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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #164 - 4 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Washington Post: "Investigating the U.N." (Colin Rowat)
   2. Hold Iraq death probe, Blair told (Jonathan Stevenson)
   3. Hunger and misery in Iraq (
   4. No Vichy near Baghdad (


Message: 1
Subject: Washington Post: "Investigating the U.N."
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2004 17:55:07 -0000
From: "Colin Rowat" <>
To: <>

Investigating the U.N.
Washington Post
Tuesday, December 7, 2004; Page A24

IT IS HARDLY shocking to discover that competition has arisen between
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), who is leading the Senate investigation
into corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program, and Paul A. Volcker,
who is leading the United Nations' own investigation into the
allegations. Not surprisingly, the staffs of both inquiries want to
ferret out the same documents and speak to the same people. Even less
surprising, the United Nations has better access to its own documents
and people. Mr. Volcker says he is reluctant to share that access or to
lift anyone's diplomatic immunity until his investigation is complete.
Mr. Coleman has accused him, in effect, of hiding information from the

Mr. Volcker has given no reason for suspicion that he does not intend to
carry out the most thorough investigation possible or that he will not
eventually reveal documents and make any final report public, as he has
promised. He should be granted a reasonable amount of time to gather
information. Certainly it is far too early to dismiss Mr. Volcker's
investigation altogether or to call for the resignation of U.N.
Secretary General Kofi Annan, as Mr. Coleman did last week. That sounds
to us like U.N.-bashing for political gain rather than responsible

It is also misleading to portray the oil-for-food program as a slush
fund for Saddam Hussein while ignoring the far larger riches he reaped
through illicit trade that was entirely unrelated to the United Nations.
Most of the billions amassed by Saddam Hussein for weapons and palaces
during the 1990s came through sanctions-busting trade in oil and other
goods with such countries as Jordan, Turkey and Syria. The United States
knew about this business but either condoned it, as in the case of
Jordan, or did little or nothing to stop it. The oil-for-food program at
least ensured that most of the revenue from Iraq's official oil sales
was used to purchase food and other humanitarian supplies for Iraqi
citizens. If Congress wishes to assign accountability for Saddam
Hussein's ability to pay the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, it
would make more sense to investigate why and how the non-U.N. trade was

The importance of the U.N. investigation lies in holding accountable
officials who may have been corrupted, regardless of the scale of the
crime or the connections of the official. In particular, the nature of
the relationship of Mr. Annan's son to a Swiss company hired to oversee
the oil-for-food program needs to be clarified; the shifting accounts
provided so far by U.N. officials compound what were already legitimate
and troubling questions. There is also an issue of consequences: If Mr.
Volcker uncovers evidence of corruption or criminal incompetence, it
isn't clear what happens next. Is the United States going to file
criminal charges against U.N. employees, who have diplomatic immunity,
working at the U.N. Secretariat in New York? That seems unlikely. Will
their own countries do it? That seems even less likely.

If they choose to ask constructive questions, rather than score
political points, Mr. Coleman and his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Carl
M. Levin (Mich.), can help ensure that the U.N. internal investigation
is rigorous and that its findings are followed up on. Still, the most
important task is Mr. Volcker's. For the United Nations to maintain the
credibility it needs to carry out the important tasks delegated to it,
the organization's integrity must be beyond doubt. A failure of
accountability will only leave the organization susceptible to
U.N.-bashing of a far more serious nature.


Message: 2
Subject: Hold Iraq death probe, Blair told
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2004 11:20:51 +0000
From: "Jonathan Stevenson" <>

Hold Iraq death probe, Blair told
Wednesday 8 December 2004

Forty-six eminent figures including military men, ex-diplomats and
bishops have written to Tony Blair urging a inquiry into civilian deaths
in Iraq.

It comes after a study in medical journal the Lancet said nearly 100,000
died following the invasion.

The study, by US and Iraqi researchers, suggested the risk of violent
death was higher after the war than before.

UK ministers rejected October's Lancet figures, but have offered no
alternative estimate of their own.

Independent inquiry

The letter's publication marks the launch of a new campaign by health
charity Medact and the Iraq Body Count project.

Names on the letter include retired General Sir Hugh Beech, the Bishop
of Coventry, and an ex-ambassador to Iraq.

It also includes the former assistant chief of the defence staff Lord
Garden and writer Harold Pinter.

