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The Middle East is Burning
The BRussells Tribunal Slanders Uruknet

Uruknet Editorial Staff

THE MIDDLE EAST IS BURNING
THE BRUSSELLS TRIBUNAL SLANDERS URUKNET

IRAQI, SHUT UP: MAX FULLER SPEAKS FOR YOU!!!
UN: MORE THAN 100 IRAQIS SLAUGHTERED EVERY DAY. AND WHILE IRAQ IS DYING…

 


Dear Readers,

More than three years ago Uruknet started its independent media project, “information from occupied Iraq”. In these Orwellian times we have offered our readers with news and comments from a wide range of sources. Without sponsors, public or private funding our staff work on a volunteer basis in solidarity with the Iraqi People’s just struggle for freedom and independence against the illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of their country. In critical moments it’s our moral duty to stay close to the facts against the perils of rewriting history, without conceding points that shouldn't be conceded. We believe this is more important than any other consideration. It’s in this spirit that we release this editorial. - Uruknet Editorial Staff

* * *

Chain of events

A few days ago the BRussells Tribunal published and widely distributed a defamatory article against Uruknet: ¡Nunca Olvida! Never Forget! The US role in Iraq’s death squads: A response to Gabriele Zamparini and Uruknet’s "Listening to the Survivors", by Max Fuller, member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee (July 2006)

Members of the BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee have been distributing this article over the internet and had the impudence to ask repeatedly Uruknet to publish it.

Gabriele Zamparini, who co-authored together with Uruknet’s editor Paola Pisi the July 6 article "Iraq: Listening to the Survivors", replied to the BRussells Tribunal with an e-mail [see Appendix] which the BRussells Tribunal published on its website, underneath Fuller’s article.

The Uruknet Editorial Staff – busy to follow the news coming from Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Afghanistan – was inundated with e-mails coming from our readers rightly asking explanations on the content of the article the BRussells Tribunal was spreading over the internet.

At this point, Uruknet Editorial Staff wrote to the BRussells Tribunal. We felt that the trust, solidarity and friendship that had been the reasons for our cooperation were betrayed and informed the BRussells Tribunal of our decision to end any collaboration.

A series of BRussells Tribunal’s emails asking to rethink our decision explained Uruknet that the BRussells Tribunal’s “mistake” was simply the result of “stupidity”. The BRussells Tribunal – without ever being requested to do so by Uruknet – informed us that Fuller’s article was removed from its website. Uruknet found out a few days later that a new, revisited version of the same article reappeared on the BRussells Tribunal’s website. This new version seems to be the same article, after the words “A response to Gabriele Zamparini and Uruknet’s ‘Listening to the Survivors’” have been removed. The many references to Paola Pisi and Gabriele Zamparini’s names and article present in the original version have been removed as well. The two authors are now described as anonymous “commentators”.

Gabriele Zamparini’s reply [see Appendix] has been removed from the BRussells Tribunals website.

The following Uruknet’s editorial is based on the original version of Fuller’s article published and widely distributed by the BRussells Tribunal.

We publish both Fuller’s article’s versions underneath, at the end of this editorial.

We feel it’s our moral responsibility to share all this with our readers.

Uruknet Editorial Staff

Rome, 5 August 2006

 * * *

THE MIDDLE EAST IS BURNING
THE BRUSSELLS TRIBUNAL SLANDERS URUKNET

IRAQI, SHUT UP: MAX FULLER SPEAKS FOR YOU!!!
UN: MORE THAN 100 IRAQIS SLAUGHTERED EVERY DAY. AND WHILE IRAQ IS DYING…

 

INTRODUCTION

The pretext for the BRussells Tribunal’s denigration against Uruknet it’s an article by Paola Pisi [Uruknet’s editor] and Gabriele Zamparini [The Cat’s Dream’s editor] on the kidnapping, torture and brutal killing of Khamis al-Obeidi, one of the main lawyers defending Saddam Hussein [see Appendix]. In “Iraq: Listening to the Survivors. The killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyers and the Iraqi testimonies, Pisi and Zamparini asked for a truly independent investigation and voiced their disagreement with some of the conclusions Max Fuller reached in his article “Probing for the truth. MAX FULLER calls for independent criminal inquiries into Iraq's extrajudicial executions, BRussells Tribunal, Friday 30 June 2006.

Asking for an independent investigation, Max Fuller had already excluded in his article any involvement of the Mehdi Army [the militia of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr] in spite of the many and concordant Iraqi testimonies.

In the middle of this current new aggression against the Peoples of Palestine and Lebanon, the BRussells Tribunal published and widely distributed a new article by Max Fuller, ¡Nunca Olvida! Never Forget! The US role in Iraq’s death squads: A response to Gabriele Zamparini and Uruknet’s "Listening to the Survivors", by Max Fuller, member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee (July 2006).

Paola Pisi and Gabriele Zamparini’s article “Iraq: Listening to the Survivors. The killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyers and the Iraqi testimonies” was signed with the names of the two authors. Why did Fuller title his article “A response to Gabriele Zamparini and Uruknet’s ‘Listening to the Survivors’” ? [emphasis added]

In their article Pisi and Zamparini simply voiced their dissent from some statements and conclusions (accurately quoted) written by Fuller, without attacking or insulting anybody. In his article published by the BRussells Tribunal instead Fuller alters and disguises Pisi and Zamparini’s arguments, so to accuse the authors and Uruknet of doing “exactly what the Occupation wants”.

 

PART ONE – URUKNET: THE OCCUPYING POWER’S MEGAPHONE?

In his “response”, Fuller never quotes from Pisi-Zamparini’s article “Iraq: Listening to the Survivors, resorting instead to ‘creative-writing’ to better slander those who hold different opinions and dare to voice them.

Fuller twists, manipulates and distorts what Pisi and Zamparini write to conclude that the two authors and Uruknet underestimate the crimes perpetrated by the United States and the Iraqi puppet government’s MOI [Ministry of the Interior]. Fuller writes:Focusing on the Mehdi Army or the Badr Brigades is exactly what the Occupation wants the anti-war movement to do, providing the real criminals with ‘plausible denial’ and building a climate in which Iraq can be successfully dismembered.”

Uruknet believes that its readers can easily judge by themselves the credibility of Fuller’s allegations against Paola Pisi, Gabriele Zamparini and Uruknet itself.

In their article published on July 6, 2006, Iraq: Listening to the Survivors”, Pisi and Zamparini wrote:

We strongly agree with the necessity for a truly independent investigation.

We also strongly believe that while it’s absolutely paramount to stress over again that:

1) Every single crime related to the occupation of Iraq falls under the responsibility of the Occupying Power, according to international Law;

2) The Occupying Power is obviously using the "traditional means" that have always been used in the whole history of colonialism and occupations;

as always, also in the case of the killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyers we must remember Bertrand Russell’s teaching: "we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn't wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine."

We believe that facts and evidence should not be selected, hidden or misrepresented to support one theory or the other and we think that only the Iraqi People know what’s been happening in their own country. (…)

We strongly call for a truly independent investigation on the killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyers but we in the anti-war, anti-occupation movement should be the first to look at the facts and evidence and listen to the testimonies of the Iraqi People.

An independent investigation should also be called for the so-called sectarian killings.

There is much documentation, testimonies, reports on what’s been happening in occupied Iraq and on the role played by the Mehdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr and its relation with the MOI [Ministry of the Interior] and the occupation forces. (…)

In a spirit of solidarity with the Iraqi People’s Just Struggle for freedom and independence against the US-led illegal invasion-occupation of Iraq, the "crime against the peace, for which there is responsibility under international law", we would like to appeal to our brothers and sisters in the international ANTI-war-occupation movement to listen carefully to the Iraqi People without patronizing them.

We believe these questions are extremely urgent and must be addressed without further delay. In Iraq the carnage is going on and it’s time to question the role of all these militias and death squads and their relation with the occupying Power.

Among other death squads and militias, a truly independent investigation must question the Badr Organisation [the armed wing of the Shia Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq] and the Mehdi Army [the militia of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr] within the frame of the US-led occupation and its puppet Iraqi government of which Moqtada al-Sadr with his religious party is one of the most important components.

Uruknet asks its readers if what reported above means doing “exactly what the Occupation wants” as Fuller concludes in his article.

Fuller writes:

It is no surprise to find that these views are challenged by such apologists as Stephen Zunes, who writes that ‘there is little evidence to suggest that US trainers have actively encouraged death squad activity’ (just as there is no ‘evidence’ that Negroponte knew anything about the death squads in El Salvador or Honduras) despite an avalanche of material available to any prepared to look. Nor is it any surprise that these views are ridiculed at such bastions of learning as the Conflict Studies Research Centre of the Defence Academy of the UK. But it comes as a shock to find these arguments under assault from an organization like Uruknet, which has consistently opposed the Occupation of Iraq and provided a bulwark of news and analysis against the lies of the criminals. Yet Uruknet editor Paola Pisi and writer and activist Gabriele Zamparini have chosen to do essentially that in their article ‘Iraq: Listening to the Survivors’, in which they have criticized an article in which I called for an independent investigation into the killings of three lawyers defending Saddam Hussein and other members of the former Iraqi government on the grounds that I have not heard and understood what is happening in Iraq. Their argument is that rather than focusing on US control of the Iraqi security apparatus, we should be looking at the involvement of Iraq’s two most famous Shiite militias, the Mehdi Army of Radical Cleric Muqtada al Sadr and the Badr Brigade, linked to the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.”

As one can easily read from Pisi-Zamparini’s article, their argument WAS NOT, as Fuller writes, “rather than focusing on US control of the Iraqi security apparatus” since they repeatedly and clearly stated just the OPPOSITE.

Fuller then concludes his articleFocusing on the Mehdi Army or the Badr Brigades is exactly what the Occupation wants the anti-war movement to do, providing the real criminals with ‘plausible denial’ and building a climate in which Iraq can be successfully dismembered.”

Readers can compare by themselves the Fuller’s characterization of Pisi-Zamparini’s article with the original piece whose conclusions are reported above.

Pisi and Zamparini have strongly and repeatedly stated that every crime since the invasion falls under the total responsibility of the Occupying power. The two authors have never denied the existence of death squads directly created by the USA and its collaborators at the MOI. Quite the opposite. Pisi and Zamparini have simply added that the Badr Organisation [the armed wing of the Shia Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq] and the Mehdi Army [the militia of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr] are probably involved in the carnage, in collusion with the Occupying power and its quislings in the Iraqi puppet government where the real leaders of those two militias are among the most important components.

On the contrary Fuller and the BRussells Tribunal exploit the US created death squads argument to deny [in spite of a large amount of evidence of numerous and concordant Iraqi testimonies] any responsibility of the Badr and Mehdi militias in the current violence that provokes more than 100 deaths a day in Iraq.

Uruknet has published dozens of articles on the death squads created, supported and funded by the Occupying power [1], including Fuller’s pieces despite the latter reported major inaccuracies [2].

The existence of the death squads created and funded by the Occupying power cannot and must not be used to deny any involvement of the Badr Organisation and the Mehdi Army in the current mass murdering that is resulting in those 100 killings a day in Iraq.

Max Fuller and the BRussells Tribunal have called Uruknet in this unpleasant controversy.

Uruknet therefore will pass now to analyze Fuller’s latest article not to defend its reputation or the names of Paola Pisi [editor of Uruknet] and Gabriele Zamparini [editor of The Cat’s Dream] whose honourability doesn’t need to be defended against this inept attempt, but to unmask the ideological means used to discredit those individuals who don’t conform and insist to follow George Orwell’s teaching “But at least let us have no more nonsense about defending liberty against Fascism. If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. The common people still vaguely subscribe to that doctrine and act on it… it is the liberals who fear liberty and the intellectuals who want to do dirt on the intellect…”



PART TWO – THE KILLING OF KHAMIS AL-OBEIDI, ONE OF THE MAIN LAWYERS DEFENDING SADDAM HUSSEIN

With regard to the killing of Khamis Al-Obeidi, Max Fuller tries to select the information available so to adjust the reality to his personal view of the events.

As Pisi and Zamparini reported in their piece Iraq: Listening to the Survivors. The killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyers and the Iraqi testimonies, Fuller excluded in his analysis that the Mehdi Army could be even suspected to have had any role in the criminal act.

In his new piece Fuller writes, “It is hard to see how my rendering of the event differs notably from the related facts, which of course formed the basis of my account.”

