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[casi-analysis] Justice for Iraq's Detainees speaking tour plus Fallujah briefing

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[A] 13-21 November: EYEWITNESS IRAQ SPEAKING TOUR with veteran US
activist Peggy Gish: Colchester, Southend, Haverhill, Bristol, Dorset,
Slough, London, Bradford, Leeds, Manchester, Northampton & Reading.

[B] ONSLAUGHT: THE ATTACK ON FALLUJAH, latest JNV briefing, 11 November


Veteran US activist Peggy Gish will be in the UK from 13-21 November,
speaking to groups around the country about her recent experiences
working with the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Iraq. The CPT have
been on the ground in Iraq since October 2002 and have been focussing on
the issue of Iraqi detainees since July 2003. Peggy - a veteran of the
civil rights, anti-Vietnam war, and Central America peace movements -
has herself spent 13 of the last 24 months in Iraq. See below for list
of a list of her talks or visit for more info. and
background. Co-ordinated by Voices in the Wilderness UK.

Voices have produced a Justice for Iraq's Detainees Information and
Action Briefing. Contact or see

The Christian Peacemaker Teams are running an Adopt a Detainee Campaign
in which over 500 groups have signed up to write letters and do media
work on behalf of individual detainees in Iraq. See or email

* Saturday 13th November: HAVERHILL, 7.30pm at the Methodist Church
Hall, Camps Road. Organised by Haverhill and District Peace Group.

* Sunday 14th November:
- COLCHESTER, 2pm, Colchester Friends Meeting House, Church Street,
(near Colchester Arts Centre). Organised by Colchester Peace Campaign
- SOUTHEND, 7.30pm, Friends Meeting House, 18 Dundonald Drive,
Lee-on-Sea. Contact 01702 345 860.

* Monday 15th November: BRISTOL. 7.30pm, Broadmead Baptist Church, The
Horsefair, Bristol. Organised by the Sedgemoor Peace Group and the
Bristol Quakers.

* Tuesday 16th November: DORSET, 8pm, Methodist United Reformed Church
Hall, Cheap Street, Sherborne. Contact: 01300 345 109.

* Wednesday 17th: SLOUGH, 7.30pm, Slough Friends Meeting House (Quakers)
74 Ragstone Road. With Milan Rai. Contact 07910 332684 At 6pm there is a
launch party for the exhibition "The Other Way" - it's a series of
woodcuts made by Israeli children - Arab and Jewish, reflecting their
responses to the conflict. The exhibition and launch are at St Mary's
Church, Slough, just around
the corner from where the talk is taking place.

* Thursday 18th November: LONDON, 7.30pm, Friends House, 173-177 Euston
Road. Also with Jo Wilding (activist in Fallujah during the April 2004
US assault on the city) and Philip Pritchard (B52two). Org. by CPT-UK,
Quaker Peace and Social Witness and Voices.

* Friday 19th November:
- BRADFORD, 1-3pm, Peace Studies Department Dept, University of
Bradford. Contact 01274 235 171 - LEEDS, 7pm, All Hallows Church, 24
Regent Terrace, Leeds LS6 1NP. Contact 0113 242 2205 (Ray Gaston).

* Saturday 20th November: MANCHESTER. 2.30 - 5pm, Sacred Trinity Church,
Chapel Street, Salford. Contact 0161 232 8685.

* Sunday 21st November:
- NORTHAMPTON, 12 – 2pm, Friends Meeting House, Wellington St -
READING, 7pm, Friends Meeting House, 2 Church Street. Contact 0118 967


7.30pm, Thursday 18th November
Friends House, 173 - 177 Euston Road,
London NW1 (nearest tube Euston).

A public meeting with:

* Peggy Gish (Iraq co-ordinator of the Christian Peacemaker Teams,
recently returned from Iraq)
* Jo Wilding (activist, in Fallujah during the US assault on the city in
* Philip Pritchard (activist currently awaiting trial for pre-invasion
disarmament action at USAF Fairford)

Peggy Gish co-ordinates the Iraq project of the Christian Peacemaker
Teams (CPT) which has been working on the ground there since October
2002, focussing on the issue of detainees since July 2003 (see reverse
side). Peggy has spent more than 11 of the last 18 months in Iraq.

Activist Jo Wilding was one of the few internationals to remain in Iraq
during the invasion. She returned to Iraq in November 2003, remaining
until May 2004, and was in Fallujah this April during the US assault on
the city, where she was an eyewitness to warcrimes (eg. the ambulance
she was accompanying was fired on by US marines). Her blog has been read around the world. More recently she
took part in - and spoke at - the anti-war protests outside the
Republican National Convention in New York. This is her first London
speaking engagement since her return from Iraq.

