Africa Action Joins Over 60 African Organizations in Global Week of Action on Debt
Saturday, 20 October 2007 12:57
|(Washington, DC) – Today Africa Action called on the U.S. Executive Directors to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to take decisive action on the critical issue of debt cancellation at the Annual Meetings this weekend. A progress report will be given at the meetings on the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). In addition to climate change and the International Development Association’s (IDA) 15th round of replenishment funding, Africa Action anticipates that much attention will be given to the agendas of the two new leaders of the institutions.
Incoming IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Khan has already emphasized institutional reform as a priority, and freshly appointed World Bank President Robert Zoellick recently described the institution as a “brain trust” and emphasized the connection between aid and trade.
Marie Clarke Brill, Interim Executive Director of Africa Action, said today, “It has become increasingly clear that the IMF and World Bank suffer from a crisis of legitimacy. The institutions must take immediate action to provide complete debt cancellation without harmful conditions, starting with Liberia this weekend. Without addressing illegitimate debt, the institutions will be revealed for what they are – not the ‘brain trust’ of global development but a Bank and a Fund that prioritize payment from the poorest.”
The IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings come at the end of a Global Week of Action on Debt and IFIs (October 14 – 21, 2007). Organizations around the world are taking action calling for debt cancellation, including over 60 organizations in 21 countries in Africa. The week began with actions in Tanzania honoring Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere (1922-1999) who led Tanzania to independence in 1961 and was a critic of IMF and World Bank policy. Nyerere advocated for debt repudiation, saying, “Must we starve our children to pay our debts?”
“The impressive number of organizations around the world, particularly in Africa, that are engaging in the Global Week of Action indicates the vibrancy of the movement for debt cancellation and economic liberation. It is long past time for wealthy nations and institutions, including the IMF and the World Bank, to provide complete debt cancellation without harmful conditions. Without debt cancellation, African nations will continue to struggle for economic sovereignty while siphoning resources desperately needed to fight HIV/AIDS to pay off illegitimate debts,” said Marie Clarke Brill.
In the U.S., Africa Action engaged as a member organization of the Jubilee USA Network, joining Members of Congress and religious leaders to break a 40-day rolling fast and supporting the Jubilee Act (H.R.2634 and S.2166). The Jubilee Act provides debt cancellation for 67 countries, many in Africa.
Africa Action recently collected 125 organizational signatures on a civil society letter to the new IMF Managing Director outlining the necessary actions to deal with key institutional obstacles to addressing poverty in Africa. You can access this letter at http://www.africaaction.org/campaign_new/docs/0710_CSO_Letter_FINAL.pdf.
Canada Refuses Entry to CODEPINK Cofounder Medea Benjamin and Retired Colonel Ann Wright
Thursday, 04 October 2007 10:04
|Two well-respected US peace activists, CODEPINK and Global Exchange cofounder Medea Benjamin and retired US Army Colonel and diplomat Ann Wright, were denied entry into Canada today (Wednesday, October 3). The two women were headed to Toronto to discuss peace and security issues at the invitation of the Toronto Stop the War Coalition. At the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Bridge they were detained, questioned and denied entry. They will hold a press conference on Thursday afternoon in front of the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC to ask the Canadian government to reverse its policy of barring peaceful protesters.
The women were questioned at Canadian customs about their participation in anti-war efforts and informed that they had an FBI file indicating they had been arrested in acts of non-violent civil disobedience.
WHEN: Thursday, October 4th at 1pm
WHERE: Canadian Embassy, 501 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC
"In my case, the border guard pulled up a file showing that I had been arrested at the US Mission to the UN where, on International Women's Day, a group of us had tried to deliver a peace petition signed by 152,000 women around the world," says Benjamin. "For this, the Canadians labeled me a criminal and refused to allow me in the country."
"The FBI's placing of peace activists on an international criminal database is blatant political intimidation of US citizens opposed to Bush administration policies," says Colonel Wright, who was also Deputy US Ambassador in four countries. "The Canadian government should certainly not accept this FBI database as the criteria for entering the country."
Both Wright and Benjamin plan to request their files from the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act and demand that arrests for peaceful, non-violent actions be expunged from international records.
"It's outrageous that Canada is turning away peacemakers protesting a war that does not have the support of either US or Canadian citizens," says Benjamin. "In the past, Canada has always welcomed peace activists with open arms. This new policy, obviously a creature of the Bush administration, is shocking and we in the US and Canada must insist that it be overturned.
