Sunday, June 30, 2019

Anyone who claims that Oswald was innocent. HAS to be a JFK photo-alterationist. That's because Oswald was a JFK photo-alterationist. He was shown the Backyard Photo, and he said it was fake, that he never posed for it. He said that his face was imposed over the body of another man. He said he knew how it was done from having worked in a photo lab, and that he could show them.

Now, you can't assume that Oswald was lying about that. He was being accused of killing the President of the United States and a police officer. So, why the heck would he lie about posing for a photo? That wasn't a crime. And even if you think it looks bad that he was posing with the alleged murder weapon, so what? How hard is it to say, "Yeah, that's me posing with my rifle, but I didn't shoot anybody. Someone must have stolen my rifle, from where it was stored, and done the shooting. I didn't kill anybody." 

How hard is it to say that? It's not hard to say that at all, and it's exactly what you or I would say in that situation. If you knew you were innocent, and Oswald certainly did, you're not going to start lying to the police- about anything- and least of all an innocent, harmless act such as posing for a photo. 

So, if you believe in Oswald's innocence, you have to believe he was telling the truth about that.  

And consider something else: Oswald offered to show them how the image was falsified. Now, if he knew that that it wasn't false, that he did pose, that it was really him, then he wouldn't have offered to show them how a picture of himself wasn't  a picture of himself. If he was going to lie, he would just lie. He wouldn't offer to prove the lie. How can anyone prove a lie?  

If someone showed you a photo of yourself, and you knew it was real, are you going to show them how it was faked? Of course not. And neither would Oswald. Give him some credit. So, we need to believe him. 

And the Backyard photos really are fake. Very cleverly, they installed Oswald's face but not his chin. They left the chin of the original guy who actually posed, and he had an anvil-like chin. 

That is NOT Oswald's chin on the right. It was the other guy's chin.

Notice that Oswald's chin was not only narrower, but it had a dimple. The other didn't. 

And what it means is that criminal photo alteration was being done even BEFORE the assassination, since they had that photo on the day of the assassination. So, if they had the means and the mindset to do photo alteration BEFORE the assassination, you know darn well that they had the means and the mindset to do photo alteration AFTER the assassination. 

And they did a hell of a lot of it. The JFK assassination is the most photographically altered event in the history of Mankind.   

Who told Oswald to go to the theater? I don't know, but it's an interesting question. Someone had to tell him to go there. He certainly didn't go there to watch a war movie. The official story has it that he "ducked" into the theater and actually took the risk of sneaking in, which is ridiculous. Why would he do that? To avoid being seen by the attendant? Very easily, he could have just looked down and scratched his forehead as he was paying her. He had nothing to worry about there. And there is no evidence he had been to that theater before, so how would he know that certain door would be open and give him access? It's just ridiculous to think he would have tried it. 

It's also ridiculous to think he would have been at 10th and Patton. In route to where? WC  Atty David Belin said Mexico. How did he claim to know that, and why would any intelligent person accept it?

Oswald's actions in the theater suggest that he was looking for someone, and not someone he had met before. He kept getting up the sitting next to a different person. So, it was a rendezvous, but not the kind that he expected.   

So, who told him to go there? And where was he told? 

I think it's unlikely that it was someone at the TSBD. The most likely person would have been Shelley, but Oswald did not encounter him after the assassination. There is no possibility that Oswald saw Shelley as he was leaving because Shelley wasn't there. Who else could it have been? I can't even give you a name. Oswald was not good with names at the TSBD. Recall that when he tried to cite James Jarman, all he could think of was his nickname, "Junior." He didn't remember Harold Norman's name at all and just described him as a "short negro." But, when it was time to establish his presence in the doorway, Oswald quickly said that he was "out with Bill Shelley in front." So, Oswald knew who Shelley was, and he knew who Truly was, and presumably he knew Frazier's name, but that may be it. 

John Armstrong thinks it was JD Tippit who went to Oswald's rooming house and waited for him. His reasoning is that Tippit's location was missing from the police records, that he turned off his transponder, or whatever it was. Armstrong argues that Oswald must have been driven to the theater because Butch Burroughs, the Popcorn Man, said that Oswald got there no later than 1:07, and since he didn't leave his room until shortly after 1:00, there is no way that he walked there. 

So, since a police car apparently honked for him at his house, and since time alone dictates that Oswald was driven to the theater, and since there is no basis to think that he took public transportation, then that mysterious police car becomes Oswald's most likely ride to the theater. 

But, was it Tippit who drove him? It's possible, although I am a bit haunted by the fact that Oswald referred to Tippit as "a policeman."  To me, that has the air that he didn't know him. Unless he was being clever and pretending not to know him. But, Oswald was innocent, so how much pretending did he need to do?

But, whether it was Tippit or someone else, that lingering police car is the only prospect that we have for get ting Oswald to the theater.  And, it's very possible that the driver produced the destination and the reason for going there. And that's true whether it was Tippit or someone else. 

