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April 2004. Editorial Note: Part 2 of the December edition of On Target, "Lurching From Christmas Into The New Year" is in the course of preparation as the March, 2004, edition. However, the uprising in Occupied Iraq, with particular reference to the Israeli-inspired United States genocide in Fallujah, decided us to "leap-frog" the March issue to cover the more urgent events in Iraq.
IRAQ 2003 - 2004

LIBERATION, AMERICAN STYLE

A Massive Crisis Founded On Lies, Hypocrisy, Bogus Objectives And Profound Ignorance


In March, 2004, under the noses of British Intelligence, senior and distinguished figures in the Islamic Community, including both Sunnis and Shiites, gathered in London to discuss a more coherent resistance to the continuing occupation of Iraq by United States-led Coalition Forces (Sunday Herald, 11th April, 2004). At the beginning of April, 2004, armed insurrection erupted across the whole of Iraq in a situation that has no obvious cut-off point. We ought seriously to be worried. This has marked the first anniversary of the fall of Baghdad at the end of a long period of attrition, attributed in large measure to the minority Sunni faction, with unconvincing attempts to implicate Syria, Iran and Al Qa'eda. It has followed the formal military "victory" proclaimed by President George W. Bush, in full flying gear, twelve months earlier in May, 2003, aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. The United States-United Kingdom Coalition has now discovered that it has a tiger by the tail as a result of astonishing ignorance of, and overt and even contemptuous American indifference to, the Iraqi people, their customs, culture and history. The very Nation and the very people, the "liberation" of whom has now become the excuse - after Weapons of Mass Destruction became an embarrassment - for the seizure of the country and control of its natural resources. A significant turning point occurred in Fallujah at the end of March, 2004, when four American mercenaries were "brutally murdered", dragged from their car, and their bodies dragged through the streets before being hung from a bridge. A similar fate befell Prime Minister Nuri es-Said in 1958 during the military rebellion that deposed King Faisal II, and the same writing is on the wall for the United States Administrator, Paul Bremer.


The self-righteous American outrage when these unfortunates of their own were "butchered 'like sheep'" (The Daily Telegraph, 1st April, 2004), conveniently overlooked a number of milestones. For the contemporary history we can look to no better than the record in The Fire This Time by Ramsey Clark(1). As a former United States Attorney-General Clark is no Mickey Mouse figure, some will-o-the-wisp conspiracy theorist or opportunist newspaper hack. To begin with, the infrastructure of Iraq, a highly developed society with fine education and health care systems, was deliberately bombed out and destroyed during the first Gulf War of 1991. The civilian population was deliberately targeted. Ramsay wrote (p69), that "The Pentagon admitted it targeted civilian structures both to demoralize the populace and exacerbate the effects of [economic] sanctions." In other words, Terrorism by any other name instigated by those same Western Nations that prate endlessly against Terrorism by others, and even agonise sanctimoniously over the causes of the inevitable retaliation that they themselves have provoked! This is the America of Vietnam, napalm and agent orange, whose School of the Americas at Fort Benning exists for the purpose of training home-grown terrorists, largely for deployment in Latin America. In 1991 the bombing of the Amariyah shelter in Baghdad alone accounted for about 1,500 civilians, mostly women and children, during a six-week bombing campaign that cost the lives of an estimated 50,000 civilians. Fallujah was one of the targets of these indiscriminate attacks, in which the Royal Air Force participated, with the loss of some 200 civilians and a further 500 injured. As the conflict ended we had the infamous "Turkey Shoot" in which vast numbers of defeated, retreating Iraqi soldiers and civilians were massacred. A further 50 Iraqi troops attempting to surrender were cut down in cold blood, and others were buried alive in their trenches. So much for the sanctimonious agonising from Washington today. Proudly posed in Ramsay's book with the Commander responsible, General "Stormin' Norman" Schwarzkopf, were the then Defense Secretary, now vice-President, Dick Cheney, and the then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, now Secretary of State, Colin Powell. War criminals all, save for the reality that the United States makes - and breaks - the rules to suit! Ramsey Clark wrote:

The war crimes of which U.S. officials have been convicted have resulted in the deaths of at least 250,000 human beings to date and the crippling of Iraq's civilian society. The United States claims 148 U.S. combat deaths, many from its own weapons. There was no war, only a simple, merciless slaughter of tens of thousands by 110,000 aerial sorties dropping 88,000 tons of explosives, 93 per cent falling free on a defence-less country. As the underlying reports show, scores of premature infants died in incubators and during efforts to save them after U.S. bombing destroyed virtually all electric power transmission in Iraq during the first hours of bombing on January 17th, 1991. . . . Tens of thousands of Iraqis died as a direct result and foreseeable consequence of the deliberate policy of making civilians and civilian facilities the direct object of aerial bombardment.

In 2003 the United States-United Kingdom Coalition, launched by its "Christian" (sic!) leadership, repeated the process with even more sophisticated state-of-the-art weaponry. An estimated "collateral" 10,000 Iraqi men, women and children perished - were "liberated". In the intervening period the United Nations - in practice meaning Washington - had imposed massive sanctions on the importation of essential material to Iraq. The Deputy Editor of On Target, as a member of the United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), has personal experience of the careful control exercised by the Greek Cypriot Foreign Ministry over stores imported or exchanged when the mainland Turkish Contingent rotated every six months between Northern Cyprus and Turkey. By comparison, the absurd limitations on the material allowed to be imported into Iraq beggared belief; even the simplest education and medical items were denied on the most spurious of pretexts. The intention was quite clear; irreversibly to reduce Iraq, its people and its infrastructure to the point of complete destruction. This was much along the lines of the Morgenthau Plan proposed for Germany after the 1939-45 War.

Operational Dimensions


We have previously cited the experience of 1939-45 war veterans, that when the Germans fired, the British ducked, and when the British fired, the Germans ducked, but when the Americans fired, both ducked. We have also pointed out that there had to have been a total absence of official preparations for the United States forces to operate in the political or cultural scenario with which they were to be faced. Within barely weeks of their so-called victory, United States troops used automatic weapons to kill 13 unarmed civilians in a large crowd of protesters in Fallujah. In May, 2003, totally ignorant of the traditional feu-de-joie at wedding celebrations, a further four innocents in a wedding party were killed in Samarra, just as has occurred in Afghanistan. Brutal house-to-house searches have involved theft of valuables and have ridden rough-shod over traditional Islamic courtesies and conventions. Ignorant, ill-trained, ill-disciplined, badly officered and badly commanded, trigger-happy and increasingly apprehensive United States troops have continued indiscriminately to shoot innocent men, women and children on the slightest pretext. The recent killing, reported in The Australian of 14th April, of an innocent car driver, beaten to death when he refused to remove a picture of the cleric Muqtadar al-Sadr can not have improved this seriously tarnished image. More ominously and friendly fire accidents apart, United States troops are known to have deliberately targeted certain journalists. Here is a brief extract from what John Pilger wrote, under the heading "We see too much. We know too much. That's our best defence", in The Independent of Sunday, 6th April, 2004 :

We now glimpse the forbidden truths of the invasion of Iraq. A man cuddles the body of his innocent daughter, her blood drenches them. A woman in black pursues a tank, her arms outstretched; all seven in her family are dead. An American marine murders a woman because she happens to be standing next to a man in uniform. "I'm sorry," he says, "But the chick got in the way."

Ancient date, orange and lemon groves have been bulldozed "as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking U.S. troops" (The Independent on Sunday, 12th October, 2003). This comes straight out of the Israeli Defence Force text book, and the wanton destruction of vital olive groves in Occupied Palestine. So much for "liberation" and "democracy". The continued draconian use of conventional battlefield military power in urban conditions with the inevitably high civilian collateral has long been treated with tacit contempt by British military observers, and with loathing and revulsion generally. With little doubt there is a functional symmetry with corresponding Israeli tactics in the Occupied Territories. This exemplary United States exercise in winning hearts and minds was once again demonstrated in Fallujah at the beginning of April, 2004. This was partly in revenge for the killing of the four American mercenaries, and partly as a reaction to the general uprising. The operation saw bombing and the employment of heavy artillery and helicopter gunships in urban conditions with the inevitable loss of innocent civilian lives. As one studies a photograph of a boy of about ten who has lost one leg and the foot of the other, one reflects that Madeleine Albright would have considered the price worthwhile. This action in Fallujah has the pedigree of Deir Yassin in 1948, Sabra Shatila in 1982, Jenin in 2002, and countless excursions into Gaza and Ramallah.


