Saturday, July 30, 2005

t r u t h o u t Perspective: The Case of Sergeant Benderman

The Case of Sergeant Benderman
By Camilo Mejia
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Thursday 28 July 2005

Fort Stewart, Georgia - When Sgt. Kevin Benderman went to Iraq on March of 2003, he saw the destruction of a nation, he saw a little girl with a burnt arm asking the soldiers for help they were ordered not to provide, he saw people drinking water from mud puddles, and he saw that Iraqis were regular people, just like himself, and that our military should not bring destruction to that country. What Sgt. Benderman saw in Iraq changed him in a way so profound, that after ten impeccable years in the Army, he decided to apply for conscientious objection. But Sgt. Benderman also spoke truth to the people about what is going on in Iraq, and he spoke about how the war is not destroying Iraq alone, but our own country as well. He spoke of how American soldiers are dehumanized by the war.

But today's general Court-Martial did not deal with Sgt. Benderman's war experience, nor with the dehumanization of America's children in Iraq; it mostly dealt with a forty-five minute meeting Sgt. Benderman had with his Sgt. Major just an hour before his unit was to deploy to the Middle East, where they were to provide logistic support to American infantry units, and they were to train Iraqi police officers and military personnel.

The defense successfully showed how during that meeting Sgt. Benderman's chain of command, not knowing how to deal with his Conscientious Objector packet, released him to work on documents and to have dinner with his wife, just an hour prior to his unit's deployment, and how they made no effort to get him to the airfield, or to get him onboard a later flight. The defense showed how Sgt. Benderman, far from being absent without authority or having missed movement, continued to perform a sergeant's duties while and after his unit deployed to Iraq.

The defense also showed the ambiguity in Sgt. Benderman's chain of command. For instance, one of the government's arguments in seeking both a conviction and a harsh punishment was that Sgt. Benderman's logistic duties were crucial for the unit in Iraq, yet the defense proved that his chain of command had planned to fire him from his job and to assign him to latrine duty. Another argument was the hazardous component of the unit's mission in Iraq, yet the 1st Sgt. insisted that Sgt. Benderman would be perfectly safe and in a position were he would see no combat at all. The defense successfully showed the humiliation Sgt. Benderman went through because of his Conscientious Objector beliefs, from the harassment of his wife by the Sgt. Major (who admitted to commenting on her physical figure) to his 1st Sgt. calling him a coward.

Why then, one wonders, was Sgt. Benderman convicted of Missing Movement by Design, and sentenced to 15 months of confinement, reduction to the lowest rank, and a dishonorable discharge? The defense strategy was sound and solid. The government's prejudice and Sgt. Benderman's chain of command's unmeasured persecution and incompetence were all made evident. Why the conviction and the harsh sentence then?

Perhaps because a legal strategy is no match for a political strategy. The Army had in its hands a blond, blue-eyed, six foot two, all American soldier, born and raised in the south, someone white America can look up to and identify with, someone who went to Iraq and came back with his humanity enhanced, most definitely a threat to a government on a mission to militarize its society and spread its empire. The government threw the book at Sgt. Benderman to ensure others like him don't follow behind. Therefore, his case should not have been boiled down to a forty-five minute meeting, because in doing so, the defense disconnected itself from the humanity of the action and from its message of resistance, and that is something America cannot afford at this time.

Sgt. Benderman is not an African American Muslim, he is not a Cuban Buddhist, his parents are not Latin Americans. Unlike other recent conscientious objectors, Binderman looks like he belongs at a George W. Bush rally. The humanity he displays in his refusal to fight a senseless war cannot be blamed on a foreign ethnicity, or on the color of his skin; it cannot be blamed on his religion either. And he cannot be accused of being a Yankee liberal. Sgt. Benderman's courageous stance gives the conscientious objector response to the war in Iraq a universal touch that breaks down barriers and goes beyond borders, bringing down the issue of war resistance to the humanity in each and every one of us, regardless of who we are or where we come from.

Sgt. Kevin Benderman chose to put his weapon down; he chose not to kill but to love his fellow human beings; he chose to put his career and physical freedom in jeopardy; he chose to speak truth in the face of power and adversity; he was harassed, humiliated, accused, tried, convicted, and sentenced to jail. He kissed his wife goodbye, and he kept his head up high as he walked to his fifteen months of confinement. I have never seen a freer man.

Camilo E. Mejia is a former prisoner of conscience, Iraq war veteran, war resister, and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Camilo's conscientious objector application is still pending. He served nine months in confinement for refusing to return to Iraq after a two-week leave.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Join With Me, by Amy Graham, Gold Star Families for Peace


Fight Ignorance:
Read BuzzFlash

Here is an impassioned plea from a soldier's mother...

Join With Me

Help me so that no more of America's sons and daughters get killed for an illegal and immoral war.

by Amy Branham, Gold Star Families for Peace

My only son and first-born child, Sgt. Jeremy R. Smith, believed that the war in Iraq was a just war. He believed that his Commander in Chief was correct in sending American soldiers into another land to search for WMD's, terrorists, and to help the Iraqi people have a better life. Jeremy believed these things with all his heart, as so many other soldiers do. His U.S. Army Reserve unit was activated in November 2003 and by February 2004 they were on their way to Iraq. Unfortunately, Jeremy died in a car accident outside of Ft. Hood five days before he was due to leave with his unit.

No mother should ever have to bury her child. But I did it, and it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. I think the rest of my life will be a cakewalk compared to planning my son's funeral and saying a final goodbye to his body. I knew that the last time I saw Jeremy alive that I would not ever see him again. I tried so hard to remain composed and strong for my son even though I was scared out of my mind for him. For two decades I had done my best to keep my son out of harm's way, but that night I sent him to war with a bear hug that I never wanted to end. I bathed him in my tears as I said goodbye to my brave, strong, handsome soldier.

You will not find my son's name on any official list of casualties of war because he was not killed in action or as a result of injuries received in battle. He died before leaving the States. Jeremy is a casualty of war, however, because he would never have been on that road outside of Ft. Hood, never would have been in that car and he wouldn't have hit the trees that ended his life if he hadn't been called to active duty. Instead, he would have been finishing school at ITT where he was a good student.

Now, I am no different than any other military mom, dad, husband, wife, son or daughter. We all put on that face when we send our loved ones off to war. We want to be strong for them even though we are terrified. We do our best to support them, even though we want to take them to a safe place where they will not be harmed. I am just a humble mom with a broken heart who is damn mad at her President, the politicians in Washington and even my local politicians.

