The Cover-Ups That Exploded
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
Contrary to popular opinion in the United States, neither
the war in Afghanistan nor the war in Iraq have been "clean"
wars. They have been brutal, BLOODY affairs - WHICH IS THE
PRICE OF EMPIRE; the price America's oil elites have been
willing to pay in order to secure the oil wealth of the
Middle East and Central Asia for themselves. [Please
see our 2002 article, "The
Coming War in Iraq: What It's Really All About."]
percent of US inflicted casualties in Iraq have
The Lancet, one of the oldest scientific
medical journals in the world, published two peer-reviewed
studies on the effect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and
subsequent occupation on the Iraqi mortality rate. The
first survey published on 29 October 2004, estimated 98,000
Iraqi deaths. The authors described this as a conservative
estimate, because it excluded the extreme statistical
outlier data from Falluja. [Please see our article
on the Battle of Falluja, "Sowing
the Seeds of the Gog/Magog War."]
The second survey published on 11 October 2006, estimated
654,965 deaths related to the war, or 2.5% of the population,
through the end of June 2006. By now, the number has exceeded
Insofar as casualties that have resulted from US air
strikes, 46 percent of the victims have been women,
and 39 percent have been children.
A similar death rate exists in Afghanistan where about
3% of the population has been killed.
Finally, it is impossible to get any kind of realistic
statistics regarding the number of deaths that have occurred
as a result of CIA-sponsored death squad activity, much
of which has been explained away as "sectarian violence."
[You are encouraged to read our series of articles on
the way the US sponsors death squad activity in its "client-states;"
interestingly, the same high-ranking government official
that organized and ran death squads in Central America for
the United States - John Dimitri Negroponte - is
the exact same government official that initiated this kind
of ruthless activity in Iraq; the name of the article is,
"The Horror of John
Dimitri Negroponte and Everything He Represents."]
In the light of these realities, can there really
be any doubt that the United States is the OVERFLOWING
SCOURGE described in Isaiah 28:15 and 28:18? [Please
see our article, "In
Search of Babylon: What Do the Scriptures Say?"]
The Pentagon is reeling after two lethal episodes uncovered
by diligent journalism show trigger-happy U.S. Army helicopter
pilots and U.S. Special Forces slaughtering civilians, then
seeking to cover up their crimes.
The worldwide web was transfixed recently when Wikileaks
put up on YouTube a 38-minute video, along with a 17-minute
edited version, taken from a U.S. Army Apache helicopter, one
of two firing on a group of Iraqis in Baghdad at a street corner
in July of 2007. Twelve civilians died, including a Reuters
photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and a Reuters driver,
Saeed Chmagh, 40.
At a press conference in Washington, D.C., Wikileaks
said it had got the footage from whistle-blowers in the military
and had been able to break the encryption code. The Pentagon
has confirmed the video is genuine.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has finally admitted
that Special Forces troops killed two pregnant Afghan women
and a girl in a February, 2010, raid, in which two Afghan government
officials were also killed. Brilliant reporting by Jerome Starkey
of The Times of London has blown apart the U.S. military's
cover-up story that the women were killed by knife wounds administered
several hours before the raid.
It now appears that the knife wounds may have been inflicted
by the Special Forces troops retrieving their bullets from the
dead or dying women's bodies. Starkey's story last Sunday in
The Times reported that -
"Afghan investigators also determined that American forces
not only killed the women but had also 'dug bullets out of
their victims' bodies in the bloody aftermath" and then "washed
the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about
The 17-minute video recording the US military's massacre from
the air in Baghdad, is utterly damning. The visual and audio
record reveal the two Apache helicopter pilots and the US Army
intelligence personnel monitoring the real-time footage falling
over themselves to make the snap judgment that the civilians
roughly a thousand feet below are armed insurgents and that
one of them, peeking round a corner, was carrying an RPG, that
is, a rocket-propelled antitank grenade launcher.
The dialogue is particularly chilling, revealing gleeful pilots
gloating over the effect of their initial machine-gun salvoes.
"Look at those dead bastards," one pilot says. "Nice," answers
the other. Then, as a wounded man painfully writhes toward the
curb, the pilots eagerly wait for an excuse to finish him off.
"All you gotta do is pick up a weapon," one pilot says yearningly.
Then suddenly a civilian van, seeing the carnage, pulls up.
A man jumps out, and starts dragging the wounded man around
to load him in. The pilots implore the intelligence monitors
to give them the go-ahead to strafe the van, about which they
have made the instant, fatally erroneous judgment that this
is an insurgent rescue squad. A few moments later, the intelligence
monitors, with zero visual evidence underpinning their judgment,
give the go-ahead.
Another salvo finishes off the wounded man and his would-be
rescuer, kills other civilians in the van and wounds two children
in the front seat.
wounded in the Apache attack.
U.S. ground troops arrive on the scene, report the presence
of wounded children. "Well, it's their fault for bringing their
kids into a battle," one pilot tells the other. There are further
sniggers as a U.S. armored vehicle rolls up. "I think they just
drove over a body," one of the pilots cackles.
