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The Samarra Massacre...Vietnam all over again...

by iZ Thursday, Dec. 04, 2003 at 2:30 PM

It appears as if the U.S. is using Vietnam-style tactics in Iraq and portraying Vietnam-style civilian massacres as heroic battles against a fierce enemy. The U.S. corporate media is once again complicit in the covering-up of U.S. crimes and atrocities around the world. Eight Civilians are killed, two Mosques are desecrated, and the U.S. corporate media simply tells us that the U.S. forces fought off an ambush, not even mentioning the Iraqi witnesses which state that the U.S. simply opened fire, indiscriminately, into a crowd of worshippers and pilgrims.

Operation Iraqi Freedom???

"We dominate the scene and we will continue to impose our will on this country."
 - Paul Bremer, Top Civilian Official In Iraq - July 2003 

The Samarra Massacre...Vietnam all over again...

It appears as if the U.S. is using Vietnam-style tactics in Iraq and portraying Vietnam-style civilian massacres as heroic battles against a fierce enemy. The U.S. corporate media is once again complicit in the covering-up of U.S. crimes and atrocities around the world. Eight Civilians are killed, two Mosques are desecrated, and the U.S. corporate media simply tells us that the U.S. forces fought off an ambush, not even mentioning the Iraqi witnesses which state that the U.S. simply opened fire, indiscriminately, into a crowd of worshippers and pilgrims.

Iranian English Coverage of The Samarra Massacre (to download right-click and go to "save target as..") http://www.iribnews.com/video/01/09/12/p6206.wmv


Iraqis challenge US account of battle
Michael Howard in Baghdad and Julian Borger in Washington
Tuesday December 2, 2003
The Guardian

Iraqi officials in Samarra yesterday challenged US military accounts of a bloody battle on Sunday, accusing American soldiers of spraying fire at random on the city streets, killing several civilians.

US army spokesmen claimed that up to 54 Iraqi guerrillas had been killed when they tried to ambush two armoured convoys bringing new banknotes to two Samarra banks, triggering the biggest pitched battle in Iraq since May 1, when President George Bush declared "major combat operations" over.

There were no reported American deaths, but five US soldiers were wounded, one seriously, and a civilian travelling with them was injured.

US officers involved in the battle described the ambushes as well coordinated by up to 80 guerrillas. They said some of the dead had worn the black uniforms of Saddam Hussein's most loyal paramilitary unit, the Fedayeen.

But local officials questioned the high body count and said there were non-combatants among the dead. "We think that at most eight or nine people died," said Khaled Mohammed, an admissions clerk in the hospital's emergency ward, but added that some of the dead might have been taken straight to the town morgue.

A Samarra policeman, Captain Sabti Awad, said American troops had opened fire at random in response to the ambush, killing and wounding civilians.

Ahmed al-Samarai, another police officer said: "Not more than 10 people were killed and some of those were not involved in the fighting."

The police said among the bystanders killed was at least one Iranian pilgrim, who had been visiting a Shia shrine.

Jihad Hussein, a student, said he had seen passersby running for cover. "They were spraying the whole street," he said. "I don't know who fired the first shot, the Americans or the Fedayeen, but I saw at least one young woman hit by a bullet as she lay on the ground."

Colonel Frederick Rudesheim, whose 4th Infantry Division combat team was at the heart of the fighting, denied US fire had been untargeted.

He added that he would not expect the Fedayeen to take their dead to a civilian hospital or civilian morgue.

On Sunday Col Rudesheim put the Iraqi death toll at 46 but that was raised to 54 yesterday by a more senior US spokesman, Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt, at a Baghdad briefing. He said 22 Iraqis had been wounded and one taken prisoner. But the colonel conceded that the figures were a rough estimate based on battlefield reports.

US military accounts of the fighting confirm the scale and complexity of the ambushes reflected a new level of organisation by the Iraqi resistance. Ambush points had been set up along the convoys' routes into and out of Samarra.

Staff Sergeant Bruce Jones, said the "extremely scary" battle had lasted up to two hours. "We started receiving not only small arms, we had incoming and direct fire from mortars, we also had RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] coming through here, just hitting us all around," he said, adding that Iraqis in civilian clothes had been involved, attempting to block the American convoys' escape route.

Sgt Jones said when the two convoys had driven into Samarra on Sunday, the city centre was a virtual ghost town, suggesting that the civilian population knew the ambushes were about to happen.

