Countless My Lai Massacres in Iraq

By Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Tuesday 30 May 2006

The media feeding frenzy around what has been referred to as "Iraq's My Lai" has become frenetic. Focus on US Marines slaughtering at least 20 civilians in Haditha last November is reminiscent of the media spasm around the "scandal" of Abu Ghraib during April and May 2004.

Yet just like Abu Ghraib, while the media spotlight shines squarely on the Haditha massacre, countless atrocities continue daily, conveniently out of the awareness of the general public. Torture did not stop simply because the media finally decided, albeit in horribly belated fashion, to cover the story, and the daily slaughter of Iraqi civilians by US forces and US-backed Iraqi "security" forces had not stopped either.

Earlier this month, I received a news release from Iraq, which read, "On Saturday, May 13th, 2006, at 10:00 p.m., US Forces accompanied by the Iraqi National Guard attacked the houses of Iraqi people in the Al-Latifya district south of Baghdad by an intensive helicopter shelling. This led the families to flee to the Al-Mazar and water canals to protect themselves from the fierce shelling. Then seven helicopters landed to pursue the families who fled Ö and killed them. The number of victims amounted to more than 25 martyrs. US forces detained another six persons including two women named Israa Ahmed Hasan and Widad Ahmed Hasan, and a child named Huda Hitham Mohammed Hasan, whose father was killed during the shelling."

The report from the Iraqi NGO called The Monitoring Net of Human Rights in Iraq (MHRI) continued, "The forces didn't stop at this limit. They held an attack on May 15th, 2006, supported also by the Iraqi National Guards. They also attacked the families' houses, and arrested a number of them while others fled. US snipers then used the homes to target more Iraqis. The reason for this crime was due to the downing of a helicopter in an area close to where the forces held their attack."

The US military preferred to report the incident as an offensive where they killed 41 "insurgents," a line effectively parroted by much of the media.

On that same day, MHRI also reported that in the Yarmouk district of Baghdad, US forces raided the home of Essam Fitian al-Rawi. Al-Rawi was killed along with his son Ahmed; then the soldiers reportedly removed the two bodies along with Al-Rawi's nephew, who was detained.

Similarly, in the city of Samara on May 5, MHRI reported, "American soldiers entered the house of Mr. Zidan Khalif Al-Heed after an attack upon American soldiers was launched nearby the house. American soldiers entered this home and killed the family, including the father, mother and daughter who is in the 6th grade, along with their son, who was suffering from mental and physical disabilities."

This same group, MHRI, also estimated that between 4,000 and 6,000 Iraqi civilians were killed during the November 2004 US assault on Fallujah. Numbers which make those from the Haditha massacre pale in comparison.

Instead of reporting incidents such as these, mainstream outlets are referring to the Haditha slaughter as one of a few cases that "present the most serious challenge to US handling of the Iraq war since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal."

Marc Garlasco, of Human Rights Watch, told reporters recently, "What happened at Haditha appears to be outright murder. The Haditha massacre will go down as Iraq's My Lai."

Then there is the daily reality of sectarian and ethnic cleansing in Iraq, which is being carried out by US-backed Iraqi "security" forces. A recent example of this was provided by a representative of the Voice of Freedom Association for Human Rights, another Iraqi NGO which logs ongoing atrocities resulting from the US occupation.

"The representative visited Fursan Village (Bani Zaid) with the Iraqi Red Crescent Al-Madayin Branch. The village of 60 houses, inhabited by Sunni families, was attacked on February 27, 2006, by groups of men wearing black clothes and driving cars from the Ministry of Interior. Most of the villagers escaped, but eight were caught and immediately executed. One of them was the Imam of the village mosque, Abu Aisha, and another was a 10-year-old boy, Adnan Madab. They were executed inside the room where they were hiding. Many animals (sheep, cows and dogs) were shot by the armed men also. The village mosque and most of the houses were destroyed and burnt."

The representative had obtained the information when four men who had fled the scene of the massacre returned to provide the details. The other survivors had all left to seek refuge in Baghdad. "The survivors who returned to give the details guided the representative and the Red Crescent personnel to where the bodies had been buried. They [the bodies] were of men, women and one of the village babies."

The director of MHRI, Muhamad T. Al-Deraji, said of this incident, "This situation is a simple part of a larger problem that is orchestrated by the government Ö the delay in protecting more villagers from this will only increase the number of tragedies."

