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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #169 - 1 msg

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Today's Topics:

   1. Message from the BRussells Tribunal (Dirk Adriaensens)


Message: 1
From: "Dirk Adriaensens" <>
To: <>, <>
Subject: Message from the BRussells Tribunal
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2004 16:41:25 +0100

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

Dear friends of the BRussells Tribunal,

after our Christmas Eve vigil, that can be called a success, here are some =
more horrendous stories, but also some hopeful signs of solidarity with the=
 Iraqi people, that may be of interest to you.
a) An Eyewitness Account of Fallujah
b) US bombing marks return of Fallujah's displaced people
c) Refugees trickling back into Falluja
d) Facts about Iraq you wouldn't know from Western media
e) US families of dead soldiers raise 600,000 dollars for Fallujah refugees
f)  British Cardinal condemns money spent on war efforts

Please feel free to distribute this information among friends & relatives.

The BRussells Tribunal will keep on exposing the true nature of the bloody =
occupation of Iraq. We will regularly send you relevant information about t=
he condition of the Iraqi people, information you won't read in our mainstr=
eam press. We think it's necessary to keep you informed about important fac=
ts & developments on Iraq. The BRussells Tribunal considers this part of it=
s mission. If you're interested to receive our newsletter, just send us a m=

What we experience in Iraq, is a popular uprising against an illegal and il=
legitimate occupation. That's why it can not be defeated by bullets and mil=
itary force. Each bomb, each gunshot, will recruite more iraqi's for the li=
beration movement. Our petition, written by prof. Jean Bricmont, points tha=
t out clearly, and is confirmed everyday by press reports. "Former CIA coun=
ter-terrorism chief Vince Cannistraro concurred, saying, "In spite of all o=
ur efforts to divide and weaken this insurgency, it is deepening and spread=
ing." ( So =
the only way towards peace is a total withdrawal of US/UK occupation forces=
. The BRussells Tribunal wants to explain this reality to the broader publi=
c opinion.

The BRussells Tribunal has good contacts with the Iraqi Civil Society and t=
he Diaspora Iraqi Community, and tries to establish permanent links between=
 the Western and Iraqi peace movements. It distributes valuable information=
 from within Iraq. Examples of that can be found on our website if you clic=
k on "Statements of Iraqi Civil Society".

The BRussells Tribunal was also marked by the efforts of many artists and a=
cademics to clearly say "NO" to the mad logic of war. We think these effort=
s are very important. David Rovics (, a courageous Jewi=
sh-American artist who writes songs on (a.o.) Iraq and Palestine mailed us:=
 "A Palestinian friend of mine wrote recently, summarizing so much, I think=
: "They'll bomb us in the morning and go shopping in the afternoon." I can'=
t wait until the powers-that-be at least release us from the stranglehold o=
f "Jingle Bells," yikes, even techno is better than that." His "Song for Ba=
sra" is copied underneath.

Another artist, Stephan Smith (, half American, half I=
raqi, whose reports on Iraq from his family can be (and really should be) r=
ead at:, wrote us: "I would=
 love to hook up with, do shows/benefits and or workshops with the peace an=
d global justice movement in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe. If you can be=
 of any help in that way, I would surely like to help or use my shows etc. =
to help the movement. It is so important we build more connections." If som=
e of you are thinking about organising events or concerts, please let us kn=
ow and we'll get you in contact with Stephan.

