“It is the people of Fallujah’s cherished right to hold to account the International Community that now has both the mandate and moral responsibility to initiate proceedings to prosecute and hold accountable all those perpetrators, and to seek full restitution and compensations commensurate with the endured suffering and pain throughout the occupation period, continuing till the present day.” – Dr. Muhamad Tareq Al-Darraji, president of Conservation Centre of Environment and Reserves (CCERF) in Fallujah, director of Monitoring Net for Human Rights (MHRI) in Iraq
Despite the “end of combat operations,” American forces stepped in with ground troops and air support in three incidents in different parts of Iraq, when their Iraqi counterparts were purportedly “threatened by suicide attackers or well-armed gunmen,” according to US and Iraqi military accounts.
One of those “incidents” occurred in Fallujah on Wednesday, 15 September, when seven civilians were killed and four injured. Their names will be added to the endless list of victims of the US aggression against this troubled city. May they never be forgotten.
Killed During the Raid by US/Iraqi Forces on 15 September 2010
- Humadi Jassim Ahmed – old man
- Manzel Humadi Jassim Ahmed – youngster
- Sameer Humadi Jassim Ahmed – youngster
- Sadiek Humadi Jassim Ahmed – youngster
- Abid Swissan Ahmed – old man
- Yassein Abid Swissan Ahmed – youngster
- Yassein Kassar Saad – former Iraqi officer in the Iraqi Army
- Omar Humadi Jassim – youngster
- Ibrahim Abid Kassar – youngster
- Hathima Jassim (85 years old)
- Ahmed Humadi Jassim – youngster
The raid has raised tensions and angered the city’s inhabitants. On 16 September, the city declared a three-day-long period of mourning. US and Iraqi officials claim that the raid killed a former Iraqi officer linked to the country’s al-Qaeda group. But the claim could not be substantiated and eyewitnesses and officials in the city said all the dead and injured were civilians. Schools, offices and shops were closed in Fallujah on Thursday in protest against the attack, which was also strongly condemned by provincial officials in Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province. The Anbar officials have asked Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for an independent investigation of the raid, according to Mohammed Fathi, the governor’s adviser.
In 2003, after the fall of the capital Baghdad following the US-led invasion, Fallujah remained calm and, contrary to what happened elsewhere, there was no looting. But the policy pursued by the US and UK of indiscriminate killing of civilians and of collective punishment generated resistance in the whole area. In order to eradicate the resistance in and around Fallujah, the invading forces attacked the city and the crimes committed in the course of these attacks are the subject of a new report by MHRI called “Testimonies of Crimes Against Humanity in Fallujah, Towards a Fair International Criminal Trial, ” presented at the15th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. This report gives a grim view of a policy of collective punishment, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the US forces between 2003 and 2010:
- The killing of peaceful demonstrators
- Provocation and killing of Fallujah’s protection and police forces
- Arbitrary arrests and torture
- The first assault on Fallujah (April, 2004)
- Peace talks that could have prevented the second battle of Fallujah, but were undermined by the US
- Crimes committed by US/UK troops in the course of the second assault on Fallujah (November, 2004)
- Environmental pollution, its effects on health and the threat to future generations
Moreover, the city was totally destroyed. Dr. Hafidh al-Dulaimi, the head of “the Commission for the Compensation of Fallujah citizens” reported the following destruction inflicted on Fallujah as a result of the American attack in November 2004:
- 7000 houses totally destroyed, or near-totally destroyed, homes in all districts of Fallujah.
- 8400 stores, workshops, clinics, warehouses, etc. destroyed.
- 65 mosques and religious sanctuaries either totally demolished and leveled to the ground or the minarets and inner halls of which have been demolished.
- 59 kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools and technical colleges have been destroyed.
- 13 government buildings leveled to the ground.
- Destruction of the two electricity substations, the three water purification plants, the two railroad stations and heavy damage to the sewage and rain drainage subsystems throughout the city.
- The total destruction of a bridge to the West of the city.
- The death of 100,000 domestic and wild animals due to chemical and/or gaseous munitions.
- The burning and destruction of four libraries that housed hundreds to perhaps thousands of ancient Islamic manuscripts and books.
- The apparently-intentional and targeted destruction of the historical nearby site at Saqlawia and the castle of Abu al-Abbas al-Safah.