· One of the two Japanese diplomats killed in Iraq at the weekend was a former counsellor of the Japanese embassy in London. Katsuhiko Oku, 45, a father of three, went to Iraq in April.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003



Leader Condemns Desecration of Holy Shrines in Samarra

TEHRAN (Mehr News Agency) -- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in a message condemned the fierce attack of the occupying forces against the people and the desecration of the holy shrines of Imam Hadi (AS) and Imam Hasan Askari (AS) in Samarra. Following is the full text of the message: In the Name of Allah, the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful

The ferocious attack of the brutal and arrogant occupiers against the people of Samarra and their desecration of the holy shrines of the two great Imams Hadi (AS) and Askari (AS), which resulted in the death of over fifty men, women, and children and the injury of a larger number, was a source of great sorrow and grief.

Once again, the brutal arrogant occupiers showed that they care neither about the lives of people nor their religious sanctities and that they intend to resort to terror and force. The ignorant and arrogant U.S. politicians were seized with the stupid idea that they could make the faithful and brave people of Iraq capitulate to the flames of their fire. This same misunderstanding and arrogant view will doom this aggressive regime in the near future.

I would like to express my condolences to Imam Mahdi (AS), the Muslim world, and especially the oppressed people of Iraq and the seminaries. I also pray to Allah to bring victory to the Muslim world and to defeat the enemies of the nations.

Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi also on Tuesday condemned the crimes being committed by occupying forces in Iraq and called for formation of an Islamic and democratic government in the war-shattered country.

Speaking to a group of female Basij (volunteer forces) members, Shahroudi expressed hope that the oppressed Iraqi nation would get rid of criminals.

Sacrilege to holy places and Muslims in the city of Samarra is considered as a big catastrophe, Shahroudi said while expressing condolence to the families of the victims.

"We hope the Iraqi nation would strive to attain their independence and freedom in a bid to establish an Islamic and democratic system," he said.

Majlis Speaker Mahdi Karrubi also on Tuesday condemned the attack and urged the occupying forces to leave the war-torn country and the entire region.

Addressing the open session of Majlis, he condoled with the Iraqi theological seminaries, grand clerics and the Iraqi nation on killing of civilians in this holy city on Sunday. Tehran Protests to U.S. Over Iranian Pilgrim Killed in Iraq

Iran has sent an official protest to the United States over the killing of an Iranian pilgrim during the fierce firefight in Samarra.

U.S. troops said they killed 54 guerrillas in a battle to fight off coordinated ambushes on armored convoys carrying large quantities of banknotes in the tense Iraqi town of Samarra.

Police said eight civilians were among the dead, including an Iranian pilgrim.

"Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss ambassador to Tehran on Monday to voice its strong protest over the killing of an Iranian by American forces," a press report by the ministry said.

Switzerland has looked after U.S. interests in Iran since Washington cut ties with Tehran shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The Foreign Ministry called on Washington to investigate the Samarra incident and offer compensation to the dead Iranian's family.

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said the United States should be held accountable for the killing of an Iranian pilgrim which was "unjustifiable" under any pretext.

"America has made the world insecure by its irresponsible measures and it should end Iraq's occupation soon," Kharrazi said.



US soldier dies as doubts grow over Samarra
Monday 01 December 2003 10:10 AM GMT

Civilians are increasingly bearing the brunt of occupation

A US soldier has died of bullet wounds even as doubts are cast over the version of events being put out by the Pentagon about Sunday night's bloodbath in Samarra.

The occupation soldier was wounded when he was attacked by resistance fighters west of Baghdad on Monday morning.

No further details were available.

In Samarra, scenes of devastation dotted the town after fierce US attacks in which senior police and hospital officials said at least eight civilians were killed and dozens wounded.

American troops said on Monday that 54 resistance fighters had been killed in clashes on Sunday.

But our correspondent and other news agencies quoted hospital sources and Samarra residents as saying that the US fire killed eight people, all civilians.

Samarra hospital accident and emergency department anaesthetist Bassam Ibrahim said “we received the bodies of eight civilians, including a woman and a child”.

It was not immediately clear whether the dead civilians included two Iranians who were found dead in their bus when on a visit to holy sites.

Hospital director Abd Tawfiq said “more than 60 people wounded by gunfire and shrapnel from US rounds are being treated at the hospital”.

Colonel Fredrick Rudesheim said the toll was 46, repeating an earlier number. He added it was not a firm toll, based on a body count, but an estimate based on interviews with all the soldiers involved.

The attacks on US troops were "coordinated", and targeted two convoys transporting new Iraqi currency as part of an exchange scheme to replace old notes, added Rudesheim.

AFP correspondents saw a civilian bus completely burned out,30 metres from the main entrance to the town’s hospital.

The correspondents were shown two Iranian passports, said to belong to the visitors killed in the bus. Nine others, also Iranians, were wounded, said the police guard outside the hospital.

Tehran concern

Iranian officials expressed concern over the incident and called for an immediate investigation into the attack.

