Quickly buried Iraq news
June 21, 2005, Associated Press--Iraq's justice minister accused the U.S. of trying to delay Iraqi efforts to interrogate Saddam Hussein, saying "it seems there are lots of secrets they want to hide."
"Shandal alleged that U.S. officials deliberately are trying to limit access to Saddam because they have their own secrets to protect, including funneling money and support to the Iraqi leader during his rule."
"There should be transparency and there should be frankness, but there are secrets that if revealed, won't be in the interest of many countries," he said. "Who was helping Saddam all those years?"
"Shandal said he was speaking with the authority of a Cabinet minister who personally nominated several of the judges on the tribunal and was in close contact with the investigators." (Maggie Michael, "U.S. Said Delaying Saddam Interrogations," Associated Press, 6-21-2005.)
BAGHDAD, June 19, 2005 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) - Eighty two Iraqi lawmakers from across the political spectrum have pressed for the withdrawal of the US-led occupation troops from their country.
The Shiite, Kurdish, Sunni Arab, Christian and communist legislators made the call in a letter sent by Falah Hassan Shanshal of the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), the largest bloc in parliament, to speaker Hajem Al-Hassani, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"We have asked in several sessions for occupation troops to withdraw. Our request was ignored," read the latter, made public on Sunday, June 19.
There are currently about 160,000 foreign troops in Iraq, including 138,000 American forces.
There are also 15,000 mercenaries from private military firms operating in Iraq, the second largest force outnumbering even the US biggest ally Britain, according to the estimation of Peter Singer, author of Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry.
The letter stressed that the 275-member parliament is the legitimate representative of the Iraqi people and guardian of their interests, censuring the government for leaving the people in the dark.
"It is dangerous that the Iraqi government has asked the UN Security Council to prolong the stay of occupation forces without consulting representatives of the people who have the mandate for such a decision," it said. "Therefore we must reject the occupation's legitimacy and renew our demand for these forces to withdraw."
The UN Security Council agreed on May 31 to extend the mandate of US-led forces in Iraq "until the completion of the political process" following a request from the Iraqi government represented in its Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
In their letter, the Iraqi legislators also demanded a clear timetable for the withdrawal of the occupation troops.
Though facing increasing domestic pressure to set such a timetable, US President George W. Bush on Saturday, June 18, rejected withdrawal calls.
"The mission isn't easy, and it will not be accomplished overnight," he said in his weekly radio address.
Recent opinion polls indicated that almost six in 10 Americans want at least a partial pullout.
US and British dailies reported [in May] that the US army in Iraq was planning to set up four permanent bases in Iraq.
(The Journal of Turkish Weekly, June 19, 2005 http://www.turkishweekly.net/news.php?id=13046#)
San Diego, May 4, Associated Press--A Marine corporal who was videotaped shooting an apparently injured and unarmed Iraqi in a Fallujah mosque last year will not face court-martial, the Marine Corps announced Wednesday.
Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, commanding general of the I Marine Expeditionary Force, said that a review of the evidence showed the Marine's actions in the shooting were "consistent with the established rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict." ...
However, stories at the time of the videotaped killing stated that the shooter might face charges after an embedded reporter's footage was partially aired on U.S. networks. Lieutenant Colonel Bob Miller, a US military judge leading an investigation into the shooting, told NBC in an interview that the rules of engagement in Iraq "authorize the marines to use force when presented with a hostile act or hostile intent." Miller added: "Any wounded--even in this case wounded--insurgent, who does not pose a threat would not be considered hostile."
"The first Protocol added to the Geneva Convention of 1949 in 1977 stipulates that injured prisoners of war must enjoy adequate medical and humane treatment. What that American marine did in that mosque in Fallujah is a war crime and he must be tried accordingly by an independent authority," head of International Law Dept. at Cairo University , professor Salah Amer, told Al-Jazeera TV on November 16.
CBS News showed a still photo from the film depicting the marine standing above the slumped figure aiming his rifle at the man's body.
It aired excerpts of a discussion between the marines.
According to NBC correspondent Kevin Sites, who wrote the pool report on the incident, one marine noticed one of the prisoners inside the Fallujah mosque was still breathing, Reuters reported.
A marine can be heard saying on the pool footage provided to Reuters Television: "He's [expletive] faking he's dead. He faking he's [expletive] dead."
"The marine then raises his rifle and fires into the man's head. The pictures are too graphic for us to broadcast," Sites said. No images of the shooting were shown in the footage provided to Reuters. Sites said the shot prisoner "did not appear to be armed or threatening in any way".
"He's dead now," one marine in the squad shouts after the shooting.
NBC said the film of the man being shot in the head was "too gruesome" to be seen on screens.
Sites said the mosque had been used by Iraqi fighters to attack US forces, who stormed it and an adjacent building, killing 10 fighters and wounding five, Reuters said. He added the wounded had been left in the mosque for others to pick up and move to the rear for treatment. No reason was given why that had not happened, it added.
(AP, May 4, 2005, "No Charges in Fallujah Shooting," and Reuters and Agence France-Press, Nov. 16, 2004.)
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