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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #171 - 6 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Ho, Ho, Ho - It was about the oil, stupid .... (farbuthnot)
   2. 1)Why should Americans have to die by Patrick J. Buchanan 2) The Neo-tailors (John Churchilly)
   3. Iraqis train Americans (farbuthnot)
   4. Iraq Vs. Tsunami: The Duplicity Of The Media (Mark Parkinson)
   5. Tsunami Disaster Highlights Corporate Media Hypocrisy (Mark Parkinson)
   6. 60,000 people register to vote in Iraq (The Iraq Solidarity Campaign)


Message: 1
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 16:42:15 +0000
Subject: Ho, Ho, Ho - It was about the oil, stupid ....
From: "farbuthnot" <>

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

And an interim government has no such powers- reason for pushing on with th=
farcical elections I wonder, cynically, felicity a.

Printer Friendly Version  E-Mail This Article  =A0
=A0Published on Friday, December 24, 2004 by the Inter Press Service
US to Take Bigger Bite of Iraq's Economic Pie
'Helping' Govt Cut Social Subsidies, Give US Corporations Full Access to
Iraqi Oil

by Emad Mekay
WASHINGTON - The United States is helping the interim Iraqi government
continue to make major economic changes, including cuts to social subsidies=
full access for U.S. companies to the nation's oil reserves and
reconsideration of oil deals that the previous regime signed with France an=
During a visit here this week, officials of the U.S.-backed administration
detailed some of the economic moves planned for Iraq, many of them appearin=
to give U.S. corporations greater reach into the occupied nation's economy.
For example, the current leadership is looking at privatizing the Iraqi
National Oil Company, said Finance Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi.
The government, which is supposed to be replaced after elections scheduled
for January, will also pass a new law that will further open Iraq's huge oi=
reserves to foreign companies. U.S. firms are expected to gain the lion's
share of access in a process estimated to be worth billions of dollars.
"So I think this is very promising to the American investors and to America=
enterprises, certainly to oil companies," Abdel Mahdi said at the National
Press Club in Washington, DC on Tuesday.
Abdel Hadi, formerly a member of the exile Iraqi opposition, said the
interim government will also reconsider deals signed between French and
Russians oil firms and the regime of former President Saddam Hussein. It is
still not clear whether those contracts will be cancelled altogether or jus=
France and Russia both opposed the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the Arab
country and companies from those nations were initially banned by the U.S.
occupation administration, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), from
helping to "rebuild" Iraq.
Washington later said non-U.S. firms could work there, after the world's
rich nations agreed to forgive part of Iraq's debt, a decision that opened
the door to Baghdad signing on to a loan program designed by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF).
But to date all contracts let for "reconstruction" by the U.S. Agency for
International Development (USAID) have gone to U.S. firms, which have then
subcontracted some work to foreign companies.
Iraq's oil sector is essential both to world energy markets and to the
nation's economy. Iraq sits on the planet's second largest oil reserves,
after Saudi Arabia, and oil revenues account for more than 95 percent of th=
country's current budget. (The rest comes mainly from taxes and profits of
certain state-owned enterprises).
Iraq is now producing a maximum 2.5 million barrels of oil a day (bpd),
which drops to around two million bpd during attacks from the armed
But Baghdad says it expects to produce 3.5 million bpd when more U.S.
companies move in and security improves.
"We found it very useful and interesting to hear the representatives of the
government describe some of the preliminary thinking about structuring of
the state-owned oil sector in Iraq," said Alan Larson, undersecretary of
state for economic, business and agriculture, during the press club
conference with Iraqi officials.
Washington is also expanding its influence in Iraq's oil sector via trainin=
During meetings this week of the Iraq-U.S. Joint Economic Commission (JEC),
the body that coordinates U.S. plans for Iraq's economy, Larson said the
United States will provide training for oil-sector personnel, at U.S.
Since it invaded Iraq, the United States has worked to reshape the Arab
nation in its image. All the economic programs., including the most liberal
