Thursday, April 24, 2014

Did United States Rescue Iraq From A Dictator?


Uncle Saddam (2000)  
U.S. Army opens hearing for soldier accused of murders in Iraq

By Jonathan Kaminsky
OLYMPIA, Washington Thu Apr 24, 2014
(Reuters) - The U.S. Army convened a pre-trial evidentiary hearing on Wednesday for a soldier accused of shooting dead two deaf, unarmed Iraqi boys in 2007.
Sergeant First Class Michael Barbera faces two counts of premeditated murder stemming from the incident.
The court proceeding, called an Article 32 hearing, is being held at Washington state's Joint Base Lewis-McChord and is expected to last five days, Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Swanson said.
The hearing marks the latest high-profile international murder case against a U.S. soldier to unfold at Lewis-McChord. Last June, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales pleaded guilty to killing 16 unarmed Afghan civilians in 2012. Two months earlier, U.S. Army Sergeant John Russell pleaded guilty to shooting dead five fellow U.S. servicemembers at a mental health clinic in Baghdad in 2009. Both men pleaded guilty in deals that spared them the death penalty.
Barbera's alleged attack gained notoriety after a Pittsburgh newspaper in 2012 published the accounts of fellow soldiers concerned over unwarranted killings by a soldier who escaped serious punishment after an initial Army investigation.
The incident occurred on March 6, 2007 in Iraq's Diyala province. Barbera was acting as team leader when from his squad's position in a palm grove he gunned down the brothers, aged 14 and 15, who were cattle herders, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.
Shortly after, Barbera ordered his team to kill a third boy, 14, who was walking toward them. Barbera later told his superiors that the boys were insurgents, the newspaper reported. They were all deaf mutes with no known militant affiliations, according to the newspaper.
Barbera's military defense counsel is David Coombs, who also represented former soldier Chelsea Manning in the high-profile Wikileaks case. Witnesses to appear during the hearing include former members of Barbera's team, as well as Carl Prine, the Tribune-Review reporter who investigated the incident.
(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in Olympia, Wash.; Editing by Eric M. Johnson and Simon Cameron-Moore)
US Military "Commemorates" Its Iraq Massacre. "Tell Them It’s the Sound of Freedom."
By Felicity Arbuthnot
Global Research, April 23, 2014
"We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected round the world." (President Barack Obama, State of the Union address, 24th January 2012.)
As Easter was celebrated in the US and UK with, for believers, the message of hope, Fallujah, the region and much of the country is again under siege, not this time by US mass murderers, but by the US proxy government’s militias armed with US delivered weapons.
In 2003, a month into the invasion, Easter Day fell on the same day as this year, 20th April, as Iraqis of all denominations and none, died were incarcerated, tortured, found with their heads drilled, or no heads, thrown on garbage piles.
Easter Day the following year, 2004 fell on Sunday 11th April and was marked by Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt confirming again his total disregard for human life. In the words of former USCENTOCOM Commander General Tommy Franks who led the Iraq invasion in March 2003, "it is not productive to count Iraqi deaths".
The carnage of the first siege of Fallujah was underway. At the daily press briefing (1) General Kimmitt assured the media:
"The Marines remain ready, willing and able at any time to provide any level of humanitarian assistance.
"Outside the city of Fallujah, I understand they’ve already set up facilities for any displaced persons that come out of the city that need assistance.
"That is something that the Marine Corps is expert in, the whole notion of assistance, rendering assistance to any town in the world at anytime." Then as now, it is impossible to know whether to laugh or weep.
General Kimmitt. was then asked:
"From here, from this podium, you talk about a clean war in Fallujah. But the Iraqis have an image through television from what is happening in Fallujah (including) killing children. Is there a way that you could convince Iraqis by your point of view that you have (only) utilized force against terrorists? "
With his hallmark contempt for humanity, or anything to do with "rendering assistance", he replied:
"With regards to the solution on the images of Americans and coalition soldiers killing innocent civilians, my solution is quite simple: change the channel. Change the channel to a legitimate, authoritative, honest news station.