With every passing day one becomes convinced that a proper appreciation of the operational and political requirement was never carried out before the invasion, and that the determination to invade regardless was driven by the manic determination of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. Cracks are now showing enough to alarm any military commander. The tour of formations in Iraq is likely to be extended to cover shortages instead of providing, or rotating, with fresh units. Wounded soldiers still unfit for duty are being forced to rejoin their units. Additional, unwanted complications from the Politically Correct female presence are well known. One of three sisters serving in Iraq has been killed in action. Following a direct appeal by their father to the Pentagon the two surviving sisters are to be posted home to the United States. The affect on the morale of those left behind can only be imagined. Another and equally disturbing dimension has come with the increasing use of mercenaries. They would not, presumably, be bound by any oath of allegiance, the Manual of Military Law, Queen's Regulations or the equivalent, or by the Geneva Conventions? We have no doubt about the validity of this report, taken from the Internet, although we have edited the text to remove the more racy expressions:

5,000 Iraqis marched on a fort in Najaf on Sunday 11th April, 2004, to protest at the closure of a newspaper and the United States arrest warrant on a cleric. Suddenly soldiers opened up killing 30 and wounding hundreds of women and children. It turns out these were mercenaries from Blackwater Security (4 fools set up by Mossad ). An attack by hundreds of Iraqi militia members on the United States Government Headquarters in Najaf on Sunday was repulsed not by the United States military, but by eight commandos from a private security firm, according to sources familiar with the incident. Before United States reinforcements could arrive, the firm, Blackwater Security Consulting, sent in its own helicopters amid an intense firefight to resupply its commandos with ammunition and to ferry out a wounded Marine, the sources said. The role of Blackwater's commandos in Sunday's fighting in Najaf illuminates the grey zone between their formal role as bodyguards and the realities of operating in an active war zone. Thousands of armed private security contractors are operating in Iraq in a wide variety of missions and exchanging fire with Iraqis every day, according to informal after action reports from several companies. During the defence of the Authority Headquarters, thousands of rounds and hundreds of 40mm grenades were fired. Sources who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of Blackwater's work in Iraq reported an unspecified number of casualties among Iraqis.


In the Palestinian Occupied Territories the spiritual Hamas leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was assassinated by the Israelis in March this year. The radical cleric Muqtadar al-Satr, scion of the leading Shiite family in Iraq, rose to prominence as leader of the incipient Shiite uprising and has been slated by the United States Commander, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, for killing or capture. Muqtadar's newspaper, al Hawza, was closed down on the 28th March, 2004. The Shiite threat was initially dismissed as the action of a troublesome minority. Felicity Arbuthnot, who has an extensive knowledge of Iraq and its people has pointed out that Muqtadar was influential enough to have the vast, sprawling Saddam City district of Baghdad renamed Sadr City in honour of his father, who was murdered by Saddam Hussein. She has also pointed out that the lack of recognition for Muqtadar has comparable implications to an insult to the Monarchy in the United Kingdom, with the immediate consequence that this has swung the hitherto uncommitted 25,000,000 population behind the uprising against the occupying powers.

Politics, And The Zionist Connection

Despite the views expressed by some talking heads wheeled on by the controlled Mass Communications Media, the contrived invasion of Iraq was based on two factors - control of the world's oil resources vital to sustain the gas-guzzling demands of the First World, basically the so-called "International Community"; secondly, Israeli-Jewish interests. That Western-style "Democracy" should need to be imposed on alien - Islamic - Middle Eastern cultures, to which it is not necessarily suited, is a palpable nonsense, except in the geopolitical sense of enforcing conformity. In the United Kingdom and the United States, the "one-man-one-vote" term "Democracy" has in practice long been symbolic of the dichotomy between electorates and the political system. No such concern has been demonstrated as that for Iraq in the case of equally brutal regimes that are acquiescent providers of natural resources or a focus of business interests; or that offer none of these, such as Indonesia, Zimbabwe or Rwanda. Regimes deemed hostile to United States interests, for example in Central and Southern America, have simply been destroyed, exactly as is being attempted currently in the case of the "Left Wing" President Hugo Chávez, in Venezuela. Moreover, the contrived invasions of Iraq in 1991 and 2003 were merely a continuum of the Kissinger Plan of 1975, to seize control of the oil resources of the Persian Gulf. This was exposed by the former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia at the cost of his diplomatic career(2). The United States, of course, has no intention of quitting Iraq, and is already constructing military bases there that will form part of a chain from the Persian Gulf to the oil-rich former Soviet satellites such as Tajikistan and on to Afghanistan. In the interests of "Democracy", of course!


United States hypocrisy, disingenuous lies and misinformation were demonstrated in The Sunday Times Business columns of 11th April, 2004, by the American commentator, Irwin Steltzer. The heading was revealing: "Iraq war: why the gain will be worth the pain" (Emphasis added). Steltzer wrote of the resolve of President Bush to bring "peace, democracy and prosperity" to "that unfortunate country". He wrote of the "innocent Iraqis" caught in the crossfire of "assorted Saddamites, Islamic fanatics and terrorists" who oppose the "democratisation" of Iraq. Of "private" security firms Steltzer wrote "'the largest private army in the world', providing what Blackwater [Security] describes as a 'new generation of capability, skills and people to solve the spectrum of needs in the world of security". Of the infrastructure systematically destroyed by the Western Alliance over some fourteen years, he wrote of the "cost of reconstructing the infrastructure that Saddam neglected and Iraqi looters [in the presence of United States Coalition troops] virtually destroyed".

In assessing this scenario we have to identify the true meaning of "national" interests and how these are portrayed for the public perception. Pursuance of these interests implies the natural objectives of the capitalist system and an automatic association with the political "Right". Opposition and criticism is ritually attributed to the political "Left" - whatever the meaning of these two terms in practice, which is rarely, if ever, defined. We have to establish the moral dimension of what is now International Finance-Capitalism; the trans-national interests of a powerful few. We may see the analogy in leading football league teams; stacked with over-seas players, and no longer representative of the towns, cities, or people of their origins. We see the selective employment of massive military force, the sponsorship or precipitation of genocide and the ultimate costs to the environment in pursuit of these interests. We have to remember that the single-minded plan to invade Iraq originated long before the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York, on the 11th September, 2001; even then the most tenuous connections to Iraq. President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Blair are quite simply a couple of brazen liars, as the shifting sands of their duplicity, and the pretext for the invasion, has slithered between the removal of a brutal dictator, non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction (W.M.D.), the "45" minute factor thunderously promulgated by Blair who did not even understand the term at the time; the conveniently forgotten need for a second United Nations Resolution, the "Dossier" of fabricated evidence, and questionable advice on the legality of military action from the Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith.


Today, 10,000 "liberated" Iraqi lives later and still growing, United States Secretary of State Colin Powell has even cast doubt on the validity of the evidence of W.M.D. about which he berated the United Nations Security Council in February, 2003 (The Daily Telegraph, 5th April, 2004). In the case of the United Kingdom, clueless Ministers such as Jack Straw, "Geoff" Hoon and Peter Hain, who have little knowledge of the Middle East and its culture, have sought to justify the invasion with the support of craven, self-interested fellow New Labour politicians in Westminster. Caught by his duplicity and his schoolboy perceptions, Blair either diverts public attention by pronouncing another domestic "initiative", or by hopping on a plane to "consult" with foreign governments - 10,000 innocent Iraqi lives later! In 1998 a leading political aficionado of Blair, Ann Clwyd, M.P. , founded a company, INDICT Limited, purportedly devoted to the "liberation" of Iraq. One Director, and Company Secretary, is Dr. Ahmen Chalabi, the C.I.A. appointee to head the Provisional Administration under Paul Bremer. Chalabi is also a convicted bank fraudster who has been tried in absentia in Jordan. A long-term exile from Iraq, he has close connections with the neoconservative cabal in Washington with whom he was associated in fabricating evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq(3); an operation in which Israel was also deeply involved(4). From the "Arabian Nights" fantasy world of the British New Labour Government two female activists have been sent to the operational cauldron of Iraq to "promote gender equality and diversity" at a cost of £150,000, which might have purchased a fair amount of desperately needed body armour twelve months ago. One, Mandana Hendisi, was reported as saying that "Iraqi women had been deprived of their civil liberties for the past 35 years" (Daily Mail, 25th November and 4th December, 2003). The response to this "insult to Iraqi women" was published in the same newspaper in a letter from Felicity Arbuthnot, who does know the country and has moved in Iraqi society at all levels for several years. We take these extracts:

Women make up around half of all professions in Iraq. Universities are mixed, and until the United Nations embargo began, postgraduate students of both sexes could, if they wished, study abroad. . . . Iraq isn't Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia. Iraqi women are university professors, doctors, architects, engineers; they drive cars and many even enjoy a glass of wine. Iraq had the first female commercial airline pilot and women were found in every profession until the invasion made the country so dangerous that many people are afraid to leave their homes. After the 1991 Gulf War, the engineer in overall charge of the reconstruction of Baghdad was a woman and had the city's infrastructure up and running to tolerable levels within weeks.