Uruknet readers may decide by themselves by reading “Iraq: Listening to the Survivors

In their article, Pisi and Zamparini wrote:

There is an overwhelming amount of independent testimonies that agree on several points. Also, what Fuller writes "with MOI [Ministry of the Interior] representatives in police vehicles hauling Mr Obeidi from his home in the middle of the night for 'questioning'" is not what several Iraqi testimonies reported, namely:

Mr. Obeidi's wife, Um Laith, said that early this morning while she, her husband and three children slept, about 20 men in civilian clothes burst into their house in the neighborhood of Slaikh, on the edge of the predominantly Sunni area of Adamiya, and identified themselves as members of a ministry security brigade. (…)

Iraqi witnesses said that Mr. Obeidi was transported in a convoy of vehicles by people known as belonging to the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia known to be affiliated with the rebellious anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Witnesses said they wore flak jackets and shouted "terrorist" at one point.

We agree with Fuller when he writes that "under an image of al-Sadr's father and firing some shots in the air does not constitute proof of guilt acceptable in any courtroom in the world", but we have tried to demonstrate that that image has a context and it’s only the last and the least piece in a larger picture designed by a series of concordant testimonies. Of course whoever is responsible, they couldn't have openly abducted Khamis al-Obeidi and outraged his corpse in Sadr City, in total impunity, without the complicity of the MOI [Ministry of the Interior] and the occupation forces.

In his “response”, Fuller tries to demolish the evidence leading to the Mehdi Army’s responsibility for the kidnapping, torture and killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyer Khamis al-Obeidi. While in his previous article Fuller had selected, hidden or misrepresented the sources, this time he alters them radically.

Fuller keeps ignoring the Iraqi testimonies accusing the Mehdi Army, since in his opinion these testimonies can prove nothing. It’s true, as he writes, “that most murderers try to conceal their crimes or transpose the blame to others”, but this is not a good reason to conclude, as Fuller and the BRussells Tribunal do, that those accused by all the Iraqi testimonies, without any dissenting voice, are indeed innocent. Furthermore it seems quite improbable that strangers could have openly and publicly outraged Khamis al-Obeidi’s corpse in Sadr City, notoriously totally controlled by the Mehdi Army. [For the Iraqi testimonies please read Pisi and Zamparini’s “Iraq: Listening to the Survivors]

In his “response” Fuller, who never quotes the Iraqi testimonies, summarizes them in a wrong way:

It should also be noted that the account of militiamen parading Mr Obeidi described by Pisi and Zamparini refers to a Mehdi Army leader named Abu Der’ra. Perhaps, if Pisi and Zamparini had done some more listening of their own, they would have heard the residents of Sadr City who denied that Abu Deraa was a resident of the area, or even the Thawra councilman and senior Sadr official, who insisted that Deraa is not a member of the Mehdi Army. In fact, Deraa is being referred to as the ‘Shiite Zarqawi’ and, I suggest, is just as much a psyop.

Unfortunately the link provided by Fuller’s article doesn’t help since it directs the reader to an article published on the Jordan Times and that has nothing to do with the topic.

Presumably Fuller wanted to link to this other article Baghdad buzzing with talk about 'Shiite Zarqawi' [by Sam Dagher, AFP, Sat Jul 8, 9:20 AM ET]

This article reads: “Residents insisted that Abu Deraa did not live in the neighbourhood and that during the raid US and Iraqi forces arrested eight people, all civilians including an elementary school teacher. ‘There is no Abu Deraa here -- all of those detained were innocent civilians,’ Ali Abdul Jalil, the owner of a car workshop in the area said Saturday.”

Pisi and Zamparini published their article Iraq: Listening to the Survivorson July 6 while the AFP published the article above on July 8. How Pisi and Zamparini could have “done some more listening of their own” – as Fuller writes in his “response” – is a mystery since they can’t foresee the future.

But as Oscar Wilde wrote, “Truth is rarely pure and never simple”.

In the case of Abu Deraa, the matter is more complex [3] but completely irrelevant to the issue.

Fuller writes: “I failed to mention that Mehdi Army militiamen are reported to have paraded Mr Obeidi around the Al Thawra (Sadr City) district of Baghdad before his murder and subsequently celebrated his killing with refreshments in the streets. It is true that I did not refer to this account on one blog that is no longer available [?], but only referred to the disposal of My Obeidi’s body under an image of the Ayatollah al-Sadr, Muqtada al-Sadr’s father.”

The testimonies reported by only one Iraqi blog accuse Abu Deera NOT of the kidnapping, torture and killing of Khamis Al-Obeidi [Saddam Hussein’s lawyer] but to have celebrated publicly with a refreshment in Sadr City: Today in Al Thawra city (Sadr) Abu Der‚ra, [the leader of a Mehdi Army‚s group] his men and his admirers celebrated the killing of Saddam defense lawyer. At around 11 am refreshments were served to the people in the streets and a heroic story is told of how the slain lawyer was car-paraded in Al Thawra city prior to his death.”

There are instead many testimonies that accuse openly the Mehdi Army of the kidnapping, torture and killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyer without ever mentioning Abu Deera.

As Pisi and Zamparini wrote in their article, the New York Times reported:

Iraqi witnesses said that Mr. Obeidi was transported in a convoy of vehicles by people known as belonging to the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia known to be affiliated with the rebellious anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Witnesses said they wore flak jackets and shouted "terrorist" at one point.

Mr. Obeidi was taken to a spot called Hamidiya, about six miles from his house, according to witnesses.

His body was dumped in a place for construction debris, apparently retrieved again, and then dumped in a lot in Sadr City. It was then taken to the Tahtheeb police station there, an area known as a stronghold of the Mahdi Army, riddled with bullets in the head, chest and back.”

Also in the same article Pisi and Zamparini wrote:

A well-known Iraqi blog, Iraqi Screen”, reported:

I tried again and again till a woman answered me, Oh , My God, I asked her who is she? She said " Iam Khamis wife."

But how is that you still have khamis telephone with you while he is kidnapped?

We were at home, Khamis was in his bed, when more than 15 armed man stormed our house at 7 am, wearing civil uniform and grabbed Khamis from his bed. I asked them who are you? They told me "we are the security of the Ministry of Interior." (…)

Khamis body later on found in Sader city, tortured severely, an eye witness from the city itself said " Khamis body was on the ground, any one passes by give it a bullet among shouts of condemnation for any person defends Saddam."

These are some of the facts reported in Pisi-Zamparini’s article that also reads “The very same story, with the same details and many more interesting ones has been confirmed by numerous and different sources.”

Instead of replying to these facts with other facts, Fuller, with the support of the BRussells Tribunal, writes:

What we do have is a growing body of eyewitness testimonies from Iraqis asserting the presence of members of one or other militia group. Such assertions are blown out of all proportion within the mainstream western media by writers who have never seriously questioned the role of US military-intelligence advisors in orchestrating the death squads despite a barrage of evidence. The views of journalists who take this line can be discarded as trash, but not those of the Iraqis, who, undoubtedly, genuinely see the involvement of both Badr and Mehdi militiamen. The problem with such testimonies is not in their credibility but in their ability to perceive the structures and follow the chains of command of the various armed groups that are assaulting them. Despite truisms, the truth is that sometimes you can feel the effect of the lash, but not see the hand that is wielding it.”

But in his new article – the so-called “response” to Pisi-Zamparini’s “Iraq: Listening to the Survivors” Fuller brings a new piece of information:A spokesman for Muqtada al-Sadr ‘angrily denied’ the accusations, a surely significant fact that neither I nor Pisi and Zamparini mentioned previously.”

This anonymous “spokesman” who “angrily denied” al-Sadr’s movement’s involvement in the killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyer, is “a surely significant fact” – as Fuller comments on it – that’s been reported by the US National Public Radio. But Fuller doesn't mention the title of this NPR’s report: Witnesses: Sadr's Men Killed Saddam's Lawyer”.

To use Fuller’s own words, “it comes as a shock” to read at the bottom of his article published by the Brussells Tribunal He is an authority in the field of ‘Death Squads’ and ‘the Salvador Option’”.

If Fuller is aware of the fact that “most murderers try to conceal their crimes or transpose the blame to others”, he should also know that sometimes they profess their own innocence.

The killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyer is also part of a well-detailed reportage published on Salon.com after the Pisi-Zamparini’s “Iraq: Listening to the Survivors”. [4]

Fuller will also be interested to know that the Official Baath Party Statement on Sunday’s Shi‘i sectarian rampage in western Baghdad: Keep your guns trained on the occupation and its stooges, don’t respond to sectarianism with sectarian logic!” published on Uruknet on July 10, 2006, reads:

The Jaysh al-Mahdi [Mahdi Army] is directly responsible for this crime, having been commissioned by Iran in accordance with the announced agreement with America on the partition of Iraq, parceling it out between them.  This is a fact, not an allegation because thousands of Iraqi victims of this organization testify that this organization has transformed Saddam City into a frightful slaughter house in which hundreds of Iraqis are imprisoned and subjected to the most hideous types of deadly torture, after which their bodies are dumped in filthy water.  The criminal murder of the martyred attorney Khamis al-'Ubaydi is one of the most vicious examples of this criminal behavior of the Jaysh al-Mahdi.”

This is certainly not a proof, at least not by itself. But it brings more light as another piece of information: together with the many, diverse testimonies, also the Iraqi Resistance to the Occupying power blames the al-Sadr’s movement. Or does Fuller think that even the Iraqi Resistance is doing “exactly what the Occupation wants”?

Anyway, Pisi-Zamparini’s article asked for a truly independent investigation, without reaching the conclusions of such an investigation. The two authors did not conclude that the Mehdi Army was guilty behind any reasonable doubt. They simply stressed the point that all the Iraqi testimonies were in agreement. They asked for a truly independent investigation whose object should be to investigate on the killing and verify the testimonies. The only subjects accused by Pisi and Zamparini were the occupation forces and the MOI, as they wrote in their article:

Of course whoever is responsible, they couldn't have openly abducted Khamis al-Obeidi and outraged his corpse in Sadr City, in total impunity, without the complicity of the MOI [Ministry of the Interior] and the occupation forces. (...)

We strongly call for a truly independent investigation on the killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyers but we in the anti-war, anti-occupation movement should be the first to look at the facts and evidence and listen to the testimonies of the Iraqi People.”

On the contrary Fuller and the Brussells Tribunal ask for a bizarre investigation since they exclude in advance that the potential responsible could be those accused by all Iraqi testimonies and now even by the Baath Resistance.

Do Fuller, the BRussells Tribunal and that part of the “anti-war movement” that agree with them think that asking for a truly independent investigation is a crime and means doing “exactly what the Occupation wants”?



PART THREE – BACKGROUND

In their article, Pisi and Zamparini tried to bring some light on the background behind the killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyer.

Part 2. Background

Two years ago, on 3 July 2004, Al-Jazeera reported:

Shaikh Raid al-Kadhimi [ Al-Sadr's official representative ], a senior preacher among Iraq's Shia, warned the lawyers, whom he described as "mercenary lawyers", against coming to Iraq.

"I advise the monkeys, those mercenary lawyers, who wish to defend Saddam, not to come to Iraq because Iraqis will be ready to deal with them," he said from the pulpit of Baghdad's Kadhimiyah Shrine.

"We demand the execution of Saddam Hussein and we think we represent the opinion of al-Sadr's supporters and most Iraqis," said Shaikh Awad Khafaji, a chief aide of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, during his Friday sermon in a Shia district of Baghdad.

In his “response, Fuller writes:

3) I failed to discuss an aspect of the background to the killings of the three lawyers, namely that Muqtada al-Sadr and two of his spokesmen had made hostile comments towards the trial of Saddam Hussein. I would like to deal with the various comments separately. (i) The most substantively incriminating comment was made by Shaikh Raid al-Kadhimi in July 2004 from the ‘pulpit of Baghdad’s Kadhimiya Shrine’. The problem with using this as evidence against Muqtada al-Sadr is that Kadhimi seems an unreliable spokesman [emphasis added].

Every single time someone, from the West, from the East, from the North and from the South, tries to bring a piece of information that happens to incriminate al-Sadr’s movement or the Badr Brigades, the self-proclaimed “authority in the field of ‘Death Squads’ and ‘the Salvador Option’” has the answer ready; this time Fuller writes: “unreliable spokesman”. Why?