Philip Pritchard is one of the 'Fairford Five' - a group of activists
currently awaiting trial for acts of disarmament (and attempted
disarmament) at USAF Fairford in the run-up to last year's invasion.
Together with Toby Olditch, Phil spent three months on remand in
Gloucester Prison last year before receiving bail. For more info. see

This event organised by Christian Peacemaker Teams UK, Quaker Peace and
Social Witness & voices in the wilderness uk. For more information
contact voices on 0207 837 0561, or

[B] ONSLAUGHT: The Attack On Fallujah
JNV Anti-War Briefing 69 (11 Nov. 2004)

The long-feared US ground assault on Fallujah began on Mon. 8 Nov., with
air and artillery attacks, including the dropping of eight 2,000-pound
bombs. “Usually we keep the gloves on,” said the head of the US 1st
Infantry Division’s Task Force 2-2 tactical operations command center.
“For this operation, we took the gloves off.” ‘Some artillery guns
fired white phosphorous rounds that create a screen of fire that cannot
be extinguished with water. Insurgents reported being attacked with a
substance that melted their skin.’ (Washington Post, 10 Nov., p. A01)
‘White phosphorus shells lit up the sky as armour drove through the
breach and sent flaming material on to suspect insurgent haunts.’
(Telegraph, 9 Nov., p. 1)

Jackie Spinner of the Post visited a US unit with two M109A6 Paladin
selfpropelled 155mm howitzers. ‘The Paladin fires rocket-assisted
shells that can travel up to 22 miles and regular shells that can cover
13 miles. The shells typically strike within about five yards of their
target and are likely to kill anyone within 55 yards of the point of
impact.’ Sgt. Fladymir Napoleon, 25: “It’s a great thing blowing
stuff up. We’re getting the city free...”

Paladin crew chief, Brian Blakey patted a 155mm round: “Three of
these, and I can take out a whole building.” Just this one unit’s
two artillery pieces ‘fired more than 300 rounds in the first three
days of the battle.’

‘At the other gun a short distance away, Spec. John Kennedy, 26, of
Dallas, asked [ Sgt. 1st Class Johnny] Dotson about the rounds his crew
had fired that morning. “What were we shooting at?” he asked. “Did
we get it?” Yes, Dotson told him. They hit the mosque. Twenty
confirmed killed. “We really get no glory,” said Staff Sgt. Jason
Moye, 25, of Phoenix.’ (Washington Post, 11 Nov., p. A33)

‘The American military has been using novel and devastating methods to
clear Fallujahs’ streets.’ Including the rocket-fired 350-foot-long
of plastic explosives known as Miclic, which can clear a lane through a
minefield 8 meters wide and 100 meters long. ‘The Miclic is normally
designed for open spaces because it generates tremendous pressure,
setting off mines over a large area. In Fallujah the Miclic, fired from
300 to 400 metres, is used to detonate roadside bombs and car bombs. It
is highly effective but also indiscriminate, and not normally considered
suitable for an urban environment.’ (Times, 10 Nov., p. 9; Miclic
details from

‘After seven months in Iraq’s Sunni triangle, for many American
soldiers the opportunity to avenge dead friends by taking a life was a
moment of sheer exhilaration. As they approached their “holding
position”, from where hours later they would advance into the city,
they picked off insurgents on the rooftops and in windows.’ After
calling in mortar fire on a suspected insurgent site, Sgt James Anyett
shouted: “Battle Damage Assesment – nothing. Building’s gone. I
got my kills. I’m coming down. I just love my job.” (Telegraph, 9
Nov., p. 4)

In April, a senior British officer serving in Iraq said of the US
to the local people, ‘They don't see the Iraqi people the way we see
them. They view them as untermenschen. They are not concerned about the
Iraqi loss of life in the way the British are. Their attitude towards
the Iraqis is tragic, it's awful.’ The Sunday Telegraph: ‘The phrase
untermenschen—literally "under-people"—was brought to prominence by
Adolf Hitler in his book Mein Kampf, published in 1925. He used the term
to describe those he regarded as racially inferior: Jews, Slaves and
gipsies.’ (11 Apr.)

‘Randy Gangle, a retired US marine colonel recently returned from the
coalition base outside Falluja, said... the US military expected
[civilian deaths] to number in the hundreds, not thousands.’
(Guardian, 9 Nov., p. 2)

In order to manage perceptions of the human cost of the attack, the
first objective was Fallujah’s main hospital. ‘One unnamed senior
American officer also admitted that the hospital had become a “centre
of propaganda,” reflecting the military’s frustration at the high
death toll doctors frequently announce after American bombing raids. It
was accounts of the hundreds killed during the first assault on Falluja
in April that brought the
operation to
a rapid halt.’ (Guardian, 9 Nov., p. 3)

‘Sami al-Jumaili, a doctor at the main Falluja hospital who escaped
arrest when it was taken on Monday, said the city was running out of
supplies and only a few clinics remained open. “There is not a single
surgeon in Falluja. We had one ambulance hit by US fire and a doctor
wounded. There are scores of injured civilians in their homes whom we
can’t move.” (FT, 10 Nov., p. 9) Having destroyed one clinic before
the assault (Observer, 7 Nov.,
p. 2), US forces reportedly destroyed an emergency hospital after taking
the main hospital: ‘Twenty Iraqi doctors and dozens of civilians were
killed in a US airstrike that hit a clinic in Fallujah, according to an
Iraqi doctor who said he survived the strike.’. (Independent, 11 Nov.,
p. 4)