Arun Gupta, an investigative journalist and editor with the New York Independent newspaper of the New York Independent Media Center, has written extensively about US-backed militias and death squads in Iraq. He is also the former editor at the Guardian weekly in New York and writes frequently for Z Magazine and Left Turn.

"The fact is, while I think the militias have, to a degree, spiraled out of US control, it's the US who trains, arms, funds, and supplies all the police and military forces, and gives them critical logistical support," he told me this week. "For instance, there were reports at the beginning of the year that a US army unit caught a "death squad" operating inside the Iraqi Highway Patrol. There were the usual claims that the US has nothing to do with them. It's all a big lie. The American reporters are lazy. If they did just a little digging, there is loads of material out there showing how the US set up the highway patrol, established a special training academy just for them, equipped them, armed them, built all their bases, etc. It's all in government documents, so it's irrefutable. But then they tell the media we have nothing to do with them and they don't even fact check it. In any case, I think the story is significant only insofar as it shows how the US tries to cover up its involvement."

Once again, like Abu Ghraib, a few US soldiers are being investigated about what occurred in Haditha. The "few bad apples" scenario is being repeated in order to obscure the fact that Iraqis are being slaughtered every single day. The "shoot first ask questions later" policy, which has been in effect from nearly the beginning in Iraq, creates trigger-happy American soldiers and US-backed Iraqi death squads who have no respect for the lives of the Iraqi people. Yet, rather than high-ranking members of the Bush administration who give the orders, including Bush himself, being tried for the war crimes they are most certainly guilty of, we have the ceremonial "public hanging" of a few lowly soldiers for their crimes committed on the ground.

In an interview with CNN on May 29th concerning the Haditha massacre, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace commented, "It's going to be a couple more weeks before those investigations are complete, and we should not prejudge the outcome. But we should, in fact, as leaders take on the responsibility to get out and talk to our troops and make sure that they understand that what 99.9 percent of them are doing, which is fighting with honor and courage, is exactly what we expect of them."

This is the same Peter Pace who when asked how things were going in Iraq by Tim Russert on Meet the Press this past March 5th said, "I'd say they're going well. I wouldn't put a great big smiley face on it, but I would say they're going very, very well from everything you look at Ö"

Things are not "going very, very well" in Iraq. There have been countless My Lai massacres, and we cannot blame 0.1% of the soldiers on the ground in Iraq for killing as many as a quarter of a million Iraqis, when it is the policies of the Bush administration that generated the failed occupation to begin with.

12 Year Old Girl Describes US Military Killing of her Family

May 28, 2006 ó After a small group of Marines stormed the Younis family home in Haditha last November, everybody inside was killed ó except one person.

ABC News has obtained an interview with the sole survivor, 12-year-old Safa Younis. The interview was done by a local Iraqi journalism student about one week after the killings on Nov. 19, 2005.

The U.S. military continues to investigate what happened in Haditha, where a total of 24 civilians died. But one congressman, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said today that he's convinced the incident was mass murder and that it was covered up.

"There has to have been a cover-up," Murtha told ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." "There's no question about it."

'I Pretended to Be Dead'

On the new tape shot by an Iraqi journalism student and given to ABC News by the Hammurabi Human Rights Group in Iraq, Younis, soft-spoken, with rounded cheeks and a headscarf, begins by calmly telling the interviewer, "My name is Safa Younis. I'm 12 years old."

The interviewer asks, "What did the American soldiers do when they broke into the house?"

"They knocked at the door," Younis says. "My father went to open it, they shot him dead from behind the door, and then they shot him again after they opened the door."

She describes hearing the Marines go through the rest of the house, shooting and setting off a grenade before getting to the bedroom where she was with her mother and siblings.

"Then comes one American soldier and shot [at] us all," she says. "I pretended to be dead Ö and he did not know about me."

Changing Story

All of this happened after a small Marine convoy was struck by a roadside bomb, killing Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas. At first, the Marines acknowledged civilian deaths, but said they were caused by the roadside bomb. Later, they said the civilians were caught in the crossfire of a gunfight with insurgents.

Now, military investigators believe the only gunfire came from the Marines themselves.

Murtha, a former Marine, recently was briefed on the investigation by Marine Corps Commandant Michael Hagee.

