Testimony on War Crimes and the Recent Situation in Iraq
Pictures of a crying Iraqi woman and injured Iraqi childeren appear on a poster at the second day session of the World Tribunal on Iraq Istanbul session in Topkapi Palace

Photo: AFP/Cem Turkel
Pictures of a crying Iraqi woman and injured Iraqi childeren appear on a poster at the second day session of the World Tribunal on Iraq Istanbul session in Topkapi Palace.
by Dahr Jamail
In May of 2004 I was interviewing a man who had just been released from Abu Ghraib.   Like so many I interviewed from various US military detention facilities who'd been tortured horrifically, he still managed to maintain his sense of humor.
Beat prisoners
He began laughing when telling of how US soldiers made him beat other prisoners.   He laughed because he told me he had been beaten himself prior to this, and was so tired that all he could do to beat other detained Iraqis was to lift his arm and let it drop on the other men.
Later in the same interview when telling of another story he laughed again and said, "The Americans brought electricity to my ass before they brought it to my house."
Ongoing violations of International law
But this testimony is not about the indomitable spirit of the Iraqi people.
About the dignity and strength of Iraqis, we need no testimony.
This testimony is about ongoing violations of international law being committed by the occupiers of Iraq on a daily basis in regards to rampant torture, the neglect and impeding of the health care sector and the ongoing failure to allow Iraqis to reconstruct their infrastructure.
To discuss torture — there are so many stories I could use here, but I'll use two examples which are indicative of scores of others I documented while in Iraq.
Destruction and Humiliation Victims of the Anglo-American Aggression in Iraq

Civilians make up 98 percent of the millions of dead and injured victims since the invasion.

Photo: Al-atheer.com
Ali Shalal Abbas was living in the Al-Amiriyah district of Baghdad.   So many of his neighbors were detained that friends urged him to go to the nearby US base to try to get answers.
Since he worked for civil administration, he went three times to get answers as to why so many innocent people were being detained during US home raids.
On the fourth time he was detained himself, despite not being charged with any crime.   This was September 13th, 2003.   Within two days he was transferred from a military base to Abu Ghraib, where he was held for over three months.
"The minute I got there, the suffering began," said Abbas, "I asked him for water, and he said after the investigation I would get some.   He accused me of so many things and asked me so many questions.   Among them he said I hated Christians."
He was forced to strip naked shortly after arriving, and remained that way for most of his stay in the prison.   "My hands were enlarged because there was no blood because they cuffed them so tight.   My head was covered with the sack, and they fastened my right hand to a pole with handcuffs.   They made me stand on my toes to clip me to it."
Abbas said soldiers doused him in cold water while holding him under a fan, and oftentimes, "They put on a loudspeaker, put the speakers on my ears and said, "Shut Up, Fuck Fuck Fuck!"
Treatment included holding a loaded gun to his head to make him not cry out in pain as his hand-ties were tightened.
He was not provided water and food for extended periods of time.   Sleep deprivation via the aforementioned method was the norm.
Crutches on
the side of him
Body of loved one — man with disability — in home in Fallujah.

