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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #121 - 7 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Iraqis told them to go from day one (=?iso-8859-1?q?The=20Iraq=20Solidarity=20Campaign?=)
   2. Iraqis have lived this lie before! (=?iso-8859-1?q?The=20Iraq=20Solidarity=20Campaign?=)
   3. Iraqis Recieve Legal Custody of Saddam Hussain 
   4. Klein on Iraq reconstruction (k hanly)
   5. GAO: Rebuilding Iraq (Nicholas Gilby)
   6. Avoiding Vietnam in Iraq (=?iso-8859-1?q?The=20Iraq=20Solidarity=20Campaign?=)
   7. Prisoner 27075 learns limits of sovereignty (Mark Parkinson)


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 14:57:11 +0100 (BST)
From: =?iso-8859-1?q?The=20Iraq=20Solidarity=20Campaign?= <>
Subject: Iraqis told them to go from day one
To: ISC <>

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

Iraqis told them to go from day one

Resistance will continue to spread until the occupation ends

Sami Ramadani
Friday April 9, 2004
The Guardian

First it was Saddam and his two sons, Uday and Qusay, who were leading a ru=
mp of diehard loyalists to regain power; then it was Saddam's deputy, Izzat=
 al-Douri, leading the same rump; then it was a leaderless rump of diehards=
 who had no place in the new free and democratic Iraq; then it was foreign =
terrorists "flooding" into the country; then it was a fiendish foreign al-Q=
aida terrorist named Zarqawi who killed Shia mourners to start a Sunni-Shia=
 civil war; then it got a bit confusing, with a creeping number of insurgen=
t operations in the Shia quadrangle; then it got even more confusing with t=
he Shias changing tactics and staging increasingly militant protest marches=
; and today we have Moqtada al-Sadr - an "unrepresentative" Shia radical cl=
eric leading a tiny army of extremists who happen to be active in most of I=
raq's 18 governorates and who want to destroy the new free and democratic I=
The 160,000 occupation forces, backed up by mass destruction technology, ar=
e now deemed insufficient in the fight against the Sunni diehards and the S=
hia unrepresentative extremists. Furthermore, many thousands of foreign fig=
hters have indeed come "flooding" into Iraq - not terrorists sent by Bin La=
den but mercenaries hired by the occupation authorities. Their role is to c=
arry out dangerous tasks, to help reduce US army casualties. This is in add=
ition to the Pentagon's Israeli-trained special assassination squads. Iraqi=
s now believe that some of the recent assassinations of scientists and acad=
emics were perpetrated by these hit-squads. A similar campaign of assassina=
tions in Vietnam claimed the lives of 41,000 people between 1968 and 1971.
The unleashing of F16 fighter bombers, Apache helicopter gunships and "prec=
isely" targeted bombs and tank fire on heavily populated areas is making th=
e streets of Baghdad, Falluja and the southern cities resemble those of occ=
upied Palestine. Sharon-style tactics and brutality are now the favoured me=
thods of the US-led occupation forces - including the torture of prisoners,=
 who now number well over 10,000.
There is little doubt that the resistance will spread to new areas of Baghd=
ad and the south, with the intense anti-occupation feelings of the people t=
urning into more militant forms of protest. The US-led invasion is daily be=
ing unmasked for what it is: a colonialist adventure being met by a resista=
nce that will eventually turn into a an unstoppable war of liberation.
What went so wrong that the US-led war to "liberate" the Iraqi people turne=
d into the daily slaughter of the victims of Saddam's tyranny? The answer i=
s simple: nothing has gone wrong. Despite the mythology, most Iraqis were s=
trongly against the invasion from the start, though it has taken 12 months =
for the world's media to report that.
What has changed is that many Iraqis have decided that the peaceful road to=
 evict the occupiers is not leading anywhere. They didn't need Sadr to tell=
 them this. They were told it loudly and brutally a few days ago by a US Ab=
raham tank, one of many facing unarmed and peaceful demonstrators not far f=
rom the infamous Saddam statue that was toppled a year ago. The tank crushe=
d to death two peaceful demonstrators protesting against the closure of a S=
adr newspaper by Paul Bremer, the self-declared champion of free speech in =
Iraq. The tragic irony wasn't lost on Iraqis.

