Fron A Jewish Voice for Peace
[Glaringly absent in these days of so-called “embedded” war correspondents are independent voices reporting on goings on in Iraq. Australian peace activist and researcher Max Watts sends out daily accounts of the information he painstakingly collects from various sources, and among them chiefly from several activists, human shields, Australians and others who have gone to Baghdad to witness the US/British/Australian attack while working with Iraqi civilians to try to maintain decent living conditions. Max’s reports are an anti-theses to usual media reports, not only providing “the facts” but also clearly describing the frustrating process and yet the surprising feasibility of collecting such facts — the bad phone lines, the irregular accessibility of email, the persistence of a committed, determined, “regular guy”. These aren’t reports of “straight” impersonalized information; they include Max’s personal comments, views, background knowledge, feelings, and clearly place the information within an openly stated political stand, in a uniquely personal style. Rosemarie Gillespie, an Australian working at the “7th April Water Treatment Plant” in Baghdad is one of the sources quoted almost daily in Max Watt’s items. Rosmarie has repeatedly conveyed her impression that Iraqis would put up much more resistance than expected and do not seem to be waiting for western “liberation.” Quite a while before military officials issued the information, she reported fairly reliable rumors that some kind of US/British plane had been shot down. In the update below she reports briefly on a meeting of the roughly 100 human shields currently active in Baghdad and, among other items and comments, Max recounts a short conversation with Tom Carhill, of California, who is also active as a human shield. If you wish to receive Max’s daily communications, write him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.RM]
BAGHDAD: BOMBS AND MOSKITOS
25.3.03: 07:20: get thru on tel. 964 1 443 6039
Speak to the 7th April Water Treatment Plant:
M: … what nationality are you ?
M can I speak to Rosemarie or other Australian… asleep, but wakes up
M You had a meeting yesterday, about…
Rosemarie Gillespie: Rumour spread: Americans will be here in 2-3 days.
M: And..? Are you leaving ?
R Ridiculous. Staying !
M The Bombing ? (Boom heard)
R You get used to it.
M: Are you getting the emails we send you ?
R We have to go there, they are sometimes difficult to access. But it’s a great delight to get the supporting messages. There’s a new Human Shield site…
Line becomes very bad ; hang up, call again.
Thru at 7:34
R: There is a new, second, website:
www:humanshields.org and www.humanshieldaction.org (check spellings ? wait for emails ?
R I saw Wayne (Coles-Janess) today. He has (video) footage for Oz. I think he is in contact (or trying to get into contact? Bad line) with Channel 9 see below
R: I heard hospital bombed in Tikrit…. (targeted..). (Bomb (missile) flying by). Noise, people.. speaking…
R Laughs… They are worried about.. the moskitos ! (used to the bombs !)
It’s been pretty quiet tonite, so far.
M You were right about your Stock market predictions …. It has gone down, as you expected !
R: Yes. Also: they are deliberately bombing civilian targets. Like the Hospital in Tikrit. Don’t believe that bullshit (General Frankfurt and Co about only hitting military targets). R: They are targeting Civilians, Houses. The bullshit of Bush… LIBERATING IRAQIS !
M: How are you, Patricia… Donna…
R Patricia is OK now, the gastroenteritis has gone, Donna is ok…
(Donna was on a Radio Broadcast with Sydney Commercial Private Station 2GB after 15:00 hrs AEST (7 am Baghdad)
I am unfamiliar with such radios, and listening soon assumed the Sydney “moderator” was a total nutter. Apparently this “Presenter” – seems to be called Philip Clark – is not nuts, just vicious and off the planet. But Donna was able to make points despite his idiocy and “evilness” (can’t think of better word). Some approx notes of bdcst.
Donna: (re bombing): This is the 6th night, the 7th morning.. of being bombed..
Nutter: You must get out ! You have made your point, … for an evil regime…
Donna: After the bombing stops, can leave.
Nutter: Can you leave ?
Donna: It’s expensive, a car to the border costs $ 2000..
Nutter: You are in a police state, serving its propaganda..
Donna: I was surprised at the sophistication, the normality (before the bombing) of the people in Iraq.. They were happy, well educated..
Nutter: You are serving an evil regime !
Donna We are protecting very important civilian sites. The Water Treatment Plants were bombed in the last war, 1991, and this resulted in widespread sickness, death, particularly of children..
Nutter: Evil Regime !
Donna We are doing what we can to stop the war…
Nutter: (livid) Well, you can’t, you have failed… you must leave… leave now, leave now !
Donna: I’ll leave when my job is done, this is the most valuable thing I have ever done…
MW I called the station (02 8570 0000) and asked who that nutter was, apparently a “presenter” called Philip Clark. Told to call in on 131 873, listened to commercials about contact lenses ? Hung up.