No doubt can be entertained about the overriding power exercised by the American-Jewish lobby in United States politics generally, or specifically over United States policies in the Middle East. Similar, but more subtle and less public influences operate in the United Kingdom. In the United States politicians are vulnerable to this power in the electoral processes, even to that for the presidency. Few dare to expose or challenge these truths. If they do so they are invariably subjected to orchestrated and often world-wide accusations of anti-Semitism. This power of organised Jewry in the United States patently exerts a stranglehold support for Israel, which determines to a large extent Middle Eastern strategy generally. We have examined the Anglo-American-Zionist network in On Target, with reference to such organisations as the International Security Council(5)(6). The American-Jewish author J.J. Goldberg has written openly and in detail of Jewish political organisations and their influence in the United States, and of the same control over the Mass Communications Media(7). Other American-Jewish authors such as Alfred M. Lilienthal have written critically of this power(8). Some, like the distinguished American-Jewish Professor Noam Chomsky have written numerous books on the subject, especially with reference to Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, and United States policies towards Iraq. For his pains he has been viciously attacked by other American-Jewish figures like Alan Derschowitz. Former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky has written of Israeli manipulation of the balance of power in the Middle East, in which Iraq has been a key factor(9).

Equally little doubt exists about the primary loyalties to Jewish interests exercised within the so-called neoconservative cabal behind the present United States Administration. Ample evidence of this exists in the case of such individuals as Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Kristol and others. In a subtly constructed paper Joshua Muravchik, one of "them", seeks to identify this group as simply one element integral to neoconservative thinking(10). Professor Kevin MacDonald, on the other hand, argues far more convincingly that this American-Jewish group functions within neoconservatism positively to expedite Zionist interests, working in secondary appointments behind Gentile front-men like Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice-President Dick Cheney. Professor MacDonald also argued that the immigration and race card and thus the reduction of cultural identity in nations potentially hostile to Israeli-Jewish interests was a significant tactic of the American-Jewish caucus within the neoconservatives. Certainly the operation since 1991 to reduce Iraq has a symmetry with the plan of Henry Morgenthau Jr., for the post 1945 reduction of Germany(11).

Independent Journalism Under Occupation in Iraq
by Dahr Jamail, 3rd April, 2004

Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist who recently spent 9 weeks in Iraq. His writing has appeared on websites such as Electronic Iraq, Information Clearinghouse, and The NewStandard.

Today in Iraq, like in the United States, there is an horrendous disparity between what is really occurring on the ground and what the Western corporate media chooses to report. I recently spent nine weeks in Iraq working as a freelance independent journalist. On a daily basis, I witnessed first hand the corporate media either misreporting or not reporting stories as they arose. The signs were glaring from the parking lot full of parked white S.U.V.s [Sports Utility Vehicles] in the middle of the day supposedly used by the C.N.N. and Fox News crews, to the absence of A.B.C., N.B.C., or C.B.S. media crews at any of the sites of the news stories I was covering. Even stories that were on the front pages stateside are regularly being covered from the press room and not the field. It's no wonder the corporate media rarely reports on the torturing of many of the over 10,000 detained Iraqis by the United States military, the constant home raids, or the infrastructure in nearly complete disrepair as we begin the second year of the occupation. For most of the corporate media tend to stick closer to their hotels, rather than where the stories are occurring and being lived every day out amongst the Iraqi people.

The majority of the corporate media tend simply to go where the United States military tells them it is safe to go, while donning their flack jackets, helmets, and the preferred "we versus they" mentality with Iraqis. Once they arrive at the scene of, say, a sealed off section of Baghdad where yet another Improvised Explosive Device has detonated near a passing patrol, they are herded to the one section the military allows to be photographed so at best they might get shots of an already cleaned up scene. The United States military in Iraq has a strong tendency to hide its own destroyed hardware to sanitize a scene, and the corporate media does a good job of making sure they don't run photographs of this, nor any wounded or dead American soldiers. Then there is, of course, the editorial selection factor. In mid December I broke a story of United States military personnel detaining sixteen 14-17 year old school boys at a secondary school in Al Amiriya, Baghdad, for holding a non violent pro Saddam Hussein demonstration after the dictator was captured. When a friend who writes for the Associated Press (A.P.), assisted in filing the story of armed soldiers pulling children from their classrooms to over 100 major news-papers throughout the United States, only one editor responded. The reply? "This is not news."


Other stories I covered that were never run by corporate media outlets included a massacre near Ramadi where the military executed three men from a family, the gross misreporting of the military of their "killing" 54 Fedayin fighters in Samarra during the end of November (really there were two fighters and eight civilians killed), or the fact that most of the people in Southern Iraq are suffering from water borne diseases due to the fact that [major United States contractor] Bechtel is not fulfilling their contractual obligations and rebuilding the water infrastructure there. Instead, the United States public is fed bogus polls telling them half of Iraqis feel they are better off now with a year of occupation under their belts. That is an amazing figure, since nearly every one of the hundreds of Iraqis I interviewed throughout Iraq was understandably enraged at the 70 per cent unemployment, less than 8 hours of electricity per day in Baghdad, water so terrible there are cholera outbreaks in southern Iraq, and a security situation that spirals further out of control on a daily basis. About the only time it's easy to find Iraqis who are pro-occupation is if you let the Coalition Provisional Administration (C.P.A.) show them to you, thus it's the journalists with the least initiative that find the rarest selections of public opinion by speaking to those pushing brooms or sitting at a desk at C.P.A. Headquarters.


Every independent journalist I spoke with in Iraq reported the same thing: the majority of Iraqis, already incensed at the American failure to rebuild, and coping with the aforementioned abuses and hardships, have run out of patience with the occupying forces. In fact, the conduct of the corporate media in Iraq is making the climate more dangerous for journalists. I have arrived at the scene of an attack on the United States military to report their heavy handed reactions of shooting several Iraqi civilians, only to be threatened and yelled at by angry Iraqis. Why? Because they had become frustrated with telling their stories to corporate journalists, only to have these journalists return to Baghdad and parrot the military press release. The most common example of the lack of investigative journalism by the corporate media in Iraq is that most of the journalists simply parrot what General Kimmitt and Dan Senor (Paul. Bremer's spokesman) feed them at the Coalition Provisional Authority press conferences. During these surreal "press conferences", if the General or Senor are asked a tough question, the journalist's microphone is sometimes cut, or the question is simply avoided altogether. This was clearly illustrated when a United States patrol was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device on 27th January in Khaidiya, an area between Ramadi and Baghdad. The United States military reported three American soldiers and one Iraqi civilian killed in the attack. Every witness I interviewed at the scene, as well as wounded Iraqis in the nearby Ramadi hospital and an Iraqi Policeman, reported seeing far more body bags than the three reported by CENTCOM (Central Command). Meanwhile, Dr. Rayid Al Ani, the Assistant Director of the Ramadi Hospital reported three dead Iraqis having been brought to his hospital from the scene of the attack, and said three of the wounded brought to him with terminal injuries died shortly thereafter. Did the military revise their story? Of course not. Did any of the corporate media outlets hold them accountable for this? Of course not. Did they even bother driving out to Khaidiya to check the military's claims?

Getting the facts in Iraq is not rocket science. I am simply doing my job as a journalist to report the Iraqi side of the story, along with the Coalition Press Information Centre side. An informed citizenry forms the basis of a democracy. Not only are American citizens being deprived of access to information about the true nature of the critical situation in Iraq, they are being outright lied to by most of the corporate media outlets. Should the corporate media not be held accountable for blocking the democratic process? How can United States foreign policy be shifted when the media is simply not reporting the facts? There may never have been a time such as this where the need for investigative independent journalism has been so great. In Iraq, citizens and soldiers both will continue to die on a daily basis while the corporate media continues to report on bogus polls.

