They feel that although we are not in anyway wanting to support Saddam Hussein and his regime that actually his regime got there by being sold arms by the Americans and the British. He wouldn't have got into power had they not supported him because it suited them at the time. We think it's all about oil and resources and America not wanting to compromise its very rich lifestyle.
I was at Greenham Common - and it's very jolly here, very similar in lots of ways except there weren't men at Greenham, at least not in the numbers you've got here. It tended to be less noisy but just as joyful. Of course we didn't have mobile phone then - it would have been different if we had. We'd have been able to tell each other what was happening around the base.
Protests across the world: Europe and Africa
John Hooper in Berlin, Sophie Arie in Rome, Rory Carroll in Johannesburg, and agencies
Saturday February 15, 2003
Three members of chancellor Gerhard Schröder's centre-left cabinet defied his express wishes to join an anti-war march through Berlin.
Fears were expressed that their participation could further inflame the continuing row between Germany and the US over policy on Iraq.
Church bells throughout Berlin rang out at midday as two vast processions set off from different parts of the city.
They were due to converge at the 19th century Siegessäule, or victory column, a symbol of the militarism which twice led Germany to disaster in the century that followed. "Old Europe knows about war", said one placard. "1939-45 - all forgotten?", read another.
The NTV television news station said that around 500 buses had been used to bring protesters into the city from all over Germany. Police said up to 500,000 people attended the rally.
The cabinet members taking part in the demonstration were Hiedemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, the overseas development minister, from chancellor Schröder's own Social Democratic Party, and Jürgen Trittin and Renate Künast, the environment and agriculture ministers of the Green party.
The speaker of the lower house, Wolgang Thierse, another leader SPD member, was also among the marchers.
The general secretary of the opposition Christian Democrats, Laurenz Mayer, said that it was "offensive" for ministers to be taking part in "an anti-American demonstration".
Mr Mayer added that it would revive memories in the US of last year's general election campaign, during which a then member of the cabinet outraged the White House by comparing President Bush's tactics on Iraq with those of Adolf Hitler.
A government spokesman said: "In the end, it is for each minister to decide for him or herself whether to respect the chancellor's request." Rome
Organisers claimed that more than one million marchers, including union leaders, left-wing opposition politicians, intellectuals and anti-vivisection campaigners, converged on the Italian capital to call for peace.
As people swarmed peacefully, wrapped in flags and chanting peace songs around Rome's ancient monuments, helicopters circled above and almost 2,000 police watched discreetly from the sidelines, with riot gear to the ready.
The center-right Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has declared the country to be a key US ally, despite overwhelming public opposition to a war.
The march was heavily politicized, as opposition politicians took the opportunity to rally support for the country's fragmented left against Berlusconi.
RAI, the state television station, chose not to broadcast the event live, arguing that it would put "undue pressure on politicians".
However, the majority of marchers were ordinary Italians, 85% of whom, according to recent polls, do not support a war to disarm Iraq.
Crowds opposed to war in Iraq thronged South Africa's major cities on Saturday, as peaceful protests united diverse racial and political groups. Johannesburg
White housewives, black communists and Muslim students, among others, marched through Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Bloemfontein, chanting slogans and brandishing placards with slogans including "By George, Bush is Just an Empty Warhead", "Blix, Start Searching Israel" and "US, UK, Israel - axis of hypocrisy".
Trade unions, churches and political parties, including the ruling African National Congress, were represented. Yet, despite South Africa's near-consensus opposition to war, the combined number of marchers was less than 20,000.
Police reported no violence, and shoppers and tourists mingled with the protesters. A small minority wore Osama bin Laden t-shirts, and one man in Durban, dressed as a suicide bomber, promised to defend Iraq with his life. Kiev
Braving biting cold and snow flurries in the Ukraine, around 2,000 people rallied in Kiev's central square.
Anti-globalists led a peaceful Rock Against War protest, joined by communists, socialists, Kurds and pacifists. Natalya Mostenko, 45, was one of several people in Kiev carrying a portrait of Saddam Hussein. "He opposes American dictatorship, and so do I," she said. Mostar
Around 100 Muslims and Croats united against the prospect of war, the first such cross-community action in seven years.
Ethnic divisions in the city, 45 miles south-west of Sarajevo, remain tense, despite the 1995 peace agreement which ended the Bosnian war. "We want to say that war is evil, and we who survived one know that better than anyone," said Majda Hadzic, aged 54. Athens
Several thousand protesters unfurled a giant banner across the wall of the ancient Acropolis, saying "NATO, US and EU equals War", before heading towards the US embassy. Clashes erupted after anarchists wearing hoods and crash helmets broke away from an otherwise peaceful march.
The great unheard finally speak out
Mary Riddell reports on the march that changed apathy into action for a cause which could crush a Prime Minister
The age of apathy stops here, between a Thomas Cook branch and the Bloomsbury Diner, where the bodies are jammed together too tightly to move. In the minutes before the march begins, anyone will tell you why protest has supplanted politics.
Some of these twenty-first century Chartists with mobile phones are veterans of the Vietnam demonstrations. Some are too young to remember the Cold War. What unites them is anger against Bush and Blair, but mainly Blair. Everyone I talk to says that he will not have their vote again.
It is odd to think that these are the sloths who could not be prised from their armchairs when elections rolled round and who hit the remote at the first flicker of any BBC political coverage that wasn't Have I Got News For You.
These people, in New Labour's analysis, were the inert of the Earth. And here they are, out in their hundreds of thousands, quoting Hans Blix verbatim and defying a Prime Minister who longed to galvanise them and must now regret becoming the Frankenstein of the protesting classes.
Political leaders hate crowds. Mass meetings have been supplanted by leaks and soundbites. In the fractious build-up to war, lonely societies are encouraged to become more solipsistic. A fearful population, hiding behind its anthrax-proofed windows, is also tractable. There is nothing threatening to government about citizens bickering over the last roll of duct tape in Wal-Mart.
British marchers have spurned isolation for solidarity, and fear for fury. Their momentum came almost from nowhere. Unlike the Jubilee-trippers, the Soham mobsters and even the Countryside Alliance, they bore no social or political barcode.
Theirs was, and is, a movement without a leader. Its members belong to no obvious political caste. Labour voters who march are deracinated from their leaders, and the Tories have none worth worrying about.
Their mission, to halt the war, is by definition negative, and their goal unattainable, bar a miracle. Those hoping to recalibrate the Prime Minister's moral compass face disappointment, or even despair. Few predicted weeks ago that so many people would turn out to stop the unstoppable, and I was certainly not among them.
The surprise has been the altruism of the protesters, and the size of the vacuum they fill. Blair's natural supporters and opponents have registered their opposition, and seen it spurned. As they get more strident, he digs harder. The hole in democracy grows more cavernous by the day.
The marchers all felt that; the men in deerstalkers and Barbours, the pro-protesters in neon knitwear, the students and the grandmas whose families had persuaded them to take along brand-new Nokia mobile phones they couldn't work. Who will record their assembly when all of this is over?
History, perhaps. The War Remnants Museum in Saigon displays yellowed newspaper reports of Western protests against the Vietnam War. Next door, housed in hot sheds, are the napalmed babies and photographs of burnt children. The juxtaposition of press clippings and grim artefacts offers a memento mori. This is what happens when people are right and governments mistaken.
Today's protesters are starved of inspiration and data. In place of a charismatic leader, they have the belief that politicians are lying. They have no great freedom fighter to support; only Saddam. You could not sell washing powder on that basis, let alone a pacifist cause that may crush a Prime Minister.
Yet the movement has taken off and its subscribers, on yesterday's evidence, are not a reissued set of hoary peaceniks. These are organised people with clear aims. They want a peaceful solution for Iraq. If that is not forthcoming, Blair will be punished accordingly.
They may be wrong. He may be right. But in a war predicated on conviction and conscience, the hunches of the nation also count. As Martin Luther King said, countries should repent citizens' evil deeds almost less than 'the appalling silence of the good'.
The unheard have spoken out.
Man arrested at Crossgates for wearing peace T-shirt
Shopper charged after refusing to take off shirt that mall store made for him, bearing slogans "Peace on Earth" and "Give Peace a Chance"
By CAROL DeMARE, Staff writer of the Albany Times Union First published: Wednesday, March 5, 2003
GUILDERLAND -- An attorney for the state was arrested and hauled into court after refusing to take off a T-shirt that said "Give Peace a Chance" while shopping at Crossgates Mall.
PAUL BUCKOWSKI / TIMES UNION
Stephen Downs of Selkirk displays the T-shirts he and his son were wearing at Crossgates Mall on Monday.
This is at least the second time in recent months that mall security asked people wearing T-shirts with peace slogans to leave.
Steve Downs, 60, of Selkirk, said he was minding his own business Monday when he refused to remove the shirt and was charged with trespass.
"My point was I'm not trying to convert anybody," Downs said Tuesday. "This was a statement of where I was in my life."
He had purchased the shirt in a shop in the mall shortly before the arrest. The store put on the lettering while he waited: "Peace on Earth" on the front and "Give Peace a Chance" on the back.
His son, Roger Downs, 31, of New Baltimore, an ecologist, also bought a shirt. It read "No War With Iraq" and "Let Inspections Work."
"When they asked me to take it off, I took it off," Roger said. "I think it was ridiculous. I guess the way we see this is we feel the mall has a right to control assembly, not want large protests or large special interest groups or rallies. We were just individuals with T-shirts on, and we were shopping. We weren't talking to people or handing out leaflets."
Numerous calls to Crossgates Marketing Director Sarah Nieves regarding mall policy were not returned.
Heidi Siegfried, interim executive director of the Capital Region chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said, "We have the position that the public space in the mall should be a First Amendment protected activity. Even when they have the right to control and prohibit ... someone shouldn't be removed when doing activity consistent with the normal uses of the mall."
On Dec. 21, about two dozen anti-war protesters wearing pro-peace T-shirts and carrying signs were asked to leave Crossgates. The group complied.
The incident with the father and son occurred shortly after 7 p.m. in the food court. They said they were asked by two security guards to take off their T-shirts, leave or be arrested.
"I don't think we have to take off the T-shirts," said Steve Downs, chief attorney in the Albany office of the Commission on Judicial Conduct.
The guards returned with a Guilderland police officer and, "It was the same routine all over again," the father said. "I said 'OK, arrest me.' "
The cop talked to him for an hour after he was handcuffed, Downs said, trying to get him to drop the whole thing and take the shirt off.
"I didn't want to do that," Downs said. "They were just doing their duty. They were trying to be very peaceful. They didn't want any confrontation."
He was repeatedly told the mall was private property and what he was wearing was unacceptable, the same as if he went to someone's home wearing something unacceptable.
