We call on those states responsible for the invasion and occupation of Iraq to terminate their illegal and immoral war, and express our solidarity with the Iraqi people in their struggle for peace, justice and self-determination.

In particular, we demand:

  1. An immediate end to the US and UK-led occupation of Iraq;
  2. Urgent action to fully address the current humanitarian crises facing Iraq’s people, including help for the more than three million refugees and displaced persons;
  3. An end to all foreign interference in Iraq's affairs, including its oil industry, so that Iraqis can exercise their right to self-determination;
  4. Compensation and reparations from those countries responsible for war and sanctions on Iraq;
  5. Prosecution of all those responsible for war crimes, human rights abuses, and the theft of Iraq's resources.

We demand justice for Iraq.

This statement was adopted by the Justice for Iraq conference in London on 19th July 2008. We plan to publish this more widely in future. If you would like to add your name to the list of supporters please contact us.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

It gets worse

UK troops face 90 new claims of abuse in Iraq

The Guardian reports (October 31st): A specialist team appointed by the government to investigate claims of abuse by British troops in Iraq has received 90 complaints involving 128 Iraqi civilians. The files, relating to allegations between March 2003 and July 2009, have been sent to Geoff White, a former head of Staffordshire CID, who heads the Iraq historic allegations team.

White has met Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, who will begin a case in the high court on behalf of 142 Iraqis who claim they were abused by British troops in the aftermath of the war to topple Saddam Hussein.

The high court will hear claims that the alleged ill-treatment of Iraqis by British troops was systemic and was not conducted at the whim of rogue soldiers. The case involves multiple claims of ill-treatment contrary tohuman rights law, including hooding or blindfolding, allegations of being forced into prolonged stress positions in solitary confinement, and deprivation of sleep, water and food.


Saturday, 30 October 2010

Tariq Aziz is a man who knows too much

Mark Seddon

 guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 26 October 2010 15.00 BST
The decision by Iraq's high tribunal to pass a death sentence on Tariq Aziz, once the international face of dictator Saddam Hussein's regime, over "the persecution of Islamic parties", has the feel of retribution about it. After all, this sentence follows from the 15-year sentence meted out to Aziz last year for his part in the killing of dozens of merchants in 1992 and a further seven years for his role in the forced displacement of Kurds from northern Iraq during Saddam's rule – quite enough to ensure that he will never leave jail.

Aziz, now aged 74, is a Chaldean Christian, who along with the Assyrian Christians, have suffered largely unreported collateral damage from the war. Aziz's presence as the only Christian in a secular Ba'athist dictatorship was a factor apparently exploited by Saddam, with veiled threats being made periodically to his family.

WikiLeaks revelations come as little surprise to many Iraqis

Jane Arraf, The Christian Science Monitor/McClatchy

The Christian Science Monitor/

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/10/23/102493/wikileaks-revelations-come-as.html#ixzz13qEoBRK0

The statement said the documentation of killings by private U.S. security contractors such as Blackwater, accused of a shooting spree that killed 17 civilians in 2007 in an incident that became a symbol of American brutality, could be used in court cases against the company, now called Xe Services.

"We stress once again the necessity of taking these documents into consideration to achieve justice for our citizens who might have been the victims of their unbridled aggression," it read.

Maliki's office said it would examine politically explosive allegations of torture and killings by Iraqi security forces as accusations "that must be looked into cautiously and investigated."

Maliki's main rival, the Iraqiya coalition, said the reports reinforced the need to curb his powers. His own Shiite partners have called for changes that would restrict his power to act unilaterally — a main complaint of his former allies.

The documents, which were released too late to be in Saturday newspapers in Iraq, attracted less attention than expected among ordinary Iraqis, with many of them saying they're unsurprised by any accounts of abuse by either Americans or Iraqis

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/10/23/102493/wikileaks-revelations-come-as.html#ixzz13qEJcmBB

Azzaman articles

One million cubic tons of garbage dumped in Tigris river


The Tigris River which bisects Baghdad and several other major Iraqi cities has about one billion cubic meters of polluted materials dumped into it, according to a senior environment expert.

Internally displaced Iraqis have nowhere to go


Population movement is currently most visible in the so-called disputed areas where Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen claim them for their own.

U.S. troops come under attack in Iraq’s Mousel


Two explosive devices planted on the side of the road went off when as the patrol was driving in the Sinaa Neighborhood, an anti-U.S. garrison in Mosul

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Humiliate, strip, threaten: UK military interrogation manuals discovered

Exclusive: Methods devised in secret in recent years may breach international law

* Ian Cobain * guardian.co.uk, Monday 25 October 2010 21.30 BST
One PowerPoint training aid created in September 2005 tells trainee military interrogators that prisoners should be stripped before they are questioned. "Get them naked," it says. "Keep them naked if they do not follow commands." Another manual prepared around the same time advises the use of blindfolds to put prisoners under pressure.

