Cardiff Stop the War Coalition

News From Iraq This Week:
February 25th to March 3rd

The chain reaction of evil, wars producing more wars, must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

In solidarity with the people of Iraq struggling under foreign occupation.

Feb 25             11 bodies were found in 5 areas of Baghdad, police said. All were male and had been shot.
Feb 26             Hundreds of Iraqis are being tortured to death or summarily executed each month by death squads attached to the Interior Ministry in Baghdad, the UN`s former human rights chief in Iraq, John Pace, told The Independent on Sunday.
Feb 27             Violence unleashed by last week`s bombing of a Shiite Muslim shrine has killed more than 1,300 Iraqis, making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside of major U.S. offensives, according to Baghdad`s main morgue. The toll was more than 3 times higher than the figure previously reported by the U.S. military and the news media. Hundreds of unclaimed dead lay at the morgue, blood-caked men who had been shot, knifed, garroted or apparently suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads. Many of the bodies had their hands still bound.
Feb 28             Iraqi soldiers found the bullet riddled bodies of 9 people near 2 burned minibuses in Diyala province.
March 1            3 people were killed and 7 wounded when U.S. helicopters bombed houses surrounding the provincial building in Ramadi according to Dr Sabah Duleimi from Ramadi hospital.
March 2            The former U.N. human rights chief in Iraq, John Pace, said that human rights abuses in Iraq are as bad now as they were under Saddam Hussein. `Under Saddam, if you agreed to forgo your basic right to freedom of expression and thought, you were physically … OK,` Pace said, `But now, no. Here, you have a primitive, chaotic situation where anybody can do anything they want to anyone…. It is certainly as bad,` he said. `It extends over a much wider section of the population than it did under Saddam. `. Pace, who spent much of his 2 years in the post in Iraq, visited the morgue in Baghdad once a week when he was in the city and regarded it as a `barometer` of the level of violence in the country. Mr Pace said records, supported by photographs, came from Baghdad's forensic institute, which passed them to the UN. The Baghdad morgue has been receiving 700 or more bodies a month. The figures peaked at 1,100 last July. `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,` said Pace. Much of the killing, he said, was carried out by Shia Muslim groups under the control of the Ministry of the Interior. The killings had been happening long before the bloodshed after last week's bombing of the Shia shrine in Samarra.
March 3            Gunmen raided a small town near Baghdad and shot dead at least 25 people. Among the dead were many Shiite laborers gunned down at a brick factory. Officials said more bodies may be recovered.
Iran News
An IAEA report said that an investigation lasting more than three years has not revealed a secret nuclear weapons program in Iran. The report from the U.N. nuclear watchdog says Iran is pressing ahead with uranium enrichment but does not confirm any secret nuclear weapons development. Mohamed El-Baradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says the agency `has not seen any diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.`
Civilians reported killed by military intervention in Iraq since invasion*:
Minimum: 28636
Maximum: 32270
Source: Iraq Body Count
Total number of US soldiers killed in Iraq since invasion = 2300
Total number of US soldiers wounded in Iraq since invasion= 16906
Total number of UK soldiers killed in Iraq since invasion = 103
Total number of soldiers from other nations killed since invasion = 103
Source: Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
*This estimate is only of media reported deaths. A peer reviewed epidemiological survey (Roberts et al., The Lancet, Vol 364 Issue 9448 pp 1857 1864) estimated that in the 18 months following the invasion 100, 000 excess deaths or more have occurred.  Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths. Criticisms of IBC methodology can be found at medialens
For background to the current war in Iraq: see "Understanding the Us-Iraq Crisis" by Phyllis Benis and "Why Another War? A Backgrounder on the Iraq Crisis" by Sarah Graham-Brown and Chris Toensing.
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