The following is an archived copy of a message sent to the CASI Analysis List run by Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq (CASI).

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [CASI Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #148 - 5 msgs

[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ]

This is an automated compilation of submissions to

Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to 
Please include a full reference to the source of the article.

Today's Topics:

   1. Tribal leaders try to win leniency for Saddam (Alison Gundle)
   2. =?iso-8859-1?Q?Report_slams_Halliburton's_Iraq_profiteering_?= (ppg)
   3. "The war's littlest victim" 9/29 NY Daily News (ppg)
   5. [Peace&Justice] Failed "Transition": Mounting Costs of Iraq War (IRC Communications)


Message: 1
Subject: Tribal leaders try to win leniency for Saddam
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2004 13:18:40 +0100
From: "Alison Gundle" <>
To: <>

Tribal leaders from Saddam's home area try traditional mediation methods to=
 win leniency for him.
By Dhiya Rasan in Tikrit
Source: International War and Peace Reporting's Iraqi Crisis Report, No. 72=
, July 06, 2004:

Sheikh Amer al-Tikriti, 74, stood before a gathering of fellow tribal leade=
rs to remind them of former president Saddam Hussein's generosity.

"Everyone owes the president for what he gave us in the past.. We must resp=
ect our tribal traditions and behave honourably towards the one who helped =
us and stood by us," he said.

On one side of the meeting hall sat tribal chiefs or sheikhs from Tikrit, S=
addam Hussein's home district, making the case for the former president.

Along the other side sat a group of tribal leaders from Mosul, home of the =
new interim president Ghazi al-Yawar.

The Mosul delegation was being asked to intervene with Ghazi al-Yawar - him=
self a tribal leader - to show clemency for Saddam, whose trial began the s=
ame day.

The Tikritis requested that the deposed president should not face the death=
 penalty, and should not have to answer accusations of war crimes levelled =
by foreign countries like Kuwait and Iran.

They also asked for the trial to be postponed until Iraq was stronger and m=
ore resistant to foreign pressure.

Some of the Tikritis said that responsibility for some of the charges again=
st Saddam - such as the 1988 chemical weapons attack on the Kurdish town of=
 Halabja - should instead be made against high-ranking military officials.

The July 1 meeting, held on a rural estate close to Saddam Hussein's birthp=
lace of Auja, did not lead to the hoped-for conclusion. But it did provide =
clear proof of the loyalty many tribal leaders feel toward the former presi=
dent, who courted their support and showered them with gifts and honours.

The leaders filed into the hall past a portrait showing Saddam dressed in t=
he traditional robes and headdress of a tribal chieftain. Photos of the for=
mer president showed him greeting Sheikh Amer and many other notables now a=
ttending the meeting.

After a lunch of lamb and rice followed by the traditional Arabic coffee, t=
he Mosul sheikhs sat on rugs and listened as the Tikritis presented their c=

"There is no honour or pride for our tribes in leaving our president alone =
in this difficult situation," said Sheikh Ziad Zahran al-Naser, 44, one of =
the Tikriti chieftains.

He seemed particularly incensed by the possibility that Saddam could face c=
harges in connection with Iraq's foreign wars. "We have to prevent these ag=
ents and traitors from accusing the president", he said, adding that such a=
ccusations would "insult and shame our tribes forever".

Sheikh Kamal Ibrahim al-Dury said that for Saddam to have a fair trial, it =
must be postponed, "If the transitional government is patriotic, it will de=
lay the trial. A postponement is in Iraq's interests, not just Saddam's - h=
e will reveal those who conspire against Iraq."

The Mosul sheikhs kept up the diplomatic niceties required by the occasion,=
 but did not make many promises.

"No one denies that the [former] government was at the disposal of tribes -=
 and us sheikhs in particular - but times have now changed," said Sheikh Ha=
med al-Shimary, 67.

"We are here to answer your summons, and because we know you are in need of=
 us over the case of the president," he continued. "So tell us your needs -=
 and we will meet them, with the help of God."

Afterwards, Sheikh Hamed told IWPR that there was little he could do about =
a matter that has already reached the courts.