Nor did they fail to notice article 59 of the new US-engineered constitutio=
n, which puts the new US-founded Iraqi armed forces under the command of th=
e occupation forces, which will, in turn, be "invited" to stay in Iraq by t=
he new sovereign government after the "handover of power" in June. This occ=
upation force will be backed up by 14 large US military bases and the bigge=
st US embassy in the world, tellingly based at Saddam's republican palace i=
n Baghdad.
And lest anyone is still confused by the glib propaganda that it is all the=
 fault of Sadr, it is important to remember the greatest mass demonstration=
 in Iraq's history, only days after the fall of Baghdad, when 4 million peo=
ple converged on Karbala to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. Thei=
r rallying cries then were "No to America, no to Saddam" and "No to the occ=
upation" - a chant that has been repeated at many mass rallies since. Oppos=
ing Saddam's tyranny was never the same thing as welcoming invasion and the=
 tyranny of occupation.
It is ironic that, had Sadr's political and social programme (towards the K=
urdish people and women, for example), as distinct from his very popular an=
ti-occupation stance, been more enlightened, he would have been much more p=
opular. Indeed, he would probably have seen his Mahdi army grow to millions=
 before Bremer's resignation on June 30.
=B7 Sami Ramadani was a political refugee from Saddam's regime and is a sen=
ior lecturer in sociology at London Metropolitan University.

The Iraq Solidarity Campaign

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Message: 2
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 15:03:17 +0100 (BST)
From: =?iso-8859-1?q?The=20Iraq=20Solidarity=20Campaign?= <>
Subject: Iraqis have lived this lie before!

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

Iraqis have lived this lie before!

The British transfer of sovereignty in the 20s was equally meaningless


Haifa Zangana

Tuesday June 29, 2004

The Guardian

In Iraq, we have an _expression: same donkey, different saddle. Iraq's long=
-heralded interim government has now formally assumed sovereignty. Official=
 labels and tags have duly changed. The US administrator will now be an amb=
assador, while Sheikh Ghazi al Yawar and Iyad Allawi, US-appointed members =
of the former governing council, are to be known as president and prime min=

To formalise the change, the UN has already issued a resolution under which=
 "multinational forces" will replace "US-led forces". On the issue of contr=
ol over US troops, the message is clear: the US forces are there to stay on=
ly because "Iraqi people" has asked them to. But which Iraqi people? Do the=
y mean the new administration headed by the CIA's Iyad Allawi? And why does=
 all this sound strangely familiar?

In Iraq we don't just read history at school - we carry it within ourselves=
. It's no wonder, then, that we view what is happening in Iraq now of "libe=
ration-mandate-nominal sovereignty" as a replay of what took place in the 1=
920s and afterwards.

On April 28 1920, Britain was awarded a mandate over Iraq by the League of =
Nations to legitimise its occupation of the country. The problems proved en=
ormous. The British administration in Baghdad was short of funds, and had t=
o face the resentment of the majority of Iraqis against foreign rule, which=
 boiled over that year into a national uprising. In the aftermath, the Brit=
ish high commissioner had to come up with a solution to reduce the British =
loss of lives.

A decision was taken to replace the occupation with a provisional Iraqi gov=
ernment, assisted by British advisers under the authority of the high commi=
ssioner of Iraq. Finding a suitable ruler was not easy,.

On the August 21 1921 Gertrude Bell, Oriental secretary to the high commiss=
ioner, wrote to her father about the transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis. She=
 mentions some of her Iraqi "pals" and enemies, descendants of whom are pla=
ying similar roles in Iraq today: "Muzahim Pachachi (the one who made the s=
peech in English at our tea party at Basra). And another barrister whom you=
 don't know, Rauf Beg Chadirji, a pal of mine. And still more splendid was =
one of the sheikhs of the northern shammar, Ajil al Yawar; I had seen him i=
n 1917 when he came in to us". Then she refers to "Saiyid Muhammad Sadr ...=
 a tall black bearded alim (cleric) with a sinister _expression. We tried t=
o arrest him early in August but failed. He escaped from Baghdad and moved =
about the country like a flame of war, rousing the tribes."

To the British government, control of Iraq's oil was a necessity. Iraqi nat=
ional liberation movements called for "Istiqlal al Tamm" - complete indepen=
dence - which was regarded by the British as "the catchword of the extremis=
ts". Any protest against the British-imposed monarchy was similarly regarde=
d as the work of "extremists".