THE SEEDS OF INSURRECTION

The Unmentionable Source of Terrorism
by John Pilger, 20th March, 2004

The current threat of attacks in countries whose governments have close alliances with Washington is the latest stage in a long struggle against the empires of the West, their rapacious crusades and domination. The motivation of those who plant bombs in railway carriages derives directly from this truth. What is different today is that the weak have learned how to attack the strong, and the western crusaders' most recent colonial terrorism exposes "us" to retaliation. The source of much of this danger is Israel. A creation, then guardian of the West's empire in the Middle East, the Zionist state remains the cause of more regional grievance and sheer terror than all the Muslim states combined. Read the melancholy Palestinian Monitor on the Internet; it chronicles the equivalent of Madrid's horror week after week, month after month, in occupied Palestine. No front pages in the West acknowledge this enduring bloodbath, let alone mourn its victims. Moreover, the Israeli army, a terrorist organisation by any reasonable measure, is protected and rewarded in the West.

In its current Human Rights Report, the Foreign Office criticises Israel for its "worrying disregard for human rights" and "the impact that the continuing Israeli occupation and the associated military occupations have had on the lives of ordinary Palestinians." Yet the Blair Government has secretly authorised the sale of vast quantities of arms and terror equipment to Israel. These include leg irons, electric shock belts and chemical and biological agents. No matter that Israel has defied more United Nations Resolutions than any other state since the founding of the world body. Last October, the United Nations General Assembly voted by 144 to four to condemn the wall that Israel has cut through the heart of the West Bank, annexing the best agricultural land, including the aquifer system that provides most of the Palestinians' water. Israel, as usual, ignored the world.

Israel is the guard dog of America's plans for the Middle East. The former C.I.A. (Central Intelligence Agency) analysts, Kathleen and Bill Christison, have described how "two strains of Jewish and Christian fundamentalism have dovetailed into an agenda for a vast imperial project to restructure the Middle East, all further reinforced by the happy coincidence of great oil resources up for grabs and a President and Vice President heavily invested in oil." The "Neoconservatives" who run the Bush regime all have close ties with the Likud Government in Tel Aviv, and the Zionist lobby groups in Washington. In 1997, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (J.I.N.S.A.) declared: "J.I.N.S.A. has been working closely with Iraqi National Council leader Dr Ahmad Chalabi to promote Saddam Hussein's removal from office. . ." Chalabi is the C.I.A. backed stooge and convicted embezzler at present organising the next "democratic" government in Baghdad. Until recently, a group of Zionists ran their own intelligence service inside the Pentagon. Known as the Office of Special Plans, this was overseen by Douglas Feith, an Under Secretary of Defense, extreme Zionist and opponent of any negotiated peace with the Palestinians.

It was the Office of Special Plans that supplied Downing Street with much of its scuttlebutt about Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (W.M.D.); more often than not, the original source was Israel. Israel can also claim responsibility for the law passed by Congress that imposes sanctions on Syria and in effect threatens it with the same fate as Iraq unless it agrees to the demands of Tel Aviv. Israel is the guiding hand behind [President George W.] Bush's bellicose campaign against the "nuclear threat" posed by Iran. Today, in occupied Iraq, Israeli special forces are teaching the Americans how to "wall in" a hostile population, in the same way that Israel has walled in the Palestinians in pursuit of the Zionist dream of an apartheid state. The author David Hirst describes the "Israelisation of United States foreign policy" as being "now operational as well as ideological." In understanding Israel's enduring colonial role in the Middle East, it is too simple to see the outrages of Ariel Sharon as an aberrant version of a democracy that lost its way. The myths that abound in middle class Jewish homes in Britain about Israel's heroic, noble birth have long been reinforced by a "liberal" or "left wing" Zionism as virulent and essentially destructive as the Likud strain.

In recent years, the truth has come from Israel's own "new historians", who have revealed that the Zionist "idealists" of 1948 had no intention of treating justly or even humanely the Palestinians, who instead were systematically and often murderously driven from their homes. The most courageous of these historians is Ilan Pappe, an Israeli born professor at Haifa University, who, with the publication of each of his ground breaking books, has been both acclaimed and smeared. The latest is A History of Modern Palestine, in which he documents the expulsion of Palestinians as an orchestrated crime of ethnic cleansing that tore apart Jews and Arabs coexisting peacefully. As for the modern "peace process", he describes the Oslo Accords of 1993 as a plan by liberal Zionists in the Israeli Labour Party to corral Palestinians in South African style bantustans. That they were aided by a desperate Palestinian leadership made the "peace" and its "failure" (blamed on the Palestinians) no less counterfeit

During the years of negotiation and raised hopes, governments in Tel Aviv secretly doubled the number of illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, intensified the military occupation and completed the fragmentation of the 22 per cent of historic Palestine that the Palestine Liberation Organisation had agreed to accept in return for recognising the state of Israel. Along with the late Edward Said, llan Pappe is the most eloquent writer of Palestinian history. He is also one of the most scholarly. This combination has brought him many admirers, but also enemies among Israel's academic liberal mythologists in Britain, one of whom, Stephen Howe, was given the Pappe book to review in the New Statesman of 8th March, 2004. Howe often appears in these pages; his style is to damn with faint praise and to set carefully the limits of debate about empire, be it Irish history, the Middle East or the "War on Terror". In Pappe's case, what the reader doesn't know is Howe's personal link to the Israeli Establishment; and what Howe does not say in his review is that here for the first time is a textbook on Palestine that narrates the real story as it happened: a non Zionist version of Zionism. He accuses Pappe of "factual mistakes", but gives no evidence, then denigrates the book by dismissing it as a footnote to another book by the Israeli historian Benny Morris, who has long atoned for his own revisionist work. To its credit, Cambridge University Press has published Pappe's pioneering and highly accessible work as an authoritative history. This means that the "debate" over Israel's origins is ending, regardless of what the empire's apologists say.

The U.S. is Sabotaging Stability in Iraq
by Naomi Klein, Monday 5th April, 2004, the Globe and Mail, Canada

I heard the sound of freedom yesterday in Baghdad's Firdos Square, the famous plaza where the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled one year ago. It sounds like machine gun fire. On Sunday, Iraqi soldiers, trained and controlled by Coalition Forces, opened fire on demonstrators here, forcing the emergency evacuation of the nearby Sheraton and Palestine hotels. As demonstrators returned to their homes in the poor neighbourhood of Sadr City, the United States army followed with tanks and helicopters. As night fell, there were unconfirmed reports of dozens of casualties. In Najaf, the day was equally bloody: 19 demonstrators dead, more than 150 injured. But make no mistake: This is not the "civil war" that Washington has been predicting will break out between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. Rather, it is a war provoked by the United States Occupation Authority and waged by its forces against the growing number of Shiites who support Muqtadar al Sadr. al Sadr is the younger, more radical rival of the Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, portrayed by his adoring supporters as a kind of cross between Ayatollah Khomeini and Che Guevara. He blames the United States for attacks on civilians, compares United States occupation chief, Paul Bremer, to Saddam Hussein, aligns himself with Hamas and Hezbollah and has called for a jihad against the controversial interim constitution. His Iraq might look a lot like Iran. And it's a message with a market. With Ayatollah al Sistani concentrating on lobbying the United Nations rather than on confronting the United States led occupation in the streets, many Shiites are growing restless, and are turning to the more militant tactics preached by al Sadr. Some have joined the Mahdi, Muqtadar's black clad army, which claims hundreds of thousands of members. At first, Paul Bremer responded to al Sadr's growing strength by ignoring him; now he is attempting to provoke him into all out battle.


The trouble began when Bremer closed down al Sadr's newspaper last week, sparking a wave of peaceful demonstrations. On Saturday, Bremer raised the stakes further by sending Coalition forces to surround al Sadr's house near Najaf and arrest his communications officer. Predictably, the arrest sparked immediate demonstrations in Baghdad, which the Iraqi army responded to by opening fire and allegedly killing three people. It was these deaths that provoked yesterday's [4th April] bloody demonstrations. At the end of the day on Sunday, al Sadr issued a statement calling on his supporters to stop staging demonstrations, "because your enemy prefers terrorism and detests that way of expressing opinion" and instead urged them to employ unnamed "other ways" to resist the occupation, a statement many interpret as a call to arms. On the surface, this chain of events is mystifying. With the so called Sunni triangle in flames after the gruesome Fallujah attacks, why is Paul Bremer pushing the comparatively calm Shia south into battle? Here's one possible answer: Washington has given up on its plans to hand over power to an interim Iraqi government on June 30th 2004, and is now creating the chaos it needs to declare the handover impossible. A continued occupation will be bad news for [President] George Bush on the campaign trail, but not as bad as if the handover happens and the country erupts, an increasingly likely scenario given the widespread rejection of the legitimacy of the interim constitution and the United States appointed Government. It's a plan that might make sense in meetings in Washington, but here in Baghdad it looks like pure madness.