"For these [Tikritis], keeping their dignity is the most important thing, a=
nd the Kuwait case awakens their resentment," he explained. "They are tryin=
g to pressure our tribe because it is close to the current president, so to=
 get rid of the charges relating to Kuwait."

He warned, "Mediation will be very difficult, despite the pressures placed =
on us at this meeting."

Dhiya Rasan is an IWPR trainee in Baghdad


Message: 2
From: "ppg" <>
To: <>
Subject: =?iso-8859-1?Q?Report_slams_Halliburton's_Iraq_profiteering_?=
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2004 15:41:32 -0400

Report slams Halliburton's Iraq profiteering


Of US$1.5 billion in contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, which is paid
for by Iraqi funds, 74 per cent has been awarded to US firms, with 60 per
cent of the value of all contracts going to a Halliburton subsidiary,
despite the fact that the company is being investigated for criminal
activities, according to a Tuesday report by the Open Society Institute Iraq
Revenue Watch project.

The report was based partly on audits released in late July by the
now-defunct Coalition Provisional Authority Inspector-General (CPA-IG),
which showed that, among other things, the CPA had "failed to adhere to
federally mandated procedures for awarding overseas contracts", Iraq Revenue
Watch said.

US and British companies have been awarded a total of 85 per cent of all
Iraqi reconstruction contracts, with Iraqi firms receiving only 2 per cent
of the contracts paid for with Iraqi oil revenues.

"Government favorites such as [Halliburton subsidiary] Kellogg, Brown, and
Root [KBR] benefited at the expense of Iraqi companies, whose workers badly
need jobs," Iraq Revenue Watch's director, Svetlana Tsalik said in a Tuesday
press release.

The US Department of Defense launched a criminal investigation into KBR
after Pentagon auditors discovered in December last year that the company
had overcharged the US government by as much as US$61 million for fuel
imports to Iraq.

The UN revenue watchdog, the International Advisory and Monitoring Board,
which was created to help ensure transparency in the CPA's control and use
of Iraq's oil assets, has complained that it has not been given crucial
information it requested from the CPA and the interim Iraqi authorities.

It has also complained of the lack of oil metering to control the theft of
oil, loose bookkeeping on Iraqi oil sales, a lack of oversight of Iraqi
ministry spending, and noncompetitive bidding procedures for reconstruction

According to Iraq Revenue Watch, "A recent Pentagon audit of KBR's billing
system, which shows that systematic deficiencies in the company's accounting
and billing procedures incurred significant costs to US taxpayers and to
Iraqi oil revenues, is further proof of mismanagement".

Halliburton CEO David Lesar told investors last week that KBR might be sold
off, and said that Halliburton stock was likely to increase in value as a
result. Lesar's predecessor as CEO of Halliburton was US Vice President Dick
Cheney, who still receives an annual retainer - described as "deferred
compensation" - of up to US$1 million from the company.


Message: 3
From: "ppg" <>
To: <>
Cc: "ppg" <>
Subject: "The war's littlest victim" 9/29 NY Daily News
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 08:28:46 -0400
      New York Daily News -
      The war's littlest victim

      Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

      In early September 2003, Army National Guard Spec. Gerard Darren
Matthew was sent home from Iraq, stricken by a sudden illness.
      One side of Matthew's face would swell up each morning. He had
constant migraine headaches, blurred vision, blackouts and a burning
sensation whenever he urinated.

      The Army transferred him to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in
Washington for further tests, but doctors there could not explain what was

      Shortly after his return, his wife, Janice, became pregnant. On June
29, she gave birth to a baby girl, Victoria Claudette.

      The baby was missing three fingers and most of her right hand.

      Matthew and his wife believe Victoria's shocking deformity has
something to do with her father's illness and the war - especially since
there is no history of birth defects in either of their families.

      They have seen photos of Iraqi babies born with deformities that are
eerily similar.

      In June, Matthew contacted the Daily News and asked us to arrange
independent laboratory screening for his urine. This was after The News had
reported that four of seven soldiers from another National Guard unit, the
442nd Military Police, had tested positive for depleted uranium (DU).

