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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #95 - 3 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. The near-impossibility of helping the United States out of the mire in Iraq (Hassan)
   2. Abused never interviewed during investigation (k hanly)
   3. US attacks Iraqi wedding party.. (k hanly)


Message: 1
Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 11:00:08 -0700 (PDT)
From: Hassan <>
Subject: The near-impossibility of helping the United States out of the mire in Iraq
To: CASI newsclippings <>,
  IAC discussion <>

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

The near-impossibility of helping the United States out of the mire in Iraq

It has become frighteningly difficult to believe or even to try to convince=
 others that the United States' heedless adventure in Iraq could lead to a =
happy ending. Of course, military supremacy remains in the hands of the occ=
upying force, but the political - and above all the moral - credibility is =
spent. "Sovereignty" should pass to the Iraqis at the end of June, but alre=
ady today the transfer of authority is understood as nothing more than an e=
mpty conjuring trick. It has not even been possible to agree on whom should=
 take over the trappings of apparent power.

For the occupiers, supremacy without authority is already something of a wo=
rthless commodity. The forces themselves can no longer move on the highways=
 of Iraq except in armoured columns. The reconstruction of the country shou=
ld be put into high gear, and political life got onto a healthy footing for=
 subsequent elections, but all the conditions for this seem to be lacking.

When the administration of George W. Bush has frittered away its most impor=
tant expedients for the carrying out of the task it took on, the only alter=
native currently in play is to internationalise the crisis. This means that=
 responsibility for the running of the transition period would be handed ov=
er to the United Nations. The maintenance of security could be entrusted to=
 NATO, with troops from the United States joined by others from as many mem=
ber-states as possible.

In theory the proposal is a good one. In reality its hour has probably pass=
ed. The security situation on the ground is so bad that only the power of t=
he United States is sufficient any longer to protect an international inter=
im administration. However, such an arrangement would take away any credibi=
lity and semblance of independence a UN-led caretaker government might enjo=
y. Washington is seeking to borrow international authority, but in practice=
 even this would be laid waste in the wake of Washington=92s own, which has=
 already been destroyed

If the might of the United States and international legitimacy have become =
an impossible combination, from where can we seek a solution henceforth? In=
 this situation the Bush administration must find its own way out of the ca=
tastrophe that it has wrought through its own blindness and repeated mistak=
es. There is every reason to help the United States, but all aid is somehow=
 rendered useless before a fundamental political change has been made in Wa=

An ideal solution would probably be if Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld=
 were to tender his immediate resignation and if President Bush were to adm=
it the mistakes of the Iraq policy. The guiding of Iraq towards independenc=
e would be transferred into the hands of some non-partisan American enjoyin=
g general respect, who would then hurry forward the transfer of power - a r=
eal transfer and not an ostensible one - using all means available.

Naturally, no such scenario will be played out in the real world. The Bush =
government will cling doggedly to the occupation and to the shreds of its b=
ankrupt policy until Election Day comes around in November.

The solution will then be solely in the hands of the U.S. voters, and the r=
est of the world will have to await the outcome of the election in an unusu=
ally heightened state of excitement. In the past few months we have seen th=
e emergence on this side of the Atlantic of an ever-firmer conviction that =
the world=92s only superpower now has its most hapless government in living=

Bush could naturally still win in November. Then we shall have to hope that=
 against all the laws of probability he will be able to be born again and s=
tart afresh from the beginning.

Otherwise we shall find ourselves in the uncharted waters of a situation wh=
ere the world has an overwhelming leader-state whose ability to lead is gra=
vely weakened. Not even the most enthusiastic of neo-conservative ideologue=
s in the United States could be expected to wish for such an outcome.

Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 16.5.2004


Helsingin Sanomat

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Message: 2
From: "k hanly" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: Abused never interviewed during investigation
Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 19:02:40 -0500|top|05-18-2004::14:44|reuters.html

Reuters, NBC Staff Abused by U.S. Troops in Iraq

May 18, 2:30 PM (ET)

By Andrew Marshall
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. forces beat three Iraqis working for Reuters and
subjected them to sexual and religious taunts and humiliation during their
detention last January in a military camp near Falluja, the three said

The three first told Reuters of the ordeal after their release but only
decided to make it public when the U.S. military said there was no evidence
they had been abused, and following the exposure of similar mistreatment of
detainees at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

An Iraqi journalist working for U.S. network NBC, who was arrested with the
Reuters staff, also said he had been beaten and mistreated, NBC said

Two of the three Reuters staff said they had been forced to insert a finger
into their anus and then lick it, and were forced to put shoes in their
mouths, particularly humiliating in Arab culture.

All three said they were forced to make demeaning gestures as soldiers
laughed, taunted them and took photographs. They said they did not want to
give details publicly earlier because of the degrading nature of the abuse.

The soldiers told them they would be taken to the U.S. detention center at
Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, deprived them of sleep, placed bags over their
heads, kicked and hit them and forced them to remain in stress positions for
long periods.

The U.S. military, in a report issued before the Abu Ghraib abuse became
public, said there was no evidence the Reuters staff had been tortured or

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of ground forces in Iraq, said in a
letter received by Reuters Monday but dated March 5 that he was confident
the investigation had been "thorough and objective" and its findings were

The Pentagon has yet to respond to a request by Reuters Global Managing
Editor David Schlesinger to review the military's findings about the
incident in light of the scandal over the treatment of prisoners at Abu

Asked for comment Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said only:
"There are a number of lines of inquiry under way with respect to prison
operations in Iraq. If during the course of any inquiry, the commander
believes it is appropriate to review a specific aspect of detention, he has
the authority to do so."