The BRussells Tribunal is part of a broader movement, the World Tribunal On=
 Iraq ( The World Tribunal on Iraq is an ongoing proc=
ess spread out in time and place that aims to present a comprehensive pictu=
re of the aggression against Iraq and to bring together the various efforts=
 around the world, which question the different aspects of this war based o=
n thorough investigation, solid facts and analyses. The findings, evaluatio=
ns and resolutions arrived at in these various events, be they associated e=
vents, commissions of inquiry, hearings, tribunal sessions focusing on spec=
ified issues or others, will feed into the whole of the WTI process and sha=
ll be brought together to constitute a comprehensive picture in a final ses=

The BRussells Tribunal is alive, and will keep on proposing actions on Iraq=
 to its member organisations and sympathizers. We hope the cooperation we e=
stablished in the past will work both ways: if an affiliated organisation h=
as an initiative on Iraq (on a political or legal, but also on an artistic =
level), please inform us, and we'll promise to help you spread the informat=

The BRussells Tribunal wants to wish you a peaceful 2005. Let's encourage e=
ach other to be a grain of sand in the wheels of the Bush & Blair War Machi=
And may you never lose hope.

For the BRussells Tribunal organising committee.
Dirk Adriaensens
Hana Al Bayaty
Jean Bricmont
Patrick De Boosere
Lieven De Cauter


An Eyewitness Account of Fallujah
published December 16, 2004
=A9 2004 by Dahr Jamail

Horror stories-including the use of napalm and chemical weapons by the US m=
ilitary during the siege of Fallujah-continue to trickle out from the rubbl=
e of the demolished city, carried by weary refugees lucky enough to have es=
caped their city.

A cameraman with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) who witnessed =
the first eight days of the fighting told of what he considered atrocities.=
 Burhan Fasa'a has worked for LBC throughout the occupation of Iraq.

"I entered Fallujah near the Julan Quarter, which is near the General Hospi=
tal," he said during an interview in Baghdad, "There were American snipers =
on top of the hospital shooting everyone."

He nervously smoked cigarettes throughout the interview, still visibly shak=
en by what he saw.

On November 8, the military was allowing women and children to leave the ci=
ty, but none of the men. He was not allowed to enter the city through one o=
f the main checkpoints, so he circumnavigated Fallujah and managed to enter=
, precariously, by walking through a rural area near the main hospital, the=
n taking a small boat across the river in order to film from inside the cit=

"Before I found the boat, I was 50 meters from the hospital where the Ameri=
can snipers were shooting everyone in sight," he said, "But I managed to ge=
t in."

He told of bombing so heavy and constant by US warplanes that rarely a minu=
te passed without the ground's shaking from the bombing campaign.

"The Americans used very heavy bombs to break the spirit of the fighters in=
 Fallujah," he explained, then holding out his arms added, "They bombed eve=
rything! I mean everything!"

This went on for the first two days, he said, then on the third day, column=
s of tanks and other armored vehicles made their move. "Huge numbers of tan=
ks and armored vehicles and troops attempted to enter the north side of Fal=
lujah," he said, "But I filmed at least twelve US vehicles that were destro=

The military wasn't yet able to push into Fallujah, and the bombing resumed=

"I saw at least 200 families who had their homes collapsed on their heads b=
y American bombs," Burhan said while looking at the ground, a long ash dang=
ling from his cigarette, "Fallujans already needed everything=C9I mean they=
 already had no food or medicine. I saw a huge number of people killed in t=
he northern part of the city, and most of them were civilians."

At this point he started to tell story after story of what he saw during th=
e first week of the siege.

"The dead were buried in gardens because people couldn't leave their homes.=
 There were so many people wounded, and with no medical supplies, people di=
ed from their wounds. Everyone in the street was a target for the Americans=
; even I saw so many civilians shot by them."

He looked out the window, taking several deep breaths. By then, he said, mo=
st families had already run out of food. Families were sneaking through nea=
rby houses to scavenge for food. Water and electricity had long since been =

The military called over loudspeakers for families to surrender and come ou=
t of their houses, but Burhan said everyone was too afraid to leave their h=
omes, so soldiers began blasting open the gates to houses and conducting se=

"Americans did not have interpreters with them, so they entered houses and =
killed people because they didn't speak English! They entered the house whe=
re I was with 26 people, and shot people because they didn't obey their ord=
ers, even just because the people couldn't understand a word of English. Ni=
nety-five percent of the people killed in the houses that I saw were killed=
 because they couldn't speak English."