tax scheme in the Middle East and nearly non-existent trade tariffs,
instituted by the CPA are being continued by the interim government.
Washington has installed hundreds of U.S. economic advisors in all Iraqi
government ministries, who have a decisive say on most economic decisions.
It has also sponsored the bulk of the nation's economic changes, based on a
neo-liberal model that emphasizes privatization of government entities and
cuts to social spending.
One major move the country is inching towards under U.S. guardianship, whic=
was discussed this week, is a rollback of Iraq's huge subsidies system,
which may have kept millions of Iraqis from starvation under U.S. and
UK-backed sanctions imposed by the United Nations after the 1991 Gulf War.
The sanctions lasted for 12 years. A study by the U.N. Children's Fund
(UNICEF) and Iraq's Ministry of Health found that 500,000 more Iraqi
children died under sanctions, from 1991 to 1998, than would have otherwise
perished, but they stressed that not all the deaths could be directly blame=
on the provisions.
It is believed that many more Iraqis would have died if not for a strong
subsidies system that gave food rations to Iraqi families.
Under its October agreement with the IMF, Baghdad's interim leaders agreed
to cut the support, among many other conditions. Officials defended the mov=
during their Washington visit.
"I think this is a necessity for the Iraqi economy," Abdel Mahdi said. "We
really need to work on our subsidy side. Subsidies are taking almost 60
percent of our budget. So this is something we have to work on =8A Other
measures really were a real necessity for the Iraqi economy before
(becoming) conditions asked by the IMF."
Iraqi officials say the country's unemployment rate is now 27 percent, but
some groups have estimated it to be as high as 50 percent.
The IMF has been notorious for imposing conditions that its economists say
are necessary to slash nation's budget deficits.
Development groups and anti-poverty campaigners argue those measures favor
corporations in the most industrialized nations while harming the poor and
middle class in borrowing countries.
The program with Iraq appears to be no different.
Called the "enhanced post-conflict facility," the IMF program bestows 420
million dollars in loans to the Iraqi government as a first step, promising
more in 2005 if the nation meets more demanding conditions.
The IMF, which is dominated by the United States and other rich nations, ha=
said it is willing to loan Iraq 2.5-4.3 billion dollars over three years no=
that an internationally recognized government is in place in the nation.
Washington also brokered talks that began two weeks ago to make Iraq a
member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
During this week's meeting of the JEC, the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) said it will focus on lending for Iraq's
agricultural sector, which will include over 100 demonstration projects
throughout the country to reinvigorate crops and to boost the industry, wit=
the help of U.S. companies.
The United States Treasury and USAID also said they will back a housing fun=
in Iraq, which will start lending in January 2005 and is designed to add
30,000 new residential units in and around Baghdad during the year. Many
U.S. companies will be involved.
Washington is also pushing lending programs. to Iraq through the U.S.
Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the U.S=
Trade and Development Agency, all of which would produce more opportunities
for U.S. firms in the occupied nation.
=A9 Copyright 2004 IPS - Inter Press Service


Message: 2
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 14:59:20 -0800 (PST)
From: John Churchilly <>
Subject: 1)Why should Americans have to die by Patrick J. Buchanan 2) The Neo-tailors
To: analysis CASI- <>

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]
 'Staying the Course' Won't DoPatrick J. Buchanan, AntiWar

December 27, 2004 - In the aftermath of the suicide bombing of the Mosul me=
ss hall, we are being admonished anew we must stay the course in Iraq. But =
"Stay the course!" is no longer enough.

President Bush needs to go on national television and tell us the unvarnish=
ed truth. Why are we still there? For some of Bush's countrymen, there is a=
 sense of having been had, of having been made victim to one of the great b=
ait-and-switches in the history of warfare.

The president, his War Cabinet, and the neocon punditocracy sold us on this=
 war by implying Saddam was implicated in 9/11, that he had a vast arsenal =
of chemical and biological weapons, that he was working on an atom bomb, th=
at he would transfer his terror weapons to al-Qaeda. We had to invade, dest=
roy, and disarm his axis-of-evil regime. Only thus could we be secure.