Has Fuller found any source according to which Khadhimi is not a Muqtada al-Sadr’s official representative? Has Fuller found any evidence questioning his position or his credibility? No, he hasn’t. All the sources agree that Khadhimi is a Muqtada al-Sadr’s official representative. But according to Fuller, Khadhimi is an “unreliable spokesman”.

Fuller explains:

Kadhimi himself had been in exile in Syria for a number of years before the US invasion (unlike Muqtada al-Sadr) and the Kadhimiya Shrine where he spoke has been strongly linked with another al-Sadr, Muqtada’s uncle Hussein al-Sadr, who was not only also in exile, but strongly supported the US invasion and dines with Colin Powel. Hussein al-Sadr is not close to Muqtada, but is closely associated with US/UK intelligence asset Ayad Allawi.

It’s difficult to follow Fuller’s logic. The Syria argument is simply left there, no explanation is given. About the other argument, the threat against Saddam Hussein’s lawyers was pronounced at “the Kadhimiya Shrine… [that] has been strongly linked with another al-Sadr, Muqtada’s uncle Hussein al-Sadr, who was not only also in exile, but strongly supported the US invasion and dines with Colin Powel. Hussein al-Sadr is not close to Muqtada, but is closely associated with US/UK intelligence asset Ayad Allawi.”

Trying to follow Fuller’s logic, one could ask: If the “Shaikh Raid al-Kadhimi [ Al-Sadr's official representative ], a senior preacher among Iraq's Shia, warned the lawyers, whom he described as "mercenary lawyers", against coming to Iraq.”, why is the place where this threat was officially pronounced important?

Fuller says, because “the Kadhimiya Shrine… has been strongly linked with another al-Sadr, Muqtada’s uncle Hussein al-Sadr…”

Fuller should know that the Kadhimiya Shrine is one of the main Shia religious places of Baghdad and the whole Iraq and not certainly the private Shrine of this or that religious figures.

Fuller makes the “strongly linked” argument, linking to an article on the Wall Street Journal, dated 16 February 2005. Al-Jazeera reported “Shaikh Raid al-Kadhimi [ Al-Sadr's official representative ], a senior preacher among Iraq's Shia, warned the lawyers, whom he described as "mercenary lawyers", against coming to Iraq.” on 3 July 2004.

Even more important, this 16 February 2005 WSJ’s article reads: “U.S. military commanders in Baghdad are especially concerned about the Defenders of Khadamiya, which is forming to guard a major Shiite shrine on the city's northern edge at the behest of Shiite cleric Hussein al Sadr. U.S. military officials worry that the group, which now numbers about 120 men but plans to grow to more than 800, could be used to settle internal Shiite scores or deployed in a Sunni-Shiite conflict.”

From the timing and the facts, one fails to understand which logic Fuller followed to make his “strongly linked” argument.

But since Fuller reported the 16 February 2005 WSJ’s article, one must ask why he didn’t report some other articles, such as:

Unlike embattled al-Adhamiya, al-Kadhimiya is relatively quiet and peaceful. 

Members of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army still roam the streets, but have traded their black and green uniforms for plainclothes attire and concealed their guns. 

"We just changed our clothes so the US military won't know we're the Mahdi army," says Arkan Aziz who is one of 1000 armed Iraqis cooperating with the police and legally charged with guarding the shrine. [Bridge over the river Tigris, By May Ying Welsh in Baghdad, 14 April 2004]

Or like this one:

One Friday not long after the Ashura bombings, I went with Shaker to hear prayers in Kadhimiya, an old Shiite neighborhood in the northwestern part of Baghdad that is famous for its gold shops. One of the bombs killed nearly sixty people at the local shrine, which holds the remains of two imams who came after the martyred Hussein. Along a broad pedestrian market street that ends in the square in front of the sixteenth-century mosque, cordons of grim-looking young Mahdi Army militiamen, carrying Kalashnikovs, searched the throngs of pilgrims for weapons. There were no Iraqi policemen or American soldiers on the streets. [CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE, by GEORGE PACKER, THE NEW YORKER, May 10, 2004]

There are many other sources reporting the strong presence of the Mahdi Army militiamen at Kadhimiya. [5]

Fuller’s “unreliable spokesman” argument shows perfectly well his methodology. He seems not looking for the truth but systematically twists and manipulates the sources to support his thesis. Even worse the chain of words, phrases and facts without any logical connection has the goal to confuse and manipulate the readers to sell better his opinions. In this way al-Sadr’s official representative becomes Fuller’s “unreliable spokesman”.

Pisi and Zamparini wrote in their article on July 6, 2006:

We believe that facts and evidence should not be selected, hidden or misrepresented to support one theory or the other and we think that only the Iraqi People know what’s been happening in their own country.

Uruknet shares completely these sentiments and subscribes to these words.

In their July 6 article, Pisi and Zamparini also reported:

Earlier this year, Reuters reported about the resignation of the chief judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein:

The killings of two defense lawyers have already prompted questions over the U.S.-backed decision to hold the trial in the midst of bitter sectarian and ethnic conflict. (...) A source close to Kurdish judge Rizgar Amin himself told Reuters that tribunal officials were trying to talk him out of his decision but he was reluctant to stay on because Shiite leaders had criticized him for being "soft" on Saddam in court. "He tendered his resignation to the court a few days ago but the court rejected it. Now talks are under way to convince him to go back on his decision," he said on Saturday. "He’s under a lot of pressure, the whole court is under political pressure. "I am not sure if he will go back on his decision," said the source, who is familiar with Amin’s thinking. "He had complaints from the government that he was being too soft in dealing with Saddam. They want things to go faster." The last straw, the source said, was a letter criticizing his handling of the trial from radical Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr, whose movement is part of the ruling Islamist bloc.

Just a few months ago, the Associated Press reported about shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr:

The cleric, speaking from the holy city of Najaf, said Saddam Hussein should not be tried but executed immediately. He criticized what he called American intervention in the trial and causing to take too much time.

In his “response”, Fuller – completely ignoring al-Sadr’s letter to the chief judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein - replies as following:

(ii.) Shaik Awad Khafaji and Muqtada al-Sadr are both reported to have demanded the execution of Saddam Hussein. I don’t have to agree with their position to point out that in neither statement, as far as I am aware, were specific threats made against the lawyers themselves. From Muqtada al-Sadr’s position, one possible outcome of killing the defence lawyers must surely be the removal of the trial to a country where the death penalty would not even be an option. On every count it would be an act of unbridled stupidity on al-Sadr’s part to sanction the murder of Saddam Hussein’s lawyers and there is no evidence that he has done so.

It must be noted that Pisi and Zamparini have never written or implied that Moqtada al-Sadr has personally ordered or authorized the kidnapping, torture and killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyer. According to Fuller “it would be an act of unbridled stupidity on al-Sadr’s part to sanction the murder of Saddam Hussein’s lawyers” since “one possible outcome of killing the defence lawyers must surely be the removal of the trial to a country where the death penalty would not even be an option”.

Following this logic, the same could be said for anybody else but we know with absolutely certainty that the trial has not been moved to any third country and surely Khamis Al-Obeidi didn’t commit suicide.

But Fuller is absolutely convinced that the Medhi Army has nothing to do with the kidnapping, torture and killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyer Khamis Al-Obeidi. That’s enough to accuse those asking for a truly independent investigation to do “exactly what the Occupation wants”.



PART FOUR – IRAQI PEOPLE’S “ABILITY TO PERCEIVE”

After the “micro dimensions” (?) Fuller moves to the “macro dimensions” (?) and writes:

The ‘macro dimension’ to Pisi and Zamparini’s criticism of my article actually has very little to do with the substance of the particular piece. Their real objection is that in consistently drawing on detailed evidence, including US military sources, to examine the role of the US military-intelligence apparatus within the ongoing violence in Iraq, I have systematically downplayed the involvement of the Badr Brigade and the Mehdi Army.”

After reporting a series of documented and concordant Iraqi testimonies, what Pisi and Zamparini wrote in their July 6 article Iraq: listening to the survivorswas:

We believe these questions are extremely urgent and must be addressed without further delay. In Iraq the carnage is going on and it’s time to question the role of all these militias and death squads and their relation with the occupying Power.

Among other death squads and militias, a truly independent investigation must question the Badr Organisation [the armed wing of the Shia Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq] and the Mehdi Army [the militia of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr] within the frame of the US-led occupation and its puppet Iraqi government of which Moqtada al-Sadr with his religious party is one of the most important components. 

In their piece Pisi and Zamparini had not made any “macro dimensions” criticism of Fuller’s article. But Fuller in his “response” goes further:

The truth is that, aside from anecdotal allegations from fairly spurious sources, there is no publicly available information on the organisation or structure of either group [Badr Brigade and the Mehdi Army] and spokespersons for both of them assiduously deny their involvement.”

In this editorial Uruknet has tried to deconstruct Fuller’s methodology and our readers may judge by themselves the “anecdotal allegations from fairly spurious sources”.

If the readers however are interested in more “anecdotal allegations from fairly spurious sources”, they may want to read Badr's spreading web by Mahan Abedin published on 10 December 2005 on Asia Times.

Fuller doesn’t explain why the above article by Mahan Abedin would not be credible. Even more surprisingly he doesn’t justify his mind-blowing statement “there is no publicly available information on the organisation or structure of either group [Badr Brigade and the Mehdi Army]”. Since Fuller must be able to conduct a simple search on Google, his words seem to say: the existing information is not what I like so I, the “authority in the field of ‘Death Squads’ and ‘the Salvador Option’”, say they don’t exist. According to the “authority” the only credible information comes from the militias’ spokespersons that “assiduously deny their involvement” in the crimes the Iraqi testimonies and witnesses concordantly and repeatedly incriminate them of.

Max Fuller doesn’t accept any Iraqi testimonies nor any journalists’ reports IF they don’t fit his own vision but he is immediately ready to believe the “spokespersons for both of” the Badr Brigade and the Mehdi Army when they “assiduously deny their involvement.” Why?

Should we also trust Bush and Blair and their spokespersons when they deny the massive amount of evidence from Iraqi testimonies and journalists who accuse them of systematic war crimes and crimes against humanity? Should we believe the “few bad apples” fairy tales every time the infamous official investigations reach their conclusions? Following this logic, why don’t we trust the ruthless Blair and Bush every time the spokespersons for both of” them pronounce the words “freedom”, “democracy”, “human rights”, “peace” and “war on terror”?

Is Fuller really listening to the Iraqi People? Does he know about the International Islamic Human Right Association in Iraq (IHRAS) that appealed this past May to the International Community for (among other things) “the arrest all those who shared in these crimes, First, the Iraqi Minister of Interior (Beyan Jaber Soulak) and the Chief of Bader Militia; (Hadi Al Ameri)”?

But as we know, Fuller is an “authority” in the field of the “death squads”, so he writes:

What we do have is a growing body of eyewitness testimonies from Iraqis asserting the presence of members of one or other militia group. Such assertions are blown out of all proportion within the mainstream western media by writers who have never seriously questioned the role of US military-intelligence advisors in orchestrating the death squads despite a barrage of evidence. The views of journalists who take this line can be discarded as trash, but not those of the Iraqis, who, undoubtedly, genuinely see the involvement of both Badr and Mehdi militiamen. The problem with such testimonies is not in their credibility but in their ability to perceive the structures and follow the chains of command of the various armed groups that are assaulting them. Despite truisms, the truth is that sometimes you can feel the effect of the lash, but not see the hand that is wielding it. [emphasis added]

We invite our readers to read underneath the NOTE 6 on the assault of Adhamiya and the shocking conclusions reached by Fuller.

Despite the numerous and concordant testimonies of Iraqis and the many reports of different journalists on the responsibilities of the Badr Brigades and the Mehdi Army, Fuller writes: The views of journalists who take this line can be discarded as trash, but not those of the Iraqis, who, undoubtedly, genuinely see the involvement of both Badr and Mehdi militiamen. The problem with such testimonies is not in their credibility but in their ability to perceive…” [emphasis added]

The lack of Iraqis’ “ability to perceive” Fuller writes in his “response” must be in the genetic code of all Arabs, since the Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Saturday, 29 July 2006 reads:

Palestinians in Iraq appeal to Hizballah to intercede with Iran to help stop slaughter, persecution of Palestinians by Shi‘i sectarian militias in occupied Iraq.

In a dispatch posted at 3:30pm Makkah time Saturday afternoon, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that members of the 34,000 Palestinians in Iraq had issued an appeal to Hizballah in Lebanon to intercede with the Iranian Shi‘ah in Iraq to stop the murder of Palestinians in that occupied country.

