A Story of Contrasts
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and Hajj Sa’ad Sa’ad Nayif al-Hatemi…
(2007 March 4) Defense Department suppliers, thru their puppet George Bush, went to Iraq to establish a constitutional form of government. They arranged the writing of a constitution, submitted it to public ratification… and now Iraq is ruled by death squads.
This is the picture now emerging from events transpiring in Iraq.
Take, for example, the story of Mark Daily, second lieutenant.
He was sent to Iraq November 19th of last year and was killed nearly two months later, January 15. At first glance, the significance is not so much his death, but, rather, the reason he volunteered for duty. He was aware of some of the American military’s transgressions, the horrid treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, for example. He had to go to Iraq, he said, “to make sure that his men upheld Army values of integrity and honor.” (Los Angeles Times, 2007 February 16, A-1)
So that is why I joined. In the time it took you to read this explanation, innocent people your age have suffered under the crushing misery of tyranny.
Don’t forget that human beings have a responsibility to one another and that Americans have a responsibility to the oppressed. Assisting a formerly oppressed population in converting their torn society into a plural, democratic one is dangerous and difficult business, especially when being attacked and sabotaged from literally every direction. (LAT)
Shortly after he arrived “he began asking for presents for his new Iraqi friends: cigars for the soldiers, candy and soccer balls for the children. He vividly described his adventures with them: a Thanksgiving Day game of musical chairs, a rooftop cigar session; his first Kurdish meal, his first local haircut.” (LAT)
In one video he sent, Iraqi soldiers surround him with grins, crowning him with a turban as a gesture of friendship.
He asked a Kurdish man whether the insurgents could be viewed as freedom fighters. The man cut him off. “The difference between insurgents and American soldiers,” Daily said the man told him, “is that they get paid to take life — to murder — and you get paid to save lives.”
“That Kurdish man’s assessment of our presence means more to me than all of the naysayers and makeshift humanists that monopolize our interpretation of this war,” Daily wrote in a Dec. 31 e-mail. (LAT)
Mark Daily defied the odds of man’s nature: he was a young man, and, from the picture painted by words on his website, a man of peace, a man of reason; this condition and these qualities are seldom found together – but in Mark, they were.
On January 15, Mark Daily was killed as his vehicle passed over, and detonated an improvised explosive device (IED). He shouldn’t have died this way – nor so soon, but he did.
Owing to the characteristics of an IED, Mark Daily may have been targeted for assassination; for, he was interfering with the business of American Defense Department suppliers… killing, strife, disrupted lives, to name a few activities… basically, the business of death squads.
According to the Army manual, “Improvised Explosive Device Defeat” (at 4-3 and 4-6), there are three ways to detonate an IED: a) a preset timer, b) by remote control (by wire or electronic signal) or c) by some action of the victim.
There is another method to detonate an IED not mentioned by the Army manual, which indicates guilty demeanor by the DoD: a homing device.
Preset timer. If the device was set off by a preset timer, the perpetrators had to have the capacity to predict to the tenth of a second when Mark’s vehicle would pass over the device. With a vehicle speed of sixty miles an hour, an error of half a second would place the vehicle forty-four feet away from the device, and practically no damage would be done to the vehicle. Owing to the myriad of contingencies that must be factored into such a calculation, it is simply beyond the possible.
Remote control. If the device was setoff by remote control, it would require the perpetrators to be present at the scene, and to have reaction skills that only professional athletes or pianists have: an error of half a second and the device would do practically no damage. This would also require advance knowledge as to Mark’s itinerary; otherwise, the perpetrators would have to sit there for days, and be perpetually alert for any approaching military vehicle. This method, also, does not seem to be a possibility.
Action by victim. This leaves the third option: the device was setoff by some action of Mark’s vehicle. A possibility here is some kind of pressure triggering method; but this device was placed in or next to a roadway: dozens, or hundreds, of other vehicles passed over the device without triggering it. Hence, the mere presence of the vehicle would not setoff the explosive.
Homing device: the IED had to have some means by which to particularly identify Mark’s vehicle – and to locate it with electronic precision. This would mean that his vehicle carried some kind of electronic transmitter tuned to a receiver in the IED. This would also mean that Mark’s death was an inside job: someone at his base targeted him for assassination; knew that he would travel a) on a particular road, and b) in a particular vehicle; arranged to place an IED underneath or next to that road; and placed a transmitting device on the vehicle used by Mark and his friends. Such an assassination could not be the work of one man; but, of a highly sophisticated team: probably an intelligence agency that has its members embedded in American military units.
