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Re: [casi] the real story behind the arrest of Dr. Huda Saleh Mehdi Amash

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

May 8, 2003
Jailed for Exposing Costs of Sanctions & War?

Dr. Huda Ammash's Detention -


The US occupation military forces in Iraq recently detained Dr. Huda Sali Mahdi Ammash, a Iraqi 
scientist. South End Press, the publishers of Dr. Huda Ammash, in a press release has suggested 
that "there may be political motivation for her detention." Dr. Ammash published a peer-reviewed 
paper, "Toxic Pollution, the Gulf War, and Sanctions," in an anthology Iraq Under Siege (South End 
Press, undated edition, 2002), edited by Anthony Arnove. Co-publisher of the anthology, Alexander 
Dwinell said: "We are outraged at the U.S.'s extra-legal detention of Dr. Ammash and its plans to 
interrogate her. We demand that Dr. Ammash be released immediately." He added: "The US government 
is trying to silence Dr. Ammash's outspoken criticism of the US role in causing cancers and other 
illnesses in Iraq through its own use of biologically hazardous weapons such as radioactive deleted 

In her paper, "Toxic Pollution, the Gulf War, and Sanctions," Dr Ammash examines the effects of 
United States' use of depleted uranium during the first Persian Gulf War, the spread of 
electro-magnetic fields in the environment, chemical pollution, and massive destruction of Iraq's 
infrastructure on public health. Her assessment of the overall effect is that US actions are 
largely responsible for the deterioration of public health in Iraq. She writes: "Iraqi death rates 
have increased significantly, with cancer representing a significant cause of morality, especially 
in the south and among children." This view is shared by other scientists and experts.

According to biographical details that are available from various sources, Professor Ammash was 
born on 1953 in Baghdad. He obtained her B.Sc., in Biology from University of Baghdad in 1975 and 
her M.S., in Microbiology from Texas University, Denton, Texas. In 1983 she obtained her Ph.D., in 
Microbiology from University of Missouri at Columbia, Missouri, USA. She elected a Fellow of 
Islamic Academy of Science (IAS) in 2001. She has had a distinguished academic and professional 
career in Iraq. She served as Dean of College of Education for Women, University of Baghdad and as 
Dean of College of Science (1995-1997). Her publications include, "Impact of Gulf War Pollution in 
the Spread of Infection Diseases in Iraq" (Soli Al-Mondo, Rome 1999) and "Electronic, Chemical, and 
Mircobial Pollution Resulting from War and Embargo, and its Impacts on the Environment and Health," 
(Journal of the [Iraqi] Academy of Science, 1997).

The US occupation forces had listed Dr. Ammash among the 55 most-wanted Iraqi officials. Dr. Ammash 
is the daughter of Saleh Mahdi Ammash, a former vice-president, defense minister and member of the 
Baath party's leadership. He was reportedly executed on Saddam Hussein order in 1983.

The US authorities have not given any reason for Dr. Ammash's detention. She was shown on Iraqi 
television on March 27th sitting next at the same table as Saddam Hussein. That cannot be 
sufficient ground for detention. Attending a meeting with a dictator of a country under attack by a 
foreign superpower is not a crime. Donald Rumsfeld had no qualms about attending a meeting with 
Saddam Hussein at the height of the regime's brutality.

The US has been unable to find any concrete evidence of the existence of weapons of mass 
destruction in Iraq. The arrests of Iraqi scientists and technicians may be an attempt to (a) 
concoct some circumstance evidence of an Iraqi program for developing weapons of mass destruction, 
(b) mute criticism of United States' occupation by Iraqi scholars and scientists, and (c) stifle 
Iraqi's technological and scientific potential for years to come. Since the US has offered no 
reasons of Dr. Ammash's detention, one can only speculate about its reasons for her detention.

