A study of 13 war affected countries presented at a recent Harvard conference found over 80% of violent deaths in conflicts go unreported by the press and governments. City officials in the Iraqi city of Najaf were recently quoted on Middle East Online stating that 40,000 unidentified bodies have been buried in that city since the start of the conflict. When speaking to the Rotarians in a speech covered on C-SPAN on September 5th, H.E. Samir Sumaida’ie, the Iraqi Ambassador to the US, stated that there were 500,000 new widows in Iraq . The Baker-Hamilton Commission similarly found that the Pentagon under-counted violent incidents by a factor of 10. Finally, a week ago the respected British polling firm ORB released the results of a poll estimating that 22% of households had lost a member to violence during the occupation of Iraq, equating to 1.2 million deaths. This finding roughly verifies a less precisely worded BBC poll last February that reported 17% of Iraqis had a household member who was a victim of violence. There are now two polls and three scientific surveys all suggesting the official figures and media-based estimates in Iraq have missed 70-95% of all deaths. The evidence suggests that the extent of under-reporting by the media is only increasing with time.” (Les Roberts, 20 Sep 2007 - http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=ROB20070922&articleId=6848)
Iraq Death Toll 'Above Highest Estimates' (Ahmed Ali, Dahr Jamail - 02 June 2008)
What is the real death toll in Iraq? (The Lancet, 19 March 2008)
ORB polling firm reissues Iraq mortality estimate of one million dead (Stephen Soldz, 28 Jan 2008)
The uncounted dead of Iraq (Socialistworker, 25 Jan 2008)
ALL SMOKE, NO FIRE - THE NATIONAL JOURNAL SMEARS THE LANCET (Medialens, 22 Jan 2008)
Right-Wingers Can't Cover Up Iraq's Death Toll Catastrophe (Alternet, 21 Jan 2008)
How many civilian deaths in Iraq since invasion? (John Catalinotto, 19 Jan 2008)
Number Crunching: Death Count Politics (13 Jan 2008)
Gross Distortions, Sloppy Methodology and Tendentious Reporting - How the New England Journal of Medicine Undercounted Iraqi Civilian Deaths (Andrew Cockburn, 12 Jan 2008)
W.H.O. Says Iraq Civilian Death Toll Higher Than Cited (NYT 10 Jan 2008)
MEDIA ALERT: DAVID AARONOVITCH - A DIFFERENT KIND OF COMPASSION (Medialens 10 Jan 2008)
Les Roberts on new Iraq mortality study (10 Jan 2008)
Death toll survey omits most deadly areas (10 Jan 2008)
Iraq mortality studies (10 Jan 2008)
151,000 deaths in Iraq? (09 Jan 2008)
Deterioration of Iraqi Women's Rights and Living Conditions Under Occupation [PDF] (Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi 19 December 2007)
Death toll for Iraqis falls again (03 Dec 2007)
Holocaust Denial, American Style (Alternet, 21 Nov 2007)
Imperial Genocide in Iraq (Stephen Lendman, 13 Nov 2007)
Is the United States Committing Genocide in Iraq? (Zmag 01 Nov 2007)
The Iraqi Genocide (Global Research 20 Oct 2007)
The Media Ignore Credible Poll Revealing 1.2 Million Violent Deaths In Iraq (Global Research 08 Oct 2007)
Media Alert: Iraq Body Count: "A Very Misleading Exercice" (Medialens, 03 Oct 2007)
8 Million Deaths & Media Holocaust Denial (Gideon Polya, 03 Oct 2007)
UK-US Iraqi Holocaust And Iraqi Genocide - 3.9 Million Deaths (Gideon Polya, 02 Oct 2007)
Ignorance of Iraqi death toll no longer an option (Les Roberts, 20 Sep 2007)
ORB Survey And 1.2 Million Iraq Deaths Ignored By Australian And Anglo-American Media (Gideon Polya, 19 Sep 2007)
The Media Ignore Credible Poll Revealing 1.2 Million Violent Deaths In Iraq (Medialens, 18 Sep 2007)
Iraq Death Toll Rivals Rwanda Genocide, Cambodian Killing Fields (Alternet, 17 Sep 2007)
A deafening silence on report of one million Iraqis killed under US occupation (WSWS, 17 Sep 2007)
