The Anatomy Of A Massacre A Special Report By Robert Fisk
Marwahin, 15 July 2006: The anatomy of a massacre
We are guilty of many errors and many faults but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer "Tomorrow." His name is "Today." â Gabriela Mistral.
Marwahin, 15 July 2006: The anatomy of a massacre
Now if you'll excuse me it's late here in Copenhagen and I have to do a respectful knuckling of my sloping brow to Chicago Dyke of Corrente Wire for making me aware of that article's existence before I head off to get some sleep.
Neither I nor any other civilised person will forgive or forget what was done on September 28th 2006. Neither I nor any other civilised person will forgive or forget by whom it was done. There are times when sins of omission are as grave as sins of commission. September 28th 2006 was one of those times. I will not forgive nor will I forget.
I like to think of this sort of thing as evolution in action. The Bush supporters keep up with this sort of thing and they'll be extinct within a generation - it's awfully difficult to pass on your genes if don't know that tab "b" is supposed to fit into slot "a"
Now attend to me because this is important. The sheep are the short ones to the front of the photograph. The sheeple are the ones in the inadequately armoured vehicle towards the back of the photograph. The other difference is that thanks to Yankee Poodle Tony the sheep have a better chance of surviving an attack.markfromireland
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Some 80,000 Iraqis have fled their homes and registered with the government as refugees over the past two months, data showed on Thursday, taking the total in seven months of sectarian violence to a quarter of a million.
A spokesman for the Migration Ministry, Sattar Nowruz, told Reuters that figures for the end of September showed that more than 40,000 families were claiming aid after leaving homes since February 22, when the destruction of a major Shi'ite shrine at Samarra sparked heavy and continuing sectarian bloodshed.
The ministry estimates the average Iraqi family at six people, giving a current total of more than 240,000 people compared to 27,000 families and 162,000 people at the end of July. Nowruz acknowledged that many more people do not register with the ministry or have fled abroad, and so are not counted.
"The reason for this increase is that the security situation in some provinces has deteriorated considerably, forcing people to flee their homes in fear for their lives," he said.
Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, had seen a particular increase in people escaping fierce conflict among militants from the area's Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish communities.
On the other hand, security operations in parts of Baghdad, such as the southern district of Dora, had seen people moving back to homes they had abandoned, Nowruz said. The southern oil city of Basra had also seen people returning, he added.
The Turkmen Front Party Headquarters in Kirkuk was the target for a bombing attack today. One woman was killed by the blast and 10 people, including 4 children were injured. In the photograph to the left one of the wounded is seen gesturing for help. Also in Kirkuk two soldiers were killed and three others wounded in a mortar attack targetting an "Iraqi" army checkpoint. I say "Iraqi" because what the so-called "Iraqi" army units in Kirkuk are in fact is separatist peshmerga fighters loyal to one or other of the two dominant factions in Iraqi Kurdistan. They have a reputation for brutality and there are stong suspicions that they are actively involved in ethnic cleansing - particularly in Kirkuk.
I know an ever-dwindling number of doctors and nurses in Iraq. Those who have not been murdered or become "collateral damage" are fleeing in terror for their lives. In the last 8 months alone five people whom I knew. Three of them nurses two of them doctors have been killed in Iraq. In each of those murders those murdered were targetted because they were medical personnel. For three of those murders there I have reason to believe that they were murdered by Interior Ministry "special forces." Back on July 10th Erdla posted this:
On June 11th I posted this:
In the comments to that posting Maryam who recently did a guest posting here made the following comments:
On June 13th I posted a photo showing the conditions under which people like Maryam have to work. Today the doctors in Yarmouk hospital have gone on indefinite strike. They regularly get beaten up in the A&E department by interior ministry commandos. That's the interior ministry that's riddled with death squads. That's the interior ministry whose "special forces" report directly to the US embassy official James Steele and American "counter-insurgency" specialist Steven Casteel. That's the interior ministry special forces who get paid directly from American funds. Does this sound familiar?
