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Aid to Fallujah Blocked,
NGO's Intimidated

Occupation forces in Iraq have blocked relief aid convoys
bound for Fallujah. NGO's in Iraq are intimidated into silence.
Reports from Fallujah indicate exposure to chemical gas weapons.,
27th November, 2004
by Ewa Jasiewicz

Interview with
Eva Jasiewicz -journalist

mp3 or

Read Our Iraq Report
Fallujah's 9/11:
U.S. Used Weapons
of Mass Destruction

This is news gathered from a UK contact working for a small relief organisation based in Baghdad. He has been in regular contact with relief staff on the ground in Iraq who for the past two weeks – since November 10th - have been trying to get convoys of aid into Fallujah but have been prevented from doing so by Occupation Forces.

The first time they tried to get a convoy in was June. The convoy was halted and in effect stolen, confiscated, by Iraqi soldiers under the command of Occupation Forces.

The Iraqi soldiers confiscated medical supplies – penicillin, syringes, consumables, bandages, plastic gloves, and sanitary equipment. No reason given by individual Iraqi soldiers was ‘We need it more than they do’ – these are the exact words used. The soldier then announced that the goods would be taken in the name of the Ministry of Health. The incident happened on the road between Baghdad and Fallujah.

The most recent Convoy was attacked by Occupation Forces on Wednesday 24th November. It was part of 3 trucks laden with aid. It contained blankets, water, medical supplies, cooking gas, and basic foodstuffs such as rice, flour, sugar, salt etc. Troops fired on the truck hitting it 6 times. Noone was injured but the convoy was forced to turn back. There was no dialogue with the soldiers.

The NGO trying to carry out this work cannot be named for security reasons. Staff report a climate of fear where speaking out about occupation violations can result in targeting, censorship and possible shut-down of operations by the neo-Baathist Alawi government. Staff have been processing and supporting families fleeing Fallujah and have been listening to their stories.

There is a need for these stories and testimonies to be heard but those involved do not want their names revealed for fear of retaliation. Such constraints make journalistic reporting difficult. Confirmation of sources is hampered by a lack of personal access to Fallujah and Baghdad and the situation on the ground. Reliance on testimonies through third parties is also problematic yet this is the best that can be done under the circumstances. The news below is corroborated by similar reports in the Arabic and mainstream media.

Here are examples of reports from Fallujah
as conveyed to Iraqi relief staff in Baghdad:

    Residents of the Hay Julan area who were able to flee Fallujah described an apple smelling chemical with which they were exposed to before the main onslaught into Fallujah. There was a break of about half a day between the presence of the gas/chemical and when the main assault started. The chemical created open wounds on the skin which were very hard to treat.

After a while all exposed areas on the skin were cracked and bleeding. People came out of Fallujah with these injuries. They described smoke, a sweet smell and when they were exposed to the smoke, they coughed up blood and had cracked bleeding skin. Most of these families were hiding. When they smelled the gas they thought this was a gas attack and fled their homes and made their way through small backroads unoccupied by Occupation Forces.

This happened at the beginning of the attack on Fallujah – around 2 weeks ago.

    There were many families who left young people to guard their homes – 18 years old and younger, teenagers, people of not fighting age who they thought would be too young to be targeted by troops. A common theme running through each family grouping which fled Fallujah is that they elected one or two people to stay behind and look after their houses.

One woman said she wanted to commit suicide as she’d left her son there and her home was no longer there. A lot of families said they could not understand the figure of 170 families being put forward by the Red Crescent Society (Arabic medical relief agency). Their estimation was 3-4 times larger. They were aware of a significant number of families left behind. The explanation offered by them was that they must have fled to another part of Fallujah or been killed.

    The families said they were prevented from returning to Fallujah to pick up dead bodies of relatives. One family which had had their home shelled went to Saqlaawiya which is a village just outside of Fallujah. Saqlaawiya and Ameriyaht Fallujah (1700 families from Fallujah are living there in tents, provided by aid organisations) are under siege by Occupation Forces.

This is where families are able to go. In the beginning of the invasion of Fallujah, there was a missile attack on Saqlaawiya. Noone knows what happened in the aftermath of this. A group of Saqlaawiya families have been trying to return to pick up their dead but have been prevented.

    The main areas housing recent refugees (many of the initial refugees went to Baghdad) are: Saqlaawiya, Baquba, Ameriat Fallujah, and Heed and this is where the information is coming from.

Latest News

Conveyed today through the NGO contact in the UK:

    There are systematic arrests by Occupation Troops of boys aged 14-years and upwards are taking place in Heed, Baquba, Ahmeriyat Fallujah, Saqlaawiya and Ramadi. House to house searches.

    Ahdemeeya in Baghdad is a no-go zone. Pitched battles are taking place between the resistance and occupation forces. British troops are carrying out house-to-house searches in properties along the Euphrates River edging towards Baghdad.

