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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #54 - 4 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. DU pictures(graphic) (
   2. Tricks That Allow the US to Hold on to Power in Iraq (ppg)
   3. disturbing background info on Fallujah (Dirk Adriaensens)
   4. Powell Not Sure Iraq Trailers Were Labs (Hassan)


Message: 1
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2004 17:06:52 EST
Subject: DU pictures(graphic)

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

> Iraq's real WMD crime
>   By Lawrence Smallman in Baghdad
> Wednesday 17 March 2004, 13:03 Makka Time, 10:03 GMT
>   Depleted uranium has  a half life of 4.7 billion years
> There are weapons of mass destruction all over Iraq and they were used th=
> past year. Iraqi children continue to find them every day.
> They have ruined the lives of just under 300,000 people during the last
> decade - and numbers will increase.
> The reason is simple. Two hundred tonnes of radioactive material were fir=
> by invading US forces into buildings, homes, streets and gardens all over
> Baghdad.
> The material in question is depleted uranium (DU). Left over after natura=
> uranium has been enriched, DU is 1.7 times denser than lead - effective i=
> penetrating armoured objects such as tanks.
> After a DU-coated shell strikes, it goes straight through before explodin=
> into a burning vapour which turns to dust.
> "Depleted uranium has a half life of 4.7 billion years =E2=80=93 that mea=
> thousands upon thousands of Iraqi children will suffer for tens of thousa=
nds of years
> to come. This is what I call terrorism," says Dr Ahmad Hardan.
> As a special scientific adviser to the World Health Organisation, the Uni=
> Nations and the Iraqi Ministry of Health, Dr Hardan is the man who
> documented the effects of depleted uranium in Iraq between 1991 and 2002.
>   "This has  caused a health crisis that has affected almost a third of a
> million  people."
> Dr Ahmad  Hardan,
> scientific adviser to the World Health  Organisation
> But the war and occupation has doubled his workload.
> Terrible history repeated
> "American forces admit to using over 300 tonnes of depleted uranium weapo=
> in 1991. The actual figure is closer to 800.
> "This has caused a health crisis that has affected almost a third of a
> million people. As if that was not enough, America went on and used 200 t=
> more in Baghdad alone (last) April. I don't know about other parts of Ira=
q, it
> will take me years to document that."
> Hardan is particularly angry because he says there is no need for this ty=
> of weapon =E2=80=93 US conventional weapons are quite capable of destroyi=
ng tanks and
> buildings.
> "In Basra, it took us two years to obtain conclusive proof of what DU doe=
> but we now know what to look for and the results are terrifying."
> Leukaemia has already become the most common type of cancer in Iraq among
> all age groups, but is most prevalent in the under-15 category. It has
> increased way above the percentage of population growth in every single p=
rovince of
> Iraq without exception.
> Women as young as 35 are developing breast cancer. Sterility among men ha=
> increased tenfold.
> Barely human
>   Depleted  uranium has caused
> severe deformities in  babies
> But by far the most devastating effect is on unborn children. Nothing can
> prepare anyone for the sight of hundreds of preserved foetuses =E2=80=93 =
barely human
> in appearance.
> There is no doubt that DU is to blame.
> "All children with congenital anomalies are subjected to karyotyping and
> chromosomal studies with complete genetic back-grounding and clinical
> assessment. Family and obstetrical histories are taken too. These interna=
tional studies
> have produced ample evidence to show that DU has disastrous consequences.=
> Not only are there 200 tonnes of uranium lying around in Baghdad, the
> containers which carried the ammunition were discarded. For months afterw=
ards, many
> used them to carry water =E2=80=93 others used them to sell milk publicly=
> It is already too late to reverse the effects.
> After his experience in Basra, Hardan says within the next two years he
> expects to see significant rises in congenital cataracts, anopthalmia,
> microphthalmia, corneal opacities and coloboma of the iris =E2=80=93 and =
that is just in people=E2=80=99
> s eyes.
> Add to this foetal deformities, sterility in both sexes, an increase in
> miscarriages and premature births, congenital malformations, additional a=
> organs, hydrocephaly, anencephaly and delayed growth.
>   "A world famous  German cancer specialist agreed to come, only to be to=
> later that he  would not be given permission to enter Iraq"   Dr Ahmad
> Hardan,
> scientific adviser to the World Health  Organisation
> Soaring cancer rates
> "I had hoped the lessons of using DU would have been learnt =E2=80=93 esp=
ecially as
> it is affecting American and British troops stationed in Iraq as we speak=
> they are not immune to its effects either."
> If the experience of Basra is played out in the rest of the country, Iraq=
> looking at an increase of more than 300% in all types of cancer over the
> next decade.
> The signs are already here in Baghdad - the effects are starting to be se=
> Every form of cancer has jumped up at least 10% with the exception of bon=
> tumours and skin cancer, which have only risen 2.6% and 9.3% respectively=
> Another tragic outcome is the delayed growth of children.
> Skeletal age comparisons between boys from southern Iraq and boys from
> Michigan show Iraqi males are 26 months behind in their development by th=
e time
> they are 12-years-old and girls are almost half a year behind.
> "The effects of ionising radiation on growth and development are especial=
> significant in the prenatal child", adds Dr Hardan. "Embryonic developmen=
t is
> especially affected."
> Action needed
> Those who have seen the effects of DU hope the US and its allies will nev=
> use these weapons again =E2=80=93 but it seems no such decision is likely=
 in the
> foreseeable future.
>   Many  affected foetuses are so
> deformed they cannot  survive
> "I arranged for a delegation from Japan's Hiroshima hospital to come and
> share their expertise in the radiological related diseases we are likely =
to face
> over time," says Hardan. "The delegation told me the Americans had object=
> and they had decided not to come.
> "Similarly, a world famous German cancer specialist agreed to come, only =
> be told later that he would not be given permission to enter Iraq."
> Moreover, Hardan believes the authorities need to produce precise
> information about what was used and where, and there needs to be a clean-=
up operation
> and centres for specialist cancer treatment and radiation-related illness=
> Iraq only has two hospitals that specialise in DU-related illnesses, one =
> Basra and one in Mosul =E2=80=93 this needs to change and soon.
> "I'm fed up of delegations coming and weeping as I show them children dyi=
> before their eyes. I want action and not emotion. The crime has been
> committed and documented =E2=80=93 but we must act now to save our childr=
en's future."
>   Aljazeera