"I said it's not the same thing, it's not a good analogy," said Steve Downs, who insisted he wasn't protesting or demonstrating by wearing the shirt.
Guilderland Town Justice Kenneth Riddett released Downs on his own recognizance and set a return date of March 17. Trespass, a violation, carries a maximum of 15 days in jail. A fine or conditional discharge with community service is more commonly given.
Students protest Bush administration's march toward war with Iraq
By Associated Press, 3/5/2003 18:19
AMHERST, Mass. (AP) They walked out of classes and packed student centers or town commons. With signs, angry words and shouts for peace, thousands of college, high school and middle school students around the state rallied to protest the Bush administration's march toward war with Iraq.
The rallies were part of a ''Books not Bombs'' student strike coordinated by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, an organization formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Tens of thousands of students at more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide had pledged to join the protests. Thousands of students also rallied for peace in Britain, Sweden, Spain, Australia and other countries.
At the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, more than 1,000 students from campus and the town's high school and middle school packed into the Student Union Ballroom.
''We portray ourselves as heroes fighting off the bad guys,'' said Hilary Wilcox, a 17-year-old Amherst Regional High School junior. ''We close our eyes to the truth of what's going on. This apathy is our greatest enemy because it allows our government free rein.''
One student in the crowd waved an American flag. Others waved signs reading, ''Drop Bush, not Bombs'' and ''No Blood for Oil.''
''There's been a constant sense of protest on the UMass campus,'' said Amy Griffin, a 21-year-old UMass senior. ''You see signs painted around campus and pins on people's bags protesting the war. This is a community that gets involved and cares.''
Students from Amherst Regional High School and Amherst Regional Middle School marched about a half mile through a cold drizzle from their schools to the UMass rally.
When they arrived the older crowd gave them a rousing welcome.
''On Sept. 11 a lot of innocent people got killed and we were all really upset about that,'' said Javed Basu-Kesselman, a 14-year-old middle school student. ''How are we going to do the same thing to Iraq?''
The students, most who skipped classes to attend the rally, had organized discussion groups to talk about the impending war and the Bush administration's policies. Similar rallies and forums were held on campuses at Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke and Hampshire colleges.
And they weren't alone. Professors and some community members turned out at the rallies.
Isaac Ben Ezra, an outspoken senior citizen who often rallies for health issues, took the stage at UMass with signs that read, ''Grandparents for Peace,'' and ''Support our Troops. Bring them Home.''
''We have thousands of Americans today who cannot afford drugs or are cutting their pills,'' Ben Ezra said. ''And yet we have a Bush administration that is ready to piss away billions of dollars for war. Not one life for this immoral war. If George Bush doesn't get that message by now, we're going to have to sell it to him.''
Mika Cade, a member of the Anti-War Coalition at Smith College in Northampton, said about 150 students walked out of class about 1:30 p.m. and held a rally outside the campus library.
''It's not like we're just a few hundred people in one part of the nation protesting. This is happening all over the world. Bush has to listen to us and so does the rest of the world.''
She said there were about 200 people at the rally altogether and they had planned some teach-ins and discussions throughout the day.
At Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, about 200 student gathered for an afternoon rally. Throughout the day, some professors tailored their lesson plans to discuss topics of war.
''We wanted people to take a stance and engage in talk about war in the classroom,'' said Elizabeth Oshel, 19, a sophomore who is the co-chair of Mount Holyoke's student anti-war group. ''A lot of people on campus have not been talking about war, and we were hoping to bring it to more people's attention.''
In Boston, Arlington, Newton and Lexington, high school students organized marches to town centers and rallies outside schools.
''The war affects kids in a big way,'' said Dan Hurwitz, a 15-year-old Arlington High School student. ''We're seeing a lot of budget cuts in education, and money can be spent on better things than war. And if there's ever a draft, we'd be eligible.
''The clock is ticking, and we need our voices heard,'' he said.
This war was not worth a child's finger
Victory in just three weeks, relatively few western casualties and now, at last, even dancing on the streets. So, asks Julian Barnes, did those of us who opposed the Iraq conflict get it wrong?
So, peacenik, you lost. We told you so. Sure, it wasn't exactly the pushover we'd war-gamed. The Iraqis didn't rise in rebellion as we promised, the flower-throwing was a little tardy, but that was just because we'd underestimated how terrorised they were. Still, a three-week campaign with a couple of hundred coalition dead; the end approaches, and the Iraqis are dancing on fallen statues. Soon your fellow peaceniks can start trucking in the relief and nation-building can begin. May I hear a squeak of rejoicing?
So, warnik, you think you've won? Please consider this. On Monday afternoon your guys thought they had found Saddam in a restaurant. A US plane dropped four very clever 2,000lb bombs on it. The next night, BBC News showed an enormous crater and its correspondent said that no one who might have been there could have got out alive. According to Peter Arnett, the sacked NBC correspondent, the targeted restaurant was still intact, but three neighbouring houses were reduced to rubble instead. According to most people, Saddam escaped. When asked about this, Torie Clarke, the US defence spokeswoman, said crisply: "I don't think that matters very much. I'm not losing sleep trying to figure out if he was in there."
I don't know how much of the above paragraph - apart from Clarke's words, which I saw coming out of her mouth - is true. It probably approximates to some sort of truth, and it's possible that years down the line an accurate version might emerge: how good was the tip-off, how accurate was the bombing, how many were killed, and how many of those were civilians? But I know this: if I were Clarke, I would think I ought to lose a little sleep. If I were Clarke, I might wonder about my American home town, and how secure it might be from terrorist attack. Because if her words, in their brutal flippancy, seemed shocking to me, then imagine their effect on someone whose father, brother, sister, friend, acquaintance was killed in that raid. Would they say, "It was a sacrifice we are happy to accept, because after all, you were trying to kill Saddam Hussein"? No, I doubt they would react like that.
As the war began, like others I tried to imagine what the best result might be. A quick war with single-figure casualties and Saddam ousted painlessly? But that might mean Rumsfeld and co merely forcing their troops to Damascus and Tehran, centres of acknowledged recalcitrance and listed evil. A slow, horrible war with so many Anglo-American dead that leaders in both countries would realise that go-it-alone invasions, which look to neutrals like neo-imperialism, were simply not practicable. But that would mean wishing for the extinction of hundreds, maybe thousands of troops, and even more civilians. An unanswerable either-or. So, something in-between? Well, something in-between is what we're getting. Enough for some to call it a stunning professional victory, others a vile and unnecessary bloodbath.
But there's another tacit calculation going on. The war depends on domestic public support. Public support depends in part on disguising the reality of war (hence the hypocritical hoo-ha about the "parading" of prisoners) and on calculating the acceptability of death. So what would be the best way of scoring the game? Someone, somewhere, some Machiavellian focus-grouper or damage statistician, is probably doing just this. Let's start with the basic unit: one dead Iraqi soldier, score one point. Two for a dead Republican Guard, three for Special Republican Guard or fedayeen. And so on up to the top of the regime: 5,000, let's say, for Chemical Ali; 7,500 for each of Saddam's sons; 10,000 for the tyrant himself.
Now for the potentially demoralising downside. One Iraqi civilian killed: if male, lose five points, female 10, a child 20. One coalition soldier killed: deduct 50 points. And then, worst of all (as it underlines the futility and hazard of war), one coalition soldier killed by friendly fire: deduct 100 points. On the other hand, gain 1,000 for each incident which a couple of years down the line can give rise to a feel-good Hollywood movie: witness "Saving Private Lynch".
By this count, the war is a success. And television has more or less reflected the weighting of the above scoresheet: film a swaddled, bleeding, terrified child in hospital and airtime is guaranteed. With what blithe unconcern, too, it has disregarded the one-pointers. How have the Iraqi military been presented? a) as massively outgunned; b) as foolishly sallying forth in columns and making themselves easy meat for aerial attack (though the words "turkey shoot" have doubtless been sensitively banned); c) as experimental subjects for live testing of daisycutter bombs; d) as "fanatically loyal", ie still fighting when massively outgunned; e) as running away in their underpants.
The return of British bodies has been given full-scale TV coverage: the Union-Jacked coffin, the saluting Prince Andrew, the waggling kilts of soldiers escorting the hearse of their fallen comrades. Then each dead soldier's face comes up on screen, sometimes in a blurry home colour print, with listing of wife, fiancee, children: it thuds on the emotions. But Iraqi soldiers? They're just dead. The Guardian told us in useful detail how the British Army breaks bad news to families. What happens in Iraq? Who tells whom? Does news even get through? Do you just wait for your 18-year-old conscript son to come home or not to come home? Do you get the few bits that remain after he has been pulverised by our bold new armaments? There aren't many equivalences around in this war, but you can be sure that the equivalence of grief exists. Here come the widow-makers, goes the cry as our tanks advance. Here too come the unwitting recruiters for al-Qaida.
For all the coverage, I don't know what I've seen. Embedding journalists has certainly worked from the military point of view. This is not to disparage them, and they have taken proportionally much greater casualties than the military. But they can at best provide footage, which is not the same as telling us what is actually happening; for that they, and we, depend on official spokesmen. And journalists have to be approved. French television ran a documentary about journalists who had been refused approval, and thus access. British television lets us assume we are getting as much, and as pure, information as it is possible to give in the circumstances.
But in wartime we are even less able, and willing, than usual to see ourselves as others see us. For us, the war consists of coalition troops, Saddam, Iraqi troops, and Iraqi civilians; with bit-parts for the Kurds and Turkey. In the first days of the war I saw a report on French television news which told me - I think - that the US had closed down its embassy and cultural centre in Pakistan; I say "I think" because I never saw it confirmed here. Reaction from the wider Arab world has been sketchily covered, as if to say: let's pretend this is a localised struggle with no wider repercussions, and then it might be. A friend of mine, who works in television, quickly realised he wasn't getting the full picture and signed his household up for six months of al-Jazeera. Only when his wife asked where he'd been learning Arabic did he realise the flaw in his thinking. But his instinct was absolutely right.
As Baghdad falls to conventional warfare, I keep remembering that mantra in Jack Straw's mouth: "nuclear, chemical and biological." He repeated it again and again while trying to round up support. Then the "nuclear" had to go, after the UN inspection report. So it was down to the other two villains. Like some, I believed (no, "very much wanted to believe" is as close as you get in this world of claim and counterclaim) Scott Ritter's judgment that if the Iraqis still had some bad stuff, it was past its use-by date and turning into hair-gel. Even so, it seemed a grotesque gamble on Bush and Blair's part to seek to prove that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons by provoking Saddam to use them against coalition troops. Now we're told that the wily bastard has moved them to Syria. (Hey, let's invade Syria! Then he might move them to Iran. We could look there afterwards!)