Four members of the Canadian Parliament — Peggy Nash, Libby Davies, Paul Dewar and Peter Julian — expressed outrage that the peace activists were barred from Canada and vow to change this policy.
International aviation body fails to act on climate plans
Friday, 28 September 2007 22:41
|(MONTREAL, CANADA) The 36th Assembly of the International
Civil Aviation Organization ends in disarray and conflicts over action to
reduce aviation emissions. The assembly passed a resolution that
would only allow for new rules on greenhouse gas emissions controls by
host countries if the non-domestic airlines agreed.
"After ten years of posturing, this assembly's clear failure sounds
the death knell for any ICAO role in environmental protection," says
Dr. Werner Reh, aviation expert for Friends of the Earth Germany.
"ICAO chooses to ignore the very significant growth in greenhouse
gas emissions by airlines and the clear need for taxes, emission charges
or emission trading schemes."
Aviation greenhouse gas emissions have doubled since 1990 and will
further grow by 3.5% annually. The UN's IPCC report assesses the
climate impact of aviation from 2-8% of global warming. Under the
terms of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, ICAO, a UN body, was tasked with
responsibility for reducing emissions from international aviation.
The 36th Assembly was faced with a dynamite agenda item presented by the
European Union which proposed to integrate aviation into its existing
emission trading system. Friends of the Earth supported the EU
plan. The "Coalition of the Unwilling" was led by the
United States, which has never agreed to Kyoto, joined by Canada which is
not complying with its own domestic law for Kyoto. China, Saudi
Arabia and Brazil joined in blocking the EU efforts.
"ICAO's buckling to the US insistence on 'mutual agreement by third
parties' before the EU emissions trading scheme can be applied is the
latest in a decade of stalling and denial," says Dr. Reh.
"The EU has taken a leadership stance in pressing ahead to integrate
aviation into its emission trading system. Its decision to make a
"reservation" against the ICAO resolution signals the end for
ICAO role on the environment. Effectively, the EU will ignore the
resolution on 'market-based measures' on legal grounds that it undercuts
the effectiveness of the EU battle against aviation effects on climate
"We can no longer tolerate ICAO's position that aviation is a sacred
cow allowing it to ignore climate impacts," says Beatrice Olivastri,
CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada. "Canada's alignment with the
US on voluntary measures for aviation is yet more evidence of Canada's
'made-in-the-USA' game plan for climate inaction. Just like every
other enterprise in the world, airlines must make significant reductions
of greenhouse gas emissions. If their own governance agency fails
to lead in this respect, it's time to find other mandatory
ICAOs FAILURES: A DECADE OF DENIAL
Failure to act on climate is nothing new for ICAO. Over the
last ten years, ICAO has failed to deliver or support any mandatory
policies regarding emissions stabilisation or reduction. Instead the
organisation has attempted to close the doors, one by one, on almost
every conceivable mandatory policy measure for reducing greenhouse gas
emissions from the air traffic sector:
ICAO resolution, reconfirmed in 2001, called on states to refuse
application of fuel taxes as environmental measures.
ICAO reaffirmed opposition to fuel taxes, showing preference for the
use of charges. (However, in 2004 ICAO asked member states not to apply
charges until at least 2007.)
ICAO rejected GHG emission standards for aircraft.
ICAO opposed the application of closed emission trading schemes for
ICAO dismissed any possibility of establishing a global emission
trading scheme for aviation, instead endorsing the inclusion of aviation
in existing emission trading schemes (e.g. the EU ETS).
ICAO imposes a three-year moratorium on GHG emission charges.
ICAO Assembly passes a resolution that says members should sign
separate agreements with all third countries operating in its airspace
before applying emissions trading to their carriers. The EU says it
will press ahead with its plans to integrate aviation into its emissions
trading system and made a "reservation" against the ICAO
resolution signalling that they would ignore it on legal
Cheney Sounds Out Jordan, Egypt on U.S. Bombing of Iran
Thursday, 27 September 2007 14:42
|by Marjorie Cohn
My cousin Larry Russell, a travel writer, spent three weeks (May 11 through May 31 of 2007) in Jordan as a guest of the Jordanian Tourist Board. He was invited to dinner at the home of Karim Kawar, Jordan's ex- ambassador to the United States (2002-06), in Amman. Dick Cheney and his daughter were Kawar's guests two nights before Larry arrived. Kawar confided to Larry that "Cheney's mission was to sound out the reaction to a forthcoming bombing of Iran's nuclear sites (no ground invasion planned) by the U.S. from Jordan's King Abdullah and President Mubarak of Egypt. They both rejected the idea."
