Thursday, August 25, 2005

Action alert

My next irate letter will be about this (link to the American Association for the Advancement of Science). Maybe you should beat me to it. Huda Ammash is an Iraqi scientist being held without charges or trial. She was originally accused of being a major player in Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program. The US military dubbed her "Mrs Anthrax" for her important work developing Iraq's huge stockpiles of biological weapons. She even was number 53 on the Pentagon's most wanted list of 55.

Too bad there was no weapons of mass destruction program.

So the justification of Dr. Ammash's inprisonment turned out to be bogus. Why is she being held? It turns out that her real work was studying the environmental impact of the American sanctions and the first gulf war. From the AAAS:
Dr. Ammash's research has focused on investigating the after-effects of depleted uranium contamination left by American bombing in the first Gulf War in 1991. She has written extensively on environmental health in Iraq and its relations to war and sanctions, notably detailed in her paper, "Toxic Pollution, the Gulf War, and Sanctions" (Iraq Under Siege: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions and War; South End Press, 2002). She was deeply critical of American sanctions against Iraq, as well as the manner in which the UNSCOM, under the direction of Richard Butler, conducted weapons inspections and published other papers on this subject, such as "Impact of Gulf War Pollution in the Spread of Infectious Diseases in Iraq," (Soli Al-Mondo, Rome, 1999), and "Electromagnetic, Chemical, and Microbial Pollution Resulting from War and Embargo, and Its Impact on the Environment and Health," (Journal of the [Iraqi] Academy of Science, 1997).
In other words, Ammash is a scientist being held for criticizing Americans. I suppose I should note that some of the dangers of some of the pollutants she investigated (EM fields, depleted uranium) are debated, and that South End Press is an activist press, not a scholarly one. But that doesn't really matter. She is being held indefinitely without charge for reasons that have totally collapsed.

Via Substitute Bitch Elsie at Bitch PhD.

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