However, occupation authorities have an obligation under international law to follow the rules and 
procedures of Geneva Convention. The US has shown a consistent pattern of disregarding 
international laws and norms unless it suits its purpose. Hence, it is up to the people of the 
United States to compel the US occupation authorities to at least abide by minimum acceptable 
standards of civilized nations. The progressive community should demand the unconditional release 
of Dr. Huda Ammash as part of its campaign to end the illegitimate US occupation of Iraq.

----- Original Message -----
From: "pjw8" <Philippa.Winkler@NAU.EDU>
To: "Dirk Adriaensens" <>; "soc-casi-discuss" 
Sent: Friday, May 09, 2003 5:47 PM
Subject: RE: [casi] the real story behind the arrest of Dr. Huda Saleh Mehdi Amash

> A week ago, Karen Parker, Leuren Moret and I sent a press release to this list
> indicating a coverup of the impacts of DU in progress by US invasion forces in
> Iraq. This news about Dr Amash, a leading expert on the impacts of DU in Iraq,
> reinforces that view. I also can't help but be suspicious of the unfettered
> looting of the Iraqi uranium facility as reported by the Jordan Times. Any
> cancer studies in Iraq will now have to take this event into account...thus
> obscuring impacts of the US/UK for the use of DU, which the UN Sub-commission
> on the Protection and Promotion of Rights has declared illegal under the
> operation of law.
> Thanks Dirk for bringing the work of Dr Amash to our attention again. A
> campaign should be mounted on her behalf, perhaps with the help of the
> Physicians for Social Responsibility,
> Philippa Winkler
> >===== Original Message From Dirk Adriaensens <>
> =====
> >[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]
> >
> >Dear all,
> >
> >I met Huda Saleh Mehdi Amash three times in Baghdad, and on these occasions
> she impressed us with very clear explanations on the political world-situation
> and the use of DU in Iraq by the US and the health situation of the Iraqi
> population in general. I remember her as a very intelligent person. I could
> easily understand why she, being a woman, was elected in the government in
> 2001 to represent the trade-unions. In this mail you can read an interview we
> had with her during our international peace mission in april 2002. On our last
> meeting in january 2003, she was minister of education.
> >I was quite surprised when she figured on the US cardgame. I kept wondering
> why. After reading the next article,  I begin to understand. I suggest you to
> read this mail. Specially those, like Philippa and Jo Baker, who have a
> special interest in DU.
> >Greetings.
> >Dirk Adriaensens.
> >
> >
> >
> >FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 7th, 2003 CONTACT:
> >Alexander Dwinell
> >
> >On the detention of Dr. Huda S. Ammash
> >
> >The U.S. publishers of Dr. Huda S. Ammash assert that there may be political
> motivations for her detention on Monday, May 5 in Baghdad by the U.S. military
> on allegations that she oversaw Iraq's purported development of biological
> weapons. Dr. Ammash, Dean of Baghdad University, is the author of "Toxic
> Pollution, the Gulf War, and Sanctions," a peer reviewed research paper
> published in _Iraq Under Siege_ (South End Press, 2002) an anthology that
> examined the effects of the Gulf War and sanctions on Iraq.
> >
> >United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC)
> spokesperson Hiro Ueki has confirmed to South End Press that based on earlier
> research "UNMOVIC did not single Dr. Ammash out for interviews because UNMOVIC
> did not have clear evidence to link Dr. Ammash to BW [biological weapons]
> programs" when visiting Baghdad University on January 13th, 2003.
> >
> >"We are outraged at the U.S.'s extra-legal detention of Dr. Ammash and its
> plans to interrogate her. We demand that Dr. Ammash be released immediately,"
> said co-publisher Alexander Dwinell. "The U.S. government is trying to silence
> Dr. Ammash's outspoken criticism of the U.S. role in causing cancers and other
> illnesses in Iraq through its own use of biologically hazardous weapons such
> as radioactive deleted uranium."
> >
> >Dr. Ammash, an environmental biologist and professor at Baghdad University,
> received her <Ph.D>. from the University of Missouri. She has earned