UK Poll Consistent with 1 Million Extrapolation of Lancet Death Toll (14 Sep 2007)
Poll: Civilian death toll in Iraq may top 1 million (LA Times 11 Sep 2007)
Is the U.S. Responsible for a Million Iraqi Deaths? (ZMag 11 Sep 2007)
The ‘Credible’ Human Toll of War (CommonDreams 25 Aug 2007)
Alice in Wonderland – ZNet and the art of numbers (Gabriele Zamparini 20 Aug 2007)
Is the United States Killing 10,000 Iraqis Every Month? Or Is It More? (Global Research 13 Aug 2007)
American Genocide In The Middle East: Three Million and Counting (Global Research 13 Aug 2007)
Spinning the Iraq War Death Toll (Global Research 13 Aug 2007)
Lancet motality study author Riyadh Lafta fears for life (28 April 2007)
Iraqi doctor denied visit to U.S. conference (20 April 2007)
Silence of Mainstream media - One million post-invasion Iraqi excess deaths ignored (Gideon Polya 01 March 2007)
Iraqi death survey was robust (BBC 26 March 2007)
Les Roberts: Iraq's death toll is far worse than our leaders admit (14 Feb 2007)
Lancet Report co-author responds to questions (Medialens 28/10/2006)
Genocide and denial (Gabriele Zamparini 27 Oct 2006)
Les Roberts on Iraq deaths. VIDEO (26 Oct 2006)
Playing the Numbers Game with Death in Iraq (24 Oct 2006)
Muslim Holocaust (22 Oct 2006)
The Iraq deaths study was valid and correct (21 Oct 2006)
Human cost of U.S. invasion of Iraq revealed (19 Oct 2006)
Hiding the Dead Bodies in Iraq (18 Oct 2006)
Over 650 000 souls... (19 Oct 2006)
The Lancet Study... (18 Oct 2006)
Iraq Deaths: Politics vs. Science (18 Oct 2006)
The Lancet Reports 655,000 Excess Iraqi Deaths As A Consequence Of The Invasion (Medialens, 18 Oct 2006)
My number of dead Iraqis is bigger than yours (18 Oct 2006)
Genocide in Iraq (16 Oct 2006)
Counting the Dead: IBC attempt to undermine Lancet report (16 Oct 2006)
Why is the New York Times silent on massive Iraq death toll? (16 Oct 2006)
THE METTLE OF A UN SECRETARY-GENERAL (11 Oct 2006)
WE DIE (14 Oct 2005)
REAR-VIEW MIRROR GENOCIDES (13 Oct 2006)
Methodology Of Lancet Iraq Study Defended (15 Oct 2006)
Why is the American press silent on the report of 655,000 Iraqi deaths? (13 Oct 2006)
Innumerate cowards recoil from the facts: 655,000 dead Iraqis (12 Oct 2006)
Excess Death in Iraq (Dahr Jamail 12 Oct 2006)
Co-Author of Medical Study Estimating 650,000 Iraqi Deaths Defends Research in the Face of White House Dismissal (Amy Goodman 12 Oct 2006)
"You're Either With Us or You're Dead" Can We Call It Genocide Now? (12 Oct 2006)
The Legacy of the Iraqi War Hawks (12 Oct 2006)
Old death in the new Iraq (11 Oct 2006)
Full Report - Study estimates 655 000 excess Iraqi deaths since start of war Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey (11 Oct 2006)
2.5 percent of Iraqi’s population have died as a consequence of the war (11 Oct 2006)
655,000 (Robert Dreyfuss, 11 Oct 2006)
Data Suggests Vast Costs Loom in Disability Claims (NYT 11 Oct 2006)
Tasfiya-t-al-Iraq (11 Oct 2006)
The High Cost of Order Out of Chaos in Iraq (11 Oct 2006)
Study: Between 127,000 238,000 Iraqis Killed by US Military Killing Occupation (11 Oct 2006)
Article: Epidemiology of mad war: 700,000 people could die as a direct result of the war (18 Jan 2006)
Burying The Lancet Report (Feb 2006)
PDF File: Do Iraqi Civilian Casualties Matter? Les Roberts (July 2005)
Lancet report follow up (12 Dec 2004)
PDF Files: Responses to the 'Lancet Report' on Post-Invasion Mortality in Iraq (Nov 2004) - Iraqanalysis.org
PDF File: The Lancet Survey: Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq (29 Oct 2004)
By Owen Bennett-Jones
BBC World Service
The British government was advised against publicly criticising a report estimating that 655,000 Iraqis had died due to the war, the BBC has learnt.
