Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Margaret Hassan Tributes and more

1) Margaret Hassan I:,2763,1352957,00.html

Relief worker who dedicated her life to helping the
Iraqi people
Jason Burke
Wednesday November 17 2004
The Guardian

Margaret Hassan, who has been reported killed at the
age of 59, was Care International's director in Iraq.
She had been held hostage after being abducted at
gunpoint in Baghdad on her way to work four weeks

2) Margaret Hassan II:,2763,1353063,00.html

Activist whose work was her passion
Aid worker spoke out against war on Iraqi people to
whose welfare she was committed
David Pallister
Wednesday November 17 2004
The Guardian

Margaret Hassan had devoted 30 years of her life to
the health and welfare of the Iraqi people. She was a
convert to Islam, fluent in Arabic, with an Iraqi
husband. She was a well-known, respected and accepted
figure in Baghdad and vocal critic of the US-led war
on her adopted country. But last night it appeared
that not even those credentials could save her from
death at the hands of her kidnappers...

3) Margaret Hassan III:,2763,1353013,00.html

Kidnapped aid worker blindfolded and shot

Family plead for body back as video confirms Margaret
Hassan is dead
Rory McCarthy in Baghdad
Wednesday November 17 2004
The Guardian

The family of Margaret Hassan last night accepted that
the aid worker taken hostage by Iraqi insurgents a
month ago had probably been murdered, after analysis
of a video which showed a masked gunman shooting a
blindfolded woman in the head.

4) Margaret Hassan IV:

Unassuming yet determined, she hated war and dedicated
her life to Iraqis
By Justin Huggler
17 November 2004

When Margaret Hassan was kidnapped last month her car
was waved down by two men in Iraqi police uniforms.
Gunmen surrounded the car and dragged Mrs Hassan's
driver and unarmed guard from their seats. They
started to beat the two men with their guns. Stop
beating them, Mrs Hassan told them. I will come with

She lived in Iraq through the eight years of war with
Iran. Through the bombing of Baghdad in the1991Gulf
War. Through the 13 years of sanctions that wrecked
the country's economy and brought it to its knees.
Through the US-led invasion last year and the chaos
and lawlessness that followed...

5) This Arabic/English website has a wonderful
collection of historical photos of Iraq (which will
make teaching my class next semester much easier), and
a wide-open, no-holds-barred, explitives included chat
room on Iraq under US/UK occupation:

6) "Incidents of Genocide" I:

Fears mount for families inside Fallujah
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
17 November 2004

Humanitarian officials are increasingly concerned
about civilians still trapped inside Fallujah as well
as thousands of refugees who fled their homes in
advance of the US decision to take the city by force.

They said that residents who were too old, sick or
poor to leave the city had been left without access to
food, water, electricity or medical treatment and that
the situation was particularly precarious for

In a statement, Louise Arbour, the UN high
commissioner for human rights, said: "There have been
a number of reports during the confrontation alleging
violations of the rules of war designed to protect
civilians and combatants. Those responsible for
breaches - including deliberate targeting of
civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate
attacks, the killing of injured persons and the use of
human shields - must be brought to justice."

She added: "[I am] particularly worried over poor
access by civilians still in the city to the delivery
of humanitarian aid and about the lack of information
regarding the number of civilian casualties."

The number of civilians killed during the eight-day
battle for the city remains unclear. One report
yesterday quoted an unnamed Red Cross official in
Baghdad as saying up to 800 civilians were feared

In Geneva Anatonella Notari, the chief spokeswoman for
the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),
said that the agency had been unable to make an
independent examination of most of the city. Officials
from its sister organisation, the Red Crescent, had
spent three days in areas controlled by US and Iraqi
troops, but had been prevented from crossing the
Euphrates river into the centre of Fallujah. The Red
Crescent aid convoy returned to Baghdad on Monday
after being refused access by the US military, who
cited security concerns.

"It is very difficult [to make accurate estimates]
because the information we're getting is only
partial," she said.

Ms Notari said there was a problem with the thousands
of civilians living in tent cities around Fallujah.
She said that in recent days the ICRC had helped an
estimated 40,000 people at three locations close to
Fallujah. She said it was known that at least 5,000
people had left for Baghdad before the battle for the
city commenced.