None of this was true. But the president won that debate and was given a fr=
ee hand to invade Iraq. He did so, and overthrew Saddam's regime in three w=
eeks. "Mission Accomplished!"

That was 20 months ago. What is our mission now? When did it change? With 1=
,300 dead and nearly 10,000 wounded, why are we still at war with these peo=

The president says the enemy is "terrorism" and "evil," and we fight for "d=
emocracy" and that "freedom" that is "God's gift to humanity." All very nob=

But why should Americans have to die for democracy in a nation that has nev=
er known it? Democracy in the Middle East is not vital to our national secu=
rity. For though the Middle East has never been democratic, no Middle East =
nation has ever attacked us. And should we catch a nation that is supportin=
g terror against us, we have the weapons to make them pay a hellish price, =
without invading and occupying their country.

The only nation in the 20th century to attack us was Japan. And Japan lashe=
d out, insanely, in desperation, because we had cut off her oil and convinc=
ed the British and Dutch to cut off the vital commodities she needed to avo=
id imperial defeat in China. We were choking the Japanese empire to death.

We might all prefer that Arab nations be democratic. But that is not vital =
to us. If they remain despotic, that is their problem, so long as they do n=
ot threaten or attack us. But to invade an Islamic country to force it to a=
dopt democratic reforms is democratic imperialism. If we practice it, we mu=
st expect that some of those we are reforming will resort to the time-honor=
ed weapon of anti-imperialists, terrorism =96 the one effective weapon the =
weak have against the strong.

Yet, if our goals appear gauzy and vague, our enemy's war aims appear speci=
fic, concrete, and understandable. They seek our expulsion from Iraq and th=
e eradication of all "collaborators." And the tactics they are using are th=
e same as those the FLN used to drive the French out of Algeria.

To us, democracy may mean New England town meetings. To the Sunnis, democra=
cy means a one-man, one-vote path to power for the Shias, 60 percent of Ira=
q's population, who will dispossess them of the power and place they have h=
eld since Ottoman times. Why should people to whom politics is about power =
=96 "Who, whom?" in Lenin's phrase =96 not fight that? And why should we fi=
ght and die for a Shia-dominated Iraq?

Before addressing his countrymen, the president needs to ask and answer for=
 himself some hard questions. Who told him this would be a "cakewalk"? Who =
misled him to believe we would be welcomed as liberators with bouquets of f=
lowers? Who led him into a situation where his choice appears to be between=
 a seemingly endless guerrilla war that could destroy his presidency, and w=
alking away from Iraq and watching it collapse in mayhem and the massacre o=
f those who cast their lot with us? Why have these fools not been fired, li=
ke the CIA geniuses who sold JFK on the Bay of Pigs?

It is not just President Bush who is in this hellish mess. We're all in it =
together. But the president needs to know that if he intends to use U.S. mi=
litary power to democratize the Middle East, Americans =96 56 percent of wh=
om now believe Iraq was a mistake (
nguage=3Dprinter ) =96 will not follow him.

Finally, the president must answer in his heart this question: Exactly how =
much more blood and money is he willing to plunge into a war for democracy =
in Iraq, and at what point must he decide =96 as LBJ and Nixon did in Vietn=
am =96 that the cost to America is so great that we must get out and risk t=
he awful consequences of a mistaken war that we should never have launched?



The emperor's same, old clothesH.D.S. Greenway

December 17, 2004

ONCE UPON a time there was an emperor who wanted new clothes. He had ascend=
ed to the same throne upon which his father had sat. But for eight long yea=
rs previously usurpers had ruled. Now they were gone, and the new emperor d=
ecreed that everything done in the last eight years would henceforth be con=
sidered wrong. From now only the right would prevail.

So saying, he discarded all the royal garments that reminded him of the usu=
rper, and looked about him for a new firm of royal tailors.

