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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Friday, June 2, 2006

Wasn't one massacre enough?

As the White House scrambles to control the political damage from the killings by US Marines of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Haditha last November, the BBC reports that US troops may have killed 11 civilians in Ishaqi this past March.

Map showing IshaqiThe US military had previously said that four people were killed during a military operation in Ishaqi, an account diputed at the time by Iraqi policy who said that US troops had deliberately shot and killed 11 unarmed people. A video obtained by the BBC appears to contradict the US account of the events in Ishaqi.

The US authorities said they were involved in a firefight after a tip-off that an al-Qaeda supporter was visiting the house.

According to the Americans, the building collapsed under heavy fire killing four people — a suspect, two women and a child.

But a report filed by Iraqi police accused US troops of rounding up and deliberately shooting 11 people in the house, including five children and four women, before blowing up the building.


Dead children at Ishaqi

Two dead Iraqi children after the 'incident' at Ishaqi.
[Image: BBC]


The video tape obtained by the BBC shows a number of dead adults and children at the site with what our world affairs editor John Simpson says were clearly gunshot wounds.

The pictures came from a hardline Sunni group opposed to coalition forces.

It has been cross-checked with other images taken at the time of events and is believed to be genuine, the BBC's Ian Pannell in Baghdad says.

US military authorities told the BBC that they are investigating the Ishaqi killings. Given the military's apparent attempts to ignore and then cover up the massacre at Haditha, I'm not holding my breath waiting for the results.

Veteran Mideast journalist Chris Allbritton has some comments about how seriously the video should be taken:

Now, just because a Sunni group supplied this video doesn?t mean it should be discounted. Greeted with skepticism, yes, discounted, no. The group that brought the Haditha video to our attention at TIME was a Sunni NGO opposed to the American presence, and Haditha looks to be exactly as they described it: a massacre. Also, it makes absolute sense that a Sunni group would be the messenger. Thanks to the rampant sectarianism, only Sunni groups can operate in Sunni areas, and they?re bearing the brunt of the violence from the U.S....

But, also, this is what happens when democracies go to war in a media age: The innocents &#!51; or aggrieved — take their case to the American people. If their own government won?t protect them, perhaps the people that elected the government that put their government in place will. It?s a vain hope, I know, but what else do they have left?

You can watch the BBC's story about the Ishaqi video here.

| | Posted by Magpie at 6:02 AM | Get permalink




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