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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #107 - 3 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Iraq demands 'full sovereignty' (Mark Parkinson)
   2. Why are they doing this to us? (Mark Parkinson)
   3. Food (Mark Parkinson)


Message: 1
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2004 23:49:28 +0100
Subject: Iraq demands 'full sovereignty'

Unfortunately the BBC in this article is continuing with its strong
bias on nearly everything to do with Iraq. This cannot be just be
repeated poor journalism. This is outright bias.

In the opening paragraph:

"The Iraqi foreign minister has told the United Nations a new
resolution should give Iraq full sovereignty after the handover of
power at the end of June."

As usual you fail to qualify this with eg "The Iraqi foreign
minister, picked by the US appointed Governing Council"

You then compound this with the following gem:

"The BBC's Susannah Price at the UN says the American and the British
will be pleased about what amounts to a broad endorsement of their

Perhaps you are succeeding in your aim of fooling most of the people
most of the time!

Mark Parkinson


Message: 2
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2004 20:35:46 +0100
Subject: Why are they doing this to us?

by Dahr Jamail | Posted June 03, 2004 at 11:11 AM Baghdad time

He is a well spoken, handsome lawyer, just a year older than I am. He
worked as a diplomat who coordinated NGOs and foreign governments in
order to bring aid to his country during the sanctions.

He was detained and accused of being a spy for Saddam Hussein, even
though he is not even a Baathist.

He was hung from his ankles for hours in Abu Ghraib, until he passed

I ask him what else happened to him in there. He pulls up the legs of
his trousers to show me two electrical burns on the inside of his
knees, and points to two more on his elbows.

We all know the usual parts of this story: his head was bagged and
hands and ankles tied too tightly, roughly thrown in an armored
vehicle and driven to Baghdad Airport prison. Then to Abu Ghraib for
2 months, then to a prison in Basra, then back to Abu Ghraib for
seven months.

At the Airport prison (which Iraqis refer to as Guantanamo Airport)
he was interrogated five times, then ten more times at Abu Ghraib. At
each place he was beaten until he passed out, forced to beat other
detainees, deprived of food and water (he lost 25 kilos while in
detention), offered no medical care, received threats on his life,
was threatened that his wife would brought in and raped in front of
him, had rats and cockroaches as cellmates. He was kept in a cell 2
meters by 1.5 meters.

Or maybe you haven=92t heard all of this already...

Maybe you didn=92t hear that the lead CIA man who tortured him referred
to himself as =93Satan.=94 Or that while he was praying and reading his
Koran female soldiers came in and flashed their breasts at him, then
sexually humiliated and abused him.

What else is news? That there were 16 showers for 650 detainees. That
there was no medical treatment, except for 30 out of 650 detainees =97
who were given aspirin for infections and viruses. That when he was
finally allowed to use the toilet after being forced to wait for
hours, soldiers would open the door on him.

Of course there is more. There is much, much more. But I=92ll save that
for later, because it isn=92t easy to type when ones hands are shaking.

Since he has been out he has not slept much, and has nightmares when
he does manage to catch fleeting moments of shuteye.

His home was destroyed while he was in detention.

Then there is his aunt. I interviewed her tonight as well. A kind, 55
year-old woman who used to work as an English teacher. She was
detained for four months, in as many prisons: Samarra, Tikrit, one in
Baghdad and of course, Abu Ghraib. She was never allowed to sleep
through a night, she was interrogated, not given enough food or
water, no access to a lawyer or her family. She was abused verbally
and psychologically.

But that isn=92t the worst part. Her 70 year-old husband was detained
and beaten to death. But that took 7 months.

She=92s crying as she speaks of him... as are Abu Talat (my translator)
and I.

=93I miss my husband,=94 she says, standing up and addressing the room.
=93I miss him so much.=94

She shakes her hands as if to fling water off of them... then holds
her chest and cries some more.

=93Why are they doing this to us?=94 She doesn=92t understand what is
happening. Two of her sons were also detained, her family completely
shattered. =93We didn=92t do anything wrong,=94 she sobs.

After a short time we walk out towards the car to leave... it is
already too late to be out =97 well past 10 p.m. She asks us to please
stay for dinner, in the midst of thanking me for my time, for
listening, for writing about it all.

I am speechless.

