Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Robert Fisk: Secrets of the morgue: Baghdad's body count

An extraordinary piece by Robert Fisk in The Independent (registration and payment required), August 17, 2005,
SECRETS OF THE MORGUE: BAGHDAD'S BODY COUNT;
*BODIES OF 1,100 CIVILIANS BROUGHT TO MORTUARY IN JULY
*PRE-INVASION, JULY FIGURE WAS TYPICALLY LESS THAN 200
* UP TO 20% OF THE BODIES ARE NEVER IDENTIFIED
* MANY OF THE DEAD HAVE BEEN TORTURED OR DISFIGURED

The Baghdad morgue is a fearful place of heat and stench and mourning, the cries of relatives echoing down the narrow, foetid laneway behind the pale-yellow brick medical centre where the authorities keep their computerised records. So many corpses are being brought to the mortuary that human remains are stacked on top of each other. Unidentified bodies must be buried within days for lack of space " but the municipality is so overwhelmed by the number of killings that it can no longer provide the vehicles and personnel to take the remains to cemeteries.

July was the bloodiest month in Baghdad's modern history " in all, 1,100 bodies were brought to the city's mortuary; executed for the most part, eviscerated, stabbed, bludgeoned, tortured to death. The figure is secret.

We are not supposed to know that the Iraqi capital's death toll last month was only 700 short of the total American fatalities in Iraq since April of 2003. Of the dead, 963 were men " many with their hands bound, their eyes taped and bullets in their heads " and 137 women. The statistics are as shameful as they are horrifying. For these are the men and women we supposedly came to 'liberate' " and about whose fate we do not care.

The figures for this month cannot,of course, yet be calculated. But last Sunday, the mortuary received the bodies of 36 men and women, all killed by violence. By 8 o'clock on Monday morning, nine more human remains had been received. By midday, the figure had reached 25.

'I consider this a quiet day,' one of the mortuary officials said to me quietly as we stood close to the dead. So in just 36 hours " from dawn on Sunday to midday on Monday, 62 Baghdad civilians had been killed. No Western official, no Iraqi government minister, no civil servant, no press release from the authorities, no newspaper, mentioned this terrible statistic. The dead of Iraq " as they have from the beginning of our illegal invasion " were simply written out of the script. They officially do not exist.

Thus there has been no disclosure of the fact that in July of 2003 " three months after the invasion " 700 corpses were brought to the mortuary in Baghdad. In July of 2004, this had risen to around 800. The mortuary records the violent death toll for June of this year as 879 " 764 of them male victims, 115 female. Of the men, 480 had been killed by firearms, along with 25 of the women. By comparison, equivalent figures for July 1997, 1998 and 1999 were all below 200.

Between 10 and 20 per cent of all bodies are never identified " the medical authorities have had to bury 500 of them since January of this year, unidentified and unclaimed. In many cases, the remains have been shattered by explosions " possibly by suicide bombers " or by deliberate disfigurement by their killers.

Mortuary officials have been appalled at the sadism visited on the victims. 'We have many who have obviously been tortured " mostly men,' one said. 'They have terrible burn marks on hands and feet and other parts of their bodies. Many have their hands fastened behind their backs with handcuffs and their eyes have been bound with Sellotape. Then they have been shot in the head " in the back of the head, the face, the eyes. These are executions.

'While Saddam's regime visited death by official execution upon its opponents, the scale of anarchy now existing in Baghdad, Mosul, Basra and other cities is unprecedented. 'The July figures are the largest ever recorded in the history of the Baghdad Medical Institute,' a senior member of the management told The Independent.

It is clear that death squads are roaming the streets of a city which is supposed to be under the control of the US military and the American- supported, elected government of Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Never in recent history has such anarchy been let loose on the civilians of this city " yet the Western and Iraqi authorities show no interest in disclosing the details. The writing of the new constitution " or the failure to complete it " now occupies the time of Western diplomats and journalists. The dead, it seems, do not count.

But they should. Most are between 15 and 44 " the youth of Iraq " and, if extrapolated across the country, Baghdad's 1,100 dead of last month must bring Iraq's minimum monthly casualty toll in July alone to 3,000 " perhaps 4,000. Over a year, this must reach a minimum of 36,000, a figure which puts the supposedly controversial statistic of 100,000 dead since the invasion into a much more realistic perspective.

There is no way of distinguishing the reasons for these thousands of violent deaths. Some men and women were shot at US checkpoints, others murdered, no doubt, by insurgents or thieves. A few listed as killed by 'blunt instruments' might have been the dead of traffic accidents. Some of the women were probably the victims of 'honour' killings " because male relatives suspected them of having illicit relations with the wrong man. Still others may have been murdered as 'collaborators'. Doctors have been told that bodies brought to the mortuary by US forces should not receive post-mortems (on the odd grounds that the Americans will already have performed these functions).

So many civilians are dying that the morgue has had to rely on volunteers from the holy city of Najaf to transport unidentified Shia Muslim dead to the central city's large graveyard for burial, their plots donated by religious institutions. 'In some of the bodies, we find American bullets,' a mortuary attendant told me. 'But these could be American bullets fired by Iraqis. We don't know who's killing who " it's not our job to find out, but civilians are killing each other2.

