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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:15 PM
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The Complex Necropolis: Mass Graves in Iraq
Many countries have a problematic human rights history. Some try to recover by telling the truth. Thus, Brazil extensively documented its past in its Never Again report. South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation process was based on the idea of forgiving without forgetting. In places like Guatemala, forensic anthropologists have played an important role in identifying genocide victims and the circumstances of their deaths. "Saddam's mass graves" has been a central and enduring theme of the pro-war party. Yet Iraq has no truth-telling process, though much of the world would have been willing and able to provide support and useful expertise for such an effort. Somewhat surprisingly, the occupiers, who invaded with promises to save the country, seem to have had absolutely no interest in preserving the historical record or helping the Iraqis to develop the forensic evidence of past human rights abuses: instead they allowed looters to destroy official documents and mobs to randomly disrupt forensic sites. It may be reasonable to revisit from time to time what we might know about "mass graves in Iraq."

All crimes against human rights are serious, and Baathist crimes prior to 2003 should not be minimized. But available evidence indicates propagandists for Operation Iraqi Liberation considered even the ugly truth insufficiently horrid and so inflated their claims: thus Tony Blair once gushed We've already discovered just so far the remains of 400 000 people in mass graves at time when anyone who summed the actual counts of recovered remains could not reach a total much beyond 5 000.

Although it seems quite likely from credible witness reports that the Baathist toll rather exceeded 5 000, one might also bear in mind Sourcewatch's comment that an earlier 300 000 estimate for bodies in the Baathist's mass graves "oddly .. coincides approximately" with previous totals that included Iran-Iraq war dead, Gulf War dead, and the 2003 shock and awe deaths. A more careful accounting would be useful. Iraq's tragic modern history may provide rich employment opportunities for future forensic anthropologists, but the work will be tedious and complicated, because the mass graves in Iraq originated in diverse ways: they continue not only to be discovered but also to be dug. The question Exactly why does this particular mass burial represent? is therefore at least as important as accurately counting remains, and it is likely to cause an honest person to lose sleep, because the answer may not be at all obvious. There are graves associated with Baathist crimes. There are graves associated with the Iran-Iraq war. There are graves associated with the invasion of Kuwait, the subsequent Gulf war, and the ill-fated insurrection that followed. There are graves associated with Operation Iraqi Liberation. There are graves associated with the occupation and resistance to it. There are graves associated with the collapse of infrastructure. The foregoing list may not be exhaustive.

In some cases, of course, graves can be clearly attributed to Baathist brutality, but in others, the story is much less clear. Consider Halabja, for example. The Reagan administration, supporting Saddam at the time as an enemy of Iran, denied that the Baathist government had gassed Kurdish villages, and the US investigation concluded that the Kurds had died in consequence of an Iranian gas attack. Mass burials in the region have been attributed to this event -- but the official story has now changed, and media echo the current administration in describing such remains as evidence of Baathist crime. As neither administration was strongly devoted to the accurate portrayal of events, one may still reasonably ask exactly what happened there.

The invasion of Kuwait produced mass graves in Kuwait, first by the occupying Iraqi and later by the restored Kuwaiti government. The 1991 Gulf war victors produced some mass graves in Iraqi by bulldozing over trenches still filled with living Iraqi soldiers and others to dispose of those killed retreating along the Basra highway. In the wake of the war, the Americans encouraged a bloody insurrection in Iraq before suddenly departing, producing mass graves from the rebellion's victims and further mass graves from the reprisals.

The "shock and awe" days of 2003 produced mass graves as the social structures disintegrated under the stress of war. The "pacification" of Fallujah produced mass graves.

In part due to the the erratic performance of necessary infrastructure, morgues eventually were overwhelmed by number of corpses produced by occupying forces and their proxies and by local vigilantes and suicide bombers. And so resulted -- still more mass graves.

And today an entire clandestine industry devoted to the production of new mass graves appears to have emerged. That is an extremely curious development, because it serves two peculiar ends: it allows the killing to continue while simultaneously allowing the superficial observer to believe that the situation is improving because fewer bodies are dumped on the street. This clandestine industry also has implications for newspaper readers: a short blurb asserting another mass grave has been found in Iraq may well contain the remains of people who died after the Baathists were ousted.