      The independent test of Matthew's urine found him positive for DU -
low-level radioactive waste produced in nuclear plants during the enrichmen=
of natural uranium.

      Because it is twice as heavy as lead, DU has been used by the Pentago=
since the Persian Gulf War in certain types of "tank-buster" shells, as wel=
as for armor-plating in Abrams tanks.

      Exposure to radioactivity has been associated in some studies with
birth defects in the children of exposed parents.

      "My husband went to Iraq to fight for his country," Janice Matthew
said. "I feel the Army should take responsibility for what's happened."

      The couple first learned of the baby's missing fingers during a
routine sonogram of the fetus last April at Lenox Hill Hospital.

      Matthew was a truck driver in Iraq with the 719th transport unit from
Harlem. His unit moved supplies from Army bases in Kuwait to the front line=
and as far as Baghdad. On several occasions, he says, he carried shot-up
tanks and destroyed vehicle parts on his flat-bed back to Kuwait.

      After he learned of his unborn child's deformity, Matthew immediately
asked the Army to test his urine for DU. In April, he provided a 24-hour
urine sample to doctors at Fort Dix, N.J., where he was waiting to be

      In May, the Army granted him a 40% disability pension for his migrain=
headaches and for a condition called idiopathic angioedema - unexplained
chronic swelling.

      But Matthew never got the results of his Army test for DU. When he
called Fort Dix last week, five months after he was tested, he was told
there was no record of any urine specimen from him.

      Thankfully, Matthew did not rely solely on the Army bureaucracy - he
went to The News.

      Earlier this year, The News submitted urine samples from Guardsmen of
the 442nd to former Army doctor Asaf Durakovic and Axel Gerdes, a geologist
at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. The German lab specializes in
testing for minute quantities of uranium, a complicated procedure that cost=
up to $1,000 per test.

      The lab is one of approximately 50 in the world that can detect
quantities as tiny as fentograms - one part per quadrillionth.

      A few months ago, The News submitted a 24-hour urine sample from
Matthew to Gerdes. As a control, we also gave the lab 24-hour urine samples
from two Daily News reporters.

      The three specimens were marked only with the letters A, B and C, so
the lab could not know which sample belonged to the soldier.

      After analyzing all three, Gerdes reported that only sample A -
Matthew's urine - showed clear signs of DU. It contained a total uranium
concentration that was "4 to 8 times higher" than specimens B and C, Gerdes

      "Those levels indicate pretty definitively that he's been exposed to
the DU," said Leonard Dietz, a retired scientist who invented one of the
instruments for measuring uranium isotopes.

      According to Army guidelines, the total uranium concentration Gerdes
found in Matthew is within acceptable standards for most Americans.

      But Gerdes questioned the Army's standards, noting that even minute
levels of DU are cause for concern.

      "While the levels of DU in Matthew's urine are low," Gerdes said, "th=
DU we see in his urine could be 1,000 times higher in concentration in the

      DU is not like natural uranium, which occurs in the environment.
Natural uranium can be ingested in food and drink but gets expelled from th=
body within 24 hours.

      DU-contaminated dust, however, is typically breathed into the lungs
and can remain there for years, emitting constant low-level radiation.

      "I'm upset and confused," Matthew said. "I just want answers. Are the=
[the Army] going to take care of my baby?"

      We track soldiers' sickness

      For the last five months, Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez has
chronicled the plight of soldiers who have returned from Iraq with
mysterious illnesses.

      His exclusive groundbreaking investigation began with a front-page
story on April 4 that suggested depleted uranium contamination was far more
widespread than the Pentagon would admit.

        a.. At the request of The News, nine soldiers from a New York Army
National Guard company serving in Iraq were tested for radiation from
depleted uranium shells - and four of the ailing G.I.s tested positive.
        c.. The day after Gonzalez's story appeared, Army officials rushed
to test all returning members of the company, the 442nd Military Police,
based in Rockland County.
        e.. By week's end, the scandal had reverberated all the way to
Albany, as Gov. Pataki joined the list of politicians calling for the
Pentagon to do a better job of testing and treating sick soldiers returning
from the war.
        g.. Gonzalez's expos=E9 sparked a huge demand for testing. By
mid-April, 800 G.I.s had given the Army urine samples, and hundreds more
were waiting for appointments.
        i.. Two weeks later, the Pentagon claimed that none of the soldiers
from the 442nd had tested positive for depleted uranium. But The News'
experts found significant problems with the testing methods.