In 1930 a new treaty was signed which aimed to satisfy Iraqi aspirations fo=
r the coming 25 years, but the British retained their power, through milita=
ry bases, advisers and control of oil. The monarchy proved an oppressive re=
gime under which many opposition leaders were executed and thousands more w=
ere imprisoned. Elections were managed, corruption was widespread, bombing =
and military force was used against popular uprisings, chemical weapons wer=
e used against the Kurds. Popular uprisings followed in 1930, 1941 1948, 19=
52 and 1956. Between 1921 and 1958 Iraq had an astonishing 38 cabinets, som=
e of them only lasting 12 days. The mainstay of a corrupt and docile regime=
 was the presence of British forces on the ground. Is this what present-day=
 Iraq has to look forward to?

Three major events have shaped our national identity. The 1920 revolution, =
the 1958 coup regarded by most Iraqis as a revolution that finally achieved=
 real Iraqi independence - and the Palestinian cause. At the heart of the t=
hree lay the struggle to end occupation. Occupation has always been perceiv=
ed as a process by which to rob us of our identity and dignity. The British=
, in the past, failed to understand the depth of the feeling among Iraqis b=
oth against occupation and towards the Palestinian issue. Now, in their par=
tnership with the US, they are repeating the same mistakes.

As in the past, Iraqis are denied their natural right to resist the occupie=
r and its imposed form of government. The "extremists" of our history are n=
ow called "terrorists".

Within a year the occupiers have achieved what Saddam's regime failed to do=
 over decades. They have killed our hope in democracy. What of tomorrow? It=
 would be useful to reread history and take notice of Al Istiqlal Al Tam an=
d above all Miss Bell's warning about Iraq: "There are so many quicksands."

=B7 Haifa Zangana is an Iraqi-born novelist and former political prisoner

The Iraq Solidarity Campaign

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Yahoo! Mail


Message: 3
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 15:36:45 +0100 (BST)
From: =?iso-8859-1?q?The=20Iraq=20Solidarity=20Campaign?= <>
Subject: Iraqis Recieve Legal Custody of Saddam Hussain
To: ISC <>

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

Iraqis Receive Legal Custody of Saddam!

By JIM KRANE, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Legal custody of Saddam Hussein and 11 others was transferr=
ed Wednesday to the Iraqis, a first step toward the ousted dictator's expec=
ted trial for crimes against humanity.

In a one-line announcement, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's office said that t=
he Iraqis had assumed legal =97 but not physical =97 control, "today, 30th =
June, at 10:15 in the morning." They are to appear in court Thursday for a =
reading of the charges.

"The first step has happened," Salem Chalabi, the director of the Iraqi Spe=
cial Tribunal that will try Saddam, told The Associated Press. He refused t=
o elaborate.

"I met with him (Saddam) earlier today to explain his rights and what will =
happen," Chalabi said.

The defendants were informed individually of their rights, said an internat=
ional official who spoke on condition of anonymity. An Iraqi judge witnesse=
d the proceedings.

Saddam will remain in a U.S.-controlled jail guarded by Americans until the=
 Iraqis are ready to take physical custody of him. That is expected to take=
 a long time.

However, the legal transfer means that Saddam and the others are no longer =
prisoners of war =97 subject to rights under the Geneva Conventions =97 but=
 criminal defendants whose treatment will be in accordance with Iraqi law.

L. Paul Bremer, the former U.S. administrator, said it would be months befo=
re Saddam and others would come to trial before an Iraqi tribunal, but he s=
aid he was confident that the Iraqis would handle it well.

"He will get the kind of justice he denied his own people," Bremer told ABC=
's "Good Morning America." "It's a wonderful day for the Iraqis to get him =
under their direct control. It will be a major event."

The crimes against humanity for which Saddam is expected to be tried includ=
e the 1988 chemical weapons massacre of Kurds in Halabja, the slaughter of =
Shiites during a 1991 uprising in southern Iraq, the 1990 invasion of Kuwai=
t, and the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Already there are pretrial negotiations over permitting Saddam's foreign le=
gal team to work in Iraq, whether to televise the proceedings, and whether =
to reinstate the death penalty, which was suspended by Bremer.

Mouwafak al-Rubaie, Iraq's new national security adviser, said the tribunal=
 would be able to impose the death penalty. He said Saddam would not be all=
owed to turn the trial into a political game, by calling witnesses such as =
President Bush or British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"Saddam Hussein will be under the legal control of Iraqi law," he told Brit=
ish Broadcasting Corp. radio. "He is going to be tried according to the Ira=
qi criminal code."

