The following is an archived copy of a message sent to the CASI Analysis List run by Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq.
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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] This is an automated compilation of submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to email@example.com. Please include a full reference to the source of the article. Today's Topics: 1. Bremer in Feb 03 - "We're going to be running a colony almost" (Nathaniel Hurd) 2. FPIF News | How Long a War? | Battle for Hearts & Minds Debacle (IRC Communications) 3. Meltdown in Iraq (CharlieChimp1@aol.com) 4. TWO MORE BRITS TELL OF ABUSE (Mark Parkinson) 5. Prison abuse: An MI officer sounds off (Mark Parkinson) 6. Reply to the Pentagon and Ray (Mark Parkinson) --__--__-- Message: 1 From: "Nathaniel Hurd" <nathaniel_hurd@DELETETHIShotmail.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Bremer in Feb 03 - "We're going to be running a colony almost" Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 15:00:06 -0400 When Bremer made the below remarks in February 2003, he was "CEO of Marsh Crisis Consulting and a member of President Bush's Homeland Security Advisory Council." * "He said he thinks its likely that the United States will go to war against Iraq in the coming weeks." * He said "The likeliest scenario is a very short, sharp, violent war characterized by enormous, overwhelming air power at the start," * "Bremer estimated a war would be over within four to six weeks". * Perhaps most notably, Bremer said "We're going to be on the ground in Iraq as soldiers and citizens for years. We're going to be running a colony almost". The last above quote may be worth bearing in mind as one reads the detailed Yochi J. Dreazen and Christopher Cooper, "Behind the Scenes, US Tightens Grip On Iraq's Future", Wall Street Journal, 13 May 2004 Source: Lucy May, "Homeland security adviser speaks to local business leaders", Business Courier, 25 February 2003, http://cincinnati.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2003/02/24/daily23.html [begin] The way Ambassador L. Paul Bremer sees it, the United States has about a 10 percent chance of avoiding war with Iraq. Bremer told a gathering of Cincinnati business leaders Tuesday morning that Iraq can avoid war if Saddam Hussein decides to comply fully with the United Nations resolution, goes into exile or if someone in his inner circle assassinates him. But Bremer said he doesn't expect any of those things to happen. Rather, he said he thinks its likely that the United States will go to war against Iraq in the coming weeks. "The likeliest scenario is a very short, sharp, violent war characterized by enormous, overwhelming air power at the start," said Bremer, chairman and CEO of Marsh Crisis Consulting and a member of President Bush's Homeland Security Advisory Council. Bremer estimated a war would be over within four to six weeks but said the process of rebuilding Iraq afterwards is likely to take years. "We're going to be on the ground in Iraq as soldiers and citizens for years. We're going to be running a colony almost," Bremer said, adding that one of the most important reasons to get more international support before launching a war is to get more help in rebuilding the country afterwards. He said businesses must be prepared for the unexpected and must make sure their employees feel secure no matter what crisis befalls the company or country. "Over the last 30 years, 80 percent of the terrorist attacks against American targets have been against American businesses," he said. Bremer spoke to city business leaders at a private club downtown at a program hosted by the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and Marsh USA Inc.'s local office. He said during a press conference after his speech that he thinks a war with Iraq would increase the risk of terrorist attacks in the United States in the short-term but that it would help the nation win the war against terrorism in the long run because of the chance that Iraq could supply weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups. [end] Nathaniel Hurd Consultant on Iraq policy Tel. (Mobile): 917-407-3389 Fax: 718-504-4224 E-mail: email@example.com 777 1st Avenue (E. 44th St./1st Ave.) Suite 7A New York, NY 10017 --__--__-- Message: 2 From: "IRC Communications" <communications@DELETETHISirc-online.org> Organization: Interhemispheric Resource Center To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: FPIF News | How Long a War? | Battle for Hearts & Minds Debacle Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 13:16:00 -0600 [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ What=92s New at FPIF "Working to make the U.S. a more responsible global leader and partner" http://www.fpif.org/ May 13, 2004 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Introducing two new commentaries from Foreign Policy In Focus How Long a War? By Colonel Daniel Smith, USA (Ret.) "A war in the wrong place, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons." That was the verdict delivered by Senator Robert C. Byrd (WV) on April 29, = 2004, two days before the first anniversary of President Bush=92s declarati= on that major combat in Iraq was over. Events of this past April and the obvious confusion in the first days of Ma= y reinforce Senator Byrd=92s judgment. Dan Smith <email@example.com> is a military affairs analyst for Foreign Policy i= n Focus (online at www.fpif.org), a retired U.S. army colonel, and a senior f= ellow on Military Affairs at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. See new FPIF commentary online at: http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2004/0405byrdwar.html With printer friendly PDF version at: http://www.fpif.org/pdf/gac/0405byrdwar.pdf A Debacle in the Battle for Hearts and Minds By Pascale Combelles Siegel A major battle in the "War on Terror" was lost last month and not a shot wa= s fired. It was lost when the now all-too-familiar images of Americans torturing and= humiliating Iraqi prisoners were seared into the minds of thinking persons= around the world. These images show a sort of mistreatment tailor-made for= creating outrage in the Arab world: naked Iraqi bodies piled in a miserabl= e human pyramid, simulated sexual acts directed by an American female soldi= er. Defeating terrorism is directly dependent on the conversion of hearts and m= inds -- to the winning over of the majority of