- In a brazen attempt to blame the "Sunni insurgency"
for violence in Iraq, minus any substantial evidence, Bloomberg writes
the following bit of questionable objectivity: "The killings [dozens
of Shiite Muslims found floating in the Tigris] are the latest example
of a shift in tactics by the Sunni insurgency to attacking civilians."
How does Bloomberg and the corporate American media know the "Sunni
insurgency" is to blame? Because newly enshrined (by way of bogus
elections) Iraqi president Jalal Talabani said so.
- Even Agence France-Presse, usually a bit more circumspect
than the corporate media in the United States, who are transparently slavish
cheerleaders (with the New York Times and the Washington Post usually leading
the charge) for Bush and Crew, gets in on the highly suspect action. "The
dead, 57 Shiite Muslims abducted by Sunni Muslim gunmen from al-Maidan,
which lies on the Tigris, 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Baghdad, included
women and children, Agence France-Presse reported, citing an unidentified
Iraqi police lieutenant-colonel based in Suwayrah." Interesting how
this works-since this police lieutenant-colonel is "unidentified,"
there is no way to verify his story. But the corporate media does not need
verification or corroboration because everybody knows the "insurgency"
in Iraq is comprised of and run by blood-thirsty thugs and criminals, on
one side by Saddam Hussein understudies, "dead-enders" and such,
and on the other by Islamic serial murderers as exemplified by Abu Musab
- It is also interesting that this recent act of brutality
comes at a time when Jalal Talabani is about to announce an amnesty (actually
a public relations gimmick) for Sunni "insurgents," a fig leaf
gesture obviously doomed to failure since the only thing that will put
an end to the resistance is a quick removal or U.S. occupation troops and
elections held under sincere international monitor, minus all outside influence.
Hell is likely to freeze over before this happens.
- As for the dead floating in the Tigris, history serves
(again) -this is appears to be a classic "psywar" tactic. "The
deliberate (and nominally selective) use of terror in psychological operations,"
writes Michael McClintock, "figured prominently in the 1960s reassessment
of Philippine tactics by the U.S. counterinsurgency establishment."
McClintock, in his excellent gold mine of information on U.S. counterinsurgency
(Instruments of Statecraft: U.S. Guerilla Warfare, Counterinsurgency, and
Counterterrorism, 1940-1990), cites numerous examples of the "use
of dead bodies" to terrorize potential resistance sympathizers and
collaborators (that is to say, much of the civilian population). As McClintock
notes, this macabre "psywar" tactic was a favorite of the French
in Algeria. It was also put to use during the Hukbalahap rebellion, or
simply the Huk rebellion (1946-54), in the Philippines:
- [Intelligence officer Major Medardo Justiniano] explained
its purpose [the use of dead bodies] as counteracting the Huk hold on "the
minds of the masses" "by instilling greater fear of us."
On one occasion when "we killed a large number of Huks," "we
piled these dead Huks into a truck with the hands and feet dangling outside,
a whole truck load of dead bodies, and we drove this truck clear around
town, and through the area. A series of photographs submitted by Bohannan
to Look magazine were identified with such captions as "Government
troops pose with dead Huks dumped before them." In his introductory
remarks to a June 1961 Fort Bragg seminar, [Major General, U.S. Air Force,
Edward Geary Lansdale] describes his fellow speakers as "fellow gremlins."
The role of deception operations and psychological warfare tactics employing
terror in the Philippines was a favorite topic of Lansdale's, and the counterinsurgent
as prankster, however macabre the joke, was a role he actively promoted.
The vigorous claims of success for bizarre psy-war operations in the Philippines
today comprise a large part of the opus of lessons learned from the Huk
- Is it possible "bizarre psy-war operations"
are under way in Iraq, especially now that Rumsfeld's Strategic Support
Branch (SSB) has been "operating in secret for two years-in Iraq,
Afghanistan and other places" (as the Washington Post reported in
January)? As I wrote at the time, the Strategic Support Branch is essentially
Rumsfeld's own personal version of the CIA. "Pentagon officials said
they established the Strategic Support Branch using 'reprogrammed' funds,
without explicit congressional authority or appropriation. Defense intelligence
missions, they said, are subject to less stringent congressional oversight
than comparable operations by the CIA," according to the Post (see
previous link). As I noted at the time, Rumsfeld's SSB cooperates with
the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), a clandestine unit run out
of the Tampa-based U.S. Special Operations Command. "Although JSOC's
stated purpose is to provide a unified command structure for conducting
joint special operations and exercises, it is widely reported that JSOC
is actually the command responsible for conducting US counter-terrorism
(CT) operations. JSOC is reported to command the US military's Special
Missions Units (SMUs). These SMUs are tasked with conducting CT operations,
strike operations, reconnaissance in denied areas, and special intelligence
missions," notes GlobalSecurity. "Much of the hunting for senior
Taliban and al Qaeda members in Afghanistan is being conducted by a unit
called Task Force 11, composed mostly of Delta Force soldiers and SEALs."
- SSB, JSOC, the CIA, et al, are warriors engaged in "war
without rules," as McClintock characterizes CT in the wake of World
War II. "The real post-Vietnam revival of special warfare-as part
of the new concept of 'low-intensity conflict' -came with the Reagan administration.
The rollback of perceived gains made by the Soviet Union, notably in Central
America, was the centerpiece of foreign policy during his first term in
office. The apparent American slippage in the Cold War was taken up as
a challenge that would justify a newly aggressive pursuit of special warfare,"
McClintock writes. "Implying the legitimacy of a state's turning to
terror tactics as a utilitarian means to an end, the Reagan administration
publicly extended the logic of covert counterinsurgency in internal conflicts
to the sphere of international relations. Despite Reagan's overwrought
rhetoric about terrorism, there was evidence that the United States had,
indeed, experimented in perpetrating the very kind of terrorism it claimed
to oppose. The consensus of the special warfare experts then, as now, was
that low-intensity conflict was intrinsically an 'un-American way of war.'
The substance of the United States' doctrine for these unpalatable, dirty
wars, however, was to reaffirm the logic of the 1950s. The special warfare
establishment would do whatever was necessary to prevail in secret, political
warfare. The United States could wage dirty wars with the best (or worst)
of them." (Emphasis added.) As we know, the same Iran-Contra criminals,
engaged in "dirty wars" against the people of Nicaragua and elsewhere,
figure prominently in the foreign policy helm high up in the Bush II administration.
- Once again, qui bono enters the equation. Does the Iraqi
resistance benefit from killing civilians-fellow Sunnis, or so we are told-or
does the United States and its stage managed and emerging Shia government?
Does it make sense for the Sunni-dominated resistance to kill its own base
and grotesquely float dozens of their slaughtered bodies down the Tigris?
No, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, that is unless the resistance
wants to send the following message: we are brutal mass murderers who kill
our own and for no reason beyond sheer mindless terror. If in fact the
resistance killed these hapless Sunni civilians, they are the most stupid
resistance fighters in recent memory. Of course, they are not stupid and
logic dictates they would not target civilians directly. On the other hand,
as history-generally ignored and glossed over, if mentioned at all by the
corporate media-demonstrates, the United States has consistently employed
terrorism in its "dirty wars" of "counterinsurgency"
since the end of the Second World War. Obviously, the United States and
its stage managed government in Iraq have more to gain from dead people
floating downstream for all to see and fear than the resistance does.