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Iraqis drag 4 U.S. bodies through streets

I've heard that these four "contractors" were private soldiers. It's also worth noting that only days before this incident nine Fallujah were killed by U.S. Marines, which has not been reported in the U.S. media.
Iraqis drag 4 U.S. bodies through streets

By SAMEER N. YACOUB
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

FALLUJAH, Iraq -- In a scene reminiscent of Somalia, frenzied crowds dragged the burned, mutilated bodies of four American contractors through the streets of a town west of Baghdad on Wednesday and strung two of them up from a bridge after rebels ambushed their SUVs.

Five U.S. soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division also were killed when a bomb exploded under their M-113 armored personnel carrier north of Fallujah, making it the bloodiest day for Americans in Iraq since Jan. 8.

The four contract workers were killed in Fallujah, a Sunni Triangle city about 35 miles west of Baghdad and scene of some of the worst violence on both sides of the conflict since the beginning of the American occupation a year ago.

Chanting "Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans," residents cheered after the grisly assault on two four-wheel-drive civilian vehicles left both SUVs in flames.

Residents in Fallujah said insurgents attacked the contractors with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. After the attack, a jubilant crowd of civilians, none of whom appeared to be armed, gathered to celebrate, dragging the bodies through the street and hanging two of them from the bridge. Many of those in the crowd were excited young boys who shouted slogans in front of television cameras.

Associated Press Television News pictures showed one man beating a charred corpse with a metal pole. Others tied a yellow rope to a body, hooked it to a car and dragged it down the main street of town. Two blackened and mangled corpses were hung from the green, iron bridge spanning the Euphrates River.

"The people of Fallujah hung some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep," resident Abdul Aziz Mohammed said. Some corpses were dismembered, he said.

The White House blamed terrorists and remnants of Saddam Hussein's former regime for the "horrific attacks" on the American contractors.

"It is offensive, it is despicable the way these individuals have been treated," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.

Referring to the planned June 30 transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis, McClellan said "the best way to honor those that lost their lives" is to continue with efforts to bring democracy to Iraq.

State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said the contractors, all men, "were trying to make a difference and to help others."

U.S. officials did not identify the dead or the nature of their work because the next of kin had not yet been notified.

However, early evidence indicated they worked for Blackwater Security Consulting, a company based in Moyock, N.C., the company said in a statement. The security firm hires former military members from the United States and other countries to provide security training and guard services. In Iraq, the company was hired by the Pentagon to provide security for convoys that delivered food in the Fallujah area, the company statement said.

The abuse and mutilation of the contractors' corpses was similar to the scene more than a decade ago in Somalia, when a mob dragged corpses of U.S. soldiers through the streets of Mogadishu, eventually leading to the American withdrawal from the African nation. The images were broadcast worldwide and became the subject of the book and movie "Black Hawk Down."

But Wednesday's images of the four civilians killed in Iraq filled television screens worldwide Wednesday but were largely shunned by American television that deemed them too graphic.

In London, Channel 4 News broadcast an electronically blurred body being dragged through the street. In Paris, LCI television station showed the footage of the bodies without blurring them. In Germany, ZDF News showed riot scenes but not any bodies.

On Wednesday, a man held a printed sign with a skull and crossbones and the phrase "Fallujah is the cemetery for Americans" beneath the blackened corpses after they were pulled from the vehicles.

One body was tied to a car that had a poster in its window of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder of the Palestinian militant group Hamas who was assassinated by the Israeli military in Gaza City.

One resident displayed what appeared to be dog tags taken from one body. Residents also said there were weapons in the targeted cars. APTN showed an American passport near a body and a U.S. Department of Defense identification card belonging to another man.

Some of the slain contractors were wearing flak jackets, resident Safa Mohammedi said.

In Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said the coalition would not be deterred from its mission to rebuild Iraq, and that numerous reconstruction projects were moving forward nationwide even though attention was focused on the attacks.

The roadside bomb that killed the five American soldiers Wednesday was in Malahma, 12 miles northwest of Fallujah, where anti-U.S. insurgents are active.

Their deaths raised the number of U.S. troops killed in March to at least 48, making it the second-deadliest month for U.S. troops since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1. The deadliest month was November, when 82 U.S. troops were killed.

In all, at least 597 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since the war began March 20, 2003. Of the total, 459 have died since May 1 when Bush flew onto an aircraft carrier off the California coast to declare the end of major combat.

Kimmitt said that over the past week, there has been an average of 28 attacks daily against coalition military, compared with an average of just under 20 daily attacks in previous weeks.

In the deadliest previous incident this year, nine soldiers were killed Jan. 8 when their Black Hawk medevac helicopter crashed near Fallujah, apparently after being shot down.

Fallujah is in the so-called Sunni Triangle, where support for Saddam was strong and rebels often carry out attacks against American forces. U.S. Marines recently took over authority in the region from the departing U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

In an effort to forcefully establish their presence, the newly arrived Marines have conducted numerous patrols in Fallujah and have engaged in fierce firefights with rebels. In recent months, U.S. soldiers were not seen as often in the center of town.