Arab and Islamic individuals= so terrorists will lose their base of support and source of future recruit= s. However, goodwill to the United States -- already under significant strain -- has now plummeted throughout the Arab and Islamic communities, and throu= gh much of the rest of the world. Our oft-proclaimed lofty objectives and h= igh ideals seem a mockery in light of evidence of systemic mistreatment of = Iraqis in those very same facilities in which Saddam's henchmen tortured an= d executed thousands. Pascale Combelles Siegel is an independent consultant specializing in "perc= eption management." She is the author of Target Bosnia: Integrating Informa= tion Activities in Peace Operations: The NATO-led Operations in Bosnia-Herz= egovina: 1995-1997 published by National Defense University Press. See new FPIF commentary online at: http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2004/0405debacle.html With printer friendly PDF version at: http://www.fpif.org/pdf/gac/0405debacle.pdf ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Distributed by FPIF:"A Think Tank Without Walls," a joint program of Interh= emispheric Resource Center (IRC) and Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). For more information, visit www.fpif.org. If you would like to add a name t= o the "What=92s New At FPIF" list, please email: communications@irc-online.= org, giving your area of interest. Also see our Progressive Response newsletter at: http://www.fpif.org/progre= sp/index.html ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Interhemispheric Resource Center(IRC) http://www.irc-online.org/ Siri D. Khalsa Outreach Coordinator Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Siri D. Khalsa Communications Coordinator Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC) email@example.com IRC Projects Online: IRC (www.irc-online.org) FPIF (www.fpif.org) Americas Program (www.americaspolicy.org) Self-Determination In Focus (www.selfdetermine.org) Project Against the Present Danger (www.presentdanger.org) --__--__-- Message: 3 From: CharlieChimp1@DELETETHISaol.com Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 16:10:04 EDT Subject: Meltdown in Iraq To: firstname.lastname@example.org [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Meltdown in Iraq by George Hunsinger May 6, 2004 http://www.antiwar.com/orig/hunsinger.php?articleid=2487 - One year after "Mission Accomplished" was proclaimed by President Bush, America may have lost the war in Iraq. Insurgency, instability and social chaos, the familiar problems dogging the occupation, were exacerbated in April by mutiny, collapsing authority and military deadlock. Then came the devastating revelations of atrocity - first in the brutal siege of Fallujah, then in the unspeakable photographs of torture from the Abu Ghraib prison. The occupation has reached the point of meltdown. "We have failed," stated retired Gen. William E. Odom, currently director of the Hudson Institute, a pro-administration think-tank. In an interview which rocked the foreign policy establishment, Odom told the Wall Street Journal he had abandoned all hope for success in Iraq. Predicting a radical Islamist regime hostile to the West, one prepared to fund terrorist organizations, he called for the swift withdrawal of U.S. forces. Otherwise Iraqis will be radicalized even further, he warned, risking the destabilization of the entire region. "The issue is how high a price we're going to pay," Odom insisted, "less, by getting out sooner, or more, by getting out later." Any "continued U.S. troop presence is a losing proposition. Once you've done a stupid thing, you don't fix it by keeping doing it. Our troops are exposed; we're going to take more casualties without any capacity of destroying the enemy. That's a losing proposition." Odom made his remarks before the Abu Ghraib photos were released. The electrical system in Iraq has still not been repaired. Contrary to President Bush, electricity is not more widely available than before the war. Without the provision of electricity, clean water and sewage treatment also suffer. The New York Times reports that the hospitals are in ruins: "At Baghdad's Central Teaching Hospital for Children, gallons of raw sewage wash across the floors. The drinking water is contaminated. According to doctors, 80 percent of patients leave with infections they did not have when they arrived." In Baghdad the streets remain unsafe. Bombings, drive-by shootings, hostage-takings and a wave of assassinations continue. Other cities are safer, often at the price of theocratic rule. Meanwhile, the effects of depleted uranium throughout Iraq - the "silent genocide" - go unnoticed in America and undiscussed. The guerillas are winning the war, in part because no segment of the population has turned against them. They have seized control of the roads, and disrupted the supply lines. "The main problem in Iraq today," writes military critic Carton Meyer, "is the massive logistics effort required to sustain U.S. Forces at over a hundred dispersed camps." Supplies arrive by ship, with the closest major seaport being in Kuwait. "This means everything must be hauled hundreds of miles over war-torn roads among hostile natives." Most convoys are attacked, supplies run short, ammunition is rationed, and the Army is stretched to the limit. Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans! At the end of March this slogan was chanted by jubilant residents. It accompanied the charred corpses of four "foreign contractors" (highly paid mercenaries) that were dragged through the streets before being hanged from a bridge over the river Euphrates. By the end of April the slogan had grimly assumed a double aspect. For Fallujah, which will perhaps be remembered as the battle where, politically, America lost the war, also became a graveyard for hundreds of civilians killed in the retaliatory siege, which President Bush had personally ordered. Although the coalition military denies any targeting of noncombatants, numerous eyewitness reports say otherwise. A young man named Ahmed is quoted by UPI: "The Americans have snuck snipers all over Fallujah and everyone can be hit any time. I have seen their snipers kill women and children. The hospital is full of their bodies, all shot in the heart or the head." The Christian Science Monitor told of a mother who tried to run from an attacking U.S. Apache helicopter: "My children tried to run away and the helicopters chased them. Families were running through the streets. . . . Windows were broken and many, many people were dead." Writing in the respected Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Orit Shoat summed up: "During the first two weeks of [April], the American army committed war crimes in Fallujah on a scale unprecedented for this war. . . . Some 600 Iraqis were killed during these two weeks [estimates are now at 800 - G.H.], among them some 450 elderly people, women and children. . . . According to the organization Doctors Without Borders, U.S. Marines even occupied the hospitals and prevented hundreds of the wounded from receiving medical treatment. Snipers fired from the rooftops at anyone who tried to approach." 