For the past several months I have been searching and searching in Texas for other people who, like me, are against the war in Iraq and want to bring America's sons and daughters home. It has been a very frustrating search for me, but I have found a few people in Houston that are supportive and encouraging. We live in the heartland of Bush/Republican country, so speaking against this war, President Bush and all the other atrocities that are going on in our Republican-led government today can be downright dangerous.

Texas has always been a very patriotic state filled with individuals who are gung-ho to go to war. Our children have been raised to fight against injustice, to help those who are weaker than us, and to serve in the military. Many here have a good ole boy mentality that "takes care of their own". This is very difficult to fight against.

Those of us who speak out run the risk of being called traitors to our country and of being seen as being unpatriotic. I have to say that I absolutely disagree with people who call us that. We are very patriotic citizens. We love our country and all that She has had to offer. We are mad that our politicians are abusing the political system for their own personal gain.

According to Webster's Dictionary, the definition of a traitor is: "1. one who betrays another's trust or is false to an obligation or duty. 2. One who commits treason". The definition of treason is: "1. the betrayal of trust: treachery. 2. the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family."

I am no traitor. What I have done and will continue to do is to exercise my Freedom of Speech as I talk about how I feel about this illegal war. To do otherwise would be to become a complacent citizen, something I do not want to be. The truth is George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Colin Powell and so many others betrayed the trust of my son and the rest of the country. If I do not speak my truths and share my story, the story of Jeremy and over 1780 American sons and daughters, I would be doing them a great dishonor.

Every day I hear stories from other Americans that will break your heart. These stories are about their beloved soldiers who are serving in Iraq and stories about loved ones who have died. Some of these stories give me nightmares and I can't stop thinking about them. They make me want to scream from at the top of my lungs about the unfairness of it all.

Please, I ask of all of you to help me so that no more of America's sons and daughters get killed for an illegal and immoral war. Do not let our children be cannon fodder for the lies of Bush & Co. Tonight there will be yet another knock on the door in some neighborhood in America by the messenger of death. Another family's heart will be broken, never to be healed.

Join with me to bring a stop to this. Join with me to end this war.

Amy Branham
Houston, TX
Mother of Sgt. Jeremy R. Smith
Gold Star Families for Peace


t r u t h o u t Issues: Left Follows the Right on Campus Outreach Path, by Cynthia H. Cho

Democrats are finally waking up to the importance of mobilizing university students. The GOP has spent large sums of money and time doing exactly this in the last three decades; with the vituperative Ann Coulter and the slimy Karl Rove being the obvious results. --- Annamarie

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Left Follows the Right on Campus Outreach Path
By Cynthia H. Cho
The Los Angeles Times

Sunday 24 July 2005

Democrats watched the GOP mobilize young voters to win in 2004. Now, liberals turn to college networks to try to match its success.
Washington - When Kimberly Teplitzky and Geoff Aung attended the College Republican National Convention in Arlington, Va., last month, they avoided talking about political issues with their fellow conventioneers.

"We didn't want to scare them away," Teplitzky said.

Teplitzky and Aung - who voted for Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) in the 2004 presidential election - are interns at Campus Progress, a new division of the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington think tank. They were, to say the least, out of place at the GOP event.

"We didn't want to give ourselves away right away," Teplitzky said. "But when they asked, we told them who we were."

The point of going to the convention, she said, was to "see what they are doing, hear what they are saying and to find out what their priorities are."

In short, the two were there to learn from the successes of their political opposites.

Nearly invisible on college campuses a generation ago, conservatives have made a concerted effort over the last three decades to groom students as future political leaders - with considerable success.

Now, liberals have started taking pages from that playbook; Campus Progress was formed in February to, as its website says, "counter the growing influence of right-wing groups" on college campuses.

That was a hot topic this month at Campus Progress' first National Student Conference, where speakers included former President Bill Clinton, CNN political analyst Paul Begala and Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas? More than 600 college students from across the country gathered for what organizers called a "one-day crash course that explores progressive student leadership."

"Conservatives are trying harder to hook students," said David Halperin, the group's executive director. They are "taking a group of students and giving them the tools to succeed. With the resources, the training and the skills they have been taught, they can win. They win with smaller numbers."

Though Campus Progress admires the conservatives' success, "we don't want to emulate everything they do," Halperin said. "We'll take things that are effective."

What has been effective, both conservative and liberals agree, is spending money and time on efforts to reach college students. Ron Robinson, president of the conservative Young America's Foundation, said that in 2004, major conservative groups spent about $35 million on outreach to college students - raised largely through private donors. Young America's budget last year was about $15 million.

Halperin said it was harder to gauge how much money liberals spent on similar initiatives; his group's budget for 2005, its first year, was about $700,000. Outreach to college students is a small part of the mission of many liberal groups, like the Sierra Club and People for the American Way. Because most such organizations form around issues, rather than demographics, liberal students have more difficulty getting support.

Ralph G. Neas, head of People For the American Way, said that was starting to change. A priority for his organization is helping to develop a progressive movement nationwide. "To do that, you need to recognize the need to cultivate the next generation of young leaders," he said.

This year, the organization selected 126 student leaders from 40 colleges for its 2005 Young People For fellowship program. "We put together [the fellowship program] to identify these leaders now and provide them with the resources they need to flourish," Neas said.

At a summit in January, the students were taught how to educate their college peers about progressive issues.

Neas said the right wing had been making those connections for years, "building what really is a farm system - going to the campuses, cultivating and training people, finding them jobs and internships." He said Young People For, formed 15 months ago, intended to make a comparable commitment to help ensure the progressive movement's long-term success.

Conservatives have several well-established organizations that specialize in reaching out to and training young people. The Young America's Foundation sponsors lectures - more than 500 last year - and conferences throughout the country. More than 400 young people are expected at the foundation's weeklong conference, beginning July 31, for college students, where the scheduled speakers include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, author Ann Coulter and Nobel Prize-winning economist Vernon L. Smith.

Keisha Senter, speakers bureau coordinator for Campus Progress, said that progressive student groups didn't always have the money or connections to bring leading progressive speakers to their campuses. She sees her role within Campus Progress as changing that.

"We're trying to build a speakers bureau," Senter said. "We want to be a hub where students can request [speakers] and we'll bring them, free of charge."