The Marines have said they will aggressively pursue guerrillas in Fallujah. However, no U.S. troops or Iraqi police were seen in the area after the attacks Wednesday, and the city was quiet.

In nearby Ramadi, insurgents threw a grenade at a government building and Iraqi security forces returned fire Wednesday, witnesses said. It was not clear if there were casualties.

Also in Ramadi, a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. convoy, witnesses said. U.S. officials in Baghdad could not confirm the attack.

Northeast of Baghdad, in the city of Baqouba on Wednesday, a suicide bomber blew up explosives in his car when he was near a convoy of government vehicles, wounding 14 Iraqis and killing himself, officials said.

homepage: homepage: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/apmideast_story.asp?category=1107&slug=Iraq

repost from dc 31.Mar.2004 23:03

zorro

McLellan Mixed Up: 4 American "Contractors" Were MERCENARIES FROM NC

by Unknown 31 Mar 2004 Modified: 08:43:42 PM

The presidential press secretary called today's events in Fallujah, Iraq, "despicable."
President Bush calls his lies about that got us into Iraq and killed 7,000 Iraqis funny.
I do not condone the abuse of corpses. What happened to the four bodies in Fallujah was deplorable.

What we have done to the Iraqis, now, that was despicable.

The media have referred to the four Americans killed in Fallujah today as "American contractors." They were mercenaries, soldiers of fortune, working for Blackwater USA of North Carolina.

The media descrbed these "contractors" as being in Iraq on a humanitarian mission: protecting food deliveries.

Their mission was humanitarian like the mission of Navy men firing Cruise missles from the safety of air-conditioned control rooms on carriers, launching them against faceless men, women, and children in Baghdad, a city of 5 milliion, were liberators. They are humanitarians like the pilots who killed from their leather-upholstered cockpits thousands of feet in the air were liberators.

A mercenary is a hired gun, paid to get in other people's business of fighting their wars. Here is what Blackwater USA really does, from their advertisement of a "conference" they are conducting (I quote):

"Here is Blackwater USA, the world's largest firearms and tactical training facility has put together a conference to meet that need that is unlike any other before it. Four tracks will be offered: Executive Management, Weapons, Tactics, and Sniper. The three-day conference will begin each morning with a 90-minute presentation from noted experts in resolving hostage situations, suicide bomber profiling, and the psychology of operating and surviving critical incidents. Following each presentation, there will be lectures by world-renowned operators from the FBI's HRT and Critical Incident Response Group, LAPD's SWAT Team, and many others followed by live-fire application on our state-of-the-art ranges and in our live-fire shoot houses. The conference will conclude with a dinner where Assistant to the President and Homeland Security Advisor General John Gordon will be the keynote speaker."

Homeland security for the USA and food relief for Iraq. Yeah!


The war was forced opon the Iraqis 01.Apr.2004 01:51

Nadia

I have seen pictures of Iraqis killed during this war by the coalition forces. The photos of the victims are heart breaking and makes me want to get blind forever and a reminder to me why I am for peaceful solutions. When Saddam was in power these photos were shown on news in Iraq via al jaziera and came on some sites on the net. Automatically the US-administration and its supporters said it was Saddam propaganda with Aljazera's biased anti US- news and shifting the focus from the killed innocent victims to the brutal dictator and a newsstation. Today when I try to talk about the continuing of coalition forces of killing innocent victims I am accused of "anti US-propaganda" and the classical "are you saying you want Saddam back, it that what you are saying? Now I can't take anything you say seriously anymore."

The fact is that the disgust that some feel when they see these pictures of happy Iraqis and mutilated bodies. Is the same discuss I feel when I know of innocent Iraqis killed by coalition forces and you have happy US-administration and it's supporters talking about the noble cause of it's forces and the humanitarian work they are doing in Iraq.

The Propaganda Value of the Fallujah Incident 01.Apr.2004 10:08

Gary Sudborough IconoclastGS@aol.com

Where are all the pictures of the deformed and suffering Iraqi children born with birth defects because of depleted uranium? The corporate media has not shown this tragedy or discussed depleted uranium at all. How about all the hospitals with Iraqi children burned, blind and missing arms and legs? One sees very few pictures on corporate television. I remember numerous incidents where American troops opened fire on cars carrying Iraqi families and men, women and children were killed. One Iraqi mother said that she no longer desired to live because she had seen her childrens' heads blown off. What about the half million Iraqi children who died of starvation and disease because of the US embargo? Conveniently forgotten. Oh, but four Americans who are killed, burned, mutilated and hung from a bridge as retaliation for all that has been done to the Iraqi people receive continuous coverage in the corporate media because it has tremendous propaganda value in angering the American people against the Iraqis and increasing support for the war and more brutal American tactics. This is all coming from your fair, balanced and objective corporate media.