News Release

Fallujah and Baghdad — Eyewitness Accounts

RAHUL MAHAJAN
Currently in Baghdad, Mahajan was just in Fallujah. He is regularly posting to a blog at the above web page. Mahajan is author of the book Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond. Mahajan said today: “During the course of roughly four hours at a small clinic in Fallujah, I saw perhaps a dozen wounded brought in. Among them was a young woman, 18 years old, shot in the head. She was having a seizure and foaming at the mouth when they brought her in; doctors did not expect her to survive the night. Another likely terminal case was a young boy with massive internal bleeding…. Makki al-Nazzal, a lifelong Fallujah resident who works for the humanitarian NGO InterSOS, had been pressed into service as the manager of the clinic, since all doctors were busy, working around the clock with minimal sleep…. He told us about ambulances being hit by snipers, women and children being shot. Describing the horror that the siege of Fallujah had become, he said: ‘I have been a fool for 47 years. I used to believe in European and American civilization.’ … Nothing could have been easier than gaining the goodwill of the people of Fallujah had the Americans not been so brutal in their dealings. People I interviewed vehemently denied that they were Saddam supporters and expressed immense anger and disappointment at American conduct…. Among the more laughable assertions of the Bush administration is that the mujaheddin are a small group of isolated ‘extremists’ repudiated by the majority of Fallujah’s population. Nothing could be further from the truth. To Americans, ‘Fallujah’ may still mean four mercenaries killed, with their corpses then mutilated and abused; to Iraqis, ‘Fallujah’ means the savage collective punishment for that attack, with current reports of 600 Iraqis killed, including estimates of 200 women and over 100 children…. When the assault on Fallujah started, the power plant was bombed.”
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NAOMI KLEIN [via Christina Magill]
Klein is just back from Iraq. Her most recent article is “Fury Ignites Solidarity in Iraq” in the April 9 edition of the Los Angeles Times, in which she wrote: “Before U.S. occupation chief L. Paul Bremer III provoked [Muqtada] Sadr into an armed conflict by shutting down his newspaper and arresting and killing his deputies, the Al Mahdi army was not fighting coalition forces; it was doing their job for them. After all, in the year it has controlled Baghdad, the Coalition Provisional Authority still hasn’t managed to get the traffic lights working or to provide the most basic security for civilians. So in Sadr City, Sadr’s so-called ‘outlaw militia’ can be seen engaged in such subversive activities as directing traffic and guarding factories…. I saw charred cars, which dozens of eyewitnesses said had been hit by U.S. missiles, and I confirmed with hospitals that their drivers had been burned alive…. And Thursday, I saw something that I feared more than any of this: a copy of the Koran with a bullet hole through it. It was lying in the ruins of what was Sadr’s headquarters in Sadr City. A few hours earlier, witnesses said, U.S. tanks broke down the walls of the center after two guided missiles pierced its roof…. For months, the White House has been making ominous predictions of a civil war breaking out between the majority Shiites … and the minority Sunnis…. But this week, the opposite appeared to have taken place….” Klein is author of the book Fences and Windows: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate.
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LAMIS ANDONI
Andoni has covered the Mideast for various publications for two decades; she has been banned in Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia and was blacklisted in Jordan during the 1980s. She is currently a lecturer at the journalism school at the University of California at Berkeley. She has been monitoring the Arab media. Andoni said today: “Fallujah clearly unmasks the reality of Bush’s call for ‘democracy’ in the Middle East. Collective punishment of the Iraqi population underscores the fallacy of U.S. government claims about its motives…. The submissive Arab regimes, afraid of the U.S. government’s wrath, are largely colluding with the Bush administration. They have not spoken out against the U.S. assault, instead stifling dissent at home on the administration’s behalf.” Bush meets today with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
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For stories on Fallujah, see:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3619661.stm, http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/79CAAE90-3E7F-4815-B47D-46863A64A7E6.htm, http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D334DDD4-F26F-483F-9AE4-E08BB9E53567.htm, www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0412-01.htm

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167