Paremos la guerra contra Iraq

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We're Staying On. Spanish Brigade in Baghdad

Brigadas a Iraq contra la guerra 'Mohammad Belaidi'

Stop the war against Iraq

Statements and reports from the Spanish Brigade in Baghdad:

Open Letter to Prime Minister José María Aznar from the Spanish Brigade Against the War

9 April, 2003. Translation from Spanish by Donald Murphy
CSCAweb (

Baghdad, 7 April, 2003

Mr. Prime Minister Aznar,

As you are perhaps aware, we ­ seven Spanish citizens­ made a decision to remain here in Baghdad once the military intervention by the United States, the United Kingdom and their allies began. We consider ourselves part of that overwhelming majority of the Spanish population who condemn and are actively protesting this illegitimate and immoral war, and hope that our presence in this country, in these terrible days of violence and suffering, will enable the amicable people of Iraq to experience some of the solidarity which is felt for them world-wide.

At the same time, we are documenting the War Crimes and the Crimes against Humanity that the invading forces have been committing against these people for more than two weeks now. The most recent, recorded only yesterday at the Saddam Health Centre, is the case of Nasra Ali, an eight-year-old girl with haunting green eyes who lives in the southern part of city, near the airport, an area which has been ruthlessly bombed by US aircraft in recent days. In one such attack on Saturday, 4 April, Nasra lost both of her parents, her six sisters and her three brothers. She herself suffered serious injuries to the abdomen, head and left arm. Stern, silent, staring fixedly at our group, Nasra regards us with same wide-eyed gaze we have seen on the faces of dozens of Iraqi children in the last few days. It is the gaze of children too young to absorb the totality of such immediate and infinite horror, a horror as great as any human being can imagine.

Nasra is not the only victim of this barbarism; we have seen many more expressions like hers. For us it will be a heavy burden indeed to carry with us for a lifetime the memory of these faces so suddenly aged by the terror they have lived through. At the same time, we consider it a privilege, and an ethical duty, to remember ­ and, if possible, to serve as witnesses to ­ the dignity and humility with which these unarmed citizens are facing such terrible tests, as well as the abominable, unjustifiable crimes which are being committed against them.

Such consolation will not be yours. You will hardly have glanced at the images flashing across your television screen of the victims of the crimes to which you are an accomplice. As with the pilots who drop their bombs on Baghdad from thousands of miles above, it is not your concern that there, at ground zero, human beings are dying, suffering grave life-long afflictions, losing loved ones, losing all of their worldly possessions. Like President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, lying and self-justification are the only recourses left to you. But that will not exempt you, either legally, politically or morally, from your responsibility for these crimes, for having committed, along with the rest of your government, these crimes against humanity.

You and your administration pledged yourselves from the beginning to the US/UK project for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, violating international law and sabotaging Spanish relations with the Arab World. Once the war began, you then facilitated the intensive, indiscriminate bombing of Iraqi cities, from which civilian casualties now number in the thousands. And, just as economic interests linked to your government sought to profit from the resumption of commercial relations with Iraq before the war, you and they now intend to implicate Spain in the pillaging of post-war Iraq.

It would be too optimistic on our part to imagine that you, along with President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, will be tried and convicted for these crimes. If that were possible, however, we would like to contribute, as witnesses to what is happening here, to any such action. But neither do we doubt that the sentence has already been pronounced by the immense majority of our fellow citizens, and that History itself will confer upon you the title of "murderers".

Copies of this letter have been sent to members of the communications media so that it may be disseminated to the public.

Baghdad, 7 April, 2003

The Spanish Brigade Against the War: Javier Barandiaran, José Bielsa Fernández, Belarmino Marino García Villar, Mª Rosa Pañarroya Miranda, Ana Mª Rodríguez Alonso, Mª Teresa Tuñón Álvarez y Carlos Varea González.

Iraq: a Patriotic War

2 April, 2003. Translation from Spanish by Donald Murphy
CSCAweb (

"Let us not misjudge this people by denying once again the true nature of its identity: the population is indeed resisting and with each passing day is more resolved to resist, as simple as that; not only the regime, but the people themselves. One thought alone is heard here in Baghdad, and it becomes clearer and clearer to all who wish to hear it, in the hospital wards, from the victims and their families, before the ruins that once were dwellings: we will fight on until the end".

In an act of self-affirmation, the Bush Administration tried, in the months prior to the beginning of the war, to believe and to make the rest of the international community believe the opportunistic claims of the mercenary, Washington-controlled, Iraqi opposition: that the Iraqi regime would collapse as soon as the intervention began and the population, their resistance worn down by twelve years of international sanctions and given the hope of freeing themselves from a bloodthirsty dictatorship, would receive the liberating forces with open arms. This view seemed especially valid for the southern part of the country, in majority Shi'ite, a community especially disenchanted with the Baghdad regime. After thirteen days of this intervention, the evidence shows quite the contrary: the British and US armed forces, euphemistically referred to by the media as "the allies", have not been able to occupy a single city in the south except for the tiny port of Um Qasr, which is in reality no more than a narrow strip of harbour, and even that after a week of intense combat. The military failure of the US and the UK in this initial phase of the war is more than evident: the Iraqi resistance is unquestionable, despite the incomparably superior military might of the invaders. The disputes between military command and the State Department bear this out.

In this light, the Pentagon is rushing to re-shape its rhetoric: it is the regime, they say, the Party or the elite units of the Iraqi army, that are resisting, herding at gunpoint a passive, terrorized population, which they use as "human shields". Yet the claims of a supposed uprising in Basora have had to be retracted by the Pentagon itself after testimonies by Arab media representatives present in the city. In fact, everything seems to indicate that resistance in Basora, Naseriyya, Nayaf, Mosul, etc., at least in these first days of the war, has been carried out essentially by civilian militia, not even by the regular Iraqi army, much less by elite units.

The Spanish Brigade is based in Baghdad, but when we visited Basora three weeks ago the situation there was, as it is here, surprisingly calm, without troop movements or any greater defence preparations than could be observed in the capital; that is to say, very limited ones, despite predictions that the area would constitute the front line of the invasion.

Barely 48 to 24 hours before the first bomb attacks, Baghdad began filling with armed civilians, at the same time that defences were being built up in the city's street and squares, in every public or commercial building, activities which have continued up to the present. Trenches have been dug, some now roofed over and equipped with parapets, while ditches of burning petroleum cover Baghdad with a layer of black smoke as a defence against air attacks. In addition, there are now thousands of armed civilians in all the neighbourhoods of Baghdad, dressed in green or in simple peasant clothes, with the presence of the conventional army being limited to the outskirts of the city or to very specific points in the centre. Neither is there any heavy artillery inside the city proper.
Just as the war itself has not succeeded in dampening in the slightest the friendly, hospitable character of this city, neither has this armed presence ­ decentralized, organized by neighbourhood and by civil or administrative centres ­ succeeded in doing so, no matter how numerous it may be. It is never intimidating, not toward our group (who are, after all, foreigners), or toward the local people. These groups of two to five men, of varying ages and stations in life, young and old alike, are never ostentatious with their weapons. These are carried discreetly or left propped against a wall or a parapet while their owners snack on sunflower seeds, sip tea, go about their shopping, play games with their own children or their neighbours'. When we pass by they greet us with smiles, always circumspectly, but with the direct and frank expressions which are so usual here, raising an open hand or giving a V-for-victory sign, bidding us welcome in English or in Arabic.

Neither have we ever witnessed any gesture of hostility or arrogance by the militia toward their neighbours, not even during moments of tension, as occur during an air raid or after a missile blast, or in the funeral processions for the bombing victims, like the one we participated in along the main street of Addamiyya the day after a group of houses were destroyed by a missile in that eastern district of the city. Just the opposite is true: everyone mingles together in the markets, in the hospitals, in the streets, among the crowds of children who (the schools being closed since the day prior to the first bombings) run wild through the streets despite the deadly risk of more air raids, for the past week carried out during the day as well as the night. They are scarcely reprimanded by their parents as they crowd round our picturesque group, scramble over the mountainous rubble of destroyed homes, or dash about among charred vehicles and gaping missile craters.

