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I forgot to include the URLs for this Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10829-2003Jul31.html http://tinyurl.com/ipdo Printer version http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A10829-2003Jul31?language=printer http://tinyurl.com/iqfn At washingtonpost.com ----- Original Message ----- From: "ppg" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: <email@example.com> 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 orange > 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 villagers > 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 head. > > 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, nervously > 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 would > resort to tribal justice and kill the rest of his family in retaliation for > Kerbul's role in a U.S. military operation in the village in June, in which > 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. His > 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 sons > last week. Acting on the intelligence, soldiers have uncovered > surface-to-air missiles, 45,000 sticks of dynamite and caches of small arms > and explosives. They have shut down safe houses that sheltered senior Baath > Party operatives in the Sunni Muslim region north of Baghdad and ferreted > out lieutenants and bodyguards of the fallen Iraqi president, who has eluded > 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 say > informers have been killed, shot and attacked with grenades. U.S. officials > say they have no numbers on deaths, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the > 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 warnings > broadcast on Arab satellite networks that they will fight informers "before > we fight the Americans." > > No Protection From U.S. Troops > > The surge of informants has also provoked anger in Sunni Muslim towns along > 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 on > 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 those > providing intelligence. "We're not providing any kind of protection at the > local level," said Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the U.S. military commander in > 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 fields > 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 has > 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 was > 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 at > 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 of > about $2 a month. > > "If the Americans offered me a job in security, I would work with them," he > 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 perceived > 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 that > was seized by the Americans. > > Over the weekend, the family of five men arrested by U.S. forces near their > base in Baiji said they gave Ahmed a sheep, worth about $30, to help secure > the men's release. He denied it. > > In Samarra, about 65 miles north of Baghdad, Abdel-Razzaq Shakr, the brother > 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 he > 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 thank > 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 person > on the list, Mustafa Sadeq Abboudi, was shot in the arm with an AK-47. Shakr > said he has a pistol and a rifle, but his brother, Mayor Mahmoud Shakr, has > 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 soldiers > rounded up 400 residents and detained them at an air base seven miles north. > 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 brother > 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 later, > he went to stay with relatives across the Tigris in the village of Alim. As > 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 brother > was among those killed during the operation. "You have to kill your son. If > 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, carried > 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." > > > > > _______________________________________________ > Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. > To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss > To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org > All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk