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[casi] Another bogus mass grave story - from LA Times




Dear List,
I have a backlog of mass graves stories to discuss, I will try and get through them in the next few 
days.

This is one concerns the "I was shot and left to die in a mass grave, but crawled out under cover 
of darkness to tell all" variation, an old favourite in the mass grave atrocity genre.

The LA Times story has been archived here.
http://www.iraqfoundation.org/news/2003/emay/6_brutalpast.html

It purports to tell of a mass grave near Najaf, containing "1000s" of remains of people shot.  Also 
the story of Hussein Salar, who was alledgedly shot in this mass grave but escaped.

Some quotes
.................
"The burial ground was a longtime open secret in this city; it reportedly holds the bones of some 
of the thousands who disappeared in 1991, after most of Iraq's provinces rose up in a failed revolt 
against Saddam Hussein.

"The families ought to know that people have been killed here," Safar said last week, standing over 
the graves. "They have to come to see the graves, because this has to be a part of history."
"
.................................

"Out in the desert, pits had been dug into the sand. Four at a time, the men were lined up along 
the rim. Four at a time, the rifles were fired, and the bodies dropped down.

A bullet tore into Safar's shoulder, cut up through his neck and burst out his cheek. He landed 
atop dying men  their bodies were still moving.

"I couldn't tell whether I was alive or dead," he said. Numb and bleeding, he played dead for a 
time, then crawled from the trench into the darkness. He still speaks as if he died that night. 
"When I got better I went to see a man whose father was killed with me," Safar said, fingering a 
bullet he's picked up from the sand. "I said to him, 'Your father died with me.' I thought he 
should know."
"
.....................................

There is only one photo to accompany the story, but its a beauty.  Captioned "Hussein Safar digs in 
an area near Najaf where he says he was shot and left to die in a mass grave in 1991. May 6, 2003 
Kevin P. Casey "
http://www.latsi.com/latsipix/0506lat1.jpg

In this photo a man is shown digging with his hand into a sand dune, that looks identical to all 
the other sand dunes in the area (in the article we are also told this area is prone to 
flooding!!!).

There is nothing to suggest this is grave at all, not one body has excavated.  It may be the site 
of thousands of Najaf townspeople, but clearly the place is completely unvisited, there are no 
footprints or any other sign of human presence here.  The fact that thousands are buried here seems 
to be a matter of complete indifference to their friends and relatives.  To call this a mass grave, 
and to write in a news story '"The families ought to know that people have been killed here," Safar 
said last week, standing over the graves', is propaganda at its most surreal.

An entire atrocity story has been built around a harmless sand dune.

Tom Young


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