Photo: http://dahrjamailiraq.com/
Body of loved one — man with disability — in home in Fallujah when US forces attacked December 2004
Send you to hell
Abbas said that at one point, "Two men came, one a foreigner and one a translator.   He asked me who I was.   I said I'm a human being.   They told me, "We are going to cut your head off and send you to hell.   We will take you to Guantanamo.?"
A female soldier told him, "Our aim is to put you in hell so you would tell the truth.   These are the orders we have from our superiors, to turn your lives into hell."
Another time one of the guards said it was time for "celebrations."
"They made some of the detainees strip naked and threw cold water on them," said Abbas, "And made them run and smash their faces against the walls while the guard was whistling."
Other treatment included, as Abbas added, "They put us on top of each other while we were naked.   They made us lay on top of each other naked as if it was sex, and beat us with a broom."
I am a donkey
A female guard told the male detainees that the penis of a dog was longer than theirs, and for Abbas and several other detainees she made them strip naked, tied their hands tightly behind their backs, threw them on the ground, and made them say, "I am a donkey" over and over while they were forced to lick the ground.
Other treatment included having their food thrown in the trash in front of them and beating them on their genitals.   Abbas added, "They shit on us, used dogs against us, used electricity and starved us.
He also said, "They cut my hair into strips like an Indian.   They cut my mustache, put a plate in my hand, and made me go beg from the prisoners, as if I was a beggar."
Desecration of his religion was, of course, included as part of their humiliation.
Abbas was made to fast during the first day of Eid, the breaking of the fast of Ramadan, which is haram (forbidden).
He told me that one day a female soldier stripped naked and other soldiers held his eyes open to make him look at her.    Sometimes at night when he would read his Koran, he had to hold it in the hallway for light.   "Soldiers would walk by and kick the Holy Koran, and sometimes they would try to piss on it or wipe shit on it."
Abbas did not feel this was the work of a few individual soldiers.   "This was organized, it wasn't just individuals, and every one of the troops in Abu Ghraib was responsible for it."
The Americans are the teachers
He added, "Saddam Hussein used to have people like those who tortured us.   Why do they put Saddam into trial, but they do not put the Americans to trial.   I have full confidence that Saddam used to do these things, because he is a stupid student.   But the Americans are the teachers."
Towards the end of his interview, Abbas stated, "America does not have a future in the world, the statue of liberty has been smashed by the boots of the American troops.   And this is all because of Abu Ghraib.   Saddam Hussein was a cruel enemy to us.   I hoped that I was killed by him though, rather than being alive with the Americans.   After this journey of torture and suffering, what else can I think?"
Other Iraqis, such as Sadiq Zoman, didn't have it as good as Abbas.   55 year-old Zoman, detained from his home in Kirkuk in a raid by US soldiers that produced no weapons, was taken to a police office in Kirkuk, the Kirkuk Airport Detention Center, the Tikrit Airport Detention Center and then the 28th Combat Support Hospital, where he was treated by Dr. Michael Hodges, a US army medic.
Hypoxic brain injury
Dr. Hodges' medical report listed the primary diagnoses of Zoman's condition as hypoxic brain injury (brain damage caused by lack of oxygen) "with persistent vegetative state, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and heat stroke."
Thus, Zoman was dropped off at the General Hospital in Tikrit by US soldiers after being held for one month.   He was in a coma when he was dropped off with a copy of the medical report written by Lt. Col. Michael Hodges.   His last name was listed as his first name on the report, despite the fact that all of Zomans' identification papers were taken during the raid on his home.   Thus, it took his family weeks to locate him in the hospital.
The same medical report did not mention the fact that the back of Zomans' head was bashed in, or that he had electrical burn marks on the bottoms of his feet and genitals, or why he had lash marks across his back and chest.
Today Zoman lies in bed in a small home rented by his family in Baghdad.   Of course there has been no compensation provided to them for what was done to Sadiq Zoman.
Doctors, nurses, and medics complicit in torture
Such evidence that doctors, nurses, and medics have been complicit in torture and other illegal procedures in post-Saddam Iraq is already ample.
According to a Human Rights Watch report released on April 27th of this year, "Abu Ghraib was only the tip of the iceberg, it's now clear that abuse of detainees has happened all over-from Afghanistan to Guantánamo Bay to a lot of third-country dungeons where the United States has sent prisoners.   And probably quite a few other places we don't even know about."
The report adds, "Harsh and coercive interrogation techniques such as subjecting detainees to painful stress positions and extended sleep deprivation have been routinely used in detention centers throughout Iraq.
The earlier report of Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba found "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" constituting "systematic and illegal abuse of detainees" at Abu Ghraib.
Another Pentagon report documented 44 allegations of such war crimes at Abu Ghraib.   An ICRC report concluded that in military intelligence sections of Abu Ghraib, "methods of physical and psychological coercion used by the interrogators appeared to be part of the standard operating procedures by military intelligence personnel to obtain confessions and extract information."
Amnesty International has also released similar findings recently.
Most basic items such as analgesics, antibiotics, anesthetics and insulin
Another aspect I shall discuss here is the catastrophic situation of the health system in Iraq.   I've recently released a report on the condition of Iraq's hospitals under occupation.
Although the Iraq Ministry of Health is claimed to have gained its sovereignty and has received promises of over $1 Billion of US funding, hospitals in Iraq continue to face ongoing medicine, equipment, and staffing shortages under the US-led occupation.
During the 1990's, medical supplies and equipment were constantly in short supply because of the sanctions against Iraq.   And while war and occupation have brought promises of relief, hospitals have had little chance to recover and re-supply: the occupation, since its inception, has closely resembled a low-grade war, and the allocation of resources by occupation authorities has reflected this reality.
Thus, throughout Baghdad there are ongoing shortages of medicines of even the most basic items such as analgesics, antibiotics, anesthetics and insulin.   Surgical items are running out, as well as basic supplies like rubber gloves, gauze and medical tape.
Worse than even during the sanctions
In April 2004, an International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) report stated that hospitals in Iraq are overwhelmed with new patients, short of medicine and supplies and lack both adequate electricity and water, with ongoing bloodshed stretching the hospitals' already meager resources to the limit.
Ample testimony from medical practitioners in the interim in fact confirms this crisis.   A general practitioner at the prosthetics workshop at Al-Kena Hospital in Baghdad, Dr. Thamiz Aziz Abul Rahman, said, "Eleven months ago we submitted an emergency order for prosthetic materials to the Ministry of Health, and still we have nothing," said Dr. Rahman.   After a pause he added, "This is worse than even during the sanctions."
Dr. Qasim al-Nuwesri, the chief manager at Chuwader General Hospital, one of the two hospitals in the sprawling slum area of Sadr City, Baghdad, an area of nearly 2 million people, added that there, too, was a shortage of most supplies and, most critically, of ambulances.
Soldiers relax at the swimming pool at Camp Victory, in Baghdad, Iraq, June 2005.

