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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #174 - 2 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Death squads for Iraq - Newsday (farbuthnot)
   2. Soldier Gets Six Months in Iraqi Drowning (The Iraq Solidarity Campaign)


Message: 1
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2005 17:53:24 +0000
Subject: Death squads for Iraq - Newsday
From: "farbuthnot" <>

Well, well, if correct it seems all the predictions re the new US Ambassado=
presiding over the same nightmare as he allegedly did in Central America,
may be correct. Welcome to 'let freedom reign' and all that democrocy stuff=
But like the mass graves, these would be 'our' death squads, thus the 'good=
ones, I assume. best, felicity a.

Printer Friendly Version  E-Mail This Article  =A0
=A0Published on Sunday, January 9, 2005 by Newsweek
'The Salvador Option'
The Pentagon May Put Special-Forces-led Assassination or Kidnapping Teams i=

by Michael Hirsh and John Barry
What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagon=B9s latest
approach is being called "the Salvador option"=8Band the fact that it is be=
discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is=
"What everyone agrees is that we can=B9t just go on as we are," one senior
military officer told NEWSWEEK. "We have to find a way to take the offensiv=
against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are
losing." Last November=B9s operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree,
succeeded less in breaking "the back" of the insurgency=8Bas Marine Gen. Jo=
Sattler optimistically declared at the time=8Bthan in spreading it out.

Nuns pray over the bodies of four American sisters killed by the military i=
El Salvador in 1980 (AP Photo)
Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option
that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration=B9s
battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early
1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S.
government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included
so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and
sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S.
conservatives consider the policy to have been a success=8Bdespite the deat=
of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages
scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central
America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to
Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras.)
Following that model, one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams
to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgent=
and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to
military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear,
however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called
"snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for
interrogation. The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would
lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be
carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries, officials tell NEWSWEEK.
Also being debated is which agency within the U.S. government=8Bthe Defense
department or CIA=8Bwould take responsibility for such an operation.
Rumsfeld=B9s Pentagon has aggressively sought to build up its own
intelligence-gathering and clandestine capability with an operation run by
Defense Undersecretary Stephen Cambone. But since the Abu Ghraib
interrogations scandal, some military officials are ultra-wary of any
operations that could run afoul of the ethics codified in the Uniform Code
of Military Justice. That, they argue, is the reason why such covert
operations have always been run by the CIA and authorized by a special
presidential finding. (In "covert" activity, U.S. personnel operate under
cover and the U.S. government will not confirm that it instigated or ordere=
them into action if they are captured or killed.)
Meanwhile, intensive discussions are taking place inside the Senate
Intelligence Committee over the Defense department=B9s efforts to expand th=
involvement of U.S. Special Forces personnel in intelligence-gathering
missions. Historically, Special Forces=B9 intelligence gathering has been
limited to objectives directly related to upcoming military
operations=8B"preparation of the battlefield," in military lingo. But,
according to intelligence and defense officials, some Pentagon civilians fo=
years have sought to expand the use of Special Forces for other intelligenc=
Pentagon civilians and some Special Forces personnel believe CIA civilian
managers have traditionally been too conservative in planning and executing
the kind of undercover missions that Special Forces soldiers believe they
can effectively conduct. CIA traditionalists are believed to be adamantly
opposed to ceding any authority to the Pentagon. Until now, Pentagon
proposals for a capability to send soldiers out on intelligence missions
without direct CIA approval or participation have been shot down. But
counter-terrorist strike squads, even operating covertly, could be deemed t=
fall within the Defense department=B9s orbit.
The interim government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is said to be among th=
most forthright proponents of the Salvador option. Maj. Gen.Muhammad
Abdallah al-Shahwani, director of Iraq=B9s National Intelligence Service, m=
have been laying the groundwork for the idea with a series of interviews
during the past ten days. Shahwani told the London-based Arabic daily
Al-Sharq al-Awsat that the insurgent leadership=8Bhe named three former sen=
figures in the Saddam regime, including Saddam Hussein=B9s half-brother=8Bw=
essentially safe across the border in a Syrian sanctuary. "We are certain
that they are in Syria and move easily between Syrian and Iraqi
territories," he said, adding that efforts to extradite them "have not born=
fruit so far."
Shahwani also said that the U.S. occupation has failed to crack the problem
of broad support for the insurgency. The insurgents, he said, "are mostly i=
the Sunni areas where the population there, almost 200,000, is sympathetic
to them." He said most Iraqi people do not actively support the insurgents
or provide them with material or logistical help, but at the same time they
won=B9t turn them in. One military source involved in the Pentagon debate
agrees that this is the crux of the problem, and he suggests that new
offensive operations are needed that would create a fear of aiding the
insurgency. "The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is
giving to the terrorists," he said. "From their point of view, it is
cost-free. We have to change that equation."
Pentagon sources emphasize there has been no decision yet to launch the
Salvador option. Last week, Rumsfeld decided to send a retired four-star
general, Gary Luck, to Iraq on an open-ended mission to review the entire
military strategy there. But with the U.S. Army strained to the breaking
point, military strategists note that a dramatic new approach might be
needed=8Bperhaps one as potentially explosive as the Salvador option.
With Mark Hosenball


Message: 2
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2005 19:11:43 +0000 (GMT)
From: The Iraq Solidarity Campaign <>
Subject: Soldier Gets Six Months in Iraqi Drowning
To: ISC <>,,
  Iraqis in Diaspora <>,
  Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation <>,,,

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

Call to Action!