His eyes were tearing up, so he lit another cigarette and continued talking=

"Soldiers thought the people were rejecting their orders, so they shot them=
. But the people just couldn't understand them!"

He managed to keep filming battles and scenes from inside the city, some of=
 which he later managed to sell to Reuters, who showed a few clips of his f=
ootage. LBC, he explained, would not show any of the tapes he submitted to =
them. He had managed to smuggle most of his tapes out of the city before hi=
s gear was taken from him.

"The Americans took all of my camera equipment when they found it. At that =
time I watched one soldier take money from a small child in front of everyo=
ne in our house."

Burhan said that when the troops learned he was a journalist, he was treate=
d worse than the other people in the home where they were seeking refuge. H=
e was detained, along with several other men, women, and children.

"They beat me and cursed me because I work for LBC, then they interrogated =
me. They were so angry at al-Jazeera and al-Arabia networks."

He was held for three days, sleeping on the ground with no blankets, as did=
 all of the prisoners in a detention camp inside a military camp outside Fa=

"They arrested over 100 from my area, including women and kids. We had one =
toilet, which was in front of where we all were kept, and everyone was sham=
ed by having to use this in public. There was no privacy, and the Americans=
 made us use it with handcuffs on."

He said he wanted to talk more about what he saw inside Fallujah during the=
 nine days he was there.

"I saw cluster bombs everywhere, and so many bodies that were burned, dead =
with no bullets in them. So they definitely used fire weapons, especially i=
n Julan district. I watched American snipers shoot civilians so many times.=
 I saw an American sniper in a minaret of a mosque shooting everyone that m=

He also witnessed something which many refugees from Fallujah have reported=

"I saw civilians trying to swim the Euphrates to escape, and they were all =
shot by American snipers on the other side of the river."

The home he was staying in before he was detained was located near the mosq=
ue where the NBC cameraman filmed the execution of an older, wounded Iraqi =

"The mosque where the wounded man was shot that the NBC cameraman filmed-th=
at is in the Jubail Quarter-I was in that quarter. Wounded, unarmed people =
used that mosque for safety=C9I can tell you there were no weapons in there=
 of any kind because I was in that mosque. People only hid there for safety=
. That is all."

He personally witnessed another horrible event reported by many of the refu=
gees who reached Baghdad.

"On Tuesday, November 16th, I saw tanks roll over the wounded in the street=
s of the Jumariyah Quarter. There is a public clinic there, so we call that=
 the clinic street. There had been a heavy battle in this street, so there =
were twenty bodies of dead fighters and some wounded civilians in front of =
this clinic. I was there at the clinic, and at 11 a.m. on the 16th I watche=
d tanks roll over the wounded and dead there."

After another long pause, he looked out the window for awhile. Still lookin=
g out the window, he said, "During the nine days I was in Fallujah, all of =
the wounded men, women, kids and old people, none of them were evacuated. T=
hey either suffered to death, or somehow survived."

According to the Iraqi Red Crescent, which managed to get three ambulances =
into the city on November 14, at least 150 families remain trapped inside t=
he city. One family was surviving by placing rice in dirty water, letting i=
t sit for two hours, then eating it. There has been no power or running wat=
er for a month in Fallujah.

People there are burying body parts from people blown apart by bombs, as we=
ll as skeletons of the dead because their flesh had been eaten by dogs.

The military estimates that 2,000 people in Fallujah were killed, but claim=
s that most of them were fighters. Relief personnel and locals, however, be=
lieve the vast majority of the dead were civilians.


US bombing marks return of Fallujah's displaced people
By Borzou Daragahi in Baghdad
24 December 2004

Iraqis who fled last month's US offensive on Fallujah began to trickle back=
 into the city yesterday to check whether the homes they left were still st=
anding. But most are staying away as a fresh round of violence claimed the =
lives of three US Marines in fighting near the city yesterday.