Iraqi Health Ministry figures put the toll at less than 10% of the total in the survey, published in the Lancet.
But the Ministry of Defence's chief scientific adviser said the survey's methods were "close to best practice" and the study design was "robust".
Another expert agreed the method was "tried and tested".
The Iraq government asks the country's hospitals to report the number of victims of terrorism or military action.
Critics say the system was not started until well after the invasion and requires over-pressed hospital staff not only to report daily, but also to distinguish between victims of terrorism and of crime.
The Lancet medical journal published its peer-reviewed survey last October.
It was conducted by the John Hopkins School of Public Health and compared mortality rates before and after the invasion by surveying 47 randomly chosen areas across 16 provinces in Iraq.
Are we really sure the report is likely to be right? That is certainly what the brief implies
Foreign Office official
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. The survey estimated that 601,000 deaths were the result of violence, mostly gunfire.
Shortly after the publication of the survey in October last year Tony Blair's official spokesperson said the Lancet's figure was not anywhere near accurate.
He said the survey had used an extrapolation technique, from a relatively small sample from an area of Iraq that was not representative of the country as a whole.
President Bush said: "I don't consider it a credible report."
But a memo by the MoD's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Roy Anderson, on 13 October, states: "The study design is robust and employs methods that are regarded as close to "best practice" in this area, given the difficulties of data collection and verification in the present circumstances in Iraq."
'Cannot be rubbished'
One of the documents just released by the Foreign Office is an e-mail in which an official asks about the Lancet report: "Are we really sure the report is likely to be right? That is certainly what the brief implies."
The reply from another official is: "We do not accept the figures quoted in the Lancet survey as accurate. "
In the same e-mail the official later writes: "However, the survey methodology used here cannot be rubbished, it is a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones."
Asked how the government can accept the Lancet's methodology but reject its findings, the government has issued a written statement in which it said: "The methodology has been used in other conflict situations, notably the Democratic republic of Congo.
"However, the Lancet figures are much higher than statistics from other sources, which only goes to show how estimates can vary enormously according to the method of collection.
"There is considerable debate amongst the scientific community over the accuracy of the figures."
In fact some of the British government criticism of the Lancet report post-dated Sir Roy's comments.
Speaking six days after Sir Roy praised the study's methods, British foreign office minister Lord Triesman said: "The way in which data are extrapolated from samples to a general outcome is a matter of deep concern...."
It would appear they were only able to sample a small sliver of the country
Dr Michael Spagat
Some scientists have subsequently challenged the validity of the Lancet study. Questions have been asked about the survey techniques and the possibility of "mainstreet bias".
Dr Michael Spagat of Royal Holloway London University says that most of those questioned lived on streets more likely than average to witness attacks: "It would appear they were only able to sample a small sliver of the country," he said.
Dr Spagat has previously conducted research with Iraq Body Count, an NGO that counts deaths on the basis of media reports and which has produced estimates far lower than those published in the Lancet.
If the Lancet survey is right, then 2.5% of the Iraqi population - an average of more than 500 people a day - have been killed since the start of the war.
The BBC World Service made a Freedom of Information Request on 28 November 2006. The information was released on 14 March 2007.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/26 15:53:12 GMT
© BBC MMVII