When Larry pointed out that Jordan and Egypt receive regular economic and military equipment assistance from the United States so any resistance to this plan on their parts would probably be of a token nature at best, Kawar just smiled.
Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and President of the National Lawyers Guild. Her new book, Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law, was just published. Her articles are archived here .
Canada facing legal challenge for breaking federal global warming law
Thursday, 20 September 2007 15:31
|(Ottawa, Canada, September 20, 2007) The Government of
Canada is once again facing a legal challenge for failing to take action
on global warming -- this time for refusing to respect a federal law that
requires reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Late yesterday an
Application for Judicial Review was filed with the Federal Court seeking
to force the Government to comply with the Kyoto Protocol Implementation
Filed by eminent Canadian lawyer Chris Paliare and Ecojustice (formerly
Sierra Legal) on behalf of Friends of the Earth Canada, the application
alleges that the federal Minister of the Environment is ignoring the rule
of law by failing to comply with the Act, passed by Parliament in June
Under the legislation, the government was legally required to publish,
within 60 days, a plan to comply with the country's commitments under the
Kyoto Protocol. The Harper government responded in late August with a
plan that the applicants allege plainly fails to meet the requirements of
"This case is about being accountable to the will of
Parliament," says lawyer Chris Paliare. "By failing to
comply with this law, the federal government is neither acting in a
manner that is accountable to Parliament nor showing respect for the
people of Canada. We are simply asking the court to declare that the
government is bound by the Act's requirements and to require the
government to comply with it."
"Just as parents have clear obligations under the law to
protect their children, the Government of Canada has clear obligations
under this federal law to protect families from a grave danger,"
says Friends of the Earth Canada Chief Executive Officer Beatrice
Olivastri. "Canadians will not tolerate a deadbeat dad
approach to climate change."
"Canadians have made it clear they want action on climate change -
in fact, our domestic law requires it," says Ecojustice lawyer
Albert Koehl. "Most Canadians don't care what the current government
can't do - or what the previous government didn't do; they just want the
government to act now to reduce emissions and to live up to our
In May 2007, on behalf of Friends of the Earth, Ecojustice launched a
lawsuit against the federal government alleging that it had contravened
the Canadian Environmental Protection Act by not meeting its
international commitments to reduce greenhouse gases. After the
unexpected passage of Pablo Rodriguez's private member's bill into law
this summer, however, Friends of the Earth and the Ministers of
Environment and Health agreed to stay the litigation pending the outcome
of the new act.
The Need for an Independent Public Inquiry into the 7/7 London Bombings
Wednesday, 19 September 2007 22:15
Whose Security? What Intelligence?
The Need for an Independent Public Inquiry into the 7/7 London Bombings Why was London attacked on 7th July 2005? Why were the
attacks not prevented? Initial government responses claimed the
Islamist terrorists were 'clean skins', previously unknown to the
security services; therefore more staff and more severe anti-terror
measures are needed to prevent future attacks. But there are great
discrepancies in the government's account of events leading up to 7/7,
in particular Operation Crevice. Moreover, British 'security' policies
at home and abroad have systematically undermined public safety for
over the last decade. Meanwhile, 'anti-terror' powers are serving to
divert attention and resources from real threats of terrorist attacks
in this country.
This critique has been developed in a parliamentary briefing paper, Inside the Crevice.