He appointed the firm of Cheney, Chalabi, and Wolfowitz, known as the Tailo=
rs of Baghdad, as his official clothiers. Although it was a fine old firm, =
they had never sold their goods to an emperor before. Indeed the emperor's =
father had rejected them. But because of their wondrous, new, and revolutio=
nary weaving techniques, some of the men in the firm came to be known as ne=

They promised the monarch that he had only to wear their suit of clothes an=
d all Baghdad would fall before him. And not just Baghdad, but all of Araby=
 as well. These liberated realms would accept the emperor's values, and the=
 empire could have access to their oil, their military bases, and all his n=
ew subjects would joyfully fall over one another in praise of the emperor's=
 clothes. Mr. Chalabi even threw in an extra pair of pants for the same pri=

The emperor, a man who valued loyalty above all things, ordered the tailors=
 to make a suit of the same cloth for his Grand Vizier, the most powerful a=
nd influential man in his Cabinet, who served also as the empire's minister=
 for war. Mr. Chalabi offered an extra pair of pants for the Grand Vizier a=
s well.

The wily tailors explained, however, that their new cloth was so special th=
at it would be visible only to the virtuous. To those who lacked virtue the=
 threads would be invisible.

And so they began to work. And late into the night the sounds of their shut=
tlecocks and bobbins could be heard clacking and spinning as the weavers pl=
ied their trade.

On the appointed day the clothes were ready, and the emperor gathered all h=
is courtiers together for an official viewing of his new garments. There wa=
s general applause and compliments from the courtiers, who said that the ne=
w clothes were bold and beautiful and symbolized the greatness of the empir=
e. One courtier, who was in a position to know better, even called the new =
clothes a "slam dunk," and would in due course be given the empire's highes=
t civilian medal.

There were a few who gasped because they saw nothing. But most kept their m=
ouths shut because they didn't want to be seen as without virtue. And the f=
ew who did try to warn the emperor were ignored.

It came to pass that all Baghdad did fall before the emperor, and the tailo=
rs were happy, the king was happy, and above all the Grand Vizier was happy=
 as his rivals lost influence.

But then things started to go terribly wrong. First of all, the empire's ne=
w subjects did not fall down in praise of the emperor's new clothes. They b=
egan to take up arms against him. As the days and months progressed things =
only got worse. The Grand Vizier, it seemed, never had an adequate plan, an=
d the price for the new clothes kept rising. But he was nonetheless asked t=
o continue his good work even as his rivals were banished from court.

One day the Grand Vizier decided to go to Kuwait to boost the morale of his=
 soldiers who were being killed in defense of the empire. He appeared befor=
e them in all his shining robes. Generals, colonels, and captains all clapp=
ed and admired the preening vizier.

But then a young solider spoke up and said to the Grand Vizier: "But you, s=
ir, have no clothes on; just the way we haven't any armor for our trucks, a=
nd we are being sent naked into battle."

Now if Hans Christian Andersen were telling this story, it would become cle=
ar to all that both the emperor and his Grand Vizier were standing naked be=
fore them, but this has not yet come to pass.

And the tailors? Well, Mr. Chalabi has left the firm, but the rest are busy=
 sewing a new set of clothes of which they hope the emperor will approve. I=
t is to be cut from Iranian whole cloth.

H.D.S. Greenway's column appears regularly in the Globe.


Do you Yahoo!?
 The all-new My Yahoo! =96 Get yours free!


Message: 3
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 10:50:43 +0000
Subject: Iraqis train Americans
From: "farbuthnot" <>

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

 Words for once fail, best, felicity a.=A0

Iraqis help US troops prepare for battle - Jordan Times.

