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News :: International
Fallujah Revisited - Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
14 Nov 2005
** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website http://dahrjamailiraq.com **
** Website by http://jeffpflueger.com **


November 14, 2005


Fallujah Revisited

Nearly a year after they occurred, a few of the war crimes committed in
Fallujah by members of the US military have gained the attention of some
major media outlets (excluding, of course, any of the corporate media
outlets in the US).

Back on November 26, 2004, in a story I wrote for the Inter Press
Service titled 'Unusual Weapons' Used in Fallujah
<http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/hard_news/archives/hard_news/000137.php>;,
refugees from that city described, in detail, various odd weapons used
in Fallujah. In addition, they provided detailed descriptions such as
“pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that burnt the skin
even when water was thrown on the burns.”

This was also mentioned in a web log I’d penned nine days before, on
November 17, 2004, named Slash and Burn
<http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/archives/dispatches/000122.php>; where
one of the descriptions of these same weapons by the same refugee from
Fallujah said, “These exploded on the ground with large fires that burnt
for half an hour. They used these near the train tracks. You could hear
these dropped from a large airplane and the bombs were the size of a
tank. When anyone touched those fires, their body burned for hours.”

On December 9th of 2004 I posted a gallery of photos
<http://dahrjamailiraq.com/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=album28&g;,
many of which are included in the new RAI television documentary about
incendiary weapons having been used in Fallujah.

Like the torture “scandal” of Abu Ghraib that for people in the west
didn’t become “real” until late April of 2004, Iraqis and journalists in
Iraq who engaged in actual reporting knew that US and British forces
were torturing Iraqis from nearly the beginning of the occupation, and
continue to do so to this day.

All of this makes me wonder how much longer it will take for other
atrocities to come to light. Even just discussing Fallujah, there are
many we can choose from. While I’m not the only journalist to have
reported on these, let me draw your attention to just a few things that
I’ve recorded which took place in Fallujah during the November, 2004
massacre.

In my story “Fallujah Refugees Tell of Life and Death in the Kill Zone”
<http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/hard_news/archives/hard_news/000145.php>;
published on December 3, 2004 there are many instances of war crimes
which will, hopefully, be granted the attention they deserve.

Burhan Fasa’a, an Iraqi journalist who worked for the Lebanese satellite
TV station, LBC and who was in Fallujah for nine days during the most
intense combat, said Americans grew easily frustrated with Iraqis who
could not speak English.

“Americans did not have interpreters with them,” Fasa’a said, “so they
entered houses and killed people because they didn’t speak English. They
entered the house where I was with 26 people, and [they] shot people
because [the people] didn’t obey [the soldiers’] orders, even just
because the people couldn’t understand a word of English.” He also
added, “Soldiers thought the people were rejecting their orders, so they
shot them. But the people just couldn’t understand them.”

A man named Khalil, who asked not to use his last name for fear of
reprisals, said he had witnessed the shooting of civilians who were
waving white flags while they tried to escape the city.

“I watched them roll over wounded people in the street with tanks,” said
Kassem Mohammed Ahmed, a resident of Fallujah. “This happened so many
times.”

Other refugees recounted similar stories. “I saw so many civilians
killed there, and I saw several tanks roll over the wounded in the
streets,” said Aziz Abdulla, 27 years old, who fled the fighting last
November. Another resident, Abu Aziz, said he also witnessed American
armored vehicles crushing people he believes were alive.

Abdul Razaq Ismail, another resident who fled Fallujah, said: “I saw
dead bodies on the ground and nobody could bury them because of the
American snipers. The Americans were dropping some of the bodies into
the Euphrates near Fallujah.”

A man called Abu Hammad said he witnessed US troops throwing Iraqi
bodies into the Euphrates River. Abu Hammed and others also said they
saw Americans shooting unarmed Iraqis who waved white flags.

Believing that American and Iraqi forces were bent on killing anyone who
stayed in Fallujah, Hammad said he watched people attempt to swim across
the Euphrates to escape the siege. “Even then the Americans shot them
with rifles from the shore,” he said. “Even if some of them were holding
a white flag or white clothes over their heads to show they are not
fighters, they were all shot.”

Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein reported witnessing similar
events. After running out of basic necessities and deciding to flee the
city at the height of the US-led assault, Hussein ran to the Euphrates.

“I decided to swim,” Hussein told colleagues at the AP, who wrote up the
photographer’s harrowing story, “but I changed my mind after seeing US
helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river.”

Hussein said he saw soldiers kill a family of five as they tried to
traverse the Euphrates, before he buried a man by the riverbank with his
bare hands.

“I kept walking along the river for two hours and I could still see some
US snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim,” Hussein recounted. “I
quit the idea of crossing the river and walked for about five hours
through orchards.”

A man named Khalil, who asked not to use his last name for fear of
reprisals, said he had witnessed the shooting of civilians who were
waving white flags while they tried to escape the city. “They shot women
and old men in the streets,” he said. “Then they shot anyone who tried
to get their bodies.”

“There are bodies the Americans threw in the river,” Khalil continued,
noting that he personally witnessed US troops using the Euphrates to
dispose of Iraqi dead. “And anyone who stayed thought they would be
killed by the Americans, so they tried to swim across the river. Even
people who couldn’t swim tried to cross the river. They drowned rather
than staying to be killed by the Americans,” said Khalil.

Why should blatant lying from the military come as a surprise? Even back
in November of 2003, I wrote about how US forces claimed to have been
attacked by, and then killed 48 Fedayin Saddam in Samarra. Then
magically, overnight, they raised the number to 54. Upon investigation
of this, I found that 8 civilians had been killed in the city, and wrote
about it here <http://dahrjamailiraq.com/weblog/archives/2003_11_30.php>;
and posted photos of it here
<http://dahrjamailiraq.com/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=album02&g;.

However, why should any of us be surprised at this? When we have an
administration which led the country into an illegal war of aggression
and continues to lie about it, events like torturing and the use of
incendiary weapons on civilians are small change.

_______________________________________________
(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and
international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on
the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the http://DahrJamailIraq.com website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's
Photography Media http://jeffpflueger.com . Any other use of images,
photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on
another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of
course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.
Read the full article...
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