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Massacres Common in Iraq
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The media feeding frenzy around what has been referred to as "Iraq's My Lai" has become frenetic. Focus on the Marines’ slaughtering at least 20 civilians in Haditha last November is reminiscent of the media spasm around the Abu Ghraib scandal 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 U.S. forces and U.S.-backed Iraqi "security" forces had not stopped either.
Earlier this month, I received a news release from Iraq, which read, "On Saturday, May 13, at 10 p.m., U.S. 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 ... and killed them. The number of victims amounted to more than 25 martyrs. U.S. 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 15, supported also by the Iraqi National Guards. They also attacked the families' houses, and arrested a number of them while others fled. U.S. 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 U.S. 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, U.S. 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.