"The reports that I have," Murtha said, "from the highest level: No firing at all. No interaction. No military action at all in this particular incident. It was an explosive device, which killed a Marine. From then on, it was purely shooting people."Murtha, a former Marine, recently was briefed on the investigation by Marine Corps Commandant Michael Hagee.

Military investigators have collected bullet shells and other forensic evidence found in these homes and determined they came from a small number of rifles belonging to a team of Marines that included, ABC News has learned, Sgt. Frank Wuterich.

Pentagon officials are worried the allegations will severely damage America's effort to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. The only way to minimize that damage, officials say, is to conduct a thorough investigation, hold a fair trial and to severely punish anybody found guilty.Murtha, a former Marine, recently was briefed on the investigation by Marine Corps Commandant Michael Hagee.

From ViewZone Editor, Gary Vey:

Did this story get you pissed? If so, read on. If not, then you are part of the problem.

A while back I came back to the states after living in Asia and teaching English. I was shocked to see the condition of my country after being away for three years. Why had the American people allowed the country to turn into such an evil nation, committing atrocities such as described above? Why didn't you do something to stop Bush, instead of re-electing him again?

One of the answers came in a report that listed the so-called "red" and "blue" states and the average IQ of the inhabitants. The list, ranking states from most to least intelligent is revealing. From the top down (the smartest states) there was solid support for Kerry, with the bottom of the list being Bush supporters. Anyway, you all were living here then so you know what I am saying.

  State Avg. IQ
1 Connecticut 113 Kerry
2 Massachusetts 111 Kerry
3 New Jersey 111 Kerry
4 New York 109 Kerry
5 Rhode Island 107 Kerry
6 Hawaii 106 Kerry
7 Maryland 105 Kerry
8 New Hampshire 105 Kerry
9 Illinois 104 Kerry
10 Delaware 103 Kerry
11 Minnesota 102 Kerry
12 Vermont 102 Kerry
13 Washington 102 Kerry
14 California 101 Kerry
15 Pennsylvania 101 Kerry
16 Maine 100 Kerry
17 Virginia 100 Bush
18 Wisconsin 100 Kerry
19 Colorado 99 Bush
20 Iowa 99 Bush
21 Michigan 99 Kerry
22 Nevada 99 Bush
23 Ohio 99 Bush
24 Oregon 99 Kerry
25 Alaska 98 Bush
26 Florida 98 Bush
27 Missouri 98 Bush
28 Kansas 96 Bush
29 Nebraska 95 Bush
30 Arizona 94 Bush
31 Indiana 94 Bush
32 Tennessee 94 Bush
33 North Carolina 93 Bush
34 West Virginia 93 Bush
35 Arkansas 92 Bush
36 Georgia 92 Bush
37 Kentucky 92 Bush
38 New Mexico 92 Bush
39 North Dakota 92 Bush
40 Texas 92 Bush
41 Alabama 90 Bush
42 Louisiana 90 Bush
43 Montana 90 Bush
44 Oklahoma 90 Bush
45 South Dakota 90 Bush
46 South Carolina 89 Bush
47 Wyoming 89 Bush
48 Idaho 87 Bush
49 Utah 87 Bush
50 Mississippi 85 Bush

ViewZone used to be mainly about conspiracies like HAARP, Tesla and weird science and mysteries. That all pales now in the face of the reality that has become America. I can see no greater mystery or conspiracy than the one that confronts us right now.

If you feel as I do that we need to take back our country then you are probably wondering what you can do. Do you write to congress, march in demonstrations, withhold your taxes... what can you do?

Unlike the Vietnam war, the Bush administration has been smart enough to not institute a draft. Back in the 60's that effectively mobilized the "baby boomer" youth and turned things around. Today, many youth are being brain-washed into committing murder in our military, disguised as patriotism and defending the country from terrorism. But the REAL global terrorists are in Washington DC. So what can we do?

I'd like to offer ViewZone magazine as a platform to collect ideas and strategies to defeat Bush and end this shame on our country. Write to me at with your thoughts and ideas. I will post them and maybe we can stimulate some movement, albeit small, towards sanity, morality and peace.