=A0 =A0
EDINBURGH, Indiana (AP) =8B As American soldiers attempted to tow a Humvee =
by a fake roadside bomb, Saleh Thanon, an Iraqi national, taunted them with
=B3Criminal, get out of my country!=B2 Thanon yelled in Arabic, heckling th=
troops in a mock Iraqi village. =B3I don't want you in my country. You're
killing people.=B2 Harsh words for someone who professes to love America, b=
Thanon is just doing his job. He's training troops for Iraq, and he wants
them to be ready.
The army has been using Iraqi nationals to help troops develop language and
cultural skills since the invasion of that country in March 2003. They are
among about 1,000 Arabic speakers the army uses for training, said Bob
Close, spokesman for US army Forces Command.
At least eight mobilisation stations are using Iraqis to help guard, reserv=
and active troops prepare for deployments, Close said. Among them are Camp
Atterbury, near Indianapolis; the Joint Readiness Training Centre at Fort
Polk, Louisiana; and the National Training Centre at Fort Irvine,
Some days, the Iraqis play welcoming townspeople, friendly mayors or Iraqi
police; on others, they portray terrorists or hostile villagers.
The training represents a change in philosophy for the military, said David
R. Segal, director of the Centre for Research on Military Organisation at
the University of Maryland. Army troops have long received language help as
they prepared for battle, but cultural training was non-existent in such
conflicts as the Vietnam war, he said.
Winning over the Iraqi people, who play a key role in this mission, is
crucial to success, Segal said. =B3This is a war where cultural knowledge m=
be more important than the number of bullets that you have,=B2 he said.
Many of the participating Iraqis immigrated to the United States after the
1991 Gulf War to escape oppression under Saddam Hussein's regime. Some are
now American citizens.
Their work with US troops is coordinated by defense contractors such as
Goldbelt Eagle, which is paid $15 million to provide role players at five
military bases. President Wayne Smith said applicants typically hear about
the jobs through word of mouth or recruiters.
All participants must pass rigorous screenings by a private investigator an=
the government.
Thanon and his friend Salim Alshimary said they sought the work to help
their homeland.
=B3I love this job, trying to help the US military understand my language a=
my culture and save lives, both of them, the Iraq and the US,=B2 Thanon sai=
Alshimary, 36, of Basra, Iraq, said he deserted from the Iraqi army after
the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. He believes he would have been killed if he ha=
not left the country.
He has been surprised by the post-war violence in his homeland.
=B3We never thought this bad stuff would happen,=B2 he said.
=B3We thought it would be easy and it will be very quick.=B2 It has been
neither, which makes understanding the Iraqi culture essential, participant=
Thanon, who attended Basra University and coached football in Iraq, advises
the troops not to touch women and not to yell at children; both actions
perceived as disrespectful.
In one scenario, he pretends to be the head of a household who won't
cooperate with the troops unless they are polite.
=B3That way, I will help you get into my house and search my house and be
friendly,=B2 Thanon said.
=B3We know the Americans go over to help us, but there are some people in I=
that can't understand that because they see them do things in different
Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Message: 4
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2004 17:22:39 -0000
Subject: Iraq Vs. Tsunami: The Duplicity Of The Media

By: Mike Whitney on: 31.12.2004

The American media has descended on the Asian tsunami with all the
fervor of feral animals in a meat locker. The newspapers and TV=92s are
plastered with bodies drifting out to sea, battered carcasses strewn
along the beach and bloated babies lying in rows. Every aspect of the
suffering is being scrutinized with microscopic intensity by the
predatory lens of the media.

This is where the western press really excels: in the celebratory
atmosphere of human catastrophe. Their penchant for misery is only
surpassed by their appetite for profits.

Where was this =93free press=94 in Iraq when the death toll was
skyrocketing towards 100,000? So far, we=92ve seen nothing of the
devastation in Falluja where more than 6,000 were killed and where
corpses were lined along the city=92s streets for weeks on end. Is
death less photogenic in Iraq? Or, are there political motives behind
the coverage?

Wasn=92t Ted Koppel commenting just days ago, that the media was
restricting its coverage of Iraq to show sensitivity for the
squeamishness of its audience? He reiterated the mantra that filming
dead Iraqis was =93in bad taste=94 and that his American audience would
be repelled by such images? How many times have we heard the same
rubbish from Brokaw, Jennings and the rest of their ilk?

Well, it looks like Koppel and the others have quickly switched
directions. The tsunami has turned into a 24 hour-a-day media frenzy
of carnage and ruin, exploring every facet of human misery in
agonizing detail.