Tehran warned the incident could
further harm Iran-US ties

Reda Yosofyan, a member of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy commission, said Washington was directly responsible for the Iranians' death.

"This event will evoke even more distrust between Iran and the US," he told Aljazeera.net. Yosofyan also called on the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council to investigate the incident and report the findings to Tehran.

But Council spokesman Hamid al-Kifai said he did not know of any Iranian deaths in the Samarra attack. "We cannot discuss anything which we do not know about," he told Aljazeera.net.

Yosofyan warned that such incidents might harm future ties between Baghdad and Tehran if they were not investigated.

When contacted by Aljazeera.net, a US military spokesman in Baghdad said they had no information on any Iranian deaths. In response to the toll he said, "I cannot respond to that because I do not have the details."

These are not the first Iranian casualties as a result of US fire since the Washington-led invasion of Iraq.

In the early days of the invasion, a stray missile landed near Iran's western border, injuring a number of civilians.

Worshippers wounded

The town’s police chief Colonel Ismail Mahmud Muhammad said about 20 of the injured sustained their injuries while worshipping at a mosque during sunset prayers.

Two Iranian passports reportedly
belonging to victims of US attack

Resistance fighters who had attacked occupation forces had withdrawn when the Americans returned fire, said Muhammad.

Troops had done so indiscriminately with all weapons in their arsenal, he added.

“There was an attack and an exchange of fire between the Americans and the resistance lasting half an hour. The resistance withdrew, then bombardments started using all manner of weapons in all directions and without any discrimination,” said Muhammad.

He also said eight civilians were killed, including a child.

Apaches used

Shaikh Muhammad Abd al-Karim, in charge of security on the local municipal council, cited police reports that the clashes had begun when assailants attacked a US convoy delivering money to al-Rashid Bank.

"There were shots, and then a half-hour exchange with the
assailants, who then fled," he said.

"Then there was a massive US bombardment in which buildings, including mosques and schools, were hit by the Americans."

Abd al-Karim said that Apache helicopter gunships had opened fire during the bombardment of the built-up area, although flares carried by the assault aircraft could sometimes be mistaken for cannon fire.

The impact of a rocket could be seen on one of the outer walls of al-Shafi mosque, nearly 50 metres from the hospital. Its windows had been shattered by the blast.

Ali Abd Allah Amin, 12, who was being treated at the hospital with his five-year-old brother for wounds sustained in the mosque, said their father had been killed in the firing.

In another street in the town where a US convoy came under attack earlier in the day, a car parked outside a chemist’s shop had been completely flattened, apparently by a tank.

Aljazeera + Agencies

You can find this article at:



Samarra clash toll still a mystery

Tuesday 02 December 2003 9:07 AM GMT

Residents say US forces used weapons indiscriminately

The US military has vowed to continue aggressive tactics after saying it killed 54 Iraqis following an ambush, but commanders admitted they had no proof to back up their claims.

The only corpses at Samarra's hospital were those of civilians, including two elderly Iranian visitors and a child.

A top military commander acknowledged on Monday that the toll was based entirely on estimates gleaned from troop debriefings and that US soldiers had not recovered a single body from the scene of Sunday’s clashes.

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt estimated the number of dead in Samarra at 54, along with 22 wounded, saying they were all resistance fighters. He also said one person was detained.

He admitted that the one resistance fighter now confirmed in custody was a sharp reduction on the 11 claimed captured by the commanding colonel in Samarra earlier.

“Some of those earlier reports might have been a bit off,” Kimmitt said.

"Are you asking me to produce (them)?" asked Colonel Fredrick Rudesheim, who heads the 3rd Combat Brigades that was involved in the clashes, when questioned by reporters about the absence of any fighters' bodies at Samarra's single hospital or on the city's streets.

Sergeant Nicholas Mullen, who fired rounds from an Abrams tank, offered yet another explanation for the army's inability to locate the corpses. "We don't stick around," he said.

Mystery continues

Challenged about what happened to the bodies of the 54 said to have been killed, Kimmitt said: “I would suspect that the enemy would have carried them away and brought them back to where their initial base was.”

“If the death toll had reached that announced by the Americans, the atmosphere in Samarra would be quite different"

Abd al-Munaim Muhammad,
ambulance driver, Samarra

Asked about reports from senior police and hospital officials in the town of only eight civilians killed and dozens more wounded, the US general insisted: “We have no such reports whether from medical authorities or police.”

But a medic at Samarra hospital said the bodies of “eight civilians including a woman and a child” were received at the hospital.

Hospital director Abd Tawfiq said “more than 60 people wounded by gunfire and shrapnel from US rounds are being treated at the hospital”.