By sending the new Iraqi army to fire on the people it is supposed to be protecting, Bremer has destroyed what slim hope it had of gaining credibility with an already highly mistrustful population. On Sunday, before storming unarmed demonstrators, the soldiers could be seen pulling on ski masks, so they wouldn't be recognized when they returned to their neighbourhoods. Meanwhile, al Sadr is having his hero status amplified by the hour. Yesterday afternoon, thousands of demonstrators filled Firdos Square. On one side of the plaza, a couple of kids climbed to the top of a building and took a knife to a billboard advertising Iraq's new army. On the other side, United States forces pointed tanks at the crowd while a loudspeaker told them that "demonstrations are an important part of democracy, but blocking traffic will not be permitted." At the front of the square was the new statue that the Americans put in place of the toppled one of Saddam Hussein. The faceless figures of the new statue are supposed to represent the liberation of the Iraqi people. Today they are plastered with photographs of Muqtadar al Sadr.

Phase II of the Anti Occupation Revolt Begins
by Juan Cole, 5th April, 2004


The always tense relationship between the Sadrist movement among Iraqi Shiites and the United States and its Coalition partners has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Perhaps a third of Iraqi Shiites are sympathetic to the radical, Khomeini like ideology of Sadrism, and some analysts with long experience in Iraq put it at 50 per cent. Earlier Muqtadar Al Sadr, the movement leader, had called on his forces to avoid violence against Coalition forces. As of Saturday and Sunday, he appeared to have feared that the Coalition meant permanently to exclude his group from power, and had decided to launch an uprising. This uprising involved taking over police stations in Kufa, Najaf, Baghdad and possibly elsewhere. The Sadrist militia now controls Kufa, according to the New York Times and probably controls much of Sadr City or the slums of East Baghdad, as well, though it has been expelled from the police stations it had occupied there. Muqtadar seemed to back off later on Sunday, calling on his followers to cease fighting, and vowing to protest by withdrawing to his mosque for a lengthy retreat with his followers. It is too soon to tell if this retreat (in both senses) will satisfy the Bush administration, or whether they will now feel impelled to arrest Muqtadar. If they do, it seems likely to me that it will cause no end of trouble in coming months.


In Najaf, Sadrist crowds some 5,000 strong protested outside the Spanish garrison. Firing began between the two sides, leading to a 3 hour gun battle that left 1 American and 1 Salvadoran soldier dead (initial reports had said 4 Salvadorans were dead) and fourteen Salvadorans wounded, 24 Iraqi civilians dead, and more than 130 persons wounded. According to A.P. and The Washington Post Spanish troops also fought. (Spain's new Socialist Government had pledged to withdraw Spanish troops this summer). A.P. reports that Sadrist militiamen took over the police station in nearby Kufa, and that police had disappeared from Kufa streets. There were also large protests in central Baghdad, and it is reported that 3 Sadrist protesters threw themselves under American tanks, so as to become "martyrs". A.P. reported: "In central Baghdad's Firdaus Square, police fired warning shots during a protest by hundreds of al Sadr supporters against al-Yacoubi's arrest. At least two protesters were injured, witnesses said." Meanwhile, United States troops assaulted the office of Muqtadar al Sadr in Baghdad. In Sadr City, gunfire was heard all afternoon and into the evening on Sunday, and early on, two United States military jeeps were set on fire. az Zaman reports that there was an exchange of fire between United States troops in a Humvee with Army of the Mahdi militiamen in the Suq Muridi quarter of central Sadr City. The Army of the Mahdi briefly occupied at least three police stations in Sadr City, expelling the local police. The United States sent in tanks, retaking the police stations, but suffered 7 American soldiers killed and 24 wounded, according to C.N.N. at about 5 pm. The A.P. report is now on line at The Washington Post.

In Amara, The Scotsman reports, of Sadrist demonstrations in Amara: "The Ministry of Defence (M.O.D.) said that the soldiers returned fire after coming under attack from a 'criminal element' in the crowd armed with guns and rocket propelled grenades (R.P.Gs.). No British troops were injured in the incident although a M.O.D. spokeswoman said that there were a number of Iraqi casualties. It was not immediately known if any of the Iraqis were killed." In Nasiriyah, according to United States cable television news, demonstrators set an Italian tank afire. A.P. says that: "In the southern city of Nasiriyah, Italian troops traded fire with militiamen demonstrating against the arrest of al Yacoubi", said Lieutenant Colonel Pierluigi Monteduro, Chief of Staff of Italian troops in the region. "One Italian officer was wounded in the leg." Az Zaman also reports Sadrist demonstrations in Kirkuk (where Muqtadar has Turkmen and Arab followers) and Basra, where 600 protesters assembled near the British Headquarters.


So far, about 60 per cent of clashes with Coalition troops had occurred in the Sunni heartland of Iraq. But the violent clashes in Najaf, Baghdad, Amara and Nasiriyah may signal the beginning of a second phase, in which the United States faces a two front war, against both Sunni radicals in the Centre North and Shiite militias in the South. The clashes come at a pivotal moment, since on Friday April 9th, the Shiite festival of Araba'in will take place, coinciding this year with the anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein. The protests on Saturday and Sunday were sparked by the Coalition arrest on Saturday of Sadrist cleric Mustafa Yaqubi, the head of the Najaf office of Muqtadar al Sadr. Initially the Spanish denied the arrest, which provoked large demonstrations in Baghdad on Saturday led by Muhammad al Tabatabai, a key aide of Muqtadar al Sadr there. But A.P. now says that the Coalition Provisional Authority admits that it has indeed arrested Yaqubi. Sadrist spokesmen in Baghdad complained that no reason was given for the arrest, and promised to reply "with every means necessary," according to ash Sharq al-Awsat. It seems to me possible that the Americans swooped into Najaf and arrested Mustafa Yaqubi, and that the Spanish did not even know about it to begin with. That would explain their initial denial. If so, in a sense, the United States set the Spanish up for a confrontation with the Sadrists. Why would the Americans arrest Yaqubi? A.P. now says that he was taken into custody in connection with the murder on April l0th, 2003, of Abdul Majid al Khoei in Najaf, and that they intended to charge some 28 persons. It is frankly odd that the C.P.A. is pursuing this case at this time, and one suspects that it is an attempt to weaken Muqtadar's organization before they return sovereignty to the Iraqis and move to elections (Muqtadar's forces could well be a pivotal group in Parliament). The Spanish maintain that they were fired on from the crowd. I was initially suspicious as to whether this was really true, since the inexperienced Central American forces under their control could well have fired first. Az Zaman quotes sources maintaining that the Spanish fired first, in response to stone throwing. But one way or another, it is looking increasingly as though the Sadrists have launched an uprising.

The problem began in some ways on Sunday March 28th, when Paul Bremer decided to close the main Sadrist newspaper, al-Hawza, purportedly for publishing material that incited violence against Coalition troops. Many observers in Iraq said that move was a mistake, since no specific violence could be traced to the newspaper, and closing it was itself a provocation. As it turns out, it seems clear that the newspaper closing played into Muqtadar al Sadr's apocalyptic mindset. He became convinced that it meant the United States planned to silence him and destroy his movement, leaving him no choice but to launch an uprising. The Coalition, which just closed the newspaper for 2 months, probably thought of it as a relatively mild response to Sadr's own provocations. But Muqtadar saw his father and brothers cut down by Saddam and he is clearly a paranoid personality deeply traumatized by Baath terror against Shiites, and he views the Americans as little different from the Baathists. Saddam also sent warnings to Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, in January of 1999, which were a prelude to Sadiq's assassination in February of that year. Then the pursuit of the al Khoei murder, which many in the C.P.A. lay at Muqtadar's doorstep, even raise the spectre that he will be arrested and executed for it. In Muqtadar's own mind, the Coalition's "warnings" were perceived as a prelude to removing him. The United States Army appears to have seriously threatened him with arrest or worse last October, so he has seen this phenomenon before. At that time he backed down.