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Message: 2
From: "ppg" <>
To: <>
Subject: Tricks That Allow the US to Hold on to Power in Iraq
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2004 23:00:06 -0500
Published in the April 19, 2004 issue of The Nation

Let's Make Enemies
Paul Bremer has Unveiled a Slew of Tricks That Allow the US to Hold on to
Power in Iraq After June 30

by Naomi Klein

"Do you have any rooms?" we ask the hotelier.
She looks us over, dwelling on my travel partner's bald, white head.
"No," she replies.
We try not to notice that there are sixty room keys in pigeonholes behind
her desk--the place is empty.
"Will you have a room soon? Maybe next week?"
She hesitates. "Ahh... No."

We return to our current hotel--the one we want to leave because there are
bets on when it is going to get hit--and flick on the TV: The BBC is showing
footage of Richard Clarke's testimony before the September 11 Commission,
and a couple of pundits are arguing about whether invading Iraq has made
America safer.

***** They should try finding a hotel room in this city, where the US
occupation has unleashed a wave of anti-American rage so intense that it now
extends not only to US troops, occupation officials and their contractors
but also to foreign journalists, aid workers, their translators and pretty
much anyone else associated with the Americans. Which is why we couldn't
begrudge the hotelier her decision: If you want to survive in Iraq, it's
wise to stay the hell away from people who look like us. (We thought about
explaining that we were Canadians, but all the American reporters are
sporting the maple leaf--that is, when they aren't trying to disappear
behind their newly purchased headscarves.)