For last week's Campus Progress conference, she snagged a big name for the keynote address: Clinton.

The former president urged students to be politically active. "You don't have to wait until your party is in power," he told them. The Democrats are "in better shape than it appears" to win political seats, Clinton said - but to do so, liberals must discard the belief that talking to conservatives is "selling out."

"We can talk to Red America - and there's no absence of conviction," he said.

People will not vote for candidates who do not reach out to them, Clinton said, so "there can be no person we do not see."

In some respects, Campus Progress is playing catch-up. The Leadership Institute, a prominent conservative training organization, has offered seminars and workshops for college students since 1979, and has had particular success in preparing young people to become political leaders.

"From 1979 to today, I don't think that there has been more than one College Republican National Committee chairman who did not graduate from one of the Leadership Institute programs," said Morton C. Blackwell, the institute's president and founder.

Paul Gourley, who was elected chairman of the College Republicans on June 26, attended several sessions of the Youth Leadership School, one of the institute's many training programs.

"I wouldn't be where I am today without the Leadership Institute," Gourley said. "It taught me everything I needed to know about youth politics."

Students who graduated from the Leadership Institute's Student Publications School have founded more than 20 publications on college campuses.

Now Campus Progress has started supporting campus publications. The organization has given grants of $500 to $3,000 to 14 student publications at colleges across the country, including USC, Harvard University and Dartmouth College.

With a grant from Campus Progress, Nathan Dickerson and Yuriy Bronshteyn helped found The Colonel, a satirical publication at the University of Kentucky. Its mission is to "scrutinize ... policymaking through a brutally honest and sometimes irreverent voice."

Dickerson and Bronshteyn, who will be juniors in the fall, attended the National Student Conference in part to meet other students like them.

"I wanted to coordinate with other progressive minds," Dickerson said.

Providing networking opportunities such as this month's conference is an important goal of Campus Progress.

"I think something is happening here," Halperin said. "Something more than the free food and President Clinton."

That groups on both sides of the aisle are targeting college students shouldn't be a surprise.

"Anybody who has a long view realizes that ... working with young people has a great payout over a long period of time: They are going to be around for a generation," said Blackwell, who took Karl Rove, then a College Republican activist at the University of Utah, under his wing in 1969 and recommended him for a Senate campaign staff in Illinois in 1970.

Rove, of course, went on to become President Bush's chief political strategist.

Halperin noted that the work conservatives did decades ago had come to fruition. "That's how you have people like Ann Coulter and Karl Rove now," he said.


t r u t h o u t Issues: Barbara Lee Pushes for Truth on 'Downing Street' Memo, by Michele R. Marcucci

"We need to oppose the war and to drive out Bush," said author Larry Everest of Berkeley. "What I'm afraid of is that these people are going to create a fascist police state."... Please read on...

Go to Original

Barbara Lee Pushes for Truth on 'Downing Street' Memo
By Michele R. Marcucci
The Argus

Sunday 24 July 2005

Congresswoman Barbara Lee worked an overflow crowd Saturday at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland in an effort to gain support for an inquiry into pre-Iraq War intelligence.

"We're letting the president and the administration know that we want answers to the questions we asked in our letter," said Lee, referring to a previous letter on the so-called "Downing Street" memo.

"We're going to force them to answer the questions by any means necessary," she said.

Lee introduced a bill Thursday asking the Bush administration to release communications with British officials on Iraq in the months leading up to the war. The bill's 27 co-sponsors, all Democrats, include Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark, D-Fremont, and Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma.

The memo and related materials purport to show that Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq based on fears the country was linked to terror and was developing weapons of mass destruction. But "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," according to a published version of the memo.

Lee said she and dozens of other members of Congress who signed Rep. John Conyers Jr.'s letter asking whether the memo was accurate never received a response from the administration.

Dozens of people spoke Saturday, many using the opportunity to voice their opposition to the Iraq War and the USA PATRIOT Act - a second version of which just passed the House of Representatives - and to vent still-simmering frustrations about the outcome of the 2000 presidential election and how many feel mainstream Democratic lawmakers have abandoned them and their causes.

"We need to oppose the war and to drive out Bush," said author Larry Everest of Berkeley. "What I'm afraid of is that these people are going to create a fascist police state."

Others blamed what they said is a corporate-owned media for not allowing their message to be heard.

"The Democrats, the press - aren't they all complicit in where this is going?" asked Travis Morales, who said he was from the Revolutionary Communist Party.

Nick Arnett of Gold Star Families for Peace, who attended the event, said he reluctantly supported the war, until it became clear to him the intelligence that was used to justify it was faulty. He has since lost his nephew, Lance Cpl. Wesley J. Canning, to the war.

Others said they were opposed to the war from the outset, and that the Downing Street memo confirmed their opposition.

"I thought it was the smoking gun," said Joe Stein of Berkeley.

Speakers at the event included Steve Cobble, whose Web site calls for an inquiry on prewar intelligence; Bill Mitchell of Gold Star Families for Peace; Daniel Ellsberg, the onetime government worker who released the Pentagon Papers; and Harvey Tharp of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Lee's town hall appearance was one of nine to be held by members of Congress around the country on Saturday, the memo's third anniversary.

t r u t h o u t Issues: How the U.S. Marked the 3rd Anniversary of the Downing Street Memo, by David Swanson

** Finally people are taking notice and speaking out! The next U.S. election will hopefully bring an end to this neocon tyranny, and have the criminals of this Administration brought to justice. --- Annamarie

Go to Original

How the United States Marked the 3rd Anniversary of the Downing Street Memo
By David Swanson

Saturday 23 July 2005

Hundreds of people were turned away today as capacity crowds packed public forums in U.S. cities to discuss the Downing Street Memo and related evidence that President Bush lied about the reasons for war. Halls were filled to capacity and beyond in LA, Oakland, Seattle, Detroit, Northampton, New York, and elsewhere, for events led by Congress Members, including Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, John Conyers, and Maurice Hinchey.

For the second time in the two months since we launched the campaign, I've been overwhelmed by what we've tapped into. The first time was when we put up a website about the Downing Street minutes and a demand for an investigation into grounds for impeachment. I'd never seen a coalition grow so quickly or a website receive so much traffic. Today we saw crowds of people in red and blue states chant "Impeach Bush!" at events with leaders not yet ready to use the I word. The much maligned American Public is way out ahead of us - I'm telling you.