The peacenik question before the war went like this: suppose Saddam destroys all his weapons tomorrow, do we still invade on humanitarian grounds? I can't imagine there would have been too many cries of, Yes please. But that, in retrospect, may be what we've done, or shall endeavour to claim we have done and therefore had been intending. Does it look like a humanitarian war to you? Are "shock and awe" compatible with "hearts and minds"? Early on, a US infantryman was seen grimly returning fire over a sand dune, then turning to camera and complaining: "They don't seem to realise we're here to help them." How odd that they didn't.
In the past three weeks, I've had emails from friends in different parts of the world. Almost without fail, they have expressed incredulity at our prime minister's position. "We can understand Bush, we see exactly where he's coming from, we aren't surprised by his gross limitations and gross ambitions. But what is your Blair up to? He seems a civilised, intelligent man. What does he think he's doing? And what on earth does he think he's getting out of it?" Oil? Reconstruction contracts? Hardly. As for what he thinks he's doing: it seems, I explain, to be a mixture of deluded idealism (finding a moral case for war where neither the Anglican bishops nor the Pope - moral experts he might acknowledge - can see one) and deluded pragmatism: he really does believe the military conquest of Iraq will reduce the likelihood of terrorism.
This is Blair's War; and as he reminded us, history will be his judge. But since we'll all be dead by the time history comes along, three key Blair moments should be pondered. The first came long before the war was mooted. The prime minister was asked in the House of Commons about Iraq and replied with a satisfied gleam: "Saddam is in his cage." At the time I merely noted the crudeness of the diction, which is why the phrase has stuck. What few of us realised at the time was that the self-appointed zookeepers were abrogating to themselves the right to shoot the beast.
Then the question of the second UN resolution. Do you remember being told that we wouldn't go to war without a second resolution? How quickly came the slippage. On the February 15 anti-war march, one of the talking-points was how Blair seemed to have shafted himself: if he didn't get a second resolution, he would have to choose between going back on his promise to the British people or going back on his friendship with Bush. Soon, we knew his choice, which led to a third key moment. When accused once too often of being Bush's poodle, Blair responded that, on the contrary, if Bush had proved timorous over Iraq, he, Blair, would have been pressing him harder to take action. Not a typical example of our "restraining influence".
Well, peacenik, are you happy now that peace is coming? No, because I don't think this war, as conceived and justified, was worth a child's finger. At least, are you happy that Saddam's rule is effectively over? Yes, of course, like everyone else. So, do you see some incompatibility here? Yes, but less than the incompatibilities in your position.
Oil was the main reason for military action against Iraq, a leading White House hawk has claimed, confirming the worst fears of those opposed to theUS-led war. The US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz - who has already underminedTony Blair's position over weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by describing them as a "bureau-cratic" excuse for war - has now gone further by claimingthe real motive was that Iraq is "swimming" in oil.
The latest comments were made by Mr Wolfowitz in an address to delegates at an Asian security summit in Singapore at the weekend, and reported today by German news-papers Der Tagesspiegel and Die Welt. Asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been found, the deputy defence minister said: "Let's look at it simply. The most importantdifference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil." Mr. Wolfowitz went on to tell journalists at the conference that the US wasset on a path of negotiation to help defuse tensions between North Korea and its neighbours - in contrast to the more belligerent attitude the Bush administration displayed in its dealings with Iraq.
His latest comments follow his widely reported statement from an interview in Vanity Fair last month, in which he said that "for reasons that have a lot to do with the US government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on: weapons of mass destruction." Prior to that, his boss, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, had already undermined the British government's position by saying Saddam Hussein may have destroyed his banned weapons before the war.
Mr Wolfowitz's frank assessment of the importance of oil could not come at a worst time for the US and UK governments, which are both facing fierce criticism at home and abroad over allegations that they exaggerated the threat post by Saddam Hussein in order to justify the war. Amid growing calls from all parties for a public inquiry, the foreign affairs select committee announced last night it would investigate claims that the UK government misled the country over its evidence of Iraq's WMD. The move is a major setback for Tony Blair, who had hoped to contain any inquiry within the intelligence and security committee, which meets in secret and reports to the prime minister.
In the US, the failure to find solid proof of chemical, biological and nuclear arms in Iraq has raised similar concerns over Mr Bush's justification for the war and prompted calls for congressional investigations. Mr Wolfowitz is viewed as one of the most hawkish members of the Bush administration. The 57-year old expert in international relations was a strong advocate of military action against Afghanistan and Iraq. Following the September 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, Mr Wolfowitz pledged that the US would pursue terrorists and "end"states sponsoring or harbouring militants. Prior to his appointment to the Bush cabinet in February 2001, Mr Wolfowitzwas dean and professor of international relations at the Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), of the Johns Hopkins University.
Looters swarm into new areas as key bridges are opened
Iraqis disappointed with U.S. response
By Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press, 4/12/03
BAGHDAD, Iraq U.S. forces reopened two strategic bridges Saturday in the heart of Baghdad and crowds of looters surged across -- taking advantage of access to new territory that had not already been plundered. U.S. forces did nothing to stop them.
Iraqis expressed increasing frustration over the lawlessness that has gripped the capital since the arrival of U.S. troops and the fall of Saddam Hussein. Looters ransacked government buildings, hospitals and schools, and trashed the National Museum, taking or destroying many of the country's archaeological treasures.
A museum employee arrived Saturday to find the administrative offices trashed by looters. The only thing she could salvage was a telephone book-sized volume. She refused to give her name. With tears, she said, "It is all the fault of the Americans. This is Iraq's civilization. And it's all gone now."
An elderly museum guard said hundreds of looters attacked Thursday and carried away artifacts on pushcarts and wheelbarrows. The two-story museum's marble staircase was chipped, suggesting looters might have dragged heavier items down on pushcarts or slabs of wood. Glass display cases were shattered and broken pieces of ancient pottery and statues were scattered everywhere.
The National Museum held artifacts from thousands of years of history in the Tigris-Euphrates basin, widely held to be the site of the world's earliest civilizations. Before the war, the museum closed its doors and secretly placed the most precious artifacts in storage, but the metal storeroom doors were smashed and everything was taken.
"This is the property of this nation and is the treasure of 7,000 years of civilization," said museum employee Ali Mahmoud. "What does this country think it is doing?"
On Baghdad's chaotic streets, it appeared American troops were doing nothing to curb the feverish looting. Troops could be seen waving looters through checkpoints and standing idly in front of buildings while they were being pillaged.
Looters swarmed over the Al-Rasheed and the Al-Jumhuriya bridges across the Tigris River, which divides the city. They pushed into several government buildings, including the Planning Ministry, which sits on the edge of the old palace presidential compound on the river's west bank.
Looters were also seen coming out of the Foreign Ministry carrying office furniture, TV sets and air conditioners. Children wheeled out office chairs and rolled them down the street.
U.S. soldiers stood by at the presidential compound as looters some 400 yards away hauled bookshelves, computers and sofas from the Planning Ministry. Bands of men with tools plundered cars nearby for wheels or other parts.
"The Americans have disappointed us all. This country will never be operational for at least a year or two," said Abbas Reta, 51, an engineer and father of five.
"I've seen nothing new since Saddam's fall," he said. "All that we have seen is looting. The Americans are responsible. One round from their guns and all the looting would have stopped."
U.S. Army troops and armor blocked access to the main palace grounds. The Oil Ministry also seemed intact with a heavy U.S. military presence inside. Also intact were some of the power installations, power stations and power grids.
Al-Jazeera's correspondent in Baghdad, Maher Abdallah, described the situation as "tragic," and suggested it could have been prevented.
"They have ousted the regime and the authority, and in such an urban area where there is no tribal authority or rule, chaos should have been expected to break in such a way," Abdallah said.
U.S. officials insist the restoration of law and order will become a higher priority.
The State Department said Friday it was sending 26 police and judicial officers to Iraq, the first component of a team that will eventually number about 1,200. The officers will be part of a group led by Jay Garner, the retired general chosen by the Bush administration to run the initial Iraqi civil administration under American occupation.
Looters ransack Baghdad museum
Many precious items have been stolen by looters
Thousands of valuable historical items from Baghdad's main museum have been taken or destroyed by looters.
Nabhal Amin, deputy director at the Iraqi National Museum, blamed the destruction on the United States for not taking control of the situation on the streets.
On Saturday, Unesco - the UN's cultural agency - has urged the US and Britain to deploy troops at Iraq's key archaeological sites and museums to stop widespread looting and destruction.
Armed men have been roaming the streets of Baghdad since the city was taken by US troops on Wednesday.
Shops, government offices, presidential palaces and even hospitals have all been looted.
Call for protection
A museum guard said that since Thursday, hundreds of looters had carried away artefacts on carts and wheelbarrows.
The museum's deputy director said looters had taken or destroyed 170,000 items of antiquity dating back thousands of years.
"They were worth billions of dollars," she said
"The Americans were supposed to protect the museum. If they had just one tank and two soldiers nothing like this would have happened."
Reporters who visited the museum on Saturday saw smashed display cases and broken pieces of pottery.
Treasures at the museum date back 5,000 years to the dawn of civilisation in Mesopotamia, as Iraq was once known.
Iraq's history stretches back thousands of years
It houses items from ancient Babylon and Nineveh, Sumerian statues, Assyrian reliefs and 5,000-year-old tablets bearing some of the earliest known writing.
There are also gold and silver items from the Ur cemetery.
The museum re-opened to the public six months ago - it had remained closed since the beginning of the 1991 Gulf War.
Iraq is a cradle of civilisation, with thousands of archaeological sites spanning more than 10,000 years.
It is the birthplace of agriculture, empires were in Iraq and the origins of writing have been traced to the region.
Certain organisations, including the British Museum, had called for historical sites to be protected before the current conflict started.
Some of the museum's artefacts had been moved into storage to avoid a repeat of damage to other antiquities during the 1991 Gulf War.
Pentagon Reveals Plans for Massive Civilian Casualties in Iraq --- U.S. forces to use 10 times amount of bombs in start of Gulf War
March 5, 2003--Anti-War Activists Preparing for National Mass Marches in Washington & San Francisco on Mar. 15
The New York Times reported today that a Pentagon war plan against Iraq would drop 3,000 precision-guided bombs and missiles in the first 48 hours, followed with a nearly simultaneous attack by land and sea, with the goal of "shocking the Iraqi leadership into submission quickly." The plan would use 10 times as many bombs as in the opening days of the Gulf War, and would result in massive civilian casualties.
General Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated "'If your template is Desert Storm, you have to imagine something much, much, much different,'" in a warning to journalists covering the war from Baghdad. He said the Pentagon plan was "'to have such a shock on the system that the Iraqi regime would have to assume early on the end was inevitable.'" U.S. troops ready for attack in the Persian Gulf will soon number 300,000.
"What General Myers is referring to is a high-tech slaughter of Iraqi civilians in order to overwhelm Iraq into submission," said Bill Hackwell, organizer with the International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition, a leading anti-war group in the U.S. "The Bush administration is preparing to turn the U.S. war machine, the biggest armada in history, on a poor country and cause a bloodbath like we have never seen. People across the world who are alarmed at this ruthless aggression are organizing feverishly for the next major anti-war marches around the world on March 15."
The March 15 National Mass Anti-War March in San Francisco will gather at 11 am at Civic Center Plaza for a rally and march. It is co-sponsored by the International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition, United for Peace & Justice; Bay Area United Against War; Not In Our Name Project; Vanguard Foundation & Vanguard Alliance; U.S. Labor Against the War; Bay Area Vets for Peace and many others.
Activists are also preparing for emergency response protests if the war breaks out in the next two weeks. If war breaks out, in San Francisco people will walk-out of school & work or leave home and meet at Civic Center at 12 noon, and at Powell & Market Streets at 5 pm.
Iraq: ICRC calls urgently for protection of the civilian population and services and of persons no longer fighting
Geneva (ICRC) TheInternational Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is profoundly alarmed by the chaos currently prevailing in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. Lawless persons, sometimes armed, have been ransacking and looting even essential public facilities such as hospitals and water-supply installations.
Hospitals in Baghdad are closed because of combat damage, looting or fear of looting. Hardly any medical or support staff are still reporting for work. Patients have either fled the hospitals or have been left without care. The medical system in Baghdad has virtually collapsed. The dead are left unattended, and the increasing summer heat and deteriorating water and electricity supplies create a high risk of epidemic disease.
The ICRC urgently appeals to the Coalition forces and all other persons in authority to do everything possible to protect essential infrastructure such as hospitals and water-supply and evacuation systems from looting and destruction. In areas under their control, the Coalition forces have specific responsibilities as Occupying Powers under international humanitarian law. These include taking all measures in their power to restore and maintain, as far as possible, public order and safety by putting a halt to pillage and to violence against civilians and civilian facilities.
Civilian facilities which have been damaged or destroyed must be repaired as soon as possible, in order to ensure that the basic needs of the population can be met. Water and electricity supplies are vital. Medical units and personnel must be protected and their work facilitated, and access to them by all persons in need, whether military or civilian, friend or foe, must be granted. In all circumstances, the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblem must be respected.
To the fullest extent of the means available to them, the occupying forces have a duty to ensure that the population has sufficient supplies in terms of water, food and medical care. As the temporary administrators of the occupied territory, the Occupying Powers must support public services and manage resources primarily in the interests of the population, without discrimination. If the whole or part of the population under occupation is not adequately supplied, the Occupying Powers must allow impartial humanitarian organizations to undertake assistance operations. However, the provision of humanitarian aid in no way relieves the Occupying Powers of their administrator's responsibilities towards the population under occupation.
All persons deprived of their freedom and held in enemy hands must be spared and protected, in accordance with the Third or the Fourth Geneva Convention, depending on whether they are combatants or civilians. Prisoners of war must be treated humanely at all times. The ICRC has been granted access to POWs in Coalition hands. It is deeply concerned that this is not the case as regards Coalition POWs captured by Iraqi forces, and strongly urges those who are holding them today to afford them protection and treat them in full observance of the provisions of the Third Geneva Convention, including their entitlement to ICRC visits.
Wherever military operations are taking place, constant care must be taken to spare the civilian population and civilian objects. All those bearing arms must take all necessary precautions to avoid exposing civilians to the dangers resulting from military activity. The wounded and the dead must be evacuated without delay. Acts of perfidy are prohibited.
The ICRC, which has been present and active in Iraq throughout the conflict, is fully committed to pursuing the tasks incumbent upon it under the Geneva Conventions, to working for the faithful application of international humanitarian law, and to endeavour to ensure that all victims of the conflict and of its consequences receive protection and assistance.
UN agencies stress dangers to relief efforts from lawlessness in Iraq
Report, United Nations
11 April 2003
Stressing repeatedly the very grave threat posed to humanitarian activities in Iraq by current lawlessness and looting, United Nations relief agencies appealed to coalition forces today to act swiftly to avoid the breakdown of all aid efforts for the civilian population.
Hospitals had closed down for fear of looters, child nutritional posts were being ransacked, large groups were fleeing Baghdad and other cities in search of safety and security, and water delivery to one hard-pressed city had been postponed until further notice because of insecurity, the agencies told the daily briefing in Amman, Jordan, on UN humanitarian activities.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (UNHCOI) said looting and lawlessness continued in Baghdad, Basrah, Kirkuk and Mosul, and the UN was still awaiting a reply from the US military command on what its official policy position was on "this extremely critical situation." The reply was expected yesterday but had not yet been delivered, spokesman David Wimhurst said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had been unable to visit hospitals in Baghdad yesterday or today, he added. Many hospitals and health facilities there had closed their doors fearing attacks by looters, and the Al Kindi hospital, which was ransacked yesterday, had now been abandoned by its staff, with the fate of its patients who were unable to seek shelter elsewhere unknown.
In the south hospitals and health facilities were struggling to maintain services in spite of staffing shortages, lack of medical supplies and inconsistent water and power, Mr. Wimhurst said. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) was delivering water, but insecurity was affecting operations, he added. Water tank deliveries to Nasiriya had been postponed until further notice, and in the port of Um Qasr, a tanker taking water to a health centre had to withdraw due to an aggressive crowd.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Sergio Vieira de Mello, was seriously concerned by the worsening situation in Baghdad and urged the coalition to ensure immediately the well being of civilians under its control in accordance with its obligations under international humanitarian law, spokesperson Bela Kapur said.
OHCHR was ready to send human rights officers to Baghdad, as soon as security conditions permitted, to help the prevention of new human rights violations and to document violations that had already taken place, she added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the situation being reported from Baghdad, Basra, Zubair, Kirkuk, Mosul and other towns was "extremely alarming," and it urged the military forces and remaining civilian authorities to quickly restore law and order and ensure the safety of hospitals and hospital staff.
The ICRC reported that Al Kindi hospital in Baghdad had been completely emptied by looters, with even the beds stolen, spokesperson Fadela Chaib said.
UNICEF added its voice to the "great alarm." When chaos and lawlessness rule, the most vulnerable segment of the population - the country's children - were certain to suffer, spokesman Geoffrey Keele declared.
Noting that nutritional rehabilitation centres in paediatric hospitals had managed to reduce malnutrition by more than 50 per cent, he said that now when children needed these services the most, they were being dismantled, chair my chair, table by table, medicine by medicine.
All steps must be taken by the coalition forces to ensure that vital social infrastructure was preserved, he added. Otherwise all aid attempts would be hindered and "quite frankly, people may die." He also reported 40 more cases of severe children's diarrhoea in Um Qasr.
The World Food Programme (WFP), which has sent in food convoys to northern Iraq from Turkey, also called on the occupying forces "to do their best to maintain law and order to enable our work to expand quickly to the rest of the country," spokesman Khaled Mansour said.
The UN High Commissioner for the Refugees (UNHCR) echoed the call. While there had so far been no major refugee flow out of Iraq, spokesman Peter Kessler said large groups of Iraqis and foreign nationals were reportedly still moving from Baghdad and other cities, trying to find security and safety. Up to 30,000 displaced Iraqis had reportedly reached the Iraqi border town of Badrah, near western Iran, seeking assistance after fleeing fighting in Baghdad and Nasiriya, he added.
People were fleeing because they were desperate and frightened by the chaos in the streets around them, and it was "absolutely imperative" that coalition forces provide a policing function to ensure security on the street and the cities, he said.
May 1, 2003
Killings in Al Fallujah, City of Mosques
Has America Taken on a New Military Culture with New Rules that Allow Us to Kill Civilians at Will?
By SAM HAMOD
Al Fallujah is known in Iraq as the "city of mosques." There is a reverence for the holiness of the city and Muslim leaders made clear to American troops that they did not want them in their city. The US troops responded by saying they had to be there for "security." The Muslim leaders, led by Sunni Imam Jamal Mahmood, said they had their own security. The US troops were determined to stay. They say, Saddam had weapons factories there. The Iraqis say the "factories" have been destroyed and there is no need for the US troops to stay. This is a situation that the Americans cannot say is being fomented by the Shi'a or Iran because Al Fallujah has always been a Sunni stronghold.
What happened next has raised questions among Iraqis and many international Middle East experts. Crowds gathered and demanded the troops leave. As the crowds became louder and more insistent, the American troops fired into the crowd and killed 13 people and injured more than 20 more according to doctors at the local hospital. The American troops said they were fired on; but all other witnesses at the scene denied the gunfire came from the demonstrators. Today, 2 more people were killed and more injured, with the Muslims of Al Fallujah and the city officials saying no one shot at the Americans, the American troops claiming otherwise.
There is something troubling about this situation. Why is it that crowds of people cannot be dispersed by tear gas rather than bullets? Certainly, this is not an unknown tactic.
Furthermore, why is it that the American troops insist in remaining or trying to remain in these "holy cities"? Surely, the commanders must be at least half way intelligent; they should know this will cause upset and protests. Or, are these commanders following orders from above so that there can be cause for firing on the crowds in order to terrorize them into submission-just as the Israelis do to the Palestinians? Are the American troops following the Israeli style of occupation, massive force, even against stone and shoe throwing protesters to show them that America controls Iraq and that the Iraqis had better get used to it in a hurry?
Where did I get this idea. Ironically, from a rabbi who is a friend of mine, a man who protested Sharon's brutality in Israel because he said it was against Judaism. He called me and said, "Look at that, it's Israel and Palestine all over again!" At first, I thought it was his fixation and anger, but then as time went on, I began to feel that he was right.
Just as America has hired many former KGB agents to work with the Homeland Security Agency, so too has the National Transportation Security Agency that "protects airports" hired many former Mossad agents. We also have the tie in between the Israeli and the American military on so many levels, why not on the levels of strategy and crowd control. This is not normal command procedures for American troops when confronted by a demonstrating crowd; they are told not to cause civilian casualties-at least they were up until this new administration. Has something changed in our military rules of engagement when dealing with crowds? Has America taken on a new military culture? If so, we need to know.
