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 24 April 2011

More news on recent protests

Human Rights Watch reports (April 21st): Kurdistan authorities should end their widening crackdown on peaceful protests in northern Iraq, Human Rights Watch said. The authorities should hold accountable those responsible for attacking protesters and journalists in Arbil and Sulaimaniya since April 17, 2011, including opening fire on demonstrators and beating them severely, Human Rights Watch said.
Human Rights Watch also called on Iraqi authorities in Baghdad to investigate the detention and torture of a protester, Alaa Nabil, and to charge or release more than two dozen activists held in a prison in Baghdad's Old Muthanna Airport. Central government and Kurdistan Regional Government authorities should revoke their recent bans on unlicensed demonstrations in Sulaimaniya province and on street protests in Baghdad, Human Rights Watch said.

Iraq tensions rise as U.S. withdrawal nears

CNN reports (April 22nd): Nearly 6,000 protesters flooded the centre of the Iraqi city of Mosul, defying a curfew imposed by military authorities seeking to control tensions tied to the looming withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.
The demonstrators demanded a rejection of any extension of the American military presence beyond the end of 2011. Although the U.S. combat mission in Iraq officially ended last year, roughly 50,000 American troops are expected to remain in the country until the end of the year to train, assist and advise Iraqi troops.

1 dead, 44 injured as Iraqi police disperse anti-US rally

M&C reports (April 22nd): At least one protester was killed and 44 injured when security forces fired live ammunition to disperse hundreds of protesters gathered to rally against the US presence in Iraq, according to medical sources.
Nabil al-Khayat, head of the Mosul general hospital, said he received the body of a 23-year-old man, who was shot in the head. At least 44 injured were hospitalized at the hospital including 13 tribal leaders, al-Khayat said.
'Many of those injured are in critical condition, due to severe bleeding. Also, the hospital did not receive medical supplies needed for them due to the curfew imposed in the city,' al-Khayat said.

Iraqi Kurd demo fatalities rise to 10
AFP report (April 23rd): A 28-year-old Kurdish protester died of gunshot wounds, becoming the tenth person killed in more than two months of rallies in Iraq's northern autonomous region, a doctor said.
"Hardi Farukh, who was wounded by a bullet to the head during demonstrations on April 18 in Sulaimaniyah, died this morning," said Hawar Naqshabandi, the director of the emergency hospital in Iraqi Kurdistan's second-biggest city of Sulaimaniyah.
Sit-in demo by Falluja lawyers demanding U.S. troops departure

 Aswat al-Iraq reports (April 21st):  Lawyers from Falluja city have announced a sit-in demonstration on Thursday, demanding the departure of the American forces from Iraq and the release of detainees, who were not convicted.

“Hundreds of Falluja Lawyers have organized a sit-in demonstration at the headquarters of the Lawyers Syndicate, demanding the departure of the U.S. forces from Iraq and the release of innocent detainees from prisons, where they spent several years of their lives without trial,” Lawyer Mohammed al-Mohammady told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Iraq , 15 April: The Friday Of The Free