We’ll leave Mark Daily for the moment, and turn to,
Captain Brian Freeman
On January 20th of this year, he was attending a meeting at a secure governor’s compound in Karbala to discuss security for an upcoming religious holiday in Karbala. Nine to twelve men, disguised as American soldiers, drove five to seven SUV’s thru two or three Iraqi military checkpoints; some of the SUV’s parked in front of the building where the meeting was being held, the others parked in the rear; thus, some of the invaders entered the front of the building, some entered thru the back. They killed Brian in the building and kidnapped four others; they also took Brian’s laptop computer.
They then drove thru another Iraqi checkpoint as they escaped. Owing to suspicious behavior, personnel at the checkpoint decided to follow them. Some, or all, of the SUV’s were later found abandoned; all of the kidnapped soldiers were found with execution-style bullet wounds to the head; two were handcuffed back-to-back. Three were dead, and the other died on the way to a hospital.
The resources involved in this raid (each SUV represented $40,000), the precision of the attack, and the training and skill required to carry it out all require the conclusion that the raid was light years beyond the capacity, and resources, of so-called insurgents. Perpetrators had inside knowledge: they knew who was at the meeting; when and where it would occur. They were able to collect seven SUV’s without triggering notice; to disappear without a trace (news reports tell of four suspects arrested soon after the raid, with no additional details); and, they were able to suppress news of the raid thru-out American media.
Immediately after the raid, American propagandists began pointing their fingers at Iranian involvement in the raid. But facts got in the way: within days two Iraqi generals were arrested in connection with the raid; one held a position in Iraqi “intelligence.”
Questions, questions, questions.
Were Brian Freeman and his laptop the targets of this raid?
A few weeks prior to this raid, Brian Freeman shared a helicopter ride with Senator John Kerry; Brian spoke earnestly about the problems he was witnessing on a daily basis. Was he collecting information pertaining to treachery – or idiocy – within the military command structure…?
The conversation seemed to have un-nerved Kerry; for he later reported that Brian’s intensity had strengthened his (Kerry’s) resolve to work for the end of the war. Was Brian killed in order to prevent him from disinfecting other minds?
Why were the soldiers kidnapped, instead of immediately killed? This points to the possibility that one or more of these soldiers had information that was vital to the kidnappers.
The operation was too complicated for ragtag insurgents. Was an intelligence agency responsible for the raid… American CIA… Iraqi Interior ministry… Israeli Mossad… all of them?
Answers to these questions seem certain to reflect disastrously upon the American war effort in Iraq; for, there is an almost total silence regarding this raid in American media.
Hajj Sa’ad Sa’ad Nayif al-Hatemi
Okay, we’ve dealt with Mark Daily and Brian Freeman; so, who is Hajj Sa’ad Sa’ad Nayif al-Hatemi?
According to Patrick Cockburn, Nayif’s story begins and ends (original link has “disappeared”), as far as he is concerned, at an army checkpoint near Najaf.
He was a leader of the al-Hatemi tribe that was traveling to Najaf to observe a religious holiday. He traveled by a 1982 Super Toyota because he could not walk. At 6 am, Sunday, January 28th, he approached an Iraqi army checkpoint and, he, his wife and driver were riddled with bullets. This, naturally, provoked a reaction from members of his tribe. Reaction piled upon reaction, and violence escalated with each one. When it was all over, two hundred and sixty three Iraqi peasants, men, women and children, lay dead and more than two hundred were wounded.
Both the official story and the real facts come straight out of the queen’s garden… they could not have been composed by anyone less than the jack of spades.
First, Iraqi officials claimed the group involved “was a Shi’ite zealot “death cult; when that started leaking water, the dead became “a group of foreign fighters” dressed in Afghan and Pakistani tribal robes and carrying British passports; but this was discovered to be false; so the dead changed identities again: “Sunni Arab nationalists”; this also didn’t work: next, “Saddam Hussein dead-enders”; next, members of an “al-qaeda” cell. Whatever they were, American media repeatedly referred to them as members of a tribe known as Jund al-Sama, “Army of Heaven.”
None of the charges could be corroborated because the Iraqi Army barred all press from talking to survivors or examining what the [New York] Times called a “network” of trenches and bunkers lacing the “militia camp.” Some of the government statements should have immediately failed the smell test: “Shi’ite zealots” do not rub shoulders with Sunni al-Qaeda. The “Soldiers of Heaven” is not an armed group. And what were Pakistanis and Afghans doing in southern Iraq?
