Raznor's Rants

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Thursday, March 31, 2005

THREE NUTTY THINGS YOU PROBABLY DON'T KNOW ABOUT IRAQ

Posted by the bekka

So, I've been moving a little slowly in recent mornings, which means that after I listen to the 9am NPR news update on KCRW (http://www.kcrw.org), I switch over to KPCC (http://www.kpcc.org) for "Democracy Now" (http://democracynow.org) until I get to work. I've learned the following disturbing things about Iraq recently:

1) Remember how American troops shot at a vehicle containing Italian reporter Juliana Sgrena, recently released from her capture by Iraqui insurgents, and killed Italian government hostage negotiator and secret service agent Nicola Calipari? Remember how official news reports said they were driving along the secured road to the airport at excessive speeds and were warned to stop before they were opened fire upon at a checkpoint station?

Yeah. Turns out that NONE, I repeat NONE of the official U.S. incident report is true. Sgrena says that they were driving down a road that is unknown and inaccessable to anyone except for the American military - it used to be a secret road that Saddam Hussein used to get from the airport to his palace. NO Iraquis can gain access to this area, and the road has NO checkpoints. They were driving along at a normal speed when a tank parked on the side of the road shot 4-inch diameter shells at them...from behind! That's right. The tank waited until they had passed and then fired into the back seat: the only uninjured passenger was the driver. And now the US Government won't release the car for inspection. It's another JFK, "she said, THEY said" situation. Scary.

2) Everyone remembers seeing pictures of American troops tearing down Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad back on April 9, 2003. What relatively few people know is that the day before that, US troops opened fired on the Palestine Hotel, located across the square containing Hussein's statue, which at the time was housing over 100 international reporters, some American.

The following (which I'd like to entitle, "Can you say d'oh?" comes from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/media/media_watch/july-dec03/palestinehotel_08-13-03.html

"The tank round killed Taras Protsyuk, a 35-year-old Ukrainian cameraman for Reuters, and José Couso, a 37-year-old Spanish cameraman working for the television network Telecinco. The journalists had been filming the fighting from the hotel balconies, witnesses reported. Three other Reuters cameramen were wounded from the blast.

"The enemy had repeatedly chosen to conduct its combat activities from throughout the civilian areas of Baghdad," and utilized "the Palestine Hotel and the areas immediately around it as a platform for military operations," the military's statement said. Soldiers saw what they believed to be an enemy observer and sniper on an upper-story balcony of the 18-story building, and "they also witnessed flashes of light, consistent with enemy fire, coming from the same general location as the building," according to the Central Command statement.

The soldiers then fired a single tank round at the building, and only later learned the building was actually the Palestine Hotel and served as the home base for many correspondents covering the war.
U.S. Central Command concluded that the "activities on the balcony of the Palestine Hotel were consistent with that of an enemy combatant" and therefore U.S. forces acted in "self-defense." "Baghdad was a high intensity combat area and some journalists had elected to remain there despite repeated warnings of the extreme danger of doing so," according to a summary of the military's report."

3) Last but not least, the "Boy, should've seen that one coming" award goes to U.S. Intelligence officials for this gem. The secret source who provided much of the information about Saddam Hussein's WMD's (now deemed to be "dead wrong") and who was never interviewed in person by the FBI or CIA was nicknamed (get this) Curveball.

I love America: it's so great to live in a country that's never wrong!

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