More than 200,000 people sought shelter in surrounding villages or tented c=
amps nearBaghdad before the attack which began on 8 November, and have yet =
to return.

Bilal Sami Sabri, a 29-year-old living in a tented camp with nearly 1,000 o=
ther Fallujans near Baghdad University, is not going anywhere. "What can we=
 do? What are we going to do except stay here until the Americans and Iraqi=
 National Guard have left the city. Once they're gone we'll go back and reb=
uild Fallujah with our hands."

US Marines in and around Fallujah said a steady flow of people were returni=
ng to their homes in the city's Andalus neighbourhood. Two thousand were al=
lowed to return yesterday, though witnesses reported fighting and explosion=
s in the southern districts.

Much of Fallujah has been destroyed. Months of bombing gave way to last mon=
th's full-scale US-led assault, aimed at dislodging insurgent groups which =
had taken control of the city and used it as a base to launch attacks on US=

The once bustling city of 300,000 lies in ruins, its water and electricity =
networks badly damaged. There is still no clean water, a Red Cross official=
 said after a visit this week. "Most of [the water treatment plants] have b=
een bombed or damaged because of the military operations," said Ahmed Rawi,=
 of the Red Cross.

The Muslim Scholars Association, a hardline Islamist group, said the city w=
as "uninhabitable" because of the bombing. "The rotten smell of the dead is=
 widespread," said Sheikh Hareth Suliman al-Dari, a leader of the group.

The fighting was the heaviest in Fallujah since 10 December, when seven Mar=
ines, three Iraqi troops and about 50 insurgents were killed. The former in=
surgent stronghold has seen sporadic violence, including artillery fire, si=
nce it was captured in a week-long offensive last month.

F-18 fighter-bombers were seen striking at targets in the city's outskirts.=
 Tank and artillery fire was also heard. At least three Marines were killed=
 in the area, the US military said.

US forces, still on high alert after Tuesday's bomb attack on a base near M=
osul in northern Iraq, are fingerprinting and photographing Fallujah men of=
 fighting age as they return and scanning their retinas. Soldiers fear insu=
rgents will sneak back and the fighting will resume.

The new Fallujah fighting came as the first group of returning residents li=
ned up at checkpoints into the city, brandishing documents to prove to Iraq=
i policemen that they had the right to enter.

The interim Iraqi government has launched its election campaign by trumpeti=
ng a multimillion-dollar reconstruction programme in Fallujah, offering up =
to US$10,000 per family. Each family that returns will be offered $100 in c=
ash before they enter the city.

Mr Sabri said nothing short of an end to the US presence in the city would =
entice him to go back. He was trapped in Fallujah until three weeks ago, wi=
tnessing the worst of the war. He was detained by soldiers who initially pu=
t him in a camp outside the city. He was later reunited with his wife and f=
our children, who had left Fallujah just before the fighting began.

Over the past few weeks the residents in his camp have managed to make it l=
iveable. Yesterday jovial children played under an exceptionally bright sun=
 as women in abayas washed pots and pans while preparing a communal lunch. =
"Though we're living in tents, conditions are good so far," said Sadi Khale=
f, a 54-year-old Fallujah businessman who guided a small group of visitors =
around the camp. "We get three meals a day as well as food and shelter."

Khalef, a former resident of the Andalus neighbourhood, said he had no plan=
s to return to Fallujah. "So far none of the families in this camp have gon=
e back," he said.

But despite the danger and resentment, some refugees want to return to see =
what has become of their homes. "I want to enter Fallujah and I want to ass=
ess the damage to my house. I've heard that it was destroyed in military op=
erations," Laith Nawwaf, 47, said. "If it has been destroyed, then I will a=
sk for compensation from our government."


      Refugees trickling back into Falluja
        By Erik Eckholm and Eric Schmitt The New York Times http://www.iht.=

BAGHDAD The first 500 displaced residents of war-ravaged Falluja were allow=
ed into the city to inspect their homes on Thursday, even as American marin=
es and warplanes fought an unexpected pitched battle with insurgents in ano=
ther corner of the city.