The process of preparing for Saddam's trial come at an extremely difficult =
time. U.S. administrators turned over power to a sovereign Iraqi government=
 only Monday. Allawi's government faces a relentless insurgency, and 160,00=
0 U.S.-led foreign troops will remain.

Iraqi officials insist Saddam and the others will get fair trials. Hamid al=
-Bayati, Iraq's new deputy foreign minister and a leader of the main Shiite=
 Muslim party, said there was "no chance at all" that Saddam might walk out=
 a free man, perhaps on a legal technicality.

"The whole world will see this," said al-Bayati, who said he was tortured i=
n Saddam's prisons in the 1970s. "He won't be able to walk free."

He noted that Saddam's victims are estimated in the hundreds of thousands o=
r more, which means a huge segment of the 26 million Iraqis want to watch h=
im answer for those crimes.

But the trial could contribute to the upheaval in Iraq by polarizing Saddam=
's supporters and detractors, said Walid Mohammed al-Shibibi, a Baghdad att=
orney and editor of a legal journal.
"This will escalate into terrorist attacks," he said.
Chalabi said the trials of Saddam and other senior figures likely would not=
 begin before 2005. Some suspects could be indicted in the autumn but "the =
senior ones will not be indicted for some time," he told CNN. "Then after t=
hat ... the trials would start maybe in a few months further down the line.=
Chalabi said Thursday's appearance at the tribunal, in a courthouse with a =
prominent clock tower inside Baghdad's sealed-off Green Zone, is expected t=
o be videotaped for public release.
The images would be the first of Saddam the public will have seen since his=
 Dec. 13 capture by U.S. soldiers, when a clip showed the bushy-bearded lea=
der opening his mouth for a dental examination.
Upon their arraignment, the dozen U.S. military detainees will be given the=
 status of Iraqi criminal suspects, which gives them the right to attorneys=
 or appointed counsel, Chalabi said.
The first batch of Saddam's lieutenants to face the tribunal include Ali Ha=
ssan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali"; former Vice President Taha Yas=
sin Ramadan; former deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz; and two of Saddam's h=
alf brothers.
A team of 20 foreign lawyers appointed by Saddam's wife, Sajidah, might not=
 be permitted to represent him, al-Shibibi said.
The only foreign lawyers permitted to defend Iraqis without special permiss=
ion are Palestinians and Syrians, he said. Others must seek approval from t=
he Iraqi Bar Association, he said.
The job of trying and representing Saddam involves personal risk.
Ziad al-Khasawneh, one of Saddam's would-be defense attorneys, said in Amma=
n, Jordan, that the defense team planned to go to Iraq but that Allawi's go=
vernment had not said whether it would provide security.
"How can the defense team go to a country where it doesn't enjoy any protec=
tion? They will kill us there," said an angry al-Khasawneh.
Al-Shibibi said there are Iraqi lawyers who would agree to represent the di=
ctator. Few would consent to release their identities, nor for that matter,=
 would prosecutors, he said. Already, lawyers working in Iraq's justice sys=
tem have received death threats.
The proceedings will rely on a mix of Iraqi criminal law, international reg=
ulations such as the Geneva Conventions, and experiences of bodies such as =
the Rwanda war crimes tribunal.
As much as 30 tons of documents and other evidence must be culled. And then=
 there are the potential witnesses, which could be said to include almost e=
very Iraqi.
"If I'm asked to testify I would be willing," al-Bayati said. "But there ar=
e so many others who suffered more. There are more serious eyewitnesses."
Associated Press writer Fisnik Abrashi contributed to this story

The Iraq Solidarity Campaign

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Message: 4
From: "k hanly" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: Klein on Iraq reconstruction
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 11:54:54 -0500

ZNet | Iraq June 26, 2004

The Robbery of Reconstruction

by Naomi Klein

Good news out of Baghdad: the Program Management Office, which oversees the
$18.4bn in US reconstruction funds, has finally set a goal it can meet.
Sure, electricity is below pre-war levels, the streets are rivers of sewage
and more Iraqis have been fired than hired. But now the PMO has contracted
the British mercenary firm Aegis to protect its employees from
"assassination, kidnapping, injury and" - get this - "embarrassment". I
don't know if Aegis will succeed in protecting PMO employees from violent
attack, but embarrassment? I'd say mission already accomplished. The people
in charge of rebuilding Iraq can't be embarrassed, because, clearly, they
have no shame.