We have no doubt that the US and the UK have for the past week been following a strategy of terror against the population, by means of continuous, indiscriminate attacks on residential areas. Our impression is that in spite of this, in spite of the terrible massacres in Saab and Shu'ala or the most recent at Dailiyya only yesterday, all in broad daylight, or the missile and bomb explosions all over the city, to which the dozens of new victims hospitalised daily bear witness, there are each day more people in the streets, more shops opening their doors, and the people's will to live is equally more in evidence. Traffic jams are occurring once again, and public transport has not been interrupted. The characteristic red double-decker buses, made in China, continue to circulate regularly, and they are filled with passengers.

Let us not misjudge this people by denying once again the true nature of its identity: the population is indeed resisting and with each passing day is more resolved to resist, as simple as that; not only the regime, but the people themselves. One thought alone is heard here in Baghdad, and it becomes clearer and clearer to all who wish to hear it, in the hospital wards, from the victims and their families, before the ruins that once were dwellings: we will fight on until the end.

The slaughter in the residential neighbourhoods, the continuous bombing day and night, the discoveries each morning that a city block of neighbouring houses has been levelled or the local telephone exchange blown up, the grim task of burying one's dead or those of friends, are, in the words of Santiago Alba, "truths like fists" which Saddam Hussein does not need to invent, in contrast to the lies that Bush, Blair and Aznar find themselves obliged to pour forth over and over again.

Why do we refuse to accept something as simple as the fact that these people know perfectly well that they are being invaded, occupied and massacred by the colonial power against which they fought a century ago, Great Britain, and by the US, abhorred by each and every one of this region's inhabitants? Let us not add another infamy to the many already suffered by this people: here, in Iraq, the population is not a hostage of the regime. This is a war of patriotism in the sense that any rational person should understand the term: the defence of one's homeland against an invader, and this is how we believe the vast majority of Iraqis feel, as would any other people. Is this so difficult to understand? Only this can explain what is happening in the south of the country, this unexpected resistance which surprises as much as it allows us to predict that the battle for Baghdad will be a terrible one, an authentic butchery, if we do not prevent it from taking place.

Resistance is victory

Baghdad, 1 April, 2003

The Spanish Brigade Against the War 'Mohammed Belaidi': Mª Teresa Tuñón Álvarez, Mª Rosa Pañarroya Miranda, Ana Mª Rodríguez Alonso, Belarmino Marino García Villar, José Bielsa Fernández, Javier Barandiaran y Carlos Varea González

Report from the Spanish Brigade

The eleventh day of the aggression

March, 30th, 2003. Translation from Spanish by Donald Murphy
CSCAweb (

On this, the eleventh day of the US/UK military aggression against Iraq, the Spanish Brigade Against the War 'Mohammed Belaidi' in Baghdad reports that, as on previous nights, the bombing attacks on the city have been kept up continuously, producing heavy explosions near the Brigade's lodgings at 24:00, 2:00 and 5:00 local time. And all through the night, minute after minute, the persistent hum of the B-52 warplanes could be heard clearly and distinctly.

Attacks on telecommunications centres

As the Brigade observed this morning, the heavy impacts heard during the night had targeted telecommunications centres. That of Sallajiyya, on the left bank of the Tigris River, in the neighbourhood of the same name and next to Baghdad's new Central [Railway] Station, was attacked five times in the early hours of the morning. This 5-storey structure was torn apart from the inside by implosion bombs, exposing to passers-by a view of its ruined interior, now a mass of tangled cables and charred furniture. The tall communications tower, however, is still standing.

This telecommunications centre is situated a hundred metres from the cardiac surgery centre Ibn Al Baitar, from which it is separated by only a fence.

The Brigade was also able to see the communications centre in Omar Ben Abdelasis street, in the Addamiyya district, which has already suffered several attacks in recent days and which at 11:00 yesterday morning was again targeted, this time by two US missiles. Another launched against the centre hit an adjacent building of residences and businesses at the intersection with Antar Square. The missile hit the side of the building and converted the street-corner into a crater. The sides and rear wall of the two-storey communications centre, some 50 metres wide, along with the buildings lining the adjoining side-streets, were seriously damaged. Surprisingly, there were no victims, possibly because this part of the building houses shops and businesses and this last attack occurred in the early hours of the morning. The left wall of the structure has caved in, but miraculously the nearby dwellings were not crushed. From outside one can see the metal framework and doorjambs of the telephone exchange blown apart and exposed to view. Since early morning, workers have been bringing tables and computers out of the building. Here the communications tower has not collapsed either.

The Addamiyya communications centre is located opposite the Faculty of Education

The communications centre located in the Sha'ab district, an area which has likewise been hit repeatedly by US bomb and missile attacks since the beginning of the military aggression, was also attacked again yesterday. Technicians were working this morning to restore telephone service. All of the city has been left without telephone connections. The Brigade, which until two days ago was able to communicate normally by telephone with the outside world through the telephones in the vicinity of its lodgings, has had to begin using a satellite telephone to continue making and receiving calls.

Systematic attacks on civilian neighbourhoods

After observing on its visits to various of the city's hospitals that injuries caused by the US attacks are in the vast majority civilians from neighbourhoods that have been bombed repeatedly since the aggression began, the Brigade has decided to keep a record of the victims hospitalized there in a random sampling of the city's hospitals. It can be stated, from the testimonies of the injured and of hospital personnel in these centres, that many cases of injury and death among the civilian population go unreported.
Today the Brigade visited Naoman Hospital, in the Addamiyya district, whose residents have been the repeated victims of US bombing raids. This centre recorded 20 injury victims from the attack carried out on the neighbourhood this past 25th of March who have since been released. No deaths have been recorded among the residents of Addamiyya, even though there have indeed been deaths registered in other hospitals. However, the centre has been continuously receiving injury cases on various days resulting from US missile attacks on the Sha'ab district the 24th, 28th, and 29th of March, observing cases of injury within the same family from the same attacks and from others on different days but in the same neighbourhoods.

The Brigade visited Omar Abdel Karim, age 29, who works and lives in Sha'ab, and who was wounded in the abdomen by the impact of the missiles that fell on the neighbourhood at 16:40 on the 29th of March. Seven families in the surrounding area were affected by the attack.

His neighbour, Munib Habib Hamid, a 31-year-old shop assistant, in serious condition, on oxygen and unable to speak, was injured the same day by shrapnel in the abdomen, legs and chest, along with his wife and son.

Another neighbour, Georgis Basar, a worker of Egyptian nationality, was hit by shrapnel from fragmentation bombs in the same neighbourhood on the 28th of March. He has fragments of shrapnel embedded in his hands and legs. Munir has lived and worked in Baghdad for 14 years and says that there are about 100,000 Egyptian workers still in the country, despite a great number of his countrymen having left Iraq during the Gulf War of 1991. Munir says that he feels he is among brothers here and that he will stay on in spite of everything.

The generosity of a besieged people

Notwithstanding the devastation and commotion which US troops and warplanes are causing in the country, the people of Baghdad continue to demonstrate their finest virtue, along with their cordiality. The Brigade are overwhelmed when they walk through the streets of neighbourhoods which despite having been attacked are full of life and in which residents go about their business with a naturalness that is only disturbed by the constant, persistent sound of US military aircraft overhead. Knowing that these neighbourhoods have been and will continue to be the scenes of US attacks on the city, it is moving to witness daily their resident's limitless hospitality: today in the market of Addamiyya, where the Brigade went to stock up on food, fruit and water, the food-sellers did not want to accept money for these provisions, offering them instead as gifts.

The generosity of this people, besieged and subjected for the last 12 years to a permanent aggression from outside and today attacked openly in their own neighbourhoods, streets, markets and homes, is one expression more of their maturity, showing both to themselves and to the world how collective courage can be applied to a people's own self-defence, in the face of a blatant, cowardly attack from the sky with missiles and shards of shrapnel.

