Saturday, April 03, 2010

Slaughtering Sahwa and the Guardian kills their own story

Gunmen dressed in Iraqi army uniforms stormed three houses overnight Saturday in a Sunni Muslim village south of Baghdad and killed 24 people, including five women, Iraqi authorities said.
Most of the slain villagers belonged to "Awakening" groups, the bands of U.S.-backed Sunni fighters who helped in the fight against al Qaida in Iraq. The attack occurred in Al Bu Saifi village south of Baghdad.

The above is from Mohammed Al Dulaimy's "Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms kill 24 in village" (McClatchy Newspapers). Violence is back in Iraq? Violence never left. It arrived as a temporary guest in 2003 and keeps extending its stay. On the killings, Muhammed al-Obaidi and Timothy Williams (New York Times) add that the nineteen males were predominately Sahwa members and quote Luyai Khadum stating of his four brothers and father, "They were all killed. I lost five family members. We are a Dulaimi family, so why would they do this to us."

David Batty (Guardian) reveals, "The victims were bound with handcuffs and sprayed with machine-gun fire. Some of the bodies were 'beyond recognition', according to a senior Iraqi army official who wished to remain anonymous." BBC News quotes Muhammad Mubarak stating, "A group wearing National Guard uniforms and carrying night vision equipment stormed the homes of the victims and took them to their front gardens. Then they handcuffed them with plastic tape and shot them in the head with guns fitted with silencers." Leila Fadel and Aziz Alwan (Washington Post) report the assailants arrived with a list, gathered all the possible Sahwa members, "looked through a list of names and then used guns with silencers attached, shooting people one at a time" and that the murders "were reminiscent of those carried out against Sunni Arabs by Shiite death squads from Iraq's interior ministry."

Sara Hashash (Times of London) observes, "The massacre intensified fears of renewed violence as Iraq’s two main political coalitions (led by Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister, and Nuri Al-Maliki, the incumbent prime minister) battle to form a government following elections that left neither with enough seats to rule alone." Meanwhile Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr wonders if this "could be the Iraqi style of negotiating."

In other reported violence, Reuters notes a Baghdad store bombing which claimed 1 life, a Kirkuk roadside bombing which injured two people, a Kirkuk bombing which claimed the life of 2 children and left two more injured, a Mosul roadside bombing which injured one person and that 1 corpse was discovered in Mosul.

Meanwhile Patrick Martin (WSWS via Information Clearing House) notes:

The former head of the UN’s chief nuclear agency, Mohammed ElBaradei, said in an interview with the British newspaper Guardian Wednesday that those who launched the war in Iraq were responsible for killing a million innocent people and could be held accountable under international law. He was clearly referring to US President George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and their top military and security aides.
It was his first interview with an international publication since ElBaradei returned to his native Egypt, after a decade heading the International Atomic Energy Agency, where he won the Nobel Peace Prize, in large measure because of his opposition to the efforts by the Bush administration to use concocted charges about “weapons of mass destruction” as an all-purpose pretext for military intervention throughout the Middle East.
"I would hope that the lessons of Iraq, both in London and in the US have started to sink in,” he told the Guardian. “Sure, there are dictators, but are you ready every time you want to get rid of a dictator to sacrifice a million innocent civilians? All the indications coming out of [the Chilcot inquiry in Britain] are that Iraq was not really about weapons of mass destruction but rather about regime change, and I keep asking the same question―where do you find this regime change in international law? And if it is a violation of international law, who is accountable for that?”
This suggestion that Bush and Blair were guilty of war crimes, coming from a high-ranking former UN official, would ordinarily be considered major news. The Guardian interview was reported by the main British and French news agencies, Reuters and AFP, but the entire American corporate media gave it zero coverage. Not a single major American newspaper or television network mentioned it.

Nor is that at all surprising, nor was it censorship. It was bad writing on the part of Jack Shenker that was to blame. Patrick Martin runs with a bit from that bad article. It is news. So ask the Guardian why they buried it. The above, covered by Martin, didn't result in a headline. No, not at all. The Guardian headlined Shenker's piece "Mohamed ElBaradei hits out at west's support for repressive regimes." Does that imply a major article on -- or anything about -- Iraq? No. Nor does the subheadline: "Ex-nuclear chief says west must rethink Middle East policy as speculation grows he may run for office in Egypt."

Patrick Martin's done a wonderful job of assembly what was said and, certainly, the Guardian should utilize Martin. However, Shenker wrote a dull article that buried all the bits of gold that Martin panned for. The lede was dull, the opening was dull. It's only in Martin's remix that the story comes alive. So before you start handing out slices of blame, be sure to give the first two slices to the Guardian and Shenker because the bad approach that they took ensured no one paid attention to the article.

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