US torture camp in Iraq closed

This video is called Iraq Haditha Massacre Shocking Story of Marines Killing in Iraq.

A video, about the Haditha massacre, which used to be at Google but is no longer there, said about itself:

BBC has gotten its hands on what they’re calling a “New ‘Iraq massacre’ video.” The video, too gruesome to air in full, shows that a number of Iraqis officially killed by a crumbling building after a firefight with the U.S. military, actually appear to have been killed by gunshots.

From National Public Radio in the USA:

U.S. Prison‘s Closure Offers No Solace For One Iraqi

by Jonathan Blakley

October 1, 2009

As the U.S. continues its slow reduction of forces from Iraq, it is also releasing thousands of Iraqi prisoners and transferring other detainees to Iraqi custody. The largest U.S. prison in Iraq, at Camp Bucca, closed this month, stirring fresh and painful memories for one Iraqi journalist who was detained there.

Camp Bucca, opened just after the U.S. invasion in March 2003, sits on more than 40 acres of desert sand near the head of the Persian Gulf, just north of the Kuwait border. At its peak, the prison housed more than 22,000 detainees in separate camps.

Ali Omar al-Mashhadani was one of them. A 40-year-old journalist, he recalls his detention at Bucca — and all of his memories — as negative.

“We were isolated from everything. We didn’t have a radio or anything. The Americans would sometimes bring us very bad news, like a Sunni guy killing a Shiite, or vice versa, to make the prisoners hate each other,” he says.

After the U.S. invasion, Mashhadani worked as a cameraman for the BBC and Reuters, and as a stringer for NPR.

In the summer of 2005, he was detained without charges while photographing a clash between U.S. forces and insurgents in Haditha.

He was released after spending three months at Camp Bucca.

“We’d demonstrate inside because we heard about massacres or other bad news about the war. We’d throw apples, and they’d respond with gunfire or dogs,” he recalls.

Over the course of the next six years, the U.S. military detained Mashhadani seven more times, essentially, he believes, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, while holding a camera near U.S. forces.

Like many other detainees, he has never been charged.

Mashhadani says he suffered psychological abuse at Camp Bucca, where Shiites and Sunnis were knowingly housed together, and where prisoners were forced to stay in small, dark holding cells.

The rooms had many air conditioners, and prisoners were only give one blanket.

“It was freezing there. Every eight hours, the guards would take us out for just 10 minutes. The prisoners were given food twice a day, but their hands and feet were chained. They had to use the bathroom right there in the cell. This went on for weeks, or even up to a month,” he says.

Mashhadani says he spent 21 days in a cell like this, because the Americans didn’t like the answers he was giving them.

Now, he says, he wants to sue the American government. He wants compensation, or at least to clear his name.

“Until this moment,” Mashhadani says, “they have not told me what my crime is.”

Fate Of Camp Bucca

Western and Iraqi journalists toured the sprawling Camp Bucca facility hours before the prison was permanently closed on Sept. 16.

The United States invested more than $50 million in the camp.

The U.S. has detained more than 100,000 Iraqis since 2003. Now, only 8,000 are behind bars.

There are now only two U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, and they will be handed over to the Iraqi government next year.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — It isn’t clear whether the United States will ever be able to declare victory in Iraq, the top U.S. commander there said Thursday: here.

Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein have directed at least three remarkable documentaries about the US invasion of Iraq and its consequences: Gunner Palace (2004), The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair (2006), and now, How To Fold a Flag: here.

The Ministry of Defence was excoriated in a High Court judgement on Friday over its failure to disclose information regarding the alleged torture and murder of 20 Iraqis by British troops five years ago: here.

Britain: Human rights campaigners will descend on Parliament Square on Saturday to demand the release of more than 200 Guantanamo Bay detainees and draw attention to other “secret torture camps” worldwide: here.

Nicole Colson examines revelations about the acts of violence committed by soldiers returned from Iraq–and how the military is trying to evade responsibility: here.

Supreme Court delay may help keep detainee abuse pics forever sealed: here.

US whitewash of Haditha massacre in Iraq

This video is about the Haditha massacre.

From Alternet in the USA:

People of Haditha: “This is an Organized Crime”

By Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation. Posted June 23, 2008.

The tragedy of the Haditha massacre in November 2005 has now been compounded by a judicial whitewash and coverup.