US occupation chief Paul Bremer hasn't started wearing a hijab yet, and is
instead tackling the rise of anti-Americanism with his usual foresight.
Baghdad is blanketed with inept psy-ops organs like Baghdad Now, filled with
fawning articles about how Americans are teaching Iraqis about press
freedom. "I never thought before that the Coalition could do a great thing
for the Iraqi people," one trainee is quoted saying. "Now I can see it on my
eyes what they are doing good things for my country and the accomplishment
they made. I wish my people can see that, the way I see it."  ********

Unfortunately, the Iraqi people recently saw another version of press
freedom when Bremer ordered US troops to shut down a newspaper run by
supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr. The militant Shiite cleric has been preaching
that Americans are behind the attacks on Iraqi civilians and condemning the
interim constitution as a "terrorist law." So far, al-Sadr has refrained
from calling on his supporters to join the armed resistance, but many here
are predicting that the closing down of the newspaper--a nonviolent means of
resisting the occupation--was just the push he needed. But then, recruiting
for the resistance has always been a specialty of the Presidential Envoy to
Iraq: Bremer's first act after being tapped by Bush was to fire 400,000
Iraqi soldiers, refuse to give them their rightful pensions but allow them
to hold on to their weapons--in case they needed them later.

****While US soldiers were padlocking the door of the newspaper's office, I
found myself at what I thought would be an oasis of pro-Americanism, the
Baghdad Soft Drinks Company. On May 1 this bottling plant will start
producing one of the most powerful icons of American culture: Pepsi-Cola. I
figured that if there was anyone left in Baghdad willing to defend the
Americans, it would be Hamid Jassim Khamis, the Baghdad Soft Drinks
Company's managing director. I was wrong.

"All the trouble in Iraq is because of Bremer," Khamis told me, flanked by a
line-up of thirty Pepsi and 7-Up bottles. "He didn't listen to Iraqis. He
doesn't know anything about Iraq. He destroyed the country and tried to
rebuild it again, and now we are in chaos." ****

These are words you would expect to hear from religious extremists or Saddam
loyalists, but hardly from the likes of Khamis. It's not just that his Pepsi
deal is the highest-profile investment by a US multinational in Iraq's new
"free market." It's also that few Iraqis supported the war more staunchly
than Khamis. And no wonder: Saddam executed both of his brothers and Khamis
was forced to resign as managing director of the bottling plant in 1999
after Saddam's son Uday threatened his life. When the Americans overthrew
Saddam, "You can't imagine how much relief we felt," he says.

After the Baathist plant manager was forced out, Khamis returned to his old
job. "There is a risk doing business with the Americans," he says. Several
months ago, two detonators were discovered in front of the factory gates.
And Khamis is still shaken from an attempted assassination three weeks ago.
He was on his way to work when he was carjacked and shot at, and there was
no doubt that this was a targeted attack; one of the assailants was heard
asking another, "Did you kill the manager?"
Khamis used to be happy to defend his pro-US position, even if it meant
arguing with friends. But one year after the invasion, many of his neighbors
in the industrial park have gone out of business. "I don't know what to say
to my friends anymore," he says. "It's chaos."

His list of grievances against the occupation is long: corruption in the
awarding of reconstruction contracts, the failure to stop the looting, the
failure to secure Iraq's borders--both from foreign terrorists and from
unregulated foreign imports. Iraqi companies, still suffering from the
sanctions and the looting, have been unable to compete.
Most of all, Khamis is worried about how these policies have fed the
country's unemployment crisis, creating far too many desperate people. He
also notes that Iraqi police officers are paid less than half what he pays
his assembly line workers, "which is not enough to survive." The normally
soft-spoken Khamis becomes enraged when talking about the man in charge of
"rebuilding" Iraq. ****"Paul Bremer has caused more damage than the war,
because the bombs can damage a building but if you damage people there is no
I have gone to the mosques and street demonstrations and listened to Muqtada
al-Sadr's supporters shout "Death to America, Death to the Jews," and it is
indeed chilling. But it is the profound sense of betrayal expressed by a
pro-US businessman running a Pepsi plant that attests to the depths of the
US-created disaster here. "I'm disappointed, not because I hate the
Americans," Khamis tells me, "but because I like them. And when you love
someone and they hurt you, it hurts even more."

When we leave the bottling plant in late afternoon, the streets of
US-occupied Baghdad are filled with al-Sadr supporters vowing bloody revenge
for the attack on their newspaper. A spokesperson for Bremer is defending
the decision on the grounds that the paper "was making people think we were
out to get them."