The signatories urge the prime minister to set up an independent inquiry
to establish just how many people have been killed or injured in Iraq
along with reasons for the casualties.

Lord Garden told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We have taken it [Iraq]
over and we are going to try and make it a democratic country.

"We need to show the rest of the world that we are doing it in a proper,
legal, moral way and one that can get the hearts and minds of the Arab
and Muslim world.

"If we appear to be discarding the people there and saying they are not
really important we are going to lose that battle."

Human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger, who is also a signatory, said:
"Since they don't want to catalogue the deaths, they are giving the
impression that ordinary Iraqi lives are worth less than those of the
soldiers and that life is expendable."

"No figures in a war zone are going to be perfect - but that's no excuse
for not trying."

The letter to Mr Blair says: "As you know, your government is obliged
under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population
during military operations in Iraq, and you have consistently promised
to do so.

"However, without counting the dead and injured, no-one can know whether
Britain and its coalition partners are meeting these obligations."

The letter's publication marks the launch of a new campaign by health
charity Medact and the Iraq Body Count project challenging the
government to count casualties.

Co-founder of Iraq Body Count John Sloboda said: "Having made no effort
to count Iraqi casualties at all, the British Government now says that
reliable figures are not available.


"We know from our work and the research of others that information from
Iraqi hospital, mortuary and other official sources is available and
this should be combined with media reports, military contact data and
active on-the-ground research to establish the most accurate figures

Medact director Mike Rawson said: "We need casualty estimates to assess
the effect of weaponry on the population and to plan health care for the
injured. Without information, everyone is working in the dark."

He added that the Iraqi health system should not be left to keep a tally
on its own and he argued the US-led coalition had a responsibility to
"commission and resource this work themselves".

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw last month said the government believes the
most accurate data comes from the Iraqi Ministry of Health which
estimated 3,853 civilians killed and 15,517 injured between April and
October 2004.


Iraq Body Count:
14,000-16,800 since March 2003

Iraq-based People's Kifah:
27,000 March-October 2003

US-based Brookings Institute:
Up to 27,000 to August 2004

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
10,000 to March 2004

Lancet study
100,000 since March 2003


Message: 3
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2004 13:41:02 EST
Subject: Hunger and misery in Iraq

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

=E2=80=9CIraq is burning with wrath, anger and sadness=E2=80=A6the people o=
f Fallujah are
dear to us. They are our brothers and sisters and we are so saddened by wha=
t is
 happening in that city.=E2=80=9D
There are no words better to describe the situation in Iraq, and particular=
 Fallujah, than these of Dr. Wamid Omar Nathmi, a senior political scientis=
at  Baghdad University.