The eeriest thing of all is that there is nothing in any report  or any testimony from anyone in law enforcement about what Oswald said about any of this. And that is unpardonable. Oswald was arrested for shooting Tippit. He was arraigned for it that evening, before he was arraigned for shooting Kennedy.  

And remember that if Oswald denied shooting Tippit, and he definitely did because it was reported that he did, and he denied it to the world as well, and we can hear him denying it, then that denial had to include denying that he was ever at 10th and Patton. Because obviously: he didn't say that he was there, but someone else shot Tippit. The likelihood of that is zero. Oswald was not at 10th and Patton, and there is every reason to believe that that is what he told investigators. But, they didn't report anything about it. 

So, there are just two possibilities, and this Okkom talking to you, and you mess with that friar at your own ridk:

Either this was a murder investigation in which the only thing police asked the suspect is whether he did it, and no other questions, OR Oswald told them stuff, and they didn't write it down or report it. 

So, what do you think? I think Oswald told them stuff that they didn't write it down or report it. 

Why did they cover it up? It must have been extremely exonerating, such as that he was aided to get to the theater by a police officer. 

The absence of this information really is a smoking gun. It shows the fundamental corruption of the investigation. And I have to think that the one who steered it that way and was really controlling the interrogation wasn't Fritz but rather Bookhout. It's no accident that Bookhout attended every single session. 

I want to finish by citing something from Fritz' testimony when he was asked about Oswald going to Mexico City. He only reported that Oswald denied going there. Now, don't you think that if he heard Oswald reverse himself about Mexico City at the last interrogation, he would have said so?

Mr. BALL. What did he say when he was asked if he had been to Mexico City?
Mr. FRITZ. He said he had not been. He did say he had been to Russia, he was in Russia, I believe he said for some time.
Mr. BALL. He said he had not been in Mexico City?
Mr. FRITZ. At that time he told me he had not been in Mexico City.
Mr. BALL. Who asked the question whether or not he had been to Mexico City?
Mr. FRITZ. Mr. Hosty. I wouldn't have known anything about Mexico City

Mr. BALL. In his first interview you say that Hosty asked him if he had been to Mexico.
Mr. FRITZ. Yes; he did.
Mr. BALL. He denied it. Did he say he had been at Tijuana once?
Mr. FRITZ. I don't remember him saying he had been at Tijuana.
Mr. BALL. What did you remember him saying?
Mr. FRITZ. I remember him saying he had been to Russia, told me he had been to Russia, and was over there for some time, and he told Hosty that he had a record of that, knew he had been there, told him a number of things so far as that is concerned.
Mr. BALL. What did he say about Mexico?
Mr. FRITZ. Mexico, I don't remember him admitting that he had been to any part of Mexico.
Mr. BALL. What do you remember him saying?
Mr. FRITZ. I remember he said he did not go to Mexico City and I don't remember him saying he ever went to Tijuana. 

That's it. That is the totality of what Fritz reported about what Oswald said about Mexico City. Don't you think that if he heard Oswald reverse himself and admit going there, he would have said so?

I'll rephrase that: It is obvious that Ball was trying to learn everything Oswald said about Mexico City, so if Fritz knew that Oswald reversed himself and admitted going there, then Fritz was being evasive and duplicitous to Ball. In other words, Fritz was obstructing justice. 

So, why didn't Fritz want to say that Oswald finally admitted going to Mexico City? BECAUSE OSWALD NEVER ADMITTED GOING THERE, AND THE TESTIMONY OF HARRY HOLMES WAS A COMPLETE FABRICATION. 

There really isn't any way around that. 

So why, in the year of Our Lord 2019, does anyone still think that Oswald shot Kennedy? 


Friday, June 28, 2019

Steven B I think so too.
I think Oswald was out front. Marina identified him in the photo, she knew him better than anyone. I believe he went to the lunchroom after the shooting where he was found by Baker and Truly. However, what puzzles me is his calm demeanor after witnessing the murder of the President. I don't get why he wasn't freaked out, everybody else was frantically running around. There's got to be a reason
  • Oswald Innocence Campaign Steven, I have examined this question, and I think it's possible, even likely, that Oswald left the doorway for the lunch room before the fatal head shot. If you look at the Altgens photo, which was taken several seconds before the fatal head shot, nobody is reacting to Kennedy being shot. It's all cheers and celebration. So, if Oswald left right after he was snapped in the Altgens Photo, he may not have realized that Kennedy was shot. Oswald reached the lunchroom just a few seconds before Officer Baker. However, Baker ran, while Oswald walked. And Oswald did not walk fast because he was not out of breath when Baker saw him. So, for Oswald to have beaten Baker to the lunch room meant that he (Oswald) must have gotten a significant head start. And that's why I say that Oswald left the doorway right after the Altgens photo was taken, and I mean within 2 seconds.

