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Re: [casi] U.S. military officials: "unaware of killings"

I forgot to include the URLs for this Washington Post article:

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----- Original Message -----
From: "ppg" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, August 01, 2003 3:50 AM
Subject: [casi] U.S. military officials: "unaware of killings"

> "There was no other choice," a father says after killing his own son, who
> was suspected of aiding U.S. troops.
> Front page, Washington Post August 1, 2003
> For an Iraqi Family, 'No Other Choice'
> Father and Brother Are Forced by Villagers to Execute Suspected U.S.
> Informant
> By Anthony Shadid
> Washington Post Foreign Service
> Friday, August 1, 2003; Page A01
> THULUYA, Iraq -- Two hours before the dawn call to prayer, in a village
> still shrouded in silence, Sabah Kerbul's executioners arrived. His father
> carried an AK-47 assault rifle, as did his brother. And with barely a word
> spoken, they led the man accused by the village of working as an informer
> for the Americans behind a house girded with fig trees, vineyards and
> groves.
> His father raised his rifle and aimed it at his oldest son.
> "Sabah didn't try to escape," said Abdullah Ali, a village resident. "He
> knew he was facing his fate."
> The story of what followed is based on interviews with Kerbul's father,
> brother and five other villagers who said witnesses told them about the
> events. One shot tore through Kerbul's leg, another his torso, the
> said. He fell to the ground still breathing, his blood soaking the parched
> land near the banks of the Tigris River, they said. His father could go no
> further, and according to some accounts, he collapsed. His other son then
> fired three times, the villagers said, at least once at his brother's
> Kerbul, a tall, husky 28-year-old, died.
> "It wasn't an easy thing to kill him," his brother Salah said.
> In his simple home of cement and cinder blocks, the father, Salem,
> thumbed black prayer beads this week as he recalled a warning from village
> residents earlier this month. He insisted his son was not an informer, but
> he said his protests meant little to a village seething with anger. He
> recalled their threat was clear: Either he kill his son, or villagers
> resort to tribal justice and kill the rest of his family in retaliation
> Kerbul's role in a U.S. military operation in the village in June, in
> four people were killed.
> "I have the heart of a father, and he's my son," Salem said. "Even the
> prophet Abraham didn't have to kill his son." He dragged on a cigarette.
> eyes glimmered with the faint trace of tears. "There was no other choice,"
> he whispered.
> In the simmering guerrilla war fought along the Tigris, U.S. officials say
> they have received a deluge of tips from informants, the intelligence
> growing since U.S. forces killed former president Saddam Hussein's two
> last week. Acting on the intelligence, soldiers have uncovered
> surface-to-air missiles, 45,000 sticks of dynamite and caches of small
> and explosives. They have shut down safe houses that sheltered senior
> Party operatives in the Sunni Muslim region north of Baghdad and ferreted
> out lieutenants and bodyguards of the fallen Iraqi president, who has
> a relentless, four-month manhunt.
> But a shadowy response has followed, a less-publicized but no less deadly
> theater of violence in the U.S. occupation. U.S. officials and residents
> informers have been killed, shot and attacked with grenades. U.S.
> say they have no numbers on deaths, but anecdotal evidence suggests that
> campaign is widespread in a region long a source of support for Hussein's
> government. The U.S. officials declined to discuss specifics about
> individual informers and would not say whether Kerbul was one.
> Lists of informers have circulated in at least two northern cities, and
> remnants of the Saddam's Fedayeen militia have vowed in videotaped
> broadcast on Arab satellite networks that they will fight informers
> we fight the Americans."
> No Protection From U.S. Troops
> The surge of informants has also provoked anger in Sunni Muslim towns
> the Tigris. Some residents say informants are drawn to U.S. field
> commanders' rewards of as little as $20 and as much as $2,500. The
> informants are occasionally interested in settling their own feuds and
> grudges with the help of soldiers, the residents said. Others contend that
> the informers are exploiting access with U.S. officials to emerge as
> power-brokers in the vacuum that has followed the fall of the government
> April 9.
> "Time's running out. Something will happen to them very soon," said Maher
> Saab, 30, in the village of Saniya.
> The U.S. military says bluntly it does not have the means to safeguard
> providing intelligence. "We're not providing any kind of protection at the
> local level," said Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the U.S. military commander
> Iraq.
> In Saniya, where slogans still declare "Long Live Saddam Hussein,"
> Abdel-Hamid Ahmed sat in a well-to-do house along dirt roads and arid
> of rolling hills where sheep graze. He proudly described himself as the
> first person to greet the invading Americans and ticked off the help he
> offered since they arrived, most notably information on saboteurs of
> electricity wires.
> Since then, he said, he has met U.S. soldiers at his house at least once a
> week, usually for no more than 15 minutes.
> "I'm not an informer, but I help explain to the Americans the situation
> here," he said in a well-kept living room, adorned with a new Toshiba
> television, a stereo, karaoke machine and 15 vases of plastic flowers.
> Ahmed, who works in the mayor's office, was on two lists of informers
> circulated in the village and in the nearby city of Baiji, 120 miles
> northwest of Baghdad. Under the heading, "In the name of God, the most
> merciful and compassionate," each list had about 20 names, and, over the
> past month, the leaflets were left before dawn on doorsteps and utility
> posts. On the first list, he was ranked 10th; on the second, he said, he
> fourth. He said he told the Americans about two men who distributed the
> list, and they were arrested.
> In the street, some people have heckled him as an agent -- "a grave word,"