500-pound bombs were dropped on the city from U.S. AC-130 gunships. So many dead needed to be buried that the soccer field became a makeshift graveyard, completely filled. Under the Geneva conventions, collective punishment is a war crime, as is the deliberate targeting of civilians. The iconic image of the torture victim standing on a box, pointed black hood on his head, dangling high-voltage wires attached to his outstretched, Christ-like arms - this image, and the others equally horrifying, will be the pictures that lost the war. "Is it realistic," asks the University of Michigan's Juan Cole, "after the bloody siege of Fallujah and the Shiite uprising of early April, and in the wake of these revelations, to think that the U.S. can still win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi Arab republic?" Anyone who thinks that the U.S. military has never perpetrated or condoned torture on an administrative basis - in places like Vietnam, Latin and Central America, Iran under the Shah, or Afghanistan today - has not been paying attention (to say nothing of Guantanamo under our very noses). "Our extensive research in Iraq suggests that this is not an isolated incident," writes Amnesty International of the Abu Ghraib revelations. "It is not enough for the U.S.A. to react only once images have hit the television screens." Nor is it enough to blame these unspeakable crimes on isolated individuals. In the New Yorker Seymour Hersh cites a lengthy internal army report on the prison. It found a pattern of "sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses." What kind of people have we become? What will shake us from our culpable ignorance? Will we continue to live in a fantasy land where our country is always inherently good, where people elsewhere have no reason to hate us, and where victory will be achieved only through military means? "What the world expects of Christians" wrote Albert Camus, "is that Christians should speak out loud and clear - in such a way that never a doubt, never the slightest doubt, could rise in the heart of the simplest human being. They should get away from abstraction and confront the blood-stained face history has taken on today. The grouping that we need is a grouping of persons resolved to speak out clearly and pay up personally." May God help us before it is too late. --__--__-- Message: 4 From: "Mark Parkinson" <mark44@DELETETHISmyrealbox.com> To: email@example.com Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 22:58:33 +0100 Subject: TWO MORE BRITS TELL OF ABUSE From the Daily Mirror. Much more disturbing than the photos from the same paper which may well have been staged. May 12 2004 By Jan Disley Two more soldiers say they saw Iraqis abused and humiliated by British troops. Soldier E said prisoners were regularly battered and kicked - a practice condoned by senior officers. Soldier F claimed captives lived in fear at a British jail. He said: "We treated them worse than dogs." _______________ SOLDIER E 'Our troops went into the truck one by one and beat this fellow up. His nose was half way across his face' BRITISH squaddies took turns to beat up a prisoner in Iraq, it was claimed yesterday. The damning allegation came as yet another soldier stepped forward with horrifying new testimony. HELD: Bound Iraqis in picture supplied by Soldier E Soldier E - a member of the TA attached to the Queen's Lancashire Regiment - says he was "sickened" by what he saw in Basra. He claims squaddies regularly battered and kicked detainees. "It wasn't right" he told the Mirror. "And it was condoned all the way from the top." The soldier, whose identity we have pledged to protect, says on one occasion soldiers virtually lined up to punch and kick a prisoner in the back of a Saxon armed personnel carrier. Another time, he said, 15 to 20 local tribesmen were paraded in camp, then "thrown around" one by one as officers allowed them to be beaten. "I wasn't comfortable with what was going on," he said. "Prisoners were routinely sandbagged, cuffed and thrown in the back of wagons. They could be there for days before anyone even heard their story." He said detainees were supposed to be handed over to the Iraq police but before that happened they were being beaten and abused. He claimed one of the worst incidents happened after a crowd of locals seized a sniper who had been shooting at squaddies guarding a petrol station against looters. He said: "We saw a mob of over 100 people so we sent some men down there and this mob was beating this bloke up. "They were saying, 'This is the guy who was shooting at you' so we arrested him. "But because we couldn't leave the petrol station we couldn't hand him over to police and the mob weren't happy and surrounded the Saxon. "The situation was getting stressful. "The decision was made to allow the soldiers to go in individually, one by one, into the back and beat this fellow up. "When it was my turn I refused to do it. I took off his sandbag and gave him water. His nose was half way across his face." HE said that after the attack the mob dispersed. "It was sick really...the crappy things that go on in war. "The Iraqi people themselves are brutalised but what these soldiers are going through has brutalised them as well. "Every detainee I saw was thrown around in one shape or form to a greater or lesser degree." Soldier E said another incident came as local Arab tribesmen tried to force the local community to go into a week of mourning over the death of its leader. There had already been several run-ins with British forces. He went on: "On the fourth day a senior officer ordered a round-up of the tribe. We got around 15 or 20 of them and paraded them inside our camp, all sandbagged, basically for a day. "This officer allowed them to be beaten one by