I am applying to be a speaker at the CAPA JFK Conference in Dallas in November, and I have been asked to submit an abstract of my talk. This is it:

The Case for Oswald In The Doorway

By Ralph C. Cinque, founder and administrator of the Oswald Innocence Campaign

People the world over, upon seeing the Altgens Photo, honed in on “The Man in the Doorway” observing his striking resemblance to Lee Harvey Oswald, and even recognizing Oswald’s arrest shirt and the manner in which it was worn.  The FBI quickly announced that the Man in the Doorway was another TSBD employee, Billy Lovelady, who happened to look like Oswald (and apparently  he dressed like him too). But, the FBI did NOT release a photo of Lovelady, and Dallas Police quickly spread the word that photographing Lovelady was off limits.

On February 29, 1964, the FBI took images of Lovelady which they sent to the Warren Commission, but the WC did nothing with them. The world found out about them only because Harold Weisberg went through the WC “document pile.” Weisberg found that Lovelady did not look like Oswald, and he did not dress like him either. Around the same time, Mark Lane “stole” a photo of Lovelady in Dallas which also proved that he did not look like Oswald.  

And that launched the resistance to the official lie that the Man in the Doorway is not Oswald. He most certainly is.

Ralph Cinque’s talk would include the following elements:

1 photographic evidence: this is the most compelling and conclusive thing. Oswald’s person and clothing can easily be recognized on the Man in the Doorway, whereas, for Lovelady, the image that Mark Lane pirated is the only reliable image of him that we have, and it is no match to Doorman.  

2 photographic alteration: the people who decided to claim that Oswald was Lovelady knew that words would not be sufficient, that something had to be done to Doorman to “Lovelady-ify” him. So, working  off an image of Lovelady from the 1950s, they moved over the top of Lovelady’s head and installed it on Doorman who was Oswald. This will be demonstrated visually.

3 how the government handled the Doorman problem, starting with the Warren Commission and then moving on to the HSCA. Both investigations of this issue were corrupt.

4 the surfacing of the Fritz Notes in 1996 with “out with Billy Shelley in front”. So, Oswald told Fritz that he was out with Shelley in front, and it will be explained why he must have been talking about during the motorcade and not after it.

5 why for those who know that Oswald was not up on the 6th floor shooting at JFK that the doorway was the ONLY place he could have been. Bullet-proof reasons will be given why Oswald could not have been in the 1st or 2nd floor lunch room during the shooting- or anywhere else.  

6 why those who wish to defend Oswald need to provide him an alibi, why it is crucial, and why it is the heart of his defense, and why the one and only correct alibi for him is that he was standing in the doorway of the Book Depository at the time of the shooting.                                               

Thursday, June 27, 2019

I feel sorry for people who don't like to sing. And I know: you feel sorry for people who have to listen to me sing. But, I tell you: it makes you feel good to sing, and especially if you really like the song, and I really like this one from 1930, by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn, and introduced to modern audiences by the great singer/songwriter and civil rights activist Nina Simone,
My Baby Just Cares For Me.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

So, why did I write the movie? It's because I found myself living in a country that had killed at least a million and a half people since 9/11, and most Americans were walking around as if nothing had happened, as if it was still the same place, as if nothing had changed. Most Americans have never stopped and looked at what our government did  And remember: it was done in our name and with our money. And today, there are plenty of leaders, including  Trump, who say that the Iraq War was a "mistake," but that isn't the right word. It was a crime. And those that say it frame it in terms of the American lives lost, but never mentioning  the much greater number of Iraqis killed.  

It's less often that we hear a politician admit that the Afghanistan War was also a "mistake" but how could it not be when it is still raging after 18 years, and the U.S. is trying to find a way to put the Taliban back in power in a face-saving way so that we can get  the hell out of there. 

We are asking the Taliban to give us assurances that they won't give safe haven to terrorists who might attack the U.S. or its allies, but let's be perfectly clear: the Taliban has NEVER admitted doing that. They have always denied doing it. 

Trump says he wants to make America great again. I want to make America conscious again, and I mean conscious of itself and what it's done. And remember: living in oblivion is one way to avoid pain and discomfort, but evading reality has never established a safe haven for anybody. 

