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Iraqi Town Refuses to Surrender

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    The Seige on Ad-Dulu iyah Salah ad-Din Province. http://www.freearabvoice.org US forces creep forward, tightening stranglehold on ad-Dulu`iyah. Eleven
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2006
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      The Seige on Ad-Dulu'iyah
      Salah ad-Din Province.
      http://www.freearabvoice.org


      US forces creep forward, tightening stranglehold on
      ad-Dulu`iyah. Eleven pregnant women die after
      American forces prevented them from going to maternity
      hospitals. Defiant local leaders refuse to hand over
      Resistance fighters – "only over our dead bodies" –
      they tell the advancing Americans.

      In a dispatch posted at 9pm Makkah time Friday night,
      Mafkarat al-Islam reported that one of the Shaykhs in
      the town of ad-Dulu `iyah, 97km north of Baghdad as
      said that the US occupation forces are continuing to
      maintain their strangle-hold blockade on the city.
      For well over a week, the Americans have prevented
      food and medicine from getting into the city. The US
      forces also prevented 19 pregnant women from leaving
      the city to get to a maternity hospital outside the
      beleaguered city. As a result, 11 of the women died.

      The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported the
      Shaykh as saying that the US forces surrounding
      ad-Dulu`iyah have actually been unable to storm the
      city thus far, though they have been slowly creeping
      forward every day.

      "Every day they advance little by little but with
      large numbers of armored and other vehicles under the
      cover of their fighter-bombers into the city area,"
      the Shaykh said. "In the course of this creeping
      advance, unequal clashes break out between the
      occupation troops and the Iraqi Resistance," he noted.

      In the last five days the Iraqi Resistance has killed
      or wounded 30 American troops, destroyed six vehicles,
      and disabled five more of them, the Shaykh reported,
      noting that this is according to data supplied by the
      Resistance fighters in the field who have no
      information regarding what damage and casualties their
      rocket and mortar strikes on the Americans might have
      inflicted.

      Regarding talks held between the American occupation
      forces and the local notables, the Shaykh told
      Mafkarat al-Islam: "They want us to turn over the
      Resistance fighters to them, but we told them that if
      we turn over the Resistance men to them that would
      mean that we had handed over our honor, but that won't
      happen except over our dead bodies and the dead bodies
      of all the people of this city."

      The Shaykh issued an appeal, via the Mafkarat al-Islam
      correspondent, calling on all the international and
      Arab news agencies to come to ad-Dulu`iyah. "It is
      our duty before God as the people and leaders of this
      city to protect and preserve the people here. We just
      want the news media to come and broadcast the news of
      the tragedy of the city."

      The Shaykh, whose identity Mafkarat al-Islam agreed
      not to reveal, called on the religious scholars of the
      Muslim world community to take a stand, if only by
      uttering one word against what is happening in Iraq,
      and the war against the Sunni population in the
      country, before there are no more Sunni citizens left.
      He expressed the hope that his appeal would reach
      those religious scholars who are alive to the problems
      of the Muslim world community, not those who act as if
      they were dead.

      ===

      Marines 'left traumatised by killings in Haditha'
      By Sam Knight and agencies
      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2202649,00.html


      Two US Marines ordered to photograph the corpses of more than 20
      unarmed Iraqi civilians allegedly massacred by their comrades were
      left severely traumatised by the sight, according to the soldiers'
      parents.


      Lance Corporal Andrew Wright, 20, and Lance Corporal Roel Ryan
      Briones, 21, both Marines based at Camp Pendleton, California, were
      sent to photograph and remove the bodies of up to 24 Iraqi men, women
      and children who were shot last November in the western Iraqi city of
      Haditha.

      According to their parents, both men have struggled with
      post-traumatic stress disorder ever since. What they saw that day has
      become the subject of two US military investigations and is
      threatening to become, alongside Abu Ghraib, a defining horror of the
      American-led invasion of Iraq.

      Iraqi witnesses and US politicians who have seen evidence from the
      investigations say that a group of Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd
      Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, went on the
      rampage after a popular soldier was killed by a roadside bomb.

      US soldiers allegedly shot up a taxi before going from house to house,
      throwing grenades and killing a family at close range.

      Several members of Kilo Company are currently confined to their
      barracks in Camp Pendleton, between San Diego and Los Angeles, while
      the investigations, one focusing on the alleged killings, the other on
      an alleged military cover-up, reach their conclusion.

      As Americans spent Memorial Day weekend digesting news reports from
      Haditha, including a /Times/ investigation into the alleged killings
      <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2199287,00.html>, General
      Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the most
      senior uniformed US officer, urged the country not to jump to
      conclusions about what took place.

      "We want to find out what happened and we'll make it public," he told
      CNN. "If the allegations, as they are being portrayed in the
      newspaper, turn out to be valid, then of course there will be charges.
      But we don't know yet what the outcome will be."