I need to get outside the Beltway more! Today I did so, briefly. I drove over and spoke at an event in Montgomery County, Maryland. The questions I got from the crowd were along the lines of "Why is it so hard to get a Democrat from a solidly Democratic district to introduce articles of impeachment? What are they waiting for?"

It's a hell of a question. They know that a Zogby poll in the end of June - the ONLY poll done on impeachment of Bush - found that 42 percent of Americans (meaning a strong majority of Democrats) favor impeachment if the President lied about the reasons for war. They know that 52 percent believe he did in fact so lie, according to ABC/Washington Post.

What are they waiting for?

If they're waiting for a show of public pressure, they got a good glimpse of it today. The blog entries and photos and audio clips that flowed into the site all day were full of energy, excitement, enthusiasm, and righteous anger.

At an event in Detroit with Congressman Conyers, constitutional law professor Bob Sedler asked the crowd if Bush had committed impeachable offenses, and the whole room shouted "YES!"

The scene in New York was similar. Quoting our blogger:

"I hope many of you are watching this amazing event online. This is a [sic] both a rowdy and a mature crowd! Liz Holtzman was awarded - and she deserved - a standing ovation for her tales of the Nixon Impeachment and her sane cautions about the difficulty of getting Congress to act.

"It will only happen, she reminded us, via the WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

"And now Rep. Hinchey is on fire - clear and direct and comprehensive in his exposition of the various crimes that the Bush Administration has, provably, committed.

"It is incredible to be in this hot hall and to feel the energy of the overflow crowd. The will of the people is remarkably clear here..."

Other reports that came in from around the country described events as small as this one in Ohio:

"Twelve peacemakers from NE Ohio gathered at the Community Center of Newton Falls (zipcode 44444) to hear a dramatic reading of the Downing Street memo and engage in a lively discussion of local peace events and social justice issues. The entrance to the Community Center is prominently marked by a memorial to four young men from this small town who lost their lives in the War in Vietnam. We felt their spirit among us crying out to a new generation: the politicians lied and we died! Honor the dead - reveal the truth and stop the war!"

Or this one in Louisville, Kentucky:

"On this blistering hot day, the Louisville Peace Action Community (LPAC) held its DSM event at a busy intersection in a working class neighborhood in Louisville's southend.

"We had about 40 people with signs & petitions and we had great visibility - thousands of cars saw us and many, many pedestrians talked to us. In our group we had an 82-year-old nun & several babies.

"We also had a visit from 'George Bush' on a megaphone telling people NOT to read the Memo, because he didn't want them to know the truth. He sounded as stupid as ever.

"We had an overwhelmingly positive response and were glad to find a good new intersection for future actions. After two hours in the blazing heat, we hit a local watering hole for a round of congratulations and good laughs. The truth will prevail."

Many events were house parties, like this one:

"A motivated and committed group has gathered at a house party in Raleigh, NC to watch the DVD of the Conyers' hearing and to continue the lively discussion we've already started. We have twice the expected turnout, with participants from all over the Triangle area. We're excited about building on this momentum and adding even more voices to this movement."

Will the media cover these events and the facts that motivated them?

I know of some newspapers, including major ones, doing stories for tomorrow. But the focus appears likely to be on the activism, more than the substance of the discussions. And there was substance!

Former CIA analysts testified on the state of intelligence under Bush-Cheney. Families of soldiers who have died in Iraq, and veterans of the fighting in Iraq told their stories. Legal analysts and other experts provided historical perspective and understanding of the strength of the evidence.

Every event discussed the evidence of the Downing Street Documents. Most events made plans to generate co-sponsors for H.Res. 375, a Resolution of Inquiry introduced by Congresswoman Lee on Thursday that would require the White House and the State Department to turn over all documentation of communications with officials of the UK between January and October 2002.

In New York, Congressman Hinchey engaged in an analysis of strategies related to expanding the special prosecutor's reach or creating a new one. In Oakland, Daniel Ellsberg, known for having released the Pentagon Papers, said that the intelligence committees in Congress have the right to hold minority hearings with subpoena power and argued for pressuring the Democrats to do that rather than pressuring the Republicans to act like they care about their country.

A "mainstream" radio station in one city called me to get in touch with someone at a local event. "It would be impolitic," the producer said, with no sign of intending irony, to simply cover what's in the Downing Street Memo. But, he said, he COULD cover a rally.

At least we can be satisfied that on this day we became the media and did our own reporting. The results are at

My favorite of the various short entries I posted today is this one:

"I just got off the phone with Bill Moyer of the Backbone Campaign in Seattle. They, like the organizers today in New York, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Northampton, had to turn people away because the space was filled beyond capacity.

"Congressman Jim McDermott, I'm told, gave a tremendous speech, as did spokespeople from Military Families Speak Out, and as I'm sure Bill did himself.

"They also performed a humorous reenactment of the Downing Street Meeting.

"Then they organized groups to write letters to the media, to Congress, and to the Governor of Washington State.

"When I told Bill about the events elsewhere today, he said 'It's the beginning of the end for the Bush Administration.'"

David Swanson is a co-founder of After Downing Street, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of He is a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA.


t r u t h o u t Issues: Dogs Bit Abu Ghraib Detainees, by David Dishneau

As more and more incidents of mistreatment, abuse, torture perpetrated upon detainees at Abu Ghraib and other U.S. facilities comes to light, it is evidence of a sinister Administration policy. Obviously, these heinous acts cannot be explained away as "isolated incidents perpetrated by a few [guards]". Rather, this clearly indicates the culpability of those at the highest levels, who set this horrendous, deplorable, inhumane policy to extricate 'confessions' by any means. --- Annamarie

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Witness: Dogs Bit Abu Ghraib Detainees
By David Dishneau
The Associated Press

Tuesday 26 July 2005

Two Iraqis at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison were bitten by dogs as they were being handled by sergeants who were competing to see who could scare more detainees, a witness testified Tuesday.

Pvt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II - himself convicted of abusing inmates at the military prison - testified by phone in the Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury proceeding, for Sgts. Santos A. Cardona and Michael J. Smith.

The Army had announced the hearing on Monday.

A dog handled by Cardona bit a detainee on both thighs, severely enough to require stitches, Frederick said. A dog handled by Smith bit an inmate on one of his wrists, but not hard enough to the break the skin, he said.

Frederick also said he heard both defendants say they were competing, using their dogs, to see how many detainees they could frighten into urinating on themselves.