Take a look at the photographs below and the supplied AP captions. The middle one is a death notice for a doctor who worked in Yarmouk hospital. No I'm not going to translate it for you. I'm too busy trying not to puke. And the tears of rage in my eyes are making it too difficult to focus:
An employee of a Hospital walks across an empty ward, following an indefinite strike called by Iraqi doctors of Yarmouk hospital, in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday Sept.26, 2006. Doctors of Yarmouk hospital went on an indefinite strike, after Iraqi police commandos beat up one of the doctors, because they were taking time to treat one of their bleeding colleague, later that colleague was treated and saved. Doctors said that the strike will continue till Iraqi ministry of Defense take action against Iraqi police commandos, according to police at the hospital. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
A death notice about a doctor, who was killed recently by unidentified gunmen, is seen written on a black banner, at the Yarmouk hospital, in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday Sept.26, 2006. Doctors of Yarmouk hospital went on an indefinite strike, after Iraqi police commandos beat up one of the doctors, because they were taking time to treat one of their bleeding colleague, later that colleague was treated and saved. Doctors said that the strike will continue till Iraqi ministry of Defense take action against Iraqi police commandos, according to police at the hospital. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Doctors of Yarmouk hospital look on from their residential building, after an indefinite strike called them, in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday Sept.26, 2006. Doctors of Yarmouk hospital went on an indefinite strike, after Iraqi police commandos beat up one of the doctors, because they were taking time to treat one of their bleeding colleague, later that colleague was treated and saved. Doctors said that the strike will continue till Iraqi ministry of Defense take action against Iraqi police commandos, according to police at the hospital. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Now read on. I've posted below in full an article written by an Iraqi doctor. It's description of what Iraqi doctors' lives have become under the American funded and led efforts to rip Iraq into pieces. He's pulled his punches, I know from what I personally have seen and from what my friends in Iraq have told me that he's pulled his punches quite considerably. You should note that despite the fact that he's pulled his punches that he dare not give his name.
This is just one aspect of the blood-soaked miserable hell. That America has created in Iraq.
What of Maryam? Well I got one piece of good news today. My friend Maryam phoned me. She got another death threat the day before yesterday. A very detailed and specific death threat. It detailed every movement she'd made over the last few days, it detailed every one of the many different routes she took from her home to the hospital where she worked. It gave similar details for her widowed mother and for her children. It was so specific and so detailed that she knew it was time. She and what remains of her family didn't bother to pack. They piled into their cars and drove hell for leather through the night. Through al-Anbar on what is the now the most dangerous highway in the world. They were shot at three times during that trip.
At least they made it. At least she's alive.
Introduction: I've known Declan ('Deco') for a long time. He was the best sergeant I ever had. He fell in love first with Lebanon, and then with a Lebanese girl, they got married and as he says himself the rest is "history." It's entirely typical of Deco that when everybody was fleeing the brutal Israeli/American assault upon Lebanon that he was making his way there, determined to rescue as many civilians as he could. His emails describing what he saw and heard and smelt awoke painful and bitter memories for all of us. His description of the wreckage he encountered, of digging his wife's family from the ruins of their home and of his nephew's and niece's death were harrowing. I've known for some weeks now that he and his wife have decided to return to Lebanon permanently and that he would be resigning from the team here at "Guides" as he wants to devote all his time to winding up his affairs in Ireland and moving to his "new" home. He's told me what he plans on doing. I've every confidence that he'll be very successful.
As with all the guest postings I haven't edited anything. I've marked up the XHTML, in this case to very precise instructions from Declan, and prepared the graphics - in this case to extremely precise instructions from Declan. The words are all Declan's own. He's a shrewd observer with a wealth of contacts. I take what he says very seriously.
There will be no further postings today.