A manual prepared in April 2008 suggests that "Cpers" – captured personnel – be kept in conditions of physical discomfort and intimidated. Sensory deprivation is lawful, it adds, if there are "valid operational reasons". It also urges enforced nakedness.

More recent training material says blindfolds, earmuffs and plastic handcuffs are essential equipment for military interrogators, and says that while prisoners should be allowed to sleep or rest for eight hours in each 24, they need be permitted only four hours unbroken sleep. It also suggests that interrogators tell prisoners they will be held incommunicado unless they answer questions.
Full article

Monday, 25 October 2010

They Fled Away "Like Gangsters": Murder and Greed in Baghdad

Friday 22 October 2010

by: H.P. Albarelli Jr., t r u t h o u t | Report

The contractors don't seem to care about the people they kill. It's just a part of their business. These kinds of incidents occur on a regular basis, but no one seems to be concerned. -Paul Wolf, attorney

It is nearly two hours past noon, a sunny, warm day on October 9, 2007. The creaky old Oldsmobile, containing a driver and three people returning home from church, is lumbering along at about 15 miles per hour. As it begins to cross a busy intersection in the bustling Karada neighborhood of Baghdad, several rounds of copper-jacketed 5.56mm rounds tear into its windshield sending glass everywhere.

A second volley of rounds, traveling in excess of the speed of sound, sprays the car's engine hood and dashboard sounding like hard hammer strikes. Two of the rounds puncture wide holes in the Oldsmobile's radiator, which begins to spray heated engine coolant and steam. At least nine rounds strike and kill the female driver and hit the woman seated in the front passenger seat in the neck. The woman's head drops and a growing mandala of blood blossoms across the dress she wears.

A third volley of shots lifts her head away from her neck and body and parts of it fly into the backseat. There, two wide-eyed people, a young woman and a 13-year old boy, sit. They begin to scream at the sight of the woman's crumpled, headless body. The boy's face has shards of glass protruding from it. The young woman wipes blood and pieces of flesh from her face. She sits as if frozen in place and begins to make a prolonged, otherworldly, wailing sound. The vehicle rolls to a slow stop as another volley of rounds is released.

Everyone on the busy street instinctively runs for cover. A woman on the sidewalk holding the hands of two children grabs both of them drawing them tight to her body, which she turns protectively toward the direction from which the shots come. She huddles like this, shaking as bullets whine off the concrete street. She tells the petrified children everything will be O.K. over and over and over. Above her voice, the children hear the wailing sound coming from the Oldsmobile, and then a man yells loudly in accented English, "All right, all right, let's get the hell out of here. Hit it, now, go."
Read the full article

The Secret Iraq Files

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Video: Iraq files 'not surprising'

For the past 10 weeks, working with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, Al Jazeera has analysed tens of thousands of documents, sourced through WikiLeaks, which cover six years of war - in the biggest leak of US military secrets in history.
The secret files reveal extensive abuse at Iraqi police stations, army bases and prisons.
According to the files, coalition troops reported the allegations to their superiors on more than 1,300 occasions.
Sabah al-Mukhtar, lawyer and president of the Arab Lawyers Association in London, spoke to Al Jazeera about the allegations of "torture", and said Iraqis will not be surprised by the findings.

Fisk in The Independent

The shaming of America

Robert Fisk reports for The Independent (October  24th):If this vast treasury of secret reports had proved that the body count was much lower than trumpeted by the press, that US soldiers never tolerated Iraqi police torture, rarely shot civilians at checkpoints and always brought killer mercenaries to account, US generals would be handing these files out to journalists free of charge on the steps of the Pentagon. They are furious not because secrecy has been breached, or because blood may be spilt, but because they have been caught out telling the lies we always knew they told.
US official documents detail extraordinary scale of wrongdoing
WikiLeaks released on its website some 391,832 US military messages documenting actions and reports in Iraq over the period 2004-2009. Here are the main points:
Prisoners abused, raped and murdered
Hundreds of incidents of abuse and torture of prisoners by Iraqi security services, up to and including rape and murder. Since these are itemised in US reports, American authorities now face accusations of failing to investigate them. UN leaders and campaigners are calling for an official investigation.

The shooting of men trying to surrender
In February 2007, an Apache helicopter killed two Iraqis, suspected of firing mortars, as they tried to surrender. A military lawyer is quoted as saying: "They cannot surrender to aircraft and are still valid targets."
Hundreds of civilians killed at checkpoints
Out of the 832 deaths recorded at checkpoints in Iraq between 2004 and 2009, analysis by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism suggests 681 were civilians. Fifty families were shot at and 30 children killed. Only 120 insurgents were killed in checkpoint incidents.

