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New horror stories of war crimes at Iraqi hospitals

Monday 3 January 2005

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by Dahr Jamail

Targeting hospitals or ambulances is in direct contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which strictly forbids attacks on emergency vehicles and the impeding of medical operations during war.

"they raided our supply room where our food and supplies are."

"they smashed one of our ambulances,”

“The Americans threatened to do here what they did in Fallujah if I didn’t cooperate with them,”

“They are shooting our ambulances if they try to go to Fallujah.”

“The Americans shot out the lights in the front of our hospital, they prevented doctors from reaching the emergency unit at the hospital, and we quickly began to run out of supplies and much-needed medication,”

“We were tied up and beaten despite being unarmed and having only our medical instruments,”


New horror stories emerge about GI abuses at Iraqi hospitals
By Dahr Jamail

BAGHDAD (IPS/GIN)-The U.S. military has been preventing delivery of medical care in several instances, medical staff say.

Iraqi doctors at many hospitals have reported raids by coalition forces. Some of the more recent raids have been in Amiriyat al-Fallujah, about 10km to the east of Fallujah, the town U.S. forces now hold after a bloody assault. Amiriyat al-Fallujah has been the source of several reported resistance attacks on U.S. forces.

The main hospital in Amiriyat al-Fallujah was raided twice recently by U.S. soldiers and members of the Iraqi National Guard, doctors say. “The first time was November 29 at 5:40 a.m., and the second time was the following day,” said a doctor at the hospital who did not want to give his real name for fear of U.S. reprisals.

In the first raid, about 150 U.S. soldiers and at least 40 members of the Iraqi National Guard stormed the small hospital, he said.

“They were yelling loudly at everyone, both doctors and patients alike,” the young doctor said. “They divided into groups and were all over the hospital. They broke the gates outside, they broke the doors of the garage, and they raided our supply room where our food and supplies are. They broke all the interior doors of the hospital, as well as every exterior door.”

He was then interrogated about resistance fighters, he said. “The Americans threatened to do here what they did in Fallujah if I didn’t cooperate with them,” he said.

Another doctor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that all of the doors of the clinics inside the hospital were kicked in. All of the doctors, along with the security guard, were handcuffed and interrogated for several hours, he said.

The two doctors pointed to an ambulance with a shattered back window. “When the Americans raided our hospital again last Tuesday at 7 p.m., they smashed one of our ambulances,” the first doctor said.

His colleague pointed to other bullet-riddled ambulances. “The Americans have snipers all along the road between here and Fallujah,” he said. “They are shooting our ambulances if they try to go to Fallujah.”

In nearby Saqlawiyah, Dr. Abdulla Aziz told IPS that occupation forces had blocked any medical supplies from entering or leaving the city. “They won’t let any of our ambulances go to help Fallujah,” he said. “We are out of supplies and they won’t let anyone bring us more.”

The pattern of military interference in medical work has apparently persisted for many months. During the April siege of Fallujah, doctors there reported similar difficulties.

“The Marines have said they didn’t close the hospital, but essentially they did,” said Dr. Abdul Jabbar, orthopedic surgeon at Fallujah General Hospital. “They closed the bridge which connects us to the city, and closed our road. The area in front of our hospital was full of their soldiers and vehicles.”

This prevented medical care reaching countless patients in desperate need, he said. “Who knows how many of them died that we could have saved?”

He, too, said the military had fired on civilian ambulances. They had also fired at the clinic he had been working in since April, he said. “Some days, we couldn’t leave or even go near the door because of the snipers. They were shooting at the front door of the clinic.”

Dr. Jabbar said U.S. snipers shot and killed one of the ambulance drivers of the clinic where he worked during the fighting.

“We were tied up and beaten despite being unarmed and having only our medical instruments,” Asma Khamis al-Muhannadi, a doctor who was present during the U.S. and Iraqi National Guard raid on Fallujah General Hospital, told reporters later.

She said troops dragged patients from their beds and pushed them against the wall. “I was with a woman in labor, the umbilical cord had not yet been cut,” she said. “At that time, a U.S. soldier shouted at one of the (Iraqi) national guards to arrest me and tie my hands while I was helping the mother to deliver.”

Other doctors spoke of their experience of the raid. “The Americans shot out the lights in the front of our hospital, they prevented doctors from reaching the emergency unit at the hospital, and we quickly began to run out of supplies and much-needed medication,” said Dr. Ahmed, who gave only a first name. U.S. troops prevented doctors from entering the hospital on several occasions, he said.

Targeting hospitals or ambulances is in direct contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which strictly forbids attacks on emergency vehicles and the impeding of medical operations during war.

At several places, doctors said U.S. troops had demanded information from medical staff about resistance fighters. “They are always coming here and asking us if we have injured fighters,” a doctor at a hospital said.

