Sunday, July 03, 2005

Iraq Pix, Website, Cartoon, Dirty War, G-8

www.truthtalkziraq.blogspot.com
www.truthtalkz.blogspot.com


1) Iraq in pictures. Check out "The Unseen Gulf War
by Peter Turnley," especially useful pedagogically for
those who get off on invading countries:

http://www.cmp.ucr.edu/photography/iraq/LINKS_home.htm



2) Another Iraqi website:

http://www.iraqirabita.org/english/index.php



3) Nice op-ed cartoon, by Mike Luckovitch, who used to
provide content to the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

http://www.first-draft.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3603&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0





3) Good thing they got rid of Saddam. Now things are
really going to get dirty:


http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1520186,00.html

UK aid funds Iraqi torture units

Peter Beaumont in Baghdad and Martin Bright
Sunday July 3, 2005
The Observer

British and American aid intended for Iraq's
hard-pressed police service is being diverted to
paramilitary commando units accused of widespread
human rights abuses, including torture and
extra-judicial killings, The Observer can reveal.
Iraqi Police Service officers said that ammunition,
weapons and vehicles earmarked for the IPS are being
taken by shock troops at the forefront of Iraq's new
dirty counter-insurgency war.

The allegations follow a wide-ranging investigation by
this paper into serious human rights abuses being
conducted by anti-insurgency forces in Iraq. The
Observer has seen photographic evidence of post-mortem
and hospital examinations of alleged terror suspects
from Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle which demonstrate
serious abuse of suspects including burnings,
strangulation, the breaking of limbs and - in one case
- the apparent use of an electric drill to perform a
knee-capping.

The investigation revealed:

· A 'ghost' network of secret detention centres across
the country, inaccessible to human rights
organisations, where torture is taking place.

· Compelling evidence of widespread use of violent
interrogation methods including hanging by the arms,
burnings, beatings, the use of electric shocks and
sexual abuse.

· Claims that serious abuse has taken place within the
walls of the Iraqi government's own Ministry of the
Interior.

· Apparent co-operation between unofficial and
official detention facilities, and evidence of
extra-judicial executions by the police.

The issue of increasing human rights abuses has been
raised with the new Iraqi government by the Foreign
Office, the US State Department and the United
Nations. British Embassy officials in Baghdad have
been briefed on the crisis by concerned senior Iraqi
officials on several occasions.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that it has spent
£27 million in gift aid on the Iraqi security
services, which provided guns, ammunition, and public
order equipment such as protective vests and armoured
Land Rovers. An MoD source said the majority of this
material went to the police. A further £20m went to
the police from the government's Global Conflict
Prevention Pool, jointly funded by the MoD, the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for
International Development.

Despite that, the British government has, until now,
remained silent in public on the issue of the
country's widening human rights crisis.

Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Michael Moore
called on ministers to make an immediate statement in
the House of Commons: 'These are serious reports that
go to the heart of the question of the coalition's
oversight of the security situation in Iraq. The
Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence must
urgently inform Parliament about the scope of their
investigation into these allegations,' he said.

The Foreign Office said last night that it was taking
the reports of abuse 'very seriously'. It issued
detailed responses to the claims: 'We are aware and
deeply concerned by reports of detainee abuse by Iraqi
police officers and of men in police uniforms
committing serious crimes, whether these men are
genuine policemen or not. Any abuse of detainees is
unacceptable.'

An MoD spokesman told The Observer: 'We are aware of
the allegations. We have raised this with the Iraqi
government at the highest levels in Baghdad and
Basra.'

Privately, there is a growing belief that complaints
are being stonewalled.

The investigation raises questions about the British
government's commitment to denying aid to governments
that tolerate or encourage human rights abuses.

International and Iraqi officials claim the use of
torture has become more extensive since the country's
first democratically-elected government was sworn in.

Steve Crawshaw of Human Rights Watch,said: 'There has
been the attempt to suggest that because Saddam's
regime is over now everything is rosy in Iraq. What is
happening in official places in Iraq is simply
horrific and must be stopped.'

The Foreign Office stressed: 'Any abuse of detainees
is unacceptable. As soon as we become aware of any
allegations of abuse we raise them at the highest
levels in Basra and Baghdad.

'We would expect them to publish the findings of any
investigations, prosecute those found to have carried
out any abuse, punish those found guilty regardless of
rank or background, and take all steps to prevent any
recurrence.'



5) G-8 Petition:

Dear friends and colleagues,

Please forward this letter widely and return all
sign-ons (organizational
sign-ons with names of directors or senior staff
preferred, though
individuals are welcome to sign on as well) to
as soon as
possible. We will be delivering this with your names
at a press conference
at the G8 Summit next week in Scotland.

Thanks for your prompt response to this message and
for your support!

Daphne Wysham
Director, Sustainable Energy & Economy Network
Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies



Civil Society Statement on Debt and Climate Change

We the undersigned call on the Group of 8 (G8) leaders
to recognize and
act upon the twin, interlinked crises of debt and
global warming. Current
G8 energy investments are fundamentally at odds with
sound development
practice. Ongoing public financing of the fossil fuel
industry is
increasing debt, poverty, and climate change. Urgent
action is now
required to substantially reduce emissions, reduce
fossil fuel dependence,
and protect people around the world, especially the
vulnerable, the poor
and disappearing nations.