There needs to be a reckoning in this country, and  may we have it before we launch the next unnecessary war. Another war is the very worst thing that could happen right now.    
Bill Wolfe Eyebrows on Oswald closer to the eyes. Definitely Oswald from the eyebrows down
  • Ralph Cinque Yes, exactly right, Bill. It is Oswald from the eyebrows down. Somewhere on the forehead, they slapped on the top of Lovelady's head. They really did that.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Postal Inspector Harry Holmes was a liar, and there is no reason to believe anything he said. For instance, in his WC testimony, he claimed that Oswald recanted about going to Mexico City and elaborated about it. But, you know that's not true. In the first interrogation, Oswald said the only place he ever went in Mexico was Tijuana. When you're being accused of killing the President of the United States and a police officer, why would you lie about a trip to Mexico City? You wouldn't,. You couldn't. And neither could Oswald. There is no doubt that Holmes bold-faced lied. Not a single other person who attended that final interrogation said that that happened. And Bookhout said that nothing of importance came out of that final interrogation.
Holmes also lied about Oswald's reported P.O. Box. He said that Oswald was receiving newspapers from Russia. But, think about it. When he was working, Oswald made $1.11/hour. And he had to support a family. So, do you really think he would have spent the exorbitant postage to have Russian newspapers sent to him? And if he did, how come, we've never seen them? Shouldn't his room have had a stash of them? It was just a lie; another Harrry Holmes lie.
I'm not at all sure that Oswald had a P.O. Box. We never heard it from him. You know he didn't shoot at Walker. You know that's all made up. And that includes his disaster note to Marina, written in Russian. So supposedly, the first thing he tells her to do in case of the worst case scenario is to go to the P.O. to check the box. But why? If Harry Holmes was right, that the only thing the box ever contained was Russian and Socialist newspapers, why the heck would she need those? Especially at a time of crisis. So, I figure that "they" wrote that just to validate the idea that he had a P.O. Box. And that's why I doubt that he did.
But regardless, don't believe a word that that evil Harry Holmes said because he is burning in Hell right now, and you can bet your bottom dollar on that.

I have a longtime Iranian friend, Ali, who was involved in our movie. He has a limo service here in Austin, and he picks people up at the airport for me. I told him I needed a bright yellow cab, but it couldn't say Austin on it because it was supposed to be Washington DC. So, he arranged it. I had nothing to do with it. I just gave him a date, time, and location, and he saw to it that a cab was there, which happened to have an Iranian driver. And this driver was very pleasant and accommodating because we were running late, and he had to wait. Then, we had to do several takes. And he was very nice about it. There is so much stress on a movie set, but he didn't give us any.
So, here is Junes Zahdi as Abdul Latif Hassan, making a fast getaway in a cab after extracting himself from a dicey situation

And here is a video by an American who traveled to Iran, about how warm and kind and generous the Iranian people were to him, how eagerly they welcomed him, a stranger, into their homes, and how much they are suffering now because of the sanctions.
This is Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif laughing it up in Bejing just last month with Chinese Foreign Minister FM Wang Yi, and it reveals something very telling.

It reveals that China does not believe that Iran commits terrorist acts or blows up tankers in the Persian Gulf. Russia has stated outright that Iran doesn't do those things. So, who are you going to believe? Your own government or China and Russia? But, your own government lied to you about Iraq. Every one of the scare tactics that George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice used to justify the disastrous war on Iraq proved to be false. Do you think it's different this time? If so, stop and think. To what end would Iran commit terrorist acts? What value would they get from it? They would not get anything of value. They would only get harms.  Iran would have to be insane to commit terrorist acts. They are in the oil business. They want to sell oil to every country in the world that needs oil. They know that killing innocents is bad for business, that nobody wants to buy oil from a monster. So, even if you don't accept that they are devote Muslims who practice a religion which prohibits murder, give them credit for not wanting to destroy their oil business. They can't make it up in pistachio nuts. 

I will tell you that every charge being leveled against Iran is false. They have not condoned, supported, or committed acts of terror. They did not blow up tankers in the Gulf. And if they said the U.S. drone was over their air space, then it damn sure was.  They are not idiots. They wouldn't do something to trigger a war with the United States. They issued two warnings before blowing up the drone, but the U.S. ignored them. Who is provoking who here?  

Trump deserves some credit for derailing those imminent attacks on Iran last night. But, with the kind of people he has got around him, particularly Pompeo and Bolton, I don't know how long he will be able to hold out. 

And look at the U .S. media. Look how they drum up the fervor for war, reporting Iran's misdeeds as if they're facts, and playing into the whole, "there has to be war " mentality, just as they did with Iraq. Any morning, we could wake up to the news that another tanker got hit in the Gulf; Iran did it; and now missiles are in flight to Tehran. 

If they start this war, for which they are salivating, I think Americans should go on strike. It happened when I was in college at UCLA in the 1960s. Both students and faculty went on strike, demanding an end to the Vietnam War. We could do it again, and we should.