A report from the Inter Press Service quoted an
unnamed official with the Red Cross who estimated that
while 800 civilians had been killed, up to 50,000
civilians had remained in the city. Most estimates
have put the figure much lower than this but there is
no way of accurately telling how many may remain.

"Several Red Cross workers have returned from Fallujah
as the Americans won't let them into the city," said
the official. "They said the people they are tending
to in the refugee camps outside the city are telling
horrible stories of suffering and death inside

Reporters inside the city have described streets
strewn with charred bodies. In line with Muslim burial
rites, Iraqis yesterday continued collecting bodies
for burial, finding 14 in total.

"We're Iraqis and they're Iraqis and we want to get
them," Mohammed Ali, a 32-year-old farmer helping to
remove bodies, told an journalist in the shattered
city. "It's in our religion. The rules say that
relatives or families or Arabs should help them."

The US military has said that 38 Americans, six Iraqi
soldiers and an estimated 1,200 insurgents were killed
in the offensive.

"This exemplifies the horrors of war," said US Marine
Capt PJ Batty of the body pick-up. "We don't wish this
upon anyone, but everyone needs to understand there
are consequences for not following the Iraqi

7) "Incidents of Genocide" II:,2763,1352924,00.html

What drives the fighters in flip-flops

Falluja is not unique. Collective punishment is
escalating in Iraq
Haifa Zangana
Wednesday November 17 2004
The Guardian

In a statement that directly echoed George Bush, Qasim
Daoud, Iraq's interim minister of state for national
security, told a news conference at the weekend:
"Mission accomplished ... Falluja has been liberated".
He proudly recited the list of the dead - 1,400
terrorists, foreigners and Saddamists. And what about
civilians, the women and children trapped in the
fighting zone. Any casualties? He avoided the

At the same time, thousands of Iraqis demonstrated in
Baghdad, Basra and Heet in support of the people of
Falluja. Many were arrested, some were beaten. The
US-appointed Allawi regime responded by imposing new
curfews. The US military is still struggling to
contain a spreading wave of resistance, in Najaf and
now Mosul.

Around Falluja, camps have been erected to receive
displaced women and children. Men aged 15-50 were not
allowed to leave the city, so 150,000 wait in anguish
for news of fathers, husbands and sons.

Will they survive the US military's wrath? Many will
not. The execution-style killing of the wounded Iraqi
inside a mosque by a US marine, captured by NBC
television, was one of many, according to an
eyewitness interviewed by al-Jazeera television

Yet all members of Allawi's regime have greeted the
suffering of Iraqi civilians with complete silence.
The dignified voice of Firdus al-Abadi, spokeswoman
for the Iraqi Red Crescent in Baghdad, has haunted us
for days. Appealing for relief supplies, she said
simply: "Conditions in Falluja are catastrophic." The
Red Crescent suggested yesterday that as many as 800
civilians had died during the bombardment.

The plight of the people of Falluja is not unique.
Since the nominal handover of sovereignty on June 30,
we have witnessed an escalation of Israeli-style
collective punishment of Iraqi cities. Civilian
carnage, coupled with enormous damage to homes and
infrastructure, has became our daily reality.

In Tall Afar, in the north, US troops cut off water
for three days last month and blocked food supplies to
150,000 refugees. Then in Samarra, residents cowered
in their homes as tanks and warplanes pounded the
city. Bodies were strewn in the streets but could not
be collected for fear of American snipers. Of the 130
Iraqis killed, most were civilians. Hospital access
was denied to the injured. And Qasim Daoud hailed the
massacre as a "very clean" operation.

Every day of occupation brings fresh atrocities. But
the architects of that occupation claim that it is
Iraqis themselves who are beyond the reach of
democracy. They are "militants" and "insurgents", bent
on terror ising their own people and destroying hopes
of reconstruction. Why can't they get involved in the
peaceful democratic political process?

