22 May 2004
In the training of a physician, few things are as educational as a good, old-fashioned autopsy. The post-mortem examination is a handy tool for a variety of reasons. If the death is suspicious, it often yields clues which help to finger the guilty. In medical deaths, it can be an important learning tool for the doctors by revealing the full spectrum of diseases present in the deceased that led to the eventual demise.
While our Iraq adventure might not yet be officially dead, it is starting to get a bit pungent around the edges and is clearly on its way down to the morgue. MORE
'US soldiers started to shoot us, one by one'
"There Was Also a Wedding Massacre in Afghanistan. It's Bush's Way of Winning Hearts and Minds."
Survivors describe wedding massacre as generals refuse to apologise
The wedding feast was finished and the women had just led the young bride and groom away to their marriage tent for the night when Haleema Shihab heard the first sounds of the fighter jets screeching through the sky above. MORE
George Bush never looked into Nick's eyes
"Even more than the murderers who took my son's life, I condemn those who make policies to end lives
My son, Nick, was my teacher and my hero. He was the kindest, gentlest man I know; no, the kindest, gentlest human being I have ever known. He quit the Boy Scouts of America because they wanted to teach him to fire a handgun. Nick, too, poured into me the strength I needed, and still need, to tell the world about him.
People ask me why I focus on putting the blame for my son's tragic and atrocious end on the Bush administration." MORE
Broadcast on BBC One on Wednesday, 19 May 2004 at 21:00 BST
A Panorama Special reports on the scale of the abuse and torture of prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere.
Jane Corbin investigates who had command responsibility for American and British forces implicated in this scandal and asks which officers, diplomats and politicians knew what, when.
21 May 2004
20 May 2004
Iraq's education system, considered one of the best in the region in the 1980s, has declined dramatically in the last 20 years. An estimated 60 percent of Iraq's population is now illiterate, and at least 25 percent of primary school-age children do not go to school, according to World Bank statistics. It is estimated that half of children do not go on to secondary school. In rural areas the numbers are even higher. Up to half of girls never attend school, according to the Ministry of Education (MoE). UNICEF suggests that only 55 percent of men and only 23 percent of women can read.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that in recent months the number of children being kept at home by their parents has risen dramatically as insecurity and violence plague parts of the country.
The MoE recently unveiled a policy of freedom of thought and expression, tolerance and national unity in schools after gathering opinions from religious and political leaders from around Iraq.
But the ministry still faces pressure from religious conservatives to teach more religion and morals in schools, following the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Ministry officials last year removed decades of political teaching and indoctrination required by the former Baath party regime. Officials replaced it with a moderate curriculum that focuses on basic, universally practised religious teachings.
According to MoE statistics, there are 14,924 schools in Iraq and 80 percent of them (11,939) need some sort of repair following the looting when the former regime fell. Some 40 percent (5,970) need major rehabilitation and 9 percent (1,343) are in need of demolition or rebuilding. However, the country's school were never in good condition - in 2002 the UN estimated that half of all school toilet facilities did not meet basic hygienic standards.
There are plans for the MoE to build 4,500 schools in the next four years. The ministry asked for US $3.2 billion in repair and investment costs at an international donor's conference in Madrid in November 2003. The World Bank has pledged $100 million to rewrite and reprint all school textbooks containing references to Saddam Hussein.
In addition, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) edited all primary and secondary school maths and science textbooks and distributed 8,759,260 million textbooks in 16 governorates across the country. Some 70 percent were printed in Iraq and 30 percent in Jordan.
In Baghdad, about 1,560 of approximately 1,700 schools have received $750 grants for repairs and supplies of their choice from the Baghdad School Teacher/Parent Programme. The money was part of the $35 million that USAID allocated in Central Iraq between May 2003 and March 2004.
Baghdad University received a multi-million dollar grant from the US-Iraqi higher education and development programme for archaeology and environmental health. It also received a grant for legal education reform. Baghdad's Technology University and al-Anbar University in western Iraq got a chunk of the money to deal with higher education initiatives.
USAID invested up to $29 million in education-related issues, such as the accelerated learning programme which involved students from Nasiriyah and Karbala.
The US-Iraqi higher education and development programme pledged a $20.7 million grant to fund higher education reforms. The University of Babil, the University of Salah ad-Din and Basra University were the beneficiaries of this initiative. Basra University used part of its grant for archaeology and environmental health and for legal education reforms.