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Links and excerpts follow:

Anti-Colonial War
by Robert Fisk
April 17, 2003

... Here's what Baghdadis are noticing - and what Iraqis are noticing in all the main cities of the country. Take the vast security apparatus with which Saddam surrounded himself, the torture chambers and the huge bureaucracy that was its foundation. President Bush promised that America was campaigning for human rights in Iraq, that the guilty, the war criminals, would be brought to trial. The 60 secret police headquarters in Baghdad are empty, even the three-square-mile compound headquarters of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

I have been to many of them. But there is no evidence even that a single British or US forensic officer has visited the sites to sift the wealth of documents lying there or talk to the ex-prisoners returning to their former places of torment. Is this idleness. Or is this wilful? ...

At the end of the Second World War, German-speaking British and US intelligence officers hoovered up every document in the thousands of Gestapo and Abwehr bureaux across western Germany. The Russians did the same in their zone. In Iraq, however, the British and Americans have simply ignored the evidence ... http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=3474

Thousands of bodies exhumed from Iraqi mass grave
Last Updated: Thursday, May 15, 2003 | 11:47 AM ET
CBC News

... Heavy machinery is used to dig up piles of dirt. Iraqis then dig through the pile looking for human remains, rotting clothing and identity cards ... Human rights groups are concerned that the haphazard exhumation of the corpses could jeopardize any human rights investigation into the slaughter of Shia Muslims ... http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2003/05/14/iraq_grave0305...

Bodies Exhumed from Mass Grave in Iraq
Remains Could Be Victims of Saddam's Crackdown on Shiites
May 14, 2003

... The Marines are there to help, with tents and plastic bags for remains -- but not to excavate or protect the site, Rabbaddi says ...

"Exhuming a mass grave with a bulldozer is like going pigeon-hunting with a tank. It's making our work very difficult," Boukaert says.

Joyce reports that "with each sweep of the backhoe, evidence of crimes against humanity is lost. Bullets and shell casings, blindfolds, hands bound at the wrist. These are signs of mass murder. Graves should be exhumed with trowels and paint brushes. A chain of evidence must not be broken before the day of a trial." ... http://www.npr.org/news/specials/iraq2003/joyce_030514....


Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves

Since the Saddam Hussein regime was overthrown in May, 270 mass graves have been reported. By mid-January, 2004, the number of confirmed sites climbed to fifty-three. Some graves hold a few dozen bodiestheir arms lashed together and the bullet holes in the backs of skulls testimony to their execution. Other graves go on for hundreds of meters, densely packed with thousands of bodies. "We've already discovered just so far the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves," said British Prime Minister Tony Blair on November 20 in London ... http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/legacyofterror.html

PM admits graves claim 'untrue'
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor
The Observer,
Sunday July 18 2004

Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered ... It comes amid inflation from an estimate by Human Rights Watch in May 2003 of 290,000 'missing' to the latest claims by the Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, that one million are missing. At the heart of the questions are the numbers so far identified in Iraq's graves. Of 270 suspected grave sites identified in the last year, 55 have now been examined, revealing, according to the best estimates that The Observer has been able to obtain, around 5,000 bodies. Forensic examination of grave sites has been hampered by lack of security in Iraq, amid widespread complaints by human rights organisations that until recently the graves have not been secured and protected ... http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2004/jul/18/iraq.ira...


Iraq Mass Graves Field Report
Thursday, 22 May 2003, 10:09 am
Article: Amnesty International

... In the al-Andalous area of Basra the Amnesty International team was taken to a grave site where the remains of seven people, who allegedly "disappeared" in 1991, had just been found. Although the delegates did not see the corpses a foreign journalist confirmed the removal of the remains.

Amnesty International visited a site in Arabian Gulf Street in Basra where it is alleged that about 33 people were lined against a wall and executed. They were buried in the same site. Amnesty International spoke to Salah who also witnessed the executions. Families removed some of the bodies while the bodies of others were plagued by dogs ...

At the site of the Iraqi Oil Tanker Company, located near Basra University, Amnesty International met an individual who said he witnessed the execution of between 20-25 men and 10 women in the yards of the factory in 1991. The bodies were buried nearby ...