By Dirk Adriaensens
15 April, 2011
The letter underneath has been sent to me by Asma Al Haidari, who follows the news of the Friday demonstrations in Iraq . These peaceful demonstrations have been going on for weeks now. Today was called “ the Friday of the Free ”. Western media will – again – fail to report about this democratic movement as they did about Egypt and Tunesia. Occupation is the highest form of dictatorship, but the Americans call it “democracy”, “freedom”, “liberty”. And this occupation that is enslaving a nation of 26 million Iraqi citizens, is far from over.
The US Embassy in Baghdad , already the largest in the world, is expected to double its staff from 8.000 to 16.000 “civilians” after American forces pull out of the country later this year. http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/04/02-0 . And a private security force some 5,500 strong will protect the large US diplomatic presence in Iraq . I guess that they will have to issue hand-held GPS's so that the 16,000 "non-military staff" can find their offices in the new and upgraded US Embassy in the " Emerald City "!! Just what are all of these people going to do??
For as long as I can recall, the US has always told the UN that it is an inflated organization and that it could easily function with half the current staff members. The UN's website states the following today:
The UN Secretariat employs some 7,750 staff members under the regular budget and some 8,230 under special funding. Coming from nearly 175 countries, they administer the UN's policies and programmes in New York and at duty stations around the world. The UN system as a whole - the UN and its related programmes and specialized agencies, including the World Bank and the IMF - employs some 63,450 people worldwide. http://www.un.org/geninfo/ir/index.asp?id=160
This means that a "diplomatic mission", the US Embassy in ONLY ONE CITY, Baghdad , will employ one-fourth of the number of UN staff worldwide!!! The mind boggles.
If the Americans consider Iraq so important that 16.000 of their staff + 5.500 mercenaries for protection will be deployed there, how come the solidarity work of the peace movement is so weak today when it comes to Iraq ? Can anyone explain? Something is not right here. The Iraqi demonstrations should be wholeheartedly supported by the whole Western civil society, to give the Iraqi courageous protesters a clear signal that they are not alone.
Here's Asma Al Haidari's comments on today's protests.
“What am I to write to you about today? The Friday of the Free???  
For this is what our young revolutionaries have called it.   
What am I to start with? Mosul or Tahrir Square …. I will start with the courageous and long suffering men, women, children and youth of Iraq in  Tahrir – my tears are streaming down uncontrollably – a man of 50 who cries and says Death to Iran – Death to America – Death to Maliki – 80% of Parliament and the people who rule are Iranians – no loyalty to Iraq – Long Live Iraq – all our sons are in detention centers – my 16 year old son is in prison – Iraq is the crown on our heads – we will all die for Iraq – Iraq will live forever – then a young man who says Down with Sectarianism- Down with the Quota System – Death to  Iran – let all Iraqi Young Men rebel and fight for Iraq – If Mohammed is a Sunni then I am a Shi'i – we are all one – we are all brothers – we all have the same blood - women – women cry and men – grown up men cry tears of agony and anguish for Iraq and for our sons and daughters – for our country that has been raped and pillaged
Dirk, where is the free western press???? Ah, Dirk the scenes in Tahrir were phenomenal because Maliki and his henchmen yesterday ordered people to demonstrate in two football grounds – again on a sectarian basis can you imagine????   But he is a stupid man – so are his advisors – the Iraqis are much too intelligent and clever for all of this and demonstrated that they are now at the point of no return in their rebellion and revolt – they assembled in Tahrir and told Maliki and his parliamentarians to go and play football in the stadiums he has assigned!
The young man who said let's all unite and fight – yes, armed resistance is what he is speaking about -  continued to say that Maliki and his parliamentarians seem to be equating their demonstrations with a game – well, we will show you that we are not playing.  He says that if we do not demonstrate in Tahrir then we will return to Armed Resistance and get martyred for Iraq – he also said that he was sure a massacre was going to be committed by the security forces against the demonstrators, today.
These same security forces that could not stop them from coming to Tahrir.
Men, women, and children, and Christians  who are speaking out about the “government's” criminality against them – it was amazing and enthralling! The crushed Iraqi middle class in all its colours and hues is out and will remain out - this is the beginning of civil disobedience - all very peaceful but full of force and commands respect and a bowing  of our heads to them.  
The women who are in Tahrir are in the hundreds – all women whose sons or husbands have disappeared in Maliki's and the Occupation's secret prisons – Iraqis have broken the chains – the world should watch out – But the world is so silent and apparently deaf and blind as well.  
Can't the world see that this revolution is totally different – that we are a people and a country under occupation – and that we have slowly started to take our rights back and to free ourselves.

You can feel the atmosphere of Tahrir – you can see and feel the life that is Tahrir – Tahrir belongs to the People – Of course all the bridges and streets leading to Tahrir were cut off but people came all the same and are still there – They are chanting that Maliki is a liar and a thief – they are chanting that whoever does not say Tahrir – “Liberation” then his life is a loss – They are daring the security forces who are there in great numbers to detain them – I have always known and told you what we are made of –  Dirk, how can people not love the Iraqi People – how could the Americans have ever thought that they can colonize us?????

I am amazed at the fact that the United States believed the lies that it was told about us – I am amazed – then you come to Mosul – ah brave and courageous Mosul where for the past 6 days  a huge demonstration and gathering has been gradually grown in numbers and today there are 5,000 people in The Square of the Free – the old prison square – all the tribal sheikhs who had not sold themselves to the occupation came from the very south of Iraq, Nassiriya and Basra, led by Shaikh Salim Al Thabbab – The Prince of Rabee'a and Sheyban , tribal sheikhs and leaders from Kut, Diyala, a contingent of Kurdish demonstrators from Azadi Square in Sulaymaniya whose leader put on the “Iqal” – the traditional headgear of Arab men and said that we are all Iraqis – and stood under the old Iraqi flag –  they came from Haweeja and Tikreet – a tribal chief from Tilkaif – the Christians in the north as well as tribal leaders from Anbar, Kubaissa and Fallujah – we have come together again, this time publicly – for all the world to see but what is most amusing is that today the American Occupation's helicopters made a great entrance on the stage demonstrating that the American Administration really does believe the democracy it alleges it brought to Iraq is in fact equal to garbage …. No really, Dirk, I really mean it literally!
It was funny and it is all on film – daily,  since the vigil and demonstration started in Mosul ,  American helicopters buzzed the demonstrators and the demonstrators answered back by throwing their shoes and slippers at them in disdain!   Today, the helicopters performed what they considered their coup de grace! By flying very low over their heads and throwing down bags of garbage!   This is the American sham called “democracy” and this is their attempt to colonize Iraq – they should read history and anthropology a bit more carefully from now on!
When the people in the Square of the Free were asked for comments their answers were that the Americans throw garbage at us every day since the occupation – all the enriched uranium; all the white phosphorous; all the drugs and aids; all the disease, tyranny, oppression, plunder, theft lies and illiteracy they brought with them amongst much more – so we, Iraqis, know everything and we will have justice at the end of the day when a new dawn comes – the feeling is that it is going to be quite soon.
In the Square of the Free, united Friday Prayers were held for the 5,000 - women, poets, lawyers and the important Muslawi Business Merchant community joined - they all signed their names in blood in the Register of the Honoured.  A young couple insisted that their wedding should take place in the square today!
 Again, I ask, where is the world – where are the free men and women who opposed this war – is there no man no woman,  who feels that justice is on his side and that he should  speak freely and forcefully about us?????
Reading the NY Times one would believe that their correspondents must be living on another planet – amazing. They are so silent – all the mainstream press, in fact. 
Today, there were large demonstrations in Basra , all over Anbar province and  and Babil as well – in Diwaniya they were threatened by the security forces that they would all be detained.   Of course, Sulaymaniya in the tens of thousands in Azadi Sqaure.    I also heard a tribal chief from Tel'laafer say that 10 large vehicles were on their way to Mosul when they were stopped by the notorious general Ghannam and told why do you want to go to Mosul – they are all Sunnis and terrorists and you are Shi'is!  and  were turned back – the scene is developing and is building up -
I'll keep you in touch but please check the English page of the Great Iraqi Revolution for all the videos etc... which will be posted soon.”  
Sallams, Dirk.  
Asma  Al Haidari 
Dirk Adriaensens is a member of the B Russell s Tribunal Executive Committee

Sunday 17 April 2011

Some of this week's stories

Pentagon's second thoughts on Iraq withdrawal


AP reports (April 10th): Eight months shy of its deadline for pulling the last American soldier from Iraq and closing the door on an 8-year war, the Pentagon is having second thoughts.