I am worried that our men are becoming part of a new brutality as seen through their behavior in Iraq. I remember one young soldier, early in the war, when interviewed on TV saying, "I want to get my nose wet-I want to get me some Iraqis, I want to kick some butt." These are not the words of a mature human being-they are the mouthings of an immature and impressionable TV spawned juvenile who neither realizes the value of human life or the humanity of the soldier fighting on the other side. Many of the US military, when I have heard them at West Point and in Annapolis, sound the same as our Commander in Chief, Bush, when he says, "I'm gonna git him, dead or alive."
It almost sounds as if he's come out of a bad Western movie. But to hear Rumsfeld, Cheney and Franks and some of the other generals speak, I can start to believe that our men are getting the same cruel orders the Israelis have given their soldiers when they go in and kill demonstrators. If not, then why were there children killed in this massacre they perpetrated in the last few days in Al Fallujah? Surely, the children did not shoot at them, if anyone shot at them at all. NO, something is wrong in this scenario and should be the subject of congressional hearings. Just what are the orders to our soldiers and who is giving them. There has to be an explanation for the shootings in Al Fallujah two days in a row, without apology; with a terse, "we heard gun shots coming at us"-with the Imams and the cities leaders contradicting them.
It is also strange that the people have their own security, but that our troops refuse to leave, but want to remain to provide "security" and end up shooting civilians in the town square just because they were protesting. But lest you say I am one-sided, allow me to say, suppose there were shots at them. I understand, having been in combat, that you would consider shooting back. However, we always understood that you don't just shoot your gun off at first blush, you have to look at what the situation is, where the shots may be coming from, and then the best way to return fire without killing innocent civilians in the process-this is true in the military and in our police training. To shoot into the crowd of protesters two days in a row, killing unarmed civilians (in all cases these people killed had no weapons, though someone else, somewhere else, may have had weapons-that is still a moot point), including children, is not something our military has ever allowed, advocated or allowed to happen without arrests and punishment.
As a veteran and as a US citizen, I am waiting to see what the military will do about these killings in Al Fallujah. I hope our congress will look into this matter and find out if our troops are being given new orders of engagements toward civilians, or are our troops so poorly trained that they panic at the slightest thing.
Sam Hamod is an expert on world affairs, especially the Arab and Muslim worlds, former editor of THIRD WORLD NEWS (in Wash, DC), a professor at Princeton University, former Director of The National Islamic Center of Washington, DC, an advisor to the US State Department and author of ISLAM IN THE WORLD TODAY. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite Protests, U.S. Soldiers Detain Photographer and Driver
Associated Press Wednesday, September 24, 2003
BAGHDAD, Sept. 23 -- U.S. soldiers detained an Associated Press photographer and driver today, handcuffing them, forcing them to stand in the sun for three hours and denying them water and use of a telephone.
Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division detained photographer Karim Kadim and driver Mohammed Abbas near Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, and kept guns trained on the two Iraqis despite their repeated attempts to explain they were journalists.
The troops were looking for explosives planted in the area.
"We identified ourselves from the very beginning as press, even before we approached the troops," Kadim said. "I was asked not to take any pictures and I didn't. We were told to leave and we walked away, and then one of them shouted at us to come back."
An armored personnel carrier arrived moments later. Three soldiers disembarked and aimed their guns at the two men.
"We were searched, and they took away all my camera gear. Then our hands were tied behind our backs, first with rope, and then with plastic handcuffs," Kadim said.
The two were made to stand for three hours in temperatures of 110 degrees. Abbas said the soldiers accused them of being part of the insurgency attacking U.S. troops.
The two were taken to a U.S. base, where Maj. Eric Wick apologized. Wick also called the AP office in Baghdad and said the incident "was a misunderstanding on our part."
On Thursday, U.S. soldiers shot up Kadim's car in Khaldiya during a firefight after an American convoy was hit with a remote-controlled roadside bomb. Kadim and another driver jumped from the car after they saw a tank had them in its sights. They were fired on as they ran and the car was badly damaged, but neither man was hurt. The AP sent a letter of protest to the U.S. military in Baghdad.
at the age of 23 by an Israeli Army bulldozer while defending the home of a Palestinian family whose house was targeted for destruction. The Tank driver refused to stop and rolled over her, crushing her and then backed up once again over her body to the horrified shouts of her peace activist colleagues. This photo was taken on April 18, 2002. Rachel is shown wearing her dove headgear while working on a model of Earth for the eighth annual "Procession of the Species", a community artistic celebration combining art, music and dance to give nature a greater presence on Olympia's city streets.
Activist who died for conviction
Rachel Corrie: Her father Craig says he is proud of her
Rachel Corrie, the American killed by an Israeli army bulldozer, was a committed peace activist even before her arrival in the Gaza Strip a few months ago.
She was a student at Evergreen State College in her local town of Olympia in Washington State, which is known for its liberal sensibilities.
The 23-year-old arranged peace events there before joining, through local group Olympians for Peace and Solidarity, a Palestinian-led organisation that uses non-violent means to challenge Israeli army tactics in the West Bank and Gaza.
Her parents have paid tribute to her concern for human rights and dignity, remembering how she was "dedicated to everybody".
They spoke hours after Ms Corrie died in hospital on Sunday from injuries suffered when she was hit by an armoured Israeli army bulldozer in the southern Gaza Strip.
She was with other activists from the International Solidarity Movement trying to stop the demolition of a Palestinian building in the Rafah refugee camp.
The Israelis say such tactics are necessary because Palestinian gunmen use the structures as cover to shoot at their troops patrolling in the area.
For Palestinians... this is not a nightmare but a continuous reality from which international privilege cannot protect them
Ms Corrie - who was wearing an orange fluorescent jacket to alert the bulldozer drivers to her presence in pictures taken by her colleagues on Sunday - had previously described the hazards of her work.
An email despatch details a confrontation on 14 February between another bulldozer and her own group, which she refers to as the "internationals".
"The internationals stood in the path of the bulldozer and were physically pushed with the shovel backwards, taking shelter in a house.
"The bulldozer then proceeded on its course, demolishing one side of the house with the internationals inside," she wrote in the email distributed by the International Solidarity Movement.
Ms Corrie was active in the peace movement at home
Her father Craig Corrie, speaking to the AP news agency from his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, said: "We've tried to bring up our children to have a sense of community, a sense of community that everybody in the world belonged to.
"Rachel believed that - with her life, now."
He said that he and his wife were still trying to find out the details of what happened.
"Rachel was proud, and we are proud of Rachel that she was able to live with her convictions.
"Rachel was filled with a love and sense of duty to our fellow man, wherever they lived, and she gave her life trying to protect those that could not protect themselves."
Ms Corrie's mother Cindy said her daughter had spent nights sleeping at wells to protect them from bulldozers.
"She lived with families whose houses were threatened with demolition and today as we understand it, she stood for three hours trying to protect a house."
The grief at her death amongst the community in Olympia was shown on Sunday when several hundred people turned out for a previously scheduled peace vigil that turned into an impromptu memorial.
Mourners held candles and photocopied pictures of her with the word "Peacemaker", as well as banners urging the United States to stop aid to Israel and avoid war with Iraq.
The Vice President of Student Affairs at Evergreen State College, Art Costantino says on his online notive of her death that she was a "shining star, a wonderful student and a brave person of deep convictions".
Larry Mosqueda, one of Ms Corrie's Evergreen professors and a fellow activist said: "She was concerned about human rights and dignity. That's why she was there."
Statement March 16, 2003
Craig and Cindy Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie
We are now in a period of grieving and still finding out the details behind the death of Rachel in the Gaza Strip.
We have raised all our children to appreciate the beauty of the global community and family and are proud that Rachel was able to live her convictions.Rachel was filled with love and a sense of duty to her fellow man, wherever they lived.And, she gave her life trying to protect those that are unable to protect themselves.
Rachel wrote to us from the Gaza Strip and we would like to release to the media her experience in her own words at this time.
Excerpts from an e-mail from Rachel Corrie to her family on February 7, 2003.
I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see.It is most difficult for me to think about what's going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States--something about the virtual portal into luxury.I don't know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons.I think, although I'm not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere.An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, and many of the children murmur his name to me, Ali--or point at the posters of him on the walls.The children also love to get me to practice my limited Arabic by asking me "Kaif Sharon?""Kaif Bush?" and they laugh when I say "Bush Majnoon" "Sharon Majnoon" back in my limited Arabic.(How is Sharon?How is Bush? Bush is crazy. Sharon is crazy.)Of course this isn't quite what I believe, and some of the adults who have the English correct me: Bush mish Majnoon... Bush is a businessman.Today I tried to learn to say "Bush is a tool", but I don't think it translated quite right.But anyway, there are eight-year-olds here much more aware of the workings of the global power structure than I was just a few years ago--at least regarding Israel.
Nevertheless, I think about the fact that no amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here.You just can't imagine it unless you see it, and even then you are always well aware that your experience is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli Army would face if they shot an unarmed US citizen, and with the fact that I have money to buy water when the army destroys wells, and, of course, the fact that I have the option of leaving.Nobody in my family has been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the end of a major street in my hometown.I have a home.I am allowed to go see the ocean.Ostensibly it is still quite difficult for me to be held for months or years on end without a trial (this because I am a white US citizen, as opposed to so many others).When I leave for school or work I can be relatively certain that there will not be a heavily armed soldier waiting half way between Mud Bay and downtown Olympia at a checkpointa soldier with the power to decide whether I can go about my business, and whether I can get home again when I'm done.So, if I feel outrage at arriving and entering briefly and incompletely into the world in which these children exist, I wonder conversely about how it would be for them to arrive in my world.
They know that children in the United States don't usually have their parents shot and they know they sometimes get to see the ocean.But once you have seen the ocean and lived in a silent place, where water is taken for granted and not stolen in the night by bulldozers, and once you have spent an evening when you havent wondered if the walls of your home might suddenly fall inward waking you from your sleep, and once youve met people who have never lost anyone-- once you have experienced the reality of a world that isn't surrounded by murderous towers, tanks, armed "settlements" and now a giant metal wall, I wonder if you can forgive the world for all the years of your childhood spent existing--just existing--in resistance to the constant stranglehold of the worlds fourth largest military--backed by the worlds only superpower--in its attempt to erase you from your home.That is something I wonder about these children.I wonder what would happen if they really knew.
As an afterthought to all this rambling, I am in Rafah, a city of about 140,000 people, approximately 60 percent of whom are refugees--many of whom are twice or three times refugees.Rafah existed prior to 1948, but most of the people here are themselves or are descendants of people who were relocated here from their homes in historic Palestine--now Israel.Rafah was split in half when the Sinai returned to Egypt.Currently, the Israeli army is building a fourteen-meter-high wall between Rafah in Palestine and the border, carving a no-mans land from the houses along the border.Six hundred and two homes have been completely bulldozed according to the Rafah Popular Refugee Committee.The number of homes that have been partially destroyed is greater.