We are asking people to please complain about this sick act of terror upon =
the people of Iraq. Please read the article below and write your complaint =
to Keith Bradley MP, a former Labour government cabinet member who opposed =
the war and supported Anne Clwyd with the Campaign Against Repression and f=
or Democratic Rights in Iraq.  He can be contacted on the e-mail keithbradl=

The Iraq Solidarity Campaign (UK)

Soldier Gets Six Months in Iraqi Drowning

Sun Jan 9, 9:22 AM ET

By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer
FORT HOOD, Texas - An Army platoon sergeant who ordered his soldiers to thr=
ow Iraqis into the Tigris River was sentenced Saturday to six months in mil=
itary prison, but will not be discharged.

AP Photo

AP Photo Slideshow: Soldier On Trial for Alleged Drowning

Army Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Perkins was convicted Friday of two counts of agg=
ravated assault, assault consummated by battery and obstruction of justice.=
 He was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter and making a false statement.

He did not testify during his trial, but before he was sentenced Saturday t=
old the jury of Army officers and enlisted members that his actions were wr=
ong =97 although he did not apologize to the Iraqis. He said he still loved=
 the military and did not want to lose his job.

"If I had to go back, I would definitely do something different on those da=
ys," Perkins said, wiping away tears.

Perkins, 33, and another soldier were accused of ordering soldiers to push =
two Iraqis into the river in Samarra in January 2004. Prosecutors say Zaido=
un Hassoun, 19, drowned and his cousin, Marwan Hassoun, climbed out the riv=

Defense attorneys contended Zaidoun may still be alive, but say if he is de=
ad it was not at the hands of U.S. soldiers.

The six-man military jury =97 which decided against the manslaughter convic=
tion =97 also reduced Perkins' rank by one grade to staff sergeant, which c=
uts his pay and responsibilities.

Jurors considered a sentencing range of no punishment to a dishonorable dis=
charge, rank reduction and 11 1/2 years in prison. Prosecutors had recommen=
ded five years in prison and a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge.

Perkins was taken to the Bell County Jail because Ford Hood has no jail. It=
 could take up to a week to determine where he will serve his sentence.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys declined to comment after the sentencing.

Before deliberations began, the prosecutor, Capt. Megan Shaw, said Perkins =
had jeopardized the U.S. mission because insurgents were using the incident=
s to spread anti-American propaganda.

The defense attorney, Capt. Tom Hurley, urged the jurors to consider Perkin=
s' numerous military awards.

Marwan Hassoun testified that he tried to save his cousin by grabbing his h=
and, but the powerful current swept Zaidoun away. Marwan said the body was =
found in the river nearly two weeks later.

Perkins did not discuss specifics of the incident on the stand Saturday, bu=
t admitted he had ordered his soldiers to throw an Iraqi man into the river=
 in December 2003.

Perkins said the man had made a gesture of slitting his throat. He said he =
never meant to injure or kill the Iraqi by throwing him in the river; and h=
e ordered him thrown in the river to teach him a "hard lesson" about threat=
ening U.S. troops. He testified he saw the man climb out alive.

"Basically the enemy would test your resolve. ... I didn't want them to thi=
nk we were soft or weak," said Perkins, who has 14 years of military servic=

Perkins was convicted of assault consummated by battery in Zaidoun's purpor=
ted death, which carries a maximum sentence of six months. He was convicted=
 of aggravated assault in connection with the attack on Marwan Hassoun and =
for ordering the other man thrown into the river in December 2003. He was f=
ound innocent of making a false statement.

No soldiers disputed that the Hassoun cousins were forced into the river. B=
ut soldiers testifying for the prosecution and defense said they never hear=
d Perkins order the Iraqis into the river and that he stayed in his vehicle=
 that night.
The soldiers said the orders came from Army 1st Lt. Jack Saville, the plato=
on leader, who is to be tried in March on the same charges as Perkins =97 a=
s well as a conspiracy charge. His trial was postponed until March after a =
judge ordered the victim's body to be exhumed for an autopsy and identifica=
Several of Perkins' commanding officers testified Saturday that Perkins was=
 an outstanding soldier who tried to find non-lethal ways to deal with defi=
ant Iraqis in the increasingly dangerous region.
"I will always consider him a war hero. ... No one can ever take away his o=
utstanding service over there," said Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman.
Perkins and Saville are part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Car=
son, Colo., which is part of the 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Hood.

The Iraq Solidarity Campaign

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