Message: 4
From: "ppg" <>
To: <>
Cc: "ppg" <>
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 08:33:57 -0400

Pulling Back the Curtain: What a Top Reporter in Baghdad Really Thinks About
the War

Wall Street Journal correspondent Farnaz Fassihi confirms that she penned a
scathing letter that calls the war in Iraq an outright "disaster." She also
reveals that reporters in Baghdad are working under "virtual house arrest."
By Greg Mitchell

(September 29, 2004) -- Readers of any nailbiting story from Iraq in a major
mainstream newspaper must often wonder what the dispassionate reporter
really thinks about the chaotic situation there, and what he or she might be
saying in private letters or in conversations with friends back home.

Now, at least in the case of Wall Street Journal correspondent Farnaz
Fassihi, we know.

A lengthy letter from Baghdad she recently sent to friends "has rapidly
become a global chain mail," Fassihi told Jim Romenesko on Wednesday after
it was finally posted at the Poynter Institute's Web site. She confirmed
writing the letter.

"Iraqis say that thanks to America they got freedom in exchange for
insecurity," Fassihi wrote (among much else) in the letter. "Guess what?
They say they'd take security over freedom any day, even if it means having
a dictator ruler." And: "Despite President Bush's rosy assessments, Iraq
remains a disaster. If under Saddam it was a 'potential' threat, under the
Americans it has been transformed to 'imminent and active threat,' a foreign
policy failure bound to haunt the United States for decades to come."

Fassihi, 32, who covered the 9/11 terror attacks in New York for the The
Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. and has also worked for the Providence Journal,
told Romenesko she writes emails to friends "about once a month, writing
them about my impressions of Iraq, my personal opinions and my life here."

The reporter's latest letter opens with this revelation: "Being a foreign
correspondent in Baghdad these days is like being under virtual house
arrest. Forget about the reasons that lured me to this job: a chance to see
the world, explore the exotic, meet new people in far away lands, discover
their ways and tell stories that could make a difference. Little by little,
day-by-day, being based in Iraq has defied all those reasons.

"I am house bound.... There has been one too many close calls, including a
car bomb so near our house that it blew out all the windows. So now my most
pressing concern every day is not to write a kick-ass story but to stay
alive and make sure our Iraqi employees stay alive. In Baghdad I am a
security personnel first, a reporter second."

Fassihi observed that the insurgency had spread "from isolated pockets in
the Sunni triangle to include most of Iraq." The Iraqi government, he wrote,
"doesn't control most Iraqi cities.... The situation, basically, means a
raging barbaric guerilla war. In four days, 110 people died and over 300 got
injured in Baghdad alone. The numbers are so shocking that the ministry of
health--which was attempting an exercise of public transparency by releasing
the numbers--has now stopped disclosing them. Insurgents now attack
Americans 87 times a day.

"A friend drove thru the Shiite slum of Sadr City yesterday. He said young
men were openly placing improvised explosive devices into the ground. They
melt a shallow hole into the asphalt, dig the explosive, cover it with dirt
and put an old tire or plastic can over it to signal to the locals this is
booby-trapped. He said on the main roads of Sadr City, there were a dozen
landmines per every ten yards. His car snaked and swirled to avoid driving
over them. Behind the walls sits an angry Iraqi ready to detonate them as
soon as an American convoy gets near. This is in Shiite land, the population
that was supposed to love America for liberating Iraq."

