October 15th, 2005

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U.S. military accused of "starving out" Iraqis.

At a press conference given in Switzerland yesterday, Jean Ziegler, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food, accused U.S., Iraqi, and British military forces of depriving civilians of food and water in besieged cities in Iraq. Specifically, he cited incidents reported to him at Fallujah, Samarra, and Talafar. He also criticized Iraqi insurgents for violating international law by sometimes using the civilian population of Iraq as human shields, interfering with their right to leave besieged cities.

He has compiled a report on these allegations which he intends to bring before the UN General Assembly on October 27, reportedly containing a high level of documented evidence gathered from members of the Iraqi government, NGOs in Iraq, and from reporters for several major American and Western news sources. He specifically cited evidence he had acquired which indicates that Iraqi civilians had starved as a result of these violations.

Ziegler has also made a formal complaint to the Swiss government, asking them to intervene diplomatically in order to help put an end to coalition violations of Geneva Conventions.

A U.S. military spokesman denied the accusations, while acknowledging that food and water supplies have been delayed in the past as a result of actions against the insurgents.

The question, I guess, is just how convincing Ziegler's report will be. The more detailed and documented it is, the more damaging the allegations will be, and the more effect it will have on U.S. military policy in Iraq, on Iraqi tolerance of the occupation, and on the trustworthiness of the remaining coalition nations in Iraq, many of which are debating force withdrawls either after the election or at the end of the year.
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And now, it's time to play "Spot the Flack!"

Remember this picture from yesterday?!



One of these soldiers works for military Public Affairs, and spends their days working on bringing us all the good news from Iraq, even though they didn't identify themselves as such for Bush's "unscripted" PR event. Can you identify which one?!



Yep! That's Corine Lombardo of the 42nd Infantry Division Public Affairs department!

It's every Public Affairs officer's dream to get that one big story... Looks like this one's yours, Corine!