As long-time readers here know I fell in love with a Lebanese girl, we got married, had kids, the rest as they say "is history." I've been in Lebanon since the war I got here during the war. This posting is long and it contains strong language, it also contains a lot of graphics so it might load slowly. If you don't like what you read that's just too bloody bad.
What I Did At The Weekend
Last Friday I was asked by my in-laws if I'd like to take part in a family outing. The outing was to hear Nasrallah's speech at the Hizb's victory rally in Beirut. Of course I said "yes." That speech is going to make history. It's not often that Juan Cole has the full text of the speech as translated by BBC Monitoring up on his site. I'd print it off and keep it if I were you.someone like me, I was only a sergeant, gets to see a big history changing event. Wild horses wouldn't have kept me away.
There's a lot of crap being floated in the American media right now. Trying to re-write history. Trying to make American readers, and more importantly, American TV viewers believe that the Hizb lost. They didn't. The losers were the Israelis and their American backers. Professionals in the IDF know it know it . They ain't pleased about it and I don't think they'll let the politicians pin the blame on them. But that's not what this posting is about. This posting deals with what I saw and heard last Friday and what I think it means for the county and people I've come to love just as much as I love Ireland. The country that's going to be my permanent home in a few months time.
First off the rally was huge. I've seen all sorts of estimates of the size of the crowd. Take a loot at the photo to the right. That place is 37 acres. My hunch is that the estimates in the order of 800,000 are close to the mark.
People came from all over Lebanon. People came from outside of Lebanon. I spoke to several people who came from Dubai just to be there. I spoke to a Christian family who came from Paris. I spoke to two brothers who came from London. I've no idea how many people came back from Syria where they'd been forced to flee as refugees by the savage Israeli bombing campaign. I stopped counting after a while. But mostly the crowd came from Lebanon. They weren't all Shia either and they weren't all Hizb. There were Berri supporters (no surpise.) There were a lot of Sunnis and a hell of a lot of Christians. I spoke to people who were die-hard supporters of Awn's there was a large group of Franjieh supporters close to where I was sitting.
Maybe that doesn't sound important to you if you don't know Lebanon. Believe me it's important. Lebanon always regroups and re-forms from the bottom up. The composition of the crowd is a sign of a massive shift in Lebanese politics and society. It was happening anyway American and Israeli brutality have made sure that this shift is more profound, longer lasting, and more complete than the previous ones.
They're not going to forgive or forget that America blocked all attempts to stop their children being massacred by Israeli troops and Israeli aviators. They're never ever ever going to forgive or forget what that bloodsoaked slut Condoleeza Rice said about how the agonised deaths of their children were the "birth pangs of the new middle east." They're not going to forgive or forget that neither the "light unto the nations" nor the "shining city on the hill" gave a flying fuck about their children. It didn't matter that a lot of the dead children were Christians all that mattered was that they were Lebanese, that they were Arabs, untermenschen and that it was worth killing them because the political calculation in America and Israel was that killing them would cause their parents to blame and hate their fellow Lebanese.
That was a big, stupid, and above all evil mistake. Between them Ehud and Condi finally conclusively ripped off the mask and exposed the cynical and vicious racism beneath. And speaking as someone with all the normal feelings about kids I hope that they and the people who voted for them get to suffer the consequences of their actions. I don't believe in revenge, harsh retribution dished out to child murderers in a court of law is an idea that I can get right behind 'though. I love the idea of every IDF soldier and every IAF aviator never being able to leave Israel even for a short break in case they get picked up on war-crimes charges. And don't even think of giving me that shit about how the noble Israeli aviators deliberately missed targets. All the dead kids I saw didn't get killed by accident. Not in those numbers.
We got there a few hours early and after a good long while walking round and talking to people. I went back to my chair. The rally was organised down a tee. I'd hate to have been the guy in charge of the logistics, I will say that he and his team did a brilliant job, they rented what must have been every chair in Lebanon, and everybody got their free hizb baseball cap. The atmosphere was electric and very much a family affair. In a way I was reminded of a carnival or other celebration. They were there to show their support and their gratitude and they were going to enjoy doing it. Entire families turned up, three, and sometimes four, generations. There was face painting for the kids. Some like the kids in the photo to the left turned up ready-painted.