Photo: AP/Jacob Silberberg
Soldiers relax at the swimming pool
at Camp Victory, in Baghdad, Iraq, June 2005.
Lack of portable water — Receive 15% of needed amount
But for his hospital, the lack of potable water was the major problem.
"Of course we have typhoid, cholera, kidney stones — but we now even have the very rare Hepatitis Type-E — and it has become common in our area," said al-Nuwesri, while adding that they never faced these problems prior to the invasion of 2003.
Chuwader hospital needs at least 2000 liters of water per day to function with basic sterilization practices.   According to Dr. al-Nuwesri, they received 15% of this amount.
"The rest of the water is contaminated and causing problems, as are the electricity cuts," added al-Nuwesri, "Without electricity our instruments in the operating room cannot work and we have no pumps to bring us water."
At Fallujah General Hospital, Dr. Ahmed, who asked that only his first name be used because he feared US military reprisals said of the April 2004 siege that "the Americans shot out the lights in the front of our hospital.
They prevented doctors from reaching the emergency unit at the hospital, and we quickly began to run out of supplies and much needed medications."
He also said that several times Marines kept the physicians in the residence building, intentionally prohibiting them from entering the hospital in order to treat patients.
In November, shortly after razing Nazzal Emergency Hospital to the ground, US forces entered Fallujah General Hospital, the city's only healthcare facility for trauma victims, detaining employees and patients alike.
According to medics on the scene, water and electricity were "cut off," ambulances confiscated, and surgeons, without exception, kept out of the besieged city.
Wiam Mohammed, 4, was hit with a bullet in her left shoulder fleeing Fallujah April 2004 in a car with her parents, six brothers and sisters and a cousin. 

Her parents, two sisters and brother were killed when U.S. Marines opened fire on the car that was carrying them.