> international respect for her publications, particularly her documentation of
> the rise in cancers among Iraqi children and war veterans since the Gulf
> >War. In _Iraq Under Siege_ she writes: "Iraqi death rates have increased
> significantly, with cancer representing a significant cause of mortality,
> especially in the south and among children."
> >
> >When visited in Baghdad by a group of NGO representatives and former UN
> officials in January 2003, Dr. Ammash stated: "People here bear every respect
> for Western people and Western civilization. We respect your technological
> accomplishments and your values..Yet hatred is being manufactured by some to
> engineer a clash of civilizations."
> >
> >Dr. Ammash's other publications include: "Impact of Gulf War Pollution in the
> Spread of Infectious Diseases in Iraq," (Soli Al-Mondo, Rome, 1999), and
> "Electromagnetic, Chemical, and Microbial Pollution Resulting from War and
> Embargo, and Its Impact on the Environment and Health," (Journal of the
> >[Iraqi] Academy of Science, 1997).
> >
> >South End Press 7 Brookline Street #1, Cambridge, MA 02139
> >(617) 547-4002 Fax: (617) 547-1333
> ><>w<>
> >
> >
> >Conference given by miss  Huda Saleh Mehdi Amash for the International Peace
> Mission april 2002
> >
> >The academician and politician Huda Saleh Mehdi Amash on the 'arms
> inspections'
> >
> >
> >
> >"They raised 280.000 questions about our instruments of  laboratory and it
> was necessary to answer until the last "
> >
> >
> >"We are proud of being able to introduce a lady to you who is at the  same
> time important a scientist and a great politician."  In this way, Doctor  Al
> Hashimi of Iraqi Association for friendship, peace and solidarity introduced
> the conference of Mrs. Huda Saleh Mehdi Amash on tuesday april 16 for the
> European peace delegation.  This young woman, member of the regional command
> of the socialist and Arabic Baath party will make honor to her reputation.  A
> literal report.
> >
> >Noted by Kris Merckx
> >
> >Thank you for having taken the long and painful trip to arrive here.  This
> gives to the Iraqi people courage in his fight against the criminal embargo
> which is imposed in an illegal way on all  the nation.  The embargo is a
> double crime because it prevents us from taking adequate measures against the
> consequences of the depleted uranium (DU) in the weapons used by the United
> States. Notice, that they used them while our tanks were not in Kuwait but
> retreating on the Iraqi territory. They shot more than one million balls
> containing depleted uranium. Different balls qualibres: 120 mm, 35 mm and 25
> mm. 80% of the touched  tanks are still in the south. You can go to see them,
> but we do not  want you to be confronted with this danger.
> >
> >During the explosion of the balls, uranium oxide is formed, a white powder
> which does not dissolve in water. This is why it remains in the environment.
> It can be inhaled, passes through the lungs in the blood circulation until it
> reaches the bones or the kidneys. Where it will remain definitively. It
> diffuses radioactive rays inside the body there. The radiation will only
> decrease by half after more than 4000 million years (the 'half-life time').
> This represents more than the duration of existence of our planet. [ 1 ]
> >
> >An Iraqi team showed for the first time in 1993 the use of depleted uranium.
> Previously the United States denied the existence of such projectiles. Then,
> they have, with the assistance of German scientists, pretended that the level
> of pollution is not harmful. Another Iraqi team, thereafter, showed the
> contamination of animals and plants. Thus pollution enters the food chain. The
> next answer of the Americans was: 'There will only be a prove if you isolate
> uranium from contaminated tissue of the body'.  Eh well, a Canadian doctor,
> Harry Sherma of the University of Waterloo, showed the presence of depleted
> uranium in the urine of 30 veterans of the Gulf War. They secrete on average 2
> micrograms per ml of urine per day, and this 8 years after the War of the
> Gulf. You can imagine the consequences of the daily exposure to the radiation
> which causes cancer and  which affects the immune system too. You will note
> the great  incidence (= presence) of cancers and other diseases around the
> city of the south, Bassora, where the war prevailed.