A partial list of people assassinated during the first assault on Fallujah in April 2004 includes 749 names, 580 of which are male and 169 are female. Iraq Bodycount lists 26 casualties of this onslaught in its database, many of them different persons! The number of civilians assassinated by the US during the second assault on Fallujah in November 2004 is a multiple of the 749 April 2004 murders.
As a cynical token of “good will,” the US helped reconstruct the Fallujah hospital, in which many women now give birth to deformed babies, deformities caused by illegal weaponry used by occupation forces during the assaults: white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and other chemical and uranium (radioactive) weapons. With a half-life of 4.5 billion years, DU and NDU amount to a permanently present contaminant randomly distributed into the environment. An eternal curse on humanity, inflicted by the “Champions of the Free World.”
The mainstream media has extensively reported how a British woman, Mary Bale, had been filmed dropping a cat into a wheelie bin. The cat was later released unharmed. “Whereas the story of the maltreated cat received heavy coverage for almost one week across the UK media, we (and activist friends in the United States) can find exactly one mention of the Fallujah cancer and infant mortality study in the entire UK and US national press – Patrick Cockburn’s article in the Independent. The story has simply been ignored by every other US-UK national newspaper,” write the editors of Medialens.
The article by Cockburn was indeed a rare exception to the mainstream media’s near blackout of news about this new scientific study, showing soaring rates of cancer and other indicators of mutagenic disorders in Fallujah, the city the US obliterated in 2004. Results of a population-based epidemiological study organized by Malak Hamdan and Chris Busby, published on 03 July 2010, in the International Journal of Environmental Studies and Public Health (IJERPH) based in Basle, Switzerland, show increases in cancer, leukemia and infant mortality and perturbations of the normal human population birth sex ratio significantly greater than those reported for the survivors of the A-bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
As Noam Chomsky has commented, the study’s findings are “vastly more significant” than the WikiLeaks Afghan “War Diary” leaks. The mainstream media’s failure to write about this report is another proof of cynical negligence.
Furthermore, the city of Fallujah still has no functioning sewage system: Waste pours onto the streets and seeps into drinking water supplies.
And Fallujah is still under siege. Nahoko Takato, activist and aid worker of the NGO NCCI testifies:
“When I visited Falluja in 2009, it was very difficult to get permission to enter. It’s surrounded by checkpoints … Basically, only those who have IDs that are provided by the American army can enter. And only cars that get a number from the American army are allowed to enter. The Ramadi citizen can enter Falluja by foot, but he cannot enter Falluja in his own car because he needs special registration that is very difficult to get … Maybe the American army is afraid that an international will collect evidence of the pollution, uranium traces, and so on.”
The demands of the people of Fallujah, formulated in the “Testimonies of Crimes Against Humanity in Fallujah, Towards a Fair International Criminal Trial” report, are fully justified and should be obligatorily advocated and put high on the agenda of all human rights organizations and peace movements worldwide. Slightly restated, they are:
- The inability of the Iraqi judiciary to undertake any proceedings leading to eventual trials and accountability for the crimes and violations by the US and British soldiers is clear evidence of complicity to the continuation of absolute occupation, a situation subsequently ratified by the drafting of the security agreement between US government and the Iraqi government confirming and regularizing this deficiency.
It is our cherished right to hold the International Community to account, a community which now has both the mandate, and moral responsibility to initiate proceedings to prosecute and hold accountable all those perpetrators and seek full restitution and compensations in appropriate portion and scale, commensurate with the endured suffering and pain throughout the periods of occupation and continuing till the present day.
- We appeal to the international community to hold the perpetrators of these crimes accountable, and obtain compensation for the victims, including for the suffering and all pain endured.
- The establishment of an international criminal court, or at least an independent fact-finding mission to look at all violations of international law perpetrated by the United States in and/or against Iraq since 1991.
- The reinstitution of the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iraq is one of the first steps that the international community can take in order to get at the truth regarding the human rights situation in Iraq.
- We call on all visual and audio media, which have documented the crimes of Fallujah, to send a copy to the office of the special procedures in the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, to assist victims of Fallujah and help stop these crimes.
As a final observation I’d like to stress that the people of Fallujah have every right, according to international law, to defend themselves against the illegal invasion and occupation of their city, their country. Their right to resist should be defended by all.
1. Fallujah is a city rooted in history, located some 45 km to the west of the capital Baghdad. It has a population of more than 350.000 inhabitants and is at the crossroad of three rural areas that total 300.000 inhabitants, which brings the overall population of the area of Fallujah to 650000 people. The population of Fallujah is conservative as regards social, religious, traditional and tribal issues.