"The stations that are showing Americans intentionally killing women and children are not legitimate news sources. That is propaganda, and that is lies. So you want a solution? Change the channel."
Jonathan Steel of the Guardian persisted:
"General Kimmitt, you talk about changing channels, but what is your reply to people like (politician) Adnan Pachachi, who have accused the coalition forces of using collective punishment on the city of Fallujah? Have you got a reply a little bit more nuanced and subtle than just to tell Mr. Pachachi to change channels?"
Without shame, the General responded to the situation in the town which has become known as "Iraq’s Guernica" with:
"In this case, we can disagree without being disagreeable, but it is not the practice of the coalition forces, any of the coalition nations, to exercise collective punishment or collective action on a city. That is just not done. It is not practiced. And it violates international law. And we don’t believe at this point that coalition can be shown any proof to suggest that it is in violation of international law or the laws of land warfare."
The town was in fact, treated as a "free fire zone", two hospitals were demolished including a recently built emergency centre and at the General Hospital, patients and doctors were initially handcuffed, the "liberators’ regarding it as "a centre of propaganda", since the staff talked, then as now, of the numbers of dead and wounded they were treating. The "non-American wounded were, in essence left to die", as a result.
A comment from one as either deluded or unfamiliar with the truth as General Kimmitt, a Lt-Col Pete Newell, stated that US Forces wanted:
"Fallujah to understand what democracy is all about."
Colonel Ralph Peters, ever in pursuit of his vision of eternal war, said of this vision of democracy
"We must not be afraid to make an example of Fallujah. We need to demonstrate that the United States military cannot be deterred or defeated. If that means widespread destruction, we must accept the price . . . Even if Fallujah has to go the way of Carthage, reduced to shards, the price will be worth it." (2)
Now it is known definitively what a pack of lies were Kimmitt’s assurances, with the General having confirmed his knowledge of violations of international law – even before the second decimation of Fallujah later in the year, perhaps someone should surely visit him and Colonel Peters with a view to including them in an upcoming historic class action law suit which has been filed in the US. (3)Less than a month after Kimmitt’s channel changing advice, General Taguba released his Report on what "democracy was all about" at the hands of the US military at Abu Ghraib prison, a short distance from Fallujah. It still chills and should shame for all time. Just a few of his findings include:
"…that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts:
*Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet. *Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees
*Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing
*Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time
*Forcing naked male detainees to wear women’s underwear
*Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped
*Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them *Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture
*Writing "I am a Rapest" (sic) on the leg of a detainee alleged to have forcibly raped a 15-year old fellow detainee, and then photographing him naked
*Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee’s neck and having a female Soldier pose for a picture
*A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee
*Taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees.
*Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees
*Threatening detainees with a charged 9mm pistol
*Pouring cold water on naked detainees
*Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair
*Threatening male detainees with rape
*Allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell
* Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick._h.
*Using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee. (4)
Did the General not know of what was happening at the hands of US troops throughout the region? His knowledge of Iraq, however, was such that in the press conference cited above, he referred to Baghdad, of which journalists, he thought, would be "familiar", as a "town", this ancientest city of seven million people.Baghdad, formerly, as Kurt Nimmo writes, the most advanced city in the Middle East, has now been designated in a recent survey (5) the world’s worst city: "a dangerous ruin, stricken by sectarian and religious violence, corruption, crime, unemployment, pollution and numerous other problems."
Mark Kimmitt is now retired and "is an advisor to US firms in the Middle East"(6) presumably profiting from US destabilization and industrial scale murder and destruction, ongoing in Iraq, after eleven years, at an average of one thousand souls a month.
It has to be wondered if, on the tenth anniversary of his massive Easter Day mistruths, he reflected on his words, Iraq’s ongoing carnage – and that when a journalist had asked him what he would say to Iraq’s children, traumatized by the noise of America’s war ‘planes and bombs, he replied: "Tell them it’s the sound of freedom."