Estimates of civilians remaining in Fallujah on 7 Nov. varied from
100,000 (US military, FT, 9 Nov., p. 10) to 60,000 (Sunni group,
Independent, 10 Nov.,
p. 5). Estimates for the number of fighters left in Falluja before the
assault varied ‘from 600 to 6,000,’ meaning that the overwhelming
majority of people in Fallujah were thought to be non-combatants. It was
reported that ‘Anyone still in the city will be regarded as a
potential insurgent.’ (Observer, 7 Nov., p. 18) A threat to kill every
human being in Fallujah.

At a hospital in Baghdad, the families of civilian victims evacuated
from Fallujah ‘claimed that US forces were bombing outlying villages
where refugees have regrouped as well as the city.’ (Times, 11 Nov.,
p. 9)

“From a humanitarian point of view, it is a disaster, there is no
other way to describe it,” Firdoos al-Ubaidi, of the Red Crescent,
said on 10 Nov. “We have asked for permission from the Americans to go
into the city and help the people there but we haven’t heard anything
back from them. There’s no medicine, no water, no electricity.” ’
(Times, 11 Nov., p. 9)

Fadel al-Badrani, the only unembedded Western reporter in Falluja,
reported the fate of Ghaith Abboud for Reuters: ‘Mohammed Abboud said
he watched his nine-year-old son bleed to death at their Falluja home
yesterday, unable to take him to hospital as fighting raged in the
streets and bombs rained down. “My son got shrapnel in his stomach
when our house was hit at dawn, but we couldn’t take him for
treatment,” said Mr Abboud, a teacher.’ (Guardian, 11 Nov. 2004, p. 4)

‘In two months – if the elections go ahead – Mohammed Abboud will
be able to play a part in what they call democracy. Today, with his
remaining family, he sits in a house damaged by the bomb that killed his
child. He said: “We just bandaged his stomach and gave him water, but
he was losing a lot of blood. He died this afternoon.” It was the
highest price of all to pay for the right to vote.’ (Independent, 10
Nov., p. 5)

The assault on Fallujah was justified as necessary to create the
conditions for elections due in Jan. 2005. But as Kofi Annan, the
Secretary-General of the UN, pointed out in a secret letter to Mr Bush
and Mr Blair, a major military assault leading to an escalation in
violence “could be very disruptive for Iraq’s political
transition”, and is “likely” to have a “negative impact... on
the prospects for encouraging a broader participation by Iraqis in the
political process, including in the elections.” (Washington Post, 6
Nov., p. A19) Predictably, the assault led immediately to a call by the
influential Muslim Clerics Association for Sunnis to boycott the
elections, which would be held “over the corpses of those killed in
Fallujah”. (Telegraph, 10 Nov., p. 10)

Another justification was the need to break the hold of ‘the
terrorists’ in Fallujah. However, in Oct., ‘local insurgent leaders
voted overwhelmingly to accept broad conditions set by the Iraqi
government, including demands that they eject foreign fighters from the
city, turn over all heavy weapons, dismantle illegal checkpoints and
allow the Iraqi National Guard to enter the city. In turn, the
insurgents set their own conditions, which included a halt to U.S.
attacks on the city and acknowledgment by the military that women and
children have been among the casualties in U.S.strikes.’ (Washington
Post, 28 Oct., p. A21) Rejected.

A later offer was put forward by a (mainly Sunni) coalition, including
the Muslim Clerics’ Association, for ‘a plan to establish the rule
of law in those areas through peaceful means’, on the basis of six
measures, ‘including a demand that U.S. forces remain confined to
bases in the month before balloting’. This was ‘a dramatic shift’
by Sunni groups which had previously insisted that no election would be
legitimate until Western troops left Iraq.

“This initiative is very significant,” said an official involved in
establishing the transitional government. “They’re no longer saying,
‘We’re not participating because the country is occupied.’
They’re saying, ‘The government is not right. The only way we can
make it right is by elections.’ If you look at their demands,
they’re not impossible. They are things that can be discussed.”
Larry Diamond, who served in the U.S.-led occupation authority, said
“If there’s a chance that this could be the beginning of political
transformation that could change the situation on the ground, I think
we’ve got to take it.” (Washington Post, 6 Nov., p. A01) These
offers have been brushed aside and erased from the record. They might
not have worked, but they were not tried.

These briefings are produced by Justice Not Vengeance. We are trying to
print and distribute as many as possible. We would be grateful for any
support you can give. If you can make a donations, please sent it to
‘JNV’, 29 Gensing Rd, St Leonards-on-Sea, East
Sussex TN38 0HE.
To receive e-briefings, visit
JNV 0845 458 9571 <>

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