one, taken out into the middle of the courtyard, thrown around, beaten." Soldier E says that later the officer took the men on parade and told them that he had been wrong to do what he did. In an unrelated incident, he says troops were warned about their behaviour after a colonel allegedly saw some squaddies stealing money from a driver they stopped at a checkpoint. But his worst experience, says Soldier E, came at the battalion's HQ Battle Group Main, where eight detainees were being held after the death of Captain Dai Jones in a roadside bombing. One of the eight later died. Soldier E recalls: "You could hear prisoners screaming, proper screaming, from 200 yards away. "I saw one prisoner - bound but without a sandbag - being made to sit with his face over a cesspit. In another room prisoners were all sat with their faces to the wall, in sandbags and plasticuffs. "The room smelt of urine and faeces and they were all in a right state." He said not only were there no rules but there was no one really in charge of prisoners. "Soldiers would be sent in for an hour or so on a "rota basis" to mind them. "We were actively encouraged to put sandbags over their heads to disorientate them," he claimed. SOLDIER E, who has neither asked for nor received any payment for this interview, served in Iraq for up to seven months last year. He has already spoken to Amnesty International about what saw. He said: "I believe the truth will out and that these things should come out. I'm surprised I'm only Soldier E." As for trophy photographs, he said: "Pictures were being taken all the time. I found it sickening. If it wasn't dead bodies it was people being thrown around. "I thought the whole idea of taking trophy pictures was abhorrent. There were people done for it because they had them on their laptop - but it doesn't take a genius to hide them." Soldier E added: "There are good men out there and we did some good work. I have always been proud to say I am in the British Army and the QLR." But he admitted that some of the things he saw in Iraq had tarnished many of the ideas he once held. He admitted: "Now I no longer want to wear the regiment t-shirt." The Ministry of Defence last night promised to probe Soldier E's claims. A spokesman said: Any allegations over the abuse of detainees will be thoroughly investigated, but without specific details and dates it is difficult to act on Soldier E's information. "We urge anyone with information to come forward to the proper authorities as soon as possible." _________________ SOLDIER F 'The guards played Flob In The Face 'darts' with Iraqis they had lined up... They got 100 points for spitting in an eye' The screams that echoed round a British jail where Iraqi suspects were allegedly abused still haunt Soldier F. Barbaric treatment was meted out to prisoners at the secret Al Amara base, north of Basra. Soldier F told the Mirror suspects were beaten, urinated on, paraded naked on all fours with a sling round their necks, locked in cells for days at a time and, on one occasion, sodomised with a broomstick. Among the most humiliating abuses was 'Flob in the Face darts'. The trooper said: "Soldiers would choose an Iraqi, line him up and spit at him. It would happen every day, twice a day, at our tea breaks. "There'd be a contest and a score would be kept. You got 50 points for hitting him on the forehead, 75 for hitting his mouth and 100 for hitting his eye. "The Iraqis would just have to stand there and take it. If they didn't, they'd get a battering. "One Iraqi prisoner spat back. I never saw him again. I asked what happened to him and was told to mind my own business. "Some things I saw sickened me. We went out there to free them and were treating them worse than dogs. HELL: Soldier F was traumatised by what he saw "I'm one of at least four or five servicemen I know who have sought psychological help because they were so traumatised by what they saw and heard." Soldier F spent four months at the jail where up to 120 guards - most from the same regiment - watched over 500 detainees. He has not asked for, or received, any money. This is his shocking statement which he has signed as true: SUSPECTS were banged up with 10 or more in a cell for three people. "Many just stayed in the locked corridors of the cell block where they were thrown sheets, blankets, old sleeping bags and slept where they could. "From the start, corporals and sergeants tried to create an atmosphere of hatred. They called the Iraqis 'jinglies' after the noise made by the cell keys. "Beatings took place daily. If an Iraqi prisoner wouldn't do as he was told he was battered to the floor and given a good kicking. "For minor misdemeanours soldiers would take the sling off their rifles and just whack a prisoner with it. I often saw Iraqi prisoners with bruises, black eyes and cuts. But they wouldn't get treated. "Once, I heard an Iraqi screaming and went to a cell to find a soldier shoving a broom handle up his a**e. "The man was in agony. I told the soldier to stop it. Later, I was called in front of sergeant and told not to argue with colleagues in front of the prisoners because it was bad for morale. "I saw Iraqi prisoners being urinated on. Usually it was after a battering when the prisoner was lying on the floor. Someone would put a sling round his neck and hold him in position, then someone else would p**s on him. "The other soldiers would just laugh. I also saw an Iraqi prisoner paraded naked in front of his fellow prisoners and made to kneel down on all fours with a sling round his neck like a dog lead. "I just didn't understand it. I tried not to get involved. But you were under pressure to behave in the same way otherwise you weren't one of the lads. "On Christmas Day an officer called us all together and said it was because of these Iraqi b*****ds that we were in Iraq and not at home with our loved ones. "He was trying to wind us up. So of course some of the lads went out and gave some Iraqis a good battering. There must have been somewhere between 75 and 100 who were attacked that day. They just went on a rampage. They went mad. "The prisoners were allowed 15 minutes' exercise every day. But often they'd go without it depending on whether their guards could be a***d to let them out. "I saw one man go three days without being let out. Sometimes the Iraqis would go nuts in the cells being locked up so much. "It's the sound of their screams that still haunts me. Anything can bring it back, like seeing some violence