Amnesty International visited a mass grave in al-Fadhlia, near Abu al-Khasib, in wasteland. Two people among the crowd who were digging were able to recognize their father's clothes and burst into tears in an atmosphere charged with anguish and grief. The mass grave seems to contain hundreds of bodies. The victims are believed to have been executed during the uprising of 1991. They were either executed on site or brought in trucks and thrown in the graves, according to local people. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0305/S00209.htm


Mass grave found in northern Iraq
Friday, 10 September, 2004, 01:13 GMT 02:13 UK

Dozens of bodies have been discovered in a mass grave near the town of Halabja in northern Iraq. The grave was uncovered during road building work in the Kurdish-dominated region of Sulaimaniya. The then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's forces launched a chemical gas attack in Halabja in March 1988, killing about 5,000 Kurds in a single day ... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3643108.st...

A War Crime or an Act of War?
By Stephen C. Pelletiere
New York Times | Opinion
Friday 31 January 2003

... But the truth is, all we know for certain is that Kurds were bombarded with poison gas that day at Halabja. We cannot say with any certainty that Iraqi chemical weapons killed the Kurds. This is not the only distortion in the Halabja story.

I am in a position to know because, as the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and as a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000, I was privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. In addition, I headed a 1991 Army investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States; the classified version of the report went into great detail on the Halabja affair.

This much about the gassing at Halabja we undoubtedly know: it came about in the course of a battle between Iraqis and Iranians. Iraq used chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians who had seized the town, which is in northern Iraq not far from the Iranian border. The Kurdish civilians who died had the misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not Iraq's main target.

And the story gets murkier: immediately after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas ... http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/020303C.htm


Mass Graves in Kuwait
By KENNETH ROTH
Published: June 11, 1991

On the southern outskirts of Kuwait City, al-Riqqa cemetery guards the dark underside of Kuwait's liberation. In a corner is a section marked "collective graves." Here lie many victims of Kuwait's ordeal -- not only those felled by Iraq's secret police but also those who have died at Kuwaiti hands since liberation.

Twenty-four of the graves appear to date from the Iraqi occupation, judging from the height of the weeds and the dates posted on several makeshift markers. The remaining 20 mass graves, their earth freshly turned, appear to have been dug more recently. Terrified grave diggers whispered to me that many of the bodies showed signs of unspeakable torture ... http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE5DB...


Operation Desert Slaughter
By Felicity Arbuthnot
GlobalResearch.ca
1-28-8

... Joe, 19-years old, had gone straight from Desert Storm to become one of the first American troops to cross the Saudi border in an armored bulldozer. His job was to bury the Iraqis alive in their trenches and then cover over the trenches real smooth so the rest of the Big Red One, as The First Armored Mechanized Brigade is called, could come nice and easy behind him ...

`The sand was so soft that once the blade hits the sand it just caves in right on the sides, so we never did go back and forth. So you are traveling at five, six, seven miles an hour just moving along the trench... You don't see him. You're up there in the half hatch and you know what you got to do. You did it so much you could close your eyes and do it... I don't think they had any idea because the look on their faces as we came through the berm was just a look of shock. `While I was retreating, I saw some of the soldiers trying to surrender, but they were buried. There were two kinds of bulldozers, real ones, actual ones, and also they had tanks and they put something like a bulldozer blade in front of them. Some of the soldiers were walking towards the troops holding their arms up to surrender and the tanks moved in and killed them. They dug a hole in the ground and then they buried the soldiers and leveled it.' One survivor described the friends buried alive, who he had laughed with, eaten with ...'I really don't know how to describe it. We were friends. I ate with some of them. I talked to some of them. I cannot express how I felt at that moment..... I saw one soldier and his body was just torn apart by a bulldozer. The upper part was on one side and the lower on the other side.' ... http://www.rense.com/general80/biggest.htm

Distant Voices
by John Pilger

... The Guardian announced the death of 150,000 Iraqis in the body of a piece on page three ... The next day, the Telegraph referred to a 'massacre' on the road to Basra. American pilots were said to have likened their attack .. to 'shooting fish in a barrel' ... During a discussion about .. wounded soldiers, the BBC's Radio Four delivered a .. report from Stephen Sackur on the road to Basra ... The incinerated figures had been trying to get home, he said. Among them were civilians, including contract workers from the Indian subcontinent; he saw the labels on their suitcases ... There is a radio report of the trauma suffered by British troops who had to bury the victims of the atrocity on the Basra road ... http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Pilger_John/Bloodfest...

