Monday, January 07, 2008

Is It A Cover-Up? (Updated)

By Cernig

Remember the story about the Iraqi soldier who shot and killed two US servicemen just after Christmas? I posted a couple of days ago about the Sunni Iraqi media saying he had reacted to US troops beating a pregnant woman during a house search.

Well, Siun at Firedoglake, with help from some FDL regulars, has been chasing up this one and it certainly seems there's more to it than meets the eye. There seems to be an awful amount of detail on the beating tale if it's fictitious, and some gaps in the mainstream account that would tend to corroborate it. Her regular "Dubhaltach", who served with MNF-I in Iraq, writes:
The incident took place during a search operation being carried out in Al-Siha (that is a district where the invaders are unpopular to put it mildly, Al Siha is on the right side of the river bank.) However the report says they were conducting operations prior to establishing a combat outpost. You do not establish combat outposts in unpopulated areas in or around a city you are attempting to subdue. I find it difficult therefore to believe that the area was "void of civilians" (via email)
Moreover, Siun writes that the Iraqi shooter was highly likely connected to the Sunni Awakening as well as insurgents - and that hardline Sunni groups are now calling on others to think of him as a role model. That could be a problem whether the underlying beating tale is true or not.

I'm still sticking to my original statement that what we know so far is inconclusive either way - but it seems to me the mainstream media could do a much better job of reporting on this one.

Update Siun at FDL also pointed me to this from IPS:
Conflicting versions of the killing have arisen. Col. Hazim al-Juboory, uncle of the attacker Kaissar Saady al-Juboory, told IPS that his nephew at first watched the U.S. soldiers beat up an Iraqi woman. When he asked them to stop, they refused, so he opened fire.

"Kaissar is a professional soldier who revolted against the Americans when they dragged a woman by her hair in a brutal way," Col. Juboory said. "He is a tribal man, and an Arab with honour who would not accept such behaviour. He killed his captain and sergeant knowing that he would be executed."

Others gave IPS a similar account. "I was there when the American captain and his soldiers raided a neighbourhood and started shouting at women to tell them where some men they wanted were," a resident of Mosul, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS on phone. "The women told them they did not know, and their men did not do anything wrong, and started crying in fear."

The witness said the U.S. captain began to shout at his soldiers and the women, and his men then started to grab the women and pull them by their hair.

"The soldier we knew later to be Kaissar shouted at the Americans, 'No, No,' but the captain shouted back at the Iraqi soldier," the witness told IPS. "Then the Iraqi soldier shouted, 'Let go of the women you sons of bitches,' and started shooting at them." The soldier, he said, then ran off.
The Iraqi authorities seem to be pushing the idea that there are more like Caesar/Kaissar within the Iraqi Army and, especially, within the new Awakening forces. that's very probably true, but you can just hear them preparing the way for refusing to take on more Awakening types on the basis of this incident. On the other side of the coin, this incident seems to have struck an anti-occupation chord in Sunni hearts and minds. (Which is why I said the Western media should have been on top of the whiff of subterfuge, of not being entirely forthcoming, that the story had from word one.)
Sheikh Juma' al-Dawar, chief of the major al-Baggara tribe in Iraq, told IPS in Baghdad that "Kaissar is from the al-Juboor tribes in Gayara -- tribes with morals that Americans do not understand."

The tribal chief added, "Juboor tribes and all other tribes are proud of Kaissar and what he did by killing the American soldiers. Now he is a hero, with a name that will never be forgotten."

Many Iraqis speak in similar vein. "It is another example of Iraqi people's unity despite political conspiracies by the Americans and their tails (collaborators)," Mohammad Nassir, an independent politician in Baghdad told IPS. "Kaissar is loved by all Iraqis who pray for his safety and who are ready to donate anything for his welfare."

Col. Juboory said Kaissar who had at first accepted collaboration with the U.S. forces "found the truth too bitter to put up with." The colonel said: "I worked with the Americans because being an army officer is my job and also because I was convinced they would help Iraqis. But 11 months was enough for me to realise that starving to death is more honourable than serving the occupiers. They were mean in every way."

Independent sources have since told IPS that Kaissar was captured by a special joint Iraqi-U.S. force, and he is now being held and tortured at the al-Ghizlany military camp in Mosul.
From which he will no doubt emerge, in time, having suitably confessed to being in the pay of Al Qaeda, the Awakening, Iran, Gaddaffi's Great Aunt or whoever else is the enemy de jour. Whether or not the story of US servicemen beating a pregnant women is true - and there should be a full investigation of those accusations - it is now, thanks to the US military's obsessive secrecy leaving the clear impression that something was being hidden, firmly fixed in the minds of exactly those who the military least wants to antagonize.

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