Thursday was the official start of the resettlement of Falluja, the former =
insurgent stronghold that was conquered block by bloody block last month, c=
reating a virtual ghost town, with many homes damaged and no electricity or=
 running water.


More than 200,000 residents of the Sunni Arab city 65 kilometers, or 40 mil=
es, west of Baghdad fled the vicious fighting in November and have been cra=
mmed into tent camps nearby or the homes of relatives elsewhere.


The Iraqi government has boldly promised their speedy return and even says =
it can hold elections in Falluja at the end of January.


American officers, citing the scale of physical damage and the continued un=
expected outbursts of combat, caution that it will take months at best to r=
estore vital infrastructure and longer still to create from the ruins the s=
howcase city that has been promised to the Iraqis.


[Meanwhile, the general in command of the main U.S. force in northern Iraq =
said Thursday that the suicide bomber who blew himself up in a U.S. militar=
y dining tent in Mosul this week, killing more than 20 people, was probably=
 wearing an Iraqi military uniform.


["The question now turns to, how did that happen, and I don't know the answ=
er to that question," Brigadier General Carter Ham said in an interview wit=
h CNN.


["What we think is likely," he said, "but certainly not certain, is that an=
 individual in an Iraqi military uniform, possibly with a vest-worn explosi=
ve device, was inside the facility and detonated the facility, causing this=


In Falluja, only residents of a single neighborhood in the southern part of=
 the city were allowed to enter. The government this week estimated that 2,=
000 heads of households would take advantage of the offer, but the turnout =
was a quarter of that, according to the marines, who closely supervised the=


At that, the Iraqi government and the marines had to prepare the ground by =
building water tanks, giving out water cans to returnees, and providing the=
m with food stockpiles and kerosene to allow primitive lighting.


Hajim al-Hassani, the minister of industry, said, "We will complete the ret=
urn of families within the next two weeks, unless there are some difficulti=
es that might emerge."


The city has been divided into 18 neighborhoods. Residents will be allowed =
back in for escorted looks, as they were Thursday, one neighborhood at a ti=
me, with the next visits planned for three days later, said Lieutenant Gene=
ral John Sattler, the local marine commander, in a telephone interview.


At the end of the first day, it was unclear how many of the mostly men who =
ventured in for a look had actually decided to move back with their familie=
s. It has been too dangerous for reporters to enter the city, which is aggr=
essively patrolled by American and Iraqi forces, or to mingle in the refuge=
e camps.


Whether or not they supported the insurgency, which drew together former Ba=
athists, a strengthening local movement of radical Islamists and some forei=
gn Islamists, many Falluja residents were embittered by the violent America=
n siege. So another unknown factor is the spirit of the returning populatio=
n and how it will react to the close monitoring planned by the marines, inc=
luding "biometric" identification of each resident with iris measurements, =
fingerprints and personal badges for swiping at checkpoints.


Dhia Hussein, who was entering at one of five checkpoints to view his paren=
ts' home, expressed some of the city's fear, sadness and anger.


This autumn, he had bought another house, in a different neighborhood, stil=
l off-limits, because he was about to marry. "I had just furnished that hou=
se and when I left, the fridge was full of sweets and fruits for my wedding=
," he said as he waited to be searched by Iraqi soldiers. "We've heard that=
 most of the houses have been burned or destroyed," he said.


But his countenance shifted to fury as he then said he had also heard that =
mosques had been burned. "The mosque is God's house. Did you ever hear of a=
nyone destroying God's house?" he shouted.


Sattler said that residents who were allowed back into Falluja Thursday wer=
e at least assessing the damage to their dwellings, not necessarily moving =
back for good. He said it could be months before power lines and running wa=
ter were operating again.


The officer, commander of the First Marine Expeditionary Force, said that A=
merican forces working with the interim Iraqi government were prepared to p=
rovide 10,000 residents with kerosene, drinking water, food and blankets.


