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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #167 - 2 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. What happened in Halabja? (
   2. Custer's last  dodgy dealing - allegedly - stand (farbuthnot)


Message: 1
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 15:59:29 EST
Subject: What happened in Halabja?

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

By Mohammed al-Obaidi

The truth of what happened in Halabja  had always been hidden from
the public, and many who knew exactly what  happened in this Kurdish
village in the second half of March 1988 disputed  the western media
coverage of the story.

It is a fact that key  Kurdish leaders aided by the CIA and the
Israeli Mossad have used a wide  network of public relations
companies and media outlets in the west to  manipulate and twist the
truth of what happened in Kurdish Halabja in 1988  in favor of the
Kurdish political parties.

In 1993, an organization  was established in Israel called The
Kurdish Israeli Friendship League  founded by a Jewish Kurd called
Moti Zaken, who originally immigrated from  Zakho, Iraq, and worked
closely with the American Zionist lobby in the US.

His efforts ended in 1996 in the establishment of the Washington
Kurdish Institute, an organization founded with the financial help
and  supervision of the Zionist Mike Amitay.

Mike Amitay is the son of Morris  Amitay, a long-time legislative
assistant in Congress and lobbyist for the  influential American
Israeli Public Affairs Committee.

Amitay junior  is an adviser to Frank Gaffney's Centre for Security
Policy and the former  vice-chairman of the Jewish Institute for
National Security Affairs (JINSA),  a US-based pro-Israeli Likud
advocacy outfit that specialises in connecting  US military brass to
their counterparts in the Israeli armed forces.

JINSA associates include Dick Cheney, John Bolton, Douglas Feith,
and Richard Perle. A group of Kurdish figures known for their
connection  with the Israeli Mossad manage the Washington Kurdish
Institute. Those are:  Najmaldin Karim, Omar Halmat, Birusk Tugan,
Osman Baban, Asad Khailany,  Kendal Nezan, Asfandiar Shukri and
Mohammad Khoshnaw.
Such organisations  have devoted themselves to championing the claims
that the Iraqi army bombed  Kurdish villages with chemical agents
throughout 1988.

According to  Human Rights Watch (HRW) "at least 50,000 and possibly
as many as 100,000  people, many of them women and children, were
killed out of hand between  February and September 1988, the victims
being Iraqi Kurds systematically  put to death in large numbers on
the orders of the central government in  Baghdad".

"It is a fact that key Kurdish leaders aided by the CIA and  the
Israeli Mossad have used wide network of public relation companies
and media outlets in the west to manipulate and twist the truth of
what  happened in Kurdish Halabja in 1988 in favor of the political
Kurdish  parties."

There are other champions of the genocide claim. One is Jeffrey
Goldberg, whose 18,000-word story, The Great Terror, in the 25 March
2002 issue of The New Yorker forms the basis of the US Department of
State's website on alleged Iraqi genocide.

Goldberg's story is long  on lurid details; we are told, for
instance, that one woman, Hamida Mahmoud,  died while nursing her two-
year-old daughter. Goldberg also follows the  Human Rights Watch
formula in invoking the Nazis: "Saddam Hussein's attacks  on his own
citizens mark the only time since the Holocaust that poison gas  has
been used to exterminate women and children."

What Goldberg did  not tell his readers about is that he has dual
Israeli/American citizenship  and served in the Israeli defense
forces a few years back. Or that he  purposefully ignored the War
College report, which, of course, reached quite  different

The Iraqi army allegedly used chemical  weapons in "40 separate
attacks on Kurdish targets" during a campaign that  HRW labels as

The most prominent of these purported  attacks was the March
1988 "chemical assault" on the town of Halabja, in  which the number
of dead, according to Human Rights Watch "exceeds 5000".

It is known that both Iran and Iraq used chemical weapons in their
eight-year war from September 1980 to August 1988. Most of Iraq's
alleged assaults on the Kurds took place while this war was raging,
although Human Rights Watch claims the attacks extended into
September  1988.

Iraq has acknowledged using mustard gas against Iranian troops to
overwhelm the human wave tactic used by Iranians who wanted to
benefit  from the fact that they outnumbered Iraqis, but has
consistently denied  using chemical weapons against civilians.

The only verified Kurdish  civilian deaths from chemical weapons
occurred in the Iraqi village of  Halabja, near the Iran border, are
several hundred people who died from gas  poisoning in mid-March

Iran overran the village and its small  Iraqi garrison on 15 March
1988. The gassing took place on 16 March and  onwards; who is then
responsible for the deaths - Iran or Iraq - and how  large was the
death toll knowing the Iranian army was in Halabja but never
reported any deaths by chemicals?

The best evidence to answer this is  a 1990 report by the Strategic
Studies Institute of the US Army War College.  It concluded that
Iran, not Iraq, was the culprit in Halabja.

"The  Iraqi army allegedly used chemical weapons in "40 separate
attacks on  Kurdish targets" during a campaign that HRW labels as

While  the War College report acknowledges that Iraq used mustard gas
during the  Halabja hostilities, it notes that mustard gas is an
incapacitating, rather  than a killing agent, with a fatality rate of
only 2%, so that it could not  have killed the hundreds of known
dead, much less the thousands of dead  claimed by Human Rights Watch.