But they did, and they continue to do so. Over the
last 19 months there have been protests, appeals,
initiatives to set up a reasonable programme for
elections, the opening of human rights centres,
lecturing at universities, even poetry writing. This
torrent of activism is still being practised by a
broad variety of political parties, groups and
individuals who oppose the foreign occupation. And
they have been ignored. Newspapers were closed.
Editors were arrested. Demonstrators were shot at,
arrested, abused and tortured.

On the fourth day of the ground attack on Falluja,
last Friday, joint Shia-Sunni prayers were held in the
four mosques in Baghdad, and were massively well
attended. Inter-communal prayers were the hallmark of
the 1920 revolution, revived early this year by the
Iraqi National Foundation Congress, a loose umbrella
organisation of academics, cross-sectarian clerics and
veteran political leaders. Early on, Allawi set the
tone for building democracy in the "sovereign" Iraq by
insisting: "We will stand up to destroy the
terrorists." This language has become the daily
currency of the interim ministers, who like children
in a school choir echo their instructor, the US
military spokesman.

But time after time, it has been shown to be false.
Most fighters in Iraq are Iraqis who are outraged to
see their country's resources robbed while they live
in slums, drink water mixed with sewage and have no
say in the political process. Nineteen months after
"liberation" they can see how little the liberators
have done to ease their suffering. No wonder an
increasing number of Iraqis are either joining or
supporting the resistance, realising that, as in the
past, they must fight on their own.

The overwhelming popular support for the people of
Falluja is a salute to young fighters wearing
flip-flops, who carry ancient weapons, and yet
continue to resist.

Western governments, led by the US and UK, supported
Saddam's regime against the will of the Iraqi people
for decades. They are committing a similar crime now.

· Haifa Zangana is an Iraqi-born novelist and former
prisoner of the
Saddam regime

8) "Incidents of Genocide" III:

Chris Bellamy: The Americans are sowing dragons' teeth
in Iraq

For every Iraqi killed, there are sisters, brothers,
wives, parents and children now committed to a blood

17 November 2004

A frightened, tired and shell-shocked young US Marine,
concerned that a wounded Iraqi left behind in a mosque
might be lying on a compression mine, clutching a hand
grenade or concealing a pistol, makes a split-second
decision and allegedly shoots him in the head. The
Marines have lost many people to insurgents feigning
death or surrender in this way.

The legal basis for the Fallujah operation, and thus
the case against the soldier involved, is far from
clear. What is happening in Iraq is unlikely to be
international armed conflict (although that is how the
war started 20 months ago). But it could be classed as
internal armed conflict, and therefore still subject
to the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
Those conventions say that a combatant who has
surrendered or is rendered hors de combat by sickness,
wounds or any other cause must be treated humanely and
is protected, in particular, against "murder of all
kinds". If that is the case, whatever the mitigating
circumstances, the Marine could be tried for a war

Alternatively, defeating the "insurgency" is now a
matter for internal Iraqi law. The US forces are a
form of military aid to the civil power - just like
the British Army in Northern Ireland. The latter were
always subject to civilian law. Therefore, the
Marine's action ought to be dealt with under the Iraqi
criminal code. In that case, most lawyers would agree
there is a prima facie case of murder. If the
investigation finds the soldier thought the dead man
was about to detonate a grenade, that would be
mitigation - but not defence.

The coalition cannot have it both ways. Either this is
an armed conflict, in which case the 1949 Geneva
Conventions apply, or else they are giving aid to the
provisional Iraqi government, in which case they must
be subject to its laws. It seems they want neither.

But this incident has also focused attention on wider
questions about the strategy adopted in Iraq, and
globally. The "pre-emptive" tactic adopted by the
young Marine mirrors the strategy of America itself,
close to the heart of Condoleezza Rice: a strategy of
pre-emption - to strike first to pre-empt an imminent
threat. That idea has a respectable pedigree in
international law. But it has become confused by the
more forward strategy of prevention - to prevent a
threat from materialising (something much more dodgy
in international law). Although the present conflict,
which began with the invasion of Iraq, is often called
"pre-emptive", preventive seems more accurate.