The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported Palestinians in the housing project for orphans of fighters in the First Palestinian Intifadah – a project built for them by the Iraqi government of President Saddam Husayn – as saying that Hizballah had to intervene with the Iranian Shi‘ah of the Badr Brigades and Jaysh al-Mahdi [i.e. Mahdi army]to stop the slaughter of Palestinians in Iraq.  Since the occupation of Iraq in 2003 and particularly in recent months Palestinians have been abducted and murdered and many have been thrown out of their homes by the Shi‘i sectarian militias.

The Palestinians said that it was not only a matter of direct assaults and violence but that the sectarian gangs have threatened Iraqis who employ Palestinians in their shops or factories that their businesses would be burned down if they fail to dismiss all their Palestinian staff.  This has left many Palestinians unemployed.

As many times Pisi and Zamparini wrote in their July 6 article and Uruknet wrote here in this editorial, nobody has ever questioned the existence of the death squads created and funded by the Occupying power. But again, we fail to understand why Fuller and the BRussells Tribunal deny the undeniable, refusing to listen to the numerous, concordant testimonies coming from Iraq.

The Badr Organisation and the Mehdi Army must be questioned – as Pisi and Zamparini wrote in their article – “within the frame of the US-led occupation and its puppet Iraqi government”.

Fuller makes another acrobatic feat when he writes that the sectarian killings “are blown out of all proportion” and therefore he concludes that the Shia militias take no part in the carnage going on in Iraq.

We agree that in Iraq there is NO civil war between Shiites and Sunnis, as too often the western media say or imply, probably with the goal to favour “a climate in which Iraq can be successfully dismembered”, as Fuller writes. The civil war is clearly the aim of the occupation forces that try with any means to incite sectarian fights [who’s responsible for the bombs that provoke massacres of Shiites in markets and mosques?] to destroy the Arab, Iraqi national identity so to finally carry out the project of the tripartition of the country.

The Iraqi People has never been sectarian and in spite of the many imperialist attempts, the Iraqi nationalism has never been subdued. The religious element represents just one aspect - and not the most relevant - of the actual conflict; it can’t be denied however that sectarian massacres have happened [7] and resulted in tensions and conflicts between religious communities. Of course the Western propaganda has overemphasized this aspect for its own purposes.

The supposed “civil war” gives of course also a pretext to the occupation, with the false argument: the occupation forces need to stay in Iraq to avoid that the Iraqis massacre each other. Of course the exact contrary is true. Moreover, according to the Occupying power’s plans, the Iraqis should see the occupation forces as the only protection against those sectarian killings the Occupying power foments. As an example of this propaganda, see The reach of war: sectarian strife; in an about-face, Sunnis want U.S. to remain in Iraq, published in the New York Times on July 17, 2006.

But one of the means used by the Occupying power to create a civil conflict in that country is exactly the use of the sectarian militias: before the invasion there were neither death squads nor militias in Iraq.

Most of the massacres ascribed to the Badr Brigades and the Mahdi Army probably don’t have a sectarian dimension; certainly those massacres didn’t have that sectarian element – at least not in the current extent – before the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, obviously a black-op with the purpose to precipitate Iraq in the actual endless chaos.

Since the beginning of the occupation, the terror coming from the Badr Brigades has targeted the political opponents, the members of the Baath party, Sunni and Shiite alike [8], the pilots who had fought in the Iraq-Iran war, Sunni and Shiite alike [9] and even groups of people not accepted by the religious Shia harshness, such as the Iraqi gays condemned by a Sistani’s fatwa [10].

Furthermore Moqtada al-Sadr has always called the Baathists [Sunni, Shiite or Christian] the main enemies of the Iraqi People. [11] Even before the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, the Mahdi Army has been accused of the killing not only of Baathists but also of Gypsies [because they were protected by Saddam Hussein and because their women so ‘scandalously’ dare to dance] [12], students who would participate to picnics [13], barbers, sellers of alcoholic drinks [14], etc.

Since the main victims of the Shia militias remain the political opponents [called “Saddamists” or “Baathists” or “Takfiris”] should one conclude, as Fuller does, that the Shia militias are completely innocent of any crimes?

It must be noted that Pisi and Zamparini’s July 6 article focused on the kidnapping, torture and killing of Saddam Hussein’s lawyer Khamis Al-Obeidi. Did Fuller believe that the two authors thought that Khamis Al-Obeidi was killed for sectarian reasons [because he was Sunni] and not for political reasons [because he was the lawyer of Saddam Hussein]?

On July 17 journalist and activist Felicity Arbuthnot wrote a moving and revealing article, Letters from Baghdadis:

“‘Hello Dear Felicity, The b ... d and evil militias of (Iranian backed) Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Badr Corps are mercilessly and brutally kidnapping and assassinating the innocents from both sects, Shi'ite or Sunni under pre-made charges (of being 'Ba'athist, Saddamist..') They kidnapped me and put me in my car boot (in 100f heat) for ninety minutes.’ They also kidnapped his brother, beat them both severely, relieved them of the two cars and $5,000 - their all. Iraqis now carry any money they are lucky enough to have, knowing if the Americans 'soldiers' or their militias (spot the difference) break into their homes it will be stolen along with all their valuables. The kidnappers also did some fancy, anesthetic-free surgery to one ear. But they escaped with their lives.”

Arbuthnot’s article concluded: “A's letter ended with an illuminating insight into American tactics in Iraq: 'The Americans keep Iraq in a state of absolute chaos, they call it: 'positive instability.' [emphasis added]

About the eventual, probable involvement of Iran – even though only indirectly through the Badr Brigades – in the violent acts that have been happening in Iraq, a serious analysis can’t dismiss the argument with a joke as Fuller seems to think when he writes: Islamofascism is just another cover for ruthless political, economic and social repression, with Shiite militiamen in Iraq no more needing to take their orders from Tehran than Guatemalan death squads needed to take theirs from the Vatican. The objective is not a mystery. It is total neo-colonial domination.”

Again, the terminology used by Fuller betrays his ideological background; whoever questions the role of the Shiite militias and their links with Iran is like the right-wing politicians, those neocons who use the word “Islamofascism”. But the reality is quite different. Many Iraqis and much documentation from the Iraqi Resistance blame Iran with precise and substantiated allegations.

We can’t here verify those allegations or analyze the relation between Iran and the Shiite militias operating in Iraq, but for sure that relation has nothing to do with the ridiculous Fuller’s joke: “with Shiite militiamen in Iraq no more needing to take their orders from Tehran than Guatemalan death squads needed to take theirs from the Vatican”.

Vatican and Guatemala don’t border each other; the Guatemalan death squads were not created within the Vatican and there hosted for more than two decades, trained by the Vatican’s Swiss Guards and they didn’t fight side to side with the Vatican Army in a long war between the Vatican and Guatemala. All this instead can be found in the relations between the Badr Brigades and Iran.

Fuller’s analysis doesn’t have the depth and the intelligence that the complex reality requires to understand the tragedy Iraq and Iraqis are living on their own skin.

Fuller’s world is one-dimensional and he’s only able to see the US’ death squads and in particular the Wolf brigade, of which he wrote in his 2005 article. But Iraq is not in Central America and imperialism is more complex and has many tools to reach its goals.

If the goal of the Occupying power is the dismemberment of Iraq and the destruction of the Iraqi and Arab Identity, the sectarian militias play a fundamental role, above all if backed by Iran. It helps to remember that the Badr Brigades and the Mahdi Army are certainly not opposing the puppet Iraqi government. They are instead the armed wings of its main components: the Badr Organisation is the armed wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq [SCIRI] and the Mehdi Army is the militia of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. For example, from April 2005 to May 2006 Minister of the Interior was Bayan Jabr, the current Minister of Finances. Bayan Jabr is one of the main figures of the SCIRI and a former high-ranking member of the Iranian-backed Badr Brigade.

Of course this doesn’t mean that in the future the relations between the Occupying power and the Shia militias [and those factions that support them within the Iraqi puppet government] will not change. Once again, it must be noted that the Iraqi situation is quite complex and completely different from the situation in Central America during the 1980s and the Middle East’s scene adds complexity to complexity.

The objective functionality of the Shia militias’ action to the Occupying power’s project has guaranteed so far impunity and a de facto alliance between those sectarian militias and the occupation forces. It should be noted that this de facto alliance is simply tactic. The political factions within the Iraqi puppet government and their armed wings, the sectarian Shia militias, don’t have a common project with the Occupying power, but simply a common enemy. This enemy is not the Iraqi Sunnis as such but the Iraqi national resistance [called by the Iraqi puppet government, the Occupying power and the sectarian militias with the same words: “terrorists”, “saddamists”, “Baathists”, etc.] and its supporters among the Iraqi People.

The current Zionist aggression against Lebanon has been condemned by all members of the Iraqi puppet government, included the puppet Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki and the SCIRI’s leaders. After a quite small demonstration of a few hundreds people on July 31 Moqtada al-Sadr has called for a million man march” on August 4 in support of the Hezbollah fighting in Lebanon against Israel [15].

Only the future will tell if this is going to be another P.R. campaign [with the usual slogans anti-US and anti-Israel] that will leave unaltered the actual relations within the puppet Iraqi government and between this and the Occupying power or if instead it’s just the beginning of a real change of positions in the Iraqi scene.

This will depend on a number of factors: the possible developments of the Zionist aggression against Lebanon, the opening of the Syrian front with the aggression to that country by the USA and/or Israel and above all a possible involvement of Iran in the Middle East conflict [it must be remembered the close links between Iran and the SCIRI - Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq - and the Dawa Party, two of the major factions within the Iraqi puppet government. During his visit in Iran last February, Moqtada al-Sadr declared that in case of an eventual attack by the USA against Iran he would have deployed his Mehdi Army to defend that country. One fails to understand why the Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mehdi Army didn’t show the same courage and enterprise to defend their own country, Iraq. Since the USA and its allies have been occupying Iraq now for more than three years, al-Sadr’s real aim must be questioned and his words read in the light of facts and reason.]

It’s certain anyway that any future development won’t change the past.

But Fuller, backed by the BRussells Tribunal, doesn’t care for the facts since he has his own thesis to support and defend: Let’s focus on what is concrete and start looking for ways to protect Iraqis from the wolves and wolf brigades that Anglo-American imperialism has unleashed on them. Focusing on the Mehdi Army or the Badr Brigades is exactly what the Occupation wants the anti-war movement to do, providing the real criminals with ‘plausible denial’ and building a climate in which Iraq can be successfully dismembered.”

Ignoring facts, testimonies, evidence and reports, Fuller dogmatically preaches his view, accusing those who dare to question the role of the sectarian militias to do “exactly what the Occupation wants”.

The absurdity of Fuller’s argument is evident. First of all, searching for the truth must be a 360-degree operation, without precluding any possible result. It’s mind-blowing Fuller and the BRussells Tribunal don’t see this truism and accuse those asking important and legitimate questions to do “exactly what the Occupation wants”.

Furthermore, from the evidence we have presented so far, the sectarian militias seem to act in collaboration with the occupation forces and its quislings in the Iraqi puppet government, both when they act together with them and when the occupation forces let them act in all tranquility [16]. There is much evidence by journalists’ reports, Iraqi testimonies… but Fuller writes:

The views of journalists who take this line can be discarded as trash, but not those of the Iraqis, who, undoubtedly, genuinely see the involvement of both Badr and Mehdi militiamen. The problem with such testimonies is not in their credibility but in their ability to perceive the structures and follow the chains of command of the various armed groups that are assaulting them. Despite truisms, the truth is that sometimes you can feel the effect of the lash, but not see the hand that is wielding it. [emphasis added].

The only Iraqis Fuller and the BRussells Tribunal seem to trust are those “spokespersons for both of” the Badr Brigades and the Mehdi Army, who “assiduously deny their involvement” in the carnage. But not the victims, not the testimonies, not the Iraqi journalists… They don’t have the “ability to perceive”, and therefore the “authority” Fuller and the BRussells Tribunal will speak for them and will tell them the TRUTH about the immense human-made tragedy they are living on their own skin but don’t have the “ability to perceive”.

On July 6 Paola Pisi and Gabriele Zamparini concluded their “Iraq: Listening to the Survivors:

In a spirit of solidarity with the Iraqi People’s Just Struggle for freedom and independence against the US-led illegal invasion-occupation of Iraq, the "crime against the peace, for which there is responsibility under international law", we would like to appeal to our brothers and sisters in the international ANTI-war-occupation movement to listen carefully to the Iraqi People without patronizing them.