Statement from NGO co-ordinator in
UK after contact with Baghdad office:

    ‘The situation is more volatile than previously assessed. An Iraqi journalist was trying to take pictures of our convoy. A car pulled up, a civilian car from Fallujah, and accused the journalist of being a spy. The driver pulled out a gun and pointed it at the journalist and accused him of working for the Iraqi Mokhabarat (Intelligence services) and threatened to shoot him dead. This happened in the vicinity of Fallujah. Had it not been for intervention from those accompanying the aid agency, the situation could have escalated.

    Every day we are trying to send convoys into Fallujah but we are being blocked by occupation troops. The psychology of the situation is very dangerous. There is a ruthlessness and blind reaction by people to perceived threats, as the incident with the journalist shows us. People have lost their familes, their loved ones, their homes. There is a lot of psychological damage and instability.

Our co-ordinator has said that it is not safe to talk to the media about what is happening. (People are afraid of being accused of scaremongering and fomenting or inciting violence against the government or ‘coalition troops’ which is an offence under Bremer’s Order on prohibited media activity.

    The number of families which got out in the last few days is 2-3 times greater than previously estimated from all areas. At first we had 150 families come out from Fallujah to Heed. Now we have seen over 1000 families come to the Heed and Ameriyaht area. Now they cannot leave these areas. Americans control the whole area. Aid has definitely been let into Ameriyaht. But it has been limited in Baquba and Ramadi. The situation is a crisis.

    The Americans have been allowing families out of Fallujah. But there are 170 families remaining in the area controlled by the Americans which is only about 45% of Fallujah. This means that most of Fallujah is still in the hands of the resistance. Under US control are the Al Wahde, Julan and Hay Sina’i areas in the North of Fallujah. But there is still sporadic fighting in these areas and all over the place.

The fighting never stops. Guerilla fighters move from house to house, they never stop. And there are areas within these areas which are still changing hands. There was fighting in the Julan area today this morning. All the main roads are not safe. Water and electricity in the city is still cut. It is a bonus if people can move and survive. Resistance fighters are moving in and out quickly of areas as they know that if the military identifies those areas it will bomb them from the air. They keep moving. They can escape as they know every inch of the city. This is the tactic. Almost every house in Al Wahde, Julan and Hay Sina’I has been searched.

    There are families trapped in the desert close to Fallujah without anything. They have no tents, nothing, they are just in the bare desert, these families are seen from Convoys trying to deliver aid. If you stop or leave roads already known then there is fear of being targeted by US snipers.

Interview with
Eva Jasiewicz -journalist

mp3 or

The situation is not secure for vehicles to break away from Convoys to come out and deal with them as they are too close to Fallujah and this means people coming to them are perceived as a security threat to the Americans. There are 10s of families there but there are no specific numbers. We have managed to help families in other parts of the desert, further away from Fallujah itself.

This report was compiled by Ewa Jasiewicz,
activist journalist who spent 9 months in Occupied Iraq.

  Related Story
Fallujah's 9/11:
U.S. Used Weapons
of Mass Destruction

November 9th, 2004 was Fallujah's 9/11 Tuesday. It marked the peak of 3 days of indiscriminate bombing by US forces.

The bomb blitz featured weapons of mass destruction:
banned napalm-type munitions, chemical poison gas and super-bombs of up to 2,000-pounds.

The ground assault was also indiscriminate. The target was a city where at least 60,000 civilians outnumbered rebel fighters by over thirty to one.

The evidence of those crimes is accumulating, as accounts by aid workers' from inside Fallujah manage to bypass reporting restrictions.  ..Our Exposé
The relevant US commanders
should be immediately detained and interrogated --so we can determine
on whose orders they acted, that
others may also face justice.

The attack on Fallujah was the worst single terrorism
atrocity since 2,752 people died in New York on
Tuesday, 9/11/2001. The Iraqi Red Crescent fear
up to 6,000 killed so far, in the terror on Fallujah.

See Also  
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See Also
6,000 Killed in Falluja
Saving Fallujah,
And Other
Movie Fantasies

by Fintan Dunne, Editor

Just as in the movie Saving Private Ryan, U.S. forces in the "assault" on Fallujah
have a mission aimed at a single man: the elusive
Musab al-Zarqawi. They seek
him here. They seek him there.
They seek him everywhere.

But, Zarqawi remains as disappointingly fictional as ever.

No doubt he has "slipped
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that's only to be expected
when you are fighting against
an enemy which uses guerilla
warfare. "Slipping away" is the
very definition of guerilla war.

Or hasn't anyone told the Americans?  ..Read on

" Fallujah was poor by the Marines' standards, with many of its people living in mud-brick homes in tight, crowded neighborhoods.

"After we rebuild Fallujah, it will be a lot better place to live," said says Lance Cpl. Brian Wyer, 21, of Chouteau, Okla, "something that
was worth our sacrifice
Yahoo News


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