In August 2007 it was circulated to members of several UK parliamentary
committees, including the Intelligence & Security Committee, Home
Affairs Committee, Defence Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee, Joint
Human Rights Committee, and Communities & Local Government
Committee, as well as ministers and government officials.
report is cited in the pre-action protocol letter drafted by Oury Clark
Solicitors on behalf of the 7/7 Inquiry Group, sent to the Home
Secretary. It is also cited in their application for judicial review of
the government's decision not to hold an inquiry into the London
bombings. Key themes and questions raised in the report, which calls
for radical reform of British security policies, will be discussed at
Public launch of new report
"Inside the Crevice: Islamist terror networks
and the 7/7 intelligence failure", by Nafeez Ahmed
6.30-9pm Weds 3 October 2007 at Garden Court Chambers, Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2 (Holborn tube station)
Chair: Frances Webber Garden Court Chambers
Nafeez Ahmed Institute for Policy Research & Development (IPRD)
Detective Superintendent (ret.) Des Thomas former Deputy Head, CID Constabulary, Hampshire
Les Levidow CAMPACC
Rachel North 7/7 survivor, author, Out of the Tunnel
James Oury Oury Clark Solicitors, representing the 7/7 Inquiry Group
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC;
Institute for Policy Research & Development [IPRD] www.globalcrisis.org.uk ;
Campaign Against Criminalising Communities [CAMPACC] www.campacc.org.uk ;
Garden Court Chambers, www.gardencourtchambers.co.uk;
Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, www.haldane.org
For full text of report go to www.globalcrisis.org.uk
Nafeez Ahmed e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 07860 825 735 or
CAMPACC e-mail email@example.com Tel 020 7586 5892
Institute for Policy Research and Development
Cutting Edge Catamaran Construction and Design
Friday, 14 September 2007 17:22
|by Richard Kastelein
Yachts is a Catamaran Design and Construction consultancy circled on
using the latest, cutting edge eco-technology in design and engineering
with pod-drives, diesel-electric drives, as well as alternative energy
sources such as solar, wind, water and hydrogen. We are specialists in
constructing high quality vessels in Latin America including Brazil,
Ecuador and Belize.
GRONINGEN, NETHERLANDS (PRWEB)
September 16, 2007 — With many years in the Marine Industry Avante
Yachts is focused on consulting clients in building innovative, sail
and power multihulls using the latest eco-friendly, cost-effective
marine technology on the market. Especially in Latin America, with its
competitive salaries and top notch engineers and tradesmen.
"We feel that Latin America is a viable option to building boats in
China - as so many other boatbuilders in the industry look east,"
stated American partner Allen Brown. "And that's for a number of great
reasons... including the outstanding government support mechanisms in
place to support boat builders in the region," he added.
Company co-founder Brown engineering at MIT in the sixties and has
been a boatbuilder for over 20 years - bringing a plethora of
innovative and creative engineering to the company.
"Not only do we feel that using emerging technologies to drastically
save on the cost of, or completely eliminate fossil fuels (it may be
inevitable), makes sense... I think it's simply smart boatbuilding to
use what tools and products we have available to build better, more
efficient boats," said Dutchman Richard Kastelein, Brown's partner.
"And the fact that we can consult on building boats that are more
environmentally friendly in an increasingly more sensitive ocean
environment also adheres to our ethos."
Like so many areas of technology that are growing exponentially due
to the general explosion of knowledge in the information age -
incredible advances in alternative and more efficient marine industry
alternatives for power, design and communications are very real. And
"What was not feasible five years ago is very possible now," added
Kastelein. "We have now shifted from hands-on boatbuilding to
consulting and managing projects," adding that Avante Yachts has been
active with building projects in Ecuador, Brazil and Belize over the
past few years.
The company owners stated they are working with several clients and
investors to build boats using hybrid diesel-electric and straight
electric drives for propulsion in their catamarans in order to capture
market share in what they feel is the next wave in the industry due to
the rapidly rising cost of fuel and pollution-restricting legislation.
"Imagine an electric day charter sail catamaran for a hotel that is
plugged in to shore power every night and runs every day without a drop
of combustible fuel," stated Kastelein. "No pollution affecting
sensitive reefs, lowering of operational costs, less noise, and no
offensive diesel fumes… it's a win, win situation. The market is huge
and there are very few builders and designers who are facing the rapid
changes and building boats using these technologies," he added.
The group not only has day charter catamarans on their mind - but
has also been discussing the production of cruising power and sail
catamaran lines with several designers. Avante Yachts are looking
towards capitalizing on the latest technologies in yacht construction
to fuse efficiency, strength and quality in their boats.
The advantages of building in latin America include - government
programs and Industry support allowing for duty free importation of
quality marine products from overseas for boatbuilders that export
their final product out of the country, large pools of talented
engineers and craftspersons, competitive salaries, low cost of living,
vast array of fine products such as farmed hardwoods, resins,
composites, fibreglass and much more….