> he said. He has not been physically threatened, but a grenade was thrown
> another person on the list, Kamil Hatroush, although neither he nor his
> family was hurt. Ahmed said he carries only a 9mm pistol, eschewing the
> almost standard AK-47s wielded by most Iraqis in the countryside.
> "I'm not scared," Ahmed said, flicking his hand lazily and insisting that
> only a minority resent those working with the Americans. "If someone wants
> to kill you, why would they give you a warning first? They would just kill
> you right away."
> Ahmed was kicked out of Baghdad's National Security College in 1983, the
> training ground for the government's sprawling apparatus of intelligence
> services. He said the disappointment led him to alcoholism, then part-time
> work, most recently at the mayor's office, where he earned the equivalent
> about $2 a month.
> "If the Americans offered me a job in security, I would work with them,"
> said. "Every person has to plan for the future."
> U.S. military officials attribute most of their tips to good will, either
> out of an informant's desire to eliminate the vestiges of Hussein's rule
> that are unpopular even in the Sunni Muslim-dominated north, or to end
> attacks that have unsettled a region still reeling from the government's
> fall. Maj. Josslyn Aberle, a spokeswoman for the 4th Infantry Division,
> which is based in Hussein's home town of Tikrit, said only a "very small
> percentage receive money" and that the U.S. military vets intelligence
> before acting on it. Ahmed denied seeking money, saying he cooperates for
> the good of his town.
> In Hussein's government, informers were encouraged, paid and protected by
> the intelligence services, a crucial but despised means of control in 35
> years of Baath Party rule. Some residents contend today that at least some
> people in the new batch of informers -- those willing to defy mounting
> threats -- have charged protection fees or sold their services as
> intermediaries with U.S. forces.
> Outside Ahmed's house, a group of men sat in a battered white Toyota, as
> relatives sought an audience with Ahmed for help in getting back a car
> was seized by the Americans.
> Over the weekend, the family of five men arrested by U.S. forces near
> base in Baiji said they gave Ahmed a sheep, worth about $30, to help
> the men's release. He denied it.
> In Samarra, about 65 miles north of Baghdad, Abdel-Razzaq Shakr, the
> of the town's mayor, was on another list distributed in the town two weeks
> ago, with at least six names of suspected informers. Residents said people
> in the town had gone to Shakr for help with U.S. forces in getting their
> guns back and to deflect suspicion from friends and relatives.
> Shakr acknowledged providing the Americans information on Baathists, but
> denied taking money from residents.
> "I haven't taken even a cent," said Shakr, 45, who is unemployed. "On the
> contrary, I want to leave a mark on our town so that our children will
> their fathers for what they did."
> A grenade was thrown at his house on July 18. It landed in the courtyard
> near a tangerine tree, shattering windows but hurting no one. Another
> on the list, Mustafa Sadeq Abboudi, was shot in the arm with an AK-47.
> said he has a pistol and a rifle, but his brother, Mayor Mahmoud Shakr,
> urged him not to seek help from U.S. forces.
> "The Americans cannot offer protection," the mayor said. "If the Americans
> stood outside the door, it would only cause more trouble because it would
> mean he is definitely working with them."
> Sitting in a chair and holding a cup of sweet tea, the mayor expressed
> frustration. Suspicions have become so common that more than 100 Muslim
> clerics met last week and issued a statement that not all Iraqis working
> with U.S. forces should be considered informers. "When ever somebody talks
> to the Americans," he said, shaking his head, "they think he's an agent."
> Calls for Revenge
> Residents of Thuluya said they had no doubt about Kerbul. After the
> operation in the village, dubbed Peninsula Strike, a force of 4,000
> rounded up 400 residents and detained them at an air base seven miles
> An informer dressed in desert camouflage with a bag over his head had
> fingered at least 15 prisoners as they sat under a sweltering sun, their
> hands bound with plastic. Villagers said they soon recognized his yellow
> sandals and right thumb, which had been severed above the joint in an
> accident.
> "We started yelling and shouting, 'That's Sabah! That's Sabah!' " said
> Mohammed Abu Dhua, who was held at the base for seven days and whose
> died of a heart attack during the operation. "We asked his father, 'Why is
> Sabah doing these things?' "
> In the raid, three men and a 15-year-old boy were killed, all believed by
> villagers to have been innocent. Within days, many focused their ire on
> Kerbul, who had served a year in prison for impersonating a government
> official and was believed to have worked as an informer after he was
> released. Young children in the street recited a rhyme about him: "Masked
> man, your face is the face of the devil." Calls for revenge -- tempered by
> the fear of tribal bloodletting getting out of hand -- were heard in many
> conversations.
> Kerbul's family said U.S. forces took him to Tikrit, then three weeks
> he went to stay with relatives across the Tigris in the village of Alim.
> soon as word of his release spread, his brother Salah and uncle Suleiman
> went there to bring him back.
> "We sent a message to his family," said Ali, a retired colonel whose
> was among those killed during the operation. "You have to kill your son.
> you don't kill him, we will act against your family."
> His father appealed, Ali recalled, saying he needed permission from U.S.
> forces.
> "We told him we're not responsible for this," Ali said. "We told him you
> must kill your son."
> Kerbul's body was buried hours after the shooting, his father said,
> to the cemetery in a white Toyota pickup. He said he and Kerbul's brother
> accompanied the corpse. Salah, his son who fired the fatal shots, said he
> stayed home.
> Neither U.S. military officials in Thuluya nor Tikrit said they were aware
> of the killing.
> "It's justice," said Abu Dhua, sitting at his home near a bend in the
> Tigris. "In my opinion, he deserves worse than death."
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