on telly. You hear the screams again. "Often we'd be in the compound playing football and one of the lads would line up an Iraqi and whack the ball at him as hard as he could. BECAUSE they were blindfolded they couldn't see it coming. It would hit them in the face or head and they'd fall over. "Sometimes the ball would hit them so hard, they'd end up with a red mark on their back or chest. "When a prisoner was brought in he'd be blindfolded. Almost routinely, a soldier would kick one of his legs in front of his other so he'd fall over. "The abuse was done by the soldiers and encouraged by the corporals. Sergeants turned a blind eye. I don't think the officers knew what was going on. "We had a big inspection in January from one of the most senior British officers in Iraq, perhaps the one in overall charge of our forces. "About two days before the visit, a load of Iraqis were shipped out so that it was down to about four to a cell and the place was cleaned up. "Usually it stank because there were so many prisoners. The officer was only there for about 20 minutes. As soon as he'd gone, it was back to business as usual. "Prisoners were forever coming and going. It happened all the time. But I never knew where they went on to. Perhaps many were released. Even the drivers wouldn't tell you where they'd taken them. "I've come forward because I think the public ought to know the truth about what's happening in Iraq. I know the Mirror's allegations are true." Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall --__--__-- Message: 5 From: "Mark Parkinson" <mark44@DELETETHISmyrealbox.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 23:25:55 +0100 Subject: Prison abuse: An MI officer sounds off There is a ring of truth about this but who knows? I've not heard this angle reported elsewhere. http://www.sftt.org/ Prison abuse: An MI officer sounds off By: MI Senior NCO Hack, The abuse and humiliation actually took place at 3 prisons in the Baghdad area. This was not done by accident, it was a planned, systematic way to break down the prisoners will to resist any interrogation, degrade them and then blackmail them into working for US Intelligence. The pictures were taken as a way to intimidate the prisoner and then keep them working as low level collectors (if they did not the pictures would have been released to their family and tribes) Videos were also made as a way to record the "success" to be used as a teaching tool at Fort Huachuca (to train future interrogators). The MPs and Interrogators were told the Geneva Convention did not apply to Iraq Soldiers and Civilian Detainees. The methods the MPs used were actually taught to the MPs by military intelligence professionals and civilian contractors. This was a sanctioned operation and the methods were known to be used by Generals in the chain of command. Women MPs were sought out to further humiliate the Iraqi prisoners. The female MPs who accepted the jobs, conducted degrading acts upon the Iraq men, because such acts by women on men in the Arab culture are so humiliating, it was thought that the men would then talk just to stop the abuse by the female MPs. This abuse was done in stages and the less cooperative Iraqis were given the more degrading abuse to condition them to interrogation. The Major General (Barbara Fast) in charge of the MI personnel in Baghdad sanctioned this treatment. Hack, if they are going to hang privates and NCOs for meting out this abuse, they better go after the Generals and Colonels who sanctioned and approved these methods be use. This is a not an isolated cace of abuse my a few soldiers, this was a planned campaign well know by the entire chain of command. There is also evidence that people in the Pentagon also knew and approved of these methods many months prior to the pictures being relased and only told the President when the pictures were published. The DOD is now trying to pin the blame on anything else, other than the Generals amd Colonels who sanctioned this treatment. MI Senior NCO ("Hack", to whom this email is addressed to, is David H. Hackworth, Senior Military Columnist of "DefenseWatch", the magazine of Soldiers For The Truth, a US military veterans organization) Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall --__--__-- Message: 6 From: "Mark Parkinson" <mark44@DELETETHISmyrealbox.com> To: email@example.com Date: Fri, 14 May 2004 00:13:44 +0100 Subject: Reply to the Pentagon and Ray by Jo Wilding 04 May 2004 A "letter from a soldier" was forwarded to me with a request that I reply to the list of "good things happening in Iraq" that he touted. So I did. A letter was forwarded to me from some people asking what I thought. It=92s a letter from Ray Reynolds, a medic in the Iowa Army National Guard, serving in Iraq, complaining about the =93very poor job=94 the media has made of =93covering everything that has happened.=94 It proceeds to give a =93list of the things that has happened in Iraq recently=94 and asks recipients to pass it on to their friends so they =93can rest at night knowing something is happening in Iraq that is noteworthy.=94 It=92s strongly reminiscent of an e mail that went round a few months ago with the subject line, =93The Good News=94, containing excerpts from a speech by Rumsfeld or Powell or one of those, each sentence beginning with, =93Since President Bush declared major combat over on May 1st=85=94 followed by some benefit that had supposedly accrued to the Iraqi people in the aftermath of that event. It=92s also strongly reminiscent of the =93letters=94 that started going around soon after that declaration, which were forwarded over the internet and published on the front pages of local newspapers in the signatories=92 home towns, that were later exposed as having been commissioned, often written, by commanding officers. In many cases the soldier concerned had only signed the bottom of a standard letter. That=92s not to say this medic didn=92t write the letter himself to accompany the Pentagon=92s list of good things. I don=92t know. But at the end he challenges =93anyone, anywhere, to dispute me on these facts.