In terms of strategy, the current military buzz-word
is "effects-based operations": operations to achieve a
desired end by co-ordinated attacks not only on the
target's people and weapons, but on his will to fight.
What political effect has the campaign to quell the
"insurgency" - perhaps more accurately described as
resistance - had? In Fallujah, in the past few days,
for the loss of 38 troops, the US claims to have
killed 1,200 "insurgents". Even though a quarter of a
million civilians may have fled the city, it is
unlikely that all the dead are insurgents, and foreign
fighters appear to be relatively few in number.
Comparisons with Vietnam War "body counts" are

But this approach could be counter-productive. For
every Iraqi killed, either in Fallujah or overall,
there are five, maybe 10, maybe 20 sisters, brothers,
husbands, wives, parents, children. For every dead
Iraqi there may be 20 people who are now committed to
a blood feud. We have to ask whether this is achieving
the aim, which is to conduct free and fair elections
in January and, in the longer term, to establish a
stable and secure democracy.

For all the hype about "effects-based operations" the
US approach appears to be thoroughly attritional. The
US command appears to believe that the supply of
suicidal Baathists, jihadists and foreign Islamist
fighters, and Iraqi nationalists who just resent
foreign occupation, will eventually be ground down to
zero. By effectively eliminating the insurgents,
according to one retired US general, the "fellow
travellers" can be made to see the handwriting on the
wall. It seems they have not seen it yet. With
Fallujah largely subdued, US forces, with limited
Iraqi government help, have moved to Mosul and Baquba.

Meanwhile the British forces, mainly deployed in the
south of the country, have striven to avoid sowing
seeds of longer-term discord. They have been defending
themselves quite effectively, but ceasing fire the
moment the attackers withdraw, rather than exploiting
opportunities to inflict more casualties. Inevitably,
this "softer" approach, with the ultimate objective in
mind, invites criticism, and is alien to the US forces
for whom "force protection" is paramount. But across
the country, in Fallujah, and now in Mosul and Baquba,
the US forces may have sown dragons' teeth. In Greek
mythology, dragons' teeth, once planted, grow into
fully-armed warriors. We must avoid doing that any
more in Iraq.

The writer is professor of military science and
doctrine at Cranfield University.

9) "Incidents of Genocide" IV

Baghdad Burning
Tuesday, November 16, 2004

American Heroes...
I'm feeling sick- literally. I can't get the video
Al-Jazeera played out of my head:

The mosque strewn with bodies of Iraqis- not still
with prayer or meditation, but prostrate with death-
Some seemingly bloated… an old man with a younger one
leaning upon him… legs, feet, hands, blood everywhere…
The dusty sun filtering in through the windows… the
stillness of the horrid place. Then the stillness is
broken- in walk some marines, guns pointed at the
bodies... the mosque resonates with harsh American
voices arguing over a body- was he dead, was he alive?
I watched, tense, wondering what they would do- I
expected the usual Marines treatment- that a heavy,
booted foot would kick the man perhaps to see if he
groaned. But it didn't work that way- the crack of
gunfire suddenly explodes in the mosque as the Marine
fires at the seemingly dead man and then come the
words, "He's dead now."

"He's dead now." He said it calmly, matter-of-factly,
in a sort of sing-song voice that made my blood run
cold… and the Marines around him didn't care. They
just roamed around the mosque and began to drag around
the corpses because, apparently, this was nothing to
them. This was probably a commonplace incident.

We sat, horrified, stunned with the horror of the
scene that unfolded in front of our eyes. It's the
third day of Eid and we were finally able to gather as
a family- a cousin, his wife and their two daughters,
two aunts, and an elderly uncle. E. and my cousin had
been standing in line for two days to get fuel so we
could go visit the elderly uncle on the final day of a
very desolate Eid. The room was silent at the end of
the scene, with only the voice of the news anchor and
the sobs of my aunt. My little cousin flinched and
dropped her spoon, face frozen with shock, eyes wide
with disbelief, glued to the television screen, "Is he
dead? Did they kill him?" I swallowed hard, trying to
gulp away the lump lodged in my throat and watched as
my cousin buried his face in his hands, ashamed to
look at his daughter.

"What was I supposed to tell them?" He asked, an hour
later, after we had sent his two daughters to help
their grandmother in the kitchen. "What am I supposed
to tell them- 'Yes darling, they killed him- the
Americans killed a wounded man; they are occupying our
country, killing people and we are sitting here
eating, drinking and watching tv'?" He shook his head,
"How much more do they have to see? What is left for
them to see?"