Resistance from both militia and populace

As a mechanism of collective defence against this outside aggression, and despite the fact that the US air attacks are carried out indiscriminately, in daylight or darkness, the citizens of Baghdad embody an explicit will to resist, expressed in the "normality" recovered each day in the places of public transit ­ in the streets, squares and markets.

Only at night, although a curfew has not been officially declared, do people retire to their homes, as is in any other part of the world. During daylight hours, public transport continues to function, in the form of the red double-decker buses so characteristic of the streets of Baghdad, and private vehicle traffic remains heavy in the city centre. Areas destroyed by bombs are immediately cleared of rubble so that they may be rebuilt. Each day more businesses are open and men and women of all ages circulate freely in the streets. Soldiers, militia and armed civilians blend with ease into the rest of the population. They buy their heads of lettuce at the food-stalls, stopping to rest with their Kalashnikovs between their legs; they drink tea in the cafés while chatting with teenagers and old men, visit shops or play with the children in the street ­ scenes that are repeated everywhere and awaken vivid memories of images of our own cities during the Civil War against fascism. There is no separation between the military's defence of the city and the people's own. This is a popular, voluntary resistance movement forged with coherence, determination, courage and dignity. These are the elements with which this people's resistance is inscribed, even though the threat of the US troops' entry into the city weighs more and more heavily upon them. A popular resistance nurtured in the people's own history and taught by the example which for more than fifty years their brothers, the Palestinians, have given them and continue giving by their struggle against Israeli aggression and occupation.

Today, 30 March, as the Palestinian people celebrate their Day of the Land, the Palestinians and Iraqis are one people engaged in the same fight against the same violence and aggression that Israeli Zionist barbarism and the fascism of the US regime inflict upon them both.

From Baghdad, all of our support and solidarity go out to the Palestinian people.

The Spanish Brigade against the War: Mª Teresa Tuñón Álvarez, Mª Rosa Pañarroya Miranda, Ana Mª Rodríguez Alonso, Belarmino Marino García Villar, José Bielsa Fernández, Imanol Telleria, Javier Barandiaran, Manu Fernández y Carlos Varea González

Report from the Spanish Brigade

The tenth day of the aggression

March, 29th, 2003. Translation from Spanish by Donald Murphy
CSCAweb (

In Shu'ala, the most recent scene of US military barbarism, the impact of a single missile has caused the deaths of at least 57 innocent people. Shu'ala is a humble residential neighbourhood in the north of Baghdad, on the outskirts of the capital, inhabited mostly by Shi'ites who live in small houses of light-coloured brick. The market of Naser, a busy, open space, was attacked yesterday afternoon by US aircraft at a time when the area's small back-streets were filled with a multitude of men, women, teenagers and children, shopping or simply strolling about . In an empty lot nearby, children and teenagers from the neighbourhood were having a football match when the missile landed: 25 of them were killed instantly.

The Spanish Brigade in Baghdad went this morning to the site to verify the destruction. The impact of the US missile did extensive damage to the right side of the marketplace, destroying the entire complex of shops and stalls, as well as the businesses in the central part. Roofs, walls and shop signs were torn apart by the blast, which this time did not result in fire but rather in a violent explosion of shrapnel.

At Al Nur Hospital, a public surgical and trauma centre and the closest hospital to Shu'ala, Brigade members spoke to one of the doctors in charge, Dr. Mahmud Shihab, who told them that since yesterday 45 victims of the market attack have been hospitalised in this centre alone, all with very serious injuries. Three have died in surgery during the night. The number of victims pronounced dead on arrival in this centre is 41, although Dr. Shahib was informed that other hospitals have also recorded cases of injuries and deaths from the attack. His reflection to the Brigade is the following: "It is an outrage that this is considered a 'clean war'".

The Brigade states that the hospital wards are filled with injured civilians of all ages ­ women, elderly men, adolescents and children.

A young man of 20 years old, Saddam Hussein ­ yes, the same as the President ­, a mechanic by profession, was surprised by the attack while buying fruit at a market stall and watching the football match going on in the adjacent lot. Lying on his bed and accompanied by an uncle, he describes the incident with impenetrable calm, without the slightest gesture of pain or reproach, his eyes a deep black and his face radiant with dignity: during the night his left arm was amputated at the collarbone. He says that the US army travelled thousands of miles to attack the cities of Iraq. He wonders aloud if this is liberty they speak of. He says that he will give his blood and his life for his country.

While the teletypes of the news agencies buzz with speculations as to how the programme of "humanitarian aid" will be carried out, Saddam's uncle, Ahmed, puts it simply and with bitter irony when he speaks of the "impudence of this overwhelming amount of money [2 billion dollars] being put into circulation while they destroy our country and then argue about how to rebuild it".

Cluster bombs used against the civilian population

At Yarmuk Hospital, located in the Qadisiyya district and which the Brigade has already visited several times, it is confirmed once again that despite media reports assuring that the attacks are directed at large institutional buildings like the Ministry of the Interior ­ which has now been attacked four times since the beginning of the invasion ­, the bomb and missiles attacks have indiscriminately targeted civilian centres and neighbourhoods.
Ahmad Abu Lah, a young doctor of Syrian origin, reports that each day between 10 and 15 injured civilians are hospitalised in the centre. In comparison with the Brigade's visit a week ago, the injuries are much more serious and this is due to the US Air Force's intensifying their use of fragmentation or cluster bombs, a system by which a large bomb is dropped, which then explodes in the air, dispersing smaller bombs that fan out as they fall and on impact burst into thousands of particles of flying shrapnel. Almost all of the injuries here have resulted from these fragmentation bombs and are characterised by shrapnel embedded in various parts of the body, from the head and neck to the abdomen, back, legs and feet. Since the 26th of March, this hospital has recorded 9 instances of victims killed instantly by bombs or missiles, as doctors and families confirmed to the Brigade.

Of the ten patients that the Brigade spoke to, only one of them was a member of the militia. The rest were civilians ­ children, men and women ­, from all parts of the city, whose homes or neighbourhoods had suffered the impact of missiles or bombs.
They are for the most part family groups, as in the case of Omar Ahmed, age 5, from the Al Rashid area in central-southwest Baghdad, injured by a cluster bomb along with his three sisters. Their mother died last Wednesday as a result of the attack. Ahmed sustained abdominal lesions and ruptures of the gall bladder, liver and intestine.

Ahmad Asa, age 8, injured along with his father ­ whose foot was amputated ­ and his mother and sister ­ both with shrapnel wounds. Little Ahmad suffered injuries to the neck, abdomen and right leg.

Salah Ahmed, age 40, who lives 40 km. south of Baghdad in the small village of Al Sufia, entered Yarmuk Hospital on the 24th of March. Four people in his village died in the same attack. His condition is critical as his large and small intestines are both affected, as well as his liver.

Fa'ad Hasim, age 42, was brought to the hospital yesterday, 28 March, injured by the impact of three missiles while driving in his car along the motorway at 8:00 AM. The missiles' shock wave burst the car's windscreen and he received injuries to the leg and abdomen.

Sa'ad, age 36, hospitalised with his brother, age 33, both from another Baghdad neighbourhood, Nahed al Rashid. He described how cluster bombs open up and explode into shrapnel before they reach the ground. He has these type of wounds to various parts of his body.

Yasin Muhamad, a 75-year-old villager from Ahmad, a rural agricultural area on the outskirts of Baghdad. He is suffering from chest injuries. Twenty members of his family were also injured and are hospitalised here or in other centres. On the 28th of March, the impact of a bomb dropped at 21:00 caused his house and stables to collapse, killing all of his livestock. His daughter 'Alia, age 53, her face pale and bandaged, sits alongside one of her injured daughters. They have still not told her that another of her daughters has died.

Fayyed Sohe, a technician at Saddam International Airport, tells the Brigade in fluent English that he was hit on the 24th of March during the attack on the airport. He has shrapnel embedded in his rib cage that still has not been able to be extracted.