We believe these questions are extremely urgent and must be addressed without further delay. In Iraq the carnage is going on and it’s time to question the role of all these militias and death squads and their relation with the occupying Power.

Among other death squads and militias, a truly independent investigation must question the Badr Organisation [the armed wing of the Shia Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq] and the Mehdi Army [the militia of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr] within the frame of the US-led occupation and its puppet Iraqi government of which Moqtada al-Sadr with his religious party is one of the most important components.

For this unforgivable sin they have been accused to be doing “exactly what the Occupation wants”.

How can we hope to stop this cancer called COLONIALISM if we continue to have such a patronizing attitude toward people and Peoples whose “ABILITY TO PERCEIVE” is questioned in spite of constant and concordant testimonies, facts and evidence?

Uruknet Editorial Staff

 



NOTES

1. For example:

James Petras,  The New Bush: Diplomacy and Death Squads, March 1, 2005

FARHAT QUAMMAQUAM, Death Squad Democracy: The Inner Dynamics, March 28, 2005

Hal C , Daily Kos, Salvador Option: Death Squads in Iraq, June 28, 2005

Mike Whitney,  "Riding with the Bad Boys"; the rise of Iraqi death squads, November 29, 2005

Mike Whitney, Uncovering the Roots of American Terrorism in Iraq, December 2, 2005

Imad Khadduri, Samarra and the CIA-bred Death Squads in Iraq .. , February 27, 2006

Dirk Adriaensens (
BRussells Tribunal
) and Isam Rasheed (Baghdad),
Death Squads and Iraqi police: two sides of the same coin, March 3, 2006


Doug Lorimer,
Iraq: Thousands Killed By Government Death Squads, March 15, 2006

Mike Whitney, Death Squad Democracy, March 19, 2006

Daisy Cutter, Daily Kos,  Death Squads in Iraq: A Timeline, March  23,  2006

John Pilger detects the Salvador Option, May 3, 2006

Kucinich Asks Tough Questions of Bush, Rumsfeld Wants Answers About What the U.S. Is Doing in Iraq and Iran, May 6, 2006

Sarah Meyer, Iraq: Security Companies and Training Camps, May 17, 2006

The BRussells Tribunal, Death Squads in Iraq , Fanatic Militias Used in a Dirty war, June 7 2006

Mike Whitney,
Terrorism in Iraq? Don't blame Zarqawi, June 10, 2006

Joe Quinn, Osama, Death Squads and the Biggest Lie Ever Told, July 4, 2006

etc. etc.



2. MAX FULLER’s articles:

Max Fuller, For Iraq, "The Salvador Option" Becomes Reality

Max Fuller, Crying Wolf,
Media Disinformation and Death Squads in Occupied Iraq

Max Fuller,
Torture and Extrajudicial Killings in Iraq

Max Fuller,
CRYING WOLF. Who is behind the Death Squads in Iraq?

Fuller writes: "Little information is available about the Badr Brigade. For a militia with such influence, they remain highly elusive, lending credibility to the Badr Organisation's own claims that the Brigade was disbanded soon after the invasion". This statement is absolutely incomprehensible: there is much information on the Badr and who told Fuller that “the Brigade was disbanded soon after the invasion”?

Furthermore Fuller says that the proof that the Badr brigades have nothing to do with the Police Commandos and death squads is  "the continued tenure of General Rashid Flayih and of General Adnan Thabit" : “Significantly, one of these is the head of the Police Commandos, General Rashid Flayih, who, though a Shiite, was a Baathist general and deeply involved in crushing the Shiite rising that followed the first Gulf War in 1991. (...)  Even more significantly than the continued tenure of General Rashid Flayih, is that of General Adnan Thabit. Adnan was instrumental in establishing the Police Commandos according to Maas and is currently in charge of all of the Interior Ministry's extensive security forces. Adnan is a Sunni and was a Baathist intelligence officer. Like Rashid, Adnan has a history of collaboration with the CIA.”

Actually, there was no “continued tenure”. As widely reported, Fuller should know the whole story:

Gen Flayyih has a past. He was the head of "general security forces" in the mainly Shia southern province of Nasiriya during the Shia uprising in southern Iraq that followed the US campaign to retake Kuwait in 1991. Iraqi forces brutally put down the rebellion and slaughtered tens of thousands. "That's the difficult point between me and Shia clerics," Gen Flayyih acknowledges, though he claims he tried to prevent the worst crimes. Later, he says he became disillusioned with Mr Hussein's regime and became involved in plots to oust the dictator. He was detained from 1996 to 2001, he says. He was recruited again for his current job in 2004 by the previous interim government under prime minister Iyad Allawi, himself a former Ba'ath party member, who had fewer qualms about working with members of the former regime. A photograph of him leaning over a map with Donald Rumsfeld, US secretary of defence, sits proudly on his shelf. But in spite of his new allegiances, it remains a sore point with members of the new government of Ibrahim al-Jafaari, a devout Shia who took over from Mr Allawi last month, that more than half of Gen Flayyih's commando unit served in Mr Hussein's forces. "There are no new officers," says Gen Flayyih. Suddenly, Gen Flayyih's career was at the mercy of high politics. Gen Flayyih admits that he and others like him were concerned when they learnt of the appointment of Bayan Jabor as interior minister. Mr Jabor is a member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the conservative Shia party formerly based in Iran, and is believed to be among those who favour the removal of former Ba'athists deemed to have "committed crimes". But after speaking to his new political boss, Gen Flayyih says he was reassured.” [Gung-ho attitude just what the US ordered, Financial Times, By Andrew England, May 11 2005]

Also General Adnan Thabit has a past. “Gen. Adnan, as he's known, commands a force of about 10,000 men. He formed the commandos last summer, when security here was spinning out of control, at the urging of his nephew, the current Iraqi minister of the interior. He has a tough-guy résumé: a former member of Hussein's military intelligence service who was imprisoned in 1996 after he joined a U.S.-backed coup plot.” ['Our Guys Stayed and Fought', By David Ignatius, Washington Post, Friday February 25, 2005; Page A21 ]

The special police commandos is led by Gen. Adnan Thabit, who participated in the disastrous 1996 coup against Saddam Hussein that Allawi coordinated. Thabit was jailed and subsequently released shortly before the 2003 U.S. invasion. He is also the uncle of Iraq's interim minister of the interior, under which the commandos operate.” [Let a Thousand Militias Bloom by A.K. Gupta, Published on Friday, April 22, 2005 by NYC Indymedia Center ]

In his latest article, Fuller writes:From the outset of the occupation, the CIA took the ‘top intelligence agents’ from each of the main exile political groups and hammered them into the Collection Management and Analysis Directorate, which was to become the new Mukhabharat under the Sunni former Baathist general Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani”.

The whole picture may better help to understand the occupation’s frame: “But an elite corps of CMAD operatives was recruited into the third and most important Iraqi intelligence agency, the secret police force known by its Arabic name: the Mukhabarat. Its Iraqi director is Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani, a Sunni general whose three sons were executed by Saddam in retaliation for his involvement in a botched, CIA-backed coup attempt in the mid-1990s. Shahwani's top deputy in charge of daily operations is said to be a Kurd; Shiites are believed to comprise just 12 percent of the force. Unlike the defense and interior ministries, there is no provision in the Iraqi government's budget for the secret police. The Mukhabarat's money comes straight from the CIA.” [Amidst doubts, CIA hangs on to control of Iraqi intelligence service, By Hannah Allam and Warren P. Strobel, Knight Ridder Newspapers ]


3. Even after the July 6 raid, the al-Sadr’s representatives don’t seem to agree on the issue if Abu Deraa belongs to al-Sadr’s movement.

- “But Sadr's office told the BBC the actual target was Abu Dera, a senior Mehdi Army officer, who remained free.” “But residents of the neighborhood said the building that came under attack was a base of operations for a man known as Abu Deraa, a top commander of the Mahdi Army, the restless and potent Shiite militia that answers to the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr”.

- “In an interview in Sadr City today, Wusam al-Bahadali, 28, a mid-level member of the Mahdi Army, denied that Abu Deraa had been detained during the raid, and said he remained at large.”

- Juan Cole reported Al-Hayat says that fierce fighting took place in Sadr City, with 40 persons wounded or killed. It says that Abu Deraa is accused of being behind the kidnapping of Taysir al-Mashhadani, the female Sunni member of parliament, last Saturday. It says that Muqtada al-Sadr had in the past imposed punishments on Abu Deraa for his disobedience and that the US suspects he has formed a splinter group.”

Read also this interview on Salon.com “Ahmed confirmed that Abu Dereh is a Mahdi Army commander, but defended him, saying that he only targeted guilty people for interrogation, that the accusations in Shalshal al Iraqi’s letter were false.”


4. Recently, one of Saddam's defense lawyers, a man named Obeidi, was abducted from his house, bound and taken to Sadr City, where he was publicly executed and his body dumped in front of a portrait of Muqtada Sadr's venerated father, Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr.”



5. - “Sadr's support is usually seen as coming from the slums of Sadr City, while Baghdad's Kadhimiya neighborhood, home to one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest shrines and many of the city's oldest Shi'ite families, is seen as a stronghold for the moderate United Iraqi Alliance. But in the heart of Kadhimiya, supporters of Sadr are already organizing against the new government, teaming up with unlikely allies: disaffected Sunni Arab nationalists.”

- “Much of the movement's strength is in its organisation. The group has its own religious police, the al-Amur bil Ma'arouf, or Promotion of Virtue. They have divided Baghdad into three areas: east, west and the central Kadhimiya area, home to the biggest Shia shrine in the city. Each area has its own unit. In Kadhimiya it numbers around 40; in the eastern sector, around Sadr City, it is at least 100 according to Sayed Adnan al-Safi, an al-Sadr official and editor of one of the movement's newspapers. He said the groups are unarmed and co-operate on patrols with the regular police, although the Interior Ministry has denied any involvement. 'In Kadhimiya we have minimised and controlled places where alcohol is sold. We have controlled the sale of immoral CDs and we have stopped fraud,' said al-Safi.”

- “A few kilometres from Jihad, Reuters staff in Shula, a mainly Shiite island in Sunni west Baghdad, said Mehdi militiamen blocked streets with burning tyres and told residents to stay indoors, apparently fearing reprisal attacks. Iraqi troops launched a pre-dawn raid on Kadhimiya, a mainly Shiite district next to Shula, killing nine militants and capturing seven, the U.S. military said.”

See also:

Feuding factions united in mourning

Sadrists in Kadhimiya, and Supposedly Final Elections Results

etc. etc.


6. About the assault of Adhamiya, Fuller writes:

Where doubt about the identity of the attackers and intellectual authorship of the assault starts to creep in is with the eyewitnesses who made the following statements (see ‘The assault on Adhamiya: Limitations and perspectives of war reporting from Iraqand ‘Baghdad Slipping into Civil War). ‘Shia attacked a Sunni mosque’ ‘Special forces from the Ministry of Interior, probably Badr brigades’ ‘these were members of the Badr militia and Sadr’s Mehdi Army who were raiding the neighborhood’ ‘I have seen these members of the Badr militia and Mehdi Army wearing Iraqi Police uniforms and using Iraqi Police pick-up trucks roaming our streets’ ‘Some were just wearing civilian clothes with black face masks, others were definitely commandos from the ministry of the interior’ Such statements deserve neither to be dismissed, not patronised, but they do need to be questioned. What seems clear is that many of the intruders were indeed MOI Special/National Police units and that the description of them as either Badr of Mehdi militiamen, though undoubtedly believed, relies solely on the assumption that such forces have been thoroughly infiltrated by these two Shiite militias. This simply is not true, certainly to any practical effect, as a wealth of evidence demonstrates (for instance, Major General Rick Lynch, who headed the training mission for the Public Order Division, highlights the mixed ethno-sectarian make-up of the Special/National Police). More challenging are the accounts of un-uniformed attackers in balaclavas. Could these not be Shiite militiamen loyal to Badr of Mehdi working alongside MOI forces? I believe not. Firstly because we know from a June 2004 UPI account of a raid in Baghdad (now mysteriously removed from the Internet and only currently available here) that plainclothes intelligence officers accompany MOI operations.”

Again Mr. Fuller, so what? What “plainclothes intelligence officers” in a 2004 raid should prove about the 2006 assault of Adhamiya when again Iraqi testimonies have repeatedly and concordantly indicated “these were members of the Badr militia and Sadr’s Mehdi Army who were raiding the neighborhood”?