Call them anything, but the truth.
According to reporters from several different sources, the official story is completely fabricated – apart from the dead and wounded, that is.
The American media widely reported that the incident involved only one tribe: the “Army (or Soldiers) of Heaven.” Independent reporters tell us that three tribes were involved: the al-Hatemi, the al-Khazali, and the Jund al-Sama (Army of Heaven).
It seems to have begun, as noted, when an elder of the al-Hatemi tribe, his wife, and his driver were shot dead at an Iraqi army checkpoint.
Members of the al-Khazali tribe, rushed toward the checkpoint to explain that the soldiers had killed innocent civilians; but they were fired upon as well.
“We were going to conduct the usual ceremonies that we conduct every year when we were attacked by Iraqi soldiers,” Jabber al-Hatami, [sic] leader of the tribe told IPS [Inter Press Service]. Khazali tribal members went to their aid. “Our two tribes have a strong belief that Iranians are provoking sectarian war in Iraq which is against the belief of all Muslims,” one witness told the reporters, “and so we announced an alliance with Sunni brothers against any sectarian violence in the country. That did not make our Iranian-dominated government happy.”
Members of the al-Khazali tribe began firing on the checkpoint. Tribal leaders tried to persuade their men to stop firing, but in vain. Soldiers at the checkpoint were overwhelmed, and called for U. S. and English military support. As noted, when it was over, two hundred and sixty-three Iraqi peasants were dead and more than two hundred wounded.
Gee, this doesn’t look so good. The al-Khazali tribe lived a few kilometers north of Najaf and, therefore, were well known in the area; the al-Hatemi tribe lived south of Najaf, and were well known in the area. Both, apparently, annually attended the religious holiday in Najaf – and were well known in the area. If news reports identified these tribes as victims of the incident, it would make American forces appear to be run by murderous donkeys… well, they are; but they are not supposed to look that way.
What to do… what to do?
Let us look here… and let us look there. Ah! The Jund al-Sama tribe lives in the same area as the al-Khazali tribe. Its name translates to “Army of Heaven.” This name looks very militaristic; we can say it is a terrorist group that intends to kill Shia leaders – who dominate the American-installed government at Baghdad.
All three tribes involved in this massacre – al-Hatemi, al-Khazali, and Jund al-Sama – appear, from available news reports, to be Shi’ite, and openly at odds with both Baghdad and Najaf authorities; all three had established “strong alliances with Sunni brothers” in order to promote peace between the two sects. This alliance is the basis for the difference between the tribes and the central government, which, according to tribal members, is fostering sectarian violence.
News reports do not adequately explain how the “Army of Heaven” became involved (original link has “disappeared”); Peter Cockburn reports only that it “was drawn into the fighting because it was based in Zarga” (a few kilometers north of Najaf) and that “its presence provided a convenient excuse for what was in effect a massacre.”
Do you get it? The “Army of Heaven” became involved because officials said it was involved – because it was nearby. To repeat, its presence was needed to provide “a convenient excuse for what was in effect a [senseless] massacre.”
What happened here? According to facts provided by independent reporters, it appears that the government in Baghdad ordered the murder of Nayif al-Hatemi. The vision of a crippled old man with his equally crippled wife, and their driver, is hardly the picture of a suspicious character; especially since he was well known in the area and he regularly attended the religious holiday in the city he approached. According to facts as reported, his murder has all marks of the work of a death squad.
All of the tribes involved in the massacre were in open disagreement with the central government of Baghdad. They all promoted peace and unity between Shi’ites and Sunnis; the central government promoted sectarian violence, as tribal members believed.
Furthermore, Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister of the Baghdad government, has publicly declared (original link “disappeared”; try archive [Iraq blog]) that he will not allow anyone but his government to provide a solution to the strife that now tears Iraq in pieces. Here are the prime minister’s words,
The state should have the monopoly on weapons and should be the only side that deals with security. Anyone who defies the state will be dealt with by force.
One of the main things that I have made very clear is that we will not allow any politician to interfere with this Baghdad security plan because we want it to be a military professional operation that deals with all people who break the law whether they are Sunni or Shia, Arabs or Kurds, militias or parties, insurgents or terrorists.
The coming days the whole world will witness how we deal with people who break the law, or with the military who differentiate between one outlaw and the other.
This is the language of a racketeer: one who creates an obstacle and then charges money to help people overcome it. We have to discount his words of security; every politician utters them; hardly any mean them. When words and actions do not correspond, we ignore words and listen only to actions.
