Iraq between genocide and coincidences

You could not make it up! Just a few days after Iraq Body Count’s numbers have lost any credibility (1) the Los Angeles Times published “War’s Iraqi Death Toll Tops 50,000”:

BAGHDAD — At least 50,000 Iraqis have died violently since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to statistics from the Baghdad morgue, the Iraqi Health Ministry and other agencies — a toll 20,000 higher than previously acknowledged by the Bush administration. (…) But Health Ministry records do differentiate causes of death. Almost 75% of those who died violently were killed in “terrorist acts,” typically bombings, the records show. The other 25% were killed in what were classified as military clashes. A health official described the victims as “innocent bystanders,” many shot by Iraqi or American troops, in crossfire or accidentally at checkpoints. (2)

Stephen Soldz wrote an important comment on this:

Further, the fact that mortality estimates come from government sources raises questions as to the accuracy of attributed causes. After all, attributing deaths to “terrorist attacks” is more acceptable to the powers-that-be than is attributing tem to “American forces” or to pro-government militias and death squads. Thus, without strong confirmatory evidence, we should be suspicious of claims, such as the LA Times statement that, among the 39% of reported deaths from Health Ministry:

”Almost 75% of those who died violently were killed in “terrorist acts,” typically bombings, the records show. The other 25% were killed in what were classified as military clashes. A health official described the victims as “innocent bystanders,” many shot by Iraqi or American troops, in crossfire or accidentally at checkpoints.” (3)

Yes, we should be suspicious indeed. Why?

At the end of the year 2003, the Associated Press reported:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — Iraq’s Health Ministry has ordered a halt to a count of civilians killed during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures compiled so far, the official who oversaw the count told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The health minister, Dr. Khodeir Abbas, denied in an email that he had anything to do with the order, saying he didn’t even know about the study.

Dr. Nagham Mohsen, the head of the ministry’s statistics department, said the order was relayed to her by the ministry’s director of planning, Dr. Nazar Shabandar, who said it came on behalf of Abbas. She said the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, which oversees the ministry, also wanted the counting to stop.

“We have stopped the collection of this information because our minister didn’t agree with it,” she said, adding: “The CPA doesn’t want this to be done.”(4)

On 30 January, 2005, the BBC published the following (revealing) article:

Iraq Health Ministry Figures

On Thursday, January 27 2005, the Iraqi ministry of health released to the BBC’s Panorama programme statistics stating that for the six-month period from 1 July 2004 to 1 January 2005:

• 3,274 people in Iraq were killed and 12, 657 injured in conflict-related violence
• 2,041 of these deaths were the result of military action, in which 8,542 people were injured
• 1,233 deaths were the result of “terrorist” incidents

These figures were based on records from Iraqi public hospitals.

The BBC initially reported these figures as meaning that the deaths and injuries resulting from military operations were the result of actions by the multinational force and Iraqi security forces.

On Saturday, the Iraqi ministry of health issued a statement clarifying matters that were the subject of several conversations with the BBC before the report was published, and denying that the conclusion could be drawn from the figures relating to military operations.

It stated that those recorded as killed in military action included Iraqis killed by terrorists, not only those killed by coalition forces or Iraqi security forces; and that those recorded as killed in military action included terrorists themselves, and Iraqi security forces.

The BBC regrets mistakes in its initial published and broadcast reports. (5)

Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported:

BAGHDAD, March 8 — Days after the bombing of a Shiite shrine unleashed a wave of retaliatory killings of Sunnis, the leading Shiite party in Iraq’s governing coalition directed the Health Ministry to stop tabulating execution-style shootings, according to a ministry official familiar with the recording of deaths.

The official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named because he feared for his safety, said a representative of the Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, ordered that government hospitals and morgues catalogue deaths caused by bombings or clashes with insurgents, but not by execution-style shootings. A statement this week by the U.N. human rights department in Baghdad appeared to support the account of the Health Ministry official. The agency said it had received information about Baghdad’s main morgue — where victims of fatal shootings are taken — that indicated “the current acting director is under pressure by the Interior Ministry in order not to reveal such information and to minimize the number of casualties.” (…) The Washington Post reported on Feb. 28 that more than 1,300 shooting victims had been brought to the morgue in the first six days after the Samarra bombing. The figure was provided by a morgue worker who refused to be identified by name. Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari denied the account, saying Shiite-Sunni violence had claimed 379 lives in the week following the attack on the shrine. Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the U.S. commander in Iraq, called The Post’s report exaggerated and inaccurate. An e-mail sent to U.S. military officials this week seeking updated casualty figures went unanswered. (6)

We all should consider carefully what’s really going on in Iraq and try to have not a selective memory nor to dismiss or patronize what the Iraqi people are telling us:

“The Health Ministry, which operates the Baghdad morgue and government hospitals, is in the hands of a religious party headed by Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric whose militia, the Mahdi Army, waged two armed uprisings against U.S. forces in 2004. Since the Samarra bombing, the Mahdi Army has been widely accused of kidnapping and killing Sunni men. Families collecting bodies at the morgue last week described gunmen in the black clothes associated with Sadr’s militia coming to Sunni homes or to mosques and taking men away.”(Ibidem)

It’s in this context that the lynching of prisoner of war President Saddam Hussein (7) is staged and it’s also in this context that the public relations’ campaign to discredit the Iraqi Resistance is working, both within and outside Iraq. [Obviously, a word of caution is imperative since the fog is very thick, but there is enough to ask questions, demand actions and again use sceptisism. As far as I know, usually resistance movements are not part of those (puppet) governments they resist and fight against…]


1) See: “Darkness and Light. When international law and science are silenced, the only outcome is darkness”, By Gabriele Zamparini AND “Exchange between Les Roberts and John Sloboda on Iraq Body Count and the Lancet”

2) War’s Iraqi Death Toll Tops 50,000. Higher than the U.S. estimate but thought to be undercounted, the tally is equivalent to 570,000 Americans killed in three years, By Louise Roug and Doug Smith, Times Staff Writers, June 25, 2006

3) Los Angeles Times estimates Iraqi dead at 50,000, June 25th, 2006, Psyche, Science, and Society, Blog of Stephen Soldz: Psychoanayst, Psychologist, Researcher, and Activist

4) Iraq’s Health Ministry ordered to stop counting civilian dead from war, AP, 12/10/2003

5) Iraq Health Ministry Figures, BBC NEWS, 30 January, 2005

6) Official Says Shiite Party Suppressed Body Count, By Ellen Knickmeyer, Washington Post Foreign Service, Thursday, March 9, 2006; Page A01

7) Lynching Saddam, Parts 1-4 by Gabriele Zamparini, The Cat’s Blog

Articles by: Gabriele Zamparini

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