A growing number of Iraqis are certainly under that impression, but it has
far less to do with an inflammatory newspaper than with the inflammatory
actions of the US occupation authority. As the June 30 "handover"
approaches, Paul Bremer has unveiled a slew of new tricks to hold on to
power long after "sovereignty" has been declared.

***** Some recent highlights: At the end of March, building on his Order 39
of last September, Bremer passed yet another law further opening up Iraq's
economy to foreign ownership, a law that Iraq's next government is
prohibited from changing under the terms of the interim constitution. Bremer
also announced the establishment of several independent regulators, which
will drastically reduce the power of Iraqi government ministries. For
instance, the Financial Times reports that "officials of the Coalition
Provisional Authority said the regulator would prevent communications
minister Haider al-Abadi, a thorn in the side of the coalition, from
carrying out his threat to cancel licenses the coalition awarded to
foreign-managed consortia to operate three mobile networks and the national

*****The CPA has also confirmed that after June 30, the $18.4 billion the US
government is spending on reconstruction will be administered by the US
Embassy in Iraq. The money will be spent over five years and will
fundamentally redesign Iraq's most basic infrastructure, including its
electricity, water, oil and communications sectors, as well as its courts
and police. Iraq's future governments will have no say in the construction
of these core sectors of Iraqi society. Retired Rear Adm. David Nash, who
heads the Project Management Office, which administers the funds, describes
the $18.4 billion as "a gift from the American people to the people of
Iraq." He appears to have forgotten the part about gifts being something you
actually give up.

******And in the same eventful week, US engineers began construction on
fourteen "enduring bases" in Iraq, capable of housing the 110,000 soldiers
who will be posted here for at least two more years. Even though the bases
are being built with no mandate from an Iraqi government, Brig. Gen. Mark
Kimmitt, deputy chief of operations in Iraq, called them "a blueprint for
how we could operate in the Middle East."

*****The US occupation authority has also found a sneaky way to maintain
control over Iraq's armed forces. Bremer has issued an executive order
stating that even after the interim Iraqi government has been established,
the Iraqi army will answer to US commander Lieut. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez. In
order to pull this off, Washington is relying on a legalistic reading of a
clause in UN Security Council Resolution 1511, which puts US forces in
charge of Iraq's security until "the completion of the political process" in
Iraq. Since the "political process" in Iraq is never-ending, so, it seems,
is US military control.

In the same flurry of activity, the CPA announced that it would put further
constraints on the Iraqi military by appointing a national security adviser
for Iraq. *****This US appointee would have powers equivalent to those held
by Condoleezza Rice and will stay in office for a five-year term, long after
Iraq is scheduled to have made the transition to a democratically elected

There is one piece of this country, though, that the US government is happy
to cede to the people of Iraq: the hospitals. On March 27 Bremer announced
that he had withdrawn the senior US advisers from Iraq's Health Ministry,
making it the first sector to achieve "full authority" in the US occupation.

Taken together, these latest measures paint a telling picture of what a
"free Iraq" will look like: The United States will maintain its military and
corporate presence through fourteen enduring military bases and the largest
US Embassy in the world. It will hold on to authority over Iraq's armed
forces, its security and economic policy and the design of its core
infrastructure--but the Iraqis can deal with their decrepit hospitals all by
themselves, complete with their chronic drug shortages and lack of the most
basic sanitation capacity. (US Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy
Thompson revealed just how low a priority this was when he commented that
Iraq's hospitals would be fixed if the Iraqis "just washed their hands and
cleaned the crap off the walls.")

On nights when there are no nearby explosions, we hang out at the hotel,
jumping at the sound of car doors slamming. Sometimes we flick on the news
and eavesdrop on a faraway debate about whether invading Iraq has made
Americans safer. Few seem interested in the question of whether the invasion
has made Iraqis feel safer, which is too bad because the questions are
intimately related. As Khamis says, "It's not the war that caused the
hatred. It's what they did after. What they are doing now."

Naomi Klein is the author of No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies
(Picador) and, most recently, Fences and Windows: Dispatches From the Front
Lines of the Globalization Debate (Picador).