He is serving an eight-year sentence at a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., after pleading guilty to conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of detainees, assault and committing an indecent act.

Frederick was the first witness at the hearing at Fort Meade, which is about 15 miles south of Baltimore.

Cardona, of the 42nd Military Police Detachment at Fort Bragg, N.C., and Smith, the 523rd Military Police Detachment of Fort Riley, Kan., face various counts of cruelty and maltreatment, conspiracy to maltreat detainees, aggravated assault, dereliction and duty and making a false official statement. Smith also faces one count of wrongfully committing an indecent act.

If convicted, Cardona faces up to 16 1/2 years in prison, Smith up to 29 1/2 years. They both also could face reduction in rank to private, dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of pay.

The abuses allegedly happened from November 2003 to January 2004, when both soldiers were attached to the 320th Military Police Battalion, one of the units guarding Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

Smith told investigators in February 2004 that he and Cardona used their unmuzzled dogs to help a military intelligence unit, "psychologically breaking (detainees) down" before interrogations.

Investigators said Cardona acknowledged that his dog bit a detainee in December 2003.

Col. Thomas M. Pappas, commander of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, which conducted interrogations at Abu Ghraib, was reprimanded and fined in May.

Eight Army reservists have been convicted of abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib. Another, Pfc. Lynndie England, is awaiting trial.

Cardona's civilian attorney, Harvey J. Volzer, didn't return messages seeking comment Monday afternoon. It wasn't immediately known who represented Smith.

t r u t h o u t Editorial: Blair Is Unfit to Be Prime Minister, by John Pilger

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Blair Is Unfit to Be Prime Minister
By John Pilger
The New Statesman, UK

25 July 2005 Issue

Terror and the UK - The senseless repercussions of interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine demand that we renew our anger at our leaders. Our troops must come home. We owe it to all those who died in London on 7 July.

In all the coverage of the bombing of London, a truth has struggled to be heard. With honourable exceptions, it has been said guardedly, apologetically. Occasionally, a member of the public has broken the silence, as an east Londoner did when he walked in front of a CNN camera crew and reporter in mid-platitude. "Iraq!" he said. "We invaded Iraq and what did we expect? Go on, say it."

Alex Salmond tried to say it on Today on Radio 4. He was told he was speaking "in poor taste . . . before the bodies are even buried". George Galloway was lectured on Newsnight (BBC2) that he was being "crass". The inimitable Ken Livingstone contradicted his previous statement, which was that the invasion of Iraq would come home to London. With the exception of Galloway, not one so-called anti-war MP spoke out in clear, unequivocal English. The warmongers were allowed to fix the boundaries of public debate; one of the more idiotic, in the Guardian, called Blair "the world's leading statesman".

And yet, like the man who interrupted CNN, people understand and know why, just as the majority of Britons oppose the war and believe Blair is a liar. This frightens the British political elite. At a large media party I attended, many of the important guests uttered "Iraq" and "Blair" as a kind of catharsis for that which they dared not say professionally and publicly.

The bombs of 7 July were Blair's bombs.

Blair brought home to this country his and Bush's illegal, unprovoked and blood-soaked adventure in the Middle East. Were it not for his epic irresponsibility, the Londoners who died in the Tube and on the No 30 bus almost certainly would be alive today. This is what Livingstone ought to have said. To paraphrase perhaps the only challenging question put to Blair on the eve of the invasion, it is now surely beyond all doubt that the man is unfit to be prime minister.

How much more evidence is needed? Before the invasion, Blair was warned by the Joint Intelligence Committee that "by far the greatest terrorist threat" to this country would be "heightened by military action against Iraq". He was warned by 79 per cent of Londoners who, according to a YouGov survey in February 2003, believed that a British attack on Iraq "would make a terrorist attack on London more likely". A month ago, a leaked, classified CIA report revealed that the invasion had turned Iraq into a focal point of terrorism. Before the invasion, said the CIA, Iraq "exported no terrorist threat to its neighbors" because Saddam Hussein was "implacably hostile to al-Qaeda".

Now, an 18 July report by the Chatham House organization, a "think tank" deep within the British establishment, may well beckon Blair's coup de grâce. It says there is "no doubt" the invasion of Iraq has "given a boost to the al-Qaeda network" in "propaganda, recruitment and fundraising" while providing an ideal targeting and training area for terrorists. "Riding pillion with a powerful ally" has cost Iraqi, American and British lives. The right-wing academic, Paul Wilkinson, a voice of western power, was the principal author. Read between the lines and it says the prime minister is now a serious liability. Those who run this country know he has committed a great crime; the "link" has been made.

Blair's bunker-mantra is that there was terrorism long before the invasion, notably 11 September. Anyone with an understanding of the painful history of the Middle East would not have been surprised by 11 September or by the bombing of Madrid and London, only that they had not happened earlier. I have reported the region for 35 years, and if I could describe in a word how millions of Arab and Muslim people felt, I would say "humiliated". When Egypt looked like winning back its captured territory in the 1973 war with Israel, I walked through jubilant crowds in Cairo: it felt as if the weight of history's humiliation had lifted. In a very Egyptian flourish, one man said to me, "We once chased cricket balls at the British club. Now we are free."

They were not free, of course. The Americans re-supplied the Israeli army and they almost lost everything again. In Palestine, the humiliation of a captive people is Israeli policy. How many Palestinian babies have died at Israeli checkpoints after their mothers, bleeding and screaming in premature labor, have been forced to give birth beside the road at a military checkpoint with the lights of a hospital in the distance? How many old men have been forced to show obeisance to young Israeli conscripts? How many families have been blown to bits by America-supplied F-16s with British-supplied parts?

The gravity of the bombing of London, said a BBC commentator, "can be measured by the fact that it marks Britain's first suicide bombing". What about Iraq? There were no suicide bombers in Iraq until Blair and Bush invaded. What about Palestine? There were no suicide bombers in Palestine until Ariel Sharon, an accredited war criminal sponsored by Bush and Blair, came to power. In the 1991 Gulf "war", American and British forces left more than 200,000 Iraqis dead and injured and the infrastructure of their country in "an apocalyptic state", according to the United Nations. The subsequent embargo, designed and promoted by zealots in Washington and Whitehall, was not unlike a medieval siege. Denis Halliday, the United Nations official assigned to administer the near-starvation food allowance, called it "genocidal".

