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

Dear all

I have absolutely no reason to believe that mass graves don't exist. It
seems to me highly unlikely that they do not exist, especially given the
nightmarish situation which the United Nations (that is NOT a typo) created
in 1991.

However, I have not seen much in the way of good reliable material on the
atrocities of the Ba'ath regime. The Iraqi Foundation have access to what
they claim is a huge amount of stuff from Northern Iraq and Kuwait but I
have had problems trying to access it and I don't get the impression that
(after a very long period and with a great deal of money) much has been done
to process it. Same for the Indict website though its witness statements are
the best thing I know of in that line. But considering the resources at
their disposal ($3m dollars from the US government) and compared to the
amount of stuff put out by the anti-war, anti-occupation side it really
isn't very good.

Tom's main pont that mass graves with thousands of bodies should be easily
confirmed by photographic and other evidence seems to me valid and I myself
feel sure that such evidence exists. I would be grateful if someone - Colin,
Eric or Yasser for example - would point me to it.



> From: "Colin Rowat" <>
> Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2003 21:16:28 -0000
> To: <>
> Subject: RE: [casi] Another bogus mass grave story - from LA Times
>> I have a backlog of mass graves stories to discuss, I will
>> try and get through them in the next few days. ...
>> 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!!!).
> Tom,
> Do you have any first hand experience with mass graves?  I am fortunate not
> to, but find it quite reasonable to imagine that the photo is accurate -
> although revolting to engage in a process of coolly wondering about this: if
> you shoot pleading people in the head at a sandy place, it seems to me that
> the sand will gradually blow over their bodies, forming dunes of the sort in
> the photograph.
> Let us suppose, though, that this is not the case, and that the photo is
> concocted.  Is this relevant?  If someone is asked to strike a pose for a
> camera, that does not in any way alter the truth of the accompanying story.
> What is the story?  You dismiss it as "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."  I find sneering like
> this at mass murder - I assume that you are not doubting that the Anfal
> campaign took place - deeply offensive.  This attitude also seems to me to
> be found in some of sanctions' most distasteful advocates: the old 'starving
> children' variation on sanctions, or 'baby funerals', or doubting Unicef
> because they hired Iraqis.  A closer comparison, although different in
> scale, is to Holocaust denial.
> I, for one, am not interested in you dumping your 'backlog' of mass grave
> stories onto this list.  I do not feel that your e-mail has contributed to
> my understanding of mass graves in Iraq, or - more relevant to the list's
> mandate - the current humanitarian situation in Iraq.  It has made me feel
> unclean.
> Yours,
> Colin Rowat
> work | Room 406, Department of Economics | The University of Birmingham |
> Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK | | ( 44/0) 121 414 3754 |
> (+44/0) 121 414 7377 (fax) |
> personal | (+44/0) 7768 056 984 (mobile) | (+44/0) 7092 378 517 (fax) |
> (707) 221 3672 (US fax) |
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