=94 Alright then. I will. I=92ll start with the stuff about schools, because I=92ve been spending a bit of time in schools with the circus and the twinning project. Firstly this: >* Girls are allowed to attend school. Yes. Girls are allowed to attend school. And the point is what? Girls were also allowed to attend school before the war, and college and university. Young women studied for masters degrees and PhDs and went on into good jobs. For sure, in some rural areas, girls left school early and still do =96 a cultural issue which isn=92t going to be quickly changed, but in the cities and towns, girls have been going to school for decades. The statement is not false: I would not challenge Ray on the fact that girls are allowed to go to school, but it seems intended to imply that this is something new since the war and that appears to me dishonest. >* School attendance is up 80% from levels before the war. I don=92t have official figures but the teachers in the schools I spent time in said that a lot of children, especially girls, have dropped out of school since the war because of the security problems with both the journey to school and the schools themselves. Poverty and the need for the children to contribute to the family=92s income and psychological problems associated with trauma and stress are also raising the drop out rate according to several head teachers around the country. I don=92t know which =93levels before the war=94 Ray is referring to. Perhaps he means the day before the war, when the schools closed down and just a few kids went to say goodbye to each other, not knowing how long it would be before they could go back. Education was free and compulsory before the war, but since the sanctions were imposed, that was not the reality as children started to drop out because of poverty. An Iraqi friend and his English wife once described to me the changes in Iraq from the nationalisation of the oil industry which funded the social programmes like education as well as the war wit Iran and the building of Saddam=92s palaces, when children started wearing shoes and going to school, stopped begging on the streets, up to the sanctions, where the children stopped going to school and started begging, barefoot, on the streets again. Still I would like to see the evidence that says school attendance is up, let alone by such an enormous proportion, from any genuine level before the war. >* Over 1,500 schools have been renovated and rid of the weapons stored there so education can occur. Is there any evidence that there were weapons stored in those schools? The renovation of schools has been one of the big abuses of Iraqi =93reconstruction money=94. A lot of contracts have gone to Bechtel, a multinational company linked to the US government. It takes contracts commonly in the region of $75,000 and immediately subcontracts for two thirds or three quarters of that price, creaming off a few thousand dollars for no work whatsoever. The sub contractor then subcontracts again and the work is eventually done for a fraction of the money, often poorly. A friend in Nasariya explained that at a local school the new fence fell down, injuring two girls, soon after the =93renovation=94, which mainly consisted of painting the walls, with poor quality paint and brushes so there were bristles stuck to the walls. Among the schools I worked in with the circus there was barely one with windows intact, working toilets and plumbing, adequate classroom furniture and so on. A lot of them were in poor areas where the help would be most needed but where it has been least given. >* Textbooks that don't mention Saddam are in the schools for the first time in 30 years. The new curriculum has not yet been written. There was an intention to reprint the old text books with the Saddam pictures removed and a few offending pages taken out but there were problems with the awarding of the contracts and in fact most of the contracts were never awarded. Consequently teachers all over the country are still using the remaining old textbooks, with the Saddam pictures and unwanted pages torn out. There are not enough text books to go around so the kids are sharing between too many and there are no other teaching materials, at least in the many schools I=92ve been in, so all the teachers can do is lecture the children. > >* The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off-loaded from ships faster. =85 by SSA Marine, formerly Stevedoring Services of America, yet another US company brought in to do work which could be given to Iraqi companies. The company has a terrible record on labour rights and that=92s been reflected in the experience of Iraqis working at the port, with the management making strenuous efforts to keep out the press and international organisations and suppressing unionisation among the dock workers in breach of international labour law and uman rights conventions. > >* 100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed, compared to 35% before the war. I=92m sorry but this is just not true. I=92ve no idea what proportion of hospitals were open before the war. Many were not fully staffed, because under the sanctions there was too little cash in the economy to pay public sector workers. Many hospitals are still short of qualified nurses because most of the nurses prior to the 1991 war were foreigners, who left before that war and didn=92t return because under the sanctions they couldn=92t earn a proper wage. Hospitals are operating without enough cleaners, sometimes one cleaner for two floors, so the patients=92 relatives are helping to clean the floors and jobs like disinfecting the curtains don=92t get done at all. There aren=92t enough senior doctors so in a lot of hospitals, junior doctors are working without proper supervision, having to contact seniors by telephone for advice and opinions, which have to be delivered without actual contact with the patient. As well, doctors are having to rely on international aid agencies to provide them with a lot of the medicines they need because the Ministry of Health and the US administration is failing to adequately supply them with medicines and equipment. In addition, in areas of conflict, US and other troops have been closing down civilian hospitals. This happened in Sadr City / Thawra, in Falluja, in Najaf. I got a message yesterday that the main hospital in Najaf has been closed down by US troops, from one of the doctors down there, who said the main hospital has 600 beds, and all the rest of Najaf=92s hospitals have a combined total of 350. I can=92t explain this. Even if they claim they fear the hospital will be used by fighters, they cannot legally or morally close down the civilian hospital. In addition to this apparent collective punishment through the hospitals, US soldiers have been shooting at civilian ambulances. There are many many