They killed a wounded man. It's hard to believe. They
killed a man who was completely helpless- like he was
some sort of diseased animal. I had read the articles
and heard the stories of this happening before-
wounded civilians being thrown on the side of the road
or shot in cold blood- but to see it happening on
television is something else- it makes me crazy with

And what will happen now? A criminal investigation
against a single Marine who did the shooting? Just
like what happened with the Abu Ghraib atrocities? A
couple of people will be blamed and the whole thing
will be buried under the rubble of idiotic military
psychologists, defense analysts, Pentagon officials
and spokespeople and it will be forgotten. In the end,
all anyone will remember is that a single Marine shot
and killed a single Iraqi 'insurgent' and it won't
matter anymore.

It's typical American technique- every single atrocity
is lost and covered up by blaming a specific person
and getting it over with. What people don't understand
is that the whole military is infested with these
psychopaths. In this last year we've seen murderers,
torturers and xenophobes running around in tanks and
guns. I don't care what does it: I don't care if it's
the tension, the fear, the 'enemy'… it's murder. We
are occupied by murderers. We're under the same
pressure, as Iraqis, except that we weren't trained
for this situation, and yet we're all expected to be
benevolent and understanding and, above all, grateful.
I'm feeling sick, depressed and frightened. I don't
know what to say anymore… they aren't humans and they
don't deserve any compassion.

So why is the world so obsessed with beheadings? How
is this so very different? The difference is that the
people who are doing the beheadings are extremists…
the people slaughtering Iraqis- torturing in prisons
and shooting wounded prisoners- are "American Heroes".
Congratulations, you must be so proud of yourselves
today. has pictures.

Excuse me please, I'm going to go be sick for a little

10) "Incidents of Genocide IV [the other shoe will

Nov. 16, 2004 - The Toronto Star
Should Canada indict Bush?


When U.S. President George W. Bush arrives in Ottawa ­
probably later this year ­ should he be welcomed? Or
should he be charged with war crimes?

It's an interesting question. On the face of it, Bush
seems a perfect candidate for prosecution under
Canada's Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act.

This act was passed in 2000 to bring Canada's
ineffectual laws in line with the rules of the new
International Criminal Court. While never tested, it
lays out sweeping categories under which a foreign
leader like Bush could face arrest.

In particular, it holds that anyone who commits a war
crime, even outside Canada, may be prosecuted by our
courts. What is a war crime? According to the statute,
it is any conduct defined as such by "customary
international law" or by conventions that Canada has

War crimes also specifically include any breach of the
1949 Geneva Conventions, such as torture, degradation,
willfully depriving prisoners of war of their rights
"to a fair and regular trial," launching attacks "in
the knowledge that such attacks will cause incidental
loss of life or injury to civilians" and deportation
of persons from an area under occupation.

Outside of one well-publicized (and quickly squelched)
attempt in Belgium, no one has tried to formally
indict Bush. But both Oxfam International and the U.S.
group Human Rights Watch have warned that some of the
actions undertaken by the U.S. and its allies,
particularly in Iraq, may fall under the war crime

The case for the prosecution looks quite promising.
First, there is the fact of the Iraq war itself. After
1945, Allied tribunals in Nuremberg and Tokyo ­ in an
astonishing precedent ­ ruled that states no longer
had the unfettered right to invade other countries and
that leaders who started such conflicts could be tried
for waging illegal war.

Concurrently, the new United Nations outlawed all
aggressive wars except those authorized by its
Security Council.

Today, a strong case could be made that Bush violated
the Nuremberg principles by invading Iraq. Indeed,
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has already labelled
that war illegal in terms of the U.N. Charter.

Second, there is the manner in which the U.S.
conducted this war.

The mistreatment of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib
prison is a clear contravention of the Geneva Accord.
The U.S. is also deporting selected prisoners to camps
outside of Iraq (another contravention). U.S. press
reports also talk of shadowy prisons in Jordan run by
the CIA, where suspects are routinely tortured. And
the estimated civilian death toll of 100,000 may well
contravene the Geneva Accords prohibition against the
use of excessive force.