Today as I walked on top of the rubble where homes once stood, Egyptian soldiers called to me from the other side of the border, "Go! Go!" because a tank was coming.Followed by waving and "what's your name?".There is something disturbing about this friendly curiosity.It reminded me of how much, to some degree, we are all kids curious about other kids: Egyptian kids shouting at strange women wandering into the path of tanks.Palestinian kids shot from the tanks when they peak out from behind walls to see what's going on.International kids standing in front of tanks with banners.Israeli kids in the tanks anonymously, occasionally shouting-- and also occasionally waving--many forced to be here, many just aggressive, shooting into the houses as we wander away.
In addition to the constant presence of tanks along the border and in the western region between Rafah and settlements along the coast, there are more IDF towers here than I can count--along the horizon,at the end of streets.Some just army green metal.Others these strange spiral staircases draped in some kind of netting to make the activity within anonymous.Some hidden,just beneath the horizon of buildings.A new one went up the other day in the time it took us to do laundry and to cross town twice to hang banners.Despite the fact that some of the areas nearest the border are the original Rafah with families who have lived on this land for at least a century, only the 1948 camps in the center of the city are Palestinian controlled areas under Oslo.But as far as I can tell, there are few if any places that are not within the sights of some tower or another.Certainly there is no place invulnerable to apache helicopters or to the cameras of invisible drones we hear buzzing over the city for hours at a time.
I've been having trouble accessing news about the outside world here, but I hear an escalation of war on Iraq is inevitable.There is a great deal of concern here about the "reoccupation of Gaza." Gaza is reoccupied every day to various extents, but I think the fear is that the tanks will enter all the streets and remain here, instead of entering some of the streets and then withdrawing after some hours or days to observe and shoot from the edges of the communities.If people aren't already thinking about the consequences of this war for the people of the entire region then I hope they will start.
I also hope you'll come here.We've been wavering between five and six internationals.The neighborhoods that have asked us for some form of presence are Yibna, Tel El Sultan, Hi Salam, Brazil, Block J, Zorob, and Block O.There is also need for constant night-time presence at a well on the outskirts of Rafahsince the Israeli army destroyed the two largest wells.According to the municipal water office the wells destroyed last week provided half of Rafahs water supply. Many of the communities have requested internationals to be present at night to attempt to shield houses from further demolition.After about it is very difficult to move at night because the Israeli army treats anyone in the streets as resistance and shoots at them.So clearly we are too few.
I continue to believe that my home, Olympia, could gain a lot and offer a lot by deciding to make a commitment to Rafah in the form of a sister-community relationship.Some teachers and children's groups have expressed interest in e-mail exchanges, but this is only the tip of the iceberg of solidarity work that might be done.Many people want their voices to be heard, and I think we need to use some of our privilege as internationals to get those voices heard directly in the US, rather than through the filter of well-meaning internationals such as myself.I am just beginning to learn, from what I expect to be a very intense tutelage, about the ability of people to organize against all odds, and to resist against all odds.
Thanks for the news I've been getting from friends in the US.I just read a report back from a friend who organized a peace group in Shelton, Washington, and was able to be part of a delegation to the large January 18th protest in WashingtonDC.People here watch the media, and they told me again today that there have been large protests in the United States and "problems for the government" in the UK.So thanks for allowing me to not feel like a complete polyanna when I tentatively tell people here that many people in the United States do not support the policies of our government, and that we are learning from global examples how to resist.
Rachel Corrie, ISM Peace Activist,
Confronting the Israeli Bulldozer
in the Gaza Strip community
before being killed March 16, 2003
Israeli Army Enters Gaza Camp
At least four Palestinians are reported killed and 12 injured after Israeli troops entered a refugee camp in Central Gaza. The Israelis sent about 30 tanks and armoured vehicles into the Nusseirat camp early on Monday, exchanging gunfire with Palestinian fighters.
One of the dead was a 13-year-old boy, another was 17, Palestinian hospital sources said.
On Sunday, an American peace activist was killed after she was run over by an Israeli bulldozer in the southern Gaza Strip.
An Israeli military spokesman said that her death was an accident. The US government has asked Israel for a full investigation.
Palestinian sources said Israeli troops had thrust into the centre of Nusseirat and surrounded a house.
The camp is a stronghold of the Islamic militant group, Hamas, which has carried out scores of deadly attacks against Israelis. The raid is the latest of almost nightly assaults by Israel against militants in Gaza over teh past few weeks.
Witnesses said Rachel Corrie, aged 23, from Olympia, Washington, had been trying to stop the demolition of a Palestinian building in the Rafah refugee camp.
There were eight international protestors at the site - four American and four British - all members of a group called International Solidarity Movement.
Ms Corrie was the first member of the organisation to be killed in the conflict in the Palestinian territories.
The Israeli army accused the group of acting irresponsibly by intentionally placing themselves in a combat zone.
Israeli forces use tanks and bulldozers to destroy buildings near the Gaza-Egypt border, which they say are used as cover by Palestinian gunmen to shoot at Israeli troops patrolling the area.
Groups of international protestors have gathered in several locations in the West Bank and Gaza over the last two years, trying to protect families whose homes are due to be demolished by Israeli forces.
West Bank closed
The death occurred as the Israeli army reinforced its closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip amid fears of attacks during a forthcoming Jewish holiday. Palestinians will be prevented from entering Israel during the festival of Purim, which runs from Monday to Wednesday, a military statement said.
Israeli radio said the order came from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz. It added that intelligence sources had warned of attacks being planned. Palestinian sources said that mroe than 10,000 workers from Gaza had been prevented from going to work in Israel on Sunday morning.planned.
U.S. Woman Slain by Bulldozer in Israel had been active in peace movement for years
By Paul Queary, Associated Press, 3/16/2003 16:16
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) In a matter of months, Rachel Corrie went from the orderly peace movement of this small liberal city to a deadly world of gunfire, violent political conflict and the bulldozer that crushed her to death.
Corrie, 23, a student at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, died Sunday in Gaza while trying to stop the bulldozer from tearing down a Palestinian physician's home. She fell in front of the machine, which ran over her and then backed up, witnesses said.
In an e-mail earlier this month, Corrie had described a Feb. 14 confrontation with another Israeli bulldozer in which she referred to herself and other activists as ''internationals.''
''The internationals stood in the path of the bulldozer and were physically pushed with the shovel backwards, taking shelter in a house,'' Corrie wrote in the e-mail, distributed in a March 3 news release by the International Solidarity Movement.
''The bulldozer then proceeded on its course, demolishing one side of the house with the internationals inside,'' she wrote.
Just a few months before her death, Corrie had been organizing events as an activist in Olympia's peace movement and at Evergreen, a small campus know for its devotion to liberal causes.
Through a local group called Olympians for Peace in the Middle East, she joined the International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian-led group that uses nonviolent methods to challenge Israeli occupation. Among their methods is standing in front of the bulldozers Israel sends into the area nearly ever day to destroy buildings near the Gaza-Egypt border.
Other protesters who were with Corrie in Gaza on Sunday said she was wearing a bright colored jacket when the bulldozer hit her.
''Rachel was alone in front of the house as we were trying to get them to stop,'' said Greg Schnabel, 28, of Chicago. ''She waved for the bulldozer to stop and waved. She fell down and the bulldozer kept going. We yelled, 'Stop, stop,' and the bulldozer didn't stop at all.''
Israeli military spokesman Capt. Jacob Dallal said her death was an accident. The U.S. State Department had no immediate comment.
A tearful Craig Corrie, Rachel's father, remembered his daughter Sunday as ''dedicated to everybody.''
''We've tried to bring up our children to have a sense of community, a sense of community that everybody in the world belonged to,'' he said from his home in Charlotte, N.C. ''Rachel believed that with her life, now.''
Corrie was already a committed peace activist when she arrived at EvergreenState, a small campus is known for devotion to liberal causes, said Larry Mosqueda, one of Corrie's professors and a fellow activist.
''She was concerned about human rights and dignity,'' he said. ''That's why she was there.''
The move from organizer to front-line opposition in a war zone was a switch for Corrie, whom friends said was not usually inclined to the overt acts of civil disobedience that characterized such events as the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in 1999.
''As long as I've known her she's always been very energetic and very focused about social justice,'' said Phan Nguyen, 28, a friend and fellow activist who has made several similar trips to the West Bank. ''It seemed natural that she would do something like this.''
In her e-mailed dispatch from Rafah, Corrie painted a picture of the perilous life of a human shield, recounting a Feb. 14 confrontation with the Israelis.
''We can only imagine what it is like for Palestinians living here, most of them already once-or-twice refugees already, for whom this is not a nightmare,'' Corrie wrote, ''but a continuous reality from which international privilege cannot protect them, and from which they have no economic means to escape.''
On the Net:
International Solidarity Movement: http://www.palsolidarity.org/
Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace: http://www.omjp.org/
Evergreen State College: http://www.evergreen.edu
Women From WashingtonState Shine for ISM Monday, 3 March 2003, Press Release: International Solidarity Movement
Women From WashingtonState Shine for ISM
Today's update focuses on two remarkable women from the US state of Washington. Rachel Corrie from Olympia writes an update on the Gaza Strip's hottest hot spot, while Susan Barclay writes a note of thanks to her supporters (yet still we wonder, is there a conspiracy of silence in the American press?).
Items 1-4 are from Rachel, and item 5 is given over to Susan.
Updates on the major projects ISM Activists in Rafah, Gaza Strip have been pursuing
1. Human shield work with the Rafah Municipal Water Authority (Leading to ISM activists coming under fire).
2. Direct action work aimed at stopping or hindering the destruction of houses by Israeli occupation force bulldozers along the border strip in Rafah. 3. Demonstrations in conjunction with community groups and individuals living in Rafah.
4. Investigation into human rights violations at the Mowasi-Tufah checkpoint, and in the case of men killed in tunnels near Salah El Dinn gate in Rafah, and in the case of the invasion of the agricultural El Hash-Ash area of Rafah on Sunday the 23rd.
These updates are followed by a brief calendar of events recorded since the tenth of February. Sorry, everybody, for the stress on your inboxes.