Yisiam Maher, a very shy and good-looking boy of seven who has neck injuries caused by the impact of a missile in the garden of his family's home.

Nara Amari, age 25, an employee of the Dora electrical facility, injured in the chest while at home with her husband and daughter, also in the neighbourhood of Naher al Rashid. Her daughter fortunately escaped injury.

Yesus Yazin, age 28, a student at the University of Babel in Baghdad and a member of the militia, hospitalised on the 24th of March after being hit by the shock wave of a missile launched by the helicopter Apache. His vocal cords have been injured and he is unable to speak.

The rhythm of Baghdad is altered day and night by the continual whine of US fighter jets and B-52's flying relentlessly over the city, and by the sounds of the explosions which are an intermittent but sustained feature of life everywhere here. In spite of the combined pressure on the residents of Baghdad which this adds to the attacks themselves, which began on the 19th of March, the population continues to go out into the streets each morning to go about their daily lives. In Shu'ala, after yesterday's brutal killing and catastrophe, area residents have again come out of their houses this morning to walk awestruck through the ruins of the market. Shaken by the destruction and by the deaths of their neighbours, their features have lost some of the freshness and vibrancy of previous days, but even so they remain friendly, communicative and open toward the members of the Brigade. They say that they are not afraid and that they intend to fight, that what happened yesterday makes them even stronger and more determined to resist the aggressors ­ the invaders of their country.

Adding a note of perverse irony, while the Brigade winds through the back-streets conversing with the local people, a US military aircraft crosses the sky, leaving behind its menacing trail and causing the windows of the nearby buildings to vibrate. Somewhere, the murderous bombs of the United States are still exploding in Baghdad, and bringing with them more destruction and death.

Report from the Spanish Brigade

The ninth day of the aggression

March, 28th, 2003. Translation from Spanish by Donald Murphy
CSCAweb (

The Brigade reports today that during the past night Baghdad experienced the heaviest and most punishing attacks against the city since the aggression began nine days ago.
Beginning at 22:30 local time, US bomb attacks, which had been kept up throughout the day, intensified spectacularly in various parts of the city, at the same time affecting the area where the Brigade has its lodgings. From 2:30 to 7:30 in the morning, they became fiercer still, with simultaneous explosions being heard in surrounding areas. The noise of the impacts was heard all night long, along with the sounds of B-52 combat planes and fighter jets which continue to maintain the pressure level on the city.

Damage caused to telecommunications centres, the one located in Ma'amun street as well that next to the Hotel Al Rashid, have left the city without telephone lines. Communication has still not been re-established. There have also been power outages, although electricity has not been cut off completely.

The Spanish Brigade Against the War has decided to go this morning to the Spnaish Embassy in Baghdad to take down the Spanish flag and replace it with the flag of Iraq, in denunciation of the Aznar government's bellicose position and the active participation in the war by the Spanish military, as well as the government's allowing US invading forces to use its air, ground and maritime space.

The Brigade has issued the following declaration:


After eight days of indiscriminate bombing on Basora, Baghdad, Mosul and other Iraqi cities, when victims already number in the hundreds and after verifying that the objective of this aggression is none other than a massacre of the Iraqi people in the streets of Addamiyya, Sa'ab, Al Qadisiyya, etc., we the members of the Spanish Brigade Against the War have decided to remove the Spanish flag which waves over this Embassy and replace it with the flag of Iraq: we consider it an intolerable offence that a flag which represents one of the governments most deeply implicated in the aggression against the Iraqi people should wave in plain sight of the local populace while its country is being attacked, invaded and occupied militarily.

The war against Iraq is illegal and immoral. The Spanish government was the first to support the option of war promoted by the Bush Administration, and has gradually been playing a greater role in this aggression, and in doing so placing itself on the margin of international legality, violating the statutes of its own Constitution and losing all democratic legitimacy through its contempt for a citizenry which is overwhelmingly opposed to the war. At the same time that its contributes to the perpetration of an illegal act against a sovereign nation, it submits the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Spain and the will of its citizens to the interests and imperialistic designs of the United States in this part of the world.

On the same level as the Bush Administration and the Blair government, the Spanish government is guilty of war crimes against this people. The Spanish government has sent ships and troops to the region which will participate in the occupation, and thanks to the logistic support it is providing to US armed forces in Spanish territory, the B-52's are able to carry out their bombing missions with impunity from their bases in the US and the UK. We have seen some of their victims: Ahmed, Haura, Wisan, Ahmedi, Tayar, Ali, all unarmed civilians who have been injured or killed in their homes or in the streets, at night or in broad daylight.

Finally, as part of the Spanish and International Anti-War Movement, we denounce by this action the brutal repression which those who are demanding an immediate end to this barbarism are suffering at the hands of the Aznar government. From here in Baghdad we unite our voices to theirs against this crime. Side by side with this people who are resisting and demanding respect for their sovereignty and their right to self-rule, we ask you once again to increase your efforts to put an end to the war.
Stop the war against Iraq. All our solidarity with the people of Iraq.

Baghdad, 28 March, 2003

The Spanish Brigade Against the War: Mª Teresa Tuñón Álvarez, Mª Rosa Pañarroya Miranda, Ana Mª Rodríguez Alonso, Mino Marino García Villar, José Bielsa Fernández, Imanol Telleria, Javier Barandiaran, Manu Fernández y Carlos Varea González

Report from the Spanish Brigade

The eighth day of the aggression

March, 27th, 2003. Translation from Spanish by Donald Murphy
CSCAweb (

Baghdad/Madrid, 27 March, 2003

Yesterday, after a brutal US missile attack in the Sa'ab district that left 16 people dead and dozens injured, US air forces continued bombing intermittently on the outskirts of the city until 20:00, when the attacks intensified. At 1:00 AM, US fighters were again heard flying over the city, along with bomb exploding in parts of the city centre. At 2:30 AM, the Brigade once more heard B-52 super-bombers flying overhead, launching extremely intense attacks on the surrounding areas which went on until 4:30 AM.
The attacks kept up until dawn throughout all of Baghdad. Explosions have continued to be heard this morning on the outskirts of the city, probably in the areas close to the airport.

Donations of blood

The Brigade went this morning to the National Blood Bank, where all of the members, and some of the journalists who accompanied them, donated blood. The Iraqi health workers who attended them treated them with great attention and professionalism and said that at the present time there was no shortage in their reserves of blood; the population of Baghdad have responded very positively to their call for donations and so they are able to deal with the necessities posed by war injuries. They indicated, however, that they face serious problems in carrying out blood tests due to the poor state of their equipment, due to the embargo, and that they are especially lacking in some of the chemical agents required to carry out such tests efficiently.

The staff also informed them that they attend exclusively to the needs of the city's forty hospitals and public medical centres, from which military personnel are excluded.

Sa'ab: a new stage of horror

The Brigade went again to Sa'ab, the neighbourhood which was attacked yesterday. In response to speculations that these impacts might have been caused by anti-aircraft guns, the Brigade points out that the two enormous craters left in the motorway that ran through the neighbourhood, as well as the shock wave the explosions generated, could only have been produced by the destructive force of missiles. No one in the neighbourhood has any doubt of this. Although the sandstorm and the rain have stopped, the area most affected still presents a terrifying spectacle: the people are tremendously shaken by the event but even so a multitude of neighbours ­men, women and children­ can be seen scrambling through the debris, beginning the daunting task of clearing it away. Some of those slightly injured in the blast, with bandages on various parts of their bodies, relate their experiences to the Brigade.

They met one woman whose house was among the most damaged, a woman as humble and simple as the Sa'ab district itself, who cried aloud, "Why? Why?" as she was shown the destruction the aggression had caused to her own house.

They also spoke with a young university student of Technological Engineering who was armed with a Kalishnikiov, only one of the thousands of civilian who have taken up arms to fortify the ranks of resistance in Baghdad, together with the soldiers and militia, and who confirmed for them what they have been seeing for some days now wherever they have gone ­ in the streets, in the markets, in the taxis: that the population is prepared to fight.