Photo: AP/Abdel Kader Saadi April 19, 2004
Wiam Mohammed, 4, was hit with a bullet in her left shoulder fleeing Fallujah April 2004 in a car with her parents, six brothers and sisters and a cousin.
Her parents, two sisters and brother were killed when U.S. Marines opened fire on the car that was carrying them.
Many doctors in Iraq believe that, more widely, the lack of assistance, if not outright hostility, by the US military, coupled with the lack of rebuilding and reconstruction by foreign contractors has compounded the problems they are facing.
According to Agence France-Presse, the former ambassador of Iraq Paul Bremer admitted that the US led coalition spending on the Iraqi Health system was inadequate.
"It's not nearly enough to cover the needs in the healthcare field," said Bremer when referring to the amount of money the coalition was spending for the healthcare system in occupied Iraq.
When asked if his hospital had received assistance from the US military or reconstruction contractors, Dr. Sarmad Raheem, the administrator of chief doctors at Al-Kerkh Hospital in Baghdad said, "Never ever.
Some soldiers came here five months ago and asked what we needed.   We told them and they never brought us one single needle.   We heard that some people from the CPA came here, but they never did anything for us."
At Fallujah General Hospital, Dr. Mohammed said there has been virtually no assistance from foreign contractors, and of the US military he commented, "They send only bombs, not medicine."
International aid has been in short supply due primarily to the horrendous security situation in Iraq.   After the UN headquarters was bombed in Baghdad in August 2003, killing 20 people, aid agencies and non-governmental organizations either reduced their staffing or pulled out entirely.
Umm Ali, right, sits next to the bed of her 10 month-old son Ali Sabah, at Fallujah's public clinic, 60 kilometers west of Baghdad.

Ali was wounded in a US attack on Fallujah.

Photo: AP/Muhammed Muheisen, April 18, 2004

Umm Ali, right, sits next to the bed of her 10 month-old son Ali Sabah, at Fallujah's public clinic, 60 kilometers west of Baghdad.
Ali was wounded in a US coalition force attack

Dr. Amer Al Khuzaie, the Deputy Minister of Health of Iraq, blamed the medicine and equipment shortages on the US-led Coalition's failure to provide funds requested by the Ministry of Health.
"We have requested over $500 million for equipment and only have $300 million of this amount promised," he said, "Yet we still only have promises."
Defense contractors instead of Iraqis
According to The New York Times, "of the $18.4 billion Congress approved last fall, only about $600 million has actually been paid out.   Billions more have been designated for giant projects still in the planning stage.
Part of the blame rests with the Pentagon's planning failures and the occupation authority's reluctance to consult qualified Iraqis.
Instead, the administration brought in American defense contractors who had little clue about what was most urgently needed or how to handle the unfamiliar and highly insecure climate."
The World Health Organization (WHO) last year warned of a health emergency in Baghdad, as well as throughout Iraq if current conditions persist.
But despite claims from the Ministry of Health of more drugs, better equipment, and generalized improvement, doctors on the ground still see "no such improvement."
In conclusion, a quick summary of the overall situation on the ground in Iraq now is in order.   Over two years into the illegal occupation, while Iraq sits upon a sea of oil, ongoing gasoline shortages plague Iraqis who sometimes must wait 2 days to fill their cars.
Morgue workers cover the bodies of the dead as a family carries another victim on a coffin after a suicide bombing outside an Iraqi army recruiting center in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, July 10, 2005.

A suicide bomber blew himself up killing at least 14 and injuring more than 40 people.

