In solidarity with the people of Iraq struggling under foreign occupation.
March 4th The U.S. military plans to continue paying Iraqi newspapers to publish articles favorable to the United States after an inquiry found no fault with the controversial practice, the top U.S. general in Iraq said Friday. Army Gen. George W. Casey said the internal review had concluded that the U.S. military was not violating U.S. law or Pentagon guidelines with the information operations campaign, in which U.S. troops and a private contractor write pro-American articles and pay to have them planted without attribution in Iraqi media.
March 5th Tens of thousands of people have been held arbitrarily in Iraq since the start of the US invasion in March 2003, creating a situation that is ripe for abuse, Amnesty International states in their new report `Beyond Abu Ghraib: Detention and Torture in Iraq`. Most of those held were neither charged nor faced trial and had no right to challenge their detention. Nearly 3 years after the US forces invaded Iraq `the human rights situation in the country remains dire,` the report says. `The deployment of US-led forces in Iraq and the armed response that is engendered has resulted in thousands of deaths of civilians and widespread abuses amid the ongoing conflict.`
March 6th Two girls under the age of four died today when a car bomb exploded in a bustling market in Baquba northeast of Baghdad, killing six people and wounding 20. The blast destroyed food stalls and shops in the market, which was busy with women and children. Police said that most of the casualties were children.
March 7th The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said that the 2003 invasion of Iraq that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein opened a 'Pandora's box' of ethnic and sectarian strife that has created the threat of civil war.
March 8th Hospital and police sources said they received 5 bodies shot dead by U.S. forces in Mosul. No details of the incident were available.
March 9th The US State Department`s own `Country Reports on Human Rights Practices` (2005) says that killings and torture by the Iraqi government and its agents increased in 2005. The report describes `a climate of extreme violence in which people were killed for political and other reasons`. The worst abuses against prisoners were carried out by police, including beatings and electric shock, but the military was also a violator. The document also mentions `suspension by the arms or legs, as well as the reported use of electric drills and cords`. However, the report fails to mention the US treatment of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
March 10th Gunmen have killed some 182 Iraqi university professors and academics since the U.S. invasion . The Association of University Lecturers in Iraq said that the killings constituted a war crime. Haifa Zangana, the Iraqi-born novelist and former prisoner of Saddam`s regime, has alleged that many of those killed had publicly opposed the occupation and that ` these killings are politically motivated…... For the occupation`s aims to be fulfilled, independent minds have to be eradicated…we are witnessing a deliberate attempt to destroy intellectual life in Iraq.`
Iran War Alert
On Sunday March 5th the US Ambassador to the UN told the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, a pro Israeli US Lobbying Group that Iran faced `painful consequences` if it failed to cease sensitive nuclear activities and that the US would `use all tools at its disposal` to thwart Iran`s nuclear program. He warned also that `The longer we wait to confront the threat Iran poses, the harder and more intractable it will become to solve`. Mr Bolton was also reported to have told the visiting MP`s of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee in Washington that `They must know everything is on the table and they must understand what that means. We can hit different points along the line. You only have to take out one part of their nuclear operation to take the whole thing down`. Furthermore, the US vice president Dick Cheney said to AIPAC that `For our part, the United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime`. In the meantime, the IAEA head Mohammad ElBaradei stated that `What we need at this stage is cool headed approaches. We need people to lower the rhetoric.`, that `We need a settlement that assures Iran its peaceful right to nuclear energy` and that `the Agency has not seen indications of diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices`.