As I say very much a family affair, very much people who wanted to show their gratitude, their loyalty, their patriotism and yes their anger too. I sent Mark three photos and asked him to prepare a composite graphic that shows some of the cold burning rage that the people of Lebanon feel towards their American and Israeli tormenters:
From a professional point of view I'll also say that the security was excellent. The Hizb are good at logistics and security and it showed. Very tight security - which I'm not going to talk about. Let's just say that after looking around I felt very safe.
The speech itself was very well thought out. Go read the BBC translation on Juan Cole's site. My spoken Arabic is good - it should be after being married to an Arab all this time, my written Arabic isn't all that hot, but I know a good translation when I see it, and that's a good translation - a hell of a lot better than any translation I could do. The crowd interrupted with applause repeatedly. There was a lot in that speech. Most of it was directed to Lebanese concerns. The crowd lapped it up:
Every time he mentioned America or Condoleeza Rice there were boos. Heartfelt boos, enraged boos, there was a large bloc of Christians just behind us. They booed the loudest and there weren't any cheerleaders around that I could see - they weren't needed. One point that needs to be made is that the Hizb have been working round the clock on reconstruction. They're way ahead of the government and they're being straight up and honest about the reconstruction. They've even discriminated positively in favour of Sunnis and Christians when they were doling out grants-in-aid cash. That's going to reap them big rewards in the future. Contrast that with the government insisting that all aid go through the (notoriously corrupt and used as a source of political patronage) Higher Relief Council (HRC) and you can see why a lot of donors are going the direct route. When you read his speech you'll see time and time again his insistence on "no sectarianism" (the crowd loved it every time he did that you could see and hear the approval) and contrast it with how Hariri junior scooted out of Lebanon as fast as his fat little legs could carry him - but not before leaving instructions that refugees weren't to be allowed on any of his property and you can see the hollowness of the "Cedar revolution." He repeatedly criticised Siniora's government calling it weak and ineffective and calling for a national unity government. I have a feeling he might get it. "Premier boo hoo" as he's called in Lebanon - even by his supporters, hasn't impressed anyone lately.
What he was saying here and in the next few paragraphs is that even under the ceasefire the Israelis are acting with aggressive bad faith. That the solution is a national unity government with a strong Hizb component. I've a strong hunch the most Lebanese agree with him.
Here's my take: The Hizb won you lost. You deserved to. Get used to it. Every time you've tried to impose your will by violence you've lost. You deserved to. Get used to it. Start dealing in good faith with your Palestinian population and with your neighbours. Yes they're your enemies. Enemies are who you negotiate with. Get used to it.
I'd love to be able to say that I'm suprised by this story but I'm not. Not even slightly. When you talk to Continental police one of the things they all mention is that guns are now very easy to get. The same is true of British police. A lot of these guns come from Eastern Europe - the former Soviet bloc countries. But another source of supply is corrupt soldiers. This story from the London Times isn't going to be the last one you read on this topic. When I was researching this I discovered that a U.K. private soldier's basic pay is £13,866 compare that with £19,918 for a trainee fireman (who also gets overtime.)
The full text of the article can be found on the Sunday Times website.
Happy Ramadan to our Muslim brothers and sisters.
L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu
Happy Rosh HaShana to our Jewish brothers and sisters.
You are our brothers and sisters either in religion or in Humanity.
The Gorilla's Guides team:
Abbas, Ahmad, Ali, Ali (al-Basrawi), Anthony, Declan, Dubhaltach, Erdla, Fatima, Gerard, Hassan, Hussayn, Laith, Mark, Omar, Tony, Padhraic, Sagib, Thalit, Yassir, Zeynab.