Tuesday, June 06, 2006
6,000 murdered in Baghdad alone this year - US death squads the unmentionable factor. posted by Richard Seymour6,000 bodies in Baghdad's mortuaries since the start of the year, and what's more, "no-one believes these are the true figures from the violence in and around Baghdad as many bodies are not taken to the morgue, or are never found".
Here's the thing: the US government can openly announce its intentions. It can even be reported once in a while (albeit with a rather crude apologia bracketing the facts). Knight Ridder correspondent Yasser Salihee can die while uncovering the truth behind it. Yet somehow, invariably, it's simply taboo to mention what is richly evident. The BBC did not mention any of this either on television or on the internet. No one mentions that the bulk of these deaths are attributed to the Special Police Commandos, who
were formed under the experienced tutelage and oversight of veteran US counterinsurgency fighters, and from the outset conducted joint-force operations with elite and highly secretive US special-forces units.
Yasser Salihee found that "many of the dead were apprehended by large groups of men driving white Toyota Land Cruisers with police markings. The men were wearing police commando uniforms and bulletproof vests, carrying expensive 9-millimeter Glock pistols and using sophisticated radios". He died shortly after reporting this at a US checkpoint, with a bullet in the head.
John Pace, the former UN human rights envoy to Iraq, described, before the violence was re-scripted into a 'civil war' after the attack on the Askari mosque (itself seemingly orchestrated by guys in Special Police Commando uniforms), how hundreds of Iraqis were being executed and tortured to death each month by death squads operating from within the Interior Ministry, which happens to have been constructed and populated by the occupiers. The Brussels Tribunal found that:
After exact counting and documenting, the Iraqi Organisation for Follow-up and Monitoring has confirmed that 92 % of the 3498 bodies found in different regions of Iraq have been arrested by officials of the Ministry of Interior. Nothing was known about the arrestees’ fate until their riddled bodies were found with marks of horrible torture.
Iraq's Ministry of Interior was co-constructed by Steven Casteel, Vice-President of Vance Global International, a global 'security' and 'investigation' firm which he hooked up with after being made 'advisor' to the Interior Ministry. He helps "businesses and governments in the U.S., Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East" "respond to security and investigation risks ". He is also a former affiliate of Colombian death squads as a DEA man. Casteel also created the Special Police Commandos. Clearly the right man for the task. The man he placed in charge of the commandos is General Rashid Flayih, a former Ba'athist general who helped suppress the Shi'ite uprisings in 1991. Another perfectly cast role.
The role of these police commandos has been reported plenty of times, yet there's no consistency of narrative, there's no sense of connecting these things. In fact, there's a strict and perceptible prohibition, probably internalised by every reporter who wants a hassle-free career: the BBC goes through various causes of the deaths including sectarian violence, 'insurgents', violent crime - and there one dares venture no further. Since violent criminals, insurgents and sectarians are a suitable nebulous group of people to point the finger at, and since they are always-already guilty simply by being designated such, they couldn't give the BBC flak if they wanted to. The US Embassy certainly can, as can government spinners.
See the Brussels Tribunal's dossier for a bit of background on the use of death squads by the US.