[Marxism] Aljazeera Reports US Atrocities in Falluja

Raymond Chase r_chase at sympatico.ca
Wed Mar 23 21:49:59 MST 2005


Aljazeera -- Sunday 20 March 2005

Journalists tell of US Falluja killings

All is quiet in Falluja, or at least that is how it seems, given that the
mainstream media has largely forgotten about the Iraqi city. But independent
journalists are risking life and limb to bring out a very different story.
The picture they are painting is of US soldiers killing whole families,
including children, attacks on hospitals and doctors, the use of napalm-like
weapons and sections of the city destroyed.

One of the few reporters who has reached Falluja is American Dahr Jamail of
the Inter Press Service. He interviewed a doctor who had filmed the
testimony of a 16-year-old girl.  "She stayed for three days with the bodies
of her family who were killed in their home. When the soldiers entered she
was in her home with her father, mother, 12 year-old brother and two
sisters. She watched the soldiers enter and shoot her mother and father
directly, without saying anything. They beat her two sisters, then shot them
in the head. After this her brother was enraged and ran at the soldiers
while shouting at them, so they shot him dead," Jamail relates.

Another report comes from an aid convoy headed up by Dr Salem Ismael. He was
in Falluja last month. As well as delivering aid he photographed the dead,
including children, and interviewed remaining residents. Again his story
does not tally with the indifference shown by the main media networks.  "The
accounts I heard ... will live with me forever. You may think you know what
happened in Falluja, but the truth is worse than you could possibly have
imagined," he says.  He relates the story of Hudda Fawzi Salam Issawi from
the Julan district of Falluja: "Five of us, including a 55-year-old
neighbour, were trapped together in our house in Falluja when the siege
began. On 9 November American marines came to our house. My father and the
neighbour went to the door to meet them. We were not fighters. We thought we
had nothing to fear. I ran into the kitchen to put on my veil, since men
were going to enter our house and it would be wrong for them to see me with
my hair uncovered.  This saved my life. As my father and neighbour
approached the door, the Americans opened fire on them. They died instantly.
Me and my 13-year-old brother hid in the kitchen behind the fridge. The
soldiers came into the house and caught my older sister. They beat her. Then
they shot her. But they did not see me. Soon they left, but not before they
had destroyed our furniture and stolen the money from my father's pocket."

Journalist and writer Naomi Klein has also come under attack for insisting
that US forces are eliminating those who dare to count casualties. No less
than the US ambassador to the UK David Johnson wrote a letter to British
newspaper The Guardian that published Klein's work, demanding evidence,
which she then provided.  The first piece of evidence Klein sent to Johnson
was that the hospital in Falluja was raided to stop any reporting of
casualties, a tactic that was later repeated in Mosul:

"The first major operation by US marines and Iraqi soldiers was to storm
Falluja general hospital, arresting doctors and placing the facility under
military control.  The New York Times reported that 'the hospital was
selected as an early target because the American military believed that it
was the source of rumours about heavy casualties', noting that 'this time
around, the American military intends to fight its own information war,
countering or squelching what has been one of the insurgents' most potent
weapons'.
The Los Angeles Times quoted a doctor as saying that the soldiers 'stole the
mobile phones' at the hospital - preventing doctors from communicating with
the outside world."

As Dahr Jamail reports from his online diary "doctors are now technically
forbidden to talk to the media or allow them to take photos in Iraqi
hospitals unless granted permission from the Ministry of Health and its
US-adviser."  Allied to this are various reports of the US using napalm and
napalm-like weaponry in Falluja.

Jamail recounts: "Last November, another Falluja refugee from the Julan
area, Abu Sabah, told me: 'They (US military) used these weird bombs that
put up smoke like a mushroom cloud. Then small pieces fall from the air with
long tails of smoke behind them.'
"He explained that pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that
burned peoples' skin even when water was dumped on their bodies, which is
the effect of phosphorous weapons, as well as napalm."

The reports of the use of napalm in civilian areas are widespread, as are
many other frightening allegations.

The attacks on the hospitals and medical facilities in Falluja are also in
direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions.  But as Richard Perle, a
senior adviser to US President George Bush said at the start of the Iraq
war: "The greatest triumph of the Iraq war is the destruction of the evil of
international law."
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