They do know but shamelessly don't tell

Free Iraq
Dr. Imad Khadduri's blog

Reference the previous posting "Do they know, or don't they?" Aug 3, 2010

"Although US generals have claimed their army does not carry out body counts and British ministers still say no official statistics exist, the war logs show these claims are untrue. The field reports purport to identify all civilian and insurgent casualties, as well as numbers of coalition forces wounded and killed in action. They give a total of more than 109,000 violent deaths from all causes between 2004 and the end of 2009.

This includes 66,081 civilians, 23,984 people classed as "enemy" and 15,196 members of the Iraqi security forces. Another 3,771 dead US and allied soldiers complete the body count.

However, the US figures appear to be unreliable in respect of civilian deaths caused by their own military activities. For example, in Falluja, the site of two major urban battles in 2004, no civilian deaths are recorded. Yet Iraq Body Count monitors identified more than 1,200 civilians who died during the fighting. "

Iraq war logs: secret files show how US ignored torture October 22, 2010


Wikileaks Iraq: data journalism maps every death October 23, 2010

Not Every Death Mapped

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Iraq Occupation Focus Newsletter no 158

Iraq Occupation Focus Newsletter no 158
20th October 2010

Common Ills: Nouri Touring

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Among the issues Melkert was raising with al-Sistani was the political stalemate. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and thirteen days and counting.

Read the full article

Though the coverage fades for many, the violence continues on in Iraq. Xinhua reports bombings in Diyala Province today have claimed at least 8 lives following the bombing of a police officer Major Qaid al-Rashid's home in Tikrit. So far the only known survivor is a six-month-old infant. Police Lt Col Khalid al-Baiyati's home was also bombed leaving two family members injured (the lieutenant wasn't home during the bombing), a Samarra roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 police officers (four people left injured) and a Baiji bombing injured one Sahwa member. Reuters raised the death toll from 8 to 11. Reuters adds a Baghdad sticky bombing injured eight Iranian pilgrims and a second Baghdad roadside bombing wounded six Iranian pilgrims. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing injured two people and another one claimed the life of 1 Sahwa with four more injured and a Najaf roadside bombing targeted  the United Nations Special Representative to Iraq Ad Melkert. Alsumaria TV reports that Melkert was in Najaf to visit Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Al Sistani at his home.  Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) explains, "Mr. Melkert [. . .] is one of the few Western officials with whome Ayatollah Sistani meets. The cleric, who does not appear in public, has played an influential role in Iraq."  Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) notes the bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi police officer with two more injured while Ad Mlkert was not harmed.  Londono adds, "Investigators suspect that the militant Shiite group Asaib Ahl-al-Haq carried out the attack, possibly assuming that the convoy included US military officials".

Read the full article

UNHCR poll indicates Iraqi refugees regret returning home

News Stories, 19 October 2010

© UNHCR/B.Heger

GENEVA, October 19 (UNHCR) – A UNHCR poll of Iraqis who have returned to Baghdad from neighbouring countries found that physical insecurity, economic hardship and a lack of basic public services has led the majority to regret their decision to return to Iraq.

UNHCR's chief spokesperson, Melissa Fleming, presenting the survey findings to journalists in Geneva on Tuesday, said it also found that 34 per cent of returnees were uncertain whether they would stay permanently in Iraq and would consider seeking asylum in neighbouring countries once again if conditions do not improve.

The survey of 2,353 Iraqis, or 537 families, who returned to the Baghdad districts of Resafa and Karkh between 2007 and 2008, was conducted by UNHCR staff from April to September this year in person and by phone. Future surveys will cover the conditions of returnees to other parts of Iraq such as Kirkuk, Mosul, Anbar and Diyala.

"During the course of these interviews, UNHCR staff were informed by returnees of numerous instances of explosions, harassment, military operations and kidnapping occurring in their areas of return," Fleming said.

Many interviewees said they were obliged to return to Iraq because they could no longer afford the high cost of living in asylum states. "In this context, UNHCR continues to remain concerned by occurrences of forcible deportations of Iraqi refugees from their countries of asylum to Iraq," the UNHCR spokesperson stressed.

The survey found that 61 per cent of those interviewed regretted returning to Iraq from their country of asylum, with 60 per cent of this number stating that this was mainly due to insecurity and personal safety concerns.

Almost 80 per cent of those that returned to Karkh and Resafa said they did not go to their original place of residence, either due to the general insecurity or because they still feared direct persecution. A total 11 per cent cited poor economic conditions and unemployment as reasons for not returning to their former homes and neighbourhoods.

Most Iraqi returnees who did not return to their original homes live with relatives, and in some cases stay with friends or have rented other accommodation. The majority, 87 per cent, said their current income was insufficient to cover their families' needs in Iraq.

