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Excerpt: "A US diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks provides evidence that US troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence.... autopsies performed in the Iraqi city of Tikrit showed that all the dead had been handcuffed and shot in the head. Among the dead were four women and five children. The children were all 5 years old or younger."

The bodies of three of the five children reportedly killed by US troops during a raid in the rural Ishaqi area of Iraq, 03/15/06. (photo: AP)
The bodies of three of the five children reportedly killed by US troops during a raid in the rural Ishaqi area of Iraq, 03/15/06. (photo: AP)

WikiLeaks: Iraqi Children in US Raid Shot in Head

By Matthew Schofield, McClatchy News

01 September 11


US diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks provides evidence that US troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence, during a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi.

The unclassified cable, which was posted on WikiLeaks' website last week, contained questions from a United Nations investigator about the incident, which had angered local Iraqi officials, who demanded some kind of action from their government. US officials denied at the time that anything inappropriate had occurred.

But Philip Alston, the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said in a communication to American officials dated 12 days after the March 15, 2006, incident that autopsies performed in the Iraqi city of Tikrit showed that all the dead had been handcuffed and shot in the head. Among the dead were four women and five children. The children were all 5 years old or younger.

Reached by email Wednesday, Alston said that as of 2010 - the most recent data he had - US officials hadn't responded to his request for information and that Iraq's government also hadn't been forthcoming. He said the lack of response from the United States "was the case with most of the letters to the US in the 2006-2007 period," when fighting in Iraq peaked.

Alston said he could provide no further information on the incident. "The tragedy," he said, "is that this elaborate system of communications is in place but the (UN) Human Rights Council does nothing to follow up when states ignore issues raised with them."

The Pentagon didn't respond to a request for comment. At the time, American military officials in Iraq said the accounts of townspeople who witnessed the events were highly unlikely to be true, and they later said the incident didn't warrant further investigation. Military officials also refused to reveal which units might have been involved in the incident.

Iraq was fast descending into chaos in early 2006. An explosion that ripped through the Golden Dome Mosque that February had set off an orgy of violence between rival Sunni and Shiite Muslims, and Sunni insurgents, many aligned with al Qaida in Iraq, controlled large tracts of the countryside.

Ishaqi, about 80 miles northwest of Baghdad, not far from Saddam Hussein's hometown, Tikrit, was considered so dangerous at the time that US military officials had classified all roads in the area as "black," meaning they were likely to be booby-trapped with roadside bombs.

The Ishaqi incident was unusual because it was brought to the world's attention by the Joint Coordination Center in Tikrit, a regional security center set up with American military assistance and staffed by US-trained Iraqi police officers.

The original incident report was signed by an Iraqi police colonel and made even more noteworthy because US-trained Iraqi police, including Brig. Gen. Issa al Juboori, who led the coordination center, were willing to speak about the investigation on the record even though it was critical of American forces.

Throughout the early investigation, US military spokesmen said that an al Qaida in Iraq suspect had been seized from a first-floor room after a fierce fight that had left the house he was hiding in a pile of rubble.

But the diplomatic cable provides a different sequence of events and lends credence to townspeople's claims that American forces destroyed the house after its residents had been shot.

Alston initially posed his questions to the US Embassy in Geneva, which passed them to Washington in the cable.

According to Alston's version of events, American troops approached a house in Ishaqi, which Alston refers to as "Al-Iss Haqi," that belonged to Faiz Harrat Al-Majma'ee, whom Alston identified as a farmer. The US troops were met with gunfire, Alston said, that lasted about 25 minutes.

After the firefight ended, Alston wrote, the "troops entered the house, handcuffed all residents and executed all of them. After the initial MNF intervention, a US air raid ensued that destroyed the house." The initials refer to the official name of the military coalition, the Multi-National Force.

Alston said "Iraqi TV stations broadcast from the scene and showed bodies of the victims (i.e. five children and four women) in the morgue of Tikrit. Autopsies carries (sic) out at the Tikrit Hospital's morgue revealed that all corpses were shot in the head and handcuffed."

The cable makes no mention any of the alleged shooting suspects being found or arrested at or near the house.

The cable closely tracks what neighbors told reporters for Knight Ridder at the time. (McClatchy purchased Knight Ridder in spring 2006.) Those neighbors said the US troops had approached the house at 2:30 a.m. and a firefight ensued. In addition to exchanging gunfire with someone in the house, the American troops were supported by helicopter gunships, which fired on the house.

The cable also backs the original report from the Joint Coordination Center, which said US forces entered the house while it was still standing. That first report noted: "The American forces gathered the family members in one room and executed 11 persons, including five children, four women and two men. Then they bombed the house, burned three vehicles and killed their animals."

