Saturday, May 06, 2006

Six Nations Update About Friday Night's Rally (May 5)

Forward below from someone at the reclamation site. -- Annamarie

hey folks,

I just wanted to send out a brief report from the Caledonia townspeople demo today. The good news is that it was a lot smaller, about half the size of the gathering last Friday. The gathering was also a lot more subdued, with no fire barrel, and very little in the way of chanting, air horns and public drunkenness. There was one ugly incident when a native woman crossed from the Six Nations side and was verbally attacked by a crowd of white people as she was escorted through by police. Following this incident, a few townspeople marched to the front of the police line and had a verbal confrontation with the cops demanding to be similarly let through the native lines but this just ended up being an argument with the police (as well as a few non-native Caledonians who were trying to talk some sense into the racists).

The media were filming both of these events, so they may well be reported in the news. There was no sign of any overt and organized neo-Nazi presence at the rally and many of the townspeople protesting tried to make the argument that they weren't racist, but just wanted the road open. One protester pointed out that since there were a half-dozen people of color in the protest, the demonstration was multicultural and not racist. I think that it is safe to assume that because of the publicization of the KKK leaflets, a fair number of local residents did not come to the protest. At the height of the protest at around 8:30 p.m. there were about 350 townspeople. That declined to about 200 people at 9:30 p.m. and less than 100 people at 10:30 p.m.

While there were some of the regulars who had been consistently going to these protests, there were also a lot of people who had been present before and very vocal, who weren't there this time. I went expecting it to be extremely tense and that townspeople would confront "outsiders" but it was really quite subdued. There was a major OPP presence of at least 100 officers on the line blocking highways six and a few dozen more in uniform sprinkled throughout the crowd.

There were a number of pro native white supporters that were present including a group of people from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers who showed up with union flags and then apparently left when they were heckled. This happened before I arrived so I can't really report on it and wasn't able to get their contact info.

One interesting thing that was overheard by observers and was also stated to a global news reporter (so this might be on the news) is that some Caledonian residents are apparently planning to set up roadblocks surrounding Caledonia and to only allow white people into town. This person said that the roadblocks would go up on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. I have no idea if they are actually capable of doing this or if
this is just talk, but their line of argument is that since the native people can put up a roadblock and decide who can get through without interference from the OPP, they want to be able to do the same thing at the entrances to their town. I don't know if they can get enough people to do this, and what the OPP response will be, but it is something to keep an eye on. I imagine that if it happens, it will be on the news

Take care,

[name edited out at the request of the sender]

Hamilton East MPP wants compensation for Firefighters


Ontario should lead not trail others in the campaign to ensure firefighters receive compensation for their occupational diseases, says New Democrat Andrea Horwath.

The Hamilton East MPP has the support of firefighters and their families for her private member's bill, to recognize and compensate firefighters without question for diseases attributed to their job. The bill is named in memory of Hamilton firefighter Bob Shaw, who died after developing cancer of the esophagus from fighting the deadly toxic Plastimet Fire.

"I made a promise to the Shaw family that I would bring forward the necessary legislation to ensure occupational diseases related to firefighting are appropriately recognized and compensated. The McGuinty government has been slow to move on this life and death file. My bill may finally spur some long overdue action. And this can pave the way for other workers who are seeking similar provisions," Horwath said.

Compensate firefighters for job-related diseases

Ont. NDP Leader Hampton on Child Care


NDP Leader Howard Hampton put on a full-court press for kids at Queen's Park this week.

On Tuesday, Hampton called on the McGuinty government to give Ontario hospitals the resources they need to improve maternity ward security - that after two women were arrested for snatching a baby from a Toronto hospital. Hampton called for more nurses, mandatory maternity ward sign-ins and baby security bracelets.

Then on Wednesday, Hampton spoke up for Ontario kids and parents who are losing out because Stephen Harper has given up on child care. "Dalton McGuinty has a choice to make. He can keep his promise to stand up for kids, and invest $300 million Ontario dollars to create a made-in-Ontario child care system, or he can cut and run on child care," Hampton said.

Ontario NDP Leader Hampton Calls for Gas Price Relief


NDP Leader Howard Hampton is calling on Dalton McGuinty to regulate Ontario gas prices, to stop gas price gouging.