The Brigade is impressed by the toughness of these people ­ men, women, and young people who display the same spirit of firmness and pride in the face of the foreign aggression which was exemplified once again today, among indignation and controlled rage, in the barbaric scene caused by the cowardly attack by the cold might of US military technology on a district of innocent civilians.

A population determined to resist

Everyone is aware that a very difficult battle will take place in Baghdad, but says they will fight to the bitter end. The fact, as the news agencies report, that the massive flight of Iraqi citizens out of the country they previously predicted and for which they have been preparing for weeks in advance has not occurred, confirms that the determination of the Iraqi population is to stay where they are and resist the aggression. As of yesterday afternoon, according to ACNUR and Cáritas, the refugee camps established on the country's borders with Jordan, Turkey and Syria have reported only 400 persons coming from Iraq, but of nationalities other than Iraqi. To affirm, as some media sources have done in recent days, that Iraqis are not leaving the country because the regime does not permit them to is to deny the truth and, even more, to ignore and detract from the valour of the Iraqi population, to dishonour their courage and conceal their spirit of sacrifice: popular resistance is not something that can be ordered by an authority, much less when it is the government itself which is arming the civilian population.

Military preparations are being stepped up especially on the outskirts of Baghdad, where more troop movements by the army can be observed. In the centre, the work of digging trenches goes on, but calm and serenity prevail.

Report from the Spanish Brigade

The seventh day of the attacks

March, 26th, 2003. Translation from Spanish by Donald Murphy
CSCAweb (

Baghdad/Madrid, 26 March, 2003

The US is intensifying its strategy of terrorizing the civilian population of Iraq. Thirteen civilians dead and dozens injured are the latest known victims in Baghdad of the "precise" and "surgical" attacks launched this morning, in broad daylight (between 11:00 and 11:30 AM local time) in the residential area of Sa'ab, on Baghdad's northern periphery, to which the Brigade travelled upon receiving news of the attack. This neighbourhood, which was bombed two days ago by US warplanes, resulting in injuries, was today the target of two missiles launched against the great two-direction, multi-lane motorway which connects Iraq's capital with the cities of Kirkut and Mosul in the north, one of the country's busiest interior routes. All circulation along the motorway has been cut off.

Attack against civilian facilities

The impact caused by the two US missiles left two deep craters spanning 200 metres in diameter, the width of the motorway itself. Although the missiles did not impact directly on any of the buildings which line both sides of the motorway, the shock wave unleashed an enormous explosion and a ball of fire which scorched the houses and businesses along the motorway, in an area which forms the neighbourhood's urban nucleus, as well as more than twenty cars parked along its sides. Some vehicles were blown through the air into the adjoining streets.

Coupled with the mud and brownish rain which was falling over Baghdad at the time, "the image of destroyed houses and people trembling in horror among the ruins on each side of the motorway was at once dreadful and Dantesque".

On the right side, to the north, the ground-floor garage of one building was engulfed completely in flames; opposite this, on the left, the walls of houses and businesses had caved in, their windows torn from their casings, their doors transformed into smouldering masses of scorched iron. In addition, burst water-pipes caused heavy flooding to the damaged structures.

The extent of the damage caused by the US attack, along with the news of the first thirteen casualties to be found among the rubble and the dozens of injuries reported, overwhelmed all of the Brigade members; even more so when they were shown a small box containing part of the brain of one of this new aggression's victims.

Abdala Attay, owner of one of the dwellings most damaged in the attack, showed to the Brigade the house he had lived in until today with the five members of his family, among them children, whose whereabouts are still unknown. The façade facing the motorway was completely destroyed and the other walls were doubled by the shock wave. The water-pipes burst as well, flooding the house and destroying furniture, clothes and household items. One car flew literally from the street in front of the house into the one behind it when one of the missiles hit.

Ahmad, resident of the Sa'ab district, told the Brigade that there are no military or administrative buildings in the area, as the Brigade itself would later confirm. With indignation and fear, Ahmad commented: "yesterday Bush said again in a speech that the bombing was directed at precise objectives. Here is his "precise" objective. This is the democracy that Bush wants to bring us".

Night-time bombing of Iraqi TV

Last night, the Brigade heard from within its shelter the loud explosions of three missiles that fell in the vicinity of the surrounding neighbourhood. This morning it found that the US attack had targeted the building which houses Iraqi Television, located on the right bank of the Tigris River in a heavily developed area populated by civilians. Broadcasting was interrupted, but re-established during the night. The Brigade was able to see first-hand that the three US missiles, along from the severe damage done to the Television building, had also completely destroyed another building situated across the river, next to the Al Ahdar bridge, where the administrative offices of the National Electric Company are located.

The Brigade reiterates in its report for today that the presence of US warplanes and fighter jets flying over the city is being maintained continuously and constitutes a tactic for creating alarm and permanent anxiety among civilians in order to terrorize them. Missile and bomb attacks are carried out intermittently day and night, regardless of the hour. Today, as every day and from the first hour of daylight on, explosions could be heard coming from various parts of the city. The bombing raids are not carried out only at night but may surprise the citizens of Baghdad at any moment, in broad daylight and in any place. This morning, when the Brigade was in the Bab Ma'adam district and speaking to some of the residents as they went about their shopping, explosions were suddenly heard nearby, causing immediate alarm among the people in and around the market, interrupting again the already altered rhythm of daily life which, despite the invasion and the bombs, for the people of Iraq must go on.

(As every day, the representatives of the press who share its lodgings ­ correspondents for La Vanguardia, El País, ABC, RNE, Colpisa and Cope, as well as the team from ETB which has joined the Brigade ­ have been invited to participate in the activities the Brigade has planned for today. As well as the Brigade members, these correspondents have been able to testify first-hand to the facts contained in this report).

Report from the Spanish Brigade

The sixth night of attacks on Baghdad

March, 25th, 2003. Translation from Spanish by Donald Murphy
CSCAweb (

Baghdad/Madrid, 25 March, 2003

A day of mourning in Baghdad after a night of continuous bombing, which intensified between 4:00 and 8:30 AM local time, especially in the southern part of the city, near the airport, where attacks by fighter jets seem still to be occurring.

Yesterday, 24 March, between 11:00 and 12:00 AM local time, while the Brigade was in the market of the New Baghdad district and heard the impact of bombs coming from some distance away, the US air force was indeed sowing more death and destruction among the civilian population of Baghdad. This time it was in the residential area of Addamiyya, in broad daylight and when the streets were full of activity ­ people shopping for supplies in the markets and shops, taking advantage of the daytime hours to relieve the tension built up during their confinement at home or in shelters in the long, night-time hours when, for the past six nights, Baghdad has been ravaged by bombardments and explosions.

The Brigade discovered yesterday that a missile landing in this neighbourhood caused the deaths of 6 persons, as well as 23 injuries ­ all civilians, as this neighbourhood is one of middle-class professionals and workers and in which there are no government or military buildings, as the Brigade was able to confirm today. In other parts of the city, 13 more persons have been killed and more than 70 injured.

Funerals of grief and indignation

The Brigade went this morning to extend its sympathies to the families of the victims and to the residents of Addamiyya. As a show of support, it accompanied the funeral party of three of the six residents killed yesterday, whose coffins, draped with Iraqi flags, were carried on shoulders through the district's main streets in a massive
procession, characteristically sombre and traditional. Choked with grief and indignation, the residents of Addamiyya ­ men, women and children ­ sang patriotic songs as they accompanied the procession to the three vehicles waiting to take their loved ones to the cemetery. The feelings of consternation, grief and collective indignation could be seen on the faces of everyone, in the quiet weeping of the some of the women, in the exclamations of those who, leaning over their balconies with raised fists, shouted nationalist slogans as the procession passed by.

