[News] Iraq Dispatches

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Wed Nov 16 08:56:47 EST 2005


IRAQ DISPATCHES
November 14, 2005
http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/archives/dispatches/000317.php
By Dahr Jamail

Nearly a year after they occurred, a few of the war crimes committed in
Fallujah by members of the US military have gained the attention of some
major media outlets (excluding, of course, any of the corporate media
outlets in the US).

Back on November 26, 2004, in a story I wrote for the Inter Press Service
titled 'Unusual Weapons' Used in Fallujah, refugees from that city
described, in detail, various odd weapons used in Fallujah. In addition,
they provided detailed descriptions such as "pieces of these bombs exploded
into large fires that burnt the skin even when water was thrown on the
burns."

This was also mentioned in a web log I'd penned nine days before, on
November 17, 2004, named Slash and Burn where one of the descriptions of
these same weapons by the same refugee from Fallujah said, "These exploded
on the ground with large fires that burnt for half an hour. They used these
near the train tracks. You could hear these dropped from a large airplane
and the bombs were the size of a tank. When anyone touched those fires,
their body burned for hours."

On December 9th of 2004 I posted a gallery of photos, many of which are
included in the new RAI television documentary about incendiary weapons
having been used in Fallujah.

Like the torture "scandal" of Abu Ghraib that for people in the west didn't
become "real" until late April of 2004, Iraqis and journalists in Iraq who
engaged in actual reporting knew that US and British forces were torturing
Iraqis from nearly the beginning of the occupation, and continue to do so
to this day.

All of this makes me wonder how much longer it will take for other
atrocities to come to light. Even just discussing Fallujah, there are many
we can choose from. While I'm not the only journalist to have reported on
these, let me draw your attention to just a few things that I've recorded
which took place in Fallujah during the November, 2004 massacre.

In my story "Fallujah Refugees Tell of Life and Death in the Kill Zone"
published on December 3, 2004 there are many instances of war crimes which
will, hopefully, be granted the attention they deserve.

Burhan Fasa'a, an Iraqi journalist who worked for the Lebanese satellite TV
station, LBC and who was in Fallujah for nine days during the most intense
combat, said Americans grew easily frustrated with Iraqis who could not
speak English.

"Americans did not have interpreters with them," Fasa'a said, "so they
entered houses and killed people because they didn't speak English. They
entered the house where I was with 26 people, and [they] shot people
because [the people] didn't obey [the soldiers'] orders, even just because
the people couldn't understand a word of English." He also added, "Soldiers
thought the people were rejecting their orders, so they shot them. But the
people just couldn't understand them."

A man named Khalil, who asked not to use his last name for fear of
reprisals, said he had witnessed the shooting of civilians who were waving
white flags while they tried to escape the city.

"I watched them roll over wounded people in the street with tanks," said
Kassem Mohammed Ahmed, a resident of Fallujah. "This happened so many
times."

Other refugees recounted similar stories. "I saw so many civilians killed
there, and I saw several tanks roll over the wounded in the streets," said
Aziz Abdulla, 27 years old, who fled the fighting last November. Another
resident, Abu Aziz, said he also witnessed American armored vehicles
crushing people he believes were alive.

Abdul Razaq Ismail, another resident who fled Fallujah, said: "I saw dead
bodies on the ground and nobody could bury them because of the American
snipers. The Americans were dropping some of the bodies into the Euphrates
near Fallujah."

A man called Abu Hammad said he witnessed US troops throwing Iraqi bodies
into the Euphrates River. Abu Hammed and others also said they saw
Americans shooting unarmed Iraqis who waved white flags.

Believing that American and Iraqi forces were bent on killing anyone who
stayed in Fallujah, Hammad said he watched people attempt to swim across
the Euphrates to escape the siege. "Even then the Americans shot them with
rifles from the shore," he said. "Even if some of them were holding a white
flag or white clothes over their heads to show they are not fighters, they
were all shot."

Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein reported witnessing similar
events. After running out of basic necessities and deciding to flee the
city at the height of the US-led assault, Hussein ran to the Euphrates.

"I decided to swim," Hussein told colleagues at the AP, who wrote up the
photographer's harrowing story, "but I changed my mind after seeing US
helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river."

Hussein said he saw soldiers kill a family of five as they tried to
traverse the Euphrates, before he buried a man by the riverbank with his
bare hands.

"I kept walking along the river for two hours and I could still see some US
snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim," Hussein recounted. "I quit
the idea of crossing the river and walked for about five hours through
orchards."

A man named Khalil, who asked not to use his last name for fear of
reprisals, said he had witnessed the shooting of civilians who were waving
white flags while they tried to escape the city. "They shot women and old
men in the streets," he said. "Then they shot anyone who tried to get their
bodies."

"There are bodies the Americans threw in the river," Khalil continued,
noting that he personally witnessed US troops using the Euphrates to
dispose of Iraqi dead. "And anyone who stayed thought they would be killed
by the Americans, so they tried to swim across the river. Even people who
couldn't swim tried to cross the river. They drowned rather than staying to
be killed by the Americans," said Khalil.

Why should blatant lying from the military come as a surprise? Even back in
November of 2003, I wrote about how US forces claimed to have been attacked
by, and then killed 48 Fedayin Saddam in Samarra. Then magically,
overnight, they raised the number to 54. Upon investigation of this, I
found that 8 civilians had been killed in the city, and wrote about it here
and posted photos of it here.

However, why should any of us be surprised at this? When we have an
administration which led the country into an illegal war of aggression and
continues to lie about it, events like torturing and the use of incendiary
weapons on civilians are small change.

Copyright © 2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.

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