"Motorists across Ontario are suffering from pump shock. Big Oil is gouging them, scamming them and ripping them off - but Dalton McGuinty is standing on the sidelines, doing nothing, letting people suffer," Hampton said.

"The premier should stand up for drivers. He should regulate gas prices to stop gas price gouging and ease motorists' pain at the pumps," the NDP Leader said.

Howard Hampton calls for gas price relief

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cindy Sheehan's Next Target May be PM Harper

According to this commentary by Derrick O'Keefe, peace mom Cindy Sheehan could stir debate about Canada's growing "war on terror". Sheehan, the highest-profile opponent of George Bush's wars, is visiting Canada this week.
The timing of the woman who has reinvigorated the U.S. antiwar movement couldn’t be better. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is currently presiding over the transformation of Canada’s military and foreign policy, and the increasingly deadly conflict in Afghanistan continues with remarkably little dissent within Parliament, despite public misgivings and rising casualties. Harper is also displaying a fanaticism about framing media coverage and stifling discussion that is reminiscent of the regime in Washington, D.C.

Canadian Soldier's Mom Pushes for "Red Fridays"

A Canadian soldier's mom is pushing a movement for people to wear red on Fridays to support the troops in Afghanistan until every soldier is home. Audrey Slaney says "Red Fridays will boost the morale of troops in what is becoming an increasingly dangerous war zone".

Read more here.

The Buzz: Afternoon Headlines

More from BuzzFlash, for those who've missed it earlier today:

Watergate Subpoenaed in GOP/Wilkes Hooker Probe

Bomb Kills 3 U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

A huge conflict of interest; The question arises: should Rove be paid by the American taxpayers to run a political campaign or should he be paid by the Republican National Committee and quit the White House?

Robert Parry: Colbert & the Courtier Press

Being Right Is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn from Conservative Success by Paul Waldman - A BuzzFlash Review

Bush Told to Get Congressional Authorization Before Military Strikes on Iran. Bipartisan Group of Congressman tell Bush "we want to be clear, should you decide that force is necessary, seeking congressional authority prior to taking military action against Iran is not discretionary. It is legally and constitutionally necessary." - A BuzzFlash News Alert

Episode 35: We Are All Johnnie Jones -- Episode 35 of The Last Chance Democracy Cafe by Steven C. Day

More headlines on BuzzFlash . . .

Bush Lied, Soldiers Keep Dying.
2,415 U.S. Military Fatalities in Iraq (thru today)
17,469 U.S. Military Maimed in Iraq (Last DoD Update: 06-Apr-06)
38,861 Iraqis Reported Killed (thru today)

The BuzzFlash Mailbag

Barbara's Daily Buzz

Mr. Limbaugh, Thank You for Your "Limbaugh Laws" on Immigration (and good luck with that conviction for illegal drug use) - Letters from Ethan

Bush Calls United States A Nation Of Prayer -- Verse-Case Scenario by Tony Peyser

Hatretriots - Editorial Cartoon by Tony Peyser

For Washington Correspondents, WH Reporting is Just Business, Not the Truth

BuzzFlash's unabashedly scathing opinions need no introduction to those who are regular readers of this 'pull no punches' site. These daily comments are blunt in their honesty. Today's commentary is about the WH correspondents' and media's willing promotion of "Brand Bush", followed by a few top headlines, reprinted here with the kind permission of BuzzFlash.

In a BuzzFlash Editorial during the Alito hearings, we noted

"The Democrats are looking to appeal to the brain; the Republicans to the manipulation of emotions that race through the heart -- and are subject to the strategic use of television 'stories' and photo ops.

The parties are targeting two different body organs.

And in a world dominated by trivial news that appeals to the emotions -- and sensational celebrity gaffes, romantic entanglements and crimes -- the appeal to the brain has but the shortest of shelf lives.

It's barely but a blip on the radar screen of the evening news."

The editorial was entitled, "Governing by 'Soap Opera': The GOP Fine Art of Demagoguery vs. the Dazed and Confused Democratic Leadership Appeal to Reason."

We promised a second part, which we are posting today, because for the Republicans the medium is the message.

We live in a culture of brands. We buy products that are supposed to make us feel better, brighter, sexier, happier, not because they do; but because advertising tells us they will.

