On the detention of Dr. Huda S. Ammash

From the www.monabaker.com archive (legacy material)

South End Press | South End Press | 7 May 2003

The U.S. publishers of Dr. Huda S. Ammash assert that there may be political motivations for her detention on Monday, May 5 in Baghdad by the U.S. military on allegations that she oversaw Iraq's purported development of biological weapons. Dr. Ammash, Dean of Baghdad University, is the author of "Toxic Pollution, the Gulf War, and Sanctions," a peer reviewed research paper published in Iraq Under Siege (South End Press, 2002) an anthology that examined the effects of the Gulf War and sanctions on Iraq. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 7th, 2003 CONTACT: Alexander Dwinell On the detention of Dr. Huda S. Ammash The U.S. publishers of Dr. Huda S. Ammash assert that there may be political motivations for her detention on Monday, May 5 in Baghdad by the U.S. military on allegations that she oversaw Iraq's purported development of biological weapons. Dr. Ammash, Dean of Baghdad University, is the author of "Toxic Pollution, the Gulf War, and Sanctions," a peer reviewed research paper published in Iraq Under Siege (South End Press, 2002) an anthology that examined the effects of the Gulf War and sanctions on Iraq. United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) spokesperson Hiro Ueki has confirmed to South End Press that based on earlier research "UNMOVIC did not single Dr. Ammash out for interviews because UNMOVIC did not have clear evidence to link Dr. Ammash to BW [biological weapons] programs" when visiting Baghdad University on January 13th, 2003. "We are outraged at the U.S.'s extra-legal detention of Dr. Ammash and its plans to interrogate her. We demand that Dr. Ammash be released immediately," said co-publisher Alexander Dwinell. "The U.S. government is trying to silence Dr. Ammash's outspoken criticism of the U.S. role in causing cancers and other illnesses in Iraq through its own use of biologically hazardous weapons such as radioactive deleted uranium." Dr. Ammash, an environmental biologist and professor at Baghdad University, received her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. She has earned international respect for her publications, particularly her documentation of the rise in cancers among Iraqi children and war veterans since the Gulf War. In Iraq Under Siege she writes: "Iraqi death rates have increased significantly, with cancer representing a significant cause of mortality, especially in the south and among children." When visited in Baghdad by a group of NGO representatives and former UN officials in January 2003, Dr. Ammash stated: "People here bear every respect for Western people and Western civilization. We respect your technological accomplishments and your values..Yet hatred is being manufactured by some to engineer a clash of civilizations." Dr. Ammash's other publications include: "Impact of Gulf War Pollution in the Spread of Infectious Diseases in Iraq," (Soli Al-Mondo, Rome, 1999), and "Electromagnetic, Chemical, and Microbial Pollution Resulting from War and Embargo, and Its Impact on the Environment and Health," (Journal of the [Iraqi] Academy of Science, 1997). South End Press 7 Brookline Street #1, Cambridge, MA 02139 (617) 547-4002 Fax: (617) 547-1333 www.southendpress.org -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Supplemental statement by Dr. Barbara Nimri Aziz on the detention of Dr. Ammash: As a fellow scientist, a social scientist, who has known Dr. Huda Ammash for 6 years, I am outraged by her detention by U.S. authorities in Baghdad on the spurious accusations that she could have been involved in harmful military research. It is highly insulting moreover, that a highly qualified, committed scholar such as Dr. Ammash has been labeled with a silly, totally unjustified comic title that we see carelessly repeated in press reports. I first met Dr. Ammash at her university office in Baghdad in connection with my reporting on environmental and industrial contamination caused by the 1991 war, the Gulf War. She was referred to me by the highly regarded Iraq Academy of Science of which she is a respected member. On the basis of her sound research on the harmful effects of toxic wastes created by the 1991 bombings in Iraq and the UN imposed sanctions, I recommended Dr. Ammash's work for an important volume about UN sanctions on Iraq assembled by South End Press in the U.S. I regularly met Dr. Ammash between 1997 and 2003, seeing her with her students, talking to her about her concerns for her country's and her peoples' future. In my experience, Dr. Ammash consistently sought to have her research work on hazardous materials left by the Iraq 1991 war published in international journals, and to share with the scientific community and the wider public the dangerous human consequences of warfare on the environment.