In Raghiba Jatum street, in Addamiyya, the Brigade saw the mountain of rubble produced by the missile that yesterday completely demolished one house and ripped the walls off three more. As yesterday, scattered about among the ruins of this house was the intimate testimony of those who lived there, in the form of household objects and personal possessions: family photos, a Koran, books and school binders ­ whole lives destroyed by a single missile blast.

Among the people contemplating the disaster with indignation and sadness, Dr. Husan, resident of the neighbourhood, professor of art, painter and Spanish speaker, transmitted the general feeling of the local population to the Brigade: "I can't understand why President Aznar is supporting this brutal aggression against our country and against our people. Look around you ­ the people who live in this neighbourhood are middle-class workers. This is an outrage."

But here there is no gesture of bad faith toward the Brigade, no resentment despite the fact that everyone in Iraq knows the Spanish government is an accomplice to this aggression and slaughter. As on previous days, the citizens are able to distinguish friend from foe perfectly and appreciate the testimony of solidarity which the presence of the Brigade signifies, while they reject absolutely the posture of the Aznar Government, one especially puzzling to them as it comes precisely from a country which in the collective Arab mind represents the splendour of their own historic past. Shows of affection, among today's devastation, from a people whose morale is still intact, in spite of everything, and whose pride has been bolstered by their own sense of what is right in face of the US-led barbarity.

The US continues to attack civilian neighbourhoods

At Nuaman Hospital, the Brigade was able to speak to some of the people, all of them civilians, injured yesterday: Suhat, a beautiful girl of seven years old, with multiple injuries all over her body, lay smiling beside her 11-year-old brother, Ali, who was unconscious, his neck bandaged; another of her brothers was in surgery.

The Brigade also visited the victims of the US bombing attacks carried out Monday night in the Sha'ab district, another residential neighbourhood of Baghdad. During this visit, intermittent bomb impacts were felt, one such explosion in a nearby area causing the windows of the Hospital to vibrate.

Terrorizing the population

The fact that the bombardment is being carried out day and night, in densely populated areas, in residential areas of all types and social classes, confirms that the US, far from attacking military and government installations, is clearly determined to terrorize the civilian population in order to lower its spirit and its determination to resist the invasion of its country. The whine of US fighter jets crossing the skies over Baghdad, the constant hum of the bombers, penetrate deeply into the collective psyche in a tactic planned by the aggressors to maintain a sustained pressure on the population. The continuous sound of aircraft creates a permanent anxiety among the people, as it is impossible to know each time a plane goes over if it will bring with it a missile or bomb attack.

Today Baghdad lies under a dome of smoke ­ from the bombing and from the oil-filled ditches which burn throughout the city ­ and dust, stirred into the air by an intense sandstorm. It's cold and very windy. It's raining mud. In the heart of it, the people go on with their lives, which however damaged are not interrupted. This people, hardened by 12 years of enduring extreme conditions on a daily basis, retain a high morale and their pride intact even when faced with the horrors of war. Civilians, militia and soldiers continue digging trenches and tunnels to resist what they know will be a bloody battle when the US and UK troops reach the city and hand-to-hand combat ensues. The defence of Baghdad and a people's resistance is a collective banner emanating from the popular consciousness. It is unthinkable that, under the harsh conditions and the aggression that Iraq is living through, the spirit of sacrifice and dignity which motivates these people will be coerced by pressure, or by the dictates of any authority. Iraq ­ invaded, bombed by foreign troops ­ is a nation under siege, but united in its determination to resist.

Baghdad: capital of sacrifice, capital of dignity

(As every day, the representatives of the press who share its lodgings ­ correspondents for La Vanguardia, El País, ABC, RNE, Colpisa and Cope, as well as the team from ETB which has joined the Brigade ­ have been invited to participate in the activities the Brigade has planned for today. As well as the Brigade members, these correspondents have been able to testify first-hand to the facts contained in this report).

Report from the Spanish Brigade

The fifth night of the agression

Baghdad/Madrid, 24 March, 2003
CSCAweb (

With the bombardments on Baghdad continuing throughout the night of the 22nd and 23rd, the Brigade has been witness to impacts in the vicinity of its shelter. At 3:10 AM, the windows of the building in whose basement the shelter is located were shattered by shock waves from these blasts. Explosions were heard all night long, until 7:00 AM, local time, when the alarm signalling the end of the air raid was sounded.

Later, at 12:00 noon, and when there was a considerable civilian presence in the city streets, the hum of airplanes was heard again, followed by more bombs being dropped and new explosions.

Injuries among the civilian population

The Brigade went out this morning to visit another hospital, the University Hospital of Al Kindi, a centre specialising in Traumatology and Orthopedics located in the Palestinian District. The Director, Dr. Osama Salah Taha, who was trained in Cuba, explained to the Brigade in Spanish that an average of 30 people are hospitalised in his centre everyday in direct consequence of US attacks during the night. From Friday night until Saturday morning, the night of the heaviest attacks by US B-52 bombers, 100 people were brought to the centre. Another 38 were admitted this morning, two of whom have died. These cases are essentially civilian, of all ages, although some injuries of military personnel have also been reported. The Brigade visited the injured persons and spoke with some of the children and adults, all of whom live in residential areas. Many have shrapnel wounds to the head and other parts of the body from bomb and missile explosions. There are three general hospitals in Baghdad and several specialist clinics, all of which receive each morning the victims of the night's missile and bomb attacks.

While the Brigade was speaking to some of the victims, a delegation from the Iraqi Women's Federation arrived, bringing flowers, baskets of flower petals and sweets for the patients. The six women expressed their support for the bombing victims of Baghdad and for popular resistance to the US-led invasion. They then began to sing folk songs, briefly transforming the hospital wards into a oasis of respite from the brutality which has become the city's harsh, nightly reality.

Serious deficiencies in Baghdad hospitals

Dr. Salah Taha detailed for the Brigade the deficiencies of the hospital in treating the injured and how such treatment is organised, slight injuries being attended to immediately in order to leave places in the hospital free for the more serious cases. The hospital cannot satisfy many of the most basic requirements or perform even the simplest operations due to lack of anaesthetics. The management states that the medicines requested from international agencies and from Doctors Without Borders have not yet been received.

The Director also told the Brigade that the hospital lacks any type of protection against possible attacks with non-conventional weapons. Atropine, an antidote used to treat victims affected by chemical agents, is not available, either for hospital staff or for possible patients. Despite these deficiencies, the Director stated that all of the health centres in Iraq are doing everything in their power to overcome, with human effort and professionalism, these very poor conditions, which will undoubtedly be aggravated in what is sure to be "a very long offensive, especially in Baghdad".

Al Mustansiriyya University affected by the bombing

The Brigade was able to confirm this morning, on the grounds of Al Mustansiriyya University, that the building adjacent to the rectory was affected by the shock wave of a missile that fell into the courtyard and left an immense crater there. By all indications, this was a missile that went astray, contradicting the manipulated reports pouring from the Pentagon and international news agencies claiming that the US attacks are "precise" and "surgical". In this case, there were no victims. Al Mustansiriyya University, located on Baghdad's urban perimeter, is surrounded by residential areas. Various civilian dwellings have likewise been affected and broken windows, as well as damage to the corners of buildings, can be observed throughout the area. When the Brigade visited the site, workers were in the process of covering the huge hole in the ground left by the US missile.

High spirits and a will to resist among the population of Baghdad

During its visits to the areas affected in last night's attacks, the Brigade journeyed to the New Baghdad district where it found that the streets were full of people, as was the enormous marketplace where a mingling of Christians, Sunnites, and Shi'ites could be observed shopping at the numerous fruit and food stands. Shops and markets like this one are well-stocked with fresh meat and vegetables. Just then, at 12:00 noon, the air raid sirens sounded again and the sound of airplanes, followed by renewed explosions, could clearly be heard as the bombs began to fall again over various parts of the city.