A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad told IPS that routine searches of hospitals are carried out to look for “insurgents.” He said it has never been the policy of coalition forces to impede medical services in Iraq.

© Copyright 2005 FCN Publishing, FinalCall.com

http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_1719.shtml

Forum posts

  • Lets take a closer look at the Fourth Geneva Convention:

    Article 2

    No persons residing, in whatever capacity, in a hospital and safety zone shall perform any work, either within or without the zone, directly connected with military operations or the production of war material.

    (working on combatants and lying to Al Jazeera does count as military operations or the production of war material.)

    Article 3

    The Power establishing a hospital and safety zone shall take all necessary measures to prohibit access to all persons who have no right of residence or entry therein.

    (that means the US has the right to keep terrorists and their supporters out of hospitals)

    Article 4

    Hospital and safety zones shall fulfil the following conditions:

    (a) They shall comprise only a small part of the territory governed by the Power which has established them.

    (b) They shall be thinly populated in relation to the possibilities of accommodation.

    (c) They shall be far removed and free from all military objectives, or large industrial or administrative establishments.

    (d) They shall not be situated in areas which, according to every probability, may become important for the conduct of the war.
    Article 5

    Hospital and safety zones shall be subject to the following obligations:

    (a) The lines of communication and means of transport which they possess shall not be used for the transport of military personnel or material, even in transit.

    (ambulances ferrying fighters and ammunition should rightly expect to be attacked. ambulances originating from hospitals who have recently been ferrying fighters and ammunition should expect to be attacked.)

    • which Fourth Geneva Convention are you quoting? There is nothing like this in it!

    • Maybe you should read it again before you quote it?
      - http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org...

    • Check our the interview with Karen Parker who has a specialized law degree in human rights and armed conflict law.

      The Humanitarian Law Project has petitioned the Organization of American States regarding U.S. war crimes against healthcare workers and facilities in Fallujah.

      U.S. War Crimes

      - http://www.thewe.cc/contents/more/a...

    • Correction to above message:

      Should be:

      - http://www.thewe.cc/contents/more/a...

      Both files will give validation of the horror of U.S. attacks however.

    • This is directed to the first poster, the obvious Bush bootlicker who apparently believes that killing, maiming, torture and bombing hospitals, civilians, women and children is good and just (and to all the FoxNews viewers like him): EXAMINE YOUR CONSCIENCE! Does your religion allow and support invasions, murder and mayhem? Do you feel superior because "your guy" is in the White House?

      Here’s a message to take to your friends: You have lost your bearings, if, that is, you ever had any. You are following a leader who has no plan except to murder and destroy then rebuild using YOUR TAX DOLLARS by giving it to his friends’ businesses. You are on the wrong side and the day is coming - and soon - that you too will realize the extent of the tryanny to which we are now subjected. Think back to the fifties or the sixties, if you are old enough and remember a time when we were truly free - before all the legal impositions, governmental intrusions into private lives - and compare it to today. Screenings at airports, road blocks, detainees... soon you too will realize that you are also a slave, imprisioned by your own ideology.

      Good luck to you. I strive to free you, as well

      — The Shadow

  • What did you expect from the Americans? But dont worry for every hospital they destroy for every woman and child they slaughter the resistance grow’s stronger and one day they will answer to their crimes...you can be damned sure on that.

  • It’s easy to get a little confused when all you hear is someone elses twisted rationale justifying their own ends.

    History becomes subjective as doe’s ones reason. People generaly believe today that the Second World War was about the holocaust ( slaughter of Jews ) as it’s refered to today. Or the invasion of Poland.

    But as far back as I can remember, all the speeches and public addresses delivered on the subject designed to rally the public into going to WAR thereby justifying legislation calling for a draft of our young men and women - were about - fighting a SYSTEM WHERE THE STATE IS PARAMOUNT.

    So really the whole issue and thus the conflict, or battle if you prefer, was "entirely" for INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS, the basis of what was refered to as Western Democracy.

    Hitler and the ’nazi party’ were merely presented as figure-heads to rally against. They were generaly representative of what the SYSTEM stood for, which was - itself - entirely self serving and intollerable to a free people.

    Now skip to today and - sadly - you’ll find under, just about every rock that you kick over, if you dare - people with that mentality. Oh! "you can’t do that," or even "I don’t think that’s allowed," about everybody elses business.

    Governments today are increasingly giving up fiscal responsibilities and services while Legislating against HUMANITY.

    As much as we are what we eat, we all run the risk of becoming what we fight.

    One has to somewhat emulate, to overcome an adversary. The risk lies in not knowing that you have. Not seeing the need for quiet reflection on how things were before ones tribulations began.