Message: 3
From: "Dirk Adriaensens" <>
To: <>, <>
Subject: disturbing background info on Fallujah
Date: Sat, 3 Apr 2004 12:19:29 +0200

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

Mercenaries flock to fill vacuum
Paul McGeough (The Age, AUS)

Private security operators now make up the third largest armed force in Ira=
q. When the doors open at Level 5 of the Palestine Hotel, there's a spit-an=
d-polished Gurkha pointing a high-powered gun into the lift.

The whole floor and another above it have been taken by Kellogg Brown & Roo=
t, the construction wing of Halliburton, one of the biggest US firms workin=
g in Iraq. And though the linguists of occupation don't allow the word "mer=
cenary", the Gurkha is part of a 15,000-strong private security operation t=
hat is the third biggest armed force in Iraq.

Their numbers - and salaries as high as $US1000 ($A1300) a day - attest to =
the danger of this Arab version of Dodge City.

But when they signed up, few would have anticipated the terrible butchery o=
f four colleagues whose bodies were dismembered and dragged through the str=
eets of the western city of Fallujah on Wednesday.

Television footage of the scene - heavily edited before going to air worldw=
ide - showed their corpses being kicked and stoned before being broken up w=
ith blows from steel rods.

At least two of them were strung up on a bridge and parts of the other bodi=
es were stuck on poles and paraded around town.

The barbarity at Fallujah provoked outrage in Washington and elsewhere - bu=
t did little to change US rhetoric on the pacification of post-war Iraq.

The ranks of the private armies in Iraq are growing so rapidly that US and =
British defence officials are at a loss to know how to counter offers to th=
e best of their Special Operations and SAS staff.

In the mayhem, Baghdad has been carved into a series of Western security bu=
bbles. There is the Green Zone, American proconsul Paul Bremer's sprawling =
bunker for which the Pentagon is about to let a $100 million privatised sec=
urity contract; foreign embassies are grouping and
fortifying; and western business and the foreign media have all but withdra=
wn behind concrete, wire and guns.

Pity the poor Iraqis. They're outside the walls and at the other end of the=
 guns, unprotected from bombers and criminals who have run amok, robbing an=
d kidnapping in a security vacuum in which it is nigh on impossible for a n=
aive new Iraqi police force to control.

And it's not just the foreigners - South Africans, who know they are breaki=
ng their country's laws on mercenary activity; skilled Gurkhas and Fijians =
who can't resist the dollars; or the Chileans who trained under General Pin=
ochet - who are involved.

Beneath all of that is a dubious layer of Iraqi-run security - hundreds of =
local firms that have the capacity to become clan-based militias if, as som=
e expect, security worsens after the June 30 hand-back of sovereignty to an=
 Iraqi administration.

This is what happens: An Iraqi working with a new foreign media or business=
 sees the opening, recruits 30 or 50 family and friends to whom he gives gu=
ns and the ubiquitous baseball cap and then he bids for the security contra=

Australia is doing its bit for the privatised army. Sydney-based AKE Asia-P=
acific has teams on the ground and though Australian troops ride shotgun fo=
r Australian diplomats in Baghdad, protection for the rest of the small, no=
n-military Australian contingent has been subcontracted to Control Risk Gro=
up, whose 1100-strong private army of former British SAS, Nepalese and Fiji=
an soldiers, also guards 500 British civil servants working here. It's a hu=
ge drain on the reconstruction budget.

The Fallujah deaths bring the US civilian toll in Iraq to at least 33. The =
military toll is three short of 600. The March toll - 50 US troops and a do=
zen civilians of varying nationalities - made it the second worst month of =
the occupation.

But despite that, US spokesman Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt refused to al=
low his optimism to be dented by Wednesday's killings - which including the=
 death of five US soldiers in a separate attack near Fallujah.

"Despite an uptick in localised engagements, the overall Iraqi area of oper=
ations remains relatively stable with negligible impact on the coalition's =
ability to continue progress in governance, economic development and restor=
ation of essential services," he said.

We have been confronted with such appalling acts of barbarity before. Remem=
ber Mogadishu in 1993 - when Bill Clinton cut and ran from Somalia after th=
e carnage that inspired the Hollywood block-buster Black Hawk Down? And the=
 lynching of two Israeli soldiers by a Palestinian mob in
Ramallah in September 2000?

First the Americans wanted to blame the remnants of the Saddam regime and t=
hen it was associates of al-Qaeda. But it was ordinary Iraqis wielding the =
steel rods at Fallujah and in broad daylight.