In its report for today the Brigade would like to mention again the emotion they experience on having direct contact with the population of Baghdad at this difficult time: "a warm, admirable, and amusing people who continue to treat us with all their affection and with whom we established an instant relationship of complicity, fondness and mutual respect". "Today, the people were especially trusting toward us and demonstrated to us their determination to resist the US/UK invasion". In addition to this, the presence of armed civilians, along with that of soldiers and militia, increases each day. "Thousands and thousands of armed citizens walk about the city each morning after the bombing has stopped; they do not seem at all hostile or aggressive: militia-men chat beneath bridges, soldiers and civilians stroll about with their weapons, or stopping at market stalls to talk with small groups of women; others wait on street corners, manning the trenches calmly, Kalishnikovs at their sides, eating sunflower seeds while children look on in admiration".

The Brigade confirms that these images are "the living reflection of a people with a collective will of resistance and illustrate the people's solidarity with the determination of the Iraqi government to resist the aggression against their country". News from the southern front ­ indicating that the US and UK ground troops have had to turn back to Um Qasr and have not been able to enter Basora, nor Nasiriyya, nor Nayd, for the armed Iraqi resistance they have encountered there ­ "has bolstered the spirits of the people, who are joyful and happy to share their joy with the Brigade, despite their awareness that the worst is still to come, when attacks even more intense and savage will be unleashed on the city".

With dignified enthusiasm, the people oppose the cold technological superiority of US bombers and weaponry with the bravery of their own troops and militia, the strategies of the US military with the courage of a popular front of resistance which, they affirm, is solid and proud. News that the Apache, a US helicopter of the same type used by the Israeli army in its atrocities against the Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories, has been shot down in the south by rural militia, is passed around the marketplace with effusion and pride. Likewise, the word that hundreds of Iraqis are crossing the Jordanian border and heading toward the capital (as reported yesterday by El Mundo) has lifted the spirits of this besieged but still unvanquished people. The expectation that invading US and UK troops will encounter stiff resistance in Baghdad, however, presages days of great tragedy and bloodletting ahead.

Statement from the Spanish Brigade in Baghdad

March, 22th, 2003. Translation from Donald Murply
CSCAweb (

From Baghdad: hold fast to the motto of the past months' mobilizations: "Stop the War on Iraq".

For the last two days we have been experiencing, together with five million men, women, boys, girls, teenagers and old people, the first bombing attacks perpetrated by what must be considered a new Axis of Fascism in this first war of the 21st century ­ the alliance formed by the US, UK and Spanish governments. This is a new Axis of Fascism because it is attacking open, densely populated cities with hardly any capability of defence. This is a new Axis of Fascism because it is attacking this country against the will of the citizens of the world, violating all law and all rights, returning this region and the international community to the beginning of the past century, to the colonial era, and transforming the democracy it professes to represent and intends to impose here into nothing but a travesty.

We know that Basora is being bombed intensely and here, in Baghdad, we have been able to connect names and faces to the victims of the first attacks launched on the capital at dawn on Thursday: a 14-year-old girl, wounded in the legs and abdomen while having breakfast in her home on Thursday morning.

Her sister and 14-month-old niece, Haura, both injured in the same house while the former was breast-feeding her baby.

Five brothers ­ two adults, a teenager, two children ­ all burned while they watched the missiles falling over the city early Thursday night. And so on: up to 36 in one hospital alone, all civilians, none of them living near any kind of military or government installation.

You cannot imagine the impact of the cruise missiles falling on this sprawling, exposed city; the tremor they cause when they explode, unleashing a ball of fire and column of dark smoke. It is difficult to describe the ominous sound of aircraft flying over our heads and dropping their bombs. The aggressors are now determined to break the spirit of this people after trying to do so with hunger and disease over twelve years of embargo, as if this were a medieval siege.

Its brutality is only matched by its cowardice. Counting only on its military technology, without cause, without dignity, without honour, it intends to raze to the ground a country which was the very cradle of our civilization, blessed with an admirable people. Every morning, after every attack, these same people go out again into their streets and continue to smile at us, grateful that we are here, raising their fists or flashing the victory sign, warm and trusting in spite of everything, asking us to tell you of their will to resist even when that seems an unimaginable miracle in the face of the war machine closing in on them.

What is true is that this people cannot stop the war without help: the imbalance of forces is overwhelming. They will only be able to resist the flood of steel and fire which rains down on them each night if they know that you will continue to mobilize without faltering. Please, by all available means, without relenting, help the people of Iraq to win this war by stopping it. Put the fascist governments who are attacking Iraq ­ and the Spanish government ­ up against the ropes; against the wall of morality and law, of solidarity and fraternity among peoples.

Best wishes from Baghdad

The Spanish Brigade to Iraq against the War: Maria Teresa Tuñon Álvarez, Maria Rosa Pañarroya Miranda, Ana Maria Rodríguez Alonso, Belarmino Marino García Villar, José Bielsa Fernández, Imanol Telleria, Javier Barandiaran, Manu Fernández y Carlos Varea González

Baghdad, 21 March, 2003

Report from the Spanish Brigade

The third night of attacks on Baghdad

Baghdad/Madrid, 22 March, 2003. Translation by Donald Murply
CSCAweb (

In its third report from Baghdad on this morning, 22 March, the Spanish Brigade confirms that they are all well, although shaken by what has been referred to as "a night of intense bombing on the Iraqi capital which was kept up regularly until dawn".

From 7:20 PM yesterday until 10:00 AM local time, the attacks were very intense, especially in the Al Mansur district, a densely populated area in the centre of Baghdad where institutional buildings (governmental and ministerial) are mixed in with residential blocks of flats and houses. "All night long the neighbourhood has been covered by the black smoke of fires caused by the impact of US missiles and bombs". Therefore, and despite Defence Department reports in the media claiming that the bombing has only affected "installations of the regime", it is impossible that there have not been impacts on houses and residential buildings as, even if only government buildings were attacked, the shock waves of these blasts are felt violently for several kilometres from the point of impact.

At 2:20 and at 5:30 local time, the Brigade members heard B-52 bombers flying over the building in which their shelter is located, in an area close to the National Theatre of Baghdad and the Iraqi Air Ministry. In both instances, the launch and explosion of several missiles were heard seconds later. Given the incapacity for an Iraqi response to these aerial attacks, the unlimited use of missiles and bombs on the part of the US is absolutely disproportionate and shameful against a country like Iraq, which has submitted since 1991 to a process controlled by the Security Council of general disarmament, intensified in recent months, making it impossible for its armed forces not only to counterattack against the US invasion, but even to defend itself against the sophisticated military technology which the US is using in this invasion.

From nightfall until early morning today, more than 300 bombs have been launched by US aircraft. According to information circulating in Baghdad, at least 207 persons have been injured, although the number of casualties ­ a statistic which the Iraqi authorities, as in the Gulf War, are not making public ­ is unknown.

The Brigade reports that at sunrise people began to come out of their houses and resume their daily lives, as they have been doing every morning since the attacks began three days ago.

This morning, the Spanish Brigade has planned, as yesterday, to travel to Baghdad medical centres to visit the civilians injured in the night of fire the city has just lived through. We will also visit the areas affected by the bombing to see first-hand the real material damages caused by the US attacks and, at 12:00 noon, we will again congregate in front of the International Press Centre to reiterate international public opinion's condemnation of the military invasion of Iraq and to denounce the Aznar government's support for this criminal war.

Baghdad/Madrid, 22 March, 2003

Report from the Spanish Brigade

The Spanish Brigade visits the first civilians injured in the war on Baghdad

Baghdad/Madrid, 22th March, 2003. Translation by Donald Murply
CSCAweb (

Contrary to the affirmations of Spanish Minister of Defence Federico Trillo that "the targets of the US bombing attacks are being selected exclusively from Iraqi military and government installations so as not to harm the civilian population", the missiles launched by the US in the early hours of last night and the night before have caused victims among various families residing in the city. They are, as the bellicose masters of war obscenely refer to them when the fact can no longer be hidden from the public, the first Baghdadi "collateral damage" of the Iraq war.