The report was signed by Col. Fadhil Muhammed Khalaf, who was described in the document as the assistant chief of the Joint Coordination Center.

The cable also backs up the claims of the doctor who performed the autopsies, who told Knight Ridder "that all the victims had bullet shots in the head and all bodies were handcuffed."

The cable notes that "at least 10 persons, namely Mr. Faiz Hratt Khalaf, (aged 28), his wife Sumay'ya Abdul Razzaq Khuther (aged 24), their three children Hawra'a (aged 5) Aisha (aged 3) and Husam (5 months old), Faiz's mother Ms. Turkiya Majeed Ali (aged 74), Faiz's sister (name unknown), Faiz's nieces Asma'a Yousif Ma'arouf (aged 5 years old), and Usama Yousif Ma'arouf (aged 3 years), and a visiting relative Ms. Iqtisad Hameed Mehdi (aged 23) were killed during the raid."

(Schofield, an editorial writer at The Kansas City Star, was Berlin bureau chief and was on temporary assignment in Iraq at the time of the Ishaqi incident.)

Read the Cable:
Cable: Massacre of Iraqi family by US troops in 2006. your social media marketing partner


+54 # PhilO 2011-09-01 22:09
This is shameful. Absolutely shameful.

As an American I call for the trial of all involved for war crimes. First on the indictment should be Bush and Cheney. The blood from this awful war for oil is on their hands. Their lies, deceit, and greed shame our country.
+16 # acomfort 2011-09-01 23:11
[quote name="portiz"]T his is shameful. Absolutely shameful.

As an American I call for the trial of all involved for war crimes. First on the indictment should be Bush and Cheney.
- - - - - - - - - - -
Right . . . but remember something has to be done to prevent a pardon . . . like a quick amendment to the constitution limiting the president's ability to pardon . . . One amendment (voting age to 18) was done in about 3 months.
+22 # cadan 2011-09-01 23:42
You are right it is shameful.

And you are right that Cheney (and Bush) should be indicted.

The very unpleasant question now is whether the current Attorney General and President will do anything about it.
+10 # PGreen 2011-09-02 06:31
Though it seems to me that "War Crimes" is a bit of an oxymoron, I solidly agree that those responsible for these atrocities should be held accountable. This includes the former vice-president, and president if need be. I don't expect to see Obama do anything about it (don't get me wrong-- I would be happy to be wrong about this). There is a largely unspoken, unwritten ethos that authorities working to protect the interests and functioning of a system tend to support each other. Though the Bush and Obama administrations differ in many respects, they are similar in that they both represent the interests of a wealthy elite, who more or less dominate our government. Our current government is more sympathetic to the Public Welfare in some respects than the previous one, but I haven't seen evidence that Obama will violate this fundamental precept of government (unless, perhaps, forced to). In terms of foreign policy, in particular, there has been little apparent change. The quest for American hegemony still seems to be in full swing, in the halls of Washington.
+4 # futhark 2011-09-02 12:15
If Mr. Obama's administration goes after Bush and Cheney for these war crimes, will their ethics-enhanced successors go after them for the unconscionable drone attacks perpetrated on the hapless people of the Middle East? Don't be expecting any war crimes prosecutions of those who hold the military advantage, especially by their successors who have been in blood up to their armpits.
+12 # Helen 2011-09-02 00:21
We should not be waiting for the UN Human Rights Council to do anything. We should demand a full investigation of this and other war crimes right within the U.S. What kind of people are we, that we would ignore this shameful action?
+20 # Watchdog 2011-09-02 02:29
Why is anyone surprised? It is shameful but so was the whole war. Dick Cheney should be hung by his thumbs from a bridge in Tikrit.
+17 # Ralph Averill 2011-09-02 02:34
Every good deed, every positive action, is utterly erased by these horrible acts. The influence of al Qaeda, the Taliban, all who hate the US, increases. For all the blood and treasure, we end up strengthening our enemies. Except for a few, (i.e. Chris Murphy, 5th District, Ct.) no one in Congress is calling for the end of this madness, in spite of all the clamor on government waste.
+6 # John Somebody 2011-09-02 04:10
Hang on,

