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 30 September 2012

More daily life

In postwar Iraq, housing is scarce and pricey
Washington Post reports (September 23rd): As Iraq’s economy rattles awake after years of war, the country is experiencing a real-estate boom, with choice properties in Baghdad or in towns such as Karbala or Irbil selling for $500,000 to more than $1 million.
Years of violence, sectarian tensions and international sanctions have left the country with an acute housing shortage that is driving up prices, experts say. The growing country of 30 million needs about 2 million housing units, according to a United Nations estimate.
Historic Baghdad Book Market Bulldozed in Late-Night Raid
Al Monitor reports (September 24th): Iraqi police raided Mutanabi Street in Baghdad, a vital hub of cultural activity in the country, and destroyed the book-fair stalls on the street.
On September 17, bulldozers guarded by armed soldiers stormed the street late at night and smashed the wooden stalls used by booksellers for displaying and selling their books.
The vendors said they did not receive a warning to evacuate the area.
Iraqi night clubs under attack by mysterious agents
Al Arabiya reports (September 22nd): While human rights groups increasingly voice frustration at a wave of assaults on nightclubs and other alcohol-serving venues in Iraq, parties behind the raid and the destruction of some of these places remain shrouded in mystery, at least officially.
“The office of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces issued a statement saying that the orders to close these clubs came from the judiciary, but judicial spokesman Abdul Sattar al-Beer Qadar denied issuing any orders of this sort,” Ali Yazid, manager of alcohol-serving Al-Marshreq Social Club, told Al Arabiya.
Iraqi officials say jailbreak assisted from inside
AP report (September 29th): Iraqi officials said that a jailbreak where al-Qaida-linked militants escaped death row had help from inside, further tarnishing state authority and raising new concerns over corruption.
A day after the escape in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, scores of prisoners are still at large.

Sunday 23 September 2012

Anti-war news

Don’t deport war resister Kimberly Rivera
Desmond Tutu writes in the Globe and Mail (September 17th): When the United States and Britain made the case in 2003 for the invasion of Iraq, it was on the basis of a lie. We were told that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, and that these weapons posed an imminent threat to humanity.
 But those who were called to fight this war believed what their leaders had told them. The reason we know this is because U.S. soldiers such as Kimberly Rivera, through her own experience in Iraq, came to the conclusion that the invasion had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, the presence of U.S. forces only created immense misery for civilians and soldiers alike.

Ms. Rivera, who is from Texas, joined the U.S. Army when she was 24 and was stationed in Baghdad. Disillusioned by the reality of civilian casualties, she came to Canada in 2007 and applied for refugee status. She felt she could no longer participate in a war where she was contributing to causing harm and death to innocent people.

The Canadian government has notified Ms. Rivera that she is scheduled for deportation to the U.S. on Sept. 20. Her lawyer says she faces a prison sentence of two to five years on her return. Ms. Rivera lives in Toronto with her husband and four children (two of whom were born in Canada); these are people of courage and peace, and they should be granted asylum.

Sunday 16 September 2012

More bad news from Iraq

Baghdad bans beer: why new Iraqi prohibition is an ominous sign
Niqash reports (September 13th): Unexpected raids on Baghdad’s bars, as well as beaten customers, shocked locals. But it’s not just drinkers who are upset. Activists say it’s the government’s latest plan to curb personal freedoms while MPs pondering re-election in the mainly-Muslim nation haven’t said a word.  
One eyewitness told NIQASH that the raiders had been violent. “They were brutal,” he said. “They entered and told us all to get out immediately. They then went around smashing everything up, including tables and chairs. And then those who were guarding the entrance started beating the people who were trying to leave with sticks and their rifle butts.”
Witch-hunt in Iraq
BBC reports (September 12th): In post-Saddam Iraq, gay men and women have been systematically targeted for death by extra-judicial militias - with the co-operation of the democratically elected government, says Ali Hilli, founder of the London-based group, Iraqi LGBT.
Ex-minister slams Iraq PM for tolerating graft
AFP reports (September 15th): The first minister to quit Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki's unity government criticized the prime minister for turning a blind eye to worsening corruption among his loyalists, in an interview with AFP.
Former communications minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, who resigned on August 27, added he was holding documents pointing to graft within the government, but declined to give details, insisting instead they would be released at an unspecified future date.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

We Are at War

Common Dreams reports (September 11th):
On a single day in Iraq there were 29 bombing attacks in 19 cities, killing 111 civilians and wounding another 235. On September 9th, reports indicate 88 people were killed and another 270 injured in 30 attacks all across the country. Iraq continues in a seemingly endless death spiral into chaos. In his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination for President, Obama claimed he ended the war in Iraq. Well… not quite.
The city of Fallujah remains under siege. Not from U.S. troops, but from a deluge of birth defects that have plagued families since the use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus by U.S. forces in 2004. No government studies have provided a direct link to the use of these weapons because no government studies have been undertaken, and none are contemplated.
Dr. Samira Alani, a pediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, told Al Jazeera,
"We have all kinds of defects now, ranging from congenital heart disease to severe physical abnormalities, both in numbers you cannot imagine. There are not even medical terms to describe some of these conditions because we've never seen them until now."