The abuse happened at Forward Operating Base Volturno, near Falluja, the
Reuters staff said. They were detained on January 2 while covering the
aftermath of the shooting down of a U.S. helicopter near Falluja and held
for three days, first at Volturno and then at Forward Operating Base St

The three -- Baghdad-based cameraman Salem Ureibi, Falluja-based freelance
television journalist Ahmad Mohammad Hussein al-Badrani and driver Sattar
Jabar al-Badrani -- were released without charge on Jan. 5.


"When I saw the Abu Ghraib photographs, I wept," Ureibi said Tuesday. "I saw
they had suffered like we had."

Ureibi, who understands English better than the other two detainees, said
soldiers told him they wanted to have sex with him, and he was afraid he
would be raped.

NBC, whose stringer Ali Muhammed Hussein Ali al-Badrani was detained along
with the Reuters staff, said he reported that a hood was placed over his
head for hours, and that he was forced to perform physically debilitating
exercises, prevented from sleeping and struck and kicked several times.

"Despite repeated requests, we have yet to receive the results of the army
investigation," NBC News Vice President Bill Wheatley said.

Schlesinger sent a letter to Sanchez on January 9 demanding an investigation
into the treatment of the three Iraqis.

The U.S. army said it was investigating and requested further information.
Reuters provided transcripts of initial interviews with the three following
their release, and offered to make them available for interview by

A summary of the investigation by the 82nd Airborne Division, dated January
28 and provided to Reuters, said "no specific incidents of abuse were
found." It said soldiers responsible for the detainees were interviewed
under oath and "none admit or report knowledge of physical abuse or

"The detainees were purposefully and carefully put under stress, to include
sleep deprivation, in order to facilitate interrogation; they were not
tortured," it said. The version received Monday used the phrase "sleep
management" instead.

The U.S. military never interviewed the three for its investigation.

On February 3 Schlesinger wrote to Lawrence Di Rita, special assistant to
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying the investigation was "woefully
inadequate" and should be reopened.

"The military's conclusion of its investigation without even interviewing
the alleged victims, along with other inaccuracies and inconsistencies in
the report, speaks volumes about the seriousness with which the U.S.
government is taking this issue," he wrote.


The U.S. military faced international outrage this month after photographs
surfaced showing U.S. soldiers humiliating and abusing Iraqi detainees at
Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad.

An investigation by Major General Antonio Taguba found that "numerous
incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on
several detainees" in Abu Ghraib.

Seven U.S. soldiers have been charged over the Abu Ghraib abuse and the
first court martial is set for Wednesday.

U.S. officials say the abuse was carried out by a small number of soldiers
and that all allegations of abuse are promptly and thoroughly investigated


Message: 3
From: "k hanly" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: US attacks Iraqi wedding party..
Date: Wed, 19 May 2004 13:01:58 -0500

U.S. Reportedly Kills 40 Iraqis at Party

 Email this Story

May 19, 1:24 PM (ET)

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A U.S. helicopter fired on a wedding party early
Wednesday in western Iraq, killing more than 40 people, Iraqi officials
said. The U.S. military said it could not confirm the report and was

Lt. Col Ziyad al-Jbouri, deputy police chief of the city of Ramadi, said
between 42 and 45 people died in the attack, which took place about 2:45
a.m. in a remote desert area near the border with Syria and Jordan. He said
those killed included 15 children and 10 women.

Dr. Salah al-Ani, who works at a hospital in Ramadi, put the death toll at

Associated Press Television News obtained videotape showing a truck
containing bodies of those allegedly killed.

About a dozen bodies, one without a head, could be clearly seen. but it
appeared that bodies were piled on top of each other and a clear count was
not possible.

Iraqis interviewed on the videotape said partygoers had fired into the air
in a traditional wedding celebration. American troops have sometimes
mistaken celebratory gunfire for hostile fire.

"I cannot comment on this because we have not received any reports from our
units that this has happened nor that any were involved in such a tragedy,"
Lt. Col. Dan Williams, a U.S. military spokesman, wrote in an e-mail in
response to a question from The Associated Press.

"We take all these requests seriously and we have forwarded this inquiry to
the Joint Operations Center for further review and any other information
that may be available," Williams said.

The video footage showed mourners with shovels digging graves. A group of
men crouched and wept around one coffin.

Al-Ani said people at the wedding fired weapons in the air, and that
American troops came to investigate and left. However, al-Ani said,
helicopters attacked the area at about 3 a.m. Two houses were destroyed, he

U.S. troops took the bodies and the wounded in a truck to Rutba hospital, he

"This was a wedding and the (U.S.) planes came and attacked the people at a
house. Is this the democracy and freedom that (President) Bush has brought
us?" said a man on the videotape, Dahham Harraj. "There was no reason."

Another man shown on the tape, who refused to give his name, said the
victims were at a wedding party "and the U.S. military planes came... and
started killing everyone in the house."

In July 2002, Afghan officials said 48 civilians at a wedding party were
killed and 117 wounded by a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan's Uruzgan
province. An investigative report released by the U.S. Central Command said
the airstrike was justified because American planes had come under fire.

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