Copyright © 2014 Global Research
Baghdad Back To Stone Age
By Nidal al-Assadi
IOL Iraq Correspondent
This article was written in occupied Baghdad in the third year of the 21st century, or in other words "The American Century."
BAGHDAD ( -- With power outages for long hours that could reach 20 to 23 hours a day and people resorting to primitive methods to cope with backbreaking hardships in the searing 50 degree celsius, the U.S. troops have turned Baghdad into a Stone Age city.
A water vat in the house's corner and a lantern barely spreading its dim light through a lightening wick that helps children study for tomorrow's exams though with drooping eyes, while the mother stand cooking for her children with coal and the daughter fanning with fronds in the stifling heat of July.
This is almost the case in every house in Baghdad as put by Maisaa, an Iraqi girl living in the elite Al-Khadra district in Baghdad. In the near past, many houses in the war-scarred country was full of state-of-the-art domestic appliances, but now that almost three months have elapsed since <>the downfall of the Iraqi capital to the hands of the U.S. occupation TV sets, radios electric ovens and other appliances have become something of a luxury.
"Acute water, gas and fuel shortage together with power outage forced Iraqis to use traditional things instead of such appliances, however, these much sought-after basics are of sky-rocketing prices with one lantern hitting 2000-4000 dinars (one dollar equals around 1300 Iraqi dinars) compared to its original price of 250 dinars," said Ikhlas Mohammad, a professor of psychology at Baghdad University.
"When you pronounce words like electricity and water you, no doubt, conjures up visions of civilization and life·But we are no leading our lives without water or civilization," Thurayaa Mohidin, a biologist, echoed the same feelings.
She continued: "But such appalling conditions is nothing new for Iraqis, who suffered for 12 years the same hardships under the ousted Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein·The Americans only added insult to injury."
"Can anybody imagine that I daily read theses on the dim light of lanterns with in the sweltering heat of the room·Is this the freedom that the U.S. has promised us it would break the yoke of 35 years of injustice? Are not these (U.S.) practices brazen violations of the rights of oppressed and down-trodden people, who were born to find themselves the people of the world's richest country?" She wondered.
"Majority of Iraqis have already had their fill of these conditions and I fear that it the lull before the storm," she said after a breath of relief.
Um Radi, 39, a housewife and a mother of 7 children said that power outage and Iraq's stifling heat afflicted her three-year-old daughter with severe diarrhea, given that she could bear such temperatures.
"When I went to the hospital I was shocked by the large number of babies who suffered typhoid and dermatitis," she said.
As for Abu Ahmad, an engineering graduate, circumstances beyond his control forced him to work as a tailor.
"We used to sleep on the roof to escape heat and enjoy the night's breeze under the moonlight·But U.S. Apache helicopters pace the night sky at lower altitudes and have the gall to step their shoes out to our humiliation," he said.
'Honeymoon on Roof'
Um Ahmad said that her nephew spent his honeymoon on his house's roof which overlooks the Tigris River.
"It seems as if the Iraqi people were predestined to suffer all along starting from the U.K. occupation in 1917 till today·The occupation is aimed at forcing the Iraqis to live under poverty, starvation and oppression," said Walid Umar, a post-graduate student.
"Can anyone imagine that the people of a country like Iraq, which abounds in natural resources such as oil, depleted uranium, phosphor and mercury, have now to drink from water vats to stay alive? Even the Iraqi sand is now at great demand at the moment by giant corporations because it is the raw material of the world's best ceramics," he added.
Iraqis charged that the U.S.-led occupation authority deliberately cut off electricity and water as a collective punishment in retaliation for mounting resistance attacks, which have become more organized as recently admitted by U.S civilian administrator Paul Bremer.
According to the White House ....