In the run-up to the June 30 underhand (sorry, I can't bring myself to call
it a "handover"), US occupation powers have been unabashed in their efforts
to steal money that is supposed to aid a war-ravaged people. The state
department has taken $184m earmarked for drinking water projects and moved
it to the budget for the lavish new US embassy in Saddam Hussein's former
palace. Short of $1bn for the embassy, Richard Armitage, the deputy
secretary of state, said he might have to "rob from Peter in my fiefdom to
pay Paul". In fact, he is robbing Iraq's people, who, according to a recent
study by the consumer group Public Citizen, are facing "massive outbreaks of
cholera, diarrhoea, nausea and kidney stones" from drinking contaminated

If the occupation chief Paul Bremer and his staff were capable of
embarrassment, they might be a little sheepish about having spent only
$3.2bn of the $18.4bn Congress allotted - the reason the reconstruction is
so disastrously behind schedule. At first, Bremer said the money would be
spent by the time Iraq was sovereign, but apparently someone had a better
idea: parcel it out over five years so Ambassador John Negroponte can use it
as leverage. With $15bn outstanding, how likely are Iraq's politicians to
refuse US demands for military bases and economic "reforms"?

Unwilling to let go of their own money, the shameless ones have had no
qualms about dipping into funds belonging to Iraqis. After losing the fight
to keep control of Iraq's oil money after the underhand, occupation
authorities grabbed $2.5bn of those revenues and are now spending the money
on projects that are supposedly already covered by American tax dollars.

But then, if financial scandals made you blush, the entire reconstruction of
Iraq would be pretty mortifying. From the start, its architects rejected the
idea that it should be a New Deal-style public works project for Iraqis to
reclaim their country. Instead, it was treated as an ideological experiment
in privatisation. The dream was for multinational firms, mostly from the US,
to swoop in and dazzle the Iraqis with their speed and efficiency.

Iraqis saw something else: desperately needed jobs going to Americans,
Europeans and south Asians; roads crowded with trucks shipping in supplies
produced in foreign plants, while Iraqi factories were not even supplied
with emergency generators. As a result, the reconstruction was seen not as a
recovery from war but as an extension of the occupation, a foreign invasion
of a different sort. And so, as the resistance grew, the reconstruction
itself became a prime target.

The contractors have responded by behaving even more like an invading army,
building elaborate fortresses in the green zone - the walled-in city within
a city that houses the occupation authority in Baghdad - and surrounding
themselves with mercenaries. And being hated is expensive. According to the
latest estimates, security costs are eating up 25% of reconstruction
contracts - money not being spent on hospitals, water-treatment plants or
telephone exchanges.

Meanwhile, insurance brokers selling sudden-death policies to contractors in
Iraq have doubled their premiums, with insurance costs reaching 30% of
payroll. That means many companies are spending half their budgets arming
and insuring themselves against the people they are supposedly in Iraq to
help. And, according to Charles Adwan of Transparency International, quoted
on US National Public Radio's Marketplace programme, "at least 20% of US
spending in Iraq is lost to corruption". How much is actually left over for
reconstruction? Don't do the maths.

Rather than models of speed and efficiency, the contractors look more like
overcharging, underperforming, lumbering beasts, barely able to move for
fear of the hatred they have helped generate. The problem goes well beyond
the latest reports of Halliburton drivers abandoning $85,000 trucks on the
road because they don't carry spare tyres. Private contractors are also
accused of playing leadership roles in the torture of prisoners at Abu
Ghraib. A landmark class-action lawsuit filed by the Centre for
Constitutional Rights alleges that Titan Corporation and CACI International
conspired to "humiliate, torture and abuse persons" in order to increase
demand for their "interrogation services".

And then there's Aegis, the company being paid $293m to save the PMO from
embarrassment. It turns out that Aegis's CEO, Tim Spicer, has a bit of an
embarrassing past himself. In the 90s, he helped to put down rebels and
stage a military coup in Papua New Guinea, as well as hatching a plan to
break an arms embargo in Sierra Leone.

If Iraq's occupiers were capable of feeling shame, they might have responded
by imposing tough new regulations. Instead, Senate Republicans have just
defeated an attempt to bar private contractors from interrogating prisoners
and also voted down a proposal to impose stiffer penalties on contractors
who overcharge. Meanwhile, the White House is also trying to get immunity
from prosecution for US contractors in Iraq and has requested the exemption
from the new prime minister, Iyad Allawi.