Fuller continues: “Secondly because, despite the initial absence of US ground forces, we can be confident that the raid had been coordinated with Multi National Force-Iraq, ie the Occupation.”

While it’s highly probable that the assault of Adhamiya was coordinated with the occupation forces, one doesn’t see how this fact can exclude the presence of the Badr Brigades and Mehdi Army. But Fuller concludes: “So if ‘militiamen’ were present, we absolutely have to assume that they were under US oversight, making any accusations against Badr or Mahdi irrelevant.

Irrelevant? The collaboration with the US forces would aggravate the responsibility of those militias. At any rate at the end of Fuller analysis one fails to understand if in his opinion those militia participated or not to the assault of Adhamiya. According to Fuller the Badr Brigades and Mehdi Army, even though reported by the Iraqi testimonies, didn’t participate. But even if they did participate “they were under US oversight”, therefore “irrelevant”.

Once more, Paola Pisi and Gabriele Zamparini in their July 6 article wrote:

An independent investigation should also be called for the so-called sectarian killings.

There is much documentation, testimonies, reports on what’s been happening in occupied Iraq and on the role played by the Mehdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr and its relation with the MOI [Ministry of the Interior] and the occupation forces.

Simply to mention a few reports:

a) Iraq between genocide and coincidences highlights the urgency once again to question the official numbers of Iraqi civilians killed by this ruthless illegal, military, foreign occupation. We think this article raises serious questions on the role of the Iraq’s [puppet] government’s Health Ministry, which operates the Baghdad morgue and government hospitals. This [puppet] government’s Ministry is in the hands of a religious party headed by Moqtada al-Sadr.

b) The siege of Adhamyia, that’s still going on. Independent journalist Dahr Jamail has reported extensively from and on occupied Iraq. Just in relation to what’s been happening in al-Adhamiya neighborhood of the capital city and the role of Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mehdi Army, we would like once again to stress the importance of the Iraqi testimonies in Jamail’s work:

The Ongoing War on Truth in Iraq, By Dahr Jamail, t r u t h o u t, 18 April 2006

Baghdad Slipping Into Civil War, By Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed, Inter Press Service, April 19, 2006

"Operation Forward Together": Deeper Into the Quagmire, By Dahr Jamail, t r u t h o u t, 19 June 2006

An Iraqi Withdrawal From Iraq, By Dahr Jamail, t r u t h o u t, 28 June 2006

Always to stay to the still going on al-Adhamiya siege, in A Certain Peace Amidst a Campaign of Death, Karen Button wrote:

It was just after this, in March, that The Guardian quoted then outgoing head of the UN human rights office in Iraq, John Pace, "The Badr brigade [Sciri's armed wing] are in the police and are mainly the ones doing the killing. They're the most notorious." Sciri, the Shi’ite political party Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, is backed by Iran. Iraqis also charge that the Medhi Army, the armed militia of Shi’a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, is targeting and killing people and that they, too, are backed by Iran.

Two weeks ago Badr and Mehdi forces were seen operating alongside Iraqi Police in an attack on Adhamiya, a predominantly Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad. Fierce street battles between the IP and residents raged. One resident told me, "We’ve seen the Badr; they are trying to gain control of our neighborhood!"

This past Sunday the "Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Sunday, 2 July 2006" read:

Puppet "Iraqi Army" forces provide cover as Jaysh al-Mahdi and Badr Brigade Shi ' sectarian gunmen attack residents of al-A'zamiyah. . .

In a dispatch posted at 8:35pm Makkah time Sunday evening, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that a short while earlier Shi'i sectarian Jaysh al-Mahdi militiamen fired four heavy 120mm mortar rounds at residential houses in the predominantly Sunni al-A'zamiyah district of Baghdad.

The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported from al-A'zamiyah that Iraqi puppet army forces, who had recently been supplied American Humvees, together with Shi'i sectarian militia were firing rockets at the predominantly Sunni district at that moment.

One local family killed in their home by Shi'i sectarian barrage. . .

In a dispatch posted at 8:50pm Makkah time Sunday night, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that a short while earlier one of the rockets being fired by Shi'i sectarian militias and puppet army forces had killed a family in the al-A'zamiyah district.

The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported the exact number of persons killed was as yet not clear but local residents and Iraqi Resistance fighters were at that moment working to dig bodies or survivors out of the ruins of their home.

The correspondent noted that Iraqi Resistance fighters were at that moment unable to respond to the puppet army and Shi'i sectarian militia attacks since so far the attacks were in the form of rocket and mortar barrages fired into al-A'zamiyah from outside the district.

The correspondent noted that the attack on the heavily populated district was being mounted by Shi'i sectarian Badr Brigades and Jaysh al-Mahdi militiamen while heavily armed Iraqi puppet army forces were providing them cover.

A few days ago, the blog Iraqi Screen wrote:

Malki was declaring his reconciliation project in the Iraqi parliament amid a blown up security plan began ten days ago, Mahdi army supported by the commandos of the ministry of Interior was busy launching attacks against Sunni dominated neighborhoods in Baghdad like Fadhel, Haifa street and Al-Kifaha.

They tried to enter Adhamiyia but the National Guards stopped their progress to avert a big fight as people there are always in state of alert expecting Shiite militias to come at any moment.

A man from Adhamiyia said " I do not leave Adhamiyia because my ID is issued in Adhamiyia and if Shiite militia discovered that they will kill me."

We could go on with the collections of reports and testimonies from Iraq: other sieges, other killings, other facts and evidences... Are we listening?

Finally Pisi and Zamparini concluded: “Among other death squads and militias, a truly independent investigation must question the Badr Organisation [the armed wing of the Shia Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq] and the Mehdi Army [the militia of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr] within the frame of the US-led occupation and its puppet Iraqi government of which Moqtada al-Sadr with his religious party is one of the most important components.”

The “frame” Mr. Fuller. The “frame”!


7. The carnage going on in Iraq does not spare anyone. The following text was written by a Sadr City’s resident, absolutely not hostile to al-Sadr.

A Desperate Letter

As I and others expected, the ‘security plan’ became a cover for murderers and night gangs that have allied themselves with infiltrators into security forces to kill people and dump them in garbage piles. Otherwise how would those in charge of the plan explain how those killings, assassinations, kidnappings and abductions take place with such a massive deployment of armed forces and the nightly curfew? How do those criminals move and do their deeds and how do they spread death in the streets in such cold blood?

Are they ghosts that move outside the vision of check points during curfew hours. Or are they part of the forces implementing the curfew?

I know that the government has no explanation or is ashamed to admit the politically embarrassing truth. People, Mr. Prime Minister, well know now that those death gangs are no longer 'secret death squads' as the media are fond of calling them. Those same gangs are publically proclaiming their acts and that those ‘death lists’ are being openly circulated between members of what you call militias.

The bitter truth brothers, and I say this for the thousandth time, is that certain gangs have infiltrated the Sadrist Movement with the knowledge of some of the Movement’s leaders.

They do all sorts of criminal acts and intimidate the Police that they have infiltrated. The disaster is that senior officers in the [Ministry of] Interior fear criminals who have criminal records in Iraqi courts prior to the Fall [of Baghdad].

The name of the “Sayyed’s Office” [Branch of Muqtada’s offices] now terrifies the police more than the previous regime’s security forces terrified the people. On top of that, the crimes that started as political and revenge-motivated ‘liquidations’ have turned into a culture. [emphasis added]. There is a new fearsome ‘addiction’ to killing and taking pleasure in blood! There are murders just for the sake of murder; killings for reasons that the very act of contemplating is a crime against humanity. Now, there are people who cannot go to bed before shattering people’s skulls with their pistols. What a sour life between the days of car bombs and nights of criminal gangs…

From this place, from the mountains of pain, terror, solitude and fear I address the Prime Minister…

Your Excellency, for a reason unknown to me, I though well of you. The solution is not through massive deployment of security forces, Police Commandos and forces of Occupation.

The simple solution is for you to go to Sayyed Muqtada and ask him to publicly disown those murderers and declare that they don’t belong to his movement and remove his cover of them and leave the people to deal with them. People already have lists of these gangsters and their connection to the Sayyed’s Office is common knowledge. Sooner or later the People will take their revenge from those killers. And when they do, Iraq will again sink in seas of blood in comparison to which the rivers of blood now flowing will seem like little ditches.

We have had enough.

Recently the same al-Sadr seems not to have excluded that his Mahdi Army committed those crimes, even though he condemned them.

- SHOWS: (MER1) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (JULY 12, 2006) (AL-IRAQIYA TV - NO ACCESS IRAQ):

1. SHI'ITE CLERIC MOQTADA AL-SADR GIVING INTERVIEW
2. WORDS "SPECIAL INTERVIEW" IN ARABIC APPEARING ON SCREEN
3. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SHI'ITE CLERIC MOQTADA AL-SADR SAYING:
"I do not accept any assault on them (the Iraqi people) or any forced displacement or any kidnappings. These are all unacceptable actions. We have to rebuild Iraq, as Iraq is going through a very difficult stage, which we must overcome in order to achieve security and stability in Iraq, and achieve Iraq's independence. So I call on every honest Iraqi not to commit such acts and not to kidnap or force people to leave their homes, and not to do anything that causes harm to the Iraqi people."
4. AL-IRAQIYA TV ANCHORMAN INTERVIEWING AL-SADR
5. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SHI'ITE CLERIC MOQTADA AL-SADR SAYING:
"If at any time they (the Mehdi army) take a stand against the Iraqi people, I will be against them. I support those who support the Iraqi people and I stand against those who attack the Iraqi people. The Imam al-Mehdi Army has to be in the service of the Iraqi people."

On August 5, 2006, Riverbend wrote:

Residents of Baghdad are systematically being pushed out of the city. Some families are waking up to find a Klashnikov bullet and a letter in an envelope with the words "Leave your area or else." The culprits behind these attacks and threats are Sadr’s followers- Mahdi Army. It’s general knowledge, although no one dares say it out loud. In the last month we’ve had two different families staying with us in our house, after having to leave their neighborhoods due to death threats and attacks. It’s not just Sunnis- it’s Shia, Arabs, Kurds- most of the middle-class areas are being targeted by militias. [emphasis added]


8. The first accusations against the Badr Brigades and the Mahdi Army related to the killings of former Baathists.

Why War?, September 21, 2003

None of Iraq's nascent political leaders openly call for reprisal killings of Baathists, although some have demanded that former Baath members renounce their former allegiances. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, a member of Iraq's U.S.- appointed Governing Council and the leader of the paramilitary Badr Brigade, called on the council members last week to "root out all Baath Party gangsters and Saddam followers by force."

A religious edict, or fatwa, issued in April by Ayatollah Kadhem al Husseini al Haeri, an Iraqi-born cleric based in Iran, urges his followers in Iraq to "kill all Saddamists who try to take charge" and "to cut short any chance of the return to power of second-line Baathists."

Haeri's followers in Iraq are led by Moqtada al-Sadr, a young cleric who is immensely popular in the slums of Baghdad's impoverished Sadr City, home to about 2 million Shiites. Al-Sadr's militia, Jush al Mahdi, say they have heard about the killings but deny any knowledge of who the perpetrators might be.

Vying for Power, Militias Roil Basra, June 2, 2006

While death squads have been trolling the city for over a year, the pace of the killing has picked up, and the target lists appear to have expanded, residents say. "It made more sense when it started out. They were killing Baathists and officers from Saddam's army,'' [emphasis added] says Ghazi, a long-haul trucker who makes regular trips to Basra, and asked that his full named not be used. "Now they kill Shiites, Sunnis, tribal leaders, doctors, engineers - just about anyone who opposes them politically." The Shiite militias that Ghazi is referring to include the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr, militias loyal to the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Fadillah parties, and local tribes involved in protection rackets and smuggling, according to US officials and Basra residents.

Letter from Basra. TESTING GROUND - February 2, 2005

Since returning from Iran, the religious parties have imposed their strict ideology on Basra, alienating many residents in the process. Upon arrival, armed militias began assassinating Baathists, harassing women who dared to forgo the veil, and forcibly shutting down Basra’s DVD emporiums and Christian-owned liquor shops. Zealous university professors demanded that women and men sit apart from each other in classes, and a music-school student told me that he could now study only theory. (Some Islamists consider music immoral.) This coercive social code sat uneasily on the worldly educated classes of Basra, though the city had grown increasingly conservative under the weight of war, sanctions, and the influence of Iran.