I deeply hate the N.W.O., and all of its predecessors. But hang on how does one handcuff a 5 month old baby, and why ?
+8 # Phlippinout 2011-09-02 07:37
wow! The filthy price an empire has to pay to keep the dirty secrets in the dark. I hate my government and its disgusting agenda. The murdering empire is still a murdering empire.
+5 # SouthBrun 2011-09-02 05:28
"It is well that war is so terrible. Otherwise we would grow too fond of it."
Robert E. Lee
May we now begin to show our dislike for war and it's collateral damage.
+20 # Dale 2011-09-02 06:54
Thanks once again to Wikileaks, with the courage to reveal American atrocities and impunity for documented war crimes. The question is will this crime and the many others commited by U.S. forces, their Iraqi stooges, the CIA, the Pentagon, and Bush, Cheney and Rumsfield continue to have their immunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Obama is clearly not at all inclined to proceed.
+15 # fredboy 2011-09-02 07:30
One cannot imagine the number of hideous criminal acts covered by the filthy blanket of "war." I am amazed that we welcome every member of the military back as a hero, when we know some likely committed horrible, unforgivable acts.
+16 # Billy Bob 2011-09-02 09:20
I think all the hero worship of the soldier-superma n is the single biggest threat to our democracy. I think the hero worship is the very thing that causes this crap to happen in the first place. My dad was a WWII veteran, and the thing he hated more than anything else in the entire world was listening to people brag about military exploits. He fought in every battle of the European theater and absolutely hated every moment of what he had to do. He committed no war crimes. But, he felt so much horror about the realities of what he faced that he never felt comfortable talking about it to very many people other than me.

The military, at best, is a job that some people are forced to do. At best, it is done by people who hate ever minute of it, and only do what they must. That attitude represented the thinking of many men and women who faced an almost equal enemy during WWII.

That attitude seems to be completely missing from the current crop of self-described "heroes", who are more than happy to provide whatever mafia protection services the oil industry wants from them, just so they can feel like a "man" while doing it.
+2 # Dion Giles 2011-09-03 02:48
Billy Bob, what your Dad did in Europe was honourable beyond words. Aggression is the most despicable crime in the book, and it is as honourable for people to fight for its victims as it is contemptible to commit it as the Germans and Japs did during the war. Oradour-sur-Gla ne, Lidice, Babi Yar, the Ardiatine Caves, Nanking, Mai Lai, Srebrenica, Ishaqi -- all and much more are part and parcel of aggression and there is no honour in anyone - anyone at all - who is wilfully part of aggression.
+1 # futhark 2011-09-03 18:18
My dad was a U.S. Navy veteran 1940-45. He was proud of having helped defeat Japanese imperialism, volunteering for the next sortie each time his ship returned safely to Pearl Harbor. On the other hand, he considered those years of his life to have been wasted as far as advancing him toward his goals of becoming a useful citizen.

There was no president for which he had less respect than Ronald Reagan.
0 # Billy Bob 2011-09-04 11:36
My dad felt much the same way.
+16 # Billy Bob 2011-09-02 09:10
Remember this, when you watch commercials for the military.

Remember this, when you watch commercials for battle-play video games financed by the Pentagon.

Remember this, when you hear chest pounding nationalist speaches about "America, love it or leave it".

Remember this, when you look at your own children and wonder what these same people would do to them if they got in the way of their "mission".

Remember this, and remember how lucky you are that you live in a country that can afford to steal from, rape and pillage, and torture the rest of the planet, all while pretending everything is just as usual back at home.

Remember this, when people tell you to thank our military for saving us against the bad guys.

+16 # Billy Bob 2011-09-02 09:11

Remember this, and the fact that much of it was done for profit.

Remember this, and ask yourself, "why are we there again?"

Remember this, and remember the people, in all walks of American life (not just politicians) who caused this to happen with an attitude that anything the military does is good, and any questioning of the military is "unamerican".

Remember this, the next time someone lectures you about "never forgetting" the Nazi holocaust.

Remember this, when people laugh at the idea that America and some of its politicians could be guilty of war crimes

Remember this, when people complain about soldiers being called "baby killers".
+2 # Glen 2011-09-02 17:49
Your comments, Billy Bob, remind me of a conversation I had with a fellow about 30. His comments on the military and Blackwater, and all things related, truly represented the new war attitude that people his age and younger grew up with. They see the military and attacking countries as part of life and are glad that there is a Blackwater for ex-soldiers/spe cial ops to go to after they leave service.

It was alarming that all we have dreaded is now in place for many young people, and they know nothing else and don't question killing. They readily accept the need to kill children simply because they are in the way.

Yes, Billy Bob, we will remember everything you listed.
+2 # Billy Bob 2011-09-02 19:33
Thanks for that reply.

I know some of the very people you're talking about. In reality, I think they always existed, but we had a system and a habit of basic humanity in place in this country that kept them in check.

I think that, rather than political passion, this is partially a direct result of political complacence and laziness. No one's been challenging these people to think outside of the script the Pentagon has written for them. So, you get this sort of cavalier attitude about murder and torture that seems to be coming from a disconnect with reality and the consequences of personal actions. I think this is like starring in a Friday the 13th sequel to many of them.