One of the principal challenges for Iraqi returnees is finding regular employment. Inadequate access to public services, including health care, combined with infrequent electricity supply in many parts of the country, add to the hardship facing returnees.

A similar survey on the Syrian and Jordanian borders was released last week by UNHCR. It indicated that the majority of Iraqi refugees living in Syria and Jordan were not considering returning permanently to Iraq in the near future due to continuing political uncertainty and security instability.

"UNHCR does not envisage widescale returns to Iraq in the short term," Fleming said, adding: "While UNHCR does not promote returns to Iraq, it continues to assist refugees who voluntarily express their wish to return, in close coordination with the Iraqi authorities."

This assistance covers 100 per cent of transportation as well as a small cash grant. More than 2,960 Iraqis voluntarily returned to Iraq from neighbouring states with UNHCR help during 2007 and the first 10 months of 2008.

According to Iraqi government statistics, 18,240 Iraqi refugees returned from countries of asylum in the first eight months of this year, while 89,700 people displaced inside Iraq returned home in the same period. UNHCR is spending some US$100 million in Iraq this year to alleviate conditions of the internally displaced and to support the reintegration of destitute returnees.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

AMSI:September 2010 stats

Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq (AMSI) statement number 732 dated 9th October 2010
Number of official raids in Sep 2010 : 375 up and down Iraq resulting in the arrests of 1681 persons
Baghdad 322, Ninevh 296, Salah Din 260, Dhiala 259, Kirkuk 169, Anbar 142, Karbala 83, Basra 80, Babil (hilla) 25, muthana (samawa) 18, Wasit (Kut) 10, Thi Qar (Nassiriyah) 8, Najaf 5, Qaddisiya (Diwaniya)3, Missan (amarra) one arrest.

These figures are based on official figures of the Defence and intyerior ministries and do no include figures of the so called ministry of national security, offices of so called anti terrorism, arrests carried out by forces belonging to the office of prime minster, official militias such as the peshmerga, awakenings and 'unofficial' militias such as bader brigade and kurdish Assaiysh, in the kurdish areas and in the so called 'disputed territories.

AMSI monitored 94 violations of the SOFA agreement during September 2010 by US forces. They were spotted 94 times in the streets of Iraqi towns and cities unaccompanied by Iraqi government forces

Monday, 18 October 2010

Iran's influence in Iraq: Game, set but not match to Tehran

Undertaking or supporting an attack upon Iran would simply be much harder for Iraqi politicians who relied upon Iran for protection during the last three decades of Ba'athist rule and who often made common cause with the Tehran against the Iraqi military. This is one reason why Iran has supported its Iraqi allies in their ongoing de-Ba'athification efforts and why it would prefer not to see a new, cross-sectarian nationalist bloc emerge in Iraq.
Looking forward, Iran's supporters in the Iraqi government will seek to complicate the task of negotiating a post-2011 US-Iraqi security agreement and to restrict the scale and effectiveness of American security assistance to Iraq's external security forces. Though Iranian-backed militancy in Iraq is an irritant in the two countries' relations, the al-Quds Brigades of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), responsible for operations outside Iran, will maintain its ability to target US military personnel, diplomats and private citizens in Iraq, which could act as one source of deterrence against a US or Israeli military strike on Iran - a nightmare scenario for US generals and diplomats in Iraq.

Michael Knights is a Lafer fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, specialising in the military and security affairs of Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and the Gulf Arab states.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

More journalists killed in Iraq than in 2009: IPI

AFP report (October 5th):


More journalists have been killed in Iraq so far this year than in all of 2009, press watchdog IPI said.

Tahrir Kadhim Jawad, a cameraman for the al-Hurra satellite channel, was killed when a magnetic "sticky bomb" attached to his car detonated in the town of Garma, 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of the capital, police in nearby Fallujah said.
"Jawad is the fifth journalist to be killed in Iraq this year, and the third to be killed there in less than a month," the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) said.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

From the New York Times

In Iraq, New Leadership but Same Reality

NY Times reports (October 1st): The sound of explosions from the Green Zone across the river is a familiar sound to anyone in Baghdad. In the bad old days you could set your morning alarm clock by the pre-dawn barrage. But since 2008 you could go for months without hearing the “Duck and Cover” tannoy.
A powerful cocktail of factors is behind the general fall in violence since 2007: the Sunni Awakening; the American troop surge; war fatigue; Sunni reconciliation to the electoral process; the growth of Iraq’s security forces and a sustained campaign to arrest and kill Shiite death squads.
But the rockets are back now, with Shiite militias the suspects. American commanders say that there were about 60 attacks on the airport and Green Zone in July and August, and 23 in September.