Students in ad-Diwaniyah and Arbil were involved in the USAID accelerated learning programme. In total, the USAID allocated more than $8 million for education projects in the five governorates of the region during the last year.
Mosul University received a grant from a US-Iraqi higher education and development programme for archaeology and environmental health. The University of Mosul Hamam al-Alil and the University of Dahuk received a grant for academic, research and extension programmes. Those two universities also received a grant, along with the Nursing Institute in Dahuk, for public health and sanitation. The University of Sulaymaniyah received money for legal education reform.
In general, the USAID funded 5.5 million examinations immediately after the conflict. It awarded 627 grants worth more than $6 million to repair schools. More than 2,300 schools were repaired for the 2003/4 school year.
In addition, USAID distributed nearly 1.5 million secondary school kits with basic school supplies like pens, pencils and paper. It bought and installed 159,005 student desks, 61,500 chalkboards and 58,100 teacher kits. It also distributed 808,000 primary student kits and 81,735 primary teacher kits. USAID also awarded 25 Fulbright scholarships to students to study in the United States.
IRIN-Asia, Tel: +92-51-2211451, Fax: +92-51-2292918, Email: IrinAsia@irin.org.pk.
This item is delivered to the "Asia-English" Service of the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or to change your keywords, contact e-mail: IRIN@ocha.unon.org or Web: www.irinnews.org. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Reposting by commercial sites requires written IRIN permission.
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20 May 2004
Iraqis claim more than 40 killed in US helicopter attack
Rory McCarthy in Baghdad
Thursday May 20, 2004
Iraqi officials last night said an American helicopter fired on a wedding party in western Iraq killing more than 40 people, including many children, in another damaging setback for the US occupation.
A senior Iraqi police officer told the Associated Press that a helicopter fired at the party early yesterday morning in a remote village close to the Syrian border, killing between 42 and 45 people.
Television footage showed a truck carrying the bodies of the dead arriving in Ramadi, the nearest big town. Many of the dead were clearly children.
In a written statement the Pentagon said last night: "Our report is that this was not a wedding party, that these were anti-coalition forces that fired first, and that US troops returned fire, destroying several vehicles, and killing a number of them.
"During the operation, coalition forces came under hostile fire and close air support was provided."
He said coalition forces on the ground recovered numerous weapons, 2m Iraqi dinars and Syrian pounds, foreign passports and a satcom radio.
Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for the US military in Iraq, told Reuters the attack targeted "a suspected foreign fighter safe house".
The killings, if proven, are certain to damage even further the US military's battered reputation in Iraq. Already the US is reeling from its much-criticised operations in Falluja last month which claimed hundreds of Iraqi lives and now the scandal of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.
The attack came on the same day as the US military convicted in a court martial the first soldier involved in the prison abuse, an attempt to rebuild the US military's image among the Iraqi people.
Witnesses said yesterday that guests had been firing guns into the air in a traditional sign of celebration before the American helicopter attack in the village of Mukaradeeb, near the town of al-Qaim in western Iraq.
Lieutenant Colonel Ziyad al-Jbouri, the deputy police chief for Ramadi, 80 miles west of Baghdad, told AP that the dead included 15 children and 10 women. He said the attack happened at 2:45am yesterday in a desert area near the remote border with Syria.
"This was a wedding and the planes came and attacked the people at a house. Is this the democracy and freedom that Bush has brought us? There was no reason," said Dahham Harraj, one man filmed in an AP video.
Television footage broadcast last night on the al-Arabiya television channel showed a truck laden with bodies.
Men carried the bodies wrapped in blankets from the back of the truck into deep graves in the desert on the outskirts of Ramadi. One body, carried in a white blanket, was that of a young girl aged five or six. Other bodies, laid on the ground in a line, had clearly suffered horrific injuries.
One man, wearing a white and black keffiyeh, told the television channel he saw the Americans bomb the village. "We were in Mukaradeeb. At 3am they rained the air with bombs," he said. "One after another the bombs were falling. Three houses with the guests inside were hit. They fired as if there were an armoured brigade inside, not a wedding party."
In a video filmed by AP another anonymous man said the victims had been guests at the wedding. "The US military planes came ... and started killing everyone in the house," he said.
Salah al-Ani, a doctor at the hospital in Ramadi, told AP the death toll was 45. He said the wedding guests had been firing in the air. American troops had come to investigate and then left. At about 3 am, they returned in helicopters and destroyed two houses.