The Scourging of Iraq
By Geoff Simons
http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=45


Suppression of the 1991 Uprising

One month into the first Gulf War, in February 1991, President George H.W. Bush called on the Iraqi people to stage a coup. He asked them to take matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein, the dictator, to step aside. Millions heard the call. If the United States, which was then bombing Iraq, was on their side, they felt sure they could depose Saddam ... http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/iraq501/event...

The war in Iraq and its aftermath
By Stuart Schaar

...When regional allies of the U.S. in the anti-Iraq coalition balked at this turn of events and Washington policy-makers began fearing the negative consequences of these rebellions, the U.S informed Iraqi officials that the U.S. would not oppose their efforts to keep the country united. Armed with what they construed as a green light from the victors, remnants of the Iraqi army acted with impunity and slaughtered Kurds and Shiites by the tens of thousands ...

http://www.historiansagainstwar.org/resources/schaar.ht...

Iraq and occupied Kuwait <1991>

... In the immediate wake of Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait, a new human rights crisis unfolded, this time in war-ravaged Iraq itself. Residents of at least two dozen southern Iraqi cities, joined in many cases by disaffected returning soldiers, rose up against the government in early March, ousting government forces from nearly all of those cities ... In their counterattack and when consolidating their recapture of these cities, government troops killed thousands of unarmed civilians ... For their part, rebels and their sympathizers in both northern and southern cities killed hundreds, if not thousands, of members of the security forces and others allegedly working for the Baath Party or the government. While many were killed in battle, others were summarily executed after they had surrendered and were taken into custody, sometimes after summary people's "trials." The Iraqi authorities have charged the rebels with the uprising-related summary executions of over 2,500; in addition, they claim to have discovered mass graves in Suleimaniyya (bodies of 370 "citizens"), Kut Sawadi (150 bodies of "persons who had been killed by the groups participating in the disturbances") and Kushk al-Basri (fifty bodies) ... No reliable figures are available concerning the number of persons killed or wounded by either side during the uprising ... http://www.hrw.org/reports/1992/WR92/MEW1-02.htm

Mass grave unearthed in Iraq city
Tuesday, 27 December 2005, 11:35 GMT

A mass grave has been discovered in the predominantly Shia city of Karbala south of Baghdad, Iraqi police said. Dozens of bodies have reportedly been found, apparently those of Shia rebels killed by Saddam Hussein's army after its defeat in the 1991 Gulf War ... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4561872.stm


The Wages of War:
Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant
Fatalities in the 2003 Conflict
Project on Defense Alternatives Research Monograph # 8
Carl Conetta
20 October 2003

... Independent of the hospital toll, the LA Times article cites estimates by several of the city's burial societies that they had discovered 600 civilians and "many more" military personnel buried in undocumented graves. Some of these would have been hastily buried near where they died by local citizens or by the US military -- sometimes in "mass" graves ... As late as 8 June, Iraqi health officials were still negotiating for access to between 50 and 100 bodies buried at the International Airport. The LA Times article cites an estimate by Haidar Tari, who led the Red Crescent burial teams, that there might be as many as 3,000 people in such graves -- one-third of them civilians ... http://www.comw.org/pda/0310rm8.html


Stadium of Death: Fallujah Residents Bury Their Dead In Aftermath of Bloody U.S. Siege
U.S. forces pull out of Fallujah following a brutal U.S. siege which killed some 600 Iraqis ...

For weeks, Fallujah was under a siege by US troops as reports emerged of a massacre of Iraqis at the hands the US military. US aircraft and artillery reepeatedly bombarded the town. Doctors there say at least 600 people were killed and over 1,000 injured. Local hospitals have reported the majority of the dead are women, children and the elderly. More than 60,000 women and children fled the city during a brief ceasefire but the US blocked any men of military age from leaving. Dozens of bodies have been buried in the citys soccer stadium after US forces blocked roads heading toward the cemetery ...
http://www.democracynow.org/2004/5/3/stadium_of_death_f...

