Monday, January 11, 2010

In London, questions swirl around the death of an Iraqi grandmother

British soldiers are facing an investigation after it was alleged an Iraqi grandmother was murdered by troops when they raided her house.
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed Sabiha Khudur Talib, 62, was shot by soldiers from the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment during a raid on her house. But the ministry has denied that she was murdered or tortured.
Yet Talib's son, Raad Gatii Karim Al-Maliki, has claimed that he witnessed his mother being tortured and believed his mother was then executed by British soldiers.

The above is from Public Service's "Iraq grandmother death investigated" about the fate of the woman following a November 15, 2006 British raid on the family's home. Press TV quotes from a report made by Iraq Lt Haidar Yashaa Salman in November 2006, "I saw the body in a brown dish-dash [one-piece tunic], bare feet and hands with marks of handcuffs. I saw traces of torture on the body of the victim. I saw a non-penetrated bullet entry in the abdomen." Robert Verkaik (Independent of London) adds:

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that Sabiha Khudur Talib was shot by British soldiers from the Princess of Walesi Royal Regiment in 2006 but deny that she was murdered or tortured.
The case is now being investigated by the Royal Military Police (RMP).
An MoD spokesman said that she had been caught in crossfire during the raid and died later in a military hospital.
But statements from her family, who were at home during the raid, claim that after the shooting they saw Mrs Talib being led away alive by British soldiers.
The MoD cannot say at which hospital she was treated or to whom her body was handed over.

Also in London, the Iraq Inquiry has started today's public hearing. Last night, we noted Chris Ames and Richard Norton-Taylor's "Alastair Campbell had Iraq dossier changed to fit US claims" (Guardian). In another piece, Chris Ames explains:

Once again it is the media -- rather than the Iraq inquiry – who are putting new information about Iraq into the public domain. In today's Guardian, Richard Norton-Taylor and I reveal the extent to which the notorious September 2002 dossier on Iraq's WMD was sexed-up on Alastair Campbell's instructions to fit in with bogus American claims. The idea that Campbell and intelligence chief John Scarlett were unwitting participants in accidental sexing-up has taken another blow.
There is a prologue and an epilogue to today's story. The prologue shows that Campbell and Scarlett knew exactly what they were doing. The epilogue shows that Campbell was still not happy, even after the dossier's worst-case estimate of how quickly Saddam Hussein could get a bomb was effectively halved to fit in with what George W Bush had told the UN.
According to his published diaries, on 2 April 2002 Campbell and Scarlett were at a meeting at Chequers where Tony Blair had made clear that the aim of UK government policy was "regime change". Three weeks later Campbell met officials including Scarlett "to go through what we needed to do communications wise to set the scene for Iraq, eg a WMD paper and other papers about Saddam. Scarlett a very good bloke."
In July 2002, Blair, Campbell and Scarlett were all present at the now famous Downing Street meeting where Sir Richard Dearlove, the then head of MI6, reported that in the US "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" of invading Iraq.

Sidebar: Those interested in British politics should read Bruce Anderson's article. I know too many players (mentioned by Anderson and not mentioned) to comment but it's a riveting column. (I'm neither vouching for its veracity nor accusing of it being wrong. I am saying it's a good read -- which is probably more than Rebecca -- who is knee-deep in the situation -- can say at present. How deep is she? I think I can say this, she's being asked to come to London.)

Friday, the Iraq Inquiry heard from the current British Ambassador to Iraq John Jenkins who stated that military coup was still possible in Iraq. Nizar Latif (The National Newspaper) notes some Iraqi reaction to the assertion:

Many in Iraq believe such a development may be welcomed.
"If there is such a military coup that eliminates the current government and it ends the Iranian stranglehold over Iraq, then the tribes will support it," Sheikh Mohammad al Hamadani, a leading member of the tribal council in Maysan province, in southern Iraq, said yesterday. "There are too many people and parties in positions of power that are loyal to Tehran.
"If the way to rid ourselves of these Islamic parties that do as Iran tells them is to have a coup, then we are in favour of that. We would need to be sure that the British and the Americans supported such a coup however, in order that it can succeed."
In Baghdad, Hassan Bikan, a member of parliament's security committee, said a military coup was "impossible" and that the British were "playing a political game" by mentioning it in a public forum.

Today Reuters notes a Baghdad sticky bombing has left three people (employed by an Iraqi MP) were injured, a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured four people (including three police officers) and, dropping back to Sunday, a Baghdad sticky bombing which wounded six people.

We'll note this from Debra Sweet's "Guantanamo Turns 8 While More Lives Slip Away" (World Can't Wait):

Monday January 11 is the 8th anniversary of the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo. The emblematic symbol of the Bush regime's "war on terror," in which men have been openly tortured, kept in isolation, force-fed, and for years deprived of any legal respresentation or contact with the outside world, is still open.
It's being called "Obama's prison" now. On January 22, 2009, the new president announced that he would close Guantanamo in a year because it's existence was a public relations nightmare for U.S. foreign policy makers. As of this week, there's no closing date, but a vague indication it could be closed in 2011.

Bonnie notes Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "What Harry Worry?" And last night the following community sites updated:
Normally, people get noted once for their posts. But Sundays are usually Third community wide and Isaiahs' comic and that's it. So when there is a Sunday post from another community site, we do note it twice on Monday morning. We may cross-post Betty's post here (I'm sure she's fine with it but I do want to get her permission before doing so).

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