With over 300,000 homeless residents of Fallujah scattered about central
Iraq, daily life for these refugees is a reality filled with _searching for=
d) , medical attention, warmth and clean  water.
Mohammad Ali is a refugee _at a camp on the Baghdad University campus_
d=3Dtents) .
_He was crying_
d=3D100_3339)  when I interviewed him, his large body  shuddering as
he lamented his situation.
=E2=80=9CWe did not feel that there is Eid after Ramadan this year because =
of our
situation being so bad. All we have is more fasting.=E2=80=9D
A man with one leg sitting near the mosque nodding while he smokes his
cigarette while Mohammad continues, =E2=80=9CI would like to ask the whole =
world-why is
this? I tell the presidents of the Arab and Muslim countries to wake up! Wa=
ke up
 please! We are being killed, we are refugees from our houses, our children
have  nothing-not even shoes to wear! Wake up! Wake up!=E2=80=9D
He was weeping even more when he added, =E2=80=9CI left Fallujah yesterday =
and I am
handicapped. I asked God to save us but our house was bombed and I lost
Another man, Khalil, pointed to several nearby children at the camp and sai=
 =E2=80=9CEid is over. Ramadan is over-and the kids are remaining without e=
ven a
smile.  They have nothing and nowhere to go. We used to take them to parks =
amuse  them, but now we don=E2=80=99t even have a house for them.=E2=80=9D
He continued while pointing at the children, along with some women nearby, =
_What about the children?_
d=3Dkids)  What did they do? What about  the women? I can=E2=80=99
t describe the situation in Fallujah and the condition of the  people-Fallu=
is suffering too much, it is almost gone now.=E2=80=9D
He then explained, =E2=80=9CWe got some supplies from the good people of Ba=
ghdad, and
 some volunteer doctors came on their own with some medicines, but they ran
out  daily because conditions are so bad. We saw nothing from the Ministry =
Health-no medicines or doctors or anything.=E2=80=9D
He said those who left Fallujah did not think they would be gone so long, s=
they brought only their summer clothes. Now it is quite cold at night, down
to 5  degrees C at night and windy much of the time. Khalil added, =E2=80=
=9CWe need
more  clothes. It=E2=80=99s a disaster we are living in here at this camp. =
We are living
like  dogs and the kids do not have enough clothes.=E2=80=9D
It=E2=80=99s a situation similar to that in most of the refugee camps I=E2=
=80=99ve seen
But there is a small light amidst this darkness. One international
organization in particular, which shall remain nameless, managed to raise f=
unds  to
support many of the refugees of Fallujah.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, two of the doctors who are receiving
financial donations from the organization have told of their accomplishment=
s to
date. Under their supervision and assistance, small relief groups have work=
tirelessly to distribute the supplies provided with the international
At the aforementioned camp alone, thanks to donations this group managed to
send to Baghdad, over $500 worth of blankets, sweaters for children, and ga=
heaters were provided.
Over $1,500 worth of blankets, heaters and portable stoves were distributed
to another four refugee camps in Baghdad as well.
A team of volunteer Iraqi doctors was quickly organized to purchase needed
medications to treat refugees. The most common problems in the camps are
influenza, pneumonia, colds, diarrhea and other water borne diseases.
Water tanks, pipes, water pumps, and water purification materials are neede=
desperately in most refugee camps. Over $3,000 of donations have been used =
 supply a refugee camp in Baghdad with what they need to provide potable
water.  Of course, much more is needed.
Now, well over $9,000 of _general antibiotics_
d=3DPICT0006)  like cipro, tagamet
and amoxicillin  have been distributed. Needles, sterile gloves, pain
medications, gauze and  basic first aid materials have also been provided t=
o three
different refugee  camps and used to treat suffering refugees by small grou=
ps of
volunteer  doctors.
Relief volunteers have even managed to get _trunk loads of medicines_
and supplements to camps  outside of Baghdad.
A doctor in Amiriyat al-Fallujah who received _much needed medicines and
d=3D100_3477)  was brimming with  gratitude.
The main hospital there where he works, is struggling to treat 1,500 patien=
 each day. Before the small city was inundated with refugees, the hospital
saw  just 300 patients per day.
=E2=80=9CWith hundreds of refugee families here, we have not been able to t=
reat the
people. I can=E2=80=99t thank you enough for this. These are _exactly the s=
78)  we need,=E2=80=9D he told the volunteers  who brought the medicine, =
=E2=80=9CIt is a
good start, but of course we can use more,  because we are running out of
medicines every day.=E2=80=9D
In addition to this, volunteers have plans in the works to make a another
delivery there soon.
Over $1,500 was used to purchase 250 warm blankets and 50 gas heaters for a
large refugee camp near Fallujah.
Another $5,000 has provided portable kerosene heaters, cooking stoves, and
fuel. These have been distributed mainly at the Al-Amiryah mosque-the main =
there that is next to the bomb shelter memorial-which is where they are
distributing these supplies to refugees staying in that area. These have be=
critical with the cold weather now in Baghdad.
Some of the last refugees to leave their homes are in Husabe, a small city
not far from Fallujah. 234 refugees there who arrived 11 days ago received
$2,000 worth of blankets, heaters, food and jackets.
While needs are assessed, more of this money is being spent in camps where
there continues to be little or no relief from the Ministry of Health. With
most  NGO=E2=80=99s having left Iraq because of the security situation, thi=
s grass-roots
effort has filled some of the huge gaps left in their absence.
=E2=80=9CI=E2=80=99ve been praying for someone to help us here,=E2=80=9D sa=
id Suthir, a mother of
six  small children at a refugee camp in the Amiryah district of Baghdad. =
God  has taken care of us now. We=E2=80=99ve been so cold at night, but now=
 we finally
have a  heater.=E2=80=9D

Posted by Dahr_Jamail at December 8, 2004 10:00 AM


Message: 4
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2004 07:44:01 EST
Subject: No Vichy near Baghdad

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

Iraq's Democracy: The El Salvador Model
By Ghali Hassan

12/10/04  "ICH" -- The Bush administration is preparing Iraq
for "democratic  elections". The aims are to consolidate the
Occupation, "legitimise" those  who serve US interests in Iraq, and
hence prolong the suffering of the Iraqi  people. The Central
American nation of El Salvador has been chosen as the  best model
of `democracy' to be implemented in Iraq.