      The mother of Corporal Briones said her son was ordered to take
      pictures of the bodies in Haditha on his personal digital camera,
      which he was then told to hand over to the US Navy. "It was horrific.
      It was a terrible scene," she told the Associated Press.

      Mrs Briones called the incident "a massacre" and said Corporal
      Briones, who won a Purple Heart after he was injured on his first tour
      of duty in Iraq, had found himself moving the body of a young girl who
      had been shot in the head. "He had to carry that little girl?s body,"
      she said, "and her head was blown off and her brain splattered on his
      boots".

      Corporal Wright?s parents, Patty and Frederick Wright of Novato,
      California, declined to say what might have happened to the pictures
      their son took, but said he had turned over all of his information to
      the Navy. "He is the Forrest Gump of the military," Mr Wright said.
      "He ended up in the spotlight through no fault of his own."

      The spark to the violence was the death of Lance Corporal Miguel
      Terrazas, 20, of El Paso, Texas, a close friend of Corporal Briones,
      who was killed by a roadside bomb as his patrol passed through the
      streets of Haditha, a notorious base for insurgents.

      Interviewed yesterday on National Public Radio, Corporal Terrazas's
      uncle, Andy Terrazas, a former Marine, said: "I hope this is over soon
      so they can just let him rest in peace. I hope these Marines come out
      clean, but I guess it's not looking too good, right?"

      ===

      Haditha Inquiry Finds Attempted Cover-Up
      http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/060106J.shtml

      The US military investigation of how Marine commanders handled the
      reporting of events last November in the Iraqi town of Haditha, where
      troops allegedly killed 24 Iraqi civilians, will conclude that some
      officers gave false information to their superiors, who then failed to
      adequately scrutinize reports that should have caught their attention.

      ===

      Furor grows over civilian deaths in Iraq
      By KIM GAMEL
      Fri Jun 2, 2006
      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060602/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_civilians_killed


      BAGHDAD, Iraq - A third set of allegations that U.S. troops have
      deliberately killed civilians is fueling a furor in Iraq and drawing
      strong condemnations from government and human rights officials.
      "It looks like the killing of Iraqi civilians is becoming a daily
      phenomenon," the chairman of the Iraqi Human Rights Association,
      Muayed al-Anbaki, said Friday after video ran on television of
      children and adults slain in a raid in March on the Iraqi village of
      Ishaqi north of Baghdad.

      Al-Anbaki's comments came a day after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
      upbraided the U.S. military over allegations that Marines killed two
      dozen unarmed civilians in the western city of Haditha, calling it "a
      horrible crime." They were his strongest public comments on the
      subject since his government was sworn in last month.

      U.S. commanders have ordered new ethics training for all troops in
      Iraq. But the flow of revelations and investigations threatens to
      undermine Iraq's new government and public support in America for
      President Bush's management of the war.

      Iraq's government also began its own investigation of the deaths in
      Haditha.

      In addition to the Haditha case, in which Marines are alleged to have
      gunned down 24 civilians in a rage of revenge for a bombing that
      killed a Marine in November, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman could
      face murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges as early as Friday in
      the April shooting death of an Iraqi man in yet another incident, a
      defense attorney said Thursday.

      Military prosecutors plan to file the charges against the seven
      servicemen, who are being held in solitary confinement at Camp
      Pendleton, Calif., Marine Corps base, said Jeremiah Sullivan III, who
      represents one of the men.

      The Iraqi man reportedly was dragged from his home west of Baghdad and
      shot. The Los Angeles Times and NBC News said troops may have planted
      an AK-47 and a shovel near the body to make it appear as if the man
      was an insurgent burying a roadside bomb. Neither suggested a possible
      motive.

      The U.S. military had no additional comment Friday on the accusations
      stemming from a raid March 15 in the village of Ishaqi, about 50 miles
      north of Baghdad.

      In March, the U.S. military said four people died when they attacked
      from the ground and air a house suspected of holding an al-Qaida
      operative. The house was destroyed.

      But footage shot by an AP Television News cameraman at the time shows
      at least five children dead and at least one adult male and four of
      the children with deep wounds to the head that could have been caused
      by bullets or shrapnel. One child has an obvious entry wound to the
      side, and the inside of the walls left standing were pocked with
      bullet holes.

      The March report spelled the village's name as Isahaqi.

      Local Iraqis said there were 11 total dead, and charged that they were
      killed by U.S. troops before the house was leveled.

      The video includes an unidentified man saying "children were stuck in
      the room, alone and surrounded."

      "After they handcuffed them, they shot them dead. Later, they struck
      the house with their planes. They wanted to hide the evidence. Even a
      6-month-old infant was killed. Even the cows were killed, too," he said.