Life Under Saddam Hussein: Past Repression and Atrocities by Saddam Hussein's Regime
Office of the White House Press Secretary
Washington, DC
April 4, 2003
For over 20 years, the greatest threat to Iraqis has been Saddam Hussein's regime -- he has killed, tortured, raped, and terrorized the Iraqi people and his neighbors for over two decades.
When Iraq is free, past crimes against humanity and war crimes committed against Iraqis, will be accounted for, in a post-conflict Iraqi-led process. The United States, members of the coalition, and the international community will work with the Iraqi people to build a strong and credible judicial process to address these abuses.
Under Saddam's regime many hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result of his actions, the vast majority of them Muslims. According to a 2001 Amnesty International report, "victims of torture in Iraq are subjected to a wide range of forms of torture, including the gouging out of eyes, severe beatings, and electric shocks ... some victims have died as a result and many have been left with permanent physical and psychological damage."
Saddam has had approximately 40 of his own relatives murdered. Allegations of prostitution are used to intimidate opponents of the regime and have been used by the regime to justify the barbaric beheading of women. There have been documented chemical attacks by the regime, from 1983 to 1988, resulting in some 30,000 Iraqi and Iranian deaths.
Human Rights Watch estimates that Saddam's 1987-1988 campaign of terror against the Kurds killed at least 50,000 and possibly as many as 100,000 Kurds. The Iraqi regime used chemical agents to include mustard gas and nerve agents in attacks against at least 40 Kurdish villages between 1987-1988. The largest was the attack on Halabja which resulted in approximately 5,000 deaths. o 2,000 Kurdish villages were destroyed during the campaign of terror.
Iraq's 13 million Shi'a Muslims, the majority of Iraq's population of approximately 22 million, face severe restrictions on their religious practice, including a ban on communal Friday prayer, and restriction on funeral processions.
According to Human Rights Watch, "senior Arab diplomats told the London-based Arabic daily newspaper al-Hayat in October [1991] that Iraqi leaders were privately acknowledging that 250,000 people were killed during the uprisings, with most of the casualties in the south." Refugees International reports that
"Oppressive government policies have led to the internal displacement of 900,000 Iraqis, primarily Kurds who have fled to the north to escape Saddam Hussein's Arabization campaigns (which involve forcing Kurds to renounce their Kurdish identity or lose their property) and Marsh Arabs, who fled the government's campaign to dry up the southern marshes for agricultural use. More than 200,000 Iraqis continue to live as refugees in Iran."
In 2002, the U.S. Committee for Refugees estimated that nearly 100,000 Kurds, Assyrians, and Turkomans had previously been expelled, by the regime, from the "central-government-controlled Kirkuk and surrounding districts in the oil-rich region bordering the Kurdish controlled north."
"Over the past five years, 400,000 Iraqi children under the age of five died of malnutrition and disease, preventively, but died because of the nature of the regime under which they are living." (Prime Minister Tony Blair, March 27, 2003) Under the oil-for-food program, the international community sought to make available to the Iraqi people adequate supplies of food and medicine, but the regime blocked sufficient access for international workers to ensure proper distribution of these supplies. Since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, coalition forces have discovered military warehouses filled with food supplies meant for the Iraqi people that had been diverted by Iraqi military forces.
The Iraqi regime has repeatedly refused visits by human rights monitors. From 1992 until 2002, Saddam prevented the UN Special Rapporteur from visiting Iraq. The UN Special Rapporteur's September 2001, report criticized the regime for "the sheer number of executions," the number of "extrajudicial executions on political grounds," and "the absence of a due process of the law."
Saddam Hussein's regime has carried out frequent summary executions, including:
4,000 prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in 1984;
3,000 prisoners at the Mahjar prison from 1993-1998;
2,500 prisoners were executed between 1997-1999 in a "prison cleansing campaign;"
122 political prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib prison in February/March 2000;
23 political prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib prison in October 2001; and
At least 130 Iraqi women were beheaded between June 2000 and April 2001.