For journalists, Fassihi wrote, "the significant turning point came with the
wave of abduction and kidnappings. Only two weeks ago we felt safe around
Baghdad because foreigners were being abducted on the roads and highways
between towns. Then came a frantic phone call from a journalist female
friend at 11 p.m. telling me two Italian women had been abducted from their
homes in broad daylight. Then the two Americans, who got beheaded this week
and the Brit, were abducted from their homes in a residential

"The insurgency, we are told, is rampant with no signs of calming down. If
any thing, it is growing stronger, organized and more sophisticated every

"I went to an emergency meeting for foreign correspondents with the military
and embassy to discuss the kidnappings. We were somberly told our fate would
largely depend on where we were in the kidnapping chain once it was
determined we were missing. Here is how it goes: criminal gangs grab you and
sell you up to Baathists in Fallujah, who will in turn sell you to Al Qaeda.
In turn, cash and weapons flow the other way from Al Qaeda to the Baathists
to the criminals. My friend Georges, the French journalist snatched on the
road to Najaf, has been missing for a month with no word on release or
whether he is still alive."

And what of America's "hope for a quick exit"? Fassihi noted that "cops are
being murdered by the dozens every day, over 700 to date, and the insurgents
are infiltrating their ranks. The problem is so serious that the U.S.
military has allocated $6 million dollars to buy out 30,000 cops they just
trained to get rid of them quietly....

"Who did this war exactly benefit? Was it worth it? Are we safer because
Saddam is holed up and Al Qaeda is running around in Iraq?

"I heard an educated Iraqi say today that if Saddam Hussein were allowed to
run for elections he would get the majority of the vote. This is truly

Making clear what can only, at best, appear between lines in her published
dispatches, Fassihi concluded, "One could argue that Iraq is already lost
beyond salvation. For those of us on the ground it's hard to imagine what if
any thing could salvage it from its violent downward spiral. The genie of
terrorism, chaos and mayhem has been unleashed onto this country as a result
of American mistakes and it can't be put back into a bottle."

Greg Mitchell ( is the editor of E&P and
the author of seven books on politics and history.


Message: 5
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 16:35:48 -0600
From: IRC Communications <>
Subject: [Peace&Justice] Failed "Transition": Mounting Costs of Iraq War

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

Peace and Justice News from FPIF

September 30, 2004

Introducing a new Policy Study from Foreign Policy In Focus

Failed "Transition": The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War
September 30, 2004

"A Failed 'Transition'" is the most comprehensive accounting of the
mounting costs of the Iraq War on the United States, Iraq, and the world.
The study reveals stark figures about the escalation of costs in the three
months of "transition" to Iraqi rule, a period that the Bush administration
claimed would be characterized by falling human and economic costs. Its
major findings include:

1. U.S. Military Casualties Highest During the "Transition": U.S. military
casualties (wounded and killed) stand at a monthly average of 747 since the
so-called "transition" to Iraqi rule on June 28, 2004.

2. Non-Iraqi Contractor Deaths Also Highest During the "Transition": On
average, 17.5 contractors have died each month since the June 28
"transition," versus 7.6 contractor deaths per month during the previous 14
months of occupation.

3. Estimated Strength of Iraqi Resistance Skyrockets During the
"Transition": According to Pentagon estimates, the number of Iraqi
resistance fighters has quadrupled between November of 2003 and early
September 2004, from 5,000 to 20,000

4. U.S.- led Coalition Shrinks Further During the "Transition": At the
war's start, coalition countries represented 19.1 percent of the world's
population; today, the remaining countries with forces in Iraq represent
only 13.6 percent of the world's population.

Published by Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF), a joint project of the
Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC, online at and
the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS, online at =A92004.
All rights reserved.

See new FPIF report online at:

With printer friendly PDF version at:


Produced and distributed by FPIF:"A Think Tank Without Walls," a joint
program of Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC) and Institute for Policy
Studies (IPS).

For more information, visit If you would like to add a name
to the "What's New At FPIF" specific region or topic list, please email:, with "subscribe" and giving your area of

To add your name to this list, send a blank email to: To unsubscribe, send a blank
email to:


Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC)
Siri D. Khalsa
Outreach Coordinator

End of casi-news Digest

Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list
To unsubscribe, visit
All postings are archived on CASI's website at

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]