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U.S forces terrorising Iraqi Trade Unions.

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posted on Dec, 28 2003 @ 08:57 PM
This story relates to the 6th December, I only came across it today when reading the letters to the editor page of a Sunday broadsheet.

Apparently 20 U.S soldiers in a convoy of 10 Humvees and personnel carriers descended on the makeshift headquarters of the independent Iraqi Workers Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) and proceeded to ransack the building stealing files, throwing black paint over the Unionís signs, smashing windows and even ripping down anti-terrorism posters in the process. They arrested 8 members of the unionís executive board, who were then released the next day without charge. No reason for any of this was given at any time.

"They gave no reason at all, despite being asked over and over," says IFTU spokesperson Abdullah Muhsin.

This isnít the first time Union officials in Iraq have been arrested by the coalition:

The bus station raid followed the detention of two other trade union leaders on November 23 -- Qasim Hadi, general secretary of the Union of the Unemployed, and Adil Salih, another leader of the organization. Hadi had been arrested twice before by occupation troops, for leading demonstrations of unemployed workers demanding unemployment benefits and jobs. In the November raid, CPA troops said they found two guns in the union's office, which was only permitted to have one. Hadi explained at the time that the organization has been the subject of threats and fatwahs by Iraqi religious parties, and needed weapons for self-defense.

Hadi and Salih were released after being detained for a day.

The IFTU issued a statement condemning the attacks and demanding the immediate release of the prisoners, which they evidently got though I doubt due to their call for it. Their calls for compensation will probably be as worthwhile as pissing in the wind.

The IFTU, as one of the most important organizations of civil society, that includes within its ranks sons of the working class, the builders of the new Iraq, the democratic future Iraq, strongly condemns this unjustified terrorizing act by the occupation forces which targeted trade unionist cadres and leaders who are well-known for their struggle against the hated dictatorship.
While calling for the release of our detained colleagues as soon as possible, and condemn any attempt to launch a new attack on trade union centres, or further arrests of trade union leaders, we stress that the Iraqi working class will not forgive this attack which constitutes a blatant violation of democracy and human rights.

We, therefore, call upon all the forces of goodwill of our people, as well Arab and international trade union organizations, to take a firm stand against this act, and to call for the immediate release of detainees, and compensation for the damages inflicted upon our colleagues and IFTU headquarters as a result of this aggression.

So whatís the reason for this attack? The Iraqi trade unions were constant opponents of Saddam wither openly, from the underground or in forced exile during his reign.
In my opinion it is part of a general suppression of the organisations themselves and what they stand for, the rights of the workers, in the wake of the commencing ravenous privatisation of Iraq.

Iraqi workers fear privatization will bring massive layoffs. "I'll have to fire 1,500 (of the refinery's 3,000) workers," says Dathar Al-Kashab, manager of the Al Daura oil refinery. "In America, when a company lays people off, there's unemployment insurance and they won't die from hunger. If I dismiss employees now, I'm killing them and their families."

From the top link.

Many of them are obviously against the privatisation and are joining these alliances in an attempt to hinder or stop it from happening.

Of course the companies involved, with the gracious help of their partners, the U.S army, wonít allow that to happen. Itís a scare tactic, a bullying tactic. How they think thatíll work when the workers went through Saddamís persecution I donít know. Itís hardly likely to subdue them, just rile them up. As ever, when money is involved the people become at best a secondary consideration, if they are considered at all.

A couple more links on the story:

posted on Dec, 29 2003 @ 12:28 AM
Just found this, had a hard time finding an English version. You can see an account of it on the Iraqi Union of the Unemployed website, but it's a bad translation.
Qasim Hadi, the general secretary had been arrested before the November incident, as the other quote says, along with 54 union members in August. I can't find when they were released but obviously they must have been to get re-arrested. I've seen statements like the first quote that he was arrested even before this, but I can't find any details. It seems this man has been arrested and released a few times at least and with flimsy reasons at best.

This is part of a longer statement on the November arrests:

It is not the first time that the US administration in Iraq arrests trade
union leaders and activists of the working class movement. Through out
July and August this year, and during a 45-day-Sit-in protest in Baghdad
organized by the UUI, the US forces arrested Qasim Hadi with 54 of the
union members. This action is against all values and principles of human
rights, and a clear violation of the rights of association, organization,
and of political freedoms. Here, the question arises: whose interests
does the US administration serve by the arrest of workers activists? Is
it for the interest of Political Islamists who, in several occasions,
threatened the UUI for defending workers rights, and attacked its
peaceful demonstration in the city of Nasriyah?

I know all the problems of crowd control and preventing riots in Iraq, and of course it's not always about an agenda so I'm not running away with the above account, but I do think there is something to this presecution of the Trade Unions.

There certainly pissed of at it all anyway. This is a PDF of their monthly newspaper:

[Edited on 29-12-2003 by kegs]

posted on Dec, 29 2003 @ 04:20 PM
Would you expect anything less from a Republican crime syndicate, hell bent on cheap labor? Interesting reading thanks for sharing, just wonder how long it's going to be before they finish off labor here in America.


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