Coca-Cola was, perhaps, the most well known harbinger of the "brand" culture that has become America. It was a carbonated beverage that was supposed to refresh us, make us more popular, make us more hip.

Now, television news has merged with advertising and entertainment to become one big grinder for selling "brands" and the fantasy associations attributed to them.

Bush, given this context, has been a "brand" created by Karl Rove and sold by big media to the American public. No matter what Bush does, how he fails, the media picks him up in the morning and re-bestows his "brand" virtues of alleged honesty, compassion and leadership.

It's like squeezing dog food into a box of Wheaties every morning, but the media does it. Because the news media is now just part of one big branding machine.

The Republicans get this. The Democrats don't.

What Rove and FOX GOP News did was create the characteristics of the "Bush Brand" and write the mythology of the brand background. The rest of the media and the GOP echo chamber then became billboards and television and radio advertisements for "Brand Bush." Their job wasn't to report the news; their job was to sell the brand.

That explains why the Washington "correspondents" yukked it up when Bush did a sophomoric skit, but gave Stephen Colbert's lacerating lesson in truth the cold shoulder. Correspondents, as we have noted, were there with their producers who were there with the big media owners.

The big media owners don't want to upset Bush. The producers don't want to upset the owners. And the so-called "correspondents" don't want to upset the producers.

And what the big media owners want from "Brand Bush" is regulations and legislation that increase their corporate profits. News is now about keeping the owners of news companies highly profitable, not about the truth.

In the 2004 election, the head of Viacom (owner of CBS) said that he personally might be for Kerry but he would vote for Bush because Bush was good for Viacom's bottom line. News divisions on television now are just part of larger entertainment and business conglomerates that are depdendent on Republican administrations to do them big corporate favors, in a variety of ways.

This is just a fact. It's not speculation.

And so it is the easiest thing in the world for an ABC news program to move from plugging a Disney movie to promoting "Brand Bush." It's all sales, including not reporting news that might tarnish the "brand" of advertisers or the "brand" of the corporate parent.

Yes, the Democrats keeping plugging away trying to peddle public policy.

The Republicans are out selling "Brand Bush" through every television set in the nation -- and an army of radio stations -- along with most of the print media.

The Republicans have made most elections a referendum on character or "brands," even if it's horse meat you get when you open the box.

And the mainstream news media knows how to peddle horse meat.

They just call it "Brand Bush."

Washington Transcriptionists (Correspondents) Prove at Annual Dinner that Big Media Isn't About News Anymore; It's About Business. And Business Requires You Laugh at the King's Sophomoric Skits and Shun the Truth. Hello to the BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrites of the Week.

"Bullshit Artist: The 9/11 Leadership Myth" (Paperback), by Ron Schalow. Subtitled "America was under attack for 102 minutes and for 102 minutes the president did nothing: How George W. Bush turned his pathetic performance on 9/11 into political gold," this book certainly caught our attention.

Angry conservatives are driving the approval ratings of Bush and the GOP-led Congress to dismal new lows, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that underscores why Republicans fear an Election Day massacre. The AP-Ipsos poll also suggests that Democratic voters are far more motivated than Republicans.

Global warming fastest for 20,000 years - and it is mankind's fault

The Full List of the GOP Hypocrites of the Week. It's a Long One, And We Can Only Pick One a Week.

"Harvest of Empire" - Another book for Cinco de Mayo

Harvest of Empire
A History of Latinos in America
by Juan Gonzalez

Harvest of Empire - A History of Latinos in America, by Juan Gonzalez

"A profound book with an equally profound message about the origins of Latino migration, domination and colonization, and historical lessons not found in many American textbooks." —San Antonio Express-News

"Gonzalez's ever-enjoyable prose grabs the reader and fills in the gaps left by a traditional American history education." —In These Times

Spanning five hundred years—from the first New World colonies to the nineteenth-century westward expansion, from the days of gunboat diplomacy to the turn of the millennium—Harvest of Empire features family portraits of real-life immigrant Latino pioneers, as well as sketches of the political events and social conditions that compelled them to leave their homeland, and how they have transformed the nation's cultural landscape.

A sweeping narrative of the triumphs and tragedies of the Latino experience in the United States.

2001, paperback, index, bibliography, 235pp

Available at:

*Free Shipping on all orders of at least $50 to be delivered by standard shipping. Expedited delivery available at cost.