Why did the C.P.A. take this risk? The United States is aware that since it is turning over sovereignty to an Iraqi government on June 30th, 2004, indigenous Iraqi political forces have begun jockeying for position in the post occupation phase. Closing Muqtadar's newspaper and arresting a key aide in Najaf are probably actions aimed in part at attempting to curb the influence of the Sadrists, who otherwise might well sweep to power in an elected Iraqi Parliament next January. The outbreak of Shiite-Coalition violence is a dramatic challenge to American military control of Iraq. The United States is cycling out its forces in the country, bringing in a lot of reserve and National Guards units, but will go from 130,000 to only 110,000 troops. It is too small a number to really provide security in Iraq, but the country has not fallen into chaos in part because the main attacks have come in the Sunni heartland and because the Coalition has depended on Shiite militias to police many southern cities. If the Shiites actively turn against the United States, the whole military and security situation could become untenable. The United States is already losing its Spanish Coalition partner. The Japanese and Korean contingents are explicitly not there to fight. The Thais may decamp. The coalition partners probably provide a division altogether, and if they pulled out, the United States would have to find a division to replace them. It only has l0 [divisions] itself, and nobody else is going to come in under these circumstances certainly not the United Nations and probably not NATO. (Mustafa Yaqubi, by the way, should not be confused with Muhammad Yaqubi, also a Sadrist, but who leads a splinter Sadrist group called the Fudala or the Virtuous, which is something of a rival to Muqtadar).


Incompetence or Double Dealing in Coalition Management of Iraq?

The Coalition decision to provoke a fight with Muqtadar al Sadr's movement only three months before the Coalition Provisional Authority goes out of business has to be seen as a form of gross incompetence in governance. How did the C.P.A. get to the point where it has turned even Iraqi Shiites, who were initially grateful for the removal of Saddam Hussein, against the United States? Where it risks fighting dual Sunni Arab and Shiite insurgencies simultaneously, at a time when United States troops are rotating on a massive scale and hoping to downsize their forces in country? At a time when the Spanish, Thai and other contingents are already committed to leaving, and the United Nations is reluctant to get involved? One answer is that the Pentagon prevented the State Department from running the C.P.A. The State Department is the body with experience in international affairs and administration. The civilians in the Department of Defense only know how to blow things up. Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith staffed the C.P.A. with Neoconservatives, most of whom had no administrative experience, no Arabic, and no respect for Muslim Culture (or knowledge about it). They actively excluded State Department Iraq hands like Tom Warrick. (Only recently have a few experienced State Department Arabists been allowed in to try to begin mopping up the mess.)

The Neoconservatives in the C.P.A. have all sorts of ulterior motives and social experiments they want to impose on the Iraqi people, including Polish style economic shock therapy, some sort of sweetheart deal for Israel, and maybe even breaking the country up into three parts. The Washington Monthly's "Who's Who" of Neoconservatives in Iraq helps explain the extreme incompetence and possibly double dealing of many in the C.P.A. September 11 Commission member Philip Zelikow, who is close to the Bush administration, admitted on Sept. 10th, 2002, that the ulterior motive of the Bush administration for the Iraq War was to "protect Israel," according to the Asian Times. I have long been a trenchant critic of the Sadrists. But they haven't been up to anything extraordinary as far as I can see in recent weeks. Someone in the C.P.A. sat down and thought up ways to stir them up by closing their newspaper and issuing 28 arrest warrants and taking in people like Yaqubi. This is either gross incompetence or was done with dark ulterior motives that can scarcely be guessed at.

FROM AMERICAN INDIANS, TO PALESTINIANS, TO IRAQIS

So Much For The United Nations Or The Geneva Conventions


Why are we in Iraq in any case? Felicity Arbuthnot suggests that perhaps John T. Flynn had a point in his book As We Go Marching:

The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, raping and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the deity to regenerate our victims while incidentally capturing their markets, to civilize savage . . . and paranoidal peoples while blundering accidentally into their oil wells or metal mines.


We have already alluded to professional contempt for American military conduct and tactics. We can only sense loathing and outright condemnation, too. To be fair, many Americans in the United States have been resolutely opposed to the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent situation there, and have been themselves vilified for their pains. It is difficult to maintain a sense of proportion in these circumstances. The reality is that of the record; since the Gulf War of 1991, years of ruthless Morgenthau-style sanctions, and countless reports since March, 2003, from sources too diverse and respected to be discounted. Armed resistance from the Iraqi people to the invasion - "liberation" - was only to be expected, not least after the massive aerial bombardment that heralded the onslaught. The United States has been guilty of a miscalculation and misappreciation of astronomical proportions, even in the naive expectation that Iraqi troops and police - trained and armed by them! - would remain loyal and act against there own people now that the chips are down. The United States contingent of the Coalition is fast moving to the situation after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in 1979, when Soviet forces controlled only the towns and cities, whilst the Afghan guerrillas controlled the countryside.

Events in Fallujah from the beginning of April, 2004, were in large measure a bloody and undisciplined reprisal for the killing of four American mercenaries there - what were they doing in Iraq anyway? United States Lieutenant Colonel Brennan Byrne told Agence France-Presse that he intended "to use AC 130 gunships every night" and that his troops were "definitely in the killing business now." The assassination of the Nazi-German leader, Reinhard Heydrich, in Czechoslovakia in May, 1942, resulted in some 1,900 executions and a handful of expulsions from the village of Lidice. In June, 1944, 642 men, women and children were executed in the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane on suspicion of harbouring explosives(12). Since 1991, latterly in Fallujah, it would seem that the United States is well up to speed with this record; one that the Schutz-staffel (S.S.), might have been attuned to. The following reports and extracts from reports bear this out.

U.S. Forces Seal Off Fallujah, Civilians Killed
IslamOnline & News Agencies, 5th April, 2004


As clashes between Iraqi Shiites and United States occupation forces witnessed fierce confrontations in several areas, American soldiers sealed off the Sunni city of Fallujah in a major offensive Monday, 5th April. United States Marines said they had launched the raid in Fallujah where the restive town, 50 kilometres (30 miles) West of Baghdad, has been sealed off and troops were only letting people enter or leave with Fallujah license plates, Agence France Presse (A.F.P.) reported. "Our concern is precise. We want to get the guys we are after. We don't want to go in there with guns blazing," said Lieutenant James Vanzant. A correspondent for A.F.P. said United States forces had barricaded residents inside. An Iraqi witness said several people were killed and others wounded when United States troops raided the Sunni Muslim town. "United States forces bombed the Goland residential neighbourhood after coming under mortar attack from unknown assailants," Borhan Abed, a resident of the Northern Fallujah neighbourhood told A.F.P. by telephone. "Several people were killed, others wounded and some houses hit," said Abed, adding that he went on to the roof of his house when the fighting started and saw American aircraft overhead. Al Jazeera said earlier in the day that at least six people were killed and up to ten others wounded in the offensive.

Food and fuel prices had already started to soar in the blockaded city. The United States led occupation forces said meanwhile that they had closed the highways linking Baghdad to Jordan that run through Fallujah and the neighbouring town of Ramadi. The roads are normally busy each day with travellers entering and leaving Iraq. Marine officers said the offensive would last several days and it was not clear if they would seize the centre of the flashpoint town. One Marine was killed in fighting in the area on Monday, said Lieutenant Colonel Gregg Olson, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. Anti American sentiments have been rising in the city since April, when United States forces killed 16 civilians joining a peaceful protest against the occupation of their oil rich country. Local inhabitants are furious over the United States military random shootings and detentions as well as massive house to house searches, according to Al Jazeera. They also wonder over the goal of the occupation now in its second year with no Weapons of Mass Destruction, the main justification for the invasion, found. The United States occupation commanders have vowed a painful response after Iraqis killed four American security contractors in the city on Wednesday, 31st March.

U.S. 'Copters Attack Baghdad, Claim More Lives,
Islam Online & News Agencies, 5th April, 2004


United States Apache helicopters attacked on Monday, 5th April, different areas in Baghdad, killing five people and wounding dozens in an unprecedented move since the end of the United States led war to occupy the oil rich country one year ago, as another 4 American soldiers were killed, raising to 11 the number killed since Sunday. In a bid to stamp out mounting opposition to occupation among fuming Iraqis, the occupation jet fighters sprayed fire on the office of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr in the Western Baghdad district of al Showla, Al Jazeera satellite channel reported. Up to 16 United States Humvees all terrain vehicles, backed by tanks, rolled into Showla, witnesses said. They added that the fighting erupted when five trucks of American soldiers and the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (I.C.D.C.) tried to enter the district and were attacked by Sadr supporters. Coming under fire, the I.C.D.C., a paramilitary force trained by the Americans, turned on the United States soldiers and started to shoot at them, A.F.P. reported. Heavy gunfire rattled the district and columns of black smoke billowed into the sky as several United States tanks and military Humvees were set ablaze. Burning tyres and tree trunks were used to barricade the neighbourhood, where young men toting clubs and carrying light weapons patrolled the streets. Tension ran high a day after pitched battles on Sunday, 4th April, between supporters of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr and occupation troops across the country, which left up to 52 Iraqis killed and wounded over 200 others. The protesters were peacefully protesting at the crushing of two fellow men by an American tank on Saturday, 3rd April, the arrest of Sadr's top assistant Sheikh Mostafa al Yaqoubi and a ban on al Hawza newspaper, Sadr's mouthpiece.

