Health workers in Iraq have launched an international campaign demanding an end to harassment by US troops and their allies.
Campaigners accuse the US military of deliberately targeting health workers, shooting at ambulances, and occupying hospitals to use as military bases.
In one incident members of the Iraqi National Guard destroyed the intensive care unit at Baghdad’s Medical City hospital and threatened the staff.
As large scale military operations continue across the country, medical staff have warned that they are unable to cope with a deepening medical and humanitarian crisis.
The campaign, supported by scientists, health professionals and anti-war activists, is demanding the withdrawal of all foreign troops and an independent investigation of violations of the right to healthcare.
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‘Good news’ planted
The Los Angeles Times has revealed that US military “information operations” troops have been planting “good news” stories in the Iraqi press that put a positive spin on the occupation.
The US newspaper uncovered how the Pentagon hired a Washington-based firm, called the Lincoln Group,to pose as journalists, media executives and advertising agents in order to plant stories that praise reconstruction projects and denounce the resistance.
The United Nations (UN) has accused the US military of holding thousands of Iraqis in secret prisons that “litter” the country.
According to John Pace, human rights chief for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, these secret facilities are often in palaces that belonged to the former dictator Saddam Hussein.
The UN team estimates that apart from those held in secret, over 14,000 Iraqis are being held in Abu GHraib prison and Camp Bucca in the British controlled south.