We don't have much time. A nuclear war with Iran looms on the horizon and every day hundreds of innocent children and women are being killed by coalition troops. It doesn't really matter if this is instigated by Israel or by oil... the result is evil and you must decide where you stand on this most important issue. To remain silent is to consent. So please work with me -- use this magazine with 650,000 monthly readers to wake up the populous. You send it to me and I will print it. Fair enough? Let's stand up and do our part.


Gary Vey , editor.


Official: Evidence points to unjustified killings by Marines About 2 dozen Iraqi civilians killed in November

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Investigators believe that their criminal investigation into the deaths of about two dozen Iraqi civilians points toward a conclusion that Marines committed unprovoked murders, a senior defense official said Friday.

The Marine Corps initially reported that the deaths were caused by a roadside bomb and ensuing firefight with insurgents.

The official, who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the yet-to-be-completed investigation, said the evidence strongly indicates the killings last November were unjustified.

According to a congressional aide, lawmakers were told in a briefing Thursday that it appears as many as two dozen civilians were killed. And they were told that the investigation will find that "it will be clear that this was not the result of an accident or a normal combat situation."

Another congressional official said lawmakers were told it would be about 30 days before a report would be issued by the investigating agency, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

See the identity card to the left? It used to belong to fifteen-year-old Abeer Qasim Hamza- an Iraqi girl who lived in Mahmoudiya. Every day, she had to pass through a checkpoint, manned by American troops. She was always scared of them- she told her mother about how these strange american soldiers were making inappropriate advances towards her.

On march 10, 2006, Abeer's mother Fakhriyah had a conversation with a neighbor, Omar Janabi, expressing her fears that her daughter might be assaulted or raped by the americans. Janabi agreed to give Abeer shelter among the women of his household. But, after making his promise, he spoke with Abeer personally, and tried to assuage her fears.

He told her "the Americans would not do such a thing."

Alas- the next day...

U.S. troops accused of raping teen girl then killing her Iraq family.

By RYAN LENZ, Associated Press

BEIJI, Iraq - Five U.S. soldiers are being investigated for allegedly raping a teen girl, then killing her and three relatives, an American military official said Friday, describing the latest allegations of abuse of Iraqi civilians.

The soldiers also allegedly burned the body of the young girl they are accused of assaulting in the March incident, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

The U.S. command issued a sparse statement, saying Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of coalition troops in Baghdad, had ordered a criminal investigation into the alleged killing of a family of four in Mahmoudiyah, south of Baghdad. The statement had no other details.

The case represents the latest allegations against U.S. soldiers stemming from the deaths of Iraqis. At least 14 U.S. troops have been convicted.

The United States also is investigating allegations that two dozen unarmed Iraqi civilians were killed by U.S. Marines in the western town of Haditha on Nov. 19 in a revenge attack after one of their own died in a roadside bombing.

"The entire investigation will encompass everything that could have happened that evening. We're not releasing any specifics of an ongoing investigation," military spokesman Maj. Todd Breasseale said of the Mahmoudiyah allegations.

"There is no indication what led soldiers to this home. The investigation just cracked open. We're just beginning to dig into the details."

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said he had no additional details on the incident but added that the military routinely investigates all allegations of misconduct.

However, a U.S. official close to the investigation said at least one of the soldiers, all assigned to the 502nd Infantry Regiment, has admitted his role and been arrested. Two soldiers from the same regiment were slain this month when they were kidnapped at a checkpoint near Youssifiyah.

The official told the AP the accused soldiers were from the same platoon as the two slain soldiers. The military has said one and possibly both of the slain soldiers were tortured and beheaded.

The official said the mutilation of the slain soldiers stirred feelings of guilt and led at least one of them to reveal the rape-slaying on June 22.

Be all that you can be. "America's finest", Pvt. Stephen D. Green, pictured above, pleaded not guilty to the charges, despite overwhelming evidence he planned and then raped a young Iraqi teenager, then killed and mutilated her and executed her family.
According to a senior Army official, the alleged incident was first revealed by a soldier during a routine counseling-type session. The official, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said that soldier did not witness the incident but heard about it.

A second soldier, who also was not involved, said he overhead soldiers conspiring to commit the crimes, and then later saw bloodstains on their clothes, the official said.

He also said the four people killed included three adults and a child, and one of the "adults" was the teenage girl, aged only 15 yers old, who allegedly was raped then mutilated.

One of the accused soldiers, Stephen D. Green of Kentucky, already has been discharged and is now in custody. The others have had their weapons taken away and are confined to Forward Operating Base Mahmoudiyah.