It seems likely that Allawi will agree, since he is, after all, a kind of US
contractor himself. A former CIA spy, he is already threatening to declare
martial law, while his defence minister says of resistance fighters: "We
will cut off their hands, and we will behead them." In a final feat of
outsourcing, Iraqi governance has been subcontracted to even more brutal
surrogates. Is this embarrassing, after an invasion to overthrow a
dictatorship? Not at all; this is what the occupiers call "sovereignty". The
Aegis guys can relax - embarrassment is not going to be an issue.

. A version of this article first appeared in the Nation


Message: 5
Subject: GAO: Rebuilding Iraq
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 09:40:56 +0100
From: "Nicholas Gilby" <>
To: <>

June 29, 2004

The General Accounting Office (GAO) today released the following
reports, testimony, and correspondence:


Rebuilding Iraq: Resource, Security, Governance, Essential Services, and
Oversight Issues. GAO-04-902R, June 28

These and other recent GAO reports and testimonies may be found at

Printed copies of any of these items are available from GAO's Document
Distribution Center, 202-512-6000. Members of the press may request
copies from the Office of Public Affairs, 202-512-4800.

Instructions for subscribing to this daily e-mail alert about GAO
products can be found at

This list is produced by the U.S. General Accounting Office
to provide timely information about GAO Reports and Testimony related to
International Affairs. You may access GAO on the web at

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Message: 6
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 16:03:07 +0100 (BST)
From: =?iso-8859-1?q?The=20Iraq=20Solidarity=20Campaign?= <>
Subject: Avoiding Vietnam in Iraq
To: ISC <>

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

by Sami Ramadani

July 2004

Contrary to what Bush and Blair insist, the continued presence of =91coalit=
ion=92 troops is likely to ignite, not deter, a civil war in Iraq.

=91They get their dead in neat, tidy caskets draped with a flag. We have to=
 gather and scrape our dead off of the floors, and hope the US shrapnel and=
 bullets left enough to make a definite identification.=92 So wrote the ano=
nymous author of the internet diary Baghdad Burning, as she struggled to co=
nvey the tragedy of daily life in occupied Iraq.

The installation of a US prot=E9g=E9 Iraqi Transitional Government is an al=
arming reminder of the tactics that led to the loss of millions of lives in=
 Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. For it is often forgotten that the seeds of th=
e Vietnam war were sown by the US installing a client regime in Saigon. If =
Bush and Blair are not stopped, a similar catastrophe is in the making in I=

Like Iraq today, South Vietnam was seen by Washington as the line that must=
 be held at all costs. As the Vietnamese people=92s rejection of the client=
 regime grew stronger, the US bunkered behind its creation in Saigon to fig=
ht =91communist infiltrators and insurgents=92. The US-trained South Vietna=
mese forces grew to over a million, backed up by half a million US soldiers=
, =91carpet=92 bombing and chemical weapons.

Tens of thousands of people were arrested and tortured; secret US assassina=
tion squads targeted and killed about 41,000 people =96 victims of =91Opera=
tion Phoenix=92, which lasted from 1967 to 1971. By former US defence secre=
tary Robert MacNamara=92s reckoning, the Vietnamese death toll topped 3 mil=

The US tactics in Vietnam (and more recently in Nicaragua and Honduras) are=
 being gradually introduced into Iraq. US assassination squads, for example=
, are probably already active in Iraq. They were set up, with the help of I=
sraeli experts, at Fort Bragg in North Carolina several months ago.

Thousands of Iraqis have been killed since the =91end=92 of the war, adding=
 to the uncounted thousands killed as =91collateral damage=92 during it. Th=
e occupation has blocked any democratic gains that the Iraqis might have en=
joyed as a result of the collapse of Saddam=92s regime.

For the US realised that the Iraqi people, if given the choice, would elect=
 forces hostile to US policies. Elections for deans in Iraq=92s universitie=
s, for example, were won by anti-occupation candidates, prompting the US to=
 scrap elections for city mayors, and oppose calls for early national elect=

Mass democratic activity rapidly clashed with the occupation authority. The=
 Union of the Unemployed quickly emerged as an effective mass campaigning f=
orce, and the Federation of Iraqi Trade Unions resurfaced. Students became =
similarly active. In response, the US proconsul, Paul Bremer, swiftly resur=
rected the 1984 Saddam law banning all strikes in the public sector and ord=
ered the arrest of the unions=92 leaders. Meanwhile, the institutions that =
Bremer tried to establish have all failed to strike a chord with the people=

It has become fashionable to criticise the US for =91having no plans=92 for=
 Iraq after the fall of Saddam. The truth is that tens of policy committees=
 drafted numerous plans. I know many Iraqi exiles who were well paid to joi=
n these committees, which worked in the US for months before the invasion. =
All these plans were jettisoned after colliding with the rock of the Iraqi =
people=92s opposition.