Tue., Apr. 13, 2004
US Marines Shoot Ambulances in Fallujah

... So many Fallujahans have been killed by the US Marines that residents have resorted to digging mass graves. The City's foot-ball stadium now holds more than 200 dead bodies: "We buried many in the stadium for football until it became full. When you are burying you cannot stay long because they (US Marines) will just shoot you. So we use the shovel. Just dig a big hole and put a whole family in the hole and leave as soon as possible so we are not shot."

The official number killed in Fallujah is 600, but the total number of civilian casualties is likely much higher. The official tally only reflects those deaths reported by the cities mosques and clinics. But American snipers and bombers have killed many people while they are inside their homes ... http://www.pacifica.org/programs/reportfromiraq/PacInIr...

IRAQ: Life Goes On in Fallujah's Rubble
By Dahr Jamail

... The Study Centre for Human Rights and Democracy based in Fallujah (SCHRD) estimates the number of people killed in the city during the U.S.-led operation in October and November 2004 at 4,000 to 6,000, most of them civilians. Mass graves were dug on the outskirts of the city for thousands of the bodies ... http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=31150


Serial Killer's Paradise
Posted by Tom Aspell , NBC News Correspondent (05:26 pm ET, 08/ 6/06)

... The overload of bodies prompted Baghdad's main morgue to announce this week that due to lack of storage space they would from now on keep corpses for only two weeks before burying them in mass graves ... http://onthescene.msnbc.com/baghdad/2006/08/iraq_has_to...

IRAQ: Mass Graves Dug to Deal With Death Toll
By Ahmed Ali*

BAQUBA, Jul 17 <2007?> (IPS) - The largest morgue in Diyala province is overflowing daily. Officials told IPS they have had to dig mass graves to dispose of bodies. More and more bodies of victims of the ongoing violence are being found every day in Baquba, capital city of the province, 50km northeast of Baghdad ... Dealing with these remains is becoming difficult. Like the rest of the city, the morgue suffers from continuing lack of electricity. Over the last two weeks, two of its refrigerators have been shut down. The smell of decomposing bodies hits visitors 100 metres away ... http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=38564
http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2007/07/iraq...


What I heard about Iraq in 2005
Eliot Weinberger

... I heard Condoleezza Rice, on a surprise visit to Iraq, say: We are so grateful that there are Americans willing to sacrifice so the Middle East will be whole and free and democratic and at peace. On that same day, the bodies of 34 recently killed men were found in a mass grave ... http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n01/wein01_.html

Iraq's killing fields
By Paul McGeough
March 18, 2006

... In the past two weeks the Herald has monitored two mass abductions in which Sunnis have been rounded up, and have then disappeared, in what have been accepted as Shiite death-squad operations. The first was in al-Salam City, where 50 Sunnis were picked up in a pre-dawn raid. Hytham watched the abductions from his rooftop and later insisted it was the work of Badr Badr men using Interior Ministry uniforms, weapons and vehicles.
Three of the abducted men's bodies have since been dumped around the city, with a trademark bullet in the head. Nine others are said to have turned up at the city morgue. But the bodies were spirited to a mass grave in the south before their families could claim them. The remaining 38 are unaccounted for ... http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/iraqs-killing-fields/2...

UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)
Human Rights Report
1 November - 31 December 2006

... An unprecedented number of execution-style killings have taken place in Baghdad
and other parts of the country, whereby bodies were routinely found dumped in the streets, in rivers and in mass graves - most bearing signs of torture with their hands and feet bound, and some were beheaded ...

pdf file: http://www.uniraq.org/FileLib/misc/HR%20Report%20Nov%20... .
google html version: http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:4WA_8f4dhcIJ:www.u...

updated 6:26 p.m. ET, Mon., Dec. 3, 2007
12 bodies add to toll near lake in Anbar

BAGHDAD - Iraqi troops unearthed a mass grave with the remains of 12 people including a paramedic who disappeared more than a year ago, officials said Monday, the latest grisly discovery in a former stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq. Morgue workers wearing masks to protect them from the stench of decomposing bodies dug through bags of bones and tattered clothes as they sought clues to the identities of those killed ... http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22086524 /