You might also notice that Maliki omitted to include ‘death squads’ in his list of those to be brought under the “law of equality.”
The tribes massacred at Karbala were all independently promoting peace and unity between Shi’ite and Sunnis. By this voluntary solution, they were defying Maliki’s government. They were not the first such tribes to be targeted by the Baghdad government.
Tension between Arab and Iranian Shi’ites has been building in Iraq’s south since death squads linked to the Maliki government began assassinating local tribal leaders. A death squad with ties to Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior murdered Sheikh Faissal al-Khayoon, head of the large Beni Assad Shi’ite tribe, according to another IPS report . Beni Assad tribal members attacked the Iranian consulate in Basra in retaliation. On Jan. 1, the Mahdi Army of Moktada al-Sadr assassinated Sheikh Hamid al-Suhail of the Shi’ite/Sunni Beni Tamim tribe. Sadr is a key ally of the Maliki government. According to Jamail and al-Fadhily, the Beni Assad and Beni Tamim tribes have worked for Shi’ite-Sunni unity.
Furthermore, it seems to be common knowledge in Iraq that the American-installed government is infested with death squads.
Stephen Farrell reports (original link “disappeared”; try [Iraq blog]) that Ali Khalid, 50, employee at the Ministry of Transport, was ethnically cleansed with his family from Baghdad and now lives in Ad Dawr, the home town of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the fugitive senior Baathist believed to be orchestrating some insurgent groups.
Bush’s strategy was clearly targeting domestic America and had nothing to do with finding a solution for the dreadful troubles his administration created in Iraq. So it’s just a cover that Bush is using to justify his horrible mistakes in Iraq.
The Americans helped to encourage these [Shia] militias [death squads] like the Mahidi Army, Badr Brigade or Chalabi’s militias [death squads] by collaborating with them to fight the Sunnis. But what happened later was that these militias [death squads] themselves became one of the major problems for the Americans and started not only killing Iraqis but killing the Americans themselves, so they became out of control.
I believe that the entire situation is out control now and I can’t see any progress or improvement in Iraq with such a sectarian government that lives on the blood of Iraqis.
Here is Mohammed Ahmed, Sunni, university professor (according to Farrell):
The new security plan is government propaganda and it will fail like all the previous plans. Bush can’t do anything now. It is too complicated, because the political process was built on a wrong base from the beginning. Instead of fighting and arresting gangs and thieves, they built a Ministry of Interior from them.
Saddam Hussein became a contract bully for the CIA in the 1970’s; they installed him in power in Iraq and supported him until 2003 (the economic sanctions imposed against Iraq in 1991 targeted the people of Iraq, not Saddam). It took Saddam more than twenty years to “become out of control”; it took the current American-installed Iraqi death squads only one or two years to “become out of control.”
Now that I have discussed the topics in the subtitle, I suppose I should discuss contrasts in this story – since “Contrasts” appears in the title.
Well, for one thing, all three men had different names; they were born in different locations; they had a few other differences that are of no consequence, at least for this story.
Beyond these differences, they appear to have been brothers in spirit: peacekeepers; civilized men. They were all interfering with the business of American Defense Department suppliers. And they all appear to have been picked for assassination by “political officers.”
It is the practice in every totalitarian society for political officers to be embedded in every group of that society for the purpose of detecting any activity that would undermine the central authority. In the Soviet Union, every military unit, every brotherhood, every meeting had its political officer. His identity was unknown to everyone in the unit, brotherhood, or meeting. He had authority to take any action necessary to put an end to any “anti-social” individual or activity. He could murder one man or sink a ship if necessary to prevent it from being delivered into the hands of an “enemy.”
It is also the practice for most of American society. Every group, every brotherhood, and every military unit is infested with “political officers.” In the military they are known as members of the Israeli Defense Force. In all other groups they are known merely as Jews.
It is sad. Mark Daily’s words are rocketing thru cyberspace and the major media as thirsty men consume water. His words impel people, long deprived the sight of noble words and noble deeds, to answer the clarion call of human need, as each man defines it. Young men will enter the military, driven by his words… not ordinary young men, but those who defy the odds: those who answer the call of justice. And they will be cut down by “political officers” before they do too much damage to “constitutional ideals” of American Defense Department suppliers.
A family will lose a son; a nation – nay, a world – will lose a man before his greatness.
And, tyranny will be made secure, for another five or ten years.