Monday, June 24, 2019

  • Angelo V. Secreto Ralph Cinque did he have any connection to C.I.A. notice it appears he was David Farried. Suicided.
  • Robert Jordan Angelo V. Secreto no David Ferrie was eliminated and it was made to look like suicide. Ferrie was involved up to hhis nose in the Kennedy killing.
  • Ralph Cinque Yes, I fully believe that both of them were murdered. One was made to look like suicide and the other a death from natural causes. I don't know of any direct CIA connection for Lovelady, but it's clear that they planned to use him, and they thought they could. That's because he got in trouble in the Air Force. He was involved, with others, stealing guns from the Air Force, and he did a short stint in prison. But, he fled Maryland before paying his fine associated with it, and the prosecutors caught up with him. They were going to extradite him back to Maryland, but then his boss at the TSBD stepped up and paid the fine. That was in January 1963. OIC Chairman Larry Rivera thinks that they may have considered using Lovelady as an alternate patsy in case something went wrong with framing Oswald.
Angelo V. Secreto Any background on Lovlady in short reply?
  • Ralph Cinque Lovelady died suddenly of a "heart attack" at the age of 41 just when the HSCA Report was comng out in 1979. His problem was that he was a terrible liar. When HSCA lawyer Ken Brooten and Robert Groden visited him in Colorado in 1976, he must have pleaded with them, "Don't make me go to Washington. I can't do this." And by this, I mean lie. So, Brooten instead did an informal deposition, and then he quit his job for the HSCA to represent Lovelady. I bet that was the only time such a thing happened in the history of jurisprudence.
It  is important to remember that when the decision was made to turn Oswald into Lovelady, they weren't going to just tell the world he was Lovelady and assume that their lip-flapping would sell it.  They knew they had to do something to turn him into Lovlady- at least a little. So, what they did was move over the top of the head, including the hairline. They used a photo of Lovelady from the 1950s not realizing that he had lost a lot of hair since then. This is the photo alongside Doorman, and you can see that they are identical. But, it's ridiculous because hair is constantly changing, and Lovelady was rapidly balding young man. So, how could he have the exact same cut, length, lay, and form of his hair in 1963 that he had in 1957? It's fake. It's an altered photo. The evil is very, very great here. It is so devious and Machiavellian. Yes, they match all right, but do you understand that they match too good? We're looking at hair, which is constantly growing, constantly falling out, and constantly being affected by weather, humidity, the use of shampoos and conditioners, the effect of sleeping on it, progressive baldness, etc. These two are exactly the same in length and everything else over 6 years time, and that is a problem. They moved it over. They used the one on the left to make the one on the right. If you are going to study the JFK assassination without considering photographic alteration,  you will be left completely in the dark. 

This poster about the ICE debacle is very touching and eye-catching, and it also reminds me of something from My Stretch of Texas Ground. When Senator Cruthers played by Mike Gassaway is at the marine filling station on the lake, he thinks the workers there are Hispanic, when actually, they are Arabic, although in real life the actors are Tarek Zohdy who is Egyptian, and Siya Ameen who is Kurdish-Iranian. But, after asking them for beers, the Senator turns to his companions on the boat and says, "Now, don't say anything about ice, because these hombres will run."
It was Mike's own line; I didn't write it. But, it was perfect for the story because it played right into the character of Senator Cruthers being this jingoistic, xenophobic kind of guy. Mike Gassaway did much more for Senator Cruthers than I did.
To my friends, if you haven't watched My Stretch of Texas Ground yet, please do. You can watch it on Vimeo for just $1.99, and if you would leave a nice comment after watching it, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

There is NO reason not to believe him.  
As victims of terrorism in the past and today, we have always been and will always remain in the forefront of genuine confrontation with terrorism. Iran has always condemned all acts of terrorism without equivocation and will continue to do so.

How Many Millions of People Have Been Killed in America’s Post-9/11 Wars?

