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.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Iraq Occupation Focus:Newsletter No.178

Iraq Occupation Focus
Newsletter No.178
August 2nd, 2011
This IOF Newsletter is produced as a free service for all those opposed to the occupation. In order to strengthen our campaign, please make sure you sign up to receive the free newsletter automatically – go to: http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/iraqfocus. Please also ask all those who share our opposition to the brutal US occupation to do likewise.
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Military news

Panic as US Warplanes Attack Southern Iraq

Antiwar.com reports (July 20th): The latest indication yet that the Obama Administration’s much vaunted “end” to the war in Iraq last year was entirely illusory, reports are pouring in from southern Iraq’s Maysan Province that US warplanes launched a number of live ammunition attacks just north of Amara.
Iraqi security forces confirmed the attacks, and it appears that there was no coordination with the local authorities as to exactly what was being attacked or why. Though no casualties were reported, strikes just outside of a major city has the locals scared, and more than a little puzzled.

U.S. warplanes attack areas in Amara with live weapons

Aswat al-Iraq reports (July 20th): U.S. warplanes have attacked areas in southern Iraq’s city of Amara, the center of Missan Province, with live weapons, a Missan Province’s security source reported.

Iraq probably will miss deadline on U.S. troop decision, officials say

Washington Post reports (July 21st): Iraq’s political leaders appear set to miss a deadline this weekend for deciding whether to ask U.S. military forces to stay beyond December, according to Iraqi and American officials familiar with negotiations.
President Jalal Talabani has given Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other top leaders until Saturday to reach an agreement on what, if any, sustained U.S. military presence Iraq might need. But Maliki and his rivals, beset by other domestic political disputes, remain divided over the matter, including how to formally ask the Obama administration for such an extension, officials said.

US forces 'still attacking Iraq Shiite insurgents'

AFP reports (July 11th): US forces are carrying out operations against Shiite insurgents, almost a year after the military announced a formal end to its combat operations in Iraq, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said.


Feds Eye CIA Officer in Prisoner Death

AP report (July 13th): A CIA officer who oversaw the agency's interrogation program at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and pushed for approval to use increasingly harsh tactics has come under scrutiny in a federal war crimes investigation involving the death of a prisoner, witnesses told The Associated Press.
Steve Stormoen, who is now retired from the CIA, supervised an unofficial program in which the CIA imprisoned and interrogated men without entering their names in the Army's books.

Elite units under an office of Maliki's linked to secret jail

LA Times reports (July 14th): Elite units controlled by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's military office are ignoring members of parliament and the government's own directive by operating a clandestine jail in Baghdad's Green Zone where prisoners routinely face torture to extract confessions, Iraqi officials say.
Iraqi legislators and security officials have been joined by the International Committee of the Red Cross in expressing concern about the facility, called Camp Honor.
Iraq's Justice Ministry ordered Camp Honor shut down in March after parliament's human rights committee toured the center and said it had uncovered evidence of torture. The Human Rights Ministry denied that it was still in operation. But several Iraqi officials familiar with the site said that anywhere from 60 to 120 people have been held there since it was ordered closed.

Children of War

UTNE reports (July 2011): According to studies and eyewitness accounts over the past few years, Fallujah—an Iraqi city that was practically obliterated by U.S. heavy artillery in two major offensives in 2004—is experiencing a staggering rate of birth defects. The situation echoes similar reports from Basra that began to circulate after the first Gulf War in 1991.
The litany of horrors is gut-wrenching: babies born with one eye in the middle of the face, missing limbs, too many limbs, brain damage, cardiac defects, and missing genitalia.
Upon touring a clinic in Fallujah in March 2010, the BBC’s John Simpson said, “We were given details of dozens upon dozens of cases of children with serious birth defects. . . . One photograph I saw showed a newborn baby with three heads.” Later, at the main U.S.-funded hospital in the city, a stream of parents arrived with children who had limb defects, spinal conditions, and other problems. Authorities in Fallujah reportedly warned women to hold off on having babies at all.
Ayman Qais, director of Fallujah’s general hospital, told the Guardian that he was seeing two affected babies a day, compared to four a month in 2003.

Obama urged to probe Bush torture allegations

AFP reports (July 13th): Human Rights Watch called on US President Barack Obama to order a criminal investigation into alleged detainee abuse by predecessor George W. Bush and senior figures in his administration.

Ministry of Defence pays £100,000 to family of drowned Iraqi teenager

The Guardian reports (July 21st): The Ministry of Defence has agreed to pay £100,000 compensation to the family of an Iraqi teenager who drowned near Basra after being detained by British troops. In an out-of-court settlement with his relatives' British lawyers, the MoD did not admit liability for the death of 18-year-old Saeed Shabram in May 2003.
His cousin, Menem Akaili, who claims he was forced into the Shatt al-Arab river by soldiers at the same time, will also receive an official payment.