It seems that  the Bush administration is in a dilemma trying to find
a Vichy regime to  install in Iraq. In 1940, in Nazi-occupied France,
German leaders were able  to create a regime that was acceptable to
many French. By contrast, in Iraq  no one seems to be able to fulfil
the criteria of France's General Philippe  P=E9tain, and provides an
Arab "fa=E7ade" for the Bush administration.

It was assumed that the best regime that could form the fa=E7ade in
Baghdad is the current US-appointed Iraqi Interim Government (IIG).
However, this is not the case. The Allawi's "government" is far less
popular among Iraqis than the regime of Saddam, and Allawi is the
most  hated individual in Iraq today. Iraqis see all members of the
IIG as  collaborator with the Occupation against Iraq interests. Most
of them spent  decades outside the country and hold no loyalty to

The core of  the IIG are: The Allawi's group of exiles (INA), the
Chalebi's group of  exiles (INC), the Peshmergas of the two Kurdish
parties, and the Badir  Brigade (Supreme Council for Islamic
Revolution in Iraq, SCIRI), mostly of  Iranian origins. Furthermore,
each group has its own mafia-style death  squad, and links to the CIA
or the Israeli Mossad agents. As I wrote  earlier, since they entered
Iraq with the US invasion, the four groups have  taken the law into
their own hands and have killed many innocent Iraqis,  including
hundreds of Iraqi scientists and community leaders. The Occupation
authority has never investigated their crimes. They entered Iraq on
the  backs of US tanks. Their relations with the Occupation are fully
symbiotic  relations. They co-exist in a mutually beneficial
relationship with their US  master. They are participating in the
upcoming elections, because they want  the Occupation to continue.

In 2003, UN own findings have shown that  Iraqis accept free
elections under UN control, and that US troops be  replaced by UN
troops from neutral nations. The US and its "coalition of the
willing" were able to hold elections six months after the invasion,
but  they refused because they were not interested in a democratic
outcome that  could end of the Occupation. UN officials and Iraqi
officials argued at that  time that elections were feasible and
possible within six months, but they  were intentionally dismissed by
the US. The Bush administration "stifled,  delayed, manipulated and
otherwise thwarted the democratic aspiration of the  Iraqi people".

It is not possible to hold free elections under martial  law and
illegal foreign Occupation. Most Iraqis view the upcoming elections
as a US fig leaf to consolidate the Occupation. The process is very
untransparent. According to Dahr Jamail of The New Standard, Iraqis
are  saying: "The Americans won't allow a legitimate election in
their own  country, so why would they have one here"! As it stands,
Iraqis do not put  great hope on these fake elections, because the
outcome of these elections  is a forgone conclusion. The Bush
administration is relying on sectarian  forces in order to create a
dependent Iraq and role it  indefinitely.

The upcoming elections are not for the sake of establishing
democracy in Iraq; they are being prepared to add another fake
legitimacy to the US Occupation and marginalize the Iraqi people. In
fact, elections are very minor thing of democracy. Democracy is a
collection of institutions that govern an entire nation, and the
purpose  of elections is to evaluate the democratic processes.
Elections were the  last thing the Bush administration needed.

The best solution is for the  US to completely withdraw its armed
forces from Iraq. All Iraqis are in  favour of elections as long as
the Occupation forces withdraw from Iraq.  According to recent polls,
98 percent of Iraqis want the Americans to leave  their country.
Meanwhile a poll conducted by the Chicago Council on Foreign
Relations (CCFR) has reveals that more than two-thirds of both the
US  public and US leaders agree than the US should withdraw from Iraq
if a clear  majority of Iraqis want it to do so.

The US Occupation of Iraq is the  most unpopular occupation in
history. It is a violent occupation where  innocent women, children
and unarmed men have been massacred. More than  100,000 innocent
Iraqis have died; thousands are imprisoned and tortured;  the lives
of millions more have been wrecked. The conditions of child health
in US-occupied Iraq are now even worse than during the genocidal
years  of sanction. Despite that, those who are responsible for this
wanton  destruction of human lives have not been indicted for war
crimes or been  held accountable by prosecutors. A devastated nation
and broken defenceless  people are forced to prepare for an old-
fashion colonial dictatorship, which  has its echoes in other foreign
countries under the tutelage of the US  administration.