I witnessed its consequences: tracts of southern Iraq contaminated with depleted uranium and cluster bomblets waiting to explode. I watched dying children, some of the half a million infants whose deaths Unicef attributed to the embargo - deaths which US Secretary of State Madeline Albright said were "worth it". In the west, this was hardly reported. Throughout the Muslim world, the bitterness was like a presence, its contagion reaching many young British-born Muslims.

In 2001, in revenge for the killing of 3,000 people in the Twin Towers, more than 20,000 Muslims died in the Anglo-American invasion of Afghanistan. This was revealed by Jonathan Steele in the London Guardian and was never news, to my knowledge. The attack on Iraq was the Rubicon, making the reprisal against Madrid and the bombing of London entirely predictable: the latter "in response to the massacres carried out by Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan ...", claimed a group called the Organization for El Qaeda in Europe. Whether or not the claim was genuine, the reason was. Bush and Blair wanted a "war on terror" and they got it.

Omitted from public discussion is that their state terror makes al-Qaeda's appear miniscule by comparison. More than 100,000 Iraqi men, woman and children have been killed, not by suicide bombers, but by the Anglo-American "coalition", says a peer-reviewed study published in the Lancet, and largely ignored.

In his poem "From Iraq", Michael Rosen wrote:

We are the unfound
We are uncounted
You don't see the homes we made
We're not even the small print or the bit in brackets . . .
because we lived far from you,
because you have cameras that point the other way . . .

Imagine, for a moment, you are in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. It is an American police state, like a vast penned ghetto. Since April last year, the hospitals there have been subjected to an American policy of collective punishment. Staff have been attacked by US marines, doctors have been shot, emergency medicines blocked. Children have been murdered in front of their families.

Now imagine the same state of affairs imposed on the London hospitals that received the victims of the bombing. When will someone draw this parallel at one of Blair's staged "press conferences", at which he is allowed to emote for the cameras about "our values outlast [ing] theirs"? Silence is not journalism. In Fallujah, they know "our values" only too well. And when will someone invite the obsequious Bob Geldoff to explain why his hero, Blair's smoke-and-mirrors "debt cancellation" amounts to less than the money the Blair government spends in a week, brutalizing Iraq?

The hand-wringing over "whither Islam's soul" is another distraction. Christianity leaves Islam for dead as an industrial killer. The cause of the current terrorism is neither religion nor hatred for "our way of life". It is political, requiring a political solution. It is injustice and double standards, which plant the deepest grievances. That, and the culpability of our leaders, and the "cameras that point the other way", are the core of it.

On 19 July, while the BBC governors were holding their annual general meeting at Television Centre, an inspired group of British documentary filmmakers met outside the main gates and conducted a series of news reports of the kind you do not see on television. Actors played famous reporters doing their "camera pieces". The "stories" they reported included the targeting of the civilian population of Iraq, the application of the Nuremberg Principles to Iraq, America's illegal rewriting of the laws of Iraq and theft of its resources through privatization, the everyday torture and humiliation of ordinary people and the failure to protect Iraqis archaeological and cultural heritage.

Blair is using the London bombing to further deplete our rights and those of others, as Bush has done in America. Their goal is not security, but greater control. The memory of their victims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and elsewhere demands the renewal of our anger. The troops must come home. Nothing less is owed to those who died and suffered in London on 7 July, unnecessarily, and nothing less is owed to those whose lives are marked if this travesty endures.


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Jane Fonda to Take a Cross-Country Tour to Call for an End to U.S. Military Operations in Iraq

"When women find their voice and men their hearts..." --- Jane Fonda

SANTA FE, N.M. - Actress and activist Jane Fonda says she intends to take a cross-country bus tour to call for an end to U.S. military operations in Iraq.

"I can't go into any detail except to say that it's going to be pretty exciting," she said.

Fonda said her anti-war tour in March will use a bus that runs on "vegetable oil." She will be joined by families of Iraq war veterans and her daughter.

They plan to return to the Santa Fe area, where she was promoting her book, "My Life So Far" on Saturday.

Prompted by a question from the audience, Fonda said war veterans that she has met on a nationwide book tour have encouraged her to break her silence on the Iraq war.

"I've decided I'm coming out," she said.

Hundreds of people in the audience cheered loudly when Fonda announced her intentions to join the anti-Iraq war movement.

"I have not taken a stand on any war since Vietnam," she said. "I carry a lot of baggage from that."

Fonda incited controversy in July 1972 when she was photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun while on a tour of the country to drum up support to end the war.

Iraq Is Not Vietnam, by Jim Cox

Iraq Is Not Vietnam
by Jim Cox

A rising concern that Iraq is becoming the new Vietnam has prompted
many commentators to denounce any such comparisons as too ridiculous
to be entertained. Here’s a comparison of Iraq limited to 2003–2004
to match the first two years of US ground troop involvement in fighting
in Vietnam, 1965–1966, to show the difference:

Being a Comparison:

I: Iraq 2003–2004
V: Vietnam 1965–1966

1 Commander-in-Chief?
I: Texan, George W. Bush (with stateside duty during Vietnam war)
V: Texan, Lyndon B. Johnson (with stateside duty during World War II)

2 Justification for invasion?
I: Based on deceptions – WMD, 9/11, aluminum tubes, etc
V: Based on deceptions – Gulf of Tonkin

3 US Casualties?
I: 1,432 killed, 3,000+ wounded
V: 3,910 killed, 5,000+ wounded

4 War Declared by Congress as required by US Constitution?
I: No, instead a resolution authorizing the president to take action he deems necessary
V: No, instead a resolution authorizing the president to take action he deems necessary

5 Enemy?
I: Not a nation, but an abstraction – terrorism
V: Not a nation, but an abstraction – the spread of communism

6 Frontlines?
I: No frontlines, guerilla resistance
V: No frontlines, guerilla resistance

7 President makes TV appearance to reassure Americans of the necessity of the war?
I: Yes, after 2 years – 2005
V: Yes, after 3 years – 1968

8 Handling of the Federal Budget?
I: Guns and butter policy
V: Guns and butter policy

9 Party in control of Congress?
I: No check and balance as Congress is in the hands of the same party as the Presidency
V: No check and balance as Congress is in the hands of the same party as the Presidency

10 Troops?
I: Enlistments buttressed by deployment extensions, and National Guard and Reserves
V: Enlistments buttressed by draft

11 Troops in country?
I: 140,000
V: 200,000

12 Alliance?
I: minimal troops from allied countries
V: minimal troops from allied countries

13 History of country?
I: former colony of a European power (Britain, 1917–1932)
V: former colony of a European power (France, 1887–1954)

14 Hoped for Solution?
I: Iraqification [1]
V: Vietnamization [2]

15 Most extreme suggestion?
I: Michael Savage: "Drop a nuclear bomb on the Sunni triangle."
V: Curtis LeMay: "Bomb them back to the stone age."