      The video included shots of the bodies of five children and two men
      wrapped in blankets.

      Other video showed the bodies of three children in the back of a
      pickup truck that took them to the hospital in Tikrit,
      Saddam Hussein's former hometown.

      Police Capt. Laith Mohammed said the March 15 attack that hit Ishaqi
      involved U.S. warplanes and armor.

      Riyadh Majid, who identified himself as the nephew of Faez Khalaf, the
      head of the household who was killed, told AP at the time that U.S.
      forces landed in helicopters and raided the home.

      Khalaf's brother, Ahmed, said nine of the victims were family members
      who lived at the house and two were visitors.

      The U.S. military, which said in March that the allegations were being
      investigated, said it was targeting and captured an individual
      suspected of supporting foreign fighters of the al-Qaida in Iraq
      terrorist network. It had no further comment Friday.

      Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, spokesman for U.S.-led forces in Iraq,
      said at a news conference Thursday that "about three or four"
      inquiries were being carried out around the country, but he would not
      provide any details.

      Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Friday defended the training
      and conduct of U.S. troops and said incidents such as the alleged
      massacre of Iraqi civilians shouldn't happen.

      "We know that 99.9 percent of our forces conduct themselves in an
      exemplary manner. We also know that in conflicts things that shouldn't
      happen, do happen," he said. "We don't expect U.S. soldiers to act
      that way, and they're trained not to."

      U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called the allegations "very,
      very serious" and said the world will see a thorough military
      investigation.

      "If people are found to have committed crimes, those people will be
      held responsible and they will be held accountable," Gonzales said
      Friday in an interview with WOAI-AM, a radio station in San Antonio.
      "The president expects that, and I know the leadership in the military
      wants to see that happen as well."

      Iraqi officials and relatives also said U.S. forces killed two Iraqi
      women — one of them about to give birth — when the troops shot at a
      car that failed to stop at an observation post in Samarra, 60 miles
      north of Baghdad.

      The U.S. military said coalition troops fired at a car after it
      entered a clearly marked prohibited area near an observation post but
      failed to stop despite repeated visual and auditory warnings. It said
      the incident was being investigated.

      Army Brig. Gen. Donald Campbell, the chief of staff of the
      Multinational Corps-Iraq, said at a briefing Friday that incidents of
      misconduct could result from the stress and fear of battling an enemy
      that doesn't abide by the rules of war, and often cannot be
      distinguished from the civilian population.

      "It doesn't excuse the acts that have occurred, and we're going to
      look into them. But I would say it's stress, fear, isolation and, in
      some cases, they're just upset. They see their buddies getting blown
      up on occasion, and they could snap," Campbell said.

      ===

      Blinded by Hate in Haditha
      Jun. 3, 2006
      TIM HARPER
      WASHINGTON BUREAU
      http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1149285033817&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968793972154&t=TS_Home


      WASHINGTON—Even by the legendary standards of the U.S. Marine Corps,
      where kinship and camaraderie have long been celebrated, the men of
      Kilo Company were extraordinarily tight, a real life band of brothers.

      They were a family of young men, some with ties dating back to boot
      camp, all with allegiances forged in the daily battle for survival
      where friend was indistinguishable from foe in one of the most
      frightening and deadly areas of Iraq.

      When they lost one of their own last November, they had, said one,
      "lost a brother from a different mother.''

      One member tattooed the name of the fallen soldier, Lance Cpl. Miguel
      (T.J.) Terrazas, on his arm and the dead soldier's family in El Paso,
      Tex., was swamped with cards, banners and tributes to the man who, his
      sergeant said, "brought a smile everywhere he went.''

      But when Kilo Company first came upon the lifeless, mangled body of
      their comrade, "a giant hole in his chin, his eyes rolled up in his
      skull,'' as one put it, they may have had a much more base reaction to
      the sudden death of T.J.

      "I think they were just blinded by hate ... and they just lost
      control,'' said Lance Cpl. James Crossan of Washington State, himself
      badly injured when the Humvee convoy was blown apart by a bomb
      imbedded in the dusty Haditha road.

      Maybe they just snapped that day in Haditha, going from home to home
      firing at unarmed women, children, an old man in a wheelchair, then
      five youths who happened on the scene until, their vengeance finally
      sated, they began an elaborate cover-up that endured against all odds
      for almost three months.

      Just cracked.

      "After 12 to 18 months over there, you can crack,'' says Jon Soltz, an
      Iraq war veteran who now heads a political action committee for other
      vets.

      "In Iraq, everyone is a killer. No matter how much training you have,
      after that length of time in that atmosphere, you can't train someone
      not to crack.''

      The alleged Haditha massacre, which left 24 Iraqis dead, had already
      shaken this country.

      It had particularly rattled Marine veterans so proud of their almost
      mythical, professional warrior tradition.