1. Human shield work continues with Rafah Municipal Water workers
February 25, 2003
Internationals in Rafah have been continuing support work with workers from the Rafah Municipal Water Authority since Sunday 16th February, following a break due to the Eid holiday. ISM-Rafah continues to send internationals to sleep at a third well in the immediate vicinity in order to protect it from destruction. The workers are currently building a barrier surrounding the "Canada Well (#P-144), in the Canada-Tel El Sultan area of Rafah. This well, along with the El Iskan Well (#P-152) was destroyed by Israeli military bulldozers on 30th January. On several occasions, the internationals have witnessed shooting from military vehicles on the settler road which passes along the northwestern edge of the sand-dunes and agricultural areas on the outskirts of Rafah. Bullets have not hit the ground or objects in the immediate vicinity of the workers or internationals, a change from previous human shield actions with the water workers.
According to the Rafah Municipal Water Authority, the Canada Well had a capacity of 180 cubic metres of water per hour35% of Rafah's total water supply. The two wells destroyed were the largest of six in Rafah, providing about 60% of Rafah's total municipal water supply.
The Municipal Water office has made attempts to compensate somewhat for the emergency, by connecting the municipal wells with a private agricultural well which is owned by local farmers. The municipality also redistributed the remaining water according to districts, implementing a strict program in which each district has access to water for six hours a day.
The Canada Well cost US $250,000 at the time of its construction in 1990. Its construction was funded by the Rafah municipality. The El Iskan well was implemented by the Canadian International Development Agencyat a cost of US $205,000 in 1999. The municipality reports receiving $40,000 from the World Bank through the Local Affairs Ministry to repair the two wells. All of this money was used in the construction of fences and protective structures surrounding the well site. The municipality estimates that $300,000 will be needed to repair the Canada well, and $100,000 is needed to repair the El Iskan well. The municipality is waiting for money promised by the Japanese, Canadian, and Norwegian governments in order to restore the wells to capacity.
ISMers come under fire on two separate occasions
Today at approximately , three internationals joined four men working for the Rafah Municipal Water Authority at the El Iskan Water Well (#P-152) on the outskirts of the Tel El Sultan, Rafah. This well is one of the two largest municipal water wells in Rafah, both of which were destroyed by occupation tanks and bulldozers on 30th January this year. This well is being repaired with funding from Norway and Canada. At full capacity, it provides twenty-five per cent of Rafah's water supply.
Workers at the well reported being fired upon on Thursday 27th February.
Saturday, a Municipal Water Authority spokesman reported speaking directly with the Israeli District Command Office. He declared that he had co-ordinated with occupation forces in the area in order to ensure the safety of the Palestinian workers.
Despite receiving this permission, and in spite of the presence of banners and megaphones, the activists and workers were fired upon several times over a period of about one hour. One of the bullets came within two metres of three internationals and a municipal water worker, close enough to spray bits of debris in their faces as it landed at their feet.
This well is located within sight of the Rafah-Mowasi checkpoint, settlement buildings and greenhouses, bunkers in the militarized zone surrounding the checkpoint, a low sniper tower to the south and a very tall sniper tower in the distance to the north. The activists were unable to locate the precise origin of the shots amongst the various occupation force buildings.
2. Internationals continue to take direct action aimed at hindering the demolition of civilian homes by Occupation Forces
Rafah continues to witness the destruction of homes and agriculture on a daily basis. The activists confront barriers to direct action work in most of these cases. These barriers manifest themselves in several ways.
First, limited numbers of internationals are attempting to respond to demolition which occurs without warning allover the edges of Rafah, a city of about 140,000 people. The most recent house demolitions witnessed were accompanied by the amassment of 20 tanks nearby in the border strip. There are currently seven international ISM activists working in Rafah.
Secondly, with a few exceptions, house demolitions in Rafah are carried out by bulldozers and tankswhich fire into the houses or begin to demolish them as notification to the inhabitants of their arrival. Many of the homes destroyed are empty, because the inhabitants have fled with their belongings after experiencing gunfire through windows and walls and the partial bulldozing of their houses. The homes here are not targeted because of any connection with suicide bombings, but because of their existence along an area which the Israeli army finds strategically useful. Thus there is little predictability about which homes will be destroyed next, and no opportunity for direct contact with the army in order to negotiate or notify them of the presence of internationals in the homes.
Much of the destruction occurs at night. Many of the streets of Rafah are impassable in the dark due to sniper towers positioned along the perimeters of Rafah. In the dark, internationals attempting to carry out non-violent direct action rely on battery-charged lights, banners, and the accuracy of unknown local collaborators to make the Israeli military aware of their location.
Another factor in attempting to stop the destruction of a home is a variable factor: the question of whether the driver of a particular tank cares about injuring internationals in the process of destroying the welfare of the Palestinians living here.
On the afternoon of Friday 14th February, seven internationals responded to reports of house demolitions in the block O area, with support from Palestinian organizers. They encountered two bulldozers and a tank, which fired shots around the internationals that seemed directed at Palestinians in nearby alleys. The internationals stood in the path of the bulldozer and were physically pushed with the shovel backwards, taking shelter in a house. The bulldozer then proceeded on its course, demolishing one side of the house with the internationals inside. The driver then dropped a sound grenade out of the cab of the bulldozer, and continued to demolish the house, at which point the activists were able to escape, amid gunfire from the tank.
The next day activists responded to reports of house-demolition in the same area and approached a bulldozer while identifying themselves by megaphone and banners. They were unable to position themselves between the bulldozer and nearby structures, and were beckoned away from the frontline by Palestinians in the area.
On the 11th and 12th and from the 21st till 23rd, internationals arrived on the scene of demolitions (homes, greenhouses and a mosque) too late to respond. This is in addition to house demolitions which the internationals discovered several days after the event.
On the afternoon of 23rd February, six internationals achieved some success in interrupting the work of a bulldozer and a tank demolishing houses in the vicinity of Salah El Dinn gate.
The internationals arrived in the "Sha'ar" area near Salah El Dinn gate in the late afternoon, and found the bulldozer completing the demolition of a house and chicken-coop near the border strip. Palestinians in the area requested the internationals to do whatever they could to try to stop further destruction. The group approached the bulldozer and tank from the side, carrying banners and announcing their presence by megaphone. Although the tank moved into their path, the internationals were able to manoeuvre into the path of the bulldozer, at which point it moved to a nearby house and began to demolish a garden wall.
The tank again moved between the internationals and the bulldozer. The group split briefly while one member of the group moved onto the porch of the house from the back. The remaining internationals stood within several metres of the tank, which began to fire machine guns near them, close enough that one international was pelted with small brick fragments when bullets hit the wall next to her. The international on the porch led the way for the others to climb over the wall and into the house. They then proceeded to the roof. The bulldozer moved back to its previous work destroying a chicken coop and hitting the edges of other small civilian structures.
Two internationals remained on the roof, while the remaining four proceeded back toward the bulldozer. The tank again fired a stream of bullets in their path, but desisted as the internationals continued to walk forward, reminding the tank by megaphone of the clear absence of any threat to the vehicles, of international law, and of the right of human beings to housing and livelihoods.
As the internationals positioned themselves in the bulldozer's path, the tank and the bulldozer turned eastward and withdrew behind walls into the border strip some distance away. The four internationals followed the tank and bulldozer to the edge of the border strip, fearful for the homes of friends in the direction the vehicles headed.
The internationals returned to the partially demolished house and helped the family living there carry their belongingsbedding, furniture, family portraits, dishes, vases, all the elements of a family homeinto a house nearby. Four internationals remained overnight with the family in the house where the furniture was relocated.
The activists involved felt they had some success in this action, as they were at least able to delay the work of the bulldozers in demolishing houses.
On 24th February at approximately , on their way back to the Sha'ar area for another night, ISM activists received notification that the bulldozers had returned. Despite sprinting to the location, the internationals arrived in time only to see the last of this family's house completely churned into the earth, as the mother of the family wept, looking on.
Internationals continue homestays in the Sha'ar area.
Immediately adjacent to the Israeli military's Salah Eh Dinn sniper tower, from which two teenage boys were shot and injured today while playing in the street. The families in the area believe that they may be the target of house demolitions very soon, as collective punishment for their proximity to tunnels which run from Rafah into Egypt.
All of the homes which the internationals sleep in have bullet or shell holes in the walls. From the kitchen window of one apartment where a woman prepared tea for the group, the most immediate object in view is the eastern window of the sniper tower, about 100 metres away. The internationals observed several holes in the kitchen wallapparently from shots fired into the kitchen window. The internationals have attached banners and stood on the roofs of some of the buildings with megaphones in order to make their continuing presence known to Israeli occupation forces in the sniper tower, as there is a recent history of houses demolished in Rafah by rockets fired from towers at a distance.
Sleeping in houses such as these on the front line, with the constant sound of machinery moving outside in the border strip and frequent gunfire from tanks, internationals report seeing small children get out of bed in the night in terror to come sit close to their parents, and report experiencing nightmares of their own homes being demolished. Internationals here, who can walk in front of tanks on Palestinian land without being killed, feel some degree of impotence in the face of this massive destruction of civilian homes. We can only imagine what it is like for Palestinians living here, most of them already once-or-twice refugees already, for whom this is not a nightmare, but a continuous reality from which international privilege cannot protect them, and from which they have no economic means to escape.
The Palestinians and internationals in ISM-Rafah are still discussing strategy about how to use their members most effectively.
3. Demonstrations in conjunction with community groups and individuals living in Rafah:
In the last two weeks internationals and Palestinians in ISM Rafah have participated in two spirited demonstrations in solidarity with the people of Iraq, and against United States and British policy in Iraq and Palestine. The first demonstration took place on 15th February, in conjunction with demonstrations around the world, and was attended by about 150 people. Reports on this demonstration have already been released widely.
The second demonstration occurred on February 23rd, and was attended by thousands. ISM was invited to participate in the planning of this demonstration by the Rafah National Committee for Development and Services, but planning for the event was a coalition effort on the part of many community groups and individuals. These include the Fateh Youth Parliament, the Rafah Popular Refugee Committee, the Rafah Children's Parliament, the General Union of Palestinian Women, numerous Rafah area school groups and many others.
ISMers drafted a joint letter in conjunction with the Youth Parliament addressing the inalienable rights of all children, and the denial of these rights to children in Iraq and Palestine. They also called upon the international community to apply equal standards to all states regarding to compliance with UN resolutions. Copies of this letter were distributed in Arabic and English at the demonstration, and are available from:
The demonstration began at 11 and lasted about an hour. Children and representatives from community groups gave speeches in Arabic. Masses marched carrying signs and banners that said "Peace for children in Palestine and Iraq" and "The real terrorists are in the United States and Israel", among many other statements against war on Iraq, and in support of the Iraqi people. The internationals recognized symbols and banners from numerous school and community-groups, Fateh, DFLP, FIDA, PFLP, Hamas and many individual demonstrators among those marching.
