Monday, December 06, 2004

 

Boy, the news from Iraq just keeps on getting better and better, doesn't it?

I don't know if this is true or not, but it definitely merits more widespread investigation and reporting.
Naomi Klein...
spells out how "US forces and their Iraqi surrogates are no longer bothering to conceal attacks on civilian targets and are openly eliminating anyone - doctors, clerics, journalists - who dares to count the bodies"

A little bureacrat whined that this was untrue so Klein has posted clear evidence that the Bush Administration is either permitting or ordering the elimination of those brave souls who are counting the "collateral damage."

Here are excerpts:

Eliminating doctors

The first major operation by US marines and Iraqi soldiers was to storm Falluja general hospital, arresting doctors and placing the facility under military control. The New York Times reported that "the hospital was selected as an early target because the American military believed that it was the source of rumors about heavy casual ties", noting that "this time around, the American military intends to fight its own information war, countering or squelching what has been one of the insurgents' most potent weapons". The Los Angeles Times quoted a doctor as saying that the soldiers "stole the mobile phones" at the hospital - preventing doctors from communicating with the outside world.

Eliminating journalists:

The images from last month's siege on Falluja came almost exclusively from reporters embedded with US troops. This is because Arab journalists who had covered April's siege from the civilian perspective had effectively been eliminated. Al-Jazeera had no cameras on the ground because it has been banned from reporting in Iraq indefinitely. Al-Arabiya did have an unembedded reporter, Abdel Kader Al-Saadi, in Falluja, but on November 11 US forces arrested him and held him for the length of the siege. Al-Saadi's detention has been condemned by Reporters Without Borders and the International Federation of Journalists. "We cannot ignore the possibility that he is being intimidated for just trying to do his job," the IFJ stated.

Eliminating clerics:

Just as doctors and journalists have been targeted, so too have many of the clerics who have spoken out forcefully against the killings in Falluja. On November 11, Sheik Mahdi al-Sumaidaei, the head of the Supreme Association for Guidance and Daawa, was arrested. According to Associated Press, "Al-Sumaidaei has called on the country's Sunni minority to launch a civil disobedience campaign if the Iraqi government does not halt the attack on Falluja". On November 19, AP reported that US and Iraqi forces stormed a prominent Sunni mosque, the Abu Hanifa, in Aadhamiya, killing three people and arresting 40, including the chief cleric - another opponent of the Falluja siege. On the same day, Fox News reported that "US troops also raided a Sunni mosque in Qaim, near the Syrian border". The report described the arrests as "retaliation for opposing the Falluja offensive". Two Shia clerics associated with Moqtada al-Sadr have also been arrested in recent weeks; according to AP, "both had spoken out against the Falluja attack".

It is shocking that the American Left has failed to create more of an outrage about the frighteningly inhumane and inept handling of the Iraq situation.

In other Naomi Klein news her new documentary, co-produced with Avi Lewis, debuted this week in Washington, DC: http://www.nfb.ca/thetake/.

This is a film that is crucial for any politically-minded person to see. I cannot praise it highly enough.
When I first started reading about this, here and elsewhere, I immediately heard "eliminate" and thought "murder." Which I found absolutely unbelievable, even for Bush and Rumsfeld. If it turns out that it is, in fact, "only" incarceration, well, that's slightly better. But only slightly.

Operational security is one thing. Censorship in someone else's country is something else entirely. Especially since the only purpose of this kind of concealment is to cover up the tremendous damage we are doing to the people of Iraq while fighting against the communal violence our presence is causing!

Convince me that the U.S. Army has the right, in addition to the authority, to be doing this.

And Jay Bradfield is correct: where's the outrage over this? Not just from the left, but at least from the left?
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