The festival of bloodshed is chugging ahead at full-throttle and it=92s
bumping up ratings in the process.

Corporate media never fails to astound even the most jaded viewer.
Just when it appears that they=92ve hit rock-bottom, they manage to
slip even deeper into the morass of sensationalism. The manipulation
of calamity is particularly disturbing, especially when disaster is
translated into a revenue windfall. Koppel may disparage =93bad taste=94,
but his boardroom bosses are more focused on the bottom line. Simply
put, tragedy is good for business.

When it comes to Iraq, however, the whole paradigm shifts to the
right. The dead and maimed are faithfully hidden from view. No
station would dare show a dead Marine or even an Iraqi national
mutilated by an errant American bomb. That might undermine the
patriotic objectives of our mission: to democratize the natives and
enter them into the global economic system. Besides, if Iraq was
covered like the tsunami, public support would erode extremely
quickly, and Americans would have to buy their oil rather than
extracting it at gunpoint. What good would that do?

Looks like the media=92s got it right: carnage IS different in Iraq
than Thailand, Indonesia or India. The Iraqi butchery is part of a
much grander scheme: a plan for conquest, subjugation and the theft
of vital resources, the foundation blocks for maintaining white
privilege into the next century.

The Iraq conflict is an illustration of how the media is governed by
the political agenda of ownership. The media cherry-picks the news
according to the requirements of the investor class, dumping footage
(like dead American soldiers) that doesn=92t support their policies.
That way, information can be fit into the appropriate doctrinal
package, one that serves corporate interests. It=92s a matter of
selectively excluding anything that compromises the broader, imperial
objectives. Alternatively, the coverage of the Asian tsunami allows
the media to whet the public=92s appetite for tragedy and feed the
macabre preoccupation with misfortune. Both tendencies are an affront
to honest journalism and to any reasonable commitment to an informed

The uneven coverage (of Iraq and the tsunami) highlights an industry
in meltdown. Today=92s privately owned media may bury one story, and
yet, manipulate another to boost ratings. They are just as likely to
exploit the suffering of Asians, while ignoring the pain of Iraqis.
Neither brings us closer to the truth. It=92s simply impossible to
derive a coherent worldview from the purveyors of soap suds and dog
food. They=92re more devoted to creating a compatible atmosphere for
consumerism than conveying an objective account of events.

We need a media that is dedicated to straightforward standards of
impartiality and excellence, not one that=92s rooted in commercialism,
exploitation and hyperbole.

Mark Parkinson


Message: 5
From: "Mark Parkinson" <>
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2004 17:30:54 -0000
Subject: Tsunami Disaster Highlights Corporate Media Hypocrisy

By: AL-FIRDAUS on: 31.12.2004

By Peter Phillips

The terrible earthquake/tsunami disaster, along coastlines of the
Indian Ocean, left tens of thousands dead and many times more people
homeless and weakened. Front pages news stories swept the US
corporate media -12,000 dead, 40,000, 60,000 and 100,000 made
progressive day by day headlines. Twenty-four hour TV news provided
minute by minute updates with added photos and live aerial shots of
the effected regions.

As the days after unfolded, personal stories of survival and loss
were added to the overall coverage. Unique stories such as the 20 day
old miracle baby found floating on a mattress, and the eight year old
who lost both parents and later found by her uncle, were human
interest features. Individualized reports from Americans caught in
the catastrophe made national news and numbers of Europeans, and
North Americans involved were a key part of the continuing story. US
embassies set up hotlines for relatives of possible victims to seek
information. Quickly added into the corporate media mix was coverage
on how the US was responding with relief aid and dollars. In
Crawford, Texas President Bush announced that he had formed an
international coalition to respond to the massive tsunami disaster.

The US corporate media coverage of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster,
for most Americans, was shocking, and emotional. Empathic Americans,
with the knowledge that a terrible natural disaster of huge
significant to hundreds of thousands people had occurred, wanted to
help in any way they could. Church groups held prayer sessions for
the victims, and the Red Cross received an upsurge of donations.