Guess I’ve led a limited life, have never listened to this kind of crap before. An experience in masochism ! General Frankfurter suffices !
Illawarra Mercury Journo JD calls, wants info, give. Sends a good piece about Rosemarie: “Port Kembla woman tells How I survived Baghdad bombs”.
Illawarra Mercury of 22.3.03
JB ems: The Oz Pilot who refused to bomb civilians was flying an F 18 Hornet, not (as we wrote) a Harrier.
And me an Airplane Spotter from 1940-44 ! Guess I’m slipping. Just too much to do!
Radio: USA: Bush asks Congress for US $ 75 Billion for Iraq War. (Printing press money or further cuts in Health Education Welfare ? I think it is time to sell US$ and buy something else, like Euros. If only I had more !)
Baghdad Rosemarie Gillespie: 07:02 hrs, 25.3.03
R: Bombing last night again, not as bad as the night before. Saw Wayne. He asks what the news are saying in Australia, America… General Frankfurter… What we hear is pretty funny..
M how are you all ?
R We are fine. In very good humor. Those allegations that the Human Shields are the pawns of the Iraqi government … such bullshit. Bush is like a dog kicking up dirt to cover his own shit.
M (who is more of a “dog man” than Rosemarie, feels unhappy about that comparison), demurs slightly…
R: Bush – does he really believe that dropping Bombs on people is a way to win friends and influence them ?
M You all had a meeting yesterday ?
R; Yes, there were these rumours that the Americans would be here in 2 or 3 days, so that prompted the meeting. M: So ? are you all … what ?
R: Ridiculous. I am staying. These fears are due to misinformation.
M How many are you ?
R: Human Shields… over one hundred. But altogether, including the Iraq Peace Teams, media, others, there must be more than 300 foreign nationals here.
M (looks like that strong campaign by Adolf, Musso, Coward et co to make all foreigners leave the Iraqis to it, so the bombing, etc., could proceed without witnesses, has been a total flop.): I’ve heard that there are more foreigners coming in, foreign volunteers who want to join the fight …against the Americans..
R Yes. I’ve seen some. Volunteers, very committed. Come to join the Iraqis, join up, to defend Iraq from invasion.. make a stand…
M: At the Water Refinery, how many foreign human shields ?
M: Which countries ?
R: 3 Oz, 3 Japanese, 2 Brits, 1 US American, 1 Dane, 1 Italian, 1 Belgian, 1 Norwegian.. The Japanese is (president ? (noise) of HINO.
M HINO ?
R A big Company… (Trucks ??)
M The American ?, can I talk to him ?
R Wait. Here..
M: What’s your name ?
“Tom Carhill, I’m 66, from Fort Bragg, California..
M: That’s in N Carolina.. I thought..
Tom Carhill: There’s one in California, as well. Near Euhaya (phon, spell ?) –
Three and a half hours drive north of San Francisco.
M: Why did you come ?
TC: I wanted to make the strongest possible statement to (against?) Bush and his administration. Not just because of Iraq, because of all his policies.
M: Have you explained that to the American media ?
TC: I don’t think the American media would print what I think, it’s too radical for them !
M contacts Associated Press in Sydney, gives them Tom Carhill’s phone in Baghdad. We shall see if they use it..
Email from Wayne (Coles-Janess)! delayed in transmission:
Got the email… Finally. !
Happy to write something if the agencies are committed in -to publishing!
Otherwise I will continue to film as that is what I’m here for… Not sure if any networks are interested??
There is still no aust tv here…
Maybe an email – or a few phonecalls? But again don’t worry too much.
I don’t think that they are too interested in the truth from the reports that I read….??
– maybe we can generate interest for when I return or stay a bit longer if they are interested in writing cheques!
Filmed a family being dugged out of a bombed house this morning. Very dramatic stuff. Went to a hospital to film civilian casualties… A big day!
Don’t worry about funds at the moment… I’ll work something out!
There are so many lies being put forward by the media….
I’ve seen via tv… US POW’s, pilots, helicopters shot down, etc…
Give me a call if you like at the hotel or try Mohamed 717 7050 –
not sure if you got my last email….?? which was a longer one…
All the best
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Jewish Peace News (JPN) is an edited news-clipping and commentary service provided by A Jewish Voice for Peace. JPN’s editors are Adam Gutride, Amichai Kronfeld, Rela Mazali, Sarah Anne Minkin, Judith Norman, Mitchell Plitnick, Lincoln Shlensky, and Alistair Welchman. The opinions expressed by the editors and presented in the articles sent to this list are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of A Jewish Voice for Peace.