New Study puts Iraqi casualties at 100,000
According to a new study in the British medical journal Lancet, at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The study, which was peer reviewed, was conducted by researchers at Columbia University, Johns Hopkins and Al-Mustansiriya in Baghdad. The study found a sharp rise in the death rate in Iraq due to violence and that over half of the victims were women and children. The figure of 100,000 is significantly higher than the 17,000 figure put out by Iraq Body Count, the most often quoted figure on Iraq casualties. Said Professor Scott Lipscomb of Iraq Body Count on the disparity between the two estimates: ?I am emotionally shocked, but I have no trouble in believing that this many people have been killed,” “We’ve always maintained that the actual count must be much higher”
Reporters Without Borders: Iraq “world’s deadliest country for journalists”
The international journalist group Reporters Without Borders has issued its annual report on press freedom. The study determined that Iraq had become “the most deadly place on Earth for journalists.” Continuing war has made Iraq the most deadly place on earth for journalists in recent years, with 44 killed there since fighting began in March 2003.
Reporters Without Borders has condemned the fatal shooting in Baghdad of Iraqi television journalist Likaa Abdel-Razak on 27 October 2004. The killing “once again bears the hallmarks of an execution,” the organization said. An interpreter and the driver of the taxi in which Abdel-Razak was traveling were also killed in the shooting, while a friend of the journalist was wounded.
FBI Launches Criminal Probe of Halliburton
According to the Associated Press, the FBI has launched a criminal investigation into whether the Pentagon improperly awarded Halliburton no-bid contracts worth billions of dollars. The FBI has sought permission to interview Bunnatin Greenhouse, the chief contracting officer of the Army Corps of Engineers who has publicly questioned if Halliburton had unfairly been awarded the contracts. The line of inquiry expands an earlier FBI investigation into whether Halliburton overcharged taxpayers for fuel in Iraq, and it elevates to a criminal matter the election-year question of whether the Bush administration showed favoritism to Vice President Dick Cheney’s former company.
“Dutch Approach” in Iraq leads to better relations, fewer casualties
The New York Times reports that the Dutch force of 1,350 troops in the Muthanna Province of Iraq have taken a very different approach in providing security. Instead of armored vehicles, the Dutch security details drive vehicles that leave them exposed to the people around them. To encourage interaction with local residents, they go bare-headed and are forbidden to wear mirror sunglasses. The Dutch claim that making soldiers accessible and vulnerable to their surroundings increases their security, while being inaccessible decreases it. So far the Dutch force has suffered two deaths while maintaining more positive relations with the Iraqis than the American forces have. Karim Hleibit al-Zayad, the police chief in Samawa, makes a clear distinction between the Dutch and Americans: “The Dutch have tried seriously to understand our traditions. We do not view them as an occupying force, but a friendly one. The Americans are an occupying force. I agree they helped us get rid of the past regime, but they should not take away our dignity.”
Report: 600 Civilians Die in Fallujah Siege in April
Iraq Body Count has released a study that estimates that as many as 616 Iraqi civilians were killed in April during the U.S. siege of Fallujah. A total of about 800 Iraqis died in the U.S.-backed attack. Until now no group has attempted to calculate the civilian cost of the siege.
Meanwhile, four Iraqis were killed and six injured in US air raids on the Al-Askary neighborhood, east of Falluja on Friday as the town braced for an US assault on it. “We are gearing up for a major operation,” Brigadier General Denis Hajlik told reporters at a base near Falluja. “If we do so, it will be decisive and we will whack them.” Hajlik, deputy commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said the expected operation against Falluja and Ramadi would also involve Iraqi forces. The US military has been pounding targets in Falluja for the last several weeks leading to extensive casualties among residents and damage to the town’s infrastructure.