Friday, May 23, 2003

Iraq:

  1. In Baghdad:

    • At least 1,700 Iraqi civilians died and more than 8,000 were injured in Baghdad during the attack on Iraq and in the weeks afterward (on top of which, undocumented civilian deaths in Baghdad number at least in the hundreds and could reach 1,000).

    • Almost all the police stations have been destroyed or looted, with only two having reopened, and there is still no police chief.

    • The communications center, which had been hit by two cruise missiles during the attack on Iraq, nevertheless had suffered little damage, with most of the equipment surviving. It could have been functioning within months, thus restoring Baghdad's phone service. The director of the center reported this to the Americans, who, needless to say, failed to put it under guard, and it was burned to the ground.

    • Water and sewage systems are falling apart all across Iraq, and human waste is backing up and out of the drains in many parts of Baghdad. The Al Rustumia sewage plant is not being guarded and looters were operating on a daily basis, rendering the plant inoperable. As a result, one million tons of raw sewage is discharged into the Tigris and Diyala Rivers every day.

    • Iraqis have begun to kill former members of the Baath Party, with possibly several hundred victims in Baghdad alone.

    • Even the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance admits that about 40 percent of the Baghdad's residents are without potable water supplies.

    • Bremer of Baghdad visited a police station in the Karkh district of Baghdad for a photo op to hear about the new U.S. Army-Iraqi police patrols. Angry policemen began pointing at a man in uniform named Abdul Razak, a former Baath Party member and colonel in the Iraqi security services who had been chief of police stations in Baghdad's western district and kept his job under the American occupation, and who may have been invited to the photo op by the Americans (although they later denied it and claimed Rasak had been fired as a Baathist, although the preceding day he had been in a planning meeting with Col. Ted Spain, head of the military police brigade in charge of Baghdad). As a crowd began to gather, a U.S. military officer told journalists that a bomb had been found at the end of the block and led them away, although nobody at the police station when later asked about the bomb had heard of one being found or reported!



  2. 5,000 to 10,000 Iraqi civilians may have died during the attack on Iraq. Since the war was completely illegal, let's not say 'died', let's use the proper term, 'murdered'. Knowledge of the carnage is still incomplete, but much detail is available. Human Rights Watch has found evidence of "massive use of cluster bombs in densely populated areas."

  3. Looting is still a major problem in Basra, with Basra University being looted out of existence.

  4. In Falluja, which is getting used to American violence, gunmen fired anti-tank rockets at a U.S. armored vehicle, resulting in the American response of random fire from tanks towards the city center, killing two passengers of a pickup truck traveling 300 yards from the scene. Safi Jaber, a witness, said: "They went crazy, they fired everywhere." U.S. soldiers later stopped an ambulance trying to approach the truck and a tank rammed it.

  5. In Kirkuk, ethnic tensions between Arabs and Kurds are resulting in violent conflict, resulting in at least 10 deaths. In Erbil, the Kurdish regional parliament passed a law that would "cancel the history of Arabization in Kurdistan," meaning the forced eviction of Arabs who had been settled in Kurdish areas by Saddam. Several Arabs were probably killed in a battle at Hawija with American troops, who claim they were trying to stop illegal checkpoints established by the Arabs, checkpoints which had been set up due to rumors that the Kurds were going to attack the Arabs. Forced evictions of Arabs from Kurdish areas and Palestinians from all across the country have already caused much suffering. The highly-touted 'free' elections for town council which are being held in Kirkuk seem to be heavily managed by the Americans, who appear to be siding with the Kurds against the Arabs.

  6. The Washington Times reports:

    "U.S. military inspection teams have concluded that material looted from Iraq's main nuclear facility at Tuwaitha poses little or no danger to the people who stole it and cannot be converted into an effective 'dirty bomb.'"

    In the real world, the families of the looters are beginning to suffer from probable radiation sickness. American denials of the problem mean that Iraqis will continue to use contaminated containers to store water and food, and since the danger from radiation depends on cumulative exposure, people will become ill and die who might have been saved. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, has warned the United States for the third time of the danger of radioactive contamination in Iraq.

  7. A prominent British officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins, has been accused by the Americans (of all people) of having pistol-whipped an Iraqi civic leader, gashing his head; punched and kicked prisoners of war; shot the tires of vehicles when there was no threat to 'coalition' lives; and fired on the ground near the feet of Iraqi civilians and spoken to civilians in a threatening fashion. The British are attempting to portray these allegations as the result of a feud between the Americans and this officer.

  8. American troops have vandalized the remains of the ancient city of Ur. Soldiers have spray-painted the remains with graffiti ('SEMPER FE') and stolen kiln-baked bricks. The Pentagon has decided to build a massive and potentially permanent base alongside the site. Important archeological sites, some which have never been touched before, are being systematically and rapidly looted all across the country.

  9. Children, in attempting to recover the brass shell casings of ammunition in order to sell them, have to remove the gunpowder from inside the ammunition, and are dying in the resulting explosions (nine in one week). Reports of children dying when 'playing' with ammunition may very well be cases where the children died in attempting to obtain the metal from the shells.

  10. The lawlessness has actually started to damage the oil production in Iraq (Oh, the Humanity!), and the failure by the Americans to secure the gas stations and depots has led to the creation of a large gasoline black market.


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