According to the War College  reconstruction of events, Iran struck
first taking control of the village.  The Iraqis counter-attacked
using mustard gas. The Iranians then attacked  again, this time using
a "blood agent" - cyanogens chloride or hydrogen  cyanide - and re-
took the town, which Iran then held for several months.

Having control of the village and its grisly dead, Iran blamed the
gas deaths on the Iraqis, and the allegations of Iraqi genocide took
root via a credulous international press and, a little later,
cynical  promotion of the allegations for political purposes by the
US state  department and Senate.

Stephen Pelletiere, who was the CIA's senior  political analyst on
Iraq throughout the Iran-Iraq war, closely studied  evidences
of "genocide in Halabja" has described his group's  findings:
"The great majority of the victims seen by reporters and other
observers who attended the scene were blue in their extremities.
That  means that they were killed by a blood agent, probably either
cyanogens  chloride or hydrogen cyanide. Iraq never used and lacked
any capacity to  produce these chemicals. But the Iranians did deploy
them. Therefore the  Iranians killed the Kurds."

Pelletiere's report also said that  international relief
organisations that examined the Kurdish refugees in  Turkey failed to
discover any gassing victims.

After 15 years of  support to the allegations of HRW, the CIA finally
admitted in its report  published in October 2003 that only mustard
gas and a nerve agent was used  by Iraq.

The CIA now seems to be fully supporting the US Army War  College
report of April 1990, as a cyanide-based blood agent that Iraq never
had, and not mustard gas or a nerve agent, killed the Kurds who died
at  Halabja and which concludes that the Iranians perpetrated that
attack as a  media war tactic.

Despite the doubt cast by many professionals as well as  the CIA's
recent report, and after years of public relations propaganda made
for the Kurdish leaderships by the assistance and support of the
Israeli  Mossad, the issue of genocide has been marketed to the
international  community.

In a telephone interview with the Village Voice in 2002,  Stephen
Pelletiere said: "There is to this day the belief - and I'm not the
only one who holds it - that things did not happen in Halabja the
way  Goldberg wrote it.

"And it is an especially crucial issue right now. We  say Saddam is a
monster, a maniac who gassed his own people, and the world  should
not tolerate him. But why? Because that is the last argument the US
has for going to war with  Iraq."

Professor  Mohammed al-Obaidi is the spokesman for the People's
Struggle Movement  (Al-Kifah al-Shabi) in Iraq, and works as a
university professor in the UK.  He was born and educated in al-
Adhamiyah district in Baghdad. He is writing  a book about Halabja.

posted Monday, 20 December  2004


Message: 2
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 14:21:04 +0000
Subject: Custer's last  dodgy dealing - allegedly - stand
From: "farbuthnot" <>

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


Privacy Policy
 Article Last Updated: 12/20/2004 01:11:33 AM
Contractor in Iraq seeks the dismissal of fraud charges
Case: The company says it can't be sued because the allegedly bilked
millions belonged to Iraqis, not the U.S.

By T. Christian Miller
Los Angeles Times

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Attorneys for a U.S.-based security company accused of
setting up sham companies in a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme in Iraq are
contending in court that the company cannot be sued under a key federal
anti-corruption law because the allegedly stolen money belonged to Iraqis,
not Americans.
=A0=A0=A0The potentially precedent-setting case could undercut fraud claims
involving billions of dollars in reconstruction contracts that were issued
by the U.S.-led Coalition  Provisional Authority (CPA) and paid for with
money belonging to the Iraqi people.
=A0=A0=A0Arguments broke out in federal court Friday over two fundamental
questions: whether the CPA, which ruled occupied Iraq, can be considered a
U.S. agency, and whether fraud involving Iraqi money can be subject to suit=
under the False Claims Act, considered one of the federal government's most
important tools against fraud.
=A0=A0=A0John Boese, an attorney for the security company, Custer Battles, =
asked a
judge to dismiss the  =A0 case as ''fatally defective.'' Boese argued that =
act didn't apply to his clients since the CPA, not the U.S. government, was
the victim.
=A0=A0=A0''The funds that were used were Iraqi funds, not U.S. funds,'' he =
=A0=A0=A0Custer Battles has denied any fraud was committed, attributing the
allegations to disgruntled former employees who have since emerged as
competitors to Custer Battles.
=A0=A0=A0Those employees are now suing Custer Battles under the False Claim=
s Act,
which allows citizens

=A0 to sue U.S. contractors on behalf of the federal government to seek
damages for fraud.
=A0=A0=A0Custer Battles was one of the first U.S. contractors on the ground=
 in the
chaotic days following the fall of Saddam Hussein last year. The company's
two founders, Scott Custer and Mike Battles, were former special forces
soldiers who opened for business with almost no money and little previous
=A0=A0=A0Nonetheless, the company won at least four contracts in Iraq worth
millions of dollars, including a deal  =A0 to provide security at Baghdad
International Airport and another to help Iraqis swap their old currency fo=
new dinars minted by the CPA.
=A0=A0=A0Those contracts came under scrutiny after several former employees
accused Custer Battles of creating a series of shell companies that were
used to bilk the CPA out of millions of dollars. Company officials allegedl=
submitted false invoices and also billed for work done by other companies.
=A9 Copyright 2004, The Salt Lake Tribune.
All material found on Utah Online is copyrighted The Salt Lake Tribune and
associated news services. No material may be reproduced or reused without
explicit permission from The Salt Lake Tribune.

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