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[casi-analysis] Eyewitness Iraq Tour, NVDA and latest 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] Resist the assault on Iraq's cities: NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION WORKSHOP

[C] 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.

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

* 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

* 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


Sunday 14th November, 11am - 4pm, 7a Rampart Street, London E1 2LA (nearest
tubes Whitechapel and Shadwell).

As the horror of the US assault on Iraq's cities continues in (see [C]
below) we in the anti-war movement need to escalate our resistance. Civil
disobedience and direct action should be a vital component of such a
response (see for some
recent inspiring examples). If you would like to take part in (or organise)
some direct action or civil disobedience but feel that you lack the
confidence, the skills or the knowledge necessary then this is the workshop
for you!

The aim of the NVDA workshop is to give you the chance to explore issues and
techniques that will help build confidence in new and more experienced
activists alike. This workshop will look at practical techniques to deal
with confrontational situations nonviolently, hold an effective blockade or
sit down protest, and make decisions quickly and democratically in an action
situation. It'll also look at the support roles that are vital to making
actions happen. There will also be a full briefing on your legal rights and
what happens should you get arrested.

The workshop is a largely practical one, so come prepared for some physical
exercises. Don't worry if there are limits to your physical mobility - we
can accommodate everyone, just let the workshop leaders know when you get
there. Please wear loose, sturdy and comfortable clothes.

Organised by Voices UK.  0845 458 2564.

If your group would like to attend the workshop but can't make it into
London then Seeds for Change  (, 0845 458 4776 )
run excellent workshops on these and other topics and - provided you can
cover their travel expenses - are prepared to travel the length and breadth
of the country to come to you. Use them!

[C] 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
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
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
‘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 string
plastic explosives known as Miclic, which can clear a lane through a
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
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 attitude
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
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
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
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
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
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
p. 5). Estimates for the number of fighters left in Falluja before the
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
“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
the right to vote.’ (Independent, 10 Nov., p. 5)

The assault on Fallujah was justified as necessary to create the conditions
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
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
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
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

“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
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as many as possible. We would be grateful for any support you can give. If
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Sussex TN38 0HE.
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