Oh yes, we're open 24 hours. So, what are you waiting for? Join the on-line activist community. - Books to change the world: That's the point!

Books on Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo
and the fight for independence

Today is Cinco de Mayo. And, for all of you who believe this day celebrates Mexican independence we suggest you read from a most comprehensive book about Mexico's proud history fighting colonialism and imperialism, including the battle referred to as Cinco de Mayo. As John Ross put it, "this books should really be named Mexico's fight against annexation."

The Annexation of Mexico:
>From the Aztecs to the I.M.F.

By John Ross

The Annexation of Mexico: From the Aztecs to the I.M.F., by John Ross

“With different flags they came to conquer us…they came and they went and we kept on being Mexicans because the only flag we want to walk around under has an eagle devouring a snake on it…”
Subcomandante Marcos, March 1995

John Ross is "the new John Reed covering a new Mexican revolution."
Blanche Petrich of La Jornada

"Vivid and powerful."
Howard Zinn

From a 1995 winner of the American Book Award (Rebellion From the Roots: Indian Uprising in Chiapas) comes a rip-roaring review of Mexico's 500-year resistance to annexation.

The Annexation of Mexico also picks its way through contemporary mine fields: the Reagan administration's little-known offer to buy Baja California for $105 billion; the peso collapse and Clinton's bail-out of U.S. investors; and the pungent corruption in Mexico's anti-drug hierarchy.

Speaking of Cinco de Mayo and colonial French military defeats...

A Slave Revolution
Haiti: A Slave Revolution

The Haitian Revolution is a singular event in history. Never before or since has an enslaved people risen up, broken their chains, and established a new state. Haiti was a beacon of hope and inspiration to the enslaved Africans of the United States.

Haiti's history has been turbulent, but not for the reasons given by mainstream historians. Racism underlies their charges that the first black republic lacks "democratic traditions" and is prone to violence.

Drawing from a wide range of authors, experts, and historical texts, this book challenges these stereotypes and counters 200 years of cultural myths. It exposes disinformation about Haiti from the 18th century until today. Above all, it reveals the intertwined relationship between the United States and Haiti, and the untold stories of the Haitian people's resistance to U.S. aggression and occupations.

Authors include: Mumia Abu-Jamal, Ramsey Clark, Pat Chin, Edwidge Danticat, Frederick Douglas, Greg Dunkel, Ben Dupuy, Sara Flounders, Stan Goff, Kim Ives, Fleurimond Kerns, Paul Laraque, Maud LeBlanc, Sam Marcy, Franz Mendes & Steve Gillis, Felix Morriseau-Leroy and Johnnie Stevens.

Available at:

AIUSA: Call for the Protection of Guatemalan Human Rights Defender Claudia Rivas

Ensure the Safety of Guatemalan Human Rights Defender Claudia Rivas and her Children
On March 20, 2006, an attempt was made on the life of Claudia Jeanette Rivas Rosil, a teacher and the Departmental Secretary of the Guatemalan Union of Educational Workers, in Jutiapa department, Guatemala, near the border with El Salvador. Amnesty International is deeply concerned for the safety of Claudia Jeanette Rivas Rosil and her family, including her seven children. Urge the Guatemalan authorities to protect Claudia Rivas and her children from death threats and intimidation.
» Take action


AIUSA Activists Demand an End to Femicide in Guatemala
On April 21, hundreds of AIUSA activists from all over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions participated in the 11th annual Get on the Bus (GOTB) action, organized by Group 133, for a day of human rights action and education in New York City. This year, activists mobilized in front of the Guatemalan Consulate to call attention to the brutal murders of more than 1,900 women since 2001 and demand that the Guatemalan Government bring an end to the impunity and ensure justice for victims of gender-based violence.
» Learn more

Amnesty International Canada: Human Rights

UN Human Rights Council:
Making human rights a reality for all

On May 9th the U.N. General Assembly will elect the members of the new UN Human Rights Council.

Canada, which is standing for election, has a critical role to play in ensuring that the Council's mandate of protecting all human rights for everyone is not a hollow promise.

Send an email to Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Peter MacKay, and urge him to ensure Canada demonstrates clear leadership in the respect and fulfillment of human rights norms and standards.