Need an Army? Just Pick Up the Phone

04/02/04 "New York Times" DURHAM, N.C. -- The murderous attack on four Amer=
ican civilians in Falluja, Iraq, brought home gruesome images of charred bo=
dies dangling from a bridge over the Euphrates River. It also introduced Am=
ericans to a company few had heard of: Blackwater USA, which was providing =
security for food delivery convoys when its employees were ambushed.

Blackwater, which operates from a 5,200-acre training ground in the Great D=
ismal Swamp of North Carolina, is a private military firm that provides an =
array of services once performed solely by military personnel. The company =
trains soldiers in counterterrorism and urban warfare. It also provides the=
 American government with soldiers for hire: former Green Berets, Army Rang=
ers and Navy Seals. In February it started training former Chilean commando=
s - some of whom served under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet - for fu=
ture service in Iraq.

Business is booming at Blackwater, and the company is hardly alone. Private=
 contractors are an invisible but growing part of how war is now fought. So=
me 10,000 of them are serving in Iraq - one private worker for every 10 sol=
diers - more than the number of soldiers from Britain, America's largest co=
alition partner. Some are supplied by well-known corporations like Hallibur=
ton. But for the most part, the private military industry is dominated by m=
ore obscure businesses with names that seem designed to tell as little as p=
ossible about what the company does.

Nor is their presence limited to Iraq. In recent years, soldiers-for-profit=
 have served in Liberia, Pakistan, Rwanda and Bosnia. They have guarded Afg=
hanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, and built the military detention facili=
ties holding Al Qaeda suspects in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They have been an e=
ssential part of the American war on drugs in Latin America. Peter Singer o=
f the Brookings Institution, who wrote a book on the private military indus=
try, says it brings in about $100 billion a year worldwide.

The industry rose to prominence under President George H.W. Bush - Brown an=
d Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, received a $9 million contract to study s=
upplementing military efforts after the Persian Gulf war. The Clinton admin=
istration sent more work to contractors, but it is under the current presid=
ent, a strong believer in government privatization, that things started boo=
ming. Gary Jackson, the president of Blackwater, envisions a day when any c=
ountry faced with peacekeeping duties will simply call him and place an ord=
er. "I would like to have the largest, most professional private army in th=
e world," he told me.

This raises some obvious questions. Shouldn't war be a government function?=
 Why rely on the private sector for our national defense, even if it is lar=
gely a supporting role? Part of the reason is practical: since the end of t=
he cold war, the United States military has been shrinking, from 2.1 millio=
n in 1989 to 1.4 million today. Supporters of privatization argue that ther=
e simply aren't enough soldiers to provide a robust presence around the wor=
ld, and that by drafting private contractors to fix helicopters, train recr=
uits and cook dinner, the government frees up bona fide soldiers to fight t=
he enemy. (Of course, in the field, the line between combatant and noncomba=
tant roles grow fuzzier, particularly because many of the private soldiers =
are armed.) Private contractors are supposed to be cheaper, too, but their =
cost effectiveness has not been proved.

Low manpower and cost savings aren't the only reasons these companies appea=
l to the Pentagon. For one, substituting contactors for soldiers offers the=
 government a way to avoid unpopular military forays. According to Myles Fr=
echette, who was President Bill Clinton's ambassador to Colombia, private c=
ompanies performed jobs in Latin America that would have been politically u=
npalatable for the armed forces. After all, if the government were shipping=
 home soldiers' corpses from the coca fields, the public outcry would be tr=
emendous. However, more than 20 private contractors have been killed in Col=
ombia alone since 1998, and their deaths have barely registered.

This points to the biggest problem with the outsourcing of war: there is fa=
r less accountability to the American public and to international law than =
if real troops were performing the tasks. In the 1990's, several employees =
of one company, DynCorp, were implicated in a sex-trafficking scandal in Bo=
snia involving girls as young as 12. Had these men been soldiers, they woul=
d have faced court-martial proceedings. As private workers, they were simpl=
y put on the next plane back to America.