In a 35-minute telephone interview from his headquarters three miles east o=
f the city, Sattler said that the initial returnees were largely male heads=
 of households checking in on the condition of their families' homes and bu=


The general said he expected the number of residents returning to grow as w=
ord spread, particularly during Friday prayers sessions. "When word gets ou=
t, the momentum will pick up," General Sattler said.


Even as the first trickle of residents returned to their homes, a fierce ba=
ttle between American forces and eight to 10 insurgents broke out in a nort=
heast neighborhood of the city.


More than a month after major combat ended in Falluja, Sattler said he was =
surprised at the level of resistance that American and Iraqi forces continu=
e to face in the city.


In the past two weeks alone, he said that 100 to 125 insurgents have been k=


"I would say I am surprised," said Sattler, who on Nov. 18 said that the of=
fensive in Falluja had "broken the back of the insurgency."


"I'd love to be able to tell you we've cleaned out the city, but I can't."


He said the insurgents appear to be a mix of foreign fighters - they now ha=
ve 78 such in detention -and other Iraqis. The military has buried 500 insu=
rgents' bodies since the major fighting began in early November, and had ta=
ken $20,000 in cash (crisp, new $100 bills, mostly), off the corpses.


Sattler said there were about 2,000 marines and navy construction workers i=
nside Falluja, as well as about 2,000 Iraqi Army and public order forces.


Over all, throughout the province, attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces ar=
e down about 60 percent from pre-offensive levels, according to military of=


Facts about Iraq you wouldn't know from Western media

25 December 2004

THIS has been a bad year for war correspondents. The war in Iraq is, of cou=
rse, not over and yet we know less about it than ever before. Even events s=
uch as the major assault on Fallujah seem to have moved to the back pages o=
f the Western media. As one British columnist put it before the assault beg=
an, "We won't hear the screams of the civilians".

One major reason for this is that the assault has been reported by correspo=
ndents "embedded' with American military units". So we have seen lots of TV=
 footage of American marines running through the streets of Fallujah firing=
 apparently indiscriminately. Only occasionally have we seen the results of=
 this firing - including a group of Iraqis shouting defiantly 'Allahu Akbar=
' as an American mortar shell collapsed a ceiling over their heads. One mig=
ht think that from the Western point of view the war against insurgents has=
 been going well. That is certainly the view propagated in Washington and L=
ondon. The truth is that it has been going very badly but is now so dangero=
us for independent Western war correspondents and even representatives of t=
he Arab media to move freely around Iraq, that no one really knows what is =

Under the regime of the interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, Iraqi exi=
les report that the multinational forces 'remain immune from legal address =
and are only rarely held accountable for crimes against Iraqis. And while c=
abinet ministers and the US and UK embassies huddle inside a fortified gree=
n zone, Iraqis are denied the basic right of walking safely in their own st=
reets. US tanks rumble by with signs saying "If you pass this convoy you wi=
ll be killed."

Haifa Zangana, an Iraqi novelist now in London, reports that lack of securi=
ty and fear of kidnapping make Iraqi women prisoners in their own homes. "T=
hey witness the looting of their own country by Halliburton and Bechtel, US=
 NGOs, missionaries and mercenaries and local sub-contractors while they ar=
e denied clean water and electricity."

Where in the Western media have you read that under Western occupation acut=
e malnutrition has doubled amongst children, prostitution, back street abor=
tion and honour killing have grown? Where have you read about the napalm, c=
luster bombing and phosphorous bombing by US planes? The death toll is now =
more than 100,000 - half of them women and children.

The response of the US has been to launch a $10,000,000 Iraq Women's Democr=
acy initiative. The aim, according to the State Department, is to "give Ira=
qi women the tools, information and expertise they need to run for office i=
n the forthcoming elections and lobby for fair treatment". Where have you r=
ead that the money will be given mainly to organisations "embedded" with th=
e Americans such as the Independent Women's Forum? Where have you read that=
 the IWF was founded by Dick Cheney's wife, Lynn, and how patronising it is=
 to suggest that Iraqi needed this sort of information when Iraqi women wer=
e actively involved in public life even under the Ottoman empire?

