August 11, 2004
Call the Iraqi Embassy NOW!
Dear CODEPINK Activist,
This last week has been full of terrible news from Iraq. Sections of the Shi'a south have risen up against the U.S. occupation, and the occupying forces' response has been severe: massive attacks by U.S. helicopter gunships and hand-to-hand combat have led to the deaths and injuries of hundreds of Iraqis and a number of occupying troops. Just today, the U.S. military began urging civilians to leave Najaf, as it prepares to attack the Shrine of Ali and turn the city into a free fire zone where who knows how many civilians will be killed.
The interim Iraqi government, rather than acting to protect the holy city of Najaf and its people, has sanctioned the U.S. actions. It has also dealt a massive blow to freedom by closing down the Baghdad office of Al Jazeera, one of the most important media outlets in the Arab world.
These two issues are not unconnected -- Al Jazeera is often the only media outlet with journalists in Iraq's conflict zones, and without Al Jazeera's coverage we are unlikely to find out anytime soon what's really happening on the ground in Najaf or elsewhere in Iraq where fighting is ongoing.
As if these developments are not bad enough, it was just revealed that the U.S. government has awarded another no-bid contract to CACI International Inc., the private company whose interrogators are implicated in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.
The violence and chaos in Iraq are out of control, and no one is being held accountable. Although the U.S. military is still in power in Iraq, we must also call to task the new Iraqi interim government, for its failure to protect the Iraqi people and its attack on freedom of the press.
PLEASE CALL, FAX, EMAIL OR PROTEST AT THE IRAQI EMBASSY IN WASHINGTON, DC. TELL THE AMBASSADOR:
1. Stop the attack on Najaf. The new Iraqi government must urge the U.S. military and the Mahdi Army to negotiate a new ceasefire and pursue a peaceful resolution to the standoff in Najaf that is bound to take more and more innocent lives.
2. Reverse the decision to censor Al Jazeera and immediately allow Al-Jazeera's staff to conduct their professional duties without further interference.
3. Refuse to allow CACI International Inc. to operate in Iraq.
CONTACT: Ambassador Rend Al Raheem
IN WASHINGTON, DC, PROTEST AT THE IRAQI EMBASSY
For up-to-date information about what's going on in Iraq, see the Occupation Watch website, www.occupationwatch.org.