Take action before May 9th!

Amnesty International has launched a new web site providing easy-to-access, concise information about the current human rights situation and records of individual states who are candidates for the Human Rights Council.

View the site

"George W.'s Palace:" A Giant Embassy in Iraq

The question puzzles and enrages a city: How is it that the Americans cannot keep the electricity running in Baghdad for more than a couple of hours a day, yet still manage to build themselves the biggest embassy on Earth?

Read this article from The Times OnLine UK here.

NYT: Veto? Who Needs a Veto?

It looks like the intrepid Boston Globe reporter, Charlie Savage, has got the ball rolling with his recent report that Bush "had issued more than 750 'presidential signing statements' declaring he wouldn't do what the laws required". Now the paper of record (NYT) is also finally speaking out in this editorial.

"President Bush doesn't bother with vetoes; he simply declares his intention not to enforce anything he dislikes," write the editors of the New York Times. "Charlie Savage at The Globe reported recently that Mr. Bush had issued more than 750 'presidential signing statements' declaring he wouldn't do what the laws required. Perhaps the most infamous was the one in which he stated that he did not really feel bound by the Congressional ban on the torture of prisoners."

Read full editorial, "The New York Times: Veto? Who Needs a Veto?" here.

Audio Slide Show: 'Si Se Puede / VIDEO: NYC Mayday Immigration Protest & Boycott

Si Se Puede
An Audio Slide Show by Allie Deger

On May 1st, TruthOut's Allie Deger traveled to Los Angeles, California, to cover a demonstration by one million people who were protesting HR 4437 and calling for rights for immigrants.
Click here.

VIDEO | New York City: Mayday Immigration Protest and Boycott
A Film by Sari Gelzer

On May 1st, millions of immigrants across America marched and participated in a day-long boycott in support of immigration reform. TruthOut's Sari Gelzer reported on the events in New York City, where thousands of people converged in Union Square to begin their march.

Click here to watch this TruthOut video.

CIA Director Porter Goss Resigns

CIA Director Porter Goss has resigned, President Bush said Friday.

Read more here.

Weird News: Builders savour drink with a bit of body to it

This is the weirdest bit of news I've heard in a long time:
HUNGARIAN builders who drank their way to the bottom of a huge barrel of rum while renovating a house got a nasty surprise - when a pickled corpse tumbled out of the empty cask.

The rum in the 300-litre barrel had a "special taste" so the builders even decanted a few bottles of the liquor to take home with them.

Gives a whole new meaning to booze 'with a body'!

Read full article here.

Support for Six Nations Reclamation Site


There is another redneck rally planned for 7pm, Friday May 5 in Caledonia. In addition, there are rumours that the KKK is involved. If this is the case, there is a great chance of the rally deteriorating into an attack on the barricade.

The people at the Six Nations land reclamation site welcome all visitors at all times.
On Friday night they will be looking for people who can provide some support in the event there are aggressive moves.

Be advised if you decide to go up on Friday night that the rule is no one goes in our out of the encampment after 11pm. You will also be expected to follow the direction of the leadership there.

This reclamation is still a peaceful action.

For more information please call up to the site at a reasonable hour.

Dick Hill, 519-865-7722
Hazel Hill - .
519-865-7723 or 519-445-4351 Janie
Jamieson 905-517-7006
Jacqueline House (905) 765-9316

This alert has been circulated by the Coalition in Support of Indigenous

For rides to Six Nations, check the ride board at

This is a list of things needed at the blockade. They need things for the kitchen supplies and clothes and stuff, but also medical supplies, so if anyone has access to that kind of stuff, that would be great. It's very long, with lots of specifics, so please read the whole thing in case you
have something listed.