The attack had the hallmarks of a similar incident in Afghanistan two years ago in which a US jet fired at a wedding party in Uruzgan province, in the south, killing 48 Afghan civilians and wounding more than 100.
The wedding had been targeted because guests were firing Kalashnikovs in the air as a traditional sign of celebration. After an investigation, the pilots were exonerated and the US military said they had come under fire.
The village of Mukaradeeb - "the wolves' den" - is a small remote village of barely a dozen houses in the desert by Iraq's western border.
A convoy near the village came under attack by the US military last June, reportedly because the army believed Saddam Hussein was moving through the area, heading towards Syria.
More recently US troops have conducted aggressive operations around the town of al-Qaim, cordoning it off for several days at one point as they arrested dozens of young men.
For more reports on this story
19 May 2004
In early 2004, United Press International correspondent, John Daly, produced a ground-breaking report, purporting to establish the nationalities of 95% of the detainees being held in US custody at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. .......Much of this information was then made available, in the Arabic language press, in the al-Rai al-Am report by Khalil Khalaf and Dahim al-Qahtani, the most extensive to date in listing 810 prisoners. Unfortunately the latter ....... contained a number of inaccuracies, duplicate names, and was restricted to an Arabic-speaking audience only.
Cageprisoners.com therefore undertook the task of translating the names from the al-Rai al-Am report, ........ as well as further in-depth research from media reports and figures from the UPI report.
FULL REPORT AND LIST
17 May 2004
by Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers
One of the most well-known early TV dramas in Japan was a drama called, "I want to be a clam."
The show first aired in 1959 and was the story of a small town barber, named Shimizu, who was forced into military service in World War Two.
During the war, Shimizu was a lowly private guarding American P.O.W.’s. One day, his commanding officer ordered him to kill a particularly troublesome prisoner.
Shimizu reluctantly followed orders and murdered the American soldier.
I am not making excuses for Shimizu’s actions, but in this case, had he not followed orders, he would have been executed himself. That’s the way Imperial Japan was.
Such is the insanity that war brings. MORE
16 May 2004
National Interim Steering Committee
May 10, 2004
The true nature of the American occupation has been revealed to the world. It is an occupation of abuse and torture that is dehumanizing and denying all human rights to the Iraqi people. The pictures have circulated around the Middle East and the whole world exposing the kind of war that is being fought in the name of democracy and freedom. US officials have condemned the abuse of Iraqi detainees by American soldiers and have stated that it does not represent the morals of the American people. While it may be true that the abuse does not reflect the American people, but it does reflect on the morals and ethics of the US government and the US military in Iraq. The horrific behavior of the US military is nothing new to the people of the world. We have known that the occupation of Iraq is illegal and immoral before the war even began. We have known all along that the rhetoric of democracy and freedom has been nothing but a cover-up and pretense.
We have known that the US government has never had any intentions of good will towards the people of Iraq. From the 10 years of sanctions to the bombardment of Iraqi cities, from the brutal occupation to outright torture, Iraqi lives have been deemed irrelevant.
Donald Rumsfeld at the congressional hearings showed no remorse for the tortures conducted by the soldiers under him. In January 2002 Rumsfeld stated that the Afghan detainees would not have any rights under the Geneva Convention and that they would be held in Guantanamo Bay stripped of their human rights and dignity. We know that protecting the right of prisoners has never been a priority to Rumsfeld and the US government. Whether it is the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan or Guantanamo Bay - the abuse has been systematic. And the same thing is happening within the US where thousands of Muslims, Arabs and South Asian immigrants have been detained and abused.
We cannot assume that the recent leaks were only a “rotten few” in the military. Rather the display of abuse and torture by the US military is the very nature of operations in Iraq. It is not the few rotten apples but a systematic dehumanizing of the people that is being sanctioned by the powers that be within the government.
Not in Our Name denounces the US government for the occupation in Iraq. We see these abuses as yet another tool in the machinery of war and repression unleashed on the people of the world.
We call on the people living in the United States to resist the brutal occupation of Iraq and to demand that all US troops and government personnel out of Iraq NOW! US out of Iraq NOW!
We believe that as people living
in the United States it is our
responsibility to resist the injustices
done by our government,
in our names
[NOTE: As a United States Citizen living overseas, it is my belief that I and my fellow ExPats MUST stand with our Fellow Americans in stating that we, too, echo the call! NOT IN OUR NAME! ~~ The Flea]