> >
> >The Embargo blocks the fight against cancers of uranium
> >
> >Anti-oxidants like the vitamins E, A, C and the  betacarotene can protect
> people against cancers. But the embargo did not enable us to protect ourselves
> by these vitamins, present in healthy food.  The famous program ' Oil for
> food' (OFF where the  authorized sale of a quantity limited of oil in order to
> be able to buy food and drugs) brings to Iraq neither enough of food, nor
> enough drugs. This term was deliberately used to manipulate the international
> opinion, to give the impression that the Iraqi people would have from now on
> to eat.
> >
> >Food that is given us consisted only of flour and yeast to make bread, sugar,
> oil.. But for us, food before the war meant also: meat, dairy products,
> vegetables, fruits, poultry...  But we could not any more get these products,
> and thus people of the south diffuse the contamination. I met an American
> woman working in a humans rights organisation. She did not know that the
> program OFF allowed us neither drugs nor a complete food, although she had
> worked herself for the UN. I said to her: 'Just read the MOU, the memorandum
> of understanding on the OFF-program and you will see.'
> >
> >Chemotherapy is not sufficiently available. Some of the cancerous patients
> reacted well to new cytostatic [ 2 ]   Texor or Texotir (French mark).  Their
> tumours decreased....  after having received some amounts thanks to the
> efforts of friends like you. But the reserve became scare, the tumours
> reappeared and the patients died.
> >
> >         The use of weapons of depleted uranium is not  prohibited
> explicitly. But there is a general prohibition on weapons which cause
> 'extensive damage and of long duration'.  This is here certainly the case.  As
> to 'long duration': the radiation decreases only with half that in 4,5 billion
> years.  And do the cause 'extensive damage'? Certainly because it continues to
> cause cancers during all these years to millions of people.
> >
> >The United States want to get rid of the old resolution of  the United
> Nations
> >
> >They now seek old and new reasons to attack Iraq.  The only true  reason is
> that Iraq said NO to the new imperialism, but also because we want to defend
> our sovereignty and our freedom. The hidden intention of the United States is
> that they want to obtain a new  resolution of the United Nations. Indeed, the
> resolution of 1991  accepted by the UN and Iraq was completely implemented by
> Iraq. It is time now that UN lift the sanctions.
> >
> >The resolution, precisely in article 14, mentions that if Iraq destroys its
> weapons of massive destruction, these latter must also disappear from all
> Middle East, therefore also in Israel. Time to carry out also this article has
> come. Especially as the international pressure to do that grows.
> >
> >For this reason the E.U. want to attack again Iraq. And they seek all kinds
> of pretexts: Iraq should support terrorism, should still produce weapons  of
> massive destruction, prohibit the access of arms-inspectors... One pretext
> follows the other, that they don't have in fact anything solid. And indeed,
> for any the reasons given there exists neither an indication nor a proof.
> >
> >Pilot-terrorists trained in a No-fly-zone?!
> >
> >We oppose terrorism. In 1980 we were ourselves victims, when in the
> university a grenade was launched towards our actual vice-prime-minister,
> Tariq Aziz.  It burst among the students and made several deaths. And how
> could we give money to the terrorists?  All  the money that we receive for the
> sale of oil must pass through a French  bank. The sanctions do not allow that
> foreign currencies are traded by the Iraqi banks. So, the groups supporting
> terrorists can not purchase those funds here. The no-fly-zones imposed on us
> in the north and the south of our country makes the schooling of these
> terrorist pilots impossible, even if we would like to do so. In opposition to
> what occurs in the banks of  the US and other big Western banks, laundry of
> black or criminal money is impossible in our country. As the international
> airline companies can not use our airports, hijackers can't do anything here.
> The US don't have any proof, but in more there isn't any logic in their
> charges.
> >