Small tragedies can get lost in a big war, but it is sad and troubling that, so far at least, it looks like no one is going to have to pay for the November, 2005, massacre of 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq. That’s the mostly Sunni city in which, at the height of the insurgency, U.S. Marines mowed down a carful of unarmed Iraqi men, apparently shooting them point blank as they lay on the ground, and then stormed into surrounding homes where they butchered men, women, and children.

So the tragedy of the massacre is now compounded by the tragedy of a judicial whitewash and coverup. As Bob Dylan wrote in “The Lonesome Ballad [sic; Lonesome Death] of Hattie Carroll,” about a maid slaughtered by her employer who was then given a six-month sentence for murder: “Now is the time for your tears.”

Retired [United States] General [Taguba]: “The Current Administration Has Committed War Crimes”; here.

Report: Iraq social and refugee crisis is worsening: here.

US Anti-War Soldier Jonathan Hutto: People, Not Politicians, Will End the War in Iraq.

Media Tell Us About Iraq War-Oil Connection Five Years After the Fact: here.

From Press TV:

25 Jun 2008

Six members of a family have been killed in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit when their house came under attack by an American warplane.

Iraqi police announced that four children lost their lives in the assault which took place early Wednesday.

Four women were in the area but were turned over unharmed to the Iraqi police.

Iraqi refugees: here.

‘Redacted’, film about US rape of 14-year old Iraqi girl and murder of her family

This video is about the standing ovation for the film Redacted by Brian De Palma at the Venice film festival.

Reuters reports:

‘Redacted’ stuns Venice

Brian De Palma‘s film about the rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers leaves festival-goers in tears.

August 31, 2007

VENICE — A new film about the real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers who also murdered her family stunned the Venice festival, with shocking images that left some viewers in tears.

Redacted“, by U.S. director Brian De Palma, is one of at least eight American films on the war in Iraq due for release in the next few months and the first of two movies on the conflict screening in Venice’s main competition.

Inspired by one of the most serious crimes committed by American soldiers in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, it is a harrowing indictment of the conflict and spares the audience no brutality to get its message across.

De Palma, 66, whose “Casualties of War” in 1989 told a similar tale of abuse by American soldiers in Vietnam, makes no secret of the goal he is hoping to achieve with the film’s images, all based on real material he found on the Internet.

“The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people,” he told reporters after a press screening.

“The pictures are what will stop the war. One only hopes that these images will get the public incensed enough to motivate their Congressmen to vote against this war,” he said.

Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi was gang raped, killed and burnt by American soldiers in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, in March 2006. Her parents and younger daughter [sic; sister] were also killed.

Five soldiers have since been charged with the attack. Four of them have been given sentences of between 5 and 110 years.


Halfway between documentary and fiction, “Redacted” draws on soldiers’ home-made war videos, blogs and journals and footage posted on YouTube, reflecting changes in the way the media cover the war.

“In Vietnam, when we saw the images and the sorrow of the people we were traumatizing and killing, we saw the soldiers wounded and brought back in body bags. We see none of that in this war,” De Palma said.

“It’s all out there on the Internet, you can find it if you look for it, but it’s not in the major media. The media is now really part of the corporate establishment,” he said.

The film’s title refers to how, according to De Palma, mainstream American newspapers and television channels are failing to tell the true story of the war by keeping the most graphic images of the conflict away from public opinion.

“When I went out to find the pictures, I said (to the media) give me the pictures you can’t publish,” he said, adding that because of legal dangers he too had to “edit” the material.

“Everything that is in the movie is based on something I found that actually happened. But once I had put it in the script I would get a note from a lawyer saying you can’t use that because it’s real and we may get sued,” De Palma said.

“So I was forced to fictionalize things that were actually real.”

The film, shot in Jordan with a little known cast, ends with a series of photographs of Iraqi civilians killed and their faces blacked out for legal reasons.

“I think that’s terrible because now we have not even given the dignity of faces to this suffering people,” De Palma said.

See also here. And here.

And here.

Women in Iraq today: here.

From Iraq Today blog:

Iraq soccer captain Younis Mahmoud Khalaf after win against Saudi Arabia denounces US occupation. Iraq won the cup on a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia on July 29 2007.

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US Marine: I was ordered to erase photos of Haditha massacre

This is a video of British ITV on the Haditha massacre in Iraq.

From the Los Angeles Times in the USA:

Marine says he erased photos of Haditha victims

By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer

June 8, 2007

I expected Haditha to be another Fallouja.
— Lt. Mark Towers, Battalion adjutant

CAMP PENDLETON — A staff sergeant testified Thursday that he was ordered to destroy grisly pictures of women and children killed by Marines so that the images would not be part of a statement being prepared for an investigative officer and a magazine reporter.