Access to the American market is paramount with Miami, Florida - the
heart of the global boating industry only a heartbeat away. One of the
great problems with building in the East is market access.
For more information please visit www.avanteyachts.com or contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Counterterrorism Expert Warns if National Security Given to CIA, U.S. Will Have Crossed Line
Friday, 14 September 2007 15:32
Former FBI Counterterrorism Expert Warns if National Security Given to CIA, U.S. Will Have Crossed Line of No Return
expert warns that law of the land is being abandoned for secrecy in war
against terrorists. If this continues, it will be a victory for the
Palisades, NY (PRWEB)
September 14, 2007 -- Counterterrorism expert warns that law of the
land is being abandoned for secrecy in war against terrorists. If this
continues, it will be a victory for the terrorists.
"The way the government is set up today to fight terrorism indicates
that we as a nation have learned nothing," said former FBI
Counterterrorism expert Terry Turchie in an address at John Jay College
of Criminal Justice in New York City, Monday evening, Sept. 10th.
"Terrorism is intimidation and coercion designed to strike fear in
people in order to change the political, economic or social fabric of
the country. The terrorists are very clear and they know what they are
doing. Unlike the terrorists, our focus on terrorism is driven by
politicians and emotion and what comes in the morning mail."
Turchie, now retired from the FBI, was the former FBI Counterterrorism
Unit Director who, along with FBI Director Louis Freeh, pursued Osama
Bin Laden into Pakistan before 9/11, was also responsible for the
pursuit and capture of Ted Kaczynski the notorious Unabomber and the
multi-force pursuit and containment of Eric Robert Rudolph that
resulted in his capture by a local police officer.
"The best long term strategy to fight terrorism is adhering to the
law of the land," Turchie stressed in his address, ".If we go to
secrecy and torture, that is the response the terrorists seek.
Ironically, the most outspoken opponents of terrorism are giving in to
the terrorists by resorting to secrecy."
Then turning from the present to the future, Terchie said, "When the
next act of terror occurs, the politicians will blame the FBI or each
other. As a response they will remove from the FBI its national
security function and will rest it in the hands of the CIA and then we
will have crossed the line of no return. We will be replacing
credibility and transparency with secrecy and torture and we will turn
our back on the law of the land and the terrorists will have won." Then
pausing, he added." This must not happen"
Terry Turchie is now an author. He co-authored "Hunting The American
Terrorist "(History Publishing Company) with retired FBI Special Agent
and clinical psychologist, Dr. Kathleen Puckett, one of the founders of
the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Program. Their forthcoming book "Homeland
Insecurity" (History Publishing Company) focuses on the seventeen
Washington politicians who have sacrificed national security for
Fighting Amongst Shias Adds to Violence
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 01:35
by Dahr Jamail & Ali al-Fadhily
BAGHDAD, Sep 11 (IPS) - Clashes between rival Shia militas in Kerbala have spread across southern Iraq and Baghdad, adding a new dimension to sectarian violence.
Clashes between the Mehdi Army militia of Shia anti-occupation cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the Badr Organisation militia of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC) erupted over recent days in the holy city of Kerbala, 100 km southwest of Baghdad.
Kerbala, with a population of about half a million, is a holy city, particularly for the Shias, as it is home to the tomb of Hussein ibn Ali, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.
The shrine of Imam Hussein is a place of pilgrimage for many Shia Muslims.
The recent clashes between the two powerful militias, which left at least 52 people dead and over 200 wounded during the pilgrimage, and led to curfew over the entire city, mark intensifying fighting throughout southern Iraq.
This was the first time that a major pilgrimage has been stopped in Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims had gathered in the city to mark the birth anniversary of the 12th and last Shia imam.
"Even Saddam did not stop our pilgrimage, but look at those
who say they are our protectors, killing us in cold blood," Kathum
Hussein, whose wife was killed when Iraqi police opened fire, told IPS
in Baghdad. "The guards who get their huge salaries to protect us just
started shooting as if we were insects, not human beings."
Samarra Under U.S. Attack
Friday, 07 September 2007 09:11
|by Dahr Jamail & Ali al-Fadhily
BAGHDAD, Sep 6 (IPS) - Residents are fleeing Samarra city in the face of fierce fighting between U.S. forces and resistance groups.
New defiance is rising against U.S. forces following military "crimes", fleeing residents say.