Senior officers were aware of the family's death but believed it was due to sectarian violence, common in the religiously mixed town, a U.S. official said.

The killings appeared to have been a "crime of opportunity," the official said. The soldiers had not been attacked by insurgents but had noticed the woman on previous patrols.

US drops cluster bombs on villagers. Large civilian casualty toll reported. . .

In a bulletin posted at 8:11pm Makkah time Friday evening, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that a short while earlier US warplanes had dropped anti-personnel cluster bombs on the villages of 'Arab Jabbur, al-'Ali, and Hanbas. The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported that the bombing, which targeted the mud houses of the local villagers, killed a large number of women and children. The correspondent also noted that the Americans had withdrawn their helicopter gun ships from the area for fear that fighters would shoot them down. As a result, the only aircraft in the sky are US fighter-bombers.

Merchants of Death in Iraq

By Dahr Jamail and Ali Fadhil
Inter Press Service

Thursday 13 July 2006

Fallujah - It could be called perhaps just another raid. Early in the morning on Sunday, June 18, US military helicopters landed near the home of Sinan Abdul-Ilah al-Mashadani in the al-Jughaifi district of Fallujah.

Within two minutes the doors of his home were blasted open and "a strange looking group of people" stormed inside, according to Said Walid Ahmed, a 40-year-old teacher who lives in the neighborhood.

"This force is not totally unknown to us here in Fallujah," Ahmed, who witnessed the incident from a nearby house told Inter Press Service (IPS). "They are a special force of Americans that assassinates more people than it arrests."

Ahmed described the force from the helicopters as "big men with long hair and beards, some wearing earrings, and others with little black caps on the top of their heads at the back".

Sinan Abdul-Ilah al-Mashadani, who was a student at al-Mustansiriya University and the sole supporter of his mother and younger brother and sister, was killed in the raid, apparently by a special operations team supported by the US military, according to witnesses.

"Their [special forces troops'] dogs were biting everybody, including children and women in the neighborhood," Um Amar, a 63-year-old woman who lives three houses away from Sinan told IPS. "They killed the poor boy in cold blood and arrested his little brother." She burst into tears and began to pray.

Another neighbor, Jassim al-Jumaily, said Sinan's father Najim Abdul-Ilah al-Mashhadani was killed during Operation Phantom Fury in November 2004 when his house was bombed by US warplanes.

The US military assault on Fallujah then destroyed most of the city and killed between 4,000 and 6,000 people, according to Monitoring Net of Human Rights in Iraq (MHRI), an Iraqi non-governmental organization based in Fallujah.

Sinan took responsibility for his family after the death of his father, Jumaily said. "He had to work and study at the same time. We did not notice any abnormality in his behavior at all. When the helicopters came, we never thought Sinan would be the target, because we realize they only come after big personalities from al-Qaeda or leaders in the Iraqi resistance."

Jumaily said the long-haired bearded men from the special force "blasted the doors of Sinan's house open as if they were attacking an army headquarters".

People in the neighborhood said they heard some of what was going on. "The screaming of Sinan's mother and sisters was frightening," Jumaily said. "All we could do was pray for their safety, trying to comfort each other that the worst possibility was that they would arrest Sinan."

After the men had been inside the house for three hours, Jumaily and other witnesses said they heard Sinan's mother wailing, and saw the men leave with Amin, her 13-year-old son who was being beaten by the men and bitten by their dogs as he was taken away.

Many of the neighbors then went to Sinan's home, and found his body, covered with sheets and mattresses. There was a pool of blood on the floor, some was splattered on the walls.

"Three days after his detention, Amin was released," said Muhamad al-Deraji, director of MHRI. "The left hand of this orphaned child was bitten three times, and is now scarred and deformed."

The US forces also raided other homes in the area, Deraji said. "One of the dogs attacked a woman who tried to protect her baby. The dog bit the mother's hand."

Deraji said the forces looted money and jewelry from several of the houses they raided.

IPS sent an email to Major Douglas Powell at the Combined Press Information Center for the Multi-National Force in Iraq to request comment on the incident. There was no reply.

Later, IPS phoned the US military spokesperson in Baghdad to request information on the incident. The spokesman, who declined to give his name, said, "We have no information confirming this event ever took place."