Thursday, March 09, 2006

Covering Up Execution Death Tolls

These deaths don't count? :(

You know, although Rumsfeld Says Media Exaggerating Iraqi Civilian Deaths, it's a safe bet that he's full of shit. They are covering up all of the execution-style killings, and I don't mean the Iraqi Govt ordered executions, that began last September but are just now being reported, I'm talking about the handcuffed and shot in the head corpses found following what are reported to be round-ups by Iraqi police and/or Shiite militia units. You know, the kind of death-squad killings that seem to follow Mr Negroponte around.

Just read this:

Washington Post: Days after the bombing of a Shiite shrine unleashed a wave of retaliatory killings of Sunnis, the leading Shiite party in Iraq's governing coalition directed the Health Ministry to stop tabulating execution-style shootings, according to a ministry official familiar with the recording of deaths.

The official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named because he feared for his safety, said a representative of the Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, ordered that government hospitals and morgues catalogue deaths caused by bombings or clashes with insurgents, but not by execution-style shootings. (...)

Spokesmen for the Health Ministry and the Supreme Council -- commonly known by its initials, SCIRI -- denied that any order to alter the tabulation of deaths had been issued.

Abductions and killings of Sunni Arab men, usually by gunshots to the back of the head, have occurred with increasing frequency over the past year and are widely blamed on government-allied Shiite religious militias and death squads alleged to be operating from inside the SCIRI-dominated Interior Ministry. In particular, Shiite militias have been accused of abducting and executing large numbers of Sunni men in the days immediately following the Feb. 22 destruction of the Askariya mosque, a revered Shiite shrine in the northern city of Samarra. (...)

The Washington Post reported on Feb. 28 that more than 1,300 shooting victims had been brought to the morgue in the first six days after the Samarra bombing. The figure was provided by a morgue worker who refused to be identified by name.

Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari denied the account, saying Shiite-Sunni violence had claimed 379 lives in the week following the attack on the shrine. Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the U.S. commander in Iraq, called The Post's report exaggerated and inaccurate. An e-mail sent to U.S. military officials this week seeking updated casualty figures went unanswered.

But during the past week, various government ministries declined to give a breakdown of the 379 total, or said they were unable to, and several inconsistencies in their accounts appeared to call the government's tally into question.

In addition to the morgue worker, three sources -- the Health Ministry official, an official with the Interior Ministry and an international official in Baghdad -- involved in tallying or monitoring the mounting deaths also have put the toll at 1,000 or more, though none gave a toll as high as 1,300. Two of the sources said pressure by Shiite leaders not to report execution-style shootings had produced the lower death toll announced by Jafari. (...)

Morgue authorities now say that only 250 bodies were received between Feb. 22 and 28. That breaks down to about 35 bodies a day, scarcely more than the daily average of roughly 30 corpses reported since the middle of last year. And it is unclear how, or whether, the government includes execution-style militia killings in the tally. (...)

A Post reporter visiting the morgue about noon Feb. 23, the day after the mosque bombing and before the subsequent violence peaked, counted the bodies of 84 males ranging in age from about 12 to more than 60. All died violently (...) Four days later, another Post reporter who went to the morgue was told by workers that the facility contained more than 200 unclaimed bodies at that time. (...)

At least one representative of the SCIRI traveled to the Health Ministry, according to the ministry official. On or about Feb. 27, the ministry official said, a party representative directed ministry employees that victims of sectarian killings not associated with insurgent attacks should no longer be recorded. Instead, their names were only to be posted on the morgue wall so that their families could retrieve their bodies.

Contacted a second time this week, the ministry official refused to speak further, saying, "Forget what I told you."
Just what is really going on in Iraq with regards to these execution style killings?


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