Part I, The Iraq Death Toll

  36  3 
This article was first crossposted in March 2018.
The numbers of casualties of U.S. wars since Sept. 11, 2001 have largely gone uncounted, but coming to terms with the true scale of the crimes committed remains an urgent moral, political and legal imperative, argues Nicolas J.S. Davies.
How many people have been killed in America’s post-9/11 wars? I have been researching and writing about that question since soon after the U.S. launched these wars, which it has tried to justify as a response to terrorist crimes that killed 2,996 people in the U.S. on September 11th 2001.
But no crime, however horrific, can justify wars on countries and people who were not responsible for the crime committed, as former Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz patiently explained to NPR at the time.
“The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the U.S. Invasion” which I co-wrote with Medea Benjamin, estimates the death toll in Iraq as accurately and as honestly as we can in March 2018.  Our estimate is that about 2.4 million people have probably been killed in Iraq as a result of the historic act of aggression committed by the U.S. and U.K. in 2003.  In this report, I will explain in greater detail how we arrived at that estimate and provide some historical context.  In Part 2 of this report, I will make a similar up-to-date estimate of how many people have been killed in America’s other post-9/11 wars.
Mortality Studies vs Passive Reporting
I explored these same questions in Chapter 7 of my book, Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq, and in previous articles, from “Burying the Lancet Report… and the Children” in 2005 to “Playing Games With War Deaths” in 2016.
In each of those accounts, I explained that estimates of war deaths regularly published by UN agencies, monitoring groups and the media are nearly all based on fragmentary “passive reporting,” not on comprehensive mortality studies.
Of the countries where the U.S. and its allies have been waging war since 2001, Iraq is the only country where epidemiologists have conducted mortality studies based on the best practices that they have developed and used in other war zones (like Angola, Bosnia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda).  In all these countries, as in Iraq, the results of comprehensive epidemiological studies revealed between 5 and 20 times more deaths than previously published figures based on passive reporting.
Body Count: Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the ‘War on Terror’ , a report published by Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) in 2015 found that the 2006 Lancet study was the most comprehensive and reliable mortality study conducted in Iraq, based on its study design, the experience and independence of the research team, the short time elapsed since the deaths it documented and its consistency with other measures of violence in occupied Iraq.  That study estimated that about 601,000 Iraqis were killed in the first 39 months of war and occupation in Iraq, while the war had also caused about 54,000 non-violent deaths.
In the other countries affected by America’s post-9/11 wars, the only reports of how many people have been killed are either compiled by the UN based on investigations of incidents reported to local UN Assistance Missions (as in Iraq and Afghanistan), or by the UN or independent monitoring groups like the Syrian Observatory for Human RightsIraq Body Count (IBC) and Airwars based on passive reports from government agencies, health facilities or local or foreign media.
These passive reports are regularly cited by UN and government agencies, media and even by activists as “estimates” of how many people have been killed, but that is not what they are.  By definition, no compilation of fragmentary reports can possibly be a realistic estimate of all the people killed in a country ravaged by war.
At best, passive reports can reveal a minimum number of war deaths. But that is often such a small fraction of actual deaths that it is highly misleading to cite it as an “estimate” of the total number of people killed. This is why epidemiologists have instead developed scientific sampling methods that they can use to produce accurate estimates of war deaths through statistically valid mortality studies.
The huge disparities epidemiologists have found between the results of mortality studies and passive reporting (between 5:1 and 20:1) have been consistent across many different war zones all over the world. In countries where Western governments are not responsible for the state of war, there has been no political controversy over these results, and they are regularly cited by Western officials and media.
But Western politicians and media have dismissed and marginalized the results of mortality studies in Iraq for political reasons. The U.S. and U.K.’s responsibility for the state of war in Iraq means that the scale of the slaughter is a serious matter of political and criminal responsibility for senior officials who chose to ignore legal advice that the invading Iraq would be “a crime of aggression”.
In 2006, British officials were advised by Sir Roy Anderson, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense, that “The (Lancet) study design is robust and employs methods that are regarded as close to ‘best practice’ in this area…”
President George W. Bush in poster by Robbie Conal (
The BBC obtained copies of emails in which British officials admitted that the study was “likely to be right,” and “the survey methodology used here cannot be rubbished, it is a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones.” But the same officials immediately launched a campaign to discredit the study. President George W. Bush publicly declared, “I don’t consider it a credible report,” and the subservient U.S. corporate media quickly dismissed it.
In “Playing Games With War Deaths” in 2016, I concluded, “As with climate change and other issues, UN officials and journalists must overcome political pressures, come to grips with the basic science involved, and stop sweeping the vast majority of the victims of our wars down this Orwellian “memory hole.”
Some have argued that it is not important to know whether our wars have killed tens of thousands of people or millions, since all deaths in war are a tragic loss of life and we should just mourn them, instead of quibbling over numbers. But as the authors of Body Count noted,
“The numbers relayed by the media should in themselves be terrifying enough… But apparently they are still perceived as tolerable and, moreover, easy to explain given the picture of excessive religiously motivated violence.  The figure of 655,000 deaths in the first three war years alone, however, clearly points to a crime against humanity approaching genocide.”
I agree with the authors of Body Count that it makes a difference whether our wars kill millions of people or only ten thousand, as most people in the U.K. and the U.S. seem to believe according to opinion polls.