The testimony by Staff Sgt. Justin Laughner, taken under a grant of immunity, is the first evidence suggesting that any Marine officer may have engaged in a coverup in the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in 2005.

Other testimony has suggested that officers made only a superficial review before deciding that the deaths were combat-related and thus no war crimes investigation was required.

At the Article 32 inquiry, similar to a preliminary hearing, for a former battalion commander, Laughner testified hat he felt the order to destroy the pictures, which he said was given by Lt. Andrew Grayson, amounted to obstruction of justice but that he complied and later lied when asked whether any pictures had been taken.

Remember the hysteria among Rightist bloggers in the USA when some media alongside their stories about the Haditha masacre had photos not of that massacre?

Well, it turns out it was not that easy for those media to get photos that were of that massacre …

Haditha update September 2007: here; and here.

US General Peter Pace sacked: here.

Civil liberties in Britain during the Iraq war, The Guardian, and Craig Murray: here.

Iraq: Haditha massacre: new photos contradict US official story

Some of the dead in HadithaFrom CNN in the USA:

Photos seem to contradict Marine version of Haditha killings

By Jamie McIntyre

Thursday, June 8

WASHINGTON — Pentagon sources say some of the most incriminating evidence against Marines under investigation in the deaths of civilians at Haditha is a set of photographs taken by another group of Marines who came along afterward and helped clean up the scene.

CNN is the first news organization to examine those images.

They were snapped before an aspiring Iraq journalist videotaped the aftermath of the November 19 deaths.

That video convinced Time magazine to pursue the story earlier this year.

Pentagon sources say the 30 images of men, women and children are some of the strongest evidence that, in some cases, the victims were shot inside their homes and at close range — not killed by shrapnel from a roadside bomb or by stray bullets from a distant firefight, as Marines had claimed.

Hush money for Haditha survivors: here.

US Bush administration and the death of Zarqawi: here.

Iraqi blogger Riverbend on death of Zarqawi: here.

Iraq: Prime Minister on US killings: here.

US atrocities in Hamdania: here.

This music video from the USA about the Iraq war is ‘Dear Mr President‘ by Pink.

Haditha, Iraq killers ‘probably on drugs’

Iraq war, George W Bush and oil, cartoon

From British daily The Guardian:

Marine’s wife paints portrait of US troops out of control in Haditha

· Unit accused of abusing drugs and alcohol
· Officers relieved of duty after killing of 24 Iraqis

Julian Borger in Washington

Monday June 5, 2006

The marine unit involved in the killing of Iraqi civilians in Haditha last November had suffered a “total breakdown” in discipline and had drug and alcohol problems, according to the wife of one of the battalion’s staff sergeants.

The allegations in Newsweek magazine contribute to an ever more disturbing portrait of embattled marines under high stress, some on their third tour of duty after ferocious door-to-door fighting in the Sunni insurgent strongholds of Falluja and Haditha.

The wife of the unnamed staff sergeant claimed there had been a “total breakdown” in the unit’s discipline after it was pulled out of Falluja in early 2005.

“There were problems in Kilo company with drugs, alcohol, hazing [violent initiation games], you name it,” she said.

“I think it’s more than possible that these guys were totally tweaked out on speed or something when they shot those civilians in Haditha.”

More on Haditha: here.

Haditha and the US Right: here.

Iraq: US massacres at Haditha, Ishaqi, Hamandiya …

Bush and Iraq war, cartoon

By Kate Randall:

Another US atrocity in Iraq: Eleven civilians massacred in Ishaqi

3 June 2006

The BBC on Thursday aired video footage of yet another atrocity committed by US forces against Iraqi civilians.

The video evidence contradicts the initial US account of the events of March 15, 2006 in the village of Ishaqi, in the Abu Sifa district near Balad, some 60 miles north of Baghdad, which resulted in 11 civilian deaths.

The news follows widespread coverage of the unprovoked killings by Marines of 24 unarmed civilians last November in the town of Haditha in Anbar province.

The military launched a serious investigation into that incident only after Time magazine reporters last January confronted officials with extensive evidence contradicting the official story that the civilians had been killed from the detonation of an improvised explosive device followed by a firefight with insurgents.

The cover-up of the Haditha massacre began to unravel when Time published a detailed account of the killings in March.

More US atrocities in Iraq news: here.

Killing at Hamandiya: here.