testimonies from doctors who were working in ambulances that this happened and I know it to be true because it also happened to me when I was working in an ambulance. > >* Students are taught field sanitation and hand washing techniques to prevent the spread of germs. > >* Over 400,000 kids have up-to-date immunizations. I=92m not clear what the Pentagon and Ray are trying to imply here. I=92m sure the students are taught about health issues and given vaccinations, but these things happened before the war as well. Unicef had a huge immunisation programme running before the war, going door to door, centred on the public health centres. They use this unclear phrasing wich states what the current situation is but gives no indication as to what change this represents from life in the months and years before the war, never mind before the sanctions. It also gives no indication of who is making the improvement if any is claimed: who is vaccinating the children? The Ministry of Health, or international aid agencies? > >* Sewer and water lines are installed in every major city. Again, it=92s not clear how this has changed. Prior to the sanctions, sewer and water systems were commonplace. Many of the pipes were damaged in the 1991 war and couldn=92t be replaced for years because the pipes were put on hold by the sanctions committee of the Security Council, lest the sewage pipes should be turned into the fabled =93supergun=94. Pardon me, but there=92s only one thing you can fire out of a sewage pipe. Not far from where I live, there is a lake of sewage in the street. This doesn=92t go away even when it hasn=92t rained for weeks, but when it does rain, sewage flows in the street all over the place. I couldn=92t comment with any confidence on the comparative capacity now and at the undefined period =91before the war=92 as below=85 > >Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time ever in Iraq. >* The country now receives 2 times the electrical power it did before the war. =85but I can say with certainty that the electricity is still erratic and has been for the last 6 months since I got back here. It=92s hot now and the power is on for two or three hours at a time, off as much as it is on, cut without warning and with no real pattern that enables us to plan things around the lights and air conditioning. When we haven=92t got electricity, some of the time we don=92t have running water either. A big part of the problem is that the power plants were built by French and Russian companies and their control as now been handed to US companies which are not allowed to buy replacement parts from those countries, as a punishment for their refusal to join in the war. That alone hampers the efficiency of the power generators. It seems the agenda is to sow that the current plants can=92t be repaired and that US companies will have to be contracted to build new ones. See Dahr Jamail=92s report on Bechtel and water issues on Public Citizen, a Washington based website or get the link from the start of his blog, via www.newstandardnews.net > >* Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever Oh yes. The telephones. A lot of the landline network is still not functioning after all the exchanges were bombed during the war. Phones were allowed and common before the war, but mobiles and satellite phones were not. The mobile phone network now exists, although it=92s hopeless: it=92s frequently impossible to make or receive calls, sometimes for hours on end. A lot of international calls just never get through at all. The cost of phones and lines are out of range for most Iraqis and credit can only be bought in dollars, not Iraqi Dinars. The Iraqnas only work in Baghdad, not even on the outskirts and the phones on the southern networks only work in their respective areas, so if you travel around the country you either can=92t use your phone or you have to have another one for the other network. Within each area there=92s a monopoly, so there=92s no way to have a phone if you want to boycott the overpriced and incompetent network you=92re on. > >* Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets. > >* Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country. >Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with US soldiers. Around forty percent of the new army has quit, deserted, refused to fight or taken action against the US, according to one of the US army=92s own spokespeople. I wouldn=92t dispute the number of ICD police, but =93securing the country=94 is an interesting way to describe what they=92re doing. That=92s not to question their commitment, but the country is a very long way from =93secure=94. The Iraqi Police in my experience are very friendly, polite people who drive around in fours and fives in pick ups and avoid trouble whenever they can because they haven=92t got adequate back up. Another big security problem is the impossibility of telling a genuine checkpoint from a fake one. The Iraqi police, ICDC and army haven't been properly equipped so that although the IPs all wear the same blue shirts and armbands, they=92re often out in jeans and trainers. Likewise the ICDC wear combat uniforms and whatever shoes they choose. One of the main ways international aid agencies are advised to tell a fake checkpoint is by the uniforms =96 it=92s easy enough to fake an armband, but standardised boots, ideally imported and difficult to get in-country, are much harder to copy or steal. This has been the cause of a lot of thefts. >* An interim constitution has been signed. The constitution, the Governing Council, the new flag are almost universally unpopular, the latter viewed as a superficial irrelevance when so many needs remain unfulfilled. The Governing Council are seen as puppets, =93here for the prizes,=94 corrupt, a criminal, in Chalabi=92s case, even among people who don=92t oppose the occupation per se. As well, people are beginning to realise that =93power=94 is not to be handed over to them at the end of June, so the Pentagon and Ray are on thin ice when they try to flag things like the interim constitution as a political achievement. Many Iraqi people are concerned that the form of federalism now created (rather than the idea of federalism itself) exacerbates divisions and sets up problems for the future. > >* Elections are taking place in every major city, and city councils are in place. But the fact remains that the bodies elected are largely without power and will continue to be so even after the =93power handover=94. Ask most people what they want, what they need, and it=92s not elections but security. The CPA funds certain activities and one of their favourites is =93democratisation=94. To this end they=92ve opened several Women=92s Centres which teach democratisation, i.e. they tell women why it=92s important for them to vote. They=92ve found little favour among the Iraqi women because it=92s just not a priority. >* The country had its first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August. Hooray!! To quote someone I met, returning to his home in Falluja after several weeks seeking refuge in Baghdad from the fighting, =93Let them take our oil. Let them take it and go and leave us in peace. Just let us live in peace.