If you've ever read the traditional definition of a "sociopath", it's hard to see how the United States, collectively, hasn't become a sociopathic nation. True to the form of an individual sociopath, nothing is ever our fault. It's always someone else's. I knew a sociopathic doctor, who was constantly moving around and setting up practice in new towns, because he could never find any employees that were "trustworthy". The problem followed him everywere.

The entire world seems to be "alien" and "the enemy" to many Americans now, because many of us can't accept American responsibility for American actions.
0 # Glen 2011-09-03 07:14
Did you happen to read Eric Bronner's essay The Arrogance of Power, that was published on RSN on the 31st? That, too, has always been a consideration, but just as an attitude of war has developed without examination by young Americans, so has the loss of ethics and morals.

Part of the problem, obviously, is that the bombing and killing is happening so far away. The U.S. truly is isolated literally and figuratively. Military suicides are also unrecognized, as so many other tragedies. The young are saturated with the propaganda and little information.
-6 # casey 2011-09-02 10:08
Though I agree with the concept of wikileaks, it strikes me that something's amiss here. The children in the photo [purportedly from Iraqi TV who arrived on the scene after our dastardly deed] show three babies without handcuffs and without any blood on them. The story doesn't jibe especially if we called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence and the victims were taken to a hospital for autopsy? Sorry, I'm not buying this one. I think our troops are smarter than this.
+6 # fredboy 2011-09-02 11:27
Billy Bob, thanks for powerful perspective.

As I view the military hero worship and the video promos of this concept I think back to the chilling development of Nazi propaganda. It sickened the minds of a nation then led that nation to destruction.
+5 # futhark 2011-09-02 12:27
Everyone needs to study the means by which the most highly educated and cultured nation in Europe was taken over by political criminals in the 1930s and launched on the road to the commission of the most ethically reprehensible actions in human history. We see the same patterns of glorification of violence and mass psychology through propaganda operating in the United States over the past several years, including celebrating political murder and ignoring the voices of those calling out for a change in direction before more atrocities are committed.

Every slaughtered innocent person, child, woman, or man, will result in another heart hardened against the United States of America.
+2 # howard 2011-09-02 11:54
Casey, Good thinking! How can you enter a house, handcuff everyone (Including children under 5), execute them, then call for the destruction of the house, and still have the bodies end up in the morgue? These photos look suspiciously like the ones of the victims of Sadam's massacre of civilians with chemical weapons. The war is horrible enough without the hyperbole of unconfirmed stories.
+3 # jwb110 2011-09-02 12:15
The only reason this is happening is because we are there. If we get out the problem is solved.
+2 # Billy Bob 2011-09-02 14:29
The problem isn't solved until we admit the real reason we were there in the first place and challenge the kind of propaganda that makes excuses for this.

Otherwise, the problem would have been solved after we left Viet Nam.
+3 # propsguy 2011-09-02 15:45
more proof, as if we needed it, of the importance of wikileaks
+1 # giraffee2012 2011-09-02 18:48
ALL the rhetoric of the GOP/TP about abortions/gay rights/ balance the budget and (nothing on jobs- Boner rejected hearing 50 bills in the last 6 months that were about jobs)--- are a cover-up.

We are run by the private military. Remember we have more contractors than enlisted. We take the word of the Generals - EVERY TIME they ask for $$ and the Congress gives. No wonder we are broke.

We rebuild (the most expensive way possible) Iraq & Afghanistan when our own country is falling apart. We build them schools and defund education here.

A few who have resigned the military have spoken out at the horror and uselessness of these wars. But they cannot say much, bc even if one "protests" - they might get arrested. Worse - end up like Pvt Manning.

I hate our government -- only the crooks can get elected by funding from "personhoods" ($$ from multi-internati onal companies)-- thanks to the Stupremes giving first amendment rights to foreigners)

VOTE DEMOCRATIC --- ONLY - or we die
-2 # burner 2011-09-03 23:29
no matter who you vote for it will be the same. except for ron paul they are all puppet masters mind controlled psychos.
0 # burner 2011-09-03 23:33
these men aren't human
0 # VSweet 2011-09-06 09:07

This awful act of violence deeply sorrows my heart. My tears are flowing fast with sadness for these babies and elderly.
0 # Tealee 2011-09-12 13:42
Something about this doesn't ring true. The photos certainly don't look like the children had been found in a home that had been demolished by an airstrike. Sometimes it's prudent to remember that things are not always as they appear, and that there are those who wish to make it appear that the U.S. are commiting war crimes. As for those who think this story is true, that our military has gone wild with arrogance and power...I'm sure that you would be thinking differently if our military were forced to protect you on our own soil. I'm sure that the blood on their hands then wouldn't seem so evil if they were saving your ass.

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