Sunday 9 September 2012

Daily life

Iraq only producing one third of its electricity needs
Azzaman reports (August 28th): Iraq’s national grid churns about one third the country’s needs for electricity estimated at nearly 15000 megawatts, the Ministry of Electricity said in a statement.
The ministry said Iraq’s current power output was estimated at 5852 megawatts but output was not steady due to unexpected interruptions.
The current level of production, despite investments of billions of dollars, still hovers at rates that were available to Iraqis prior to the 2003-U.S. invasion, and despite the fact that the country then was reeling under punitive U.N. trade sanctions.
Still no clear policy to tackle displacement
IRIN reports (September 4th): A dusty settlement on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Al-Rustumiya is more a collection of rags, rubble and garbage than a neighbourhood - and yet its residents wish for no more than to be able to stay here.
Squatting illegally on government land, they are under constant threat of eviction, but say they cannot return to their places of origin.
"You can't just leave us in this instability," Abu Ahmed, a representative of the settlement, told a delegation from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) which visited the settlement in July. "We don't want anything from you - just stability." The most important thing, he said, was permanent housing - "anywhere".
Iraq forces raid Baghdad nightclubs
AFP report (September 5th): Owners and employees at Baghdad nightclubs and bars voiced frustration after their establishments were raided by troops who allegedly beat customers and staff.
The raids, the first of their kind in several months, come as the Iraqi capital takes tentative steps to emerge from years of conflict and violence, with a limited nightlife having slowly returned.
Army special forces carried out raids of venues serving alcohol at around 8:00 pm  "at dozens of nightclubs in Karrada and Arasat, and beat up customers with the butts of their guns and batons," said an interior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Young Iraqis face religious fashion crackdown
AP report (September 3rd): For much of Iraq’s youth, sporting blingy makeup, slicked-up hair and skintight jeans is just part of living the teenage dream. But for their elders, it’s a nightmare.

A new culture rift is emerging in Iraq, as young women replace shapeless cover-ups with ankle-baring skirts and tight blouses, while men strut around in revealing slacks and spiky haircuts. The relatively skimpy styles have prompted Islamic clerics in at least two Iraqi cities to mobilize the “fashion police” in the name of protecting religious values.
Some women have been handed tissues at Kazimiyah checkpoints and told to wipe off their makeup before entering the market, said resident Hakima Mahdi, 59.
Iraq reports looting of 37000 artifacts from southern province
Azzaman reports (September 5th): The southern Iraqi Province of Dhiqar, Iraq’s richest in Mesopotamian artifacts, has reported the looting of nearly 37000 archaeological pieces from ancient sites within its demonstrative borders, according to the  Antiquities Department.

Monday 3 September 2012

Haifa Zangana in The Guardian

Why is Iraq now immune from criticism over appalling 

human rights record?

Three women were among the 21 people executed within one day in Iraq, last Monday. It was followed, two days later, by the reported execution of five more people. The number of people executed since the start of this year is now at least 96 and they are not the only
 The UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, said: "I am appalled about the level of executions in Iraq. I deeply deplore the executions carried out this week, and am particularly alarmed about continuing reports of individuals who remain at risk of execution."