Had most of the people=92s reaction been even mildly supportive of the inva=
sion, these plans would have been implemented, and Bush and Blair might now=
 be holding regular press conferences in downtown Baghdad.

The resistance also forced the US to abandon its plans to rule Iraq directl=
y for at least two years and to =91remould=92 the country, including privat=
ising Iraq=92s massive natural and human resources. The main purpose of the=
 hastily arranged substitute plans was to empower pro-US Iraqis.

The discredited Iraqi Governing Council, controlled by Bremer, has now give=
n way to the transitional government, to be the custodian of =91full Iraqi =
sovereignty=92 until elections scheduled for January 2005. Ambassador John =
Negroponte, infamous for his activities in Honduras, replaces Bremer to con=
trol the =91sovereign=92 government from the biggest US embassy in the worl=
d, based at Saddam=92s republican palace.

Though varied in political and social outlook, the opposition to the US-led=
 presence and the armed resistance (as distinct from the terrorist atrociti=
es that have targeted civilians) have been supported by Iraq=92s mosques =
=96 the best organised social institution in the country. Saddam=92s regime=
 took great care to eliminate secular political organisations.

Short of banning prayer itself, however, the mosque was the one institution=
 that Saddam couldn=92t fully control. Hence its central role in opposing b=
oth Saddam=92s tyranny and the US-led occupation.

But the role of religion in Iraq is politically and socially contradictory.=
 While the secular anti-occupation forces are concerned about the dispropor=
tionate influence of Iraq=92s religious leaders, the latter are not all cut=
 from the same cloth: for example, many support working with secular forces=
, holding democratic elections and upholding the rights of the Kurdish peop=

Some are also more enlightened on the rights of women, who have been the ha=
rdest hit by the sanctions and the occupation. There are others, however, e=
ager to suppress women=92s rights, in a society where women have been very =
active in most areas of the public domain since the 1950s.

Islamist leaders have organised people who rejected the strategy, advocated=
 by other religious leaders, of ending the occupation by cooperating with t=
he occupier. Shiah and Sunni religious leaders formed an anti-sectarian fro=
nt, the Muslim Scholars Committee (MSC).

The MSC has organised massive demonstrations in Baghdad, encouraging Muslim=
s to unite and pray at each other=92s mosques, where secular people are als=
o welcome. The committee recently invited over 30 secular and Christian org=
anisations and academics to attend the First Founding Iraqi Conference Agai=
nst the US Occupation. This significant development attracted very little m=
edia coverage, as it contradicts the Western media=92s line that Iraqis are=
 incapable of working collectively.

This myth of implacable Iraqi sectarianism has been exploited by Bush and B=
lair in their latest package of pretexts to prolong the occupation. They sa=
y: =91We will leave Iraq when the Iraqis ask us to=85 But the Iraqis want u=
s to stay to prevent a civil war.=92 Which Iraqis? Bush named and thanked t=
he new prime minister Ayad Allawi.

A former Ba=92athist intelligence officer and CIA =91asset=92, Allawi is le=
ader of the Iraqi National Accord, composed of former Saddamist intelligenc=
e and military officers. This, and the torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib and =
other prisons, is part of a systematic US policy of building new Saddamist =
state structures.

The media in Britain predicted that civil war was imminent after explosions=
 at Shiah holy sites killed at least 270 people in March. But these explosi=
ons, instead of provoking civil war, generated massive unity across Iraq. P=
eople blamed the US (and Israel) for planning the atrocities or turning a b=
lind eye to the perpetrators.

Similarly, I saw personally how the Iraqi people helped each other in diffi=
cult circumstances when I visited in July 2003. People used street-based ge=
nerators to supply electricity to homes during the daily power cuts, and co=
operated to collect rubbish, guard neighbourhoods and tend the injured. Ira=
qis learnt self-reliance during the 13 years of sanctions (which did not af=
fect Iraqi Kurdistan), when they managed, in spite of Saddam=92s tyranny, t=
o maintain agriculture, health and education services and a semblance of no=
rmal life.