Prepared food
Clear garbage bags
Granola bars
Meat (lots of it - any kind)
Burger/hotdog buns
Soft drinks (including diet)
Sports drinks
Power bars
Drink crystals
Lighter fluid
Sandwich bread
Hot chocolate
Large Styrofoam cups
Styrofoam bowls
Plastic cutlery
White sugar
Flats of canned food
Propane (can get empty tanks filled in town)
Dish soap
Bottled water
Cheese cloth
Small Styrofoam coolers

Spinal board
Spinal collar
Burn spray
BT cuffs
Tampons (small)
Lip balm with SPF
Barrier mask
Glow sticks
Bug bite ointment
Hand sanitizer
Wet wipes - "Ultra Wipes"
Rolls of gauze
Latex gloves
Vinegar packets
Duffel bags
Rubbermaid bins
Waterproof bandaids
Sunscreen (water or alcohol based)
Hydrocortisone crème


*** Batteries (AA and AAA)
Baseball caps
Shorts (men's)
Long underwear
New underwear
Athletic socks
Warm men's clothing (plus sizes)
Sleeping bags
Laundry soap
Fire extinguisher
Duct tape
Phone cards
Coat hangers
Rain gear
Dust masks
Dry-erase boards
Pens (of various kinds)
Warm work gloves
Men's shoes
Rubber boots
Bungee cords

Iraq Dispatches: "Reason for Their Death Is Known"

By Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Wednesday 03 May 2006

Death in Iraq. It is relentless and incessant.

Know what it is like when scores of your fellow citizens are being killed every single day while the world proceeds unheedingly on? As a journalist I've had but a taste of that poison during my eight months in Iraq. Try it out: be an Iraqi for a day, into your fourth year of being occupied, humiliated, tortured and killed, doing all you can just to survive.

All communication with my Iraqi friends is punctuated by and smattered with their use of the words "praying," "God," and "Insha'allah" (God willing). Perhaps there is need to invoke something else altogether?

And all the dead air is alive. With the smell of America's God.
- Harold Pinter, "War With Iraq"

On one of the days when multiple car bombs drained the blood and souls of scores in Baghdad, my closest friend wrote from there: "Dahr, This is a very sad letter I'm writing you as a friend. My tears are coming down due to the humiliation, suffering, frustration, thwarting defeat and discomfiture we the Iraqi are living in. Please let people know some of the news of what is happening to my country, my people and my religion."

Death lurks everywhere in Iraq today. Keeping up with the numbers of dead is impossible. A doctor working at one of the larger hospitals in Baghdad recently called it a "camp" because the courtyard of the hospital is constantly filled with members of the Shia Badr militia, who continue to carry out their death squad activities of killing Sunnis and rival Shia. "The Badr are all over the hospital, looking for people," said the doctor. "The injured brought here sometimes die before even reaching the ward, because the Badr are being obstacles for us. One of the men running our morgue was killed by the Badr. My friends are warning me to be careful, to keep my mouth shut."

The numbers are being hidden … and the Badr, operating out of the Ministry of Interior, which is funded by the US, are making sure the numbers remain shrouded.

Yet on Tuesday of this week, a spokesman at that same hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity of course, announced that in the last 48 hours alone Yarmouk Hospital had received 65 bodies, most of them slaughtered by death squads in execution-style murders. That day they had received 40 bodies, and Monday, 25.

Iraqis are at far greater risk when they speak out about the true number of the dead than western journalists. Those who speak out jeopardize their lives, like Faik Bakir, the director of the Baghdad morgue. Bakir fled Iraq fearing for his life in early March, after reporting that over 7,000 people had been killed by death squads in recent months. In an article in the Guardian on March 2nd, it was made clear by John Pace, a UN official who worked in Iraq until February, that "The vast majority of bodies showed signs of summary execution - many with their hands tied behind their back. Some showed evidence of torture, with arms and leg joints broken by electric drills." He said that the killings had been ongoing long before the rampant bloodshed that followed the bombing of the Shia shrine in Samarra. The article added, "Mr. Pace, whose contract in Iraq ended last month, said many killings were carried out by Shia militias linked to the interior ministry run by Bayan Jabr, a leading figure in the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri)."

This past Saturday I received information from the main morgue in Baghdad from a doctor there, name withheld for security reasons. "Yesterday we received 36 bodies from the police pickups. All of them are unknown, without IDs, and we don't have refrigerators to put them in since all of ours are completely full already. So we had to keep them on the ground. 12 of them were handcuffed, most of them received between 2 and 10 bullets, some many more than 10. We are not going to put them into biopsy. Reason for their death is known. Most of them are between 20 to 30 years … This is the number that was brought directly to us in one day, plus there are the dead who are sent to the hospitals. They will be put in the hospitals' morgues. We don't receive bodies from hospitals nowadays, because we don't have a place to keep them. I can't tell the exact number of killed people now, but it depends on the situation. But what I can assure you of is that since the shrine explosion, deaths have almost doubled. Daily, we receive between 70 to 80 bodies … you can see within these 40 minutes that I've talked with you, we received 9 bodies. Nearly every morning the count will be doubled twice this number, for the police find them at night. Most
are either found in the streets or killed without sending them to hospitals. Four days ago we received 24 bodies in just 2 hours."