Top 5 Crimes of Saddam Hussein
By Jennifer Rosenberg
Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq from 1979 until 2003, has gained international notoriety for torturing and murdering thousands of his own people. Hussein believes he ruled with an iron fist to keep his country, divided by ethnicity and religion, intact. However, his actions bespeak a tyrannical despot who stopped at nothing to punish those who opposed him.
Having been captured, Saddam Hussein will now be tried for his past crimes. Though prosecutors have hundreds of crimes to choose from, these five are some of Hussein's most heinous.
Reprisal Against Dujail
On July 8, 1982, Saddam Hussein was visiting the town of Dujail (50 miles north of Baghdad) when a group of Dawa militants shot at his motorcade. In reprisal for this assassination attempt, the entire town was punished. More than 140 fighting-age men were apprehended and never heard from again. Approximately 1,500 other townspeople, including children, were rounded up and taken to prison, where many were tortured. After a year or more in prison, many were exiled to a southern desert camp. The town itself was destroyed; houses were bulldozed and orchards were demolished.
Though Saddam's reprisal against Dujail is considered one of his lesser-known crimes, it has been chosen as the first for which he will be tried.
Anfal Campaign
Officially from February 23 to September 6, 1988 (but often thought to extend from March 1987 to May 1989), Saddam Hussein's regime carried out the Anfal (Arabic for "spoils") campaign against the large Kurdish population in northern Iraq. The purpose of the campaign was ostensibly to reassert Iraqi control over the area; however, the real goal was to permanently eliminate the Kurdish problem.
The campaign consisted of eight stages of assault, where up to 200,000 Iraqi troops attacked the area, rounded up civilians, and razed villages. Once rounded up, the civilians were divided into two groups: men from ages of about 13 to 70 and women, children, and elderly men. The men were then shot and buried in mass graves. The women, children, and elderly were taken to relocation camps where conditions were deplorable. In a few areas, especially areas that put up even a little resistance, everyone was killed.
Hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled the area, yet it is estimated that up to 182,000 were killed during the Anfal campaign. Many people consider the Anfal campaign an attempt at genocide.
Chemical Weapons Against Kurds
As early as April 1987, the Iraqis used chemical weapons to remove Kurds from their villages in northern Iraq during the Anfal campaign. It is estimated that chemical weapons were used on approximately 40 Kurdish villages, with the largest of these attacks occurring on March 16, 1988 against the Kurdish town of Halabja.
Beginning in the morning on March 16, 1988 and continuing all night, the Iraqis rained down volley after volley of bombs filled with a deadly mixture of mustard gas and nerve agents on Halabja. Immediate effects of the chemicals included blindness, vomiting, blisters, convulsions, and asphyxiation. Approximately 5,000 women, men, and children died within days of the attacks. Long-term effects included permanent blindness, cancer, and birth defects. An estimated 10,000 lived, but live daily with the disfigurement and sicknesses from the chemical weapons.
Saddam Hussein's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid was directly in charge of the chemical attacks against the Kurds, earning him the epithet, "Chemical Ali."
Invasion of Kuwait
On August 2, 1990, Iraqi troops invaded the country of Kuwait. The invasion was induced by oil and a large war debt that Iraq owed Kuwait. The six-week, Persian Gulf War pushed Iraqi troops out of Kuwait in 1991. As the Iraqi troops retreated, they were ordered to light oil wells on fire. Over 700 oil wells were lit, burning over one billion barrels of oil and releasing dangerous pollutants into the air. Oil pipelines were also opened, releasing 10 million barrels of oil into the Gulf and tainting many water sources. The fires and the oil spill created a huge environmental disaster.
Shiite Uprising & the Marsh Arabs
At the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, southern Shiites and northern Kurds rebelled against Hussein's regime. In retaliation, Iraq brutally suppressed the uprising, killing thousands of Shiites in southern Iraq.