The Body Contractors
Death squads are killing fewer people, but they're also taking more care to hide their grisly handiwork.
Alaa al-Marjani / AP
Deadly Mysteries: Unidentified bodies are taken to the Shiite holy city of Najaf for burial
By Babak Dehghanpisheh | NEWSWEEK
Dec 24, 2007 Issue

In the past two months, more than half a dozen mass graves have been found in Iraq, at least half of them in Baghdad. At one site discovered in late November, in a yard in Baghdad's Saydiya neighborhood, bodies and their severed heads were buried in two separate holes, according to a source at the Ministry of Interior who isn't authorized to speak on the record. An additional 16 bodies were found buried in a ditch north of Baghdad last Thursday ...

One month ago, a handful of his comrades roared up to his checkpoint in a green Daewoo sedan and white Toyota pickup. In the back of the sedan two menfrom a Shiite militiawere tied up. In the back of the pickup were two bodies. "We were expecting an American patrol at any time," says Dulaimi. His commander ordered the men to hide the bodies, fast. They threw the corpses in a narrow, dry ditch on the outskirts of their neighborhood, and covered them lightly with dirt and leaves. A month has passed and none of the militiamen has heard about the bodies again ...

http://www.newsweek.com/id/78156


'Salvador Option' mooted for Iraq
By Tom Gibb
BBC, South America
Last Updated: Thursday, 27 January, 2005, 11:31 GMT

... Between one and two percent of the population - more than 70,000 people - died. I still find it extraordinary that US officials like the colonel, saw this as a success. The shield which stopped a guerrilla victory in El Salvador was in reality a reign of terror ... Fearing defeat, the US-backed army set out to kill not only guerrillas but also those they viewed as sympathisers. Of the memories of death and mutilation I witnessed in El Salvador, the sight of six Jesuit priests, their cook and her 16-year-old daughter with their brains blown across the neatly cropped lawn of their house, is the one that still haunts the most. They were among the country's leading intellectuals, and I knew them well ... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_corr...

The Salvador Option
by Scott Ritter
January 25, 2005

... According to press accounts, the Pentagon is considering the organisation, training and equipping of so-called death squads, teams of Iraqi assassins who would be used to infiltrate and eliminate the leadership of the Iraqi resistance.
Called the Salvador Option, in reference to similar US-backed death squads that terrorised the population of El Salvador during the 1980s, the proposed plan actually has as its roots the Phoenix assassination programme undertaken during the Vietnam war, where American-led assassins killed thousands of known or suspected Vietcong collaborators.
Perhaps it is a sign of the desperation felt inside the Pentagon, or an underscoring of the ideological perversity of those in charge, that the US military would draw upon the failed programmes of the past to resolve an insoluble problem of today.
The Salvador Option would not be the first embrace of assassination as a tool of occupation undertaken by the United States in Iraq.
In the months following Paul Bremer's taking over of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in June 2003, the streets of Baghdad crawled with scores of assassination squads ... http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=7099

Former British Ambassador Suspects Government Stoking Iraqi Civil War
Dire situation goes from bad to worse and provides only excuse for troops to stay
Steve Watson & Paul Watson / Infowars.net | October 18 2006

Former British Ambassador to the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, writes today ..."As the catastrophe in Iraq continues to unfold, an unresolved question remains on the role of Bush, Blair, and the US/UK military. To what extent were they passively incompetent in facilitating the decline into civil war, and to what extent were they actively pursuing policies that promoted that outcome?"
Murray suspects that as part of a "divide and conquer" strategy, the same strategy used by British forces in Iraq 85 years ago, Special forces are being used to intentionally foment civil war by training and equipping Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers.
The adoption of the 'Salvador Option' by the US in Iraq was reported and discussed from the beginning of 2005 onwards.
Newsweek reported that this Pentagon or CIA handled operation "would even extend across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions... The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries." ...
http://infowars.net/articles/October2006/181006Iraq.htm