Canada's war crimes law specifically permits
prosecution not only of those who carry out such
crimes but of the military and political superiors who
allow them to happen.

What has emerged since Abu Ghraib shows that officials
at the highest levels of the Bush administration
permitted and even encouraged the use of torture.

Given that Bush, as he likes to remind everyone, is
the U.S. military's commander-in-chief, it is hard to
argue he bears no responsibility.

Then there is Guantanamo Bay. The U.S. says detainees
there do not fall under the Geneva accords. That's an
old argument.

In 1946, Japanese defendants explained their
mistreatment of prisoners of war by noting that their
country had never signed any of the Geneva
Conventions. The Japanese were convicted anyway.

Oddly enough, Canada may be one of the few places
where someone like Bush could be brought to justice.
Impeachment in the U.S. is most unlikely. And, at
Bush's insistence, the new international criminal
court has no jurisdiction over any American.

But a Canadian war crimes charge, too, would face many
hurdles. Bush was furious last year when Belgians
launched a war crimes suit in their country against
him ­ so furious that Belgium not only backed down
under U.S. threats but changed its law to prevent
further recurrences.

As well, according to a foreign affairs spokesperson,
visiting heads of state are immune from prosecution
when in Canada on official business. If Ottawa wanted
to act, it would have to wait until Bush was out of
office ­ or hope to catch him when he comes up here to

And, of course, Canada's government would have to want
to act. War crimes prosecutions are political
decisions that must be authorized by the federal

Still, Prime Minister Paul Martin has staked out his
strong opposition to war crimes. This was his focus in
a September address to the U.N. General Assembly.

There, Martin was talking specifically about war
crimes committed by militiamen in far-off Sudan. But
as my friends on the Star's editorial board noted in
one of their strong defences of concerted
international action against war crimes, the rule must
be, "One law for all."

11) Falluja Poem (work in progress), by Mary Beth



it is painful and sorrowful to tune-in


like the gesture of peace for the
sake of Life?

what sacred kiss or cursing wail?
to cool the flame.

Is Burma like Fallujah?

right now?

is this willful violence & unimagineable ignorance,
even those boy
soldiers, ...//????


and the complex maniacal archictecture

“two children and a man with a wooden leg"

sorrowful world

<<<“it was a very painful sight”>>>>>

sounds of train & bad news

Daily life in New Orleans moves on but the world even
here feels different
to me these days.

deep pause for Fallujah

12) Here we go again -- early media trial balloons for
invasions to come:

Report: Iran Has Spies, Fighters In Iraq
Iran has spies, weapons and attackers in Iraq, and may
have a US$500 ($650) bounty on the head of each US
soldier there, according to a report based on
intelligence documents published by a US news
magazine. (

The Iran Connection
In the summer of last year, Iranian intelligence
agents in Tehran began planning something quite
spectacular for September 11, the two-year anniversary
of al Qaeda's attack on the United States, according
to a classified American intelligence report. Iranian
agents disbursed $20,000 to a team of assassins, the
report said, to kill Paul Bremer, then the top U.S.
civilian administrator in Iraq. (US News & World

13) An Alternative Opinion:

Disheartening Silence From Arab-Americans
November 17, 2004; Page A17

Khalil Shikaki's long, well-reasoned article on the
post-Arafat era does not once mention Palestinian
attacks on Israeli civilians ("What's Next?" editorial
page, Nov. 12). As the director of the Palestinian
Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, he
only calls on Israel to "not make things more
difficult" by its "assassination policy and

As disheartening as it is that a moderate such as Mr.
Shikaki cannot openly speak about the real barrier to
peace, another silence is even more discouraging.
There is a large and growing Arab-American community
in this country, with Palestinian-Americans
particularly numerous in several cities. And yet there
has been no effort whatsoever by prominent
Arab-Americans to condemn Arafat's murderous
corruption and urge an acceptance of Israel's
existence. If American citizens of Arab descent do not
display the courage or, perhaps, the desire to speak
out strongly for peace and against terror, how can we
expect Arab politicians in the Middle East to do so?

Michael L. Millenson
Highland Park, Ill.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?