At this same morgue back in June 2004, I interviewed the aforementioned director, Dr. Faiq Bakir, who had to flee for his life. He said that their maximum holding capacity with the freezers was 90 bodies, and since January 2004 an average of well over 600 bodies each month had been brought there. The cause of death for at least half of these were gunshots or explosions. He also pointed out that those numbers did not include the heavy fighting areas of Fallujah and Najaf.

In addition, he told me, "We deal only with suspicious deaths, not deaths from natural causes. And so many bodies are buried that never go to a morgue anywhere."

According to Dr. Bakir, the rate of bodies brought to the Baghdad Morgue even back then was 3-4 times greater than it ever was during the regime of Saddam Hussein. "I am sure that not all of the bodies that should come here do," he continued before very diplomatically adding, "Because our legal system has some problems right now."

Before the invasion, there was a coordinated system between Baghdad and the other governorates, which allowed his morgue to track deaths throughout the country, but this too had been smashed along with the rest of the infrastructure of his country.

More recently, a doctor at another hospital shared information which puts this in clearer perspective.

This past Sunday, a doctor from al-Numan hospital in the al-Adhamiya district of Baghdad reported to my source in Baghdad: "Every major hospital has either one or two refrigerators, depending on the population of the area. As for Adhamiya we have one refrigerator that holds a maximum of 10 bodies. Meanwhile there are two refrigerators in the Shula hospital. We have not less than 18 major hospitals inside Baghdad, in addition to the main morgue, which has 6 refrigerators that contain 20 bodies each. In the emergencies we use refrigeration trucks to put bodies inside - this is very familiar to the main morgue. I went there a week ago. I have seen three refrigeration trucks inside the yard. They were filled with bodies. They keep the bodies in the main morgue for not more than 15 days, and if no one asks for them, they send the bodies to the cemetery administration to deal with them. This administration hands the bodies to some individuals who will bury them, mostly in Najaf or in the cemeteries around Baghdad."

Reuters recently ran a story titled, "In Baghdad, some killings get noticed, some don't." The story read, "When gunmen killed a sister of an Iraqi vice president on Thursday, it grabbed world headlines. A few streets away, however, another slaying, typical of hundreds in Baghdad in recent weeks, went all but unnoticed. Indeed it might never have been recorded had 73-year-old Khatab al-Ani not been shot outside the home of a journalist." The only part of this I would amend is "in recent weeks," because I know for a fact that random unreported killings have been the norm in the capital city of Iraq for over two years now.

Another Iraqi source of mine works for an Iraqi relief NGO in Fallujah. He told me that from the April and November 2004 US assaults on Fallujah there were a minimum of 4,500 dead or missing (most of them dead), and "killings in Fallujah and Ramadi are a daily reality for us." According to this source, "Doctors in Fallujah estimate that an average of 3.5 people are being killed in Fallujah every day during 2006, while doctors we know in Baghdad estimate that the number there is between 150 and 200 per day."

He went on to say, "The Lancet reported over 100,000 killed over a year ago. This was even before many of the crimes committed by US troops, the Iraqi so-called Army and the Government militias, who are all first class killers, came to light. This brings the number to over 200,000 at the least. On the other hand, those people (Bush and those claiming less than 100,000 dead) not reporting the correct number of
civilian casualties - that is a major crime in itself. It looks like they don't give a damn how many Iraqi people get killed."

Even the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) humanitarian news agency reported on April 26 that "More than 90 women become widows each day due to continuing violence countrywide, according to government officials and non-governmental organizations devoted to women's issues."

Another extremely telling point in the IRIN report is that "Although few reliable statistics are available on the total number of widows in Iraq, the Ministry of Women's Affairs says that there are at least 300,000 in Baghdad alone, with another eight million throughout the country." The report said that at least 15 police officers' wives are widowed every day, and that local NGOs in Iraq said the situation had become much worse since the 2003 US-led invasion of the country, which has rought
horrific violence on a level not seen before.

