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Government Dismissed Iraq Death Toll Report In Full Knowledge It Was Likely Accurate
John Hopkins study put toll at 655,000 but they didn't want you to know that
Steve Watson
Infowars.net

Tuesday, March 27, 2007  

Documents obtained by the BBC under a Freedom Of Information Act request have proven that despite public dismissal of last year's Iraq Death Toll study, published in The Lancet Medical Journal, British Government officials actually backed the methods used by scientists who concluded that more than 600,000 Iraqis have been killed since the invasion.

The study was jointly conducted by the John Hopkins School of Public Health and and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad and compared mortality rates before and after the invasion by surveying 47 randomly chosen areas across 16 provinces in Iraq.

It concluded that as many as 654,965 more Iraqis may have died since hostilities began in Iraq in March 2003 than would have been expected under pre-war conditions. The deaths from all causes—violent and non-violent—are over and above the estimated 143,000 deaths per year that occurred from all causes prior to the March 2003 invasion.

Researchers estimated with 95 per cent certainty that the war and its aftermath have resulted in the deaths of between 426,000 and 794,000 Iraqis.

The researchers spoke to nearly 1,850 families, comprising more than 12,800 people. In nearly 92% of cases family members produced death certificates to support their answers.

At the time of its publication in the Lancet, in October 2006, the media dubbed the study "controversial" purely because it set the death toll a much greater figure than Iraqi Body Count organisation, which says it has recorded about 44,000 to 49,000 civilian Iraqi deaths. The UN and the coalition governements concur with these lower figures.

The John Hopkins estimate was much higher because it the study was derived from a house-to-house survey rather than the other approaches that depend on body counts or media reports, which it says probably overlook "many if not most civilian casualties."

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Dr David Rush, a professor and epidemiologist at Tufts University in Boston, said: "Over the last 25 years, this sort of methodology has been used more and more often, especially by relief agencies in times of emergency."

Critics, including President George Bush, have said the results are not credible, but Rush said traditional methods for determining death rates, such as counting bodies, are highly inaccurate for civilian populations in times of war.

In addition, the biases inherent in cluster sampling, such as wording of questionnaires, would tend to undercount, rather than inflate, the number of deaths, Rush said.

Michael Intriligator, professor of economics at the University of California at Los Angeles, also backed the finding.

"I think this is an extremely credible study," he said.

Now it has been revealed that government advisers warned against publicly criticizing the report concluding that the study had used "sound methods". The chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence, Roy Anderson, described the methods used in the study as "robust" and "close to best practice". Another official from the foreign office wrote "the survey methodology used here cannot be rubbished, it is a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones."

Despite having the backing of experts and government advisors, the government roundly rejected the study. The timing of the survey's release, just a few weeks before the U.S. congressional elections, even led some to call it "politics."

Establishment media hacks such as Bill O'Reilly now routinely refer to the study as if it has been proven to be inaccurate when in actual fact the exact opposite is true. O'Reilly, in an interview with Sunsara Taylor of anti-war organisation "The World Can't Wait" last week, called the study the work of the "far left," his answer to anything that proves him wrong.

In reality the study was peer reviewed and The Lancet Medical Journal, the journal of the British Medical Society, is considered to be one of the core general medical journals on the planet.

In 1996 the Lancet claimed sanctions were responsible for the deaths of 567,000 Iraqi children. UNICEF later accepted the study and rounded the number off to 500,000, prompting Clinton’s Secretary of State, at the time UN ambassador, Madeleine Albright, to declare on CBS’ 60 Minutes that the medieval siege of Iraq and the murder of hundreds of thousands of children was a price worth paying.

Denis Halliday, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Baghdad, resigned after a 34 year career with the UN, declaring, “I don’t want to administer a program that satisfies the definition of genocide.” Halliday’s successor, Hans von Sponeck, also resigned in disgust, as did Jutta Burghardt, head of the World Food Program in Iraq. All told, 1.5 million Iraqis died as a direct result of the sanctions.

This all goes to show once more that a parallel world of truth and lies, morality and immorality dominates how the crime in Iraq is presented to us.

The co-author of the study, Les Roberts, an Associate Professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health has stated:

"The consequences of downplaying the number of deaths in Iraq are profound for both the UK and the US. How can the Americans have a surge of troops to secure the population and promise success when the coalition cannot measure the level of security to within a factor of 10? How can the US and Britain pretend they understand the level of resentment in Iraq if they are not sure if, on average, one in 80 families have lost a household member, or one in seven, as our study suggests?"

Roberts points out that if the government's assessment of the Iraq death toll is to be believed, then South Africa, Colombia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia have experienced higher violent death rates than Iraq over the past four years. The government would have us believe that North and South American cities and Sub-Saharan Africa have had a similar murder rate to that claimed in Iraq. They would also like us to believe that New Orleans is more violent than the entirety of Iraq.

We know that the government twists the figures in any way it can to make the reality of its crimes seem less gruesome. We know that the figures of dead troops would be vastly higher should those who die in the air or at medical facilities be factored in. We know that they don't want the public seeing the coffins coming home. We know that in Afghanistan Three times as many British soldiers have been wounded in action as the Government has admitted.

The truth is that The U.S. and Britain have triggered an episode more deadly than the Rwandan genocide. if we were to factor in the brutal and genocidal sanctions regime imposed on Iraq prior to the invasion in 2003, and if we were to also factor in the 2 million Iraqi refugees that have been created, we see that out of a population of 26 million, 4 million have been killed or displaced.

Over 7.5% dead, another 7.5% driven out, the rest left to suffer the slow painful decline of their country into a violent and fiercely divided hell hole that our governments claim they have liberated.


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