> >Weapons of massive destruction?  We are not even able any more to make
> analyses of stool!
> >
> >Then the second reason.  They say that 'the regime' -so they call our
> government in a despising way- develops weapons of destruction massive.  We
> cannot even receive a letter of 20 grams coming from Great Britain or the US,
> because that is prohibited.  We cannot receive the instruments necessary to
> pass an auditive test to a child, or to make a stooltest in a child having
> diarrhoea because there could be "a double use " (= to make  biological
> weapons etc of them), but nevertheless we would be capable to manufacture
> weapons of massive destruction! In fact any import falls under the control of
> commission 661 from the UN charged  to supervise the application of the
> sanctions.  These weapons of massive destruction are very expensive and
> require a very sophisticated technology. If not, more of half of the world
> could manufacture some and would have already done it, even very poor
> countries like Congo, Niger...
> >
> >'Arms inspections '... at the universities.
> >
> >Then there would be our attitude vis--vis the arms inspections. I was
> personally confronted with this. I teach microbiology to the students of the
> 3rd year of medicine who have, like everywhere in the world, this subject in
> that year. As academicians we have nothing to do with the production of
> weapons. What you call 'campus', we call it 'sacred place', as for a church or
> a mosque. The Iraqi law prohibited even a traffic policeman the access to the
> campus, but the inspectors of weapons  wanted to come there and they came
> there.  Let us make a rapid calculation now together.
> >
> >There are 8 universities which have each one of the 6 faculties concerned:
> exact sciences, medicine, the veterinary medicine, engineers, agronomy and
> pharmacology.  That made 8 x  6 = 48
> >
> >Each one of these faculties has 3 departments: chemistry, physics and
> biochemistry.  Therefore 48 x 3 = 144.
> >
> >On average each department has at least 10 laboratories.  Therefore 144 x 10
> = 1440.  Let us say that on the average they have 15 apparatuses: 8
> microscopes, 3 balances etc.  That gives 1440 x 15 = 21.600
> >
> >For each apparatus it is necessary to fill a form as that which I show you.
> There are 13 questions such as: which is the name of the instrument? when was
> it bought? from which country was it imported? via which port?  etc. At the
> end, 21.600 forms about the same number of apparatuses, with each 13
> questions, means 21.600 x 13 = 280.800 questions.
> >
> >One stupid question without answer? Prolongation of  the  sanctions!
> >
> >We have here in Iraq the oldest university of the world, founded to the 9th
> century. Some instruments are thus very old.  Thus we found a microscope of
> 1957 of which we did not  know by which port it had been imported.  Was This
> Dubai? Or Damas?  We thus did not answer the question. When the plate with the
> mark of  the refrigerator was broken or illegible - Westinghouse or  Philips?
> -  we did not answer the question. With which consequences? That towards the
> external world the UN-officials told: 'Iraq does not comply completely with
> the resolutions of the UNO' and in that way the sanctions are each 6 months
> prolonged. We have been supporting this during 8 years. Didn't that last
> enough? We find that it is urgent  to examine the mechanisms of the
> inspections: is this effective? is  this really a control?
> >
> >But did Iraq give enough time to the inspectors? They wanted  6 months, we
> gave them 8 years! Half million of children died during this period. And did
> Iraq give them enough facilities? We gave them cars, their daily wages going
> from 1000 to 3000 dollars, and that for 1000 inspectors. All that paid by the
> Iraqis who suffered from hunger until death. The majority of people in the
> world do not know that we pay them (they take the money on our credits blocked
> abroad). And all that while our nation is dying from starvation.
> >
> >That lasted for 8 years and half. Wasn't it time to say or 'the work is
> finished', or 'the mechanism is not efficient' or.. 'we are here for other
> thing, for instance spying'. That's the point of view of Iraq. We will not let
> die another half a million of children to let you do something that has