The clashes dragged on Monday in Baghdad suburb Sadr City after United States overseer [Paul Bremer] in Iraq designated Sadr an "outlaw". A close aide of Sadr said the Shiite leader was "proud" to be an outlaw. . . . Sadr aide Sheikh Qais al Khazali told A.F.P., quoting Sadr after a meeting. United States troops also opened fire Monday wounding a child after a group of children stoned soldiers deployed outside the Karama police station, an A.F.P. correspondent said. Amer al Hussein, a spokesman for Sadr, told A.F.P. that the firebrand Shiite leader had "called for a return to calm but his partisans want to fight against the American troops". "We want peace not confrontations but if the Americans enter our neighbourhood (Sadr City), there will be a fight," Hussein said. Four American troops were killed in the past 24 hours in combat in Iraq, including one Marine and a soldier who died Monday in separate attacks, raising to 11 the number killed since Sunday, the United States military said. "One Marine assigned to the 1st Marine Division has been killed as a result of enemy action in al Anbar province today," the military said, adding that a United States soldier also died on Monday of wounds received on Sunday during the bloody clashes. Another seven soldiers were killed in the same clashes in the northern Baghdad suburb of Sadr City. An American soldier was also killed near the northern oil centre of Mosul on Sunday in a bomb attack, while the fourth American from the 1st Infantry Division died in a car bomb attack near the Police Academy of Kirkuk, also in northern Iraq. The deaths took to 611 the number of United States troops killed since the start of the war, according to an A.F.P. tally.

Highway To Hell: The Road To Fallujah
by Odai Sirri in Garma, Al Jazeera, 10th April, 2004

As we drive through the back roads on the way to Falluja, United States jets are pounding the area around the tiny village of Garrna. The sight of United States reinforcements flying into the area and the continuous sound of explosions and gunfire proves too much for my driver. He pulls into the village, unwilling to go any further. Half way between Baghdad and Fallujah, Garma is well placed to witness the United States bombardment of the latter, where the steadily rising toll of dead Iraqis from the past week's fighting has passed 600. At least 1,000 have been reported wounded. With the main routes into the town blocked or too dangerous, Garma just 15 minutes from Fallujah has become a stepping stone for resistance fighters on their way to help their besieged compatriots. Witnesses report seeing scores of fighters passing through Garma daily. A lorry of what appear to be 15 tribesmen stops next to us. The tribesmen each man's face covered by an aqaf (the Iraqi headscarf) are from Baghdad. Stopping to rest at a tea shop before entering the besieged town, Ahmad, a 25 year old with the worn face of a battle hardened warrior, tells me of his intentions. "We're going to assist our brothers in Falluja and try to prevent the massacre of Iraqis."

But Ahmad and his colleagues will have their work cut out. Breaking news from Al Jazeera on a nearby television shows fresh images from Fallujah: scores of dead, including many children. The town has turned into a bloodbath. The images prove too much for Ahmad; he drops his face into his hands and breaks down. As he walks away, I call an Al Jazeera cameraman in Fallujah to check on his safety. My colleague's voice is panic stricken as he describes the scene, echoing the pictures that have shocked Ahmad. "There are images we can't show because it's just too gruesome. I have never seen anything like this before," he says. "There are bodies everywhere, and people can't go out to retrieve them because they're too afraid of being blown away themselves. I can't believe the number of children here, we were at the hospital and it's full of dead and wounded kids. The ones that aren't dead have lost limbs and are wailing in pain, begging for their parents - what parents?" he screams. "I don't have the heart to tell them that their parents are in pieces. Back at our office the Americans are shooting at us. I walk out of the bathroom and a laser is pointed at my chest," he says, referring to United States sharpshooters in the area. "We'd just bought cigarettes from a store across the street; no more than ten minutes later it was bombed."

Destroying A Town In Order To Save It
by Rahul Mahajan, 12th April, 2004

We were in Fallujah during the "cease-fire." This is what we saw and heard. When the assault on Fallujah started, the power plant was bombed. Electricity is provided by generators and usually reserved for places with important functions. There are four hospitals currently running in Fallujah. This includes the one where we were, which was actually just a minor emergency clinic; another one of them is a car repair garage. Things were very frantic at the hospital where we were, so we couldn't get too much translation. We depended for much of our information on Makki al Nazzal, a lifelong Fallujah resident who works for the humanitarian N.G.O. Intersos, and had been pressed into service as the manager of the clinic, since all doctors were busy, working around the clock with minimal sleep. A gentle, urbane man who spoke fluent English, al Nazzal was beside himself with fury at the Americans' actions. . . . With the "cease-fire," large scale bombing was rare. With a halt in major bombing, the Americans were attacking with heavy artillery but primarily with snipers. Al Nazzal told us about ambulances being hit by snipers, women and children being shot.


Describing the horror that the siege of Fallujah had become, he said, "I have been a fool for 47 years. I used to believe in European and American civilization." I had heard these claims at third hand before coming into Fallujah, but was sceptical. It's very difficult to find the real story here. But this I saw for myself. An ambulance with two neat, precise bullet holes in the windshield on the driver's side, pointing down at an angle that indicated they would have hit the driver's chest (the snipers were on rooftops, and are trained to aim for the chest). Another ambulance again with a single, neat bullet hole in the windshield. There's no way this was due to panicked spraying of fire. These were deliberate shots designed to kill the drivers. The ambulances go around with red, blue, or green lights flashing and sirens blaring. In the pitch dark of blacked out city streets there is no way they can be missed or mistaken for something else. An ambulance that some of our compatriots were going around in, trading on their whiteness to get the snipers to let them through to pick up the wounded was also shot at while we were there. During the course of the roughly four hours we were at that small clinic, we saw perhaps a dozen wounded brought in. Among them was a young woman, 18 years old, shot in the head. She was seizing and foaming at the mouth when they brought her in. Doctors did not expect her to survive the night. Another likely terminal case was a young boy with massive internal bleeding. I also saw a man with extensive burns on his upper body and shredded thighs, with wounds that could have been from a cluster bomb; there was no way to verify in the madhouse scene of wailing relatives, shouts of "Allahu Akbar" (God is great), and anger at the Americans.

Al Nazzal told me that the people of Fallujah refused to resist the Americans just because Saddam told them to; indeed, the fighting for Fallujah last year was not particularly fierce. . . . But the Americans had to cast us as Saddam supporters. When he was captured, they said the resistance would die down, but even as it has increased, they still call us that." Nothing could have been easier than gaining the goodwill of the people of Fallujah had the Americans not been so brutal in their dealings. Tribal peoples like these have been the most easily duped by imperialists for centuries now. But now a tipping point has been reached. To Americans, "Fallujah" may still mean four mercenaries killed, with their corpses then mutilated and abused; to Iraqis, "Fallujah" means the savage collective punishment for attack, in which over 600 Iraqis have been killed, with an estimated 200 women and over 100 children (women do not fight among the muj, so all of these are noncombatants, as are many of the men killed). A Special Forces Colonel in the Vietnam War said of the town, Ben Tre, "We had to destroy the town in order to save it", encapsulating the entire war in a single statement. The same is true in Iraq today Fallujah cannot be "saved" from its mujaheddin unless it is destroyed.

U.S. Forces Kill 15 In Fresh Fallujah "Massacre" And Iraqi Brigade Detained
IslamOnline and News Agencies, 16th & 17th April, 2004


At least 15 people were killed and 20 others injured in overnight United States military offensive on Fallujah, according to news reports of Friday, 16th April. As dusk fell United States forces exchanged machine gunfire and bombarded parts of the city with grenade launchers, reported Reuters. The casualties could be much higher in the densely populated town, where more than 300,000 people live. . . . "It was rather a massacre in the town overnight. The United States forces dropped the internationally banned cluster bombs on Fallujah," Abdel Salam Al Kubeissi of the Muslim Scholars Association told a press conference in Baghdad Friday. Kubeissi, who helped release three Japanese hostages held by resistance fighters, called what is happening in Fallujah a "series of massacres". The American bombardment of Fallujah had claimed the lives of at least 600 Iraqis over the past few days. A doctor in the besieged town told IslamOnline.net on Monday, 12th April, that most of the Iraqis killed in the week long United States military offensive into the restive town are women and children. "These armed to teeth forces are against ordinary people only defending their town and country," Kubeissi said, adding that ambulance vehicles were targeted by the occupation forces and several people were detained. United Nations Envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, criticized the United States military practices in Fallujah, saying "collective punishment is certainly unacceptable and the siege of the city is absolutely unacceptable."