Such urgent action requires that G8 nations make
rapid, specific,
substantial and sustained cuts in their domestic
emissions of greenhouse
gases. It also requires that G8 leaders cut the
significant emissions
that are resulting from their taxpayer-financed
multilateral and bilateral
lending agencies.

Export credit agencies and international financial
institutions are
leading financiers of oil, gas and coal projects
around the world. The
World Bank Group alone has financed over $25 billion
in oil, gas and coal
contracts (including fossil fuel-fired power plants)
since the UN Climate
Convention was signed by a majority of the world’s
countries in 1992. The
current and future emissions from all World Bank
fossil fuel projects
financed since 1992 is equivalent to almost two years’
worth of global
greenhouse gas emissions.

While the World Bank is supposed to serve the world’s
poor, it is the poor
who are likely to suffer first and foremost from
climate change, as they
will not be able to take preventive measures to
protect themselves. In
addition, over 80% of all oil projects financed by the
World Bank are
designed to produce petroleum for export to the
wealthy countries of the
north. Along with most of the gas and coal projects
financed by the World
Bank, they do little or nothing to meet the growing
energy needs of the
poorest. Public financing, intended for poverty
alleviation and
sustainable development, instead ends up being simply
another public
subsidy to wealthy governments, consumers and
corporations.

Other multilateral development banks and publicly
financed export credit
agencies (ECAs) follow a similar pattern of
investment. U.S. export
credit and investment insurance agencies alone have
invested over $32
billion in financing and insurance for oil and gas
fields, pipelines and
coal-fired power plants since 1992 without assessing
their contribution to
global warming nor their impact on the U.S. or global
environment.
Estimates suggest these U.S. taxpayer-backed ECA
investments alone are
releasing and will release over one year’s worth of
global greenhouse gas
emissions. Other ECAs have supported fossil fuel-based
energy projects
which produce or will produce as much as 20 times the
amount of greenhouse
gases as their own governments have committed to
reduce under the Kyoto
Protocol.

Meanwhile, the World Bank and the Global Environmental
Facility, created
at the 1992 Earth Summit to act on climate change,
combined have invested over 17 times more in fossil
fuels and fossil
fuel-driven power plants as they have in renewable
forms of energy and
energy efficiency projects. Carbon trading engineered
by the World Bank
Group in advance of the Clean Development Mechanism is
resulting in few,
if any, truly renewable energy projects. Instead,
monoculture tree
plantations, gas flare reduction and methane capture
from waste dumps are
gaining the lions’ share of financing—-while carbon
credits as currently
enacted enable dirty industry to continue with
business as usual in the
North.

Gas flaring and venting by petroleum corporations in
Nigeria remains
sub-Saharan Africa’s largest source of greenhouse
gases, yet, the World
Bank is preparing to sell carbon credits for
Chevron/Shell’s West- African
Gas pipeline, despite the fact that overall greenhouse
gas emissions due
to flaring will not be reduced by this project. Such
initiatives are
misleading and provide no net progress toward climate
stability and a net
loss for local as well as global communities.

Thus, the public institutions entrusted with averting
a climate
catastrophe are dangerously exacerbating the problem.
Such institutional
corruption results in paltry funding for renewable
energy, a growing
energy deficit among the poorest in developing
countries, and increased
developing country debt.

The World Bank’s own Extractive Industries Review, a
three-year study
commissioned by the World Bank’s president with
involvement of government,
industry and civil society, came to the conclusion
that, if the World Bank
is serious about poverty alleviation and climate
change, it should get out
of coal immediately, get out of oil by 2008, and
rapidly scale up its
investments in renewable energy at the rate of 20% a
year. Yet senior
World Bank officials openly reject the report’s
recommendations.

Thus, we call on the G8 nations to:
1) Halt the Northern financing of Southern coal-fired
power
projects immediately;
2) End aid financing for oil. OECD countries should
end Northern
governmental subsidies for new oil projects in the
South. Such projects
have not historically provided energy for the poor,
and are proven to be
associated with a rise in poverty, public health
problems, local
environmental destruction, conflict, corruption and
debt, and to increase
the risk to the poorest from climate change. Thus,
they cannot be
considered as “aid” for the poor;
3) Set up an international sustainable renewable
energy fund,
independent of the development banks and export credit
agencies, with
funding provided by the G8, that would set as a target
the delivery of
small-scale, community-based, sustainable, equitable
and appropriate
energy services and technologies, excluding large dams
and nuclear power,
to the more than 2 billion poorest living in
developing countries,
low-income areas of developed countries, and countries
with economies in
transition within the next 20 years;
4) Work with developing countries, especially small
island states and
Arctic regional local authorities, to build
technological and
infrastructure capacity to assist them in developing
solutions to mitigate
and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change;
5) Immediately cancel 100% of the remaining
multilateral and
bilateral debt without requiring that debtor countries
join the HIPC
(Heavily Indebted Poor Country) initiative as a
precondition for debt
cancellation, nor accept any additional harmful
economic conditions.
6) Concentrate development aid to oil-exporting
countries on
helping them diversify their economies in order to
minimize debt burdens
from excessive oil-export dependence and maximize
income generation for
the population;
7) Commit by the next G8 Summit in 2006 to a global
harmonization of energy and development strategies in
light of global warming, debt, poverty, and the finite
quantity of fossil fuels remaining in the ground and
the limited ability of our atmosphere to safely absorb
additional greenhouse gas emissions. These issues
should henceforth be viewed as inextricably woven
together.

Signed,

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