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ConsAreLiars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thank you tor this important compilation. (K&R)
The master class is always enemy of freedom, and their power depends on their ability to keep those they control from knowing what they are and what they do. Knowing the truth is as important to us as replacing it with empty sloganeering is to them.
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chelaque liberal Donating Member (981 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 03:39 AM
Response to Original message
2. Kicking for the morning
A lot to read. I don't want to see this drop of the first page.
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 04:06 AM
Response to Original message
3. good work
thanks
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 05:14 PM
Response to Original message
4. Reporting on a mass grave in Diyala
Weekend press reports a mass grave found in Diyala:

Mass grave in Iraq holds at least 50
Mar. 8, 2008.
Police find the bodies in an orchard. Locals suspect that Shiite militia fighters buried Sunni victims there.
By Borzou Daragahi and Saif Rasheed, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
March 9, 2008

... Iraqi police announced the find Saturday after stumbling upon the badly decomposed bodies during a raid a day earlier. The dead were buried near the town of Khalis, in one of the many fruit, date and palm orchards that line the Diyala River, just north of the provincial capital of Baqubah ...

"The skeletal remains appear to have been in the grave for a long time, and we have not yet determined who might be responsible for their death and burial," Maj. Winfield Danielson, a U.S. military spokesman, said by e-mail.

But Iraqi police and residents believe they were killed and buried sometime in the last five years. An Iraqi security official who saw the grave site said the bodies appeared to have been dumped over a period of time, rather than all at once, and that so far, only 13 had been excavated.

Residents say the orchard is in a rural area known as Salem, near a hamlet called Albu Tama. Some locals suspect that the site was a dumping ground used by Shiite Muslim militias disposing the remains of Sunni victims. Authorities last week arrested the mayor of Khalis on suspicion of involvement in such activities. The town is considered to be a hub of Shiite militiamen associated with cleric Muqtada Sadr's Mahdi Army, although the outlying countryside is mostly under the sway of Sunni extremists ...

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-ira...


Thus at least 50 and perhaps as many as 100 -- although only 13 .. excavated. The available spin varies more than that, of course:

Iraqi Police Uncovers Mass Grave With 100 Decomposed Bodies
March 8, 2008 11:26 a.m. EST
Mayur Pahilajani - AHN News Writer

... U.S. and Iraqi officials said the bodies were part of the hundreds of thousands of people killed and buried in similar graves during Saddam Hussein's ruling ...

http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7010270983

100 decomposed bodies found in Iraq mass grave: US military

BAGHDAD (AFP) ...

The grave was found in the Al-Buthoma, north of the town of Khalis in Diyala, northeast of Baghdad, and appeared to be of people killed several years ago, an Iraqi army officer said.

US military spokesman Major Winfield Danielson told AFP: "The bodies are decomposed to the point that they are just skeletal remains, indicating that they have been there for a long time" ...

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hoyA-Rs5pEem9n94Jcj...

Mass grave called largest ever found in Iraqi province
Remains of 100 buried in region long under al-Qaeda control
12:00 AM CST on Sunday, March 9, 2008
The Washington Post

BAGHDAD Iraqi security forces have discovered a mass grave containing the skeletal remains of about 100 people in an area north of Baghdad once dominated by the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq ...

U.S. military officials said that an investigation was under way, and that it was unclear who was responsible for the killings.

"For the past two years, nobody was able to go to this area, and it was completely under al-Qaeda control," <Ibrahim Majilan, head of the provincial council> said ...

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/world/...

Iraq seeks strategic partnership with Turkey
ANKARA, Turkey, March 8, (Agencies):

... The grave, near Khalis about 80 kms (50 miles) north of Baghdad is still being investigated but the military said the skeletal remains appear to have been buried a long time ago.

Police Col Sabah al-Ambaqi said the grave was discovered in an orchard near al-Bu Tumaa, a Sunni village outside Khalis. He said authorities including both Iraqi and US forces were conducting a search when a foul smell led them to the grave site.