Thus, we can all take comfort securely in our knowledge that Iraq is not Vietnam;
Vietnam is spelled with a "V" and is in Southeast Asia, Iraq is spelled with
an "I" and is in Southwest Asia.

July 15, 2005

Jim Cox is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Lawrenceville Campus
of Georgia Perimeter College and author of Minimum Wage, Maximum Damage.

Copyright © 2005

[2] "Vietnamization"

Nixon was elected President and began his policy of slow disengagement
from the war. The goal was to gradually build up the South Vietnamese Army
so that it could fight the war on its own. This policy became the cornerstone
of the so-called "Nixon Doctrine". As applied to Vietnam, the doctrine was
called "Vietnamization".

The stated goal of Vietnamization was to enable the South Vietnamese army
to increasingly hold its own against the NLF and the North Vietnamese Army.
The unstated goal of Vietnamization was that the primary burden of combat
would be returned to ARVN troops and thereby lessen domestic opposition
to the war in the U.S.

[1] "Iraqification"

Bush flagged his strategy [which] calls for rapidly increasing
the Iraqification of the conflict. By Thursday (October 30)
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Dundes Wolfowitz,
were spelling out what this meant.

The idea is to push many more Iraqi police and security officials into
the front lines against the insurgency while at the same time declaring
political victory on the ground."

"After days of being confronted with mounting US casualties, the
Administration tried to present Americans with a coherent plan
to assure them Iraq will not be Mr Bush's Vietnam. One aim
of that plan, it appears, is to start pulling US forces out
of Iraq as early as March next year in time for Mr Bush's
re-election campaign.

"What the US is going to do, Mr Bush said, is 'implement
the strategy which is (to) encourage Iraqis to help deal
with the security issues'."

Monday, July 25, 2005

Amnesty International News Release: UK: Full circumstances into fatal shooting must be investigated

UK: Full circumstances into fatal shooting must be investigated

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

AI Index: EUR 45/027/2005
25 July 2005

UK: Full circumstances into fatal shooting must be investigated

Amnesty International is concerned about the incident on 22 July 2005 in which plainclothes officers shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian national who had been working in the UK for the last three years. Initial police statements stated that he was a suspect linked to the bombing incidents which have taken place in London, since over 50 people were killed in coordinated attacks on 7 July. However, on 24 July the Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police stated categorically that Jean Charles de Menezes had no involvement in any suspicious activities, and that he had been shot dead as a result of a mistake. Initial eyewitness accounts indicated that Jean Charles de Menezes was shot five times in the head at point blank range after having been pushed to the ground. Amnesty International expresses its deepest sympathy to the family and friends on his tragic death.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has begun its investigation into the circumstances of the shooting, which Amnesty International recognizes took place against a background of heightened security. Amnesty International will be monitoring the progress of the investigation. The organization urges the investigation to examine the full circumstances leading up to the shooting, including what the terms of the current rules of engagement are, including the policy which permits officers to "shoot to kill", i.e. to shoot in the head, suspects believed to be suicide bombers, reportedly codenamed Operation Kratos; how the operation was planned; how the police officers were briefed and what orders they were given; whether a senior officer was contacted before action was taken; whether a sufficient warning was given; and whether the action taken by the officers was fully in compliance with international human rights standards concerning the use of force in the context of law enforcement. In particular, the organization urges that there be full public scrutiny of the actions of state agents and agencies involved, including the Metropolitan Police and the security services, so as to ascertain fully whether the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes was lawful.

The inquiry must be prompt, thorough, independent and impartial and must comply with relevant international standards, including the UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, as well as with the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights under Article 2 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms enshrining the right to life. Specifically, the investigation should consider whether the force used was no more than absolutely necessary and a proportionate response in the circumstances. There must be full public accountability for the actions of the state and lessons have to be learnt to prevent another such incident.

View all documents on the UK

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Media Lens: The Mysterious Case of the Vanishing World Tribunal on Iraq

July 6, 2005

“The best relationship with our viewers is no longer one of parent-child but of consenting adults trying to piece together the best picture of the world.” (Roger Mosey, head of BBC TV news)

“A good case can be made that propaganda is a more important means of social control in open societies like the United States than in closed societies like the late Soviet Union... This system of thought control is not centrally managed... It operates mainly by individual and market choices, with the frequent collective service to the national interest arising from common interests and internalised beliefs.” (Edward Herman)
World Tribunal? What World Tribunal?

Media Lens has detected a recent shift in media reporting. It is hard to quantify, but there is a palpable uneasiness amongst media professionals at the increasing rise of the ‘blogosphere’ and internet-based ‘alternative’ media sites. Joe and Jo Public are increasingly aware that the news and commentary distributed by the BBC, ITN, Channel 4 news and the liberal broadsheets, are protecting major war criminals in London and Washington.

A blanket of almost total media silence covers Bush and Blair’s crimes in Iraq, and their support for relentless corporate exploitation around the globe. These war criminals continue to be presented as world-straddling father figures who could “solve” poverty in Africa and so become the beloved figureheads of a “great generation”.

Consider that virtually the entire British media ignored the deliberations of the World Tribunal on Iraq in Istanbul from June 24-27. Modelled on Bertrand Russell’s tribunal on the US invasion of Vietnam, the tribunal consisted of hearings into numerous aspects of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. A jury of conscience from ten different countries listened to the testimony of 54 advocates. This jury declared the war one of the most unjust in history:

“The Bush and Blair administrations blatantly ignored the massive opposition to the war expressed by millions of people around the world. They embarked upon one of the most unjust, immoral, and cowardly wars in history. The Anglo-American occupation of Iraq of the last 27 months has led to the destruction and devastation of the Iraqi state and society. Law and order have broken down completely, resulting in a pervasive lack of human security; the physical infrastructure is in shambles; the health care delivery system is a mess; the education system has ceased to function; there is massive environmental and ecological devastation; and, the cultural and archeological heritage of the Iraqi people has been desecrated.” (World Tribunal on Iraq), ‘Press Release about Jury Statement,' June 27, 2005)

The jury presented 13 findings against the US and UK governments that included:

* Planning, preparing, and waging the supreme crime of a war of aggression in contravention of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles.
* Targeting the civilian population of Iraq and civilian infrastructure.
* Using disproportionate force and indiscriminate weapon systems.
* Failing to safeguard the lives of civilians during military activities and during the occupation period thereafter.
* Using deadly violence against peaceful protestors.