> nothing to do with arms inspection.
> >
> >We have 104 non-governmental organizations (NGO) in Iraq. Inform the world
> about the problems and the sufferings which they face. These NGOs are really
> non-governmental and independent.  They are  financed by the members. They can
> attend congresses and workshops abroad and can invite people from abroad. They
> represent a whole spectrum of specialists:  medical specialists (45 NGOs),
> economic actors, lawyers, artists, actors, basic scientists including
> informaticians, biologists and mathematicians. If somebody among you works in
> one of these sectors, that he or she contacts these NGO. They have enormous
> needs, help them!
> >
> >Question-time
> >
> >Question of Dr. Stephanie De Maesschalck (Medicine for the  People, Belgium)
> >
> >Are there investigations and studies which show that the  incidence of
> cancers and especially of leukaemia's increases?
> >
> >Because some say that uranium does not penetrate in the bonemarrow where the
> blood cells are formed and thus also the leukaemia's.
> >
> >Miss Huda.
> >
> >Three weeks ago a conference was held on this subject and we will give you
> the accounts in two specimens. But you will go to Basorah where the majority
> of the cases occurred. Record simply what you will see there. And look also to
> what we, doctors, observe these last years, in our private clinics.
> Previously we had two cases of cancer per month, currently we have two of them
> per day, and in Basora even 6 per day. When, in the same family, 15 people are
> affected by cancer, I think that things are clear.
> >
> >I warn you for the dangers of depleted uranium (DU). A directive of the World
> Health Organization (WHO) says that no test can be made with radioactive
> products, on an individual or a group, without the consent of the people
> concerned and without the control of the International Agency for Atomic
> Energy (IAEA) in Vienna. We can't perform tests ourselves because the IAEA
> will not permit it..  Do not count on the WHO, but look at the facts. Perhaps
> yes, they will propose a plan of a study over 10 years, to see whether the
> depleted uranium plays a role. Meanwhile the nation will die of leukaemia's
> and other cancers.
> >
> >Why wouldn't DU pass into the bone marrow? If a Canadian doctor, not an
> Iraqi, proved that it is still present in the urine after 8 years, why
> shouldn't it pass into the bone marrow? Believe me, and act now.
> >
> >Question.
> >
> >Does the danger of depleted uranium also exist apart from the area of the
> south?
> >
> >Miss Huda
> >
> >Yes, because the particles are carried by the wind and do not stop at any
> border. I read in reports that the incidence of cancers increased in Koweit.
> But they cannot speak about it high, because of the American pressure which is
> very strong.
> >
> >'On the base of our socialist values, we are against  fundamentalism since a
> long time'
> >
> >Question of the German journalist Rainer Rupp (Junge Welt)
> >
> >We noticed that all Western consumer products are available in the stores and
> that ther are construction sites everywhere.  It is also what the BBC showed
> two day ago in a  report. So, you cannot pretend that Iraq is short of money?
> >
> >Miss Huda
> >
> >The deal ' Oil for food and medicine' excludes the arrival of the money of
> the oil sales in Iraq. The products in the stores belong to private people,
> who buy them with the money of members of  the family working in Austria,
> Jordan, Germany, Lybia, Australia...  Those buy products for you, give you
> money to start a trade.  The State thus does not intervene there with money.
> The activities of construction or maintenance of buildings or roads are
> financed in dinars, that don't have any value out of the borders. I speak
> frankly with you:  with our dinars you could not finance a terrorist, even for
> one cent. We are against terrorism because our civilization is 10.000 years
> old. Our ideology is in contradiction with that of the Islamic
> fundamentalists. It is socialist and progressive.  We are not  communist, but
> we were good friends with the Soviet Union and all the Communist Parties. From
> our values, we are opposed to fundamentalism for a much longer time.
> >
> >
> >
> >_______________________________________________
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