And ambulance driver Abd al-Munaim Muhammad said he had not ferried any fighters wounded or killed and wearing the black Fidayin outfit which US soldiers claimed their assailants wore.

“If I had seen bodies, I would have picked them up. It's not like the Americans would have done it,” he said.

“If the death toll had reached that announced by the Americans, the atmosphere in Samarra would be quite different," he added.

Iranian reaction

It was not immediately clear whether the figure included two Iranian visitors said to have been killed in their bus.

Schools and mosques were also
reportedly hit in the attack

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi condemned what he called the “blind attacks” by US forces.

“America is responsible for the killing of the Iranian national in Samarra. It must account for this crime,” he said.

Tehran’s foreign ministry on Tuesday summoned the Swiss ambassador to Iran, who acts as the head of the US interest section office there, to protest against the deaths, reported a state news agency.

Iran demanded that Washington “clarify the circumstances leading to the incident,” and announce the result of its own investigation and provide compensation.

The bloodshed prompted members of Samarra’s tribal council to demand an immediate US pullout from the area.


You can find this article at:


Confusion over Samarra bloodbath toll
Samarra | Reuters | 02/12/2003

American troops killed 54 guerrillas in a fierce battle to fight off coordinated ambushes on armoured convoys carrying large quantities of banknotes in the tense Iraqi town of Samarra, the US Army said yesterday.

A US soldier was also killed west of Baghdad yesterday after insurgents attacked his patrol, the military said. But confusion hung over the Samarra death toll, which a US military spokesman at the town earlier put at 46.

A military spokesman told a Baghdad news conference that 54 "enemy combatants" were killed in firefights that raged for most of Sunday afternoon in Samarra, 100km north of Baghdad.

Police said eight civilians had also been killed, including an Iranian pilgrim. But doctors said they had only seen six bodies.

A policeman in Samarra said US troops had fired randomly, killing civilians. Several burned-out cars littered the streets of the town, a focus of anti-US anger in the Sunni triangle.



Doubt on US claim of dead fighters
From The Times

The absence of dead Iraqi fighters after US troops reported killing at least 54 guerillas in a fierce battle in the town of Samarra raised serious questions about the military claims yesterday. Only eight bodies, mostly civilians including women and children, were in the morgue.

US spokesmen said up to 80 guerillas ambushed two military convoys delivering new Iraqi currency to banks in the town, a centre of resistance to the occupying forces located about 100km north of Baghdad.
The fighters were said to have emerged from rooftops, behind walls and from speeding cars to fire on the US troops. Soldiers who fought off the attack said it had been "touch and go".

It was the kind of fighting the Americans feared when they entered Baghdad in April -- an urban battle in which their military superiority would be nullified by close-quarters resistance. One sergeant said the guerillas were "so close" he was shooting at them with a pump-action shotgun.

But Iraqi residents said the US forces poured fire into houses, mosques and even a kindergarten, prompting local people to reach for their guns and join the street battle.

The imam of a mosque hit by a mortar called on all Muslims to join a jihad against the occupiers, while some of those injured in the strikes said the US forces had triggering a holy war.

Colonel Frederick Rudesheim, of the US Fourth Infantry Division, which controls the region, said his death toll of guerillas came from debriefing his men, who had faced carefully co-ordinated ambushes. He attributed the discrepancy in numbers to the guerillas trying to conceal their dead and wounded.

"It was a concerted effort by the enemy to deal a significant blow to coalition forces," said Colonel Rudesheim, presenting soldiers who fought in the battle at a base outside Samarra, where several Iraqi prisoners stood bound and with bags over their heads near long columns of tanks.

One of the commanders on the ground, Captain Andy Deponai, reported that his men had been under constant fire for 45 minutes and said his tank had been hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

However, the Americans suffered no losses. They said the guerillas had noted the routes taken by the convoys delivering the new money at the end of each month and had prepared ambush sites and roadside explosives along the way.

The guerillas redeployed in civilian cars to harry the US vehicles as they blasted their way out, US officers said.

The US forces included 93 soldiers with eight tanks, four Bradley fighting vehicles and six armoured Humvees.

Among the soldiers were two squads of military police and four squads of infantry.

Colonel Rudesheim said the money had already been delivered when the attacks started. A member of the US-backed Iraqi Civil Defence Corps, a paramilitary force designed to crack down on lawlessness in Iraq, said the attack was a disaster.

He said it was planned by former regime loyalists to cause a bloodbath in the town of 180,000 people, and suggested the aim of the attack might have been to steal the cash to bankroll the guerillas.

US officers said the attackers were dressed in uniforms worn by Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen militia, but this was dismissed by an Iraqi policeman. "Everyone wearing a kafiyeh (an Arab headdress) was a Fedayeen to the Americans," he said.









- George Orwell, 1984


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