Occupied Iraq Report

One Year After the Invasion, Iraqi and International Human Rights
Organizations Plan Three Days of Solidarity with Iraqi People Suffering
Under Occupation

Andrea Schmidt

March 14, 2004

In the week leading up to the anniversary of the last year’s US-led invasion of Iraq, communities around the world are mobilizing to march again to say no to war and to occupation.

Here in Iraq, over the past week, the occupation has wormed its way ever deeper into Iraq’s soil and into its future. The interim constitution, known as the Transitional Administrative Law, which will govern the transition of power to an appointed government in June was signed by the Interim Governing Council on Monday, after a number of false starts. And in spite of the transition to a nominally ‘sovereign’ -- if unelected -- Iraqi government in June, the US has announced that it will maintain military control of Iraq’s security forces for two years. A US general will be at the helm of a multinational security force which will include the Iraqi army, and a second US general will head up the Operations unit.

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Joe Emersberger's Letters to the Media

are well-researched and documented and put the journalists (who rarely answer him at all and when they do, answer wholly inadequately) he debates to shame. Because his letters are so frequent and so well done, we collect them here, as he writes them. We hope the letters, and the frequently outrageous responses from the journalists (as well as the much more frequent silences), are instructive.

Mar 11, 2004 to the Globe and Mail

Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2004 23:10:24 EST
To: egreenspon@globeandmail.ca
Subject: Associated Press on Haiti

Mr. Greenspon:

The AP is relentless in pushing the view that Aristide became unpopular. When will you stop spreading their lies?

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Report from Occupied Iraq

Andrea Schmidt

February 29 - March 4 2004

I have been in occupied Iraq for just over a week. Long enough to know understand that the political situation in Iraq is profoundly complicated in a way that would have been impossible to understand had I not come here.

Thus, you should receive this first report, members of the anti-occupation and anti-’war on terror’ movements in Montreal, Quebec and Canada, with healthy skepticism, because it doesn’t begin to do justice to that complexity... What can I possibly say after being here, in this profoundly complicated place, after only a week and a half?

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Joe Emersberger's Letters to the Editor

En Camino User Joe Emersberger is a diligent writer of letters-to-the-editor. His letters are well-researched and documented and put the journalists (who rarely answer him at all and when they do, answer wholly inadequately) he debates to shame. Because his letters are so frequent and so well done, we collect them here, as he writes them. We hope the letters, and the frequently outrageous responses from the journalists, are instructive. Here is an exchange on Haiti.

Feb 28, 2004, to the Globe and Mail:

It has often been mentioned that the US restored Aristide to power in 1994 after a coup in 1991 deposed him, but US involvement in the coup has not be explored nor have the conditions laid down by the US for Aristide's return: among them that he finish off only the last part of his term even though he was in exile for most of it, and that he grant amnesty to major human rights violators. Another glaring omission has been the case of Emmanuel Constant. There is no mention of his case in the Globe & Mail in recent weeks despite its obvious relevance. Human Rights Watch mentioned his case in a recent statement on Haiti.[1]

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Zionism's Historical Context

An En Camino Interview with Norman Finkelstein

Dan Freeman-Maloy

January 24, 2004

(This interview was conducted in October 2003). Norman Finkelstein is a professor of Political Science at DePaul University in Chicago, and the author of numerous books including The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering and Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict.

Professor Finkelstein, I’d like to start out with some background. Historically, key Zionist activists such as Chaim Weizman developed a strategic orientation towards the colonial powers that dominate the Middle East. Can you outline this strategy, and how it affected Zionist state-building?

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Inconsistent on Terrorism: The Globe and Mail on Jamal Akkal's case

An En Camino Media Alert

Dan Freeman-Maloy

January 1, 2004

In mid-October of this year, Canadian resident and citizen Jamal Akkal traveled to the Gaza Strip, Palestine, where he had grown up. Akkal, 23 years old and until recently a student at the University of Windsor, was going to meet up with his fiancée in the community of Nusseirat, where he himself had been born. The trip was only supposed to last a couple of weeks.

Akkal entered the Gaza Strip from Egypt by the border crossing at Rafah, a refugee camp that houses thousands of Palestinians. Just days before his arrival, the Israeli military had made one of its periodic incursions into Rafah - described promptly by Amnesty International as "a war crime" - destroying 170 houses that had sheltered a total of more than 2000 people, leaving 53 Palestinians wounded, and killing 8, including 3 children. Traveling northward, Akkal soon reached his fiancée's home in Nusseirat. Early into his visit there, an Israeli assassination attempt missed its targets in that community, wounding 49 bystanders (including 11 children) and killing 8 (including a child and an on-duty doctor). So life progressed in occupied Gaza. And as the month of October came to a close, Akkal began his planned trip back to Windsor.

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Letter from CRIC to Uribe

[Note: This letter was published in December of 2003 and received some publicity in the Colombian media. Several of the indigenous communities that signed this letter were then besieged by the military and paramilitaries in what can only be interpreted as collective punishment for their insistence on autonomy.]

Popayán, December 15, 2003

Mr. Alvaro Uribe Vélez

President of Colombia

Mr. President

In 1985 our traditional authorities in Tierradentro issued the Resolution of Vitoncó, a document which showed the public, for the first time in Colombia, a social position demanding from the armed actors respect for our legitimate ancestral authorities and our territorial autonomy. Equally important has been our organization's contribution through peace initiatives in the 1980s that led to the Constitution of 1991, the first national accord which recognized the ethnic diversity of the Colombian nation, setting up clear guidelines for the conduct of the state with respect to our communities.

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Disappearing Bolivia: The Globe and Mail's Coverage of the Gas War

An En Camino Media Alert

Konstantin Kilibarda

November 1, 2003

In a recent edition of Spain's Rebelión magazine, Latin American novelist Eduardo Galeano recalls a popular Bolivian story about how, in the year 1870, the country's dictator Mariano Melgarejo insulted a British diplomat. Upon learning of the slight, Queen Victoria is said to have pointed at the small Andean nation on a map and proclaimed that, "Bolivia doesn't exist!" It would seem that over a century later, Her Majesty's proclamation still resonates with the editor's of the Globe and Mail when it comes to covering events in the small country.

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Deporting the Truth on Immigrants: The Globe and Mail on the Pakistani 20

An En Camino Media Alert

September 25, 2003

On August 14th, nineteen men were arrested in police raids under the claim that they posed a threat to national security and "might, in fact, perhaps be a sleeper cell for al-Qaeda according to a Canadian immigration official". This number increased to twenty-one following the arrest of two more men just a few days later. Twenty of the men were from Punjab Province in Pakistan, while one was from India. The men were arrested under the post 9-11 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which allows foreigners to be arrested and detained without evidence or charges, if there is a reasonable suspicion that they might be a threat to national security. This evidence has yet to be produced by immigration officials in the case of the detained men.

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Peace Through Occupation: The Toronto Star on Afghanistan

An En Camino Media Alert

Dan Freeman-Maloy

September 6, 2003

Having killed more than three thousand civilians, by conservative estimates, the U.S.-led aerial assault on Afghanistan is receding into history; the war is not. Thousands of foreign troops are occupying the devastated country, working to prop up a weak government whose authority scarcely extends beyond the country’s capital, Kabul. Since the central government of Hamid Karzai owes what power and legitimacy it has to its support from foreign, invading forces, it is hard to perceive it as anything other than the native element in a regime of colonial administration. Given the frequency of attacks against both the government and the foreign troops backing it, it doesn’t seem to be a popular one.

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