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Re: [casi] Appeal for the release of Dr. Mrs. Huda Ammash; a call to women Worldwide

hi all,
we are doing our best to help oue friend Dr. Huda Ammash. this a story on her and other Iraqi 
scientists I wrote and published in Ahram weekly, the last issue.

   21 - 27 August 2003
Issue No. 652
Region Current issue

Between a rock and a hard place
Scientists in Iraq are coming under intensified scrutiny from coalition authorities frustrated by 
their inability to uncover any weapons of mass destruction, writes Nermeen Al-Mufti from Baghdad

Where are those weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq which provided the convenient pretext 
for invading Iraq? Now that Tony Blair has admitted in front of the British Parliament the 
difficulty of finding WMDs in Iraq, the Bush administration is quietly shifting the emphasis from 
finding the elusive WMDs themselves to searching for more circumstantial evidence regarding Iraq's 
WMD programme.

This change in strategy means that the Americans are finally convinced that there are no WMDs 
currently in Iraq, but still they must find a face-saving formula. The growing witch hunt for Iraqi 
scientists should be perceived within this context. One such maligned scientists is Dr Huda Ammash, 
labelled by the Pentagon as "Mrs Anthrax", arrested on 3 May and accused of developing biological 

Her husband Dr Ahmed Makki said in an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly that in 1994 Ammash received 
the Shoman Prize for Young Arab Scientists, awarded to a single scientist no older than 40, and 
given out by one of the most prestigious independent Arab institutes. Makki believes that this 
testifies to the public, benign nature of her scientific research, while Scott Ritter and others 
have reported that Iraq was devoid of any biological weapons programmes. He feels that Ammash was 
arrested for political reasons, seeing as she had co-authored a damning study on the lingering, 
carcinogenic side effects on soldiers and civilians of the depleted uranium shells that were used 
in Iraq in 1991. Whatever the reason, Ammash is still in the airport detention camp, the place 
Iraqis refer to as Guantanamo.

Meanwhile, many Iraqi scientists and university professors are reporting endless harassment by the 
American forces and intelligence apparatuses. An Iraqi scientist under investigations by the 
coalition forces who preferred to stay anonymous said: "First a team led by Colonel Robert Cadlack 
called the Scientific Assessment Team interviewed us at Baghdad University.... After a while, the 
team was replaced by a Pentagon team, and the interviews became interrogations. Then the team was 
changed again, this time it was a CIA team. After the anthrax investigation, they moved to 
smallpox. They refuse to understand that we are biologists and such weapons needed virologists. And 
despite the fact that our labs for the past decade had been under continuous monitoring, they still 
act as if they don't know anything."

Moreover, many scientists now are afraid of being abruptly imprisoned without access to family, 
friends and legal aid. Armed plainclothes Americans seized Dr Alice Krikore, the head of the 
biotechnology department in Baghdad University from her office. She disappeared for two weeks and 
nobody knew her whereabouts. After her eventual release, it transpired that she had been detained 
and interrogated in the airport. Dr Hazim Al-Rawi of Baghdad University's Medical School is still 
under arrest, denied all visitors, including family members. Al-Rawi had been interrogated in his 
house several times before he was arrested. Dr Anton Sabri, of the School of Veterinary Medicine 
arrested a week ago, is still under arrest. And while the search for evidence of any WMD programme 
continues, most Iraqi scientists are now afraid of being arrested.

A prominent Iraqi scientist who preferred to remain anonymous said: "The Americans tried financial 
incentives first, now they are using detention to force scientists to give information. The irony 
in all this is that many scientists were not hostile to the idea of being interviewed by foreign 
experts, the humiliation of the arrests, and the witch hunt will surely turn them against those who 
want to solicit their cooperation."

To add insult to injury, the Iraqi Interim Governing Council has not uttered a word against this 
witch hunt. And many Iraqis now feel that when the new academic year begins, Iraqi universities 
will have lost most of its senior teaching staff -- if not for their alleged involvement in the 
WMDs programme, then as victims of the deba'athification programme.