Think about it: a private military firm might decide to pack its own bags f=
or any number of reasons, leaving American soldiers and equipment vulnerabl=
e to enemy attack. If the military really can't fight wars without contract=
ors, it must at least come up with ironclad policies on what to do if the p=
rivate soldiers break local laws or leave American forces in the lurch.

What happened in Falluja was a tragedy, no matter what uniform the slain me=
n wore. Private contractors are viewed by Iraqis as part of the occupation,=
 yet they lack the military and political backing of our combat troops. So =
far, the Pentagon has failed to prove it can take responsibility for either=
 the actions or the safety of its private-sector soldiers.

Barry Yeoman writes frequently for Mother Jones and Discover.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Thursday, April 1st, 2004
Hotbed of Resistance: An Iraqi Discusses Fallujah Violence

A day after four U.S. military contractors were murdered then mutilated in =
the streets of Fallujah we go to Baghdad to speak with retired Iraqi engine=
er Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar about mercenaries in Iraq and why Fallujah has become=
 a hotbed of the Iraqi resistance. [includes rush transcript]


On Wednesday, four U.S. contractors were murdered and then mutilated in the=
 Iraqi city of Fallujah in one of the most graphic attacks on U.S. interest=
s since the invasion of Iraq. And nearby five U.S. soldiers were killed in =
a separate attack.

In the attack on the contractors, news agencies captured photos and images =
of their burnt corpses being dismembered in the streets. Two of bodies were=
 tied up under a bridge and lynched over the Euphates. The others were drag=
ged through the streets behind cars and hacked to pieces.

The New York Times reports seeing a 10-year-old body stepping on a burnt he=
ad screaming "Where is Bush? Let him come here and see this!"

The incident came on the same day the total number of U.S. soldiers killed =
in Iraq reached 600.

The four Americans killed on Wednesday all worked for the firm Blackwater w=
hich routinely hires former soldiers often ex-Navy Seals to form essentiall=
y a private army that largely exists outside of the public eye.

It is unknown how many private U.S. contractors have been killed though it =
has been reported the Army is relying on private security companies more as=
 the opposition to the occupation intensifies.

There appears to have been no US effort to save the contractors or even to =
collect the bodies until hours after the attack.

On Wednesday, the Coalition Provisional Authority's Web site didn't even me=
ntion the attacks. One of the top headlines on the website read, "Iraqi Pol=
ice Equal to Task of Public Safety"

Middle East analyst Juan Cole says the degree of hatred among ordinary Iraq=
i toward Americans is bad news for the occupying forces.

He writes, "It helps explain why so few of the Sunni Arab guerrillas have b=
een caught, since the locals hide and help them. It also seems a little unl=
ikely that further US military action can do anything practical to put down=
 this insurgency; most actions it could take would simply inflame the publi=
c against them all the more. It seems likely to me that the guerrilla viole=
nce will continue for years."

  a.. Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar, a retired Iraqi engineer speaking from Baghdad.
No Iraqi shock over slaying of Americans

By Michael Georgy

(Reuters) - April 1 2004 16:17

FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - The burned and mutilated bodies of four Americans=
 paraded on the streets have gone but they are still stirring up angry resi=
dents of this bitter town who say more bloody killings should be expected.

"The Americans may think it is unusual but this is what they should expect.=
 They show up in places and shoot civilians so why can't they be killed?" F=
alluja shop worker Amir said on Thursday.

A day after the bodies of four mutilated Americans were burned and dragged =
through Falluja's main street in broad daylight, there is one sentiment gri=
pping Falluja -- they got what they deserved.

The gruesome scenes shocked the outside world.

But locals said the violence, in which the U.S. contractors were left at th=
e mercy of a crowd after a guerrilla attack, was perfectly normal in an occ=

"It is understandable. We are glad this happened," said Amir, his friends n=
odding in agreement.

Guerrillas opened fire on two vehicles carrying the contractors down Falluj=
a's main street, leaving few escape routes as residents emerged from car re=
pair shops, kebab restaurants and small grocery stores to watch and partici=

Iraqis insist the men were either CIA agents or American soldiers in civili=
an clothing, dismissing reports they were security contractors for the U.S.=
-led occupying power.

Locals recalled how a crowd descended on the Americans after the bullets we=
re fired by guerrillas, who they praised as well-organised heroes.