Fallujah's second largest mosque, Hadret Mohammediya, was shelled earlier Thursday by United States forces, according to A.F.P. The strike at about 6.30 pm (1430 G.M.T.) destroyed the top of its minaret and religious school, while parts of its outer wall were also hit and most of the windows shattered. Chairman of United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, said during a visit to Baghdad that the United States siege of Fallujah was "humane" much to the outrage of local inhabitants and world viewers watching United States warplanes hitting the densely populated areas in the town. But Myers said that new attacks on the town could not be ruled out despite a truce. Myers traced a "common thread" between Sunni fighters in Fallujah and Shiites fighting against occupation (sic!). Fallujah has been under a crippling United States siege since Monday, 5th April, as its residents said they are determined to kick out the occupation troops. The cooperation between Sunnis and Shiites came painful to occupation forces, as the United States military has lost at least 92 troops in combat since 31st March more than the total killed in the three week invasion. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged that the recent United States military death toll was beyond expectations. In the South, United States occupation forces killed two civilians and injured several others in clashes with Shiite leader Muqtada Al Sadr's Mahdi Army, Al Jazeera reported. The United States forces had reinforced their positions around Najaf, where Sadr is believed to be staying, but refused to say if the United States led forces would attack the city to capture the Shiite leader. An Al Jazeera correspondent said one American soldier was killed and four others injured in the fierce clashes. "Najaf is a holy place," Kaysal Hazali, spokesman for Sadr was quoted as saying. "If they attack it, God knows the results: It is not going to be good for the occupation," he said.


The United States occupation military is detaining some 200 Iraqi Civil Defence soldiers, who refused to take part in the massive United States offensive against the western town of Fallujah, an Iraqi soldier revealed Friday, 16th April. Ali Al Shamari, who managed to make his escape, told Reuters that his 36th Security Brigade refused en masse to fight against their own people. "They told us to attack the city and we were astonished. How could an Iraqi fight an Iraqi like this? This meant that nothing had changed from the Saddam Hussein days. We refused en masse," said Shamari. He said they did not know they were heading to the restive town, under a crippling United States siege since the 5th April, until they arrived there. After the Brigade refused to fight, Shamari added, soldiers were stripped of their badges, confined to tents in a United States base on the outskirts of Fallujah and had their rations restricted to one meal per day.

The 36th Brigade comprises 340 soldiers from the former Iraqi army and the Peshmerga, the Kurdish militia. It has been assigned primarily to security tasks such as conducting searches and guarding buildings. American military officers declined to confirm the incident, but said that a "command failure" had taken place during the Fallujah offensive. . . . Bukhtiar Saleh, a Kurdish soldier, said United States heavy handedness and over-whelming firepower stopped him from fighting. "They were bombing the city with warplanes and using cluster bombs. I could not be a part of this," he told Reuters. Abdel Salam Al Kubeissi, member of the Sunni Muslim Scholars Association in Iraq, said on Friday at a press conference that the United States occupation troops shelled the town with cluster bombs, describing the situation as "very serious". . . . Ali Hussein, a Shiite soldier, told Reuters that the soldiers felt sympathy for their fellow ones in Fallujah. "Suddenly we were asked to take part in a huge offensive," Hussein said, adding he could not take part in bombing his Sunni brothers. Press reports revealed earlier in the month that Shiites have fought along-side fellow Sunni compatriots in the Baghdad district of Al Azamiya in die hard battles against United States forces, in the first joint resistance operation against the United States led occupation. The Washington Post reported on Sunday, 11th April, that the Second Brigade of the new Iraqi Army had defied United States orders for supporting Marines in their Fallujah sweep. The paper quoted a senior American military official as saying that between 25 to 30 per cent of the new Iraqi Army, Civil Defence Corps and Police had resigned for refusing to battle their fellow men.

A Last Word On The Hearts And Minds Of "Liberated" Iraq
Taken from a Guardian report of 12th April, 2004 from Naomi Klein:


And I saw something that I feared more than any of this: a copy of the Koran with a bullet hole through it. It was lying in the ruins of what was Sadr's Headquarters in Sadr City. On the 8th April, according to witnesses, two United States tanks broke down the walls of the Centre while two guided missiles pierced its roof, leaving giant craters in the floor and missile debris behind. The worst damage, however, was done by hand. The clerics say that United States soldiers entered the building and crudely shredded photographs of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the top Shia cleric in Iraq. When I arrived at the destroyed Centre, the floor was covered in torn religious texts, including several copies of the Koran, that had been ripped and shot through with bullets. And it did not escape the notice of the Shias here that hours earlier, United States soldiers had bombed a Sunni mosque in Fallujah.

REFERENCES

Note: Prices are shown where available from Bloomfield Books, and represent only a selection relevant to the theme of this edition of On Target. Books geared to the text are listed numerically. Books temporarily out of stock are annotated*. A wide range of reading may be found in the Stock Price List (S.P.L.), which may be obtained post free on request from the address on the last page. Out of print, or older works, may be obtained through the Book Search Service, or the Second-Hand Book Service, both of which are operated by Mr. T.G. Turner, for which details are available as for the S.P.L.

(1) Clark, Ramsey. The Fire This Time - U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf. Thunder's Mouth Press, 1994.
(2) On Target, Vol. 31, Nos. 18 - 23, 9th & 23rd March, 6th & 20th April and 4th & 18th May, 2002. Iraq In The Global Scenario; Parts 1 & 2 (Sections A & B). Includes the exposure by The Hon. James E, Akins of the 1975 Kissinger Plan to take over Persian Gulf oil resources (Part 1), tactics of manipulation and "talk-up" (2A), and organisations and names involved (2B).
(3) Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, "Selective Intelligence", 5th May & "War and Intelligence", 12th May, 2003.
(4) Jeffrey Steinberg, "Behind the Iraq Dossier Hoax: Intelligence Was Cooked in Israel", 16th July, 2003.
(5) On Target, Vol. 31, Nos. 7 & 8, 6th & 20th October, 2001. September The Eleventh, 2001 Part 1 - deals with important Israeli-Zionist-Jewish connections behind the scenes; The Kalmanovitch Report, Dr. Joseph Churba's Interna-tional Security Council, etc.
(6) On Target, Vol. 32, Nos. 22 - 26, 3rd, 17th & 31st May and 14th & 28th June, 2003. In 2 Parts. Iraq, Before And After - Those Who Consign Us To Our Deaths. The corruption of political Power and the influence of Organised Jewry (Part 1), and nuclear contamination, including Depleted Uranium (Part 2)..
(7) Goldberg, J.J. Jewish Power - Inside The American Jewish Establishment. Perseus Books, 1997.
(8) Lilienthal, Alfred M. The Zionist Connection - What Price peace? Dodd, Mead & Company, 1978. Paperback reprint, £19.75.
(9) Ostrovsky, Victor. The Other Side Of Deception - A Rogue Agents Exposes The Mossad's Secret Agenda. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1994. H/B £20.00*; P/B £8.95*.
(10) Joshua Muravchik, "The Neoconservative Cabal", the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 3rd September, 2003.
(11) Professor Kevin MacDonald, "Thinking About Neoconservatism", 18th September, 2003. Kevin MacDonald is Professor of Psychology at California State University.
(12) Shirer, William L. The Rise And fall Of The Third Reich. Secker & Warburg Ltd., 1960.
­ On Target, Vol. 31, Nos. 5 & 6, 8th & 22nd September, 2001. See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Oil.
­ On Target, Vol. 32, Nos. 1 & 2, 13th & 27th July, 2002. Power, Greed And Money - Target Iraq. The World, Courtesy The International Community.
­ On Target, Vol. 32, Nos. 18 - 21, 8th & 22nd March and 5th & 19th April, 2003. In 2 Parts. The "Liberation" Of Iraq - How (Not) To Win Friends And Influ-ence People.
­ On Target, Vol. 33, Nos. 1 & 2, 12th & 26th July, 2003. Iraq - And After.
­ On Target, Vol. 33, Nos. 5 & 6, 6th & 20th September, 2003. Iraq - The Pigeons Are Coming Home To Roost - deals with the aftermath of the invasion and injuries to Coalition Forces.
­ On Target, Vol. 33, Nos. 7 & 8, 4th & 18th October, 2003. God In The Service Of George W. Bush - Some God! - includes more atrocities of the "Liberation".

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