      But just as they were trying to make sense of what happened that
      morning of Nov. 19, 2005, more allegations surfaced adding up to
      perhaps the darkest week for the U.S. military since it began
      operations in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003.

      Seven other Marines and a navy corpsman are being held and could face
      murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges in connection with the April
      26 killing of an unarmed Iraqi man in Hamandiya.

      Investigators say those being held at Camp Pendleton, Calif., may have
      placed a shovel and an AK-47 near the body to make it appear he was an
      insurgent planting a bomb.

      The military was also forced to take another look at charges that 11
      Iraqi civilians, including women and children, were gunned down March
      15, 2006 in Isahaqi, north of Baghdad. The incident was originally
      described by American authorities as a firefight that killed four
      Iraqis, including an Al Qaeda-linked insurgent holed up in a private home.

      Late yesterday, the U.S. defence department said its probe cleared the
      troops of misconduct, despite dramatic video footage of slain children.

      After being fired on, the soldiers called in air strikes by an air
      force gunship, which attacked and collapsed the building, the defence
      officials said.

      Local Iraqis said the 11 civilians were killed by U.S. troops before
      the house was levelled.

      The bloody aftermath of the attack was captured at the time in video
      footage shot by an AP Television News cameraman. The footage shows at
      least one adult male and four of the children with deep wounds to the
      head that could have been caused by bullets or shrapnel.

      In Samarra, north of Baghdad, two Iraqi women, including one about to
      give birth, were shot and killed by U.S. troops this week.

      That, too, is under investigation.

      And in Afghanistan, U.S. troops are fending off allegations that they
      fired into a crowd — not over their heads, as they said — after a
      military vehicle crashed into cars in Kabul, triggering a riot.

      Since the sordid tale of Haditha started dripping out, no one, from
      U.S. President George W. Bush on down, has suggested the media has
      overreached.

      "In conflicts things that shouldn't happen, do happen,'' said a sombre
      Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

      A senior commander on the ground was more specific.

      "When you're in a combat theatre dealing with enemy combatants who
      don't abide by the law of war, who do acts of indecency, soldiers
      become stressed, they become fearful,'' said Brig.-Gen. Donald
      Campbell. "It's very difficult to determine in some cases on this
      battlefield who is a combatant and who is a civilian.

      "It doesn't excuse the acts that have occurred, and we're going to
      look into them. But I would say it's stress, fear, isolation and, in
      some cases, they're just upset.

      "They see their buddies getting blown up on occasion, and they could
      snap.''

      But revenge is not supposed to be in the Marine playbook.

      It happens, analysts say, because U.S. soldiers are overstretched in Iraq.

      They are back for second, sometimes third tours of duty.

      In Haditha, most of Kilo Company were at least on their second tour,
      after only seven months in between, returning to an area that had been
      a killing field for Marines — six were killed in only three days last
      August and 14 perished in one blast last summer, the deadliest
      roadside bomb attack in the Iraq war.

      They are fighting an insurgency that plays by no rules and shields
      themselves behind innocent civilians.

      "I can understand how you can snap," said Aine Donovan, a former U.S.
      Naval Academy professor who now heads the Ethics Institute at New
      Hampshire's Dartmouth College. "How many tours of duty should we
      expect of our young men? Every time you send them back there, you are
      pushing the limits of probability," Gary Solis, a former Marine and
      West Point Academy instructor who now teaches the law of war at
      Georgetown University law school, says it is particularly painful for
      a Marine to think one of his own may have committed such a crime.

      "We are the elite. Professionalism is stressed," he said. "And when
      you have to exercise that professionalism is when the guy beside you
      has been shot up. You don't turn around and start shooting everyone in
      sight.''

      The Marine determination to protect each other may also explain what
      appears to be an elaborate cover-up.

      When Time magazine first inquired about the allegations of murder, it
      was told it was being played as a dupe.

      Another military representative, the magazine reported, told its
      reporter that civilian deaths were caused by the insurgents placing
      the Iraqis in the line of Marine fire.

      But the story began to unravel.

      A decision up the chain was made to pay families of victims a total of
      $38,000 (U.S.) — $2,000 per head for all those killed in their homes,
      a practice that usually indicates compensation for wrongful deaths.

      A military probe has already concluded those involved on the ground
      lied to superiors and those superiors did not really study the report
      of the incident to look for any holes.

      All this has made it difficult for the grieving Terrazas family in El
      Paso to move on with their lives.

      Miguel Terrazas' brother, Martin Terrazas Jr., told National Public
      Radio he doesn't believe his brothers' buddies avenged his death with
      a bloodbath.

      But he also said he knew the realities of war.

      "These guys are trained to go out there and fight,'' he said. "That's
      their job and that's what they're going to do. And for war, I guess
      it's either their kids or our kids, you know? It's their blood or our
      blood.''

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