=94 Ray concludes by telling readers not to believe for a second that these people don=92t want US troops here. I=92m unclear which people he=92s referring to. Don=92t believe for a second that there=92s a unanimous Iraqi opinion. But a significant development, I think it=92s fair to call it an ongoing trend, is the alienation of those who were and should be the US=92s main Iraqi allies, those who were most brutalised by Saddam. The killing of civilians in Sadr City / Thawra, the frequent house raids, the closure of the hospital have turned the area, which at least to some extent welcomed the US troops, into =93the black zone=94. Ray says he has met many, many Iraqi people who want the troops there. I have met many, many who don=92t and a few who do and a whole spectrum in between. Part of the problem that has been created by the US administration here is that decisions are made by people who don=92t walk the streets of Iraq. The majority of the foreigners working in the Coalition Provision Authority (CPA) don=92t leave the boundaries of the =93Green Zone=94. Many of those making the policy in the education sector have never visited an Iraqi school, for instance. I=92ve had e mails from soldiers serving in Iraq who never get to leave their bases or the Green Zone, who read my writing for information about what=92s happening beyond their bases, and fair play to them for wanting to know, because there are others who are not interested at all. I had another e mail, very similar to this one, a few months ago, with a little introduction from whoever forwarded the e mail to whoever forwarded it to me, saying =93This guy seems to have a pretty good handle on things=85=94 and proceeded to quote meaningless figures about electricity generation that contributed nothing at all to the reader=92s understanding how ow life was for ordinary Iraqis. Finally Ray says he is =93very disgusted by the way this period of rebuilding has been portrayed=94 in the media. Of course we would all like to see our own view on things put forward, me included. We would all like to be told what we want to hear. But I=92ll tell you a story that illustrates a bit how the media works here. Just after I came back from Falluja I was invited by a friend who works with CNN to come out with them for something. They=92d been more or less cooped up in their hotel / bureau for weeks. Their only reports from Falluja were coming from reporters embedded with the military, so their footage was literally from the point of view of the US soldiers, usually shot over one of their shoulders. Fair enough, it was hard to get into Falluja and their stringers in the town had fled with their families or were otherwise indisposed =96 maybe pinned in their homes like the rest of the civilians left in the town. So we interviewed the man from the Red Crescent and then headed out to meet some families who had fled Falluja and were squatting a half- completed building. On the way through Shuala, within sight of the long term squatter camp that the circus worked in regularly, there was a burnt out military vehicle at the roadside. It had been there a while. It wasn=92t smoking, had been comprehensively stripped, probably happened during the fighting in Shuala before my first trip to Falluja, more than a week earlier. Still the security man ordered the driver to turn the car around and go back to the Red Crescent. They weren=92t staying there. Why not, I asked. Wasn=92t that enough for me, he demanded. The burnt out vehicle hadn=92t even registered with me, just part of the scenery, an every day sight. What was it going to do? Jump up and chase us? I suppose that=92s why he=92s CNN=92s security adviser and I=92m not =96 one of the reasons anyway. So we went back to the Red Crescent and nothing happened in Iraq that day, not in the media anyway. I know, I know, it=92s different if you=92re a multinational corporation with insurance premiums to pay and pension obligations and if you=92re making decisions on safety on someone else=92s behalf and I know, because I cuddled his friends for hours, that CNN have already lost someone in this conflict. But another Iraqi friend who works for the BBC has been frustrated that the correspondents were barely leaving their compound, waiting for Reuters to come back and tell them where the explosion was. That=92s before you even start on that dread dictator, The News Agenda. During the war, the first house bombed was a big story, the second a bit of a story and the third and the fiftieth and the hundred-and- eighth unreported and unseen. It=92s the same now. As soon as something becomes commonplace, it=92s not news, however appalling. Only now, when the world has seen The Photos, do the big networks want to hear about the thousands of stories the Christian Peace Team and others have recorded from former detainees who were abused and tortured by US prison staff in Abu Ghraib and the airport, though those stories have been publicly available for months. Likewise there were dozens of doctors coming out of Falluja with stories like mine about US soldiers shooting at their ambulances but it was only when a white English woman told the story that it became =91news=92. So yeah, like you, Ray, I=92ve got some issues with the way the situation in Iraq has been reported, with the unquestioning acceptance of the US government and Pentagon line by most of the US media and the acquiescence of too much of the UK media in the equivalent British government versions of events. And Ray, if you want to discuss the situation of ordinary people in Iraq, I=92m happy to talk about that with you. Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall End of casi-news Digest _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk