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 27 November 2011

The Under-Examined Story of Fallujah

An interesting report from Foreign Policy in Focus:
FPIF reports (November 23rd): Seven years after the U.S. invasion of Fallujah, there are reports of an alarming rise in the rates of birth defects and cancer. But the crisis, and its possible connection to weapons deployed by the United States during the war, remains woefully under-examined.
Thirty to fifty thousand people were still inside the city when the U.S. military launched a series of airstrikes, dropping incendiary bombs on suspected insurgent hideouts. Ground forces then combed through targeted neighborhoods house by house. Ross Caputi, who served as a first private Marine during the siege, has said that his squad and others employed “reconnaissance by fire,” firing into dwellings before entering to make sure nobody inside was still alive.
By the end of the campaign, Fallujah was a ghost town. Though the military did not tally civilian casualties, independent reports put the number somewhere between 800 and 6,000. As The Washington Post reported in April 2005, more than half of Fallujah’s 39,000 homes were damaged, of which 10,000 were no longer habitable.
Of the current problems in Fallujah, the most alarming is a mounting public health crisis. In the years since the invasion, doctors in Fallujah have reported drastic increases in the number of premature births, infant mortality, and birth defects—babies born without skulls, missing organs, or with stumps for arms and legs. Fallujah General Hospital reported that, out of 170 babies born in September 2009, 24 percent died within the first seven days, of which 75 percent were deformed.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Cultural destruction in Iraq

The latest column in East London News:
At the beginning of November, an article appeared in an Egyptian newspaper, wondering what had happened to Iraq’s massive state archive which had been seized by American forces when the occupation of the country began. Would it ever be returned? And what would happen to the country's Jewish archive of books and manuscripts, which was also moved to the United States. Some Iraqis fear some of them might have already ended up in Israel.

The scale of the cultural destruction in Iraq since the western invasion has been immense. Some 15,000 artefacts disappeared from the National Museum and many more from 12,000 sites across the country - a breach of the UN Convention. “Iraq may soon end up with no history,” said one archaeologist.

One of the greatest losses is at the National Library, where 60% of the state archives’ documents, some going back to the 15th century, were destroyed. Much of the destruction was deliberate. Cultural sites were turned into military bases. Babylon was one of them. Occupation forces bulldozed part of the site for a helicopter landing strip and used the site’s soil – together with fragments and shards - to make thousands of sandbags. Massive and extensive damage was done.

Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, 84 per cent of its higher educational institutions have been looted, burned or destroyed. Academics have been assassinated and driven out of the country. Half of all students have dropped out.

“By destroying their culture, you destroy a people’s sense of identity,” says Professor Zainab Bahrani, a specialist in the art and archaeology of ancient Mesopotamia. “So the destruction of cultural heritage is not secondary – it’s directly connected to human rights.”

Some say this was deliberate. The authors Cultural Cleansing in Iraq: Why museums were looted, libraries burned and academics murdered (Pluto Press, 2009) suggest that one of the goals of the occupation was to replace the idea of a unified Iraqi nation in people’s minds with a story of ethnic and religious sectarianism. This was certainly how Iraq was portrayed in western media, as if the invaders bore no responsibility for the damage they unleashed. Now the occupation appears to be ending, it’s time this myth was debunked.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Corporate takeover from the air

U.S. Hiring Mercenary Air Force for Iraq Rescues


Danger Room reports (November 14th): The State Department has already requisitioned an army, part of the roughly 5,000 private security contractors State is hiring to protect diplomats stationed in Iraq. Now, State is hiring someone to provide a little help from the air: an “Aviation Advisor” responsible for “Search and Rescue (SAR), medical evacuations (ME), transporting Quick Reaction Forces (QRF) to respond to incidents, and provid[ing] air transportation for Chief of Mission personnel.” It’s not a familiar job for the diplomatic corps, which is why State is seeking to bring in someone from the outside.

There are lots of contractors with long experience in search and rescue and other air operations. The secretive Virginia company Blackbird Technologies, staffed with U.S. special operations veterans, won an$11 million contract in 2010 to rescue missing or kidnapped U.S. troops in Iraq, one of the military’s most important missions.

Sunday 13 November 2011

Latest column for east London News

Iraqis still paying for the invasion with their health

US President Obama announced recently that the last American troops in Iraq will be out before the end of 2011. Yet several thousand private military contractors will remain and Iraq will be a regional hub for the US for years to come.

The overall costs of the war have been calculated by the Nobel prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, at a staggering $3 trillion. But the human cost of  the war is far more difficult to calculate.

On every level, the Occupation of Iraq was a catastrophe for the Iraqi people. A million dead. A million left disabled. Around 16% of the Iraqi population uprooted. Unemployment at 50%. Access to safe water and electricity far below what it was ten years ago.

In 2004, US forces flattened the city of Falluja. Around 5,000 civilians were killed. There were reports of US soldiers shooting civilians who were waving white flags while they tried to escape the city, women and children included. Witnesses saw American tanks rolling over the bodies of the wounded lying in the streets.

The aerial bombardment was ferocious. It was only later that the US admitted using white phosphorous as a battlefield weapon in the assault.

Last year, the BBC reported that doctors in Falluja were reporting high levels of birth defects. Some were blaming weapons used by the US. The level of heart defects among newborn babies was reported to be 13 times higher than in Europe. City officials warned women that they should not have children.

Now a new study by the research group Conflict and Health has unearthed fresh evidence about the high levels of cancers and birth defects. These symptoms are linked to the use of uranium in battlefield weapons used by US forces.

Falluja is not the only city to produce such findings. Research published in the American Journal of Public Health documents a tripling of leukaemia in children in the Basra region. War-related nerve agents and the widespread use of depleted uranium munitions by the US, are believed to be largely responsible.

The US may have formally withdrawn from Iraq. But Iraqis will be living with the consequences of the invasion for generations to come.

To subscribe to Iraq occupation Focus’s free fortnightly electronic newsletter, go to https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/iraqfocus.

Occupation legacy - the links unmangled...

Iraq’s Interior Ministry Denies Torturing Prisoner To Death

The daily struggle of Iraq's widows of war

Study Details Sex-Traffic in Post-Saddam Iraq


In Iraq, U.S. turns to more private contractors


Sunday 6 November 2011

Universities and the Costs of the Iraq War

An interesting report from the BRussells Tribunal on higher education in Iraq can be found here:

 Hugh Gusterson writes for the BRussells Tribunal (September 15th):   The political scientist Mark Duffield has observed that the effect of Western intervention in Iraq has actually been to “demodernize” that country.  ]This is ironic given that the military campaigns against Iraq and Afghanistan have been accompanied by narratives of the West’s obligation to modernize backward nations.  Nowhere is the truth of Duffield’s observation clearer than in the story of what has happened to Iraq’s education system, especially its higher education system.   Western intervention has ended up destroying Iraq’s universities, formerly among the best in the region, as functional institutions. “Up to the Early 1980s, Iraq’s educational system was considered one of the best in the Middle East.  As a result of its drastic and prolonged decline since then, it is now one of the weakest,” concludes a 2008 official report.