Early reports were that 13 bullet-ridden bodies had been found in the area, but al-Ambaqi said they turned out to be part of the larger grave site ...

http://www.arabtimesonline.com/client/pagesdetails.asp?...


al-Ambaqi's assertion means, for example, that the following AP story is confused:

Mass grave found by Iraqi forces TheStar.com - World - Mass grave found by Iraqi forces
March 08, 2008
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

BAGHDADThe U.S. military says Iraqi security forces have discovered a mass grave in Diyala province containing perhaps 100 bodies ... Police in Diyala province also reported today that the bullet-ridden bodies of 13 men were found in a Sunni enclave in the Khalis area.

http://www.thestar.com/printArticle/326477


Whether the site contains mere skeletal remains or decomposing bodies with a foul smell, one wants previous reports mentioning excavation of thirteen bodies from an orchard in Diyala province:

Sadrists Condemn Journalists Kidnapping
By KIM GAMEL Feb 12, 2008

... Iraqi police and forensics officials also said a mass grave with 13 decomposed bodies was uncovered in an orchard near the Diyala province city of Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of the capital. The U.S. military denied the report.

The Iraqi officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information, said the bodies were discovered by U.S. troops during operations and turned into the morgue in nearby Baqouba.

Capt. Stephen Bomar, a U.S. spokesman in northern Iraq, said in an e-mail that "no conventional coalition forces" were involved in such a discovery and "the claim currently appears to be false." ... http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gkx-3oYeFwuWKCusr2jr...

Thirteen bodies found in Iraqi mass grave - police
Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:41pm IST

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The bodies of 13 men have been found in a mass grave in Iraq's restive Diyala province, the latest in a series of grisly discoveries, police said on Tuesday.

They said the unidentified bodies had been dumped in a hole in the town of Muqdadiya, 90 km northeast of Baghdad, and that they had been found by U.S. forces.

However, a U.S. military spokesman said they had no reports of the find and that U.S. soldiers were not involved.

A local journalist told Reuters he had seen the bodies. Police said they were found handcuffed, had gunshot wounds in the head and showed signs of torture ... http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-31901...

Diyala police chief sued following mass grave discovery
14 February 2008 (Azzaman)

The .. boss of the police force in .. Diyala .... Lt. Gen. Ghanim al-Quraishi .... was made to face charges following a provincial meeting in which Diyala Governor Raad Rasheed and the U.S. military commander in the province took part.

The decision was taken following the discovery of a grave with 13 unidentified bodies that were killed with bullets on the head while handcuffed.

There were traces of torture on these bodies, Yassin said.

The grave was brought to light by a U.S. military force during operations in a field close to the district of Moqdadiya, 90 kilometers north east of Baghdad.

http://www.iraqupdates.com/p_articles.php/article/27398




This might be the same site: a morgue at governate capitol Ba'aqubah would be less than ten miles from the district capitol Al-Khalis; the district capitol Al-Khalis is fifteen or twenty miles from the district capitol Al-Miqdadiyah, but the district capitol Al-Khalis is perched at the boundary of the Al-Muqdadiya and Al-Khalis districts; thus, a mass grave in an orchard near Al-Khalis might well be described as near Al-Muqdadiya and bodies from there might be taken to Ba'aqubah.

The February grave story is interesting for another reason: although US authorities initially deny the story, they almost immediately afterwards they are questioning whether the local police chief was involved; such an investigation might well continue, leading to arrest of the Khalis mayor cf supra and demand for further examination of the original site. A dominant motive here may have been concern locals would claim US soldiers were involved

Press reports also suggest the Khalis mayor made comments not always popular with US authorities:

U.S.: 25 Iran-backed Shiite fighters die in raid
Iraqi officials say civilians are among the dead
Updated 4:46 a.m. ET, Fri., Oct. 5, 2007

BAGHDAD - U.S. forces, backed by aircraft, killed at least 25 Shiite militia fighters north of Baghdad Friday in an operation targeting a cell accused of smuggling weapons from Iran, the military said.

Iraqi officials, however, said American bombs killed civilians who rushed to help those injured in the initial airstrike and said the only ones armed in the neighborhood were locals trying to organize themselves against al-Qaida ...

But the towns top official said U.S. forces targeted areas built up by locals to protect their Shiite neighborhood against attacks by al-Qaida gunmen. The guards were armed and worked around the clock, he said.

These places came under attack by American airstrikes, said Khalis Mayor Odai al-Khadran. Locals were protecting themselves by guarding their village. They are not militias killing people. ...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21144702 /



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