"Saddam Hussein was responsible for killing thousands of men during his 25 years of brutal rule," said Ibtissam Kamal in the IRIN report. Kamal, a member of a local organization that works on the issue but prefers anonymity of the organization for security reasons, added, "But more people have died during the past three years, most of them men …"

The vast majority of deaths in Iraq are not being counted. Anyone who has spent any time there knows this. It was and remains common knowledge amongst my colleagues who worked on the streets, rather than those "embedding" or conducting "hotel journalism."

Several of my colleagues who have reported from Iraq feel the number of Iraqis killed during the occupation far exceeds 100,000.

"If one counts excess mortality from collapsed healthcare, polluted water, poverty and the like - at least 100,000 Iraqis have died since the US invaded Iraq," Christian Parenti, author of the book The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq wrote me this week. Parenti, who has reported for over 5 months from Iraq and is a regularly contributor to The Nation magazine, added, "How many people have been killed by US troops? How many in sectarian violence? It's impossible to say, but the point is this: Iraq has been destroyed by the US invasion and the process of its disintegration will go on for years. It is a horror no matter what the numbers are."

David Enders, an American freelance journalist who has spent 18 months reporting from Iraq and author of the book Baghdad Bulletin, told me yesterday, "I visited the Baghdad morgue, and they were receiving between 30-40 bodies every day. That didn't include car bombs and people who'd died for obvious reasons. That was more than a year ago, and that was just for Baghdad. I think it's probably safe to say that well over 100,000 Iraqis have died during the occupation."

Veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk writes for the Independent in the UK and has reported from the region for over 30 years. He had this to say in a piece written on March 20th titled, "The Iraq War: Three Years On - The march of folly that has led to a bloodbath":

"The Iraqis? Well, they are lesser beings whose casualties cannot be revealed to us by the Iraqi ministry of health, on orders from the Americans and British; creatures whose suffering, far greater than our own, must be submerged in the democracy and freedom in which we are drowning them; whose casualties "more or less" [mocking the infamous quote from George W. Bush] are probably nearer to 150,000. After all, if
1,000 Iraqis could die by violence last July - in Baghdad alone; and if they are being killed at 60 or 70 a day, then we have a near genocidal bloodbath on our hands. Iraqis, however, are now our Untermenschen for whom, frankly, we do not greatly care."

By far and away the survey that comes closest to the true number of dead in Iraq to date was the one conducted for the Lancet. Yet even Les Roberts, the lead author of that report and one of the world's top epidemiologists with the Center for International Emergency Disaster and Refugee Studies at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said this February that there might be as many as 300,000 Iraqi civilian deaths generated by the US invasion and occupation. So as not to skew the results, it is important to note that the survey did not include areas where major combat had occurred such as Fallujah, Najaf, and Sadr City - home to roughly three million Iraqis.

Any news agency, government, or other organization reporting anything less are actively attempting to hide the level of slaughter and mayhem and thus aiding and abetting the ongoing war crimes in Iraq.

My aforementioned friend in Fallujah is both frustrated and angry that most news agencies choose not to report the number of dead in Iraq more accurately. "I know there are some organizations who claim that they have an accurate count, which is less than 40,000 dead Iraqis," he wrote me recently. He went on to reference Bush Junior, "And as if that number itself isn't shameful enough for the US and the whole world to see. Anyone claiming that low number who calls himself a humanitarian is a shameful guy."

we leave civilian dead
as litter in the streets
ignored by us their numbers
unmarked as are their names

- Labi Siffre

Anyone who's been in a war zone knows what it feels like to lie in bed at night listening to the cracking of gunfire, or the sound of thudding bombs. Knowing that each report means death or maiming. It is true that the dead do not talk, but each shot fired or bomb detonated means someone is dead, and the killers know and must live with that knowledge forever - that they have killed a human being.

And we cannot escape that knowledge either.

Not hearing the sounds of death, but knowing that somewhere this instant in Iraq is a family that will have to suffer a loss in perpetuity.

Your silence will not protect you …
- Audre Lorde

(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media . Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

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Note: Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches are reprinted on my site thanks to the kind permission of the journalist.

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