Reluctant to say it publicly, officials fear a final pullout in December could create a security vacuum, offering an opportunity for power grabs by antagonists in an unresolved and simmering Arab-Kurd dispute, a weakened but still active al-Qaida or even an adventurous neighbor such as Iran.

The U.S. wants to keep perhaps several thousand troops in Iraq, not to engage in combat but to guard against an unraveling of a still-fragile peace.

UN finds 28 bodies at Iranian exiles' camp


AP reports (April 14th): A western diplomat says UN observers found 28 bodies during a tour of a camp of Iranian exiles stormed by Iraqi soldiers.
The diplomat says 25 of the bodies had gunshot wounds and at least three appeared to have been crushed by vehicles.

The Iraqi government detains and tortures peaceful demonstrators from Tahrir Square


OWFI reports (April 12th): In today's demonstration of Tahrir square, the youth marched towards the bridge in order to cross to the Green Zone, and chanted the slogan of 'Ousting the System'. The security forces - under the "General Commander of Armed Forces" Mr. Nouri Al Miliki gave orders to detain and torture all the organizers of the demonstration. Division 11 of the Iraqi army (army intelligence) took pictures of all the demonstrators including the OWFI women. The same division used civilian cars to arrest tens of demonstrators into detainment.


Iraq demo rules miff protesters, sports officials

AFP reports (April 15th): Anti-government protesters and sports officials in Baghdad formed an unlikely team, complaining about new rules banning street rallies in the capital.
The recently announced regulations, which allow demonstrations in Baghdad only at three football stadiums, were ostensibly put in place after shopkeepers in the city's main Tahrir Square complained they were losing trade during weekly protests since late February.
"Why should we go to Al-Shaab stadium?" shouted 48-year-old Mohammed Abdul Amir, referring to Iraq's national football grounds. "Are we going to play a football match with the police?"


Iraqi Youths’ Political Rise Is Stunted by Elites

NY Times reports (April 13th): Inspired by the democratic uprisings around the Arab world to push for change, young lawmakers in Parliament are running up against an ossified political elite still dominated by the exiles who followed American tanks into Iraq to establish a fragile, violence-scarred democracy.

On the streets, the voices of young demonstrators and journalists have been muted by the batons and bullets of elite security units that answer only to a prime minister who officials say personally sends orders by text message.


Iraqi authorities must halt attacks on protesters

AI reports (April 12th): The Iraqi authorities must stop attacks on peaceful protesters calling for an end to unemployment, poor services, and corruption and demanding political reforms, Amnesty International said today in a new report.

Days of Rage: Protests and Repression in Iraq
 documents how Iraqi and Kurdish forces have shot and killed protesters, including three teenage boys, threatened, detained and tortured political activists, as well as targeting journalists covering the protests.


Full report here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/52897940/Amnesty-International-Iraq-Days-of-rage-Protests-and-repression-in-Iraq


Iraqi protesters describe April 9, the day U.S. troops occupied Baghdad, as ‘the black day’
Azzaman reports (April 11th): There were demonstrations in several cities in Iraq marking the 2003-U.S. invasion and occupation of the country.

But the event, which toppled a dictatorial regime, had no words of praise as tens of thousands of Iraqis went to the streets lashing out at their U.S. occupiers and the factional leaders they brought with them.


Ninewa tribes reject extension of U.S. forces presence in Iraq 


Aswat al-Iraq (April 14th): The tribes of northern Iraq’s Ninewa Province have organized a commemoration occasion on the 8th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, taking place nowadays, rejecting the extension of the U.S. troops presence in the country after the end of the current year, and calling for the release of all prisoners.


Iraqi Refugees at High Risk of Brain and Nervous System Disorders

AAN reports (April 12th): New research suggests that a high number of Iraqi refugees are affected by brain and nervous system disorders, including those who are victims of torture and the disabled. The late-breaking research will be presented at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, April 9 – 16, 2011, in Honolulu.

Iraqi scientists, doctors targeted

Al-Arabiya reports (April 9th): Iraqi scientists and doctors are increasingly expressing alarm about threats to their lives as the numbers targeted in killings rise while a weak government seems unable to provide adequate security.