The US corporate media coverage of the tsunami disaster exposes a
huge hypocrisy in the US press. Left uncovered this past year was the
massive disaster that has befell Iraqi civilians. Over 100,000
civilians have died since the beginning of the US invasion and
hundreds of thousands more are homeless and weakened. In late October
2004 the British Lancet medical journal published a scientific survey
of households in Iraq that calculated over 100,000 civilians, mostly
women and children, have died from war related causes. The study,
formulated and conducted by researchers at the Bloomberg School of
Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University and the College of
Medicine at Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, involved a complex
process of sampling households across Iraq to compare the numbers and
causes of deaths before and after the invasion in March 2003. The
mortality rate in these families worked out to 5 per 1,000 before the
invasion and 12.3 per 1,000 after the invasion. Extrapolate the
latter figure to the 22 million population of Iraq, and you end up
with 100,000 total civilian deaths. The most common cause of death
was aerial bombing followed by strokes and heart attacks. Recent
civilian deaths in Fallujah would undoubtedly add significantly to
the total.

The Iraqi word for disaster is museeba. Surly the lose of life from
war in Iraq is as significant a meseeba as the Indian Ocean tsunami,
yet where is the US corporate media coverage of thousands of dead and
homeless? Where are the live aerial TV shots of the disaster zones
and the up-close photos of the victims? Where are the survivor
stories - the miracle child who lived thought a building collapsed by
US bombs and rescued by neighbors? Where are the government
official's press releases of regret and sorrow? Where is the
international coalition for relief of civilians in Iraq and the
upsurge in donations for Red Cross intervention? Would not Americans,
if they knew, be just as caring about Iraqi deaths as they are for
the victims of the tsunami?

The US corporate media has published Pentagon statements on civilian
deaths in Iraq as unknown and dismissed the Lancet Medical Journal
study. It seems US media concerns are for victims of natural
disasters, while the man-made disasters, such as the deliberate
invasion of another country by the US, are better left unreported.

Peter Phillips is a professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University
and director of Project Censored a media research organization.

Peter Phillips Ph.D.
Sociology Department/Project Censored
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Mark Parkinson


Message: 6
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 12:55:17 +0000 (GMT)
From: The Iraq Solidarity Campaign <>
Subject: 60,000 people register to vote in Iraq

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

Marines clear out Fallujah

By Sharon Behn

FALLUJAH, Iraq =97 Marines yesterday cleared bodies from buildings at the s=
cene of their biggest battle since the fall of Baghdad, securing this forme=
r insurgent stronghold for the return of thousands of civilians and upcomin=
g elections. But six weeks before the historic vote, a U.S. official said, =
fewer than 1 percent of eligible Iraqis have responded to a voter-registrat=
ion drive, forcing authorities to look for other ways to build up voter lis=
ts.  Iraqis cite security worries as the main reason for the slow response,=
 with some expressing fears of continued violence and corruption even after=
 the Jan. 30 election for a legislative assembly.