Revenge killings of members of Saddam's former regime rise, February 25, 2005

Badr threatens to take up arms against former Saddam loyalists, December 14, 2005

The former military wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq threatened Tuesday to take up arms against former Saddam Hussein loyalists if they make gains in Thursday's legislative elections. The blunt warning by the Badr Organization contradicted earlier remarks by the head of SCIRI, Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, in which he said his group's former militia was ready to help with election security. The threat also comes as Iraqis abroad cast the first ballots in their country's election of postwar first full-term Parliament.

Tragedy as normality, December 29, 2005

According to Sunni figures, 100 doctors, 35 pilots, 125 Muslim clerics and hundreds of former Baathists have been murdered at the hands of the Badr militia.

etc. etc.

The Iraqi testimonies (and the victim’s colleagues) accused the Badr Brigades of the killing of Saadoun al-Janabi, the lawyer of Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former head of Saddam's revolutionary court and co-defendant in Saddam Hussein’s trial.

Fearful lawyers threaten boycott of Saddam trial

According to witnesses, the kidnappers, dressed in suits and ties, said they were from the ministry. They drove Nissan four-wheel-drive vehicles similar to those used by the Badr Brigade, the Iranian-backed military wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the main Shi'ite party.

The defence lawyers' statement said they held the Iraqi government, the Badr Brigade and the Daawa party, another Shi'ite party, responsible for the murder. Al-Janabi's hands had been bound with cuffs made in Iran, they said.

A few days ago, on 2 August 2006 the SCIRI called for a demonstration in Baghdad against the Iraqi resistance.

Thousands of Shias charged with guarding neighbourhoods in Iraq have marched through Baghdad as violence continued to plague the city.

Young men in civilian uniforms and headbands, all members of what is known as the popular committees, chanted as a speaker called on them to crush "terrorists and loyalists of former President Saddam Hussein leading a Sunni insurgency against the Shia-led government".

The crowd on Wednesday included members of the Badr Organisation, one of the armed Shia groups Sunni Arabs accuse of running militia death squads, a charge they deny.

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, one of Iraq's most powerful Shia leaders, told a crowd that "we have to benefit from this wide popular base and the state and Iraqi people should form these popular regional committees from the best of our young men to face terrorism.""They will defend people of districts; Sunnis, Shias, Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen. They do not differentiate between anybody. They will provide support for the official security apparatus," he said.

Here is what a well-known (and strongly anti-baathist) Iraqi blogger wrote about the demonstration:

Today, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who heads the biggest and one of the most influential Shiite group in Iraq, appeared before a mob of thousands of Shiites and provoked more ethnic and sectarian-based assassinations and urged the sheep flock to arm themselves and kill Iraqis in the streets. All this was aired on the Iraqi government’s official TV station.Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, told the jobless, uneducated and vulgar mob that gathered around him that the main "battle" in Iraq now is the one against the baathists. The baathists should be killed, he told the mob, and then Iraqi will stabilize. The last problem left in Iraq now is what is left of baathists!!"The battle today is against the remnants of baathists," he barked in speakers reading with difficulty from a paper [because he didn’t write it maybe!] "it is a critical battle. It is either to be or not to be," he said quoting someone he never read or heard of, Shakespeare."We should never forget that the baathists killed hundreds of thousands of people," he reminded the audience. In this time, when the government, which basically is led by Hakim and his kind, calls for a "national reconciliation," Hakim appears on TV provoking people to kill each other. 'the battle now is against them. They issued orders to kill you."

See also: It's not every day you see a demonstration in favor of civil war .


9. Saddam's pilots targeted by death squads

Saddam’s pilots hunted down by death squads


10. Shia Death Squads Target Iraqi Gays -- U.S. Indifferent

Iraqi Exile Speaks Out Against the Targeting of Gay Iraqis by Shia Death Squads


11. In spite of his contradictory statements and political positions, Moqtada al-Sadr has always been consistent at least on the condemnation of the members of the Baath party.

Immediately after the occupation al-Sadr did not condemn the war against Iraq. On the contrary he saw it as liberation from the Baath government.

Juan Cole, April 29, 2003

*Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated in Baghdad Monday morning against the leadership meeting held under American auspices. The demonstration was boycotted, however, by the powerful Sadr Movement led by Muqtada al-Sadr. They said they wanted to get involved on neither side. The Sadr spokesman, Adnan Shahmani, said that the Sadriyyun did not object to the US removing Saddam and weapons of mass destruction from Iraq, [emphasis added] but if the American presence became an occupation, they would resist it. He also said that the Sadr Movement recognizes as the highest religious authority in Shiism not Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani but rather Kazim al-Ha'iri, who has been exiled in Qom for many years. Al-Shahmani maintains that the late Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr had urged his followers to turn to al-Ha'iri when he, al-Sadr, died. He characterized Sistani and his followers as quietist traditionalists, but said the Sadr movement is activist and deeply involved in society, and so is progressive. This statement seems to be code for the Sadrists wanting a Shiite-ruled religious state in Iraq. He dismissed the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the al-Da`wa party as having no standing inside the county (i.e. he sees them as expatriate parties with a shallow membership basis inside Iraq itself). [emphasis added]

Always in April 2003, al-Sadr recognized as his spiritual leader ayatollah al-Udhma Kadhem al-Haeri [resident in Iran] who named al-Sadr as his own representative and who ordered “to kill all Saddamists who try to take charge". [On July 2004, more than one year later, al-Haeri ended his relations with al-Sadr ]

Juan Cole, April 30, 2003

Craig Smith of the New York Times has reported very interesting and significant developments in the Sadr Movement in Iraq. It appears that the movement has now recognized Shaikh Kazim al-Haeri as its ultimate spiritual head. He is an older Ayatollah with the authority to issue authoritative rulings, and he favors a Khomeinist style government in Iraq. He recognized Muqtada al-Sadr as his deputy in Iraq. Al-Sadr is enormously popular but is only in his late twenties or at most 30, and does not have the standing to issue fatwas or rulings for the laity. He had earlier been insisting that people follow the rulings of his deceased father, Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, who had been assassinated by the Baathists. But in the Usuli Shiism that predominates in Iraq, it is not permissible to follow the rulings of a deceased jurisprudent. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Muqtada's rival, had circulated a criticism to that effect some weeks ago. In response, Muqtada appears to have secretly reached out to Ayatollah Kazim Haeri, still in Iran. He received the appointment as Haeri's deputy around April 8 and was told to cut off the Saddamists and the second-rung Saddamists. This instruction may have had something to do with the killing of American-backed cleric Abd al-Majid Khu'i on April 10. For some time, Muqtada's links to Haeri had been kept secret. Now they are being openly revealed and members of the Sadr Movement are displaying Haeri's picture through Najaf and eastern Baghdad.

Ayatullah al-Udhma Kadhem al-Haeri(HA): Edict urges Iraqi Muslims to fill power , April 30, 2003

In the signed letter, Ayatullah al-Haeri(HA) wrote that, "We hereby inform you that Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr(HA) is our deputy and representative in all Fatwa affairs."

It added: "His position is my position."

In the fatwa, Ayatullah al-Haeri(HA) urged his followers in Iraq to "kill all Saddamists who try to take charge" and "to cut short any chance of the return to power of second-line Baathists."

( See also: Newsweek, May 19, 2006)

Again in November 2003 al-Sadr would see Saddam Hussein [who had not been captured yet by the invaders] as the real enemy of the Iraqi People and not the foreign occupation forces.

Saddam is a sinful Aggressor and the American Forces are Guests in Iraq: Muqtada, Trans. J. Cole, November 5, 2003.

The prominent Shiite Iraqi leader Muqtada al-Sadr called upon the American troops in his country to spare lives, and called them to unity and brotherhood with the Iraqi people. He affirmed that "Saddam Hussein and his followers are the enemies of Iraq, not the Americans." In a statement distributed in Najaf, excerpts of which were published in the newspaper al-Sabah [Saturday], he characterized the presence of US troops in Iraq as "that of guests", and described the Americans as a "peace-loving people." He described Saddam as a "sinful aggressor." He said, "The Iraqi people want only good for the Americans, and there is no enemy of Iraq except Saddam and his followers."

Al-Zaman Nov. 2 p. 4

(See also Heling Iraq and Radio Free Europe)

[Later al-Sadr’s office didn’t deny al-Sadr’s statements but declared that they should not be understood as accepting the occupation: Arabic News, November 4, 2003]

As examples, we present here just some of the many statements of Moqtada al-Sadr against the Baathists. Moqtada al-Sadr has always opposed any softening of the notorious criminal process called “Debaathification” [one of the main tools to destroy the Iraqi society], on the contrary calling for its tightening.

Underneath we list just some of the personal declarations by al-Sadr and not those by his representatives, often much more sinister [so that Fuller won’t be able to write that al-Sadr is an “unreliable spokesperson” of himself].

Key Shiites soften tone toward US, November 19, 2003

At the gold-domed Kufa Mosque in this holy city south of Baghdad, the young firebrand imam, Moqtada al-Sadr, known for condemning the Americans as Iraq's enemies, has softened and redirected his words.

"We were the only enemy of Saddam Hussein, and now the Baathists who still support him are our only enemy," he tells rows of fellow Shiites baking in the hot sun at Friday prayers. "We must resist them and the terrorists." (...)

"The Iraqi people only want what is good for the Americans, because they are not the enemy," he recently told the London-based Arabic newspaper, Al Zaman. He even said he hoped to be "attending [the Americans'] meetings soon" to further the common goal of a stable Iraq.

Juan Cole, May 20, 2004:

Despite severe military pressure on his supporters in several southern cities, al-Sadr continued to denounce the Americans and his internal Iraqi enemies. In his Friday sermon of April 30, he condemned the United States for the deal it had made with ex-Baathists in resolving the Fallujah standoff. He said that the Americans “are attempting to return the Baathists to the administration of the state. I will not permit it. They will meet their end at the hands of the believers.” He also lashed out at the Interim Governing Council, asserting that it was humiliating itself by not responding decisively to this development. He wondered why the Shiite al-Dawa Party, which had sought to overthrow Saddam and had been especially targeted for reprisals, was silent.

Al-Sadr singled out for ridicule his rival Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the Shiite cleric whom for two decades headed a guerrilla group, the Badr Corps, the paramilitary arm of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, then based in Iran. Taunting al-Hakim, al-Sadr said: “Where is the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which claims to combat the Baathists and where is the al-Da`wa Party, with whose members the Baathists once filled their prisons?”

Firebrand Shiite cleric says rehabilitation of Baathists proves Americans hate Iraqi people.

Middle East Online, NAJAF, Iraq - Firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr scorned the Americans Friday for rehabilitating former military officers and members of Saddam Hussein's ruling Baath party, saying it showed they hate Iraqis.

"They are trying to reintegrate the Baathists. It proves the Americans hate the Iraqi people," Sadr told thousands of worshippers at the main mosque in the Najaf suburb of Kufa.

"Their (the Baathists') fate will be decided by ... the believers," said Sadr, who is wanted in connection with the murder last year of a rival pro-US cleric and has been holed up here for three weeks.

Sadr was addressing the US-led coalition's tentative efforts to defang the Sunni Muslim insurgency around the powderkeg city of Fallujah and the rest of central Iraq.

US marines have welcomed to Fallujah a former general from the Saddam era in hopes of ending their month-long siege of the city.

Al-Sharq al-Awsat, October 5, 2005

In his press conference in Najaf on August 25, al-Sadr said (...): "I have heard that they will remove the purging of Baath (de-Baathification) from the constitution. We refuse that categorically."

Juan Cole, February 16, 2006 (al-Jazeera, interview with Muqtada Al-Sadr)

He says he is allied with Sunni politicians who demand the withdrawal of the occupiers and the trial of Saddam. (...) Asked about the trial of Saddam, Muqtada says that his greatest fear is that the trial will be conducted in such a way that he will be found innocent. He says that whoever was killed in Iraq was killed by Saddam, directly or indirectly.

Exclusive interview with Sheikh Muqtada Al Sadr

( Al-Alam TV, Iran ) - March 13, 2006

How about rooting out Baathists?

We must continue our effort to root them out. Currently this campaign has not been put into action. I call on the current Iraqi government to put into it practice. Baathists even in the government continue to spread corruption and hatred in Iraq. Tyrant leaders of the Baath party had a chance to run the country. We should not give them another opportunity to stir corruption in Iraq and abuse and oppress the Iraqi people. 