Most Americans would say that it matters whether Germany’s role in the Second World War led to millions of violent deaths or only ten thousand. Suggesting the latter is actually a crime in Germany and several other countries.
So American politicians, journalists and members of the public who say it doesn’t matter how many Iraqis have been killed are consciously or unconsciously applying a morally untenable double standard to the consequences of our country’s wars precisely because they are our country’s wars.
A War That Keeps Killing
While the 2006 Lancet study of post-invasion mortality in Iraq is recognized by independent experts like the authors of PSR’s Body Count report as the most accurate and reliable estimate of war deaths in any of our post-9/11 wars, it was conducted nearly 12 years ago, after only 39 months of war and occupation in Iraq. Tragically, that was nowhere near the end of the deadly and catastrophic results of the U.S. and U.K.’’s historic act of aggression.
The 2006 Lancet study documented ever-increasing violence in occupied Iraq between 2003 and 2006, and many other metrics indicate that the escalation of violence in Iraq continued at least until the end of the U.S. “surge” in 2007. The tide of mutilated bodies of death squad victims overwhelming morgues in Baghdad did not peak until late 2006 with 1,800 bodies in July and 1,600 in October. Then there was a five-fold increase in the U.S. aerial bombardment of Iraq in 2007, and January 2008 was the heaviest month of U.S. bombing since the invasion in 2003.
This pattern gives credibility to a survey conducted by a respected British polling firm, Opinion Research Business (ORB), in June 2007, one year after the Lancet study, which estimated that 1,033,000 Iraqis had been killed by that time.
The Lancet study estimated that 328,000, or more than half of the violent deaths it counted, had occurred between May 2005 and May/June 2006.  So, if the ORB’s estimate was accurate, it would mean that about another 430,000 Iraqis were killed in the year after the 2006 Lancet study was conducted.
While the figure of a million people killed was shocking, the continuing increase in deaths revealed by the ORB survey was consistent with other measures of the violence of the occupation, which continued to increase in late 2006 and 2007.
Violence in Iraq decreased in 2008 and for several years after that.  But the Special Police death squads recruited, trained and unleashed in Iraq by the Iraqi Interior Ministry, U.S. occupation forces and the CIA between 2004 and 2006 (rebranded as National Police after the exposure of their Al-Jadiriyah torture center in 2005, then as Federal Police in 2009) continued their reign of terror against Sunni Arabs in the North and West of the country.  This generated a resurgence of armed resistance and led to large swathes of Iraq accepting the rule of Islamic State in 2014 as an alternative to the relentless abuses of the corrupt, sectarian Iraqi government and its murderous death squads.
U.K.-based Iraq Body Count (IBC) has compiled passive reports of civilian deaths in Iraq since the invasion, but it had only counted 43,394 deaths by June 2006 when the Lancet study found an estimated 601,000 violent deaths, a ratio of almost 14:1.  Just Foreign Policy (JFP) in the U.S. created an “Iraqi Death Estimator” that updated the Lancet study’s estimate by tracking deaths passively reported by Iraq Body Count and multiplying them by the ratio between the mortality study and IBC’s passive reporting in 2006.
Since IBC is based mainly on reports in English-language media, it may have undercounted deaths even more after 2007 as the the Western media’s interest in Iraq declined.  On the other hand, as it became safer for government officials and journalists to travel around Iraq, its reporting may have improved.  Or perhaps these and other factors balanced each other out, making JFP’s Iraqi Death Estimator quite accurate. It may have become less accurate over time, and it was discontinued in September 2011. By that point, its estimate of Iraqi deaths stood at 1.46 million.
Another mortality study was published in the PLOS medical journal in 2013, covering the period up to 2011. Its lead author told National Geographic its estimate of about 500,000 dead in Iraq was “likely a low estimate.”  The study had a wider margin of error than the 2006 Lancet study, and the survey teams decided it was too dangerous to work in two of the 100 clusters that that were randomly chosen to survey.
The most serious problem with the PLOS study seems to be that so many houses were destroyed or abandoned and so many families wiped out or just disappeared, that nobody was left to report deaths in those families to the survey teams.  At the extreme, houses or entire blocks where everyone had been killed or had fled were recorded as suffering no deaths at all.
After the extreme violence of 2006 and 2007 and several more years of lower level conflict, the effect of destruction and displacement on the PLOS study must have been much greater than in 2006. One in six households in Iraq was forced to move at least once between 2005 and 2010. The UNHCR registered 3 million refugees within or outside the country, but acknowledged that many more were unregistered. The authors added 55,000 deaths to their total to allow for 15% of 2 million refugee households losing one family member each, but they acknowledged that this was very conservative.
The authors of Body Count calculated that, if only 1% of houses surveyed were empty or destroyed and each of these households had lost two family members, this would have increased the PLOS study’s overall mortality estimate by more than 50%. Ignoring the two clusters that in effect represented the most devastated parts of Iraq must have had a similar effect. The cluster sample survey method relies on the effect of surveying a cross-section of different areas, from the worst affected to many that are relatively unscathed and report few or no deaths. Most violent deaths are often concentrated in a small number of clusters, making clusters like the two that were skipped disproportionately important to the accuracy of the final estimate.
Map of Iraq. Kurdish territory is in the northeast.
Since 2011, a whole new phase of the war has taken place. There was an Arab Spring in Iraq in 2011, but it was ruthlessly suppressed, driving Fallujah and other cities once more into open rebellion. Several major cities fell to Islamic State in 2014, were besieged by Iraqi government forces and then largely destroyed by U.S.-led aerial bombardment and U.S., Iraqi and allied rocket and artillery fire.  Iraq Body Count and the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq have collected passive reports of tens of thousands of civilians killed in this phase of the war.
Former Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari told Patrick Cockburn of the U.K.’s Independent newspaper that Iraqi Kurdish intelligence reports estimated that at least 40,000 civilians were killed in the bombardment of Mosul alone. Zebari said that there were probably many more bodies buried in the rubble, implying that the reports he saw were of actual bodies found and buried up to that point.