The jury also levelled charges against the security council of the United Nations for “failing to stop war crimes amongst other crimes”. It also charged “private corporations for profiting from the war” and accused the corporate media of “disseminating deliberate falsehoods and failing to report atrocities”. (ibid.)

Veteran activist Walden Bello, reporting from Istanbul, pointed in particular to the “combination of eyewitness accounts that made clear beyond a shadow of doubt that the siege of Fallujah in November 2004 was a case of collective punishment”. (Bello, ‘The Perfect Storm: the World Tribunal,’ June 28, 2005)

Bello noted, too, that the tribunal clearly showed the extent of “the western media's participation in the manipulation of public opinion”.

At a press conference after the tribunal, jury chairperson Arundathi Roy said: “If there is one thing that has come out clearly in the last few days, it is not that the corporate media supports the global corporate project; it +is+ the global corporate project.”

This is a perfect summation indicating why corporate crimes rarely surface in the corporate media. A newspaper database search on July 5 revealed that only one newspaper – the small-circulation Morning Star – had reported on the Tribunal. There was nothing in the Guardian, the Observer, the Independent, the Independent on Sunday, the Financial Times, the Times or any of the other ‘watchdogs of democracy’. There were also zero mentions at BBC news online. Although Media Lens is unable to monitor all television and radio news bulletins, we are not aware of any broadcast reports of the tribunal.

The level of professional media discipline required to fail to report such an important event is truly remarkable. But then, as we have frequently noted, this is standard practice when ‘our’ crimes are under scrutiny, rather than the crimes of official ‘enemies’.
Violent And Barbaric US Soldiers

BBC news director Helen Boaden was pressed by several Media Lens readers – acting of their own volition, an uncomfortable thought for some in the media - just why the BBC had ignored all the evidence of Bush and Blair’s war crimes presented at the World Tribunal on Iraq. She replied:

“We've covered the issues discussed many times and will continue do so, though we did not cover this - not least for logistical reasons.” (Email to Media Lens reader, June 29, 2005)

Readers may well be scratching their heads, wondering how they managed to miss all of these BBC reports covering the G8 leaders’ culpability for war crimes. You may also be wondering why the BBC, one of the world’s most lavishly-funded news corporations, could not manage even one short item from Istanbul on any of its flagship news programmes.

Regular readers may recall that Boaden has already declared publicly that: “you can be certain that if we had proof of [US war crimes], it would be leading every bulletin.” (Email to Media Lens, May 19, 2005)

But despite the copious evidence presented at the World Tribunal in Istanbul, the BBC maintains a stoic refusal to report US/UK atrocities and war crimes.

However, the BBC can no longer maintain, for example, that there is no evidence of napalm use by US forces in Iraq. It is now on the official record that the US +has+ deployed an updated form of napalm – and that US officials even lied about it to Britain (See: Colin Brown, 'US lied to Britain over use of napalm in Iraq war,' The Independent, June 17, 2005; Andrew Sparrow, 'Parliament misled over firebomb use,' Daily Telegraph, June 20, 2005; Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘US misled UK over Iraq fire bombs,’ The Guardian, July 1, 2005).

We have seen no BBC bulletin leading with - or even mentioning – the appalling issue of napalm use by “coalition” forces in Iraq.

Nor have we seen any mention of the urgent humanitarian crisis in the western Iraqi cities of Haditha and Al-Qa'im, an area that is home to 300,000 people, where hospitals have been attacked and damaged by US forces. Eyewitnesses, including medical personnel, claim that US soldiers violated the Geneva Convention and international law by preventing civilians from accessing healthcare. US forces also prevented food and medication reaching Haditha and Al-Qa'im and targeted the cities' two main hospitals, medical staff and ambulances. According to Dr. Salam Ismael, general secretary of the Doctors for Iraq Society:

"Eyewitnesses reported at least one patient being shot dead in his bed on a hospital ward. Doctors were prevented from assisting patients and civilians in need. A number of doctors and medical personnel were killed in the attack and others were arrested by US forces in the hospital. They were later released, along with the hospital manager who was detained for two days.

"The huge military operations in the area have caused widespread damage and an unknown number of civilians were killed and injured during the attack.

"Video footage shot by doctors shows a badly damage medical store in the Haditha hospital and damaged surgical theatres. The medical store contained medicine and equipment for all hospitals and medical centres in the west of Iraq. Staff and patients say the damage was carried out by 'by violent and barbaric US soldiers.'" (Ismael, 'Iraqi hospitals attacked and damaged by US forces,' July 2, 2005;

Reports of brutal "coalition" attacks on Iraqi hospitals, however, are deemed unsuitable for British audiences of mainstream media, including the 'impartial' BBC.

The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others. When writing emails to journalists, we strongly urge readers to maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone.

Write to Helen Boaden, director of BBC news,

And Roger Mosey, head of BBC television news:

And Mark Byford, deputy director-general

Ask why the BBC is failing to cover the many reports of alleged US war crimes in Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq. Why did the main BBC news programmes ignore the recent World Tribunal on Iraq? When has the BBC ever reported on Bush and Blair’s culpability for war crimes?

Please copy your emails to the following:

Pete Clifton, BBC news online editor

Mark Thompson, BBC director general

Michael Grade, BBC chairman

Ask the following newspaper editors why they ignored the recent World Tribunal on Iraq:

Martin Newland, editor of the Daily Telegraph:

Simon Kelner, editor-in-chief of the Independent and Independent on Sunday,:

Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger:

Observer editor, Roger Alton:

Financial Times editor, Andrew Gowers:

Please send copies of all emails to us at:

This is a free service. However, financial support is vital. Please consider giving less to the corporate media and donating more to Media Lens:

A printer-friendly version of this alert can be found here for approximately one week after the date at the top:
and then, thereafter, in our archive at:
date printed: Sun Jul 24 2005 12:53:26 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

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