'We had a body here the other day and the relatives said he had been murdered because he had been a Baathist in the old regime. Then they said that his brother had been killed three or four weeks back because he was a member of the religious Shia Dawa party which was the enemy of Saddam. But this is the real story " the killing of the people. I don't want to die under a new constitution. I want security.'

One of the problems in cataloguing the daily death toll is that the official radio often declines to report on explosions. On Monday, the thump of a bomb in the Karada district was never officially explained. Only yesterday was it discovered that a suicide bomber had walked into a popular cafe, the Emir, and blown himself in half, killing two policemen. Another explosion, officially said to be caused by a mortar, turned out to be a mine set off beneath a pile of watermelons as a US patrol was passing. A civilian died in the attack.

Again, there was no official account of these deaths. They were not recorded by the government nor by the occupying armies nor, of course, by the Western press. Like the bodies in the Baghdad city mortuary, they did not exist.

2 Comments:

Blogger alina727jonah said...

='Brand New News From The Timber Industry!!'=

========Latest Profile==========
Energy & Asset Technology, Inc. (EGTY)
Current Price $0.15
================================

Recognize this undiscovered gem which is poised to jump!!

Please read the following Announcement in its Entierty and
Consider the Possibilities
Watch this One to Trade!

Because, EGTY has secured the global rights to market
genetically enhanced fast growing, hard-wood trees!

EGTY trading volume is beginning to surge with landslide Announcement.
The value of this Stock appears poised for growth! This one will not
remain on the ground floor for long.

Keep Reading!!!!

===============
"BREAKING NEWS"
===============

-Energy and Asset Technology, Inc. (EGTY) owns a global license to market
the genetically enhanced Global Cedar growth trees, with plans to
REVOLUTIONIZE the forest-timber industry.

These newly enhanced Global Cedar trees require only 9-12 years of growth before they can
be harvested for lumber, whereas worldwide growth time for lumber is 30-50 years.

Other than growing at an astonishing rate, the Global Cedar has a number of other benefits.
Its natural elements make it resistant to termites, and the lack of oils and sap found in the wood
make it resistant to forest fire, ensuring higher returns on investments.

the wood is very lightweight and strong, lighter than Poplar and over twice
as strong as Balsa, which makes it great for construction. It also has
the unique ability to regrow itself from the stump, minimizing the land and
time to replant and develop new root systems.

Based on current resources and agreements, EGTY projects revenues of $140 Million
with an approximate profit margin of 40% for each 9-year cycle. With anticipated
growth, EGTY is expected to challenge Deltic Timber Corp. during its initial 9-year cycle.

Deltic Timber Corp. currently trades at over $38.00 a share with about $153 Million in revenues.
As the reputation and demand for the Global Cedar tree continues to grow around the world
EGTY believes additional multi-million dollar agreements will be forthcoming. The Global Cedar nursery has produced
about 100,000 infant plants and is developing a production growth target of 250,000 infant plants per month.

Energy and Asset Technology is currently in negotiations with land and business owners in New Zealand,
Greece and Malaysia regarding the purchase of their popular and profitable fast growing infant tree plants.
Inquiries from the governments of Brazil and Ecuador are also being evaluated.

Conclusion:

The examples above show the Awesome, Earning Potential of little
known Companies That Explode onto Investor�s Radar Screens.
This stock will not be a Secret for long. Then You May Feel the Desire to Act Right
Now! And Please Watch This One Trade!!


GO EGTY!


All statements made are our express opinion only and should be treated as such.
We may own, take position and sell any securities mentioned at any time. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect
to predictions, goals, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance are
not statements of historical fact and may be "forward, looking
statements." forward, looking statements are based on expectations, estimates
and projections at the time the statements are made that involve a number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results
or events to differ materially from those presently anticipated. This newsletter was paid $3,000 from third party (IR Marketing).
Forward,|ooking statements in this action may be identified through the use of words such as: "projects", "foresee", "expects". in compliance with Se'ction 17. {b), we disclose the holding of EGTY shares prior to the publication of this report. Be aware of an inherent conflict of interest resulting from such holdings due to our intent to profit from the liquidation of these shares. Shares may be sold at any time, even after positive statements have been made regarding the above company. Since we own shares, there is an inherent conflict of interest in our statements and opinions. Readers of this publication are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward,looking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and expectations involving various risks and uncertainties that could cause results to
differ materially from those set forth in the forward- looking statements. This is not solicitation to buy or sell stocks, this text is
or informational purpose only and you should seek professional advice from registered financial advisor before you do anything related with buying or selling stocks, penny stocks are very high risk and you can lose your entire investment.

20 August 2005 at 00:15  
Blogger David Pakman said...

Hey, excellent website. A great Iraq resource is Deaths in Iraq. It breaks all of the casualties down by age, race, branch of the military, country, etc.

7 November 2005 at 02:38  

Post a Comment

<< Home