A recent project to remove rubble and recover bodies in just one neighborhood of Mosul yielded another 3,353 bodies, of whom 20% appeared to be IS fighters and 80% were civilians. Another 11,000 people are still reported as missing by their families in Mosul.
IBC has now updated its death count for the period up to June 2006 to 52,209, reducing its ratio to violent deaths in the 2006 Lancet study to 11.5:1. If we apply the method of JFP’s Iraqi Death Estimator from July 2007 to the present using that updated ratio, and add it to ORB’s estimate of 1.03 million killed by June 2007, we can arrive at a current estimate of the total number of Iraqis killed since 2003.  This cannot possibly be as accurate as a comprehensive new mortality study.But, in my judgment, this is the most accurate estimate we can make based on what we do know.
That gives us an estimate of 2.38 million Iraqis killed since 2003, as a result of the criminal American and British invasion of Iraq.
Minimum and Maximum Range  
With significant uncertainty underlying this estimate, it is also important to calculate a minimum and a maximum number based on possible variations in the numbers involved.
To arrive at a minimum and maximum number of people that may have been killed in Iraq, we can start with the minimum and maximum numbers of violent deaths that were each established with 97.5% probability by the 2006 Lancet study, which were 426,000 and 794,000. ORB in 2007 gave a narrower range for its minimum and maximum based on its larger sample size, but ORB was not considered as rigorous as the Lancet study in other ways.  If we apply the same margins as in the Lancet study to the ORB study‘s main estimate, that gives us a minimum of 730,000 and a maximum of 1.36 million people killed by June 2007.
To update those minimum and maximum figures to the present time using a variation of Just Foreign Policy’s method, we must also allow for changes in the ratio between IBC’s tally of deaths and the actual number of people killed. The ratios of the Lancet study’s minimum and maximum figures to IBC’s revised count for June 2006 are about 8:1 and 15:1 respectively.
These ratios are well within the ratios between comprehensive mortality studies and passive reporting found in other war zones around the world, which have varied from 5:1 to 20:1, as I noted earlier. But maybe IBC has counted more or less of the actual deaths since 2006 than than it did before. It must surely have tried to keep improving the scope of its data collection. On the other hand, in the most recent phase of the war, many people were killed by U.S.-led bombing and shelling in areas ruled by Islamic State, where people were punished or even executed for trying to communicate with the outside world.  So IBC’s data for this period may be more fragmentary than ever.
To arrive at a realistic minimum and maximum, we must allow for both these possibilities.  IBC’s 8:1 ratio to the Lancet study’s minimum number killed by 2006 may have fallen closer to the historic minimum ratio of 5:1, or its 15:1 ratio to the Lancet study’s maximum number in 2006 may have risen closer to the historic maximum of 20:1. Using a ratio of 6.5:1 to arrive at the minimum number of deaths and 17.5:1 for the maximum allows for a lower minimum and a higher maximum than in 2006, without equaling the most extreme ratios ever seen in other conflicts. That gives us a minimum of 760,000 Iraqis killed since July 2007, and a maximum of 2.04 million.
Adding these figures to the minimums and maximums we calculated for the period up to June 2007 gives us total minimum and maximum figures for the entire period since the U.S.-U.K. invasion of Iraq in 2003.  We can estimate that the number of Iraqis killed as a consequence of the illegal invasion of their country must be somewhere between 1.5 million and 3.4 million.  As is generally the case with such statistical ranges, the actual number of people killed is likely to be closer to our main estimate of 2.38 million than to either the minimum or maximum end of this range.
Call for a New Mortality Study in Iraq
It is very important that the public health community provide the world with accurate and up-to-date mortality surveys of Iraq and other post-9/11 war zones.
A new mortality study for Iraq must find a way to survey even the most dangerous areas, and it must finally develop realistic procedures to estimate deaths in cases where entire families have been killed, or where houses or apartments have been destroyed or abandoned.  This factor has been identified as a potential flaw in every mortality study in Iraq since 2004, and it is one that only becomes more significant as time passes.  This cannot be ignored, and neither should compensating for it be left to guesswork.
Survey teams could compile records of empty and destroyed homes within the clusters they are surveying, and they could ask neighbors about empty or destroyed houses where large numbers of people or entire families may have been killed. They could also survey refugees and internally displaced people to estimate deaths among these populations.
Epidemiologists have overcome very serious dangers and difficulties to develop techniques to accurately measure the human cost of war. Their work must continue, and it must keep developing and improving. They must overcome powerful political pressures, including from the guilty parties responsible for the carnage in the first place, to politicize and discredit their incredibly difficult but noble and vital work.
On the 15th anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq, the Center for Constitutional Rights in the U.S. renewed its call for the U.S. to pay war reparations to the people of Iraq. This is one way countries that are guilty of aggression and other war crimes have traditionally fulfilled their collective responsibility for the death and destruction they have caused.
In Blood On Our Hands, I concluded my account of the U.S. war in Iraq with a similar call for war reparations, and for war crimes prosecutions of the senior U.S. and U.K. civilian and military officials responsible for the “supreme international crime” of aggression and other systematic war crimes in Iraq.
Coming to terms with the true scale of the crimes committed remains an urgent moral, political and legal imperative for the people of Iraq, the United States, the United Kingdom, and for the whole world. The world will never hold major American and British war criminals accountable for their crimes as long as the public does not understand the full scale and horror of what they have done. And the world will not know peace as long as the most powerful aggressors can count on impunity for “the supreme international crime.”
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Nicolas J.S. Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq. He also wrote the chapter on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.