Friday, September 02, 2011

Wikileaks Blows Cover Off Another Massacre

Wikileaks has released a US diplomatic cable that says US troops massacred an Iraqi family during a night raid in Ishaqi, including four women and five children aged five and under on March 15, 2006. Afterwards an air strike was called in by US troops in an attempt to destroy evidence of the executions. McClatchy News reports the executions at Ishaqi were denied by U.S. officials at the time, and the United States never responded to inquiries from the U.N. concerning the incident during the heaviest fighting of 2006-07 as Iraq descended into sectarian war. By 2007 when General Petraeus took command in Baghdad, 3000 Iraqis a month were dying violent deaths. In the cable a U.N. investigator is quoted as saying an autopsy conducted at Tikrit Hospital showed the eleven residents of the house had been handcuffed and shot in the head. The cable lends credence to townspeoples' claims that the American forces involved destroyed the house after the residents had been shot. According to the U.N. war crimes investigator, troops received fire from the house that lasted about twenty five minutes. After the firefight ended, troops entered the standing house, and killed the occupants. Only then did an air raid occur which reduced it to rubble. US military spokesmen claimed at the time that an al-Qaeda-in-Iraq suspect was seized inside and the firefight that included helicopter gunships destroyed the house. Neighbors agree that an al-Qaeda member was in the home visiting the homeowner, a relative and schoolteacher. The incident was investigated by US trained Iraqi police of the Joint Coordination Center in Tikrit, but the military said the locals' version of events was "highly unlikely" and no further investigation by the US military was warranted. US military officials also refused to identify the units involved in the raid at Ishaqi, sixty miles northwest of Baghdad. So far only the known civilian massacre by US Marines at Haditha, exceeds the number executed at Ishaqi.