Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thousands of Iraqis protest against the United States

NAJAF, Iraq, April 9.—Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis demonstrated in various cities in protest at the occupation of their country by the U.S. forces.

According to AFP, people who took to the streets of Najaf, south of Baghdad, shouted slogans against the United States on the fourth anniversary of the fall of the government of Saddam Hussein.

“No, no to the United States. Yes, yes to freedom!” “We will die, but we won’t give up,” were the slogans most heard, while U.S. flags were set on fire.

Many placards bore slogans against the United States and its president, George W. Bush, like “Down with Bush!” “Down with the United States!”

Footage taken from a helicopter by the public television channel showed a human tide with thousands of Iraqi flags. “In four years of occupation, our sons were murdered and our women widowed,” explained Ahmed al Mayahie, aged 39, who joined the protest from his city, Basra (550 km south of Baghdad).

“The occupiers say that Iraq was liberated. What liberty? There is only destruction. We do not want their liberation. We are asking them to leave our land,” he added.

Translated by Granma International

YouTube Link

Here is a 6 minute video of selected clips from a programme that aired in June, highlighting the difficulties western media organisations and journalists face in Iraq.

US Army Desertions on the Rise

WASHINGTON.—Desertions and other unauthorized absences of soldiers from the U.S. Army have considerably increased in the last four years, according to The New York Times.

In 2006, 3,196 soldiers left the army, a total showing an increase since 2004, when 2,357 U.S. soldiers fled from active service.

That trend in military units led to thousands of court martials during the period, involving both recent recruits and veterans from combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, the daily reported, quoted by PL.

Military sources state that court martials for desertion have increased since the start of the war on Iraq in March 2003.

From 2002 to 2006, the annual average for abandoning one’s duty tripled in relation to the five years from 1997 to 2002 to reach approximately 6% of conscripts, from a 2% in previous samples.

According to Dr. Thomas Grieger, a U.S. Marines psychiatric expert, the majority of the soldiers were psychologically pressured by the hazardous course of the war in the Middle East and many of them refused to return to the battlefront.

Grieger cited the case of a rookie sergeant who chopped off his trigger finger with a hatchet to avoid his mobilization.

Translated by Granma International

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