"On Sunday the 26th of August, there was fierce fighting between armed men and American forces in the Armooshiya district, and I saw Americans evacuate many of their soldiers by stretchers," a man who fled Samarra for Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. "As usual, Americans took revenge by bombing the district."
A woman who also fled Samarra for the capital in recent days, who gave her name as Iman, told IPS that the U.S. military had "committed another crime in the medicine factory residence area" when "they bombed a house there and killed a woman with her seven children."
The Sunni and anti-occupation Muslim Scholars Association issued a statement confirming these two assaults, and condemning the "ugly crimes" of occupation forces in Samarra. The Association accused the U.S. military of attempting to break the spirit of Iraqis who reject the U.S. occupation.
"They think their crimes would stop Iraqis from demanding their rights for liberty and prosperity, but the results are always different from what the American leaders hope," Sheikh Taha from the Muslim Scholars' Association told IPS in Baghdad.
"They are only pushing more Iraqis to be armed against them, and you can see that the facts on the ground are the opposite of what they tell their people. Their soldiers are getting killed every day and they (U.S. military) are losing in Iraq."
With Donkeys for Transport, All Is Well
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 21:57
|by Dahr Jamail & Ali al-Fadhily
FALLUJAH, Sep 5 (IPS) - A brave new attempt is under way to project that all is well now with Fallujah. Residents know better — or worse.
Former Iraqi minister of state for foreign affairs Rafi al-Issawi visited Fallujah, 60 km west of Baghdad, Aug. 22. Issawi, who resigned Aug. 1 when the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front withdrew from the government, visited the city with other members of the Sunni Accordance Bloc, al-Tawafuq.
The group toured the city and met with senior officials and community leaders in a show of conversion of the city from the most violent to the most peaceful in Iraq.
The Iraqi Islamic Party's TV channel, al-Baghdad, accompanied Issawi on his tour and broadcast some of the scenes from inside Fallujah. The footage exposed the painful truth of the real situation here. The streets were deserted, shops were closed, and people appeared with sullen faces.
"Of course we are happy to have our city peaceful, but not this way," lawyer Ahmed Hammad told IPS. "The local police guided and supported by the American Army have prevented car movement for nearly three months now. They should not be proud of having the city quiet in a way that kills everybody with hunger and disease."
Hammad referred to the vehicle ban which was imposed by the U.S. military in Fallujah in May.
Some residents in Fallujah praised the police, others described policemen as savages.
"Those who are not Fallujah citizens in the force must be expelled and replaced by our own men," Nassir al-Dulaymi, a former police officer, told IPS. "They swear at people in the street and arrest people as they please, and of course there is no real government to hold them accountable for their crimes. Probably they would be rewarded for their savage acts."
Too Many Search Hopelessly for the Kidnapped
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 10:50
|by Dahr Jamail & Ahmed Ali
BAQUBA, Sep 4 (IPS) - Amidst the violence and chaos in Diyala province, kidnappings continue unabated, bringing an uncertain fate for the abducted, and unanswered questions for their families.
Kidnapping has become another form of violence, to add to car bombs, assassinations, displacement, theft, threats and air strikes.
And kidnapping itself is carried out in all sorts of ways: taking someone from their home at night, from office during the day, in plain sight of civilians and police officers on the street, at false check points, or stopping the car to abduct the person.
Families of those kidnapped are left without knowing who took their loved one, or where the person might have been taken. Panic sets in. Families try to find someone in a position of influence who could help, but usually no one can.
If the person kidnapped is a policeman, member of the Iraqi National Guard (ING) or a translator for the U.S. military, he is usually killed immediately. When a civilian is kidnapped and a couple of weeks pass without a ransom demand, families begin the painful process of checking the local morgue repeatedly.
"When they kill a prisoner, they may drop him in the street as a sign of challenge to the government, or they select a place to be their execution zone," Hussam Nasir, a resident of Baquba (50 km northeast of Baghdad), whose brother was kidnapped told IPS. "After they leave this place, a police patrol comes to move the body to the morgue. In the morgue, two pictures are taken from reverse angles to be kept in the computer."
Nasir knows what that can be like. "These pictures are shown to those who come to ask about their relatives. The dead cannot be identified easily because their faces are usually decomposed or exploded, but I knew my brother's face when I saw it."
Thamir Niama, whose brother was detained several months ago, also went through pictures at the morgue.