US history of preparing elections in foreign countries is  full of
bad examples. In 1984, the US was involved in the El Salvador
elections that brought an assassin (Roberto d A'ubuisson) and a
friend  of the US to power. Roberto d'Aubuisson, leader for life of
the ARENA party,  that ruled El Salvador since, was named by the UN
Truth Commission report to  be implicated in the assassination of
Archbishop Oscar Romero. The  Archbishop of El Salvador was
assassinated in March 1980, while giving a  mass in a church and just
before sainthood.

The 1984 elections in El  Salvador "were little more than a farce
designed to give democratic  respectability to a regime that was
perpetuating some of the worst human  rights abuses in the
hemisphere", wrote Mark Engler of Foreign Policy in  Focus. Those who
seized power in El Salvador with the help of uncle Reagan  have
murdered more than 75,000 people. In 1993, the UN Truth Commission
report found that the army and its death squads committed 90% of the
atrocities in the conflict. Among their heinous crimes were the 1989
murder of six Jesuit priests, and the slaughter of hundreds of
villagers. The rebels, led by the FMNL party were responsible for 5
%,  and the other 5% remained unknown, said the report.

In the March 2004  elections, the US used fear and threat against the
Salvadoran people to  promote its preferred candidates, members of
the ARENA party. The  Salvadorian people voted with a gun pointed to
their head. The big loser of  the elections are the majority of
people of El Salvador, wrote Joe DeRaymond  of Centro de Intercambio
y Solidaridad who monitored the elections.

During the 2004 US elections, Vice President Dick Cheney praised El
Salvador dictatorship as a model for `democracy-building' in Iraq.
One  wonders why the US is interested in the El Salvador's model of
democracy and  not a Western model of democracy for Iraq? Now, as it
happens, this is  something I know quite a bit about. I, for some
reasons have experience  living in good democratic nations. I spent
some years in Switzerland,  Austria, New Zealand, Scandinavia and
Australia. All these major democratic  countries have fairly decent
models of democratic elections. Indeed, the  Swiss model of democracy
is the best I have experienced and is very suitable  for a
heterogeneous country like Iraq, which has no similarity to El

In 1993, the American analyst, Noam Chomsky commented on  the US
approach to `democracy-building' in El Salvador. Chomsky wrote,  "[b]
y and large, our approach in El Salvador has been successful. The
popular organizations have been decimated, just as Archbishop Romero
predicted. Tens of thousands have been slaughtered and more than a
million have become refugees. This is one of the most sordid
episodes in  US history-and it's got a lot of competition". It is
this successful  approach that the US administration is using to
promote America's  `democracy-building' posture in Iraq. The US is
more interested in  empire-building rather than `democracy-building'.

It should be borne in  mind that, the US interference in election
processes around the world is  illegal and hypocritical. "The terror
bombing of homes, hospitals and  religious buildings by hundreds of
airplanes and helicopter gunships is  described by the media
as `securing the city [of Fallujah] for free  elections'", wrote
James Petras. The US message for Iraqis is; vote for the  Occupation
or you will die. Can you imagine Iran is preparing for a  "democratic
elections" of a puppet regime in Iraq with a massive terror  campaign
against the civilian population?

Instead of finding an exit  strategy to end the violence in Iraq, the
Bush administration is increasing  it; using the pretext of
democracy. An exit strategy to end the US  Occupation of Iraq is not
impossible. The UN General Assembly, which is less  influence by the
US and Britain, is the most preferable body to take over  the Iraqi
affairs and helps the Iraqi people achieve sovereignty and  freedom.
The UN has an obligation to condemn an act of aggression an illegal
occupation of a sovereign nation.

There is no Vichy near Baghdad;  there is Fallujah. The US-sponsored
undemocratic elections in Iraq are  against the long-term interests
of the Iraqi people. The upcoming elections  will not help achieve
democracy and sovereignty for Iraq. The best solution  for Iraq is
the end of US Occupation and the true liberation of the Iraqi
people. This will allow the Iraqi people to gain their freedom and
organise their country for free and fair elections.

Ghali Hassan  lives in Perth Western Australia: He can be reached at

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