Rights group says draft law on demonstrations would erode the rights of Iraqi citizens

AFP reports (July 14th): Human Rights Watch called on the Iraqi government to revise a draft law it said contained provisions that violate international law.
The New York-based watchdog said it had obtained a copy of the draft law, saying it curtailed freedom of assembly and expression and contravened Iraq s own constitution.

In Iraq's Tahrir Square, A Plea For Missing Relatives

NPR report (July 20th): Nearly every Friday, there's a small Arab uprising in Baghdad. The location is Tahrir Square, a plaza marked by a renowned modernist sculpture that depicts Iraqis in a lifelong struggle for freedom. Alongside young protesters calling for an end to corruption and better services is a distinctive and resolute group: women in black robes holding photographs of their male relatives — the mothers, wives and sisters of the missing.
It's thought that over the past three decades of war, hundreds of thousands of people have gone missing in Iraq — tens of thousands of these since the U.S. invasion in 2003. Officials say most disappearances occurred in 2006 and 2007, when bodies were dumped in rivers or mass graves. But many of the missing are thought to be alive and languishing in jail, with no way for their families to find them.

Daily life

For Refugees, a Frustrating Feeling of Permanence

NY Times reports (July 20th): Since 2003 an estimated four million Iraqis have fled their homes, the largest exodus since Israel’s creation in 1948. Deepening violence and sectarian strife have led to the internal displacement of many Iraqis and have driven others out of the country, largely to Syria and Jordan, but also to Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and the Gulf.

US builders indicted in Iraq kickback scheme

AFP reports (July 15th): Three former US army engineers and two foreign contractors have been indicted for a kickback scheme connected to $50 million in building projects in Iraq, the Justice Department said.
"The defendants allegedly treated projects to secure safe access to fuel, electricity, education and medical treatment as opportunities for illegally amassing personal wealth," US attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement.

Youth unemployment driving emigration

IRIN report (July 20th): A just released national youth survey in Iraq says youth unemployment is running at over 20 percent and many young people are thinking of emigrating.
Up to 23 percent of males and 21 percent of females aged 15-24 are unemployed, according to a 2009 National Youth Survey by the government and the UN Population Fund (released on 16 July). Of these, 33 percent intend to go abroad in search of work, it said.

Encroachments of ancient sites continues in Iraq

Azzaman reports (July 19th): Areas designated as archaeologically significant in Iraq are no longer immune from encroachments in a country where the role of law and order is diminishing.
More and more ancient mounds are being lost to builders and private entrepreneurs, said Abdulzahra al-Talaqani the department’s spokesman.

More than 42,000 Iraqi detainees await trial

Azzaman reports (July 18th): There were 42,223 detainees in Iraq at the end of June, a judicial source said. He did not say how long does it take on average for an Iraqi detainee to stay in jail before trail.
Iraqi security forces have massive powers to detain suspects for long periods even in the absence of conclusive evidence.

More than 6 million Iraqis cannot read and write

Azzaman reports (July 21st): There are more than six million illiterate people in Iraq, most of them women, according to the parliamentary committee on education.
“Iraq possess an army of illiterates of more than six million people, and the majority them are women,” said Moona al-Maamouri, member of the committee.

Corporate takeover

U.S. Set to Sell Fighters to Iraq

WSJ reports (July 12th): Iraq has quietly started negotiations to buy U.S. fighter jets and air-defense systems worth billions of dollars, a purchase Washington hopes will help counter Iranian influences and cement long-term ties with Baghdad after American troops pull out.

U.S. Blocks Oversight of Its Mercenary Army in Iraq

Danger Room reports (July 22nd): By January 2012, the State Department will do something it’s never done before: command a mercenary army the size of a heavy combat brigade. That’s the plan to provide security for its diplomats in Iraq once the U.S. military withdraws. And no one outside State knows anything more, as the department has gone to war with its independent government watchdog to keep its plan a secret.
Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), is essentially in the dark about one of the most complex and dangerous endeavors the State Department has ever undertaken, one with huge implications for the future of the United States in Iraq. “Our audit of the program is making no progress,” Bowen tells Danger Room.
For months, Bowen’s team has tried to get basic information out of the State Department about how it will command its assembled army of about 5,500 private security contractors. How many State contracting officials will oversee how many hired guns? What are the rules of engagement for the guards? What’s the system for reporting a security danger, and for directing the guards’ response?
And for months, the State Department’s management chief, former Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, has given Bowen a clear response: That’s not your jurisdiction.

US wasting billions on military contracts

Siasat reports (July 24th): July 24: A draft report by a bipartisan congressional panel shows that the United States has wasted or misspent USD 34 billion on contracting for services in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The three-year investigation comes from the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which was established by Congress in 2008, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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