Iraqi women had schools for girls as early as 1899 and by 1933 Unicef was r=
eporting that rarely had women in the Arab world enjoyed as much power as t=
hey did in Iraq. By the early 90's, Iraq had one of the highest literacy ra=
tes in the Arab world and had more professional women in positions of power=
 than in other Middle Eastern nations. These are just a few of the aspects =
of life in Iraq. How many more are we not being told about?

Phillip Knightley is a London-based political commentator


US families of dead soldiers raise 600,000 dollars for Fallujah refugees

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Families of US troops killed in the offensive on the Ir=
aqi city of Fallujah are to travel to Jordan next week with 600,000 dollars=
 worth of humanitarian aid for refugees of the attack.

The November assault on Fallujah left 71 US military dead, according to the=
 families, and the Iraqi government said more than 2,000 Iraqis were killed=

"This delegation is a way for me to express my sympathy and support for the=
 Iraqi people," said Rosa Suarez of Escondido in California.

"The Iraq (news - web sites) war took away my son's life, and it has taken =
away the lives of so many innocent Iraqis. It is time to stop the killing a=
nd to help the children of Iraq," she added in a statement released by the =

The families said with peace groups, physicians' organisations and relative=
s of the September 11, 2001 attacks victims, they raised 100,000 dollars in=
 an internet appeal. Humanitarian groups such as Middle East Children's All=
iance and Operation USA contributed 500,000 dollars worth of medical suppli=

The families are to fly to Amman on December 26 and hand over the supplies =
to humanitarian and medical workers there.


British Cardinal condemns money spent on war efforts
Britain's leading Roman Catholic priest has criticised what he calls the wa=
sting of billions of pounds on war in the Middle East.

In his Christmas Eve message, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, says the bil=
lions being spent on war could have been spent bringing people out of dire =
poverty, malnutrition and disease.

He says Catholics cannot with a clear conscience wish their fellow Christia=
ns in the Middle East and Africa a happy Christmas, unless they are prepare=
d to do everything they can to bring about peace.

"How is it that there is war in Iraq, violence in the Holy Land and the hor=
ror of pain and death amongst the poor and deprived who suffer from injusti=
ce and thus do not find peace?" Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said.

Britain's role in the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been roundly and =
frequently condemned by the country's religious communities.

There are around 4 million Catholics in England and Wales out of a Christia=
n population of some 37 million.



Song for Basra
by David Rovics

[Song for Basra in SPANISH] [Song for Basra in GERMAN]

If I could sing a song for every bomb that flies
I'd sing each and all the days
If there were to be a verse for every dying child's cries
For every helpless father's gaze
If I wrote a love letter to each corpse as it is carried
I'd never still my pen
If I had to stop a moment for each one that's been buried
I'd never move again
And the stocks are going up in some safe place in America
Sing a song for Basra

If I could shed a tear for every home that bombs destroy
I'd never stop crying
If every broken brick were a heart of a little girl or boy
All the world's children would be sighing
If I could hold each shattered body, each baby stilled at birth
I'd have no time for loneliness
I'd spend all my time embracing the people of this savaged earth
Feeling the poisoned wind's caress
And the billionaires are laughing in some safe place in America
Sing a song for Basra

If each barren pharmacy were a woman's shining eyes
I'd fall in love forever
If every bombed-out kindergarten were a factory in disguise
Wouldn't that be clever
But bricks are only bricks, and dust is only dust
And death is all around
Each day another missile falls and sometimes the only thing to trust
Is the shaking of the ground
And they're loading up the warplanes in some safe place in America
Sing a song for Basra

Created July, 2001
Copyright David Rovics 2001, all rights reserved

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