US air strike hits wedding party
A U.S. air strike has killed 11 people in the Iraqi city of Falluja. Residents and local doctors said 17 people were also wounded in the attack, among them nine women and children. They said a wedding party had been held in the house on Thursday night. The bridegroom was killed and the bride was wounded in the raid. The U.S. military said that a “precision strike” hit the house which they claim Zarqawi associates were meeting in the northwest of the guerrilla-held city at 1:15 a.m
In a fiery sermon at Baghdad’s Umm al-Qura mosque, Shaikh Abd al-Ghafur al-Samarrai condemned the US strikes, stating “Falluja is being hit every day under the guise of striking al-Zarqawi, and residents take out a two-year-old child from under the rubble. Is this al-Zarqawi?” Muslim clerics in Iraq said it was part of Washington’s “scorched earth” policy.
The attacks occurred despite ongoing attempts between Iraqi government community representatives and the Iraqi government, seeking to strike a deal to reassert control of the city. Defence Minister Hazem Shaalan said the two sides were nearing agreement on a plan providing for a three-day halt to attacks, followed by the return of Iraqi troops into the city.
Video reveals possible US war crime in Iraq
Britain’s Channel 4 News has broadcast a 30-second video clip of a U.S. pilot killing a group of what appear to be civilians on a Fallujah street. The video includes an audio track of the pilot’s conversation with mission controllers. As the UK Independent notes, “At no point during the exchange between the pilot and controllers does anyone ask whether the Iraqis are armed or posing a threat.” This video is similar to another video released some months ago showing farmers being killed by a US Apache Helicopter gunship.
Anti-feminist group hired to train Iraqi women
The Feminist Majority Foundation has objected to the U.S. Department of State’s decision to award part of a $10 million grant to the Independent Women’s Forum, an anti-feminist organization. The grant is being provided to provide for “leadership training, democracy education and coalition building assistance” to women in Iraq. The IWF, which was created initially to defend Clarence Thomas against charges of sexual harassment during his U.S. Supreme Court nomination hearings, says that its mission is to counter “the dangerous influence of radical feminism.” IWF has a history of opposition to women’s rights, including the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), stating that VAWA was not helpful to the victims and gives too much authority to the government, reports the Washington Post. In addition, IWF led a campaign against Title IX that calls for gender equity in education and the Women?s Educational Equity Act that gives schools the materials to combat sex discrimination.
IWF was founded by well-known and well-connected right-wing Republican conservatives. Former board members include Lynne Cheney, Wendy Lee Gramm, wife of former Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) and former board member of Enron, and Kate O’Beirne, Washington Editor of the National Review and former vice president of government relations at the Heritage Foundation. According to PR Watch, the IWF will be working in Iraq with the American Islamic Conference and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a think tank with neoconservative ties.
Official U.S. Report Finds Saddam Had No WMDs
Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector, reported Wednesday that Iraq had no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons now or before the invasion. The findings, which were delivered yesterday to two congressional committees, contradict nearly every assertion made by top Bush administration officials about Iraq in the run-up to the war.
The extensive 1,000-page report was conducted by the Iraq Survey Group whom the Bush administration chose to complete the U.S. investigation of Iraq’s weapons programs. Duelfer said that since the 1991 Gulf War, United Nations sanctions and inspections had destroyed Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capability and that there was no evidence of efforts to restart the program.
The report was based on nine months work in Iraq, including extensive interviews with Saddam Hussein and his key lieutenants. It represents the government’s most complete account of Iraq’s weapons programs and goes beyond previous assessments in “depth, detail and level of certainty.” Despite this latest report detailing Iraq’s lack of WMD , the Bush administration is still insisting that the invasion was justified. Ex-chief US arms inspector David Kay stated, in reference to the Bush adminstration “All I can say is ‘denial’ is not just a river in Egypt.”
Iraq’s water, sanitation services failing
According to Al Jazeera, Iraq only has 10% of the money needed over the next six years to fix its sewage and drinking water systems, the country’s interim public works minister says. Nasrin Barwari said on Thursday the problem has been worsened by a US proposal to shift $2 billion earmarked for the sector to security needs. “It is very critical that grants get expanded for the sector,” the minister said in Baghdad. But a month ago it revealed a plan to shift some of this cash into beefing up the country’s security forces in response to anti-US attacks. An audit also revealed that only $1.1 of the reconstruction funds had been used and reconstruction projects were slow in taking off.
Paul Bremer to visit Grand Rapids
L. Paul Bremer, former director of the United States Occupation of Iraq, will be speaking in Grand Rapids on Monday, October 25. For more information about Bremer, check out this Media Mouse’s update on Paul Bremer. For information on ways to protest his visit to Grand Rapids, download this flyer