=93No, thank you, we must get home now,=94 says Abu Talat. We are all

No words in the car as we drive toward the full moon. Finally, Abu
Talat asks me, =93Can you say any words? Do you have any words?=94

=93No,=94 I mumble. =93No...=94

Dahr Jamail is Baghdad correspondent for The NewStandard. He is an
Alaskan devoted to covering the untold stories from occupied Iraq.
You can help Dahr continue his crucial work in Iraq by making
donations. For more information or to donate to Dahr, visit The

Mark Parkinson


Message: 3
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
Date: Sat, 05 Jun 2004 01:08:29 +0100
Subject: Food

by Dahr Jamail | Posted June 01, 2004 at 11:34 AM Baghdad time

A friend recently asked me to write some about how Iraqis are getting
by in regards to feeding themselves amidst 60% unemployment, the fuel
crisis, and the already terrible security situation that continues to

The increased number of women and children begging for dinars on the
streets of Baghdad shows, more than anything else, how desperate the
situation has become here. Every time I=92ve ventured to the Coalition
Provisional Authority, there have been women and children lingering
about holding out their hands outside of the front checkpoint, hoping
for the generosity of visitors.

The last time I went there I noted a boy sitting against a concrete
barrier meant to protect from suicide car bombs. He had a collection
of tan foil packages from the C-rations of US soldiers. He was
licking his fingers and dipping them into the small packets of the
dried powder US soldiers use to create chocolate pudding. The dust of
which swirled in a dry, hot breeze as he dumped the remaining
contents into his hand to get the last bit.

Iraqis continue to receive monthly food rations from the UN's oil-for-
food program. They receive a large piece of paper from the Iraqi
government which has all of their family information. Each month they
take this to certain stores who distribute the rations, where they
have one of the coupons taken from their sheet, and in return they
are granted a ration of basic foodstuffs comprised of rice, beans,
soap, cooking oil, sugar, chai, salt and flour.

Most of these products are imported as Iraqi companies, in general,
are not producing them.

The monthly food ration does not include any meat or vegetables, so
Iraqis must buy these for themselves in the markets. By itself, the
ration is not enough for anyone to survive on, at least in a healthy

Meat and vegetables in the markets hasn=92t grown much more expensive
than it has always been here. However, the gas crisis, like those in
the past, has pushed prices upwards... meaning of course, less fresh
vegetables and meat for Iraqis.

Outside of Baghdad, most people grow their own vegetables, and
sometimes have their own goats or sheep. Inside the capital city,
however, the majority of Iraqis don=92t have the land to even have a
small garden, and certainly no goats or sheep of their own. So if
they cannot afford to buy meat and veggies at the markets, they go

My friend Farah works as a translator, which by Iraqi standards pays
better than most jobs in Iraq. Her husband, Aziz, works two jobs as
well. Between them, even though they only have one child, they are
only able to afford meat for 2-3 meals per week. Keep in mind that
they are in an above average situation financially, compared to most
Iraqi families. In addition, most families here have far more than
just one child.

As far as cooking without electricity, most Iraqis in Baghdad already
use propane gas for cooking... the tanks of which are delivered by
men and boys who push carts loaded with the old cylinders through the
streets, banging on them repeatedly with a metal bar to alert people
of their availability. Usually this is done in the early mornings,
around 7 o'clock.

The propane is inexpensive, and most can afford to purchase it. Those
who cannot are forced to collect rubbish and build fires if they want
to cook anything.

Thus the vast majority of Iraqis can ill-afford to eat out at a
restaurant. While many restaurants were simply unable to reopen after
the invasion last April, those that have are slowly being forced to
close their doors, one by one, due to the lack of patronage.

Purchasing soda or candy -- or anything beyond the basic staples, for
that matter -- is completely out of the question for most Iraqis.

Nevertheless, every time I am invited into someone=92s home to conduct
an interview, they insist I stay for lunch. Someone is sent out to
purchase some soda, chicken, and usually kabobs. There is always more
than enough food provided for their guests, even if it means they
have to go without later. Offers to contribute are never accepted,
and if one does not accept the invitation for lunch or dinner, the
host is offended and hurt.

Yet another irreconcilable situation in the long line of them I=92ve
encountered in Iraq. The generosity and warmth extended by a people
who are in the midst of such suffering and strife, goes far beyond
anything most people in the West may ever know.

And as the situation here continues to degrade, the majority of
Iraqis face a daily struggle of simply feeding themselves during the

Mark Parkinson

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