The latest victim in the spree of apparently targeted killings was Zaid Abdul Mun’im, head of research of the molecular department at al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. He died after a bomb went off in his car on April 3.
Prior to his death, Mohammed Alwan, a prominent Baghdadi surgeon and the dean of the faculty of medicine of the same university, was assassinated on March 29. 

Neither of the men had any known political affiliations.

“A government that cannot protect its people, does not deserve to be a government,” said Hikmat Jamil, head of the self-funded group International Society of Iraqi Scientists, and a professor of medicine at the Wayne State University in Michigan.

There are nearly 1.5 million orphans in Iraq, government confirms
Azzaman reports (April 12th): Iraqi Minister of Human Rights says there are 1.450 million orphans in the country.

The official number of Iraqi orphans is close to the population of countries such as Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Botswana.


Wednesday 13 April 2011

Iraq invasion aniversary marked

The only event in Britain to mark the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq was organised by Women Solidarity for an Independent and Unified Iraq (WSIUI). It focused on the impact of the occupation upon women.

Iman Abou Atta spoke about her latest research on the trafficking of Iraqi women into the sex trade in Syria and elsewhere, which has become a major problem since 2003. A culture of impunity surrounds this trade. Between 2003 and 2010, some 4,000 Iraqi women disappeared, one fifth of whom were under the age of 18. Kidnapping and violence accompany the trafficking, which is often facilitated by the families of the women themselves, such is the hardship facing many Iraqis in the aftermath of the western invasion.

More encouraging was Noofa Khaddouri’s address on women’s role in the armed resistance. We hear much more about random sectarian violence by religious groups in Iraq than about the organised activity of resistance groups against the occupation, but this resistance is real, ongoing and increasingly national in character.

Dirk Adriaensens, a member of the international BRussells Tribunal which launched the World Tribunal on Iraq, reported on how the destruction of Iraq’s education system had impacted on women’s rights. Haifa Zangana closed the conference, focusing on the role played by women in the international solidarity movement. Great credit must go to WSIUI for organising this event and continuing to mount thought-provoking activities in the face of increasing indifference about Iraq across much of the left.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Anniversary protests

Iraqis demonstrate against U.S. troop presence

CNN report (April 9th): Tens of thousands of demonstrators in eastern Baghdad marked the eighth anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime with a protest against the American troop presence there.
The demonstrators, followers of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, rallied in Mustansriya Square, where they called all U.S troops to withdraw from Iraq at the end of the year.
The protesters carried Iraqi flag and banners, with some chanting "Baghdad is a free country, America get out!" and "No for Occupation, No for America."


Iraqis Protest U.S. After Comments From Gates

NY Times reports (April 9th): A  day after Defense Secretary Robert M. Gatessuggested that American troops could remain here for years, tens of thousands of protesters allied with Moktada al-Sadr, the radical anti-American Shiite cleric, flooded the streets demanding an end to the American military presence.

Similar protests, although drawing much smaller numbers, took place in Sunni districts.  Demonstrators in Adhamiya, a Sunni stronghold in Baghdad, chanted, “Leave, leave, occupier!” And a few hundred people demonstrated against the Americans in Ramadi, in Sunni-dominated Anbar Province.



Angry crowds in Baghdad, Falluja protest conditions in Iraq

CNN reports (April 9th): In Adhamiya, a predominantly Sunni neighbourhood, nearly 2,000 men and women gathered outside Abu Hanifa Shrine. Some of the protesters carried Iraqi flags, and others held banners calling for the release of detainees and compensation for "the victims of the occupation."

In Falluja, nearly 300 people marked the anniversary with a demonstration outside the provincial council building, witnesses said. They demanded the release of detainees in Iraq's prisons and compensation for the families of victims who were killed in the past eight years. The protesters also warned Iraqi lawmakers not to allow U.S military bases in Iraq.