As supposed punishment for supporting the Shiite rebellion in 1991, Saddam Hussein's regime killed thousands of Marsh Arabs, bulldozed their villages, and systematically ruined their way of life. The Marsh Arabs had lived for thousands of years in the marshlands located in southern Iraq until Iraq built a network of canals, dykes, and dams to divert water away from the marshes. The Marsh Arabs were forced to flee the area, their way of life decimated.
By 2002, satellite images showed only 7 to 10 percent of the marshlands left. Saddam Hussein is blamed for creating an environmental disaster.
IRAQ: Women were more respected under Saddam, say women’s groups
BAGHDAD, 13 April 2006 (IRIN) - According to the findings of a recent survey by local rights NGOs, women were treated better during the Saddam Hussein era – and their rights were more respected – than they are now.
"We interviewed women in the country and met with local NGOs dealing with gender issues to develop this survey, which asked questions about the quality of women’s life and respect for their rights," said Senar Muhammad, president of Baghdad-based NGO Woman Freedom Organisation. "The results show that women are less respected now than they were under the previous regime, while their freedom has been curtailed."
According to the survey, women’s basic rights under the Hussein regime were guaranteed in the constitution and – more importantly – respected, with women often occupying important government positions. Now, although their rights are still enshrined in the national constitution, activists complain that, in practice, they have lost almost all of their rights.
Women’s groups point to the new government, many members of which take a conservative view when it comes to the role of women. "When we tell the government we need more representation in parliament, they respond by telling us that, if well-qualified women appear one day, they won’t be turned down," said Senar. "Then they laugh at us."
Government officials disagree saying that women’s political views are respected and that they are better represented in government than was the case during the previous regime.
Female activists, on their part, agree with the survey’s results.
"Before the US-led invasion in 2003, women were free to go to schools, universities and work, and to perform other duties," Senar added. "Now, due to security reasons and repression by the government, they’re being forced to stay in their homes."
The new constitution, approved in October 2005, makes Shari’a [Islamic Law] the primary source of national law. According to Senar, however, Shari’a has been misinterpreted by elements within the government and by certain religious leaders, which has resulted in the frequent denial of women’s rights. This is particularly the case in matters pertaining to divorce, she said.
Iman Saeed, spokesperson for another women’s NGO that helped conduct the survey but which prefers anonymity for security reasons, said that some religious leaders have also begun insisting that women wear the veil. "Many husbands now force their wives to wear the veil, just because a sheikh [religious teacher] said so," Iman said.
Some religious leaders say that the wearing of the veil is obligatory for Muslim women and that because of sectarian violence women should stay at home to look after their children.
"Women should stay at home with their families. Participating in politics will distance them from their kids," said Sheikh Marouf Abdel-Kader, a religious leader at one of the mosques in Baghdad.
Women represent roughly 60 percent of the population. Despite a 25-percent representative presence in parliament, however, they are seldom entrusted with high government positions, while their contribution to political debate is rarely taken seriously. "When US troops entered Iraq, we thought it would be a great opportunity for Iraqi women to begin having their voices heard," said Senar. "But we were wrong – the opposite has happened, and we’re losing ground by the day."
The survey also highlighted the increase in unemployment levels among Iraqi women since 2003. "Female unemployment is now twice as high as that for males, while female poverty has also increased," said Iman. "In addition, the number of widows – already high as a result of the Iran-Iraq war [in the 1980s] – has increased since the US invasion, making the situation worse."
Authors of the survey urged Washington and international organisations to pressure Baghdad to leave more decision-making positions to women. "The current leaders don’t think of us as potential presidents or vice-presidents, arguing that women can’t hold such important posts," said Shams Yehia, a professor at Baghdad University who helped conduct the survey. "We appeal to all bodies to force the Iraqi government to give us our rights back."
Also See:
American-backed Death Squads in Iraq 
 28 November 2007
Iraq - What has the Bush Administration Done to You? 

 30 December 2008
Troops withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan! 

 31 December 2011

 Bombed Back to the Stone Age, How is Iraq Progressing Today?
21 June 2012