During the war, employees of many institutions, including universities, tur=
ned up to guard them against looting, only to be ordered away by the occupa=
tion forces, which carefully guarded the oil ministry and Saddam=92s intell=
igence files. But in the teeth of the evidence, Bush and Blair continue to =
peddle the myth, beloved of colonialists, that Iraqis will instantly start =
a civil war if the =91calming=92 presence of the occupation forces is remov=

But the US-led presence is dangerously dividing Iraqis now. The US is deepe=
ning a split between a minority for and an overwhelming majority against th=
e US-led forces. It is here that the seeds of the =91civil=92 war lie, thre=
atening to engulf Iraq and the Middle East.

The immediate withdrawal of the US-led forces from Iraq is the only way to =
stop the impending =91civil=92 war, in which these forces will back a =91so=
vereign=92 Iraqi government to crush the people and their aspirations for l=
iberation and democracy.

Sami Ramadani is a senior lecturer in sociology at the London Metropolitan =
University and a writer on Iraq. He was a political exile from Saddam=92s r=
egime for many years


The Iraq Solidarity Campaign

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Message: 7
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
Date: Thu, 01 Jul 2004 01:41:55 +0100
Subject: Prisoner 27075 learns limits of sovereignty

This is the first article that I've seen on this matter and raises
important issues.

By Nicolas Pelham in Baghdad

Iyad Akmush Kanum, 23, learnt the limits of sovereignty on Monday
when US prosecutors refused to uphold an Iraqi judges' order
acquitting him of attempted murder of coalition troops.

US prosecutors said that he was being returned to the controversial
Abu Ghraib prison because under the Geneva Conventions they were not
bound by Iraqi law.

A few hundred metres from where outgoing administrator Paul Bremer
formally ended the US occupation of Iraq on Monday, Mr Kanum -
prisoner number 27075 - cowered handcuffed on a backroom floor in the
Central Criminal Court, where Iraqis are tried for attacks against
coalition forces.

"Iraqis who have been detained as a security threat can still be
detained until firstly the coalition leaves or secondly they are
considered to be no longer a threat," said Michael Frank, deputy
special prosecutor for Multinational Force-Iraq (MNFI), who oversaw
the case dressed in military fatigues.

The prosecution alleges Mr Kanum was in the car from which a gunman
was firing an AK-47 rifle at Iraqi and coalition troops on the
outskirts of Baghdad. Mr Kanum denies the charges, saying it was a
case of mistaken identity.

The Central Criminal Court is a hybrid legal institution, created by
the American-led occupation, in which US lawyers prepare cases for
Iraqi prosecutors to present to Iraqi judges, who were in turn chosen
by the coalition.

It tries cases based on Iraqi law and coalition decrees.

Despite the end of the US occupation on Monday, US prosecutors said
the Court would continue unchanged after the handover.

It was created by Mr Bremer last June to hear "significant security
trials" and enable occupation troops to testify without leaving the
Green Zone. Saddam Hussein is among the detainees intended to enter
its dock.

Many Iraqis see the Central Criminal Court as a creature of the
occupation which must be abolished now the US has handed sovereignty
back to Iraqis.

Faisal Estrabadi, an Iraqi lawyer, said yesterday after the refusal
to release Mr Kanum: "If the Iraqi courts have acquitted an
individual he must be released. Anything else is a violation of

"Iraq cannot be one large Guant=E1namo Bay."

He added: "The Geneva Conventions no longer apply as of 10.26 this
morning. Under UN Resolution the occupation has ended and the laws of
war no longer apply."

However Mr Frank said the measures were necessary because judges and
prosecutors were reluctant to sentence Iraqis for attacking coalition

Another prosecutor, Maher Soliman, an Egyptian-born US attorney, also
expressed frustration.

"We could have established our own military court and sentenced them
the way we see fit," he said. "We didn't want to do that. We wanted
Iraqis to run the court." Mr Soliman was initially contracted as an
interrogator at Abu Ghraib jail.

Under laws introduced by the coalition, possessing illegal weapons
carries a minimum sentence of 30 years and maximum of life
imprisonment, but Iraqi judges routinely sentenced detainees to only
six months, they said. "We have the feeling they're not putting their
heart into it," said Mr Frank.

The court also sparked recent controversy after it was used to issue
arrest warrants for rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and 15 members of
Ahmed Chalabi's Iraq National Congress, on charges including fraud
and kidnapping. Last week the court issued an arrest warrant for
another member of the Governing Council, Karim Mohammedawi, after he
expressed support for Mr Sadr.

Published: June 28 2004

Mark Parkinson

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