"One bystander pulled one of the Americans out of the car still alive. The =
crowd slammed his head into the street," said Amir, the auto shop worker.

"One of the Americans pointed a gun but he was killed by a guerrilla."

As he spoke the crowd swelled, each person recalling details of the attack =
and the subsequent orgy of violence. One man focused on the AK-47s used whi=
le another said the guerrillas seized identification cards from the America=


U.S. troops and Iraqi police apparently thought it was too risky to enter F=
alluja, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, to try and impose order, suggesti=
ng the city is now a no-go zone.

So Iraqis had free rein to burn the bodies, tie them to cars and drag them =
across the city before hanging them from a bridge spanning the Euphrates ri=

It was not clear if the men had business in Falluja or were forced to drive=
 through it by a highway detour.

American military officials insist the people who carry out such violence a=
re a small minority loyal to toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and bent o=
n undermining progress in postwar Iraq.

But the still seething anti-Americanism on the streets of a city once showe=
red with privileges under Saddam suggests otherwise.

Falluja has been a hotbed of anti-Americanism ever since the U.S.-led war t=
o overthrow Saddam. While the city is almost always violent, incidents have=
 increased in regularity and intensity in recent weeks.

Some suggest this is a result of the U.S. Marines taking over responsibilit=
y for Falluja from the 82nd Airborne Division.

Since the Marines took over last month, they have sharply increased raids a=
nd patrols, angering some residents.

Whatever the case, Iraqis said the contractors met a just fate in a city wh=
ere any outsider is suspected of working for the Americans.

"Of course these things will happen. What do you expect with the Americans =
occupying Iraq and killing our people?" said a taxi driver who declined to =
give his name.

As men in flowing robes discussed the killings, an incensed Falluja residen=
t with burn marks on his face criticised them for providing information to =
a stranger. Clearly an authority figure, he ordered silence and the crowd l=


Message: 4
Date: Sat, 3 Apr 2004 07:33:28 -0800 (PST)
From: Hassan <>
Subject: Powell Not Sure Iraq Trailers Were Labs
To: CASI newsclippings <>,
  IAC discussion <>

Powell Not Sure Iraq Trailers Were Labs

AP Diplomatic Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State Colin Powell
conceded Friday evidence he presented to the United
Nations that two trailers in Iraq were used for
weapons of mass destruction may have been wrong.

In an airborne news conference on the way home from
NATO talks in Brussels, Belgium, Powell said he had
been given solid information about the trailers that
he told the Security Council in February 2003 were
designed for making biological weapons.

But now, Powell said, "it appears not to be the case
that it was that solid."

He said he hoped the intelligence commission appointed
by President Bush to investigate prewar intelligence
on Iraq "will look into these matters to see whether
or not the intelligence agency had a basis for the
confidence that they placed in the intelligence at
that time."

Powell's dramatic case to the Security Council that
Iraq had secret arsenals of weapons of mass
destruction failed to persuade the council to directly
back the U.S.-led war that deposed the Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein. But it helped mobilize sentiment among
the American people for going to war.

As it turned out, U.N. inspectors were unable to
uncover the weapons, but administration officials have
insisted they still might be uncovered.

David Kay, who led the hunt for the weapons, showed
off a pair of trailers for news cameras last summer
and argued that the two metal flatbeds were designed
for making biological weapons.

But faced with mounting challenges to that theory, Kay
conceded in October he could have been wrong. He said
he did not know whether Iraq ever had a mobile weapons

Powell told reporters that as he worked on the Bush
administration's case against Iraq U.S. intelligence
"indicated to me" that the intelligence was solid.

"I'm not the intelligence community, but I probed and
I made sure, as I said in my presentation, these are
multi-sourced" allegations, Powell said.

The trailers were the most dramatic claims, "and I
made sure that it was multi-sourced," he said.

"Now, if the sources fell apart we need to find out
how we've gotten ourselves in that position," he said.
"I have discussions with the CIA about it," Powell
said, without providing further details.

The trailers were the only discovery the
administration had cited as evidence of an illicit
Iraqi weapons program.

In six months of searches, no biological, chemical or
nuclear weapons were found to bolster the
administration's central case for going to war: to
disarm Saddam of suspected weapons of mass

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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