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: Dirk Adriaensens []
>Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 04:16 PM
>Subject: [casi] Appeal for the release of Dr. Mrs. Huda Ammash; a call to women Worldwide
>[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]
>Hello all,
>Has anybody seen this appeal for the release of Dr.Huda Ammash before? I don't think it has been 
>posted on this list yet. I think it is necessary that all the people and organisations concerned 
>with the illegality of this war and the use of DU and other genocidal weaponry, join this appeal. 
>We must increase the pressure for the release of this remarkable woman.
>Dirk Adriaensens.
>Appeal for the release of Dr. Mrs. Huda Ammash; a call to women Worldwide
>July 10, 2003
>DR. HUDA AMMASH, Iraqi mother, wife, teacher, scientist
>A call for the release of Dr. Huda Ammash, in detention in Baghdad, held by US military 
>authorities since late April, 2003.
>Ammash is an Iraqi scientist, trained in the USA who is a distinguished member of the Iraqi 
>academic community. Her record of research and publications demonstrates her professional 
>abilities; her career as a committed and highly capable university professor is widely 
>Dr. Ammash's area of training and research is microbiology and since completing advanced studies 
>in these areas (with her PhD from U. Missouri and her MA from a university in Texas), Ammash has 
>devoted herself to university teaching and research. After the Gulf War of 1991, alarmed by the 
>spread of diseases and aware of the toxins entering the environment, Dr. Ammash turned her 
>scientific training to measuring the harmful after-affects of the 1991 bombing and 
>sanctions-related contamination. She conducted research on this problem for almost a decade, 
>publishing her work in English as well as in Arabic language scientific journals. Her article 
>"Pollutin, The Gulf War, and Sanctions," an invited contribution to an important book, Iraq Under 
>Siege, edited by A. Arnove and published by South End Press, Boston, testifies Ammash's scientific 
>capability. This article also directs concerned readers to several other scientific publications 
>by Ammash which are similarly devoted to showing the persistent and growing health hazards 
>generated by the 1991 bombing (including depleted uranium treated weapons) and aggravated by the 
>economic embargo. As a result of her research findings, Ammash became an advocate of lifting the 
>UN embargo, and she publicly criticized US and UN policies related to the embargo. Her experience 
>with the tactics employed at her university by the UN weapons inspectors also led Ammash to take a 
>critical but not opposition position of the United Nations embargo.  In 2001, Ammash, a well 
>spoken individual with a critical mind and an easy ability to communicate across the international 
>spectrum, was elected to the Iraq Supreme Council, the only woman member of this body. This 
>election elevated her to a political post, a role she took on at a time of growing national 
>crisis. Perhaps coming from a distinguished family, with a father who was once a popular political 
>figure, Ammash accepted this role with a sense of duty and commitment. She became active outside 
>the academic community, meeting international delegates who shared her goal of lifting the UN 
>embargo and discussing programs with them. Perhaps because of her roles as teacher and mother, 
>Ammash seemed to focus her efforts on stimulating a dialogue between Iraqi students and other 
>young people across the world. At the time of the US-UK attacks on Iraq on March 20, 2003, Ammash 
>was arranging for at least two TV broadcast satellite hookups between young Iraqis and American 
>Why Ammash is in US custody is unclear and appears totally unjustified. She was judged to be of no 
>political interest by the UN weapons inspection team before March 2003, although US intelligence 
>is said to have given her name to Dr. Blix, the head of UNMOVIC. According to a testimony from 
>South End Press, Dr.Blix, checked out Dr. Ammash record and determined that they would not 
>interview her as one of 500 scientists they were seeking because there was no evidence of her 
>being associated with any weapons related work.
>We call for the release of Dr. Ammash, so she is able to return to her family, to her work in the 
>university, and to the international community. She is among the most articulate, internationally 
>sophisticated Iraqi nationals today, and a model of a professional woman whose participation in 
>the reconstruction of her country is needed, whose assistance in working with women worldwide on 
>behalf of Iraqi intellectuals is valued.
> I (Barbara Nimri Aziz) met Dr. Ammash in 1995 when I interviewed her in the course of my research 
>as a journalist on public health repercussions of the 1991 war and the UN embargo. I was highly 
>impressed by her research, and by her devotion to her students; I also found her good company as a 
>fellow professional woman. Before me, Ammash had suffered breast cancer and when my illness 
>occurred, she offered supporting advice and interest. I visited her several times in Iraq between 
>1995 and 2003 and whenever we met she spoke about her ongoing work, her family and her concern 
>about the intellectual isolation of Iraq from the world. I conduced two formal audio interviews 
>with Dr. Ammash, which I broadcast on WBAI-Pacifica radio in 1999. I also facilitated the 
>scholarly contribution of Dr. Ammash to the book Iraq Under Siege. She took me on a visit to the 
>Iraq Academy of Science. I all our communications, I observed nothing from Dr. Ammash, either in 
>her comments or behavior, that suggested any political motive. While she worked against the 
>sanctions, she never gave the slightest suggestion of any political interest or agenda about any 
>other country or government. For all these reasons, I believe the detention of Dr. Ammash is 
>totally unjustified and I ask others to join me in a call for her release and her return to her 
>family and to the civil society of Iraq as a teacher and researcher.
>posted from
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