There is also news of another 196 people on death row. According to Iraqi officials, they have all been convicted on charges "related to terrorism," but there is little information about their names, what crimes they committed or whether they have access to lawyers or not. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have previously documented theprevalence of unfair trials and torture in detention in Iraq. Confessions under torture are often the only evidence against a person who has been arrested following a secret informant's report. Parading the accused with their tortured, empty looks on Al Iraqiya, the official TV channel, is the norm. It took a court in Baghdad only 15 minutes to sentence Ramze Shihab Ahmed, a dual Iraqi-UK national, to 15 years' imprisonment after being found guilty of "funding terrorist groups".
Amnesty has obtained and examined court documents and said it believes the trial proceedings were "grossly unfair". Ahmed was held in a secret prison near Baghdad, during which time his whereabouts were completely unknown to his family. During this period Ahmed alleges he was tortured – with electric shocks to his genitals and suffocation by plastic bags – into making a false "confession" to terrorist offences.
So what kind of human rights are observed in the "new Iraq"? Hardly any. The list of abuses is long and the tip of the iceberg is waves of arbitrary arrests (over 1,000 monthly), torture and executions. All are barely noticed by the world media and the US and British official silence is rather convenient to cover up the crimes and chaos they created. From time to time, they break their silence but only to justify their act of aggression. Recently, when Archbishop Desmond Tutu pulled out of a seminar in protest over the presence of Tony Blair, a statement was issued by Blair's office to justify the morality of his decision to support the United States' military invasion of Iraq.
The statement reiterated the plight of Iraqis under Saddam's regime with no mention whatsoever of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the war and endemic abuses of human rights since 2003.
The Nouri al-Maliki government in Iraq with its human rights outfits is following the same path. Its human rights concerns remain focused on the crimes of the previous regime. So do most of the intellectuals and politicians involved in the scramble for seats and favours in Baghdad. People who for years before the invasion of 2003 were highlighting human rights abuses as a reason to invoke war as a prelude to democracy and transparency are now either totally silent or actively covering up the current abuses, despite glaring evidence from international human rights organisations.
The so-called "war on terror" reformulated many aspects of world politics and state accountability has become the first victim of that war. It has acquired variable meanings with highly selective application. Therefore, some governments have "enjoyed" immunity, no matter how brutally they have behaved against their own or other people. The Iraqi regime is one of them.

Saturday 1 September 2012

Press release

Birth Defects study in Fallujah Iraq
A study published today in the Journal of the Islamic Medical Association of North America (1) finds rates of congenital anomaly at birth in Fallujah Iraq to be 11.5 times higher than the comparable rate in Kuwait. In a prospective study begun at the start of 2010, each case of congenital malformation was examined at birth at one of three clinics at Fallujah General Hospital together with details of the type of malformation and parental information on possible causes (e.g. consanguinity, smoking, drugs during pregnancy, age of mother etc). There were 291 CA cases registered at birth in the 11 month period at the study’s clinic. The total number of births recorded in the hospital over the period was 6015.
The CAs included 113 heart and circulatory system cases, 72 nervous system cases, 40 digestive system cases, 9 genitourinary cases, 6 ear, face and neck cases, 7 respiratory cases and 30 Down syndrome cases.
The authors concluded that the many anecdotal reports of unusually high levels of congenital malformation in Fallujah were supported by this study. Discussing the findings, the authors regard the findings as proof of the exposure of the population of Fallujah to some genetic mutagen employed during the 2004/5 USA led attacks on the city. On the basis of earlier work (2) where measurement was made the concentration of 52 elements in the hair of the mothers of children with birth defects the authors concluded that the most likely exposure was to Uranium which was present in the mothers at unusually high concentrations and which was found, through studies of long hair which could be used as a historic exposure record, to be much higher at the time of the attacks on the city.
Prof Christopher Busby said: This study has been difficult to get published. The World Health Organisation contacted me last year following our initial report (3) and my presentation at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Their representative asked me to collaborate on a study in Iraq, both of Fallujah and in other parts of the country, and I agreed. But after I told them I had to be closely connected with the data collection so I could be sure of the results, I heard no more. The present paper was sent to four different journals, including The Lancet, and all refused to publish it, in one case even refused to look at it. The authors have been subject to continuous attacks on their credibility. If independent science dies, through threats, funding cuts and fear, then there is no hope for the human race. Scientific truth will be controlled by political power. The Islamic Doctors in the USA are to be congratulated for their brave decision to publish this important study.
Malak Hamdan added: The World Health Organisation promised to conduct a pilot study to find the rates of congenital anomaly in Iraq including fallujah - where is this report?. These babies, these children and their mothers need our help, the doctors in Fallujah are helpless, they need equipment, experts, they are desperate for governmental support. Why is the world so silent?
Christopher Busby: +44 1970 630215; +447989428833
(1) Alaani Samira, Al-Fallouji Mohannad A.R., Busby Christopher* and Hamdan, Malak (2012) Pilot Study of Congenital Anomaly Rates at Birth in Fallujah, Iraq, Journal of the Islamic Medical Association of North America 44(1), 1-5 (http://jima.imana.org/article/view/10463/44-1-10463)
(2) Alaani Samira Tafash Muhammed, Busby Christopher*, Hamdan, Malak and Blaurock-Busch Eleonore (2011) Uranium and other contaminants in hair from the parents of children with congenital anomalies in Fallujah, Iraq Conflict Health 5, 1-15
(3) Busby, Chris*; Hamdan, Malak; Ariabi, Entesar. (2010) Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 7, no. 7: 2828-2837.