One international delivered a speech in English, translated into Arabic by one of the Palestinian coordinators of ISM-Rafah. This speech decried the behaviour of the United States' and British governments, recognized the linkage between war on Iraq and increased destruction of Palestinian lives, and also recognized the mass mobilization of people around the world on behalf of peace, justice, and human rights. The international thanked the Palestinian people for offering a continuous example to the rest of the world of resistance against all odds.
As this speech was delivered, a British national burned a large British flag, and a US national burned a large US flag. Both activists then burned numerous images of US president George W. Bush. The woman who deliverd the speech burned a picture of the houses of Parliament in London. As the speech concluded they began to chant, with the crowd immediately surrounding them, "Hurriyah la Falasteen" Freedom for Palestinerepeatedly.
Other groups burned a giant papier-maché model of an F-16 bomber, an effigy of Ariel Sharon, as well as giant Israeli, US, and British flags.
4. Investigation and Documentation of Human Rights Violations
>From 11th to 13th of February, internationals working with ISM made initial investigative visits to the Mowasi-Tufah checkpoint, located between Khan Younis and the closed village of Mowasi. On their first visit, at approximately on
February 11th, internationals found a group of Palestinians waiting at a road block within site of the checkpoint. Some of these people reported that they had been waiting there since . Many of the Palestinians there were fearful of talking to internationals, due to the threat of reprisals from occupation forces. They reported that the Israeli occupation forces stationed at the checkpoint told them that the checkpoint would open at . This visit occurred on the most significant day of Eid, a major Muslim holiday during which most Palestinians in Rafah spend extensive time visiting their families.
At a voice over a megaphone spoke from amongst the structures surrounding the checkpoint. And a small group of five men proceeded forward to a yellow sign approximately half way between the roadblock and the checkpoint. After a period of 5-10 minutes a voice from the megaphone ushered these men forward through a corridor of cement blocks. The internationals could clearly see machine guns pointed in the direction of the roadblock from bunkers adjacent to the checkpoint.
A slow stream of women and men, apparently in their 40's and 50's, accompanied sometimes by small children, came out from behind the checkpoint through a similar corridor that runs between the checkpoint and a massive concrete wall to the south. The Palestinians at the checkpoint reported that only children under ten, women over 35 and men over 40 are allowed to enter or leave Mowasi. One young woman reported that she lives in Mowasi, but has been unable to return there for three months. She was among those waiting at the checkpoint since .
The internationals observed that groups of five peoplealternately women and menwere allowed through the checkpoint at intervals of 10-25 minutes. They witnessed one group of women turned back entirely after a man came out from the roadblock to speak to them, which precipitated some shouting over the megaphones.
On subsequent visits to the Mowasi Tufah checkpoint internationals reported attempting to enter Mowasi, and being denied entry by the Israeli soldiers stationed there. They described the security inside of the checkpoint as equivalent with that of an international airport.
23rd February Israeli occupation force invasion of El Hash-Ash Area
On the afternoon of 23rd February ISM activists in Rafah received reports of a siege in the El Hash-Ash agricultural community on the North-Western side of Rafah. Internationals were unable to respond immediately to this report, due to immersion in direct action against house demolitions described above. Reports received at the time reported seeing Israeli soldiers on foot in El Hash-Ash, with the entire area under the control of the occupation forces, and gunfire and demolitions in progress. At approximately , the group received notification that the occupation forces had withdrawn from the area.
On 24th February, three internationals went to the El Hash-Ash area in order to document the destruction there and interview people who had been present the previous night. The area they entered appeared largely agricultural, with small one-and two-storey dwellings interspersed among the remains of greenhouses.
As they approached the area, they saw large shredded sheets of clear plastic flapping from the mangled metal skeletons of dozens of greenhouses, leaving the vegetables inside completely exposed. In most cases, the metal frames of the greenhouses were bent beyond recognition and lying on the ground, crushing the beans, tomatoes, peas, and cucumbers which had been growing inside. In other cases, the plants had been torn off their training strings and crushed on the ground. A small, one-story concrete-brick house with a corrugated metal roof was also partially demolished.
A man living in the area reported that he was ordered from his house by soldiers in tanks, along with approximately 150 other males over the age of 14 who live in the area. The men were herded, by means of machine guns firing around them, out of the El Hash-Ash area and under a sniper tower at the edge of the nearby Gush Katif settlement. They were held there for more than three and a half hours until about . Several of the men were beaten, including six who were hospitalized.
While the men were held, 25 large greenhouses were destroyed by tanks and bulldozers. Residents in the area report that these greenhouses supply the sole livelihood for 300 people.
Residents had no idea why this attack had taken place.
One man said, "Maybe they want to expand the settlement." Others stated that there has never been any resistance activity in this area. "This was our living."
Events Surrounding the Deaths of 2 Men in Tunnels beneath the Block O area
On 14th February, Rafah activists received word that two men were trapped or possibly killed in tunnels beneath the Block O area on the night of 13th February. After witnessing the continued presence of a large machine drilling holes into the ground on the border strip, witnesses also observed ground-shaking underground explosions. Activists concluded that the tunnels had collapsed due to Israeli occupation force anti-tunnel activity.
On 14th February, the activists received an indirect request from the men's families to act as human shields in order for the bodies to be brought from underground safely. These requests were retracted when it was reported that the Palestinian Authority had negotiated with the Israeli army to allow the family to recover the bodies themselves. That night family members reported that five men entered the tunnels in an unsuccessful attempt to recover the bodies, and that one of these men was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces.
16th February, a team of ten men entered the tunnels from holes created at the surfaceby the Israeli military, and were successful in recovering the bodies. They were subsequently all arrested and transported with the bodies by tank to the Israeli-controlled side of the Rafah-Egypt border checkpoint, according to their testimony to ISM activists on 18th February.
The men involved in the recovery of the bodies report that they were slapped and interrogated by IOF officers during their detention, and forced to sit overnight outside the buildings at the border checkpoint, in a circle surrounding the bodies, which they said was difficult, due to the fact that the bodies were in a state of decay. They report finding fragments of a tear-gas canister in the tunnel near the bodies, which they carried out of the tunnel, and which they report were confiscated by the soldiers who detained them. They report that when they found the bodies their skin was discoloured and bubbled, and that their chests were distended. The detainees were released on 17th February, as were the bodies of the two men killed, Zeyad Al Sha'ar and Mohammed Hamed Kishta. Activists in Rafah continue to seek more information about the cause of death of these two men.
Brief Calendar of Events
Tuesday 11th February
Underground explosions in Yibna and Rafah due to Israeli Army anti-tunnel bombs.
Group monitored, photographed, and demonstrated presence with banners. Tufah visits. Internationals witness aftermath of house demolition in Block J and another large explosion in block J-Yibna area. Abu Holi check point reported closed after army killed a man there. Principle day of Eid festival.
Wednesday 12th February
Continued underground explosions. Abu Holi closed several hours. Unsuccessful attempt to enter Mowasi-Tufah. 2 houses demolished in Block-J Eshroot area at . Four tanks, two bulldozers and back-hoe returned between 9 and . No further demolitions reported. Eid festival continues.
Friday 14th February
Reports received of two men trapped or killed in tunnels. Internationals respond to house demolition in Block O. Bulldozer partially demolishes house with internationals inside.
Saturday 15th February
International day of protest. ISMers participate in protest in Rafah. Tank blown up in Northern Gaza strip by resistance forces. Five person team enters tunnel in unsuccessful attempt to recover bodies. One arrested according to reports from family.
Sunday 16th February
ISM resumes human shield work in Canada/Tel El Sultan, Rafah after break for Eid holiday. Ten men arrested and corpses confiscated after recovery from tunnels.
Monday 17th February
Palestinian ISM activist witnesses assassination by military plain-clothes commandos and two tanks on road between Abu Holi and Gaza. Man killed is later confirmed by international media to be Riyad Abu Zeid, a Hamas leader. Unconfirmed numbers injured. ISMers see smoke rising from settlement/Mowasi area for much of the morningunable to identify source.
Wednesday 19th February
11 reported killed in Gaza during night of 18th February. During day, four "Qassam" rockets reported by international media to be fired from North Gaza strip toward Sderot. Hamas claims responsibility. Water work continues.
Thursday 20th February
Checkpoints closed all day.
Friday 21st February
One man reported killed by army at Erez checkpoint, another killed at settlement in Northern Gaza strip. Medicines Sans Frontiers group report being fired upon while trying to cross Abu Holi checkpoint, despite prior permission from military. Mosque destroyed in Block J was abandoned previously due to earlier attacks.
Saturday 22nd February
Water work continues. Internationals, responding to reports of house demolition in Block J, witness further underground bombing. Reports are received that one house was demolished prior to their arrival. Heavy shooting in Block J during the night. Reports later confirmed by various sources that Israeli soldiers on foot entered at least one house in Hi Salaam area during the night.
Sunday 23rd February
Large scale demonstration in solidarity with the people of Iraq. El Hash-Ash area invaded and occupied. 150-200 men held under gunfire containment for 3-4 hours. 25 greenhouses destroyed. Internationals intervene in house demolition near Salah El Dinn gate. Eight deaths reported in Beit Hanounincluding possible deaths by stabbing. Five houses reported demolished in Tufah area. Internationals unable to return to Rafah due to closure of checkpoint.
Monday 24th February
All checkpoints in Gaza strip reported closed during morning. Water work continues. Abu holi checkpoint alternately open and closed during day. House protected Sunday is destroyed during the night of 24th February.
For information on the above reports please contact Rachel at 067-857049
Or e-mail email@example.com
5. Thank you message from Susan Barclay
To each and every one....
I just wanted to write a very quick note to let people know that I am indeed free, and beyond happy. I just wanted to say an immediate, incredibly sincere THANK YOU to all the people who worked so very hard to support me. I can not tell you how much it means. I have been very busy and will be meeting with my lawyer tomorrow to discuss various legal possibilities and then I hope to find the time to write an account of exactly what happened. THANK YOU AGAIN.
At the time of writing, Susan's story still has been conspicuous by its absence in the American press, although other media concerns in the US have taken up her story. The British press has not overlooked her case, as you can see if you check out the following:
Please e-mail any American newspapers that you know of, and ask them why this story is not of any interest to them? Do they wish to be complicit in human rights abuses of their own citizens? At the very least, the story should have appeared in the Washington state press, some of the e-mail addresses of which are:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer firstname.lastname@example.org
Seattle Times email@example.com
The Olympian firstname.lastname@example.org
Make your message short with the subject 'Susan Barclay is free.'
Obviously, don't mention ISM or any media co-ordinator's name.
David Watson Media Co-ordinator Beit Sahour Occupied Palestine Phone: +972-2-2774602 Cell: +972-67-862 439 web: http://www.palsolidarity.org