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[casi] Mass graves discovery and Human Rights Watch


Early times and conflicting reports as to numbers, of these dicoveries in
Hilla and also north of Baghdad. Some random thoughts:

*Whilst not disputing that Iraq has mass graves, it needs to be remembered
that the remains, carefully documented in Basra a few weeks ago and
trumpeted as mass slaughter, were Iran Iraq war tragedies, some for
repatriation, it seems - not slaughter victims as first trumepted.

*If as being said in some reports, there could be the missing Kuwaitis in
some of these graves which, again, sketchy, but it seems the CIA backed INC
led HRW to - and which has been one of the perennial reasons (the 605
missing Kuwaitis) for keeping on the sanctions - why did not the INC say
they knew where they were before?

*I seem to remember there were some questions about who is on HRW Board.

*I hope that the same care is taken by HRW in exhuming, identifying and
returning to their families the conscripts buried alive by US minesweeping
gear in the1991 war - if not, why not?

*I note they are using 'heavy diggers' and families are rushing to dig with
their hands to find their relations. Why is there no scientific/forensic
team arranged for something so huge? All evidence will be destroyed in
remains so fragile after 12-13 years.

*It should not be forgotten that those killed in the 1991 southern uprising,
an appalling, bloody massacre, were on numerous occasions killed by Iraqi
helicopter gun ships which US planes were overflying to protect.

8ut seems strange that such huge figures can be given over mass graves,
newly discovered, with such certainty, without apparently forensic experts
there (who would certainly not allow mechanical equipment, human digging)
but carefully, painstakingly assemble remains. How do you count nine
thousand, thirty thousand etc, how many people are there doing the counting
and what their qualifications?

All this may be redundant and the country, of course is in chaos. But these
finds seem so important, vital, tragic and that they can be wandered over in
this way sans scientists and with assessments by virtual lay people - it
would seem - beggars a lot of questions.

There are deeply cynical inappropriate ones too. No WMD's, no Saddam, but
mass graves. Further, BBC correspondents are saying with an absolute:
'graves that go back about twelve years.' Again, it is for a scientist to

I may be wrong, or again inappropriate on all counts and as I say, no
dispute re the uprising in 1991 and subsequent ones and the brutsality of
their quashing, but there are a few questions here I feel. best, f.

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