Photo: AP/Bilal Hussein
Morgue workers cover the bodies of the dead as a family carries another victim on a coffin after a suicide bombing outside an Iraqi army recruiting center in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, July 10, 2005.
A suicide bomber blew himself up killing at least 14 and injuring more than 40 people.
Electricity remains in short supply.   Most of Iraq, including the northern region, receives on average 3 hours of electricity per day.
Even the better areas of Baghdad receive only 6-8 hours per day, forcing those who can afford them to use small generators to run fans and refrigerators in their homes.   Of course, this is only for those who've been able to obtain the now rarefied gasoline.
The security situation is, needless to say, horrendous.   With over 100,000 Iraqis killed thus far and the number of US soldiers killed approaching 2,000, the violence only continues to escalate.
Just since the new Iraqi government was sworn in at the end of April, over 1,000 Iraqis have died in their country, and this number is increasing as I speak to you right now.
This number will continue to escalate as the failed occupation grinds on, along with the number of dead occupation soldiers.
As the heavy handed tactics of the US military persist, the Iraqi resistance continues to grow in it's numbers and lethality.
As I mentioned before, potable water remains in short supply.
Raw sewage, Cholera, typhoid
Cholera, typhoid and other water-borne disease are rampant even in parts of the capital city as lack of reconstruction continues to plague Iraq's infrastructure.
Raw sewage is common throughout not just Baghdad, but other cities throughout Iraq.
With over 50% unemployment, a growing resistance and an infrastructure in shambles, the future for Iraq remains bleak as long as the failed occupation persists.
While the Bush Administration continues to disregard calls for a timetable for withdrawal, Iraqis continue to suffer and die with little hope for their future.
With each passing day, the catastrophe in Iraq resembles the US debacle in Vietnam more and more.
It has become clear that the only way the Bush Administration will withdraw the US military from Iraq and provide Iraq with true sovereignty is if they are forced to do so.
       More World Tribunal       
US destroyed Fallujah as it tries to destroy the rest of Iraq
Published on Monday, July 4, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
by Sheldon Drobny
Justice O'Connor's decision in Bush v. Gore led to the current Bush administration's execution of war crimes and atrocities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places in the Middle East that are as egregious as those committed by the Third Reich and other evil governments in human history.
The lesson is clear.
Those people who may be honorable and distinguished in their chosen profession should always make decisions based upon good rather than evil no matter where their nominal allegiances may rest.
Justice O'Connor was quoted to have said something to the affect that she abhorred the thought of Bush losing the 2000 election to Gore.
She was known to have wanted to retire after the 2000 election for same reason she is now retiring.
She wanted to spend more time with her sick husband.
Unfortunately, she tarnished her distinguished career with the deciding vote in Bush v. Gore by going along with the partisan majority of the Court to interfere with a democratic election that she and the majority feared would be lost in an honest recount.
She dishonored herself and the Supreme Court by succumbing to party allegiances and not The Constitution to which she swore to uphold.
And the constitutional argument she and the majority used to justify their decision was the Equal Protection Clause.
The Equal Protection Clause was the ultimate basis for the decision, but the majority essentially admitted (what was obvious in any event) that it was not basing its conclusion on any general view of what equal protection requires.
The decision in Bush v Gore was not dictated by the law in any sense—either the law found through research, or the law as reflected in the kind of intuitive sense that comes from immersion in the legal culture.
The Equal Protection clause is generally used in matters concerning civil rights.
The majority ignored their basic conservative views supporting federalism and states' rights in order to justify their decision.
History will haunt these justices down for their utter lack of justice and the hypocrisy associated with this decision.
Sheldon Drobny is Co-founder of Air America Radio.
Unspeakable grief and horror
                        ...and the circus of deception continues...
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Circus of Torture   2003 — now
He says, "You are quite mad, Kewe"
And of course I am.
Why, I don't believe any of it — not the bloody body, not the bloody mind, not even the bloody Universe, or is it bloody multiverse.
"It's all illusion," I say.   "Don't you know, my lad, my lassie.   The game!   The game, me girl, me boy!   Takes on interest, don't you know.   T'is me sport, till doest find a better!"
Pssssst — but all this stuff is happening down here
Let's change it!
       Afghanistan — Western Terror States: Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy       
       Photos of Afghanistan people being killed and injured by NATO     
       Afghanistan — Western Terror States: Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy       
       Photos of Afghanistan people being killed and injured by NATO     

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