The Spanish Brigade in Baghdad states at noon today, 21 March, that during its visit this morning to the University Hospital at Yarmuk, Baghdad, they were able to confirm that the two preceding nights' bombing has caused injuries to the Iraqi civilian population. On its visit to the hospital, in which various representatives of the Spanish media were also invited to participate, the Brigade was received by the Director, Dr. Yamil Al Bayati, who, before taking them to see the persons injured in the attack, said that 36 people had been hospitalised there ­ 9 as a result of the missile attacks in the early morning of 19 and 20 March, and 27 last night. Dr. Al Bayati also indicated that no deaths had been registered in his centre, although he did not know if there had in fact been any civilian casualties. As the reception of patients in Baghdad hospitals is de-centralized, it is very probable that deaths have been recorded, along with more injuries, in the city's other medical centres.

Whole families affected

The Brigade visited some of the victims and can affirm that among them are entire or almost entire families from various Baghdad neighbourhoods. According to these people's own reports, in none of the neighbourhoods where they live are there any military or government installations.

The Brigade was able to visit three brothers: a 17-year-old boy with injuries in both legs, one older brother of his with head injuries, and still another who was unconscious and whose legs were severely burned. According the first of these, two younger brothers were also badly hurt and one was being operated on at that moment. All were hit last night by the shock wave of a US missile when they looked out onto the patio of their house after the alarms had sounded.

Another family group injured by a missile attack is made up of two sisters and a baby. The younger of the sisters is a girl of 14 who was wounded by an impact in the abdomen and legs while having breakfast at home at 9:30 AM. Her older sister, the mother of a 14-month-old baby she was breast-feeding at the moment of the explosion, suffered burns over several parts of her body and her bandaged hands were bleeding when the Brigade visited her. The baby had back injuries. These people, as they themselves explained to the Brigade, reside in a farmhouse on the outskirts of Baghdad.

In another room, a woman was caring for a pregnant neighbour, whose belly had been ripped open by the impact of another missile blast.

Visit to the burned Ministry of Planning

The Brigade also visited the Ministry of Planning, which had been a target of the US missiles launched late last night. The Ministry, situated in Yumhurriya (Republic) Square, near the Tigris River, was gutted by fire resulting from the impact of several missiles. Although the structure is still standing, both the interior and exterior of the building were completely destroyed by the explosion.

Visit to the Al Qadimiya district

The Brigade visited the popular Al Qadimiya district where much of Baghdad's Shi'ite population is concentrated. Its streets, usually boisterous and busy, were fairly lively as people shopped at circulating fruit and vegetable stands. The majority of businesses remain closed. In this neighbourhood, as in the rest of Baghdad, one finds groups of militia and soldiers among the civilian population. We exchanged warm greetings with them, who in general seemed calm and relaxed, trying their best to enjoy this brief respite before night falls, when the ominous designs of the lords of evil and war will bring new bombardments upon them. Who knows where they will fall this time and who their victims will be?

The Brigade has issued a declaration of support for the mobilizations against the war taking place tomorrow (Saturday) in all the capitals of the Spain, and in other cities and villages.

Report from the Spanish Brigade

The second night of attacks on Baghdad

Baghdad/Madrid, 21 March, 2003. Translation by Donald Murply
CSCAweb (

At 8:00 AM today (Friday, 23 March), Carlos Varea, coordinator in Baghdad of the Brigades to Iraq against the War, gave a report to the CSCA of how the Brigade had spent the previous day and of the bombing by US aircraft last night. Our colleagues are all very well and send their greetings, along with a message of reassurance, to their families, co-workers and friends. Although yesterday afternoon some media sources reported surprisingly that the Brigade members had been kidnapped, all of them are still together, with their daily routine unchanged except for the uneasiness and anticipation produced by the sound of air raid sirens and US aircraft and missiles when the attacks do occur. All are in good physical condition and determined to stay on in Baghdad.

Yesterday at noon, after walking through the city to observe the mood of the inhabitants, they attended a press conference held by Iraqi Information Minister Al Sharaf at the Baghdad Press Centre. The Minister confirmed that the 40 US missiles launched in the first attacks the night before had targeted locations where members of the Iraqi administration were supposed to have been present. The attack resulted in one casualty and various injuries.

After its own session with the press, the Brigade held a demonstration in front of the Press Centre itself, with signs protesting the war, the Spanish government and the use of Spanish military bases. The nine Brigade members then walked again through the city, to which a degree of normality had returned. People had come out of their houses, to buy supplies in the very few shops which remain open, or simply for a stroll. According to Carlos, "the armed civilian and military presence has increased considerably in comparison to previous days, although it does not seem in any way aggressive, nor is it there to check identification or place controls on the local population. The people in the street continue to be very friendly towards us, greeting us with smiles, making the V-for-victory sign, or raising their fists in a gesture of solidarity."

After the walk through Baghdad and in light of a predicted, later confirmed, attack that afternoon, the Brigade returned to its lodgings, going directly to the shelter which they had previously stocked with water, food and medicines, as well as gas masks, mattresses, sleeping bags and other basic items in preparation for the night. With them were various representatives of the Spanish media, such as Fran Sevilla of RNE, Tomás Alcoverro of La Vanguardia, Ángeles Espinosa of El País, and reporters from Euskal Telebista, COPE, ABC and El Semanal Colpisa.

At 20:55 local time, they heard a new warning siren, followed by a bombardment lasting more than an hour, until 22:15. For the duration of this, the sky over Baghdad was illuminated by Iraqi anti-aircraft fire. The bombing was much more intense and prolonged than the previous day's, with the sounds of aircraft engines and missiles in the southeast plainly audible from the shelter. As they have been able to confirm, and as shown in yesterday's television images, the attacks, against installations across the river from where the Brigade is staying, were centred on the Ministry of Planning and Information. The Ministry is located in the heart of the city, opposite the Hotel Al Rachid, where part of the remaining international press contingent has its lodgings, and in the same area that the morning's press conference had taken place.

After these attacks, sirens sounded again between 23:30 and midnight, although no more aircraft or missile sounds were heard.

The Brigade left the shelter early this morning. Seeing that the streets are quiet and that some people are out and about ­ along with armed militia personnel, soldiers and Iraqi police ­, they are planning, as a gesture of support and solidarity, to visit the hospitals where those injured in last night's attacks have been taken. They will also continue to answer questions from the Spanish media, who maintain contact with them from home.

Report from the Spanish Brigade

The first night of attacks on Baghdad

Baghdad/Madrid, 20 March, 2003. Translation by Donald Murply
CSCAweb (

At 9:00 AM this morning (11:00 AM in Iraq), the members of the Spanish Brigade who remain in Iraq send this message to the CSCA to report on the current situation in Baghdad after the first air attacks on the city by US aircraft and missiles. All of the Brigade members report that they are well and calm.
As we are told, at 5:40 AM local time (two hours later than Spanish peninsular time), the first Iraqi air raid alarms were heard. Immediately, all of the Brigade members went down into their basement-shelter together with the other persons who share this shelter with them. They remained there until the attack has passed and then ascended to a balcony where they were able to see bursts of flame and columns of smoke. Up to 20 missiles and bombs from US aircraft had fallen on buildings in the southwest of the city.
At 9:00 AM a new alarm was sounded and an explosion somewhere in the vicinity was heard. After this, silence returned and with it a degree of calm. Later, the Brigade went out into the streets, where all of the businesses remained, as they were yesterday, closed, and where a greater military presence could be observed ­ in the groups of militia, soldiers and Iraqi police on patrol there ­, as well as a scarcity of civilians. On the way back to its lodgings, and after verifying first-hand that all was calm in the city, the Brigade decided to proceed instead to the Press Centre where they had arranged a meeting with media representatives.
Apart from this, we report that the Basque Country Brigade departed at 19:00 local time for Amman, Jordan, from which they will then return home. Three members of that Brigade, Imanol Telleria, Javier Barandiaran y Manu Fernández, have decided to remain here in Baghdad with the seven members who had already decided to stay on in the city.