 Those dangers were underscored again as U.S. military officials announced =
early this morning that seven Marines had been killed in two incidents in A=
nbar province, where Fallujah is located. A U.S. statement said the Marines=
 were killed while conducting "security and stabilization operations." Stil=
l, U.S. military and government officials, as well as involved Iraqis, are =
putting enormous efforts into getting out the vote, convinced that a succes=
sful election will establish a legitimate government and declaw a vicious i=
nsurgency. "What we are doing now is fighting the bad guys, taking care of =
them before the elections," said 23-year-old Lance Cpl. Josh Byrne of Illin=
ois, standing inches deep in mud in front of his vehicle.  He and his comra=
des had found several bodies =97 some of them Syrians and Chechens =97 as t=
hey cleared rooms and buildings in what had been the country's main strongh=
old for insurgents and terrorists. "We are cleaning up the city and providi=
ng security for anybody who
 wants to build the place back up and give them everything like we have bac=
k home," Cpl. Byrne said. One military official, waiting for a helicopter r=
ide out of the city, said the streets in Fallujah still "smell like death."=
 But, Cpl. Byrne said, "It's the live ones you've got to worry about." Occa=
sional battles are still taking place amid the rubble of the low-lying city=
 just west of Baghdad. U.S. and Iraqi forces clashed with guerrillas in sev=
eral Fallujah suburbs yesterday, ending with U.S. air strikes on suspected =
enemy hide-outs.  Iraqi election officials have asked U.S. forces to help t=
hem set up blast barriers and assist with force protection in advance of th=
e January elections. The Iraqis "are very excited about democracy," said Ma=
j. Ben Wild, an elections officer working in Fallujah. "What they are worri=
ed about are suicide bombers and intimidation." That fear is not isolated t=
o Fallujah. Residents of Baghdad also are saying they are not sure whether =
they are willing to
 risk their lives to cast their ballots, expressing fears that polling stat=
ions will be targeted.  Others swear they will not be deterred. One of thos=
e is the spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission, the group set =
up by the United Nations to organize the election. "They can't hit every si=
ngle polling station," said Farid Ayar, sitting in his tiny office in the h=
eavily protected green zone. "For me, a man who suffered under Saddam, I fe=
el that this election is a turning point to create a new Iraq," he said. "I=
 am over 60, and I never voted in my life, so I find this a challenge =97 t=
o go once in my life to vote." But Mr. Ayar, like everyone in Iraq, recogni=
zes that security is a major issue. He rarely goes into the city streets an=
ymore, especially because his face has become well-known after months of pr=
omoting the election in national and international news outlets.  Because t=
here is no reliable census information, voter lists have been put together =
based on U.N.
 food-rationing lists from the era of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, with =
everyone on those lists being sent a form to verify its accuracy.   But onl=
y 60,000 to 70,000 people in a country of about 25 million have responded =
=97 about .25 percent =97 and authorities are now looking for other ways to=
 qualify citizens to vote. "Iraqis want democracy, but they know if they re=
ach out, they will get shot," said a U.S. official in Baghdad who declined =
to be identified.

In Mosul, carloads of voter-registration cards were burned by those trying =
to stop the vote. Any final ballot count will have to depend on helicopters=
 to ferry the papers to Baghdad to avoid road ambushes. But U.S. and top Ir=
aqi officials are determined to make sure that the election works. The U.S.=
 Agency for International Development (USAID) has pumped $86 million into o=
rganizations such as the International Republican Institute and National De=
mocratic Institute to work with local Iraqis on organizing the vote. They a=
lso have worked to set up elected town councils, which USAID administrator =
Andrew Natsios credits with having helped create a political base that the =
national elections can draw on.

"This is an emotional turning point for the country," Mr. Natsios told The =
Washington Times during a visit to Baghdad. "It will give legitimacy to the=
 new government." Mr. Natsios predicted that a majority of Sunnis would tak=
e part in the vote in spite of a threatened boycott. Indeed, two moderate, =
mainly Sunni Muslim parties announced yesterday that they would field slate=
s of candidates. Long favored by Saddam, the minority Sunnis lost their pol=
itical clout with his fall, and now feel they are getting a raw deal politi=
cally. They are demanding more time to organize. Some Sunni leaders have as=
ked the interim government to delay the election while others, such as fire=
brand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have threatened to not participate at all. Som=
e international leaders, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.N. =
representative Lakhdar Brahimi, have said Iraq is not ready to hold electio=
ns because of the continuing high level of car bombs, insurgent attacks, mo=
rtar attacks and
But Mr. Ayar dismissed that advice. "He is not here to judge the security s=
ituation," he said of Mr. Brahimi. "He is sitting somewhere in Switzerland.=
 He is not playing any role.  "He can't be better than me =97 this is my co=
untry, I know my country. We will go ahead with this election, and we will =
do it well," Mr. Ayar said.

The Iraq Solidarity Campaign

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