One disgraceful exchange discloses a brutal order to the US
ground troops not take the wounded children to the nearest military
hospital, thus condemning them to the long waits and understaffed,
under-equipped Baghdad civilian hospitals. It clearly shows
the culpability of the next command echelon, which is just as
great as that of the pilots.
In the wake of the lethal onslaught, the U.S. military denied
that any error had taken place, its version of events faithfully
cited by the New York Times under the headline "2 Iraqi
Journalists Killed as U.S. Forces Clash With Militias":
"According to the [U.S. military's] statement, American troops
were conducting a raid when they were hit by small-arms fire
and rocket-propelled grenades. The American troops called
in reinforcements and attack helicopters. In the ensuing fight,
the statement said, the two Reuters employees and nine [sic]
insurgents were killed."
The footage made public by Wikileaks makes it clear
this was fiction, from start to finish.
Defense analyst Pierre Sprey, who led the design teams for
the F-16 and A-10 and who spent many years in the Pentagon,
stresses two particularly damning features of the footage. The
first is the claim that Noor-Eldeen's telephoto lense could
be mistaken for an RPG. "A big telephoto for a 35mm camera
is under a foot and half at most. An RPG, unloaded, is 3 feet
long and loaded, 4 foot long. These guys were breathing hard
to kill someone."
Sprey's second point is that an Apache helicopter makes a very
loud "whomp, whomp" noise. " Twelve guys are unconcerned, with
loud helicopters right overhead. Imagine if they were planning
an assault on American troops. They'd be crouched down and skulking
along walls, spread out. They would not be walking casually
down the middle of the street, totally ignoring the helicopters."
A retired U.S. Marine was even blunter in an email exchange:
"Not a good show at all. The group on the ground were banishing
nothing that 'looked' or appeared as weapons, especially the
voiced 'RPG' which is so obvious when loaded. And then again
- they were told in advance by intelligence (I am sure by
the tone in the flight) that these people were bad guys. The
Apache crews were just stupid and the intelligence clowns
pointing them and egging them on are guilty of murder - 'you
are clear to engage'. GMAFB."
In the aftermath the US military claimed that some AK-47s and
a grenade launcher had been found at the scene. Sprey comments
that, in the course of the subsequent cover-up, the weapons
may well have been planted, LAPD style. [Please see our article,
"The Utility of Police
Brutality in the Elites' War against the Poor" which
discusses the atrocities carried out by the LAPD.]
According to Reuters their men had been working on
a story about weight lifting when they heard about a military
raid in the neighborhood, and decided to drive there to check
it out. Local witnesses say there was no firefight anywhere
near where they were gunned down by the Apaches.
Reuters, which by that time had already had four employees
killed in Iraq by the U.S. military (ultimately, to date, eight),
demanded an investigation, which the Army says it undertook
but found no breach of its Rules of Engagement by the pilots
or U.S. Army intelligence.
The reaction of David Schlesinger, Reuter's editor in
chief, to the release of the footage by Wikileaks was
appallingly feeble. Schlesinger said on April 5,
"The deaths of Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh three years
ago were tragic and emblematic of the extreme dangers that
exist in covering war zones. We continue to work for journalist
safety and call on all involved parties to recognize the important
work that journalists do and the extreme danger that photographers
and video journalists face in particular."
This anodyne blather elicited a furious email aimed at Schlesinger
- sent two days later to The Baron site, "For Reuters
people past and present" - from a former Reuters editor
in chief and general manager, Michael Reupke. Wrote Reupke,
"The flabby response to the shameful murder of photographer
Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh by reckless U.S.
forces is not reassuring. What of their families? Why do we
leave it to others to make the running? Is this a Thomson
effect? Michael Reupke (outraged and angry!)."
The final sentence alludes to the 2008 takeover of Reuters
by the media conglomerate Thomson.
In fact, Reuters was shown the Apache video by the U.S.
military shortly after the killings but raised no stink. Requests
for public release under the Freedom of Information Act were
denied. Finally, whistleblowers handed the video to Wikileaks.
Leave the last word to a retired U.S. Army man, answering the
email from the retired U.S. Marine quoted above:
"The damage this incident and its video evidence will do
is immense ... it will irrefutably confirm for many that large
chunk of anti-American propaganda which insists the American
flyers are just playing computer shoot-em-up games using real
flesh and blood as a proxy for the digital figures they usually
slaughter only in the arcades.
"How much is simulator training responsible for the disconnection
from reality demonstrated in this incident? The crew was detached
from reality ... How [is] the Army ... producing crews that,
having the potential for such incompetence, cannot detect
it among themselves. If anyone in that crew had paused and
asked if the action being taken was correct, surely it would
have been aborted ... The Army has to find out why."
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machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE
THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME
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"The Third World
as a Model for the New World Order," Inside
the American New World Order System" and "The
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