Juan Cole, July 1, 2006

Young nationalist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said in his Friday prayers sermon in Kufa that the Askariyah Shrine in Samarra must be rebuilt and that the US must set a timetable for the withdrawal of its troops and leave Iraq. He also rejected any amnesty for radical Sunnis who have killed Shiites, and for "the Baathists of Saddam's regime." He demanded the release of still-imprisoned Mahdi Army fighters. He also called for continued de-baathification and the execution of Saddam. Muqtada's call for continued debaathification is being interpreted as a rejection of Maliki's reconciliation plan. Note that Muqtada puts the US on a par with radical Islamists and with Baathists as undeserving of forgiveness or reconciliation.

We couldn’t find instead any explicit order given by al-Sadr to kill the Baathists as reported by The Nation:

Letter From Baghdad: The Growing Sectarian Divide

Mahdi commander Tamimi does not deny that rogue Mahdi elements are carrying out assassinations. "We have had to remove many people from the Mahdi Army," he says. "They are fighting for their sect; they don't care about Muqtada al-Sadr." But Sadr's own language has created a serious gray area, perhaps intentionally. He has approved killing of "takfiris"--Sunni extremists who consider Shiites heretics--and former Baathists. In his talks to members of the Mahdi Army, he makes it clear that he believes Sunni members of the government fall into these categories. "Saleh Mutlaq--he was a member of the Baath Party," Tamimi says of one of the most prominent Sunni politicians in the government. He also criticizes the Iraqi Islamic Party, one of the main Sunni political parties. "If they are good people, why don't they condemn the killing of Shiites?"


12. - IRAQ: Gypsies call for greater rights , March 3, 2005:
Our life is so difficult here, our house, schools, our electricity and water station was ruined by the Mehdi army [fighters loyal to anti-US cleric Moqtada Sadr], and no one helped us at all or wants to help us," Hameed Matrood, leader of the gypsies in the village, told IRIN.

In 2003, after the fall of the previous regime, the Medhi army attacked the houses of the gypsies in Diwanya and they cut off the electricity and destroyed the only school there.

"We use river water for drinking, diseases are starting to appear among our children. No one cares about us, we live in these miserable tents, I hope we can get help from the Iraqi NGOs," Matrood added.

- Iraq's Gypsies Population Under Attack by Religious Militias, January 1, 2006


13. Two students were killed and from the news’ reports the al-Sadr’s movement claimed responsibility for the crime.

Death at 'immoral' picnic in the park, March 23, 2005

Far from disavowing the attack, senior al-Sadr loyalists said that they had a duty to stop the students’ “dancing, sexy dress and corruption”.

We beat them because we are authorised by Allah to do so and that is our duty,” Sheik Ahmed al-Basri said after the attack. “It is we who should deal with such disobedience and not the police.”

After escaping with two students, Ali reached a police station and asked for help. “What do you expect me to do about it?” a uniformed officer asked.

Ali went to the British military base at al-Maakal and pleaded with the duty officer at the gate. “You’re a sovereign country now. We can’t help. You have to go to the Iraqi authorities,” the soldier replied.

When the students tried to organise demonstrations, they were broken up by the Mehdi Army. Later the university was surrounded by militiamen, who distributed leaflets threatening to mortar the campus if they did not call off the protests.

When the militia began to set up checkpoints and arrest students, Ali fled to Baghdad.

A British spokesman said that troops were unable to intervene unless asked to by the Iraqi authorities.

Colonel Kareem al-Zeidy, Basra’s police chief, pleaded helplessness. “What can I do? There is no government, no one to give us authority,” he said. “The political parties are the most powerful force in Basra right now.”

See also:

Defend Basra students against Islamic thugs

Campaign to support the courageous demonstrations by students at Basra University in Iraq!

Appeal by the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI )to all labour activists, trade unions and Student organisations worldwide to support the strike of Students of the University and schools of Basra


14. Riverbend, Bagdad Burning, November 6, 2005

Sadr and his followers have been responsible for activities such as terrorizing hairdressers, bombing liquor stores, and abductions of women not dressed properly, etc. because all these things are considered anti-Islamic (according to Iranian-style Islam).


15.  (Update)  The demonstration ended a few hours ago, without any  incident.

There are different reports on  the number of the participants, but it was a massive demonstration.

Reuters:  “tens of thousands”

New York Times: “More than 100,000”

AFP: “More than 100,000”

AP: “Hundreds of thousands”

Iraqi State television: a million people,  Iraqi government television said the Defense Ministry had approved the demonstration

At least five members of the Iraqi parliament from al-Sadr's movement attended the Baghdad demonstration, but the cleric himself was not there, presumably because of safety concerns.


16. And since Fuller writes that the “views of journalists who take this line can be discarded as trash” he won’t be interested to know that:

According to witnesses and a Washington Post special correspondent, carloads of men in tracksuits, suspected by residents to be members of the powerful Shiite militia known as the Mahdi Army, pulled up outside the Malouki mosque and fired rocket-propelled grenades at the house of worship. During the firefight, a bullet pierced the shoulder of a mosque guard. Cars were gutted and burned. Residents said they did not know how many people died.

Gunfire clattered through the hot evening air; children bawled at the sound. In one home, a wife locked the front door and pleaded with her husband not to leave the house. A former army officer barked orders to neighbors who assembled to mount a defense: You go up to the rooftops. You guard the street corners.

Saleh Muhammed, an Amiriyah resident, told a Post special correspondent that he dialed 130 into his cellphone, Baghdad's emergency number. "The Mahdi Army has attacked Amiriyah," he told the Interior Ministry dispatcher.

"The Mahdi Army are not terrorists like you," said the dispatcher at the ministry, which is controlled by a Shiite party and operates closely with militias. "They are people doing their duty. And how could you know that they are the Mahdi Army? Is it written on their foreheads?" He hung up the phone. [From Baghdad Mosque, a Call to Arms, By Joshua Partlow and Saad al-Izzi, Washington Post, July 12, 2006]

 

Appendix

Gabriele Zamparini’s reply to the BRussells Tribunal

Dear Dirk and all,I can speak only for myself and I would have not got into this debate (also because I am busy following what’s going on in Lebanon/Palestine/Israel and Iraq and try to do the little I can) but you sent me this email, so I will give briefly my point of view.I co-authored an article with uruknet’s editor Paola Pisi published on July 6. Some of the excerpts of this article:

(…) We strongly agree with the necessity for a truly independent investigation.
 
We also strongly believe that while it’s absolutely paramount to stress over again that:
 
1) Every single crime related to the occupation of Iraq falls under the responsibility of the Occupying Power, according to international Law;
 
2) The Occupying Power is obviously using the "traditional means" that have always been used in the whole history of colonialism and occupations; (…)
(…) Of course whoever is responsible, they couldn't have openly abducted Khamis al-Obeidi and outraged his corpse in Sadr City, in total impunity, without the complicity of the MOI [Ministry of the Interior] and the occupation forces. (…)
(…) We could go on with the collections of reports and testimonies from Iraq: other sieges, other killings, other facts and evidences... Are we listening?
 
Conclusions
 
In a spirit of solidarity with the Iraqi People’s Just Struggle for freedom and independence against the US-led illegal invasion-occupation of Iraq, the "crime against the peace, for which there is responsibility under international law", we would like to appeal to our brothers and sisters in the international ANTI-war-occupation movement to listen carefully to the Iraqi People without patronizing them.
 
We believe these questions are extremely urgent and must be addressed without further delay. In Iraq the carnage is going on and it’s time to question the role of all these militias and death squads and their relation with the occupying Power.
 
Among other death squads and militias, a truly independent investigation must question the Badr Organisation [the armed wing of the Shia Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq] and the Mehdi Army [the militia of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr] within the frame of the US-led occupation and its puppet Iraqi government of which Moqtada al-Sadr with his religious party is one of the most important components.


How this can be read in contradiction with Fulller’s work, only God knows. I was frankly shocked to read Fuller’s characterization of the article I co-authored in his new piece

 

¡Nunca Olvida! Never Forget!The US role in Iraq’s death squads: A response to Gabriele Zamparini and Uruknet’s "Listening to the Survivors"by Max Fuller, member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee.(July 2006)

I had also requested an independent investigation much earlier than Fuller, already on June 12 when I started my series Lynching Saddam Then on June 25 I wrote another piece of the same series Lynching Saddam. In this part, I pointed out that there were enough elements to question Moqtada Al Sadr, and his Mehdi Army.If I well remember, there was some debate online about my article and not everyone was happy. That’s OK. More voices there are the better to get closer to the truth.In the article I co-authored with Paola Pisi, we reported testimonies from many Iraqis and many journalists such as Dahr Jamail and others.After our article, Felicity published one of the most interesting article I read in the last few months. Felicity Arbuthnot: Letters from Baghdadis.

In this article, Felicity writes:

 

Hello Dear Felicity, 'The b ... d and evil militias of (Iranian backed) Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Badr Corps are mercilessly and brutally kidnapping and assassinating the innocents from both sects, Shi'ite or Sunni under pre- made charges (of being 'Ba'athist, Saddamist..') 'They kidnapped me and put me in my car boot (in 100f heat) for ninety minutes.' They also kidnapped his brother, beat them both severely, relieved them of the two cars and $5,000 - their all. Iraqis now carry any money they are lucky enough to have, knowing if the Americans 'soldiers' or their militias (spot the difference) break into their homes it will be stolen along with all their valuables. The kidnappers also did some fancy, anesthetic-free surgery to one ear. But they escaped with their lives. A., whose formative years were under Iranian bombardment of the eight year (western driven) Iran-Iraq war and like all Iraqis has suffered so grievously from the actions of the UK and US without a thought of emigrating, ended with a plea, from one who had never begged for anything in his life : 'Please, please, help me to get to Europe.'


Yet, Fuller writes in his new article:

 

What we do have is a growing body of eyewitness testimonies from Iraqis asserting the presence of members of one or other militia group. Such assertions are blown out of all proportion within the mainstream western media by writers who have never seriously questioned the role of US military-intelligence advisors in orchestrating the death squads despite a barrage of evidence. The views of journalists who take this line can be discarded as trash, but not those of the Iraqis, who, undoubtedly, genuinely see the involvement of both Badr and Mehdi militiamen. The problem with such testimonies is not in their credibility but in their ability to perceive the structures and follow the chains of command of the various armed groups that are assaulting them. Despite truisms, the truth is that sometimes you can feel the effect of the lash, but not see the hand that is wielding it. 


Fuller’s characterization of the article I co-authored with Paola Pisi reads:

 

But it comes as a shock to find these arguments under assault from an organization like Uruknet, which has consistently opposed the Occupation of Iraq and provided a bulwark of news and analysis against the lies of the criminals. Yet Uruknet editor Paola Pisi and writer and activist Gabriele Zamparini have chosen to do essentially that in their article ‘Iraq: Listening to the Survivors’, in which they have criticized an article in which I called for an independent investigation into the killings of three lawyers defending Saddam Hussein and other members of the former Iraqi government on the grounds that I have not heard and understood what is happening in Iraq. Their argument is that rather than focusing on US control of the Iraqi security apparatus, we should be looking at the involvement of Iraq’s two most famous Shiite militias, the Mehdi Army of Radical Cleric Muqtada al Sadr and the Badr Brigade, linked to the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.


As one can easily read from Pisi-Zamparini’s article, our argument WAS NOT, as Fuller writes,  “rather than focusing on US control of the Iraqi security apparatus” since we repeatedly and
clearly stated many times (and over again) just the OPPOSITE .I have been getting used to get attacked on these days but frankly nobody had resorted yet to imply that I am underestimating the pernicious role of the US-UK’s invaders. I have nothing to add about this new Fuller’s article since it is NOT a reply to what I had written on July 6 Since you have been sending Fuller’s article to many people, websites and email list, I will send these few observations to a few people in our circle of friends and comrades. Please, feel free to forward this email to the many email lists you sent Fuller’s article. I have only my name and I am very proud of it. Best wishes.In solidarity,
Gabriele Zamparini

 

Documents 

  1. ¡Nunca Olvida! Never Forget! The US role in Iraq’s death squads: A response to Gabriele Zamparini and Uruknet’s "Listening to the Survivors", by Max Fuller, member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee – First Version.

  2. ¡Nunca Olvida! Never Forget! The US role in Iraq’s death squads, by Max Fuller, member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee – Revisited version.
  3. Iraq: Listening to the Survivors, by Paola Pisi and Gabriele Zamparini.

PDF Version (650 Kb)




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